Shabby Blog

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Stylish Sunday

Ah, it's Sunday morning and the sun is still shining.  I'd like to think it will stay but alas I am reliably informed by the weather man that rain is on the way.  So, with that I shall continue to escape to a pretty place.  Anywhere I'm wearing this should do nicely.

Barbarella Prom Dress Gold £98.99 @ Fever

Don't forget, you can drool over some of my other finds on my Pinterest board.

Friday, 28 September 2012

8 Months Down

The 8 month milestone has come and gone and here we have Nye's latest monthly photo.

I realise I still need to do a major compilation of all of these washing basket photos but I've been in the middle of cataloging all our photos and it will take some time to get myself back on track.

Nye is still loving his food.  It took me a while to get into the routine of feeding him 3 full meals but we are on  top of this now and he consistently eats all his food.  He's never really turned his nose up at anything, he just gets frustrated and bored when he finds something difficult to eat.  

I often feel like he has quite a boring diet, but having spoken to others it seems he is quite the flavour and texture connoisseur.  Yesterday was a bit of a lazy day for me, so he's had porridge fingers, blueberry's and strawberry's for breakfast.  Then for lunch he had eggy bread with broccoli and for tea, tomato and spinach pasta, ricecake fingers with apple for dessert.

He still loves his water.  We got him a new sippy cup and he can now hold this himself and drink when he is thirsty.  His new cup allows the water to flow from it more easily than the ones we had previously and its quite amazing seeing him make his own choices about the food he eats first and when he needs a drink. (We lay it all out in front of him for him to get on with)

At the beginning of the month I was trying to give him milk before and after each meal but he was consistently throwing up huge amounts of it.  Because of this, I stopped topping him up, and reduced his milk feeds to once in the morning when he wakes up and once before bed.  Since he was born I have intended to breastfeed him until he no longer wants milk so I was surprised that he was stopping the majority of his feeds at what seemed like a young age.  However, recently he has been a bit grouchy in the day time and my last resort has been to give him a feed.  So far, he has not been throwing up his extra milk and has settled back into playing after a quick 2-3 minute feed.  I really have no idea what caused him to be sick before and what has changed now, but I am thankful we found a solution that suits us both.

When I last wrote, Nye was having very disrupted sleep after a previous period of consistent night sleeping.  I am pleased to report that the sleeping has now been cracked and we are back on track.  Friends have been commenting that I am looking far more alive, and I certainly feel better mentally and physically.  At the time, we tried everything we could to work out why Nye had suddenly stopped sleeping through. After eliminating all factors, one by one, food times, nap times, bed time, teething, temperature we were left in a situation where we felt our only solution was to leave him to settle himself.  As someone who has always gone to him when he is sad and upset it was very difficult, but thankfully after two nights we were back on the straight and narrow and he's been back to sleeping 6.30-6.30 consistently since then.  He also managed to do this when we went to stay at my mums house, which is uncharacteristic because he has never slept well when not in his own cot.

He now takes two naps a day of varying lengths.  These are usually from 9-10am and 1-2pm.  I might start testing out a short afternoon nap, but I worry that too much day time sleep will have a knock on night time effect.

Another big development has been the introduction of his new cot bed.  As he has been getting bigger, we knew that we would need something with a side that drops down.  It wasn't an urgent thing as he was still happy in his cot, but when one came up on freecycle we jumped at the chance.  A bit of scrubbing later, the cot bed above emerged.  We then got him a lovely coir and wool mattress (Kub Care) which should last him until he is 5/6.  It is beautifully soft but also firm.

Nye is certainly a bath lover these days.  He has gone through stages of liking water and hating water and  at 8 months we are certainly back to the loving water scenario and he gets a bath every other night.  Neil usually baths him and it lifts my heart to listen to the laughter and chattering coming from the bathroom as I prepare Nye's bed time clothes and bedding ready for him as he exits the bath.  In particular he loves being splashed with water and playing with his rubber duck.  We have a few bath toys, including a mini watering can.  As the water pours down on him from above, he stretches his body out to get as close to the water as possible.

The only problem here is his exit from the bath.  He hates getting changed.  I am actually quite tempted to write that in capitals, because that gives a better representation of HOW much he hates it.  He can sometimes be distracted for short periods of time, usually only if there is two of us on hand to sing songs and do actions in excited tones.  However, when you get to a point where you need to move him in a certain way to get his nappy on, he screams blue murder. Shouty, noisy, streaming tears and fights us off by turning over or tightening his entire body. Our neighbours must think we routinely torture him whenever we have to change him.  He seem to hate it so much, I started to wonder if he was actually in some kind of physical pain from lying on his back.  But, if you stand him up the tears and tantrum immediately fade and he grins at you as if to acknowledge that he got his own way.

Nye still enjoys his usual toys, and has a few new ones to add to his toy box including a wooden ring stacker my mum bought for him.  He still loves to stand and now loves to stick out his hand for me to hold so he can walk back and forth across the room.  Every day his walking get better and better, but his balance is still not there.  He can stand holding himself steady with one hand and cruise around from object to object but he does have the odd accident.  He is currently experimenting with squatting down to pick things up, but hasn't quite got the hang of being able to do this every time.  Instead favouring to move on to the next object.

He is still in pretty much the same place with regards to crawling as he doesn't get much chance to practice as he hates being laid down on his front or back.  The exception to this rule is if he is completely naked.  Whilst in the nude, he developes a new enthusiasm for rolling around and dragging himself across his room, as far away from the towel I have put down for him, to keep him (and the carpet) clean.

His talkativeness changes depending on the day.  His first proper sounds were Da Da but he doesn't yet understand meanings.  I have heard him say a few other things once or twice and I am really trying to push the M sound but so far, nada.  I'm pretty certain he knows his own name, but this could just be because he recognises my voice saying his name.  I think he may understand the word No, as saying it usually causes tears (again this could also be related to the fact I'm usually taking something off him!)

He is still the happiest chappy on the block and loves the attention of others.  He learnt at a very young age that smiling at people makes people smile back and he just loves it.  He also loves the sound of people laughing and gets so excited and shreaks, especially if he has been the one to make people laugh.  He has recently started to develop a bit of an attachment to me and doesn't like to be passed off on others. He is ok after he is warmed up a bit and loves to interact with others whilst glancing across at me from time to time.

He has now attended 3 weddings and the last one was definitely the most successful.  He hates to sit quietly, (who doesn't) but this time did very well, without having to be escorted out by daddy.  Apparently at the last wedding it was my turn to leave the ceremony if he did require a change of scenery so I think Nye must have taken this on board and kept quiet. That and the fact he was moderately bribed with apple biscuits...

We are very much looking forward to how the next month develops and already have some plans for his 1st birthday and first Christmas which are drawing ever closer.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Nursery fit for a king

This nursery post has been a long time coming, Nye is now 8 months old.  We did most of the big jobs when I was still pregnant and of course the room was 'ready' for when Nye arrived back in January.  (Although, once they arrive, you soon realise the baby spends a lot more time in your bedroom than their own to begin with.)

This reveal was spurred on by the arrival of his new cot bed and gorgeous natural mattress.  It is such a wonderful feeling to know that your baby is spending his days sleeping on wool and coconut coir fiber (while we snuggle down on Ikea's finest!!)  It sounds so cliche but I find it incredibly fulfilling to do those little things for him.  It's something I breath in when I find myself lovingly folding his reusable nappies every day!  How lucky I am to have him and how wonderful it is to love and protect him.

But here we have it, a grand old room full of fun and laughter for my big boy.

Most of it was kindly picked up via freecycle, lovely friends with a few special gifts from mummy and daddy.  I like to think it combines a good mixture of modern and vintage bits and pieces.  I'm terrible at 'picking' a theme and colour scheme.  I'm like a magpie with an eye for anything colourful and fun and that's sort of how every room turns out when I'm in charge.  Thankfully, I like how it all comes together.  The pictures here look a little more cluttered than many a nursery photo shoot but I like to think that this reflects that it is a little boys place to play and cause havoc at will.

There are a few sneaky DIY bits and bobs mixed in here, including a personalised lamp shade which I made last week with a £2.50 balloon shade.  I have to say, it's the best £2.50 I've ever spent.  I'm also so proud of learning to crochet and making him a blanket, just like my mum made me when I was small.  You can catch a glimpse of this, peering over the edge of the cot above.

So to my 8 month little boy, here is your first ever room.  It has evolved with you and you may never remember it but it will always be a place of sunshine and happiness.

I hope you all like the way it's turned out.  Do let me know if there's anything you like and I can probably tell you where it's from.  It has been many months of love, tender care and tweaks to get it to where we are now.  Now I just need to find the bobbin for the sewing machine and finish the black out curtains!

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Life as we know it - September 2012

What a busy week it has been here.  We've been gradually making some tweaks to the house which have been much needed.  The house has looked like a bombsite for a while now and we're finally fighting against the clutter and upgrading as we go.  This included lots of shuffling in the nursery, which finally feels like it is done.  I'm so proud of what we've done with it.  I'll post an update with some proper photos next week I hope.

Tonight we cleared the dining room table so we could play some table tennis which has been a welcome frivolous break from the seriousness of life.  It also had the added benefit of meaning we had to clear away the debris that had been piling up on it for WEEKS!
Artengo rollnet set 600 £9.99 @ Decathlon
I swear to you, this is the most fun you can have for under £10! We went to Decathlon today and remembered how awesome it is.  I used to play Table Tennis for a club in Norfolk many years ago and I am pleased to say I whooped Neil's arse!

We went to Decathlon to pick up some new 'commuter'shoes for Neil.  In the end he went for these:

Merrel Trail Glove - Palm Leaf £29.99 @ Decathlon
I was also eyeing them up as I walked past them on the end of one of the aisles.  So, to get me back on to the running bug I've picked up a pair in purple which I'm currently wearing.  They feel just like an outer skin on your feet.  For someone who wanders around barefoot most of the time these are AWESOME!  They are yet to be worn on the open road but I have done the running man inside several times. So, they are running man approved!

I hope you're all having an ace weekend.  

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Plant's I'd like to grow 2012-13

One of the benefits of going running and being a stay at home mum is taking note of some rather beautiful front gardens on the long walks.  I've seen my fair share of sofa's and washing machines gracing them too, but I've also seen beuatiful corucopias of colour and fragrance.

As a reminder for getting things planted now and for next year, I'm going to put together a list of some of the things I'd like to have blooming next year.

Name: Cosmos

Name: Daffodil


Name: Dahlia 'Happy'

Name: Peonie

Name: Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora 'Emily McKenzie'

Name: Crocosmia 'Lucifer'

Name: Allium sphaeroceph

Name: Limonium Sinuatum

So far I have planted some daffodil bulbs and a Peonie (although the leaves are already looking a little crispy).  If I had a list of things I'd like to grow by the end of this year it would include a Rose and lots of climbers.  So far I've managed to look after 2 passion flowers, a jasminum and 2 honeysuckles.  As well as my gladioli finally flowering and a successful season for my new lilies!  Fingers crossed I can keep them  all through the winter.  I have also recently bought a beautiful rose which had blackspot which I am treating, booo!

There's not a lot of interest in terms of colour or foliage in our garden over winter, perhaps something I should look at next spring when I get the gardening bug back.  Right, now I need to work out the best place to plant our new blueberry and raspberry plants! Fingers crossed for fresh fruit for Nye come 2013.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Thai Chicken Curry with Cauliflower Rice with TOTAL Greek Yoghurt

I heard on the radio the other day that it is estimated that most people have 8 recipes that they use to get them through the week.  I often feel so tired of the usual suspects, working out what to pair with potato, pasta or rice.  So it's nice to do something a bit different, and add something delicious to the usual repertoire.

A few weeks ago I spotted a lovely Thai Red Curry recipe on the TOTAL Greek Yogurt website and asked if I showcase it here.  I was sent the ingredients on Friday and couldn't wait to make it for you all.  This is just one of a thousand new recipes and usage suggestions.  You can find out more their website



1. Boil 100ml of water in a smal saucepan and add the creamed coconut until it had softened.
2. In a frying pan or wok, heat the coconut oil and add the chicken. Lightly fry until cooked through.
3. Add the creamed coconut and water mixture to the chicken,  then add the yoghurt, Thai paste, mixed peppers, mushrooms, mangetout  & green beans.
4. Simmer on a medium heat for 10 - 15 minutes, stirring every so often. Add more water if you prefer a runnier curry.  I added a bit more yoghurt to make it nice and creamy with a thicker sauce.
5. Grate the cauliflower using a cheese grater, knife or food processor, until it resembles rice.
6. Place the cauliflower in a microwavable bowl and cover with cling film. Poke holes in the cling film. It is important to NOT add water. Microwave on full blast for 4 - 5minutes until soft.
7. Serve the cauliflower with the curry and tuck in!

I have to say this dish was really delicious and Nye really liked it too.  He had a good suck on the peppers and managed to get through several pieces of chicken.  I didnt add any seasoning but it was really full of flavour.  The thing that really surprised me was the cauliflower 'rice'. It was so quick and easy  but I worried the strong flavour and smell of cauliflower would overpower everything else.  In the end it added a lovely sweetness to the spicy curry.  I can't help but marvel at what an amazing alternative to rice it is.

I would usually have made this kind of recipe with coconut milk which I don't often have in the fridge so it is fantastic to realise that I can make this with yogurt  and use the coconut oil to give it that nutty taste.

Many thanks to Total Greek Yoghurt for letting me share this recipe and for providing me with all the ingredients to do so.  We've been at a wedding all weekend and I couldn't wait to get home and finish off the leftovers!

This recipe is one of many others being profiled on blogs across the interweb, see if you can find them all and you can win a fantastic prize.  Find all 30 recipes posted across the blogospher and you can win Paul Merrett's list of essential kitchen equipment. The lucky winner will get this amazing wish list including the very best cookware worth more than £800.  For more information you can visit their website or their brand new Facebook app, so you don’t even have to leave Facebook to get inspiration for dinner ‐

Join the TOTAL Recipe Treasure Hunt!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Stylish Sunday

I'm probably exaggerating but it getting COLD out there.  Indian summer I think not, it may be sunny but it is bitterly cold in the shade.  Or at least the winds are here in Norfolk at the moment, as I blog from my mums computer, ready for my dearest friend Abi's wedding tomorrow *EEEEK, EXCITING*

This weather has me dreaming of cosy coats. So here we have something that will never suit me or my purse strings but it is rather gorgeous!

Quilted Trench Coat - £119 @ Zara

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Learning to Crochet - Beginners Guide Digest

I recently learnt to crochet thanks to the goodness of youtube / pinterest and a wonderful friend called Jess.  It was something that took time, patience and persistence.  It probably sounds silly, but I was so proud of myself once I finally cracked it.

I'm still a serious novice, I can only do a few stitches but the ones I can do I can do relatively well.  The first thing I made and finished was a little blanket for Nye and I'm now making another slightly bigger one.   There are so many how to videos and tutorials online but I thought I would post up which ones I personally found helpful.

So, the first thing I did was buy some wool and then some crochet hooks.  I got the wool from Hobbycraft and the crochet hooks on ebay.  I had no idea about the different sizes and managed to buy an entire set for about £3.00 just by searching 'Crochet Hook.'  Now I find I tend to use the 4.00 4.5 and 5.00 (they are marked on the side of the hooks)

Since my initial wool buying I have purchased all my wool off ebay.  As a beginner my friend told me that the wool that multicoloured is good because it means you don't have to change between wool's to get a good pattern.  This was a great tip!  Wool brands also do special baby wool which is really soft, so that's another thing to take into consideration as well as thinking about whether the wool is easy to wash (definitely a necessity for a baby blanket!)

So, to begin with I had to learn to do a slip knot which attaches the wool to the hook.  I'm going to be honest with you, it took me several attempts over multiple days to even learn to do this!  But, once I had tried over and over again I did get the hang of it and it is easy (once you know how!)  It took me some time to work out how to even hold the hook but to be honest, finding something comfortable comes with time.

Here are some picture guides on how to gold the wool and the crochet hook 

This is the first video I used to help me.

Now, I like you may be, was very eager to get going but the best thing I learnt from my friend Jess was to practice doing a single chain stitch over and over and over again. I did this for days.  I felt like a petulant child wanting to move on but it was wroth while because it got my hands used to the movement of doing loop after loop. So, persist until you feel like you could do it with your eyes shut!

At this point it is probably useful to know that some US & UK crochet terminology is different.  So if and when you want to make something and they start talking about double crochet (dc) for example, this could mean two different things!

Here is a chart for future reference but you probably won't need this yet.

Taken from
So, now you can do the slip knot and the chains, I used this follow on video to start making my first ever blanket.

At this point, I still didn't really understand the terminology and had to stop and rewind the video about 15 times to catch on as she did each new stitch.  But once you start, you gradually learn what she's on about.  And once you know how to do a square, you're off.  Normally granny squares are sewn together to make a blanket but, as a beginner, I decided to just keep making the square bigger and bigger until it was the size of a blanket!

Then came the difficult bit, learning how to finish the blanket off with a new stitch *scary* But the instructions on Attic24 are amazing.  Here's the tutorial for doing the edging.

Attic24 Granny Blanket Edging
Here is a picture of the first blanket I made which Nye now goes to bed with every night.

So, I'm now on my second blanket, here's it's progress so far.

I plan to do a few more rows around the edge and then I will finish the edging using the tutorial above.  I've set myself Friday as my deadline as I'd like it done before we head off to Norfolk for my friends wedding. 


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