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Showing posts with label book. Show all posts
Showing posts with label book. Show all posts

Oliver Jeffers

Oliver Jeffers Author Film 2013 from Oliver Jeffers on Vimeo.

I possibly might love him.
My kids do, he is pretty great yes?
Here his books are the most requested at bed time, that and Julia Donaldson.
They are charming, funny and very very magical.
Every home needs one...

Wildwood - the best gift..

Once in a while you stumble across something so sweet, so unbelievably magical that you spend your days thinking about it, living in that moment, becoming part of the thing...

To me that thing was a book called Wildwood.  I was in a local bookshop choosing books for Nephews for Christmas, when the spine of this novel called out to me.  It whispered - 'Lou, I belong to you!'

As I picked up the book I gasped at the beautiful illustrations by Portland artist Carson Ellis... turning the pages I read small excerpts of the text. Written by Carson's husband Colin Meloy (who is also the lead singer of the Decemberists) I was enticed to read further - on stories of uniformed coyotes, speaking owls and a forest so vast and wild that it was truly impassable in places.  Where humans and animals live hand in hand and work on the land together. Of a baby carried off by crows. Of a Green Witch and a tree counsel.

Yes - this book truly belonged to me... as I stood there in the shop, with the one and only copy of it in my hands, I couldn't bare to put it back down.  It HAD to come home with.

I self gifted, there and then.  And didn't once feel guilty about it.

Wildwood totally swept me off my feet.  I was well and truly in love and read it in 4 days flat. I must confess my dear friends that I haven't read a proper book since having Rufus, so for me to be so completely in love was something so very special indeed.  

Wildwood is designed as a children's book - but if you are like me, and you love magic, mysticism and nature - then my friends you love this.  Think of Narnia and The Folk of the Faraway tree.

Here are Colin and Carson describing their inspiration:

They are such a talented couple and such an inspiration.
I cannot wait for Under Wildwood, book two to come out later this year!
A book to read curled up in front of the fire - go read!

Can you see what it is yet?

One of Charlie's Christmas gifts was this brilliant book. Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of Animals.  I am so excited!

It shows a step by step way of drawing animals using simple shapes, triangles, squares etc. With amazing results. This morning both boys made this wonderful animal collage.

I have been told that primary school boys tend to lag behind girls at this age when it comes to drawing and craft.  Hopefully, this will engage Charlie in drawing and give him more confidence.

(I've just noticed that this book has been really reduced on Amazon, a total bargain!).

Beloved Homes

Last week, during my usual rummaging through charity shops during my lunch break, I spied this luscious book.

Found in my favourite Oxfam bookshop this book called Beloved Homes must have been waiting for me!

Are you ready for some gorgeous Scandinavian homes?


Okay here goes...

Look at the trays! 

Love this blue shade and the orange throws.

Green walls and this sideboard seem all a bit too familiar to me!  I think they been to my home.

Check out the Dala horse collection - now I am really jealous!

Noooo I am even more jealous at this vintage wallpaper and collection of stunning ceramics - aghhh I have turned green.

This book was made by Ikea to showcase how their products work in everyday stylish Swedish homes... all so different.

We are heading off for a snow adventure later, hope you are all enjoying your saturday.


The Tiger who came to Tea

He ate all the sandwiches on the plate

He ate all the buns and all the biscuits and the cake

He drank all the milk in the milk jug and all the tea in the teapot

Then he made his own supper!!!

Well in our house anyway!

Rufus loves being a tiger.

If you don't know this book, see the story below.

I love the illustrations!



The Octonauts

This half term we have been suffering with a cold virus.  I had lost my voice for a day, have been left with an awful tickly cough.  The boys are bunged up, with horrible coughs... half term has been a challenge of the utmost kind!

One thing has kept us some way sane,  has helped us feel a little better and allowed us to have some quiet cuddle times on the sofa is...


(click here for an episode).

The Octonauts are a team of underwater explorers who help creatures who are hurt or distressed.

It is on Cbeebies every week day at 4.50pm, it has to be the best thing on TV at the moment!

My two spend the entire day being the Octonauts characters.  Charlie is Kwazi the adventure loving Pirate Cat and Rufus is Peso the Nurse Penguin who loves all creatures.

During these imagination plays Dan takes over the role of Captain Barnacle and I have been given the role of Dashie the Sausage Dog who loves to take photos and oversees all of the ships operations (of course!).

Thank you to The Octonauts for a great and memorable half term, despite the rain and the coughs.

Shhhh I think Father Christmas will be bringing some of the books to our house this Christmas for sure!


Alys Fowler's Apple Rings

We all know of my girl crush on Miss Fowler, I have posted of it before.  After watching her series the Edible Garden, I was given her book on the series for my birthday.

I have made many a recipe from here, including my courgette cake, and they have turned out great.  One of the recipes she made on her series was for homemade apple rings.  It looked so simple, yet delicious, I couldn't wait to have a go.

Last week, my mum gave us a bag full of apples from her ancient apple tree, mainly windfalls as most of the tree hangs in next doors garden now.  I decided to have a go at making the apple rings.

Alys Fowler's Apple Rings Recipe:

Wash the apples thoroughly, discarding any that are too damaged or insect eaten.

Core the apples and slice them into 5mm (1/4 inch thick).

Soak the slices for 10 minutes in a lemon juice solution (she says citric acid, but lemon juice will do) made with a juice of lemon and 400ml (3/4 pint) of water.  This stops the apple rings from becoming discoloured.

I put my rings onto wire racks and put them into a low oven (around 100 degrees) for 3 hours.

Alys dried hers on bamboo poles held over a radiator for a few days (I was too impatient).

The dried apple ring should feel a bit like a chamoix leather and springy to touch, once dried.

Store in an air tight container.

A low-fat moreish snack!

These Apple rings were destined for Charlie's lunch box, but he doesn't like them! 

Oh well, just as well I do!



Corners of my home

Oh my god!  Hasn't it just rained today.... grey grey day.  Not a great day for photos, so I've been looking through my stock of photos and thought I would bring you photos of my home taken in the sunshine.

These photos are taken in our snug/family room - the room where we all hang out, play, listen to music... live our home life.

I love my sideboard, I wish it housed some gorgeous vintage dinner service and silver cutlery, but no, it is home to puzzles, playdoh, meccano and other boys toys.

The pictures above are from folksy, my good friend Melanie Wickham made the black & white Lino Print of Bristol, my great prize from Cassia Beck (which I need to frame), a ripped paper picture by Charlie, Butterflies Print & the Map of the world is actually wrapping paper from Stanfords.
The globe is a charity find and cost £6!!  And the teak fruit bowl is also a charity shop find for £3.

Our bookshelf houses our life!  Books, music, our vintage 1980's stereo (was my father in law's), the boys toys and books.

Loads of books, some vintage  (I like Richard Scarry & Barbarpapa), wooden toys and yes, a cooker.  They maybe boys, but it's important for them to learn how to cook for their mother!  They call it a camping stove though!

Boys do have plastic rubbish too, but this is kept in their bedroom, where there is more space.  And of course heaps of Lego!

Charlie's pride and joy... the Barbarosa!

Bathing in the sunshine, off to find distant islands to bury it's treasure!  Last time I looked it house a selection of uncooked pasta shapes.

Hope you've enjoyed a sunshine tour of our snug... fingers crossed tomorrow will be sunny!

Glutney - Plot 30

This week I have been a busy little bee in the kitchen.  We are over run with Courgettes, Runner Beans and after my blight scare last week, where I cut off the offending blackened stems, I was left with lots of unripened tomatotes.  (Thankfully I dont think I have blight, but that's another post!).

We have a wonderful book on preserves which my lovely sister in law, Helen, bought Dan for a birthday present.  It's a River Cottage Handbook and is written by Pam Corbin, the jam expert.

The book has great recipes for all types of Jams, Jellies, Chutneys, Pickles, Drinks etc.  The Glutney recipe is brilliant, you can through any vegetable glut in and (fingers crossed) it will turn out tasty.


1kg overgrown courgettes, unpeeled but cut into dice no bigger than 1cm (discard seeds from really large marrows)
1kg red or green tomatoes, scalded, skinned and roughly chopped
1kg cooking peeled and diced
500g onions, peeled and diced (I used 250g)
500g sultanas or raisins (I used 250g)
500g light brown sugar (I used granulated sugar)
750ml white wine or cider vinegar, made up to 1 litre with water (I used half of each)
1–3 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp salt

for the spice bag

1 thumb-sized nugget of fresh or dried ginger, roughly chopped
12 cloves (I used 12 all spice berries)
12 black peppercorns
1 generous tsp coriander seeds
a few blades of mace
(1 dried chilli whole)

Put the vegetables and fruit in a large, heavy-based pan with the sultanas or raisins, sugar, vinegar and water, chilli flakes and salt.

Make up the spice bag by tying all the spices in a square of muslin or cotton. Add the spice bag to the pan, pushing it into the middle.

Heat the mixture gently, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar, and bring slowly to the boil. Simmer for 2–3 hours, uncovered, stirring regularly to ensure it does not burn on the bottom of the pan. The chutney is ready when it is rich, thick and reduced, and parts to reveal the base of the pan when a wooden spoon is dragged through it. If it starts to dry out before this stage is reached, add a little boiling water.

Pot up the chutney while still warm (but not boiling hot) in sterilised jars with plastic-coated screw-top lids (essential to stop the vinegar interacting with the metal). Leave to mature for at least 2 weeks – ideally 2 months – before serving.

Very excited!
Last week, Charley over at Flora and Purl Blog posted about her Chutney, so we have decided to do a little allotment chutney swap!  I love Charley's blog, her photography and her lovely family.  So it will be great to receive a jar of hers, maybe we will be swapping jars of our produce in years to come.

Courgette Cake

If you are like me and have so many courgettes you are bored of them, I suggest you try this brilliant recipe by the quite fantastic Alys Fowler in her book The Edible Garden.

It simply uses courgettes in the place of carrots, and my sons just think it's cake, which is also a great way to get some veggies into them.

So here's the recipe...

1 Medium courgette or 2 small ones, topped, tailed and shredded - it's best to leave them for a day so that they lose a bit of their moisture.
100g (4oz) softened butter
150g (5oz) soft brown sugar
2 eggs
200g (7oz) flour
3 tsps baking powder

Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat as hard as you can.  Add the flour and baking powder.  Mix together, then add the courgettes.
I cook it in a bread tin because I like the utilitarian look of cake made this way.  Pre-grease whatever tin you use and cook for about 40-45 minutes at 180 degrees C (350 degrees F) for a normal oven or 160 (350) for a fan oven.  You can make them into cupcakes, cooked for about 10-12 minutes, but keep an eye on them.

Perfect with a coffee.

I think next time, I will try the cupcakes and ice them with blackberry icing... yum. x 

Make Bread

I want to learn how to make bread.

Really good bread, the kind of bread that Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall would make.  Artisan bread, good wholesome bread.

Bread that looks like this....

Image by Dorothy Lane Market
Every time I try, it ends up being as solid as a brick, and totally uneatable.  Does anyone know where I am going wrong?  Or recommend a good bread book?  I have thought of getting this one (back on the River Cottage theme) or maybe this book.  

We have a fantastic artisan baker locally to me, Marks Bread, based in sunny Southville, Bristol.  His bread is to die for, perfect round loaves, so crusty and tasty he always has a queue of people up the street.  Charlie loves to come to Mark's Bread, he insists in carrying the warm loaves home, hugging them to his chest, discretely nibbling them!

Unfortunately, buying these amazing loaves are a treat, with greatness comes a price!  So you see, this is why I need to learn how to make bread, bread like this... any help is greatly received!