Slow Cooked Cottage Pie with Root Veg Mash

This is one of those things I make for the first time in the hope that all the stars aline and well, quite frankly it all goes rather well and we end up with a new epic favourite dinner.

This requires a *little* more effort than I would usually put in because I made it over two days so I guess it felt a bit long, but if you are more organised than me, there is absolutely no reason why you couldn’t do it all in one day.

The beef I done in the slow cooker (I am fast falling very in love my slow cooker this autumn) and cooked it for 8 hours so if you popped it on first thing in the morning then you will be fine!!

This amount made enough to feed all of us with enough leftovers for everyone to eat it again the next day so basically bloody loads.

  • 500g diced Braising Steak
  • 1 Onion diced
  • 2 Carrots sliced
  • 2 Celery sticks sliced
  • 3 tbsp Plain Flour
  • 3 Beef Oxo cubes
  • 1/4 tsp Rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp Thyme
  • 750ml of Water
  • Salt and Pepper

For the Mash

  • 2 Sweet Potatoes
  • 2 Carrots
  • 1 Swede
  • 2 Parnsips
  • 1 Egg
  • 60g Mature Cheddar
  • Salt and Pepper

Pop the Beef into a bowl with the Flour, Oxo and Herbs and give it all a good coating.

Put the whole contents of the bowl and diced onion into a slow cooker, mix with the 750ml of water. Turn onto Medium and cook with the lid on for around 7 hours.

After 7 hours ish, remove the lid and add the Carrots and Celery. Cook for 1 hour with the lid off allowing the Gravy to thicken.

Check the seasoning and add Salt and Pepper to taste. Transfer into an oven proof dish and cover with cling film pushed down onto the Beef, chill either over night or as long as possible. (I find putting the Mash onto cold Beef easier as it’s less likely to sink! But doesn’t have to be cold!)

For the Mash, peel and chop up all the root veg. I chop the sweet potato and parsnip into fairly large pieces and the carrots and swede smaller so that I can cook them all together in one pot and they ready at the same time… for anyone completely clueless, I Chopped the potato and parsnip around the size of a roast potatoe and the swede and carrot into around half the size of that (god I really hope this makes sense 😂)

Bring to the boil in salted water then simmer until cooked, which should take around 20 minutes.

Drain and mash then add in 60g of grated cheddar and 1 egg then mix thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Spread evenly over the beef, then pop into a preheated oven on 180′ for 30 minutes.

And that’s it!

We had it with Savoy cabbage with a little butter and a lot of black pepper on it (YUM).

And I’m very pleased to say Isla loved the top and Abbie loved the bottom, so in my eyes that’s a success!!

Hope you enjoy!

L x

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Slow Cooker Beef Curry

This recipe is just so ridiculously easy. You can use any Curry Paste you fancy and I’m REALLY tempted to try a Massaman version or Thai Green using Coconut Milk… anyway I digress… I used Rogan Josh Paste because it’s on the mild side and it was lovely.

This makes enough for about 6 servings

  • 1 Onion diced
  • 500g Beef Chuck diced (I usually get mine from the butcher)

  • 2 tbsp Curry Paste
  • 2 tins of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1/2 tbsp Mild Curry Powder
  • 1/2 tbsp Turmeric
  • 2 tbsp Mango Chutney
  • 1 tin of Chick Peas
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Chopped Coriander

Put the Onion, Beef, Chopped Tomatoes, Spices and one tin of Water into a slow cooker with a good pinch of Salt. Stir and switch onto low heat and leave overnight for 12 hours.

In the morning switch onto Medium heat and remove the lid, add in the two tbsps of Mango Chutney.

Leave on medium heat for around 8 hours, the beef will just fall apart which is exactly what you want.

Drain and add the tin of Chick Peas. Turn the heat onto high and put the lid back on for the last hour.

Check the seasoning, add Salt to taste if it needs it!

We had it with Mango Chutney, Poppadoms, Yoghurt mixed with Mint and Coriander and fresh Coriander on top.

And that’s it!

Super easy, reminds me why I love my slow cooker so much.

Hope you enjoy!

L x

Creamy Leek and Pancetta Gnocchi

I think the change in season from Summer to Autumn is my FAVOURITE.

The thought of darker evenings with comforting bowls of food really does it for me (I’m easily pleased). I love Gnocchi for comfort food it always feels like more of a treat than Pasta and this one didn’t disappoint.

For 2 portions you will need:

  • 150g Pancetta lardons
  • 2 Leeks sliced
  • 1 500g packet of Gnocchi
  • 1 Chicken Oxo
  • 150ml of Water
  • 100ml of Single Cream
  • 30g Parmesan grated
  • Parsley

Put the Pancetta in a cold pan then turn on the heat and cook until crispy and set to one side. I start it in a cold pan because it really renders away the fat and you shouldn’t have to add any extra oil.

Add the sliced Leeks to the same pan and fry gently for 2 minutes until they start to soften.

Add the Chicken Oxo and the Water then reduce for 2 minutes, whilst boiling some water ready for the Gnocchi.

Add the Cream to the Leeks and leave to simmer whilst cooking the Gnocchi.

The Gnocchi only takes 2 minutes and you can usually tell it’s done because it floats to the top!

Drain and add to the Leeks with the Parmesan and stir through. Add the cooked Pancetta and chopped Parsley saving some to sprinkle on top.

And that’s it!

I had mine with a couple of handfuls of Rocket and it was so, so good.

Hope you enjoy!

L x

Moroccan Spiced Salmon

This is one of those meals that I would have for Lunch or Dinner and nobody else in my house would eat so I make two portions all for myself to have two days in a row.

It’s ridiculously easy to make and so good! You could have it with just a side Salad or any veg you fancy but I went for roasted Veg.

For 2 portions you will need:

  • 2 Salmon Fillets
  • 1/4 tsp Chilli Powder
  • 1/4 tsp  Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Mixed Spice
  •  Cous Cous (I cheated and used packet!)
  • small handful of chopped Pistachios
  • small handful of toasted Flaked Almond
  • 1 Red Onion diced
  • 10 Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Red Pepper diced
  • 1/2 Yellow Pepper diced
  • 1/2 Courgette sliced
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1/2 bunch Coriander chopped
  • 100g Greek Yoghurt
  • Salt and Pepper

Put the Salmon on one tray and the Red Onion and Peppers onto another. Drizzle both with a little oil, season with Salt and Pepper and rub the spices onto the Salmon.

Roast the Veg for 5 minutes on 200′. After 5 minutes put the Salmon into the oven and cook both for a further 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, add the Courgette and the Tomatoes to the tray and pop back into the oven for 5 minutes. Then take the Veg and the Salmon both out of the oven.

Make up the Cous Cous and add in the chopped and toasted Nuts.

Mix the Yoghurt with the juice of half a Lemon and a little water till it’s a Sauce consistency then add some chopped Coriander.

And that’s it! Plate everything up together adding some fresh Lemon and Coriander. You could swap and change things in the recipe to suit you, either Rice or Cous Cous would both be nice!

Hope you enjoy!

L x

Haircare with Johnson’s Baby

I am a bit obsessed with hair. I spent my teenage years hammering the GHDs and trying absolutely anything to get rid of my frizz and curls, lo and behold I now have two girls with the most beautiful heads of curls you have ever seen (if I do say so myself) and I truly hope they never grow out and lose them.

I honestly didn’t know the first thing about looking after their hair before working with Johnson’s, I just knew NEVER to use my Shampoo on them after a traumatising incident when I did once use mine on Abbie, some got in her eyes and well, there was some epic shit losing on her behalf… and I don’t blame her, it bloody KILLS when you get Shampoo in your eye, but obvs as an adult you have the advantage of knowing to always keep your eyes shut and your head back.

I first fell in love with Johnson’s hair products after my Mum had Abs for the night, she had bathed and washed her hair then used the Leave In Conditioner Spray on her and her curls looked so lovely and shiny. So since then it has been a product that I always need in the house.

I tend to Shampoo them both 2-3 times a week, and Condition once a week then use the Leave In Conditioner Spray pretty much every day. I use it after bath time before bed on wet hair and then in the morning on dry hair to make my life a bit easier getting the tangles out before school! I would say if you are using it on dry, tangled hair… give it a good spray and leave it for 5 minutes before brushing, it works a treat and I always have minimal whinging and moaning and less likely to hear the word ‘OW’ on repeat… it really is a game changer. The thing I love the most about it is I can use it daily on them without it making their hair greasy, its like magic.

I was lucky enough to spend the day with Johnson’s learning lots of things I didn’t know about hair including that our hair starts developing at 8 weeks gestation and by 18 weeks, our hair pattern on our scalp is already determined. Hair doesn’t fully develop until about 12 years old, so it needs to be treated differently with different products whilst it is still developing.

I have actually found the conditioner to really help with Isla’s cradle cap. She suffered terribly as a new born with it and she still gets it just a little bit towards the front of her scalp. I have just been washing regularly and using the spray and a soft brush on her head as well as little Johnson’s Baby Oil if I know I have time to wash her hair again in the morning!

Every single one of the Johnson’s haircare products have the No More Tears Formula. I think our favourites have to be the Shiny Drops range with the added Argan Oil and Silk Proteins. I prefer this because as the girls have curly hair, the natural oils from their scalp aren’t as easily distributed through the hair as they would be on a child with straight hair, so I find the Shiny Drops just take some of the frizz and dryness away and makes their hair lovely and shiny.

I have discovered some amazing new products from working with Johnson’s and I even find myself reaching for the Shiny Drops sometimes and also using the conditioning spray to take away some of my own frizz, I just love it! I always think that the Johnson’s Baby Shampoo in the yellow bottle is a bit of an iconic product but I love that they are moving with the times and introducing new products using ingredients such as Argan Oil to help us busy Mums with those dry tangles in the morning and I honestly do feel so lucky that I get to work with them and shout about these products from the rooftop!

L x

I am proud to say that this post is sponsored by Johnson’s Baby UK but as always all words and opinions are my own.

Camping In Cornwall

Camping holds so many happy memories for me. We used to go to Cornwall most years to camp and I loved it as a kid. I remember clearly helping set up the tent and my camp bed. Driving round the campsite sat on my Dads lap. Making friends with the kids in the surrounding tents and staying up late to see the stars.

I always knew I wanted to take the girls but didn’t think we would go so soon, it was when Asda got in touch to see if we wanted some camping gear that I decided there was no better time than the present, and with the extension and renovations coming up, I knew it was unrealistic financially for us to go abroad this summer, so camping felt like the perfect solution for us to get some time away together.

There is so much I want to talk about in this post, so I’m going to break it down into three parts, what we took with us, the things I found useful and the things we didn’t. Where we stayed, our campsite and my thoughts about that. Then what we got up to whilst we were there including where we ate (my god we ate some good food)… so take from it what you will, and I really hope this post is helpful to anyone thinking of taking the plunge into camping!

What We Took

Firstly, we took ALOT. You need a lot of stuff. Our car was fit to burst but we did manage without a roof box, someone messaged me on Instagram with the best tip ever that I will pass on here… pack your clothes into big Aldi Bags rather than a big suitcase, that way you can squeeze them in and around everything, I also kept our clothes in the car the whole time to minimise the risk of everything getting wet.

I made lists before we went, then re wrote them once I had my final lists so I will post them here for you to see or screenshot. There is something I find a bit more helpful about handwriting a list, for some reason it just sinks in a bit more when I use an actual pen! To be fair there may be quite a few things on my list that others would probably manage fine without and albeit there were a few things we didn’t use but I’ll get onto that.

We were very kindly gifted stuff from Asda, including a tent, torches and headlights, a cold box, table and chairs and sleeping bags… we took all of this with us and used all of it. The tent made a great ‘first camping trip’ tent and was on offer recently for a very affordable £80… a lot of their camping stuff is sold out now but definitely worth keeping an eye out for next year. The tent was a good size, kept us dry in the (ridiculously massive) storm and was easy to put up… a few downsides were the zips weren’t the sturdiest and I missed having a sort of enclosed porch type area to sit in when the weather was crap… but for the price, a great tent to have a try at camping with and not the end of the world if you realise it really isn’t your bag!

We took inflatable beds with us, a double from Tesco that we’ve had for ages, you can inflate it plugged into mains (check your campsite has somewhere to do this!) alternatively you can get doubles that you can plug into the cigarette lighter of your car and pumps that do too. We took a pump that plugged into the car borrowed from my parents. We also took a single blow up bed for Abs from Aldi and an infant blow up bed for Isla, which was fantastic, it was from a brand called Kampa bought from Amazon. They both slept fine, in fact more than fine, better than they do at bloody home so I’m considering just sticking them outside in the garden from now on in sleeping bags.

For our cooking set up we didn’t go too mad as we knew we would eat out in the evening and for lunch, so we only needed a basic set up to make hot drinks and breakfast. We borrowed a portable camping stove from my parents which was the perfect size and ran off a small gas canister. Then we took a picnic set for 4 people from Mountain Warehouse (which I LOVED) it came with plates, cups, cutlery, chopping board, salt and pepper shaker plus a huge compartment at the back to keep food cold and a drink insulator on the side, plus a couple of different sized pans and a kettle. Mountain Warehouse have an amazing selection of affordable camping accessories, they kindly gifted us these bits plus games and beach toys but I would 100% recommend them and they very often have offers on for 10/20% off so worth keeping an eye out.

The things we took and I didn’t rate were the Toaster attachment thing from Kampa… it took nearly 7 years to toast 4 bits of bread which wasn’t ideal plus a Thermos Flask… I thought we would make up Tea/Coffee and take it out for the day… I have no idea why because we would never do this at home! So they were a bit wasted on us! Also we didn’t end up using a the speaker because we were so knackered at the end of the day we just crashed out with the kids.

The things I took that I loved and were a lifesaver were loads of socks for the kids… we went through so many pairs because I wanted to keep their feet warm at night but they would be in and out of the tent and would need them changing again before going to bed (no one wants to sleep in wet socks). Snacks. SO MANY SNACKS, anything to keep them occupied whilst you are tackling a tent up/down in ridiculous weather. My new Pink Tiba and Marl Rucksack which I now adore, fits everything in it, Nappies, Wipes, Snacks, Drinks, 2 iPads, Camera, extra Camera Lens, Suncream, Talc, Hand Sanitiser… the list is endless… my back is buggered, but it was practical and looks amazing.

And last but not least, Keep Em Quiet travel packs, the gift that keeps on giving… the girls loved these and there was more than enough stuff in there to keep them entertained when we were rained in/in the car/at lunch or dinner.

Oh and one last thing… battery powered Fairy Lights. I was a bit worried I would look like a right wanker at the campsite rocking up with my fairy lights in front of all these seasoned, serious campers but turns out everyone loves a bit of the twinkly action… and it made the tent feel so cosy of an evening!

So I’m pretty sure that covers everything worth talking about where it comes to what we took and loved.

Where We Stayed

So initially we were going to stay at the campsite I always used to as a kid. It is based near Penzance, has a shop on site, toilets, showers… basically everything you need, then I fell into a Trip Advisor hole and it was looking bleak. So I had a little Google, did some more Trip Advisor review stalking, and came across the absolute little gem that is Lower Penderleath Campsite

It is located on the top of hill, not ideal for gale force wind and rain but the most stunning views around and of the sunset (when it was sunny). It’s about 2 miles from St Ives and 5 miles from Penzance. It was the perfect location for us and the places we wanted to go. There were showers with plenty of hot water that were always clean enough, toilets, somewhere to wash pots and pans and the icing on the cake… a room with a mirror to plug my GHDS in… (what can I say, you can take the girl out of Essex…).

Russel the campsite owner was friendly and helpful and there were plenty of sockets in his office to leave your phone on charge if need be. Plus a Fridge and a Freezer to leave any food or drink in, simply labelled with a Sharpie kept on the side.

We paid £26 a night which was a steal of course and meant we could eat out every day without feeling too extravagant! I would 100% recommend this campsite, it was well kept and quiet in the evenings, lots of families and friendly faces… I feel like everyone is so happy camping, even when it pissed down. Another huge plus was going Blackberry picking with Abs down the road of the campsite, seeing her face light up every time we spotted one ready to pick was just priceless.

We will definitely be going back to this campsite when we next camp in Cornwall.

What We Got Up To

We packed an awful lot into 5 days and 4 nights. We managed to do everything that we wanted to do and more. We spent a lot of time in St Ives and quickly realised that if you are visiting in Summer Holidays then book where you want to eat out if you can! We loved every single place we ate in so I’m going to tell you in detail about them all because well food is life.

For Breakfast I would recommend The Front Room in Penzance, very cosy, very Instagrammable and incredibly family friendly… perfect Poached Eggs with a Full English and fluffy stacks of American Pancakes fried in Butter with Bacon and Syrup (drool). It was a welcome start to a very wet and miserable day.

We also ate at an amazing Thai Tapas restaurant in the harbour at St Ives called Talay Thai, we shared Chilli Salt Squid, Chicken Satay, Massaman Curry and Pad Thai between all of us, the kids even ate it which says alot. We very nearly went back here for a second meal but there are so many good places to eat it felt a waste to eat twice somewhere.

Other places I would recommend visiting are Peppers Pizza and Pasta for a cosy Italian Vibe… not quite so cosy for us as Isla was a nightmare from start to finish but I downed a Pinot and had an incredible Chilli Crab Linguine one handed so all was not lost.

One more place we ate and loved was The Hub. It’s where you want to be for dirty Burgers and Fries. I had an epic Pit Burger which had shredded Beef Brisket and Coleslaw inside plus Cheesy Fries because I couldn’t not have them. It was again super family friendly. Every single place we ate the service was amazing and they always provided crayons and colouring for the kids which is a big plus in my eyes.

And last but not least Trevaskis Farm. We went here on our last day after packing up in the rain. We were both stressed to high heaven, starving, cold and wet. We ate what I can only describe as the most devine plate of comfort food I’ve ever had. Not the most appealing to look at, it wont be making the ‘gram but let me just break it down for you. Homemade Beef, Ale and Mushroom Pie with Steamed Veg, Broccoli Cheese and Roast Potatoes. It was amazing and it fed my soul with pure happiness and comfort, I very quickly forgot about the tent and the rain.

Trevaskis is also very well known for its Dessert counter and rightly so, plus an amazing Farm Shop, Pick Your Own and even animals for the kids to see, well worth a visit if you are nearby!

So thats all the food related recommendations. Now onto the things we actually got up to. We spent time on Porthmeor Beach, which is stunning and just next to St Ives Harbour, its also the home to St Ives Surfing school so it was nice to spend some time sat watching some lessons.

St Michaels Mount is a MUST. You can walk across the causeway in the sea when the tide is out to get to the castle. We didn’t pay to get into the Castle but the grounds are lovely and we had Ice Cream and Coffee and sat in the Gardens taking in the view. The beach at Marazion where St Michaels Mount is, is a child’s dream. Rock pools, rock climbing, miles of sand, huge open space, plus an amazing playground just off the beach. I remember loving it there as a kid and it was definitely a highlight for both of mine.

We also visited Lands End. It was pretty cool to actually just go there and tick it of the list of things to see in the world. There are a few naff attractions you can pay to do once you are in but we didn’t bother, it was nice to just explore and Abbie was just running around and not too bothered to do them anyway. When we went the weather was so bad but we were still smiling and I would say its worth a visit!

St Ives harbour is packed with things to do. It has an amazing atmosphere and is very busy. I would recommend booking the places you want to eat if you can or at least choosing somewhere and getting your name on the list an hour or so before you want to eat, we spent our first night trying to get in somewhere to eat and struck lucky on our 6th attempt!!

Be prepared to park up the hill and have to walk down it’s not miles but parking is limited and also make sure you take plenty of change for parking, something we came unstuck on a few times, there’s no RingGo in Cornwall!

The harbour is the perfect spot for crabbing and Abbie caught her first crab she was hooked (excuse the pun) and it’s all she keeps telling everyone about. We were also so lucky to spot some Seals in the sea by the lighthouse, they came right up to us, it was such a lovely moment and the girls loved them.

Then finally if you are after a beach day, Porthcurno is stunning. It’s one of my favourite places and when the tide is right out you can walk to neighbouring bays.

It’s surrounded by cliffs and you are quite well protected from the wind, it’s about a 10 minute walk down to the beach from the car park and not the friendliest for small children, I saw quite few people with wagons on wheels which was a great idea I thought for getting everything down there. The waves are big and great for wave jumping if you can brave the cold. We got Pasties and Sandwiches for lunch from the beach bar near the car park which saved having to take and carry food!

And that’s just about everything!

Going back to the camping I would say just go with the flow, I thought I would be stressed to high heaven but can honestly say, despite the weather, this is the most relaxed I’ve ever been on holiday with the kids. The fresh air is actually magic and I loved the simplicity of life just being there, it was really good for the soul and just seeing the kids so happy and free was the icing on the cake. Plenty of warm clothes, snacks and an iPad with a few films downloaded on to it and you are good to go.

I really hope anyone planning a camping trip/trip to Cornwall had found this helpful! So many people have said I’m so nervous to take mine camping etc… but trust me they will love it and if they are anything like mine the fresh air just knocks them out so they slept fine!

Happy Camping 😝

L xx

Shakshuka

This is one of those meals that you could literally throw anything in and it would still taste good. I always have it when there are odds and ends of veg to use up in the fridge, you could also add meat or fish if you want to! It super filling if you eat the whole thing, I usually have half of the amount here as a meal, but obviously it depends how hungry you are!

For 1-2 people you will need:

  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tin of Chopped Tomatoes/Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1/4 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1/4 tsp Mixed Herbs
  • 1/4 tsp Cumin
  • diced Veg (I used 1/2 yellow Courgette, 1/2 Green Courgette, 1/2 Red Pepper, 1/2 Sweet Potato
  • 1/2 tbsp Balsamic Glaze
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Coriander

If using Potato, start by frying off in a pan with a little oil, salt and pepper.

After a few minutes, add the other veg with the herbs and spices then fry for a few more minutes.

Add the tin of tomatoes and simmer for 5-10 minutes, you want there to be enough sauce to surround the eggs when you add them, so add a little water if you need to.

Check the seasoning, add Salt, Pepper and a little Balsamic Glaze for sweetness if it needs it.

Make two holes and crack in the eggs, then turn down the heat to a very low simmer and leave to let the eggs cook through, be patient they will! I pop mine under the grill for 30 seconds at the end just to finish cooking the egg white.

Top with freshly chopped coriander and you are good to go!

Hope you like it.

L x