autumn flavours

It's recipe time again over on Aspiring Kennedy and it's feeling pretty autumnal in my kitchen at the moment. Keep pumpkin cravings at bay with my seasonal take on our much loved Italian did. I'm sure Italians would not approve but in my opinion it's tastier (although perhaps sightly biased as I hate mince), easier and quicker. Follow this link for the full pumpkin, pancetta and sage lasagne recipe and enjoy this Autumn warmer with a glass of wine.

give me diamonds

It's been so long since I last posted a DIY project....too long! I don't seem to have much time at the moment and yet my head is swimming with endless ideas. Despite these endless ideas, here I am with another necklace DIY. Help me, I can't stop making necklaces! I'm not entirely sure how that happened but I'm just going to roll with it. Here's a simple idea where the star of the show is cork. It's cheap and easy to cut, so you shouldn't be left feeling intimidated.  Here's what you'll need...
  • Flat sheet of cork (you can buy single sheets from Ebay)
  • Rivet Punch
  • Pliers
  • White paint (acrylic or emulsion) and delicate paintbrush
  • Gold wire
  • Chain to the length you want
  • Card
  • Pencil
  • Scalpel
  • All-purpose glue
  • Ruler

How to make...
  1. Draw and cut out a diamond shape from your card. Then draw round it onto your cork and cut out with a scalpel. Make double for backing. You can then either draw on your design or use washi tape to mask off areas before painting with a couple of layers of white paint.
  2. When dry, glue the fronts to the extra diamonds to give them thickness.
  3. Then using a rivet punch, gently make a hole at the top of each diamond. Be careful as cork won't withstand lots of wiggling in one of those punches.
  4. Then cut a small section of wire and use pliers to bend it into a circle leaving a gap. Thread through the cork hole and then close the gap with pliers. Then you can thread your chain through this hoop.

Then you can wear your new necklace (it's so simple it will go with anything) or give it away as a gift. Either way give it a try!


I've been beavering away on lots of different projects recently, most of which I'm not yet able to share but this I can, as well as shamelessly plugging the event while I'm at it. I worked on some design material for the upcoming A29 Europe annual conference which will be focusing on the biblical mandate to scatter gospel centred churches across the world or 'church planting' as you may well have heard it referred to as. I heard great things about last years event so get yourself along. If you're wanting to book or get more info then click here.

bonding over baking

I've introduced my friend Lora before but not only is she a talented designer maker but also a very talented baker! I don't tend to follow recipes for savoury dishes and I'm up for putting my own twist on a dessert but Lora is always inventing new cakes. I see baking cakes as a bit of a science and not something for little old me to tamper with but Lora just wings it and ends up producing the yummiest cake creations. We decided to have an afternoon of baking to try out one of her ideas and so of course I obliged as baking sidekick and taste tester.
The result was soooo delicious. The mixture of sweet and salty worked so well (one of my favourite flavour combinations) and the dark brown sugar gave the sweetness depth. The real star of the show was the honey Lora brought back from Greece. I realised then, that I'd never truly tasted honey before that moment. It was so floral and fresh and you could taste it all the way through the cake where we'd pierced the top. So my advice is invest in some good honey. Next time she goes I will certainly be requesting a jar or two. 
Her tip was to really whip the cake mixture for quite a while, almost as if you were making meringue. This gives it lots of air and helps it rise well. You can't over whip it so go crazy! To try this tempting recipe follow this link to Lora's baking blog, All Day I Dream About Cake.

rosemarie auberson: colour

I pinned these a few weeks ago and decided I had to post them because I think they're just so lovely to look at! I desperately want a huge version on my wall...maybe every wall! These gorgeously minimal collages belong to Rosemarie Auberson, a talented lady who is well aware that less is more. Check out all her collages here

I was also quite taken with the colours she used hence the colour palettes I picked out for you. I hope they inspire! 

aspiring kennedy: lovely places you need to see

Introducing my friend, Lauren Knight from her super duper blog, Aspiring Kennedy. You may have noticed my guest posts on her blog and taken a trip over there yourself already. If not then do! Originally from Dallas, she now lives in London with her hubby Tyler and adorable (like beyond a joke adorable) little girl, Viola. She's incredibly well travelled throughout Europe, partly because of her job and partly because she LOVES to explore new places. Despite being from across the pond, even just within London she knows exactly where to head to make the most of the city around her. So here she is, in what will be a regular feature. Pick 6 will be a window into some of this acquired knowledge and a chance to enjoy her charm.

It took me several times across the pond to venture off the normal American-visiting-Europe path. Like most people, London, Paris, Rome, & Germany sat on the itineraries for each of our first trips.Obviously, these cities are popular for countless reasons…but might I suggest six places that you might not have ever considered? But six places that could absolutely rock your world? None of them are too far off the beaten path either. Trust me, I'll walk you through it.

1. St. Andrews

I love St. Andrews so much.
You don't have to be a golfer or royalist (guilty!)
to enjoy this place either.

I adore wandering through the tiny town
and enjoying quiet moments along the quiet coast…
typically with a cone of Sticky Toffee Pudding ice cream 
from the town's beloved ice cream shop, B. Jennetta's, in hand.

The prices are reasonable,
it's easily accessed by train or bus from Edinburgh,
the charity shops never disappoint in kitschy treasures
and the food at the small cafes is affordably tasty.

I love it there,
and I don't know a person who hasn't adored it 
after venturing that way, either.

2. Prague

Obviously, this one has to make it to my list:
It's where Tyler & I honeymooned!

Something about this city's fairy tale architecture
and lamp lit cobblestone streets,
makes a trip here unforgettable.

And the goulash isn't bad, either!

Accessible via rail or budget airlines,
Prague is a gorgeous city 
that has your name all over it.

Okay, not your name…
but you'll be glad you went.

3. Verona

Verona is a household name
thanks to every high schoolers favorite love story,
Romeo & Juliet…
but the experience you'll have 
in this wealthy city
is anything but textbook.

The restaurants serve homemade food with great presentation,
the gelato cones are heaped generously,
and the streets unfold with stereotypical Italian splendor
at every turn and piazza.

Spend two nights here
and I promise,
by the end of it
you'll be spouting romantic feelings
towards this little gem
in a way that might make Shakespeare blush.

4. Avignon

Most people first venture to the riviera 
when heading to the South of France…
but if they only knew what treasures
awaited them so nearby
they may change their plans entirely
and head towards Provence.

I'm embarrassed to say 
that my first time to Provence was in recent years.

After uncovering the glorious of Avignon
and it's neighbors, Aix-En-Provence & Arles,
I'm not sure I'll ever get enough of this tiny area
sat near the Rhone river.

Every moment feels dreamlike
as you float through the small daily market stalls 
and sit in cafes while wine glasses clink 
and small poodles snooze by your feet.

If it was good enough to lure the papacy 
out of Rome for a stint
and inspire Van Gogh to create his masterpieces,
I can promise: 
you'll love it, too.

5. Portugal's Algarve

I can't say that I was expecting much
out of our trip to the Algarve.

In fact, I didn't have a clue what to expect- 
but, woah, am I glad we whimsically chose to go there.

We constantly refer to it
as one of our favorite spots ever.

Sunny, affordable, stunning views, great food
with easy flights form London…

man, I'm having a hard time not clicking 
to a new window for a budget flight there right now.

6. Iceland

Isn't that, like, completely out of the way
when traveling Europe?

Obviously, but…
not really.

IcelandAir offers great prices
on transatlantic flights
with layover options at no added cost
for a stay in Iceland.

Quick dip in the Blue Lagoon
and a weekend in Reykjavic?

I couldn't recommend this idea more
as the past two treks we have taken there
have rocked our world.


So while you're planning your European vacation,
add in a few days somewhere off the beaten path
and enhance your trip with a stop off 
to one of these (dare I say, "life changing?") destinations.

something for your screen

Happy Tuesday! I bring you more freebies in the shape of cute downloadable desktop wallpapers. Update your desktop by downloading these right here. Enjoy!

simple pleasures

A couple of Saturdays ago I had two old friends over to visit. It was their first trip to see me since moving to London and probably the last time I'd see one of them before she popped and had her little baby! It makes me feel old realising that weddings are now the primary means of catching up with old friends. Anyway in the spirit of my new found love for leisurely saturday morning breakfasts I decided to do just that. Granola was of course on the agenda and I also re-discovered those Just-Roll ready to bake croissants. I'm a bit bummed that these little cylinders of joy escaped my memory for so long. They are so easy to make and you get fresh tasting croissants hot from the oven without all the work and less work is always appealing on a Saturday morning. Each section has markings to show where you cut and then you just roll them up. That's probably where they got the name from right? I decided to add a brown butter and cinnamon filling, made by melting a bit of butter with light brown sugar, spreading the cooled mixture over each square and adding a sprinkling of cinnamon.
Those place names are made from pebbles I found at the beach on our holiday last year! They've just been sat in my dorky, miscellaneous box waiting for such an occasion. It was lovely to have a proper catch up with these girls and it's always better to do that over a meal. Always!

everything's peachy

It's that time again! Click your way over to Aspiring Kennedy to get the full recipe for these peach & lavender cobblers. Pretty and perfumed...what more could you want and in cute separate dishes they're perfect for entertaining. Why are individual desserts so much more appealing I wonder?

I'm very excited that Lauren will also be guest posting over here on The Lovely Drawer. I'm pretty pumped to share some gems from this Texan beaut!