Guess who’s back, back again…

mrs-m-speech

Well, hello there!

Right now, I don’t exactly know who I am speaking to as I would imagine there aren’t that many people still out there reading my blog right now seeing as I have been absolutely AWOL since January 2017. I can hardly believe that I haven’t blogged in almost nine months – I think that’s the longest I have gone without blogging since…well since I started back in 2005.

It’s taken me a long time to get to the point where I want to come back to it – I had kind of fallen out of love with it and everything that it had become over the past several years. I used to love just blogging and writing, talking about utter crap but it all became too competitive, too stats-orientated and too much about social media followings. If blogging is just a side hobby and you have a full-time day job, a busy life as a parent and a hectic social life than all that other stuff is just too time-consuming. I felt like I no longer loved it and it had become nothing but a chore to me.

However, I am ready to go again. I don’t care if nobody reads it, I am doing it for me. I am going to get back to blogging about the things I love – food and cooking and gin and camping and travel and bingewatching TV shows on Netflix, because yeah, that’s mainly what I have been doing with my time during 2017, along with losing myself in fan fiction – both writing and reading. Honestly, how can I get to almost 40 years of age and only just discover fan fiction?! The community is AWESOME and I’ve found it so much more rewarding than blogging over the past few months.

Anyway, when I am not writing about the latest love triangle in my fan fiction world, I’ll be back to posting recipes that I love with terrible quality photos because I’m not a pro-blogger or a photographer, I am a busy working mum who just wants to share a few things that I’ve made and enjoyed. There’s never has been and never will be any stylised food shots on my blog because that’s not what I am about. I’m all about taking a quick shot on my iPhone before it’s hoovered up by my hungry family!

So yeah, that’s basically where I am in a nutshell and hopefully I’ll have a lot more time and enthusiasm for blogging over the coming months!

It’s good to be back!

mrs-m-sig

Share the blog love...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someoneBuffer this page

The wanderlust wishlist for 2017!

woman-570883_1920

A couple of years ago, me and the mister decided to have a rethink on holidays. Sick to the back teeth of splashing the cash on overpriced holidays to Spain with the children we decided we needed to start ticking things off the bucket list and the only way we were going to do that, was to start planning and saving.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with two weeks in the Canaries – I’ve done it loads of times and enjoyed it but that was when it was cheaper. Now, to get somewhere decent is £££ and I’ve realised that by foregoing a holiday every other year we can have a much much better experience the next year.

As it’s that time of year, where we all making bucket lists and plans for the future I thought I’d start making a new list of places for our travel bucket list. In 2o17 we’re lucky enough to be ticking off a few bucket list items with our Florida trip. No Disney for us this year, or any theme parks at all – we’re off to the Florida Keys and the Gulf Coast. Bucket list places include Miami, Key West, the Everglades, Sanibel, Captiva, Fort Myers….to name but a few!

I haven’t even had this holiday and I’m already thinking about our future trips! So today I thought I’d get it out of my system and share these with you! These are the places that are at the very top of my list and probably where I will plan to go next.

wanderlust-picmonkey-collage

Alaska, Vancouver, Nashville, Banff National Park, Charleston

Yes I am VERY much focused on the US right now, there are SO any places I want to go to and I’ve not even started with Boston, Cape Cod, Salem, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, San Francisco, Las Vegas…so many places so little time and so little money!

The biggest dream right now is Alaska and Canada. I’d love to do Banff, Rocky Mountains, Vancouver and a cruise to Alaska all in one trip but it depends whether funds will allow. The cruise to Alaska is big bucks so this might have to stay a dream, or we could save it until the children are older and we no longer have to pay for them…but I do want to take them with us.

Then I’d love to do Nashville (especially when the Country Music Festival is on) as well as a trip through the Great Smoky Mountains and also take in Charleston and Savannah and maybe a beach trip to Hilton Head or Myrtle Beach area.

Either one of these options are the most likely for our next trip.

And then of course in 2019 I will be celebrating a special birthday, that happens to fall in the school holidays.  We’ve discussed a trip away for that and I have decided a want a week of luxury and lounging around, we rarely do that – we’re always on the go! Possible destinations are Lake Garda (been before, but LOVE it) or Santorini or Sardinia. Choices, choices!

How are about you? Do you have a wishlist of places you want to go to? or have you been to any of the places mentioned above? I’d love your input!

mrs-m-sig

Share the blog love...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someoneBuffer this page

Recipe: Dauphinoise Potatoes

img_2955

Dauphinoise. Cream, garlic, potatoes, cheese – what’s not to love?

This side dish is one of my all-time favourites, though I really only ever cook it on special occasions like Christmas because I like it to be a treat. I think it can be pretty much served with anything – this year I served it with lamb shanks on New Years Day, other times it’s accompanied a beef wellington or a nice rich casserole. Either way, it’s always a huge hit with the family – nobody can ever resist a second (or third) helping.

It hardly takes an effort so it’s easy to knock together when you’re making a roast and it’s definitely got the yum factor. A really nice way of making your potato side dish a little more interesting.

Most dauphinoise recipes use Gruyere but whilst it’s a pretty main stream cheese these days, living in a village location means my local shop doesn’t tend to stock it. I’ve searched online for a substitute cheese and the closest would be Emmental, Jarlsberg or another Swiss cheese, but come on, if I can’t get Gruyere, I’m not going to get Jarlsberg in the local Co-op!  On these occasions I have just used Parmesan or Grana Padano and nobody has ever noticed the difference. In fact, some people think the cheese is optional. Note: Cheese is never optional.

This recipe serves roughly 4-6 depending on how large you like your portions!

Dauphinoise Potatoes

Ingredients

500g potatoes, thinly sliced
200ml double cream
100ml milk
1 clove garlic, crushed
50g Gruyere cheese, grated

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C, gas mark 4

Place the sliced potatoes in a bowl of cold water to prevent them from browning. Rinse then pat dry with kitchen paper.

Place the cream, milk and garlic in a large saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the potatoes, cover and simmer for 10 minutes until just tender. Season well.

Transfer to a buttered ovenproof dish and sprinkle over the cheese. Bake for 25 minutes until golden.

And that’s all there is to it!

mrs-m-sig

Share the blog love...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someoneBuffer this page

How to make 2017 the best year of your life!

balance-865816_1920

As you know, I am big into lists and planning and I’ve already shared my goals for 2017 – simple and realistic, you can read them here.

Today I wanted to go a step forward and show you the ten questions that I use to guide my thought process. These questions look back over the past year and then look ahead at the coming year and I really believe that sitting down and going through these methodically can help you set goals and focus yourself on what you want to achieve, whether this be something professionally or in your personal life.

I recommend writing these out – you could do a mind map or, if you are a BuJo fan even answer these in your bullet journal so you can look back and remind yourself throughout the year what it is you have set your sights on.

1. What did I accomplish in 2016?

2. What were my biggest disappointments during 2016?

3. What did I learn?

4. How do I limit myself, and how can I stop doing this?

5. What are my personal values?

6. What roles do I play in life?

7. Which role is my major focus for the next year?

8. What are my goals for each role?

9. What are my top ten goals for the next year?

10. How can I make sure I achieve my top ten goals?

You can then use these responses and build your answers into a personal plan for 2016 – hopefully making it the best year of your life! Or at the very least, go some way to working towards this eventual goal!

The marketer in me wants to remind you to make these goals SMART. That is they should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely – your goals should motivate you and to be do this they really do need to be attainable. No point setting a goal to grow wings when that ain’t ever going to happen, but setting a goal to write 1,000 words per day? Totally doable if you set your mind to it.

Once you have set your goals – consider them carefully and then commit! Plan the steps that you need to take to achieve these goals and cross them off as you work through each individual one.

Express goals positively and always write them down – I once read that statistically you are far more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down and that sounds like a good enough reason to put pen to paper.

Good luck in all your endeavours for 2017 – if you do set goals, let me know what they are and if you have any more questions about how to reflect on 2016 or how to set goals for 2017, I’m always happy to talk. Just leave me a comment or drop me an email!

mrs-m-sig

Share the blog love...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someoneBuffer this page

2017 Goals

2017-goals-header

I’ve decided not to do a post looking back at the year that was 2016, mainly because on the whole it was a pretty unremarkable year. Not that I am complaining at all, stable is good, but I can’t say I feel like I massively achieved anything, they were no incredible highs or lows and nothing particular exciting happened.

It was a good year.

Saying that, I would like 2017 to have a bit more oomph but I really think that it is down to me find that oomph.  Life will change this year, my husband is starting a new job and my daughter will start secondary school. Both will have an impact on our daily lives.

I’ve decided this year not to make half-hearted resolutions but set some actual, tangible goals – more importantly, realistic goals. I’m never going to become a fitness addict after 37 years of lazing around so why pretend otherwise?

Without further ado, my goals for 2017.

Move More

I am so lazy, so very lazy. I hate exercise, always have but I am super unfit and as I approach 40 I am feeling it – and finding it harder to keep the weight off. I’ve already taken my first step on this goal and for me this will be a gradual build-up. I am taking a fitness class once a week (which is a big thing for me as I have a lot of anxiety around this) and also restarting the Couch25K programme. I tried this before and it was good but I didn’t put enough into it. My children have started wanting to take part in 5K races and I’d like to keep up with them.  Goal – At least 4 x 30-45 mins sessions per week.

Eat Less and/or Better

I need to eat better. I eat a lot of junk and I am a grazer. I also need to lose about two stone of weight this year and I would like to do this sensibly so don’t really want to crash diet but improve my diet over all to help make these changes. I’m not great at making sure I eat my fruit and veg quota so will try harder and hopefully this will also help me feel less lethargic. Goal – Lose two stone.

Read More

Always a goal but one I plan to achieve this year. I have about a million books on my Kindle, 2017 is the year I am going to make a dent in them! I’ve a real mix of books to get through and a massive yearning to read my favourite, Withering Heights, again. Goal – Read one book per week.

Learn Something New

I’m like a broken record on this one but I really do want to go learn something new. I have no idea yet what that new thing is but I will find it during 2017! Goal – Learn something new/gain a new skill.

And that is it.

Nothing groundbreaking but hopefully very achievable goals for the coming year and definitely something to focus my attentions on. I’d also like to get back into blogging more but I am not setting any goals there or making any promises as sometimes my life is just crazy busy or I just have no mental capacity left at the end of the working day! I will try harder though because I miss it when I don’t blog.

Are you making resolutions this year or setting goals? I’d love to hear about them.

Happy New Year everyone!

mrs-m-sig

Share the blog love...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someoneBuffer this page