On the Box…

I missed this post last week, I guess because I’m struggling with TV these days, am I getting too old or is there nothing much worth watching anymore??  However enough of this pessimism, there was enough to write this post about so here we go…

george clarkes amazing spaces

1.  George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces, Channel 4.

Now I’m a little behind on the new series of this, but I just watched the amazing Fairy Tale Hideaway episode this morning with my little famalam and we were most impressed. The spaces are just brilliant and it amazes me how the people manage to create them with sometimes quite meager budgets.  My recent favourite was the warren style underground garden hidey hole that a couple had built for both them and their children, Little M and I were truly smitten and spent most of  the program dropping big old hints to Mr Potato Head about how wonderful it would be if we could have something similar in our back garden.

 

one born every minute

2.  One Born Every Minute, Channel 4.

Now I know this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, in fact I couldn’t watch this until quite recently as although my Little M is now 6, the whole child birth experience was still quite raw and I did not want to watch something that took me back to it (lets just say it wasn’t a calm and tranquil experience for me).  However now as M gets older and I pine away at little babies and get all broody I AM LOVING this program, clearly I had a bad experience but watching these ladies and the midwives that support them is pretty inspirational, well it is to me anyway.  And did I mention I’m pretty nosy, well I am and I love all these fly on the wall, real life, documentary programs.  But I’m also really pleased to see such an important job from both the mums and the midwives being promoted and celebrated in the media like this.

3.  Sprinkle of Chatter, YouTube,

So my third and final program, or channel in this case, is a YouTube vlogger who is huge, you all probably know her already but if by some slight chance you don’t, do have a look.  I particularly like her vlogs on this ‘Sprinkle of Chatter’ channel, because I like the more informal chatty approach she seems to have on here.   She also has a main channel called Sprinkle of Glitter, where she does hauls, beauty tips and even some quite poignant comment at times.   I think I’m particularly smitten with Louise because I feel we have similarities, she’s a mum, she’s a little bit older than some of the other popular YouTubers (although quite probably not as old as me, but not far off) so we have similar reference points and I  find her very easy to relate to.  She is also hilarious and when she vlogs with others like the ever popular Zoella then you often feel, a little bit,  part of the gang, well at least like you are laughing with them and that’s what I like, I guess it’s a little bit of escapism and an easy to watch, feel good vlog.

 

So as I mentioned at the start, I’m struggling a bit with TV and what to watch lately, got any recommendations? I’d love to hear them.

 

 

 

 

Dreaming of Dresses

I am a dress fiend, yes I AM, I love them, I love to swish, I love their simplicity, I love that you just whack one on and da-dah! You have an outfit.  So here we have it, another potential regular but this time I’m introducing some awesome frocks.

I’m also introducing a brilliant little online shop, Clarence and Alabama.   Now I have to come clean, Amy-Jo who runs this  fine emporium is a very good friend of mine but I wouldn’t share with you just any old shizzle.  Her shizzle, her beautiful vintage style dresses, are handpicked stunners.  And not only are they beautiful they are also affordable too so go check out her wonder shop.

So here we have a couple I have had my beady eye on recently:

 

lindy-bop-josefine-breton-top-swing-vintage-1950-s-style-dress-clarence-and-alabama_grande

This this chic, French inspired little number is a Lindybop dress called the Josefine Vinatage Style Breton Top 1950s Swing Dress and is priced at a very reasonable £34.99.  Personally I think it’s just perfect for flouncing around doing just about anything with or without a baguette under your arm, sorry for the hideous stereotyping there.

 

Vanity_Project_Clarence_Alabama__Hawaiaan_wiggle_Dress_Peacocks_with_Gilt_Inlay_grande

Hawaain Wiggle Dress £99

This second beauty is actually currently sold out, but I couldn’t not show it as I have had my heart set on it for quite some time.  However the good news is she is bringing it back, oh yeah, and if you follow this smart little shop owner on Facebook or email her here you can even request a choice of material and have the god darn delicious dress made to your special requests.  In fact that’s not all this fantastic little shop offers, if you happen to be getting married and are after some vintage style matching bridesmaid dresses she can do that too.

So what do you think?  Any thoughts?  Got any recommendations of great dress shops or dresses out at the moment?

 

 

 

 

On the box…

So this week I have mostly been  watching the new Orange is the New Black season 2, and I have to admit I’m hooked, once again.  I got Netflix last year mainly to see what all the fuss about Breaking Bad was and after pretty much committing my life to watching the whole 5 seasons of it over err about 3 months I stuck with the subscription and haven’t been disappointed yet.  So here are my  faves of the week:

orange is the new black

So Orange is the New Black, now in it’s second season, is a Netflix original and a great one at that.  It’s a drama set in a women’s prison in America, it’s funny, exciting and keeps you on tender hooks hence why I seem to be nearly half way through the series already.  Watch it here.

or watch the trailer here…

saccone joly

The SacconeJolys, what can I say, this is pure voyeurism really, they are an Irish family consisting of Anna Saccone, Jofee Joly, their two kids Emilia and Eduardo and their 6, yes that’s right 6,  dogs.  I don’t know why I love watching their daily vlogs so much but I do.  They recently moved to London from Ireland and as viewers we are invited to join them on most of the minutiae of their daily life.  It’s happy, simple pleasures, I watch it to relax, so sue me.

I couldn’t really think of a TV show this week, I’m struggling with TV at the moment.  The only thing I do watch which I am totally reluctant to put on here, is ‘Made in Chelsea‘ which is utter trash, I know it, you know it, but it is truly addictive, filthy, crap tv and feck it, I’m going to embrace my embarrassing side and admit it.  I love it!  Ha  ha, oh well who cares.

Anyway, so tell me, go on just post a little comment, what are you loving at the moment?  What am I missing out on?  Please comment below and let me know.

Tin Tins Chinese Restaurant AKA I FOUND GLUTEN FREE CHINESE!!!

So it’s been very quiet here lately, I’ve had big changes afoot, moving house, city and job is a stressful business and since settling back in my beloved Brummy home town I’ve quite appreciated the lack of blogging pressures. But I couldn’t resist this one because I’ve finally found a Chinese restaurant that for one responded to my email asking about gluten free options and two, were so lovely and accommodating when I attended said restaurant that I just had to give them a little shout out.

I’ve got no photos of the food or restaurant (bad, bad food blogger I know), I was so busy shovelling the food down my gullet that the thought did not even enter my delirious food obsessed brain. What I can say they is that they are very helpful there and we managed with the help from the awesome Brian, the manager (? I’m not sure but he should be because he’s ace) to eat a delicious birthday feast of steamed seabass with ginger and spring onion (gluten containing sauce on the side for my lucky non coeliac family,) Kung po king prawns, duck with plum sauce (the best in my humble opinion) and chicken with cashew nuts. It was great to finally eat in a Chinese restaurant again and the service was outstanding. So if you happen to be in need of gluten free Chinese food in Birmingham and want to give it a try I totally recommend the wonderful Tin Tins in Brindley Place.

So anyways I might dip my toe a little further back into the blogging water shortly with perhaps some of the pics of food I’ve encountered this summer so watch this space and please comment below.

See you soon lovely readers, I hope to be back again soon life permitting!

Marks and Spencer’s Gluten Free Chocolate Muffins

Marks and Spencer’s Gluten Free Chocolate Muffin

Marks and Sparks are doing pretty well at this whole gluten-free lark, I happened to be in need of a little respite in the Croydon branch today so decided to have a little nosey at what one might purchase for elevenses in their Cafe Revive and what did I find? Choice, that’s what.  There were not only these pretty damn delicious and intensely chocolatey muffins, there were fruit cakes, sandwiches and the offer of a wrapped gluten-free roll with their soups.  Yes that’s right, you are not hallucinating, as well as the usual standby of jacket potatoes there was quite a selection of both sweet and savoury offerings for us gluten sensitive coeliacs.  So I salute you M&S, well done, and I think I shall be returning around lunch time next week for a taste of one of the more substantial savoury offerings.

I’ll keep you posted dear readers but in the mean time, what about you?  Found any more new and exciting gluten-free morsels on the high street?  Let me know!

New Costa Gluten Free Bakewell Tarts – Review

I’m getting a bit obsessed by new gluten free products in cafes and was most pleased to see a new addition to Costa’s pretty limited selection of gluten free goodies, I mean everyone loves a brownie and fruit cake is good but sometimes you just want a bit more choice, yeah?

Costa Gluten Free Bakewell Tarts

So when I saw these pretty little tarts I quickly placed them on my tray, paid and headed off to snaffle them in a corner.  They are very cute mini tarts and the pastry is good quality and tasty but unfortunately being so small they lack that real almond kick you get from the frangipane in the bigger versions and sadly they were rather swamped in a thick layer of fondant icing.  So the verdict, well, if you dig icing and pastry go for them but I think in future I’ll be sticking to a bit of brownie with my coffee.

Have you sampled any new gluten free goodies?  Have you tried these? Let me know what you think… 🙂

Isabel’s Pizza Dough Mix – Review

I’ve been meaning to write a short post about this wonder mix for some time.  This stuff is pretty much the closest I’ve got to a ‘normal’ pizzeria style base.  Not only that but it also doubles as a pretty awesome flat bread come garlic bread for chowing down with everything from curries to salads or just as a ‘I need carbs, craving doughy things’ snack (you know what I mean right?!).

So below is my gorgeous gluten free pizza with a tomato sauce, mozzarella and chorizo topping.

And just under here is my mouthwatering, lipsmacking, slightly chewy, slightly crispy, buttery garlic flat bread served here with a lentil and aubergine curry and trust me this is going to be appearing more than weekly on my plate from now on.   Once you’ve made the dough you can roll these out and freeze them ready to whack in the oven any time the craving takes you, I stick mine in the ice cube tray to keep them flat.

The mix is made from cassava starch, milk powder, salt and ‘natural flavours’ (whatever that means) and I buy mine from Ocado but if you look at their lovely website you can order online or find alternative stockists.

Fish and Grill, Croydon – Review

I don’t really know what to say about this place because they produce good food. It’s simple, well presented and tasty it’s just not different.  If you’re looking for a ‘nice’ place to take someone in Croydon for some well cooked grub then go here.  We had a good meal here Saturday lunchtime.  We ordered from the set menu and ate Moules Mariniere, Plaice Goujons and Chips, Coley and Crayfish Butter and desserts including Chocolate Tart and a Creme Brulee.  The service, was very pleasant but seemed a little slow for a fairly quiet early lunchtime, there were only four other tables filled in the restaurant and what looked like 5/6 chefs in the kitchen but who knows maybe they were having a bad day. 

The moules were big and juicy chaps piled high in a lake of creamy liquer, in fact there seemed more cream than anything else which didn’t really seem entirely necessary.  I ate the Coley for main and it was perfectly cooked with a few sweet crayfish tails strewn across the top and some citrus and butter jus surrounding.  It was good, nothing different but good. My companion had the plaice goujons that were happily shared with our two year old Egon Ronay who dunked away the crispy fingers of fish and very morerish chips in to her little jar of sauce rouge.  We ended with the crispy topped, cuddle in a bowl that was creme brulee, I forgot how much I love this, and done well, like  this was finished the meal off superbly.  Chocolate tart had crisp light pastry and a deep, dark intense baked chocolate filling.  Little M, sorry Egon Ronay jr, devoured the ball of chocolate ice cream and cute sail boat tuille in a matter of seconds. 

So actually after all that it looks like I do know what to say don’t I?! It’s good, try it.

Fish and Grill, South End, Croydon http://www.fishandgrill.co.uk/

Confessions of a Cookbook Junkie

If you’ve been following my recent posts you may have noted some purchases made that I suggested would be blogged about later, well here it is.

One of my guilty spends was on ‘The Flavour Thesaurus’ by Niki Segnit, I’ve had a couple of days to peruse this little gem of a book and have to say it is brilliant. It lists all different ingredients and matches them with their partners in crime then suggests good dishes you can make with them. It’s great if like me you sometimes struggle to know what to do with new ingredients or are stuck for something different to mix and match to cook, combine and then blog about!

I made the lovely Chocolate and Cardamon Custard Pots (see previous post) based on a recommended combination in the book and hope that it will inspire me some more to think out of the box and experiment more in the kitchen.

‘You Don’t Bring Me Flowers’ – Review

I was in Lee today running over a few boxes for a friend who is moving soon and she suggested we go to this lovely little cafe come florists for a little coffee and cake.  ‘You don’t bring me flowers’ is in Hither Green, right next to the station.  It’s a really endearing, vintage style shop filled with little curiosities as well as it’s delectable cake collection.  There is seating downstairs and up and we managed to bag ourselves a lovely little corner upstairs amongst the display of a local artist’s embroidered paintings, some cute children’s clothes hung from the walls and just the best eclectic, vintage decor I’ve seen.  It’s just how I’d love my flat to look like if I could ever pull my finger out and get things sorted.

We ordered a rich and frothy Green and Blacks hot chocolate, served in a delicate floral mug, a black coffee, served in a retro print cup, and some beautiful cakes delivered on charmingly, unmatching vintage plates.  We ordered a Pink Vanilla Cupcake chosen by the most sophisticated of 2 and half year olds, a slice of Almond and Raspberry Cake (gf) and a croissant.  The cup cake was licked and cradled until the sugar high peaked with a few squeals of excitement then the leftovers wrapped up to take home for pudding later.  The cake was one of the lightest gluten free almond sponges I have ever tasted and was a good old wedge of Victoria Sponge style heaven. 

Downstairs, as well as cakes, you can buy sandwiches, an array of beverages as well as beautiful cut flowers and other gifts.  The place is filled with unusual vintage finds, cool decor and cosy seating areas to sit, chat, drink and eat away the day.

I’m not sure my photos do it justice so if you’re interested check their website out or pop along.

http://www.youdontbringmeflowers.co.uk/