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!

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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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In praise of advent

I wanted to bring you a little advent project and share with you why advent is so important to me.  So in this season of business, of sparkle, of mince pie making, present wrapping, card writing and nativity costume making may I invite you to make yourself a cup of tea and enjoy a moment of quiet and reflection with me.

Advent seems to be  forgotten season/tradition the first of December arrives and its up with the decorations, out with the Christmas jumpers and boom Christmas is here. As a Christian advent is one of my favourite seasons, the waiting, the anticipation, the savouring, the preparation. I enjoy all these things … dare I say it…more than he big day itself. I hope what I write doesn’t sound like a sermon, that’s not my intention.  I simply wish to share a few of he things that help us as a family to savour this precious season each year. I do an advent calendar for my children. We have one of those cloth advent calendars with the pockets.  I do include the occasional sweet treat but I’ve always tried to make it a little more meaningful too.  One year we had a calendar of random acts of kindness I included thing like donating toys to charity, writing a letter to a friend, holding a door open for someone and we had a lot of fun doing it. In fact my children got quite competitive about who could complete their act first, or be most generous.  When my girls were very young they had a snippet of the Christmas story and a wooden nativity piece to add to the stable each day. In other years we’ve had  bible verse or Christmas activity each day  We’ve had a lot of fun and I have found these traditions bring meaning, joy and anticipation to the season of advent.  This year however, Granny showed up with a chocolate Frozen themed advent calendar and a Thomas the tank engine one for my son – I was frankly horrified. My children where amazed such things existed (7 years I’ve kept it a secret that other children get chocolate for breakfast during December)  and of course absolutely ecstatic. Once I reigned in my slightly over the top reaction to the chocolate advent calendars & accepted that my beautiful cloth advent calendar would just have to stay in the loft this year I set about trying to think of a simple way to  capture the true meaning of advent in our home this December.

My plans (and this post) were delayed when I spent most of the first week of December in hospital with my son, Beau who had just turned 2 and has Asthma.  That first night in hospital my son was absolutely buzzing with all the medication he had needed and at 8pm (way past his usual bedtime) I was feeling tired and emotional after what had been a difficult and long day. I’d read him every book in that place. Feeling unable to face yet ANOTHER tale of Apple Tree Farm or round of Dig, Dig Digging I got out the Gideon’s bible that the Gideon society place by every hospital bed. I began reading  the story of the birth of Jesus from Mathews gospel. I got no further than 5 versus in and Beau was asleep, at that moment it felt like a miracle – definitely an act of God, I was so relieved. I continued reading and took in all that wondrous story with a very grateful heart. So familiar is that story and yet I so rarely find the time to stop and read it in the busyness of December the words seemed new to me.  They stayed with me that week. My son now asleep I tired to make myself as comfortable as possible (not easy in a hospital) I watched Kirstie’s Homemade Christmas (I love that program) and flicked through a Christmas copy of Country living magazine – oh comfort and joy! Stuck in hospital away from all the distractions of home although not where I wished to be actually gave me a unique opportunity to just be.  To savour and slow down. Both the magazine and the television program full of beautiful images and lovely ideas for Christmas reminded me of the words from the Christmas song “Joy to the world”

“Let every heart prepare him room

And Heaven and nature sing…”

 Over the following few days as we left hospital and we continued to nurse my son back to health and make sense of that strange other worldly experience that is staying in hospital. Gradually an idea for making advent meaningful for all in our home came to me. It is wonderfully simple (well it needed to be with a very poorly tot to care for), not in any way original or new but it has given us pause for reflection this year.

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4 candles, some black paper and chalk, some raffia string, foraged foliage and some clementine’s and apples I sliced and baked in a very low oven for a few hours. I created this advent centre piece for our dining table.

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We have marked the Sundays of advent (Peace, Hope, Joy and Love) we have lit our candles at our evening meal every day and included a simple prayer on the theme in our usual mealtime grace. Next Sunday when we light the final candle we will put our decorations up.  AND eat gingerbread and Christmas will really be here but only once we have reflected on the meaning of Peace, Hope, Joy and Love.