HELLO SEPTEMBER 2018
So it’s back to reality with a bump after an amazing summer of: sun, sea, sand, family, aeroplanes, family time, sangria, Spain, Mamma Mia, London, girly shopping trips, Prosecco, spa days, cocktails, swimming, trampolining, walking, cycling, dancing, karate, singing, beaches, ice creams, bbq’s, ball games, laughter, relaxing, cuddling, days out, holidays, fish & chips, sandcastles, blogging, crazy golf, bowling, sleepovers, hot tubs, friends, cinema, beautiful views, vlogging, eating out, the ocean, lazy mornings, shopping trips & making memories!
It’s a new school term with lots of changes this year as both Isabelle and Max embark on new journeys to new schools. It’s scary how quickly they’re growing up but they are both more than ready for the next stage in their lives.
FABULOUS THINGS THAT HAPPENED LAST MONTH
- Going to 315 Spa with my mum for her 70th birthday & again with Isabelle on a mum & daughter spa day. Her first visit to a spa!
- A week in a villa in Spain with all my family
- A wonderful anniversary meal at the amazing 3 Acres restaurant
- A trip to London with my mum, Isabelle & Max to shop, eat and see one of my graduate pupils perform in Mamma Mia in the West End
- A mini break to Flamingo Land & York
- A great day out with great friends at Lightwater Valley in Ripon North Yorkshire
LIFESTYLE, LEISURE, PLACES & HOME
My favourite one pot family recipes- back to school routine & getting organised with family meals
As a working mum who works evenings, my slow cooker is an essential item in my kitchen. I have to make sure my family are still getting well balanced meals when I’m not in and so with a slow cooker I can prepare it in the morning and put it on so that by the time everyone comes home there’s a delicious and nutritious meal waiting for them. I don’t use it as much in the summer months but it’s used at least twice a week in the autumn and winter.
Then on the nights I’m in I like to make meals from scratch such as a roast dinner, fish dishes and pasta dishes and try to bring as much variety as possible whilst making sure my family are getting all the nutrients they need for their busy lives.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not perfect and my kids do have the occasional McDonalds and I do cook the occasional fish fingers and chips meal. But I enjoy cooking and so the majority of time I like to cook from scratch.
Favourite meals in my slow cooker include:
A chicken, sausage or beef casserole, homemade vegetable soup served with warm crusty bread, a lamb shank slow cooked in mint gravy then served with new potatoes and vegetables and I also slow cook other joints such as beef or gammon as a change from roasting from time to time.
Favourite family meals include my shepherds pie, spaghetti bolognaise with garlic bread, a chicken roast dinner and my speciality chicken thigh tray bake of chicken thighs, garlic, shallots, lardons, halved cherry tomatoes par cooked new potatoes all placed in an oven tray with olive oil and then roasted. I then serve it with baby corn and sugar snap peas.
BEAUTY, HEALTH & STYLE
Post summer beauty and keeping the summer glow after the holiday season
Just because your holiday is over doesn’t have to mean your glow and your tan is. Summer brings out a radiance in us which makes us feel happy and gives us a certain summer glow. A break from work, quality time with family along with paying more attention to our skin all attribute towards this but there’s no reason this should fade with the sunshine as the Autumn kicks in.
Prolong your outward summer glow with the following tips and your inner glow by making as much time as possible for family and friends.
Look after your skin from the inside by drinking lots of water, continue to use a good SPF even if you don’t think there’s any sun & layer on your body moisturiser daily.
Don’t be afraid to exfoliate after a holiday. It’s removes dead skin cells & any dry and patchy areas and preps the skin for fake tan top ups.
Use a gradual fake tan
Mix some gradual tanner into your daily body moisturiser to keep your post holiday skin glowing. A favourite of mine is Garnier summer body which acts as a gradual fake tan and moisturiser in one.
Massage & dry brush
Gently massage the skin on a regular basis and dry brush before a shower to keep your circulation moving, help rejuvenate your skin cells and keep your complexion and skin toned and dewy.
COCKTAIL OF THE MONTH
Add a dash of festive spirit to any party with this vivid red tequila, cranberry and triple sec cocktail, decorated with an orange sugar rim
PREP 10 mins
SERVES/MAKES Serves 4
•1 tsp clear honey
•finely grated zest and juice 1 orange
•1 tbsp coarse sea salt
•1 tbsp granulated sugar
•juice 1 lime
•200ml cranberry juice
•50ml triple sec
You will need a fine paintbrush
•Using a fine, clean paintbrush, paint a thin layer of honey around the rim of 4 Margarita or Martini glasses. In a saucer, combine the orange zest, salt and sugar, then turn the glasses upside down and dip them into the mixture. Put the glasses in the fridge to chill.
•In a cocktail shaker, combine the orange juice, tequila, lime juice, cranberry juice, triple sec and ice, and shake to combine. When the outside of the shaker feels cold, strain the mixture into your prepared glasses and serve.
BOOK OF THE MONTH
The Un Domestic Goddess – Sophie Kinsella
Have you ever felt like the rug has been completely pulled out from under your feet? Something you’ve worked for all of your life within grasp and the harshly yanked away from you because of one little mistake? Samantha has. High flying city lawyer Samantha is due to take up a partnership position at her firm when a costly mistake has her running for the countryside. Samantha has to overcome the massive change in her surroundings and acclimatise to her new state of domesticity.
I think this was the first book by Sophie Kinsella that I had read, and it definitely got me hooked on her writing style and I have enjoyed many since reading this.
The story follows Samantha as her high flying career comes crashing down around her and she finds herself making her way on to any train to anywhere as long as it’s far from London. Blagging herself as a Cordon Bleu trained housekeeper Samantha joins the Geigers. Without a clue how to turn her own oven on, or whether her Hoover needs bags or has a cylinder she embarks on a journey which could possibly have a harder learning curve than studying for her law degree.
Cue crush-worthy Gardner Nathaniel. Nat is nobody’s fool and calls Samantha out as the fraud she is, after their first meeting. Nat sees an opportunity to help Sam and offers his mother’s services to teach her to cook and keep house.
I loved Samantha’s character. She is down to earth and completely relatable to anyone who has ever felt any pressure and who just needs to get away from it all. You will be laughing throughout as this feel good romance twists and turns as Samantha changes almost beyond recognition. The writing is witty and has you feeling like you are with Samantha the whole time. You’ll want to keep reading to the end as a plot twist is thrown in meaning changes for the characters.
I often think it’s nice to see some of the story told by other characters, however in a case like this where the protagonist is so likeable, reading purely from her perspective just makes it easier for you to like her and want the best for her. I also loved how easy it was for me to imagine the characters. For me Samantha was a cross between Kate Hudson and Jennifer Love Hewitt. It makes it easier to imagine yourself in her place if you can really see the character bringing you a whole lot closer to the story.
I think if you haven’t read this, or haven’t read it for a while it is a good read for any Sophie fans, but also for any fans of Lindsey Kelk and Paige Toon.
One of my favourite Sophie Kinsella books. Yes, it’s predictable, and you should probably move along if you’re looking for great character development and a thought-provoking storyline – but, for its genre, it’s fantastic. Lawyer suffers spectacular fall from grace, overcomes total domestic incompetence to “find herself”. The main character is surprisingly likeable, and supporting characters are entertaining if not particularly in depth. The story moves along at a rapid pace, and is constantly amusing. Overall, it is light, entertaining and immensely readable, and a book that I am happy to go back to over and over again.
FILM OF THE MONTH
Having absolutely loved The Inbetweeners series and both movies I thought this looked a fun easy watching film to go and see during the summer. Real life couple Jo Thomas & Hannah Tointon star in this fun comedy which I enjoyed but it didn’t blow me away. Directed by Iain Morris who also directed The Inbetweeners it certainly has a lot of the same humour and themes. I was a big fan of Jo Thomas but in this film h
e didn’t veer too far away from his Inbetweeners character Simon and didn’t show much versatility as an actor but this was probably to be expected as it was written, directed and produced by the same creative team.
Good fun and I’m sure the younger ‘Festival goers’ crowd will enjoy it. I also enjoyed it but I won’t rush out to watch it again.
THIS MONTH I’M LOVING
‘Bake off’ being back on TV! 🎂
THIS MONTH I’M NOT LOVING
My kids going back to school after a fabulous summer with them!
THIS MONTHS FAVOURITES
- Bake off!!!
- Kate La Vie Blogger. I’ve just discovered her and I’m loving her blogs and her photography is beautiful
- ‘Age before beauty’ with Robson Green. A great 6 part drama series set in Manchester on BBC 1
- Kiko lipsticks
- Prima Magazine – lots of tips, tricks and great reading matter for the 40 something lady!!
THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH
‘One kind word can change someone’s entire day’