26 January 2010


i just had my regular email telling me what's to be expected at this stage of the pregnancy...too late though babycentre...our little one is already here!!

elsa may mcclorey
born on 21st january
at 1359
weighing in at 7lb 10oz

more pics and the story soon...we're all doing really well though and are happy to be back home together as a family. ciaran and me are totally smitten!

17 January 2010


i refuse to let today be a down day...it's my brother ben's birthday {big hug to you} and so it has to be a happy one!

and whilst i'm on happy notes...did you know that 2010 is the year of turquoise? according to pantone anyway...i couldn't agree more. although every year could be for me. it's one of my favourite colours. i'm definitely a bluey-green-girl. always drawn to the same hues as my wardrobe will testify. if you fancy a five minute time waster take a peek at their colorstrology site {i am grasshopper green}.

there is something very calming about turquoise and it always looks good with so many other colours. the gorgeous button above is one of 6 special screen printed lovelies that my friend bought me a while back. i've had them pinned up to look at for ages but this year they need to further their careers by adorning something and step outdoors...it's making me really look forward to making more clothes in the coming months and basking in the beauty of colour!

15 January 2010


...is brought to you with flowers and cake.

may i offer you these varieties of ranunculus and marmalade loaf whilst you have a read?

i am most definitely craving springtime in scent and taste and sight and i intend to carry on indulging in all things citrusy for a while to come. there is something so uplifting about it and i really feel a need for it's powers on these drizzly dull days that we have right now.

further mood elevation has been found for me in other places this month and i very much recommend them to you too...

jenny writes about life with her young family in new zealand with the perfect blend of humour...frankness...warmth and {even though i know her from way back} i always come away from reading her posts feeling inspired and like i've sat down for a chat with an old friend. oh and it's summer over there too so i promise you'll come away with a smile and feeling like the sun has touched you on the shoulder! you can find her {newish} blog jenny jane rudd here.

snacking on toast and lemon curd...especially good in the afternoon with a cup {and saucer} of tea.

new tunes by charlotte g and beck.

cloud nine fabrics... now available at saints and pinners. i'm coveting their new collection beyond the sea which comes out in march.

getting that haircut i promised myself.

what are you doing to perk up your january days?

happy weekending folks Xx

11 January 2010


a 10% off day lured me to homebase at the weekend...in need of some paint for nursery furniture. but the dulux mixer was out of order and the range of eggshells on the shelves was totally uninspiring. the temptation of the discount and an eagerness to start the project almost led me to make a reluctant purchase but i was strong willed and decided to hold out for another shop and another day.

so i have one coat on already and am super pleased to have found another paint outlet. john lewis have this great sanderson mixing station with...wait for it...a choice of 1352 shades. yes...you will not be surprised that it took me a while to make up my mind!

10 January 2010


{or can anyone give me some bread making advice please?}

i'm just sitting here having eaten 3.

they took me an age from start to finish so i am savouring the result sans guilt.

as you may remember learning to bake with yeast was a new year resolution that i put in writing and i fully intend to keep at it. today's attempt was slightly troublesome but if i can try try and try again i may just get a bit more confidence as i go.

i made these cinnamon buns from nigella's dg book as i have done lots of cakes and sweet treats. halving the quantity because there's only 2 of us chickens here and had i have gone for the full monty i myself would have definitely eaten most of the 20. this way i'll probably eat about 8 of the 10!

anyway my dough did not turn in to the dough i thought it would. too runny by far. i'm glad i could call on c to keep adding more flour as i got in a very sticky kneading situation! i then remembered i had a dough hook attachment on my incredibly old braun food processor so gave it a whirl in that. still so sticky! i probably lost about a 1/4 of the dough to the work surface and the bowl and the processor all in all but eventually got something that looked kind of right and popped it in a bowl to do it's rise and shine thing in the airing cupboard.

they turned out fine but i feel well short of my artisan ambitions. maybe next time i should try a simple loaf. i see some fine examples on blogs of bready heaven so any suggestions would be most welcome. are you a by hand or with machine baker?

{p.s. edited to add...i just found this video tutorial for sweet dough and it's given me some tips}

06 January 2010


did anyone see the hairy bikers programme last night? i just watched it on i-player whilst ironing cot sheets. now i must admit i'm not really partial to a hairy biker but i liked the angle of the show...mum knows best. such a lovely sentiment...the thought of a family recipe making it's way from one generation to another. i'm sure it's something we all do but i now feel compelled to actually put pen to paper and make it a proper project this year to collate what i can from my own family.

both my grandmothers were brilliant cooks. they really loved their food. neither was a by the book recipe cook but the sort who could measure by eye and we all had a favourite thing that they would make. never wasted anything. cooked simple hearty family dinners.

brenda {my paternal grandma} made an amazing yorkshire pudding. not your little individual ones but always a gigantic one pan version. very eggy. sliced in to portions...tradition would have it that we'd always eat it on it's own with leeky gravy before tucking in to the sunday roast dinner. i remember my granddad always put lots of pepper and vinegar on his! she also made huge jars of pickled vegetables which my dad loved. he bought me a book on lost crafts for christmas which includes a chapter on pickling...this year i am going to attempt to perfect the recipe for him.

mary {my maternal grandma} made crumbles and scones and tarts and dumplings. her freezer was always full of precious handpicked fruits that would make their way slowly through the year in to puddings various. she would make them super quick...no scales required...and if there was any crumble leftover my grandad would delight in eating it with cold custard the next day. i always loved that she started adding oats to her crumble topping after i came home from school and showed her one that i'd made in class. i miss watching her in the kitchen.

to be continued...til then i'm thinking about the cheese pie and rumpy-pumpy soup made by maureen on the tv!

05 January 2010


{knitted by grandma-to-be}

the fabric shopping was a success and now it's just down to the making which my mum is ever so kindly helping me with. i really don't know if my pre-pregnancy brain could tackle the workings out of a roman blind let alone in it's current state and so i am beyond grateful and very very blessed to have a mother who is a whizz at such things. which gives me time to get on with a wee quilt...i am much better with teeny bits of fabric. the seven and a half metres of curtain material sat to the side of me on the desk are scaring me quite frankly!

03 January 2010


i have taken what seems like forever to decide on colours for the nursery. you know i've had so very long to dream about what it could be like and yet faced with the reality of actually being pregnant i have somehow not dared to make a start.

but something started to kick in over the last week {panic?} and finally we have a painted room and have furniture {umm...on order anyway...let's hope it'll be here in the next few days!} so now i can start to visualise our baby's room taking shape.

the nursery itself in painted is cracked clay 2 by dulux. kind of a pale peachy pink...a bit like calamine lotion and i'm really pleased how nice it looks against the white woodwork. so with a fairly neutral and warm base i am looking to use some bolder orange tones and pale greys with it. maybe a hit of greeny-blue too...just because me and ciaran are big fans!

the lovely artwork from tollipop has been really inspiring. having admired many of the prints i was lucky enough to receive an original watercolour of a sweet little girl from ciaran for christmas and she'll be on the wall for sure. do have a look at kirsten's etsy shop...adorable.

so i have a mood board. i have a quilt plan. and tomorrow i am going shopping for curtain and blind fabric with my mum...things are starting to happen! i'll be sharing updates over the next few weeks as it all comes together.

01 January 2010


how lovely to wake up to sunshine and frostiness on january 1st.

a lie in and porridge was followed by a walk in burghley park. cheerful people and very cute dogs were plentiful and everyone we passed said hello. infectious happiness. lots of sheep and deer and christmas bicycles to spot. we wrapped up so warm but our pink noses needed a thaw out later by the fire at the george and we sat and drank hot chocolate enjoying the sight of lots of big bellied men {to rival my appearance!} in bright jumpers merrily come and go.

we chatted about how quickly a decade has come and gone. this one the first that we've seen through together and as {kind of} grown ups...making homes together...different jobs...marriage...travelling...all those life adventures that just happen but now we can look back on them and see how they shaped us in to us. it's nice. and it makes me even more excited about the next ten years.

so resolutions. i have just a few. some deep and some simple...
  • to learn to bake bready things {i.e. conquer my fear of cooking with yeast}
  • to curb my faffiness and be more of a do-er...too many lists and not enough ticks in 2009
  • to make our baby a quilt of her very own
  • to let go of the anxiety of the unknown. to welcome advice. to have faith in instinct
  • to keep journalling be it with pencil...keyboard or camera
  • to discover and share a whole new side of life with the ones i love close-by
...oh and to get my hospital bag packed. and my hair cut. it could be a month tomorrow!