Ryland Peters And Small publishing company logo


Sign up to receive exciting news about our food and drink, craft, interiors, kids' and gift books


First name

or dismiss
Monthly Archives: February 2014
  • Posted on February 28, 2014

    A tribute to Claire Richardson

    Claire Richardson's beautiful images have appeared in a countless number of our interiors and craft titles over the past twelve years, during which time her kindness and enthusiasm have touched all those who have worked with her, from authors and stylists to editors and designers.

    Thank you Claire - you will be missed by us all.

    Here is a pictorial tribute to her work:


    The photographs above originally appeared in the following titles:

    Handprint and Make Your Own Bags, Seaside Tinkered Treasures, Handmade Glamping,  All Sewn Up, The Art of Handmade Living, Chloe Tells You How to Sew, Papercrafting In No Time, The Stuff of Life, The French Home,  At Home with Pattern and A Girl's Night In.

    This post was posted in News, News, UK, US

  • Posted on February 25, 2014

    Creamery Creations!

    As a lovely communal office lunch, we attempted some of the recipes in The Creamery Kitchen by Jenny Linford. To see how we made labneh using Jenny's recipe, click here. And if you'd just love to see more from The Creamery Lunch (to inspire your own!) then browse the photos below from the London and New York offices to see all of our creamery creations!

    We had a lovely lunch with some lovely recipes, and if you fancy doing the same then The Creamery Kitchen by Jenny Linford is available here!

    Have a great week everyone!


    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, News, News, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with salad, handmade, lunch, office lunch, communal lunch, The Creamery Kitchen, Jenny Linford, photos

  • Posted on February 24, 2014

    Mid-Week Chat with Lacie Rader!

    This week we are thrilled to be joined by parent and blogger, Lacie Rader, author of Attachment Parenting!

    1.  How and when did you decide to raise your daughter using the rules of Attachment Parenting?

    The decision to AP was very much a natural one for me in that its practices are both an expression of my love and a response to my child’s needs.  Part of using AP methods is in believing that children need bonding, breastfeeding and baby-wearing; that they need to be close to parents at night and have their cries answered with love. If for some reason a parent sees these needs as demands, then they tend to consider it spoiling rather than caregiving when a parent responds to them.

    The first conviction one must have when embarking upon attachment parenting is that their little ones have an intense need for security, bonding, affection and gentle care and that only when these needs are met will they develop into secure and happy children. The why AP for our family is just as simple as this: my husband and I had that conviction from the beginning.

    While I was in the process of learning more about breastfeeding or co-sleeping, I learned the term “attachment parenting” and I knew it was for us.

    How did we AP?  We didn’t read Dr. Sears’ book and follow instructions. In fact, quite the opposite. We didn’t read any parenting theories. I had to learn how to breastfeed, babywear and co-sleep (none were easy, which is why I began the blog, to help others with this), but aside from instruction type of reading, we did what came naturally to us. We nurtured the heck out of our daughter and there you have it, we were attachment parenting.

    When it gets difficult to do what feels right, you can go one of two ways. You can find a sleep-training book, the same one that encourages introducing solids to help your child sleep, or you can remember that handy AP term you learned and know that you’re not alone, neither in your conviction nor in your belief that it is what’s best.  We grabbed onto our beliefs and kept plugging away, following the 7 B’s of attachment parenting (birth bonding, breastfeeding, babywearing, bedding close to baby, belief in signal value of baby’s cry, beware of baby trainers, balance) and no doubt creating a few more B’s or C’s too.

    2.   Attachment Parenting is a theory created by Dr. Sears.  Babywearing is an important element of this approach.  Can you tell us what this involves and what the benefits are?

    Babywearing is the simple the act of wearing your baby via a sling, wrap or other carrier, on your front so that he is snug against you.  This allows the mother to have her arms free so that she won’t have to put her baby down as often throughout the day.

    Anxiety can have negative effects on a baby’s social and emotional development, so anything a parent can do to keep their babies peaceful and feeling safe is beneficial to their child’s development.

    A more obvious benefit of babywearing is less crying!  Babies will often cry if left to sit alone. We found our daughter was happier being worn and her happiness affected our happiness so that was a major benefit.  I also found baby wearing to be more convenient than using a stroller on outings and last but not least, I enjoyed wearing my baby. I had a lovely time chatting with her while she was in the carrier.  I was able to engage her more and sometimes I got a little bit of housework done too.

    3.   Have you ever been criticised for embracing the Attachment Parenting style and how do you deal with any criticism?

    I think the truest sign that a person is confident in their parenting decisions is that they don’t judge other parents or really even concern themselves with other’s opinions or what they are up to. I don’t compare myself, I don’t ask questions, I don’t challenge people when they offer up advice that I don’t care to take or when they are simply sharing their own methods that I prefer not to use. I just listen and assume that there is some reason why it works best for them.

    It is probably due to my staying off of the battlefield that I can honestly say that I’ve not yet received criticism for my parenting style.  I’m a little nervous about what will be said in response to my book!

    I recall posting an article here and there on my Facebook wall only to have a few friends challenge the content. There are two major disagreements occurring at these times:

    1. That AP is not meeting the needs of children because children do not have such needs.  At those time I gently assert that they may be right, but that AP parents believe children do have those needs and that recent scientific research suggests that children have more social emotional needs than previously thought.

    and  2. A general attitude that children are better off with routine, set schedules, are tougher than we give them credit for, will be okay, will not die if…. followed with the strong belief that we are raising weak children who will not know how to manage in the real world. To that I respond that AP parents don’t use the  “my child is not going to die” as a parenting standard and that AP children will contribute to defining the “real world.”

    4.   Could you give parents who are trying to establish a bedtime routine three helpful hints?


    1.   Avoid giving your child sugar or access to electronics a couple hours before bed. Both are said to have negatively affect sleep. Instead, this is a good time to do some physical play and if possible, get some fresh air, both of which have positive affects on sleep.

    2.   Pick a consistent time to take your child to his/her bedroom and remember that you’ll need an hour to an hour and a half from this time until lights off time. So if you want your child asleep by 7:30, she should be in the room no later than 6:30.

    3.   Your nighttime routine will be made up of pajamas, diaper change or potty trip, brushing teeth and reading stories. I don’t like to do her bath at this time. It takes up too much of the hour and everything else feels hurried (which is the opposite of unwinding). Stories or another calming activity, such as song singing or massage, should take up at least thirty minutes of the right before lights-out time.

    5 Has there ever been an occasion when you have doubted your choice to adopt the Attachment Parenting ethos?

    Never for a moment.  This question came at an interesting time. Just last night I was reading a few articles, one was titled “Attachment Parent Dropout.” These articles blamed Attachment Parenting for their negative parenting experiences. One woman went as far as to blame attachment parenting for her backache.  We must not miss the point of attachment parenting. There are no hard and fast rules.  At the heart of attachment parenting is maintaining a connection with your child. Psychological attachment is not the same as physical attachment and I think many of the AP dropout articles haven’t been clear enough on that. Fostering connection with your child should never rule out practicing balance and common sense.

    Like some of the authors of these articles, I have worried that my daughter’s intensity has been due to my parenting decisions, but when I look back to the beginning, there’s no evidence for it. She was just as famous for her intensity in the hospital where she was born as she was at the hospital that recently treated her for a head injury. However, if it were true that my daughter was sensitive and “clingy” due to attachment parenting, that would have been an okay trade off for me. I believe that AP may lead to some interactions between child and adult may very well be trying, but that first, these are temporary. As a child matures so will the relationship and secondly, that these behaviours are superficial compared to the positive life long effects that AP brings with it. So while I have wondered about some of these trying moments and the cause of them, I’ve never second-guessed our choice to AP.

    Thank you very much for joining us, Lacie!

    Attachment Parenting  by Lacie Rader is published by Ryland Peters & Small and is available here.

    This post was posted in Book Reviews, Book Reviews, Featured, Featured, Interviews, Interviews, News, News, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with attachment parenting, parenting

  • Posted on February 24, 2014

    yogurt + muslin + time = labneh

    This is the kind of simple equation guaranteed to bring out the inner dairymaid in even the most urban among us. It was with this in mind, armed with the newly published The Creamery Kitchen by Jenny Linford, that we decided to prepare this traditional Middle Eastern creation for our communal Monday lunch.

    Labneh, also known as ‘yogurt cheese’ is made from yogurt, wrapped in muslin and left suspended to strain over night in a fridge. It really is no more complicated than that. And so on a sunny Saturday afternoon we rolled up our sleeves and set to with a carton of organic Greek yoghurt, a bright square of muslin, a long-handled wooden spoon, a length of string and a large mixing bowl.

    It was almost impossible not to indulge in multiple openings of the fridge door just to check all was progressing nicely. But we soon discovered that this is a sort of dairy-based alchemy and truly requires no more than patience and a cool place in which to turn itself from a fairly liquid form into something resembling a soft white orb. After an hour or so there was a satisfying puddle of opaque liquid in the bottom of the bowl, which two hours later had risen – almost touching the suspended muslin sack. Necessity being the mother of invention, we rooted out two small china teacups to elevate the wooden spoon and yogurt-filled muslin higher up the bowl. Thus avoiding a soggy bottom!

    A new day dawned and our labneh was ready! Made giddy by our success we made delicious little cream cheese and olive parcels, also from the book, and Dukkah flatbreads, the perfect accompaniment to tangy labneh.

    making labneh


    500 g Greek yogurt

    1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)



    30-cm length of string

    long wooden spoon

    makes about 350 g

    Line a large bowl with a square of clean muslin.

    Mix the yogurt and salt (if using) together well. Place the yogurt in the centre of the muslin square. Wrap the muslin up around the yogurt and tie it firmly with a long piece of string.

    Suspend the muslin parcel over a deep, large mixing bowl by tying it with the string to a wooden spoon laid across the top of the bowl.

    Leave in the fridge for 24 hours. Then, unwrap and use as required.

    Feeling inspired? Why not discover the age-old tradition of making fresh butters, yogurts, creams and soft Cheeses at home? The Creamery Kitchen is available to buy here and if you want to see more, then photos of our other creamery creations are here!

    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, News, News, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with homemade, handmade, office lunch, communal lunch, The Creamery Kitchen, Jenny Linford

  • Posted on February 21, 2014

    How To Drink And Not Look Like An Idiot!

    How to drink and not look like an idiot...

    For some of us, more than others, this can be a challenge! Particular difficulties are posed by all day drinking events which often require a steady intake of alcohol over a prolonged period of time.

    Help is at hand!  If you stick to the 10 commandments of all-day drinking, you should make it through with your dignity still firmly in tact!

    Weddings, summer barbeques, corporate days out, company Christmas parties…occasions sometimes arise that require stout drinking bouts. The key to navigating such an event is to begin with a strategy, and stick to it.


    Here are the rules for all-day drinking. Choose to ignore them at your peril.

    1.  Thou shalt not drink on an empty stomach

    You know this already. It doesn’t matter if you think a prearrival snack will have an adverse effect on your silhouette, or if you claim to have only a half-eaten jar of pickles in the fridge: you must start the day with a decent, stomach-lining meal. Getting drunk is simply a case of you imbibing alcohol faster than your body can process it. If you down a glass of wine without having eaten any food, it will be absorbed straight into your bloodstream and have an almost instant effect. However, with a bacon sandwich in your stomach, that process will be slowed, allowing you to be more in control of how you are being affected by your drinks.

    So go eat.

    2.  Thou shalt know thy limits

    Male, female, fat, thin, muscly, scrawny—there are countless physical factors that affect what that pint of Stella Artois or glass of Champagne will do to you. Women have less water and more body-fat than men and so don’t hold their drink as well. Equally, the smaller your build, the less tolerance you will have. Some ethnic groups can process alcohol better than others. Europeans, with their agricultural background and historic exposure to grain alcohol, for example, have higher levels of enzymes that break down booze than do Australian Aborigines. So be realistic about what your body is capable of if you really want to avoid any embarrassing situations as the day progresses. And don’t feel like you have to match your 18-stone, body-builder friend drink for drink—it will only end in tears.

    3.  Thou shalt not forget to drink water

    If you’re dehydrated, the alcohol in your drink will be absorbed at a higher concentration than if you manage to down the odd bottle of Evian. It’s dehydration, too, that leads to the most horrible hangover symptoms the following day.

    The most strategic way to try to keep your water levels appropriately topped up is to have one glass of water for every alcoholic drink. Just make sure you’ve scoped out where the bathrooms are.

    4.  Thou shalt avoid carbonation

    You’ve heard people say that Champagne goes straight to their head? Chances are they’re feeling its effects because of the fizz. Any carbonated or sparkling drink is absorbed faster than a still one because the extra pressure created by the gas forces the alcohol into the bloodstream. So, for all-day drinking etiquette, this means limiting the amount of carbonated drinks to a minimum, to help steady the pace at which alcohol gets into your system.

    “What’s the Russian for ‘save me a vol-au-vent’?”

    5.  Thou shalt stalk the canapé tray

    In Russia, where drinking is practically a national sport, shots of vodka are most usually consumed alongside tasty morsels of, say, smoked fish or pickles (apparently, the acid and brine neutralize alcohol, although there’s little proof of this).  Ensure you do the same and make friends with whoever is circulating the canapé tray. If you have one snack alongside every drink—by the way, there’s no need to choose neat vodka—then you’ll go some way to slowing down the absorption of alcohol.

    6.  Thou shalt choose thy poison with care

    Take it slow, take it steady—and make careful choices when ordering your drinks. If you’re going for beer, choose “cooking strength” lagers rather than craft or Continental brews that pack a heftier percentage of alcohol. For wine, avoid alcohol-packed Aussie Shiraz and go instead for a lighter Beaujolais (you’ve probably just saved about 4 percent ABV), and if you’re drinking white, opt for a Riesling or a Prosecco (go easy—see commandment 4), which tend to have a lower ABV. Order singles, rather than doubles, when drinking spirits. If your wine is being topped up by a circulating waitress, finish each glass before accepting a refill, so you can keep track of how much you’ve had. Avoid anything that’s labeled export strength and—it goes without saying—steer clear of high-strength liquor such as overproof rum or absinthe. At 68 per cent ABV, absinthe does not make the heart grow fonder.

    7.  Thou shalt not do shots

    No matter how funny it seemed at the time, you do not want your boss reminding you about the incident with the Jägerbombs (and the hilarious song you made up about him) the next day.

    8.  Thou shalt avoid using caffeine as a pick-me-up

    Adding caffeine to an alcoholic mix can make you feel like a superhero, but if you’re turning to coffee thinking it will help you power on through another few drinks, then chances are you’ve already had enough. Using espresso to self-medicate can increase your metabolism and may actually boost the rate at which liquor is absorbed by your body. That’s probably not the result you were hoping for.  Knowing when to call it a night is key to being a successful drinker.

    9.  Thou shalt keep a cab number handy

    Planning your exit is a crucial part of your drinking strategy. If you can do it without appearing rude, you may wish to make a very discreet exit. Sneaking off will mean you avoid any peer-pressure moments of “Noooo, stay for one more,” and if everyone is well oiled, they are unlikely to be keeping track of what time you left anyway. Thank your host, call a cab, and take your dignity home with you.

    10.  Thou shalt hope for the best but prepare for the worst

    Before bed, drink a large glass of water. All of it. If you’ve been dancing or out in the sun, then opt for a rehydration sachet to replace lost salts. And now is the time for a preemptive painkiller if you suspect you’re going to need it.

    Voilá!  Alcohol is more than just a tool to get you drunk, so sit back, relax and enjoy a bevy or two over the weekend!

    How to Drink and Not Look Like an Idiot by Emily Miles is available here.

    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, News, News, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with drinks, Emily Miles

  • Posted on February 21, 2014

    Recipe for the Weekend

    What a lovely day it is today! We’re all enjoying the sun shining in through the office and looking forward to some fresh and tasty dishes over the weekend.

    So this week we’re sharing a delicious recipe from The Vegan Pantry that will appeal to vegans and non-vegans alike! If you're a first-time vegan looking for a guidebook or a seasoned vegan cook looking for new ideas then then this book is full of vibrant and flavourful dishes that will be just perfect! And if you fancy trying a healthy diet or are cooking for vegetarian or vegan guests you're going to love it too! The stuffed Babura peppers that we're sharing for this weekend’s cooking will be a tempting little taster that you could serve with potato mash or a crisp green salad!

    Stuffed Babura peppers in sauce

    This dish is the ultimate comfort food of my childhood. In some families stuffed peppers are baked, but women in my family have always boiled them in sauce, making them especially juicy and full of flavour. Vegan stuffed peppers taste equally good and are much healthier than their non-vegan counterparts!

    1 portion Vegan Stuffing (see below)

    7 Babura peppers (see Note)

    230 ml tomato passata

    1 litre water

    2 bay leaves

    1 teaspoon sea salt

    1–2 tablespoons kuzu, arrowroot powder or cornflour (optional)

    2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, to garnish

    20-cm diameter saucepan

    Serves 3–4

    Gently cut off the caps of the peppers and seed them. Fill each with about 100 g of the stuffing. Arrange the cut side of the peppers so that they face upwards in saucepan (if the pan is narrower, the peppers will not fit; if it’s wider, the peppers will flip to the side and the stuffing will fall out during cooking). Add the passata and just enough of the water to cover the peppers, followed by the bay leaves and salt. Cover with a lid and bring the pan to a slow boil; then turn the heat down to a simmer until the peppers are soft, which should be about 25 minutes. With the help of a serving spoon, gently take out each pepper and serve them on plates, leaving the sauce in the pan over a medium heat, and slowly add the kuzu, arrowroot powder or cornflour if required (diluted in cold water), whisking vigorously until the desired thickness is reached. I sometimes leave the sauce runny, without thickening it, but it’s up to you. Serve a ladleful of the sauce over each portion of peppers, and garnish with the chopped parsley.

    Note: in case you cannot find Babura peppers – the best kind for stuffing because their skin is thinner and they are smaller than regular peppers – you can use peppers of any colour. Just bear in mind that peppers are bigger, will take in more filling and need to cook for a bit longer. You’ll also have to determine the size of pan to use to fit them tightly and prevent them from falling over.


    vegan stuffing

    250 g tofu, seitan or tempeh

    50 g finely diced onion

    4 tablespoons sunflower or olive oil

    pinch of chilli powder

    1⁄2 teaspoon ground ginger

    1⁄4 teaspoon ground turmeric

    1 teaspoon dried herbes de Provence

    3 teaspoons soy sauce

    300 gwhole grains, cooked (brown rice, millet, quinoa, etc.)

    2 tablespoons rolled oats or millet flakes

    sea salt and crushed black pepper

    Mash the tofu or tempeh with a fork, or, if using seitan, put in a food processor with an S-blade to finely chop it. In a large frying pan/skillet over a low heat, sauté the onion until translucent, then add the dry spices and herbs and cook for a minute more. Add the soy sauce and bring up the heat. After the soy sauce is well incorporated, add the cooked grains and rolled oats or millet flakes and mix everything well before seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. When the stuffing looks like a thick risotto, it’s ready for filling. Remember that the mixture will expand a little bit during cooking, so don’t overfill the vegetables.

    You can always make the stuffing a day or two in advance, as well as freeze it (if using tempeh or seitan, but not tofu) if you have leftovers.

    The Vegan Pantry by Dunja Gulin is available here and if you want to learn a little more then why not see what Dunja has to say in our mid-week chat!

    Have a lovely weekend everyone and happy cooking!

    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, News, News, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with vegan, recipe for the weekend, flavour, vegetarian, diet, the vegan pantry, Dunja Gulin

  • Posted on February 20, 2014

    Half-Term Cookery Project Part 2!

    With one day of half-term left, we thought that parents, grandparents and child-minders might just be running low on creative ideas to keep the kids away from the computer! So we’ve put together a little 2-part project that will definitely keep them busy throughout tomorrow, and might even inspire a new hobby to carry on afterwards! Taken from our My First… series, these two activities are suitable for beginners and are bound to fill their last day of holiday with fun and excitement (and perhaps a little bit of learning too, but shh… don’t tell them!)

    For part 2, we’ve picked one of the easiest (and tastiest!) meals from My First Cookbook for the children to have a go at this half-term. The book has loads of healthy dishes, super snacks and delicious desserts, but these herby burgers are a kid’s favourite and might make a good starting point to get them into the kitchen and show them how fun cooking can be!

    Kids, don’t forget to wear the apron that you made in part 1 and why not make this for your friends after a half-term practice run and they will think you’re a whiz in the kitchen!

    oven-baked herby burgers

    Lots of children have helped to choose the recipes in this book. They all felt that the book should have a burger recipe in it and they found this oven-baked burger recipe easy to cook and good to eat. Burgers like this would be great to make when your friends come around for a party or sleepover.

    You will need:

    a little olive or vegetable oil

    1 in. cube (30 g) Cheddar cheese

    small handful of fresh herbs, such as parsley, cilantro (coriander) or thyme

    2 scallions (spring onions)

    1 free-range egg

    1 lb 2 oz (500 g) good-quality ground beef (mince)—don’t buy extra-lean beef— otherwise your burger will be too dry



    8 bread rolls

    tomato ketchup

    pastry brush

    baking sheet

    oven gloves

    (makes 8)


    To make lamb burgers, swap the beef for lamb and add thyme leaves, plus snipped dried apricots instead of Cheddar cheese.


    Ask an adult to help you turn the oven on to 375˚F (190˚C) Gas 5. Dip a pastry brush into a little olive or vegetable oil and brush it all over a baking sheet. This will stop the burgers from sticking to the sheet.


    Using a table knife, cut the cheese into small pieces on a chopping board.


    Using scissors, snip the herbs into small pieces and put into a mixing bowl. Throw away any tough stalks. Still using scissors, snip the hairy roots and the dark green leaves off the scallions (spring onions) and throw them away, then snip the scallions into tiny pieces and put in the bowl.


    Now you need to crack open the egg: to do this, tap it firmly on the edge of a small bowl to crack it. (Not too hard or you will smash it completely!) Put your thumbs into the crack and pull the egg shell apart. Scoop out any pieces of shell using a bigger piece of shell as a scoop. Mix with a fork.


    Put the ground beef (mince,) chopped cheese, and egg into the mixing bowl with the herbs and onions and mix everything together really well with your clean hands.


    Break the beef mixture in half and then break each piece in half again to make 4 pieces. Now break each quarter in half again to make 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball with your hands, then put onto the oiled baking sheet and flatten into a burger shape. Now, WASH YOUR HANDS—you must always wash your hands with plenty of soap and hot water after handling raw meat.


    Ask an adult to help you put the baking sheet into the oven using oven gloves. Cook for 8 minutes and then ask an adult to help you take the sheet out of the oven. Using a spatula, turn the burgers over and put back in the oven for 8 more minutes or until cooked in the middle.


    While the burgers are cooking, prepare the salad. Pull a few leaves off the lettuce, put them in a colander and wash them under the saucet (tap.) Dry them in a salad spinner or shake them well in the colander.


    Take the tomato and, holding your hand in the bridge position cut it in half with a small sharp knife. Lay the two halves flat on the board and cut them into slices.


    Ask an adult to help you take the burgers out of the oven. Eat in bread rolls with lettuce, tomatoes and ketchup.

    See here for part 1 of the project and to make your very own cook's apron! And if you missed our first half-term craft activities, then make sure you check them out here! We hope you and your kids have had a great break and you all enjoy the last day of the holidays!

    My First Cookbook is available here.

    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, News, News, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with half term holidays, half term, my first series

  • Posted on February 20, 2014

    Half-Term Cookery Project Part 1!

    With one day of half-term left, we thought that parents, grandparents and child-minders might just be running low on creative ideas to keep the kids away from the computer! So we’ve put together a little 2-part project that will definitely keep them busy throughout tomorrow, and might even inspire a new hobby to carry on afterwards! Taken from our My First… series, these two activities are suitable for beginners and are bound to fill their last day of holiday with fun and excitement (and perhaps a little bit of learning too, but shh… don’t tell them!)

    We’re starting with a simple 5 step sewing project, because every cook needs an apron! For more detailed advice about using a sewing machine and the different techniques involved in the Cook’s Apron project then see the book, My First Sewing Machine Book, but if Mum, Dad, Gran or anybody else knows a few basics then you’ll find this apron a good place to start!

    cook’s apron

    Keep your clothes spotless while you bake with this cute vintage-style apron. It is very simple to make! Adding a nice, big pocket means that, while you are baking, your utensils will always be close at hand.


    You will need:

    16 x 14 in. (40 x 35 cm) fabric for the apron

    8 x 6 in. (20 x 15 cm) fabric for the pocket

    48 in. (120 cm) wide ribbon, about 2 in. (5 cm) wide

    Contrasting thread for basting (tacking)

    Sewing thread to match the fabric

    Pinking shears


    Sewing machine

    Ruler or tape measure

    Tailor’s chalk


    Cut out a rectangle of newspaper or brown paper that measures 15 x 13½ in. (38 x 34 cm). This will be a pattern for the apron. Cut another one that measures 7½ x 5½ in. (19 x 14 cm) for the pocket. Pin these patterns to the  two fabrics and cut around them using pinking shears.


    Put the apron fabric right side down on the table. Fold each edge over to the  wrong side by 5/8 in. (1.5 cm) and pin the edges in place. Baste (tack) around all four sides, taking out the pins as you go. Thread your machine with thread to match the fabric and machine stitch around all four sides of the fabric, sewing in the middle of the folded-over edge. Remember to start and finish  machine stitching securely. Take out the basting stitches.


    Measure across the top of the apron and make a mark in the center of the top edge with tailor’s chalk. Fold the ribbon in half to find the middle, then mark that with chalk, too. Pin the ribbon across the top of the hemmed fabric, lining up the chalk marks and making sure that the same amount of ribbon hangs over the edge at each side. (Measure with your ruler to check.) Baste the ribbon in place, then take out the pins. Machine stitch along the top and bottom edges of the ribbon, then take out the basting stitches.


    Fold the top edge of the pocket fabric over to the wrong side by 5/8 in. (1.5 cm). Pin it in place, then baste, removing the pins as you go. Machine stitch, sewing 3/8 in. (1 cm) from the folded edge. Take out the basting stitches.


    Lay the apron on the table and place the pocket on top of it, both right side up. Using the tape measure, make sure that the pocket is 3 in. (8 cm) from the bottom edge of the apron and the same distance from each side. Pin around the side and bottom edges of the pocket, then baste around the same three sides, leaving the top edge open and removing the pins as you stitch. Machine stitch the pocket in place, stitching close to the edge, then take out the basting stitches. Your apron will look even nicer if you ask an adult to help you press it with an iron when you have finished.


    See here for part 2 of the project and to put that apron to good use in the kitchen! And if you missed our first half-term craft activities, then make sure you check them out here!

    My First Sewing Machine Book by Emma Hardy is available here.

    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, News, News, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with handmade, fabric, kids, half term holidays, half term, my first series

  • Posted on February 19, 2014

    Guest blog post: Lacie Rader, author of 'Attachment Parenting'

    Lacie Rader, author of the forthcoming new book 'Attachment Parenting', guest blogs for us and shares the secret of how she night weaned in seven days:

    Without clear intention, our night weaning process was a hybrid of those that focus primarily on pacing and those that focus on gentle strategies for eliminating night feeds. I didn’t come across anything that completely resonated with me. Although I read a few great books that contained night weaning tips, there was no real process for implementing them, no time frame and ultimately, the tips were not gentle enough.  I read an article that really seemed to nail down the time frame or process for night weaning. Conceptually, it was fantastic, but it was missing the no-cry element that I needed and it didn’t seem very flexible in regards to when to move forward.

     I began to believe that what was needed was a night weaning plan that included the following: A time frame so that one could better conceptualize the process, extra gentle strategies and room for individualization. How I Night Weaned in 7 Days was created in the hopes to provide readers with a well-rounded night weaning plan.  I’m not suggesting that you also night wean in seven days. The following pacing worked for us. On the last day, my daughter slept through the night without waking once.  Keli took wonderfully to this process but had she not, I would have slowed down spending as many nights as need be until she had adjusted.

    Before you practice this, it is important that you and your child are prepared for gentle night weaning.  Preparation tips can be found in my book.   Being prepared for night weaning is its own challenge. Many mothers report having “tried” to night wean, giving up and largely feeling intimidated by it. It’s not easy to deny your child of nursing for that very first time but if you were both prepared going into it and were not able to follow through, then it was likely a situation where you just needed more support and structure.

     The following is my guide to night-weaning

     Days 1-3 (The Deal):

    When you child wakes up in the middle of the night, do not nurse her. What? How can this be the right thing to do in the first few days?  You already know that your child can sleep off of the breast, the language is in place, you've told her the plan, what else is there to do but start night weaning? Don’t worry; I came up with something to make this much easier. I call it the deal. This works best with toddlers but can work in a sense with babies too. The deal gives your child an opportunity to not nurse back to sleep, but you’re not going to force it.

    Here’s how it works:  Your child wakes up. You tell her “Right now the milkies are making milk, you have to wait a few minutes and then I’ll nurse you.” Keli understood this and fought a little the first night, but fell into the routine pretty quickly. By the second night, the magic began.  Because she knew she would be nursed after waiting a few minutes, she wasn’t as anxious (even if still fussy). Because of this, she began to fall asleep in the middle of the deal, before she got to nurse. If she fought long and hard enough, I'd shorten the waiting time.

    For babies you can't tell them about the deal but you can actually just make them wait five minutes. This is the exact opposite of the popular ‘nurse and then replace nursing with soothing’ trick. This is sooth and then nurse. For soothing tricks see soothing post. This way your child has a chance to fall asleep before getting nursed which might not happen right away but if they know the milk is coming, they will be calmer as they learn that sometimes waiting to nurse will be necessary.

    By the end of the second night she was getting a little tired of deal and I found that using it for half of her night wakings was still effective and easier on both of us and the other half I just nursed her as usual. By the third night, she was perfectly fine with this situation and most of the time, falling asleep before the waiting time was up. Other times she stayed awake until I was willing to nurse her. I know she was feeling secure throughout all of this because after she nursed, she would roll away from me to get more comfortable and then fall asleep. She didn’t seem tense, anxious and most importantly her behavior and disposition were all fine the next day. Part of night-weaning is just making nursing inconvenient. The deal works wonderfully for that.

    Day 4-6 No Milkies: 

    Now you have to say “no-milkies” in the way that you've decided to explain it to your child. Be consistent, say the same thing each time and only explain it a little bit as small children cannot understand much more than the "no" part.  If your little one is resistant enough, your normal soothing tricks may not be enough. On the first night, I had to pick Keli up, walk her around the room a bit, cradle her and explain to her very gently that she would get milk when the sun came up. She was upset, but she felt safe and loved in my arms. If you don’t have to pick your child up, don’t. It’s important to stay calm and keep the sleep environment as normal as possible.

    I did notice as I took the milk away entirely that her previous attitude about trying to get herself back to sleep had changed. I noticed once there was no milk that she was less cooperative and more demanding. She wanted to be cradled and carried for the first time since she was a baby.   Day four was the hardest.  Keli cried and fussed pretty intensely for ten minutes. Yes, only ten minutes, but that felt like a long time at night.  This was followed by fifty minutes of asking me to soothe her in other ways, once or twice trying to get the milkies again and a few more tears.  Prepare yourself for it and really concentrate on being calm and optimistic. Everyone will make it through this night just fine. Finally, she fell asleep.

    She woke a few more times that night and asked to nurse, but no tears and not much fighting for the rest of that night. On nights five and six Keli didn’t ask for milk at all.  On night five she had some trouble sleeping and would ask for me to hold her or hold her hand.  She knew that she had to go to sleep without nursing and she knew that I was there to help her. It's important to agree to anything your child wants. By night six she woke once and did not ask to nurse.  To my surprise, even when she was trying her hardest, she had a hard time self-soothing and going to sleep. This was no longer a resistance issues, but she actually lacked the skills that I thought she had. See self-soothing post for more information on this.

    I told her because she was being so brave and working so hard that I would give her a present in the morning and I really did. Each morning she woke up and would say, “Do I get a present for not doing the milkies?” She woke up chipper, proud and unaffected by her nighttime endeavor. I was feeling proud and triumphant over something I had gone into with quite a bit of trepidation.

    Day 7 (Self-Soothing):

    Day seven is exactly like above. If all goes well, your child isn't asking for milk anymore or if he does, he accepts "no" without any tears or fight. Some might ask out of habit even when they are over the battle but soon the night waking will stop altogether. The only difference with night seven and beyond is that you should shorten the length of time you are helping them get back to sleep. Do the soothing techniques for up to twenty minutes but then stop and give your little one some space and see what happens. If not nursing at night isn’t enough end night wakings, then it’s possible that something else is waking your baby and he simply does not know how to soothe himself to sleep.

    In the beginning you want to soothe as much as you can because it’s only fair as you’re taking away your baby’s comfort tool but after sometime, it is important that they know how to go back to sleep on their own. Otherwise, you may not be waking to nurse but now you are waking to help your child fall back to sleep.

    Day seven might turn into days eight and nine but the important thing is your little one is not drinking milk at night and is well on his or her way to self-soothing. By night seven, Keli had begun to self-soothe.  I know some mothers who report that their child is still waking and asking for milk, most likely some will keep wanting you to help them get back to sleep for some time.  If the teaching self-soothing element is left out then you’ve only done half your job in helping your child to sleep through the night.

    General Guidelines:

     All throughout our process I talked to her during the day about my expectations for the night.  I slept close to her and made sure to keep a close loving connection with her in the day.

    It is important to go into this process knowing that there are three good reasons to stop.  1. It affects your child's daytime personality and well being   2. After a week of doing this they react as intensely with meltdowns and are not making any progress in that way and 3. The night wakings continue for months and months showing that your child is just a night waker.  It helps to set these kind of limits before you get started.

    Lastly, be confident. Your child needs your positivity and faith that night weaning will be okay as he relies on you for security.

    Attachment Parenting by Lacie Rader is published in March 2014 by CICO Books and is available to pre-order at all online outlets and good bookstores!


    This post was posted in Interviews, Interviews, News, News, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with attachment parenting

  • Posted on February 14, 2014

    New Food Book Competition!

    We have some gorgeous new cookery books out this February, and we wanted to celebrate by offering three lucky winners the chance to win their favourite! So have a look at the five books below, then follow us on Twitter @RylandPeters and re-tweet any #newfoodbook tweet with your favourite one!


    Friends Around the Table by Acland Geddes is a beautiful book full of food for relaxed entertaining. Whether you're feeding a table full of guests, an intimate dinner for two or a few friends for tea and cake, this book will provide the delicious recipes so that you can provide the atmosphere.


    Super Grains and Seeds by Amy Ruth Finegold is a fantastic book that will show just how exciting grains and seeds can be as part of your diet. Healthy, vibrant and full of flavour, these dishes will have you eating the good stuff all day long!


    The Creamery Kitchen by Jenny Linford will really make you wonder why you've never made these deliciously creamy soft cheeses, butters, yoghurts and labneh before! Full of easy-to-follow methods for making fresh dairy products, as well as tons of great recipes so that you can use them in your cooking, believe us when we say that you're kitchen will be utterly creamy once you've had a go with this!


    The Vegan Pantry by Dunja Gulin is the perfect companion to anyone starting out on a vegan journey or anyone fancying a healthy lifestyle. The recipes are so creative yet simple to follow, and the choice of vegan-friendly dishes will blow you away!


    Super Fresh Juices & Smoothies by Nicola Graimes throws in all of the good stuff for the most delicious smoothies you will ever make. With a huge range of recipes there is something for everyone, from the de-toxer to the wake-me-upper, and from the anti-ager to the weight-losser!


    Spoilt for choice? Yes, so are we! You could cook up a storm in the kitchen with any of these books, but make sure that you tweet us for your chance to win one!

    Good luck everyone!

    This post was posted in Competitions, News, News, UK, US, What's new, What's new

Items 1 to 10 of 18 total

  1. 1
  2. 2