Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Still Summer Lovin'!

Another great thing about Summer? Fresh herbs in the garden anytime I need them to cook with. PJ has really got into gardening this year. Earlier in the year before Bambino arrived he and my dad put up a new fence in our front garden. There was seat type thing in the front garden that we were going to throw out and then someone, I think it was my mum, suggested that maybe it could be a shelf for plants. PJ took it apart, sanded off the rust, sprayed it black and hey presto, a shelf for herbs which also looks really nice.

Last year he was really only growing chili plants but this year besides the herbs we have carrots, radishes, corn, courgettes, horseradish and lettuces. It's really nice to walk out into the garden after Bambino's bath and pick a lettuce for our dinner.

We haven't cooked in the house for weeks now, just too hot. Had another BBQ tonight!

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

A House Without Flowers...

I really love having flowers in the house but it's not really affordable to purchase some every week which is why it's lovely that when Summer comes along there's often flowers in our gardens which we can bring indoors.

Also, as a new Mummy it seems that everyone who comes to see me at the moment brings flowers which is just fabulous. Today my mantle piece has no less than 7 vases on it!

Most of them are quite small ones, I like to have have lots of little ones spread along the mantle piece ,(more on this another day) which at the moment are full of sweet peas and they smell divine. Now it's entirely down to my Mum that I am lucky enough to have all these because firstly she gave me this wonderful container, which you see on the right, and came round and planted it up for me a few weeks after Bambino was born. Secondly because while I've been watering her garden I have been bringing her sweet peas home!

I'm not particularly green fingered. I tend to leave that to PJ (hubby) but I think pretty much anyone could manage to plant one of these up and look after it, training the plant to climb the canes. And the good thing is that you have to cut the flowers to encourage more to grow!

Monday, 28 June 2010

Party Planning

In August we're having a Welcome to the World Party for Bambino. Since she seems to like the nursery rhyme "Twinkle, twinkle little star" I want to plan the party around this theme. But I've not found a lot of inspiration on the web yet.

There are lots of sites to help you plan a baby shower but very little for babies' welcome parties beyond obvious advice like "Decide who to invite, send invitations"!

We want to hold our party in the garden, in fact we have to. So far we've invited everyone who came to our wedding last year, 46 people, plus a few more! If it rains our house will be heaving! So I want to decorate the garden. Not easy on a maternity leave pay budget! Also all star related decoration tips that I've found like using fairy lights or candles aren't going to work for a daytime party! I am starting to have doubts about my theme, but it's sooo cute so I shall persevere.

Here are the best inspirations I have found so far...

The cake, from


The other thing I'm thinking about is buying a new printer because the one that I have is not very good and I want to design and print my own invitations for the party. I'm looking at a lovely wireless one which would be fab given that I never seem to be sat at my desk!

Sunday, 27 June 2010

More About Picnics!

So yesterday I mentioned The Battle Proms at Highclere Castle which we took our parents to last year and I planned a really special picnic for, all from recipes on the Internet...

Roast Chicken with Cous Cous & Pinenut Stuffing (Everyone liked this)
Crunch Chicken Strips
Roast Duck Plum Puffs (Hubby's favourite)
Smoked Salmon & Potato Tortilla
Prawn & Pancetta Spears
Coleslaw with Mustard Seed Dressing
Elderflower & Passionfruit Smoothie

But the real discovery was Malteasers Rocky Road Bars. They are so quick and easy to make but really delicious and everyone loves them. I have made them many times since and given my mum and mother in law the recipe! We now have to co ordinate when we're all going somewhere that a food contribution is required to make sure that we don't all take Rocky Road!

The concert itself was fabulous and we were very lucky with the weather as it had been drizzling all day! I can thoroughly recommend going, especially if you go with a bigger group. We'd probably be going again ourselves this year if it weren't for a diddy dot baby. Oh well, another time!

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Perfect Picnic

The picnic was perfect. We sat in a field near Combe, but the pram top under the tree (bambino decided to nap eventually!) and watched para gliders trying to avoid the trees!

I'd like to pretend that our 'simple' picnic food is down to the fact that I have a baby to look after now but actually I don't normally put much of an effort in with picnics. There's so much fabulous food, prepared and ready to go, available from the supermarkets. On this occasion we just had some nice bread, pate, cheese, olives and crisps.

Last year when we took our parents to the Battle Proms at Highclere Castle as a "Thank you for helping with our wedding present" I did make quite an effort but there were six of us and it was a special occasion. I shall add a post about that another time.

Yesterday also gave us the opportunity to try out Bambino's new travel playmat, which I made for her. It's mainly black and white because these two contrasting colours are those that a baby can see most easily. The other side is red for when she's a bit older. It's just two circles (one is four quarters sewn together) with a thick piece of wadding between and then I added a 'rim' around the edge to keep toys inside. The rim was only two layers thick but it was too tall and too flimsy so I folded it over and tacked it down at various points to make it thicker. Next time (ha, if I make another) I might insert a thicker piece of material in between two layers. Anyway, it seems to do the trick and I made a drawstring bag for it big enough to add a couple of toys too.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Love Summer

It was very nice having Hubby at home yesterday. I did get a lot done, plants watered, picnic food purchased, toe nails painted but I did not manage to finish my skirt. Oh well, another day, another blog.

Speaking of blogs, I seem to be caught in a blog maze at the moment. I really love Little Birdie Secrets and they paste a lot of links to other blogs, and those blogs paste links to other blogs and so on... I've got a whole load of lovely crafty blogs bookmarked to get back when I get a spare five minutes.

Yesterday evening after baby had gone to bed we lit up the BBQ, we love to BBQ. In fact, like my parents, we don't use our oven a great deal in the summer if the weather is nice enough. I have been buying prawns on wooden skewers, ready to go on the BBQ from frozen but Hubby hates cooking them because the wooden skewers seem to catch light so easily. So when I was at the supermarket yesterday I bought some metal skewers and some raw king prawns that were on offer. There was a great recipe in my magazine but it called for sage and that's the only herb not in Hubby's collection (oh, that's another blog) so I used some coriander, olive oil, crushed garlic, the juice and zest of a lemon and marinated them for a few hours before skewering them. They were yummy! Dollop of mayo on the side of my plate (low cal sadly) and I was away...

Unfortunately my potato salad did not go down so well with Hubby. I like my potato salad a little bit creamy, not like the really crunchy stuff in supermarkets, but not so it's without a bit of bite either. So yesterday I cooked half the potatoes for 10-15 minutes longer than the other half so that they were just starting to disintegrate. Then added (more!) mayo, some chopped onion and some chives. I really liked it but I forgot that Hubby doesn't like mashed potato and it was too much like that.

So today we're all off for a picnic and it promises to be hot!

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Wow - I'm blogging!

I can't believe I am blogging, at last! It's something I've always fancied having a go at and never got round to. Heaven only knows why I've chosen now, 9 weeks exactly after the birth of my first child! She's sat right next to me in her bouncy chair now hiccuping! We both had a good night last night so we are feeling quite happy.

Today I'm going to be able to get a few things done as my husband is on leave, following yesterday's World Cup game. I need to water my parents' garden, they are in the Isles of Scilly on holiday and go shopping for picnic food. Hubby is off tomorrow and that's what we're planning to do. I'd also like to finish the skirt that I've been making and paint my toe nails, but we'll see...