Friday, 28 September 2007

One day I'll follow a recipe

I am loving the new Nigella book - her breakfast smoothie is now my wakeup of choice (more frozen bananas, yay!) and today has been a day when only the no churn Margarita Ice Cream is going to make it all better.

But right now, baking in the oven are her cereal bars. I swear, I intended to do as she instructed, but somehow it seemed harder to weigh out oats & nuts and cranberries when I could just buy a packet of cranberry & blueberry muesli, and as for warming the condensed milk - well, then I'd have an extra saucepan to wash up. So I just bunged it all together in the bowl and stirred. And it tasted goooood.

Here's my version:

280g cranberry & blueberry muesli (big rolled oats, not little dusty ones)
1 tin condensed milk (I used the reduced fat one)
75g coconut
125g mixed seeds

Mix well, and put in a tin (lined or oiled). Cook at about 130C for about an hour and chop into bars about 15 min after it comes out.

It's official, I am even lazier than Nigella.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

There's a moose loose aboot this hoose

Apologies to anyone who is now humming "Donald where's your troosers?"

(Later: of course, as Jo points out, it isn't old Donald at all. How embarrassing! Actually, I'm not sure which of those two songs is more annoying, and now I have them both in my head)

MollyChicken posted instructions on how to make this little handful of loveleiness a few weeks back, and how cute is she? So cute I can hardly stand it.

Best of all, Millie and I whipped up two of them in less than half an hour. She chose all the colours - can you tell? We have a birthday party coming up soon and I think these would be popular with most 3 and 5 year old pink-mad girls, don't you?

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Baring my blogging soul

I was tagged for this by Candlestring and thought answering the questions looked like fun; but then I've read lots of other people's entries and I'm not sure I can add anything terribly witty or original. Oh well, here goes:

1. Do you promote your blog?

Well, no - how would I go about doing that then? I do comment all over the place though -does that count? It took me a long while to pluck up courage to make any comments anywhere and I don't remember saying "come and look at my blog" except on a couple of flickr photos for Skirt Month.

2. How often do you check hits?

I had no idea how to do this until yesterday when I read about Google Analytics on someone else's answers to this meme. So I have checked hits a total of once. And to be honest I didn't really like doing it - I think I might deregister to remove the temptation.

3. Do you stick to one topic?

It isn't really a wide range of subjects now I come to think of it - stuff I make, stuff I cook and silly things my children get up to. I do this to relax in the evening so I'm not likely to start writing about work, and I'm not going anywhere near controversial subjects - yes, I'm a coward!

4. Who knows that you have a blog?

In real life, my family and a few close friends. And that's just fine.

5. How many blogs do you read?

I thought it was a lot until I saw the numbers some others look at, and then I felt terribly inadequate (Ali are you out there?). I have only just discovered bloglines - yes, I am ridiculously slow on the uptake - and am finding it fabulous, if addictive. There are 70 blogs in my list. The first one I ever read regularly was dooce, who still makes me laugh; and the first craft blog whose archives I read was Echoes of a Dream - hi Simmy!

6. Are you a fast reader?

Yes. My job involves silly numbers of emails each day and if I didn't read & process (& type!) rapidly I'd be sunk.

7. Do you customise your blog or do anything technical?

Given my comments about hit counters and bloglines, I think you know answer to that.

8. Do you blog anonymously?

Semi. I use my own first name, but pseudonyms or initials for the rest of my family - this isn't their blog and they're too little to decide for themselves if they want to be identified. I don't put up pictures of their faces for the same reason - though anyone who knows them would probably recognise them.

9. To what extent do you censor yourself?

A fair amount. I do reread everything I write, but I don't always proofread carefully enough. I have no desire to upset or provoke anyone, and think the sarcasm I would happily use in everyday life doesn't always come across well in text, so I think it's safer to avoid it if I can. Sometimes I just can't help myself though ...

10. The best thing about blogging?

Well that's easy - the other people doing it, obviously! I've had lots of kind, funny emails that always cheer up my day, and I would miss that contact enormously if I stopped doing this.

That's that then. It was harder than I expected. I have cute photos to post tomorrow though!

PS I forgot, I'm supposed to tag people. Well, if you're reading this and you want to play, then you're tagged!

Monday, 24 September 2007

Late for school (again)

A few weeks back I asked Heidi at FridayPrize if I could join in her Back to School swap, thinking, oh, yes, I can do this - make a tote bag, find a notebook - easy peasy. Well, it seems I didn't realise just how much of a palaver I can myself get into over the simplest things. After much worrying and fretting and "Oh, this is just NOT the way I intended it all to look!" moments I did get my package made and sent off to my swap partner, Candlestring, who duly received it and proclaimed all to be just fine but I haven't felt as nervous about a present as that for a long time. I think it must be something about not knowing the person you're sending to - for me that upped the worry hugely. But maybe that's just my inner lunacy showing.

But, to make matters worse, I haven't posted pictures of the fab bag and gifts I received from Claire at ReddyMade last week, which is unforgivable. Look at this loveliness (sorry about the washing line):

The bag is marvellous and is my new best friend - this weekend alone it has carried a glass cake stand, a box of pink glittery fairy cakes and some well-wrapped bulbs, and it is so very comfortable to carry. The daft thing is I kept looking at Claire's blog and saying to myself - "Ooh, jumbo cord, that must be a great bag, must make one. Oh, that pink wool is cute. Look at those sparkly knitting needles" - and now they're all mine - how cool is that?! Thank you Claire!!

I only managed a few rubbish pictures of what I sent but I did have lots of fun with the old free motion foot on my machine - even though the sparkly thread kept breaking and the tension was up the creek.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Star struck

So, we went on our usual Saturday morning ballet trip to Saffron Walden, and as we drove along towards the car park I looked out of the window and who should I see but ... Jamie Oliver! Just as well I wasn't the one driving or I'd have caused an accident. His parents live nearby in Clavering so we of course started to make theories about how he must be visiting them, and that the children weren't with them because they must be with the grandparents, and so on. They were parked opposite the sausage shop so maybe they were nipping in for a pound of porky bangers.

We didn't bump into him going round the town which is probably a good thing as I would have made a complete fool of myself. It is very odd when you see someone famous in Real Life - you've spent so much time watching them on TV and reading their books that it feels a little as if you know them. It must be bizarre to be hailed as an old friend wherever you go ...

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

The patter of tiny feet

No, not me!! (Had you going).

I seem to know of an awful lot of babies being born recently (must be my age), and where there are babies, we need to have baby gifts. My standard gift is a little soft fleecy snuggly creature, but I recently found a pattern on Saartje's blog for some cuuuute little baby shoes. I am thinking about scaling these up for bigger feet too, though I fear they might end up skittering all over the kitchen floor!

Friday, 14 September 2007

Anyone would think it was summer

I bought some very pretty embridered cotton at a fabric show in May, meaning to make it into little skirts (sadly, it really wouldn't suit me any more) but then "summer" happened and I had no inclination to whip up light cotton twirly skirts. But now here we are in September swimming in outdoor pools and picknicking and playing outside so I finally made them up.

I really like these, but a word of warning - never use Tesco elastic, even if you are desperate to finish something and it's the only place open to buy any - it lasts one wearing before the elasticity is all but gone and you end up rethreading. With this amount of material that's no joke!

Monday, 10 September 2007

Mummy's little helper

I've been looking forward to sharing my hobbies with my little ones, and at last it is happening. Elsie has asked how to knit and is itching to use the foot pedal on my sewing machine (eeeeek), and Millie is very keen to help out in the kitchen. This weekend saw her mashing potatoes, laying the table, cleaning sweetcorn:

and making Magic monkey bananas!

Actually, I think it was just the prospect of licking the chocolate-and-sprinkle coated bowl that appealed to her. Wise child.

Now if we could only get her to eat some of what she's prepared ...

Tales from the riverbank

We discovered the joys of punting years ago when we were students and would spend hours "studying" on the river. Aided by picnics, of course. I remember one occasion we were punting past a spot in Oxford called Parson's Pleasure where clothes used to be optional for those privileged enough to be allowed in. The river bed is quite muddy, and the river itself curves around and on this occasion the friend who was punting was getting very flustered as a lightly clothed male don came wandering over to see what we were up to and she exclaimed "It's no good, there's no bottom here!" Or did I imagine it?

Anyway, this weekend my father-in-law came to visit and we decided that it was far enough past peak tourist season to risk a punting trip. The girls are now big enough to sit down, and enjoyed their bright orange life jackets. Usually we head up towards Grantchester but this time we decided to go along the Backs and it was really gorgeous - sunny but not scorching, not too many obstacles in the way and ducks and cows to be looked at. In Cambridge the tradition is to stand on the flat platform at then end of the punt, while in Oxford we were taught that you're much less likely to slip off & fall in if you stand at the other end *in* the punt. I don't suppose it really matters but it does mean we get eased every time we go out!

I forgot the camera - doh! - so instead, here's a picture of the anemones currently going nuts in our garden.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Good enough to eat

I am a bit behind the times - I have only just made my first ever Ebay purchases but lookie lookie lookie:

These sock wools are from the Natural Dye Studio. Oh, the colours! And the texture - this is fabulous to knit with. Amanda who runs the shop hand dyes the wool with natural materials; I'd love to visit but I have a feeling the girls would either rebel or wreck the shop after being stuck in a car for so long, so for now I'll be sticking with online.

Elsie especially requested socks made from this since in addition to being scrumptious, it is called Angelina. But I think it looks like those rhubarb and custard sweets you used to be able to buy. I'll try not to hold that against it ...

Monday, 3 September 2007

Toasty toes

I have to admit it, I am not a faithful crafter. I fall in love far too easily with the latest project to catch my eye, dedicate all my free time and effort to it for a few weeks, spend (far too much) money on supplies I will never get round to using, and then am distracted by a new, shinier hobby. I have boxes of, well, stuff languishing on shelves - I could never post a picture of my beautifully appointed, inspirational, dedicated craft space as so many others have done, because it's just scattered all over the place and would inspire no-one. Scrapbooking, that was a good one. I can see it's a good idea to preserve the photos with witty little comments but I get stuck in the glue and can't ever decide on just the right combination of paper and embellishments and ... oh it's much easier to just blog it.

Anyway, my latest obsession is sock knitting. My sister bought me a sock knitting kit for my birthday and I've been holding off until I had finished some other projects, knowing it would suck me in. And once I did start - on holiday, looking out at mountains and feeling not at all silly knitting wolly socks in August because, frankly, it felt like October - I didn't stop until I'd finished mine, and made another tiny pair for Millie, and started on some for Elsie. Oh, and then I ran out of wool, so I had to go and find some more and ... you can see where this is going, can't you?