July 23rd 2014


Part 2: Bloggers Michelle and Lucy get creative with our chalkboard paint…

School’s out for the summer! Hasn’t it come around fast? Now that it’s here our thoughts turn to how to keep the little ones entertained during the holidays, and what better way to have fun with them than by getting creative? Yesterday, we saw how bloggers and busy mums Kathryn and Kelle used our chalkboard paint with their kids by creating a doodle door and a surface scribble. Today, we hand over to Michelle from Eden Found and Lucy from Capture By Lucy to show us how they would use theirs…



Chalkboard Paint


Building Blocks


Crafty lifestyle mummy blogger Michelle is no stranger to getting creative, often posting about her DIY constructions and thrifty finds over on Eden Found. It was no surprise then that she came up with this inspirational way to use our chalkboard paint. Let us introduce you to chalky building blocks…





Michelle tells us…


“Every mother dreads those two little words, ‘I’m bored’ and when faced with that nugget of information you have two choices. You can choose to throw money at the problem or you can get creative. I chose to get creative and make some chalkboard building blocks.

We were given these wooden blocks when my children were small. Although they used to get played with quite often, recently my girls had fallen out of love with them, so I thought I would give them a little revamp using some Laura Ashley chalkboard paint.






Painting the blocks couldn’t have been simpler. For a nice even finish I gave each block a couple coats of paint and left them to dry for a couple hours between each layer of paint. I didn’t wear gloves, so my hands were covered in paint, but as the paint washes off really easily that wasn’t a problem.

My girls loved the results. They made their own little town, complete with houses, a shopping centre, a zoo and a train station! For the price of a tin of paint, my children were well and truly entertained!






At the end of the day the blocks were wiped clean and put away, ready for the next adventure. Who knows what they’ll make next?”


Vegetable Patch


Photographer, blogger and mum of two boys, Lucy is the creative force behind Capture by Lucy. Packed full of amazing photography and imaginative ideas, Capture by Lucy is your one stop for creative inspiration. For our chalkboard challenge, her two boys used our chalkboard paint to create their own unique vegetable patch…





Lucy tells us…


“The boys are getting so excited about moving to our new house and giddy about growing our own vegetables in the vegetable patch through the gate from the “secret garden”. I love that they have already commandeered this affectionate name for the part of the garden that meanders behind the tool shed.

It’s a magical childhood memory in the making, that made us fall in love with the house the moment we viewed it…






The boys understand where vegetables come from, they appreciate you need to eat healthy food to keep you big and strong and I know come rain or shine, we will be donning our wellingtons and heading to our little garden allotment to see what we can eat for dinner that week. To keep their excitement alive whilst we painfully wait for the contracts to complete in September,  thought of an easy craft idea that requires imagination and fun using the new Laura Ashley Chalk Paint. A play tray!






We painted a plastic tomato plant tray with a layer of chalk paint and left it to dry. The paint is easy to apply, “not too drippy” in Sammy’s words and gives an even coverage of a rich black colour and smooth texture. We then added chalk drawn trees for the knitted apples, leaves to add to the lettuce ‘ready to pick’ and labelled our pickings with some spoon garden tags made from wooden spoons painted with a layer of chalk paint! An easy and simple idea for little ones to join in with.





We love that we can just wipe it clean and start all over again, with brown chalk mud! That was Ollie’s favourite bit. As soon as we move in we are going to add our labels to all the lovely real fruits and vegetables just waiting for my mini gardeners to tend to and enjoy. You could also turn your play tray into an easy DIY car or train track too!”


Thanks to Kathryn, Kelle, Michelle and Lucy for taking part in our chalky challenge! Incase you missed it here’s the first instalment. Which do you find the most inspiring? We’d love to know how you would use our chalkboard paint, tell us your ideas…

July 22nd 2014


Part 1: We enlist four busy mums to share with us their inspiring ideas using our chalkboard paint…

It’s official – school’s out for summer! Keeping little ones entertained during the holidays however can be tricky business, so with this in mind we wanted to create a fun and exciting activity that will provide endless hours of imaginative play-time, without being too stressful for us adults. Introducing our chalky challenge, we set four busy mums the task to get creative with our new chalkboard paint, to get the little ones on board and show how they would use it!


Laura Ashley Chalk Paint 1

Chalkboard Paint 


Coming up with a number of inspiring ideas, from transforming everyday objects to making over a kids corner in their home, we were so impressed with their creative thinking we simply couldn’t wait to show you their adventurous play-time ideas…


Doodle Door 


Freelance writer Kathryn lives in her hometown of Harrogate, in Yorkshire with her husband and three children, where she pens her daily lifestyle blog Kat got the cream. Looking for a new way to update her son Charlie’s room, Kathryn reveals unique idea for the chalky challenge…







Kathryn tells us…


‘We’re currently in the process of making over my 8 year old son’s room and I’ve been looking for a few ways to personalise it for him (as well as make it fun). Charlie loves drawing and doodling so I thought we’d create a chalkboard area on the back of his bedroom door, which he can regularly update himself. It’s really quick and easy to do, plus it blends in quite nicely with the rest of his room, which features monochrome as well as bright orange and blue. He loved the finished result!’


Tabletop Scribble 


Mother of two Kelle is a stylist and full-time blogger on her online corner Dinky and Dandy. Dedicated to sharing all things cool for little ones, both her children Hattie and Fraser got stuck into decorating her chalky table top…


3 7 1 4


Kelle tells us… 


‘I’ve wanted to paint a chalkboard wall for the kids for ages now but because our house is now up for sale I decided to use our paint to turn an old table into a fun chalkboard instead. The kids love their new table and so far we’ve turned it into a train track, a farm, a zoo and a busy town so it’s perfect for imaginative play. I love how it’s so much easier to put away and clean than the mess painting creates and when the sun shines we can take it out in the garden. The chalkboard paint went on really easy, it took two coats to cover the table and I love the finished result. It didn’t use much of the tin either so when we buy a new house I’ll be using it to paint that chalkboard wall!’


Now how is that for a dose of daily interior inspiration? Transforming a kid’s corner with a lick of paint with endless fun involved? We’re in! Stay tuned for the next installment of our chalky challenge tomorrow on the blog…


Browse the Laura Ashley kid’s furniture and accessories here.

July 14th 2014


All keen DIY-ers will love our crafty July blogger of the month…

If there’s something we love at Laura Ashley, it’s definitely a little bit of make and do. From wedding and garden craft, to handmade beauty products and how to videos, we are thrilled to introduce our very crafty July blogger of the month: Jodie from A Handmade Cottage. All keen DIY-ers should be sure to bookmark this fabulous find….




How did ‘A Handmade Cottage’ come about?


When hubby and I moved into our little cottage we didn’t have much in the way of money, so I crafted us a cosy home by thrifty shopping and making things. I’ve always loved crafting, and last May I put it to good use because hubby and I were married, and we had a handmade wedding! We made everything ourselves, from the decorations, favours, invites, flowers, my jewellery and even my antique lace wedding dress was made from scratch ‑ all of which I’ve been sharing on the blog. I’ve been a singer songwriter all of my adult life, and on return from our honeymoon I felt my life needed a change, so I started a craft club in my town, became a craft columnist for my local Observer and started a craft and rustic lifestyle blog ‑ A Handmade Cottage. I wanted to show people that crafting cosy characterful homes (or weddings!) is a lot easier (and cheaper) than you might think.






What do you enjoy most about blogging?


Starting this blog has made me enjoy my life a bit more. There’s so many things we’d all like to do but we often put on the back burner because there’s more pressing matters, like work / housework etc so writing a regular blog about craft and rustic living has actually encouraged me to do the things I love more often! I now make things regularly and spend more time in the garden. Sharing the things I made for our rustic handmade wedding has also been lovely, especially when I see it inspiring and helping others ‑ which is really what it’s all about. I love sharing step‑by‑step ‘how‑to’ projects, tips on up‑cycling furniture, tips on spotting thrifty finds and even natural beauty recipes.






What inspires you to write?


Nature. I spend a lot of time in the countryside with hubby and Ralphy (our Jack Russell) it fills me with good energy and has a definite impact on how I like to live, and the style in which I live. My dream house is ‘Moles’ house from Wind in the Willows … OK well I don’t want to live underground but I’d happily live in the woods in a hobbit house! Aside from nature, crafty things inspire me, anything to do with fabric, cross stitch and patchwork. Beautiful old things with a story to tell also inspire me. I love old victorian cottons and lace, and old antique furniture … not the ornate stuff you’d find ‘upstairs’ but more the simple furniture you’d find ‘downstairs.’ I recently bought an old milking stool from a market in London which is fine, except I had to carry it all the way home to Hertfordshire on packed public transport! The things we do for love ….






What are your top bookmarked blogs?


Dottie Angel ‑ Dottie leads a wonderfully crafty life, she has gorgeous doggies and I love her sense of style.

Mrs Carlie Lee ‑ Diary of a country house wife.  I love Carlie’s writing style, her tales of adventurous dog walks always make for a rich and entertaining read.

Poppy loves – Poppy is a good friend of mine and her lovely vibrant blog is the only thing that has me pining for my old city life.


What is your must‑have item from Laura Ashley?


Blankets. I love Laura Ashley blankets … and on more than one occasion hubby has bought me one for Christmas, which is always received with a * only dogs can hear * squeal of delight. I’ve also been looking longingly at the beautiful Torrington rug for quite some time now … it’s green, floral and just so pretty! and my birthday’s coming up …. : )


Don’t forget to bookmark A Handmade Cottage for your next DIY project! What would you like to see Jodie write about next?

July 8th 2014
ice cream hero


A refreshing treat to help you keep cool this summer, Aimee shares her tempting vegan recipe….

As the temperatures soar this summer, our preferred method of keeping cool is sampling an array of delicious ice creams. It’s hard work and slightly naughty, but when the wonderful Aimee (blogger at Wallflower Girl) publishes her first recipe book jam-packed full of tempting frozen treats, it’s hard to resist! Sharing one of our favourites, Aimee shows us how to re-create her refreshing Earl Grey Tea ice cream…




Now that the sun is finally out, one of the first things I want to do when the weather is hot is to make and eat ice cream! I’ve hand-picked my favourite recipes that are perfect for cooling down in the warmer weather for you to re-create at home. This Earl Grey ice cream is not only a sophisticated and delicious treat but it’s also vegan, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free and nut-free! With a creamy, subtle-tasting coconut milk base and a calming blend of Earl Grey, this ice cream really hits the spot on a hot summer’s day when a cup of tea is almost out of the question.


Vegan Earl Grey Tea Ice Cream




- 720ml / 3 cups full-fat coconut milk
- 2 tbsp arrowroot powder
- 4 Earl Grey tea bags
- 120ml / ½ cup maple syrup or agave nectar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract




1) Mix 60ml / ¼ cup coconut milk with the arrowroot powder in a small bowl and set aside.


2) Pour the rest of the coconut milk into a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, add the tea bags and leave the milk to infuse for at least 30 minutes.


3) Remove the tea bags. Add the maple syrup, stir and bring the mixture to a boil again. As soon as the mixture begins to boil, stir in the arrowroot mixture to thicken the liquid. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.


4) Chill the mixture in the fridge until cold (overnight preferably) and churn according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Or see below for tips on making ice cream without an ice cream maker.


5) Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container and freeze for at least 3 hours or overnight before serving. To serve, let the ice cream sit at room temperature for 5 minutes to soften slightly. Use an ice cream scoop (I recommend the Trigger scoops) dipped in boiled water to get the cleanest scoop. Return any leftover ice cream to the freezer immediately.





Hydrangea Duck Egg Bone China Cup and Saucer 



How to make -ice cream without an ice cream maker…


The main benefit of using an ice cream machine is the amount of air it gets into the mixture, so we need to make sure we do the same. Firstly, make sure your mixture is chilled and transfer to a freezer-safe container and place in the freezer. Leave it for 30 minutes.


After 30 minutes, take the container out and give it a good whisk with an electric hand-held mixer. This will break up any ice that has begun to form and incorporate some air into it. After it’s been thoroughly mixed, return it to the freezer straight away. Freeze for another 30 minutes and repeat the whisking process. Keep alternating the whisking and freezing every 30 minutes, for about 3 hours, until it’s frozen.




The recipe is taken from my new book, ‘Coconut Milk Ice Cream’ which features over 80 vegan and grain-free recipes for ice creams, frozen treats and desserts. Available in paperback and Kindle via Amazon. For more information, visit Aimee’s blog Wallflower Girl.


If you fancy reading all about Aimee and the highly talented girl behind the blog Wallflower, make sure to check out our Q&A post – and not forgetting the scrumptious macaron recipe she whipped up for the Laura Ashley blog. What can we say? We might just be Aimee’s biggest fans!

June 24th 2014
AG Hero


Perfect for sending a little note to a loved one or old friend, try your hand at crafting these enchanting Aviary Garden cards…

Last week we touched on the romance and nostalgia of putting pen to paper once more, sharing a crafty tutorial on how to create your very own elegant envelopes. Inspired once again by our enchanting Aviary Garden print, we tapped into our crafty side over the weekend and created these adorable cards featuring the whimsical bird and leaf pattern.




Perfect for sending a little thank-you note or wishing a friend or loved one well, should you look a little a closer at the card design you will notice the 3D effect of bird and berries popping off the card! Ideal for crafting beginners, the design is very simple to re-create, although we think you’ll agree it looks very impressive indeed!


You will need:




- Aviary Garden Wallpaper

- A blank card (or you could fold a piece of cream card together)

- Glue Stick

- Scissors

- Glue crafting foam pads (extra small dots)

- Blue tack






1) Taking your roll of Aviary Garden wallpaper, choose a section of the print that you would like to feature on the front of your card. Carefully trim around the pattern, making sure to include the greenery and leaf design.




2) Laying your print cut-out on top of your blank card, take time to play around and position your design. Then take a small amount of blue tack and attach the print and card together, this will keep the design in place whilst you trim the excess wallpaper around the card.




3) Now it’s time to glue your print onto the card. Using your glue stick, take care not to bend any of the cut-out and slowly smooth on to prevent any wrinkles.




4) For the fun 3D effect, choose which parts of the design you would like to ‘pop’ out. We decided to focus on the bird and a few of the berries dotted around him. Rolling out our wallpaper, we searched for the duplicate print and ever so carefully cut-out the same design.





5) Then we used the very clever sticky foam pads to attach the extra pieces directly on top of the original print, very easy to achieve – make sure you stick enough dots on the bird to make sure it attaches well enough. All thats left to do now is pick the lucky lady or gent to whom will receive your hand-made creation!




We hope you enjoyed our Aviary Garden cards tutorial, we think it’s such a beautiful way to keep in touch with old friends – so much so, we can’t wait to try our hands at crafting other noteletts with the likes of our Summer Palace and Elvden prints!


We would love to see a snap of your crafty creations using our Laura Ashley fabrics and wallpapers, don’t forget to tweet us at @LauraAshleyUK.


Browse the Laura Ashley range of wallpapers here.

June 20th 2014


Crafty blogger The House that Lars built shows us how to create a wreath for summer…

Who said a wreath was just for the festive season? With flowers in bloom and the sun coming out to play, we thought it was only right to take this christmas pastime and adapt it for the warmer months. Make and do blogger The House that Lars Built gets crafty with our wallpaper to show us how to create your very own… 




Summer is well underway! Now that the sun is shining a bit more, it’s time to put those florals to work! I’ve been anxious to come up with a summer wreath project and using some Laura Ashley wallpaper was the perfect way to do so with their beautiful range of floral wallpapers. Some of my favorites are the Aviary Garden Apple GreenGeranium Cranberry and Honeysuckle Trail. There are so many options to choose from! I went wild selecting a number of florals and colorways. Follow the directions to make one for your own door!




You will need:
Laura Ashley wallpaper
craft knife
wire cutters
glue gun


To make a paper wreath:




Step 1:  Form your wreath frame out of wire. I took two pieces of paper wrapped floral wire and wrapped them around to form a circle.
Step 2:  Cut out the florals from the wallpaper.
Step 3:  Shape the leaves if you so desire. You can shape it with a paintbrush by rolling it around the brush.
Step 4:  For additional shaping, cut into the leaf about ¼” and glue each side together to form a 3D leaf.
Step 5:  Start gluing your floral pieces onto the wire frame with a glue gun
Step 6:  To create a 3D effect, raise some of the pieces off the wreath and let others attach to the frame.
Step 7:  Continue around the circle.


To make a fresh greenery/paper wreath:




Once you have your paper wreath in place, glue gun some greenery to the sides of the circle on the back so that you can’t see the glue. It adds a nice, organic feel to the wreath.


Experiment with a variety of shapes, sizes and fresh greenery.


Isn’t it the perfect way to celebrate summer? Now, go on and get your wreath crafting on!

Are you going to try to re-create this summer wreath? What wallpaper would you pick? Let us know…

June 17th 2014
What Jessica Bakes hero

What Jessica Baked Next: Eton Mess Cheese Cake

Serving up a scrumptious treat for summer, Jessica shows us how to rustle up her spin on an English dessert classic…

With an array of alfresco summer feasts in the diary, our mind’s turn to what scrumptious dessert to bring to the occasion. Serving up a wonderfully sweet treat on the blog today, Jessica the baking extraordinaire behind the blog ‘What Jessica Baked Next,’ shares her delicious spin on a English classic Eton Mess…


eton mess cheesecake easy


Dessert, cheesecake and summer – quite easily, my three favourite things. Whipping up a classic summer dessert, there was certainly one idea that sprang to mind instantly, Eton Mess. Possibly the most quintessentially ‘English’ dessert out there – luscious, fresh summer berries mixed with whipped cream and crumbled meringue. If that doesn’t sound like the perfect dessert.. then I don’t know what does! And, as I’m the world’s biggest cheesecake fan, I thought it would be fun to combine my two favourite desserts and create an Eton Mess Cheese Cake. Light, summery and very decadent with the fruit and meringue topping, this decadent cheesecake simply tastes amazing…


eton mess cheesecake

Duck Egg Spot Ceramic Mug /  Duck Egg Stripe Ceramic Side Plate / Mayhew Fabric 




- 250g of crushed digestive biscuits

- 100g of unsalted butter, melted



- 600g of full- fat soft cream cheese at room temperature

- 250g of Italian ricotta at room temperature

- 3 large free- range eggs

- Zest and juice from 2 large lemons

- 200g of caster sugar


Raspberry coulis

- 300g of frozen or fresh raspberries

- 1 heaped tbsp of icing sugar

- 2 tbsp of each lemon juice and water


To decorate

- Fresh strawberries, sliced

- Crumbled meringue pieces


Using my favourite baked cheesecake recipe, I use ricotta for the mix, adding lemon zest and juice to give the cheesecake an extra burst flavour, perfect for summer. A crumbly, sweet digestive biscuit base is followed by a smooth, creamy layer of lemony ricotta mix and then topped off with a drizzle of fresh raspberry sauce, crumbled meringue and chopped fresh strawberries. This recipe is great for any occasion and it’s sure to be enjoyed by anyone who tries a slice.


eton mess cheesecake recipe

1. Start by making the base: crush the biscuits until you have fine crumbs- you can do this in a food processor or in a disposable bag with a rolling pin. Mix the biscuit crumbs into the melted butter. Press down into a 23cm springform cheesecake tin and make sure it’s really well compact. Place in the fridge whilst you make the filling.


2. For the filling: Mix the ricotta, cream cheese lemon zest and juice, eggs and caster until you have a really smooth mixture. Carefully pour the filling on top of the chilled base. Before baking, fill a deep baking dish with boiling water and place at the bottom of your oven. Bake at 140 degrees C Fan for 1 hour 10 minutes. Once baked, the cheesecake should be set around the outside, but should still have a slight wobble in the centre.


3. Then turn off the oven, leave the oven door open a little and allow the cheesecake to cool to room temperature. Once fully cooled, cover with some tin foil and place in the fridge to finish setting overnight- this is the vital step to stop the cheesecake top from cracking.To serve: Once the cheesecake has set overnight it will even more well set and will cut a lot easier- I serve the cheesecake with some raspberry coulis. Then top with strawberries and crumbled meringue.


My Top Tips
Always fill a baking dish with boiling water and place at the bottom of your preheated oven. This creates a steamy environment in the oven and the cheesecake will bake more evenly. Once the cheesecake has cooked for the full amount of time, turn off your oven, leave the cheesecake inside with the door ajar. It will slowly cool down to room temperature and won’t crack on top- never put a warm cheesecake straight in the fridge. When decorating, top with the sauce, crumbled meringue and strawberries just before serving. Note: the cheesecake can be made in advance and left to chill in the fridge completely covered for 2 days before decorating with the toppings.


Gloriously delicious, this cheesecake is a great Summer dessert. It’s fresh, fruity and very moorish. Enjoy!


eton mess cheesecake laura ashley

Duck Egg Spot Ceramic Cereal Bowl


Make sure to book-mark Jessica’s blog to peruse her other delicious creations, her pulled pork-burger is top of our BBQ list. We would love to know if you re-create her tempting Eton Mess Cheesecake, a sure winner for Wimbledon we think you’ll agree.


Browse the Laura Ashley range of tableware here – keep your eyes peeled for our new baking range coming soon!

June 11th 2014


Amanda from Gift Frippery shows how us how to create these elegant Aviary Garden DIY envelopes…

Call us old fashioned, but in our books there is nothing quite as heart-felt than receiving a hand-written letter in the post. Whether penned to a long-lost friend or loved one, we are calling on this treasured past-time and encouraging you to put pen to paper once more! With a little help from our friends at Gift Frippery, they are on hand to show you how to craft your very own decorative envelope to carry your penned note…


IMG_2360-1 (dragged)

With an array of Laura Ashley wallpaper of my choosing, crafting your own envelopes is a fabulous way of using up your left-over wallpaper ends. A simple idea and very straight forward to create…


You will need:


- Wallpaper (we picked the Aviary Garden design)

- Scissors

- Pencil

- Old envelope

- Ruler

- Glue or Double Sided Tape




1) Start by taking an old or spare envelope that you like the shape of, we love to experiment with different sizes as some envelopes seal on the side where as some are more traditional!


2) This envelope will then act as your template, simply take the envelope apart and lie flat on your chosen wallpaper. We have picked the elegant Aviary Garden design, that features a charming bird print.



3) Then taking your pencil, lightly trace the outline of your envelope onto the wallpaper. With larger print designs, we recommend that position the template on the correct side of the wallpaper so you can judge what part of the design will feature on the front facing side of your envelope, this way you have a better chance of getting favourite features in the right place!




4) Carefully cut out your envelope template and then following the folds on your original envelope, start making careful creases using a rulers.


5) Using glue or double sided sticky tape, stick your envelopes sides and bottom together.




6) All thats left to do is pen your letter and fold it snugly inside!




If you are going to post your envelopes you might want to plan a pale piece of the pattern on part of the front so you can address them easily. However, I love to use hand-made envelopes for birthday cards, vouchers or notes in person. You could even try creating a set and tying them together with pretty ribbon!


For more ideas on gift wrapping and crafts please visit


Browse the Laura Ashley range of wallpapers here.


June 6th 2014
Gails hero


Artesian bakery Gail’s share their delicious Leek & Goats Cheese Picnic Loaf recipe from their new cook book..

When word on the grapevine hinted that our favourite neighborhood bakery Gail’s were planning their first cook book, our excitement showed no bounds! Eagerly anticipating the arrival of  their first recipe book ‘Gail’s Artisan Cookbook,’ their story began way back in 2005 when they opened up their first bakery in Hampstead Heath. With the vision to provide world-class bread, both fresh and handmade, to Londoners across the capital.


With over 100 recipes to choose from, flick through their first recipe book and discover the pleasure of baking, with a mixture of sweet and savory dishes made from honest ingredients. Inspired by the simplicity of good bread and the possibilities around it, now you can re-create their artisan master-pieces in your own kitchen! Given the chance to have a sneak peak early, today we are delighted to share the delicious Gail’s Leek and Goats Cheese Picnic Loaf, perfect for a summer days lunch…




- 1 round loaf of bread, 20–25cm in diameter – any kind you like

- 1 garlic clove, halved

- 2 tsp Dijon mustard

- 4 leeks, finely sliced, dark leaves discarded

- 100ml olive oil

- ½ tsp salt, plus extra to taste

- ½ tsp black pepper, plus extra to taste

- 5 sprigs of thyme, leaves only, chopped

- 2 eggs

- 150ml double cream

- 250g soft, fresh goat’s cheese, crumbled


Serves: 6




1) Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Prepare the bread bowl. Slice across the loaf of bread to remove the upper third, then use your hands to pull out as much of the middle of the remaining loaf as you can, creating a crusty bowl. You won’t need this excavated bread for this recipe, so set it aside to make breadcrumbs.


2) Bake the bread bowl for 10 minutes, then, once it’s cool enough to handle, gently rub the cut sides of garlic around the inside of the loaf. Coat the inside with mustard – use the back of a spoon or, even better, a pastry brush, to help you spread it evenly. Set the hollowed-out loaf aside and increase the oven temperature to 200°C/gas mark 6.


3) To make the filling, toss the leeks with the olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme and roast them for 30 minutes until meltingly soft. Leave to cool, then drain off any excess oil. In a separate jug, make the custard by whisking together the eggs and cream, then season well with salt and pepper.


4) Begin to assemble the loaf: place the bread bowl on a baking tray and spread the goat’s cheese evenly on the base, then top with the leeks. Pour the eggs and cream into the bread bowl in three stages, waiting a few minutes each time before adding more. Once all the custard is added, carefully transfer to the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 170°C/ gas mark 3 and bake for a further 25–35 minutes until the custard is set. Check the custard is cooked by inserting a skewer into the middle; if it comes out wet, give it another 5–10 minutes. Leave it to cool for 45 minutes to an hour. It should look rather like a quiche, and you can slice it up to serve it in just the same way.



As long as you stick to the same measurements for the savoury custard (the eggs and cream), anything goes – think of your favourite quiche and reinvent it as a picnic bread pie.


This can be baked the day before you want to eat it. Reheat at 180°C/gas mark 4 for 10 minutes to bring it back to life before packing up and heading out on your picnic.


Gail's jacket


The Gail’s Artisan Bakery cookery book is available to buy from today, for more details click here. Don’t forget to swing by one of their famed bakeries or visit their restaurant Gail’s Kitchen for a spot of brunch.


Feeling hungry? We know how you feel! Clear your plans for this weekend and prep the kitchen because we are offering one lucky reader the chance to win a copy of Gail’s Artisan Bakery Cookbook with a few of our baking accessories to help you on your way. Simply pop on over to the Laura Ashley twitter, make sure you’re following us and RT:


Screen shot 2014-06-04 at 4.29.44 PM

Get tweeting, fingers crossed and good luck!

Winners will be announced on Monday the 9th June, follow @LauraAshleyUK to find out if you’re a winner! 

Terms and conditions apply: Prizes are not transferable and non negotiable. There is no cash alternative. Winners of prizes will be notified as soon as possible after the end date. The prize draw is open to all legal residents of the UK (mainland only). All entrants must be over the age of 18 at the date of entry. The eligibility of any entrant is at the sole discretion of Laura Ashley Limited. Employees, families or agents of Laura Ashley Limited and/or any of its associated companies are not eligible to enter the prize draw. An eligible entrant must be an individual and must enter via the Laura Ashley Twitter page @LauraAshleyUK.


June 4th 2014


Floral blogger Rona shows us step-by-step how to flower press…

When was the last time that you pressed flowers from your garden? And wouldn’t it be lovely to create a memento of your favourite blooms, to enjoy once the summer has passed? Well, today Rona Wheeldon from Flowerona is going to show you how to make the most of this wonderful pastime.


Choosing your flowers & foliage


There are certain types of flowers which are more suitable for pressing, and you tend to get better results using blooms which have a ‘flat face’, like the violas and forget-me-nots that I’ve used. Other good choices are love-in-the-mist, buttercups, roses, jasmine, primroses, hydrangeas and cosmos. Foliage-wise, ferns and herbs are great, as are individual leaves of shrubs and trees. Make sure to pick your flowers and foliage from your garden when they’re at their driest and have the least amount of moisture. So, late afternoon on a dry summer’s day is ideal.




Laying out the flowers & foliage in your flower press


1. Flower presses, like this one, are readily available from children’s toy departments.


2. Undo the knobs and take out all the different sections.


3. On each layer, place one type of bloom only. Here, I’ve just put violas on top of the cardboard.




4. Place a piece of paper on top.


5. Put another layer of flowers on top of the cardboard.


6. Keep adding additional layers.


7. Finally, tighten the four knobs evenly and leave for at least a week.




Using your pressed flowers


You can use your pressed flowers to decorate cards, bookmarks, lampshades, picture frames or even wrapping paper. And Pinterest is a great place to find inspiration. I’ve chosen to make pictures using these beautiful Laura Ashley photo frames. One of the designs is simply of flowers and ferns randomly placed, whilst the other has a pattern. Simply glue the flowers on a piece of paper or card. Then insert it into the frame. Voilà!



Cream Enamel Photo Frame


Now it’s your turn! It’s really fun and easy to do. And it’s a perfect activity for children at the weekend or during the summer holidays.


P.S. If you don’t have a flower press, you could use a few large books and newspaper or tissue paper to protect them.


Will you be trying your hand at Rona’s impressive flower pressing? Just think of all the wonderful gifts you could create, especially if you know someone who is getting married this summer, pressing a few flowers from the bride’s bouquet is a darling idea.


(Images : Rona Wheeldon/Flowerona)