Saturday, 28 February 2015

Recipe - Lamb Stew

When the kids & I were up in Aberdeen for half term, my sisters other half Robin made us a fantastic lamb stew for dinner. The stew was flavoursome but not too spicy so the kids enjoyed it. I'm all for us eating the same meal and so in that respect this recipe is ideal. It's from Two Fat Ladies, Full Throttle and I thought I'd share it with you here with his tips :)

From what I can see on Google, Harrira is a Moroccan soup, but this was definitely more stew consistency than soup as the rice soaked up most of the liquid.

Harrira 

{Ingredients}

115 g chickpeas (from a tin - saves you soaking them overnight!)
350 g lamb in bite-size pieces (Robin recommends you double this lamb quantity to 700 g)
1 large onion, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
25g butter
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Salt & pepper
900mL - 1.2L chicken stock
400g chopped tomatoes
55g long grain rice
Pinch of saffron
1 red pepper, skinned, de-seeded & cut into strips (another tip - it's better if you don't skin the pepper)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp chopped parsley

{Method}

Fry the onion in oil & butter until translucent.

Add the lamb and brown evenly.

Add the ginger, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, cinnamon, salt & pepper to taste and fry for a few minutes.

Transfer to a saucepan in which you have the chicken stock, cover & cook gently for an hour.

Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, rice, red pepper and lemon juice and cook for a further 30 minutes.

Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.

Robin served the stew with toasted tortilla wraps and it was the perfect accompaniment

It was delicious... thanks guys :-)


Friday, 27 February 2015

#LittleLoves 9

Late to the party this week, but here's my #LittleLoves post.

butwhymummywhy

// Watched

One of my new colleagues Kevin (he's asked for a mention! *waves*) gave me his copy of Lucy to watch. Lucy is an action/sci-fi/thriller starring Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman amongst others. I really like Morgan Freeman - he's up there in my top 10 favourite actors. I tried to keep an open mind as I much prefer true to life movies, but I really struggled to get into this and ended up not watching the last half hour as I had ironing and stuff that needed done for the next morning. It was just too far fetched. Sorry!


We've also been watching Orange is the New Black on Netflix and I can't help but feel that it's glamorising prison. I appreciate that it's a TV show and it's a drama, not real-life, but it's starting to make prison look appealing and I'm pretty sure that real-life prison is not a fun place to be! I remember my mum giving me a book to read when I was younger about drug users. She had asked me to read it before we gave it to my little sister because she was concerned that it was glamorising drug use (which it sort of was). Anyway, this reminds me of that. 

// Wore

My new Origins charcoal face mask - I do love some pampering me-time :-)

// Read



Last week we were at Catch, this week we were at TriBeCa. I h ad the Porkies Revenge burger and it was amazing!!!! There's some footage in the vlog below where you can see the burger... yum!!! And the pancakes... they looked so good!

// Heard

Not much again this week... more rain!

// Made

I made a banana and chocolate chip loaf to take into my work on Sunday last weekend. My colleagues really liked it, phew! I really enjoy baking and find it relaxing (when it's going to plan!) and it's nice to have some willing folk to eat the cakes as I could quite happily eat them all myself (which my PT would not be impressed with!).



// And Lastly...

I had a brilliant weekend with my friend Steph. It was a rollercoaster of emotions on Saturday and Sunday... I didn't have the kids and when the house is empty I find it tough... tears from me at the start of the weekend followed by a hairdresser trip, shopping haul and lots of eating out!

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Beauty - Hand & Nail Care

I'm pretty good now at looking after my face... I've a regimen of cleanser, serum and moisturiser and then I've got an exfoliator and face mask that I do weekly.

One part of my body which is neglected is my hands.

And yet, your hands are the part of the body which you use the most and they also show your age too.

The skin on my face is lovely and smooth (most of the time anyway!) whereas my hands are cracked and getting wrinkly.

Gloves

Wearing gloves definitely helps neglected hands. In the cold harsh weather, the skin on your hands can very quickly get cracked and sore. I've got a super cosy pair of mittens that I just love. I also picked up another pair of multi-coloured mittens in the Sainsbury sale at the weekend and they were just £3. I've not got a photograph, but if you keep an eye on my Instagram then I'm sure they'll appear soon!


Moisturiser & SPF

I've been using the Merumaya Hydrate & Protect Hand Cream (£12.50 for 50 mL). The consistency of this product is nice and thick yet it does absorb super fast. The cream also has an SPF which helps prevent against sun damage that can age the skin. Already after just a few uses I can notice a difference in the condition of the skin on the backs of my hands.


Massage

When I rub in my hand cream I give my hands a little massage. I do this for a few reasons. One, it's relaxing. There's something lovely about taking a minute out to massage your hands and taking some deep breaths. And then secondly, it improves the circulation - ideal for me as I have Raynaud's Disease - but this will have secondary effects of improving the condition of your skin.

Vitamins

Due to my Crohn's, I don't absorb Vitamin B12 and I have to get 3 monthly injections of this at the doctors. I suddenly realised that maybe I should  be taking a multivitamin as I've been pretty tired this last week or so. I'm fairly sure that this will help with the condition of my skin and nails even though it wasn't the motivation for me to start taking it.

Drink Plenty Water

Drinking water is essential for clear, hydrated skin and of course this goes for your hands as well as your face and body. This is something I need to work on as I know that I don't drink enough water each day.

Nails

I think that when my nails are painted, my hands look a lot better. It doesn't need to be a colour - even just a clear polish I think makes a huge difference. I've been using Sally Hansen Diamond Shine which dries really quickly - I love it. I'm not sure it has worked to protect my nail colour as my polish chipped within 24 hours last week which was disappointing. However I think that was as a result of the nail polish (Leighton Denny) rather than this base/top coat as I haven't had a problem with any other polishes. What's your nail polish recommendation for a zero chip formula?


I was sent a Merumaya Hand Cream for the purpose of this review. As always, opinions are my own and are honest.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Beauty & Lifestyle - Products I've Used Up

If you haven't seen it yet, the littlest & I filmed a vlog with the product's I've recently used up...




Monday, 23 February 2015

Gift Ideas - Mother's Day

Since the separation, the kid's dad has continued to buy me token gifts from the kids for my birthday, Mother's Day and Christmas and I bought him little presents too (a personalised mug, photo of the kids...). My thoughts were that the kids were too young to buy something themselves, and so instead I'd buy something for them. As the kids have become older, they've been able to help choose the presents for their dad and I pay for them. At Christmas, the kids and I picked a present for him and we also picked a present for his partner; they each had to have the same number of items according to the kids so that it was fair! However, I think there was then pressure from him to reciprocate when perhaps he didn't want to. Last month there wasn't a gift for my birthday, but there was a card that the littlest had made at nursery. I guess now that we each have partners, it's time to stop the gift giving? Perhaps his girlfriend will take the kids shopping to buy a birthday present. I personally don't have an issue with it either way, this way at least I will save some money! So for Mother's Day this year (Sunday 15th March) I will be buying myself a present!!

Anyway... apologies for what was a long intro...

Just as aside (I know, I'm making it even longer!!), I think that breakfast in bed and a hand made card would be utterly perfect on Mother's Day (especially if a long lie is thrown in the mix!), but if you do want to buy something, then here are some ideas for gifts.

Personalised travel mug from Snapdragon, £15

I was sent this fantastic travel mug from Snapdragon...



This would make the most perfect Mother's Day gift, and I think it's great value for money for a truly unique gift. The mug can be personalised in three ways... the hot drink, the name and the alcoholic drink can all be chosen specifically to suit the recipient.

There are also loads of other ideas for Mother's Day gifts at Snapdragon, such as handbag mirrors with personalised embroidered pouches (from £8), Mother's Day quote mugs (£15) and personalised notebooks (£6.50). 

Bracelet by Lily Belle, £49

There are some absolutely gorgeous personalised jewellery items over at Not On the High Street, such as this nude leather and rose gold wrap bracelet from Lily Belle.


Personalised Family Illustration by PrintableWallStory on etsy, from approx £40

I've seen a number of illustrated family prints on the internet and I think this would be such a thoughtful gift for Mother's Day. 


If you are looking for some more ideas, then there's also my Christmas Gift Guide for the ladies which has some suggestions that would also work for Mother's Day... perfume, make-up etc.

Friday, 20 February 2015

#LittleLoves 8

It's Friday again... goodness the weeks are flying by! It's the lovely Emma over at Life at the Little Wood that's hosting #LittleLoves this week. Be sure to join in :-)

// Read

The menu at Catch, Giffnock.

Rick & I headed to Catch on Sunday for our dinner. It's a contemporary chippy that's opened up in Giffnock, East Renfrewshire. The takeaway is open from 12-10pm and the licensed restaurant has space for 45 covers. I loved the interior design and the branding of the restaurant. The "fizz and chips" concept is really clever... and if you do choose to have a bottle of champagne with your fish supper then it'll probably be the most expensive fish supper in Scotland! There were no scallops or lobster croquettes when I was there, so I'll just have to go back again!! Suits me - the food was really good.



// Watched

I watched quite a few movies this week. Rick & I had a very lazy Valentine's Day doing absolutely nothing. We crammed in 3 movies and I painted my nails! It was pretty perfect!!

I do enjoy a weepy movie, and I think I cried at all three... I had control of the remote, so these were my choices!


  • 50/50 - "inspired by a true story, a comedy centred on a 27-year-old guy who learns of his cancer diagnosis, and his subsequent struggle to beat the disease."


I accepted a FaceTime from my sister as we were nearing the end of 50/50 and I was in floods of tears. She was genuinely concerned as she thought something was wrong, but I had to explain that it was the movie I had chosen to watch! I was inconsolable! Perhaps not the best movie for V-day, but I did enjoy it. It's also good to have a cry every now and then I think.


  • Veronica Guerin - "an Irish journalist writes a series of stories about drug dealers", starring Cate Blanchett.



  • In Your Eyes - "two seemingly unconnected souls from different corners of the United States make a telepathic bond that allows them to see, hear and feel the others experiences, creating a bond that apparently can't be broken." 


In Your Eyes was a bit far fetched for me. I much prefer films that are more true-to-life.

I also watched another movie on Tuesday night - Love and Other Complicated Pursuits (which seems to now be called The Other Woman). It tells the story of a woman's difficult relationship with her stepson. I enjoyed this one too, and I'm surprised that I didn't cry.



// Wore

I painted my nails on Saturday - a kind of greige colour with an attempted silver glitter ombre effect. But within 24 hours they were chipped :-(


I've also been wearing my new ankle Wellington boots from Asda. A total bargain at £2.98!!!


// Made

I baked a batch of cupcakes on Sunday evening to take into my work. I stupidly decided to try a new icing recipe and it didn't work very well (the new recipe called for icing sugar, butter and milk and the emulsion cracked which has made it look fluffy rather than smooth - I was annoyed to say the least!). Despite this, the cakes tasted good. One of my colleagues said it was the best cupcake he had ever had. I was very pleased!! The recipe I use is here although I've been using my KitchenAid rather than my Magimix.



// Heard

I struggle with this prompt every week!

The past few days I've heard a lot of rain... what happened to the milder weather!

// And Lastly...

My lovely friend Steph is coming to visit this weekend and I cannot wait to catch up with her! She's currently on the train speeding towards Glasgow just now! Yay!!

Have a great weekend folks x


Thursday, 19 February 2015

Crafting - Washi Tape Inspiration

I am absolutely loving Washi tape. The first tape that I bought wasn't very adhesive, but I've had better success with the mt brand. There is such a huge selection available and I'm struggling not to buy all of them!! I've been using my tape to display my Violet + Percy word garlands, decorate my FiloFax and make envelopes pretty. It did get me thinking though... what else could the tape be used for? So of course I took to Pinterest to find out!

How cute are these mini bunting! These would be ideal for party invites or even to decorate a wee dolls house.

I just love everything about this photograph. The colours, the Washi tape, the star...

I love the polka dot stickers that you can get, but this is just another way of easily decorating a wall.


This is a great way to inject some colour and try a new trend without having to fully commit.

Such a good idea to add a pop of colour, and then when your scheme changes you can very easily change the tape!

I thought this would make good decorations for any holiday... for example hanging little hearts for Valentine's Day or Easter bunnies

Are you a fan of Washi tape, and what do you use it for?


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