Friday, 23 August 2013

A way to spend a Sunday... pick your own fruit and making jam!

Afternoon all,

I have been meaning to write this post for a week or so but had not gotten chance to take pictures of the final product!  A couple of weekends ago we went to Parkside Farm in Enfield to pick enough berries to make some jam, it's been perfect weather for it, sunny but not baking hot that our fruit went mushy on the way home!

Hubby picking fruit!

Views across the POY fields

Me forraging for the good ones!

Such a lovely day

I had originally wanted to make raspberry jam as their website said they had a plentiful crop, however when we got there they also had blackberries, red currants and black currants, so we picked a mixture so that we could make Summer Fruit jam.

Here's how we did it...


1kg of fruit
Juice of 1 lemon
1kg of jam sugar


  1. Put a small plate in the freezer (this is for testing your jam)
  2. Sterilize your jars by putting them through the hot cycle in your dishwasher (no detergent)
  3. Tip half the fruit and the lemon juice into a pan and mush up using a potato masher, once mashed heat on a medium heat for 5 minutes
  4. Pour mashed fruit through a seive so all the juice and pulp goes through, leaving you with a seed mixture
  5. Add the pulp/juice back to the pan and combine with the sugar
  6. Once combined heat gently and add the remaining fruit and bring to the boil.  Allow to boil for 5 minutes 
  7. Drop a teaspoon amount onto the chilled plate and if it wrinkles and feels like jam consistency then it's ready.  If you like your thicker, return to the heat and boil for a few minutes longer.
And this is the finished result.......

Homemade mixed summer berry jam

It sure tastes yummy!!

To make the labels I used a free designer called Jam Labelizer, there are a handful of different designs you can choose from.

We've also made red currant jelly and chilli jam so I will blog about those another day.

Until next time...

Amanda xx

Monday, 12 August 2013

Featuring... Bread and Jam

Afternoon lovelies!

I mentioned these wonderful people recently and am now pleased to introduce them in full... Bread and Jam!

Ok, so let’s start with a little bit about you, how did Bread and Jam come to life?

We've been working for ourselves for getting close to 14 years now. I've (Jamie) been working mainly in the commercial interior design field, working on projects for the likes of Virgin, Nike, Speedo and plenty of other large multinational brands. Catherine has been working creatively for herself for the same amount of time, mainly producing lovely pieces to sell to top up the bank balance. Catherine, one day, posed the question "why don't we work together" and a month later Bread & Jam was formed. It's not everyone's idea of a healthy partnership, seen as we spend 24 hours a day with each other, but we work really well together, especially when the chips are down and we're up against it. In truth, we'd never even printed anything in anger, just a few things at art college but you wouldn't say we had experience. We're quite impulsive as a couple and we do like a challenge.

Notebooks for all your noting needs

It’s an interesting name, what’s the thinking behind it?

Now you may just have opened up a can of worms with that question. Ella, our eldest daughter, swears blind it was her idea but I can't quite place that conversation. Having said that, my brain is getting a little fuzzy as I get older so I must concede and give her that one. The name is quite simple really, we take a really good quality basic (the bread) and sweeten it up with a nice topping (the jam aka our designs). It also works as my name is Jamie (Mr Jam) and bread is rhyming slang for wife (bread knife). A bit tenuous but it does make us smile.
Cute prints to jazz up your walls

I received my first order from you recently (read about it here) and was so excited when it came through the door…  Where do you get your inspiration?

Yes, we must thank you wholeheartedly for your purchase; we may just have another Bread & Jam convert on our hands! In terms of inspiration, it comes from many varied sources but we do have a constant theme running through most of our work and that is pattern and design from mid 20th Century, whether that's fabric patterns, ceramics or wallpaper. We also have a real soft spot for Scandinavian design and we have many examples littered about our house. Our girls also are a constant source of ideas too, I love the honesty in their drawings and stories, I think that's where some of our phrase based pieces originate from. Not directly, but they do make us think about things in the simplest and purest of ways, which I think everyone can relate to if the complexities of adult life are stripped away.

I want their mugs!!

And which is your favourite design at the moment?

We are really excited about starting to screen print onto fabric pieces. It's just cotton tote bags at the moment but we've got grand plans to move into all sorts of areas with this. The tote bags are a new addition we bought through in time for Christmas but we will be doing a few more patterns next year. We've also re-launched our wooden pencil boxes too with brighter and bolder prints. We think these will go really well at Christmas too, they're great little stocking fillers for kids and grownups alike.

T'is the season to be jolly with these bags
There is a lot of buzz around you facebook page and I’ve just found you on pinterest (I’m not stalking I promise!), it’s great to see the community amongst crafters, if you could give one piece of advice to a crafter looking to make the leap into starting a business what would it be?

Stalk away Amanda, it's not something we haven't done ourselves! Advice, it's a tricky one because everyone's situation and style are different but one thing which has really kept us going up to now is a huge passion for what we do. I can't say every day is a bucket full of syrup but you've really got to love what you do and really ignore the naysayers. There's plenty of people out there who will tell you that you're doing the wrong thing or that's not the way you should do it, ignore them and press on (unless of course it's the bank manager then try not ignore them). It's your business, you're in control otherwise what's the point, you may as well be working for the man.

Back to school with these pencil boxes

 What exciting things does the rest of 2013 hold for you?

Well there's plenty going on that's for sure. We've just packed off our first order destined for Anthropologie in the States so we're keen to see how that goes for them and we're excited and nervous in equal measures on that front. We've got a whole bunch of new products which we've been Launching over the last few weeks plus some more to come. The most exciting thing happening in the very near future is that we're moving into new studios. We've been working from home since we started 18 months ago and to be honest we ran out of space about 6 months ago. We're moving into some space above a disused hotel, not very glamorous but we're really excited to put our own stamp on the place and we've been gathering various pieces of vintage furniture and bits and bobs over the last few months. The very first thing we bought was an essential piece of kit which we've needed for a while, an old biscuit tin!

Tote bags

So, if you had any spare time and could try and craft in the world, what would you want to learn next or do more of?

Catherine has been tinkering with crochet and I know she's got some projects on the go but she's always so busy she never seems to be able to finish anything. I'm sure they will look truly marvellous once they're complete, she's a clever sausage that one. As for me, I'm a keen amateur photographer and I try to get out and about if the weather and workload permit. I've been taking pictures for a good few years now but there's always so much to learn and new techniques to try.
More pencil boxes

 And finally, where would your dream holiday be?

We've been fortunate enough to travel a bit in our time; we've just come back from a trip to Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand in February this year. We're just in the throes of organising our next big adventure and it's a landmark birthday for someone not too far away from me right now. The options are Costa Rica or India. Costa Rica looks an amazingly diverse country, rainforests, beaches and volcanoes but India has always been high up on the list. If I were to put money on it, I think we'll end up in India. we've got plans to travel with the girls from North to South and back again, taking in all that it can offer. We like to organise things ourselves as much possible so we'll probably be booking flights in about 6 months. We're hugely excited by the potential adventure, fingers crossed we sell enough stuff to pay for it!
Just add tea to these lovely mugs!

Wow sounds amazing, thank you so much for taking part in our blog.  So lovely people, if you'd like to explore the world of Bread and Jam more then you can find them here.....

Until next time...
Amanda xx

Friday, 9 August 2013

A trip to Norfolk lavender

Evening all,

Wow it feels like it's been a busy and long week!  So much so  I didn't get change to blog about my trip to Norfolk Lavender at the weekend with my family.  In the lead up to the wedding hubby's family did a lot of touristy things in Norfolk, things I've never thought to do and I lived there!  I mentioned this to Mum and she suggested next time I was home we'd do something, cue the trip to Norfolk Lavender.

Given that I am surrounded by the city most of the week, it was great to be outdoors and get some genuine fresh air, and here are some pics from our afternoon out....

Beautiful butterflies all around

Gorgeous day calling for ice cream

Norfolk Lavender

  And finally on the way back we stopped by an actual lavender field so I could capture this... 

Lavender field

Can't wait to explore more of the Norfolk beauty (and hopefully other places in the UK!)

Until next time...

Amanda xx