Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make it simple." - Woody Guthrie

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Dinner table discussion ...

At a recent family lunch our conversation turned to toilet tissue and a request to purchase a softer version.  We are a family who enjoy our meals and discussions at the dinner table and believe me no topic is off limits.  Being of the Izal toilet paper generation, budget toilet tissue is sheer luxury in comparison to what can only be described as tracing paper squares.  The discussion brought back memories of spiders, a cold damp toilet block open to the elements, wooden horse-shoe shaped toilet seats and peeling green paint on latched doors.  My husband who also experienced the same toilet accessory declared he would "prefer to run around with his winky hanging out to dry" than use it again.  I promise you, Asda SmartPrice will keep us all safe from that experience.

Friday, 12 April 2013

I like pink, I do ...

I thought I would share with you a shot of my birthday cake from a couple of week back.  Not home baked, I am afraid, but ordered via the recently discovered Patisserie Valerie website.  This enabled me to choose my filling of vanilla sponge, fresh cream and fruit filling.  And, of course, it doesn't matter if you are three or somewhat older, pink is the order of the day. 

Happy Days xxx

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Hooray for Hollywood ...

I can be quite sniffy when it comes to the TV I watch.  At first I thought Paul Hollywood's Bread would be of no interest to me, but of course darling it is on the BBC.  Second episode, call me a late adopter, I was hooked.  So this week I made his Tortilla Towers but with 'all purpose' flour, don't you just love that description, instead of masa harina.  As a result I have fallen in love again with chicken thighs, which led me back to an old recipe torn from a magazine for Marinated Chicken with Pasta, something we used to enjoy on a regular basis a few years back.  

30ml (2tbs) olive oil
30ml (2tbs) lemon juice
15ml (1tbs) harissa (from a jar)
30ml (2tbs) honey
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 boned chicken thighs per person (skinless)
2 garlic cloves
90ml (6tbs) olive oil
500g (1lb 2oz) spaghetti (I use half a packet spaghetti between 3)
finely grated rind of 1 lemon
handful fresh parsley, chopped

1. Mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, harissa, hone and seasoning.  Coat the chicken with the mixture.  Cover and leave to marinate overnight or for at least 30 minutes.
2. Cook the garlic slowly in the olive oil until slightly brown.
3. Cook the chicken under a hot grill or on the barbecue until the juices run clear. (I cook the chicken thighs in  a roasting dish in a preheated oven at Gas mark 4 for 35 minutes). Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti until al dente.
4. Drain the pasta, reheat the garlic and oil mixture and add the lemon rind and parsley.  Toss the pasta in the oil mixture.  Serve with the chicken and pan juices.

Happy Eating xxx

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Going Green ...

Whilst my long suffering husband is up a wooden ladder (with a wonky step) painting a bedroom ceiling, I thought I would make myself useful by taking photos of the tools in my beauty regime!

From a previous post you may realise that, although I have had eczema on and off for many years, it has been particularly bad over the past year.  So troubling has it been that, one Friday evening, I had to visit the emergency doctor because I could not open my left eye.  I promise I do not look like a gargoyle but this year with a little stress, my skin has been very prone to uncontrollable flare-ups. 

I have searched high and low for something to give some respite, which for a short-while has included Baby Bottom Butter.  Friends and colleagues who also suffer from eczema have made a number of sensible suggestions but to no avail.  It would seem I have super, super sensitive skin with a propensity for eczema.  I have also trod the medical path, which has included creams likely to cause skin cancer, charming!  The only option has been to keep searching until I came upon the reviews for Green People products.  All I can say is they have been absolutely amazing, unfortunately a lot of 'natural' products contain essential oils which my facial skin can no longer tolerate, these are essential oil free.  I use their 'no scent' cleanser and moisturiser and because of the chemicals in shampoos and conditioners sloshing around my face when I wash my hair I also decided to invest in their 'no scent' shampoo and conditioner.   I do have to use these products every day to keep my skin well moisturised and I can't skip a day, just imagine the panic last week when the moisturiser pumped it's last blob of moisture!  Using these products has enabled me to use my Clarisonic for the first time in a year, and I have found this allows the moisturiser to sink into my skin a little better. 

Whilst certainly not the cheapest on the market the cleanser, shampoo and conditioner are long-lasting, I only wish the moisturiser came in a 100ml size because I do lather it on like whale grease hence the panic last week.

Finally, I have also discovered the best body moisturiser which does contain essential oils which the skin on my body seems to cope with.  This comes from a lovely little shop in Whitstable called Mosaic, and is also available in a body wash.  The owner of Mosaic suggested to me last week that I should try a dairy-free diet as this had worked for her and her friend's daughter, so I am off out this afternoon to see what I can find as a diary substitute for my coffee because I can't manage taking it without milk.  If you have any suggestions that will lull me into thinking I am taking milk with my coffee and tea they will be most gratefully received. 

Here's to stress free skin xxx