Monday, 15 April 2013

My Summer Wardrobe Challenge

The sun has finally had the decency to show it's face around here and all thoughts are turning to warmer weather which means the banishment of the three or four thick jumpers that have seen me through winter and prettier lighter clothes are needed.  I however feel my summer wardrobe needs a bit of a freshen up (and that's before I get the things out the loft which may or may not fit!! My diet is not going well you will not be surprised to hear - Never trust a thin cook anyway is my motto ;) )

The only problem is I don't have lots of pennies to spend so I have set myself the challenge of sorting my summer wardrobe out for £50 by scouring the charity shops, jumble sales and eBay and by refashioning.  I've been very inspired by this blog for a long time but have never actually managed to have a go until tonight!!! 

So I had this long nondescipt skirt and....

and this dress that was a size too small but so pretty - both of which I bought for 25p at our local jumble sale 

And I turned the skirt up and cut off the excess to make this lovely short summer skirt

and then cut the bottom off the dress and turned up the top and threaded through some elastic to make another summer skirt.  So that's two for 50p :) 

In addition to my refashions - and there are more to come ....I've also been bargain hunting and bought the following from our local jumble sale for the pricely sum of £2!

Including these fantastic cowboy boots for 50p 

And then today I got some lovely things in our charity shop (our charity shop is THE best!!  It's an independant and doesn't charge silly prices for most of the stuff)

I got this Next dress for £7 - it's not the best pic - I will get one of me wearing it when I've got my make up on and my hair's not a mess! lol! 

This pink spotty skirt for £3.50 

And this Debenhams number for £3.50 

So I think that leaves me with £33.50 to play with :)  Think I'm ok for skirts though!!!! 

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Can you believe...

...two posts in one week!!  :P

I've had a good creative week and the suns been out and I've been outside without a coat, gloves and scarf on!!  Spring has finally sprung - wahoo!

There has been much cooking this week - as usual - you know how I like my food!

We had home made pizza's with pineapple, bacon and mushrooms (bacon as the ham I thought I had to make Hawian pizza's had all been eaten!  Again I am so grateful to have a well stocked freezer)

I used my cast iron pot for the first time to make a lovely sausage and new potato casserole and I must say I preferred this to anything I've made in the slow cooker lately so this may be the way forward.

 And it got another airing today - Beef in Stout with dumplings - OMG this was amazing! And very easy - fry some beef to seal and then put to oneside whilst you fry off some onions and carrots.  Add a tablespoon of flour, 330ml of stout, 750ml stock and 4 tablespoons of blackcurrant jam.  Put in the oven for 2 to 2 and a half hours.  Whilst that's cooking make the dumplings - 75g breadcrumbs, 1 egg, 1tsp mustard and some herbs.  Leave in the fridge to cool for an hour and then make into dumplings and pop in the dish half an hour before the end of cooking and then continue to cook without the lid on.  Will definitely be making this again :)

And for pudding Chocolate crunch and homemade custard 

I made foccacia in the week which wasn't a Sexy Paul's recipe!! Shock Horror!! This was a Gino D'acampo but was still very lovely and went down very well with curried butternut squash soup. 

I did receive some very exciting deliveries this week - a baguette tray, a scraper and Paul Hollywood's new book - Bread which I have to say looks even better than How to Bake.  After watching his show on Monday night all on Sourdough I was inspired and Cecil my starter was born :) 

He's doing really - but no one mentions how badly these things reek!!  Turned my stomach the first time I opened the jar. No sourdough to show you so far as the first attempt was a disaster but watch this space - I will not be beaten!!!!

 I have resolved to finish some longstanding projects (yes play house I'm coming to you!!!!!) First off last week was the new kitchen curtain which for reasons best known to me I decided to make out of patchwork!?!? :S  Anyway it's done now (almost I need to attach the tracking tape on the back).  This was made entirely of fabric I already had - lots of left overs from the bunting from my wedding, an old top and the old kitchen curtain.  It's been lined with an old white sheet - make do and mend indeed!!

My resolve not to start anything else or even think about anything else till I'd done my outstanding projects didn't last long.  I bought this book at the local jumble sale - like I need another type of craft to try?!

And I've started crocheting a throw for our living room to match our curtains.  I am ordering more wool later!! 

As well as cooking and crafting we've been in the garden and planting lots of seeds which hopefully we will be able to eat if they grow!!  Here's my little man watering the carrots nicely....before he realised he would get more water out of the can if he turned it upside down!!!!! 

So this week I'm resolved to start on refashioning some clothes I've had lying about for a while (I'm also challenging myself to sort out my summer wardrobe for just £50 - more on that next time) and if these don't take too long I will be making a start on finishing the play house. :) 

Oh and just to say I do love receiving comments so if you have read this post do please say hello :) 

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Birthday and a new obsession

I really do mean to write more frequently but life just seems to get in the way!!

So what have I been up to?  More baking and the bread making is going very well but there are limited photos as I've been doing the same basic loaves in Sexy Pauls book...

....a gratuitous pic of the man himself just because it's my blog and I can :P

This is a cob loaf I made for my family over Easter.  I also made another one using beer - IPA - instead of water which I stupidly forgot to take a picture of but it looked very much like this one!! lol!!  It tasted it ok but not sure I'd be in a hurry to make it again.  

I have this morning ordered Sexy Paul's new Bread book and a baguette tray  after my baguettes ended up like crispy pancakes!!  I also desperately need a mixer if my family or kind generous strangers are reading!!! Am so in love with the Kitchen Aids but it's probably just as well that I can't afford one as I really don't know what colour I would pick?!??

I'm feeling very inspired on the bread front with my new purchases and Paul's Bread programme last night was all about sourdough which looked amazing so that's my next project....although I've also got Gino DiCampo's Italian Baking Book and the GBBO book out of the library and there are some amazing loaves in there so I'm overwhelmed with ideas!!  The biggest problem is that I'm trying to lose weight - incredibly badly (who put that chocolate finger in my mouth?!?!) - so I am trying to limit my baking somewhat.

I have made these healthy low fat meals in the past few weeks - Healthy Ham, Egg and Chips which is lovely.  Just cubed potatoes cooked in a small amount of oil, then add mushrooms and when nearly done add in some tomatoes and crack some eggs in the pan.  Serve with Ham and some beans - lovely :)

Homemade pizza - I can't eat dairy so really should be thin as a rake!  But I'm not but my pizza's are much healthier than if they were covered in cheese - and I much prefer them to Dominoes although my husband doesn't - maybe he's the reason I'm not as thin as a rake!

Other random bakes - Hot Cross Buns - Paul Hollywood's of course!! 

Cheese and Spinach Muffins - BLW cookbook - My little man helped with these ...although his help mostly involved putting the flour on the floor :s

And Mother's Day makes - chocolate cupcakes....

And from the little man - decorated biscuits.

As well as having Easter we've had a very big celebration in our house - my little man's 2nd Birthday and as it coincided with the Easter Holidays I thought I would do an Easter themed cake based on one I had seen on pinterest.

I started by sculpting a rabbits bum from fondant icing - there's a sentence you don't say everyday!!  I don't know how anyone works with this stuff as it's horrible and I really don't have the patience for it but managed the bum! 

I then sandwiched four sponge cakes together with chocolate buttercream icing - two chocolate and two plain. 

I cut a little rabbit warren out of the base for the rabbit to disappear into 

And then covered it all in chocolate buttercream icing 

I then covered the outside of the cake in chocolate fingers and set the rabbits bum in the warren and covered the top with chocolate eggs, chicks and a number 2 candle.

The finished cake 

The inside of the cake

My little nephew was totally amused by the rabbit and the chocolate on the cake and here is the birthday boy blowing out the candle (excuse the mess - two toddlers inside on a birthday weekend can only end one way!!)

And talking of my little man - he's been busy too.....

Lots of drawing 

 And some painting too 

This is our Easter bunny 

And here is my very precious handmade Mothers Day Card <3

And what about my new obsession (seriously I can not get addicted to anything else!!) ....well that would be crochet :) 

Had a go at making granny squares and turns out they are quite fun to make and they grow so much quicker than knitting 

This is my dream make but I've had a go and its quite a bit more advanced than basic squares so have had a change of plan and will put this on the back burner whilst I hone my technique and finish some other projects too.

And talking of unfinished projects (see what I did there!) I have actually done some work on the play house - this is starting to be a mill stone around my neck but I will get there!!!  As I joked with someone it will probably be done by the time he's 18 and he will want to be on his X Box and I will be forcing him to play under the table!! hehe!!  No it will be done way by then ....progress so far.....

The Hungry Caterpillar Side with fruit counting pieces 

The caterpillar has ended up being too big to go on the play house so is now just a toy for Isaac to play with 

The season side with relevant season pieces 

The toadstools for.....

The front door! 

Now just to sew it all together.....Which I'm sure won't be as hard as I imagine and I need to just get on with it!!! lol!! Watch this space!