Monday, August 23, 2010

New Meal a Week: No. 3 - Courgette Lasagne

Friday, August 20, 2010

101 Things Update

#2 Attend a show with my cakes
To be honest I can't really remember exactly what I meant by this, but in November a friend of mine is holding a Christmas Fayre in Harpenden, St Albans where I will have my very own stall. It's quite similar, isn't it?

#16 Sort all my photos in albums
I decided to start with the most recent & work my way back, so last Sunday, after Jo & Wayne's wedding, I printed out all the photos I liked and put them in an album. Let's hope I can keep it up!

#26 Stick to beauty/skincare routine
I have been a bit crap at this lately, but whereas I would usually admit defeat I have every intention of carrying on with it & not letting it get me down.

#33 Pass my Professional Diploma in Marketing
I am due to get my results for my final module this month! I am not very hopeful as work has been a bit crazy, but fingers crossed - you never know!

#37 Try a new meal every week
Getting a bit short of time on this one - but hoping to try one tonight!

Monday, August 16, 2010

#15 Visit Folly Farm

Today me & Matthew plus his mum and Auntie Julie went to Folly Farm for the first time. Here are some of my favourite photos.

Very scary Fortune Teller. It didn't move, just dished out a fortune & a little surprise.
But after thefilm BIG I am always just a little wary of these...
Gorgeous carousel.
I used to love these - need to remember to take kids next time. :)
The only giraffes in Wales.
Gorgeous, elegant animals - and so very very tall.
Fab hair!
Prairie Dogs.
All I could think was 'Alan! Alan!' Tee hee.
Not sure what they're all looking at, but it's clearly very interesting...
Gorgeous big cats. Kind of wanted to take one home...
will definitely have to go back if they ever have kittens.
And that (in a very quick flash) is my day at Folly Farm. I completely forgot to take any photos in the Jolly Barn, but I guess there's always next time.

#15 Visit Folly Farm - done! :D

Saturday, August 14, 2010

New Meal a Week: No. 1 - Basque Chicken Casserole

My first new meal is a WeightWatchers one (my husband is on a diet and doing really well!) from Weight Watchers Cook Smart Family Food. We have made a few from this book and they've all been pretty good.

I chose the Basque Chicken Casserole, which was chicken breasts in a light tomato, white wine & paprika sauce. It was really tasty, with loads of flavour, but my favourite bit was the 'sprinkling' for the top that consisted of 1 chopped red chilli, zest of 1 lemon, 1 tablespoon of capers and a handful of chopped fresh basil. I made the recipe for 4 people (with a bit extra chicken) and it was more than enough to serve 5. It was served with fine green beans and sauted potatoes.

Week 1 Details
Recipe Name: Basque Chicken CasseroleSource: Weight Watchers Cook Smart Family Food.
Would I make it again? Definitely
Occasion: Dinner Party, Midweek Meal
Course: Main Course
Difficulty: Easy
Stars (Out of 5): ***** (5)
Time to make: 20 minutes prep, 1 hour in oven (but would happily wait until you're ready!)
Serves: 4 (6 at a push)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

101 Things Update - Day 2

I don't plan to keep daily updates, but a few things have happened since yesterday that I felt were noteworthy, so here you go.

#15 Visit Folly Farm
Folly Farm is an adventure park and zoo (but I won't use it towwards goal number 92 as well!) that I have been wanting to go to for ages. So Math and I have decided to take Monday off, make a picnic and go! Very excited, and I plan to take a lot of photos - just please, don't rain!

#38 Cook every meal in a recipe book
I have said this before and think I'll stick with the same book. So I will be working my way through Rachel Allen's  Home Cooking I'll get some details on number of recipes etc and write a post on it.

#48 Convince another person to make a 101 list
I am trying to get Matthew to write a list, but so far no luck. However I think I may have convinced 2 people on Twitter to give it a go. Yay!

#71 Save all 20p coins for 1001 days
I now have a little tin next to be bed so far 20p. Yup. That's all I could find! But it's a start.

#73 Guest post on someone else's blog
After posting on Twitter, the fabulous @LottieLoves1 has offered me a chance to guest post on her blog - She's a proper blogger and everything, so I'll have to come up with something sensible to say. I am very flattered!

#77 Save £1001
This constitues another little container - this time an old coffee jar - in which I currently have some change (definitely over £2) and will run alonsgide the 20p collection. So by the end of it, I should have loads of money! :)

#98 Try 1001 different drinks
I just wanted to clarify this a little bit really. This can (and will) include tea, coffee, soft drinks and alcoholic drinks. Interesting ones. So while I have had plenty of coffee & water over the last few days I will wait for an interesting picture/glass/container before I post it. I have also set up a page for my 1001 drinks.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

101 Things Update - Day 1

I know it's a little bit naughty, but I think it's a positive step to start a list with items you've completed or started. It gives you a bit of a boost. Now I haven't completed any of my 101 things, but I have started one or two. So here's a little progress report.

#4 Start & stick to a beauty blog
I am not one to particularly follow fashion or any kind of beauty routine, but I have recently been following a Finishing School by Lottie to make us fabulous and this has lead me to start my 'lifestyle' blog. So far I have been managing to keep it up to date and am enjoying it so - progress!

#7 Sort out a walk-in wardrobe
This is something we should have done when we gutted the house originally, but I am determined to do it. At the moment it is in planning and sorting stages as I need to rearrange all the rooms around upstairs to sort out storage. Exciting times though!

#26 Stick to a beauty/skincare routine
I have blogged about this on my new blog, and while the routine is still new and I so far sticking to it.

#31 Read 52 books in 52 weeks
I have been trying this for the last 2 years. It has always startsed on 1st September, and so far I haven't managed it, but as it's nearly time to start again I thought I'd add it anyway - with a new start date as I started a new book last night (and only read the prologue) so I'm starting now!
Book 1: Play Dead, by Richard Montanari.

#98 Try 1001 different drinks
Yup - start as I mean to go on!
Drink 1: Budweiser Brew No. 66

Challenge: 101 things in 1001 days

This morning I came across this blog by @sjl1974, I thought it was a great idea and decided to write a list of my own.

My list can be seen (and will be kept updated) on my 101 things in 1001 days page

Today (11th August 2010) is the first day and the challenge will end on 9th May 2013.

I then started searching the web to see who else had written a list, and there's quite a few. I believe it originated from the Day Zero Project and on this site you can register your own list and see other peoples' lists.

If you decide to have a go as well following this post or any update, please leave me a comment as it will help me on the way to #48: Convince another person to do a 101 list. :)

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

E is for Eyes

The next challenge in Lottie's Finishing School has 2 parts:
1) Go for an eye test
2) Wear mascara every day for a week

The timing for this couldn't be more perfect! I recently had a letter telling me that I am due for an eye test, and as I don't need glasses and haven't noticed any changes - I ignored the letter. But I will now book a test, just to make sure! :)

I enjoy wearing make up but tend to be a bit lazy with it. I know it makes me feel better when I have it on, but if I am running short of time in the morning I will ignore it.... however last weekend I was away on a hen do and my sister-in-law decided that she would do my make up for the weekend. I had so many compliments, as it was a lot more than I would normally wear, which did make me wonder what I usually look like! So this week I made a promise to myself that I would make sure I put at least a smudge of eyeshadow and mascara on before I leave the house so that when I go for a night out I would be happy to wear a little more. Spooky, eh?!

One thing I don't do is put on eye cream - mainly because I don't like to think I am old enough to worry about these things, but I guess that at 28 it wouldn't hurt. :)  So my challenge (as long as Lottie doesn't mind) is to start making sure I moisturise or put on eye cream each day. Just for the record, my current (new) daily routine goes something like this:

> Moisturise (when I remember/can be bothered/have time)
> Foundation (sometimes, if I have a meeting or lunch or similar to go to)
> Blusher/Bronzer (for a little bit of glow)
> Light sweep of eyeshadow (a bit more if I know I'm wearing foundation)
> Eyeliner (if I'm feeling a bit daring!)
> Mascara
> Lipstick/Gloss/Vaseline (again depending on mood & events of the day)

I don't wear the same thing every day and I think it's nice to change every now and then. I tend to match eyeshadow with what I am wearing and stick to either a brown or grey, sometimes I'll add a bit of colour to match jewellery.

I spent a year as an Avon representative and have quite a large make up collection (gave up because I was spending more than I was earning!) so I think it's time I started using it and experimenting a little. I did have a go at 'smokey eyes' last Friday, having found a little tutorial online, and was really pleased with the results which hopefully means I'll do a bit more experimenting!

I am still working on my B & C challenges and will hopefully have an update to post soon!

Monday, August 02, 2010

Who makes your Birthday Cake?

I was tagged in a meme last week by Julie of Ice Maiden Cakes asking 'Who makes your Birthday Cake?' so here it is! Eventually! :)

It's taken me a while to remember my last birthday cake and I think my mum bought one for us to eat in work (family business) from Tesco. My birthday is in January, so to be honest we're all a bit fed up of rich food by then and on a diet, and as far as I can remember, I have not made my own birthday cake.

But when I was about 3 I was made a cake by my mum's friend, Annie Jones - and it is this cake that eventually led me to start baking. It's one of my earliest memories and I have no idea if I've built it up to be more fabulous in my head than it actually was.... although I doubt it - Annie was a pretty great cake maker! :)

It was a fairy castle cake, all turrets and sparkles - a true girlie princess cake, and when the candles were lit and the lights were turned off it looked as if the castle was all lit up from the inside. It makes me smile just thinking about it now. I would love to one day recreate this cake, as I remember it. Maybe for my own birthday as I'm not sure I'd be able to hand it over! ;)

Thanks Julie - for reminding me! :)

And I'd like to tag the following fabulous bakers to find out their stories:
Don't forget to link to your post in a comment below.

p.s. The photo above is a lemon poppy seed cake - no relevance other than it's a cake & I wanted a picture.