Thursday, 25 April 2013

Our Current Favourite

It's been a while since I talked food and recipes and my gluttony for good food. 6 months of a certain little lady will do that to you. Finding time to eat let alone cook has been near impossible and with so much off the menu while my little girl's tummy was so sensitive, food just became an exhausting exercise.

Just as I felt it would never end however, this happened:

Shortly followed by this:

Where has my baby gone?? Now we share meals with her excitedly whacking her high chair, supported by cushions and covered in a smock bib. Wow this weaning thing is one glorious mess isn't it?

I knew I would be baby led. I breast fed exclusively on demand and it just made sense to leave her in control of what she was eating. With so much negative association with food so young thanks to chronic reflux, I also felt the exploration would be fun. It turns out she loves it and letting her set the pace has shown me just what she's capable of. She's amazing quite frankly. Pears, bananas, crusts of bread, carrots and cucumber are destroyed, gummed and delighted in. I can't wait to start cooking for her. We just have to take things a little slow as she's not quite 6 months and her reflux needs careful monitoring. Still, she's setting the pace so I'm learning from her this way.

In anticipation of this event, my mum bought me a copy of River Cottage Baby and Toddler Cookbook. It's my new favourite cookbook. We have a weekly veg box delivery and a great local green grocers, fishmonger and butcher so we eat seasonally and as locally as possible. I have long been a fan of Hugh's team and publications so I knew I'd love this. It's a whole food philosophy that we totally believe in too.

The book starts with helpful advice about how to wean, how to feed your growing baby healthily and is encouraging and non judgemental. I have found the early section of very early weaning extremely handy already as I check how best to prep some fruit etc.

It does contain purée recipes if you are so inclined which I think I'll use for exploration and with dippers such as pitta or lollipops of broccoli. The nice touch is each recipe explains how to make it safe for tiny babies but also appropriate for adults. The idea of meal sharing is very much a part if the giant and I's philosophy.

This book is a great compliment to the Baby Led Weaning books. I'd actually say that I preferred it in terms of explaining the practicalities and making me feel excited about this new world.

And with that its time I went and pressure washed the ceiling. More soon!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Tiny Treads by Joeli Caparco

Right out the gate I want to say this is a long overdue review and feature. I had plans to interview the oh so talented Ms Caparco but you know, babies happen. I still predict this in my podcasting future but in the meantime I've been dying to share this because it's such a good bit of work. Let me tell you why.

(c) Cooperative Press
Tiny Treads features 12 sock patterns for infants and children by a mother who knows her knit stuff. It's packed full of practical tips from how to get little ones to wash their own handwash socks (oh yes) to sizing for different tiny feet. What makes this super practical is that it's written by someone who is a whizz tech editor so the patterns just make sense. This is what happens when good editors design: the patterns are thoughtfully and carefully produced with that critical eye for detail.

With tiny feet, it might be tricky to measure, get gauge, get the correct size and yarns and so on, especially if you want to use a partially leftover skein rather than break into a beloved whole skein of deliciousness. The solution is simple: Joeli provides options for whatever gauge you are knitting at. That's genius quite frankly and so much more practical for busy mum's who've grabbed yarn and a 5 minute knitting time out and don't have time to perfectly match yarn.

Gepetto, (c) Cooperative Press
As for the designs themselves, they're practical, fun and make good use of a range of yarns. There's slippers, leg warmers, socks and different weights of yarn so you can find some good foot solutions in here. As someone who baby wears everyday, I predict a lot of these in my future knitting. I also like the fact that it's produced by Cooperative Press, so has clear layout and availability both in print and digitally. It ticks all the right boxes for me when I'm looking for new pattern collections.

Banbury Cross, (c) Cooperative Press
A few highlights I particularly liked were 'Gepetto' legwarmers: a worsted weight pair of cabled leggies that I know I'll be casting on. Also, I loved the 'grown upness' of Banbury Cross socks, a sockweight ribbed pattern that I should imagine work super fast for teeny feet. I am also completely charmed and intrigued in equal measure by these Cinderslippers in two colours of Sock weight. Aren't they cute?

(c) Cooperative Press
If you like mini knits and mini feet and would like the chance to win a digital copy of Joeli's book, please leave a comment below telling me which of the designs you would most likely knit first. The random number generator will select a winner on the 29th April 2013 and announced here on the blog. Good luck!

Of course if you can't wait that long, you can always purchase your copy here or simply check out more of the fab designs in this book.

Sunday, 21 April 2013


It's finally here! Oh thank God! I was positively miserable about the weather but two days of Spring sunshine, blossom and long naptime walks and I'm positively brimming with happiness. Things are happening, blossoming, growing and so I attacked my crafting pile. 

This happened. 

I then did a WIPS count. Prizes if you remember this old friend:

These are getting there

This is not. 

There was ripping, stashing and packing away. It felt good. Spring is springing.  Stay tuned for the next gleeful post-it's a review AND giveaway. Yipppeeee!!!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

And The Baby Wore Red

I want to be clear this is not a celebration. I do not hold with that much disrespect. However when my daughter asks what we did on the day they gave Thatcher a state funeral that cost 10 million, here is what I will say:

'In the area you were born and lived we were faced with a tough decision very early on because there weren't enough schools. We agonised all the time about selling your first home & moving area to somewhere smaller, with no garden but with a school nearby. The schools in the area had been closed down or neglected due to lack of funds or changed into academies due to lack of vision. The answer was always 'there's not enough money for a new school'. 1/3rd of children in the area did not have a school place next year and you were soon to become part of that growing number. 10 million would build 3 schools.

So we wore red.'

Sunday, 14 April 2013


I'm not sure whether its the sudden sunshine, the family holiday we just returned from or the exciting changes from the Playful Baby but I've been feeling super charged today. Today was a good day. I even made a fantastic throw together Cous Cous salad for dinner. Bliss.

Last week we travelled to Dorset to stay in a cottage tucked into the country side with my family. We arrived in brilliant sunshine and felt like we'd got lucky with the weather. We hadn't and we soon realised that we were surrounded by country lanes that were pretty unwalkable with a little one. Still, we ate tons, changed the scenery and I made gin jelly.

During our trip we noticed that Playful Baby was just a little more grown up: sitting a little straighter (with support), reaching more accurately and what's this? Grabbing for food? Where does time go? So we jumped in the car on our return to get supplies and now have a permanent play area and high chair. We have to be extra careful with her tummy but Playful Baby now joins us for each meal even if her activity is still playing with toys at the moment.

Then today finally felt like the weather I've been craving for months. It's been ghastly and when you do so many walking naps to settle a little one, weather pretty much becomes an obsession. Today there were no pram suits and no layers. There was even a jolly sun hat. Pure, pure bliss.

Tonight I'm going to finish a little hat design I've made up. I went on a bit of a scrap challenge again while I was away. I quite like this game and will share the results soon.

Happy Sundaying!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

For The Love of EZ

The chances are that if you read this blog, you feel the same way about Elizabeth Zimmerman as I do: she was a genius. With her revolutionary knitting style, timeless design sense and deep love of her beloved craft, Elizabeth continues to inspire generations of knitters everywhere. As a writer, I adore reading EZ's prose because it is delightful, light and engaging. As a woman I just love her sass. I quite often wonder if EZ would have loved a gin and a chuckle as much as I do. 

If you haven't indulged in any Elizabeth Zimmerman publications yet or feel it's high time you revisited, come join us or our new along in the playful group. We're celebrating all things EZ and knitting, crocheting, quoting and chuckling at a fellow addicts life work. I for one am using this as the perfect excuse to treat myself to a couple of her books which I feel should enjoy permanent residence on my bedside table due to the amount of times I know I will reread sections over and over just for the love of her words. Come play!