Spicy tomato and butternut squash soup…

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After an unseasonably warm October, November is here and it is freezing! We’re all full of cold and in need of something to warm us up. Obviously, this means it’s a perfect time for soup! I love soup. I’m pretty sure I could live off soup… However, if you want something a little different, this recipe also makes a fantastic pasta sauce…

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Serves 6

•1 butternut squash
•6 tomatoes
•2 peppers
•2 carrots
•1 large onion
•1 courgette
•6 mushrooms
•2 sticks of celery
•garlic
•2 chillies

Roughly chop all the veg, and roast at 180*C for approximately an hour or until soft.
Remove the skin from the squash, an blend all the vegetables with hot water, until it is as thick/thin as you want it.

Don’t worry too much if you don’t have the exact ingredients, pretty much any combination of the vegetables listed will work and if I don’t something I leave it out! The squash can be replaced with pumpkin, and the chillies with chilli powder. Also, to make a more tomatoey soup either add more tomatoes or a tin of chopped tomatoes.

This soup is so easy and good for you! Let me know what you think…

Emma-Jayne xx

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Afternoon tea..

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So, I thought I’d try something new today, with part of my post being an OOTD (outfit of the day) I know it’s not something I normally do, but I love fashion and I figured I may as well see how it goes!

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My dress is from Primark
The jacket is Asda, however they don’t have this exact jacket anymore but there are quite a few around at the moment.
The shoes are Marks and Spencer’s.

I wore this outfit to afternoon tea. My auntie is getting married soon, and is having a “family” hen and one for all her friends(cocktail making and a 1920’s theme!). I wanted something classy for our afternoon tea, and this is what I came up with! I’m in love with these shoes at the moment, so comfy and only £18 which is a bargain especially for M&S!

As for the afternoon tea itself, the cakes were delicious and tree was an endless supply of tea. It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon.

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Let me know what you think of the OOTD style post!

Emma-Jayne xx

Lest we forget…

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They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam

-ode to remembrance, taken from “for the fallen” Laurence Binyon.

We will remember them.

In 1914, at 11pm on the 4th of august the foreign secretary, Sir Edward Grey said “the lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them again in our lifetime.” Tonight, 100 years from the announcement of World War One, lights in Britain are being turned out between 10pm and 11pm in honour of the soldiers who Lost their lives in the Great War. #lightsout

My lights are out, are yours?

Emma-Jayne xx

The snug…

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A few months ago, a new coffee shop opened near where I live. As soon as I heard about it I wanted to go!

It isn’t your run-of-the-mill coffee shop, it has a vintage vibe to it and everything is served on mismatched china which adds to the charm. The decor was beautiful, and each table had comfy chairs and little vases of flowers.

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There were so many different types of tea to choose from, with a mixture of bagged and loose leaf. I just had English breakfast tea, but next time I’d be tempted to try something else! They also serve a selection of coffees, milkshakes, smoothies and cold drinks.
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We also treated ourselves to some cake. Lillee chose a cupcake, and Dan and I split a piece of carrot cake and a piece of chocolate orange cake. It was so delicious! Obviously homemade, moist and full of flavour. The chocolate orange cake even had a swirl of orange curd running through the middle of it, and a chocolate flower on the top, which dan gave to me. Isn’t he a lovely husband? I think, I would be tempted to go again just for the cake. The wasn’t a huge selection of cakes, but having seen pictures of when others have been in I know they rotate them depending on the day.

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We are planning on going again for lunch soon, and hopefully will be booking afternoon tea for during august as I know my mom wants to go too so that should be good!

If you’ve been to the snug or go in the future, let me know what you think and what kind of cake you had!

Emma-Jayne xx

Glitter tip nail art tutorial…

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Since the wedding, I haven’t kept up with my acrylic nail appointments. There are various reasons including time, and it being an unnecessary expense. As much as I love having them on, it has made much more sense recently for me not too. I will be having them back on before the end of the year, my auntie gets married in October so if not before I will definitely be having them done for the hen night! But until then, I want to make them pretty. And I have to be honest, one thing I have missed with my nails on is trying out various different nail designs myself. And changing it when I feel like it!

I love grey nails. I’ve had them similar to this professionally, although she used a different technique. But I do find sometimes just plain colour is a little boring. I don’t have the skills to do some of these amazing nail art designs out there so I wanted something simple but pretty. I personally think this ticks all the boxes!

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So today, I am using:-

•Barry M nail paint in grey 293.
•Jess nail polish in celebration.
•Nail varnish remover, cotton wool pad and a cotton bud.
•Avon nail experts liquid freeze quick dry nail spray.
•topcoat/base coat.

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First, I made sure my nails were clean and nail-polish free with a quick swipe all over with the remover before applying a base coat. I don’t know what brand it is, because I’ve had it for so long the label had come off.. Just use your favourite one! Then I used 2 coats of the Barry M nail paint. I use this colour on my nails a lot. I originally brought it because I think it’s a really great neutral colour but because it isn’t as harsh as black it is more wearable. At this point you can use a quick spray of the freeze spray, or wait for it to become touch-dry.

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At this point, I used my Jess nail varnish. This is actually from poundland. Personally, I think it takes a long time to dry but I really love the colours in the glitter. I actually brought it for Lillee, as she loves to have her nails painted but she is worse than I am for chipping it, so I only buy her cheap ones for now.

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I carefully, put a thin-ish line across the tip of my nail in the glitter. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but I try to get as many glitter particles as I can closest to the tip of my nail so it creates a little gradient meaning the line doesn’t have to be straight. If you struggle with keeping it relatively even, you could use a French manicure template to get a more crisp edge.

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I finished with a topcoat, a spritz of freeze dry spray, and cleaned up my edges with a cotton bud soaked in a little nail varnish remover. And there you have it!

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I hope you like it!

Emma-Jayne xx

Going on a health kick…

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So, I have to be honest I LOVE fresh fruits and vegetables. I have been known to eat an entire 500g bag of sliced cabbage and leeks to myself. (Cooked in with a tiny bit of oil and some garlic. Delicious) broccoli is among one of my top 10 foods to eat, but even so recently I’ve noticed the weight has been creeping up. A few pounds here, a few pounds there and now I’m at least half a stone heavier than I was at the wedding. Not that I managed to loose weight for I in the first place.. So that got me thinking. What is it I’m doing wrong? I live fruit and vegetables, i prefer chicken to red meat most of the time and I rarely eat bread, pasta or rice and when I do it’s the wholewheat kind. But, let’s be honest here, that’s not ALL I eat. We have ice-cream in the freezer, cheese in the fridge and this week I know I’ve eaten crisps, biscuits and pizza. Not that any of these things are bad in moderation, but that’s the key to it isn’t it? In moderation. So actually, when I think a little harder, I’ve Been indulging a bit too often. And as for water? Not very long ago, I was pretty much only drinking water. At the moment I’m lucky if I get one glass of pure water in a day. So really, when I get down to it I’m not really that healthy am I?

Well, after this revelation, what’s a girl to do? For a start, I need to put down this glass of wine and actually do some exercise! I think I’ll say it in a whisper so I don’t shock my system. I rarely do proper exercise. I take Lillee to and from school during the week but honestly? These days that’s about as good as it gets. I am aware that housework and walking are good alternatives to exercise but I have to be honest here, I don’t do anywhere near enough to actually be able to count it as doing my recommended level.

So what am I going to do? Well, I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently, and although I’ve said it before and then slowly backslid. Especially when things like gü puddings end up it the trolly.. I NEED to change my diet. But I don’t want to go on a diet because then I’ll get fed up. And really, who wants to be counting calories or syns or points for the rest of their life? I know I don’t. So obviously, the answer here is to start making better choices. To eat more “clean” foods. I don’t want to stop having treats but it’s gotten quite clear that it’s not really a treat if you have it every day is it? Therefore, starting today.. well, technically it’ll start tomorrow as it’s now 10pm and I’ve already eaten for today I’m planning in upping my levels of fruit and veg, looking into things like chia seeds and flax seed which I’ve heard so much about but never tried and Definitely drinking WAY more water! As for exercise? Well, in theory I will start doing maybe 3 workouts a week.. But I think that will probably start to come in a little later once I have the food locked down.

Although I’m hoping I will loose some weight, this isn’t really the main reason for doing this. I want to improve my health and especially my fitness levels. Plus I want to jump on te opportunity while Lillee still prefers strawberries to chocolate and she asks to drink water if she’s thirsty. I really need to start taking life lessons from her!

Wish me luck!

Emma-Jayne xx

Good Food Show…

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So, last Sunday we went to the good food show in Birmingham!

We had an amazing time, and we spent the day browsing the stalls, tasting and subsequently buying some pretty yummy food and drink. I did Vlog during the day, so check out the video here.

On the way to the NEC, we had to go through Birmingham international train station. While we were there, we went into the toilets and this sign was above one of the toilets…

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I have to be honest, it really amused me hence why I decided to post it on here! There were so many things there, that it wasn’t possible to taste everything or buy everything.. Or at least not for us anyway! But, some of my favorite purchases are…

  • Scarlet angel salad dressings. We brought two lemon and black pepper, and one sweet pepper and chilli. Because we brought 3, we also got a free little jute bag to bring them home in which I have to be honest is super cute. They are made in wales and all organic. and we love them, so much that I’m already wishing we brought more…
  • Belvoir fruit cordials in elder-flower, raspberry and lemon and raspberry and rose. I’ve had the elder-flower cordial before, and also the elder-flower pressé
    as well as the raspberry lemonade. The raspberry and rose was new to me but so delicious I had to buy some! The entire range of cordials is also currently available from ocado.
  • We also got some amazing vintagey shabby-chic items from one of the stalls. unfortunately, I’m not sure of the name but we got a wicker picnic basket with a handle that reminded us of something little red riding hood would carry, some hooks for Lillee’s room which I’ll post a picture of once they are up and a hanging candle holder in the shape of a heart with a little bird on for my mom and dad’s silver wedding anniversary on Tuesday. I could have spent so much money on that stall. I just had to try not to look to hard!

We brought and tried so many other things, which I wont list but I would definitely recommend going if you want a foodies day out!

Our ticket price also included a seat in the super theater. Originally, I wanted to see Paul Hollywood. However, it turned out he was only there on the Thursday and Friday which we couldn’t go to as Dan was at work. So, instead we saw Tom Kerridge proper pub food. It was funny, and his food looked tasty. I have also brought his book but I haven’t had a chance to properly sit down and read it yet. I have tried one recipe, which was the lemon posset. I liked it but personally, it was a little sweet so i’d cut down on the sugar and I don’t think I left it in the fridge long enough to set properly. I do recommend eating strawberries with it though! They went together so well and I will be trying it out again although with less sugar next time.

We are planning on going again to the winter good food show at the end of November. So, hopefully I’ll be able to get some more amazing food items!

Emma-Jayne xx

*Disclaimer. This was not a sponsored post. Just a day trip we had and really enjoyed.*

YouTube…

It’s official, we have a YouTube channel!! The content will run alongside the blog. I’m hoping to do some Vlogs in the future and also a house tour. Soo keep an eye out, or subscribe to never miss an update! As ever, all updates to the blog or YouTube will be linked on the facebook page so go check it out!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaiQaHl8CT33m4dCeECgRYg

 

Emma-Jayne xx

My life lately…

20140508-085528.jpg So, I know I haven’t been around much recently, but I’m hoping that’s about to change! We’ve had lots going on In the last few weeks. First, there was Easter. Lillee was spoilt as per usual and came home from her Easter egg hunt with lots of chocolate and sweeties. Plus she had some new clothes, a toy rabbit and some things to make and do! Dan and I weren’t left out either, we had a few boxes if chocolates and a beautiful candle from my mom and dad. Then, we came to our 1 month anniversary. Not that we did anything! But it was a day to relive the memories from our wedding. Plus we have already lasted longer than some celebrity marriages! Since then, we have been spending some time as a family and had the first icecream of the year from an icecream van! Really yummy it was too. Aimie stayed over last week, which happened to also be the day we moved in three years ago! On that note happy anniversary to Kate and Wills. I watched the royal wedding while Dan and my parents started the decorating in our flat. (I was keeping an eye on Aimie and Lillee for a bit).

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Lillee has also decided that she wants to make a rag doll. So I found out a book I have with the tag doll pattern plus clothes patterns in, and we have started the process of cutting making her. Apparently her name is going to be ‘Emily’ so far, Lillee has helped every step of the way and now we are ready to start sewing her! She even has a little pink heart to put inside. 20140508-091851.jpg
The plan is, either tonight or tomorrow while she isn’t at school we will get out my sewing machine and put her together. She has used my sewing machine once before when we made cushions for Mother’s Day. She had a great time helping my guide the fabric through and then filling it up with stuffing! 20140508-091655.jpg We were very lucky at our wedding with some generous gifts, and so a big Thank you go’s out to everyone who contributed to our ‘pretty things for the house fund’ and we have now brought out first thing.. Drumroll please… A new oven!! Ok so it may not be super exiting, but our previous oven was second hand, the grill didn’t work, the temperature was out and it was impossible to get completely clean. So for me, a brand new oven is amazing! Plus it look so much nicer in my kitchen than the old one did. I’m loving the fact that there is a glass door so I can see what I’m cooking without opening it and potentially ruining what’s inside.. Maybe I’ll try soufflés now?! Plus it’s easy to keep clean. And has an indicator to tell me that the hob is still hot so I won’t burn myself on it! 20140508-092757.jpg I actually have a whole kitchen reveal post planned so keep a lookout for that one as the oven isn’t the only new thing in our kitchen…

So that’s a little look into my life over the past few weeks! What do you think? Shall I keep these posts in or is there something else you would like to see on the blog? Let me know on the comments..

Emma-Jayne xx

#100happydays…

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Lately, I’ve noticed #100happydays floating around on my Facebook and Instagram. Eventually, my curiosity got the better of me and I googled it. I came across a website www.100happydays.com. According the the site, 71% of people fail the challenge. Lack of time was quoted as the main reason. Are you to busy to be happy? That really made me think. I mean this whole challenge is simple. You take a picture of something that makes you happy, then, upload it onto Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the tag #100happydays. There is even an email address if your super private.

I find it really sad that people are claiming they are too busy to be happy. I know there’s something every day that makes me happy no matter how small!

Sooo I’m taking up the challenge! You can follow my progress here on Instagram, want to join me? Simply go to the website and hit sign up! Make sure you comment telling me where your posting so I can follow your progress! Plus, if you manage to do the entire 100 days there is supposed to be a book of all 100 pictures available. If not? I think it’s worth it to remember all the little things in life that make us happy.

I have so far done a week on the challenge, and actually found it really easy so far so I’m hoping that this is going to continue! Here’s my happy things so far…

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Good luck to all who try it! Can’t wait to see what makes you happy.

Emma-Jayne xx