Tuesday, 28 June 2011


Up till now I have been writing under the blog title Ip dip sky blue, refering to my complete inability to make decisions, and yet again I have proved myself right by changing my mind on the title of my blog! 

I was never 100% happy with the title, and was constantly searching for something I felt more comfortable with and that was more me. 

Then for some reason, while I was lying in bed not feeling very well, it just came to me, one yellow teapot. 

 I should probably introduce you to our one yellow teapot ;-)

She has been a member of our family for 12 years! 

She was a present for Ian in his third year at uni, not sure what the exciting occaision was to warrant such a great gift as a teapot!  At the time Ian was the big tea drinker, but I soon caught up. 

We are now both huge tea drinkers, typically English and will put the kettle on for any and every occaision.  It's amazing how a cup of tea can uplift, console, or comfort. 

At the heart of it all is our one yellow teapot.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

get creative

I stumbled upon this film this morning as I was lying on the sofa, not feeling very well, and mindlessly reading twitter.  Stacey Sheppard tweeted a link to a post she had written on 29 ways to stay creative.

As soon as I saw this video I wanted to post about it.  Just for me, to remind me what I need to do to 'stay creative!'  I can say I definitely do a few of these things, I LOVE writing lists, I keep a notebook on me most of the time (when nappies, toys, snacks allow)  but it just illustrates to me what I need to do to make all my big ideas running around my head into a reality.  I need to stop procrastinating and get on with it! ........ well I will do once I am feeling better ;-)

Number 29 is the big one for me!

Watch this space!

Monday, 20 June 2011

furniture making

Well I thought it was about time I showed you something else that I have made, one of the only projects on my list that I have completed!  I have not made an ugly fire and fireguard!!

We are currently living in a rented house so any major renovation work, that I have designed down to finishing touches in my head, are out of the question. 

This old gas fire is in what we are using as a playroom.  It is a lovely room with a huge bay window that gets lots of light, and is right next to the kitchen, so me and the kids usually spend most of our time during the day in here reading books and playing.  It has been totally disconnected, as we never used it and the pilot light kept blowing out every time I went near it with a hoover.  We kept the fire guard as the children thought it was a good game to fiddle with the buttons, however it didn't fit very well and every time I walked past and knocked it, it would fall down.  That isn't touching on the fact that it is SO UGLY!

What we could do to improve it?  I started looking at radiator covers to see if they would fit and solve our problem.  But they turned out to be very expensive for what they are, so why couldn't I try to make something that would fit our specific requirements and maybe incorporate some storage for books and toys that were overflowing from their current storage!

Now once I had thought of this, I just ran with it, and had drawn up a rough design that evening.  The following weekend we visited our local timber yard and had my bits of MDF cut out.   

So I was ready to go, and set up in the living room to create my masterpiece ;-)  Probably not the best place to do it but the weather was rubbish, Ian took the kids out, and we hadn't yet sorted out the garden room as my sort of 'studio' - will show you that another day!

I really enjoyed putting this together, and it was strange, all that smell of the MDF dust as I was drilling and sanding and I was 15 again in our school technology block!  I used to spend hours there, it's funny and comforting how smells can do that so vividly.

Here it is constructed, but not painted

Just to make sure it looked homemade, only a couple of the shelves are a bit wonky!

Here it is in place and painted.  I painted it a lovely pale grey (can't remember the exact shade) and painted the central panel with blackboard paint.

....and here it is in place with all of the children's books and toys on it.

The children absolutely love it!  They enjoy drawing on the chalk board - even Ian has had a play, but he needs to remember you use CHALK on a blackboard, not wax crayons!!  They love that all their books are easy to reach (I graduated the height of the shelves so all Elsa's little books are on the bottom)  They are both extreme book worms, George's nursery teacher even said they are having to try and persuade him to do things other than read books!  They just need to practice their tidying up skills!

I have got so many projects waiting to be done!  The plan is to get the house sorted when my mum is up later this week, and then get on with it!  So hopefully I will be able to show you some more exciting things soon.


Sunday, 19 June 2011

happy fathers day!

Well today is fathers day.  Unfortunately Ian wasn't feeling very well so any exciting plans went out the window.  But to be honest I think he enjoyed lazing around as much as any outing!

This was a lovely moment I caught this morning, of Ian trying to teach George and Elsa the joys of Aussie Rules Football!  Ian fell in love with the game when we lived over in Australia for 6 months, and so he keeps up to date with games over there online.  He also plays a few games back here in the UK when work will allow, as there is a small but growing league based all over the country.  I don't think they totally got the hang of it, but I think George would really enjoy playing the game when he is a bit older. 

(If you don't know anything about Aussie Rules it's 18 a side game, a cross between football and rugby, they play it on a oval, and they wear teeny tiny shorts and jump all over each other to get the ball - probably not a very correct summary of the game, but I feel it is all the important points, especially the shorts ;-) ! )

Here is the picture George and Elsa did for daddy - I think from George's description it should be called, 'Spotty Dog Dalmatian in the Sun.'

Now as we were not going anywhere today I felt I had better make a nice dinner!  I had seen a lovely recipe for chicken in the slow cooker at A Beach Cottage Blog, a wonderful inspirational blog I have just discovered.  Too Easy Forty Garlic Chicken  - here is a link to Sarah's recipe and her WONDERFUL photographs!  I seriously couldn't compete with photos of my chicken but here is just one to show you how it turned out and a big thank you to Sarah as it was delicious!!

Now for pudding!!

Well the one pudding I can always rely on is crumble.  It's strange when I was younger I couldn't stand any kind of cooked fruit, I just thought it tasted all wrong!  But luckily my tastes have developed and now I couldn't get enough of it.  I am also relatively new to the world of baking. 

This is mainly due to my allergies.  I am allergic to eggs and all dairy, so when I was younger it was very difficult to get hold of dairy and egg free items let alone egg substitute.  However as it seems to be fashionable at the moment, for healthy eating, the supermarkets are embracing 'free from products' which of course I am loving!  I will probably write a whole different post on the joys of allergies, and maybe do a regular cooking experiment or something..... not sure watch this space! 

Anyway back to the crumble...

I actually discovered this recipe from, 'Annabel Karmel's New Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner'  I have used this recipe so much whenever I open the book it naturally falls open at this page!

I follow the recipe for the crumble topping (and make lots of it as it is LOVELY!)  then tend to just use what fruit we have in.

For the topping ...

150g plain flour

a pinch of salt

100g cold butter ( I obviously use dairy free spread)

rub together till it resembles breadcrumbs

mix in 50g rolled oats and 75g of soft brown sugar

We get a veg box delivered once a week and there were some lovely raspberries that needed to be used, raspberries it was!

Now here it gets a bit naughty!  Normally I would add more fruit like some apples or more berries, but we didn't really have any spare as I need all the apples for snacks for George after nursery.  So I decided to drizzle over the raspberries a little of our home made plum wine/liquor! 

We have a plum tree in our back garden and it produced so many last year we were searching for things to do with them.  We made a lot of jam!  Then this wine which turned out to be pretty potent, although it is lovely mixed with lemonade!

cover with topping

and enjoy!!!! 

I love it with either custard, made with soya milk, or dairy free ice cream.

As you can probably suss from the daffodils this isn't the same crumble as the one I made today was eaten before I could take a photo!! 

Would just like to finish by saying happy fathers day again to my husband, who really is the most wonderful dad for George and Elsa.  Also to my own dad, who I love dearly. 


Friday, 17 June 2011

Todays mantra

This was my mantra for today!

We got this canvas while we were in Bury St Edmunds a couple of months ago, we had to get it, it was made for us!! 
It now has pride of place over the kitchen table, and we basically live by it.  I would dread to think how many cups of tea I have a day!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Stop and pause

As I sit here looking out at a very grey and dreary sky, I feel the need to remind myself that this is a British summer, and the sun DOES shine - occasionally!

These are a few shots I took quickly on my phone yesterday when we got back from nursery.

I love the shade of lavender against the red brick.

I'm not a very good gardener, and as we have inherited this garden I have even less chance of knowing what these flowers are, but they have just opened up and are so beautiful and delicate, swaying in the breeze.

They are hanging on for dear life really as they are right next to the children's sand pit!

These little white flowers are climbing up the wall next to the kitchen door.  They are a huge hit with the local bee and wasp population, which therefore I'm afraid does not make it a big hit with me!  I have a HUGE fear of bees and wasps, which I am trying to keep in check in front of the kids. 

The kids jumped at the chance to get out in the garden in the sunshine,and the sand pit is a big favourite, although Elsa is still learning it is NOT good to eat sand, and George needs constant reminders not to throw or kick sand in the air!

It makes me so happy though to see them playing together in the sun!

Its lovely just to stop, pause and appreciate what you can see and what you have. 

I am very lucky

Monday, 13 June 2011

Elsa's christening

It was our beautiful daughters christening on Sunday. It was such a wonderful and special day! I am now shattered though so I would thought I would quickly post some of my favourite images, from setting up for the lunch after the service. I totally went for a vintage girly theme, with lots and lots of flowers, tea cups, vintage, doilies and cakes!

Elsa looked so beautiful in her christening dress, she was an angel..........until the chocolate arrived! (see last image ;-) )
The pom pom flowers (my first attempt at making them) looked beautiful with the morning light coming through the window. If you look closely you can probably tell the order that they were made!

We went for a cup cake tower instead of a traditional cake, and lots and lots of cups of tea in these beautiful vintage tea cups! Some were my mums and some were my Mor Mors.

I made some garlands for the fireplaces with just some doilies, I think they turned out really well, simple but very pretty.
Assorted vintage plates on lace, ready for the mountain of cakes and sandwiches we were about to dish out!
I don't think many people could eat another thing at the end of it!
Note the very big chocolate stain!!!

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

House Tour #1

I have always loved interiors and design, starting when I was a child, moving the furniture around my bedroom to find the perfect layout. I then went on to painting some of the furniture when I had enough of moving it round! This led me to study architecture - I wonder if this is how all the great architects started out!
We are renting the house we are currently living in, so totally redecorating has been out of the question. I am really enjoying trying to make our house our home, kind of in the same way I used to rearrange my bedroom!
I would like to take you on a tour of our house, and show you what I have done. There is still a HUGE list of projects so this may take some time!
My favourite spot in our house is my side of the bed, partly because I am very rarely here!
We have 2 children who think 5.30am is a reasonable time to get up, so time spent here is sacred. It also houses some of my most precious possessions, I love that I can wake up each morning and these are the first things I see (as well as my husband!).
The bedside table was a lucky find on Freecycle, and had already been painted a cream, and sanded for a shabby chic effect.
Underneath I have a stash of books and magazines that are waiting to be read, or are half read, and are patiently waiting in the basket, for me to have a spare 5 minutes. (They are very patient!)
Hanging on the drawer handle is a little lace lavender heart given to be by my mum. It was in a set of 4, and I have them all hung around the bedroom on different handles, each one is different and although the fragrance has all but gone they are so pretty they are staying put.
The book is actually a notebook with a lovely cover illustrated with different types of roses. I need to keep a notebook by the bed to write my many lists in, and stop my head from spinning while I am trying to sleep. I love lists, they make me feel just a little bit organised!
The lamp is very simple cylinder of frosted glass. I love it for its simplicity but looking again maybe something taller, more interesting, might fill this space better? What do you think?
The pink rose was just picked from our garden this evening. It is from a large rose bush that grows next to the path to our front door. We didn't plant it so I have no idea what kind of rose it is (even if we had planted it I would have probably forgotten by now what kind it was!) The flowers have the most amazing scent, and every year as soon as the buds appear I am itching for them to open to allow me cut just a few to bring into the house. It just sits in a jam jar.
The music box was Mor Mor's. (My Grandma was Norwegian and so we called her Mor Mor, the Norwegian for mothers mother - I will hopefully write some more about her at some point as she was an incredible woman whom I miss immensely) I love the fact that somewhere along the way the bird has lost its beak, and I love that whenever the lid is lifted (now often by my son who refers to it as 'my magic box!') I am back in Mor Mor's bedroom, listening to the slow melody, playing with her buttons from her sewing box. I also have that sewing box now, and it is on my list for a little tlc, so hopefully I will be showing you pictures of it sooner rather than later!
On the bed is our brand new Orla Kiely duvet cover! I think this is my favourite of all her patterns to date. Another post is waiting to written about me and my relationship with patterns and colours - bet you can't wait! Just a year or so ago I would never have chosen this duvet, or had anything apart from white.
Finally, the flowers hanging from the bed post were from my wedding dress. I didn't actually wear them on the day as I
wore Mor Mor's broach in their place. (which I think looked much better!) Having them there though takes me back to one of the most important and special days of my life!