24 April 2014

sweet paul spring salads

I think I mentioned the other day that Phil and I had a week of eating salad. Salad Week probably sounds a bit boring but au contraire.. We enjoyed four very exciting salads* using recipes from Sweet Paul. In case you're not familiar with Sweet Paul, it's a seasonal magazine packed full of inspiration for food, crafts, decor and life in general. It's such a delight to read and best of all it's free to view online! Sweet Paul was created by Paul Lowe, a Norwegian craft and food stylist who has just written the book Eat & Make, which I can't wait to get my hands on.

The salads we enjoyed included Cabbage, Goat Cheese & Blueberry Salad, Warm Bean & Feta Salad, Crunchy Apple & Radish Salad and Avocado & Mango Salad with Miso Dressing. All very different and all very delicious. I love Spring dining, it's so light and elegant and refreshing. Hx

*On day 5 we cooked for friends and didn't think they'd want to eat salad ;)

22 April 2014

easter weekend

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend? Ours was different to normal but really lovely and super relaxing. On Good Friday we went our separate ways (Phil to play Footgolf with friends and I to enjoy a delicious lunch with my mama followed by an afternoon of baking and drinking tea with one of my best ever friends who I hardly ever get to see). On Saturday I was totally wiped out so we spent the whole day on the sofa eating amazing food and watching awesome films (have you seen Frances Ha? I loved it so much, the lead character is totally bonkers). On Sunday we had a fabby morning at Church where we met some great new peeps and then cooked a beast of a roast: lemon and thyme organic roasted chicken with buttery carrots and rosemary and garlic crispy potatoes, yumm. On Monday we set out on an adventure to The Knap, a pebble beach near Barry Island. We found some secluded rocks on the side of a cliff and fell asleep in the sun, it was glorious. After some very delicious chocolate ice-cream (and after Phil had managed to convince me not to load up our car with driftwood to decorate our living room, boooo hisss), we headed back to Cardiff for a round of Pitch n' Putt (Phil won of course, but not by much and my score had dramatically improved compared with last time!)

Such a dreamy weekend! It's my birthday tomorrow so i'm looking forward to more fun hapepenings including a meal at Bangkok Cafe and seeing The Double at Chapter Arts. Have a lovely week. Hx

20 April 2014

operation nice wife - weeks thirteen-fifteen

Thought it was about time for a catch-up on Operation Nice Wife! I can hardly believe I'm nearly a third of the way through my year-long mission to do one nice and surprising thing each day for Phil. It's been a hectic few weeks but I have managed to remember to be nice at least once a day ;) Here's what's been happening..

Day 85: Was really struggling to think of a nice thing for today and then I remembered there a strudel in the freezer that Mr W didn't know about. Such a great surprise pudding.
Day 86: Football stickers! (No Spurs players, booo).
Day 87: All good Friday evenings start with very cold white wine upon returning home from work.
Day 88: We hadn't had a home-cooked fry-up in ages so I presented Phil with this Saturday morning feast.
Day 89: We decided to have a week of salad as we'd been eating pretty badly so to mark the start of salad week I gave Phil these salad hands. They're pretty darn useful.
Day 90: Phil loves fancy pasta, even more so when it's on offer. I spotted this Taste the Difference 'Trompetti' for a bargain.
Day 91: I made this incredible salad dressing and Phil was mad for it so I decided it could be his nice thing (couldn't think of anything better to do, ha!)
Day 92: We had half a red cabbage in the fridge and Phil decided he wanted to make sauerkraut with it so I stocked up on some awesome herbs and spices for him to make it extra good.
Day 93: I made salted caramel chocolate brownies for friends. Normally I disappoint Phil by washing out the pan and not leaving him the leftovers..today I remembered and left it for him to find when he got home. I know this sounds simple but there are no words to describe how happy he was when he discovered it!
Day 94: After a super busy week and hardly seeing Phil I text him a picture of myself to let him know that his nice thing for the evening was ME.
Day 95: We drove to my uncle's birthday celebrations and I let Phil listen to Radio 5 Live even though I can't stand it and it gives me a headache.
Day 96: If there's one thing better than whole crab, it's whole crab in the discount aisle.
Day 97: Football.
Day 98: More football.
Day 99:  And even more football. What a crap three days for me/nice three days for Phil :)
Day 100: Phil was feeling a bit ill and miserable so I sent him this picture of gorgeous Bluebell to cheer him up.
Days 101-104: I was super busy preparing for/attending/recovering from my sister-in-law's birthday weekend so didn't have any time or energy to think up anything nice or surprising at the time so I made up for up it by leaving out these super posh chocs for Phil even though I would quite happily have scoffed them all myself!
Day 105: A 3m HDMI cable. It doesn't get better than this. No, really.

Hope you're all having a grand Easter weekend. Hx

17 April 2014

la marinière

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Oh dear, I've just discovered la marinière, a highly addictive website featuring Breton stripes and Breton stripes only. So dreamy. Hx

16 April 2014

bedroom tour

I thought it was about time I showed you our (almost) finished bedroom makeover. I say almost, because we are still owners of a particularly disgusting pink carpet (we plan to rip it up sometime in the near future as I've spotted some rather lovely floorboards beneath it), the walls could do with a lick of fresh white paint, and a few more plants are needed to make the room feel complete. Otherwise, I am super happy with the results and Phil loves it too :) So with apologies for the awful pictures, and without further ado, here are the before and afters, if you'd like to see..

15 April 2014

firmoo

Possibly one of my favourite things to receive in the post is new specs, so I was delighted when Firmoo asked if they could send me a pair to add to my ever-expanding collection. I've been wanting some tortoise shell patterned frames for a long time but haven't been able to find the perfect shape frames until now. These beauties are unisex and acetate and surprisingly good quality considering the price. They were delivered super quickly and arrived in a lovely world map patterned glasses case. They're really comfy and I forget I'm wearing them! I got them fitted with prescription lenses for reading and computer work but could quite easily wear these as a fashion accessory if I was that way inclined :)

For the photos above I matched them with a nautical cotton knitted jumper from Gap and my beloved new rose gold watch by Marc Jacobs (similar here, also better picture on my Instagram). I'd been saving up my freelance pay for a while and wanted to buy something precious that I would treasure for a long time so it was super fun to go and try on lots of fancy watches!

Also, I finally got my hands on a copy of The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of the Window and Disappeared. Have you read it? Thoughts? I can't wait to get stuck in!

So what do you think of my new specs? Have you tried Firmoo before? They're a highly popular online optical store that ship worldwide and are loved by fashion bloggers across the globe. I highly recommend giving them a whirl if you're looking for affordable and fun frames. Hx

14 April 2014

apologies

You may have noticed things have been a little quiet around here lately, I'm ever so sorry! It's been a particularly rubbish few weeks (with the exception of my uncle's 60th birthday celebrations and my sister-in-law's 30th birthday celebrations; both immensely fun!) and I've mostly wanted to curl up and forget about the world. However, life doesn't get better by chance, it gets better by change so it's time for action (just as soon as I can shake off this killer cold.. ;) Another honey and lemon, you say? Don't mind if I do..

I've lined up a few fun posts on the blog this week including a product review, a tour of my newly improved bedroom and an Operation Nice Wife update. So see you here again soon and thanks for sticking around! Hx

28 March 2014

operation nice wife - week twelve

A rather unimagintive week of Operation Nice Wife but many nice things nonetheless :)

Day 78: An evening unplugged - no phone, no tv, no laptop. Instead: a game of Scrabble (as you can see, it was pretty slow-going!), a long run, a candlelit bath and good books. Bliss!
Day 79: I totally forgot to do a nice or surprising thing! Such a busy day and didn't see Phil at all so it sort of slipped my mind and I couldn't for the life of me think of anything to make it up to him when I did remember. Oops!
Day 80: A fantastic day - lunch at The Clink Cymru (review here), a trip into town and an evening of drinking wine, chatting and making plans.
Day 81: I adore takeaway pizza but it's incredibly expensive so we never order it. Instead we discovered a while back that for a fraction of the cost the big supermarkets do 'make your own' pizzas where you choose what you want on it and can either get it baked in-store or take it away to cook at home. Normally I'm quite insistent on what we're having on our pizza but today I let Phil choose all the toppings (so there was a lot of meat, extra cheese, chilli sauce and no veg!) and what film we watched (Cabin In The Woods; a terrible horror movie).
Day 82: I've been working away on our bedroom makeover for the last couple of weeks and on Sunday I finally pulled it all together. The grand unveiling was supposed to be a surprise to Phil as he was watching football but that ended sooner than I'd thought so he ended up coming to help me put everything in place. Still nice! And those bed covers are dreamy.
Day 83: Saw this weird new Ritz cheese biscuit/Cadbury milk chocolate combo and thought Phil might be interested to try it. He kindly let me have a taste and it was strangely nice.
Day 84: Bit of a lame one. Got home from work early so offered to go out of my way to collect Phil from squash but he didn't want to me to go to the trouble. So I used my surprise spare time to wash up, do the laundry, put the bins out, tidy and make supper before he got home (when really all I wanted to do was laze on the sofa and work on my current fun knitting project!)

More Operation Nice Wife (and other personal pictures) on my Instagram - @helenlimbrick - and the rest of the series is here if you'd like to see. Hx

26 March 2014

pucker

Just came across this hilarious photo series, Pucker, from photographers April Maciborka and David Wile who gave toddlers slices of lemon to try for the first time and captured their reactions on camera. I love the range of emotions portrayed in these pictures: surprise, disgust, confusion, uncertainty, dismay..! More pictures on the photographers' websites here and here if you'd like to see. Hx
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