Jam doughnut muffins

Sugar dusted jam doughnut muffins

You love doughnuts, right? Everyone loves doughnuts.  But wait, you love muffins don’t you?  Soft, fluffy and perfect breakfast fodder.  So why not put them together?  I’ve been fiddling about with this recipe for ages, and the boys are pretty sure that I’ve perfected the whole doughnut/muffin scenario, but the jammy bit had beaten me.

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The Honda Civic Tourer

On test: the Honda Civic Tourer 1.8i-VTEC SR

We’ve tested a few cars in the past, most notably the Honda CR-V that we drove around France, and really love doing it (basically, a lovely man appears on your doorstep with a brand new car and gives you the keys, leaving the car with you for a week – what’s not to love?).  This time, Honda asked if we’d like to try their new Civic Tourer 1.8 i-VTEC SR manual and, being a big car loving family, we jumped at the chance…

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Chilli chicken noodles

Chilli chicken noodle soup

Yesterday, we were wondering what to have for dinner – it never seems right to have a roast on a hot day – when Sam mentioned that we used to have chicken noodle soup all the time, but we hadn’t had it for ages.

Just so happens that I had a chilli, a lime, and some ginger (I keep the ginger in the freezer anyway) and half a pack of noodles, and it seemed the perfect, fresh alternative to full on Sunday dinner, so it was game on.

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Bicester Village

A splash of orange at Bicester Village

This week, Mr English and I decided to head to Bicester Village for a spot of shopping.  I like Bicester – we have a bit of lunch or a coffee in Pret or in the little Jamie Oliver place, then pootle around around looking for bargains.  There were still plenty of summer brights available in the sales and I discovered that I’m still totally in love with everything orange.

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Honey and almond flapjack

Honey and almond flapjacks

I’m always making flapjacks.  The boys are always trawling the kitchen for after-school snacks (and pre-school snacks, and ‘I’m a bit peckish’ snacks, and late-night snacks and every other kind of snacks) and I like to have a few home made treats around to stop them eating too much rubbish.

Over the years, I’ve tweaked the recipe, cutting down on the amount of butter and sugar, and substituting honey for golden syrup, until I feel it’s the healthiest it could be without ruining the recipe completely.  Here’s my latest version: Read more

Christmas lights

10 tips for sticking to a budget this Christmas

I know what you’re thinking: Christmas?  Really?  But now is the time of year where all the retailers are showcasing their Christmas stock to the trade (in fact, loads of retailers are already showing their Christmas ideas to the public too – have a look at the ‘New for Christmas 2014‘ range at John Lewis).

This year, I’m determined not to be panicking at the last minute.  I have a Christmas book (just a hard-backed notebook) and every year I make a few notes (and write down what people send to us so that I can write thank you notes) – it’s become a bit of a habit. This time I’ll be going more in depth. Here’s a few ideas I’ve got so far:

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Habitat 'Radius' oak bed and 'Mauzy' bedding

Champagne lifestyle, lemonade budget…

So with news that the House of Bodily Fluids could soon be ours (I guess we shouldn’t totally get our hopes up until we’ve actually exchanged contracts), we’ve started doing that nesting thing where you go out window shopping for things you’ll never really be able to afford but you’d buy if you had unlimited funds (known as ‘champagne lifestyle, lemonade budget’ in our house).

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Cruise Awards

The Cruise Awards 2014 – vote mum!

I’ve always written about travel.  But over the last few years I’ve been writing more and more about cruising.  I adore cruise holidays and have become almost evangelical in my attempt to get the word out to everyone just what a FABULOUS holiday you can have aboard a cruise ship. Last month, as part of my job as an ambassador for Royal Caribbean (follow us on Twitter and Instagram – our hashtag is #RoyalMums) we travelled to the Caribbean on the largest cruise ship in the world, the Allure of the Seas

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Wowcherching cashback – we’re missing out on free money!

I’ve recently bought a new laptop and before I did, I had a good look around online for voucher codes or discount codes, but one thing I hadn’t really considered was cashback. Too late, sadly, I received an email from Wowcher’s new cashback website, Wowcherching last week so thought I’d have a look to see exactly how it works and how much I could earn.  If you’re not familiar with how cashback works, you visit their site and search for the retailer you are about to buy from, click through to the retailer via the link and once you’ve made your purchase the retailer then pays a referral commission back to Wowcherching, that they give to you as cashback. Read more

Artist's impression of The Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort  (pic courtesy of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts)

The new Four Seasons Resort, Orlando

Regular readers will know that I adore a Walt Disney resort hotel (click here to see my top five) and there’s much excitement in Orlando at the moment as there’s a new hotel opening very shortly.  This one’s a bit different as although it’s placed within the boundaries of Walt Disney World, it’s actually a Four Seasons.  The Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort to give it its full title (bit of a mouthful, admittedly) is shaping up to be an absolute beauty.

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Percy's Vodka Iced Tea

July: what I’m loving now

Can you believe July has disappeared already?  I’d love to tell you of long, lazy, hazy summer days lolling in the garden sipping Prosecco, but I’ve been ridiculously busy, rushing to London for meetings, buying a house (hopefully!), travelling and writing to various deadlines.  Still, I’ve taken the time to jot down a couple of the things that have been useful/beautiful/handy/delicious.  And here’s to a slightly more chilled out August!   Here’s what I’m loving now:

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SCANDAL LOGO

5 mad things about the Scandal, Series 3 event in London

So recently I got invited to a very swish private screening of the third series of Sky Living’s drama, Scandal.  If you’re not already hooked (bet you are), it stars the gorgeous Kerry Washington (who we all remember most as the blind lady who dated The Thing in the Fantastic Four, but who was also amazing in Django Unchained), as White House fixer Olivia Pope. It’s full of intrigue, secrets and cover-ups and is seriously good.

So how did the evening pan out?  I’m not sure you’ll believe it…

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summer fun

5 tips for surviving the school summer holidays

So the kids are breaking up (or have broken up) from school and now the loooong summer stretches ahead.  My two seem to have been off for weeks already (both have done exams and have been on study leave since May – happily they both have part time jobs which at least keep them occupied some of the time).  So whether you’re embracing this time with your children, or dreading it, you’ll still have between a month and six weeks of time to fill and there’s nothing worse than bored kids. So how can you keep the kids entertained?  Here are my top 5 tips for surviving the school summer holidays:

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Chopping board from Getting Personal

A lovely giveaway for English Mum’s eighth birthday *closed*

So this week, my little corner of the internet is celebrating its eighth birthday.  Eight whole years of talking waffle!  I was telling someone recently (in the manner of a very old lady) that when I started out, I knew most of the other ‘mummy bloggers’ out there.  There weren’t very many and we all felt like friends, commenting on each other’s blog posts and actually meeting up in real life occasionally too! Read more

Yumi dress cropped

Dresses for people who really don’t suit dresses

So recently me and the Mr were out shopping.  He’s actually one of those men that’s really good at shopping.  He’s not a ‘stand outside the shop looking awkward’ kind of man, he’s a ‘get stuck in and have a rummage’ one.  He has an opinion.  He’ll tell you if he thinks something suits me (not that I always take his advice, obviously) and he’ll also be honest if something doesn’t (brutally, occasionally – he’s been known to make me cry, but that was years ago, he’s learned to be a bit more tactful these days).

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