Sunday, 16 February 2014

#WishIWasThere !

Alfresco Holidays are running a fabulous competition to cheer us up during this grim stormy weather we are currently having.  They want us to look through our summer holiday snaps and choose one to enter into their competition on the theme of #WishIWasThere.

We simply LOVE Brittany and visit every year.  The food is awesome, we adore the super fresh seafood that's available in nearly every market and supermarket :)

We spend long days walking along the stunning coastline, discovering often completely deserted huge sandy beaches  

 and then home to a seafood feast!   what's not love!!

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Valentine's Day menu

The week when Valentine's Day falls is always a special one in our family as my husband's birthday falls on 11th February so we try to go away for the week to celebrate both occasions, usually to a cottage in the West Country where we enjoy long coastal walks with our dogs followed by cosy nights in front of an open fire with home cooked meals using local produce and delicacies.

This year will be no different as we head off tomorrow to the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall (home to the wind damage from last week's storms).  I already have some ideas for what we'll be enjoying on Valentine's Day.

For starters, I will be making these super simple beetroot, ginger and cream cheese timbales, but making them extra special by serving them from heart shaped moulds.  Simply whizz together cooked beetroot (the vac-packed sort, not pickled beetroot from a jar!), a knob of fresh grated ginger and cream cheese.  Serve with black pepper oatcakes for some crunch.
Beetroot & Ginger starter
As we will have been out all day enjoying Mother Nature at her best and will undoubtedly be super hungry, I will buy some local lamb from the village butcher the day before and cook it long and slow in the oven throughout the day to make a wonderful, heart-warming traditional Irish Stew.  I like to serve it with a twist and top it with a Thyme Cobbler to soak up all the delicious juicy gravy. I'll be making the cobbler in heart shapes (instead of my usual Shamrocks) to celebrate St Valentine!
Heart warming Irish stew
I'm not a great lover of desserts, but my husband has a sweet tooth, so I like to make the effort for him and I'll cook these quick chocolate pancakes stuffed with blackcurrants and Greek yoghurt.  Even I have to admit they are pretty moreish!

So there you have it, you know what we'll be enjoying in just a few days time.  I hope you have a great day as I feel sure that we will have!

Maybe one day we'll ring the changes and spoil ourselves with one of Superbreak's Valentine breaks - they look fab!  :)

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

The moments that mattered - 2013

2013 was a BIG year for me - I turned half a century and decided to celebrate in style all year long in one way or another!  So there were many Moments that Mattered, but here are a few highlights.

Firstly, one of my lifelong dreams had been to go on a horse riding safari, so I took the plunge in April and booked a trip to South Africa.  The week was awesome, being on horseback meant that we could get REALLY close to the animals without them being spooked (as the horses lived out with the wild animals overnight) - A-MAY-ZING!
Zebra watching

May saw my actual birthday. I decided to treat my family and our best friends to a short cruise to celebrate (I had thought about hiring a large house to party for a weekend, but then the idea of catering/cleaning etc put me off, this was the perfect solution!).  We had a wonderful time, memories that will stay with me forever.
Dinner on board

I was then treated to a fabulous weekend at our best friends' house where we took a steam train for dinner one evening, I had a go at indoor sky diving (masses of fun) and they had a wonderful celebratory cake made for me.  Long walks on the beach and there was much champagne consumed!  :)
Happy Birthday!

Another horse riding adventure in June saw me being a cowgirl in Montana, USA, another long held dream. Days in the saddle were followed by nights around the camp fire telling tall tales and toasting marshmallows.
Me and my steed in Montana

Autumn brought yet more travel opportunites, again to Victoria Falls and South Africa, this time with my best friend and her 77 year old mother who had always wanted to visit.  We had a hard time keeping up with her Mum and I only wish that I will have as much stamina and verve in 27 years time!
Betty leads the way

Sometimes, things that make you smile might seem trivial to others, but discovering THE best chocolate icecream this side of Italy was one thing that brightened my life no end on a steamy hot weekend in London in July!  And that they had a loyalty card, buy 4, get one free!
Delicious icecream
Watching my godson get married brought a happy tear to my eye - where have all those years gone to?

One last thing, my dogs.  Every day they give me moments that matter and make me smile - this one particularly sticks out in my memory.  We rarely get snow in Cornwall so had to travel up to Dartmoor to find some and had a fab afternoon throwing snowballs and having fun.

So there you are, a wonderful celebratory year full of Moments that Mattered to me.

This is my entry for the Lloyds Bank Moments That Matter blog competition.