Friday, 28 February 2014

A Feast For The Family.

So this is what I call 'what ever's in my fridge....chuck it all together' sausage casserole. A hearty meal which the whole family should love, the ingredients will change depending on whats in season, on offer, or what you have left in your fridge.

I tend to make it in my slow cooker as i love the connivence of it (not to mention the savings on electricity) but it can also be done in the oven.

So the first and main ingredient is a good pack of quality sausages with a high level pork. Many cheaper sausages have lots of fillers in such as rusk reducing the actual meat content. I managed to pick up some lovely pork and herb sausages from Aldi which are currently on offer a pack of 6 for £1.49!

I always brown my sausages first not only to add colour but to release some of the fat so its not all going in your casserole. Once your sausages are ready its time for the 'what ever's in your fridge' vegetables! Today mine consisted of onion, leek, celery, carrots, pepper and mushrooms. I am lucky to have a father in law who has a large allotment so usually my fridge is full of great seasonal homegrown produce like the leek i am using, adding diced sweet potato or butternut squash is also a favourite of mine. A couple of garlic cloves is a must to add to the flavour as well as a dash of paprika and some died herbs. 

Then for the liquids, firstly a tin of baked beans is so cheap and most people have it in their cupboards. Also kids tend to love anything with baked beans in but this also can be substituted for butter beans or kidney beans. A can of chopped tomatoes to bulk out the sauce and some chicken stock just so that the liquids completely cover the sausages and all the vegetables. If blending for a baby you can miss out the stock and just top up with water to reduce the levels of salt. 

And lastly what makes it extra yummy a glug of balsamic vinegar! 

I bung it all in the slow cooker and leave it for around 7 hours on low, which is the great thing about using the slow cooker i can put the dinner on in the morning and leave it all day and not have to do lots of cooking in the evening. I decided to serve it with some new potatoes and steamed vegetables but it would be equally nice with sweet potato mash or even rice. 

Im always looking for nutritious healthy meals which are tasty and suitable for the whole family. I hope this gives you some inspiration.

As always thanks for reading!


This Weeks Purchases

You may recognise these from my 'Mother's Day Gift Guide' which you can find here. I couldn't resist buying a set for my kitchen as well as the cake tins for my mother in law for Mother's Day. Keep your eye out for a post to see how use these cake tins to make a yummy Mother's Day hamper of treats.

 I was in need of some more shampoo and conditioner, usually I use Aussie Miracle Moist shampoo and this Aussie 3 Minute Miracle conditioner but I have heard great things about these macadamia oil and argan oil ones currently on a 3 for 2 haircare deal in boots. Silly me ended up buying two conditions but never mind, I will let you know what I think about these after a weeks use.

 I really took advantage of Boots 3 for 2 offers this week and picked up these little goodies. They will be a part of a Mother's Day pamper hamper I am putting together so keep your eyes peeled for a blog post once its completed. These little miniatures are so cute and this essie nail polish is aptly named 'Sunday Funday' which is perfect for the quickly approaching Mothering Sunday.

I have been longing for a new foundation for ages, my stupidly pale skin is a nightmare to buy for! Even though i love my current Rimmel wake me up foundation it is still slightly too 'orangey' for my skin tone. After hearing a lot about L'Oreal True Match on the blogging circle and its comparisons with Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk foundation I thought Id give it a go. So far the colour match is absolutely  perfect so I will be reviewing this within the next few weeks!

Also I couldn't go into Boots without picking up one of the new Revlon Colourburst Matt Balms in the colour Elusive, a lovely bright pink ready for the summer! 

Cheats Jam Tarts.

My eldest Eli loves cooking with mummy, in particular sweet treats! We do a thing called 'muffin making monday' which I will blog about next week but today we were feeling a bit lazy and wanted to bake something quick and easy which Eli could do mainly himself.

For those who haven't got the time to make pastry from scratch most supermarkets sell premade and prerolled shortcrust and puff pastry, this one I picked up from Aldi. This makes making things like jam tarts extremely quick and easy! All I used to make these little yummies was:

  • A pack of prerolled shortcrust pastry.
  • A pack of frozen mixed berries.
  • A little caster sugar.
  • A circular cookie cutter.
  • And a dimple pan. 

The first step is to make up your fruit compote, I like to make my own so i can regulate how much sugar goes in but you can always just use a jar of jam to make to process even speedier! You could also use fresh berries but for connivence and price I like to use a packet of mixed frozen berries. I pour the whole packet of berries into a saucepan and cook for about 15 minutes until all fruit is completely broken down and the sauce has reduced slightly. Then I add sugar to taste leaving it quite tart still and cook for a further 10 minutes until thickened even more. I transfer this mixture to a sterile jar and leave to cool. 

This mixture once cooled can be used for many other things, in our house we always have a jar on the go in the fridge. The most popular use for the berry compote is usually as a topping for porridge and muesli but it can also make a great base for a crumble or accompaniment for natural yogurt. 

Unroll the pastry and leave to rest for 10 minutes then use a circular cookie cutter the same size as your dimple whole and cut out your pastry cases. If you have a nonstick pan there is no need for greasing but if your worried just run a bit of butter along the insides of all the dimples using some tissue. 

Next fill each little case with a heaped teaspoon of the berry compote or jam if you are using it making sure not to over fill otherwise when cooking they will spill over the sides of the pastry. Once that is done put them in a preheated oven at 180 degrees and cook for 10-15 minutes until the pastry has puffed up and has lightly browned. 

All thats left to do now is to make a cup of tea, sit down and eat one or a few in my case! Its such a simple, mess free treat which is easily fit in to a busy day. 

This will be one of many recipe blogs so i really hope you enjoyed reading! 


Thursday, 27 February 2014

Boys Summer Look Book.

Dont get me wrong although I would absolutely love a baby girl to shop for so I could buy all the pastel shades and pretty dresses I see in the shops, I adore boys fashion even if it is a little harder to come by.

When it comes to shopping for both my boys I have a few go to shops, supermarkets do amazingly priced basics but that is usually reflected in the quality. I tend to steer clear of Primark unlike like great girls section the boys section tends to look a little cheap, comes up incredibly small and after a couple of washes tends to end up very worn looking and misshaped. H&M up to 2 years boys section is great the fashion is amazing and affordable without affecting the quality but the over 2 years section I find isn't nearly as stylish. You can never go wrong with Next the quality and fashion is as good as it gets but it is a little more pricey!

Because everything of Eli's is handed down to Wesley, I don't mind spending a little more if I know the quality is going to last. So far I haven't done the 'dress them in matching outfits' thing but now they are only a couple of sizes apart i might be tempted!

This summer I am loving nautical styling in other words blue, white and red with anchor detailing. Straw hats deck shoes make the most perfect finishing touches, Hawaiian themed prints and rolled up chinos would also be great additions to any summer wardrobe.

Above are some of my favourite pieces in stores right now. First picture are a compilation of whats available in Zara and Gap kids the second features Next and H&M.

Thank you for reading!


Wednesday Wishlist - Homeware Edition!

As you may notice I'm a bit of a sucker for anything vintage and kitch in the homeware department and with an immanent move to a new house approaching I just cant help but window shop for pretty little accessories to give our new place that homely feel.

There are several brands in the homeware department which i just adore, the most obvious one....Cath Kidston. They have tons of beautiful vintage style mugs but what really struck me was this absolutely adorable toadstool teapot. We drink a lot of tea in our house and quite frankly i have no idea why I haven't invested in a teapot yet but this one is absolutely perfect. There is nothing better then inviting a friend over for a pot of tea, yummy homemade cakes and a good old gossip!

Pip studio which is available in John Lewis is also another brand which does extremely beautiful vintage style china. Its a little more on the pricey side but this cute little sugar bowl is just in my price range.....and you cant have a teapot and not a sugar bowl right??

I could literally spend all my money on Emma Bridgewater china, its such good quality and comes in all sorts of cute designs. These are a few pieces that I absolutely love, I definitely need the mummy daddy mugs....the daddy one could be a great fathers day present! 

When I first moved out I bought the cheapest Ikea plain white dinning set and have wanted to invest in something a bit nicer ever since. So on my shopping list is this lovely 12 piece love heart dinner set from Next, a cute simple design which will compliment more colourful vintage accessories.

Lastly my newest find, Dotcomgiftshop is a quirky little online business specialises in pretty and unique gifts and homeware at a really reasonable price too! Recently I purchased some vintage tea, coffee, sugar caddies and set of matching cake tins from this website which featured in my Mother's Day gift guide here on sale they only set me back just under a tenner! Other items on my wishlist are this vintage look 3 tier cake stand perfect for a DIY afternoon tea with friends, small parisian domed cake display, set of measuring cups, mason jars with chalk board labelling and little school style milk bottle set which would be great for a kids party filled with drinks and stripy paper straws.

I hope this gives you a little inspiration, thank you for reading!


Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Meet the children.

I have two beautiful children who will get mentioned quite a bit here on Loulou Loves so i thought a formal introduction was needed! So heres a little about my boys:  

So firstly my eldest Elijah Forrest, he is almost two and a half years old and is such a sweetheart. He is loving and cheeky and is the perfect combination of both me and my partner. He has dark brown eyes and wild brown curls he is independent and wilful and so fun to be around. He loves nothing more then running around for hours and hours and has an endless supply of energy, he loves trains and books, Finding Nemo and footballs. He was the easiest baby and always so content, he gently guided us into the world of parenting and we fell in love instantly.  

And finally our youngest Wesley Fraiser, now 8 months old he made a speedy entrance into this world and our lives have been a whirlwind ever since. Like chalk and cheese he is the complete opposite to his brother, he has my family genes which is marked by the brightest fire engine red hair and the palest of white skin. He has a fiery and feisty personality and knows what he wants, he gives us the run around and plenty of sleepless nights. He has become the happiest little chap with the cheekiest smile, he is social and energetic and such a joy.

Most importantly they are the best of friends, Wesley follows Eli everywhere and Eli is always got cuddles to give him. Watching them grow and their relationship blossom is by far the most rewarding thing, these boys and motherhood is most certainly my greatest achievement. 

Thank you for reading! 


Wednesday Wishlist.

Pastel blue polka dot dress - River Island.
Buckle ankle boot - ASOS.
Wonderland rose gold watch - Olivia Burton.
Canon EOS M - Currys.
Pastel blue purse - River Island.
Peony and Blush Suade perfume - Joe Malone.
Mushroom teapot - Cath Kidston.
Beauty and the beast style tea cup - Oliver Bonas.  

How to deal with the dreaded pox!

Chicken pox is something all parents dread, but the best way to approach it when it happens is with the mentality 'its best to get it out the way'......because all children will get it, in fact all children need to catch it to gain immunity.

Another thing you need to quickly accept is that if you have other children they will almost definitely get it all at once, so best off keeping them all under house arrest especially as the virus can take hold without any symptoms for 7 days.

Some children can experience flu like symptoms before any out break of spots, Eli however was (i suppose) lucky that he didn't experience any unwell feelings until the spots appeared.

My first tip would be cut their nails! Short blunt nails can do less damage when itching and the last thing you want is permanent scarring. Loose comfortable clothes are better to keep irritation to a minimum, and all in one sleepsuits at night prevents them from any direct itching of the majority of the spots in their sleep.

Another thing i quickly learnt was that you can get chicken pox anywhere!! They can appear in the most awful of places, the feet, armpit, scalp, groin and even in the mouth are amongst some of the worst places.

Supplies. As soon as you see those dreaded spots get your ass to the nearest chemist! Everyone can remember the old school Calamine lotion the runny pink liquid that made you look like you were covered in chalk, well that is still an option to use! Personally i found a product called Vira gel easier and most effective, it is a clear gel which sinks into the skin with ease it soothes itching fast and is no where near as messy as Calamine. If your child is over the age of 1 would highly recommend the use of liquid Pititon for children. More commonly used for hay fever and allergies it is also extremely effective at banishing the itchiness of chicken pox. Another must is the trusty Calpol, any high temperature or unwell feelings can be kept under control with this liquid paracetamol.

Once the spots have been dealt with now its just a case of waiting it out. Keep the child sufficiently distracted as boredom = itching! Indoor games, crafts and good old disney films will be your lifesavers for up to 2 weeks, trips in the garden for fresh air and plenty of rest and fluids to keep hydrated.

Always consult with your doctor if chicken pox is suspected, I am no expert these are just my findings from our personal experience.

Thank you for reading!

Loulou, featuring a spotty Elijah age 2.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Mother's Day Gift Guide.

As Mother's Day is approaching (30th of March for those who don't know) I thought I'd put together a little gift guide for inspiration, some of which i may have already purchased for my mother and mother in law.

You can never go wrong with a Cath Kidston gift the vintage style has a very general appeal especially their home wear. This set of 4 mugs available here in various vintage prints is a lovely gift and only £20! Also everybody loves a cuppa tea right?

Boots now do a luxury miniature selection which include the brand Soap and Glory. At only £2.50 each they are a great way of testing the product without paying out the full price and carefully selecting a few make a really nice pamper treat. Available in boots or online here.

Struggling with gift ideas? Try a quirky little website called the dot com gift shop. Here you can get these vintage style cake tins and tea coffee sugar caddies currently on sale for under £10 for both. Maybe even fill them with some handmade goodies to make them extra special.  

What mother wouldn't like a photo album full of sentimental photographs? Paperchase is the best place to find a really pretty albums and other matching stationary.

Jewellery can be a great gift, something simple like these small gold plated heart studs from ASOS look really good quality but wont break the bank at only £25.

Scented candles are definitely on trend at the moment and what can i say....i am a complete sucker for them! Yankee Candle do a huge range of beautifully scented candles and some i think would make an excellent Mother's Day gift are Bunny Cake (a limited edition easter scent), any of the limited edition dream garden collection which are perfect for spring or a celebration small tumbler in white chocolate and mint which simply says 'Thank You'.

Or why not turn the box of chocolates cliché on its head and go for a luxury tub of hot chocolate! Whittards do every flavour hot chocolate you could even imagine, and speaking from experience they are like none other i have tasted! This hazelnut white hot chocolate would rival a box of chocolates any day.

Hope this guide was helpful, thanks for reading.


*All of these are personal recommendations and are not sponsored or affiliate linked. 

February Favourites.

So this will be a monthly regular on Loulou Loves. Just a few things I've been loving mainly make up and beauty and a few extras thrown in for good measure.

This month has been all about palettes for me after i finally got my hands on the famous Naked3 palette but Urban Decay. It is perfect for me the beautiful rose gold toned eyeshadows are suited to my pale skin and the darker taupes can be used to create a beautiful smokey eye. I think i have worn it every day since!

At the beginning of the month I snapped up this limited edition palette by Sleek called Garden of Eden. I've been meaning to test out these sleek eyeshadow palettes for a while but have struggled to decided which was best suited to me but as soon as i saw the beautiful shades of shimmering green (which is my favourite colour) I new I had to have it!

The last of my palette purchases this month....well not so much a purchase....was this little addition found in the latest Clinique bonus time gift set. Its a quad called pink chocolate which features 4 pink and brown shades which range from light to dark, absolutely perfect for a subtle day time look.

Other favourites of mine include 'that gal' brightening primer by Benefit which has been a great addition to my make up routine and helps create a real natural glow perfect for spring but I do have to state it is no match for Benefits other primer Porefessional.

I was extremely excited when my favourite beauty blogger Tanya Burr released her own nail varnish and lip gloss collection and quickly snapped up one of the nail varnishes in 'little duck'. After testing it out a few times the colour is perfect for spring summer, it wears well and is very long lasting. Im sure i soon will be investing in some more shades from the range.

Soap and Glory thick and fast has been my go to mascara for the past few months. It gives great volume without feeling clumpy on the lashes which is a pet hate of mine! Eyeko skinny mini liquid eyeliner was part of my February birch box, i can honestly say I am a complete eyeliner novice i would love a nice dainty lined eye and pretty cat flicks but in reality it turns out wonky and mismatched. The nib of this eyeliner is so skinny that even my novice hands can manage to create an evenly lined eyelid.

Clinique Chubby sticks are just the easiest way to add a bit of colour to your lips without any drying and i own a few now, my latest being a very natural sheer shade called 'super strawberry' again another great everyday colour for spring. 

Revlon lip butters are by far the most moisturising lipstick I've tired, they are glossy and very long wearing my favourite colour being 'candy apple' which is an autumnal red.

I'd heard a lot in the blogging circle about Clinique take the day off cleansing balm and after running out of my current cleanser i thought i would give it a whirl. Definitely the best decision I've made, it makes my skin feel so soft and fresh without it being drying and gets every last scrap of dirt and make up off my face. 

Amongst the array of make up and beauty products other things i have been enjoying this month include my new Yankee Candle in the sent rainwashed berry. It is a very fresh scent, lovely and fruity and rainwashed is by far the best way to sum up the whether we have been having this month also!

I have really enjoyed my Frankie magazine daily journal, I have been trying to make a keen effort to record the boys milestones and keep track of appointments and playdates. It is the most beautiful piece of stationary I own! 

How can i talk about the month of February without mentioning valentines day. My wonderful Mr bought me 24 of the most beautiful red roses i have ever seen they have taken pride of place on my kitchen table.

What have you been enjoying this February? Hope you have enjoyed reading! 


Loulou Loves and Lifestyle.

Let me introduce myself! My name is Louise I am a mother to two little boys Elijah and Wesley and have been madly in love for 8 years to my best friend and soul mate.

This will be a place where I blog about my loves and lifestyle which will obviously include my beautiful family but also; cooking and recipes, fashion and beauty, wish lists and bargain finds, travel and days out, books and film and showcasing my own photography. 

A British family of 4 striving to find the perfect balance, making memories and capturing every moment.