spring daffidols

Over the last few months Moo and I have been frequenting the Leys Institute Ponsonby Library every other week. It has a great children's section and is walking distance from where we live so it's a nice way to spend the morning. 

Moo has her own membership card to the Auckland libraries. It's really good if you are going to get kids their own card rather then using yours as the more kids with memberships, more funding gets allocated for purchasing new children's books.
"That's not a daffodil!' by Elizabeth Honey is a lovely story about a little boy who is given a daffodil bulb and the discovery involved with waiting for it grow. 
We were inspired to grow our daffodils. We brought the bulbs from the Ponsonby Plant Centre which is local independently owned garden store, the owner is so helpful too for a beginner like me.
The daffodil's have  bloomed just in time for Daffodil Day, perfect!

first birthday party : one


Mima is about to turn one! So I have been busy planning her first birthday party, it's really an excuse for a party, a celebration of the fact we have made it through the first year of Mima's life.
The first gift I ever recieved as an expectant mother was a board book of 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' from my boss. I loved this book as a child, who doesn't? I have read it to Mima most days since she was born and she loves turning the pages and looking at the book on her own too. So I felt this was the perfect theme for her party.
Since it is a classic lots of people have the same idea, so there was loads of inspiration on the internet, some of it quite amazing, I really won't be competing!
The first step is the invitation so I thought I would show you what I came up with...
A leaf.

With holes punched for caterpillar bites.

Next the actual party!

cardboard box: castle


To be honest when we embarked on this project I didn't have much of a plan, just that I wanted to make a cardboard box play castle that Moo could help with and decorate. 
We started off with two large cardboard boxes that I glued onto a large sheet of card. We cut an internal door to join them together. Moo helped draw the shapes to cut the windows and doors. 
We spent a few days painting, making flags and bunting to decorate.
It 's nicely located in our garage which is perfect place to play with her friends on wet rainy days when we can't really get outside and are sick of being stuck indoors. 
 It's now a cardboard box fit for a little princess or two.

a mobile for mima

Once I had finished work and was waiting for Mima to arrive I filled my days with endless hours of movies, TV shows and walks. I also had a special project, to create a mobile for Mima's room. 
First I drew each character and used these drawings as patterns. They are hand sewn in felt and stuffed to give a cuddly cute look. I had originally intended to bind a few sticks together until I found the perfect three pronged branch in the park near our house. I brought the candy striped bakers twine to hang everything with.

When Mima first came home the mobile hung over her change table and now it hangs near her bed. She really loves it, the way it moves and makes the characters move is a constant source of entertainment.

rainbow connection: two

So pretty and so simple. I love the sweet and salty combination.

50g white chocolate
50g store brought pretzels sticks
3 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles

1. line tray with nonstick baking paper
2. melt white chocolate either in a cup in the microwave for 2mins, stirring every minute or in a bowl over simmer pot of water stirring until there are no lumps
2. dip pretzels in melted and roll in sprinkles and place on tray until set. makes 50-60

around my house : two


Lots of people comment on this doll face. Most find in a bit odd, my mother-in-law is convinced it will scare Mima, who I have to say is intrigued and seems to like it, pointing and saying 'Oooo'!
She came from a friends Mum in a large rubbish bag full of sewing parafenalia. I loved her at first sight, I find her happy and adorable. 

I keep her in a box from the same bag. Its and old hairdryer box with the most fantastic product image inside.  

vintage: child's coat

I've had this Weigel's coat pattern since Moo was a newborn, I believe it's from the 1950's. It's a size 4 so I've been waiting awhile for her to be big enough to make it. 
I brought this beautiful olive wool twill through a fabric sale and the leather buttons were a fantastic score. Took me some time but it is now finished and I'm so happy with the result!

rice pud for the whole family

Little Mima is is only 10 months old so I still try to avoid giving her salt, sugar and any processed foods. This is a dairy and sugar free version of rice pudding which is really delicious. 
The fruit puree is from Annabel Karmel's Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner. I also like to use organic dried fruit as the sulphur dioxide or E220 used to preserve the bright orange color of dried apricots can trigger asthma in susceptible babies (I found this out from the book).

1. I put a bag of dried fruit (mine are 300g) in a heavy-based saucepan, fill with fresh cold water until covered. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 5 minutes.
2. Then turn the heat off and leave to cool with the lid on.
3. Once cool I blend them to a puree. I put what I am not using in ice cube containers and freeze. It is great as a natural sweetener mixed with greek yogurt.


100g medium grain white rice
400ml coconut milk
225ml water

175ml dried fruit puree, raisin or apricot
½ vanilla pod cut in two

1. Put everything in a heavy-based saucepan.
2. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally.
1. Preheat oven to 150C. Grease a baking dish with sunflower oil.
2. Put everything in the baking dish.

3. Bake for 1¼ hours, stirring occasionally. Leave untouched for the last ½ hour, if you would like a golden skin to form.

soup + scones

Soup is so perfect on wet rainy days, which we've been having so many of lately....  it's just so comforting.

This is Chicken, Leek & Corn soup served with Leek & Mustard Griddle scones.



25g butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1½ leeks, bottom ¾ washed and sliced (reserve tops for scones, see below)
1 large onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
A few sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
10 peppercorns
1 chicken breast
1½ litres of chicken homemade or reduced salt chicken stock
50g pearl barley soaked in cold water for 5hrs or overnight
200g corn kernels
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fresh Cream – optional to serve

1. Heat butter and oil in a large pot, add leek and onions, sweat for 10mins. 
2. Add garlic, thyme, bay leaf and peppercorns cook for another 5mins. 
3. Add chicken and pour over the stock. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 20mins until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken breasts and set aside to cool. Leave soup to simmer for 1½ hours.
4. Meanwhile simmer the pearl barley in salted water for 20-30 minutes until tender then drain.
5. Drain and rinse corn.  Pull chicken apart and leave in long shreds.
6. Add barley, corn and chicken back into soup and simmer for 20mins.
7. Serve with a dash of cream and warm leek and mustard scones (see recipe below).
I also like to fry up some finely sliced green leek tops from the leftover portion for a vibrant coloured garnish.

I always make these scones when I have the green tops of leeks leftover, whether it be an accompaniment or for lunch by themselves.

Cream enamel bowls featured from Father Rabbit click here to see. 

This recipe is from Cuisine magazine issue 141 July 2010 by Celia Harvey

1 leek – top ¼ reserved from soup, finely sliced
125g butter
1 ½ cups flour
1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
salt and freshly ground black pepper
milk for mixing 
½ teaspoon cumin seeds - optional

1. Preheat oven 200°c bake or 180°c fan bake and line a tray with baking paper.
2. In a small frying pan, quickly fry the leek in 25g of the butter until and darkens and sizzles (the leeks are very flavoursome when cooked until quite dark). Set aside to cool.
3. Sift the flour into a bowl and rub in the remaining 100g of butter until the mix has a sandy texture. With fork, mix in the mustard and leeks.
4. Season with salt and pepper and add enough milk to form a soft dough. Do not overmix or they will be tough.
5. Shape into an oblong and cut in slices. I like to sprinkle them with cumin seeds at this stage.
6. Bake for 5-6 minutes they will be quite heavy and crumbly. Best served warm straight from the oven.