Tuesday, 15 April 2014

#AllAboutYou Link & Pin Party Week 15

Words of tea-wisdom from Yogi Tea

I love teas.  In our cupboard right now I have counted 13 different varieties.  One day I'm in the mood for a hit of three-ginger, another day I might need some ayurvedic Yogi tea, complete with words of wisdom (as above), or maybe a delicious Lady Grey tea to dunk a Hob Nob biscuit into.  I used to be an espresso fiend, unable to function without a double hit of smooth black Java first thing.  During my first pregnancy however, my body decided to shut down my coffee fix, and now I can only occasionally have a single once a day, otherwise my heart goes into crazy palpitations, and I am liable to pass out.  Not fun.  And so one obsession replaces another - tea!

Voila, a little bit about me.  Now, how about you?  It's #AllAboutYou time! 

#AllAboutYou Link & Pin Party Mama and More

This week, my usual co-host Mother.Wife.Me is taking some down-time, relaxing over Easter, and the lovely Angie from Reasons to Dress is stepping in to co-host with me.  Please do give her some love.

So, what have you been up to?  What are your little - or big - obsessions?  Along with tea, I've also been nursing an obsession for backpacks, which I am linking up here this week - I'm also offering beauty treats as a giveaway on that post in return for hearing all about YOUR obsessions right now!  Nosy, right!

As regular visitors know, this linky is All About YOU - so show off your style, your recipes, your projects; tell us what you're thinking, planning, plotting.... this space is all yours!    Please please do visit other linkers and comment on a few posts, including your host and co-host.  You know how nice it is when someone lets you know you're not writing in tumbleweed, so return the favour - and what goes around...If you are not a blogger, do feel free to visit other linkers and check out some great posts too.

My featured posts from last week are:

Hannah at Mums Days, The News - Do we need a watershed for the news on radio?  Stories are reported with hourly frequency quite graphically for middle of the day listening, and I've frequently had to lunge for the off button when dreadful stories, especially concerning children come up, and my 5yo's eyes grow moist with tears and worry.  What do you think?

On a far lighter note, BrummyMummyof2 was obsessing over bunting, and as one obsessee to another, she truly made me crack up!  You know it's bad when you're squirrelling bags of bunting under the sink - well, I guess it could be vodka!

Onto this week's party.  All relevant posts that feature our badge are shared on twitter and Pinterest, and of course we comment on them too.  We want to encourage you to take some time for yourself, and then link up a post you’ve written about your opinions, passions, style, something you’ve accomplished or are working on; we’d love you to share it and cheer each other on!  You can link up to 3 posts to the party, and we pin every one to the #AllAboutYou Link & Pin Party Pinterest Board.  If you'd like to feature our badge in your post, feel free to grab the badge here below.

#AllAboutYou Link & Pin Party Mama and More

3 simple rules -

1. Please link posts specific to the All About YOU theme of this party - we truly want to encourage everyone to take or think about me-time, and this is your space to link up posts all about how you spend it, whether it's style, fitness, food, concerts or sky-diving!

2. Please link the URL of your specific AllAboutYou post, and please feature the badge or mention the linky, because it's a nice thing to do ; )  We tweet out every linked post that does!

3. Please comment on at least two other posts within the AllAboutYou link party - don't just link-dump!  If you could comment leaving the #AllAboutYou hashtag, that would be great too, and perhaps give some love to the party hosts.  

Feel free to tweet or share about the link party so that more people come along and join too, although this is by no means obligatory!

In short, you link and we'll pin it.  But the community bit is up to all of us - so do spread some comment love!


All About You community links:

Thanks for linking up!

Monday, 14 April 2014

Mama loves Style - My backpack obsession, Rabeanco

Do you ever find yourself suddenly obsessing over something that you've glimpsed and not even been aware that you were really struck by?  I have a Brazilian girlfriend who always carries a small leather rucksack, it's her thing, and she has been  using it for years.  Everytime I see her, she is nonchalantly swinging her arms - ok, at the end a small child is often attached, but it looks a lot freer than a tote bag falling off your shoulder while said child swings you around (rather than vice versa!).  Somehow, I've ended up reeeealllllyyy wanting one too!

I've been scouring Zara, TopShop, ASOS, H&M, all the usual haunts, but of course, Selfridges gets it right (and pricey) before everyone else, with a great selection  here, with bags from The Row (lust!), Stella McCartney, MCM, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Proenza Schoeler and many more.   I snapped pictures of a few facves when in there last week - what's not to like!  

Left - Meli Melo
Top Right - Kara
Bottom Right - Barbara Bonner

They've been touting SS14 as the season of the backpack, although I've been hunting well before they came out with that decree.  The Marc Jacobs version is a bit less expensive than some of the big boys, and I've spotted it on a couple of fashion blogger sites, like Carylee over on More Pieces of Me.

The problem is that I'm petite, and so I don't want something that is so huge that I look like I'm going camping (Camping?  I'm strictly an indoors plumbing kind of girl!), however I don't want one of the itsy bitsy ones as I need it to actually hold stuff.  Top Shop has a great selection, with prices from £30 all the way up to £290 in all different sizes.  

Mr.G was away in LA on business last week and in between meetings he snuck out, hit the shops, and after texting me several pics of bags he found, brought back this beaut red leather backpack from Rabeanco.  I'd never heard of the brand before, but they are known for making beautiful understated pieces in high quality leather, and have a flagship UK store in Covent Garden.  I am absolutely in love, and the other day I wore it (pics below) with my bright yellow Forever 21 jumper and dip dye pink H&M skirt to pop into town for some errands, and was street-snapped for the first time!



This style is called the Rabeanco Kanga, and the leather is super soft.  It is also large enough to comfortably fit my laptop, as well as the other daily necessities.


Just squeezing in a fun piccie of my point of view with my sparkly sandals from M&S children's department (similar here, up to UK size 6).  So lovely to get the tootsies out, and once again wearing bright brights!


Now, onto the next obsession... what are yours?  I'd love to know!  Share with me and you could win a box of gorgeous beauty treats, including 2 Sally Hansen nail polishes, a neutrals eye-shadow palette and shimmering lip gloss from Rimmel London and an award winning SPF30 BB cream by Ginerva.  Just leave a comment below, telling me what you're loving right now, AND follow the Rafflecopter prompts.  The competition is open to anyone over 18.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

PS - I co-host the #AllAboutYou link up every Tuesday, a link and pin party where my co-hosts and I would love to see whatever you're into - whether it's style, recipes, a project or just sharing an opinion, it's all about you! This week Angie of Reasons to Dress is co-hosting with me.  Grab the badge here and come along and join in!  We pin and tweet every post where we see our badge or link back to the party.

Linking up with:

All About You // Transatlantic Blonde What I Wore Wednesday // Manic Monday // Little Miss Monday // Stylish Tuesday // The Pleated Poppy What I Wore Wednesday // Because Shanna Said So Random Wednesday //Style Sessions and Fab Favourites at Style Elixir // Get Your Pretty On // All Things Thursday // Fashion Friday at Mummy's Got Style // Fashion Canvas // Walking in Memphis in High Heels// My Fashion Forward Blog // Vodka Infused Lemonade Tres Chic Thursday // Fashion Informant Friday// Style Me Sunday

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Work.Life.Balance? Carly Hardy of Little Titans talks work-life balance

Carly Hardy is the founder of Little Titans.  As a forces child, Carly Hardy grew up all over the place. Her Dad was a fighter pilot in the RAF and she moved around a lot. Carly currently lives in Blackheath, London with her husband Crispin and her two children Matilda and Kit. She worked in environmental sustainability until the birth of her second child Kit in 2009.  It was during her maternity leave that Carly became frustrated with the dirth of cool stuff for little boys and decided to design tights with little boys in mind.  The super-cool designs have featured on Vanity Fair, You Magazine, The Telegraph magazine, Sunday Times Style, as well as numerous international publications (for press coverage have a look here).  Carly loves design, avocados and Radio 4's Desert Island Discs.


1.     What are the greatest challenges in being a working mother?
For me it’s the switching from one role to the other and the bits and bobs of time that you get. My youngest hasn’t started school yet and although he does go to nursery I never seem to get huge chunks of time when I can really get stuck into a task. That said, it works both ways and because I work for myself, I can always juggle things around to ensure I make the school play or can volunteer for afternoon story-telling at nursery.

For me, being a working mum also seems to come with a lot of guilt. We women seem to constantly beat ourselves up about stuff – guilty if we do work, guilty if we don’t! Where on earth does it come from? I guess that’s a whole separate interview topic…

2.     What is your personal top tip to making it work - or what should you really avoid as a pitfall?
I don’t feel that I’ve totally nailed this whole working mum thing, so I’m not sure how worthy I am to offer advice here! However, I’ve known my husband Crispin since I was 12 years old (although we got together much later) and he understands that I will always need to work. It’s a natural drive I have and often I see Little Titans as my mental health policy. I found it very difficult having the children as my sole focus. Of course, Kit and Matilda are without doubt the most important thing in my life, but I think it helps our relationship that I work. It means that I don’t get too fixated with their lives and achievements and that everyone around the dinner table has their own activities and projects to talk about. I am lucky too in that Crispin has his own business and makes time to share the childcare duties. Quite frankly, if he worked for a big corporate and faced the workplace inflexibility that many of my friends face, I don’t think that Little Titans would exist. I see things changing slowly with regard to flexible working, but it’s still an uphill struggle for working mums and dads.  

3. What do you love most about being a working mother?
It makes me feel proud. It’s tough, but incredibly rewarding. I want Kit and Matilda to see that if you work hard and believe in something you can make it happen. That has to be one of the most important lessons in life, right? I don’t remember school telling me this stuff (I probably wasn’t listening!), but I truly believe that you can make amazing things happen if you want it enough and you work hard enough. Simples.

4.     Describe your perfect day
Sunny day at a cracking British Festival with our kids and friends. There’s something so wonderful about being outside all day and night. We normally do Glastonbury, but tried Wilderness this year and loved it: brilliant Kids’ Field, a magical lakeside spa and the most amazing Midnight Masked Ball. We transport the kids around in a sheepskin-lined wheel barrow when they get tired!

5.     When in doubt, what is your killer confidence booster - this could be an outfit, a beauty trick or a mantra
Ok, maybe it’s not cool to say this, but I absolutely love Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour. If ever you need reminding of how fabulously intelligent, ambitious and caring women are, just tune in!

6. Who or What inspires you, as an individual, as a mother, and as a professional?
Inspiration is everywhere, isn’t it? It’s that mum at the school gates who’s still cheery and brave despite a seriously poorly child. It’s my parents, who started life with very little and worked so hard to achieve amazing things. It’s that moment in the school play when the little ones all sing that song that you have heard piecemeal at the dinner table/ lights out time (driving you mad!) and suddenly it’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever heard (god, if there’s one thing that gets me every time it’s a choir of small children). Life’s so crazy busy these days, the problem isn’t finding inspiration, it’s slowing things down so that you actually feel it.

And finally…
Cupcakes or cocktails? Cocktails

Handbags or shoes? Shoes

Kindle or paperback? Paperback

What else would you like to talk to Mama and More readers about?
During the past few years I have asked so many people for advice and guidance on how to start and take my business forward. Not once was I rebuffed and it is these small kindnesses that have made Little Titans a success.  I would recommend that anyone planning to start their own business speak to as many people as possible.  I am still completely green in so many areas of business, however, if anyone reading this article ever wants to chat, please do get in touch. I have garnered a lot of kindnesses that I need to pass on.

If you would like to hear more about Little Titans, do check out the links below:
http://instagram.com/littletitans

I hope that you enjoyed reading this Work.Life.Balance? interview.  If you would like to see past interivews, the archived posts are here, and they are also grouped onto my Women and Work.Life.Balance Pinterest board, so do check it out and follow the board for regular updates.

If you would like to take part in the Work.Life.Balance? interview series, please email me here, I'd love to hear from you.

*Competition*
Carly has kindly offered a set of 3 Little Titans tights for boys as a competition prize, and they will ship internationally also - all you need to do is follow the rafflecopter instructions below.   The only mandatory is following on Facebook, and if you wish you can then have extra entries through the other mechanics.

I ordered 2 sets of Little Hero tights a year ago - one as a gift and one for my boy for those days of staying at home, and wearing with a t-shirt, and I have to say he looked super-cool!  The winner will win a pair of Regatta Stripe, Atomic Orange Socked and one novelty pair of the winner's choosing (i.e. either Little Sport, Little Hero or Wild Thing).

Little Hero

Regatta Stripe

Atomic Orange




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Mama Loves Food - Fish in curry and coconut sauce (winner for kids!)

As a generation, our kids are pretty spoilt with the food they get given - Ella's organic food pouches, Annabel Karmel recipes lovingly prepared and frozen into itty-bitty ice cubes for weaning, and then later on... well, our kids pretty much eat what we eat, and sometimes even better!

The other night I decided to make the kids something different, and made this recipe up, and it was so simple and delicious, I thought I'd share - chunks of sole filet in a curry and coconut sauce with vegetables.

For a start, it's yellow, and packed with veggies - what's not to like?!

I used:
2 sole fillets - I could have also used Tilapia filets, or for bigger meatier chunks of fish, cod.
2 cloves of garlic
A packet of mixed vegetables - mini-corn, brocolli florets, baby carrots
8 cherry tomatoes cut into quarters
1 small tin (165ml) of Coconut Milk
1 tbsp of curry powder
Mixed Herbs
Lime Juice from a half a lime
1tbsp of olive oil

Serve with rice.

Method:
Pre-season the fish with the lime juice, mixed herbs and smashed and chopped garlic.
Steam the veg, after chopping them into bite-sized pieces.  I would steam this over the rice as it cooks to save time.
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan.  Mix the curry powder with half a cup of water, and add to the oil before it gets too hot.  Stir for 2-3 minutes.  
Add the fish with garlic and tomatoes.  Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  
Add the steamed vegetables, and then add the coconut milk.
Cook for 3-4 minutes.

Season to taste with salt & black pepper if you wish.


The kids absolutely devoured it, and Mr.G was more than a little jealous!

A lot of the food I make is inspired by or even replicated from home cooking - mainly my mother's or from the Naparima High School cookbook.  I am a displaced Trini girl at heart, but part of me is from France, and another part of me connected to my Martiniquan roots.  So there is lots of Trinidadian and Creole food here on the blog, mixed in with European.  I also keep a file - a good old fashioned moleskine notebook where my friends write recipes that they pass on to me.  Every time I make one of those dishes, from my friends or my mother's cookbook, I feel like they are there with me.  

If you liked this one, do check out other recipes here below and on Pinterest:




linking to Honest Mum's Tasty TuesdaysRecipe of the WeekTotally Tasty TuesdaysAnyonita's Tasty Tuesdays, Sparkles and a Stove and

All About You - a Tuesday link and pin party where my co-hosts and I invite you to come and link up your posts, anything that's All About YOU - do come and join in!


#AllAboutYou Link & Pin Party Mama and More

Monday, 7 April 2014

Mama Loves Style - The theme is Bond, James Bond

A while ago a friend sent me this jumpsuit.  I pulled it out of the bag, looked at it, shook my head and thought "this will never work on me", and folded it back into the carrier.  You know that feeling?  When you just assume that something won't suit you, and in my case that as usual, it would be too long, and being petite I would just feel frustrated at the amount of tailoring needed to make it work.

Wrong!

A few weeks later, I decided on a whim to try it on - it fit like a glove!  


I've been seeing super-hot gals wearing these trouser jumpsuits for ages and looking amazing in them, and wistfully wished for longer legs as usual, while also thinking that it just wouldn't suit me, and that I also just wouldn't have the confidence to pull it off.  But this number from ASOS Petite - why didn't I look at the label?!? - is absolutely fab, and I can't wait to wear it to a James Bond themed party with some killer heels later this week.  And without the tshirt underneath!

It was a good reminder to step out of my comfort zone, that confidence comes from inside, not from what you wear, and also that my friend is ALWAYS right when it comes to style.

Linking up with:

Transatlantic Blonde What I Wore Wednesday // Manic Monday // Little Miss Monday // Stylish Tuesday // The Pleated Poppy What I Wore Wednesday // Because Shanna Said So Random Wednesday //Style Sessions and Fab Favourites at Style Elixir // Get Your Pretty On // All Things Thursday // Fashion Friday at Mummy's Got Style // Fashion Canvas // Walking in Memphis in High Heels// My Fashion Forward Blog // Vodka Infused Lemonade Tres Chic Thursday // Fashion Informant Friday// Style Me Sunday

#AllAboutYou Link & Pin Party - Week 14


This was me last week as I waited for a client - apart from working in marketing, I'm also a fully qualified Thai Yoga Massage therapist.  When I was in full time work I didn't have much time to do a lot of massages, however while I've been in-between jobs this time, I have taken up a regular client.  I thought I'd include this pic as it was a bit of my #AllAboutYou - i.e. ME time.  I like arriving early, sitting back and breathing in the fact that I am alone for a few minutes.  The massage is an hour and a half to two hours; it's physical work, but also leaves me feeling quite invigorated.

This Monday I have to say that I felt as rainy and grey inside as it was outside (no news on the interviews, but thank you so much for all your kind support!), so am pretty glad we're onto Tuesday and it's #AllAboutYou time!   What have you been up to?  Easter holidays are looming, or maybe already here, or maybe they don't impact you at all - what are your plans for the next few weeks, and what good stuff have you been up to?

This linky is All About YOU - so show off your style, your recipes, your projects; tell us what you're thinking, planning, plotting.... this space is all yours!  Please please do visit other linkers and comment on a few posts.  You know how nice it is when someone lets you know you're not writing in tumbleweed, so return the favour - and what goes around...

#AllAboutYou Link & Pin Party Mama and More

My featured posts from last week are:

Katy Acquae Tonge's birthday post - although I am definitely jealous that she is a year younger than I am, I loved her reflecting back on her year and her goals.  I know how she feels when she wrote of when your confidence falls from you like raindrops from leaves.  Such a beautiful simile.

I had to shake my head and wryly relate to my co-host Luci's post on Mother.Wife.Me - the Digital Sleep Doom Cycle - how many times have we all been scanning articles that we absolutely HAVE to read, updating posts or statuses, or just checking one last thing online, only for those flickering computer lights to meddle with our precious (and oh-so needed) beauty sleep!  Argh!

Onto this week's #AllAboutYou link & Pin party.  We share all relevant posts on twitter and Pinterest, and the idea is that we want to encourage you to take some time for yourself, and then link up a post you’ve written about your opinions, passions, style, something you’ve accomplished or are working on, we’d love you to share it and cheer each other on!  You are welcome to link up to 3 posts to the party, and we pin every one to the #AllAboutYou Link & Pin Party Pinterest Board.  The lovely City Girl at Heart is no longer co-hosting All About You; we are very sad to say au revoir, but you can still link up either here or with Mother.Wife.Me, and feel free to grab the badge here below.

#AllAboutYou Link & Pin Party Mama and More

3 simple rules -

1. Please link posts specific to the All About YOU theme of this party - we truly want to encourage everyone to take or think about me-time, and this is your space to link up posts all about how you spend it, whether it's style, fitness, food, concerts or sky-diving!

2. Please link the URL of your specific AllAboutYou post, and please feature the badge or mention the linky, because it's a nice thing to do ; )  We tweet out every linked post that does!

3. Please comment on at least two other posts within the AllAboutYou link party - don't just link-dump!  If you could comment leaving the #AllAboutYou hashtag, that would be great too, and perhaps give some love to the party hosts.  

Feel free to tweet or share about the link party so that more people come along and join too, although this is by no means obligatory!

In short, you link and we'll pin it.  But the community bit is up to all of us - so do spread some comment love!

All About You community links:

Thanks for linking up!

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Work.Life.Balance? Vicki Psarias-Broadbent, Film-maker and Blogger shares her work-life balance

I met Vicki Psarias-Broadbent about a year ago through the course of blogging, and we discovered a love of cocktails, shoes, vintage shopping, and that she was in the same industry as my husband (film), as well as being a passionate and prolific blogger.  As anyone who meets Vicki can attest to, she is a whirlwind, a force of nature, adores her children and has a fantastic sense of self.  Here she is to talk about her take on the juggle that is work-life balance.



Vicki is British Greek Cypriot , a really important part of her and her family.  She is a 33 year old Mum to Oliver (4) and Alexander (16 months). Vicki is a pro-blogger, freelance writer and award winning screenwriter and director.  Her passions include family, film, fashion and food . All the fabulous f's! You can read Vicki's blogs here honestmum.com and mummysgotstyle.com.

1. What are the greatest challenges in being a working mother?
Finding time to do it all and the constant juggle that is work and motherhood!

I suppose as an artist/filmmaker it's the limitations (be it budget/time) which have always forced the greatest creativity/ most interesting end products, and this is also true of the restrictions parenthood brings. Having kids also allows you to FOCUS, plus the unconditional love and the on-going struggles that is life as a parent (the good and the bad) truly influence my work. 

My blogs offer me a way to document family life and earn around those who matter most to me: my kids and husband.  I have a co writer on board the TV project I am penning (Phil Hughes) so that helps with the work-load too, and when it comes to comedy, I think you need another person to spring off. 

2. What is your personal top tip to making it work - or what should you really avoid as a pitfall?
Help. I simply couldn't do what I do without childcare.  My eldest attends pre-school, having a day off for just us where I don't work midweek, and my parents help with Alexander a few days a week.  With writing and blogging, the joy is it can be done at night too...although I am getting better at not burning the midnight oil as much! 

3. What do you love most about being a working mother?
I love that I am doing what I love as well as raising my family.  My kids see that I'm happy and are happy too.  I make sure I have down time and weekends are pure family time too.  It's important to know when to switch off and not always easy when you work from home.  I'm getting good at saying no though! And yes to the projects that matter!

4. Describe your perfect day
A day spent walking round the lake at Roundhay Park near us (post here)  Oliver on his bike, Alexander in his pram, feeding the ducks, playing on the swings nearby, before heading to one of my parent's award-winning Greek restaurants (the Olive Tree) for great food and laughter (we laugh a lot in this family).

5. When in doubt, what is your killer confidence booster?
"Believe you can and you will".  Also "Failure is not an option" but most of all happiness and health are all that matter and kids sure put life into perspective. 

Rocking red Lady Danger lipstick by Mac sure makes you feel awake even if you've been up all night. My Mum is a strong believer that red lipstick can help you take on the world and who am I to argue!

6. Who or What inspires you, as an individual, as a mother, and as a professional?
Firstly my Mother is my greatest inspiration.  She emigrated to the UK, learnt English in a year, aced her GCSE's, A'Levels, got a BA then Master of Philosophy before her PCGE and only stopped her PHD when I was two and she couldn't bear to leave me. 

An academic, she was a philosophy lecturer before opening restaurants with my father in the 80's. What a woman! Women generally inspire me, other female filmmakers, one of closest friends and supporters feature filmmaker Amancay Tapia,  my Grandmothers (who are no longer here but were so wise and loving and would do anything for their families)...these are my blueprints...

And finally...
Cupcakes or cocktails?  Cocktails for sure. Make mine as a Mojito please and play some salsa beats.... 

Handbags or shoes?  Both please although at a push probably handbags as I'm never without mine and love everything from designer totes to high street clutches!

Kindle or paperback?  Paperback and I adore the Leeds City Library (you can take out 20 books at a time and e-books too)...I do love the smell of a new, crisp book too... 

What else would you like to talk to Mama and More readers about?
Vicki runs #TastyTuesdays every Tuesday so do join with any recipe you like each week on honestmum.com or visit to be inspired!  Also on honestmum.com, every Thursday Vicki runs her #BrillBlogPosts link-up inviting bloggers to link their brilliant blog posts - it makes for great reading and a chance to dust off and showcase posts recent or archived.

#Fashionfridays are all about fashion on Mummysgotstyle.com Vicki's alternate site dedicated to style, so head there to add your style posts.

To find out more about Vicki's film work, head to vpsarias.co.uk 

Follow on twitter - @honestmummy @mummysgotstyle

Instagram - honestmum


Hope you enjoyed reading Vicki's take on balancing work and parenting.  The archived posts are here, or if you prefer, they are also grouped onto my Women and Work.Life.Balance Pinterest board, so do check it out.

If you would like to take part in the Work.Life.Balance? interview series, please email me here, I'd love to hear from you.


Tuesday, 1 April 2014

#AllAboutYou - Week 13

I want one of these.  Just saying!


#AllAboutYou Link & Pin Party Mama and More

Pinch and a punch it's the first of the month!  And it's also #AllAboutYou time!

I'm wondering what tricks you have up your sleeve - after all, it's April Fools Day today... just make sure you're the one doing the fooling!

Last Sunday was Mothering Sunday here in the UK - I hope that this meant that those of you celebrating it here managed to take some time out for yourself, as well as to reflect on and enjoy the lovely parts of motherhood.   Tell us what you've got up to last week - did you take some time out for you?

I love the variety of posts that we get on this linky - from fashion to opinion, from crafts to recipes.  It may not all immediately be your cup of tea, but why not explore, and see what we're all up to; that's the whole point of making a bit of a community here each week!

The last seven days have passed in a blur, as I had my two interviews, and also Mr.G's 40th birthday to prepare for.  All went well on both fronts - I really felt the pressure though to make everything perfect, which of course is of my own doing.  Thankfully the birthday celebrations were definitely a success, although am still waiting to hear the outcome of the interviews.... isn't it weird that you can really want something, and at the same time be apprehensive of the reality?  A great job would be amazing.  It would also mean change for all of us, and in a sense that's scary, but then, it's good for you to do scary things from time to time.

Speaking of scary things, that takes me nicely into the first of my featured posts by Honest Mum - A Creative Life, Pushing through the Self Doubt.  Vicki is full of passion and her post is inspiring and motivating, especially in those moments when I have been questioning myself - timely indeed!  This post Feminism - why such a bad label? from Cool Bananas caught my eye when she first wrote it, and I was really delighted that she linked it up to #AllAboutYou.  There is such a lot of conversation about what being a feminist is, and I think that we need to have these discussions to rid old stereotypes or certainly to understand how they have evolved.

On to this week's link party - the #AllAboutYou link & Pin party is all about well, YOU.  We share all relevant posts on twitter and Pinterest, as well as on our All About You facebook page.  My co-hosts, Mother.Wife.Me and City Girl at Heart and I want to encourage you to take some time for yourself, and then link up a post you’ve written about your opinions, passions, style, something you’ve accomplished or are working on, we’d love you to share it and cheer each other on!  You are welcome to link up to 3 posts to the party, and we pin every one to the #AllAboutYou Link & Pin Party Pinterest Board

#AllAboutYou Link & Pin Party Mama and More

3 simple rules -

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Mama Loves Style - Last chance for these best friends

I love this fur gilet, I really do.  And oh, Maje leather jacket, how do I love thee, let me count the ways!  So how much have I loved wearing these two together?  BUT - but my sartorial besties, the temperatures are becoming more reliably into double figures, and so I may have to part you, at least for daytime in the near future! 


Yep, I double-denimmed again, and this time not for date-night (although it can be done!)
Zara jeans (old, similar Zara skinnies here), Top Shop shirt (old, similar selection here), Maje Leather Jacket (similar splurge, or similar save)

Wearing my trusty Dune ballet flats, and Loewe handbag

Bring on those double digit temperatures!  Are you packing away winter wear now - what are you sad to say farewell to?  Much as I love these two, I can't wait for some warmer weather!


Linking up with:

Transatlantic Blonde What I Wore Wednesday // Manic Monday // Little Miss Monday // Stylish Tuesday // The Pleated Poppy What I Wore Wednesday // Because Shanna Said So Random Wednesday //Style Sessions and Fab Favourites at Style Elixir // Get Your Pretty On // All Things Thursday // Fashion Friday at Mummy's Got Style // Fashion Canvas // Walking in Memphis in High Heels// My Fashion Forward Blog // Vodka Infused Lemonade Tres Chic Thursday // Fashion Informant Friday// Style Me Sunday

Monday, 31 March 2014

Mama Loves Food - Saltfish 3 ways for Brunch

Weekend brunches have long been a part of our family tradition.  Saturday mornings were lazy and long, and inevitably we would always eat late.  On Sunday mornings my mother and her three daughters would go to church, and by the time we came home, daddy would have laid out the table with a brunch feast.  Platters of saltfish buljol, ripe avocadoes, hard-boiled eggs, salads, and my mother would finish off by frying of the bakes to go with the buljol.

Let me explain.  Buljol is a way of cooking saltfish - salted cod to be exact - which I will explain in a moment, and bakes are... well, difficult to describe, but as anyone who has every been to Trinidad and eaten shark and bake (or bake and shark, there's a national debate as to which way around it should be said!), they are heavenly to eat.  A bake is a small fist-sized round ball of dough (made with plain flour, water and yeast and left to rise before frying), which is then fried so that it rises to leave a convenient air-pocket inside, and when you slice through you can deposit your buljol and sides and devour.  You can find a recipe for fried bakes here, but  if you don't go the whole hog, I often serve warmed pittas or french bread with the buljol.  

I've written before about bringing memories into my kitchen, when I posted a Martiniquan fish stew recipe (courtbouillon de poisson) , and today I want to talk about saltfish, and making it in 3 different ways for brunch.

Buljol - the original brunch dish from my childhood to now

and my two variations:
Ceviche Saltfish
.
Saltfish & Goats Cheese pies



To make enough to serve 6-8 people buy 2 packets of saltfish - I buy mine in Shepherds Bush Market, but notice that you can also find it in Tesco's in the "World" or "Ethnic" Food Sections, but I am fairly sure this depends on the location of your store if you get my drift.  I am giving the ingredients list to make all 3 options, as I quite like serving them together, which is always a brunch-crowd-pleaser.

You will also need
Ceviche:
20 Cherry tomatoes
3 spring onions
Juice of 3 limes
Optional - A few sprigs of coriander for garnish

Buljol
3 ripe tomatoes (for buljol)
1 white onion
Juice of 3 limes
Optional - thinly sliced and then cubed  1/4 scotch bonnet pepper (may be best to leave on the side!)

Saltfish and Goats Cheese pies
Shortcrust pastry
Leftover buljol
1 packet of Goats Cheese

Preparation -
You need to plan and prepare at least 1 day in advance in order to soak your saltfish.  On the following day, the preparation takes no more than 15 minutes, plus cooking time for the pies. 

You can buy salted pollack, but I prefer and am used to salted cod fish - the difference in cost is really pence.  Buy skinless and boneless saltfish, otherwise the bones are really tiny, and it is so frustrating trying to peel the skin off once it has been salt-dried.

Use a large dish with a lid, and put both packets of saltfish into the bowl, pour boiling water over until the fish is covered, place the lid on top and leave overnight to soak so that much of the excess salt comes out.  First thing in the morning, empty the salty water out, and cover again with boiling water and leave it for an hour.  Tip the water out and using two forks, flake the saltfish by combing through.  Divide into 2 portions if making the ceviche & buljol.

For the ceviche - 
Simply squeeze three limes into the saltfish, add finely chopped spring onion and quartered cherry tomatoes.  Stir through, place in a serving bowl and cover with clingfilm and leave in the fridge until ready to serve.  Could. Not. Be. Easier.

For the buljol -
Slice the onion into thin semi-circles and soften in a tablespoon of vegetable oil (or cooking oil of your choice) in a frying pan.  Add the saltfish, and also add the juice of 3 limes.  Stir well on a low-medium heat.  Slice the tomatoes into thin wedges, and add to the frying pan, continue to stir until the mixture is slightly orange as below.  Serve hot.  If you like very spicy food, you may add the scotch bonnet pepper, but as with any other condiment, once added, you can't take it away, and too much could spoil the dish.  It may be better to serve the pepper on the side, and let brunchers decide how brave they are feeling! 


For the pies - (these were not my original brunch invention, but done with the leftover buljol from the weekend today)
Crumble a block of goats cheese into the buljol and stir through.  Cut the pastry into squares (you choose how large you want your pies - main course or canapĂ© sized) and with the back of a teaspoon smooth a dollop of tomato puree on the pastry evenly.  Spoon the goats cheese and buljol mixture onto one half of the pastry and fold over, rolling the sides.  Bake in the oven heated at 220' for 10-15 minutes (depending on whether fan assisted or not) or until golden.  Allow to cool slightly before serving.


Enjoy!




linking to Honest Mum's Tasty TuesdaysRecipe of the WeekTotally Tasty TuesdaysAnyonita's Tasty Tuesdays, Sparkles and a Stove and

All About You - a Tuesday link and pin party where my co-hosts and I invite you to come and link up your posts, anything that's All About YOU!


#AllAboutYou Link & Pin Party Mama and More