Wedding invitations!

So apparently, not every one sends an invite these days! Some people send a box!

Yes you heard right – a box!

Personally, I get a little disappointed if a box is delivered to my house and there isn’t a pair of shoes inside. But hey ho, that’s just me.

But it appears there is a lot of money to be spent on invitations and I suppose for the “bride-to-be”, this is the first clue to their guests on what their wedding day will be like.

So there’s money to be spent and pressure to be felt.

But not everyone wants to get carried away and blow the budget on hiring four white horses and a footman to deliver each invitation personally. Some people just want something that represents them, introduces the day and can be kept as a keepsake for anyone who does that sort of thing (I do that sort of thing).

Initially we were going to just ring round all our guests (all 25 of them) and ask them if they wanted to come and then it would be job done.

Cheap, easy and we wouldn’t have to unearth the address book from the Christmas decoration box in the loft.

But then I stumbled across Russet & Gray’s website and I felt that pesky little wedding bug nibble at my ankle.

I’ll be honest, I’m a sucker for greeting cards, pretty, quirky, vintage – yep any of those and I’m sold.

So Russet & Gray pretty much had me at ‘Welcome…”

Their designs are simple, the details beautifully unique and the collection quite stunning. I immediately got in touch with them and asked if they would be willing to do a small number in exchange for a blog post. And guess what? Being cheeky finally paid off – it worked.

All we had to do was a pick a design…

Surprisingly, my fiancé really liked  them (we rarely agree on such things). Which bodes well for couples finding an invitation that suits both tastes. However, he wasn’t as keen on my favourite design which I was already a little bit in love with.

The question was did I compromise or get my own way?

Well, it was me writing the blog.

Here it is…

Image

Gorgeous huh? I picked it because it suits are wedding, a rustic laid-back affair with a few, little vintage details. And the quality and standard when they arrived was first class. Beautiful to touch, colours and design better than can be captured in a picture. And the service from Russet & Gray was speedy, personal and professional to boot. Job done!

And I’ve just discovered they have expanded their range to greeting cardstoo, and guess what? They’re pretty, quirky and…

*gets out credit card*

Disclaimer:

I would wholeheartedly recommend this company to all future brides and grooms. Yes, they did not charge me for my invitations, but I would have paid full price for them. So if you know anyone who is engaged please pass on this link. www.russetandgray.co.uk

Betty Crocker Chocolate Fudge Icing.

A review!

A few weeks ago I reviewed Dr Oetker’s swirly cupcake icing. You can find it here. But the upshot was it was overpriced and a bit shit.

But then this week in the cake aisle (which I can’t help finding myself when I have just popped in for apples) i found Betty Crocker’s Chocolate fudge Icing!

Image

This caught my eye, because I was making Dairy free cakes as middle child and newphew are dairy intolerant and I thought “I’d just check the ingredients” and guess what? No milk! Surprise!

It did say “May contain Milk traces dues to manufacturing methods” but as their intolerance is not not fatally dangerous, we tend to ignore any products which say this because nearly 80 per cent of any manufactured products say this and we prefer just take our chance.

Anyway for £2.25 a tub, which says it will cover up to 35 cupcakes, which I reckon, if you didn’t have three boys “testing it” for poison every 5 seconds it probably would, it’s quite good value for money.

It tastes good, and suprisingly there is no poison. It is much better than Dr Oetkers’, but not as good as homemade, as nothing ever is, but for “Dairy free” it’s pretty scrummy. spreads well, value for money and looks good as well as can be kept in fridge for 30 days after opening – like chocolate fudge icing lasts for 30 days in anyone’s fridge! But still, good to know it could, you know if the fridge door was stuck or something!

There’s nothing better than closure!

Broadchurch: A review.

Miller and Hardy

Miller and Hardy

There were two things I thought when I first saw the series Broadchurch advertised: 1. Mmmm David Tennant 2. Ugh ITV.

ITV notoriously does “bad” crime television. They usually start well, with promise, intrigue and anticipation.But quickly deteriorate  into over-sensationalised, unbelievable predictability.

But no more! ITV I bow down in respect. You really showed me.

Broadchurch was none of the above.

It was sincere, original and clever; and it has carved a new, beautiful path for the crime thriller.

After spending 7 weeks following the villagers adjust to a murder, 7 weeks watching the chemistry between DI Alec Hardy and DS Ellie Miller delicately dance upon the screen and 7 weeks wondering “whodunnit?” whilst falling a little bit in love with Olivia Colman. The final episode had a lot to live up to… Not to mention that on Monday night, 8.9 million other people were also wondering the same thing as me : “Was it really the detective’s husband?”

But the secret to its success was not in a shock twist or a “Nooooooooo!” moment! It was not in a farcical subplot or a forgotten character from episode 2.  The secret lay in the development solution; the slow unravel that we, the viewer, was part of . We were there with Alec Hardy all the way, some of us 1 step ahead, some clever sods (like my OH) even 4 or 5 steps ahead.

But I wasn’t one of the clever folk who got it way back in episode 3 when the detective came to dinner. No, I was putty in the writer’s hand. Gently meandering along the signals and pointers they had laid out for me. For example, it wasn’t until Detective Miller’s judgemental scorn fell on to Pauline’s Quirke’s character (that down right creepy Susan Wright) and  she sneered “How could you not know?” that was when the penny dropped for me and I thought “It was him. It was Joe!”

But I still felt clever, which is what the writer’s wanted me to feel. I felt good. I’d cracked it. Before Tennant too! Maybe, I could tell him my theory over wine and a bubble bath.

However, it  became obvious when the killer was caught before the first ad break that this reveal wasn’t what the writer’s had been building up to. They were going for something more than that. And more is what we got. Together we closed the case.  The viewer got some well-earned closure.

I had already edged my bets it was  “the husband” and I couldn’t escape the theme of sexual abuse that had infiltrated its way into Broadchurch, even though the post-mortem at the start revealed Danny’s attack was not sexually motivated. Therefore, when the words “59 days earlier” appeared on the screen I caught my breath. Why had he done it? Was he abusing his son? Was he protecting his son? What had Danny found out?

But the next scene, its opening,  was so clever, unexpected, powerful and haunting. I’m having difficulty shaking it.

At first you think he is hugging Ellie. You are filled with relief, perhaps a little disappointment, that all along it has been an “unfortunate accident”. But no it’s not Ellie. It’s a boy and the image of comfort and affection suddenly becomes disturbingly haunting. Clever.

So we get closure. We get to see the aftermath of what happens after they get the killer. Not just to the detectives, who usually leave the office asking “whose round it is?” But the victim’s  family, the suspect’s family and the village itself. And we get to understand more about the death of Danny, the suspect’s state of mind and a topic which has suffocated TV police dramas.

Broadchurch broke the mould of police drams , because it gave us something more. It wasn’t just about finding a killer but finding answers and I feel that is what we got. And when it ended I didn’t feel any disappointment, not even a bit. Especially as the final nugget was the reveal in  white words   that “Broadchurch will return”.

But hang on, before you start “second series bashing” this isn’t one of those ITV, doesn’t know when to leave things alone scenarios… Apparently. Apparently, when the writer’s were writing this series they already had a story for a second series which they considered just as strong! So I’m hopeful. It’s coming back. There’s more good police drama to come. Just don’t cock it up ITV!

Lazy Cupcake icing – knew it was too good to be true!

Image

Look – I totally tried to copy the picture!

I like cake, Who doesn’t? I quite like baking, i mean there’s a lot of perks isn’t there? Licking the bowl, eating half the decorating sweets and you know, generally convincing yourself “tasting” is actually an essential part of the recipe.

So when Dr Oetker’s Easy Swirl Cupcake Icing caught my eye on the supermarket shelf I thought “now that could be handy” and even when I clocked the price at £3.49 I didn’t falter.

I know, it’s quite pricey isn’t it? But for me it’s the icing of the cakes that really lets baking down. And it’s not the ingredients, or making the icing, or even the ensembling, it’s the fact that everything is dirty from making the cake mixture and you have to wash up (by hand as the children won’t wait for the dishwasher) before you even start. And cake mixture is sticky, whisks are intricate, the whole thing just ruins the baking experience for me.

So butter icing in a can? Like squirty cream? That was worth £3.49 right?

Wrong.

It didn’t look nearly as fancy as the picture (see photographic evidence); yes it came with 4 nozzles, but to be fair they all created the same result – sloppy swirls and there was only enough to cover 9 cupcakes!

And I was being stingy with the icing, no where near the mountain you get from the pre-bought ones from the bakery shelf!

I mean at least there should be enough for a standard batch of 12 cakes right? And I actually usually make 18 (don’t ask it’s complicated). So today we had 9 un-iced cupcakes – bad form. Yes i did have icing sugar and butter to hand, but there was no way i was washing up the mixing bowl and mixing whisks – I’d paid £3.49 for the pleasure not to! People were just going to have have them plain.

Thanks for nothing Dr Oetker. i won’t be buying it again!

 

Disclaimer: I bought this product myself. I was not paid to write this post!

Beauty Products

Here are my top 5 beauty products for Mums… Or any women who are in a rush, can’t be arsed, rarely have a minute to themselves and can’t afford plastic surgery.

 

In no particular order…

 

No other concealer like this one.

1. Touche Eclat

I know every one wants to bonk Touch eclat – but it really is THAT good. It’s one of those things you don’t realise how goiod it is till you stop wearing it – and then every other bugger tells you how tired you look. And it can be worn with nothing else, just smidge a bit on, look less tired and off you go.

 

 

Won’t turn you orange

2. Dove moisturising false tan

Because we just don’t have time to do the whole exfoliate, moisturise prep bollocks. And if  we did have time for that, would we have time to evenly spread/spray and rub our legs for about two hours and then lie there motionless for another two hours?

 

If you use Dove like a moisturiser (and by that I mean rub a small amount on each day, not slab it on in a panic an hour before your’re due to leave the house) then it works – and doesn’t streak and takes barely no time at all! You just have to rememeber to do it each morning/night – I know a toughy – but try putting a post it note on your mirror or forehead – worked for me!

 

 

3. L’Oreal BB

I know the advert is a bit like “whatevs Lady – you look like that anyway bitch” but it is quite good, not too heavy and gives you that kind of glow that sleep used to give you! Sleep – rememberr that? It was good huh? Well this isn’t that good, but it does make you look like you’ve had some.

 

4. Max Factor Masterpiece Mascara

I’m a bit obsessed with Mascara – I have to try them all. And lose them all. So I’m  obssessed with losing Mascaras. It’s an costly obsession, but we’re working on it. Anyhow, I always come back to this one. Works for days, evenings…  middle of the night feeds. It’s an all rounder.

 

5. Bastiste Dry Shampoo

Makes it look all volumised too!

Because there are days when you wake up, look in the mirror and realise your hair is stuck to your face with grease. And these are always the mornings when you got up late, have to leave early, have your kids homework to do and the school uniform to wash. It’s just the law of the sod. But if you have a can of this handy (look they even do Team GB ones!) then you spray it on and you are transformed. Now there is a technique to gettting just the right amount to avoid that talc-in-hair look, or static-wig effect. But when you have mastered it, it will change your life forever.