Monday, 30 September 2013

The Incredible Smugness of Soup...

I love squash. I love the look of them, the colour of them and they are both delicious and easy to cook.   However, I don't like faffing about trying to peel them and chop them so any recipe that doesn't involve me skinning my knuckles trying to do just that is a good one by me!

Last week I decided to go crazy and buy a butternut squash from Aldi for all of 89p. I used it to make the most delicious, but incredible simple soup.  Honestly it couldn't be easier, it's the kind of thing you shove  in the oven and leave whilst you get in with something more important. 

You simply:

Scrub the skin of your butternut squash really well. This is important as it forms part of the meal. Chop it in half, remove the seeds and put them to one side.

Rub the flesh with olive oil, season and place in a roasting tray together with two fairly large potatoes and one red onion.  I hate this picture, it makes my baking tray look hideously grubby, but trust me it is clean, just well loved!!! I also added one clove of peeled garlic which I halved. Each half went into the neat little hole in the squash. 

Bake the whole lot in the oven for around 45 mins to 1 hour, until lovely and squashy (excuse the pun, hahahaha).

On a separate tray place the washed and dried squash seeds coated with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. Toast the seeds for around 10 minutes until they look crunchy and golden. 

Once the vegetables have cooked and they're lovely and soft, scoop them out if their skins and add them to vegetable stock.  Blend until nice and smooth.  Heat through so it's lovely and piping hot.  I use the end pieces of sliced bread, which nobody in our house seems to like eating, so make croutons.  Chopped into little squares, and toasted in a pan with a little salt and a little butter.  Don't do what I did and get distracted by a spot of washing up, as those pesky, but delicious little squares can catch in moments.  Lesson learnt!

Serve your soup with the croutons and the toasted seeds on top.  Forgot to take a picture, belly over brain.....

In fact, one squash and two potatoes made so much soup I had to refrigerate some to have for my lunch another day!  Not bad huh?

Are you a soup lover or a soup hater?  Do you make your own?  If anyone can suggest any flavours to try out I'd love to hear your recipes, I'm always on the look out!

Love, love, 

Saturday, 28 September 2013


A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013.

39/52 - Wiggles in her sling.  With a beak

39/52 - Biscuit copying Mummy's sling.  Beakless
During a spot of geocaching with my lovelies, I took these pictures.  I love the picture of Wiggles, her eyelashes!  I really don't know where she got those from, it wasn't me or Mr Husband, but I love them.  She has taken to sling sucking for entertainment.  I should stop her, but it's cute!

I love this picture of Biscuit too, she wanted to wear her dolly, Rosie-baby like Mummy was wearing Wiggles in her sling.  She ignored all my protestations that she should be facing the other way, but hey!  Details eh?  I love the way her hair looks scruffy, but to me she just looks shiningly beautiful.  Oh those girls, they make my heart swell up!

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Friday, 27 September 2013

Friday Treats....#5 - Cheers Big Ears!

Good evening lovelies! Had a good week? Yup, me too! Once again it's time for my Friday Treats post.

This week I'd spent too long chatting over curry when I realised I had yet to buy Biscuit's treat. A quick trip to Wilko's where they had a very useful toy sale going on soon solved that! This week lucky, lucky Biscuit was honoured to receive: 

Yep, you heard me! Comedy ears! Hahaha :)

Friday Treat: Comedy Ears 

Price:  Reduced from somewhere around £2 to 50p. I have to admit that I didn't look at the full price all that closely. I was too busy chuckling at COMEDY EARS! 

Reaction: She thought they were pretty funny and particularly loved the idea of tricking her Daddy into thinking that her ears had just mutated. What more could a five year old want out of life?

Have great weekends!

Love, love, 

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This weeks curry was Chicken Dhansak, with spicy mixed beans. Lovely and herby, 7/10. Mmmmmm :) 

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

The Active Life....#5 - Strollin', Strollin', Strollin....

Once again, this weekend was a busy one and we only had one day out of two to get some fresh air into the small people.  After a stressful, but necessary stroll around the supermarket in the morning we decided to hunt for some of the Geocaches that have been evading us locally.  The lovely thing about doing this is that it takes you to places you wouldn't otherwise know existed.  I carried Wiggles in her beautiful sling and spent a considerable amount of time wondering whether carting around a 24 pound baby on a two hour walk would burn off extra calories....that would be nice! Biscuit decided that she would like to have a sling of her own and with the help of an old dressing gown belt, carried her dolly on her front, just like Mummy.

We found the first cache fairly easily, we'd been unable to before due to a herd of cows that had plonked themselves right where we needed to be. This is our celebratory "We found it!" photograph, but I must admit I rather like it.  I like the fact that we're all in it, that everyone is looking at the camera (for once) and that it shows just a smidge of Mr Husband Sir's naughty Game of Thrones tattoo.  A Targaryen sigil on his lower arm for anyone who's trying to work it out...

Anyway, despite some slightly ominous looking clouds we strolled off up hill and down dale quite happily.  

When I wasn't contemplating calorie burning I was pulling what Mr Husband refers to as my "photo face".  Displayed excellently here:
Yeah, cheeeese!
I'd coloured my hair earlier in the day, a much darker brown, but one that is usually quite standard for me.  It had become so lightened my the summer sun that I felt like someone else whenever I looked in the mirror, so I'm glad to be back to my old familiar...

In the end we found a beautiful lake, right in the middle of nowhere, that I didn't know existed!  A lovely reward for our efforts!  There's nothing I like more than a walk.

Here's Biscuit staring out and looking thoughtful. It's unusual for her to sit still! 

Hope you've all been busy, busy, busy too!

Love, love,

Saturday, 21 September 2013


A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013.


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Friday, 20 September 2013

Friday Treats.....#4 - Ooompah, oompah, stick it up your jumper!

Good evening lovelies! I honestly can't believe that Friday has come around again so quickly!  It only seems five minutes since last week's Friday Treats post.

This week I was trolling through the shops and found quite a bargain for lucky Miss Biscuit.  This little beauty!  

Forgive the slightly rubbish photograph, I couldn't seem to get the light right, so resorted to the flash in the end.  It's been a long day!!

I wouldn't normally choose something so big for a Friday treat, but it is really lovely and quite a bargain, so I thought, what the hey!

Friday Treat: A gorgeously soft stripey jumper from Gap Kids

Price:  Originally £17.95, reduced to £6.99

Reaction: Very, very chuffed.  She has style that girl!  I was met with:
"Can I put it on now Mummy?  Over my pyjamas?  To sleep in?"
"Erm, no.  But you can put it on tomorrow"

I think that's a pretty good reaction!

Have great weekends!

Love, love, 

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Thursday, 19 September 2013


Hello Campers!

Once again I am joining in with Ot and Et and Harvesting Kale and am Currently....

Changing:  I can think of a few things which need to change, but I haven't got around to actually doing any of those things yet. The summer duvet needs changing for the warmer, thicker winter version.  My summer wardrobe needs changing for the autumn and winter clothes.  

Remembering:  To give Biscuit my old Teddy Bear.  She is doing a project at school about how toys have changed over the years, each parent was asked to send in an old, or favourite toy with a little description.  She was thrilled to be allowed to have a look through my bag of out toys, given some respite from their bin bag in the loft.  Goldie the Teddy Bear in her seventies dress was duly sent into school.  And kept there!  For the Toy Museum!  I don't know whether to be thrilled or insulted!

A Picture of Biscuit and her bear, when she was small.  Just shows how much her sister looks like her!

Needing:  My response to needing hasn't really changed from last week's post.  I could come up with a whole list of things that I neeeeed....but in truth they are only things that I would quite like. Half the Boden Winter Catalogue would be good?!  I don't need much to be happy, me.

Cleaning:  My system!  I don't like using the "D" word, as it seems to doom me to failure, but I confess I have been dieting a little.  Not in a nuts way.  Just in a "being a lardy bum really isn't good for anyone" way.  I confess to having lost approximately ten pounds so far!  I say approximately because a) my scales have a mind of their own and b) I haven't weighed in this week so I'm hoping that I haven't put any weight ON!  I still need to lost another stone (approximately) to be within healthy BMI range, but slowly does it!

Feeling:  Proud of one little darling, she's been asked to be on the "Eco Council" at School.  As I understand it two children from every class are put forward and they are largely expecting to have a "meeting" with the Headmaster regarding important issues such as making sure windows and doors are kept shut.  It seems very strange to hear a five year old talk about going to a meeting.  

I have been feeling worried about the other little darling.  Twitter followers may already know about my concern that she was walking strangely, falling over a lot and bumping her poor baby bonce for no apparent reason.  I duly took her to the Doctor's to see if her cold had lead to an ear infection, and he confirmed that this was exactly the case.  I feel so sorry for my poor little sausage.  Painful ears is no fun at all.  Cue lots of hat wearing and lots of Mummy-picking up indignantly removed hats from the floor..... 

Join in?

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Wednesday, 18 September 2013

The Active Life.....#4 The British Barbecue

I'm linking up with Aanie at The Active Mum, again this week for her Active Life linky. 

This week our weekly effort to get the children outdoors and using up some energy saw us having a tidy up ready for winter at the allotment. Only this time there was a reward at the end! The first annual allotment holder's BBQ! Complete with rain, hot crumble and custard and lots of running around in wellies. Everyone had a marvellous time and the small ones got A LOT of fresh air! Who says the rain spoils things?

Love, love,

Monday, 16 September 2013

Magic Moments.....My kingdom for a hat....

We are lucky enough to have been invited to another wedding this weekend in London. My very dear old friend Berg is marrying his gorgeous girl. Berg & I have each other a very long time and he's always been someone that I trust and look up to, I value his opinion and he sees through all my rubbish. He does not like being woken up on holiday by Tallulah and I gleefully jumping on his bed. This I have learnt.

Travelling to a wedding throws up a whole host of logistical problems. Do we drive? Get the train? Drive part of the way then get the tube? Stay in a hotel? Ugh! So many things to think about! 

However we get there, I've decided what I'd like to wear. Obviously my first port of call is always Vivien of Holloway, my favourite dress shop in the world. I'm going to wear this dress:

Their beautiful 1940's dress in Valentine Rose. One of the wonderful things about it is that it doesn't crease, so however we travel, hopefully I won't look too squashed.

I love the hat that this model is wearing, and tried so hard to find something similar, but to no avail. I trawled Etsy but as I only had a small hat budget, it proved a little difficult. In the end I had a brainwave! Proper middle of the night flash of inspiration stuff....

I invested a whole £7 in a very plain hat from Etsy, complete with veil. It's very simple hence the low price.

Here's how it looked on...

Bit worried that if the dot falls in the wrong place I might look a little, erm, Hitler-y, but I'm just going to have to hope for the best on that front!

I used the hat as a base and armed with a glue gun I'd sneakily borrowed from my friend Bob I added some paper roses that I was given as a Christmas present ages ago. I've never really known what to do with them...

I spent ages deciding on the best position and arrangement, then glued them onto my hat and whacked in a few carefully placed leaves for good measure and....voila! 

The result!!! Complete and perfect match for my dress for a princely £7! 

What do you think? Bonkers or brill? 

I'm chuffed as a chuffed thing from Chuffingham! Now pray it doesn't rain......

I can't be the only person to have fashioned accessories from bits and bobs laying around....tell me your tales!! 

Love, love,

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Sunday, 15 September 2013

You'd Batter Believe It - Cherry Clafoutis Recipe

There are cherries, beautiful, gorgeous, squashy, fat British cherries out there on the trees RIGHT NOW. I love them and really like using them for cooking. Any Instagram followers will have seen that I was doing just that yesterday!

We went to a BBQ, it was definitely very British because it was raining. I decided to make a lovely summery dish to counteract this so I opted for Cherry Clafoutis. It's a delicious mixture of dark cherries and sweet batter like cake. It's dead simple, but it sounds dead posh. Plus, whilst I don't know the precise figures, I reckon it's fairly healthy (as much as cake can be) it contains only the teeny weeniest spot of fat, it's mostly fruit and barely any sugar. Hurrah! 

To make it you will need: 

1lb (10oz) cherries, washed and stoned. 
3tbsp kirsch (I used plum brandy)
4 large eggs 
75g (2.5 oz) caster sugar
Butter for greasing
1 vanilla pod 
100g (3.5 oz) plain flour, sifted 
300ml (10fl oz) milk
Icing sugar to dust

I love the look of cherries, they're so very dark. We have the most old fashioned cherry stoner, it looks like an instrument of torture, particularly when splashed with cherry juice. Works a treat though! 

Cover your cherries with a little of the sugar and booze and leave aside for around half an hour. They will release lots of delicious dark juice. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.

Mix together the beaten eggs, sugar and the juice from your cherries. Add the centre of your vanilla pod. Slowly whisk in your sifted flour until you have a smooth, thick batter. Then whisk in your milk. The batter will become really quite thin. 

Arrange your cherries in the bottom of a well greased flan dish and pour over your batter mixture. I find it helps to make sure your dish is already on a baking tray, it makes it easier to lift into the oven when it's full.

Bake for 35 - 45 minutes until the edges are brown and the centre has set. 

Allow to cool for around 10 minutes and dust with icing sugar. Scoff warm. Enjoy cherry juice....mmmmm...

Have you tried clafoutis before? Any tips for me? I'd love to hear your thoughts...

Love, love, 

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Saturday, 14 September 2013


A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013.



Biscuit sits on her Daddy's lap, whilst he looks glazed and terrified, ignore him!  Wiggles practices her new skill - eating with a fork. In the background Daddy looks glazed and confused - yeah....

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