Thursday, 28 February 2013

February's Favourite Things / This 'n' That

February flies by for everyone, but seriously where has it gone this year?

I can't believe that tomorrow is St. David's Day (patron Saint of Wales) and that it is time to link up with Ashley for Favourite Things already, and of course  Katie and Jena for This 'n' That.

1.


This Valentine's Day was the best ever. My man did good. Now I seem to remember in a certain post I said that I wasn't a big fan of V Day, but this year saw the first time ever that I got delivered flowers. This may sound lame but it was the sweetest thing :) We kinda spread it over the weekend aswell, went for dinner with Megan on the Friday, exchanged gifts on the weekend and I may well have been brought around to the idea a little more!


2.

Bright make up - I have been buying and ordering some new make up and can't wait to experiment with some colour.  At the risk of being repetitive I need spring to arrive soon and need some colour!  



3.

That there are first signs that spring may be on it's way!  A long way to go yet but it must be coming surely??



4.

I posted this Downton Abbey video last week, but it has made us giggle so much it had to be posted for favourite things!




Just a short one this month as I am catching up with a friend this morning to do some wardrobe swapping and have packing to do for our weekend in the English countryside :)

A xx 


Katie Did What

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

A scrubbing brush, some batteries and shoes!

Yes, that was the result of my boyfriends shopping trip on Sunday when I had to pop into work for a couple of hours!

I have to say, I wasn't in the best of moods Sunday.  We had a lovely Saturday (read all about it here), but once we went to bed our neighbours decided to wake up and play loud music until 9.30 the next morning, so may day of rest was lost as I hardly slept a wink.  Now ladies, when I mention that on top of that I also had severe PMT, I'm sure that you'll understand that having to go into work on a Sunday whilst my boyfriend went shopping, did not make me a happy girl!!

Neither was I impressed when I asked what he bought that he pulled out a scrubbing brush and claimed it was for me, (quickly retracted and stated for him!), some batteries for the smoke detector and cable things for the aerials in the bedrooms.  As boring as those things are I love how sweet he is for thinking of these little things for my house, knowing that I probably won't get around to it.

He came up trumps again though by surprising me with these adorable little pumps that I had been wanting for ages, just to cheer me up :) I love them and him for thinking of me before shopping for himself, in fact he didn't even get around to shopping for himself that day.  He simply is the best!


Leopard Print Chiffon Lace Bow Ballet Pump - New Look
As cold as it was yesterday, I just had to wear them out! My adorable man was away, hence the low quality selfies today! I hope that the weather warms up soon as I want to wear more cute shoes without the risk of losing my toes to frost bite!



Scarf - River Island
Long length top -  Tesco
Leggings - River Island

Watch (old) - Next


Bag - Charming Charlie (Florida)


Linking up today with....


pleated poppy


Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Popping some colour out there!

This grey weather sucks!! The sky is gloomy and I'm itching for some sun.

Today is my day off and I was meant to be meeting a girl friend for some lunch in one of my favourite coffee shop / wine bar / eateries in the village where I used to live.  Unfortunately, her Nanna passed away this past weekend and she has some family matters to attend to so I am staying at home.  I really should be getting on with some housework but after taking Megan to school in the biting wind and popping to my Mum's for a cup of tea and a freshly made bitter chocolate muffin, I am now lacking any motivation!

Instead I have opted for a self manicure / pedicure whilst cosied up by the fire with a cup of cherry and cinnamon tea. Yesterday I pinned some bright spring / summer outfits, which inspired some coloured nails that will hopefully give the sun a boot up the backside!! 



I'm not quite up to the standard of doing this unfortunately, so instead I opted for.....

(I do in fact have a thumb hiding away there somewhere and abnormally long toes!)
Avon Nailwear Pro in Sunshine and No 7 Stay Perfect top coat.


And now that this little indulgence time is over, I guess I should get to the ironing but what a shame it is now lunchtime so maybe later! 

Have a good Tuesday :)

A xx

Monday, 25 February 2013

A Perfect day at home

I was very much looking forward to this weekend, we have been so busy and just needed time to relax. Saturday proved just the opportunity.

The morning started off well with a yummy breakfast by the fire :)

Natural Greek yoghurt, flaxseed, cranberries & honey. Cranberry & raspberry tea. 


Megan's friend's dad asked when he picked her up for dance if she wanted to go to their house for the day, (which of course she wanted to), so Dave and I had the rest of the day to ourselves. It was a change of plan as I was looking forward to a weekend the three of us, but Megan was happy to go and I didn't want to stop her, on a plus the day was probably more restful than it would have been with the girls here!

After a bath and a lie down (hard work, breakfast and a bath!) it was time for breakfast round 2 - Dave whipped up bacon, scrambled eggs with spring onion, beans and toast. So delicious.

We had planned not to go out that day, but with Megan at her friends it was the perfect opportunity to get some food in as M finds shopping stressful. After heading very quickly to the shops, we got back and parked ourselves on the sofa for an afternoon of rugby.

Sneaky, low quality IPhone pic. It's difficult one handed!


It was a good afternoon. Cuddles with my man, half time leftover Indian food from the night before and a Wales win = happy Amy :)

Italy 9 Wales 26



In the interests of fairness (as this is now kinda a Welsh / English household), I should say that England also won their match against France :/ But that's enough of that and back to Wales!! ;)



Megan's future husband and man of the match, Leigh Halfpenny!


We weren't the only ones relaxing. Harley stayed like this all day!



Megan returned home late afternoon and it was then time for a snack and more cuddles on the sofa watching her programmes for a bit before bed.

A perfect day, even if I now have to detox :)

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, is it really Monday already??

A xx





Friday, 22 February 2013

Friday's letters

Photobucket




Dear Friday, I am so pleased you are here! This week has been so busy that it seems to have flown by, but I am very tired and am looking forward to a (hopefully) peaceful weekend. As Dave has been so busy this week and I've only spent two nights with him in the last seven, I can't wait for 4.30 this afternoon when he finishes work and comes home for the weekend. We all need the rest, Dave and I have been out quite a bit over the last few weeks, work has been hectic for us both and Megan has been very tired from school this week. Apart from dance for her tomorrow morning, we plan on spending the day relaxing and watching some rugby (may not be so relaxing depending on the Welsh result!), and eating delicious food :)

We will not be dressed up this weekend - pjs all the way!
Dear Spring, Where have you gone? You graced us with your presence for all of two days, teasing us with your sun and (slightly) warmer temperatures and then disappeared once more...please come back soon, this arctic winter seems never ending and the icy cold is playing havoc with mine and Megan's skin.  Loving my Ben & Jerry's Cookie Dough lip balm that I bought when I was in America to keep my lips smooth in this biting wind.

Dear Megan, I'm SO proud of you passing your cycling proficiency test in school.  Who'd have thought you could come on so much in such a short space of time with the extra difficulties you have. Well done!!!!

Dear Healthcare Assistant, Thank you for being so good taking my blood this morning and not leaving a bruise! After four bottles of blood being taken I was feeling faint (I didn't have breakfast!), but so happy not to be bruised!

Tidied up hair, my favourite Joe Browns cosy jumper and bad skin due to the icy weather 

Dear Sian,  Thank you for cutting my hair at short notice yesterday.  So glad that I popped in and you happened to be free.  I really appreciate that you spent your break doing it, even though I haven't washed my hair since and will be spending my weekend in pyjamas!! You're a gem!

I hope you have had a good week and enjoy a lovely weekend :)
A xx

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Counting my blessings - This 'n' That - Downton Abbey

There seems to have been so many upsetting stories recently (generally, not specific to myself) and I am in a contemplative mood. We do not know what life has in store for us around the corner and it should be a reminder to us all to love those around us, be grateful for the time we do have and enjoy life to the full.  I feel extremely blessed to have some wonderful people in my life who love me as much as I love them.  I have a wonderful man who loves me unconditionally and despite of circumstances which others have run away from, and to be watching my daughter grow up into a bright if somewhat feisty young lady.


This quote hit home and is very personal to me at the moment...



On a brighter note, all Downton Abbey fans should check out this video that my lovely friend Deb posted on my Facebook wall!  I am so desperately waiting for series 4 and this gave me a giggle in the meantime! Thanks Deb :)




That I am shamelessly going to plug Revd Dr Trystan Owain Hughes' new book The Compassion Quest, which is officially published today.  

''Commitment to social justice without being motivated by compassion is politics without heart . . . Trystan Owain Hughes writes brilliantly and with excellent directives on how to live out compassion in a society that, at times, seems indifferent to the hurts of others. This is a book that was waiting to be written.'' --Tony Campolo, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Eastern University, Pennsylvania, USA.


I feel lucky and privileged to be able to say that I have got to know Trystan over the last few years at Cardiff University, where he is the Anglican Chaplain. Hee is truly one of the nicest people that you could wish to meet and his guidance both in my faith and outlook on life has been invaluable to me. Trystan's previous book Finding Hope and Meaning in Suffering holds a permanent place on my bedside table and I find myself constantly referring to it when I need to get my mind back on track and focussed on the positive things in my life.  

I am very much looking forward to reading The Compassion Quest and cannot recommend highly enough that you check out Trystan's blog or website for more information :) 

I hope this week is being good to everybody and am especially sending out extra love to Katie this week.

A xx



Katie Did What

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Welcome smiles :)

 
Lately my ten (going on sixteen) year old has been very challenging. Someone is growing up quickly and I'm sure hormones are kicking in. Things can be tricky with her on a regular basis with her social and sensory issues, but to be quite honest, recently I have been struggling with her attitude and behaviour and at times it has left me close to breaking point.

Imagine how pleased I was when I came home on Monday to a smiley, happy daughter! Her school had an inset day so she had stayed with my mother for the morning whilst I worked. When I walked in they were looking at my parent's California holiday photos and she was quick to tell me that she had helped my mother prepare dinner and had been planting seeds for the garden. She also knew that I had bought her a present so that probably helped!

Megan is an avid reader, which I had always wanted her to be. From the time she was born I would read to her (as my parents had done to both myself and my sister) and she has always enjoyed looking through books and telling stories. She has always reminded me of my sister and I with books, but I swear this girl has taken it to a whole other level! I cannot keep up with the pace that she reads books.

She is a huge Jacqueline Wilson fan and I picked up her new book Queenie on the way home from work for her. Being a new release it was only available in hardback, so cost more than I'd usually spend on it, but it was so worth it to see her face light up.


This is how she spent most of the night....

Although she asked if she could cook dinner! who was I to stand in the way?? This Italian chicken medley was put together - note the garlic bread!! :)



Followed by a make - up game with her dolls. Yes, that is a Christmas stocking hanging on the fireplace and no, I do not still have the decorations up! It was all part of her game!

 
I know I have to accept that my little girl is growing up and although she is now old enough to help cooking the dinner etc., it was lovely to have her play with her dolls and snuggle up reading for the evening.
I guess I'm just not ready for her to grow up.

A xx

Linking up with Shanna

Thursday, 14 February 2013

This 'n' That

Happy Valentines Day to you all!  I have to be honest I am not big on Valentine's Day, not in the sense that I don't like all the romantic gestures and showing how you feel about someone, I just find that organised gift giving, declaring love etc on an day when everyone else is doing the same, makes me a bit uncomfortable.  I much prefer the more personal anniversary celebrations that mean so much more.  That being said, I had a beautiful card through the post from Dave this morning and am looking forward to a lovely evening tomorrow when he is over. Megan and I also made cards for each other and we are also baking heart shape cookies with my nephew this afternoon whilst my sister is in work.  See I'm not miserable about it really!!


anyway......

linking up with Katie and Jena today.

This week is half term (already!) which means more time with my princess. We spent Tuesday morning with girly time at the cinema watching Tinkerbell, followed by meeting my friend Tyler at my favourite Coffee Barker (as Megan hadn't seen him since he returned from NC) and a visit to my museum where there is a temporary Iron Age Exhibition (Yes, there is a real Iron Age Hill Fort in Cardiff!).

Tyler and Megan messing around

That last weekend saw the Welsh Rugby Team back to winning ways beating France in Paris! We are current Six Nations Champions / Grand Slam Champions and Triple Crown winners, but we have had a recent bad spell. We lost to Ireland in the opening match but finger crossed we are now on our way back! you cannot understand what this means to a Welsh girl, rubgy is practically our religion!!

Celebrating our win last Championship!


That the items below may have just been added to my wishlist after browsing the Mango website. Mango is one of my favourite stores and it is always dangerous for me to pop in there or look online! No harm done though I guess, I was only looking....for now!!!

Well I haven't bought a new scarf in a while! ;)

Love these!

So cute...a definite MUST!!

One can never have enough comfy tees ;)

I hope that you are having an enjoyable week and whatever you are doing for Valentine's Day (or not doing if that is the case!).

A xxx





Katie Did What

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Perfect Prawn Paella

Is it just me or is finding different, healthy delicious food hard work?

Don't get me wrong I love cooking and clean food but making sure we don't get stuck in a rut of eating the same thing week in week out is a tiresome task. To top it off every meal has to be gluten free aswell!

I was looking for new recipes for my meal planner this week and saw a few paella recipes. Goodness knows why I haven't made one before but they are so easy and delicious! The recipes I saw seemed a bit bland so I decided to make my own and I will definitely be making it again!


Ingredients 



  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper , sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 150g paella rice or long grain rice
  • a large pinch saffron
  • a large pinch smoked paprika (although I use a lot more!)
  • 400ml chicken stock
  • 150g large cooked prawns, shell on or off
  • 100g frozen peas , defrosted
  • a small bunch parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp lemongrass
  • 1 tsp cajan spice mix
  • olive oil or coconut oil
Method

Heat one tablespoon of oil in a pan and cook the onion, pepper and garlic until soft.  





Stir in the rice, paprika, saffron, cajan spice and lemon grass until well mixed.
Pour in the stock and simmer for 15 minutes until tender.  Add some more water if necessary.


Add the prawns and peas for the last few minutes until heated through.  
Season, stir through the parsley and serve.





It was so delicious and luckily there was enough to heat up for lunch the next day! I can't wait to have this again.

I would love to hear about some of your quick dinner recipes.

A xx