Monday, July 2, 2012

a winter survival guide

As winter sets into the very bones of our draughty houses here in Sydney, our minds wanders to simple and practical 'stay warm' concepts for the home. Our little heater here at G&J HQ is one of those silly little heaters that has good intentions, but it ain't no fire!

1. BAKE!
Honestly, it's the best thing for heating up your home. Not only does the oven create a warm glow though the house, but you warm up with all that beating and whisking and then after all of that there's cake to eat. Delicious, straight out of the oven, melt-in-your-mouth cake. What's not to love!?
Our current favourite no-fuss cake is what we would like to think is a cake's cake.We read this recipe in the sydney morning herald's Good Living section recently (in paper form, our favourite and irreplaceable way of reading a newspaper thankyou). The story that goes with it perfectly captures why it's the ultimate in comfort food.

Photo: Eddie Jim

Cushla's wholemeal chocolate hazelnut cake

125g butter
1 cup raw sugar
3 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp milk
1 cup wholemeal flour
2 tsp baking powder
200g plain dark chocolate, chopped small, or choc drops
125g ground hazelnuts
25g chopped hazelnuts
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs gradually. Fold in milk, flour and baking powder and mix well. Add chocolate and ground hazelnuts. Spoon into tin and sprinkle on chopped hazelnuts. Bake at 180C for one hour. Cover with baking paper after half an hour so the nuts don't burn.

Read more here...

2. Door snakes
Keep those wisps of freezing wind at bay with a door snake. Living in a Victorian era home, our back door is an uneven inch or so from the ground so a door snake is a must.

We love:

We have the white feather one.

These stylish striped linen ones from Handmade by Lynneke are available in three lengths which is handy.

And these bright and fun Marimekko numbers from Jesse's Threads add a bit of colour-pop to the equation.

3. A woven afghan
Wrap yourself in it whilst stuck in a frozen stupor in front of the heater. Works like a charm!
Our favourites...

A St Albans knee throw - we have one of these super soft mohair beauties and can attest to its warmth!
from $109

Hand-dyed and hand woven merino wool throw from Dianne Nordt's gorgeous Etsy shop

Nothing like a vintage scottish mohair throw to keep you warm, especially in this toasty hue.
from Epocho on Etsy $40

4. Tea
Herbal, black - as long as it's loose leaf it's okay by us.
And any excuse for another teapot...

Everything Blue Mountains ceramicist Sian Thomas makes is amazing, and these teapots are no exception.
Available from her online shop for $100
And while you're there you may as well get yourself a lovely new teacup

We were given one of these beautiful hand-painted Polish teapots many years ago - the perfect pot for two.
A huge array of these are available at McIvers coffee and tea merchants in the Victoria St Markets in Melbourne. 
From $55

These pastel beauties are from Brisbane ceramicist Simon Suckling - get in touch via email for order inquiries...

And most importantly, sit in the sun while you can and warm yourself up good...

...before heading back indoors!

Won't be long until the freesias come out, spring's not *that* far off!


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