The Best Wrinkle Cream

Group shot of Wrinkle Cream

As a woman of a certain age I am always on the lookout for an anti-wrinkle cream which actually does what it claims to do! There are so many lotions and potions out there that it’s hard to know which ones actually work without putting them all to the test, plus the costs can vary enormously; do you really get what you pay for?

I was delighted to be sent a piece of research by Reviews.com which has effectively done all the hard work for us. They compiled a list of 237 creams, serums, and gels from top retailer roundups; recommendations from popular beauty magazines, blogs, and experts; and best-sellers from top stores.  Research studies have identified Retinol, Alpha Hydroxy Acids and Hyaluronic acid as key ingredients to look for in products, so Reviews.com started digging into the ingredients lists to find which products contained all 3.

Unfortunately, it seems that you do get what you pay for as the top pick was La Prairie Cellular Power Charge Night  at an eye watering RRP of £332 (Amazon price £269.85). In second place was Dr Dennis Gross Ferulic Plus Retinol (£76.25 on Amazon) although this lost points for the jar delivery system which is open to contamination and oxygenation of the product. In third place was a bargain basement product by Neutrogena: Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum (Around £22 on Amazon), this actually doesn’t contain any AHAs but these can easily be added with a second product (for example Clean and Clear facial products contain salicylic acid).

Of course the ultimate anti-wrinkle cream is sun screen, those wrinkles are the result of sun damage and preventing that damage in the first place is the best way to reduce wrinkles. However, we don’t live in a perfect world and it’s good to know that there are effective products out there which don’t need to break the bank! Happy shopping!

You can read all the research on the Reviews.com website.

Posted in Beauty, Best Deals

Apricot and Almond Cake

Image result for apricot and almond cake

I love this combination of flavours and quite often make a tart (see Apricot and Almond tart) but I always feel anything made with pastry has way too many calories! I found this recipe on the Asda website which is basically the same but without the pastry. The addition of Almond essence really enhances the flavour.

Ingredients: (pre heat oven to 180c and grease a 23cm cake tin)

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 125g caster sugar
  • Few drops Asda Extra Special Almond Extract
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 100g self-raising flour, sifted
  • 75g ground almonds
  • 1 lemon, zest of
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 411g can apricots, drained
  • 50g whole blanched almonds

Method:

  • Beat the butter, sugar and almond extract together until light and creamy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding a spoonful of flour with the second one. Add the rest of the flour, the almonds, lemon zest and milk, and fold in gently.
  • Put the mixture in the cake tin and level the top. Arrange the drained apricots evenly on top, then put the almonds in between them.
  • Bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed in the middle.

Serve warm with creme fraiche, cream or custard

Posted in Cakes, Dinner Party, Food, Recipes

Braised Vegetables

braised vegetables:

I’m always looking for new ways to serve vegetables. We all need to eat more of them so it helps to be able to serve them in a variety of tasty ways, not just boiled or steamed! My new favourite way to cook vegetables is to braise them in stock. This works with pretty much any variety of vegetable but try to keep the size consistent.

Ingredients:

Selection of vegetables, for example carrots, leeks, asparagus, green beans

butter, olive oil

stock (chicken is lovely but vegetable bouillon works well for a non meat base)

Method:

Heat a dollop of butter and a glug of olive oil in a casserole dish or lidded frying pan over a medium to high heat. Add the vegetables and saute for 5 minutes until starting to colour. (Harder vegetables such as carrots and potatoes will take longer to cook so add them first, asparagus takes no time at all so add that a few minutes later)

Pour in enough stock to nearly cover the vegetables and leave to simmer with the lid on for 5 minutes. Check the harder vegetables are nearly cooked, if not leave for a few minutes longer.

Remove the lid and let the stock reduce slightly then serve.

You can serve this dish with anything but it works particularly well with roast meats and fish. I especially like it with my Chicken en Papillote recipe.

Posted in Dinner Party, Family Meals, Food, Recipes, Sides

Decaso French Style Bedroom

One can have a chandelier in a cottage if one Follows the Golden rule: Chandeliers can be hung low IF one Remembers to put a piece of furniture UNDERNEATH.:

I love French style, especially the elegance of Louis XIV which works beautifully in a bedroom. My ideal room would combine the ostentatious glamour of antique furniture with a charming, country style property as illustrated in the room above.  If money were no object I would be purchasing some beautiful antique pieces from DECASO (decaso.com), a new site showcasing a fantastic collection of curated furniture, art and accessories from around the world. I have chosen some items to create my ideal French Style Bedroom! Click on the images to go to DECASO.

  • Carved Bed

Image of Carved Italian Venetian Bed by Randy Esada Designs:

  • Aubusson Rug

Image of Aubusson Rug:

  • Carved Pedestal Table

Image of Swedish Center Table with Carved Pedestal:

  • Chandelier

Image of Charming, Italian Chandelier from Genoa:

  • Gilded Armchair

Image of Fine Venetian Rococo Arm Chair:

  • Neoclassical Chest of Drawers

Image of Neoclassical Chest of Drawers with Frieze of Interlocking Rings (#61-02):

  • Chinoiserie Console Table

Image of Chinoiserie Decorated Console Table with a Drawer:

  • French panoramic Painting

Image of Amazing 9'8" Original Antique French Panoramic Oil Painting on Linen:

For more ideas see my Pinterest Boards or my Houzz Ideabooks.

Posted in Design, Home, Interiors

Salmon, Quinoa, Mango and Feta Salad

Image: Salmon, mango, avocado and feta salad:

Every now and again I find a recipe which my whole family loves, it’s actually harder than it sounds; pleasing 5 very different tastes! This one from Sainsbury’s definitely fits the bill, everyone raved about it, even picky middle child had seconds and super healthy number 3 child took the leftovers for lunch the next day….result!

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 200g quinoa (I cheated with 2 x 250 g ready-made quinoa)
  • 2 limes, 1 zested and juiced and 1 juiced
  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
  • 250g ready-prepared mango, chopped into smaller pieces
  • 198g tin sweetcorn, drained
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 28g fresh coriander, finely chopped (I left this out for picky middle child!)
  • 260g salmon fillets
  • 1 avocado
  • 40g feta, crumbled

Method

  1. Rinse and cook the quinoa according to the instructions on the packet, then drain and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the quinoa with the lime zest and juice, 1 tbsp olive oil and seasoning. Add the mango to the quinoa and season.
  3. Tip the sweetcorn and spring onions into the bowl with the quinoa. Add the chilli and toss it all together with seasoning and the coriander, reserving some to garnish.
  4. Heat the remaining olive oil in a pan and add the salmon, skin-side down. Season and cook for 8-10 minutes or until cooked through, flipping halfway. (You could also roast the salmon in the oven for 20 mins at 180c, I like to do this skin down on foil which then neatly removes the skin). Cut the avocado into pieces and stir through the quinoa.
  5. Flake the salmon through the salad with the avocado and garnish with the remaining coriander and crumbled feta.
Posted in Family Meals, Fish, Food, Recipes, Salads

Salmon with Red Quinoa and Chilli Pak Choi

IMG_0047 (1)

Every now and again I find a recipe which the whole family loves! As there are 5 of us with very different tastes this is no mean feat, but this recipe fits the bill. We all love salmon and although one child doesn’t “do” stir fries and another doesn’t like ginger, this is sufficiently different for them not to notice! I found this recipe in Grazia magazine, courtesy of Alex Hely-Hutchinson but have adapted it slightly!

Ingredients (serves 4)

100g red quinoa (or cheat with 2 packs of ready prepared quinoa)

1 tbsp sesame oil

2 tbsp tamari soy sauce

2 tbsp honey

1 tsp freshly grated ginger

juice of 1 lime

4 salmon fillets

For the Chilli Pak Choi

2 tbsp sesame oil

4 spring onions, sliced

1 garlic clove, thinly sliced

1 red chilli, seeds removed, thinly sliced (leave seeds in if you like really spicy food!)

1 tsp freshly grated ginger

400 g pak choi

1 tbsp tamari soy sauce

1 tbsp fish sauce

Method (Preheat the oven to 200c)

  1. Cook the quinoa according to the packet instructions or heat the ready made packets in the microwave for 2 minutes.
  2. Combine the sesame oil, soy sauce, honey, ginger and lime. Put the salmon fillets onto a baking tray lined with foil (skin down if you don’t want the skin, up if you do!). Brush half the marinade all over and let sit for 15 mins. Bake for 15 mins in the oven.
  3. Pour the remaining marinade over the quinoa and stir.
  4. Warm the sesame oil in a wok or large frying pan over a medium high heat. Add the spring onions, garlic, chilli and ginger and cook for 2 mins than add the pak choi. Add a splash of water and cover with a lid or foil for a further 2 mins.
  5. Stir in the cooked quinoa and add the tamari and fish sauce to heat through.
  6. Divide the pak choi mixture onto 4 plates and top with the salmon fillets.

Posted in Adult Health, Dinner Party, Family Meals, Fish, Food, Health, Kids Health, Recipes

Chicken, Orange and Mustard Pasta

15-minute chicken pasta:

This is a really tasty mid week supper or lunch dish, the combination of orange with wholegrain mustard really works! It’s also pretty low calorie!

Ingredients (serves 6)

400g pasta, Farfalle (Bows) looks pretty

1 onion, chopped small

3 large or 6 small chicken breasts, cut small

Handful of broccoli florets

Handful of green beans cut in half

Juice of 1 large or 2 small oranges

2 tbsps wholegrain mustard

2 tsps veg stock powder (Bouillon)

Method

  1. Put the pasta on to boil for 10-15 mins until al dente
  2. Fry the onion in olive oil until soft and then add in the chicken pieces, continue cooking until the chicken loses its’ pink centre
  3. Add in the broccoli and beans, cook for 5 mins, meanwhile mix the orange juice, mustard and Bouillon with about half a cup of hot water then add to the pan.
  4. Drain the pasta and add to the chicken, stir to cover with sauce, adjust the seasoning if necessary and serve

Posted in Adult Health, Family Meals, Food, Health, One Pot Meals, Recipes, Weight Loss

Mushroom Stroganoff

I love my Delia Smith recipe for Pork Stroganoff with Three Mustards, but when I am short on time or want a vegetarian option, then this is my go to recipe: Mushroom Stroganoff. It is so easy and quick to make plus super tasty.

 Ingredients (serves 6):

1 onion, chopped small

1 clove garlic, chopped small

600g mushrooms (whatever variety you fancy), sliced

2 tsps Marigold Bouillon

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp Wholegrain mustard

300ml sour cream

600g rice (basmati, long grain or wild)

Method:

  1. Fry the onion and garlic in a little olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat for roughly 5 minutes until starting to colour.
  2. Add the sliced mushrooms and continue to fry, turning down the heat after 5 minutes then cook for a further 5 minutes.
  3. Dissolve the Bouillon powder in a cup of hot water and add the mustards, stir into the mushroom mixture.
  4. At this point you can leave the mixture until required so this could be made the day before or a few hours in advance for convenience. Reheat before continuing with the recipe.
  5. Turn down the heat and gently stir in the tub of sour cream.
  6. Serve with rice.
Posted in Dinner Party, Family Meals, Food, Recipes Tagged with: , , ,

15 Ways to use Binder Clips

Posted in Crafts, Home Improvement, How To, Money Saving Tips Tagged with: , , , , ,

Easter Lunch Menu

 

Menu:

Smoked Mackerel Pate
Roast Lamb with Garlic, Bay and Lemon
Apricot and Almond Tart

~

Smoked Mackerel Pate

Smoked Mackerel Pate:

4 Hot Smoked Mackerel fillets (skinless)

150g creme fraiche

150g cream cheese

Squeeze of lemon

Seasoning

 

  •  Put all the ingredients into a food processor or blender and combine, season to taste. You could add some horseradish or herbs for extra flavour. Serve with thinly cut brown or rye toast and butter.
~

Roast Lamb with Garlic,Bay and Lemon

Roast Lamb with Garlic, Bay and Lemon

Ingredients:

1.6kg leg of lamb
3 garlic cloves, halved plus 2 garlic bulbs
3 lemons
8 bay leaves
60ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
1kg potatoes, halved
20g butter
2 tbs shredded fresh parsley
300g frozen petits pois (cooked)

 

  1. Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Put the lamb on a board, rub a little olive oil all over the surface and season well. Pierce the skin 20 times with a small, sharp knife to make incisions about 2cm deep. Peel the garlic cloves and quarter them lengthways, pulling out any green bits. Peel some thick strips of zest off 1 of the lemons and cut them into 20 smaller strips, small enough to stuff into the incisions. Cut 4 of the bay leaves into similarly sized pieces. Push a piece of bay, a strip of lemon and a quarter piece of garlic into each incision.
  2. Put the lamb in a roasting tin, halve the garlic bulbs and put them beside the lamb. Quarter the remaining 2 lemons and put them beside the garlic. Add the potatoes, season around the lamb and tuck in the remaining bay leaves. Squeeze the juice from the zested lemon over the lamb and potatoes and add a good drizzle of olive oil.
  3. Roast for 1 hour 15 minutes for medium rare, 1 hour 30 minutes for medium and 1 hour 45 minutes for medium/well done. Rest for1/2 hour before carving. Lift the garlic and lemon out of the tin, then stir the parsley into the potatoes. Arrange everything on a platter to serve. Serve with the peas.
~

Apricot and Almond Tart

Apricot and Almond Tart:

1 pack sweet dessert pastry (Sainsbury’s)

100g butter

100g caster sugar

100g ground almonds

50g flour

2 eggs, beaten

1 tin apricot halves

This tart is so easy to make!

  1. Line a fluted dish with the pastry, you may not need it all.
  2. Combine the butter and sugar then add the almonds, flour and beaten eggs. Pour into the pastry tart.
  3. Press the apricot halves into the almond mixture and top with flaked almonds. Bake in a medium oven (170c) for 50 mins until firm and set.
  4. Serve warm with creme fraiche.
Posted in Family Meals, Fish, Food, Recipes Tagged with: , , ,

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