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!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Handmade Monday and a bit of this and that.

Monday has rolled round again, and I am now in my 40th week - eekkk! Quite how much longer I am going to have to wait I have no idea, but the end is very much in sight!

Since it's Monday, don't forget to have a wander over to Wendy's Handmade Monday link party to see what everyone's been up to.

It's been a mixed bag of crafting over the last week. Saturday night saw round 3 of the Takeaway challenge. It was my turn to cook and armed with a recipe book from Quorn (one of those 'collect vouchers and send off the p&p' things) I made a korma, this time it was a quorn one. It took a while longer to make than Tim's did last week, and employed the use of my blender to make the paste. Apparently it was a *curry-off* to see who's was better, but as soon as Tim tasted the sauce in the pan he said I had won because it was more like a korma than his was last week. Probably because it used coconut milk and not tomatoes as its base.  Verdict? Definitely milder than last week, but I still spent most of the night in indigestion hell, and I think I'll have to give up the curries for a while.

The foody fun with Caoimhe carried on yesterday when we made tea together. Armed with a booklet from The Vegetarian Society specifically aimed at cooking with kids, we attempted a frittata, we had to tweak the recipe a bit to include stuff we actually had in, but it was great fun to make and with a bit of initial encouragement at the beginning, was eaten as well - so a result! Lots left for some lunch for me today, which is a bonus!

I've had a bit of a play with my Big Shot as well this week:

The bird in the middle is cut with one of my dies, and in true frugal mode I have used a picture from a catalogue (a bunch of flowers advertised in my Next Directory actually!) I also used a bit of Mod Podge to add some sparkle to the plain white backing paper. And the Next Directory has continued to be useful. Yesterday me and the Flip Flop made a hanging heart for Grandma, decorated with cut up pieces of catalogue page. Who said recycling is boring! (Think Tim is gradually getting the idea that my hoarding can come in useful sometimes!)

I've also made a start on the squares for the throw from The Art of Knitting collection I am accruing. I am also collecting the Art of Crochet, though have used the free wool that comes with that for other projects...ooops! I decided to buy both collections initially for my own use but also as a reference guide for the girls as they get bigger. Lots of patterns in there to keep them amused and tips and techniques as well. I came a bit of a cropper with the first square, however, and have already informed my mum that I will be paying her a visit to help me sort it out! The problem is not in the knitting (a basic garter stitch square) but in the decoration, which is an embroidered heart. Now embroidery isn't my bag (it is a form of sewing after all!) But the instructions are terrible and given my pregnancy addled brain I can't make head or tail of them. So, some help is required from the Old Lady. And I'm sure that Miss Gallerys 1 and 2 will no doubt be saying something similar in the future!

Phew, it's actually been a busy week! Feet up this afternoon I think.
Til next time!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Foody fun with the Flip Flop

It seems at the moment I have developed a bit of a limpet in the form of my 2 year old. Things must be confusing for her, I have been at home for 6 weeks now, and although she is still going to the childminder's and spending time at grandma's, it's a few hours only and not the 8 hrs she's used to while I'm at work. Plus there's the exciting prospect of a sibling, and she asks me every day if her sister is coming yet. (sadly not, but I wish she'd hurry up!) As a result, she seems to be clinging to me rather a lot these days, and I can't even make a brew in peace! I've been trying to think of things to do with her that won't wear me out too much. Not easy with an energetic toddler!

So I decided to kill two birds with one stone. She needed entertaining and I needed to use up the potatoes that were starting to take root in the veg rack (the problem with buying veg from a supermarket is you never know how long it's been there for) and a couple of tins of creamed sweetcorn that were edging closer to their expiry date (end of this month actually - ekk! Not sure how that happened!) The first thing that sprung to mind was a big pan of potato and sweetcorn soup, normally a winter staple (quick, easy, filling, and warming) but given the less than summery weather we've been having, it seemed perfect!

I love making soup, I just don't do it very often unfortunately (could that be one of my resolutions in my quest for Domestic Goddess-ness??) There's nothing better, or more satisfying, than turning a pile of veggies into a delicious hug in a bowl, and that is what a good soup should be in my opinion. You can keep your poncey gazpachos (cold soup is just wrong!)just give me a thick broth that nearly takes the roof off your mouth in its quest to give you a big, fat cuddle. It probably comes from my childhood of chicken broth, full of pearl barley, veggies, potatoes and whatever was left in the cupboards by the end of the week (and actually very little chicken but made with the stock from the carcass) that we used to get for tea on a Thursday night if we'd been lucky enough to have chicken the Sunday before.

I used to follow a recipe for sweetcorn soup, once upon a time. But that didn't last long and now I just fling in ingredients depending on my mood. This soup had an onion and some potato, sweated down in olive oil and butter, garlic, chili flakes, 2 tins of creamed sweetcorn, the remnants from the bag of frozen sweetcorn and a bit of vegetable stock. I'm currently favouring the knorr stock pots, expensive but worth it, especially the herby infusion one I 'treated' myself to last week. (Yes, I am aware that as a fledgling Domestic Goddess I should be making my own stocks, but I am sure Nigella would excuse the shortcut) It was done in half an hour or so, although I like to keep it just off simmer for up to an hour or more, til the potato is so soft some of it melts into the soup. Now once finished most people would get out the liquidiser and blitz away to make it all velvety and soft. Not me. I like it just the way it is, and the presence of the creamed sweetcorn gives it a lovely thick texture without all that unnecessary blitzing. And in my opinion, chunky soups are way more satisfying! I should have taken a photo to tease you all with its deliciousness but I was too eager to get it in the bowl, and get it eaten! And even Caoimhe tucked in, not bad for a fussy toddler!

But just in case you are missing a lovely picture of food to tickle your taste buds, here's the chocolate bread we made while the soup was cooking:

Don't get too excited, I have to shamefully admit it was from a mix. In my defence I didn't buy it, Himself did on one of the rare occasions he went shopping without me, he thought I would like to make it with the Flip Flop, which is just what we did. The verdict: quite tasty but not very satisfying to make ( mix wet ingredients into this tin with the dry in, leave to rise and then whack in the oven, where's the fun in that??) and not really worth the cost, but it did kill a bit of time.

Another child-free, and husband-free afternoon beckons this afternoon, will have to see what I can do to amuse myself!
Til next time!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Handmade Monday and a Foody Update!

So it's Monday again already, and I am now officially on Maternity Leave! Seems a bit strange since I've been off work for 6 weeks already with sickness and holidays. I just hope the next 39 weeks don't go as quickly as the last 6 did or I'll be back at work before I can blink.

Since it's Monday, don't forget to have a wander over to see Wendy at 1st Unique Gifts for another Handmade Monday Once I have deposited Caoimhe at the childminder's and Himself in bed for a sleep before his nights start tonight, I shall be setting myself up with a brew for a good look at what everyone else has been up to this week!

As you can imagine crafting has taken a bit of a back seat, what with all the nesting that's been going on. (9 days to go if she hangs on  that long!) But I have had time for a bit of Domesticity and a wee play with my new Big Shot, although nothing was especially *created* with it, just some dies cut and messed around with.

From the foody side, as promised an update of The Chicken Experiment. (although not so much of an experiment since I regularly use whatever chicken is left over for one thing or another but this was more of a concerted effort) Well I think we lasted with chicken until Thursday when the last remnants were discarded. I could have done more with it and had I thought on the last bits of chicken could (and should) have been made into something and frozen for a later date. But I trust you'll excuse that bit of waste this time! Obviously I didn't eat any, but Tim and Caoimhe tucked into: a Sunday Roast, chicken sarnies (twice) chicken and ham pasties (they were eating these for days actually!), Chicken and noodles and chicken noodle salad (hot version for Caoimhe's tea, cold version for Tim's dinner at work the day after) We didn't get a chicken this week. Think that was overkill abit! But not bad for a 6 quid chicken.

Chicken and Ham pasties. A fab way of using up left overs from the Sunday roast!

Operation Takeaway continued on Saturday with a delicious Mushroom Korma cooked up in 20 mins by my lovely husband. From scratch too! I was very impressed. It was not like a traditional korma as we know it, it was tomato based and quite a bit spicier (unfortunately spicy enough to kick off the heartburn, but not labour!) I did have to pitch in and make some*Helen's proper chips* as they've become known (just chips done in the oven, not very exciting really!) and the rice but it was a delicious tea that was cooked from start to finish in about 45 mins including prep etc. Any suggestions on next Saturdays treat??

I just wanted to share as well the wedding card I made for a friend, using my Big Shot. I can post it up now, since she got married on Saturday. Congratulations again, Mr and Mrs Hulse!

That's about it for today. Lots more nesting to do and a child to drop at the childminder's.
Til next time!

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Well, not quite, but sadly (though probably not so sadly really) we are waving goodbye to our regular curry night. Sometimes there's nothing better than crashing in front of the telly with a takeaway, when you can't be bothered cooking, or just fancy a treat. We have developed a rather frivolous habit of having a takeaway, usually on a Saturday night, just for the hell of it, made all the more easy by Just Eat and the ability to order a curry or a Chinese from the comfort of your computer chair (or even the armchair, if you have an ipad or laptop) and not even worry about going out into the rain to get some money from the cash machine. Damn you Just Eat! It's all too simple, and makes short work of £15 for the two of us. And the worst thing is the amount of food that gets left behind! 

I am due to start Fat Leave in just over a week, and then the money goes down. (Surely I should be on full pay for the duration, given the amount of pain I am going to be in in the next couple of weeks, as just reward for my part in the continuance of our species. But apparently not) So cost cutting exercises have to start now. Including our regular takeaway. With that in mind, last night was the first (of hopefully many) forays for the Gallerys into the world of Saturday-takeaway-that-isn't-a-takeaway. I made a very simple mushroom fried rice (which, to be fair, I have made before) with a couple of tweaks (cos you can do that with your own recipes, and are not in breach of copyright or anything, no-one will sue you!) I fried my onions and mushrooms in chilli oil, added garlic, and perfectly cooked basmati rice (it's taken me nearly 40 years to discover how to make perfectly cooked rice, and I didn't have to resort to a rice cooker or some other fiddly contraption, or measure everything to within a decimal point, or rinse the rice in maiden's tears or any such nonsense... Just plenty (and I mean plenty) of fresh boiling water, over the rice, lid on and leave well alone just above simmering for 12 minutes. No stirring, no peeking, no messing. Leave it alone. Never fails.) I even managed to add the egg. It was lovely. No clean plates, but that's simply because I need to get my serving size down from feed 50 to feed 2!
Next week Himself is planning a mushroom korma. Watch this space!

And I've just pulled a large chicken out of the oven, let's see how many meals I can get out of it! I think my mum managed to feed a family of 4 on 1 chicken from Sunday to Thursday. Obviously they must have been bigger chickens in the 70's but we'll see how many meals for 2 I can make (Of course, I don't eat meat so that makes it a bit easier to make it stretch!) I have several cookery books, collected over the years, and flicked through from time to time. Amongst my favourites (obviously) are my Nigella books, if only for the lovely way she writes and makes her food sound so delicious and easy to make. I have made few meals from these books. But with the imminent strain on our finances, I am enthusiastic to see what I can come up with on a budget. If I can succeed to make delicious and appetising meals, on a fraction of what we spend now, surely that would be a step up towards Domestic Goddessness!

In other more crafty news (tho this is supposed to be my journey into Domestic Goddessness, and if the Great Goddess herself, Nigella, were to read my blogs I'm sure she would be tutting at my lack of foodiness) I was in receipt of my Big Shot die cutter (and also a Sissix Texture Boutique) on Monday, and much fun has been had with that. I have made 3 cards but since they are all for other people (who may read this blog at some point) I don't want to spoil their surprise by posting up photos. Suffice it to say I am well impressed with what can be created, particularly with the embossing folders. Looking forward to experimenting with both machines in the future, and coming up with more than cards alone.

Don't forget to have a trip over to see Wendy's blog, and Handmade Monday's offerings from crafty people around the 'net. Til next time!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy Birthday!

I can't believe it's time for another Handmade Monday , where does the week go? I will shortly be heading over to Wendy's blog for a look at what everyone else has been up to this week.

But first of all I want to say Happy Birthday to my Auntie B, and to me too. Well it is actually Auntie B's birthday today, not mine but I will explain that  in a mo!
I had a lovely trip to see Auntie B this morning, to say Happy Birthday to her, and to give her her birthday card and a little bit of a present. I don't get to see her very often, but that's because she seems to spend her time gallivanting around the world these days (I can't wait to retire if it means having as much fun as she seems to be having!)
I managed to make a card and a little mini book for her, which she seemed to like:

I wanted her card to be summery

Mini book

A few of the pages

It isn't actually my birthday for a few months, and then it's quite a nasty one to be honest. (But I don't want to think about that!) Tim asked me what I wanted for my birthday, as he always does with a few months' notice, to give me time to um and ah and say I don't really know. But this time I asked him for a die cutting machine. I'm aware that I should be asking for something a bit more *interesting* with it being a nasty birthday, but that's what I want really. And my impatient husband being who he is, has already ordered it, so I am getting it early...hopefully this week! I think there's an ulterior motive. I'm sure he thinks I will be off and running, making hundreds of cards and other assorted paper/card items to sell and make a fat wad of wonga. I can't see it myself, especially not with the impending drain on my energy and time (4 weeks and counting) but you never know, stranger things have happened!

We've had a bit of chocolate making as well this week, the Flip Flop and I. I wasn't feeling so great on Wednesday, which is normally our day for Footy Totz (and anyone with a child aged 2-4 should really have a look at it, it is fab! ) so we compromised with a promise of making chocolates with raisins in. I had bought a silicon chocolate mould from the pound shop ages ago and it was the first time I have had the chance to use it. We melted down the very last of the chocolate left over from Easter and poured it over raisins. Delicious!

And that's been about it craft-wise this week. But given the heat and my ever expanding wriggly waistline, I am quite pleased that I managed that much!

Don't forget to have a look at the lovely sites linked on Wendy's blog. I'm going to go and have a good nosey now with a brew!
Til next time!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Two lovely awards!

Just a quick blog today to thank 2 lovely people for thinking of me and giving me an award for my blog. I'm really pleased that people read my various ramblings (and amazed if I am honest!) It's nice to be thought of so thank you to Anna at PuppyFly Boutique and Dorset Girl

Anna nominated me for the versatile blogger award :

I am really slack at posting pictures in my sidebar - I usually blog from my ipad so it makes it a bit difficult to do (that's my excuse anyhow!) I was nominated for this award a while back by Sharon at Chasing Art, and here is the link to the blog post I made about it: Clicky linky
Thanks again, Anna for thinking about me!

Dorset Girl nominated me for the One lovely Blog Award:

The rules are similar to the versatile blogger award I think. First of all I have to link back to the person who nominated me. - done!
Then I have to say 7 random things about myself. Not easy lol but here goes:

1: I can procrastinate with the best of them, but I am also very impatient when I want to be, which makes for an interesting self-personality clash - I'll do it tomorrow, no no no no let's do it NOW NOW NOW!!!

2: I can read the same book, or watch the same film over and over again, something I think my husband finds a bit strange!

3: Ever since having my daughter I have been completely unable to lie in, even when I don't have to get up with her, and I resent my husband's ability to stay in bed until 10 o'clock!. I am hopeful that I will one day enjoy a lie in again!

4: Cats rock and I would be lost without at least 2 in my life. (I would have way more than 2 but I have been banned!)

5: I don't understand people's attachment to soaps. Telly is for escapism, surely?

6: I eat eggy bread with sugar on. That's all Auntie B's fault.

7: I love vimto, hot, cold or fizzy - I don't care how it comes, just keep it coming :)

Now I have to nominate 15 lovely blogs. Here goes:

Little Harriet

Kayleigh at Kayleigh's Handmade Life

Phew, all done!
Those are some of the lovely blogs I enjoy reading, and I hope you do as well. They are all well worth a visit!

Off to enjoy my day now, if I can get this fat uncomfortable body around! (I know, I know, I will miss it when it's gone and I am back to night feeds and endless nappies!)

Til next time.