“Hello Jo,

I’m a Canadian musician, living in Mexico, married to a Bristol man, mother of two and about to release my 5th independent album.”

Now that’s a cracking start to an email isn’t it? If someone sent that to you you’d definitely read on. I know I did.

The email was from Camille Miller, asking me to have a listen to a track from her new EP called ‘Tiniest of Hearts’, written while Camille was pregnant with her first child, Hannah. Now I don’t know about you, but I find it pretty hard to identify with most modern music. You’ll not often find me ‘in the club with a bottle of bub’ or anything like that, and I find it difficult to get my head round exactly why Rhianna would love the way somebody hurts her and lies to her. That’s not a thing is it? Come on girl, pull yourself together.

Pregnancy and parenthood though, that’s something I know about. Why are there not more songs about that? Sure, the day-to-day logistics of it might not be terribly glamorous, but actually becoming and being a parent is a very powerful, emotional thing.

Camille is going to be in the UK over Christmas and the New Year doing some shows, so why not have a listen to Tiniest of Hearts, and maybe check out her website for show dates, buy an album, or just leave some sort of lovely comment telling her how much you like the song.*

 
*Only if you do obviously. I’m not asking you to lie. If you don’t like it though, probably best just to keep quiet.

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Dear Mummy,

(What do you think by the way of grown-ups who use the word Mummy? I’ve always thought it came across as childish, but an ex-boyfriend of my sister’s used to say it made us sound terribly posh.)

How are you? I hope you are well.

As I’m sure you are aware, the festive season is nearly upon us. Hoorah! I know you find it hard to choose presents for me, so this year I thought I would write you this little note to help you out.

I was just doing a little spot of work and got rather distracted looking at all the Christmas tea gifts on the Twinings website. I thought I might start a collection of decorative tea caddies to compliment my collection of ‘jugs that look like birds where the milk comes out of their beaks’.

I have stacked these tins from the ‘floral collection’ in order of preference, favourite first. Simply click here to purchase the tea gifts or your (my) choice.

"Lavender earl grey"

Lavender Earl Grey

"Rose Garden"

Rose Garden

"Blossom Earl Grey"

Blossom Earl Grey

"Jasmine Earl Grey"

Jasmine Earl Grey

Fondest regards,

Your beloved first-born daughter xx

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As you know, I’m a big fan of comfortable shoes. Even if it does mean my children scoff. I don’t care – rather that than bunions.

How do you feel about shoes though? Do you have a life-long favourite pair? A pet peeve? A ‘must have’?

Cheekyshoes are a brand new company, who want to create fun and funky shoes that are comfortable enough to wear every day, yet colourful enough not to make you feel like you’ve been relegated to the ‘cushioned sole, wide fit’ corner of Clarks.

You can see for yourself that they’ve definitely checked the colourful box:

I have a red pair, and can verify that they are succeeding on the comfy front too. So far so good.

Cheekyshoes really want to know though how you feel about shoes. What is important to you when choosing shoes? What colours or designs would you like to see? What do you struggle with when trying to find shoes that are both fun and functional?

Cheekyshoes have given me three pairs of shoes to giveaway, in return for your honest feedback. To enter, simply leave a comment on this post with all of your shoe thoughts before the end of October, after which a winner will be chosen at random.

If you’d like an extra chance to win, you can tweet the following:

I’ve just entered to #win a pair of @cheekyshoes1 courtesy of @Mummyblogger – you can enter too now! http://wp.me/pJA3j-Vb

If you’re feeling super lucky, you could follow Cheekyshoes on twitter as well. I’d suggest you follow me too, but I’m sure you already are. *stern look*

That’s it!

That was easy wasn’t it?

Open to UK residents only – sorry!

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Do you ever get one of those moments when try as you might to be terribly grown-up and clever, you can’t help but snigger at something really childish?

I had one of those moments last week when a flier for ‘Blow Me’ hairdressers came through the door.

"blow me"

I used to get it too every time I walked past the dog grooming shop near my old house that was called ‘Doggy Style’. It closed down quite quickly, goodness knows why, but they obviously weren’t the only dog groomers with such a sophisticated wit.

*snort*

"Doggy style"

As much as I like to pretend otherwise, my mind is clearly in the gutter. The gutter just outside the salubrious looking Doggy Style.

I decided to conduct some careful market research – (I had a quick google) – and discovered that Doggy Style and Blow Me are not the only companies pushing the boundaries. Fancy being an employee of Flange Entertainment Limited?

Or how about getting yourself a little tattoo down at 4skin?

"4skin"

What is it about rude shop names that is so hilarious? And why would you call your shop something so obviously filthy? Is it just to be memorable? If it is, then it works on me. Next time anyone compliments me on my hair I know what I’ll be thinking.

Blow Me.

Do let me know if you have any ridiculous shop names near you, I always like a giggle.

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It’s Friday! Hoorah! I think we all deserve a bit of a treat don’t you? Today then I’m going to show you how to make a quick and easy chocolate mousse. (That’s the theory anyway).

Although I am no Nigella in the kitchen, Belle is really keen on baking, so I was happy to sign up for the Anchor cooking challenge. We were given vouchers for cream, butter and squirty cream, and keen to rise to the fat-laden challenge I looked for a recipe that involved all three!

I found this easy chocolate mousse recipe in Nigella Express. So, here’s what you need:

  • 150 grams mini marshmallows. (We could only find normal size marshmallows so we just chopped them up a bit.)
  • 50 grams butter (soft)
  • 250 grams dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids) chopped into small pieces. (We used Dairy Milk as it was on offer in Sainsbury’s – three bars for a pound. Bargain!)
  • 60 ml water (hot)
  • 284 ml double cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Squirty cream and chocolate shavings for decoration. (We added this bit ourselves. Nigella doesn’t make a lot of use of squirty cream in her recipes as a rule.)

Method

  • Put the marshmallows, butter, chocolate and water in a heavy-based saucepan. Pop any leftovers in your mouth for safe keeping.

"Chocolate mousse"

"Chocolate mousse"

  • Put the saucepan on the hob, over heat, though keep it fairly gentle, to melt the contents, stirring every now and again. Remove from the heat.

"Chocolate mousse"

  • Meanwhile, whip the cream with the vanilla extract until thick, and then fold into the cooling chocolate mixture until you have a smooth, cohesive mixture.

"Chocolate mousse"

This is where it all started to go wrong. When Nigella says ‘remove from heat’, what I think she really means is ‘leave to cool for ages’. We didn’t do this. When we added our cream to our chocolate mixture, the cream just melted. It became less a mousse and more of a drink. Still we persevered, hoping that if they spent a bit of time in the fridge they might mousse up a little bit.

  • Pour or scrape into 4 glasses or ramekins, about 175ml each in capacity, or 6 smaller (125ml) ones, and chill until you want to eat. Instead of ramekins, we used our new Anchor silicone cup cake moulds, which I think makes them look very pretty indeed. However, this amount of mixture was more than enough to fill all 12 cup cake moulds, so Nigella must be serving big portions.

"Chocolate mousse"

"Chocolate mousse"

We popped them in the fridge and hoped for the best…

*an hour later*

…Success! Sort of. Our chocolate mousses (or should that be chocolate mice?) were definitely a lot firmer, so much so that Belle could finish them off with a squirt of Anchor. I don’t think you could call them mousse though. They were fairly thick and sticky. If I was a chain pub I would probably call them ‘Indulgent chocolate pots’ and charge £4.95 for them.

"Chocolate mousse"

Warning: I have done a rough calculation and there is approximately one million calories per serving.

This is a sponsored post – I’m working with Anchor to promote their brand new rewards club. Pay them a visit now to find out how you can get some of their kitchenware as well as prizes.

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