You know me, I LOVE to bake. I go through spells of obsessing about things: recently it’s been fresh bread (including these yummy iced buns), all sorts of different flavoured brownies, and muffins, especially breakfasty ones. It’s funny how things change but at one stage the boys would happily scoff a big breakfast in the morning: eggs on toast, bacon sandwiches… that type of thing. Recently, they’re not as keen (probably because they’re always late) and I hate the thought of them going out into the world with empty stomachs. Bring on the breakfast muffin: easy grab and go food, and not too hideously bad for them (better than a McDonald’s breakfast, no doubt). I absolutely love the flavour combo of these fresh orange and dark chocolate muffins, although obviously you could add things like blueberries or chopped banana instead (I only add a scant 75g anyway).
I’ve had a think about it, and I’ve decided that having Mother’s Day and my birthday on the same day is the way to go. I appreciate it’s not something I can dictate, but it made for such a wonderful weekend – full of my favourite people, some delicious food, and many laughs – that I think I’m going to try and swing it from now on. We started the Mother’s Day/birthday weekend (or should that be the Motherbirthday weekend?) with a trip to the cinema to see Beauty and the Beast. Oh, I loved it – I adore Emma Watson anyway and Beauty and the Beast has long been my favourite Disney movie, so the combination of the two of them, along with my three favourite men plus being able to sip a glass of wine (the Odeon MK has a gallery area where you can order a drink before your film) while I was watching was possibly the best thing ever.
Honestly, it feels like we’ve been refurbishing this house for years. But now, with the flooring done, it really feels like we’re getting somewhere. Our last two big projects to tackle are the two bathrooms: the main bathroom which the boys share, and our own en-suite, which we’ve lived with in a right old state since the shower developed a leak over a year ago. The problem with bathrooms are that they’re expensive. Even if you find all the ‘furniture’ at the very budget end (which we did), you need someone skilled to come and do things like tiling and plumbing, so we waited until we could just about afford it all, and made savings wherever possible. Here’s a bit of en suite inspo for you, should you be considering doing the same:
When friends and readers are planning a trip, I’m often asked for my advice about things that they absolutely mustn’t miss, and always about the best rides: what’s worth queuing for, what’s worth using a FastPass+ for, that sort of thing. This got me thinking about my favourite experiences at Walt Disney World Resort, Florida: the things that I would rush round and do if I only had, say, a day at each park. So here’s my little list of Disney World’s best rides – I know it’s subjective, but these are my own personal faves. I’m bound to add to it, so do refer back every so often!
Now our boys are older and have their own money, when it comes to gifting they tend to just ask what I’d like. I’m always happy with flowers or chocolates, but when they or Mr E want to buy me something lovely that I might not splurge on for myself, I tend to head straight for beauty products. You already know that I’m a big fan of M & S beauty, so I thought I’d pick a few things that I love that would make amazing Mother’s Day gifts (or, frankly, a well-deserved bit of self-gifting too). Read on to find my top picks for Mother’s Day beauty with M & S:
I’ve been fiddling around a lot lately with this recipe. The boys have (mostly) been willing testers, although one of the batches tasted ‘kinda like chocolate pizza’, which wasn’t really the result I was aiming for. What I have been aiming for is a really soft white finger roll – you know, like the ones you buy in a bakery, smothered in gooey icing. I think the best ingredient in getting these soft iced buns as light as possible is actually time – they need to rise slowly, then be shaped, then rise slowly again. The perfect rainy-day occupation, then. And there have been quite a few of those recently (although yesterday I made them while the sun was shining and the kitchen door was open – and that’s good too.) Read more
I’m so lucky to have my Mum. She’s my biggest cheerleader, supporter and advisor – always on the sidelines cheering me on, always there with great advice, never interfering, never judging. Mr E and my Mum get on really well, and the boys quite rightly adore her (she spoils them silly, even now they’re big), so she’s always played a huge role in our family life. This Mother’s Day, I’ve teamed up with John Lewis to create a lovely hamper of gifts for my mum as inspiration for Mothers’ Day gifting. Here’s what I chose to say thank you to my lovely Mum.
I’m such a monochrome shopper it’s not even right. Absolutely everything I purchase (apart from denim) is black, white, or grey, so my current obsession with everything nude and blush has kind of caught me by surprise. Although, I guess nude is a neutral, so by rights my wardrobe should all still fit together, no?
I’m just not really a breakfast person. I’ve tried hard to change this, but the most I generally eat before about 11am are copious cups of tea and maybe a biscuit or a banana. So when Breville came along with their Blend Active Diary Challenge, bandying about phrases like ‘a smoothie a day’, and phrases like ‘lesser used vegetables’ and ‘superfoods’, I was a bit worried I wouldn’t enjoy my challenge week. Still, I’m always up for a bit of experimentation, and let’s face it, an entire healthy meal in a glass sounds like a lazy person’s dream come true. Here’s how I got on:
Let’s be honest, from here in the UK, Florida isn’t the first place you think of as a weekend destination, but then when Universal called and said ‘hey, fancy a long weekend at Universal Orlando Resort for Mardi Gras 2017?’, my response was ‘hell, yes! Let me grab my suitcase’.
I spend so much money on products that aren’t right for me. My worst one was getting my foundation done at the Chanel counter at Gatwick, then purchasing the product and not realising until I went to the loo on the plane and looked in the mirror that my face was literally orange (top tip, try to approach someone on a make-up counter whose own make-up style you really like). I have to say, though, that when I took it back to the Chanel counter at John Lewis, they changed it for me. I also find I make a lot of mistakes buying online, with products not being the right colour or texture for me. Happily, though, I occasionally have some amazingly good accidental discoveries, and I’m on a roll recently, so I thought I’d share them with you.
I’ve had this recipe for ages. It’s my go-to for any time when I want to make a quick Sunday lunch dessert (or if I need to take something relatively impressive to someone else’s house). Every so often I think that I should properly write the recipe out for you (piecing together the scribbles from my recipe notes), and guess what – I’ve finally got round to it! This easy biscuit pie crust is literally just pressed into the baking tin, and the filling can be as simple as a tin of cherry pie filling, or just some grated dessert apples (I’ve given some more suggestions below). Here’s how to make a really easy cherry pie with an easy biscuit pie crust.
- Weekend wishlist: the M&S Summer Beauty Box June 22, 2017
- In which I finally get to visit Celebration, Florida June 20, 2017
- A culinary trip to the Far East June 19, 2017
- Weekend wishlist: why Ultrasun should be in your beach bag June 17, 2017
- Post 40 beauty: what it’s really like to have Botox June 15, 2017