Sometimes food, sometimes fashion, sometimes just life .................................

Please leave me a comment, I would love to hear your views x

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

I have been tagged!! - just not sure what it means

As you will know, I am relatively new to blogging, so I hope I can make sense of being tagged - I feel very priviledged anyway - so here are my answers:

  • At what time of life were you happiest and why?

Apart from the sad times (and there have been more than a few, mainly because of the ill health of family members) I am happiest in the present moment - I have been taught by life's ups and downs to live for the day, often hard because I am someone who loves to have plans and look forward to things, but also I really appreciate my home, the beautiful Welsh countryside, cooking good food and sharing it with friends and family. I think I am really lucky to have loved and been loved by my man for 37 years (I'm not that old, we just met at school!!). My very happiest days were when our children were born - both on beautiful Indian summer days, which felt like all of life's Christmases rolled into one.

  • Where and when did you meet the love of your life?

See previous answer - we met in the first year at grammar school in Yorkshire, we started "going out" in the third year, we managed the separation of different universities, we got engaged and married when I was 21 and he was 22.

              • Favourite item of clothing ever or most treasured possession?

              I am going to answer both of these because it's such a good question - my favourite item of clothing is a timeless Blumarine cardigan which I still wear now, bought in Saronno by my man whilst I was ill in bed at the hotel with tonsillitis - I had seen it in the boutique and loved it, it was hugely expensive for us at that time but he still appeared with it having gone to pick up a prescription for antibiotics - how romantic! My most treasured possession apart from my children is my engagement ring - bought as a surprise, a two diamond twist which I wear every day since being asked to marry him (with my hair in heated rollers, whilst preparing a family Sunday lunch - still romantic but not how I had dreamed it would be, although if he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me knowing how I look in rollers, that's ok with me).

              • Must have make-up or beauty item?

              I love to have semi-permanent natural looking eye-lash extensions, but having recently been introduced to contact lenses (fantastic!) I don't know if I can do the two together - and there's more - I like well manicured nails (difficult with the contacts) and I love a good pedicure, and wouldn't be averse to well done botox and filler - but you only notice the badly done stuff - those who have had a good practitioner just look great. I also have high colouring (which my GP likes to call rosacea) so either a tan, or a fake tan, or a good foundation would be a priority too.

              • What do you think is your worse fault or vice honestly?

              It's either vanity, or being a bit of a slut when it comes to tidying - if I have a wardrobe dilemma and am in a hurry to get somewhere, then our room looks like a jumble sale.

              • Would you tell your friend if you knew her husband/wife was cheating on her/him?

              I think this one would really depend on the circumstances, I am sure if it was me I would want to know, but I don't know if I would want to be the messenger - it's being part of a chain of events outside your control isn't it?

              • What ambitions, wishes or desires for your life do you still hold close to your heart?

              My biggest hope is that my family and friends stay healthy, and that my marriage stays happy. I hate the thought of slowing down physically - like Wilderness Chic I am a morning person and take a nap in the afternoon when possible, usually in bed by 10.30 (probably why I wake so early), once I am up I tackle the day head on - I like to do some form of exercise every day, mainly to hold off the middle age spread, but since a friend broke her leg in 4 places and is completely immobilised, I am really appreciating the ability to get out and about when I choose. I think as an ambition it sounds trite, but I am living the life I dreamed of when I was a little girl, happily married, two children, lovely home and lifestyle.

              • Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now

              Hopefully living the same quality of life as we are now, although I have thought about renting out our home for 6 months and taking an apartment somewhere in Italy just to try a different lifestyle not as a holiday as a resident. I also have a business venture idea which may be off the ground by then - watch my blog!

              Great questions Ruth, thank you for tagging me!

              Now, my questions for you:

              1. Eat to live or live to eat? and your favourite dish (to eat or to cook)?

              2. One thing you wish you had done?

              3. One thing you wish you hadn't done?

              4. Your favourite place?

              5. Worst thing about being a woman?

              6. Best thing about being a woman?

              7. Winter holidays or summer holidays?

              8. One wish for next year?

              and would like to tag the fellow bloggers below and anyone else who feels like answering some random questions!

              Wilderness Chic
              Collage of Life
              Helena Halme

              Falling Off a High Heeled Life

              Stella's Roar
              Mermaid Gallery Nelson

              Very Bored in Catalunya
              Fashions Most Wanted

              Tuesday, 17 August 2010

              An obsession

              I think it might be my Leo birthsign, it isn't fond memories of Bet Lynch, but for some reason I am completely obsessed with animal print. I am drawn to any animal print item on the rails in any shop - I cant begin to count the number of animal print pieces I own, obviously I never wear them together, one piece or at the most two. My favourites are Lou Boo shoes (2 pairs), a Poste Mistress belt, and a D&G vest that goes with everything. However I have just discovered these beauties - big knickers, very vintage Sophia Loren (actually with a figure like hers she is probably strutting around in Wilderness Chic's Wicked Weasels), very flattering under clothing or worn alone, and best of all at a High Street price (£14 from Next) - couldn't get the photo to download but have a look on line at the reverse of these Bridget Jones pants - they have a transparent heart shape across the bum - delicious.

              Tuesday, 10 August 2010

              The dog I will not be having

              I have just been reading through my one and only attempt at blogging and realise that I sound a bit spoilt. I know I am, I know that I am extremely lucky but I take nothing forgranted, especially not my health or that of my family and friends. I know that time, health and happiness are things that money cannot buy.

              It seems that I had a lucky escape this weekend, when someone came up with the idea of buying me an english bull dog puppy to replace my lovely old boxer dog - experience tells me that cute though they are, these little bundles are very destructive. I've got a name for her - Pansy as in Pansy Potter (if you are old enough to remember her) or for him Hattersley after a particularly bulldog-ish headmaster I once had.


              Ok so it was never meant to be a blog about food - but in my Rayburn free days, I have discovered the perfect recipe for Guacamole - not mine, Thomasina Miers' of Wahaca and Masterchef fame, and decided it is worth sharing. So - mash together half a red onion, a couple of green chillies (to your taste) and a teaspoon of sea salt (do it in a mini-blender for ease) then scoop out a couple of ripe avocados, and mash together with the chilli paste, juice of a lime and some chopped fresh coriander. Season with black pepper. Really delicious.

              Birthday Weekend

              Sorry no post for a few days - been celebrating - I spent Thursday making a two tier birthday cake, for no particular reason other than I love to bake and thought my family would be around to join me at the weekend - so several hours and lots of chocolate and sour cream later I produced something similar to the picture, but with fresh raspberries and redcurrants for adornment - very pleased with myself.

              The morning of my birthday brought beautiful prezzies including these fab Lou Boos, and the information that we were having dinner at the York & Albany that evening at 9 pm - so get packing! We had to have birthday cake for breakfast - didn't bother with the singing and candles though.

              A long journey down included being parked on the M6 for half an hour (very funny incident when someone asked to use the loo in a camper van just as the traffic started to move, then ran along the fast lane back to their car) so made it for dinner at 10 pm. Fantastic room and amazing cote de beouf served with truffle fries and caramelised chicory. The whole weekend was filled with wonderful dining experiences, oysters in Bibendum whilst sheltering from the rain, then an early dinner in Scott's with a bottle of pink champagne, and finally Sunday lunch in Notting Hill outside in the sunshine eating fresh pasta with truffle and veal. I should be able to say the diet started on Monday, but I had my last birthday treat, lunch in Hale with my old school mate K - beef carpaccio with rosemary and garlic potatoes. Now the cutting back really has to start - relatively easy actually because my Rayburn has died, so we are living on salads until I can find someone to fix it.

              PS We had a quick visit to London Zoo - hotel near by and imagined this would be a serious zoo - very disappointing - 3 gorillas, 2 lions, 2 tigers, all very tired looking - time for a refurb - felt very sorry for the hordes of families queuing to get in and part with large sums of money.

              Thursday, 5 August 2010

              My first Wish List

              I found some new (to me) designers at the Pure London Exhibition................................

              First the perfect handbag to go with my last season riding boots - Tamara Fogle's Lansdown - nicy roomy bag made from beautiful aniline leather in chocolate brown (comes in some other glorious colour choices) the range is lovely, have a look at

              Then these beautiful Pia Rossini Erin gloves, they are available in soft brown or black leather with a long grey ribbed woollen sleeve.
              Finally and not for any particular reason other than that I loved the collection, leather jewellery from Ginta ( the newest stuff includes intricate lace leather venetian masks and matching cuffs - Coco de Mer is a stockist xxx

              Girls in London

              On Tuesday I caught the train to London, my daughter was covering the Pure Exhibition at Olympia, so I had access to next season's fashion on the catwalks and some serious people watching - I don't think I have ever seen so many people in one place who had put their looks together with so much thought. The trends did not seem too different to those currently available, fashion at least at high street level does seem to have been affected by the recession, no-one taking any great risks, and many of the small boutiques only buying now for Autumn Winter 10.

              We had done some serious planning and crammed lots in to our 24 hour jaunt - dinner in Chiswick at the High Road House, sumptious overnight stay at the Pelham in South Kensington, a visit to the V&A to see Grace Kelly's wardrobe, followed by The Enchanted Palace at Kensington State Rooms, then lunch at Zuma and a spot of shopping.

              A word about the beautiful Grace Kelly - it was amazing to see the clothes she wore on display, next to the photographs of her wearing them - she certainly knew how to dress. The iconic Hermes Kelly bag was there, as was a collection of Oliver Goldsmith's sunglasses (feel very priviledged to have my own pair of these - think Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's). Am going to buy the DVD of High Society and have a girls night in with champagne and cupcakes.
              And on the Enchanted Palace - a fairytale visit to Kensington Palace State Rooms - amazingly put together and a perfect girlie hour or so out of the rain.

              Sunday, 1 August 2010

              A necessary Negroni (my version)

              I know, yesterday I was sworn off the demon drink, and here I am Sunday tea time sipping a Negroni - my way

              The Recipe - equal measures of gin, Campari and Martini Rosso with the juice of one orange (blood orange if available), shaken then poured into a hi-ball filled with ice and top with a slice of orange - a perfectly bitter pick me up - for a little less bitter, top with chilled tonic.

              Reasons to turn to drink today:

              It's raining again..............

              I still don't know who pranged my car

              An eye test at Costco reveals I have to wear glasses all the time - distance and reading, or I can try contacts - as I am fairly vain I am going to give contacts a real go - fingers crossed.

              And worst of all, but putting the others into perspective:

              I am walking around Costco aimlessly when I bump into someone I have not seen for 15 years. When the children were small we stayed at this lady's second home in Charente Maritimes for a couple of summer's, I have photos of my two in fields of sunflowers near the house on the wall in my hallway. After the usual how are you greetings, I ask if she still has the house and she tells me they had to sell it when her husband was diagnosed with leukaemia - he died two years ago. They bought the house as a shell and together renovated it into the perfect French country cottage, it was where they were going to spend their old age.

              Impossible to shake off the feeling of outrage that life does this to people every day, then a realisation that you have just got to get on with it and enjoy the moments

              The morning after

              Unfortunate consequences to my perfect pampering and shopping day - an all day hangover. The irony is that in our lovely champagne induced haze, N and I had discussed dieting and decided not to, but instead to ditch all the crap (crisps, dips, chocolate, cake, biscuits etc) and minimise the alcohol intake, maybe even switch from wine to neat spirit shots or low calorie cocktails - a martini or a cosmopolitan and sip it slowly.

              So here I am today, never wanting to touch a drop again, but eating anything I can get my hands on, for breakfast a Nigella chocolate and sour cream cupcake (delicious) with a healthy nectarine then an hour later orange juice, espresso, crispy bacon and Jamie Oliver pancakes (how am I going to diet when I love to bake and cook so much?) I did have a brief lapse into healthy mode when we went out for a long bike ride, but didn't feel any better for the exertion. Then as lunch time approaches, half a large packet of Tyrell's Chicken and Tarragon crisps and despatch other half to local butchers for pork pie and mushy peas with pickled onions and bread and butter (you can take the girl out of Yorkshire but you can't take the Yorkshire out of the girl), this followed by a huge cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit. I did drink copious amounts of water and by mid afternoon was feeling a lot better, enough to go for a long hill walk - perhaps I burned off the calories I had taken on earlier in the day. Blaming hormones not alcohol now, I had afternoon tea, another huge china cup of tea and chocolate wafer biscuits, and finally finished the day off in style with a good glass of red wine to go with ribeye steak and chips cooked by my lovely man.