Category: Blog Everyday in May

#BEDM – Gadgets

I’m not much of a gadget person. If something is going to come into my house, it needs to have a practical purpose or it can just jog on. (Our house is small and space is at a premium, so unless it benefits my day to day life on a regular basis, it’s got not place crossing the threshold.) That being said, there are a few gadgets that are worth mentioning.

smoothie

First up is the Magimix blender. Now, I know what you’re thinking. It’s just a blender. But it is brilliant. We had a blender that I’d inherited from a friend who no longer needed it. It sat at the back of a kitchen cupboard until I started the Feeling Fabulous course and my smoothie addiction was born. The old blender wasn’t watertight and every now and then would spray the wall with green smoothie mix. Not ideal. So we decided to splash out on a new blender as smoothies were going to be a daily occurrence in our house. We headed to the John Lewis site and picked the blender with the best reviews and wasn’t akin to a mortgage deposit. We opted for the Magimix Le Blender and it is A-mazing! I was so impressed with all the different options it has, much more than our old one. I love it and we do indeed use it daily. Money well spent. I got a little over excited a made a little video of me making a smoothie in it. Don’t feel like you have to watch it!

My new favourite gadget is something that has lots and lots of potential. It’s the new Cricut Explore that arrived last week. I’ve only begun to scratch the surface of the possibilities, but I had so much fun playing around with it over the weekend. Every thing has been thought of, from getting the machine out of the box, to carrying it around (it comes with its own bag), storage, to ease of use. You basically: Plug it in > Switch it on > Go! Seriously. I hate it when making stuff is fiddly and time consuming. Just let me get my craft on, damn it! This is why I don’t sew very often. Is there anything more frustrating than unpacking your sewing machine, fabric all ready to go, cotton threaded through only to find your bobbin thread is just about to run out?! ARGH! Too faffy. This is not like that. It’s way easier. It took just a few minutes to set up, find a design I wanted to make and get cutting. Perfect!

cricut

cricut explore I didn’t have long to play with it on Monday but I did pick a ready made design from the Design Room. I wanted to make something that I could put up on my wall and chose arrow art.

arrows poster

What do you think? (Apologies for the shoddy iPhone photos! It was getting late and I was losing the light) It took less than thirty minutes from start to finish. Not bad at all! And that’s just the beginning!

My final gadget is my iPhone. It’s the first thing I pick up in the morning and the last thing I put down at night. Not only is it amazing design, but it is an amazing invention. Sure, you can use it for phone calls, you know, if you want to be old school about it. But for me, the thing that impresses me most is what it does to connect us beyond that. For example, my sister can post a picture of her tea cup from Canada and in an instant, I can see it on my phone through Instagram. Even though she’s on the other side of the world, I still feel connected to her. Things like that blow my mind!

Now, if someone could just great glasses lenses that don’t need cleaning every five seconds, I’d be mega impressed! How about you? What’s your number one gadget?

Disclaimer: I received the Cricut Explore to review. All opinions are my own.

#BEDM – Cinco de Mayo or What I’ve been Eating recently

So for yesterday’s #BEDM post, I know absolutely nothing about Cinco de Mayo and have nothing in common with Mexico so I thought I’d write up a few recipes I’ve been trying recently.

Veggie Cooked Breakfast

Veggie breakfastThis is based on the breakfast that I had recently at Companion in Oxford. In a bid to get as many vegetables in as possible, I went totally overboard with the cooked tomatoes and mushrooms. Delicious!

Spicy Tomato Soup

spicy tomato soup

I found this recipe via Pinterest and it was delicious. It was such a simple recipe, really easy to cook and tastes amazing. I also made some wholemeal rolls to eat with it. It was the perfect lunch.

Sweet and Sour Tofu

Sweet and sour tofu

This was another Pinterest find but it was a bit of a disappointment. The veg was lovely and the recipe was easy to follow, there just wasn’t enough flavour in it. If you know of a good sweet and sour tofu recipe, let me know, because it’s my favourite meal! I also made egg fried rice to go with the tofu. I cooked up some brown rice then added it to a pan with sesame oil, soy sauce and a beaten egg. It was delicious!

Hot and Spicy Tofu

Hot and spicy tofu

In a bid to find more tofu recipes, I gave this one a whirl over the weekend. Found via Pinterest, it’s a great recipe and is nice and spicy, which is how I like it! It’s a really easy recipe to follow. It definitely needed a bit more of something, maybe more vegetables or something, as I could’ve eaten a second portion very easily.

Finally, I also made lamb burgers & sweet potato wedges for my OH. I was going to make myself a burger but didn’t fancy it at all. Sadly I forgot to take a picture, but my OH was really impressed with the burgers. He doubted them originally, thinking they might be really bland, but he really liked them and we’ve had the meal a few times since. The feta and mint goes really well with the sweet potato wedges too. I still haven’t found a good, simple, tasty veggie burger recipe so if you know of one, please let me know!

Dog Walks in Oxfordshire – Pinsley Woods, Long Hanborough, Witney

The weather this bank holiday Sunday has been lovely here in Oxfordshire and we wanted to head out and make the most of it. During the week, hicksleigh posted a gorgeous picture of bluebells over on Instagram. It was a picture of Pinsley Woods and I knew straight away that it would be perfect for a Sunday morning dog walk. I wasn’t wrong! (You’re going to have to bear with me here – I got a little picture happy and took loads! Don’t worry, I’ve not posted them all below. To see the others, check out my flickr page.) Bluebells We parked in the layby just in front of the cemetery as you head out of Church Hanborough towards Long Hanborough and took the path along the allotments. You can see the woods straight ahead and it’s a circular walk around the edge of the woods. It was a little boggy in places, thanks to the rain last weekend, but it wasn’t too bad. You definitely need to wear walking boots or wellies though. While the walk is pretty flat, there are a few ridges to walk along and tree roots to step over. Woods The woods are enchanting, with paths leading off all over the place. There are fallen trees and little holes for burrows, which make it completely adorable. Poppy loved it. There were so many smells for her to follow that she didn’t know which way to go first! Poppy in the woods At one point, there was something in the middle of the bluebells that really got her attention and she kept walking on her hind legs to get a better view! We also passed fields full of sheep, lambs and gloriously yellow oilseed rape. Poppy and the bluebells Bluebell Bluebell woods trees After a while, we came across a clearing and the remnants of a paved path. We took a little detour and let Poppy off the lead for a little while. She was really well behaved until she noticed that I was distracted, taking *another* photo, and decided to roll around in a huge pile of fresh fox poo. She was covered! It was all over her neck, her side, her harness and she even managed to get some on the inside of her ears! So very gross! We washed some of it off in the woods and then again when we got back to the car. She’s had one bath and another one is on the cards as she still stinks! She loved it and thought it was the best thing ever. Poppy on the run I’ll definitely go back to Pinsley Woods, again and again. It’s such a great spot and there are a number of different walks you can do around it and through it. Next time, though, I’ll be keeping a close eye on Poppy and her tell tale signs that she’s found some poo! I don’t know how long the bluebells will be out for, but if you do get a chance to see them, they are really beautiful.

PS. This is my #BEDM post for today. The topic is sci-fi, which isn’t really my bag, so this is what I’m writing about today instead! Enjoy 🙂

The Walk: If you walk around the woods using the path that runs around the edge, it should be about a mile and take 45 minutes to an hour, but there are lots of paths crisscrossing through the woods so you can be as quick or as slow as you like.
Cost: Completely free. Just get out there and enjoy!
Car Park: We parked  in the layby in front of the cemetery just between Church Hanborough and Long Hanborough. It’s free, but it’s not very big. There are a few other laybys on the other side of the woods which you can also park in.
Refreshments: There’s no little cafe nearby but there is a pub in Church Hanborough called the Hand and Shears. We didn’t venture in, due to Poppy being covered in poo, but it looks okay. We didn’t explore Long Hanborough either, so if you know if somewhere perfect for putting your paws up, let me know!
Toilets: None.

#BEDM – Weekend Morning Routine

Here I am, a day late with this one. Oops. I found myself completely wiped out yesterday afternoon, so made some flapjacks and watched a few Gilmore Girls episodes to recover. Anyway, here you go!

Our weekend morning routine is pretty much dominated by Poppy. (I wonder why she thinks she’s the Alpha Dog?!) Poppy isn’t a fan of weekend lieins. In fact, last weekend, she slept in until about 7.30am, which is highly irregular for her. She’s used to us getting up at 6.30am and getting fed at 7am. As she gets up early, we generally tend to get up to, feed her and head out for a walk. We’ll either just do our usual walk around town, especially if we’ve got plans later in the day or chores to do, or we’ll head out for a longer walk somewhere else. (I usually write about these and you can find some great walks around Oxfordshire in my Poppy category.) I think we all really like heading out and finding somewhere new to walk, especially if there’s a cafe nearby for a cheeky tea & cake break!

alpha dogSometimes, we don’t get up straight away. We let Poppy out, feed her and then we all head back to bed with a cup of tea. Before we got Poppy, we agreed that she wouldn’t be allowed on the bed. This lasted for less than five minutes! She loves curling up between my OH & I, as we catch up on reading books and blogs. This usually lasts for as long as my back can stand it. It tends to hurt if I stay in bed too long so I tend to get up and stretch, which usually prompts the other two to get moving.

I love going out for brunch on a weekend. To me, it seems really indulgent, to have someone else make you breakfast and take your sweet time over something that you normally have to inhale to get on with the day. Yesterday, I enjoyed brunch with some great friends of mine and we try to catch up as often as we can. Despite the breakfast being slightly disappointing for a few of us, the company was excellent!

brunch

As I write this, my OH is getting everything together for us to head out on a new walk. Sadly, Poppy woke us up super early this morning and left us every possible present under the sun so we’re ready to get on with our day! How about you? What are your plans for this glorious Sunday?