Thursday, 28 March 2013


A gallery post for Tara's The Gallery.

How I love my walks. Like Tara my day day starts with a dog walk at around 7am or a bit earlier in the summer. It is so part of my ritual that I miss it when I'm away. Equally the arrival home is also dog walk time. Sometimes it's running which she enjoys just as much. The evening walk clears my head of all the stresses of the day. I have to do it the minute I get in for full effect. Sunday is known as Dog Day in fact I think the dog knows its Dog Day for this should be the day of the extra long special walk. She knows this.

For it to be a good walk there has to be open space and lots of it, preferably lots of other dogs to have mad racing about fun, it has to be a circuit, water nearby,  of any kind, is even better.

Walks I have loved and known and share with you here include:

Harewood estate a good 5 miler with lots of variations to boot and a 6' wall for my dog to jump up onto
Shipley glen but away from the holes
Whitby to Sands End
Robins Hood bay
Grizedale Forest
many a lake and reservoir

Enjoy walking, I do!


Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Meaty Madness

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The lovely people from Asda invited me back. Clearly they are gluttons for punishment after the Asda pie challenge from last year. Accompanied by Laura, the sister and English mum and a few others besides we met with Head of Innovation, Mark Richmond and Asda's very own meat buyer, Jim Viggars.

No one knows meat like Jim Viggars and no one  knows the farmers as well as Jim either. Proud of his farm gate to plate policy we had a whistle stop of meat knowledge and a bit of prepping the ol' lamb to boot, leg of, with rosemary and garlic garnish in a sexy criss cross fashion, french rack all done with super sharp knives and special chain mail glove.

We also learnt how Asda make sure you get your value in pack weight and showed us how some people will keep more bone in the pack or rack than is necessary for instance. I shall watch out for that in future. At £8 per kilo the price was pretty dazzling too.

The wines were heavenly a full bodied Malbec and splendid Rioja and went a treat with the lamb dishes and amazeballs vegetables prepared by Mark Richmond

I love a good plate of veggies that have been more than just peeled and boiled. Carrots and swede cooked for 6 hours in carrot juice were unbelievably sweet, blanched roasted pan fried on a  bed of thick tomato garlic sauce or beans  kale and lemons, not forgetting the saffron Easter roast potatoes and gratin dauphinoise. We were shown an array of salsas with thyme, mint,shallots, garlic, lemons and lavender being my favorite. English mum did little lavender burps for the rest of the evening - how er lovely.

I will most definitely be cooking the shoulder of lamb dish that Jim and Mark showed us. Slow cooked until it just fell of the bone with salsa, Moroccan spices, harissa sauce and pitta bread was just divine plus a cheap cheap cheap cut of meat to boot.

The legs of lamb we dressed came home in freezer bags and will be making an appearance on Easter Sunday when we will be a party of 20! Think I better pop to Asda for another leg then. Oh and pop some bottles of Malbec in there whilst you at it will you

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Changing Rooms

Move over Trinny & Susannah, Gok you can budge too I have a new friend, Nadia at Debenhams. This is not a sponsored blog and if the truth be told I would have rather have gone to House of Fraser only they didn't offer the service at my store so Debenhams was next choice  But boy did they know their stuff. I took along two willing friends for my humiliation with promise of lunch and even a Jo Malone Hand and arm massage afterwards  A full on girly day. I am not a girly girl so this was alien to me. The idea of spending 2 solid hours of doing nothing but try clothes on is really my idea of hell. Being the cynic I am I really thought I would be offered high price label and hideous high fashion outfits to try on. In fact we all did. How wrong could we be. A quick run through sizes, what kind of things I was looking for and we were off!  Work wise I'm OK but outside of work I seem to live in jeans and plain t shirts and posture fit ( not Converse for me, always have to be different ). My colour palette rarely strays from brown, olive, white, black, grey and navy blue. Boring boring boring! I now have a range of colourful items with my Betty Barclay floaty top being my fave.

I ended up with about 30 items including  following
2 jackets,
1 pair trousers
1 pair flat ballet pumps
1 jumper
1 vest top
2 tops
2 dresses

I used my nus card on some items that were from Oasis and got a further 10% off by taking out a store card whose balance will be cleared immediately. A good day. I have some photos here of the good the bad and the ugly.Please note the suitably stupid expressions I pull, I think I should try out for gurning competitions.

 2 hours flew by and I think there must have been 60+ garments tried on. It was an invigorating process and I may join the army of ladies who go in at least once a year to go through the new seasons stock.Best get saving!
One of my friends subsequently booked  a session at Top Shop for her daughter and my own daughter is also fancying that for her birthday.
I just need to convince my sister now as it's so much easier than trying to get picked for Trinny & Susannah show.

Friday, 22 March 2013

A week without...

In years gone by if I knew I didn't have kids for a night never mind a whole week. there would be plans involving going out, doing these, generally being busy and not having to worry. So what have I done this week sans teenage responsibilities? Have I completed the decorating of dining room? Have I had the girls round for a takeaway and hoots?  Have I had mad passionate sex? (for that there really would have to be someone in my life right now as not prone to picking up random strangers  ) Have I stayed late after work for drinks and stuff? Caught up with old friends? Had my hair done?

A big fat NO.

I have collapsed exhausted and fallen asleep in front of the telly box. Me and Inspector Montalbano getting along just fine. Hot water bottle and jim jams. Do I feel refreshed? Nope even more tired than at the start of the week. I think I need another week on my own

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Grape expert

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The lovely people at Welch's sent me some of their juice to sample. If you have teenagers you may agree with me on how much of a god send this could be. Shares in an orchard and orange grove is called for. We seem to go through vast quantities.

We have recipes to sample and 3 kinds of juice - white grape & raspberry, purple grape light and rose grape light. White grape & raspberry is a hit, less so the purple grape but we have come up with some great smoothie recipes with it and tried out the spare rib glaze too. I don't think Innocent have anything to worry about though as my smoothie recipes tends to be a glass of juice, half a banana and what ever fruit I can lay my hands on.

I am rather smitten with the provenance of the juice and love the bio (&beard) of original Mr Welch..
In his effort to produce a non alcoholic alter wine for fellow church goers he inadvertently opened the gateway for fruit juice processing, a process still pretty much unchanged today from 1869! I have to say that pouring any of these juice into one of my beautiful thin stemmed wine glasses to sip from mid week could be my new mid week non alcoholic tipple as I have yet to find one that hits the spot.

Meanwhile everynight I come home from work yet another empty carton seems appear on the work top,drained of its contents. We'll call this a success then.

If you’re on Twitter,  follow @Welchs_UK for the latest product information, recipe ideas and healthy tips.  They are very good at finding great recipes to try which I am thankful for when it comes to midweek meal planning. If you take a peek at my Instagram feed you can see a recent posting or two of recipes I found through them.

Sunday, 10 March 2013