“It’s a Bundt!” My Big Fat Greek Wedding moment …

Coconut and Pecan Pound Cake

Last week on Instagram, I shared the fulfilment of a long-awaited dream: to make a Bundt cake, as per My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

Classic movie moment, classic cake, so I thought I’d share it on the blog!

In this case, a Coconut And Pecan Pound Cake, one of many recipes I can’t wait to try out in Relish, by new mama Daphne Oz (daughter of the famous Dr!).

Super-easy, as it turns out, to make (especially in a stand mixer! Cheating? I don’t think so …) and lovely when served fresh from the oven and covered with the still-warm glaze and a dusting of icing sugar.

The gorgeously sunny day and pot of Earl Grey alongside helped.

A quick mention about the pan (this one): I’ve got to say it’s outstanding: really solid, and, as such, less likely to burn your Bundt :)

Treat yourself!

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Patisserie Valerie – c’est magnifique!

Patisserie Valerie window display

When I lived around the corner from the original Patisserie Valerie in Soho, I often used to dive in for a hunk of the most AMAZING panettone – all year round! – and a bowl-sized cappuccino.

Now there are over 50 branches of “Pat Val’s” around the UK, with Parisienne-inspired decor and atmosphere that replicate the flagship really well.

And, oh, the cakes for special occasions – serving 10 or more (I think this one was about £30) …

Patisserie Valerie cake

Most dangerous deal of the moment? 4 slices of your chosen cake for £10!

All I can say is, if you’re passing, just say “Oui!”.

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6 healthier treats for when you’re craving something naughty!

When I’m super-craving something sweet or savoury in the ‘naughty’ department (think: crisps, ice cream etc.), here are some AMAZINGLY good alternatives which make me feel a bit better about diving in! :)

Oh, and some caffeine-free teas I’m pretty obsessed with, too!

So, in no particular order of scrumminess:

1.  Raspberry & AMOURetto Live Gourmet Yoghurt by The Collective.

Raspberry & AMOURetto Live Gourmet Yoghurt by The Collective.

Just discovered this – delicious, swirly, raspberry in a live natural yoghurt (= healthy points!). Read more.

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Lou’s Ridiculously Good Gluten-free Brownie recipe!

Lou's Awesome Gluten Free Brownie recipe

OK, so this post isn’t exactly IDEAL if (like me!) you’re on a mission to cut back on the sweet stuff post-Christmas! But, I PROMISE you, it’s worth it.

This is the text I got from Lou of Vintage home decor and gifts (she also makes AWESOME cakes), after I made an emergency New Year’s Eve request for a gluten-free brownie recipe I could make for my brother and his family, who were visiting the next morning, first thing (ouch).

My lovely sister-in-law has to eat gluten-free and is an AMAZING baker (so, no pressure. Not that she was expecting anything, but after a 3 hour motorway journey in the rain, I thought she’d like something yummy along with a much-needed coffee and curl up on the sofa!).

I followed Lou’s directions to the letter – although the brownies needed a little more than 20 minutes in our oven – and they turned out a treat!!

The cranberries gave them a Christmas-y feel, but honestly, these would be delicious ANY. TIME.

When my brother called that evening to say they got home safely, my sister-in-law asked for the recipe (I nearly fainted).

In yesterday’s post, I said I’d be sharing more ideas from other bloggers, websites and experts here – from cooking to crafts, wellbeing to home organisation and LOTS more – so this makes the first! :)

Do check out, too, Lou’s new Little Vintage range, featuring adorable, customised children’s tees with beautiful appliqué designs!

PS: I know, why not show a photo of the brownies? Well, all that remained was a chocolate-y, cranberry-ish rubble by the time I thought to share the recipe.

OOPS! :)

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Chatting beauty, fashion and family travel with Becky of English Mum!

Just before schools broke up for summer (as in, yes, over 3 – maybe more, eek! – weeks ago), I did a podcast interview with the lovely (and very funny) Becky of English Mum on all things summer and her fab, much-loved food, travel and everything family blog.

That was before Becky set off with her hubby and two teen boys en famille on a French foodie vacance, during which she Tweeted, Instagramed and Facebooked their adventures (and made us all drool!).

I’d hoped to get our chat live before that, then during, but definitely before Becky set off on the Disney Cruise which she’s now on!

In the midst of the summer holiday spin, things got crazy and I also – somehow – managed to delete the start of our interview in the final edit (there’s a good reason why I don’t do much of the techy stuff at nonstopmama. At all.).

So, I thought I should share Becky’s great tips, tricks, recommendations and links while we’re in the last weeks of summer and she’s still on her hols!

As she often travels with her family for work, I was super-keen to know how Becky gets organised with packing and prepping. Her secret? A master checklist, edited as a computer spreadsheet (which you can download here at English Mum – hoorah! – to use for your next break, or as a basis for your own).

Becky (sanely) tries to avoid doing laundry on hols but, when she needs to, she told me she LOVES Dr Bronner’s All-In-One Magic Soaps, which are also a big hit with beauty insiders.

Sun protection-wise, she’s all about making sure her crew are well shielded from the rays and, having tested lots of lotions for her blog, those which come out on top include Hawaaiin Tropic (we agreed, you can’t beat that Eighties-evocative smell!) …

 

… she’s also a fan of Uvistat and the P20 range, which works for up to 10 hours and, hence, should only need to be applied once for day-long protection (more here!).

Becky’s summer bronzing make-up must-have? The total classic, BeneFit Hoola!

She’s also a lip balm aficionado, preferring a slick of balm to lipstick – Carmex is a fave – and recently discovered Clarins’ BB Skin Perfecting Cream SPF25 …

… although she admits she’d love it even more if it came in a fairer shade (we’ve tried this new tinted base at nonstopmama and ♥ it too! Great for everyday cover and colour, with decent daily sun protection).

Becky also loves Clarins’ mascara, and, skincare-wise, has been loving Dior’s Hydra Life Sorbet Creme …

Style-wise, I’m not believing Becky when she says that, wearing heels, she looks like a ‘giraffe on roller-skates’ ( :) ), preferring flats!

She also told me that she LOVES Gap and has a bit of a thing this summer for their bright tops and basics (something which she’s shared with her friend and fellow blogger, the lovely Amanda of Online Stylist).

There are lots in the summer Gap sale right now …

Of course, I had to ask Becky for her summer family meal favourites!

While her boys love wraps – and she loves their simplicity – among her top, crowd-pleasing meals are her Roasted Vegetable and Barbecue Chicken Skewers (which look totally. yum!!), this Buttermilk Jerk Chicken dish and these Fresh Sardines with Gremolata Dressing, which all look as healthy as they are delicious!

This summer, she’s also been experimenting with Tapas, including these scrummy-looking Spicy Garlic Prawns

My HUGE thanks to Becky for chatting to nonstopmama!!

See all Becky’s fabulous family recipes, travel tales and LOTS more at English Mum!

In the meantime, you can keep up to date with her adventures on deck with Disney on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest!

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    Jenni Baden HowardI'm a London girl now living on the South Coast of England with my family. Love the beach & keep meaning to run on it. Magazine writer. Never knowingly under-bronzed. More.

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