Saturday, November 26, 2011

In which I am become a grown-up


I have recently found myself lusting on a daily basis at the window of the local branch of Jigsaw… I’ve always known they design elegant and wearable clothes with a touch of the quirk about them, but I’ve never really included them on my radar… until now.

It first happened about a month ago with their pretty, chunky jumpers, bedecked with giant balls of wool, calling out to me like a siren from the deep…

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Rustic Wool Cable Front Jumper £115

Plum Shimmer Sparkle Cardigan £109

Once again, my annual knitwear-with-sparkle obsession rears its sequinned, woolly head, only this time my taste has become even more dear. Woops.


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Beaded Shoulder Top £89

Sequinned Jersey Batwing Top £149

And then just a sea of gorgeously interesting black garments, woefully unsuited to crawling around on church hall floors and therefore wholly impractical for me at the moment. Sob.

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Silk Midi Skirt £149

Silk Butterfly Sleeve Dress £169

And then just pretty and I’m-sure-ever-so-useful-really-no-honestly-it-would-come-out-of-the-bottom-of-the-wardrobe-on-a-weekly-nay-daily-basis-really-please-please-please….


Paisley Jacquard Clutch Bag on sale to £65

And then this… So practical. So wearable. So reasonably priced. So needed in my wardrobe.


Ruched Skirt Dress with Slouchy Top £79


Friday, November 25, 2011

The (dried) fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree

P1080624I’m holding Paola of Mirrormirror responsible for my latest culinary extravaganza. Her annual mincemeat enthusiasm has finally worn off, and as I am not constrained by the limits of US import laws, I thought it only fair to have a go already.

A mincemeat spectacular has been brewing here. Having inherited a rather bulging bag of cooking apples over the weekend, it seemed only fair to start Stir Up (ahem) Monday with some dried fruit shenanigans.

Round one included good ol’ meet blobs in the form of Atora and this recipe…

sorry Paola, but grating raw meat is slightly beyond me


The resulting gorgeousness is utterly palatable, despite its congealed-fat-interim stage that I’m happy to gloss over.

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After canning, Tils confirmed that she could happily get involved in the domestic requirements of the house.

Round Two is on the hob… Hettie’s Suet Free Mincemeat from Domestic Goddess… Thus far it smells as good as the first, but I’m not convinced that it won’t end up just being a posh, spiced (ha ha) apple sauce… The gelatinous ooze of Mincemeat the First is just not being created in the absence of raw animal fat… Will post pictures of the finished products and let you know.

Local readers, let me know when you’re ready for the blind taste-test… It’s a hard job, but dedicated comrades of the writer will know true friendship exists when they are called upon in such circumstances.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Crafty Business

Pretty things to sell online for a change…

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Go here [link does not exist – don’t worry – not going mad!] to see these lovely little frocks/tunics/tops/pinafores and have one for your very own. Each and every one is entirely unique as I am using up my stash of long-discontinued Liberty cottons and vintage buttons for the shoulders. Reversible and highly patterned (thus can be used to hide a multitude of stains/sins/spills), this little number will grow with the child as a dress from about 12 months, through to a pinafore at 18months and then onto a top/tunic at around 2years, lasting until about 3years.

By the time the little one has outgrown this, it will be down to about 5p per wear. Bargain!

Since writing this in the summer and waiting for time to list the frocks (seriously – I’m such a procrastinator sometimes) these have all been sold to local kids! So I thought I would just post these for the sake of it and clear out my ‘draft posts’ box… Nothing like quality blogging, eh?! In any case, I am going to be running up a couple more of these shortly so can list them soon… If anyone is interested in these, let me know and I can see if I can provide custom fabric/colour combinations!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Shiver me Timbers

Or… how to make a pirate ship cake and not be forced to walk the plank…

P1080586Step one: Bake two round chocolate cakes. Store in tin…

Step Two: (evening – preferably with wine to hand): model pirate, palm tree, treasure, parrot and anchor, along with other paraphernalia and leave to dry out. Rampantly steal ideas from this ship, this ship and this YouTube video so you don’t completely go mad trying to recreate Jonny Depp in sugarpaste form.

Step/Day Three: Make chocolate fudge icing and using strategic knifework, create rough body of ship to cover in icing and then leave in fridge to set. Start to panic. Blend industrial quantities of icing into a dark chocolate shade of brown and drink more wine to reduce quickening pulse as giant-poo-cake fears begin to be realised… Store cake in fridge to set ‘crumb layer’…

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Day Four (day of party): Sleep very little and rise very early to begin sugarpaste icing. With idea-stealing continuing, use Trex to grease your worktop to prevent cracking of icing and dried out/white powdery rolling. Cover cake in seamless sheet of brown.



Summon husband from toddler-watch and begin constructing sails, steering wheel, rope, cannon candles and waves, while keeping fingers crossed that this all just may work after all.

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Bask in glory while muttering random pirate sayings and hoping that three-year old next door neighbour will have lots of wine to hand at this afternoon’s party.


Woohoo! So chuffed. And unlikely to offer quite so enthusiastically next time. Had fun but not sure the Boy enjoyed the (even more than usual) heightened anxiety for the last 72 hours.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Country Bumpkin

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Collecting eggs from Grandma’s chickens…


Patrolling Grandad’s allotment to make sure there are no strawberries left to be ‘harvested’

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Sitting, twirling and FREEZE in the misty autumn leaves of a local park…


Embracing the moody lighting and NOT AT ALL enhancing any tones using computer-based photography tools… 

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Exploring stately homes with our newly-gifted National Trust Membership. Tilly is ‘enjoying’ all the various education and engagement departments have to offer at each venue, regardless of suitability or interest. It is mostly for Mummy’s benefit, curiosity and research, but if the little lady enjoys wearing a backpack around the house, if not getting out the maps, information packs and activity sheets, then whatever keeps her happy is fine by us!!


Finally, some rather moody lighting afforded by a gloomy day at Deal Pier for the Boy’s birthday lunch. I’m sure Tils was merely considering whether she should pick her nose or not at that precise moment, but the picture would happily have you believe that my little not-quite-2-years-old-was in the process of discovering the meaning of life…

In fairness, you never know… This moment of solitude and contemplation may form the backbone of a future autobiography. Watch this space…

Plum Jam

Neighbours go away on holiday

Neighbours leave a fruit bowl in our capable hands to work through in their absence

Neighbours and I have similar fruit purchasing habits

An abundance of golden yellow plums

A quick and easy recipe

A good morning’s work… set to cool in their jars as the little one and I go off to spend a morning at the local park…

And then have managed to delete the picture and eat the jam before managing to post this. Oh the glorious life of the at-home-sleep-deprived-toddler-addled-domestic-goddess-attempting-mummy. Will post to have access to easy-peasy recipe in future. Oh joy.