Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Writing Workshop: Bah Humbug


Time for me to do my post for Writing Workshop #19 and this week I have chosen prompt number "What eagerly anticipated experience turned out to be a complete and utter let down?".

In November 2009 I merrily skipped down to London with Mr M in tow to the Business Design Centre in Islington for an event I had been excitedly waiting to go to for ages. The Country Living Christmas Fair. I love Country Living, I love Christmas - the combination of the two surely had to be a wondrous thing, right? Wrong.

I'd seriously been looking forward to the fair for ages, I'd probably wanted to go for years but it was a complete let down. Yes, on paper it was a great event. Some really lovely items, a nice festive feel going on but in reality it was overpriced and overcrowded. I wanted to love it, I so wanted to love it. I want to spend my hard earned cash on lovely Christmas decorations and beautiful things for my home but the truth is there wasn't that much I want to splash out on and I was disappointed that there wasn't more Christmas treasures there to be had.

For starters the venue was too small and they let in too many people. It was near impossible to near any of the stands by lunchtime and after about an hour I'd had enough so we retired to the food hall which was quite a trek. Once we got there we had to wrestle for a table before I realised that food was extortionate and there was no way I was paying for £7.50 for a small, naff salad (many other people were though!). It was not longer after this that we ditched the fair and went to Oxford Street instead. Far more fun and far less crowded would you believe!
The event had so much potential but was a complete let-down, such a shame. If it were in Birmingham and the tickets were a bit cheaper I'd possibly go again but it certainly wasn't worth the effort and cost of hoiking myself down to the Big Smoke.

I'm sure other people enjoyed it immensely however I found it a complete disappointment!

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Gleekery: Favourite Moments



Last night, I finally caught up with the last episode from the first half of Season 1 of Glee and what an episode. I will admit I blubbed, more than once. I thought I'd share with you here some of my favourite moments from the Season and if you like, you could share yours with me!

There were so many top moments like the Single Ladies routine, the episode with Defying Gravity, the Puck & Quinn food fight and when Finn told his mum about Quinn (sob, wail) but also...

Lean On Me - I liked the sentiment, especially at a time when things were very tough for Quinn and Finn. It was really well sung and I love singing along to this in the car!

Mr Schu singing "Gold Digger" - This was the defining moment when I fell in love with Mr Schu. I could watch it over and over...



Don't Rain On My Parade
- I love that Rachel got her big moment in the spotlight and she was tremendous. She really belted that one out, amazing performance.



Kristin Chenowith singing "Last Night" - As I am in the UK I'd never heard or seen Kristen before, but wow what a performer! I hear that she'll be making a Glee comeback, very excited to see her again.



Sue Sylvester visting her sister - That was an unexpected moment! It did in fact make me a bit teary, especially when they held hands.

Puck singing Sweet Caroline - Puck is gorgeous, need I say more? He made my heart melt!




Mr Schu singing "Don't Stand/Young Girl" to Rachel - I loved this scene because Emma was so doe-eyed and in a complete daze.

"My Life Would Suck Without You" - What a fabulous ending to the first half of the season! I loved the song and performance and more than anything I LOVED THAT KISS!!!



I really loved the "Sectionals" episode (not sure if it has pipped "Ballad" to be my favourite episode) but it was great, I loved the Emma stepped up to take the kids to Sectionals, I loved how she held up her mobile phone so Will could hear it, I loved how the Glee Club all came together to pick better songs, I loved seeing Emma in her bridal get-up - she makes a great bride and to end with that kiss was perfect.


I'm nervous now for the rest of the season as I am not sure what lies ahead. All the way through I was rooting for Will to find out about Terri, Finn to find out about Quinn, Sue Sylvester to get her comeuppance, Emma not to marry Ken and for Will & Emma to finally get it together and now that has all happened - what will I be rooting for in the next half?

Obviously Sue will come back fighting, I'd like to see Finn & Quinn back together and I'd like to see Terri trying to win her man back. I'd also like to see some of the other characters like Santana developed further. Only time will tell...and it's not long to wait! April 19th and Glee will be back on our screens, and don't forget Gleeks, the DVD "The Road to Sectionals" will be out in the shops on April 12th.

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Spreading happiness...

So today I received my first "award" from another blogger - the lovely Amy from Cooking, Cakes and Children. Do check her out, she makes amazing cakes! Amy passed on this lovely Sunshine Award;



I can empathise with Amy's post. I often don't feel like a real blogger, I wonder if anybody is reading or if anybody cares but I do it anyway because I enjoy it. If one person enjoys it and comments it feels worthwhile to me! I do get a little despondent when I have thought hard about a post and then nobody comments but what can you do, such is life so I just suck it up and move on. After all, I am as guilty of that as anyone - I read countless blogs and never comment but I am trying to make more of an effort.


The new blogging awards, The MADs (see badge to the right hand side of this post!), are a great idea and good fun. I have already placed my nominations and was secretly quite pleased to see that I had been nominated - although I don't expect to come close to winning because I am just not that well known. I'm not taking it too seriously and I do hope that others will see it for what it is and not feel too much like it's a popularity contest.

It was nice to receive this award, not only because it means somewhere I am on someone's radar but also because Amy said she enjoyed my blog!

So I am now going to pass on my Sunshine Award to the following bloggers whose blogs I enjoy reading;


At Home With Mel Mel

The Thoughts and Musings of Mrs Lucia-Wright

Whimsical Wife

Lissy Lou and the 2 Little Boys

Me, The Man & The Baby

Right, I am now off to check out the blogs of the other people Amy tagged!

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Monday, 29 March 2010

All things Disney



I've been a big Disney fan all my life, as I child I collected and watched most of the films on VHS (which I am now well on my way to replacing with DVD due to the appearance of small children). so it stands to reason that my children are fans too.



The DVDs have been well loved - the favourites being Cars (my house is heaving with Cars related merchandise aside from the big blue helicopter, which to my 2 year old boy is like the golden chalice. I'm holding out on him though), Enchanted, Beauty & The Beast, Monsters Inc and Finding Nemo. The little lady is, as most 4 year old girls are, a huge fan of the Princesses. No shopping expedition to town is complete without a trip to the "Lightening McQueen shop" or The Disney Store as most people know it. Yes, the shop where I am swiftly cleaned out of £10 notes. Fortuntately the Disney Store stocks small little diecast cars and one of my favourite things, their £5 puzzles which are great quality, meaning I'm not always left completely stoney-broke.


Then at Christmas we had Sky TV installed and with it the arrival of Playhouse Disney. I was initially grateful to have something other than CBeebies to watch but of course now Playhouse Disney is the only channel that we are allowed to watch so now my days are filled with the Imagination Movers, Special Agent OSO and Little Einsteins (which I can't help but like myself, especially the theme tune). Little Miss for whatever reason is not so keen on Jungle Junction.

So whilst pondering trips away this year I thought to myself that maybe Disneyland Paris might be a good break with the kids but looking into the cost I was a little shocked and figured maybe we'd be best saving the money towards our Florida trip in 2011. Yes, in 2011 we will be going to The Happiest Place on Earth and I can't wait, even if it is going to cost the same as a small family car.



I've been to both Disneyland Paris and the Florida parks before pre-kids which goes some way to making my mind up. I last want to Paris in December 2001, it was brutally cold but nice to see the Christmas decorations and parade and the advantage was that it wasn't that busy however I just didn't like it that much, it just felt a bit like going to Alton Towers. This was back in the day when there was only the one park though, so I imagine it's changed somewhat. Still my past experience leaves me hesitant. On the other hand, I went to Florida in October 2004 and had an amazing time (and I thought Bluewater was the happiest place on earth), spending 5 of my 10 days in a Disney resort (which I would totally recommend if only for the Magic Hours and Disney Transportation system which is fantastic). We stayed in a Disney Value resort which was fine but I am hoping for our 2011 trip we can at least stretch to a moderate resort as we will be spending the whole 10 days at Disney.



The decision needs to be made - do I spend upwards of £1,000 on a Disneyland Paris break for 2010 bearing in my mind I enjoyed it but didn't love the experience last time or do I save the £1,000 towards our Florida holiday next year - money possibly going towards staying in a slightly nicer hotel?

Answers on a postcard please!

love & kisses
Mrs M x

The Gallery: Week 5: My outlook



Following on from last week's post "It's all about me(me)" I am once again partaking in The Gallery over at Sticky Fingers. This week the theme is "Outside my front door". Tara wants to see the kind of environment we live in - is it rural? urban? crowded? remote?

I live a mile or two outside of a large village, down a country lane, surrounded by fields and smelly cows. This is outside my front door.


I miss not being able to walk to a shop (well I could, but I'd be a while...) and as a huge people watcher, I miss curtain-twitching somewhat, there's not a great deal to look at from here. I am a townie living in the country and attempting to embrace it. I'm getting there, but it's taken some time.

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Thursday, 25 March 2010

What makes you smile?



I've been in a proper grumpy today, and I mean proper. I woke up in a bad mood and I'll no doubt end it in a bad mood. The highlight of the day was seeing a 50 year old man in the petrol station with his wife today - he was wearing pink trousers and a very loud 80's style black, white and pink shirt. I'm pretty sure at 9am he wasn't on his way to an 80's par-tay. Of course I did the decent thing and took photos on my iPhone to share with Mr M. The low point was having to drive in what I can only describe as a torrential-frigging-downpour (honest it was like driving in Atlantis - and no, I haven't actually driven in Atlantis so no, I don't actually know that it was the same...) to the hospital to have a cotton bud shoved up my nose and in my groin to check that I am not breeding MRSA up my nostrils. What a treat!

So in the interests of world peace and before my nearest and dearest start permanently donning their hardhats I thought I'd share a few things that make me smile and perhaps you could share a few things with me that make you smile. How does that sound?

Things that make me smile...

Obviously my children, *cough* sometimes.


Sunshine, and lots of it.


Lolcats
- I mean, how can you not love them?



Two Chinese boys miming to Jessica Simpson. What can I say? I am juvenile but it works.



This video. Who knows why. Never fails.




The seaside. Oh I do like to be beside the seaside.



Absolutely amazing. No words. Just tears.




Cadburys Creme Eggs are for life, not just for Easter.



Gleeeeeee!





What makes you smile?

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Gleekery: Glee Promo Exclusive!




Yes, fellow Gleeks I have an exciting exclusive for you.


Hot off the press - I have here brand new personalised "Gleetings" to the UK Gleeks from Will, Sue, Finn and Mike to promote the release of the UK DVD "Glee Season 1 Road to Sectionals" on April 12th 2010.


You lucky, lucky blog readers are amongst the first people to see these promos, so do enjoy and do tell your Gleeky friends to check them out.


Gleeting from Mr Schu

Gleeting
from Sue

Message from Finn

Message from Mike


Hope
you are as excited about the DVD release as I am! Enjoy!

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Writing Workshop: Secret Dreams



Following on from my first go at
Josie's writing workshop (which I thoroughly enjoyed doing as has even led to contact with someone else going through the same thing!) here I am with my blog post for Writing Workshop No 18. I have chosen to write about prompt no 3 "What do you secretly dream of your children doing?".

My hopes and dreams for my children are the same as everyone - I want them to be happy and healthy, and it goes without saying, impossibly beautiful and fabulously wealthy. However, I have to admit to wanting to live slightly vicariously through my daughter at least. I don't have any great plans for my son as yet although early indications are that he would make a great cage or bare knuckle fighter...but my daughter is a different thing.

My secret dreams for my daughter? I want her to be a dancer. I don't necessarily want fame and fortune for her, although that would be a nice byproduct I'll admit, I just want to see her perform. I'd be so proud, I think I'd probably internally combust. I want her to have experiences I never had.

I dabbled in dancing as a teenager but never seriously and unfortunately dance lessons were not something my parents ever had the foresight to send me to. I love dancing even now, I love how free it makes you feel, how good it is to feel the music coursing through your body. I would have loved to have a career in dance but sadly it was never going to happen for me.

Sadly it is probably never going to happen for my little girl either, she's a little bit - how should I put this - clumsy. Okay, at times she has the grace of a baby elephant but perhaps I should remember she is only 4. She does pre-school ballet and disco on a Saturday morning (which doesn't really resemble any from of actual dance - just a lot of jumping around) which she appears to love and I think it's done amazing things for confidence. I'll continue to take her as long as she enjoys it and whilst my secret dream is for her to be a dancer, if it should ever stop being fun for her I'll encourage her to find another activity she loves. I refuse to make my children unhappy by making them do things they don't want to do.

If when she's older she wants to be a vet, nurse, checkout girl or teacher, I'll be fine with it. At the end of the day it's her life - her choice. As long as she is happy.

love & kisses
Mrs M x

The Delicious Miss Dahl



or the incredibly irritating Miss Dahl? You decide.

There's been so much talk about this programme I had to watch and see if she did in fact turnout to be a Nigella clone.


My first impression, I wanted to ram the plum in her mouth straight down her throat. She does however have beautiful skin and a lovely bone structure which makes her easy on the eye and quite pleasant to watch, she's no Gordon Ramsay in the looks department is she?

Disappointingly she wasn't as annoying as I hoped and not nearly as much sucking fingers and lip licking as Nigella.
I liked her chit-chat and liked her kitchen (studio, or actual home?) but half expected her to do a Nigella at the end and creep down the stairs in a black silky negligee and start eating haddock straight out of the fridge with her fingers.

I have to admit whilst I did like her blethering on, I didn't pay any attention to what she was cooking which defeats the object a bit surely? About all I remember is something with haddock, there was definitely Parmesan and a Dirty Martini.

I'd expect Mr M to prefer Sophie Dahl to Nigella any day. He finds Nigella's "food porn" a bit much to swallow (haha, pun of the day) and whilst Sophie is quite heavy on the old Princess-Di-peeking-up-through-her-eyelashes look she's a bit gentler. When she starts rubbing the vanilla pods over her heaving bosom then I'll be worried.

I'll reserve judgment and wait for the next installment however I must admit to finding it a little dull and nothing groundbreaking. I will say this though - the poetry reading made me want to yack.

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Gardening: Progress Report No 1

I thought I'd do a little update on my gardening efforts as described here and here. Obviously it's still going slowly, main planting is going to happen over Easter (or was going to but we'll see how I feel after the knee op, I kind of thinking kneeling in the garden is not going to be conducive to recovery).

I planted some seeds and guess what? They've started to grow! I'm quite sure why I feel so amazed but I do, I'm like a proud mother. I can't stop gazing at my little seedlings.

So far we have;

Carnations - these have been quite quick to come up and I've tons of the things!




Dwarf Hollyhock - These were the most exciting as they are quite substantial little seedlings and were the first things to begin sprouting.



Hollyhock - These have been a bit slow but are finally starting to push up.



Ornamental Cabbages - Look at these little fellas, two different colours, who knew!



and erm, finally Chilli. Yep there's nothing there yet, but I am keeping the faith.



We've also been busy planting two new bushes - raspberry and gooseberry. Okay, then don't look great but as some wise person once said "from small acorns mighty oak grow".



and for the main event - our work in progress. The vegetable patch and the chicken house. Now I know putting the chickens in with the vegetables is going to be a recipe for disaster so they will have a little pen around their house. You can see two of my raised planters just being filled there. We're going to have a few more planters and eventually there will be a green house and potting shed out here too but that might have to wait until next year.




Exciting stuff hey? That was said with only a small amount of sarcasm. I'm really enjoying the planting and nurturing and I have to say there is a huge amount of satisfaction in seeing your own little seedlings sprout!

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

The Gallery: Week 4: It's all about me(me)...



Prompted by a Tweet from @cafebebe I followed a link to the Sticky Fingers blog and one of Tara's gallery challenges. I decided it would be fun to join in, it's nice getting to know other bloggers and I find that joining in with memes is a good way to do that!


The theme of this week's challenge is "Me" and Tara wants to see a picture that reflects who we are. She did state it didn't necessarily have to be a recent photo, it could be a photo of me as a child or even a body part (wink wink).

I hate having my photo taken and because of that, there is hardly any of me in existence - apart from our wedding day in 2009 where there are literally thousands, some of which I actually don't hate so I was going to take the easy route and pick one of those but I decided to think about it a bit harder and have settled on this one.



This is ME! A little girl on a cold, windswept beach somewhere (possibly Barmouth?). I sometimes think I am still a little girl inside and the British coast is one of my favourite places to be so this is a good photo to represent who I am - a little girl, who loves playing on the beach and wearing pink ;-)

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Monday, 22 March 2010

Shopping: Debenhams "Blue Zoo"




Firstly let me start by saying, this blog post is not sponsored by Debenhams, but Lord knows, the amount I spent there this weekend, it should be.

No, this blog post is brought to you because recently I've really struggled to find clothes for my 4 year old that are not too babyfied or don't make her look like a mini-teenager. Why is it so hard? I am guessing she's at some awkward inbetweeny age. I've always relied on places like Next and the supermarkets - Asda and Tesco have always been great and I just love Sainsburys TU range but just recently I've found they're not floating my boat.


I've searched high and low for nicely designed, reasonable clothes for little girls (and boys) and was pleasantly surprised by Mothercare - never thought to look for clothes there since she was a tiny baby but they have got some really gorgeous things in at the moment. Boots, John Lewis and Marks and Spencers also came up trumps, however the Blue Zoo range at Debenhams was recommended to me and this weekend I got the chance to check it out for myself.

I went to the Bullring in Birmingham as it has the best Debenhams for miles and I wasn't disappointed, firstly because they had everything I had looked at on the website in stock and secondly because Debenhams stock some truly lovely clothes for kids.
So, what did I buy...(all images property of Debenhams)

This cloud t-shirt, so pretty and a bargain at £6.00. For some reason Little Miss found it hilarious. Strange girl.


A couple of dresses, again both reasonably priced. The denim dress in particular is so cute on, a very nice cut and the stripy dress is perfect for summer.



A truly gorgeous star print shirt for the little fella.

A pack of three great quality t-shirts, £12.

and also a very nice white and navy polo shirt which does not currently appear on their website.

I was very pleased with the Blue Zoo range, and could have bought a whole lot more. It's definitely going to be my first port of call for children's clothes in the future! Do check it out if you are passing a store, and do also let me know if you know of any other gems for kiddy clothes!

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Diet Update: Week One (Again!)



Yes, it's been a few weeks since I did a diet update *cough* and here I am again, starting at the beginning because alas, when I fell off the wagon I never managed to get myself back on it again and so, the first two weeks of pain and torture were completely in vain as I am back to my start weight (actually I am at slightly more, but I have just literally eaten a huge roast dinner so probably not the best time to weigh myself, however I'll be consistent - Sunday night is the new Saturday morning).

I bought some lovely new clothes for summer today - dresses and vest tops that really don't work with a paunch so this has spurred me on.  I'm not one of those people that can size up, if I need a bigger size it's means I've been too piggy so my new clothes are my motivation.  I want to be able to wear them on our break to Suffolk in May because the weather is going to glorious and I want to look fabulous, so that's my aim.  I reckon 2lb a week would do it.

I have to do something about it so I am starting back again this week with a vengeance but what should make it slightly easier is that Mr M is joining me on the diet this time.  This means I don't have to cook three different dinners and will make evening meals easier.  

The snag is this time around I am not going to really be able to do much exercise due to my upcoming knee surgery.  I am basically going to be out of exercising action for around 4-6 weeks, maybe longer depending on how the lateral release pans out.  I've just under two weeks until the surgery so I will try and get a good bit of exercise in before then.  In the meantime if anyone has any ideas of exercise I can have whilst recovering from knee surgery do let me know!

So here are the stats

Start Weight: 9st 1.5lb
Waist: 31 inches
Hips: 37 inches
Thigh: 20 inches 
Upper arm: 12 inches
Number of chins: Several

Goal Weight: 7st 12lb

I'll be honest, I'm not looking forward to it, and I also have a pre-planned event at Pizza Express this week to get through, however I am determined this time I will lose the podge!  Hoping for a 2lb weight loss by next Sunday so watch this space.

love & kisses 
Mrs M x

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Meme: 10 Countries I'd Like to Visit



10 Countries I would love to visit...


I am not well traveled, at all. I never went to University so I never got to do the dossing/gap year/backpacking thing and whilst I have had some nice holidays, since having my first child at the age of 26 I've not really explored our beautiful planet.

I'm not overly concerned though, there's plenty of time and I will get to go to see everything I want to in good time.

There are no deep reasons to why I want to visit these places, some of theme are purely because they have nice beaches. I am that shallow. These are in no particular order.

1. Italy
I've never really wanted to go to Italy before (even though I learned Italian at school) but the past few years it has become of more interest to me. Not so fussed about Venice but would definitely like to go to Rome (apparently watching out for pickpockets?) Florence, Sicily and Pompeii.

2. Egypt
Egypt is a cliche for these lists I guess but I'd love to see the pyramids for myself. I've been slightly put off by friends who've been and have been hassled beyond belief but I'm sure I'll go one day.

3. Greece
I've always wanted to go to Greece. The islands look beautiful - lovely whitewashed houses, tavernas, gorgeous sunsets...what's not to love, surely? I'd prefer to go to "proper" Greece rather than tourist traps.

4. Fiji
Fiji has been a longtime dream of mine, it looks like a beautiful place and everything I've seen or read about it just reels me in.

5. USA
I've already been to New York and Florida, and will be going back to both in the next few years but there are many other places I like to go in the US. New England, California, Las Vegas, Tennessee, the Grand Canyon, Texas - amongst many others. America fascinates me and I want to see as much of it as possible!

6. French Polynesia
Not sure if the French Polynesian Islands is really classed as a country at all but it's my list so I am putting it on. Bora Bora and Tahiti, wow.

7. Poland
Mainly to go to Auschwitz, I really don't know what else there is in Poland so should probably do some research about that one.

8. Mexico
I have always wanted to go to Mexico - it looks like my kind of place. I'd love to try the food, see their pyramids and drink lots of tequila *hic*. It always look such a vibrant and lively place.

9. France
I am reluctant to put this on my list as I am not a fan of France at all. Paris left me cold to be quite honest however I need to include it as Mr M and myself really want to go and visit the War graves (and Belgium as well for that matter). Aside from that, I'd be quite happy not to go there again (however I have been reliably informed that the rest of France is not like Paris).

10. Thailand
Another one not completely on my radar but Mr M would like to go to Thailand which has kind of spurred on some interest on me, and it's bound to be an interesting place so yes, I'd like to see it for myself.


I've decided that I'd be interested to hear what countries other bloggers would like to visit so I've tagged the following people on this meme,

Notes From My Days

Whimsical Wife

Me, The Man & The Baby
Twenty Something Tales

Insomniac Mummy

but please don't let it stop you commenting - I'd love to hear where you'd like to go too!

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Friday, 19 March 2010

Writing Workshop: Knee Niggles



I've felt for a few days like I've lost my blogging mojo so prompted by
Karin at Cafe Bebe I am joining in with Josie's writing workshop.

This week we have been invited to choose a prompt and I have chosen number 4 "Tell me about a time your body let you down".

I guess in truth my body hasn't really let me down. I felt a little disappointed after the birth of my children, that for some reason my body just wasn't able to naturally deliver my babies ,but I don't feel it let me down as such as at the end of the process I still had healthy babies. More recently, I have felt let down by my knees. Odd one, I know.

I started feeling pain around my right knee in the run-up to Christmas 2009 and in January I decided to see my GP about it. I was referred to an Orthopaedic Surgeon who gave me an MRI scan and it turns out at the age of 30 I have Grade IV cartilage damage (that's the worst it can be folks!), bursitis (housemaid's knee *gaffaw*) and a tilted knee cap. All of the above means I am facing surgery on 1st April to help lessen the pain. My surgeon is going to shave away the dead cartilage and perform a lateral release (cutting through some tissue or something equally grim as that) to move my kneecap back to it's rightful position.

Whilst I am not a particularly active person I am annoyed about how much the current aches and now the surgery is going to impact my life. Recovery from the lateral release can be apparently 3 months, sometimes a lot more and requires a lot of physio. My surgeon has told me that due to the cartilage damage - my knee is basically bone on bone - I will always feel some degree of pain. I know that people go through worse than this, I know in the scheme of things it's nothing to whinge about but I do feel let down by my body, that at the age of 30 my knees are jiggered! I've never done anything to them to warrant such severe degradation and I am worried that in the future I am going to need the damn things replaced. I'm just hoping that the recovery is quick and doesn't ruin all the plans we have made for this summer. I'm already having a mini-panic about how I am going to cope with the kids in the month or so after surgery, let alone not being able to practice my Katy Perry and Cyndi Lauper dance routines.

So, there it is. That's my body let-down. I'll give you an update after surgery in two weeks time (if I pass the MRSA swab test...)

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Happy St Patrick's Day



Happy St Patrick's day to you. If you're Irish that is.

I find it kind of annoying these days that every Tom, Dick and Paddy celebrate St Patrick's Day - when they are not even Irish. What is that all about? My mother is Irish and even I don't celebrate it. I'm all about St George, me.

But anyway, it is St Patrick's Day today - The perfect excuse to go out, get absolutely slaughtered and act like a prize turnip and I thought being a smidgen Irish I ought to recognise it with a blog post.

As you might know from earlier blog posts, one of my hobbies is tracing the family tree. The Irish side of my family proves quite tricky as the records aren't so easy to come by as they are here. My mother is from Dublin and I have discovered that her grandparents and their parents were also from Dublin. Alas, as many people living in Dublin at the time were, they were rather poor. My great-grandparents were all born around 1907 (I knew my great-grandmothers well) and from what I have read Dublin was not a pleasant place to live. There was a lot of poverty, disease and ill-health within the tenements in inner city Dublin and as I know where they lived from the 1911 census, I know that this is what they would have faced on a daily basis. The death-rate was horrendous and not helped by the over-crowding in the slums.

You may have seen Chris Moyles on Who Do You Think You Are last year. His family were from the exact same area, street in fact, that one of my great-grandmothers lived in at the time of the 1911 census when she was 4.

So tonight, I shall not be drinking a pint of Guinness and donning a "Kiss Me, I'm Irish" hat., because, I'm not Irish. Instead I shall be quietly raising a glass to my long-departed Irish grandparents and great-grandparents and thinking about what a bloody great knees up they would have been having tonight! They may have not had much money, but they knew how to enjoy themselves!

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Mint and Oregano Lamb Patties



I accidentally stumbled across this recipe in Nigella Lawson's book "Forever Summer" when I was looking for something to bake. I must confess that as much as I love Nigella, and I really really do love her, I hardly ever cook from her books but this one caught my eye.

The day I made these for the first time I was originally meant to be making Chicken Korma a la Jamie Oliver and his Ministry of Food but uncharacteristly summer had found the West Midlands and i was 29degrees that day. As much as I love a good curry, that's not curry weather is it? So I thought I would give them these lamb patties a whirl.

I was so glad I did - these were awesome. Without a doubt one of the best meals that I've cooked in recent times and has become a firm favourite in the M household. Mr M gave them a 9.5 out of 10 (he said it probably really is a 10 but he's saving the top score, just in case I top trump myself one day). The patties were really easy to make - even better if you get yourself together and read the recipe in good time (unlike me) as they need a bit of resting time.

Mint and Oregano Lamb Patties

Ingredients

For the patties:

50g bulgar wheat

500g lean lamb, minced

4 teaspoons dried mint

4 teaspoons dried oregano

1 clove garlic, minced or grated

zest of 1 lemon

olive oil for frying

For the sandwiches:

approximately 8 pitta breads

2 Little Gem lettuces, shredded

large bunch of fresh mint, chopped

1 red onion, halved and sliced into thin half-moons

1 tub of houmous (approx 300g)
1 tub of Greek yoghurt (approx 300g)
approx 1 teaspoon
ground cumin

4 tomatoes

1 lemon


Method

Soak the bulgar what by covering it with boiling water and leaving it for 15mins in a small bowl.

Drain the bulgar thoroughly, pressing the water out in a sieve and put it in a bowl with the lamb, dried mint, dried oregano, garlic and lemon zest. Stir everything thoroughly and then form into small walnut sized patties, flatten them slightly between your hands and arrange them on a cling-filmed baking sheet and place them in the fridge for 20mins (or up to 6 hours) to firm up.

Fry the patties in a little olive oil until cooked through and are golden brown on both sides. They shouldn't take too long and approximately 4mins on each side should be enough.

To make up the sandwiches - toast or warm each pitta and slice open. Stuff the pitta with the lettuce, onion, mint, tomato and spoon some houmous and yoghurt in along with a pinch of cumin. Put in three or four lamb patties and then spritz with lemon juice.

Now Nigella says she makes about 34 patties out of the mixture whereas I only managed to do about 19 so I am guessing mine were over-sized even though they looked quite small. She also reckons it makes about 8 "bulging" sandwiches. Himself and I did pig out a bit but the recipe would comfortably serve 4, especially with some rice or cous cous on the side.

I wholeheartedly recommend this recipe - it was delicious and a perfect summer meal (although patties are for life, not just for hot balmy summer evenings *sigh*).

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Monday, 15 March 2010

Shopping: Garden Trading

If I could do a "Supermarket Sweep" style run around a shop (or shop website) Garden Trading would probably feature quite high up on that list. I've been a devotee of Garden Trading for a couple of years now, I think I stumbled across their website by complete accident and boy, am I glad I did.

Garden Trading sells beautiful home and garden ware - many functional items but yet, so pretty too, all in my favourite shades of creams, greys, greens and more.

There are certain items I just go back to time and time again on their website, heaven knows why I don't just order them! (or, here's a thought, I could add them to my Kaboodle list for Mr M to buy as presents for me when the mood strikes him...).

So as not to keep all this loveliness to myself, I thought I'd share a couple of things that I am lusting over from their current range.

First up I have today discovered this amazing deckchair. I am a fan of traditional deckchairs, I think it stems from my dad's well-loved deckchair that has been recovered several times over and is still in active service. This one is fabulous, I love the cushion too.



An extremely functional item but stylish too. I'm always on the search for *the* log basket and this fits the bill.

These thermometers and barometers have been on my wish-list for absolutely ages. We're all a tiny bit obsessed with the weather aren't we? These are perfect and can be used outdoors. Seeing as we are finally getting around to sorting out our garden space these might finally find their way into my home.

This stair basket would be very useful for me. Mr M would hate it. I already leave the bottom of the stairs cluttered with junk, strategically placed to trip him over. I'm sure he'd think this was just another thing I've put there to get in his way!


Outdoor lights are something I need to organise and these fishing lights caught my eye last year. However I've now seen the barn ones and am being my usual indecisive self.

If you haven't realised already, yes, I do have a little bit of a basket fetish. I admit, it's a problem but this harvest basket is something I NEED in my life.



I also have a problem with jugs, I love jugs.


and china and glassware. Love this juicer and butter dish combo.


and finally (well not really, I could go on for days...) this outdoor clock. As I have young children we spend a lot of time out in the garden and alas, no clock out there. I'm not a watch-wearer so it means I keep having to take my shoes of and go inside to find out what the time is. Yes, yes. I could just get a watch but this is nicer.

This is a great website to get gifts from too, lots of gorgeous little things that you might not necessarily splurge on yourself but would love to receive, and look - they do a gift hamper service too! How wonderful.

So if you haven't already, do check it out. Just don't blame me if you are broke at the end of the month!

love & kisses
Mrs M x

PS Clever Mr M even managed to accidentally get me some Garden Trading lovelies for Mother's Day in the shape of the tin of string and a seed box! Weird, huh? I'm not sure I've even menioted my love for them before!