Friday, 28 February 2014

Family Meals

AGA flan

I am increasingly on the look out for easy meals that I can throw together quickly, simply and cheaply.

I am loving my Aga - it is so simple to cook on and fantastic for slow cooking. I can pop a casserole in early in the morning, knowing it will still be moist and tender when I return from work.

However, for those days when speed is of the essence I have a bank of meals that I rely on.

This flan is so versatile - you can make it with an egg and milk base and it is more like a quiche or use creme fraiche for a totally different taste to it. Both are simple and quick!! We call it an Aga flan , but you can cook it in anything!


Aga flan

Pre rolled puff pastry ( speed!)
Or any other cheese you wish to add to it!

3 - 4 eggs and a splash or two of milk OR a couple of pots of creme fraiche to make the base.

Any additions:

I have put rocket in this and some corriander paste ( this and chilli flakes - love them!) to add a bit of bite!

A lot is dependant on what you have in the larder.

  • Lay the pastry base in a shallow tray.
  • Chop the mozzarella into pieces and add any other ingredients to line the base - I added some peppery rocket.
  • Beat the eggs and milk in a separate bowl - I added 2 tsps of corriander paste to add a bit of bite.

  •  Grate over some cheddar and any other cheese you may wish to add.

  • Pour the milk and egg over the base. Instead of a milk and egg base you can just add a pot or two of creme fraiche. I just don't always have it in the fridge.

  • Season and grate some parmesan on the top.

  • Pop on the middle shelf of the roasting oven if you have an Aga. Temperature is about 200 degrees for about 20 - 25 minutes.

  •  She is done when the top has risen and is firm to the touch.

  • To keep things really simple serve with pasta and green veg 

I will post a few more of my quick and easy meals - they are becoming a bit of a necessity now I am teaching full time!

Monday, 24 February 2014

Flowers always make me smile.

Grey and Pink.

I love fresh flowers in my house. 

They always make me feel better about things (even though it is back to work today.) I have loved being at home with my kids having some rest and relaxation over half term. 

 I also have a bit of a thing for grey and pink at the moment so these were a no brainer - shown off beautifully in a charity shop bargain grey vase.

Hope the rain is subsiding where you are in the UK. Roll on spring!

Friday, 21 February 2014

Organising your Monika cupboard

or in this case, drawer!

The Monika cupboard. I have a few of these if I'm honest. Maybe not quite on this scale , but you get my drift - As soon as I organise one, another appears! 

My kitchen is probably the most organised room in the house. I was able to squash in loads of drawers and cupboards when we designed it so there is enough room for all my pots, pans and kitchen things. In some of the drawers  I had wood dividers put in to keep things organised , but my largest drawer quickly became like this.

A jumble of everything we dump in the kitchen - half of which is of no use at all. I am trying to reorganise some of my Monika spaces and get rid of the clutter. It is a constant battle, esepcially with a little girl who just loves bits and pieces.

I always have a 3 way plan - keep, throw and donate, when I sort through our things. If it is clothes I am sorting I add an e.bay pile also.

So my first step was to totally empty the drawer and see what there was lurking in there.

I got rid of about half of this stuff by putting it back where it should be in other areas of the house and throwing the junk. The things that we use and are useful I divided into sections using the ever multi purpose Birchboxes.

What was left was put back into some sort of order.

 I have kept to hand the useful items like clothes labels for the kids, parking money pot, spare window keys, tape measure,hand creams and nail scissors, spare sunglasses for gardening, tape measures and torches, pens etc

Come on 'fess up - do you have a Monika cupboard lurking in your dark corners!?

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Macadamia Healing Oil Spray

Joy to my hair!

I got the small size of this product to trial a little while ago. It is not cheap and I was reluctant to splash out if it wasn't amazing.

Anyway , of course it had to prove itself a hard working little pot of brilliance didn't it!? The ends of my hair do tend to get quite dry . I think the heating we have at school doesn't help matters as they are old style hot air blowers and you can just feel the moisture being sucked out of the room!  My skin and hair seem very dry at the moment and I have been relying on some great products to keep them in good condition.

I use this spray after blow drying and before styling . My hair drinks it up. I do sometimes spray some on the ends between washes to rejuvenate dry ends. It states on the bottle that it is for ultimate shine and protection and I would agree with that. As long as you aren't heavy handed with it then you can apply a light mist wherever you feel it is needed. I would avoid roots, but mid shafts and ends are perfect.

There is a heavier version of this, but this spray version gives a fine mist of healing oil  which is plenty for me even though I have thick hair.

It gets the big thumbs up and has become a daily fixture in my products. The extra bonus is that instead of paying £22.95 for 125ml , Cheap Smells does it for £10.88 with no postage - result!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

February Birchbox

and a little extra.

February Birchbox

I missed posting about my January box as I was so busy with work and then Dad got so sick there just wasn't the time or the inclination. By the time I got around to it my February box had already landed on my doorstep. 

However, there was one great little product in the January box that I can't go by without mentioning.

It is the Rodial night cream. It just smells and feels absolutely amazing on my skin. I think a full tube retails at around £75 - that'll be why then. I shall make sure that this little tube is squeezed to within an inch of it's life to get every drop out. It really hydrates and smooths the skin out overnight.

This month also has a great night cream in it as well.

Beauty Protector - Protect and Oil for hair

Eyeko - Skinny liquid eye liner

Coryse Salome ultimate anti age restorative night cream

Leighton Denny nail colour ( This is a gorgeous dusky pink when on - love it.)

Green and Blacks chocolate

The chocolate got eaten straight away so no close up of that one!

Friday, 14 February 2014


becoming reality.

This saying actually came in a Birchbox with a twist band hair tie, but it meant so much to me I have stuck it up by my desk for now.

Sometimes the things we really long for always seem out of reach. I never thought I would be doing what I am now , for reasons I won't bore you with, but I am.

Sometimes we have to just reach out and grab our dreams and make them become real, otherwise they may just remain dreams forever.

I feel incredibly grateful.

Hope you are safe in this weather in the UK.

Monday, 3 February 2014

The Rollercoaster Ride

Of Emotions

I have been up and down, positive one minute, tearful the next.

Dad is fighting all the way.

We had prepared ourselves and all said our goodbyes.

The Doctor had done some tests and diagnosed a condition that is common with Parkinsons patients at the end. He has excessive protein in his system , which causes rapid dementia and then loss of the will to live.

He was ( and still is ) unable to string an audible and sensible sentence together, but has gone from not eating and drinking to polishing off a whole roast and tea and cake!

He has confused the medical staff once again with his sturdy spirit and his unquenchable thirst for life. I am not sure I could fight so hard if I was so sick.

They are now saying he may have had a stroke instead and are uncertain of the prognosis.

I am not sure how to feel - I know he is failing. I am prepared for him to go. In some ways I grieved for my "Dad" years ago when he disappeared into this illness, but it is still so, so hard to let go of the physical presence of someone who has always been there.....

It is a waiting game. How long will he fight on - I don't know.

I spend what time I can with him. It will never be enough, but life goes on. We have all been sick. I am on two weeks of antibiotics for an infection. My son is as well, for a nasty flu type bug that had him hallucinating 3 nights in a row.

Sleep? Do I remember you?

Thank you so, so much for the kind comments and e.mails - they mean more than you know. 

I am missing my space here so will dip in and out as time allows. 

Cherish those you love - and always be careful with your goodbyes.