Friday, 2 December 2011

Its been a busy week.....

This week and in fact last seem to have flown, we are well and truly into the Christmas feeling here with the decorations up, lights twinkling and Christmas music playing.

A warm welcome awaits inside with a cosy feeling of Christmas.

The team in our Restaurant - Edenshine have been working very hard getting into the swing of Christmas lunches, homemade mulled wine and of course our truly delicious deep filled mince pies. These are a speciality of Adrian's. He makes a fantastic mince pie.

Simply wonderful with fresh cream ...

We had a delivery from Anita Harris Potteries this week with our order. Anita and her team have created some really stunning pieces full of colour and radiance. Its wonderful to deal with such a lovely team when we order and discuss things with Anita to get the perfect stock.

Such Stunning colours, well worth collecting.

Today we had  some gorgeous hanging hearts delivered - they are so sweet.

We are very busy in the demonstration and exhibition room from now until 23rd December with felt & patchwork, handmade jewellery, hand carved love spoons, painting on canvas and silk. Here are two of our very talented crafts ladies from Patchwork Nook. Joanne and Vicki have some wonderful things, all handmade and individual.


This weekend we Julia Hobbs in with us, Julia is a very popular lady with our customers. She makes the most exquite jewellery using semi precious gemstones. 

Well I think that is time for me to say thank you for reading and hope you enjoyed all our pictures.

Love Janet, Adrian and All the team xxx

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Wow Christmas is coming.....

I can't believe Christmas is nearly here. Where has the year gone again..... We spend so much time being busy and concentrating on the children, our home, work and life around us that time just goes by so quickly.  Its crazy we plan some times so far ahead that as it starts to arrive sometimes it comes as a shock.

We start Christmas Lunches on Tuesday, so lots of preparations to do and time to get into the festive season with a smile. Christmas trees, lights, baubles, candles, and of course Christmas music. I love this time of year, and quietly start to get a bit excited, I get that feeling in my tummy and just love to see people out enjoying themselves. For me its always about being with family and friends.  I just love to buy gifts, but not just any thing will do. It has to be the right gift for the right person, not always costing a lot, but with love and thought behind each present - then all wrapped beautifully making it really special. 

For nearly twenty years we have been making Christmas cakes and party foods ready to be collected for Christmas (in fact all year round but Christmas is the busiest time).

The fruit now is soaking with brandy and sherry, fresh orange zest and a dash of cold tea... this makes the fruit all juicy and plump for the cakes. Once the cakes are baked they will sit and mature for a time before being marzipaned and iced.  Christmas cake is a tradition that always puzzles me, at home we never cut the cake until Christmas day late in the afternoon - but really we never had any room for anything else to eat, so gradually it gets eaten over the next few days and weeks. However the thought of cutting it before Christmas simply seems very wrong, but I think we would all have more room in our tummies at this point - before all the extra goodies come out.

Always popular are the cheesecakes, gateaux, chocolate fudge cakes and mince pies deep filled, not to mention the quiche and sausage rolls that are a huge hit. As Christmas draws closer we start to work late and bake all these goodies that are ordered ready to collect - usually just a few days before the big day.

We have rum sauce to make, and Turkey to roast, chipolatas to wrap in bacon, stuffing to prepare and all the great bits that go together to make a Christmas meal special. Tuesday really will be a busy day, but a good day. Our cranberry sauce was made this week, full of fresh orange, onions and a little red wine, its a recipe we have used for many years and it really is delicious.

Sunday evening we will be decorating the restaurant. For me its the tree that has to be perfect. Lots of twinkling lights, baubles, stars and glittery decorations. Its the centre piece to the decorations and makes everything else look special. The  rest of the centre will be worked on Tuesday morning , with fantastic garlands to fill the corridor and a tree to place in the entrance with lights. Christmas here is special, magical and inviting.

If you notice so far my image of Christmas does not include the words, stressful, hustle and bustle or exhausting.... that is really not the Christmas we try to create.  Hustle and bustle? maybe but not in a pushing, rushing way, just bustle with with noise of happy people shopping. Stress - No, you can get that somewhere else, and exhausting - well take your time, think about your gifts and maybe have a break half way through the shopping with lunch or coffee and a gorgeous cake to revive you. Life is stressful at times and we are all too busy, but at least I can live in hope that we here can make it a little easier and maybe a lot for fun.

one of my favourite cakes - carrot and orange cake (no fat and less sugar in the sponge) yummy...

I will post pictures of our festive decorations as soon as we are ready.... Thank you again for reading.

Hugs from Janet, Adrian and all the team xxx 

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Styling your Home

Today I think anything goes, in both fashion and dressing your home. The best style is one that shows off your personality, your love for life and makes you feel happy.

We have seen so many influences through the years, many of which return and become trendy again. We are very lucky at the centre to be able to hand pick a wide selection of furniture from many eras.  I have to say I am definitely drawn to the Art deco period and funnily the 60's and 70's have some really interesting pieces. Retro is another one that is quite quirky and has found its way back today.  For me its usually the shape of something that appeals and the feel of it.

Retro style dressing table with a clever draw to hide away your make up

Not many of us can completely restyle our homes as our tastes change, but maybe by adding  pieces as they take our fancy is the answer. I love to mix and match, vintage, antique and modern all together, lots of woods, add in some glass and something shiny, blending colours - just make it yours. Mix and match doesn't just stop at furniture but crockery is a classic example. Mixing vintage/ antique cups and saucers is very much "in" today in fact at times seems even perfect. The trend in lots of magazines is homely, pretty and when using vintage not to match the crockery. Add in beautiful plates that co-ordinate and you have a perfect style.  Of course there are always people who like to match and everything must follow a theme - this is just fine, it comes right back to if it suits you, your personality and your life then its got to be right.   

Some gorgeous crockery not just for special occasions
                                              A fabulous pine settle with sleeping wooden cat...

Wall art is a real hit this year.

Mirrors just brighten up any room and can add a little glamour or even dress it down.

And something for the boys, Wall art for the little boys and the big boys
Just be brave, have fun and enjoy all the things you have in your home.

We have a really busy week this week with our wonderful visiting crafts people, Tuesday and Wednesday we have Julia Hobbs a fantastic jeweller with us using semi precious stones to create wonderful pieces. Patchwork nook is with us Thursday with their gorgeous crafts
Friday Murray Taylor will be hand carving love spoons. Please keep looking at our facebook for up dates as we have lots going on until Christmas for you to enjoy.

                                            Well that's all for now, thank you for reading.

                                                       Janet, Adrian and all the team xxx

Monday, 31 October 2011

Tales from the centre

Well I can't believe that its two weeks since my last blog. Life has been very busy juggling home life and work and we managed a few days off in the middle with the children which was truely fun with a lot of giggles.

I was lucky enough to attend Flintshire Business Awards dinner two weeks ago, it was a very good night and great to see so many fantastic businesses that exist here in Flintshire. Split the Difference - Vintage VW camper van company won best Tourism business, such a cute and delightful company. We are very pleased for them and will continue to enjoy all their news on facebook. Well done.
Adrian and I have been a fabulous book - cooking cakes with vegetables, no fat and less sugar. Poor Adrian hasn't really seen a look in yet!!.  So far we've made the Lemon and Almond cake with courgettes and the Carrot cake which really should be called a carrot and Orange cake. They are delicious. Light, full of flavour and moist.  Can't wait to try some more and really hope they go down well in the restaurant.  The first two have been a real hit.
Watch this space for more cakes!!
Carrot and Orange Cake - seriously tasty. Cake without the guilt, heaven .....


Lemon and Almond Cake - so light and moist its simply scrummy.

Up in the Antiques department we have been busy as always, resorting pieces, bringing them back to their former beauty and giving them a new life. Antiques and Vintage stock always amazes me, how these items have had a previous life or lives and are still here. Some in perfect condition and some with a little added characture along the way. Gail and Sharon have been working really hard on some silver ware and oil lamps, returning them to a gleaming state.

Before and After, with a lot of elbow power, wire wool and brasso

Restored with love and hard work. Each and every piece is hand picked, checked and worked on before it is ready for sale.
This late vitorian  Walnut chest needed a little loving also, but its a fantastic piece of furniture, and look at all that storage spcae. Finally a Punch bowl and cups. This is just perfect for the party season ahead, with 14 cups and a bowl that is big enough for a lot of punch.....

Gosh we have a lot happening over the next month with Craft workshop demonstrations on most days.  We are very lucky to have such a lot of local talented craft people, from stitch work, patch and felt work, silk painting, hand carved love spoons and wooden items, painting on canvas and many other crafts. To keep up to date with our events please check our website and look on events.

Well I really  hope you have enjoyed our news and getting to know us a little more.

Janet, Adrian and all the team xx 

Monday, 17 October 2011

Getting Ready for Christmas

 Wow its the middle of October already and Christmas is really on its way... We've been busy getting ready behind the scenes for months now, ordering the stock, planning the displays and now its here. Time put it all together.  We had such fun rearranging  the shop, Adrian and the Girls have done a fantastic job.

A real Christmas Nook, full of some gorgeous ornaments and decorations

Paper chains, so delightful, fun to do with the children and you get 4 long lenghts to make.

Had some fab plaques in

More Kate Hamilton-Hunter Jewellery arrived this week. We are delighted to support local business and have stocked Kate's wonderful jewellery for a number of years now. 

So cute! I just love Christmas

Christmas is a time for family and Friends, a time to show you care, good food, wine and lots of giggles

 As a child Christmas was always so magical, with stockings at the end off the bed, Father Christmas leaving such wonderful gifts and the time we spend together. Although life is different now, the magic of Christmas is still with us and we try to give this to our children. Traditions are past down to our children and the magic lives on.  For me giving gifts is a pleasure, they always have to be thought about, sometimes funny, sometimes useful and some times thoughtful - which ever they are it has to be right.  Through our search for stock in the shop Adrian and I always kept this in mind. It doesn't have to be expensive or even big but just perfect.

Hope you have enjoyed getting to know us a little better here in the centre and join us again next time.
Janet, Adrian and all the team xx

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Life in the Restaurant

As aways Restaurant life has been busy. We have a fantastic team of staff many who have been with us for a good number of years - in fact without such a team life would be very difficult. Bethan who is a total super hero works in both the restaurant and kitchen, she has been with us now for over 19years. A whole life time of changes and growing up together. James our head Chef  has been with us for nearly 15 years ( although he had a few years break in the middle) and Dave our other chef is nearly into his eight year with us. 
The restaurant staff are just as vital and stability in a team is very important to us. Luckily we have a core team who work with Adrian and I, and know their job inside out.  Jody and Gill make a great team and work very happily together in the restaurant looking after all our lovely customers. Lastly we have a wonderful team of younger members that join us for weekends and holidays and usually stay with us until uni or school life is over.
Gradually I will introduce the team so you can get to know us a little better.
But for now this week as ever we have been busy with a new menu change and finalising the Christmas menu. Planning the new menu always takes a lot of thinking, balancing the dishes and keeping on a few favourites. We are delighted to be using fresh local sausages from Morgans Powri Gwych in Caerwys, Trout from the local fish farm in Bodfari and as much local produce as we can. I had more local apples again this week, which I love. So many crumbles and pies to make.....

This year for our Christmas menu we have decided to keep it simple but great. Adding in old favourites like Prawn cocktail , a lovely light melon dish with some gorgeous blackcurrant sorbet,  Braised Welsh Beef in red wine with redcurrant jelly & dumplings, Poached Haddock with a delightful smoked salmon cream sauce are just a few to choose from. All a little bit like comfort foods, delicious great dishes, - and pudding well pudding will be a tricky choice, do you have the golden baked meringues with raspberries or the brown sugar Double chocolate pudding with hot chocolate fudge sauce or maybe just keep it traditional with Christmas pudding & rum sauce.   Christmas is a time for friends and family to remember each other and spend time together enjoying each others company. The sound of the restaurant busy with chatter and laughter is always nice but has a special feel at Christmas time.

Back to  baking, as always we have been busy in this department  and the carrot cake is quickly becoming a great favourite.

This one is ready for an order, waiting to be collected and eaten with friends......

Along with the sweet side of baking we have been making our very popular quiche and truly special sausage rolls. I learnt how to make these as a child from my mum, plenty of good sausage meat and not too much pastry. In fact my love for cooking came from my mum.

Plenty of good sausage meat and not too much pastry!!

Baking and home cooking was simply a way of life for us as we grew up. Mixed with a busy house and plenty of people to feed, I guess looking after people and catering just really came naturally to me and has turned into a job that I love and feel very passionate about. I have to add the best bit of all is I found someone that just as dedicated and caring to share this with and work with everyday. Adrian my hubby.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Antiques and Vintage in North Wales

Antiques and Vintage stock is very much on trend today, with the going green ethos and recycling thinking of today. We have some very cute pieces in this week , here are two of my favourites.

This fantastic Victorian crib could be used again with beautiful blankets for a baby or maybe with soft rolled towels in a bathroom.

This Art Deco Saddler Tea pot just makes me smile...

Keeping on trend this week we have had some beautiful new curtains and blinds fitted to the front windows  in the building. This is part of our upgrading scheme and preparing for the colder months.  We are very pleased with the service received from Anderson Blinds in St Asaph. We truely couldn't have had better service and such a great end result.

New curtains looking Fab in the Restaurant

Just look at the new curtains in one of our rooms, they just set everything else off so beautifully.

I hope you have enjoyed our first blog and will look forward to getting to know us both and all our team in the future.