A family favourite – Carrot & coriander soup.

1

 

Back when TLWP was a online shop, I first dipped my toe into the world of blogging. This little side blog only held a couple of posts, one of them was this simple yet amazing recipe for Carrot & coriander soup. I realised since taking the shop down at the beginning of the year, the first blog came down with it. So I’ve decided to re-share the recipe for one of my favourite soups.

This is the perfect winter warmer, its also so simple to make and I think costs the whole of about 20p per pan of soup, so perfect for your pre-christmas purse strings.

Heres what you’ll need.

  • 6 Carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tablespoon of  dried coriander or the equivalent in fresh.
  • 900ml of chicken or vegetable stock (I prefer chicken).
  • A blender (Hand or freestanding)

2

 

And here’s what you need to do.

First chop your carrots & onion, Throw into a sauce pan with heated oil & fry for around 5 minutes.

Next, add your stock and sprinkle in the coriander, giving it all a good stir.

Boil on a medium heat for around 30-40 minutes. It actually makes no difference other than the stock condenses down a little, that can easily be resolved by adding a little more hot water.

Once your carrots have become soft (just stab a knife or fork into check) you can turn off the heat and put aside whilst you set up your blender.

Now your carrot stock is ready, you can ladle your mixture into the blender and give it a good whizz up.  Your soup is Done.

Serve with a large, warm slab of butter smeared bread and bask in the deliciousness that is winter food.

 

3

 

Enjoy.

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

No sew tutu.

 

1

Mischa has been excited for halloween since… well since last halloween. My girl loves to dress up & this year, same as last year she’s requested to be a witch. Not only that, but she wants me to make her a big fluffy skirt. Well Mischa, i’m going to do just that.

I first tried this method back in march, again Mischa had asked if I could make her a my little pony outfit for her birthday party, – I am just her personal costume maker!- so I started with a lovely bright tutu.

10420081_454830121337749_8290303490457741999_n

 

It really is such an easy method and with Halloween just around the corner, I thought what better time to show you all. Made with a black tulle, you can pair it with anything to make a spooky, yet completely adorable costume – This method will also work for an adult costume too!

So lets get started.

First up, heres what you’ll need:

  • Black tulle. Either the stiff or soft netting will work, I’ve gone for stiff, I just find it gives a stiffer skirt, a mix & match of both will work great too. You’ll need at least four metres for a child. The fuller & longer  you want it, the more netting will be needed. You can also mix & match colours, use any colour you want.
  • Elastic. at least 1 inch wide. (colour doesn’t matter at all)
  • Sewing machine, needle & thread, or if you really don’t want to sew anything, a simple safety pin will work.
  • Tape measure.

1

 

Now lets get started.

First you’ll need measurements. With it having an elastic waistband, it doesn’t need to be exact, simple wrap the elastic round the waist of the person your making it for. You want a good grip, some stretch, not too much so the person can’t breath. Alternatively, take 3-4″ off the waist measurement. It sounds like a lot, but adding the Tulle stretches it out a bit.

Give the elastic a snip and put it aside.  The length you want the skirt is completely optional. I’ve gone for 17″ (Age 5-6 years) because she does want it quite long. Once you know your measurement,  write it down, just incase you forget when it comes to cutting your fabric.

Next, using either your machine, needle and thread if your hand sewing or safety pin if you aren’t doing either and secure the edges of your elastic together.

1

Now, grab your tulle. I’m making two of these tutu’s one for Mischa & one for Izzy. So i’ve bought 8 metres (four & a bit for Mischa’s, just under 3 for Izzys – Age 2-3 years). You now need to make strips of tulle, lots of strips. I wanted a 17″ length skirt, so I need pieces that are 34″ in total length. Rather than cutting strips of 34″ I find it much easier to just fold my fabric in half & cut to 17″. Once unfolded I have the length I need.

* If you’re using soft tulle, you can skip this whole section by buying 6″ rolls of it, instead of flat metres. You then need to just cut your required length, they’re already in strips for you.*

2

So now we’ve got our tulle strips, we can start adding it to your elastic.

Firstly, fold your netting strip in half, place your fingers through the fold to open the loop and place on the inside of  your elastic.

2

 

Now, pull the bottom two strands of your netting up, thread through the loop and pull tight. Thats it done, easy as that.

3

Now comes the *difficult* part, repeating this process over again. Make sure with each new knot, you slide your knotted fabric snugly against each other. Keep on going until you’ve filled your elastic all the way round. It shouldn’t take you any longer than two hours to make one of these, but its such a simple process you can just thread, knot & pull absent mindeldly whilst watching TV or something, it requires that little concentration.

 

12177909_10208064488192838_912248057_n

12181894_10208064488312841_365729786_n

 

And thats it, easy. Your No sew tutu is done!

 

 

Happy Halloween!

2

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

A very DIY halloween.

halloween2

 

Its officially the week of halloween! We love this holiday in our house. We aren’t one of those overtop types, the ones that decorate every centimetre of their house in fake spider webs & life-size ghouls. But we do like to put a little around the front of the house for when the trick-o-treaters start coming round.

Over the years we’ve developed our little tradition of carving pumpkins & watching The nightmare before christmas on halloween-eve.  Then last year, because the girls were a little older we decided to do some crafts & make some cakes.

This year I’m stepping it up a bit, its half term so we have a few days *months* worth of spooky crafts lined up, as well as some halloween baking before we dress the kids up & let them loose on our neighbours sweetie collections.

I’ve been scouring the web, for everything you need to have your own DIY halloween, from homemade decorations the kids can help with (half term holidays, you need to keep them busy… two birds one stone) to Cheap costume ideas & easy to prepare food for a crowd.

 

Crafty decorations:

  1. Dangly bats. – I actually made these last year with Mischa, really easy, even better if you pre- cut the bats for the little ones, cover the table and give em’ some glue and glitter & googly eyes.

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 14.22.37

 

2. Black bag spider webs. – As simple as Halloween decorating gets, only three things needed. Scissors, black bags & sticky tape.

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 14.26.31

 

3. Jack Skellington hanging garland. – What is Halloween without The nightmare before christmas?! I love these garlands, I will be making them this week with Mischa & Izz. Little side note to the original post, If you can’t get hold of liquid starch, i’m pretty sure a mod podge/ PVA water mixture would work just as good.

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 14.30.34

 

4. Puffy ghosts. –  I think these will work best for the littler ones, a glue stick, some cotton balls. and you can just let them get on with it.

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 14.34.18

 

 

Costumes:

  1. Ewok. – There’s no tutorial for this one (it doesn’t need one really though does it?) Photograph from http://tumblr.tastefullyoffensive.com

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 14.34.31

 

2. Homemade Cupcake. Again no instructions, but theres a pretty good rundown of what was used over at www.tristinandcompany.com

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 14.37.41

 

3. Emoji’s! Isn’t this just the best idea?! You can find full instruction on how to make over at Buzz mills.

emojis

 

4.  Wind up doll. I’ve found the simplest tutorial for this wind up key, simply pop on a pretty frock, add your key belt, some rosy cheeks and you’re done.  You could add some blood, or have one of those amazing make up sessions done to make you up a creepy doll, if you prefer the spooky look. You can find the wind up key tutorial over on ehow.

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 11.16.06

 

5. Mummy. And old classic & so simple, All you need is an old bed sheet, cut up into strips. Easy on time & money. Full tutorial is over on One good thing by Jillee – Along with a few other simple DIY costumes.

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 11.31.49

 

 

Food: 

 

  1. Poison apples. How amazing do these look?! Another one I’ll be trying this Halloween, You can find the (extremely simple) recipe over on Simply delicious food.  I’ll be trying the original recipe for toffee apples & also switching it up a bit by trying a chocolate version.

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 09.10.33

 

2. Pumpkin krispie treat. Something to make with the kids, you can find the recipe over at Yummy healthy easy. It is an american recipe, but apparently asda sell tootsie rolls ( what is used for the pumpkin stem) alternatively you could use the fun size fudge bars.

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 09.57.19

 

3. Jack- O – Lantern cheeseburgers.  Simple, cheap & so obviously halloween. Perfect  if you’re having people over and don’t have the time or money for anything super fussy.

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 09.59.26

 

4. Severed finger hot dogs. Another easy one if you’re having a few people round. They’re actually quite revolting! But completely within keeping of a gruesome halloween celebration. Recipe can be found over at Party Tipz. 

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 21.04.30

 

5. Spider web cupcakes. You don’t need to be a master baker, these cupcakes are so easy. You could even buy pre-made cupcakes just to save on time. You can find the full instructions over at Seakettle along with another simple tombstone cupcake tutorial.

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 10.10.07

 

I’ll have a couple of my own DIY halloween posts up this week. A no sew tutu tutorial (perfect for costumes) will be up on Wednesday and a lovely recipe for one of my family favourite soups later on in the week – Also something quick to bulk make if you do have people over.

Happy Halloween week.

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

 

The Craft room re-dec.

I was supposed to get this post up weeks ago, but then I kept buying little bits and bats to add to the room, I was putting it off until everything was finished. Then I realised this would be an ongoing project, I don’t think it will ever be finished.  If I don’t show you now, you’ll never see it.

My craft room was originally Izzy’s nursery. But then late last year, we decided to move the girls into the bigger room together, and so we were left with a spare room. After hours of debating, Sam wanted it for his workspace – which consists of a computer on a  desk- and I wanted a half craft room, half play room.  I won (obviously) and after what seemed like an eternity cleaning out junk, I set up my little area.

old sewing room

 

It was all a little bit pink, and honestly deciding to share my sewing room with the kids toys was the most ridiculous idea i’ve ever had. I couldn’t focus on anything for longer than 20 seconds without telling them to put down the pot of pins, or get chocolate hands off my pretty fabric. It was completely counter productive. Finally after one particular day of having every scrap of fabric I owned, pulled from off the shelves and scattered across the floor. Mischa & myself sat down, went through all her old toys, got rid of anything broken, donated anything she didn’t want (which wasn’t much) and cleared that room out ready to make it mine.

I toyed with idea of just using a cupboard to store my things and giving the kids the full room, but they have a bedroom and at least three large baskets downstairs for their toys, it would just be another room for me to clean once they’ve trashed it… Also, I really wanted a craft room… Soz kids.

I stood in the empty room for ten minutes here and there, figuring out what sort of vibe I wanted my creative space to have. The rest of my house is very light & airy, a cosy family home. My room however had to reflect me and my mind, a place to inspire my creativeness. I jumped on Pinterest (As I always do) and found myself being pulled towards rooms filled with emotion, dark, moody, calming spaces that had a lot of personality, a place I could write through the night in and never be short of inspiration.

insp

Obviously with quite a small space & little funds, I was limited to what i could actually achieve in there. Nether the less I followed my thoughts, got out my paintbrush and gave those pink stripes a lick of paint. I repainted the machine desk, fitted in a desk for me to write. I hung some new curtains and bought a few bits from the car boot – The lamp & the side table, some frames and other bits- and started to put it all together.

It still needs a lot of work. I want to replace the fabric shelves with something thinner and taller to slip in-between the sewing desk & the wall. I want to fit a bookcase along the wall where the lamp is for all my books and other pretty bits. And I’m toying with either a small sofa bed for when guests staying over, or keeping with the ‘Its my room’ theme and just finding a beautiful Queen Anne wingback arm chair to re-upholster.

1

12036371_548335251987235_6454830129552258669_n

12071645_10208028166884828_696673897_n

2

12167865_10208028166964830_1809363735_n

12166413_10208028167124834_1760204491_n

 

4

12167287_10208028167164835_1982858089_n

 

Life has been hectic for the past five weeks, I’ve been helping a family member deal with some pretty heavy stuff, so I haven’t spent as much time in here as I would have liked. But everything is settling down a little bit now, I’m looking forward to the many days I spend in here sewing up pretty things, working on blog posts and the long nights nestled under the soft light, sipping tea and writing.

I’ll keep you updated on the progress.

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

 

Cheesecake brownies.

 

first1

 

As with every week Wednesday was bake off day. Word seems to be spreading amongst friends that I make treats at this time of week, and so we had a few extra visitors to settle down and stuff our faces with my sweet treats, while watching GBBO.

Knowing I was having a few extra people around I decided too make something that would require minimum effort for maximum loveliness..  Chocolate & cheesecake brownies. These are the bomb! I know I say this about everything I bake – I’m a dessert lover, what can I say?- But seriously, these are unreal. Little word of warning, If your on a diet, these aren’t for you!

I originally found this recipe over on trusty Pinterest, i’ve made a few tiny tweaks, but you can find the original here.

So now I’ve bigged up my baking, time to give you all the details on how to make them yourself.

These brownies are made in two parts, first the brownie mixture then the cheesecake mixture.

For the brownie mixture you’ll need:

225g Butter

450g sugar (I did warn you this was no good for anyone on a diet.)

4 eggs

1/2 Tablespoon Vanilla essence.

155g Cocoa powder

1/2 Tablespoon Baking powder.

170g Plain flour

100g Chocolate chips.

And here’s what you’ll do to make up the brownie:

  • First, line a baking tray with some baking paper. I’ve used a 9″ by 12″ rectangle tin. It can be slightly smaller, but any bigger and your brownies will be too thin.

 

  • Combine your Butter and sugar in a saucepan, simmer until the butter and sugar have melted and the liquid starts to bubble. Once its bubbling, turn the heat off and leave your mixture for around 20 minutes to cool, longer if its still hot. You don’t need it to be a completely cold syrup, but too much heat and it will scramble your eggs. 

 

  • Next add your eggs and vanilla, using a whisk to combine. An electric whisk is best for this, get those eggs nice and frothy.

 

  • Now add your Cocoa powder, baking powder and flour, giving another good whisk to thoroughly combine everything.

 

  • Lastly, add your chocolate chips. Before spooning your mixture into you baking tray.

 

1

 

Before starting your cheesecake mixture, preheat your oven to 180/ gas mark 4.

Now we can start on the cheesecake mixture. Heres what you’ll need.

  • A tub of cream cheese, just those standard tubs ( I think they hold about 180g)
  • 75ml of sour cream
  • 100g Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
  • 1 egg.

 

The Cheesecake element to the brownies is really easy to make, just pour it all in a bowl and give it a good mix. I like to use an electric whisk for this, even better if you have a free standing mixer, then you can leave it for five or so minutes to really froth up. The longer you whisk the lighter the cheesecake.

Once you’re cheesecake mixture is finished, we can add it to the brownies.

  • Using a spoon, scoop a tunnel down the width of the brownie tin, not too deep, you want a layer of brownie at the bottom. I find it best to just drag the back of the spoon down, making the perfect little ridge.

2

 

  • Now, using another spoon, scoop up some of your cheesecake mixture and fill the space you’ve just made.

3

 

  • Repeat this across the rest of your brownie, making sure you leave a gap of brownie in-between. You want a striped effect, brownie – cheesecake – brownie – cheesecake ect. Don’t worry about it being super neat, its homemade and after the next step it will look amazing regardless.

4

 

  • Now, using a knife or kebab skewer. drag from the top (length ways, not width) lightly down through the mixture.

5

 

  • Move a long a little and starting from the opposite end (so the bottom of your tray, drag your knife/skewer back up to the top, giving this effect.

6

 

  • Continue this along the rest of your tray, until you’ve reached the end.

7

 

  • Now place in the oven, middle shelf for around 30 minutes for lovely warm and gooey brownies. Forty minutes  if you like your brownies a bit firmer.

8

 

And thats it. Your Chocolate & cheesecake brownies are ready to slice and serve. I’d leave to cool for around ten minutes before eating, just to save your mouth from molten hot brownie lava burns.

9

 

Easy, peasy. You can eat them on their own, as a side to a lovely cup of tea or even warm with a dollop of ice cream. Delicious. Enjoy.

last

 

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.