About Me

Hi!  I'm Rachel, a 30-something stay at home mum and expat New Zealander currently living in Zurich, Switzerland.

I started this blog three years ago in an attempt to share my projects and current obsessions with a wider audience.  In other words, my parents' squinty "ooohs" and "aaaahs" as I held my latest cake, painting or pair of knitted booties on a fuzzy skype screen was not enough for me anymore :).

The Mucky MacBook was coined so because I wanted to convey the level of "muck" and "mess" that is part of parenthood, especially when you try to be creative while parenting.  My house is not show-home perfect - I'm the kind of mother who ignores the washing because my daughter should have a small crocheted blanket for her doll's house, stat.

My long-suffering husband has been in my life since we were 16 (married nine years now), and he gets that he is usually the only one who sees the shambles I leave behind me while you all get to see the end result of the projects, photographed up against the only clean wall in the house.

And speaking of my husband, Mr B is a notorious computer geek who works in Security for Google.  He owns wayhayhaaaaay too many google t-shirts, and even a lab coat (don't ask), and reads books entirely written in binary.

Little mucks...

Together we have managed to produce three lovely specimens of children - Miss S (6), Master J (4) and Miss M (born March 2012).

Both the elder children are showing equal signs of geekiness and creativity which pleases us both no end, and Miss M, well, Miss M sleeps, eats and spits up, but that's to be expected!

Thanks for reading my blog, I really do appreciate my readers, especially the ones who comment, (I have woken up in the middle of the night several times to check for comments on my blog.  Sad, but true.)

Yours muckily,



  1. Ha I know what you mean about leaving the chores because finishing a crafty project is much more important! Nice to read a bit more about you :)

  2. hii, i love your blog :) especially the forest themed party, im having 1 for my daughter in january (she'll only be 2) and i think i may have to pinch some of your ideas hehe.. thanks for the great blog, its a lovely read.. keep up the good work :) x

  3. HI Rachael

    Lovely inspirations on your page - SO lovely to see pictures of the children as well.

    Tell do the ovens in Switzerland differ much for standard NZ - What time of cook top is most often used?

    Any nice features in the european kitchen

    Great news about your new baby hope you are keeping well

    Juliette is due to have their baby girl 3 rd November - so very exciting.

    Love to you all
    Aunty Vicki

  4. Hi! Nice to hear from you. :)

    You must be very excited about Juliette's baby! Can't wait to hear when she is born and what name they have chosen.

    To answer some of your questions, all the appliances here in Switzerland are like little mini versions of appliances back in NZ (and I suppose most other places in the world). I have struggled to make Christmas dinner here because I simply can't fit all the different dishes in the oven.

    Lots of enthusiastic cooks here just put two ovens in their kitchens for that reason. Fridges are the same - but it's amazing what you get used to. It just means I have to keep on top of the cleaning out of the fridge. I guess it's all a reflection of the habit of daily shopping, not our typical big weekly shops that we are fond of in NZ.

    I'm afraid that our kitchen isn't an example of great European design - it's still the same kitchen that was here when the place was built in 1981 :(. Quite shocking actually - I look forward to the day we buy a forever house in NZ and I get to have the kitchen of my dreams :).

    Pass my well-wishes for the birth to Juliette. I'm sure she'll love being a mum. x

  5. Hi LM

    I stumbled across your blog when I was searching for kiwi cakes and found your cake you made with the delightful little kiwis. After reading some of your posts I was totally blown away by your creativity. I'm a stay home mum and a kiwi too. I love hearing about what other kiwis are doing around the world. Thank goodness for the internet;o). I'm a cake decorating novice but love pottering in other crafts. I look forward to following your blog and keep those creative juices flowing.


  6. Thanks for the lovely comment, Lisa! Always nice to hear from a fellow Kiwi :). Glad you have been enjoying my posts. x

  7. Dearest Lady Muck,
    Will you be returning to us soon? Your posts are being missed immensley, a constant source of crafty insipration - I'm an especially big fan of your cupcakes and cakes alike. I check up weekly, hoping to see a little something from a faraway land (being all the way back here in NZ, living vicariously perhaps?)
    Here's hoping your Christmas was merry and your New Year filled with cheer.

    Looking forward to seeing something soon
    Yours, a faithful follower

    1. Here I am! The last couple of months of my pregnancy were really tough, but I'm back! Thanks for your lovely comment, so sweet to know someone missed me during my posting hiatus :) x

  8. Hi Lady M,
    I luv your site. Im a recent work at home mom running a little media consult bz and a small novelty baking bz. what id really luv is what you are doing. just baking, home crafts, parenting and sharing it with other moms online! so im super inspired by your blog and will follow it religiously!
    Blog-baking from Fiji.

    1. Thanks Crafty Fijian Momma! What you're doing sounds really interesting. Glad you like the site - it's precisely as you say - just doing some creative stuff, and parenting and sharing about it. I hope you're OK there in Fiji - I hear there are some terrible floods at the moment - I hope you're safe :) x

      LM x

  9. Hi Lady M

    First time I have ever commented on a blog and am doing so because I think this one is so great. Really easy to follow and I love the detail. I need to make a Hello Kitty Cake for my to be 4 year old in May. I really appreciate how you take the time to answer the comments posted.

    I notice in one of them that somebody asked what shortening was - it's used in the butter cream recipe. You checked it out on the net and identified it a TREX in the UK - a white vegetable fat. This is correct but, although I've never used it in buttercream (butter icing as we call it) I so wouldn't try. You use TREX in the same way that you might use Lard (hard white animal fat) - eg cooking roast potatoes in. The Martha Stewart recipe that you posted for buttercream has the same ingredients that we use here and so it's the better option. Hope that helps - and I've learned that New Zealanders use the term 'shortening' as well as Americans - anybody else? :)

    Finally, I guess that instead of cling film to slide the top layer of the Kitty Cake on it's possible to use parchment or grease proof paper or does that not slide so well?

    Thanks again for your blog

    1. Hi Beverley,

      Thanks for the comment, and for the info regarding the shortening. It's difficult to identify equivalent ingredients in various countries, so any feedback on what works and doesn't is always appreciated!

      New Zealanders use mostly the same baking terms as the UK (icing sugar, not confectioners' sugar etc), but a few of the US terms have creeped in. I try and use as many as possible to make the recipes clear to all my readers as I have lots of US and UK based readers - even more than in New Zealand!

      You could indeed use grease proof paper/ baking paper to slide the top layer off onto the bottom layer. Or a piece of thin shiny cardboard - like one of those thin cake boards works well too. Transferring layers of cakes can be a bit stressful and fiddly - probably not my favourite part of making party cakes!

      Good luck with your Hello Kitty cake - I'm sure that it will be amazing and your 4 year old will LOVE it. My little girl was four when she had hers too.

      Thanks again for your lovely comment and encouraging words.

      LM x

  10. Hi, this is also the first time that I have left a comment on a blog!
    I am also a 30 something kiwi girl living abroad (france) with 2 kiddies. I came across your site as my little girl also miss S...would like a Hello Kitty cake for her 4 th birthday next week. I will attempt to make the one on your blog. i hope it turns out as good as your one. So stoked to find this! Love your blog! Then 1 week later is my son's 2 nd birthday maybe I will find something here for that too! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Lisa,

      Always nice to hear from a fellow expat Kiwi :).

      I'm glad to hear that you are doing a Hello Kitty cake for your Miss S, I'm sure she will just love it. Birthday cakes were a very special part of my upbringing - my mum would bake the cakes and make the icing and then my dad, who is very creative would cut it all up and sandwich it together and make all kinds of amazing things.

      My own kids don't really remember the age they turned on a birthday, they always talk about their birthdays according to the cake they had - "that was my ladybug birthday" or "that was my kiwi birthday". :)

      Good luck finding something for your son's 2nd birthday. Here's what I did for my son's second birthday:


      It was heaps of fun to gather together lots of favourites from home for the party too.

      Thanks for stopping by my site and for your lovely comment.

      LM x

  11. A new liker and I have to say I've just spent my whole lunch looking through your page - it's fantastic!
    My friend and I are making Lightning McQueen and your tutorial is just what we were looking for!
    Laura, UK

  12. i stumbled across your blog via pinterest and i am so glad i did. thanks so much for sharing such lovely projects. i am adding you to my must read list :) oh and i completely understand having a spouse who reads code...mine writes books on the subject and i think creativity balances it all out. HA! thanks again for all the beautiful inspiration.

  13. Hi,

    Earlier this year we launched the site Everyrecipe.co.nz. Here you can search through thousands of recipes from the best food sites and blogs of New Zealand.

    We noticed that you have a lot of delicious recipes on your blog and would like to suggest you have a look at our Top Food Blogs section here: http://www.everyrecipe.co.nz/top-food-blogs/.

    Add your own blog by following the instructions on our site and hopefully your food blog can be up there in the top. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.

    Like us on Facebook! http://www.facebook.com/pages/Everyrecipeconz/269133933202434?ref=hl

    Warm regards,


  14. Hi Rachel thanks for the free patterns I used as a quick quide stitch count for a new born set and then blinged up in my own obligatory cable, I guess you like me love seed stitch its just so lovely, simple , and feels beautiful , so thanks from me xx off to find booties now !! Xx

  15. I came across your site last night while looking for baby knitting patterns. What a beautiful site, gosh so much talent!
    Very inspiring I will log on to look on a regular basis please do keep up dating and inspiring us.
    Also Kiwi living in Auckland.

  16. I was looking around for newborn hat patterns and stumbled across your blog - what a lovely site & how talented you are!

    Warm regards from New Jersey,



Thanks so much for your comments - I really appreciate them!

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