Friday, 11 November 2011

Introducing Pasticceria Amalfi in Bedford, England

It was by chance that I discovered this amazing Italian bakery, Pasticceria Amalfi, in Bedford a few months ago.
We were dining at an Italian cafe, The Cappuccino Bar, next door to Peacock's auction centre in Bedord's city centre, when I asked if they had any cannoli on their dessert menu. And although they did not offer them in the cafe, our informative server directed us to Pasticceria Amalfi, just a few blocks away. It has been a love affair ever since.

Rich and amazing chocolate tart - you can taste the quality in this delightful confection

I was raised in an area of New York State that was rich with immigrants from Germany, Poland, Ireland, and Italy. The ethnic foods I grew up with, and am fond of, derived from all of these unique cultures. Since moving to England five years ago, one of the foods I miss most is Italian food. Not that it can't be found in the UK; but the sort I miss originates in southern Italy and Sicily, and until now, that has been a difficult search with woeful results.

I work in the Bedford area two days a week and so I feel it is my calling to make a pilgrimage once a week to Pasticceria Amalfi. What else can a girl do when the source and supplier of such authentic and wonderful Italian pastries has been found?

The shop front on Park Road West in Bedford
Upon arrival in the shop, I am met with a warm welcome from one, or both, of the owners - brothers, who have settled here in the UK, bringing with them the lovely tastes of their homeland.

Tommaso and Francesco Holding some of their fabulous treats
Francesco Intingaro and his brother, Tommaso Intingaro, have emigrated to Bedford from their home in the southern coast of Italy - an area known as the Amalfi coast.
Francesco was first to arrive and Tommaso soon followed. At first, both had limited English language skills, but were able to find jobs and worked at them until setting up their own bakery business about two years ago.
And what a bonus for the people of Bedford to have such a quality Italian bakery in their midst!

Tommaso behind the counter chock-full of goodness!
The bakery carries such gorgeous delights as these and so much more:Beautiful Italian cookies

A chocolate mocha creme puff
A chocolate-chocolate cup cake: chocolate cake & chocolate icing

The very best chocolate tart ever!

Fresh fruit and custard tarts
But absolutely nothing compares to the original cannoli - crisp, light wafer with gorgeous cheesy filling

The shop also creates custom orders and specialises in cakes of all sorts - especially wedding cakes and special occasion cakes.

Give them a ring or stop by to discuss your special occasion order. You will love the personal attention and detail that comes from pride of work and dedication to customer care.

Pasticceria Amalfi
also carries a custom line of handmade cake ornaments.
These cake toppers are locally sourced, providing a local artist with an outlet for her gorgeous designs.
Although Pasticceria Amalfi carries many different styles of cake toppers, I adore the delightful baby cake toppers. Some are designed exclusively for Christenings and others can be used for New Baby parties and birthdays, too!

The detail is amazing on the Christening baby! Simply gorgeous!

For the modern family, a baby boy in his Christening outfit sleeping on a gorgeous detailed blanket

For your baby girl, a darling baby sleeping on a flower petal

There are toppers for baby boys, tooIsn't this adorable? Look at the incredible detail!

A family of beauties

You can find the bakery at their website - just click on any of the links with their name, Pasticceria Amalfi and you will be linked directly to it.

Pasticceria Amalfi
27 Park Road West
Bedford, Bedfordshire MK41 7SB
Telephone: 01234 306 514
International Calls: +44 (0) 1234 306 514

Or, visit the bakery when you are in the Beford area. Really, no journey is too long a distance if you love authentic, delicious Italian pastry.

And you'll get the chance to meet the bakers too!


Saturday, 22 October 2011

An Estate Sale in Priors Marston

Funnily enough, I was on eBay searching for a turkey platter to send to my daughter in New York, when I came across a link to The Old Vicarage in Priors Marston, Warwickshire. The sale was scheduled for Saturday, October 22 and Sunday, October 23.
Suddenly, this event moved to the top of my to-do list for Saturday and all thoughts about turkey platters flew right out of my head!

I have lived in England for five years now and this is the very first time I have seen an Estate Sale advertised. So naturally the excitement was intense. You see, in the area I lived in New York State, these sales are common and are a regular form of entertainment and collecting all rolled into one fine day out.
I rang the owners, Judith and David, to inquire about some of the items I was interested in and set about planning my route.
I wanted to wake early in order to be out and on the roads, driving through the gorgeous Autumn countryside, taking the rural back roads and enjoying the drive. But only on the way home!
On the way, I wanted the fastest way to get there in order to be there as early as possible. I wanted to move to the very front of the queue in order to have the best shot at finding what I was looking for before someone else got to it first. That is how it's done in New York.
But most of the time it is near impossible to be anywhere near the early entrants due to dealers who arrive with tons of 'pickers' and take up all the first numbers, and they get the best things before you ever have a chance.

So imagine my surprise and amusement when one lone woman stood before me in the field across from the home, asking me if this was the right place! We two were the first and second people there! Oh how that intensified my excitement!

I was searching for an iron bed. And they had two - one looked like a modern reproduction and the other was a lovely antique. They also had two very nice wooden beds in full size.
But I didn't buy any of them. Instead I found some lovely vintage items to take home to our cottage.
A pretty little chest of drawers,

a dresser-top mirror,

a fire screen,

and a set of six linen with drawn threadwork and embroidery placemats.

And all fit nicely, with room to spare, in my Smart car.
And yes, the slow drive back through the countryside on a fine, sunny, autumn day was both relaxing and glorious!
If you have nothing planned for tomorrow, why not go for a country drive and stop at the sale?
Judith and David are lovely and have a house filled with unique and wonderful things!


Monday, 17 October 2011

Remembering Priscilla

Priscilla Dyte Pfenninger

24 January 1948 - 13 October 2011
Buffalo, New York USA
My dear sister
May she find peace and rest and freedom from pain.

While we are mourning the loss of our friend, others are rejoicing to meet him behind the veil. ~John Taylor

Friday, 9 September 2011

A New Home - A New Linen Closet

Our little cottage hasn't a linen closet or 'airing cupboard' built-in anywhere. Our old home had a lot of built-in storage and we have a lot of linens! So we needed to improvise.
I bought this little bookcase on eBay, originally sold at IKEA, and decided it needed a simple make-over in order to house our linens just outside the bathroom on the landing by the stairs.We collected it from the seller and washed it all, inside and out. Then began the process of searching for the perfect fabric to make a curtain for it. Initially, I wanted to use a piece of vintage fabric - oh I have a lot of that! And finally using a vintage piece might be a good idea, rather than continuing to hoard it.
But while searching for storage containers for the bathroom I stumbled across this fabric at Laura Ashley and fell in love.
Laura Ashley Portland Fabric in Cotton/Linen Blend
Not only was this stunning material available for my project, it had matching/coordinating storage boxes and wallpaper, too!
The colours are gorgeous and the design so perfect - large, shaded-blue flowers on an ivory ground. Mixing up traditional design with modern style. For certain this was a winning combination. It was as good as sold.

I purchased a meter of the fabric and a set of the storage boxes (sadly, now sold-out) and the lovely salesgirl also provided me with a very large piece of the wallpaper as a sample, at no charge.
The result is a curtain for the bookcase and some storage boxes to keep the bathroom soaps, medicines, etc, all in three tidy boxes. (More on how the wallpaper is to be used in another post.)
Here are some photographs of the finished linen closet. Total cost about £75.00.
We are still quite bare in the house - nothing up on the walls yet, and still with a lot stored in boxes, but it will all improve in time.
You can see some of the fabric hoard under the beds in the background! Oh and naturally - there are tons more linens - of the vintage kind - under there, too!
More to come - watch this space!

Friday, 19 August 2011


Yes, dear friends, we have finally moved and settled-in to our new home in the East Midlands and what a journey it has been!
It took forever to find a home to move to, and although we visited many wee towns and villages, it was difficult to find one with much availability - after all - who would want to leave such beautiful surroundings? But eventually we were successful in finding a place to live in charming Uppingham.
Would you like to learn more about it? Here is a video highlighting the county and Uppingham.

Our home is a modern built cottage that has kept its charm in being built to look like an older cottage. So we enjoy the energy efficiency found in new home construction with the period charm of an older home.

Lots has been unpacked but there is still a lot to do. We have moved from a home that had a lot of storage built-in to a home with very limited storage. So we have been busy filling the gap buying things we need to make our house a home.
I have found a chest of drawers to rework with some paining magic and an IKEA bookcase to transform into a linen closet. And more to come!
A view down the High Street from Market Square
Market Square at Night

We love being part of a small town and have begun getting to know some of our neighbours. In coming posts I will highlight some of them and their businesses in town.

We are just now beginning to tackle some of the outdoors with a concentration on the front garden.
Let's just say it is a 'natural' garden right now, filled with lovely wildflowers in the form of weeds, sharing the bit of earth with plants which no longer can be seen!
We are trying to get it weeded and then plan on planting lavender because it takes care of itself and comes up every year and looks and smells divine.
A bit of spring bulbs should also be planted as well as some hydrangea and peonies.
In the back garden, I would like to plant some lilacs and lily-of-the-valley.
If you know any good sources for any of these plants, please share!

So it is a happy post this time with many more to come.
Please leave a note to let me know you are still stopping by - and accept my apologises for the lack of posts in ever-so-long.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Just some conversation . . .

Introducing, Squares - the baby and his loving parents, Joe and Elizabeth

Today I saw my neighbour working busily away in his garden and it made me smile to think of spring not being far off.
We did have one lovely day last week - the sun was shining and spring was in the air with mild temps and the tiny tops of daffodils peeking through the ground in the front garden.
With spring comes changes in our lives - everything fresh, new and exciting.
And so it is true with me, too.

About a month or two ago I began a new job. Although it is temporary, I am hopeful that my work will be good enough to provide them with reasons why they might keep me if funding becomes available.
Baby Michael
As I have been busy with that, and with a holiday visit to New York to see Michael (otherwise known as, 'Squares, the baby' ala Gavin and Stacey fame) the poor struggling blog has again been ignored!

Add to that my impossible lack of creativity lately and writer's block and you can see where I am headed with this.

So I have decided to write about some people who are not faced with the same creative 'blocks'
and bring you their stories. Soon, I will be featuring some craftspeople and their work in this space along with anecdotes of my own life as my husband and I begin 2011 with hope of a better year.

Happy New Year to you all! Here is to fresh starts and new journeys - especially that of new little Michael, who I am happy to introduce here . . .


PS - If you are interested in being featured here, please send me an email and we'll chat.