Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Banham Zoo

It had probably been about 20 years since either of us had been to Banham Zoo. We decided we needed a day out after far too much adult sorting of the loft during our Easter break.

Naturally, we had an awesome time. A take over 500 photos in a day kind of awesome time. I just couldn't put my camera down. There was so much cute everywhere I looked!
Just five minutes into our visit, I learnt a valuable lesson: read the signs! Donkeys DO bite, through your coat and you will be left with a donkey teeth shaped bruise on your forearm a few days later. Also, that other people find donkey biting incidents really quite hilarious.
Unfortunately, plastic dinosaurs are less likely to bite...
 I literally fell in love with the Lemurs. The enclosure is totally open, you can walk through, and although it's not advised, if you're lucky, you can stroke one. They had such fantastic characters. I went through the Lemur walk twice, and I could have easily stayed in there all day.
The meerkats were their usual adorable selves. Apparently you can book feeding sessions and sit in the enclosure with them. I think I'd be too tempted to steal one.

The llamas also stole a piece of my heart. They are funny looking things, but I can't help but love them. We finished off the day at the Farmyard Barn, armed with 50p in my pocket for food, I was ready for some happy time...

 The goats were fabulous in every way. They were greedy and confident and happy to head-butt if they didn't get their own way. The two kid goats were totally 100% cute and adorable. They were only 3 weeks old, and very shy. I just wanted to squeeze them.
Banham Zoo was a great day out. If you are local, it's well worth a visit. It's relatively small compared to the other zoos closeby, such as Colchester, but there is plenty to do. We even took a ride on the train! The enclosures were lovely (none of the animals looked sad or cramped), and an added bonus, there is a garden centre there too- so on the way back to the car I picked up a few plants for the garden.

I stopped the car and pulled over on our way home and asked Rory to take some photos. Sometimes the English countryside is just so lovely. The photo above hasn't been edited in any way. It's that good.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Colourful circles crochet blanket

If you follow me on instagram (@whatpeggysaid) then you will have seen some photos of this blanket as it progressed. I made it for a very good friend who is due to have her first baby in August. As this blanket is for a summer baby, I used cotton as it is a bit more breathable in the heat.

My friend asked me to use lots of bright colours and to make it unisex. Hopefully I met the requirements!

This blanket was made using Rico Essentials cotton in a variety of different colours using a 3.5mm hook. I made each circle before progressing to the next stage, and the project came together incredibly quickly.

As for the joining method, I went against my usual 'join as you go' method, (I gave it a go with this, but I wasn't happy with how it looked!) this time, I opted to sew each of the squares together. Before stitching them all together, I blocked all of the squares using the steam setting on the iron. This really helped to set the stitches and help shape all of the blocks into even squares.
I am really pleased with the quality of the blanket; hopefully it will stand the test of time.

For the pattern, I used the Gumball pattern that you can buy from BabyLove Brand on Etsy, but adapted the white rows from a pattern in a crochet book (I can't remember which one!)

The blanket has now been given to my friend, who was delighted with it, so now it's just a waiting game until I get to see it being put to good use. Roll on August!

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Baking for Dogs

These look pretty tasty, am I right? Peggy certainly seems to think so.
If you fancy making your four legged friend a special treat, give this recipe a whirl:

Oxo cube (I used beef flavour)
2.5 cups of plain flour
1 egg (beaten)
Sprinkle of salt
approx 150ml hot water

Dissolve the oxo cube in hot water. Mix all of the ingredients together until they form a dough.
Roll out until about 2cm thick.
Cut out using pastry cutters.
Put onto a baking tray and bake in the oven at about 180 degrees for about 15 to 20 mins, or until golden.

(adapted from Cesar Millan's basic dog biscuits recipe)

These biscuits were such a quick and easy make. I just chucked everything into my food mixer and away we went. They have been a real winner with Peggy, and I'll definitely be making them again. Next time I might even add some grated cheese, but only if she is a good girl.
And possibly my favourite photo of the day...say cheese, Peg!

Monday, 31 March 2014

Let a bit of light in

We're still updating the house, little by little. My biggest problem in our small, city street terrace, is that lighting is pretty terrible. Downstairs, there is almost no natural light, but upstairs is a little better.

The main bedroom is at the back of the house, but still needs a bit of help in the lighting department. Until now, we had no lightshade in the bedroom at all. It had been this way for almost 5 years, since we moved into the house. We didn't have bedside lamps, we had some cheap ikea lamps from a million years ago, but thanks to a rather fat grey cat, one met an untimely end.
This pendant light is the only one that we have in the house. I know, strange, right? We have spotlights in every other room, which is great for kitchens and bathrooms, not so much for bedrooms and living spaces. This one is pretty huge and made of clear acrylic (I think!)
I'm  pretty pleased with how they fit in with the decor in the bedroom. You know that I love a bit of yellow! It's nice that they add a bit of height to my ikea bedside table (we plan on getting one for Rory's side too - they were only £7!) We picked up the ceiling light and the bedside lamps in The Range, it was pretty tricky to choose, they had a few good choices- if only we had more ceiling lights in the house!
Peggy couldn't resist clean sheets and a freshly made bed, and how could I be mad with a face like that?

This post was written in association with The Range.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

The Brit Pack Presents : The Pastel Parade

Pastels. Not my kinda thing usually. I'm all about the brights or monochrome. Vary rarely do I ever delve into the world of the pastel.

It wasn't always the case. My love of Cath Kidston a few years ago turned my house into a floral, shabby chic goldmine, with dusty, pastel florals on every surface. Now, I'm not saying that Cath doesn't have a place in my house anymore, it's just that styles change.

See that picture of me above? That's me wearing my new top (from Primark, obviously) and when I bought it home, Rory had a very surprised look on his face. He said I never wear things like that anymore. Maybe it's just that I associate pastels with looking a bit twee, or overly effeminate, and that's not really my cup of tea.

I did, however, manage to find some pastels at home. In the form of some of the gorgeous real-life florals that find their way into my living room every week. So enjoy!

 Pastels probably won't really ever be my thing, but bring me these flowery tones and I'll certainly listen.
Why not have a look at what the rest of the Brit Pack's take on Pastels is. I bet it's more positive in nature than mine! ,

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Macro Cactus

On my recent journey to Ikea (6 hour round trip!) I found some new cactus babies that just had to come and live with me. I just can't say no. Especially when they are pretty colours, or unusual like these beauties.

 It was the perfect excuse for me to try out my new macro filters that I picked up on Amazon. (Really cheap, Polaroid ones- just do a search to find them!)

Overall, I was pretty impressed with the cheapo macro filters. I just can't justify (or afford) a decent macro lens at the moment, so this was a good stop gap. Plenty of natural light is essential though, not great for a British winter, but these came out ok.
While I arranged and precariously balanced cacti on my bedroom radiator (the only place I could get some decent indirect light in my whole house) this was happening behind me. Too cute not to photograph and include. She always finds the sunniest spots to sleep in.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Modern Ombre Baby Blanket

A friend asked me to make her a pink baby blanket for her little girl who was born in January. She gave me no brief other than 'make it pink'.
I scoured Pinterest for ideas, and thought I would go for something completely different to the previous blanket that I made for her (it was charcoal grey and sparkly and very detailed).

This turned out to be one of the simplest and quickest blankets I've ever made (I counted recently- I'm currently making blanket number 12) -it would be perfect for a beginner.
I used 3 pink yarns in varying shades to create wide stripes with an ombre effect. I couldn't be happier. The stripes were 40 rows wide (UK dc stitch) and 100 stitches across. So simple!
I'm sure I will be making another one of these blankets again. I was so pleased with the effect that it created. I think next time aqua and turquoise shades would be lovely!
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