Elma Exploring Family Handmade Kitty Pip Quilting Reading Sewing

Five things for a Tuesday:


1. This morning I woke up and went to find a jumper.  Pip was snuggled up in his winter Gro-bag and H appeared to be wearing wooly socks.  Despite the fact that it is not actually raining right this second, where oh where is the summer of sunshine we dreamed of.  Somehow whenever I imagined our summer as a five, it had long hot days spent under the trees at the park and in the splash pool, not curled up at home because it’s too wet even for us fresh air fiends to get out and about.

Space for the Butterflies

We’ve been contemplating a trip to Europe this summer for a while, but last week’s weather sealed our fate and we came home from the Library with a massive bag of travel books.  So far our plans are, tent plus camping gear plus family in the car, drive to Portsmouth/Poole, ferry to Cherbourg to avoid the chaos at Calais, and then….  Well then we’ve thought of Paris, Normandie, Brittany, Spain and there’s an outside bid from Switzerland.  Personally I’m championing anywhere that speaks French because that’s the only European language I can manage more than “I’m English, do you speak English, where is the …?” and if we could make it that far south I would love to take a selfie outside the swimming pool in La Rochelle (which will only make sense if you too learned your French from Tricolour 4).

So as I know there are lots of wonderfully well travelled people who read, where would you go on holiday in Europe for a little summer sun?

2. I’ve just finished my free trial of Mummy Workouts.  As a Mama to three little ones, two of whom are breastfed, and one of whom wakes up again during the evening and scream at anyone else, I don’t really get to do much exercise.  I also don’t have a huge amount of motivation to do any exercise, I like cake and blogging and knitting and sewing so much more.  Actually leaving the house doesn’t work for me because I can’t guarantee that I can get out with any regularity, and while I’ve tried exercise DVDs I just found I got cross at them, firstly because they got boring, and secondly because I am spectacularly inflexible, and rather lanky so I can’t touch my toes, or anywhere near.  Anything that says “just put your hands on the floor and….” has a tendency to be growled at.


(picture clearly not me! I could show you me but I just look hot and sweaty and I think you can imagine it)

Mummy Workouts is different; it’s actually a live class.  It means that the instructor can see me and hear me if she wants and so when my downward dog in the yoga class was nowhere near downward or dog like, Tina could give me some tips about what sort of shape to make and how to get the right sort of movement, working with what I’ve got.  I’m far from perfect but I’m a lot nearer than I was and that makes it all the more fun.

The classes also change.  Even if the routine you’re doing is exactly the same, the talk through is always going to be slightly different and that makes a huge difference to my motivation/boredom levels.

It’s Body Workout and Yoga tonight and I’m signing up again, and hopefully my dog will be ever more downward!

3. As well as raiding the library for travel books I’ve also had a little influx of new cookbooks (thank you birthday bunnies), including this one, The CSA Cookbook.  I found out about it while hunting for advice on when to harvest garlic, and came across the wonderful Garden Betty blog (which does include advice on garlic!).  The cookbook is about making use of veggies that you find at the farmer’s market, grow yourself, or get in your veg box, especially the ones you might not recognise or be quite sure what to do with, and it takes a ‘nose to tail’ approach to veggies (borrowing from the idea that if you’re going to eat meat you should have a use for every part of the animal and not waste it).  Did you know that you can slice up the pale green section of a watermelon rind and put it in stir-fry for example? It’s been eye-opening, and yummy, and there’s a very pretty trailer here:

4.  Did you know Oliver + S is having a pattern sale?  This only makes sense if you like making clothes for small people but if you do – run there now.  They have a number of paper patterns at 60% off which makes them spectacularly good value and a small (see H, small) number may be winging their way to me just as soon as I can decide which ones! It finishes on July 31st, hence the running!

5. Kitty and I have a new project.  We discovered The Bramble Patch on the way home from an adventure this week and as well as adding to my stash of books, fabric and tiny rulers, she is now the proud owner of five fat quarters of batiks with a plan to turn them into a quilt.  Space for the Butterflies

I’m thinking of doing a sort of subway tile pattern.  Initially we thought squares but I’d like her to have a go at sewing on the machine (with me in control of the foot and going very slowly) and as I find it hard enough to match points as an adult, I think it could be frustrating to do it as a four year old, hence the change to something with a step out so we’re not trying to match things up.

Space for the Butterflies

But am I missing something obvious here, is there an ideal pattern than only takes five fat quarters and is perfect for small sewers? I’m not averse to adding a contrast neutral but while I have more batik in the stash that I’d happily contribute, I’d actually like it to be all Kitty’s fabric because they were her choices.

And they’re rather gorgeous choices too; just look at that lovely orange!

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  • Vickie 28/07/2015 at 11:14 am

    Kitty’s choice of quilt colours is just lovely! I’m afraid I have no advice to offer on the choice of quilt pattern as even subway tiles would be beyond me.

    Thanks for the heads up on the Oliver & S sale. I might just have a couple of patterns winging their way to me right now. Hopefully I’ll be able to finally tick something off of my crafty bucket list.

    • Carie 28/07/2015 at 9:30 pm

      Yay! Oliver and S patterns are awesome, I learn so much every time I sew one!

  • Rachel @ The Ordinary Lovely 28/07/2015 at 1:35 pm

    Ooo, there’s only a very small portion of Switzerland that speaks the French that we know from school. Time to brush up on your German? That might get you a little further 😉 x

    • Carie 28/07/2015 at 10:08 pm

      Ich bin Englander, sprechen sie English? Prima!!!! Oh I’m in trouble if we go German – French is the way to go!

  • Suzanne3childrenandit 28/07/2015 at 2:56 pm

    Wow to contemplating a trip to Europe with little ones! We are off to Les Gets tomorrow, which is very close to Switzerland. I’ve heard Annecy is gorgeous, especially if you like mountains. It’s beautiful in Les Gets/Morzine too but the weather can be changeable. A bit like here! I love the idea of these ‘live’ exercise classes – how brilliant!

    • Carie 28/07/2015 at 10:45 pm

      Oh that does sound lovely! I’ve never been to Switzerland so I’m very tempted to head in that direction!

  • Charlotte 28/07/2015 at 3:36 pm

    Thank you for the heads up on the Oliver + S sale, I am now spending all my money 🙂 They do such lovely things, don’t they? I have yet to be inspired by any boys patterns though, but I suspect that’s more to do with my lack of imagination than anything!

    • Carie 28/07/2015 at 10:46 pm

      My patterns are all girls too – I looked at the boy patterns but I think I just need Pip to be a bit older, baby boy clothes should be soft and squishy!

  • Katie @mummydaddyme 28/07/2015 at 6:25 pm

    What a lovely idea for a post Carie, I love this and hope you will do them regularly? And a European road trip just sounds SO exciting- I am utterly jealous and cannot wait to see where you go and what you do! x

    • Carie 28/07/2015 at 10:48 pm

      At the moment it’s a case of too much choice, we keep coming up with amazing ideas and trying to resist the temptation to mash them all together!

  • LauraCYMFT 28/07/2015 at 8:52 pm

    Oh a trip sounds amazing! Lots to see and explore and the food too! Those workouts sound great. I work out using DVDs at home but I’m sure some days I don’t give everything I should. I think someone actually being in my living room (virtually!) would be good for me.

    • Carie 28/07/2015 at 10:49 pm

      Try the free trial for Mummy Workouts – the Tuesday yoga class especially is really great fun and I loved the Thursday stretch class, it’s just what you need when you haul around small children and their clobber all day!

  • Nasreen 28/07/2015 at 10:04 pm

    You could always come to Sardinia, but be prepared for a LOT of sun…although these last couple of 35 degree days have seemed positively refreshing compared to the meltfest earlier in the month. For a french speaking spot with a beautiful coast and interesting mountain regions I can recommend Corsica, but perhaps it’s a little too far afield..

    • Carie 28/07/2015 at 10:51 pm

      I think I might just pass on the 35 degrees – I would definitely melt in that kind of heat!!

      • Rosalinda 30/03/2016 at 9:48 am

        When you think about it, that’s got to be the right anesrw.

      • http://www.sorethumbsblog.com/ 29/04/2016 at 1:43 am

        Soccer without rain and cold? That’s probably more high expectations! Recipe sounds wonderful! I am just back from five days in France, though nowhere near you or I would have stopped by for a piece of cake and coffee! Maybe next time!

  • Caroline 28/07/2015 at 10:09 pm

    I’d vote for La Rochelle! I think we may be the same age, but certainly I also learned French from the Tricolore books. In fact, since they phased them out after my year group, I got to keep quite a few, and must still have them somewhere! I’d vote for La Rochelle despite that though, simply because it’s gorgeous in my memory, and not a ridiculous distance to drive. I’m sure you’ll have a fabulous time wherever you go!

    • Carie 30/07/2015 at 12:09 am

      I never got to go there – alas – my french exchange was a big further north and as she and her brother also had Irish exchanges there at the same time we spoke English most of the time – it was not a wild success! But it’s good to know that it’s worth the trip – it had better have a swimming pool too!

  • Jess @ Along Came Cherry 29/07/2015 at 8:32 pm

    This summer has literally been the worst one I can think of, I think there have only been about three really hot days! A trip to Europe sounds perfect x

    • Carie 30/07/2015 at 12:12 am

      I know – we’re totally spoilt too, we’ve got a good chunk of time and now it’s just a case of deciding where to go!

  • Bex @ The Mummy Adventure 29/07/2015 at 9:45 pm

    Oh can I fit in the car with you? Sounds like a fab summer. I have a sewing machine and I am desperate to try making something for Finn, although time is not something I seem to ever have enough of

    • Carie 30/07/2015 at 12:12 am

      Well we have two pop up seats in the boot – so absolutely yes, if you don’t mind having the tent on your lap!!

  • Alina 30/07/2015 at 1:30 am

    Live online classes sound amazing! It’s really important, especially, if you are a beginner, to start under instructor supervision to do everything right and not to get hurt!

    • Carie 31/07/2015 at 9:53 pm

      That’s what I love about them, especially as I can’t do most positions easily, I need to work out a half way house!

  • Preeta Samarasan 02/08/2015 at 2:53 pm

    You could do worse than the French/Swiss border — Annecy is indeed gorgeous, and there are lots of gorgeous villages in Haute-Savoie. Or one of the Swiss lakes? Otherwise, have you thought about the Dordogne? We live right near it, so I’m biased 🙂 . It’s warm and beautiful, you can do river cruises or visit châteaux, there are tons of water sports (kayaking/canoeing, paddleboarding, lake swimming) and bike trails….

    • Carie 02/08/2015 at 11:06 pm

      Annecy is looking increasingly likely – we have the ferry booked and we’re rounding up the camping kit!

  • sally 07/08/2015 at 10:42 am

    Love Kitty’s fabric choices, and the tiles sounds a good plan to me – either that or maybe thinnish strips in a quilt as you go way I reckon, which would obviously ease the quilting part. And as for camping, I’m probably far too late with any recommendations now, but I love Annecy too, lots of happy memories of Summers caravaning there, ditto Brittany, and down in the South we used to love Narbonne and the surrounding area, as well as many patches in the Pyrennees. A slightly less obvious choice would be the Ardeche, might fit in depending on your route, but we had one lovely holiday camping there at a really good Euro camp type place (lots going on for children but not too tacky, quieter and more rural than lots of them), and beautiful contryside, river, gorge etc. Hope you have/are having a wonderful time – no sign of much improvement in the weather over here still either!