some handmade, organic love has just arrived through the post that means a lot to me.

i can't wait to brew it -
thank you, my dear paula!



in amongst the great + traditional christmas sugar rush we discovered jamie's inspired december scones. you have 3 days left to make them - though i suspect they'd taste just as good in january.

makes 20

grated zest + juice of 2 large clementines
4 cloves
150g dried cranberries
500g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp golden caster sugar
150g cold unsalted butter, chopped
2 eggs
4 tbsp milk, plus extra for brushing
3 tbsp cranberry sauce (shop bought is fine)

filling (we made half):
200ml double cream, whipped
grated zest of 1 clementine
1 tsp almond extract (me: optional!)
2 heaped tbsp icing sugar

>  preheat oven to 200c. add grated zest to a food processor + set aside. squeeze all the juice into a small pan, add cloves + simmer over a low heat, 4-5 mins, then remove cloves. add cranberries + cook until fully rehydrated, having sucked up all the juice. leave to cool a little.

> meanwhile, add flour, baking powder, sugar, butter + pinch of salt + pulse to fine breadcrumbs with zest in food processor. crack in the eggs + pulse again. add milk a splash at a time + pulse until it comes together into a dough, then tip out onto a floured board. return blade to processor.

> when the cranberries have cooled slightly, blitz in food processor until finely chopped. tip onto dough + gently knead, handling dough as little as possible. add a touch more flour as you go, if needed.

> line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper. roll dough out to 2cm thick, then stamp out scones with a round 5cm fluted pastry cutter. poke the middle of each scone with your floured finger to make a well, brush the top with milk +add a little cranberry sauce. bake for 10-12 minutes.

> for filling, gently whip cream into soft peaks, then fold through the clementine zest, almond extract + icing sugar. refrigerate until needed.



from our garden today
a christmas wish for pure life

have a beautiful day!



paper house ornaments instead of cards*
the greetings are under the floorboards .   .  .

the end of term involved much glitter + tinsel,
snowflakes in huge boots + angels in pink gym shoes
+ festive songs in uncertain little voices

while here at home, santa is almost ready .   .   .

*template adapted from the internet. and, yes, they would make a lovely advent calendar but before you commit have a look at this snowcapped mountain scenery



the tree is up
and a child's eyes quickly filled with stardust . . .



/ last night's dinner table the morning after

// candles out

/// my mother's bread - from a day's wood-fire baking with friends at the seaside



one of the last pomegranates from the garden
and i laugh at my compulsion to photograph every single one
of them, they're so round-perfect that i can't resist.

it looked pretty tonight dotted about in the green leaf salad
with a scattering of walnut pieces. a beautiful evening with family.



in the meantime, this year's olive crop is slowly being harvested,
branches pruned to let air and light in for the trees to breathe.

something seasonal, almost festive, to make with them, from here:

serves 4

350g mixed olives in brine (one kind only works just as well)
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 garlic clove, very thinly sliced
zest and juice of 1 orange
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
a few black peppercorns
1 large fresh chilli, halved lengthways, seeded and finely chopped
(we usually just sprinkle in a few dried chilli flakes instead)
1/2 small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil

drain the olives of their brine, rinse briefly, and place in a bowl with all the other ingredients. stir well and leave to marinate for at least an hour.

[they make a nice lunch snack with warm pita bread and hummus . . .]



they came again this year, a whole choir of neighbourhood kids at night,
hushed excitement behind the door as they wait for it to open
so they can sing their christmas song and get their coin . . .

[children's tags made :: air drying clay, ikea biscuit cutters]



we haven't exactly decked the halls yet
we're all still struggling with that shrek-coloured cold
but at least a gentle snowfall is building up in a.'s room

- although not even that will make her part with her summer
  cherry hat.



but, of course,
if i were the mummy i aspire to be

i would make her everything she needs to play with
like this lightness, this bunny, this house and this house,
this mobile, this garage, this twirly toy, this igloo  .   .   .

and how to justify expensive gifts when others are going hungry?

so this post doubles up as a new year's resolution
off to the paint shop tomorrow .  .  .

[lightness by sergio dias]


if i were a little girl
uncontaminated by disney
and a very generous santa were to ask...

1. a handmade doll (or 3) from pip-squeak chapeau
2. anything dangling (or not) from cocon
3. kedublock cylinders
4. one of paulina temmes' animals to hug and adopt
5. a paloma's nest wooden crown
6. villa sibi dolls house
7. les toiles blanches cat mask
8. naef ornabo blocks

but i'm only mummy - what do i know?
and anyway all she's asked for is a dvd!



in her room
for me a beautiful object* to look at
for her a challenging code to break

she's on the verge

*thank you, you-know-who!


subdued by a cold
thoughts turned inward
to grow a carapace, shrink
+ shelter underneath

or one of these tiny houses would do . . .



the household is slowly moving into christmas mode
printing wrapping paper, tags . . .