Ginger Bisquite

Lifestyle, DIY, Family & Food

The Garden in Review 2014

October 15, 2014 by Jenni Clutten | 4 Comments

the garden in review 2014It’s been too long since I shared any pictures of our garden, but I’m finally back with an update.

Over the summer I’ve totally failed to keep a regular log on what has been growing, which seems odd as it should really be the most busy time for fruit, vegetables and flowers.

It was actually the first anniversary of living in our house here, last week and I can’t believe this year has gone by so fast.  I find myself looking around at the plants thinking back to how the gardens were that first day we got the keys.

gb.hdygg.blueberry (1 of 1)-3gb.hdygg.cheroke bean (1 of 1)gb.hdygg.chilli (1 of 1)gb.hdygg.chilli (1 of 1)-2gb.hdygg.courgette (1 of 1) I don’t know why, but I actually find Autumn the most invigorating time for thinking about the garden.  I’ve kind of just left summer to look after itself, I think I take it for granted, even when I’m harvesting courgettes and sweet peas on a daily basis  At this time of year I’m always looking ahead to Spring, my most favourite season I’ve come to realise.  I am always wanting to ensure that we are planting bulbs for a bright and vibrant colour explosion when the warmth starts to return.

A couple of things have been really exciting this year, I’ve harvested and grown from seeds I’ve collected myself and learnt a lot about which seeds work well and what time I need to plant things.

Things I’ve learnt:

  • My tomatoes barely ripened in the greenhouse, next year I’ll go for cherry varieties.
  • I didnt;t have enough french beans
  • I don’t like broadbeans, I just left them sitting around.
  • My aubergine’s didn’t grow
  • My sweetcorn didn’t pollinate 100%
  • We used all our onions, I could have planted more closer together

gb.hdygg.greenheadedcallabrese (1 of 1) gb.hdygg.kale (1 of 1) gb.hdygg.kale (1 of 1)-2 gb.hdygg.lettuce (1 of 1) gb.hdygg.marigold (1 of 1) gb.hdygg.marigold (1 of 1)-2 gb.hdygg.marigold (1 of 1)-3 gb.hdygg.squash (1 of 1)-2I have a subscription to Gardner’s World which Neil bought me for my birthday and relaxing in the bath with it is my favourite way to relax.  I find it’s full of tips and inspiration and really inspired me to create a gorgeous garden.  I also love the Sarah Raven catalogue, and I’m pleased to say after a year of admiring it, I finally ordered some products.  I am so excited for them to arrive and to be able to share them with you once I’ve planted them up.gb.hdygg.purple sprouting brocolli (1 of 1)gb.hdygg.sweetpea (1 of 1)gb.hdygg.sweetpea (1 of 1)-2 gb.hdygg.sweetpeaseeds (1 of 1)

Linking up with Annie, for week 72 of How Does Your Garden Grow.

Manneskjur

 

Nola Night In

October 14, 2014 by Jenni Clutten | 0 comments

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As Autumn sets in, I’ve been enjoying some relaxing time at home in the evenings, sitting with my feet up and catching up with friends.  With two children it’s often difficult to find the time to get out, so my only option is to indulge in some treats at home.

When we have people over it’s lovely to be able to have something new to try, whether some snacks or drinks and on this occasion, we tried out Nola Vodka Spritz as I was recently sent a gorgeous package of gifts to create the perfect nola night in.  Nola is a fruity vodka spritz that comes in two flavours – Raspberry and Elderflower, and Watermelon and Strawberry.  I am particularly partial to something fizzy, but don’t normally break open the drinks cabinet during the week.  However, Nola is something you could easily grab from the fridge to share, or by yourself with the cans.

So after clinking those glasses, what did we think?  Of the two flavours the Raspberry and Elderflower was my favourite as I am a bit of of an elderflower fan.  Both flavours are sweet and lightly sparkling, and are very drinkable.   I was expecting it to be a lot more bubbly, but instead it is quite light and smooth and goes perfectly with those fruity meringues.

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Disclosure:

To create the ideal night in, Nola supplied us with some gorgeous meringue’s from the Meringue Girls, some ‘Proper Corn’, a delicious lemon and white tea candle and some itunes vouchers to set the tone.

Samsung Showcase Fridge Freezer Review

October 10, 2014 by Jenni Clutten | 0 comments

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We’ve now been living with the Samsung Showcase Fridge Freezer for several weeks, and as I mentioned during the ‘first look‘ I wanted to come back to do a full review at a later date.  It often takes time to get used to new appliances, seeing how they fit into family life and making the most of all the features.

Here are our thoughts on the Samsung Showcase after several weeks of family use.

The Look:
We still love the way this fridge freezer looks, I’m pretty confident it would fit well into any kitchen.  It’s design is sleek and sophisticated with its sleek brushed steel and simple lines.  Thankfully the door doesn’t get covered in finger prints and is easy to wipe clean when required without worrying about marks and smears.

The Showcase Door:
The unique element of this fridge freezer has to be the innovative ‘showcase’ door which helps you find what you are looking for as well as giving easy access to those cooking essentials you use on a daily basis.  It’s great for keeping the temperature constant, as it stops the mass heat loss caused by opening the full fridge door.  In our house it’s most used for getting drinks and snacks throughout the day.

Layout:
In additional to the clever showcase door, the overall layout of the fridge works well for a family.  The fridge unit has 3 large internal draws which has helped us divide our fresh fruit and veg.  We have divided our produce up with salad in our top drawer, other vegetables in the second drawer and fruit in the bottom.  There are plenty of shelves which help to easy divide up your items, some of these can be rearranged to customise the space further.  Much of the showcase shelving is used for jars, divided between preserves, and sauces and accompaniments like mustard and pickle.  All the shelves are a good size, and I particularly like that some of them pull out so you can see all the way to the back.  There’s also room for 5 bottles on the integrated bottle rack, we use this for wine as well as bottled water.

As I’ve recently returned to work I have less time to get things done at home and I can confirm that it’s been easy to find what I need even when I’m rushing around at 7am to put a packed lunch together.  I can open the showcase door, survey the fridge for what I need, and get everything out in a few minutes, saving me the stress of panicking that there is no food!

Features:
One of the main features, that it can be easy to overlook, is the clever technology that you cannot ‘see’ working.  The Samsung Showcase uses a digital inverter to improve energy efficiency and cooling performance by automatically adjusting in response to cooling demands.  For example, if you leave the door ajar or put a hot plate of food inside the compressor reacts rapidly to provide cold air avoiding inconsistent temperatures.

Freezer:
Most importantly to me, the freezer is well-lit making it easy to find what you’re looking for.  We use our freezer a lot to make the most of the food we cook so the wide shelves of different sizes and two drawers divide up the space well.  The shelves are sturdy and make it easy to stack leftovers, and plan our meals for the next week.  Some of the space is taken up by the ice dispenser but there is still a good 174 litres of space to fill!

Ice Despenser:
The ice and water dispenser is plumed, which means once you have it connected to your mains water you will have ice and chilled water on tap.  We have found the ice dispenser large enough to serve our family needs and we’ve never yet run out.  Our favourite feature has to be the crushed ice which feels especially decadent when you’re relaxing at home on a warm day.

Full Spec Details:

  • Height: 177.4cm
  • Width: 91.2cm
  • Depth: 72.1cm
  • Fridge Capacity (net): 396L
  • Freezer Capacity (net): 174L
  • Energy Rating: A+
  • Average Cost per year: £42

Overall:
The Samsung Showcase is a great family fridge freezer, with many features that make it a cut above the rest.

What are our favourite features?
We are still keen to show off the showcase feature to friends and family, as we have found that it really does work for us.  It’s helpful for our children to gain independence by accessing their own snacks and we are able to monitor what they have access too as the handle for the main fridge is too high.

Disclosure:  I was sent the Samsung RH57H90507F American Style Food Showcase Fridge Freezer : £2,549 RRP for the purpose of this review.  For more information, to order or to find stockists, please check the Samsung website.

Create a Dream Living Room with Fabulous Fabrics

October 8, 2014 by Jenni Clutten | 0 comments

A mood board is a great way to plan a room scheme, pulling swatches and colours together to work out exactly how you want a room to look and feel.  This week I’ve been inspired to create a dream living room with some fabulous fabrics.

I started creating my scheme by looking at the samples on the Natural Curtain Company website.  To decide on samples, I thought about what colours would complement the items we already own that we will be keeping, looking at fabrics that would complement and contrast nicely.  The majority of my samples were taken from the blues and greens section, but I just couldn’t help but take a look at the bright mustard tone of the Sage Bud fabric.

When placing my order for free samples I had an idea of which one I thought I would like best, but in the end, seeing the samples in real life made all the difference.  Feeling the fabrics in my hand and viewing them in my home has really added to the experience, allowing me to make decisions where all elements of a design are brought together.  This is unlike when you look at samples in shops , still one step removed from your home.

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Once I had selected my ideal fabric, which happens to be the Nature Bark design, I started pulling different ideas together using Pinterest to create a board full of #FabulousFabrics.  You can see all my fabric options there alongside some other inspiring options I put together.

Follow Ginger Bisquite’s board Living Room Design Ideas on Pinterest.

Once I’d compiled a range of items I really liked I then put together my own online moodboard to share with you, including paint, fabulous fabrics, and artwork that all work together to transform a space into a cosy yet contemporary living room.  And of course, once you have selected your fabric you can choose your options using the made the measure curtains section of the website.

As you can see, in my living room design it really is the curtains that will steal the show, with their bold and unique pattern.  The whole room is hinged around these original beautiful made to measure curtains that will be striking as part of a contemporary room style, yet also cosy due to their thick luxurious material.

Cosy and Contemporary Living

 

 

 So, what do you think?  What curtain fabric would you choose for your living room?

Disclosure, post in collaboration with the Natural Curtain Company, all thoughts, words and photography my own unless otherwise stated.

 

 

Designing a good home office

October 3, 2014 by Jenni Clutten | 0 comments

This week I have been inspired by home office workspaces and how a good space can help you get more done. I’m constantly looking for space to work and still in the process of creating my perfect work space!  With this in mind, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity of interviewing  Sarah Slimm one of the stylists at Hammonds to pick her brains about designing a good home office.

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What are your top 5 tips for designing a good home office?

1. Light. Having natural light in a room can change your mood and make your working day a much better experience. Think about the natural light in that room and how you can maximise it.

2. Layout. Consider the space you are going to use and how best to maximise it. What storage do you need? What workspace will be required? Don’t be afraid to move away from the walls and use all of the space; why not stick you desk in the middle of the room instead of butted up against the back wall.

3. Space.
Bring the outside into your office and blend those boundaries between outside and inside. Having plants or scents in the office can help your sense of wellbeing and help you focus better.

4. Storage.
Think about whether you need cupboard storage to hide away those messy files and appease your OCD. Alternatively do you have some beautiful storage or inspirational pieces that’s would look amazing on a shelf or open bookcase.

5. Mood.
What colours bring you personal comfort? Layer these up with textures and print that spark your brains interest. What do you think the most important feature of a home office is? “The key in making it through your working day is to be comfortable. You need to have a desk with your computer at the right level to help your posture. You need to be thinking about space efficiency and creating easily accessible storage; you don’t want to be getting up and down from your desk to get the necessities. Make sure you don’t add any awkward design features that may look quirky and cool in a magazine photo but actually cause agitation in your working day. Like that really cool artwork you found at the flee market that is artfully leaning against your desk wall that you have to strategically manoeuvre. Whilst this looks amazing on your vogue hallway table it’s just not practical in your office!” How do you choose the best space for a home office? “Think about the type of work you will be doing in your office. Do you need a large space for plans, drawings or artwork? Do you need good storage for business files? Or are you mainly online based with blogging and web pages so therefore a small nook will suffice? In modern society space is becoming a premium so you need to consider the bigger picture and what percentage of space from your home you are willing to sacrifice. Get creative and re-look at those unused areas and dumping zones in the home like under the stairs, an old airing cupboard or attic space and turn them into a workable space and feature.”

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Do you think there are any particularly good colours for a home office?
“Colour really depends on the type of person you are, how you intend to use that space and whether you need to portray a certain image to clients. You may require a creative environment and you take inspiration from bright colours. You may work better with cocooning dark colours and a dramatic space. You may even prefer a corporate neutral palette to greet your business partners. There is no wrong or right way its all down to what works best for you. The important thing is executing it correctly.”

How much desk space do you think a home office needs?

“Desk space requirements vary depending on the type of work you want to achieve. Do you have kids that need somewhere to layout their homework? Do you need somewhere to lay out your own creative projects and hold meetings? Or do you simply need a space to keep momentums, knick-knacks’ and inspiration? With the advances of modern technology, most people can now satisfy all their office needs with a laptop or clever tablet so the days of large endless work tops seems a little obsolete. Make a list of the ways you might use your office space; at the end of the day you don’t want to end up underestimating your needs and have an unusable space that’s just another dumping zone.”

clever storage for a home office

What do you think a home office should never be without?

“Stationary! How can you make it through the day without your pack of funky post it notes, quirky note pads and a full colour palette of fine liners! So a stationary draw to hand is an absolute must in my eyes!”

So, a massive thank you to Sarah for her really practical tips for creating a good home office.  I’ve got to admit that I think I tend to under-utilise wall space, cluttering up my desk and this has certainly given me lots to think about.  Including, which colours will create a good mood for me personally.  The style you create in your home is such a personal thing after all, our work space should reflect this too!  For more inspiration you can check out the hammonds home office furniture range.

Disclosure: Post in collaboration with Hammonds, all thoughts, words and opinions my own, unless otherwise stated.

Painting furniture with Farrow & Ball

September 25, 2014 by Jenni Clutten | 0 comments

painting furniture with farrow and ball

Are you looking to create a personalised piece of furniture for your home with Farrow & Ball paint?  Then look no further, here you’ll find tips on just how to get a great look, painting furniture with Farrow & Ball Estate Eggshell.

The photos above were taken by me, and the whole look took just two days to complete, including sanding and cleaning the chest of drawers.  Turning an old piece of battered furniture into a zingy, fun and function chest of drawers.

To get the look, you will need:

  • Electric sander or sand paper
  • Cloth
  • Plyers
  • Hammer
  • Primer (I used cheap white emulsion)
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush(s)
  • New door knobs (optional)

Stages of paint preparationWhat paint do you need?
First decide what you want to paint, then you can work out which paint would be best and how much you’ll need.  For this project, I selected the Estate Eggshell in Yellowcake No.279 which has a lightly glossed finish.  I used a 2.5litre tin and once I had finished my two coats I still had over half a tin left.  I lam so in love with this wonderfully retro colour and already have some plans to upcycle a play table for Nye’s beach hut playhouse too.

How to prepare your furniture?
Next look at your piece of furniture and assess what finish it currently has. Has it been varnished, waxed, painted or do you have a plain pre sanded piece that is ready to go?  Most older furniture tends to be varnished (as mine was) and the easiest way to get rid of this is by using a good sander.  For this reason flakey pieces of furniture are the easiest to sand as you’ve already had a helping hand! Before sanding I removed all the handles, taking the bolt off the back with a pair of plyers then using a hammer to loosen the handle from its hole.  Next, is the sanding and you can either sand by hand (time consuming), or use an electric sander.  We have the Black & Decker 4 in 1 multi sander which is far superior to anything else I’ve used, to do the entire unit I think it took me about an hour and wasn’t as much hard work as you’d imagine.yellowcake farrow and ball

How to paint?
I started the process by using a white undercoat, painting the drawers and overall unit with two thin coats, then left it to dry overnight. I painted any bits of the drawers you would see day to day, so the draw fronts and edges but left the internal drawers  Most paint companies seem to suggest that you leave 4 hours between coats, I admit I did cheat a bit on the undercoat as the wood just sucked it all up.  I used a bog standard brush for both the undercoat and the top coat and for .  If you wanted a brush stroke free look you can use a small roller to great effect but you may need to do more coats.

Finishing Touches
Adding or repainting handles is a great way to modernise a piece.  (I find Ebay and Anthropologie a great place to find unique and unusual ones.)  To finish off my chest of drawers, I managed to pick up some cute handles, in what happened to be the exact shade from TK Maxx which were £4 for 4. I mixed these in with a set of original handles and I really like the two tone look it gives.

So, dare I ask, what do you think? Do you have any furniture knocking around that you’re dying to update? What colour paint would you choose for your house?

Disclosure: This feature is in collaboration with Farrow & Ball, all thoughts words and opinions my own.

Grip It Fixings, As Seen on Dragons Den!

September 18, 2014 by Jenni Clutten | 0 comments

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I don’t know about you but there are certain DIY jobs I always put off.  If it’s something hung on the walls, then I’m shy to drag the drill out.  It always seems like such a faff, working out what fixings I will need and finding all the bits.  I’m terrible for putting things away so they’re never where I think they are, just the thought of it is enough to make me give up.  we’ve still got so many pictures and hooks to hang, even though we’ve almost been here a year.  This week I’ve been testing out some new ‘Grip It‘ fixings which are suitable for plasterboard and are a quick and secure solution to my problems.

I particularly loved using this set as everything is there in front of you, ready for you to get to work.  For example it comes with its very own drill bits that match the Grip It sizes (no searching in vain for the right sizes here).  You can see when you use these, just how clever they are, which is a testament to the thought that has gone into designing such an intelligent product.

The fixings were designed by Jordan Daykin when he was just 13 years old, how is that even possible!? Luckily Jordan was able to secure a £80,000 investment from Deborah Meaden on the Dragons Den and it feel lovely to be part of that journey.

Meanwhile. if you’re in need of tips to get to grips with them,I thought that this video was a really useful way of seeing how the fixings work and how easy and secure they are to install.  Interestingly, the largest

So, for your chance to win your very own set of Grip It Fixings, all you need to do is enter using the Rafflecopter below, and keep your fingers crossed.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was sent a Grip it set for the purpose of this review.  All thoughts words and opinions are my own.

Wayfair UK giveaway

September 16, 2014 by Jenni Clutten | 148 Comments

wayfairWhile relaxing  over on the Isle of Wight, Wayfair UK got in touch to ask if I’d be interested it running a giveaway on the blog.  Thankfully they were happy to wait until we were back on the mainland to sort out the prize, and I’m thrilled to say that one lucky reader will be able to win a £150 voucher to spend on their site.  I did debate choosing some of my favourite bits, but I figure everyone is after something different and instead I’d love to hear about what you would get if you were to win.

Let me tell you, it’s not going to be easy to choose, Wayfair UK stock over 350,000 products across all areas of the home.  I find it so difficult to concentrate whenever I go to look for something on their site, there’s so many lovely things that I could spend hours just browsing.  Wayfair UK offers products from top manufacturers around the world and guarantees absolute satisfaction, I am a particular fan of the bed linen and garden items but love what they have on offer for the home office too.  Below you can see some ideas I have put together for what I would spend the £150 on, themed around the home office.

Wayfair UK £150 voucher

 

To be in with a chance to win, simply fill in the rafflecopter below and tell me, what you could buy with your £150 Wayfair UKVoucher?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Old Fashioned Sweets

September 13, 2014 by Jenni Clutten | 1 Comment

old fashioned sweets Do you have a secret stash of sweets to keep as a little treat to yourself?  I don’t always have something to hand, but I can quite frequently be found rummaging through the cupboard to see if I’ve left any small morsels of chocolate ripe for the picking.  And, I can’t be the only one who goes crazy for those little old fashion sweet shops that you sometimes come across in picturesque towns and villages? I just love to have a good browse, picking out my old favourites and trying some new things too.

So, when I was contacted by Ashby Treats and asked if I’d like to sample some of their traditional sweet shop fares sent straight to my door I was happy to oblige.  A few days later a box appeared, balanced on my front door step, it was a big and brown, and I couldn’t wait to get the children tucked up for their nap and break it open.old fashioned sweets

My box included a great selection of treats, all hand packed and labelled in lovely black and red sweety bags.  It instantly reminded me of our wedding where we had a ‘sweet buffet’ with our own bags and jars.  This is also something Ashby Treats can offer as well as a sweet finding service!

For me, old fashioned sweets are the ones I love, and my favourites from this selection have to be the ultra fizzy cola bottles, bon bons and the gorgeous walkers chocolate eclaires.  I think this is such a perfect gift, and I am planning to order some for friends.  Perhaps these could be the perfect gift for after the birth of a baby?

What would you choose?

Disclosure: This post is in collaboration with Ashby Treats, all thoughts words and opinions are my own.

Living Arrows 33/34/35/36

September 12, 2014 by Jenni Clutten | 0 comments

The summer seems to have disappeared into the distance, somewhere between now and July, the time just evaporated.  I remember when it was just beyond reach, Neil preparing to pack up his things for the end of term.  The prospect of those six weeks stretching out in front of us, days and days of time that we thought would last forever.  We were feeling the sense of anticipation, tempting, weeks just the four of us.  Of course now, just in the blink of an eye it’s over and we are drawing ourselves back into our old routines.  It was a wonderful summer, so many bright days, lots of visiting friends and family and exploring everything the Cotswolds has to offer.  Here are some more of the memories we will keep.

la.aag.13.08.2014 (1 of 1)la.eag.23.08.2014 (1 of 1)-233/52 Once we had returned from our trips to see family we visited the lovely Cotswold Country Park for the second time.  I remember our last visit so clearly, it happened to be just a few days before we made an offer on our house, I have phone snaps of the brightest of blue skys.  What a difference a year makes, from one child to two; two busy babies splashing in the water and running their hands through the sand.  It was so beautifully sunny, a big bright and blue sky stretching out in front of us.  Then, without warning there came a sudden chill in the air followed by rain, rain and more rain lashing down.  We ran for cover, and found ourselves sat huddled in the boot of the car, waiting for it to pass with only some smarties to sustain us.la.aag.25.08.2014 (1 of 1)la.eag.23.08.2014 (1 of 1)34/52 Lovely days at home, pottering, organising, making messes, tidying the messes and then making more mess.  Cuddles and kisses on the sofa, making play dough in the kitchen and listening to ‘let it go’ on repeat.  Amidst this, they still continue to grow, your very first tooth came through Evie, less than 1mm of a razor-sharp blade, just another reminder of the first year of your life slipping on by.  Then there was the potty training success (after 3 failed attempts), the time was right and with a sticker chart in hand, you did it Nye.  We started the first few days giving you treats after you had been on the potty 5 times, but after a few days it was just second nature to you.  No need for stickers or treats, just done. Another milestone been and gone and we barely even noticed it.

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35/52 The next week we had our perfect little holiday, just a few days of exploring the Isle of Wight.  Adventures to some culinary gems and trips to the beach to look for shells, crabs and driftwood.  Evie you took it all in from the comfort of your carrier, happy to go along for the ride, whilst you Nye enjoyed every second of exploring, running, playing and digging.  You were slightly uneasy about staying in a new house at first, but still slept well every night.  Over the summer you have really blossomed into a little human, we no longer have to worry about you sleeping during car journeys as you are happy to sing and chat in the car. Evie on the other hand, eludes sleep like a master, you want to be awake, crawling, interacting and prefer to sleep cuddled up in our arms, especially in the day time.

You both tried Lobster for the first time, cooked simply with pasta in our holiday house.  It’s amazing to give you the tastes of you things and see how you like them.  Of course we had busy days but we were able to relax too, and just before we headed to the ferry to go home we took a pit stop at the park where you were able to push Evie on the swing for the first time.  It wasn’t quite as smooth as I would have liked, but to be honest, Evie loved it and just loves being a part of the games you play.la.aag.05.09.2014 (1 of 1)la.eag.05.09.2014 (1 of 1)36/52 We are back at home and the start of the new term is looming over us.  Autumn appears to have arrived, the nights are suddenly getting darker and there can be a bite in the air.  The moon has been out, so big and bright in the sky, sometimes we can see it, morning and night and Nye, you just love it.  It’s funny you’ve slept so well even when it’s light when you go to bed, but there seems to be something about it getting dark that you like.  Now when it does get dark, you tell us it is bed time and head upstairs, you ask to see the moon every night and I lift you up to look out the window.

Evie you are a super speed crawler, it just suddenly happened that we can be in the living room, but before I know it you’ve chased the dog into the kitchen.  you’ll head full speed for her, weaving your way under the dining table.  I head off to find where on earth you’ve gone and imagine what you’ve been able to get up to in the 1 minute I took my eye off you.  You amuse yourself now by picking things up and throwing them, so impressed by your own ability to let go, the sounds you can make and how far you can throw things.  Another favourite activity is pulling books off shelves, I think I had forgotten this stage.  And of course as soon as I tidy up you’re back at it, it’s so much fun for you.