Yummy Salad Jars

yummy-salad-jars

Okay, I’ll commence this post with a confession – I didn’t invent this idea. Whilst leafing through a recent edition of Eatwell magazine, a special collection of healthy recipe ideas from BBC Goodfood, I came across a recipe for prawn, rice and mango jar salad and was so excited by the idea I rushed off to Ikea to buy some mason jars. Having made the aforementioned recipe and loved it, I decided to try a few alternative food combinations based on my favourite types of food – Chinese and Thai.

These salad jars are healthy, full of flavour and protein (to keep you fuller for longer), fab to keep in the fridge for lunch, an excellent alternative to a packed lunch, and would also be fantastic for picnics. Yes, I know it is January and we’re all freezing, but let’s just take a minute to fantasise about picnicking on a sunny beach, with a warm breeze on our skin, sand on our toes, the sound of the waves and happy children…..ahhhhhhh! Come on, summer, hurry up!!!

These salad jars are simple to make, can be prepared the night before, if needs be, and be quickly assembled in the morning. The great thing is is that you can tailor them to your tastes, so buy yourself a jar (a mere £1.25 from Ikea!!) and start experimenting!

Here I have my three favourite recipes, including the original recipe from Eatwell magazine. All of these recipes are enough for one person. You don’t have to share your jar. It is all yours.

yummy-salad-jars
Prawn, rice and mango salad jar (273 kcals)

50g uncooked brown rice
Handful of baby spinach
100g cooked prawns
¼ ripe mango, cut into small pieces
½ red chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped
Small handful of coriander, roughly chopped
Dressing:
½ tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
½ tsp brown sugar
1. Cook the rice to al dente, then cool quickly by running under cold water. Put cold rice into the bottom of the jar.
2. Make the dressing by whisking together all the ingredients. Pour over the rice.
3. Layer spinach, prawns, mango, chili and coriander on top of the rice. Make sure there is space at the top of the jar to shake it all together just before you eat.

Thai Prawn Salad Jar (291 kcals)

100g uncooked prawns
50g uncooked brown rice
Handful of baby spinach
Small handful of fresh basil and coriander, roughly chopped
1 spring onion, shredded
Marinade:
1 tsp Thai fish sauce
1 garlic clove, crushed
½ tbsp dark soy sauce
2 kaffir lime leaves, chopped
1 stick of lemon grass, bruised (give it a whack!)
Juice ½ a lime
Dressing:
Juice of ½ lime
½ tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp Thai fish sauce
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
1 Mix the marinade ingredients together, put the prawns in the marinade, give it a good mix and leave in the fridge for 30 mins or longer to let the flavours infuse.
2 Cook the rice until al dente then cool quickly by running it under cold water. Once cool put the rice into the bottom of the jar.
3 Mix together the dressing ingredients and pour over the rice.
4 Remove the prawns and the kaffir lime leaves from the marinade, spray a frying pan with frylight and gently cook the prawns until cooked right through. You can cook the prawns in the marinade if you like and then add it all to the jar (although make sure you remove the lemon grass stalks!), but we found the extra soy and fish sauce made it very salty.
5 Once the prawns have cooled, start loading up your jar. Add a layer of spinach, then the prawns, red chilli, the spring onion, the coriander and the basil.
6 As before, leave room at the top of the jar so you can shake the contents of the jar together just before eating.

Chinese Chicken and Noodle Salad Jar (377 kcals)

70g chicken breast
50g nest of rice vermicelli noodles
Handful of baby spinach
1 spring onion, shredded
¼ red chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped
Small handful of coriander, roughly chopped
Marinade:
Zest of 1 lime
½ tsp five spice
½ tsp chopped ginger
Dressing:
1 tsp sesame oil
Juice of ½ lime
½ tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

1 Chop chicken breast to small bite sized pieces, mix together the marinade ingredients and add the chicken to the marinade.
2 Cook the noodles in boiling water until soft, then drain and leave to cool.
3 Spray a small frying pan with fry light and cook chicken until cooked right through. Leave to cool.
4 Mix together the dressing ingredients.
5 Put cooled noodles into the jar, add the dressing and stir into the noodles.
6 Pile the chicken on top of the noodles, then top with spinach, chilli, spring onion and coriander.
7 When ready to eat, give it a good shake to mix the contents of the jar.

I hope you enjoy these recipes. I think they’re delicious, and as they are low calorie they can be enjoyed without guilt! An entire meal in a jar, and it won’t ruin your New Year’s resolutions. What’s not to love?

Happy New Year to all our Sweet Colourful Chaotics.

Peace, love and mason jars,

xxxx

A Real Winter Wonderland

real winter wonderland

“The World is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”

It’s winter time in the UK and my husband Willy and I usually head off to the yearly event in Hyde Park Winter Wonder land to eat over sized bratwurst sausages and drink over priced mulled wine. This year was different we decided on a new adventure to travel to the Arctic and stay in Finland Lapland for a week in a place called Luosto. Not in search for father christmas but a week of travel and adventure in the snow. We went in the first week of December which missed the christmas rush and gave us a week of small tailored events of just 8 people in a group.

This was my first wintry adventure and wow it was more than impressive. Mother nature is a beautiful thing and the snow on the trees and hills were just breath taking. Snow that went up to your knees I really did feel like a kid again!

The week consisted of husky riding with 6 husky dogs pluling us along the wintry countryside riding husky dogs is quite a sensation and you have to help the dogs when going up hill which really connects you with the dogs and their energy and excitement! It was just  exhilarating a ride I will not forget in a hurry.  Top Tip never let go of the sleigh as the dogs will not stop and you may find yourself stranded with out a ride home.

The week continued with snowmobiling of which I crashed the snowmobile due to a silly husband and wife argument of how to drive the vehicle properly (the joys of married life)  I am happy to say we crashed beautifully and did not have to pay the 600euros excess and laughed it off with Finnish vodka at the end of the day.

Our winter wonderland also involved many cups of tea in a Lappish Kota a traditional hut which would always have a roaring log fire to welcome you in from the cold. Reindeer rides in a traditional Reindeer caravan, of which we spent the day with Mia, a Lappish lady who has continued this traditional use of reindeer transport and looks after over 100 reindeer. She was an inspiring woman I remember her first words were ‘I do not have much money but I have my reindeers and nature which makes me very happy’.

When in the Arctic there is a good chance you may see the the northern lights. We were lucky to see a few green streaks through the sky however, if you go who knows you may see even more its mother natures own light display and its truly breathtaking.

Our week continued with more alpine and cross country skiing, snow shoe trekking and looking for amethyst in an amethyst mine which if your lucky you can keep whatever you find if it fits in the palm of your hand.

If you like the outdoors and you would like to challenge yourself maybe for next year then I would most definitely recommend the real winter wonder land experience and if you have kids then you must visit father christmas or another option is to have mother christmas read you a bedtime story unfortunately I was a bit too old for this option.

If like my husband and I you just want adventure and then to snuggle up in a log cabin with hot chocolate then Finland will give you this and more happy wintry days!

x x x

Things that are without doubt totally and utterly acceptable in the first year of having a baby!

things-totally-acceptable-having-baby

This seems a pretty apt post to start back with in 2015 as the start of a brand new year is a time many people use to reflect on the past 12 months. For me these have been the biggest learning curve I have ever experienced.

This week I have officially been a parent for a whole year! It has been the hardest, most tiring, nerve wracking and wonderful year and if I’m totally honest has changed my outlook on life forever and shed some light on my previous judgments of other peoples lives and choices (which I didn’t even realise I had!).

So, I would like to share these words of wisdom to those about to embark, or for those who may like to recall the early days of parenting.and most importantly to give an insight for those who have not experienced the mayhem becoming a parent causes. Here is my list of things that are without doubt, totally and utterly acceptable in the first year of having a baby! (a few pointers directed at mums, because that’s the bit I know!).

It IS without doubt, totally and utterly acceptable to:

1. Never have time to ‘nip out’ or ‘pop out’ at all! Unless we’re talking ‘boobs’ – you might very well be popping those out all over the place!

2. Think of Wine O’Clock as an actual official time.

3. Never be on time. Unless it’s Wine O’Clock.

4. Cry. No reason needed.

5. To style your hair into a ‘Mun’ (no, not a ‘man-bun’ – that’s just ridiculous. A ‘mum-bun’) EVERYDAY.

6. Cry because your boobs are bleeding. What the hell is Mother Nature playing at?

7. Appreciate sleeping on your front.

8. Appreciate sleep. Full stop.

9. Finish showering before you’ve had chance to turn the shower on.

10. Wish this was an acceptable attire for playgroup/mother and baby groups/soft play.

11. Lose the ability to count to 5, 6, 7… or however many scoops of formula are needed at 3am.

12. Feel guilty because you’re using formula. Yep, you really do cry over spilt milk in the first year.

13. Feel guilty because you have to go back to work/don’t go back to work/want to go back to work/don’t want to go back to work.

14. Eat chocolate, cakes, biscuits before 9am. Do you really think parents of a newborn actually have time to pour cereal into a bowl?

15. Feel guilty about point 14.

16. Think squeezing your pelvic floor 10 times a day is such a chore. Yes, you can do it lying down, watching TV, brushing your teeth… but 10 times, that’s nearly 30 seconds of effort. Forget to do it.

17. Feel guilty about point 16.

18. Really, really want YOUR mum.

19. Act 10 years younger.

20. Feel 10 years older.

21. Develop an extreme hatred for anyone who parks in a ‘parent and child space’ with NO baby or, anyone who uses a lift through sheer laziness – parents with prams have NO CHOICE ARSEH**S! You get the point.

22. Realise once you’ve changed an active 10-month-old’s nappy you missed your true vocation….. as a wrestler.

23. Watch your little one empty an entire drawer/cupboard/shelf because for a whole 40 seconds you can just sit still, in one place and reflect on what a mess your house has become.

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24. Look at parents with more than one child and think how? Why?

25. Develop a fear of salt.

26. Think if it’s not near the head it’s perfectly acceptable (don’t even try to pretend you don’t realise I’m talking baby wee, sick, milk…. in your bed!)

27. Change sexy undies

Into these….

feeding bra

28. Cry because of a story on the news, an animal rescue programme, a romcom, a charity advert… a DFS advert!?

29. Think 9pm means staying up late and pulling an all-nighter means something very different.

30. Realise a baby-free night out is crushed by the thought of waking up at 6am NOT baby free.

31. Look forward to your day off when you can lie in for as long as you like – in 18 years time!

32. Dictate your days by nap times. Not for you. Never for you.

33. Say things you heard your parents say. “Don’t fight it…just sleep”.

34. Fill the whole of your phone memory with photos of your baby then curse at the fact there was no storage and you missed documenting your baby’s first hiccup. Damn you, phone.

35. Say everything in song.

36. Only check Facebook whilst on the loo.

37. Never have time to check Facebook whilst on the loo as you are too busy entertaining your baby…whilst on the loo.

38. Cry because you don’t know what your ‘normal’ friends do anymore. Or your Facebook friends.

39. Feel like a rockstar when you make your baby laugh.

40. Not cook everything from scratch, organically and fresh – it’s not a crime, people.

41. Have a bodybuilder’s bicep (left or right, depending on your baby holding preference!)

42. Feel like someone has pressed the fast forward button on your life.

43. Try and send telepathic messages to will your little one to lie back down and just sleep for another 20 minutes when they wake up ready for the day at 5am.

44. Be physically and mentally exhausted. Being responsible for another humans life is not an easy job.

45. Feel a ridiculous surge of protection when another little ‘angel’ snatches the one toy your little one had plucked up the courage to look at. Playgroups are a battleground.

46. Desperately will your little one not to be the one that snatches.

47. Wonder why nobody explained to you just how bloody hard it is.

48. Then utter the grating line to other expectant parents: “You just can’t explain it.”

49. Never quite being able to grasp how you can hold SO much love for another human being and realise life has a whole new meaning….

50. Then cry. Again.

With love, tears and severe sleep deprivation,

x x x

Festive Potpourri

Festive-potpourri

Every year I like to encourage the kids to hand make something for their Godparents and teachers. I’m fairly sure the teachers, in particular, would prefer a nice bottle of red, but hand making stuff at Christmas gives me a warm, festive glow.

This year’s crafty gift idea has been unashamedly robbed from my BFF Sara, who is not only one of the most creative people I know, her house is so beautifully and artistically adorned for Christmas it wouldn’t look out of place on the central pages of the Christmas edition of Ideal Home magazine.

So, this is how my kids and I made our Christmas Potpourri.

You will need:
  • Oranges, cloves and cinnamon sticks
  • Essential oils – I used cinnamon and orange
  • Pine cones (if you forage for them make sure they are clean, dry and have no creepy crawlies in them! Baking them in the oven on a low heat should sort them out). I also used some wooden stars that I found in my local craft shop, but you could use artificial red berries or whatever you fancy.
  • Raffia ribbon, string or ribbon
  • Cellophane sweetie bags (or mason jars, as used by Sara!)
  • Medium sized zip lock freezer bags

Method:

Get small people to fill freezer bags with pine cones and then ask them to liberally add drops of cinnamon essential oil into the bags, add the cinnamon sticks then seal them.

Pop your wooden stars into a separate freezer bag, add the cloves and seal.

Now, onto the oranges. Slice your oranges to about 5mm thick, then blot as much juice as you can from them.

Arrange all your orange slices on racks in the preheated oven and bake on a low heat of 100c or gas mark ¼ for 2-3 hours.

You will need to keep an eye on them, and turn them occasionally. If you see any starting to go brown take them out as they can catch even at this low heat. Opening the oven every now and again helps to release some of the moisture trapped in too. The smell is quite gorgeous! When they look dry and have turned golden, it’s time to take them out and let them cool.

When you remove your slices, if they still have any moisture in them, pop them on the radiator for a few hours and that should sort them out.

When the oranges are cool, pop them in a freezer bag, add the orange essential oil and seal.

Leave all the freezer bags closed for a few days, to let the oils sink in.

When you are ready to assemble, get your helpers to simply pop a handful of pine cones, a cinnamon stick, some wooden stars, a pinch of cloves and a couple of orange segments into a bag or jar. You might want to add a couple more drops of oil just to give it a bit more fragrance, then tie up with the raffia or ribbon.

Then, add your gift tag and TAADAA! A lovely, festive, fragrant, handmade gift to give to the special people in your lives. And your house smells divine to boot!

With love and seasonal smells,

xx

have-yourself-a-messy-little-christmas

Party with Paper

It’s party season woo hoo! But these gorgeous decorations will be great for any occasion and are easy enough to do with little fingers over the holidays. How about using up any spare scraps of wrapping paper, so your decorations match the pressies under the tree (posh!). Wrapping paper, not too flimsy, is the perfect texture for these decorations! So not only perfect for Christmas but use themed paper for Birthday parties or coloured paper to match paper cups and plates or even your home decor.

So file any reminiscence of those nasty looking hanging foil decs back in the 70s and get partying with these rather stylish paper fans.

What you need
  • Brightly coloured paper or thin card. Good quality wrapping paper is perfect.
  • Scissors
  • Glue or sticky tape
  • Curling ribbon or string to hang

party-with-paper-materials

Step one

Cut your piece of paper into a rectangle

Step two

Fold over the end about 1cm, although play around with this depending on the size of fan you want. Keep folding the paper back on itself until the whole piece is like a concertina.

Step Three

Fold your piece of paper in half and stick the two ends together to make half a fan. It may just make a quarter depending on the size of rectangle used. Repeat the whole process again so you have two halves and then stick both together. To ensure its a neat finish try hooking one end over the other to stick.

If you want to make the garland of decorations here’s how:

Step one

Complete all the above steps until you have your folded paper and folded again in half (Step three). Now using sharp scissors cut out small shapes either side, triangles are easy and effective. This is just like how you may have made paper snowflakes when you were younger!

Step two

You only need to make a semi-circle, as this can be hooked and stuck to ribbon or string.

It’s so easy you could try other creations

There you have it! an easy and cheap way to Party with Paper.

With love and paper cuts,

x

Mini Indoor Wreaths

mini-indoor-wreaths
I love Christmas decorations, when we were growing up we always had a really special day transforming our house into a Winter Wonderland. Most of our decorations were handcrafted by my mum and one year she made a gorgeous wreath out of twisted fabric, because of the nature of the wreath it had to be hung indoors and I quite like the idea of dressing the doors inside a house as it adds a little piece of Christmas running throughout. This gave me the idea of creating some mini Christmas Wreaths to hang on the internal doors of our little bungalow. So, if you fancy adding a little extra decor to your house this year (and lets face it when it comes to Christmas More is More) here is my Mini Wreath tutorial.

Classic Christmas Wreath

Strips of green felt (2.5cm wide)

Sharp scissors

PVA Glue

Large Curtain Ring

Ribbon to hang and decorate

Mini bells to decorate (optional)

Step one

Using the sharp scissors cut a zig zag along each strip of green felt. This just makes cutting each curve easier and more accurate.

Step two

Now round off each point of your zig zag.

Step three

Take your curtain ring remove any hooks and start winding the felt around gluing as you go. The felt should overlap so all the curtain ring is covered, so only glue half of the strip to the ring and let the other half (curved cut out side) overlap.

Step Four

Once the whole ring is covered attach a hanging loop using your choice of ribbon.

Step Five

Add a decorative bow to the front and your mini wreath is complete.

Now hang throughout the house..

How about trying these alternatives:

  • Wrap your curtain rings in decorative tape or Washi Tape to match your house decor or colours on your tree.
  • Tightly wrap string around your curtain ring and decorate with a cut out star.

With love and pretty uneven hanging curtains 😉 x

Cute Christmas Card Idea

I guess I should start by saying I don’t really send cards, I’m far too unorganised. So, take this as my card to you.

Although this year I couldn’t resist doing a card for the newly acquired Grand parents, Aunties and Uncle!

You either come from a family who do photo cards or not. Whichever camp you are in the idea of sending the classic family portrait on the front of a card is so kitsch its kinda cool. However, much to my hubbys relief this year the little man got involved and before hes too old to realise what hes being lured into I intend to make the most of using his cute mug on the front of our cards.

 

However, getting tiny ones involved in a photo shoot is not as easy as it sounds! Im certainly not a photographer, but I have spent the last year taking pics at every given opportunity. So, here’s my tips for getting the right amount of cute on the front of your festive cards with the least mount of chaos

1.) Choose an area that is really brightly lit, sunlight is by far the best so some advanced planning could come into play. Unless of course you’re planning it in front of your Christmas Tree. I think my other half would not be best pleased if the tree went up in August!!!

2.) Don’t expect a little one to see your artistic vision. Try and do something that works for them, perhaps an activity or prop to play with and just go with the flow. This also goes for outfits, if they keep a hat on your half way there!

3.) Do it when they are least tired and grumpy, unless you want a sleeping picture (great idea for tiny ones). Most of my themed photos are taken at about 6am. Yep, that’s now a sociable hour. The joys of early mummy starts.

4.) Try and choose a background that’s pretty flexible, so they can let the artistic talents flow..or roam around and NOT stay still.

5.) There are loads of great and easy to use Apps to add a little extra to your pictures. I used Pic collage for my offering.

6.) Have FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, I send least amount of chaos..but hey, I also said fun…

With love and a mop,

Torie x

 

A Winter Woodland Wreath

The Christmas countdown can’t start soon enough for me. I have been known to leave fairy lights up all year around, I mean who wouldn’t? And if the Christmas tunes come on in the shops in October that is fine by me. So I just couldn’t wait to get stuck in with my first Christmas make. Here I will show you how to make this super easy fresh moss wreath complete with felt fox and fairytale style woodland mushrooms!

I started by foraging for my greenery. I don’t have a garden of my own, more of a yard with planters filled with grasses; it’s a bit Mediterranean rather than English country garden. So I head for my sisters house armed with a bin bag, a pair of secateurs and a bottle of wine as a bribe.

Gorgeous greens in hand I head home to start creating my masterpiece.

You have to get in the spirit!

Put the Christmas tunes on and get yourself a glass of your favourite tipple, be it tea or in my case a cheeky Bailey’s and youre ready to begin.

You will need the following: A metal wreath ring, some garden wire, mossing pins, secateurs, and moss. Most of this you can pick up in your local DIY/Garden Centre. For the wreath ring and the mossing pins I bought mine from a florist wholesaler on line (RainbowFloristSupplies.co.uk) if you do a search there are many to choose from.

Firstly attach the wire to the frame by winding it around a few times and set aside. Grab some big handfuls of the gorgeous moss, I just love how tactile it is and it smells fab, always reminds me of holidays in Wales. It has that really earthy smell! Squish and shape with your hands into a big oblong shape.

Place the packed moss onto the wreath frame and begin to pull the wire around and around to fix it to the frame. Don’t get hung up on the bits and pieces that fall out and poke out. It’s a messy but fun job.

Pack it tight and pull the wire tight around it so that the end result is dense and sturdy.

Keep working your way around until you have completed the circle with the packed moss. I then go around one more time with the wire to pull in any straggling bits and make things look a little neater. Don’t get obsessive about it though as it is going to be covered with the lovely greenery.

Once you have been around again cut the wire and secure it into the moss by making a loop at the end and pushing a mossing pin though it to hold it in place. Push it in at an angle so it doesn’t come through the back of the frame.

There you have your base and your ready to make it pretty, although if you ask me its pretty bloody lovely as it is.

Its hard to direct you from this point on as it will entirely depend on the foliage you have had access too and as your working with natural materials no two wreaths will look alike. But this is the beauty of it. Get creative and be free with it, there is no science to it.

I am going to begin with my ivy, winding it around the moss frame and securing it at points as I go with the mossing pins. Again be sure to insert them in at an angle so you don’t pierce though to the back of the wreath.

Use the shapes you naturally find in the foliage to create a basic outline that you want to follow. I decide that I want to make a spray at the bottom of the wreath, which basically means I am making a feature out of the bottom of the wreath by inserting more of the bulk of the foliage here to make it more prominent.

With some of the strong woody stems these can be inserted directly into the moss and secured with a moss pin. Some of your pieces may need wiring to make the stems sturdier. This way you can take some finer pieces of foliage and twist them together to make little bunches as below.

I select some holly to add in next but not before pausing to sing along to a bit on Mariah. Would it be rude to have a mince pie at this point?? It is December (just) after all!

Keep working away adding the different greens and berries, always observing the original lines you created.

I use the soft and flexible ivy vines to create nice sweeping curves along the top of the wreath to balance out the spray at the bottom. It’s important to work with the natural properties of flowers and foliage. Go with what they naturally want to do and your creation will be effortless.

Make sure all gaps are filled and play around with it until its full and your happy with the shape.

Now its time to decorate! Do this however you like, tinsel, lights, baubles, a big red velvet bow would be lovely. The possibilities are endless. Let it show your personality and style. With my daughter in mind I decide to make mine a little magical winter wonderland.

When its finished hang it on your door, or if you just cant get enough of the Christmas decorations, make it the centerpiece to your room so you can look at your lovely creation all day long

Stand back and admire, with a mince pie of course!

Merry Christmas

X

Top 5 books for the creative home!

The Christmas ads are in full swing. The creative bigwigs have been sat around over-sized meeting desks, slurping coffee and pulling out every tear jerking, belly laughing, consumer eye-catching trick in the book except those at Coca-cola. Lets face it theyve had there feet up since January when that big old florescent lorry went into its box for another year all ready to be dusted down and brought back to life again round about now. Hey, if it aint broke?

I have to hold my hands up and admit Im every advertising gurus dream. I cried at the little penguin on the John Lewis ad, shouted out which shop I thought that amazing feast came from (yep, I guess Lidleverytime!) and want to be one of the cute fairies on the M&S ad. However, there is one advert I just dont get??? Its for those rather famous hair straighteners, claiming cook books are not what people super glam models want for Christmas. Why would anyone NOT want a cookbook for Christmas? Ok, straighteners are useful *ties up messy mummy hair immediately* but, I defy even the most glamorous of us to not like this selection of books. So, I give you my Top 5 brilliant books to give the colourful creative person in your life and guess what? It starts with a cook book…

LEON Ingredients and Recipes Allegra McEvedy

I love, love, love the Leon books. All of them. However, if you are new to this recipe book range then go for this. Not only does it have a heart warming array of recipes but they have been written by family members and friends who obviously put a lot of love into their food. In fact, it almost feels as though youve stumbled across an old family heirloom with tried and tested recipes spanning generations.

It begins with a section which explains where our food comes from, whats in season, different cuts of meat and the illusive explanation of which oil to use for what!? All set out in a colourful pull-out, lift the flap and poster style layout. Think Childrens book crossed with your Grans oldest torn out recipe collection, etched with penciled notes and bookmarked with family photos. Sound interesting? It is.

My must try recipes are the Bran breakfast muffins (for a hubby that wont eat breakfast, disguise it as cake and hes all in) and the baked sweet potato falafels, Which are a huge healthy finger food hit for the little man.

Etcetera Sibella Court


I stumbled across this book at the library when looking for some colour scheme inspiration and what a great stumble it was. It made me instantly want to travel the world and collect a different trinket as I go, however the local flea market will have to do for now.

Sibella Court is a set designer who has lived and worked across the globe and shares her collections and ideas in this beautifully laid out book. I would go as far as saying this is so beautiful it could be a coffee table book to browse, but also full of wonderful ideas and inspiration for anyone who loves interior and design. It will also give you some handy and fun ways to display family heirlooms.

Decorate Holly Becker & Joanna Copestick

When we put an offer in on our very first home I was beyond excited to be able to actually put colour on the walls and choose furniture after living in rented flats and apartments for years. I was working away touring the Middle East at the time our offer on the little bungalow in London was going through. It was a really exciting time as not only was it our first home it needed a full renovation (we dont do things by halfand could only afford a renovation project in London). While I was away I became totally obsessed with interior books and magazines dreaming of how my first home would look. A great friend I made whilst working out there suggested I order a book called Decorate and it was waiting for me when I arrived home. It has been a go-to read anytime I wanted a bit of inspiration and confidence when injecting colour into a space or room and ditching any sign of magnolia.

It is written by blogging legend Holly Becker, who launched the Decor8 blog in 2006 and has around 36,000 daily readers and Joanne Copestick, who is a writer and editor specialising in interior publications and has written over ten books on interior.

The Vintage Tea Party book

Vintage has become hugely popular over the last few years and I for one am happy to champion a colourful head scarf and slick of red lippy. In fact, I had a vintage birthday party a few years back and donned the victory rolls with pride. This book is a perfect guide to hosting a vintage style party, whether youre after the full coddled eggs experience or want to just dip in with a classic scone recipe, this has it all. Not only does it contain a wonderfully eclectic range of recipes and cocktails it has how to guides along the way. This includes templates for bunting, invitations and step by step guides to hair-styling, make-up and even how to sew your own vintage apron.

This is a lovely book to inspire a childrens tea party (my niece would adore this) to a full out (adult) tassel swinging, feather bower wearing, cocktail drinking soiree.

Plus, who wouldn’t want a book that contains sandwich bunting?

KITCHEN Nigella Lawson

This is the Nigella bible of cookbooks, if you like to get your moneys worth when buying a book you wont be disappointed with this one. It has a ridiculous amount of recipes and absolutely beautiful photography by Lis Parsons (I only use cookery books that have photographs I definitely eat with my eyes) This book sat by my bedside for a year as bedtime reading and now has pride of place in my Kitchen.

Someone once said to me you are either a Delia or a Nigella! If this is true as much as I take a bow to Delia, Nigella is my sort of gal. Shell cook up a storm with a cocktail in one hand and eye liner in the other and shares my absolute obsession with cook books. All hail Nigella you are the queen of my Kitchen.

With love and books (many books!) x x x

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