A beachcomber’s paradise

Our summer holiday came late again this year.  Plucked from England’s wintery world and placed in the south coast of Spain, I was able to indulge in a favourite pastime: beachcombing. My ever-patient husband was, as usual, unable to hold hands as we walked along the shoreline, as mine clutched a stash of beach-combed treasures.…

Sumptuous silks and gold brocade

The windowsills of the House at Nab End have been draped with an ever-changing selection of coloured and patterned squares of fabric, while I’ve poured over magazines, pattern books and swatches, choosing fabrics for curtains and blinds.  Every room is in need of window dressing, and this is a house of many windows, so the…

Conjuring in the kitchen – best ever banana bread

The thing I love most about baking is the almost alchemical process that goes on inside the oven: the fact that what comes out bears absolutely no resemblance to what went in.  It’s like creating magic in the kitchen. Banana bread has to be the ultimate example of this, transforming by far the most unpromising…

Medicinal meadowsweet – a visit to the Dancing Dolphin, Skye

We pulled up at a croft by the shore of Broadford Bay and stepped out under the benevolent gaze of Beinn NaCaillich. The old woman was cloaked in grey fog, as if drawing a thick shawl around herself for protection from the mizzle.  We, on the other hand, found solace from the damp inside the…

Lighting the fires at the House at Nab End

The chill in the air that causes the leaves to turn now prompts us to turn on the heating. Over the summer months two new woodburning stoves have stood in the downstairs rooms, like friendly black Labradors, expectant and eagerly waiting command from their masters. Lighting small fires to begin (in order to bake the…