Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Summer Skincare Discoveries - Hydraluron Moisture Jelly Review

Why is it that all your skincare runs out at the same time? You would think that a cleanser would get used up at a different rate to a serum, but no. In the last month I have had to replenish my cream/balm cleanser, wash-off cleanser, daytime moisturiser, anti-ageing serum, and both kinds of toner. So no spreading the cost of beauty for me - it's been one big expensive month. And of course, being the fly-by-night, promiscuous, disloyal consumer I am that means an opportunity to try some lovely new products. Here is the rundown of my latest skincare discoveries.

Melvita Nectar Pur Purifying Cleansing jelly -£16 @ Feel Unique

First up is a new brand for me - Melvita, a French, natural, 'resolutely organic' cosmetic company- and their Purifying Cleansing Jelly. This is lovely. It's light and refreshing so ideal for a morning cleanse, and it feels ever so gentle. But your skin feels incredibly clean after using it - brighter and fresher and radiant without any tightness. This one is a keeper. Find more Melvita at Feel Unique - I'm currently coveting their Organic Rose Beauty Mist and Pulpe de Rose Plumping radiance Duo (a flower water spray & facial oil in one - you gotta love a multi-tasker!).

REN Rosa Centifolia Hot Cloth Cleanser - £16

I am becoming slightly addicted to skincare smelling of roses at the moment which is what led me to try my next newbie - Ren's Rosa Centifolia Hot Cloth Cleanser. Having become a convert to cleansing with a hot flannel every evening with balm cleansers I thought I'd give a traditional Liz Earle-style hot cloth cream cleanser another go. This smells DIVINE - hypnotically heady with the scent of rose which is delightful in a bedtime cleanser. The cleanser itself is perfectly good - it does seem to remove all traces of make-up and dirt when double-cleansing as I always do at the end of the day. I could never get on with the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish as I always felt it left a residue on my skin. This is better, much better and I will continue using it until it runs out. But there's something about the texture that will keep me from repurchasing it. I think I'm more of an oil/ balm cleanser kind of a girl and so next on my 'to try' list is Ren's rose balm cleanser. But if you love your Liz Earle or other cream cleansers - give it a go. It costs £16 and comes with a cleansing cloth - it's worth it for the smell alone!

First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads - £20.50 @ Feel Unique; Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair - £43-£82 available nationwide; Murad Hydrating Toner - £20.70 @ Feel Unique

A quick whizz through the next three. I have given Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II (that name just trips off the tongue, doesn't it?) another go after it was recently reformulated. It's okay. Just okay. I mean it has a nice serum texture, sinks in quickly (with a little stickiness) and my skin feels nice and soft the next morning. But I'm not convinced that my skin wouldn't look just as soft and plump from wearing just my night cream. And for 40 to 80 quid a bottle I want to feel sure it's doing something. Personally, I think there are far better serums out there for the same or less money - Decleor's Aromessence range, Ole Henriksen, Perricone MD, Alpha H - all lesser known brands that take a little more hunting down but are well worth searching for. Sometimes your local beauty counter just doesn't cut it. I shall finish the bottle, but I shan't be repurchasing.

Onto the toners - Murad's Resurgence Hydrating Toner is lovely. It comes in a spray bottle, smells glorious and is lightly and refreshingly hydrating. And it lasts - I've had this for nearly a month, using it morning and evening and just look at that bottle - at this rate it's going to last well into the new year. Not earth-shattering or World-changing but really blooming lovely! The First Aid Beauty pads are great, too. Lightly exfoliating, they are the gentlest acid toner I've tried and leave the skin radiant and ready for better absorption of the rest of your skincare routine without leaving them ravaged like some of the stronger ones. A new staple I think.

Indeed Laboratories Hydraluron Moisture Jelly - £24.99 (currently £16.66) @ Boots

Finally comes my favourite - Indeed Labs Hydraluron Moisture Jelly (currently on offer in Boots for £16.66 down from £24.99). First of all, let's just talk about the packaging, shall we? My God that colour is incredible, it (very importantly) looks great on a bathroom shelf! And the clear pot is a fab idea as you can see exactly how much product you have left. The press top dispenser is an ingenious design, releasing the perfect amount for the whole face cleanly and easily. Incidentally, I have only ever seen this sort of pot used by top end £60 plus creams, so the fact that Indeed Labs have managed to manufacture this and keep the price below £25 is, indeed (sorry!), remarkable. This stuff is wonderful - packed full of hyaluronic acid (which encourages your skin to hold on to moisture) and filled with hydrators in a water-based gel. It sinks in immediately and leaves your skin smoothed and plumped without any residue or shine. Perfect for combination skin. Make-up glides over it. Love love love this moisturiser. Buy buy buy it!

Thursday, 7 August 2014

A Capital Time - London Loveliness

My gorgeous family spent last weekend in London. It was a fairly last minute plan - two weeks ago Mr Wren and I sat down in his office, looked at his calendar and realised that if we didn't go away that weekend we would end up not going anywhere at all this holiday. Now the Little Wrens and I are getting along fine but we all needed a change of scenery. So a hotel was found, train tickets were booked and we all had something to look forward to.

My soft spot for my old adoptive city is well documented - it is where I feel most at home. But the children too just LOVE London. We have always spent time with them there - my sister in law lives there, so that always makes things easier - but there is nothing quite like staying in a hotel in the centre of a city to really give you a taste of the metropolis. 

Master Wren would in all honesty be happy to ride around on the tube all day, but his choice of London landmark was a visit to The British Museum. Having studied the Egyptians at school last year he was very excited to see all of the ancient Egyptian relics. We saw actual mummies and tombs, the Rosetta Stone (which I was vaguely aware of but my encyclopaedic son explained "was the key to unlocking the meaning of hieroglyphics" - so there you go!) and even a preserved two thousand year old body (complete with hair and skin intact). It's a very special place, although I couldn't help wondering quite what all of those wonderful exhibits from around the World were doing in dear old Blighty. All of it presumably acquired during the grand days of the British Empire. Fabulous as it was to see it all, it does feel a bit like a very large and impressive exhibition of all that we have plundered from other nations. 

Our hotel was near St James' Park, so for dinner on Saturday night we wandered out past Scotland Yard through the grounds of Westminster Abbey, crossed the road in front of Big Ben and walked alongside the Houses Of Parliament, crossing the Thames at Westminster Bridge to reach the South Bank. So pretty unremarkable really! The South Bank itself had, as it does every Summer, given itself over to The Southbank Festival which this year took the theme of 'Love'. So after stuffing ourselves silly in Canteen, the children took a spin on the carousel and we all threw ourselves down the enormous family slides they had dotted around (see photo, top), before treating ourselves to an ice cream and taking a sundown stroll back to our hotel. 

Maxi Dress - American Vintage

Sunday began with breakfast with a view of Buckingham Palace in St James' Park followed by a quick tube ride (oh, happy boy!) to South Kensington and a wander around Miss Wren's museum of choice, the V&A. I love this place and spent many lazy hours as a student gazing longingly at the vintage Dior and Balmain dresses on display. So beautiful. Both children were fascinated by the fashion through the ages and were hypnotised by the jewellery exhibit. The dizzying display of diamonds left me feeling slightly giddy. They really are a girl's best friend. Or would be, if she could ever get her mitts on any!! Breathtaking!

We spent our last few hours in the capital in sunny Hyde Park, before heading to Paddington on our last legs to begin our journey home. We had a wonderful family weekend. 

In order to have as full a weekend as possible we caught the early train to London on Saturday morning. So we were all up at 7am and out the door before 8. Breakfast needed to be eaten on the train so on Friday evening I baked some healthy and sustaining muffins for our railway picnic. They were also very delicious. Here's the recipe....

30g unsalted butter
60g (two heaped tablespoons) honey
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsps crunchy peanut butter
2 large ripe bananas
150g light spelt flour
1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
Around 12 teaspoons raspberry jam.

12 hole muffin tin and cases

Preheat your oven to 190 degrees C/ gas mark 5

Put the butter, honey and vanilla in a pan on a low heat to melt, then set aside. Mash the bananas.

In a large bowl, measure out the flour, bicarb, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Mix the peanut butter and bananas with the melted butter mixture and combine with the dry ingredients.

Line the muffin tin with the cases and fill them about half full. Dollop a scant teaspoon of jam in the centre of each, then top with the remaining batter (making sure that all jam is covered).

Put in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes. Eat warm ideally. Train optional.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Busy Doing Nothing

We're into week 3 of the Big School Holiday now and I am loving having my monkeys around every day. In holidays past we have had a pretty quiet time of it (and driven each other mad in the process!) But this year we are packing it in - meeting up with friends 2-3 days out of 5, working on little projects at home, day trips, visits to family, a camping trip and the odd weekend away. Plus many water fight-filled days in the garden with this incredible weather we've been having. We are BUSY! Which is wonderful - the little Wrens are having fun, I'm having fun and we're spending real quality time together. All this though, of course means that I am struggling to fit in more tawdry tasks - the ironing has piled up and the house has definitely seen cleaner, tidier days - poor Mr Wren is regularly returning home from a day at work to utter chaos! 

It also means that I am struggling to find time for my selfish little pleasures - visits to the gym have been rare (and that makes me slightly jittery) and my tiny little corner of the internet has been sadly neglected. But now the holiday is in full swing I am hoping to get into more of a routine (both writerly and housewifely!) and I will make sure my nests (both physical and digital) are much better cared for.

It's hard to put my finger on why, or what it is exactly, but since my last post (over a month ago - shame on me!) I have in all honesty lost a bit of oomph. I have been approaching everything at half speed, with minimum effort since it was all I could seem to muster and as a result I have been feeling really dissatisfied. That old 'put 100% in, get 100% out' adage would, I'm afraid, appear to be true. So consider a leaf turned, the rose-tinted spectacles are back on and I am going to try and approach life in my usual positive, upbeat manner. And if I'm not happy with something, well, I have the power to do something about it. And, actually when I look through my photographs from the last few weeks I can see that I have had a really lovely time and done and created some very special things. Most of them involving the two most special things of all - my babies. Seems I've been achieving a lot more than I thought. It's all about perspective. xx

Chocolate caramel birthday cake - mmmmmm!

The boy's Mad Science party - blog with details to come...

I finally got my Frame Denim dungas - I promise I'll stop now!

GP's fish tacos - incredible!

The Frozen cake - made three batches of my own candy for this. That's love.

Even Miss Wren had had enough cake by the time her birthday came around. Birthday rocky road it is then!

National Trust membership - the saviour of many a school holiday.

Perfecting my Dutch braid.

Playhouse renovation using child labour. They've had so much fun planning this.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Lazy Day Legs - The boyfriend short

I always hated shorts. I've always thought they were hideously unflattering. That they were for men and female hikers only. I always thought they made my waistline look podgy, my bum doughy and my knees thick. But in the last two Summers I've changed my mind. I started to turn when I bought my first

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Summer Fair - Name the Ted and Fresh Gingerbread

I've been AWOL again, I know. I'm sorry. But this post should help explain why. Last Saturday was the school Summer Fair and Sports Day that along with the rest of the PTA committee I was in charge of organising. It was a loooooonng day. Set-up began at 9am, stalls opened from 10.30 am and we weren't packed up until 5pm. But it was such a beautiful day too. Everything looked gorgeous - from the glistening tombola prizes, to the mountain of cake donations, from my hastily created Human Fruit Machine to the bunting that had been lovingly hand-sewn from old school summer dresses by a very talented friend of mine. The sun gazed down on us from morning 'til night and all day I was surrounded by the faces of smiling children. It was hard work, but absolutely worth it. Here are a few pics from the day. (Thanks to my friend, Alan for the beautiful photos)

Friday, 13 June 2014

The blues - Chambray Dress

Hooray! The sun is well and truly out! Which, of course means that so are my legs. Yesterday's sunshine-ready outfit was a new purchase. I can't remember the last time I bought anything other than for the children from Next. It's womenswear just isn't normally on my radar - I don't know why. But I clocked this lovely little chambray racer denim dress when it was featured in some of their press advertising. I thought it had potential. In fact, I searched for it online, but they were sold out in a size 10. Then, I was returning something in store this week and there it was, hanging near the doors and I just had to try it.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

It's Party Time!

God, I love a kids party! Which is a good thing really since I'm in the midst of planning three in the space of as many weeks. First up is the imminent school Summer Fair. I'm head of the Parents Association (did I mention that before? No? Probably because I'm trying to pretend it's not true myself! So stressful and did I mention thankless? Sorry. I'm at risk of going off on a rant here!) and the Fair is imminent (like next weekend imminent -aaarrgh!) so I am currently up to my eyes in bunting and raffle tickets. I am busily sorting tombola prizes and preparing rats to be splatted. I am the person who has to count those sweets into the jar so some lucky person can "guess how many" and win the lot. My husband says I should just make up a number, but really, that's not in the spirit of things, is it? It's loads of work but it makes the kids so happy, and really, I don't think I could just stand on the sidelines while someone else does all the work. I secretly love it.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Sunshine and Showers - Loving the Leopard

Well, what a difference a day makes! Yesterday the sun was shining and so I was out in the garden all day - weeding, planting, picnicing and playing with the children. Our garden is a small urban garden, but it is such an oasis of calm and remarkable quiet in the midst of the city. We were feeling some serious garden love yesterday.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Lucky Me! - Rodial Instaglam Skin Tint

Well, I went a little bit giddy when the postman arrived on Saturday because he delivered this. I was lucky enough to win a Twitter blogger giveaway competition to win one of Rodial's new instaglam skin tint. That's exciting enough in itself. But when the package arrived, inside was a hand-written note from the brand's founder, Mrs Rodial herself, Maria Hatzistefanis. There were a few extra goodies inside too. I may have let out an excited squeal or two.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Bank Holiday - Birthdays and Rainy Days

I love a long weekend. This Bank Holiday Sunday we travelled up to Richmond to celebrate my brother-in-law's and his twin sister's 40th Birthdays (coincidentally it's on the same day! Ha!) It was also my Father-In-Law's birthday on Monday, so it was a big group celebration. As usual, cake duties fell to me. So I baked a huge batch of my brownies and the Birthday Boy's specially requested favourite carrot cake. 

It was a glorious day - a beacon of sunshine in the midst of a week of solid rain. Much Pimms and white wine and delicious food was consumed. The children ran around together all afternoon, while the grown-ups chatted and laughed until the early hours. Perfect!

Friday, 23 May 2014

Pure and Simple - Eucerin DermoPURIFYER Cleanser Review

Well, this post is quite exciting for me as it is the first time I have been sent a product for review. So I am looking at this as my first legitimate blogger review! Hooray! Of course, as I haven't purchased the product myself this leads us into new territory and so, from now on if I am reviewing a PR provided sample I will mark the item with an asterisk (*). But, rest assured I will be as honest as ever. I will not blog about a product that I don't think would be of interest to you (or me, for that matter) and all opinions will be my own (good or bad) and not that of the marketing department. There - that's that little bit of housekeeping done!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

All Over the Overalls - The Wren Shops Dungarees

Ok. Now just wait. I know what you're thinking? Dungarees? I can see the images running through your minds - Huckleberry Finn, Charlene from Neighbours, Super Mario. But wait. If you haven't seen the legions of super-cool bods who have brought the denim dungaree back, then you are missing out. Dungarees are a major Spring-Summer look and I have become slightly obsessed with finding the perfect pair.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Summer Breeze - sunshine, weddings & celebrations

Well, that's more like it! Summer sun all weekend and today. There's nothing like a bit of sunshine to make me feel that all is well with the world. I have had the most wonderful weekend. A beautiful Cotswolds wedding on the hottest day of the year, a world-beating first barbecue of the season and to top it all off another pretty major reason for my family to celebrate. Today's is a pic-heavy post!

Dress - Diane von Furstenburg, Jacket - Rag&Bone,
Bag - ASOS, Shoes - Shoemint.

My wedding outfit was a riot of colourblock (although, in 23 degree sunshine that jacket was a bit surplus to requirements). My jacket and dress were Yoox designer bargain finds and that bag was a half price ASOS steal (still available too - link here.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Oh, the places you'll go! A plea for the bedtime story.

I was woken up on Tuesday morning as always by Chris Evans' breakfast show on Radio 2. After dancing out of bed to the soft rock sounds of John Parr's Man In Motion (the theme from St Elmo's Fire - classic! I had the 7"single) something he discussed stopped me in my tracks. He said that a poll had revealed that young parents are no longer reading books at bedtime to their children, that the bedtime story is dying out. And my heart sank.

Actually, the poll he was discussing looked specifically at Dads. He was referring to a survey by Booktrust which has found that only 19% of 18-24 year old fathers read stories to their children. But it's not just the Dads at fault here, because there was a similar survey in 2012 that found that less than a third of parents read regularly to their children.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Base Layers - Clarins EverMatte Foundation Review

I've fallen out of love with foundations in the last few years. Since the advent of BB and CC creams, I have tended to use those in place of a regular foundation. In spite of my being prone to the occasional breakout, I am not a fan of major coverage preferring to enhance and allow my skin to show through rather than cover it. I have also struggled to find the right shade and often, even when I think I have a match I have found it has oxidised and turned a bit orangey over the course of a few hours. This is especially common with us oily types.

But with my skin being so out of kilter lately, I have felt the need to cover up a little more. So, after

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Rainy Day Rhubarb & Custard

Well, talk about a wet weekend! It was rainy or cloudy for most of Sunday and at the same time I was in a mildly hungover fug. These two facts combined meant that I had to spend the day eating my own weight in carbohydrates. It was fried eggs with toast and pancetta at brunch, and we had macaroni cheese for tea (is there any better hangover food than mac & cheese?). Around midday, my background headache like a pushy shopper elbowing their way to the front of the queue began forcing it's way to the foreground. I needed cake.

I found a bag of rhubarb at the bottom of the fridge that my Mother-In -Law had picked from her garden. Not quite enough for a crumble. So I googled 'rhubarb and custard cookies'. No luck. I did however find a recipe on the BBC Good Food Magazine website for a Rhubarb & Custard Cake. Boom! And off I went.

I posted a pic to Instagram and Facebook of the cake about to go into the oven and I've had loads of people asking me for the recipe. So here it is. It is incredible. I urge you to make it. It will make everything better.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

A sea of coral - outfit of the day

Is it still Spring? Someone forgot to tell the weather. Last week I managed to get one outfit from my Spring/Summer wardrobe into our weekly half hour of sunshine. And my wardrobe is currently a sea of coral coloured clothes. Ditto my make-up bag. I must have about half a dozen coral/orange/tomato toned lippies and it is my warm weather nail shade of choice too in variant hues. My favourite colour to combine it with is azure blue, or turquoise. Two new purchases have added this much needed pop of accent colour to my much-loved, oft-worn Rag&Bone coral skinny zipper ankle jeans. Hands down, these are my best fitting pair of skinnies - a true skinny fit, perfect mid-rise waist, ankle-grazing at exactly the right point, with just enough stretch so that you can actually sit down in them, but without them getting saggy and stretched-out after a couple of wears. They are great Summer jeans for when it finally (if ever) arrives. On Thursday, I wore them with the new Marc Jacobs handbag I got on last weekend's London trip (read about it here). And my beautiful new Charles Philip Shanghai slipper shoes.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Sunshine and Strawberries - here comes the weekend

Today has been a beautiful day and I was lucky enough to spend the whole morning outside in the sunshine. I have been busy assisting a very talented photographer (Aniko Towers - check out her website here) as she snapped the children at our school for the school calendar. They are wonderful children at a beautiful school and watching them relating to someone they don't know very well it's remarkable to see how well behaved they all are. These are good kids, but even so, witnessing the teachers' deft handling of them I couldn't help thinking that a career as a cat herder would be less challenging. I am exhausted. I have no idea how teachers do it calmly and patiently every day!

For everyone else out there who might also be flagging this Friday I thought I'd share with you one of my baking recipes. It's for a batch of Strawberry spelt muffins and they are sugar free, vegan and wheat free. Don't let that put you off, though - you would never know. These are divine - light and soft and sweetly delicate. A wonderfully indulgent feeling treat ideal for winding you down to the weekend.

This is the perfect recipe for when you've bought a punnet of disappointing early season or air-freighted strawberries. You know, when they are underripe and too firm and taste of nothing. Or even with the few that have gone a bit soft in the fridge. Somehow a little baking makes them more strawberry-ish. I reckon this would work pretty well with raspberries too.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Weekend in London - The Details (The Wren falls in love with The London Edition)

"When a man is tired of London, then he is tired of life"
                                                                     Oscar Wilde

What a weekend! It was at least two days too short, but our two day sojourn to the Big Smoke was a feast for the senses. It almost ended before it had begun with all trains cancelled from Worcester to Paddington (aaaaarrgh!) but a detour to Birmingham and a mad dash across New Street station to make the connection meant we arrived no later than originally planned.

A black cab took us the short distance to our hotel - The London Edition on Berners Street. When you walk into the lobby your jaw hits the floor. It is INCREDIBLE! The grand period features - double height ceilings, unbelievably ornate cornicing (there are angel carvings, for goodness sake!) and wrought iron balconies give the feeling of intense old-moneyed luxury whilst the furniture and fittings remaining entirely modern. Breathtakingly beautiful...

Photo by Nicholas Koenig

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Anniversary anticipation

Just a quickie post today, because I am running around like the proverbial headless chicken getting the house, myself, husband and children organised ready for Mr and I to set off on a night away in the Big Smoke. It's our anniversary tomorrow (11 years - count 'em!) and since we were living there when we got engaged we thought it would be great to spend a bit of time in our city of love - London.

The restaurants are booked:

Here for lunch


And here for dinner

Berners Tavern

Monday, 28 April 2014

Failing better.

This was a surprisingly good weekend. I say 'surprising' because it was just me and the little wrens at home in the nest. We had two lazy mornings followed by two 8 year old birthday parties for Master Wren, which meant that missy and I had some girly time. On Saturday this involved some light shopping after a little lunch at Carluccio's with friends.

I got these:

Dior Addict Extreme Limited Edition Lipstick (Shade 551 Aventure),
Diorskin Nude Tan Matte (shade 003 Cinnamon Matte)

Missy got these:

M&S Girls Slip-On Giraffe Trainers

Friday, 25 April 2014

In Search of Breakfast...

Hooray! It's Friday. I got there. And in a week when Mr Wren has been on a business trip (since Sunday and still not back - grrrr). And I got there without a single glass of wine and without the tiniest smidgen of sugar passing my lips. Unbelievable. Particularly the wine part.

It's actually fairly easy to avoid refined sugar most of the time.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Toning up. Facial toners - the missing step

I have never really been a 'cleanse, tone, moisturise' kind of a girl. Well, not since my Clinique 3 step days as a teenager (maybe that's what put me off - what a disaster that was). I always thought that because I used a wash-off cleanser I didn't need to use a toner and I could just slap on my serum and moisturiser post cleansing. But since discovering Caroline Hirons skincare-Bible-of-a-blog and reading her take on the uses of toners I decided to reinvest in some. Now, this woman knows about skin (if you haven't read her blog I suggest you check it out) and she suggests a double toning routine. So, after cleansing (twice again - the first cleanse removes

Monday, 21 April 2014

Sugar rush - It's time to lock up the chocolate.

This Easter holiday we have all fallen head first off the healthy eating wagon. In holiday mode, James and I have been opening or finishing a bottle of wine most every night. We have indulged in white floured crumpets and croissants for breakfasts. The children's regular cries of "can I have a snack?" have been greeted with a carefree "Help yourself!". Chocolate. So much chocolate. And we've barely scratched the surface of the Easter egg stash. 

"It was like having a box of chocolates shut in the bedroom drawer. Until the box was empty it occupied the mind too much."     Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter

I am

Monday, 14 April 2014

Holiday Zen

I'm back. It's been a while, I know. We returned home last night after 10 days in a wifi free villa in the Algarve region of Portugal. The weather was utterly glorious - 23 to 25 degrees C every day. We ate well, drank well (Portuguese wine is utterly delicious - who knew) and best of all spent day after day just the four of us together, our little family, my favourite people.

It's a funny old place the Algarve. As you would probably imagine most of the towns are pretty overdeveloped with

Friday, 28 March 2014

Brownies and Bling - Mother's Day Treats

As I type this my house smells like Wonka's chocolate factory. It is incredible. The little Wrens have friends coming for tea, so I am baking brownies. For the kids, you understand, because I'm just selfless like that. I may have made a rather enormous batch. Well it is 'Stuff-Mother's-face-full-of-chocolate-Day' on Sunday and apart from the odd very sporadic weekend loaf by Mr Wren I am the only baker in this house so I need to make sure we (I) are chocolate-filled.

Here is that recipe - any Mother in her right mind would be thrilled to receive a box of these on Sunday. Heck, any Mother in her wrong mind would too!

Chocolate Hazelnut Brownies