Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Zoo-per days out!

So I promised I'd be back later in the week and here I am! I have so many writing commitments at the minute that sometimes this blog takes a back seat to all the other stuff. Despite my long silence, I don't have a huge lot to share with you all.

I made a skirt a few weeks ago and I'll write a post about that and the sew-along I followed that made it so easy and rewarding. For now I just have some photos of my trip to the zoo in Belfast when I visited my family last week. It was Ben and Jake's third birthday, so the five of us, plus granny and grandad, my sister Rachael and her boyfriend, and my aunt and her children all headed off up the mountain to the zoo. It seems to be that zoos are always uphill, but for whatever reason, this one didn't seem as steep as others I've visited. And we got to see the elephants being fed, which was great. Also, the lemurs were allowed to roam free through the zoo, which would have been great if they weren't be constantly chased off by a group of school children who were there. The boys experienced some mild terror thanks to a very large, very noisy pig, but other than that, they had a great day.

Lemurs taking refuge on the roof of the reptile house - stupid school kids!!
Never mind the animals! Look! A daisy!!
The sealions were show-offs
Tthe laziest bat in the rainforest house.

Feeding time

It was a great day as most of the animals were out in plain sight including the more elusive types like tigers and cheetahs. The boys had a great time trying to run like giraffes and unfortunately learned some bad behaviour from watching the chimps eating their poo.

On their birthday, we had a little party for the younger members of our family, and it went well with nobody getting too overwhelmed. They were content to eat some chocolate and sweets and run around like loons with the other kids. The 'gold dubloons' or regular chocolate coins as you and I know them, were a huge hit as 'Jake and the Neverland Pirates' seems to be super popular among kidlets at the minute. They had a Toy Story cake and dinosaur candles too.

Sorry for the pic dump - I promise I will try to be back soon with some crafty stuff :)

Saturday, 25 June 2011

I'm A Proper Writer!!

Sorry for the long silence. I have been super busy lately and haven't really been able to turn my hand to very many crafty projects. I will be back later this week (fingers crossed) with a longer post, but right now I just wanted to let you know that I am officially writing a weekly article over on Daily Waffle. I'll be covering a lot of less mainstream topics, similar to what I write on my other blog, but more accessible, and this week I'm taking a look at anime and in particular, Studio Ghibli. Hopefully this is the start of something for me.

There is also lots of other great stuff on the site, from really interesting baking to articles on self image, football and chess. Something for everyone, I should think :)

Friday, 3 June 2011

Using my Loaf!

It's typical of me to fixate on one thing and do it until I get sick of it. And so it has been with baking. I'm determined to be able to bake a few things well, the type of things that my kids will have fond memories of. So in this spirit I've been trying a few new recipes while my sewing machine sits forlornly, my knitting needles are untouched and my cross stitching is forgotten.

I have no idea if I'm a good or a bad baker. The boyfriend wonder doesn't have the most discerning palate when it comes to baked goods. He's not fussy. The pecan pie was delicious, though the recipe could probably do with some tweaking. He loved it and was sorry when it was all gone. I have to confess though, that I don't like making pies. Getting the pastry into the pie tin is always a disaster for me. I must be doing it wrong!

Much easier was this cherry and almond loaf cake. I'm a sucker for cherry bakewells so this sounded great, and I'm a fan of the kind of simple cake that is good with tea. Nothing too sweet or gooey or fussy. Just delicious sponge. So this was what I ended up with.

Half of it was already gone when I took this photo as the boyfriend wonder was munching on it as soon as it was out of the oven. It was really delicious and really quick, easy and relatively mess free to make. So it's a keeper. Something I can make semi-regularly. Next up on my baking plans is a lemon drizzle loaf, walnut and honey loaf (you may be sensing a theme here) and honey and vanilla madeleines. Hopefully I'll try these before I lose enthusiasm for baking and move on to weaving or model train building or something equally random.

I do have some sewing projects to share. I finished a skirt and I'm working on some new cushion covers but I'll save that for another day. In the meantime here's some photos of what my boys were up to while I was baking.

Olly can't crawl just yet so Ivy the kitten was safely out of reach :)

Jake and the unnamed male kitten having a chat

Ben, sulking.