Saturday, 19 April 2014



Easter weekend….

 With a lovely houseful of family….

A Spring menu of recipes planned…

And of course….chocolate!


From my home to yours…..wishing you a very 
Happy Easter weekend!

Sophia xx

Thursday, 17 April 2014



The French 'Armoire', originally used for storing weapons, but now a beautifully, romantic addition to the home and the perfect stylish, storage solution….

Used by generations for storing linens beautifully…

A well organised linen collection is a sight to behold, too good to hide behind closed doors….

A beautiful place to display...

Bedroom, landing, drawing-room or kitchen….

A stunning and versatile piece of furniture….

Ahh, the Armoire… you share my love?


On countdown now for the lovely long Easter weekend….

Sophia xx

Monday, 14 April 2014



Happy Monday everyone!

These gorgeous Parrot tulips from the garden are gracing my desk this morning, and certainly brightening my start to the week….with their big, blowsy, frilly, glamorous looks….bringing a stunning start to the week!

With a busy schedule ahead, working on a couple of new client design projects, this is where you will find me for most of the day….and enjoying my beautiful tulips!  


Wishing you a lovely week ahead, whatever you have planned?

Sophia xx

Friday, 11 April 2014



All my children are Spring babies, and so we have had a month of birthday celebrations!
Our eldest son and daughter celebrated theirs in March, and today it is the turn of our youngest son who is celebrating his 20th birthday!  


I can't believe that I no longer have any teenagers and they are all so grown up….where did the time go!  I imagine many of you know that feeling?

With all our three living and working in London, it is always a treat to have them home with us for the weekend in Kent…..and even more special, when they want to invite a crowd of their friends too to stay, and share their celebrations with Mum and Dad!  (could it be the food and wine on offer we wonder…ha ha?!)

So, we have a dozen 'young' to stay tonight and arriving in time for dinner….the table in set, a relaxed menu of a selection of curries is cooked, birthday cake is made and the drinks are on ice!

Patch is a singer songwriter (you can here him here!) and his friends are a talented, interesting and fun bunch of creative young people and we always look forward to their company….

It promises to be a fun night, and no doubt there will be a song or two sung at the end of the evening!


Wishing you a very happy weekend!

Sophia xx

Thursday, 10 April 2014



After the comfort food of winter, Spring signals the need for something lighter. 
I adore the fresh, vibrant flavours of Vietnamese cooking, so when I came across this recipe in a new Easter 'Waitrose' supplement, I had to give it a try last weekend.  

Vietnamese-style Salmon…..marinaded in a delicious mix including chilli, garlic, ginger and coriander….it is also easy and therefore perfect for entertaining as well as for an everyday treat.  Accompanied by a Vietnamese noodle salad, packed with herbs and crunchy raw vegetables, it is a healthy, zingy dish to awaken the tastebuds!

Vietnamese-Style Salmon

1kg side of salmon

For the marinade
1 red chilli, finely sliced 
a thumb-sized piece of ginger grated
a few springs of coriander, chopped
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 small clove of garlic, minced
1 tbsp groundnut oil or vegetable oil
1 tbsp fish sauce

For the sauce
100g sugar
1 tbsp water
3 tbsp fish sauce
zest and juice of one lime

For the salad
6 shallots, sliced very finely
4 tbsp groundnut or vegetable oil
150g dry fine rice noodles, cooked to packet instructions
2 medium carrots, cut into fine matchsticks
1/2 a small cucumber, deseeded and cut into fine matchsticks
a decent bunch of coriander picked from the stalk
a decent bunch of mint picked from the stalk
juice of one lime
1 tbsp fish sauce
a handful of peanuts crushed
a few sliced chillies to serve on the side (!)

Preheat the oven to 180c then gently mix the marinade ingredients together in a bowl.  Place the salmon skin-side down on a foil-lined roasting tray and spread the mixture over its flesh.  Leave marinating for at least one hour.

Make the sticky caramelised sauce by melting the sugar and water together in a heavy-bottomed pan.  Heat but don't stir as the sugar caramelises to a light golden colour, then quickly as the sugar is likely to burn, add the fish sauce and lime juice.  Set aside to cool a little, and then pour over the marinated salmon.

Pop into the oven for 20-25 minutes until the fish is cooked.

In a small frying pan, fry the shallots for the salad in the oil until they turn deep golden.  Fish out with a slotted spoon and set to cool on a piece of kitchen paper.

Assemble the salad by placing all the other ingredients (bar the peanuts) together in a large bowl.  Squeeze over the lime, drizzle with fish sauce, top with a scattering of peanuts and crispy shallots then serve next to the hot, sticky salmon.

Bon app├ętit!


Hope you are having a lovely week!

Sophia xx

Monday, 7 April 2014


 Good morning everyone, how was your weekend?   A happy one I hope!

After a fun evening out with friends on Friday evening, it was 'action stations' in the garden the rest of the weekend.  In fact, apart from our recent lovely ski break, it has been 'action stations' for a few weeks now!  We are determined to get on top of all the weeds before they set in, and have been hard at work doing this, and then mulching every bed in sight with huge deliveries of compost.  Not a girl's ideal pampering, glamorous weekend….but  hey, it has to be done!  I am looking forward to getting all this finished, so I can concentrate on the more creative and aesthetic side of gardening!

However, we took a little break from this first thing on Saturday morning, when we visited the first of several much anticipated sales at a local wholesale nursery.   Having had the investment of creating a two acre formal garden from scratch over the last five years from basically a car park  and paddocks on a former equestrian sight, these sales have been invaluable to us…..especially when it comes to beautiful but expensive topiary!

 Any of you who love boxwood, will know how addictive it can become.  Once you start to edge beds with box hedging, punctuate areas with a box ball here and another one there, anywhere else in the garden without any just looks bare and unfinished….and before you know it, you have a full on addiction!  

A number of box balls immediately made their way on to my trolley….

While my husband who is nicknamed 'Tree Man' in the family, made a beeline for some more fruit trees for the orchard.

In past sales, we have bought beautiful Rhododendrons, trays of Lavender, various hedging plants and trees, all at fantastic prices….

So, did I manage to control myself?
Well not too bad for me (although others would disagree!) but it did get to the point where there was no way that eighteen box balls and four trees were going to fit in the car, so the lovely nursery owners kindly delivered my 'treasure' on Saturday evening….

Now forget the backbreaking weeding and mulching…. this is my kind of gardening!  The kind to set my heart aflutter, and want to create a beautiful 'picture' in a new area of the garden…..

Beautiful box….

Does anyone else share my passion?
I would love to hear!

Wishing you a very happy start to the week!

Sophia xx

Wednesday, 2 April 2014



It is always uplifting to find a wonderful new fragrance….

 An instant love for this gorgeous new scented candle, filling the kitchen with its fresh, clean, fragrance….'Wild mint, Peppermint and White Tea'….the perfect 'culinary' aroma.

A lovely surprise in the post from my children, as a slightly belated Mother's day gift since returning from our remote mountain retreat, where 'shopping' was a little thin on the ground!

Along with 'White Lavender' home spray, a delicious blend of Lavender, Neroli and Lemon…gorgeous spritzed on freshly laundered sheets I am thinking….


Feeling loved and spoilt!

For these fragrant treats and more…..


Sophia xx