Thursday, 31 May 2012

Anti Ageing Patrol

At 17 I started going grey (happily I just now have a smallish patch and have changed my parting it's mostly hidden underneath my top layer of hair!) but I think this is what got me started on the anti-ageing patrol. Perhaps it also has something to do with my mother, who looks ten years younger than she is- I'd quite like to be the same as I get older!

This week has seen a couple of anti-ageing purchases:

Boots are doing the £5 off No 7 voucher promotion at the moment (although even with the voucher, this tiny pot of cream was still £10- how indulgent) and I am a bit of a sucker for the advice about replacing your suncream annually to maintain its effectiveness, so got a half price facial suncream SPF30 to protect my face this summer.

I came across some anti-ageing facial tips when reading Naturally Gorgeous by Charlotte Vohtz and thought I would share her mini-facial advice for the eye area:

- To gently tone the muscles of the eyes, place two fingers of each side of your head, at the temples and press while opening and closing your eyes rapidly. Repeat five times.
- Sit upright. While keeping your eyes closed and relaxed the whole time, look down and then look uo as far as possible. Repeat this 10 times.
- Eye tapping can reduce crow's feet and puffiness. Tap gently with the pads of your fingers from the inside corner, near the nose, to the outer edge and back again, following the curve under the eye. Repeat 10 times.

Extract from Naturally Gorgeous by Charlotte Vohtz, p.120.

This advice sounds good (and thrifty!) to me, I think I will give it a try at my desk over the coming few weeks.

What are your best anti-ageing tips?

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Instagram Challenge- Week One

Just a quick post to share my Instagram 'photo a day' challenge photos with you from the past week:

1. Birthday present in the post from my lovely friend Clara:

2. Cycle ride to Lodge Park:

3. Feeding Herman the German Friendship Cake

4. Getting out my summer hat to enjoy the beautiful weather:

5. Making halloumi skewers for the barbecue (see post here):

6. Sandals from Monsoon bought with Birthday moneys:

7. Pavlova for the Jubilee Cake Competition at work:

So far, so good, bring on week two!

Find me on Instagram @thriftylodge

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Barbecue Burgers and Halloumi Skewers

Now that the sun has come out at long last, barbecue season is in full swing (as was evident from needing to go to 4 different shops yesterday to buy bamboo skewers, which had sold out at the first 3). I thought I would share some tasty barbecue recipes that we've been using this weekend...

Chili and Garlic Burgers
Makes 8-12 burgers

1 small onion
2 cloves garlic
1 chili pepper (as hot as you dare)
2 packs of beef mince
1 egg
Salt and pepper to season

1. Finely dice the chili pepper and garlic
2. Put the chili, garlic, both packs of mince and the egg in a large bowl and season
3. Work the egg, chili and garlic into the mince with your hands
4. Form into 8 large patties or 12 smaller patties
5. Chill in the fridge for half an hour (or until ready to BBQ) to hold shape
6. Cook on a hot BBQ for 10-15 minutes, turning once, ensure burger is hot right through

Serve in buns with plenty of chutney, cheese and lettuce (ours are stacked up between greaseproof paper in this cardboard box as an unconventional method of transportation to the BBQ we went to last night!)

Halloumi and Vegetable Skewers with Lemon and Rosemary
Makes 12-14 skewers

1 block halloumi (mine was 250g)
Vegetables of your choice (I used courgette, mushroom, cherry tomato and red onion)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lemon
1 sprig of rosemary
Salt and pepper to season
+ Skewers

1. Chop all veg into bite-size chunks and thread onto bamboo skewers
2. Mix the olive oil, rosemary and salt & pepper in a small bowl, add the juice squeezed from the lemon and stir
3. Brush or drizzle the oil over the skewers
4. Cook on a hot BBQ for 5-10 minutes, turning occasionally

Happy barbecuing!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Birthday Cakes

Tomorrow is my Birthday, so this evening I have been busy in the kitchen making cakes to take to work. Here is a quick sneak peek (recipes to follow!)

Lemon Cupcakes

Chocolate Brownies

Dave has hinted that I'm getting something to help take better photographs (?!) so watch this space for beautiful food and craft pics to come...

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Free Exercise

Today the sun is shining for the second time in a week, which these days feels like a real event. I decided to ditch the Wednesday evening spinning class and go for a real live bike ride in the evening sun.

And what a difference it made- I loved going straight from my desk into the fresh air. (OK so I didn't go as far or work as hard, but at least I wasn't paying for the privilege of being shouted at in a room full of sweaty people). So I urge you, ditch the gym or the classes and get outdoors for some free exercise this week!

If you find it hard to get motivated, then try one of these free apps (links all to download from iTunes App Store):

Adidas micoach- choose from a number of famous voices (including Johnny Wilkinson's, ahh) to encourage you to reach your fitness goals. Has a GPS route mapper and lots of charts and scores synced with your computer for ongoing motivation.

ThinQ- fitness videos on your phone to fit around your lifestyle- no excuses!

Abs Workout- has a brilliant two week programme or eighteen separate workouts with three difference modes to progress through

Happy workout!

Monday, 14 May 2012

Recipe Book Makeover

Today I'm decorating our recipe book- a three section Pukka Pad- where we gather all of our favourite recipes from family, friends, the internet and cookbooks:

I cut out images from magazines, used labels from food and even a handy guide to bicarbonate of soda v.s baking powder to cover the front and back:

The end result is much more colourful and fun (but also safe from food flying off the electric whisk because of the plastic cover!)

Now I just need to work on the inside...

Thursday, 10 May 2012

May's Seasonal Recipe: Healthy Asparagus Carbonara

This month's seasonal food is one of my favourite vegetables- asparagus. Here I'm adapting a Slimming World recipe to make a delicious, healthy and vegetarian-friendly asparagus carbonara.

Asparagus Carbonara
Serves 2

200g asparagus, chopped into 2cm pieces
150g spaghetti
1 egg
100g fat free natural yoghurt
1 garlic clove, chopped
3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to season

1. Heat a pan of water and once boiling, add the spaghetti, return to the boil and then turn down to simmer gently

2. Meanwhile cook the chopped asparagus, by either boiling (3 mins) or steaming (3-4 mins)

3. Drain and set aside the asparagus

4. In a small bowl, beat the egg lightly with a fork and then add the garlic, parsley and seasoning, whisking with the fork until well combined. Set aside

5. Once the spaghetti is cooked, drain and then add to a large, lightly oiled non stick frying pan. Add the drained asparagus.

6. Stir and cook the spaghetti and asparagus on a low to medium heat for 2-3 minutes

7. Add the sauce and gently heat for 2-3 minutes until the spaghetti is well-coated (do not allow to boil or the eggs will scramble!)

8. Remove from the heat and serve

This is such a quick and easy dinner- my favourite kind of meal!

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Bread, Scrub and Fun in Folkestone

We've just got back from a weekend in Folkestone, Kent celebrating Dave's Mum's Birthday. We had a lovely evening of improv comedy, an audience-participation trumpet piece and samba. This was followed by a beautiful sunny day today walking around Sandgate and Folkestone and having a delicious lunch. I thought I'd share a few photos of the things I made and we did over the weekend.

A loaf of bread for this morning to get us in the mood for real breadmaker week:

Home made scrub as a little Birthday gift using Mrs Thrifty's vanilla scrub recipe:

Walks along the beach hoping to spot Davina (formerly Dave) the Dolphin (see Wikipedia):

Photo slideshow 'this is your life':

Walking up the zig zag path on our way to eat delicious Nepalese food at Gurkha Palace

Hope your weekend was lovely too!