hi everyone, God it's cold today! I don't know about you but I am a little sick of the 's' word now, we don't have much left and hopefully it won't return. Yes it was pretty and lovely but it was also massively inconvenient for many, lethal for some and I personally was a stir crazy mummy by the end of last week as getting out with the Boo was very tricky! I know from reading some of your blogs the snow was inspirational and also had some of you literally trapped in your homes!
Anyhow, something that arrived yesterday to brighten up the grey skies were these beauties.
Aren't they lovely? They are made by a lovely woman called Victoria who lives in Scotland and sells here wares on etsy under the name of re:made. here is a link to her shop.
I came across her stuff when browsing etsy, looking for a Christmas gift for my sister and saw a pair very similar to these but in bright pink that were just the thing. When they arrived I was so taken with them I contacted and asked Victoria if she would make me a pair in red, should she come across the materials to do so - all her stuff is made from recycled jumpers and knitwear which she gently felts and turns into a whole range of stuff, brooches, teacosies, mug warmers, scarves and wrist warmers. Dom even bought me one of her cosies for Christmas which was also one of my favourite presents (oh the boy done good this year!)
Anyhow, true to her word, she found a red jumper and crafted these especially for me and I LOVE them. especially the flower details :-)
Apols for blurred photo here, trying to get snaps done with Jake grizzling in background (teething!) is not easy!
I also like the way she packages her stuff up - simple but effective!
What's really perfect about these is that when pram pushing but needing to answer my iphone with it's touch screen, fingered gloves don't work - the phone needs your finger to actually touch the screen, or so it seems, and by the time you get the phone out of pocket/ bag and hoick a glove off the caller has rung off - highly irritating! So these are just the thing. And soooo stylish too! I bet I never see another person wearing them which also satisfies me greatly! I did try to take a photo of me modeling a warmer but as you can imagine it was tricky and by the time Dom was back from work the light wasn't right at all.
So get yourself along to remade's shop on etsy and have a look, and maybe a wee purchase!
Anyhow, we are off to the cottage this weekend so I may well blog from my phone if I see anything I just have to share with you guys...
Someone asked me the other day what my favourite Christmas present was. I haven't been asked that for years! At first I thought of the marvelous pyjamas my sister bought me from Primarni. Helen must be a witch because I had seen a blog post from Jane about these pjs and a. wanted them and b. was going to buy them for Helen too - alas, when I went, Primarni had sold out of our sizes! Clever Helen however had beat me to it and so I unwrapped a pair of these beauties on Christmas morning, loving the sweet rose buds and nicer I have to say than anything Cath Kidston has to offer currently! (btw, is it just me or has CK gone a bit off the boil recently?)
Anyway I digress because I wanted to show you one of the best food related things I was bought this year, by my dear husband. Now some women get cross when the menfolk buy them kitchen stuff. Not me. And not when it looks this good!
I had spotted this a few months back in Lakeland and said something like 'ooh ahh, isn't that lovely' and lo and behold it is now mine.
It always annoys me to get the scales out just to measure say some rice or oats but I know from experience that measuring quantities, baking aside, is essential if you want to stay the right side of porky. So this is fab as you can measure loads and loads of stuff in it very easily.
And as for the title of this post, well clearly he has! And sweetie, if you are reading this, it's my birthday soon...
Well I wouldn't blame you for thinking that this blogging was all a flash in the pan and I'd be off again for 5 months!
So you wanted to see the boy and here he is, a recent picture taken only this weekend just gone.
Isn't he the handsomest chap you ever saw? (Permission to disagree only if you have a little man of your own). This was taken in our fave cafe in Whitby, Becketts which I have blogged about before here
I think I was pausing from drinking my butterscotch steamer (yum!) when I saw the opportunity to take this little snap of my men. As my friend Helen at Busy Bee would say, GORGEOUS.
So what's new for 2010? Well back on with the cooking etc. I have been making some great things recently including some lovely gift food which alas I have not been sharing with you. Meany. But I will be back soon with a recipe. And some gift food as valentine's day is on the horizon...shhh... not a word.
In the meantime, have a revisit of this classic which I am making for dinner tonight. except with rice not naan as our oven has broken down. did I not mention? three days before Christmas dear reader, three days before the most important meal of the year... Luckily the hob still functioned (all praise dual fuel) and my sister and her fiance who were our guests live but two streets away, so much tooing and froing in the snow with stuffed capon, roasted vegetables and sausage rolls ensued :-) In the SNOW. and ICE. All was well though.
Toodle oo for now chicks and chaps and thanks for stopping by xxxx
Now, where was I? Oh yes, using up plums and waiting for a baby to arrive. And boy has he arrived! I have been away from this blog for over 4 months now, all fanciful hopes of having more time to blog were swept away by the demands of Jake and the huge learning curve that becoming a mother is.
I have to say I have been having the best time EVER and my little man is the most precious thing that ever was but I have been completely overtaken by the whole thing really and so, no blogging! However I have settled into it all now, the feeds are now every 4 hours not ever 2 and my nightimes wakening is generally down to just once so we are on a more even keel and have a little more energy.
And I have missed it and according to my web stats people are still visiting and reading old posts so, onwards! It's snowy here, the photo is our wee back yard which is quite sheltered so not really representing how much snow has fallen round these parts. More soon and I promise a photo or two of the wee fella :-) what you want one now? oh ok, how about this one?
ahh a bit sneaky as you can't really see him. Plus, this is way old, think he was about a month old at this point, maybe slightly less! So, more tomorrow, I promise!
I know, I know, I have been away from this blog for soo long that I probably have no-one left reading! Well being pregnant just sucks your life away, FACT. I have no idea what I have done in the last few months but time and energy have seemed in very short supply! I most certainly have not had a surfeit of those! I do however have a newly decorated house, a beautiful nursery, a freezer full of batch home cooking, a massive bump and a million baby related essentials :-)
Anyway, onwards, hopefully this is the start of many more posts :-) and I promise they won't all be about babies and pureed vegetables! In case you are wondering, no, he isn't here yet. he is due on the 20 August and so far no signs to speak of... watch this space!
I think I have mentioned, but my sister and her partner Mark have an allotment. Having popped down there the other sunday eve to lend a hand, Dominic arrived home, 4 hours later, hungry, and with a carrier bag full of plums. I mean full. I mean, I weighed them and there were 10 and a half pounds of them!
So, Wwe spend a pleasant hour sat at our table stoning them all, except for the ones required for what I am about to share with you next. I totally forgot about the finger staining properties of plums and we both looked like 40 a day smokers by the end of it! Anyway, it was quite good fun to be honest. I did them one at a time, whilst Dom did the cutting bit first of a few and them stoned them. ever the competitor he even timed us doing ten each at one point to see whose method was fastest! His was, but by about 2 seconds so really, do we care? No we don't!
So, wanna know what I made first?
Welcome to Spiced Plum Liqueur!
This is ridiculously easy, it literally takes 5 minutes.
1 lb of plums, washed and pricked all over with a pin (I was lazy and used a fork!)
6 oz caster sugar
A pint or so of spirits - I used 350ml vodka and 120ml of brandy (sorry for mixing imperial/ metric, I was born in the 1970s)
2 cinnamon sticks snapped in half
about 10 cloves
Place all in a litre kilner jar. Close tightly and shake up.
Keep in a dark place for 2 months, shaking every 3 days or so. Everything should act upon each other and the plums impart juice and colour into the booze.
The brilliant thing about this is that when it's ready, you decant the liquid bit into bottles as a drink (straining out the plums and spices) and then rebottle the plums in a light sugar syrup (maybe with more booze, a splash of ginger wine would be awesome) to eat as dessert with ice cream etc, so it's like two for the price of one! I am sure they would make EXCELLENT gifts for Christmas and the like. Unfortunately I am just not that nice! I intend to test the liqueur on bonfire night at the allotment (ok, I'll share it with those there!) and them keep the rest for Christmas, maybe take some to the cottage for our New Year break to sip in front of the fire... bliss! Can you imagine that boozy, spicy, plummy taste, slipping down very nicely... or the sodden, sweet plums with some cold cold vanilla ice or a dollop of clotted cream...
More plumminess soon... can't say when, ideally tomorrow but the baby might have other ideas!
I just realised that I forgot to say what kind of baby we are having. My memory is shot these days. Shall I tell you the one about where I booked a holiday in Andalucia at exactly the same time a dear friend was coming over to visit from Sri Lanka? Best not, I'll start hyperventilating again. Don't worry, it's all sorted, even though Easy Jet did partially remove my eyes for the privilege of changing our flights. Luckily the hotel were not so mercenary!
I love presents that just come out of the blue - so much better than those you know are to be given in a way - but on the other hand, I am not mad on surprises - so yes, contrary mary once again.
Oh look, she doesn't blog for ages and then does two at once! Well that's pregnancy for you, boundless energy one day, none the next so I am making hay whilst the sun shines :-)
After a saturday of lashing rain and gale force winds, we in the north were treated to a perfect spring day today. you know one of those, good to be alive, blue sky, daffodils dancing, breezy, sunshiny days that just pop up out of nowhere?
Aren't these little gifts sweet? I have made this chutney for a few years now, slightly varying ingredients sometimes, but keeping the same basic flavours which are very Christmassy, cranberries, cloves, cinnamon, orange. The house is heavy with scent of this which is generally made the first Sunday after bonfire night.
These two jars are going to two special homes; one to our next doors at the cottage, Dougie and Andrea, who are brilliant and perform all sorts if kindnesses through the year such as giving keys to guests who have forgotten there's and putting out bins when the guests didn't:-) We also swap books with them and covet their beautiful and slightly naughty dog Johnson. You haven't met him? Well I will rectify that at some point this holiday.
The last jar is for Julie at Becketts in Whitby, you may remember me blogging about Becketts, it's our favourite cafe in Whitby and the cakes are legendary. So this is a little thank you for all the cakey bakey pleasure this year!
Yesterday we went to York and there were any amount of gorgeous shops I could have photographed for you. However, there were so many people it was impossible to get a clear view!
Maybe today I will find one for you and I would love to hear about which shop display, grand or humble, has been your favourite of the season.
Hello there! I am now officially on holiday and in my favourite part if the world, north Yorkshire, more specifically near Whitby and at our Hideaway Cottage :-)
I am just back from a spot of shopping in Whitby itself, such a nice place to Christmas shop! It's full of Victorian charm, the smell of the sea and the sound of gulls. The festive lights are not flashy city centre types, but charming more gentille ones and the shops are beautifully calm with staff who aren't too busy to issue good service and a smile and even stop for a chat.
This picture is of one of my favourite shops in the town and a rare thing these days, an independent book shop, certainly in cities, and one that always takes a great deal of care over it's window displays, quite magical and of course designed to draw you right into the cosy store to look through it's selection of books, stationery and other gift items.
I love the fact it still has the old decorators sign up from years ago. Unfortunately due to the limitations of blogging on my iPhone I can only show one photo per post or they go really small and look a bit rubbish, otherwise I would have shown you a close up of the display, a sort of icy, twiggy wonderland with some gorgeous books, cards and calendars that look so bewitching. Maybe you'll just have to come to Whitby yourself and have a peek :-) it's on Church Street on the old side of the town. If you have ever seen You've Got Mail with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, it's a little like The Shop Around The Corner.
Anyone who is friends with me on facebook will be wondering why I didn't blog about this ages ago, such has been my confusion and annoyance!
Anyone who is friends with me on facebook will be wondering why I didn't blog about this ages ago, such has been my confusion and annoyance!
As you know, I love Christmas and can't wait for it to get started each year! This year it begins today with the making of The Christmas Cake. I love Christmas cake and there was always a homemade one when I was younger and at home but I am surprised to say that I don't think I have EVER made one in my own home. Until now :-)
I think Sundays are the best days of the week and one of the best bits is having the luxury of time to make a special breakfast. Today we are at the cottage - bliss! And the sun is shining on pretty Iburndale so what better than blueberry pancakes in the garden! I always use Nigella's recipe for American pancakes. Don't get me wrong, I love ordinary shrove Tuesday kind of pancakes, but the thick, fluffy texture of these little gems is wonderful and I had blueberries and homemade blueberry jam in the fridge so... All that was required in addition was some creamy creme fraiche.
I find it best to make the batter in advance, because a. You can be extra lazy the morning of eating and b. The batter goes thicker, sort of doughy and sort of stretchy and makes a much better pancake. I think the baking powder reacts with the wet stuff and makes air bubbles which help the spongy texture along.