February 2012 | Modern Mummy

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

The BritMums Brilliance in Blogging Awards: Modern Mummy Needs You!

Hello, my lovely, beautiful, wonderful readers. How are you all doing today? 

I just wondered whether I might ask you all a bit of a favour. Its quite a biggie so feel free to tell me to bugger off....

Do you remember when last year I won the LovedbyParents Blogger of the Year Award? It was the most amazing feeling ever, knowing that people actually read and enjoy Modern Mummy. That was all down to you lovely lot and I am still in shock that I won. I am so grateful to everyone that took the time to vote for me. 

Well this year, one of you lovely lot has nominated me in the BritMum's Brilliance in Blogging Awards - in the Fresh Voices category to be precise - and I just wondered whether the rest of you would help me get shortlisted?

The BiBs work slightly differently to the LovedbyParents Awards, hence this very out of character begging post. Modern Mummy needs your help! This time, to start with, I need as many nominations as possible... then I will hopefully get shortlisted and the proper voting begins. It's highly unlikely that I will win, taking into account the calibre of all the other blogs that have been put forward, but if I could just get shortlisted I would be made up.

All nominations have to be in by 15 March and you can find the nomination form here.

I know the form looks a bit daunting but you only have to complete your first name, your email address and the details of any blog you want to nominate in the twelve categories. You don't have to nominate in every single one and you don't even have to nominate me! Fresh Voices is the first category and top of the list.

So if any of my posts have ever made you laugh (with me or at me), cry, go out and try a new place or product or given you an uncontrollable urge to go and bake a cake, I would be so, so, sooo grateful for the nomination. SOOOOO grateful.

And that's about it! It's all in your hands now, peops. Thank you very much xoxox

Hotel Chocolat: A Mother's Day Gift Idea

Just look at the beautiful treat that landed on my doorstep last week. A jewellery box of delicious Hotel Chocolat chocolates!

Everyone knows about my love affair with Hotel Chocolat and this selection, launched in honour of Mother's Day (which falls on Sunday 18th March this year), has got to be my favourite yet. It consists of a beautifully decorated box, with a mirrored lid and two compartments containing milk and dark chocolate pralines, berry mousse truffles and luxurious billionaire shortbread and is a bargain at just £20. Hotel Chocolat is, in my opinion, the perfect place to buy edible gifts; prices start at £1.50 and go all the way up to £205, so there really is something for everybody, and it truly is the tastiest chocolate ever.
 The jewellery box contains ten chocolates which are individually wrapped and labelled and are  a b s o l u t e l y  d i v i n e.

And once all the chocolates have been eaten which, if you are anything like me, is likely to be the case pretty soon after you have received them, the box can be used to keep your own treasures safe. All in all, a brilliant gift if you ask me.

The full range of Mother's Day gifts are available on the Hotel Chocolat website here. Happy Mother's Day to all you yummy mummies xoxox

Friday, 24 February 2012

Modern Mummy: A Car Free Zone

This week I made a decision. Quite a big, life changing one really.

I am giving up my car.

After passing my test fifteen years ago, and being lucky enough to have the independence and luxury of owning various cars ever since, I've decided to call time with my love affair of the road. Everyone thinks I'm mad. But in actual fact I am really looking forward to it.

You see, driving really is a 'luxury', rather than a necessity for me. I put the word luxury in inverted commas though because really, when you think about it, it's hardly a luxury, is it? Jumping in your car to make a quick journey is rarely quick these days. Even the shortest journeys are slow and stressful; the traffic in the majority of towns across the country is terrible for most of the day, plus you have to pay to park wherever you go. I live in the suburbs, where it takes up to forty minutes to drive four miles into the town centre and then costs 25p to park for ten minutes. For those reasons I only really use the car for trips to the supermarket and to visit friends and family across the country. The public transport is perfectly adequate here, not that I plan to use it very often once I'm a car free zone. But I know that, should I need to, it is relatively cheap and pretty reliable.

The main reason for me getting rid of my car is down to the cost of motoring. According to the Telegraph (November 2011) the increase over the past year has been almost three times the rate of inflation! I can certainly believe it. My insurance went up 50% this year (and not due to any claims either) and it now costs £60 to fill up my petrol tank, as opposed to the £52 it cost last summer. On top of that there is car tax and servicing to consider, plus of course general day to day maintenance. All in all, it's a ridiculous amount of money to pay out every year just to get you to Sainsbury's and back once a week.

And then of course there is the impact cars have on the environment to consider. Did you know there are 32 million cars on Britain's roads! No wonder the traffic is awful. I'm not going to preach about how bad they are; we all know the damage they are doing to the atmosphere - and even society. I'm not naive enough to think that by taking my car off the road I am going to change the world single handedly. I am just happy in the knowledge that I will be doing *something* to help.

So tomorrow it will be bye bye Citroen Picasso, and hello Pashley Princess!

Yes. I have a beautiful, shiny, black Pashley Princess. And I'm ashamed to say I haven't used it nearly often enough since it was bought for me two years ago, mainly due to having Daisy with me 24/7. Now that she's a little older, I plan to invest in a child seat so that I cycle us both to any places we can't walk to. I love being outdoors and can't wait for spring bike rides through the park and into town.

So here beginneth a new chapter of my life. A car free one. Bring it on. xoxox

Monday, 20 February 2012

Pancake Day Ideas

Tomorrow is one of my faaaaavourite foodie days of the year. Pancake Day.

When I was growing up we always used to have ours with lemon juice and sugar or jam. Simple and delicious, yes, but not very adventurous.

I like to come up with lots of much more exciting options these days. And of course pancakes aren't only reserved for Shrove Tuesday!

On our menu for tomorrow (Daisy's choice) will be pancakes filled with gruyere cheese, parma ham & portobello mushrooms, ones with strawberries & cream and some more with nutella, chopped banana & crushed hazelnuts.

How about trying some of these combinations....?

Philadephia with chopped spring onions & peppers
Mature cheddar cheese, bacon & mushrooms
Brie & cranberry sauce 
Smoked salmon, creme fraiche & chives

Cooked dessert apples & toffee sauce
Lemon meringue - lemon curd, crushed meringues & whipped cream
Eton mess - summer fruits, crushed meringues & whipped cream
A lovely healthy option is banana, honey and fat free vanilla yoghurt!

The world is your oyster when it comes to thinking up fillings that you and your family will enjoy. Be daring this year and give something new a go!

Happy pancake day, one and all! xoxox

Friday, 3 February 2012

Spicy Mushroom & Chickpea Hash

Yesterday I came up with my own recipe for mushroom & chickpea burgers. Kind of. Those of you that read my Meal Planning Monday posts will know that I was supposed to make lentil burgers this week, however my douchebag self forgot the lentils whilst shopping and I had to improvise!

So my burgers failed miserably (they didn't bind, probably due to the lack of eggs) but I did produce an IMMENSE hash.... a hash SO GOOD I will definitely be making it again. This recipe feeds four people and makes a lovely, hearty, healthy meal.

What you need.
Frying pan
Wooden spoon
Knife & chopping board
Mixing bowl

400g tin of chickpeas
4x portobello mushrooms
Breadcrumbs (made from 3 slices of bread - no crusts)
4x spring onions and one small red onion
2x cloves of garlic
A dash of lemon juice
Olive oil

What to do.
First up, make your breadcrumbs. I don't have a food processor so made mine by hand. If your bread is fresh then leave it out for an hour or so to dry out a bit, before chopping vigourously to create crumbs. It doesn't matter if they're bigger than the breadcrumbs you can buy in the shop! You can even do this a day in advance if you want to. Set aside.
Also drain your tin of chickpeas, decant into the mixing bowl and crush using a fork. This only needs to be done very roughly. Set these aside too.
Finely chop the onions, mushrooms and garlic and fry in a teaspoon of olive oil until soft. Transfer to the mixing bowl with the chickpeas. Mix together with the fork, add the lemon juice, spices and breadcrumbs.
Fry in another teaspoon of oil until golden brown.

Serve with whatever you fancy! We had jacket potatoes and salad with ours.

Enjoy xoxox
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