Showing posts with label Blogtember.. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blogtember.. Show all posts

Monday, 23 September 2013

insta memoir

Moments of my life in Instagram. 

Have you noticed there is a theme running through my Instagram photos? I am in love with eating and drinking. If you fancy following along with me, my link is here

Here are just a few of my insta moments from the summer. Time to welcome Autumn.

What have been your best Instagram moments lately?

Friday, 20 September 2013

how to make lemon curd marble muffins

Today's Blogtember prompt is: React to this term: comfort

These muffins are my idea of comfort food. They are gorgeous to eat on a cold, autumnal day by a roaring fire. Brilliant too if I fancy baking something tasty and delicious but I don't have a lot of time. As they should be eaten while they are still warm, it's a great excuse to have more than one!

This recipe makes about 12

225g plain flour
2 tsps baking powder
100g caster sugar
a good pinch of sea salt
125ml milk
1 medium egg
125g plain yoghurt
75g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
150g lemon curd

 First, place muffin cases in a muffin tray. Then in a bowl, put the flour, caster sugar, salt and baking powder and mix together lightly.

 Stir together the milk, melted butter, yoghurt and egg in a jug. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix lightly. 

Put six or seven dollops of lemon curd in and quickly 'marble.' A couple of light stirs will do.

Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases and bake in a pre-heated oven 180C/Gas Mark 4 for about thirty minutes. Leave to cool and eat while slightly warm.


I used a recipe from the River Cottage Everyday cookbook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Enjoy. Have a lovely weekend.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

a memory I would love to relive

The Blogtember prompt for today is 'a memory you would love to relive.'

People who know me know how much I love musicals, but I didn't see my first West End musical until three years ago. I can't believe I left it so long! My daughter shares my passion for musicals too! We can sit for hours on a cold, rainy day watching them. We have our favourites which are The Sound of Music, Calamity Jane, Mary Poppins and The Lion King.

It was coming up to my daughter's eighteen birthday and we wanted to do something extra special for her. I knew how much she wanted to see Les Miserables in the West End, so I booked us a hotel and tickets to see it. She was so excited when I told her; her face was a picture!

On arriving in London we were like giggly girls all day waiting for the big event. We dressed up and went for a lovely meal beforehand. The theatre was stunning inside; breathtaking. I made sure we had tissues handy because I knew there would be tears!

I will never forget my daughter's face when the music started. She was mesmerised. Of course it wasn't long before I started with the tears! It was an emotional rollercoaster. I knew it would be good but it was better than I could ever have imagined.

She has always wanted to see this show and I am so glad I got to share this experience with her. I will never forget it! We have since been to see the film version, bought the DVD, got the CD and cried again! Thank you Amber for being in love with musicals just as much as me, so we can share this love together.

Have you got a memory you would love to relive?

Happy Tuesday everyone.

Monday, 16 September 2013

love is all you need

Today's prompt is to 'write a public love letter to someone in your life'

Hi everyone, this is my second post today. I am taking part in a Blogtember blog challenge so this is today's post for that. Here is my first post today, 'How to make a sparkling rose with raspberry liqueur cocktail.'

Dear Steve
When you asked me to marry you I felt like the luckiest person in the world. What a beautiful setting we were in. I will never forget anything about that wonderful evening. I'm so excited about all the plans we have for the future together.

It still amazes me how well you know me, knowing what I like and knowing what I will say next. I love the fact that we can be thinking the same things at the same time, even if it is nothing to do with what we are talking about at that moment.

You are always there to lift me up when I am feeling low, always seeing the good in everything and everyone. Putting up with my OCD tendencies can't be easy at times; my love of all things straight and you know how I love the certain angle of my cushions to be!

I love the way you encourage me in everything I do, telling me constantly that I can do things when I say those dreaded two words 'I can't.' You have helped me gain so much confidence by your positive attitude.

Where would I be without your love of cooking? Italian, Greek, Mexican, Thai and Chinese meals are your best, but my favourite has to be your special eggs benedict. No one makes one as good as you.

I have found my soul mate in you, I know we have great times ahead. Thank you so much for just being you.
I love you.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

my top five favourite online shops

Today's Blogtember prompt is 'share links to your favourite online shops, with a few photos of your favourite items.'

I could go on forever about all the online shops I love but I thought I better narrow it down to my top five favourites. Friends who know me will not be surprised with my top favourite! It has to be the beautiful, wonderful lust love shop Topshop!

My Topshop wish list includes this gorgeous white blazer that I have had my eye on for a while. I love the cut of it and I think it would look great dressed up with jeans and heels. What do you think?

I have always wanted a leather doctor's bag and this one is perfect. A little expensive so maybe a Christmas gift?

I love Cath Kidston products. When I walk into one of her shops, Steve usually has to drag me out after about an hour! She is the queen of shabby chic. These rose tea mugs are just so cute and in pastel colours which I adore. Tea and coffee would definitely taste better in these!

Gorgeous fragranced candles are a must for me. I have them in every room. These Blossom candles would be lovely lit in the bathroom while relaxing in the tub. A great little present too! Where would I be without a browse on the River Island website? I love looking through their 'Get The Look' page where all the best new trends usually are. I am lusting after these strappy sandals, don't you think they are beautiful? Perfect for a night out, I might have to treat myself.

Tea dresses are my ideal day wear at the moment. I can dress them up or down and this red heart print tea dress really caught my eye. I love wearing them with tights and brogues in the colder months.

If I could choose any watch to buy right now, it would be this circle bracelet watch from Ted Baker. It is so pretty and I love the style of it.

Would you use this pastel pink tablet case? It is just so girlie with its colour and bow, the cutest of cute!

Urban Outfitters has a really quirky vibe. It sells funky clothes, accessories and home goods. There is always something unusual that I've never seen before. Look at this cheeky face? This book 'Feminist Ryan Gosling' is my next purchase from Urban Outfitters. Do you think I could get away with pretending to buy it for my girls but just happen to read it before I give it them?

How cute is this mini, pink camera? All good things come in small packages and this is just adorable? I love vintage looking cameras and the colour pink so this is just perfect!

Have a wonderful Wednesday

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

you don't know what you can do until you try

Today's prompt is 'to describe a distinct moment when my life took a turn.'

Like most people, I have had two or three life changing experiences over the years, which include the birth of my girls, bereavements and meeting a new partner at the age of thirty, but I wanted to keep this post more lighthearted. So, I have decided to write about when I began my blog.

When I first started I knew I wanted it to be a lifestyle blog. This for me meant leaving my comfort zone and trying something new. I do love being creative but I have always been unsure of myself, often believing too readily that I couldn't learn new skills, and I certainly did not like having my photograph taken! 

The first thing I had to get to grips with was all the new technical stuff: modifying templates, using a DSLR, editing photos, designing a look, and finding and buying a domain name (what was one of those???). I'm so glad I did all this. I love taking photographs and it has made me so much more aware of my surroundings. I'm much more mindful, seeing patterns and little bits of loveliness in everyday things.

The blog has also made me more confident in what I wear. There were so many styles that I 'knew' wouldn't suit me, but now I don't give up on anything without at least trying to see if it works. I can hardly believe the difference it has made.

Blogging has also enabled me to meet new people from all around the world, which is so lovely. It is fascinating having an insight into other people's very different lives. I love it!

As a result of doing all these things, my confidence has grown. This has been helped by the lovely comments I have received online, as well as from friends who had no idea I blogged, because until recently I hadn't shared it with anyone I knew personally. 

When I look back, I have come a long way. This was brought home to me today when I had a lovely comment from Alison, on photo Project 365, who said, 'Your blog is impressive and I wouldn't know where to begin.' That is exactly where I was eighteen months ago when I looked at some of your blogs.

Of course I still have some way to go. You won't often see me on photographs when I'm not hiding behind sunglasses. But hey..... give me time.

Friday, 6 September 2013

a time i was very afraid

Today's prompt is 'a story of a time when you were very afraid.'

The first thing that popped into my head when I read this prompt was a car accident I had when I was seventeen. I had just received my provisional licence that morning and couldn't wait to get behind the wheel of a car. My boyfriend at the time said he would take me out in his car for a lesson. So I put the learner plates on and off we went.

My boyfriend came from a little village about half an hour from where we lived and he thought it would be a good idea to go around the country lanes near there as it would be quieter. Bear in mind I had never driven before and I was in quite a big car with no power steering and a powerful engine. 

I drove the half hour into the countryside and I was doing pretty well. My boyfriend suggested going for a meal at a place he knew quite well. I think he forgot how narrow the roads actually were!

I stopped to give way turning left at a small, tight junction. I didn't turn the wheel fast enough as I set off and I mounted a bank and tried to climb up a stone wall with the car. I still had my foot pressed down on the accelerator so the wheels were spinning wildly. We were sat looking at the ceiling of the car! We were in shock for a few seconds then we both realised what had happened. 

This wall belonged to an older couple who looked as shocked as we were! We managed to climb down from the car and the couple asked us into the house. They were really kind but the lady said she had been under the wall gardening a few minutes earlier, it could have been so much worse!

What happened after that became a bit of a blur. I remember a policeman turning up and then my boyfriends family. They were really mad with me as the car was in a really bad way. The car had to be towed down to a garage and we had to be taken home in my boyfriends mums car. She didn't speak to us all the way home.

I was in complete shock, crying and shaking. I was mortified by what had happened. When I got home, I went straight to bed as I was in a bit of a state and that's where I stayed until the next morning. 

I didn't get back into a car for three years and then it was with a qualified instructor but I failed three times and thought that maybe driving wasn't for me! My excuse is I was heavily pregnant at the time of my tests! I know I need to overcome my fear and get back into the driving seat and I will day!

Has there been any times when you have felt afraid?

Happy Friday everyone. Have a lovely weekend.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

five top tips for new bloggers


Today's prompt is 'pass on some useful advice or information you learned and always remembered.'

It's day three and I found this prompt a little tricky when I sat down to write it. I sat with my coffee by the laptop and suddenly it came to me. As a fairly new blogger, less than eighteen months, I have learned some really useful tips that have really helped me with my blog. 

This is my advice if you are starting a new blog; it's not all you need to know but it may help.

Choose your blog name carefully.
When I started to create a blog, I tried to think ahead. I wanted to be able to use the same name for all the social media even though I may not use them all straightaway. Picking a name is tricky. I tried all sorts of word play, looking in many places for inspiration. I had a handful of ideas and I tried each of them on various social media sites and web addresses to see if that name had been taken. I had two or three ideas and settled on one that worked for me.

Get your own domain name.
This is worth the time and little money it costs to do. You own the blog. Also, owning your own domain name gives you credibility. I chose to use Blogger to create and host my site as I wanted to be able to get underway as quickly and simply as possible. You do have more flexibility if you build your own website. However, in truth I have been able to do pretty much what I wanted with Blogger using tweaks and tips I found on the internet.

Select your template carefully.
That fancy template that looks so great on the day you start may, twelve months down the line, drive you mad with its frills and fancies. I chose a simple template and just modified the background with a motif that I wanted to use for everything. I also wanted a template that was easy to leave a comment on. You can try out all of your ideas on a test blog (under a different name) before you launch.

Use your images to best effect.
Images for me are important on any blog. They draw my attention straightaway. A fifty pound compact camera can take images acceptable for a blog; I know because I've done it. Make the most of your images. Unless you are an ace photographer, your photos will need a little tweaking. Even a simple and free editor like Photoscape can just tweak the contrast, the brightness, the colour balance or whatever it takes to make sure your photographs have the maximum impact.

Personally, I like to see larger images and preferably all the same width. I use Photoscape to resize all of mine to 650 pixels which is about two thirds of the whole page.

Be consistent
Decide how often you want to post, being realistic about what you can manage. I post four times a week which keeps me very busy! If you can only manage twice a week, fine, but do it consistently. Your visitors will be looking for your posts.

Wherever your visitors choose to meet you, your blog, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, they should be able to recognise your style straightaway, from the appearance of the page to what you post.

Finally, be nice to people, be honest and enjoy it. I have met a lot of lovely people since I started blogging and hope to meet many more. I hope these tips have given you a few pointers if you are just starting out.

Happy Thursday

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

my perfect break

Today's prompt is - if you could take three months off from your current life and do anything in the world, what would you do?

I could have gone on forever about all the things I would like to do but I have tried to narrow it down to my top ten. I started to get the travel bug as I was looking through these photos! Hope you enjoy my wish list.

A ride in a hot air balloon 

Stay in a French country house with a vineyard and sit and drink wine

Eat antipasti in Rome

Take a romantic ride on a gondola through the waterways of Venice

photo taken by myself
Explore the small towns of Tuscany

Visit the history of Sicily

Relive Mamma Mia in Skopelos

a photo taken by myself
Watch a Santorini sunset

Sky dive at sunset

Take a holiday in a gypsy caravan

What would you do if you could have three months off? Are any of my dreams the same as yours?

Have a great Wednesday

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

a sneak peak

The prompt for today is: describe where or what you came from.

Hello again to new friends and old friends! I am so excited to be taking part in Jenni's Blogtember challenge, as I enjoyed it so much last time. I managed to blog everyday and met some lovely people too. Let the fun begin!

I started life off in a little market town called Chesterfield, a place very famous for a 14th century Crooked Spire! We lived in a three bedroomed semi-detached house across the road from my school to be, which was very handy! I had an attic bedroom which was my sanctuary. I remember picking my wallpaper; white with pink hearts!

My mum gave up work to become a stay at home mum and my dad had a job as a long distance lorry driver. I was very lucky to have a Nanna and Grandad I adored and I had their full attention, as I was an only grandchild until I was seven.

I remember receiving some lovely presents from them and I still treasure some of the things they bought me as a child.I spent a lot of time as a child with them, exploring the local area, going for walks and generally having fun.

My dad was always doing jobs in the house. I used to come home from school and he would have knocked a wall down! But as soon as he had destroyed the wall he would build it back up again! We got used to living in brick dust and treading on nails!

The town I live in is very near The Peak District. It is lovely to be able to say on impulse, 'let's go to Chatsworth today.' We are very lucky to have some beautiful halls around us and a castle down the road. There is always lots to do.

I still live in Chesterfield, which goes back to at least Roman times, and it still has some very old buildings including an inn which dates back to the 12th century. I recently decided to do a post on being a tourist in my town and I found some really interesting facts that I didn't know.

My daughters are eighteen and twenty and still live in Chesterfield too but they are ready to spread their wings!

As part od the Blogging Everyday In May challenge, the first prompt was to tell everyone about us. If you want to learn a little more about me, you can click here.

Thank you for taking the time to read my first post. I'm really looking forward to reading all yours.

Have a great Tuesday.