Friday, 15 November 2013

What Made Me Smile This Week...

Last weekend we went back to Canterbury to my parents and really saw nature at it's best.  We went on 2 gorgeous walks through the woods.  We foraged chestnuts, saw some beautiful fungi, found loads of ant hills, woodpecker holes and ate the the last of the seasons blackberries along the way.

This tasty apple dessert is on the list for dinner on Saturday night.  Emily Schuman of Cupcakes and Cashmere really does find some gooooood recipes!

I really love all of the meals that Rachel Shultz put together this week.  They all look so scrummy and I am a massive believer of meal planning.  The Asian Noodle Soup With Prawns was on our meal plan for Monday this week.

I got offered a new job which is fantastic but realised that I would need an updated wardrobe.  I popped to Next and was really pleased with the black knit skirt (only £18!) and gorgeous silky black vest. I could resist these skinny jeans (only £26) either (not for work) and I think maybe the fit even better than Dorothy Perkins jeans (my go to jean for years!)

Asian Noodle Soup with Prawns - 'Home at 7, Dinner by 8' by Sarah Wright

Next - Knit Pencil Skirt

Next - Skinny Jeans

Taking In Nature

We had such a wonderful time last weekend spent over in Canterbury at my parents house.  They are surrounded by woods and fields and the weather was so nice that both days we headed out for wintery countryside walks.

On Saturday we collected chestnuts and then roasted them in the oven that evening for a tasty treat while watching our own little fireworks display and standing around the (rather impressive) bonfire. 

Family and friends all came to join in and it was such a lovely autumnal gathering with mulled cider, hot dogs and gorgeous roasted chestnuts.

I didn't quite pull of the 'Walking in the woods' look that Eva from Creativity and Chocolate has pulled off here, but sometimes hiking boots, a bobble hat and a waxed jacket does the trick!

Recipe: Asian Noodle Soup With Prawns

OMG! This was such a tasty dinner.  It was completely different for us - I wasn't sure whether noodles in soup would really go down that well with G for dinner.  But I can very happily say that G was happy to say that this is perhaps one of his favourite things I've cooked!

If you fancy something really warming for winter but are looking for something healthy and not as heavy as stew or casserole, that you can whip up in about 20minutes then this is definitely for you.

The recipe comes from the fantastic 'Home at 7, Dinner by 8' by Sarah Wright - a must for those working ladies looking for easy, cost effective tasty dinners.

As always I made a few changes (didn't use the oyster sauce or sesame seed oil as I had none, and I also squeezed 1 lime into the stock to give it that fruity tang) but it was pretty much the same as Sarah Wright's recipe below.  

I was also super excited that we used our Emma Bridgewater Black Toast pasta bowls to serve this tasty dinner.

Enjoy! xo

For the stock: 
500ml chicken stock
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 tsp sesame seed oil
salt (optional)

For the soup:
200g dried soba noodles or instant noodles
10-2 whole prawns peeled
2 heads of pak choi, cut into quarters
1 red chilli, sliced
1/2 bunch coriander, chopped
3 spring onions, trimmed and sliced
1 lime, cut into wedges

1.  The key to a good soup is a good stock so the first job is making the broth big and bold in flavour.  Pour the stock into the saucepan and place on a high heat.  Add the remaining ingredients and allow the broth to come to the boil.  Taste it to check for the spicy/salt balance.  If necessary, add more sweet chilli sauce and salt to taste.

2.  Add the noodles and the prawns and cook for 4-5 minutes until the noodles are cooked through.  Fold the pak choi into the soup and cook until the leaves are tender and the stalk still has crunch, about 2-3 minutes.

3.  Serve in deep soup bows and sprinkle with the sliced chilli, coriander and spring onions.  Serve with a wedge of lime on the side.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

When the going gets tough...get your nails done!

I've got to say I've had a pretty tough 3 weeks with not having a job. However today I was offered a new job.

I decided that with a new job in the pipeline and a very stressful day making decisions I would treat myself to a manicure.

I have been struggling to find a salon that I like and one that isn't full of hundred of stick thin, glamourous beauticians (making me feel huge and very unattractive) - not what you want on a day like today.

I found Sarah Hurst website through and I was drawn to the good value prices and out of town location.  I won't turn back now! I certainly would recommend it to anyone looking for a friendly, good value, independent salon - where you DON'T HAVE TO PAY TO PARK!!!

Sophie, my therapist, was such a star and sat and listened to all my problems, and not only that she did a fantastic job on my nails.  My gel manicure was only £28.00 and she did it perfectly (with a scuffed nail at the end she took the time to completely redo it - rather than just bodge job over it).

Sarah has a quirky log cabin in her garden with her treatment rooms, offers a plethora of treatments and really lovely lovely members of staff, so if you want something that really has that personal touch then this is DEFINITELY THE PLACE TO COME!!!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Recipe: Warming Sausage and Bean Casserole

I may have mentioned before that I don't really do recipes.  I tend to just pop stuff all in the pan and see what happens (unless I'm baking when it needs to be precise).

I fancied doing something a bit different for dinner last night and searched online for sausage casserole.  I found this brilliant 'Great Sausage Casserole' from the Hairy Bikers and popped to the shop to grab bacon and worcestershire sauce so that I made it exactly as the recipe suggested (although I didn't use the Bay leaves as not keen on the flavour).

Ooooooh it was good - those Hairy Bikers sure know what they are talking about!  Served with green beans and new potatoes this was definitely a fantastic home cooked autumn warmer.  Beats packaged food any day!

Perfect supper with Country Living and a big glass of Heritage Road Shriaz Merlot 2011.  Yumtastic!

Monday, 11 November 2013

Wedding Tip - Confetti

I have so many things that I want to share about my wedding that I was pleased with.  Being an Event Manager I really enjoyed the whole planning process and being engaged for 22 months meant that we had a lot time to think about the details and how everything would run.

Something that has always bothered me about weddings is the chaos that surrounds the confetti throwing.  No one seems to remember to bring it, no one is ever sure when to throw it or where to stand, and the pictures never look great as most people have missed the one and only photo op!

Something that was important to me at our wedding was to avoid all of the elements and make sure that the confetti was coordinated.

We provided all of our guests with theme related bags of confetti.  This was cheap as we bought a bulk load of bags and confetti on Amazon.  

We asked everyone not to throw anything at the Church and wait until they got to the reception venue (my parents home).

The toastmaster asked everyone to line up down the drive and as we walked through everyone threw their confetti.  This meant that we had loads of shots taken my our fantastic photographer Sara Reeve, everyone knew what they were doing, and everyone had plenty of confetti to throw.

TOP TIP: Think about your confetti opportunity, ask close friends to make sure they bring enough or provide everyone with some, and make sure you have talked this through with your photographer.

Photography by Sara Reeve