Thursday, 29 March 2012

#PinAddict Win: Trip to London Zoo!

So, I won something, I actually won something. Ok, it was a random pick but it was still me that was randomly picked! I haven't won anything since I did a litter poster in Junior school in 1981.  And the odd tenner on the lottery.  But apart from that, nothing!
Thank you to Louise at Sew Scrumptious for my  prize, an Experience Days voucher and Viv over at Melksham Mum for hosting March's extremely excellent PinAddicts Challenge.

As I was travelling to London to see my sister Pip this week I traded my voucher for tickets to London Zoo.  I haven’t been for nearly 20 years and it was lovely.  I vaguely remember being photographed with my little nieces inside the Giraffe house in 1994ish.  It must be that long ago as they both have children of their own now.  For our visit this week it was a beautiful sunny day and Little E ran himself ragged looking at all the animals. Some were more appealing than others....
Little E's body language speaks volumes in response to the question,
'Would you like to stroke the ferret?'

The butterfly house was just lovely, it is amazing to see these huge butterflies flying overhead and the racks of chrysalises spinning and twitching and waiting to emerge.

There was underwater penguin action.

And a closer look above the water.

The Komodo dragon seemed to hold Little E's interest and they sat eyeballing each other for a long time.  Auntie Pip explained they eat people if they get the chance. Thanks Pip, I fully expect the nightmares to start shortly.

There were many others of course: lions, tigers, gorillas, aardvarks and goats. A wonderful day out which probably wouldn't have happened without my #PinAddicts win! Entries for April's #PinAddicts no. 3 are due over at Sew Scrumptious on April 2nd. 

So get creating!  

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Weight Loss and the Cap of Invisibility

This is a progress on one of my resolutions posts. Or two of them. Exercise and weight loss.  So resolution number 3 lose 10lbs by March  has not come to pass, ahem. I lost 3lbs which I think was a result of the mile and a half running to work 2-3 times week.  I think once my body had adjusted and I continued to graze freely from leftovers from the buffets that roll into work every week, any weightloss ceased.  So this week I joined Weight Watchers again.  I fully recognise that diets don't work and it is a mindset change but I was reasonably happy on WW and felt I could eat like that permanently. However I did hit a wall at 11 stone last time and got disheartened. Did I find a way to navigate the challenge? Meditate on words of wisdom? Revisit my goals? No, I thought stuff it and took myself off to Greggs and put a stone and a half back on.  But I have a new steely resolve and four brand new pairs of trousers and a White Stuff jacket in a size too small. (These were purchased before the resolution about not buying any more clothes in  a size too small I PROMISE.)

I have been heavier (14 stone) but what has made me think was what I read about waist size and cancer, diabetes and heart disease.  It is not news but it particularly struck me this week. A women with a waist size of over 35 inches is at serious risk.  32 inches or less is preferable.

Mine is 39 inches.

I have upped the exercise this week and am running 5k twice a week while Little E is at nursery. Running with several extra pounds is a feeling akin (I can only imagine) to a sheep running, you know the way their whole bodies wobble up and down in one fluid movement from neck to tail  I arrive back at nursery puce and sweaty and the rate I run at makes me wish I was invisible.  Thankfully I do have a hat of invisibility. A la Harry Potter. Its name is Scabby Cap. Scabby Cap has been my running mate for  several years and several important races. It is imbibed with the power to render the wearer INVISIBLE. Yes, even with my day glo running shirt I am free to pound the streets free from ridicule and sniggering. It was once new and shiny and just called 'cap'. It is now a faded beauty and my brothers dog took a shine to it and chewed the brim, but this enabler has previously allowed me to emerge as if from a chysalis a fitter, firmer version of myself. So despite offers to replace it, Scabby Cap is here to stay.

Wish me luck! (again.)

Sunday, 18 March 2012

The Weekend (again!)

The Weekend, again, so quickly! What happened to last week?

On Saturday we celebrated Mothers' day a day early and went to lunch en masse with my sister, mother, neice, great niece and the only male contingent, Little E. But he did hold his own, he seems to have found his (loud, carrying) voice in the last week.  Little Bro was invited but had tickets for the rugby in Cardiff and as it was Wales' last game in the Six Nations we couldn't blame him.  It was a beautiful day at the beach if a little blowy and Little E was delighted to have his cousin to play with. Yes I know more beach pictures, I make no apologies, but I think my blog needs a new name.

Sunday was also beautiful if bitingly cold and we ventured into the woods to walk the dog and play a bit of hide and seek. 


I received a little primrose in a felt basket from Little E and we wrapped up some pamper bits for Mam and added a little hand sewn tag. I also, a bit embarassingly, finally finished the binding on the lap quilt I made for Mam for Christmas.  I felt a bit lost yesterday and it seems to be extending into today.  You know that feeling you should be doing something, but you aren't quite sure what it is?

Monday, 12 March 2012

The Weekend

It's hard to believe from the inky sky but it was so warm on the beach on Saturday we ended up disgarding our coats.  The tide was a long way out but the sands were still wet so I think it must have been a spring tide. We played football and looked for dragons in caves. In celebration of JJ's birthday Mam babysat Little E and we went out to dinner (a very rare occurrence) and it was lovely. The weekend was very short and JJ went back to Crewe yesterday afternoon.  But not before a massive fatboys breakfast in the village in the morning and a Sunday roast at home. Hmmm...what  a lot of eating we seem to have done. It's not quite all a big love in, tensions rose as we approached the time to leave. JJ started twittering on about the quality of bin bags I had bought (poor, and I overfill them apparently) and that there is too much food crammed in the freezer (so it isn't effective at freezing)....I grit my teeth. I am no martyr for sure but a row before leaving about bloody binbags seems utterly pointless.

Living and working apart is tough all round. Little E woke up at 3 am asking for Daddy and I am feeling pretty flat myself. Lows follow highs as always so another project is needed!

And I think this is it! Little E has taken an interest in playing shop in the last day or so and I think a little shop front with bunting (of course) an awning and a sign saying 'Little E Enterprises' is the order of the day.  I have a couple of small half done things to do first but I can set my thinking cap to the shop while I do those. 

I am thinking along these lines, with an open front.....

Available from here

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Marble Painting and Water Play

I've seen this in a few places now so we thought so yesterday we decided we would have a go.  We sellotaped a few pieces of paper to the bottom of a plastic storage box, put a few splots of paint in and started rolling.

Little E did enjoy it but liked washing and drying the marbles repeatedly more I think. He loves water play best of all at the moment and it can fully occupy him for an hour but always requires a complete change of clothes afterwards.

Little E's marble art.

So water play being the order of the day and me cottoning onto the joys of a simple plastic storage box this morning we part filled said box with water and added some of the left over Halloween food colouring to the water, orange and then black.

And all before 9.00am in the morning thanks to Little E deciding 5.00am is his new wake up time....hurrah.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Pinterest PinAddicts Challenge no. 2

Here we go with the second Pinterest challenge.  I'd had a counting game of some sort in mind for ages for Little E and cousin Grace, and finally settled on the one below here is the link .  I made a drawstring type bag for them to live in   as I've never put a zip in anything. Then I appliqued Little E and Graces name on them.

So pretty fabrics chosen and cut out I blanket stitched around the numbers on the machine and sewed them up before pillaging  Little E's beanbag chair for 'beans' . We added some rice to give a bit of extra weight for good throwing action.  Little E helped filll the bags so this wasn't the tidiest of operations.

Et voila! (photo overload).

Little E's set, almost identical.


This months challenge is hosted over at Melksham Mum so I'll be trawling through the other wonderful makes myself over there at lunchtime. Looking forward to next month

Appliqued onsies for Olivia

So now St Davids week is over I can show you my appliqued onsies which I made for Olivia, our newest family member.  Her Mum loved them along with the gift for her big sister Grace which will be featured in tomorrows post for the PinAddicts challenge.

The name was a bit fiddly to do and I am not sure how well these things wash.  Usually I try to blanket or zigzag stitch the outsides but I haven't  mastered that yet and I always get problems with tension (both the machine and man made variety), so these are straight stitched and much easier for that! Olivias little bootees from an Amy Butler pattern are still a work in progress so another post to follow....

Sunday, 4 March 2012

St Davids Day Makes: Day 6 (and Llanelli half marathon)

Today has been a long day, up at half six to get ready to go and watch my brother  in the Llanelli half marathon.  By a funny coincidence his run number was my Dads year of birth and today is the anniversary of Dads death.  Dad was also a keen athlete, something he has passed onto my brother (and to me - if only sporadically!) After about an hour and a half in the freezing blowy cold, we all went out for Sunday lunch which was lovely.

So back to St Davids week. I know I've done one set of bunting but after lamenting the lack of Welsh ladies amongst the schools craft items yesterday I thought I would have to do something that incorporated them and it had to be something I could do in the car.  So here is the Welsh Lady bunting complete with googly eyes.......

When we got home we had a go at using the Welsh dragon mold with some Plaster of Paris. They look ok - although apprently they need to be sealed with acylic paint before you paint them....I didn't know that so when Little E applied the poster paint  the first one sort of melted.  So we just rubbed some dry poster paint power over the dragons and hung them on the tree and they looked fine.

That's the end of St Davids week!

Saturday, 3 March 2012

St Davids Day makes: Day 5

Ok, today is a bit of a cheat because we havent actually made anything (unless you count sandcastles). However we have been to the St Davids Food Festival and the Cawl Cooking Championships.  Whilst visiting the marquees we saw a fab display of St Davids themed creations by the local school, mainly consisting of dragons, daffodils, castles and the occasional Welsh lady.  Welsh ladies just don't seem to be a la mode these days.

Then we paid our entry which included the Cawl cooking trail and were given our little cawl pottery bowls to enable us to frequent 11 local pubs/restaurants for a small bowl of cawl and then pronounce judgement via a score was a mixed bag to be sure and as any good Welsh son or daughter knows, no-one cooks cawl like your Mam.  However we were in agreement that of the 6 of 11 establishments we visited, The Marina was,  in our opinion, the winner of 'Cawl most like Mams'. 

In a cawl eating interlude we went to the beach and used our cawl dishes to build sandcastles.  After a promisingly sunny start it came to rain and with Little E on the grouchy side we abandoned the Cawl trail and retired home for an afternoon sleep. Nice.

Tomorrow the Llanelli Half marathon.

Friday, 2 March 2012

St Davids Day makes: Day 4

What a beautiful spring day it was today.  We went for a walk out at Castlemartin. The  peace was punctuated by tank noise and machine gun fire at the range which I have never heard at such close quarters. We bimbled up and down the road looking at the Daffodils and snowdrops in the hedgerows and wondered why we have so few days where we just enjoy ourselves with no pressure to do anything or be anywhere. These peaceful interludes were a lot more frequent when I was on maternity leave when walks with my Mother and Little E  (usually ending with tea and cake) were a near daily occurrence.   Little E wore his newly completed red dragon/dino hat.... tutorial here. Although maybe it was a mistake making it entirely in red as my sister says it looks like a chickens comb.....

Hmmmm. Maybe.Thanks for the observation. I can't get it out of my head now! I'm thinking the addition of a small patch like the one below will elucidate things.

Mam made us some of these daffodils to add to our St Davids Tree . Free pattern here, Daffodil crochet pattern I will have a go at one tomorrow, apparently very easy but a bit fiddly. Our daffs are a bit chunkier than the example on acount of not having the right wool in the house. The pic is the first one we made so not perfect. This light yellow one below is the one from the pattern site.

We also dropped into the library to pick up our dragon stories and made a sock puppet dragon. Little E seemed to find the sock puppet idea hilarious when the sock puppet was just a sock and was much less entertained by the whole idea once I had gone to the trouble of adding googly eyes, and sewn wings and fire onto the sock dragon to accompany the stories.  Isn't it always the way.

Tomorrow is the Cawl Cooking championship in Saundersfoot, I hope it is another lovely day.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

St Davids Day makes: Day 3

Cakes and Cawl....

A very late post, its practically day 4 but anyway tonight was cakes and cawl. I'd like to tell you the cawl recipe, but there is no recipe as such but it always contains lamb, carrots, swede, potato and lots of fresh parsley. Yum! It tastes better if its made the day before and Mam obliged whilst I was at work (Thanks Mam).

We made some lovely Welsh cakes and fairy cakes and Little E added the daffodils and Welsh dragons (not sure that comes through in the picture!) We made the dragons using fondant and a dragon mould. The sugarcraft daffodils are a bit beyond me so we bought those.

And finally Pinwheel Daffodils painted by Little E to decorate the window. 
Over and out, I am  off to bed!