Saturday, 29 May 2010

Sweet William

It's a grey day in London today, but that's okay, we needed some rain and I had a hangover this morning so felt a bit grey too. We have guests this evening for dinner, smoked makerel pate and smoked salmon for starter, sirloin steak and homemade chips with bearnaise sauce for main and then homemade individual summer puddings for pud, followed by a little bit of cheese. Yummy hopefully!
It's also a long weekend here in the UK and an ever longer weekend for me as I'm off all next week. Woohoo! Work is tiresome at the moment, I feel like I'm fighting a lot and firefighting too. It'll be great to have some time away from it all. Although it won't be a quiet week. A cooking course in Devon followed by a wedding in Bedfordshire and then a girls weekend in Bath. What fun! Hope you all enjoy a lovely weekend, long or otherwise!

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

New Purchases!

Following on from my wardrobe edit I have been shopping! So I thought I would share with you my recent purchases :)
This is the Wonder dress from French Connection. I saw it and thought it looked like the right shape but they only had a size 10 (US 6 I think) and I'm normally a 12. Anyhow I figured best to try it on, following Kate's advice, and so on it went, just.... It fits really nicely at the top but is very tight around the bottom. So I bought it anyway! Just in case there's not a 12 for me to try on somewhere else and exchange it with.

My next purchase was on Sunday. This is the same belt which Make Do Style has posted about before. Ideally I would have bought the Citrine belt but it seems they have sold out. So Coral it is. Belt from Karen Millen.

I'm therefore feeling quite excited about my purchases and hoping they're good ones for the future. Now to check J likes the dress and doesn't think it too tight and then we're away!

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Wardrobe edits and shopping lists

Today I was very very lucky and got treated to a Wardrobe edit with the very lovely Kate of Make Do Style. To be honest I was a little terrified as I knew how much my wardrobe really needed it. A lot of it is very outdated and I've never really know what suits me or what my body shape quite is. I've also been feeling a little uncomfortable in my body recently, my hormones have been a little all over the place with the introduction of Mirena and this comes out with me feeling lumpy and fat. J tells me it isn't the case but I still struggle to let myself believe him when he tells me.

So armed with my new advice I have decided to create a shopping list so I can shop to list from here on in and hopefully inject some youth and style into my wardrobe. I shall report back following purchases!

1. Belts - one coloured and patent, one brown
2. Boyfriend cardigan
3. New bras
4. Maxi dress
5. Dress (above the knee)
6. Skirts (above the knee)
7. A couple of t-shirts

And then my guidelines for shopping are buy the right size (I tend to buy clothes too big because I believe I am that size), buy shorter, always above the knee, tighter and less fussy on the hips, plus more youthful!

Kate - I hope I've got this right and thank-you again, I so very much appreciate this. I am looking forward to shopping now in the hope that I really can buy the right clothes!

Oh and finally I would absolutely recommend this to anyone who feels like they're a bit stuck with their wardrobe and body image. It is wonderful and so worth it!

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Orange Poppy

Taken by me in my parents back garden on the weekend. In the small moment of sunshine we had before the pouring rain which threatened to wash away the garden party. Although being hardy souls we put up the umbrellas and stayed outside drinking wine... True Brits!

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Help Needed! Hotel recommendations in Paris

Still on the list of things to do... Having completed number 3 by making creme caramel I am now looking at the others on the list. Number one on that list was to go to Paris for the weekend.

Last week I booked our Eurostar! And we're going in August, a long way away I know but I shall start planning now.

So I am looking for your help. Seeing as you lot are a well travelled lot can you give me recommendations of both areas and hotels to stay. My budget isn't huge and I know Paris is expensive so if it could also not be ridiculously expensive that would be wonderful!

Ideally we'll be based centrally, I don't really want to have to get the metro a lot. Especially as I imagine in August it'll probably be sticky and hot.

Looking forward to hearing all your ideas :) M x

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Creme Caramel - Recipe

As promised the recipe I used for the creme caramel I made the other day!

For custard:
500ml milk
Vanilla pod
6 eggs (4 yolks, 2 whole)
125g caster sugar

For caramel:
100g granulated sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon water

Boil 500 ml milk with a vanilla pod split in two. In a mixing bowl blend 2 whole eggs, 4 egg yolks and 125g caster sugar. Gradually add the boiling milk (having removed the vanilla pod), whisking it quickly. I do this quite slowly to avoid the eggs cooking, or start slow and then speed up once it's all cooled down a little. Then you have your custard.

Put caramel ingredients into a heavy bottomed pan and heat until the mixture turns a pale caramel colour at 160C (I don't have a sugar thermometre so just guessed at what pale caramel was, it changes so quickly though!). Pour the caramel into the mould and tilt until it has covered as much of the sides as possible and it stops flowing.

Pour the custard into the moulds, place them into a bain marie and cook in a preheated oven at 190C (375F, gas mark 5) or until the custard is lightly set. Take the mould out of the bain marie and allow it to cool completely.

To get it out dip into boiling water for a short while then turn out onto dish, this should help remove the caramel stuck in the mould and get it all out all over the custard... Mmmm


Sunday, 9 May 2010

Update - Thoughts on the pill

Pretty much a month ago I wrote quite a long post about my thoughts on the pill. You guys were amazing and gave me lots to think about in your lovely comments. And I think I also promised an update when I had given more thought to what to do next. So here we are an update!

I went to see a lovely nurse at the family planning clinic who talked me through my options and allowed me to talk about my opinions and my experiences. Really a girl you are completely right that a family planning clinic is the right place to go for contraceptive advice.

And so on Friday I went back to the same clinic and had a Mirena IUS put in. The Mirena is a coil but is plastic with some progestergen in it which releases slowly over 5 years. So I now don't have to worry about contraception until 2015! My decision to get the coil was mainly because I didn't want to still be on the pill, as I had said it was giving me trouble, and also because I don't plan on having kids anytime soon.

It hurts though, to get it put in. If you do decide to do it take strong painkillers first. I wish I had done this, it would have made it a little easier. But the doctor was great, very supportive, talked me through it all and really made me feel at ease.

Right now it's still a little odd feeling, I'm still getting slight cramps, much better than yesterday and Friday afternoon and hopefully tomorrow will continue to improve. If anyone has got one in any thoughts on how long it took them to settle in would be great. I'll start to get concerned on Tuesday/Wednesday if it still doesn't feel right.

Anyhow, thank-you again for all your support, I truly appreciate all of you peeps who read, comment and come along on this journey with me.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Creme Caramel - Success!

So on Monday I managed to tick off number 3 from my list. Which made me very happy! It also made J quite happy and our friend A who was joining us for a Bank Holiday lunch.

I got the recipe from Larousse, amazingly enough the only cook book I had with the recipe and off I went... Below the little beasts before they were turned out on to the plate.

The yumminess in its glory. Sorry I am bragging but I was amazed they worked and looked like they should, plus they tasted pretty good too... Hopefully you can see the vanilla throughout the caramel and custard (I only put it in the custard but somehow it ended up in the caramel too).

The only slight problem I had was with the caramel, I think I did something wrong as my moulds now have a rock solid layer of caramel at the bottom. Exceedingly hot water will be the only thing getting that out, although I have tried I promise!
If anyone wants the recipe I used leave me a comment and I shall get it for you!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Vote! Vote like a stoat!

So today is finally polling day for the UK. It feels a long time coming... But this means it's time to exercise our democratic right. So go, go all those who can and cast your vote. Because this could be it for another 5 years...

It will be very interesting to see what comes of the election tomorrow. I am off to an election reception in the evening and we'll see what happens on Friday!

Monday, 3 May 2010

Quilting Part 2

The leadership debates and bank holiday weekend have allowed me time to crack on with the quilting project I started a while back... The plan is to make two smallish quilts, one for each of my sisters and their new little ones (when they arrive).

So below is number 2, very similar to number 1 but slightly brighter in th greens I used.

And here we have both quilts side by side. I'm pleased with how they turned out and now just need to buy the backing material and sew them all together, for which I shall be using middle sister's sewing maching hopefully next weekend. And then we shall have some finished quilts (fingers crossed) which I will of course show you.
Hope you've been having good and productive long weekends. M x