Wednesday, 26 September 2007


I can't believe it is almost a year since we went to Australia. I have family over there and last year, about March, we decided we would go visit. Unfortunately not long after we had made this decision my dear dad was diagnosed with a type of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos (it has got a long name that I can't spell). Anyway after much soul searching we decided to go ahead and book our tickets for November.

My dad's health deteriorated and about July 2006 I asked him to come and live with us. I did not want him to go into a home. He was only with us a few weeks when he suddenly took a turn for the worse and had to go into hospital. From here he was transferred to a hospice where less than a week later he passed away. We were with him when he went - I miss my dad so much.

We carried on with our plans to visit Australia as I felt I now needed to see my aunty (my late mum's sister) more than ever.

When the our travel date finally arrived I could not believe that I was going to one of my dream destinations. I was actually going to see Sydney I was so excited. I spoke to my aunty that morning and it felt so unreal saying to her 'I will see you in a couple of days' oh my god pinch me. The taxi arrived and we were on our way to Manchester airport.

Our first flight was to Dubai - somewhere I had heard of but never imagined I would go. We were not having a stopover just spending a couple of hours in the airport, but what an experience. So many people of all nationalities, the clothes, the sounds it was amazing. All to soon our next flight was being called and we were on the second leg of our journey to Sydney.

I will not kid you and say I enjoyed this it was almost unbearable to be on a plane for so long but I kept telling myself 'just remember where you are going'. I think it was the longest night of my life. I am not sure how many hours it took but I think it was 15. But fi
nally we were there, we were landing.

We got through immigration, another tedious queue, but finally we were there, got our suitcases, turned a corner and there was my uncle with a toy emu holding it out for our daughter. It felt like coming home.

The trouble is it was a holiday and now I am back in the UK and once again my thoughts have turned back to Australia and I want to go back. I hope I do - soon.

Sunday, 23 September 2007

My Favourite Recipes

I have been trying to think what I can add to this blog as I feel I should be talking about more than my jewellery. We all like to eat, well most of us do, so I thought I might add a few of my favourite recipes on here. They are not what I have made up they are what I have got from cookery books, tv or off the web. The first one is one I have tried twice, the first time in our caravan whilst we were away for the weekend.

Risotto with Prawn, lemon, spring onion and basil from the Cook Yourself Thin Programme on Channel 4
Serves 2
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
471 calories per serving


Olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
150g risotto rice
75ml white wine
750ml warm light vegetable stock
A bunch of spring onions, thinly sliced
150g cooked peeled prawns
3 tablespoons low-fat crème fraîche
A squeeze of lemon
1/2 bunch of basil, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


How to make risotto with prawn, lemon, spring onion and basil
Heat up a splash of oil and gently fry the onion and garlic until translucent. Add the rice and continue frying for two minutes. Add the wine and continue stirring until the wine is absorbed.

Now start to add the stock, ladle by ladle, stirring until the stock is absorbed between each spoonful.

Give the risotto lots of tender loving care, by stirring regularly, and the creamy starch will come out of each grain. Continue like this for 10 to 15 minutes.

Add the spring onion to the risotto, continue cooking for five minutes and then add the prawns and crème fraîche.

Now this is the important point. You need the rice to be al dente, which means firm-to-bite (not soft and overcooked), so keep tasting it until it is time to take it off the heat (it will probably need another five minutes).

Add a squeeze of lemon and stir through the basil. Check the seasoning and then, for the final touch, grate some lemon zest over the top.

Sophie's Tips

There are so many possible variations.

Try crab or chicken instead of the prawns, or replace the basil with chives or tarragon.

Both times I tried this one I have used prawns and it is delicious and I can thoroughly recommend it.

Saturday, 15 September 2007

My Latest Jewellery Creations

I loved doing these 2 bracelets. I have now started using sterling silver (more expense) on some of my designs. I hate to think how much I have spent on the beads etc I have bought over the last few months. This first one has a fabulous mix of purple, amethyst and pink beads with a scattering of crystals to add sparkle. This is the first one I did with a simple sterling silver toggle fastening, which unfortunately the photo does not show, so I am going to have to re-do it.

The red one is gorgeous, I love it. I bought the 3 large beads when I was in Cornwall on holiday earlier this year. I have added a lovely mix of glass beads and crystals. I think the result is fab. This one also has a sterling silver fastener but this one is a twisted design and is very pretty.

I have also started making earrings. The first 2 pairs I made have silver plated findings. I have now got some sterling silver ones so I will be doing some more shortly. This is the first pair I did and I am thinking of changing the findings to sterling silver as the beads are so pretty and I think they deserve it. I also have a lovely bracelet on Etsy that would match this pair.

Summer is nearly over

I cannot believe how quickly this year is passing. Is this something to do with getting older, I wonder. I can remember my dear late dad telling me how quickly time passes and how as you get older it goes even quicker, obviously there was some truth in that.

I have made some more jewellery of course and I have even found the time to do some knitting. I have at last got round to knitting a twirly scarf, well 2 in fact. I have never had a go at knitting with circular knitting needles before so this was a first for me. I have posted the pictures of both of my 'creations'. I am quite proud of them. Hope I can sell one or both of them but since that first sale I had a couple of months ago I have had no luck since. It is a bit disheartening and I have thought about quitting. But I love doing this.