Friday, 30 August 2013

make the most of september

Here is my bucket list for September with the things on it that I am planning to do this month. 

August seems to have passed by in a flash! I can't believe we are at the end of the month already! It signals the end of a fabulous summer holiday and the start of early autumn. I'm not sure if I'm ready for autumn just yet! 

I have really enjoyed all the things I have been doing this month. I managed to fit in all my bucket list plans for August and have had a blast. We had a fantastic holiday in Crete with lots of swimming, sandcastle building, beach days, relaxing with books and I got some colour in my cheeks!

My daughter and I had a chilled, relaxing day at a spa that my eldest daughter surprised us with. We had a wonderful massage and facial, swam in the pool, had a sauna and a lovely lunch.

I made a healthy banana split which was really tasty. Instead of ice-cream I used Greek yoghurt and fruit, still yummy but without the naughty calories. This will be a regular dessert for me!

We are seeing Mcfly in Scarborough tonight at the open air theatre. I am so excited, this will be our seventh time! Live music is so thrilling, it's definitely a favourite hobby of mine. I'm sure I will get some great photos for my girls and I.

Have a lovely weekend everyone. We are staying in Scarborough for a couple of days so I've got my fingers crossed for paddling weather!

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

summer stripes

Stripes seem to have been every wear I look this summer. Horizontal, vertical and diagonal stripes have made a real splash! I have to say I used to be terrified of wearing stripes because of the fear of looking wider.

I have worn striped tops but never been brave enough to go for a full striped dress before! When I saw this dress I fell in love with it and thought to myself 'give it a go, girl!' I tried it on and I was pleased to say I felt slimmer! So I was sold!

I paired it with my Converse trainers and my straw panama hat as it was a lovely, sunny day. The bag had the relaxed feel I wanted to go with the dress.

We had a lovely afternoon walking and eating ice-cream in the park. A beautiful place to relax in. I feel a picnic coming on!!

Topshop striped dress - wardrobe
H&M straw hat - wardrobe
Converse trainers - last seen here
H&M bag - wardrobe

Have a great day

Monday, 26 August 2013

happy book

I've been thinking for a while about writing happy thoughts down in a journal so that when I need a pick-me-up, I can go straight to it and give myself a reminder of everything that makes me smile.

I put it on my July bucket list as one of the things I wanted to do. So I have started collecting my thoughts everyday and I have put a few of them together in this flip book to share with you.

I enjoy writing my journal, which I keep with me at all times. I have decided to re-create some of it on a new Happy Book page. I would love you to contribute your happy happy thoughts using the comments box. I would love it to become a communal sharing of happiness.

Please click on the Happy Book page link here or above and share with us what makes you happy. I'm really excited about this, if you like the idea please spread the word.

Friday, 23 August 2013

how to make home made ravioli

There is little to beat fresh pasta and home made is even better. It is so simple to make your own pasta and it is so worth the effort. Everyone will immediately be able to tell that they are eating something a little special.

I made my own pasta for this ravioli with ricotta cheese and smoked salmon, but you can buy sheets of fresh pasta to save time.

First, this is how to make the pasta.

Ingredients for the pasta dough (serves 6)
300g (2 1/2 cups) white flour, type '00' plus some for dusting
3 medium eggs
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
(Note - I made half the quantity here)

1. Sift the flour onto your worktop and make a well in the centre.
2. Break in the eggs.
3. Add in the salt and oil.
4. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, mix the flour into the eggs, working from the centre outwards. Once you have a crumbly texture, scoop the mixture together with your hands and start to knead until you have a soft dough. Knead then for about 8 minutes as you would knead bread. Roll the dough into a ball, cover with clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.
5. Once it is rested, flatten the dough, with your hands, so that it will fit through the pasta machine.
6. Lightly flour the pasta on both sides and start to roll it through the pasta machine, from the widest to the thinnest setting. Make sure you keep the pasta dusted at each stage. You will be left with a long sheet of this pasta ready to use (use within the hour).

Ingredients for the ravioli filling
750g (3 3/4 cups) ricotta cheese
zest of 2 unwaxed lemons
300g (about 10oz) smoked salmon
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives 
salt and pepper to taste

Other ingredients
oil to drizzle for serving
chives to sprinkle for serving
a beaten egg to assemble the ravioli

1. Place all the ingredients for the filling in a large bowl and mix together with a fork. Add salt and pepper to taste.. Cover and place in the fridge to rest for 10 minutes.
2. Lay the pasta sheets on a work surface which has been dusted with flour. Put teaspoonfuls of the filling at 4cm (1 1/2 inch) intervals across half of the rolled out dough. Brush the spaces between the fillings with the beaten egg. Gently cover with the rest of the dough and press down between the parcels of filling on all sides. 
3. Use a pastry or pasta wheel, or sharp knife, to cut the pasta into squares between the fillings.
4. Cook the ravioli in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 3 minutes. I did this in batches. Drain and place in the middle of a large serving plate and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over a little olive oil, sprinkle with the chives and serve.

This recipe can be a little fiddly but, once tried, home made ravioli will become a firm favourite.

I took this recipe from Gino's Pasta by Gino D'Acampo.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

what to take on holiday

For evenings out on holiday, dresses really comes into their own. They can be worn with sandals, jeweled flip flops or pretty kitten heels. We always dress up at night as we treat every evening as a date night. 

Have you noticed my hair is down for once? There was a few minutes when the wind went down but not for long as you can see below! I ended up having to go back to the apartment to put my hair up!

I adore maxi dresses, can you tell yet? My wardrobe is full of them in all different colours. I find them so easy and comfortable to wear.

I couldn't resist having my photograph taken next to the mural of Zeus. I was fascinated by it and the colours were lovely.

This dress comes out of my wardrobe every year. I have had it quite a while but I never get tired of wearing it. I usually layer it with a jersey dress underneath. I had a turquoise blue one on here but I also wear it with a pink one too. 

We found a bakery selling the cutest little ice-creams I have ever seen! It's part of our holiday tradition to eat ice-creams while we are away! Pistachio, mint, chocolate, white chocolate; so many flavours to choose from!

This dress is from the wardrobe too, I love the fact it is strapless and I find it very slimming.

I fell in love with this skirt as soon as I saw it. I love the cut of it and the way it falls at the back. Perfect for summer evenings. I normally wear a plain black t-shirt with it.

Have a lovely day everyone.

Monday, 19 August 2013

summer dresses for a holiday

Dresses! I love them. Can you tell? It was definitely the right decision to take dresses away this year. The dress I'm wearing above is actually a beach cover up but I thought it was nice enough to wear in the evenings. Excuse my hair in the photos, I can't explain how windy it was!

Can you see the big bruise on my leg? I walked into a sun lounger with a metal edge! Of course, I only said 'Oh dear!' It went a lovely shade of blue and purple!

This jersey dress was so comfy to wear, I can dress it down for casual as I'm doing here but I'm sure it will look great with heels too. 

I couldn't resist adding in a picture of a glorious mojito. I'm addicted!

My bargain dress from H&M. Can you believe it was only £7.99! I knew it would be ideal. It's so comfy, perfect for summer. My sandals are old faithfuls from the wardrobe. I have had them a few years but I love them so much. I keep having them resoled and heeled!!

My birthday present dress, floaty and light. A favourite of mine. I bought this bag from a great little shop in the village - just five euros. Bargain!

What kind of dresses do you like to wear in the summer?

Have a lovely day everyone. Hope it's a good one.

Dress 1 - River Island Maxi
Dress 2 - Topshop Maxi
Dress 3 - H&M - wardrobe 
Dress 4 - River Island - wardrobe

Friday, 16 August 2013

my healthy banana split

'A healthy banana split?' I hear you say! As I have slightly over indulged whilst on holiday, I thought I would try a healthier version of a banana split. It's something I have never made before, so I put it on my August bucket list as one of my things to do for this month.

I have to say I was really impressed with the results. It was delicious and I didn't feel I was missing out! It can be eaten for breakfast or as a dessert. I ate it as an afternoon snack in the garden.

This is the recipe in case you fancy making it.

1 banana
low fat Greek yoghurt
sugar, to sweeten (if needed)

Blend some of the strawberries and blueberries into a puree, leaving some aside for decoration.
Add a little sugar to sweeten if necessary and blend again.
Cut the banana in half and place on a plate.
Spread the puree over the banana.
Then spread over the Greek yoghurt.
Place the remaining berries over the top for decoration.

If you have any puree left over, it's great to have on porridge, yoghurt or fruit.

Voila! Enjoy all the gorgeous flavours without the naughty calories.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

i said yes

I am so excited to tell you my good news. I am getting married! On our last night in Crete, Steve proposed to me and I said yes!

I have been dying to tell you all but my daughter was away on a girly holiday and I wanted to tell her before I told anyone else. It's been so hard keeping it to myself!

It was such a romantic setting, in a lovely restaurant over looking the sea watching the sun go down. I am so happy, can you tell?

Monday, 12 August 2013

summer holiday beach dresses part two

This has to be my favourite beach dress of all. I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it. The colour fits in perfectly with the surroundings. So light and easy to wear.

 My favourite bikini of the holiday. I love red and with flowers on it as well, I was sold!

We decided to go for a walk up the hill to visit a little village as it was just too windy to sit on the beach. It was further than we thought! By the time we reached the top we were so thirsty so of course we had to have a beer!

I bought this dress because I fell in love with the back of it. It's so pretty, light and airy although strong gusts of wind did blow it up a few times!

In my next couple of posts I am going to be wearing my evening outfits. The wind was so strong, (it got worse as the day went on), that my hair was blowing everywhere. You will find it quite funny. I had to keep my hair up most of the time!

Picture 1 - Topshop beach dress
Picture 3 - River Island kaftan
Picture 5 - River Island bikini
Picture 7 - Topshop dress
Picture 8 - Topshop cover up

Have a great day everyone.