Thursday, 24 May 2012

Summer Dress

About 3 years ago I cut the pattern to this dress. 

I bought some John Kalindor fabric and was determined to get busy making a summer dress.  But parenthood and pregnancy got in the way and it remained an uncut dress.  A few pieces sewn together, but most just left unfinished.  Hubby got increasingly frustrated with a tailor's dummy hanging about the house with a half finished dress on it and more than one the fabric got folded away and the dummy sent to the loft to make space for new arrivals and the usual clutter.

This pass Sunday I decided to arrange an Afternoon Tea with some of the mother's from Bob's school.  As class rep it is one of my duties to arrange socials and whilst cocktails at twilight are always a hit, I thought something a little less raucous and a little more cake based was required.  So I booked a table at the Petersham Hotel and asked around for any takers.

There were 5 of us in the end.  The only dress code we instilled was "not school gate attire".  Considering that my usual school gate look is 'the nearest pair of trousers and clean top I can find in the morning' look, this left me with a number of options!

So, I unfolded the fabric patterns, pulled out the tailor's dummy and dusted off my sewing machine.  I sewed, unpicked, re-sewed and hemmed.  Finally my dress was done.

There are a lot of flaws that need to be corrected, but it fits and was perfect for an Afternoon Tea date at a country hotel.

My sewing enthusiasm has been released once more.  I am now attempting this pattern for Miss Boo.

Will keep you posted!

Pink Eye

I have pink eye.  Or as us Brits call it, conjunctivitis.  Sounds do much better when you call it 'pink eye'.

The sun is out.  Summer is here, and I am hiding inside nursing a swollen, itchy, pink and weepy eye.


Garden Makeover

My father-in-law came for a visit in an attempt to re-style our garden.  When we bought our home the we were told that it was a low maintenance garden and needed very little care or attention.  Consequently, we gave it very little care or attention and before we knew it, it was an overgrown mess of weeds and moss.

Slowly but surely we extracted the moss and attempted to remove the weeds, but without clear guidance we were a little lost.  Hubby and I started hacking back at things we didn't like.  He removed £600 worth of Hebula and I cut down the only small tree in the garden he liked.

"That's it!", declared hubby.  "We are having separate sides.  You take the left and I will have the right."

And so it came to pass that we have a 'His and Hers' garden.

Being competitive by nature we (okay, I) took to making our sides as good as we could with the little knowledge we had.  For a while my side rocked.  Granted, being a stay at home mothering type I had greater access to the garden than my work-all-hours husband, but still, it rocked.

Then came a long weekend and hubby got his dad involved.  They spent a day and a half weeding before rotavating, fertilizing and planting out.  The result?  One fab looking side and one less fab side (mine).

So with a flutter of eyelashes, an extra healthy portion of humble pie and some delicious home cooked food I persuaded father-in-law to return in a few weeks and tackle my side of the garden too.

It started like this:

Hubby's side

Hubby's side

My side - euch!
My Side

Herb Garden - hopefully!

Hubby took this from my side and placed it on his side - the cheek of it!


And looks like this:

Neat and tidy!

I love these - they are called "bleeding hearts"

Herb garden

I surrounded the herbs with grit to stop any slugs

The rockery - with new alpines

Potted pink - Dahlias and Rhododendrons

So pretty

Pansies springing back to life

Sweet Peas

Perfect for bouncing around
Picnics in the garden

 Big thanks to my father-in-law for making it all happen!

Happy summer everyone!

Monday, 14 May 2012

Sunday Sundaes

Ever since the Thames Water announced that there would be a hosepipe ban due to a severe drought in the UK, it has rained pretty much non stop.  We have experienced one of the wettest springs in the last 100 years and Spring has definitely been a wash out.  This time last year we had a wonderful heat wave and now our garden is water logged.

This weekend however was a wonderful break in the awful autumnal weather.  Two full days of sunshine and near-warmth!  Marvellous.

We decided to celebrate by making sundaes for our Sunday lunch dessert.  Lunch wasn't a big hit with the kids.  My attempts to introduce less meat and more wholegrains is being greeted with this

and this

So the idea of a sugary, ice-creamy dessert went down a storm.

We used these

And pre-made some jelly in these

Got creative

and started eating


Tuesday, 8 May 2012

No Meat?

So I have been slowly but surely turning my family vegetarian.  Or Pescatarian to be more precise (that's eating fish for those who don't know).  We are still eating white meat at the moment, but will probably cut down to just fish in the next couple of months.  I have no real strategy here so we will see where it goes!

It all started with a gazillion and one newspaper articles about how red meat is the devil's work and will kill you quicker than hell fire and how sausages are a sure fire way to bring on cancer etc etc.  I'm pretty sure it is scare mongering but after 101 different newspaper reports on the subject I decided to take some action.  The husband isn't too impressed, and between you and me I am pretty sure he is eating burgers at lunch time at work, but the kids are red meat free.

This new journey to a healthier lifestyle has been kicked off by reading one too many updates from the amazing Kelly Rennie and her fabulously healthy lifestyle.  After having had two kids and a life long affair with chocolate, there is no way I can achieve the same rocking bod as Ms Rennie, but I can certainly try by adapting my diet and lifestyle choices and I can definitely make it easier for my kids to achieve the ultimate health by starting young.

On the weekend, Bobs, hubby and I decided to sort out our pantry cupboard while Miss Boo slept.  This meant throwing out food that was waaaaaaaay out of date and filling up glass jars with rice, quinoa, couscous and wholewheat pasta.  Herbs were organised, tins were stacked and stock was shelved.  All good so far.

I pre-soaked some mung beans in the morning to have for our dinner on Sunday and the hubby cooked a delicious risotto made with home made stock. Bobs was not too sure.  Having suffered from terrible reflux as a baby, he has never liked the taste or texture of rice as it used to cause him so many problems.  Miss Boo ate it all up as usual.

Come dinner time the real test began.  Serving up a Mung Bean Casserole with Couscous.

I loved it. Hubby loved.  Miss Boo loved it.  Master Bob pulled faces and literally beat the side of his head with the palms of his hands he disliked it so much.  I don't think it was the taste.  More the texture (and probably the colour) but poor little lamb, it was not to his taste.

We shall persevere, however.  He'll thank me for it in the long run.  Or so I'm told.