Wednesday, 30 January 2013

It's the end of the world as we know it!

Good evening fair folk of blogshire.

I've been getting that feeling of being a little unfocused, like a fuzzy wool. So, I thought, what better way to refocus than to look back on January, as it's the first month that I have blogged consistently! That might not seem like much of achievement, but I feel like it is!

Fancy Scarf
I've made three scarfs, the last of which I quite like (photo to the left, to the left), so my craftiness is underway! I have a bunting to make, a baby blanket, a crochet headband and a pretty baby headband to source and complete. I've started to research the local market and my head is full of ideas of stocking good quality and slightly quirky baby blankets, hats, Welsh cakes and cardamon buns. 

The problem with my mind is that it's too easily sidetracked and I end up with that unfocused and guilty feeling that I might have just been sat down doing very little, spending rather than earning. One of my projects makes me feel very much this way; the novel I'm writing (or not as the case may be). I've joined a site called Authonomy (link below), it's basically for all the lovely people trying to write, but to even discuss your book you have to have written 10,000 words....needless to say I haven't written anywhere near that!

So, in February I have decided to try and write as much as I can! This is going to be hard as I can't take my eyes off of my lovely daughter for more than 20 seconds at a time or she eats cardboard.

I've also written about the yummy food we've made in the house and I've realised how far behind some of the lovely bloggers out there we are in our little house. Which is fine, it's a learning curve and half the fun is seeing how much you've achieved. There are some utterly stunning photo work out there, very much inspired! I hope to improve!

The second thing I'd like to do is upgrade my blog visually a little. It needs a few tweeks about the edges and fancinesses. Hopefully over the months it will begin to look more and more professional, or erm, like I know a little bit about it!

Things of note:

1. I made some things.
2. My baby now dances (mostly to fast beat music, weirdo). 
3. I'm reconnecting with friends that I haven't spoken to in ages.
4. I recognise I am NOT a natural sales person (my poor Jamie @ Home manager).

Get Published

 Isn't it strange when you "give up" work you seem to have too much to do in the time you now have "free"?

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Ben's Cookie's Ben's Cookies Oh! - where for art thou...

If you're like us, there may be a spot of white stuff about your house! It's all rather impressive here in the Welsh Valleys. It looks a little like some far away land of ice.

To combat the rising houseboundness and the lack of Ben's Cookies in Pontypool (oh the PAIN), the boy made Cookies! They were SO good that I ate them all. In one go. I never do that. Nope.....never ever.....

He used the following old school recipe but replaced the margarine with butter. The cookies were served HOT with the chocolate bits still melty.

They were totally nom and then they were totally gone.

Back to Ben's Cookies - for anyone who does not know of this lovely business the website is linked below. Before I visited them I'd never really had a thing for cookies....

OMG They Deliver!

I'd love to open a franchise in Pontypool....HINT! But I'd probably be the size of a house by the end of the first month.

And to end this midweek blog a bit of fun from the Council....yes, you read that right. LOCAL COUNCIL IN FUNNY LINK SHOCKER!

Peace out DUDES!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Sunday Roundup!

Well, here we are again, at the end of another week. I'm really not sure where the time goes. It's been an interesting one, with the beginning of my crafting and the partner's Uni work hand ins!

I went shopping before the snow hit in Pontypool. This in itself is an interesting concept, as there are very few "shops" in Pontypool that one might actually want to shop in. The line-up includes Greggs and Brighthouse, the latter I've never seen before living here.

There is however a market struggling along in Ponty. I try, where I can, to support it's occupants - so here's a shout-out to the couple who run Pontypool's Sewing and Knitting Center. I appreciate it's not the most original of names...but there's wool and needles and cotton.

I proceeded to buy a pattern far too complicated for myself at the moment and it's apparently written in some form of crafting language I have yet to decipher. Here is the little devil below.

So I gave up on that and decided to start from the beginning and ask the all knowing brain (internet) for help. And low and behold it was helpful. Although I used the wrong wool/yarn for the pattern and although I used the wrong sized crochet hook I still managed to produce a scarf for my daughter.

I'm not sure my currently speed of crocheting could possibly result in a lucrative business just yet! I definitely need to get quicker and neater and more technical for that! However, it was fun and I've already had one friend request a scarf for themselves.

I've also taken the opportunity to think about my novel, after retrieving the first chapter I had "hidden" (which is code for deleted) from myself from my best mate from school, a Ms Page. I've been pointed to a site called Authonomy so I'm going to re-read, redo and add to what I've already done and post it there for constructive criticism (code for emotional pillaging).

But....before I go and wish you all a lovely week ahead I thought I'd leave you with a paragraph or two!

"Thank god I was sat down 'cause I think my Mum just gave me two hundred and fifty thousand pounds. Now, if I believed in karma then I must have done something right. I was stunned, overjoyed and I started to laugh but I didn't really believe in karma at all, nice people had shit throw at them all the time. I stopped laughing. I now felt slightly guilty and also like someone was playing a big fat joke on me and I had no idea why."
"I had no idea what to do with this new found luck, but I was now totally in the mood for a night out on the town. But you know what they say about luck, something about the only thing about it is that it will change? Well, lucky for me I didn't know then what I knew now, or I may never had made the decisions that changed my life for good."

They say fortune favours the brave...wish me luck my lovelies!


Something to warm your soul!

Hello? Are you all covered in snow? I hope you're all doing well. I thought given the weather that something yummy and warming would be the order of the day, it's a bit late due to the babes teething like a pro, she's currently more drool than baby.

So, I present to you......the Chocolate and Coffee Cake, ta da!

It's not dressed as such as we had no icing or coffee beans, but my it was lovely! It was baked using Jamie's 9 inch cake tin (£12.50) and it's sitting on a lovely cooling rack (£17.50) from his range, both performed really well according to the lovely man and baker of the house! The cooling rack is very sturdy and comes in a pack of two! If you're interested then let me know and I can send one out to you!

Here's the lowdown on how to get your own cake:

175g Butter
175g caster sugar
150g flour (plain)
25g Cocoa powder
1 tbsp water mixed with 1 tsp instant coffee
3 eggs

Cream butter and sugar together until, well, creamy. Add the eggs and the coffee and mix. Then sieve in the flour and cocoa and mix again.

Bake in the oven at 180c for 20-25mins.

All you need to do is make a cup of tea, get under a blanket, put on your favourite TV aaaaaannndddd....relax.

Friday, 11 January 2013

An Ode to my Shoes

Dear Shoes....

I feel the need to apologise,
for my lack of bipedal support,
You are fancy and shiny and you really should,
be dancing not dead behind doors.

(written with pen bought by my friend Chris).

"What, you don't like rice? How could a billion Chinese people be wrong? my Jamie @ Home box arrived. Exciting times! However, tempered slightly by a report from a friend that they had reservations on quality. With this in mind, I decided to be sure I was happy with what I had been sent, I'll be doing this by testing the goods!

This brings me to my first choice to blog about, it was actually a really easy decision (although sadly not bacon as I promised someone). I have a friend, I've known her since University. She's a lovely, gorgeous, creative mother of one. She also happens to be half-Burmese. I once went to visit her at her family's home in Surrey and her father, he's the Burmese one, cooked us a meal. I can not stress the impact his cooking had on my liking of Oriental food; I was already obsessed with Chinese food, you can ask anyone!

The thing that struck me most was that he cooked his rice in the oven in a pot. I was fascinated, having been bought up on pan on hob and the occasional starchy mess that this can result in I was astounded to see fluffy rice emerge from an oven.

He proceeded to tell me it was the proper way to cook rice and given that his meal was by far the best I've tasted in terms of Oriental cooking, I have to defer to his superior knowledge. So, when I saw the following it was obvious what I was going to try first!

Please excuse the celeriac at the back.......

This, if you didn't know, is a rice pot! Lunch was mine for the taking! I followed the instructions below and then added a sauce at the end which I'll run through with you.

It was quick and simple, I used a herb infused stock pot, but that part is purely your choice. And the result was quick yummy! Full disclosure time, it was slightly underdone, now, that could be because I didn't wait for the oven to reach full temp (and I've cleaned off the temp control numbers so I don't ever know what temp the oven is...yeah, I know, well done). I will report back again when I've had another try.  But the rice looked lovely and fluffy and I quite like it with a slight bite so....

To the sauce! I added a raw egg, spring onions, sweet chilli sauce, soya sauce, Chinese five spice and the juice of one lime. I just stirred it in at the end straight into the rice pot, no messing. Also, I've yet to wash it up, so I can't say if it's better or worse than a normal pan just yet.

Yum. As they say in the's the science bit:

This is on my list to purchase for myself! Feel free to go to my site Shameless Plug if you fancy one yourself.

But in the meantime, I'd like to thank Sylvia's dad for introducing me to the concept and making me yummy food, and to Sylvia herself for being my lovely friend ;). More on the lovely Sylvia, Burma, Child Sponsorship and her creative endeavors at a later point!

Monday, 7 January 2013

You can take my freedom...but you can never take my pasty

They tried to tax these little beauties, but there was descent amongst the ranks and they survived. Pasties, the food of the farmer and the working man. Hold one in your hand to become a citizen with a capital C.

A meal in your a much better way than the burger ('cause there's loads of veg in it and stop sniggering at the back).

So, here's one boy made earlier:

This particular beauty is lamb and mint. Recipe as follows:

Wednesday, 2 January 2013


Individual style. We all want it, few of us achieve it. So closely linked with our own sense of purpose and self confidence. I've never expressed myself - not even as a teenager. Never had a "look". Occasionally I've looked accident, I don't even know how to put on make up! When I split from my husband I went to live with a friend who knows exactly what I mean by the above. She herself is on a mission (much more successful than mine) to develop a sense of style.

You can follow her here if you like all things vintage.

I was starting to sort through my thoughts as to who I was/what I wanted to look like and then, very suddenly, got pregnant! I'm now, just, nearly one year on about to re-embark with this journey. Pinterest was my friend and I'd started to buy a few bits here and there. I'd made a list of my favourite looks but not really made one whole look up with make-up/hair included. One of my looks that I love (on others, not completed it on myself yet) is the 40s look. I have one dress from the wonderful Vivieen of Holloway, which I've attached here. I plan to make up my looks and dress with hair and make up and post here. Wish me luck!


Crumbles...what can you say about them? For years I was an odd eater. Some might say I still am now. However, the obsession with crumbles came after a conversation with boy (how the other half is known). It went along the line of "how the hell do I make a crumble"...response from boy was "it's bloody easy you lazy woman". I proceeded to go out and shop for crumble bits, bought a bottle of wine to go with it (as you do). Got home, dumped bits in kitchen, opened wine drunk. Some time after this (months) I finally make a crumble. This is not that crumble. But it IS one of ours. So far my faves are berry crumbles. I still can't get the apple ones to go squishy enough). Great tip - put a hard cheese in the pastry part and pepper. Gives it a kick!
Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy New Year

So, here we are! 2013 here's to it being everything everyone wants and needs!

Just wanted to update my blog with my latest thoughts. I'm thinking of selling Jamie Oliver cookware and I'm in the middle of designing a logo for my children's clothing designs. The Jamie Oliver cookware will be used on this blog mostly! My partner, amongst other things, likes to bake. A lot.

One thing his medication has done has changed the way his body processes food and as a result of this and his current lack of martial arts training he's put on about 4 stone we think.

Whilst he wants to loose this weight he also wants to bake. My answer is to allow him to create and we can advertise the food here to you all! If only there was smello- vision you could all take part a bit more. They'll be a mixture of food for you all to see. I'll post up the recipes and maybe sell a few pots and pans along the way. Here's just one lovely example of his brilliance:

The children's clothes are really a second thought from my following a couple of other bloggers and admiring their style and content. Also, on New Year's Eve I received a tweet from a friend which linked me to the following:

 6 Harsh Truths

There's a part in the article that talks about how for successful people work is who they are. This thought along with the blogs I've seen and admire bought me to the conclusion that perhaps I should not focus on one thing, but all the things that I am and I can make a living partly through that. So this blog will be eclectic and varied and may not always flow but it will be me!

It also talks about how you can only earn money from things that you know that other people don't and that they need. I'm half sold on this, bartering is always how the human race has gotten along but the article says it matters not if you are kind, but being "kind" is the way in which we get along. Those who are kind can help people see their best points and they are invaluable in society. They show us the best in ourselves and lead us to make decisions that are not completely selfish.

Signing off for now as my little one has awoken slightly frightened and in need of a cuddle!

Good luck for the year! xxx