Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Travels of the body and the mind

2012 has already been full of surprises for the Petit Filoux household. Amongst those, promised travels.

I shall tell more about this when the time comes, but until then I am preparing myself for travels of both a physical and spiritual nature. I would say wish me luck, but above anything, it is courage and strength that I need. Heeps of it.

I don't mean to be all cryptic here, but let's just say my road to happiness is full of obstacles. All of which I need to be prepared to face all on my own, with noone else's help but my own determination.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Quick crochet

I've been teasing you with this for a few days now, and here's the time for a big reveal! Well a little one really, because this project is rather quite small... but very useful nonetheless!!

Father Christmas was rather generous you see, and he brought me a new fancy phone this year... and fancy phone = new cover, because I'm taking no risks with this baby. So I whipped this up in no time, with a little leftover yarn I had lying around.

Nothing fancy, just a practical phone cover. Does what it says on the tin pretty much. Rows of double crochet, a neat little trim a la Attic24, and bob's your uncle.

I'm rather pleased with this one. It's nice and soft, and very snug. Lovely!


Monday, 23 January 2012

At the weekend I...

Enjoyed some newly purchased art displayed at the top of the stairs...

Together with the display directly opposite...

Marvelled at my new blooms...

And breathed in the incredible scent emanating from these beautiful flowers...

Started thinking about potential crafting projects...

And abandoned others until help is at hand...

Unfortunately, all the coffee in the world didn't seem to help...

Had fun stalking (and feeding) local wildlife from my bedroom window...

And finally put up our kitchen calendar...

All in all, a pretty nice weekend and a lot of new things for this January 2012. A very promising start I reckon :-)

Friday, 20 January 2012

Beginnings and endings


and endings...

Hopefully more to show for both very soon!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Which cake to bake

This is the question I asked myself at the weekend. I was going to make a birthday cake for my nan and I couldn't decide which one to make. One from a Christmas present cookbook, one from a foodie calendar, or one I'd seen on a blog? In the end, I made two, the choice was just too hard.

I made an orange and yogurt cake taken from this year's Good Food calendar and the apple sharlotka I'd seen on Thomasina's blog.

Verdict? You'll only be seeing photos of the orange cake because my grandparents kept the leftovers of the apple one (guess they liked it!). And I wasn't clever enough to take a photo of it while I had a chance. Which is a shame, because it looked damn good, so pretty with the icing sugar powdered over the top.

My favourite was the orange one though, so it's a good thing we got to bring the leftovers home with us. It went in a flash, needless to say. So light and fresh, not too orangy or sweet, just the right amount. And you just can't go wrong with mascarpone icing!! (which I slightly altered by the way, didn't have any marmalade to mix in, so just added some orange pulp and a little orange juice - it was delicious!). I'm afraid I can't find a recipe of this online though, so can't give you a link to the recipe... would it be naughty to take a photo of the recipe and post it online? Mmm...

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Baby it's cold outside

Blimey it's freezing at the moment. No snow, just plenty of frost.

How to beat it? By wearing some of these:

And drinking some of this:

A duvet and thermal clothes would help too, but I'm not sure that would be a good office look.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

There's no other word for it


Thursday, 12 January 2012

Nan shawl

I did it. I finished it on time, by the self-imposed deadline that was the 22nd of December. This gave me plenty of time to block the shawl and have it all dry and wrapped up before the arrival of the French guests on the 24th. Phew. I can't say it was a greatly enjoyable knit. It was put on hold for a couple of weeks before I messed up a couple of rows and had to take a few back as a result. Most painful.

But looking at the result, I'm ever so proud. It looks as intricate and delicate as I'd hoped for, and most importantly, my nan loved it.

In the end, it will have taken a lot of time, patience and concentration, but it was worth it. Although don't ask me to make a second one, that won't happen in a million years!!

ps: all details on Ravelry!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Hot chocolate

The best thing about the weather being utterly dreadful is that we finally have an excuse to have a proper hot drink. A home-made hot chocolate. With real chocolate you know, not the powder stuff [chocolate curtesy of my mum :-)]

It was dreadful the other day, really cold and windy. This drink is exactly what we needed to pick us up. Utter decadence, a real treat. The secret recipe? Haha, the simplest ever! Fill up a mug with milk, tip the milk in a pan, add good quality chocolate (about 40g), heat gently until the chocolate has melted. Add a dash of ground cinnamon and serve up quick.

Drink up thinking  the world has been made a better place.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012


Last autumn, I planted my first bulbs. I'm not exactly sure why I didn't mention those before, but I guess I thought they were destined for well, not very much. I thought I'd kill them off before the start of winter. What has happened since has been an epiphany. I planted them in a lovely porcelain dish I'd bought a few years ago in a charity shop, and I carefully placed them at the back of the outhouse for the necessary darkness and cold. Every weekend, I'd check them to see if anything was happening. Lo and behold, they did start growing! I quickly realised they would never be ready for Christmas, but that didn't bother me, we had enough decorations in the house already. These would be lovely in January when the house was a little calmer. And here we are, January 2012. I measured the growths last weekend and they were finally high enough to be brought indoors. They have since been placed on a window sill, away from any heat source. They've already grown half an inch in two days, I'm so very excited!! Can't wait to see what colours the flowers turn out to be, I can't remember what I bought!!

Monday, 9 January 2012

Christmas leftover lunch

Amongst the many nibbles I made on Christmas day were little filo pastry tartlets filled with a delicious dollop of pesto covered with a warm mix of mushrooms, garlic and parsley. In the days following Christmas and in my quest to use up leftovers wisely, I treated myself to one of the tastiest and yet most simple lunch I have ever made. I present to you the mushroom and cheese on toast. With a twist.

I topped the lovely mushroom mixture with bits of Stichelton, a wonderfully creamy and pungent unpasteurised blue cheese. The mushrooms had been cooked simply in a little olive oil, and once reduced, I added the garlic and chopped parsley. To reheat the mixture, I added a slice of home-made parsley butter to a small saucepan and reheated the lot. Couldn't have been easier.

I think I might make this in the future, with the sole intent of having it on toast. Honestly, it's that good. If you like mushroom, garlic and cheese that is. Of course.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Last bit of Christmas crafting

Yeah yeah I know, Christmas is way behind us and everyone is trying to look forward, get rid of those needles and clean the place out. I was looking through my Christmas pics and realised I'd forgotten to mention this little craft project I gave myself. I thought you might like it, it's so quick and simple, yet sweet and effective! You can always squirrel it away until Christmas 2012...

So, the project? Name tags for the Christmas table! I needed something easy because I was running out of time - that lemon tart and salmon terrine weren't going to cook themselves. I needed the writing to be clear and legible, and I didn't want the whole thing to look twee, so I kept it minimalistic. The result? See for yourselves...

Red card folded in half with extra folds on either side to ensure the cards would stay upright. "Joyeux Noël" written in gold pen on the back of each card. Leaves cut out of dark green and light green foam, attached with a red embroidery cross. Names written adjacent.

I don't know whether I'll ever have the chance to reuse these name tags all together, but I have kept them nonetheless. A little magic of Christmas 2011 kept for remembrance.

Friday, 6 January 2012


As I mentionned yesterday, we spent a few days in Canterbury. We had such a lovely time there, even though it was rather unexpected. We had indeed planned to spend more time in Whitstable, but this was not meant to be. Canterbury is a lovely place and we look forward to going back in the summer to enjoy it with a bit of sunshine. Can't say we were very lucky on that side of things! The sky was low and grey, not the best for holiday pics. At least we didn't have as much wind as we are having now, I thought the house might be uprooted last night! Not a pleasant feeling being in bed, lying down, wondering what damage we'll find in the garden. Anyway, back to Canberbury and it's wonderful cathedral. Please enjoy the photos!

You can just about see the off shore wind farms in the distance in the last photo. I find them beautiful, pleasing in more ways than one, not just esthaetically, but as a reminder of our need for more sustainable energy. Kent, I'll be back!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Hello twenty twelve

It’s the 5th January 2012. How did this even happen. Christmas came and went in a flash, and so did our new year celebrations. It’s Day 3 of being back at work and I just wish we could go back 10 days. Oh yes it was crazy. Hosting Christmas lunch is not an easy task when you live in a small house, have limited working surfaces, and are a manic perfectionist. The last point especially might keep you up all night (not that it did really, I’m too much of a sleeping monster beauty for that).

Christmas was a resounding success and I’m ever so pleased everyone had a good time. I’m even more pleased my nan could make it and was able to enjoy our new home, our first house. I only wish my granddad was still around to join in the fun. Ah, life…

Since then, we have enjoyed time in the house on our own and it’s been so lovely. Mr PF was back at work last week and I spent my time doing house chores. Boring at times, but oh so necessary. Necessary so that when we both eventually went back to work, we wouldn’t have a mountain of ironing to face or all those niggly little things that needed doing. Sewing was done, a curtain was shortened, a futon cover was placed. I now have a new list of things that need doing in the house, but these are items that can be addressed this year, in 2012. No rush.

New year celebrations were enjoyed in Kent, not far from the coast. We did intend to stay by the sea, but a rather disappointing b&b let us down and we decided to pack our bags and find something better. We’ve had such encounters before, but we’ve grown up since, and we have the courage to pack up and go. It was a blessing in disguise really, because we ended up spending a wonderful couple of days in Canterbury. Huge tasty breakfasts, relaxing walks in town, cultural visits, yummy dinners.

A good start to the year it was. Fun and relaxing. I feel loved and that’s an amazing thing to have. This year is going to be a good one, I can feel it. I’m not one for resolutions, but I do like to have grand ideas to live by (listen to me, I sound like a right prat now). So what do I want in 2012? Lots of good times, happy times. Fun to be had at a couple of concerts lined up already, a trip to a good friend in Switzerland, a possible visit to family over in the States, the London Olympics, the wedding of one of my best friends. I want this year to be full of joy, stress-free, content. I would like to get stuck in the garden, make things grow, and possibly even eat the fruits of my labour.

Finally, a happy new year to all of you. I wish you all the best and all that you hope for. Thank you again for being there and reading Petit Filoux. It’s a place which forces me to stop and think. I love writing and this place does allow me to do so now and again (when I have the time!). It encourages me to record all these little daily things which make our lives rich and beautiful. Being a glass half empty kind of person, this is incredibly important. So here’s to 2012 xx