Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Chocolate chip cookies

I love cookies but refuse to buy them as I can easily demolish a whole packet in one go! I stumbled across this message a few months ago and after making it and tweaking it I think it is now pretty perfect - I made them recently for Stuarts birthday BBQ and they were eaten before the actual food!

100g Soft brown sugar
100g Golden caster sugar
100g Butter (softened)
1 Egg
1tsp Vanilla extract
225g Plain flour
70g Melted milk chocolate
85g White chocolate (I use chips but you could smash up a bar of chocolate with a rolling pin & use that!)
85g Plain chocolate (same as above)

Heat oven to 200C/180 fan/Gas 6.
Line 1 or 2 baking sheets with baking paper and leave to one side.
Mix the sugars and butter together.
Add the egg, vanilla, flour and melted chocolate and mix everything together.
Stir in the chocolate chips (or chunks).
Use a tablespoon (or ice cream scoop) to scoop out balls of cookie dough and drop them straight onto the trays.
Bake in batches for 8-9 minutes until pale golden and still soft to touch - don't worry they firm up as they cool.

Try not to eat them all straight away - they are delicious eaten warm though!

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

An outfit post

This was the outfit I decided to wear on Sunday for lunch with a couple of friends of ours. I spotted the dress in Animal and absolutely fell in love with it, after trying it on there was no doubt that I was going to buy it - especially after realising that my mom would be able to get 10% off (the joys of having a mom in University!) It was surprisingly warm and really wearable, I teamed it with tights and over the knee boots but I think it would work equally well with heels, just hoping I can get away with wearing it all year round, Stuart thinks not but I'm going to give it a damn good go!!

Dress - Animal, £50
Boots - tReds, £40

Monday, 29 October 2012

New Start

Today marks the start of my half term break which I am spending in Norfolk with Stuart. I am fully intending to make full use of the peace and quiet, limited phone signal and take this time to rebuild myself. There is no denying that the past few weeks have been tremendously tough but I am now starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, largely due to the people I am fortunate to call friends and also to the numerous people who have read my blog and sent me lovely messages of support, to you guys I will always be tremendously grateful, I never imagined that when I sat down at the laptop and typed up my very first blog post that this would become such an important part of my life.

Later today I will be getting my hair cut (eekk) always  traumatic experience in my book, but I have found a style I am absolutely in love with and I am hoping I will still love it at 7pm tonight! I also have brought a ton of reading away with me so I don't mind if it gets cold as I can curl up and read to my hearts content. Very much looking forward to pampering myself and beginning the preparations for Christmas (I cannot believe that it is almost November already!!)

Happy Monday!!

Friday, 26 October 2012

Friday Letters #007

As you are all aware this week has been particularly tough for me, but I have been overwhelmed by the amount of messages and support I have been given by other bloggers and twitter friends. Very much looking forward to a weekend of pumpkin carving and dinner with my parents before a week i Norfolk with Stuart next week.

Dear Stuart - Thank you for the words of advice this week, for being at the end of the phone and for trying to find the words to make me feel better, I may have been crying but I did appreciate the effort. xxx
Dear Twitter and Blog followers - For all the words of support, the encouragement that I was doing the right thing and for putting up with melancholy tweets - thank you for being there. It is amazing to know that there are people around who can make the world a much better place. x
Dear F and S - You guys are amazing, the best friends a girl could need. xxx
Dear J - I am at a loss for words and struggling to understand your reasoning, unfortunately I think I always knew this would happen.
Dear Self - After all the doubting and wondering you've made it through the week! Remember how strong you can be next time life plays a bad hand. 
Dear Shoulder - Sorry for not using the sling this week, I promise that next week you'll get nothing but rest and relaxation.
Dear Tetley - Thank you for sleeping through the night and providing me with lots of cuddles this week, sometimes I think we really do have the best cat! x
Dear Autumn - YAY! The leaves are changing and falling, yesterday on my way to work I indulged in my favourite pastime of kicking the leaves as I walked through them :) Now is the time for log fires, long warms along the sea front and endless pumpkin lattes.

Happy Weekend guys! xxx


Wednesday, 24 October 2012


No post today, but this seemed very apt so I thought I would share it. Happy Wednesday!!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The end of the road

The end of a relationship is always hard, when that relationship has span 10 years, countless first dates, break-ups, drunken nights out and more laughs than I can remember, the end is even harder, unfortunately all that now remains of one of my closet friendships is memories of the good times and wondering where it all went wrong. This has been one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make, and I've fought long and hard with myself before coming to the conclusion that I did yesterday. Friendships should be two ways, for a long time I have felt like I have been the one giving whilst M has taken all I have to give. Last night I had a sudden realisation that nothing was going to change and the only way to make myself feel better was to end the friendship. This was by no means an easy decision to make - for the past few months I have been backwards and forwards battling my head against my heart and ultimately I realised that my head had to win.
Now feel like I am going through the grieving process. Last night I cried, a lot, to Stuart, my parents, other friends, anyone I spoke to moved me to tears. Today my appetite has disappeared but something remarkable has happened, the weight that has been on my shoulders for months has vanished, I feel much more relaxed as a direct reaction to last nights decision.

For now, I will go onwards and upwards, enjoying this journey and everything it has to throw at me.

Monday, 22 October 2012

The proposal

So far I have told you all about our wedding day, but I've not yet told you how we arrived there!

February 24th 2011 was the day of the teacher strikes, which meant I had a day off from teaching and Stuart was given the option of having a day off work or meeting the Queen - he took a day off so we could spend a bit of extra time together.

We made plans to visit Leeds Castle and spend the day walking around, enjoying a picnic before returning home. Now, I love a castle and was excited to get the day started as quickly as possible, Stuart however had other ideas! After an early morning 5 mile run he announced that he had to head to Bluewater Shopping Centre to run some last minute errands, and would I mind staying at home and preparing the picnic? I was more than happy to do this - I love preparing a picnic and have a tendency to go completely over the top - however when Stuart rang an hour later to say he was heading home but would have to head back to Bluewater a little later my good mood started to fade. An hour later I found myself wandering around TopShop whilst Stuart had disappeared, again, I had lost all interest in a day out and was fully prepared to go home, watch a DVD and enjoy a carpet picnic, luckily (for me) Stuart convinced me we should head on out. 

Now normally we are a very tactile couple, always holding hands and larking about, the walk around the grounds of the castle couldn't have been more different. Stuart jumped whenever I touched his arm and barely looked at me, I later discovered this was because he was desperately keeping hold of the ring but at the time I was convinced that my earlier bad mood had dampened the day and that he was rushing around so that we could get home. 

I don't have a huge amount to say about the castle - the grounds are absolutely incredible and I would recommend a visit just to enjoy the gardens, birds, peacocks, swans, the maze and the beautiful flowers, however as incredible as the castle looked from the outside, inside it was all too much like being on a school trip - rather than being able to wander around at your own pace and see the things you wanted to, you had to follow a preplanned route, having experienced Dover Castle a few weeks previously I have to say I was left underwhelmed by Leeds Castle itself.

By the time we got to the gardens I was convinced that Stuart was probably close to breaking up with me, conversation was limited and he seemed distant, rounding a corner though he pulled me in for  hug, then over looking the lake he went down on one knee and asked me to marry him, rather than saying yes I made a noise akin to this! The ring he had designed was perfect and very me, even now whenever I catch a glimpse of it it makes me smile. After telling everyone I could think of and returning back to our usual tactile selves we enjoyed a picnic and left Leeds Castle with very happy memories.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Friday Letters #006

Yay, it's Friday again which means it's time for some more Friday Letters!

Dear Stuart - Good luck, believe in yourself and be as amazing as always xxx
Dear Shoulder - For 26 long years you have worked perfectly, please please get better soon so I can do my job properly, and stop wearing this annoying sling.
Dear Sling - It's not that I don't like you, it's just you get in the way and make the simplest of tasks so difficult.
Dear Tetley - I love you, I really really do, but please learn how to use your new cat flap and quickly, and also please go back to sleeping at night! xxx
Dear Stuart - Thank you for lending me your ears and your own prospective this week, sometimes I need to take a step back from the big things xxx
Dear Weather - I love autumn, but would it be possible to have more of the crisp autumn mornings and slightly less rain?! Also when are the leaves going to start changing colour, surely it's already happened by now normally?
Dear S - No matter where you are, or what you are going through, please know that both Stuart and I are always at the end of the phone. Love you xxx


Enjoy your weekend guys!

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Today's motivation

Today I'll be waving goodbye to the shore and heading off on the next adventure of life! Exciting times :)

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

If I were....

I saw this post on the lovely Lauren's blog here and thought it would be lots of fun to do, Enjoy!

If I were a gemstone, I'd be a Sapphire.
If I were a scent, I'd be freshly cut grass (or cinnamon).
If I were a pair of shoes, I'd be ballet shoes.
If I were the weather, I'd be a thunder storm.
If I were a facial expression, I'd be a smile.

If I were a car, I'd be a Mini Cooper. 
If I were a time of day, I'd be bed time.
If I were a month, I'd be October.
If I were a place, I'd be the beach.
If I were a liquid, I'd be a cup of coffee.
If I were a taste, I'd be vanilla ice cream.

If I were a sea animal, I'd be a sea turtle.
If I were a food, I'd be a Sunday roast.
If I were a colour, I'd be a shade of pink.
If I were a musical instrument, I'd be a saxophone.
f I were a flower, I'd be a Gerbera. 
If I were a song, I'd be anything written by Joshua Radin.

If I were a planet, I'd be Saturn.
If I were an object, I'd be a necklace.
If I were a fruit, I'd be a strawberry.
If I were a sound, I'd be the waves crashing on the beach.
If I were a day of the week, I'd be Friday.

This was so much fun to do, please let me know if you give it a go!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Strawberry tart

I made this over summer and it was a roaring success. Admittedly it is probably very much a summer dessert, but I find it to be a perfect accompaniment after a heavy dinner. This uses strawberries as the fruit, but I think it would work just as well with raspberries, peaches or any number of fruit.

175g Crunchy biscuits (I used an own brand which worked perfectly)
75g Melted butter
400g Strawberries (or whatever fruit you are using)
284ml Double cream
5 Soft toffees (I used Wether's Originals, although I'm sure any kind of toffee would be fine)
200g Greek yoghurt

Line a flan tin with baking parchment
Put the biscuits in  strong food bag and bash with a rolling pin until they are finely crushed
Tip into a bowl and mix in the melted butter
Press the mixture over the base of the tin
Chill for at least 30 minutes until it feels firm
Slice/halve the strawberries - depending on the size
Remove the biscuit base from the tin and slide onto a flat plate
Put 2tbsp of the cream into a small bowl with the toffees
Whip the rest of the cream until it holds its shape in soft folds
Fold in the yoghurt then spoon over the biscuit base
Cover the mix with the strawberries
Melt the toffees and cream together in a microwave on medium for 30secs - 1 min, then stir until it forms a sauce
Drizzle over the tart


Monday, 15 October 2012

A thank you

Happy Monday! I wanted to start this week by thanking everyone who is reading this blog. A few short weeks ago when I sat down and started to type I wasn't entirely sure whether anyone other than my mom or Stuart would want to read it - this weekend I hit a 1000 page views so it would appear I was incorrect. Thank you to all of you who are reading, sending messages of support and offering up incredible amounts of support, I will never be able to thank you all enough.  

Friday, 12 October 2012

Friday Letters #005

This series is fast becoming one of my favourite parts about blogging. It's really nice to be able to sit down on a Friday morning and recap everything that has happened during the week. This week has been a bit of a struggle - still struggling with my collar bone which has made teaching unbelievably difficult.

Dear Dad and Mom - Thank you for always being at the end of the phone with words of advice and amusing antidotes, especially this week where you have both kept me smiling :) xxx
Dear Stuart - It's almost time for you to be leaving Norfolk to head back home for the weekend, yay! Thank you for everything you have done this week - too much for me to even sit down and type it all out - I do have to get ready for work you know!! xxx
Dear Craig - WOW, I never thought you had it in you to be so romantic! I hope you and C have an incredible time in Paris, I have just about returned to my normal colour! xx
Dear F - It's amazing to think how long we have known each other and yet I feel we are closer now than we ever have been. You always know just what to say and when to see it :) xxx
Dear Twitter - Why do you favourite the strangest of my tweets?!! But hey thanks for sticking around and reading my ramblings.
Dear Me - Time to start believing in yourself and power on forward with life. Thought the above quote was particularly apt for today.


Enjoy your weekend guys!! 

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Doughnut Muffins

Doughnuts and muffins are two of my favourite cakes to eat, so imagine my delight when I stumbled across a recipe which combined the two, after a few tweaks of my own I found something which tasted delicious. These are currently one of my favourite things to bake (and eat) and have bee used in many a hamper, thank you presents and even a job interview earlier this year.

140g Caster Sugar
200g Plain Flour
1tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
100ml Natural Yogurt
2 Large Eggs - beaten
1tsp Vanilla Extract
140g Melted Butter
12tsp Jam (Or nutella if you want to make chocolate ones!!)

Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/Gas 5
Put sugar, flour and the bicarb in a bowl and mix to combine together
In a jug whisk together the yogurt, eggs and vanilla extract
Tip the jug contents and melted butter into the dry ingredients and quickly fold with a metal spoon to combine
Divide two-thirds of the mixture between the cases
Add 1tsp of jam (or nutella) to the centre of each
Cover with the remaining mixture
Bake for 16-18 minutes until risen, golden and springy to touch.

Try not to eat them all in one go -Enjoy!!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Jeskyns Park

Before Stuart and I moved to Canterbury we spent many an afternoon walking round Jeskyns Park. It fast turned into one of our favourite places to pass an hour exploring different walks and taking in the ever changing scenery.

You'd never guess that the park was right next to a main road, once you are walking round the traffic noise becomes a dull noise almost undetectable if i'm being honest. To me, nothing beats a nice autumnal walk - especially if there is a local pub with a log fire at the end of it!!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Building bridges

Elton John sang that sorry seemed to be the hardest word - I think he's wrong, I say sorry all the time, to my husband, my parents, my friends, my brothers, the children I teach, the list is endless. As recently as yesterday though I took what I hope will be the first step to rebuilding a relationship which I think faltered at the very beginning.

Not so long ago I met a girl, lets call her Solitaire, a girl I really wanted to be friends with. At first everything seemed to be fine, and then suddenly, dramatically things took a turn for the worse. I can't even remember what first happened for this drastic shift between us, all I know is that I fear it could ultimately be irreversible. What could have been a nice friendship between two people who, unbeknown to us at the time, were both about to embark on a pretty eventful year has became an exchange of tit for tat. Now whilst I cannot speak on behalf of Solitaire I can say that I have said things which I regret, I lashed out when I was hurting and as I have looked back I am ashamed of my behaviour,  I would like to think that she would feel the same, however I of course cannot be certain of this.

Making the first move has been tough for me, Solitaire has hurt me more than I ever thought anyone could - I fully accept that she may (probably) feel the same way about me, however I realise now it's not just me and her this feud is hurting. The people close to us both have unwillingly become involved, I find them censoring the things they say to me and that hurts.  Knowing where to start is the problem, how far back into the past do you go before you have to stop apologising and begin forging a new path together? I am hoping beyond all hope that Solitaire and I can start again, move forward together and maybe forge a friendship.

Solitaire - wherever you are, know that I truly am sorry.

What would you guys do? Where would you start? 

Monday, 8 October 2012

People who inspire me

  This last week I have spent lots of time thinking about how lucky I am, I am surrounded by family members who have always gone above and beyond to make sure that my brothers and I have grown up feeling loved and making sure we knew we could achieve anything we ever wanted too. This led me to thinking about all the things these people have overcome in their own lives and so this post is a dedication to them, and a thank you for everything they have done.

My Nan:

My nan is quite simply my hero. As a young girl she taught me how to be gracious, funny, sarcastic, argumentative and inquisitive. If I wasn't at home I could nearly always be found at my nans. She introduced me to My Fair Lady (and a lifetime love of Audrey Hepburn) and the Sound of Music, and we spent many weekends watching (reciting) both films and often pointing out errors along the way - a habit that I still have to this day. As I grew up and discovered a love of dance and performing she was there every step of the way, always asking how an exam had gone and attending as many performances as she could. Once I left home to go to University I got letters in the post, funny phone conversations and the understanding that she was always only at the end of the phone should I need her. Even now, aged 90, she looks after me - sending microwavable saucepans and kitchen utensils down to make sure I am eating properly. At 90 she is absolutely switched on, knows the birthdays of all 6 (!!) of her sons and the names, ages and birthday months of all of her grandchildren and great children, of which there are many. I can quite easily say that I would never be the person I am today without the love, support and guidance I received from my nan when growing up.

My Mom:

My best friend, my inspiration, my confidante, my mom. I know everyone thinks they have the best mom in the world but I really do. Ever since I can remember she has supported my decisions whether they have been right or wrong and has been the champion to all my successes. I am sure we had our ups and downs when I was growing up, but I honestly don't remember them. What I remember is her filling the house with love whilst my dad was working away in France, home cooked meals, amazing picnics, baking cakes and a lifelong understanding of the value of a hot water bottle! I have been through many ups and down in my adult life and my mom has always been the person I can turn to, from questioning a relationship to asking about nail varnish my mom provides a frank and honest answer no matter who she may upset along the way. Now that I am married myself I realise the huge sacrifices my mom made to make sure that that my brothers and I didn't go without, sacrificing her own ambitions and dreams to make sure that we could attend dance classes, play football/rugby/cricket, go on school trips and have the things we wanted as children. She has recently gone to University and is doing amazing things, although in her usual self deprecating way she doesn't quite realise how amazing she is. Mom - without you I would never have overcome the numerous hurdles life has thrown at me. To my best friend and my mom I say Thank You.

My Dad:

My dad - the person who introduced me to Monty Python, taught me the off side rule, showed me how to use sarcasm to my benefit, taught me to believe in myself no matter what and who drove me to every audition, watched every show and championed every new dance step learnt. When I was growing up i'm not sure I appreciated just how amazing my dad is, he was just dad, the steady male influence in my life. When I left home aged 18 I began to understand just how incredible he is, I got regular letters and text messages reassuring me about dance classes and essays, every time I went home he drove me back down to London to make sure I got back to the campus safely, he read every essay, every dance magazine to make sure he understood what was happening in my world and when I found things difficult he gave me a tough talking to and reminded me that I had always wanted to dance. Even now he is my rock - when things get tough he knows what to say and when to say it. I'm sure there have been numerous times when I have annoyed him,  got in his way or woken him up when he was working the night shift but his love for me has always been unconditional and without limits. I know how lucky I am to have a dad who is a friend and I hope he knows just how much I love and admire him.

The Phazeys:

A new addition into my life, but one which is really welcome. Ever since my first trip to my in-laws house they have made me feel incredibly welcome and loved. Each trip is filled with talking, laughing and hidden sweets in the spare room!
I am constantly inspired by Stuart to be the best I can be, to try out new things and to continue pursuing the path I am currently on. I see that this is as a direct result from the love he was and continues to be given by his mom, dad and sister.
I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones, not only do I have the most amazing parents and brothers a girl could ever ask for, I have married into a family which is based on love, laughter and support.

This list is of course by no means exclusive to the few people named above. I have two incredible brothers who I have been through thick and thin with, brothers who would do absolutely anything for me and I would for them. They were my first true friends and they are the only people who know me through and through and still love me for it. I also have a list of friends without whom I could not function without, they support me, encourage me, fill me with wine and cocktails and always have an ear spare to listen and clever, constructive advice. To all these people I say Thank You.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Friday Letters #004

It's the end of another week, which means it's time for friday letters again. Really enjoying this series, it's a great way of remembering all the nice things that have happened during the week whilst forgetting the negative things.

Dear Stuart - Thank you for the last week, for the messages reminding me to shut blinds to sending dinner ideas through when I have been ridiculously tired! xxx
Dear Belle Du Brighton and Country Girl Does Norfolk - Thank you for the crazy amount of support, advice and encouragement you have given me since I started this blog. You girls rock and I owe you big time! xxx
Dear Tetley - I love you beyond belief, but you really do need to start letting me sleep through the night, otherwise i'm going to be one of those cat owners who dresses their cat up - you have been warned!! MEOW! x
Dear B - Thank you for opening up to Stuart and I, I only hope we can help and support you through this difficult time.
Dear Brain - It would be really nice if you could switch off at night and let me sleep. Those noises you hear are just noises from the garden and they are not anything worth waking up for.
Dear Legs - You rock!! This week has been jazz, ballet, tap and pointe classes on top of endless walking. Thank you for getting me through and not aching too much,
Dear Pointe shoes - Now I remember why I've not worn you for so long, you are very pretty but boy are my feet hurting today after 45 minutes of wearing you. I hope my feet get accustomed to your presence again soon.


Enjoy your weekend guys xxx

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Thank you!

Not so much a blog post but a thank you today. 3 weeks ago I sat down to start this blog with no idea where it was going to head and whether it was going to be something I enjoyed or not, 3 weeks in and I love it! You guys reading it have been a huge support to me both on here and on twitter in helping me come up with ways to keep in touch with Stuart and how to combat my loneliness on days when it all gets to much.

So here's to you all.