Monday, September 27, 2010

New Meal a Week: 6 - Chicken Nacho Grills

Sunday, September 26, 2010

New Meal a Week: 5 - Eggs Benedict

Today I attempted Eggs Benedict - basically poached egg on a muffin with ham & hollandaise sauce. The eggs are from our hens & were collected minutes before being poached, so were ideal! And so tasty! You may be asking where the hollandaise sauce is. It split. :(

And I really didn't have it in me to try again this morning, But I will - one day!

One thing I was happy with, was the egg poaching process (a la Rachel Allen). Basically, bring the water to a simmer, not boiling & slide the eggs in. And it worked. The water was barely moving, just a few bubbles every now and then and I left the eggs in for about 3 minutes. Perfecto!

Recipe Name: Eggs Benedict
Source: Rachel Allen's Home Cooking, p30
Would I make it again? Maybe
Occasion: Weekend
Course: Breakfast/Brunch
Difficulty: Intermediate
Stars (Out of 5): ** (2) Beacuse the sauce split
Time to make: 20 minutes
Serves: 1

Friday, September 24, 2010

How am I doing?

I thought it was time for a 101 Things in 1001 Days update - mainly to refresh my memory & get me back on track.

Quick Stats
Not Started: 70
In Progress: 30
Completed: 1

Here's some info on those marked 'In Progress'

2. Attend a show with my cakes
Nothing new to report here!

4. Start & stick to a beauty blog
This is actually going ok, and I'm enjoying it! Just need to sit down and plan out some regular posts as holiday has thrown me a little bit. 

5. Write a business plan for my cakes
It's a bit more of a marketing plan at the moment, but will develop. At least it's started!

6. Make my cake business profitable
See above!

7. Sort out a walk-in wardrobe
This is very nearly done! I blogged about it last week, all that's left is to put up a few hooks and move in all my clothes & shoes to check there's enough space. :D

11. Sort out attic
As part of 'The Big Sort Out' that included the walk-in wardrobe, step 1 was to start clearing the attic. Still a little bit to do, but nearly done.

16. Sort all photos into albums 
I did start this, but it's on hold for a minute as all my albums and my PC with photos on have been stored until the study is ready.

17. Design & knit own patterns
I have started doodling some designs & have a sketchbook. I am actually hoping to knit some as Christmas presents. Not telling you exactly what yet though...

18. Set up a bespoke Christmas cake service
Part of the marketing plan, mentioned above.

20. Finish Lottie's Finishing School 
I blogged my progress on this so far yesterday. Again, I am enjoying this, although do have a bit of catch up to do!

23. Develop own cupcake recipe
Have started thinking of ideas for Christmas time - so maybe!!

26. Stick to a beauty.skincare routine
I'm not doing too badly at this. I am pretty good at taking my make up off & moisturising at night. Although I do miss the odd one I try not to let it bother me & make sure I do it the next night/morning.

27. Organise all crafty/knitting/sewing stuff 
Again as part of 'The Big Sort Out' this is in progress.

31. Read 52 books in 52 weeks
Thanks to holiday I have so far managed to read 8 books in nearly 7 weeks. So far - on track.
  • 01/09/2010: Play Dead, Richard Montanari
  • 01/09/2010: Pirate Latitude, Michael Crichton
  • 07/09/2010: The Husehold Guide to Dying, Debra Adelaide
  • 10/09/2010: Home Truths, Freya North
  • 11/09/2010: Glass House, Rachel Caine
  • 12/09/2010: Dead Girls Dance, Rachel Caine
  • 15/09/2010: The Shakespeare Curse, J L Carrell
  • 23/09/2010: Bones to Ashes, Katy Reichs
 33. Pass my Professional Diploma in Marketing
Unfortunately I failed my last exam, so need to plan to take this again.

37. Try a new meal every week
Well we are 6 weeks in and I think I have tried 4 brand new recipes. Will rack my memory to see if any more come to light! Plus I need to write posts for the missing ones.
  1.  Basque Chicken Casserole
  2. Turkey Meatloaf
  3. Courgette Lasagne
  4. Red Wine Risotto
38. Cook every recipe in one book
I have chosen 'Rachel Allen's Home Cooking', so I'll run through it soon and tick off what I've so far made.

48. Convince another person to make a 101 list
A few have started it, but so far don't have confirmation they've finished! :(

59. Try a new beauty/make-up/skincare product every month
August's products were the BettyHula samples I recieved & reviewed. I have 1 week to find something to try in September...

63. Clear debts
I have paid off my outstanding balance on an online clothes magazine site & have plans in place for the rest of it. Me & hubby have devised a 5 year plan to sort ourselves & finances out, so quite excited about it at the moment.

65. Read 26 books written by an author of every letter of the alphabet
9 out of 26 covered.

71. Save all 20p for 1001 days

Will update again soon!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Lottie's Finishing School Catchup

For those of you following my progress on Lottie's Finishing School, you may notice that my last post was E is for Eyes and today Lottie has posted H!! There are a few challenges I am still working on, so thought it was time for a bit of a catch up & plan of attack. So this is where I am.

(BTW: I have linked the titles to Lottie's blog posts in case you want to read the whole thing)

A is for Attitude
Ok, the first challenge was to write about what makes you happy about yourself. A pretty tough challenge to start, but I did it.

B is for Bra
B, I kinda skipped out, but I promise I will go back to it before we get to Z!

C is for Clothes
This challenge is still going on in my house! The first part was to think about who's dress sense we admire, and generally sorting out the clothes I do wear to those I don't (or shouldn't)! Last week my fabulous hubby helped to convert our old study into a walk-in wardrobe, providing the ideal opportunity to fill it with all the clothes I love to wear - why would I want to clutter it with rubbish?? I am also making a list of wardrobe staples I need to get - a mac, some nice black boots - and replacements for anything too tatty. Definitely making progress though!

D is for Dream
This was kind of easy, as I've been thinking about it A LOT lately. Here's my dream.

E is for Eyes
I still haven't booked my eye test, but will do so tomorrow. I promise! Other parts of the challenge were to wear mascara - which I pretty much do every day anyway, so I added a little challenge for myself, to start wearing eye cream. Short of missing the odd day here and there, I have managed to stick to it, and it has also helped me stick to a whole beauty routine. Before I would use a 3-in-1 make-up and be happy, now I use make-up remover, toner & cleaner (2-in1), eye cream & moisturiser.

F is for Fitness
F was posted while I was on holiday - a lucky escape for me I think, because as it happens we were staying with my brother in law in Malta who lives about a 30 minute walk from St Julians. So what did we do every day? Walk into & around St Julians - admittedly to get lunch or a drink - but we still did well over 30 minutes of walking every day.

Before that I had taken up bouncing (or rebounding, for its more technical term) but have been a bt rubbish lately. Since returning from holiday we've been doing a lot of sorting out which has left me a bit short of time but has seen me running up and down the stairs a lot! So as of next week I plan to get my fitness back on track.

G is for Glamour
When I first read this challenge - to spend some time making yourself glamourous by spritzing perfume, painting your nails or wearing matching boots & bags - I had that day put on my purple boots & grabbed matching purple bag, and yes, it did make me feel a bit special.

I have also been making an effort to paint my nails (because it stops me biting them!) which does make me feel better, and have gone through a crazy amoutn of perfume lately. But, you know, it makes me feel good. Wearing a dress as part of Think Frock it's Friday also makes me feel a bit glam and gives me a bit of a reminder to put more effort in.

H is for Hair
I am a bit rubbish with my hair. I get bored pretty quickly and always think I'm a bit crap at styling it so generally I don't bother. I hadn't been to the hairdresser for about a year before this August, when I finally got myself sorted and decided to try somewhere new - Toni & Guy in Swansea. As I had 2 weddings I decided to stay fairly safe and stuck with a bob. 

Now I have no problem at all with trying new haircuts and colours - dare I say it I have even bleached my own hair (sorry Lottie) and there was a very bizzare 'sun-in' episode when my hair went yellow - I have died my hair various shades of blonde, brown, red and purple. I've had symmetrial hair, asymmetrial hair, long hair, short hair - you name it! And again I have decided its time for a change. So just before Lottie posted us this challenge I had recieved a (very clever marketing) text from Toni & Guy reminding me it's been so many weeks and offering 20% discount if I booked today - so I did! And I intend to go for something a little different. Appointment is 2nd October - so watch this space & I'll try to remember to take a before & after shot for you.

Ok - well, I think that's pretty much got me up to speed on the workshop for now! Just a few things to plan in, but getting there. :)  Again I'd like to say thank you to Lottie as it has definitely helped me make more of an effort in what I wear, how I look after my skin and has given some little tips on how to add a bit of magic (glamour) into my day.

Monday, September 20, 2010

New bedroom & a walk-in wardrobe

Hello! It's been a while, I know - but I have been on holiday. I have been back nearly a week but we decided to start re-organising the house and I've been too shattered to even think about blogging. Plus there's so much to say....but I'm going to take it one post at a time and today is all about the changes we've made in the house.

We've been talking for a while about redecorating our bedroom (hubby got fed up of the purple ceiling) and sorting out storage (my excuse for not doing all the washing was that there wouldn't be anywhere to store our clothes even if it was all clean at the same time). So we did it!

We spent the holiday discussing our plans and got straight into it when we got back. Anyway, save me rambling on, here are some photos.

Walk-in Wardrobe
Yes, I still have plenty of clothes to add!! ;)



My dressing table

So there you have it. :)

Friday, September 17, 2010

New Meal a Week: No. 2 - Turkey Meatloaf

I completely forgot to take a photo, but I need to catch up as I missed one last week - and it was new, and tasted lovely! :)

It was based on a recipe in Rachel Allen's Home Cooking.

Week 2 Details
Recipe Name: Meatloaf with Tomato & Basil Sauce
Source: Rachel Allen's Home Cooking
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 30 mins in oven
Serves: 4 (6 at a push)