The Annual Bloggers Bash 2018

Photo by Duncan Walker

Last weekend was the fourth Annual Bloggers Bash, which was held in London. It had been nearly a year in the planning and on Saturday morning a whole bunch of bloggers descended on the George IV pub in Chiswick. Continue reading

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Props Under £20 for Creating Beautiful Blog & Instagram Images

Props under £20 for creating blog and Instagram images

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small amount of money if you make a purchase from any of the Amazon links included

I’m certainly not a photographer by any means (that is more of The Bloke’s passion than mine), but one of the things that I enjoy doing in my free time is experimenting with props and different flat lay images that I can use for my blog and social media.

I’ve written about creating beautiful flat lay images before, but this was more about the process of how to set them up. Since then, I’ve received lots of questions asking about prop and budget ideas from others who want to create their own but don’t want to spend a fortune doing so.

There’s a million different advice posts and tutorials on the subject, but what I’ve discovered when trawling through a some of them is that many have splashed out on different lighting rigs and light boxes, backdrops and props and use an expensive SLR camera. Continue reading

Lessons, Limoges and Lilliput Lane

George Orwell’s house in Notting Hill

This week has been a little hectic. The Bloke has had a week off, we’ve been organising a bajillion things at once and trying to spend some quality time together, and I’ve been desperately trying to keep on top of my daily checklists. It’s been a mixed bag of fun and stress all rolled into one busy package.

But, we’re never too old to learn new things, and this week I have learned a lot.

A raspberry in a glass of prosecco makes it taste less like what I imagine unwashed feet do. I must be the only female I know who doesn’t like it, but it’s almost palatable with a raspberry.

Upgrading on a travel West Midlands train is a pointless waste of money.

I make a mean French Toast, after trying it out for the first time last Sunday. My buzz was cut short, however, after my friend informed me that her 11 year old regularly makes it for herself. Continue reading

Fun Fruit Platter for Parties

I love food platters, particularly ones that look beautiful, taste yummy, are quick and simple to assemble, are suitable for most dietary requirements and provide lots of fun at celebrations and dinner parties.

This is one of my favourites – a simple fruit platter that takes no time at all to create, is a brilliant hands on dessert to end a lovely meal and is suitable for vegans and vegetarians (depending on what you choose to use for the dip). I created this platter for The Bloke and I on New Years Eve as an alternative to a baked dessert, mainly because I didn’t want to prepare a complicated recipe, spend a fortune or finish the evening by feeling bloated. It is also perfect for getting your children involved and is great for children’s parties or summer barbecues.

And yet, while it’s almost insulting to write out such a simple recipe idea, it’s something that many don’t even think about until after an event is over… So here is is:

You will need:

A selection of your favourite fruits – I’m particularly fond of things like strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, bananas, but I’ve seen lots of other ideas including kiwi fruit, watermelon oranges etc. Pick what you enjoy and what falls within your budget.

A large plate or platter

Wooden skewers

For the dip: this can also be anything of your choice – Greek yoghurt, avocado mousse and vegan lemon curd would be perfect for a healthy dip idea, or you could use things like raspberry coulis, melted chocolate, peanut butter… I (of course) decided to treat myself by melting some Nutella. Because everything is better with Nutella.

Extras: this also depends on how healthy you want to make it. Mini brownie pieces, marshmallows, bite sized flapjacks are great for adding onto the kebabs, nuts, cacao nibs or hundreds and thousands can be used for sprinkling… Anything and everything goes. I decided to add some marshmallows for a change in texture. And because it was a great excuse to eat marshmallows.

Method:

Chop up the fruit and arrange on the plate / platter.

Lay out any extras you want to include around the fruit.

Place dips / toppings into small bowls.

Place a selection of the fruit on the wooden skewers or simply put the skewers on the side and encourage people to make their own fruit kebabs.

 

That’s it. It took me a total of 10 minutes to put it together and I could sit back and enjoy it without having to worry about timings or temperature.

Give it a try – the next time you host a party for people of any age, set out this fruit platter for all of your guests to enjoy!

The Online Power of a Squirrel…

The Bloke is an avid photographer. He particularly likes wildlife, architectural and landscape photography and his pictures are utterly fantastic – we can be in the same place at the same time, photographing the same thing and he always manages to create something beautiful and artistic with seemingly very little effort. I’m so proud of him, and extremely jealous of his skills.

However, there’s one particular thing that he has an affinity for…

Squirrels.

Living in Birmingham, UK, we have an abundance of them and very little else. I’m enormously envious whenever I go on Instagram and see images of incredible wildlife in people’s back yards – I saw a racoon in Central Park a few months ago when we were on our honeymoon and that was honestly the first time I’ve ever seen one in real life… Perhaps I shouldn’t have stood there and yelled “oh my god it’s a raccoon!” at the top of my voice while pointing at the poor thing like a maniac, but it was a bigger deal to me than most. Continue reading

How to Spend 4 1/2 Days in New York City

The Bloke and I recently visited NYC on our honeymoon and had an absolutely incredible time. It’s a fast paced, exciting and vibrant city that has interesting things to see and do on every block, but it isn’t possible to do it all in just one visit, particularly on a limited budget.

It is, however, possible to experience an enormous amount of things in a short amount of time and without spending an enormous amount of money, and we’re proof of this as we’ve just done it ourselves.

It is worth noting at this point that we were staying at a fairly centralised hotel – Hotel @ Times Square on West 46th Street, near 6th Avenue, so it was possible to easily walk to a number of the locations we visited on the first few days, but the subway is efficient enough that it is easy and inexpensive to get from one side of Manhattan to another in a short space of time. Continue reading

A Winter Wonderland and Christmas Prep

For once, The Bloke and I timed things perfectly.

The plan for Friday evening last week was to drive up North to visit The Bloke’s Sister (my new sister-in-law!) as it was her birthday the following day. However, the snow heavens opened, The Bloke’s school closed early and so we decided to risk it and drive up at lunchtime instead. There wasn’t even a hint of snow there and so we spent the Friday afternoon and Saturday catching up, playing with Harvey and Charlie (my sis-in-law’s Goldendoodle and my mother-in-laws retriever), going through some social media (sis-in-law is a blogger and photographer) and eating the BEST fish and chips that I’ve ever had at the Garden Room Cafe in Braithwell. It was nice to kick-back and relax in a different surrounding. Continue reading

The Honeymoon: NYC 2017

As I sit on the train on the journey back from Heathrow I can’t actually believe our honeymoon is already over. We stayed for 5 days in New York, and with the time difference it worked out that we did a day in London beforehand too.

Getting to NYC was a bit of a nightmare, and the flight back wasn’t much better, but the rest has been totally and utterly fabulous. It’s been a whirlwind of travel and people and sightseeing and noise and VERY cold weather, and I’m absolutely exhausted, but it was a wonderful experience. My back aches, my feet and legs hurt, my gloves are shredded but my phone and The Bloke’s camera are now full of pictures and I have a million memories to cherish and write about.

Here were just some of the highlights… To see the images in a full screen simply click on them. Continue reading

Blog of the Day: The Recipe Hunter!

Meet Esmé! She’s the creator of The Recipe Hunter: Cook and Enjoy, a blog dedicated to beautiful recipes of lots of different types of foods.

Esme is originally from South Africa but has lived in Vancouver, BC for over 20 years. She loves to share her passion with cooking and experimenting with different dishes and her blog is wealth of knowledge of all things food! I love the fact that The Recipe Hunter follows a ‘tried and tested’ premise, which not only tests different recipes from a personal perspective, but gives honest reviews as to the success level of the instructions, as well as giving credit and promotion to others within the food blogging world. I always like it when I see the blog love being shared around! I also like the fact that she includes photographs of her results – as someone who enjoys cooking it helps me to feel more confident about trying new recipes and I can see what the dish is actually meant to look like! Continue reading

Blog of the Day: The Married Cat Lady

I’m away this week, so i thought it would be nice to promote some bloggers for you to visit!

Meet Becca, the creator of The Married Cat Lady!

She explains a little about herself in her About page:

I am a self-proclaimed weirdo living in the Chicago suburbs with my wonderful husband and our fur babies Albus (cat) and Nellie (pup).

I enjoy Harry Potter, coffee, cat memes, gifs, elephants, yoga, Pull-n-Peel Twizzlers, 30-second dance parties, my girlfriends, the smell of babies, and an assortment of other fun things.

I am writing in an effort to bring laughter and joy into your life via my witty ramblings and embarrassing stories. Wish me luck! Continue reading