Hi there! I hope you are all well? Firstly sorry for not doing a blog last Thursday, I had one of those weeks were I had to too many plates spinning and I had to drop something. It was all a whirl of Birthday fun for Tilda with treats, presents and parties taking up the weekend plus juggling work and everything else and I just needed a moment to stop for a moment and do a little less. Do you ever have weeks like that where you just think something has to give? I often think of it like my kitchen hobbs, it’s a rotation of priorities on the main burner and something is always on the back. Some days it’s work at the front, or Fred, or shock horror sometimes even me. Mostly though it’s the kids who get the priority burner.
Tilda had a great Birthday, we went to Build A Bear with her friends. They do an hour’s entertainment and all the children get to choose a bear and an item of clothing for it to wear and then they make the bear in the shop with a massive fluff machine. It’s great fun for them and chaos for the adults! We then headed to an ice cream parlour which was a bit of a disaster as they didn’t have the booking down, even though I called that morning to double check, it was rammed with no free tables but they got us sorted and we ended up being given the party room for no extra cost so that was a bonus.
Anyway, the kids didn’t care as there was a soft play area so they went crazy in there before their ice cream sundaes. All in all it was a fab Birthday for Tilda and Fred and I had a well-deserved wine that evening! One of the things I got for Tilda was the Bundleberry by Amanda Holden Mega Link Knit Footstool for her bedroom. Perfect for a kid’s room because it’s soft and can be used for whatever their imagination makes it. I got the Orange one which looks like a giant pumpkin, which weirdly is called blush on the website but it’s most definitely orange. It’s become a favourite place for her to sit at bedtime for stories.
The Pumpkin Patch
This past Sunday we made our annual trip to the Pumpkin Patch. We go to the Cat and Fiddle Pick Your Own Farm in Lyndhurst as it has a play area and lovely little shop and I think the best fruit and veg. The kids love it and I have said before it’s so important for kids to understand where food comes from and that it doesn’t just arrive in a plastic packet in the supermarket! You hear stories of children being shocked at seeing mud on carrots and have no idea that they grew in the ground. We choose pumpkins for Halloween decorations but also for me in the kitchen! Ivy however gets very attached to hers though so this year she has made me promise I won’t turn hers into soup or carve it up.
We took my lovely friend Rhiannon who is really great at getting lovely pictures of us with the girls so a big thank you to her for getting a few lovely family pictures for us. I in turn made her a roast dinner that afternoon! There was a story in the papers this week about how many pumpkins are wasted in this country so I must make it clear that the ones that I don’t cook I cut them up and put at the top of the garden after using them for Halloween so that the wild life can come and eat them. (That’s recommended on the National Wildlife Federation website.) So if you don’t have a compost heap but you do have a garden this is an alternative so that they don’t go to waste. You can also take the seeds out and let them dry to put out for the birds.
What I’ve Been Wearing – Hobbs
This week we see the official on-air launch of Hobbs at QVC. Ashling McCloy will be guesting this prestigious brand. I had my first item of Hobbs clothing when I was about 17. My mum bought me a beautiful olive green wool blazer for smart occasions as I was at that age when I might need something for interviews and also smart lunches. I’m wearing it in my 6th Form school photo! I did indeed feel very grown up in it. I still have it now and it’s in great condition as you would expect from Hobbs. I think I might save it for Tilda. So I wanted to share a few of the pieces that are coming your way on Friday’s launch show at 8pm and are available on the website now.
Firstly the outfit I wore to the pumpkin patch is the Audrey Jumper in Sea Spray. It’s a blend of wool and cashmere and is an absolute classic. A great way to wear knitwear but still keep it smart and also not too chunky for under coats. It has a vintage feel to the neckline, I wonder if that’s why they called it the Audrey, as in Hepburn.
I wore it with the London Denim Skirt. Even though it’s described as an A Line I think it’s a little more straight down almost pencil style but thankfully not tight. It’s a perfect 12 which is my normal size. It’s 98% cotton but with 2% elastane for some give.
You may have spotted me wearing this dress this week. It’s the Bayview Midi Dress. It’s such a lovely silhouette and I think very flattering. It comes in at my most narrow point and then gently skims the rest of the body and a very elegant midi length. It’s a zip-up back with a tie at the waist. It’s navy but the pattern is lots of little green horses that create what looks at first almost like a hound’s tooth until you take a second look. Amazingly it’s machine washable! Again I am in the 12 and it’s perfect. I’m so pleased to have Hobbs at QVC and I hope you will tune in at 8pm this Friday.
In the Kitchen – The Hotel Chocolat Velvetiser
I was lucky enough to get to try out the Hotel Chocolat Velvetiser this week. What a treat! The copper one is my favourite and it comes with a selection box of 10 single serving sachets of grated chocolate to put into your Velvetiser. You can add your favourite milk be it cow’s milk, oat, almond etc and it blends and heats it to the absolute perfect hot chocolate you’ve ever tasted. Creamy, smooth, not overly sweet and with that unmistakable quality you would expect from Hotel Chocolat.
You then pour it into the rather lovely cups that are included. They are designed to look like the outside of a cocao pod with the lovely grooves. It’s also the perfect size for the serving. I have done a video for you on my IGTV of how to use it which you can watch here and you can see all the flavours that you would be getting. So have a watch and see what you think.
The jumper I am wearing here is from our range of Monsoon at QVC. It’s the Leona Leopard Jacquard Jumper and I’ve had lots of people asking about it already. It’s a viscose poly nylon blend and machine washable. I love the metallic sparkle to the leopards. Really cosy and perfect for hot chocolate days.
Sunday roast leftovers – Chicken Stew
I think roast dinner might be my favourite meal. I love cooking them, eating them and then having all those lovely leftovers to turn into something else! This week I had done a roast chicken with lots of yummy roasties including sweet potato, red onion and carrots. These were the base of my leftover stew.
So this isn’t so much a full recipe but it’s really what I do with my leftovers.
I took the chicken and cut off what I could off the bone. I then popped what was left of the carcass into a big pan and poured boiling water over it about 2 inches deep. I let that simmer to soften off the rest of the meat and get all that lovely stock.
Next I chopped a red onion and clove of garlic and brown that in a deep pan with olive oil. When we were at the Pumpkin Patch I bought the most beautiful Savoy cabbage so I took off about half the leaves and chopped this up and threw that in too. I then took leftover sweet potato, roasted red onion and carrots and chopped them up and threw that in. If you need to add more fresh veg then do so, extra carrots etc. I then poured over a small jug of extra chicken stock, one of those jelly ones.
I then take the leftover chicken carcass off the boil and let it cool. I then remove the bones and take off all the leftover chicken. I chop any chunks up a little and add it all to the stew pot plus the extra stock created from it. You may need to sieve it for little bones.
I added a dollop of cream cheese to the pan too but you can add a dash of cream or leave that out to be healthier! I then gauge how much liquid I want in it, you can make it more soupy with more stock or let it reduce to make it more of a stew. Either way it’s a really warming bowl of the good stuff!!
So there you go, that’s what I’ve been up to. Pretty much getting in the full-on autumn way of mind. Slowing down a little, chilling, cooking and enjoying family time in between work. Next week is half term for us so no doubt it will be a bit more full-on!
Hope you all have a great week xxx