Saturday, 31 March 2012

Easter Time!










Happy (almost) Easter everyone!  I absolutely love this time of year, the sun is shining (at the moment anyway), the daffodils are out in force and the lambs are leaping.  You can't help but feel optimistic and positive.  The shops are full of cheerful, lovely things and all I can think about is sprucing up my home and garden.   

We have the long Easter weekend ahead of us and I am determined not spend the whole break decorating, I want to do a bit of entertaining too.  Even though I have a lot of things that need attending to on my ridiculously long 'to-do' list...call this person, email that person, paint a door, pot some plants...it goes on and on!  I am one of those annoying people who writes everything down, I think even 'go to the gym' is on my current list of 'things to do'!  But surely all this can wait?  I also have the wedding of two of my dearest friends to attend on Easter Saturday that is going to be held in true English countryside extravagance, I can hardly wait. 


I’m full of inspiration at the moment so I have started to plan my Easter entertaining and if the weather stays glorious then I might move the feast outside.  Here are two fabulous table settings that have been inspiring me so far this Easter. 



I just love how the pretty white flowers have been encased in Easter nests, how sweet!  I think numerous nests placed down the centre of an Easter table would look amazing, yet very simple.   



Why not transform your trusted cake stand in to an Easter centre piece.  Add a few chocolate or ceramic eggs, some foliage, place a few nests and hey presto, a magical table decoration that will definitely be a talking point.  


Here at Butterfly Lane we absolutely love this Easter wreathe to hang on the front door to greet your guests! 



All images from the Butterfly Lane's Pinterest page including Dreamy White
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Hot cross buns and tea, what more could you want as an Easter afternoon treat?  But I have now found this amazing hot cross bun pudding recipe, for an after dinner treat too.  It is delicious and super easy to make, I highly recommend it for an Easter dessert to be proud of.  It's pretty much a variation on the traditional bread and butter pudding but with a twist. 


Hot Cross Bun Pudding


Ingredients


600ml semi-skimmed milk
600ml double cream
1 vanilla pod
4 medium eggs
170g caster sugar 
6 hot cross buns, sliced and buttered
3 tablespoons of Cognac
A handful of dried apricots, chopped
Zest of one orange 
A little icing sugar 


Method


Preheat the over to 170°C/325°F/gas 3. For the custard base, bring the milk and cream just to the boil in a saucepan. Cut the vanilla pod in half, scrape out the seeds and add to the pan. Whisk the eggs with the sugar until pale, then whisk in the milk and cream mixture, removing the vanilla pod shell.

Dip the hot cross bun halves in the mixture, then place in an ovenproof dish. Drizzle over the Cognac and sprinkle over the apricots and the orange zest. Sieve the custard over, and leave it all to soak for at least 15 minutes.

Place the dish in a roasting tin, half-fill the tin with hot water, then bake the pudding for about 45 minutes. When cooked it will have a slight crust on top but will still be slightly wobbly inside. Dust with the icing sugar and s
erve.

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Here's another option...


Summer Fruits Victoria Sponge 

This is a trusted recipe in my family and as the nights are getting lighter and the sun is shining I love this spectacular summer inspired cake.  Topped with lashings of berries, it is a real feast for the eyes.  I would normally opt for just a single tier, but how amazing would this three tiered creation be for a summer wedding or special occasion!  Also no need to always fully ice the cake, it looks equally appealing with just lashing of berries on top.




Ingredients 


For the sponge











  • 225g butter
  • 225g golden caster sugar
  • 4 free-range eggs
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • Zest of a large orange
  • Extra butter and flour for greasing
  • 2 x 8in Victoria sandwich tins

  • For the jam
    • 250g raspberries
    • Splash of orange juice (use the orange from the sponge)
    • 1 heaped tbsp golden caster sugar

    • For the butter cream (this can also be placed on the top of the cake to secure the berries):
      • 250g butter, softened
      • 250g icing sugar
      • Juice of ½ an orange
      • Zest of a large orange

      Method

      Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

      Cream the butter and sugar together.  Mix the eggs together in a separate bowl and then pour in to the mixture. Sieve the flour and add the orange zest.  

      Split the mixture evenly in to both cake tins.  Whilst they are baking, make your jam and icing.

      For the jam, put the raspberries and orange juice, with a heaped tablespoon of golden caster sugar in to a small pan.  Heat gently and allow to slowly break down, and reduce in to a jammy consistency.  Leave to cool.

      For the icing, mix the softened butter with sieved icing sugar.  Juice half an orange and zest a whole orange and add to the mixture.

      When the cake is ready, put the butter cream and jam on one cake and then sandwich both cakes together.  

      If you are not icing the cake, spread the remaining butter cream on the top and add the berries and more grated orange zest.

      Yum!
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Easter Egg Time!




Easter Eggs are filling the shelves in the supermarkets around the country, however, I am always keen to get something different than the bog standard Cadbury’s offering.  Here are my top picks for people after something a little bit different this Easter, but who are still  chocolate lovers!  


For the adults...
Beautifully painted trio of eggs from Fortnum and Mason £45.00 


What a grown up and luxurious Easter egg!  £26 from Hotel Chocolat


For the little ones...






Lots of fun!  £12 from John Lewis




A gift that they can use after the chocolate has gone!  The plant pot and trowel comes with a pack of seeds too!  £10 from John Lewis.


I always like to give the children in my family a little present to go with their Easter egg and here are a few things I have got my eye on for my gorgeous nephews (and I have thrown in a few girly options that I would be definitely snapping up if I had a little girl in my family)…


Every child loves a cuddly toy. and this cute bunny rabbit, £9 by Jellycat is so sweet.



Ideal for your little ones to collect their eggs during their Easter Egg Hunt!  £5 by John Lewis


What adorable little slippers!  Also available in blue.  £16 by Doudou et Compagnie
There was something lovely about receiving an Easter egg cup when I was a little girl (in fact I still have them all!), so I think this book with accompanying egg cup will do just the job as an Easter gift.  £8.49 from John Lewis.


Have a wonderful Easter everyone!  X






Tuesday, 27 March 2012

A Social 'Media' Butterfly

This week I have turned in to something of a social networking butterfly.  From Facebook to Twitter I am keeping you updated with all the Butterfly Lane news, inspirations and upcoming products along with our bespoke services, and uh oh, now a new addiction...  

Butterfly Lane is now on Pinterest and we are so excited, however it is absolutely addictive!  




Here's the gist of it....

It lets you easily organise and share all of the inspiring things that you find on the web.  Butterfly Lane is not alone in its love for everything Pinterest as it's one of the fastest growing social networks online.  

Essentially you 'pin' images that you find on the web, then you create themed boards using those images. Butterfly Lane has created lots of pin boards for inspirational interiors, homeware accessories, gift ideas, delicious recipes and lot lots more, so why not take a look.  You can then 'follow' one, several or all of our boards, or you can simply 'like' our individual images.  


Here are a couple of our recent 'pins' to inspire you...





All images found on Butterfly Lane's Pinterest page

It has endless applications.  You can create new home interiors ideas for every room, create fantasy dinner parties, gift ideas or plan your new summer wardrobe...the possibilities are truly endless, and that is why it's so addictive!  The joke flying around is that Pinterest is mainly used for thirty-something women to plan their weddings, and soooo handy it would be, so listen up all you newly engaged folks out there in cyberspace, get 'pinning'!

I also find it very useful of work, to create moodboards for creative projects and to keep myself organised as it's a great aide for my rubbish memory.  So instead of book marking link after link, I can just look at my images to remind me. 

You'll be able to use Pinterest easily on Butterfly Lane by using the Pin It button on all of our lovely products, which allows you to quickly upload an image to one of your lovely moodboards, easy peasy!  

Here are a few inspiring images that we have 'pinned',  they are very Butterfly Lane...




All images found on Butterfly Lane's Pinterest page


So why don't you keep up-to-date with all the Butterfly Lane news by 'liking', 'following' or 'pinning' us.  Become a social butterfly!

Follow us on Pinterest here


Follow us on Twitter here

Have fun...X

Thursday, 22 March 2012

A New Gardening World

The sun is shining and the birds are singing and rather uncharacteristically I’m thinking about…gardening!  Albeit, my house still needs a lot of work on the inside, but equally it needs transforming on the outside too and as the weather turns in to hazy sunny days it makes me want to create a charming, relaxing space to kick back with a magazine or two, along with a chilled glass of pinot, whilst listening to the birds chirp away.  Obviously, if the boyfriend is reading this, only after spending a full day painting, sanding and demolishing of course.  A girl needs a sanctuary of calm away from the noise of drills and hammers!  So my new project for the Easter break is to renovate the garden. 

I would also love do some summertime entertaining, so I will be able to usher my friends and family through the chaos that is Beech House and guide them to a relaxing, tranquil garden for me to entertain them in.  Well this is the plan, but I am under no illusions here, I am no Monty Don!  I have gathered lots of images from magazines and from the internet that will hopefully guide me on my way.  However, as I don’t know the difference between a weed and a plant about to burst in to life, I have enlisted my secret weapon, my mother, a veteran at all things green and floral.  Here are a few images that I have found to inspire my garden redesign…




Images:  Pinterest


I might sound harsh here, but I hate a madly colourful garden, to be frank I find the mixture of bright colours somewhat gaudy and oppressive, so I will be focusing on a simple and soft colour palette for the flowers; whites, lilacs, soft pinks and pale yellows and the obligatory green of course.  Hydrangeas are my utmost favourite of all flowers, whether they be in vases in my home, or pots in my garden, they are a must for my redesign.  We are very lucky to have a huge variety of climbing roses at our house (my fabulously floral gardening gloves came in very handy whilst untangling them!).  Roses of all colours dominate the cobbled wall on my driveway and even form an arch around my front door!  Idyllic to say the least.  Roll on the summer so they will all be in full bloom, the scent is just divine.  



Due to my cookery obsession I think a herb garden is a must, and whilst pottering around the garden I have realised that we are already pretty well stocked…parsley, thyme, rosemary, bay, the options are endless!  So they just need rearranging and tagging.  I often get confused as to what herb is which, so if you are like me I have found these cute copper signs so pop in to the soil next to each herb so everything is easily identified!  Very helpful indeed. 


My outdoor space is a small, walled country garden.  Due to its limited size we will have to make the most of the space that we have and use clever tricks to play with the eye to make it appear larger than it actually is.  I am currently designing the lighting concept that will hopefully elongate the garden further by shining soft lights up against the cobbled wall.  I’m also going to use a lot of pots to fill with flowers to put on the courtyard itself, and here are my top picks of garden planters and pots this spring.

Images:  John Lewis and The Worm That Turned


To help me along my new gardening path in style, I have fallen in love with a few gardening accessoires.  I am a huge fan of Sophie Conran, I have her Portmeirion tableware range and I was thrilled to hear that she has teamed up with master gardeners Burgon and Ball to create a beautiful range of gardening tools that are almost too stylish to get dirty!  I also love the V&A range of garden accessories, they are super chic and stylish.  Finally the Cath Kidston gardening gloves are so lovely and come in a variety of prints and patterns, and will protect your hands from nasty thorny roses.  A real must have!  
Image:  Sophie Conran by Burgon and Ball 

Images:  V&A Gardening Tools

Image:  Cath Kidson Gardening Gloves
After trawling the shops, garden centres and online for the perfect patio furniture, I have found ‘the one’ at last.  I really think that good quality patio furniture is a great investment, and if looked after properly (put away/covered over in the winter months) it will last a life time!  We have settled on this circular limestone beauty by Neptune, with the Lloyd Loom chairs to match. 
Image:  Neptune Garden Furniture, John Lewis


Here at Butterfly Lane we have discovered the most elegant al fresco tableware ever!  These beauties look like your most prized glass collection but in fact they are made out of very sturdy, sparkly plastic.  So you can rest with ease as you have a dinner party al fresco style, this range will not smash!  The whole collection from salad bowl and servers, to plates and cutlery will be available to buy at Butterfly Lane soon.  I’ve just placed an order for myself too!
Happy gardening everyone…X  



Thursday, 15 March 2012

High Time For High Tea

(Image: Afternoon Tea Parties by Susannah Blake)

Afternoon Tea is seeing something of a revival and here at Butterfly Lane we have unashamedly tried and tested quite a few.  We’ve gone down the traditional British route with our recommendations, nothing screams High Tea like a grand hotel and a man with a crisp white apron, but we have also thrown in a quirky option for good measure!  So here are our favourite tea haunts in London town…
 
The Ritz

The Ritz afternoon tea is a quintessentially British institution in the most elegant of surroundings.  With a pianist playing, immaculately dressed waiters waiting and cakes baked to be eaten, it has everything you can expect.  Freshly cut finger sandwiches, cakes served on an opulent three tier cake stand and scones with lashings of clotted cream, divine!  Make sure you arrive with an appetite because the food just keeps coming and coming.   The Ritz is very traditional so remember, no jeans and men must wear a jacket, but a bit of British stuffiness won’t do you any harm!  The Ritz is a must.










Sketch
















A world away from The ‘appropriate’ Ritz, The Parlour at Sketch is a buzz of coolness.  With quirky and eccentric décor, mis-matched antique armchairs, porcelain stag heads and standard lamps galore, it is shabbily chic!  Using the traditional afternoon tea formula of ribbons of finger sandwiches, egg, ham and of course traditional cucumber, accompanied by a sweet layer of amazing cakes and pots of tea to be served in mix-and-match vintage cups and saucers.  It is laid back and fun, we highly recommend!



The Dorchester

The old school decadence of The Promenade at The Dorchester is the perfect setting for an afternoon of grazing and sipping from an elegant cup and saucer.  With imposing fresh flowers everywhere, it is a luxurious treat.  The highlight of this tea is the scones, which are made from a recipe that has been unchanged at The Dorchester for over half a century, and I can see why, they are delicious!   



*Maybe slip in to The Bar afterwards for an incredible bellini and mouth-wateringly good canapes.  That's if you're not too full from afternoon tea! 

The Bar at The Dorchester | The Dorchester

The Wolseley

A champagne afternoon tea at The Wolseley is a real treat.  It has impressive surroundings in the style of the grand cafés of Paris and Vienna, with high ceilings and a bustling atmosphere.  The afternoon tea itself is excellent and as you would expect, but the main pull of this restaurant is the grand Venetian and Florentine-style interiors, large pillars and stunning stairways.


Why not bring the afternoon tea spirit in to your own home with Butterfly Lane’s Afternoon Tea collection. From cake stands, tea pots to tea strainers here are a few of our favourites things to bring some afternoon tea charm in to your very own dining room.  All will be available to buy at Butterfly Lane very soon! 





If in doubt Afternoon Tea Parties by Susannah Blake is full of great ideas and recipes for your individual take on this classic British tradition.  









We think it’s high time you had High Tea, enjoy...X

To pre-order any items from Butterfly Lane please email us at info@butterflylane.co.uk 

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Mothering Sunday is Almost Here



Mothering Sunday fast approaches (Sunday 18 March to be exact) so I am on the hunt for the perfect gift. I am going away for the weekend in question for my friends hen party in Oxford/the Oxfordshire countryside, so I must pull out all of the stops as an apology for my absence.  I have been extravagant in the past, weekends away in Paris, days out in London with tickets to the ballet, meals at Claridges and beauty treatments at Nicky Clarke (rather selfishly the plus one on the gift was always intended for me for some quality mother/daughter time of course!).  However, this year is slightly different as I now own my very own money pit, the official name, Beech House.  From a new kitchen, to coving, doors and door furniture, even down to a new banister, it needs everything to bring it back to its former glory.  I haven't even started to think about the big furniture, fabric and art shop that will be required, however I am extremely excited for this 'visual merchandising' stage of the renovation!  Anyway, I'm drifting off point!  With all of this in mind, I am on the lookout for a thoughtful gift that will not break the bank.  I still want her to feel spoilt, she deserves it after all, but my mother is a great believer in 'it's the thought that counts', a phrase that has been circulating our family for generations, so I am going to put it to the test.  Here are a few off my favourite finds...

You can never have too many candles in your home, especially those from Jo Malone.  They are the epitome of modern luxury and the Lime Basil & Mandarin is my utmost favourite scent and the aroma just lasts and lasts. 


Jo Malone candles from £38.00

The Fortnum and Mason Ladies Hamper is such a treat, with chocolate truffles, rose-scented soaps, pretty fondant sweets and pink champagne, all presented in the cutest basket.  What's not to like! 
The Fortnum and Mason Ladies Hamper, £50.00

This perfect cake stand catches the light beautifully, so timeless, so chic.  Available to buy at Butterfly Lane soon!

Cake Stand, £24.50  coming soon to Butterfly Lane.  

This glass trinket box from Butterfly Lane is delightful, it will look elegant on any dressing table. 

Glass Trinket Box, £5.95.  Coming soon to Butterfly Lane.  


Happy Mother's Day to all you lovely mummy's out there!  X

N.B.  To my dear brother, I have just written the perfect gift list for mum, therefore saving you lots of time.  You are entirely welcome!     


To pre-order any items from Butterfly Lane please email us at info@butterflylane.co.uk