Monthly Archives: March 2012

Baby Tails

My Facebook timeline seems to be full of people showing off their babies as fairies, Superman, elves, Christmas puddings, baby Santas, pumpkins and other little cuties. But why not think outside the box? The people at The Miniature Knit Shop have done exactly that with their outfits.

You might get some disapproving looks as you walk down the street with your baby in this Baby Shark Sleeping Bag but I think it’s very funny and very cute.

Handmade Knitted Baby Shark Sleeping Bag - The Miniature Knit Shop

Less controversial but equally gorgeous is the Knitted Mermaid Tail

Handmade Knitted Mermaid Tail Baby Costume - The Miniature Knit Shop

All the pieces are handmade and their prices reflect that, the shark is £84 and mermaid tail is £70.

There are some very sweet bird feet booties at £24 which would make a lovely and different new baby gift.

Knitted Bird Feet Booties - The Miniature Knit Shop

If you want to add a penguin, chicken or parrot hat that is completely up to you.

Live vicariously through your children as long as you can I say, it won’t be long until they learn to talk and can tell you how embarrassing you are. Can I remind you to take lots of photos, they’re perfect ammunition during the teenage years!

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The Dandelight

When I was a child I was always hankering for wishes.

Say something at the same time? Make a wish! Walk underneath a train bridge when a train is going over? Link little fingers and make a wish! Blow out birthday candles? Make a wish!

Eyelash falls out? Blow it away and make a wish! See a dandelion head? Blow the seeds free and make a wish!

PLEASE don’t blow on this dandelion.

The Dandelight - Rockett St George

Each of these real dandelion seeds is precisely stuck to an LED light by hand to make The Dandelight.

The realistic quality is beautifully countered by the visible 9V battery that powers the light which I think makes it all the more intriguing.

It is £85 from Rockett St George, but if you’re going to make the investment can I recommend paying the extra £36 for the dome just in case any one sneezes near it!

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Fancy Cheese in Toast

At Christmas one of the courses I made for my extended family was brie wrapped in brioche from a Good Food recipe. I made two of them between 12 of us and although they tasted delicious they were massive and so rich that between us we didn’t finish either of them. We spent three days after Christmas finishing them off and by that time we were all thoroughly sick of the sight of them.

Nearly three months later I found myself hankering after one but put off at the quantity I decided to have a go at making individual portions.

I used the same quantities for the dough from the original Good Food recipe but instead of a large brie I used four small brie rounds. I also found that two eggs for glazing was far too much so reduced it down to one. As I don’t eat pork I also left the prosciutto out but if you do, wrap the brie rounds in prosciutto before you wrap them in the dough.

  • 375g strong white bread flour
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
  • 75ml milk
  • 3 large eggs , plus 1 beaten eggs for glazing
  • 185g softened unsalted butter
  • 4 x 80g rounds of brie (or camembert works too)

Mix the first five ingredients together in a mixer with the dough attachment until the dough is smooth.

Add the butter and mix for another 4 minutes or so (make sure the butter is really soft before you add it).

Put the dough in a container covered with clingfilm in the fridge for at least six hours.

A couple of hours before you are ready to cook it remove from fridge and roll it out onto a floured surface so it’s large enough to wrap your brie rounds.

Brioche dough rolled out ready to wrap brie

Cut the dough into sections large enough to wrap each brie and fold the dough round smoothing as you go so it is neat and totally encompasses the brie.

Repeat for each round of brie and place on a baking tray covered in baking parchment. Leave plenty of room between them, as they cook they’ll rise considerably.

(You’ll be pleased to know I resisted the strong urge to add dough ‘nipples’, yes I’m childish).

Brie wrapped in brioche dough

Brush your brioche parcels with the beaten egg and put in the fridge for 30 mins. Repeat.

(I did the above the first time I cooked this recipe and didn’t the second time and I didn’t notice a real difference, so if you’re in a hurry you could save an hour by omitting the chilling stages)

Leave to rise at room temperature for an hour then place in a preheated oven at 220 degrees C/gas mark 6 for 18-20 minutes.

When you take them out they should look something like this.

Brie wrapped in brioche

When you cut into them you free the oozy brie loveliness. My husband aptly described them as fancy cheese in toast.

Oozy brie loveliness

Although my aim was to make individual portions these were still quite large and the dough would probably be enough to make six smaller ones.

I was wondering if it would work with bresaola instead of the prosciutto? I also think adding a couple of sun-dried tomatoes on top of the brie rounds would be really tasty. Or indeed spreading something like onion marmalade on the outside of the brie before wrapping. I think I’m going to have to make some more to try these ideas out…

If you’re looking for a tasty weekend brunch-time treat these would be perfect.

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Faux Paper Bags

During half-term my daughter and I had a day out together, I put my black bag across me as usual only to be told on the train that it was a “trying-to-be-trendy-but-failing-mum-bag”. I didn’t think it was that bad. But now I come to think of it my husband has also suggested that I treat myself to a new bag a few times recently…. Oh (sound of penny dropping), the bag is awful.

On my hunt for a less awful handbag, I saw these leather bags by Natthakur London that are masquerading as paper and plastic bags, they’re not handbags but they are so lovely. This leather striped grocery bag looks just like the ones from my corner shop but it won’t split as you walk down the road and it’s far nicer. It’s £140 and also available in red.

Leather Grocery Bag by Natthakur London

A ‘paper’ bag that will never go soggy in the rain, available in brown or white leather at £130. The hand printed fabric lining has a repeat of the ‘Keep Britain Tidy’ man. Genius.

Leather Brown Paperbag by Natthakur London

The mini leather paper bag is an American style grocery bag that I think is my favourite of the two faux paper styles, it also has the ‘Keep Britain Tidy’ lining and is £65.

Mini Leather Paper bag by Natthakur London

These leather penny sweet bags are gorgeous, £28 for the purse and £75 for the clutch bag. The purse also comes in pink, blue, orange and yellow just like in the newsagents.

Leather Sweet Bag Purse by Natthakur London

Natthakur London have loads more gorgeous leather purses, cuffs and wallets in their shop, have a look – it really is like browsing in a sweet shop.

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Folded Heart Book Decorations

When I came across these book decorations, I thought ‘how clever’ followed by ‘they hurt a book!’ but then I read that they don’t cut the pages they fold them down, which makes it even more clever.

Folded Heart Book Decoration by Stuff by Losy Posy

There are three versions each at £25, a children’s book, a romantic novel and another version with more manly titles. Each version has a choice of two titles with corresponding coloured ribbon.

Children's Book Folded Heart Book Decoration by Stuff By Losy Posy

I think the Water Babies one would be lovely for a christening or first birthday, they also include the original dust jacket which would be nice to frame separately. The other versions could make nice wedding or mothers/fathers day presents.

What do you think, pretty decoration or grievous book harm?

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Nice Hues of Red, White & Blue

I don’t know if it’s because of the Queen’s jubilee later in the year but I’m really drawn to red, white and blue at the moment so when I saw this scalloped dress from Oasis I was hankering.

Scallop 2 in 1 Dress - Oasis

I like the blocks of colour making it look like separates and the pretty scalloped edge of the skirt. At £50 I think it’s not a bad price although I might have to buy this striped clutch bag by Layla Copeland to go with it which would nearly double the cost.

Chic Nautical Clutch by Layla Copeland

Hmmm, what shoes though?

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Beastly Hooks & Handles

I know I’ve already shown you some animal heads this week but I think these animal coat hooks/door knobs are adorable. I’m hankering after some buffalo heads to use as handles on my beloved kitchen queen (when I finally get round to repainting it), but I’m not sure if they’ll be too big at 10cm x 8cm. They would go with my stampeding cow wallpaper beautifully.

Zoo Dear Animals Coat Hooks/Knobs, White Buffalo - Rockett St George

Not got cows on your walls? Then what about deer, ducks, horses or pigs?

Zoo Animal Coat Hooks/Knobs - Rockett St George

I’m also considering getting a couple of rabbit heads to hang my tea towels on in my rabbit obsessed kitchen.

Zoo Dear Animals Coat Hooks/Knobs,White Rabbit - Rockett St George

There is so much character in their little polystyrene and metal heads that really I’m hankering after them all, they’re £10.95 each from Rockett St George. Which is your favourite?

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Key Dramas

The first big argument my husband and I had once we started living together was about keys. My husband is a tidy person, if he sees keys lying around he will put them somewhere safe and logical, so he hangs them on the key hook in the kitchen. My mind didn’t use that logic though. If my keys weren’t exactly where I left them I’d assume they were in my bag, admittedly I didn’t always check, but being the only adult in my household for almost a decade makes you certain about these things. So in the first few weeks of living together I may have been locked out once or twice or made myself late tearing the house apart trying to find my keys, not looking on the key hook of course because I didn’t put them there. There may have been some shouting. As you can see I’m not that reasonable or easy to live with.

I’m much more reasonable about keys and key hooks now, but I’d prefer one of these designs than the small brass hooks the previous owner of our house installed.

I do like clouds and this cloud key holder by Suck UK is no exception, it has three strong magnets on the underside so your keys hang below like strange bolts of lightning.

Cloud Keyholder - Suck UK

Have a little sparrow as your key holder and you can slot him into his bird house when you get in and never lose your keys again. Available as double sparrows for £19.99 or a single sparrow for £12.50 so you can have one for each person you live with.

Pink/White Sparrows In Bird House Key Rings - Nestgifts

Alternatively hang your keys on these wild animal ends, choose from heads or tails or get both and put on opposite sides of the wall so it looks like they are walking through. The Pack Rack is by Steph Mantis who also does really cool magnet versions.

Pack Rack Necklace or Key Rack - Steph MantisPack Rack Necklace or Key rack in Yellow Pine - Steph Mantis

I think I prefer the tail ends, what about you?

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English Insults

I was going to write about Sarah Waterhouse’s gorgeous hand printed fabrics soon anyway as she’s got some beautiful and quirky designs but then I saw her new English Insults fabric and she went straight to the top of my list.

English Insults Fabric - Sarah Waterhouse Hand Printed Textiles

The sunny yellow ink contains such insulting gems as ‘ninny’, ‘oaf’, ‘shambles’, ‘bounder’ and ‘scallywag’ that are little heard now. Let’s bring them back! Let me know which is your favourite in the comments section below.

Sarah’s other fabrics have bird brollies, knitting needles and yarn, birdcages and forest pods in a variety of colours for £7 for a 38cm x 54cm piece. I think I may convert one of her fabrics (I’m torn between the brollies and the insults) into a drum lampshade using her kit for £20.

Sarah Waterhouse Hand Printed Textiles

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Sideboard Splendour

Zoe from Conversation Pieces tweeted a picture of her gorgeous colourful vintage sideboard a couple of weeks ago and since then I’ve not been able to get sideboards out of my head. Here’s some that I’m hankering after.

Chloe’s rounded edges and studded surface keep coming to my mind. Isn’t she beautiful? She wouldn’t work in our house at all, which means I won’t get to stroke her but it is good for our bank balance. From Love Your Home For Less for £595.

Chloe Metal Sideboard - Love Your Home For Less

With its straight lines and corners Made’s Vernay cabinet is very different to Chloë, I definitely prefer the multi-coloured version but if it would clash with your decor the oak version is still gorgeous and fifty quid cheaper at £299.

Vernay Cabinet -

This 1960s vintage English teak sideboard from Vintage Retro looks in such good condition and is really lovely looking with a price to match at £190. I love the handles.

Long 60s vintage English teak sideboard - Vintage Retro

Vintage Retro have another 60s sideboard that’s 2 metres wide and possibly Swedish in heritage, it’s £130 as it has a water damaged top but I reckon that could be dealt with by covering with some nice wallpaper or fabric and adding a glass top. What do you think?

60s vintage light long sideboard - Vintage Retro

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