5 things I liked this week – 26.8.16

  1. Getting out to see some Welsh countryside last weekend.

    Near and at Barmouth plus Snowdonia

    2. Appreciating my own ‘countryside’ when I got back (and the fact that it was a lot sunnier!)

    Home Park

3. Whilst I was away (and the kids were at the mother-in-law’s), Mr. Lacer started the very long process of swapping ours and the kids’ bedrooms around. We live in a tiny two bed flat and can’t afford to move, for the past 12 years, me and Mr. Lacer have had the ‘big’ bedroom (it’s not that big, particularly when both kids were babies and took their turns sharing with us) and the kids had the little bedroom, sleeping in bunk beds eventually (they originally shared the room in a toddler bed and a cot). Both kids need a lot more privacy now and really should have their own separate bedrooms but we can’t afford to move to a three bed place in our area and we desperately don’t want to take the kids out of their schools, so we’ve swapped bedrooms. Now technically our flat is a two double bedroom flat but the second bedroom really is a stick a double bed in it and not much else room but you know what, I think it’s cozy.

Photo 25-08-2016, 22 27 25

I do have a hell of a lot of stuff to sort out chuck out though (and also a lot of storage solutions that require sewing).

4. The Great British Bake Off is back!!!!!

5. I have a new dangerously favourite shop, The Journal Shop, do not, I say do not, click on that link if you have any predisposition towards stationary, particularly vintage or Japanese, because it is bloody gorgeous, sigh (and I thought Present and Correct was dangerous).



5 things I liked this week – 19/2/16

  1. Finally finishing a commission, with a little nagging from Boy Lacer. I normally work on commissions during the day when the kids are in school because I use a big tapestry frame which doesn’t really fit in my bedroom (where I do most of my other craft work) but when it came to pick up time on the Friday before the half term holidays and I had just four small blocks of the commission left, I decided that Boy Lacer couldn’t reclaim the living room just yet, I was going to finish the thing. So, I told Boy Lacer this, which he was fine about, he was going to go on the computer anyway and although our living room is small, it’s not so small it can’t handle one person doing tapestry work and another on a computer and I sit down on the sofa, in front of the tapestry frame and instantly start eating a biscuit (not over the tapestry itself, I hasten to add) and surfing my phone, yeeess. But never fear, Boy Lacer was there to nag me out of my laziness, with a sardonic “I’m going to go home and finish my commission, she says, as she sits there eating a biscuit on her phone”. I got to work after that and finished an hour later, I won’t know what to do with myself now when the kids go back to school, as I’ve been working on this commission on and off for months, so …. if anyone needs any needlework done (I promise I’m not always eating biscuits and on my phone).
  2. I’ve been trying, since last October, to get part of my currently tangled web of medical care, transferred from one hospital to another, due to the guy in hospital A being a bit of a clueless eejit. Anyway, I have asked so many doctors who are responsible for that sort of thing to transfer me, over months and months and I had no luck, to the point where I wasn’t getting any care in that department at all (as I’d told clueless eejit that I wanted my care transferred and he got in a huff, I was, I also hasten to add, polite). Anyway, all these doctors said they would write and I’d think “yes, finally someone has listened, I’ll get my care transferred and I’ll get an appointment at hospital B any day now”, cue whistling in the wind noise and a complete lack of appointment letters. Anyway, I finally got an appointment this week! Well, an appointment letter, the actual appointment isn’t until the end of next month and I thought “yay, one of those people I nagged to write, actually did write”. The next day I get another hospital letter, one of those patient copy things and it was a copy of a letter written by one of my other doctors (at hospital B), who I hadn’t even asked about getting my care transferred because it wasn’t her department, had written asking for my care to be transferred, so that all my care was at hospital B and not spread out all over the place. I could have hugged her, she didn’t need to have done that, she’s probably incredibly busy but she still did it and I am so glad.
  3. The lovely Mr. Lacer got me the perfect Valentine’s Day present, a Game of Thrones colouring book! It’s absolutely brilliant, the drawings are really detailed, so lots to concentrate on and it’s great practice for colour choice and shading. I’m not sure it’s the sort of colouring book where felt pens would look good on it, the drawings ask for more subtle pencil, as you can shade more with those, although I thought I’d try watercolour pencils with it, the paper is not ideal for watercolour but it’s fairly thick, the colour doesn’t really leach through, it just gets a little crinkly. I also love how, because I know the story behind each picture, colouring in these pictures are so much more absorbing. I’ve got loads of colouring books but I don’t think I’ve ever finished one of the pictures until I got my hands on the Game of Thrones book, it’s very immersive.


4. We were in Ikea over the weekend, we were very controlled, only bought what we went in for (that has to be a first) but the little food shop at the end doesn’t count. One of the things I love in the Ikea food shop is Marabou chocolate, I’ve never seen it anywhere else, well not for years and years, I think I also have vague memories of it in airport duty frees when I was a kid. It’s lovely and creamy. Marabou chocolate is (according to Wikipedia), Norwegian, although it has a royal warrant from the King of Sweden. Although looking at that Wikipedia article, maybe I shouldn’t be enjoying Marabou chocolate that much, as I see it’s got palm oil in, *booooo*.

OriginalPhoto-477483765.2588365. I had a lovely shopping trip with Girl Lacer, she’s in a play soon and needed to buy something black to wear. She’s currently in that in between stage between kids clothes and adult clothes, there was nothing nice in the kids clothes shop we normally go into, so we went into Hollister and found a lovely black dress. She looked lovely in it and so grown up and it was so nice seeing her light up with that ‘I’ve found the perfect dress’ moment. I also appreciated the comfy chairs in the changing room.

Girl Lacer then persuaded me to buy her a chess book from another shop, which she had her nose in for the entire rest of the shopping trip. I love that she can get excited about a dress and a chess book.


5 things I liked this week -5/2/16

  1. George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces is a bit of a Grand Designs clone but unlike Kevin McCloud, who just stands around going “oh dear’, Clarke does help a bit more. In the episode I saw on Saturday night Clarke was following a man who was making a houseboat out of a shipping container for £50,000. The resulting houseboat was absolutely lovely but it had all these space saving things, like a bed which you separate to get to the wardrobe underneath (which you’d need living somewhere that small) and as much as I’d like to live somewhere that gorgeous, I know me, no way could I be bothered to pull apart my bed, no matter how smooth and on rollers it is, to get to my wardrobe, all my clothes would guaranteed be piled on the floor within less than a week.
image credit: ES Homes & Property

2. Rich Hall on The News Quiz, with a particularly funny rant about Americans and guns.

3. You’ve seen a dinosaur do parkour (scroll down a bit), now watch a dinosaur ice skate!

4. This one is a bit bittersweet, Boy Lacer has been on a residential trip all week, so I’ve been having a glimpse of what life will be like without having to do the school run, cue showers / baths in the morning *shock* and more time to do work as Girl Lacer doesn’t get in till later. I will miss doing the school run though, only a year or two left.


image credit: Society6

I love this laptop sleeve by Words Brand from Society6, in fact I pretty much love all Words Brand stuff and on everything.



Some random and not so random links

The craft lifestyle

Found over at Scarlet Tentacle there was an interesting link to a piece on whether DIY is an affordable or even a fun lifestyle, it’s something I think about quite a lot myself, particularly about knitting, as a knitted jumper in a shop is so much cheaper than a hand knitted jumper, however whereas the author of the piece seemed very down on the whole craft movement as a whole, I can see both sides of the argument. Take the knitting example, yes a hand knitted jumper is more expensive but you’re not only paying for the jumper itself but for the hours of pleasure knitting the jumper is going to give you, also chances are the wool you use to make your jumper will be a better quality (more likely to be actually wool for a start) and if you make the jumper yourself you are more likely to care and cherish for the jumper and wear it for many more years than a ‘disposable’ jumper for £30. However, as much as I believe in the above argument, I’ve never got beyond knitting scarves because I don’t trust my knitting skills on such an expensive project, I strongly suspect I’d personally cock a jumper up.

I came up against the same thing recently when replacing the curtains in the flat, I made the kids’ bedroom curtains as I’d bought the material a while ago but noticed whilst I was making them that I could have bought the same curtains ready made for £1 cheaper. When searching for curtains for the rest of the flat I looked at both options; hand made (by me) or ready made, did the sums and found that buying ready made would be cheaper and by a lot more than £1 (£20-£30 cheaper) and as we were trying to justify buying more expensive kitchen stools than we’d originally planned at the time, we went for ready made. Since getting back home and hanging the home made curtains and the ready made curtains, you know what? The home made curtains are nicer, the quality of the lining I used (which was only £7 a metre) is far better than the lining on the ready made curtains, consequently the home made curtains hang better, block out light better and keep out the chill more efficiently, I kind of regret going for the ready mades (but we were trying to save money in our budget) and have promised myself that if we need curtains in the future and we can justify the money, I will make my own curtains next time. It comes to something though when making your own curtains is the luxury option and in a way I think it’s an example of what this society is becoming; everything is manufactured to be cheap, cheap, cheap, it’s no wonder the cheap(er) ready made curtains I bought were badly lined, it’s because they were ‘cheap’ (ok, they were still frighteningly expensive). It’s no wonder as supermarkets constantly drive food prices down (or attempt to), squeezing more and more out of the manufacturers, that that beef lasagne turns out to have horse in in it. And those £30 jumpers, made with nothing that’s actually been near a sheep and manufactured in a Far East sweatshop. The article I linked to above states that the craft movement is just another extension of materialism, whose got the best hand diamanted shoes, that sort of thing and yes a lot of craft is like that and that crafting is the preserve of upper middle class women who’ve got the money to choose between the cheap scarf and the more expensive hand made one and I agree, yes, if you don’t have that much money of course it’s the cheap shop bought scarf but what the article totally misses is that at least for some the craft movement is about reconnecting with how things are made. Before I started thinking about making my own clothes I did not connect the price of the clothes on the hanger in the shops with what corners must be being cut to get it that cheap. I didn’t think about materials or labour or where the item came from. Crafting has opened my eyes to those things.

I do agree though, some aspects of craft are not sustainable, I look at some of the things showing up on Pinterest and places like that and wonder where on earth all these paper machied whats-its or what evers are going, how do they find the space? Is what’s being created being created with thought, care and at least some aspiration to permanence? Sorry to keep on going on about the lack of space in my own home, but as I continue to unpack it is still very much on the forefront of my mind, I am struck more and more that what I make in the future has to have a purpose (even if that purpose is just to be pretty to look at), I have to cut back on making for the sake of making, I don’t have the space, funds or really the time. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes making for the sake of making can be very important but for me personally, not right now.

Amazon warehouses

Sort of linked in with my thoughts about how the products we buy can be so cheap, this article from the Financial Times about working practices at the Amazon warehouses is going to make me think next time I order something from there and I’ll admit, much as I desperately would like our high streets to continue to exist, I do still shop from Amazon sometimes (particularly craft books, because my local bookstore doesn’t stock many, many good ones that is). Basically the article describes how Amazon ‘lands’ in these towns with low employment, everyone thinks “yay!” and then everyone (or at least most, by the sounds of it) ends up not working for Amazon itself but for an agency, making their jobs far less secure, not great for town regeneration is it, when the populace can’t reliably count on still being employed next month? What was particularly worrying was the case examples where people take sick leave, come back and find their shifts cancelled. So next time I order something from Amazon (which I probably will, I’ll admit it), I’m going to at least spare a thought on the poor person walking miles through their warehouses in ill fitting boots with their blisters, knowing they can’t slow down or risk a sick day.

What was particularly fascinating about the article was the comments underneath, they seemed pretty evenly divided between “that’s just so shocking” and “cut the whinging, at least they’ve got jobs, this is the way society is going etc. etc. etc.”. I wonder what all the cut the whingers, sitting snug in their armchairs, enjoying their cheap books (and everything else) are going to say when their children grow up and that’s the only sort of working practice left?

And now for two things completely different

  • This post from Wil Wheaton about failures leading to successes in something else is fantastic. I know I haven’t mentioned it here for a very long time, but I still do want to write, I’ve just been caught in the trap that I did pretty much complete the novel I was working on for years and, well, it’s a bit crap, I’m not going to send it to a publisher, I am in no way going to risk my first impression with any publisher to be with that book. However the book has been sitting there, looking at me, going “well you could rewrite me again” “you’ve worked so long on me, don’t give up on me now” and that’s been keeping me pinned, stopping me from working on anything else. However, I’ve been trying to remind myself recently that chances are there are very very few authors who’ve got published on the very first book they’ve ever written, the first book is a learning journey, I know stuff about writing that I did not know when I started that story and that has been its fatal flaw, no matter how much I rewrite it, it’s foundations where laid when, to be honest, I really didn’t know what I was doing. Part of me thinks / hopes, that I will rewrite that story one day, from scratch, so that a version does get out there but for the moment I need to take my failure and use it to build a success with a new story, here’s hoping anyway.
  • And finally, read this blog, it’s not for the faint hearted or easily offended and the content is VERY mature (you have been warned) but it’s very funny.

A good week

I write this with almost an intrepidation, as when I sat down to write this earlier this afternoon my laptop went into major melt down, claiming all of a sudden that hard drive, what hard drive? But there are advantages to being married to a (and I’m going to use the polite term for nerd) geek (sorry you know I’m teasing husband) and he fixed it for me, whilst giving me a telling off for not backing up properly. It is working now but he was giving dire pronouncements about the internals of my laptop, so I’m not particularly trusting that it’s going to continue to work (and guess what, I’ve backed up).

Anyway, I have had a good week, three lots of parties over two nights, the first two (which were on the same night) being parent-teacher class parties at luckily two relatively close local pubs. I had helped organise the first party (for the mums from Boy Lacer’s class) but had to / wanted to dash off to at least show my face at the party for Girl Lacer’s class.

The next night I had my work party, Girl Lacer goes “What, a teaching party?” thinking of the remaining student I still tutor (ooh that would have been a fun party, just me), no, it was for my main part time job and it was near their offices in Central London. I turned up expecting it to be just a table booked in a pub, nope, it was in a pub but the whole pub was booked out for the party, free bar to, which was a little embarrassing when I tried to pay for my beer. I should point out (and this is something I’ve only really sort of realised this week) that all my previous adult jobs have been in the public sector and you’ll be pleased to know Christmas parties in at least the bits of the public sector I used to work in, were nowhere near that generous. Mr. Lacer reminded me that even in the private sector Christmas parties aren’t always that generous either. So I had a lovely three course meal and I finally got to meet so many of the people I work with, as the problem with working from home is that although I ‘speak’ to my colleagues all the time through e-mail, msn, Skype, I often don’t know what they look like and as a lot of the company I work for also work from home, the whole party was full of “Hi! Who are you?”‘s.

The next day was Boy Lacer’s and Girl Lacer’s Christmas concerts, the first concerts in the new school hall. Boy Lacer was in the KS1 concert and Girl Lacer in the KS2 concert. For Boy Lacer it was the first time he had been placed somewhere on a stage that was not within easy grabbing distance by a member of staff, so it was lovely to see that they thought they could trust him more and he did behave beautifully, singing with real gusto. For Girl Lacer it was our first experience of a KS2 concert and it was so much more grown up and although I think I will remember the songs they sing in KS1 each Christmas as well as both my kids will as they grow up, it was also nice to hear some more traditional Christmas carols (see, there’s a traditionalist in me buried somewhere).

Also on that day (and luckily between the two concerts, so I didn’t miss the delivery man), I got an absolutely lovely parcel from Nicole (we’ve been swapping books), she gave me Arlington Park and Kraken (can’t wait to read both) and she gave me an absolutely lovely drawstring bag, filled with chocolate and sewing goodies (including a needle book, which I so needed, as poor Mr. Lacer would attest to – ouch). The drawstring bag has proved particularly useful and Nicole must have read my mind because I had been thinking of making something very similar, as I often take my embroidery out and about with me but have been using plastic carrier bags or too big for the purpose eco shoppers, so to have the bag, which isn’t plastic nor the wrong size has been fantastic. In fact since receiving it I’ve been permanently keeping my work-in-progress in it.

Work in progress – solar system set by Wild Olive

Floss organisation – chaotic

On Friday (after hearing the day before that the shoes I’d ordered from Amazon were actually out of stock), I decided to try a real life shoe shop instead. I was after, specifically, some more DMs and ended up having a lovely chat with a grey haired shop assistant in one of my local department stores about how wonderful DMs are. There was so much chose to choose from (I’m so glad that DMs are back in fashion) and I could have easily bought more than one pair but in the end (upon the suggestion of the shop assistant, as they weren’t out on display), I bought these beauties.

When I’m not wearing a skirt or leggings (in which case I wear these – still going strong and still getting compliments after a year) I had been wearing my trusty blue converses which had been wearing thin and my feet were quite frankly getting freezing. Mr. Lacer suggested “some of those furry boot things”, “what?” I go “you mean Uggs? No way, everyone wears those round here,” yes sorry Ugg wearers, I was being pretentious. But as what is beginning to become the way, when Mr. Lacer ends up making a rare wardrobe suggestion, I actually end up following it, despite my initial disagreement, but my feet felt so warm and comfortable as soon as I slipped my feet into those completely lined shoes, I couldn’t say no.

Also on Friday I got another lovely surprise in the post or should I say couriered to me again (two surprises through my door in a week? never). I opened the box completely confused and what was inside but a lovely box of extremely posh chocolate, from work (as in main part time job, not tutoring part time job), it was such a lovely and unexpected (and delicious) surprise. I think the whole company must have been working in a high cocoa content glow that day (and I discovered I really like salted caramels).

On Saturday we went to Ikea, now me and Mr. Lacer do have a bit of a shared marital passion for furniture, which is unfortunate then considering we live in a tiny flat and need no more furniture. However the sofa we bought when we moved into the first flat we actually owned, 12 years ago, had got so bad recently that when you sat on it you could feel the springs, so we thought it was about time we got a new one. So me and Mr. Lacer were as giddy as a couple of school kids and we’ve also been hatching plans for getting rid of some toy storage and buying a sideboard and ooh some more shelves to.

Anyway, I won’t post a picture of the old sofa, it’s been soon on this blog often enough or at least bits of it because it’s next to the natural day light lamp, so it has the only (reasonably) decent light in the flat. But here’s the new one, which arrived today (we have to always get sofas from Ikea because I absolutely could not handle ordering a sofa and then waiting six weeks, ugh).

As you can see, it’s messy already, actually I wanted to take an in use shot, me and Girl Lacer had been making a Christmas present for her teacher and Boy Lacer had been making elaborate patterns with blocks (under the felt). The new sofa is quite a bit larger than our old one and not needing to pad it with extra cushions to make it remotely comfortable, it’s been lovely to have the whole family spread out. The toy storage you see on the left will be moved and the table currently in front of it, put in it’s place, the smaller table in front of the sofa goes with the slightly larger table, as a pair of nesting tables (bought last summer (I think) from John Lewis, a brilliant investment buy, that have been so useful). So we still have some organisation to do (and the perfect sideboard to find, although we’re pretty loyal in our furniture shopping (and on a budget), it’ll be from Ikea). but really pleased with the new sofa, may that last us 12 years to 😉

PS Note the considerably less cushions on the sofa in the photo, I’ve had a major cull (although the kids are refusing to let go of the two grotty floor cushions that used to live on our old sofa). I’ve sadly retired a lot of my embroidered cushions because they now look just too grey (despite washing) and/or bobbly (a lesson there in colour and material choice in the future I think, no more white aida and no more cheap white fabric to embroider on). And although the sofa does need less cushions, it does need more than what it’s currently got, ooh fun, finally an excuse to make more cushions!

The NOT Cocktail Dress

I’m going to a wedding next month, it’s going to be fairly posh and the invite says ‘cocktail attire’. Now I don’t go to weddings that often (the last one was oooh when Girl Lacer was a baby, I can’t even remember what I wore, although I remember what she wore, a very fetching matching hat, dress and bloomers outfit, the hat would sit at a rakish angle as she smiled cheekily at everyone in the reception). Now just as I haven’t gone to weddings often in the past, I doubt I’ll go to many weddings in the future (everyone I know bar a few are already married off) and especially doubt I’ll be going to any more posh winter weddings (never been to a winter wedding before), I also have never been to a cocktail party before, nor do I really want to . . . so can you see what I’m getting at . . . I don’t already possess a cocktail dress and I don’t particularly want to buy one, as I hate buying stuff I’m only going to wear once. Also, I may be working now but I still don’t particularly have cocktail dress budget. So, what to wear?

I’ve been thinking about this for a while and have been collecting ideas on Pinterest, none of the following dresses I would particularly call cocktail dresses, however I would call them, to varying degrees, dresses I could wear to more places than just a posh winter wedding.

First up, the dresses I would get quite a lot of wear out . . . .

Eugenie Denim DressEugenie Denim Dress £55 Monsoon

LUSCOMBE Womens Dress

Luscombe £69.95 Joules

Grace Oriental Bird Dress £45 Fat Face (although I’m not sure how well this particular style would fit me)

Tara Winter Bird Dress £55 Fat Face (I came that close to buying this dress the other day, as I love the print on it, but of all the dresses I like it’s probably the least suitable and the colour may make me look washed out)

Roseable £74.95 Joules

Boucle dress £99.95 Joules

Lynn Dress £95 Monsoon

British Tweed Shift £135 Boden

And in a category all of it’s own, i.e. ‘the dress my mum would have worn but it’s a classic and it’s never going to date and it’s red but I’m not going to have a chance to wear it that often’

Yasmin Ponte Dress £65 Monsoon (also, I’m not sure if the neckline is going to be doing much for me, I normally need to show a bit of cleavage or I look frumpy)

So, what do you think? Mr. Lacer, for the record, thinks I should wear something ‘long and elegant’, note how there is nothing particularly long here, personally I like my legs, they’re pretty much my only best feature.

Budget wise, in an ideal world I’d like to spend under £50 but I am realistic and I think it’s more likely to be under £70, I may push the boat out to under £80 but I am extremely unlikely to go above that. I haven’t totally ruled out making something, in which case it would be something like the Boucle dress / the Lynn dress / the tweed shift dress above, all of which are above my budget anyway. I really like this dress which was featured on Burda Style.

Dsc00952edtcrop2_largeBut I also have to consider that I may also be making Girl Lacer a dress for this wedding and I have Christmas crafting to do and I am not going to over commit myself.

But then I also have shoes to consider, other than my converses and my trainers, the only shoes I have at the moment are my great big clunky brick red DMs (which I am immensely proud of) and if any pair of shoes scream cocktail attire less, it’s those shoes. I do however think my DMs would go with most of the dresses above (with the exception of the dress my mum would of worn and the dress shown in Burda style). And then there’s the fact that it’ll be December, it’ll be cold, so what to wear on top . . . hmmmm . . . luckily I do possess a nice purple wool coat at the moment, that’ll do. And then there’s what bag to carry . . . argh I just don’t do posh. Ah forget it, I’m going as me, I’m just going to have fun choosing a dress that’s going to serve me for a lot more than just one day out (but any suggestions still welcome).

Edited to add:

About 10 minutes after I pressed publish on this post, I had a brainwave that hit me so hard my head almost flew sidewards. I do already own something cocktail related. I rushed to my wardrobe in-trepidation and pulled out my long satin turquoise cocktail skirt, that I last wore about ten years ago and had always kept ‘just in case’. The skirt still had the pins in it from the dry cleaners and I tried it on nervously, considering this was something I last wore before the effect of two kids laid damage on my waist line and . . . . it fit . . . just about (can’t quite pull the zip right to the very top of the skirt but it’s comfortable and fine if I wear a longish top), so I’m quite proud about that. So Mr. Lacer has his wish about something long and elegant, but now the problem of the shoes and top to go with it, my DMs definitely would not go and although I do have a top I can wear with it, look at the bad photo of me below that I’ve just taken, don’t I so look like tired mum who’s grabbed what she could out of the depths of her wardrobe in an effort to look one-off smart? Which is basically what I am (and it doesn’t help that I’m currently between shifts and I’m working 9 hours in total today, so excuse the hair).

Doesn’t help that I’ve always hated that top set I’m wearing, I have no idea what possessed me to buy it for a Christmas night out a few years ago, it’s lace and it’s scratchy and although together the whole thing looks ok, it’s not me, or should I say it most definitely is me and that’s the problem with it, it’s tired, on a budget, mum of two, not ‘quirky’, individual, I ain’t bending to your cocktail rules mum of two I was, I think, sort of aiming for with the dresses above. But the skirt is going to stay but after months of thinking about dresses that go with my DMs I now have to find a pair of shoes and a top that goes with that skirt. Oh (gets hit by another brain wave), I do have a pair of quite masculine looking brogues somewhere, which I don’t wear too much and if I teamed that with maybe some black knitwear, like maybe a black polo neck sweater, with my hair up under strict control in a bun . . . yes definitely! So result, I have now gone from looking for a £50+ dress, to a £30+ top and £30+ shoes, to just a £30+ jumper, feel like I’ve saved myself some money! (I will post a photo of me in my cocktail penny saving slight rebellion outfit after the wedding).

Red aubergine pasta

Trying to ignore the siren call of the jar of pasta sauce in the kitchen, I actually made the sauce for tonight’s tea; red aubergine pasta from the Innocent Hungry? book. As I was chopping the vegetables I was struck by how pretty the red onion was and inspired by Cauchy’s lovely food photography over on Completely Cauchy, I whipped out my camera and took a photo of the red onion (check out Cauchy’s blog for great embroidery, knitting, quilting and crochet to).

Certainly prettier than a jar of pasta sauce

As for the pasta itself, this was a whole family dish but unfortunately the roasted red pepper I used (out of a jar) turned out a bit too spicy for the kids (although I think the very obvious aubergine and red onion didn’t help either), so they didn’t eat it. Personally I thought the red pepper added a nice gentle warmth that infused the whole sauce, Mr. Lacer on the other hand couldn’t taste any spicy-ness, which prompted a whole discussion on how he’s got less taste buds than everyone else (as he’s the oldest), thank you Nina and the Neurons.

Personally I thought this pasta was quite nice but if the kids aren’t going to eat it, it’s not going to make my regular repertoire, as it’s slightly too much effort to make for just me and Mr. Lacer (although shamefully, this dish is hardly any effort at all, but as I’m still trying to get out of jarred pasta sauce territory I’m shying away from anything that doesn’t give high returns for effort made). Although having said that I do think this would be nice as a pasta bake with cheese on top . . .

In other news – sorry I haven’t been blogging much, the summer holidays haven’t produced a wealth of anything much interesting this year. I am embroidering quite a bit but everything I’ve done requires finishing off with a sewing machine and whilst the kids are home I find myself reluctant to use the sewing machine because if I’m the sole adult in charge, although I’m sure the kids would behave themselves whilst I was sewing in the other room (they’re still addicted to Portal, so probably wouldn’t particularly care if I were in the room or not) I worry that I wouldn’t hear any of their potential mischief over the noise of the sewing machine. One of the few benefits of this tiny shoe box flat is that normally you can hear everything they get up to, even if I’m in another room, whenever we go and visit or stay in a larger (*ahem* normal) sized house I always wonder how on earth the parents can cope without hearing what their kids are getting up to upstairs. I know that obviously they do cope but as all my parenting life has been in tiny flats I’ve never had to learn how to, it’d obviously be easier now my kids are older but even now with Boy Lacer’s autism, trouble can still kick off at a moment’s notice. I would love a quieter sewing machine, my sewing machine is quite loud, to put it nicely and because my sewing machine is so loud I always feel a bit guilty using it in the evenings as well (although that doesn’t always stop me).

Other than not sewing we’ve been, ummm, going shopping quite a bit (normal food shops, getting school uniform stuff etc), although one of those shopping trips was to Westfield, which was fun because they’ve got a Lego store there and a Disney store where the kids took part in an animation workshop (including Boy Lacer, which was was lovely to see), Girl Lacer can now draw a mean Mickey Mouse. We’ve also been getting some good playground time in to.