A Residence Blog

Travel and adventure taking, memory and home making, parenting and play shaking, never faking, tales of family life.

A Residence Blog

Travel and adventure taking, memory and home making, parenting and play shaking, never faking, tales of family life.

Through the Keyhole – Travel in Style

travel in style 
I don’t know about you, but I love to look around people’s homes, it was my love of Rightmove and property snooping that inspired Through the Keyhole
Through the Keyhole gives you a chance to have a sneaky peak inside someone else’s home. Last time we frolicked around Joanne’s beautiful Yorkshire garden, complete with gargoyles and handmade mobiles. Since last week she was awarded the MAD Blog for Travel, so do check out her amazing site! Huge congratulations Joanne.
I’m not going to tell you whose home we have this week, except to say she is a woman of words and style. I will take you ‘though the keyhole’ to her blog later if you’re curious to know who lives here, which I know after reading this you will be.
This is a blogger who likes to travel a lot – and judging by the Virgin Atlantic Upper Class salt and pepper set likes the finer things in life, even when they’re pinched..
salt and pepper pots british airways

She seems to be a beauty addict…
beauty products
…and apparently likes wearing a lot of pink.
pink dresses wardrobe
She’s definitely attracted to glittery, pretty things and also loves Disney…
tinkerbell music box
…both she and her son share an interest in popular culture…
iconic wall art
…she has a thing about good design…
Lloyd loom chair
…and her workspace is uncluttered…
clutter free workspace
but above all she loves the sea.
beach huts

Very telling! I love learning a little more about someone by sneaking through their stuff. So…are you ready to go Through The Keyhole and find out more about who she is?

Time to put you out of your misery, *puts on best Loyd Grossman voice* Who would live in a house like this? Let’s go through the keyhole …just click it.


What struck you about today’s home? Please share in the comments or join the conversations #throughthekeyhole @aresidence.

Get the Look

Find Beach hut inspired wall art, ornaments and cushions, rattan chairs, pretty cushions and quirky salt and pepper pots guaranteed to start dinner conversation, at Wayfair.co.uk.

Join in!

To take part in Through the Keyhole, please contact me using the links in the sidebar or in my About Me page.

Keyhole picture credit

Cupcake worship: Free cupcake here!

Did you know it is National Cupcake Week and that after meeting the lovely folks at Wayfair.co.uk in London for tea and cake yesterday, we have rustled up a cupcake themed giveaway? Read on! Hurrah!

So cupcake week. What better excuse to get baking with the kids this weekend. It’s also been my daughter’s birthday, so I know what we will be up to on Saturday morning ahead of her party. I am attempting a giant cupcake, using one of these cupcake silicone moulds, possibly with piñata elements – so wish me luck. If all goes well I will share it with you next week.

If it doesn’t? Well ok I will share anyway, because we all need a giggle right? I had to throw my son’s shark cake in the bin last year and rush to the supermarket for a replacement, but last year my daughter got this beauty, so it could go either way!

To be honest, I never got the obsession with cupcakes, I always thought they were too sickly and perfect – for me cupcakes were always a poor substitute to fairy cakes, the badly iced party fayre of my youth, covered in dolly mixtures and jelly tots. Until I met Emily, from A Mummy Too and she taught me to ice them and I made that one you see at the top of this post, pretty impressive eh?

I will share the how to video Emily and I made on this, but first I thought I would share my baking wish list!

I’ve had a little rummage over at Wayfair.co.uk, every cook need cupcake tins to keep the goodies. A cupcake tower to display the wares comes in really handy at kids’ parties especially.  This vintage style cupcake mug is perfect for taking a break from cupcake making or for indulging in a cup of tea alongside a cupcake.

cup cake baking

We have a cupcake maker, like the pink one above, kind of like a toastie maker but for muffins and cupcakes – the kids do love the novelty of using it. Great gift  from Grandma!

Of course cupcakes aren’t just for eating. If you are looking for a child’s bedroom theme, I rather like the way the gingham and brown tone down the pink in this funky cupcake wall art, pouffe and handy cupcake organiser. There’s also a duvet set, cushions and playhouse.

cupcake bedroom

And why should dogs miss out?  These vanilla flavoured cupcake dog toys would have been the perfect thing to put my dog Max off the scent when we made this video! He loves to try and get involved in baking snaffling anything he can get hold of - look (Max only has a small part today – he’s complained to his agent - but in all fairness, it’s genius. Find it at 5.54).

How to Frost Cupcakes Video

For more cupcake baking advice read Emily’s how to frost cupcakes post and recipe.

Cupcake Giveaway!

Just tell me what your favourite cupcake themed item is over at Wayfair.co.uk and you could win this delicious Cupcake Cookie Jar.


Simply follow the rafflecopter instructions to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Listed here: Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com

Pumpkin and Feta Pie (no pastry)

When I left you last week I was here…


Okay so not physically there, but mentally. I was reliving all that amazing food we ate at Corfu Club, eating pumpkin and feta pie, Greek salad and Briam. I even fitted in a little garden tour, because all the food is home cooked.

The team at Corfu Club were so welcoming, when they are not serving the drinks and amazing food, they are cooking, BBQing and mixing cocktails. Nik cooked this pumpkin pie and wrote down the recipe for me.


I promised a recipe, and well I think I have perfected it enough to share. I love this pie, because it has no pastry, yet it kind of forms a crust. It’s easy, clever and ever so tasty.


Pumpkin and Feta Pie (No pastry)






I used a 200ml water glass for this recipe and packed the pumpkin and feta and herbs in very generously.

3 glasses of grated pumpkin/marrow/courgette (I used the beast above, plus a courgette)

2 glasses of crumbled feta (two supermarket size blocks of feta)

4 eggs

large handful of chopped parsley

large handful of chopped dill

Half a glass of oil

1 glass of self raising flour

1 glass of milk

salt and pepper



Mix all the ingredients in a bowl

Grease a dish (roasting dish or baking tray size) and dust with flour

Pour in the mix

Bake 170-180 degrees, Gas 4 for 30-40 minutes until the top is golden and it has set. Depending on the dimensions of the pan you use this might be slightly longer, or less.

There you are Pumpkin and Feta pie! I am going to use up some courgettes and keep this recipe going through winter with squash and pumpkins.


Through The Keyhole – Hours of Family Fun

Through the Keyhole family garden
I don’t know about you but I love to look around people’s homes. This was the inspiration behind a new feature on A Residence, Through the Keyhole
Through the Keyhole gives you a chance to have a sneaky peak inside someone else’s home. Last time we snooped around Kate’s amazing Pinterest influenced collector’s home. Today I have a garden for you. 
I’m not going to tell you whose home we have this week, except to say she is normally too busy writing about what happens beyond her home to write about her own beautiful garden. She also has masses of great ideas for family fun. I will take you ‘though the keyhole’ to her blog later if you’re curious to know who lives here, which I know after reading this you will be.

I blog regularly about family travel and love getting out and about with my four young girls, so it’s nice to be able to talk a little about our home. My favourite part of our home is our garden. We bought the house because of the size of the garden. After relocating back to East Yorkshire from a terraced house with a postage stamp sized garden in urban Hertfordshire, having lots of outdoor space was a top priority. While we have most definitely put our family-sized stamp on the garden (I won’t show you the paddling pool, or the sandpit, or the requisite guinea pig house on the grass) there are lots of lovely features which I love, many of which have been here since before our house was built back in the 1930s.

Through the Keyhole July 2014 069

One of the most talked-about features of our garden are the walls. We have them down one side of our garden, and through the middle, cutting our garden into two halves. The previous owners told us that they believed the brickwork came from St Mary’s church in Beverley – which is one the churches allegedly in the nursery rhyme Mary, Mary, quite contrary – but I don’t know how much truth there is in it. Wherever they came from, they make an interesting feature in our garden. While I could easily knock down the walls making one huge garden area, I don’t want to do anything which will mean losing our lovely and quirky brickwork.

Through the Keyhole July 2014 067

Another item we inherited was this Buddleia, or Butterfly Bush. It refuses to die no matter how ignorantly we trim back its ever-sprouting branches, though I would be sad if we did kill it through heavy-handedness. It certainly attracts the butterflies and though is in an awkward spot, has earned its place for a few more years.

Through the Keyhole July 2014 070-2

When we moved in in 2002, the bottom (and lower) half of our garden was all used as allotment. The retired couple we bought our house from were almost self-sufficient vegetable wise, but with full-time jobs there was no way we would be able to cope with that sort of maintenance. We spent over a year in our spare time turning a plain mud area to lawn and low-maintenance flower beds. We used reclaimed railway sleepers to create beds for rocks and slate. This Japanese maple was planted a short time afterwards and is very much at home. It is now over 6 feet tall. I don’t know what we’ve done right, but it seems to like our care.

Through the Keyhole July 2014 068

Also in the same bit of garden, we have our summerhouse. It’s over ten years old now and needs some maintenance, but we still sit out there from time-to-time. My husband painted it last year and we just need some replacement window glass to make it like new again. It’s one of those jobs we will never get around to completing, I suspect.

Through the Keyhole July 2014 066

I’m no horticulturalist but I have got this corner where I’ve made a bit of an effort. We have a sweet pea, a rhododendron, a lily, and various other bits, like a bird cage and a gnome – which at least I can’t kill. Time will tell how long the rest of it lasts.

Through the Keyhole July 2014 073

And what family garden would be complete without a shady tree to hang things from – like this wonderful mobile made from beads and a soft cheese carton? Gorgeous, right?

Through the Keyhole July 2014 072

We love our garden. It has space, character, and provides us with hours of family fun.

I love that today’s Through the Keyhole has give me the energy to mow the lawn and make the most of the sun we’ve been forecast. Have you guessed whose garden this is yet? Are you ready to go Through The Keyhole and find out more?

Okay, time to put you out of your misery, *puts on best Loyd Grossman voice* Who would live in a house like this? Let’s go through the keyhole …just click it.


What struck you about today’s home? Please share in the comments or join the conversations #throughthekeyhole @aresidence. To take part in Through the Keyhole, please contact me using the links in the sidebar or in my About Me page.  To see more through the keyhole, click the badge below.



Keyhole picture credit

A Greek Feast at Corfu Club


Greek food has to be one of my favourites, we spent an amazing week in Corfu this summer. It baffles me when in Greece that I am constantly offered pasta when Greece has so many amazing vegetable dishes, I often order two starters instead of a main just to try them all. I loved Briam, a spicy vegetable stew, served here with Olive bread.

Of course the pasta was lovely, sometimes spiced with cinnamon, sometimes fiery chilli, but for me there are many more dishes I associate with Greece. The best pasta I have tasted in a long time, was at Corfu Club.


We stayed at the Corfu Club after winning some travel vouchers from On the Beach, for writing this post about Italy. It is a really special place to stay. Just a handful of apartments around a pool, the club is run by family and their close friends, and the love and care that goes into that really shows. The gardens, food and atmosphere are really something magical. When we saw Corfu Club on On the Beach’s site we could tell it wasn’t your average holiday summer sun apartment complex.


The food is what has inspired me to write today. We went on a B and B basis, but ate either a lunch or dinner there most days. The food is all cooked from a little shack by the pool, using home grown vegetables. By the end of the week I was begging for recipes to take home, and a tour of the veg patch.

Once the staff realised I was vegetarian, they cooked me some incredible dishes, including an amazing Pumpkin pie. They also encouraged my kids to play chess.

corfu club playing chess

Back to the pie, its laced with feta, dill and parsley, so the flavour is incredible. I will share the recipe, but the magic thing is you put flour in, so there’s no need for pastry, it makes its own crust. Kind of like a soufflé I guess.


Every day there was a different home cooked dish of the day, using vegetables from the garden. The gardens are beautifully maintained and bursting with colour and drama.


You can order your food and, once its ready, someone will let you know so you can move to a table. So relaxing!

corfu club foot selfie


Food is served all day and into the night.


During the day the kids had enough room to run around, to have some freedom without getting lost. It’s a very safe environment and they loved the playground, and chasing kittens and lizards through palms and under the walkways draped with grapes and figs.



This is the view from our apartment.

corfu club garden

The first thing I did was order a Greek salad, 10 years ago when Mr A and I first came to Greece, I remember flying down lanes of Olive trees on a motorbike to reach the most beautiful beach hut restaurant and eating Greek salad as we watched the sunset.  Greek salad always takes me there. It felt so good to be back.

corfu club greek salad

This one topped any Greek salad I had ever eaten in my life. Served in a big bowl, cucumber and tomato ripened in the club’s garden, topped with the most gigantic slab of fresh, salty feta. It was heaven. If you need a reminder of the ingredients, my post is here.

corfu club greek salad 2

The kids really enjoyed this, a kind of pasta bake, made with giant penne pasta and tiny pieces of aubergine and courgette.

corfu club lasange

Outside our apartment great big shiny lemons were ballooning in the sunshine. So Mister G, having been well taught by his mother, and my mother before me, was straight to the tree on a scrumping mission. The perfect slice in my G and T.

corfu club lemon tree

Breakfast was a feast of fresh coffee and juices, heart shaped waffles, Greek cakes with swirls of chocolate or lashings of honey and lemon. Eggs, watermelon, meats and cheeses. And of course everyone was furnished with chocolate pancakes. Cake for breakfast, real holiday treat.

corfu club pancakes

Nik promised to give me the recipe for the Pumpkin Pie. First he showed me where all the ingredients were grown, for the pie and all the other dishes I had loved.

corfu club peppers

Peppers were plentiful and I was amazed to learn sun dried tomatoes only take 4 days to dry. I imagined months, I am sure it would be in England!

corfu club sun dried tomatoes

The tomatoes were so big and juicy, totally different flavour, just amazing in Greek salad.

corfu club tomatoes

The chillis too thrived in the sun, look at the size of them!

corfu club chillis

I don’t think I have ever seen aubergines growing, look at that glorious deep and shiny, purpleness basking in the sunshine, they tasted amazing in the briam stew.corfu club aubergine

So the pumpkin pie recipe, Nik found it on the internet, but its something his mum makes too. Greeks seem to refer to marrows, courgette and pumpkin as pumpkin.  I’ve made it a couple of times with marrow and with courgette, and because its based on cups it has come out differently each time, both yummy, so I think I have nearly cracked it enough to pass it on.

Watch this space!

Holiday details

Corfu Club was a perfect base to explore the island. It is a really calm, leafy green oasis, perfect if like us, you want a base for more adventurous island exploring rather than a resort to stay in all week. Gouvia was in walking distance and was fun to explore, if a little faded and too resorty for us, although we dodged the football bars and ate a good meal in a taverna by the gorgeous bay.

Club Corfu is only 20 minutes, if that, from the airport, it is right next to an amazingly well priced supermarket/cash and carry. The apartments are well placed to explore all the island, being just a short drive from loads of really beautiful family beaches where you can hire a boat and take yourself from beach to beach, moring up for refreshment. I recommend Kalmari, home of the Durrell family, and Paleokastritsa. It’s also really near Aqualand which we loved, but far enough away from the mayhem of Kavos.

We flew Ryan Air, which although seemed pricey for what was on offer, and not particularly well stocked on our return flight, was clean and welcoming and stress free. It was the height of the summer I guess.

On the Beach was easy to use, its easy to search online for flights and accommodation, and find trip advisor reviews of each property. On the Beach give you a dashboard with all your holiday details in one place. Response times were slow on the phone but amazing via Twitter. Email queries were handled well. The variety of accommodation you can choose from is impressive.

We stumbled upon a real gem here!

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