Saturday, 31 January 2015

Latest happenings...

A lone rocking chair squeaks on its rockers. The wind rustles through the trees. In the distance a harmonica can be heard playing, its solitary voice haunting in the empty air...

Okay, okay, it may not be quite like that around our place but essentially we haven't been doing much DIY - at least, not any that's interesting. What I have been doing is cooking.

I love cooking (mainly because I love food!) but I feel safest when following a recipe. Here's a quick peak at what I've been making:

 These brownies are 'diet' brownies from my Cook Yourself Thin Quick and Easy. I bought it a few months ago and so far I've loved every single recipe I've tried. Especially the brownies!
 Technically not cooking but I recently received a granola topper from Graze and had no idea what to do with it. Then I had a bright idea that I could sprinkle it over some frozen vanilla yoghurt. So glad I did - it was awesome.
This low-calorie mac 'n' cheese doesn't look so great as leftovers straight out the fridge but the shape did amuse me. 'One lump or two?' I asked SBB - he wasn't so amused. 
 Granola topped fruit pie - a low calorie version of a crumble. I had a pretty serious craving last week so I dug out the recipe and made this little baby. Mixed with more frozen yoghurt it tastes just like the real thing!
This was my dinner last night - fruity curry over baked potato. I think I'm in love...

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

An autumnal walk

I'm a bit late with these but they've been sat in my upload folder for months so I thought I'd better get on with it. I was very impressed that I managed to take these photos with my phone!

 The above couple (the man's in front of his partner in this photo) overtook me on the path - the tall man striding along with purpose and the much shorter woman tottering behind in high-heeled boots - not very practical or comfortable for a country walk! But it did amuse me.

A natural place to store one's pen...

The shapes in the mud amused me. Perhaps childishly so...

Monday, 19 January 2015

Starting to tile

Saturday was a good day and I don't mean in a Klingon way! (waves to fellow Trekkies) We headed into Newport to run a couple of errands and I popped into my favourite charity shop to pick up some more photo frames for the photo wall I'm planning for our living room. I don't know what it is about the charity shops in Newport but only one ever seems to sell a good range of frames.

It also stocks concrete lions - I was so tempted!

Our haul
 The only thing I tend to buy from charity shops is photo frames that I can strip down and redecorate (which reminds me, I need to upload the ones I've already done!) but this time even SBB picked up a couple of things - the copy of Les Miserables and the classical CDs.
I also picked up this:
I actually can't stand Stilton but something about the pot just called to me and I could see it sat on my kitchen window sill.

I also clocked this little baby in the window of Mia in St Thomas' Square. One size £10. Bargain.

I know it's nearing spring and orange is more of an autumn colour but I'm still looking forward to wearing it.
After our little shopping trip we headed over to B&Q to pick out some trim for the tiles in the kitchen. We dabbled for a while with the idea about having a brushed metal edge to match the sockets but in the end decided that it would make the edges too obvious and might make the tiled area look small. The fact that they were also about three times the price swayed us a bit too!
Up at the flat SBB got to work on the tiles while I finished off the painting in the bathroom and worked on the windows in the living room. While I was painting the frames I noticed some of the trim had come loose so I squirted some sealant in that I had to hand and smoothed it down.

Work at the flat will be more of the same for the next few days I think!

Sunday, 18 January 2015

All women need two hairdryers and other rules for life

1. All women need two hairdryers - because your hairdryer will ALWAYS break when you have sopping wet hair and are running late. This means that you will have no time to fully dry your hair under the bathroom heater and then can't straighten it so will have to go to work where your colleagues don't want to mention your hair 'just in case you meant it to look like that'.

2. Typically you will always forget your phone and mp3 player on the day that the internet at work is broken meaning that you will have no music to listen to and won't be able to search for a back-up hairdryer.

3. After a long day when you have no enthusiasm for cooking the Chinese will be closed - despite the fact that you know they were open on the same day the week before.

4. You will have dressed in sweats and a slobby hoodie in the anticipation of running into the takeaway and not taking off your coat. When the takeaway is closed you will then have to sit in another eatery and take off the coat thereby exposing said sloppy outfit.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

A First Christmas cuddly toy

It was my niece's first Christmas this year and I wanted to give her something that would last and that she would hopefully keep forever. From my own experience the soft toys that I've kept from childhood were the ones that were personalised in some way. I was very lucky and my parents had a very creative neighbour who knitted me a rabbit with a yellow dress and white ballerina shoes - I called her Buttercup. Now, I can't knit, so that wasn't an option but a few of the others I still have are ones with added ribbons or clothes made especially for them and that I could do! (Or so I thought)

I started out by buying a cute soft toy on sale from Mothercare and I was lucky that the one I had my eye on went into their (additional) 20% off toys sale so I ended up with a bargain at about £3.99!
I then bought an offcut of material and some ribbon from Hellerslea in Newport. The ribbon bundles were about 60p each and the material - which I think was a sample size - was about £2.

I browsed the web for ideas of designs and decided to try and keep it as simple as possible. I had a rough idea of what I wanted it to look like so I mocked up a paper version and then cut out the pattern from a scrap piece of material.

...There was just one problem. I forgot that the tension from the bobbin is too tight in my sewing machine so it ended up looking like this:
Hmm. Maybe I wouldn't be sewing a dress afterall...
This discovery was only made after about four hours of measuring and mucking up various different paper versions. I'll admit, finally defeated, I shed a few tears. My intended present was ruined. To my mind at least.

I gave up and settled on handsewing the bow and stitching her name onto the foot.

So, not entirely the Christmas gift I'd had planned but it's still a pretty cute present.

Happy New Year

Now that 2014 is coming to an end... What? I'm lagging behind in the post-Christmas-and-New-Year posts? Oh well. Here's a few snaps from over the festive period;

Christmas nails

Christmas Day breakfast - chocolate spread on crumpets. Yum!

Boxing Day dinner

Boxing Day dinner for the bunnies. I resisted the urge to arrange it differently ;)

Leftovers i.e. lunches for the rest of the week!

Somebody got peckish in Sainsburys (Not me!!)

Dinner with the girls