Monday, 30 June 2014

make the most of july - bucket list

Click image for printable

It's my monthly bucket list post again already lovelies! This month has flown by in a flash. It doesn't seem two minutes since we went away for my birthday. We were blessed with lovely weather as my bright, red nose the next few days testified. There was many a guffaw at work!!

I'm feeling quite summery right now as you can see from my list. My fingers are crossed for good weather so I can do all the things I have planned and get outside as much as possible. One of my jobs over the weekend was to get the barbecue out and give it a clean. We haven't used it yet this year but I am determined to have one on the next sunniest weekend. 

My favourite summer go to drink has to be Pimms amd lemonade. I can't wait until we break up for the school holidays so I can sit and relax in the garden with one or two. Maybe some ice-cream too!

Weather permitting we are going to a free music festival at the weekend in Coventry. We have been once before and saw some amazing bands. There is so much happening; music stages, comedy tents, a fairground and lots of entertainment for all ages. It should be a good laugh. 

Over the next few weeks, I am going to put together a reading list for my holiday. Have you got any ideas for a good summer read?  

Enjoy your week lovelies.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

ouefs en cocotte (eggs in pots)

This little dish is so modest that it barely needs a recipe. I made it as a starter last weekend, but it also makes a light, tasty supper. There are all manner of ways in which you can glam it up, but this is the humble eggs in pots.

Ingredients (serves 2)
about 80g creme fraiche
2 eggs
salt & pepper
to garnish
few leaves parsley
sweet chilli sauce

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Season the creme fraiche with salt and pepper and a pinch of nutmeg, and place a tablespoon full in the bottom of of a ramekin dish.
  3. Crack one egg on top and add another tablespoon of the creme fraiche. Sprinkle a little salt, pepper and nutmeg on top. Do this for both pots and place the pots in a dish of lukewarm water that comes halfway up the pots.
  4. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the eggs are cooked to your liking.
  5. Add a teaspoon of sweet chilli sauce to garnish and top with chopped parsley.
Perfect with crusty bread. Enjoy!

We are hoping for lovely weather on Saturday so we can go out and explore, and on Sunday we are off out for Sunday tea with friends. Have a great weekend lovelies. 

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

on trend jogger trousers for this season

Finally, we are seeing some lovely weather. Can I put my winter boots away at last? Doesn't it just make you feel better when the weather is sunny and warm. We took advantage of this glorious day and spent it at a beautiful garden centre with historic gardens in the grounds of Wentworth house.

I am so in love with these jogger trousers right now. Perfect for dressing up or down. When I first saw them in the shops, I loved them but wasn't sure whether they would suit me or not. However, when I tried them on, I was sold.

Today I chose a black, strappy cami top to wear with them and my denim jacket, which gives a casual feel. I finished my outfit off with some black and gold sandals and a black crossover bag.

The great thing about these trousers is how versatile they are. I have dressed them up with gold heels and a coral top to go out at night in too.

This is a garden centre with added extras! A maze, a deer paddock and a bear pit and it's perfect to visit at any time of the year. It is situated next to a beautiful village and country house which we are coming back soon to explore.

The formal Italian garden and its canal pond have been renovated beautifully. There are so many different types of topiary and herbaceous borders to see. 

Do you love these trousers as much as me? What other ways would you wear them?

Enjoy the rest of your week lovelies.

What I wore:
River Island jogger trousers
River Island black strappy cami top
River Island Black metal trim T bar sandals
New Look denim jacket - wardrobe
H&M bag - wardrobe
River Island necklace
Topshop sunglasses - wardrobe
Rings - wardrobe

Linking up with Elena at DC in Style

Sunday, 22 June 2014

enjoy the little things

I have pondered on writing this post for a while now, as my blog is a place where I like to share good and positive things. But I have to be honest and admit that for a while lately it has been hard to see the good, well for the past six months actually.

We tend to 'get on with it' with our stiff British upper lip but I haven't found it that easy lately. For now, we take one day at a time unable to make plans with no security in sight which has taken its toll a bit. Along with job insecurity, insomnia, technical difficulties, a string of family events and friends who are having much greater personal crises than me, its been tough.

I haven't any energy left after I have been at work, which is a nearly six mile round walk away, so because of this my blog is starting to suffer along with keeping up with friends. However, I met up with a friend I hadn't seen for a while and she reminded me that there is no point in worrying about a day that may never come and to just concentrate on the now.

With this in mind, over the past few days I have been drawing a list up of things that make me smile and make me feel good. I have also dusted down my Happiness Project book written by Gretchin Rubin, which I recommend anyone to read. It made me feel positive just by reading it. It has lots of ideas to enhance happiness in everyday life and has laugh out loud moments. I am going to read it again as it filled me with such enthusiasm but sadly got put back on the shelf, as so often happens!

Being more mindful in everyday life is definitely something I need to be doing. Seeing the beauty around us, taking the time to slow down to enjoy the little things. Stopping to smell the roses!

I have found a lovely blog 'Positively Present,' by Dani Dipirro, which has lots of positive tips and advice for living in the moment. It also has a positive playlist which I love. Now a regular read for me!

I have also been reminding myself of happy times by looking through my Happy Book and my post 'ten things that make me happy.' I am determined to fill in more of the pages of my Happy Book with the things I love.

I want to put more time into the blog and get back to regular posting. An outfit post and a delicious recipe are two of the posts I am looking forward to sharing with you this week. Onwards and upwards!

My new mantra - Think positive and positive things will happen.

Have a lovely week.

Friday, 13 June 2014

small sighs

We spent my birthday weekend in sunny Scarborough and this was the view from our hotel bedroom. I left the curtains open at night so I could wake up and see the sea. I took this photo at three o'clock in the morning and as you can see, the sun is already starting to rise. Breathtaking!

This week I have been loving:

spending date night eating chocolate fondue

 drooling over my favourite recipe book

 picking self seeded flowers from the garden to brighten my kitchen

eating butternut squash and asparagus risotto

Have a great weekend lovelies. We are planning on painting the shelves for our office and a picnic for two in the park. Have you anything nice planned?

Friday, 6 June 2014

small sighs

This is what my Sunday morning looked liked. A lovely breakfast in bed served to me by Steve. This was our last day of the school holidays so we spent the morning being lazy. I could eat almond croissants everyday but I try and save them for a treat as my hips wouldn't like it!

This week I have been loving:

 Planting pretty flowers for the garden

Homemade carrot and coriander soup

Relaxing with sunset cocktails in the garden

Bringing cheer into the house with these beautiful blooms.

Have a great weekend lovelies.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

apple and bourbon cake

I just had to share this melt in the mouth cake recipe. As it is still cold enough for comfort food, I jumped at the chance of making this cake. My lovely Instagram friend Katerina, whose food shots make my mouth water, shared a picture of this cake she had made. She very kindly gave me the recipe to try and let me tell you, it's one of the best cakes I have ever made! Check out her lovely gallery here.

The bourbon works so well with the apples, pecans and spices. It is super moist, packed with fruit and has dark, spicy flavours.

225g/2 sticks unsalted butter,softened
220g/1 cup caster sugar
220g/1 cup dark brown soft sugar
3 eggs
280g/2 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of baking soda
1 tsp ground allspice
1 1/2 tsps ground cinnamon
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cardamon
1/2 tsp salt
3 tablespoons Bourbon
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
120g/1 cup shelled whole pecans, toasted and roughly chopped

Deep, 20 cm/8 inch round cake pan,greased and baselined with parchment paper.
Serves 5-12

  1. Preheat the oven to 160C/315F Gas 4.
  2. Using an electric mixer with paddle or beater attachment (or an electric whisk, which I used), beat the butter and both sugars until the mixture is almost light in colour and fluffy in texture.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until thoroughly combined before adding the next. Scrape down the side of the bowl and mix again for one minute.
  4. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, bicarb, all the spices and salt and sift twice.
  5. Add one third of the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix until well incorporated. Repeat with another third of the flour mixture, then the rest of the flour mixture, and mix until just combined.
  6. Pour the Bourbon over the apples in a bowl and mix. Fold the apples and pecans into the cake mixture.
  7. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin. 
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 55-70 minutes. A wooden skewer inserted in the middle should come out with almost no crumbs attached, and the middle of the cake, when pressed, should spring back slightly instead of sink. Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes if necessary.
  9. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Slide a table knife all around the edge to loosen the cake, then remove from the pan. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for one hour.
Perfect with a cup of coffee, afternoon tea or as part of a picnic. This cake won't disappoint and definitely ticks all the right boxes! Well, it didn't last a full day here!


Monday, 2 June 2014

make the most of june - bucket list

Hi there! Well, you won't believe the bad luck we have had lately. Within two days, we had our main computer, my laptop and my DSLR camera break down. I was just getting into a role again after a blogging break and this happens. To say I was upset was an understatement! I did shed a tear or two! But, fingers crossed, we have them fixed and good to go, so onward and upwards!

I'm looking forward to this bucket list as particularly it's my birthday month. I'm not excited at all of course! It falls on a weekend so we are hoping to grab a night away somewhere. Country, city, coast......I've not quite decided yet. It will just be nice to get a change of scenery.

Last year, Steve surprised me with some beautiful cupcakes from a lovely shop called Fancie. Mouthwatering and delicious! I have to get some more.

As life has been a little tough during the past few months, we have let our date nights slip. Yet, the tough times are always when you should make more of an effort. So we are going to make sure once a week we do something for us and forget our worries for that one evening.

Have you any ideas for date nights that wouldn't break the bank? I'd love to hear them.

Have you any plans for June?

I hope you are all keeping well and have a great week. I'm back to work today after a week long holiday. Back to setting the alarm!