zaterdag 27 februari 2010

The very pink of perfection

To me pink is to me one of the best colours there is. It's the colour of candyfloss, the roses in our garden, breathtaking sunsets and my favourite floral teacups. The last couple of months I collected the pictures I show you today. Just to inspire me. I hope they do the same to you!

Photo 1 Design is mine, photo 2, 3, 4, 7 to 11 Flickr,  photo 5, 6 Style me pretty

woensdag 24 februari 2010

Bedside flowers

Het duurt nu niet lang meer. De lente komt er echt aan. De dagen worden langer, de eerste sneeuwklokjes verschijnen tussen het gebladerte door en het lijkt wel alsof het geluid van de vogels toeneemt. Ik heb geprobeerd om een klein beetje van dat 'lentegevoel' in ons huis te laten terugkomen. Nog niet met paasversieringen, maar door her en der wat vaasjes met voorjaarsbloemen te plaatsen. Zo ook in de slaapkamers.

Misschien hebben jullie er ook last van, maar er zijn van die dagen dat ik ik maar niet kan beslissen waar ik mijn bloemen neerzet. In de voorkamer op de salontafel, toch op de schouw, in de achterkamer op de eettafel of in de slaapkamer. Je kan er maar druk mee zijn :-)!

Spring is fast approaching. The days are longer, the first snowdrops have shown their heads and it looks as if there is more birdsong outside. I have been trying to bring a little bit of that spring feeling inside our home. Not with Easter decorations, but with little bunches of flowers. I even put some in the bedrooms.

I don't know if it sounds familiar to you, but there are days when I just can't decide where I want to put my flowers.....Do I put them on the glass table in the sitting room, on the black marble  fireplace, the big table in the dining room, or on our little bedside table? When I am in such a mood, you can see me walking around the house with a vase full of flowers in my arms :-) Luckily I don't have such a mood too often.....   

Winter garden by Sheryl Magic-Lady

In winter's cold and sparkling snow,
The garden in my mind does grow.
I look outside to blinding white,
And see my tulips blooming bright.
And over there a sweet carnation,
Softly scents my imagination.

On this cold and freezing day,
The Russian sage does gently sway,
And miniature roses perfume the air,
I can see them blooming there.
Though days are short, my vision's clear.
And through the snow, the buds appear.

In my mind, clematis climbs,
And morning glories do entwine.
Woodland phlox and scarlet pinks,
Replace the frost, if I just blink.
My inner eye sees past the snow.
And in my mind, my garden grows.

zondag 21 februari 2010

The little cupcake bakery

Nog niet zo lang geleden heb ik in Engeland een geweldig kookboek (eigenlijk meer een bakboek) gekocht,  dat ik graag met jullie wil delen. Het is het kookboek van de Hummingbird Bakery, inmiddels een begrip in Londen. Deze bakerij staat niet alleen bekend om zijn heerlijke cupcakes, maar ook om zijn andere zoete lekkernijen zoals Blondie's, Blueberry muffins en coconut merinque cake. Vorige week zijn wij, de meiden van 'The little cupcake factory' (zie foto 4), voor het eerst met de recepten uit het boek aan de slag gegaan. We kozen voor 'Vanilla cupcakes' met een vanille glazuur. Allereerst hebben wij bij de toko een grootverpakking poedersuiker, levensmiddelenkleurstof en een flinke collectie sprinkles gekocht. Daarna schort om, bakken en versieren maar. De twee oudste meiden van The little cupcake bakery zijn enthousiaste bak- en versiersters, maar de oudste heeft niet zo heel veel met bakken. Zij heeft als belangrijke taak om alle baksels te testen op hun smaak en uiterlijk. De cupcakes kregen de classificatie 'verukkelijk'!! Wanneer jullie de cupcakes zelf willen proberen, volgt hieronder het recept. Veel bakplezier!

A short while ago I bought a beautiful cookbook (more a baking book), which I would like to share with you. It is the cookbook of the The Hummingbird Bakery, an American bakery situated in London (Notting Hill). They are known for their pies, cakes, muffins, but especially their cupcakes. Last week the girls from 'The little cupcake factory' and I, tried our first recipe 'Vanilla cupcakes with a vanilla frosting'.

We first we went to a toko, to buy huge quantities of icing sugar, sprinkles and food colouring. After that we put on our aprons and started baking and decorating. The two youngest girls are keen bakers and decorateurs, but the eldest girl doesn't like working in a kitchen that much. She has the important task to be our head 'taster'. The cakes were classified as 'extremely tasty'! So if you want to try them out, you can find the recipe below.

Vanilla cupcakes (makes about 18 normal sized cupcakes)

120 gr plain flour, 140 gr caster sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, a pinch of salt, 40 gr unsalted butter at room temperature, 120ml whole milk, 1 egg, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 quantity Vanilla Frosting (see below), sprinkles, a 12 hole cupcake tray and paper cases.

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celcius or 325 degrees fahrenheit, gas 3

Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined. Gradually pour in half the milk and beat until the milk is just incorporated.

Whisk the egg, vanilla extract and remaining milk together in a separate bowl for a few seconds, then pour into the flour mixture and continue beating until just incorporated (scrape any unmixed ingredient from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Continue mixing for a couple more minutes until the mixture is smooth. Do not overmix!

Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until light golden and the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the Vanilla Frosting on top and decorate with sprinkles.

Vanilla frosting (enough for about 18 normal sized cupcakes)

250 gr icing sugar (sifted), 80 gr unsalted butter at room temperature, 25ml whole milk, a couple of drops of vanilla extract, food colouring (if you want to give the icing some colour).

Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a free standing electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a hand-held electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Turn the mixer down to slow speed. Combine the milk and the vanilla extract in a separate bowl, then add to the butter mixture a couple of tablespoons at a time. Once all the milk has been incorporated, turn the mixer up to high speed. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. The longer the frosting is beaten, the fluffier and lighter it becomes.

woensdag 17 februari 2010

Protection against the cold

It just doesn't stop snowing. I can't remember ever having this much snow in Holland before! Although I am looking forward to spring, I can still enjoy the beauty of the 'white carpet' around me. Snow always invites me to go out, and that is exactly what my husband and I did last weekend. We walked through town, to the museumpark, an area of Rotterdam where several museums are situated. We visited the Chabot house and the Sonneveld house. Two white villa's dating back to the 1930s. They are both an example of  the 'Nieuwe Bouwen' style. Characteristic of this style is space, transparency and light. Nowadays the Chabot house is used for exhibitions. The Sonneveld house is a museum house. Which means that it is filled with furniture from the 1930s. It looks as if the people who lived there just left. If you like Gispen furniture it's definetely the place to be!!

You will probably be thinking 'why this title'? I will explain. Yesterday I received an envelope from Germany. When I think of the contents it still brings a smile to my face. Inside was a little pink bag, a tiara and.......a matching 'pink' nosewarmer! The nosewarmer is the prototype of Dr Evelina Unikumosa, better known as Eve from Unikum! Dear Eve, thank you so much! I never expected you to do something so crazy! Your prototype is excellent (although it tickles a bit) :-). I think you can definitely take it into production. Because today it's the last day of carnival, I will show you a photo of myself wearing the nose warmer, but only for one day..... My nose looks like that of an elephant in it! To assure you that I  normally am a very sane person, I posted another photo as well! For more information about the nose warmer, please have a look at Eve's blog. On her blog she tells more about it, and gives a short demonstration! ;-) Eve, you are a great sport!!!

To speak with Dr. Evelina's words: 'Froehlich sein - und bleiben, vermeidet Truebsal, Sorgen und Leiden'

Wish you all a happy, sunny and jolly day!

Lieve groet, Madelief

zaterdag 13 februari 2010


Afgelopen woensdag was ik in de kringloopwinkel om een flinke doos met oud keukengerei en glaswerk weg te brengen. Uiteindelijk kwam ik er weer met drie theekopjes uit. Tot nu toe lukt het mij niet om zonder iets te kopen uit de kringloopwinkel te lopen.... Hebben jullie dat nu ook?

De theekopjes passen perfect bij mijn andere brocante theekopjes. Een aantal kopjes zien jullie in de de sidebar van mijn blog staan. Van Fifi van Fifi Flowers kreeg ik onlangs een tekening van mijn kopjes cadeau. Deze tekening zien jullie op de bovenste foto. Fifi maakt prachtige kleurrijke schilderijtjes met Franse taferelen. Ze zijn een lust voor het oog. Lieve Fifi, nogmaals ontzettend bedankt!

Gisteren ontving ik van Catherine van Le Monde de Catherine drie mooie cadeaus die ik heb gewonnen met haar giveaway; een emaille klok en plaatje en een beeldig oud schriftje. Ik ben er zo blij mee!! Lieve Catherine, ook jij enorm bedankt! Voor diegenen die Catherine's blog nog niet kennen; neem een kijkje! Catherine woont in Normandie, dichtbij de zee en de tuinen van Monet. Op haar blog laat Catherine ons meegenieten van de prachtige omgeving waarin zij woont, haar liefde voor brocante &  haar prachtige baksels!!!

Een heel fijn valentijnsweekend allemaal! Lieve groet, Madelief

Last Wednesday I went to the thrift store, to bring some old kitchen utensils and glassware. I had done some serious spring cleaning and clearing up. As usual I did not get out of the store empty handed! I just don't manage....Do you recognise it? This time I bought three lovely floral teacups. I am so happy with them. They match my other brocante teacups perfectly. You can see three of them in the sidebar of my blog.

Fifi from Fifi Flowers recently gave me a painting of three of my teacups as a present, when I ordered one of her beautiful paintings. You can see it on the first picture. Isn't it pretty?! Fifi makes the most amazing bright coloured paintings with a 'French touch'. They are so sunny & pretty! They always make me smile. Dearest Fifi, thank you so much again!! Your are sweet :-)!

The same applies to Catherine from the blog Le Monde du Catherine. I recently won her give-away. Yesterday a big parcel arrived all the way from France, containing an lovely enamel clock and vintage plate and an old notebook. Catherine, I am so happy with your presents! I will use your notebook to write and draw details in about my garden. The enamel plate has found a permanent place on the little table in our bedroom and I will hang the clock in our garden house! Chér Catherine, merci beaucoup, thank you a thousand times xoxo. If you haven't seen Catherine's blog yet, please take a look. It's lovely! Catherine lives in Normandy (France) nearby the sea and the house and gardens of Monet. On her blog Catherine shows us the beautiful country she lives in, her love for brocante and baking! Please take a look!

A Happy Valentine's weekend to you all!

Love, Madelief

woensdag 10 februari 2010

Silver snowflakes

Today something very special happened. Maybe you think I am crazy, but I can assure you I am not :-)! As I was walking through Delft, tiny silver snowflakes fell from the sky. It's unbelievable what a bit of sunlight can do to an ice crystal. It was so pretty! I can't remember having seen it before. It was just as if glitter was scattered from the sky! Unfortunately I did not manage to take a picture of it. 

However, I did  take some photos of the canals, the Old church, the New church and the 'Prinsenhof'. The Prinsenhof was the residence of William of Orange, a big statesman who was the main leader of the Dutch revolt against the Spanish that set of the eighty years war and resulted in the forming of the United Provinces in 1648. William was murdered in The Prinsenhof (pictures 6 to 10). You can still see the bullet holes in the wall!

In a thrift store I found three beautiful floral teacups, which I will show you soon. I also bought two beautiful black 'ART' wintercoats. My intention was to buy only one, but I just could not decide.....As the price was  low, I finally decided to take them both! I haven't regretted my decision so far. It must have been my lucky day today! I hope you had a good day too?!

Lieve groet, Madelief