About Me

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Homemaker and Mama to 4 beautiful children. My daily journey through life on our farm.

Monday, 28 February 2011

The confessional....

Ok, confession time, the mags are GONE!!!!
Mostly on the bonfire, and i know i KNOW, i should have delivered them to dentists etc, but to be honest, i just didnt have the energy, pure and simple.

I did offer them to close family but even they didnt want them, and i wont be doing a car boot sale this year as i'll have a new baby who id rather be enjoying...

I didnt have the energy to flick through all 150 mags and rip out the inspirational piccies. Some of them were up to 5 years old, so i guess styles change? BUT, I have kept about 20, which have
my 'dream homes' in, one day Mr P and i hope to knock this house down and build our own(when we win the lottery or sell the farm!) so hopefuly they'll come in handy ?!
I also have a pile for work...BUT*deep breath*...i also still have the CL ones. Well, im very proud of myself for having got rid of so many... i think i'll slowly, slowly let go of those-i'll keep you posted!

I feel SOOOOO much better having got rid of all those magazines, really really like a weight has been lifted...sounds silly doesnt it? But i really do, and there is no part of the house which hasnt escaped my 'nesting' over the last few weeks. Does anyone understand when i say that lately they've been depressing me, seeing these amazing homes looking so beautifully perfect...my house wont be like that for a long long time and it felt like i was torturing myself!...
I hope to share a few more posts with you detailing how im trying to stay sane by living more
'simply'. I was inspired by Anna over at whoops-a-daisy to live in a 'new' way...have a read of her blog if you havnt already, you'll love it.

Dont get me wrong, i still love my nik-naks, i just want the satisfaction of being able to find that torch/pair of shoes/book, straight away when im looking, rather than having to search. My house just isnt big enough for all this 'stuff' and i dont have the time for it.

So, thats what i'll do, as i progress through this decluttering journey i'll share my progress with you, would you like that?

Now, im calling the photo below, PHASE 1;
Sounds like a huge title to love up to doesnt it? But, let me explain, Mr P has 'given' me this shed
of his, after much nagging and me explaining how badly i needed it.

So in here are things like toys too good to sell which new baby(boy or girl)will be able to use, summer garden picnic/kitchen ware which i have no room for in my current kitchen. Furniture i cant bear to part with yet,but which had to vacate its happy place in the babys/junk/spare room...and other 'things' which just dont have a home, Its my 'Monica's'secret closet'( friends fans will know what i mean, if not, click on the link to see it on youtub).....

Phase 2 will be me going through it, chucking out any crap which has sneaked in, and replacing it NEATLY as Mr P nearly had a heart attack this weekend when he
opened it to get a can of spray paint out(oops!)...
Watch this space!
THANKS* So much to all of you who offered me your advice re the mag obsession, i loved reading every one of your comments...x

Love Kirsty xoxo

Sunday, 27 February 2011


Girls, i seriously need your help.
Today im continuing to de-clutter baby's room-current spare/junk room.

Over the years i've amassed a HUGE collections of homes magazines, and i'm being as ruthless as possible and have managed to sort lots for burning, some to take to work, and a teeny tiny portion to keep!
BUT, that hoarding gene in me is saying DON'T DO IT...Its the Country Living mags i'm struggling with, until recently i've loved them...but i've now fallen out of love with it and don't buy it anymore.
I know there are still lots of fans out there but i've checked ebay and they don't seem to sell on there SO...what do i do with them??....
Answers on a postcard...

Love Kirsty xoxo
P.s Just THINK what i could have done with the hundred quid that little lot set me back??...!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Cake anyone?

Today I thought id bring you a post i've been meaning to write since, well, at least November last year, and probably before that!
Its my coffee and walnut cake recipe..which i dedicate to Gem!

Firstly, in my opinion, preparation is key, get out everything you need;

For the sponge:
Camp coffee
Walnut halves(at least 150g)
Caster sugar
Self raising flour(i recommend Be-Ro if you can get it)
Baking powder
3 Medium eggs
Stork margarine

For the butter-cream:
Icing powder
250g Anchor butter
(more camp coffee)

My method is to use 3 medium eggs, although as i always use the eggs from my hens i have to say this is not an exact science as my bantam eggs are small and by other hens eggs can sometimes be HUGE, you're looking for the eggs(unbroken)to weigh 6-8 ounces in total.
I then use the method taught to me by my granny Peg, and weigh the marg, flour and sugar by whatever the eggs weighed, so if i have 8oz of eggs, i weigh out 8oz of sugar, i then add 8oz of marg on top of the sugar on the scales(so as not to get the scales greasy-another thing granny Peg taught me)
Before you continue, cut two pieces of baking parchment to fit the bottoms of two 20cm sandwich tins. Thoroughly grease the bottoms and sides of the tins, then add the parchment, then grease again with a little marg from the tub spread on with a piece of kitchen towel.

Firstly, cream your marg and sugar together until its quite pale-if it still looks as yellow as the anchor packet above, it isnt whisked enough.
I use a hand electric whisk which belonged to my mum, its all she ever used to mix cakes and its all ive ever used, but if you only have a proper super duper food whizzer then thats great too-just take it slowly!
The above photo was in november when my little 'bun' was considerably less 'cooked' than it is now!
It should look roughly this colour when its whisked enough.

Next, weigh out your flour, and add one egg to the mixture, with a 3rd of the flour, whisk a little, and repeat the process twice more. At this point i would add a teaspoon and a half of baking powder, no more though as you have a mount etna of a sponge in your oven (as ive learned to my cost!!)
Next add your camp coffee-ive done it in tablespoons for you but normally i pour it from the bottle, tasting as i go. 3-4 tablespoons is about right.
Some people use an instant coffee/boiling water mixture in their cakes, but this is a really tricky thing to do, so i would say invest in the £1.50 bottle of camp and you wont look back.
I mix the camp in with a rubber spatula, collecting any flour/butter from the sides of the bowl which hasnt yet joined the party! This was the mixture wont be 'over mixed'.
At this point you should have quite a heavy batter of a mixture which doesnt easily dollop off of the spoon.

Next, crush half of your walnuts to be added to the cake mix, not as small as breadcrumbs, you want to have a little bite in your coffee sponge...

Add your crushed walnuts to the mixture but dont mix them in too heartily, you'll overwork the gluten in the flour and your cake wont rise.

Here are my ready greased cake tins..

Dollop half of the mixture into each tin, then pop each one on the scales, just to check they're even, dont worry about spreading the mixture out, it'll do that by itself.

While the cake is cooking i get on with the butter-cream, im afraid i didn't weigh out the icing powder, its a messy enough affair as it is, so id say make sure your butter is nice and soft(but not melted) an add your icing powder to it a big shake at a time, then add a tablespoon of camp, then give it a mix...until you get the consistency you like.
Taste it, if you like more of a coffee taste, add more, i do, so id say 1-2 tbsps is a good amount.

DONT be tempted to open the oven during the first two thirds of the cooking time-which in my oven is 40-45 mins @ 180 degrees(low and slow).
I have an electric oven so im afraid i cant give you an exact time for a gas/fan oven, im sure most of you will have baked similar things in your ovens though so can guestimate it the first time!

To check your cake is cooked gently press down, and it feels like when you press the back of your hand with your finger then its done. You can test it by sticking a knife in-if it comes out clean you know its probably done, but im not a fan of this method.

I always leave the cakes to cool in their tins for 20-30 mins...then slowly run a butter knife around the inside edge of the tin, and turn the cake over, it should slip out easily and then you can peel away the baking parchment.

I then leave the upturned halves to cool-dont be tempted to add the buttercream until which time you dont feel any heat at all coming from the cake-id say 45-60 mins will do it.

Then gently spread on the butter-cream with a palette knife, i use the same amount inside as on top (but you can do a thinner layer on top but continue it round the sides of your cake if you want to).
I then add a few walnut halves to the top of the cake, i like LOTS but on this occasion i didn't have many!
Et Voila! It, should look something like this!...In our house this cake is always gone in minutes, but it will keep in a cake tin for a good 4 or 5 days for those of you who might be rationing yourselves!

Sorry for the dark photos guys-like i said, it was November!
I hope half term is being kind to you mummies, even if the weather isnt.
My girls know the method for making this cake-its so simple, even they can help me-although there is more mixture in their tummies than in the bowl by the end of it!

Id love to know how you get on trying out my recipe!

Now sit back with a cuppa and a slice of your cake-its the best, i promise!
Love Kirsty xoxo

Friday, 18 February 2011

Sharing the love..MORE baby love

I dont want to risk loosing all my new 'followers' but i do want to share a bit more 'baby' stuff with you guys if thats okay?!
Now, i love photography, i wish id studied it at college actually so i could be properly good at it, nevertheless i still have fun taking snaps of my family life, i just need a new camera now as mine is well on its way out unfortunately. Great timing and all that, just before the baby is due its decided to pack up. Never mind, i just wont read the credit card bill when i purchase a new one!

I was lucky enough to be invited along by a friend to a recent baby show. Her daughter lily is 6 months old now so shes getting to the messy weaning stage!!

Anway, whilst there one particular exhibitor caught my eye, the amazing talents of local photographer Mike French were being beautifully showcased.
We had a lovely chat with Mike, he was so friendly and welcoming....we left his stand with me going 'he HAS to photograph my newborn baby' and my friend going 'damn, Lily is too old now'!!

I contacted Mike recently to ask him if i could share his beautiful work with all of you guys and he replied and said he'd be very happy for me to do so and sent me some images to use !!

Mike is based in Fareham which is quite near to where i live, so im surprised i haven't come across his work before as he is a wedding photographer too, and his photographs are simply stunning...so, do you want to see a sample of his work photographing newborns??..

Starting with my favourite, isn't this just the scummiest baby you've ever seen?!!

Just SO beautiful!!
Ive seen shots like this in magazines and on tv and im just so please ive found someone local with the talent to be able to capture such a special time in our lives, i think it takes a special kind of passion and patience to be able to create images like this. Ive added a link to Mikes website HERE so that you can all take a look at his work, please pay him a visit!

Love Kirsty xoxo

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Hey x

Just a little update for you all as i dont seem to be able to summon the strength for a full post!

Bump is growing, bigger and bigger with every passing week, my mum took this picture for me the other day, and, as i have hardly any photos of myself pregnant with the girls coupled with the fact that i think this will probably be my last baby im trying not to be too vain, and just enjoy the moment (although i confess when i saw this picture i said 'oh my god im HUGE!)

This is a kind of everyday look for me, my old faithful Next riding boots, very excited that im finally replacing these this week, hurrah!
..In case you were wondering about the rest of my outfit; Pink bobble necklace from Joules, non-maternity-live-in-it staple white shirt-Next...non-maternity tank-primark-LOVE the colour...Non-maternity,New, cable knit leggings-new look...Chunky ring accessorize(i think).

Moving on, i keep staring at my mantlepiece this week, just-enjoying it. Its crammed full(not normally a 'look' i go in for) and it makes me smile as it reminds me of my girls.

Can you see the stunning hyacinths? They smell beautiful and im so pleased with how 'full'they are, you know, with hyacinths, as they start to come out, they can look a bit ropey, and you think, bugger, i shouldn't have bought 50p bulbs?!...

Alson on the mantle i have this beautiful card from my Ruby, made for me at lunchtime art club. Poppy is my arty girl so Ruby surprised me with this and i was stunned at how much work she had put in...and next to it-the bottle dolly! Adorable isnt she?

My card read 'To Mummy, yoo are a byootiful mum-love Ruby'...bless her little soul

She went food shopping with daddy on sunday and he let her choose a gift for me. She chose the purple ppp(pretty potted primula)you see there in the background, she knows me so well!
I found this candle sorting out the babys room and ive been burning it all week, doesnt really smell, its just nice to look at.
As is this little photo, my girls...

The Tete-a-Tete are blooming now...pretty, pretty,

And blue Hyacinths in the bathroom!

Hope you are all well, i will catch up again soon..i promise xxxx

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

A little bit of pink

Do remember a little while back i gave you a glimpse of the photo below, well today ive finally gotten around to revealing the little project i used it for.

The bathroom renovation got my creative juices flowing and i finally got round to using the paint for what it had been intended when i bought it. This hideously ugly brown wooden cabinet was used as a small bathroom storage cupboard in our old bathroom. It was there when i moved in and i guess i just never bothered to do anything with it through laziness!
So..can you see how ugly it is?

I very simply gave it a quick sand over, then painted on two coats of this glorious bubblegum pink paint.
I then installed it in its new home, as a bedside cabinet for Ruby.
I put it in place whilst she was at school, so she could 'discover' it on her return home....well, she was thrilled, and duely spent a good half hour arranging her bits and pieces inside, and on top...that was a couple of weeks ago and since then i think ive realised she may have inherited the 'home girl' gene. She has used mugs to display flowers, arranged various notebooks on it, not to mention different groups of her favourite animals...today, its mice and rabbits...

I added a beautiful glass handle from Bombay Duck, cute eh?

Here is there room as it currently stands...they share a 'big bed' now.
Its been a gloriously sunny day today, although the room looks a little dull-forgive me, my camera is seriously on its way out, not an expense i'll relish at this time of year, but with a new baby on the way i guess its a necessity!!

Haven't quite got round to buying a valance for the divan yet!
Did you spot this little lady hanging from the light?
Poppy adores her, you can purchase your own here from this lovely lady!

Ruby has filled her little cabinet with pretties and treasures..

Bless her, she has a lip balm in every pocket and drawer!

Thought id show a little pic of a corner of their room they are just arranging, i dragged this little ikea table in from the wendy house to encourage Poppy to sit here and draw and colour, rather than doing it in bed at night and ruining yet another of my double quilts with biro or felt tip!
They've used it as an 'office' this week, and even had to borrow the cordless phone to speak to 'clients'!

I love my little girls...

Love Kirsty xoxo

Thursday, 3 February 2011

New CK Store!

Ive been keeping a little online list for a little while, mainly cath goodies, a few things i want to look out for when baby comes, depending on whether 'its' a he or she plus a few other bits and bobs.

I very recently found out from a friend of a friend who is a manager at a local CK shop that a new store was opening near me!

And, not just any CK store, oh no, this one is an outlet store, and you know what that means? Bargains!

The new store is in nearby Portsmouth, at a complex called Gunwharf Quays(click here for more info) They have 95 designer outlet stores there, plus loads of lovely restaurants, bowling, comedy club etc etc. Plus, its right on portsmouth harbour, so in the summer its lovely to relax with a glass of something naughty and chill out for the day.

I digress, i was shocked surprised and just a teensy bit excited when i got news of the new store..and started planning my day out this saturday at the complex, based around the opening time, and called CK HQ a few times to be sure of the opening date and also monitored the website for days.

Then- the unbelieveable happened...

I am 'friends' with Stanley Kidston on facebook and was stunned to log on on thursday(yesterday) and be confronted by a post by them, with photos, of the new store which opened on Thursday...thats right THURSDAY!!!
I felt my heart rate speed up, and reminded myself to think of the baby-all the stress was just not going to do me any good.

Well i promptly left a comment on one of the photos of inside the store and told them how disappointed i was to receive this distressing and alarming news...!
They replied quickly with 'dont worry Kirsty, our official opening is this saturday so you wont miss out' But, but, what the?!! DONT THEY UNDERSTAND?!?

So, i shall be heading down first thing tomorrow morning, elbows at the ready-bump clearly on display on a way which gives the mesage 'im pregnant and delicate-do not get in my way'.
D'u think it'll work?

First on my list, towels, or maybe just 'a' towel for my new bathroom..
Next, pillowcases, you see the maternity hospital in my area has a serious pillow shortage(i kid you not, for watchers of one born every minute-thats my hospital-The Princess Anne) and you have to take your own in when you go into labour. So that they then dont get muddled they ask you to make sure you have brightly coloured pillowcases.-Brightly coloured, hmph, Mine will be CK or nothing i tell you!
These are what my heart yearns for but ebay prices for the very same are slightly mental so, im hoping CKoutlet will come through for me.

And, oven gloves, Mr P(!!!!!!!!!!) left mine on the toaster, they were in the print of the bedding above and ive had them for years, i was reeeeallly mad about it, but now at least i have a good excuse to buy new ones!

So, i guess you might like to see a few photos i 'borrowed' from facebook-stanley kidston et al-of the new store i shall be frequenting regularly like a woman possessed from now on?

Baby stuff-check!

Oven gloves-check!

Now i just have to sniff out the pillowcases.

If anyone sees anything they've been hankering over in the photos and you'd like me to pick it up for you i shall gladly do that and get them to wrap it prettily and you can just pay me the postage...i did this the last time i went to the CK outlet a Bicster in Oxford, and it was great fun.

Oh and some news on the baby front for those who are interested, i saw the midwife this week when i was 27 weeks plus 2 days and she told me im(baby) measuring 33 weeks...shocked-YOU BET...so i shall go back in 3 weeks to be measured again, looks like my dream 3rd homebirth is unlikely now though...cross your fingers for me girls xoxox