Happy Wednesday, everyone!
Now here’s some great Christmas list inspiration – the sort of book any mama (or mama’s mama, girlfriend, daughter …) would LOVE to receive …
I am love, love, LOVING Life & Soul by Emma Forbes – TV and radio presenter and founder of the Forbes Style site – packed with ideas for entertaining to suit every occasion, and making the very most of every excuse to celebrate.
Helpfully, the book takes you through 12 themed gatherings, with recipes, fresh ideas and tips.
Emma tackles each celebration from start to finish – it’s all in the fun, lovely details – with infectious enthusiasm and flair, suggesting ways to create original invitations through to thoughtful, quirky ideas for going home goodies!
As Emma shows, some of the most effective ideas can be the most simple – from filling enormous glass vases and bowls with sweets such as Quality Street for guests to dive into (fab for a bonfire night party!) with their gorgeous, colourful wrappers shimmering, to using pretty ‘rick-rack’ trim to tie ‘take home’ birthday cake in napkins – and to suit all budgets. It’s all beautifully done.
To mark the launch of Emma’s new book, I thought we’d re-post the interview with did with her last summer here at nonstopmama. And don’t miss the book (I’m keeping ours locked down, such is it’s popularity with friends when they pop by!). You can order it at Amazon, or – if you’re quick off the mark – buy a signed copy at Forbes Style!
How did you come to be a TV and radio presenter?
I sort of fell into telly presenting – I had originally wanted to be a dancer, but gave it up due to injuries and because I wasn’t Darcy Bussell! The TV world was very exciting, with all the new channels, and I started to have a real passion for it. So I just wrote and wrote to people and the BBC were the people to give me a ‘break’, cooking on kids’ telly!
How do you manage the family/home/work juggle?
What helps me manage the ‘juggle’ of kids and work is a massive ‘to do’ list! I have been known to wake up in the night and add to it and I have endless Post-It notes with things to do on them – I can’t say it’s a hugely organised list, but it’s ongoing! I think, like all things, the juggle works sometimes and other times, if one child is sick or the slightest thing goes wrong, then it can all go pear-shaped very easily!
Food-wise, what helps you keep your energy levels up?
Nutritionally, I am a bit of a health food junkie – always the first to experiment with any new health food that comes out, flax seeds, you name it. I try to do healthy snacking or grazing – fruit, nuts and so on -but the odd Starbucks on route helps too, with a caffeine fix! I always, always eat breakfast – granola (I love Lizi’s organic granola), with flax seeds, blueberries and skimmed milk and roobosh tea. I always feel if I have eaten that it gives me the kick I need to get started. If I don’t eat breakfast, I would be crying by 11am …
What are your sneaky food weaknesses?
Carbs – ideally I would live off carbs – bread, pasta … I sometimes sneak in the odd cupcake (life’s too short without cupcakes). And chocolate I love, too. I feel if I eat Green and Blacks organic chocolate, it is somehow healthier for me!
Do you enjoy cooking?
I love cooking – I find it de-stressing. I know that sounds weird, but it helps me focus my thoughts, unwind and think about stuff. I guess I just don’t stress about it. I am a haphazard family cook – I tend to have little plan, buy what I like the look of and sort of hurl it together and hope it comes out ok! I get so tired of ‘fussy eaters’ – mine are great at eating, but they have friends over who tend to eat such limited food . So, as a quick and easy – but fun – thing for kids, I do what they call my ‘pasta bar’: I just boil up a huge bowl of some kind of pasta and then put out all sorts of little bowls with all different things in it – parmesan, chopped mozarella, olives, chopped carrots, tomatoes, chopped cooked bacon, you name it – and then they can add and make their own variation! A bit of olive oil and there you have it! There is always something in there that someone likes!
What about exercise?
Fitness-wise, I hate the gym. I have to be honest and say I would prefer it if I didn’t have to exercise, but I know I have to! I do yoga – more for relaxation and stretching than the exercise, and I power walk. I gets me outside and I stomp around a park and it feels good! I would love to try all sorts of things but have a bad back ,which means I can’t do things like spinning or Power Plate …
How would you describe your fashion style?
My fashion style is hard to pinpoint. I guess I am sort of classic with a modern twist! I don’t suit high fashion stuff, classic shapes tend to suit me better. I have my staples of endless black jackets – in different shapes! – t-shirts and jeans in varying styles. Day to day, that tends to be the look.
Any go-to favourites that always make you feel good?
I have a couple of things that are my feel good clothes – they are normally always something that my husband has bought me, as he has great taste and chooses me the clothes that last. I have a fab black coat I love and two dresses that I know even on a day when I feel fat and ugly will make me feel human!
What helps you stay on top of things at home – are you a neatnik or more relaxed about the chaos of family living?
Around the home, I am a bit of a neat freak – or a ‘faffer’ as someone named me. I love ‘faffing’ – sorting things out, drawers, you name it. I don’t mind chaos, but I like it then cleared away and get quite a lot of satisfaction from doing it. My kids, by and large, are pretty neat too – my rule is if you leave it on the floor tossed away, then you clearly don’t want it and I will give it to charity. It may sound harsh, but trust me, it works!! They are both pretty good at keeping things neat! Chaos is good, but I couldn’t sleep with chaos …
What are your get-glowing beauty tricks?
When it comes to beauty steadfasts, I am never far away from a tube of Eight Hour Cream, or Carmex for the lips and I love moisturiser. I would never go to bed without slapping on huge amounts of moisturiser – particularly as I get older. I try to be really careful in the sun, too. I always have factor 30 on my face and wonder why I come back from holidays so pale!
How do you unwind at the end of the day?
What helps me unwind is just chilling out with my family. I find that childrens’ laughter, tales of school and all the general stories make me laugh and take away from the mayhem and madness of the media career! I love watching a good movie – ideally a chick flick that makes me laugh and cry – good food, good friends and a hot bath and bed!