Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Team Edward


Are you a Twi-hard? I definitely am.

Hello, my name is Mrs M, I am 30 years of age and I am a Twilight addict.


I'm not ashamed, not at all. Okay, so most Twilight fans are half my age, I know that, but it doesn't stop me loving the Twilight books and films and more importantly, dreaming about Edward Cullen *sigh*.


I am firmly in the Edward Cullen camp. I read the books last year, long before I had seen the film and when I first saw pictures of Robert Pattinson as Edward I have to say I was a little bit, how shall I put it? Meh. I think that describes it. R-Patz (that's what the kids call him) was nowhere near good looking enough to be the Edward that Stephenie Meyer describes in the first book, at least, that is what I thought until I saw the film. From there on in I was totally swept away. He is perfect as Edward Cullen, his charm, his crooked smile, his arrogance, it's all there.

I realise with R-Patz being what, 23/24 this makes me somewhat of a cougar but it could be worse, I could be salivating over Jacob Black, which I am not. Sure I like the kid but he's a kid isn't he and that's wrong even for me.



Saying all of this I must admit my true Twilight love is Alice Cullen. I heart Alice Cullen. I loved her in the books and Ashley Greene did not disappoint in the films. I now heart Ashley Greene
. How could you not? She's is hot. If I don't get a yellow Porsche and long red leather gloves for Christmas there might well be a divorce in the M household.


My first DVD copy of Twilight broke, I hasten to add I don't think it was down to overuse but it did cause a minor emergency to which Mr M came to my rescue and swiftly dispatched himself to Asda to pick me up a new copy. I swore to myself that I wouldn't buy all the DVDs because I know they'll be a box set at the end that I will just have to have, but it's impossible to wait - after all Breaking Dawn (the first part) isn't even due at the cinema until November 2011!

I'm going to share two videos with you...the first Muse's "Supermassive Black Hole" which is the song during the baseball scene in Twilight. I love this song so much. The second is my favourite clip from Twilight - I have many favourite bits so its hard to choose but this one just pips it for me.





I'm more excited than I can possibly tell you about "Eclipse" coming out at the cinema next week and would you believe I have actually planned TWO trips to see it. I'm so juvenile, I frighten myself some days. Here's the trailer for "Eclipse".



Sweet dreams!

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Monday, 28 June 2010

The Red Shoe Diaries


No, not those red shoe diaries you mucky people...

It's fair to say that at the moment I am having a small love affair with red shoes. In fact, I am having a love affair with all things red if I am honest. There is something about wearing red that makes me feel fun, flirty and frisky and there's not nearly enough of it in my wardrobe (pink has always been my love up until now).


I'm particularly fond of red patent shoes and am now the proud owner of two pairs of red patent footwear. I'm also a big fan of Mary Jane style shoes so it stands to reason this blog post is likely to contain a few of those too.

I have started my red shoe collection with some rather basic, perhaps a little bit boring, Birkenstock Madrid sandels. I love them and they are perfect for the school run in the mornings.
Then I have these gorgeous Firetrap shoes which were a bargain purchase from M and M Direct.

You'd think two pairs of red shoes was enough for anyone really wouldn't you? But, no, I can't quite help browsing for more red goodness and look what I found! Red patent leather pumps from Jimmy Choo! At £395 they are probably a tad overpriced for me but I love them. I might well sell a kidney for them, or maybe even a child.

Back to reality...for those of us who can't afford to buy red Choos, there are other options. Ever since I saw these Irregular Choice Mermaid shoes on Roisin I've been lusting over them and they'd be a potential purchase if I could track them down in stock somewhere!
Killer heels? I bet they do kill. £49.99 from Schuh. These are fab!


and bargain of the week? Red MJ style shoes from New Look for £20. I actually have these in black as they are perfect for work.

Finally, I know they are not practical but for a special occasion? These shoes from Red Herring are gorgeous and only £22.40 in the sale at Debenhams!

So peeps, what about you? Are you red shoe lovers? And if you are, you should check out Caroline's blog and her Ruby Shoesdays!

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Lamb & Mint Burgers with Yoghurt Sauce


This is a recipe I came across in Easy Living magazine a while back. Lamb and mint must be one of my favourite ever combinations so I was quite keen to try this recipe.

I wasn't disappointed by this meal at all. It was quite simple to make - okay a fair bit of chopping but as per usual, my Kenwood Mini Chopper proved invaluable! You can make these burgers up to 24 hours in advance so whilst there is a bit of chopping involved, you can prepare them a little bit earlier in the day if that makes life easier for you. In fact, it's good to chill them for a few hours as this helps them hold together better.

The minty yoghurt sauce was fabulous, and was great as a dip for the paprika wedges I served these burgers with.

Lamb and Mint Burgers with Yoghurt Sauce


Ingredients

2 slices of white bread, crusts removed
Milk, for soaking
1 red onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 long red chilli, chopped
4 tbsp chopped mint plus 2 tbsp extra
600g minced lamb
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
Large pinch of chilli powder
Grated zest of 1 lemon
150ml plain yoghurt
2 tbsp olive oil

To serve;
Ciabetta
Rocket
Cherry tomatoes

Method

Break the bread into pieces and soak in the milk for around 5 minutes. Squeeze the excess liquid from the bread and crumble into a large mixing bowl.

Mix the bread, onion, garlic, chilli, 4 tbsps of mint, lamb, cumin, coriander and lemon zest and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Divide the mixture into four and shape into burgers about an inch thick. Chill for at least thirty minutes.

To make the sauce, mix the yoghurt with the remaining 2 tbsps mint and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

To cook, brush each burger with a little olive oil and place under a hot grill for about 5 minutes on each side until nicely brown and cooked through.

Serve hot with toasted ciabatta, rocket, tomatoes and the yoghurt sauce.

As I mentioned above, I served these with paprika wedges which are literally just that - potatoes cut into wedges and put onto a baking tray, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkle of salt and a good sprinkle of smoked paprika. Really tasty.

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Monday, 21 June 2010

Gleekery: Song Choices II

Yes, I am on a Glee-fest right now and perhaps, just perhaps, I might well subject you to a Glee-related post every Monday night until Season 2 recommences around September time.

I realise I spend way more time than is normal musing over possible songs for Glee. (I wonder if I could get a job on the show? Doubtful.) I can't help it, I hear a great song, my feet tap away and my mind screams GLEEEEEEEE!

Anyway, I thought I'd share some more songs that I would love to see featured on Glee.
There's no real rhyme or reason to these choices, primarily they're songs I've heard recently that I just happen to love but I also think they could really work. (And yes, I know my taste in music is somewhat questionable...)

To save your sanity and valuable time, I won't do long blurbs about why I think each song would be good but feel free to ask me if you're really intrigued!



Donna Summer - On The Radio
Girls of New Directions



Pussycat Dolls - Hush Hush
Girls of New Directions

Lynn Anderson - Rose Garden
Emma Pillsbury





Sister Sledge - Lost in Music
New Directions (led by Mercedes)




So what do you think to my choices? Naffer than a naff thing? Any other suggestions?

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Gleekery: Season 1 Best Bits


All too soon the first season of Glee has come to an end but not without doing it in style - the regionals episode "Journey" was amazing. Sue Sylvester was amazing, another Wemma kiss was amazing, the Journey medley was amazing and Quinn giving birth at the same time as Bohemian Rhapsody was amazing.


I'm missing Glee already, the thought of a Monday night without my crisps, wine and Glee?! Yikes. It's going to be a long summer. In the meantime I thought I do a small recap of my favourite Glee moments & what I loved about Season 1.

Single Ladies

Already an iconic video from Beyonce, now an iconic Glee moment. What else is there to say?



THE Will & Emma Kiss


The first Wemma kiss that we waited so long for. How we all squealed during "My Life Would Suck Without You" when we saw Will sprint down the corridors of McKinley to the lovely Emma.

Brittany


I just love that girl. That's all I am saying. "I bet the duck is in the hat" may well be my favourite Glee quote of all time. Check out the great things Brittany says here.


Kristin Chenoweth as April Rhodes


Okay, I wasn't entirely sure of the need to bring her back in "Home" it seemed a little, well, unnecessary but that doesn't stop me loving April Rhodes. Such a fun character, with an incredible voice. I loved the performance of Carrie Underwood's "Last Name" in "The Rhodes Not Taken" .

Sue Sylvester



There are too many good Sue Sylvester moments to mention but I adore the storyline with her sister which shows her softer side, and loved that in "Journey" she finally stepped up to support the Glee kids, even if it won't last long.

The Hummels



Kurt and his father as so cute together. I love that whilst his dad struggles with Kurt's sexuality he's trying so hard to be supportive. Love it. They're a great team!

Mike Chang


Mike Chang rocks my world. He makes me smile. He dances LIKE A DEMON! We want more Mike Chang!

Gaga


The long-awaited Lady Gaga episode "Theatricality" wasn't as good as I expected it to be but Bad Romance was so much fun. The costumes were great and I loved seeing Santana sing too as I think she has a great voice but is somewhat overlooked. Poker Face was good but Bad Romance was definiately the better Gaga performance.

Okay, so I could go on and on (and on...) about my favourite Glee moments because of course there are hundreds but probably best I will leave it there before you all fall asleep (WAKE UP!). I will end though on favourite episodes of the season. Which was yours? From the first half of Season 1, "Ballad" was my favourite episode if only for this look.


The episode had some great music and great story-lines.

And in the second half of Season 1, "Funk" was amazing and for me was way better than the much talked about Madonna and Gaga episodes.


Right, I'll leave it there, but talk to me Gleeks - what were your favourite Glee moments? Which episode could you watch over and over again?

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Thursday, 17 June 2010

First Harvest!

I've been ever so slack with my blog posting this week (it's been a hectic one) so I thought I'd finally get around to telling you about the first crops I pulled from my garden the other weekend following my garden update.

The first things that have been ready in my garden have been the radish and the spinach. The radish were fast growers, ready within 4-6 weeks and they didn't disappoint.


I'm not a fan of radish, at all but Mr M loves them so they were really for him. He said that they were quite zingy, more so than supermarket ones. The chickens certainly loved getting the radish tops!

The spinach took on a life of its own and had to be removed for the general public safety reasons. It was turning into the little shop of horrors! A few of the leaves had been munched on by some little critter and those found their way into the chicken run but the majority was fully intact and superb.


On the picture above you can see my radish on the left and the big mound of spinach on the right - being carefully modeled in my Garden Trading trug which was a leftover accessory from my wedding that is now fulfilling its destiny. (By the way, I did a guest post for Garden Trading recently which you can read here if you are interested!).

I didn't have any meals planned that weekend that involved spinach so I decided instead of being wasteful I would freeze the spinach to use later in curries. I know that looks like shed loads of spinach but believe me, it made a large handful once blanched. I've now got a nice bag full of frozen spinach stashed in the freezer ready to veg up meals when needed, and for those who are interested, this is the method I use for freezing fresh spinach.

Freezing Spinach

First wash the spinach well in cold water and remove any stalks that are left on the leaves.

Bring a pan of water to the boil and pop the spinach leaves in. Boil over a high heat for 1 minute. This is known as blanching.

Drain the leaves and run them under the cold water for a minute or two and drain well.


Place the spinach leaves onto a tray, flat is you wish or in small balls and pop into the freezer for 30 minutes.


Remove the spinach from the freezer and put into a labeled and dated bag and pop back into the freezer. The spinach should keep for around three months.

And there you have it!

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Hot-Crumbed Baby Mozzarella, Beetroot & New Potato Salad


In my never-ending search for yummy salad ideas, I came across this on the Delicious Magazine website.

The Delicious website is a fantastic resource, I'm a big fan of the magazine, and on the website you can find hundreds of their great recipes. A nice feature, much like the one on the BBC Good Food website, is that you'll often find people have rated the recipe. I must admit, I am easily led and a 5* rating can quickly get my interest just as much as a 1* rated recipe will lose it very fast. This recipe had a 4* rating which was good enough for me!

This dish was simple but flavoursome and very satisfying, especially when accompanied by large hunks of buttered crusty bread. Recipe is to serve 4, however I'd say it as a main meal it would be more like 3.

Hot-Crumbed Baby Mozzarella, Beetroot & New Potato Salad

Ingredients

75g fresh white breadcrumbs
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
Generous pinch of chilli flakes
Small handful fresh thyme leaves
50g plain flour
2 large free-range eggs, beaten
150g baby mozzarella balls, drained
250g new potatoes, halved length ways
4 tbsp olive oil
4 cooked, peeled beetroot, quartered
1 red onion, cut into wedges
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Vegetable oil, for deep frying
100g mixed rocket, watercress and spinach

Method

Preheat the oven to 200c/gas mark 6.

In a medium bowl mix together the breadcrumbs, lemon zest, a few chilli flakes, sprinkling of thyme (I used lemon thyme) and seasoning. Place the flour in a second bowl and the eggs into a third.

Pat the mozzarella balls dry with kitchen paper, then roll the balls in the flour, dip into the egg and then roll in the breadcrumb mixture. Repeat in the egg and breadcrumbs to make a double layer then set to one side.

Place the potatoes in a roasting tin and drizzle with half of the olive oil. Scatter with some thyme leaves and a pinch of chilli flakes and season well. Roast for 15 minutes, shaking the tin occasionally. Add the beetroot and onion, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and roast for another 15 minutes.

Remove the vegetables from the tin and put to one side. Add the rest of the olive oil and a squeeze of lemon to the tin and whisk it up to make a dressing.

Half fill a saucepan or deep fat fryer with vegetable oil. Just before serving, heat over a high heat until a cube of bread turns golden in 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, lower the crumbed mozzarella into the hot oil and fry for 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.

Pile the salad leaves onto plates, top with the roasted vegetables and drizzle with the dressing. Top with the hot mozzarella balls and serve!

On the whole it was a pretty simple recipe but I won't pretend that breading the mozzarella pearls was not a complete faff. I was losing the will to live midway through the process but I did persevere and the end result was worth it. I do think that Delicious were being a little optimistic when they said it took 15minutes to prepare, it took almost double that to prep the mozzarella alone!

love & kisses
Mrs M x

PS I've missed the pumpkin seeds off the recipe because quite frankly, I think they are gross and unnecessary!

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Chilli Beef Tacos


I love Mexican food. Actually I'm lying, I love the kind of Tex-Mex stuff you get at places like Chiquitos so not true Mexican food at all. I just can't get enough of tacos, fajitas, burritos, enchiladas...basically I am happy with anything I can load up with copious amounts of cheese and soured cream. 


When I need something tasty and spicy I generally turn to one of these meals and it's usually a Friday or Saturday night. I made these chilli beef tacos for the first time the other week and they were a huge hit. 


I enjoyed the chilli so much that I will most certainly cook this recipe again to go with rice and perhaps with the chilli fries I am making this weekend.

Chilli Beef Tacos

Ingredients
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced  
450g minced beef  
1 clove of garlic, minced  
400g tin chopped tomatoes  
400g tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp hot chilli powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

To serve;
8 taco shells
Shredded lettuce
150ml soured cream
100g grated cheddar cheese

Method

Heat the oil in a large frying pan. 


Fry the onion and pepper for a few minutes until it is beginning to soften. Add the mince and garlic and fry until browned. Stir in the tomatoes, kidney beans, tomato puree, spices, oregano and seasoning. 


Simmer uncovered for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

To serve, heat the taco shells in the oven for 2-3 minutes or as directed. Divide the chilli mixture between the shells, garnish with shredded lettuce, soured cream and cheese.

If I've got any in, I often top with a dollop of salsa. Very simple and very tasty. I use the Discovery Taco Trays as I find them easier to load up and far less messy. I've always found the traditional taco shells collapse a bit under the pressure so these trays are fab! (You don't have to buy the taco kit, they sell the trays on their own).

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

What Delilah Did

I stumbled across the amazing blog "What Delilah Did" a while back and finally had to give in to my urges and order one of her gorgeous Little Golden Birds which she talks about on her blog.

(Picture from "What Delilah Did")

I am going through a real "birdy" phase at the moment and this little fella just suckered me right in as soon as I saw it adorning the walls of her very stylish home. I have to say, seeing is believing as well know, and if at all possible this looks even better in the flesh so to speak. The gold thread is beautiful. I now just have to decide where to put it and am thinking that golden birdy needs a little friend in the form of snow birdy.

I snagged this from Sophie's Etsy shop but if you are competent in embroidery (unlike me) you can also get the patterns at a bargain price here from her pattern shop. Take a look, it's not just birds. The bee pattern is so beautifully intricate.

I received my wee birdy in double quick time, beautifully packaged and the parcel even contained a little special treat for me!

I just wish, wish, wish I had an ounce of Sophies's talent, I'd love to be good at something like embroidery, and if I was I'd be embroidering these left, right and centre!

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Blue Skies & Pigsties

As we weren't getting another form of holiday this year (due to me being too tight to pay...) we decided to go back to Suffolk for the second time in less than twelve months, this time taking the kids. If you've never been to Suffolk, you should go. It's a beautiful part of the country, the food is amazing and the people are the friendliest I've ever met - especially out in the small village communities.

We book Shell Cottage in Aldeburgh with the lovely people at Best of Suffolk, having previously used them before. The week started off well with a lovely welcome pack hand delivered by Mr Lawson of Lawsons Deli! Lawsons sells the most wonderful food, it's well worth a visit. The cottage was great and perfect for our little family as it was so well equipped. There was a travel cot and highchair which saves haven't to cart your own around, TV, DVD player, a great selection of books and DVDs and the kitchen has everything you might need including a washing machine and dishwasher. My only (small) gripe was lack of Freeview/Freesat - It did mean I couldn't watch my beloved Glee but thanks to the handy Sky app on the iPhone I managed to record it!

Aldeburgh is a great place to take a place - some nice shops, a few good restaurants (we ate at Regatta one night with the children and it was lovely), a good sandwich shop called Munchies that does amazing breakfast baps, a small cinema. It's just a nice place to mooch around. The fish and chips here are extremely well known but I have to say that perhaps I am spoilt where I live as I didn't think they were up to much to be honest and so not worth the queue!

The weather wasn't great to start with, the first half of the week was a bit miserable but boy did it heat up towards the end of the week. Phew. Highlights of the trip included Southwold, a place we love, but it was very blustery so some respite & refreshments in the cafe on the pier was required!


We also visited Walberswick which is a fabulous little place, famous for it's crabbing which a lot of people were doing. The kids were fascinated by it, there must have been hundreds of crabs in buckets!


and whilst the weather was a bit rough I managed to squeeze in a bit of family tree research (I am such a geek) and we stumbled across this gorgeous tiny village called Wissett were my children's great great great great great grandmother was born (on Mr M's side). It was beautiful and the church was fascinating as there aren't that many round tower churches left anymore. I've turned into a bit of a church bore since starting the family tree.


Middle of the week and the weather started to improve in time for a trip to the Suffolk Show. What a great day out! I thought it was a little pricey however we spent 7 hours there so definitely got our money's worth. The only thing I can compare it to is the Royal Show or Town & Country Festival that used to be held at the NAC in Stoneleigh, Warwickshire but it was far better and a bit more country. We had a great day which involved lots of looking at baby animals and eating a lot of junk food. A highlight for Mr M and I was seeing an Apache Helicopter up close and then seeing it in the air - they are beasts! Highlight for the kids was holding the cutest baby duck ever! My boy just couldn't resist sneaking in a kiss.

We even managed to sneak in a beach day! We'd been to Great Yarmouth earlier in the week but it was very cold so when the weather perked up we abandoned plans to visit Jimmy's Farm and marched off to spend the day on the beach. We took our beach tent and a stack of newspapers and the kids played merrily in the sand. I first went to Great Yarmouth a few years back pre-kids and wasn't very taken with it but this time I saw it through new eyes - there is so much going on here, lots to entertain kids with, I'm sure we'll be back.


And all too soon it was time to wave goodbye to Aldeburgh and it's blue skies. What a shame to leave on a day like that!


love & kisses
Mrs M x

Monday, 7 June 2010

Beetles, Bugs & Butterflies - Oh My!


Okay so strictly speaking there were no bugs and no butterflies but there was a beetle and one hell of a beetle it was!

One of the *cough* joys of living in the countryside is the multitude of strange looking bugs and insects that festoon themselves around my house. We have no shortage of spiders and gnats out number humans by about 1,000,000,000,000,000 : 1 but occasionally we'll get a real humdinger like a rather hairy spider that I found in the bath one night. I'm not kidding, I almost thought it was a tarantunla it was that big. It had hairy elbows for heavens sake. I had to wait until Mr M was home from the pub to rescue me and it even have him a slight shudder.

But Saturday night brought us one of the creepiest bugs of all. Thankfully it was dead.


We had no idea what it was. I did recall seeing something wandering aimlessly around the garage last week but at the time thought it was a large moth (we have some freaky looking flying things around here...) but on closer examination it appeared to be something else. Second thought was cockroach having not come very close to one of those before but on close examination of my mother-in-laws insect book it turns out it is a Cockchafer Beetle. My inlaws have lived in the countryside all their lives and they've never seen one before.

The Cockchafer is also known as the "May Bug" because, erm, they appear in May and belongs to the Scarab family. They were almost completely eradicated in this country in the middle of the last century but started to make a comeback due to changes in pest control - the larvae lives underground for 4-5 years and can cause a lot of damage to roots. They are completely harmless to humans as they don't sting or bite but man, they are ugly.


There is now one less Cockchafer Beetle stalking the countryside of the West Midlands (Note; it died of natural causes, nowt to do with us) and hopefully I won't be stumbling across many more of these.

love & kisses
Mrs M x

PS For some reason my father-in-law has kept this little specimen on the shelf in his kitchen. I still have no idea why.