At this time of year there are often not only more mouths to feed, but there’s also heaps more candy and chocolate around. We thought we’d gather up some easy, delicious recipes to see you through the holidays and to provide an alternative to the usual festive fare. Some of these dishes are bound to become family traditions, things that come to symbolise the advent of Christmas and that you make every year. Others are things to reach for when you’re time and energy-poor, or want to escape into the kitchen away from the hurly burly of Charades or tussles over the TV remote.
For taking to a friend’s house
The social calendar can get pretty hectic over the Christmas holidays, so it’s good to have a simple but delicious recipe that you can make and take over to friends for pudding. This clementine cake has become a staple in our house: it’s so easy to make, and the smell of the cooking clementines fills the house with the most gorgeous Christmassy scents. Make it the day before your social event – it tastes even better the next day. It’s moist, flourless and tastes light and fruity, unlike the traditional heavy Christmas cake. Due to the damp stickiness of this cake it’s useful to have some linen napkins on standby.
For serving on a cold day
A pot of delicious wassail or mulled cider warming gently on the stove in the background makes the perfect drink for a gathering. There’s nothing quite so welcoming as a fuggy kitchen filled with spice-scents and cupfuls of hot deliciousness. This recipe is straightforward and contains all the festive favourites: cloves, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. Yum. For a non-alcoholic version just simmer apple juice with a spoonful of brown sugar, a cinnamon stick, cloves, a clementine and some allspice berries. Kids love it.
For giving as Christmas gifts
If you like to give homemade treats to friends, neighbours, the postman or teachers, whip up a batch of these fig and orange shortbread biscuits. A ball of sweet fig paste is tucked into light, nutty shortbread rounds for a melt-in-the-mouth snack with a little surprise inside. Fill a box and decorate with seasonal stamps or wrap with red and white butcher’s twine for a lovely gift.
For a stunning dinner centrepiece
(pic via seedsandstitches.com)
If you’re hosting a dinner party or having people over to lunch and you want a vegetarian alternative to counter all the turkey and sausages you’ve been eating, try this. Made with sweet garlic and celeriac encased in a flaky, cheesy pastry crust, this pie is worthy of Christmas lunch itself. Dress your table in your best linen tablecloth and napkins, decorate with greenery and seasonal, foraged leaves and place the pie proudly in the middle.
For munching in front of a festive film
When the Toblerone has all gone and you can’t face another mince pie, reach for a jar of spiced nuts. These are so tasty, and great if you don’t want all the hassle of cracking your own nuts and finding pieces of stray walnut shell down the back of the sofa for the next three weeks. They also make ideal gifts – simply pour into a Kilner jar or pop into pretty bags and and tie with a ribbon. For a vegan version make a syrup by heating sugar and water until the sugar has dissolved, instead of using honey.
Do you have any Christmas go-to recipes? We’d love to hear what they are in the comments below.
As summer turns gently into fall we’re thinking about different ways to mark the changing season in our homes. Fall brings with it spectacular displays of fiery red leaves, delicious autumnal vegetables, dew-spun cobwebs and hedgerows bursting with berries. Here’s 7 easy things you can do to bring some of this sense of bounty and colour into your home.
1.Invest in new linen bedlinen
Why linen? Well, because it’s perfect for transitional seasons, regulating your body temperature so you always stay comfortable. Ideal for fall, when one minute the sun is shining and the next there’s a distinct chill in the air. Whilst in summer we’re all about whites and cool neutrals, fall brings a chance to add some warmth and texture to your home. A great way of doing this without the hassle of redecorating is simply to use some new bedlinen in earthy browns, jewel tones or rich greens to give a seasonal feel to your bedroom.
We are thrilled that the wonderful Jen from Little Birdie is joining us this month for our A Simple Path interview series. Jen is a freelance writer and photographer, originally from Scotland but now living in Yorkshire with her husband and son. Her work encapsulates all we are trying to do on this blog: celebrate a slower, more mindful way to live, whilst acknowledging the realities of everyday life.
Jen’s work is honest, beautiful and authentic. She understands the pressure we can all feel to have the ‘perfect’ life and tries to support and encourage rather than portray an unrealistic version of her world. She loves to write about, and photograph, nature, food, her gorgeous home and the simple, slow moments in life. Reading her posts is like being surrounded by a waft of fresh air. We think you’re going to love this interview.
Welcome, Jen. Thanks so much for being here.
We are so delighted to be joined this month by the lovely Jessica Cresswell. Jessica, her husband and young daughter live and work in a woodland. In between tending her hens and looking after the woodland (which is surprisingly time-consuming) Jessica writes a blog, The Woodland Wife, and takes stunning photographs of her everyday life.
The lush forest trees are not the only greenery here – our faces are green with envy at her simple, outdoorsy lifestyle. But it’s not all idyllic, and Jessica and her husband have made big sacrifices to attain a slower, off-the-beaten-track way of life. It’s wild in the woods, in the best sense of the word.
Here are Jessica’s thoughts on taking inspiration from the rhythms of nature, parenting, slow living, keeping on asking questions and how to be mindful when you are feeling anxious. Enjoy – this is a goodie!
We at Linenbeauty know that you care about your home. You want great quality furnishings and fittings that will stand the test of time, not following fleeting fads. You love the look and feel of linen and natural fabrics, the sense of calm created by clear uncluttered spaces and you understand the impact that our surroundings has on our wellbeing. But you also know it’s not always possible to live in an immaculate house, that life does come with inevitable clobber and that striving for perfection is not necessarily a good idea. Which is where a bit of magazine escapism comes in.
We love to curl up of an evening with some glossy magazines and a pot of tea and imagine ourselves into another world. Interiors magazines are good sources of ideas, as well as a fun way to nose about in other people’s spaces. Sure, browsing online is fun and handy, but there’s something far more pleasurable about print copies – the smell of the ink, the vividness of the images, the fact that you can stash them in your bag or read them in the bath. Reading print versions is also a chance to give yourself time away from screens, from the distractions of Pinterest rabbit holes and social media notifications. Making time in your day or weekend for some quiet reading is a proper treat.
So, pull up a comfy chair, light a candle and nestle down with a cosy blanket and a pile of fabulous magazines. Here’s our edit of the best independent homes and interiors magazines.
Whether or not you celebrate the festival of Easter there are plenty of reasons to make the next few weeks special. There’s the coming of Spring now the Equinox has passed, there’s the lengthening of the days which means more time outdoors, there’s the chance to plant seeds and see what has self-seeded in the garden over the winter months. Many of us have the urge for a Spring clean, sorting through our wardrobes and storing away winter woollies, and decluttering after a season spent mainly indoors.
With March nearly upon us we’ve been looking at ways we can get our home ready for Spring. One room that is often neglected is the main bedroom. Whilst other rooms are more public, the fact that this is probably not used much during the day, and is the least visited room when people come round, can mean it gets overlooked. But when you remember that we spend about one third of our lives asleep, it’s clear that our bedrooms also need a bit of thought and attention. So, here are 6 simple ways to spruce up your bedroom for spring and breathe new life into this important space in your home.
1.Capture the essence of Spring
Bring Nature indoors and give your bedroom an instant refresh. Forage for broken blossom branches, or pick some daffodils or snowdrops from the garden. Pots of white muscari look sweet on a nightstand, and pussy willow stems add some simple elegance.
We are super excited to be joined on A Simple Path this week by Dorian Bowen of The Welsh House. You may already know Dorian from his gorgeous Instagram account, but if not, or if you’ve always wanted to know more about the man behind the pictures, read on.
You won’t feel quite as rested as if you had just woken up to a dewy morning on a Welsh hillside, but his words will bring solace and respite from the busyness of your day. Savour this one.
1.Can you tell us what you do and how you came to be doing it?
Woohoo! Here’s the second instalment of our interview series, A Simple Path, which explores how inspiring, creative people are doing more with less. This month we had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Erica Lee of The Hygge Wife (@thehyggewife on Instagram) and creator of thehyggewife.com. We are huge fans of Erica’s stunning photography and admire her commitment to living a simpler, more intentional life. Sit back and enjoy – we think you are going to love this one.
This time of year is hectic. All that time spent running around getting things for other people, finding costumes for Nativity plays, baking things, throwing parties and trying to keep the peace within our families. And whilst it is the season for goodwill towards others, it is so important to look after yourself as well. If you are feeling overwhelmed or daunted by all that Christmas and New Year brings, here are 7 ways to make sure you have the energy to keep going, and to stay happy.