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Showing posts from November, 2018

Some Christmas Gift Ideas

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While I don't hold myself out to be any sort of expert in gift buying (I once bought my sister a packet of Pez for Christmas) I thought it might be helpful at this time of year to share a few ideas of gifts which have been well received.

Studio do a personalised bathrobe, for men, women and children, at just £7.99. It's not terrible quality for the price too. Last year almost everyone in our family ended up with one, and mine is still going strong.

Got a chocoholic friend  who's always on a diet? My "joke" gift this year is a hamper of chocolate-not-chocolate. It includes chocolate scented shower gel, lip balm, moisturiser, and a face mask, plus a small jigsaw puzzle of chocolate, a chocolate scented candle, and anything else I find between now and Christmas that's chocolate but not edible. (And because I'm not that cruel, the follow-up gift will be her favourite actual chocolate.)

If you've a whole family to buy for take out the hassle of figuring out…

What to take to Center Parcs

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I'm at Center Parcs in Elveden Forest as I write this, celebrating my daughter's 18th birthday. It's lovely - beautiful, peaceful, full of wildlife (I've seen a stoat, muntjac deer, a heron, rabbit, squirrels, moorhens, ducks, a jay, and various other birds) and comfortable and relaxing.

In this post I'm using my blog as a reminder to myself for next time, but also as a public service to anyone else heading to Center Parcs. Essentially it's a list of things they don't tell you to bring, but which you really need to bring. They supply the smallest quantities of the basic essentials, but not enough because they want to you to stock up at the extremely expensive ParcMarket.

Washing-up liquid. They give you ONE small sachet. They also give you three dishwasher tablets, but since our lodge only has six place settings' worth of crockery and cutlery we didn't use the dishwasher as we needed the plates.A tea towel or two. They supply one, but that gets wet …

My First Six Months as a Vegetarian

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I became a vegetarian on 23rd May 2018, a spur-of-the-moment decision prompted by a lobster. It's been interesting, and I have to say that I don't miss meat, and I wouldn't ever go back to eating it. There are many things I thought I'd miss, but don't - McDonald's burgers, roast dinners, bacon.

Having said that, there are a couple of things I'm a little wistful about:
Anchovies. I loved anchovies on my pizza or stuffed into olivesChinese food. Almost nothing available in a Chinese restaurant or takeaway is vegetarian. Prawn crackers have prawns in them (who knew?) and even seaweed has powdered fish sprinkled over the top. I really miss sweet and sour chicken balls, chicken with chilli and salt, and crispy shredded beef. I wish they would do these recipes with beancurd (which is, after all, a Chinese staple) so that I could enjoy them again, but I've yet to find a restaurant locally which does. (One of them explained why: apparently fresh beancurd has a …