Thursday 29 December 2011

Happy 7th Anniversary Darling!

Seven years ago today I married the marvellous Mr C. It seems like a life time ago but at the same time just last week. I'm so happy there's no sign of any seven year itches around here!

We are sloping off to London to stay at The Savoy whilst Granny and Poppa look after the little rascals for us. We will dine in the restaurant this evening with Little Cuckoo's Godfather and his wife. I'm very excited! I don't get this sort of glamour very often. I'm going to wear my special sparkly jewellery and some mary jane heels in patent leather. I'll carry a satin clutch bag and paint my nails. I'll hold my husbands hand and grin from ear to ear.

Traditionally gifts exchanged for a seventh anniversary are of copper or wool. I'll go for wool and I will knit Mr C some socks (when I have learnt how).

Wednesday 28 December 2011

Four years ago today... at around 4.45pm I received a couple of texts from these three girls Kmmms, Bee and Gem. They all said roughly the same thing “Any twinges? Any sign? Any news?”. My reply was “Not a thing, nothing at all, think this baby is way too comfortable!” and I was being totally honest.
I was expecting Little and I had been hoping he wouldn’t arrive on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. I also didn’t want him to arrive on the 27th as that was Granny’s 60th birthday and I felt it would have be nice for her to celebrate that special birthday as her very own. My due date was officially the next day, the 29th, (he was measuring large so they had brought my date forward by almost a week) but since my first baby had arrived almost a fortnight early the girls were on high alert and expect news imminently. 
A short while later I sent the girls a text saying “With great speed “Little” flew in to the world at 6.12pm. He’s a chubby little thing weighing in at 9lbs 3 oz. Mr C and I are thrilled if a little overwhelmed!”
The girls could not believe it. I’d only just sent out the text saying there was no news. You see about ten minutes after I sent out my text I had a contraction. That unmistakeable sensation of deep cramping in a sling shape between my hips. “Wow, this means business” I thought “If I get another like that soon I’ll start to time them” Within ten minutes I’d had three more, they were unbelievable, I was in total denial though. I firmly believed it was ridiculous and I was going to have a shower and put on some make up. My mother in law ordered Mr C to get the car and told my father in law to get my bags. I bellowed “Don’t be daft! I’m having a shower, I want to put on my make up, I've GOT TIME.” I was so cross. Furious actually and very irritable. I didn’t know it then but I must have been in the phase they call transition when you are 10 centimetres dilated and you have a surge of hormones that send you a bit bonkers but tell your body to start pushing. I reluctantly rang the midwives and I just grizzled and grunted down the phone and said my name. “You better come in right away” they said. Oh bleddy hell, I thought, what a lot of drama. This is stupid, I want a bleedin’ shower......then I had the mother of all contractions and I practically sprinted to the car.
What ensued was a white knuckle ride into the city with me trying desperately hard not to push, I kept lifting my bottom off the seat and making weird noises. “Don’t push! DON”T PUSH!” Mr C was begging me. 
We arrived so quickly as Mr C drove like a formula one driver through the surprisingly empty streets. I suppose it being the friday between Christmas and New Year meant a lot of people were on holiday and so there was no rush hour traffic. We abandoned the car and I marched through the hospital, my face contorted, my arms stuck out rigidly and my hands clenching and unclenching rhythmically.
We got to the reception desk and a midwife asked my husband who I was and where were my notes. I managed to kick my bag to indicate where they were and had another mad contraction. “Never mind!” Said the midwife “Lets get her on a bed” I walked down the corridor undoing my trousers, I went straight to the bathroom and had a wee, then I got on the bed and within minutes out came my boy. I helped deliver him, I reached down and helped pull him on to my tummy. He wee’d on my leg and poo’d on my tummy. 
“Hello Darling” I said “You’re gorgeous, you look just like Big!”
“Wow!” said Mr C “That was easy”
So there we are. That’s Little Cuckoo’s story. My adorable boy came into this world in a hurry and he hasn’t paused since. He’s like a whirling dervish and so cheeky. He reminds me of myself when I was little.

Happy 4th birthday my dear little fella.

There’s another story to add to his. 48 years ago my Nanny Sheila gave birth to a bonny baby girl called Caroline. She was a lovely girl and grew into a very sweet and pretty young lady. She was the most wonderful Aunt and I absolutely adored her. She used to play with my hair and take me shopping. She made me feel very special and loved. When I was 8 she was in a car accident, the driver had been drinking and was going too fast. She was thrown from the vehicle. The emergency services couldn’t find her as she was yards away from the wreck in a ditch. She died a few days later in my Dad’s arms. She died on her 20th birthday 28 years ago today.
When I rang my Nanny to tell her I had a baby boy on Caroline’s birthday she burst into tears and said she never ever thought she could be happy on this day again but now this day has become a happy day. She feels Caroline sent us Little Cuckoo to help heal some broken hearts and I tend to agree. My son also has the same name as the love of my Nan’s life and although he isn’t actually named after him as such, it means a lot to my Nan to have a special grandson born on a special day with a special name. 
We will celebrate his birthday today with family but he’ll have a proper party in July to try and spread things out a bit for him. Hopefully his friends will be able to come then.
Hope you all had wonderful Christmases!

Friday 23 December 2011

The Cuckoo's been a busy bird!

Here's a bit of our Christmassy stuff, makes and bakes.
I love how Mini is waving at me in this photograph. Shame it's blurry.

Photographing Christmas trees is a bit tricky isn't it! I really must learn how to use a camera properly. 

Thank you to Bunny Mummy for sending me this owl to cheer me up when I was blue.
What a delight! Love it.

I made these decorations years ago, this one needs crutches.

Of course I had to make a set of these stockings

I realised last year that I have a love / hate opinion of tinsel. 
I think it is tacky and cheap yet I
the twinklyness of it and how it transports me back to the happy Christmases of my childhood.
So this year we have tinsel and I am enjoying it. To hell with bad taste!!!

One poorly baby who should have been in bed hours ago!

Polar express

Nativity scene

The Shepards and the Kings have little lit up lanterns

The details in this Nativity set that Granny gave us are amazing.

I have wrapped a trillion presents

I made a last minute Christmas cake as I thought my Cousin in Law was doing one again this year. She made a really sweet one with marzipan penguins on it last year.

Can you see the two eggs at the bottom are a deeper yellow?
They are from my Yicks

All wrapped up and ready to be baked and then fed booze in a binge drinking style.

I had fun decorating the cake. Just as I finished it I went on a cheeky blog surf and saw that my bloddie Ashley had decorated hers in much the same way! Great minds hey?

The bunting came from the lovely Jooles of Sew Sweet Violet fame. She has a wonderful Etsy shop but it is now closed for Christmas.

So the Christmas cake DID look nice for a few hours.......but.........two naughty little urchins decided to pick off some of the sparkly holly leaves and gobble them up!

Little devils. I have a bit of repair work to undertake now. Not that I'm stressing too much. I didn't get the royal icing to the perfect piping consistency and I am out of practice so my piped lines are a bit wibbly. Therefore I'm not overly worried about the damage. So long as the cake tastes nice.

Little Cuckoo made Christmas tree biscuits to give to his preschool teachers. I helped him a bit but for the most part he did them all himself and worked really hard. Especially so for Licola (Nicola) who is his bestest favourite.

Mini helped us by rubbing all the icing into the floor.

I felt like Little Red Riding Hood with my basket full of baked goodies
to take to Preschool

Now I must thank pinterest for the following ideas, the Christmas tree cookies, the beribboned plate and the melted snowman biscuits.

The pink trees sold really quickly at the School Fayre but the melted snowman ones didn't do very well at the prescool party.

English coconut macaroons for the Knit Club party in my bon bon dish
 which was a gift for me when Mini was born.

AND NOW FOR THE FATHER CHRISTMAS LEG CAKES!!! which I mentioned in a previous post and a few of you asked for more info.

I was certain the idea cake from Bakerella but I can't find the actual post and now I'm wondering if
I saw them elswhere.

Who would like a quick, ill photographed tutorial?
You would?
OK here you go.

You will need fondant icing in red, white and black with some tylo powder or gum tragacanth mixed in to set the icing hard. A little royal icing. A knife and a spoon and a pair of hands.
Roll out a long thin sausage and chop it up into lengths about 3cm long

Roll a blob of white icing into a flattened ball to stick on to the leg
with some royal icing

Now roll out a larger black ball for the boot

Shape it into a flat oval

Press your spoon in to the the black icing about a third of the way in.
I used my babies weaning spoon as it had a thick curven edge
that worked nicely.

Stick the boot on with a dollop of royal icing

Make 48 and be warned you will end up with a numb brain.

My top tip is to allow the legs to harden before sticking the white cuff and the boot on.
The pipe butter cream onto your cupcake and stick the legs in at jaunty angles. Then sprinkle with sugar or coconut and edible glitter (of course).
Take them to the fayre where they will sell swiftly and make up for the fact that the melted snowman biscuits didn't sell well at all (oh the prickling shame!)

Little got the baking bug and so he and his elder brother made "Jam hearts". I have told him they are tarts but he still calls them hearts. It's sweet, so I'll correct him no more.

The best bit for them is playing with the off cuts of pastry.

I made some mince pies to take to WI which I then couldn't go to. So I did the honourable thing and ate them all up myself. What a pig.

I was making these sugar stars as a gift but they were a real faff and I gave up with only half a kilner jar full.

Little and I also made a huge batch of coconut ice which I managed to eat most of without even noticing. I swear I'll need dentures in the new year.

Did you spot a bit of crochet there?

I got on the band wagon and made eight jar cosies as gifts for Big's teachers and for a couple of my friends. I first saw them here and obviously had to copy. There seems to be little that Vanessa does that doesn't give me the making urge and turn me into a blatant copy cat. 

Yes, I have been busy, I'll show you the rest after Christmas once the handmade gifts have been received. I'll leave you now with this photograph of the glorious sunset we had the other day. I couldn't capture it properly as it wasn't just how it looked it was how it smelt and felt. There was a feeling of sheer peace and I could smell wood smoke and hear the church bells.

Merry Christmas to all of you!