Meal planning

Friday, 12 February 2016

My favourite activity at the moment is meal planning, I sit down on a Sunday see what's left in the fridge and work out what we're eating for the following week. With my very generous maternity pay ending this month, meal planning helps with budgeting but also ensures that we're eating good fresh food. I love seeing what recipes people use on a regular basis (I'm a little obsessed with Rachel's meal planning posts) here are some of my recent good cooks.

Ratatouille - I normally cook this on Mondays if we've had a heavy food weekend. It makes about five portions so I normally freeze and make the extra into pasta sauce.

Better than baked beans and wedges - I do mine in my slow cooker and they taste amazing.

Rocket Pesto - I bought some pre made courgette  and butternut squash spaghetti and found this incredible pesto to go with it. It made about 8 servings so I ate it all week but it was so delicious. I served it with this crunchy garlic chicken and it was a good day.

Tom Kha Soup - This is a real favourite, I sometimes do without lemongrass if I can't find any and as I don't like mushrooms only use a few and add more veg. I also use udon noodles.

Butternut Squash Lasagne - This is a good one and is best made a day in advance. It makes six portions so I freeze the extra portions for days when cooking isn't happening. I also use gluten free lasagne sheets as I'm trying to reduce my wheat intake at the moment.

I have such a sweet tooth and desperately crave a boost mid afternoon. I guess if I'm eating something sweet I might as well make it myself, these recipes are too good not to share.

Clementine Cake - This is so delicious and gets better day by day - it last for a whole week as its huge!

Slow Cooker Rice Pudding - This is like eating heaven, I add a fresh vanilla pod and its so good. I eat it for breakfast.

Apple Cake - Still a favourite, I think this is becoming my signature.

Got any favourite recipes to share - I'd love to hear them?

Valentine inspired gift wrapping

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

I'm not a huge fan of Valentines day but I am a huge fan of red, pink, hearts and gift wrapping so I couldn't resist a new gift wrapping DIY. As usual I try to utilise regular materials I have in my craft cupboard, this time I have used a simple calico and various inks and pens to design my own ribbon. I've been following Katie Leamon on instagram for a while now and was so happy to find her beautiful papers stocked in my favourite shop at home. 

I created these ribbons during nap time so I promise that they don't take too long but are so fun to make. I'm really into making and printing my own fabric at the moment, I love how you can create something truly original. The smell of calico is one of my favourites, it reminds me of being a fashion student and the anticipation of taking a design off the page and into real life. I also love how versatile it is and perfect for gift wrapping. 
 I used a medium weight calico for the base, ripping into stripes to form ribbons. Winsor and Newton calligraphy and regular ink, Tombow pens and Derwent calligraphy pens (these don't seem to be available anymore) but a red fibre tip pen will work instead.
 Here'a how to make...
I Love You Ribbon - Damp the calico strip and then splash a mix of watered down calligraphy and pink ink over the fabric. Leave to completely dry and then write your message onto to ribbon using the calligraphy pen.

Tie Dye Stripe Ribbon - Damp the calico and then paint watered down calligraphy ink across the fabric. I wanted a really soft look so painted on some watered down bleach to soften the red edges. Leave to dry completely.

Watercolour Heart Ribbon - Using  Tombow pens colour 755 and 723 draw rough hearts along the length of the fabric (I scribble a 'v' shape). With a wet paint brush paint over the hearts letting the ink bleed out onto the fabric. Leave to dry.
 To wrap I made very simple bows and knots which I think contrast beautifully with the graphic paper. I didn't use tags because surely you only have one valentine?!
 Even if like me you are definitely not celebrating this Sunday I hope this gives you a few new ideas to try. Happy wrapping x

My Spring Shelfie

Friday, 5 February 2016

Happy Friday everyone, I'm so glad to see the weekend. This past week the weather has been tempting me with glimpses of spring - there have been a few blue skies and blossom trees to get excited about. When Wayfair got in touch to see if I'd like to style a Springshelfie I jumped at the chance, its never to early to get prepared for my favourite season. I decided to use the Gustav bench as a living moodboard, bringing all my Spring things together to help me plan and get the best from the next few months. Along side the bench I added this gorgeous pom pom cushion and zinc planters all from Wayfair, then mixed in some of my best summer tablecloths (including this tie-dye diy) and my growing plant collection, the little rose is my first and only successful cutting which I have been nurturing all winter. Seeing everything together makes me feel really motivated to get projects finished and new ones started, here are some of my plans for the next few months...
Paint my new to me bed frame and finally change my bedroom around

Find a vintage chandelier for my bedroom

Finish Stanley's bedroom so he can start sleeping on his own (sob!)

Hang all my remaining pictures - I bought the one pictured in Costa Rica five years ago and still hasn't gone up.
After the success of last years sweetpeas I cannot wait to get my seeds going. I start them in the shower and then move them outside when it gets warmer.

Finish the vegetable patch (this one is for Dan really) - its about halfway there we just need to add soil, fencing and stones then we can start to plant. This bench will finally have a home its complete.

I'm taking a flower arranging workshop in a few weeks, I can't wait to learn more about how to put flowers together.

I'd best get cracking! Have a great weekend. x

Thanks to Wayfair for providing the gorgeous bench, cushion and planters for this post - all styling, photos, thoughts and opinions are my own.

Styling The Seasons - February

Monday, 1 February 2016

February is a funny month, not quite winter as the shoots of spring bulbs give us false hope of sunnier days and not quite spring as it's still freezing and grey. I wasn't sure how to style the month, February is my birthday month so it should be all about celebration but as my birthday feels ages away that didn't feel right. As I loved January so much I decided to take a January approach to February - simple and calm. 
My mantlepiece hasn't felt right since the Christmas decorations were taken down, I had kept up fairylights but decided to take them down and fill the space with candles and fresh flowers instead.
As the nights are still long and my pretty things now have to compete with ugly baby toys, I have kept the decorations paired back (for me). The jugs are favourite charity shop finds and as I love the room to smell good too, I have stocked up on Parkminster candles in spring fragrances. So inspired by my candle collection and slightly worried about the amount I spent on them I've ordered candle making supplies to make my own (you can see previous candle making here) - I need something to distract me whilst I watch my bulbs surface outside!

I hope the month brings quiet creativity, no pressure just the chance to enjoy a few more quiet days and let DIY projects happen when the time is right.

Styling The Seasons is a monthly project run by Katy from Apartment Apothecary and myself. Each month we invite you to style a surface in your home to reflect what the month means to you. Share your images on your blog or on any social media platform using the #StylingtheSeasons hashtag.

Styling The Seasons Review - January

Sunday, 31 January 2016

I'm going to put it out there and confirm that January is my favourite month for Styling The Seasons. I'm not sure if its because endless grey skies make us search harder for creativity and inspiration or the slowness that the month brings makes us appreciate the little things and we take the time to capture and share. Either way its completely gorgeous and I've loved seeing all your posts. 
image - @flojoro
 In my opinion the best colour to compliment grey is pink (my old lounge was painted pink for this very reason). From the blogs my favourites were Lucy from Capture by Lucy's sunny bouquet, it makes me so happy every time I look at it. I also loved Laura From We Made This Home's cosy January table, it shows you don't have to completely put all the sparkle away after Christmas. 
image - @traceyc1968
image - @whiteheartdesignco
On Instagram where we now have nearly 14,000 entries (!!!) I loved @flojoro spring vase, the colours are just beautiful. As my favourite things in life are tumbling roses, baskets, white floors and rusty buckets I had to chose @traceyc1968 and @whiteheartdesignco stunning images.

We've also had new bloggers join the fun this month, I'm so glad to *meet* new faces and see your fantastic posts. Styling The Seasons is for everyone you don't have to be a stylist or photographer to join in. I use the project to focus on various areas of my home and give neglected areas a little tlc and have been feeling the benefits since the project started way back in 2014. 

As always thanks to everyone that has joined Katy and I this month to Style The Seasons, here are all the posts for the month. xx

DIY - Silver and Agate Ring

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

It's been a while since I shared a jewellery making tutorial and I have a very loose silver ring tutorial to share today. Jewellery making is my love but I have been lacking the need for new jewels lately hence a lull in posting. Since Christmas I have found so much inspiration and I'm really excited to share some new projects, the first being this extremely easy silver and agate ring. I bought all the components from Kernow Crafts including this sterling silver ring base and agate cabochon and glued together using their recommended glue. It literally takes five minutes to assemble and requires no jewellery making experience (just make sure you buy the right size cabochon for the ring).  
There really are no steps - apply glue, leave to go tacky for a few minutes, stick gemstone to ring. 
I think this is the perfect project to kick off the new year - simple and fuss free - I haven't taken mine off. Happy making! x

four months of being a mum

Sunday, 24 January 2016

I can't believe how fast time has gone since I wrote this post. Being a mama is certainly a full time job and now understand why my own mum still asks me if I'm cold and need a cardigan or tries to hold my hand when we cross the road at almost 33 - that maternal instinct just gets stronger and stronger. 

The first six weeks were great I was expecting the worst but went with it and it was ok. Random strangers would congratulate me in the Post Office for being out the house before noon, I'd (almost) get applauded for getting dressed and putting make-up on and the checkout staff at Aldi would go a little slower - there was a lovely sense of being looked after by friends, family and strangers alike. Of course there were bad days when I had absolutely no clue what I was doing but mostly the days were good and so full of new experiences. 

I found the second six weeks harder as everyone went back to old routines. I watched Dan, my sisters and friends doing all the things my old self did with such ease - travelling, galavanting around London, exercising. Random anxieties kept me awake throughout the night and I began to feel like my old self had completely disappeared. The thought of leaving Stanley even for a minute made me panic, (he really doesn't like taking a bottle, although he is much better) and I felt like I was completely irrelevant to everyone and had nothing exciting to contribute. 

The past few weeks have been much easier, for one I am being much kinder to myself and have made a resolution to enjoy these precious early days as much as I can. The first gummy smile in the morning re-sets the love button like nothing else, I know he's not always going to high-kick with happiness when he sees me. Every week Dan and I both marvel at what he can do - grabbing, almost sitting up, chatting and giggling, becoming a mum the best and hardest thing I have ever done. I'm slowly adding back activities my old self liked to do; a bit of Sunday yoga, drinks with friends, the odd trip up to London and of course making, there is nothing like having a baby to make you evaluate what is truly important to you. 
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