| INSPRIRATION|on my bookshelf

Thought I'd share with you a few books that I have been referring to recently, these are books/authors that really inspire me.  Each one has many pages that I either refer to time and time again or that I know I will refer to in the future.

In the coming weeks I'll show you some of my favourite pages along with information on why I love them so much!

Back next week with a recipe and info from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River cottage veg every day

|COOK|feta stuffed courgettes

This was a great 'leftovers' meal and because I have been pretty vigilant in meal planning and trying not to waste food I'd planned this in and it worked out really well.  It also seems to be the sort of recipe that you could change depending on what you've got in the fridge with a few added pantry items.

I think you could adapt the amount if cheese, I just used what I had left so there might have been a bit more than a recommended portion or those counting calories.  I also used 5 sun dried tomatoes but to be honest I think it would have been better with less.

I served with sugar snaps and roasted baby potatoes.  It was delicious, I think I'll try something similar wrapped in foil on the BBQ!

Serves 1
1 courgette
1tsp olive oil
1/2 small banana shallot, diced
50g feta cheese, crumbled
1tbsp toasted pine nuts
12 olives, chopped roughly
3 sun dried tomatoes, chopped roughly
10 fresh mint leaves chopped

Pre-heat oven to 180.

Scrape the seeds from the courgette, chop and fry lightly in olive oil with the shallot.

Combine all other ingredients, when courgette and shallots are soft add those to the feta mixture.

Fill the courgettes with the mixture and bake for 25 minutes.

|ORGANISE|household planner

For years I had a household organiser based on the Maria Garcia ezorganizer. In the main it served its purpose and with customisation did its job very nicely. However, whilst I was on maternity leave I found myself creating lots of forms, lists, plans schedules, charts and worksheets from really 'Mummy' ones like a nursing chart to meal plans to smooth mealtimes and blog ones to help me try and move forward with the organisation and planning of this blog, these really helped me in my new role and I found myself turning to them more and more often.

Since coming back to work I've found that other forms have been really useful to me, I turned to my old household organiser and realised that it no longer did its job, the categories were no longer relevant and our lives had changed so much the old style no longer suited. I realised then that I needed to update my planner and make it reflect our current lifestyle, the forms I'd created were functional but they certainly weren't pretty or visually appealing. So my new project was born! At the moment I am busily researching blogs, Pinterest, Flickr and google for examples and ideas. I have all of my new forms and a big list of many more that need creating/developing as I create my new household planner I'd like to share the journey, hopefully to provide inspiration and ideas that might help you do the same.  I've created by planner out of a Tesco A4 ring binder, nothing special. I added the letter stickers to personalise it a bit!  I'm sure that in time I will either have to increase the number of planners I have or extend to a larger ring binder.

One thing I've realised during my research is that, no single off-the-shelf product will suit everyone, a planner is something that is so personal that it needs much more than a since approach I have also learned that its an evolving process, one that will never be finished, that will change and adapt as lives, interests and time changes. When I finally realised this I stopped beating myself up for not staying on top of my old method and embraced the challenge of implementing a new evolving system.

Here I'll be sharing some of my forms, experience and photos (who doesn't love a peek in someone else's planner?!?!) I will also be sharing some of my favourite pins, inspiration and products, none of this will be sponsored it will all be personal opinion and experience.

In the meantime I'll leave you with my Pinterest board, there's lots of inspiration already there and I'll be adding to it all the time.

|FAMILY|toddler activity - tulip handprint card

Crafting with a toddler is one of the hardest things I think I've done! To be fair on him Thomas is only 15 months but he does a lot of art and craft activities at nursery and so is very used to paints and crayons etc, he gets so excited when I get any of the 'art' supplies out.

I wanted to create a tulip handprint card for my Mum's birthday, the first obstacle was trying to get him to just do one handprint per card when he wanted to put handprints everywhere, including on the wipeable tablecloth.

My second challenge was to try and get him to hold his thumb in to from more of a 'tulip' shape, that way we could do a spread hand flower in a different colour for other people or events!

We ended up with a good attempt but I think he enjoyed scribbling writing inside himself more!

Next time I'm just going to give him creative licence and then turn it into 'something' afterwards.

Having a baby is certainly testing my control freak tendencies!!!!!

Happy Friday, have a lovely weekend filled with lots of good food & wine, friends, family and love.

|52 CARD CHALLENGE|10/52 - 4 wedding invites

Still playing catch-up with 52 cards, by 1 June I'm hoping to be there and then I can go along with the prompts and get on track! Until then I'm on my 10th card this year - I'd rather not work out how many cards I've bought instead of making, but onwards and upwards!

Last weekend I had to make some samples for my brothers wedding, they wanted something simple and subtle, not too flouncy and easy for me to mass produce for them.

I gave them the following designs and they've come back with option 2 (clockwise) with the ribbon from design 1, so I now have the lovely task of making 80 of these for the beginning of June.

Nothing outstanding used for the supplies so I won't bother listing.

|HOME|new flowers on the spring mantle

I'm a bit stuck for flowers from the garden at the moment, the forsythia has almost gone over, as has the magnolia, the bluebells are not yet flowering and the tulips haven't really made much of a show this year and its not quite time for roses.

The daliah's I planted last year all seem to have rotted in the wet weather we've had this season, I'm really annoyed about that as there were at least 12 plants. I have potted about 15 more this year but I think I'm going to have to buy a few potted ones from the garden centre before mine bloom, I was hoping for a really dramatic display this year but it looks like I will have to wait until next year now.

The only flowers (not pink in colour!) that I could find we're bachelors buttons and mock orange, so I went with a small display of those rather than buy any.

Changing the height really does make a difference to the overall look of the mantle, but I quite like the subtle look of the effect and think I'll use it again in the summer when some of the daliah's stems inevitably break in the winds.

Dreaming of filling the house with roses and daliah's in the summer and going to start keeping a lookout for new containers to display them in.

|COOK|Lovely lunches

During my ‘working life’ I’ve had many different lunchtime eating habits, ranging from a diet coke and packet of crisps when I first started work, to eating a full meal at lunch time so that I had all evening to do whatever I liked, then onto pub or bar lunches most days on expenses, later grabbing something on the go because I was going to the gym or working through to buying a sandwich or salad to take back as I spent the lunch hour with The Hubs.

Since coming back to work after my maternity leave – a year on 6 June(!) I have been really trying to make our lunches, The Hubs is very easy to please and a wrap, some breakfast bars and a drink is all he needs to keep him satisfied during the day, with the odd pasta or salad thrown in now and then to relieve the boredom! I, on the other hand am very fussy when it comes to lunches, I don’t like homemade ‘sweaty’ sandwiches or wraps. I love jacket potatoes and pasta dishes and much prefer to eat a larger meal at lunchtime and just grab a snack for my dinner in the evening. On the days that The Hubs doesn’t come home until late, I have started to eat a full meal at lunch which means that it gives me more time in the evening.

The Hubs and I are currently trying to lose a little bit of weight, although we are both our ideal BMI we do feel that we could do with losing a few pounds, he is now going to the gym at lunchtimes and I’m using my lunches to work on business products, the blog or catch up with on demand TV, this means that I need lunches that are quick and easy and as I’m trying to lose weight and gain more energy they need to be healthy.

So far on my list of ‘lovely lunches’ I’ve had (clockwise)…
Homemade ‘pot noodle’ taken form the Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall Veg book
Pasta bake using my basic tomato sauce recipe I swapped mozzarella for sausage
A pasta greek salad, just a greek salad with an extra bit of pasta in to bulk it out!
Mozzarella salad for days where I need something a little lighter I was inspired by mason jar salads that I saw on Pinterest and when I tried one, it was very successful. When I have tried more variations and have more experience in the area I plan write a full blog post to share my experience.

Other lunches I’ve mixed in so far are Jacket Potatoes, quiches and soups.

I'm hoping to have a go-to list of 10-12 lovely lunches that I can rotate, I also would like to experiment more with seasonal ingredients and use produce from the garden so they need to be adaptable.

| INSPIRATION |Audrey Hepburn

Today would have been the amazing Audrey Hepburn's 84 birthday. She is one of the biggest inspirations in my life and I would love to be a fraction of the woman she was.

Quite simply a wonderful, beautiful, intelligent and compassionate woman.

My favourite Audrey film is Sabrina, in fact the family surname 'Larrabee' from Sabrina was the inspiration for this blogs name - Larabee, something I will blog more about in future.

Some of Audrey's quotes:-

I was born with an enormous need for affection, and a terrible need to give it.

Nothing is impossible, the word itself says 'I'm possible'!

The most important thing is to enjoy your life - to be happy - it's all that matters.

I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it's the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It's probably the most important thing in a person.

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.

See more of her quotes here.