25 Apr 2013

The best sausages in town!

We have recently been frequenting a lovely place called Quintessential Meats. It's in Berkshire, near Windsor and they are Farm Butchers.  So it's a bit like a mini farm shop, mainly focussing on the meats side of things, but with some lovely vege's and deli bits & bobs.  It is run by a lovely couple called James and Charlotte (you can read about them and see a picture of their sweet little family here) and next to the shop is their little house and the pig pens.  I am afraid to say that those pigs are responsible for some of the best sausages I have ever eaten, but they are also great looking beasts with some brilliant personalities, as I discovered when I went to do a piggy photo shoot last weekend. 

I have been selling some of my cards at Quintessential Meats for a couple of months now, but my designs were mainly winter and Christmas themed, so I am now setting about getting some more general ones done.  The sort to appeal to country folk, farming communities and ladies-wot-lunch alike.  But now, most excitingly, my piggy photo shoot is going to help me produce some larger pictures for James and Charlotte to display on their walls. So those gorgeous pigs can be forever immortalised above the butcher's counter!  A tad ironic? Maybe. But very fitting I say!

I shall try and keep updating the blog with my progress on the pigs.  It'll be nice to be able to follow a couple of my pieces through, from start to finish.

10 Apr 2013

Project Highchair Cushion!!

I recently posted about Pippy being a little bit slippy in her highchair (like what I did there?!).  Well, I decided that, rather than buy one of the inserts which are supposed to fit the chair (which I just don't like!), I will make my own instead.

Our highchair - Mothercare Valencia

So, I first made a pattern up out of newspaper by laying it on the chair and drawing around the seat, back and sides.

I used these to cut out the foam pads..... let me tell you, shaping foam using scissors is not easy!!  I cut some slits in the back too, to allow me to feed the harness straps through, something the shop versions are lacking.  Look at me, I am soooooo clever! 

I then used the pattern, adding a couple of inches all around, to cut out the fabric. (Yes, it would have made sense to draw the pattern bigger in the first place, cut the fabric and then trim off the extra to use for the foam, but I only thought of that afterwards, never mind!) I chose a dotty sage green oilcloth.....wipe clean. Essential!! 

Then to the sewing machine! I sewed up 3 sides, sewing in tapes at the corners for attaching the cushion to the chair.  Stuffing the foam into the covers, especially the side panels, proved to be rather tricky and may have involved the use of more than one swear word on my part.

Once I had sewed the sides onto the back panel (this proved to be the biggest logical puzzle EVER, I had major issues trying to work out in what order to attach the panels together and leave openings whilst still being able to turn it all inside out so I could stuff each bit with the foam,  arghh!) I just had to hand sew the openings up and......voila!

Pippy approves.  And doesn't slip out.  Bonus!

8 Apr 2013

An amazing find

I just had to post about this place we went to for lunch, it was that good. 

Today we travelled to a village just outside Henley, called Stonor, where we went for lunch with friends at a place called The Quince Tree.  It's fairly newly built (on the site of an old pub) and is a restaurant, cafe, deli, pub, farm shop all in one. We went to the cafe bit, but it's not like any cafe I've been to before, the food was amazing! 

Husband had the venison scotch egg deli board........very appropriate as there were loooads of Fallow deer
milling about!

I had the caesar salad, complete with a "crispy egg", I had been wondering how this would be acheived.  It was yum!

In the deli / farm shop section they had lots of delicious goodies and some really nice home ware and kitchen accessories, the kinds of things which will look perfect beside my big aga, in my farmhouse kitchen (in my dreams).  

We were visiting two of my favourite girl friends, one of whom is a florist and lives and works in that area.  They had a few of her gorgeous planters there for sale and she does all their floral displays too.  She is the most amazing wedding florist too so check her check her out if you've got a big day coming up......Emma Walker Flowers.

Anyway, I love the place so much that I thought it would be a great place to try and sell some of my cards or pictures.  So I am getting busy, busy, busy to try and get some more card designs on the go.  Of course, I shall have to go and see them again to try and charm them into agreeing with my brilliant plan, maybe I shall have to have lunch there again at the same time?......Oh dear, such a shame. 

Watch this space!

6 Apr 2013

A Rufus update

So what has Rufus been up to lately? Well.........

Watching pheasants on the patio.....torture!

 How many toys and balls can I fit into my mouth at once?!

Please kick one........pleeeeaaase?!!

....and lovely long walks in the Mendips with my friends.


The teething grumblings have been ongoing for about 2 months now, but a couple of weeks ago I knew my poor girl was well and truly teething.  Those little toothie-pegs had really begun to make their presence known and so off Mummy trotted to Boots to buy an arsenal of gels, granules, liquids and painkillers. Here's what I included in my selection:

Here's what I thought of each - 

1. Dentonox Gel
To be honest, I personally found that the Dentinox gel stopped Pippa in her tracks whilst she tasted it but 2 minutes later she was grizzling again. 

2. Teetha sachets
I only tried a couple of the Teetha sachets (lent to me by a friend) and I ended up spilling most of the powdery contents over myself and Pip so it wasn't the best start! I've heard from friends that Teetha is really good for the side effects of teething, rather than particularly helping the pain of them coming through. As yet Pippa doesn't seem to be exhibiting too many other signs so I can't comment.

3. Anbesol
This is a combined antiseptic and local anaesthetic. It's a small bottle and you just wet your finger then rub it on their gums. I found it worked really well, it seemed to have the instant effect like the Dentinox but also kept her much happier for quite a while afterwards.

4. Teething toys and painkillers
If Pippa was particularly suffering I'd turn to Calpol or Calprofen and I always had a teething toy in the fridge for her to gnaw on!

I say 'had' because after the initial couple of weeks the teething seemed to die back down.  It is only in the last couple of days that I think the little gnashers have started to re-rear their ugly little heads. 

I shall have to get my arsenal prepped and ready again....I hope they make a swift appearance! But on the other hand I always think that those first teeth and having a full head of hair are two things which really make babies start to look more like toddlers.  Her hair is certainly getting thicker now so it is only a matter of time. Wahhh! 

(these are from a few weeks ago, but she still loves these toys, thank you Grandma!)

Mummy went AWOL.......again!

Oh dear.......I have no excuse whatsoever for having not blogged for 3 and a bit weeks, other than being lazy and letting it all back up so that it becomes a bigger and bigger task to update.

But I am back and am determined to fill my little space of t'internet with our family's latest goings ons.  So off I go to do just that!

3 Apr 2013

It's all about the sitting up.....and the press-ups!

Basically just an excuse to post a load of photos of Pippa being propped up, balanced and wedged into any form of sitting position! 

 The "wedge" technique....



The frog position....



Ooops! Slipped down!

The balancing method....



A bit of work on the core.....

And......ta dah!!   (with a little help!)

10/04/2013: Update - Pippa is now sitting on her own, no propping or wedging required.  Still the odd bit of balancing though!