Friday, 27 July 2012

Leggings for Mammy


I made myself some leggings the other week out of material I bought at my local fabric shop in the sale they were having. The material still ended up being £10 a metre, a price I would normally laugh at and move on, but I loved this fabric so much I ended up buying some. I was originally going to make a skirt out of it but was convinced by my friend to make leggings and I have to say, I love them so much. I can definitely wear them much more as leggings than I would've been able to as skirt.

To make them I just traced around a pair of skinny jeans onto the folded material and cut, then stitched them together like in this tutorial. Obviously the only difference was that I had no side seams.

I absolutely love my new leggings so much and I wear them so often. I am really glad I decided to buy the material, even if I still think £10 for one pair of leggings is a ridiculous price :P

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Meals on the Cheap: Fish and Spinach Risotto


This meal has the potential of being quite expensive, given that it is fish. I like to use the packets of fish pie mix as the fish is all cut up ready for me, plus it works out cheaper. In my local supermarket, I can buy a packet of fish pie mix for £4 and I can make two meals out of it. I use one half of the fish pie mix then freeze the other half, ready to be defrosted when I need it. You could just sub this for chopped fish obviously. Mine has salmon, cod and smoked haddock in the one packet.

I like to use brown rice when making this as it is much better for you than white and I like to be as healthy as I can with my food. Any leafy greens can be used in this recipe. I have made it with cabbage before and it has been equally yummy!

Fish and Spinach Risotto (serves 3)

1tbsp olive oil
1 x onion, diced
1 cup brown rice, rinsed
200g fish pie mix (or fish of your choice)
200g spinach (or other leafy green), washed
2 cups boiling water
1/4 tsp turmeric
cayenne pepper, to finish
black pepper, to finish
lemon juice, to finish

Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan and add the onion. Fry, without stirring, for 5mins or until just starting to brown. Add the rice and stir to coat. Add the boiling water and turmeric, bring to the boil, reduce heat and gently simmer for 25mins (or according to pack instructions - white rice will take less time to cook than brown). When the rice is nearly cooked through, and the water is nearly all absorbed, add the fish and spinach. Put a lid on the pan and leave to gently simmer for 10mins. Check to make sure the pan doesn't become too dry. Add a tiny touch more water if necessary.


Serve sprinkled with the cayenne pepper, black pepper and lemon juice. So tasty!

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Find more Meals on the Cheap posts here.

I don't know about you but we are really struggling at the minute with our money situation and I am in need of some cheap but nutritious meals to keep us going and keep our food bills down.

I have been scouring the internet for recipe ideas to help me plan the next months meals and I will be sharing a new one every Wednesday.

I have decided to cut down our meat by half and bulk meals out with beans and chickpeas. I find that we spend quite a lot on meat as I don't like buying the value range at our supermarket, but this obviously ends up being pretty expensive.

I hope by the end of this month, we'll have saved quite a lot of money on our food bills!

Monday, 23 July 2012

Mint Stuff I've Seen #18

This Week's Features:


Tutu Dress - Make Handmade


Easy Curtains - A Girl and a Glue Gun


Bunting Jumper - Beads and Barnacles


Gluten-Free Chocolate Chickpea Cake - 52 Kitchen Adventures

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Feel free to grab my button from the sidebar if you've been featured :)

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Guest Post: Four Ways To Curb Fussy Eating by Louise Blake

First of all, I would like to say a big thank you to Louise for guest posting today. This article is so awesome and very helpful to me. My two children have recently started being quite fussy so I will be taking note of some of the tips here! Enjoy :)

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Four Ways to Curb Fussy Eating
by Louise Blake


The last time I spent a weekend with my young nieces, I was horrified to see what the youngest one would eat, or rather, what she wouldn’t eat! Anything green or red was out (unless it was tomato sauce), and the only colour of food she seemed to eat was beige.

Biscuits, bread, porridge, crisps, chips, anything with a batter on it, pasta, cereal with milk, bananas at a push – all in the colour range from golden yellow to oatmeal. And absolutely nothing else, otherwise a total tantrum would ensue.

In contrast, the older niece at seven years old is happy to try anything, and has quite a sophisticated palate, so it’s hard for my sister to know where she has gone wrong with the two of them. Is it really just a question of taste?

Image by Bruce Tuton

Faddy eating is no stranger to UK dinner tables. Research by the University College London has found that the top eight most refused foods by children aged 4 – 5 years old were leeks, cabbage, sweet pepper, onion, avocado, melon, cottage cheese and liver.

According to the Royal College of the Psychiatrists, a third of kids under five will start to demonstrate selective eating and become fussy. This could simply be due to a developmental stage where they are testing their boundaries and seeing what reaction they get from their parents.

So with all this medical evidence, why do we worry so much? Here are some great tips to minimise your risk of acquiring a fussy eater!


1. Start introducing varied food – early!

As soon as weaning has been established, start to introduce as many new food types as possible and that includes varying the textures, smells and tastes. If given a varied diet early on in life, kids will be much more receptive to new foods later on in their development; according to research, after the age of two, only 4% of brand new food is readily accepted.


2. The Small Appetite

Some children eat a repetitive diet – yogurt, fruit, bread, pasta only. It can be frustrating to tempt them with new foods only to be met with point blank refusal, but limited diets are not bad for children per se.
If they like fruit, try to blend it with milk to get some dairy into their diet, or if they love to eat bread, introduce it toasted for a change and sneak on some butter or jam if you can.

Young children only have small bellies – they drink juice and have snacks throughout the day, so don’t worry if their intake seems very low. They would tell you if they were hungry!

3. The Social Element

It’s important that children feel comfortable and relaxed when eating meals, so try to focus on what they do eat, rather than what they don’t. Instead, try to instil the feeling of a mealtime as a fun place, where people stop for a moment in the busy day and get together, and where people talk to each other.

Allow your child to be in the kitchen when you are preparing the dinner, and if they are old enough, help mix ingredients and put the dishes together. This educates them in the art of cooking and makes eating fun and interesting.

4. Avoid Junk Food

In a media-saturated world it can be hard to stop your children from seeing adverts for junk food. To avoid your children seeing sweets, crisps and biscuits as desirable, absolutely necessary things, try not to associate these foods with rewards for good behaviour.

If your child eats well, why not try a stickers for kids system? They get a little star on a chart to indicate they have tried something new. Better still, design your own stickers with your child. A good idea is to get them to draw a picture of the new food they've tried, making it a lasting memory.

Seeing this chart fill up is far more permanent than a chocolate bar and they can chart their own progress.
When my niece visits me, I do not give her constant rounds of sweets and she doesn’t really miss it. Children are creatures of habit so make sure the ones you teach are good for them.

What other ways do you / would you use to get around the fussy eating problem?


Bio : Louise Blake is an excited first time mum to be, and spends most of her free time nesting and getting the nursery ready! She's a huge animal lover, and when not out taking her dog for nice long walks loves to play with her two nieces.


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Thank you again, Louise. That was really interesting!

Friday, 13 July 2012

Skinny Jeans - tutorial


I had this pair of jeans forever but I hardly ever wore them as they were flared. I prefer skinny jeans so I can wear my boots over them if it is chilly out. I decided to take this pair in on the inside seam so I could wear them more often.


To do so, I just turned them inside out and put them on. I pinned where I wanted my new seam to be (whilst wearing them), then took them off very carefully and drew a line down my new seam line. I did one long line from hem to hem, through the crotch. I stitched along the line with a straight stitch then cut off my excess fabric and ran a zigzag stitch in the allowance. I cut some of the crotch off to make a smoother sewing line but you will want to be careful not to cut too much off or your jeans may be too short in the rise. Luckily, mine are just perfect now.


The jeans also had this little hole just under the knee. I'm not sure how I managed to get a hole there. It seems like a strange place to me hehe. Anyway, I figured that while I was taking them in, I may aswell put a cute reverse applique patch on them to cover the hole.


I very carefully drew and cut out a heart shape around the hole then cut a square of denim to easily fit behind. I pinned it well, made sure the denim was centred as much as possible on the back, then stitched around the heart shape with a zigzag. I used thread the same colour as the stitching on the rest of the jeans so it looks like it was meant to be there. I cut off the excess material at the back and my patch was done :)


Next, I took the hem on the legs up just a little bit. I didn't quite manage to line up my second leg perfectly so the stitching was a bit off. Plus, they were just a tiny bit too long anyways so no biggie. I cut off the original hem, then folded and folded again to make a nice double hem. I stitched it down using my new twin needle originally but didn't like the look so I unpicked it and ran a single line of straight stitch. The twin needle was awesome though! Much easier than I expected!



I love my new jeans :D

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Meals on the Cheap: Turkish Lamb and White Bean Stew


As some of you might know, my Dad is Turkish. My Mam, my Dad and one of my brothers live in Turkey and when I go to visit them, this is one of my favourite ever meals to get when we are out. It is so easy to make and fairly cheap! Not to mention so tasty. Give it a try :)

Turkish Lamb and White Bean Stew (serves 2)

1 small packet diced lamb (or if I'm poor, I use casserole beef or just leave the meat out altogether)
1 cup cannelini beans
1 x onion
2 x garlic cloves
seasoning (I used a pinch of salt, plenty of black pepper and a pinch of turmeric)
1tbsp tomato puree
1tsp reduced salt bouillon powder (or a stock cube)
500ml cannelini bean juice and cold water mixed (or plain cold water if you prefer)
1 x lemon
rice, to serve

First of all, cook your cannellini beans. They usually need to be soaked overnight then cooked as per packet instructions. Or you could just buy tinned but I prefer to cook my own as it works out much cheaper. Meanwhile, heat some olive oil in a pan and add the lamb, onion, garlic and seasoning. Mix well to coat then fry off until the lamb is cooked through. Add the tomato puree to the middle of the pan and cook, without stirring, for 30seconds. Add the bouillon and water mixture, mix well, bring to the boil, reduce heat and leave to simmer for 1hr (or 2hrs if using casserole beef). You want all of those lovely flavours to infuse and you want your sauce to reduce a little. Don't let the sauce dry out too much though, add more water or cannellini bean juice if needed. Add the cannellini beans 10 minutes before the end of cooking. When cooked, remove from the heat and squeeze in the juice from the lemon. Serve over rice with a little of the sauce drizzled on top.




Sometimes, I like to add some trimmed green beans to the pan for the last 10mins of cooking, to make a complete meal. Yummy!

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Find more Meals on the Cheap posts here.

I don't know about you but we are really struggling at the minute with our money situation and I am in need of some cheap but nutritious meals to keep us going and keep our food bills down.

I have been scouring the internet for recipe ideas to help me plan the next months meals and I will be sharing a new one every Wednesday.

I have decided to cut down our meat by half and bulk meals out with beans and chickpeas. I find that we spend quite a lot on meat as I don't like buying the value range at our supermarket, but this obviously ends up being pretty expensive.

I hope by the end of this, we'll have saved quite a lot of money on our food bills!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Big Bow Headband - a tutorial and a confession


I have really neglected my blog lately. I had a million and one things going on in my head and I just didn't have the energy to blog aswell.

I didn't think I would ever disclose this on here but I feel I have to give some kind of reason as to why I have been missing. I am a *recovering* anorexic. I have had an eating disorder for the past 12years with a 4year period of recovery when I was pregnant, breastfeeding etc. The past 6ish weeks, I have been fighting a relapse. I lost a ton of weight and was hardly eating and just feeling awful and negative when I did eat. Thankfully, I have my head back now (mostly), I am eating again and I am putting the weight back on.

This is my first relapse since I got pregnant with Leyla and decided that enough was enough and I had to eat to look after my baby. I always imagined parents who give in to this kind of thing were ridiculous and should just put their babies first but now I know it's not as easy as that. Eating disorders are mental illnesses so it would be like telling someone they are not allowed to be depressed or schizophrenic when they have kids. It just doesn't work like that.

Ultimately though, I have tried to claw my way back to some sense of sanity for my kids. Every day that I starved myself, I felt sooo guilty. I didn't want to just die in my sleep one night and leave them with no Mammy but on what I was eating and how much weight I lost, I knew that was possible and probably pretty likely. I felt like I should be working harder at recovery for my kids so I tried my very best to clear my head and try and ignore the negative thoughts as much as I could. I'm not fully recovered today. I am eating a decent amount but I am still fighting with my thoughts. One day at a time.

Even though I haven't been blogging, I have still been crafting! I made this Big Bow Headband a few weeks ago and I think it is so, so cute. It was ridiculously easy to make aswell and took me all of about 5minutes!

To make it, I took a piece of material measuring 44"x3". You can make it wider or narrower if you prefer. I like this width and length for me. I folded it along the length, right sides together, and stitched all the way along, backstitching at the beginning and end of each line of stitching. I left a 1/4" seam allowance and used a straight stitch and then a zigzag stitch.


Once I had my piece all sewn up along the long end, I turned it right side out. I cut my two ends at an angle just to make the bow look prettier when it was tied. To sew up the open side edges, I used a wide zigzag on short stitch length. This finished it off nicely without too much bulk and without too much hassle. I then top-stitched all up the two long edges and my Big Bow Headband was ready to wear.

I love it :)




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