GET UP TO SPEED THIS CHRISTMAS – YOU ARE IN THE DRIVING SEAT

GET UP TO SPEED THIS CHRISTMAS – YOU ARE IN THE DRIVING SEAT

Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

As someone who has never had a speeding ticket after 25 years of driving, it was a great shock to receive one in the post this year.

My close friends who knew me well told me ‘welcome to the club’ as they had known me as the ‘careful and deliberate driver’ who not only had never had an accident, but apart from the odd parking ticket, had never had a driving conviction.

There has been a campaign on this Winter which I am sure you have heard, about parents speeding whilst taking kids to school or driving in general, and it made me think about why I had got this speeding ticket.  It was mere distraction as I had a lot on my mind at the time, and there is a limit as to how much even I could multi-task.

So this public campaign is strategically placed as when you a lot going on like work, entertaining, kids holidays, extra shopping on top of the normal pressures of life – it is only human to falter just for a moment – which could cost you your licence – or worse – someone else’s life.

Also, be vigilant as it is not just you, but be aware of the madness on the roads leading up to Christmas.    Even with the endless warnings about drink driving, and with one or two glasses of wine or spirits, it can affect people in different ways.  I remember being given a random breathalyser years ago.  I had drunk one vodka hours before and of course I was not over the limit as I am super careful, but the police told me that some people are affected by just one or two units.  (We had got chatting because they had seen me in a recent episode of The Bill).  This can give you the confidence to speed up when you shouldn’t, or miss a pedestrian crossing the road randomly if you aren’t concentrating.

Last year I was collecting my young grandchild from school and a very young girl ran across the driveway to the school without looking.  Thankfully my reflexes are really good and I slammed on my breaks, but if I had been planning my Christmas party in my head, I wouldn’t have been able to do that.

I hope I haven’t depressed you too much and I apologise that I am not writing in my usual way about something a little more aspirational like fashion or health and beauty, but I felt compelled to throw a shot across the bow just for once, even if it reaches just one person and saves someone’s licence or even someone’s life.

Happy driving and have a great festive season everyone.  I hope it is full of joy and laughter and light, and remember if you are overwhelmed or over tired, please book a cab or go on public transport – after all you can’t put a price on safety, and you will be able to enjoy the rest of the holiday without a hitch.

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THE BIG BAKE ON FOR CHRISTMAS – DO TRY THIS AT HOME

THE BIG BAKE ON FOR CHRISTMAS – DO TRY THIS AT HOME

Reading Time: 3 minutes
You may have never tried this before but we do recommend you ‘do try this at home’ as if you bake it now, it will not only be a memorable table centre for your family meal  but also a huge accolade of achievement for you.
The first time I tried this recipe I was amazed how easy it actually was, and the fruit makes it moist and delightfully tasteful.

You never know, it may also inspire you to be more adventurous in the kitchen all round this party season.

DELICIOUS HOME BAKED CHRISTMAS CAKE

Ingredients

150 g dried figs
225 g soft prunes
100 g pure almonds
225 g soft butter
185 g brown sugar
250 g self-raising flour
0.5 tsp ground cinnamon
0.5 tsp ground ginger
1 good pinch of ground clove
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
225 g raisins
1 juice and zest of 1 large lemon
3 tbsp black treacle
4 tbsp dark rum

Method

Preheat the oven to 150°C, fan 130°C, gas 3. Line a 7cm-deep 20cm square tin with buttered baking paper.

Slice the figs and prunes into small pieces. Roughly chop the almonds. Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat until fluffy.

Sift the flour into a bowl with the cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Add this and the beaten eggs alternately to the butter and sugar in the mixer, beating on a low setting all the time.

Stir in the fruit, almonds, lemon juice and zest, treacle and 3 tablespoons of the rum by hand. Tip into the tin and even out with a spatula.

Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes or until golden and a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin.

Once cool – make small insertions in the surface and add a little extra rum. To ice your cake, brush the cake with a little warmed apricot glaze, then cover it completely with 500g rolled-out marzipan, trimming off the excess. Brush the marzipan with cooled boiled water. Cover with 750g rolled-out white icing and trim off the excess.

If you prefer you can also bake this cake in a round 20cm tin; cook for 2-2½ hours.

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LOOKING ‘COOL’ WHILST KEEPING WARM – THE ULTIMATE IMAGE MAKER

LOOKING ‘COOL’ WHILST KEEPING WARM – THE ULTIMATE IMAGE MAKER

Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

I have been watching so many period dramas and movies recently, and I have been obsessing about the power of the hat.

My grandmother, whose hay day was in the fifties, would go to great lengths to ensure each outfit was perfectly co-ordinated, and her crowning glory would be the most important accessory to complete an outfit.  In fact, she wouldn’t go out without a hat and matching handbag and shoes – especially when visiting the Capital.

I remember trying on a multitude of hats when playing dress-up in her bedroom, and loved every minute.  Milliners were then in abundance and every department store boasted a vibrant hat department.

To endorse my debate, the word Milliner actually came from Milan, which still is the height of fashion, and this is why I am thrilled that hats are making a massive come back.  You can’t beat them as a major styling accessory, and can even create an identity.  But nowadays a Milliner is actually someone who designs and makes a hat, and there are some fabulous styles to choose from.

We have seen it with Meghan Markle who loves wearing a French style beret, and Jenifer Aniston recently was seen donning a Fedora.

If you want a more urban image, there has been a surge in the more masculine tweed ‘peaky blinders’ style beret but worn by women, and for Winter some gorgeous beanies to enhance your ‘cool’ whilst keeping warm.

Stunnning organic cable cashmere hat in natural white – Pure – £55

https://www.purecollection.com/women-c31/accessories-c542/organic-cashmere-cable-hat-alpine-white-p8935

The ultimately cool BBCo Elan Beanie – £28 by wildbounds

https://wildbounds.com/products/elan-beanie-cream

Classic Fedora by Joules – in felt oxblood – £34.95

www.joules.com/Women/Hats-Scarves-And-Gloves/Oxblood/Fedora/Felt

The 30s style Floral wool pleated cloche by Kelkoo – John Lewis – £28

https://www.johnlewis.com/john-lewis-partners-floral-wool-pleated-cloche/plum/

Chic grey wool blend plain beret by Swoop at Topshop – £10

https://www.topshop.com/en/tsuk/product/grey-wool-blend-plain-beret

 

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