Saturday, 20 December 2008

Wonderful Books for Wonderful Girls

Here are some of wonderful books I purchased as gifts for my two wonderful nieces...

The eldest of the two is six and just beginning to experience the joys of reading alone. Johnny got her Fox in Socks by Dr Seuss for her birthday, which she loved and resulted in much rhyme making of our own. I've always tried to get them books as they have so many toys already, I loved books (well I still very much do!) as a kid and I really want them to feel the same way. So Bethany is six and I'm pretty sure that was probably around the time that I read a whole book all on my own, I remember it well and how proud I was, the book was Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach. I went on to work my way through all of Roald Dahl's books right up until I was a grown up and read his adult short stories (which are amazing by the way) Johnny also has many fond memories of his books so we thought this would be an ideal starting point for her. I used amazon's age guides to assist in working out which ones would be best, I really don't want to give her something so difficult it puts her off. I also got here the Where's Wally Solid Gold Collection for some silly fun.

Nicole is only 2 and a half, but, as most little sisters do, copies everything Bethany does! She might not have the patience to sit through a story, she tends to attempt a conversation with Bethany in loud whispers, as if we won't notice, but she likes to open a book up on her lap and pretend she's reading aloud. Plus I figured it would be really nice to get her something that Bethany could attempt to read for her. I'm a bit of a creature of habit and once I find an author/illustrator that I (and of course they) like I tend to buy all of their books. So as usual Oliver Jeffers' new book has appeared in the pile of Christmas presents. I absolutely adore his pictures and the stories are so simple yet so beautiful.

I've been very good and haven't read it yet...I'm waiting for the pleasure of reading it two very special girls on Christmas day!

It's so strange to think that next year I'll be buying gifts for my own little one!

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Mince Pies...

I LOVE mince pies...I reckon I could eat about a hundred of them before feeling sick! I love them even more with a tiny smidge of brandy butter sneaked in under the lid, melting into the filling....mmmmmmm.

So a couple of years ago I attempted my own mincemeat, before this I'd always just bought a jar and the pastry which kind of took away the whole point of making them myself! I took the recipe from a magazine and had it safely stored in my precious notebook of recipes...which seems to have disappeared somewhere between my many moves the last couple of years. So this year I took the recipe from Nigella's "How to be a domestic goddess" (which I managed to pick up in a charity shop for £2, what a bargain!). The recipe uses apple as a substitute for suet, she also has a recipe using suet but I thought I'd give this one a go. It does seem to be missing something but I'm not sure if it's the suet or whether I was a bit skimpy on the brandy. The pies themselves are still delicious but I'm not sure whether I'll use the recipe again.

I used puff pastry, rolled it out with icing sugar and glazed it with milk and a little bit of brandy. I bought the pastry...I always buy the pastry, I don't think that I've ever attempted to make it myself! It just seems so silly when you can buy it so easily! Maybe next year!

So it's feeling ever so festive here this evening....if only I had some mulled wine to accompany those pies...

Oh Christmas Tree...

When I got back from work on Sunday there was the sweetest (and quite tiny) Christmas tree waiting for me, still wrapped up and crying out to be decorated!

So here he is. I can't really get any great pictures because of the light, but I can assure you that it looks fantastic, very traditional. And every single decoration that adorns his branches was hand made by myself of Johnny which makes it even more special.

Last time we were up visiting my Mum we painted this in her shop.

I hope that it's a tradition we keep up adding a new one to our collection each year...obviously next year there will be little fingers helping us to paint one!

I also made these little stars from some decopatch...

Johnny made some paper chains...

It's made me a very happy girl, I've never had my own REAL Christmas tree before it smells wonderful and looks fabulous, all the gifts are wrapped and carefully placed under it's branches...I am so very very excited now!

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Last day for US shipping...

Just a quick note to let you know that today is the last day I can accept US orders in the shop and guarantee them in time for Christmas. Because of this I'm offering FREE shipping on all orders in store for today only (that's on all orders, even if you aren't in the US)! I'll refund the amount through paypal.

That's all for now....Happy Tuesday xxx

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Some wonderful things in the post...

I've been such a terrible blogger this week, my unexplained absence is mostly down to attempting to go back to work, but finding it to be so incredibly difficult. The problem is, I'm actually not any better than I was 2 weeks ago, but I want so much to go back, if they can't find out what's wrong with me then I may just feel this way through the whole pregnancy and if that's the case then I definitely can't stay at home the whole time, 2 weeks was sending me insane! But at the same time I make myself so panicked about the prospect of falling over somewhere dangerous that I just make myself feel even worse. To top it all off I developed some kind of eye infection yesterday, my right eye is so swollen I can hardly see out of it!

Anyway....some nice things, whilst spending all that time couped up at home attempting to recover, but not making any progress, I spent quite a lot of time (and money) on internet (well etsy mostly) shopping. Here are some of the lovelies I received...

Some wonderful treats from Belle and Boo,

She's having a 25% off sale on all her prints at the moment and also has some great offers on stocking fillers which is what I went for. The quality of everything is lovely right down to the super beautiful packaging. I want so so much to get a print for the baby's room, but Johnny is convinced they are too girly. I disagree, this is the one I would choose but no still too girly apparently. Hey ho...maybe I'll just have to get some for the craft room, once I get round to actually turning into a craft room from a junk room!

I also purchased these lovely christmas cards from The Black Apple

Again they were so beautifully packaged, and the cards themselves are lovely. They are really big, which is great because I only really tend to send christmas cards to people I don't see very often so lots of room is good to fill them in on lots of news and gossip.

I had so many lovely things arrive for me in the post the last couple of weeks but as most of them are christmas presents and I'm not sure about who does and doesn't read my blog, I must keep them hidden away, for now at least. Which is a massive shame, as I would love to share the names of all the wonderful etsy sellers I have encountered.

Happy Sunday all...I'm going to attempt a full day at work! Wish me luck! xx

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Becoming a Ninja factory...

That's certainly what my front room felt like yesterday as I spread out all my newly purchased supplies and begun making a mammoth amount of ninjas! I even went out in the rain especially to buy those supplies! It was not at all nice...and I'm absolutely certain that cars were deliberately speeding up to go super fast through those many puddles that soaked me from head to toe! I thought people were supposed to be nicer to pregnant women, obviously not me! Anyway it was all worth it as this is what I returned home with...

And here is just some what I produced...

I absolutely adore seeing them all lined up like that! Once they've been photographed they all live on a shelf in our lounge, all the rest of my crafts are neatly put away in boxes, but the ninjas get pride of place on full display until they sell and travel away to distant lands!

Talking of which, got some parcels to pack up. Have a lovely Wednesday xx

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

A Baby Blue Blanket...

As are some pictures of the (still very much in progress) baby blanket I've been knitting. I'm by no means an expert knitter, but I do really enjoy doing it as, a result this blanket will be incredibly simple, but well loved I hope.

I've been using Rowan Milk Cotton, I'm not really sure what inspired someone to make a yarn out of milk protein, but it is so so beautifully soft and light. I think it will make a really lovely summer blanket once it's finished, which is good because the chances of me finishing it before the summer are probably quite slim!

I'll keep you updated on the progress, now I must return to the making of many many more ninjas!!!

Monday, 1 December 2008

Errr...yet more ninjas...

Sorry to be so predictable...I will try to be more varied in the future I promise. But I did make some more ninjas yesterday and these are super special festive ones...with their own candy canes and everything!

I also made some new colourful ones...including a brand new colour altogether...purple!

Otherwise it really was just a lazy Sunday as promised...mostly just knitting. A blanket for the baby, I'll show you pictures tomorrow!

Happy 1st of Dec, I don't have an advent calender but I wish I did! And don't is the last day for...

Buy one, get one FREE in the shop

So pop along today if there was anything you had in mind for Christmas gifts!