Saturday, 5 May 2012

Inspiring Women

There are some women I know that inspire me to be more creative in my free time. Generally being a lawyer does not give me much room to express my creativity (actually scratch that, it doesn't give me any room...) so it's nice to do something completely different.  Whilst I am quite good at following instructions and copying things, coming up with my own designs floors me somewhat.

My friend Jo of Two Owls inspires me to get creative with fabric. You'll recall the bears from this post. In Dubai I bought a gorgeous new duvet cover from Pottery Barn. It turns out though that US king size is about a foot wider than UK king size - oops! Previously I would have just altered it and maybe thought about what to do with the excess material. Now however my first thought on realising I needed to alter it was that I could knock up a table runner and maybe some napkins out of the excess - yes there is that much extra material!

Whilst we were in Dubai, T was making some silver jewellery using silver clay. I was absolutely fascinated by the process and how you get from something which just looks like clay to a (hopefully!) beautiful piece of silver jewellery. There's something quite satisfying about the whole process of moulding, drying, sanding, firing and burnishing. T is much more creative than me but so far I have managed to make a few bits and pieces.

The first project was a necklace for a friend who has inspired me recently with her bravery in the face of a real personal struggle. I cannot imagine how A has found the strength to deal with the cards that life has dealt her recently but her humour, courage and faith are humbling.

My second project was a keying for my father-in-law with the kids' fingerprints in it as a birthday present and then I made a necklace for my sis-in-law C with her kids' fingerprints on the pendants.

Most recently I have made this necklace for me

Each small charm has the initial of either Paul or the kids and then a bead on top - a pearl for Paul's, a pink glass bead for Penelope's and a blue glass bead for Max's. I am really pleased with how it has turned out. Whilst T is trying to make a business out of this in Dubai (good luck T!) I am just doing it for a bit of fun. Everyone can expect personalised jewellery as presents from me this year!

I am lucky (and a bit envious!) to be surrounded by people who inspire me and I am looking forward to being further inspired by the new blog from T and her other crafty friends in Dubai.

Friday, 4 May 2012


Not long after we returned from Dubai my beautiful baby girl turned 2.

Turning 2 seems to have imbued Penelope with a fierce sense of independence wilfulness stroppiness which is not entirely welcome. Recent examples of this are "don't want to" swiftly followed by "don't like it" "not yours, mine" and the most recent "MY do it". It's lovely seeing her language develop......

Turning 2 required birthday cakes and, as we were having two parties, this meant two cakes. The first cake was for a party with her pals and given a recent obsession with "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" (courtesy of Max's fascination with Disney Junior) Minnie Mouse was the order of the day. Thankfully my mum and dad were staying at the time and mum's knowledge of cake amounts and other helpful suggestions ("why don't you make two round cakes?") meant the actual cake making part was quite simple. Some ready-to-roll icing in various colour and a picture of Minnie Mouse were utilised for the decoration and these, along with the revelation (courtesy of T in Dubai) of edible food pens, meant that Minnie looked like this:

The second party for family on the Saturday meant another cake. Penelope loves the book "The Tiger Who Came to Tea", so cake number two had to be a tiger. Originally this was going to be a flat cake with a picture on the front a la Max's Lightning McQueen cake from this post but then my friend J loaned me a birthday cake book and I started to get a bit more confident! After adapting the recipe/method for a chick/frog cake from the book Penelope's cake looked like this:

The cakes themselves were made in two different size pyrex bowls.  Ready-to-roll icing again played a large part but I had lots of fun decorating it! When I asked Paul what he thought of it he said he thought it was a great "cat" *sigh*

Love you baby girl xx

Wednesday, 2 May 2012


Ok so it's been a while since I posted anything. In my defence we have been away on holiday but that only covers a fortnight's worth of absence. I guess life has just got in the way for the rest of it.....

We went to Dubai for our hols and it was fantastic. We stay with our friends - the fantastic T and M and their lovely kids M and H. Holidaymakers could not want for better hosts. T and M moved to Dubai about 18 months or so ago and an annual visit to Dubai (we went last year too) is a great excuse to see them. I have to admit though that Dubai wouldn't have been on my list of must-go places. It just seems to conjure up images of sand and oil without a great deal to see. If we hadn't been going to see friends then I don't think it would even have registered on our radar as a holiday destination. Yes ok there is a lot of sand but there's also a surprising amount to see.

Alright if you like a lot of old stuff then Dubai isn't the place for you but if you like everything to be a bit over the top then you'll enjoy it. Everything is a bit bigger than you'd expect from the Dubai Mall with its hundreds (possibly even thousands) of shops and a massive aquarium to the Burj Khalifa - currently the world's tallest building.

Here's a few more snaps of some holiday fun

The other benefit to staying with friends (other than the great company) is the fact that if we didn't fancy doing anything then we could lounge around and let the kids watch CBeebies, without being confined to a hotel room. Sometimes doing nothing is nice and relaxing as there's no pressure to be going out and seeing stuff.

The only problem with going again next year (if T and M will have us) is that we'll have to pay for a seat for Penelope. On the other hand at least I'll have a free lap and be able to eat my in-flight meal. Same time next year T??