If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you may have noticed a few photos of me shopping popping up last week. You may have wondered what I was doing in House of Fraser without my motley crew on a Tuesday. I was reclaiming my girlie-ness and having a great time being treated like a dress up doll!
Just before Christmas I won a contest by Water Babies (with this piece) and my prize was a consultation and shopping trip with Julie from Stylefish, a fashion expert and really wonderful woman. We worked on creating looks that could either be for playdates or date dates And here’s the results
I love shopping and clothes and all that kind of stuff but I’ve left some of that by the wayside since having kids and especially since leaving work. I don’t need to dress up any more and I’m terrified of wearing some of my favourite vintage pieces around my messy boys. My body has been in a constant state of flux through pregnancies, breastfeeding and stress so it’s harder to shop and has stopped being fun.
Julie helped change all that. We talked about my body shape and how to compliment it. I’m a pear and I know that. I’ve heard everything Gok and Trinny have to say about what I can and can’t wear, but Julie took a different approach. Rather than feeling like I was somehow letting the fashion gods down by not looking like a perfect size 0 in a pair of skinnies, she talked to me about ways to wear the styles I like while bringing out my best features and keeping things in proportion. We also talked about colour (I’m Autumn) and how to the right colour can affect your mood. Just like body shape, colours are about brining out your natural colouring. I’m deep and warm.
It all makes sense and was refreshing to start shopping with a new perspective. To look at clothes and think that’s not made for me rather than I’m not made for it (with the implication being that my hips aren’t quite living up to standards). Along with getting a make over, I’ve had a pass through my closet and found some new ways to put clothes together and finally purged items that just made me feel sad. Everything is bright and happy and joyful in this house, so my clothes should be too!
Here’s a taste of the day and some of the fun I had. I really love the yellow Warehouse tunic, but it was ridiculously hard to take off (if only the zipper was a couple of inches longer!) I think I need much more yellow in my life!
Alex discovered his shadow (and chased it all the way into a pole)
Pancakes, is there anything better? I mean any vehicle for syrup is pretty great in my books, now add some chocolate and you’ve got something to keep you happy even on the dreariest winter day. We are firmly and American pancake household on Pancake Day (nothing against crepes, we dig em but there’s a bit of market saturation around here) and this year we took our basic pancake recipe and added cocoa powder and chocolate chips to make it double trouble, double delight! Now if this isn’t your thing, check out my healthy wholemeal and blueberry pancakes.
We added 2 tablespoons of fair trade cocoa powder to our basic mix so that it looked like a chocolate mousse. Here’s a tip: lightly beat the egg and mix. If you over stir, it could become too chewy (delicious, but chewy). As the first side is cooking, add the chocolate chips and don’t be stingy! After your first pancake, you’ll get some nice chocolatey stripes one one side from the previous melted chips. Yum!
They are messy, but good. Now you could just eat them with bacon and tons of syrup as I am prone to do or you could add a bit of whipped cream, cherries, strawberries and bacon hair (everyone needs bacon hair). However you eat your pancakes, have a delicious day!
This is our basic pancake recipe taken from last year’s Apple Cinnamon Pancake recipe (and doubled)
- 350g plain flour
- 500ml milk
- 2 eggs (lightly beaten)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 2 tbsp fair trade cocoa powder
- pinch of salt
- 100g dark chocolate chips
1. In medium bowl mix flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt. 2. In a large bowl mix the eggs, milk and vanilla (only lightly beat the egg) 3. Sift the dry ingredients into wet, carefully folding in so you don’t over stir. 4. Grease a griddle pan and once it’s hot spoon a ladle full of batter and drop your chocolate chips in (don’t be stingy!). 5. Once the edges start to look cook and the center batter looks set, flip it over for another couple of minutes. 6. Cover with syrup or make a funny face with whipped cream, strawberries and cherries.
Last Saturday I had the great pleasure of attending a cooking class in the home Lily Ramirez-Foran from My Mexican Cook and My Mexican Shop. And now I can say she’s my Mexican teacher and friend. (Sorry, wicked cheesy) I was so excited when I discovered Lily and her shop. I think just knowing I could get tortillas and beans not from Old El Paso helps me through my homesickness. When I saw that Lily was opening up her kitchen to teach tortilla making, I knew I had to be there.
With five other lovely girls (bloggers and foodies) we learned not just how to make corn tortillas, but an amazing Yucatan style chicken, Rajas Poblanas, chorizo-style potatoes, salsa and guacamole. It was so laid back and really quite fun. Everyone awed when we pressed our first tortilla and cheered when they puffed. My iphone pictures don’t give the day justice as I was covered in masa most of the time, but that mountain of guacamole is making my tummy rumble.
On Tuesday I cooked everything for the family and they totally loved it. I learned that while I’m often homesick for Tex-Mex, real Mexican food is so much better. I feel like I was cheated slightly. I’d like to think my San Antonio family would be proud of my efforts and really hope Lily has another class soon, there’s so much more to make!
If you’ve never tried cooking real, honest to goodness Mexican food (not a fajita kit!) get over to her blog now. All the recipes are easy and quick and so freakin good! Gracias Lily for a really wonderful afternoon!
Did you go to summer camp and make mountains upon mountains of friendship bracelets? I totally did. They are rad and always make me think of hot summer days on the Gulf of Mexico (my camp was an awesome hippie beach camp in Port A). So why not cut through the gloom of this never ending winter with some flossy fun! Here are two basic styles using the same knotting technique to get you started.
For both you’ll need several strands of coloured embroidery floss about the length of your arm. Knot it at one end leaving plenty of spare thread to tie up when you’re done. Either tape or pin the knotted end down (I would usually safety pin it to the cuff of my jeans while hanging out on the lawn).
The twisty tube style was always my favourite, possibly because it was a lot faster to make and a lot easier to do without paying attention. You’ll use the same basic knot as the traditional bracelet, but it covers all the floss at one time (rather than individual strands as explained below). First step is to knot and tape down your floss. Spread out your strands to make sure there are no tangles (image 1) and decide your beginning colour. Pull that to the side and group the other colours together. Now with your starting colour (black) to the right of the others, cross under the strands (image 2). Then pull the main colour (black) over the multi-strands and under itself (image 3). It’s like making a number 4 with your thread) Hold the multi-strands tight and pull the black tread until the knot moves up to the top of the bracelet. Keep doing this until your get the colour block size you want (image 4). Switch to your next colour and repeat (image 5).
For a traditional bracelet, the number of threads you have will correspond to the width of your bracelet (skinny as seen in image 1 and thick in image 2). Knot your thread, tape it down and spread it out evenly. You want to keep your colours in the same order as you work. Begin to work with the colour you want to appear, in this case it’s yellow. Working for left to right, take your main colour thread (yellow) and place it under the first strand (red), loop it over the strand and under itself then pull tightly to make a knot (image 3). Repeat with the next colour (image 4) and then the next until you come to the end of the row. Continue working that colour until you achieve your desired colour block size (image 5). Switch to the next colour and repeat. You can play around with different patterns. Another easy alternative is to switch colours after each row to make stripes.
That’s it, easy peasy! Now sit back, crank up the heat and you could practically be back in summer!