Thursday, 22 September 2011

A little stitching update

It's been a while since this little goddess-in-training has posted about any sewing exploits. This is because I have been pretty busy in other aspects of life and have, unfortunately, not taken enough time to keep up with the stitching. That said, my fingers have not been totally restless, as I do have a few little snippets to share with you.

My hexie cushion (which I am making using one of Kandi Pandi's kits) is progressing...slowly. I have completed the sewing-the-hexies-together stage, but have not quite made it to the turning-it-into-a-cushion-cover stage just yet. This is a project that I have really enjoyed working on, as it has forced me to practice doing neat little stitches by hand. It was very satisfying seeing those stitches getting neater and neater as the rows built up.

And it's a good job I've been practicing those neat little stitches - they came in handy when I spotted a dress in Dorothy Perkins recently, which would have been just lovely, if only the manufacturer hadn't left a hole in one side! The bias binding and the fabric didn't quite meet on one arm hole, and it seems that this is an excellent bargaining chip for getting a pretty dress at a reduced price! My new sewing skills came in very handy stitching this one up:

I have also discovered a new love in recent times. This is a love that some of my non-goddess friends have smirked at, but is one that I will hold my head up high and admit to: I have fallen in love with cross stitch. I have to hold CrossStitcher magazine responsible for this one, tempting me in with a super cute cover gift a couple of months back and then holding my attention through page-after-page of inspiring, modern projects. And this is where it's got me:

And finally...remember that patchwork baby quilt I was commissioned to make a little while back? Well, the customer requested that I make a little label pointing out that this was indeed a special, handmade gift, so I used an alphabet page in the back of CrossStitcher and put this little one together. Cute, me thinks!

 What stitching have you been doing lately?

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Cooking Challenge: Week Four - Killer Jerk Chicken

It's been a little while since Week Three of my cooking challenge! I had a hectic week at work in the lead up to a week away in Portugal, so I lost a couple of weeks of new recipes. I made up for it in the new Week Four though, with another Jamie Oliver Special.

This time the recipe came from Jamie's 30 Minute Meals, a book packed full of excellent recipes that take about 40 minutes to cook! To be fair to Jamie, I don't have a liquidiser or electric blender, so I do have to do the chopping myself and I think this is probably where the extra minutes creep in.

I chose the Jerk Chicken recipe for Week Four of my challenge, after being inspired by a lovely chicken and rice dish we ate in Portugal. It looked fairly straight forward, but like it would taste great, so I thought I'd give it a go.

It was a fairly easy recipe, but without any form of liquidiser you would struggle. I have a small electric hand-held thingymijig with blades on the bottom and this was definitely needed for making the jerk sauce. I have to admit, I chickened out slightly on the sauce and used a normal chilli rather than the Scotch Bonnet Chilli recommended in the recipe. I did add in a little extra rum though, to make up for it!!

Here is the finished dish:

I'm pretty certain any real chefs, or indeed domestic goddesses, out there would tell me I need to work on my presentation. But I'm learning, ok? :o)

And now for the scores. Jamie's Killer Jerk Chicken recieves:

8/10 from my husband (needed more sauce)
8/10 from me (same comment)

All in all, I consider this one a success.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Apple Tree Yurt, Portugal

I know, I know, this isn't supposed to be a blog about holidays, but sometimes you go on a holiday that is just so bloomin' brilliant that you have to share it with as many people as possible. And that is the sort of holiday I went on last week.

The hubby and I enjoyed our April holiday in a gypsy caravan in West Wales so much that we decided to pick a similar style of trip for our main summer break. After a bit of internet searching, we came across the truly wonderful Apple Tree Yurt in rural Portugal and thought we would give it a try. Neither of us had been to Portugal before and neither of us had stayed in a yurt before, so there was a certain sense of adventure about this trip.

And it couldn't have been better. The yurt was truly magnificent and definitely lived up to the 'glamourous' part of 'glamping'. It was decorated beautifully and felt so romantic. The hosts - Derek and Hannah - are some of the loveliest people you can hope to meet and made us feel so welcome. We opted to eat our meals at the yurt, and the food was truly delicious. We had everything from Pork and Prune Casserole to a Beef Tagine and every dish was absolutely scrummy. The breakfasts were also delicious and the optional-extra picnics were generous and well thought out. Happy tummies!

The location is wonderful too - set in the mountains of central Portugal, the yurt is surrounded by trees and there are numerous swimming spots nearby, for those who enjoy a dip in a fresh, clean river.

If you are looking for a holiday with a bit of a difference, or like the idea of eco-living, I would definitely recommend this place. Go on - give it a go!

Here are a few piccies from our trip: