DIY: Rustic Planter.

Back when I posted the gallery wall update post (here.) I added a little list at the bottom, a list of things in the living room left to do. Well, today i’m tackling one of those things. Filling the bottom shelves of the TV unit.

On one side, I’ve placed a lantern that was originally in the kitchen….

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Lovely. And on the other side.. I thought I’d add some greenery in the form of an artificial plant filled plant box. Something simple, something cheap and most importantly…Something that can be DIY-ed.

Here’s what I used:

– Plank of wood. 2 depending on how big you want your planter. – I’ll explain the measurements I chose further down.

– Stain/paint. I went with a lovely rich and dark stain.

– Wood glue. This depends solely on wether your using the next thing.

– Corner brackets. If you’re not using these, skip the wood glue and screw your box together.

-MDF base, i used some leftover 1/4″ MDF

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And here’s what I did.

First, lets talk measurements. I picked up artificial plants from IKEA a few weeks ago, I already knew these where being used for this project. So I shoved them together, setting them out how i would in the planter and measured the area around them. In doing this I ended up with a box that was 36cm in length, 10cm length and 10 cm in height. It doesn’t sound big – because it isn’t. But it fits perfectly in the area. So firstly, I’d decide where you want your planter and plan your measurements from there.

So next, onto the actual building. First, sam took out his mitre saw and chopped the plan of wood i had marked out measurements on.  We (Sam) decided it would look so much neater if we (he) cut the joints at an angle to fit together rather than just slotting two straight pieces against each other.  He was right, it does.

Once the wood had been cut (including the base) I got out the wood glue and stuck those corners together. It isn’t the easiest, you do have to hold each corner for a little while until the glue has started to stick. But once they stand on their own just leave the whole thing to dry for a few hours.


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The next thing I did was actually a little silly. What I should have done prior to that last step, is build up the planter around the base, sticking them all together. I however forgot about the base, and so I had to put glue round the edges and slot it down and into the bottom. It got a bit messy. Don’t make my mistake, glue the planter around the base and leave the whole thing to set.

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So, one my planter was made and the glue had dried, it was time to pain, or in my case stain. I wanted to keep my planter very simple. Of course there is nothing stopping you painting it any colour you fancy, decorate it with anything you can get your hands on. But I wanted simple and so I chose the ikea dark stain. ITs a fantastic colour and it brings out the grain beautifully. Two coats of that and leave it to dry.

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Now, its time to add my corner brackets. As I stated earlier, if you aren’t using corner brackets (all though you should really re-consider, there are some gorgeous ones about!) you shouldn’t use glue. I used it because the whole frame would have extra support from the brackets. Without the glue would be too flimsy, so use screws. Anyway, first Sam (I’m awful with a drill, but I am working on it! ha) drilled a few little pre-holes..

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And then using a screwdriver I fixed the brackets to the planter.

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And thats it, my DIY rustic planter was finished! All that was a left to do was to pop in those plants.

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It really finishes off the TV unit beautifully, I’m glad to have those bottom shelves finished.

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So, back to my list, here’s what I still have left to do in the living room:

  • Fit magnet catch -ers to the TV unit doors. (2/3 so far, I’m expecting to have it finished by Christmas.)
  • Replace the skirting board. (Fit, calk and paint them)
  • Replace the door frames. (Same as above.)
  • Repaint both doors.
  • Fit new plate over high plug socket near the sofa.
  • Make/Buy radiator cover. – We haven’t decided yet, our radiators are ridiculously high, so ‘standard’ covers don’t fit.
  • Make/buy cushions for the sofa – It already holds 11, but it just isn’t enough! I NEED MORE!
  • Find something to go on both the bottom shelves of the TV unit.
  • Replace back door. (This is a way way down the line project for when we actually own the house *still in deposit saving phase*)



The little woman pretends.






Homemade crumpets.

I for some reason, always thought crumpets where super hard to make. I had no idea what they where made from, what made them have all those little pockets ready for filling with silky melted butter. *Drool* If you can’t tell they’re one of my favourite things.

Food wise on the blog at the minute, I seem to be going back to basics, and so following on from last weeks super simple yorkshire pudding recipe, and after spending the last week trying out different ways of making them, I’ve finally found the best recipe in the form of Paul hollywoods version. So I  thought i’d pass it on with a few tiny tweaks to make them the best crumpets in the  WORLD!

So, here’s what you’ll need (and I think you’ll be very surprised!)

175g strong white flour (bread making flour)

175g plain flour

350ml milk

14g fast acting yeast (2x 7g sachets)

1 tsp caster sugar

150–-200ml tepid water

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp salt

Sunflower oil for cooking

*You’ll also need a frying pan or griddle and either the very specific crumpet rings OR cookie cutters. They’ve got to be quite big and if you can get more than one in the same size, even better.  Also, an electric whisk isn’t essential, but use one if you can, your arms will thank you later*

These quantities will make roughly 10 – 12 crumpets depending on your ring size.

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And here’s what you’ll need to do:

First, make sure you start at least an 60-90minutes before you want to eat them. The yeast needs time to react with the sugar/flour/milk and again, that mixture needs to react with the water/bicarb. Making crumpets is basically science.


So, the real first step. Combine both flours and dried yeast in a bowl.

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Next you need to warm your milk up a little bit (it reacts better with the yeast that way!) I popped mine in the microwave for 40 seconds, sound like a lot bit it is quite a lot of fridge cold milk to heat up. You don’t want it hot, just warm. Once you’ve done that you can pour in your caster sugar. Give it a quick stir before pouring over your flour/yeast.


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Now this is where you’ll be better of with an electric whisk. The whole thing needs a really good mix up, for a good ten minutes. You want smooth, completely lump free, elasticky batter. You want it like a glue, not solid enough to make a dough ball, but not a runny liquid either.

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Then its time to prove. I’ve found the best way to do this is to pop your oven on low whilst your doing the last step. Then when it comes to proving, turn the oven off, put a damp tea-towel over the bowl with your mix in and pop the whole thing in the oven on the bottom shelf. Close the door and leave for a good hour.

Now, unfortunately I was so eager to see how big my dough had gotten, I was slightly clumsy when taking the bowl back out of the oven and I accidentally knocked it. Knocking all the air out. This made no difference to the recipe (its about to be mixed up anyway.) But you can see by the ‘tide line’ just how big it grew!

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Anyway. Next, pour your bicarbonate of soda  and salt into your tepid water, giving a good mix, before pouring that over your dough.

Again, nows a good time to have an electric whisk to hand, because you want to really mix it all up again. This time it’ll turn into a batter, if you spooned some up, you’d want it as a nice droppable consistency, but again not too runny. A bit thicker than a pancake batter. Once thats done, you’ll need to leave it again for 20 minutes or so. You’ll notice as it stands lots of little bubbles will form over the top – This is where the science bit crops up again, Its all to do with a reaction between the bicarbonate of soda, salt, yeast – I actually I have no idea, but i’m guessing its something to do with that.

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Now its time to get cooking! you need a rough tablespoon of oil in a frying pan and put on a low heat – slow and steady is the best way to cook these. Using a bit of kitchen roll or (clean) tea-towel and some sunflower oil, grease up those crumpet rings/ or in my case – biscuit cutters. And pop them in your pan. Now, scoop roughly 2 tablespoons of your batter into each ring. A good rule for this is the thicker you make them the longer they take to cook. The batter does rise, so about 3cm worth of batter, will give a good thick crumpet, without it taking 20 minutes to cook!

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You can tell your crumpet is ready to flip over, because the top will have developed lots of holes and the liquid now almost dry to touch. You can speed this process up a little bit by pricking the holes as they’re bubbling with a sharp knife. When you have pulled the crumpet ring/cookie cutter off *This part is the reason why they need to be well oiled before batter goes in!* You can flip your crumpet and cook for another minute.

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And thats it, your homemade crumpet is done!

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Slather on some butter, and enjoy the fruits of your labour. It is quite a lengthy process, but I think you’ll definitely agree – one that needs to be done every now and again. Freshly made crumpets really are something else.

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Your crumpets can be made in advanced and frozen. Just leave out the night before you want them, toasting them when you’re ready to eat. Homemade crumpets for breakfast – Yes please!

So, thats how you do it. The art of perfect crumpet making. As always, if you have a go don’t forget to take a photo and tag me over on instagram (@thelittlewomanpretends)



The little woman pretends.

No zip cushion tutorial.

Its no secret that I love cushions. I just do! My style is kind of neutral, I like calm, relaxed, clean. BUT when it comes to cushions, I like the boost of personality, textures, colours, patterns that cushions will give a room. Hence why I’ve got so many of them. Anyway, we got a new sofa a couple of months ago. I already replaced the *lovely* floral cushions – they’re not horrible, just not my taste –  with some cooler, more varied ones from H&M home – which btw, if you haven’t had a look in their homeware section, go. now. – well, once you’ve finished my blog post. So much beauty and their prices are ridiculously low.



Anyway, back to the blog post. Cushions, I’ve bought them all so far, But having free reign of fabrics, convinced me to make some up. And honestly, when they’re as easy as your about to see, you’ll probably only make them all,  buying ones you really ‘need‘ too – because some cushions are too beautiful to just leave in the shop. The best thing about these particular cushions, they are fab for beginner sew-ist – totally invented term for the newbies-. There’s no zips, buttons, velcro. Nothing daffy about them at all. You can’t really do it wrong, so I think they’re definitely a good motivation if you’re lacking in sewing mojo.

So cracking on. Here’s what you’ll need:


  • fabric, for an average scatter cushion, 1/2 a metre will do perfectly.
  • fabric scissors.
  • dressmakers pins.
  • dressmakers tape measure.
  • cushion to fill once its finished.



And here’s what you need to do:


First, grab your fabric, we need to cut out the right size, the entire cushion will be one continues piece of fabric. I’ve drawn up a little something to give you an idea of what it should look like.



My fabric dimension are 38 1/2″ length (16″ cushion F + 16″ cushion B + 6″ flap + 1/2″) x 18 1/2″ wide  this includes seem allowance  of 1/2″



First, overlock the top and bottom edge of your fabric, – If you don’t have an overlocker, pinking shears are fine, if you don’t have either, the double fold method I have a post on here will work as well.



Now, you want to set your fabric pattern side down. The way its being constructed, the pattern needs to be on the inside – then when you turn it out, all seams are hidden. So, once thats done turn the top down 3 inches and pin the sides.



Now, go to the bottom and turn it over 1/2″ pinning and then sewing to secure.



Then, fold the bottom, up to the top. Take out one of the side pins (carefully) place the folded over fabric from the bottom and re-pin. Tack your pins all the way down, then do the same to the other side.




Now its time to sew. Run a straight stitch down either side – remembering your backstitch to secure.-



And finish off with the overlocker.



Finally, turn out. Run over it with an iron for crisp edges.



You can now pop your cushion in. Wedge the bottom of your cushion, under your flap to keep it all looking nice and neat.



Your no zip cushion is done!




I also made up the stags head one, the fabric was just too pretty to leave behind!  So, thats two cushion-less spaces filled, but I’ve still a fair few left. So i’ve put together a little wish list of dreamboat cushions -told you I was obsessed!- that i’ll be trying to get my hands on soon.



Red diamond print cushion – Yorkshire linen company £10.99

Feather – Etsy £14

Mustard- Tesco  £12.99

Black/copper – Freemans £22

White & black diamond – H&M  £6.99

Blue/green pattern – Etsy  £22

White embroidery – ZaraHome  £19.99

Teal pattern – Society 6   £14

Navy floral – Marks & Spencer  £19.50

As you can tell, i’m all about the colour in the living room. the great thing about adding colour with textiles, is that they can easily be changed, combined with new colours and moved around to give a whole new vibe for very little cost.

Don’t forget to give me a tag on insta (@thelittlewomanpretends) if you have a go. I’d love to see!


The little woman pretends.

*collaborated post*





Homemade Yorkshire puddings.

I was supposed to get this up last weekend, but I forgot. Anyway, its here now and so you’ll never ever have to buy frozen Yorkshire puddings again. *Horraay*

So cracking on with the worlds easiest recipe.

Here’s what you’ll need:

130ml of milk – Whole milk works best I think.

3 eggs

200 – 220g plain flour. – very important that its plain, or you essentially end up with very plain, weird muffins. *Also theres extra flour because this recipe relys on texture. Eggs vary in size, which means theres more liquid sometimes than others. The extra flour is used if you need to thicken it up a little.

Seasoning- I use pinch of salt, pepper and throw in some chopped fresh rosemary from time to time.

Yorkshire pudding tray. – These are actually a lot more shallow than a basic cupcake tray, you can use either. but for best results. use a more shallow tray specifically for yorkshire puddings e.g here.



And here’s what you do.


First, pour your milk, eggs and flour into a bowl and whisk together. For best results, use an electric whisk. you can really froth that mixture up – its not essential, but it does give better results.


Next, season and pour your pudding mixture into a jug and pop in the fridge. Its very important that when it comes to cooking your pudding mixture is as cold as it can be, so, make up your mixture a good hour before you need it, giving it plenty of time to chill in the fridge.


When its time to make them puddings up, pop a teaspoon of oil (dripping is best, but not something everyone always has stocked) into each section of your tray and pop the tray, in the oven on the top shelf at it’s highest temperature. Leave for at least five minutes, but keep an eye on it, you want your oil to be so hot it starts to smoke, but not so hot it’s going to start a fire.



Once your oil is sizzling hot, pour a big lug of your yorkshire pudding mixture into each section of your tray and very quickly put the tray back in the oven. turn it down a little bit as well, you don’t want burnt tops.



Your puddings will take about 15-20 minutes to be fully cooked, keep any eye on them but don’t open the oven until you know they’re ready. You’ll let heat out and your puddings will sag… and nobody wants saggy puddings.

So, once you know they’re done. take them out, let them cool down for a minute or so… And stuff with roast beef and gravy! *ohmygoddelcious* Or because they aren’t only for eating on sundays, pop them on the side of sausage and mash, or cottage pie. Basically anything with gravy. – I’m so northern its ridiculous!




So there you have it, the easiest and most delicious homemade Yorkshire pudding recipe! I’d love to see your attempts, tag me in your photos (instagram) @thelittlewomanpretends



The little woman pretends.


Outdoor living: prettying up the decking.

Roughly one year ago Sam asked me what I wanted for our anniversary, being super practical and of course a great lover of all things Interior design – though this is technically exterior-, I asked for decking in the back garden.  Anyway, I got what I asked for, Sam worked tirelessly for two days getting it up – a process that went a little like this…


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And seen as though I seem to be obsessed with Before & After pics at the minute, here’s on of those too!



Well, its a year on and the deck is still looking lovely, but actually maybe a little bit basic. All garden funds last year were spent on the decking and new dining area, so it got left as it was – though its still so much better than it started!

Anyway, Summer is back, Garden work can resume, and i’m wanting to fancy up that little area a bit this year. I found some gorgeous garden inspo via Homify.



And scoured the web for any garden related potential purchases. The first buy will be a gas BBQ, our coal one has to be dragged to the back of the garden every time we use it, NOT practical. We’ve decided on the premium 4 burner gas bbq with side hob. (Argos.) Its on sale and you get 25% off a protective cover – Big mistake we made with our coal BBQ , was leaving it uncovered for winter after winter. Its quite the bargain.

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Another thing I really want is a pergola over the dining table. After the monster build that was the TV unit, i’m having to really convince sam to get his tools back out. I just want to hang festoon lights from it, I really fell in love with this little set up in Ikea.



And the rest is just decoration.



Hanging star tea light holder : £2.99, Homebase.

Hanging lantern : £10, TKMAXX

Bird house: £6, Sainsburys

Festoon lights: £19.99, Amazon

Artificial tree: £35, Ikea

Large clay plant pot: £20, Amara living. 

Stags head: £13.26, Jardinitis

Solar floor lamp: £16, Ikea

Chalk board design: Catinacricco

I love the everything about this mood board. Its surprisingly modern, not usually my taste, but we live in a terraced house in quite a busy city, as much as i’d love a quaint english garden, I’d rather create a fitting spot realistic to our surroundings. The rest of the garden has been taken over by the kids, so it’ll be nice to have a ‘grown-up’ zone out there. If you have me on Instagram, you’ll see I’ve already started buying some little bits. I absolutely love the outdoor chalkboard art, so i’ll hopefully have an exciting tutorial up over the next couple of weeks on something similar.


So thats my plan for the decking are. I’ll be back with an update in a few weeks.



The little woman pretends.


 * This post was in collaboration with Homify. *

Ticking my way through the to do list.

The living room was never actually the worst room in the house, but it seems to be the room that has had the most work put in, especially over the past few months. I realised though, that i’ve never actually put up any before and afters of the lounge, or any other room in the house. So I thought I’d start today. This week I ticked off another ‘to-do’ on that big ‘ol list of mine. wall art above the sofa.



I really wanted some massive frames filled with something beautiful, but because I’m so ridiculously fussy and a complete cheapskate, I couldn’t find anything good enough, mainly though because it was going to be such a massive piece I couldn’t find anything perfect enough to be blown up so big. Anyway, so I went back to basics, deciding to just get that gallery wall put back up. Before we started work on the TV unit, the frames sat on the back wall.

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I originally didn’t want it put back up after all the re-decorating, because I thought it looked way to busy, turns out I just didn’t like the black frames, soo… cheap and easy way to change it all? I sprayed them white – apart from three which I thought would look fab in a metallic gold-. I spent a good few hours replacing photographs, and then I copied the exact same layout as before and got them all up.

As much as I did want a big piece of art up there (and maybe I still will, once i’ve found ‘the one’) I love the big injection of our family personality that the photographs have given to the room. It is after all, a family home.




So, now that I finished that job, its all looking a little bit more finished. As I said earlier I haven’t yet shared any before and afters. We moved in here in Nov 2013 after spending a month decorating as much as we could. I’ve searched high and low for some photographs, they aren’t at all the best quality… but they give you an idea of what we started with.








Still left to do in the living room:

  • Fit magnet catch -ers to the TV unit doors.
  • Replace the skirting board. (Fit, calk and paint them)
  • Replace the door frames. (Same as above.)
  • Repaint both doors.
  • Fit new plate over high plug socket near the sofa.
  • Make/Buy radiator cover. – We haven’t decided yet, our radiators are ridiculously high, so ‘standard’ covers don’t fit.
  • Make/buy cushions for the sofa – It already holds 11, but it just isn’t enough! I NEED MORE!
  • Find something to go on both the bottom shelves of the TV unit.
  • Replace back door. (This is a way way down the line project for when we actually own the house *still in deposit saving phase*)


Thats quite a list, but you know how much I love a good project!



Te little woman pretends.

A week of Lean in 15.

The headline might be slightly misleading, I enjoy carbs. A life without bread and cheese, isn’t one I want to be a part of. But I have been putting in a whole load of effort in at the gym recently and so I wanted to maybe cut down on those foods that are preventing me from seeing results. Breakfast and lunch most days are the same, porridge, peanut butter on toast, poached/boiled eggs. And I’m not really much of an eater during the day. The evening however is a whole other story.  Dinner is usually whatever I can A) be bothered making and B) hits the spot for whatever craving I’m having. And once the kids are in bed, the chocolate drawer is always raided.

If you haven’t heard of ‘The boy coach’ yet (where on earth have you been?!) he’s the guy that has hair like John snow & throws his food into pots and pans in his videos. The title of the book describes pretty blatantly what it does. For me the point of trying a week of lean in 15, was to healthy up our evening meal, thats the problem meal for me. I wanted something packed with veg, something that would sustain us all through the rest of the evening and something that would skip those bloaty carbs. I didn’t stick completely to ‘The body coach’ s recipes, with two young children, its important for them to have carbs, so for example On Monday, with Beef stroganoff… I added rice. Steamed new potatoes added on Thursday. Ect. Nothing too bad and not too much.



So, here’s how it went:


Monday: Beef Stroganoff. 

This, I think, is my favourite recipe of the week. Its quick – not 15 minutes quick though – its easy to make and tastes SO good. There aren’t too many ingredients and everything can be found in any supermarket. Big thumbs up from the rest of the family and  actually, this recipe is something I’m going to continue making.



Tuesday: Chicken BBQ wraps. 

Easy to make, very easy to make. I grilled my chicken on the George foreman for a ‘lil extra healthiness, the BBQ sauce turned out great, and again not expensive for ingredients –  although I didn’t add the black eyes peas. Overall, I just didn’t like it. It wasn’t horrible, I was starving so I still ate it. But it just didn’t satisfy me at all. Big thumbs up from everyone else though.



Wednesday: Pasta meatballs. 

Loved this! Turkey meatballs are the future! I didn’t use fresh tagliatelle, I didn’t have the time, ‘nor the energy to make up some fresh pasta – so Asda dried pasta had to do. Regardless, it was lovely and the extra boost of goodness from the spinach mixed in went down really well with the girls who don’t usually touch it. The only thing I would add, is around 150ml of beef stock for an extra boost of flavour. I know it probably ‘un-leans’ it slightly, but turkey meatballs instead of fatty beef balances it out. *I did add a sprinkle of parmesan, I love Italian food too much to not add some. only a little teeny tiny bit though*



Thursday: Oaty chicken. 

This was actually the first ‘Body coach’ recipe I spotted, it had fab reviews – as did the rest of the book- So I had high hopes. My honest opinion? I didnt like it, but this could have been partly my fault. I didnt flatten the chicken breast enough so it cooked the outside WAY quicker than the inside, I had to finish it off in the oven. However, I followed the rest of the instructions perfectly and it just didnt work for me, the oaty crust was so dry. I added a side of seasoned new potatoes and peas, but it actually needed some sort of sauce. I wouldn’t make it again.



Friday: Joe’s sweet potato cottage pie. 

I picked this as one of my recipes, because it isn’t that much different to the cottage pie I usually make, but I was intrigued by the additional vegetables packed in. Sam *hates* courgette. He had no idea how much was packed in to his dinner, the girls ate all of it too.  Massive success, although it really was missing a side of fresh yorkshire puddings.



Saturday: Lamb Koftas

I love greek food, absolutely love it. I was more than surprised with these, super easy to make and SO delicious. I grilled mine on the George foreman, they only take about 5 minutes (or less) that way. I paired them with Mediterranean rice, salad, feta and wholegrain pittas – The original recipe only had a greek side salad and after a busy day that really wasn’t enough for us all. But it was really nice, filling, and not difficult to make up. One of my new, super quick go to meals.



Sunday – (Actually switched this to Monday, Sundays are for roast dinners): Sweet potato with chilli.

Jacket potato topped with Chilli is one of the ultimates in comfort food. I wasn’t optimistic about switching the normal white fluffy potatoes, for sweet potato. Or switching the sour cream for plain yoghurt… and NO CHEESE! Anyway I gave it a shot and actually, it was delicious! It stuffed me, was really easy to whip up and it the chilli was so good. The only change for next time I make it?  Cheese. Always need cheese on chilli.



So, one whole week of the body coach’s ‘Lean in 15’ meals. Overall thoughts? I loved them! Well not all of them, but most of the recipes I’ve tried are fantastic, healthier alternative to what I would make anyway, no crap, just clean, nutritious, flavour filled home cooking. Three that really stood out for me was the stroganoff, Lamb koftas and the sweet potato with chilli. No packet or jar sauces, no standing over the hob for hours, quick, simple, but super tasty. Those will be making a regular appearance at our dinner table. And if your keen to have a try, those would be the ones I’d recommend. Its a fantastic recipe book, unfortunately finding his recipes online without signing up to something is a bit of a pain, but there are a ton of recipes in this book, desserts, snacks, the whole lot so it is worth the £7.




The little woman pretends.