31 January 2016

Laaaaaaaaazy Sunday

When the weather is this grey it is ok to allow yourself to stay inside.  My family have all been busy this weekend doing activities like Winter Races, World Fishing Comps and 18th birthday parties in Chelsea which left me on my own to potter about, watch films, finish (give up on) books, and read nonsense online.

Here's what I've been up to.......what about you?

Watching Films

The review from Variety magazine sums up this film perfectly :

"an imposing vision, to be sure, but also an inflated and emotionally stunted one, despite an anchoring performance of ferocious 200% commitment from Leonardo DiCaprio.".  

The images in this film were beautiful, disturbing, and breathtaking in parts but it was a looooong harrowing film that I can't decide whether I enjoyed.  The scene with the bear was so realistic it made me panic and there were many equally horrific scenes throughout the film.  Leonardo DiCaprio definitely carried the film and his acting was superb, but there was just a bit too much grunting and heavy breathing for my liking.  Would I see it again - no.  Would I recommend it - I am not sure.  Was I impressed - yes.  Truly a quandary of a film - but will be probably be worthy of the oscar when it comes.

This film was powerful.  I cried a lot, then it got better, then I cried a lot more.  The acting in this film was superb - Jacob Tremblay and Brie Larson should both win many awards.  The innocence of the boy and his belief in the world of Room was so touching. My heart was in my mouth in the rug scene and I have never known a cinema to be so silent - I think I only took 2 breaths through the whole film.  I have not read the book, but it is apparently very faithful to it - I would be interested to know what you think on that.  Would I see it again - yes.  Would I recommend it - yes definitely.  Was I impressed - absolutely.

Finishing Books

I gave up on this book - sorry, don't judge me.  I wanted it to make me cry, or scream or exclaim anything,  But it didn't.  It left me cold and unsympathetic.  Does that make me a bad person?  The language was just not evocative enough.  I felt sorry for the dad a bit, but then I didn't. I felt sorry for the siblings a bit, but not that bothered.  I did not feel sorry for the mom at all.  Admittedly I gave up half way through - so if it gets really great in the second half then tell me and I will pick it up again.  

Reading Nonsense Online

17 January 2016

Laaaaaazy Sunday

What a sad week it has been losing 2 much-loved British icons David Bowie and Alan Rickman.
Social media had a sombre, but also celebratory tone this week as it first mourned and then rejoiced in the gifts that these 2 precious people had given us.

On laaaaaazy sunday, I don't want to mope, but somehow, I also don't quite feel like sharing silliness - so I have bumped some sites til next week and instead give you a somehow more contemplative list of perusements (new word?).

13 January 2016

What I thought of - The Girl in the Spider's Web

I finally finished reading this at the weekend, thank goodness.  I loved the Girl with a Dragon Tattoo series and was really looking forward to reading this next instalment.  I was conscious that this was a new author picking up the series, but I was determined to give it a fair chance.

This book bored the pants off me, sadly.  The plot was so long and complicated that I was at a loss as to what the central theme was for most of the book.  The plot was based around cyber attacks, artificial intelligence, autistic children and Millennium magazine.  Many of the old characters were there - Blomkvist at the heart of the story, Lisbeth Salander as the improbable heroine and the raft of security and police staff who also appeared in the original series.  The appearance of Salander's sister, Camilla, was a good addition, and I enjoyed the grit that she brought to the story, however, we were never really given her story.

I think we were asked to make too many leaps of faith in this book.  We just had to accept so many events and assumptions - and I wanted these to be explained thoroughly.  Central characters came in and out of the narrative at inappropriate times.

The end of the story left lots of gaps and I still did not really understand why the central character had been killed.  At the end of the original series, I felt satisfied with the outcomes for Blomqvist and Salander - this book just had them fizzle out.  It did not set up for a sequel and did not resolve there stories - it just sort of ran out of words.

I really, really, really wanted to love this book, but in the end it left me not giving a crap about it.  After publishing this blog post, I will probably never think of this book again.
11 January 2016

One Pot Spaghetti

Today has been a frustrating one - my work never quite went to plan, my back was in agony and my washing machine finally collapsed under all the mud that was brought back from O's camping weekend.

I needed cheering up and I knew just the dish that would do it.

I have had this recipe on my pinterest for ages.  I am not really much of a pasta fan if I am honest.  But today - it was all I wanted.

I took inspiration (in fact I followed the recipe almost to the letter) from Kitchen Nostalgia  and I must say it was delicious.  

The ingredients were not fancy - just olive oil, onions, garlic, grated carrot, canned and puree tomatoes, vegetable stock , spaghetti and herbs.

You sweat the onions in the oil until they go clear

Then add the garlic, carrot, tomatoes, herbs and veg stock and let it cook for 15 minutes

The add the spaghetti and cook until tender.



One Pot Spaghetti
  • 500 g  spaghetti
  • 6 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, grated
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 800 g canned chopped tomatoes with liquid
  • 2 Tbsp tomato puree 
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • about 5 cups vegetable stock
  • parsley, basil, oregano, allspice (to taste)
  1. In a large frying pan heat the oil and saute onion until clear. 
  2. Add carrots and garlic and saute for 1 more minute.
  3. Add chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, sugar, spices and about 4 cups stock. Bring to boil and cook for about 15 minutes.
  4. Add spaghetti and simmer until the pasta is tender, about 15 minutes. Stir often and add more stock as necessary.
10 January 2016

Laaaaaaaaaaazy Sunday

It's Sunday, it's raining, it's cold.  Time to shut out the outside world and lose yourself in internet-land for an hour......(ok maybe more like 4)

Cocktail Year - Week One

Cocktail Year - Week One

After the success of our cocktails over Christmas, we have decided to make drinking cocktails part of EVERY weekend in 2016. I know everyone else is committed to dry January and all that, but not us.  We are all about the cocktails.  Wine is soooooo 2015.

I have a huge list of cocktails that I want to try on Pinterest.  but this weekend was all about the Margarita.  

Our inspiration came from here, and although there are loads of variations we decided to stick with the classic recipe. 

The Tequila and Triple Sec came from Waitrose (where there is an amazing selection of booze) and the limes came from the Co-op.

Olmeca Altos 100% Agave Tequila

Gabriel Bonner Curacao Triple Sec


The worlds best cocktail shaker from Debenhams.

These bad boys got us very drunk, very quickly and I forgot to take a photo of the finished product (oops - hic).  However it should look this (preferably in a nicer glass):

YIELD: 2 cocktail glasses


  • 2 shots Olmeca Altos Tequila
  • 1 shot Gabriel Bonner Curacao Triple Sec (orange liqueur)
  • 1/2  freshly-squeezed lime juice
  • 2 shots simple sugar syrup 
  • Ice

Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker, and shake until the ice has broken down.  
Pour into the kitschest cocktail glass you can find.
Serve immediately, garnished with an extra lime wedge if you are fancy.
Make another one.
Drink that.
Then pass out in a state of bliss :)

9 January 2016

What to do when it won't stop raining..

As soon as Christmas is over, my attention turns to my garden - I have a Pinterest board for both my back and front gardens and I am impatient to get started on them.

However, my plans are being buggered up by the rain and my garden looks sad, neglected and WET.

So I decided to embrace the endless rain and get photographing.  I was inspired by this photo by Bator Horvath on FlickR, but I have not yet got to grips with the clone stamp on Photoshop (goal for this year):

So these are my little attempts - what do you think?

I love the concentric circles that happen with each plop of rain.  I wanted to get the splash, but need to understand my camera settings better for this.

Raindrops on windows make me think of the Sound of Music (so do whiskers on kittens and brown paper packages tied up with string)...

I don't have many flowers or leaves to photograph at this time of year, but the ones I do have were sparkling :)

Rain rain go away  - come again another day (and when you do I will be ready with the right camera settings and a clone stamp tool).

Happy rain day blog land.

3 January 2016

Laaaaaaaaaaazy Sunday

It is the end of the holidays and I am starting to panic that I forgot to chill out.  I feel more knackered today then I have all holiday - but that might be due to overindulgence at a party last night.

In a desperate attempt to prove that I have had some down time this holiday, I thought I would share some of the mindless nonsense that I have found on the web recently.  Busy people would not have had time to look at all of this.

Make a cuppa, turn up the fire, close the curtains and lose yourself for an hour looking at these beauties:

Happy Sunday.  Tomorrow will be okay - we will get through it together.
2 January 2016

Lunch: No More Rubbish...

Quinoa, Red Rice, Corn and Spring Onions

For me, lunch is the hardest meal of every day.  When you are out working, it is so easy to grab an unhealthy sandwich and bag of crisps.  Shop bought salads are either bland or smothered in unhealthy dressings.  They are also messy to eat in the car.

2016 is my year of lunch and I am determined to develop some lovely ones.  

This quinoa, red rice, corn and spring onion salad is a great start.  My original inspiration came from Just a Taste blog. I had a packet of Grains, Red Rice and Quinoa mix in the cupboard so decided to build from there.

Grainy salad

 Makes about 6 bowls
Total Time: 5 minutes to prep


1 pack of Merchant Gourmet Grains, Red Rice and Quinoa mix
50g Baby Corn, chopped
4 Spring Onions, diced
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons Olive Oil


Mix all of the above in a bowl.
Boom!  Done!

ps I served mine with a chicken breast.

1 January 2016

Starting well.....the best is yet to come!

Pistachio Muesli

It is finally a new year.  I have been waiting for 2016 to arrive and am so ready for a new start.  2015 was a pants year for many reasons, and I am excited for things to change and for life to be fabulous.

I have many many plans and am ready to embrace all that the universe has to offer.  My 2016 goals include:

  • Finally making this lovely blog as wonderful as I know it can be
  • Photographing lots more and learning lots of new techniques
  • Reading many of the books on my pinterest board and sharing my opinions through the blog and through my (to be established) book group
  • Making the most of my play by play subscription and seeing much more live theatre
  • Exploring, photographing and sharing healthy recipes
  • Making my house beautiful
  • Making myself beautiful - inside and out
  • Empowering my boys to be even more wonderful than they are now - I am excited for how they will develop this year
  • Having the confidence to develop myself professionally and being brave enough to take the risks I know I need to take.

I am looking forward to a busy and energetic year.

It is important that I am spiritually and physically nourished, so I thought I would start the year off well with a healthy breakfast.  I took my inspiration from the wonderful blog How Sweet Eats and messed about with it to include ingredients that I could find at my village shop.  My version uses the Fruit and Fibre Cereal rather than pure bran as I couldn't find it - a total cheat I know, but believe me it works.

Pistachio Muesli

Pistachio Muesli

 Makes about 6 bowls
Total Time: 10 minutes to prep


75g pistachios, shells removed
50g unsweetened, flaked coconut
100g oats
50g dried cranberries
100g Fruit and Fibre cereal
2 tablespoons chia seeds
2 tablespoons brown sugar

yogurt or milk, for serving


Heat a frying pan over medium heat and add the pistachios. Toast for a few minutes until slightly golden. Pour the pistachios into a large bowl. Add the coconut to the same pan over medium heat. Stir and shake the pan until the coconut is slightly toasted, about 1 minute. Add the coconut to the bowl.
Add the other ingredients (except the milk) to the bowl with the pistachios and coconut. Stir well to combine. Store the muesli in a sealed container for a week or two. To eat, mix a few tablespoons with  plain greek yogurt and let it sit a few hours or overnight before eating. If desired, you can add milk instead of yogurt to soak the muesli.


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