Thursday 30 May 2013

Half-term bakeathon

I can't believe we are halfway through half-term already and the weather has been awful.  The log burner has been on most days as it's been cold and wet here.  We did have a nice weekend at the start of the holiday but that ended come the Bank Holiday Monday and it's not improved since.  Is it really the end of May?!

As is the norm here, crafting stops during the hols as I don't get five minutes to get anything out before a little voice needs me for something else - how I will cope during the summer hols is beyond me, I shall have withdrawal symptoms for sure!

However, I can get away with baking, and as we still have an abundance of duck and chicken eggs, I've been spending lots of time in the kitchen beavering away on very unhealthy treats!

I firstly made some carrot and banana muffins which the eldest daughter declared were 'amazing'!  As they were a touch on the healthy side, the 4 year old wasn't having any of it, and refused to eat them!  They soon disappeared though!

I've also been making the statutory loaf cakes: lemon drizzle and chocolate and banana, which don't last long!

I thought I would try out some new recipes this week though, using my Jo Pratt madhouse cookbook which my mum brought me for Easter.

It's full of recipes for all occasions, and firstly I tried out the Fudge Cookies.

Again, the youngest of the house wasn't so keen on the fudgey insides, but the rest of us loved them and they were gobbled up in no time!

Today I made two more things from the book, firstly a chocolate, raspberry and coconut torte.

Now I can't say how nice, or not, it is as we haven't tried it yet, but aside from having to separate 6 eggs, it wasn't a difficult recipe to follow.  It's also gluten free.

I'm going to share the next recipe on here as not only is it incredibly simple, but delicious too.  Jo Pratt suggests making these as a gift for teachers and I think she may have something in that idea, wrapped up or in a box, these would make a great treat.

Chocolate Bombs

175g dark chocolate
50g butter
2tbsp golden syrup
150g plain biscuits
150p glace cherries

1.  Melt the chocolate, butter and golden syrup in a heatproof bowl.
2.  Crush the biscuits.
3.  Chop the cherries and add them to the chocolate and 125g of the crushed biscuits.  Put in the fridge to firm up for 30mins-1hour.
4.  Take heaped teaspoons and roll them into little balls.  Roll in the reserved biscuit crumbs to coat evenly.
5.  Eat!  Apparently if stored in a fridge they will last around 2 weeks but I can't see that happening here!

So that's been my half-term.  I now have a sick 6 year old to deal with.  No rest for the wicked!  (And no, she hasn't eaten any of today's baking!!!).

Take care

G x

Saturday 25 May 2013

Garden envy

I've been catching up with everyone's blogs of late and I must admit, I've got a touch of garden envy going on.

It's not that we don't have a garden, we do, but it's half an acre of soil - not a blade of grass growing anywhere.  There was, but the goats and alpacas put pay to that and it's never grown back!

One day I dream of a beautiful lawn and of pretty flowers like I've seen blogged these past few weeks.

I thought I would cheer myself up by taking some pictures of what we do have growing to show myself that it's not all doom and gloom.

our Rhododendron always makes me look forward to summer

A lot of the gardens in our road have one of these - clearly scattered by the birds!

I love Apple Blossom

We have lots of Bluebells

Maybe it's not garden envy that I have, but grass envy.

Hope there's sunshine where you are today.

G x

Monday 20 May 2013

Treat day

Treat day doesn't happen that often anymore; once upon a time when I was a young, free and single girlie I treated myself ALL the time, without a care in the world.  Now I am a more responsible and boring sensible grown-up, treat day happens less frequently which makes me appreciate it more.

Today I went with Lottie to Hanley to visit Abakahan and Emma Bridgewater!  We spent our pennies!!!

First stop was Abakahan; if you've never been in one, it's a veritable treasure trove of goodies, from fabrics, wools and everything in between.  I think I could easily have bought lots more than I did, but I tried to restrain myself.  Mainly I wanted to get some fabric with which to make myself some dresses, and I found two to try out with my patterns from Pip Lincolne's Sew La Tea Do book.

Dress fabric 1 - it's a bit more sage green in real life!

Dress fabric 2

I also got some other fabrics to make other 'things' with - a girl needs a choice, does she not?

Lottie had some of this too

More ribbons!

Then we went to Emma Bridgewater for lunch (yummy) and a browse around their shops.  I didn't buy anything here but that's primarily because as a non-tea and coffee drinker I'm a bit limited in my purchasing capability.  I did see a gorgeous dish for crumbles etc but the price put me off!

Then it was back to reality and the joy of the school runs!  I did have to pop to the supermarket though as we had run out of lunchbox treats - oh my, look what I found in there!

I missed this when it was on - catch-up time required!

Alphabet tote-bag with my initial on it - £1.99 bargain!

Hope you've been able to treat yourselves too?

G x

Saturday 18 May 2013

Daisy Puff

Ooooh I discovered a new blog today!  Sat reading it for an age and then discovered I was reading the 2012 posts - could take me a while to catch up to 2013!  Anyway the blog is called Bunny Mummy and you can find it here I discovered it via Deramores on their facebook page today when they featured this beautiful daisy granny square:

Despite my beginners status in the world of crochet I decided that I'd give it a go.  Thankfully the blog contains step-by-step instructions so even a novice like me can try!

Want to see the results?

Of course you do!

It's not perfect but I'm quite impressed that I managed a puff stitch!  Had never even heard of one until this afternoon!

Think I had better try and make some more - maybe during the Eurovision!

Mentioning Deramores, if you don't follow them in one format or another, they are well worth checking out.  Not only do they sell wool and patterns etc but they also feature patterns that are free to download.  This is one of the more recent ones that got my heart beating a little quicker.

My girlies would love these:

Best of friends!

I'm going to have to keep on practising!

Monday sees a hopefully crafty day with Lottie as we are off to shop at Abakahan and Emma Bridgewater - here's hoping a blog post follows with lots of treasures bought!

Happy Eurovisioning

G x

Wednesday 15 May 2013

My month in books

There hasn't been much time for crafting this month as I've had to work every day so my mummy-free time has disappeared.  I am trying to finish knitting a ballet cardigan for the 4 year old though - on the final sleeve, I find sleeves sooooo boring though!

I have found time for lots of reading though.  I recently finished this:

A fantastic summer read with the most gorgeous cover.

And this:

I'd love this as a picture without the text
I had never read a Maggie O'Farrell until this year and now I'm hooked.  Somehow I managed to finish this in just 24 hours!  Don't tell the hubby!

I'm now on this one - a tale of a baby and a dead man washed up at a remote lighthouse in Australia in 1926.  It's not my normal sort of read but I'm loving it so far.

I also bought the new Lisa Jewell as the mention of the 1920s and flappers caught my attention.  I'm looking forward to seeing the new Great Gatsby film at some point. I love that period of time.

Hopefully in the post soon I'll be getting two more reads:

The Silent Wife is set to be a big hit this summer, no more so than that the author A S A Harrison died suddenly last month before seeing its release.

and I'm also waiting on this beauty, The Sacred River by Wendy Wallace; set in Victorian Egypt it follows the tale of three women.  I'm so looking forward to this - the book doesn't even have a cover yet!

I also won a signed copy of the new Tanya Byrne novel which came this week - so many books, so little time!

And of course, I'm still reading Pride & Prejudice for my Pretty Nostalgic book club too!

Hope you're doing something you love too?

G x

Sunday 5 May 2013

Rescued Treasure

There has been an enormous amount of skip clearing this past month since the old lady over the road died.  Five huge skips have been filled and taken away as she was, apparently, a bit of a hoarder.  As she was best friends with the man who owned our house, hubby decided to take a sneaky peak in the latest skip to see if there was anything of interest in there.  This is what he brought back to me:

This belonged to the lady opposite and was given to her at school in 1911!

The 6 year old is currently reading this one

This one contained a surprise... was owned by the man who lived here!

This Scottish publication has some great adverts in it:

I think this one has to be read in a clipped British accent

My heart breaks for what other treasures have been as casually thrown away.  I'm sure there was much more that could have filled this house and many others.  I'm glad I was able to rescue some of them.

G x

Friday 3 May 2013

Bag lady

It was time for a bit more crafting with Lottie this week.  I asked her if she minded being mentioned on the blog so much, thankfully she said she didn't!  We decided that we were going to make messenger bags based on the tutorial in Mollie Makes no 10 by Jane from teawagontales.  I already own two of her bags as I haven't had the courage to try to make one of my own, and I love the ones she has for sale so it isn't difficult to press buy when looking at her etsy shop!

My first Tea Wagon bag

My second one!

The whole bag wasn't completed in a day though as we spent so long deciding which fabrics we were going to use that it was lunchtime before we even began!  I decided that for my main fabric I was going to use a piece of the curtains that were left in our kitchen when we bought our house three years ago.  The strap was from a pillowcase, the lining I bought in Abakhan and the pocket is a piece that I got from Jane herself!  I finished it all off with a Cath Kidston button. 

Ta- dah!

Jane's fabric peeking out!

What do you think?  It was surprisingly easier than I thought it would be so I think I might be trying to make another one!  Only not for a while as I have to work full-time for the next two weeks so no crafting for this lady until the end of the month!

I also had a wonderful surprise this week in the form of a present from Lazy Daisy Jones!  Two beautiful hand-made cats for the girls and a bag for my crochet bits and pieces.  Unfortunately I can't show a picture of the cats as the camera has decided to play up - hubby won't be impressed when I tell him, but I'll put them onto my next post if I can.  I was so touched and still am by her kindness. 

How pretty is this?!

I've also been asked by Pretty Nostalgic Magazine to set up a vintage book club here too.  Our first meeting is this month and we have been given Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen to read.  I'll let you know how it goes!

Enjoy your bank holiday - I think we will probably be heading off to the zoo, again!

G x