Friday, 13 January 2017


I've just had my first 'staying' visitor in my new house!  It was slightly daunting as it was my friend Gina who is an ace cook and baker, and as you know, my culinary skills are somewhat limited.  Plus, she is currently following a healthy eating regime which meant I couldn't just take her out and make sure she filled up on cake.  I suggested I find some healthy recipes, and buy the ingredients and she could supervise the cooking. 
Before we did any cooking though, I thought we'd go for a long walk, on the basis that she might be so hungry that she'd eat anything.
The weather was better than predicted, so we went to Wells for a walk along the beach.  It was very bright and sunny, but just a tad windy!
But, if you're wrapped up warm ....
Anyway, the cooking lark worked - under Gina's expert guidance, I made fishcakes with stir fried spring greens and broccoli, (get that! me eating green veg!?!?!?) served with a curry mayonnaise sauce, which made the broccoli slightly more palatable.
I even made soda bread ....

Don't worry - this IS NOT turning into a cooking blog.  No doubt by the end of the week, normal service will have resumed and I'll have given up the veg and gone back to Maltesers.

As I've had such a long blogging break, I thought I'd catch up with some of my makes.  This is a dress I made for Grace as part of her Christmas present, although she didn't actually get it until a week later.  It's a little on the big side, but that's fine, and she seems to grow so quickly it'll soon be perfect.

It's and Oliver and S Playtime Dress that I bought as a PDF - I'm usually reluctant to use PDF patterns because of all the cutting and sticking - but with kids clothes its not so bad, and this was really easy to put together. I'm afraid I can't remember where I got the cherry print jersey from, I'd had it for a while and I had thought it was destined for an Agnes top for me, but I am determined to try and use up some of my fabric mountain so it became a little dress.  It feels really good quality, very soft and drapey, but with a nice weight.

The dress was quick to make and the only reason it wasn't ready for Christmas is I run out of time, and because I faffed about for ages finding the prefect buttons for the back, again from my enormous supply.  I loved these heart buttons, but only had two of each size, so I used three different sizes, and made it easier for myself and for Grace's mum by using poppers to fasten it, rather than making three different sized buttonholes.
Hayley and Bethany got new dresses too - AND in time for Christmas, but I forgot to photograph those, so I'll have to organise a little baby photoshoot later when they are all together in their frocks.

WINDSWEPT - Bryan Ferry

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

It's Been A Long Long Time

I bet you thought I'd gone for good?  I was beginning to wonder the same myself.  But, I though I'd make my NY resolution to post on here at least once a month.  Make it achievable, I say.
I have been busy doing other things -  sewing frocks, knitting socks, and just generally pottering.
Oh, and moving house - I've unexpectedly moved to Norfolk!  If you'd have asked me this time last year, I wouldn't have had an inkling - I was happy in my little flat in Hertford and thought I'd be there for ever.  But then a seed was planted in my tiny brain, where it grew - and after a few months house-hunting, and waiting, and finally a pretty stress-free move in September, here I am, and I couldn't be happier.  I love my village, and I love my house (you get a lot for your money up here) and I love the fact that my family are all nearby.  Christmas was great - I'm haven't usually been at home for Christmas, so I haven't bothered with decorations, but this year I had a tree and lots of fairy lights and other bits and pieces.  
I even cooked my first Christmas dinner for about 20years - who'd have thought it!

I'm also a great aunt x 3 now - you may remember Grace - she's a big girl now, does drawing and everything......
In September, she was joined by her gorgeous cousin Hayley, and then in September she got a beautiful baby sister, Bethany
They all had Christmas outfits - 
That was MY headband, but she took a liking to it, and I don't see me getting it back anytime soon. Its probably more appropriate for her age group than mine, if I'm honest
I love this picture - it was my Christmas card, and it makes me smile whevever I see it, 
and finally ....
with her very proud Mum
I feel so lucky to be up here now so I can be a bigger part of their lives than just an occasional visitor.

I will be posting about the various things I've stitched and knitted while I've been away, but for now, flushed with the success of my festive dinner, I thought I'd share my recipe for the delicious soup I made this evening.......

Heat a glug or two of olive oil in a big pan.  Leave over the heat for several mins whilst looking through my cupboards for stock cubes and seasonings.  When smoke alarm starts sounding, stop looking for stock cubes and turn off the heat, and remove the pan.  Add the ready chopped onions, ignoring the fact that most of them immediately turn black, it'll probably add to the flavour.

Meanwhile, attempt to stop the smoke alarm by flapping a tea towel underneath it.  When this doesn't work, go away and find some steps to reach the re-set button - press repeatedly until silence reigns,

Make your way through the steam filled kitchen, and put the pan back on the heat, adding chopped parsnips, carrots and red pepper.  Add a pint or two of vegetable stock - I used an OXO cube, but you could always make your own, if you don't have a life.  
Discover some forgotten dried crushed chillies in the cupboard and add a good shake to the pan.  I'm not sure of the exact quantity, but I suggest you use a LOT less than I did.

Stand by the cooker, watching and stirring to ensure that there are no more smoke alarm alerts (it's VERY loud, and there wasn'treally going to be enough soup to feed the entire crew of a fire tender).
Test the veg and decide they need another five minutes. 

Pop upstairs to my sewing room, and get engrossed in sorting things.  Half an hour later, come back down and find that there is no longer any liquid left,  and that the vegetables seem to have welded themselves to the bottom of the pan. Add some more water from the kettle, and scape the bulk of the veg from the pan bottom.  Whizz it up with a whizzer and serve.

Actually, it was surprisingly tasty, albeit quite (spicey) hot.  I can't tell you how many calories it contained, but you don't need to worry, you'll easily burn those off scrubbing the pan with a scourer for half an hour.

Don't say I never give you anythng.