6 Months Pregnant - Monthly Diary

First message I have written to my new baby daughter 

First message I have written to my new baby daughter 

Davina here. So you may be able to tell from this picture our news - we are having another girl and I am thrilled - although I would have been either way! We found out at our 20 week scan but it has taken some time to sink in - as these things always do but now it seems very real and can’t imagine it any other way.

Deciding to find out sex of baby at 20 Weeks

A lot of people have asked us why we decided to find out the sex of the baby and it is a good question and a hard decision to make in the first place for many people. 

For us the first time round with Elfie we needed something concrete to focus on and make the pregnancy more real after an earlier miscarriage just before we got pregnant with Elfie and finding out the sex really worked for us. It was also helpful in terms of names. A lot of people choose not to find out (including Hannah) because they value the surprise on the day and it motivates them through labour. I can really understand this and I was tempted to try and convince Nick not to find out this time but there were two main reasons I didn’t. 

The first reason was due to the fact that when Elfie was born I have such clear memories of her being such a massive surprise (despite knowing she was a girl). I strangely thought I would recognise her - I thought I would know her but I didn’t. She was so new to Nick and I and such a wonderful surprise - her personality - the way she looked - the noises she made - everything about her was a magical surprise. 

The second reason was that deep down I knew Nick wanted a boy and that effected me and made me want a boy for him. I know people say its wrong to have a preference but I can really understand that Nick always imagined he would have a son one day and this was his last opportunity to have one (we don’t plan to have a third child). I think if we had a boy already I might feel similar about having a girl so can really relate. For this reason it was important for us to find out the sex at the 20 week scan to give us time to absorb the news and allow us to focus our attention of the excitement of having another little girl - which it has and I am so excited!!!!

Being Pregnant in the Summer

6 Months Pregnant 03.jpg

Although I have struggled with the heat this summer (especially in London) I have really enjoyed being pregnant in the summer. Last time I didn’t start to show till October and didn’t really have an opportunity to show off my bump and I know its maybe self indulgent but I so love looking and feeling pregnant. I feel so womanly. I love feeling the baby move inside me and stroking her from outside - I love watching my bump grow knowing that she is growing at the same time. Its such a special and magical thing to be pregnant and I want to treasure it as much as I can. Every evening I lie in bed and just watch my stomach move and touch it to feel the little kicks - its just incredible. 

Making the 2nd Pregnancy feel more real

This pregnancy has been so very different from the first one in terms of the energy and focus we are giving it. We just simply don’t have the time to talk about it as much as we did with Elfie and so much of it we already know about (that was new last time) that we don’t need to talk about. I have felt a bit sad about this as I want to feel the same excitement that I felt last time. I am just beginning to feel it again now and I think that is due to finding out the sex but probably more to do with starting to make some plans for baby. For example I have made a Wish List of things I want to buy for the baby and a Make list of things I can’t wait to make. I have started to think about the baby’s first outfit and how Elfie, Nick and I are going to make it together and I have started to go over my hospital bag list - eek! I have also started pregnancy yoga again, which is so lovely as you have one time a week to completely focus on your body and the baby and be surrounded by other mums to be and the excitement of it all. 


Next month I will share my essential list of baby buys and makes.

About Us / Follow & Subscribe to our Newsletter / Press / Events Contact

July Cake: Orange, pistachio and Almond Cake with Yogurt Frosting and Edible Flowers.

Orange, Pistachio and almond cake

Hannah here. We recently met some London friends at Joydens Wood, a large woodland equidistant between London and Kent, to walk and eat and catch up on all the things happening for each of us. We whiled away a fortuitously sunny afternoon eating homemade sweet potato quiche, lentil salad, oaty date slices, and strawberries, merrangue and cream. We lounged in the sun (or ran around after toddlers) and played silly games involving hitting certain tree’s with Pinecones (Game of cones. Yep.) and spent hours and hours in the woods. Glorious. 

Picnic in Joydens Wood

I opted to bake a cake, and seen as one of the members of the group is gluten intolerant, I made it gluten free. 

I make a really good Orange Polenta cake, even if I do say so myself, which is gluten free (Nigella’s recipe) but I wanted to try something a bit different. I found a recipe from Strayed Table as my starting point, but I have adapted it a fair bit, because I am incapable of directly following any instruction.   

The sweet nutty flavour of the ground almond compliments the texture of the polenta and orange flavour just perfectly, the addition of the pistachio’s adds a pleasing nutty bite and pretty flecks of green to the sponge, and the frosting and edible flowers add a layer of creamy goodness to each bite. 

If there was one complaint, i'd say the icing was a little sweet so I have adjusted it below. 

Orange, Pistachio and Almond cake

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 375g Butter
  • 375g Caster Sugar 
  • 4 large eggs
  • 200 g ground almonds
  • 200 g polenta
  • 3 oranges, zested and juiced. 
  • 4 tsp baking powder (gluten free if baking this for someone gluten intolerant)
  • 50 g Pistachio’s, crushed
Edible Flowers From Cherry Tree Farm

For the Edible Flowers:

  • A Handful of small, organic, edible flowers. Mine are from Cherry Tree farm, a local Kent farm. They don’t officially deliver, but if you call them you can arrange it with them directly. 
  • Egg white

For the frosting:

  • A small handful of crushed pistachio’s
  • 150g icing sugar, sifted
  • 50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 70g cold cream cheese
  • 70g cold full Fat greek yogurt

Method

Edible Flowers - Seeds and Stitches

Make edible flowers

Its best to this at least the day before you plan to make the cake. 

  1. Brush individual petals with egg white, front and back
  2. Liberally dust sieved icing sugar over the petals, turn them over with tweezers, then dust  the other side. 
  3. Allow to dry over night. They should be hard and crunchy, and they will taste sweet and slightly floral. They'll last a few months in the pantry too. 
Making orange, almond and polenta cake with a toddler

Make cake:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180’c. Line a 25cm round baking tin with baking paper. 
  2. In a mixer, cream the butter and sugar until pale.
  3. Add one egg at a time mixing until combined.
  4. Add the yogurt and crushed pistachio nuts on slow speed in the mixer. 
  5. Fold the following ingredients in by hand
    • ground almond 
    • polenta 
    • baking powder 
    • juice and zest from the oranges
  6. Bake in the oven for 1 hour.
  7. Allow cake to completely cool (which takes a couple of hours)
Orange, almond and polenta cake.

Make Frosting

  1. Beat the icing sugar and butter together in the mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on a slow-ish speed 
  2. Add the cream cheese and yogurt in one go and beat until it is light and fluffy, a few minutes. 
  3. Spoon the frosting onto the top of the cake
  4. Sprinkle on the edible flowers and crushed pistachio nuts and serve. 
Frosting for an orange, almond and polenta cake.

Et voila:

Orange, almond and polenta cake

Keep it in the fridge, and it should last up to a week. 

In other news, we leave for WOMAD festival on Thursday. Are any of you going? (So excited! You can listen along to Radio WOMAD- 87.9FM if you're not! )We move house next Thursday (not excited. Not at all.), then we leave for our big trip a couple of days after that (so excited!). I've been busy with deadlines and house shoots, but finished my last one before the trip today. Frankie's passport still hasn't arrived (not excited). The levels of chaos in our house are unimaginable. Wish us luck/ send gin. 

About Us / Follow & Subscribe to our Newsletter / Press / Events Contact

Pressing Flowers to Make Souvenirs from Holidays (and other ideas)

Davina here - We recently went on our annual family trip to Norfolk with Nick's family. We always spend a lot of time outdoors, exploring hidden beaches and collecting natural treasures as well as lots of time in tea rooms! I decided to take our flower press with us this year as Elfie has just started to really enjoy using it. We collected some flowers from nearby our holiday cottage and pressed them that day. When we returned to London we made them into simple Thank You Cards for Nick's parents, which also act as a souvenir from the holiday. 

Other ways to use Pressed Flowers:

  • Make a floral collage and frame them as a gift
  • Spell out a message with the flowers or petals
  • Trap them in resin and make a paper weight
  • Laminate them to make bookmarks 
  • Stick flowers down onto acetate to make window decorations
  • Laminate and cut out and stick on blank earring studs as gifts
  • Stick down onto jam jars to make beautiful candle holders

If you have any other suggestions I would love to hear them as we are really getting into flower pressing at the moment!

Some of the beautiful flowers we found in Norfolk

Some of the beautiful flowers we found in Norfolk

Transforming tiny Natural Treasures into Large Magical Artworks

Nature Art 05.jpg

Davina here - Last weekend I ran a nature inspired workshop at the new Dairy Art Centre in Bloomsbury for families. During the workshop I invited families to find natural treasures in the gallery's garden and bring them back to capture in old fashioned slides. I also encouraged participants to embellish their treasures with drawing ink before sealing the slide. Next we went into a dark room and projected their micro specimens into beautiful abstract artworks. The transformation was stunning and very magical for the whole family. 

How to make your own magical nature artworks:

  1. Source an old slide machine (or overhead projector) and empty slide frames and acetate sheets.
  2. Cut out acetate squares the right size to fit into your slide frames - making sure they won't block the clicking snaps.
  3. Explore your garden or a park and gather tiny natural treasures with your children.
  4. Place one acetate square in slide and then lay treasure on it (make sure the treasure is quite flat - a pebble wouldn't work for example)
  5. Add ink if you desire.
  6. Lay second acetate sheet down to trap treasure and close slide frame.
  7. Project your artwork!!
Nature Art 02.jpg

4 Easy Up Cycling Ideas

Easy upcycling ideas from Seeds and Stitches

Hannah here - When we moved house 10 months ago, we really wanted to buy everything we needed for the house second hand, including our white goods. (you can read that post here). Aside from the huge costs of buying new tables and sideboards and washing machines etc, theres also all the extra energy and carbon used to create and deliver them. And, by Jove, we did it, saving hundreds of pounds and heavily relying on eBay, Freecycle and the lesser known but often more bargainous, Gumtree and Preloved. I count my ability to be evangelical about secondhand websites amongst one of my finest attributes.

Once home, and depending on the state of the furniture, we often either restore or customise it, and I thought i’d share 4 really simple ideas to upcycle 2nd hand furniture. I actually promised this post months and months ago so apologies to my old blog readers for my tardiness.  Better late than never. eh?

4 Easy ways to Up Cycle Furniture. 

Easy upcycling ideas from Seeds and Stitches

1. Paint the tips of table legs

This little coffee table was 4 quid in a local shop closing down sale. I loved it as it was but decided to jazz it up a bit by painting the tips of the legs with neon orange paint. Doing this adds colour but is much quicker than painting the whole thing. 

  • Mark with pencil the line where you want your paint to stop on all 4 legs. 
  • Turn table upside down (legs in the air!) and put a bin bag (or large sheet of plastic) over the legs then push the plastic down over the legs , making 4 holes in the plastic. Stop pushing the plastic down at the pencil line. Mask the bin bag tightly around the line on all 4 legs. Only the tips of the legs should be visible, everything else should be covered.  
  • Spray a primer coat, allow to dry, then add a few coats of neon orange spray paint. 
easy upcycling ideas from Seeds and Stitches

2. Use removable decals

easy upcycling ideas from Seeds and Stitches

Decals look great on furniture, as Pinterest will attest. Here I have sort of made my own, the result of a happy accident. The lovely Caroline, from Caroline South Decals accidentally sent me the rain drops instead of the hexagons so I ended up with both. Neither looked right, so I decided to cut the raindrop shape into a triangle and semi circle,  and the hexagon in to two different hexigan half shapes, if that makes sense.  The off cuts made rectangles, and when all stuck in a line in a random pattern, they look pretty dashing, I believe. 

easy upcycling ideas from Seeds and Stitches

3. Paint metal bed frames

easy upcycling ideas from Seeds and Stitches

These Ikea metal bed frames were bought from Gumtree and eBay for 180 for the double and 30 for the single. We liked the shape but decided to paint them and make them a little more unique. My wonderful cousin came down to stay to help me.

  • Stand the bits of the bed up in an area protected by dust sheets.
  • Lightly sand the metal
  • Apply 2 or 3 coats of Hammerite metal paint to the frames. I mixed the orange colour myself. 

It is easy to do, but it is quite time consuming, so have some dashing company like I did, or failing that, a decent audio book, or the Womens Hour Podcast.

easy upcycling ideas from Seeds and Stitches

4. Spray paint or paint old laundry baskets. 

easy upcycling ideas from Seeds and Stitches

We’ve had some old laundry baskets knocking about the house for years, and they are often available in charity shops. Baskets lend themselves very well to being painted, however, and I was a little bored of mine. Here I’ve done something really simple by giving them a 'dip dye' bottom but i’d love to have a go at something like this one day.

  • Use masking tape to create a  straight line around the basket
  • If using spray paint, tape a bin bag around the upper half of the bin to protect it
  • Apply a couple of coats of spray paint or paint.  
easy upcycling ideas from Seeds and Stitches

Some more upcycling inspiration for kids from my home...

Over the last couple of years I've done a few different kids upcycling projects for Frankie's room. My favourite is her book shelf, an old and rusty card rack which was a fiver in a junk market. We sawed the long legs off, chipped the rusty coating off and sprayed it bright yellow. ts is a marvellous book shelf and Frankie-Rose can see all of her books. We spray painted the little chairs at the top of the post and some old wire storage boxes too. We also painted her cot and high chair! The following pics are by Kristy Noble

http://www.kristynoble.co.uk/

http://www.kristynoble.co.uk/

http://www.kristynoble.co.uk/

http://www.kristynoble.co.uk/

http://www.kristynoble.co.uk/

http://www.kristynoble.co.uk/

We arent too worried about using old furniture from a safety perspective but we always fully air the furniture before Frankie goes near it, as a precaution (like, weeks).

I have many more projects to complete also, top of the list is attempting to reupholster our sofa and armchair. Eek!

P.S There are some more snippets of my home over on Little Green Shed this week, in a little tour of the nature in my home.

P.P.S One of the pieces of feedback we’ve received since asking you lovely lots to email us, was that you’d like to see some more content about ethical living. This was always planned, but we are making new attempts at this, beginning today. We are always open to receive feedback and we really do welcome it (as long as its constructive, obviously). I have often read blogs and wavered about whether I should email the blog owner to voice my opinion about something or other, and just in case thats you, this is a direct invitation to do so! Anything you’d like to see more or less of? Any subjects you want us to cover? Are we posting too much? Not enough? Spill the beans…

About Us / Follow & Subscribe to our Newsletter / Press / Events / Contact