21.10

Rosie-Reynolds

Last weekend, I persuaded Jason to come along to the Taste of Autumn festival with me at RHS Wisley. ‘It’ll be fun!’ I said. ‘We can taste autumn!’ I was expecting that autumn would taste very much like overpriced apple cider and delicious pastries and maybe pork burgers with stewed apples and caramelised onion. That is what autumn should taste like, right?

In reality, the festival wasn’t quite so great as I’d anticipated it would be, but the beautiful displays of pumpkins and squashes everywhere almost made up for it. I’ve never seen so many different varieties all in one place before- who even knew there *were* so many types of pumpkin and squash and gourd! It’s almost, almost tempted me to get a pumpkin for us to carve and pop outside our house for this Halloween. I don’t think I’ve ever carved a pumpkin before, but the prospect of being able to toast, salt, roast, and eat an entire pumpkin’s worth of seeds is kind of tempting me to try.

After a short wander around looking at what the festival had to offer, we headed up to the herb garden to sniff rosemary and sage and all those other herbs that smell exactly like Sunday roasts. Jason dreamt of having his own vegetable patch (ideally one brimming with produce year-round), whilst I just dreamt of being able to keep herbs on the kitchen windowsill without them dying due to overwatering/exposure to excess cold/heat, and indiscriminate snipping.

Giant-Halloween-pumpkin Red-and-yellow-apples Country-autumn-festival Autumn-produce-cart Artisan-loaves Purple-sage Marbled-squashes Barbour-quilted-wax-jacket

What I wore :: Top || Jeans || Boots || Jacket || Hat (similar)

And now, fun things! I’m flying up to Edinburgh today for a three day press trip with Barbour, hurrah! So as you read this, I’ll be busy trying to squish my entire wardrobe into a small cabin bag, and praying that this crazy old mini hurricane doesn’t ground my flight! If you’d like to follow along with what I’m up to in Scotland over the next few days, Instagram’s the way to go! Find me at ‘ciderwithrosieblog’ :) Catch you in a couple of days!

3 Comments
Posted in AUTUMN, DAY TRIPS, FOOD

3 thoughts on “Taste of Autumn festival, + other such things.

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20.10

Cider-with-Rosie-Chocolate-Halloween-apples

I love a toffee apple, I do. My first memory of eating one was when I was around 5 or 6, at a Bonfire Night firework party hosted by my infant school. My Mum, Grandma and I had gone along for the evening, and they treated me to a toffee apple (which was exciting for 5 or 6 year old me! All that sugar! Yes! I win!), but the toffee was so thick and hard that I couldn’t even crack through it. If I remember correctly, the fireworks began shortly after that, I burst into tears (wasn’t fond of the loud noises, you see) and the whole night fizzled out like a soggy Catherine Wheel. Not the best.

But! These days, even though having grown up teeth makes eating toffee apples totally manageable,  I’m more fond of chocolate-covered varieties. They’re the easiest thing in the world to put together, look far more impressive than their caramelly cousins (in my humble opinion, at least), and would make a beautiful centrepiece for a Halloween party table. Or at least, the kind of Halloween party I imagine fabulous Americans host around this time of year. I’ve never met anyone who’s had a Halloween party here in the UK that wasn’t just all about cat ears on headbands, Pringles, and beer. But anyway! Make these for your imaginary extravagant Halloween party, make them for friends and family as fun gifts, or else just make them for yourself and eat three in one day!

Chocolate-covered-apple-recipe Halloween-chocolate-covered-apples White-dark-and-milk-chocolate-apples

Now, let me give you three guesses for the ingredients?

It’s a long list-
1. Apples.
2. Lobsters. Not really, the second ingredient is chocolate, of course. To coat six apples with chocolate, I used 2x100g bars of good quality dark (Lindt’s dark chocolate with sea salt is my favourite of all favourites!), 1x100g bar white chocolate, and 1x120g bar milk chocolate.

To make ::
- Take a few of your favourite apples (I used lovely crisp Braeburns), and use a thin, sharp metal skewer to poke a hold into the top of the apple (just next to the stalk) down to about halfway through. Then push a square-edged wooden skewer into the hole you’ve just made, being careful not to push it too far down into the apple.

- Melt each of your different types of chocolate in a bain marie (a bowl set over a pan of simmering water), taking care that the bottom of each bowl doesn’t touch the water. Carefully coat each apple in melted chocolate, making sure that the excess chocolate drains off. If it’s too thick, it doesn’t set nearly so nicely!

- If you want to dip the apples in extras (think cacao nibs, chopped nuts, coconut flakes, sprinkles) wait until the chocolate has almost set and is just tacky before doing any dippin’! I learnt the hard way that if you try and do sprinkles + a fresh coating of melted chocolate + apples, you and your kitchen will wind up in a whole heap of mess ;)

- To decorate with little ribbons of melted chocolate, cut a circle of parchment paper, then fold it in half once to make a half circle, and then twice more to form a small triangle. Fill up the little pouch with melted chocolate, fold over the top, then trim the tiniest snip of paper off the end of the paper pouch to form a piping bag. Draw a few lines of chocolate onto a board to test the flow of chocolate, then just go crazy! Layering up thin ribbons of different coloured chocolate created my favourite effect.

N.B ::
Good quality chocolate melts better than cheaper bars. I tried coating an apple with melted Galaxy chocolate, and it wound up thick, lumpy, and dull-looking. The Lindt bars I used set with a far more beautiful and smooth finish.

Ways-to-decorate-chocolate-covered-apples Gourmet-candied-apples! Halloween-chocolate-toffee-apples

p.s. Don’t forget to tag me in any photos and use the hashtag #ciderwithrosiecooks on twitter/Instagram/Facebook (can you tag on Fbook? I don’t know) if you have a go at making them yourself! :)

14 Comments
Posted in AUTUMN, CHOCOLATE., FROM MY HOME TO YOURS, HALLOWEEN, RECIPE, SWEET

14 thoughts on “Triple chocolate Halloween apples!

  1. Kezia @ Super Naturally Healthy

    This is a great way to start the week! I have just eaten apple crumble for breakfast so apples must be on the brain and this looks so much simple than faffing with a sugar thermometer to get toffee right…

    Reply
  2. laura

    these look great! Me and my boyfriend always have an autumn weekend where we decorate pumpkins so I’m going to add these into the reportoire!

    Reply
  3. Tash

    These look fab Rosie! I agree, the choc versions are way better looking than their caramel counterparts ;) Love the photography here too, they look super seasonal! I have my eye on those beetroot brownies big time, too! I’ve actually never had an apple like this (living under a rock, clearly!). Pinned x

    Reply
  4. Jessica Edmunds

    Oh man they look beautiful, I love buying them but wish I liked eating the apple too haha! Might have to give these a go at home though xx

    Reply
  5. Melissa

    We have just had the fair near where I live and these remind me so much of the treats I pick up there! I have always favoured the chocolate/apple combo x

    Reply
  6. Cat

    These are gorgeous! They’re perfect for a party, not only because they’re so chic and adorable, but also because they’re so easy to make. Nothing like really pretty, tasty, yet easy food to put out for your guests :)

    Cat
    http://oddlylovely.com

    Reply
  7. Erin

    These apples look amazing! I’m American and I wish I could say I’ve been a Halloween party with such a lovely center piece, but the last H-party I went to was zombie themed, so the center piece was chorizo sausage made to look like intestine. You should throw a party this year and make these apples as your centerpiece. That would awesome, especially with an apple cider cocktail and some little treats.

    Reply

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17.10

Country-pub-tartan-armchair

Apparently, this week’s been a week of numbers. We’ve done three ways with porridge, five ways to keep positive in winter, and now ten things that’ve made me happy! What can I say- got to keep those GCSE Maths skills sharp somehow, right? ;) This week’s been so very on point, it’s kind of obnoxious. Beautiful things have been purchased. Organisation has happened. To-do lists have become to-done lists. Workouts have been completed. I’ve even had a flu jab! And didn’t faint! This is an achievement in itself. I hope your week’s been good, too? This weekend we’re off to Wisley for their Autumn/harvest/apple festival (I can’t remember exactly what it is, but there’ll be food, so we’re going) and also doing a little life laundry and, hold the phone, wedding planning! We kind of maybe got a bit bored of wedding planning so took a major hiatus, and now need to get back in the game and find ourselves a good band for the reception! Now, here’s what else has made this week a lovely one!

1. Treating myself to a beautiful new suitcase! I’ll be honest with you, having my own set of lovely luggage kind of makes me feel more of a grown up than having my own house/dog/car/a husband-to-be does! ;)

2. Wednesday’s dinner of Swedish meatballs and homemade chips. Dunking chips in the sauce is what it’s all about. (Recipe here!)

3. New jeans! Thank you GAP for always making your jeans so comfy. They fit like a freaking glove.

4. Hozier’s album. If you’ve not yet listened to it, make it no.1 priority for the weekend! It’s a beauty, I tell you!

5. Autumn sunshine! I’ve been glad of a break from the rain, to be honest.

6. The sweet dog who gets each and every toy out of his toy box in turn during the late afternoons, and pops them on the sofa next to me one by one in an attempt to get me to ditch my laptop and play with him instead. It works like a charm, as you can imagine ;)

7. The anticipation of tonight being pizza night. Oh boy. I’m ready for it.

8. Reading Gone Girl! It’s good, huh?

9. The darling fiancé who took time out of his working day to run into town and pick up a dress I had on order, and couldn’t get hold of anywhere else. And then didn’t tut even once when I decided I didn’t like it when I tried it on at home. He’s the best :)

10. Watching the sun rise in the mornings, whilst eating breakfast.

Not three posts, but one whole entire blog I’ve been loving this week! :: ‘Unfancy‘, written by the beautiful Caroline. Unfancy is a style blog that centres around Caroline’s seasonal, 37-piece capsule wardrobe. Real outfits, items worn over and over in new ways- it’s amazing! I found it via lovely Nat (whose blog is always a killer read, for me) and have been reading it ‘cover to cover’ all this week. If you’re into soft (not super severe) minimalism and a clean aesthetics, you will LOVE it! I kind of want to redo my whole entire wardrobe after reading Caroline’s posts…

Now, what’s on your happy list for this week? :)

19 Comments
Posted in 10 THINGS, HAPPINESS

19 thoughts on “10 things that’ve made me happy this week!

  1. Kat

    New jeans are the best! Almost as amazing as freshly washed skinny jeans that you’ve already worn in :) ahhh the best feeling!

    I’m going to watch the Gone Girl movie tonight I can’t wait! Definitely reading the book if I enjoy it :)

    Reply
  2. Ala Skrakowski

    My payday has made me very happy this week! And finally choosing a dress for the wedding I’m going to. I ended up going with that yellow floral one from asos we both picked out! It fits like a dream and is totally wearable in day to day situations, beautiful and practical! Have a lovely weekend x

    Reply
  3. Silje Mari

    Sounds like you’ve had a lovely week! :) Finally bringing my favourite horse home to our farm after years of longing and dreaming is definitively on top of my happy list this week! And I can’t complain about the weather either :) Have a lovely weekend! x

    Silje Mari – TimeofSolitude.wordpress.com

    Reply
  4. Tamzin

    I so need some new luggage bags that’s been on the buy list for too long! Love that chair in the picture : )

    Reply
  5. arielle

    grown up luggage really is the best, isn’t it? all of those matching pieces and being able to tell who’s who at the baggage claim. kind of amazing. so glad you had such a great week!

    love, arielle
    a simple elegance

    Reply
  6. Cat

    Aww, this does sound like a good week! I know what you mean about nice luggage making one feel grown up. Too bad I never go anywhere, so I can’t justify the purchase, haha. Gone Girl was amazing, and I absolutely flew through it. I hope you’re reading it before seeing the movie!

    Cat
    http://oddlylovely.com

    Reply
  7. Jade @ Bits & Bobs

    GAP jeans – the best denim!

    Glad you’re enjoying Gone Girl. Are you planning to see the film? I’ve heard a lot of mixed thoughts on the film, and differing opinions depending on whether said viewer has read the book or not.
    :-)

    Reply
  8. Rachel

    I LOVE unfancy! I discovered it a while ago and became obsessed. she inspired me to do a radical closet clear-out and it made a big difference.

    Reply
  9. Lucy Rix

    What’s made me happy this week is the gorgeous range of Boden winter clothing. Unfortunately, I just want it all! They keep bringing out clothes with wildlife prints which I just can’t resist – deer, squirrels, bird… all my favourite things. My other lovely moment this week was watching the talented Alison Balsom play trumpet in a concert in Birmingham. Just bliss. I’ve just discovered your blog and I love it – it’s very me: cosy, traditional and creative. Happy writing.

    Reply
  10. Jane

    I used to love wedding planning before I got married in August 2013. We had an amazing band called Back In The Day and was THE lasting memory that all our guests had of our wedding. And still talking about them! Awesome was not the word. X

    Reply
  11. Melissa

    Buying mini pumpkins to decorate over the weekend (enhanced by the fact that they were labelled ‘Munchkin Pumpkins’ in the shop sent me into cuteness overload, I couldn’t cope!) x

    Reply
  12. Juliet

    Is that the Stag on the River Eashing in your lovely photo? We tried to go there with my parents for a Christmas meal last year but sadly it was flooded! We’ve since been to their sister pub The Queen’s Head which is pretty near where we live now and it was wonderful – still hope to one day visit the Stag though!

    Reply
  13. Setarra

    My husband’s birthday is coming up this Tuesday and I am super excited for the birthday plans I made to finally happen. I love spoiling him. I’ve also lucked out in catching some ah-mazing sunsets while commuting back home from work this past week. Sunsets have such a calming effect on me :)

    Reply
  14. Jules

    Perfect post for how I’m feeling right now! I have sunrise alarm clock that I use post summer and I think it really makes a difference.

    Reply

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16.10

Cappuccino+tartan

If there’s one thing that I’ve learnt about myself over the course of writing this blog for the past couple of years, it’s that I’m kind of obsessed with the seasons. I just can’t help myself from making mention of the seasons in the vast majority of posts. I guess it’s an occupational hazard of being British ;) The constant changes and relentlessly regular pattern of the year appeal both to my innate impatience, and the part of me that thrives on predictability.

As much as the winter months are probably my favourite (just don’t ask me to say that when it comes to spring and summer, okay?), I do find it’s harder to keep energised and positive during autumn and winter. The dark mornings, darker evenings, and the cold that gets right in to your bones make it tricky not to just camp out in bed, and allow the day to just slip away. I know *so* many people who struggle with keeping positive during the winter months, and I find my own outlook tends to be less uplifted from around this time of year right through until spring.

And so, on that note, here are five of my favourite ways for staying chipper and motivated during the autumn and winter months! ::

1 :: Set just one alarm. {and don’t even think about hitting snooze;) }
All through summer I found it easy as pie to get up in the morning. My 7am alarm would sound, I’d swipe to turn it off (iPhone, you see), then hop straight out of bed in a manner so chipper it was kind of sick-making. As the mornings have been getting darker and darker though, it’s been more challenging to rise quite so promptly. Best way to combat a serious case of the Just Five More Minutes, I’ve found, is to set just one single alarm right at the time you actually need to get up (not 15 minutes beforehand, it’ll only make it easier to drift back off to sleep) and then flip the covers off the very second it starts sounding. Setting several alarms means that when it goes off in the morning, there isn’t quite that same ‘ooh my alarm is going that means I have to wake up’ trigger, and so it’s waaaay too easy to ignore and go back to sleep. {Keeping a stash of cosy layers and your favourite slippers down by the side of the bed for putting on as soon as you get up helps a lot, too}

2 :: Get outside.
Even when it’s raining (okay, maybe not when it’s raining…). But I believe a dose of fresh air each day helps beat out the winter blues…even when that fresh air is kind of frosty.

3 :: Switch the lights on.
We’re sensible people. We try to stick to the whole ‘leave a room, switch off the light’ thing (if Jason were reading this write now, he’d be scoff-laughing because he is ALWAYS nagging me to remember that rule ;) but during the winter months, all bets are off. I just can’t deal with having a dark house during winter. The hall lamp and kitchen lights get left on pretty much constantly, and much to my fiancé’s dismay, I tend to leave a little trail of lights on wherever I go. Economical it’s not. But as a way of dealing with short, dingy winter days? It’s a good’un.

4 :: Make evening plans {even when you’d rather stay home}
This is my personal nemesis. The urge to curl up on the sofa and hide away is pretty strong in me anyway, but couple that with cold/wet weather and the dark? Goodbye world, hello hiding under the duvet on the sofa. Which is great and all, but come mid-January, I tend to go a bit stir crazy. So try making a few evening plans (dinner out, fun courses at a local adult education centre, cinema trips, date night at a local bar, Pilates/yoga classes) and make the most of it being dark enough that you don’t have to bother shaving your legs ;)

5 :: Embrace the cosy!
Just give in to the cliches of autumn and winter, and ham it right up. Pretend you live in your favourite Pinterest board. I’m talking candles everywhere. Blankets on the bed, sofas, chairs, + round your shoulders. Hot chocolate/tea/coffee several times a day. Wear as much tartan as you can get your hands on. Treat yourself to something made of cashmere, wear it until it’s full of holes, then sew them up and wear it some more. Bung up a few strings of fairy lights (and ignore your fiancé when he tuts about them all being blown by the time Christmas comes around).

Embrace and indulge in all the silly, beautiful parts of the winter months, let them fill your heart in the way that only beautiful, silly things can, and wear them like armour when it’s so cold your fingers feel like ice lollies, and it’s dark by 4pm.

I don’t know about you, but after all that I feel just about ready for the clocks to go back!

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38 Comments
Posted in AUTUMN, HOW TO, WINTER

38 thoughts on “Five ways to keep your chin up during the winter months.

  1. Toni

    lovely post. It’s so easy to let yourself get the winter blues; I always try to keep busy in the cold months or snuggle up in front of the fire. :). X

    Reply
  2. Beccy

    This is a gorgeous post Rosie. I adore autumn and winter (not happy about the rising temperatures at the moment) and will definitely be getting involved in these ideas!

    Beccy : Bluebell & Bumpkin

    Reply
  3. Polly

    This is such a good post! I love the hamming it up bit – it does help when you give into the cliches! I hate Winter but I love the idea of cosy nights in under a blanket with a hot chocolate. Evening plans is another great idea. I love going to cosy dark pubs and sitting by a roaring fire with friends, a glass of red wine and a cheese plate :)

    Reply
  4. Ala Skrakowski

    I have felt my mood dip quite a lot over the last few weeks, and have done around this time of year for the last few years, which is why I wrote the post I did the other day – to remind myself there are positives about this time of year! Definitely on the keeping the lights thing though, love making use of all the little table lamps! xx

    Reply
  5. Cecilia

    I am trying so hard to just have one alarm and not snooze, but it is really really hard to get out of the habit of a lifetime! my next step is setting my alarm a bit later to see if that helps. Or even just buying an alarm clock and putting out of reach from the bed so I actually have to get up to switch it off!

    Reply
  6. Lisa

    Great post Rosie, going to take you up on the alarm tip. My problem is my husband is on the ‘alarm’ side of bed so I am usually comatose and completely unaware of what’s going on. And also yeah, just embrace the autumn/winter cliches. It a pretty darn great thing about being from ol blighty! x

    Reply
  7. Foodie Laura

    I suck at evening plans. I’m all about snuggling down under a fluffy throw in my new Primark PJs, watching Netflixs, drinking hot chocolate and munching on warm cookies. At least until the Christmas parties roll around and even then I think I’d still rather be at home.

    Reply
  8. Kathryn (@KatGotTheCream)

    What lovely ideas. I do start to struggle a bit at this time of year and just want to hibernate. I’m so bad at doing things in the evenings too but Greig and I are going out with some friends to Jamie’s Italian on saturday so I’m gong to be sociable whatever the weather :)

    Reply
  9. Sarah

    Love these ideas. As much as I love autumn and winter I do struggle to get out of bed in the mornings and basically want to spend all day every day wrapped up on the sofa watching tv while eating something stodgy. xxx

    Reply
  10. Dizzy Tea

    What I do to make getting up easier is to turn on my bedside lamp immediately when the alarm goes off. Even though it’s not intensely dark here at 7am just yet, some more light in the room definitely wakes me up. Those “sunrise effect” lamps are great too but I have yet to find an affordable one and turning on your lamp helps just as well, if not better.

    Reply
  11. Katy

    This was lovely Rosie!

    I definitely need to start doing the one-alarm-only thing. Really struggling in the mornings at the moment. Might treat myself to a new dressing gown just to improve matters ;)

    I’ve also just strung up some fairy lights and bought a new candle. They really do help! :) xx

    Little Miss Katy | UK Lifestyle & Fashion

    Reply
  12. Fran

    Ahh I think you make a good point about hitting snooze, but it’s just so damn hard! Haha. I find the best way to keep up beat during winter is dinner/ house parties with friends – especially festive ones :)

    Scrimping to Splash

    Reply
  13. Deenie

    I’ve been alright so far this year but usually the colder months make me totally miserable and boring. I have absolutely been embracing the fifth tip, candles and blankets and mugs of tea are a-plenty around this house but I really should take the one-alarm advice and make some more plans in the evenings, my life becomes so dull otherwise!

    Reply
  14. Angela

    As I sit here, curled under a fleece blanket feeling oh so mopey, this is exactly the post I needed.

    Reply
  15. Cat

    Unlike you, I think autumn and winter are my favorite times of year! Of course, in Northern California, our idea of cold is pretty minor with only occasional rains. I think making evening plans in particular is a good tip. I tend to hole up a bit when it gets dark at 5pm!

    Cat
    http://oddlylovely.com

    Reply
  16. Samantha

    These are some great tips! I definitely make the mistake of shutting myself indoors during the winter months (that’s where the heat is!) without going out for anything other than work or school!
    ~ Samantha
    samsamcherie.blogspot.com

    Reply
  17. Vix

    Love the post! You should also try a daylight simulating alarm clock…my saving grace for the dark mornings!

    Reply
  18. Silje Mari

    Thank you for all the great ideas! Love the “Embrace the cosy” one, as I am definitively a blankets-and-cosy socks-on-the-sofa-person. Plus I live in Norway, and winter here is really freezing and you really don’t want to go outisde on the coldest, darkest days.

    Silje xx

    Reply
  19. Jessica Edmunds

    This is all perfect <3 I have been feeling really low lately (not because of the weather) and haven't left my flat for about 4/5 days now but I really feel a little more motivated just to get outside now I think xxx

    Reply
  20. Candy

    Last year I got very depressed in the winter time. This year I’ve made a vow to do exactly what you say and not only embrace, but completely revel in the cheesy, clichés of the season… so far, it seems to be working. I hope I can maintain this attitude through January and February! Let’s wait and see…

    Owl Girl | A London lifestyle blog

    Reply
  21. Jenny

    comp,Eyelure with you on no3, I can’t stand coming home home in the dark to the dark and feeling all dark with it!

    Reply
  22. Jill

    Great list! I need to force myself to do these things just to hang on to a little happiness this winter. Totally dreading it :( Evening plans are a must. So hard to want to go out when the sky is dark before I even leave the office.

    Reply
  23. Hannah

    Tip 5 is one I am definitely going to do this year… embracing all of the cliches! This post has made me feel more positive about the season change already! xx

    Reply
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  25. Samantha

    Fab tips, especially the morning snooze alarm rules, it’s just so much easier to wake up to sunshine and positivity outside! I really struggle with the winter months and find it very hard to motivate myself during this time of year, the weather has such a strong affect on my moods. Xx

    Reply
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  27. Holly

    This has been rough for me lately. Waking up and feeling like I just want to go back to sleep… I hate that. I like your tips. I need to get outside more and I need to install brighter lights in my house. Thank you.

    Bloomin’ Rouge

    Reply

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