At it like rabbits…

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Or: the last-minute handmade bunny Easter card how-to.

You know how Kate Middleton gave the Queen a home-made chutney for Christmas? Well that inspired us. And it’s really easy. Not the chutney but this card we made to give to our metaphorical gran this Easter.

So much so, that once you’ve made one you might want to make another one and another one. For your fella perhaps (see, kinky black leather bunny in middle of photo), or your gal (she’ll appreciate all of them). Watch them, though, they multiply.

They’re also zero-calorie, sugar-free and you won’t have to fight anyone for the last one down the Sainsbury’s chocolate aisle this Good Friday.

Basically, all you need is some good quality card, a scrap of nice fabric, a pencil and a pair of scissors, some glue or spray mount and something to tie around your bunny’s neck – optional though, that one.

Here’s goes…

ABUNNYDRAWINGDesign your bunny. Either freestyle like we did or google bunny silhouette, print one off and trace over it. You can always copy ours by drawing a big half-creme egg shape for the body, two long skinny half-eggs for its legs, then drawing around a coin for its head and adding nice ears.

ABUNNYTEMPLATECut out your paper bunny template.

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Now fold your cardboard in half to create traditional greeting card shape. Draw around your bunny template on the front of the card. Make sure you have two areas of bunny that meet the fold of the card. We did the ears and knees. Next, cut round bunny, open up, et voila… as you can see above, a Bugs-shaped card.

ABUNNYFABRICGrab your paper bunny template again and draw around it onto your fabric, using pencil or fabric pen.

ABUNNYCUTOUTCut out your fabric – you only need one piece for the front of the card.

ABUNNYGLUEUse glue or spray mount to stick your fabric on the front of your card. Don’t worry about raw edges – it’s all the rage this season, just ask Pinterest.

ABUNNYBOWFind a stray piece of ribbon and tie it around your bunny’s neck, making sure to only tie it around the front of the card so as not to strangle bunny.

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And there you have it: a bunny card in situ, alongside a bunch of spring blooms and a shelf-full of craft books. (Don’t say we don’t do our best to look Pinterest-appropriate.)

And with that, we’ll bid you a hoppy Easter, full of stuffing your face with too much chocolate, drinking too many Bank Holiday beers and admiring your rabbity handiwork on the mantelpieces of your nearest and dearest.

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Midweek salmon supper


Oh, if only fish ‘n’ chips were fat-free, gluten-free, zero-calorie, organic, paleo, suitable for a 2-day on the 5:2 diet, full of healthy endorphins… Only 4 more school nights ’til Friday, though.

In the meantime, if you’re also having a non-stuff-your-face day then try out this quick little salmon dish for dinz.

It’s served with garlic spinach, spiralized veg, sprinkled with soy sauce and lemon and baked in paper – en papillote, as Greg Wallace would say. Yes, the spiralizer’s been partying again.

Oily fish + mountains of spiralized veg + select condiments = a surprisingly yum and filling dinner that might make you forget about your need for stodge for a while.

Here’s what you need to make this for two:

2 courgettes, spiralized (or grated or peeled)
2 carrots, spiralized (or as above)
1 medium/large onion, spiralized (same again)
Bag of pre-washed spinach leaves
Fat clove of minced or grated garlic
2 salmon fillets
1 lemon, sliced in half
Soy sauce
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
Baking paper

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Here’s what you do:

Preheat your oven to about 160C

Rip 2 sizeable sheets of baking paper to create your parcels

Place half of the mound of your spiralized veg in the centre of the paper

Place your salmon fillet on top

Sprinkle soy sauce on your salmon and over your veg, as much or as little as you like, according to prefz

Grab your lemon half and give it a massive squeeze so it rains over your ingredients

Sprinkle on some pepper

Now create a loose parcel by scrunching up the corners of the paper

Place parcels on a baking tray in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes

About 15 minutes in, splash some olive oil into a frying pan and heat over a moderate setting for 30 seconds

Throw in your garlic and heat for a minute or two until it’s translucent

Chuck in your bag of spinach and, with a spatula or wooden spoon, press it down and turn it until it’s wilted to your favourite wilt setting

Pull salmon from the oven, and still in its parcel, plonk on a white plate and open carefully – this is not the time for a steam facial

Add spinach, salt and pepper, and serve with a very cold glass of wine

Or water. It’s Tuesday. God. Tuesday. But perhaps just one very cold glass of wine because it goes really well. Not two glasses. No. Never.

Decorating Elsie

Author: Sarah-Louise

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Hey, all. Welcome to a post that’s a bit of a hybrid, like a cronut. It’s both a coffee shop review and the tale of the secret screen prints. Sorted? Right let’s get started… I love nothing more than a piece of cake and a skinny cappuccino in a takeaway cup with a straw.

However, working from home while simultaneously entertaining/making sure my 16-month old doesn’t stick her fingers in plug sockets does not afford much time for cake-baking. And coffee at home is never the same.

So, yay for Elsie, a new cafe-bar and deli, that’s just opened around the corner in my ‘hood, Hornsey. (The bit between Muswell Hill and Crouch End in north London, for those who don’t know.)

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Not only does Elsie do coffee and cakes, it does pastries, savoury muffins, chocolate croissant bread pudding slices (top left), breakfasts, sandwiches, soups, sharing platters and big steaming bowls of chilli. And booze.

Because it’s a deli, it also does takeaway organic loaves, posh chocolate, panettone in glamorous boxes, quirky handmade cookies and chunky chutneys with amusing names.

Owner Claire has also adorned the place with her own quirky artwork, bedecked it in fairy lights and fills the airwaves with a cockle-warming mix of crackly jazz, show tunes, Bowie and James Taylor.
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The result is a twinkly, relaxing little haven. You can eat here, drink here, work here – and take your toddler without causing too much chaos. There’s a mini library for you to help yourself to books, a menu of nighttime events coming up – Time Traveller’s Wife author Audrey Niffenegger is hosting an evening at the end of March –  and a primary-coloured portrait of Jeremy Corbyn in one corner. He’s promised to visit the place soon. He wouldn’t need to do up his top button here. Anything goes. Baby J and I practically live here.

Anyway, one day Claire produced a bulging Ikea bag of fabric from behind the counter and asked if we could do anything creative with it. She explained that it had come from the daughter of a local lady named Irene Kent Gouly, who had sadly recently passed away and left behind a secret stash of gorgeous handmade screen-printed fabrics.

Apparently, screen-printing was Irene’s not-shouted-about hobby rather than her profession – but judging by the sheer volume and array of beautiful, bonkers and brilliant designs she’d left behind, she could have opened her own shop or gallery.

My mum, Maria from We May Be Little, was suitably impressed and very excited by all its creative potential. She carefully opened up each new piece with an ooh, an aah or a wow – her imagination well and truly revved.  “We could do this! And this! And this! Throw! Curtains! Cushion cover! Blouse!”

The upshot of all this was that we’d thank Claire, and Irene’s daughter, back for their generosity and beauteous threads by making something decorative for the cafe. Having Irene’s work on display in a public space, in the area in which she’d always lived, felt a fitting tribute to her secret talents. My mum suggested bunting and Claire decreed it so. “Bunting is just what this place is missing,” she said.

And so, we decided on a huge swathe of abstract print fabric, splashed in neons, pastels and black brushstrokes. It was kind of 80s but kind of 2016-ies too. We figured it’d take the bunting from twee to edgy (c’mon, bunting can be edgy) and that all the random colours and patterns would give each flag its own unique look.

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After knocking up a long piece to festoon the length of the bar, Maria – being the unashamed bunting-basher that she is – whipped up some mini flags for Elsie’s dressers, too. All that was left to do was get it in place.

And happily, Claire seemed chuffed with the results. We must admit, this funky bunting does look right at home in this little joint. It was like it was meant to be. Take a look and see. And if you ever find yourself in this part of north London, treat yourself with a stop-off at Elsie.

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A big thank you to the ridiculously talented Irene and her generous daughter for the inspiration. We think there might be more where this came from.

Elsie, 10 Priory Road, London, N8