The 5 Scariest Unexplained Urban Legends You’ll Ever Read


Halloween, this controversial holiday has come around once again. Love it or hate it, you cant deny its rapidly increasing popularity. I will begin this blog by pre-warning you all, if you are easily offended or just plain easy to creep out, please click away; this is not for you. For those of you who share my strange morbid curiosity, you’re in for a treat… There are many versions of the origins and unusual customs associated with Halloween, some remain consistent across all accounts, others not so much. The culture of Halloween began back with the Druids, a Celtic culture in Europe. They honoured the dead with rituals and ceremonies on October 31st, the Celts actually believed that the souls of the dead roamed the streets and villages at night. These spirits were not all thought to be friendly and so gifts and treats were left out in order to calm the evil and keep the public safe, this has since evolved into trick-or-treating.

I’m partial to a good horror story, or anything dark and mysterious really, probably more than I would like to admit. Believe in them or not, there are some truly eerie and inexplicable legends associated with Halloween, the best of which all begin with the phrase “based on a true story”. So, in the spirit of the haunting holiday, I’ve gathered what I consider to be the most terrifying, macabre urban legends and scary, unexplained stories that the internet had to offer. All of the following legends are all based on fact, they have all been proven to have truth to them. Enjoy.

1. The Tower of Vermont Asylum, Brattleboro.


Founded in 1834, the Vermont Asylum for the clinical insane is one place you definitely won’t want to go after dark. The beautiful grounds stretch across 1000 acres, most of the campus buildings are historically listed and are all laced with terrifying tales of ghostly happenings and hauntings.

The institute is still a functioning Asylum today. With philosophies based on the humane treatment of its mentally ill patients, the staff aim to create a family-like environment; with emphasis on good meals, fresh air and exercise. Behind closed doors however, the institute once performed a range of electroconvulsive therapy on the patients. Although they were utilised in a fairy limited capacity, the ECT clinic is now closed; and for good reason.


Back in the late 1880’s, the patients of the Vermont Asylum were set the task of building a Retreat Tower, this is now the most notorious building at Brattleboro. The doctors believed that the physical labor would help the patients to gain stability and so they set to work building this large, eerie stone tower. However, the ill-divised plan had the very opposite effect on the patients, much to the doctors dismay. One by one the many inmates took it in turn one afternoon to climb the tower and throw them selves to the rocky cliff below, the number of suicides at the Vermont Asylum Retreat Tower is a closely guarded secret although according to the patient records, it was a frighteningly large number.


The reason for the suicides is to this day unknown, and will remain a mystery at the Vermont State Asylum. The tower has not been open to the public or patients, for obvious reasons, since 1887. It remains an eerie reminder at the edge of the institutes large grounds.

Over the past century there has been thousands of reports from patients, visitors and staff of a ghostly apparition falling silently from the tower only to disappear seconds before hitting the ground. The bodies of the suicides were laid to rest in a special cemetery, hidden in the grounds, filled with unmarked graves. Those who have visited the memorial site report feelings of immense uneasiness and always leave with haste. The suicides of Brattleboro Tower remain one of Vermont’s darkest mysteries to date.


2. Cast Deaths of the Exorcist

If you’re into horror movies, chances are you’ve seen the 1973 classic, The Exorcist. The film was immensely popular, and incredibly controversial. Many people strongly criticised the film for it’s Satanic content; Christian evangelist claimed there was a demon living in the celluloid reels of the movie. Enough to freak you out? Well, the haunting happenings didn’t stop there. Cast members claim the film actually was cursed and that dark, unexplainable happenings went on for years after the filming ended.



If the storyline of a demonic possession and a very controversial Catholic ritual wasn’t enough, the following catastrophic occurrences have given people reason to believe the movie itself and the film set were actually cursed by a demon. It all began in 1971 when William Blatty wrote the novel The Exorcist. This was based on the real life exorcism of a boy known through the pseudonym as Roland Doe. Catholic Priests at Georgetown University Hospital performed the real life exorcism, but had to stop when the boy managed to get free from his restraints, pull a bed spring out of his mattress, and slash one of the priest’s arms. Roland’s family requested that his character be changed to a girl (Reagan) in order to protect his identity.

Things began to go wrong pretty quickly once filming began at 666 Fifth Avenue, New York. Shooting was delayed for months after the set mysteriously caught fire, almost completely destroying what was supposed to be the MacNeil’s home. Director William Friedkin claimed the fire was a freak accident, however, one room that some how remained entirely unharmed was Reagan’s bedroom… Coincidence?

Once filming began, things continued to go drastically wrong. One of the most notable incidents was when actress Ellen Burstyn, who played Reagan’s mother, suffered a permanent spinal injury when her harness mysteriously malfunctioned. Burstyn was actually flung across the room. This take is the actual one used in the movie, and the blood-curdling scream she lets out is real. The incident remains a mystery amongst the whole cast to this day.


The horrific tragedies rolled in thick and fast, to cast and crew. Actors Jack MacGowran, and Vasiliki Maliaros both died one week before the film was released. What makes their deaths strange is that their characters died in the film as well. On the first day of shooting, Linda Blair’s grandfather and Max Von Syndow’s brother both tragically died. Most haunting of all, actress Mercedes McCambridge, who played the demonic voice of Pazuzu, was victim of a horrific family tragedy, when her son reportedly became possessed and killed his wife and children before taking his own life.


A handful of spine-chilling incidents happened once the film was released. A priest came forward and claimed that the set, cast and crew must immediately be exorcised. He insisted that Satan did not want the film to be made. During once screening in Italy, there was extreme weather conditions and mid-film there was an inexplicable scream out side of the theatre. Spectators were shocked to see that a large wooden crucifix on top of the church across the road had actually been struck by lightening and fallen to the ground.


If you decide to watch the movie this Halloween, do so with caution. Experts still say that the act of watching the film is an invitation for demonic possession. They believe there is evil within the film, in the fabric of the film itself.

3. ‘The Hands Resist Him’


You may or may not believe in spirits, demons or the supernatural; however this next story might be just what you need to change your mind. They say pictures are worth a thousand words, well this one is worth a million nightmares.

The painting named “The Hands Resist Him” was painted in 1974 by Bill Stoneham. The original photograph of Bill was taken by his parents when he was five years old, living out of his grandmothers closet at the time in his fathers attempt to save money. Little did the family know that the innocent photograph of their son and his friend playing would become one of the most infamous modern legends.

So, here’s the story of how an innocent photograph turned into an image that haunts the internets nightmares. Stoneham was working for a art gallery at the time and was commissioned to paint two paintings a month, for a fee of $200 each. With a deadline approaching, he quickly painted “The Hands Resist Him” and passed it on to the gallery, thinking no more of it. The painting was soon purchased by actor John Marley, famous for his role in The Godfather. Soon after in a seemingly unrelated death Marley passed away, that was the last anybody heard of the painting for the next 26 years.


A family found the painting lying face down behind an abandoned brewery, seeing value in it they decided to take the art work home with them, little did they know what they were embarking upon. The first few days were normal, the family hung the painting in their 4 year old daughters room and that was that. After a few days the little girl grew afraid of the painting, saying that they were fighting in the night and scaring her. Being rational adults, the parents put this down to their infant daughter having an over active imagination and they moved the painting out of her room.

Over time, the family grew increasingly uncomfortable around the painting, and couldn’t explain why. The father decided enough was enough and went about setting up a motion activated video camera on the painting at night. Sure enough, what they found was terrifying, just as their daughter had said, the painting contorted its self, leaving just the little girl stood holding what looks like a gun and the little boy fleeing the frame entirely.

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The family, astonished and petrified at their findings, listed the painting on eBay, with a product description that reads like something out of a bad Stephen King knockoff:

“WARNING: Do not bid on this painting if you are susceptible to stress-related disease, [or if you are] faint of heart or are unfamiliar with supernatural events. By bidding on this painting, you agree to release the owners of all liability in relation to the sale, or any events happening after the sale, that might be contributed to this painting. This painting may or may not possess supernatural powers that could impact or change your life. However, by bidding you agree to exclusively bid on the value of the artwork, with disregard to the last two photos featured in this auction, and hold the owners harmless in regard to them and their impact, expressed or implied.”

The family also reached out and pleaded that somebody come and exorcise their home, they would not share details on why exactly, they simply stated unspeakable happenings and that was that. The eBay listing attracted a great deal of attention from day one, with the family receiving 30,000 viewings and thousands of emails reporting supernatural experiences from simply clicking on the listing. The painting sold for a mere $1,025 to gallery owner Kim Smith, and now goes by the nick-name ‘the haunted eBay painting’.


By the time the painting was sold to gallery owner Kim Smith for $1,025, its legend had spread across the Internet. A month after the eBay auction ended, Smith spoke with paranormal website about life after purchasing what had become known as “the haunted eBay painting.”.

Smith displayed the painting in the gallery for a few months, however, the strange happenings continued. Reports of uneasiness, nausea, blackouts and demonic whispers began to roll in, viewers all seemed to naturally avoid the painting, children would scream when in its presence. After viewing the painting, on three separate occasions viewers were taken to hospital due to losing consciousness. Three men also mysteriously passed away soon after coming into contact with the painting. Two of these men were Henry Seldis who wrote an article on the piece and Mr. Feingarten who requested to display the painting in his gallery.

The painting has only been shown four times in the past 17 years, and now rests in a storage cell beneath Smiths gallery and hasn’t been touched for years. Creepy huh?

4. Don’t Look Under The Bed


This urban legend has been around for a long while, with different variations of it being told time and time again. I’m sure you’ve heard spooky stories of stalkers and murderers hiding underneath innocent, unexpecting girls’ beds. With the tragedy being the result of the victim being simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

However, this tall tale became a sickening reality in room 112 of the Burgundy Motor Inn in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The police received a chilling call from a petrified guest in the early hours of the morning to the Motel on the 24th July. Aaron Silver, the guest of room 112, had been staying at the motel for 3 days and each day had filed complaints about the room and a pungent smell. The manager dismissed these claims, alongside thousands of others about that particular room, putting it down to a drainage pipe or simply the result of being rented out every night. There was no explanation however for the reports of an uneasiness or an eerie feeling whilst in bed, and multiple guests requesting to change rooms in the middle of the night.


A panic stricken Silver had unknowingly discovered the body of a brutally murdered young girl, suddenly all the complains and reports over the years began to make sense to the Motel owners. The medical examiner claimed that the body had been deceased for around five years, the decay on the corpse suggested that it had been undisturbed for this time. The horrifying reality of this meaning that for 5 years, literally thousands of guests had slept above this rotting corpse.

The Motel made no comment on the discovery, besides insisting that they do not understand how this could have slipped beneath the cracks as the rooms were all thoroughly cleaned every day.

“I clean that room every day. I noticed a smell several times, and told my manager,” said Anita Rodriguez, a housekeeper at the motel. “He told me to just use extra Febreeze in the room and it would go away eventually. I always hated cleaning that room.”


The police seized room and occupant records for the last several years and are still to this day trying to trace the person staying in this mysterious room at the time of death.

So, the next time you decide to stay at that conspicuous motel resting in the shadows at the edge of the woods, be sure to check underneath the mattress before getting into bed…

5. Annabelle


This story again might sound familiar to some of you, this is probably because Hollywood got a hold of the story and made it into a block-buster Horror movie called The Conjuring. The movie is actually based on a horrific series of events happening on Rhode Island in the 1970’s. A girl named Donna received the Annabelle doll from her mother, who spotted the ragdoll in a hobby store. Donna was living with her friend Angie at the time, the girls displayed the doll in their living room and thought nothing more of it. Around a month after receiving the doll the girls realised that the doll seemed to move positions on her own, at first it was just subtle changes, but over time the movements increased. The girls decided to dismiss the issue and stored the Annabelle doll in a cabinet in their living room, they would leave the house and come back to find the doll on the sofa. (image below: The recreated Annabelle doll from The Conjuring)


One night, the girls had a friend stay the night, the man claimed he had a dream that the doll had attacked him in the night. Lou aged 26, woke up to find severe bruising and scratch marks across his chest. This frightened the girls but they did not throw the doll out… For the next few weeks, things began to get even stranger, notes were left in various places in their home saying “help me” in a child’s writing, Donna and Angie decided enough was enough and they took the Annabelle doll to a medium.

The medium told the girls that the doll was possessed with the spirit of a little girl, researchers later found that this was the spirit of the dolls previous owner Annabelle Higgins, who tragically died in the home at aged 7. The medium said that the spirit in the doll was not one to be scared of, she just wanted to stay with Donna and Angie and ‘be safe’, and that she meant no harm. (Image below: a portrait of the real Annabelle Higgins, one year before her tragic death)

05Annablle Higgins, Age 5

Strange happenings got even stranger and the girls decided that there was more to the spirit in Annabelle than the little girl. They called paranormal investigators, the Warrens, who deemed that the doll was not possessed by Annabelle Higgins’ spirit but an inhuman presence, which was putting on a ‘face’ in order to attach its self to a human host. Terrified, Donna and Angie agreed that it was best that the Warrens took the doll to their Occult Museum, where she remains today.

The doll was exorcised and blessed with holy water, then locked in a special glass case in the museum, the inhumane demonic presence is said to be locked in the case with the doll; the Warrens urge that the case must never be unlocked, no matter what the circumstances.pc_600x450

(Image above: the real Lorraine and Ed Warren) Many people are sceptical about Annabelle and her haunting story, one of which was a young man in the early 2000’s, who visited the Occult Museum with his girlfriend. He began tormenting the doll, shouting and banging on the glass case, witnesses reported that he screamed “If you are real, come on, scratch me. Do it!”, in an attempt to impress his girlfriend. Ed Warren calmly removed the young man from the premises and told him not to mess with this kind of darkness. On his way home, the young man lost control of his motorbike, he died instantly but his girlfriend survived and was hospitalised for over a year. When investigators asked what happened, the girl explained that they were laughing about the Annabelle doll and the bike suddenly began to swerve.

The police actually credited the doll with the murder of the young man, and published the story as a warning to the public, that we should not challenge evil, as if God is real, so is Satan. If you’re feeling brave this Halloween, why not take a trip to the Warrens Occult Museum, just be sure not to taunt Annabelle….


Silver Mushroom’s D.I.Y Christmas Gift Ideas…


Silver Mushroom’s D.I.Y Christmas Gift Ideas…

Let’s face it, Christmas is no doubt the most magical time of the year. Everybody’s in good spirits, the classics are blasting out whilst we stroll around the shops. Garden centres become twinkly-light havens, food is better, clothes are warmer and films are more heart-melting. In the build up to the snowy season however, other things can often build up (things meaning spending.…). Office parties, family parties, secret Santas, decorations and gifts for anybody and everybody that we’ve ever met etc etc.
We here at S’mush feel your pain. We know how expensive Christmas can be. We also believe that nothing should taint the special season for you, and so we have compiled a handful of ideas to help you spread the love and save the pennies. What’s more thoughtful than a homemade gift?
These ideas are perfect for co-workers, stocking fillers, friends and family. So without further ado, lets get into it.

1. Christmas Chutney


What’s more festive and delicious than a turkey sandwich smothered in Apple and Cranberry Chutney? That’s right, nothing! The great thing about this D.I.Y gift is that generally people love chutney, and it’s so simple to make a large batch of it. Meaning, yes, you can make yourself a few extra jars for those last minute cheese and chutney evenings. Of course, no chutney would be a proper gift unless its presented in one of our beautiful little Kilner jars. To make this gift even easier for you to craft we’ve got a 31 Piece Kilner Preserve Set ready for you to get cracking. Don’t waste another minute.
For the recipe, our choice was simple, because who does Christmas better than Nigella? You can chose any chutney recipe you like, we just have a real soft spot for this one. It also tastes a little bit like Christmas, but that might just be the mulled wine talking.

Ingredients: <i>Makes: 9 x 250ml</i>

  • 750 grams cooking apples (peeled, cored and chopped small)
  • 1 medium onion (peeled and roughly chopped)
  • 500 grams fresh or frozen cranberries (thawed if frozen)
  • 250 grams soft pitted dates (each date cut into 3)
  • 2 clementines (or satsumas)
  • 400 grams caster sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 500 white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons maldon salt (or 1 teaspoon table salt)


  1. Sterilise your jars by washing them well in soapy water, then rinse them and let them dry in a cool (140ºC/gas mark 1/275ºC) oven. If you’re putting warm chutney into them, all jars must be warm. Or use dishwasher-clean jars fresh from the machine.
  2. Put the cooking apples, onion, cranberries and dates into a large pan.
  3. Zest the clementines/satsumas over the top, then squeeze in the juice and scrape in the pulp.
  4. Add the sugar, ground cloves, ginger, cinnamon and cayenne pepper, then pour the vinegar over and sprinkle in the salt.
  5. Now all you have to do is give a good stir, turn on the heat, bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and let it bubble cheerfully, uncovered, for about an hour or until you have a pulpy mass.
  6. Spoon into your warm, prepared jars and seal.

2. Mulled Wine

It just wouldn’t be Christmas without a few (dozen) glasses of delicious Mulled Wine. Everything about it just yells Christmas, Buddy the elf style..


Moving on…We all know that home-made is better, end of discussion. You can tailor this gift so that it suits your recipient perfectly. Adjust sweetness levels, add more cinnamon and so on; this one definitely won’t disappoint! To top it all of this gift would be even sweeter if presented to your loved one in a little 200ml Clip Top Kilner Bottle, perfect for individual glasses of wine.

This recipe is from Kilner, and we absolutely love it, make a large batch and serve it in a Dispenser at parties, the options are endless.



  • 4.3L red wine
  • 500g sugar
  • 3 Oranges, sliced
  • 35 Cloves
  • 17 Cardamom pods
  • 7 Pcs of cinnamon
  • 10 Star Anise


  1. Add all of the above ingredients to a pan apart from the sugar
  2. Heat gently (but do not boil) for 10 minutes. The ideal temperature for mulled wine is 70 deg C.
  3. Stir the sugar in gently and dissolve.
  4. Keep on a low heat for a further 5 minutes, infusing the spices.
  5. Add to the bottles (including the spices and fruit if you prefer a stronger flavour)

3. Pamper Hamper

Xmas Pamper 2

This ones probably the most versatile of these ideas. You can tailor it exactly to your loved one, it’s quite simply a mini-pamper hamper. A small collection of meaningful gifts. You can pick and choose as you like, but just in case you need a little inspiration, take a read of our ideas.

All of these items are available from drug-stores/general supermarkets. Here’s what we would include in our pamper kit for a lucky lady!

  • A lovely body wash/bubble bath, preferably Christmas scented to really get the festive mood flowing.
  • A detoxifying face mask, because lets face it, all the Christmas treats & booze take their toll on our skin!
  • A nourishing hair mask. The snow sure makes for pretty scenery, but it is no friend to the split end!
  • Some good quality hand cream.
  • Glossy nail polish, because everybody needs a fresh manicure for the festive season.
  • A Terry’s Chocolate Orange, arguably an essential at Christmas time, and definitely the most festive chocolate of them all!

You might be thinking, okay Emmie, that’s a really good idea but how ever will I present it to my loved one?! Don’t fret, simply place all the items in one of our Kilner Jars, throw in some glitter or tinsel and you’re good to go!

4. That chapstick is the Balm!

As we all know Christmas is the season for love, joy and romance . If you care about your friends at all, don’t leave them crusty lipped and alone under the mistletoe. With just a few basic household ingredients you can create the most delicious tasting and nourishing lip balm ever made! Okay, so maybe not ever made, we’re not Burt’s Bees over here but we sure can try!

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So, all you need for this prezzie is:

  • 20-30 Kilner mini twist top pots (from your’s truly)
  • 1.5 oz beeswax (1 and a half tablets)
  • 6 vitamin E capsules
  • 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil (2=more rigid, 3=softer)
  • 2-3 teaspoons of coconut oil
  • 2-3 teaspoons of cocoa butter


  1. Boil water a few inches deep in a pot.
  2. Combine ingredients in a measuring cup. If your vitamin E is in pill form, create a small hole and squeeze gel out of capsules.
  3. Place measuring cup in few inches of mildly boiling water (creating a double boiler effect to avoid burning and encourage even melting). Please handle with caution as hot oil and water mixing can be very dangerous.
  4. Stir while ingredients melt together into a combined liquid.
  5. Once liquid is melted, poor into a spoon and let harden about 1 minute.
  6. Test the consistency of your mixture. Add more solids or liquids as needed. (example: more beeswax firms it up, and olive oil will make it less firm).
  7. Place spoon back in melted mixture to remove test.
  8. Once happy with consistency, carefully pour into tubes or containers. Measuring cup handle may be hot. I have heard that plastic droppers work well, but we had no problem carefully pouring it right out of the measuring cup.

5. Bake yourself a Merry Christmas



Nobody can deny, there’s no better smell than that of freshly baked cookies. So why not gift your loved ones with some cookie mix, ready to create delicious gooey and warm Christmas Cookies, in just 10 minutes? You do the ‘hard’ work, they get the end result without the mess and time consuming weighing and measuring process. As a baking addict, I cant help but think that the fun of cookies is in the making of them, but your loved ones will be none the wiser. Besides, cookies just make everybody happy right?giphy-2

Again, this is a really simple gift, that looks the part and is appreciated by all. The recipe is from AllRecipes and we love it. It is the perfect combination of cookie & Christmas. Don’t forget to get your Kilner Jars from us!

Dry ingredients for the jar:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Cinnamon, Ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg, Ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ginger, Ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pistachio nuts, roughly chopped


  1. Layer ingredients in order of sequence, finishing with the pistachio nuts, into a large jar. Seal and keep for up to 1 month.
  2. Gift Instructions to make the cookies…
    -Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line baking trays with baking paper.
    -Empty contents of jar into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and add 200g butter and 1 egg and stir until combined.
    -Roll dough into 1/2 tablespoon balls and place on prepared trays. Flatten slightly. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
    -Cool cookies on baking tray and remove when cool and store in an airtight container.

6. D.I.Y Terrarium Kit5b6eca1a37d7b20dcf35c81eb856190b

This one is so simple to make and breaks the mould for your average gift. We found some instructions on Apartment Therapy and we can’t wait to try it!

What you’ll need:

  • A lovely Kilner Jar
  • Some small rocks
  • Charcoal (this is the fanciest ingredient)
  • Potting soil (best to use one made for succulents and cacti)
  • Succulents and cacti of your choice
  • Moss if required

How to Assemble:

  1. This is the easy part. Once you have your supplies, lay some rocks in the bottom of your container. These are for drainage.
  2. Sprinkle in some charcoal. This helps absorb the decaying matter that will be created within the terrarium.
  3. Then sprinkle in some soil and start planting your baby plants. You can even add some decorative moss to make it feel more terrarium-y
  4. Finally, give it some water and seal it up. Christmas decorations are optional!

7. Cocoa-Ho and a Merry Christmas!


This D.I.Y gift idea is a surefire way to win any woman’s, man’s, cat’s, unicorn’s or living entity’s heart; because lets face it, who doesn’t like chocolate?! We here at Silver Mushroom are avid chocolate enthusiasts. As a result of this we stock a beautifully crafted chocolatiers kit by Mason Cash.The Mason Cash Baker Lane Chocolate Bar Gift Tin includes 12 silicone chocolate bar moulds, stainless steel cutter and recipe cards. All presented in a stylish tin that is perfect for storing your finished chocolate bars or your chocolate bar baking tools when not in use.

Now there’s a pretty big decision to make with this gift, and it’s not one we take lightly. So, you’ve purchased the set, the easy option, whack a bow on the tin and give the whole set to your loved one, leaving them to have hours of fun making beautiful, homemade chocolate bars? Or, you set your self some time aside and get to creating your own personalised treats, in flavours and styles that you know your loved ones will adore, whilst you get to keep the tin and all its goodies! We’ll leave that decision up to you, we know it’s not an easy one!


Just in case you need a little persuasion here’s a gentle push…


8. Mini Christmas Puddings


Who doesn’t love a good Christmas pud. They are easy to make and look festively fantastic! You can’t go wrong by presenting your friends and family with a handful of beautifully decorated mini puds, so why not whip up a batch and get prepared early this year? After all, they do keep for absolutely ages!

Need any extra equipment or storage for this idea? We’ve got you covered. Why not have a browse of our website just in case? This recipe is from one of our favourite blogs. You can make the puds kid friendly, but if you’re a brandy lover like us, we’ll turn a blind eye.


  • Zest and juice of 2 oranges
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • ½ x 250g pack dried plums, Waitrose Wholesome Plum Medley or Pluots
  • 100g Waitrose Wholesome Soft d’Agen Prunes
  • 400g Waitrose Wholesome Vine Fruit Mix
  • 3 tbsp brandy
  • 50g almonds, chopped
  • 200g light brown muscovado sugar
  • 100g butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 75 g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 75 g plain flour


  1. Chop the dried plums and prunes into small pieces, about the size of a sultana. Place with the vine fruit in a large bowl. Pour over the brandy, orange zest and juice, mix well then cover. Leave overnight until the liquid is absorbed.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until well combined. Grease 8 x 175ml individual pudding basins then line the base of each with a disc of non-stick baking parchment. Spoon the pudding mixture evenly between each basin. Cover with pleated pieces of buttered foil (the fold allows for expansion), with the buttered sides facing the puddings. Fold the foil over the edges of the basins and tie with kitchen string so no steam can escape.
  3. Arrange the basins in the base of a steamer, then put the steamer on top of a saucepan filled with cold water.
  4. Bring to the boil, then simmer for about 2–2½ hours. Remember to check the water level regularly as it will need to be topped up with hot water to prevent the pan from boiling dry. Allow the puddings to cool, then discard the foil and replace with new pieces. Store in the fridge or freezer for up to a month.
  5. To reheat the puddings on Christmas Day, steam or simmer in water for 1-1½ hours until piping hot. Turn out on to warm plates and flambé with brandy and serve with brandy cream.

9. Crafty Banner

This is the perfect gift for all the artsy folk out there. It’s quick, simple and looks really effective in any home. All you’ll need for this gift is some cardboard, fabric, quilt batting, a staple gun and some string or ribbon. Get as creative as you like, after all, it’s the thought that counts here.


So, without further ado, get to crafting.

Step 1. Print out the lettering you want, or if you’re feeling extra artsy try drawing them freehand onto your cardboard. then cut them out.

Step 2. Place your cut out letters onto the quilt and cut out the plush to the correct size and shape.


Step 3. Use cut batting as a template to trace each letter onto fabric, leaving a 1/2″ border to pull around the letter’s sides in order to staple it in place. Make sure fabric is face down, so the letter is being traced in reverse.

Step 4. Pull excess fabric around the edges of each letter and secure to the back with staples. Insert a few staples on all sides of the letter to get the fabric into the proper position, then fill in the gaps with additional staples until fabric is tightly pulled around all sides.


Step 5. Cut a length of twine, ribbon or string that is long enough to attach letters together, creating a banner, plus an allowance on each side for hanging. Staple string to top back side of letters, making sure letters are evenly spaced. Once you’ve done this you’re ready to go! If your recipient doesn’t fancy hammering nails into their walls, why not throw in some Command hanging strips?

10. Snowy Christmas Luminaries


There’s nothing prettier than a Christmas themed luminary. That’s a candle in a jar for us ordinary folk. This gift is a winner with everybody, because they’re so simple to make and look beyond effective. Ever found yourself cooing over a candle? Just take another look at that picture, it’s just so adorable *crying noises*.

So, without further ado, what you will need to create this candle is:


  1. Wash and dry jars.
  2. Glue lace around rim of jar.
  3. Tie twine around rim of jar.
  4. Attach pine cones to lace using hot glue.
  5. Decorate pine cones and top of jar rim with Snow-Tex.
  6. Add Epsom salt to jar and insert candle., there you have it, our 10 favourite D.I.Y Christmas gift ideas that will melt hearts without breaking the bank. We hope this has helped you with any difficult gifts, and given you a little Christmas inspiration!

Feel free to share our ideas and spread the Christmas cheer!

Don’t Be Sloe Off The Mark…


If you’re the outdoorsy type then you will know that our British Blackthorn trees are soon to be aching with fruit, and not just any fruit- Sloes. As an avid drinker of Sloe Gin, and any other Gin related drink, this excites me. Sloe Gin is simply gin infused with sloe’s, exactly what it says on the tin, and it is a delicious winter warmer- perfect for this chilly weather.

Sloe Gin has been made all over the British Isles for centuries yet there is still a mystery around the different ways of making it, so since we’re embarking upon winter times I felt this would be a perfect time to talk about it.Two months is the minimum amount of time needed for sloe gin to mature, and as in two months it will be coming up to December, now is the perfect time to get prepping.


You can buy ready made sloe gin from pretty much anywhere, but honestly, where’s the fun in that. Everybody knows that everything tastes better when its home made, especially when its as easy as pick, prick & bottle. After that, all you have to do is wait!

So, without further ado, lets get into the process.. First up, you need to find your sloes; they usually grow quite high up, so get a big stick and start shaking those branches. The easiest way of telling whether the berries are ripe is to pinch them in between your finger and thumb, if they pop easily then they are ready; you should pick enough to fill around half of the bottle you plan to make the Gin in. You should then place the berries in the freezer overnight, this will simulate the ‘first frost’ by which the berries split their skin and realise their natural sweetness. If you skip this step your sloes will be bitter and highly astringent, not ideal.
The next step is to place the sloes into the bottle with a couple of heaped tablespoons of caster sugar, depending on how sweet you like your drinks then top up with a gin of your choice. Please note that the better the gin you use, the better your sloe gin will be, so we recommend a fairly good one!

The final step is by far the easiest, simply place the bottle on its side out of direct sunlight, and twist it 180 degrees every other day for at least two months. The longer you leave your concoction the better, but if you really cant wait- 2 months and you’re good to go!

We love Sloe Gin so much we now sell a superb quality 8 Piece Sloe Gin Set by Kilner. It has one 2L Kilner Glass Jar to make the drink in, four 250ml Kilner Clip Top bottles to store the sloe gin in once ready, a Kilner funnel to prevent mess and a lovely muslin cloth to mop up any spills; it also comes with a recipe just incase you lose this blog post! It would make the perfect gift for any gin lover, or a wonderful treat for your self. If you fancied getting really creative you could even make the sloe gin yourself and give it as a thoughtful & homemade gift, the options are endless!


Everything You Probably Didn’t Know About The Great British Bake Off

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 16/08/2016 - Programme Name: The Great British Bake Off 2016 - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: **NOT FOR PUBLICATION BEFORE 00:01 HOURS TUESDAY 16TH AUGUST 2016**

(L-R) Rav, Tom, Kate, Lee, Val, Candice, Benjamina , Michael, Selasi, Jane, Andrew & Louise  - (C) Love Productions - Photographer: Mark Bourdillon

Now that series 7 of our much loved Bake Off is well and truly underway we felt it was time to dig a little deeper into the secrets of the tent. Seriously, we have so much love yet so many unanswered questions for the show. Who eats the bakes? Who does the washing up? Do the bakers drink the hotel bar dry every weekend in celebration? We need answers!

So without further ado, here are all the weird and wonderful facts we could conjure up about the nations favourite show..

1. In order to eliminate the chance for contestants to blame any failed bakes on technical issues with the ovens, the crew bakes a batch of Victoria Sponges. In every oven, every day! We cant even imagine how incredible that tent must smell!



2. The application process might actually be harder than the show its self! According to insiders, applicants must fill out a seven page form and theres an endless list of rules you must abide by. Including no branded, labelled or striped clothes!

Continue reading

Win a Set of 12 Kilner Jars #WWBO

Kilner (3)

Well that’s week 3 done of the Great British Innuendo (ahem….sorry Bake Off) done and dusted but do not fear. As you wait patiently for next week’s episode, we can keep you entertained with our super exciting comnpetition: Win With Bake Off! We’ve already given away a fabulous Mason Cash Cane Mixing Bowl (as seen on the show – just saying!) and a Mason Cash Varsity Bakeware set. This week, you’ve voted for a prize from our favourite brand, Kilner!

For your chance to win a set of 12 x Round Clip Top 0.5 Litre Kilner Jars, just answer this simple (sort of) question about Bread Baking:


Bread week

Answer us on Twitter or Facebook for your chance to win! Good luck folks.

Our winner will be announced before next week’s show.

Top 9 British Bake Off Innuendos!

Selasi Great British Bake Off

We all love the Great British Bake Off, with its delicious deserts and of course Hollywood’s baby blues, its no wonder that it’s the nations favourite program. After 7 series and a collective 45 million viewers, the program has got us well and truly hooked. By 2016, I think it’s safe to say that its not just the gripping bakes that have caught our attention; lets not forget all those side-splitting innuendos. Yes yes, these dirty, punny inudendos are arguably part of the reason for the shows popularity and so we’ve compiled a list of all our favourites.

You’re going to want to put the cake down for these, some of these moments are utter filth & we love it! Don’t say we didn’t warn you..

  1. We understand that the adjective ‘moist’ is inevitably going to crop up on a baking show, but Mary Berry really stepped things up a notch this time.

landscape-1444230590-10At least she’s enjoying her self, eh?



2.  And as for the contestants.. Who can really blame them, they’re only following in their mentors’ footsteps….

bake off

Oh, hey Andrew, fancy lending a hand to your fellow baker Candice?…


3. Hollywood’s as jammy as ever. A gentleman never tells, right Paul?

naughty paul

Well, they say sharing’s caring! #BroCode



4. Do you ever just forget to think before you speak? Yeah, same here Mary.


Yep, your secrets out now, Berry.



5. The bake off is not all sponges and soufflés.. Thanks for the tip Mary!


*no comment*


6. Wow, um… It’s not really that kind of show Sue!






7. Moving swiftly onwards.. Or not!



8. Ah, yes. Surely we can count on Mel to bring us all back to reality.



Unfortunately we cannot. Oh stop it Mel!


9. Well that’s very considerate of you, at least you’re considerate Sue.


10. Last but not least. They don’t say you shouldn’t mix business with pleasure for no reason!


tumblr_nd57ifxaeW1rs8ltio1_500tumblr_oci4hfNDRi1us3a2uo1_400Oh we do love you Selasi!



Tonight sees the return of the baking behemoth that is The Great British Bake Off. This year, we will be running a competition alongside the UK’s most watched TV show, offering the chance to win an array of fantastic prizes and get involved in our Twitter chat. Expect sweat and tears, soggy bottoms, showstoppers and more than likely some life changing events (anyone remember Bingate 2014?)


To celebrate the return of the greatest show on Earth, we will be giving away one fantastic prize every week, to one lucky winner. All you have to do is follow us on social media and answer the qualifying question each week. The question will be relevant to that episode and the winner will be announced at the end of the next week’s episode.

Prizes will include Mason Cash Mixing Bowls, Paul Hollywood’s very own bake ware range, Mason Cash Pie Dishes, Master Class Artesa Wood and Slate Stands and much much more!


Tonight’s Opening Night prize is a fantastic classic Mason Cash 29cm Mixing Bowl! Tune in to our Twitter @silvermushroom1 and use the hashtag #WWBO to answer our qualifying question each week and be in with a chance to win some fabulous bakeware and bake like a pro! Spatulas at the ready……

Mason Cash 29cm Mixing Bowl

Follow us on Twitter: @Silvermushroom1 Like us on Facebook: Silver Mushroom Ltd and don’t forget your hashtag: #WWBO

Tonight’s episode starts at 8pm on BBC One. See you there.

Steak Stones: We’re Bonkers for Beef!


Before I begin, I’d just like to warn the vegans and vegetarians that the contents of this blog get meaty, pretty quickly. In fact, thats all I’m going to be talking about. Meat!

Here at Silver Mushroom we are lucky enough to stock many weird and wonderful products, from Spiralizers to Vintage Barrel shaped Drinks Dispensers. When we begin selling a new product we like to do research and trialling so that we can discuss the products truthfully with customers. This is part of what gives us here at Silver Mushroom a personal and friendly touch. And also why I feel that, as your friend and confidant, I owe it to you all to tell you about one very special product that we stock, The Steak Stone. Before we really sink our teeth in, I thought I’d just give you a little background on us carnivores.


It all began some 3.4 million years ago. Scientists have found evidence to suggest that markings made on animal remains were actually butchery marks. Human remains from the same time-period displayed a decrease in a bone lesion called Portico Hyperostosis, which resulted from a lack of vitamins B9 and B12, due to a lack of meat. Scientist Dominguez-Rodrigo states these findings suggest that human brain development would not have happened to the extent it did without a diet based on regular consumption of meat. So, to sum up, we don’t just like meat, we need meat.

Now, we’ve got the evidence that humans have been eating meat for a ‘bloody’ long time (get it?). But when did we begin to experiment and eat it rare or tartare (that’s basically raw for those of you who aren’t sure)? The French nicknamed the English ‘les rosbifs’ (yup that is ‘Roast Beefs’) in the 18th century precisely because of the way we like our meat, but the idea of a bloody joint of meat did exist in the 1950’s. In those days people who preferred their steak bloody were perceived to be in cahoots with the devil. The switch from us Brits eating our meat like a well cooked car tire that chews like a slab of leather to a succulent, juicy piece of steak dripping with flavour happened fairly recently; around the time we stopped viewing food as not just a source of energy but a source of pleasure.


It’s this concept of food being a source of pleasure that has inspired the idea of lava stone cooking. I remember the first time I was served my rump steak completely raw, to the side of a piping hot slab of stone, years ago on a family holiday in Portugal. I sat and simply gawked at my Mum in bewilderment. Thankfully, she put two and two together and realised that I was to cook my meat myself, right in front of me. The idea might seem a little odd at first. We go to restaurants to be served food, not to cook it ourselves, right at the table! However, I soon realised that this invention was an absolute game changer.

So, what’s so great about cooking on one of the SteakStones sizzling sets? First of all, they make for an incredibly sociable way to cook and eat. Meal times are a time for you to spend with friends and family, an enjoyable way for you to chat and laugh over delicious foods. In some countries the idea of meal times is almost ritualistic, and even warrant their own holidays. The well known Mexican holiday, Dia De Los Muertos (Day of The Dead) involves families celebrating their loved ones through all sorts off different breads, deserts and sugar skulls! The SteakStones take this concept and run with it, they take the oldest tradition of all, eating, and combine it with new concepts such as cooking at the table and preparing and eating food at the same time.

Not only are the SteakStones perfect for searing steaks and fish. You can pretty much cook anything that you want on them! The concept is brilliant for all of us who get a little panicked over the idea of cooking multiple meals, be it the stress of flavourless food, or the daunting concept of well done, medium rare, rare and every chef’s favourite, the old “rare, but not too rare” classic. Well, with SteakStones you can chill out and forget how your Auntie Sally wants her fillet because the process is mind-blowingly simple! All you have to do is heat the Lava stones to between 280 and 350°C. You can do this in the oven, on the hob, under the grill or even in the barbecue for around half an hour. Once your stones are hot you simply place them into the specially designed steel tray fitted into the sturdy bamboo serving board and you’re good to go! The sets come with little sauce pots and side plates so that your guests can dip away.

SteakStones Sharing Plate

The real beauty of the SteakStones is the fact all your guests will receive their perfect steak. Let’s face it, we’re a nation of fuss-pots, ones idea of steak-heaven is another’s hell. Whilst this pickiness really does make us all incredibly diverse and splendidly unique, its a really bellyache for the chef.

As the stones are made from top quality Lava Stone they maintain their sizzling heat throughout your entire meal, meaning that every mouthful is piping hot. The stones don’t require any oil or fats, making them an incredibly healthy way to prepare meals. The dry, searing heat traps in the delicious natural flavours of your chosen meat or veg ensuring that every mouthful is succulent and flavourful, exactly how you like it.


SteakStones are a brilliant concept, and could be considered an investment piece (well worth it, if I say so myself). However, I myself am an advocate of ‘try before you buy’ and so if you fancy using the stones before taking the plunge and buying them then you’re in luck. Because clever restauranteurs all over the country are cottoning onto this genius idea and serving their sizzlers on a SteakStone! Trip Advisor will no doubt give you information and reviews on any steak houses near to you, but we can at least vouch for the North West. An absolute gem of a restaurant as opened up in Rawtenstall, Lancashire; The Fire Pit. Set in an old train station, this quirky modern restaurant and cocktail bar specialises in steaks served on SteakStones. The atmosphere is always lively and the food is always brilliant. If you are local and fancy using a SteakStone in person then give them a visit, you will thank me later! And if you’re over in West Lancashire, they have opened up another branch in Southport in an old converted warehouse. Fingers crossed they start popping up all over the country!

the firepit

Whether it’s in a restaurant or in your own home, there is no doubt a lava rock steak is the ultimate way to entertain, and satisfy your innate meat cravings! Just be careful who you invite to dinner because once you serve up your sizzling steak, you won’t be getting shut of anyone fast!

SteakStones are available to buy at Silver Mushroom, along with all the necessary accessories and also the new Himalayan Salt Stones, which we will be reviewing over the next few months. Click here to have a browse!

Why we are Enamoured with Enamel!

Enamel Plates

There is a trend that is sweeping the foodie nation, working its way into restaurants, bars coffee shops, and even festivals. It reminds us of our childhood, of camping trips and family picnics. Our grandparents started it, and now we’ve made it cool again. Yes, we’re talking about enamelware. Have you seen it? The blue rimmed camping plates of bygone eras, the lightweight tin mugs that you use to sip marshmallow topped hot chocolate from by a campfire (you might still!)? Now you can sup soup from them at your favourite trendy caf! Who would have thought state of the art London eateries would be choosing to serve their food on picnic plates? Is that not the equivalent of serving your champers in polycarbonate cups , you ask? Well, the quick answer is no! It isn’t.

Enamel 8

I personally have always loved the enamelware so when we noticed it creeping back into fashion in the S/S 2015 product launch, we did get rather excited. But there are a number of reasons why we, as a nation, are simply enamoured with enamel.

Ok, we’ll get the practical stuff out of the way first. The fact that enamel is trendy is a bit of a godsend for commercial kitchens, the most obvious reason for this being its strength and durability. Enamelware can be used again and again and will last an awful lot longer than its breakable counterparts, porcelain, china or glass. This is a clear bonus for a restaurant, coffee shop or tearooms where crockery is frequently broken and needs to be constantly replaced. Enamelware can be chipped if it has a bad fall or a serious knock, but your plates and dishes won’t break and little chips only add to the rustic charm.

Enamel 10

Another practical reason to use enamelware is its functionality. Enamel pie dishes can quite happily be used for both cooking and serving pies, vegetables, sides, sauces, puddings and much more. They go in the oven or on the hob and then straight to the table. Less fuss, less mess, still bucket loads of rustic charm. Just don’t microwave them please, whatever you do!

The heat conductivity of enamel ware also makes it fabulous for cooking. No longer will your pie have a soggy bottom or your lasagne be burnt on the edges and cold in the middle. So you get perfect results using cookware that is stronger, lighter and more versatile. That’s a win win right there if ever I heard one!

Ok, that’s the boring (but necessary) stuff out of the way. Let’s get down to the good stuff. In a nutshell, enamelware is cool!

Enamel 9

I think the first thing that springs to mind when we see traditional blue rimmed enamel plates and mugs is childhood memories and a lovely warm sense of nostalgia. Summer picnics on hazy days, lounging around on a picnic blanket or frolicking in a meadow. Family barbecues and beautiful sunsets. Or a Sunday roast at Grandma’s house, cooked in her favourite old enamel roasting tin. We love to look back on the good old days, even if we’re only in our twenties and they aren’t really that old! And enamel crockery, just like grandma’s old gingham picnic blanket, sparks a wonderful warm and fuzzy feeling that we just can’t get enough of.


One of the biggest attractions to enamelware is its outdoorsy-ness. The rise in popularity of festivals, camping trips, barbecues, hiking and outdoor sports plus the ease with which we can share our experiences with the world in carefully framed and filtered pictures on social media (has anyone else noticed how utterly brilliant the social media generation are at photography?) all lends itself perfectly to this insta-friendly dining ware. Whether it is the traditional blue and white or an updated version like our Living Nostalgia Vintage Enamel range, or even a beautiful printed design like the gorgeous pieces we’ve seen on various blogs from companies like Emalco in Poland, who will print anything you want onto your enamel or offer their own stunning designs.

Printed Enamel 2

Whether you want it plain, branded or to customise your own, there’s no doubt that your cupboards, picnic baskets or camping kit will benefit from introducing some enamelware. Its retro style and vintage charm will always be a popular choice and the variety of shapes and sizes available mean you can tailor your collection to your needs perfectly. A practical crockery and cookware set that serves your needs perfectly but invokes fond memories and warms a nostalgic heart each time it’s used. What more could we ask for?

Living Nostalgia Enamel