Sunday, 31 March 2013

...Easter egg hunting and egg bashing

Today has been lots of fun. Easter Sunday at my folks is a tradition that we all get ridiculously excited about, and today did not disappoint. At last the sun came out and for a couple of hours- it actually felt like Spring. For lunch we ate roast lamb, and rhubarb crumble with plenty of custard. Then the Easter bunnies (my dad and step-mum) came, and hid hundreds of chocolate treats all around the garden-and we were off, baskets in hands and eyes on stalks. The kiddos did very well this year, and we didn't do too badly either.

Next came egg bashing. This involves taking hard boiled eggs, painting them with bright and pretty colours and coating them in varnish. Then, you all stand in a circle and take it in turns to 'bash' each other's eggs. Once both ends of the egg are cracked, you are out. My dad won. Happy times.

I hope your day was also full of family fun and chocolate scoffing. Wishing you all a very happy Easter!

Maria x

Thursday, 28 March 2013

.... Pre Good Friday Fun

Hooray for holidays!! Maria and I have fulfilled our wish for a light hearted lazy start to the hols, by going to the cinema to watch a chick flick (Identity Theif) We have eaten our body weight and yearly salt intake of popcorn. Here is a little something to get us into the Easter Spirit. More Easter ideas to follow!

Gem x

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

...making the perfect chocolate Easter nests

Well, to be truthful, eating the perfect chocolate nests-made by my mother-in-law. We went to stay with the grandparents at the weekend, and the boy and his Granny got baking these goodies. The husband and I insist on a batch of these every year, as they are without doubt, the best chocolate Easter nests ever. You must give this recipe a try!

Chocolate Easter Nests

85g Shredded Wheat
75g milk chocolate
75g plain chocolate
50g butter
2tbsp golden syrup

1. Break the chocolate into pieces and put into a saucepan together with the butter and golden syrup and melt over a gentle heat until smooth.
2. Stir broken-up Shredded Wheat into chocolate mixture and spoon into cake cases. Shape a dip into the centre.
3. Chill in the fridge for a few hours. Fill with eggs.


Maria x

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

..... taking in some amazing Spring Sunsets

OK the weather has been particularly unfair this month, but every now and then I am treated to the most spectacular sunset. On these evenings (if I am home early enough) I like to jump on my bike and cycle around the harbour and watch the sun go down. There is some hope that summer is on its way!

Gem x

Monday, 25 March 2013

...making (a sort of) minestrone soup

It would appear that Gem and I are all about food that makes us feel cosy at the moment. It is so freaking cold outside! So I decided that there was only one thing for it; make soup.
I had the pleasure of tasting my sister-in-law's delicious minestrone soup recently. She followed and adapted the recipe from this website. As the husband has given up meat (and chocolate-much tougher apparently  for lent, I left the sausages that sis-in-law added and just stuck to the veggies. The end result was delicious-and so simple to make. I followed the recipe pretty much, only I substituted the spaghetti for macaroni, and forgot to add the cabbage. Oh well, it was still pretty tasty, and it warmed us up a treat! Plus, I have leftovers that will sort us for lunch this week. Happytimes!

What are your favourite Winter-Warmers for March?!

Maria x

Sunday, 24 March 2013

....making bunny bread (trying to)

It has been sooo cold this weekend it feels like we are going back into Winter. But it has been lovely, catching up with friends, trying on bridesmaid dresses and going to a friends gig. To finish of a great weekend, I thought I would enter the Easter spirit and have a go at making some Bunny Bread.

I pinned this on my pinterest board months ago with the mission of one day making one! The recipe and details can be found on this brilliant website  'serious eats'

Perfect Bunny (image from Seriouseats) 

Mine is resting for a while but it does not look as perfect as this bun! 

You will need 

Bread Flour 
Olive Oil 
(And some good arms for kneading) 

I won't talk you through the recipe as it is on the above link. But here are some photos; 

Bubbling yeast 

Add oil and Salt 

Knead and rest 


Knead and Shape 

Cutting for bunny parts (haha) 

Looking like a pretty flat bunny! This could be a pinterest disaster!

YEPPPPPPPPPP! (So funny!) 


 Pinterest disaster! Haha mine looked more like a turtle! Or rabbit Road kill! Oh well.. hopefully it will taste good! 

Have a great week! 

Gem x

Friday, 22 March 2013

...... collecting and listening to Vinyl

This time of year, on a Friday I am usually planning with friends which car boot we are going to hit for a good old womble. But unfortunately England is being hit by some typically wet and cold weather. So my car booting urges are going to have to wait. I am usually looking out for old cameras, old books, hand knitted blankets (Any blankets) and always on the search for some good quality Vinyl. I've been pretty lucky so far! My mum and dad have a big collection of Bob Dylan but I'm not allowed to have them as they are still huge favourites. I've yet to pick up any of his Albums at a good price, perhaps everyone knows the value of his voice sounding through their speakers. I am also on the look out for the Grateful Dead, but these are also proving hard to find! So until the sun comes out I'm just going to have to enjoy my lot. I'm hoping the music will be a good pick me up, it's hard to keep happy when the wind and rain is beating at your windows or in fact dripping from your ceiling onto your bed as it was last night! These famous lyrics  come to my mind lately;

"On a cold and frosty morning,

Wipe my eyes and stop me yawning.
And my feet are nearly frozen,
Boil the tea and put some toast on"

These are some of my favourites LP's:

Maybe a wet Sunday won't be so bad after all! 

As if the music wasn't enough, you also take home some of the most lovely cover work. Worthy of a few pound in itself I think. I was so pleased when I got the Sgt Pepper Beatles Album for only £2.50. 

But I always find it is the inside pockets and covers that are always the best surprises! 


Work it Lionel!!

I love these sleeve cover from Fleetwood Mac - Rumours

Have a great weekend!

Gem x

Thursday, 21 March 2013

...seeing our first guest post!

Happy raining Thursday eveyone!
We are super-dooper busy today, so this is just a quicky to say that our guest post is now up. Please click here to see it.
Thank you for having us Crafts and Giggles!

Maria and Gem x

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

.... mid week inspiration

It is a really busy time at work at the moment, and I am really finding that there just isn't enough time in the week to cram in all the creative activities I'd like to do.  So I have been cheering myself up and finding all sorts of inspiration whilst lying on the sofa relaxing!

Here are my most recent creative stumbles and discoveries;

My sister sent me this link very late last week, with this simple message;
"Check out this video on YouTube:
You will love her Breton tops & her videos xxxx

I really like the simple concept and the mixed media of live action and animation  -maia vidal is a new favourite! I love finding new music and artists. (Send them my way if you have any new favourites!)

Another project that I have been following is the online photography project 'you are my wild' where keen photographers have been chosen to document their families every day lives. The portraits are heart warming and moving. I hope to capture the spirit of this project one day when I have a family of my own! House of Habit are a huge favourite, these lovely photographs have been captured by Jessica Krauss who lives in Carona CA, her blog is amazing check it out here! houseofhabit

Sometimes my imagination is sparked when I least expect it to be, I found this on a tired morning just before work and I was mesmerised! It's incredible how skilled people can be! This is my mission - Clay Light house!

Looking forward to spring to finally arrive and for longer evenings for daydreaming and making!

Gem x

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

...reading new books with the little fella

Some of our dearest friends came to stay last weekend. They showered us with generous gifts of chocolates, bubbles, a bag of storybooks, flowers, and even eggs freshly laid from their chickens. We were spoilt rotten.
Our favourite of all the books is the delightful 'Hooray for Bread' by Allan Ahlberg and Bruce Ingman . It tells the story of a loaf of bread from being baked in the oven, to being made into sandwiches for lunch, to crumbs and leftovers being fed to the birds. The boy loves it not only because of the beautiful illustrations and the catchy, memorable rhyme, but because it reminds him of his 'Poppy' (my dad), who bakes the most delicious bread.

You can read about my dad's bread here, and about other storybooks we love here.
Happy reading!
Maria x

Monday, 18 March 2013

.....making waffles

My love for waffles happened at university when I would travel home and get off at Bristol Temple Meads train station, I would be welcomed into my home town with the waft off the sweet smell, my uni friends and I would talk each other into buying one, I would always resist the cream and chocolate, these waffles were fine just as they were. As it's the new year and I am on a saving spree, up to this point I have resisted on Lidls middle Aisle,(you know the aisle of miscellaneous things that you don't really need) But last week I fell for the waffle machine. After careful inspection of it's specification and learning it was made in Sweden (they must know a thing or two about Waffle machines) I decided it would be money well spent. And that I would cut down my weekend trips to cafes for breakfast! So here are the results, I'll stop waffling now! (eeeek! Sorry)

2 Cups of plain flour
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1/2 tablespoon of salt
1 3/4 cups of milk
6 tablespoons of veg oil
2 large eggs
A large bowl for the mix
Waffle Maker

Add your 2 cups of flour, Salt and baking powder into your mixing bowl, mix all your dried ingredients up! 

Then add all your wet ingredients - Milk and eggs and 6 table spoons of oil - Whisk into a nice 
looking batter and rest for 5 mins

As neatly as you can place batter in the heated waffle maker (I'm so messy) 

Then cook for a few minutes (until brown & crispy) 

They should be puffy and golden! 

Drizzle over your favourite topping and EAT! YumYum 

I have just googled alternatives - Some people add 1/2 evaporated milk for plain milk, I bet this is delicious, and like pancakes you can add blueberries, and cream and strawberries, whatever 
tickles your taste buds! 

I'll be ok just as long as I don't eat one everyday! 

Have a great week! 

gem x

Sunday, 17 March 2013

...guest blogging

Just a quickie to give you a sneak preview of our guest post for a fellow craft blog this week. It's our first ever guest post, and we are pretty excited about it. Gem and I had lots of fun making these bad boys the other evening-I love that Easter is nearly here!

We'll let you know when our post is up and where to find it very soon. Until then, happy Sunday!
Maria x