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Beautiful bouquets, gifts & a donation to Cancer Research UK 💐❤️

Who doesn’t love a fresh bouquet of beautiful flowers delivered straight to their door? Fresh flowers not only lift spirits, they can be the most perfect gift for any occassion.

I find that when I have fresh flowers in the house, not only to I feel happier but I find the people who visit my home feel happier too. The smell, the prettiness, what more could anyone want?

Well now you can take things one step further, when you order from the Cancer Research Flowershop, a huge 25% of the value of your gift is donated to Cancer Research UK!

The flowers couldn’t be any prettier. The best quality roses, lilies all boxed up in a breathtaking bouquet of loveliness. What’s more they are delivered straight to your door.

Prestige Flowers has always been my favourite and now they are delighted to offer you this high quality flower delivery service in support of Cancer Research UK. Prestige Flowers is voted UK’s no. 1 Online Florist according to ReviewCentre, Reviews and TrustPilot.

My delivery had two wonderful gifts included in the packaging. The cutest little teddy bear, which is now my younger son’s favourite bedtime teddy, and an elegant glass vase to put your bouquet in.

So do not delay, order yourself or a loved one a beautiful bouquet from the link below and in turn donate to a fantastic cause today –

https://flowershop.cancerresearchuk.org/flowers

Let’s beat cancer sooner!

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Happy National Tea Day! 😃❤️

I love tea. I also love a good cup of coffee. But tea has always had an extra special place in my heart.

Being half English & half Turkish, I have grown up with two cultures who are avid tea drinkers. The English like their tea in a mug, piping hot with milk. The Turks on the other hand enjoy black tea in a tall shapely glass with a slice of lemon, or just as it is.

So to celebrate today I would like to share with you my favourite tea of the moment. Of course I have many favourites, but this tea has an exceptional taste which I know you will all love.

The Tea –

English Tea Shop is steeped in tradition by using the finest quality tea leaves and age-old practises to bring us a superb tea from the heart of Sri Lanka. Working with the finest organic and Fairtrade farmers, English Tea Shop is able to create unique blends of quality tea.

Grown in the heart of Sri Lanka, English Tea Shop’s English Breakfast boasts a strong, full-bodied and robust flavour guaranteed to satisfy the palate of those who love a proper brew. For the ultimate tea break, pair with a citrus cake or lemon biscuit wih the tart flavours complimenting the brew perfectly.

English Tea Shop’s tantalising blend of Earl Grey encompasses the finest Ceylon black tea with aromas of fresh Bergamot boasting an aromatic and refined flavour.

Verdict –

It is just sooooo yummy! I like it with milk or black with a slice of lemon.

It just tastes exactly of tea. Deep flavours so yummy and not at all over powering, but just right.

English Tea Shop products can be purchased from Amazon, and whilst the offices are based in the UK, the tea is farmed in Sri Lanka. You can also find this yummy tea in Harrods, Selfridges and some other stores in the UK.

Enjoy & Happy National Tea Day! xxx

http://www.etsteas.co.uk/node/12

Tulip Fever by Deborah Moggach🌷📚 a book review

After our recent visit to Amsterdam I am still under the city’s bewitched spell! I am still looking out for all things Amsterdam! I dont know what it is about the many canals and lovely buildings, but I find the city so breatakingly beautiful.

I came across this wonderful read which I also found out was due to be a blockbuster movie starring my favourite Alicia Vikander.

The Book –

Soon to be a major film starring Oscar winners Alicia Vikander, Christoph Waltz and Dame Judi Dench, and adapted for the screen by Sir Tom Stoppard.

From the bestselling author of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel comes a thrilling story of power, lust and deception set in seventeenth-century Amsterdam

Seventeenth-century Amsterdam – a city in the grip of tulip fever.

Sophia’s husband Cornelis is one of the lucky ones grown rich from this exotic new flower.

To celebrate, he commissions a talented young artist to paint him with his beautiful young bride.

But as the portrait grows, so does the passion between Sophia and the painter; and ambitions, desires and dreams breed an intricate deception and a reckless gamble.

Verdict –

I loved every single page of this book. After visiting the amazing Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, seeing the priceless paintings by Rembrandt and other great artists, it was wonderful to step back in time to seventeenth-century Amsterdam, to when these portraits and scenes were actually painted.

A book which will transport you back in time. I cannot wait to see the movie.

Available on Amazon and in all book shops Nationwide.

A weekend in Amsterdam with the kids 💙✈️

A weekend away with the kids is our favourite way to see and explore a new city. It is never an easy task but with lots of planning it can be so much fun for the whole family.

Living in London we are lucky enough to be so close to such wonderful European cities, all a short airplane ride away. With the added benefits of technology, checking in and getting to your destination could not be easier.

This past weekend we took the boys to beautiful Amsterdam, my darling husband and I had been before but it was an exciting first for the boys.

So here are my tips & recommendations for a fun weekend away in Amsterdam with kids!

Where we stayed –

We stayed at the Marriott Amsterdam, I got a great rate for a family room via booking.com. The room was immaculately clean, with two huge double beds. The location of the hotel is best for kids as it is right next to the Vondelpark and the two big museums – The Rijksmuseum & The Van Gogh Museum.

Where we ate –

Breakfast –

On our first morning we went to one of our favourite cafes in Amsterdam – Das Bakkerswinkel. There are a few of these dotted around Amsterdam and they are so super child friendly, and the food is great. The boys tried the Dutch favourite – butter on fresh bread topped with chocolate sprinkles!

On the second morning we wanted to try something new so we went to Bakers & Roasters, a short stroll from our hotel. It didnt look like much from the outside, set in a quiet residential street, but inside it was buzzing! Great coffee, amazing pancakes! The whole family was very happy.

Lunch / Dinner –

We had a fantastic dinner at the American Hotel Cafe. Dating back to the 1800’s this hotel is a National Heritage site.

Beautifully decorated in an art deco style. We booked for an early dinner, but they also serve breakfast & lunch. The food was great, I had a fish soup which was delicious, the boys loved their choices from the kids menu.

Places to visit –

The Rijksmuseum – is a Dutch national museum dedicated to arts and history in Amsterdam. The museum is located at the Museum Square in the borough Amsterdam South, close to the Van Gogh Museum. It is filled with the most amazing pieces of art & the dolls house section is definately worth a visit. The book ‘The Miniaturist’ was inspired by these houses.

The Van Gogh Museum – is an art museum dedicated to the works of Vincent van Gogh and his contemporaries in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. It comprises 200 paintings, 400 drawings, and 700 letters by Vincent van Gogh. The boys were very excited to see the masterpiece ‘Sunflowers’ in real life.

Anne Frank House Museum – is a writer’s house and biographical museum dedicated to Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank. The building is located on a canal called the Prinsengracht. I would recommend children 10 years and over attend this museum. I think younger children would not really gain or understand the true impact of the museum. It does show quite graphic images from Concentration camps which could be upsetting.

I went along with my older son who has been studying WW2 at school and found it very interesting.

Top tips –

  • Dont eat breakfast in the hotel, instead get out & explore. Eat where the locals eat. Hotel breakfasts are always the same.
  • Book museum tickets well in advance. I booked my tickets in January for our March trip.
  • Use you iphone maps app to get from place to place.
  • Hop on a boat trip to explore the canals. The tours last 1hour and a tour guide points things out along the way.
  • Book your train tickets from the airport to the city center in advance. The journey takes 15mins.
  • Try the fresh mint tea! Its sooo good!

Websites –

http://www.bakersandroasters.com

http://www.debakkerswinkel.nl

https://www.amsterdamamericanhotel.com/en/restaurant/

Ultimate Football Heroes 📚⚽️ a book review

My boys are real boys. They love sports, wrestling and computer games. Of course they enjoy reading but they would much rather be outdoors kicking a football around than any other thing!

But I want them to read more books. I want then to immerse themselves in the pages of a good novel and keep turning the pages until they reach the very end.

They read the books they get from school as homework, but I am always on the search for books they will just adore to read.

So the other day my older son and I came across this wonderful set of books in our local WHSmiths, and they are a winner!

The Books –

Ultimate Football Heroes is a series of biographies telling the life-stories of the biggest and best footballers in the world and their incredible journeys from childhood fan to super-star professional player.

Written in fast-paced, action-packed style these books are perfect for all the family to collect and share.

Verdict –

My son has already read a lot of the books in the series – Messi, Ronaldo, Hazard to name a few. He has told me all about what he has found out. He has got a few more ordered coming soon.

So the key to getting kids to read more is to find books which interest them. Such a great series of books for any football fans out there!

You can buy the series in all good bookshops and on Amazon uk now!

Testament of Youth ❤️ a movie review 🎬

There are some fantastic movies available to watch on Netflix. We had some very snowy days over the past week and it was a perfect opportunity to look at the movies on Netflix more closely.

I love movies which tell a real story, and this was one of those. Amazing actors, super scenery and a story which is gripping from beginning to the end.

The Movie –

Testament of Youth is a story of love, loss and strength during the first World War. Based on the book Testament of Youth written by Vera Brittain, a true story of her life.

Vera Brittain is an intelligent, strong willed young lady from a well to do family. A loving brother, a handsome fiancee, and a place at Oxford University. Then World War changes everything. The men she loves all head to war, and are all lost one by one.

A true story of strength and courage.

Verdict –

I was extremely touched by this movie.

Alicia Vikander plays Vera Brittain amazingly.

After the movie I googled the real Vera. Such a heartbreaking story.

It is now available to watch on Netflix. Not to be missed! I look forward to reading the book.

Homemade Kimchi 💚

I have always loved pickles. Not just regular gherkins, but any vegetables pickled. I do understand it is an acquired taste, but I read recently just how good fermented vegetables are for you.

Kimchi is a staple in Korean cuisine, is a traditional side dish made from salted and fermented vegetables, most commonly napa cabbage and Korean radishes, with a variety of seasonings including chili powder, scallions, garlic, ginger, and jeotgal (salted seafood).

The most important fact about Kimchi is that it has been known to be the secret to a long life. South Korea is expected to be the first country where life expectancy reaches 90. Made with cabbage, kimchi is salty and spicy, and full of probiotics, and vitamins A & B. It also contains lots of lactobacilli – a good bacteria found in yogurt and healthy guts. Scientists think it is why South Koreans live so long.

So here is my simple Kimchi recipe my darling mother found in a magazine & tried. If you love pickles and spicy foods you will love it!

Kimchi –

Ingredients –

  • 1 Chinese Cabbage – quartered
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 1 small piece of ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar

Method –

  • Remove the stalks from the cabbage. Cut it up into 4cm pieces.
  • Place in a bowl, sprinkle over the salt. Rub the salt into the cabbage with your fingers.
  • Cover the cabbage with cold water, cover and set aside for 2 hours.
  • Sieve the water, rinse thoroughly under water then leave to drain.
  • Place the garlic cloves, ginger and sugar in a food processor and blend until a smooth paste is formed.
  • In a large bowl, mix the cabbage. Add in the ginger, garlic paste. Add the chilli powder. Add a little warm water. Mix thoroughly.
  • Place the mixture in a glass jar with a lid.
  • Keep at room temperature for one week to ferment.
  • Then transfer to the fridge.
  • The Kimchi will keep for up to 3months.

Enjoy with anything really! I love it as a side to my avocado toast!

Yum x

Where Angels Fear to Tread by E M Forster ❤️📚 a book review

I am into all things Italian lately. Would you believe I have never been to Italy! A terrible loss on my part I know. But this year I plan to put that right. I am off to Rome in April to see the beautiful sites Ive read about. I cannot wait!

In keeping with the theme of Italy, Im also reading books set in Italy. And as classics are my favourite at the moment I decided to start with this one, recommended by my dear friend.

The Book –

E. M. Forster’s first novel is a witty comedy of manners that is tinged with tragedy.

It tells the story of Lilia Herriton, who proves to be an embarrassment to her late husband’s family as, in the small Tuscan town of Monteriano, she begins a relationship with a much younger Italian man – classless, uncouth and highly unsuitable.

A subtle attack on decorous Edwardian values and a humanely sympathetic portrayal of the clash of two cultures, Where Angels Fear to Tread is also a profound exploration of character and virtue.

Verdict –

After my deep love for the book and mini series Howards End, I was interested to find out if another Forster novel would interest me as much.

I was not disappointed in the least.

A much shorter novel, only 10 chapters, so lovely as its nice and light to carry around in your handbag.

So witty, fun and exciting all the way through. The descriptions of Italy are wonderfully put together in a way only a master author can.

Tuscany is next on my list to see. I cannot wait to explore and learn.

A fantastic read.

Penguin has the most wonderful covers for the classics. Available in bookshops Nationwide.

A kitchen tool everyone needs! ❤️

I have lots of tools in my kitchen. Some I use daily, others weekly, some very rarely. Ive always belived in saving time by using the right tool for the task. Why slave over a task for hours on end when there is a tool that can do it for you in minutes?

I adore cooking as you all know, but baking is my hidden pleasure. I have always loved baking since I was little. Cakes, biscuits, desserts are such a pleasure to put together.

There has been on kitchen gadget which I have always used when baking. It is amazing and I think every household should have one.

The Tala Cook’s Dry Measure

So what does it do?

The Cook’s dry measure is an invaluable kitchen tool. Simply pour ingredients up to the desired level for speed and accuracy without using weighing scales.

The measure is calibrated in both metric and imperial, making it easy to follow favourite old cookery books, and recipes passed down from a mother or grandmother.

The measure is also calibrated for fluid measurements and can be used to measure liquids for immediate use, but is not watertight. The cooks measure has been made by hand, in England, in which the production method remains the same since the 1920s.

If you haven’t got one get one asap! You will wonder how you lived without it.

No more messy scales, simply put in the dry ingredients up to the point stated and voila perfectly measured ingredients!

I think mine must be 10years old!

You can buy them pretty much anywhere. See below for more details –

https://www.talacooking.com/catalogue/kitchen/baking/cooks_measures/tala_originals_cooks_dry_measure_01598.htm

The Forever House by Veronica Henry 💕🏡 a book review 📚

I think that everyone must have in their minds eye an image of their perfect home. A place, a haven for themselves, their family and loved ones.

Since I was a little girl I have loved drawing pictures of my ‘forever home,’ and country cottages seem to be where my heart lies. A pretty country home with a picket fence, cute and cosy. Especially old houses, because they hold so many stories.

So when I saw the lovely cover of Veronica Henry’s The Forever House I just had to read it!

The Book –

Hunter’s Moon is the ultimate ‘forever’ house. Nestled by a river in the Peasebrook valley, it has been the Willoughbys’ home for over fifty years, and now estate agent Belinda Baxter is determined to find the perfect family to live there.

But the sale of the house unlocks decades of family secrets – and brings Belinda face to face with her own troubled past. . .

An irresistibly feel-good story set in the Cotswolds from bestseller Veronica Henry, all about why home really is where the heart is.

Verdict –

Another wonderful story filled with the most interesting characters by one of my favourite authors.

Hunter’s Moon sounds like the most wonderful house set in the breathtaking Cotswolds. I love how it intertwines modern day with the past in the natural way only a very good author can.

Perfect read for the beach, in bed or on a long journey.

Available on Amazon & in all good bookshops now!