It was snowing this morning. So much snowing, in fact, that the 45 minute walk to playgroup and back again appealed about as much as kissing Michael Gove. Still, I tried. We dressed in 4 billion layers each, and walked with arms and legs swaddled in thermals to the buggy, which a) daughter refused to get in and b) wouldn't go in the snow anyway. Both children are born for the sunnier climes of South America or Spain, not rural Fenland, much to Yorkshire husbands disgust. By the time we had struggled down the road, buggy veering from left to right as I failed to discover the wheel lock, with my best impression of bad mother voice shrieking "Come ON! It's just a bit of snow!" whilst son wailed despondantly "It's getting in my EYES! My EEEEYYYYES!", I realised that this was not going to happen. For one, I couldn't really shout "Come ON!" for an hour in a blizzard, and secondly, daughter had flung herself from the buggy into the snow and was weeping. We turned back and happily plunged into the house again.
By 10.30 we had eaten all the crumpets and were shouting at each other. So we made gingerbread. This is simply the best gingerbread ever, it is exceptionally more-ish and, if you don't mind your kids getting dental caries for the sake of an hours peace, the kids will eat all of it if you let them. It's another wet/dry recipe, my absolute favourite type as they are virtually idiot and chidl proof. You will need:
Dry stuff: 225g plain flour, 1/4 tsp salt, 2 tsp bicarb, 1 and 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Sift.
Wet stuff: 55g butter, 115g soft brown sugar, 115g black treacle. Melt all together and leave to cool a bit. + (1 tbsp milk if needed for dough).
Mix it all together, until it turns into a dough. If it's too sticky and tough, add a bit of milk. Roll out to 5mm thickness and cut out shapes. I usually get about 25-30 assorted snails, squirrels and stars from this. Bake at gas mark 5 for 10-15 minutes, but a lot depends on the shape of the biscuit. Eat. All of them.
Whilst they were eating, I finally decided to crack on with using the sewing machine, which has been sitting and intimidating me. Having forced MIL to wind me lots of bobbins (I simply cannot do that yet), I grasped the nettle and a big stack of the cheap vintage pillowcases I keep buying because they are 10p, and decided to make some skirts for daughter, who thankfully doesn't care what she looks like yet, being 2. she will be in pillowcase outfits until she comes weeping to me and shows me photos of all her friends in Reebok or whatever, and even then i'll still moan.
So I chopped the top and end off of one fetching pillowcase featuring cars and bikes (she WILL not be girly, not if it's up to me. No pink here!) until it was a good skirt length. Then I turned it wrong side out, and straight stitched a pocket for elastic. At the bottom, I took a leftover bit of binding and sewed it around the hem, turned it right side out, and then sewed it around again. Wonky stitching covered. For skirt 2 I chose a green pillowcase, did the same thing, but this time without the binding edge and some ribbon instead, once i'd gotten the hang of sewing straighter.
Both skirts are very wonky and very amateur, but they took an hour of gingerbread eating and broke my machine virginity, so i'll always love them.