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Friday, 27 February 2015

Life: Ten Ways I'm Staying Better Organised in 2015

One of my main resolutions for this year was to set myself back on the path to an organised life. I find that when my life becomes busier, I neglect little things that on their own don't seem like much, but when accumulated, make me feel a bit over whelmed. This year, with organisation a priority, I've taken a good look at what works and made a few changes to what doesn't.


Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Food: Lemon Drizzle Fingers

We love a good lemon drizzle cake in our household and I'm continually striving to find the perfect one. My main criterion for a good lemon drizzle cake is that it needs to be super super lemony. Surprisingly the littlies request this too. My latest attempt was this recipe from the fantastic BBC Good Food website. It got the stamp of approval for being incredibly lemony, super moist and very moreish. The addition of lemon curd makes this a very tart lemon drizzle. Just the way I like it!



I enjoyed this with a cup of builder's tea while the wind howled outside. Nothing like a bit of home-baking to perk up a dreary day!

Clementine.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Beauty: Hand Creams for Winter

My hands go through a very rough time in the winter. Over Christmas, cooking and cleaning was the priority, and then in January organising everything became a bit of an obsession. To be honest my hands didn't get very much attention at all, and what with having a puppy, I've been washing my hands even more than usual. Recently, they've been protesting and as the skin has become dry and crepey, I've been forced to sort them out. These are my favourite hand creams for the colder weather.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Travel: Northern Vietnam

Every single pre-conceived idea I'd harboured about Vietnam vanished the moment I set foot in Hanoi. I'm not sure why, but I didn't expect a communist country to be quite so enterprising and quite so capitalist in feel. There were shops and stalls everywhere and the locals were very engaging, quite keen to practise their English, and in some cases offering to buy us a soft drink in exchange for a bit of conversation.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Food: No-Bake Lemon Cheesecake (Gluten-Free)

My mother would often make fridge tarts for family gatherings. It's only now that I have my own family and realise how stressful it is waiting for  cake to rise while doing a hundred and one other things before the guests arrive, that I've realised how convenient fridge tarts are. Recently, I tinkered in the kitchen and came up with a no-bake lemon cheesecake that was declared yummy by the littlies. Mummy-bot wins again!

I used gluten-free digestive biscuits to keep the recipe wheat-free and used a light hand with the lemon so that the tartness came through but wasn't too over-powering for the kids. Rather impressive for something that took only 15 minutes to prepare. The beauty of it as that it can be prepared in advance and whipped out of the fridge just before serving.



Ingredients
For the crust
275g pack of digestive biscuits (gluten-free)
60g unsalted butter, melted

For the filling
125ml double cream
125gg cream cheese
75g creme fraiche
65g sifted caster sugar
1 lemon

Method
1. For the crust, smash the digestive biscuits into crumbs with a rolling pin and stir in the melted butter. Divide the mixture between 4 round fluted tartlet tins (10cm x 2cm) and press into each forming the crust. Put in freezer to firm up while preparing the filling

2. For the filling, beat the double cream with an electric beater in a bowl until stiff and peaks form. IN a separate gown mix together the cream cheese, creme fraiche and sugar. Gently fold into the whipped double cream until well combined.

3. Zest the lemon and chop the zest finely before mixing into the filling. Add 15ml of lemon juice (or more to taste).

4. Divide the mixture between the tartlet tins and put into the fridge until set (usually 2 hours but you can speed this up by putting it into the freezer for 30 minutes).

5. Decorate with zested lemon rind and Enjoy!

Clementine.






Monday, 16 February 2015

Beauty: My Little Box February 2015 Review - My Little Frenchie Box

February's My Little Box was termed the My Little Frenchie box which refers to the Ines de la Fressange theme of this month's box. The My Little World magazine has Ines de la Fressange as the cover girl and has a spread on her career through the years. I am a complete fan of her sense of style so found this quite interesting. The magazine also had some great nail art, a how-to hairstyle featuring a French pleat and some great interviews. A huge improvement on last month's box.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Craft: Valentine's Day Gift Ideas

This is the first year that the littlies seem to be interested in Valentine's Day at all. I've promised to make pancakes and thought it would be a lovely idea to make a post-it notes heart where we each get to write the things we love about each other on post-it notes and then stick them on the wall/fridge in the shape of a heart.

It was only once I met my husband that I started to appreciate Valentine's Day. We don't subscribe to the flowers, dinner and a movie idea but instead spend the evening in, cooking our favourites together and then gift each other something small and thoughtful. I like to give him something that I've made myself. I like to keep him focussed in my thoughts while I'm in my making-mode so that whatever I've created is made with love.

I often turn to origami when I'm feeling stressed and feel the need to create something. I find the action of paper-folding very therapeutic and sometimes do this in the evenings after a hard day. I find the instructions for most of my creations online so this year  instead of buying a Valentine's card, I decided to buy pre-folded card from a craft shop and then decorate the front with an origami heart. Inside I pasted an easy origami heart and used this as an envelope, filling these with origami hearts, one for every Valentine's Day we've been together.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Life: My 100th Blogpost - Sharing My Dirty Little Secret!

Today I am publishing my 100th blogpost and I am so proud of reaching this personal milestone for my blog. Yesterday I met up with a close friend for lunch, and dear readers,  can you believe that this was only the first time that I'd mentioned this blog to someone other than my husband in my real life? I felt as if I was coming clean with some dirty little secret and felt almost embarrassed to be admitting the existence of this blog to her. I say that I came clean, but I still haven't told her the URL, though I have promised her that I'd give her the details the next time I saw her.




I've spent the night puzzling over the emotions I feel when I think of my blog, and have been really surprised by what has emerged. I realised that I feel embarrassed for doing something seemingly frivolous, when I spent 10 years pursuing something pretty serious at university. I am not sure why that is. I am proud of my PhD but prouder still of the choices I have made with regard to raising a family. I think that I find it hard justifying my choices to others which is probably a byproduct of my scientific training where every decision made had to have a rationale. Of course, this blog ultimately has to be something that fulfils me so I need to move past this and find a way of reconciling the lifestyle blogger me with the me I was before.

I'd really like to hear from you as to how you eventually told the people in your life about your blog, and if you were as reticent as I have been, what your reasons were for holding back. I am very grateful to all of you who have taken the time to read the blog, comment  or email. I really appreciate hearing from you all! Here's to the next 100 (blogposts)!

Clementine.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Beauty: Winter Skin Savours

My skin has been pretty dry this winter, which I attribute to my having to walk the dog in all kinds of weather. After making a few changes to my routine, we've turned a corner, though I have also turned to a few skin cheats to make my skin look healthy and dewy.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Life: A Healthy and Happy 2015 - Update 1

We're well into 2015 now and I thought I'd update you all on my progress regarding the Kickstarting a Healthy and Happy 2015 post.