Northern Ireland

Winter Wreath-Making...


Ryan and I spent a blissful day last week foraging in the woods near our home for beautiful natural elements to incorporate in to our Winter wreath designs... it was such a beautiful, crisp and clear day, it really blew the cobwebs away and you could see how much was still growing vigorously in this mild weather we've been enjoying! There's nothing like being outside amongst things that are growing to make me feel grateful, grounded, and festive. Ryan beautifully captured the gorgeous day we got for it and looking at these shots makes me so happy - I had such a good time...

We piled our spoils in to the car, along with a few bits I had bought for the job from the wholesaler, and took them up to our studio where we set about crafting our wreaths. Such a simple and beautiful way to celebrate the season, focus on what matters (family, creativity, growth, nature, happiness!) and let the things you've foraged inform your designs... I really like to let the branches, twigs, seed pods speak for themselves in the most part... it seems only right sometimes to bring the outdoors in, in a minimally tamed and contrived way. We had a lovely time creating these wreaths, and we hope you enjoy this little insight in to our day, well spent.

This will be our final post of 2015, and we are sending our warmest festive wishes out to all our friends, colleagues and followers and want to say thank you for your support this year. We hope you all have your halls decked, mulled wine simmering and gifts wrapped, and spend these last few days of the year reflecting on what's been, and what will be coming next... I know we will be!

Merry Christmas, and lots of love from us!

Abigail & Ryan 

p.s. We are delighted to announce that these stunning wreaths will be available from petal studio this year!

xo

 

Local Loves - Seaforde Butterfly Garden...


A few weeks ago, we had a precious day off with no plans and decided to go for a wee drive 'down, down to County Down' to visit Seaforde Butterfly Garden... of course, this meant it was one of the stormiest, rainiest days of the year so far (we have the best luck!), and a walk around the beautiful Labyrinth maze was seriously out of the question, but we took shelter in the hot houses and spent the afternoon marvelling at all the beautiful Butterflies, Birds and Terrapins that the staff at Seaforde Gardens care for...

So much lush, beautiful colour, and we could have watched the delicate little (and not so little!) butterflies sip on their sugar water and eat their fruit tea for hours!

A fab day out for the family in Northern Ireland, and we can't wait to go back to see the Peacocks guarding the Maze! My camera hand is itching already!

Very sadly, butterfly numbers are declining massively, and, as an important (and beautiful) part of our local fauna, we can all do our part to help reduce this decline. This article has some more info on how we can help: https://diygarden.co.uk/wildlife/ultimate-guide-to-butterflies/

Ursa Minor Bakehouse - (Not) Your daily bread...


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A few weekend's ago, we took ourselves up the North Coast to visit a few spots we had always intended to go (but not having driven until recently, we had never had a chance!)... We wanted to stop in Coleraine at Lost & Found, the often raved about coffee shop, but it was, alas, closed on a Sunday. MAJOR bummer.

Anyway, off up the road we went, heading to a baking demonstration being held later that evening at Babushka cafe in Portrush. We arrived quite early, well, lunchtime, really, so we walked the dogs on the beach for a while and then grabbed some lunch in Babushka which was, by the way, absolutely delicious! I had the BiBimBap steak on a brioche bun and Ryan had the grilled Halloumi bagette. So good.

We hung around until the baking demo as we had been hearing ALL GOOD THINGS about the lovely baking duo, and husband and wife team, Dara and Ciara, owners of Ursa Minor Bakehouse. We couldn't wait to try their amazing bread and sample some sweet treats, and it was so great to get a chance to meet them in person and coo over their adorable five month old son Cillian - actually the cutest wee bean...

We learned all about what Ursa Minor do - from their sourdough starter, the types of flour they like to use, and where Dara learned his baking technique - and it was a fantastic wee night. We also heard more about their plans to open their own permanent bakehouse space and their Kickstarter campaign to help them get their dream off the ground... after sampling their gorgeous bakes, this is definitely a dream we can get behind! ;)

The bread was incredible - flavoursome, with a beautiful crumb structure and deep savoury taste. Just divine. And Ciara's sweet treats? Well, let's just say we make it our mission to go to the very best bakeries when we travel - be it Tartine in San Francisco, Pierre Hermé or Laduree in Paris, Almondine in New York, Paul Rhodes in London... the list rambles on and on (so does our waistline)... BUT, the Friands that Ciara had baked - little oval heavenly bites - so rich and moist, not too sweet, with homemade lemon curd and raspberry on the top? I can honestly say they were the very best baked goods we have ever eaten. EVER. They are the stuff of dreams. I can't applaud them enough, and the rest was spectacular as well!

I can't wait to see what the future holds for this genuinely talented and lovely pair, and I would love it if anyone who can would support their kickstarter campaign or go and buy their lovely bakes and support them that way, too. It's so wonderful to see truly world class food being created here in Northern Ireland... stuff that's not just 'good' by local standards, but worthy of the accolade on an international stage. I see great things ahead for these two. Exciting times!

We really enjoyed photographing their lovely produce, even in the low evening light, it was so pretty...

Make sure to follow Ursa Minor, and what they're up to, via Facebook / Instagram / Twitter.

Can't wait to visit them in their bakehouse one day very soon. It will be a delicious day, for sure.

Abigail x