29.02

Cider-with-Rosie-Rhyme-and-Ribbons-cover

Today’s interview comes via the wonderful Amanda of Rhyme & Ribbons, and I’ve been so looking forward to sharing it here! I’ve read Rhyme & Ribbons for longer than I can remember, and have loved it since the very first time I clicked through to it. Amanda’s posts are so varied and beautifully put together, and always have so much personality to them that reading Rhyme & Ribbons feels just like catching up with a dear friend. So, enough from me, and here’s more from the lovely Amanda!

1. Will you tell us a little about how you got started writing Rhyme & Ribbons?

I started writing Rhyme & Ribbons right after my partner Sam and I moved to Stratford-upon-Avon. He had just started a year in the acting company at the Royal Shakespeare Company and I felt a bit lost. I had just finished my MA program, was on a visa that limited the amount of time that I could work, was in a new city and didn’t know anyone. I fell into blogging because I was desperate for a new way to socialise and a way to express myself creatively. Looking back at some of those first posts is very cringe-inspiring (there’s some horrific photography!) but I’ve loved every step of the blogging journey so far!

2. How would you sum up your blog, in just 3 words?

Comforting, creative and bookish. (Basically if my blog lived in the 1800s it would be someone’s spinster aunt.)

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3. You’ve been blogging for a good few years now! How has your blog evolved over the years since you began writing it?

I’ve definitely figured out my voice. There was a lot of emulating what popular bloggers were doing at first. I quickly realised that even though I love reading them, I’m not really a Buzzed-esque list and GIF kind of blogger. I also took a vested interest in learning how to take proper photographs and how to style food. When I look back on some of my first recipe posts, I can see just how much my food styling and photography has progressed.

4. Would you share with us three of your favourite posts, and tell us why they’re particular favourites?

Even though it’s certainly not my most interesting post to read, I loved recapping my engagement party this past June. It was such a wonderful day that I can’t think of it without grinning. Another favourite post would be when I wrote about why I wear my grandmother’s engagement ring and why feeling connected to her is so important to me. (I promise I very rarely blog about wedding/engagement related things – it’s just pure coincidence that these made my top 3!) One of my other favourites would be my last post in the Bake Off Bake Along series that I hosted last year. It was the 2nd year in a row that I’ve baked along to the GBBO and while it’s a lot of work, it was tons of fun and definitely culminated in some silliness.

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5. As a New Mexican in London, would you tell us a few of the things you love best about the city you now call home?

I love that London is a city with so many different personalities. Each neighbourhood could really be a city unto itself. It goes without saying, that there’s literally always something to do in London. In London you can experience so many different cultures, attitudes and traditions without ever journeying outside of the city. Albuquerque (where I’m from, yep, the “Breaking Bad” city) and London are world’s apart in mentality, but they both hold very special places in my heart.

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6. What might Cider with Rosie readers be surprised to learn about you? Any secret skills or party tricks?

I have my MA in classical acting so I’ve been known to drop a Shakespeare monologue or two at a party…. (Not really, that would make me the most awkward person in the world). It’s not a very exciting party trick but I’m double jointed in some limbs so I can make my arms and hands do some fairly freaky things.

7. You’re a keen baker, right? :) What would you say is your signature bake (GBBO style!)?

I’m a bit baking obsessed! I applied for the GBBO this year and made it to the interview stage and I was over the moon to even get that far. I think some sort of cake would be my signature bake. I’m leaning towards my butternut squash cake with whipped marshmallow frosting. It’s definitely one of my favourite cakes to eat!

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8. And finally, it’s our old favourite Desert Island Discs! If you were stranded on a desert island, what would you bring along for the ride? You can bring two albums/CDs, two books, two films, ingredients to make a meal, and one luxury item!

I always find these sort of questions to be really difficult because my natural tendency is to be a hoarder. Coupled with being an avid reader, my flat is covered in piles of books!

Albums: My first album would be “The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter” by Josh Ritter – it’s phenomenal, and a “must listen” for an fans of American folk rock. My second choice, based purely on what my iTunes says I’ve listened to the most is Arcade Fire’s “The Suburbs”

Books: I’m going to cheat slightly and say Phillip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” trilogy (in one giant book ;) ) and “Nine Stories” by J.D. Salinger.

Films: Alfred Hitchock’s “Rebecca” and the original “The Wizard of Oz”

Ingredients: It would have to be some sort of fancy homemade pizza; sourdough crust, fresh mozzarella and basil, chorizo, pine nuts, truffle oil – the works!

Luxury Item: A soft bed with magical, constantly fresh sheets.

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~ Thanks so much for a fab interview, Amanda! Do click over to Rhyme & Ribbons and say hello, and don’t forget to follow along via Bloglovin‘! ~

Take 20% off all advertising packages until the end of March with the code SPRINGFLING- click through to the Sponsor page today to snap up a spot on Cider with Rosie!

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26.02

Cider-with-Rosie-newspapers-and-coffee

Another month, another round up of so many lovely blogs! I just loved putting this month’s selection together- there are so many of my old favourite reads in there, along with a few new gems you’re going to just love! Have a little read through the description of each blog in turn, click across via the links, and don’t forget to add your favourites to Bloglovin’! Happy reading, my friends…

Rhyme & Ribbons
I’ve read Amanda’s lovely blog for the longest time now! There’s something effortlessly charming about Rhyme & Ribbons- I think it’s the way Amanda manages to include something of her fun personality in every last post she shares. And speaking of the posts on Rhyme & Ribbons, let me tell you what’s been going on month! Earlier in February saw Amanda heading to Pizza Express to review their new menu offerings- a total contrast to the offbeat supper club meal she ate at The Little Yellow Door pop up in Notting Hill this week! Alongside all this delicious food, there’ve been lists of happy things, a post about going back to basics in the wardrobe department, and some photos of beautiful Dulwich that made me want to move in a heartbeat! What more could you ask for, in a blog?
Favourite post of the past month? London | Dulwich Village.

Silverspoon London
This month, Silverspoon London has been all about food and drink, which has made me very happy indeed! Angie’s been busy trialling and reviewing so many wonderful dining experiences, you’ll be hard pressed to know which to add to your ‘must visit’ list next! There’s been a Vietnamese Valentine’s Day meal at House of Ho that looked completely divine, an elegant French feast at Sketch, and, most envy-inducing, a tour of some of the most famous champagne houses in Champagne, France! I love how thoroughly Angie covers every restaurant, destination, or hotel she visits, and how passionate she is about fine dining and luxury travel. In short, her blog is just an all-round brilliant one!
Favourite post of the past month? Valentine’s Day at sketch Lecture Room & Library.

The What Now Blog
Louise’s blog is always the one I turn to when I’m in need of a little thinking-space and inspiration. There’s something special about Louise’s writing and the way she puts together her posts- they’re always so well researched and informed, and I reckon anyone would be hard pressed to read them and not feel a little boost of positivity! On The What Now Blog, Louise shares interviews with fascinating women, ‘how to’ posts (her latest, on avoiding the afternoon slump, is brilliant!), and a fun series called ‘Making Time For’ in which she focuses on getting the most out of her time, and encourages her readers to do the same. Her posts read like talking with a friend, and I just love them. One to start reading right away!
Favourite post of the past month? How Do You Beat That Annoying 3pm Slump?

A Bookish Baker
Helen’s blog has been a new one to me this month, and I’m so, SO glad I’ve had the chance to add it to my reading list! A Bookish Baker combines two of the greatest loves of my life- baking and the outdoors, with books thrown in for good measure! On Helen’s blog, you’ll find delicious looking recipes (this month’s potato cake recipe is high on my ‘to make’ list right now!), posts about Helen’s brood of chickens and ducks (I’m green with envy!), and a beautiful series called ‘the seasons outside my back door’. I just LOVE each and every one of Helen’s posts- for their simplicity, for how beautiful her writing and photographs are, and for how elegantly she brings together her passions and combines them in her posts. This one’s is a real treasure, and you’re going to love it!
Favourite post of the past month? The Seasons Outside My Back Door: Week 4 January 2016

The Courtney Diaries
I’ve so enjoyed following along with Courtney’s adventures on the other side of the Atlantic via her blog, this month! The Courtney Diaries is, as I’m sure you might have guessed, an online diary made up of all Courtney’s adventures and day to day goings on and the loves of her life! This month, Courtney’s shared posts about her Valentine’s Day in NYC, about creating an inspiring workspace, and, most importantly, a recipe for bacon mac and cheese that looks completely heavenly! Seriously, the best. Courtney’s posts all have such a lovely, friendly energy to them, and are so engaging to read. It’s exactly the sort of uplifting, happy lifestyle blog I find myself drawn back to time and again, I’m sure you’ll just love it too :)
Favourite post of the past month? The Best Bacon Mac & Cheese.

Our French Oasis
Susan’s blog has been another new discovery for me this month, and I couldn’t love it any more if I tried! Our French Oasis is, as you might’ve been able to guess, a blog that centres around life in France. Susan lives in an old village in the French countryside with her husband, five children, and a whole menagerie of animals, and writes that her aim is to pass on to her children the love of the simple way of life she and her husband enjoyed when they both were young. On her blog, you’ll find posts about the family’s chickens and dogs (my owning chickens obsession is at an all time high!), photos and stories from their village, and snapshots of the beautiful local area and all it has to offer. Our French Oasis truly is the dreamiest blog, and I know you’ll love it as much as I do!
Favourite post of the past month? French Hens and Scrambled Eggs. 

Another blog to read and fall in love with…
Get the Skinny || Favourite post? Kicks & Coat.

If you’d like to see your own blog featured here on Cider with Rosie and exposed to tens of thousands of new readers, click through to the Sponsor page to find out more!

~ AND, take 20% off all spots until the end of March with the code SPRINGFLING! ~

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24.02

Cider-with-Rosie-cheese-scones-8

F L O U R ,   M I L K ,   B U T T E R ,  C H E E S E .

There are a few dishes that, whilst cooking, bring me right back to my childhood.

Cooking apples simmering in a pan with sugar and butter. A thick slab of gammon boiling away in a stock pot with vegetables and barley. Fragrant ginger biscuits, trays of fruity and gently spiced bread pudding, rock cakes in paper cases with their currants and sultanas always catching ever so slightly in the heat.

And, of course, the comforting, homely smell of cheese scones rising tall in a hot oven.

Cider-with-Rosie-Grandma's-cheese-scones Cider-with-Rosie-cheese-scones

There’s a real knack to scone making, if you ask me.

I’ll never make them as well as my Grandma used to, but every time I try, I learn a little something.

To handle the dough softly, not to press it hard or roll it too thin whilst shaping and rolling, and that the craggier it is at that stage, the lighter and more aerated they’ll be when finished with their baking.

I find they’re more challenging to make than simple bread or biscuits or cakes- the dough seems to ask for almost the same lightness of touch as pastry, though not quite to the same extent, I’m glad to say.

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But whilst I can’t quite say I’ve got the technique 100% perfect yet, the taste is most definitely there and is as nostalgic as ever.

If you’ve never split in half a scone (cheese, or otherwise) that’s fresh from the oven, and whilst the steam spirals from its centre, spread each half with a little butter before eating it right away, then you’ve been missing out.

This particular batch disappeared in a flash, eaten as ‘I’m hungry but not too hungry’ snacks, in the evening when ‘dinner wasn’t quite as filling as I thought it might be’, and all the times in between, because who ever needs a reason to eat a scone?

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The recipe is from my Grandma’s decades old Delia Smith cookbook and I’ve done very little with it other than tinker slightly with the cheese quantity, so the credit must go to Delia, really. Makes 8.

Ingredients ::
225g self raising flour
40g butter, at room temperature
150ml milk
85g mature cheddar
1/2tsp mustard powder
Pinch salt

- Preheat the oven to 220 degrees celsius, and grease a baking tray.

- Sift the flour into a large bowl, and then lightly and quickly rub in the butter until the mixture has no large lumps, and has the clumpy texture of wet sand.

- Add in the grated cheese, salt and mustard powder, and stir together with the butter and flour mixture.

- Slowly pour in the milk a little at a time, stirring with a knife as you go. Bring the dough together with your hands, kneading it lightly until it forms a rough ball.

- Roll the dough out until it’s 1 inch thick, and then use a 2inch fluted cutter to cut out the scones. Place them on the greased baking tray, and bake for 12-14 minutes (mine were perfect after 12, 13 was a shade too long) until the tops are lightly golden and the bases sound hollow when tapped.

- Best served warm, with lashings of butter. Delicious.

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p.s. The butter knife, rolling pin, and milk jug all are hand-me-downs from my own beautiful Grandma, and the red gingham napkins are part of a set Jason’s Grandmother made us as a wedding gift. Family really is the very best, isn’t it?

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Posted in BAKING, FROM MY HOME TO YOURS, RECIPE, SAVOURY

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21.02

Cider-with-Rosie-Spring-2016

T H E   L I N K S ::
Stripe-topped jersey dress

Taupe purse
Dungarees
Striped bardot top
Khaki trench coat
Figuir candle
Off-shoulder maxi
Star earrings

Spring is the time to freshen and reinvent, isn’t it? We cast off the muted tones of winter and embrace a lighter, bright colour palette. Or at least we might be able to, if March brings with it the warmer weather and noticeably longer days we’ve all been dreaming of…

Until then, it’s nice to dream! And not just to dream, but to begin to stockpile pieces that will brighten up our homes and wardrobes in the months ahead.

Above are a few of the items I’m dreaming of owning this spring- washed out dungarees, a lightweight khaki trench, a fresh candle (in a similar scent to my beloved Philosykos perfume), and a beautiful off-shoulder maxi for warm evenings later on in the season to mention just a few.

Oh March, please be kind to us!

~ ~ ~

What’s on your spring wishlist?

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