Freedom Fridays – Let's Talk!

Harry was first through the hallowed doors of ‘Little Explorers’ this morning. Poor little lamb – no sooner than he’d woken, he was in his clothes, torn from the dramas of Bing Bunny and in that car. Mumma had a shed load of mum maintenance to get through today so it was a case of ‘off you pop my little love’. I barely got a second glance as he pounced on the train basket and got busy so a full, guilt-free day for me!

So Friday the 13th has fallen upon us again. Social media is flooded with warnings of impending doom both date-orientated and political. I am most certainly not going to get in to any kind of political debate nor catastrophise about bad luck coming my way. So what can we talk about? What are the safe options? My top three for this week’s Freedom Friday are three topics that make me happy to talk about.

Slow Cookers

This is my favourite topic of discussion today. How times have changed that my excitement levels are piqued by kitchen aids. Finally I can embrace all the posts that bombard twitter about what culinary wizardry people have whipped up in their slow cookers. Thanks to yesterday’s Morphy Richards delivery, I’ll be furiously searching the hashtags #slowcooker #yummy #slowcookermeals #foodporn #smughomecookeddinnermum. If all the conversations I’ve had regarding this kitchen implement are to be believed, my life will now be changed for the better. I’ll be woken by singing bluebirds (rather than a feral two year-old yelling for me), I’ll look ten years younger from not having to slave over a stove (not sure fishfinger sandwiches and snack pot Heinz beans age you but, hey – I’m hopeful) and we will sit and laugh as a family as Mumma joyfully fills our bellies with chicken and chorizo casserole.

My first attempt is on the go. I won’t lie, I had vision of just getting a load of ingredients, chucking them in the pot and then pressing the ‘feed us all in eight hours’ button. I’m not sure why my kitchen looks like a flour explosion. First there was the sealing of the flour-dipped meat, which to my dismay had to be done in a frying pan as the ‘sear’ aspect doesn’t blinkin’ work on induction hobs. Fabulous. Then it appears that the slow cooker doesn’t peel and chop your veg. Onions, carrots and peppers dutifully prepped they then went in the frying pan to soften – only the frying pan wasn’t deep enough so they were transferred to the wok. Fifteen minutes later, copious amounts of washing-up had been produced and peel, flour and paprika littered the work surface – but something resembling a casserole is in progress.

Therefore today, rather than the state of the nation – I will talk slow cookers to you till the cows come home. And when they get home, lets hope they too have a wholesome, heart-warming delight of a dinner waiting for them too.

What are you reading?

Let’s talk literature. I am so close to the end of my forty book challenge. I am reading number thirty-nine: ‘a re-read of a favourite book’ and have ‘a re-telling of a classic’ to go. This year I’ve tried to go back to reading real-life books to limit my screen time. Only then I go and start a blog, with all the social media engagement that entails, therefore doubling my screen-time and giving me less time to delve in to a book. Still – I’m proud of the diverse and frankly random range of texts I’ve consumed and love nothing more than to chat to friends about what they’re currently digesting.

This is the one I’ve just finished thanks to a recommendation from the wonderful Emma. The main character is working through a break-up and working through some serious man-action as therapy of sorts. I loved the interactions between Queenie and her ‘corgis’ – their aptly named whatsapp group. Although humorous, you are also party to one woman’s anxiety and subsequent breakdown. Despite not having the issues Queenie faces as a black woman, I still found her character relatable having been a young woman growing up in London and despite her questionable choices found her endearing.

I’d definitely recommend this for the laughs and heartbreak. It’s certainly a complete contrast to my current read: The French Lieutenant’s Woman. By no means a favourite but a reread that feels very different this time round. I first read it for GCSE English at fifteen, a naive and green little Westcountry girl. It’s hard work but that golden FORTY is there winking at me so I’ll persevere.

Let’s talk… what are you reading right now? Do you have any superb suggestions for the new year? There’s a whole new PopSugar Challenge 2020 waiting for me!

Products

You’ll already have established that I’m on the high maintenance end of the spectrum. You can’t have broken sleep and tantrum wrangling at forty-two and not need a shed load of products to at least give you the misguided belief that you don’t look eighty.

I debated whether I’d rather talk about products or my other favourite topic: Aldi Special Buys. I’ve decided to give you a hybrid. I’m a sucker for advertising and a sucker for all things beautification. In my days of working and earning a wage, I was happy to splash out on the big boys of beauty. These days I’m a little more circumspect with my spending. So when Aldi completely rip off my favourite products and they’re all under a fiver – I’m in there like swimwear.

Take the Lacura face range. Everything about the wording, the labelling and the packaging of these special buys is Liz Earle. Even the smell of the products. These steals have revolutionised my cleansing regime. After a day with more than a smattering of make-up, I would always resort to a Simple facewipe. There is no surprise I would still wake up looking like Alice Cooper. Now – thanks to the lure of Lacura – I do the whole shebang. Cleanse, tone and moisturise. I’d love to say my skin looks younger, firmer, tighter- but the reality is it is just thoroughly clean and fresh.

Have you discovered any bargain products you’d recommend? Please – talk to me!

I hope this week’s top three have gone some way to distract you from all the talk of doom. Have a frolicking and festive weekend you fabulous followers. I’m off to sample the delights of the slow cooker. Wish me luck!

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