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26.9.13

LAZY LASAGNE

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 I can't actually decide if the picture does this dinner justice, or makes it look like a mess, but in fact it's a gooey cheesy mess that I am so in love with. You are just going to have to trust me on this one i'm afraid.
Around this house the most popular dish seems to be spaghetti Bolognese. It's so easy to make, tastes delicious and there is always plenty of leftovers for freezing for a rainy day. I felt like mixing it up a bit, so gave this dish a whirl, and it turned out pretty well. So follow along for the BEST spaghetti Bolognese recipe followed by a little twist

You will need (for 2)

250g beef mince
1 onion, chopped
2 large cloves of garlic
100g mushrooms
1 beef oxo cube
1 tbsp lea & perrins
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1/2 tube of tomato puree
1 glass of red wine
3 tbsp mixed herbs
1 large squirt of tomato ketchup (very technical)
mozzarella/parmasan
cheddar cheese
lasagna sheets (fresh or packet)

1. Heat a large pan/wok on a high heat, add the mince and brown for about 5 minutes
2. Add your chopped onions, garlic and lea & perrinns into the mince and cook for another 2-3 minutes
3. sprinkle your oxo cube over the mince and mix
4. Add your tin of tomatoes and turn down to a medium heat
5. Add your wine, puree, ketchup, herbs and stir all together together
6. Simmer and stir for another 5 minutes
7. Now add your lasagna sheets so they cover the mixture entirely. This will work better with fresh pasta as it won't take anytime at all, but you can still use sheets from a pack (that's what I did)
8. You will need to cover the pan with a lid (I used a microwave lid) and leave for 10 minutes so the pasta can cook. You will need to check on the mixture so the mince doesn't get stuck to the bottom of the pan. If you are using fresh pasta please follow the packs instructions for cooking times, it's normally only a few minutes
9. Once your pasta is nearly done, lift the lid and add the mozzarella all over the mixture. You can add as much as you like.
10. Cover with the lid again, so the heat can melt the cheese
11. After you feel the mixture looks gooey enough, take it off the heat and give it a stir to mix it all up a bit, and you will be left with a very lazy lasagne
12. For good measure you can sprinkle with cheddar/parmesan or any cheese of your fancy


lazy lasagna yummy

23.9.13

THE FORGOTTEN FEW OF SUMMER

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Today is officially the first day of Autumn, I think I am secretly pleased with this but seriously how quick did summer go? I always gets anxious at this time of year and worry that I didn't do enough outdoors and that I haven't made the most of my time in the sun. Honestly, I don't think i did this year, but with losing my job and Si working every hour under the sun, saving for a wedding & honeymoon, I don't think we done that bad. More importantly though, Autumn now marks that my wedding is THIS season, just over 2 weeks in fact, so I must go as I have a million and one things to make, sort and organise, have a great week everyone and I will leave you with some 'leftover' photos from this summer.

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17.9.13

HEN DO #PART 1



On Saturday we celebrated part 1 of my hen do. It took place in Brighton and was hosted by my sister and mum at their house. We all congregated for jaeger bombs, gossiping and party games before heading into town to continue partying.

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First stop was Merkaba for cocktails and to start off my challenges. First ones being to dance on an empty dance floor and to find a ginger man to buy me a drink. With no le ginge in sight and after posing away in the photo booths we moved on to a finer establishment in the good region of West Street. It's hen city this time off year and I normally stay well clear, but we chanted our way down to Revolutions to party the night away. I'm afraid the camera didn't make much of an appearance, but I did find my ginger man, ended up doing press ups in my dress, kissed a bald man on the head, done salsa with a random and got some guys to give us there socks, I'm not even sure why?
It was a brilliant night with my family and friends and now I am more than ready for part 2...

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^^^
Just a photo with me and my mama (thanks so much again mum for everything you did, love you so very much)

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Dress: TFNC at ASOS (now in the sale)
Shoes: Primark

13.9.13

NEUTRAL

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I always find it weird when I take photos of my outfits. For one I am no good at it, and 2, well it's weird isn't it? My mind is always battling back and forth saying, 'your a weirdo' and 'it's okay I kinda like it' In this blogging world it's the norm, but to others?? it's just plain weird (yes I like that word) I still don't classify myself as a blogger, just someone who posts pretty pictures and silly ramblings on this big wide web, so I find it kinda strange, but you know who cares? I'm realising that I don't care, and definitely don't care what others think, cos you know it's my life and my little blog. It will be funny one day to look back with my kids, and laugh at the silly outfits and fashion at the time. That's a good enough reason to blog for me.

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Top: Zara (old) (similar)
Cardigan: New Look (old)
Jeans: H&M
Shoes: Topshop
Glasses: Karen Millen

11.9.13

LONDON // NOTTING HILL



























This past weekend I was back in the big smoke attending my good friends house warming party, and couldn't resist hopping on the tube for an afternoon of wandering in the rain and stuffing down one of my favourite burgers (oh hello there again Patty & Bun)

Although we were only in Notting Hill a few weeks previous for the carnival, we went back to explore properly and have a wander around Portobello Market. It was a dreary Sunday afternoon and I think most people were still in their beds, so it called for a lazy stroll, avoiding the rain in coffee shops and keeping shelter at all the stalls.

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^^^
I also made a short video, as I couldn't resist trying out my new camera (although the quality seems to of disappeared after uploading it to Youtube, so i've got to figure that one out?)

p.s I have opened a new Youtube account, so if you want to follow along with my adventures then please do subscribe here

10.9.13

A SIMPLE ROAST

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A roast dinner is my favourite dinner, my absolute favourite. I always eat it throughout the year, either at home or cosying in a pub corner on a Sunday afternoon in the middle of winter. But personally nothing beats a home cooked roast, by someone else I my add, but if you can't get the workers then I suppose you have to do it yourself. For some reason Roast dinners are billed as a difficult meal to cook, but personally I don't agree, and although however hard I try my kitchen always looks likes a bomb hit it, roasts are pretty easy to make. It's all mainly prep, and having a pen and paper for your timing, so follow my easy (hopefully) step by step instructions for your perfect roast.

To feed 4 people-
1 large chicken (or extra large if you like big portions)
1 bag of chantenay carrots
1/2 cup of frozen peas
1 packet of sage & onion stuffing
White potatoes (I used maris piper) - this bit is up to you, but I like to make plenty of crispy potatoes and aim for 6 each. Dependent on potato size, cut into quarters or halves
Honey
Olive oil
3 tbsp mixed herbs
1 lemon
Chicken gravy granules
200ml white wine

All together the duration from prep to table is 3 hours

1. Pre-heat your oven to 170 degrees
2. Cut your lemon in half and stuff inside the chicken, place on a baking tray, drizzle in olive oil and sprinkle your mixed herbs over the surface of the chicken
3. Set your timer for 100 minutes (exact cooking times should be on your chickens packaging) and place in the middle shelf
4. Peel and cut your potatoes and place them in warm water in a saucepan with the lid on
5. Once the water is boiling, leave the potatoes to part cook for 10 minutes
6. Whilst your potatoes are part cooking, place your carrots in a roasting tray and drizzle liberally with honey
7. Prepare another roasting tin for the potatoes by pouring oil into the tin about 5-10cm deep. Place into the oven to heat the oil in preparation for the potatoes
8. Prep your stuffing, i'm being lazy with this one, but cooking instructions are on the package
9. After your potatoes are part boiled (place a knife into the potatoes and if the outer layer is soft you are good to go) drain the water and place back into the saucepan. With the lid on, give the pan a good old shake to fluff up the potatoes, this will make them all crispy once cooked
9. Remove the pan with the oil from the oven and place the potatoes in, making sure to coat with the hot oil
10. Place the potatoes and the carrots into the oven for 75-90 minutes. (I say this as it always turns out different, every single time for me) You want to keep checking on them every 15-20 minutes and give them a shake.
11. Your stuffing is ready to eat, but if you want a crisp layer on the top, place in the oven for 45 minutes
12. After your chicken is cooked, leave on the side to cool for 30 minutes (by this time your veggies should nearly be done)
13. Place your peas in warm water and cook for 15-20 minutes. When you drain the peas make sure you save the water for the gravy
14. Once everything is done it's time for the gravy. Place 8 tbsp of gravy granules in a measuring jug and add 800ml of leftover vegetable water (if there isn't enough top up with boiling water) then add 200ml of white wine. Stir all together for an easy gravy recipe


roasted carrots

Now reading that back, it does seem a little daunting, but as long as you have everything prepped, it's a case of snuggling down on the sofa on a Sunday afternoon with a cuppa, and checking the food every 20 minutes. After everything is cooked, plonk it all on the table for everyone to help themselves.

roast potatoes roasted

Now aren't you glad winter is on it's way...

9.9.13

LAST OF SUMMER

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Summer came to a beautiful end last week here in Brighton, I just had to suck it in one last time before the coat comes out to play. The kids had gone back to school, it was early in the morning and the seafront was so peaceful and calm. A morning made for a walk along the pebbles.
Now the rain and the winds are here reminding us that Autumn in on it's way and I couldn't be more excited.

6.9.13

IF I CAN'T GO TO PARIS THEN WHY SHOULDN'T YOU?

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As I sat there yesterday looking through all of my photos (as I do so often) I was scrolling through my photos from Paris with a big old lump in my throat. I love Paris, I really do and I said to Si 2 years ago on our last visit that I had this vision of making our visits a yearly thing. To stay in a different area each time, in different seasons, and just explore and eat and drink and grow to love it even more. 2 years later however we haven't been back, not that I am totally complaining as we have been to many other cities over these past 2 years.
We so nearly booked to go for a mini honeymoon, but our plans have since changed and it's on the back burner for now. But maybe Paris heard my calls, as not long after an exciting e-mail landed in my inbox from Eurostar offering £59 return tickets and you guys, I very nearly hit the book it button. But to my better judgment and with a hen do, wedding and honeymoon coming up in the next 6 weeks, I thought against it. BUT, THERE IS NOTHING STOPPING YOU GOING NOW IS THERE?!?

So get your butts over to the Eurostar website with this link the offer starts today, and is for journeys from Sep 30th-Dec 19th, but don't tell me if you book, or do, whatever.

4.9.13

ASHDOWN PARK HOTEL


























At the end of last week by good friend Zoe sent me a text saying 'I've been invited on a press day to sample 4 hotels and get flown around by helicopter to each hotel, do you want to come?' errrrrr, let me think? YES!
Well, I wasn't actually allowed to join in for the whole day, but I was invited to spend the night at the rather beautiful Ashdown Park Hotel and to fully indulge in the free bubbly and scrumptious food. It would be rude to say no ;)

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We were shown to our suite, caught up on all the gossip and got ready for drinks and canap├ęs in the garden before being shown to our seats where dinner was served.

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^^^
Crab and parsley cube with Avocado puree, pickled beetroot and coriander mouse

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^^^
Loin of new season lamb with caramelised sweetbread, truffle carrot puree and potato ravioli

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^^^
White chocolate dome, orange mousse, pistachio ice cream and raspberry cream

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^^^
and all the poor quality iPhone pics taken by yours truly.

The food, albeit slightly on the small side and not ideal when you haven't eaten all day, was superb. With a thumbs up for my first taste of crab, the tenderness of the lamb (poor little lamb) and the variety of sweet treats I was definitely impressed. We sipped on more bubbly till past midnight, before heading off to bed to try on our oversized dressing gowns, as you do.

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After waking the next day with a slightly sore head we indulged in the huge breakfast spread, swam a few lengths in the pool and had a stroll through the grounds, before heading home with a huge smile on my face.
Thank you Zoe (who may I add blogs over here) for the random date night, it was great to see you and you know...call me ;)