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Category Archives: brunch

Recipe – Mince Pie Pastries

After yesterday’s blog post, I had a little notification pop up on my WordPress app informing me that it was actually my 1000th post which feels like something of a milestone! I can flit between hobbies but I am so pleased I have actually stuck with this one as it brings me real happiness to write blog posts. I know my photography is not the slickest, and there is the occasional spelling mistake or two, but I do love looking back on what I have written and seeing how much things have changed.

Today, I wanted to share a really easy festive baking recipe that is a twist on a classic mince pie and would make a perfect breakfast pastry if you have family staying over Christmas.

Ingredients

A sheet of puff pastry (feel free to make your own but I always buy puff pastry!)

A jar of mincemeat (again, you can make your own. I bought some from Sainsburys and jazzed it up with some extra cranberries, mixed peel and a dash of orange liquor)

How to make it

  • Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 4/ 180°C
  • Roll your pastry out on a floured surface
  • Spoon over the mincemeat, leaving a gap of about an inch the whole way round

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  • Gently but firmly roll the pastry up into a swiss roll-style log

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  • Slice into rounds about 2cm thick

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  • Put each round between a sheet of greaseproof paper and lightly flatten with a rolling pin or your palm

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  • Place the slices onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper

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  • Bake for around 20 minutes until golden brown

These went down a treat with my colleagues and were tasty warm and once cold. The filling can catch and caramelise on the bottom if you’re not careful so make sure they don’t overcook and burn.

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Sunday Summary #50

Life

It has been a very chilled weekend which is exactly what I wanted before the crazy run-up to Christmas.

I spent most of today finishing off my Christmas shopping and I am almost done! We keep saying we are going to have a low-key one this year but it is so easy to get carried away when you spot something you know somebody will love.

We watched the Gavin and Stacey Christmas special this week – I miss that series! I plan on watching my favourite Christmas films over the next few weeks now…Home Alone, Love Actually, Elf – all the classics.

I have been making things as cosy as possible in the evenings this week. I love my mermaid blanket and candles add a warm soft light to the room. We’ve just finished burning this Jasmine and Bamboo candle and have moved onto this Caramel and Pumpkin Swirl one…my living room smells divine!

Food

My favourite Christmas cocktail made an appearance this week…the snowball. Ridiculously retro, but delicious, this is a really festive drink that tastes like sherbet!

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Ian and I went for lunch at Comptoir Libanais yesterday and I am so glad we now have a branch in Bath. We had a big sharing platter full of dips and salads followed by baklava and rose mint tea…absolutely divine!

We also enjoyed croissants and flat whites at Bertinet Bakery – my absolute favourite place to buy pastries in Bath.

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Fashion

I have been on the search for a new coat for a while now and had my heart set on a camel or blush pink pea coat but haven’t been able to find one that is quite right. I was planning on waiting for the sales but then I saw this bad boy and I couldn’t resist it!

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I love leopard print and I think that as long as the rest of the outfit is fairly neutral, a statement coat looks fab. This coat was a Primark bargain and is so soft and cosy.

Beauty

I have been enjoying this shower gel from Bath and Body Works. It smells divine and actually feels very moisturising and luxurious.

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My L’Occitance calendar is such a lovely treat every day – I think I will do a little review when I have opened them all.

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My lips have been so dry and chapped since I was poorly last month and I have been trying everything to cure them. So far, this Dr Lipp nipple balm has proved to be the most effective.

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Finally, I had a cut and colour this week so I am ready for the party season. I went for lots of white, cool-toned blondes again and plan to keep them this way with purple shampoo.

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Sunday Summary #48 and #49

Life

I have been a bit MIA on the blog recently so what better time to start afresh than the start of the month and the start of the most magical month at that! Yes, it’s December today which means all Christmas activities are now entirely appropriate and I don’t have to hide the fact my Christmas tree has been up for almost a week now – I even had the bands on my braces replaced with red and green ones!

I was shocked to hear the news that Fidel Castro had died and it made me so happy that we had managed to get to Cuba and see Havana earlier this year before things really start to change.

For my book club, I started reading The Versions of Us. It has good reviews and I’m enjoying it so far.

I’m not usually a huge fan of reality TV but Ian and I are loving I’m a Celeb this year. I find Ant and Dec hilarious (and so camp!) and the contestants seem a really nice group this year.

It has started to feel like winter this week with ice on the ground and having to spend ages de-icing my car in the morning. I’m overcompensating with extra blankets, cosy knitwear and lots of candles! Talking of candles, I made a few purchases at Bath and Body Works when we were in Boston and am enjoying starting to burn them.

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The cold weather has meant I have been drinking tea non-stop and tea addicts will appreciate the importance of a good mug. I love using this glass cup I bought in St. Petersburg this summer – something about holding it in both hands makes it feel so warming and comforting.

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Food

I headed up to London last weekend to catch up with several friends. I had the most delicious brunch with my friends Cat and Lucie at Jam in a Jar. I could have ordered most of the menu but instead opted for a healthy-ish breakfast plate with eggs, sourdough, smoked salmon, avocado amongst the contents…heaven!

I also met up with my friends from uni for our annual Thanksgiving meal. The food was delicious, especially the slice of pumpkin pie.

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We had an amazing meal recently at a local pub, The Longs Arms. It is probably my favourite place to eat at the moment and I am yet to enjoy a meal there I haven’t raved about! This time, I had lamb scrumpets followed by brill and cockled and a lemon crème brûlée and they were all divine.

Fashion

I made a little ASOS order this week for a couple of items. Firstly, a pair of Christmas cacti socks!

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I also picked up this striped jumper with suede elbow patches. I love the split sides on it and plan on wearing it non-stop.

Beauty

Despite telling Ian not to bother this year, he bought me this L’Occitane en Provence beauty advent calendar. The illustrations are beautiful and I love the hand cream I received today.

I was a little bit blasé about all the Black Friday deal that kept appearing in my inbox but I did put an order in at Organic Surge which I will share soon. I bought a bundle of their bestsellers and cannot wait to start using them as they smell amazing, are all organic and the company has a really great ethos too.

Finally, I have been really enjoying rediscovering the Maybelline Color Tattoo cream eyeshadows. I used them years ago and recently bought Bad to the Bronze and forgot how pigmented and long lasting they are.

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Restaurant Review – Brunch at Brace and Browns, Bristol

A few weeks ago, we celebrated my best friend’s birthday with a delicious ‘bottomless’ brunch at Brace&Browns.

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This restaurant is situated on Whiteladies Road and offers both indoor and outdoor seating. We were greeted warmly and offered the menu to peruse the small plates. I have to say the service throughout our visit was excellent. We ordered bottomless fizz alongside our food and the staff were really attentive, keeping us topped up and even bringing over a complimentary espresso martini when they found out we were celebrating a birthday!

The menu was very appetising with a nice selection of sweet and savoury dishes and you can order for yourself or get a selection for the table to share.

My personal favourites were the Bubble and Squeak cakes served with halloumi, a poached egg and Bloody Mary sauce…

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The crispy pork belly bites served with aioli (I may have ordered two of these!)…

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The chocolate and banana pancakes…

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And the lemon ricotta cake.

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Yes…we ate a lot!

The brunch is £15 (£20 if you want to add the bottomless fizz option) which I think is such good value for money. We had a great time here and I’m looking forward to a return visit so I can try the rest of the items on the brunch menu! x

Sunday/ Monday Summary #32

Life

Hello! I’m a day late with this week’s round up but I had such a lovely birthday weekend that I simply couldn’t find the time to blog. I’m home now though after a few days by the seaside celebrating my 31st birthday and our 3rd wedding anniversary with family.

My week started by saying goodbye to one set of friends on Sunday morning then getting things ready for another pair who came to stay with me at the start of the week. It was lovely to see my uni friends again. We went for a wander around Bradford on Avon, ordered a huge Indian takeaway for dinner then had brunch at Bill’s the next day followed by a mooch around Bath, all fuelled by lots of tea and chocolate! It’s funny how you take somewhere for granted and I think it’s only when I see this area through the eyes of visitors that I remind myself how lucky we are to live where we do.

I also went for a midweek Italian meal with my friends from work before we all head off on our summer breaks. I had a lovely seafood risotto which I know I can emulate at home.

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This weekend was really great. My cousin was having a ‘Welcome to the World’ party for her two boys and organised the most wonderful mini-festival at my Uncle and Aunty’s house. We sat in the sun all day drinking Pimms, enjoyed a hog roast, watched the sun set then nibbled on cheese and danced the night away. It was ace although I definitely hit the free bar a little too hard and ended up being sick when we got home…older but not wiser!

Sunday was our three year wedding anniversary and despite feeling ridiculously hungover, we packed up the car and headed to the beach. We spent the day at Croyde and it turned out to be a beautiful day. My parents packed a delicious picnic and after a doze, I was feeling a bit more like myself. We even managed a paddle in the sea before stopping off for fish and chips on the way home.

I have started rewatching Sex and the City this week and have almost finished series one. I used to be obsessed with this show and I was interested to see whether or not it would have stood the test of time. So far, I’m finding this series a little dated if I’m honest: everyone smokes; they keep referring to Mr Big as ‘the next Donald Trump’; the girls all wear glittery eyeshadow and things like tongue rings and gay marriage are seen as quite controversial. I know it reflects the time it was made in but I’m hoping I get a little bit more into again as I start series 2.

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In slightly less exciting news, I have spent this week cleaning out and reorganising my kitchen cupboards. Yes, not the most exciting task but I’m finding it a good excuse for a clear out and I have Sex and the City playing to keep me going!

Food

I had a bit of play around with recipes this week and made a bacon and avocado risotto. I often make an avocado pasta dish and it lent itself well to a creamy risotto too…I will post the recipe later this week.

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One of my highlights of the week was this feast my Dad prepared for us. He made lots of my favourite tapas dishes including patatas bravas, gambas al ajillo and these little smoked salmon and caviar bites…the perks of having a chef for a Dad!

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My birthday breakfast of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs – my favourite!

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Beauty

I rediscovered a purple lip when I went out for dinner this week. I’m wearing a Laqa & Co lip pencil in the shade Menatour and it is one of my favourites for a night out.

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I have also been loving the eyebrow pencil I got in July’s Birchbox. I know I said it looked too dark for me but it’s actually a nice match and applies like a dream.

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Fashion

I bought this loose top from Matalan recently and wore it on my birthday. I love the dangly tassels hanging down from it and it keeps you cool yet covered up in the sun.

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A sneak peek of some of my birthday presents now but I love them so much I started wearing them right away! Ian got me this set of tiny mixed gold studs from Accessorize. I saw them on Hannah Gale’s blog and decided they were exactly what I was looking for.

My Mum also got me this gorgeous pair of marble-print leggings which I had been eyeing up for a while. I have them on as I type and they are really comfortable.

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Sunday Summary #29

Life

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I haven’t felt brilliant this week if I’m being honest – sluggish, unmotivated and a bit moany. I’m trying to focus on the fact that school holidays are two weeks away and I am filling up my diary with lots of fun things to look forward to. I also went on a really motivational course on Friday which has refocused things at work too.

I spent the weekend with my best friends which always puts me in a better mood. We met the newest member of our gang and had a good catch up over pizza and ice-cream!

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It’s my brother’s birthday today too so we are heading out to theirs later on tonight to watch the football and enjoy a roast dinner and hopefully some birthday cake too.

I sat in the sun for an hour or so this afternoon and read the first few chapters of The Bookseller of Kabul. It is really interesting so far.

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Food

I’m trying to start the day healthily and am still enjoying experimenting with overnight oats – my current favourite includes fresh raspberries and mango, flax seeds and a handful of tropical trail mix.

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We continue to obsess over the ‘Spirit of Summer’ range from M&S and this week enjoyed a selection of their snacks for dinner one night.

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In an attempt to get me out of my funk, we went to The Longs Arms for dinner – one of my favourite places to eat. The food is divine and all ingredients are ethically and, where possible, locally sourced. I enjoyed a cheese soufflé to start, lamb for my main and a scoop of Turkish Delight and Parma Violet ice-cream for dessert.

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Ian tried the Marmite ice-cream…definitely a love/ hate thing!

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Finally, we had a lovely brunch in Bill’s this morning before waving goodbye to my friend Lucie as she headed back to London.

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Beauty

My new Birchbox arrived this week. After a few fairly average boxes I was debating whether to continue but this one is the best I’ve had for a little while…review to follow!

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I thought I would also give a quick shout out to Mikhila who posted about this amazing Origins kit where you can buy £84-worth of Origins products for just £20. I love this brand and ordered mine straightaway!

Fashion

Let’s start off with a fashion fail…

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I’m having a bit of a moment with star prints, having bought a long-sleeved t-shirt and a cardigan with them on. I just think it’s a really fun print and makes me happy when I wear them.

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Have a great week and let’s hope the weather realises it’s now July and we actually get a few sunny days to enjoy!

Sunday Summary #27

Life

What a week it has been. I don’t feel I can move onto all the good stuff without addressing what I feel was the disastrous outcome of the referendum. For various reasons, I voted to remain as part of Europe and feel absolutely devastated at the results. I still cannot quite believe this happened and am so sad at the hatred and anti-immigrant feelings that have been provoked. I do believe in democracy but I also feel that a lot people who voted ‘out’ did so for the wrong reasons having been misinformed as to what exactly their vote would mean. I could go on but I am really struggling to understand how we are at this place and the effects it will have on future generations.

Anyway, onto the positives of the week…

I rushed home from Pilates on Monday only to be thoroughly bored by England’s performance. I hope we manage to win against Iceland tomorrow but I fear that is probably as far as we will get in this competition…happy to be proved wrong though!

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Onto some TV that was anything but boring…Game of Thrones was absolutely incredible this week. Not only was the story captivating but the cinematography was stunning and I have rewatched the battle scene a further three times!

I finished Only We Know and went to my first book club meet at the local pub this week. It was great fun to discuss the read over a glass of wine and we’ve chosen two titles to read over the summer which I must download to my Kindle soon.

Finally, I have to share the beautiful roses from my garden…they smelled amazing too!

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Food

It has been a really busy week at work so although I had to skip a few gym visits, I’ve managed to keep my food pretty healthy.

Two snacks I am really enjoying at the moment are dried mango pieces and padron peppers – one for when I need something sweet and the other for when I am craving something flavoursome and salty.

I also made a huge bowl of Eton mess to use up some very ripe strawberries – summer in a bowl!

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We popped for a midweek dinner at The Seven Stars in a nearby village and it was nice to enjoy a few cold beers outside before we ate. The meal itself was fine but not as nice as the previous time we visited which is always a shame.

Finally, for my best friend Lu’s birthday this weekend, we went for a bottomless champagne brunch at brace&browns in Bristol yesterday. We munched our way through bubble and squeak, pulled pork, pancakes and avocado toasts plus a fair few glasses of bubbly. It was really tasty and definitely a weekend treat.

Beauty

Some weeks I really struggle to find beauty and fashion items but this week I had loads of options.

First up, a new cleansing balm: the Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter from The Body Shop. I have to say that I do prefer a pump bottle for my cleanser but this stuff is fab and removes all traces of make-up easily.

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Ian bought me the next item: Lush’s R&B Hair Moisturiser after a recommendation from a curly-haired girl he works with. This smells amazing and leaves my hair really soft as well as controlling frizz. After applying a bit too much the first time I used this, I realised you only need a tiny bit so this should last me a while.

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I’m feeling a bit delicate today and committed the cardinal sin of going to bed without taking my make-up off last night so I decided to ‘undo’ this with a brightening sheet mask. This one from Tony Moly left my skin feeling refreshed and moisturised.

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Finally, a luxury bath product: Black Iris Bath Oil from Emma Bridgewater. This smells incredible and has left my skin soft and perfumed – a good Sunday night treat.

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Fashion

You know I love an anchor print and my Mum came back from a recent trip to New York with this gorgeous scarf for me – thanks! x

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