Friday, 31 December 2010

New Year yumminess!



I made a puff pastry tart with caramelised onions, spinach, roasted tomatoes, courgettes and goat's cheese for the non-meat component of our New Year's Eve dinner. It was gorgeous!

Thursday, 30 December 2010

A winter wedding...



My friends Gareth and Karen got married and we all had a lovely day - it was a bit of a shame that the snow had all gone by their big day, but on the other hand I think it was probably for the best! It definitely made things easier in terms of outfit decisions!

Monday, 27 December 2010

Yet more lovely food!



My Somerset friends and I try to go out for a bit of a Christmas celebration, and this year the venue was the Mount Somerset Hotel. They were nice enough to give us a room all to ourselves, and as you can see we all enjoyed the food!

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Merry Christmas!







A beautiful white one! I was lucky enough to get up just in time to see a gorgeous sunrise, and then I took a photo of the amazing sunny and snowy view on the way to our friends' house. And then there's my pile of presents - I was thoroughly spoilt!

Friday, 24 December 2010

Our Finnish Christmas Feast!



Having a Finn staying over Christmas means you get two Christmases! Yay! In Finland the big celebration is on Christmas Eve, and as we wanted to make my sister's chap feel at home we made sure we had lots of traditional fare. Smoked salmon, herring, Rosolli salad, baked ham, boiled potatoes and two special casseroles made from swede and carrot. It was amazing!

Monday, 20 December 2010

And just when we thought there was enough snow...



...yet more turned up and we were snowed in! Our house is on a hill, and we couldn't get the cars down the driveway, let alone tackling the snowy country lanes!

This week's Weekword will be chosen by...

...Sally at Diario! Have a look at her blog to see what she chooses!

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Snow, snow and more snow!



I have no idea how we all made it down to Somerset for Christmas. My sister and her boyfriend arrived just before the snow hit on the 17th, my dad's flight back from Germany was delayed and he ended up being on one of the last flights to actually get to Heathrow on the 18th and thankfully the trains were OK for me to get home on the 19th! And I arrived to a snowy winter wonderland, which was very festive indeed!

Friday, 17 December 2010

Weekword: Christmas!

I was in charge of choosing this week's Weekword, and I chose Christmas! I love Christmas - I love all the decorations and festivities and especially the food and drink! This year is a bit different in my family - we'll have a Finn with us, and they celebrate on Christmas Eve, so we'll have a Finnish Christmas on the 24th and an English Christmas on the 25th!

So here are a few photos of my favourite things about Christmas...

The decorations on my little tree:



Christmas snow-capped biscuits:



The lovely sparkly Christmas lights near my house:



And finally, our dearly departed dog Basil, who loved Christmas (especially opening presents!)



Have a look at the following blogs to see who else is playing!

Silver Linings 4 Me
Sow and Sew
carola bARTz
Domestic Scribbles
La Vie Quotidienne
Simply Cool Stuff
Musings in Mayhem
TEXTILSPANIELN
Mandyland

Monday, 13 December 2010

Weekword: CHRISTMAS!

Joye asked me to think up this week's Weekword, and I just couldn't resist choosing Christmas as it's rapidly approaching!

If you'd like to participate, just leave a comment on this post. Then on Friday, post your Weekword contribution on your own blog. I'll post a list of all the participants so that we can all see what everyone comes up with!

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Oh. My. God.



That would be a bourbon chocolate pot with crème fraiche. I went to the Duke of Cambridge in Islington for lunch with a few friends - it's the UK's only fully organic gastropub, and while it is Yummy Mummy heaven and therefore packed with small children and enormous pushchairs, the food is incredible. I had half a baked camembert with bread and chutney, beetroot goulash with rice, a root vegetable coleslaw and garlic yogurt, and that amazing chocolate pot. I can't remember the last time I ate that much!

Friday, 10 December 2010

Weekword: Synaesthesia



Joye suggested this week's word - synaesthesia. If you're thinking 'you what??' (which is quite understandable!) it's a sort of condition where people see different words or numbers as different colours or shapes. A sort of mixing of the senses. Someone might hear the word 'happy' and see yellow, for example.

I didn't think I had it, until I happened to mention to someone that, for me, words have personalities. Anything beginning with 'st' is frowning and stern. Anything beginning with 'sm' is nasty and slimy and creepy. But words beginning with 'ch' are quite relaxed and happy. And apparently that counts as synaesthesia!

I'm hosting Weekword next week, so come back on Monday to see which word I'll choose!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Frozen photos...







...from our Sunday walk around Emsworth. The pond was frozen!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Invasion of the Father Christmas hats...



A group of us try to get away for a weekend once a year around Christmas, and this year the festivities started slightly early! Those Father Christmas hats left fluff everywhere...!

Friday, 3 December 2010

Freezing...



...I think we had a top temperature of -2 today. We didn't really have any more snow, but the snow we've had over the last couple of days is still around, all iced over.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Footprints in the snow...



We finally had a half-decent covering of snow in west London overnight...before this we'd just had a pathetic sprinkling! We still haven't got anything like the snow other parts of the country have had, but at least ours is just about deep enough to leave footprints in now!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Joulukalenteri...



That's a Finnish advent calendar! I can't believe it's December already - although the weather's doing a pretty good job of reminding me!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Minus WHAT??





Yep, that's minus five. Brr. But look at the gorgeous festive snow-capped apples!

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Let it snow, let it snow...!





It's funny - I started this blog with photos of sloe gin and snow, and now I've posted about sloe gin again and here I am with more photos of snow! We had an inch or so on Friday night down at my parents' house in Somerset, so we were greeted by a winter wonderland in the morning!

Friday, 26 November 2010

Weekword: Lacuna



Carmen chose this week's word - lacuna. It means a gap or a hole, and as soon as I saw it was this week's Weekword this photo popped into my head. It isn't even a recent one - I took it on my country walk last month - but I really like it and I couldn't think of anything better! I can't believe just a month ago the leaves were on the trees and the sun was out!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Further eggsperiments...



I'd seen silicone poach pods in Lakeland but thought they were a bit expensive at £5 for a pack of two - and then I saw them in Poundland (I'm so classy...) and obviously they were just £1 for two! So I bought some, and had a go at poaching an egg for my post-run supper. I think I started off with the hob on too low a heat, as the egg took forever to cook, but once I turned it up a bit it was fine. I put a lid on for about 30 seconds at the end, again to avoid any risk of runny egg white, and I ended up with a perfectly poached egg with a lovely runny yolk. Yum!

Monday, 22 November 2010

Baked eggs...



I'm really into tomatoey things at the moment - warming, slightly spicy tomatoey things packed with veg. Add a few chick peas and it's heaven on a plate! So this evening I decided to make baked eggs - I started off making a spicy ratatouille-type base with onion, courgette, aubergine, tomatoes, chick peas and some chilli and garlic. Then I put that into a warmed baking dish and cracked a couple of eggs in, and baked it all in the oven for about 20 minutes. The yolks were slightly overcooked - I could have taken it out maybe three or four minutes earlier - but I have a bit of an aversion to runny egg white and I didn't want to risk it! It was gorgeous, though - I'm absolutely stuffed and it's all good veg and protein!

Friday, 19 November 2010

Weekword: Rock

I'm late with my Weekword homework! I may have sneakily changed the date of this post to Friday, but it's actually Sunday. But I have mitigating circumstances - my sister came to stay on Friday and I've had a really horrible cold, so I haven't had much time or inclination for blogging.

Anyway, on to Weekword. Maria chose 'rock' as this week's word and it was a bit of a challenge! When I was little I used to collect rocks, pebbles and crystals - every time we went to the beach I'd spend ages finding interesting rocks (luckily one of our favourite beaches, Seaton, was made entirely of pebbles) and looking for fossils, and if I found a rock I liked in the garden or the playground or just out and about, it'd go straight into my pocket and into my collection. When we left primary school, everyone in the class was allowed to choose an Eyewitness Guides book as a leaving present, and I chose Crystal & Gem.

Unfortunately I don't have my childhood rock collection now, and living in a city it's quite hard to find interesting rocks to take photos of! So I thought 'I know, there's a sweet shop down the road - they'll have sticks of rock and I can take a photo of those!' But the sweet shop didn't have any rock. This was the closest thing I could find...

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Wet, cold and miserable...





...and that was just England's performance! We braved the Wembley drizzle to watch England play France, but unfortunately the England players forgot to turn up, so they had some Sunday league chaps take their place. We did eventually remember how to play football, but sadly it took 85 minutes for us to do that and by that point it was a little bit late! Oh well, it was good to be at Wembley anyway, and we had brilliant seats. The best bit of the evening was the fact that we got to our seats to find pieces of card which we were instructed to hold up during the National Anthem - with everyone holding up their cards, we made a giant St George Cross to send a message to the world that England loves football and England would be a fantastic place to hold the 2018 World Cup!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Foggy cobwebs...



I'm led to believe there was a frost this morning, but it had melted by the time I left the house. We still had lots of fog, though, and some rather pretty cobwebs!

Monday, 15 November 2010

Sluttish inspiration...



Earlier today I was wondering what to have for supper when I happened upon a post on one of my favourite blogs, Domestic Sluttery. Their squash, mushroom and chick pea bake sounded absolutely perfect for a chilly Autumn evening - and it was! It's really easy to make - I used portobello mushrooms, which looked fab and tasted even better, and I added a bit of rosemary and paprika to the roast veg. And I made a really simple sauce with a tin of finely chopped tomatoes, some black pepper and a hint of chilli. I had it with a couple of Quorn sausages, because I'm a bit of a protein fiend, and it was lovely and warming and filling and gorgeous!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Amusing sights...



Spotted this on my way to football this morning and it made me smile!

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Back to the old skool...



Look at my new camera! It uses film and everything! I got a really good deal from a friend of mine who'd had said camera sitting in her attic for ages, so I'm now the proud owner of a Nikon F-401 plus two lenses and an external flash. I've had a bit of a go taking some photos just to test out the various settings, but I can't wait to go out and about with it!

Friday, 12 November 2010

Weekword: November

Carola chose this week's word, and very appropriate it is too seeing as we're smack bang in the middle of the month!

So far, November has looked like this most of the time:



And of course, one of the major events in November is Remembrance Day - in the UK we mark what used to be known as Armistice Day (the end of WWI) on November 11th, and Remembrance Sunday on the nearest Sunday to the 11th (this year it's the 14th). The Poppy Appeal is the Royal British Legion's Remembrance Day fundraising initiative and for the first two weeks of November you'll see a lot of people wearing poppies.



But as we get further into November, these are the sights that start springing up. I think all the London Christmas lights are now on, so the countdown to the big day is definitely beginning!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Monday, 8 November 2010

Oh it's getting wintry out there!



So the clocks went back just over a week ago, and it's now decidedly dark when I leave work, let alone when I get home! It doesn't seem like five minutes ago I was posting those '5.15pm and it's not quite dark!' updates and now here we are, going into winter again. Luckily I like autumn and winter, because my birthday, Bonfire Night and Christmas all come in autumn and winter, but even so, the temperature has dropped about 10 degrees in the last couple of days and it's getting really quite chilly!

Friday, 5 November 2010

Weekword: Abundance



Christine chose this week's Weekword and it's a great one!

'Abundance' immediately makes me think of food - it's quite apt for this time of year, because it makes me think of harvests and apple trees groaning with fruit. But abundance isn't something that often features in my own kitchen, as I'm cooking for one most of the time! This weekend, though, I'll be cooking for six or seven people and there is currently an abundance of fruit in my house - I'm planning to make Jamie Oliver's baked fruit so it's plums and nectarines a-go-go round here at the moment!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Before and after...

This is a bit of a smug self-indulgent post, so please forgive me!

Three and a half months ago, I weighed 11 stone 3 (that's 157lbs or 71kg) and I looked like this:



Yes, that photo was taken from a really unflattering angle, and that's mainly my dress sticking out, not my stomach, but it's safe to say I was mildly horrified when it popped up on Facebook! So I decided something had to be done. And as of this morning, I now weigh 9 stone 12 (which is 138lbs or 63kg)! Here's a photo of me taken last night - I'd just got back from a run, so excuse the red face! Pete and I also managed to set a new personal best for our 7.5-mile route - it's all good in the realms of health and fitness at the moment!

Monday, 1 November 2010

Risotto = yum



I haven't had risotto for ages, because I'd assumed it would never fit with my healthy eating regime. But then someone mentioned smoked salmon and cream cheese risotto, and when I logged it all on Food Focus it came out as about 480 calories per portion, which is perfectly acceptable! Smoked salmon is one of my favourite things to eat - it's delicious, it's good for you and because it's quite a strong flavour, you don't need to use too much of it. It's brilliant 'value for money' as far as calorie content goes! I used extra-light Philadelphia which made the risotto lovely and rich and creamy.

This week's Weekword...

Christine has chosen this week's Weekword, which is...ABUNDANCE.

If you fancy participating (you just need to post something relating to the word on Friday) then head over to Christine's blog and leave her a comment! And come back here on Friday to see what I come up with...

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Unashamedly girly...



I don't usually go in for really girly-girly pink flowery things, but I saw this bedding set and I just couldn't resist. It's so Cath Kidston-esque, but it's from Tesco and it was £12!

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Rain!



This morning was lovely and sunny, but now it's decidedly dark out there (even though the clocks don't go back until tomorrow) and it's chucking it down! The herbs on the windowsill seem to be enjoying it, though...

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Lyme...







On the last day of my little Westcountry mini-break, Mum and I went to Hugh F-W's River Cottage Canteen for lunch (I had roasted beetroot and pumpkin salad with Ticklemore goat's cheese, roasted pumpkin seeds and apple balsamic dressing, which was gorgeous) and then we went for a wander around Lyme Regis - I made sure I had a scoop of my favourite Lovington's rhubarb and custard ice cream!
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