Archive | June, 2012

Food Week: Cannelle et Vanille

29 Jun

Cannelle et Vanille is the food blog that introduced me to food blogs. I’ve been reading it for years, long before I started Decorator’s Notebook. However, I have to confess to hesitating before including it on the Food Week menu and I’m not really proud of the reason.

I was worried it would seem a bit obvious to include such a big, polished and successful blog in my list when what makes Decorator’s Notebook a bit different (I like to think) is the fact I try to hunt out things you hopefully haven’t seen a million other places before. I have to admit that I feel a bit skeptical when every ‘top 10’ of interiors blogs seems to include Decor8 and Design*Sponge. Both were instrumental in my desire to become a blogger in the first place and their success is awe inspiring, but their automatic inclusion makes me wonder whether the writer spent that long on their research.

Anyway, you’ll see that I got over my worries and have quite rightly dedicated the final installment to Cannelle et Vanille regardless. The reason being that when it comes to food blogging and photography, Aran Goyoaga ‘s blog is popular because everything she does is simply top class. Nobody brings out the natural beauty, freshness and colour of food quite like her.

What’s also remarkable is that while Cannelle etVanille is hugely popular it’s really a niche blog… Aran is gluten intolerant and so every recipe she shares is gluten free. I must confess that I assumed food with something ‘missing’ could never be quite as appetising, but looking through Aran’s photos makes me realise I must be wrong. Everything she makes looks utterly delicious, natural and healthy.

{all Aran Goyoaga / Cannelle et Vanille}

Another bonus is that Aran grew up in the beautiful Basque Country in Northern Spain (the region often features in her posts) so her recipes include metric quantities as well as American ones… so for those of us who don’t have a clue what a stick of butter looks like, we can still have a go at recreating her dishes!

So, what have you made of Food Week? Whether you’re into cooking or not, I hope you’ve enjoyed admiring the beautiful photography and discovered one or two blogs you might not have known before?

Have a lovely weekend and see you next week when the stage will be handed back to interiors and decorating once again. I’ve had a painter/decorator working at Le Flat all week so with luck I’ll have my own mini makeover to share with you. Watch this space…


Food Week: Fig & Fauna

28 Jun

A little-known fact for you…

My very first career ambition was to be a farmer’s wife.

My four year old self based this decision on one thing and one thing only: that this would give me the chance to hand-milk a cow. At 28, I’ve still never had the chance to milk a cow but I still quite fancy it, provided that marrying a farmer doesn’t have to be part of the package.

I suspect this slightly odd part of my history explains why I love Fig & Fauna so much.

In 2011 Megan and Michael Martin sold their home in the suburbs and bought a 3.5 acre smallholding in South Florida where they could pursue their dream of growing, cooking and selling natural produce. On new year’s day 2012 they started Fig & Fauna to record everyday life on the farm and share their favourite recipes.

The magic of Fig & Fauna is that it’s as much about the growing, harvesting and gathering of the ingredients as what’s done with them. We always had chickens, ducks and sometimes geese when I was growing up and I don’t think you ever get over the little flutter of excitement you get when opening the nesting boxes and finding a still warm egg inside.

As you’d expect, all of the recipes you’ll find here are seasonal, wholesome and sound absolutely delicious. I’d love to try this carrot marmalade and this strawberry and honey galette looks to die for. I’m also still stockpiling polenta recipes (I hosted a The Help themed book group recently and have lots leftover from baking cornbread muffins) so tomato and polenta pie could be on the cards too, although bought tomatoes are never a patch on homegrown.

{all Fig & Fauna / Rose Estelle Martin}

I strongly suggest you pull on your wellies, grab a basket and go and explore Fig & Fauna here… there are also some lovely photos Aran from Cannelle et Vanille took when she visited here!

Food Week: Simply Breakfast

27 Jun

So, breakfast.

The most important meal of the day or an unwelcome intrusion on your beauty sleep?

I have a mixed relationship with breakfast… during the week I’m the latter, at weekends the former. But whatever mood I’m in, I love an overhead photograph of it. Fortunate, considering that’s pretty much all you’ll find at Simply Breakfast.

Blogger Jennifer Causey is a professional lifestyle photographer, but shoots her morning meal each day for fun. Almost always overhead, always beautifully styled and always something 100% more exciting than my weekday Weetabix.

There’s something so pleasing to me about the concept of this blog and Jen’s beautifully understated photographs and minimal wordiness. You’ll find the odd recipe, snippet of insight and some really fascinating lists under the tabs at the top of the page (New York, gear, cookbooks…) but for the most part the pictures are left to speak quietly for themselves.

{all Jennifer Causey / Simply Breakfast}

One final thing… I often have trouble convincing others that crumble is the ultimate breakfast food so was delighted to find an ally in Jennifer. Trust me, dollop on Greek yogurt and try it. You’ll never look back.

Food Week: Sprinkle Bakes

26 Jun

I discovered Sprinkle Bakes via Tori of Wellies & Vogue. Or rather, her Mum who made this show-stopping jewel cake. Today’s food blog could hardly be more different from yesterday’s… while What Katie Ate is all about good, honest recipes photographed in a sophisticated way, at Sprinkle Bakes novelty, experimentation and food colouring is king.

I suspect that baker and blogger Heather Baird might’ve been told not to play with her food as a child and Sprinkle Bakes is a most glorious rebellion. Need a recipe for Flaming Baked Alaska? Peanut and Honey Pupcakes (cupcakes for puppies, obv)? Christmas Candy Coal? You’ve come to the right place!

Heather must spend hours preparing and decorating every single one of her recipes – the strap line to her cookbook is “dessert recipes to inspire your inner artist” and everything is created like a miniature masterpiece. If Willy Wonka was a baker rather than a chocolate maker, I think his factory would look a little something like this… a candy coloured world of pure imagination!

{all Heather Baird / Sprinkle Bakes}

Will I ever make any of these treats? I very much doubt it – I have neither the skill nor the patience – but I absolutely love browsing Sprinkle Bakes just to soak up all the dazzling ideas.

Food Week: What Katie Ate

25 Jun

If I’m ever lucky enough to visit Australia, What Katie Ate will be one of my first stops when compiling my ‘places to eat’ list. Originally from Dublin, food photographer and stylist Katie Quinn Davies is now based Down Under, where she has a string of impressive magazine credits and a forthcoming cookbook to her name. As well as a beautiful blog of course.

I don’t claim to be an expert on food photography, but there does seem to be a bit of a trend towards light, bright, candy-coloured images at the moment, so I like the contrast of Katie’s moody, atmospheric style. I love the relaxed styling and rustic propping too. Every picture makes we want to grab a spoon and beg to be allowed to jump in!

I think that anyone with a decent camera and good light could do a passable job of making puddings and desserts look appetising, but what makes Katie’s photography stand apart for me is the way she makes less dainty dishes look delicious too. Roasted meat, hearty pies, chunky casseroles… ‘man food’ if you will. Katie proves that tastiness doesn’t have to mean prettiness and I really admire that about her work.

Mouth watering yet? There’s sooo much more over at What Katie Ate – I’ll definitely be popping back to give her recent American special post some extra attention – the mix of food, lifestyle and travel photography is really striking.

{all Katie Quinn Davies / What Katie Ate}

Food Week at Decorator’s Notebook

24 Jun

Anyone who’s spent more than two minutes browsing Decorator’s Notebook will have realised I live and breathe interiors. For me, reading homes blogs is both work and play – a continual source of decorating inspiration, ideas and get-up-and-go. But when I want to escape,  it’s food blogs I head for. There, I wrap myself in a cocoon of beautiful photography and daydream of a future when I will spend all day in my country house, measuring, stirring, simmering and kneading without a care in the world.

{all Aran Goyoaga / Cannelle et Vanille}

So, I thought it might be nice to take a week out from homes and celebrate a few of the food blogs I love so much. To me, interiors blogs and food blogs go hand in hand so I hope you’ll enjoy this little culinary excursion with me!

For those who are all about the homes, I promise that syrup will be replaced by paint and pastry with wallpaper next week, when normal Decorator’s Notebook service will resume :-)

Scandi envy

23 Jun

Oh, to be dancing drunkenly around a pole with flowers in my hair right now.

{via Honestly wtf}

For those who need clarification, I mean this kind of pole, rather than this kind of pole. That’s a whole other story.

Happy Midsummer Scandinavian friends!

Join The Room Debate!

22 Jun

I don’t think we’ve discussed a kitchen before in The Room Debate so I thought it was about time we did… and what a sunny little number I have for you today!

As ever, it’s easy to join in. Just have a good look at the photo below and leave a comment with your answers to these two questions:

One thing I like most about this room is…

One thing I like least about this room is…

{via Colorama}

Does this kitchen immediately appeal to you or did you have to look really hard to find something you like? Come and share in the comments section – meet you there!

Have a lovely weekend everyone and thanks for your comments on this and every post… they mean a lot to me :-)

DIY luggage tag business cards

20 Jun

Ill be at the Papermash craft and shopping evening tomorrow (21st June) so thought I should make a few blog business cards to give to lovely new people I might meet. Here’s how they turned out…

{all Decorator’s Notebook}

Materials-wise, I used a mixture of these white and manilla luggage labels and this rather nice black and white baker’s twine. The text is done with my trusty Dormy letter stamp and I was over the moon to find “my” dragonfly rubber stamp on Etsy. Mix them all together and a couple of hours later… 100-ish homemade business cards!

If you can make it to Clapham on Thursday evening it would be lovely to meet you at Lynne’s event – I’ll be helping on the jam jar crafting table for part of the night so please come and say hi! If you’d like to come you can find out more here and please rsvp here.

If I died and went to vintage grey heaven…

18 Jun

…there’s a strong possibility I’d end up here:

Hope House describes itself as ‘straight from the pages of an interiors magazine’ and given that this charming former fisherman’s cottage belongs to top-notch interiors photographer Paul Massey, it was never going to be long before that was the case.

As well as starring in the June issue of Living etc and being rented out as a photo shoot location, the good news is that Hope House is a holiday let too, meaning that everyone can have a taste of living here. Or rather, everyone with £2,000 a week to spare, that is!

{all Paul Massey via Hope House and House to Home}

Really, there’s nothing more to say because there isn’t a single thing about this house that I don’t think is utterly perfect. The white and grey interior furnished with vintage finds is beautiful and comfortable at the same time; the Grade II listed building itself (a C17th net loft) is full of charm and character, and the location on the quayside in the pretty Cornish fishing village of Mousehole is right up my cobbled street.

I hope you love Hope House as much as I do!

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