Thursday, 20 December 2012

A Little Book of Christmas

There is something sacred about the food we enjoy over the festive season; be it the spices, the gathering-and-sharing, or simply the excuse to cast guilt to one side and indulge ourselves. In the spirit of these three ‘things’, we bring you an edited collection of Christmas recipes from the Roost Living blog. We hope you love them all.

Have a wonderful, very Merry Christmas – we look forward to bringing you much more culinary inspiration, great designers and beautiful products in the New Year.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

A few of our favourite things...

Well, we've just about finished our Christmas shopping and we're getting ready to enjoy the Christmas break, and thought  I would share with you five things that I am a little obsessed about this week.

1.  Orlando Gough's Recipe Journal, published by Toast
A very descriptive lovely book about Orlando Gough's culinary journey spanning quite a few decades. 

2. The Original Pop Up Shop
A great little website filled with lovely Christmas decorations, trimmings and wrapping.

3. Cross Stitch Kits by What Delilah Did
I'm determined to finish my little bird over the Christmas break!

4. Herriott Grace
Love, love love it all!

5. Big Bird's Boutique
Yes the lovely Anna (who makes our Giant Floor Cushion) makes these great portable blackboards, and we think they are a bit fab.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Meet Sara Newman, our newest Roost recruit

Let us introduce to you Sara Newman; our latest designer here at Roost Living. We've been working with Sara to bring you a special item designed and made exclusively for Roost Living. We caught up with her to ask her all about where she finds inspiration, her workspace, and how she finds that all important work versus life balance. Here’s what she had to say...

When and why did you decide to be a designer?

My background is Interior Design, hotels in particular. That began back in the mid 90s. Fast forward to 2008 and, as our family grew, I put my career to one side. Soon after, my innate need to craft inventive gifts has grown into a creative business; Sara Newman Design.

What are you main creative influences?

My grandmothers and great aunt were creative, my uncle is an artist and a lot of my friends are creators and thinkers. Life influences me.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?

In the artwork and stories of graphic novels, tattoo art and model villages.

What aspect of your work gives you the most pleasure?

Seeing someone else’s eyes light up when they click with what I’m doing.

Where are you most creative?

In my head! I spend a lot of time dreaming and planning.

What's your workspace like?

I work from home, at a huge carbon fibre and aluminium table that was designed and built by a friend.

How do you describe your style?

Crisp, intricate, playful.

What are you currently working on?

Some glassware for the Christmas Arcade at Somerset House. It’s a pop-up shop run by Handmade In Britain in conjunction with Somerset House.

When you first started out, what was the best advice you received?

Nothing in particular, I’ve just always been around people who are not afraid to create.

What advice do you have for other designers starting out?

Believe in what you do or you cannot expect anyone else to.

How do you achieve a work/life balance?

I’m still searching for it!

What are you other passions?

Dancing I guess, but it’s a living room dance floor these days.

What is your favourite food?

It’s a close call between chocolate mousse and pavlova – with raspberries and maybe some thick cream. 

What is your greatest weakness?

My children.

Orchid Glass now available online

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Festive Fancies: Christmas panna cotta and truffles

As the season of indulgence is well and truly upon us, we took ourselves to the hub of the home to create two party-perfect recipes: rich Christmas Panna Cotta and toothsome White Chocolate and Pistachio after-dinner truffles.

Here's how to make the Christmas Panna Cotta...

You'll need:

6 sheets of gelatine (or Agar Flake for vegetarian friends)
1 litre double cream
120g caster sugar
1/2 tsp ground all spice
3 tbsp Pedro Ximinez
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup crumbled Christmas Pudding (can be a shop bought)
A sprinkling of nutmeg

To serve:
2 tbsp raisins
1 tbsp Pedro Ximinez


Place the raisins and one tablespoon of Pedro Ximinez in a bowl and leave aside to soak. Leave them for at least a few hours, but if you have time, overnight.

Meanwhile, soak the gelatine sheets in a bowl of cold water until softened. Drain and squeeze out any excess liquid.

In a heavy-based pan, heat the double cream, sugar and cinnamon, nutmeg and all spices. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering and simmer for 2-3 minutes, whisking until the sugar has dissolved. If you’re using agar flake instead, follow the instructions on the packet.

Remove the cream mixture from the heat and whisk in the drained gelatine, 2 tablespoons of Pedro Ximinez and the crumbled Christmas pudding.

Pour the mixture into ramekins. Best to fill them up about ¾ full. Leave aside until completely cool then refrigerate until set.

When ready to serve, dip the ramekins briefly into hot water to loosen the Panna Cotta. Place on a plate and top with the Pedro Ximinez and soaked raisins. A touch of gold leaf on top would look ever so pretty, too.

For the White Chocolate and Pistachio truffles...

You'll need: 

180g good quality white chocolate (like Green and Blacks)
1/3 cup double cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup unsalted pistachios, finely chopped
1/3 cup desiccated coconut


Chop the white chocolate into small, even chunks and place into a heatproof bowl. Add the cream and place in microwave (or on a baine marie if you would prefer, but the microwave is amazingly good with chocolate). Microwave the chocolate uncovered, on a medium heat for 2 minutes, then remove and stir with a metal spoon. If there are still lumps, pop the bowl back in for 1 minute, then stir again. 

Once all the chocolate is melted, remove the bowl from the microwave and stir in the vanilla and chopped coconut and place the mixture in the refrigerator for half an hour to set. Once set, remove and roll into balls, and then into the coconut.

Top tip: pop a handful of truffles into our of our Golden Espresso Cup to make the ideal gift.

Thursday, 29 November 2012


The Christmas Flash Sale has begun!  For 4 days only, all the lovely products at Roost Living will be available to buy at 30% Off.  Enter Code FLASH30 on checkout to redeem your 30%.  We hope you find a special gift for the cook in your life, the creative, for your children or another loved one.  Offer ends midnight Sunday 2 December.  Here are a few of our favourites...

Gifts for Creatives

Bandit Door Stop

Gifts for Cooks

Gifts for Children

Best Selling Scissors Cushion

Stocking Fillers

Monday, 26 November 2012

Top 5 Gifts for Her this Christmas

From luxuriously soft Bed Socks by Anna Soderstrom to Candles by Matrushka, we’ve got the perfect gift for her this Christmas.  Here are a few of our favourites...

Cross Stitch Kits by What Delilah Did from £22

Lavender Bags by Constance Rodd £14

Candles by Matrushka £35
Bed Socks by Anna Soderstrom £38
Candy Mug by Linda Bloomfield £18

For more gift ideas this Christmas go to

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Our Top 5 Gifts for Cooks this Christmas

Christmas is well and truly on its way and here at Roost Living HQ, we're getting just a bit excited. Especially when it comes to planning all the delicious Christmas food. And as you know we love to cook (almost as much as we enjoy eating it!) and here are our top 5 gift ideas for the cook in your life...

Golden Deer Butter Dish by Fliff, Exclusive £80
Wooden Boards by Bojje from £28
Fruit Bowls by Fliff, Exclusive £85

Artichoke Apron by Thornback & Peel for Roost Living £22.50

Artichoke Tea Towel by Thornback & Peel for Roost Living £12.50

Thursday, 15 November 2012

The Modern Pantry

Now as you know we are always looking for new and inspiring recipes and we do have a weakness for beautifully styled cookbooks.  And The Modern Pantry by Anna Hansen, certainly tickles our fancy. 

With humble, simple, yet elegant recipes (and of course gorgeous pictures) Anna's recipes are absolutely delightful.  Her antipodean routes shine through, with even a recipe for sausage rolls, albeit the most delicious sausage rolls I have ever seen.  But, as always, it is the sweet desserts that are truly tempting and with recipes such as Honey Roasted Pear, Chestnut and Oat Crumble, there are many recipes to be explored and enjoyed. 

And of course to accompany the book (or I suppose it is the other way around) is the restaurant itself, and it has now secured its place a culinary destination.

Available from Amazon
Or visit the restaurant in Clerkenwell, London

Monday, 12 November 2012

What Delilah Did - Interview with Sophie Simpson

Sophie Simpson, a "perpetual dreamer and purveyor of extraordinary things", so she describes herself, is the creative behind the cross stitch label, What Delilah Did.  We had a bit of a chat with her this week to find out all about her and what inspires her designs.

When and why did you decide to be a designer?
Designing and making things is just something I have always done, so it was in the back of my mind from a very early age that I wanted to be a designer of something – it was just a case of deciding what. I tried my hand at lots of different crafts but it wasn’t until I rediscovered hand embroidery about six years ago that I knew I had found my niche. It is the perfect combination of creativity and control, which is perfect for me since I am an absolute control freak! I have been hooked ever since.

What are you main creative influences?
I am very strongly influenced by traditional design and antiques – nothing fancy, just humble country-style craftsmanship. Natural materials, muted colours, handmade things. So many products are mass produced these days that I really appreciate individual, timeless, well made things that people have taken time and care to create. I love the idea of using a traditional craft in a modern way, but still as something that can be an heirloom. It is a joy to do but it also looks beautiful. I try to base my work on this idea.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?
I am inspired by nature and magic and stories of old. Probably my favourite thing to do is to visit old buildings. I am literally obsessed with the National Trust! I could happily spend days doing nothing but wandering around beautiful old houses imagining I was born centuries ago…they are an endless inspiration to me. I also love period dramas and Tim Burton films, both of which never fail to make me want to start stitching. Museums are good too – basically anything old inspires me. It is a constant source of irritation to me that I was born in the wrong century.

Who is your favourite designer?  What aspect of their work do you most admire?
I’m not sure I can pick just one. For quite some time I have been deeply in love with Julianna Swaney’s illustrations – her motifs and inspirations are very similar to mine, and if I had the ability to make paint do as it was told then I would make beautiful images like hers. Another of my obsessions is Herriot Grace, a father and daughter team who sell the most incredible wooden kitchenware . If I had more pennies I would buy everything they make – it is immaculately crafted and beautifully presented.

What aspect of your work gives you the most pleasure?
The thing I love the most is the actual embroidery – the calm repetition of stitching a design and watching the image evolve as you stitch – the moment you start to see a picture in the seemingly random crosses. I also love meeting and speaking to my customers. It humbles me to think not only did somebody part with their hard earned money to buy something that I made, but that they then took time out of their day to write to me and let me know how much they liked it – that never fails to make my day.

Where are you most creative?
I am most creative at home. I am a compulsive nester and most of my products are meant for interiors, so home is the perfect setting to create them in.

What is your workspace/studio like? 
I work from home and my tiny flat resembles nothing more than a miniature factory much of the time. That said, I am also a neat freak and feel the most productive when everything is calm and clear, so it can be a bit of a juggling act. I like to be surrounded by my work; that way I can live with things and get a better sense of what works and what doesn’t.

How do you describe your style?
My style an amalgamation of the antique and the modern. Timeless, simple, elegant.

What are you currently working on?
I have a new range of bag kits in the pipeline and plan to expand my pattern range after that. I am also putting the finishing touches to my first book which will be published next year.

When you first started out, what was the best advice you received?
Just keep going. There are days when everything goes wrong and I always have a list as long as my arm of things that should have been done yesterday, but you just have to keep ploughing through it. It can be really difficult sometimes, but when you look back and see how far you have come and know it is all your own work it is absolutely worth it.

What advice do you have for other designers starting out?
Make sure you really love what you do because you will be living and breathing it twenty four seven. And be determined.

How do you achieve a work/life balance?
Um, I don’t! This is my most pressing goal. Because I live on my own and genuinely love what I do it is all too easy to find myself still working on a design or updating my website or packing up orders at 3am. I have decided to impose an 8pm work curfew in the hope that I can put a stop to this...starting next week.

What are you other passions?
I can’t live without music, and now that I am too busy to search for new things myself my little sister has taken up the baton and gives me excellent recommendations every time I see her. I also adore films and have an enduring love for period architecture.

What is your favourite food?
Spaghetti Bolognese, anything from Wagamama, or my lemon drizzle cake.

What is your greatest weakness?
Ryan Gosling. And anything related to Harry Potter – confronted by either I am entirely lost to them.

Trousers or skirts?
Neither! It’s all about the dresses. I wish it was trousers because it would be much more practical, but I look silly in anything but dresses so that is my daily uniform.

A selection of Sophie's Cross Stitch Kits are now available online and start at £22.  They make fabulous gifts for creatives and crafters this Christmas.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Calling all stitchers and sewers!

Our latest arrivals here at Roost are just the thing to tickle stitchers' and sewers' fancy; cross stitch kits by What Delilah Did.

Sophie Simpson, a "perpetual dreamer and purveyor of extraordinary things", so she describes herself, is the designer behind these adorable sets that come complete with easy to follow instructions. Try your hand at the the crochet key, or if you're feeling adventurous, how about the Libellule cushion? They make lovely gifts when finished, too.

Shop the kits and other new arrivals, right here.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Cupcakes, cupcakes, cupcakes!

Despite the whoopie pie trying hard to gazump the cupcake back in 2011, the cupcake remains the one sweet treat we continue to find utterly irresistible.

Not quite a fairy cake (not quite anything else, to be honest), the cupcake is a delight all unto itself. With its dreamy icing, often sparkle-sprayed topping and prerequisite super sugary taste, it’s no surprise that the cupcake is a big hit with kids. 

That's why we thought we’d share our top three favourite recipes that may inspire a bit of home baking, and satisfy any lurking sugar cravings. 

Our top choice:
Orange cream cupcakes by Gluten Free Goddess – vegan, gluten free, and absolutely deeeee-licious.

Our second choice:
Cupcake 23: Vanilla with lemon filling and meringue frosting, from Ming Makes Cupcakes.

Admittedly, it was hard to choose a favourite from Ming’s blog – she has over 33 mouth-watering ideas (so far!) to choose from.

Our third choice: 
The can’t-go-wrong classic; the red velvet. Try out Good To Know's variation of the famous Hummingbird Bakery recipe. 

One more favourite...

If you're still in the Halloween sprit, why not try home and lifestyle expert Martha Stewart’s Wicked Witch cupcakes? The little ones will love them!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Winter quinoa and duck egg salad

All of us have our go-to recipes – the ones we've made time and again and they never fail to disappoint. One of ours is a simple, yet super-healthy winter salad, and it’s really filling, not to mention absolutely delicious.

To serve two, you'll need:
1.5 - 2 cups of quinoa
A bunch of asparagus, grilled in salt and oil
2 duck eggs, poached (or hen’s eggs)
2 large handfuls of rocket
2 handfuls of small-ish potatoes

For the dressing:
Half a cup of olive oil
1 heaped teaspoon of wholegrain mustard
1 teaspoon of honey
A splash of cider vinegar (optional)

1. Boil the potatoes and add the quinoa to a separate pan of boiling water (you can buy it pre-cooked, too). 2. Roll the asparagus in oil and sea salt, then pop them under the grill for ten minutes or so.
3. When the potatoes, quinoa, and asparagus are nearly done, drop your eggs into another pan of boiling water with a splash of vinegar.
4. Drain the potatoes and quinoa and place them into a large bowl with the asparagus. Add the dressing and mix everything together before splitting the mixture into two bowls.
5. Top each dish with your freshly poached egg, rocket and a good sprinkling of sea salt and pepper. Divine!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Capturing the Moment - with thanks to Emily Gray

With my daughters birthday coming up I knew I wanted a record of the day, and with my own photographic talent severely lacking, our friend Emily Gray came to the rescue.  She captured the mood, the food and my children so beautifully.
And with a bit of inspiration from Donna Hay, I set about creating a feast, made by me and enjoyed by all.

And no party could be without mini cupcakes
Fairy Bread (an Australian delicacy)
Paper Pom Poms
The Birthday girl
Party Bags
Pink Rainbow Cake

The Party Bags

Me and my youngest.
Emily Gray is a London based photographer, specialising in newborn, baby, children and family portraiture. She covers the Greater London area.  I highly recommend her if you would like to capture an event, or for beautiful portraits of your children.  And if you mention ROOST when you book you will receive 10% off the cost of a shoot, plus a free 9x6" print.  Emily Gray Photography phone + 44 (0) 7508 014 632 or you can also follow her on Twitter and Facebook.