Monday, 31 December 2012

A few of my favourite moments: 2012

Looking back over photos has always been a favourite past-time of mine. As a child, I loved sitting and flicking through the old albums that are still all lined up in chronological order in the living room.

Nowadays, I find myself doing the same thing, virtually, through the medium of Facebook and the photo archives on my laptop. I love the way photos can take you straight back to a particular moment in time. So here are a few of my favourite moments from the past year...

January: A spot of marmalade making in our new house.
February: The garden began to reveal its secrets as it came back to life after the winter. Beautiful snowdrops and hellebore raised their heads.
March: I went on maternity leave and got started on baby preparation. Seeing these teeny baby things drying in the spring sunshine made me oh so happy!
April: It wasn't just me getting somewhere ready for a baby - this nest-building wren flew back and forth.
May: We finally met our baby! The rest of the month was spent in a smiley, sleepy haze as we got to know our teeny girl.
June: We introduced her to her huge extended family. Here she is finding Grandad's arms very comfy.
July: (Yes, another baby photo...I didn't do much for the first few months that didn't feature that little face!) First smiles!
August: A busy month - a trip to watch athletics at the Olympic Stadium, Cornish holidaying, a blueberry and sour cream cake, and a trip to the local flower show.
September: A month of sunshine and intense blue skies. I loved the colour contrast of the snail shell against the lavender purple.
October: A month of orange - autumn light, the beginning of Christmas cooking and a trip to Bristol.
November: We made the most of dry weekends by getting out and about.
December: Our first Christmas as a family of 3.

This year has been one of huge, amazing changes. 2012 has been very special, but I'm so excited for what 2013 holds - I'm going to have a crawling, walking, talking baby on my hands by this time next year!


Image from here via Pinterest

This year we have the perfect baby-shaped excuse to stay home on new year's eve. I think I'm quite looking forward to it.

I'm thinking me + husband + asleep baby (please?!) + posh m&s food + recorded festive telly = happy new year!

Realistically though, the babe will wake at 10pm and I'll be asleep half an hour later. Rock and roll. Oh well, I'll live vicariously through other people's exciting plans!

How are you celebrating? Will you be joining me on the sofa in front of the tv, or are you dressing up and heading out?

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Christmas 2012

The tree was decorated, the doors were open on the calendar, and the presents were all finished, wrapped and under the tree. Late on Christmas Eve, we finally collapsed on the sofa with a glass of mulled cider and watched some suitably festive telly (the new Snowman cartoon!) 

The next few days passed by in a blur of good food, spending time with family, rather too many motorway miles for my liking, and one very happy baby who has never before played with so much crinkly paper. We were all thoroughly spoilt with lots of beautiful presents, warmed ourselves in front of a roaring fire whilst catching up with aunties, uncles and cousins, and even managed to get down to the beach which was lovely (albeit grey, rainy and miserable!).
As I look back at the photos I've taken, I see they are mostly of my baby girl - having happy cuddles with her great grandma, gazing in wonder at the lights and sparkly decorations, and enjoying investigating all her new toys. It makes me look forward to next Christmas when she'll have slightly more clue as to what's going on.

1. Handmade decorations (this was meant to be part of my mother-in-law's present, but I couldn't give it away!)
2. Loving the lights.
3. Beautiful Lisa Stickley notecards. LOVE the envelopes!
4. I hope she's always this excited about Christmas.
5. The homemade texture book was a hit (phew!)
6. & 7. One of the highlights of Boxing Day at my mum and dad's - spotting the interlopers in the playmobil nativity! (My youngest brother is 22, but the playmobil characters in their clumsily hand-sewn costumes still come out year after year!)
8. Waving at great-grandma across the Christmas dinner #2 table.
9. Crackers are fascinating.
10. Beautiful sky as we drove to Devon.
11. Snuggled up as we headed beach-wards.

A rather baby-heavy post, whoops! Told you I mostly took photos of her over the past few days!

Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Day Snow - Somerset 2010
Wishing you and yours a wonderful festive season full of good food, laughter and memory making moments.

I can't wait to spend my first Christmas day with my teeny girl: watching her choose to play with wrapping paper instead of presents, waving at the Christmas tree lights, and smiling at the 13 (13!) people we'll be spending Christmas day with. We'll be beginning to make some of our own Christmas traditions and enjoying spending time with our nearest and dearest.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Alternative Christmas Pudding

I'm not a big fan of Christmas pud, so when faced with the task of providing pudding at our early Christmas dinner with friends, I set about trying to find a suitably festive alternative. After being tempted by a semi-freddo and a chocolate roulade, I eventually settled for Jamie Oliver's winter pudding bombe.

 I had to make a few tweaks to the ingredient list after I couldn't get my hands on some of the ingredients - using peach liqueur instead of vin santo dessert wine, glace cherries instead of tinned sour cherries and mixed peel instead of glace clementines. It was still delicious though, and seemed to be a hit with our guests. The fruit and nuts create a beautiful stripe through every slice and the melted chocolate poured over at the last minute freezes solid making a pleasing 'crack' as you cut into it. Definitely a recipe to repeat next Christmas. (And the best bit? We've still got a few slices left in the freezer!)

This week...

This festive week...

...I wrapped up presents for friends and families. (And loved the fact I've got lots of jars left over!)
...I put the finishing touches to the alternative Christmas pudding we ate with friends on Friday night.
...we finally put the tree up and spent a happy evening decorating it.
...a certain baby-shaped person will happily sit and watch the lights (and wave at the tree!).
...we dug out our crocheted nativity scene.
...an early Christmas dinner was enjoyed with friends. Slow roast pork, brussels with hustle (a Jamie Oliver favourite), pigs in blankets, and satisfyingly crunchy crackling. The alternative Christmas pudding, complete with indoor sparkler, went down well too.
...I committed book murder on my quest for making my nephew's Christmas present. All will be revealed soon!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

7 months

Dear Baby I,

7 months! You are now closer to being a 1 year old than to that tiny, squawking baby we first met in May. What a scary thought! Although, it doesn't surprise me. Every morning you wake up being able to do something new or different.

not in focus, but I just love the expression on that little face.

At 7 months you are...

...crinkling up your nose in amusement at everyone and everything around you.
...so happy to be sitting up, looking around and being able to grab toys/clothes/my hair/my face (ow!).
...slowly but surely getting used to new tastes and textures. Your first adventures in food have been delayed a little after you caught a sick bug, but you're back in that high chair now, mushing food once more!
...waving greetings to all and sundry - whether they are people, books, the tv etc etc!
...laughing, so much! Everything makes you giggle - tickling your tummy/making silly noises/dancing in the kitchen. It's one of my favourite noises to hear.
...loving books. (This makes me SO happy!) You'll choose books over other toys, and will sit 'reading' it to yourself, fiddling with the pages and trying to chew the cover. Going to the library has become a regular part of our week, and I'm loving cuddling up to read story and seeing your face full of happiness and enjoyment.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Christmas Elving #4: Scandi Christmas tree decorations

I've been catching up on Christmassy-makes this week as I've been feeling rather behind. My evenings have been taken up with cooking, bottling, sewing and making in a bid to tick some tasks off.

One of those tasks was finishing off some Scandi style felt hearts - some as gifts, and one for Baby I as I'm a sentimental old fool. These were the perfect make as I could do it curled up on the sofa keeping warm! My embroidery skills are rather basic at best, but a little bit of back stitch, split stitch and blanket stitch resulted in these. I drew the design on first with an air erasable pen (a recent find - they are so useful) and then stitched over the top. I've got one more of these to make and then this job is ticked off completely - that's my evening sorted then... (whilst watching the Strictly semi-final!).