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Friday, 21 November 2014

Travel: Visiting Cambodia (on the Trail of Lara Croft)

Have you ever looked at the pictures you've taken of travels past and been amazed at the wonders your eyes have seen? I have and none more so than when I look at my photos of Cambodia. My trip to Cambodia was a brief one and centred on the magnificent temples surrounding Siem Reap. We hired a tuk-tuk with driver over 5 days and travelled between the temples, sometimes visiting the ones we loved more than once.

The most majestic of them all was of course Angkor Wat. We visited each day we were there, simply because the sun setting over Angkor Wat was an amazing experience, despite sharing said experience with countless others. During the day, however, it was quieter and it seemed as if nowhere was out of bounds. We were able to explore the compound in detail and even found quiet courtyards which seemed to be made for reflection. The fact that this was still a working monastery with the occasional waft of incense, swish of saffron robes or sound of chanting made the experience even more special.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Food: Bread and Butter Pudding

My tastes tend to the savoury rather than sweet but as the nights draw in, I've been craving old-fashioned puddings as a post-dinner treat. A pudding that is a store-cupboard saviour is Bread and Butter pudding. This recipe from Annabel Karmel is easy and uses up all that leftover bread that I find in the fridge. I decided to make one large pudding rather than individual ramekins and opted for gluten-free bread.

The custard was lovely and rich and the addition of apricot jam added a lovely tartness to the taste. The littlies loved this pudding despite voicing some reservations when I described what they would be eating. I love when my childhood favourites turn out to be such a hit!


Monday, 17 November 2014

Beauty: Quick Autumn Daytime Makeup FOTD

Since the clocks have gone back, I've been craving those extra few minutes in bed in the morning and so my makeup routine has become as quick as I can manage while still looking half human.

After moisturising I apply the Bobbi Brown SPF15 Tinted Moisturiser, to even out my complexion, before applying a the Maybelline Age-Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Concealer Treatment. I pop a bit of the Maybelline Color Tattoo in On-and-On Bronze on my eyelids and blend out my crease with a finger. I line my eyes, top and bottom, with some Rimmel Soft Kohl Kayal Eye Pencil in Sable Brown, apply some Loreal Miss Manga Mascara in Black to my eyelashes and a sweep of Benefit Gimme Brow in Med/Dark to my brows. A quick brush of some GOSH Cosmetics Blush in Flower Power, Bourjois Color Boost Lip Crayon in Plum Russian and a spritz of Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray to keep it all in place and I'm done in 3 minutes!


Friday, 14 November 2014

Travel: A Boat up the Mekong Delta

When my days seem to be moving way to fast I sometimes revisit one of my calmer memories, a boat journey up the Mekong Delta.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Food: Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Soup

I've been on a bit of a pumpkin binge lately and as a result decided to enjoy some pumpkin soup and a particularly dreary day. Again I opted for some roasted pumpkin for sweetness, added some sweet potato for the same reason and then popped in a bit of red lentils to bulk it up a bit. We loved the results and ate it with some warmed naan bread.

2 sweet potatoes, cubed
500ml roasted pumpkin, pureed
140g red lentils
1 tsp cumin seeds, roasted
1/4 tsp crushed chilli flakes
1tbsp olive oil
1 litre chicken stock
4 tbsp natural yoghurt
1 tsp paprika

1. Heat olive oil in a thick bottomed pot and add sweet potatoes, cumin seeds, chilli flakes and lentils.
2. Add chicken stock and simmer for 20 minutes or until vegetables are soft.
3. Add pumpkin puree and season with salt and pepper.
4. Puree soup with a stick blender until smooth.
5. Ladle into bowls and garnish with a tbsp of natural yoghurt and a sprinkling of paprika.



Sunday, 9 November 2014

Beauty: My Little Box October 2014 Review - Diane Von Furstenberg

I received my first My Little Box last week and felt as if Christmas had come early. The box was beautifully illustrated, and inside everything was beautifully presented.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Food: Pumpkin Fritters

Occasionally I'll get a hankering for something that really reminds me of my childhood. I'm also keen to introduce the littlies to some of the traditions from my childhood and one of these was pumpkin fritters in the autumn.

Halloween pumpkin doesn't seem to have a very strong pumpkinny flavour, so for my recipe, I decided to roast the pumpkin flesh from our jack o' lantern. This gave the pumpkin a lovely sweetness which really adds to the flavour of the fritter.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Beauty: Nail Polishes for Autumn

My nails have finally recovered after a few months of TLC and I am I excited to once again wear nail polishes. My wardrobe has shifted to a darker palette and often the only colour I wear is that on my lips and nails - cue those jewel and berry shades!

Friday, 31 October 2014

Craft: Last Minute Halloween Costumes for Kids

I enjoy doing the occasional craft project but when it comes to costumes I generally buy the lightweight kind that one can find in the shops. Sometimes, though, the littlies come up with costume ideas that are impossible to find and I am forced to nip to the haberdashery and haul out my trusty sewing machine. Here are two quick and easy costumes that I found on Pinterest and was able to make very quickly. I am by no means a sewing expert - I only did sewing for one year at school when I was 13 years old -  so if I can do it, I imagine most people should be able to make these too!

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Food: Chocolate Fudge Cake for a Birthday Surprise

I like to make small  cakes as a surprise gift for someone celebrating their birthday. My favourite is adapted from Mary Berry's Very Best Chocolate Fudge Cake from her Baking Bible. I usually half Mary Berry's recipe and make the cake in two 15cm baking tins (loose bottom). This cake is deliciously moreish, and while the recipe suggests a ganache topping, I prefer a sticky chocolate buttercream for sandwiching the layers and covering the whole cake.