Friday, 28 December 2012

Bio Sculpture

My mum has worked from home ever since I can remember, when people used to ask me what she did for a living I would stick out my hands and proudly show them my perfectly painted nails.

As a little girl lady at school she would often just give me a clear quick varnish with topcoat, I always absolutely loved it. But whenever there was a special occasion, I'd patently wait for hours until she finished her last client. As soon as the front door shut I'd jump onto her chair, wiggle my bottom in, huge grin across my face and watch her in ore as she painted away. I'd then spend at least two days showing them to everyone and making sure they didn't bump into me, just to make extra sure they were dry. Nothing to do with loving the attention.

When I turned 15 all my friends started having acrylics, I turned around and asked my mum if I was allowed. She had a shocked, eyes wide open, 'that didn't just come out of your mouth' look on her face.
She went on to tell me that they are awful for your nails and that they don't allow your nails to 'breathe',  her tools came out and she treated me to my first ever Bio Sculpture manicure. More natural, more pretty and your nails don't suffocate.

Since I've been forever painted.
Sometimes covered in glitter, diamonds, multi-coloured, whatever I requested she would always be able to do it.

This Christmas my nails have been a little neglected, as mum's been very busy. I've gone a whole month and been in desperate need so I thought I'd show you a 45 minute transformation.

First is the soak off to get rid of the old gels, gel remover wrapped in tin foil and placed into heated gloves for 10 minutes.

Paris wanted to be pampered too and came to join me and I'm not the only one she does this too.

After 10 minutes they are soft and falling off.

Buffed and filed, I don't like mine too long as I can't stand dirt getting underneath them.

The painting consists of several layers, depending on whether you are having French Manicure (like moi) or a colour it's either 3/4 layers including topcoat.

After each layer you let them set in the machine for 30 seconds, so easy so quick.

The girls were fast asleep within 5 minutes after a busy christmas week.

Et Voila. Merci Mama.
French Manicure at its best.

I highly recommend Bio Sculpture, they last around 3 weeks, they have tons of classic and quirky colours and a lot of your poor nails probably need to be looked after. You can find your nearest Salon online!

Lots of Love

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas!!

A huge MERRY CHRISTMAS to you all!!

I spent last night very merry with all the girls bringing christmas in and woke up like a little girl running down the stairs to open presents in my pjs.

Followed by a huge christmas lunch, a few games of articulate, christmas films and I'm about to have the hugest best bubble bath.

I can't believe how quickly it's come and gone. I hope you all had fun, food-filled days with your loved ones - families, friends and pets! XXXX

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Lady Lasagne

This year I called up the homeless shelter before their christmas lunch to find out if there was anything they wanted me to make for them. After a few ermm's and oooo's they asked me to make a vegetarian dish for a few of the guests, something simple that everyone would eat.

A vegeterian dish is a rarity in my house, my brother and dad kick up a fuss if one is ever made with the whole, "we are men, we need meat" line of argument. 

There is only one 'lady dish' they like, lasagne. 

Comforting, home-cooked, extra cheesy and you can manage to sneak some veggies in there. 

Real comfort food.

So i'll let you in on my recipe. 

For one of my big portions you'll need...
15-20 Fresh sheets of pasta
200g mozzarella ball sliced
100g fresh parmesan 
100g of cheddar cheese grated
Oil for frying
1 onions finely chopped
250g of tinned chopped tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic crushed
1 carrot, courgette, aubergine and red pepper chopped finely 
2 handfulls of plum tomatoes
Sage, oregano and black pepper

For the cream sauce:
1 litre of milk
100g of butter
80g of flour
125ml of double cream

In my family this would feed 4-5, but you could definitely get 6-7 out of this, if you want to add mince I'd recommend asking your butcher to mince it for you and you'll need 250g. 

Start by pre-heating your oven to 180g, If you can't get your hands on fresh lasagne sheets simmer them for a few minutes before as you want them to be soft. Coat your saucepan with oil and place your garlic, onions, carrots, courgettes, aubergines and peppers in. Leave on a simmer for 5-10 minutes, place your plum tomatoes in, and push them down with your frying pan to let the juices spread and add your tinned tomatoes. Leave to simmer for 15 minutes with occasional stirring.

For your cream sauce - the easiest cream sauce ever! Place all your ingredients into a big saucepan, mix and simmer for 10 minutes getting rid of any lumps.

And now for the layering process, your ratio of cream sauce to tomatoe sauce is as you please, I like lots of tomatoe on the base and lots of cream and cheese on the top. Start with a thin layer of tomatoe sauce, then your lasagne slices, then cream sauce as so on... Around 4 layers of lasagne is optimal! Cover in cream sauce and your three cheeses, pop in the oven for 30 minutes covered and 10 minutes uncovered, until bubbling and golden on top.

I couldn't cut it open but I wish I had made more for myself.
Wrapped up and delivered, I hope they like it!

Friday, 21 December 2012

My Piece of Art

Just something small to share with you all, a great distraction - A Little Bit of Heaven

My other blog.

Happy Friday! 

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Forever Young

Guess what....

Just in case you haven't noticed


And the excitement and rush begins, featuring my little angelic brother, Ry.

So if you're looking for that perfect man for christmas, girls, he's coming for you...

my ultimate favourite,

Just thought I'd get you a little excited, these are a few of our pictures for christmas cards.

Hope you all have a lovely day 

Monday, 17 December 2012

Marrakech - Part Three

Our last day had arrived and we decided to take one final dive into the Moroccan culture. 

We signed up for a cooking course recommended to us by our riad owner, Maddie.

Up bright and early we arrived to a rustic little riad down the road, fireplace heating up the room for us, kitchen equipment already out and coffee on the table - we were off to a great start. Greeted by our chefs for the day we together decided on 9 dishes to make. 


We had skipped breakfast, for me this is unheard of, it's without a doubt my favourite meal. And Joe has the biggest appetite I've ever seen in my life, so we nodded gleefully and definitely weren't complaining about having lots of food! With recipes chosen and planned we were taught basic Arabic to use whilst getting the ingredients.

Our little dictionaries had our scribbles in and holding them tightly we headed out into the hustle and bustle of Marrakech's unseen markets.

Very different to the souks being more of a local, fresh produce market, the smells were overwhelming to say the least. 

We went to the long stands selling fruit and vegetables first and it's wasn't easy to be heard, there's no 'first come first served' basis. It seemed like you just shouted, made a huge fuss and when they still ignored you just grab and start packing them which finally gets their attention.  

We weren't very keen on this method and stood around for 10 minutes unsure what to make of the situation, I tried to look cute and innocent and it didn't seem to work. Eventually I attempted (poorly) to say a few words, the man smiled let out a smokers chuckle and must have grasped what I was trying to say as we got the right things. Guess I'm a natural linguist!

And as we got deeper, you could tell from the noises and the smell what was coming.

I glanced down at what was next on my list, 'chicken'.

I am a huge animal lover, and before this experience I would have sworn that it would have turned me vegetarian. But we were greeted by a friendly old chap, he could tell by the jaw opened look on mine and Joe's faces that this was definitely not something we were used to in our local Tesco Express. 

Thankfully we didn't witness the killing but we returned 5 minutes later to be given a skinned chicken wrapped and bagged. 

You can watch them, if your into that kind of stuff. 

If I could, I would have bought all the rabbits and set them free.

After a good 20 minutes we hid in the spice shops to get away from the stenches, I tried to jump and get in Joe's picture. These are the best market stalls, they sell every imaginable spice, seasoning and oils.

Our whicker basket full we headed back. On the menu were some traditional dishes tajine, kefta, couscous and pastilla. 
Joe started us off by making a fresh mint tea... (He's learning)

And dealt with the chicken... 

I felt bad just watching so helped him out as sou chef.

The Berber Omelette was definitely a mutual favourite.

A delicious pumpkin mash with veg.

After all our food was ready we were left alone to eat our feast in their pretty courtyard. We had missed breakfast and were starving and proudly did a very good job, gobbled most of it up. 

Following lunch I got a chance to play with a very pregnant friend, she was huge, about to pop. I hadn't touched any of the cats the whole holiday with Joe's strict instructions, he doesn't really understand the whole nature loving and nurturing vibe but had managed to sneak them some scraps from breakfast. This was a delight for me and we went back to visit her just before our flight the next morning, hoping to see kittens but she was still wobbling around aimlessly. 

In food comas we rolled back to our riad for a few quick games of chess and drafts.

And as the sun began to set we went for our last dinner in Marrakech *weep weep* :'-(

We discussed how outrageous and amazing our trip had been. 

Sadly we said goodbye to Marrakech, as a place my pictures and words will never do it justice, you just have to go. It's shocking but at the same time there is something very beautiful and magical about it. 

My recommendations?
Go with someone who you will have a laugh with and who will protect you from crazy motorcyclists. Embrace the culture, there are a lot of very poor people, and seeing how geniuinely happy 20p makes them is shocking. Beware, if you aren't brave, Marrakech and it's cultural beauty isn't for you.

It's a safe place, but be street wise and learn how to barter. Couples arguing over the price always goes down well. Knowing basic french and arabic is very useful too. You can use each other to tell a story to the seller. Something like good cop bad cop, I was the bad cop most often! My Grandpa gives the best advice, If someone offers you something for 100 dihram you say, "NO! 300!".

Also really enjoy the culture, stay in a riad not a hotel, try all their traditional dishes and definitely go to the spas.

A perfect holiday, thank you Morocco, you looked after us well!

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