Sad news

Well, I have to admit that I have a secret I have been keeping from you all. And that is, that we are leaving Hong Kong in June. We’ve been here for almost 4 years now, but being so far from family and the comforts of home is hard when you have a young family so we have decided to move back to the UK. We’ve loved our time in Hong Kong and are so grateful for the opportunity to live here over these last years.

So, what does that mean for the blog? Well, since a lot of the things I post about are about Hong Kong, I have decided to stop writing this blog once we leave, or at least pause it for the foreseeable future. I may start to blog again at some point, probably about crafting or jewellery making. But who knows what the future holds.

In the meantime, I will continue to blog as normal. I have lots of places in Hong Kong to blog about and have even managed a few very easy crafts which I can share. I just have to find time to write them down!

Thank you so much for reading this blog and I hope you will continue to do so until I stop blogging in a couple of months’ time.

Rachel

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Merry Christmas from the Little Koo blog!

Sending Christmas greetings from Hong Kong! I am so privileged to have readers from all around the world, so wherever you are I hope you are enjoying this festive period with friends and family.

We are just having a small family Christmas in Hong Kong since most of our family is in the UK. Christmas here is much less of a big deal for us since my husband doesn’t tend to take much time off work (and the office is still working as normal through this period) but thankfully he at least gets Christmas day and New Year’s day off! And also, it just doesn’t feel quite right when it’s still pretty mild weather-wise – although the temperature has dropped a lot the last couple of weeks so we’ve had to dust off the jumpers and coats!

The twins still don’t 100% understand what’s going on this year but they enjoy looking at all the Christmas decorations, especially the Christmas trees! I bought a very cheap, small Christmas tree for our apartment, and predictably they continually remove all the baubles *sigh*.

They also have no idea who Father Christmas is, but they still enjoyed opening their Christmas stockings ;)

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Life is still busy with the twins so I haven’t had time to do much crafting this Christmas. I did manage to find time to make Christmas cards though! I wanted to get the twins involved a bit this year so they had fun doing some painting and then I cut up the paintings to make the cards.

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I added the stars by making a star-shaped stamp from a pencil eraser (I got the idea from here) and stamped them with white acrylic paint (using a piece of felt, which I have done before). And I added a star to the top of each tree. It was amazingly quick and easy!

My only other Christmas ‘make’ this year has been mince pies (sweet pies filled with currants, raisins and spices – for those of you outside the UK), which I made to my father-in-law’s recipe. Yum :)

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I just want to take this opportunity to thank you all for reading this blog, especially as my posts are getting more sporadic these days. I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and have lots of fun things to look forward to in 2016!

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

Busy busy busy

Apologies that I have been pretty intermittent with the blog lately, life has just got in the way!

For a start, ironically after deciding to close down my jewellery business (also called Little Koo) for the time being due to a lack of time to work on the business, my closing down sale was incredibly popular and I had more sales in a couple of weeks than I’d had in the previous year! Wow, it was just amazing! I just want to thank everyone who bought something, and to especially thank you for your patience as I struggled to find time to get the orders together and in the post.

The twins of course decided that this was the perfect time to stop reliably napping every day which left me even less time than usual to work on the jewellery. And the terrible twos hit right on cue so they are much more of a handful to deal with these days. Couple this with a husband who is finding work very stressful at the moment, was training for a half marathon (which he ran last weekend – well done Tom!) and continues to study for a professional exam in January. And we have a cockroach infestation. Life just seems to have all happened at once! I shouldn’t complain really, because I know some people who have recently had to deal with actual difficulties in life, but it has been hard to fit everything in and get through the days sometimes.

Anyway, there are a couple of real positives that I can take away from how popular my sale was. Firstly, people actually liked and wanted to buy my jewellery! I was beginning to really doubt myself in this area. Even now, I have lots of ideas for different directions to take my jewellery design in future, but it was a real reassurance that my jewellery wasn’t hideous and un-sellable!

Little Koo jewellery

Secondly, making all the jewellery that I had sold really re-ignited my interest in jewellery making and I had lots of ideas for jewellery that I want to make for myself! I plan to spend the time between now and when I finally decide to re-open the shop learning lots of new jewellery techniques and trying out different styles and designs (and of course, making lots of jewellery for myself). I have pinned so many tutorials on Pinterest to try! Now I just need to find the time…

Anyway, thanks for sticking with this blog over the last couple of months. I have SO many blog posts in my head, I just need to get them down on the computer! So keep an eye out for lots of fun blog posts coming soon!

And Christmas, I need to do something about Christmas too…

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

The twins turn 2! (and have a picnic)

So, as I mentioned in my last post, October was a very busy month for me – and the main reason was because it was the twins’ 2nd birthday! We were so lucky to have all their grandparents visiting in different parts of October, overlapping for the birthday itself. It’s always great to see the twins with their grandparents since they don’t get to see them very often – but they still love them lots!

For the birthday itself, we all took a trip to Ocean Park. We’ve never been before, but we thought that it would be a good time to go now that the twins are old enough to take an interest in the animals. They had a great time, and actually we all did. Ocean Park is massive and although we spent most of the day there, we didn’t see half of the park itself. For a start, we only saw the animals, we didn’t even go on any of the rides (unless taking the cable car down counts as a ride!). Anyway, here are a few picture of the day:

Looking at the fish in the aquarium

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One little monkey looking at another little monkey…

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Riding the cable car

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“Posing” with some fake food

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And lastly, my favourite part, and definitely Jack’s (we could barely prise him away) – this panda was enjoying a large bamboo lunch in full view of everyone. So exciting to see!

The next day was the day of the twins’ birthday party. After having seen how elaborate these things can get, I opted for the relatively simple option of a picnic in the park! I knew that the weather in October is generally good so I thought it would be a good shout. I invited a bunch of their little friends, as well as some bigger family friends, and the grandparents all came along too.

Jack & Isobel 2nd birthday party invitation

I picked Tamar Park as the location since it has a lovely open area of grass and is nice and central for everyone to get to (I would have picked Jordan Valley Park if I could have because it has both grass and a great children’s playground but I don’t think anyone would have come – it’s so far away!). It worked out really well, especially as the party started early enough that I was able to grab a nice big bit of shade – it turned out to be a pretty hot day but it was dry (unlike the usual humidity of summer) so it was very pleasant in the shade. I bought some party hats, bubbles, balls and other party things, and there was loads of food (thanks so much to everyone who brought something) so it was the recipe for a great time.

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Whilst I love baking, I am very inexperienced when it comes to cake decorating! So after having looked a bit on the internet for easy birthday cake ideas, I came across this great tortoise/turtle cake. The kids love looking at the turtles in the park here, so I had to do it! The recipe is actually a cupcake cake (which I don’t really understand at all, although my view of them is tainted by the number of terrible ones on Cake Wrecks!) but instead I made a normal round chocolate cake and five cupcakes (I made enough batter for 3 layers of the round cake and used it to make two layers of the round cake and the rest went into the cupcakes) and made the turtle that way. I think my piping technique needs some work but he didn’t come out too badly!

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And the twins enjoyed blowing out the candles and everyone enjoyed eating it, so that was the main thing :)

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So, congratulations to my beautiful twins! We made it through two years relatively unscathed, let’s hope the terrible twos aren’t too bad…

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

 

Little Koo Birthday sale now on!

So, it was my birthday last week. It was a fairly low key one (I think they tend to take a back seat when you have children, especially when their birthday happens to be quite close to yours – the twins’ 2nd birthday is coming up soon – eek!) but nice nonetheless. And I meant to have a little sale to celebrate on the Little Koo Etsy shop, but I forgot. So I thought I’d have one anyway, just a bit late!

So here it is, the Little Koo birthday sale is now on! 20% off EVERYTHING, including items already on sale! The sale runs until midnight on Monday 12th October so check it out now!

Little Koo birthday sale 2015

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

Favourite recipes – dairy-free chocolate brownies

I am a big fan of chocolate brownies, so whenever I eat some that I like, I always try to get the recipe! My attempts at re-creating them aren’t always hugely successful (what on earth do I do wrong?!) but this recipe is a very straightforward, reliable recipe for some yummy brownies! The friend who gave me the recipe is dairy intolerant so it has mayonnaise instead of butter in, but you’d never know that they were any different to most other brownies. It’s probably my favourite brownie recipe that I’ve tried to date.

dairy free chocolate brownie recipe

For this recipe you will need:

3 large eggs
225g caster sugar1 tsp vanilla essence
40g plain flour
25g cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
125g dark chocolate (80% cocoa if possible)
7 tbsp Helman’s mayonnaise (this brand works best, and don’t use the low fat version!)
Chocolate chunks or nuts as required

  1. Whisk eggs, sugar and vanilla essence together until slightly thickened.
  2. Melt the chocolate and whisk into the egg/sugar mixture
  3. Sieve the flour, coca and baking powder together and fold into the mixture
  4. Fold in the mayonnaise and add chocolate chunks or nuts if required
  5. Bake at 160degC for 35-40 minutes, until the top is cracking and a knife comes out clean(ish)

And there you have it, yummy brownies! Enjoy!

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

UK visit 2015

We recently went back to the UK for what has become our annual visit. The weather was pretty kind to us this time (one year it was freezing even though we went in May!) and we had a lovely time driving around the country to meet up with friends and family.

Here are some of the things that the twins enjoyed doing:

1. Playing in the garden.

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2. Going to the zoo (Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, to be precise – I’d really recommend it, it was a great day out)

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3. Playing in the park

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4. Feeding the ducks

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5. Driving around in a car (this is actually a lie – they didn’t enjoy this at all!)

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6. Going to my sister-in-law’s wedding. This was a highlight for all of us, it was such a beautiful day and the bride and groom looked so happy! (these photos were taken by the talented Mike Kember)

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Thanks to everyone we met up with while we were back, it was great to see you all. We had such a lovely trip, and it was fantastic to see the twins with family members that we don’t see very often.

Thanks for reading!

Rachel