Sunday, December 18

Ice Ice baby

Hope you are managing to stay warm during the icy weather
7 days and counting
trying not to panic
the panic of a working mother to 3 boys
who hasn't purchased a single Christmas gift yet

Sunday, December 11

christmas Wishlist

The first of my wishlists
for Christmas 2012

Stackable Rings from 


A Ring from 

Deborah Needleman
Beautifully Illustrated by 

or one of her beautiful shawls

These Arm warmers 

More wishlists coming soon

Saturday, November 26

random cakes and jobs

Oh I had every intention of writing beautiful individual posts for each one of these lovely items 
 ................. but I just am not going to be able so here in a brief but enthusiastic manner

Made Crab apple chutney- the tree was laden 

Spiced Pear cake

Made with my own Pears

Picking flowers
there were still quite a few blossoms in the garden in late Sept
Roses, Michelmas daisies, Japanese anemone's, lady's mantle
I missed picking flowers from my garden so so much while I was in NY

There are many jobs that need doing around the house

 getting the goose neck gate hung

organising winter fuel

Tying up the wisteria.......
3 years and am hoping, fingers crossed that next year it will flower!
oh and last week I was in Hong Kong


Friday, November 18

Tim Ryan

Irish designer Tim Ryan's latest collection is his best yet 
Currently stocked in Browns London
This collection should take him on to new and dizzying heights
If buyers don't sit up and take notice ............. well I believe they will
Such a talent 
Congratulations Tim
images by Felipe Pagani

Friday, November 11

Apple & Apple Mint Jelly

This is not a typo
Apple & Apple Mint Jelly
is a mint jelly made with Apples, 
for their natural pectin and flavour 
and using Apple Mint 
(sometimes called wooly mint)

Apple mint is, 
in my opinion, by the far the most superior of mints
The flavour is flatter than regular mint
Oh and don't tell me you use spearmint to cook with?
everything ends up tasting like chewing gum!
No, Apple mint is what you need
Fantastic chopped with a little ginger and sprinkled over a fruit salad
Adds the perfect flavour to cous cous
and Lamb...... 
well of course with Lamb it is king.

As we have had a couple of mornings of frost recently here in Ireland 
I decided it was time to stock up on my mint fix for winter
And as my garden has been untended for a year
and the mint has gone a little wild
(taken over)
I made mint oil, by blanching about 
4 cups of mint leaves
chopping finely
and covering with good olive oil in a sealed and sterilised jar
I also did the same but covered the mint with vinegar
for a more traditional mint sauce 
and then decided to raise the bar, go all out and make a mint jelly
This was my first attempt at a jelly
(I mean a real jelly made with natural pectin not a chivers pack)



4lbs Cooking Apples (or granny Smith )
4 cups water
2 cups vinegar
2 cups Apple Mint leaves whole
2 cups Apple Mint Leaves finely chopped
5 cups sugar (approx)

Roughly chop the apples and add to large pan 
keep all of the core and seeds as these have the most pectin in them
add 2 cups whole mint leaves
bring to boil and boil for 20 mins
add vinegar
boil 5 more mins

Strain Apple pulp 
in a jelly bag if you have it
otherwise use an old pillow case
you should have 4-5 cups of clear amber coloured juice
Add this to clean pan and add 7/8 cup of sugar to every cup of juice
so for 5 cups of juice you will add approx 4 1/2 cups sugar
bring to the boil
add finely chopped mint
boil for 30 mins- 1 hour 
this will depend on how much pectin was released 
and how strong your mixture is
You want to reach the setting stage
You can test it using the cold saucer method 
or with a candy thermometer

you should get 4 x 8ozs jars of jelly

Monday, November 7

The frost is coming

The last 2 mornings we have had a thick frost on the ground
they say this winter is going to be a deep freeze

My back yard at 7am

Saturday, November 5


Who can deny there is something about making your own bread
Something primal
a deep sense of... I am in control of my life....
In order to make bread you need
 1 main ingredient
yes I know there are quick recipes
and you can knock out a loaf of brown soda bread pretty sharpish
but for a yeasted loaf you need to be in the moment
while the physical acts of kneading, proofing, rising,
may actually take 20 mins of work
the timing and co-ordinating means you must be able to pay attention

The act of making bread was something I really missed while living in NYC
as I never seemed to have the expanse of unfilled hours it takes
to occupy yourself with yeast and dough
So it is with GREAT pleasure that I return to the pasttime

I am a huge fan of the
No knead method of bread making
But the above baguettes were made using the Poolish method

Bread is food for my soul

photograph by HELEN JAMES

Friday, October 21

August Sander and life

I have not yet been hooked up to the 21st century again.
I am thinking internet will be up and running in about a week
so please excuse the lack of posts
I will be back with gusto and have many photos and thoughts on the change
from Brooklyn NY to Rural Ireland
Lots of exciting things going on and I am sure that the move back was the right thing to do 

In moments my life went from Subway commute to a walk in the woods
Lots of baking and chutney making 
Ordering chickens for the garden
...but don't worry I haven't put down the design brush 
I have been busy working on a very exciting new project 

In the process of doing some research for this exciting new project I came across
the beautiful works of 
and had to post them 
please bear with me until regular posting is back up and running

Monday, October 3


There will be a small delay while I get Internet connection
I expect to be back with all the news about Oct 10th

Monday, September 19

Alex Vervoodt, Wabi Sabi and the little woodwormed table

The movers have been and gone
My treasured possesions are now on the high seas
slowly making ther way across the ocean again.

We are living a spartan/glamping existence
for our final days in the city of New York
and you know what,
 I like it
Less stuff means less tidying up
Less noise
This also coincides with my recent purchase of
and some further research into the japanese philosophy of
Wabi Sabi
I feel like I found my soul

 I cannot get enough of the scrubbed wooden floors, Does anyone have floors like this in their home?

Some years ago a little house in the local village was being demolished
I looked in through the windows and saw an old cracked belfast sink
after a little detective work I got in touch with the owner who told me to go in and take anything I like
I recovered a little desk, some old iron hooks
a mirror, the beflast sink
and a small woodwormed table.
I treated the table, to halt its destruction and set it in my kitchen
I texted Mr HJD who was away travelling:
Is there something wrong with loving a little woodwormed table THIS much
I sat and stared at it for days
I rubbed the worn patina on its face and traced the woodwormed furrows with my fingers

So now, in one week,
I return to my little woodwormed table
and the old familiar patina of my life in a little village in the middle of Ireland
and while the hottest new restaurant will not be opening
their next outpost there, any time soon........

I can't wait.

Tuesday, September 13

J Crew at Fashion week

Love these mood boards from
New York Fashion week
 schedule this morning

Topshop in london
also now have a place on the official
 London Fashion Week schedule

How do we feel about this ?
High street was the follower
Now they are being given a place at the table with the leaders
Have they become leaders?
Do they set trends.......

Well in my opinion
in these 2 cases, then Yes they do
The influence of J Crew on how
 America dresses is not to be underestimated
Certainly from what I see on the streets of NY
J Crew is definitely influencing and not just being influenced
They do have a point of view
a unique point of view
and it is very apparent in the way
women and men are dressing.
Also people are styling themselves to look like J Crew
without necessarily wearing J Crew
Which surely is a sign of a reach that is beyond what one might have traditionally
expected from the high street

Wednesday, September 7


So in the funny twists and turns of life
I am packing up boxes again
This time to return to Ireland
I can't wait to sink my hands in the dirt of the garden
get back to my studio
walk in the woods
see friends
While the time here in NYC has been AMAZING
I am looking forward to slightly slower pace for a while
There are so many exciting things on the horizon though
not sure if it is going to be exactly quiet!

Stay tuned as I have many NYC posts coming up of things that
I have done here but haven't had time to post about
and will be keeping you up to date on all the exciting changes

Monday, September 5

japanese ceramics

I have always been drawn to the Japanese aesthetic
but I think being back in New York and bombarded with stimuli 
makes me yearn for the simplicity and rawness of this even more

and these Japanese ceramics from 
are making me rethink my career path

Day Birger Mikkelsen

Beautiful images of the Fall 2011 
Day Birger Mikkelsen Catalogue
I have been feeling very Black and White recently
but this palette is exquisite

In other news......
Fall 2011 is bringing big changes to the HJD household

All exciting stuff
I will keep you posted


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