About Shelley Jane Ahrens

Welcome to my collection. I am a creative girl living in London, who loves the English language and all things design in equal measures...just how I like my hot chocolate and milk. This is where I keep a collection of my inspirations and thoughts, as well as examples of my writing and design work. I live on the Thames and I love donning wellies, making marmalade, reading lots of books and cooking, while writing, designing and making from my beautiful home.

A prayer for Japan



I just cannot help but send prayers into heaven for all those affected by the devastation in Japan. Secondly, let us all put our own challenges and suffering into context, most of us are comfortable, warm and our loved ones are safe and alive. These evocative photographs are from BBC. I am awestruck at what beautiful photographs are coming out of Japan, from such speechless destruction.

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>TED

>
I have been listening to TED this afternoon while I work. I love listening to inspiring and reflective talks by interesting people around the world…especially when you need some motivation and thought provoking material for your brain.

In John Wooden’s talk on true success, he shares his three rules for life:
1. Never be late
2. No profanities
3. Never criticize a team mate
He also emphasizes faith and patience, two very beautiful qualities. He reflects on his father’s instructions: don’t whine, don’t complain, don’t make excuses…just get out there and do the best you can.

I also enjoyed Courtney Martin:Reinventing Feminism.


And while on the topic of reflecting and thinking…I saw this amazing journal in the Tate shop on South Bank a few weeks ago. It is a diary for your whole life and I really, really want one!


Otherwise, we are all unpacked in our new home and I have been working with a view of the Thames, watching the rowing boats as they train {I think I even saw the Oxford team rowing past as they prepare for the Boat Race at the end if this month}, we have finished the Victoria Sponge so I baked banana bread…oooh and pancakes for Shrove Tuesday dinner last night…it has been a feast and I am loving being in my kitchen. All I still desire is a little radio like this one to listen to my programmes in the mornings!


Then again, our mornings have been quiet and relaxed…we now have time to lie in bed for an hour in the mornings reading, drinking tea, chatting and thinking…or snoozing, I must admit! I love this stitching…we do all need quiet time. I sent this to a friend who is starting morning pages this week to encourage her. Life does not have to be busy if we choose to wake up earlier, and say no to things we do not want to do or that will make the things we have to do seem rushed. This is a big lesson I am learning! Have a lovely start of Lent. I am not giving up anything yet…I thought of red wine, but then we are having pesto and mozarella steaks tonight so how can you leave the most important accompaniment?! xx

>Victoria sponge

>
Today was LOVELY. I collected our brother and sister-in-law-and-life from Heathrow and we sped in our little Fiat 500 all the way to collect my love and headed to Annie’s Restaurant for a yummy lunch in the warm and quaint little place. After lunch we all came home to our new house…on the Thames River! It is a story for another time but within a week we have moved into a gorgeous cottage that is part of a big and beautiful old house. Our little cottage or “granny flat” was built in 1928 and has the proper old red tiles and duck egg blue walls with BIG windows looking onto a BIG and lush garden and the old brewery. The best part…a GARDEN on the Thames River! I am over the moon and feel absolutely blessed.

We spent a leisurely afternoon drinking tea and eating cake while catching up. I made a Victoria Sponge cake which I found in an article about Rosie’s Deli Cafe. I thought it was seriously scrumptious so here is the recipe if you would like to try:

Victoria Sponge with Strawberries and Cream

330g butter, plus some for the tin
330g caster sugar
6 medium free-range eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
330g self-raising flour
300g plump ripe British strawberries
284ml double cream
1 tbsp icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees or Gas mark 4.
Line the bottom of a loose-bottomed cake tin and lightly butter the sides.
Cut up the butter into a large bowl and set out for half an hour so that it is soft.
Mix the sugar in and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
In a separate bowl, mix the eggs thoroughly and add to the butter.
Also add the vanilla essence.
Using a whisk, mix thoroughly. The batter might look a little curdled – this will be remedied.
Gently fold in the flour until the batter is smooth but quite thick.
Turn this out into the cake tin, and, using a knife, spread evenly to the edges.
Place the cake in the oven for 50 minutes.
Then turn the oven down to 100 degrees or 1/4 Gas mark and bake for a further 15 to 20 minutes.
Pierce the cake to see that it is cooked and if it comes out clean it is ready.
Remove the cake from the tin and cool completely.
Finely slice the strawberries from top to bottom then set aside.
Whisk the cream until it forms firm peaks.
Now beat in 1 tablespoon of icing sugar.
Very carefully slice the cake in half using a long bread knife.
{At this point I smeared raspberry jam all over one side before the cream…it was yumm!}
Open it out like a sandwich and lather the cream on both sides.
Now lay out the strawberries all over the creamed base.
Return the top to the cake.
Dust the top with icing sugar.

Enjoy with a cup of English Breakfast in a fine bone china tea cup, and happy weekend!

>Matchbook Girl

>My friend, Courtney, sent this to me the other day and I love it. She said it reminded her of me and I have to say some of them are very true! {Red velvet cake, library card, notes to my grandmother….} It is from this blog.

Babe Paley was an American socialite and style icon by the way…I had to look her up…she worked as a fashion editor for Vogue in New York City. Dream.

Ps I got the shoes! Love ’em.

>Travel excitement!

>We have made a plan to not think about things too much this year…we want to just travel, travel, TRAVEL and make bookings and go! These are some of our travel destinations thus far, dolls…


March: skiing in the Nevis Range, Scotland.


April: eleven days in Tuscany and walking the Cinque Terre, Italy.


May: Berlin for the Bank Holiday.


August: Driving around the island and a half-marathon in Sandown, Isle of Wight.

Yippee! x