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Friday, 1 May 2015

Life: A Healthy and Happy 2015 - Update 4

April has been a healthier month, compared to last month. The days leading up to our family vacation were a bit fraught but thankfully our time away on Islay was incredibly relaxing. As usual a break in my routine did lead to some things slipping, but I'm okay with that, as I've had some great successes this month as well. Swings and roundabouts, I guess!

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Food: Sticky Chicken Drumsticks with Honey and Mustard

The kids love chicken, and as we eat it at least twice a week, I'm having to come up with new recipes to keep them interested and at the same time allow them to try new flavours. Presenting them with something new is always a bit nerve-wracking. They're usually look at the plate sceptically, take a surreptitious sniff and then ask, "What's the dinner called?" (I kid you not!) This is usually followed by the tiniest nibble and then I patiently await their verdict (Believe me, my eyes are rolling on the inside!). 

My latest chicken recipe uses drumsticks as I remember loving to eat these as a child. The kids loved them as they were allowed to use their fingers to hold the chicken, a bit like the cave men in The Croods. I used some manuka honey and grain mustard and the result was an absolute hit! These taste fantastic either hot or cold, so are perfect for picnics.

Sticky Chicken Drumsticks with Honey and Mustard

Monday, 27 April 2015

Beauty: My Little Box April 2015 Review - My Little Dream Box

After last month's My Little Box, I very nearly cancelled my subscription, but a mixture of forgetfulness and curiosity led to me subscribing for another month and I'm so glad I did. This month's box, The My Little Dream Box, was a wonderful treat and a delight to unbox.  There were some minor changes which were probably cost cutting measures, but to be honest I prefer them.

The My Little World book now came as a pamphlet which when opened fully, becomes a poster. Perfectly fine for a magazine that I generally read once, in less than 5 minutes, and then discard. Gone are the extended  fashion pages and recipes, however the nail art, hair and makeup tutorials and interview remain. This makes the pamphlet much slicker. The interviewee this month was skincare guru, Caroline Hirons. I've discovered some wonderful skincare products through her blog, so enjoyed reading this, even adding a few more products to my skincare wish list. The inspirational card which was omitted last month, also made a return in this box. I've been displaying these in my makeup cupboard so was delighted to see their return.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Travel: Islay - Scotland's Whisky Isle

We've just returned from a week away in Islay (pronounced eye-lah), the Scottish island most famous for its peaty single malt whiskies. The island is reached by ferry from either Oban or Kennacraig on the mainland and has beautiful beaches and numerous whisky distilleries. The island is very friendly, with everyone saying hello to you or waving as they passed in their cars. The littlies loved this.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Food: Poached Egg with Asparagus, Hollandaise Sauce and a Balsamic Vinegar Reduction

I mentioned my Eggs Benedict obsession previously on this blog (here)  and since then I've been experimenting a bit more in an attempt to find my favourite variation on the theme. I love asparagus and since its short season is finally upon us and I decided to marry the two and came up with Poached Egg with Asparagus, Hollandaise Sauce and a Balsamic Vinegar Reduction. I served this with a toasted English muffin and avocado which made it perfect for brunch, though I'd also serve it as is, without the muffin as a small starter portion.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Beauty: My Streamlined Makeup and Beauty Bag for Travel

My motto for travel beauty is "the lighter the better". I prefer not to take any bottles or decant anything, which is why I turn to sample sachets which I tend to stockpile specifically for travel purposes.  I tend to buy any online beauty products from places that send samples with orders anyway (Caudalie, Cult Beauty and Space NK are fantastic for providing sachets), which makes compiling my travel beauty bag quite easy.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Life: What I've Been Reading in 2015 Part 1

The combination of an addiction to Pride and Prejudice fanfiction and a lack of time has meant that I've read fewer and fewer books over the past few years. I'm keen to change that this year and have been trying to squeeze in a bit of reading whenever I can, especially before bed or when the kids are at extramural classes. So far so good. I've certainly noticed that eschewing technology before bedtime helps me to sleep a bit better at night. 

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Food: Roasted Cherry Tomato Pasta Sauce with Roasted Vegetables

I often find myself planning meals that the littlies are sure to like, rather than ones that I enjoy eating. As they get older, though, I'm keen to introduce them to new flavours and re-try foods that they previously loathed. My roasted cherry tomato pasta is one that the littlies loved from when they first started eating, but it's a recipe that lends itself quite nicely to tarting up. Roasting the tomatoes beforehand, ensures that the sauce is never too sharp. I add some roasted vegetables into the mix to make my own palate happier, which gives the kids the opportunity to at least try something new. 

Monday, 13 April 2015

Beauty: Four Nail Colours I'll be Wearing This Spring

After nursing my nails back to health, I've been enjoying eating nail colour again. I've stopped filing my nails down, opting instead for very sharp nail clippers and think that this has also contributed to my stronger nails.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Life: My South African Wine Recommendations

I've become nearly teetotal since having the littlies. Who wants a hangover when you've got to be up by 7am? Not me. The by-product of this is that I've become very picky about the wines I consume when I do enjoy a glass of wine and while I do experiment from wines particularly from France and Argentina, I always come back to the South African wineries that I love so much.

Wine-tasting in the Winelands near Cape Town taught me a lot about the wines I like but my recommendations are also wrapped up in wonderful memories of when my husband and I first started dating The romance of a wine-tasting date at a beautiful vineyard is hard to beat. While I have used specialist wine importers to buy South African wines in the past, all my recommendations have the added bonus of being available at Majestic Wine, which makes them easily available in the UK. My recommendations are all vineyards that I discovered years ago and have visited a few times.