Wednesday, 28 December 2011

A healthy, happy new year to all

This Saturday, at the strike of a clock, a fresh start arrives; twelve new months for us to explore. Some of us will choose to get fit, to look for a new challenge, or perhaps vow to spend more time with the family.

What will you be promising and how will you be seeing in the new year? However you plan on celebrating, and whatever your resolutions may be, we wish you the very best of luck.

Happy New Year one and all.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

A festive sweet treat (and Merry Christmas, too!)

We’re in full festive mode here at Roost HQ: anticipating the feasts that the next few days will bring, like turkey and all the trimmings, and plenty of sweet treats!

One of our favourite sweet treats is a Christmassy variation of the classic Rocky Road (it’s actually Nigella Lawson’s own recipe). We’ve tried and tested it, and it’s simply divine! The recipe uses amaretti biscuits rather than digestives, which gives it a bit of a twist, and it’s easy enough to swap the nuts (or other ingredients) if you prefer.

Here’s how to make it:

250g/9oz dark chocolate, chopped
150g/5oz milk chocolate, chopped
175g/6oz butter, softened, plus a little extra for greasing
4 tbsp golden syrup
200g/7oz amaretti biscuits
150g/5oz Brazil nuts
150g/5oz red glacé cherries
125g/4oz mini marshmallows
1 tbsp icing sugar


1. Put the dark and milk chocolate pieces, butter and golden syrup into a heat-proof dish, melt and combine over a low heat.
2. Using a freezer bag, smash up the amaretti biscuits into crumbs of various sizes.
3. Do the same with the Brazil nuts in another bag.
4. Take the pan of melted chocolate mixture off the heat and add the crushed biscuits and nuts.
5. Add the glacé cherries and mini marshmallows, then coat all the ingredients carefully with the chocolate mixture.
6. Grease a suitably sized baking tray and pour the mixture into it. Even out the surface as much as possible.
7. Refrigerate for two hours or until firm enough to cut. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

Have a wonderful Christmas, all!

Recipe from Nigella Lawson's book Feast, published by Chatto & Windus.

Monday, 12 December 2011

The final present dash

’Twas the night before Christmas… almost, believe it or not! With the big day quite literally just around the corner, it’s at this point we check our gift lists (and check them twice!) to make sure nothing has been missed.

Of course, there’s usually one or two presents still to pick up in the mad last dash – that’s why we thought sharing our top five easy gifts, and a few charming wrapping ideas may come in handy. Plus, from pinecone to fallen leaves, some of these rustic wrapping extras can be found at home or in the garden. Happy wrapping!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Baby it's cold outside

Is it just us, or has the temperature dropped all of a sudden? Winter has clearly arrived, and its first frost brings us all the excuse we need to cuddle up in cosy lambswool from top to toe!

Think bedsocks and hottie's all round, and our charming tea cosy, lampshade and cushions will ensure you're home is just as toasty as you, too.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Christmas Pudding...with a twist

If you haven't made your Christmas pudding yet, get started, there is just enough time.

This year we've been experimenting and have come up with this delicious recipe. We've added a twist of ginger and steeped the fruit in Pedro Ximenez, all thick and syrupy and just like Christmas pudding in a bottle.

200g Raisins
200g Sultanas
200g Currants
50g Stem Ginger, chopped up into small pieces
100g Stone Prunes, chopped
60g Mixed Peel
1 cup Pedro Ximinez
250g Unsalted Butter
Grated rind of 1 x lemon and 1 x orange
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Ginger
Pinch of Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
100 g Finely Chopped Almonds
250g Plain Flour
2 Cups Fresh Breadcrumbs


Place dried fruit (rainins, currants, sultanas, peel, prunes and stem ginger) in a bowl and add the Pedro Ximenez. Leave overnight.

The following day cream the butter with the sugar and grated rind until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time and beat well after each. Stir in fruit, chopped almonds, spice and salt, Sift in flour and bicoarbonate of soda. Finally add breadcrumbs. Form into a bowl and place in a pudding bowl. Add circle of greaseproof paper or parchment to top, then wrap in muslin or unbleached calico and secure tightly with string.

Steam over a pan of boiling water for six hours. Add more water if necessary. Remove and allow to cool competely. Replace cloth with a new one. Leave in a cool dry place.

On Christmas Day, place pudding in a saucepan of boiling water for 2 - 2 1/2 hours before serving with a dollop of Brandy Butter.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Two ways to set the Christmas table

Here at Roost Living, not only are we looking forward to decking the halls, home (and garden!) but we're also thinking about setting the table for a season full of festive get-togethers.

Bird prints and hints of gold are top of mind for us, laying the all-too-expected red tablecloths to rest and paving the way to a more modern supper setting.

How will you be adorning your Christmas table this year?

Feathered Finery

Golden Touch

Monday, 21 November 2011

A little mood lighting goes a long way

If you’re anything like us, you’ll love nothing more than lighting a candle and slipping into the bath for a little ‘me time’ after a long, stressful day – even more so at this time of year, when overtime and the present dash all too often take their toll.

This is exactly when we turn to Sparrow & Co.’s hand-poured candles – with the strike of a match; the bathroom (or any room!) is filled with the sweet scents of coconut, wood smoke, and vanilla (Camp Fire). Notes of sandalwood, patchouli and leather permeate through the air (Drawing Room), and spicy cinnamon, cloves and orange (December) evoke time-old memories of Christmas.

Each one is wrapped in a gift box and adorned with the handwriting of illustrator Debbie Powell – making them simply too divine not to share, too.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

The simplest of statements

As the saying goes, 'less', is invariably so much 'more' - our exact thoughts when we first spotted artisan Shan Valla's collection of minimalist vases.

Each mini vessel takes its inspiration from the patterns and shapes found within handcut glass and crystal decanters. Shan handcrafts them in London, specifically designing them to hold mini flowers. Try clustering them together and dropping in freshly picked blooms from a countryside stroll - we'll be doing just that.

"Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers." Jorge Luis Borges, poet.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Batty about bird prints

Fashion and homeware designers forever return to the beauty of the bird for inspiration. Sparrows decorate jewellery, pigeons rest upon cushions, and finches flutter over crockery - but what is it about these sky-wanderers that we are so drawn to?

Perhaps it’s that more often than not, our feathered friends are seen as a symbol of the soul – soaring free, high up in the sky. Doves have long since represented peace and that old fellow, the magpie, well; he certainly has a lot to answer for!

While we’re having a bit of a birdbrain moment, we thought we’d share a few of our favourite chirpy chaps – which is your favourite?

Monday, 31 October 2011

Gifts for all occasions

Can't quiet believe it's November already? Us, neither!

Heading into the penultimate month of the year can only mean one thing - it's time to start thinking about the gift giving season ahead.

Whether you have a difficult dad, or a mother whom has everything, take a peek through our favourite gift sets - we're sure you'll find just the thing.

For plenty more ideas, head on over to our Gift Sets.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Frightfully Fine Gifts

Whether you’re planning some trick or treating next week or not, why not get into the Halloween spirit and deck the house out with Rory Dobner’s eerie illustrated tiles? Each ceramic artwork features one of his beautifully crafted ink drawings that you can hang or frame. You could even decorate your doorway with 'Haunted House' - perfect for the witching hour!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Sunday Strolls

This weekend our wanderings took us to Spitalfields market and Brick Lane. Coffee's, brownies, people watching and a pop into the brand new Blitz shop (which claims to be 'London's biggest vintage department store') were the order of the day.

The sun was dazzling bright and it was a glorious afternoon for an amble down east. Here are a few snaps of the Blitz store, and some of the beautiful pieces we found while on our rather lovely Sunday stroll.