Very Berry Pavlova

A simple very berry pavlova jam packed with frozen raspberries and blackberries, thrifty but with no compromise on taste!



3 large egg whites
175g golden caster sugar
Large tub whipped cream
100g of mixed frozen blackberries and raspberries defrosted
One teaspoon golden caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees

For your meringue, place your egg whites in a large bowl and whisk until they form stiff peaks, you need to be able to turn the bowl upside down without the egg whites tipping out! Once at this stage stop whisking the egg whites will collapse

Whisk in the 175g sugar a tablespoon at a time, whisking until all the sugar is in.

Prepare a baking sheet with baking paper, spoon a third of the meringue mix on to the baking sheet and smooth out with a spoon to form a 6 inch circle

Take a large tablespoon of the remaining meringue mix and dollop next to the large circle spooning six smaller around the larger circle, this will form a ‘nest’ for the filling.

Put the baking sheet in the oven turning the heat down to 140 degrees and bake for an hour, then turn off the oven and leave the meringue in to cool and dry out.

Top with whipped cream with the berries gently swirled through, you can decorate with chocolate if desired.


Tasty Tuesdays on

Deckchair Stripe Lavender bags

I made some of these little lavender bags as a gift for my Mam; I’d booked a massage for her birthday and wanted her to have something relaxing to unwrap as I don’t like giving a gift token as a gift with nothing else, must be related to my wrapping paper obsession!

These are really easy to make up, if you have your own lavender plant as I do harvest the heads as they are drying at the end of their season, bundle and hang them together and then when they’re dry take the husks and store them in a dry place until you’re ready to use them. Stitch together two scraps of complementary fabrics insides facing, I liked a summery deckchair stripe, leaving a small gap to turn the right way round through, then fill with lavender and hand stitch the gap closed.


So satisfying seeing something from your own garden brought back to life!


Postcards from the City: UK Cityscapes

Postcards from the City, UK Cityscapes is a project being developed by local-to-me photographer Mandy Charlton; Mandy plans to document and photograph all 69 cities of the United Kingdom and inspire them to make bold moves in their lives. No project like this has been undertaken, whilst you will find lists of UK cities and regional tourist information no one person has produced a book featuring all 69 cities of the United Kingdom.

Mandy is undertaking a Crowdfunding route to financing the project “this initial funding will get me to many of the cities and as art is produced city by city I forsee that interest will continue to grow which will enable me to continue this to fruition. At the end of the project there will be a glorious photo book produced with all of the 69 cityscapes in accompanied by some of the adventures I’ve happened upon along the way.”

As you know, I often blog about mental health, Mandy blogs about her own mental health and reason for undertaking this project here – I think she’s taking an incredible step with this project both for herself and as an inspiration to others, in making a donation to Mind, and as well in documenting our great country; I love how she’s captured Newcastle, get involved to bring her to your city next!


Sunny yellow gardening

A spot of sunny yellow gardening this week, Nanna’s garden this time! Somehow I just knew it was a sunny yellow day and went for my favourite cardigan when I rummaged through my drawers!

I have a guest post with Mumsdays on mixing Toddler Art with Wildlife!


I had my brilliant helper out again, Joss is asking to go outside more and more, she is also showing her stubborn side when told that we are staying indoors, for example because she has no clothes on yet, her response to throwing a wobbler? “I’m not sorry!”


Five blog photo design tips for non-artistic types!

I wish I was artistic, I like to think I’m creative and have a good eye for design and colour, but I can’t draw for toffee and struggle in the execution of the masterpiece ideas I visualise in my head.

I bring you fellow non-artists five blog photo design tips — disclaimer — I am no expert but I have spent a month messing about with some failures but some successes too – just see this as something to get you thinking!


  • Inspiration

Take inspiration from setups that you really like. I absolutely adore flowers and this Red Magazine floral splash really caught my eye. Lots of rich colours, carefully chosen textures and playful shapes! This is my What’s The Story photo for this week, as I can’t stop looking at these two pages of this magazine!


  • Design cheats

So this is what you see…gosh doesn’t Ang have some cool wallpaper?!


…and what you don’t see! Just a big old piece of plywood and some cheap wrapping paper!


  • Colour

Create mood boards to experiment with colours, textures, backdrops and more, see how clashing colours work, pile stuff together, break them up, having that big bit of plywood helps as a base!


  • Themes

I love a nautical theme and it often creeps into my craft, I like to use props that reflect this theme, and we’ve a lot of beachy stuff around the house!


Look out for small bits and bobs from nature to add interest to your photos, like this little whale eraser that cost me a quid and often crops up in photos!


  • Props

Props can be anything, stuff you have around the house repurposed to add interest to your shots. Mix textures, colours, shapes and shade, here’s a selection that I use:

1) Huge fabric flower 2) LOVE lettering from our master bedroom 3) Dried craspedia heads 4) A noticeboard 5) Crochet cloths to add colour and texture just a quid each on Ebay 6) A string of vintage beads


This is a little setup in Joss’ room


And that wreath from our wedding day…


Frequently crops up in blog pics!


And finally, take your lead from the experts, check out magazines that you like and blogs that you like, and really look at their styling!

South Shields Summer – Well Sort of Summer

A birthday trip to be beach for turning two was in order this week, the start of our South Shields Summer (it’s our nearest beach, just 20 minutes away, lucky us!)

Daddy and Joss dashed to the water whilst I dealt with the pram and the sand!


We came across this fellow, I decided he looked angry (sadly he was an expired crab so maybe he was angry :( oh dear!)


But it was a good learning experience for Joss and she got to have a really good look at him, sorry poor crab!


Ok it’s not ‘sort of summer’ like I said in the title, it’s spring, but I love the coast too much to stay away and the icecream is too nice not to enjoy it in all seasons!

Infact this expression says ‘stricken’ – I’ve eaten this icecream really very quickly and have a spot of brain freeze, poor pet!


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

A birthday week

Real Life

It’s been a birthday kinda week this week, Joss turned two and we spent time with our extended families over the long weekend. A lot of cake was eaten, including these gorgeous cake pops that my parents made for Joss to share with her friends at our childminder’s house.

Then on the big day itself her Daddy and I took the day off and headed down to the Coast, probably our favourite place to be, a spot of sun, sea air and icecream! We found a birthday crab, exciting!





This week has also been crazy busy, I did two radio shows, not bad for someone who is terrified of public speaking, but the message was an important one, pre and postnatal mental health should be talked about, and we’re starting to do that in Newcastle, I just didn’t expect to do that with such a big audience!


Blog Life

Two weeks ago I started keeping a blog diary/notebook, it’s a beaut but the content has become important too!


I’ve started to keep a list of media contacts, short term ideas and longer term plans for the blog. Why am I being so organised? Well managing work and juggling home life leaves very little space for those random ideas that pop into my head to find a spot to stick, so this is it! Do you write notes and blog ideas? Any tips for keeping it together?


How’s this magazine spread for mad styling skills!? I kept coming back to this in Red Magazine, it’s inspired a post I’m blogging tomorrow about styling in blog photos.


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Washi Blog Notebook

A cheapy buff coloured notebook transformed with the use of washi tape; my washi blog notebook has come everywhere with me the past two weeks and I haven’t had bloggers block at all!


I love the sea, anything nautical themed just jumps out at me so these tapes and papers were inspired by a recent trip to the sea.



The notebook itself is divided into three sections, short term blog ideas, contacts and long term plans. I can scribble in it on the go and it’s proved a great source of inspiration over the last fortnight.

Do you keep a blog notebook with you? How do you use it?

Talking about depression

Talking about depression or mental health is really tough, the first time you talk about it emotions can take over, or fear of judgement can stop you. If you feel strong enough to keep talking eventually you start to care less about what people think and then the first time someone says they’ve felt the same or they understand it starts to click; the more people who open up the less we feel ashamed.

If I know I’m struggling I often think of Mr Chartwell, Rebecca Hunt’s brilliantly conceived of metaphor for Churchill’s depression, creeping Black Pat. She captures the weightyness so well:

‘I understand that we share a wicked union, and I know the goblin bell which summons you comes from a tomb in my heart. And I will honour my principles, labouring against the shadows you herald. I don’t blench from my burden, but -’ here he let out a deep breath, laying the glasses down gently – ‘it’s so demanding; it leaves me so very tired. It would be some small comfort to me if I could ask how long I must endure this visit. Please, when do you leave?’

“It’s hard to explain. With Churchill we know each other’s movements, so we have a routine, I guess. I like to be there when he wakes up in the morning. Sometimes I drape across his chest. That slows him down for a bit. And then I like to lie around in the corner of the room, crying out like I have terrible injuries. Sometimes I’ll burst out at him from behind some furniture and bark in his face. During meals I’ll squat near his plate and breathe over his food. I might lean on him too when he’s standing up, or hang off him in some way. I also make an effort to block out the sunlight whenever I can.”

See, heavy, painful, emotional.

I had this poster up in my old office, that stat 1 in 4 is an important one, it would be nice to see the ‘many more’ reduced.


This week I took another step in ‘talking about it’ – specifically my experience of postnatal depression and anxiety.

First off Hannah from Mumsdays blogged my two part birth story, then I was interviewed for BBC Radio Newcastle talking about PND and how men are affected (podcast here, I’m 37 minutes in) and the next day Metro Radio called me to ask me to give another interview which goes out tomorrow about the Support Group I’m setting up affilated with PANDAS foundation.

It wasn’t easy for someone who doesn’t really enjoy public speaking to open up so publicly about my experiences, hearing myself saying ‘I experienced postnatal depression’ and ‘I struggled with early motherhood’ was tough but if it helps just one other person to come to our support group or open up about how they’re feeling then that’s been a conversation worth having.

If you want to start to talk about PND and want somewhere to practice before you do it ‘in real life’ then the weekly #pndchat on twitter could be a really good starting point.

You will get mixed reactions, people might not know what to say, but voicing your feelings is an amazing step towards taking back some power, let’s keep the conversation going!

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