Pumpkin Carving

We’ve been taking it easy this half term as Miss L’s still getting better, so we’ve spent most of the week making Halloween decorations and pumpkin carving.

We used a template from a book we bought and then got scouping and carving. These we made for my Mum and her neighbour, and we’ll make more for our house tomorrow.

To see more fabulous pumpkins check out Mediocre Mum’s Pumpkin Carving Competition – some fabulous entries!

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Down came the Cupboard

This weekend we finally took down the cupboard that has been bugging me for 7 years – why do I never do these things sooner?  I can’t believe how much more spacious the kitchen feels and how much lighter the room is in general.  The wall needs a bit of filler and love, but it should be fine to put the new shelves on – which is great as I had images of all the plaster coming down with the cupboard!

Here’s the before:

What it currently looks like after taking down the right hand cupboard and with the newly painted cupboard doors – new sink and worktop to come:

One of the fantastic finds behind the cupboard was this 1940’s/50’s wallpaper turns out it’s 1980’s so now not feeling bad about ditching it!

Very glam for a kitchen wasn’t it?

So this week will be stripping off the awful backing paper that’s on the walls, filling holes and then covering the walls with Acrylic White Primer.  Then I can decide what colour to paint the walls, cream, white or pale green??  I’m just keeping these images in my head, and hoping I end up with something half as lovely.

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D Day is nearly here..

The kitchen is finally getting there, one more cupboard door to paint along with some general wooden bits around the upper cabinets.  Tomorrow the top right cupboard is coming off and if the wall doesn’t come down with it, the new open shelves are going up.  I should imagine that my husband and Dad will get all gungho and probably take out the bottom one as well once they get going.

I have the name of someone to fit the new worktop, I just need to decide what it’s going to be and order that and a new sink and taps. I’m now thinking of paint colours and what fabric to have the blind made into?  But MOST MOST importantly I AM GETTING A DISHWASHER!!!!  I am 38 years old and I have never ever owned one, even when I lived at home we didn’t have one.  I never have to wash up again, and yes I know that everyone says you argue about loading it – but I don’t care it’s still better than standing with your hands in crappy water for 40 minutes a day while the dog cuddles you – whether you like it or not!.

So now the important part – which one do I get??  Here’s the one I want and I know I won’t get because it’s ridiculously expensive:

I love this one, it’s got two separate drawers for lazy people like me who never put anything away, or do at the last minute. But at £929 it’s a pipe dream and I need to be less lazy!

This is the most beautiful dishwasher I have ever seen and I love it to death but once again insanely expensive at £803, and I can’t see me swaying my ever practical husband by saying ‘isn’t it so pretty in red?’.  So I suspect it’s going to be a very dull, run of the mill Bosch dishwasher we end up with.

But I need your advice. What should I look for in the way of settings?  Any models you recommend? Is noise a problem?  What to avoid like the plague? What advice can you give to a dishwasher virgin?

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{Book Review} Witchcraft – Halloween Craft Fun

I was sent this book a couple of weeks ago but didn’t get a chance to look at it until now.  Miss L is still off school, much better than she was and is now bored out of her head so this book has come in handy for Halloween craft ideas.

It’s a collection of over 25 ideas from Bloggers and Etsy Store owners like PeculiarMomma, Knitting with Floss and EmandSprout amongst others.  I love the idea of a book of Blogger inspired goodness, it really made me smile.

As you’d expect the ideas are fresh, stylish and fun, and more importantly for a non crafty person like me – easy to make!  If you’re a knitter there are some cute patterns for mini witches, Dracula’s candy bow,  knitted bones and my personal favourite the ‘Vampire bite’ necklace – which is so cool!

We’re going to make the graveyard cupcakes, ghosts toasts (to pop in soup), the cute tangerine pumpkins and some bottled ‘potions’ to give to Miss L’s friends.  If you’re into Halloween Crafts or want some projects to keep the kids entertained over half term it’s a fun book.  I’ve just added to the Violet Posy Amazon Book Store and it’s £6.99 (normally £9.99 in stores) but check with your local library – they may have a copy.

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I wrote this on Saturday morning because I really didn’t have a clue what else to do with myself. But to let you all know we got home yesterday and Miss L is doing really well thanks to all the fantastic care by the staff at Addenbrookes children’s unit.  I’d also like to thank not only our family and friends but everyone on Twitter and Facebook who gave us so much support with such kind messages when we were in there – it really meant a lot.


It’s 7am and I’m sitting watching my family sleep peacefully, except we’re not at home we’re in hospital. Once again the NHS has come to the aid of my family and we couldn’t be more grateful.

Last night Miss L’s after days of being ill temperature shot up to 41.5 degrees and we just couldn’t get it down. I sat with her in the bath trying to cool her down, crying silently so she wouldn’t realise and therefore not scare her; because my ‘mummy’ sense was telling me something was really wrong and there was nothing I could do to fix it.

When we got her out I saw a  dark rash that was starting to spread across her body. Panic at that point totally set in, and we got her dressed, popped her into the car and drove straight to our Children’s A&E.

They gave her meds and tried to cool her down but by 1am it was apparent she needed further intervention and they put in a cannula to give her IV antibiotics. But the first cannula failed and missed her vein (in fairness we have rubbish veins in my family!) so it took a further 3 attempts to get one in. Bless her, despite being obviously terrified she sat there and took it, whilst consoling the Dr with ‘it’s okay, practice makes perfect’. 🙂

At 2am they decides to admit her for the night and we were bought to the children’s ward by the fabulous a&e sister who sang to Miss L and gave her a ‘being brave’ award. I can’t thank her enough for all the professionalism her team showed whilst we were in her care. The place was full, but nothing was too much trouble.

Thankfully the children’s ward (which last night was ‘Florence Nightengaleesq’ – lots of nurses with torches) has a bed right next to the childs, so we’ve been taking it in turns to sleep

So here we are waiting for Miss L to wake up and hopefully feel better. I have everything crossed.

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Sick Day

An odd illness has descended upon our house. I picked up Miss L from school yesterday and just before she came out her teacher took me to one side said that she’d been very pale all afternoon.  When Miss L walked out of school, she took one look at me and burst into floods of tears, when I cuddled her I realised she was burning up.

It turns out that she’d been feeling ill since lunchtime and didn’t like to say anything and her friends had been helping her get from class to class – poor thing!  I got her home and took her temperature which was 40.5, so obviously straight into a bath and was given some Calpol and Nurofen to bring her temperature down. But it didn’t come down that much only a degree, and while I couldn’t see a rash on her anywhere, she was complaining of a headache and everywhere hurting – so I called the Doctor.

I’m more than a little bit paranoid about Meningitis. I worked with a woman year ago who’s niece died at age 6 from it, and it happened within 24 hours – just horrific!. Since then if there is anything like this I’m straight down to the GP and demanding to see someone – I’m sure they must have a paranoid note on my records!  But I’d rather look stupid than not get her help straight away.

But Miss L was checked out and thankfully no sign of an infection,  her ears and throat all ok, just a really, really high temperature – which is still there this morning.  And guess what…yes I have it this morning as well!  So today will mostly be us snuggling in bed and sleeping.  I have a massive pile of magazines I’ve not read, and she has CBBC on the ipad to keep her company.  Hopefully it’s a quick virus and we’ll both be better tomorrow.

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Lazy Pumpkin Pie

*heart* this stuff
Photo Credit: Flickrstream jillmotts

{A repost from Autumn 2008 – for my Twitter friends who wanted pie}

Yes I know I’m British, but I became addicted to Pumpkin Pie when I lived in Canada 10 12 years ago and it’s one of the few things I can bake really well.  I think that it should be eaten more widely here, so I’m out to convert as many Brits as I can!

Here’s my easy recipe (kind of from the Can and translated into English):

You’ll need the following from Waitrose as it’s the only place I’ve found that sell all these bits, but maybe you can get them in your local supermarket?

1 10-12 inch ready made Sweet Pie case

1 Can of Pumpkin (Waitrose is the only place I’ve found this – been looking for years let me know if it’s anywhere else!)

1 Can of Evaporated Milk

3/4 cup of sugar

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves

2 large eggs

Pre-Heat oven at 220c Gas Mark 7  for 15 minutes while you make the pie

Get a large bowl, add the Pumpkin, Eggs, Sugar, Evaporated Milk and the spices (and all things nice) combine and mix until smooth and then pour into the Sweet Pie Case.

Reduce the oven to 180c Gas Mark 4  and then cook for 40-50 minutes (depends on if you have a fan oven or not).  It’ll look solid and do the old clean knife test to see if it’s done. You’re supposed to leave it to cool for 2 hours but ours normally lasts about 30 minutes before we’re adding the cream and eating it :)

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{The Gallery} – Week 31 ‘My Favourite Picture’

Tara’s theme this week is ‘ Your favourite photo. And why.’

This is mine:

This was probably taken Spring 1973 and it’s me and my Dad.  I think in this photo my Dad would be about 23, and I’m guessing I was just over a year.  I was given it and other photos fairly recently by some elderly family friends who wanted to give us the Polaroid photos they had of us.  It was really sweet as otherwise I’d never have seen them.

To me, this photo sums up everything about our relationship, the give and take and how much we love each other and that makes it my favourite photo. Love you Dad xxx

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Yesterday my family were really sweet and let me have a nap, while they popped to the supermarket. And they bought me a present back, this fabulous looking pumpkin.

Which is a really, really perfect pumpkin with a difference

It’s tiny!

I’m dying to get more of these and make them into mini lanterns for Halloween, the are Munchkin Pumpkins from Waitrose but at 99p a bit pricey. So I’m hoping that when we go pumpkin picking this weekend we’ll find more the same size and not just massive ones. Wish me luck!

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{Toy Review} Pocket Scope Review

Back in September we were sent a huge box of toys for Miss L to review, well we’re still working our way through them!  Today’s review is the Pocket Scope which is according to Google Shopping £9.97 in Tescos. Now my girl loves her science more than anything and I was really surprised that she’s left it this long to play with it. But I had bought her in the summer a ‘proper’ microscope from the local toy shop, so maybe that’s why she didn’t dive into it first?

But today after lunch she decided it was time to break it out and see what it could do. It’s really small and that is a massive plus as it makes it so portable and easy to store – always winners in my book!

Here’s the review from Miss L:

‘It’s better than my other microscope, it’s very ingenious. I can take it to school and keep it a secret’  10/10

Liz’s view:

I love it, it’s much easier to use than a traditional microscope, it’s small and that makes it easier for little hands to use – also less likely to break it. The two slides that come with it have some interesting textures which made it fun to use out of the box. I can see us getting a lot of use out of it, great for kids who are into science 10/10

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Link Love – The Halloween Edition

Forgive my absence this week, but it’s been manic.  I’ve been making all sorts of blogs beautiful check out Tales from the Village which is the latest one to go live and I have another going live on Monday.

It’s been Harvest Festival this week as well, so Miss L and I were busy putting together a beautiful box. Also this year the new school had a competition, the children were asked to make a bread shape for Harvest and there would be an award for the winner. Miss L decided that we should make the cathedral out of dough – no small task!  We had loads of fun doing it, I don’t think for one minute we’ll win but it was hilarious, dough and flour everywhere!

We’ve also been getting into the mood for Halloweeen, as you can see by the blog. A huge thank you to Shabby Miss Jenn and her talented team for the images – I couldn’t have made better. Check out her Shabby Blog Store I adore it!  I also found the Martha Stewart ‘Halloween’ magazine in WH Smiths – it’s fantastic with all sorts of ideas for decorating, parties and food. So with that in mind here are my favourite Halloween inspired posts from my Google Reader this week.

13 Free Halloween Printables from Living Locurto

From Fantasy to Fete Fright Night – Coco + Kelley

Best Cake Topper Ever – Jan’s Gems

Creepy Candles – The Summer Kitchen Journal

Halloween Cupcakes 101 – Tip Junkie

32 Creative Ways with Pumpkins – Tip Junkie

How to Preserve your Jack o lantern – Tip Junkie

Halloween Countdown – Martha Stewart Blog

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{Thrifty Christmas} Guest Post – Rock and Bowl

Today’s guest post is from the blog ‘Where the Brass Band Plays’ over to the fabulously named tiddlyompompom

Last year we had a makey-doey christmas. We did it out of necessity (huge family, maternity pay ending etc etc), but it turned out to be really fun. Hard work, but fun.

One of the things we made were bowls from vinyl records. So easy and so cool. I was asked by several people how we made them, and I promised to write it up here so they too could melt stuff. Being the kind of person who gets things done eventually, here, ten months later, is how to make a record bowl.

You will need:

  • an oven (230F, 130C, 1/2 gas mark)
  • a record you no longer wish to listen to
  • an oven proof bowl
  • a bowl to put record in to shape it
  • oven gloves

First up, choose a record that you no longer want. We got some from charity shops and were able to choose bands appropriate to the person we were giving it to.

a record that needed to be melted if ever there was one

Put the oven proof bowl upside down on the oven shelf and place the record on top of the bowl.

cooking a record

Leave for ten minutes.

WARNING: The record will be UNBELIEVABLY HOT when you take it out, so use oven gloves or tongs. Unless you don’t want skin on your fingers, in which case carry on.

Put the record into your other bowl and shape. You will have to work fast as the vinyl will cool quickly.

record bowl

If you’re not happy with the shape of your bowl, just put it back in the oven and start again.

Once you have got it into a shape you are happy with leave it to cool.

record bowl 2

Then use/give away as you please.

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