Don’t make out like you don’t have them too.

We all have little voices in our head from time to time. Not in a worrying ‘the vicar called Tony told me to paint the cat red’ sort of way – I just mean that ongoing internal monologue. We tell ourselves we can’t do things, or that we’re going to make a fool of ourselves, or that we’re looking a bit chubby today. That sort of thing.

Except I don’t really.

I was thinking about this the other day, and I reckon I have my internal monologue pretty well trained. It’s taken effort, and I think a lot of it is to do with age, (I’ve always thought my forties were going to be awesome and I’m building up to that), but on the whole my head voices seem to generally be on my team. They are cheerleading rather than criticising, and I’m grateful for that.

Let’s imagine I look in the mirror.

Here I am:

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Those cubby cheeks! I look about four years old.  View Post

Coming up to Christmas, one of the things I love most about the season is snuggling up in some amazing pjs with a cheesy Christmas film or an episode of Death in Paradise, some nice biscuits Belle has baked earlier that day and of course, a cup of tea. Total Christmassy bliss. 

Recently however I realised that while a lot of pyjamas may be cosy and nice enough, it’s really hard to come by those pairs that really make you feel special and look amazing too. I thought this might be a gap in the market, and as your pyjama choices during this season of ‘lying around on the sofa a bit more than usual’ are very important, (first world problems), then I have put together this list to give you a bit of Christmas pyjama inspiration and show you some of what I, basically a pyjama connoisseur, think makes for some spectacular nightwear.

(Or at least a bit better than the big purple fleece nightie with a bunny on it I wore for about 10 years.)

Desmond & Dempsey – basically everything from this range

I love this range because as soon as you look at it it OOZES class. (Like me.) Even people like me who are hopeless at knowing if things are supposed to be expensive or not can just tell that these are good quality. I picked out this shirt especially because the style is unlike everything I’ve ever seen before and is cute as well as cool, so right up my street, as I am both obviously. All of the patterns are really nice too.

Christmas pyjamas for women View Post

Have you seen the Sainsbury’s Christmas advert? 

The theme is family, togetherness, that sort of thing. It’s been made using stop frame animation and it apparently took 420 hours to film the stop frame part, with another eight weeks post production time on top of this. You can watch it here if you’ve not seen it already:

As part of their Christmas activity this year, Sainsbury’s is also supporting Great Ormond Street Hospital through the sale of stop frame animation kits and gingerbread ‘Daves’. All the profits from the sale of these items will go to the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.

Sainsbury's Christmas advert Great Ormond Street

Sainsbury’s sent me and Belle one of their animation kits to have a look at, along with a couple of gingerbread Daves, which we sort of accidentally ate straight away. (Just in case you’re wondering why these don’t appear in the animation.) The kit is really well put together and comes in a sturdy box that folds out to create two different sets. You get a well-written film-maker’s guide, a few props and some cardboard characters. View Post

How well do you know your children?

Reasonably well, I’d hope, but they can still surprise you. Yesterday afternoon, while Bee was visiting, I made mine fill out these 20 questions to ask your children from Shepherds Friendly. Have a look at the link and you can download and print off the list to do with your own children.

Here are our results:

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Do you remember a little while ago I tried out Everdine? It’s a food delivery service where everything is wonderfully wholesome and delicious. Imagine what it’s like being at my house for tea. (We had fish fingers, mini potato waffles and baked beans last night.)

Everdine is the opposite of that.

In yet another fantabulous Christmas competition, I’m giving away a month of clean eating meals from Everdine. It’s two, eight meal boxes, spread over a month, so 16 meals in total. That’s enough to make sure that you’re nicely balancing out all the Christmas excess and don’t have to feel quite as bad about yourself as if you were having mince pies and mulled wine for every meal. 

Everdine clean eating View Post

I’m a bit loathe to call this a recipe, as the whole point of bubble and squeak is to use up leftovers. I don’t want you to look in the fridge and think ‘Oh, I’ve only got two leftover sweet potatoes, so I definitely can’t make this…’

That’s really not the point. 

I’ll just tell you what I did, and then you can copy it, or have a look in the fridge and switch in other ingredients. I’m cool with that.

So, food waste. I’m actually pretty good at this, mainly because I’m so slack at doing the shopping in the first place that I never have enough in the fridge for dinner, let alone for leftovers. Since I upgraded my phone though, and no longer have to delete Twitter just to take a photo, food waste has become a bit more of an issue. I’ve rediscovered the joy on online food shopping you see, which means I get all over excited and order loads of things for actual recipes. Then I remember that I’m only home one night in the next four, and wonder what I’m going to do with it all.

This afternoon for example I’m leaving work early to make four steak and ale pies for the freezer (never done that before) because I have all the ingredients but we are going to my mum’s for tea.

Sainsbury’s is on a bit of a mission to reduce food waste too, with their #WasteLessSaveMore initiative

Households in the UK waste a mind blowing 15 million tonnes of food and drink every year. To bring this to life, that includes 5.8 million potatoes, almost 6 million glasses of milk and an astonishing 24 million slices of bread everyday!

Not only is this a huge problem for our environment, but families are throwing away money along with food. In fact, the average British family wastes £700 per year on food that could have been eaten, but is thrown away instead, that’s around £60 a month.

Sainsbury’s is passionate about helping families waste less, and save more, which is why they’ve invested £10 million in helping shoppers reduce food waste at home. A big part of that is helping families make better use of their leftovers – which is where you come in!

The website is definitely worth a look as it has some great recipes for using up leftovers, tips on freezing food properly – loads of useful stuff. I love the look of their eight winter salads, especially the beetroot one. I love a bit of beetroot.

You can make a start on reducing food waste and saving money by using your leftovers to make me twist on classic bubble and squeak…

How to make spicy sweet potato and spinach bubble and squeak

I started off with one large sweet potato, which had been cooked the day before. Sweet potato is less starchy than regular potatoes, so it works particular well when they are genuine leftovers and have had chance to dry out a bit. If you’re cooking them fresh, make sure to drain them really well. Mash the sweet potatoes up with a little bit of butter, salt and pepper. You won’t need to add any liquids.

I used ground cumin and garam masala to spice my sweet potatoes as these are my favourites. I went with a liberal sprinkle – maybe around half a teaspoon of each? 

spicy sweet potato and spinach bubble and squeak recipe View Post

These t-shirts from Son of a Tailor are genius.

If you’ve been wondering what to get for Christmas for your husband, dad, brother, awkward nephew, then your search is over. You’re welcome. (Plus read on and I have a discount code.)

Son of a Tailor make custom fitted t-shirts for men, totally bespoke, made to order, exactly as you want them. You simply buy a gift card, and it comes presented like this, making it an ace looking present. 

Son of a Tailor discount code

Inside you get a tape measure and a gift card, with a code to create a free t-shirt. Free international shipping is included as standard. They have really gone the extra mile here to turn what could have just been an emailed discount code into something really special. (You don’t get the cotton reels – you’re not expected to make the t-shirt yourself – that’s just me being fancy with props.) View Post