Frosty morning

Today is my very favourite kind of weather.

I looked out of the upstairs window this morning, into the communal garden that forms a perfect, hedge enclosed square at the back of our house, and I could see that the whole lawn was covered with frost. When I made it outside, my breath came out in clouds, and I tipped my head back, pretending to be a steam train.

The grass on the verges was glistening, crunchy underfoot.

frosty grass

On the walk to work I took big strides and deep breaths, smiling and swinging my arms.

In my office, the blue sky is framed by the window and it’s hard to concentrate. I’m meant to be looking at my screen but instead I’m drawn to the semi-circle of blue and the streaks of winter sun that light up the building and the grass opposite.

I walk to the shop for a pint of milk – an excuse to gulp in more of the sweet, winter morning. As I close the door behind me and walk down the steps, onto the pavement, I feel the cold, but in a way that draws me up, makes me taller and fills the world with possibilities.

winter morning

5 cool things to do with children in Spain

We’ve been to Spain a few times, but I have to confess that my Spanish holidays have never been particularly adventurous. We’ve always gone with a friend of ours and her son, and stayed in her family’s villa. Every day has followed a similar routine:

  • get up
  • put on bikini bottoms
  • fix a pina colada with lots of ice
  • lie in the sun reading trashy chick lit and gossip magazines
  • turn self every half hour or so

The kids keep themselves busy in the pool and it’s basically the most relaxing, stress free holiday ever.

*sighs happily*

If you like your Spanish holidays to be a little less horizontal however, I’ve teamed up with First Choice and done some research to pick out a few really cool looking things to do with children in Spain. View Full Post

19 ways to save money and take charge of your day-to-day finances

money saving tips

How much money have you spent this week?

Chances are, you don’t actually know.

One of my fondest memories of my Gran is the fact that at the end of every day, she’d take out a tiny notebook and pencil from her handbag, (which always smelt of Chanel No 5), and she’d write down every penny she had spent that day. Even when she had plenty of money, she never relaxed that control. She wasn’t tight – she was very generous in fact – but she just liked to know.

We don’t do this so much these days do we? Relatively, we’re so much better off than we were when my Gran was bringing up a young family, and that’s obviously a good thing, but it does seem to mean that we’ve lost that ability to control day-to-day spending quite as efficiently.

It’s time to go retro with your finances, recapture that post-war budgeting spirit and save some pennies. View Full Post

recipe – Turkish delight chocolate brownies

recipe turkish delight chocolate brownies

 

The rain is pouring down, the wind is howling, and it’s dark by tea-time, so you know what you need don’t you? A treat! I originally came up with this recipe for Turkish delight chocolate brownies over a year ago, to raise money for Children in Need. It was available as a download on their website and raised over £300, which I was really proud of. 

I thought it was about time that I shared it – Turkish delight chocolate brownies are not something you should keep to yourself. I warn you though, it’s pretty much impossible not to just stand at the kitchen counter, picking off corner after corner, muttering to yourself ‘I’ll just have one more little bit.’

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Learning to take a decent photo – #40thingsbefore40

photography tips

 

I have a list of 40 things to do before I’m 40. You know all about it already right? Come on, of course you do, have you been paying no attention?

On my list is to learn to take a decent photo. I’ve felt for a long time that my photography is the thing that lets down my blog. I can string a sentence together, sure, but so many other blogs I look at have decent sentences and ace photos too. Proper photos, on white backgrounds – collections of beautiful objects, flowers casually placed in jam jars, or breakfasts that look actually like works of art rather than badly lit piles of sick on a plate.

I know how important the visual side of things is online, and I’d just love to know how to do it properly. I bought a half decent camera a couple of years ago – an entry level DSLR, a Nikon D3100 – but I’ve never learnt how to use it properly, and so always end up taking photos on my phone.

To give you a flavour of just how much help I need, here are some examples of my Instagram photography over the years. Bear in mind that these are the photos I have felt are good enough to put on Instagram: View Full Post