Shop crush: Misha and Puff

One of the great things about Instagram is that it can introduce you to a world of crafty sellers, online shops and creative people. This was certainly the case for me, and many of my recent new Instagram follows are baby-related, having become my new favourite online shops. So much handmade goodness out there for babies! As much as I enjoy buying treats for our baby from eBay and high street shops, like many I am always on the look-out for more unusual, special items from small, independent businesses. I’d love to share some of these with you in this space, and today we’ll begin this series with Misha and Puff, a wonderful knitwear company for babies and children up to four years old.

Everything sold by Misha and Puff is handknitted in Peru by a group of women, either from their homes or at a local knitting centre. The centre provides meals and day care for children, meaning that these women can support their families. While recently browsing photos from a recent trip that Misha and Puff took to Peru, I read that when asked why they came to do this work most of the women responded with one of two reasons:
1. Because they can still stay home with their kids and 2. Because they love to knit. What a wonderful collaboration!

As well as being truly mindful of the process behind their pieces, Misha and Puff knitwear is also extremely beautiful! Made from hand-dyed merino wool, the collections come in a chic palette of stunning colours: blush, nutmeg, persimmon, zephyr and graphite. I recently ordered the popcorn vest in the gorgeous green-grey zephyr, and I wasn’t disappointed: it’s so cute! I can’t wait to see our little one bobbling about in it this time next year. The garment tag even had the name of the knitter written on it.

Although these clothes are expensive compared to those we see in the shops every day, I love that we know where they have come from, and that they have been hand-knitted by women who take pride in their work and importantly, have been paid properly for their time. As Misha and Puff describe it on their website, “Families working together to benefit everyone.”

Here are some of my favourite pieces from the website…
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Maternity style: 26 weeks

This past weekend we took a trip to Dagfields craft and antique centre, where we snapped a few photos, including one of the three of us. At 26 weeks, I’m fast approaching the third trimester, which is both very exciting and pretty terrifying. My bump is slowly growing, and some days I wake up and feel huge! This is then is crazy comparison to when I see photos of myself and realise how small I still am in reality. We had a midwife appointment a couple of weeks ago and she assured me I’m doing fine size-wise, but it is crazy to think how much growing I still have to do. This skirt has been in regular rotation in my wardrobe lately: comfortable, easy to wear and stretchy!

The baby is kicking up a storm these days, making us well aware of her presence. I’m still completely in awe when that happens. I’m feeling more tired these days, but that could be the madness of Christmas approaching. Baby knitting is still in progress, and I have an exciting and ADORABLE hat pattern to share. In the meantime I plan to share a few of my current online baby shops in this space…back soon!

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Wearing: vintage cardigan, ebay | scarf, gift shop, Montgomery | skirt, Zara | boots, Liberty for Doc Martens

Seasonal baking

I realise that this blog has become pretty baby-centric of late, and I’ve posted no baking updates for quite a while. Well, I haven’t stopped baking, and still do so regularly, but recently I’ve been a bit uninspired in that department so have been turning back to old favourites: tried-and-tested recipes which I’ve made before and I know are sure to go down well in our house. With Christmas shopping and decorating vying for attention, it’s nice to be able to bake something easy and stress-free that I know I can whip up easily. So I thought I’d give you a little round-up of some of my favourite seasonal recipes which are just perfect for this time of year.

First up, back in November I revisited one of our favourites, treacle toffee. This recipe does make quite a lot, so we shared it out between friends to celebrate Bonfire Night. Treacle toffee also works well around Christmastime, why not bag it up and share with your loved ones as a festive treat?
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Next up, for a weekend away with some pals I made this delicious chocolate tart, which was a new recipe for me last new year. We ate it with cream, like complete gluttons, and leftovers were sent home with happy friends.
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I can’t quite believe I haven’t posted about this before, but it’s almost time to break out the spices and make lebkuchen! I first made this two years ago, using Ruth’s excellent recipe. You don’t need me to type out the process again, simply head over to The Pink Whisk for full instructions and photos. I love to make lebkuchen to give to friends and family for Christmas, and usually dip the biscuits in chocolate. Last year I also punched a hole in a snowflake-shaped biscuit and hung it from our Christmas tree (until it mysteriously disappeared). Cute!
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Although I pronounced this cake to be ideal for January, its beautiful gingery warmth will also get you through chilly December. A foolproof Nigel Slater recipe, which I’ve made multiple times now. Always gets a lot of praise and is a doddle to make!
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Finally, if it’s chocolate you’re after, Nigel is at hand to help out again. These chocolate puddings are delicious, but to make them truly festive you could add a few drops of irish cream or other liqueur.
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If you have a go at any of the above recipes, do let me know, and enjoy! Another firm favourite in our house is a simple gingernut thoroughly drizzled in dark chocolate. I hope your seasonal baking is filled with fun, happiness and – most of all – minimal stress!

A rattle for baby

With our baby due in just over three months (erk), I decided it was about time to craft something fun for her. After all, I’ve recently created plenty of cute things for other friends’ babies, and apart from the pants I posted about a few weeks ago, until very lately I hadn’t actually made anything for our little one. All of a sudden, though, I had three projects on the go, and this is the one I finished first.

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If you haven’t heard of Ravelry, and are into knitting and crochet, hot-foot it over there. It’s full of great knitting and crochet patterns, many of them free (!), and is wonderful for baby clothes and toys. When I stumbled across this adorable baby rattle crochet pattern I knew I had to make it. I love the simple bunny design, and I opted to make one in the same lovely mustard-and-cream colourway. You can find the pattern right here.

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The bunny is stuffed with quilt wadding, and in the middle is a Kinder egg toy shell filled with lentils, and wrapped in sellotape, for safety. This was a really quick project, and loads of fun to see the little guy taking shape. I used this 100% cotton yarn, which is really soft and smooth to work with, while being very sturdy – perfect for making a child’s toy. Hopefully this rattle will last our little one for a while, and withstand a few washes. In the meantime, Mr Bunny hangs out in the moses basket with the, ahem, few bits I have already bought for our baby. A comfy place to be.

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