Vegetable Coconut Curry

30 April 2013

We have recently started to shop for our groceries online.  Mainly to save money (we are suckers for Buy One Get One Free and all the millions of offers you get in store) and it does save time.  We have done it a few times now and I am getting used to it.  The one thing I still find hard is knowing what to buy for meals and that means trying to plan our weekly suppers.  I am not the sort of person who knows what I am going to cook for supper early on in the day let alone days before.  I tend to think of something I fancy later in the afternoon and once an idea or craving get stuck in my head I have to cook it for supper.
Even if it means having to pick up a few groceries on the way home (M&S at the train station has definitely seen an increase in profits since I became a commuter!).

What with being on my eating plan from Emily and trying to use more veg and such I thought I would share our typical meals we have during the week and then share the recipes with you.

Some of our favourite suppers include:

♥ Vegetable Coconut Curry with fluffy white rice
♥ Mixed Salads with vegetable frittata
♥ Paneer Curry with chapati
♥ Pasta Genovese
♥ Lentil Dhal
Broccoli Pasta Bake
Chickpea and Pepper Curry

Some I have shared with you already, just click on the links to get to the recipes.  These recipes are easy, affordable and perfect for week night meals when you want something nutritious and filling but do not want to slave for hours in the kitchen (lets be honest - who does after a day in the office?)

 veg coconut curry

So first up here is one of my favourite meals: -

Vegetable Coconut Curry

♥ You will need
3 Large florets of broccoli, chopped into small pieces
1 pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
Handful chopped mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, minced
Tin of low fat coconut milk
Thai curry paste
Fresh coriander

♥ Steps
Fry your onion and garlic until browned, add the pepper, broccoli and any other veg you fancy and cook for a few minutes.  Add the tin of coconut milk with the thai paste and simmer for 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, cook the rice (always use 2:1 ratio for water to rice) - my secret tip is to fry the uncooked rice in some olive oil, add the water and put the lid on only once it starts to bubble.  You will get perfect fluffy rice each and every time.

Once cooked, serve with some fresh coriander (seriously - this makes the dish!)

Happy cooking and let me know how you get on if you try this!

Fifty Years of Memories

29 April 2013

 50 Years of Memories

A very special lady in my life turned 50 recently and when I came across this project on this fabulous blog I knew I had to do it.  It was perfect.  It would be ideal.  And I love a good project.

My stepmom, Christine is a witty, fun and nostalgic person who loves to reminisce and what better way to celebrate her 50th birthday than to give her 50 years of memories.  So my Dad sent me a list of people who mean the world to her.  I sent them a message - I asked them to write and send me their memories they had of Christine, from her partying days, her school days, her working days, her time in South Africa, her time in England, her time in Ireland. Her time as a punk rocker, a PA and a mom.
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The responses came flowing in and wow - it was phenomenal the effort that some people went to.  And the stories I read have shed a new light on a Christine which I never knew existed...hehe
I folded each memory (sometimes a few) into vintage airmail envelopes I found on ebay. 
I numbered each one (1 - 50) with vinyl numbers - off ebay too! And then tied them into a bundle and placed them into a beautiful pink box covered in cupcakes and butterflies. 
I tied some ribbon around it and sent it to my Dad.
Ready for him to give to her while they were in Italy on holiday .

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A box of love, filled with thoughts, moments and friendship captured over fifty years.

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Life can be crazy sometimes, I honestly believe its the little things in life that make it worth living.  The memories we share with people at different times of our lives are important to treasure.  For it is when looking back at these memories that we remember how we have got where we are and how these make us the people we are today.

I want to thank everyone who took the time to take part in this little project - I know for sure that Christine was overwhelmed by all the messages - long and short - it means the world to her ♥
In her words, "It's such an amazing gift, and one that will seriously just keep on giving as I read them over and over again."

Now - go make some memories or rekindle the ones you have stored away x

Breakfast Cookies

26 April 2013

 breakfast cookie
So I mentioned on Monday the wonderful list of recipes over at Abel and Cole and came across this fabulous little Breakfast Cookie. I had to make it. I am glad I did. They are scrummy.

♥ You will need
  • 125g wholemeal or spelt flour
  • 150g jumbo porridge oats
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 100g dark or light brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 1 large carrot or 2 medium-sized carrots, coarsely grated
  • 100ml olive or coconut oil
  • 100g chopped dried fruit (raisins, dates, apricots, mango and/or figs)
  • 100g chopped nuts or seeds
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon (optional)

  • ♥  Steps
    1. Preheat oven to 180°C/Gas 4.
    2. Add the flour, oats, baking soda and salt to a big bowl. Mix well so the baking soda and salt are evenly distributed. Add the remaining ingredients. Mix everything together.
    3. Scoop by the tablespoon and press into rounds on an oiled baking sheet. Tidy up the edges. You'll probably get about a dozen per tray. If you don't want two batches, just freeze the rest of the mix for another day.
    4. Bake for 10 mins, or till just starting to set and just picking up a little colour. They'll set to be soft and chewy like this. If you'd prefer them crisper, flip the cookies over and return to the oven for 3 mins or so to crisp up the bottoms.
    5. Once cooked, they store nicely for a week in an airtight container.

    They are naturally sweet tasting and are lovely and chewy and full of goodness from the fruit and nuts.  They are already nearly finished and I will definitely be making another batch.

    Happy baking x

    A showcase of friends

    25 April 2013

     showcase of friends

    You may have noticed I have been advertising a few little businesses on Bright & Illustrious - these are people who I know who have their own little companies around the globe. I thought I would introduce them and tell you a bit more about what they do.

    Flotion Photography
    I know Dwain through my husband - they went to school together.  He is an easy going and friendly guy where nothing is too much trouble.  Dwain who is based in Reading, recently started his business after his passion for photography flourished from a hobby into a passion - some of our wedding pictures are on his newly created site where you can explore Dwain's portfolio which showcases his talent.

    Celeste Styled Events
    I met Celeste at Bon Cap - she was our amazingly organised and fabulous wedding  planner at our venue in Roberston, Cape Town.  She now runs her own business helping people to make their events into a unique experience for both host and guest. Celeste is passionate about organising, style and creativity and with her skills you are sure to pull off a fabulous event where every detail is thought of and perfected.

    I went to school with Kirsten and although we didn't cross paths often I always admired her talent in art and drawing and she still amazes me with her beautiful illustrations and doodles which she shares on facebook.  Kirsten grew up in Cape Town and after her degree decided to venture off to Japan to teach English. As this was a big move, she has just recently got back on track with her art and I can't wait to see what exciting things she comes up with.

    Bon Cap Wine Farm
    Our stunning wedding venue where we celebrated our love♥ on the 25th September 2010.  Bon Cap is an organic wine farm as well as offering accommodation and a chic bistro serving fresh homemade food which is all made on site.  Robertson lies in the Breede Valley approx 2 hours from Cape Town and is a tranquil getaway with friendly and helpful staff that are willing to go that extra mile.  Their wine is exported all over the world - if you fancy some of their wine (and you are based in the UK) just visit this website where I normally get Mani his yearly fix!

    Des Dubber Photography
    I met Des while working at The Fleece in Witney back in 2006 - he was a regular who came in for his cup of coffee in the morning.  Des is a professional cameraman and photographer, based in Witney, Oxfordshire whose friendly nature makes it so easy to work with him for your wedding, family portrait or corporate project.  Be sure to pop over to his website and check out his gallery.

    Emily Innes
    I went to school with Emily and she is currently helping me with my eating plan since being diagnosed with PCOS.  Emily is super friendly and helpful and has really encouraged me to take stock of my lifestyle and make changes so to improve not only my eating habits but my life as a whole to ensure I am looking after myself as best I can.  Emily is based in Cape Town and runs her own practise as well as consulting at Tygerberg hospital where she works with HIV positive children.  She really is an inspiration and I am so glad I have the opportunity to work with her.

    Dear Rae
    I first got to know Karin in high school when I played hockey with her.  She started Dear Rae Jewellery in 2010 and has a shop in Woodstock, Cape Town where you can pop in and buy her beautiful pieces of jewellery - I cannot wait to buy some of her pieces - her rings and necklaces to the bangles, pendant and earrings are all simply designed and handmade which give her pieces a rustic feel.  Perfect for everyday wear.

    Do you have a business or blog you want to advertise?
    Check our my sponsor page or pop me an email, lets be friends ♥

    Putting my plan into action

    24 April 2013

     get running

    I had my consult with Emily on Wednesday which has got me feeling motivated and informed.  In short I have to cut right back on my cakes, sweets and chocolate and eat wholegrain foods rather than processed white foods.  I also need to start exercising 3 x week which I know I am going to struggle to do.  It's weird because in school I exercised almost everyday and my fitness was in tip top form and I really need to get back on track in that regard.

    I am also going to start taking daily supplements, one of which is Omega 3 fish oils.  I bought some yesterday and took one before I left work in the afternoon.  I got home, chucked my bag on the dining room table and got to my evening chores.  Next thing I know Lucy & Tom (my beloved cats who I introduced on Thursday) was having a bit of a kerfuffle on the dining room table.  I headed over and discovered that Lucy had managed to get hold of these capsules and they were licking up the oil they had managed to get out of one of them. SO funny.  Anyway, I digress.

    To help me along I have decided to hold myself accountable.  I was reading Elise's blog and she mentioned she enjoyed putting things on instagram to hold herself accountable as well as enjoying the pretty things she spots on her daily walks.  My plan is to go for a walk/run (I say this because I will not be able to run for 30 minutes straight! Let's be honest eh?)  The aim is to get my blood pumping, work up a sweat and make it a cardio session. 

    I downloaded an app, Map my run to help me record my sessions. It's easy to use and helps me see where I have run and how far.

    Want to follow me on my progress? Find me on instagram and twitter where I will be using #onmyrun to capture my sessions.

    Want to know why I am changing my lifestyle? Check out this post here and here.

    On being sober

    23 April 2013

    To note:  I ummed and ahhed as to whether to share my story.  Some advised against it.  But is life not about sharing and learning from others.  Where would we be if we did not have our fellow human beings to guide us through this thing called life?  Especially in times of trouble.

    Today marks one year (that's 12 months / 52 weeks / 365 days / 525600 minutes) of not having a drink.  Wow.  I will be honest - if you had asked me if I would stop drinking 13 months ago I would have laughed, brushed you off and had another swig or two of beer.  But I had to.

    I remember having my first drink, it was at a New Years Party when I was 14 years old.  Writing this now, I realise how young I was, but it was normal.  I didn't drink much in High School, I was super involved in sports which I loved so much and that kept me busy.  When I hit 17, all my friends were turning 18 and we were finishing school so I got myself a fake ID (thanks to a friend who I am still close too now - love you girl) and started partying and drinking.  I loved it. It was fun.  No harm done.

    First hangover - the day after my 18th Birthday.  I drank absinthe and other concoctions which ended in me leaving my own party at 10pm as I was so sick.  But again - I loved it. It was fun.  I then decided I wanted to move to the UK for a gap year, so I packed my bags in search of something else, something I couldn't find in Cape Town.

    While working in the UK in hotels and pubs, all I did was work and party. My drinking increased, I put on weight but I didn't really think about it.  I was young, I was having fun.  I then moved jobs and got an office job.  I don't really remember drinking loads in those days - I think I settled down a bit.  I would have a night out on the weekends but nothing major.

    I met my husband in 2006, we moved in together in 2007 and then I got some news that would change my life forever.  My little sister, Grace was diagnosed with cancer.  I don't know why or how but to cope with this I drank.  I don't exactly remember going from being a "normal" drinker to a heavy drinker - I think it was gradual but anyway I definitely increased my intake as it got to one day when one bottle of wine wasn't enough for me.

    After my sister died in May of 2009, emotionally I did not want to face up to what had happened.  I went for counselling and I remember SO clearly being told I should stop drinking as it was my crutch and by doing so I was not dealing with what had happened to me.  So I stopped for 3 months.  I remember being so proud but I knew in my mind that it wasn't going to be forever.  I couldn't possibly stop drinking forever - I had weddings and parties to go to. I couldn't not drink.  That would be ludicrous!! 

    Then - on the 17th September 2009 I got engaged to my best friend. I was so happy.  We were in the Wilderness, on the Garden Route in South Africa on holiday.  I was thrilled and it was so unexpected.  I cried and cried (with happiness!) and then had a few drinks to celebrate.

    Leading up to our weddings I remember drinking a lot - I was stressed - what with two weddings to plan and still dealing with my onoing grief I found alcohol to be the only way I could get through the day.  Most days after work I would pick up a bottle of wine and some beers and polish those off in the evening.  It was a downward spiral.

    I was what you would call a functional alcoholic.  Looking back - I do not know how I went to work and did everyday things.  Seriously - I was constantly nauseous, retching in the mornings, getting sick most nights, popping painkillers, ate unhealthy food and piled on the weight.  I was miserable.  Our weddings came and went - and yes - of course I had a fabulous time.  We had four weeks of partying, love and happiness all spent with friends and family.  It was fantastic.  But I was slowly coming to the realisation that I was relying on alcohol to live my life day to day.

    The first time I started to acknowledge this was in December 2010.  We had been back from our wedding and honeymoon holidays for nearly 2 months and I suddenly realised that I had not gone one day without drinking.  2 solid months.  I was taken aback with myself.  When I thought I should have a break I started to get anxious; stressing about if I could go a day without having a drink.  How could I?  I need it to relax, to de-stress after my day.  But I was getting tired.  Tired of being sick, feeling hungover and just feeling "fuzzy-headed" all. the. time

    I tried different things. I tried only drinking on the weekends, which turned into drinking Friday - Monday. As Mondays are hard of course and everyone needs a drink on Monday evenings.  You can guess that this just developed back into drinking 7 days a week.  I tried only drinking wine to lose the weight from drinking beer. I tried only drinking spirits.  Nothing worked.  Of course nothing worked.

    In March 2012 we went to South Africa on holiday which we try to do every year.  I remember thinking to myself before the holiday to take it easy on the booze - have fun but have control.  I didn't want to wake up every morning hungover and struggle to enjoy being home.  It was a fabulous holiday but I don't think I went one day without having a drink.  By this stage I was conscious of this fact.  I started thinking and planning our days based on when I was going to drink.  I would have a few beers at lunch and then just carry on throughout the day.  My mom and sister started to worry.  I started to worry.  What was I going to do?

    It was not an option to stop drinking.  It just can't be the only way.
    Unfortunately, with my genes and my personality it was the only way and it was something I had to accept.  Leading up to my last days of drinking I was visiting the GP, drinking copious amounts and trying to figure out what to do.  In my heart I knew what that was.
    And then I woke up one morning and decided. Enough was enough.

    That was on Monday 23rd April.  I built up my courage and went to my local AA meeting.  I sat in the car wondering if I should go in.  I nearly went home.  But I went in and I listened.  But I wasn't like these people.  I hadn't lost everything, I had my job, my friends, my family and a life.

    But that night I saw what I could become.  I saw what my life was spiralling towards.  Nevertheless - the next evening I had another drink and that was to be my last.  It was a gin and tonic and to be honest at that point I wasn't drinking for the taste.  I was drinking for the feeling.  And that's when you know you have to stop.

    1 year on and I cannot tell you how different my life is.  I am in control. I am happy, healthy, functional and organised.  I am me again.  I have lost the feelings of resentment, self-loathing, low self-esteem and worthlessness.  I can see life for what it is again - a journey which is to be enjoyed to the full. I couldn't do that if I continued to drink.

    The support I have received from friends and family is phenomenal.  I am blessed.  This is it.  This is how you learn and I had fun. I had my partying days and I can still party but then drive everyone home.  Not a bad deal if you ask me.

    Brilliant Broccoli

    22 April 2013

    In my effort to try and eat more fruit and veg as well as to be a bit more adventorous with cooking our evening meals - I thought I would buy some broccoli this week.  So it is in the fridge waiting to be used - but what to do with it?

    I came across this fantastic list of broccoli recipes over at Abel and Cole who are a small company delivering organic fruit and veg boxes around the UK.  What a terrific idea and even better they support local farmers and businesses.

    I scoured through the list and decided on a Broccoli Pasta Bake.

    You will need

  • 3 large handfuls chopped broccoli and stalks
  • 450 g short pasta, such as shells or fusilli
  • 250 g cottage cheese or ricotta
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 200 g shredded mozzarella (or cheddar)
  • 1 handful grated Parmesan

  • Steam or boil broccoli until just tender; cool.
    Meanwhile boil pasta until tender; drain and rinse under cold water.
    Combine broccoli, pasta and cottage cheese in large bowl.
    In separate bowl, beat eggs, pepper, paprika and mustard; pour over pasta and combine.
    Pour the mixture into large greased baking dish.
    Top with cheeses and bake uncovered for 30 minutes

    This dish was really tasty but was not too heavy and would go well with a side salad and some crusty bread.

    Why not try some of their other recipes like this soup, flan or stir fry?

    Check out their recipes page as well as their interesting blog too.

    Top tips for Broccoli

    ♥ To maintain all the goodness found in this green veg don't overcook it - add the broccoli to a pot of boiling water and leave for 3-4 minutes or until just tender.
    ♥ Snip the broccoli florets into small pieces when cooking so to ensure it cooks properly and is in bite-size portions.
    ♥ Broccoli is full of Citamin C and Iron and can be eaten raw as a snack.

    Happy cooking x

    Vegan Chocolate Brownies

    19 April 2013

    I am always looking for recipes which are egg free as my MIL is vegetarian plus she doesn't eat eggs which can prove to be a challenge at times but I love a challenge.  I was baking the other evening - I decided to make brownies - and went to fetch the eggs when I realised we didn't have any.  Don't you hate that?

    I couldn't be bothered to get in the car and drive to the shops so I did a quick google search for egg-free brownies and came across this lovely recipe.  And would you beleive - there is no butter needed either? I was sceptical but carried on nonetheless and I was amazed at how delicious they are. I didn't sift the flour or sugar - literally - it took no more than 5 minutes to mix this together and put it in the oven.

    My only advice - eat these once cooled and even better - once they have been refigerated otherwise they are quite gooey.

    ♥ You will need

    250g flour
    350g brown sugar
    65g cocoa
    1 tspn baking powder
    1 tspn salt
    250ml water
    250ml vegetable oil
    1 tspn vanilla extract

    ♥ Preparation

    Heat the oven to 180 degrees.
    In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, sugar, cocoa powder and salt.
    Pour in the water, oil and vanilla extract.
    Spread evenly into a square baking tin and cook for 25 - 30 minutes.
    If the mixture is till wobbly, cook further until the top is no longer shiny.

    If you try it, let me know what you think.

    Happy Baking! x

    I ♥ my cats

    18 April 2013

    Tom and Lucy ♥

     Happy Thursday x

    Thank You

    17 April 2013

     I just wanted to post a little thank you message after my post last Sunday.  I had so many messages of encouragement and support.  There are many things you can do if you have PCOS to keep your body balanced - the first thing I am going to tackle is my diet.  Over the past year I have lost about 12kg (nearly 2 stone) which is mainly due to no drinking (yay!) but my eating habits aren't great.  I do eat a lot of chocolate and sugar so I need to cut back.

    I am really looking forward to my Skype consult with Emily later today to get my diet back on track and start eating whats best for me at this time in my life.  For the past 10 days I have been writing down everything I eat and it is very interesting.  I didn't realise how much processed sugar (basically junk food) I was eating and I have already made changes to my diet by eating more fresh fruit and veg and no fizzy drinks.  So things are looking up.

    I will defintely be posting a lot more food recipes on the blog to inspire others to see how easy it is to keep a healthy and balanced diet without breaking the bank as well as having plenty of variety.  I love a challenge and have already started researching different meals to include more vegetables.  It will also be easier now that Spring has sprung (finally!) in the UK!

    Happy Wednesday! x

    Chickpea & Red Pepper Curry

    16 April 2013

    I love a curry - but it can't be too spicy - I can't do spicy.  I got home the other evening and just fancied something quick, tasty and healthy.  I made this and it was delicious.  Why not give it a go?

    ♥ You will need
    • 1 tbsp oil
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 1 pepper, chopped 
    • 1 garlic clove, crushed
    • ¼ tsp salt
    • ½ tsp cumin powder
    • ¼ tsp coriander powder
    • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
    • ¼ tsp red chilli powder
    • 1 x can plum tomotoes
    • 1 x 400g/14oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
    • 5cm/2in piece root ginger, grated
    • pinch of garam masala
    • Pitta breads or plain basmati rice, to serve

    ♥ To prepare

    Heat a deep saucepan or a medium sized wok and add the oil or butter followed by the onions, pepper and garlic.
    Fry the mixture till the onions are caramelised. Then add the salt, cumin, coriander, turmeric and red chilli powders. Mix for a minute and tip in the tomatoes. Cook the sauce until it begins to thicken.
    Add ¼ cup of water and stir. Then tip in the chickpeas and mix. Mash a few of the chickpeas while cooking. Cover and simmer for five minutes. Then add the ginger and the garam masala. Cook for another minute.
    Serve with pitta breads or plain basmati rice.

    Happy cooking! x

    April: Currently

    15 April 2013

    Drinking a lot of rooibos tea. I am talking serious amounts here.

    Listening to Bastille and Taylor Swift ♥ ♥ ♥

    Anticipating spring to show up soon.

    Planning our garden and fun things to do in the summer like going to this festival!

    Watching The Following - can't get enough of it

    Missing my friends and family around the globe. Some days are harder than others.

    Loving The Great British Sewing Bee. So much inspiration.

    Going to start getting healthy - more fruit and veg on the menu in the Choudhry household.

    Excited about the new Goo Goo Dolls single - Rebel Beat - check out their video.

    Finding that baking is helping me to relax after work.

    Getting interested in birds in our garden and on the canal -  this website is brilliant for identifying species.

    Thoughtful Thursday

    11 April 2013

    I haven't shared some thoughts in a while.  Sometimes, when things are bleak nothing is better than a little inspiration, a thought, a word or a smile to lift you back up again ♥

    {You can download this print here for free!}


    {Buy this print here}
    {Buy this print here}

    Happy Thursday x

    Bear and Robot

    10 April 2013

    Buy this print here
    I love searching on Etsy for finds to make our house a home - I love supporting independent businesses and buying homemade crafts, prints and lovely things.
    The other day I came across this print from Bear and Robot (I bought the red one).  Now, I don't know if anyone else out there is also a Playstation widow but when I came across this print I HAD TO BUY IT.  I may be over exaggerating when I say I am a playstation widow.  Mani doesn't play that often and to be honest since I blog, sew, bake and cook I always have something to keep me busy.  But how often do I say "OK, are you going to turn that off now?" and I get "Yes, just 5 more minutes".  Classic.

    My print came beautifully wrapped in tissue paper with a ribbon and a cute little card.  I unwrapped it at work as I couldn't wait until I got home! We bought a frame and have placed it above the TV.  We just need to add a mount but I love it.

    Bear and Robot are a design team who have a fabulous shop on etsy selling original and creative prints.  They have a large collection from gamey/geeky to quotes, illustrations and fine art.  Here are a few of my favourites.

    Why not pop on over to there Etsy shop and take a look.
    Follow them on twitter to hear about any specials and keep up to date with new additions.

    Thanks Bear and Robot!  I am sure I will be back soon for more!

    Happy shopping! x

    Homemade Granola

    9 April 2013

     Homemade Granola
    After stumbling upon the idea to make homemade Granola on Ffion's lovely little blog Give Me Magical I knew I had to give it a try.  I always have oats, seeds and such in the cupboard.  And who can't spare 30 minutes (probably less) to make something homemade and delicious?

    I will be honest - I didn't do a lot of measuring.  The only thing I measured were the oats and then just added bits and pieces from there on in.  I used linseeds, poppy seeds, sunflower seeds, oats, chocolate chips, dessicated coconut, raisins and sesame seeds.  You could also add nuts to make it extra crunchy. 

    I mixed my dry ingredients together, added a dollop of melted butter and syrup and mixed it all together.  I also added a pinch of mixed spice and cinnamon along with a teaspoon of brown sugar.

    I got my inspiration from the following recipes and posts.

    Toasted Honey Nut Granola from Give Me Magical

    How to make your own Granola over at Completely Delicious

    Good for you Granola on BBC Good food

    Everyone seems to be doing it and why not? Its easy, yummy and homemade.  You can experiment, add ingredients which you fancy and you can have it with milk, yoghurt, fruit or as a snack by itself.

    Happy baking! x

    On tea drinking, health and hormones

    7 April 2013

     on tea drinking health and hormones!
    What a week.  I would like to have another few days of my weekend but alas it is Monday again tomorrow.  It's been a rough one.  I am super tired and not feeling my best.  Unfortunately, this week has not bought the best of news for me health wise.  I have been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).  Basically its not a big deal but it makes my periods irregular, it can be a bit painful and makes conceiving a little more difficult.  So we are a bit bummed by the news.  But such is life and you have to pick yourself up and carry on.

    Because of this my hormones are up the creek.  I honestly feel so sorry for the husband.  Mani has been so great though and hats off to him for putting up with an irritiable, irrational, grumpy, emotional and fatigued wife who has not been much use these past few days.

    I have found, that to relax me and cope with feeling a bit down I have been drinking more tea (and maybe eating more chocolate) than normal.  I ♥ rooibos tea so much, as soon as I see my little jar of teabags depleting I make sure we have another box ready to fill it up.  I also love fruit tea, peppermint and lemon and ginger.  But by far, my favourite is rooibos (known as redbush in the UK).  It is best just as it is with no milk or sugar, in my opinion.  And must of course be twinned with a treat such as homemade bakes such as dream bars or blondies or a good old biscuit.

    I found this brilliant little tea chart over at Utility Journal if you are interested in brewing the perfect cup of tea.

    All of these goings on have also made me more aware of my health and being healthy.  I am generally a healthy and fit person but one thing I am bad at is eating breakfast.  I found out that it is quite easy to make your own granola thanks to the lovely Ffion over at Give Me Magical so I had a go this afternoon and it is delicious.  Check back here later this week for a recipe.  Seriously - it is super quick and versatile.  And I love granola with yoghurt and fruit for breakfast.

    So here is to a healthy and happier week x

    p.s. don't you love my mug? I got it over at Harold's Planet!

    Something that affects us all

    5 April 2013

    So.many.people. are affected each and every day by it. It is heart-wrenching.  My little sister, Grace, died four years ago this May. She was only a little girl at five years old and still had so much to experience, to live for, to capture in her life.  Many of you knew her and would agree that her courage gave us inspiration.  Her strength and smile exurberated from her and shone into people's lives, sometimes for long periods of time, sometimes for seconds.  But when this light was shining it made you realise how strong she was - how strong you could be not matter what life threw at you.
    Grace forever lives in our hearts and memories.

    The reason I am sharing this with you is that I saw this video on one of my favourite blogs - The Velvet Doe.  Watch it.  It is truly beautiful.  It conjured up so many memories for me.  Remembering is good though.  It brings back little snippets which you have stored in your heart.  You can bring them back to life whenever you need to.

    'The Light That Shines' a story for all from on Vimeo.

    Guacamole and Salsa Dips

    4 April 2013

     dips dips
    Do you ever have a craving for food and have to make it and eat it no.matter.what.  Yes - that was me the other night - I insisted we had nachos with dips and it was delicous. I thought I would make the guacamole and salsa myself and it really made all the difference.  Authentic, fresh ingredients really makes food more enjoyable.

    Here's how.
    1 Avocado, mashed
    Handful coriander
    1 large ripe tomato or a handful cherry tomatoes
    Salt & pepper to taste
    1/2 lime - juice only
    Garlic clove, minced

    Mash the avo in a bowl.
    Boil some water and pour over the tomatoe/s and leave for a few minutes.  Then peel of the skins and mash into the avo.  Finely chop the coriander and add to avo mixture along with the garlic, lime juice & salt and pepper.  Mix and taste - season further if neccessary.

    Top Tips
    ♥ If you are making this in advance, put the avo pip into the mixture and leave in the fridge.  This will stop the guacomole going brown.
    ♥ If you want, you can grind the coriander, garlic & lime juice in your pestle & morter to make a paste and add to the avo mixture.
    1/2 onion, finely chopped
    1 large ripe tomato or a handful cherry tomatoes, finely chopped
    Handful coriander
    Salt & pepper
    1/2 lime - juice only
    Garlic clove, minced

    Mix the chopped onion and tomatoes.  Finely chop the coriander and add to the onion mixture along with the seasoning, garlic and lime juice. If you want a less chunky dip, use a pestle and morter to mash up the salsa a bit.

    Must be had with Nachos covered in melted cheese straight out the oven.  Serve with jalapenos and soured cream.

    Happy dipping! x

    Conor's Christening

    3 April 2013

    On Sunday 31st March, my gorgeous little brother was christened at Rosscarbery Church in Ireland.
    The night before we had a family dinner filled with laughter and fun!
    It was a rainy day on Sunday but that didn't stop us having a special day surrounded by some family and friends.  It was just amazing and we were back home before we knew it. It made me realise how much I miss being around family - nothing beats a family gathering.  May there be many more for us in 2013.

     christening christening christening christening

    Conor, may you always have
    A moonbeam to charm you,
    A sheltering angel,
    So nothing can harm you,
    Laughter to cheer you,
    Faithful friends near you,
    And whenever you pray,
    Heaven to hear you.

    Love you litte one x

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