Puttery Treats For Cold Winter Evenings

It’s puttery treat time Housekeepers and here I am with a little list of lovely little somethings to warm up these chilly winter evenings. Enjoy…


* Add a generous shot of Bailey’s Irish Cream to your bedtime hot chocolate for a dreamy, creamy treat.

* Read Little Women and remember how deliciously Wintery it is.

* Diffuse a blend of lemon, ginger, cinnamon and cedarwood to create the aromatic illusion of heat in your living room on very cold evenings.

* Stitch a couple of blankets together so you create one blanket long enough to cover the laps and toes of all those snuggled up on the sofa, without fuss.

* Seek out a copy of Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon playing Heathcliff and Cathy in the brooding 1939 version of Wuthering Heights.

* Treat yourself to a quirky Japanese style long sleeved apron to wear while cooking on chilly evenings

* Bake a Clementine Tea Loaf and serve it warm for supper.

* Save on the heating bills by retiring to bed silly early in the Winter. Take a large flask of warm tea upstairs, get in to your cosiest pyjamas, and devote Winter evenings to snuggling and reading in bed.

* Start a collection of vintage camisoles. Just the thing to add a little glamour under flannel pyjamas.

* Warm yourself up and relax your entire body in the early evening with this Winter slow-flow yoga sequence.

* Warm up two tablespoons of coconut oil in a bain-marie and add three drops of frankincense oil to the warm oil, then slather it on to your face for a deeply moisturising mask.

* Buy a raclette and turn the Winter evening meal in to a fabulously cosy feast cooked right there at the table.

* Forego the alcohol but savour the depth of a comforting glass of wine with this Black tea Merlot after your evening meal. Sounds like bliss…

* Take a detox bath if you have got a cold or heaven forbid, the flu.

* Don’t hang your dressing gown up before you get in to bed, fold it over the radiator instead so it is a cozy warm hug when you pop it on in the morning.

* Nothing warms the cockles of the heart faster than a dumpling. Add them to slow cooker stews and try flavouring them with everything from rosemary to blue cheese.

* Scare yourself warm by reading a truly chilling horror story like the 1959 classic, The Haunting of Hill House. 

* Mix up a blend of clove, ginger, and cardamon seed oils and add them to a late night hot bath to provide long-lasting body warmth as you fall asleep.

* Turn off the television and make taking turns to read aloud to each other a Winter evening ritual. Pick one of the books on Read Aloud America’s adult reading list and experience the gentle bliss of experiencing a story together.

* Download my lovely Winter House PDF and find more lovely wintery treats inside…

The House of Coughs and Colds

One really shouldn’t bother making plans. One should not take it in to one’s head to say this is the week that I am going to do a Seasonal Scrub and this is the week I am going to release a new download and this is the week I am going to have cwoffee with my bestest friend because I can’t remember the last time I laid eyes on her.


Oh no. One really shouldn’t acknowledge such plans out loud at all. Best to keep them tucked inside your head and hope for the best for anything else is tempting fate and fate frankly takes any opportunity to take advantage of your trusting nature. The betch!

Today Finley is at home sick with a hacking little cough. Ste remains off-colour and I am fighting off the kind of  fierce war with a tickly cough and snuffly cold determined to consume me, with a battery of Vitamin C, Zinc, Echinachea, essential oils and many, many layers of thermal vests and cosy fleecy cardigans.

And I will win Housekeepers. I will win because anything else in unthinkable. Where other people take coughs and colds in their stride I behave abysmally and screech about how no-one else suffers like I do and generally a need a good smack before I can be dragged kicking and screaming out of the kind of self-pity generally reserved for those on their last legs.

I will win because I have coated my entire, overly buxom chest in a mixture of my own devising, that will I hope see off everything from the flu to the plague, a blend that includes cloves, cinnamon bark, rosemary, lemon and Eucalyptus.

While it’s use in my home may have come too late to prevent the arrival of this seasons’s colds, today I am making the most of this so-called Thieves’ blend anti-bacterial properties by adding a few drops of lavender, because I am Alison and I wouldn’t be Alison if I didn’t chuck a little lavender at any given problem now would I?

The Recipe?

Get Better Balm

Six tablespoons of coconut oil
3 drops of Cloves Oil
2 drops of Lemon and Cinnamon Oils
1 drop each of Eucalyptus and Rosemary Oils
Five drops of Lavender Oil

Gently warm the coconut oil in a bain-marie until you can sir it, then add the oil drop by drop and spoon in to a glass container and allow to set.

I have rubbed the oil in to my chest as I said, but for children I would recommend rubbing it into their feet and then popping a pair of warn socks on, or if the cough is particularly hacky, gently massaging it into the back of their neck as I have just done with Finn.

There now.  I feel better already. Although that might just be down to the fact that I am curled up with my lovely boy, watching Scooby Doo and abandoning the remainder of my seasonal scrub until we are all a little better…

It’s any excuse really isn’t it Housekeepers? If I can’t be a good example I am going to have to be a terrible warning.

Source List
1 . The Seasonal Scrub. My step-by step guide to conducting your own week or month long seasonal house clean. Get it on Amazon.Com here for $2.99 and on Amazon.Co.Uk here for £1.99

2.  The oils I use: I would be thrilled to tell you more about using essential oils in your home. Visit my oil lifestyle page and I will tell you everything you need to know. Please do not hesitate to ask me any questions you might have, and look out for a dedicated essential oil post here on Brocante in the coming weeks, for this is something we can do together Housekeepers…

3. Glass containers for aromatherapy: Purely for (silly) aesthetic reasons I prefer the amber glass jars and bottles for all the lotions, balms and potions I mix up. Buy them on Amazon.com here and and on Amazon.Co.uk here.

Puttery Pins…

Was there ever, ever, ever ANYTHING quite so infinitely inspiring as Pinterest? No siree. I simply cannot think of anything which can set my domestic imagination in to perpetual motion quite so fast as a browse around my lovely boards (Hint: follow me pretty please?} and so today I am combining the charm of my very won puttery treats with all the irresistible ideas to be found on Pinterest and calling them Puttery Pins. Genius main non?

VOL. 01

Created in the spirit of Diane Vreeland’s wonderful “Why Don’t You” articles, I hereby present this months collection without further ado…

Why don’t you…  decoupage a pumpkin in something dark and glamorous?

Why Don’t You… store nail varnish in a glass jar? So portable and pretty…

Why Don’t You… bleach pinecones until they are pale and ethereal?

Why Don’t You… Make your own home-made vanilla?

Why Don’t You… Make a gorgeous tea-towel tote with this easy tutorial?

And Finally Why Don’t You… Make a tin full of chocolate banana-bread muffins as a coming home from school treat for the kids?

Happy puttering Housekeepers!

Puttery Treats For September

All New Scrumptious Things To Do

Life is lovelier when you concentrate on the little things and so with that in mind I hereby present another darling little collection of curated to-dos – or puttery treats as I like to call them. Work through the list or just pick one or two. None are necessary to good housekeeping but all elevate your way of keeping house and bring both order, seasonal celebration and a touch of whimsy to your day…


~Start a collection of Tasha Tudor books…

~Fill a tin with “home from school”  treats and offer it with milk or tea to tired kids.

~ Buy a ceramic pen and write your favourite quote on to a vintage plate.

~Fill a large apothecary jar with dried nature. Think fir cones and crunchy leaves in stunning colours.

~Add a chair to the bathroom (a folding one if necessary) so you can have company during those long cosy evening baths. Or else use it to prop up your ipad so you can watch a film as you bathe. Bliss…

~ Transform your bathroom linen closet by stacking your towels and face-cloths the hotel way.

~Take a plain, or past it’s best table-cloth and patch it all over with tiny embroidered vintage place mats, doillies and coasters. The perfect project for Autumn evenings methinks.

~ Diffuse three drops of neroli, three drops of patchouli and one drop of clove to add a little cosy comfort to your living room.

~Lay an extra blanket or quilt at the end of each bed in the house for chilly snuggles.

~Create a gallery wall with Mrs Fancee’s rather fabulous PDF links to FREE art…

~Tie a huge bunch of fresh eucalyptus to your shower head and steam those September sniffles away.

~ Add Hannah and Her Sisters to your movie list and transport yourself to Autumn in New York…

~ Make home-made headache rub by melting a few spoonfuls of virgin coconut oil in a bain-marie and then adding 5 drops each of lavender and peppermint. Scoop in to a tiny tin and allow to solidify, then rub on to temples or under your nose when you are feeling a little fuzzy

~Choose the cosiest cardigan you can find and declare it your “fireside” cardigan, keeping it at hand for an instant warm up as the nights start drawing in.

~ Eat Autumnal lunches of celery and cheese, after A.A.Milne, in September and October, making a game of tasting as many different cheeses as possible throughout the season. Get adventurous!

~Make a wind chime from an embroidery hoop and a collection of string and vintage ephemera. Now is just right for listening to the tinkle of chimes in the late afternoon as Autumn sweeps in.

~Hang a huge gilt framed blackboard above your bed and use it to write love notes to your partner, each night before you both go to sleep.

~Make a huge jug 0f chilled honey and cinnamon lemonade. A little bit of summer and a little bit of Autumn in a glass.

~Hunt out a box of extra-long matches and keep them on the mantelpiece – just right for the elegant lighting of a roomful of candles

~Take yourself out on a creative excursion in search of one giant mug in a cozy colour for extra special, grown up only hot chocolate on Saturday movie afternoons.

~Buy a garlic plait … not only because it looks so deliciously cosy hanging in the kitchen but also because it will remind you to stuff Autumnal meals with as much garlic as possible to fight off colds.

Buttercup Balm

Buttercup Balm

buttercup balm

Today Housekeepers I have a scrumptious little puttery treat for you, just right for long, languid sunny days spent lying in the grass, or indeed keeping children busy during the holidays…

Once upon a time, we were little girls and little girls like nothing better than a sunny day spent holding a buttercup under the chin of willing family to determine whether they like butter. Now why this should be such a matter of curiousity is anyone’s guess but I bet you too remember seeing that yellow glow and feeling a teeny bit joyful don’t you? We all do… I think it is one of the tiniest pleasures of childhood we all too quickly forget in the humdrum of daily life…

So this little puttery treat is to remind you what it was to be a little girl. The simple pleasure of picking as many buttercups as you can, determining who likes butter and then using their essence to create a balm ideal for troubled skin.

Note: this recipe contains Vaseline. Which while not totally organic, it is considered to be non-carcinogenic and is therefore safe to use. If you prefer not to use petroleum jelly on your skin, you can substitute coconut oil and beeswax for it.

Buttercup balm


1 Small tub of vaseline

As many buttercup flower heads as you can find.


1. Scoop out the contents of your vaseline tub into a bain-marie

2. Add your buttercups and press into the vaseline as thoroughly as possible.

3. Simmer gently for one hour.

4. Then strain your balm through muslin and decant into a small screw-top jar.


P.S: You can also use rose petals in the same way to create a rose-scented lip-balm. Add colour by  using a short length of lipstick and stirring before straining.