Giving thanks for family and friends (and not the sales)

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I might live in England but, given I’m married to an American, celebrating Thanksgiving is a must in our house.  Unfortunately, we don’t get the two days holidays that we would do if we still lived in the States but oh well – you can’t have everything can you (and American’s don’t have Boxing Day so swings and roundabouts)?

I love Thanksgiving because it’s Christmas before Christmas – not with the presents but with the big family meal and, once it’s over, I feel like I can start playing a bit of Shakin’ Stevens and Slade.  There is nothing for me like getting everyone around the table and feeding them.  Tonight, it will be Cola Ham courtesy of Nigella Lawson (something everything thought was odd till they tried it an now I’m not allowed to make anything else). Continue reading

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Made it myself: Coffee Sugar Scrub

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Earlier this week, I had a crisis.  I was out of exfoliator.  Then I had another crisis when I went to buy it – I work for myself now, have only just started working for myself so there isn’t much money coming in…can I really justify the normal £15 – 20 for a face scrub?  The answer is, if I have to I will be, if I can find an alternative, I’ll do that to.  Hence a scouring of Pinterest in search of homemade solutions.

First up, though there might be more to come, is a coffee sugar scrub.  There are lots of different ways to make this on the internet, some more complicated than others.  I did what I normally do and combined a few that fitted in with what I had in the cupboard…and it worked, for me at least.

Here’s what I used… Continue reading

Music for Mondays: Martin Stephenson and the Daintees

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Morning and welcome to another Monday…why can’t the weekends last longer as today has come around way to quickly!  To start the week off, I’m sharing another song that I can’t get out of my head.  Actually, this morning, I’m sharing three because I didn’t know which one to pick.

The band is Martin Stephenson and the Daintees who have been around since I was a teenager (on and off) and who it’s a Christmas tradition to go see with my husband and best friend, not just because I love the music and like a bit of nostalgia but because Martin Stephenson is a funny man who tells stories to go with the songs.  Can there be anything better than a night of singing, dancing and laughing?  If you haven’t checked them out before, I can highly recommend it.

Anyway, on to my favourite songs – which are all oldies but which I just love listening to… Continue reading

Sunday post: I do like to be beside the seaside

We were lucky with the weather this week, though cold the sun shone most days.  Meaning I could take a walk along the local beach (well I say local, it’s a 15 minute drive so I think that counts).  There is nothing better to clear the mind I don’t think than looking out to sea.

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Tried and Tested: OM Cleanse & Glow Konjac Sponge

I am a bit of a fan of beauty boxes, and in one of my latest orders I received an OM Cleanse & Glow Konjac Sponge, which was in the most gorgeous packaging and intrigued me greatly as a) I hadn’t heard of it before and b) it looked kind of cool and funky.

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First up, I’ll apologise for the picture, which doesn’t do the packaging justice – it’s quite hard to take a picture of clear plastic and, no matter what the background I used, I couldn’t get a decent shot.  Saying that, they aren’t much better on the company website so maybe I shouldn’t feel too bad?

The poor photography shouldn’t put you off the product though, which I’ve been enjoying using these last few weeks, though it does have some downsides I’m not convinced will work for me in the longer term.  Continue reading

Stepping outside my comfort zone

fear-2019930_1920I used to think of myself as quite a brave person, someone who would give anything a go.  Then I got older and, whilst some might say wiser, I have started to think it’s really more cowardly.  I found myself saying things like “I know my boundaries” or “I know what I like and I won’t like that” – you get the picture.  Over the last few years especially I have found it more and more difficult to try new things.  It’s something I have wanted to change and (pats self on back) have finally started to.

I mentioned the other week that I had started trampoline classes and that was a big one for me.  The classes had been going for about six weeks when I joined and everyone seemed to know each other and the coaches well.  I would watch whilst my daughter took her class and think about how much fun it looked.  Then feel scared.  I would worry… Continue reading

Made it myself: “Orangey” Red Cabbage

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I love red cabbage, not only for it’s colour but also for it’s taste, which is somehow both slightly sweet and savoury at the same time.  Right now, it’s in season, so it’s the perfect time to use it as an accompaniment to many a meal (in our house, this is mainly Sunday lunch).  It’s also really good for you, high in anti-oxidents, vitamins and minerals.  You just have to get over the fact that, for as long as I can remember in the UK at least, we didn’t seem to do anything put pickle it – and store bought pickled cabbage just tastes like vinegar and not much else.

I haven’t pickled it myself because I have found a lovely version at a farmers market that saves me the hassle but, over the last few years, I have used it in a number of ways, including simply shredding along with white cabbage and carrots for a quite and easy coleslaw and braising for hours in the oven (on a low heat) with apples and brown sugar (which goes especially well I am told – as a veggie – with pork).  Mainly, though, I make it this way – because it’s quick and easy and my family finish off every last bit… Continue reading

My Sunday Photo: Ships Rigging

You wouldn’t necessarily believe it looking at the clouds in this photo but it was a glorious day when we visited the Hartlepool Maritime Experience and toured Britains oldest floating warship, HMS Trincomalee. Every time I’ve visited I’ve tried to get a decent shot of the rigging. It’s never quite been as good as I hoped but I don’t think this is a bad shot…

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Emma x

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Made it myself (now to take a decent photo!)

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I love being in the kitchen (and not just at party’s – sorry I had to!) and I love baking and cooking.  I spend hours pouring over cookery books and tearing recipes from magazines, planning my next meal or – even better – my next desert.  Unfortunately, not everything I make turns our exactly as planned.

In my family, it was a running joke that if it looked good it would likely taste awful but if it looked awful, then it would likely taste great.  Slowly but surely, though, I think I’m getting there and – over the last year – I’ve noticed that what I make is starting to look more like what is on the page.  Continue reading

Music for Monday: The Next Storm by Frank Turner

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One of the things I love most about Spotify is that I feel like I am always discovering new to me artists, either through the related artists section or because I am willing to give a musician “a go” whereas previously I might not have bought an album.  I say new to me because the artists I’m discovering aren’t always new to everyone; in fact, some have been around for years but they have passed me by.
Continue reading