Posted: Sep 16 2010
A Little Square » My Favourite Things
Jack of all trades is what I like to call myself when someone asks what I do. I juggle 3 kids, a business, after school sport activities, kids birthday parties, and volunteering for local communities - so time for me is difficult. Although I try to make it to the gym twice a week and walk everywhere I possibly can, there are still some ‘problem areas’ I have had difficulty shifting since ‘Number 3’ came along.Achieving the perfect body can seem a bit out of reach and working at it is, well…hard work. I do eat better, drink loads of water, and spend more time with my children rather than playing Bunco with my girlfriends. So, what seems to be my issue? Those darn problem areas that only plastic surgeons have the maps to!Ladies, there is light at the end of this tunnel. I recently picked up two new products that usually target new and expectant mummies. They relieve discomfort, they repare skin as it stretches, and apart from that, from their all natural ingredients, they massage the skin on the tummy while it grows! So why are these products not promoted to the likes of me? I am not pregnant!Well, I took a gander and tried them and they have proven to be a miracle! I use them because I am getting results! The first is The Miracle Oil (100ml). Made from Argan oil, rich in Omega 6 and 9, it nourishes, it firms and helps put the elasticity back in your skin while passion-flower and sweet almond oils gently soothe and soften. And it is great at reducing the appearance of healed scars and damaged, uneven skin tone.I know it’s been a while since I had my last child, but there’s never time like the present. Like a daily routine, I simply massage the oil in first then at night I use the second product, The Body Smoother (190ml) to help re-hydrate those problem areas. Made from a super-nourishing blend of centella, hibiscus, and shea butter, it increases elasticity, boosts moisture and helps reduce the appearance of stretch marks and cellulite.As we prepare for winter in the UK and its unpredictable weather, a little square is offering a special deal on both The Miracle Oil and The Body Smoother for you to enjoy for only £25.00 – saving you £3.98!Try them both, get that miracle working and feel great!
Posted: Jan 12 2010
Picky-Perfect-Kid-Friendly Asparagus and Leek Soup
There’s nothing worse than a picky eater – especially a 6 year old - under your roof when you’re a loyal, hardcore “Foody”. My partner and I have a real appreciation for good food and good wine from various cultures and try new things every week.
But as children grow and, god forbid, you have a picky eater, their palettes don’t change too much. So whatever stage your child’s palette remains in, so does yours. Speaking from experience, I must admit, one of my least favourite stages is the ‘Pasta and Butter ONLY’. And when we are with the children on the weekends all together, our choice of restaurants is limited and dominated by this particular palette. After a while it becomes icky and uninspiring – blah!
For inspiration, I watch the Food Channel on television. I regularly tune into Nigella Lawson’s Nigella Express or The Barefoot Contessa’s Ina Garten, and love to squirm with the contestants on Greg Wallace and John Torode’s Masterchef Goes Large (big fan!). If I cannot watch and am overloaded with things to do in the house, it’s fantastic background noise. Either shows are soothing, hugely entertaining, and interesting - I always get a kick out of the delicious end results! And we don’t need to talk about all of those fabulous trinkets and toys in the kitchen – my cupboards are bulging!
But better yet, my picky eater has inspired me to be more inventive and creative in the kitchen and today, she’s almost cured! I now experiment with spices, veggies, meats, and textures. Every daily challenge takes me to a new level of understanding and appreciation of food and I am even taking cooking classes!
And one of my ‘accidents’ has now become a tried and true recipe - Asparagus and Leek Soup – even children like it! It can be spicy, so keep the heat down for the kids!
Picky Perfect Kid Friendly Asparagus and Leek Soup
3 bushels of asparagus – approximately 30 stalks
2 large leeks
3-4 cups of chicken stock (preferably 2-3 OXO cubes, it’s quick and reliable!)
1 tub of Philadelphia Creamed Cheese, regular
¼ cup of milk (optional for thickness)
Tobasco to taste
Cayenne Pepper (optional)
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Simply cut up slices of bread in small squares and sauté in butter and salt.
Soup feeds 4-6 people.
Essential equipment is a sauté pan, large boiling pot, standing blender, colander, wooden spoon and a fine netted sieve.
Wash the asparagus and especially the leeks, they may still be a bit gritty. Cut a little off the ends of the asparagus and either steam or boil in lightly salted water for approximately 6-8 minutes. Make sure they are soft and floppy. From the leeks, remove the first layer, it can be a bit worn and lose its flavour quickly. Finely slice the leeks and sauté in butter until soft and translucent.
Drain the asparagus, place them with the leeks into the standing blender. Add approximately 2-2 ½ cups of chicken stock. Blend until very smooth. You may need to add a little more stock to pass through the sieve. Once smooth, pour liquid into the sieve over the pot. Gently turn your wooden spoon clockwise to push the liquid through. This will take a few gos, and once you are through, discard the pulp into the bin.
Add the remaining chicken stock into your pot. Please watch the amount as you don’t want to have a runny soup. Add the tub of creamed cheese, a little nob of butter, salt and pepper to taste. Now this is where the heat comes in. Add a dash of cayenne pepper and a few sprinkles of Tobasco. Keep adding to your liking. I prefer mine with a kick, so I go for it!
Now the soup is ready to eat! However, I prefer to let sit on the stove, in room temperature, for about an hour. This helps it to come alive! Or if you like, keep it in the refrigerator overnight, for a stronger, more robust, thicker soup.
Heat and serve. As a suggestion for garnish add fresh croutons and/or shredded Parmesan cheese.
Posted: Dec 09 2009
My eldest daughter is almost 7 years old and is practicing her poetry writing. Her teacher has asked me to help and follow up on her new found talent. We have been in deep discussion on the many ways of 'How To' write and rhyme at the same time. She's getting pretty good at it, I must say. Yesterday we came up with Fred the Egg, F.T.E., and here it goes...
Fred The Egg - F.T.E.
One day, Fred The Egg F.T.E. was laying in the sun
Then he baked and he cooked
until his little shell shook
Then the egg cracked
The little bird clapped
and shouted "Hello World!"
Not too bad baby girl!
Posted: Oct 28 2009
Sweet, small and dainty. You may think I am describing my beautiful children, but in actuality, I am talking about my favourite treat – the cupcake! When it comes to cupcakes, I’ll give any excuse to sit and have tea with my girlie girls – they love them as much as I do. There is something about the colours, the little cake and extra bits, the promising cheerfulness they leave you with.
Not only do I love making cupcakes with my children, but have recently found one special shop around the corner.
My favourite discovery, The Cupcake Company, is located just a stone’s throw away on Kensington Church Street. It is truly a must-experience-destination for cupcake lovers in London! When I walk by I can’t help but peer in the window and gaze at the sea of frosting. I always end up picking some up for friends or even playdates we host.
The Cupcake Company just recently opened shop on September 21st at 132 Kensington Church Street. Owner, Megan Williams, built her business on passion and commitment to quality and taste of her cupcakes. Baked from scratch daily, Megan takes pride in the freshness of each cake, the first bite will take you instantly back to your childhood!
I have always thought cupcakes bring people together, I think this is why I love them so much! I am a huge fan and this is why The Cupcake Company is one of my favourite things!
And for instant gratification, my children and I love the recipe for Fancy Cup Cakes found in the Dumpling Dynasty Baking Kit.
Stop by The Cupcake Company in Kensington, it’s worth the trip!
The Cupcake Company
132 Kensington Church Street
+44 (0)7815 873 968
Posted: Oct 01 2009
A few years ago one of my children received this fantastic little pink poodle lovie by Angeldear with her name embroidered on it. I must say it was one of my favourite gifts she ever got. I named her instantly to be Fifi Pink Poodle. She was pink of course but what made her especially desirable was her pink gingham bows wrapped around her ears, her soft exaggerated brown nose and her little sewn on eyelashes.
Now, since I owned my own company in the UK selling fantastic gifts for infants, children and new mums, I thought this new range would be the perfect addition to my business.
It’s been 4 years since I imported the Angeldear collection and I must say they have been our top sellers to date! We have Leo the Lion, George Giraffe, Tiggy Tiger to name a few. This is my first blog and my website designer asked me to write about the things I love most. Being it my first, I only thought this appropriate to dedicate it to the truly adorable lovies.
To boot, I have heard countless stories about these adorable soft toys – mostly good but some that fall into the ‘hysterical’ category - literally. I have more frantic parents calling for replacements because little Emma left 'Bubby' on the plane! Sympathy is always paid to each and every parent. This is a story that often repeats itself. I do recommend to our customers to purchase three of the same character – one for the car, one for the pram, and one for the crib. This usually covers them, at least for a little while.
Long live the truly adorable lovies!