My Kitchen my friend


my kitchen my friend



kitchen work space blog

(This post is for the “My Kitchen story” Linky Challenge, sposored by Fairy Platinum)

i heart fairy

My Kitchen is;

my partner in crime – and where I like to spend most of my time.

Its seen my tears of joy and tears of pain, my ups my downs my many frowns.

Its shared a drink – good times

Mornings of coffee and telephone rings.

Its fed my children and many friends – its not up-date and bucks ‘the trend’

It might be tired and in need of an update, its wonky walls and lack of cupboard space –

But it still remains my favorite place

I’m in it now……whist the husbands whisks up lunch


whisk textpointing down arrow transparent

Peeling, chopping, slicing, frying – in the pot, stir, steam – served piping hot.

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HOWEVER…………the messy messMy husband who is the chef (alas) makes a total mess….and I who is KP (Kitchen Porter) would cry if it was not for Fairy!

i heart fairy(Fairy Platinum All In One)


Sunshine and sorting summer wear for 2014



“So” according to the weather man – and virtually everyone I’ve spoken too this week The summer is about to arrive for an outing in the UK?! – For two weeks?!

I can’t help but be Very dubious about this……..especially because its almost ‘Wimbledon weather’ – or mostly soggy strawberries and cream weather!

This said (cynically) today the sun is actually out (like the mums at school told me so – ditto the weather man) And I did start my day with a morning mug of coffee in the garden – in the sun, And I did go for a cycle ride avec “le soleil” in a tee-shirt and with sunglasses!

“So maybe there is something in it”? I do hope so!

Summer clothes

Whether the sunny weather will or has arrived (or not) its prompted me to shove my winter clobber to the back of the wardrobe and replace the knits with hues of summer and flip flops – and review what my wardrobe needs to be Ready for the beach, summer cycles and those relaxed summer evenings :0)

And I’ve started to put together ideas for my 2014 summer WEAR LIST

to the beach


My favorite beach of all time is Thornham Beach in North Norfolk – where my family and I have holidayed (almost) every year since I was about 12.

And as predictable as it is I’m loath to change it as our holiday destination.

Partly because the kids love it, partly because we live close enough for the journey to be child friendly and not have to stop the car for a loo break. But mainly because I’m in love with North Norfolk and never tire of its breathtaking deserted beaches.

And when in Norfolk its the beach where we tend to spend most of the day; beach-combing, running,swimming,reading and picnicking. Until about 5pm, when we all begin to feel a little weathered and really need a wee!


(Image found via

My favorite summer beach wear combination is bikini top with tee-shirt (and possibly also a jumper because it is only the UK) denim shorts and a big canvas bag which holds my drawing pads, books, papers,sunglasses and all the kids guff (of course)

apc 2

On my BEACH WEAR LIST  would be all of the above!

All taken form from A.P.C (

(who I also have a love affair with! and where all of my summer WEAR LISTS have taken inspiration from)

To finish off my Beach wear list I would also wear a bright pink pair of Havaianas Flip flops :0)

(Tropical Pink Havaianas £15.99 from

beach style with sexy back sweater and cut offs. I wouldn't do the highwasted shorts tho

(Girl on beach image found via



Cali beach style


As soon as the sun arrives I like to get on my bike and cycle – EVERYWHERE.

We are lucky enough to live somewhere very flat with good rural roads to cycle on and plenty of stop off points (to eat our snacks)

So come the summer holidays the kids and I spend much of our time on our bikes.

Below is my Summer CYCLING WEAR LIST

A white tee-shirt, over shirt or thin jacket (for the wind) denim shorts, and a bangle (because who doesn’t need a bangle?)


(All above from A.P.C collection Femme)



I love relaxed summer evenings and the below is an outfit I would typically like to wear.

A Summer jacket, mixed with a tee-shirt and the denim shorts I will have worn earlier in the day, accessorized with some evening bling/bracelets or earrings/bag.


(image found via



(With a little cotton skirt as alternative to the denim shorts)

(All from A.P.C, Collection Femme)


Well its still out (the sun) *crosses fingers*

Happy Summer wardrobe sorting folks xxxx






Cinnamon Toast Sunday Breakfast! :0)


(Above kilner jar(s) Illustration bkb90’schild – photo found

This morning a rainy old Sunday morning I decided to make us some comfort food – Cinnamon Toast!

Now ‘totally’ aware that sugar is now the devil of the modern world ditto bread this recipe is “I guess” walking on the WILD side of life!

Although cinnamon is actually – OR so I’m told the champion of spices helping to control blood sugar (I know a very ironic point in relation to the nature of this recipe) prevent diabetes and maybe

even cancer!

cinnamon toast jar ON OWN

Anyway…so with the coffee pot on I begin to concoct the Cinnamon toast – a recipe ingrained in my brain from time working in a day cafe)

Below is how I do it;

Cinnamon Toast

Slices of Brown bread

50g of butter (brought to room temperature)

1 and half table spoons of sugar (I use brown but white is fine)

1 and half teaspoons of Cinnamon.


Mix the butter, cinnamon and sugar together, until the buttery mixture looks brown.

Spread evenly on to the bread and pop under the grill until the butter starts to bubble and the edges of the bread toast.

(Beware the the topping will be pipping hot so leave to cool for a minute – whist you pour a coffee or make tea then slice and serve)

cinammon toast x1

(Above Image found


xbcoffee cup



Goodbye Old Jeans


My jeans (pictured below) have had a busy week………….

beth green jean zara

Because my jeans (my old Zara faithfuls – bought at a jumble sale) – have faithfully accompanied me for (approximately) 5 x 20hour days this week – whilst I ‘pulled late 2am ones’ working to a deadline.

  • And through this period they have (bless them) enured spillages of late night muesli, camomile tea and red wine.
  • Have stains of pushbike oil, mud, tinned tomatoes, a splash of beach and a slop of Rioja.
  • Watched (ALOT) of 2am graveyard shift telly (#poker)
  • And on day 5 and hour 86 of consecutive wear have begun to smell – I noticed yesterday morning as we cycled (downwind) to school)

So today I took OFF my old faithfuls and popped them in the wash……..(!)

In reality I know that the life of these jeans; my old working mates, my 2am poker watching friends has come to an end – with one stain too many – destined to become a ‘painting jean’ :0(

And I’m OK with it (I think)…

What I’m not relishing though is the the sweat (the ball ache) that accompanies finding a new pair of jeans – or ones that you like.

Of course I will procrastinate about starting to look for a new pair.

Eventually I will start a internet search – halfheartedly, whilst drinking coffee and slopping around in my running leggings.

(And I will procrastinate some more.)

However Pinterest has helped to fire up my visual jean juices and helped me to start thinking about thinking to look for a new pair.


Below are the styles I liked :0)

Jean x1

Love the French relaxed jean chic!

(Image via

French Voguettes

Jean x2 

WHITE JEAN – ‘enough said!’ – love them especially with a sneaker pump.

(photo via

all whiteJEAN X3

Hands up who ‘doesn’t’ want this women’s style and of course her jeans collection (jealous!) Emmanuelle Alt we salute you!

(Picture of Emmanuelle Alt – found via FIG + SALT –

emmanuelle alt


“Oh Black jean how I will never tire of you” looking great with a grey tee!

(Photo via


white chucks, red nailsJEANX5

The ripped one? – “well I guess” but only if I can rip the stains out of my Zara pair?

Photo via

jeans + conversejean board blog board x1



Morrisons Bank Holiday Monday Middle Eastern Feast


tom and orange copymorrisons title

Don’t you just LOVE’ a bank holiday! – especially if (like me) you decided to shun the (not so lovely) traffic jams, full of caravans and instead spend the extended weekend at home :0)

Excitingly though this bank holiday I had also been invited by Britmums to be a #morrisonsMum! (Whoop) – Celebrating their ‘I’m cheaper range’


As I had already invited friends over for Sunday lunch I decided to put my £80 Morrisons vouchers towards the Lunch.

And armed with the vouchers I couldn’t wait to get to our local Morrisons and get shopping – to see what we could buy!! :0)

morrisons butcher pic

Already fond of Morrisons meat and their market street butchers – I took full advantage and opted to buy a beautiful whole shoulder of Lamb, which would later become a delicious Lamb Tagine.

morrisons veg pic

I’m also a fan of Morrisons ‘market street’ greengrocer and after a visit to this section of the supermarket (looking out for the yellow ‘I’m cheaper stickers’) the trolly heaved with fresh produce and hues of yellow, orange, red and green……….

A few more supermarket sections later I had finished my shop. I had managed to find everything I needed (and a bit more) and despite a buxom trolly including 2x bottles of Rioja and a case of Peroni happily our bill came under budget at £70!!!!!

Thrilled that we had received ‘back’ a £10 voucher – Finn (aged 7) suggested eagerly that we ‘could’ spend the left over voucher on football cards?! Ha “nice-try” we didn’t, but I did go back in store to buy some extra veg and a naughty bottle of Prosecco! (sorry kids)

morrisons shopping

tagine colours

morrisons title

After a swift unpack my husband #chef began to prep for

‘Johns Lamb Tagine’ served with Cous Cous and Garlic, herb pitta breads.

(recipes below)

Morrisons oranges red pepper chilli

morrisons veg frying x2

Chop, chop, stir

johns tagine copy

(Serves 6 people – cost per person £4.00)

Shopping list

2kg Lamb shoulder

Olive oil

3x Red peppers

3x Red Onions

4x Cloves of garlic

Half teaspoon of cinnamon

1x tsp Cumin powder

1x tsp Turmeric

1x tsp Smoked paprika

Zest of one un-waxed lemon

1x Pinch of Saffron (optional)

1x tin of god quality tomatoes

1x Tube of good quality tomato puree

750ml of Chicken stock

Fresh Mint

Flat leaf parsley

Fresh corriander

A handful of raisins – that have been steeped in hot water.

A handful of dried apricots

A handful of Whole almonds

2x whole chillies (optional)

Salt and pepper for seasoning


  • Dice the Lamb in to chunky cubes, season with salt, pepper and olive oil, And in a heavy based pot brown the meat off in small batches.
Frying off the meat

Frying off the meat

  • Put the meat to one side and using the same pan (with all the pan browned juices from the meat) fry off the peppers (cut in to 2 inch chunks) the 3 chopped red onions. when the peppers and onions are softened add the;
Adding Spices

Adding Spices

Garlic, cinnamon, cumin powder, turmeric, smoked paprika and the zest of the un-waxed lemon (a waxed lemon can make the tagine taste bitter).


(If you have a waxed lemon, simply place in boiling water 1 minute before zesting)

  • Then put in the pinch of saffron and cook out the spices for a few minutes before adding a tube of tomato puree, stirring frequently.
  • Now return the lamb (and any meat juices) adding also the tin of tomatoes and chicken stock, scrapping the bottom of the pan to release any meat caramelisation.
  • Add the apricots (quartered) and the steeped raisins.
  • Then toast off a handful of whole almonds (the texture of whole almonds is better than flaked) in a pan – when cooled break them up with the end of a rolling pin.
  • To the pot then add the finely chopped mint (only a small amount as too much will overpower the tagine), finley chopped corriander and almonds. If you like your tagine hot also add some chopped fresh chilli.
In the pot

In the pot

  • Gently cook the tagine in a casserole dish with lid on at 160 degrees for 2.5hours.

The meat will be done when it is soft to eat- if it is not return it back to the oven until it is soft.

To finish add the chopped Flat leaf parsley and season to taste.

Serve with Cous Cous and Garlic, herb pitta bread.

Johns Cous Cous

We like our Cous Cous jeweled with fruit, but you can have it plain if you prefer.

Dice 1 x Red onion, and 1x Red pepper 1x clove of garlic 1x chilli

Gently fry the above with a little salt and pepper, add the 250g of cous cous and just enough chicken stock to cover ensuring the cous cous doesn’t catch on the bottom.

Add some raisins and chopped apricots, a squeeze of lemon juice and a handful of chopped parsley.

Take off the heat and stir in 75-100ml of extra virgin olive oil. Allow the cous cous to ‘rest’ by covering the pan until ready to serve. Season to taste.

Pitta Breads

For the pitta breads we like rubbing them with roasted garlic;

The easiest way is to throw in a head of garlic, rubbed with oil, salt and pepper to the oven before you begin the tagine.

roasting garlic x1

When it is done rub it on to the pitta breads and using a very hot chargril (or grill if you do not have a chargril) grill the pitta breads until they puff slightly in the middle.

Cut the pitta bread in to slices (about 3 slices) and toss with chopped parsley – EAT ENJOY :0) XXXXX

Garlic herb pitta breads

Garlic herb pitta breads

morrisons end plate pic morrisons after cook bake tray


‘Gathering inspiration’ to ‘contemplate’ decorating the kids rooms



palet one

(Above Image via

interiors boards collective copy

My desire to decorate begins on cue every Spring (about now) when the morning sunshine wakes you and ‘actually’ feel like opening windows.

In fact everything about Spring makes me want to Spring clean, I urge to de-clutter and repaint!!

And I guess there is no better time than a bank holiday to start, “right”??

Admittedly I’m using this bank holiday to ‘consider’ decorating/gather ideas and I’m *planning* to start on the kids rooms first. Because at the ages of 7&8 they have outgrown aspects of their rooms.

On asking what styles they would like for their rooms;

Erin requested that her entire room was painted with big red polka dots.

three red dots


And Finn said  “Just Make it Star Wars!” ?!


I fear for them (the kids) that we will have to agree to disagree and do ‘most’ of it my way, with (a little) compromise, but defiantly without big red polka dots and Darth Vader.

And I have started making some inspiration boards (below) I will try and convince the kids that – whilst we DO love Darth Vader (I met him once) the only Darkness in the room will be upon furniture painted in ‘Down pipe 26’  (Farrow and Ball

palet one

inspiration board x1

(Image via


pallet x2

inspiration x2

(Image via

palet x3inspiration board x3

(Image via

cushions inspiration

cushion x1cushion x2cushion x3

(From £12.00 – All by habitat from


Whether its “DIY full” or “free” wishing you all a superb, sunny bank hols






Cooler than school


Cooler Than School!

zara canvas copy

Photographs from Zara Kids lookbook

Today was Dilemma day!….

Basically because today is a ‘NON UNIFORM’ day at school!

By my daughters own admission (Erin aged 8) the morning started in military style approximately 45minutes earlier than usual in the spare room where her outfit choice(s) where laid out. Clothes, socks, shoes, hair accessories and lip gloss – the gloss she would later hide in her shoulder bag alongside the ‘ALSO’ banned (by school rules) a locket, all laid out perfectly on top of the spare bed.

After checking all was in order (or making sure mummy had not substituted her clothes choices – especially the impractical bright pink jelly shoes) she came down stairs to nibble at a little toast – before a brisk tooth brush and hair brush (brushing just the front) running eagerly back to the spare room to commence dressing…. ..

pink jelly shoes

jelly shoes found on

After 30 minutes she returns wearing – ‘ABSOLUTELY NON’ of the clothes she had painstakingly laid out!!!

10 minutes later she changes her shoes

And 5 minutes later she also swaps her bag and lip gloss choice!

The house, her room, the spare room and the room I hide all my Ironing in all strewn with clothes – shoes – bangles – lipgloss…..

The house an entire bombsite! Although I can’t get cross, it would be totally hypocritical of me.

Because inevitably I do exactly the same thing, most women do “don’t we?”!!!?  Change our minds, switching shoes, pants, tops, bras at the last minute! – Occasionally (often) after many outfit tweeks reverting back to my initial choice – despite knowing how much it aggravates my husband I can’t help it!!!

I am very much of the opinion of letting children dress themselves – I always have, and as tough as the ‘swimming costume’ phase was (My daughter aged 4-5 developed an obsession with a swimming costume she wouldn’t take off) I let her wear it, rain, sun at the supermarket with wellies, to birthday parties……..

Because, creatively – in a world where she didn’t actually have much choice (because she was 4yrs old) she could express herself, it was her choice! – Which is what fashion should be all about ‘oui’

In the end Erin cycled to school – looking ‘way cooler than school’


Below are some other cool looks I know Erin would approve of!

Taken from ZARA for kids Look-book 2014

zara look book 2014 2

April-Kids-LOOKBOOK | ZARA United Kingdom

(For more kid related style ideas follow me on pinterest and my board kids-stuff :0) XB)

Erin cooler than school x2