Sunday, 24 February 2008


Mmm, another weekend, another local foodie opportunity. Today we went to the annual Harvest Picnic at Hanging Rock (where the classic 1970's movie was filmed). There was music, wine and food, about 60 local producers so we were spoilt for choice. We went with a Middle Eastern theme. Freshly-made filled Turkish bread, olives, and, for dessert, treats from The Grande at Hepburn, including Turkish Delight Chocolate Brownies and chunks of watermelon dipped in rose syrup (note to self, must take up some form of exercise before I can no longer fit into my clothes).

Now, I had some difficulty with my THIS IS... photo this week, as my favourite accessory is my camera! I never go anywhere without it.

It's a Lumix Mega O.I.S. with a Leica lens. I'm not a camera nerd but I know this takes great photos. It weighs next to nothing and I always have it in my bag in case I spot a lovely old shop sign, something yummy or a photo-op with my kids.

I got it for my birthday last April and it's been well used. I keep it in this cute Cath Kidston case, which is probably not a very practical idea as it's not padded. One time on holiday I dropped it and damaged the screen on the camera. But it sure looks sweet, especially with a vintage storybook keyring and old scottie dog charm, and who wants to carry a big ugly nylon padded camera bag around in their handbag anyway?!

Friday, 22 February 2008


If you're in the UK, don't forget it's Fair Trade Fortnight coming up. There will be lots of info in the media about buying Fair Trade, and a Fair Trade Fairground in London this Sunday. To find out more about Fair Trade and how it benefits people, click here. If you run a craft business and are interested in finding a Fair Trade producer to make things for you, check out my article in issue 3 of mixtapezine for some suggestions. And here is a picture of my new Peapod Rattle - sample finally finished and it is on the way to the amazing Fair Trade knitters I work with in Bangladesh, who will knit up a whole batch of them.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008


250g full-fat milk at room temperature
(weigh it, don't use a measuring jug)
15g yeast (dry or fresh)
500g strong bread flour
60g unsalted butter at room temperature
40g caster sugar
10g salt
2 large organic free-range eggs (the quality of the eggs makes a difference to the taste)

Mix the yeast with the flour and then rub in the butter, sugar and salt. Add eggs and milk. Knead for 10 minutes by hand or 3 in the mixer with a dough hook.

Leave to rise in a draught-free area for about 1 hour or until doubled in size. Turn out and cut the dough into either 5 large or 15 small baguettes. Flatten each piece into a rough rectangle and then fold in one third into the middle, then the other side into the middle, lightly press to make a seam. Roll these into a sausage shape. Place on a lightly greased baking tray, making sure that they're well apart. (The will expand and stick together if you're not careful.) Brush with two coats of egg wash. With a sharp knife make a succession of small deep cuts diagonally along the top of each baguette. Do not cover!!! Leave to prove for an hour. At this point put your oven on full and just before the baguettes have proved turn down to 220 degrees centigrade. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the tops are golden/dark brown. Put out to cool on a wire rack. Delicious sliced lengthways and served with Lindt 70% cocoa chocolate.

It is raining for the first time in ages. The water tank is full. Autumn will be here soon, my favourite season.

I received my Brownie pack in the mail and I feel like a young girl again!

My kitchen smells amazing. Paul has been making Pain Viennois, a delicious bread that is someway between brioche and a criossant. He fills some of the batons with chunks of dark Lindt chocolate to give to our kids when they come home from school and kinder. The rest have been wrapped by me and tied with baker's twine, ready to be given out to friends, who will no doubt exchange them for some fresh eggs or veggies from their gardens.

Mmm, it's a beautiful day today...

Monday, 18 February 2008

I'm a magazine junkie, I devour at least a dozen every month. When I've read them I donate them to the local doctor's surgery, which now has the most stylish collection of mags you've ever seen in a waiting room (although admittedly, you will find the odd cut-out or missing page where something has been clipped for my inspiration board!).

Today my favourite mag, Country Living, arrived all the way from England. It is the latest March issue and it has a story about the most beautiful cottage, in Dorset.

Vintage textiles, old books, jolly china and 1940's fairisle knit sweaters, I'm in heaven, I want to move in with this lady!


Great theme for THIS IS... this week! What makes me laugh more than anything is other people with infectious laughs. You only have to put on The Laughing Policeman or one of those 1970s Smash mashed potato ads with the laughing martians, and I'm off!

No-one has a more infectious laugh than Sid James in the Carry On films though. Just hearing this one second clip makes me giggle hysterically. Check out this classic clip from Carry On Camping where he has taken his wife and friends to see a film about nude camping without them knowing! Hee hee!

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Tanya has just started making these gorgeous vintage storybook writing sets for her Lily & Agathe shop. Snap them up quickly, each set is a one-off!

Sunday, 10 February 2008

I felt guilty that my 'This is Sunday Lunch' (below) wasn't home-made, so here is my Sunday Dinner...

Paul made a delicious pizza - he is a master at bread and pizza, as when the boys were babies he was a 'househusband' for a while when I had to work full-time in an office, and to stop himself from going crazy he learnt all about making bread. This yummy pizza has a topping of fetta (we use the Meredith Dairy marinated goat's cheese), mixed with some fresh mint and lemon, and char-grilled courgette. And a sprinkling of baby cherry tomatoes from our own garden, we are so proud of these!

Then for dessert I made my very first ever tiramisu. I am a tiramisu connoisseur so my standards are pretty high but I was pleased with my effort - I think next time I would use less sponge fingers and a bit more espresso. Man, I need to go on a diet!

Continuing the weekly ' THIS IS... ' game, this is my Sunday Lunch...

I was going to show off my (almost non-existent) culinary skills by making a huge English breakfast for lunch, as this is one of the few things I can make really well. Gooey fried eggs, veggie bacon, buttery mushrooms, fried tomatoes etc... but then I remembered that today was the annual 'Regional Producers Day' in our town so we headed over there.

For those of you who don't know Daylesford, it is a pretty little town in the forest about 1.5 hours away from Melbourne. Daylesford is a place where lots of people move to from the big city, like me, in search of a nicer lifestyle, and many families have chosen to start their own small foodie businesses, so it has become a bit of a 'gourmet destination'. I've posted about the local farmer's market before, and there always seems to be some kind of food event happening, either in Daylesford or one of the other little towns around here. So this is a pretty normal Sunday for us (probably why I have put on so much weight since moving here, yikes!).

Our little town was packed with tourists today and most of them were at the beautiful Lake House for the food festival. We stuffed our faces on local goats cheese, pumpkin bread, harissa dip, cupcakes and fresh cookies. Hello Janey, love your new truffles!

So all of this tasting was Sunday lunch for us today, and we came home with full tummies and full grocery bags!

Thursday, 7 February 2008

For ages now, I've had the idea of making some soaps for children, like the ones I used to have as a child, remember the ones with cute little pictures on? This summer I finally had time to work on the project, and I've just finished off a box of these soaps with sweet baby animal images. They'll be going off to retailers over the next few weeks and then to my web shop.

I searched for ages to find just the right soap - the soap I am using is made on the NSW coast by another mum-run business, with completely organic ingredients, blended with rainwater. The bars are so soft and they look beautiful. I chose to have them gently scented with organic lavender and mandarin, and now my workshop smells gorgeous but it makes me so relaxed I want to sleep!

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

'This Is...'

Angela has kindly invited me to nominate a theme for this week's round of 'This Is...'.

I have chosen 'THIS IS SUNDAY LUNCH'.

When I was little Sunday lunch was a special time of the week, and it still feels different to the rest of the week for me. What about you? Do you eat in or out? A formal family gathering or a lazy brunch affair? Roast dinner or beans on toast? I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's lunch this Sunday! And please post recipes if it's something delicious you've made yourself and would like to share. (I'm hoping Tanya might post her famous Sunday scones recipe!).

Monday, 4 February 2008


Took some photos today of a very lovely little girl (for my Autumn catalogue). Here she is modelling the knitted dress, vintage baby trousers, knitted fruit rattles and embroidery cushions. Isn't she a doll? I'm always nervous about photographing children for the first time, as you can't tell if they'll be good on camera until you get started, but this little one was a natural and she clearly loved all the attention!

Sunday, 3 February 2008


Continuing the ' this is...' game, this week it's all about collections. I am a tireless collector (hoarder? compulsive rescuer of lovely things from op shops?). Some of my collections are: vintage fabrics (1940s, 50s, children's prints), vintage children's books (Ladybirds, Hilda Boswell, Topsy & Tim, 1950s Famous Five, little Elf Books, photo puppet books, M. Sasek etc), eiderdowns, old tins, shop signs, haberdashery stuff, crockery from Meakin and Midwinter, glass cake stands, jelly moulds, Twinkle comics, plastic wicker baskets, Daphne Padden posters, old suitcases, and lots of other stuff too, not all old stuff (I promise!).

I've posted about lots of my collections before on my blog or Flickr, so this time I thought I would show off my collection of vintage Fisher-Price Little People toys from the 1960s and 1970s. I have lots of old play sets, some from my childhood and others I have picked up at jumble sales over the years. These photos shows just the ones with a holiday theme, as we have put these on display in my sons' bathroom, which has a 1950s British seaside look! We also have an airport, house, street, school, farm and lots of other sets, plus lots of bits of furniture and cars, and whole jars full of Little People. I love these toys, and kids never seem to get bored of playing with them.