October favourites

I thought it would be nice to get back to posting here regularly and I thought a good and, achievable way to do this might be to do a monthly “favourites” post. So without further delay here are some of our favourite things from October.

October saw the first hot chocolate of the season. Perfect with pumkin spiced doughnuts as a special after school treat. Search my blog for the recipe.

This month we visited Oxborough Hall in Norfolk. I think autumn was a magical  time of year to visit this fascinating and remote country hall. As we arrived the hall was shrouded in a beautiful mist. We crossed the moat and explored the hall and it’s rich history. None of us was brave enough to enter the priest hole but a highlight for me was seeing a display of Mary Queen on Scots needlework. We went for a lovely walk in the grounds and were treated to a fly over by hundreds of geese. Autumn really felt in full swing.
October is a great month for dhalia’s and they certainly didn’t disappoint this year. They add such colour and drama to the garden. I grow them on our allotment as a cut flowers and (if you can keep the slugs and snails off them) they give so many flowers per bush. Next year I am hoping to grow Sarah Ravens new Rubens dhalia collection (image via Sarah Raven)

At the end of the month the clocks changed. The girls wanted to spend their extra hour learning to knit. We had a lovely time all sat around listening to some of our favourite tunes and learning something new. They woke predictably early but took up their knitting needles and occupied themselves very happily until a more social hour. My 3 year old wasn’t so easily persuaded it was too early to be up and about.

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Carrie trousers

I’ve done some sewing!!! I’ve made myself a pair of peachy Carrie trousers from the Sew Over It Ultimate guide to sewing and fitting trousers online course (a birthday present from my parents). If i’m honest the Carrie trousers aren’t really my style although i’ll definitely wear them they are comfy. I thought it would be a good starting point before I move onto the Ultimate trouses – which I love the look of.

I am 5ft 9.5″ tall and my figure is boyish. I added 3.5″ in length to these trousers. I probably could of added 2.5″ but i erred on the side of cation and removed the excess once i was happy with the length. I cut a size 10 waist but graded to an 8 through the hips and legs. These alterations were simple and the pattern came together quickly (I can spend a LOT of time doing pattern alterations for my figure).

I loved following the video tutorials as i’m a very visual learner and I felt really confident about tackling this project. The videos were clear and each one and good length. The other thing about sew over it patterns is they are really well put together. All the pieces and notches line up beautifully. 

This was my first time sewing with rayon. I found so long as I used plenty of pins and only removed them at the last minute to prevent slipping. It was lovely sew with. I love this salmon pink!

Sleepover boxes

My eldest daughter has just turned 9 and we are embarking on a new adventure with her. Her first sleepover!! I have been anticipating this moment with some dread for a number of years.

She is on the whole sensible and well behaved as are her lovely friends so I am sure all will be well, if a little giggly.

I felt perhaps they were a little old for the traditional party bags but I wanted to make the occasion special and memorable for her guests so I put together these sleepover boxes and thought I would share them with you.

Each box contains…

  • Bath bomb
  • Cosy socks
  • Lip balm
  • Lollipop pen
  • Sweets (for midnight feasting of course)

I have been collecting little bits and pieces in shops like tiger, smiggle (my daughter and her friends are all obsessed with this shop) and I got quite a few things in the superdrug sale. The boxes I bought from the card factory.

I had hoped to include an eye mask in each box on the off chance they felt like sleeping but I was unwell in the run up to the party and just ran out of time but I think they would be a lovely addition. 

Anyway they were very simple and not too expensive on a small scale and I think the girls will love them.

Magic with marrows

I am not a fan of marrows. I like courgettes and they are easy to grow but somehow you turn your back on the plants for 30 seconds and suddenly you have a marrow. So image my amazement at finding a recipe which turns those pesky marrows into scrummy,  silky and tangy lemon curd!!!! Not a hint of marrow guaranteed.

  • 450g diced marrow
  • 3 lemons
  • 100 grams butter
  • 350-400 grams sugar

 Dice your marrow I chose to remove the seeds and just include the flesh and skin. Simmer the marrow for approximately 20 mins or until tender. Drain through a sieve and squeeze out most of the liquid. If need be you can freeze the marrow at this point and make your curd at a later date. 

Zest and juice the lemons. Add the lemon juice to the marrow pulp and blend in a food processor or with a stick blender until smooth. Place the puree in a saucepan with the sugar, butter and lemon zest. Simmer and stir until thick. It is worth remembering when the curd cools it will be thicker and that over cooking will turn the curd brown.

When you are happy with the consistency pour the lemon curd into sterilised jars and seal. The curd will keep for a year or more in the sealed jars. Lemon curd makes the perfect accompaniment to courgette cake another glut busting favourite at this time of year.

January

Happy new year to you readers may 2016 be a truly blessed year for you and those you love. 2015 was a busy & turbulent year for us and I’m not too sad to see it go.

You might remember from my previous posts from this time last year I’m not a fan of January and even less of a fan of February. I have over the years developed coping mechanisms to sustain me through these cold, dark, grey months and the seemingly endless bouts of illness my children seem to succumb to. My winter survival plans generally involve cocooning myself with simple pleasures around my home.  I have begun January by putting up more fairy lights (not just for Christmas) and planting spring bulbs to enjoy indoors. These are beautiful paper whites. A tall delicate narcissi with a lovely perfume. I’m already looking forward to them blooming.

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Instagram

I just love Instagram, I really feel I’ve found my tribe over there this year.  An incredible community of artistic, creative, inspirational women who are nothing but encouraging, kind, warm and friendly. If you are new to this little app I thoughts I would share jus a few of my favourite accounts and hashtags with you.

lovely Lowri @littlemaldod  who hosts #mythursdaybreaktime which has become a real highlight in my week ad a reminder to take a break each day.

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Charming Olivia @xxbirdhouse who’s gallery is so calming and who co-hosts a new-ish monthly photo challenge #nestandflourish

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Finally, from Poland inspirational Anna @aalmadr who’s talent I’m in awe of.

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Other favourite hashtags that I like to join in with are #mymondaymoodboard #aquietstyle and #nodtonotions to name but a very few.

Do check out these beautiful accounts and the hashtags for lots of other inspirational accounts to follow.  These were my best 9 Instagram captures from 2015 you can find me on Instagram on here I’d love to see you over there.

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Gingerbread play dough

I love gingerbread! I discovered a awesome recipe that’s gluten free a few years ago and every year we make a gingerbread house.  Our efforts look absolutely nothing like the houses on Pinterest and Instagram but we have a whole heap of fun doing it. As today is the last day of term (hooray!) I though I would quickly share something fun (and super easy) you can do with your children in the holidays.  It would also a cute gift for little friends.  So without further waffle from me I  bring you gingerbread play dough.

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  • 150g plain flour
  • 150grams salt
  • 1/2 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1tbsp cooking oil
  • 70ml of water
Put everything in a bowl and stir until you have a dough, so wonderfully simple.  Let the fun begin!
I’ve put some playdoug in a pretty jar with tiny little gingerbread man cutters and a packet of buttons as a gift but I also made a batch just for us. If you’d like to pin the recipe to make later then I’ve created an image with he recipe on for quick reference.
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