Welcome to my blog!

If you ask me what my very favourite thing is I would not hesitate to say my family. I came into motherhood quite late on, and was immediately overwhelmed with how amazing it is. Now I would like nothing more than to be a Domestic Goddess, and surround my family in love, good food, beautiful things and lots of happy memories. And like the majority of families these days, we need to do it on a budget!

I firmly believe we all have a little bit of the Domestic Goddess inside us, just waiting to break out. Whether that is knowing how to make a roast chicken feed a family of 4 for a week, being able to make, repair or recycle clothes, hunting down a bargain, or simply turning everyday, simple things into pretty or useful items, with a little bit of imagination we can all dip in to the Goddess inside and make our lives that little bit more interesting.

I hope you enjoy reading my blog as much as I enjoy sharing my (challenging) journey into Domestic Goddessness!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

It's been a while....

...and you might be forgiven for thinking that I had abandoned this blog completely, or I was so totally submerged in all things domesticky and goddessy that the blog took a necessary back seat. And yet neither are true. I have been both too busy to contribute even a few words, and also a little ashamed of my lack of crafting, given my enthusiasm only a few months ago.

But in my defence I have been otherwise engaged and had my head firmly elsewhere. Christmas crept up on me so quickly and without me even really noticing, here it is! So the turkey is in the oven, the veg all ready to go, child, husband and animals all snoozing...leaving me with a few minutes peace. I could tackle the washing up but...nah, it's Christmas and I should really make the most of the little *me time* I get, shouldn't I! So armed with some hot vimto, and a tube of Pringles (Don't you love the guilt free scoffing you can do at Christmas, with every intention of sorting out the few extra pounds of weight *next year*!) here I am to finally update my blog!

I had very noble plans to hand make lots of presents this year, and in my defence I did manage some. I will not focus on the failures (of which there are several!) but instead on the few successes.
Handmade chocolates, made from good quality chocolate and a very boozy Christmas cake (I had intended to make the Christmas cake this year but that went out of the window as soon as we hit the middle of December and I had not even made a start on getting the ingredients together, so a boozy cake was never going to be made from that point on! A very tasty alternative from Sainsburys was bought, and given a seal of approval by my husband) Ounce for ounce, cake crumbled into the melted chocolate, mixed thoroughly and formed into balls.Handmade soap - ok it was from a kit but the effort and thought was there. And of course handmade cards, both by myself and my very giddy and excitable little girl.

There was a crocheted hat for my niece (you'll get it as soon as I remember where I put the damn thing Lucy!) and a half made scarf for my sister-in-law - which I promise to complete before next Christmas!

Tonight will see my first attempt at making a Key Lime Pie. One of Nigella's recipes, and hopefully a lot more successful than the chilli jam I made from her Christmas book a couple of weeks ago. The least said about that the better.... I am hoping for oohhhs and ahhhhs of appreciation, but in reality will happily accept empty plates...

So I will now take my leave and wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a Healthy and Prosperous New Year. Here's to a good 'un filled with love and a few handmade things thrown in for good measure....

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Proving it isn't all knitting and fairy cakes

This domestic goddess business is not all about woollen garments and that box of beads desperately waiting for my attention. Mr Fearnley-Whittingstall and Mr Oliver have this week inspired me to return to my old kitchen habits and dig out the slow cooker (those of you who are my Facebook friends will know the disastrous consequences of that) and fling in some vegetables and meat for my husband's tea. The little girl wasn't too impressed with my offering, but since she has had very little exposure to beef I am not entirely surprised by that. And of course since no meat has passed my lips since about 1990 I wasn't about to taste it either. But Himself was happy enough with the resulting stew and a good job it is too since I made enough for about a week.

I cannot extol the virtues of a slow cooker enough and I must urge everyone to get one. It really is a simple matter of taking all your left overs, or that bit of meat you have and those old, tired looking vegetables at the bottom of the rack and flinging them in with some good stock or gravy (or instant granules if that's all you have and it is usually all that is in my cupboard if I'm honest) Brown the meat if you must but I draw the line at peeling the veg other than a cursory removal of the brown papery onion skin. A bit of a bay leaf, a smattering of parsley or thyme, or both if you're feeling generous and leave well alone for at least 8 hours. Barely more than 20 minutes work, and your other half will reward you with a sloppy kiss and proclamations of endless love. Or something similar.

See, this domestic goddess malarky is a bit of a cinch really, isn't it.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

And you've been waiting for.. of how the Big Day went?
Well, due to unforeseen circumstances (which will not be discussed here, so don't ask!) I was unable to finish the wedding cake, and my poor mum had to ice the top two tiers herself. She did a very good job! Unfortunately I haven't got a photo of the cake but I will make every effort to get one (just as soon as the gallivanting bride and groom are back from Kenya) It was a stressful event, much worse than I anticipated, although I daresay circumstances made it a bit worse for me.
There were 3 attempts at the middle layer, and to this day I have absolutely no idea what possessed me to make it in the way I had decided to... ie in one layer. For future reference, it doesn't work! Well it probably does but it would need a lot of experimentation to get the timings absolutely spot on, and a few days before a wedding isn't really the right time to be trialing stuff like that! Once sanity and sense had been restored and I made a good old fashioned Victoria sponge - in two layers - it worked perfectly well. I assume it was a hit since I didn't get any cake - there was none left!
The favours seemed to go down a treat, although the loot bags for the children - although good to keep them quiet - did cause a couple of squabbles. And I was quite pleased with the effect of the centrepieces as well. Just the right size I felt.
Pictures as promised:

The favours (for the ladies, the men got cacti )

The table centre pieces:

And a little display for the table with the guest book on:

I have to say I really enjoyed helping my mum plan her big day, and it was lovely to see her enjoy it so much. Will I do it again for someone else? Mmmmm only if they paid me a LOT of money! And gave me more than a few months notice as well.

It is Caoimhe's birthday next month. We're having a shop-bought cake!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

And the countdown begins...

... Just under a week to the Big Day and it's going to be a busy week. I have 2 cakes to make and 3 to ice...but the cakes are sponge so really needed to leave them as long as possible.
But I can confidently claim to be on track and not stressing out...(well not much anyhow!)
Favours - done, centrepieces - done. All that remains is the cake... and a small matter of some jewellery for me to wear on the day too!
I have ordered some lovely cotton dk (God bless ebay) and am itching to start on a brooch to wear, and my lovely husband has offered to make my earrings...although I'm half tempted to have a stab myself. Perhaps I will get that box of beads out when a certain miss is in bed.
I have several cards to make as well this week. Why are there so many people with birthdays in October!My sister's scarf is all finished now and I'm quite pleased with how it's turned out. I have to say The Happy Hooker is a fab book for anyone who isn't that confident with crochet, you just have to remember to translate the terms from American to English which actually isn't as hard as it seems. Thanks for the tip Sharon!
So no pictures this week but I promise plenty after the big day!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Well not exactly, but something a bit different was needed for my friend Paul's birthday (you can take a look at the jewellery he makes here: Clockwork Zeppelin ) He's very much into Steampunk and although it's not a style I know a lot about, I thought I would give it a try! So armed with some lovely card stock (amazing what you can get from Costco these days!) and a handful of watch parts, I came up with this:

I still have some parts left so might think about using them in different ways.

Other than that, it's been all about crochet this week. I'm crocheting madly to get a few things done ready to try my hand at other projects, There's a big box of beads urging me to have a try and jewellery making, and a trip to Selfridges for a fascinator for mum yesterday has put a few seeds of inspiration in my head too. Not to mention I've been challenged to get a children's story published in People's Friend in the next 6 months... does writing count as a craft???

Friday, September 10, 2010

It's all about flowers...

I seem to have been making a lot of flowers recently. And I'm not really a flowery kind of girl. There's been a flower shaped chocolate chip cake (thanks to a silicone mould I bought the other week) the flowers for my mum's favours (pictures to follow after the Big Day!), a flowery scarf for Little 'Un, a couple of flowery bookmarks and a flower brooch donated to a friend for a charity craft fair.

The flowery scarf and bookmark are all courtesy of my friend Sharon who introduced me to the Happy Hooker. The scarf is from a pattern there (the garden scarf) and the bookmark is just 3 of the flower motifs -simple.

I thoroughly impressed myself by reading American crochet instructions and not getting into a muddle!
The brooch was based on a pattern in a kit I bought from  Purplelinda Crafts, a site I have (un)fortunately recently discovered and will therefore be spending quite a bit of time (and money) on I'm sure!

I'm quite pleased with the brooch in particularly, since it's the first time I've made one and I think it's quite pretty.

The flowery cake was delicious too!

Next project: A scarf for Himself. Wool is chosen, foundation row is made... watch this space!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ace of Cakes (well, not quite but close enough!)

As you might know I'm making my mum's wedding cake in October (does she know what she's let herself in for??) and obviously having never decorated a cake before it is prudent to practice before the big day.
So today I iced a fruit cake I had rather disastrously marzipanned last week.

I cheated a bit. I used ready made fondant icing. Though really this isn't cheating as such, just using my brain. Why give myself more than one element at a time to mess up?!

I had intended solely to knead the icing, roll it out and put it on the cake without mucking it up. However I had a bit of time on my hands, and some left over icing, so I decided to have a play....
This is the result.

I doubt that Duff Goldman is quaking in his boots just yet, but I am quite pleased with my first proper attempt. And in a further moment of madness, spurred on by my confectionery triumph, I promised to make little 'un's birthday cake this year as well.... watch this space!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Chocolate and milkshake

..makes up most of my week this week! It seems that the only way to get eggs into my child at the moment is via pancakes, and preferably with chocolate chips in them! We're not talking the lovely thin lacy ones we have on Shrove Tuesday, nor American ones with buttermilk in (where do you get buttermilk from anyhow!) But they are american style I guess - lovely fat pillows of pancakes studded with chocolate chips. Really quick and easy to make but one day i will actually measure out the quantities of ingredients I use! Flour, egg, a mashed up over ripe banana if one is available and a spot of milk to make into a dropping consistency (remember all those drop scones you made as a child and you're there)

Chocolate truffles was the next up - mix left over cake (I know, that's a sin!) with melted chocolate and leave to set.

And milkshake cakes. Ok they aren't exactly milkshake cakes as such. Make up your favourite sponge mix. (I like Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's recipe) and add milkshake syrup - enough for one serving. So for the mix I used it was 25mls. A handful of white chocolate chunks for good measure too, which I felt would compleiment the raspberry milkshake syrup very nicely, and it did.

I try not to mess too much when baking because it often has disastrous results...but this one worked and I'm sure it's one I will use again in the future.

Craft-wise, well I've begun a crochet'd scarf and have completed the crochet'd flowers that I'm making for wedding favours - only the sewing up to do and the putting-it-all-together...the most boring and labour intensive part I think, and the one I'm dreading. Forgive me for not posting pictures of them when complete, but I do want them to be a surprise for all. Photo's after the big day!

On my knitting needles is a blue and white striped ensemble that will one day, I hope, resemble a tea cosy. I'm making it up as I go along though so it might be interesting to see the end product! I see that Innocent Smoothies are having their *BIG KNIT* So scraps of left over wool might go towards knitting up a few of those as well. All in a good cause!

And don't forget knit-a-square too! I have only managed one completed square so far, with another on the needles. Can anyone help me out?!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A busy week with not much done!

It has been an odd  week really.I think I've come across the perfect chocolate cake for the top tier of my mum's wedding cake - it's an adaptation of a Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall one and since it is still moist and edible even after 4 days or so I'm sure it will be good on the day. My only job now really is to work out how much cake batter I need for the size... but I'm sure it won't hurt me to *practice* making it a few more times!

One or two cards have been made and I'm actually posting some photos today!

We've also been cutting and sticking to make a little scrapbook for little 'un. Some fun crafting that didn't involve torment over whether things are straight or cut properly, or measured and beaten correctly! And for those who wish to know... yes, pva glue does come out of hair without tears or the need of a hairdresser...!

I have made a (feeble) attempt at felting. Not overly pleased with the results, but I'm sure something can be done with the mass of matted fibres currently drying on my kitchen table... if anyone has any ideas I'd love to hear them...

Well it's tea time now so time to attempt something creative with a cheese sandwich and a biscuit cutter... does my imagination know no bounds?!!

Toodle pip!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Just one or two cards and a cake for good measure.

It's been a busy week on the crafting front really. Eighty wedding invitations all made (thanks to my sister-in-law) and 8 other handmade cards done as well. Not to mention the baby blanket I was knitting for a friend finally completed after a couple of months. And a baby hat knocked up for good measure with the left over wool.

The baby blanket was the worst. It took every ounce of determination I have to finish it and I have no idea why. A simple knit - corner to corner in garter stitch - what could be difficult about that?? But it wasn't my favourite thing and I found myself distracted by other projects. Maybe next time I'll try something a little bit more complicated and it might keep me interested.

I have also successfully made a chocolate sponge cake which didn't sink hurrrah! Well, it did dip a little bit in the middle but nowhere near as much as my last attempt. This was a recipe not from my beloved Bero book (a must have for anyone who likes a bit of homebaking) but from a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall book (Family Cookbook) A very simple recipe with no numbers to remember or work out. Basically weigh your eggs - shell and all - and then use the same weight of flour, sugar and fat. It works. I just substituted about 25g of flour for cocoa powder and threw in some milk and white chocolate drops for good measure. I'll let you know how it goes down later when it is shared out.

There will be a few pictures of my cards later when I get round to uploading them to the puter, but until then I have banana chocolate pancakes to make for a hungry toddler and a brew and Private Practice for me!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Baking at 7am? What's that about?!

Yes, you read it right. I was baking at 7am this morning. Partly thanks to the rubbish bananas we got from the supermarket this week which were already on the turn after only a few days. Now I am trying desperately to stop wasting food, and did not want to throw them away (well I wasn't going to eat them...anyone who knows me knows I can only eat bananas when they are the right shade of yellow and without any blemishes at all!) and although my lovely daughter is rather fond of them, I'm sure even she couldn't eat 4 in a day.So the only solution it seemed was to turn them into something.
God bless Nigella. Banana Muffins. Although I'm not 100% sure it is her own recipe, but it was on her website.I can highly recommend these. Easy, relatively quick (bit slower when you have a small child pulling at your pyjama'd leg though!) and delicious.
The other 2 bananas will find their way into banana pancakes in the morning.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A completed project!

Here's my first completed project, a headband for my little girl:

And here she is wearing it:

I had some fun creating it. I didn't use a pattern, just followed some ideas in my head and it went better than I expected. I was particularly pleased with the crocheted flower. A few months ago i couldn't crochet at all!

Finding the Goddess inside.

I have always had a bit of a creative streak, admittedly more in my head than in my hands. In my mind I can see lots of projects I want to make, or write but in reality I am just not that physically dexterous. Either that or I procrastinate too much!

I think there is a bit of the Domestic Goddess about us all, somewhere, however deeply hidden. My New Year's Resolution (this year, and last year, and the one before that!) was to find her, dust her off and elevate her to the pedestal she truly deserves. And I have finally got round to opening the cardboard box that has become her home since adulthood and all it's responsibilities took over from the carefree, crafty, knitting, baking, sewing little girl I once was.

She has had the odd foray into my world over the years. Baby cardigans knitted, buttons sewn on, cakes baked... but her stay was never extended and off she went back to her box with the unfinished Jumper for my husband and the oddments of yarn I always meant to turn into something but didn't get round to. But now, one pink, sweet smelling - and noisy - toddler later, I find she is making her presence felt more often and although i have even less time to entertain her now, I find her company more and more calming and inspiring.

This is my journey getting to know that domestic goddess I once knew so well!