Sunday, 9 December 2012

The Magic of Christmas

We're feeling VERY Christmassy here this year, having spent last week at the Christmas markets in Cologne, Brussels and London! But these are the usual things that bring that special Christmas magic into our home.

Wrapping the presents - I like to get these done early in the month so there's no last minute panics - and it's best to not sit still toooo long when I'm wrapping....!

We also love to go iceskating - there are so many outdoor rinks now that we're spoilt for choice! Nothing beats slithering around the rink and then a warming glass of Gluhwein!

This is my entry for the #O2GuruMagicofXmas Linky, sponsored by O2 GuruTV – the home of tech help and inspiration

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Half Term Family Fishcakes made easy with Aunt Bessie!

One of our family's favourite meals is homemade fishcakes, the kids love to help me make them and to decorate the plates when we serve them up, but during half term when we're all so busy with activities and work, I simply don't have time to make them from scratch. It's such a healthy meal though, that I needed to keep it in my weekly meal plan if at all possible.

That's where Aunt Bessie comes to the rescue! Instead of all the peeling, chopping, boiling and mashing of veg, which can take what seems like an age when you've got hungry mouths to feed, all I have to do is get some Aunt Bessie's frozen mashed potato and frozen carrot & swede, and hey presto, the meal is done in a flash!!

Aunt Bessie's Fast Fishcakes


Frozen white fish (I use the value range of coley)
Aunt Bessie's frozen mashed potato
Aunt Bessie's frozen carrot and swede mash
Frozen green beans

Cook the fish with 1 tablespoon of water for 3-4 minutes in the microwave at full power. Flake into small pieces
Cook the Aunt Bessie's mashed potato according the packet instructions (I do it in the microwave). Allow to cool slightly and then add fish and mix well.
In the meantime, cook the Aunt Bessie's carrot and swede mash according to packet instructions and also the green beans (again, I do all mine in the microwave for ease).
Take a handful of the mash mix and shape into a fish shape. Repeat and then fry in rapeseed oil until golden.
Serve like an underwater scene!

Britmums and Aunt Bessie are running a competition to see how you use Aunt Bessie's to make healthy meals that save you time this half term. Why not take a look and have a go yourself as I'd love to see some more quick, healthy and tasty family meals that I can try!

This is my entry for the #halftermfood Linky on Britmums.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

A burning question about weight loss

I was recently involved in a road traffic accident (I was run over by a Chinaman!) and damaged my knee badly, which meant that I wasn't able to walk my dogs every day which is my normal daily exercise - around one hour, 4 miles up hill and down dale. As I was bored stuck at home, I put on a few pounds, and now am finding it hard to shift them.

Jenny Craig are running a competition to win a bike, now I know that would help me boost my calorie burning, but they want you to ask them a weight-loss related question.

So here is my question:

Life goes on even when trying to lose weight and I love to socialise with friends and family. What are the alcoholic drinks to avoid when trying to lose weight? Are there any that are OK?

Guess this might affect quite a few people so can't wait to hear the answer!

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Capture the Colour of travel!
Travelsupermarket are running a fabulous competition at the moment where you have to select your five favourite travel shots that represent specific colours - Red, Blue, Green, Yellow and White. So, as I love to travel and I love photography, it was time to go through my photos and select my favourites.
I love scuba diving and on an amazing three week trip to New Zealand in 2008 I was able to take the opportunity to dive at the world famous Poor Knights marine reserve, one of Jacques Cousteau's top 10 dive sites in the world and wasn't disappointed! My dive buddy and I ventured into this underwater cave and "surfaced" underwater into a small airpocket, giggling at the weird sensation of being able to breathe without our tanks whilst ten metres below the surface! Amazing!
I wasn't sure what to expect when I visited South Korea, but knew when they sent these wonderfully vibrant pipers out to meet our ship that we wouldn't be disappointed. We spent several wonderful days exploring this proud country. Clean and colourful are the words that I would use to describe South Korea, everywhere we turned there was colour to greet us, and, of course, the incredibly friendly people.
Leaving on a jet plane......or four! Almost all our world travel these days involves an aeroplane at some point. This photo was taken near to my home - I was attending an event where raptors were being flown and saw this amazing formation of four vapour trails in the sky - easier to photograph but no less amazing. GREEN
On an epic trip to the great white continent, Antarctica (yes, that's the seventh one ticked off!), I was able to visit the British research station at Port Lockroy which has been kept as it was when it closed in 1962. The institutional green must have been a relief after all the blues, whites and greys outdoors, and it was fascinating to see all the old provisions on the shelves. RED
I think that red was the most common colour in my travel photos - the reds flags and lanterns from China, vibrant clothing in India and Peru, but its closer to home (for me) that I've chosen for my red picture. Taken in London, one of the most visited cities in the world, I loved taking this unusual photo of a Lifeguard astride his horse in Whitehall. I wanted to get a different angle so lay down on the pavement under the horses nose and pointed my camera upwards - the Lifeguard looked alarmed to start with but then couldn't stop grinning! I've loved going through my travel photos and selecting the ones to include in this blog and thoroughly recommend doing the same, especially Di Coke (Super Lucky), Lisa Hughes, Kylie Martin, Katy Bennett and Sarah Ridgeway

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

The Waldorf Hilton - London

I used to live and work in central London and always dreamed about staying at the Waldorf Hilton hotel. It's situated opposite where I used to work on the Strand, one of the main thoroughfares in the West End so it's within strolling distance of many of London's main attractions (Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Covent Garden, The British Museum, Theatreland etc etc). Such a great location.

But it's whats inside the hotel that attracts me - how many other central London hotels have indoor pools - not many let me tell you! Fancy an early morning dip before breakfast? or a relaxing swim after a long day sightseeing? The Waldorf pool is just perfect - they have child-free times too if you want to avoid too much splashing!

The beautiful Palm Court is where they serve breakfast - it makes you feel like you've travelled back in time to a more genteel way of life. They also serve a proper afternoon tea, such a treat! Whilst the hotel reflects an Art Deco feel, some of the rooms and suites are really modern so you get the best of both worlds - lovely!

So, the Waldorf Hilton is the perfect mix - a great hotel that would be a destination in itself but also situated in one of the best spots in town - PERFECTION!

Check out this link for more information, and you could win free nights in a London hotel!

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Sweet Potato Fritters - Spanish Tapas

Please send me on a holiday to Barcelona I love to travel and I love to taste local food on my travels, it's one of the main reasons to visit different places for me! I love travelling to Spain as I adore tapas - its my kind of food, lots of little dishes of delicious food to try not just one big plateful. Nothing beats a Spanish dry sherry (Fino) as an accompaniment either! I've developed a few different tapas dishes at home to enjoy with friends, but this is one of our favourites and it's very simple to make.
Sweet Potato Fritters
2 medium sized sweet potatoes 1 red onion finely chopped handful of chopped parsley 1 tablespoon flour oil for frying Peel and chop the sweet potatoes and cook until soft. Mash lightly Meanwhile, gently fry the onion until soft and then add to the mashed sweet potato together with the chopped parsley. Make into small patties and dust in the flour. Fry until golden and serve immediately. Absolutely delicious!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

OK, lets start with some of my favourite all time trips - to the Red Sea, flying into Hurghada in Egypt.  Quite a short flight (about 4.5 hours) to get to an exotic location with great weather year round - well, certainly compared to Cornwall in the winter anyway!!  The undersea life has to be seen to be believed - you can learn to dive when you get there and then the (undersea) world and views like this are your oyster!!

I entered the Flythomascook photography competition