Tuesday, 6 December 2016
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Sunday, 29 March 2015
Wednesday, 9 April 2014
So this is a bit of a bumper blog because I haven't posted for yonks.
First up I've got a few new beauty products I'm head over heels with. I don't know about you but I love big hair. The bigger the better. It is all about the volume, baby.
|Nice hair, shame about the jumped up pigeon|
I tried John Frieda's new Volume range a few weeks ago and while the shampoo is lovely I don't know how much it can work – I mean you wash it out of your hair. But the mousse! Ahh the mousse is marvellous.
|The entire range|
I shove it all through wet hair once I've brushed it. It gives my hair noticeably more volume, plus holds a hairstyle brilliantly – but this is the best bit – it lasts for 3 days.
Yes my pretties, 3 whole days of volume. No limp, dirty hair here! You will have volume till you choose to wash it out.
Next up is Laura Mercier Crème Brulee honey bath which comes with its own honey twizzle thing. It is seriously indulgent and a lovely present to receive – mine was from a lovely friend Stella (she is a regular reader of the blog – Hi Stells!) and I absolutely love it. £32 is a lot to spend on bubble bath but by god it is worth it. I caught Mr Rose trying to use it the other day and quickly directed him to the Radox. This stuff is definitely too good for men.
Finally on the beauty front is a new moisturiser. I don't know what it is about anaesthetics and pain killers but by god they dried my skin out. I was slapping on all sorts of face creams from good old Avene to hard core Eczema cream. Nothing worked.
Then I gave this a go – Biotherm Aquasource Nuit - Cousin LL gave it to me for Christmas and I'd only used it a few times. Within seconds my dry skin was restored and so much softer. The next day it was visibly plumper and I'm in love with it.
Now it comes with a word of warning, if you have spot prone skin (as I do) it really must be used in moderation. I use it about once a week to keep the flaky forehead (eurgh) at bay. But for really dry skins or mature skins I reckon it would be perfect.
Beauty update ends!
A few weeks ago another member of the clan was born. Welcome to the world, Baby Byron! Baby Bryon arrived a few weeks earlier than expected and is the darling first baby of Cousin TL and Mrs Cousin TL.
I got to meet him last week and I can honestly say he was the tiniest, most precious little thing! He is doing really well and I'll get to see him again this weekend at my parents' Ruby Wedding (more on that later) and can't wait to give him another cuddle.
As he arrived a bit early he is now eating for England and leaving his poor mum a bit exhausted! So I told her about the Boobie Bites I like to make for new mums who are exhausted and drained from constantly having their boobs shoved in a baby's mouth.
Basically they are a pimped up flap jack, but with tonnes of things to provide slow released energy and protein – and no nasties sugary things that will be used up in a flash. I like to give them to new mums in a Tupperware box for them to keep next to the bed so at 3.40am when they have a baby clamped to 1 nipple and a snoring husband next to them, they can just reach in for a nutritious snack. They usually look so touched that they practically sign you up to be God Mother there and then.
I made a batch on Sunday so I could take some photos (fooled Mr Rose into eating them by calling them Breakfast Bites – which actually they would be great as), but sadly they don't look as tasty as they are. So here is the recipe without a pic – but do give them a try if you know a new mum who is breast feeding like a crazy person.
5 oz oats
1 oz caster sugar
1 oz flour (you could leave this out if mum doesn't eat wheat- just replace with oats)
2 oz ground almonds
2 mashed bananas
2 tablespoon honey
1 large handful of chopped, dried apricots
1 large handful of raisins
(Or whatever you have around - dark chocolate and chopped nuts would be nice)
Glacier cherries for decorating and making the bites look like nipples ;-)
Shove them all in a bowl and mix. If mixture looks too wet then add bit more flour. Scoop into oven proof dish. Decorate with cherry nipples. Bung in the oven - take them out before they get burnt! Simples.
Saturday, 1 February 2014
Like many family jokes, it is probably 20% legend, 20% truth and 60% amusing anecdote. My mum ADORES to tell the story how she used to hide Annie's crib behind the sofa as she was scared I'd try and pick her up to torture her. I love to raise a laugh now and again about how Mum, Dad and I were 'The Original Three' - a trio so content I've been puzzled ever since why they added to the clan.
But it isn't really true. Other than a few teenage moments, I've always adored my little sisters and would have been fearful lonely growing up without them.
That said - this last week it has been all 1983 - The Original Three are back.
I've been in the family home for a week as I had an operation last week (yes it was grim, yes I'm making a fuss, please send floral bouquets to the usual address). I haven't really been able to move that much, so mum swooped down to London to pick me up and I've been here for quite some days. I am slightly losing track of time - it could be the painkillers but it could also be the gentle whirr of the washing machine which seems to always be running.
So I 've had a unique opportunity to recreate our glory years, with my parents all to myself - a very rare treat.
Some things are just the same. My mum still runs the show. After the operation the nurses strictly told me no showering or bathing for 2 weeks - till the stitches come out. I told mum this - she cocked an eyebrow at me and said I'd feel much better for a shower.
So she fashioned a waterproof device out of a Marks and Spencer plastic bag - "a quality plastic darling, none of that CO OP rubbish" and masking tape. You can imagine how I felt - aged 32, naked as the day that I was born, fairly off my tits on morphine, in a considerable amount of pain.
Vulnerable to say the least. But in a week when you had to learn to use a bedpan, you just have to crack on and do what the lady holding the masking tape tells you.
Mum did everything she could to make me feel as comfortable as possible, but I got the feeling she was quite enjoying it all.
"Gosh your nipples really are so different to mine - how extraordinary".
"Oh yes, look that hole I made wasn't nearly big enough for your thigh to fit through!"
"Do you have a Brazilian or just au naturel?"
Evenings have been spent in an amiable fashion. Dad gets home from work at 6, and immediately asks when supper is. So we eat about 6.45pm which on day one shocked me and I rolled my eyes in an urban way as possible - and now I'm so conditioned I cannot imagine how I will go back to the normal 8.30pm supper that Mr Rose and I manage.
Dinner done by 7pm - who am I kidding - 6.54pm - we have the whole evening ahead of us for trying to find something to watch on TV we all like. Last night we watched Failure to Launch - a fairly dire film in which the 35 year old son refuses to move out of the family house. Topical, eh?
At 9.30pm a marvellous thing happens - snack time! Dad does a round of hot drinks and snacks for us all! Last night I had Horlicks and salted caramel ice cream!! Tonight I had coffee and malteasers!! Dreamy. I may never leave.
Then at 10pm we have to watch the BBC evening News. Mum talks through most of the "foreign" news, so if anyone could catch me up with Syria this week I'd be ever so grateful.
Then comes the climax of the evening. Drum roll please. THE WEATHER!!!!!!!!!!
If one of them is out of the room, the other will bellow "WEATHER", and they missing parent will race into the room. They watch the local weather first. Then the national weather. There is always much discussion about the weather.
I find it all a bit puzzling. To the best of my knowledge, neither of them are crop farmers. Neither of them spend much time out of doors. It is January and all it does is rain. I've shown them both the weather app on the Ipad and their Iphones. Odd.
After the weather dad sternly says that it is getting late and we all trot off to bed.
Friday, 13 December 2013
The Office Christmas Party
I've probably only looked at 73 different shops online looking for the perfect dress. It was driving me quite potty before I gave myself a good talking to about not really needing a new dress, and that really good hair, make up and jewels will liven up any of the 476 black dresses I have hanging in my wardrobe that just aren't quite right. Let's face it, it will be dark and everyone is pissed anyway.
Get the frock out a few days before and make sure it is spotless. Nothing worse than grabbing it out the wardrobe on the day and noticing halfway through the champagne reception that you actually have gravy stain on your left nork and it slightly whiffs of a perfume you can no longer stomach.
Fail safe styling products are:
Babyliss waving wand - these are soooo hot I actually curl my hair the night before, brush it out in the morning and maybe freshen 1 or 2 of the curls up before I go out. So much easier than dangling in the disabled loo at work with an extension lead trying to do it while the chaps from Accounts are lining up with their hair gel.
What is really important is getting lots of sparkle on the earlobe so as to reflect your eyes as much as possible. If the sparkle is too low you miss out on this effect.
These, from ASOS, are perfect.
Suck in pants
Yes we have all had too much Christmas Cheer by now, just 1 too many Pret Christmas Sandwiches washed down with a mince pie. Sadly the party is looming and other than panic there isn't much you can do about this now. Or so you think.
I was in Monsoon the other day, idly looking around for party dresses (don't bother, their clothes are dire this year) and spotted these tights. I gave them a try and have been so impressed – they really work, don't roll down and don't squeeze you so tight that your intestines get crushed and give you bad breath. We've all been there.
Hot new restaurant
You've left it too late to book something for that special night out with your best friends and can't think of anywhere new, lovely, charming and delicious? Look no further than Plum and Spilt Milk – this is a recent opening. Mr Rose and I had an historic dinner there a few weeks ago – a brilliant little find.
It is now the 13th December so quite frankly if you haven't done your shopping by now you are horridly disorganised and I'm not sure we can be friends. However, help is at hand because many of the big department stores have started their killer sales already.
For the women in your life - Charlotte Tilbury's new make up range is HEAVEN. I repeat – it is HEAVEN. The red lipstick, So Marilyn, is the red lipstick I have been waiting my whole life for. The bronze and glow is fabulous for contouring and grown up shimmer – it works on many different complexions. I know this because when I have it with me in the office most of the women here borrow it. It is that good. You can't go wrong with the eyeshadow pallets, liquid eyeliner – actually all of it is divine. And the packaging is soooo Chritmassy!
If in doubt then I've never met anyone who doesn't like Diptyque's Baies candle which smells heavenly.
Cashmere always goes down well at Christmas, but make sure it is good quality. No one wants to get a hole under the armpit by 4th January, which can happen. So invest wisely.
For men, well who bloody knows what they want! Notonthehighstreet have some lovely personalisable gifts, but quite frankly every middle class chap in England has now got a cheese board with his own name carved into it. So if he already has one of those then really good leather gloves, vintage film posters, first editions of his fave book – all go down well.
All I can say is you need to pray the men in your life have hobbies as it makes it so much easier to buy them things.
Very important to turn up on The Big Day not just with a bottle or two of Châteauneuf-du-Pape – but also something useful for the hostess. A flower arrangement for the centre of the table is really nice idea. Other possibilities are desert wine, placecard holders or musical crackers for Post Lunch Entertainment.
Only thing you need to do is warn her what you are bringing so she doesn't duplicate.
Hope you are all enjoying the festive season!
Friday, 6 December 2013
In my family we have a rather unusual approach to present buying. We each email round a list of exactly what we would like to open (my requests this year were a YSL glossy stain, brown leather gloves, Bobbi brown lipstick in Roseberry, Clarins shower gel, bath oil or bubbles, sparkly stud earrings) and then everyone replies all saying what they are going to get you. It is not really the spirit of Christmas, but we all agree there is nothing worse than the Christmas I received 11 sponge bags.
I've now bought everyone a present, apart from Mum who seems to be reluctant to make a specific request which suggests she is expecting emeralds. Sigh.
Things I am REALLY looking forward to:
Well strictly speaking this has already happened, but Mr Rose and I like to do Hanukkah because he is sort of not very but kind of Jewish. As neither of us really know what Hanukkah is about we decided when we first met years and years ago to give each other a little present every day worth no more than £2.50. Believe me – that is no mean feat since Woolworths has closed! But it is great fun opening a random gift every day for 8 days. Last night he got a new washing line chord and looked really bemused by this, poor chap. But I pointed out he'd had some Fortnum and Mason chamomile tea the night before, so at Hanukkah you win some, you lose some.
The Circle of Trust Christmas Dinner which takes place TONIGHT at a very glamorous location. Since Natalie has been on Maternity Leave, the 4 of us haven't had a really good chin wag for a while – so we've so much to get through tonight that an agenda has been created.
We also have a Not Very Secret Santa to get through. It will be a marvellous evening.
In a week or so Cousin LL and Baby Heinz are coming to stay. I've only spent 1 weekend with him since he was born in Germany, so am aiming to get as many cuddles as possible in for their visit. I've taken a day off and am looking forward to the day immensely as I get to be a pretend North London Yummy Mummy but Cousin LL gets the 4am feeds! It isn't for 10 days or so, but I already have it intricately planned:
8.00am – Mr Rose says "Darling, you asked me to wake you up when I leave so this is your wake up call. I've made you a delicious and nutritious Breakfast Smoothie so up you get!".
8.07am – Mr Rose leaves to run the country and Rose falls back to sleep.
09.30am – Rose wakes and races around the house with hoover to prepare for The Offsted Inspector – Cousin LL. No time for actual dusting, so the trick of using Pledge as room spray will do the trick.
10.10am – weak with exhaustion, Rose watches as little bit of Jeremy Kyle with a nice cup of tea.
10.40am – Rose remembers she was supposed to ice the Christmas cake – puts Mariah Carey Christmas Album on full blast, dicks around with marzipan, plastic reindeer and icing.
10.55am – pleased with the look of her cake, Rose instagrams the shit out of it, sends pic to Mum and Auntie Mame, tweets it and adds to Facebook.
11.01am – Rose frantically checks social media to see how many 'likes' the cake has got.
11.05am – Rose races around turning all of the Christmas lights on, lights scented candles, puts extra layer of lipstick on.
11.16am – Rose boils kettle, gets out most Christmassy mugs, Fortnum and Mason Christmas Tea, puts milk in milk jug, arranges cake stand with Christmas Cake
11.26am – Rose sits with nose pressed to window awaiting the arrival of Master Heinz and his mama, Cousin LL, who will arrive right on schedule at 11.30am. We will squeal so loudly on being reunited that the neighbours will look out the window to see what is occurring.
The afternoon involves trying out the best buggy hotspots that Muswell Hill's café culture have to offer, a nice walk in the fresh air, little mooch around the shops.
Once the Little Prince has been put to bed and Mr Rose has returned from work, we will have civilised kitchen sups featuring champagne with hibiscus flowers in for a lovely festive touch, and a giant chicken pie.
Fast forward a few more days and we have Christmas Eve which Mr Rose and I are spending together, at home, having what we call Our Christmas Dinner – all of our favourite foods accompanied by some extremely good wine we have been saving. Mr Rose is the chef extraordinaire and has been plotting the menu for weeks. We do it every year and it is a lovely, romantic pause in what can be a really busy time.
Then of course we have the Big Day!
There will be only 7 of us for Christmas Day at Auntie Mame's and Uncle R's house. Which, for us, is a really small, select gathering. Mame casually suggested that we have Beef Wellington on Christmas Day with the full on Roast Turkey on Boxing Day when a few more of us will be there.
The decision was put to full public vote. We believe in democracy in this family. No fixed voting, or dictators rigging the vote here – no siree. This is not Zimbabwe or the Eurovision Song Contest!
When the votes came in it was a clear win for Beef Wellington – 4 votes v. 3 for Turkey. So I'm very much looking forward to my Democratic Beef Wellington, with side orders of Liberty, Equality and Fairness.
I hope you are all enjoying the most wonderful time of the year!
Monday, 14 October 2013
Here is Mr Rose's plan: 24 hours before decorator due to arrive, hop off to Homebase and grab any sort of pale blue shade that looks about right. Phone Rose to ask what on earth Eggshell is. Ring her back to ask how many litres we need.
Thursday, 26 September 2013
By Sunday I was well enough to desire something other to eat than Heinz tomato soup and toast, and I was craving something to make me feel a bit better. So inspired by watching several episodes of Saint Jamie Oliver I decided to make a Cottage Pie.
I didn't just want any old cottage pie though, I wanted a low GI pie, packed with vegetables, strong tasting, satisfying and hearty.
This is what I came up with. I loved the orange and green mash - it livened up the dish a lot.
4 cloves of garlic
1 stick of celery – not essential
Few white potatoes
Can of chopped tomatoes
|Sweet Potato Cottage Pie|
Saturday, 7 September 2013
1) My iPhone battery is constantly running low so I can talk about him with all of my friends and family
2) When I have a quiet moment I run through the pics I have on him and stare into his dark blue eyes, longing to give his smooth face a stroke
3) I have had 20 minute long discussions with bored colleagues about which of his pictures I should put on the fridge
4) I wonder what he sounds like
5) I think how cute he would look in certain outfits
6) I've been making collages of his face with a sweet little app on my phone
So yes - I admit I am in love. Cousin LL had a baby last week and he might just be the most darling thing I have ever seen.
We'll call him Baby Boris to protect his identity when Working Title make a film about my us all. Baby Boris is the cutest thing I have ever seen. Sadly we have not met yet, as Cousin LL has moved to Germany. Yep that's right - in 18 months she has got engaged, got married, got knocked up and moved to Germany. It is indecent. But a lot of fun.
And after a very tricky pregnancy and birth, she has produced a darling little boy, who looks so cuddly and cute I can't tell you. We are all thrilled and so excited about the Next Generation.
Thursday, 25 July 2013
Mr Rose, Mum, Dad, Izzy and I are on hols. We are staying at the Spanish house of close friends S and M, who are here also, so what we have is a very jolly house party.
It has been a tough year so far for Mr Rose and I, so the holiday has been much needed. We are now almost packing up to go home after what has been a fabulous week at Casa Rosa so I thought I'd give you some of my highlights.
While we were here I had a birthday. I awoke to find the house decked in balloons.
We celebrated with traditional British afternoon tea, complete with egg sandwiches to rival Claridges and a Victoria Sponge my mum made which was totally delicious.
That was so yummy I had to lie in the hammock to recover.
I had some divine presents from everyone. When asked what I wanted this year, my instructions were 'frivolous'. So I got some lovely jewels, matching luggage, make up, clothes and was thoroughly spoilt. One cute little gift was this fab nail varnish
In the evening we had Champagne and canapés
Followed by a divine BBQ.
My mother is, as you all know, a very glamorous woman. She is here for 2 weeks and has bought with her no less than 63 swimming costumes and matching kaftans. She swears she has only bought 6 but I feel fairly sure she changes it 7 times a day ("no one likes a wet bottom, darling") and I've not seen any repeats yet.
There was much excitement over K Middy having the new Prince George. We ran a little sweepstake.
And were glued to Sky News when they came out the Lindo Wing
Then we went out for dinner on the seafront to toast our future king
We loved people watching all of the Spaniards out for an evening walk with as many dogs as you would find in crufts. We most admired a lovely sausage dog and agreed he should be called Senior Chorizo.
Mr Rose has been treating us to lots of cooking. Before we came out he swotted up on Andalusian recipes which are totally delicious and generally involve so much garlic and chorizo that as soon as he announces he is going to cook something our mouths start watering and mum practically jogs to the gaviscon bottle. Big faves so far have been these two salads: Green Beans and Serrano Ham and Jamie Oliver's Tomato and Chorizo salad.
I've been reading The Cuckoo's Calling, the one poor JK tried to write under a pseudonym. I bought it before I knew it was her, based on a tweet from India Knight about how good it was. I'm not a JK Groupie so probably wouldn't have bought it had she published in her name, but I've enjoyed it so much I think it might be my Book of the Year. It's gripping, funny, insightful, gosspipy and beautifully written, really bringing Mayfair to life. I'm not normally a fan of detective stories either but now I think it might be a good genre to get into. If you have any suggestions let me know!
Izzy is showing off the results of a new love of running in a variety of gorgeous bikinis. Neon is featuring quite significantly in The Collection. She looks like she should be on Made In Chelsea she is so poised and gorgeous, but when she is bobbing around in the pool it's hard for me to remember she isn't my baby sister who will squeal with delight if you a) dunk her b) play catch with her c) offer to make up a dance routine with her. So we are instead bonding with a 45 min gruelling swim each morning where she yells at me like Tracy Anderson if I slow down. Which considering the amount of rose wine and bread I'm consuming is much needed.
Big thanks go to our lovely hosts S and M who have so generously opened their divine, Spanish home to us. S is keeping me entertained with her demon scrabble moves, and just when you are nearly asleep on a lilo, M will do a superbly executed dive bomb just to keep you on your toes.
Right, the sunbed is calling. It's the last day of the hols so we all know that means getting a bit fast and loose with the factor 20.