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Friday, 19 December 2014

Life: Five Life-Changing Steps to Happiness this Christmas

My usual way of getting into the Festive spirit is normally as follows: Buy and decorate tree; buy and wrap gifts; gluhwein at the German market; watch Love Actually; plan Xmas menu and become stressed beyond belief trying to figure out how I'm going to do it all!

This year however, I decided to be kinder to myself and made it my goal to remain as relaxed through December as I could. Christmas is now just under a week away and I can now happily report that I am far happier and relaxed than I was when I started. Here's what I've been doing since about late November.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Food: Apple, Blackberry and Blueberry Crumble (Gluten-Free)

I've been enjoying cooking some traditional puddings over the past few weeks and since it's been such a hit with the littlies, have been making Apple, Blackberry and Blueberry Crumble at least once a week. Probably not completely virtuous but at least it contains fruit!


40g butter
500g eating apples (I used Gala apples), peeled and chopped
150g blackberries
150g blueberries
2 tbsp demerara sugar
2 tbsp ground almonds

For the topping:
125g plain white gluten-free flour blend (Dove Farm)
75g demerara sugar
60g butter
25g gluten-free porridge oats
25g flaked almonds


1.  Melt butter in a saucepan and caramelise the apples with the sugar (5 mins).
2.  Add the berries, stir and set aside off the heat.
3. Sprinkle the ground almonds over the base of your pie dish. I use a 20cm square pyrex dish.
4. For the topping, crumble the flour, sugar and butter between your fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs.
5. Stir in porridge oats.
6. Pout the berry and apple mixture into your pie-dish.
7. Top with the crumble topping and finish off with flaked almonds.
8. Bake in a 180C over for 45 minutes or until golden on top.



Monday, 15 December 2014

Fashion: Winter Style Favourites

It's been quite hard lately, keeping warm in the cold north winds and still managing to look half-decent. The key here is to invest in some good accessories and to try not to succumb to the uniform of down jacket and beanie!

Friday, 5 December 2014

Life: My Christmas Book Ideas

I love giving and receiving books over the festive season. It's always such a treat to receive a book that I'm really excited to read. It tells me that the giver has thought about me and really knows me.

Here are a few suggestions based on some of my interests.

For the Beauty Lover: Pretty Honest by Sali Hughes
Sali Hughes' fantastic tome will be of interest to anyone who is interested in looking good. Makeup and beauty does not have to be intimidating and Sali Hughes encourages us to celebrate makeup rather than feel guilty for wearing a bit of lippie.

For the Runner: Running Like a Girl by Alexandra Helmsley
Running seems to be an increasingly popular sport and Alexandra Helmsley's book is sure to motivate anyone to keep active over the festive season. Just not immediately after sitting down to a huge Christmas dinner!

For the Cook: Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi
Ottolenghi's previous books were a great introduction to cooking with interesting and unusual ingredients. They're a dinner party staple for me and his latest edition is guaranteed to get lots of use in the new year.

For the Traveller: You Only Live Once by Lonely Planet
It's always fun to gift a family member a book that everyone else will want to nosey, and this book is the one. It might even inspire a few New Years' resolutions!


Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Food: Lamb Shank with Port and Prunes

There's something about the autumn that makes me turn to slow-cooking. Perhaps it's the fact that the oven being on for a few hours keeps the house quite toasty, or perhaps it's because I find myself spending more time indoors and enjoy the lovely aromas drifting from the kitchen?

Monday, 1 December 2014

Beauty: My Little Box November 2014 Review - My Little Cosy Box

This month's My Little Box had a "Cosy" theme, and contained a microwaveable pillow, mini coffee cup, and some eye makeup to create a dark smokey eye. As usual, the box was beautifully packaged in an autumnal box and came with a little magazine which I enjoyed browsing over a cup of tea.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Running: Getting Back on that Horse - Running Post-Injury

After 7 months of not being able to run, I can happily say that I've finally gotten over my injury. I had no idea that it would take so long before I'd once again be able to don my running shoes and let me tell you, that first run felt fantastic!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Life: Sleeping Aids (or How I Travel to the Land of Nod)

My journey to the land of nod is often delayed by the myriad thoughts bustling through my brain. I've found, however than there are a few things I can use to make my journey smoother, which help me to have a good night's sleep.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Beauty: My Christmas Beauty Picks 2014

I have to admit that I love buying cosmetics at Christmas time because it's when all the fantastic sets are around and I can get a lot more for my money. Here are a few gift suggestions that can be found  at the moment.

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.