Thursday, 29 September 2011

breaking out of a food rut

Lately I've been feeling stuck in a rut in terms of the food I've been cooking every evening. We've settled in to a comfortable routine of rotating almost the same dinners every week which makes it easy to do the weekly shop in double quick time, but soon becomes incredibly boring. Last week I decided to mix things up a bit and set aside an evening to look through my underused cook books and collection of recipes ripped from various magazines or printed off the web which are haphazardly shoved in an empty notebook. What I really need is a stack of these and something like this to organize the chaos.

I selected seven 'new' (i.e. not already on our usual rota) meal ideas and hit the supermarket armed with my corresponding ingredient list. The criteria was that they had to be healthy, would also accommodate a 3 year old- or could be easily adapted to become child friendly, didn't require any obscure ingredients which would be obscenely expensive in New Zealand. I'm still reeling about the fact that sometimes a red pepper, or capsicum as they are called here, is $5 which is aprox £2.50. Shocking! Oh, and also most of them had to include some kind of meat or seafood as my husband is of the opinion a dish lacking in meat is not a proper meal.

Here's what I chose...

day one- Grilled chicken and courgette burgers with a yoghurt and mint dip served with rocket in wholemeal pittas

day two- Caramelized red onion and goats cheese pizzas on thin base Turkish bread

day three- Sirloin steak with chunky garlic potato wedges and grilled tomatoes

day four- Grilled pesto beef burgers with mushroom and spinach couscous

day five- Red onion, sweet potato and sausage frittata with a green salad

day six- Mexican chilli bean wrap with avo, salsa, sour cream and melted cheese

day seven- Prawn and lemon risotto was the plan but I was exhausted so I bailed out and threw together butter beans, a tin of chopped tomatoes, black olives and salami on toast.

I also made homemade basil pesto which I used in the beef burger recipe and incorporated the remainder of it into some lunches for Lila and I. It was super quick and easy to make and actually way better than the shop bought alternative.

So I'm happy to report that the experiment was a success. The total weekly food bill worked out to be $20 more than usual but it was definitely worth it for the break from monotony. The two vegetarian meals also went down well with Curt though I'll admit that I did grossly over cook the pizzas as I may have got a bit distacted on the iPad (a nice crispy base is always good but almost snapping your teeth off is another matter entirely). Lila was not a fan of the frittata, but seeing as she has never been keen on eggs that's probably fair enough. My personal favorite was the chicken and courgette burgers which were really more-ish and felt virtuous too. If anyone else is feeling uninspired when it comes to the evening meal I'd definitely recommend giving this a try.

Image of chicken and courgette burgers found here.
Image of red onion and goats cheese pizza found here

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

wish list #2


Bracelet by dullDiamond- Love the pop of colour in this wooden bracelet to brighten up Spring outfits.

True British book- The new coffee table tome by UK fashion designer Alice Temperley, covering the development of her style and the growth of her mega successful company. I've long been a fan of her glamorous, bohemian designs and admired the way she has created a highly desirable brand epitomising her own enviable lifestyle.

Love pillowcase set from Not On The High Street- A sweet, affordable way to spruce up the bedroom.

Swimsuit by ASOS- I've been a bikini wearer for the past couple of decades but this retro number might just be the one to tempt me back into a swimsuit this Summer.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

just a minute in....september

A little snippet and some pictures of what's been going on in our household this month...

Watching...Well seeing as the Rugby World Cup is currently being held here in Auckland,
it's been a bit hard to miss (especially when you have a rugby crazed South African husband). He's already been to a couple of the games and is taking me along to one at the end of the month. Though I definitely can not be classed as a rugby fan, I'm looking forward to taking it all in and experiencing the awesome atmosphere.

Eating...My current favourite lunch is avo on toast with a pea, feta and mint salad. Yum. As an alternative, I've been revisiting the good old banana and peanut butter sandwich.

Enjoying...The arrival of spring (hmm, though after it rained literally non stop today I may need to retract this statement). I've been taking Rose out for long walks in the afternoons and it makes me happy that I'm still discovering new things about our neighbourhood. I came across the sweetest little cafe and some pretty boutiques just by taking a new route the other day.

Wishing...Curt hadn't put my new indigo skirt in with a wash of Lila and Rose's pale clothes. We now have a lot of pretty little pink and cream garments covered in blue splotches. Sigh.

Reading...My Mum sent over 'The Snail and The Whale' by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler for Lila which we've been enjoying. They are the creators of 'The Gruffalo' and all their children's books are great.

Buying...I know it's insanely early to even mention the word and I promise I'm not one of those weird people who puts decorations up at the start of October, but I have started to pick up a few bits and pieces for the girls Christmas stockings. Just because I usually leave it all until the last moments and bankrupt us in December so I'm trying to spread the cost this year.

Curt with our friends Sue and Ajit on their way to watch on of the South Africa rugby games.

Lila (in the blue princess dress) at one of her 'Drama Queens' sessions.

Little chubby blue eyed girl.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Monday, 19 September 2011

my sister's wedding: the pictures

I've been excited about sharing this post for ages but it meant having to whittle down a good few hundred gorgeous photographs into my very top picks which was no easy task. But finally, here they are. These are the official pictures from the wedding of my little sister Josephine- known to us all as Jo, to her kiwi husband Blair. The event took place on 4th June and was the reason I travelled back to the UK for a couple of months earlier this year (well that and having a baby!) They opted for a church ceremony in a beatiful, ancient little church in a nearby village where we both went to school. The afternoon and evening reception was held in the gardens and inside a marquee at my parents farm, which is where I also got married. Despite a rainy few weeks building up to it, the sun shined gloriously and it was an absolutely magical, emotional day. The bride looked stunning and I was so proud of her. Congratulations Mr and Mrs McKerchar.

These images are of the preparations on the day and the ceremony, I'll share pictures of the reception in a seperate post soon.

Our parents home- the preparation and reception venue.

I love that she wore this t-shirt during her preparations, very apt!

I made these corsages for the bridesmaids to pin in their hair.

The vintage necklace that she wore belonged to our grandmother who passed away last year.

The extremely naughty looking flower girl is Lila, sitting on the knee of bridesmaid Kate!

We made the confetti cones from rolled up sheets of old manuscripts and filled them with dried flower petals.

Photographs by Jill Thorning-Jensen.

If you missed it, I posted about the wedding invitations here and other wedding props and preparations here.

Friday, 16 September 2011

lady like

Oh my word. I was floored when I saw these images of Russian designer Ulyana Sergeenko's debut collection. I would happily swap everything in my entire wardrobe for all these clothes (which is generally a lot more on the casual side- unfortunately practicality usually wins out). Imagaine walking around every day wearing these gorgeous pieces, it would be like stepping back in a fairy tale inspired 1940's time warp. So most of it's not really typical hanging out with toddlers at the park or just popping down to the shops attire, and I don't fare at all well in skyscraper heels but I'm just having a little fantasy moment. And the models hairstyle is so retro chic and fabulous. It really makes me wish I had more time in the mornings to do something more with mine than scrape it up into a messy bun/something resembling a birds nest.

These are some of my favourites...

Discovered via the always awesome Miss Moss.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

hello baby- surviving the first 3 months

To mark baby Rose having recently passed the 3 month milestone, I thought I'd share a few of the things that have helped us through the newborn and tiny infant stage. The absolutely insane array of products out there aimed at new parents and parents-to-be is mindblowing and overwhelming. Most of it is largely unnecessary (let's be honest, if people survived without it fifty years ago then it's probably not strictly an essential), though many do undoubtedly make modern life easier. These are some of the standout items that have worked for us-I'm not including the more standard things such as a cot or Moses basket, because they seem fairly obvious!

Metanium Nappy Rash Ointment- Sudocrem seems to have cornered the market here but I have found it to be absolutely useless. This nappy cream beats it hands down and clears up any hint of redness in a couple of applications. Handle with care though as the only downside is that the intense yellow colour does stain clothes/towels but most crucially not the baby's bottom :).

Baby Bjorn sling- Whether you decided to use a sling depends a lot on your lifestyle/where you live etc. We've used this with both our girls and it has been a god send. Babies seem to love it and usually fall asleep in it in a matter of minutes. Rose gets popped it on when I'm doing the supermarket shop and it leaves me with two hands free to push the trolley and also on days when I don't want to be bothered with the buggy. Lila was a very fussy, clingy baby and putting her in the sling was the only way I could do my hair and get myself ready in the morning without her screaming the house down.

Phil & Ted's Cocoon- We got this cocoon as we upgraded to a Phil & Teds double buggy when Rose came along and this slots in under the toddlers top seat for the baby to lie in but it has been invaluable as a carrycot in it's own right. If we are heading over to a friends place or a restaurant for dinner then we just pop Rose inside and she has her own neat, portable little cot which she sleeps in so well. It is much more cosy and comfortable for her than just using the car seat (which apparently babies are only supposed to stay in for an hour and a half at a time to avoid spine damage as they are not lying flat ).

Baby's First Black & White Book- Although tiny babies spend most of their lives sleeping and feeding and pooping, in their awake moments it's always nice to bond over a book (never to early to start enjoying a good book!) As they have limited eye sight to begin with, they respond the most to black and white, high contrast patterns and Rose has loved this book since she was only a few weeks old.

Cuddle Dry Towel- This nifty invention definitely helps make bath time a more pleasant experience. You do look a bit of a moron wearing it (you essentially have a massive bath towel fastened around your neck) but you can quickly and easily scoop up baby from the bath and pop the little hood over its head to stay warm with minimal scrambling around and grappling with a wet, slippery little thing.

Gro-Egg Night Light and Room Thermometer- This is a really practical, muli-functional but also good looking product. If like me, you have basically no idea if the baby is the right temperature then this is a handy indicater as it changes colour when the room is too hot or cold so you know whether to put an extra blanket on them or to remove a layer. It also gives off a nice glow so no need for a seperate night light.

Eye Cream- Sleep is a precious commodity that is likely to be an elusive beast. A decent eye cream that minimises dark circles and signs of fatigue is a good investment and helps you look marginally more human.

Confident Baby Care by Jo Frost- Super Nanny delivers the goods! Who better to trust in all matters of baby rearing than the nations favourite nanny. Curt's Mum bought us this book when I was pregnant with Lila and it became my go-to manual whenever I had any queries or wondered what exactly the heck I should be doing with this small being I had to care for. I re-read it when Rose was born and it was still just as good.

Skip Hop Duo Nappy Bag- I don't actually have this nappy bag but I wish I did. It is practical yet still attractive and not overly feminine. I have one adorned with a pink bow print and a pocket with a cupcake on the front, embroidered with the words 'Yummy Mummy' which may be beautiful (actually, two years down the line it is now fairly shabby), but is entirely ridiculous if you ever want your partner/husband to hold it, carry it or basically be seen dead anywhere with it. He will more thank likely use it as an excuse for not taking the child out on a trip to the playground whilst you enjoy an hour of uniterrupted peace at home. If only I had considered this before blowing a shameful amount of money on it.

Cotton scarf- I have amassed a good collection as these as they are a handy discreet cover up when breastfeeding out and about. A pretty colorful one (like this one pictured, from Zara) will also help liven up a dull/dreary outfit. A plain/more neutral one would also be a wise investment for more pattern happy ensembles (but beware: black is the worst culprit for showing up baby sick).

Batiste dry shampoo- There will be some days when a shower, let alone washing your hair is just not an option. This will become a life saver and allow you to still leave the house looking like a polished, well groomed member of scoiety when nothing is further from the truth. I've tried almost all of the options out there but this, the original and the cheapest really does work the best.

Hope this might help a few people out there. If anyone has any must-haves of their own then please do share :) previous posts on pregnancy essentials and dressing the bump.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

best things [to enjoy about summer]

It will be here soon and I cannot wait. Though personally I would trade out the sparkling water for a large glass of red and the baggy t-shirts for a pretty dresses. Other than that, perfection.

Found here.

Friday, 9 September 2011

living in colour

A colourful home always seems a happy home. If this is indeed the case then the house of Charlotte Gueniau, the founder of the cool (equally bright) Danish homeware label Rice, must be a very joyful place to be. While these vibrant shots of colour are certainly not for the faint of heart, they are so uplifting and I can't help but admire the perfect way this has been executed. Colour in general makes me extraordinarily happy, and my own dream decorating style definitely incorporates some of this goodness. How amazing are those knife and fork curtains in the lounge!

Images from Marie Claire Maison.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

first day of my life

This is the first day of my life
I swear I was born right in the doorway
I went out in the rain and everything changed
They're spreading blankets on the beach

Yours is the first face that I saw
I think I was blind before I met you
Now I don't know where I am
I don't know where I've been
But I know where I want to go

From 'First Day of My Life' by Bright Eyes.

This was one of the songs at our wedding and I've loved it for a long time but when I hear it now it always takes me back to the days my babies were born.

They change everything, but I wouldn't change a thing.

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