Post in association with Uncle Ben’s

Do you have a particular meal that reminds you of your childhood?

Our family went through a vegetarian period in the mid 1980s, when I was about eight or nine years old. I’m not sure if it was an ethical choice, or whether we were just too poor for meat maybe, but I think vegetarianism was quite a thing in the 1980s. My mum has a recipe book I remember very well called ‘The Vegetarian Feast’. Inside the book she kept an empty Tesco brown rice packet, with a recipe on the back for a rice and bean bake.

My mum sent me a picture of the best before date on it as proof of how long she has had it tucked inside the front cover.

rice recipe

It’s this rice and bean bake that I would think of if you asked me to pick a favourite family meal from my childhood. This and Jaffa Cakes, but that’s not really a meal is it? (Although I did eat seven Jaffa Cakes yesterday, so probably should have counted it as a meal.) When Uncle Ben’s got in touch then recently to see if I’d like to cook a family meal that reminded me of home comforts and family memories, I knew exactly what I was going to make.

We talked about it on the family WhatsApp group.

‘I always use one of those packets of rice,’ said my sister, ‘it’s much simpler than faffing about cooking it.’

She actually said that WITHOUT PROMPTING, I didn’t set her up for it at all. It’s true though isn’t it? Wholegrain rice seems to take about two weeks to cook from scratch. View Post

This year I popped my Love Island cherry. As far as cherry popping experiences go, it has been a good one – I certainly haven’t been left underwhelmed. In fact, Love Island has become an integral part of my evening. I even found myself giving relationship advice to a friend yesterday based on the exploits of the Love Island contestants.

‘If you’re finding yourself thinking too much about it,’ I said to a friend who has been seeing a new man for a couple of months, ‘maybe it just isn’t meant to be? It’s like Wes and Megan,’ I said, getting into my stride. ‘Wes was perfectly happy with Laura, but still at the back of his mind he felt like he could potentially be happiER.’ (Who doesn’t want to hear that from someone you’re dating?)

‘But then he got with Megan and he just KNEW,’ I said. ‘Maybe if he was right for you you would just KNOW?’

I feel like this total acceptance of everything that happens on Love Island as FACT probably says a lot about my approach to relationships generally, but we will brush over that bit for now.

What I want to talk about today is how sad I am that Sam and Georgia finally made the decision to leave the villa together. Aside from the fact that Sam is the only one of the boys who I could ever begin to vaguely imagine myself having sex with, (‘he’s relatively kind of small and like a weasel’ I wrote in my family WhatsApp group, ‘so pretty much my type’), I have developed something of a soft spot for Georgia.

I think it’s because she reminds me a bit of myself. View Post

A couple of years ago Belle and I told my mum that Bee’s favourite thing was flamingos. My mum loves to jump on a theme for birthdays and Christmas and we thought it would be funny if Bee ended up with a succession of flamingo themed gifts.

And we were right. It WAS funny.

Do you know what though flamingos? We’re done now. You’ve had your moment, we’ve had enough. It’s time for flamingos to get in the bin.

I’m sick of going into EVERY SHOP IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD and finding some kind of novelty flamingo merchandise. It seems that flamingos have become the new salted caramel and you know how I feel about that.

Yes you’re cool with you’re crazy pink feathers and your bendy backwards legs, but you’ve made your point. We get it. We don’t need all of our umbrellas from now on the have a flamingo head as a handle.

Yes you, you heard me.

flamingo gift ideas

Photo by Ray Hennessy on Unsplash

We definitely do not need: View Post

I’ve got a lot of time for Barry M.

I’m not massively into make-up personally, but when I do wear it I want something fun and colourful, especially on my nails. Barry M nail varnishes are WAY more exciting than a lot of make-up brands, with loads of different colours and finishes. How cool are these Under The Sea nail varnishes? I wore one of these when I went to visit that aquarium in Boulogne, just to get into the spirit of things.

Barry M Under the sea nail varnish

Belle is HUGELY into make-up and she loves creating new looks and experimenting with different products. British company Barry M is perfect for her as it’s good quality but affordable, meaning her she can add new things to her collection without bankrupting me.

Also, fun fact: Did you know that all Barry M products are cruelty free? None of their finished products or individual ingredients have been tested on animals since the company began back in 1982. Most Barry M products are also suitable for vegans. Vegan friendly products all have a green ‘vegan’ symbol on the ingredients page so you can be sure. View Post

I really enjoyed our brief period living in Bristol. I made some lovely friends, I joined a netball team and I ate more brunches from independent cafes than you can shake a slice of fried halloumi at.

I missed Somerset though.

I missed the feeling of familiarity and belonging somewhere, of driving past places and thinking ‘I remember going there with Gran and Grandad when I was little.’

When I moved back to Somerset about four years ago (four years!) it felt like coming home, only better than first time around because I appreciated it more. Perhaps it’s age too, that means I enjoy all that shiz like heritage and feeling rooted in a community. I like chatting to people at the weekly farmers’ market in Taunton and buying locally produced food and drink. I like going to garden centres and drinking cups of tea.

I am living my Best Somerset Life.

Given how fond I am of all the tea drinking and local producers and what not, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I was pretty excited when local tea and coffee legends Miles asked me if I fancied coming for a nose around their factory in West Somerset and helping them launch their new range of Tea Kites.

Basically they asked me to be the poster girl for local tea bags. Pretty sure that’s what happened.

Look how excited I am to be holding a box of tea!

Miles Tea Kites View Post

I went to Iceland for a few days with my sister recently. We had a really lovely time, made even lovelier by the fact that my sister is one of very few people apart from my children with whom I can watch TV.

What is it with people pretending they don’t like watching TV?

Is it just not FANCY enough? Do we want people to imagine we spend our evenings reading wholesome books or going for walks or learning to crochet or something? Because sure, I do do those things from time to time, (not the crochet), but mainly by the time it gets to the evening I just want to mix up a cheeky pina colada, sit on the sofa, and watch some TV.

(The pina colada bit is mainly just in this hot weather.)

how much TV do people watch

My living room. (Not really.)

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