Saturday 31 August 2013

August 2013 in pictures

This photo round-up is inspired by Sue at The Quince Tree, who puts together beautiful monthly photo samplers.  I wanted to show off my favourite photos of the month, and hopefully as time wears on my skills will improve!

We've had an amazing August...roll on September!

Friday 30 August 2013

Friday Favourites

Happy Friday, everyone!

It's almost the end of the summer holidays; just a few more days to go.  We've had a brilliant summer, but I've reached the point where I am positively craving peace and quiet.

I've labelled all of Lucas's new (and bigger) school uniform and everything is neatly in his drawers.  I've unearthed his PE kit and made sure everything's tucked away again and emptied his book bag of all the miscellaneous bits of paper he came home with.  I've even tracked down some tiny money envelopes for lunch money--Tesco basics, if you're having trouble finding any, too--and I am totally ready for him to go back to school.  He, on the other hand, has decided that I am awesome--I concur, naturally--and wants to stay at home with me forever and ever.  Yeah...

I'll be the Mummy turning cartwheels on Tuesday morning at 0845.

Anyway, let's crack on with the favourites!

Favourite Lego Concept: The Discworld

(c) GlenBricker 
Did you know that LEGO allows members of the public to submit concept ideas?  I had no idea until very recently.  You can submit all sorts of weird and wonderful ideas and ask people to support your concept--which is free, I should add--and once you get to 10k support clicks, LEGO will review your concept idea and you may find your LEGO concept on the shelves!

I had a quick flick through some of the ideas, but what really excited me was seeing The Discworld, complete with the elephants and Great A'Tuin, the great star turtle, immortalised in LEGO.

I'm a big fan of Terry Pratchett's Discworld books.  So much so, that I even used to code for the (highly unofficial) Discworld MUD.  (For the non-geeky folks, a text-based online multi-player game.  Very addictive.)

I've registered and clicked to show my support.  You should, too!  And remember...the turtle moves.

Favourite Recipe: Pumpkin Pasties

(c) The Geeky Chef

The Geeky Chef has a blog concept that I really, really wish I'd come up with myself.  I'm always salivating over descriptions of food in books, and recreating the recipes then blogging the results just seems so much fun!

Their first posted recipe was for Butterbeer, from the Harry Potter books, but what really piqued my interest was the recipe for Pumpkin Pasties from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

Shortly after Harry meets Ron for the first time on the Hogwarts Express an old witch comes around with a tea trolley.  "Anything off the trolley, dearies?" she asks them.
He had never had any money for sweets with the Dursley’s, and now that he had pockets rattling with gold and silver he was ready to buy as many Mars Bars as he could carry – but the woman didn’t have Mars Bars.  What she did have were Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, Drooble’s Best Blowing Gum, Chocolate Frogs, Pumpkin Pasties, Cauldron Cakes, Licorice Wands, and a number of other strange things Harry had never seen in his life.  Not wanting to miss anything, he got some of everything and paid the woman eleven silver Sickles and seven bronze Knuts. 
Ron stared as Harry brought it all back in to the compartment and tipped it onto an empty seat.
“Hungry, are you?”

“Starving,” said Harry, taking a large bite out of a pumpkin pasty. 

We had intended to take Lucas to the Harry Potter Studio Tour over the summer holidays, but it seems like every other parent had the same idea, so we've shelved it until half-term or maybe Easter.  However, I'm planning to bake up a few themed treats--these pumpkin pasties will be top of my list--serve some butterbeer and watch the first couple of films with him on a Sunday afternoon.

Favourite Blog Tip: Reduce spam by encoding your email address

Every good blog needs a Contact Page, but then you have the prospect of email spam to look forward to (as well as wonderful emails from your readers, of course).  One way of getting around this is to split up your email address with a big [AT] in the middle, but an even slicker way is to encode it so that the basic spider programs used by spammers can't collect it.  It still looks like an email address and you can still click right on it and send an's just safer from a spam perspective.

Dana over at Wonder Forest posts awesome blog tips--her eBook "Blog Wonderful" is pretty damn good, too--and while wading through her tip archive I came across an article on how to encode your email address to reduce spam.   Here's how to do it.  It takes less than five minutes, less than two if you don't get distracted by a cake...

What are your favourites from the last 7 days? Share them below, I'd love to see them!

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday 28 August 2013

Fabulous homemade granola

When we were approaching the bottom of our latest bag of strawberry granola, Lucas asked me, "What is granola actually made from?"  After I explained he cocked his head to one side, thinking for a moment, then asked, "So why do we buy it, then?"

That, dear reader, was a bloody good question.

My first encounter with the crunchy deliciousness of granola was in Denver, when I was on a school trip.  My host-mother offered me a bowl of still slightly-warm crunchy awesome, strong with cinnamon and honey.  I was hooked.  I'm ashamed to say that I munched my way through most of that batch and had to help make a second for everyone else!

If you google, you'll find hundreds of variations on granola.  Sweetened with brown sugar, maple, honey, agave, fruit concentrates, apple sauce...stuffed full of nuts, or nut-free...spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, or mellow with vanilla...tropical with flakes of coconut and mango, or traditional with big juicy raisins.  There are a plethora of flavour combinations!

My choice of base recipe was heavily influenced by what was in the fridge and the cupboards; I also didn't want to stuff it full of sugar.  We started off with this recipe from Delicious Magazine mainly because it used apple juice (as well as maple syrup) and hemp seeds, both of which I had lurking in the fridge.  I avoid sesame seeds like the plague since their sole purpose in life is to get stuck in teeth, so used flaked almonds instead.

Lucas really wanted to replicate the strawberry granola that he usually eats, and was quite sad when I said that we couldn't just use strawberries from the fridge.  I rummaged around in the back of the larder and came up with half a bag of posh dried strawberries that I snipped up and added to the other dried fruit that we found in the cupboard.  (I do note that Sainsbury's now sell small tubes of freeze-dried strawberries, but with a hefty price tag.)

The granola turned out incredibly well, so well that Lucas said that he wanted to start selling it to his friends!  My little entrepreneur.  I've been enjoying its crunchy goodness with a big dollop of Greek yoghurt and fresh sliced strawberries, but Lucas and Dave are traditionalists and have it with milk.  Any way you choose to eat it, this granola is fabulous!

Lucas's Granola
adapted from Delicious Magazine

  • 2 TBSP light olive oil
  • 150ml apple juice
  • 100ml maple syrup
  • 1t vanilla extract
  • 350g rolled oats
  • 100g oat bran
  • 50g sunflower seeds
  • 50g pumpkin seeds
  • 50g flaked almonds
  • 30g golden linseeds
  • 30g shelled hemp seeds (pale beige in colour, not black)
  • 200g dried fruit (we used 50g dried strawberries, 50g dried apricots, 50g jumbo flame raisins, and 50g sultanas. Snip any large pieces of strawberries or apricots with kitchen scissors.)
Preheat the oven to 160C (140C for a fan oven).  Line two large, rimmed, baking sheets with baking parchment and set aside.

Gently warm the olive oil, apple juice, maple syrup and vanilla extract together in a small pan.  Add a pinch of salt and stir well to combine.  (You just want the mixture to be warm, not boiling.)

Mix the oats, bran, seeds and almonds together in a big bowl.  Pour over the warmed apple-maple mixture and mix together very well.  Everything needs to be coated and dampened.

Spread the mixture out on the two trays. Bake for 45 minutes, turning and breaking up clumps every 10 minutes.  You'll also want to swap the trays around between the top and middle shelf halfway through so that they brown evenly. When there's 15 minutes left to go, stir in the dried fruit and return to the oven.

Allow to cool on the tray, stirring every so often.  It will get crunchier as it cools.  When cool store in an airtight jar for up to two weeks.

Tuesday 27 August 2013

Dinner for two at Brasserie Blanc

"Lancelot" Gromit in Quakers Friars, opposite our table
When you have a child, a romantic dinner for two is something to cherish.  Frankly, it's as rare as hens teeth.  I love Lucas dearly, but it's a fact that any meal involving him will involve some sort of fuss about something.  So when Lucas was invited to sleepover at Nanny and Granddad's last night, Dave seized the opportunity to invite me out for dinner.

After a quick stroll round Cabot Circus and Quakers Friars, we settled on Brasserie Blanc as we'd been meaning to eat there for a while.  Since it was a gorgeous evening, we opted to sit outside and enjoy the blue skies and sunshine.  There was a fair bit of reminiscing, too.  Brasserie Blanc is situated in what was once the Registrar's Office, and I vividly remember going there to meet with a Registrar before we got married.  Good times...

We shared an appetiser plate of saffron garlic mayonnaise, tapenade, olive oil with balsamic vinegar and slices of baguette for dipping.  My favourite was the saffron garlic mayonnaise which was incredibly rich with a soft hint of garlic rather than the big hit you usually get from aioli.  I would have liked the tapenade more if it was a little looser, as it stubbornly refused to cling to the bread when I dipped.

For my main course, I went for a simple, yet delicious beef stroganoff with fluffy-as-a-cloud rice.  I've never seen such wafer-thin mushrooms.  The beef was seriously tender and full of excellent beefy flavour.  On first glance the portion size looked a little small but it was pretty much perfect in the end.

Dave opted for the Blanc Burger, a brioche bun, with a coarsely ground beef burger, Comte cheese and some pickles.  Look at the gloss on the brioche!  Isn't it amazing?  Glossy as the bun was, Dave said it wasn't quite as buttery as it should have been, but the burger was still excellent nonetheless.

I can honestly say that we've never chosen dessert so swiftly before.  As soon as I saw Baked Alaska on the dessert menu, I turned to Dave and wiggled my eyebrows meaningfully.  "Yeah, go on then," he said.  I love my husband.

For years I used to make a gloriously and absolutely gluttonously huge Baked Alaska for Dave's birthday, before I progressed into ridiculously elaborate cakes.  So it felt so decadent to have someone else prepare one of our favourite desserts for me.

Sadly, since we were sitting outside, it was too bright to see the flames licking at the meringue, but I could feel the heat and smell the Grand Mariner sizzle, so it was all good.

Ohmygod this was amazing!  Our waitress was absolutely thrilled that we'd ordered it and practically bounced off to place our order after telling us that it was, "the best dessert ever."  I'd have to say that it was "the best Baked Alaska ever" as I have very, very fond memories of an exquisite bowl of chocolate mousse in Venice and pistachio semifreddo at Le Manoir.

The Grand Mariner soaked beautifully into the sponge and really complemented the vanilla ice-cream in the centre of the Alaska.  Orange and vanilla is a fantastic combination and with the small sweet bite of the liqueur it was a fantastic dessert!

It was a lovely night out; relaxed, comfortable and sweet.  I would certainly go back again for a quiet dinner for two.


Sunday 25 August 2013

Street art around Bristol

Superhero Mural
Superhero Mural from "See No Evil" 2012, taken by Dave earlier this year
Street (or urban) art has really exploded in Bristol over the last few years.  The Banksy Effect seems to have legitimised it as a form of art--I remember immense queues of people snaking around outside the City Museum when the Banksy Exhibition was on--and now there are pieces of art springing up everywhere replacing gang tags and regular old graffiti.

As we've been Gromit hunting and venturing into new places in the city, or just places we haven't been to for ages, I've spotted cool bits of art that have had me hauling out my phone to snap a quick picture.  I love finding unexpected pops of colour and clever designs in strange places.

I was certainly surprised to see hot air balloons inside the car park on Trenchard Street!  There seems to be a different theme on each floor, which is a very cool way of remembering what level you've parked on.

Hot air balloon art in Trenchard Street car park
In 2011 and 2012, we had the "See No Evil" event on Nelson Street in the city centre, which was aimed at rejuvenating a dilapidated area via paint.  It certainly achieved that aim, and whenever I walk down Nelson Street there are always people taking photographs, so I suspect it's brought a bit of tourism into the city, too!

This is my favourite piece from "See No Evil" 2011. I was so sad when it was grayed out and painted over for the 2012 show.  The tromp l'oeil effect of the vines wrapping around the pillars was stunning.  It's so different to the other art on the street...calm and tranquil colours.  I'm glad that I've got a photo to remember it by.

"See No Evil", 2011. Photo taken by Dave


Another one that's gone (and replaced!)  I love the gum ball machine!


This futuristic-yet-mediaeval knight is very cool, too!  Great colours.

Also on Nelson Street there is a lovely little Dalek stencil tucked away in a doorway which Lucas adores, and in the archways of the old city wall, beside the church of St John on the Wall, there are lovely commissioned murals of sea monsters, ships and Neptune.

On our way to Millennium Square on Friday, I walked past this fantastic four-part mural beside Tesco Express.  I must have walked past it loads of times without really seeing it.  This time, I stopped and snapped a few photos.  The giant squid has really, really long tentacles!

Lucas spotted this fantastic Optimus Prime in Stokes Croft as we were driving past.  (I'm quite proud of my drive-by photography on this one!)

One day we're going to go for a walk around Stokes Croft and have fun looking at all the different bits of art work brightening up the place.

And finally, no post on Bristol street art would be complete without a Banksy, so here's the one at the foot of Park Street from a slightly unusual angle.  (Lucas was most scandalised by the 'nudey man'!)


Saturday 24 August 2013

A big apple from my little apple tree

Lucas has just come in from the garden with a huge rosy apple clutched in his hands, freshly picked from my little apple tree!  It's the first apple ever picked from the tree.

Once I stopped squeaking with excitement, I went down to the bottom of the garden and had a look at the tree for myself. 

There are about 20 apples on the tree at the moment, plenty on each of the three different main branches of the tree.  (It's a "family" apple tree, with two different eating varieties grafted on to the original tree.  I wish I could remember what each of the varieties are, but it's been ages since it was planted.)

We're going to give it another couple of weeks and then start picking. I'm so proud of my little apple tree!

Friday 23 August 2013

Friday Favourites

Happy Friday!

A bit late today, but we spent all morning roaming across Bristol en masse with Lucas's friends Gromit hunting!  Five miles later and Lucas still had energy to spare.  I, on the other hand, had a rather nice nap this afternoon!

Family Favourite: Lucas riding his bicycle!

Lucas has been doing really well with riding his bicycle of late.  We've been using the 'Scoot-Wheeeee-Balance' method and he seems to have mastered it.  Today, Dave bolted the pedals back on to his bike and on his very first attempt Lucas pedalled a quarter of the way round the park!

Lucas rides a bicycle now.  Bicycles are cool.

Favourite Museum: The M-Shed

The Bristol dinosaur in the M-Shed. Fantastic mural!

We love going to the M-Shed, even more now that it is home to two fabulous Gromits.  It's such a fabulously interactive museum, a great place if you have a kid who claims that museums are boring.  The M-Shed is dedicated to the history of Bristol and bringing it to life through interactive history--objects, interviews, letters--and it is always adding to its collections.

My favourite part of the M-Shed is the Bristol dinosaur mural up on the second floor, beside the National Treasure Gromit.  I've tried for ages to get a decent picture of him and today the light was gorgeous and I got lucky!  I just think he's so clever and wonderfully executed.

Favourite DIY: The Lucky Penny Vase

Penny Vase (c) Vone Inspired

I have always dreamed of covering my bathroom floor in pennies.  I'm sure you've seen pictures on Pinterest of people covering their floors in grout and painstakingly laying out shiny pennies in a perfect pattern... Dave, sadly, isn't so keen.  Something about 'resale value of house' and 'impractical'.  I was too busy pouting to pay attention.

However!  This gorgeous Lucky Penny Vase from Vone Inspired sates my desire for creating beautiful penny art without creating an unhappy husband.  I've got a vase in mind, too, and a spot to put it in...

Favourite Notebook: Handmade Copper Journal

This was a Christmas present from Lucas a few years ago.  He (with Dave's help) picked it up for me at a comic convention in Birmingham.  The artist, Phoenix Copper Art, makes a variety of geeky journals, notebooks, and anything else you can think of that would look funky with copper beautifying it.  There are a variety of pre-made designs or you can commission your own at very reasonable prices.

My journal features Daleks and Spitfires from The Victory of the Daleks on the front and has a very good Eleventh Doctor and Amy Pond on the rear cover.  The paper is gorgeously thick and each page has a faint border of Daleks or the Seal of Rassilon.

I don't keep the innermost secrets of time and space in my journal, but I do use it for blog post ideas!


Wednesday 21 August 2013

Trerice House, near Newquay

There were very few sunny days when we were on holiday in Cornwall this year.  Luck was with us on one day, however, and we were able to enjoy Trerice House in the sunshine!

After a morning of looking at classic aircraft at Classic Air Force in Newquay--the boys loved it, I loved the fudge I bought in their gift shop--we looked around for a pretty picnic spot and happened upon Trerice House in the National Trust guide book.

Trerice is a small Elizabethan manor house near Newquay owned by the National Trust. It's much smaller than the other National Trust properties in Cornwall, which makes it perfect for a picnic and a short visit between other sightseeing adventures.

While searching for a picnic spot, a lovely blue flower caught my eye: Monkshood. Admittedly the large warning sign probably had something to do with that and also, we'd just reached this part in the audio book of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone:
“What is the difference, Potter, between monkshood and wolfsbane?"

At this, Hermione stood up, her hand stretching towards the dungeon ceiling.

"I don't know," said Harry quietly. "I think Hermione does, though, why don't you try asking her?"

A few people laughed; Harry caught sight of Seamus's eye and Seamus winked. Snape, however, was not pleased.

"Sit down," he snapped at Hermione. "For your information, Potter, asphodel and wormwood make a sleeping potion so powerful it is known as the Draught of Living Death. A bezoar is a stone taken from the stomach of a goat and it will save you from most poisons. As for monkshood and wolfsbane, they are the same plant, which also goes by the name of aconite. Well? Why aren't you all copying that down?"

There was a sudden rummaging for quills and parchment. Over the noise, Snape said, "And a point will be taken from Gryffindor house for your cheek, Potter.”
Monkshood aka Aconite aka Wolfsbane
There's only one word for this sort of thing--serendipity!  Monkshood (or Wolfsbane, as my Teen Wolf loving self will always think of it) is rather pretty.  I imagine that lots of people, as ignorant of flora as myself, would have picked themselves a pretty posy of poison in woodlands over the years.

There were lots of benches dotted around the gardens and we took advantage of one under a shady tree, overlooking the children's maze and the old servant's cottages, to picnic upon before having a proper look around the gardens.

The lovely view from our picnic spot
The children's maze; easy enough for me!
After packing up our picnic lunch, we spent a while exploring the wonders of the Tudor vegetable garden.  I've never seen such beautifully planted veggies before--this is the sort of vegetable garden that I dream of!  There were a few flowers and herbs blended in, but mostly it was just rare and unusual vegetables in gorgeous raised beds, all kept safe from rabbits and escaped cows with a woven willow fence.

The Tudor vegetable garden
The Tudor vegetable garden, Purple Kale, Rainbow Chard
We also walked through the remains of the old orchard.  Lucas waited under an apple tree for inspiration (or gravity) to hit him.

The functional, yet pretty, theme of the gardens included globe artichokes growing in the borders!

From there we wandered into the house and took a self-guided tour.  Unfortunately photographs were only allowed within the Great Hall, so I can't show you the fabulous paintings in the Long Gallery--I stopped to gaze at the stunning portrait of Elizabeth I for several minutes--or the amazingly intricate tapestries which lined the walls.  I hope that one day people look at my small cross stitching efforts and marvel at them in the same way...

We did snap a few photos of Lucas trying on a helm in three stages in the Great Hall.  Now that he's had a taste of chainmail and armour, he's less keen on becoming a knight when he grows up!

Elizabethan pots in the Great Hall
Afterwards we headed off for a drive down the Atlantic Highway, to Porth Chapel beach for one of their legendary Hedgehog Ice Creams.  But that is another story...

Kestle Mill
near Newquay

Tel.: 01637 875404

Monday 19 August 2013

"Whistle While You Work" cross stitch update

My "Whistle While You Work" cushion has come along nicely over the last couple of weeks since I last showed you a progress photograph.  I'm still loving working on this piece, despite the slight monotony of the border.  I won't deny that it looks great, but there's a lot of it!

Lucas has been out having fun with his cousins this morning, so I have managed to get a lot of stitching done.  You can just see the beginnings of the gold scissors peeking out in the top left of the photograph and soon a smaller bird will be joining them to balance out the piece.

I've been using these fun and colourful parts to "reward" myself for finishing each of the hearts in the border. I can't be the only stitcher who does this, surely?

I'm trying hard not to think ahead to the next project, but I did stumble across this rather nice "Home" cross stitch piece--love the bunting!--that would look great in the hallway...


Saturday 17 August 2013

Afternoon Tea at Cox & Baloney

Cox & Baloney tearoom, Bristol

Did you know that it is National Afternoon Tea Week?

While I'm not one for "Hallmark" or made-up celebrations, I feel that I can get fully behind NATW!  Afternoon tea is a great British tradition that everyone should experience properly at least once in their lifetime.  Plus, y'

We decided to join in with the celebrations and I played the part of Research Girl and waded through tons of reviews on Trip Advisor and blogs before discovering Cox & Baloney.  I was immediately enchanted by the idea of stepping back in time a little and having a very vintage afternoon tea.  While there aren't many vintage pieces in our house, I love vintage fashion and beautifully patterned tea sets.

As soon as we walked into Cox & Baloney, Dave said, "This is very you," and it was.  Vintage treasures beautifully arranged, dresses on old-fashioned mannequins and old books with gorgeously painted jackets.  The tearoom is equally gorgeous, with artfully mismatched fine bone china place settings, bone-handled cutlery, and I spotted lovely new treasures to admire every time I looked.  There's a selection of squashy armchairs, couches and tables to choose from.

Chalkboard tea menu, Singer sewing machine, jars of loose tea, vintage cutlery at Cox & Baloney
Chalkboard tea menu, jars of tea blends, a Singer sewing machine & vintage cutlery
As I'd called ahead to reserve a table we settled down at our pretty chintz-covered table and perused the menu handed to us by our waitress who was very helpful.

Vintage teapot at Cox & Baloney, Bristol

We chose Lillie's Afternoon Tea and after perusing the tea menu settled on a pot of "Mr Darcy" tea--an English breakfast tea--to accompany our meal.  I'm not much of a tea drinker, but this loose leaf tea was a total revelation!  As the pot arrived, complete with a tea strainer, Dave started smiling.  He said that he hadn't had proper tea like this since he was little at his Nan's house.  The nostalgia was beginning to hit him...

As we sipped our tea I watched our meal being prepared in the little kitchen within the tearoom.  (Delightfully vintage, too.)  It was so nice to know that the sandwiches were freshly made rather than hanging around all day with curly edges.

Afternoon tea at Cox & Baloney, Bristol

Our fully-laden cake stand arrived with an air of ceremony and we all took a few moments to appreciate (and take photographs) before we dived in and started divvying up the sandwiches.

The sandwiches were generously filled.  I particularly liked the Cheddar cheese & apple chutney while Dave favoured the subtle bite of the ham & mustard.  Our selection of cakes included lavender, lemon and poppyseed, a slightly boozy strawberry jam sandwich which we'd given to Lucas, whoops!  And one which Dave had, whose flavour I can't remember.

Lavender cake at Cox & Baloney, Bristol

Of particular note was the Lavender Cake,  the crumb of which was delicately flecked by little purple lavender heads with more sprinkled on top over it's twin-toned purple and lilac glacĂ© icing.  I really liked this cake but I appreciate that it may be a little bit Marmite-esque.  You'll either love it, or hate it.

The scones were lovely and fresh and while not as deliciously buttery as those at Docton Mill, they were rather tasty and stuffed full of plump raisins,.  (If you fall in love with their homemade jam, there is a sign by the door which says (roughly) "Bring your jam jar, and we'll fill it up for you."  I can't remember exactly how much it was, but if I'm ever in the area with an empty jam jar--stranger things have happened--I'll take them up on it.)

Record player at Cox & Baloney, Bristol
Beautiful old-fashioned record player, with bonus bunting
Ragtime music on an old record player accompanied our meal which added to the old-time nostalgia that we were happily wallowing in.

We had a fantastic time at Cox & Baloney and felt that £21 for an afternoon tea for two was great value.  (They didn't mind Lucas sharing with us, which was great as he wasn't overly hungry even in the face of cake.  Kids are weird.)  The atmosphere was perfect, evoking the England of years gone by, and so relaxed and comfortable.  We will definitely be back!

As we left I spotted some most unusual bunting.  Vintage knickers!  Love it xx

Bunting at Cox & Baloney

National Afternoon Tea Week (as devised by runs from 12th-18th August 2013, so if you want to celebrate, too, you've still got another day to squeeze in a sweet treat.  And of course, afternoon tea is a splendid idea on any day of the year!

Cox & Baloney
182 & 184 Cheltenham Road

Tel.: 0117 944 3100


Friday 16 August 2013

Friday Favourites

Happy Friday everyone!  I am thrilled that the weekend is here again, even though it promises to be a busy one.  Everything just seems more fun on a weekend, even in the school holidays!  Here are a few of my favourite finds this week...

Favourite Crafting Project: Felt Tooth Fairy Pillow Tutorial

Image (c) Buggy and Buddy, used with permission

Lucas is going through a very profitable wobbly tooth period.  The Tooth Fairy is exceedingly generous in our house and he gets a shiny £2 coin per tooth.  He's got two wobblers at the moment which is what set me looking for extra Tooth Fairy ideas.  This gorgeous tooth-shaped pillow is by Chelsey at Buggy and Buddy  It's beautifully simple to make by hand; I might have to have a go!

Favourite Book: Boutique Baking by Peggy Porschen

The most beautiful baking book

This was an impulse buy as a cheery-uppy present to myself.  (I've had bronchitis for the last couple of weeks and I'm just not bouncing back.)  I've had my eye on this Peggy Porschen book for a while and since it was reduced to £5.99, it would have been rude not to buy it!

This is a very chic book, with the gorgeous cover art setting the tone for the rest of the book.  The recipes range from sweet tea-time treats (I am eyeing up the Chocolate Crunch Cake with Marshmallows and Pistachios), through a variety of iced biscuits, layer cakes, classic cakes (look at the gorgeous Raspberry and Rose Dome Cake in the picture above), and drinks. At the very end of the book there is a rather good techniques section.  There is a delight on absolutely every page, so I'm loving dipping into it at random and ooh-ing and ahh-ing over everything!  It won't be long before I bake something...

Favourite list: 100 Chapter Books You MUST Read To Your Children

Talking of books... I love this list of (mostly) classic books to read to/with your children!  I grew up with my nose buried in a book--I remember being a proud member of the Bookworm club--and the majority of the books listed garnered a nostalgic smile as I scrolled past.

To this list I would add:
  • The Faraway Tree Stories by Enid Blyton
  • The Worst Witch series by Jill Murphy
  • The Mrs Pepperpot Stories by Alf Proysen
  • Anything by Diana Wynne Jones 

Favourite Upcoming Game: The Wolf Among Us

A teaser trailer has just been released for a game based on my favourite comic book series of all time--Fables.  (Did I mention that I'm a bit of a geek?)  If you haven't read Fables, it's essentially Once Upon A Time but awesome, and it pre-dates the TV show by years.  (Fables was optioned and a pilot was in the works when everything went quiet and oh-so-coincidentally, Once Upon A Time popped up from the same network...)

Anyway, The Wolf Among Us looks awesome.  It stars Bigby Wolf, the Sheriff of Fabletown (also known as the big, bad wolf of fairytale fame) and it looks like it's going to be a classic whodunnit.  I'm really looking forward to this, especially the fun of spotting lesser-known Fables lurking in the background.

What's your favourite this week?

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