26 April 2010

Female inspiration

When i'm nearing PMT I feel absolutely rubbish! I feel like I don't want to go out, I don't feel very confident about the way I look, I feel yukk! Does this sound familiar? It's not always necessarily near my "ladies days"...it sometimes happens when the weather isn't nice and I don't have a clue what to wear. It happened when I felt down about my job...

You can become stuck in a rut when you're feeling like this. You just want to stay in your PJ's and lay around watching TV feeling sorry for yourself. When i'm like this I have a regime to get myself out of it and CHEER UP! The aim of this post is to inspire you all by sharing the way I try to get out of the rut...I know a lot of women out there suffer badly with PMT but we shouldn't have to.

  • Take a shower/bath. You feel 100% better when your clean and your hair isn't greasy! Wash away your worries in a nice relaxing bubble bath or jump into the shower to feel refreshed and AWAKE. I prefer to shower as it's quicker : D
  • If your not feeling confident about your body then don't wear something you know makes you feel uncomfortable. After your wash wear those jeans that you know fit you nicely or that comfy top that doesn't rid up your stomach all the time. Feeling comfortable is so much more important then looking fashionable.

  • Feeling pretty and glamorous can be achieved in other ways! Why not paint your nails a bright happy colour? Why not try a new hairstyle? Why don't you put a bit of lipstick/gloss on? Nothing over the top but it will make you feel a bit happier about yourself.

  • Listen to some happy music. A lot of music can be depressing so why not put on a CD which you KNOW is happy. I tend to listen to Doris Day as her music is so cheery! It reminds me of better times : )
  • Read some blogs that inspire you! There are sooo many out there to choose from..one of my favorites is Whatever. Her blog is very colourful and fun..she also has some great photos. I love reading through the archives : ) Check her out here!
  • Craft! For those of you that make your own things..there is something quite therapeutic about crafting. Why not design and make something new? Add it to your Folksy/ Etsy and hope you get a sale!
  • Now it's nice and warm outside why not indulge in a few minutes of ALONE time with nature. I love watering the garden in the evening when the sun is low and the smell of a summer BBQ is in the air. I even enjoy putting the washing on & off the line! I know it sounds sad but it's always guaranteed peace and quiet!
And of course CHOCOLATE! A LITTLE bit will make you feel better yet isn't enough to make you feel bad for having it : )

I hope next time your feeling down you remember some of these tips and hopefully you'll begin to feel better :D If you have any tips of your own please share!

Gemma X



A beautiful church


Yesterday we spent the day at my grandparents. We went for a lovely long walk around their church. The church originally stood in the West end of London in 1847. The threat of demolition meant that it had to be taken down and moved brick by brick to its new location in North-West London. It was placed next to the redundant Old Church of St Andrew which predates to roughly the Norman Conquest...A lot of history right there!





The old church

Side view of the new church

The front of the new church

It is one of the most beautiful churches I have seen...it looks like it should be in the countryside (I wish!). Both my mum and dad were christened there. 


After the walk by the church we continued our walk to the Welsh Harp. It's a lovely reservoir..very quiet..lots of trees, wildlife and grass! At this point I had a MASSIVE headache! One of those ones where you move ever so slightly and it's like you were just hit over the head : (. Thankfully after a drink of water and 10 minutes of peace and quiet it disappeared.

To end the day nicely we had a yummy Sunday Roast at my Grandparents house...I think I ate way too much and ended up feeling so full..it almost felt like Christmas day lol. All in all I think it was a perfect way to spend a Sunday. Relaxing with family, going for long walks in forests/fields and eating great food : )


I hope you all had a nice weekend!


Gemma X

23 April 2010

Soup Saturday - Pea Soup with Parmesan Croutons

Pea Soup you ask? Yes - Pea Soup! For many the thought of this may not be very appetizing but it really is yummy! Give it a go and then decide whether you like it or not. Again with this soup there aren't that many ingredients so it is quick and easy to make. You can also make a side garnish of croutons which is optional!! The only ingredients you aren't likely to have in your kitchen is the Parmesan Cheese which is also optional! I found this recipe on The Hungry Cyclists website. I like this website as it has a lot of "rustic" recipes : )

You will need:


  • 800g fresh frozen peas

  • one large onion, well chopped

  • 3 cloves of garlic

  • 1 litre of good chicken stock

  • juice of one lemon

  • 6 slices of brown bread (Optional)

  • olive oil or butter to sweat onions in

  • 100g of Parmesan cheese (Optional)
  • One large leek


Method:

Chop up the onion, garlic and the leek. Put about 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil into your pan, add the onion, garlic and leek and leave to sweat until translucent and soft. Pour in the chicken stock and then the peas. Let the mixture simmer for 15 minutes and then blitz until you have a pale green soup.

Add the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to a taste that you agree with. I found that there were still remanence of pea "shell"...so I pressed it through a sieve.

To add a side garnish to your soup you can make your own croutons. In this instance I didn't bother as the soup on its own seemed very filling! However if you want to make some here's how to....

Croutons :

Dice your brown bread and lightly fry in olive oil until golden brown and crispy. To add some extra taste the Hungry Cyclists sprinkled Parmesan Cheese over the top of the Croutons and grilled them for a few minutes...sounds good to me! :D

As I said earlier this soup may not be to everyone's taste but it is sure worth trying! The great thing about it is it tastes delicious hot or cold....in summer or winter!

Thanks for reading..I would love to hear your comments and any soup recipe's you would recommend! Remember to join me again next "Soup Saturday" for another great recipe : )

Gemma X

Happy St.Georges Day!

Here in the UK it is St. Georges day...a day to celebrate our nation and what we have acheived. Unfortunately not so many of us are patriotic here. I could be completely wrong but there aren't that many people or public gatherings who seem to celebrate it in any way. I could go to my local shopping centre or high street and find not one flag...not one sign! I feel it is a shame as after all this is our country, we have a lot of history and without it we may not be as better off as we are today. So why not do something fun to show our appreciation?...

Again I could be completely wrong but it seems like a lot of Americans are very patriotic and know how to celebrate, for example 4th of July. I admire the effort that goes into the decoration, parades..the whole celebration! I admire all the effort that goes into marking the occassion. Here in the UK St. Georges day isn't even a public holiday... Shouldn't we have this day off ?

As an effort to celebrate and mark the occassion my family are having a BBQ. The weather is great so why not! My question to all of you is do you do anything to celebrate your nations day? If yes then I'd love to hear how you celebrate it and if you have any family traditions on that particular day...Can't wait to hear from you all!

Gemma X

22 April 2010

Happy Days

My laptop has been playing up big time today so i've been a bit agitated as you can imagine. I had a nice suprise whilst checking my e-mails today....A pair of my hearts sold on Etsy! Yipee :D I did a little dance around the room to celebrate lol. Thank you for buying something of mine if you are reading this :D Since then I have been feeling extra cheerful...so I decided to take some pictures that might cheer some of you up if you are feeling a bit down..AND since it's Earth day then why not take some pictures of earths delights?...Flowers : )


I love looking at the different colours and shades on one petal! The weather is warming up this weekend so I'm hoping for another BBQ *Crosses fingers*. In my previous post I mentioned i'm not really an outdoorsy kind of girl. However when it comes to a BBQ I cannot resist being outdoors with everyone else enjoying the weather and food!

Just to remind you all that "Soup Saturday" is also happening this weekend so I hope you can join me!!

Gemma X

20 April 2010

10 things about me you didn't know

Over the weekend I had a chance to read over the archives of my blog. I realised that I haven't really said much about myself as a person. So here are 10 facts about me (some serious, some silly) that you didn't know!


1. I suffer with a severe allergy to peanuts. I avoid all nuts just incase so you will never see a recipe on here which has nuts as an ingredient!


2. I am the eldest out of my brother and sister. My sister is called Jasmine and my brother is called Alex.


3. I live on the outer skirts of London. I plan to move to the country ASAP! I'm getting tired of this city life...


4. I've been with my boyfriend/partner Ian for 3 years, 3 months and 24 days! We went to the same high school, were friends for a while and somehow we ended up here : ) He is my best friend (apart from my mum)..I want to spend the rest of my life with him!!! This picture was taken last year on our family holiday to Florida!


5. I love both cats and dogs. I could not ever choose between to two..both are great in different ways!

6. I have to admit I also love FOOD! Heehee...I'm not a fussy eater and I can be quite greedy when it comes to eating chocolate, cakes, burgers etc. HOWEVER..I know the limits and I DO eat in moderation.


7.I have a phobia of spiders. I don't really like insects in general but spiders are the worst. We had one on the ceiling of our porch and I refused to walk through incase it landed on me LOL...silly aren't I?!


8. I am an indoorsy kinda girl. I like picnics, bbq's, sunbathing on the grass, gardening etc...BUT...I love being indoors/at home. It's probably a comfort thing! Lets just say if I was offered a holiday where we'd do camping or stay in a hotel I would definately opt for the hotel...ANY DAY!


9. I would say i'm mostly girly but I do have some form of male streak. I like watching action/war movies. I don't mind watching a football match everynow and then. I play computer games more than I should. You see what I mean!


10.Although i'm loving the sunshine and heat of spring/summer...I sneakily prefer autumn/winter! There is something so cosy about coming in to a warm house and having cups of tea, listening to christmas music whilst admiring some beautiful decorations. I can't wait to blog during that season..I have so many idea's for you guys. So many recipes and so many new gems to add to my folksy/etsy!

Hope you enjoyed 10 things about me! If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask!

Gemma X

17 April 2010

Soup Saturday - Leek, Onion and Potato Soup


Good morning all!

If you didn't read about it in yesterdays post then here is what this is all about. I'm hosting "Soup Saturdays" to share with you all my favourite soup recipe's. This was inspired by my sisters lack of vitamin intake, however she likes soup so this is one way to give her a vitamin boost!
I dislike canned soup but love homemade soup. There is nothing like having that warm smell of sweating vegetables waft through your home. They are quick and easy to make. You can use left over vegetables or fresh ones...you can experiment with different combinations of vegetables and create your own recipe!

So here is the first recipe of "Soup Saturday". I could eat tons and tons of Leek and Potato soup..it is creamy and thick and yet not TOO filling. It isn't a soup that I find becomes bland after a few mouthfuls. After trying many different types of variations of this soup I have found an all time favourite by the famous UK chef Delia Smith.

Her recipe goes like this:

You will need:
  • 4 large leeks
  • 2 medium sized potatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 50g/2 0z of butter
  • Either 850ml of water or 1 1/2 pints of chicken stock
  • 275ml of milk
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Large Saucepan
  • Blender (Optional)
Method:

Begin by cutting the top and root off of the leeks. Remove the tough outer layer and slice the Leeks in half lengthways, then chopping it all up quite finely. Wash thoroughly and drain well. Whilst it is drainging slice up the onion and peel and dice the pototo.

In a large saucepan gently melt the butter on a low heat and then add the chopped leeks,potato and onion. Stir gently until they get a nice coating of butter. Add the amount of salt and pepper that you require, then cover and let the vegetables sweat over a very low heat for about 20 minutes.



After that add your stock or water and milk. I have used just water instead of stock in this soup before and it tastes just as good! Just add water if you don't have any stock available to you at home. Bring to the simmering point, put the lid back on and let the soup simmer very gently and a low heat for a further 30 minutes. Be warned that if the heat if too high the milk will cause it to boil over so keep the heat to a minimum!



Once the thirty minutes are over you can either do two things. You can blend the mixture until it is a smooth puree or you can press it all through a sieve. The choice it up to you ofcourse! Taste your soup to make sure you like the consistency and to see if it needs any more seasoning.
When I made this I added a few snipped chives from my Herb Planter which added an extra taste of onion AND it gave it a great finishing touch. I also recommend you have some fresh home cooked bread with your soup...YUMMY!



Thanks for reading..I would love to hear your comments and any soup recipe's you would recommend! Remember to join me again next "Soup Saturday" for another great recipe : )

Gemma X





16 April 2010

A Fresh Start

Happy Friday to you all,

Yesterday was my last day at work...yipee! I had an unexpected feeling of sadness here and there. I think it was saying goodbye to people ...which I really HATE!
(to the ones which were nice anyway). Do any of you hate saying goodbye? It's worse when you know your not going to see these people again. I mean I'll get over it but they were a part of my life for half a year. One suprising moment was when the manager approached me with a bunch of these...


Aren't they unusual? I think the blue and green one have been dyed in something or other. I really didn't expect these but it was nice to finally feel appreciated there. He said to me "I understand why you are leaving....you will be missed".

It was difficult but I knew it was/is the best for me. The tell tale signs were that I didn't shed one tear and I didn't get that lump in my throat...I thought "I'm okay with this!".

So now I can move on and start a fresh. Find something that suits me and will make me happy. I've begun to add some of my homemade items to Folksy and Etsy and have had a sale or two so this has made me happy :D. I'm taking it one day at a time as I don't want to get my hopes up about it. The real fun starts tonight...It is my boyfriends birthday so we are having a bbq/bonfire at his house with a few friends...something to look forward to!

Something else to look forward to is a new post on this blog about soup. Every Saturday for a month I will be hosting "Soup Saturday" where I will show you my favourite soups. My sister is such a fussy eater and is constantly complaining about food. She likes soup and this is such a good way of encouraging her to eat vegetables and get the vitamins she needs. I hope you all can join me tomorrow for the first recipe..Leek & Potato!

See you all tomorrow..Happy Friday!

14 April 2010

Baking up a storm - muffin style!


As summer is nearing I like to edge away from the rich, heavy chocolatey treats. It's not that I wouldn't say no to a nice chocolate cake (who wouldn't?!)..but sharper, juicy/fruity deserts take my fancy as they are light and refreshing on the tongue. Perfect for this time of year : )

Today i'm sharing with you my favourite muffin recipe's for Blueberry muffins and Lemon muffins. I hope by the end of the post you guys will keep these recipe's in mind during those long bright evenings!

You will need :
  • 125g/2 cups of Plain/ All purpose Flour
  • 2 tablespoons of baking powder
  • 110g/1 cup of Caster Sugar
  • 115g/1/2 cup of butter
  • 1 medium egg
  • 8 fluid oz / 1 cup of milk
  • Blueberries (any amount desired)
  • 1 Lemon
  • Muffin Cases
  • Two bowls
Method:

Pre-heat your oven to Gas mark 4, 180c or 350f. In bowl number ONE mix together the flour, baking powder and sugar. In bowl number TWO combine the butter, egg and milk. Pour the wet ingredients in with the dry, mix gently until the mixture is smooth and all signs of bumps have disappeared. If the mixture seems TOO thick add a slight amount of more milk.

If you want Blueberry muffins:
You can either put the blueberries in whole or slice them in half. I prefer to put them in whole as it is less time consuming and you get bursts of blueberry juice in your mouth when you take a bite..great stuff! :D. Either way gently fold them in until they are well dispersed.



If you want Lemon muffins:
Grate the lemon rind to the amount you require. For example, if you want a subtle taste then you would need about a teaspoon. Simply mix it in until you feel that it has been equally dispersed.

Put out your muffin cases and divide mixture between them. Ina Garten suggests using a ice-cream scoop for equal amounts of mixture in each case..works perfectly! Put them in the oven for 12-15 minutes until golden brown/knife comes out clean!
I decided to make both types because i'm extra greedy : ) lol. These muffins are great for snacks during summer evening drinks or after a delicious BBQ!

They are always suitable to give as a little gift or "pick me up" to a friend who needs a little TLC. Bake up a storm..make a batch of these lovely, moist muffins and make someone's day! I know i'd love to find one of these on my desk anyway : )



Love Gemma X

12 April 2010

Weekend fun..

This weekend me and my family decided to go walking at Kenwood National Trust Park, right next to Hampstead Heath. The grounds date back to the 18th century so there was a lot of history to see!


A hurricane had hit the UK back before I was even born lol...it must of affected the grounds quite badly as there are huge fallen trees all over the grounds that have been left there.



Although the history of it all is very interesting, I found the architecture much more pleasant! Doesn't it look fab!


The main reason we went there was to have some fresh air...I feel there really isn't anything better than going for a good walk. Now I don't mean walking around the streets surrounded with traffic and crazed shoppers...but walking out in the open.









Get some fresh air and fill your vision with the true beauty - Nature. The sights and the sounds were really invigorating for me. It was nice not to hear the sound of cars tooting but birds tooting instead ! That bridge looks lovely doesn't it?

I felt like we were the only ones there..until LOTS of joggers came running by. They make you feel really unhealthy! There we were strolling along whilst they stormed off ahead.


Don't you think this picture of the lake looks quite Autumnal? If I hadn't of known the date, those brown/red leaves would of convinced me we were nearing Christmas lol.



But then we spotted these precious little ducklings..aren't they adorable?! We stood and watched for a while as they followed mum about. They definitely confirmed spring has sprung!

I hope you all had a good weekend! I hope this post has inspired you to get walking..find a local park or go to some National Trust grounds to take a good stroll through. It clears your head and the scenery is picture perfect!

Love Gemma X

*** Forgot to add that Notting Hill (Staring Julia Roberts) was filmed here! Fun Fact***

9 April 2010

HAPPY FRIDAY!

First of all I wanted to say a big THANK YOU for all your supportive comments in my previous post. I'm glad to know a lot of you would of done the same thing : )


I feel so cheerful as the weather is beautiful today! The sky is clear and the sun is bright and high.

I sat outside for the first time today this year. What a delight it was! The birds were flying between trees..really BIG bee's have been buzzing around and I even spotted a butterfly fluttering about. It's so nice to feel the warmth against your skin after such a harsh winter we've had here.

Today I wanted to show an update on how my little crops are doing...
First of all this is the Herb Planter I wanted to show you. My dad got this antique enamel tin bath from a house clearance. It is a bit rusty around the edges here and there but I LOVE it. I think the words Rustic / Shabby Chic justify its look heehee. Anyway...I thought it was perfect for a herb planter, just the right size!

I planted Chives..
Parsley..


...and Sweet Basil.

I plan on planting normal Basil, Coriander and possibly some Rosemary but we already have some down the garden so i'm not too sure! Can you guys suggest any other herbs I could use? There is still plenty of room : )

The leeks I spoke about a few weeks back have grown quite a bit! I'm now taking them outside during the day and back in at night.

And finally a little pic of the runner beans...


They've grown quite a bit!

If any of you liked the look of the enamel bath/planter there are quite a few floating around on ebay!

Hope you all have a Happy Friday and a great weekend!!!

Love Gemma X


7 April 2010

Today was not a good day

What a day! Today I quit my job...

I aspire to be a teacher one day. Before heading off to university I wanted to take a year or two out to save money and try new things. Last October I got a job in my local DIY/ Trade store..which I thought would be ok..but no.

I'm quite a sensitive person. Being subjected to smelly, dirty and sometimes pervy scary men was horrible enough but I thought I could handle it. The shifts I got there were really horrid...I'd wait around all day to go to work at 3 when everyone would be coming home and end work at 9:30 when everyone would be going to sleep. The thing that tipped me over the edge wasn't the customers but the staff! To make a long story short the manager once made my cry, he isn't a nice man. A lot of the staff talk in their own language when i'm around which makes me feel REALLY uncomfortable..for all I know they could be talking about me....I'm still on my probation after being there for 6 months and I haven't even done anything wrong!

I couldn't take it anymore..it got to the point were I would feel physically sick before I had to go to work...my hands would go cold, my heart would thud harder than ever and my head would hurt so badly. I'd cry because I would dread going in. I live with my parents so it is not like I have bills to pay or a family to feed. Isn't it more important to feel happy? There are always other jobs..

Today I handed my notice in...it got to the point where I couldn't take feeling unhappy for much longer. I have to say I feel A LOT happier and relieved. I'm excited to find a new job suited to me and my needs. In the mean time I am enrolling on a short course in child psychology which should be fun and keep me busy :)

I'm sorry to rant and moan but I just thought I'd let you guys know whats going on in my life.

Love Gemma X

5 April 2010

Greedy Little Chicks

During Easter Sunday, we had quite a relaxed day. Oh my didn't it go fast! After Church we decided to have an easter egg hunt..which is ALWAYS fun.


My mum and I put mini eggs into these adorable pastel coloured eggs. They are great as we can continue to use them over and over during the Easter's to come.We hid them all over the house for my little brother to hunt down : )....Unfortunately the weather wasn't too good so we couldn't do it in the garden but it was still just as good!

After the egg hunt we made some mess by making yummy Easter nests...it went all over the counter lol.




Here are the greedy little chicks...surrounding their chocolate nests! lol...Aren't they sweet? I ended up hiding all of the chicks around the house for everyone to find..such simple games can be so much fun! My grandparents visited later in the day and most definately enjoyed eating the nests as they were all gone by the time they left : )


I hope ya'll had a good Easter! I'm hoping the weather will start to improve soon so that I can start to show you guys plans for a herb planter..more on that soon.

Love Gemma X

2 April 2010

Good Friday


Today I went to my boyfriends church with my little brother. We took part in "Good Friday Activity Morning for Children". It was all about making choices...which made us think about the choices lots of people made during Jesus' crucifixion.

We were split into groups and were asked to either draw, paint or make a collage of Pontius Pilate and the thieves from the bible. We were to write the choices they had made.

We had fun cutting and sticking..praying and singing!

At the end of the service we were given a beautiful egg... isn't it lovely!



Happy Easter!


Gemma X

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