An overdue update

Wow! It has been a while since my last update, and I know so many of you will have been sitting on the edge of your seats just waiting, praying that I will post again. Well the time to be afraid is over I am pleased to announce, and I thought I would give you a quick update on what has been going on:

1. The job! So I alluded to having a new job a few months ago…well it’s been going really well. Currently I’m a paralegal in a law firm in Leeds but I have recently been told that I will be a trainee solicitor in June/July all being well.

I don’t think I can explain how happy I am about this; I did my degree, my postgrad, worked for two and a half years with the most amazing people but for a firm which made me feel bad and like I wanted to give up on law, then I get a new job and it seems like in no time they believe in me and what to help me progress my career.

So this is what’s been keeping me busy recently. We’ve been really busy lately and I’ve been working a few late nights (well late for me anyway)

2. I accidentally bought bags of carrots again instead of singular ones. This time it was 3!

3. I’m having a root canal tomorrow! Yes horrific I know!

4. Me and the boyfriend are finally getting somewhere with the house. The living room is almost finished; the skirting boards and doors just need a further paint and we need to buy a new settee/sofa. Oh and then there’s just the dining room, hall, master bedroom and 2 small bedrooms to worry about. Oh the joy of having to re-wire a house!

5. I finally got round to updating my pinterest board tonight. I haven’t been on it since before Christmas to post my creations and it got to that point where I knew there was a lot to do and I just couldn’t face it (a bit like logging back onto here and realising it’s been nearly a month since my last post) check out my pinterest board!

6. I have found my new favourite wine- Riesling. There is a simply version at tesco which is simply divine (haha) and at under £5 a bottle an absolute steal!

7. I seem to have done little cross stitching recently. The last project was for a new baby of my mum’s pen pal’s granddaughter. I was so annoyed, I had to unpick the name because the lady decided to change the spelling of the name when it was registered. Luckily I don’t think you could tell after and I made sure to stab the middle of the squares with my needle to equal out the bigger holes where the threads had been. I totally forgot to take a picture of the finished piece so I’m afraid you’re going to have to cope with this very brief snapshot:

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Yes that is a maple leaf in the top left hand corner!

I think that’s it really, I don’t lead a thrilling life I’m afraid but I like it.

Hope you’re all as happy as me right now.

Jessica x x x

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Giveaway thursday

It’s coming up to a quiet season for me birthday wise so I thought now would be the perfect time to have a little giveaway to my lovely followers.

I’m running it through instagram, check me out @jessica.Jayne.jo and follow the instructions.

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The winner gets to choose one of my handmade cards which can be personalised.

The winner will be announced on Sunday 15th February 2015 so act fast!

Hope everyone has a lovely day, remember it’s almost the weekend!

Jessica x x x

Calling all carrot eaters

Well…..I did my weekly tesco online shop the other day during lunch at work and ordered the usual things, fruit, veg, meat, fish and of course potatoes.

I knew I had some carrots in the fridge already so I thought I’d just buy a couple, two to be precise.

So you can imagine my shock when I arrived home tonight to the tesco delivery man pulling up to my house with not one, but two bags of carrots. Yes that’s right, two bags!

So here’s just a girl standing in front of the internet asking it to “please give me some carrot food ideas!” Before you ask, I don’t like carrot cake or carrot and coriander soup (coriander is the devil).

Day 1 of carrot gate and I made my famous carrot salsa:

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Ingredients
2 carrots
1 red onion
1 stick celery
2 cloves garlic (I only used one but it was HUGE)
4 tomatoes
5 small gerkins
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

FYI this does yield much more than shown in the photo, I may have artfully put some in a fancy bowl.

Basically grate the carrot, finely chop everything else, season to taste and furiously mix in a bowl.

Ta daaaaa. Well tasty.

PLEASE give me some ideas!

Jessica x x x

He lives in a pineapple under the sea

SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS

If you’re a follower of my instagram you’ll have seen my recent posts on spongebob. A couple of friends had a joint birthday party this week. One of them always used to love spongebob squarepants and even thought about getting a tattoo in honour of the little sea sponge.

In honour of her I thought that this would make a great subject matter for a card. Here’s a few photos of the progress:

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Spongebob seems to like it and I hope you do too!

Jessica x x x

Freezer food

With my old job towards the end I was arriving late and leaving early. With my new job I arrive early and leave late. Sometimes very late, other times just late enough to make me too tired to go and cook a meal from scratch.

So for the last couple of months I haven’t been eating as well as I used to. I decided I had to do something about this. Last weekend I did an online shop and bought loads! I even got some of those metal takeaway containers for ease and lack of appropriate Tupperware. I think the boyfriend was a bit confused when he took in the shopping!

I made:
– beef and ale stew with lentils (3 portions)
– Mexican bean stew (3 portions)
– fake cassoulet (5 portions)
– lasagna with leek sheets (4 portions)

Here’s a few shots pre-cooking. Unfortunately I got stressed/tired and forgot to take any more:

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Fake cassoulet

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Beef and ale stew with lentils (lentils not included in the photo)

I was going to make chilli as well but realised I already have masses in the freezer from when I continuously make too much.

We had to do a bit of a re-jig in the freezer to make sure it all fit but afterwards it felt awesome to know that I can have good homemade food when I want and with very little effort. I can either defrost them ready for cooking or just bung them in the oven frozen on a low heat.

They’ve already come in really handy. The boyfriend had a leek lasagna when I went out for drinks and food with the girls (and I know he is eyeing up the other single portion) and last night we ordered a takeaway using justeat, then half an hour later received an email saying that our order had been cancelled as the takeaway was closed. I was so annoyed as I was looking forward to tasty fuss free food so we just put a Mexican bean stew in the oven and made some homemade chips in the oven. Although it wasn’t the Chinese I was craving I didn’t feel bloated afterwards and saved us a bit of money!

Let me know if you want to see any of the recipes for the meals above, I’ll cook the meal again and make sure to take more photos/notes.

What’s your favourite food to cook for the freezer, I’m already getting ideas together for my next big cook.

Jessica x x x

New Year, New Home

It turns out the new year isn’t just about resolutions, two of my friends are moving onwards and upwards into new homes.

The first friend has just moved into a house with her fiancé and has been busy packing for days now. She grew up in a city and has moved the countryside and now feels at home with a big garden in the peace and quiet, because of this I designed this traditional card for her:

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Sorry it hasn’t been ‘carded’ up yet.

Here’s a photo of the back!

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Neat no?

My other friend has just bought a flat in the big city of London! She grew up in the same small village as me but has taken to big city living like a duck to water so I took a very different approach when I was designing her card

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Big Ben is my fave. I will give anyone 10 cool points if they can correctly identify the two buildings to the left.

Jessica x x x

It’s never too early for Christmas crafting

OK I agree. January 5th may be a tad too early to even start thinking about Christmas crafts… Which means you’re going to have to remember this post for next year!

As I’ve explained in previous posts I didn’t have time to post these before christmas so I’ll share them with you now:

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I really should’ve asked for a light box for Christmas! Imagine these being much lighter please.

Together with an angel I knitted last year from a magazine, I think my tree looked rather christmassy!

I think my favourites are the tree and the snowglobe. What about you?

I invited friends over on various evenings and we had a great time stitching away and drinking wine. I think I’ve converted a few to crafts as well as they’ve requested a valentines day card craft making session.

Have you converted any of your friends to crafts?

Jessica x x x

It’s not over till the fat lady sings (christmas that is)

Sorry boys and girls, I know it’s a bit late but I’ve got a few Christmas themed posts coming up…this being the first.

I started making these cards before my mammoth November card making session then totally forgot about them until the 23rd December when I had to pack to go to the boyfriend’s family’s house for Christmas, that was a hurried night.

Here’s a few pictures:

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I stitched the tartan noel before the tartan stag (see my earlier post on that) and I didn’t like the tartan on this one. Naively I thought this one would be easiest- WRONG!

I think giving handmade cards add that extra little something and hopefully people appreciate just how much effort goes into them. It also keeps me busy so it’s not an entirely selfless act.

I’d love to see some of your cards.

Jessica x x x

My Nanna’s Christmas present

Sorry for the huge delay since my last post, I’ve had an operation to have my wisdom teeth out, been so ill I managed to convince myself in have pneumonia (I didn’t) and have been massively busy with my new job. Annoyingly I have a few Christmas themed posts lined up so I hope you all aren’t christmassed out.

When I was younger (like 10 years old) whenever I went round to see my Nanna I would do some painting. Now I’ve never been really that artistic (don’t even get me started on not being selected to do art as a GCSE) but I think I’m alright at copying. So one day I really wanted to paint something but I didn’t know what. My Nanna has a set of two decorative plates on her kitchen wall so I picked one, painted a copy on paper, then cut it out and blue tacked it onto the plate.

It’s been there ever since, all 15 years(ish) and has survived a house move. We don’t even notice it any more but every so often someone does and my Nanna always likes telling people I painted it.

I always said that I would paint the second (slightly different) plate so she would have a matching pair but never got round to it.

Now I don’t know about you but I never know what to get my Nanna for Christmas, she never seems to want anything and then I had the brainwave, (bet you can guess where this is going) I could cross stitch the other plate.

I sneakily took a picture last time I was home….

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Drew out a design….

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And stitched it:

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It turns out it’s the perfect size to go on top of the plate.

Together with a bottle of tiramasu flavoured baileys (thanks Marks and Spencer) she had a great present and was well happy.

Did any of you make any Christmas presents this year?

Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and has a great new year.

Jessica x x x

What a winter warmer

I love it when the weather gets colder and you can just scoff comfort food without feeling guilty or too stodgy. This meal was perfect and satisfied that empty cold hole in my stomach after trudging through cold drizzly rain from the bus to get home.

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The photo isn’t amazing (but when are mine?). It was really tasty though and at the end of the day that’s what matters.

Ingredients (serves 2)
4 good quality sausages. I used pork and apple for the sweetness
3/4 of a red cabbage
1 onion
Few mushrooms
Handful of spinach
Tablespoon of red jam (I used raspberry)
Splash of red wine vinegar
Drizzle of oil
Vegetable stock and water

Method
1. Drizzle some oil into a large pan and fry the sausages until they’re browned on the outside. Don’t bother making sure they’re cooked all the way through, they’ll be cooking for a while.
If the pan dries up at all pour some hot water in to de-glaze the pan and get the juices up.

2. Meanwhile dice up the cabbage, onions and mushrooms. Throw into the pan with the sausages and stir.

3. Add the red wine vinegar and jam and stir to combine. You want the sausages and cabbage to be coated in a nice sticky substance. Leave for a few minutes.

4. Pour in the water and vegetable stock (I’d say about a mug’s worth) and leave to simmer. Go away and wash up or watch TV with a glass of wine. Check on it every so often and add more stock if the pan is looking too dry.  I left mine for about 20mins but I was REALLY hungry. To be honest it probably could’ve done with more time simmering but my hunger took over.

5. When you can take no more, stir in a handful of spinach and serve.

And there you go, a perfect wintery meal which doesn’t take that much time or effort but will satisfy that hole!

What’s your favourite wintery treat?

Jessica x x x