Monday, 29 October 2012

a homemade Christmas...

All images sourced from Pinterest

Now the clocks have gone back and the nights draw in, my mind wanders towards Christmas. This year I have decided to try and make as much as possible, from decorations and gifts, to recipes and cards & wrapping paper. Over the years we have managed to make quite a few things, last years 'grandma's garden' (a decorated box of seeds) and 'grandad's shed' (a decorated box of beer) were quite a triumph! 

I want to make our gifts from foraged materials, 'upcycled' materials I have in my cupboard or if I need to, buy things from the local scrapstore - in order to avoid over packaged plastic toys and mass produced tat. It takes me a long time to make anything nowadays so I need to put my thinking cap on and choose what I can make over the next few weeks. Quite a challenge - non?

These are all the people I will be making for and ultimately need to impress!

9 year old son
6 year old son 
baby son
9 year old god daughter
6 year old god daughter
6 year old boy
4 year old boy
2 year old girl
the chicken! 

So is anyone else up for this homemade challenge? 

Friday, 26 October 2012

pumpkin carving...

We carved our pumpkins today, or rather the boys did.
There is a lot of inspiration online if you need any - we just stick to scary faces!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Bringing Autumn inside...

An Autumn garland of seeds, leaves and cones
New bunting made from pages of The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady from Peony & Thistle
A pile of logs in the basket by the woodburner
& marshmallows in the cupboard ready to toast!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

autumn in the woods...

There is nothing better in the Cotswolds than the glorious autumnal display of the local beech woodlands. The golden leaves are an antidote to grey drizzly days and we fill our flask with hot stew and dumplings to warm us up as we walk. The boys both have Opinel safety knives which they use to take bark off sticks they find, they are a great first knife to learn with. 

Despite it being half term, we didn't see anyone else in the woods, which always surprises me as it's free entertainment! Have you signed up to Project Wild Thing yet? 

Monday, 22 October 2012

turntables and tikka...

We celebrated a rather special birthday this weekend with a party at home. I cooked curry; a chicken tikka, a Jamie Oliver 'Peter's lamb curry' and a really delicious Anjum Anand butternut squash and chickpeas recipe too. I have never cooked curry from scratch before or catered for so many people - the size of the cooking pot was quite daunting!

The 'old man' got his vinyl out and spun some 'old skool' tunes of his youth, whilst the children ran around the house excited to be allowed to stay up late! The boys and I made some personalised viewmasters with his old baby pictures on and their favourite pictures on too, which were fab to pass around the guests for a giggle...

...and I've almost finished tidying up!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

sugar rush...

Every once in a while I have moments when I have to pinch myself in case I am dreaming! Tonight the very lovely Tom Herbert, one half of Channel 4's Fabulous Baker Brothers filmed a scene for the Christmas special at our house. To say we were excited was an understatement, the Baker Brothers series is made by Betty and the crew were all really fab - I do hope they captured what they hoped they would with four VERY excited children all a bit hyperactive after eating too much gingerbread! Thank you Tom, we can't wait to watch at Christmas x

Such a fab inscription in our book!

Monday, 15 October 2012


I'm a complete hoarder, I keep everything! Therefore our house is full of clutter, piles of paperwork, piles of clothes, baskets of toys, fruit, shoes everywhere. I am trying to sort and let go of things that we simply do not need, but it's hard and goes against my squirrel-like nature.

the Farmers' Market...

I love Saturday morning visits to the local Farmers' Market. We buy Days Cottage cider, bunches of flowers, bread and lardy cakes from the Hobbs House stall, cheese and whatever vegetables take our fancy from the stalls piled high! We plan meals in our heads with whatever catches our eye and tonight we have cauliflower cheese and sausages, perfect for nights when friends are brought home to play! I love the meaty/cheesy combination as it reminds me of the Weighbridge Inn, which is famous for its two-in-one pies - half cauliflower cheese and half steak & mushroom with melt-in-your-mouth pastry, delicious. 

Monday, 8 October 2012

an apple a day...

We pressed more apples yesterday, so as a result I spent today learning how to bottle and pasteurize the apple juice, oh and sweating in my kitchen in all the heat! The juice is absolutely delicious, even more so having picked, pressed and pasteurized it ourselves. The baby absolutely loves it - I guess this is what they call 'baby-led' weaning then?

Saturday, 6 October 2012

cheese toasties on cheese roll hill...

Inspired by the recipes in this months 'The Simple Things' magazine, we climbed to the top of Coopers Hill where the annual 'Cheese Roll' takes place, near Gloucester, and ate toasted sandwiches and soup. A fab idea to take a disposable barbecues for nippy autumnal walks, I had never thought to do toasties on them, but they worked a treat! We had ham and gruyere toasted sandwiches, and then I made a butternut squash and leek soup, with a dollop of creme fraiche on top. 

I grew up in the shadow of Coopers Hill, so the annual cheese roll doesn't seem odd to me at all, but in case you haven't heard of this bizarre custom, here's a fab video of this years event...

Thursday, 4 October 2012

38 things to do before I'm 39...

number 31 - have a go on a candy floss machine!

So it's that time again, another year older, and another list of things that I would like to do before my next birthday. Some frivolous and fanciful, others a little more plain and simple;
  1. spend as much of my time outdoors as I spend looking at screens (you should all sign up to Project Wild Thing too!)
  2. own a fair isle jumper
  3. eat at The 25 Mile, Cardigan ✓
  4. make some cardboard box art ✓
  5. go wassailing ✓
  6. wild swim under Welsh waterfalls
  7. grow dark dahlias ✓
  8. make dried apple rings ✓
  9. use my film cameras more ✓
  10. make scratch-off stickers
  11. knit a toy elephant ✓
  12. run a gingerbread house making workshop ✓
  13. take the boys to the Natural History Museum
  14. invent our own hot chocolate blend ✓
  15. enjoy a vintage cocktail party ✓
  16. make personalised tambourines for Christmas gifts for my god-daughters ✓
  17. go to the Circus! ✓
  18. bake a malteser cake ✓
  19. eat at The Ethicurean
  20. go on a 'hopper hunt' to learn about crickets & grasshoppers
  21. try my hand at making halloumi 
  22. practice yoga twice a week ✓ (OK I just about manage once a week!)
  23. organise an outdoor supper party
  24. ride lambrettas for my husbands birthday
  25. make personalised viewmasters ✓
  26. plant and eat lots of vegetables ✓
  27. attend the DO lectures (a girl can dream!)
  28. draw these pictures with the boys
  29. forage for natural materials to make Christmas decorations ✓
  30. go canoeing on the River Wye
  31. have a go on a candy floss machine - I think they're magical!
  32. do some lino printing ✓
  33. have a bonfire party
  34. rent a cherry tree
  35. get a new hairdo
  36. make chocolate teacakes
  37. host an outdoor cinema night
  38. learn how to blet medlars ✓
here's previous years 37 things, 36 things, 35 things and 34 things, which all need finishing!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

rise and shine...

The first frosts of the year bring with them the best photography opportunities. So if it's a morning where you can see your breath - get up at first light, pull on your thick socks and don't forget to take a flask of hot coffee!
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