Friday, 30 September 2011

Back to Baby Blanket no 2

I have since added a border, in order to give Baby Blanket no.2 a more finished look...

Firstly I did a thick edging in cream of Single Stitches (about 6 rows), then I changed colour (electric blue), made another round of single stitches in blue and finished it off with a
Taught by
For the  

You start with one stitch on your hook.
Chain 3 stitches.
Insert the hook into the first chain you've just crocheted, and make a Slip Stitch. 
Then make a Slip Stitch into the next 3 stitches on you blanket (you can space the Picot bobbles as close together or as wide apart as you wish. The more slip stitches you make the wider apart the bobbles are. I spaced them apart by 3 stitches).
Then carry on repeating, until you reach the end of the row...
For a lovely bobbly edge around blankets, cushions and more...


 If it's all a little too confusing (I'm just learning how to write step by step instructions), send me a message or leave me a comment, and I'll try to do my best to explain my crafty mind a little better.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Summer is here... AGAIN!!!

I am absolutely LOVING this Indian Summer we are having.
It seems to have been a summer of two halves.
It started in April, for a glorious month of heat and sunshine, then disappeared into almost autumnal temperatures, and now it's back.
I am sitting in the bedroom, as Nina sleeps, and the thermometer says it's already 22 degrees C. And it's only 9.35am.

In the spirit of summer and freshness, I thought of my Swiss/Italian roots and was inspired to make my usual  

It's the simplest thing to make and I make a huge vat of it, which we can use for last moment meals or evenings when cooking just feels too much like hard work.
A dollop of fresh pesto on pasta, chicken, rice does the trick!
Hits the spot!

Here is how I make it:

  • 3 x packs of Fresh Basil (from the supermarket, or if you grow your own, about three large handfuls of basil. Stalks and all)
  • A handful or Pecan Nuts or Walnuts (I am not a fan of pine nuts, but you can use them if you are feeling more traditional)
  • Half a "slab" of fresh Parmesan (not the ready grated kind which smells and tastes like vomit)
  • 3 x cloves of Garlic
  • Lashings of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)

Put all the dry ingredients together in a blender or food processor and cover with the Olive Oil. 
Blend until it is a smooth, liquidy, green syrup.
Taste and add the salt and pepper to your liking.
Then wizz up a little bit more (scraping any leftover pesto from the sides of the food processor).

Easy peasy.

I store it in a large jar or tupperware, in the fridge for up to a week of easy cooking.


Sometimes I use fresh Flat Leaf Parsley instead of fresh Basil. Also delicious!!!
Also, if I am feeling cheeky and think that Luca is in desperate need of vegetables, I sneak into the pesto an extra large handful of fresh Baby Leaf Spinach. 
It blends beautifully with the Basil/Parley, and he never knows... naughty!

Missing my boy today

One comes in the door, one goes out. 

Luca started school three weeks ago, and today I really miss him.
I miss our chats and hanging out and his endless, complex questions.
Now when I pick him up from school, and I ask him what he's done, his answer is 
"I can't remember".
I don't push the issue, but I miss knowing what he's up to and being a part of his day.

Is that sad?

Last night was the first night since Nina was born, that Luca woke up (with growing pains in his ankles) and came into our bed crying - just as I was feeding Nina.


What to do?
Thankfully Nina wasn't too fussed about taking a wee break from boob, whilst I cuddled and massaged Luca (Daddy just wouldn't do in this instance).
As I picked him up in my arms I realised just how BIG he'd gotten. 
I suppose after spending all day holding little tiny Nina, anything remotely bigger or heavier just feels gigantic... and he did.

I soothed, rocked, massaged and stroked his hair.
 Finally... he calmed down, and back in his own bed, fell asleep again 

I suppose that tiny interlude of "neediness", reminded me of how independent he actually is now, and how rarely I am now able to properly cuddle him, without him saying "I'm too busy Mum".

Thankfully I have Nina, who hasn't yet learnt how to push me away, and is now the victim of all the cuddles and kisses I can shower upon her.
I'm gonna make the most of it!!!

In the meantime... check out Frankie Magazine.
Looks cute, fun, arty... right up my street. Thinking of subscribing to it, if it weren't so pricey!

frankie magazine :: craft tips, polaroids, more photography, funny articles

Monday, 26 September 2011

Apple picking in Autumn

Yesterday was a glorious autumnal sunny Sunday and we headed off to pick apples and blackberries in an orchard near Winchelsea.
There were so many unpicked apples (apparently it costs more to pick them than what they get from selling them), that we could've taken home bags and bags of them - maybe we'll hit the orchard again next week end?

Got home and I made my first ever
Which went something like this...

(recipe from River Cottage Everyday)


  • 100g walnuts (or pecans)
  • 1.25kg cooking apples, peeled, cored and finely sliced
  • 50g-100g caster sugar (I used less sugar and added Maple Syrup and Agave Nectar to sweeten it without the added sugar kick)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 100g Blackberries - my addition (optional)

For the crumble
  • 225g plain flour
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • 200g cold, unsalted butter, cubed
  • 150g caster or soft brown sugar
  • 75g medium oatmeal (I didn't have Oatmeal, so I used Porridge Oats instead - it still worked)
  • 75g ground almonds


How to make apple and walnut crumble

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4. Scatter the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 5-7 minutes, giving them a shake halfway through, until just beginning to colour and develop aroma. Leave to cool then chop very roughly. Leave the oven at 180°C/gas 4.

2. For the crumble, sift the flour and salt into a bowl (or food processor). Add the butter and rub in with your fingers (or pulse briefly in the processor) until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the soft brown sugar, oatmeal and ground almonds. Squeeze a few handfuls of crumble in your fist to make lumps, which will give you a deliciously 'rocky' crumble.

3. Put the apples in a large bowl, sprinkle over the caster sugar (I also added the maple syrup and agave here) add the walnuts, cinnamon and mix. Transfer to a large baking dish (or in my case, a couple of small ones), packing down the apples and blackberries as much as you can.

4. Scatter the crumble over the top of the apples in a fairly even layer. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until browned on top. Serve hot, with cream, custard or ice cream (or eat the next day, cold, as your breakfast with milk or yoghurt... delish! - Even Luca - who is the fussiest of eaters - LOVED IT!!! Success...

I think this will be a recurring pudding in the winter days/months ahead... as we still have so many apples left, I need to find other "Apple Recipes" - perhaps APPLE RINGS will be my next culinary adventure?

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Baby Blanket no.2

Hours of sitting on the bed, feeding and watching my little baby sleep has allowed me to start another Baby Blanket.

Here it is, and here is how I've made it...
Firstly, chain stitch as many stitches as you like, to make the blanket the width you desire. I Chain Stitched 60 stitches in order for the blanket to cover my baby plus another 2 chains to build it up to the next row.
Then I simply Single Stitched rows of various colours (variations of Coral, Cream and Olive Green). You can be as creative as you like making the stripes as thick or thin as you want.

Here is a step by step guide of the simple Single Stitch.

1. With one hoop of yarn on your crochet needle...

2. Wrap the yarn around your crochet needle once...

3. Push the crochet needle through the first loop of the chain...

4. Wrap the yarn once again around the crochet needle...

5. Pull the yarn through the hoop, so that there are now three stitches on your crochet needle...

6. Wrap the yarn around the crochet needle once...

7. Pull the yarn through the three stitches on your crochet needle...

8. Until you have just one stitch on your crochet needle...

9. Repeat instructions from 1 to 8 until you reach the end of the chain of stitches. Turn the blanket. Chain 2, and start again repeating from 1 to 8. Change colour at the end of the row, whenever you like, to make your stripes.

I'm making each row different sizes, as and how the mood takes me, but you can be more orderly, if you fancy...

For more details on Changing Coloured Yarn, check out Pip Lincolne's Blog Meet Me at Mikes and her Step by Step guide to making Granny Squares is pretty useful!

Saturday, 24 September 2011

My heart broke

So today, after much canoodling between my no.1 and my no.2 

(it's the first time Luca picked Nina up in his arms), he then threw a tantrum and said that he "hated" his little sister and wished "she went back in my tummy".

Now... I know this is fairly normal behaviour when an older sibling gains a baby, but I just burst into tears. Post-pregnancy hormones, coupled with tiredness and breast feeding aches and pains just spun me out and I started weeping.

Luca looked at me oddly "Why the hell is she crying?" was written all over his face, then stormed out of the room, slamming his bedroom door in the process as if he were already the 15 year old he so wants to be...

Thankfully after a little chill out time on his own, he came out saying "I'm sorry". Bless him. We had a massive cuddle and he swiftly said "I love my sister, I just don't like her crying".

It must all be so confusing for him... I mean, it is to us, as parents. One moment baby is safely tucked away in my belly, the next it's here, in my arms, wanting food, and cuddles and growing before our eyes.

I think I will have some mummy and Luca time, doing what we both love to do best.

Day-Glow Ginger Bread Cookies

Recipe (taken from the Waitrose website):
This recipe for gingerbread can be used to make a whole range of decorations, gifts and, of course, gingerbread people. I get Luca to help roll and cut out the dough, and to decorate the biscuits.

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Makes: about 25 gingerbread people


  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 100g dark muscovado sugar
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • 325g plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • Icing in various colours (optional). We make it ourselves with Icing Sugar and a little lemon juice, plus many natural day-glow food colourings


  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C, gas mark 3. Line baking trays with baking parchment. Melt the butter, sugar and syrup in a medium saucepan, stirring occasionally, then remove from the heat.
  2. Sieve the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ginger into a bowl and stir the melted ingredients into the dry ingredients to make a stiff dough.
  3. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and roll to a thickness of about 5mm. Dip biscuit cutters into flour before cutting the dough. Place the shapes onto the lined baking trays and bake, in batches, for 9-10 minutes until light golden brown.
  4. Remove from the oven. While still warm, and using a skewer or chopstick, make any holes that you will need to hang up the biscuits with ribbon or to make a garland.
  5. When completely cool, decorate with the icing. The gingerbread biscuits can be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks.


    Followed by a game of 100 Pin Bowling on the Wii!!! Luca thrashed me...