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My favourite winter soup ❤️ Red Lentil & Bulgur Soup

The nights are getting much colder and the days much shorter. I find the perfect way to warm up in these wintery months is with a big bowl of thick wholesome soup. Lunchtimes for me are now a bowl of soup and nothing else. Not only are they superbly filling they are so good for you.

I like thick soup that are like a meal in a bowl. This is my go to soup this winter! It is very similar to my Spicy Red Lentil soup recipe but thanks to some great tips from family & friends, Ive added a few ‘extra’ ingredients which make it yummier, healthier and just so good.

So here it is, super easy to make, I make a huge pot of it at the weekend, then just heat up batches as needed through the week. My boys love it so much they eat at least two bowls each in one meal. Yum yum!

Red Lentil & Bulgur soup!

Ingredients-

– 1 cup of Organic Red Lentils

– 1/2 cup bulgur wheat

– 1 cup Passata or freshly chopped tomatoes

– 2 small onions (finely diced)

– 4 carrots (peeled and finely diced)

– 2 tablespoons Olive oil

– 1 knorr Chicken pot stock

– 1 teaspoon of brown sugar

– Sea salt, ground black pepper & chilli flakes to taste

– 1 teaspoon of ground cumin

 

Method-

Place the lentils, bulgur, carrots, onions and tomatoes in a large saucepan.

Cover with enough water so that all ingredients are covered. Boil until all the ingredients are soft to the taste.

Leave to cool then with the use of a stick blender mix the ingredients into a purée like consistency, make sure it is lump free.

Add enough warm water to make the purée into a more soup like consistency. Add the olive oil, chicken stock, sugar, cumin and sprinkle on a little sea salt & pepper. Mix over a medium heat until all ingredients have dissolved.

Sprinkle on chilli flakes, dried mint and serve with warm crusty bread.

Enjoy! xxxx

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The Christmas Chronicles ❤️📚 by Nigel Slater 

I love cookbooks. Its not that I cant cook, I definately can. But I love finding out about new recipes, discovering new meals to try & prepare for my loved ones, and for you lovelies ofcourse.

Nigel Slater has always been one of my favourites. I love watching him on television. His recipes are simple and definately manageable at home, and he has a calming manner which I find so relaxing to watch.

So when I found out that Nigel Slater had a new book out for Christmas I just had to review it for you all.

The Book –


From the BBC1 presenter and bestselling author of Eat, The Kitchen Diaries and Toast comes a new book featuring everything you need for the winter solstice.

The Christmas Chronicles is the story of Nigel Slater’s love for winter, the scent of fir and spruce, ghost stories read with a glass of sloe gin, and beeswax candles with shadows dancing on the ceiling. With recipes, decorations, fables and quick fireside suppers, Nigel guides you through the essential preparations for Christmas and the New Year, with everything you need to enjoy the winter months.

Taking you from 1 November all the way to the end of January, The Christmas Chronicles covers everything from Bonfire Night, Christmas and New Year to Epiphany. Throughout the season, Nigel offers over 100 recipes to see you through the build-up, the celebrations and the aftermath. Here are much-loved classics such as goose and turkey (and making the most of the leftovers), mincemeat and the cake; recipes to make the cold months bearable, like ribsticker bread pudding with Comté and Taleggio, salt crust potatoes with blue cheese and goat’s curd, and hot-smoked salmon, potatoes and dill; as well as bright flavours to welcome the new year, including pink grapefruit marmalade, pear and pickled radish salad and rye, linseed and treacle bread.

Packed with feasts, folktales, myths and memoir and all told in Nigel’s warm and intimate signature style, The Christmas Chronicles is the only book you’ll ever need for winter.

Verdict –

It’s my birthday tomorrow, and this was one of my birthday gifts. It is just perfect. Not too big and bulky, or filled with endless pictures, like some cookbooks. 

What makes this so much more than a cookbook are the memories. So many wonderful memories of the festive period.

A definate Christmas gift for that special ‘cook’ in your life.

Available on Amazon & in all major bookshops now.

Paddington 2 💙❤️ a movie review 🎬

One of the things we love to do as a family is go to the cinema. Now the boys are a little older the range of things to do have changed. But when a movie the whole family will enjoy comes out we are all very excited!

Paddington Bear has always been a sweetheart of mine. Ever since I was a little girl I loved the books and the cute cuddly bear to bits. Its so nice to see Paddington get the recognition he so well deserves yet again, he is a definite hit with my boys.

We watched the first movie when it came out, so seeing the second installmemt on the big screen was a must!

The Movie –

Settled in with the Brown family, Paddington the bear is a popular member of the community who spreads joy and marmalade wherever he goes.

One fine day, he spots a pop-up book in an antique shop — the perfect present for his beloved aunt’s 100th birthday. When a thief steals the prized book, Paddington embarks on an epic quest to unmask the culprit before Aunt Lucy’s big celebration.

Verdict –

Paddington 2 has a fantastic cast, Hugh Grant, Hugh Bonville, Julie Walters, Brenden Gleeson, Jim Broadbent to name but a few.

The movie lasts 1hr 43mins but we loved it so much we could have easily watched an hour more.

Set in beautifully shot parts of lovely London it is a captivating story with Hugh Grant making the evil Pheonix Buchanan character so funny and yet charming, in a way only Hugh Grant can.

My boys, aged 9 & 7 were not bored one bit, a fantastic movie for mummies, daddies, grand parents, kiddies & everyone really!

A great day out!

Paddington 2 is out now in cinemas Nationwide.

Christmas gifts delivered to your door ❤️🎁 by Prestige Hampers!

It’s that time of the year, planning gifts for the ones you love.

The buying of gifts is a definate art. And I think that this year edible gifts will be the most popular.

Who wouldn’t want a beautiful array of yummy Christmas treats to enjoy over the festivities. After all Christmas is a time to eat, drink and be merry!

The Gift –

Prestige Hampers specialise in just that, wonderfully luxurious hampers filled with delightful goodies for the whole family to enjoy.

I was sent the most amazing hamper, a breathtaking Union Jack wooden case which is a show stopper in itself. But when opened your are surprised even further. As you unpack the case you find some delicious drinkable and edible Christmas delights.


Celebrate Christmas with this British inspired hamper. This hamper is filled with the very best traditional beverages and gourmet food produces to make the festivities that much better. All of these delectable treats are beautifully presented in a large Union Jack suitcase for the ultimate patriotic finishing touch.

Included:
Mulled Winter Punch 75cl
Elderflower and Rose Presse 75cl
Red Velvet Crunch Biscuits 150g
English Breakfast 40g
Milk, White and Dark Chocolate Classics 120g
Shortbread Festive Shapes 60g
Vine Fruits Christmas Pudding 112g
Iced Fruit Cake 400g
Dark Chocolate Bar 60g
Mackays Christmas Marmalade 113g
Mackays Christmas Preserve 113g
Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Yorkshire Crisps 100g
Handmade Smoked Oatcakes 125g
Union Jack Wooden Case

Verdict –

All I can say is if I received this for Christmas I would be one very happy mummy! The packaging, the delicious delights inside, the drinks; all just so perfect!


The chocolates, biscuits, preserves, very generous bottles of festive drinks will be savoured with delight in the coming months.

I think any family or friend receiving this or any of the other hampers this Christmas would be over the moon with delight.

To order your hamper for the ones you love, don’t delay, and head to the Prestige Hampers website now –

https://www.prestigehampers.co.uk/christmas-hampers?top_nav

 

 

 

A Quiet Passion 🎬 a movie review

I have always felt an emotional closeness to Emily Dickinson. Ever since living and studying in Amherst, and visiting the Dickinson Homestead, where the great poet spent her whole life.

Amherst is a beautifully quaint New England town outside Boston. It is home to some great educational establishments such as Amherst College and The University  of Massachusetts. It was in UMASS Amherst I studied for my Masters degree and where I discovered Emily Dickinson’s poetry & wanted to find out more about her life.

So I was very excited to watch A Quiet Passion, a movie about the life of the great poet herself.

The Movie –


A Quiet Passion is a 2016 biographical film directed and written by Terence Davies about the life of U.S poet Emily Dickinson. 

The film stars Cynthia Nixon as the reclusive poet. It co-stars Emma Bell as young Dickinson, Jennifer Ehle, Duncan Duff and Keith Carradine.

Verdict –

If I could have produced and directed a movie about Emily Dickinson I do not think it would be any different to A Quiet Passion. It is like stepping back in time to Amherst in the 1800s. To a time when no televisions existed, there was no wifi, there wasnt even a radio to pass the time. 

The Dickinson family was one of privilege and they lived in a comfortable house in a pretty town. But the control over the family by Mr & Mrs Dickinson can be felt throughout the whole movie.


Time was passed playing the piano, cooking, gardening, and for Emily writing was her forte. She shared the beautiful homestead withher beloved sister Vinnie and handsome brother Austin, and her stern father & invalid mother, who hardly ever left her upstairs room. 

Life was not easy for Emily, who remained unmarried until her dying day at the age of 55. She felt a huge sense of loyalty towards her father & mother which prevented her & her siblings from leaving home. Her brother Austin even as a grown married man chose to live right next door to the homestead. Vinnie & Emily never left home.

The movie is a masterpiece in that it shows the good with the bad. Its shows the pain Emily felt, battling her demons and her illnesses.

A Quiet Passion is a movie all writers, lovers of poetry need to watch. It is depressing at times. I had to switch it off twice, but came back again.


Cynthia Nixon is the perfect Emily.

Unmissable.

Available on dvd now.

❤️🏡 What makes my house a home? ❤️🏡

Anyone who knows me, be it my wonderful friends or my lovely family, will know how much I adore my home. For me a home has always been a haven, a place for friends and family to come together and enjoy time together.


So when I came across this wonderful assignment set by Furnish Your Home, to answer the simple question, “What makes your house a home” I just had to enter, as I feel so strongly on the subject.

What makes my house a home?

I am a stay at home mummy, and have been for the past 10 years. My eldest son is going to be 10 this year, so over the past decade I have given all my energy and channelled all my love into making my house a home for my children and family.


The house we now live in has been our home for the past five years, prior to that we were lucky enough to live in central London in a much smaller apartment which we rented, but that too was an apartment filled with love and enjoyment.

“Homemaking”

I have always believed that ‘homemaking’ is a talent you are born with. Of course it can be learnt, but I am lucky enough to come from a family who have always given importance to where they live.

Freshly baked cakes 

The smell of freshly baked cakes can transform your house into a home. I read recently that estate agents wishing to sell houses do just that! Fill the house with yummy smells of cakes & coffee to make it more homely. And in turn make it more attractive. 


You don’t need a huge mansion to make a home, someone who is a homemaker can transform a tiny studio into a cosy haven to relax in and unwind, with a few accessories.

When we were growing up my mother was our homemaker. Our childhood home was always filled with smells of freshly cooked meals, the sofas were always soft and fluffy enticing you to sit in them and enjoy your surroundings. Our home was always the home friends wanted to come over to after school or at the weekends because they always knew there would be a comfortable atmosphere and delicious home cooked food on hand.

Sunday roasts 

In my home today I am the homemaker. One of my biggest joys is preparing our Sunday roasts. It is normally just the four of us – my darling husband, my two boys and me. But when we are lucky enough to have friends or family visiting I love cooking for everyone, nothing gives me more pleasure than having a huge roast dinner around our dining table. More the merrier.

We just recently extended our living room, and now we are lucky enough to have a huge dining table that seats up to eight. Every Sunday I ensure the table is set immaculately, and the delicious scent of roast beef or lamb fills the whole home, roast potatoes, parsnips and Yorkshire puddings. What makes me happiest is watching the ones I love enjoy the dinner I prepared.

Fresh flowers, blankets & candles

Other ways in which I create a home are with the accessories. Candles, blankets, flowers, soft comfy sofas and photographs in pretty frames of the ones we love.

What more could life be about but enjoying your surrounding and making the most of life.

Beautiful china 

I love collecting china of different colours, sizes and full of beauty. I love going to antique makets in search of vintage cups, plates & bowls to add to my homes homliness. Just last month in Amsterdam my mother & I bought some lovely antique soup bowls for just one euro each. 

I find eating & drinking from china with a story so much more interesting. 

So if you are looking for inspiration to make your house more homely head over to Furnish Your Home for some great furniture & ideas –

https://www.furnishyourhome.co.uk

The scariest movie ever! 🎬 The Shining 😲

As it is the scariest day of the year tomorrow & we are embracing all things spooky and eerie, I wanted to tell you all about the movie I find the scariest.

My mother is an avid horror movie enthusiast, and it takes a lot to actually scare her. So over the years we have watched a lot of scary movies.

But there is one movie which still gives me the creeps till this day.

The Movie –


Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) becomes winter caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel in Colorado, hoping to cure his writer’s block.

 He settles in along with his wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall), and his son, Danny (Danny Lloyd), who is plagued by psychic premonitions. 


As Jack’s writing goes nowhere and Danny’s visions become more disturbing, Jack discovers the hotel’s dark secrets and begins to unravel into a homicidal maniac hell-bent on terrorizing his family.

Verdict –

It is veryyyyy scaryyyy! Based on the novel The Shining by the king of scary books himself Stephen King, the movie was filmed by the great Stanley Kubrick.


What makes this movie so spooky is that it is so real. The music, the setting, the amazing acting all comes together to make the screen come alive. Its as if you are actually there in this remote mountain top hotel, without anyone except this axe wielding maniac is on the lose.

I dont think I will ever forget the final scene where Jack is chasing his son Danny through a frozen hedge maze knee high in snow.

The Stanley Hotel in Colorado, where The Shining was filmed, still exists to this day. I read in the news recently that the hotel is actually haunted! 


So if you are looking to really get into the halloween spirit tomorrow why not watch The Shining…. 🎃👻☠️

The perfect gift for the whole family to enjoy! 💙 Anki Overdrive 🏎🏎🏎🏎🏎

Buying gifts – be it for Christmas or birthdays, does get more difficult as the kids get older. They aren’t really into toys anymore. And the smart tablets seem to be all they want to play with.

What I have decided to do this year is buy the boys one good gift instead of half a dozen mediocre gifts, which are normally just glanced at and put to one side.

Amongst my circle of friends the concencess seems to be pretty much the same. One good gift that will be cherished and used over and over again, an investment if you like. 

Finding something pre teen boys or girls will cherish and reuse is easier said than done.

But this amazing game created by the geniuses at Anki is sure to keep the kids, and the parents captivated for hours on end.

The Product –


What makes Anki Overdrive the world’s most intelligent battle racing system? Tech so advanced, it feels like the future.

Each Supercar is a self-aware robot, driven by powerful artificial intelligence (A.I.) and equipped with deadly strategy. 


Whatever track you build, they’ll learn it. 

Wherever you drive, they’ll hunt you down. 

The better you play, the better they become. 

Whether you battle A.I. opponents or friends, your tactical options are unlimited. And with continuous software updates, the gameplay always stays fresh. 

Customize weapons. Swap out cars. Build new tracks. 

It’s easy to pick up, and nearly impossible to put down.

Verdict –

My boys love cars, and the top game when playing with their cars is racing them. We’ve had a whole selection of racing car sets in the past; all of which have been tedious, heavy and down right impossible to put together, use and store. 

Anki Overdrive has taken the car racing game to a completely new level. It has done for the car racing game, whay Apple did for the ordinary mobile phone. It has taken it to the future.

So what advantages does Anki Overdrive offer?

  • The track the cars race on are super light, so very easy to store and put away.
  • The track pieces click together with magnets attached to the track pieces. This makes the whole racing track super simple to set up. My younger son who is 7 set up different track formations all by himself. 

  • The racing cars are like mini robots. They sync in with your smart phone or tablet as soon as you download the free Anki Overdrive app.
  • The races you can choose from are endless. From racing each other, to racing the computers own racers. 

My boys and I can rarely find games we can enjoy together, apart from board games which I tend to enjoy more than they do.


But Anki Overdrive ignighted my inner competitive streak and I was more than willing to race those cars with my boys! 


So if you are looking for that one gift to enjoy as a family this half term, Christmas or a special birthday treat look no further!

Anki Overdrive is a perfect all rounder! Watch this super cool demonstration –

https://youtu.be/ogFMTpMqevQ
Available to purchase on Amazon uk, Argos, Tesco & other large toy shops & stores Nationwide! Or on the Anki website –

https://www.anki.com/en-gb/

Paris can Wait 💙🎬 a movie review 

As you all know I have a huge crush on Paris! So anything – a book, a movie – with the word in it’s title captures my attention straight away.

I was on board the domestic flight from Istanbul to Antalya the other day when this lovely movie caught my attention.

Diane Lane, Alex Baldwin & Paris…what more could anyone ask for.

The Movie –


Anne (Diane Lane) is at a crossroads in her life. Married to a successful but inattentive movie producer (Alec Baldwin), she unexpectedly finds herself taking a car trip from Cannes to Paris with her husband’s business associate (Arnaud Viard). What should be a seven-hour drive turns into a carefree two-day adventure replete with diversions involving picturesque sights, fine food and wine, humor, wisdom and romance, reawakening Anne’s senses and giving her a new lust for life.


Verdict –

This is one of those movies that transports you away to beautiful locations with good food, drink and company.

Diane Lane is so lovely as Anne, a beautifully dressed elegant lady. Arnaud Viard plays a charming french gentleman.

There trip from Cannes to Paris takes us to the most wonderful dreamy locations. 

A fun movie. I didnt manage to watch it to the end as the flight was only 45 minutes long, so if yoy have seen it dont tell me what happens. Im looking forward to seeing it again when Im back home.

I believe it is due to be released in the UK in November 2017

Perfectly original gifts for Men @ Men’s Society 💙🎁

It is so difficult to buy gifts for men. Have you all experienced that too? When buying for my darling husband, brother and father I have to keep searching to find the perfect gift.

I think it’s primarily difficult because men tend to keep the things they would like as gifts to themselves. Whereas us ladies make hints about the things we would like to be given.

So when searching for the ideal Christmas gifts for my male family members I came across this super cute company that has a huge selection of fun and quirky gifts just for men.

The Story behind the Gifts  –

The founders of the ‘Men’s Society’ are Hugo & Bella, and here is their story –

“It was 2008. I was living in London doing a very sensible corporate job. When Bella walked into the office and changed the game forever. A girl can do that to a guy. 

Like most relationships in their early stages there was a fair bit of showing off, trying to outdo each other with little gifts. Only Bella was annoyingly good at it.

These gifts ranged from persuading the pizza guy to write ‘get well soon Hottie’ onto the box when I was too ill to leave my flat, a custom made bright yellow umbrella – to stand out against a sea of black ones – to the perfect little grooming kit to accompany a surprise weekend away to Berlin; Bella always nailed it.  Which got us thinking… and in 2012 Men’s Society was born and we put Bella’s gifting skills into action full time.

Like a lot of businesses, ours was founded and created at the kitchen table. Ambitions were dreamt around it, ideas sketched on it and product made at it. The business has grown (along with our family) and we now work with some of the top retailers in the world but we still make everything by hand, in Britain and we’re super proud of that. Although we may have out grown our original table, we still hold the same dreams, drive and attention to detail that we had at that kitchen table all those years ago.”

The Men’s Society offers a huge selection of super cool gifts men will love!

I got the ‘Weekender Wash Kit’ which is such a cool idea! For the man on the go, this must go with him. True explorers pack light. This kit is the perfect size for tucking in his bag while he explores the world – or just visits a friend for the weekend.The products in this kit comply with current hand-luggage regulations on aircraft. It’s the perfect little tin filled with 50ml of the essentials – Shampoo, Body Cleanser, Face Wash and Face Cream. What more could your modern traveller need or want.

Verdict –


If you are looking for the most original gifts for the men or women in your lives this year, look no further. The Men’s Society website will offer you a huge array of quirky original gifts.

Perfect for birthday and Christmas!

Find out more below. Order online. They also have a great selection available at John Lewis!

https://www.menssociety.com