Palms Trees, A Sri Lankan Monkfish Curry Recipe and Coconuts.

The Elephant Stamp Napkins

After the last curry recipe here on my blog, I figured another one might go down as well so here’s a Monkfish curry . You all seemed to like it and the feedback I received was ace. Thankfully my clever Dad was very happy to oblige and came up with this recipe curry and let me tell you – it is good. I ate it all and then scraped the plate clean at the end.

I also thought it would be a great opportunity to try out my lovely new napkins and matching cushions. They’re really tropical and match the curry theme perfectly, don’t you think ?

If you don’t know of them already – I’d like to share a bit of background info about The Elephant Stamp who I received my Safomasi tropical textiles from –   and then I will move on to the recipe and a tasty non alcoholic cocktail too.

Monkfish Curry

If you love homeware that has a story to tell then The Elephant Stamp online store will be right up your street.

They personally selects all of their homeware designs by global brands. The printed illustrations are inspired by places such as Devon, The Netherlands but then further afield in Kerala ( I have a feeling this is where my napkins and cushion print inspirations are taken from ) and they even have hand embroidered items from Women Artisans in Mexico. All very beautiful.

Elephant Stamp Cushion

The Elephant Stamp’s aim is to connect us to the maker of each piece and to understand the origin –  which also will helpfully enable them to carry on making their carefully, well made products for a long time to come … Which is good news for us all.

They sell some beautiful throws that I am sorely tempted by. Do check them out.

Sri Lankan Curry

Now on to the Sri Lankan Monkfish Curry recipe.

If you’d like to give it a go then here is what you will need. This should serve 4.

1 kilo Monkfish – diced, skinned and de – boned.

Turmeric powder.

1 red onion – thinly sliced.

2 tablespoons groundnut oil ( you could use sunflower oil instead )

3 medium sized tomatoes – well chopped.

1 teaspoon seasalt, 1 crushed garlic clove, 1 teaspoon grated root ginger, chilli flakes, ground cumin seeds, ground black pepper seeds, 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1 inch cinnamon stick, handful fresh curry leaves, 1 tablespoon of tamarind water ( you can find this online or in some supermarkets )

1 litre –  coconut milk.

1 lime.

Rice – enough for 4 people.

Coriander, extra lime pieces and 1 grated coconut to garnish.

NB: Keep the shell of your coconut for serving your cocktail  – you will need 6 ice cubes, coconut milk ( you will already have enough from the carton from the curry recipe )  and 3 mugs of fresh pineapple juice.

 

Monkfish Curry Recipe copy

Method

Marinate the monkfish in a light powdering of turmeric for 10 minutes and then set aside.

Heat the oil gradually and then add the onion and fry until soft. Add the tomatoes and fry together with the onion until well blended. Now add the salt, crushed garlic clove, grated root ginger, chilli flakes, ground cumin seeds, ground black pepper seeds and sugar. Also the add the cinnamon stick plus a handful of fresh curry leaves  and a level tablespoon of tamarind water. Stir well  before adding a full mug of coconut milk and stir well until all well mixed together.

Now introduce the marinated monkfish and cook gently for for only a few minutes until it is tender. Finally add the juice of one squeezed lime.

If you are cooking this to eat with rice – prepare and boil the rice ready to co – ordinate with the curry being ready to eat.

Monkfish Sri Lankan Curry

Plate up your meal and then dress with coriander, extra lime pieces and some grated coconut.

Pina Colada

All you need now is a refreshing drink to have with your curry – so blend the ice cubes or crush if you don’t have a blender with the coconut milk and pineapple juice  and serve in the left over coconut shells. Add some straws  – and you’re away !

Pina Colada Non Alcoholic

Hope you enjoy this recipe by my Dad, if you do try it out –  and love my new napkins and cushions from The Elephant Stamp as much as I do ?

Any questions or comments – leave me a comment under this post and I will get right back to you.

Have a good one.

Lucy x

The cushions and napkins were gifted to me by The Elephant Stamp. All opinions are my own.

 

How to Make a Colourful Terrarium

TerraniumAs it has been half term this week just gone, we spent a bit of time making things. Now the girls are that bit older – things like play doh and colouring in don’t really cut the mustard  much so we learnt how to make a colourful terrarium.

I thought it was about time, as they are always admiring the succulent collection in our home, that they made their own. We have some glass sweetie bowls left over from the wedding a few years ago so these are perfect   – just needed the contents for the inside.

I’ve written a little tutorial because it was really fun and thought it might be useful if anyone is thinking of making one for themselves. It’s really easy and at the end of it you have something colourful and easy to look after. Honestly, if I can keep these plants alive – anyone can !

Adding Stones

You will need:

A glass terrarium or something that resembles one. Even a large used jam jar will do the trick.

Some medium sized stones from the garden or wherever you can find them. Depends on the size of the glass container – if it’s small then smaller stones.

We have also used 1 bag of colourful ( of course ! ) aquarium gravel  – you can use this or plain if preferred.

1 bag of suitable terrarium soil – we used one with added charcoal to keep it fresh  – I found some online.

1 bag of terrarium moss.

Several plants ( that will depend on how many you need ) They will need to be suitable for your type of terrarium. Check on this before buying.

Fun bits to decorate the plants. Whatever you fancy !  ( Optional ).

Tongs if you have a slim glass terrarium – to add your decoration at the end.

Some succulent scissors to keep the plants looking fabulous for the future.

All of this should make you at least two terrariums, dependant on the sizes.

 

Adding Stones Terranium Stones

First – add the bigger stones to the base of the terrarium. Then add in the gravel and mix it up together. As these are coloured I wanted that to be a feature so we added quite a lot but less is fine if preferred.

The ratio can either be same stones as soil or 1/3 stones and 2/3 soil.

Then put in the soil and make holes for the plants that you will put in next.

Potting the Succulent Plant in

Make sure you make enough room to plant them and then pop them in to the soil. Ensure  you look after the roots while removing them from their plastic pots and don’t pull them away from the plant by mistake.

Adding Moss to Terrarium

Once they are in – pat the soil all around so it is firmly in place and then grab some moss and pull it apart before applying it all around the plants. Pat it in. so that it is below them.

Lego Friends!Succulents

Add your decoration. We chose some of lego friends and some kitsch birds to complete them.

Birds in a Terranium

They only need watering about once a week, so very low maintenance. A sprite of water a few times a week will keep them looking lovely and healthy too.

If you would like to add any tips to this DIY or want to just say hi – do leave me a comment under this post or tweet @lucylovesyablog – I would love to hear from you.

As I was saying at the beginning of the post – It has been these last few days  – we popped to Manchester to see our   Daddio hard at work and watch Coldplay at Etihad Stadium. You can see the colour inspired pics from the set pics over on my Instagram page.

Have a good day.

Lucy x

A Wonderful Day with Wedgwood and Amara

World of Wedgewood

When Amara dropped me an email asking if I would like to join them and a little group of fellow bloggers and spend a wonderful day in Stoke on Trent at World of Wedgwood to celebrate 250 years of their company  – it was an immediate yes. I have been a fan of Wedgwood for as long as I can remember. I found lots of vintage Wedgwood for our wedding a few years back always  drool ( not literally, but almost … ) over their ranges online and in stores. They’re just so beautiful.

I love spending time with the Amara team too because they’re always such fun and they treat bloggers so well.

So, after a 4.30 am wake up start, I set off to meet them all at Euston with an onward journey to Stoke on Trent.

Painting a plate

First on our itinerary once we’d arrived was to be shown around the factory. World of Wedgwood do this as a regular thing. I asked how many times a day they do the tour and I was told around 4, so it shows how popular they are. We watched ‘ Bruce ‘ paint an intricate bowl.

Dye on plates

On the way round we also learned that the kilns are hotter than lava. I imagine that is all of them but especially when they are on their second firing with glaze. They spend about 9.5 hours in the kiln and as you can see here, a red dye is applied by hand.

You might be surprised to know that some of their one off pieces made in the factory are worth tens of thousands. We were offered one to hold but I was only brave enough to stroke it lovingly. Imagine if you dropped it ?

The technique used for lithograph is when they apply a raising paste and then on top of that –  22 carat gold which looks like a brown colour but is actually gold dust. Each one takes a bout a week to decorate and usually goes through the kiln 7 times.

Decorating Wedgewood

All of the specialist artists and decorators were concentrating intensely on their work and it was honestly amazing to witness. I said to one guy that he must have the steadiest hand in the world.

This vase with a Jasper body was impressive. I think it must be quite therapeutic sitting and painting them. Jasper is essentially stoneware but called clay. So I am told.

Some of the machines used ( by a man called Neil ) still use parts from over 100 years ago, maybe more. One in particular has a wooden wheel that up until the 80s was spun by hand all day – the lady who did this was called Elsie. What a star ! Her arms must have been made of steel.

Teapots

If you own any Wedgwood then if you check the base you will see it is stamped like most china. But the more stamps you have, the more prestigious it is. Get checking ….. :)

I could literally talk to you for hours about this because I am fascinated but I don’t want to tell you everything in case you visit  – plus there’s more to the visit to show…

Huge Vase

Next we were taken to the museum where we found out about the humble beginnings of Josiah Wedgwood and his history. He was an exceptional man by all accounts who had strong drive. If he hadn’t have had issues with his right leg after contracting smallpox as a child,  which resulted in him having to recuperate – he may not have had time to come up with all of his ideas for designs. He got other potters to make them and also pioneered new ways of making pottery. He was really interested in a scientific approach to his work.

Bowl

His style became very distinctive and it all took off from there. By the sounds of it – he and his working partner Thomas Bentley were very good friends who were very focused on their company and turning it in to a huge success. Which they did.

Josiah married his 3rd cousin, Sarah – and they had many children. Not all of them survived. Though their daughter Susannah married a man called Robert Darwin and they had a baby  – Charles Darwin. You might possibly have heard his name before ? ;)

I felt like a kid in a sweet shop in the museum  – the huge vase above is circa 1863 – 64 and probably made especially for a exhibitor. It is painted by Emile Lessore. Inspired by by a series of paintings originally commissioned by Louis XIV of France.

Alicw in Wonderland

You know what i’ts like when you try and photograph things behind glass – you generally just get a pic of yourself holding a camera … but I did love these Fairyland Lustre Vase Bone China Vases just too much to not post here on my blog. Produced in the 1920’s and based on exotic fairytales.

WedgewoodTables Wedgewood

After a superb afternoon lunch with delicate sandwiches, cakes and a choice of teas served in quaint cups and saucers ( I had their Moroccan Mint ) and with much chatter, we were let loose in the craft areas to either do some potting ( many jokes about the film Ghost ensued ) or paint a plate with a template.

colour shades Colourful plates

 

More plates!I opted for the latter and luckily for you, we didn’t take them home on the day hence no photo. I say luckily because everyone else’s were really pretty but I chose to colour a unicorn and was so distracted by all the colourful plates and prints around that I managed to achieve a very below par mythical creature. I don’t have to show you it and you don’t have to humour me … Win, win ! It was really great fun and the staff on hand were really lovely. In fact, everyone I met at World of Wedgwood were really friendly. Eve the cab driver from the station.

Designers Wedgewood

I loved these pop art style prints on the wall in the pottery painting room of some of the Wedgwood designers. Really eye catching. It also shows how Wedgwood has evolved over the years and although still a very classic brand – they have moved with the times in many ways.

They have collaborated with so many different designers over the years. Vera Wang being a more recent one and my personal contemporary favourite.

Flowers

They also joined forces with Royal Doulton and glassware company Waterford Crystal to become one big company some time ago which makes sense as they are all iconic British brands that sit perfectly together.

Of course – we had to stop off in the Factory Shop before getting our trains home. I might have bought myself a little cheeky treat. Some Royal Doulton tapas bowls which no doubt will pop up here on the blog at some point soon.

A massive thank you to the Amara IBAs for inviting me and letting me explore my inner geek a little more  – and to World of Wedgwood for a great day. If you are reading this at home and are tempted to visit them – do. It’s a really interesting and creative place with incredibly surrounding scenery.

I’d also like to point you in the direction of the other bloggers from the day – Flat Fifteen, Fairytale Pretty Picture, The Only Girl in the House, Interior Style Hunter, French for Pineapple, Don’t Cramp My Style Blog, British Style UK and Yasmin Chopin. All great blogs – check them out.

Are you a Wedgwood fan too ? Or do you have a favourite when to comes to ceramics ? Do share. Leave me a moment under the post or tweet @lucylovesyablog …

Have a good one and thanks for reading.

Lucy x

Southwold, Suffolk Beach Huts

Promenade beach huts southwold

Last week, when the skies were really blue around here, I was walking along Southwold Promenade in our lovely Suffolk, enjoying the fresh sea air and Beach Huts. When it’s sunny and you’re not rushing to your car, all wrapped up –  it’s funny how much more you notice around you. Colours, names of things and all of the inspiration at your finger tips.

Beach Huts 1

As you may know already, I am a bit of a beach hut geek. Well , a lot of one, really. I wrote about the coast near us last year and I have turned our own garden room in to a beach hut themed place to relax. I just find them so adorable to look at – and the sky is the limit when it comes to choosing contrasting colours and cool names. Anything goes !

As much as the owner probably loves the colours that they choose, it also seems that they decorate them for the pleasure of visitors to the seaside and I love that.

Beach Huts 2

Lots of people were out refreshing the paintwork on their beach huts. I stopped and had a chat with one man as his beach hut plaque was quite intriguing. It had cute little jelly shoes attached to it – it’s the one on the right in the middle, above  – aptly names ” Jellies “.

He said that the shoes had belonged to his little grand daughter the summer before and instead of throwing them away – they thought it would be nice to have them as a keepsake. I thought that was really lovely.

Beach Huts 3

It got me wondering the reasoning behind each of the huts. Some are probably for fun and others with a more personal meaning. The yellow one here called ” Drama Queen ” really made me laugh. Not only the name but the dramatic colour. So tongue in cheek.

I also spole to another man painting his beach hut ( gawd, I really do sound like a crazy lady don’t I ? I do love a chat with folk in Southwold ) and he said the prices vary from around fifty thousand up to one hundred and sixty thousand to own one. Gulp.

But, hey, you can always hire one for the day which would be a nice family day out.

Beach Huts 5

Look at all of these beautiful colour palettes. That soft shade of pink and the mint green. The pastels sit comfortably with the bold colours. Which one would you pick out of these ? ” Companionable ” is the perfect word for a coastal neighbour. That red is fearless !

Beach Huts 6

“Dolly Grey ” always makes me smile. It’s so pretty. Adore the soft grey with blue tones. I would like to colour match it and maybe use it for a bathroom. The red, blue and white for Noah’s Ark is very regal. Actually, what a great place to visit to find some interesting wall ideas for homes. I will bear that in mind for when I’m qualified in interior design.

Beach Huts 7

So, so many variants on blue – obviously a popular colour. Had to finish on Auntie Bong Bong’s name sign. Possibly the sweetest one of the day.

As you can see, I was very dedicated that day in taking photos for the blog. Andy walked along side me, slowly eating an ice cream.  He’s very understanding. Ha !

IMG_4665

If you had a beach hut –  what would you call it and what colour would you paint it ? Which one out of these tickles your fancy ?  Let me know by leaving your comment under this post. Maybe we can get a whole imaginary row between us :) …

Personally I think I’d paint mine in pastel rainbow colours and call it ” Betsey and Mae ”  – fingers crossed for one day, you never know.

Have a good day.

You can see more of my images over on my instagram page.

Japanese Garden Inspiration

Bridge

Taking the botanical theme to the extreme this week with a post today about Japanese Garden Inspiration.

Must have plants on the brain anyway, because the flower shows season is kicking in soon. Here’s my third and final post – about The Japanese Garden in St Mawgan Village, near Newquay.

Flowers Japanese

I can’t recommend visiting here enough if you are in this area of Cornwall. It’s tucked away and felt like a bit of a secret. I am sure it has hoards of visitors so we were very lucky indeed to be there when it was just our family. We walked around for ages finding new areas and plants.

PlantsFlowers

I’ve always been attracted to this style of garden. I love the peacefulness  and areas for for reflection. I think it’s important not only for adults but definitely for kids too. We all need some time out of our busy lives and having water, rocks and plants close by – all natural -is  so very balancing and calming.

Japanese Garden

Having spoken to my knowledgable friend, Pim, about creating your own Japanese inspired garden, he told me that it is all about scale and representing a reduced landscape. For example – large rocks become distant mountains and raked gravel in a waterless garden represents the sea / river etc. A ground cover conifer would be a distant woodland.

Tea Garden Path

A Tea Garden has classic elements, such as stepping stones, lanterns or a basin is to create a peaceful frame mind before a tea ceremony.

Green Bridge

It’s a great idea for more compact gardens, I think – adding character with the different elements. In a more spacious outdoor area – wouldn’t it be dreamy to have a bridge ? Not so great if you have kiddies though but many ways to create your own personalised version.

Buddha

Don’t you love the idea of a garden that really encourages you to relax and feel at peace ? A wonderful way to switch off and do some meditation even.

Visiting this place has solidified my desire for some similar plants and maybe even a water feature of some kind. According to Pim, most of these plants grow okay in the UK so that’s a good start.

It’s in the plans for 2016 so no doubt I will be blogging some pictures soon as we work won the garden. Of course, there has to be colourful elements added too. Would you expect anything else ? ;)

I already have some DIY ideas, Can’t wait to share !

Succulents

Hope you enjoyed our little visit to the Japanese Garden ?  There’s also a Bonsai Nursery that sells these fab succulents in a glass container ( yes, I know it’s my second mention of them this week ! ) fabulous trees, Buddhas, wind chimes and kits for kids.

Have a good one. Hope you’ve enjoyed all 3 of my posts this week.

Lucy x