My Grandad on my Dad’s side was famous for making a sherry trifle with so much sherry in it that after one bowlful you weren’t really fit to drive home. I’d guess I’d never really thought about it, but my Grandad’s sherry trifle is really the only time I have ever eaten a sherry soaked sponge, I mean, when else would you?? When I was making this reduced calorie sherry trifle with SPLENDA® then, and tasted the bottom sponge layer, I was back in their neat and tidy semi, slipping about on the parquet floor, getting the spoons from the sideboard in the dining room.
I made this Christmas sherry trifle to take to my breastfeeding group Christmas party this weekend. Although none of us have had our boobs anywhere near a baby for years, we still manage to remember to meet up most months for dinner. It’s a very special group of friends.
The trifle though stirred up some people’s not so positive trifle memories.
‘I’m not really a fan of all the jelly and tinned fruit,’ said my friend Helen, trying to be polite but looking a bit appalled at the prospect.
‘Don’t worry,’ I reassured her, ‘this is a very sophisticated trifle.’
And it really is. View Post
Do you remember a while ago I told you about how I’d had to spit in a tube and take a sample of my own poo?
It wasn’t one of the most GLAMOROUS things I’ve ever done in the name of blogging, but I was promised all kinds of interesting insights into my DNA and the workings of my gut, and I was kind of intrigued, so I thought I’d go for it.
A couple of weeks ago I got the results back on both tests and Atlas Biomed were right, I DID learn some interesting things about myself.
My original post talked a bit about how you collect your samples, so I won’t traumatise you with that again. Once your samples have been processed, you’re sent an email to let you know that your results are available online. You then log on and you get a dashboard full of information about different aspects of your health and diet.
Initially my recommendations were based just on my DNA and microbiome tests, but there is also the option to improve the accuracy of your results by completing a short questionnaire about your lifestyle and diet.
The stand out piece of information for me was a warning to follow up one of the results with a GP. Apparently I am a carrier of a disease called Haemochromatosis, which effects how the body absorbs iron. Atlas suggested I speak to a GP to find out more about the risks of passing on the faulty gene before I thought about having children.
Hmmm. View Post
I don’t miss much as a freelancer. I don’t miss having to be at an office by 9am every morning, I don’t miss being told what to do by people who I can’t help but feel are essentially stupider than me, and I don’t miss the politics of who said what to who.
I DO miss the office Christmas parties though. Free food, free drinks, photocopying each other’s bits. (Okay, so I never did that, but it’s always what happens in films.) It’s FUN. It’s the one time of the year when everyone gets that war time spirit and bands together, like ‘you know what? It might be awful here, but we’ve got each other! I love you guys!’
When I get invited to Christmas blogger events then, I’m all over them like a hungry kitten with a can of tuna. You know that bit at the end, where a kitten is so desperate for the last scraps that they’re licking the tin until it’s sliding around the floor? That was me at the thought of the Iceland Christmas event I went to last Saturday.
I was extra excited because I already KNOW how ace Iceland’s Christmas range is. I’ve been working with them for around six months now and I’m sure you’re bored of me telling you over and over how impressed I’ve been with the quality of the food, but what can I say? It’s ALL TRUE. View Post
I was checking my direct messages on Twitter yesterday. I have it set up so that anyone can message me, even if I don’t follow them, so that I can be contacted by potential clients, bloggers asking for advice, fans wanting signed photos, that sort of thing.
One message was a photo.
‘That’s weird,’ I thought to myself, ‘is that just a hand?’
I looked again. It was a cupped hand, palm up.
‘What’s he holding?’ I wondered, ‘is that Caesar salad dressing?’
(Not salad dressing.)
So my question here is, what the actual hell?? In what world is this is a normal thing to send a woman you have never even spoken to before? What part of someone’s brain tells them that this is okay? View Post
A couple of weeks ago I introduced you to the FoodSaver Fresh preservation system. Remember? The cool vacuum packing system that keeps your food fresh up to twice as long?
Well, having shown you how it works, I’m now going to tell you if it works
(Except it’s not really, because I’m assuming you don’t get to be the world’s number one vacuum sealing system without actually being good at it*.)
The first thing to note is that although in my original post I loved the idea of using the FoodSaver Fresh bags to turn all my food into funky looking space food, we have actually used the canisters much more than the bags. The main advantage of the canisters is that you can reuse them again and again. I expect you could wash the bags and reuse them if you really wanted to, but it’s trickier. Fragile things keep their shape better in the canisters too. (Top tip – don’t try to vacuum seal a malt loaf in a FoodSaver Fresh bag.)
So, does the FoodSaver Fresh preservation system actually work?
Let’s start with a simple example – avocados.
I love avocados, but I wouldn’t want to eat a whole one at once. Belle does not like avocados, unless I mush them up and pretend it’s guacamole that I bought in a tub in Sainsbury’s. (I know.) So what happens is that I eat half an avocado, wrap up the other half in cling film in the fridge, and then a couple of days later I throw it away because it has turned black.
Well, not any more. I conducted a FoodSaver Fresh experiment, cutting in half an avocado and wrapping one half in cling film and vacuum sealing the other half in a FoodSaver Fresh bag.
It’s been a while since Belle and I have been on a mini-break.
After we got the kittens, I think we were a bit reluctant to go away and leave them on their own, and so the weeks and months passed and suddenly we realised we’d not been away anywhere for ages. With the evenings being a bit dark and gloomy, it was obvious that Belle was beginning to get a bit twitchy at home. She seemed more anxious than usual, and I was definitely feeling like we’d got stuck in a rut.
It was time to blow away some cobwebs, and what better place to do that than at the seaside?
We’ve got some good friends down in Bournemouth, so we headed down to the south coast. Our accommodation was The Beach House in Milford-on-Sea, which is part of the Hall & Woodhouse group. I was a little bit unsure of what to expect, as sometimes bed and breakfasts that are part of chains can be a little on the naff side, but The Beach House was anything but.
It was dark when we arrived, as we’d not set off hugely early. Partly because Belle likes to sleep until about 1pm, partly because I had a massive hangover. I’d had a couple of friends over the night before for ‘a couple of drinks’, which had degenerated rather unexpectedly into about 14 drinks and a poorly thought out live Instagram broadcast. It’s a long time since I have felt that bad and so I needed to leave it as long as possible before driving for two and a half hours.
The front of The Beach House looked beautiful as we pulled into the car park, as it has some really lovely stained glass windows. I love a bit of stained glass. Inside it positively oozed character. The reception area is also a bar, and there was a real fire roaring, and loads of unique details – books, paintings – and plenty of wood, which is exactly what you want in a winter weekend away. Lush.