Friday, 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas!

We made it.

5 hours for a journey which is usually 2.5 and an hour at Oxford services to feed Baby Plum ... through ice and snow, we made it to my parents house! Greeted with hot tea and homemade biscuits ... we were so relieved to be here!

So now it is Christmas Eve, the choccies are out and the carols are on the radio.

Merry Christmas to you all!

I will be back in the New Year - enjoy your festivities!

Sunday, 19 December 2010

(A Bit Early!) My New Year's Resolution

I've woken up on a snowy, icy Sunday morning feeling a bit glum as we had planned a lovely family Christmassy afternoon - but I think that the roads will be too treacherous for my parents to drive down to London ... snow is only good when you don't have to travel anywhere. I'm really hoping that we will be able to get to my parents for Christmas ... I have been looking forward to spending Christmas with them since last Christmas (with my inlaws! ha ha ha). Actually, I have been looking forward to Christmas with my parents since the last Christmas we spent with them in 2008!

Anyway ... having relinquished my side of the bed to a 4 month old cutie pie, I am sitting in the living room with a steaming cup of tea reading a few blogs and thinking about the last few Christmassy things I need to get done....and planning my 2011 craft projects!

My new year's resolution for 2011 is ... to make a patchwork quilt!

Just the one resolution ... and am prepared for it to take the whole year ... but I just need to lay my hands on some lovely fabric ... hmmmm

The lovely Retromummy is having a fabric giveaway over at her blog - fingers crossed for me!

Go over and have a look!

Saturday, 18 December 2010


Every year I make truffles ... but I think I am going to have to stop as this year I think I have scoffed more than I have actually made!

Here are my white choc and raspberry truffles ... (I made 10 last weekend - not sure where they (ahem!) disappeared to!)

And here are my chocolate orange truffles ...

You can find the recipe here

Friday, 17 December 2010


On 1st December, Ruth over at The Pink Whisk began her Twelve Days of Christmas recipes ...

On the first day of Christmas the Pink Whisk sent to me ....

The plan was to make these biscuits and give them to friends as pressies....but I have only just managed to get them done (with a bit of sparkly glitter!) so I will take them home to my parents next week ... if there are any left!

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Christmas Cake!

Here's my glittery holly Christmas Cake! The glitter looks a bit yellow in the pic ... but looks all lovely and sparkly in real life!

I had some help with the decorating ...
How are your Christmas preparations going?

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Christmas Stocking

Here is the Christmas Stocking I have finally got around to making for Baby Plum! I can't wait until Father Christmas fills it full of goodies for her!

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Christmas Cake and Experimenting with Babywearing

Having spent last week sat mainly on the sofa holding baby Plum because i) of the snow and ii) baby Plum has decided she hates her cot/gym/bouncy chair ... everything that isn't mummy! I thought I would give "Babywearing" a go ....

So I popped Baby Plum into the sling and headed into the kitchen to marzipan my Christmas cake ...

This year I have followed Ruth Clemens excellent tutorial so I sliced off the slight dome

Then ate the bit I had sliced off ... delicious!

One marzipanned cake ... not sure how much Baby dribble made it into the cake!!

Turns out that Baby Plum also hates the sling so I am back on the sofa, catching up with Replay, doing a bit of knitting, and babe in arms!

Monday, 6 December 2010

Blackberry Brandy

I have made Sloe gin for the last couple of years and thought I would try something different this year ...

I put equal measures of blackberries and caster sugar into a jar ...
And topped it up with the cheapest brandy I could find (Sainsburys Basics was under £8)

As with my Sloe gin, I will shake the jar regularly and leave to steep for about 6 months ... I hope that it will be worth the wait!

Friday, 3 December 2010

Feeling Festive

The pictures don't really do my cosy little living room and justice ... remember the Christmas bunting I made last year?

Our lovely new fireplace and gas fire which we have finally had installed!

And our tree!

Welcome to my blog to any new readers who have found me recently ... how about a little giveaway when I get 50 followers?

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Getting ready for Christmas

So, here we are ... December 2nd.

Tree's up (but not decorated yet!)

Christmassy fat quarters purchased from Croydon Christmas "Craft" Fair (it was terrible, truly terrible! Not a crafty pretty thing in sight!)

Christmassy books out and cluttering up the coffee table. My Plum is getting a bit annoyed with my random piles of craft stuff which are springing up around our flat. I will tidy them up ... in due course!!

The Christmas Handbook was a present from Father Christmas in 1988! I love the fact that my mum and dad wrote in our books as children ... I have had this book for 22 years! There is even a random dried flower in the front!
Christmas cutters and moulds retrieved from the cupboard. Now I just need to decide what lovely goodies I will make this year!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Vintage Pixie Hat For Baby Plum

Here is a bit of knitting to show you ...

A "Vintage Pixie Hat" from my "Vintage Knits for Modern Babies" book.

I started this hat back in October - but as with most of my projects - when it comes to sewing it together ... it ends up at the bottom of my pile!

I used some odd balls of Rowan Cashsoft Chunky yarn, which is sadly now discontinued and I don't have enough to make some matching mittens. I will have to have a hunt around for something similar. I lined the hat for extra cosiness. I think it looks very pretty.

The only problem is that the strap isn't long enough to get round Baby Plum's chin!! Ha Ha Ha ... will have to attach some ribbon, methinks.

I will post pictures of Baby Plum modelling the hat tomorrow!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Jumping On The Christmas Pudding Bandwagon!

Blogland has gone Christmas Pudding crazy!!

Crafty Helen has posted a tutorial to make lovely felt puds ... but I only had a little bit of brown felt left (and had decided to have a day at home after two days of dragging Baby Plum out and about!) ... so I have made these lovely little slightly padded tree decorations. I'm very pleased with how they have turned out and am about to hop over to The Felt Fairy to order some more felt!

Monday, 22 November 2010

Pompom Pixie Hat

Here is Baby Plum modelling the very cute Pompom Pixie Hat which I have made for my friend's baby ... doesn't she look cute!!

This hat was so quick 'n' easy to knit - I managed to knock it up in just over a week. I did make one little mistake and have sewn the strap on wrong - but I don't think it will matter!

The pattern is from The Knitted Nursery and I will be making a matching scarf to go with it!

The pattern suggested using ggh Big Easy yarn - but this was impossible to get hold of (even in London, shock!!) so I have used Rico Creative Cotton instead - it works a treat!

Monday, 15 November 2010

Christmas Is Coming ....

On Saturday me and my Mum headed to the Country Living Christmas Fair!

So many lovely things ... it was a little overwhelming!

I managed to resist the temptation to buy too many things for Baby Plum ... but am regretting my decision to walk away from the pretty animal rattles I saw. Oh well!

I got a couple of pressies - a new bag for my Mum (she is a bag addict!) and something for Mr Plum.

Unfortunately I was then stricken down by either food poisoning (did anyone else have an egg sarnie from the Wyke Farm cafe?) or a stomach bug (Mr Plum was also very ill on Saturday night) so had a nightmare journey home rather than having a nice dinner with my parents.

On the plus side - I have lost a good amount of weight this week!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Peach Crumble Cake

Having managed to put on another half a stone since delivering Baby Plum in August (don't ask how* - I thought that breastfeeding was supposed to help you lose the 'mum tum'?!) I finally realised that enough was enough and that it was time to go back to Weight Watchers .....

On Monday WW released a new version of their programme "ProPoints" where all the components of food are taken into account, not just the calories and saturated fat. It seems to make sense ... and I am sticking to my 51 points (sounds horrifically high when you are used to being on 18 or 20 points a day!). I'm doing it online at the moment as it is easier for me .... I lost 4 lbs in my first week - am hoping that I manage to lose something this week!

I've got my NCT friends coming round tomorrow for tea and cake so have knocked up a Weight Watchers cake - Peach Crumble Cake. I have never made it before, it looks ... ermm ... interesting! I have recalculated the ProPoints and it is 5 points a slice. Not bad eh?

I thought it looked suitably stodgy for a blustery November day ... I'll post the recipe once I have tried it!

[* living off chocolate digestives for 6 weeks probably didn't help ... and then there is all the cake, cake, cake, cakey, CAKE!!!]

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Blackberry Jam

I didn't manage to pick many blackberries myself this year ... but luckily a friend of my parents kindly gave me a couple of pounds of berries! So I made a little bit of jam.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

An update from Plum Cottage!

Where does the time go?!

I'm a little behind with my posts as have been busy with Baby Plum and enjoying a lovely 10 days in the country with my parents. Feeling rejuvenated by 10 days worth of fresh country air and my mum's scrummy food ... it's time to stop sitting on the sofa feeling brain dead and start to get on with things!!

First things first ... Christmas Cake!!!

You may remember me making my boozy fruit back in September ... I have been stirring this lovely concoction of fruit and sloe gin since then and finally got around to making the cake! You can find the recipe for the cake on The Pink Whisk blog. This is the first time since I started baking Christmas cakes (back in 2002, I think) that I have not used Delia's recipe ... and sadly, the first time that my house has not been filled with the beautiful smell of Christmas as the cake bakes. Not to worry, I'm sure it will taste divine - and there will be plenty more opportunities for Christmas smells, I'm sure!!

I have also been avidly watching Jamie's 30 Minute Meals (the joys of being at home at 5.30!) and decided to whizz up some frozen yoghurt. Yum Yum and so easy to make.

Get some yoghurt

Get some frozen fruit

A bit of honey

Chuck it into the mixer and whizz up


My eighth marvellous make has been some sundried tomatoes .... not my homegrown ones obviously (yes, still a little bitter about those!)

Last year I had a fabulous family holiday in Venice

While meandering around the tiny streets, over bridges and down dark alleys, I picked up a packet of sundried tomatoes.

They have been languishing in my cupboard ever since!!

That is ... until the day Mr Plum decided to knock up some pizzas!

Unfortunately I didn't realise that we couldn't just bung a couple of the tomatoes onto the pizza! They needed preparing first....which is what I have now done!

In 15 days time we will hopefully have a jar full of lovely tomatoey-garlicy-basilly goodness!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

An exciting delivery!

Just over 24 hours after I placed an order on for a batch of Rico Creative Cotton ... it arrived on my doorstep! Fantastic!!

I will be using this wool to make some cute baby hats and scarves for Christmas pressies...hopefully, if Baby Plum lets me!

Friday, 5 November 2010

The return of the tea shop!

A couple of weeks ago, Mr Plum drove us to Bluewater for a trip to John Lewis. Very exciting!! I have only recently discovered Bluewater - it is about an hour away on the M25 from our house and far less stressful (for me and Baby Plum, anyway!) than heading into the West End for a trip to the shops!

While having a wander around we spotted a shop which was due to be opened called "The Cadburys Cocoa House" .... oooh, thought I, a shop dedicated to wonderful Cadburys choc! mmmm mmmmm

Last night on the local London news there was a feature about the Cadburys Cocoa House ... it is a TEA SHOP!!!

And even more excitingly, a tea shop in the style of a Lyons Corner House. Obviously, being 33 and a bit years old - I have never been to a Lyons Corner House - but being an avid reader ... they feature so often in novels that I do feel like I have been there many a time! What a refreshing change from all the Starbucks and Costas which line our high street. The owners are planning to roll out more of these Cadburys Cocoa Houses ... hopefully there will be one a bit nearer to me!

Unfortunately Mr Plum is off work with a bad back ... but hopefully once he has recovered we will have another trip to Bluewater to have tea!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Scones ... not the Paul Hollywood way!

My name is Victoria Plum ... and I am a baking addict.

I KNOW ... Baby Plum is asleep ... so I should be SLEEPING! Everyone tells me this

"are you sleeping when your baby is asleep?"


I'm a morning person. I always have been. Once I am up, showered and dressed - I want to get on with stuff! Once Baby Plum is washed, dressed and fed ... she is quite happy sitting in her rocking chair which I move into the kitchen if I am pottering around. She is now having a well earned snooze in her chair!

This evening I have got a friend popping round after work. This is a treat! I don't often get people popping in ... one of the downsides (one of the many!!) of living in London, I suppose. All my friends are spread out all over the place so to meet up with them takes weeks of organisation, cancellations, reorganisations ... you get the picture!

So, I thought we could have "high tea" ... so have baked two batches of scones (fruit and cheese) and thought we could have these with bagels, sandwiches and fruit cake. And tea of course.

After making the Sugar Crusted Fruit Scones from The Pink Whisk - I have to say that I didn't really like the sugar I thought I would have a look at Paul Hollywood's Scone Recipe ... I have never seen such a lengthy and detailed scone recipe! Scones are supposed to be a simple tea time treat ... you shouldn't have to read an essay of a recipe to make them!! So, I went back to my trusted scone recipe. Yum Yum!

The recipe for my cheese scones can be found here

Talking of tea ... did you hear today's "A History of the World in 100 Objects" it was very interesting and I recommend catching it on the iplayer while it is on there. The history of that quintessentially English past time of drinking tea ... with tea from China and India, sugar from the West Indies ... the only "English" element was the milk!

Have a listen now!

Monday, 11 October 2010

Veggies ...


Wasn't today glorious?

After a walk down to the supermarket, Baby Plum and I headed into the garden to pick the final veggies and have a bit of a tidy up.

The last courgette...these have done really well this year!

The last two cucumbers ... not 100% sure whether these are edible!

Arghhhhhh!! More green tomatoes!

Peppers ... I neglected these, so didn't get as many as I do normally....oh well, this summer I was busy growing a baby rather than growing my veg!!

Sunday, 10 October 2010

52 MMMC Week Five: My Best Ever Cup Of Tea Cake!

Here it is ... perfectly risen - no sunken middle or peak this time! Made for friends who had trekked all the way down from Hull with their (gorgeous) 2 year old to visit us and Baby Plum.

You can find the recipe here

Friday, 8 October 2010

The Knitting and Stitching Show!

Well ... some may call me brave, some may call me just plain stupid! But ... off I trekked with Baby Plum in a papoose up to Alexandra Palace for the Knitting and Stitching Show!!

So many wonderful bits and pieces to look at and buy ... unfortunately taking a 7 week old to a show like this was a little bit stressful - and I couldn't really concentrate as much as I would have liked to on purchasing lovely crafty bits!

I had gone to the show armed with a list of wool I needed for my latest projects from The Knitted Nursery ... but, could not find the wool I seemed to be mainly very luxurious cashmere yarns, stripy sock yarns or very exotic and strange yarns. The show did seem to be more about "stitching" too (or did I miss something?). I will be going back next year with a couple of stitchy projects in mind ...

We had booked in for afternoon tea (very exciting!!) which unfortunately clashed with Baby Plum's grizzly time ... I tried to feed her before we went in for tea - but I think that she was overwhelmed by the whole experience of being around so many people and wouldn't feed. This meant that as soon as we sat at our table (which we were sharing with two other ladies) Baby Plum decided to exercise her right to scream. It was very stressful - so I ran off to feed her somewhere nice and quiet and she calmed down. When I got back into the tea room, my friend had been chatting to the ladies who said that I should have just fed her at the table (I do have a pashmina to hide us both with) ... but you hear such negative things about women feeding in public - I just don't feel confident doing that yet, and am always worried that someone will make a comment ... anyway, when Baby Plum woke again wanting seconds, I did feed her at the table.

So, if anyone reading this blog was in the tea room at Alexandra Palace yesterday afternoon - apologies for my crying baby!!

Oops! I should have taken a picture before we scoffed the lot!!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

52 MMMC Week Four: Knitted Teddy

I started knitting this teddy back in August when I had nothing else to do except sit and wait for my baby to arrive! I managed to finish the actual knitting quite quickly ... it was the sewing together which took me a while. So, this morning while Baby Plum slumbers in her bouncy chair, I finished sewing and placed her teddy next to her. I have added a lavender sachet inside the teddy's tum which I thought would be a nice soothing addition to Baby Plum's cot!

Monday, 4 October 2010

I have officially given up growing tomatoes ...

About five years or so ago I first tried growing my own veg ... I didn't have a garden at the time, just a very small patio area. I had one large plant pot, a tomato plant, a courgette plant, a pepper plant, an aubergine and some basil. All in the one pot. My mum had seen an article in The Times called the "one pot garden" or something like that ... and I gave it a try. I had a whole summer of beautiful ripe tomatoes and other veg ....

In 2007 me and Mr Plum bought our flat with a garden! Yes ... A GARDEN! In 2008 Mr Plum bought me a greenhouse for my birthday ... and the growing began!

But .... I have not had a very successful time with my tomatoes .... here is most of this year's crop ... I still have a few more to pick.

If you look closely you will see three ripe tomatoes ...woopie!

Green tomato chutney, again, anyone?

No ... I couldn't face it again, either! I still have a fridge full of jars from last year! So I have chopped them up and stuck them in the freezer. I don't think that I will bother growing tomatoes next year!