Friday, 27 September 2013

Whisky Galore!

The hubby had the day off today and the kids were in school and kindy so we ventured out on a date day.  So where else would we go but Whisky Galore.  We'd not made it there yet as we didn't really want to take the children into a shop full of very expensive glass bottles!
Wow, what a shop! It's comforting to know that we'll still be able to get good whisky even though we're the other side of the world from most of the great whisky makers.  Mmmmmm... what a shop!
We also made a very interesting discovery... Last November the hubby, myself and a friend went to a Wales v New Zealand whisky tasting that was held the night before the autumn international match (Rugby, of course!). It was a fun evening, although it hadn't been advertised very well so we were the only 3 at the official tasting match.  There was a Welsh male voice choir rehearsing in the next room so they came through to taste the whiskies at 'half time' but really, it was just the 3 of us.  The Welsh team, Penderyn v The New Zealand Whisky Company.  Three different whiskies for each team going head to head in a blind tasting. Although, I'm Welsh I show no favouritism in my whisky drinking , I save that for the Rugby pitch, and marked truthfully, even though I know the taste of Penderyn.  So I wasn't too surprised that NZ won. Their signature bottle won hands down.  It was a good, strong, slightly earthy Whisky from what I remember, with a good kick to it! And this is what we found in the shop today....
The NZ Whisky Co has put stickers on all it's Double wood bottles saying that it won the UK whisky tasting matches in London, Cardiff & Edinburgh! Hee hee! What a giggle :) I'm on a whisky bottle (sort of)!  Such fun!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Pretty and practical

I have had a fantastically crafty week. Thanks to a lovely new crafting buddy I have been totally inspired to make new things and improve and hopefully one day I will be able to sew in straight lines!

I cant believe that I still cant do straight lines on the sewing machine.  I had no idea that it would be so difficult to do something that sounds so easy.

After the success of the first two skirts I have made 2 more.  I have found a few different patterns that I really like and I have the material ready to try those out too.  I have also found some amazing 'boy' material to make the munchkin some Christmas PJ's (thanks to the Make café again!). I have also ventured out into a few things for around the house.  Our kitchen towel was in need of a hook so I thought I'd pretty it up a bit too!

I'm very pleased with my efforts :)
I have needed a card wallet for a while, but not found one that I liked, so I've made one!  (This is the pattern I used.) I used some left over material and one of the ladybugs hair bobbles and hey presto, in true Blue Peter style, here's one I made earlier!
And of course my week would not be complete without a spot of baking.  This week I thought I'd try something new.  At home we'd go to St. Fagan's museum of Wlesh life and go to the old fashioned bakery and pick up a loaf of Bara Brith (Welsh bread made with tea).  It is so delicious, especially when fresh and still warm.  So as it was raining and I was reminded very much of home, I looked up the recipe online and thought I'd give it a go.  If you have never had Bara Brith, please try this recipe, it's really good.  Even the hubby, who hates tea, loves it! (If you do use this recipe, I didn't bother with the wholemeal flour, just used all Self-raising or extra baking powder and it came out perfectly!)

Friday, 20 September 2013

Reuse, recycle, remake!

There is something so satisfying about sewing.  One minute you have a pile of material and an hour later you have something with shape and purpose!

Yesterday I spent the morning making two of the ladybugs old dresses into skirts.  These were my favourite summer dresses (thank you H&M).  She wore them as dresses at 18 months, then tunic tops with leggings at 2 and a half and now we'll get another year, probably 2 or 3 years out of them as skirts as there is plenty of room left in the waist and I can keep adding to the hem if the length gets too short.  There is a fantastic skirt design on Pinterest so I copied the hem and waistband design from it, chopped the top off the dresses and voila! Two new skirts! And all it cost was 2 FQ from The Make Café as I already had the elastic.

And the best part is, the ladybug absolutely loves her new skirts.  When we got home from Kindy she tried them both on, tried them out for twirliness, as you do, then chose one to wear and one to put at the end of her bed to wear this morning.  She also then chose which t-shirt, knickers and socks would go best with todays skirt! :) Happy mummy! There's something so comforting and satisfying about having your work appreciated.

It has encouraged me to make more! Somewhere I have a pattern to downsize old adults sweater into a kids one and I have two waiting to be transformed. I must make something for the munchkin.  It's so much easier to make pretty girly things, but I must make something for the little man too.  Although we're coming into the warm weather now so maybe I should try shorts?! or linen trousers? But that seems a little more daunting.  I may have to work up to that one.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

3 months

Three months ago today we left Wales. 

We got up at a ridiculous time in the morning, put the kids in the car and drove to Heathrow.  We left behind our family, our friends and our home and stepped out into our great adventure.  And what an adventure it's been so far. And this is really only the beginning.

I couldn't help feeling that someone didn't want us to get here.  At Heathrow our flight was delayed because the air conditioning broke on the plane. Then at Changi we were delayed again because one of the trucks broke down in the way of the plane and we had to wait for it to be towed away and then again while we waited for a slot to take off.

Singapore was a lovely holiday on the way.  The kids made friends everywhere we went and had their photos taken by most of the airline and hotel staff.  We spent the first 2 days trying to avoid the haze, but after it lifted we got to see some beautiful sights! We even got to spend time with family who live there.  It was so wonderful to see the cousins playing together and having a great time!
And then we finally landed in New Zealand.  There are still a lot things we need to get used to and things from home that we're missing (marmite is top of that list) and it does feel weird being an immigrant! When I'm in the supermarket I stand in the UK section and just stare at the things they have imported.  Most of the things in the section I wouldn't ever buy at home, they really do choose some odd things to import! But those things that I would, I cannot bring myself to pay the prices they are charging.  In one store the other day I saw a packet of jammie dodgers.  The packet had them priced at 79p ($1.60) but they were bring soled for $4.90. There was no way I was going to pay that, so we just made our own :)
 I'm finding that I'm doing an awful lot more baking now.  The diet has gone completely out of the window! Partly because its so much more difficult to get dairy free stuff here and partly because I just enjoy baking... and the eating that follows!  Maybe I'll set up as a dairy free baker and sell to all the local cafés?

I wonder what the next 3 months will bring?
Biscuit recipe...


250g/9oz plain flour
200g/7oz butter/marg
100g/3½oz caster sugar
pinch of salt
2 egg yolks
Any flavour jam you like!
Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3.
Place the flour, butter, sugar and salt into a bowl. Rub together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Add the egg yolks and mix into a dough.
Roll out onto a floured surface. About 0.5cm depth and cut out shapes. Round or hearts are my favourite shapes. 
Then on half of the shapes cut a smaller shape hole in the middle.
Place all the biscuits on a baking tray and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until light golden-brown and crisp.
Remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Using a teaspoon, put a spoonful of jam on a whole biscuit and put on with a hole on the top to make your dodger! :)

Sunday, 15 September 2013

The oddest things...

It's been lovely and sunny this week, and warm! Which has made me feel like I'm on holiday.  I only associate being warm with being on holiday.  So this week has felt very holiday like!  There is something about the smell of sun cream that is just so comforting.  It makes me relax.  I do like the sun, it makes the world a much better place!

I've also been thinking about home a lot this week. The munchkin and the ladybug both made videos for their friends at home.  It was a fun thing to do, but it got me thinking of all the people and places we left behind.  But we really are having a great time here.  We have finally persuaded the kids that it's a good idea to have separate rooms.  So we got the ladybug an IKEA (oh how I miss IKEA!) bed off Trademe (New Zealand's own eBay) and off we go! She was so excited about being a 'big girl' and choosing books and toys to go in her room it was so lovely to watch.  I was a little worried that there would be a big fuss at bedtime when she realised that she'd be on her own, but no she went straight to sleep! Success! For the first time in three and a half years the munchkin has a room to himself again and a new clock which made him super happy.  I think he's turning Kiwi already.... "it's awesome!"

UK people, enjoy your nearest IKEA! Go have a coffee (for free), pop the kids in playland (also free)and enjoy! Oh how I miss IKEA and their family friendly stores.

While shopping for the clock at the container mall (If you've not heard of the re:START mall google it, its amazing!) we stopped at a coffee shop.  I have no idea what the coffee tasted like, but the tea was good.  It was served in a cast iron teapot which oddly made me feel like I was at home even though I was sat in a container!  The teapot was very 'welsh'. I cant really describe it, but it was very homely.  All that was missing was a welsh cake or slice of bara brith and I could have been sat in St. Fagans.

It's the oddest things that remind me of home or make me feel right at home on the other side of the world.  There's also a make of coffee called Bach Espresso (bach in Welsh means little) which makes me smile every time I see it- little espresso, but I think its pronounced completely differently and has no connection with Wales at all, but it still makes me smile :)

And we have already started the Christmas countdown.  14 weeks and 2 days! It already feels odd, making Christmas things sat in the sunshine.  And I'm told the weather is only going to get better! :)
Only time will tell how I cope with a beach Christmas!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

It is finished!

I have finally finished my quilt! After a few mistakes and a lots of unpicking, it is done!
I'm feeling very proud of my self today!

Monday, 2 September 2013

We made it to the slopes

Wow, what a day!

We had a fantastic morning learning to ski with some great instructors.  Two of which were English and one of them is in university in Cardiff.  How crazy is that!? We come to the other side of the world and get taught to ski by someone who lives in our home city! I do love how small this world really is.

Looking at the videos we took, we seem to be going very slowly down the slope, but I'm sure we were going much faster. It felt much faster anyway.

What was really wonderful was that we were all starting together. None of us have skied before so we were learning together.  My 3 and a half year old was the first of us to have both skis on and heading down the hill.  Amazing! It was so much fun watching her grown in confidence and learn a fab new skill.  We will definitely be going again.  Although next time I'll get a bigger pair of boots so it's a little less painful.

P.S. I only fell over once! :)