Monthly Archives: February 2013

Magic Moments – 8/52

This week seems to have been full of light and colour, probably helped by plenty blue skies. As the germs were banished we grabbed the opportunity to get out there and make the most of the February sun. So here’s what I was enjoying last week:

image

Ah, the sight of freshly laundered towels blowing on the line. Makes my heart sing! I told you before about my new toy, my tumble drier (here), but nothing beats hanging things outside to dry.

image

Beautiful fabrics brightening my day. These were purchased to cover the cupboards in my new classroom and are now bringing a bit of colour into the room and making it feel more my own.

image

A touch of decadence with a box of Indian sweets. I limited myself to two days in school over half-term to try and get my new classroom straight and my lovely mother came in to help. Afterwards we went to purchase the fabric above. Whilst there we popped into the shop next door and she treated us to a selection of barfi. Made from sugar and condensed milk these are pure indulgence!

image

Finally, a chilly picnic on a family day out to Wightwick Manor. Choc full of exquisite Pre-Raphaelite and Arts and Craft pieces this mock Tudor house was a fascinating place to visit. We shall definitely have to go again when the gardens are in full bloom and the light does the facade justice. Relaxing and enjoying each other’s company, we had a wonderful time.

image

4 Comments

Filed under Magic Moments, Trips and outings

Magic Moments – 7/52

https://rosyhill.wordpress.com/

Hello! How are you? Health seems to have returned to the household and I am glad to report that we are all back in good spirits. Unfortunately the sickiness meant that I just wanted to curl up and hide away so this post is obviously rather late – I am only just squeezing it in before next week’s magic moments are due! – but I am determined to keep up the challenge all year. So here are my happy moments for week 7:

image

Ah, blue skies, how happy have I been to see the return of the sun this week. My lovely sister, Isobel, came to visit the Little Man so we all took a turn around the lakes to blow the cobwebs away. The break in the clouds gives hope that Spring is around the corner but, do not be deceived, it is cold out there!

image

Breakfast in bed and a lie in thanks to my wonderful husband. I always wake up at 7 to feed the Little Man and it is such a luxury to be able to hand him over to my hubby and snuggle back down occasionally. It’s the little things that make me feel so lucky to have him and our lovely family.

image

New bath toys! I spied these when out shopping and could not resist. The Little Man loves bath time and it is well established in our nighttime routine – dinner, bath, feed then bed. Even when we are out and about we try to still give him a little splash about.
image

This photograph is to signify home and the comfort it brings. It represents every time I’ve looked down at my precious Little Man this week and felt overwhelming love and happiness. So many magic moments when he is around.

Enjoy your magic moments this weekend. x

6 Comments

Filed under Baby, Magic Moments

Popping In

Image

Evening all, I am just popping in to say hello and apologise for the lack of action round here at the moment. The Little Man is much better now and back to his usual, cheeky self. We barely had time to recover, however, until I found myself rather incapacitated. Whether I have been ill or whether I am finding it difficult to manage my stress related to returning to work has not yet been established but, oh my, have I been knocked for six! Needless to say, Friday went smoothly in the end (with the exception of my wanting to curl up under a rock). Little Man enjoyed his day at nursery and, within five minutes of entering the building, it was as if I had never left.

I’m sorry, I cannot write more now as my mind is mush but I hope to be back tomorrow, fighting fit, with last week’s Magic Moments. 🙂

6 Comments

Filed under Waffle

Shrove Tuesday

image

Hello, hello, hello! So, Shrove Tuesday is here again so pancakes are once again on the menu (not quite on the scale of my Pancake Party, but still). We enjoyed Summer Fruit Scotch Pancakes as the Little Man prefers them to crêpes. He had them with fruit and yoghurt but we couldn’t resist a bit of ice-cream and toffee sauce. Yum.

image

Just a quick post today as illness has struck the household so I am tired! The poor Little Man is suffering somewhat with a cold so is rather off-kilter, even going off his food (shock horror!). A late night, regular wake ups and a final wake-up call of 6 means we’re both in need of a few more zzzzs tonight.

I hope to be back soon with an update of hooky happenings around here.

image

2 Comments

Filed under Baby, Waffle

Magic Moments – 6/52

image

Greetings one and all, I hope this post finds you well and happy. As you can see, the snow returned again last night. This is not the thick covering we had a few weeks ago (see here) but rather English snow – grey and slushy, the sort that just makes you cold and damp.

Things have not been dull in our little lives, however, so there have been no shortage of simple pleasures that have made my week a happy one. Before I begin though, I noticed when scrolling though my previous ‘Magic Moments‘ posts that, at the beginning, I credited where I got the idea from but not where it originated. https://rosyhill.wordpress.com/

The inspiration for the 52 weeks challenge came from Jen over at Little Birdie, so go and visit her lovely blog to see where it all began.

Without further ado, let’s see what has been making me happy this week…

image

On Thursday we enjoyed a wonderful visit to Birmingham Sealife Centre. The Little Man and his friend put their new found mobility to good use, inspecting the tanks eagerly and playing merrily in the soft play area whilst my friend and I marvelled at the rich array of sea creatures on display. The soft light and water made the whole experience incredibly relaxing whilst the vibrant colours of the fish and coral were a feast for the eyes.

image

Ah, the simple things are often the most important. My mother has become the proud owner of a new washing machine and tumble drier and kindly gifted the old models to me and my sister. My general standard of housekeeping is pretty low but one job I do enjoy is the laundry (this does not include ironing – life is too short). Since losing my second bedroom to the Little Man, however, I have been struggling to keep on top of it over Winter. I am therefore incredibly grateful to my lovely parents for their generosity.

image

Enjoying a Tequila Sunrise with friends. This weekend was so special as we travelled to Southport to enjoy a ‘Come Dine’ experience (a Tex Mex feast) with former colleagues. Even though people have moved away and we all teach at different schools it is amazing that we can still meet up regularly and it’s like we’ve never been apart.

image

Was it wet? Yes.
Was it cold? Yes.
Is it the middle of Winter? Yes but we were at the beach and it just has to be done! (Incidently, the beach in question was Crosby Beach where we went to see Antony Gormley’s ‘Another Place‘ – a series of lifesize metal men running along 2 km of the coastline and out to sea. It was a wonderful opportunity to see this piece of artwork in the flesh, emerging dramatically from the water as the tide receded, although it has to be said that the Little Man did not enjoy the experience!)
image

6 Comments

Filed under Magic Moments, Trips and outings

A Pancake Party

image

Greetings all. After an extremely grey day I was excited to see the clouds part as evening fell. Grabbing my camera, I ran across the road to capture the golden light.

image

Unfortunately, by the time I arrived, the sun had already disappeared but the sky was beautiful nonetheless.

image

May I begin by thanking you for your kind coments on my last post. I am feeling better today, though still enjoying the odd slice of cake for comfort.

This was the end of Saturday’s Chocolate Cola Cake. Always a crowd pleaser I love this recipe – cheap and easy but the results are superb. As I don’t drink fizzy pop I keep a bottle of flat cola in the pantry just for this cake! The topping is fantastic but, sticking to my resolution to try new recipes, I chose to make a toffee frosting for a change. This turned out to be a stroke of inspiration as it was not quite so rich as the usual icing.

image

Saturday’s baking was not just for fun. The cake was to be the final course at my ‘Pancake Party’. The idea was simple – food would all revolve around the theme of pancakes. ‘So what did we have?’ I hear you cry.

There were:

image

Blinis covered with soured cream and topped with a basil leaf and Parma ham.

image

Mini Yorkshire puddings (baked in a fairy cake tray) filled with horseradish mash and finished with chipolatas.

image

Crêpes stuffed with salmon and spinach. In fact, these were so good that I feel I must share the recipe:

Mix flaked salmon with a white sauce flavoured with Dijon mustard and dill.
Place spinach leaves and the fish mixture down the centre of a crêpe, roll up then sprinkle with Parmesan or any other grated cheese).
Bake in a moderate oven for 30 minutes. (They can be made in advance then heated before serving).

image

Incidently, if you substitute fried mushrooms for the fish and flavour with paprika rather than dill these make a tasty vegetarian dish.

image

Anyway, back to the party. As well as savoury pancakes we had piles of blueberry scotch pancakes and crêpes. Over these we drizzled sugar, lemon, toffee sauce, sugar sprinkles, chocolate curls and ice-cream.

image

Delicious!

It was a marvellous evening and great fun was had by all. I am quite taken with the idea of cooking around a theme and feel that I shall have to organise another gathering soon. Any ideas for a theme?

Abigail x

6 Comments

Filed under Food

An Emotional Day

image

Ah, just what you need on a day like this. As the title of this post suggests, I am feeling a little delicate today and, at such times, a bit of comfort eating is just what the doctor ordered.

In fact, today’s snack was no ordinary treat. This was a slice of celebration cake from The Ritz – delicious sponge filled with slices of sweet mango, juicy raspberries and rich vanilla cream. Amazing.

image

So why am I feeling emotionally drained today?

Yesterday the Little Man and I took a trip to somewhere new – his nursery. Today, it was the first time I left him there alone. Oh my.

Now, don’t get me wrong, he had a wonderful time. He was beaming when I left him and was just as happy when I returned an hour later. However, it has brought home to me that, as of next Friday, I shall be back at work and will have to leave my precious Little Man. Cue the tears.

How am I going to cope without him? How will I possibly complete my work without compromising my home life? All of these issues have suddenly become so real. I miss my baby just thinking about it.

image

This photograph is also bringing a lump to my throat as well as joy to my heart. This is the Little Man’s first piece of artwork that he was brought home. I am so proud. My baby painting (he is teething so wouldn’t stop eating the paint brush, hence the handprints!).

image

Unfortunately this photo session did remind me of how awful the border is on my Elmer Blanket. It was the first edging that I had ever done and inexperience is evident in the results. It is too narrow and there are too many stitches which has warped the squares and causes the sides to ruffle.

Must sort sometime but, for now, I feel bed calling. Back soon, x

15 Comments

Filed under Baby

Magic Moments – 5/52

Hello my lovlies, here we are again. Week 5 of 2013 and we’ve moved into the second month of the year. Here are a few highlights of the last 7 days…

image

A wonderful few minutes making the most of the Winter sunshine. A bit wobbly for the first few swings, the Little Man was soon having a great time, giggling madly and wanting to go higher and higher.

Our trip to the playground followed a marvellous swimming trip where he demonstrated that he can now kick and keep himself above the water for minutes when holding onto the side. Clever boy!

image

This is my incredible new teapot and it is making me happy every time I see it. Originally destined for the charity shop my mom rescued it from a friend knowing that I would give it a home. It is now living happily on my dresser and I love it!

image

A very special bit of me time – soaking in the tub, candles lit, iPlayer on and a warm cointreau and drambuie thanks to my darling hubby. Perfect!

image

This week ended on a high as we journeyed up to London. Remember my mom’s 60th birthday back in October? To mark the occasion she chose to fulfil a lifelong ambition – to partake of Afternoon Tea at the Ritz. Dressing up and entering into the spirit of the event, it was a truly magical moment and one I am sure my mother shall not forget.

What has been making you happy this week? x

6 Comments

Filed under Baby, Magic Moments

Recipe Resolution

image

Aw, see my Little Man there? So cute and boy does he have personality! Such a cheeky monkey. Does he know that he should not be eating the plant? Yes. Does it stop him scuttling over there the moment he is put down? Oh no. Big smile and a proud giggle – “Look mommy, I got it again!”

Please note that he is also sporting his first ever pair of shoes (proud mommy moment!). As he is increasingly mobile and standing at every opportunity I thought it was about time that he got some big boy footwear. Bless.

image

Now I am not a great fan of New Year’s Resolutions but January is naturally a month of reflection. So, after a bit of thought, I resolved that this year I would shake up my weekly menus. Instead of just reading recipes and then cooking the same meals I would actually make some new dishes.

Here are a few I have tried so far:

image

Duck Salad from Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals. I used duck legs, not breast, and served them with my favourite garlic toast but it still worked well and the dressings were delicious! Chinese five-spice is a new jar in my pantry but I loved it.

If you fancy having a go, watch the original programme here or see my synopsis of the recipe below.

Duck (serves 4)
Score the skin of 4 pieces of duck and season with salt, dried thyme and Chinese five-spice. Rub all over with a drizzle of oil.

Place in a large hot frying pan and press down with the lid of a smaller pan. Keep the lid on and cook for 16 – 18 mins (duck breast) and 20 – 25 mins (duck legs) turning regularly.

Before serving, dress with some chilli, mint, honey, juice of 1/2 a lemon and oil. Season to taste.

Salad
Jamie suggets lamb’s lettuce, pomegranate, radishes and carrots peeled into strips.

For the dressing, mix olive oil, balsalmic vinegar and juice of 1/2 a lemon then season to taste. I used orange juice in the salad instead of lemon, which was sweeter.

image

It was our turn to host Sunday dinner for the family and we made Spaghetti with Apples as seen on Rufus’s Food Guide. Cheap, different and delicious this recipe is going to become a regular in our household. To keep the crowds happy we served it with pork, apple and thyme meatballs, which were delicious and went well with the sauce.

image

The Little Man particularly enjoyed this dish.

image

Not being a fan of spaghetti (he does not seem to recognise it as food and unceremoniously dumps it off his tray) his sauce was served with these adorable Farfalline – mini pasta bows.

image

Finally, dessert. This was Orange One-Egg Cake from Lillian’s Cupboard.

Lillian’s blog is wonderfully written and full of mouth-watering recipes, beautiful quilting and interesting stories so pop over and have a look here.

image

This cake turned out to be light, zesty and very different to an everyday sponge. The frosting was particularly tasty – light, sweet and fluffy.

image

As well as making a wonderful dessert, this cake also happens to be an excellent accompaniment to a bit of evening hooky. Perfect!

Hope this inspires you to try something new for dinner this week! 🙂

3 Comments

Filed under Baby, BLW, Cakes, Recipes