Thursday, 30 October 2014

Pumpkin Carving

I love Halloween, and pumpkin carving is always part of my Halloween tradition. I like to carve something different each year so this year I decided to buy two smaller pumpkins and carve two different things. 

Before I start carving I like to find the best part of the pumpkin for the face. 

Using my Sharpie, I carefully draw a circle round the stalk- this will be the lid to my jack o lantern. 

After drawing the lid, I then use my Sharpie to draw the face. There are some  great stencils online but I chose to draw freehand. 

This year I used a sharp knife to carve my pumpkin. In the past I have used those pumpkin carving kits, but I often find them flimsy and struggle to use them easily so I didn't even bother to look for them in the shops. I found using the knife far easier, but carve with caution! 

Once I cut the lid off I trimmed off the "pumpkin guts" to make a nice flat lid. 

To make it easier, I use the sharp knife to loosen the insides before I scoop them out.

Once the insides are scraped out, I use the knife to carefully carve the features- be careful when doing this- make sure your fingers aren't holding the part of the pumpkin you are cutting into! 

I know it is tradition to put a candle inside, but I am always a little apprehensive about putting a real candle in, especially with two curious cats lurking! So last year I found some flickering LED battery powered tea lights that do the trick without posing a fire hazard! 

Have you carved a pumpkin this year? I'd love to see your photos! 

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Here comes Halloween

One of my favourite things about Autumn is Halloween. Don't get me wrong I am a total wuss when it comes to scary films, but I get quite excited when October approaches and the shops start to stock their Halloween items. 

This year I have been really trying to resist buying more Halloween stuff, I have so much I could probably set up my own shop! While I will talk about this year's Halloween events in a later post, I thought I would look back at previous year's Halloween events.

I can't really remember Halloween as a child, apart from having a plastic witches hat and broom and painting a picture of a pumpkin (which my kitten ran through while it was still wet and covered the kitchen in tiny orange paw prints!). It's only in later years I have really been aware of more Halloween stuff being celebrated here in the UK. We certainly have some catching up to do with our American friends! 

Dressing Up

When I was younger I didn't take so many photos. I'm going to sound really old, but we didn't have smartphones to easily take pictures, we had to take a roll of film to a photo shop and get them developed! So photos were usually limited to birthdays and holidays. 

However a friend of mine uncovered this photo, the earliest Halloween themed picture I have! 

From my uni days- a rubbish bat! 

For my 24th birthday my friend hosted a Halloween bash for me at her house. Another witch costume! 

I love this dress- think it may be making a reappearance this year! 

 These horns actually came with the bat costume. This was Halloween night a couple of years ago- waiting for trick or treaters! 

Last year I pulled together a last minute "Dead Cheerleader" outfit ready to scare the trick or treaters! 


Since my 24th birthday I have been gradually building a Halloween collection and now I have loads of boxes full of decorations. I am obsessed with pumpkins- I think they are cute :) As I have just sold my house I shall miss the trick or treaters and decorating my house but I am sure I will display a few pumpkins :) 

My Halloween Traditions

Every Halloween I watch Hocus Pocus and have a Halloween themed feast using my Halloween plates, bowls and glasses. 

I shall also be pumpkin carving this year and making some pumpkin pie :-) 

Do you celebrate Halloween? What do you like to do? How are you celebrating this year? 

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Anyone for tea...

Quite a few months ago my friends and I were trying to work out what to do for our birthdays. This year we are all turning 30 (where have the years gone?!) so we wanted to do something special! As three of us were turning 30 in October, we decided to get together and have a joint celebration as we wouldn't all be together on our actual birthdays. We chose October 11 as it was the first weekend before our birthdays started (October 18, October 26 and October 31).

So dressed in our glad rags, we headed off to Brighton, on the south coast, for afternoon tea at The Grand Hotel in Brighton. 

Despite the rain on the train over, the weather in Brighton was actually gorgeous! The Grand in Brighton is a beautiful seafront hotel and was bustling with two weddings when we arrived- we spotted a beautiful bride heading to her ceremony and the lobby was filled with ladies in traditional saris- so stunning! 

We headed in to our reserved seating area - it looked amazing and almost felt a shame to use it all! 

We were given a menu of teas to choose from (a whole menu- just for tea! I never knew so many existed!) which were brought out in exquisite silver teapots.

Having only stopped for a Starbucks coffee when we arrived in Brighton we were so hungry and the food at The Grand was incredible! 

We had a selection of sandwiches (smoked salmon, cream cheese and cucumber, chicken and egg), scones and jam and a selection of cakes. We certainly felt full afterwards! 

We had such a lovely day and it was sad to say goodbye at the end of it all. A day filled with wonderful memories- great food, the best company and even a 30 birthday badge :-) 

Now time to rest and recover for the next event in Birthday Month!