Saturday, 16 January 2016

Chronicling Moments & Memories

So as hard as it is to believe, Luke is going to be 10 months tomorrow. As I near the 17th of each month (Luke was born on St.Patricks Day) I get excited about doing our signature milestone photograph to mark the month gone by. Since Luke was born the focus of my camera lens seems to have made a shift from mouth watering food to 'aw' inducing baby. With this shift has come lots of cool ideas, challenges and rituals which I have been pretty good about keeping up in the last 10 months. 

Chronicling the journey of a little person is a big responsibility and not one I take lightly I'll let you know! I have such fond memories of growing up with countless photo albums of my brother and I, as my mother was constantly photographing us as kids. As a newbie mother in the digital camera age I now have such respect for her commitment to the task. Preserving memories is an important task that requires commitment, time and effort. That said it is also one of the most fun and rewarding things I now get to do in my day to day life!

This evening I thought I'd share some of my photo tasks which I set myself from week to week. Below are the 3 photo tasks which I have been really committed to since Luke came along.

1. Milestone Picture Cards
2. Month by Month Montage
3. Lifecake

Milestone Baby Cards
If you are looking for an alternative gift to give someone who has just had a baby......get them this little pack of memory making magic! I absolutely adore these cards. They are pretty, gender neutral (meaning you could use them for baby No.2 or 3!) and are such a lovely way of chronicling your little person's big achievements. As they say 'a picture says a thousand words'. The pack includes monthly milestone cards along with once off achievements like rolling, sitting and standing for the first time. I picked these cards up in Boots pharmacy although I have also seen them on Amazon. At €14.99 they aren't the cheapest thing you will pick up but as far as I'm concerned money well spent in the memory making department.


Month by Month Montage
When I found out I was pregnant with Luke, I committed to this great idea that I would take photos of myself week by week during my pregnancy and continue when he was born for his first year of life. Fast forward a few weeks to when gruelling morning sickness struck and with that my commitment along with my will to live went out the window. I instead decided to set a more realistic goal of taking a monthly photo (which I set up the same from month to month) so we could monitor how Luke changed in his first year of life. I picked up these magnetic letters and numbers in the early learning centre and with the help of a neutral background in the form of a cream blanket I was all set. I set up the photo the same each month and for his first birthday I plan on picking up a 12 picture wall frame to show off the shots. I love looking at the changes with each picture we take.This has been a really fun task to do with him on the 17th of each month, though I'm sure you can see the older he gets, the more difficult it is to get him to lay still!




Lifecake
Lifecake is the app that for me literally changed everything. Made by the clever people over at Canon, Lifecake revolutionises how you can share your personal photos with family whilst keeping them safe and backing them up at the same time. Its basically a timeline from birth. When you add a photo the app recognises what date it was taken and immediately places it in chronological order on your baby/child's timeline. The great thing about this is you can upload old photos in bulk and the app will place them in the correct order for you. You can download Lifecake to your phone, tablet and access it from you PC. It's completely private and only those you personally invite can see your photos. For me this app has been an absolute god send. Between two sets of first time doting grandparents and a brother in Australia, the 'love' and comment features mean that everyone can get in on the baby admiring together! And of course I forgot to mention you can upload videos too. The first 10GB of space are free and then there is a very reasonable annual subscription fee. That said if you invite friends and they sign up and start using Lifecake for their little one you can earn 1GB free space! So make sure to share the love!

  

E-D's Top Tips
  • When taking photos of your little one try and choose neutral non-fussy backgrounds if you can - this will really make your photos all about your baby and not about what's going on behind them.
  • Don't be afraid to use your computer photo editor so you can mix it up with some black/white and sepia shots.
  • Try and pick a date about the same time each month to capture a few special shots. This makes for lovely 'ah remember him then' material and ensures you have a snapshot in time for each month of their first year.
  • Make sure you back up all your photos!!!! I can't stress this enough, particularly if they are on your phone. This may seem obvious but in the age of mobile phones being our go to camera, a lost phone can result in losing a whole lot of memories which would be devastating. If you are not overly organised or committed to being pedantic about backing up your shots then Lifecake will be your perfect solution.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Christmas at No.3

Anyone who knows me, knows my obsession with the festive period and how I like to go all out to create a winter wonderland in our home. This has really been a running tradition since I moved out of home at 17 and went to university. Since this time I have been collecting all matters of Christmas paraphernalia to, quite literally, deck the halls with. This year is a very special year in terms Christmas as although it's our second Christmas in No.3 last year the house was in a semi-state of construction which took from my efforts a little. This year is obviously Luke's first Christmas too and it's so lovely watching his little face light up at all the sparkle and twinkly lights. This evening I decided to take a few photos of my efforts along with some of my favourite Christmas finds this year.

Our newest additions to the tree this year include a personalised snowman decoration I got from Trim the Tree for €13 with our names and the year. I also picked up these lovely gold letters on a 3 for 2 offer in Marks and Spencer that retailed for €1.75. For our main tree I always opt for traditional gold, red and green with warm white lights.


For the hallway banister this year I opted to use fresh ivy from the garden as the garland because I was so disappointed with the quality and ridiculous prices of the garlands this year in the shops. I love that I was able to incorporate some of the garden into this years Christmas display and it has lasted perfectly! I brightened it up with silver bobbles and cool white lights to tie in with the greys of our hallway. In our upstairs windows I bought some dowel in Woodies DIY and wrapped it in some coloured ribbon and battery operated lights. I then suspended some bright bobbles and stars I picked up cheaply in Pennys and I just love how they look from the inside and out.

            

A fresh Christmas wreath is a must for me and I picked ours up on Moore Street for €6, what a bargain. I attached some battery operated lights and a ceramic Santa Stop Here sign I made last year in my Moms ceramic studio. 

 

We have two cribs at No.3, one is a Willow Tree crib I splurged on about three years ago and the second is very special as Michael's Nana knit it for us and gave it to us as a gift. We have one in our hallway as you come in the door and the knitted crib has pride of place in our living room. I decided to incorporate some ivy into the Willow Tree Crib along with some battery operated lights to brighten up our hall space. I picked up the beautiful hand carved tree at a local craft fair last year which I love.
I am a firm believer that beautiful does not need to mean expensive and during my browsing this year I came across a huge range of decorations which look incredible and had reasonable price tags to match. I always feel decorations are an investment as you will have them every year and they somehow preserve a memory that you get to relive each Christmas when you root them out.                                                                                                                                         Some of my favourite pieces on our tree are handmade and personalised by my Mom. She makes beautiful porcelain decorations and personalizes our names and the year every Christmas. So each year I have an extra shiny porcelain decoration to admire. Now for a hot port, so I can sit back and enjoy my handy work.

What E-D Does Now

Incredibly a whole year has passed since I last posted and to say a lot has happened in that time would be an understatement. Life as I knew it is a distant memory and Michael and I have been lucky enough to move into our new, very old house and welcome the best little person imaginable, Luke. 'E-D Does It' has been a part of my life since 2012 and the last few weeks I've really been thinking about all the work and effort I have put into the site over the last few years. With that in mind I feel it would be a pity to hang up the oven gloves just yet. So I'm back, but perhaps in a different way this time around. Given the significant changes in my life since my last post, my content will be reflecting my new found priorities and passions as well as my love for the kitchen. So as it happens E-D Does a lot more than cooking these days and so I will be sharing insights into parenthood, my life with Luke, home, interiors, our adventures in photography as well as my culinary escapades. Thanks for your continued support in my year of absence and here's to what E-D did next.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Fresh Lemony Lemonade

So I'll go ahead and state the obvious that it has been more than a little while. Life has been getting in the way for the last few months and without saying too much with a mini Molly on the way in March, things have been hectic. Minimal baking, cooking or creativity to be reported and to be quite honest 'E-D' hasn't been 'doing' too much in the kitchen at all. But the haze of eternal sickness has now lifted, energy levels are beginning to recover, I can happily report, I am alive, feeling great and reporting for duty.

I blew the dust of my Canon at the weekend, dug out my tripod and re-familiarised myself with a supermarket, I am happy to report, it felt good getting back in the saddle. Why Lemony Lemonade in November you ask? Well although I would agree it is indeed more of a summer sizzler thirst solution, red wine isn't on the cards at the moment, and anything drinkable that attacks by taste buds is a welcome distraction to the absence of alcohol at Sunday lunch.


Fresh Lemony Lemonade

Ingredients
1 cup white sugar
1 cup water
1 cup lemon juice (approx 3 large lemons)
3 cups of cold water (to dilute)

Method
1. Start by making the sugar syrup. Add the sugar to 1 cup of water and place in a 
    saucepan. Continue to heat until all of the sugar has dissolved. Add the zest of two  
    lemons to the syrup when heating for extra zing.
2. Meanwhile, juice the lemons.
3. Strain the sugar syrup solution and pour into a large pitcher. Add the lemon juice, and 
    cold water a little at a time, tasting as you go for the perfect level of bitter/sweetness for
    your taste buds.
4. Serve over ice with a straw.

Simple as it may seem, no matter what time of the year, nothing beats freshly made lemonade. The key is dissolving the sugar over heat, otherwise when you add it to the lemonade solution all the sugary goodness sinks to the bottom. Make sure you add a few slices of fresh lemon for the wow factor and hold on to a few pretty jars to serve it for the ultimate non-alcoholic treat.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Spotted Zebra Birthday Cake

This evening I thought I would share this funky 30th birthday cake I put together for a friends birthday a couple of weeks ago. Shopping, fitness and fun were what I was given as a brief and here is what I came up with. This cake is made up of an 8inch base, 5 inch middle tier and 3 inch top tier. I opted for red velvet as the bottom and largest tier and chocolate cake with chocolate fudge icing for the other two. 

I created a zebra print effect on the bottom tier by layering black and white fondant. Using a circle cutter and 5 shades of purple I went for a polka dot theme on the second tier. The board is a large 13inch board which allowed me to add a birthday message and additional fondant
decoration which reflected the birthday girls personality. 




Thursday, 10 July 2014

Tomato and Tuna Miniature Quiches

After a lovely evening with my wonderful other half, and a nice dinner out on the town, one would think I had my fill of indulging in deliciousness. Alas, when I arrived home I thought what better way to top of the evening than share these fantastic miniature quiches I made at the weekend. These quiches are one of my all time favourite summer time foods. Served with a tasty spinach and rocket salad, these little quiches melt in the mouth and will leave you looking for more. Don't be put off by the pastry, I had these made, cooked and eaten in under an our......impressive.


Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Dark Chocolate and Cream Cheese Mousse

I had a great weekend at home in the west with my parents. Sun, food, wine and family made for a tasty and relaxed break after a full on work week. This incredible dessert was the result of sheer determination to use these fantastic Martini glasses that I got as an engagement gift (over a year and a half ago). I wanted to create something really visual and striking as the finalĂ© to a pretty spectacular three course meal. This mousse fitted the bill nicely. All in all, the mousse is easy to prepare and the impressive stripes of sugary bliss make for good dinner conversation!


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