Friday, 31 December 2010

Happy New Year!

Well, Christmas is over, the snow has gone and the usual rythms of our lives are slowly returning to normal (except tonight when all four of us troup round to friends' for a night of festivities!). I could make a list of all the things I want to achieve in 2011 (a long list), and all the things I didn't achieve in 2010 (an even longer list), but instead I've decided to keep it simple this year and only have two resolutions, I figure that the fewer I have the fewer I can break!
My first is obvious and cliched, but with my brother getting married in August and a family beach holiday with friends imminent in May it is a necessary one - you've guessed it - I have to eat less, exercise more (or a bit anyway!) and drop a few dress sizes.
The other resolution has developed over the past few days. At this time of year most bloggers reflect over the previous year and show their pictures, some have done the 365 Photos project (a photo taken every day of the year) which I find fascinating but don't feel I'm up to that sort of commitment! So instead I've decided to post one photo per week for the next year, it should give me a record of the year without causing me to melt down with the stress of it all - there's only so much I can do in one lifetime! I think I'll post random photos, sometimes I might record momentous moments, at other times I might just post a picture of the washing up (thrilling huh?!)
So that's it, lose weight and make my blogging habit a little more regular with my 52 Photos project. If you want to join me in either venture, leave a comment and I'll start up a Flickr group or something.

Hope you have a very jolly time tonight, and that 2011 brings you more love, fun and kindness than 2010!

P.S One short note, I will not be posting my weight at any point on this blog (or indeed anywhere else), that is between me and the bathroom scales!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

The 'ta da' moment for my little house!

I finished my little house tonight, and I'm so proud, have a look around (Unfortunately I was so excited, I couldn't wait for good light for the photos!)
Anyway, here's the front:
 One side:

 The back:
 The other side:
 The vegetable patch - I love how the carrots turned out (hopefully other people recognise the carrots!):
 The pond:
 A view of of the indoors and outdoors:
And that's it, my little house will be winging it's way to Scotland tomorrow complete with a Sylvanian Mouse Family, so my little house is now a Mouse House (sorry couldn't resist!)

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Homemade presents WIP

I'm having a ball embellishing my little house, have a look:

There's still a way to go, but I'm so happy with it!

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Homemade Christmas presents

It's been a while since I've blogged about my 20 Minuters pledge, partly because I haven't had my camera handy and partly because I have to admit I haven't strictly done 20 minutes of craft every single day. But today, I am glad to report, I've more than made up for my lack of crafting.

I have another cold, can you believe it? I felt so ropey this morning that I didn't go to work. Usually I battle on but today I just couldn't. Sitting watching daytime TV was very depressing, so in the end I went to get my sewing machine, gathered a blanket around me, and got started on a project I've been dying to do all year.

I have coveted this little house for so long, but I lack confidence when it comes to using the sewing machine so imagine my surprise when I managed this:

It isn't finished, but I am so chuffed with it I couldn't wait to post it! I'll do a final 'tada' (and show off the cute floor boards) when I've put in the fireplace and doors and windows. This one is for a very good friend's 2 year old, but I want to do another for Little Miss. If you like it, the tutorial is very easy to follow, and there's a Flickr group who offer huge amounts of inspiration (I really love the bird box!)

I also joined a Secret Santa last week, so I crocheted this scarf for some 'lucky' person:

 I'm not sure about it but it's too late now!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Poorly bunnies and chicken soup

There are no pictures in this post, and once you've read it you'll understand why!
I'm sitting under the furriest blanket we own, feeling cold and sniffing (I would say sniffling but I'm past being ladylike!). I should have suspected something was up on Monday evening, when I opened Little Miss's bedroom, to check on her before going to bed, only to find a scene from the Amityville Horror in front of me. A tummy bug was quickly diagnosed and Little Miss was hosed down, as were most of her furry toys, her bedding, pyjamas, slippers, well you get the picture... Then I had to email all the people I was supposed to see at work the following day, cancelling and rearranging meetings, organising conference calls etc and then finally went to bed feeling a bit coldy at around midnight.
Luckily, Little Miss felt a bit better the next morning and we mooched around at home together all day, although I do confess that she did lounge in front of the electronic babysitter rather a lot! This morning she woke up right as rain but school had told us she needed to be quarantined for 48 hours, so daddy took his turn looking after her. Everything should return to normal tomorrow (touch wood!)
Oh, the chicken soup, I almost forgot. I made Little Miss a chicken soup with some steamed carrots, leeks, tiny pasta and stock. I loved it but she wasn't as keen...

I haven't forgotten about crafting, I'm working on something and I will resolve to post about it shortly...Promise!

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Halloween Yumminess

We had some fun with food today. I made witch's hair for lunch:

(that witch gets into every kind of mess!)

Then the Little People and I made witches' fingers and toes:

We used this recipe, and they taste a lot better than they look!

But the Little Peoples' favourite food was blood clots (or jelly):

We followed Nigella's 'recipe' and made strawberry, raspberry and blackcurrant jellies, let them set and then tipped them all into one bowl and mushed them with our hands.

After all that sugar, the Little People just had to go Trick or Treating!

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Hot and cold

I've just spent a week away from the Little People, it's the longest I've ever been away from them and I really missed them. I had to go to Phoenix (Arizona) for work. The flights were painful (via Toronto on the way and Newark on the way back), but the people I worked with were lovely and we had a great time. I was given the work mascott before I went (it's a long story), so I recorded the trip with Humperdink's help...

It was  33 degrees when I got there and a 'cold' 22 degrees when I left. It was a bit of a shock when I caught the bus from the airport last night in 11 degree cold.

Big Man looked after the Little People perfectly (annoyingly!) and he let me sleep in this morning until 10:10!!! Then we all trooped off to Warwick Castle for the day to watch falconners, princesses, knights and witches, but the most impressive thing was seeing the trebuchet being fired.Obviously, it was freezing cold and wet. I forgot the camera so there's nothing to see - I'm blaming jet lag!

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Complete contentment

Today has been busy and I am sitting on the sofa (when I should be at the gym) exhausted now. But there have been tiny moments of total and utter contentment. I read a blog this week that urged people to do something every day that made them truly happy, and maybe that's why I noticed my moments. I was being a bit lazy though, you see I didn't actually do anything to make me happy, I just noticed things that brought a smile to my face.

I opened the curtains this morning and the sky was completely blue, there wasn't a cloud in the sky and the air was cold and crisp. Of course, there was breakfast to get, and washes to put on, and children to dress and the day to get on with so the moment didn't last long!

Little Miss had been invited to a fancy dress birthday party and announced that she wanted to be a princess with a plaited hair crown. I can't say the plaiting was the moment, but seeing her face when I'd finished was:


Later, Little Man had his music lesson. It's a bit of a battle really, as he isn't the world's keenest pianist. Anyway, he played a piece (with both hands) perfectly (a rare occurrence!), until the very last note when he went wrong. He realised immediately and giggled and I was so proud of him.

When we got back Little Miss and Big Man were still at the party. Little Man and I made chocolate chip cookies while the bolognese sauce I was making for dinner gently bubbled on the hob and filled the air with delicious smells. Judging from the number that have made it to the end of the day, these won't last as long as I'd hoped:

Then we all tramped up Wittenham Clumps where we collected sticks, leaves and seed pods for Little Man's art project at school next week:

Little Man wasn't in the best of moods when we got home, probably because he needed feeding the second we walked through the door, but anyway he went off into the garden and reappeared two minutes later with these,  saying 'sorry mummy':

I'm not sure tomorrow I will have as many moments, there's a mountain of ironing to do...

Sunday, 19 September 2010

96 sleeps until Christmas...

Little Man is planning his Christmas list and we haven't had Bonfire Night yet!

I love this season, as the trees turn yellow, brown and orange, the nights draw in, the air turns crisp and Christmas is just round the corner.  There is only one thing I don't like  anymore and that is coming up with gift ideas for everyone.

I've been organising the present giving for so many years now that I have run out of inspiration, everyone's had the ornament, the socks and the soap that (for some reason) I thought they couldn't do without. So, if only to give me some inspiration, I've decided to try putting a few homemade presents this year.

My first effort has to be to finish this off for my brother and his fiancee:

She asked me to do it three or four year's ago but I never finished it, so with 96 days to go I'd better get busy!

Over the next few weeks I'll look for inspiration, and blog about it, any ideas gratefully received!

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Sejour en Dordogne

I'm half French, so my whole family (except my brother) live in France. We;ve just spent two weeks there and I feel like I've regained my inner frog! Here's what we got up to...

La Roque Gageac

Canoe and picnic at the Chateau de Montfort


St Cirq Lapopie

Sunday, 25 July 2010

20 minuters!

I've realised that although I've been busy, I haven't blogged about how I've been spending my 20 minutes a day for ages, so here's the update:

I'm not a very patient person, I like instant results, so I decided to alter my blanket design and I've started to sew!!!!

I'm planning to crochet a border once I've sewn them all together, here's what it should look like when it's finished:

I really do need to get my act together and take the pictures in daylight!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Food for Thought

I have been busy being busy recently, so my blog has been sadly neglected. I wasn't sure what to write about, until this cake taught me some valuable lessons.

We have a glut of these at the moment:

So I surfed the net and found a recipe for raspberry cake. As I was making it I started to have misgivings. You know when you're making something and you have a nagging feeling that you should change it, but then just follow the instructions to the letter? Well that's just what I did. As I took the cake out of the oven, it looked beautiful and I started to doubt those feelings, but I can now safely say 'I was RIGHT!'. The Little People and Big Man each had a slice. They eagerly sank their teeth into the soft sponge, but soon pronounced it disgusting, it's not often a cake grows mould in our house...

So what did I learn from this little episode? Well, if something doesn't feel right, trust your instincts; just because something looks good doesn't mean it is and of course, don't follow random recipes from the internet and expect to get fabulous results every time. Not bad for one small cake, maybe I'll make it again...!

Sunday, 13 June 2010

The recipe for silent children...

The English strawberry season has started! The ones in our garden are still green, although Little Miss (otherwise known as the Strawberry Locust) announced that one was 'almost born!' today. I thought we should fill her up with shop bought ones quick, to make sure we get to taste at least one of our own this year! Little Man asked (very nicely) for chocolate cake tonight as well.

I couldn't disappoint either of them, could I? Silence reigned as the Little People feasted, so I thought I should pass on the recipe so that others could enjoy the silence too!

Banana Chocolate Brownies

175g butter
300g light muscovado sugar
175g dark chocolate (broken up)
2 eggs, beaten
2 ripe bananas, mashed
100g self-raising flour
2tbsp cocoa powder
1tsp baking powder

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade.

1. butter and line a square tin or a swiss roll tin.
2. Stir the butter, sugar and chocolate in a saucepan until they are melted and the mixture is smooth
3. Switch off the heat and stir in the bananas and the eggs.
4. Now add the flour, cocoa and baking powder and stir in.
5. Pour the mixture into the tin and then into the oven for 30 minutes.
6. Allow to cool a bit then cut them into pieces and Enjoy!

Apparently they'll last up to a week in tightly wrapped tin foil, although I don't think they'll last that long in our house!

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Back from the tent!

My rose 'Welcome Home' wasn't out when we left to go camping last week, so it was a real surprise to see it welcoming us back when we got home!

I love camping, I really do. I like only having the bare essentials with us (the kitchen sink won't fit in the roof box!), I love the feeling of being cut off from everything, it is lovely to snuggle up in bed with the children first thing in the morning and listen to the birds and to really take notice of little things like how the weather changes from hour to hour!

But, for me, the absolute best bit of the whole camping experience is coming home again. Once the washing machine is on and the equipment is beginning to disappear, I begin to appreciate our home: the electric lights, the warmth, the (dreaded) TV and radio and most of all my bed!

So what have we been up to? We stayed in a lovely little campsite down a tiny country road about 400 yards outside the small village of Marazion. The only downside was that we were woken up most mornings at 4:40am by a huge crowd of crows (and their babies) who lived in the trees above our tent! I thought you might like a quick whistle stop tour of the southern tip of Cornwall, so here's our tent:

We went to Falmouth with the friends who came camping with us:

The two men body boarded at Praa Sands:

We waited for the tide to go out and then walked across the causeway to St Michael's Mount. Little Man couldn't wait for the tide to receded completely, so he and I took our shoes and socks off and waded (ankle deep)across the last bit. As Little man held my hand, he said "Mummy, is this what explorers do?", my heart melted! Here's St Michael's Mount before the tide went out:

Then as it went out:

The following day we went to Mousehole (pronounced mousle), which is an absolutely beautiful little Cornish fishing village:

Then the men and the Little Lady went back to Praa Sands, while the mummies shopped in St Ives:

The next day we drove up to St Ives and took the single track (most of the way) coast road down to Sennen Cove again, where we met our friends for the afternoon. The coast road was truly beautiful. The Little People loved playing in the water:

We even made a sand speedboat!

Finally, on Saturday we were on the 6:30am (yes really!) boat bound for the Scilly Isles. We thought we were lucky to see one basking shark, but then we saw four more and a pod of twenty dolphins! I don't think Little Miss appreciated how lucky we were, because on the way back she asked "Mummy, where are all the animals?". Once we got to the Scillys we took a smaller boat from St Mary's to Tresco and walked round the stunning gardens:

The weather was beautiful until we decided to have lunch on the beach, when it started to drizzle.
Sunday was spent taking a wet tent down, packing the car, driving all the way home and then unpacking everything. We were exhausted and it was work the next day, roll on the weekend!!!
It all seems like a distant memory now!