Sunday, 23 November 2014

An Alternative Advent

With doting godparents and grandparents around ever ready to lavish chocolate and treats on my children I have decided to take a rather more high-brow approach to advent this year (don't you know...!) Forget the sweet treat calendar, this year it is a countdown of adventures. Throughout the year I have collected books from second hand shops and bought those we have borrowed time and time again from the library to make a collection of 24 'advent' tales. The boys will take turns to open one each morning and we will read it after bath that evening - although something tells me we wont wait that long. It may be too late to collect 24 books in time for Dec1st this year without blowing the Christmas budget out of the water and ordering them all from Amazon in one hit but you could borrow them from the library? After all it's the excitement of opening a new story each day isn't it? Here are the ones I chose:

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Keeping the vision.....

A few people lately have ask me if I am going cold on the blog as posts have been slightly fewer and further between. This is very far from the case - I love doing the blog - it is my little project away from endless nappy changes, the tower of washing and the Lidl scrum! Time at the moment is very hard to find - between ferrying Lenny and Mo here there and everywhere, midwife appointments and usual household chores I am trying to fit in designing and project managing our house renovation. It is a game of juggling that is for sure but I am keeping a very firm eye on the end goal. By Spring next year we will be back at home (which will be completely finished), the boys will have started slightly more nursery and our new baby gal will be here - I am sure I will have my feet up drinking tea….. I know, but there is always hope!! To keep my vision very much alive I pour over blogs/ magazines/ catalogues in bed to grab ideas. This beautiful Parisian home of Caroline Gayral has my mouth watering - the perfect mix of modern and antique in a white and pastel colour scheme. Of course our furniture is mostly from Ikea and we currently have a palette of white, white and white with a touch of grey - I know, very practical for 3 kids under 3.5 - but who knows maybe I can up cycle?! I have attached a few pictures of the 'work in progress' - I hope you have your vision goggles on!!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Witty Words

Lenny has the world's most slapstick sense of humour - most 3 year olds I know do - so this book has him in hysterics every time. It's written and illustrated to mirror a 1900's silent movie - it's a feast for the eyes and well worth adding to your book shelfs.....

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Pearled Spelt Risotto with Watercress, Lemon and Goat's Cheese

I am staring out the window at a dismal grey and rainy day - not even the steamy mug of Earl Grey and Christmas cake to my left are cutting through my dreary mood. So my mind is turning to dinner and this is just the ticket. A lovely warming risotto made with spelt for extra nutty richness. It is taken from my new favourite cookery book Take One Pot - it's full of family friendly easy to follow and hearty food - right up my strada. I have tweeked the original recipe a teeny tiny bit as I don't like it too lemony and for me risotto should also have celery but hey - each to their own! So put your slippers on, pour yourself a large Malbec and settle into risotto and some TV trash - yep, I'm rock and roll.
prep time 10 minutes cook time 30 minutes

serves 4

25g butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
(for mine I use 2 sticks of celery too)
200g pearled spelt (alternatively, use risotto rice)
125ml dry white wine
1 litre hot vegetable stock
75g bunch of watercress, washed and roughly chopped (I add a little bit more - more like 120g)
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon (I only use juice of 1/2 a lemon)
50g Parmesan, grated
A few rounds of goat’s cheese, to serve
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Heat half of the butter and all the oil in a large pan. Add the chopped onion and garlic (and celery if using) and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until softened. Add the pearled spelt (or risotto rice) and stir for 1 minute until the grains are coated in the buttery oil.

2 Pour in the wine and simmer over a high heat until nearly all has evaporated. A word of warning: there are times for drinking alcohol, but not within a risotto – take the time to allow the alcohol to evaporate.

3 Reduce the heat to gentle and begin to add the hot stock, a ladleful at a time, letting each ladleful be absorbed before adding the next. Keep adding the stock and stirring constantly until all of the liquid has been absorbed. This will take 18–20 minutes.

4 Remove the risotto from the heat and add the remaining butter, the chopped watercress, lemon zest and juice and the Parmesan. Stir until the watercress has just wilted, check for seasoning, and then serve with a round or two of goat’s cheese resting on top.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Happy Hedgehog

Pull on those hats and boots and head to leafy fields, gardens, parks or pavements. Collect as many shapes and sizes as you can and stick 'em down to make this friendly fellow. Super easy and fun for all ages!

Sunday, 2 November 2014


Boy, what a couple of weeks. Action packed and bloomin' marvellous. It began with a trip to London to stay with godmother Anna. We visited The Science Museum which Mo Bot LOVED - all those lights and interactive games for toddlers I can highly recommend. We then hired a beautiful house in Dorset for a weeks holiday over half term with my extended family - it was such a treat. The Old Monastery that has been renovated to the highest spec with enough space to everyone to relax and find a spot for themselves set in the stunning coastal village of Burton Bradstock. It was lovely to spend some quality time with my family who all live far away from us so it is rare we get such a long time just hanging out - the cousins carved pumpkins, we ran on the beach, ate lobster, played games, watched Frozen (a few times!), watched fireworks, met a real life witch.... the list goes on..... The best bit though was the group decision to swap heading out to a restaurant for the evening (which meant baby sitters and driving) and instead hiring a chef to cook for us in the house. It was spectacular food - much better than any restaurant I have been to for a while so thank you so much Matt from Fish Face Events. As if this was not enough fun and frolics we have also been to a few birthday parties where we have filled our tums with jelly and cake, burnt marshmallows on bonfires, undertaken treasure hunts and broke teeth on toffee apples..... tomorrow life is back to normal - gruel and water if we are lucky.
Science Museum fun for my Mo Man

Lenny decidedly unsure about fireworks.... weird boy....
Autumn in Acton Park

sand leaping

not a bad place for a movie!

light tunnel


Mo Bot and Goosey on the 74 bus

exploring caves

Darth Vader counting his loot


ummmmm has anyone seen Maurice?


catherine wheel wonder

Harry Potter

giving his new chum Popcorn a snack

looking for cuttlefish bones

man, you get everywhere..... fast as lightening.....

Lenny's best thing about London? The bus!!

Lobsters at the great Hive Beach Cafe

its me!

riding Nellie


our NCT class for Lenny in 2011 celebrate 3 years 
someone needs a haircut!!

The Orangery at Mapperton Gardens - breathtaking, well worth a visit

Party Rings - LOVE

Daddy, can I have a pony?!

birthday presents for all - 3 years since that church hall and knitted boob!

does anyone actually make anything edible with their pumpkins?!

not sure this is that appropriate for the setting but hey ho

Darth powers 
more fire

wall mounted springs and neon lights.... who knew they were so fascinating?

sweet paper collage - any excuse.....

jolly pumpkin

treasure hunting

coolest spot for a movie

stirring a real life cauldron for a real life witch