Monday, 16 April 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 16

I did my meal plan for this week on Sunday and intended to nip out for an hour and pick up a few groceries while my husband looked after the baby... but with one thing and another it didn't happen, and we even ended up getting dinner Sunday night from McDonald's via Uber Eats - which went cold as the baby then needed feeding! I ended up feeding S at midnight and sitting up with her for a while to make sure she settled and didn't need burping again, and at the same time did an online shop on my mobile phone that's being delivered today! The wonders of modern technology.. and the things I get up to in the early hours of the morning these days!

So here's this week's revised meal plan

Monday
Dinner: chicken kievs

Tuesday
Dinner: spaghetti Bolognese/ spaghetti and meatballs

Wednesday 
Dinner: roast chicken

Thursday
Dinner: tacos with leftover mince

Friday
Dinner: chicken curry with leftover chicken

Saturday
Lunch: breakfast burritos 
Dinner: toad in the hole

Sunday
Lunch: spaghetti carbonara
Dinner: Persian chicken with walnut pomegranate sauce from this recipe

Link up your meal plan here:

Friday, 13 April 2018

Oriental Dress Birthday Card

 
I loved Arthur Golden's book Memoirs of a Geisha which I read many years ago, so it was a nice throwback when I saw it had been chosen as the theme for the Library Challenge, which is for crafters who love books.

I had a pack of both outline stickers and die cuts I bought years ago that I never really knew what to do with, in the shape of Oriental dresses and fans. They are quite detailed and large so take up most of a typical card and I was never really sure how to make the most of them.

They seemed just right for this particular card challenge so I decided to make a very quick and simple card using one of the colourful cardboard die cuts. I used a pre-printed card blank which creates quite a busy pattern with the die cut, but the colours and flower shapes are complementary at the same time.

I finished the card with a pink 'special day' sticker.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Car, Map and Signpost Birthday Card



 
I treated myself to the latest issue of Creative Stamping and indulged myself in making a few cards one day while the baby was asleep. There was a large A4 sheet of clear stamps as the free cover gift that had a travel and transport theme - handy to make cards for men.
 
#
I decided to make a version of the card featured on the front cover of the magazine with a few differences. First I stamped the road map rubber stamp multiple times over a white square card blank - you can only tell the pattern repeats if you look closely!
 
Then I cut a border to go around three sides from an old envelope I'd received in the post and kept. Next I used the car stamp and the signpost stamp on red card and cut around them and stuck them onto the card. I stamped the top part of the signpost again so I could cut out two of the arms and use a small adhesive pad to raise them from the card.
 

I used the 'enjoy your birthday' sentiment stamps as on the card on the magazine cover, and mounted them on red card so the colours brought the whole card together. I like this card but unfortunately after making it I can't find the car stamp anywhere - that's the problem with clear stamps!

I'm sharing this with Cardz 4 Guyz where the theme is travel or transport and Craft Stamper where anything goes as long as you use a stamp, Moo Mania where the theme is masculine and Challenge Up Your Life where the theme is vehicles.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 15

Only a day late which isn't bad given my five week old baby is taking up most of my time at the moment!

Monday
lasagne that I batch cooked and froze for me, spicy chicken for my husband

Tuesday
fish cake for me, sausage and mash for him

Wednesday
Cajun chicken and potato wedges

Thursday
chicken cacciatore from my batch cooking in the freezer for me, cheese omelette and chips for him

Friday
chicken goujons for him, scampi for me

Saturday - my sister and her partner visiting (postponed from two weeks ago as their daughter was ill)
lunch - chicken enchiladas
dinner - frozen pizza after our guests leave

Sunday
lunch - either bacon sandwich or pancakes or breakfast burritos depending on what we fancy
dinner - I'd like to do a roast but that would mean buying some meat by Sunday!

Link up your own meal plan here:

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Under the Weather Get Well Card

 
I adored this SugarPea Designs 'whatever the weather' set of clear stamps when I saw it in a card making magazine and put it on my Christmas list - but I hadn't actually used it yet!

That was rectified this weekend when I made a few different cards using the set. The first was this 'get well soon' card - I never have generic cards like this in my folder as I tend to concentrate instead on making cards for upcoming birthdays and special occasions, but it's good to have a few other cards ready as you never know when you will need them.

I took a cream card blank and started by cutting a border from a piece of patterned paper. The paper had different coloured stripes so by cutting a thin piece along the length, I was able to get a little of each stripe, which made for a colourful border pattern.

The other decorations are all from the stamp set - first I positioned the cloud and the raindrops together (they are separate stamps) and stamped them twice at the top, then stamped two umbrellas at the bottom. The stamp set has two umbrella designs, one a block colour and the other spotted; I stamped one in blue and one in pink. The umbrella handle is a separate stamp with a gap in the top that fits over the coloured part, so by using a clear acrylic block you can position it exactly to go either side of the pink and blue parts.

Finally the sentiment which I really like - the typeface is really nice and I'm always looking for sentiment stamps that feature an actual phrase rather than just a word or a straightforward 'get well soon'. This is quite a simple card but I really like the way it has turned out.

I'm sharing this with Crafty Addicts where the theme is April showers, Trimmies Craft Challenge which has 'get well soon' as the topic, and The Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers where 'U is for umbrella', though the sentiment isn't exactly snarky so I hope this counts! I'm also sending it to Addicted to CAS where the code word is rain.

Monday, 2 April 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 14

Did you have a nice Easter? It was my husband's birthday so we've had visits from his family on two days; my sister was supposed to visit but couldn't due to car trouble (long story) which was a shame as she hasn't met her niece yet, but hopefully she can come in a couple of weeks. It was nice having some time at home with my husband and daughter who is now four weeks old, though I've realised I have absolutely no plans this coming week and need to do something to make sure I get out of the house!

Here's this week's meal plan:

Monday - bank holiday
Lunch hot dogs
Dinner frozen pizza for a nice easy relaxed day

Tuesday
pad Thai for me, Hunter's chicken for him
 
Wednesday
Dolmio Italian chicken tray bake

Thursday
lasagne from my batch cooking for me, sausage and mash for him

Friday
chicken goujons/ scampi and chips

Saturday
Lunch fresh pasta and garlic bread
Dinner sticky pomegranate chicken

Sunday
Lunch breakfast burritos
Dinner steak and chips
 
Link up your own meal plan:


Saturday, 31 March 2018

Easter Egg Cheesecake

 
Easter is definitely an excuse/opportunity for some nice baking and desserts - almost any recipe can be improved with the addition of mini eggs!

A few days ago I read about a cafe in Wales that was serving cheesecakes made inside Easter egg shells - the article has been circulating on the internet and while I thought it was a great idea, I was almost surprised it hadn’t been done before, as it looks such a simple idea!

In fact so simple that it looked pretty easy to make something similar myself, which is exactly what I decided to do.


I used a basic no-bake cheesecake recipe keeping the flavour plain, as it has the chocolate shell and I was going to add some decorations on top, but you could easily change the flavour of the cheesecake by adding lemon zest and juice, or butterscotch flavouring, or cocoa powder and/or grated chocolate (I did consider the latter but thought it would be too much chocolate), you could even crush up some Easter egg shells or some maltesers or some mini eggs to the cheesecake mix!

You can also make your own Easter egg shell using a mould, which I have done before, but this time didn’t have that much time so bought a cheap Easter egg and used the shell from that. 

Easter egg cheesecakes

To serve two, you need:

One hollow Easter egg shell - I used one from a 141g Mars Easter egg but I think the weight included the Mars bar itself. You don’t want a particularly big egg shell as this is a rich dessert so the sort of small Easter egg aimed at children is probably best

300ml double cream
3 digestive biscuits
25g butter
70g icing sugar
180g tub Philadelphia cheese 
Choc Shot (liquid chocolate in a bottle that's technically for making hot chocolate but can be used for all sorts of things), mini eggs and mini malteser bunnies to decorate - or whatever you like

Unwrap the foil from the Easter egg and place the blade of a sharp knife in a cup of hot or boiling water for a few minutes - this will help cut through to separate the shell into two halves without breaking it. Carefully insert the knife on the join around the easter egg and cut it into two halves.

Crush the biscuits either in a blender or in a plastic freezer bag with a wooden spoon and put to one side. Melt the butter in a bowl in the microwave or in a small pan over a low heat, and when melted stir in the crushed biscuits.

Stand each chocolate egg shell on a plate and spoon half the biscuits into each one.


With a hand mixer, whisk the double cream until it forms soft peaks, then beat in the soft cheese and stir in the icing sugar until combined.

Spoon into the chocolate egg shells and put in the fridge to set.


Decorate however you like - I squeezed some Choc Shot in thin lines over the top and added some Cadbury Mini Eggs and a mini Maltesers bunny.



 

 
I'm sharing this with Cook Blog Share

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Easy Easter Decorated Biscuits


I’m determined not to let having a new baby mean I have to give up my hobbies of baking and card baking but at the moment I definitely have very little time for either! There are lots of things you can make that are quick and easy and take minimal fuss though, like these decorated sugar cookies for Easter.
We had some friends visit for a couple of hours last Sunday afternoon; they had said they would  bring some cake but I also wanted to be able to offer something as well, but didn't know if I would have time to make even a simple cake, and wasn't sure what they were going to bring and didn't want to make the same thing, so cookies seemed the answer.

I already had some biscuit dough in the freezer from a previous recipe pre-baby (which I don’t seem to have blogged about); here's a basic sugar cookie recipe you can use, though you can add other flavourings like a bit of lemon zest or butterscotch flavouring, vanilla essence and so on.

225g butter, softened
200g caster sugar
1 egg
340g self-raising flour

Cream the butter and the sugar and beat in the egg. Then fold in the flour until you have a pliable dough. Keep in the fridge until you need to use and roll out to use with cookie cutters.

The size and thickness of the cookies will dictate how long they would need to bake in the oven but I would usually give them 8-10 minutes at 180C as they will continue to harden as they cool out of the oven.

I defrosted my dough and used a set of Easter cookie cutters I bought last year (or maybe even the year before) from one of the pound shop chains and had never used. The set included two different bunnies, a chick, and an egg.

 
 
They took no time at all to cut out and bake in the oven and I decided they needed decorating even if I didn't have a lot of time until our friends arrived - or until the baby woke up and wanted feeding again! So I mixed some icing sugar with water and added some different food colourings and did my best to ice the biscuits with a teaspoon (I didn't have time to faff around with piping and flooding properly!) and added a few sprinkles on top.


 
They aren't particularly neat, but tasted good which was the main thing, and the presentation was helped by this cute little felt Easter basket I bought for a couple of pounds in Lidl last year.


Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Easy Easter Rice Krispie Cakes

Last Easter I did loads of baking and card making and the year before and the year before I made an elaborate anti-gravity Mini Egg cake which I was really proud of (it tasted great too) - here's a quick pic:

This year however I will have a four-week old baby at Easter so I definitely won't be doing anything like that! In fact it's my husband's birthday and I make him a showstopper chocolate cake every year but I knew I wouldn't have time to do anything remotely time consuming and there was a chance I wouldn't even get time to bake a basic sponge cake, so I've enlisted the help of a local lady who runs a baking business and for the first time ever am actually buying a birthday cake rather than making it - which is a bit of a shame but needs must, and I'm sure it will taste great.
 
I was starting to miss baking though especially at Easter so I decided I could just about manage making some rice krispie cakes. I used to love them as a child, and still make them every once in a while now! You can make them look like little nests with the addition of a few mini eggs but I used some Easter marshmallows from Lidl, in the shapes of chicks and rabbits. They are a bit big for the 'nests' perhaps but never mind!

Here's a quick and easy recipe that is fun for children to join in and make with you - just be careful when melting the chocolate.


Makes about a dozen Rice Krispie cakes depending on size
100g Rice Krispies
60g butter, chopped into small pieces
3 tbsp. golden syrup
100g milk chocolate

Melt the chocolate in the microwave or a bain marie then stir in the chopped butter until melted. Stir in the golden syrup.

Place the Rice Krispies in a large bowl and pour over the chocolate mixture, stirring gently until all the cereal is coated.

Spoon into paper cakes cases and leave to set - they will set at room temperature but you can also put in the fridge.

Decorate with mini eggs or marshmallows or anything you like - or eat them as they are.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 13

Now my daughter is three weeks old I feel I've got into the swing of things a bit - we have a good routine at home, even if it takes a while - after her morning feed which can be any time around 7 or 8am, and a bit of time spent cuddling after, I'm then expressing with a pump, getting up, tidying the house and restocking the nappy drawer, changing the sheets in the moses basket (that is, whichever one she isn't in - we have one upstairs and one downstairs), feeding the cat and making sure she doesn't feel neglected... by the time I've done all that it's about midday!

So far I've only gone out for a short walk around the block or where we have had appointments at clinics and so on - I had a caesarean after a lengthy induction process failed, and was advised not to overdo it - last week the health visitor told me not to get the bus into the town centre as I was planning as she thought it was too much too soon.

But this week I'm determined we will go out, even if it is just to pick up the form we need to register the mini-moo at the doctor (well, our surname is Cowe, so what else would her nickname be?!) and then stop at the bakery on the way home. I'm also hopefully going to meet one of the girls from my NCT class for coffee.

I'm still a bit nervous about how long we can go out before she needs feeding or changing or just randomly starts crying - but we've been very lucky and S seems a very easy, content baby at the moment, during the day at least (nights sometimes are a different matter!).

I'm also much more back into a proper routine with meals, though my husband has had to wait a while when he gets home from work as S has tended to need feeding just when I was about to start cooking! I'm also still doing what I consider easy meals but starting a bit of 'proper cooking' as well.

Monday
Lunch salad - cooked chicken, lettuce, grated carrot, potato salad and cheese
Dinner tuna pasta bake ready meal for me, beef grillsteak and mash for him

Tuesday
Lunch salad - cooked chicken, lettuce, grated carrot, potato salad and cheese
Dinner burger and chips

Wednesday
Lunch pasta and sauce
Dinner homemade chicken curry from my batch cooking for me, garlic and herb chicken kiev for him

Thursday
Lunch tuna sandwich
Dinner lemon chicken (with jar of sauce) with rice

Friday
Lunch tuna sandwich
Dinner homemade lasagne from my batch cooking for me, sausage roll and beans for him

Saturday My sister and her partner are visiting to meet their niece for the first time
Lunch chicken enchiladas I can prepare easily in advance and put in the oven
Dinner Think they will have left before dinner time. It's my husband's birthday tomorrow and he suggested recently that as we wanted to watch The Founder movie - which is the story of McDonald's - that we get a McDonald's delivered by Uber Eats while we watch it, and tonight after our guests leave might be a good time.

Sunday- Easter Sunday and my husband's birthday
Lunch I'll assume for now my husband would like a bacon sandwich as it's his favourite, but will check nearer the time
Dinner Takeaway with my husband's family for his birthday

Link up your own meal plan here:

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Spring Butterflies Birthday Card

I had a sudden urge to do some more card making not long before my baby was due, but as I wasn't going to have the time/ energy/ ability to lift heavy boxes and keep bending down, I decided to indulge myself but only use things that were easily accessible from my craft stash, either at the front of the cupboard or not needing any special equipment or effort! It was a good opportunity to use up some of my stash, for example these die-cut butterflies I bought from ebay absolutely ages ago.

I received a large packet of different coloured die-cut butterfly shapes and had used them before but there were a lot left. The colours made me think of spring so I decided to make a clean and simple (CAS) card for a friend with a birthday in March, letting the butterflies take centre stage.

The way I've arranged them makes me think of a whole swarm of butterflies taking flight en masse - and the card didn't really need anything else other than a 'happy birthday' sentiment.

I'm sharing this with Cuttlebug Mania, a challenge to use die cuts where the theme this time is spring, and the Sparkles Forum Challenge where 'spring is in the air'.


Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Sugar-free Flourless Chocolate Brownies for a Gestational Diabetes-Friendly Dessert

If you've been diagnosed with gestational diabetes - a particular form of diabetes you can develop in pregnancy, even if you have no previous history of the disease - you'll probably wonder at some point if you can ever enjoy a cake or dessert or piece of chocolate again - or at least until your baby is born when gestational diabetes disappears.

The answer, luckily, is yes - there are plenty of desserts you can enjoy. And I don't just mean sugar-free jelly or no added sugar Angel Delight, which seem to be staples of the gestational diabetes (GD) diet for a lot of people- if you enjoy baking, or eating things that other people have baked, there are still options out there, even though you should be avoiding sugar and refined white carbs, which unfortunately includes the flour usually used in cakes and biscuits.

There are alternatives - for instance sweetener instead of sugar, and ground almonds to replace flour - and I'm going to point you in the direction of a website that has some great recipes.

Very soon after being diagnosed with gestational diabetes I found a Facebook support group that was linked to a website called GestationalDiabetes UK.

It’s full of incredibly helpful information, birth stories, meal plans and recipes. It was set up by a  mum who had gestational diabetes and couldn’t find enough information or support. She’s done a lot of research and has worked with various organisations including BabyCentre UK which advertises her site as somewhere to go for support with GD – so while she’s not a medical professional, I felt like I could trust the info on her site.

The main reason I used the site itself – rather than the Facebook group, where I often posted questions or comments for advice or support – was for recipes. I found it relatively easy to design my own meal plans but when it came to something sweet, I really struggled. Diabetic cakes often use sweetener instead of sugar but with GD, as I mentioned above, I was advised to cut down on carbs and particularly refined white carbs – meaning cakes or desserts made with plain or standard self-raising flour were out.

Members of the GD UK Mums Facebook group were raving about the chocolate brownies so I had to give them a go. The website has a lot of free recipes but to get this particular one you'd need to sign up as a member, which costs £7 a month (there is a cheaper option but that doesn't include access to the recipes) - you can cancel any time so I was a member for a couple of months while I was pregnant.

So obviously I'm not going to give you the recipe for the brownies and advise you to sign up for the site even if just for a month, but like many other diabetic friendly bakes, you won't be surprised to find that the flour is largely replaced by ground almonds. I found this gave the brownies a slightly grainy texture; they don't taste of almonds and just taste of chocolate. The ultimate test was my husband who loves chocolate brownies and doesn't like nuts, and he enjoyed these! I did find them a little more dry than I would have liked, with a more cake-like texture than other homemade chocolate brownies which are usually more gooey, but they were a really nice treat if you are missing chocolate cake and brownies!

Monday, 19 March 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 12

I've been trying to sort out what meals we are eating this week for about three days now....  every time I start I have to stop then I don't have time to go back to it! As you may have seen from my recent post on the best thing I've ever made I've had my hands rather full lately! I don't know whether I will get back into properly meal planning for a bit but I've just done an online shop and bought a bunch of easy to cook meals - and realised a lot of them go out of date on the same day so I do need to decide what to eat when and which ones to freeze! So for ease I'm going to put it into a meal plan format and see how I get on with sticking to it!


Monday
Lunch prawn mayo sandwich (I bought a tub of ready made filling!) followed by fresh watermelon
Dinner chicken tagliatelle ready meal for me, chicken and bacon pie with mashed potato for him

Tuesday
Lunch prawn mayo sandwich and watermelon
Dinner chicken cacciatore from my batch cooking stash for me, hunter's chicken ready meal for him

Wednesday
Lunch chicken and chorizo soup (ready made again!)
Dinner spaghetti Bolognese with garlic bread

Thursday
Lunch chicken and chorizo soup
Dinner garlic and herb chicken fillets and chips

Friday
Lunch with my parents- they will have just driven up and usually want something like beans on toast for their lunch as it's quick
Dinner  ready-made chicken pie from Waitrose and mashed potatoes which my mum can help with

Saturday my husband has to work today and might be back late so I need a dinner where he can eat later if he needs to - a good excuse to have something he doesn't like! Roast lamb is traditional at Easter and something I really enjoy but my husband doesn't eat lamb so I never do it as a roast. Easter Sunday is actually his birthday so he definitely won't want it then! So I'm going to take advantage of him being out and other people being here, to do a roast lamb dinner, and to use up an apple strudel I have in the freezer that is far too big for one person, but my husband doesn't like apple either!
Lunch tuna melt or ham and cheese bagels
Dinner roast lamb followed by apple strudel

Sunday
Lunch fresh pasta with garlic bread
Dinner pulled pork in bread rolls with chips  (cheating with a ready made one!)

Link up your own meal plan here -

Thursday, 15 March 2018

The best thing I’ve ever made

Since this is a blog about things I’ve made I thought I’d share what is undoubtedly the best thing I’ve ever made- though I can’t take all the credit as it was 50% my husband’s work too:

Introducing our beautiful daughter Sophie Elizabeth:


I almost can't believe how much I adore this little girl already - she's two weeks old today and my husband has gone back to work today for the first time after his paternity leave finished. I've spent today feeding, cuddling, changing (several) nappies, sterilising bottles, expressing milk, and generally attending to her every need - it felt something of an achievement today that I also managed to get dressed, eat breakfast and lunch, sign up to the childcare voucher scheme and add her to my medical insurance plan and write a birthday card to a friend - and now a blog post as well! Still, it's a far cry from my busy 'previous life' working in communications at an investment bank - though I'm loving every minute of being Sophie's mum, even when she does one of 'those' nappies!

So regular readers should expect lower frequency of blog posts from now on, though I do have plenty of recipes I want to share from when I had gestational diabetes during pregnancy and a few other things I made a while ago - I can't see myself doing any baking any time soon, and even the dinners I'm making at the moment are either frozen food (things with chips), ready meals or from the batch cooking I did while I was pregnant!

I do intend to continue this blog and it will probably take on a more child-oriented stance but I also plan to continue my normal sort of posts.... when I can find the time!


Monday, 19 February 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 8

My second full week of maternity leave and again I have a few appointments - I'd imagined it as weeks on end of sitting at home doing nothing, or rather going through the massive to do list of all the things I never get time to do (and almost certainly never will have time again) - but it's not been like that at all. I'm tired all the time so often have afternoon naps and either manage to get one thing done in the morning or have an appointment, then when my husband gets home from work I make dinner (he's still recovering from a leg injury which means he can't help much around the house) and then we are both too tired to do anything more than watch TV. I really do hope we get through everything we need to do specifically relating to preparing for the baby, if nothing else! Don't get me wrong, it's quite nice being at home all day and if my body needs the sleep then it's good that I've got the time to have naps - I'm just constantly surprised when I wake up and a few hours have gone by!

Monday
Breakfast something quick eg yogurt or toast as I have a growth scan at 9am
Lunch cheese sandwich as I was home late after hanging around at the hospital for ages waiting for a blood test
Dinner beef and macaroni cheese inspired by a Waitrose ready meal (will freeze any leftovers) - might follow this recipe

Tuesday
Breakfast yogurt or toast
Lunch cheese and ham sandwich or beef and horseradish on either Burgen brown bread or part bake rolls
Dinner cauliflower cheese and leek bake from this recipe with sausages for me, sausage and mash for him

Wednesday
Breakfast smoked salmon and poached eggs
Lunch mackerel pasta as I have some mackerel in the freezer to use up
Dinner My husband wants to try Sloppy Joes so I will make some based on this recipe

Thursday
Breakfast  smoked salmon and poached eggs
Lunch fish paste on ryvita or leftover mackerel pasta
Dinner homemade chicken nuggets

Friday
Breakfast yogurt or toast - got someone coming to fix the radiators
Lunch fish paste on ryvita
Dinner possibly out with a friend for a belated birthday meal postponed from last week - not sure yet

Saturday
Lunch soup and rolls
Dinner lamb chop with sweet potato wedges for me, beef grillsteak and potato wedges for him I was going to do last week but didn't

Sunday
Lunch cheese on toast unless I can think of anything better
Dinner toad in the hole I was going to do recently but didn't

Shared your own meal plan? Link it up here!



Sunday, 18 February 2018

Gardener's Spring Flowers Waterfall Card

Maternity leave so far seems to have been all work and no play - and a lot of naps as I’m so tired all the time. I thought I’d have plenty of time to do things like sort out photo albums, file about two year’s worth of important documents sitting in a drawer, and maybe read a book while enjoying a cup of tea. Instead I’m working my way through a massive list of things we need to do to prepare before the baby is born - everything from setting up the baby monitor to checking we’ve got enough sheets for the Moses basket to writing my birth plan, which I’d intended to have finished about a month ago and still haven’t done!

But at the same time all work and no play isn’t much fun, so one evening when my husband was doing something on the computer I decided to go up to my craft room - which is now the spare room as we’ve had to move the bed out of what is now the nursery - and do a bit of card making.

I was careful to only take out a couple of boxes from my craft cupboard and ones that were right at the front - getting everything back in when you’ve taken it all out is a bit tricky and I knew I wouldn’t have the time or energy to do that at eight months pregnant.

I found something I’d bought in a bulk purchase from a local seller who was getting rid of some of her stash - a waterfall card kit from Quick Cards that promised everything I needed in one small kit to make an unusual kind of card I hadn’t tried before.
 

Unfortunately it proved a lot trickier than it looked! There were no instructions in the pack at all so I’d hoped it would be fairly self explanatory but it wasn’t. I ended up going on you tube and watching this video from Dreaming about Rubber Stamps to understand what I needed to do.
 
Even then I found I needed extra things that weren’t in the pack like a couple of brads, and I had started to use a long strip saying ‘happy birthday’ until I realised it would go behind the ‘waterfall’ and you wouldn’t be able to read the words, so I switched it for a patterned piece of card.

The way a waterfall card works is this: you have three or four overlapping images in a line down the card, and a tab at the bottom. When you pull the tab the picture squares turn over to show the other side in a sort of waterfall effect, and when you push the tab back up, the pictures all turn back the right way up.

What I didn’t like with this kit was that the yellow flower images provided had nothing on the back so when they had flipped you were left with plain white squares. They also didn’t take up much of the card blank provided with a lot of white space around them, so I decided to customise the card.
 
I used the three spring flower images you can see below, and stuck them onto the piece of card on the right - aside from the 'happy birthday' / 'happy mothers' day' strips down the side which are separate, there was a long section of card already scored in the right places for the waterfall card folds.
 
 
But I found it far too plain as I said, so I used a piece of backing paper from the Born to Shop- Go Green range and mounted the waterfall cards on that, along with a 'happy birthday' sentiment from the Quick Cards pack. I used a 'with love' tag as the piece you pull, though the strip that holds the waterfall cards on was made from a scrap piece of card covered with another piece of the Born to Shop paper and secured by two brads as glue wasn't strong enough.
 


 
I also didn't like the fact that when the flower cards turned over there was nothing underneath; I think this sort of card would work much better with a 'reveal' of similar images or even a surprise greeting on the other side. For this one I used more of the same backing paper and a picture from the same Born to Shop Go Green set but next time I might plan something that's a bit more of a surprise!
 
Here's a video of the card showing what happens when you pull the tab! Please excuse the wobbliness, I was trying to hold the card and pull the tab and film at the same time!
 

 I'm sharing this with Crafting with Dragonflies where the theme this week is special folds.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 7

Last week didn't go entirely to plan; my husband is still on crutches so he couldn't come on the hospital tour with me on Thursday - though it was a complete waste of time anyway, they stood us in a corridor and pointed out the entrances to the antenatal and post natal wards and showed us a room with a birthing pool (which I won't be using) and that was about it. I had hoped we'd go out for a celebratory lunch as it was my first day of maternity leave as well but my poor husband didn't feel up to it. So the whole day was a bit of a wash-out really!

This week I don't have any plans on Monday or Tuesday though I might go out to get fitted for a nursing bra (there's an awful lot of stuff like that to do!) then on Wednesday I have an NCT class in the morning, since I had to miss one due to an antenatal appointment at the hospital, I'm joining a session with the next group. The following day I have an infant feeding session which I think is mainly about colostrum harvesting (helpful if you have gestational diabetes) then on Friday it's a friend's birthday and we haven't finalised plans but I think I'm meeting her for dinner. So that will keep me busy for most of the week - I think my pre-baby maternity leave will fly past and be over before I know it! I just hope I get everything ticked off my 'to do' list that I need to do before then.

Here's this week's meal plan;

Monday
Breakfast smoked salmon and poached eggs
Lunch tuna melt on toast
Dinner butternut squash noodles for me, spaghetti for him, with bacon and mascarpone

Tuesday - shrove Tuesday
Breakfast probably just yogurt
Lunch smoked salmon and soft cheese on ryvita
Dinner Cajun chicken steaks from Waitrose
Pancakes for dessert as it's Shrove Tuesday. My husband would like one covered in chocolate and ice cream like these, and to be honest so would I but I don't think my gestational diabetes would allow that. Instead I'm going to try the ground almond pancakes from the Gestational Diabetes UK website and can top them with lemon and sweetener, or diabetic ice cream and Choc Shot.

Wednesday Valentine's Day
Breakfast pancakes as I expect there will be leftover mixture (unless I didn't like it!) - though I need to go out just before 9.30 for the NCT class
Lunch As I'll be in the local town centre (not exactly far, but I will have gone to the high street) I will get something from the bakery for lunch - they do various sandwich fillings which I should be able to tolerate GD-wise on brown bread.
Dinner My husband and I don't tend to eat out on Valentine's day anyway (too crowded, set menus with limited choice) and now I'm a few weeks from giving birth plus have GD and he's on crutches and a fussy eater it seems like a really bad idea! Instead I will make sure the house is nice and tidy and cook his favourite dinner of steak and chips (sweet potato fries for me) and chocolate mousse for dessert which is also from the Gestational Diabetes UK website.

Thursday
Breakfast yogurt or toast with peanut butter
Lunch sandwich as I will need an early lunch or something I can take with me - annoyingly, the infant feeding session is at 12.45, about a half hour drive away, and will take a couple of hours, then I have a physio appointment right after.
Dinner butternut squash open ravioli for me from Waitrose (part of their Valentine's range), something like chicken kiev and chips for him


Friday
Breakfast yogurt or toast with peanut butter
Lunch rest of butternut squash open ravioli (serves 2 and my husband won't eat it)
Dinner out with a friend for her birthday

Saturday
Breakfast yogurt or toast with peanut butter
Lunch breakfast burritos
Dinner lamb chop with sweet potato wedges for me, beef grillsteak and potato wedges for him

Sunday
Breakfast yogurt or toast with peanut butter
Lunch bacon sandwich
Dinner tacos with minced beef and potato wedges

Link up your meal plan here:

Friday, 9 February 2018

Jolly Nation Bathtime Decoupage Mothers' Day Card

 
Mothers' Day will be really special for me this year, as I'm actually going to be a mother. Just writing that seems strange even though it's going to become a reality in just a few weeks! I expect the day itself will pass in a sleep-deprived blur so if my husband has any sense he will buy me a Mothers' Day card now!
 
I made some cards at one point early last year with various things I'd come across in my craft stash including this sheet of decoupage paper from Jolly Nation. It has a hand drawn style showing a woman relaxing in a bath with a glass of wine which is the sort of treat I think mums deserve on Mothers' Day!
 

I used a pink and pale green printed paper for the backing as it reminded me a bit of the sort of wallpaper my mum used to have in her bedroom years ago, then layered the pieces of the decoupage picture on top. I added a small 'mothers' day' sticker I had on a sticker sheet from a long time ago in the top corner.


I'm sharing this with Daring Cardmakers where the theme is cosy home, Cardz 4 Galz where the theme is think pink and Watercooler Wednesday where the theme is feminine.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 6

This is a big week for me - my last day at work for something like a year, I can't even begin to imagine what that will be like! My first two days of maternity leave are pretty busy - blood test, take the cat to the vet, tour of the hospital maternity ward, pedicure (can hardly reach my feet any more!) and new dishwasher being installed. Not having a working dishwasher for a couple of weeks has been a pain as I'm too tired in the evenings to do the washing up....

Why can't my husband do it, you ask? Well, last week he had a run in with a pothole in the pavement and we spent most of Friday in A&E.... the x-ray was inconclusive and he's waiting for an MRI scan this week to confirm if there's a fracture or not. In the meantime he's on crutches and in pain, obviously unable to do anything around the house to help and I am a bit worried about whether he will be in a position to take care of me and the baby in less than four weeks time! But he's improving by the day and I think we will be OK by then, it's just in the meantime when I was hoping to pass over to him all the household chores (including cooking dinner) I'm still having to do them myself. I hope he feels better soon as it's not nice seeing him suffer.

So what am I up to this week? Well....

Monday
Breakfast yogurt
Lunch sandwich
Dinner the invalid requested something with chips... I had a portion of lasagne from my batch cooking a few weeks ago

Tuesday working from home - antenatal appointment
Breakfast ryvita with cream cheese
Lunch sandwich - I will be at the hospital over lunchtime
Dinner prawn/ chicken fajitas

Wednesday - last day at work!
Breakfast yogurt
Lunch team lunch
Dinner chicken pie and mashed potato for him; mine will depend on what I have at lunch as we are eating out.

Thursday first day of maternity leave
Breakfast boiled egg and toast
Lunch was planning to go out for lunch with my husband, he took a day off as we are doing the hospital tour later, but not sure he will be able to do that now!
Dinner might need something fairly quick after the hospital visit - will find something in the freezer when I get home.

Friday
Breakfast boiled egg and toast
Lunch our dishwasher is being installed any time up to 1.30 so I need an easy lunch where I don't really need to get in the kitchen - maybe ryvita with cream cheese
Dinner sausage and mash for him, sausage and cauliflower cheese for me

Saturday
Breakfast usually depends what time I get up
Lunch soup and bread rolls
Dinner chicken mini roast from Tesco I was going to do last week but didn't

Sunday
Breakfast usually depends what time I get up
Lunch tortilla pizzas
Dinner going to have a go at a diabetic friendly toad in the hole

Link up your meal plan here!





 

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 - Week 5

I did have just over 6 weeks to go until baby Cowe is due... and then I got booked in to be induced (because of the gestational diabetes) rather sooner! I've only got a few more days at work as well before I start maternity leave - the idea of not commuting into the City and working for about a year is very strange though I will have plenty to occupy me instead!

This coming weekend my family and friends are throwing me a baby shower which I'm looking forward to, though the catering isn't that easy given I've got gestational diabetes and another friend is vegan - try finding a baby shower cake that works for both! I've also got some people staying - my parents and sister and her baby are coming up the day before and staying until the day after the shower and I always find it harder to plan meals when it's more than just me and my husband to think about, so I'm just going to play it by ear really.

Monday
My husband requested something with chips so we had chicken with sweet potato fries for me.

Tuesday
We needed a quick dinner as we had our final NCT antenatal class this evening and the only thing I could think of to do was put pizzas in the oven - I really wasn't sure what my blood sugar readings would do but actually they were fine! Even so I'm not going to eat that sort of thing very often until after the baby is born.

Wednesday
My husband was out and I had a headache so couldn't be bothered to cook so just had some pasta

Thursday - day off
ready prepared chicken with cheese and bacon from Tesco and cauliflower cheese for me, potato wedges for him

Friday - my parents, sister and her daughter are here in the evening, my mum will want to have dinner ready for when we get home from work so I've left her something easy - chicken kievs

Saturday
lunch - early brunch or light lunch for three of us as there will be food this afternoon at the baby shower but my husband and dad will want a proper lunch - so options will include bacon sandwiches, fry ups etc
dinner - the three of us might not want much though a few friends might also come back to the house afterwards and we might all want to eat while my husband and dad will want a proper dinner, so I'm just going to play it by ear.

Sunday
lunch - soup and crusty bread
dinner - chicken mini roast

Add your meal plan here