Wednesday, January 28, 2015

the art of a mum's outfit post.

Nearly every outfit post I do, Louis gets roped into taking the photos. When he's not around, I use the tripod and a self timer. We take most of the photos in our front garden as it's usually the time that Nancy is having a nap so we can't wander too far. There's always some looks from passers by which usually makes me a little awkward. Outfit posts are a funny ol' thing really that are just very normal on almost any fashion blog. Mine are never extremely fancy or set in a stunning location but they're always real and always fun. Thanks Louis for being behind the lens and thanks Nancy for giving us a little break during the day! 

 White shirt - Dunnes Stores
Black sweater - Vintage
Leather skirt - Vintage
Wool tights - Penneys
Shoes - Vintage

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

spring dresses.

I love adding a bit of colour to the online store in January. This week I have a big delivery of vintage arriving so I'm reorganising my stock room (the spare room in my house!) and getting very excited about brighter vintage pieces and spring dresses.  

chocolate and pomegranate cupcakes.

This week's comfort food recipe is chocolate and pomegranate cupcakes. Yes, I tried to convince myself that they were somewhat healthy including some pomegranate juice and seeds in the ingredients!

165g butter
300g caster sugar
3 eggs
70g self raising flour
200g plain flour
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
70g cocoa powder
300ml pomegranate juice
1tbsp vinegar 
125g (4oz) butter
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
2 tablespoons milk
pomegranate seeds as decoration

Friday, January 23, 2015

lazy days.

 The past few days we pretty much been hibernating in the house. Besides a short trip to the woods (it was too cold to stay for long!), we have been stuck inside with the heating on, drinking tea. Weeks like this, I tend to get very lazy with what I wear while still making a great effort to get changed out of my pyjamas! So here's this week's relaxed outfit post. Bring on spring!

Headscarf - Vintage
Grey top - New Look
Leather skirt - Vintage
Necklace - A gift
Shoes - Vintage

Monday, January 19, 2015

nancy says.

This little cutie has been cracking me up as usual. Here's some of her outbursts the past week or so.

Me: Nancy, look it's snowing!
Nancy: Yay, it's Chwistmas again!

Playing doctors with Louis and pressing the plastic stethoscope up to his chest...
Nancy: Hmmm, intrasting. You need medsin Dada.

The three of us were playing hide 'n' seek in the house and Nancy was looking for Louis with me. Just before I gave her some help, she threw her hands up in the air...
Me: Come on, keep looking.
Nancy: This is impossible Mama!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

carrot cake.

Nancy's birthday was a good few months back and I made this really tasty carrot cake for her party. I ain't the best chef, especially when it comes to baking but thankfully this worked out a treat and no back-up cake had to be bought in Tesco on the day! One of my personal goals for 2015 is to bake more so I'm going to start documenting it here too. Starting this week with this carrot cake recipe as a few people asked for it that day and I'm in need of some comfort food this week.

carrot cake recipe:
1 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 1⁄2 cups plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1⁄2 tsp. ground cloves
1⁄2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1⁄2 tsp. ground allspice
1⁄2 tsp. salt
2⁄3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1⁄2 lbs. carrots, peeled, trimmed, 
   and grated (about 4 cups)
12 oz. cream cheese
7 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1. For the cake: Preheat oven to 350ยบ. Grease two 8" round cake pans with butter, dust each with 1 tbsp. of the flour, tapping out excess, and set aside.
2. Combine the remaining flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, and salt in a large bowl. Add oil and eggs and stir until smooth. Add carrots and mix well. Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Set aside to let cool on a rack, then remove cakes from pans.
3. For the frosting: Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla together in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until smooth. Reduce speed and beat in sugar.
4. Put 1 cake round on a cake plate; spread one-third of the frosting on top. Set the remaining cake round on top; ice cake with the remaining frosting.
Makes one 8" cake.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

wooden dollhouse diy.

It was a goal of mine for about a year to make a wooden dollhouse for Nancy but it wasn't until last Christmas that I decided to jump into this project as she's just starting to enjoy playing for longer than five minutes with one toy and using her imagination a little bit more. 
I started making this dollhouse a week before Christmas, thinking I would have plenty of time to decorate the inside and stand back and gaze at my masterpiece for hours. This was not the case. I also thought it would be much cheaper to make one rather than buy one and that I would save lots of money. This was also not the case! 
In reality, it took me about a week to make and it cost about €200 in total. A week sounds a bit long but after the first two days of using mdf panels that were too thin, I had to start all over again. The cost sounds a bit steep but I have to say that this includes all the panels, hand saw, chisel, glue, an applicator gun, paint and the furniture I bought to decorate it. 
If you're new to this kinda DIY like I was, I'd recommend taking into the consideration the cost of all the tools you need to buy if you don't already own them and try to remember that if your design is bespoke, things will probably go wrong so a few trips to the hardware shop will happen!
So here goes, my wooden dollhouse diy:

First I drew up a plan of the dollhouse. I wanted to make a very simple and almost childlike idea of what a house looks like so it's quite square and symmetrical. 

After my drawing, I drew out what size panels I'd need for the design including the floors, ceiling, walls and front of the house as you can see from above.
I then decided on the thickness of the panels, I originally chose 6mm thickness but as I mentioned before this did not work so my second and thankfully successful choice was 12mm thickness mdf panels.
B&Q have a free cutting service in their store once you're not asking for very small sizes so I got them to cut out the four panels for the frame of the house.
Back at my "workshop" (my good friend Jill's studio), I cut out the front panel (612 x 612mm) and using a jigsaw I cut the window opes and door.
As my previous experience with gluing did not go so well (thin panels do not hold up, little surface area for glue to work), gluing the 12mm panels together was a little nerve-wracking but thanks to trusty and strong Gripfill I glued the frame and front panel together, left them overnight and when I checked on it the next day, it was perfect. When using Gripfill or a similar glue, make sure to hold the panels together for a few minutes with no movement, then leave them for 10-12 hours before carrying on with the next step.
After the frame was built, the rest seemed a lot easier. I measured halfway up the house and glued two narrow ledges to the side walls as support for the first floor panel. I cut a 6mm mdf panel to fit as the first floor and cut an opening for a staircase, then just slid the panel in resting on the ledges.
Next I moved onto the pitched roof. I cut two 6mm mdf panels into 410 x 300mm and cut a 45 degree angle into one side edge on each, gluing these together with Gripfill again. Then I cut one panel for the front opening of the pitch as a support and also to give the front of the house a more finished look. I left the pitched roof section to dry over night before moving onto the painting.
Once all the glue was dry, I dusted off the frame, front panel and pitched roof and spray painted the house a matt white with a matt black pitched roof. As mdf is a bit porous I applied 4-5 coats of spray paint, leaving each coat to dry in between.
Lastly, (the night before Christmas Eve) I made a staircase. Using small 6mm panels of the same length and depth and some superglue, I constructed a fairly simple open riser staircase as you can see from the photos. I also fitted a door to the front panel, using small brass hinges and painted the door red.
Originally, my idea was to build all of the furniture for the dollhouse myself but after a week of constructing a fairly simple house (and nearly pulling my hair out!) I headed into Pinocchio's on Paul Street and bought some beautiful wooden furniture to decorate the space. I added some curtains on Christmas Eve just to make it a little more cosy!
The most nerve-wracking part of it all had to be on Christmas morning as we opened the living room door and waiting for Nancy's reaction. Thankfully, she ran straight over to it and start playing with it. It now lives in our living room and she plays with it everyday.
I'm planning to add more to it as time goes on as it really is a toy that can change all the time and keep Nancy entertained.
I have to say, it was the hardest yet most rewarding DIY project I ever took on.

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