Friday, 30 December 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

I am so looking forward to 2012!!
So much happening!!
So much to do!!

See you soon!!
Debbie
x

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Do you know what causes most arguments on Christmas day??

Personally i would have said lack of batteries!

Its actually carving the turkey!!

To give men a helping hand this year Colman’s have compiled the ultimate top 10 tips to carving the perfect Christmas bird as well as a carving masterclass video with TOWIE star Sam Faiers and Colman’s butchers.


The research found that

  • 72%* of UK mums spend up to six hours (87%*) in the kitchen on Christmas Day
  • Dads don’t want the job of carving the turkey - with almost half (47%) actually being forced to do the job
  • Nearly half of dads (44%*) admit they actually don’t have a clue what they are doing when carving and 45% say they dread having to do the job on Christmas Day
  • Almost a quarter of mums find having to tidy up by themselves to be the number one cause of arguments over the yuletide

What causes most arguments in your home over Christmas and what do you do to combat those humbug moments?? :)

Monday, 12 December 2011

Its getting closer!!

Are you prepared for the big day?

I still have a few little Christmas pressies to get then do the food shopping and im done! I will no doubt bake some more too before the day as my fudge didnt set (anyone know a foolproof recipe??) and the rocky road is going to be gone well before Santa arrives! lol

I made my usual rocky road but this time added dark and milk chocolate, Lebkuchen, whole dark cherries, brazil nuts, golden syrup and butter!! YUMM!!
I also tried something new - Panforte - wow! Its gorgeous but you could only eat a small bit at a time as its rather filling! It has lots of almonds, hazelnuts, mixed peel, chocolate, honey, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg!! Delicious!

Whats on your to do list?

Friday, 9 December 2011

Sudocrem Christmas Superchef Competition

Instructions on how to enter the 2011 Sudocrem Christmas Superchef competition:
Step 1 - Prepare, bake, fry, steam, boil or stew your own Christmas themed recipe then take a picture of your creation

Step 2 - Visit and Like the Sudocrem Facebook page (www.facebook.com/Sudocrem) and click on the Superchef Competition page
Step 3 - Follow the competition page instructions: Enter your name, upload your picture and paste your recipe into the text box provided

Step 4 - Keep your fingers crossed that our celebrity judge, Aggie MacKenzie takes a shine to your creation!

Competition Start Date 7th December 2011

Competition Finish Date 4th January 2011

Competition winners announced 5th January 2012

The Sudocrem Superchef competition prizes:

1st Prize: 3 day cookery course for 2 in France and £200 contribution towards travel

2nd Prize: £150 Christmas Hamper from Selfridges

3rd Prize: £75 Marks & Spencers vouchers.


Good luck everyone and let me know if you enter :) I wont be as ive put up this promotion but i will cheer you all along!!

(this is a promotional post but i am not being paid for it and all opinions etc are my own)

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Christmas School Fair.

I am in the process of making up diy cake jars, mint crisp, rocky road, mincemeat muffins, snowman poop, reindeer poop and lots of little bits as well as some canvases, (the red writing says... Ihope you dont mind, I hope you dont mind that i put down in words, how wonderful life is now youre in the world)
(words read - Things may change but we start and end with family)

Also making some memory jars and lipbalms! eek! The fair is Friday - guess I best get moving!!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

A simple lunch...

Again working with the Forman & Field hamper I created a simple but delicious lunch of Scottish oak crackers topped with cream cheese, salmon and caviar.

This is the kind of salmon that deserves not to be messed with and the least you can do with it the better it will taste. (However i still cant wait to try salmon benedict with it!!)
To be honest the caviar was a little too fishy for me - i know thats the whole point but its psychological honestly!! LOL I did devour the salmon, cream cheese and oatcakes though!!

Ben loved it and went back to have a spoonful - each to their own! lol

Monday, 28 November 2011

Leftover Christmas Turkey Curry!

I know, youre sitting there thinking, 'has she gone mad - its only November!' ..... besides the probablity of 'yes actually i am quite mad' please try to think preparation! Planning at Christmas is vital and to be honest the last thing any of us need is a plate of uneaten turkey looking at us screaming 'eat me or bin me' .... i know which one i usually choose! eek!

Anyways, I have had the absolute pleasure of working with a Forman & Field seasonal hamper which contained everything for Christmas day including turkey, salmon, caviar...even down to the fruit to make the curry with!

Marco Pierre White has created a fruit curry with the remainder turkey. This exclusive recipe wont be on the Knorr website until December but I am able to share it with you early :)

I made this on Saturday night and it went down really well, its not too hot but has a little kick. The kids enjoyed it too and as it has lots of squished fruit it surely counts as at least one of your five a day too :)
Ingredients (serves 10)
25g plain flour
2 Knorr Chicken Stock Pots
25g unsalted butter
1/2 a large pineapple, peeled and chopped into chunks (including core)
2 Cox apples (approx 250g), unpeeled, roughly chopped
1 banana
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 tbsps mild or medium curry powder
25g unsweetened desiccated coconut
75ml double cream (optional)
1kg leftover cold roast turkey, taken off the bone and chopped into chunks (you can also add in chunks of cooked ham or leftover veg like roast potatoes, parsnips or carrots, chopped into chunks)

Method
Pre-heat the oven to 220˚C/ 425˚F/ Gas Mark 7. Sprinkle the flour in an even layer in an ovenproof frying pan and place it in the oven for 12–15 minutes until lightly browned.

Meanwhile, as the flour browns, begin cooking the curry. First, take the 2 Knorr Chicken Stock Pots and mix them with a litre of boiling water, stirring until thoroughly dissolved. Set aside.

Now, heat a large, heavy-based casserole dish on the hob. Add in the butter. Once melted, add in the pineapple and sliced apple. Peel and slice in the banana. Add in the chopped onion.

Fry stirring with a spatula over a low heat for around 10 minutes until the fruit begins to break down.

Add in the curry powder, mixing it in well. Cook, stirring, for 2–3 minutes over a low heat. Add in the desiccated coconut and mix in.

Remove the lightly browned flour from the oven and add it into the curry paste mixture, mixing it in thoroughly.

Pour in 250ml of the Knorr Chicken Stock, stirring it so that the paste dissolves into the stock.

Gradually add in the remaining stock, 250ml at a time, stirring in thoroughly after each addition to make sure the sauce is free from any lumps.

Bring to the boil, simmer for 8–10 minutes, stir in the double cream if using.

Using the back of a ladle to press it down, pass the curry sauce through a fine sieve if you wish or liquidise until smooth.

Return the sieved or liquidised curry sauce to the casserole dish. Add in the cooked turkey chunks, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until the turkey is heated through.

Garnish with toasted flaked almonds and fresh coriander leaves and serve at once.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Winter is here!!

Which means its time to bring out the wooly hats and wrap up warm!! I love it as it means i can stick on my wool dresses thick tights and boots - every inch is covered! :D

Evie has a new little hat and to be honest this is the first time shes worn it - she wont wear it outside and pitches a hissy fit if you try to put it on her but today she wandered in from the passageway with it on her head and posed for pics - bonus!! lol

Ive been busy with a couple more canvases and now have some i need to make for Christmas pressies - plus theres the Christmas fair at the school that I have a table at each year so im going to get busy making some bits for that too!

Whats filling your nights now that it gets dark around 4pm!!??

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Colmans Gravy Paste - review.

We are a meat and veg family - good old fashioned home cooking with stews and Sunday dinners etc....(could explain why i find it hard to lose weight but i digress!)

So, when i was asked if we would try the new Colmans gravy paste I thought why not? Now, im normally a Bisto girl through and through so was a little dubious about this. We tried it with our meal and although its a little thin if made up with the required amount of water, it was still delicious!! The smell is divine and almost as good as homemade (which i love but generally dont have the patience to make along with feeding the tribes!) so this definately gets the thumbs up from all of us here.

Plus the advert is a real hit with the boys and Evie!!
I have just bought the new Hairy Bikers Pie Cookbook so im going to try it out on one of those to see what its like with pie and chips Mmmmm - is that just a Northern thing?? lol

*Although this is a sponsored post all opinions expressed are my own and true*

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Canvases!!

Told you I had fallen for these canvases!! I have so much paper and paints from years of scrapbooking and its so nice to be using them again (no i dont scrap anymore but im ever hopeful that the bug might bite again!)

This was the first full size canvas i made with an angel figure - i love it and it looks like shes been playing in the muck!! Completely unintentional but fits with the quote that I chose for her!
My second is a taller canvas and im still to put the quote on this one but i love her, I love the shape of her wings (again completely unintentional!) and her hair buns, heart and paint splashes! Its a kind of release to flick paint at a project and im loving every minute of it!
Do you know a sweet poem or verse or quote that would go well with Little Miss above??

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Kenco Coffee Campaign - Glass Sculptures.

Michaela Strachan and Chris Packham have partnered with Kenco to award four communities across the UK with their very own giant animal, made from recycled glass. These were created to celebrate the launch of new-look Kenco jars, which save 900 tonnes of glass per year. For more details visit www.facebook.com/kenco

I was given the opportunity to ask them some questions for my blog and what I thought you might be interested in hearing :)


1. What’s the campaign you are doing for Kenco and why did you decide to get involved?


CHRIS: To celebrate Kenco's new-look slender-shaped jars, which save an amazing 900 tonnes of glass a year, Kenco commissioned four wonderful animal sculptures made from recycled glass. They were all in need of a permanent home, so were put up for ‘adoption’ and have been donated to four deserving communities across the UK.MICHAELA: When Chris and I were asked to join this celebratory event we jumped at the chance, not only due to our love of animals – be it glass or real – but also because we’re both passionate about rewarding deserving communities.CHRIS: It also touches on another interest of mine – art in public spaces.

2. If you could have something to nibble on with a cup of coffee what would it be?

MICHAELA: I love a croissant with my coffee.

CHRIS: and I love a flapjack with mine!

3. Are you a biscuit dunker?

CHRIS: Yes, definitely.

MICHAELA: Yes, but only with digestive biscuits.

4. Which is your favourite glass sculpture?

MICHAELA: I love them all but I think my favourite of the sculptures would have to be Lois the Crab – it’s a challenge to create a crab that looks really huggable and loveable; but the sculptor, Rebecca Newnham, has succeeded and Lois looks really friendly!

CHRIS: I think the favourite overall will be the Roberts penguin family because people seem to have an affinity for penguins. Personally, I think Lois the crab is great. She looks really impressive and imposing – and I’m much more interested in crustaceans than the usual cute and cuddly animals!

5. As I am obsessed with crafts, I would love to know if you do any crafting at all....paper crafts, knitting, glass sculpting?

MICHAELA: I’m not that crafty, I’m afraid, although I did used to go to a pottery cafĂ© when my son was younger and made a great mug with his hand print on the front. Chris is much more artistic than I am!

CHRIS: I’m really interested in art and public displays and exhibitions. I’m also making my family some artwork for their Christmas presents using leaves and bark from trees that I’ve collected.

6. Do you have a recycle tip for any of my blog readers out there?

MICHAELA: Make it as easy for yourself as possible – keep a separate bin for recycling so that you don’t need to think about it. I would also recommend keeping a wormery so that your uncooked peelings and leftovers can be turned into compost and used in your vegetable garden.

CHRIS: Be fanatical – if I know there’s a can in a rubbish bin that shouldn’t be there, I’ll empty the entire bin to get it out and put it in the recycling!

Giraffes to be made honorary Geordies

Animal aficionados Michaela Strachan and Chris Packham introduce glass giraffes Connie and Stan, donated by Kenco, to Ouseburn Farm

27th October 2011: Ouseburn Farm in Newcastle has been voted for by thousands of members of the public to win one of only four unique glass animal sculptures, created by Kenco to celebrate its new-look, less-glass jars. Nature-loving TV personalities Michaela Strachan and Chris Packham helped Kenco to scour the country for worthy winners and then presented the sculpture to Newcastle’s best-loved Farm on Thursday 27th October.

The sculptures, made from recycled glass were commissioned by Kenco and designed by artist Rebecca Newnham to celebrate the launch of their striking new-look jars, which save an impressive 900 tonnes of glass per year*. Connie and Stan are thrilled to have been permanently donated to the community to act as a reminder of the importance of reducing waste.

Ouseburn Farm was chosen as a finalist because Kenco’s expert panel felt the regeneration of the area, regular children’s visits and open space would prove a winning combination for the giraffes – and, when the shortlist was put to the public, the 1,274 votes proved that the nation agreed. The other worthy winners were West Meadows Primary School in Barnsley, PeBel Community Wildlife Garden in Wales and the South Lakes Wild Animal Park in Cumbria who won The Roberts family of penguins, Lois the crab and Pierre the snake respectively.

Mandy Oliver from Ouseburn Farm says “I am so thrilled that our farm won the giraffes, we know they will fit in perfectly. The community has been rallying locals and voting like mad over the last few weeks and we’re ecstatic to have been chosen. We will make sure they are well cared for in their new home – please do come and visit!”

Chris Packham said “I was really impressed with the volume and quality of entries from across the UK and was delighted to present the Farm their prize. I hope the local community will come along to see these beautiful creatures strutting their stuff in their new home!” Michaela agreed “I loved being involved in the search for a new home for the giraffes. I’m sure the stunning sculptures will be a great addition to the community – many of whom I enjoyed meeting at the prize giving!”

Steph Okell, Brand Manager for Kenco commented: “Our new Kenco jars have 7% less glass, compared to last year and we wanted to create these sculptures to act as a reminder of the importance of reducing waste, as well as celebrate our striking new look. Newcastle fought off stiff competition to win this coveted prize and it’s great to know that the giraffes are going to a safe and loving new home.”

Connie and Stan are enjoying their new home, living alongside the other animals and Connie would like to thank the public for taking the time to vote. For more information and to see the photos of the prize-giving, visit www.facebook.com/kenco.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Persil and Comfort Cuddleproof Masterclasses

Persil Non-Bio and Comfort Pure has been working with three grannies to create master classes for new parents and have created three short films of the grannies going through how to knit, croquet and quilt.
The films are very sweet, easy to follow and quite funny!

First up is Granny Joan with a little masterclass on crochet

Second is Granny Nick with a little masterclass on knitting

And finally it is Granny Barbara with a little masterclass on quilting

I am off for a spot of crafting myself - now where did i put that crochet hook??!!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

This competition bug...

I must admit to being a bit of an addict when it comes to checking my emails!! Even more so since i started entering competitions....
Look at my little dresser - its starting to buckle under the weight of my wins so far!! I am so happy and so freaked out at the same time - i find it unreal that out of so many people entering the competitions that my name gets pulled out at times!
Not included in the photograph are:

£250 gift card for Homesense/TK Maxx
3 day trip to Japan (eek roll on January 30th!)
Toys ive hidden away for the kids for Christmas including 2 giant hotwheels sets, books etc
Sweet things - ie fudge etc which were gone no sooner than they hit the mat! lol
Oral B Power toothbrush family set (1 mega kit and 2 kids electric toothbrushes & Toothpaste)
Salter Scales
Authentique scrapbook paper kit
Lots of days out tickets - ie Christmas show, Baby Show etc

Won so far for November:

Hexbug nano
Disoronno and Cocktail making kit
Cookery Book

Honestly im not showing off or bragging i just wanted to put a huge thank you out there into the universe as im sure someone is looking out for me right now and it is SO appreciated! (((hugs to all and im spreading the winning vibes and will be posting some of my own competitions on here soon - share and share alike! )))

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Congratulations!!

Congratulations Shirley - you have won the 2 packs of Scotch restickable tape!Please email me your address to debbie(at)countryheartandhome.com and I will get them in the post to you :)

Another comp coming up tomorrow!!

Friday, 28 October 2011

Mike the Knight, Do it Right!

Who am I to turn down a Knight in shining armour - especially one this cute!!
We were asked to review 3 episodes of a new CBeebies show coming soon called Mike the Knight.

I gave it to the boys to watch in turn over two nights...

Jacob (8) - His verdict was that it was a good adventure and he loved the fact that Mikes little sister is called EVIE!! (He thought they had done it on purpose! lol) He said he enjoyed it but it was more for littler ones and that although he would watch it he prefers Ben 10! lol He is 8 after all! ;)

Ethan (6) - His verdict was all singing all dancing, waving arms in the air and re-enacting the whole thing for me! (He too thought the girl called EVIE was there as a bonus for us! lol) He really enjoyed all 3 episodes and is looking forward to them starting 'for real' on CBeebies!

.......................................................................................................

Galloping onto CBeebies is Mike the Knight a brand new 52 part CG- animated series bringing the excitement and enchantment of medieval times into the life of the modern pre-schooler. In each action-packed episode, viewers are transported to a world filled with marvellous missions, castles, dragons, Vikings and trolls.

Mike is an energetic, cheeky yet bountiful young knight-in-training, driven by his passion to help others and, along the way, be the best knight he can be. With his father, the King, away exploring faraway lands, his mother Queen Martha has put Mike in charge of helping her protect the Kingdom of Glendragon.

Determined to do his best, through comedy and adventure with his rallying cry of Be a knight, do it right! Mike learns the power of responsibility and how to do things the right way.

With a little help from his Big Book for little Knights in training, the would-be-hero rises to each episode's mission with the help of his closest friends: Sparkie and Squirt a pair of friendly dragons, and his trusty steed Galahad. Never far from the action and always willing to help out is Mike's fun and free-spirited sister Evie, a wizard in training.

At the start of each new challenge, Mike dons his armour and is ready to tackle anything from horse riding to helping prepare for feasts and festivals, from guarding the castle to good citizenship and, of course, knowing how to rescue a princess.

He is aided in his pursuits with some nifty medieval gadgets, including his enchanted sword and his shield. Thanks to one of Evies spells Mike is never quite sure what magical object will appear when he draws his sword. But what the valiant apprentice fails to realise is that the object will always come in handy for completing the mission of the day.

Topping and tailing each episode is Fernando, the resident bard, who acts as the storyteller. Incredibly funny, his witty ditties begin and end each episode on a humorous note.

This chivalrous new series is set to send young viewers on an enchanted voyage of discovery.

Mike the Knight is a co-production between HIT Entertainment and Nelvana Studio. The series was created by Alexander Bar (Lunar Jim) and the head writer is Marc Seal (Head writer, Bob the Builder).

*sponsored post - no payment was received

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Painting Canvas!

When Tracie said she had an idea for a class for the Creative HeART & Soul retreats about painting canvases I loved it! Ive longingly looked at the likes of Kelly Rae Roberts work and thought it was well out of my comfort zone!

I was a little hesitant too that he ladies at the retreat would feel the same but that is what we are trying to embrace, something new, its all about stretching yourself to find new techniques and ways of using items and ideas you wouldnt normally have on your everyday projects.So, Tracie taught the class and as I was busy in the background we waited until everyone had gone home on the Sunday night before she gave me and my little sis a lesson of our own....
All the way through I kept saying, nope dont like it, ack ive made a mess...but all Tracie kept saying was 'just wait and see', 'add another layer' and a few 'give me it here and wet that cloth for me so i can wipe that bit off!!' lol

Its amazing to see it all coming together towards the end and by the time its all outlined with black pen and you add some squiggles etc - well, its like youve just given birth to a new baby!! I loved my canvas that much!! lol

This has spurred on a bout of canvas making - its amazing over the years how things go round in circles and i already had in a few canvases, acrylic paint and pva glue!! Those are my first couple of canvases made on my own - yes i made mistakes along the way but another layer of paint and its all better!!

Off to stick down more paper and paints!!

Total Yogurt - E Book competition!

TOTAL Greek Yoghurt has announced it is producing a healthy recipe e-book, with all proceeds donated to UK charity Action for Children.
Food enthusiasts are being encouraged to visit TOTAL Greek Yoghurt’s Facebook page to submit their recipes featuring the creamy product. The recipes chosen for inclusion in the e-book will be voted for by TOTAL’S Facebook community. The recipe with the most votes will earn its author an iPhone 4S and iPad 2 complete with smart cover. The runner up will receive an iPad2.
In addition, all participants voted into the recipe e-book will receive a free cool bag and a published name credit in the book.
The new digital cook book will be available to download on Amazon as a Kindle e-book from early 2012. The deadline for recipe submissions is Friday 20th January 2012.


All money raised by the e-book will be donated to the UK charity Action for Children which works tirelessly to support the UK’s most vulnerable and neglected young people. One of the signs of child neglect is hunger. The effects of hunger can be devastating, from daily pain and poor health to low educational achievement and bullying. Action for Children looks to combat this by early intervention.


The competition is now officially launched.


Join in the TOTAL Greek Yoghurt conversation: TOTAL Greek Yoghurt Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/TotalGreekYoghurt TOTAL Greek Yoghurt Twitter Page: http://twitter.com/TotalGreek TOTAL Greek Yoghurt You Tube Channel: http://www.youtube.com

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Go for it girls - im going to enter and i know you should too!! Let me have a link to your submission and I will post it in this thread :)

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

My First Printed Canvas!!

When I was asked by Canvas Dezign if I would like to review a printed canvas I jumped at the chance!! I love the look of them but when searching on the internet I have always been wary of the price and what you get....do you go for boxed with printing round the sides??? How big will the photo stretch without the picture deteriorating?

I replied to the email and said I didnt mind what size the canvas was as long as they made sure the photograph was still picture perfect. The postman brought me the canvas yesterday and I have been smiling ever since! I love it!!

Could that be the subject - well of course it could! BUT its also the fact I wish I had done this a lot earlier - there is so much colour and vibrancy from the canvas...much more than you get from a photograph! The boys are so pleased with it and to be honest if I had blown up a photograph to this size they would have been mortified but because its a canvas its 'cool'!!

I have so many more that I want to turn into canvases now and I will most definately be shopping at Canvas Dezign

*disclaimer - I was not paid in anyway to review this company but did receive the finished canvas*

Monday, 24 October 2011

Creative HeART & Soul Retreat Oct 2011

We had a fabulous time and personally I cant wait for May next year when we get to do it all over again!!

Here are some of the photographs from the weekend...
First off we have the teachers - a certain lady was mooning us....no... i wont mention names but we laughed so hard i didnt think Anna would be able to take the shot!!
Left to right --- Loeska, Lida, Tracie, Me and Emma
All of the attendees - the weekend was made special by each and every one of these ladies!
Extracts from both of Lidas Workshops. The drawer holder with the handle on top - the girls build these from scratch and decorated as dedicated ink holders!! The other box you can see in the bottom of the picture is a case with a clock face which held a mini album - all constructed in Lidas class!
Chocolates and champagne on the Saturday night.... by this point we were all fit to burst but hey who cant make room for chocolate and fizzy!!
Loads more pics can be found on the Creative HeART & Soul facebook group page.

There are only 3 spaces left for the May 2012 retreat which is being held in Derbyshire. Please check out the website www.creativeheartandsoul.com for more details.

Friday, 21 October 2011

NIGHTMARE!!!

Honestly just when things start going right you go and loose your flipping

CAMERA!!!

I cant believe ive gone and lost a Nikon D3000 - its not as if its small and could slip down a sofa or something, its a flippin huge thing and im officially gutted!!

Well, actually i know its not as if someone had been hurt so im kind of 'ok Deb chill and get over it' but DAMN!! How do i take my piccies now, going to have to accustom myself with hubbys erm relic...i mean camera! lol

PAH!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Scotch Restickable Tabs...giveaway!

I got the opportunity to try the new Scotch Restickable tabs at our last Creative Heart & Soul retreat and they are fab! I used them to hold up project lists all weekend and they removed without a problem - all of the girls went home with a pack in their goodie bags and im sure they will be along to testify how great these are soon!

Do you find sometimes with sticky tape and pins etc that they leave marks or even rip the paper/paint from underneath the projects??
Well, with Scotch Restickable tabs there is none of that - check out this video to see just how easy they are to use AND REMOVE!!
They are photo safe and can even be used on glass, why not enter your name in the comment section below to be in with a chance of winning 2 packs - just in time for the festive season!

What better way to hang all those decorations without fear of leaving behind a mess when taking them back down again!

Available to purchase from Scotch 3d directly :)

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Vintage inspired fashion trends for autumn/winter

Vintage-inspired fashion trends for autumn/winter

The styles of the past are increasingly inspiring current collections by some of fashion’s biggest designers. Here, guest blogger Jo-ann Fortune from www.vintagebrighton.com spotlights three of the biggest retro revival trends for autumn/winter.

Sixties mod

Many models on the fashion week runways looked as if they’d been transported back to Swinging Sixties’ Carnaby Street at the autumn/winter shows. Paul Costello championed shift dresses, flare skirts and cute collar details, Prada set a trend for geometric prints and Bottega Veneta injected new life into the prim and proper skirt suit.

Inspired by the pop art of the era, the palette for this look is bold and bright – Burberry’s marigold and azure blue pea coats set the tone for key colours. Alternatively, keep it muted with mustard, as seen on the Paul Costello and Celine runways. In terms of accessories, it’s all about Mary Janes and ladylike box handbags.

Seventies glamour

The Seventies influence is apparent in two of this season’s biggest trends – haute hippy and Studio 54. Layering, maxi lengths and tactile textiles were showcased on the Milan catwalks, with fashion houses such as Just Cavalli and Missoni pairing floaty floral dresses with long fur womens coats. Suede fringing and shearling trims are among the other Seventies-style details to look out for – investing in Ugg boots may be an easy way to introduce the trend into your everyday wardrobe.

Reviving the high glamour of New York’s Studio 54 disco scene, silky jumpsuits, maxi dresses and pussy bow blouses were also in abundance on the runways, and tailored tuxedo blazers brought power dressing back into fashion focus.

Victorian vamp

Travelling further back in time, autumn/winter collections referenced Victoriana styles with dramatic flair at the February fashion weeks. Long, flowing lengths, corseted silhouettes and plenty of flounce and frills added an historic edge to fashion on the Alexander McQueen, Julien McDonald and Charles Anastase runways.

A white lace mini dress, such as that showcased on the Meadham Kirchoff catwalk, is a great wardrobe staple that will see you through the seasons. Or go gothic with black lace, a la Emilio Pucci, at your Christmas party, accessorising with one of the many lace-detail clutch bags currently on the high street.

Images: Vintage-inspired outfits at the Bottega Veneta, Just Cavalli & Charles Anastase catwalk shows

Images courtesy of MPDClick.com

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Phineas & Ferb!

OK, Im going to hold my hands up on this one and say what when I was asked to do a review of the new Phineas & Ferb: Across the Second Dimension Wii game I almost didnt tell the kids....I LOVE P & F!! Whos with me on that one!!??

Thankfully I played good mummy and let the kids rush to open it when they came in from school and im so pleased i did! Talk about fun! The whole game stays true to the cartoon and you can play as either character - dropping from one to the other - or as a 2 player game.
This is a platform game and is based on the movie which in turn is based on the cartoons - you have to build contraptions to try and catch Dr Doofensmirtz ( with a little help from the (unknown to the boys) agent Perry the Platypus.

One of the best things about this game is that there is no penalty for dying!! Wohoo - theres nothing worse than one of the kids feeling pants because they caused a game to finish early! Phew - not the case here. You have to get through 4 to 5 levels on 6 dimensions, you have to destroy, collect and build as you and now and again roadblocks will pop up with additional puzzles for you to solve.

There is a full voice cast too which makes it all the more fun - theres nothing more disappointing than getting your favourite characters on a game and having some sound alike that sounds nothing alike!!

Overall this is a fabulous game for adults and kids alike (adults may find it a little too easy) but I think any fan of Phineas and Ferb would enjoy this no end!

Not only is this out for the Wii, it has also been released for the PS3 and DS - available from all major game outlets!

**runs off to have another quick go while the kids are at school**

Friday, 30 September 2011

Mini Baker Competition, The Fabulous Bakin' Boys

Mini Baker Competition, The Fabulous Bakin' Boys

Following in his mummys footsteps!! Please wish Jakes the best of luck with his creation for the Fabulous Bakin' Boys competition :)Lots of reviews coming up as well as some giveaways and product testing for you to try out!!

See you soon

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Lazy Sunday!

Today has been spent watching F1 *drool* Mark Webber .....having a nap on the sofa.... and taking pics of my sis's new jewellery.... oh and opening pressies as its my birthday!!

I have the new Hummingbird cookery book so will crack on with some of those recipes to upload!Thank you so much for all the facebook, website, emails wishing me a good one - its been fab!! :D

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Addicted to Competitions!!

I dont know whats come over me lately but I am completely and utterly addicted to competitions! Doesnt matter if its for a dvd or an around the world holiday - sign me up! lol

So far this month i have won...

Trip to cook with Kirstie Allsopp (banoffee recipe via Carnation)
Oven gloves and Apron (via Anchor butter)
Ear pods and wipes (via Zagg - fab stocking filler for one of the boys!)
Mug (via Crunchy nut Cornflakes)
An overnight stay at the Hilton in Newcastle (via Impari)
Im psyching myself up for a big one - i just know its around the corner!! Whos with me on this and what are you hoping for in your big win?? :D

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Sign away meningitis - Counting the Cost



Meningitis Awareness Week

‘cOUNTING THE coST OF MENINGITIS’ Video showS

HOW A SIGNATURE CAN HELP SAVE LIVES

Video call to action to sign petition for UK government for Men B vaccine

Meningitis Awareness Week (19-25th September) sees the launch of an online video to support Meningitis Research Foundation’s (MRF) Counting the Cost of Meningitis campaign and builds support for vaccination against meningitis and septicaemia. (meningitis.org/sign)

http://youtu.be/T42wFgK-SZw

MRF is petitioning the UK Government to ensure widespread preventative treatment of the diseases is implemented at the earliest opportunity, reducing the lifetime impact of meningitis and septicaemia. The video explains the value of a signature encouraging people to signing up to the MRF’s petition , with a view to achieving in excess of 10,000 signatures.

Why sign?

The shocking lifelong financial costs of surviving meningitis and septicaemia have been examined by MRF in their ‘Counting the Cost of Meningitis’ campaign. Prevention is more cost effective than treatment; therefore MRF is calling on the Government to pursue the widest and earliest implementation of vaccines to prevent the diseases.

Counting the Cost of Meningitis is a comprehensive analysis of the lifetime impact of the diseases illustrated through two fictional case studies:

Peter, who was 18 months old when he was struck down with septicaemia which left him with multiple amputations and behavioural difficulties. Total lifelong costs of supporting Peter up to age 70 are £2,833,374.

Emma, who was three years old when she became ill with meningitis which left her brain damaged, deaf and partially blind. Total lifelong costs of supporting Emma up to age 50 are £3,507,664.

These illnesses have far-reaching consequences with survivors facing an on-going need for specialist medical care as well as additional educational and financial support running into millions of pounds.

Christopher Head, Chief Executive of MRF said: “’Counting the Cost of Meningitis’ shows how those who survive can struggle to come to terms with the impact of these horrific diseases which change lives forever. Our campaign makes practical recommendations to Government to reduce the burden of disease through vaccination in the UK. Vaccination provides peace of mind across the country and we are urging everyone across the UK to sign our online petition at www.meningitis.org/sign.”

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Pimping!!

Yes im pimping my mum and sisters new jewellery site that they have just launched :)
www.jakjewellery.co.uk



All prices include postage so you have nothing on top of the prices that you see and boy arent some of those pieces just the cutest ever - fab Christmas pressies - just sayin' :)

Monday, 19 September 2011

Sticky Toffee Banana Muffins

These are great if youre craving something sweet but not sugary! The bananas and pecans give lots of taste and the toffee makes it great for either breakfast or a snack.Makes 12 large muffins

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

275g (10oz) self-raising flour

1tsp baking powder

1tsp bicarbonate of soda

2 eggs

150ml (¼pt) milk

5tbsp vegetable oil

2 large ripe bananas, mashed

1tsp vanilla extract

397g can Carnation Caramel

100g (3½oz) chopped pecan nuts (optional)

You will also need:

12 hole muffin tin and muffin cases

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 190°C, 375°F or Gas Mark 5.

2. Place the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl and mix well.

3. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, milk, oil, mashed bananas and vanilla. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined, without beating.

4. Drop spoonfuls of the caramel into the mixture, gently swirl through, but don’t mix it in – its nice to see little pockets of caramel bubbles in the finished muffins.

5. Place muffin cases in the tin and spoon the mixture into the cases until quite full. Top with the chopped pecan nuts, if using.

6. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes and eat fresh and warm.

Cooks tip

These muffins are delicious straight from the oven – perk them up the next day by microwaving for 10 seconds to warm the caramel.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Low Fat Cheesecake Pots

These are absolutely divine and would work well in a picnic!!Serves 6

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Chilling time: 1 hour

Ingredients

75g (3oz) light digestive biscuits

200g (7oz) Carnation Condensed Milk Light (half a can)

1 lemon

1tsp vanilla extract (optional)

150g (5½oz) extra light cream cheese

150g tub 0%fat Greek yogurt

250g (9oz) fresh strawberries

3tbsp strawberry jam

Method

1. Crumble 75g (3oz) light digestive biscuits into a bowl, not too fine. Divide the crumbs between 6 wine glasses or small tumblers.

2. Place 200g (7oz) Carnation Condensed Milk Light (half a can) into a bowl and add the zest and juice of 1 lemon and 1tsp vanilla extract (optional). Stir together until the mixture has thickened.

3. Whisk 150g (5½oz) extra light cream cheese and 150g tub 0%fat Greek yogurt in a small bowl until smooth then fold into the thickened condensed milk, don’t over beat. Spoon the creamy mixture over the biscuits. Chill for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour.

4. Chop 250g (9oz) fresh strawberries, mix with 3tbsp strawberry jam and top the cheesecakes with the fruit to serve.

Tip

Using the juice of one lemon with half a can of condensed milk in this recipe acts as a setting agent, thickening into a deliciously easy cheesecake topping without gelatine.