The meandering thoughts of a modern-day hearth witch.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Practical Magic Party 2010

A day late - and I sincerely apologise for my unpunctuality - but here is my tardy contribution to the Practical Magic Blog Party.

As I'm sure is the case for scores of the film's fans out there, this is one of my favourite scenes...

Eye of newt, toe of frog, wing of bat, tongue of dog.
Adder’s fork and blind worm’s sting…
Barbados lime is just the thing.
Fragias salt, like a sailors stubble…
Flip the switch, and let the cauldron bubble

Many a nights have been spent with my friends, squeezing countless limes to make batches of 'Midnight Margaritas' and dancing around to Harry Nilsson's 'Coconut' in fits of giggles. I think it is this scene from the film which best succeeds in capturing the wonder of 'family', whether that be the one you're born into, or the one you choose for yourself: the quirks, the in-jokes and traditions and the silliness that can only be truly shared when you just know each other that well

With this in mind, I give you a wonderful recipe, which captures that joyful naughtiness in an indulgent, creamy ice-cream, courtesy of Nigella Lawson...

Margarita Ice Cream


* 125ml lime juice

*2 tbsp Tequila

*3 tbsp orange liqueur (Cointreau or Gran Marnier)

* 150g icing sugar

*500ml double cream


1. Pour the lime juice, Tequila and orange liqueur into a bowl and stir in the icing sugar until it dissolves.

2. Add the cream and whisk until the mixture is thick and smooth but not stiff - soft peaks should form.

3. Spoon the mixture into an airtight container and put into the freezer overnight.

You do not need to remove the ice cream from the freezer in advance of serving as it won't freeze too hard and melts pretty quickly. It really is a lovely, tangy treat and one which looks and tastes impressive without actually requiring much work. 

I hope you have fun trying this one out - perfect for a girl's night in with the Practical Magic DVD. 


Saturday, 11 September 2010

The prospect of this...

...has excited me so much that I seem to have gone a little mad.

Not only am I re-reading all the books...
(I approach the viewing of each new instalment of the Harry Potter film franchise with the same attitude I would an exam for which I need to prepare.)

...Not only am I reading them aloud to a long-suffering B...
(If I don't have someone to discuss the film with who has the same - okay, that would be ridiculous - almost the same amount of knowledge of the books as I do, there is a very real chance I could explode  having seen it.)

...Oh no, that's not enough. 
I have gone a step-further.

When my aunty turns 50 this month, her birthday party will be a Harry Potter themed murder mystery party...
(Thank the gods that I have a relative as obsessive as I am)

...and I have offered to write it.
Cue countless examples of literary liberty-taking, wand jokes a-plenty, lip-licking at the prospect of making our own butterbeer and the pondering of how to replicate a memory viewed by pensieve.

Is there anybody out there doing anything as obsessively bonkers? 

Thursday, 9 September 2010


A wonderful lady bestowed upon me this thoughtful gift yesterday.
over at 

Thank you so much for sharing this. It's such a delightful idea.
Here goes with my...

10 things that make me happy


My amazingly supportive, large, loud, crazy family. Every last one of them.


Spending time with this boy. Bliss.


Sharing memories, laughter, fun and frolics with my fantastic friends.


Photography. It's growing to be an obsession.


Travel. Oh, how this spirit loves to go a-wandering.


Watching the seasons turn in the natural world. 


Gardening. Knowing I have nurtured something into life is a blessing.


Cats. Our family have been blessed with some truly special feline companions.


Light. I am one who does not fare well without it.


Words. To write or to read - that is the question.


How about you? What makes you happy?
For the kindness shown me by Faerwillow, in turn I pass this award to the following ten lovelies, who will hopefully share with us their secrets to happiness. 


Wednesday, 8 September 2010

A ray of sunshine

...broke through a foggy day this evening. 
Back-to-back lessons, meetings and training have all left me feeling a bit dazed and very sleepsie over the past few days. Tis always the way at the start of a new school term.
And then something wonderful arrived on the doorstep to Hearthwitch Cottage...

The first of two lovely awards today! How blessed I do feel.

A new friend has sent this my way, which is always very exciting!
So heartfelt thanks go to Louise at Loopy's Thoughts. Do go and pay her a visit if you haven't already.

There are so many wonderful blogs out there that I have grown to love over the past few months so I am sharing this with all of you. Feel free to take and pass along!

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Hedgerow harvest

The hedgerow is absolutely teeming with delights at this time of year - a real treat for the wild-food forager.

The wild blackberries, or brambles are prolific here. I have already collected a bowlful which are now in my freezer, ready to add to autumnal crumbles. Remember to wash blackberries thoroughly and soak in a mixture of salt-water and lemon juice, which will draw out any 'wild things' you've brought home with them.

Elder trees are now teeming with umbrellas of dark berries. You may remember my post earlier this year about the healing properties of the elderflower. The berry is equally useful as an immuno-stimulant, rich in antioxidants and vitamin c, very much like blackcurrants. It also acts as a diuretic and anti-inflammatory, making it useful for urinary tract infections. Take care, however, as the raw berries contain toxins which break down with heat - so make sure you cook them before eating. Come back to visit, for an elderberry and apple jam recipe, next time.

The dark blue sloes of the blackthorn are now beginning to appear. These make a fantastic treat infused in gin. However, they are best left until after the first frost so we will have more on sloe picking later in the year.

Rose hips from the wild rose or dog rose are another rich source of vitamin c and make a nourishing tea.

At this time of year you can also find haws from the hawthorn in the hedgerow, windfalls of sharp crab apples for making jellies and jams, and some of you may also be lucky enough to discover wild raspberries growing as well. 

Although the hedgerow can provide us with a cornucopia of nourishing autumnal fruits, please remember that we are not the only ones who will be making use of them. Birds, insects and small animals consider the hedgerow their only food source, so while it is a fun activity for us to go berry picking, please don't take more than you need.

Happy foraging!

Saturday, 4 September 2010

In times of change...

...the learners will inherit the Earth. 
While the knowers will find themselves beautifully equipped
to deal with a world that no longer exists.
Erich Hoffer

With this, my most favourite of inspirational quotes, in mind I embark on a new journey.
One during which I will learn many new things, hopefully meet many new people...
...and finally understand exactly what a 'tweet' is.

Join me on Twitter, won't you?

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Summer is drawing to a close..

...and I am making the most of the late harvests in the garden.

I have sweet tomatoes...

...a veritable jungle of runner beans climbing my wall... abundance of peppery rocket in my tub...

...and lots of spinach and beetroot too.

I'm so thankful for these rewards for my first efforts with my little garden.
I have now watched the seasons turn full circle in this place where I came to rest. It is lovely to see the difference from this time last year, when the soil looked barren and empty as we moved into autumn.

Now, as the days draw in and the mornings are spiked with an autumnal chill, I am warmed by the knowledge that I have made things work in this past year. My garden, my job, my relationship have all been fruitful and these thoughts are the store which will keep me going through winter. 

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Which Witch? (Part Five)

Other Witchy Wonderings

Do you see a rabbit, a man or a woman in the moon?

I see a woman's face. Sometimes happy, sometimes distressed.

Do you own a cat?
Several cats own me!

When you meditate what does your sacred place look like?
A cottage garden.

Do you believe in soul mates?
I believe our souls are connected to one another through shared experiences, past or present. I therefore believe that some souls are more drawn to one another than others. This doesn’t have to lead to a ‘relationship’, but I have felt connections with souls who I have gone on to become great friends with. 

Is it always love and light?
No, as I said earlier, the light cannot exist without the dark. And there are a million shades of grey in between. I try my hardest to live my life giving out love and light, but there are times when I feel the need to isolate myself from people because I feel so much of the opposite all around me.

So there you have it!
You should now all know me a little bit better.
Brightest blessings.
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