Thursday, 28 February 2013

...making our favourite cosy evening snack

The husband is good at making cosy evening snacks. He made me my favourite tonight; grilled halloumi and avocado stuffed pittas with hot sauce. Mmmmmmm. I tried to take some photos but it just ended up looking like a kebab! Not very appetising. The avocado looks pretty though...

The recipe is very simple; slice your halloumi quite thickly, and then griddle it on both sides. Toast your pitta, and then stuff it with the halloumi and avocado, and then add the hot sauce to finish.

We have a little obsession with hot sauce in this house. Our collection has grown significantly recently. So tonight I decided to line them all up and take a photo of our little army.

Love the hot sauce.

Maria x

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

......making little cinematic wedding vids

 Hitting 30 it is no surprise that weddings are the biggest occasions on my calendar. I have been so lucky in the last couple of year's to share some amazing moments with my closest friends. This year started with one of my best friend's Jo being proposed to on the beach, followed by big girly screams of excitement when I got invited to be a bridesmaid! This year is going to be great fun, but busy!! I have just come back from an Aladdins cave of wedding dresses at Daisy Bridal in Boscombe. Even though I am not the one to get married, weddings seem to be at the forefront of my mind at the moment. I am currently on a mission editing together a short film of another good friend's Summer wedding in Devon last August. My friend Emma will be making a fleeting visit from New Zealand in a couple of weeks and I would really love to be able to give her the film face to face! I have had a rough cut since last summer but now I have a deadline I am super motivated to get it done!


Maria has been helping me by finding me some inspiration, from our favourite bloggers!

The lovely James from Bleubird vintage wedding video is simply gorgeous!!


And the very talented Elsie from A Beautiful mess blog - Again very inspiring! 

 So here is the very start of my little wedding video for Emma - I was not the official video artist.  I just captured some moments throughout the day, and said I would make a little cinematic Momento. The still photography in this blog post and film were captured by Emma's friend David Roberts.


I would love to hear what you think! Gem x

...drinking tea

I love tea. If I was stranded on a desert island and I could only have one drink it would definiately be tea. It is the ultimate comfort drink. We are massive fans in our house.

So when a little tea shop called &tea opened up in Southbourne a couple of years ago, I was excited. Since then, the husband and I have been popping by and choosing different flavours to try. They have a huge selection of teas to sample, and are quite reasonably priced. The owners are really knowledgable, and have recommended to us some delicious blends. I thought it would be fun to share with you my 'Top 3 from &tea'.

 Earl Grey Scented Light is really refreshing. It has a delicious smell too.

 Camomile. After drinking this I could never go back to the ready-made tea bag version. It is so tasty and fresh. My friend Cara just recently introduced me to the joys of adding a little bit of honey to the water. Mmmmmm.
Moroccan  Mint is really bright and zingy. A perfect blend for a 'pick-me-up' when flagging during the day. It's also really nice for settling the stomach after a hearty meal.

What are your favourite blends?

Maria x

Monday, 25 February 2013

....feeding the birds

The nights are definitely getting brighter,  I am sat at my desk and listening to the birds still happily in great discussion, tweeting away in the tall tree opposite my window. It is still incredibly nippy though,  I am finding it hard to stop nibbling throughout the day. So just spare a thought for our feathered friends who are probably feeling pretty peckish to. Yesterday I went along to volunteer at one of the many RSPB events in Dorset. I would love to say that this crafty idea; Pine Cone Bird Feeders is one of mine, but no! This is what the children were making under the educated eye of SJ the events leader . Unfortunately I arrived to late to make one yesterday, so I thought I would have a go tonight!

What you need to make a few Pine Cone bird feeders is; 

Pine Cones
Bird Seed
Crushed Cornflakes / (Healthy non sugary cereal)
and Lots of lard!

Find the largest pine cones you can find, put near an open fire or on a radiator, 
so they will open up! 

Get all your stuff together - Once you crack open the lard you will soon be a greasy mess! 

I used 3/4s of the lard and added some old cornflakes I had lying around,  
Then add the seed and mix up

Tie string onto the pine cones before you fill them in with the delicious bird food! 
It's a bit messy and tricky if you try afterwards

Fill in all the gaps of the pine cones to create your own Bird Balls! 

Hang from a shrub or tree - Making sure it is high up so Foxes and Cats can't reach them! 
Squirrels are a different matter, if they want something they will find a way! 

I am sure the birds will be grateful for a beak full of lard and seeds! 

Have fun x

Here is some more advice from the RSPB website on how to look after and feed the birds in your garden!

I love this Feather Print from River Luna on Etsy!

Have a great week! 

Gem x

Sunday, 24 February 2013

......making butterflies

On Friday afternoon, Gem and I had a fun couple of hours drinking tea, looking for inspiration and making paper butterflies. They are pretty easy to make (cutting the wings to an realistic looking butterfly shape was a little tricky though!), and I reckon we'll probably make some more-some Summer decorations perhaps? 

Tear out a page of an old magazine and fold the paper back and forth (like a concertina).We started off by tying some cotton around the middle, but it wasn't really strong enough.

Next we tried a thicker string and it seemed to work much better. As I mentioned, shaping the wings was the only bit that took a few goes to get right. Keep the top wing as wide and as pointy as you can, and make the lower one short and curved.

Our first attempts-not looking good!

Our best attempts! (apologies for wonky photo)

Not a bad way to use up some old magazines. The boy loved helping with it too (the folding bit rather than the cutting-obviously!), so it's a fun activity to try with kiddos. Have a go!


Saturday, 23 February 2013

....dreaming about summer

Today has been soooo cold! I am really missing the sun we had at the beginning of the week. That little burst of spring sunshine has got me yearning for a long sunny break. I made the mistake of looking at  last last year's holiday photos from my trip to Rhodes. My sister and I always go for holidays that generally appeal to the over 40's! Family run small apartments, in a quite village near a beach,  We don't ask for much! My feet are now itching to be on hot foreign land! I think it's about time we started looking... Maybe Italy this year???

Friday, 22 February 2013


Lately I've been in a bit of a rut crafting-wise. I don't know if it's the weather, or maybe I've just been really busy at work, but I've been running out of ideas. So today, whilst having a cuppa and some jaffacakes at Gem's with the boy, we had a little browse on good old Pinterest for some inspiration. It didn't take long to find plenty of ideas for easy and cheap makes. Below are just a few of the things I intend to make over the next few weeks.

PomPom Flowers

Home Made Gift Wrap inspired from

Gem and I have been scouring the chasers for collector's trays for a while now. I have
only used mine for treasures found on the beach, but I can't wait to try this!  

Dipped painted feathers - Very 'Bat For Lashes'!
I've been collecting glass bottles to use as vases. This little display makes me feel that Spring is nearly here!
Gem and I saw an old lady selling vintage hankies for 5p at a car boot sale last Summer. We didn't buy them-and after seeing this wall display we are kicking ourselves! Must look out for them from now on.
My friend Kate has been making some pictures using embroidery hoops. I love this display of crochet scraps. It looks really effective, yet easy to make. A project for the spare room perhaps?
Love these little paper butterflies. Gem and I are going to give these a try this afternoon.

So, it looks like I'll be pretty busy these next few weeks! Wish me luck!

Maria x

Thursday, 21 February 2013

....wondering on Dartmoor

Dartmoor is a great place, wild and windy and full of surprises. On my last day of my mini holiday in Devon, we decided to go on a stroll over the moors. This little trip took us through some very windy roads and a few hairy turns. I didn't think we would get there until it was dusk, but then we came across the tell tale signs that we had hit the moors; 1) It was looking a bit cloudy and 2) we finally came across a cattle grid.

I should have taken a photo of the map but here is a scribble from memory.

It was a very enjoyable end to the hols, chatting with friends, whistling tunes, jumping streams and getting very muddy. Also learnt about how to work out where North is depending on the direction of the southern easterly winds, in which the tree's would bend to. Also moss will usually grow facing the sun (south) .... every day is a school day. Not sure I would trust myself on these moors though!

Dream house!

snow drops!

We found these little wild piggies snuffling and squealing, they loved the banana skins!

What adventures have you been on lately? 

Gem x