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Sunday, 7 June 2020

How To Make Homemade Red Gooseberry And Mint Gin

It's not often you see recipes involving red gooseberries, but this red gooseberry and mint gin is heaven sent. Red gooseberries are ever so slightly sweeter than their green counterparts so need less sugar to reduce their tang. If you don't have red gooseberries feel free to use green, but up the sugar volume by 100g to compensate.

Some of the infusions I make tend to suit a particular season. This red gooseberry and mint gin is made for summer, just like my Sunshine Vodka. The gooseberries give it a lovely fruity flavour while the hint of mint in the background is fabulously refreshing, especially with a splash of fizzy tonic. And just look at that colour!

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Tea Infusions From Your Garden

Herbs play an important role in cooking, medicines, and even in a spiritual sense. I often infuse two or three lemon balm leaves in hot water if I'm feeling a little overwhelmed and need to re-balance my emotions. Alice Hoffman, in her novel Practical Magic writes:

There are some things, after all, that Sally Owens knows for certain: always throw spilled salt over your left shoulder, keep rosemary by your garden gate, add pepper to your mashed potatoes. Plant roses and lavender, for luck. Fall in love whenever you can.

Rosemary for protection, cleansing and remembrance. Rose for attracting good luck and avoiding conflict. Lemon balm for cheering the heart, sage for healing. Whether you use herbs for these purposes or simply flavouring your food, don't overlook the delicious infusions to be made as an alternative to your usual tea or coffee.

Thursday, 27 June 2019

I've written about working part-time before. And now I'm writing about it again. A bit less rant-y this time, but nonetheless, just as earnestly. Last time I wrote about opportunities, this time I'm writing about perception. The perception that working part time is the same as working half as hard, half as focused, half as dedicated. Half as skilled. What people seem to forget is that we're only paid for 'part' of the time.

Do you know how happy I would be if I was told I would be paid a full time wage for working 3 days a week? Ec-bloody-static. Sign me up. I'm there. 

The reality is that we're usually expected to fit 5 days work into 3 days. And then go home and make dinner, do the dishes, sign the permission slip, tidy the toys, put the kids to bed and - oh! Before you know it it's 10pm. 

A senior female colleague at a previous workplace gave me some good advice: she said, if you move from full time to 4 days, you'll still find yourself trying to fit 5 days work into 4. But if you go down to 3, it forces them to do something about it. 

I've found that very useful advice to follow. And I've also learned it's important to push back. It's almost ingrained in us as women to be amenable. Be the perfect host and keep everyone happy. But in the workplace, you have to be assertive ro you'll be walked al over.

I had a full todo list his morning. I wasn't even sure I'd get it all done. But my boss asked me to load a budget for a new client. What do I do? The answer is: prioritise. The budget wasn't high priority. It could wait a couple a days. So I was honest with my boss. I told him I already had a number of priorities that had to be met that day. I would try to work on the client's budget but I wouldn't come to it until the end of the day and it may have to wait to Monday.

And you know what? It was fine. I had managed expectations and wasn't promising someting I couldn't deliver. 

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Mama Bamboo - Biodegradable Bamboo Nappies and Wipes - Review

As a family, we try our best to embed environmentally responsible products and practices into our day to day life, from reusing and recycling to eco bricks and zero waste shopping. That's why I am so pleased to share my experience of using Mama Bamboo biodegradable nappies and wipes, which are made from the softest, breathable bamboo fibres and chlorine free wood pulp.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Living With A Long Distance Family Relationship

I'm in my mid-30's. I have a mortgage, a husband, a profession, children and Tupperware. Nevertheless, there are times when I still just need my mum.  Those are the times when I realise how hard long distance relationships can really be, especially when it's family you're missing.

Friday, 5 April 2019

How To Make Homemade Lemon And Ginger Gin

If I'd known I would do Dry January when I considered making my Lemon and Ginger Gin, I would have delayed the infusion for a few weeks. I only had chance to have one little test sip before I had to relegate it to the booze cupboard, where it would gloat in the darkness for a month. 

This is a real all-rounder of a gin. Ever since having the boys, my taste buds have changed, and I find myself hankering for fewer sweet drinks and more for something with a bit of a kick. I think it must have been all that Schloer and orange juice. 

Usually, the infusions I make tend to suit a particular season. For example, my Sunshine Vodka is just perfect for summer, whilst my Red Berry Rum is the best thing to cosy up with at Christmas (except for maybe a Tom Hardy bedtime story). This gin infusion however, is suited equally well to being supped in front of the TV with the fire roaring, as it is topped up with tonic and slurped on the patio.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Homemade Christmas Gifts To Impress

I'm ashamed to admit it, but many of the homemade cakes, bakes and boozes I make don't make it out of the house. Especially the food. I swear, from the moment it goes in the tin, it dwindles by the minute.

So, Christmas really is my opportunity to share some of the products of my labour. Recipes for jams and chutneys in particular result in such a large number that there's plenty to go around and you can't beat the feeling of pride you get, handing over something you labelled yourself.

Here are a few ideas for edible homemade gifts you can make for your friends and family this Christmas.

1. Spiced Cranberry and Fig Chutney

Saturday, 29 September 2018

How much love is too much

I smother my kids with love. Every single opportunity I can get, I'm showing my love in some way or other. I don't believe smothering your kids with love is a bad thing because I don't believe it's the love that smothers them. Rather, it's the insecurity. I don't smother then because I'm wrapping them in cotton wool. I believe the more love I give the more I comfortable I will be to let them go when the time comes. Even if its just walking to school on their own.

I like to think my love is like a protective winter coat. It doesn't stop them going out and playing in the snow, it just protects them from the cold when they do. Just as I hope my love will protect them from cold hearts and cold words. I hope my km 3 gives them confidence in themselves, that my devotion proves to them that they are worth something in the world. Maybe it means they'll be able to more easily able to recognise when someone hasn't had enough love in their life and see past any harsh words or emotional walls.

And I think it's working. Three weeks in and O barely hesitates going into school. I know it doesn't he doesn't love me, or he won't necessarily miss me. That mean that he enjoys it of course, but I hope part of that is down to the fact that he knows I'll be right here waiting at the end of the day. I'll always be here if he needs me. Always.