Tuesday, 25 February 2014


I've opened up my Etsy shop! It feels pretty good to start getting the info out there, and hopefully get some people to see what I make (and even more hopefully they will buy them). So, here is is: 

I'll try to keep it up to date, and try to improve my photo taking skills in the meantime. I think I took some pretty ones outside though.

Hiding in the tulip leaves
This little fella's not in the shop yet. He wasn't behaving very well when I wanted to take his photo indoors, but wanted to say Hi anyway.

And because I need no further excuse, here's one of R in her birthday present, so she wouldn't get a wet bum while shuffling over the grass.


It was half term last week, which meant a couple of friends were off work and wanting to get out and do something. They very kindly offered me a lift (we only have one car and P uses it for work), and so off to the aquarium we went. It wasn't quite as simple as that though, half term meant that everywhere was rather busy. And by busy I mean we spent about an hour trying to get a parking spacce. Luckily the littlies spent most of that time asleep, but R and I got out and walked away from the traffic jam when she woke up and started expressing her annoyance at being in her car seat. At that point we were only two minutes walk away from the aquarium (but the friend had to wait another 15 minutes to get into the carpark!).
We saw fish (well, duh)
Lots of fish
Colourful fish
Famous fish
and things that wern't fish at all
And the little one seemed to rather enjoy it. She spent a fair amount of time looking at other children, trying to chase them, trying to get into the fish tanks, working out that glass stops you getting the fish, dragging me off to somewhere else, trying to grab the camera, and at least some time actually watching the fish.
A very lovely day.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Lacock abbey

After R's birthday we had two main gifts that needed road testing and so last Monday, despite (or possibly because of) the weather, we set out.

We had been given membership for the national trust - slightly cheeky as R is under five, so gets in free anyway, which meant that us parents got presents on her birthday! So we had an on line search for a place reasonably close, which we hadn't been to before, and which was open. I was surprised at how many properties were closed, given that it was a dreary half term, you'd have thought that most places would be open to take advantage of parents needing to get out the house to somewhere dry.

The wet weather meant we were able to test another present - her waterproof all-in-one. It did well, better than my coat! (Maybe it's time to get a new coat.)

It was spectacularly windy, wet and cold. Much more extreme and it would have been a blizzard. At least, that's how it felt after being indoors for a party filled weekend. The place was rather amazing though.

This amazing corridor was from the nunnery, around 800 years old. It's stunning, and seemed oddly familiar. We stumbled across a huge cauldron, and with it a sign explaining that the nunnery had been a location for Harry Potter filming - mystery solved.

It seemed even colder inside than out, and I couldn't help but think how hard life must have been for the nuns. They did choose that life though, so we got on with exploring.

This range was huge! And I loved the kitchen workbench/units, very simple but that's all you need. They were really worn too, you could imagine all the people they had fed over the years.

The abbey had been turned into a family home in the Victorian times, and so was somewhat more grand (though only slightly warmer!). In the South Gallery is the famous window where William Henry Fox Talbot took the first photographic negative. There was a bit of history in the museum which we visited after the house, but a certain munchkin wanted to walk too much for me to get more than a very brief history of photography.

We let her run (or walk rather) off some of her excess energy in the grand hall. It was plenty big enough for us all to get rid of that energy, especially as she's not yet mastered the art of walking by herself.

There was a beautiful number of snowdrops on the way to the abbey...

 ... and the crocuses were starting to add some colour too. Oh, how I've been craving some colour in nature at the moment, and these were a fantastic start to a spring we'll hopefully see soon!

Thursday, 20 February 2014

A birthday!

My baby is one!

A whole year old. It seems like she's been in our life such a short time, but what a time that's been! Such a character - wanting to be on her feet from when she was a tiny little thing, and wanting to walk everywhere now (and as she can't quite walk on her own, she needs a hand to get everywhere). She is so serious when out and about, taking everything in, making sure she's completely comfortable in her space before she'll smile. People she doesn't know are met with a penetrating stare, as if she's trying to work out their secrets, and not letting a glimmer of expression pass her features. Once she's sussed it all out though, she'll be off, exploring the next thing, dragging you behind her, or she'll relax and play with whatever is to hand. She's keen on trying all foods, but is quite clear on letting you know what she does and doesn't like, hence the chocolate cake. She's definitely likes chocolate, and who am I to argue with a chocolate cake!

She had a wonderful day on her birthday. We had a fair amount of family round which she loved. It's great to see her so happy to be with them, and enjoying being the centre of attention. Lots of presents arrived too, and she had a wonderful time opening them and fully investigating their potential. Nothing was a one-hit-wonder either, everything has been played with and enjoyed since, so well done everyone on your great choices! 

We had friends round the next day which was also good fun. Luckily everyone arrived and left at well staggered times, so we didn't have hordes of toddlers at any one time. Only one minor toy casualty occurred, to an older toy which was easily fixed. I was expecting far worse so it was nice to be surprised.

Here is the scene on Monday, as we tried to bring some sort of an order to the toys. This is after some of them had been taken up to her room (did I mention that it was finished and she's been happily sleeping in it for a few weeks?) and yet more are in other places around the room.

I'm quite surprised at how happy I am to have them about the place. Individually most of them are lovely (the odd hand-me-down, charity shop or toy library loaned ones are tat) but when they're all together they do tend to get a bit in-your-face. It feels a bit like having them everywhere shows that she's welcome everywhere, shows that I'm proud to have my daughter as such a big part of my life. And I am most definitely proud of her, and love her so much, and am enjoying this new life of mine. Here's to a whole year of being a mum, and to my wonderful daughter being a whole one year old.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Birthday and baking

Today R is a whole one year old! We had a lovely gathering of her family: parents, grandparents, great grandparents, aunts, uncles and a great uncle. She had a great day, opening and playing with lots of presents, eating lots of cake, and generally revelling in being the centre of attention. All this has worn me out so instead of blogging about today, here's a post that I meant to make a while ago: banana muffins.

This was the state of the bananas in the fruit bowl and I really can't eat bananas this overripe. I find they're just too overpowering, there's something chemical about them at this stage. I didn't want to waste them though so baking was the order of the day. I went about trawling the internet for a simple recipe that Mr could eat and that I had all the ingredients for.

I'm incapable of baking without making a mess. I can start with the surfaces being pristine, but within moments the ingredients seem to spread themselves everywhere and I end up all a-clutter.

Not my finest moment putting the mix in cases either, but they were only to help use up the bananas so why be fussy. I had halved the recipe (here) but there was plenty enough mix to fill the cases.

It certainly passed the taste test. R managed to make more mess than I did, the spatula being abandoned moments later in favour of getting her hands (and head) straight in the bowl.

The finished article. I took some round to a friends to eat while having a cuppa and a natter, and some got eaten that evening, and by then there wasn't enough to take a decent photo - probably a good sign that they were pretty tasty!

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Taking a break

This weekend was meant to be revolting, weather-wise. Heavy rain was forecast for the whole of Saturday, and strong wind were meant to make an appearance too. So when we woke up to a surprisingly reasonable looking day, I wanted to do something with it. We had things we needed to do first though. One fun, baking some bread I'd mixed up the night before, the rest not so, like fixing the stair gate, food shopping and shopping for yet more D.I.Y. fixings. But finally all that was over and we could get some fresh air.

It was so lovely to get out the house, all three of us together, while there was some sun shining.We ended up at Lawrence Weston Community Farm, partly because R is interested in animals and partly as it's free entry.

R was fascinated by the enormous pigs. They were really massive, not fat at all, but really tall and long. They didn't oink but went grrruuuumph, which R then tried to imitate with a surprising amount of success. Good thing really, as she's a way off managing to say oink!

The river had burst its banks,

and we were rather glad to have the boardwalk.

Even the ducks seemed less than impressed by how soggy everywhere is.

I loved being able to slow down and appreciate different sights. It's great to be able to see colour when everything's been so grey recently.

The bright sunlight really picked out the red of the berries, I spotted these from meters away. 

The sheep were definitely dressed right for the cold with huge woolly coats. The magpie looks a little out of place though. 

We managed to time the trip just right. Not so long that we all froze and just long enough to blow all the cobwebs away. Just managing to dodge the showers that these clouds brought.

It was a shame that the farm didn't have much in the way of animals, I'd hoped for more than just four types. Though looking back on it, that meant there was a chance to see the smaller things that you would normally pass by. These grey days make you appreciate the moments of sunshine all the more.