Wednesday, 25 April 2012

What I Wore Wednesday: NotBlondeHusband's birthday

Last week was NotBlondeHusband's birthday! The lucky birthday boy got two dinners out but I of course forgot to take a picture on his first night but I did manage to get him to take a photo on his actual birthday before we went to Scott's in Troon. If you've not been before and you are in Ayrshire I totally recommend it as it has amazing views of the harbour.

I'm still in a bit of a funk so I focused more on my hair than anything else and attempted to try and make it something other than just straight and hanging there. The last time I used my curling tong I gave myself a nasty burn on my eyebrow so I'm pretty happy I ended up with sorta cute hair and no major injuries this time!

Ruffled Black Top- HM
The Flirt Jeans-Old Navy
Swarovski Tennis Bracelet
Black Sparkly Flats-Chinese Laundry

I've always really liked Holly Madison and Bridget Marquardt's hair where it is loosely curled at the ends so this is my vague attempt at that. Not perfect but not that bad!  I normally complain that NBH will only take one photo of me each week; well this week he went all paparazzi on me and the result is what you see below.

We had a really nice dinner out (a new Cars magazine, colour changing Ramón and iPhone apps thanks for entertaining Blondie Boy) and the birthday boy was even treated to a sparkling fountain in his Baked Alaska! I'm not sure which boy enjoyed it most!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Frankie & Benny's New Menu

I used to hold a major grudge against Frankie and Benny's after I had a bad experience at one at Stansted airport. I would straight up refuse to go there but now that we live less than two minutes from one I've let go of my grudge. The food has gotten a lot better and their new menu is no exception.

We went to check out the new menu a few weeks ago; the first thing you have to know is the portions are INSANE. Frankie and Benny's isn't actually an American restaurant (my MIL very sweetly took my Mom there after Blondie Boy was home because she thought she'd know it and was a bit embarrassed to learn it doesn't exist in the US) but the portions are giant American sized. NotBlondeHusband and I both had starters but we could easily have split one as neither of us finished our meals.  So what did we have:

Breadsticks and Cheese Dip
breadsticks cheese dip

calamari with marinara

We'd had the breadsticks before and they did not disappoint. We tend to get them because we know Blondie Boy can munch on them too since they are egg-free. I was really impressed with the calamari; it is really easy to mess up but this was light and fresh.


Kid's Margherita Pizza
kids cheese pizza

Chicken & Prawn Alfredo
prawn and chicken alfredo

Double Philly Stack
double philly stack burger
Bacon Cheese Fries
bacon cheese fries

Blondie Boy's main actually came out with our starters which from a Mom point of view is great. It means he can take his time (as toddlers do) and doesn't get frustrated that we are eating and he is not. The kid's pizza was huge; two children could easily split it.

Alfredo is my favourite pasta sauce and you don't really get it in the UK. While this version was not the sauce I was expecting it was still good and I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of prawns and chicken in the dish.

NotBlondeHusband isn't exactly a small guy and he could not finish his burger but really enjoyed what he could manage. It was huge as well! I think if we both knew how big portions were we'd have split or skipped starters all together.

I'm a glutton for punishment and fell for the card on the table advertising the new cheese fries-- I freaking love cheese fries (not the same as chips and cheese) and you don't really see them in the UK. They did not disappoint and the crispy bits of bacon were a nice touch; I really wish there had been ranch dressing to dip them in to complete the Americaness.

Vanilla Ice Cream

kids vanilla ice cream

NBH and I had no room for dessert but Blondie Boy's kid's meal included dessert so we decided to let him have a treat and try some ice-cream.  Frankie and Benny's passed the allergy test and the waiter brought me out the tub of ice cream to read the ingredients to double check there wasn't any egg in it. I'm always happy when servers go that extra bit to make sure something is egg-free.  He LOVED the treat and got a little bag of buttons we took home for later.

Frankie and Benny's menu has something for everyone and great value for money when it comes to portion sizes. Right now you can get £10 off the new menu with this voucher when you buy two or main courses! 

Transatlantic Blonde were provided vouchers for our meal but the opinions are our own.

Frankie & Benny's on Urbanspoon

Friday, 20 April 2012

I Hate Captcha aka 1-2-3 Tutorial to Turn Captcha Off

I always make a concerted effort to comment on every post that links up to What I Wore each week. I love doing it but I hate, hate, HATE Captcha. What's Captcha? It is that pain in the arse word verification thingy that is meant to stop spammers but really just annoys the shit out of everyone. 

Captcha is now on as default on new Blogger/Blogspot so a lot of bloggers don't even know they have it turned on or that it is annoying everyone (who does it not annoy?).

So here my friends is the world's easiest tutorial on how to turn word verification off on your Blogger/Blogspot Blog. Three Simple Steps:

turn off captcha
Click to enlarge
1) Go to Posts & Comments under Settings on your Blogger/Blogspot Dashboard
2) Choose "No" under Show Word Verification
3) Save Settings

See? It was easy right? Barely qualifies as a tutorial :)

So make it easier for your readers to comment on your blog and please turn off word verification. Blogger already streams off spam comments for captcha really doesn't' do anything other than annoy us all. Pinky swear!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

What I Wore Wednesday

If you read my 3 F's post it won't come as a shock to you that I don't have a photo of anything I wore this past week. Yesterday I wore my size bigger jeans and a man's sweater (too small for NBH but too big on me)--it's been dire y'all. I'm currently sitting with shampoo and Vitamin-C concoction to strip my hair so no last minute photo in that.

MAD Blog Awards 2012So this week here here is me from the MAD Blog Awards last year. Y'all were nice enough to nominate me last year and I had a great time attending the awards and rocking this amazing outfit from John Lewis.

If you like my blog and feel so obliged you can nominate it or any other eligible UK parenting blog until 5pm Friday; just enter in whatever category you choose. There are lots of categories to choose from but you do not have to nominate in them all. I'll leave it up to you to decide where I fit!

Black Diamante Shoes- J by Jasper Conran

Sunday, 15 April 2012

The Three F's

I've got the three F's: funky, fat and fed up. I could have probably added in fucked off but y'all didn't need to know what a potty mouth I really have if you don't already.

Funk. I'm in a funk. I wish I could elaborate more than that but that's it. I'm just in a weird funky mood and can't get out of it. If you wanted to label me as depressed that could probably work but as in the past my personal depression/anxiety has manifested much worse I'm not going to call it that.

Fat. Yes I'm fat. Now don't start in on me here because everyone's definition of fat is different but I'm up a jeans size. I've mentioned before how I own jeans in varying sizes from 10-18 and right now that is a good thing because I'm not fitting in the ones I *should* be. I'm not liking how things fit on me and I'm feeling heavy so I need to get off my fat ass and do something about it. The gym is literally a one minute drive away so I just need to do it already.  I also need to stop eating like an idiot and eat healthily. Of course I bought a box of Betty Crocker Angel Food mix at TK Maxx today because I could so I'm obviously not in that big of a rush. I'm going to need to be in a swimsuit in two weeks so I should start sooner than later.

Fed up. I could have also called this bit Friendless. Extreme? Eh not so much. The not so glamorous side of being an expat (what is the glam side again?) is that all your friends are thousands of miles and an ocean away. I desperately miss my friends to the point where I'm a sad sack thinking about it and crying while I type. I love my friends. They are ride or die, amazing friends who love me not despite all my eccentricities but for them. I don't have to explain myself or act a certain way I can just be me. I miss them to the point that I ridiculously and incorrectly begin to resent NotBlondeHusband for having friends that he can go out and do things with regularly. Homesickness is something all expats have to deal with from time to time and I'm some what crushed with it at the moment.

So yea. I've got the F's. I honestly don't really know what to do about it. I've started stripping the pink out of my hair but I'm not really sure how that will affect anything. I've recognized that I need to get healthy but I haven't done anything about it so not much there.  Friends well what can I do; it isn't like I'm some introverted, shy person who doesn't like to meet new people---I'm precisely the opposite. But now I'm just whining and I hate whining.

 So why did I write this? I don't know. Maybe if I get it out of my head it is a step closer to breaking out of it.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

What I Wore Wednesday: Accessories

I looked super cute in the Loft trousers and Banana Republic top for my meeting last week but somehow I managed not to get a photo when I thought I had so you'll just have to trust me on that one. 

So this week my outfit is pretty boring with the exception of my Alexander McQueen wanna-be scarf I got on our trip to Sweden. I've kinda got a thing for skulls and I've wanted a scarf like this for ages and I liked the length and fabric of this one. I'm still not 100% sure how to wear scarves but hey I tried!

Pink Shirt-Anthropologie
Black Trench-Wallis
Black Skull Scarf-Chelsea
Black Sparkly Flats-Chinese Laundry

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Egg-Free Soft Sugar Cookies

Finding egg-free baking recipes that taste good as well is not always easy. So I was super excited when I found an egg-free soft sugar cookie recipe that tasted great! This is the first time I've baked egg-free and had cookie rise (normally they just stay flat) as well so that was cool! I got some Easter cookie cutters last year so it the recipe was perfect to make Easter cookies.

If you're American you'll know what I'm talking about when I say a soft sugar cookie or Lofthouse style cookies; if you aren't just know it is a tasty, soft cookie topped with an obscene amount of frosting (is anything but obscene acceptable anyway?). The cookie itself isn't super sweet but the frosting more than makes up for it. You can find the original recipe on Kids with Food Allergies.

Egg-Free Soft Sugar Cookies


1 cup salted butter 
2 cups sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla
3 tsp dry Ener-G Egg Replacer plus 4 tbsp water (whisk REALLY well until foamy)
5 cups flour (divided into two lots)
1 cup buttermilk 
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda (Bicarbonate of Soda in the UK)
1/2 tsp salt

Mix together butter, sugar and vanilla in a mixer until well combined. Add Ener-G mixture and mix until incorporated.


Mix together 2 1/2 cups of flour with the baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Alternate mixing in the buttermilk and flour, slowly until combined.

Then slowly add in the remaining 2 1/2 cups of flour mixing on low to start (so you don't spray yourself with flour) and speeding up once combined. You could mix this in by hand but if you have a mixer, why?

Cars pez dispensers
While you are doing all this your kitchen helper can build a house with ice cube trays, baking powder and Pez dispensers (optional).

Chill well. I'd say how long you need to chill it but I accidentally turned my fridge off so I have no idea since my fridge was not working! You'll want the dough to firm up enough to make cut-outs though so at least an hour.

Once chilled pre-heat your oven to 350F/175C and line a baking sheet with wax/baking paper.

Roll out on a floured surface and cut out into fun shapes. Blondie Boy really liked this part. I covered my dining room table in cling film/plastic wrap and then dusted that with flour to try and help clean up.

Toddler Easter Cookies

Egg Free Sugar Cookies
Bonus points if you can tell what these shapes are; our cookie cutters were 
pretty ghetto and didn't work that well. I also shaped some into oval/egg shapes using my hands.

You can sprinkle with sugar now if you aren't a frosting person. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cookies have risen and are lightly browned.

Let cool and then decorate! I used glitter gel writers for Blondie Boy's cookies. What was supposed to be a chick (but had no beak or feet?) reminded me of the Twitter bird so I couldn't help myself!

For myself and NBH I topped with Betty Crocker frosting (should be white but I had chocolate opening already) and pink sugar. I've just been spreading on a generous amount of frosting as we want the cookies that way the frosting isn't sitting out since it should be refrigerated after opening. You can totally make your own buttercream if you want but we had tons of ready-made in the house.

easter sugar cookies

lofthouse style sugar cookie

This recipe makes a LOT of dough. I use some to make the cookies you see here and then baked off another 6 large eggs the next day AND froze a big log of dough for another time. Just roll dough into a log, wrap in plastic wrap/cling film and freeze. You can then cut off cookies and bake from frozen. Just add on 2 minutes cooking time.

If you don't have an egg allergy in your family you can replace the Ener-G with 2 eggs whisked but personally I like these as they are plus it means you can lick the spoon to your heart's content :)

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

What I Wore Wednesday: Surprise Snow and Lunch Meeting

I did attempt to take a photo of what I wore to my meeting down south last week in a bathroom at Heathrow but that didn't really work out. I promise it was a super cute black HM dress with my leopard heels. I was going to try again but then I flashed a TSA agent (I'm not using hyperbole here; literally my entire bra was showing from 4 buttons popping open) I threw on a cardigan and ditched my cute heels for flip flops and gave up.

Last week it was in the 70's, I was wearing Flip-Flops and had a lunch on a patio by the River Thames; today I woke up and it was snowing--seriously SNOWING. So for my lunch meeting I was decidedly more bundled up.

In addition to the snow it is also blowing a gale so apologies for the wind blown hair. Like I said it is literally freezing so NotBlondeHusband wasn't feeling up to taking more than one photo. You can sort of tell but my good friend Jef re-dyed my pink for me. It is a bit darker than I wanted but it is fading gradually to the shade I wanted with repeated washes with clarifying shampoo.

Black Trench-Wallis
Grey Cowl Neck Sweater- New Look
Black Leggings- Lime for Next
Black Boots- Sketchers