Lifestyle

This weekend we’ll be….

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Celebrating Easter of course. It’s a four-day weekend, so that’s a lot of time to fill. And, if you have children, you’ll have the school holidays, which means you have a LOT of time to fill. Here are some ideas for the weekend…

Falling: in love with Andrew Montgomery‘s exquisite pictures of the British countryside from Jasper Conran’s book Country. I adore this picture of rolling farmland in the mist. Although this one is also rather beautiful. Don’t you just love summer in Britain?

Country MistyLane

default-920Hunting: for an Easter Egg. In aid of Action for Children, Lindt has organised a nationwide Egg hunt. Last stop is London, where until the 7th April, eggs will be hidden in Covent Garden. Designed by artists including Sam Taylor-Wood, Billie Childish and Anna Barlow, the 101 eggs are being auctioned on line. If you can’t make the hunt, but still want an egg, then bid now! Other Easter egg hunts are happening in the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh on Sunday, River Cottage, Devon and Wisley Gardens, Surrey – to name but a few!

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Loving:
 these looks for spring. How great does number one look? It was shot last spring, so the clothes are no longer available, but just to show that you don’t have to spend a fortune to look stylish, they’re from H&M, Blanco and Zara….

Learning: how to speak Swedish

Staying in: and watching Jennifer Lawrence (aka the girl who can do no wrong and everyone’s would-be new bf) in Silver Linings Playbook. Sparky, intelligent, with real chemistry and quippy banter between the two leads (Lawrence and Bradley Cooper). They’re both recovering from mental breakdowns – and bond via the medium of dance. Yep. It’s fabulous. (And, yep, I am sufficiently old school to buy DVDS.)

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Reading: The beautiful The Bunny Who Found Easter by Charlotte Zolotow to our favourite little people. Whimsical, delicate watercolours, and a charming tale. Little wonder it’s been in print for over 40 years.

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We’ll be perusing Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook, It’s All Good. Now, we have a preview copy and we can confirm it is low on carbs (nay, they are non-existent) and high on health. But, do you know what, that’s actually a lot in there we want to cook. We kid you not. Gwyneth, you can have us over for supper any day. We’ll bring the wine. (It’s published on 4th April, but in the meantime, check out a few recipes to see if it’s your cup of (green) tea, here

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Baking: hot cross buns. So not what Gwyneth would make. But totally delicious. Want to try your hand at making them? The Guardian’s Dan Lepard actually makes it look rather easy. Okay, possible. Even for people who have The Fear about baking. (Like me.) FYI: if The Fears gets you, we are reliably informed that Sainsburys Taste the Difference extra fruity hot cross buns definitely won’t make you cross.

Hot cross buns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dan Lepard’s Hot Cross Buns

Ingredients

150ml cider at room temperature
1 7g sachet fast-action yeast
75g wholemeal flour
150g double cream
4 tsp mixed spice
2 medium eggs
50g honey
300g mixed dried fruit
400g strong white flour
25g cornflour1 tsp salt
Oil for kneading

For the cross:
150g plain flour
50ml sunflower oil
125ml water

For the spice glaze:
½ tsp mixed spice
25g caster sugar

Method
Mix the cider, yeast and wholemeal flour in a bowl and leave to bubble for 30 minutes. In a saucepan, whisk the cream, spice, egg and honey, put over a low heat and stir until just warm. Pour into the yeast mix and add the dried fruit. In another bowl, stir the flour, cornflour and salt, add the yeast mixture, combine to a soft, sticky dough and leave for 10 minutes.

Lightly oil a worktop, and gently knead the dough for 10 seconds. Return to the bowl, cover and leave somewhere warm for an hour, until risen slightly. Divide into 12 roughly 100g pieces, shape into balls and put on a tray lined with nonstick paper. Cover and leave to rise somewhere warm until almost doubled.

Mix the cross ingredients and spoon into a piping bag with a plain 0.75cm nozzle. Heat the oven to 220C (200C fan-assisted)/425F/gas mark 7, pipe crosses on the buns and bake for 15-18 minutes. Remove and leave until almost cool. Boil the spice, sugar and 25ml water until syrupy, brush over the buns and they’re ready to roll.

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Coveting: perfume, a candle, anything from Byredo, the niche Swedish perfume house. My very stylish friend Lucy was wearing one of their scents when I saw her this week. It smelt ridiculously divine. Nice packaging too.

 

 

 

 

 

Checking out: Rachel Johnson’s sitting room. Not in real life (we wish), but here. Come on, admit it. Who isn’t fascinated by the Johnson family? And, on a blindingly shallow note, my first thoughts on seeing her on this week’s Boris documentary was, doesn’t she have great hair?

Pondering: what will happen to the Touch-Screen Generation. As mothers of I-Pad loving toddlers, we can’t wait to read this!

Re-watching: Ant and Dec do Let’s Get Ready to Rumble on last week’s Saturday Night Takeaway. They are the kings of Saturday night TV.

Loving: the longer evenings. Clocks change on Sunday!

IMAGES: Andrew Montgomery; Lindt; Carola Fingerhut; Harper’s Bazaar; Fashion Based; Amazon;  Colin Campbell for The Guardian

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