About Claire


UPDATE 24/01/16:

WE ARE HOME!!!! Over the weekend we moved back to Rickety Cottage Mark II.

It isn’t so rickety and it isn’t decorated, but we are home and the rest will all fall into place one day soon.

It feels amazing to say I have a kitchen again, to put away pots and pans and fill a pantry with food.

I am taking some time to decorate the house, including laying flooring, wallpapering and painting an awful lot of walls!!!! So bare with me whilst I try to find a way to juggle everything.

UPDATE 18/05/15:

I was asked today why I hadn’t updated this page to reflect the changes that have happened. Which I didn’t really have an answer for. I guess because this post took me a long time, it was an honest and open expression of ME, so I didn’t want to have to re-write it. Everything I wrote is still so true. 

The only thing that has changed is that my Rickety Cottage is no more. For those of you that are new to the blog, last October (2014) our home was destroyed by fire. I received a phone call whilst I was doing the school pick up, but by the time I got home there was nothing left. All the fire crews could do was stop it spreading to our outbuildings and the neighbouring houses. You can read a bit more about it here.

We are currently in a rental (with a tiny kitchen!!!), but this week our site was cleared and hopefully building work will start by the end of the month.


A Week in Pictures | Sprinkles and Sprouts

I know me, I live with me everyday, so why is this so hard to write?

Everything I write sounds like the covering letter for a job application.

I’ve tried:

Hi I’m Claire…..

Welcome to my blog…..

This is my blog about…..

See what I mean, all too….sort of…..well….forced….formal and formal isn’t me. Me is a mixture of all the things I love rolled up inside a 30 something year old woman. So what do I love?

My Children – Two gorgeous boys. Two gorgeous, loud, messy, playful, smiley, happy, loud (did I say that already??) boys who keep me busy, drive me nuts at times, but who can wrap their little arms around my neck and melt my whole world. They are the reason I get up around 5 in the morning. (Trust me that is not through choice!!!!!) They are the reason (well partly) I never have a clean floor, they are the reason that, more often than not, the sofa cushions and blankets that I chose so carefully after carrying swatches about in my purse for weeks, are always in a pile on the floor. (Sorry not a pile, a defensive fort wall that will keep out every bad guy known to a 7 and 3 year old.) They are the reason my washing basket is always full. They are the reason I hide veg in my meatballs. They are the reason that my house is a home. They are the reason that I smile. They are the reason. Love them.

Pink Grapefruit and Strawberry Punch. Great summer drink with alcoholic and non alcoholic options.

My Partner in Crime – Stew, the 6’4” man who I share my home with. The father of my children, the man who makes me laugh, bought me a farm, drives me nuts at times, makes me happy, always eats my food, know my faults and loves me anyway and the IT geek behind my blog. (See his grinning face above and over on our 25 year anniversary post!!!)

Coffee – Is there a mother out there who doesn’t love (and need) a cup of coffee. Actually scratch that. I know a few lovely mummy’s who get by without coffee and caffeine. Me? No chance. I love coffee and in the words of my 7 year old, I am ‘a bit stressy’ without it. I know it isn’t good for me, I know I should cut down, but I love it. Recently I have made a real effort to drink more water and I have been making the odd cup of hot water and lemon. But coffee is still my tipple of choice. Can a hot drink be a tipple??

Food – Should I expand on that? I probably should as I don’t love all food, I am very unconvinced by offal, liver I can eat and have enjoyed but I will never understand the appeal of kidneys. Once, on holiday in France, my Dad ordered my sister and I, sheep brains!!!!!! I did not love them! I tried them, but they were not for me. Sort of a mixture of rubber bands and meaty custard. Anyway…Back to foods I do love! This could be a long list! So I have picked my top 3 foods.

  • Pasta: I am a pasta addict, I have a whole pasta collection on the blog. I have cut back in recent years but in my student days I ate it everyday and sometimes even for breakfast! Spaghetti aglio, Arrabbiata, Carbonara, Lasagne (in various different guises) Ravioli…..I could go on….and on…….
  • Cheese: Very few things can beat melting ozzy, gooey cheese. Cheese and onion toasted sandwiches, baked brie, breaded brie, blue cheese sauce. And cold cheese: a tomato and mozzarella sandwich, chedder and crackers, blue cheese and slices of pear. If you have cheese in the fridge then you have a meal. I love cheese so much I have a special drawer in the fridge just for cheese. Don’t laugh it is true. AND it is labelled!!!
  • Risotto: Creamy, buttery, delicious ricey goodness. It is my solitary treat as I live in a house with risotto haters!!!! I know! Don’t even get me started!

Like I say I could write pages here, I haven’t even started on shellfish or chow mein, sushi, wraps, Thai green curry, fish and chips…..Oh someone stop me. Let’s leave it at ‘I love food’.

Cooking – I wondered about putting this together with food. I mean cooking and food go hand in hand. But I felt they needed to be separate because I love cooking even when it isn’t for me. I don’t just cook to eat. I cook for fun, for pleasure. I potter about in my tiny kitchen and hours can pass. I have cook books by my bed, no really I do. I would show you a photo but I know I haven’t hoovered under the bed for a while and it would just be too embarrassing! But I do, honest, and a few food magazines. I have a silly number of cook books and I fear there are some that I have read cover to cover but never used!!! There are plenty that are well loved, with slightly battered covers and one or two pages that are a little stuck together. So if you are wondering what to buy me for my birthday, think no more. I am the happiest girl in the world with a new cook book and perhaps a glass of champagne (well it is my birthday)

My Home – The Rickety Cottage. The first time I drove up the drive, after stopping for three kangaroos to cross in front of me, I fell in love with this place. A cedar clad cottage, set on 5 acres, in Western Australia. I knew instantly we just had to buy it. That may all sound a bit clichéd. But it is true. I am not a decisive person, I can read the menu 6 times and still not have made a decision once everyone else has ordered. But I did that day. I drove home, text Stew (because he was away!) and made an offer. Our new family home and he had never even seen it! He saw the outside when we drove past and then inside the day we did the final inspection. How is that for trust! I guess I am very thankful that he loved it too! It isn’t big, just a square room that is kitchen, living and dining, 3 and a half bedrooms and one bathroom. My washing machine is in a cupboard! But I love it. And we have put a wonderful farmhouse style kitchen into it. Again it isn’t big but it works for me.

Rickety Cottage

There are plenty of other things that are thrown into the mix that is ME, but I think the above represents me.

In summary, I am a 30 something Mum who loves cooking for her family in her tiny but much loved Rickety Cottage.

If you want to see more photos of the random craziness that makes up ME and my life then check out ‘My week in Pictures‘ posts 🙂


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    • Dorothy Dunton
    • February 6, 2016

    Hi Claire! Loved reading this! You are a very down to earth person which I particularly like! I love to cook just for the sake of cooking! I have collected cookbooks my entire life – last count was upwards of 700 and I have cooking magazines dating back to the l980’s. Hoarder…I prefer collector. We moved from Michigan to Tennessee 10 years ago and the minute I saw this small brick house (from the outside) out in the country I looked at my husband and said “I want this house” – good man that he is he smiled and said Okay. It’s not big, it’s just home as in where the heart is! I am a huge fan of Nagi’s blog which is how I’ve gotten to your blog and I’m so glad I did! 🙂

    1. Reply

      Dorothy, welcome to my blog.

      Your cookbook collection sounds amazing 🙂 I love looking back through old food magazines, seeing how the food ‘fashions’ have changed, enjoying the dated ads and then discovering a classic perfect sounding recipe.

      How wonderful to know that other people just know they have found their perfect home. And that they have the same understanding husbands. There is a line in the ‘Smurfs’ movie that says “why would you want a bigger house, then you would be further apart” so true!

      I love Nagi’s blog, her food always makes me hungry!

      Again thank you for stopping by, I hope you enjoy my little piece of the internet 🙂

  3. Reply

    I know what you mean about “About” pages. I’m currently in the process of re-writing mine. I loved what you came up with for your about page … but I’m left wanting photos of you with your partner in crime, your boys and of your Rickety Cottage. 🙂

    1. Reply

      Hehe, I always like a picture on the about me pages too. I just couldn’t find one I was happy with, but I think now I have just the photo. Will add a few over the weekend for you 😉 x

    2. Reply

      If you have a look at ‘life at Rickety Cottage‘ there are a few photos in those posts…but I promise to get some more up in this post.

  4. Reply

    Great blog nice to know a little about the lady behind the fabulous recipes I will be looking forward to trying many more ooooooooh but those Brownies! ! Scrumptious ??? ps I also am a coffee addict! Xx

    1. Reply

      Coffee addicts are the best kind of people 😉
      I am so pleased you loved the brownies. They are one of our utter favs!
      Thank you for stopping by x

  5. Hi Claire!
    I found you through FBC and I’ve been avidly reading through your recipes. I was so sorry to read about Rickety Cottage. I have exactly the same problem writing my about page – I’m still struggling with it. Why is it so hard:)

    1. Reply

      So please you found me 🙂 I hope you enjoy the recipes and my random waffle 😉

      I know, it really shouldn’t be, but it is, by far the hardest part of the blog to write, isn’t it?

  6. Reply

    Don’t worry Claire – coffee is a MUST for every morning for me! 🙂

    1. Reply

      Phew! Glad I am not alone 🙂

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    • Jo Alabaster
    • October 17, 2014

    I am a 40 something mum who loves cooking for my family in my tiny but much loved suburban home. My boys have turned our house into a home and I love them for all their tantrums, moods, running races, laughing competitions.

    1. Reply

      Hi Jo, welcome to my site.
      Boys! Crazy dirty balls of energy!
      But like you said they turn a house into a home.

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