Tag Archives: The Great British Sewing Bee

Signed, Sealed & Well & Truly Delivered!

Smiles & Confetti, Rocking Dog

Smiles & Confetti

I was hoping that on Sunday i’d be compos mentis enough to construct some sort of blog post. Monday came with a day of washing up and putting away (just what do you do with 3ft high lanterns!?). I finally sat down at 9pm to watch The Great British Sewing Bee. There was little chance of me stringing a sentence together, even less stringing together a fitted stretch lace bra!! Tuesday, I am numb with tiredness but determined to write a blog to reflect the truly wonderful day we all enjoyed celebrating Alex & Kylie’s wedding day.

Cooking right up to the line, the girls and I made canape size arancini (saffron and mozzarella risotto balls), baby buttermilk scones and we chopped components for salads. There was bread to collect from Harts (thanks Pete) and a trip to the tipi 35 minutes away before we could get back to the kennel and put our glad rags and war paint on!

Finally, there really was no time left but to get ourselves to the darling little church at Bathampton. The church was full of friends and family, flowers, and a sense of anticipation. Finally it was time for Kylie to walk down the aisle and she looked stunning in a gorgeous Jessica Charleston dress with beautiful lace edged veil. Alex looked pretty dapper too in a Scottish sort of way, with Ancient Ferguson kilt and bespoke tweed jacket and waistcoat. The service was meaningful, and whilst the register was signed good friend Laura sang Etta James’s “At Last”. There were a few damp eyes in the house.

Bells were rung joyously as the couple left the church and then Kylie and guests were given the surprise of 20 or so pipers and drummers spilling into the churchyard playing “Highland Cathedral”. Rose petal confetti rained down on the couple together with happy greetings as they left the church. A short walk over the canal followed to where the Tipi awaited them.

Pimms was served in tiny milk bottles whilst guests enjoyed basking in the late May sunshine. Arancini, baby scones complete with strawberries and clotted cream, and dinky Melton Mowbray pies delighted the guests. Entertaining alfresco speeches followed. There was a lovely melt your heart speech from Kylie’s dad, heartfelt one from Alex and then one from each of the best men. Andyman based his speech on Alex’s injuries over the years and he presented Kylie with a comprehensive First Aid Kit and a baton, saying he was handing over the baton of responsibility to her now! Phil, a school friend of Alex’s completed the quartet of speeches, and I have to say it was remarkably clean!

Food followed – Italy meets England.

Starter: tree trunk boards with a selection of salami’s and Lonza from Italy, Pecorino, Fresh pesto, aged balsamic, “our” olive oil, sun blush tomatoes, olives and buffalo mozzarella. Hart’s sourdough with olives, and raisins & fennel.

Main: Chicken Cacciatore (Hunter’s Chicken), Farro salad with roast Mediterranean veg and fresh herbs, Panzanella (Tuscan tomato & bread salad), Jersey Royal baby potato salad with fresh asparagus and peas with creme fraiche and fried shallots.

Woodland dessert table: Black Forest Gateaux, Salted caramel and chocolate ganache mini kilner jars, Baroque meringues with gold leaf and crystallised violets, Lime and ginger cheesecakes, vanilla panna cotta’s in porcelain cups, white & dark chocolate brownie, Billionaire bars, British strawberries, rhubarb in dessert wine.

Coffee: Coffee & Tea table with soft sour cherry amaretti, Italian nougat and ricciarelli

The lovely Commonwealth long jumper medallist Jazmin Sawyers sang and played guitar whilst we ate. That girl is truly multi talented!

Food eaten, evening guests arrived, cake cut (Fruit tier, Carrot cake tier and Lime and Pistachio all encased in a zingy lemon buttercream) it was now time to dance the night away! The motown band (whose name currently eludes me!) were amazing and I am so pleased that Lionel didn’t turn up. However, I cannot believe that Gary Barlow did a “pop up” in Bristol’s Cabot Circus at the weekend…. I should have asked Gary!!!

The free bar and dancing continued until midnight in the atmospheric fairylit tipi. It was all very magical… but over all too quickly!

It really was a Perfect Day. Now that it is signed, sealed and truly delivered it’s time to say Enough, enough now!

Oscar Style Thank you’s.
A million thanks to all those who helped in any way before, during and after the big day. Thank you to retired vicar Canon Richard Hunt who led the marriage service and made Alex and Kylie “Mr and Mrs”. Rob, thank you for reading 1 Corinthians 13 so eloquently. Thanks to Ushers, Best Men and Bridesmaids together with Jovan, the cutest of kilted page boys who carried out their roles so beautifully. Further thanks to all those who sang, played or did both so brilliantly at the service, in the churchyard, and in the tipi. Music really does help to make wedding memories, together with wearing out shoe leather on the dance floor!

Special thanks to Dom, Jess and Lorraine, you were all simply amazing. More thanks go to the gorgeous waiting and bar staff, and all those folk who helped set up, and more depressingly clear up. Steve’s special recipe burgers certainly helped with the “final push”!

Thank you to suppliers who dealt with Kylie and Alex. Buffalo Tipis were brilliant – friendly, flexible and accommodating as were the staff at The King Edward’s Pavilion. Thank you. Prestige, Alex particularly appreciated the cutlery… the cutlery-phobe that he is! Hart’s, all the individual Umbrian producers, Bristol Fruit and Vegetable market and the lovely Keith at Costco thank you for your delicious produce. Thanks for the fig and vine leaves reaped from your walled garden Graeme and Scott- those little details made all the difference!

My girls Sorrel and Liv’, were culinary mega-stars, as was my lovely friend Sian. How civilised Sian to encourage us to take regular tea breaks and a proper lunch break! We whipped, whisked, chopped, roasted, simmered and planned the food for the 120 guests. It was quite a feat.

There are more who helped with the gorgeous table plan, invitations and a range of other wedding paraphernalia, thank you so much for your creativity. The florist who traded flower power for hair do’s did a great job, getting up in amongst those tipi posts must have been somewhat ladder teetering! Thank you to my friend Steph who lent me her dressmakers dummy, I felt you at my shoulder willing me on with the baffling task of coat making. I love you. Talking of creativity, thank you to Paige Courtney who took over 2,000 photo’s so unobtrusively throughout the wedding day and evening. How lovely not to have had a two hour photo session before muscling in on the canapes! You were great!

Thank you to guests who came to celebrate the nuptials and enjoy the after party. Weddings are expensive to attend, especially where long journeys, hen and stag do’s (!) and accommodation (together with a pair of Manolo’s) are involved. We appreciate your being there for Kylie and Alex.

Big thanks go to Debi and Steve who really moved heaven and earth to realise the couples vision for their wedding and post ceremony party. Enjoy your well deserved holiday in the knowledge that we all did good!!

As all those teary Oscar style thank you’s go, i’m sorry if i’ve left anyone out… it’s certainly not intentional. Lastly, the final thank you has got to go to the sun….you were truly warm and amazing… your glowing brilliant outfit was definitely the red carpet showstopper! X

Flower Boys! The Ushers, Rocking Dog

Flower Boys! The Ushers

Bridal Party, Rocking Dog

Bridal Party

Cute Kilted Page, Rocking Dog

Cute Kilted Page

Surprise Pipes & Drums, Rocking Dog

Surprise Pipes & Drums

The Speeches, Rocking Dog

The Speeches

Antipasti, Rocking Dog

Antipasti

Woodland Cake Table, Rocking Dog

Woodland Cake Table

Happy Times, Rocking Dog

Happy Times

On The Dance Floor, Rocking Dog

On The Dance Floor

Dealing With Domesticities In The Rocking Dog Kennel

Hanging Washing Umbrian Style, Rocking Dog

Hanging Washing Umbrian Style

The sun has been shining and I have been dealing with domesticities in the Rocking Dog Kennel! One of my great pleasures in life is to hang out washing, and believe it or not there are a few of us about! I think there is always the promise of sweet smelling wrinkle free laundry after a day on the line. I also love the sound of the pegs clanking into the enamel pail. Where this bucket came from has been lost in the mists of time. Most probably it was picked up at the flea market in the beautiful city of Nijmegen when we were living just over the border in Germany 30 years ago. Dating from the early 1900’s its original purpose was as a vegetable bucket. No fridges, plastic boxes pre-cut, pre-peeled cellophane’d bags for these hardy Dutch folk.

I even like photographing washing on lines whenever I travel. How bizarre to see laundry hung against the mellow walls of an ancient water lapped Venetian palazzo or strung against a brightly coloured fisherman’s house in Burano. I loved the washing hung between gnarled olive trees in the garden at the agriturismo in Orvieto two Novembers ago. Hanging washing in Hambrook doesn’t feel quite so romantic by comparison.

Though I love hanging washing, and get great joy from folding washing I am not the greatest fan of ironing. The paper on our bedroom wall pays homage to ironing, and every morning for the last fifteen years or so I have loved waking up to the domestic images. A can of starch and a good tv drama make the task of ironing somewhat more bearable.

On Friday I had a wonderful man here to sort Beloved Bernina, she certainly wasn’t sewing her best. I can really recommend Mark of Cathedral Sewing Machines. Apparently despite the popularity of sewing there are so few sewing machine service/repair engineers left. We discussed The Great British Sewing Bee and how the programme effects his business. Suddenly people remember a long forgotten Singer treadle machine in the attic, and need it sorted to zig zag, hem, baste and smock. Thankfully beloved Bernina is back on best form and ready to deal with table runners, waiters aprons, wigwam and …. THE wedding coat! There are also some Christmas projects to complete for a pitch. Thank you Mark for weaving your sewing machine magic. Busy times ahead!

Friday night I cooked a simple curry for house guests. I was very indecisive regarding a pudding so I arranged strawberries, blueberries, chocolate covered figs, cantucci, cream and crushed praline meringues on a board. I just said “Dive in” and people did… a dessert in moments. What a lazy cook I am becoming!

Whatever the week brings for you I hope there’s the sun and inclination to hang out a little bit of laundry!

The Venetian Way, Rocking Dog

The Venetian Way

Laundry In Burano...Rocking Dog

Laundry In Burano…

..& In Hambrook!, Rocking Dog

..& In Hambrook!

Vintage Laundry, Rocking Dog

Vintage Laundry

Peg Bucket, Rocking Dog

Peg Bucket

Wash Day Wallpaper

Wash Day Wallpaper

Pretty Ironing Pile, Rocking Dog

Pretty Ironing Pile

Beloved Bernina!, Rocking Dog

Beloved Bernina!

Throw Together Pud'!, Rocking Dog

Throw Together Pud’!

Flo Jo Boutique- Like A Kiddy In A Sweet Shop!

Excited about the holiday bag, Rocking Dog

Excited about the holiday bag

The Paper Cut Out Girls are looking forward to the completion of the next batch of drawstring bags- ideal for their hol’s in the Costa del Sol! Flamenco dancers, castanets, sunbathing, Martini’s, sun hats and fun!

Rocking Dog went in search of lining fabric for these bags. Flo-Jo Boutique on Gloucester Road, Bristol is fantastic. It is a tiny emporium of wonderful fabrics, ribbons, haberdashery, and gorgeous all year around Madonnaesque Christmas decorations. Friendly, happy and helpful staff make this a sewers paradise. Flo-Jo also run a variety of sewing workshops including knicker making in a lovely stylish sewing space.

So my bags are going to sport linings of delicious postage stamp print fabric. Of course it was impossible to leave Flo-Jo without a little something else… A perennial bargain spotter I found a lovely remnant of 50’s fashionista fabric. No plans yet for it, but I know it will come in useful one day very soon.

The girls at Flo-Jo are bracing themselves for the hoped for rush when The Great British Sewing Bee returns tonight. How I love a bit of sewing porn! Apparently sales of sewing machines rocketed in John Lewis during series 1 and 2.

Incidentally, Gloucester Road is often held up as a shining example of a thriving high street which has successfully dealt with recession, threats of superstores and the Mayor’s zeal to bring in permit only parking. It boasts a wonderful array of independent shops. My personal favourites include Murrays the butchers, Gardner’s Patch (fruit and veg), Reason (vintage loveliness for the home), Grape & Grind (wines, beers) The Bread store, and Clic (fab Charity shop). I always love Coffee 1 for great coffee and cake. Thankfully retail chains are few on the ground. Long may this street be vibrant and proudly independent!

Fabulous Flo-Jo's, Rocking Dog

Fabulous Flo-Jo’s

Ribbons galore!, Rocking Dog

Ribbons galore!

Sexy sewing space!, Rocking Dog

Sexy sewing space!

50's Fashionista, Rocking Dog

50’s Fashionista