28 July 2011

Grow your own - 2011 July update

We've had a mixture of weather here in Greater London and the plants don't know if they are coming or going. Some have been slow, some have thrived. We've had a lot of courgettes but many of them aren't getting to a 'decent' size. Some of the small ones have become mouldy quickly so we reckon the plant may of had an infection?

Sugar Snap Peas


Tomatoes waiting to turn red


Corn on the cob

Every year we are going to try and grow something we wouldn't usually have. This year we've tried sweetcorn. So far they are looking good!
I have plans put them in some foil with a knob of butter and cook them over the BBQ....yummy : P

Pretty Dahlias 

Naughty pussy cat!

I guess with growing your own it is a learning curve. Each year we will learn from our mistakes and know a few tricks.

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I entered my cat Timberlake into a cat competition...muhahaha. He's the kind of cat that hates fuss so if he knew I did this i'm sure he'd hate it!

If he wins we will get a years worth of cat food.

If you get a chance could you please vote for him here.  They send you an e-mail and you just have to click on the link in the e-mail to confirm it (it may be in your junk folder!).

In his picture he is covered in chalk. My brother drew all on our patio with 'sidewalk chalk' and the cat loved it! He was covered in pink for a good few hours..heehee! 

Thank you!

Gemma xXx 

27 July 2011

Recipe : The BEST Lemon Cupcakes

This cupcake is perfect for summer. Sometimes chocolate can be a bit heavy when it's warm (maybe not for chocolate lovers like me!). This cupcake will give you a sugar fix whilst being light and refreshing.

I made these for my mums birthday. It's always interesting to see what goes quicker...lemon..or chocolate. I always pressume chocolate but these were gone like hot cakes. The cake is light and lemony. The frosting is mostly creamy but with a slight hint of lemon. I used the zest from the lemons to garnish the cupcake so everyone knew it was lemon flavour (An Ina Garten touch!).

Lemon Cupcakes and Frosting

Ingredients (makes 12)


125g butter 

125g Sugar

1/2 large lemon, finely grated zest only

2 eggs beaten

150g plain/all purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder


140g/ 50z butter

200g/7oz icing sugar

2 tbsp lemon juice



Preheat your oven to 180C/gas 4/350f. 

Cream the butter in a large bowl until soft. Add the sugar and grated lemon zest and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Gradually add the beaten eggs, then sift in the flour and baking powder and fold into the mixture.

Divide the mixture between the paper cases and bake in the preheated oven for 7–10 minutes, until risen and golden. When cooked, the centre of each cake should be slightly springy to the touch. Remove the cakes from the tin and put on a wire rack to cool before you ice them.


The frosting

Beat together the butter, icing sugar and lemon juice until smooth. You can either spread the icing or spoon it into a piping bag and pipe carefully around the cake. Sprinkle lightly with lemon zest to garnish.

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These are definitely a keeper and will be going in my recipe book to make again and again. Go and make these and tell me what you think : )

Happy Wednesday!

Gemma xXx 


22 July 2011

Happy Friday

CUTE card!
I was thrilled when I heard I had won Gems giveaway a few days back (my first ever win!). It was the first giveaway I have ever won, so as you can imagine I had a big smile on my face : )

I've eagerly been waiting on the Postman who has typically not been delivering till 5ish (pm!). The gorgeous gifts came individually wrapped in soft pink polka dot wrapping paper. As I opened each gift I let out a little 'Oooo' or 'Eeek' (excited much?)

As her theme was 'Girls night in'..these presents were REALLY appropriate! An adorable card with a lovely message, a Face mask, Pedicure set, Big Galaxy bar ( nom nom nom ) and the DVD 'Bridal Wars'. 

Gem! I've been dying to see this movie. A few months back I was convinced I had it. I searched the whole house but it was nowhere to be seen. I then realised what I thought was it was an entirely different film.... so this is perfect!

Something else that makes this even more special is that I don't usually get gifts halfway through the year. As my birthday is the 23rd December, and our anniversay is the 27th, I have a wait a year for gifts. Silly but true.

Thank you : )

Plans for the weekend includes snuggling up, 
going shopping (!), a nice long walk around a lake....some baking and maybe even a jog!

Have a fantastic weekend loves!

Gemma x 

20 July 2011

Nivea Feel Closer Campaign

As a big fan of NIVEA  products I was amazed to hear that they are celebrating their 100th birthday this year. It is so funny to think that us 'modern day' women are using the same trusted products from the early 1900's! To mark this huge occassion Nivea are running a campaign on feeling closer in everyday life.
Nivea commissioned psychologist Professor  Geoff Beattie to carry out research as a barometer of closeness in Britain. The research was intended to find out if modern technology (like mobiles, e-mails and BLOGS) are making us closer than ever or if it is giving us an excuse to never meet friends face to face.
I feel that there are pros and cons when it comes to using technology to socialise.

It has allowed me to talk regularly to loved ones that are living far away. I can drop Ian a quick text during the working day to see how he is. Through blogs I have discovered people across the globe who have the same interests as me, who inspire me and keep motivated to follow my dreams. Without this type of technology I would not have the opportunity to 'meet' such wonderful people and to socialise in this way.

On the other hand, social networking sites can sometimes seem like a substitute for meeting up for a coffee and sharing holiday photos with your best friend. Real life conversations with friends can be few and far between when you both have busy lives. Texts, e-mails and instant messaging are the only alternative. Talking through this medium can also make it difficult to interpret the 'tone' of what someone is trying to say. Words can easily be misinterpreted for something negative when it could be completely innocent.
Nivea have opened a Feel Closer Facebook page where you can have your say on the debate. They want to hear about your experiences of socialising online and face to face. Do you feel this technology is making us closer or tearing us apart?

To make the debate even more interesting, Nivea have launched a million moments of closeness competition. Simply upload a photo of a cosy moment with someone you know at facebook.com/niveauk.   Each day for 100 days you could be in with a chance to win one of 100 prizes of worth £100!
Thank you for reading!
Gemma x

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18 July 2011

What could this be used for? Advice needed!

Happy Monday!

I hope you had a wonderful weekend. It absolutely tipped it down here and it looks set to be a wet week.

You wouldn't think it was July...Seriously.


The other day I was looking in a local charity shop and spotted this..

I thought it was nice and it had potential, but I had no idea what it was used for. I decided to leave it but it played on my mind whilst walking around other shops. For 85p I couldn't forget such a nice... thingy?

I like the stars on each side.

I know some people object to painting things white/cream but I just had to with this...

Much better IMO!

Now the only thing I can think of is that it is a Napkin holder?

Please please could you give me any ideas of what this can be used for?

This is now going to be stored in our 'Box'. It is a box where Ian & I have started to collect little bits and bobs for our one day first home.  We've decided not to look in the box until we move so what's in there will be a little surprise...It's the small things right!

I'm looking forward to hearing some suggestions : )

Thank you in advance!

Gemma x

15 July 2011

Birthday surprises


I've been a bit of  a bad blogger recently. I've got a list of things to say but just haven't had the motivation to post. I guess we all have our off days.

I'm trying to think of a 'new look' for the blog. I want to keep it white but with colourful details here and there and a nice banner. Does that make sense?

Anyway until then I'm keeping it white.

Last weekend we celebrated my mums birthday. For the past few weeks I've been keeping little secrets about her day and considering I spend most of my time with her...IT WAS HARD! We would usually plan these things together for others so I really had to hold my tongue.

I surprised her by making these fancy looking cupcakes.

I made chocolate and lemon...both favourites in this house!

Because of my nut allergy I'm not usually allowed cupcakes from posh bakeries so this was my chance to have my first fancy one! I followed two great recipes which I will 100% use again (and will share on here!).  

My dad surprised my mum with a huge bouquet of flowers. They were so dreamy!

Really really lovely! The smell was divine : )

Overall we all had a lovely day and it was such a 'relief' to get the surprised out in the open!

Have a lovely weekend : )

Gemma xXx

10 July 2011

Giveaway Winner

Thank you all so much for entering! Of course there can only be one winner but I hope to do more giveaways in the near future : )

I use a Random Number generator to give everyone a fair chance of winning.

The winner of this giveaway was.....



 Please can you send me your name, address and cushion preference to musingsofagem@hotmail.com


As a thank you for all of you entering use the code 'musingsofagem20' at the check-out in my Etsy for 20% off your order! The promotion ENDS 1/08/2011

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Gemma x

6 July 2011

It's the small things.

Something I've admired about Ian's family for a while is that they always bring one another flowers. 

Not just for birthdays or anniversarys...but for general day to day catch-ups. Not expensive extravagant bunches, but whatever is flourishing in their garden at the time.

Our weekend consisted of a Birthday and a Christening (both on Ian's side of the family) It was great to see everyone and celebrate...and eat A LOT of cake which is not great for the holiday diet. Considering it's my mums birthday this weekend I had better behave all this week!

Although the weekend was full of loveliness, receiving these sweet peas made my day! The smell and colour are enough to make me happy : )

It's the small considerate things in life that count and bring happiness.

Hope you're having a great week so far and hello to any new followers. 

Thank you!

Gemma x


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