Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Emmys 2010


I was reminded that I normally do a fashion post when there has been an awards ceremony, so why break with tradition? I had planned to blog the Emmys but just hadn't quite got around to it.

As usual here's what I loved and what I didn't love quite so much.

Everyone is raving about the Mad Men girls. Me? I do like Christina Hendricks in Mad Men but there's something about her ample bosom that just makes me go meh. Her breasts just look ridiculous. I know she can't help it but that doesn't mean I have to like them. January Jones looked amazing, almost unregonisable, brave choice and Elisabeth Moss looked extremely elegant in her Donna Karen dress.


I thought Kelly Osbourne looked extremely svelte although I'm not sure if I love her hair colouring or not.


Toni Collette is looking a bit too "LA" for me. I'm not sure what it is, the hair maybe?


I think Susan Sarandon looks amazing. I hope I look this good at her age, or even now would be good.


I love Heidi Klum, I do, but I'm just not sure this dress does her any favours at all. It makes her look a bit of a funny shape?


Why does Emily Blunt always look like she's sucking on a lemon? To be fair, if I'd loved & lost Michael Buble I'd probably be a bit sour-faced too. I suppose this is okay, bit of a boring colour though.


Not sure about this on Dianna Agron, she looks lovely as always but it's a bit frilly for my liking.


I really dislike Anna Paquin. I'm not sure I've ever disguised that fact either. Just look at her face. She always looks so bloody miserable and uncomfortable.


Jane Lynch - WOW! She looks amazing. Beautiful and elegant.


Jane Krakowski is looking lovely, very elegant dress.


Lea Michele always looks good at awards doesn't she? She must have a top stylist working for her. This dress is amazing, I love it.

Love this colour on Naya Rivera. I'm not so sure about the barnet but the dress rocks.


When I first saw this picture of Clare Danes I thought WOW. How gorgeous does she look? She's really pulled off the sparkly look. Completely love it.

Eva Longoria is gorgeous isn't she but she quite often plays it safe in a little black number. Nothing offensive here but nothing terribly exciting either.

Sorry Kyra Sedgwick, I'm not loving this.


Yay for Tina Fey. Bold print and lovely silhouette. Not something I'd wear but she's working it.


The gorgeous Jayma Mays. She looks beautiful and totally un-Emma Pillsbury like.


Emily Deschanel - too many frills, too many frills. I think I am developing an aversion to frills?

Jenna Fischer I don't know who you are but I adore this colour and style on you.


Jenna Ushkowitz is looking hot in red! Very flattering and I love her hair.


What did you think? Who were your favourites? My votes go to January Jones and Clare Danes.

love & kisses
Mrs M x

PS Just in case you thought I'd forgotten to mention Twilight in this blog post. Here's one for the ladies.

Peter Facinelli. Oh yes.

Monday, 30 August 2010

When you were young...?

I was tagged last week by Kate from The Five Fs blog. Kate has asked me to talk about what I wanted be when I was younger. It's a good job the question was "what did you want to be when you grew up?" because a) I still don't know and b) I'm not entirely sure I've grown up yet. All my life I have flitted about from one idea to the next, and I still do. I can never settle for one thing I want to do, there are so many wonderful careers out there I'd like to try but lets face it, I'll probably never do any of them!


At a young age, I guess around age 5, if you'd asked me I would have said "nurse". My parents were both nurses, as were both my aunties and my grandparents also worked in the same hospital. I grew up in the grounds of that hospital and spent many hours wandering the corridors and wards with my grandad and parents (We'll ignore the fact that it was a lunatic asylum *cough*). I guess it stands to reason that I wanted to be a nurse too given that my closest relatives wear. My auntie wore the most fabulous cape and hat which I was very jealous of. I guess I would have been very disappointed now if I thought I could dress up like that!


At about 9 I think I had settled on being a nun (no sniggering at the back, I don't think I was fully aware of what it meant). I was a good Catholic girl (until I hit my teens) and went to Catholic schools and was taught by a nun who was just lovely. I had spent time at convents and retreats with nuns and young men training to be priests and the whole thing fascinated me. However, it wasn't long before I discovered boys...

Around age 14 I dreamed of working in the media - journalism in particular. I loved English and writing assignments and liked the idea of writing articles for magazines and newspapers. I lacked a fair bit of get up and go at school however, and it just never seemed important to me to pursue this as a real option. I think looking back, I also lacked a fair bit of parental support. I love my parents but they were't that interested in my education and I just wish that once they had said to me "you can be anything you want to be" and spurred me on a bit.



I left school, did a course at college and then took on a job as an office junior. That was 14 years ago and I am still in the same job, albeit doing different tasks. My role is categorised as "business development" - marketing, promotion, tendering for new work and organising the social side of the business - events, team bonding sessions, parties.... not exactly the stuff of dreams but it's flexible and it pays well so that's my lot for now!

I still dream of what I will be "when I grow up". Home Economist? Archeologist? Child Psychiatrist? Police Officer? Teacher? All jobs I've thought about. I quite often settle on Midwifery and have almost taken the plunge once or twice however what I know about the NHS and how it works (a fair bit due to my current job) holds me back. That and the fact the midwives I met when pregnant seemed to be a certain type of person and not one that I would want to be. I still have the urge to nurse and care for people so I've decided for the meantime that when the children are at school I will volunteer at a local hospice as finances mean that it would be hard for me to give up my day job just yet.


A job in a caring profession was my childhood dream and it appears I am still holding on to that!

I'm not going to tag anyone on this post but do leave a comment and let me know what you wanted to do with your life!

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Classic Spaghetti


This is one of the easiest things you''ll ever make in your life.

This recipe is based on the classic spaghetti recipe from BBC Good Food. It's incredibly simple but perfect for when you really can't be bothered to cook. I always need dinners like those on work nights and this has become a bit of a staple. This recipe is to serve 4.

Classic Spaghetti

Ingredients

1 medium onion
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
400g tin chopped tomatoes
20g basil leaves, chopped
400g dried spaghetti
150g pack of mozzarella pearls

Method

Peel and dice the onion. Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and when hot, tip in the onion. Cook for 5 minutes until it is starting to soften. Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes until the onions start to turn golden. When the onion is softened, tip in the tomatoes and half the basil. Leave to gently bubble for 15 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Stir occasionally.

Cook the spaghetti according to the pack instructions (for around 10 minutes). Scoop out a cup of water before draining, in case you need any to loosen the sauce.

Tip the drained pasta into the cooking pan and pour over the tomato sauce. Give it all a good stir to coat the pasta, adding a bit of water if it is too thick. (If it is too watery, cook over a low heat until it's evaporated, stirring all the time).

Stir the mozzarella and remaining basil leaves through the spaghetti and serve straight away.

I think this is a great basic spaghetti recipe which could easily be adapted further. For instance, next time I might add some dried chilli flakes to spice it up a little or you could add some spicy sausage.

I sometimes really crave a big plate of spaghetti and this touches the spot every time!

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Saturday, 28 August 2010

30 Days/30 Things - Day 30 The Final

Today is Day 30. Yes, I realise I have skipped gleefully past Day 25 (your day in great detail), Day 26 (your week in great detail), Day, 27 (your month in great detail) and Day 28 (this year in great detail) but I feel like those would be quite mundane posts due to my mundane life and we don't need you nodding off do we? Besides which, I'm feeling rebellious.

I'll briefly cover Day 29 here now though which is "hopes, dreams and plans for the next 365 days". I guess this one is quite simple. I want the children to settle into school well and start to build proper friendships. I'd like to make more friends in the village for myself. I want get the ball rolling on plans for a holiday home (pie in the sky dreams, eh). But mainly, I want us to have a healthy year - I feel we've all been plagued by trivial illnesses in the past 6 months and it would be nice to see the back of those. And whilst we're on it, the ability to kneel again would be lovely.

Day 30 is the final one "whatever tickles your fancy". So here it is - tickling my fancy today...


Actually, he's been tickling my fancy since a rather inappropriate dream a few nights ago, but we'll say no more about that...

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Spiced Damson Chutney


I should really be waiting until Christmas to blog about this chutney seeing as I can't taste the darned thing for a few months. Yes, Delia tells me it needs time to "mellow" so it is currently mellowing in my kitchen cupboard.

I decided to make damson chutney after being given a bag of them by a work colleague. She had a glut and was never going to use them so offered them to me. I've never cooked with damsons before so I had never experienced having to remove the stones out of gazillions of them. I used one of Delia's methods which was stewing them and then picking out the stones with rubber gloves - messy and extremely tedious and I really should have counted the damsons going into the pot as I swear I pulled out three times as many stones.

I found chutney making quite therapeutic if a little bit faffy. It took quite a while to get all the ingredients into the pan but I had a nice feeling of satisfaction once there were all in there and bubbling away on the hob.

I didn't have an allspice berries so I used a heaped teaspoon of ground allspice and shall hope for the best.

Spiced Damson Chutney

Ingredients

1.35kg damsons
2 heaped tsps ground ginger
2 small cinnamon sticks
25g allspice berries
1 tbsp cloves
1.2 litres malt vinegar
450g cooking apples
3 large onions
3 cloves garlic
450g seedless raisins
450g dark soft brown sugar
450g demerara sugar
2 tbsps sea salt

Method

First, remove the stones from the damsons. You can do this be either halving them and twisting out the stone or stew them in 275ml of the vinegar and then picking through them with rubber gloves as the flesh comes away from the stone.

Put the damsons into a large preserving pan. Core the apples (leave the peel on) and finely chop them in a food processor. Finely chop the onions in the food processor. Add the apples and onion to the preserving pan.

Crush the garlic and put that into the pan along with the ginger, raisins, sugar and rest of the vinegar. (If you are using ground allspice pop that in now as well). Sprinkle in the salt and stir everything through well.

Wrap the cinnamon, allspice berries (if you are using them) and cloves in muslin and tie the top loosely with string to form a small bag. Tie the bag to the handle of the pan and suspended amongst the rest of the ingredients.

Bring everything to the boil, then lower the heat and let the chutney simmer for 2-3 hours. Stir it occasionally to prevent it sticking to the bottom of the pan.

To test if the chutney is ready you need to do the channel test. If the chutney is ready when you draw a channel with a wooden spoon across the surface it should leave an imprint for a few seconds.

Whilst the chutney is still hot pour into hot, sterilised jars, filling them as full as possible as it will shrink back when cooled. Seal the jar tightly with a vinegar-proof lid.

Label the jars when cold and store the chutney in a cool, airy cupboard and leave it to mellow for at least 3 months before eating.

The recipe makes about six 1lb jars of chutney, so a decent amount. I'm wondering what I will do with it all but I already have four people wanting a jar!

The aroma from the spices was amazing. Seriously. It felt like Christmas when it was cooking, even though it's still only August! (Was also a particularly cold day when I was making it which helped it feel even more festive!).

Delia suggests eating this with cold meats, cheese and also sausages. I actually think from the smell, it would be AMAZING with sausages or some nice festive ham so will be trying both of these at Christmas!

I will report back in a few months with the final verdict on the chutney.

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Sunday, 22 August 2010

30 Days/30 Things - Day 24


"Whatever tickles your fancy"

Why do I find this one so hard? I'm going with another YouTube video. This time from Step Up 3D which I saw at the cinema last week. I thought I was going to hate it but I bloody loved it and now have the soundtrack on repeat in my car at all times.


That is the aforementioned Chadd Smith and is Hot. With a capital H.

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Easy Nachos


Mr M is away at the moment so I decided to have a film night last night (New Moon - I needed some Robert Pattinson in my life) and settle down with a large glass of red and some snacks. I wanted to be a little bit more indulgent than usual - normal TV snacks normally consist of a bag on Onion Rings and a Wispa but last night I settled on nachos.

Not entirely authentic, these nachos are perfect for knocking up to scoff in front of the TV, aside from the fact that they are one of the messiest things to eat EVER!

They're incredibly quick to put together and are delicious. You could quite easily have the ingredients in your cupboard/fridge which is another reason why they are so great.

This recipe is adapted from one at BBC Good Food. My ingredient quantities are a bit vague but that's because you can't really go wrong - just adapt to suit your own taste buds. For instance you might want to put on more or less cheese or skip the jalapenos if you don't like them.

Easy Nachos

Ingredients

Large bag of plain tortilla chips
Jar of salsa (I used Old El Paso Original Thick'n'Chunky Salsa)
Couple of sliced spring onions
Cheddar cheese, grated
Pinch of dried chilli flakes
Sliced red jalapenos (from a jar)

To serve;
Soured cream
Guacamole

Method

Tip the tortilla chips into a shallow oven-proof dish, pour over the salsa and scatter the sliced spring onions over the top.

Top with the grated cheese, scatter with a pinch of chilli flakes and a few sliced jalapenos.

Place under a hot grill for around 3-4 minutes - just long enough to melt the cheese.

Serve out of the dish with a large (un)healthy dollop of soured cream and guacamole.

I made enough for two people but as it was my whole dinner I ate the lot. Oink.

love & kisses
Mrs M x

30 Days/30 Things - Day 23

"A YouTube Video"

Ken Leeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

I laughed so hard I cried when I first watched this video.



That, is YouTube gold, right there.

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Friday, 20 August 2010

Vintage at Goodwood 2010


I've been meaning to write this blog post all week but better late than never, huh.

Yes, I went to the first Vintage at Goodwood festival last weekend. I'm quite the regular at Goodwood events, mainly the Festival of Speed but I am also attending the Revival this September too. I happened across Vintage when booking tickets for the Revival and immediately thought it looked like something I would enjoy. I badgered Mr M into coming along and for the past few months have been eagerly awaiting the event.

Firstly, there was a lot of hype in the run up to the event and more recently a few seemingly disgruntled bloggers have been talking about what is wrong with the Vintage event. Apparently the Vintage team and their PR company haven't been the most friendliest of people and have pushed a few bloggers noses out joint. It's not nice to hear of people being treated badly and of course if this has happened then that's out of order however a lot of the stuff I have read just comes across a bit bitter, mainly because they didn't get free press passes. I fail to see why a blogger should get free press passes but perhaps that's just me. Secondly the amount of what can only be described as snobbery from people who clearly see themselves as vintage connoisseurs is astounding - practically looking down their noses at the people who have flocked to the event because in their eyes they're just doing fancy dress. For heaven's sake. And for the sake of my blood pressure that's all I am saying on that.

On to the event...! I was a little apprehensive due to the weather last weekend - typical British summertime, rain, rain and more rain was forecast and we were camping (alas, not glamping at Goodwood as I couldn't really justify the cost), however in reality the rain wasn't that bad and aside from a few quick showers, it was fine. Overall I was impressed with the event, although it was smaller than I thought it would be. It was great to walk around looking at people's outfits - some people had made a real effort and there was a real good vibe, with everyone just seeming to have a really good time. I'm not going to witter on about everything that was at the event so quickly, here are the things I liked and didn't like about Vintage at Goodwood.

The Good

The theming - a lot of thought had been put into the pop-up high street and it was very well done.

The toilets - clean and always had toilet paper, very refreshing!

It was a really "clean" event, litter was picked up swiftly, but then the people attending weren't really the type to leave their garbage strewn around.

The vintage market sellers were good - there were lots of sellers there I had never heard of and there was a vast array of vintage clothing available and quite reasonable prices.

The Bad

The queues for the toilets. When will event organisers work out that women need more loos! Most women gave up and used the mens in the end.

We could've done with a bit more seating. There was a fair bit provided but it was still a struggle to find somewhere to park your bottom for a rest.

The pop-up high street shops were quite small and very busy. I think these could have been made a little bit bigger as some you just couldn't get in for all the people, especially the ones set up as workshops.

The Ugly

The cost of food and drinks. The takeaway curry was indeed yummy, but it was also £8.50 for a portion that you had to eat out of a tin foil tray standing up. Tea and cake for two people cost £10.50. Bottles of pop were £2.00, burgers £4.50. I felt thorougly pillaged by the time we left.

The all important photos... (I didn't take that many so they're not fabulous)

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I loved the Demon Drome riders. I've never seen a Wall of Death before and my heart felt like it was in my mouth the whole time. Excellent stuff. The roller disco looked pretty cool however due to my knee problems Mr M wouldn't let me have a go so we just stuck to the fairground rides like the Super Skid which was SO FAST!

Next year I'd like to see it even bigger with perhaps a few more well-known bands and musicians to enjoy as well as a lot more dance lessons - these looked like great fun but there weren't many of them. It would also be good to see more vintage homewares and random junk for sale rather than solely fashion. There were a few sellers that had some bits and pieces but on the whole it was clothes.

All in all, we had a great day. Yes there are a few teething problems but that's to be expected. I think there is loads more the Vintage team could do and hope that in 2011 they come back with an even greater festival.

love & kisses
Mrs M x

PS A rather amusing moment was seeing some child's welly fly off on on the Chairoplanes and wang an innocent passerby in the noggin. Okay, I shouldn't laugh, but still... Oh and I also had two minor celeb spots - Patsy Palmer and Stacey from Gavin & Stacey fame. It took everything I had in me not to unleash my Celebrity Tourettes problem and start yelling "Rickaaaaay" and "Oh! What's Occurin'".

(Perhaps this PS should be removed as it's showing how juvenile I actually am!)

30 Days/30 Things - Day 22


"A website"

Now, my first instinct was to post my favourite website but then I saw what Day 23 was asking me...so I've picked another.

IMDB.

I seriously love IMDB. There's barely a cinema trip or movie night that doesn't end with me ferociously searching IMDB to find out where I know certain charactrers from or to find out the names of people in it - as in the case of Step Up 3D last week when trying to find out who the sexy robot dancer man was. (Chadd Smith if you're interested).

Great website.

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Thursday, 19 August 2010

30 Days/30 Things - Day 21


"A recipe"

I found this trickier than it sounds seeing as I post a lot of recipes however I've picked one that I've attempted with little success but has lots of potential!

This cheesecake was a big fat failure for me one Christmas Eve yet people rave about it. It tasted beautiful but just never set. It was quite expensive to make so I've been put off attempting it again.

If you do try it, let me know!

Bailey's and White Chocolate Cheesecake

Ingredients

8oz digestive biscuits
4oz butter
Topping
400g good quality white chocolate
5tbsps Bailey's Irish Cream

2 tbsps whiskey

500g tub creme fraiche

142ml tub double cream

Method

Take out an 8” or 10” tin. Blitz digestive biscuits to crumbs in processor and add softened butter and blitz again until starting to hold together. Press into tin and put in fridge.


Melt white chocolate in a large bowl. Run the beaters of an electric mixer under boiling water, dry, and slowly dribble alcohol onto melted chocolate, beating all the time. It may looked seized, but keep whisking and it will become smooth and glossy.

Fold in the crème fraîche with a spatula or spoon, whip cream and fold that in too. Pour over base and leave to set in the fridge. Chill overnight.

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

30 Days/30 Things - Day 20


"A hobby of yours

Easy peasy. Genealogy/Family History.

God, I love it. I spend more time and money than is sensible on it but I just can't get enough. I find it thoroughly fascinating - it makes me feel that much closer to my ancestors just to know their names, their occupations, where they lived... It's a proper addiction for me that can easily see me sitting up way past midnight and then lying in bed at night wondering about how to solve a mystery.

I've been working on my family tree since 2007 and am doing Mr M's at the same time. Strangely I am just as excitable and enthusiastic about his family tree as I am my own. Maybe it has something to do with having children - after all his ancestors are my children's ancestors.

If you've never delved into your family tree, I wholeheartedly recommend it, but prepared to be sucked in!

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

30 Days/30 Things - Day 19


"A talent of yours"

Well. This is embarrassing. I don't think I have a talent.

I can't sing, I can't sew, knit or crochet. I can't play a musical instrument. I'm no good at sports. I can't even touch my nose with my tongue.

I am actually talentless.

I'm sure one day I'll find my real talent....

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Monday, 16 August 2010

30 Days/30 Things - Day 18


"Whatever tickles your fancy"


This. This is what tickles my fancy today.



My favourite song at the moment. Can't get enough of it.


love & kisses
Mrs M x

Sunday, 15 August 2010

30 Days/30 Things - Day 17

"An Art Piece"

I'm not even going to pretend I'm interested in art, because really, I'm not. Most of it I look at and thing, what the deuces?!

Generally a lot of it I think could be done better my 4 year old, however I do have a soft spot for Caroline Shotton's cows and have lusted over this print for the past few years.


If anyone's feeling generous...

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Saturday, 14 August 2010

30 Days/30 Things - Day 16


"A song that makes you cry (or nearly)"

This is where I reveal just how sappy I am.

Circle of Life from The Lion King makes me cry ALL the time.



Especially the lyrics...
There's more to see than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done
There's far too much to take in here
More to find than can ever be found


Man. I'm such a wimp.

love & kisses

Mrs M x

Friday, 13 August 2010

30 Days/30 Things - Day 15

"A Fanfic"

I don't even know what a fanfic is. Answers on a postcard please.

love & kisses
Mrs M x

Thursday, 12 August 2010

30 Days/30 Things - Day 14


"A Non-Fictional Book"

A book relating to my favourite monarch and my favourite period in history - the Tudors.


Alison Weir is an amazing writer, so readable and she really sucks you in. This book was fascinating. It was also the first Alison Weir book I bought and I have now bought several other titles that she has written including Children of England and Elizabeth The Queen. I just love Henry VIII, his wives and children, I cannot get enough of their stories.

love & kisses
Mrs M x