Poppy seed heads. Painting with bleach and ink.

One of my favourite ways to sketch is to use bleach and ink. It may sound extreme and you must use it in a well ventilated area, but it can produce some of the most amazing effects. This is a good example of the technique. It is a sketch of some poppy seed heads I had dried from my back garden. It is drawn on tissue paper that had been glued down to my sketch book page. First outlining the shapes with pen and ink and then adding bold stripes of colour using the bleach and then a wash of ink.

Thinking about valentines day

I’ve been thinking about crafting for Valentines day and have been gathering some materials as inspiration. What do you think? I love the red pom pom trim, just not quite sure that my husband would appreciate it in the same way!

Leek and potato soup recipe – review ‘vegetables from the earth to the table’

I got a new cookery book for Christmas from my husband. At first glance it didn’t look very exciting but I was leafing through it later and I must say that I want to cook at least 90% of the recipes inside it.
The first recipe I had a go with was for leek and potato soup. I have often found that recipes for leek and potato soup can be bland and gloopy. This however was fantastic, heart-warming, rich and satisfying. Just what you want on a cold winters day. The key ingredient into making this recipe a triumph? In my opinion it is the addition of cheese stirred into the soup just before serving. It improves the texture and flavour 100% and will always be going in my leek and potato soup from now on. 
Leek and potato soup recipe – review ‘vegetables from the earth to the table’

Free cross stitch Valentines rose on black PDFpattern

If you fancy stitching up something a bit different for Valentine’s this year. Why not try this free rose pattern? It looks very striking on black adia and would make a great gift or just something to treasure for yourself! 
Free cross stitch Valentines rose on black PDFpattern

Free Valentines rose on black background x stitch pattern

Free Valentines rose on black background x stitch pattern

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Cheese and sweet corn muffins baby led weaning recipe

Cheese and sweet corn muffins recipe

I have really got into the baby led weaning with George. He loves being involved at the dinner table and its great as I can already see he won’t be a fussy eater. He’ll give anything a go, like these cheese and sweet corn muffins that have spring onions and Wensleydale cheese in them. Unfortunately things like this don’t hang around long in our household and George only got one muffin.

The recipe is as follows
85g frozen sweet corn defrosted
3 spring onions trimmed
4 tbsp milk
30ml vegetable oil
1tbsp maple syrup
1 egg
85g self raising flour
a pinch of paprika
50g Wensleydale crumbled
Silicon mini muffin tray.

This recipe make 12 mini muffins

preheat the oven to 180c gas mark 4
Put the sweet corn and the spring onions in a food processor and pulse until chopped.
Add the milk, oil, maple syrup and egg and whiz to combine.
stir in the flour and paprika.
Fold in the crumbled cheese.
Spoon into your muffin tin.
Bake for 14 minutes until risen and firm to the touch.
Allow to cool and then remove from the tin.

Best eaten on the day or could be frozen and defrosted at room temperature for 30-45 minutes.

Button Valentines day card ideas.

I love buttons. You may have noticed but the regularly feature in my crafts. I was playing around with my buttons and I have come up with two lovely valentines day cards made using buttons. I made a heart and a ‘love’ using my red and pink button stash. It’s so easy to do just create your pattern and then glue in place with PVA as this dries clear. Just remember to use strong card as the buttons can make it very heavy and you don’t want the card falling over all the time. Now I can give one to the hubby but who can I give the other to….

Button Valentines day card ideas. 

Button Valentines day card ideas. 

Ginger cookies recipe.

Ginger cookies recipe.

These chewy spicy morsels go great with a cup of coffee.

Ginger cookies.
Makes 12

225g Self raising flour
2 tsp of ground ginger,
125g caster sugar
Pinch of salt
75g Baking margarine
2 tbsp golden syrup.


  1. Preheat the oven to 170c gas mark 3.
  2. Mix 225g self raising flour, 2tsp of ground ginger, 125g caster sugar and a pinch of salt in a mixing bowl.
  3. Melt 75g of baking margarine with 2 tbsp of golden syrup.
  4. Stir the melted mixture into the flour and mix well.
  5. Add a beaten egg and mix well again.
  6. Spoon heaped teaspoons of the mixture onto a lined baking sheet. 
  7. Bake for 15 minutes until golden.
  8. Remove and cool on a wire rack.
    Ginger cookies recipe.

Butternut squash and chestnut risotto recipe

Butternut squash and chestnut risotto recipe Serves 4

Butter nut squash and chestnut risotto recipe

I love this risotto recipe! I always seem to have a pack of chestnuts left over after Christmas and this is the easiest risotto to make, no ladling in a bit of stock at a time.

1 litre of vegetable stock
1 tbsp olive oil
40g butter
1 small onion chopped
200g butter nut squash diced
200g vac packed ready to use chestnuts
200g risotto rice
85g cheddar cheese


  1. Make the stock according to your packets instructions.
  2. Heat the oil and the butter in a large saucepan until the butter has melted.
  3. Stir in the onion and butternut squash and cook for 5 minutes, stirring to stop the squash from sticking.
  4. Roughly shop the chestnuts and add to the pan.
  5. Add the rice and mix to ensure it is coated in the butter. Cook for another 2 minutes.
  6. Add all the stock and leave to cook for around 20 minutes. Stir and check the rice isn’t sticking.
  7. The risotto is ready when the rice has absorbed the liquid and is creamy looking.
  8. The rice should be firm to the bite and the squash tender.
  9. Remove from the heat stir through the cheese and serve immediately.