Ageing :-(

I’m reaching the penultimate year of my 30’s and it’s becoming apparent that i’m needing more ‘process’ time before bed. 

In fact my OH just said that he’s having to reach across more stuff every night just to reach the toothpaste. 

It’s costing me 20 minutes sleep a night and i’m not amused. i’ve gone from zero to high maintenance in a matter of weeks. 

It’s started with the lovely ladies at the Clinique counter recommending more ‘products’. 

So to start with, cleanser. Depending if I’m showering or not. Liquid soap if I am, cream cleanser if I’m not. 

Next, clarifying lotion…. To sweep away the dead cells.

Then the all important moisturiser – or facial oil. Depending on the day. 

Next, teeth. Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean (recommended by the dentist) with Sensodyne toothpaste and Corsodyl Mouthwash (recommened by the dentist of course) 

So in total, my new bedtime routine is probably costing me the same as a luxury weekend away each quarter. 

Is it worth it? I really hope so.  


We’re going to Scotland!

After some scrimping and saving of annual leave, we’ve managed to save up enough days to have a week away together alone for the first time in almost six years. 

We have been away of course, albeit to kid friendly destinations and squeezing in many and varied weekend breaks. 

What we’re really craving is some time alone away in the middle of nowhere. Scotland felt like the perfect choice. 

I have great childhood memories of hitting the road at Easter when the weather was still wild and dramatic and driving for hours to the west coast of Scotland. 

The criteria for accommodation was:-

1. Comfortable and a little bit luxurious

2. Within walking distance of a pub

3. Near the sea

We’ve managed to tick all the boxes by booking Seaview Cottage at the mouth of the Crinan Canal overlooking the Sound of Jura. 

It’s a refurbished lock keeper’s cottage dating back to 1815 with a lighthouse in the garden!

We’re looking forward to plenty of fresh air, boat trips and finding lots of local goodies to cook up in this beautiful kitchen. 

I imagine we’ll be ready for a lovely sit down in front of the log burner after a long day out. 

June can’t come soon enough for me but the planning is part of the build up. Just need to find myself some sensible shoes and a waterproof coat now…..

Sunday Roast Duck with Plum and Red Wine Sauce

It’s not very often, in fact, probably only a couple of times a year that we have a whole Sunday without plans. We always like to make the most of it by cooking up a storm, reading the papers, trip to the pub and a bit of TV.

A couple of months ago I got a bargain on a Gressingham duck crown at Ocado. It’s been in the freezer since, nagging me to be cooked.

After a little reasearch, a Sunday roast duck crown with a rich, fruity sauce, veg and roast potatoes seemed like the perfect choice.

I’ve adapted a receipe from James Martin for a plum sauce with red wine.

Step 1

Fry a finely chopped shallot until soft but not brown (approx 5 minutes)

Step 2

Stone 250g of red plums and cut into wedges. Add these to the softened shallots along with 50g of brown sugar. Cook until the sugar is dissolved taking care not to burn.

Step 3 

Once the sugar has disolved, add 50ml of a dry but fruity red (we don’t drink much red wine at home so I got a mini bottle for £1.70 in Lidl – a bit for the pot and the remainder for the chef) and 300ml of beef stock. I like to use Knorr Rich Beef Stock Pot if I don’t have any homemade in the freezer.

Step 4

Simmer for 15 – 20 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly and leave to cool at room temperature for the flavours to develop before reheating to serve.