Sunday, 28 October 2012

Day tripping

Being a West Country girl at heart, I have a soft spot for Bristol. It was good to go back.

It was a glorious Autumn day - crisp sunshine, a slight chill in the air, but beautifully golden. The perfect day for a stroll down by the river with my friend, my mister and baby.

Dodged the shoppers on Park Street.
Jiggled over the juddery cobbles.
Sandwiched at the M Shed.
Watched the cranes above our heads.
Tried to identify the birds.
Breathed in the hot smell of the steam crane.
Did some boat window shopping.
Saw sailors heading overboard with a splash.
Stopped every few steps to take another photo.
Bumped down the steps.
Bumped up the steps.
Listened to the swirl of skateboards.
Saw a real Banksy.
Ate a huge piece of Rocky Road.

I love day trips. We'll be back soon Bristol!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

5 months

Dear Baby I,

Yesterday you were 5 months old. You are growing by the day. Some mornings I wake up and your face has changed overnight. There are definitely folds on your beautifully chubby baby legs that weren't there last week.

10.13pm last night. Sleeping Beauty.

At 5 months you are...

...laughing with a cheeky grin on your face. Favourite reasons to laugh include silly dancing, playing peek-a-boo, and going flying.
...rolling from front to back. You have yet to gain any real control over this or to use it for any purpose - when it happens you lie there with a confused look on your face as if to say 'how did I get here?!' It's still very clever though.
...13lb 14oz. I was very impressed with my babyestimating skills when I predicted that was how heavy you were going to be before we put you on the scales!
...perfecting the dinosaur impressions. It's an impressively loud growly roar that's often accompanied by some raspberries. It's a good combination. It's the type of noise that makes old ladies turn round in horror in the charity shops.
...loving the swimming pool. You spend a few minutes taking all the sounds and sights of the swimming pool in, and then you love to kick your legs, and put your hands in the water. You don't like it so much when you splash water in your face.
...still chewing everything going - but now you have 2 teeth to chew with! The bottom right tooth appeared on September 20th, swiftly followed by the bottom left tooth on September 23rd. Towelling, Sophie the giraffe, and my fingers seem to be the favourite things to bite at the moment. Luckily you haven't bitten me while feeding (long may that continue!)
...finding your feet. Your favourite pose when lying down is feet in the air with hands grabbing at socks. You haven't really mastered pulling your socks off, but I'm sure you'll get there!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

A happy sunday

Today has been one of those lovely, relaxed Sundays. With my brother popping round at 11.30am, brunch seemed to be in order. Inspired by Littlegreenshed's recent post about eating oeuf en cocotte, and seeing Rachel Khoo cooking them on Saturday Kitchen, I raided the supermarket and set to work. After a quick search online, I settled for this Martha Stewart recipe as the idea of bacon alongside the baked egg and toasty bread sounded a sure-fire winner.

With my brother employed to rolling-pin the bread - a highly satisfying job so I'm told - and R jiggling the baby, these were so quick to make. Definitely a recipe to be repeated as they tasted oh so good!

When planning brunch, we may have gone slightly overboard. I'd come across this recipe for French brioche toast with blueberry compote when trying to find a way to use up some slightly past their best blueberries I found lurking in the back of the fridge. Ever since reading about the brioche toast, I'd been wanting to try it out and a lazy Sunday brunch seemed the perfect opportunity.

Feeling pleasingly full, we decided to head out into the crisp sunshine to try and burn off some of the the butter calories we'd just eaten! After a crunchy frost this morning, I was hoping to try and pick some sloes on our wanderings, but there were none to be had. (I found one! Not much gin making is going to happen with that!) We did find bramble branches laden with blackberries so came back with a good haul, plus some rosehips for good measure.

I've just been looking through my River Cottage Preserves book to try and decide what I'm going to make with my spoils - rosehip and apple jelly looks good, as does the blackberry vinegar. We've got lots of quinces growing in the garden at the moment too, so I'm considering making the quince cheese, or the quince and apple sauce. Decisions decisions!

Saturday, 13 October 2012

A new favourite cake - Mary Berry's banana loaf

I'm sure Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry would mark me down for an uneven bake on this cake, but I tell you what, it tastes so good! It's also so easy to make - this was mixed and in the oven by 7.45am last Thursday!

The recipe is from Mary Berry's Foolproof Cakes book. We always seem to end up with bananas slowly rotting in the fruit bowl - they now make the perfect excuse for cake!

100g butter, cubed and softened
175g caster sugar
2 eggs
2 ripe bananas, mashed
225g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp milk

1. Lightly grease a 2lb loaf tine and line it with grease-proof paper. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4.
2. Measure all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and beat for about 2 minutes, until well blended.
3. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface. Bake for about 1 hour, until well risen and golden brown. A fine skewer inserted in the centre of the cake should come out clean.
4. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then loosen with a palette knife and turn the cake out.
5. Remove the lining paper and leave on a wire rack to cool completely. Slice thickly to serve. 

The cake is so light and moist - and not overly banana-y so those who are banana-haters may even be converted!


We've needed to take life at a slower pace this week. After a weekend of very early starts (the baby decided that 4am was a perfect time to start the day...5 days in a row. Urghhhh) and lots of snuffles, I've felt the need to hibernate a little. We've still been out and about - rummaging in the charity shops, enjoying splashing in the swimming pool, and singing the grand old duke of york for the umpteenth time at the music session at the local library, but we've also enjoyed spending a bit of restorative time at home. There's been cake (I have a new favourite recipe), cups of tea, pottering while the baby naps and catching up on some TV (GBBO and The Paradise are current favourites).

(I realise this paints a very idealised view of spending time at home with the baby - we've also had plenty of crying, a morning of Baby I being 'the incredible un-put-downable baby, and more rivers of snot and dribble than I can believe one tiny person can create. So you see, not all lovely!!)

The weather this week has encouraged us to cosy up at home - bleak, grey skies, and rainstorms that hurl themselves down without warning.

Oh, those hands! So munchable.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Baby Blanket...ta dah!

Some sewing projects are started because you are inspired by something you see, some because you want to create something to make others smile, some because, well, you're 9+ months pregnant, fat and waddly, very fed up and need something to keep you busy!

I started this blanket nearly 5 months ago. Two days before Baby I was born. While I was on maternity leave, I'd made a list of sewing projects I wanted to get done before my due date. But then my due date came and went, all my crafting was complete...but still no baby. So I decided to sew a blanket.

I started it on the Monday afternoon. Choosing the fabric/cutting the pieces/deciding where each square should go - I'd barely done any sewing by the time R got home from work. In my hormone-fuelled pregnancy-addled state, I decided not to finish the blanket that evening. (My thinking being that if I didn't finish the blanket, I would definitely go into labour the next day thus forever leaving the blanket incomplete...yes, mad I know!).

Well there was obviously something in my strange superstitions as sure enough, in the early hours of Tuesday morning, labour kicked off! The blanket proved to be a good distraction while I laboured at home - pedal down on the sewing machine - vrooooom - quick jump up for a contraction - back to the sewing machine to get that seam finished. Not a labour technique recommended in any book I've read, but it gave me something to focus on!

The blanket remained in a half finished state until a few weeks ago when I decided I really must finish it so that Baby I actually gets some use out of it while she's still teenyweeny. A few evening's work later and it was finally done. (As R said, *bad joke alert* it was a real labour of love. Urgh, sorry!)

It's only a small blanket (it's the first I've ever made so I thought I wouldn't give myself too much of a challenge!) but it's the perfect size for covering up baby toes in the pram! According to Baby I, it's pretty tasty too.

The fabrics I used are:

Raindrops Yellow // Green Medallions // Chevron // 

Thursday, 4 October 2012


October 2011
Ahh, September. As much as I'm sad that summer is over, I'm looking forward to Autumn and the colours it brings. The thought of being able to wear my duffel coat with a big scarf/wrapping up le bebe in a snuggly snowsuit (preferably with ears!)/walking through crunchy leaves in the park/making dragon breath when it's frosty are all making me worryingly happy too.

September has been a month of firsts: Baby I's first two teeth (oh the joys of teething...), her first roll from front to back, the first time I'd driven a long trip on the motorway solo with her in the car (she was a wonderbaby and slept the entire way!) and the first of our baby yoga sessions. Ommmmm...

September's list looked a little like this...
  • Sort out my 600+ photos from holiday. Done!
  • Finish my labour blanket Done!
  • Make a dress for baby girl - I didn't manage this, but actually, common sense prevailed - weather is getting cooler, baby needs warmer clothes than little cotton dresses!
  • Make red onion marmalade Done! Need to make a few more batches if I'm going to give some away as Christmas presents though!
  • Dribble bibs Done! Again, need to make a few more - teeth make for one very dribbly baby.
  • Visit Ludlow for the Food Festival. Done!
Not bad!

So, October:
  • Make a texture book full of different fabrics for Baby I as she is loving scratching at everything (mama included...) with her teeny nails
  • Take Baby I swimming regularly
  • Go shopping in Bristol and explore the little shops in Clifton
  • Buy a highchair in readiness for the messy delights of baby led weaning. Off to IKEA we go!
  • Finish reading this book
  • Start collecting objects for a baby treasure basket 
  • Rifle through my mum's recipe collection in order to make these

Tuesday, 2 October 2012


There's something very lovely about the sunshine in the morning during September. Shining through our windows, it stretches shadows across the walls.

I love the watery effect the old glass in our windows makes on the walls.