I first stumbled across Seven Boot Lane on Instagram and have been drooling over their boots and shoes ever since. So when they got in touch asking me to choose a pair to review I’m not going to lie, I jumped at the chance. Although I was under strict instructions to promise not to drool over the actual boots themselves. I managed. Just.
Seven Boot Lane are based in Somerset and create beautiful, hand-finished boots and shoes which stand the test of time through thoughtful design and use of the finest materials. They have recently launched their Spring Summer 2015 collection and I couldn’t wait to take a look. To be honest, I was absolutely spoilt of choice there were just too many gorgeous pairs of boots to choose from but after much deliberation I chose this gorgeous pair of Bali ankle boots in grey suede.
The quality of the boots really is outstanding and they are made from buttery soft suede. I love the low cuban heel as they are just so practical and comfortable for my day to day running about while the pretty western style with the curved cut makes them look really stylish too. I absolutely love them!
I have so many boots in my wardrobe that I daren’t count how many but a girl can never have too many, right? And there was definitely a gap for a pair in grey. Such a gorgeous soft colour suede and right now they look gorgeous with opaques or skinny jeans. But I am thinking that come spring, they will also look amazing worn with dresses and bare legs. We’ve had rain, hail, sleet and snow here this week but I’m still trying to think positive thoughts. Spring and bare legs are right around the corner now, right? What is that saying about March? In like a lion, out like a lamb? Oh I do hope so!
Disclaimer: For the purpose of this review I was very kindly sent these Bali ankle boots from Seven Boot Lane but all opinions (and drool) are my own.
Posted in Fashion, Product Review
Tagged ankle boots, Bali, boots, British, collection, fashion, grey, luxury, March, review, Seven Boot Lane, shoes, skinny jeans, spring, Spring Summer 2015, SS15, style, suede
I was sent the most amazing bouquet from Appleyard London to review here on my blog. First of all I must say a huge thank you, they really did make my day!
Appleyard London are a luxury flower delivery company born out of a passion for boutique floral design. They have a beautiful range of gifts, hampers and flowers and I was sent this beautiful Elle bouquet from the current range of Mother’s Day flowers. This luxury seasonal choice of white lilac, scented sorbonne oriental lilies and beautiful soft pink sweet avalanche roses would make an elegant choice for any occasion. I don’t know about you but I would have fresh flowers in every room of my house every day of the year if I could!
Appleyard London offer free delivery on flowers by post and if you order by 7pm, are able to provide next day flowers. My bouquet arrived very carefully packaged and in perfect condition. The bouquet was carefully tied and still had some blooms to open. They are absolutely beautiful I only wish that you could smell them too, the scent is just amazing! All Appleyard London flowers come with 7 days freshness guaranteed but I can already see that these will last much longer than that following their care guide.
And now I have a little treat for my blog readers just in time for Mother’s Day. I have a very special discount code for you! How would you like 40% off Appleyard London’s range of luxury bouquets? Use code BLOG40 at the checkout to receive your discount today. You’re welcome! (Please note, this offer does not include the Flowers By Post collection)
Posted in Product Review
Tagged Appleyard London, beautiful, bouquet, delivery, flower, flowers, fresh flowers, lily, luxury, Mother's Day, review, rose, scent, white lilac
I don’t do deprivation. Especially not during the gloomiest months of the year. Spring is very nearly in sight now but winter is always so long and miserable and I can never understand why on earth people chose to punish themselves even further by throwing themselves into all new all depriving diets come January. I honestly can’t think of a worse time. They must be mad. Surely winter is all about wholesome comfort food? Long cold walks and coming home to big fat roast dinners. Wholesome lunches of home made soup before a sneaky afternoon nana nap. Home from school to rib sticking stews. That’s what winter eating is all about for me.
Eating well doesn’t have to be a punishment, it can be just plain delicious! Of course I can partly understand the January dieters wanting to cut back after the excesses of Christmas but I think our body does a perfectly good job of detoxing all by itself. It has been doing it since time began. Trust me, cutting out the goose fat and chocolate coins for breakfast is as much of a detox as you need come January. I will never quite get why people choose to overindulge for the whole of December, punish themselves for it in January with a gruelling new diet before promptly falling off the wagon and face first into a box of Creme Eggs come February. Madness.
It’s no secret that I’ve lost a lot of weight over the last year or so by counting calories but actually the changes that I have made, I have made for good. It quickly became about eating well to feel good not just to lose weight. There is no way that I would go back to my old ways I didn’t realise just how bad I felt until I started to feel so good. In actual fact though, comfort food doesn’t have to be laden with calories to be delicious. I think there is a terrible misconception that eating well must involve some sort of tortuous deprivation element or else you are not doing it right. Rubbish. Being healthy doesn’t have to be about food that you’re not even sure how to pronounce or pretending to enjoy a bowl of lettuce leaves. Although I do love romaine with a lamb keema, it knocks the socks off a pile of stodgy rice. Seriously. And don’t even get me started on these silly juice fads. I’m quite sure that humans are meant to chew their food while they still have teeth in their head. Plenty of time to make use of the blender once we are in a nursing home folks! No solid food, that’s where the pleasure is at.
I guess what I am trying to say in a very long winded 513 words kind of way is that eating well doesn’t have to be torture. In fact it can even be a pleasure. It’s really not that complicated. Honest.
P.S. Are you following me on Instagram? You can find me (mostly) posting photos of my comfort food eating ways
Posted in Food, Health
Tagged calories, Christmas, comfort food, delicious, detox, diet, eat, food, Health, juice, lose weight, meals, spring, weight, winter
My Dad bought me some amazing Spanish goodies from the farmers market at the weekend and they were crying out to be made into a cassoulet of sorts. Not that there is anything Spanish about cassoulet of course but it sounds so much nicer than just plain old stew, doesn’t it? I suspect that it might even be classed as a fabada as it is a white bean stew but I don’t know enough about Spanish cookery to know if this is strictly correct. So Spanish bean stew it is. My favourite kind of family cooking is bung-it-all-in-a-pot-and-hope-for-the-best-in-about-two-hours and this stew is exactly that. I didn’t make this with the intention of sharing it here on my blog but it turned out so well that I really wanted to. So apologies in advance if the approximate ingredient list is as rustic as the end result itself but this should give you an idea. So here’s what you need:
Cooking for a family of six is a bit like feeding a very hungry army every night so feel free to adjust the ingredients according to the size of your brood of course. Saying that, a recipe like this would be perfect for batch cooking too. I’m a big fan of eating half now and saving half for later because it’s basically double the food for half the cooking. And I’m essentially very lazy.
First of all gently brown the diced chicken thighs. Then add the sliced morcilla, pancetta and chorizo for just a few of minutes until those lovely oils begin to seep out. If you have a casserole pot that can be used on the hob then go into the oven – perfect. If not then frying in a pan and adding to the casserole pot is fine. I used approximately 12cm length each of morcilla, pancetta and chorizo to give you an idea of quantities. Morcilla is Spanish blood pudding and personally I prefer it to traditional English black pudding but if you can’t get hold of any, normal black pudding would be fine. I know some people are squeamish over the whole blood sausage thing but seriously, I’d urge you to at least give it a try it tastes amazing! If it really isn’t for you, then feel free to skip it or even substitute the morcilla for more chorizo or pancetta.
Now add the sliced leek, diced onion, crushed garlic and butter beans to the pot. I used some gorgeous alubia granja beans which are particularly big and fat and lovely but any kind of white butter bean will be absolutely fine. Add the tin of tomatoes, paprika, bay leaves and a handful of fresh thyme then pour on approximately 250ml chicken stock. There needs to be enough liquid to just cover the ingredients so add by sight. Give the stew a good stir then cover and cook at about 180°c for at least 2 hours stirring occasionally.
This Spanish bean stew is great served just as it is or my lot like it with lots of crusty bread to mop up the juices. I’m not very good when it comes to creating delicate masterpieces in the kitchen, my style of cooking is much more.. erm.. rustic and this is definitely that. As you can see. But for me, you just can’t beat proper comfort food like this made with simple but amazing ingredients. And the clean plates all round that come with them. Yum!
Posted in Food, Recipes
Tagged butter beans, cassoulet, chicken, chorizo, comfort food, fabada, family, family life, family meals, farmers market, food, ingredients, morcilla, pancetta, recipe, Spain, Spanish, Spanish Bean Stew, Stew
Air & Grace are a new independent British brand and I was very kindly asked to choose a pair of boots to review here on my blog. They arrived in the most beautiful box and I couldn’t wait to try them on. And since then, I haven’t been able to take them off. Oh my godfathers I have never loved a pair of boots so much in my life!
Founder Claire Burrows believes that shoes should feel as good as they look. She felt so passionately about this that she turned her search for the perfect shoes into a business. I mean let’s face it, how many of us have beautiful shoes and boots gathering dust because they are too uncomfortable to wear? I know I can’t be the only one! I just love the passion behind this new brand. Air & Grace really do make beautiful boots for busy feet, they are made for running around not taxi-ing around town.
All Air & Grace shoes feel fabulous underfoot they give your feet bounce and your toes wiggle room. They use Tender Loving Air technology which gives three layers of luxurious memory foam cushioning which is cleverly hidden away so you get to enjoy the feel good factor without compromising on style. It really is walking on air, they have to be tried to be believed. Seriously.
I chose the Coachella in black leather. I must admit that I was torn between this pair and the same style in tan but the contrast stack heel just clinched it for me. The soft full grain leather in black against that heel is just beautiful and before they even arrived I could picture them with virtually everything in my wardrobe. Ankle boots are just so versatile. I love wearing them with opaques but they look just as good with skinnies too they are just so easy to wear. Plus the heel is the perfect height to give me a little oomph while still being practical to chase small children in, they couldn’t be more perfect for me. And did I mention just how comfortable they are? Best boots ever.
Air & Grace have a great range of boots and shoes available at the moment and I already have my eye on a pair of loafers once spring has sprung and I dare to bare a little ankle. I’m so on board with this whole loving your shoes and wearing them too thing. Beautiful and unbelievably comfortable? Yes please! I think this beautiful collection was made for my busy feet!
Posted in Fashion, Product Review
Tagged Air & Grace, ankle boots, boots, Claire Burrows, Coachella, comfort, fashion, leather, review, shoes, style, Tender Loving Air, wardrobe
It’s almost exam time here for us. Again. My daughter brought home her last school report for Year 11 and it was a bit of a mixed bag. Not what you want this close to exam time and to be honest, it was a bit of a surprise. She has been working her little socks off for the last two years so I wasn’t expecting to be thrown a curveball at this point. Subjects that she has genuinely struggled with in the past, she is now doing well in. Phew. All credit to her of course. But then subjects that she could previously ace in her sleep, she is seemingly stumbling in. Oh.
I’m not sure if it’s complacency? Or maybe genuine stress over looming exams? They can really pile it on at school and as a parent, it’s a really hard balance to get right at home. On one hand it is your job to tell them to pull their socks up. This is it. The most important time of their education. All paths have led to this point. But actually on the other hand, all anybody can ever do is try their best. And it’s not the end of the world if you don’t get the grades you were hoping for as long as you have tried your best. Maybe a couple of surprises in her mock results from January are not such a bad thing actually. It might have been what she needed to give her a bit of a wake up call. She’s a clever girl. I know she can do this. I take great pleasure in telling her just how bloody brilliant she is every single day. And keeping up with her demands for chocolate brioche and pineapple juice. Brain food apparently but I’m not convinced.
One subject that she really struggles with though is maths. She always has and always will. (Much like her Mummy it has to be said – I was so relieved to scrape a grade C in my GCSE all those years ago but then went on to have a successful career in credit underwriting with numbers coming out of my ears… Go figure! Ha!) But her teacher has proposed that she sits her GCSE with a different exam board. Apparently she’s much better at the paper that uses a calculator than the one that doesn’t and the way the grades are worked out means that she will be more likely to pass with one board than another. I’m not explaining it very well but it made complete sense when her teacher told us about it. Ahem. Anyway, in short the school want her to get that pass as much as we do and are doing all that they can to help. From starting Year 10 at ‘unclassified’ to now being a high grade D she has done so well. That much needed grade C is now in her sights and she is determined not to be facing resits in sixth form. There’s no reason why she can’t pull it out of the bag with some extra support.
We had her Parent’s Evening last night and actually, it was really positive after her report was such a mixed bag. We are so lucky to have such a great school and teachers who genuinely want to help. We came away with lots of revision strategies and clear targets for those areas where she needs to pull her finger out. The school couldn’t be more helpful and hats off to the teachers who give up their own time to offer additional revision groups after school, they do such an amazing job. At home she will be up to her eyeballs in revision guides and past papers. And chocolate brioche and pineapple juice. Let’s do this!
Posted in family, School
Tagged daughter, Education, exams, family, fifteen year old, GCSE, grades, high school, home, maths, Parenting, parents evening, results, revision, school, school report, Sixth form, stress, support, teacher