Monday, 21 June 2010

Bargain Face Paints at ELC

I was trying to get a present for some friends recently in The Early Learning Centre and came across these great paints:

They are half price which is great but then they are part of the three for two on the Art and Craft stuff at ELC which makes them a bargain. I can't say I am the best at face painting but the children seem happy and it those keep them entertained for some time. There is both a girls and boys version so roll on the mess.

The Early Learning Centre also have a half price sale at the moment with some great things in there so it is worth a dig.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Joomla Works

I am embracing my inner geek today and finding things to put on my website. I have only just got into Facebook and now I am going to try out the power of tweeting (I think that is right because I did say the wrong thing once calling it twitering in a crowd of people who thought this was the funniest thing ever, didn't think it was that funny really but as long as it made them laugh I suppose). I have found a twitter feed that I can add straight to the website but I can't quite get it to work. I will have to hit the forums and see if any of my fellow geeks can help.

I found the feed on Mary Queen of Shops, I think that woman has my favourite job and something I would love to do. Perhaps that is what I should aim to do.

Primark Bargain Buys

On my lovely shopping trip I visited all my favourite shops Primark, H&M, Zara, Gucci (if only) and managed to pick up a few items to make me feel just a little bit fashionable even if I am at home. I am currently wearing a great little unlined jersey jacket in white and navy stripes with cropped dark blue jeans and t-shirt. It is machine washable easy to move in and fashion for only £8!!! I will take some pictures and add them in a minute.

Shopping on my own again

For the second time this month I have been shopping on my own and spent money I don't really have. I had to buy shampoo to go on holiday and I am afraid that I have convinced myself that only Aveda shampoo is good enough for my hair (I do have some evidence to back this up, my hair is a mess when I stop using it and it makes my hair look much better, this is my story and I am going to stick too it). The good news is there is an extra 10% off all Aveda products this week so I saved £10, I know it was worth spending the money to save money, haha! I was also conned into joining the Aveda club, which you have to pay for. I did ask for and get a very nice little make-up bag with a huge jar of wonderful bath salts plus cleanser and a face scrub all of which are lovely, I get a birthday present worth over £25 and I get points towards a spa day (some time in the next 10 years because that is how long it will take me to save enough points). Oh well, it may turn out to be OK and I told my husband he can give me the present for my birthday!! All joking aside this is a brilliant shampoo and I use it on my daughter who an some itchiness in her hair too. It has improved the look, feel and texture of my hair and I am going to stick with Aveda because I have spent more money in the past sorting out my hair when I use other products to save money.

Red Stickers at Waitrose

I had some friends coming around for lunch on Thursday and I realised that I didn't have anything to give them for lunch. I set my husband to putting the children to bed so I could pop to Waitrose. I don't normally get to my local Waitrose of an evening but I was really surprised at the prices they were reducing some of the food too. I bought 8 packs of pork mince which were only 29p each (now I am looking for recipes of pork mince everywhere but still), cheese reduced from £1.69 per 100g to 22p, a really lovely mature cheddar and a smelly Irish cheese and all the wonderful bread was 75% off. All in all a bargain and I will be trying to go to Waitrose in the week more often to get those bargains. Tonight I plan to make "Stuffed Tomatoes". This recipe is from Raymond Blanc's recent BBC TV series and it is wonderful because I have tried it once before. I bought the tomatoes in Reading market (last time I bought them in Waitrose the tomatoes alone cost over £4) and only cost £2 for too any even to use in this recipe. I have included the link to the original recipe too. Try it is worth the little bit more effort and it isn't that much effort either.


For the tomato sauce
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
45g/3 tbsp olive oil
30g/2 tbsp tomato puree
12 Roma tomatoes, (*1) ripe, seeded and chopped
4 pinches salt
2 pinches pepper, black, freshly ground
3 pinches sugar (optional)
3 leaves of fresh basil
For the stuffed tomatoes
4 x 200g each Marmande or beef tomatoes, top removed and flesh scooped out
For the stuffing
200g pork mince
60g fresh breadcrumbs
1 egg yolk
20g banana shallot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
20g flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 sprig tarragon, leaves picked and roughly chopped
15ml/1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
60g Comté cheese, grated


For the tomato sauce
On a medium heat, in a medium saucepan (16cm) soften the onion for 3 1 minutes in the olive oil without letting it colour.
Add the tomato puree and cook for one minute before adding the chopped 2 tomatoes and seasoning.
Cook on medium heat for a further 20 minutes. Taste, correct seasoning 3 and add sugar if necessary.
Pass the sauce through a moulin and reserve.4
Preparing the tomatoes
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Slice 1/3 off the top of the tomatoes to make a 1 hat. With a spoon, scoop out the pulp and juices of the tomatoes into a bowl. Make sure you don’t remove too much of the inside of the tomato as this will weaken the wall and the tomato may split during cooking.
In a large bowl mix together all the stuffing ingredients apart from the 2 cheese, divide the stuffing equally between the tomatoes; top with the grated cheese and place the lid back on top of the tomato.
Place them in a baking dish, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and cook in the 3 preheated oven to cook for 25 minutes.
To serve
Reheat the tomato sauce and pour into the baking dish around the stuffed 1 tomatoes, or you can serve directly onto individual plates and place a stuffed tomato on top.
Serves (Yield): 4
Difficulty rating: •
Preparation time: 30 mins
Cooking time: 40 mins

Try this recipe with vegetable risotto (see recipe 33) cooked three quarters of the way through and bake as above.
Tomato Theme
This complex dish from Le Manoir is made up of five separately simple elements, which can be served in their own right as a home-style dish.
This tomato theme was born from me enjoying Maman Blanc’s tomato salad as a boy and moping up the juices around the plate. That was the essence of the tomato, this dish is the ultimate tomato experience.
Kitchen Secrets
r e c i p e s

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

New Curtains for my bedroom

I have once again been to Henley looking for bargains and I saw these curtains last week, thought about it and decided I had to have them. After getting them home I realised they are very similar (read into this the same) as the ones I currently have but they are much heavier and I have convinced myself that they are going to keep my bedroom much warmer!!! I will photograph them and get them on the site tomorrow. I would love to say my room is coming close to being finished but it is not. I want to paint it white but my husband doesn't seem interested. How can I get him to do it? Pointing out the lovely pictures I have bought to go in the room will look rubbish against a cream wall doesn't seem to be a winning argument!

I almost forgot to write my curtains cost me £10 and they are huge and very heavy so we will see this winter.

Mineral Make-Up

I am not normally someone who would watch and be interested in, what I think the Americans call "inforermials" and how colonial do I sound. I have seen the one for Sheer Cover and I thought it sounded like a miracle that I had to try! The price is very high though and after having a good read about it I found that they tie you into having the make-up sent to you every 3 months, not for me at all so I found on money saving expert a British company who do the same thing and even better you can sent for samples.

I ordered on the weekend and it arrived today so I tried it straight away. I was basically looking for something that I could spend 3 minutes doing in the morning that made me look amazing and not look like I was wearing makeup at all, a miracle I know but always aim high. I must say the first time of trying I thought it was great. It didn't feel like I was wearing makeup or look like I was but I looked fresh and well and it covered a few spots that I have at the moment. It lasted well all day and when I asked my husband he thought I was looking good but he does have to say that. I am going to try it for a few more days before I commit because I do have quite sensitive skin but the miracle many have happened :)