Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Just a quick one

Just a quick blog to let you know that my sister in law and I will be on the TV show Pointless this week on Thursday and Friday at 4.30pm on BBC2. If you aren’t fortunate enough to be home at this time then you can catch it on iplayer or set your Sky +.

Brooke and I are both quite worried that we will appear so embarrassing that we may die, but you can judge for yourself tomorrow and Friday!

Since we’re moving in the next week or so I’ve been making lots of cakes under the pretence that I need to use up ingredients. However this usually means that to use these ingredients I have to go out and by a couple more to make up the desired recipe, so I’m not sure if that’s really working the way it was intended.

I made some lime cupcakes and a spiced loaf cake with the left over lime cream topping. I didn’t think the lime cakes tasted very limey but apparently they were still good. I mean how wrong can you go with sugar, flour and eggs?

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Olympia - Not quite

This weekend I went to the Stitch and Craft show at Olympia. I didn’t have high hopes for the show as I’d been a few years ago and it was underwhelming. Sadly this year it had not redeemed itself as I’d hoped. I’m not sure if it’s the venue doing the talking but the atmosphere of the show is less of excitement and more of being cramped. The yarn section was down in the dungeon or downstairs as I’m sure most people would say and this made it feel as if the knitting section of the show was a bit of an afterthought rather than the glowing attraction that I feel it should be.

There couldn’t have been more than 20 stalls and there was only one that was new to inspire me. Hoopla yarn takes the long thin off-cuts from industrial fabric reams and makes them into unique fabric yarns. This is part of the new craze of upcycling which Hoopla defines as 'the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value'. The yarn is beautiful and best used for projects needing structure such as bags, cushions, footstools, slippers and decorative crochet items. My friend Sarah bought a gorgeous cone of flower print yarn for just £5 which was bargainous to say the least.

Of the few stalls available the majority of them were regulars of the other big knitting shows of the year and so didn’t excite me into spending. The student exhibition pieces were interesting as always and I had to take a picture of this lovely knitted statue. The work that went into knitting the feathers on the wings was amazing.

The Milla Mia stand was showcasing its latest designs for a new book coming out very soon. The latest collection boasts their trademark cute dresses and cardigans for girls and there were lots of lovely cables for boys all in their delicious popping-out-at-you colour pallet. While I was chatting with the owners they told me that one of their knitted up designs had been stolen from the show. It completely flabbergasted me that the sort of person that goes to a craft show would steal such a thing from one of the stalls. The cheek!

Although disappointed by the show Sarah and I did have a lovely day. It was gorgeously sunny outside and we took a walk to Westfield to wander around the shops. It was nice to get out and about without having lots of errands to run or a strict time to get back for, which made for a lovely relaxing Saturday.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Packed Lunch

It’s my second week back at work and this is what I’ve got for my packed lunch today.
It consists of an apple, mini homemade scone provided by Mother of Purl (my Mum) and a sandwich bag of yarn and needles. Yum! Don’t worry I’ve not started to eat yarn for lunch, or developed a strange eating disorder, I’m meeting a friend for a spot of lunch and knitting.

The crazy times are starting to calm a little as Flo’s birthday went off without a hitch, I’m back at work and the workshop at the Creative Biscuit was lots of fun! I’ve been invited back to run an Intermediate workshop in April which I’m really looking forward to. The cafe is also running lots of other nice workshops in April so their facebook page is well worth a look . But don’t forget that they are now open for all your general tea, coffee and cake needs too, so be sure to pop in for a delicious cuppa and slice of carrot cake next time you’re in the neighbourhood.

Our house moving is imminent so I’ve started packing up my yarn stash :-(
My mum found some vacuum storage bags in the pound shop in Stratford so I’ve sucked down my stash to a reasonable size so far. The pattern books, magazines, needles and notions are starting to look like they’re taking over the flat though, so time to get packing them away too. It all feels a bit sad!

Finally I just want to share with you the totally scrumptious crumble I made this weekend. I had a couple of bags of plums in my freezer left over from the Autumn when my parents garden suddenly over flows with gorgeous fruits. As we’re trying to run the freezer down before the move I decided that they needed to be used and as always Nigella came to the rescue! From How to Be a Domestic Goddess her Plum and Pecan Crumble was delicious and was enjoyed after a family dinner this weekend. I shall definitely come back to this recipe again!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

A Royal Yarn

The lovely people at Fyberspates have come up with a Royal Wedding commemoration with a twist. Instead of the royal couple’s faces on a plate, cup or even old school ash tray you can now get your own limited edition Royal Wedding yarn. Dyed in a gorgeous sapphire colour to match the engagement ring the hank of lace yarn comes in a special presentation box with a certificate. I love the idea of this and that there will soon be a pattern to compliment the yarn so you can swan about like a newly made princess. What, what? Summon the butler!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Cake Crisis Averted

It was Flo’s first birthday last week and we had an amazing time with the smiley girl who really loved all the attention and presents; she’s just like her mother.

I decided to make her a cake in the shape of a big number 1 which didn’t go exactly to plan. The recipe/ construction idea came from an old Children’s party cake book my Mum has had since the 80’s from Australian Women’s Weekly. I have no idea why she has an Australian cake book but it seems that a few other people know of this book’s amazing novelty cakes so it must have been very popular at the time. When I was growing up this was the holy grail of cake books and each year I would help my Mum pick one out for my birthday and watch as she made the sugary magic happen. So I was very excited to be able to borrow the book for Flo’s very first birthday cake.

The book suggests you use two loaf tins measuring 10x3inches. My loaf tins were no where near this long and thin, so I made the crazy decision of using a roasting tin to make a huge sponge that I would then cut up to make the various shapes needed for the number 1 cake. Oh, how wrong I was. Not only was there not enough cake mix to make a suitably tall enough cake but the shaped base of the roasting tin meant that the mixture stuck and so when I turned it out this happened:

Thankfully I made this fatal cake error the night before Flo’s party and so has time to quickly ran out and buy some loaf tins and ingredients to re-bake the cake. I had to make do with the normal size of loaf tin and do a bit of a dodgy cutting job to get it to look like a number 1 but once covered in icing and loads of Smarties it turned out to look really good. Phew!

Cake crisis aside this past year has been a real whirlwind for our little family. Flo’s arrival into the world was not what we had hoped when we thought of the birth of our first baby. There were no balloons, presents, congratulations or happy tears and so I’m so glad that her first birthday was all of those things that we missed and more. Our friends and family were finally all able to get together over our little girl and welcome her into the world properly and for this I am so grateful. Happy Birthday Florence and here’s to many more.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011


The lovely Moss Stitch has given me an award! I feel so honoured!

The Liebster blog award is given to blogs with a small number of followers, I guess in order to promote these blogs and get more support for them; the word translates as 'dearest' in German. Once you receive the Liebster award you get to pass it on to several other blogs with less than 300 followers. These are the blogs that I consider to be worthy of such a lovely award:

Keston Kitchen is a great foodie blog, with reviews and recipes that will make you hungry, so beware!

Purl Alpaca Designs is the blog from the knitting kit specialist. I love their designs so like to keep an eye on what they're up to.

Handmade Lives is written by Dixie Nichols of Nichols Buttons. It's all about fabulous crafty people.

Coconutboots is a film and book review blog from one of my good friends.

Congratulations guys!