Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Updating a minimalist wardrobe

For those that don't remember, or haven't shared my pain, my normal (and by that I mean 'non-maternity') wardrobe is severely lacking. I was reminded of this when I lay out my normal clothes - I'm back in my old jeans (praise the Lord) - and I thought that it would be a good idea to sort my wardrobe into winter and summer items. There's actually no need, because I don't have enough to separate out. But I won't start going on about that again. (Mr. Martini - you have married a saint.)

However, it does give me a great excuse to go a bit shopping crazy now I'm getting back into shape. My general aim is to buy fewer items, of better quality, but there's no doubt that I'm still tempted by fleetingly trendy pieces from the likes of Primark. Or so I thought. It would appear that I'm going to have to trek over to Hammersmith to get hold of their decent stock. I may well do this next week - stay tuned on that. 

But, I have spied a couple of items that I'll be trying to purchase in the sale. There's this fab green maxi dress from Hobbs:

Basically a summer maxi dress, but a bit much at £119. 

And there's the Davina dress from LK Bennett:

There's a huge variety of colours - I actually like the plum - but £225 is again a bit much for someone not earning whilst on maternity leave, so fingers crossed for the sale. When do the sales start, anyway?

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Sunshine, wellies and sickness

Isn't it just bloody typical. Finally, for the first time in about six months, the sun decides to shine and we have a beautiful garden where I should be enjoying it. Unfortunately, both Tiny and I have been stuck down with general illness - she's vomiting and I feel just awful. Not exactly ideal conditions to make the most of the (no doubt limited) summer that's just arrived. 

On top of this, I've just received an email informing me that the Hunter Wellies I ordered from BrandAlley when the weather was horrendous and I realised that I didn't have any suitable Wellington boots are due to be delivered today. Inspired. As soon as it stops raining, my rain attire arrives. Oh well, at least I'll have them handy for when the weather turns again.  

My plan today was to go shopping - which had to go on hold. Disappointing, as I'm planning to try and pick up the following top from Primark:

It's a steal at just £12. Guess I'll have to wait until I'm up to facing the shops. Which will probably be tomorrow. Fingers crossed. 

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Getting back on the fashion wagon

It has been nine very long months, but I'm finally thinking about getting back into normal clothes and updating myself on the latest trends. Quite frankly, my whole maternity wardrobe is going straight to the charity shop (I'll get Mr. Martini on that) - I'm sick of the sight of it. If I do have another, I'll be treating myself to some new maternity clothes. 

Given that I'm not quite back to my normal size (but the diet has started), I'm starting with bags and shoes. I desperately need a decent work bag to carry a laptop, but unfortunately don't have the money to buy the Mulberry one I should have bought when I saw it in the outlet shop in Bath (it's now been discontinued, so that will teach me). Given my financial constraints, I'm opting for this one in the meantime. I absolutely love the satchel style and the quality of the leather looks fantastic - I will, of course, report back as and when I order it. 

Scaramanga, Medium Overlander, £105
The only slight concern is that it's not as professional looking as some other options, but I don't care at this point. 

On top of this, I've found the shoes I'm going to buy if I get a bonus from work (not definite) - they are a fantastic pair of nude wedges from Russell and Bromley. Unbelievably, this shop does not really have a website (see for yourself) but I will take a picture when I next visit the store (hopefully this week). They cost £265. But they are perfect. On a slightly more cost effective note, I love these:

Hawaiian floral peep toe shoes, New Look, £24.99
They will probably cut your feet to shreds, and obviously will only last for the summer (and who'd want them come September? They certainly won't be back in fashion for some time) but for £25, who can complain? Bargain. Get them here

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Double chocolate chunk muffins - and no sleep to speak of

I am absolutely loving being the mother of a newborn again. Third time round, I think I'm probably more relaxed and just enjoying the time with Tiny - I know it won't be long before she's stomping around the house, attempting to run the place. (Obviously, I don't allow this to happen, but Mr. Martini is a bit of a sucker when it comes to his daughters.)

Of course, sleep is not really happening - I'm permanently in a sort of 'jet-lag haze' - but I don't even mind that. And, on the positive side, I only have to focus on Tiny, because the nanny (who, if I was that way inclined, I might marry, she's so bloody good) is still looking after the elder and middle martinis. Inspired. 

It was the nanny's birthday earlier this week, and I decided to bake double chocolate chunk muffins as a treat (although some who have tasted my cooking may not think this would be classed as a treat. Naturally, I don't talk to those people anymore). And, even if I say so myself, these muffins were great. Admittedly, I added extra chocolate - because you can never have enough chocolate - and under cooked them according to the recipe, but they really were good. I'd also like to point out, the parchment paper cases are not a nod to me being extremely trendy, but instead make up for a lack of preparation as we had no paper cases. Actually, the parchment paper worked out fine - and who cares anyway? It's only there for two minutes before you rip it off!

So, here's how I did it:

- 7oz plain flour
- 1oz cocoa powder (use the best quality you can find)
- 1tbsp baking powder
- 1tsp ground cinnamon
- 4oz golden caster sugar (I didn't have golden, so just used regular)
- 4oz white chocolate, cut into small pieces
- 4oz milk chocolate, cut into small pieces
- 2 large eggs
- 3.5 fl oz sunflower oil
- 8 fl oz full fat milk

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (or equivalent). Line the muffin tin (either 12-hole for regular sized muffins, or 6-hole for large ones) with paper cases / parchment paper.
2. Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder and cinnamon into a large bowl. Stir in the caster sugar, white and milk chocolate pieces. 
3. Place the eggs and oil in a separate bowl and whisk until frothy. Gradually whisk in the milk. Then stir into the dry ingredients until just blended. (Note: the batter will be quite liquid - this is fine.)
4. Pour the mixture into the muffin tin, filling each one three-quarters full. 
5. Bake in the preheated oven for around 20 minutes - they should still be gooey in the middle. Cool on a wire rack (although I quite like them warm!) and enjoy with a lovely cup of tea.