Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Shopping Local at Twig Child

A few months ago, on a little road trip along the Murray in Northern Victoria, I drove through a town called Cohuna and stumbled across this divine children's store- Twig Child. It was closed, so sadly I wasn't able to have a look inside. Instead, I peered through the window and drooled at all the lovely displays, and told myself I was definitely coming back to have another look.

A few months later and I finally got some time to pop in and have a look at this gorgeous shop and all it's wares. TWIG child is filled with beautiful children's clothing, giftware and hand picked home decor pieces, all carefully selected by owner, Cecelia Palmer.

TWIG child opened almost twelve months ago. Cecelia, busy mum to four young children, has a knack for choosing beautiful things that are both stylish and practical. 

I had a lovely time browsing through the racks of clothes, great gift ideas,  and enjoying the simple, yet very thoughtful styling of the store. 

Although Twig Child is primarily filled with children's ware, there are some special treats for women, including some clothing, these gorgeous clutches and jewellery.

So, if you live locally, I would highly recommend making a trip over to visit Twig Child and if not, jump on the internet and have a look at Twig Child Online….. you can be guaranteed to find something you like!

My purchase of the day- this divine Daisy & Moose Floral Blouse
So incredibly sweet…. I wish they came in my size!!!

Some photos below taken by Echuca photographer, Cindy Power
showcasing last summer's fashions, gift and home wares.

Images courtesy of Twig Child and taken by Cindy Power Photography, Echuca.

Twig Child- 27 King George Street, Cohuna, Victoria, 3568
Phone- 03 54563377
Online Store-
See Facebook page for opening times.
Keep up to date by following Twig Child on Facebook and Instagram.

Monday, 28 April 2014

16/52 Weekly Stills

1. A little lone bunny (aka Funny Bunny) having a quiet moment on the couch- very rare in our house!
2. Sunny autumn day…somewhere out near Barham!
3. Last batch of Hot Cross Buns for the year.
4. A batch of Anzac biscuits made Anzac Day morning.
5. Sunday afternoon bush walk along the banks of the Murray River.
6. This little one spent the entire walk gazing up to the trees and saying 'tall'. Too cute x

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

15/52 Weekly Stills

1. Proteas bought from local Farmers markets.
2. In our garden.
3. Sharing apples.
4. A visit to Bunbartha Beef Farm Shop- more on blog later this week!
5. Mums and bubs on a sunny autumn afternoon.
6. Easter morning stocktake.
7. Easter egg hunt.
8. Freshly made hot cross buns.

Hope you all had a lovely Easter weekend xx

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The simple things…. Apple Tarte Tatin.

They say the simple things in life are always the best. How true!

The french are renown for their simple style of cooking that uses seasonal produce and simple ingredients, and yet once complete, it becomes a culinery masterpiece. They are also renown for their love of butter and not skimping on fats and sugars. Everything in moderation- love this thought!

Last Friday night, I had a craving for something sweet but didnt have the energy nor a full pantry to bake a fancypants dessert.  It was coming onto dinnertime and we had 'zoo hours' to contend with. Desserts are a treat in our house (believe it or not….we actually dont eat it daily despite what you might see on this blog!). Because of a very wet week, a few days away and incredibly tired people (both big and small), tonight was about getting the kids to bed early and  flopping on to the couch with something warm and sweet to indulge in and totally relaxing.

So with keeping in mind our limited food supply and options, what time of night it was and my yearning for something sweet and delicious, my eyes roamed the kitchen desperately seeking some inspiration. Thankfully, there in front of me was a bowl of apples. I couldnt be bothered baking a cake nor making pastry. Then I was hit by a bolt of lightning- Apple tart tatin.

Something I haven't cooked in ages and yet ticked all the boxes….Simple ingredients- apples, butter, sugar and frozen pastry and super quick to make…..Bam! Night sorted.

Simple really is best - Don't you just love the french x

Apple Tarte Tatin

1-2 frozen sheets Puffed pastry
75g sugar
150g butter
4-5 apples- I used Red delicious instead of the traditional Granny Smiths
1 egg- for eggwash

Preheat oven to 190 degrees celcius.

Pull out pastry sheets from freezer and let thaw on bench.

Peel and core apples then cut into halves or quarters- your choice!

Heat an ovenproof frypan (about 22 cm in diameter), add butter and melt. Add sugar and stir for 5-10 minutes. Keep stirring and watching this mix so it doesnt catch and burn. I find this process is broken into three phases- so dont give up because you think it isnt working. It will if you just keep stirring and watching the pan. First phase- the butter and sugar mix looks pale, thick and when you stir it, it has a similar consistency to when you make a roux. Next phase, the mix becomes even lighter and starts to foam a bit. Again, keep stirring and just check the stove top isn't too hot- adjust if needed. Within a few minutes this foamy mix will start to darken and melt into a caramel. When it turns a fudge colour, add your apple pieces and toss each one in the caramel until all have been added and pan is full. Cook on a low heat for another few minutes. As you add the apples you may notice some of the caramel becomes toffee. This will melt down once apples warm through- its just the caramel reacting with cold/room temperature fruit. The juices from the apples will release and stop the caramel from cooking further.

Take pan off the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Gently place the pastry over the top and tuck the sides into the pan so that it encases the apples completely.

Brush pastry with some egg wash then place into the oven and cook for about 20 minutes, or until pastry has risen and is golden brown.

Best served straight from the oven, with cream, ice cream or our favourite…custard.

Note- I left my caramel to long in pan before adding apples and so the colour of my tarte tatin is slightly darker then it should be. Ideally aim for a dark golden colour. 

You can also substitute any other fruit you might instead of apples…try pears, bananas (yum- a cheats banoffee pie!), rhubarb, quince….whatever you have in the bowl! My only tip would be not to use fruit that is too over ripe as they will lose shape when cooking and break down as if stewing. The whole visual impact of the tarte tatin is to see the whole pieces of fruit.

Making the caramel is the most labour intensive part of this dish- it actually sounds more demanding then it really is. For the novice caramel maker, its a bit like driving somewhere for the first time- it seems to take a while. But once youve made the trip and know what to look out for along the way- each trip after that is a breeze. Dont be put off- its really not tricky or time consuming at all. And so incredibly worth it!

Monday, 14 April 2014

14/52 Weekly Stills

1. Echuca Markets- always creates a buzz down the main street!
2. Baking Scones and drinking tea…. such a lovely combination.
3. Enjoying a walk with Nan in the Albury Botanical Gardens. These gardens are just so beautiful.
4. Travelling home via Rutherglen. This is the view from the Wine Bottle Tower.
5. Looking up at the Wine Bottle Tower.
6. Vines at Campbells Wines.
7.The dreaded dandelion, happily dancing in pools of water on side of the road, after a week of glorious rain.

Have a lovely week ….

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Happy First Birthday…..and the winner is….

Its hard to believe that 12 months ago today, I wrote my first post ever. Im not going to go back there as its not worth really looking at…..but it's exciting to think that 12 months on, I have written 87 posts and had over 20,000 visits. I know it isnt that much, but for a freshie like me, it's exciting and to moreso see it grow each month. 75% of those visits have actually happened since January this year- Woohoo!

Of which, these things don't happen withour support- so big thank you to eveyone and anyone who reads or stumbles across my blog. Thank you for commenting- it really does make my day - and for sharing it with friends. These things don't grow by themselves! Special thanks to my wonderful husband and children who tolerate me baking at crazy hours and then not allowing them to eat the cake until the photo has been taken to post here!!!!

And so…..without dribbling on for much longer…. the winner of our First Birthday Competition- 
the $50 voucher to spend I Love Linen is……

Jodie Robinson Litchfield

Congratulations Jodie!!!!
Please email me at kylie(dot)pickett(at)hotmail(dot)com and send me your email 
details so I can forward on your prize. 
Then you will have the hard task of deciding what to buy……it's all so nice!
Thanks also to all who took part too!

Hope you all have a great day…xxx

Image source from Miss Honey Joy and these cute cake toppers are available here.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Some Easter Egg fun for the kids….

On Saturday I popped down to the markets to stock up on some more eggs from my favourite local egg supplier- Little Forest Produce from Barham, on the NSW/Vic border.

On display they had this lovely bowl of decorated eggs- I love the pretty and delicate patterns of the leaves and flowers!
This bowl was proving very popular with the children. Not only do they look good, but its a great school holiday activity for the kids, and they can be still eaten or used purely for decoration.

So, Here is what you will need-
12 white eggs- they must be white so the dyed water stains better
5 onion skins
A pot to fit the eggs
sewing thread
old stockings
leaves, flowers, grass, etc

Put onion skins (just the brown crunchy outer bit) in a pot with water and boil for at least 20 minutes but longer is fine.
Collect little leaves, flowers, grass, etc.
Cut stockings into 7cm tubes and then down one side to open the sticking out flat.
Wet the leaf/s and put in place on the egg. Wetting helps hold it in place.
Wrap the stocking carefully over the leaves and twist really tight.
Secure by wrapping cotton around 10-15 times. No need to tie in a knot. Trim the excess stocking.
Place in the boiling water carefully (you dont want the egg to pop!) with a big spoon and boil in onion water for 9 minutes. 
Then take out and allow to cool. Cut stocking off. 
Remove the leaves and rub with olive oil.

Note- These eggs can be eaten or used as a beautiful decoration.
Idea from 12 good Eggs- Little Forest Produce

If wanting other colours but still using natural dyes, try using tea leaves, beetroot, parsley…etc.
A great link for a really good range of colours can be found here.

Now, if you are wanting some colour try these two fun projects below.

How pretty is this Eggshell Tealight Candle Centrepiece?
If you dont have a fancy egg holder like the one in the photo…try just using egg cups and they can be placed or scattered around the table or mantlepiece. You can find how to make them here.

 Image from Little Inspiration

And finally…this easter egg garland made with paint chips. Very easy to make and looks fantastic! 
Tutorial can be found here.

So that should keep the kids (and yourself, like in my case) busy for a few days but certainly help add some easter fun to your home.

Dont forget to enter our First Birthday Competition. Drawn Tuesday 8th April at 9pm. Winner announced on Wednesday 9th April here on the blog. Entry details here.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

13/52 Weekly Stills

One of the lovely things about living in a town on the Murray, are the great river walks! This one is just down behind the Echuca Tourist Information Centre. The kids had a blast walking along the path and then down to the river to see a paddle steamer go by. Then back to exploring the wildlife reserve which has a small lake and some bridges….. the kids looked for baby fish in the lake and chased the ducks. We all then came home and collapsed on the couch!

Friday, 4 April 2014

Celebrating turning One with a Giveaway!!!

Next Wednesday, my little blog turns one year old!!!!!
Wow- where has that year gone?

To celebrate our first anniversary I am going to hold our first competition here on TownmouseCountrymouse - YIPPEE!

Up for grabs is a $50 voucher to spend at I Love Linen.

I Love Linen is a 'one stop shop' full of gorgeous linen. They stock a huge range of luxurious hotel quality bed sheets, quilts, towels, cushions, blankets, throws and even linen for the kitchen and outdoor areas. 

I love their new pillowcase range
Perfect for dressing up and mixing and matching in all bedrooms of the house- for both the grown ups and the kids. I think this makes them great value!

How sweet are these pom pom trims?

 Must have Kantha Quilts

(All images from I Love Linen Website)

Also worth noting is that they have great discounts on their products and offer advise if needed. There is free shipping in Australia on all orders over $75. How good is that???

Keep up to date with daily pictures of new stock and anything linen related by following them on Facebook or Instagram.

To enter, you must pop over to the Townmouse Countrymouse facebook page and like the page (if you havent already), then share the competition post. In the comments section, let me know what you would buy if you were to win.

The winner will be selected randomly next Tuesday, 8th April at 9pm and then announced on Wednesday, 9th April here on this blog.

Competition only open to those with an Australian postcode (sorry o/s folk).

Good luck to all and thanks for your support!!! x 

Pls Note-This is not a sponsored post.