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Friday, 23 January 2015

Travel: Boulders Beach, Cape Town (or an Excuse for Penguin Pics)

One of my favourite places to visit in Cape Town is Boulders Beach, home to a colony of Cape Rockhopper penguins.


The beach is tiny when the tide is in, but it does give one the opportunity to swim with penguins and also watch them in their natural habitat.


The main part of the breeding ground can be reached by a wooden walkway. Here you can see the nesting penguins and chicks and watch as the older penguins come in from fishing, while watching from a lookout point on the walkway.


Photographic opportunities abound!



Clementine.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Food: Chocohotopots - Nigella Lawson (Gluten-Free Variation)

I've been experimenting with gluten-free baking. As mentioned before, I'm a huge fan of the Dove Farm Gluten-Free Plain Flour, but it doesn't always produce exact results without a bit of tinkering. Nigella's Chocohotopots from her wonderful cookbook Feast, however, were an amazing success when I substituted the all-purpose flour for the Dove Farm gluten-free version. I prepared these a day in advance, froze them and cooked them for 25 minutes, two minutes longer than the recipe suggested.


The littlies devoured them and probably because they are obscenely chocolatey, declared them the best chocolate pudding ever!

Clementine.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Beauty: No-Buy First Quarter and Shopping my Stash

I like to start the year with a clear out, actual and metaphorical, and have decided to limit my beauty purchases for the first three months of the year. Don't be aggrieved! I'll still be receiving the My Little Box subscription, so at least we have that to look forward to! More importantly though, I've managed to amass quite a few samples from subscription boxes and the generous Space NK gift with purchases, so it should be quite easy to "shop my stash".

Friday, 16 January 2015

Travel: The Majesty of the Scottish Highlands

One I question I always get asked by other people from warmer climes now living in Scotland is, "How do you stand the weather?" For me the answer is always the same, "It's easy because of the mountains."I didn't know I loved the mountains as much as I do until I came to live here. Yes, I'd spent time hiking before I moved here, and even enjoyed it, but it was only when I made Scotland my home, that I really began to appreciate that they were my happy place.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Food: Baked Spanish "Risotto"

We all have a favourite recipe that we count on for entertaining. The one I turn to time and time again is a Baked Spanish Risotto by Silvana Franco. It's similar to a Spanish paella, in fact I substitute paella rice for arborio rice, and prep is fast, leaving you time to socialise with your guests while it cooks! I like to drink a crisp white as an accompaniment, though, dry January meant that I had to stick to water this time round. Boo hoo!





Clementine.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Beauty: Sephora Haul - Dec/Jan 2015

I am slightly ashamed to admit that in 2014 I managed to reach VIB Level on the Sephora Loyalty Scheme, despite not living in the USA. So, as beauty hauls will be few and far between on my blog over the next few months, I thought I'd share my final Sephora Haul of 2014 with you, made in the last days of the year, which is what pushed me onto VIB. Sephora.com is a way too tempting place.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Travel: A New Year Trip to Zanzibar (or What a Holiday in Paradise Taught Me About Myself)

My first truly exotic trip was over New Year one year. I'd decided to meet up with friends in Zanzibar  which on the surface sounded easy enough, but in practise was a really eye-opening experience.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Food: Poached Pears with Cardamom and Saffron (Ottolenghi)

I have to confess that more often than not I turn to Yotam Ottolenghi's wonderful cookery books for inspiration for dinner party meals. Recently I found myself stumped when it came to choosing a dessert to complement the wonderfully spiced meal I'd chosen. This wonderful recipe featuring cardamom, saffron and poached pears came to the rescue.



I can't even begin to tell you how delicious this tasted. The cardamom gave a wonderful warmth and the saffron a faint sweetness, and of course a beautifully vibrant colour. I served it with vanilla ice-cream, which complemented the spices really well, though you could add creme fraiche or nothing at all if you're feeling virtuous!

Clementine.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Beauty: Winter Makeup FOTD - Embracing the New Year

The curse of the festive season has struck! I think that one too many late nights has finally taken it's toll and my skin has lost it's customary glow. Luckily makeup can hide a multitude of sins so with the following, I've been able to create a glowy look with natural looking skin and a smoky eye. Who has time for full-on makeup when there's sleeping to be done?

Friday, 2 January 2015

Life: Kickstarting a Healthy and Happy 2015

It's always the same. I start December with very good intentions to eat healthily and then it always falls apart quite messily by the end of the year. I managed to keep going on the yoga and meditation front, but diet-wise I succumbed to the tempting delights of Christmas food. I am determined to start the year on a health kick, and hopefully carry the lessons I learn in January on further into 2015.