Tuesday, 24 February 2015

My latest appearance on This Is Your Kingdom...

Seeing my name up in lights is always thrilling, and the next best thing is to share this joy with all my readers. Yes my latest article for the brilliant  This Is Your Kingdom is up on their front page, yep little ole me writing about my favourite cafe in Cambridgeshire The Linton Kitchen! Leaving London one always gets slightly twitchy about where to eat and drink, we're so spoilt in the big smoke that you forget it's not like that everywhere. My fears have been allayed by the likes of Linton Kitchen which since moving to Cambridgeshire has become my new favourite hang out and meeting place...in fact one of my criteria in house hunting is to be within a 10 minute drive of a slice of carrot cake!

Read all about it here.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

A day trip to the Seaside, Southwold Suffolk

Apologies for the radio silence over the last few weeks, Matilda had a perforated ear drum then I was struck down by a rather nasty bout of tonsillitis which had me bedridden, not to mention the sickness bug that hit the husband..sickness persistently invaded our home leaving us without much fight to shake it off. Half term then began in full force, as well as keeping up the day job which hit a brilliantly busy month! So I'm afraid the blog has suffered but I'm determined to remedy the situation in the coming days, so here's the first of our half term adventures.

With a promise of sunshine we set off yesterday morning in the cloud and rain to the pretty coastal town of Southwold. The husband and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary in a picturesque little cottage nearby so this area holds a special place in our heart. Now being based in Cambridge we're thankfully a whole lot closer to this heritage coastline, in an hour and a half we were feeling the sand underfoot and taking in the fresh sea air.

Thankfully the sun won the battle for a while allowing us to have a play on the beach and a good wander around town. Lunch was posh fish and chips at the light and jolly The Boardwalk on the Pier. Southwold Pier has got to be one of the classiest piers in the country, with only a hint of fruit machines here you'll find a pretty ice cream parlour and sweetshop, lovely gift shops selling local crafts and books with a seaside theme. 

The big attraction of Southwold are the pastel coloured beach huts that normally line the beach during the Summer months. Through Winter they're moved up to the car park to keep them safe from winter storms and at £75,000 each brand new I'm not surprised! I do dream of one day being able to afford one of these but in the meantime I guess I'll have to make do with a model one...

Matilda claimed on her way home that she'd had the 'best day ever' and that her favourite moment was having the 'bubblegum ice cream', after weeks of being practically housebound being out in the fresh air with a change of scene did us the world of good. There's nothing like staring out to sea on a chilly day to blow away the winter cobwebs and welcome the promise of Spring

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Happy Valentine's Weekend!

Happy belated Valentine's day! Hope you all had a suitably romantic time, ours included spending the morning at a party of sugar fuelled five year old at a soft play, then we might have seen our forever (no big shakes, not getting excited...) then we headed to grab a Marks and Spencer £20 Valentine's Day deal which had run out so we had to resort to their Chinese Roast Duck followed by noodles. None of which was very tasty at all, bland, such a let down Marks and Spencer...

None of this was important though as our little girl was so excited by Valentine's Day and her home made card made hurriedly on Friday night by yours truly, that that was all that mattered. In the evening the husband and I finally made it to see The Theory of Everything, again I was ever so slightly let down, perhaps because of the hype, though I must give credit to the extraordinary performance by Eddie Redmayne. His theories and their early love affair could have been more thoroughly explored, there wasn't enough of a journey but a huge leap from a glance at a party to caring for a seemingly dying man. There is no doubt Stephen Hawkins is an exceptional human being who deserves every tribute but I for one would have appreciated understanding his mind a little more. Perhaps I now need to read Jane's book?

Today there was another party followed by a lovely walk and a drink in a country pub. A perfect Sunday enjoying our little family's company.

What exciting things did you get up to this most romantic weekend of the year?

My beautiful flowers from Glen my husband were from the fab Flower Boutique in Linton, Cambridgeshire

Monday, 9 February 2015

Valentine's Day Goodies

Valentine's day shouldn't be a day for too much indulgence, the husband and I appreciate each other each day of the year without needing all the extravagance. We do nevertheless celebrate the 14th February as it also marks the day we met...Nine years later after many happy times, tears, challenges, change and love we will be celebrating with our little girl who seems quite taken with the concept! Her main obsession being heart shaped biscuits, I may just have to indulge that one!

As Virtual Assistants roomtobreathe are often asked to quickly come up with an idea for a gift for a client's beloved, far from encouraging clients to part with a small fortune, we seek out those personal gifts that reflect their relationship or their other halves' interests...we invariably do combine these with a beautiful bunch of flowers from a more quirky florist, we made a list last year of our favourites here. This year we've put together a small list of very reasonably priced presents that have caught our eye along our shopping travels...

From top left to right:

Seashore Tea Towel at Rose and Grey

Earl Grey soap by London Fields at The Future Kept

Tattoo inspired notebooks at Coral and Bone

White Chocolate hearts from Ottolenghi

Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour

Finally a quirky cute present for Valentine's Night at home from Not On The High Street we have a couple of these at home that have been worth their weight in gold:

Popcorn Holder

Thursday, 5 February 2015

World Nutella Day Three Ingredient Brownies

Nutella never finds it's way into my shopping basket, oh no siree. Because if it does it's gone in a flash of an eye as soon as it arrives back home. To say I'm a fan is an understatement, lathered on croissants, on toast, on crumpets, on muffins, on scones (ooh I've never tried that but I bet that's a winning combination). The possibilities are endless...

Today is World Nutella Day, an international celebration  of it's impact across the world crossing cultural and culinary divides. I couldn't let today go without contributing to the party in some small way, my first thought turned to Nigella's Nutella Cheesecake but as there's only three of us to eat it, I couldn't justify the indulgence, so I took to Pinterest to find a recipe.

I stumbled across a three ingredient Nutella Brownie, genius idea as I only had half an hour to make and bake before the school run. I added a few extra chopped hazelnuts for added crunch.

1 large jar of Nutella
1/2 cup of Plain Flour
2 large organic eggs
Half a handful of chopped hazlenuts

Preheat the oven Electric 180 or Gas mark 4

Grease a 20cm by 20cm brownie pan.Place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, then mix with a wooden spoon until it is has formed a beautiful chocolate brown batter. Pour into the brownie pan and bake in the oven for no longer than 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin. Cut into squares and enjoy this perfect teatime treat...The children will love it too as you can see by Matilda's suspicion then total delight after the first bite!

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

A Snowy Cambridge morning

A little someone squealed with delight when told to pull back the curtain to take a look outside. My heart sank a little, don't get me wrong I love how the snow makes a landscape that's otherwise ordinary turn into the most beautiful sight. However it's when the snow turns to ice or worse still brown sludge that I can't abide.

The last time it snowed heavily in London a couple of years back Matilda and I were both desperately poorly with a sickness bug so weren't able to enjoy it. Sadly the glorious sun has come to claim it's land back so the snow here has mostly melted away, I'm hopeful Matilda managed a few snow ball fights in the playground at lunch time though her wish for building a big snowman may have to wait a little longer...

The snow seems to rekindle the child in all of us, reaching for it becomes irresistible throwing it at each other the ultimate game. It also instills panic and can grind a country to a stop, as we experienced a few years ago when London came to a standstill that day in January. The buzz of London life gave way to sounds of laughter with footsteps crunching with snow underfoot. Londoners took to the parks to build a whole community of snowmen, children turned boxes into sledges to slide down it's hills. What a magical day it was.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Recipe: Lemon Curd Shortbread Cups

When Glen's family suggested coming for Tea last weekend I jumped at the chance of creating a full High Tea complete with a huge Victoria Sponge, homemade scones, delicate sarnies. Baking to this level is a rarity in our house, despite mine and Matilda's sweet tooth...

To accompany my feast I also made these Short bread mini cups filled with lemon curd, topped with a fresh raspberry. Alternatively, you could use whipped cream sweetened with icing sugar.

If you have a food processor they really are the easiest treats to whip up, you'll have far too much dough but it freezes really well for the next time, I promise.

325g Plain Flour
200g Butter
125g Caster Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 large eggs
Lemon Curd

Preheat your oven to Electric 180 or Gas mark 4

Pop the flour into a processor then add the butter chopped into small pieces. Process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the remainder of the ingredients and process until the mixture turns to dough.

Wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes. Break off small balls of dough and using your fingers press gently into a mini muffin/tart tin.

Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and let them cool in the tin for about 5 minutes then with a knife coax our of their shells and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

With a teaspoon fill each tart case with lemon curd and top with a raspberry.