Tuesday, 30 April 2019


Went a bit mad for Wild Garlic Scotch eggs this season. Easy to make and the wild garlic just adds a little something extra when wrapped around the egg and chopped into the sausage meat. Perfect for picnic adventures. 

Saturday, 27 April 2019


I posted a picture of my son's birthday cake on Instagram this week and received some lovely compliments and lots of likes. I always try and create a special and unique cake for the boys birthdays  but they are never expensive as necessity really is the mother of all invention. 

I am always worried trying to think of an original idea but no matter how early I start thinking the idea doesn't often come to me until the day before, I guess my brain just works better under pressure!

This year we made a plain chocolate sponge, nothing fancy, and iced it all over with chocolate buttercream. Then the main idea - a treehouse, an idea that seemed simple but I tried three versions before one actually worked. I got the main stick from a hazel that we chopped down in the garden and then cut up a fruit crate to use as a base, and made the treehouse from an old wicker basket that had broken. A bit of moss, a swing made from a lego tyre and a ladder made from cardboard completed the treehouse. 

The 'icing on the cake' was a number thirteen laser cut from wood from The Bespoke Workshop, that was simple especially for a child that didn't want too much fuss but certainly appreciated the effort! 

Saturday, 13 April 2019


We were invited by Simpsons Fish & Chips in Cheltenham (they also have a shop in Stroud too) to sample a fish and chip supper followed by their Easter Special - the deep fried Cadbury's creme egg. Yes you heard that right, the much-loved creme egg, but with a Simpson's twist!

Simpsons Fish & Chips is situated outside the town centre and dare I say in the less glamorous part of Cheltenham. However this has not stopped this dynamic business that only opened in 2009 build up quite a reputation and attract locals and tourists alike to enjoy their award-winning fish & chips - they won the coveted 'Best Fish & Chip Takeaway in Britain' award in 2016.

In Cheltenham the takeaway has an adjoining restaurant serving fish and chip dishes throughout the week. We ventured in on a Saturday teatime, slightly daunted by the amount of football traffic we passed (Simpsons is situated not far from Cheltenham Town Football ground), but it was easy to park and not too busy inside. We arrived at the same time as some groups, a large family group occupied one table with parents and grandparents passing around babies, another table had a large group of children who guessing by their attire had been to the football match and were all gathering for tea. The relaxed environment and babble of excited children being treated to a fish and chip supper made for a lovely atmosphere.

Mel greeted us with a big smile, wearing the Simpsons retro uniform of MAC Ruby Woo red lipstick and headscarf and quickly seated us with menus. We sat in a diner style booth and hungrily eyed the menu, choosing fish goujons from the children's menu, a chicken burger, haddock and homemade fishcakes all with the promise of an unlimited supply of chips.

Despite the restaurant being full our food arrived quickly, something fairly obvious when the kitchen is the takeaway kitchen, but when dining with children it's something I do appreciate and never take for granted. The portion sizes were generous and food delicious, my homemade fishcakes were perfect and accompanied with homemade tartare sauce. The chips were spot on and in my humble opinion the perfect chip shop chip, not too crispy and made from seasonal potatoes so they actually taste of potato! The haddock lay across the whole of the plate and was not shared - a certain sign that it was good and not one of us could manage any more chips!

For the finale and the bit that we were most looking forward too, the deep fried creme eggs. Mel presented them to us in an egg cup accompanied by vanilla ice cream. Probably not the most attractive looking dish covered and misshapen in batter, but we overlooked that and quickly sliced the top off and scooped out the chocolatey gooey insides as if we were eating a boiled egg. The youngest boy was not too keen on the batter, but luckily for him, I was there to step in and mop up any bits he couldn't manage in an act of pure selflessness! They really are quite something to eat and very unusual but for novelty value and family entertainment I would highly recommend the whole experience, we have certainly been talking about it ever since and am sure they'll feature in the six-year old's stories when he goes back to school - although I'm not sure what the teachers will make of it or even believe him!

Deep fried creme eggs are available for a limited time over Easter - find out more information here www.simpsonsfishandchips.com and do book if you want to eat in the restaurant, it is really popular.

Disclosure: we were invited as a family for supper and to try the deep fried creme eggs in Simpsons Fish & Chip restaurant, Cheltenham in return for this review. The review, however, is entirely our own words and opinions. 


I’m not very good at making friends and am terribly self conscious and awkward. Social situations in general make me nervous but something most curious has happened since I arrived at the circus. 

I started working there at probably one of my most difficult times when I was feeling really low, with no confidence and was facing a lot of challenges in life. Circus people treat you for who you are, there is no pretence, no delusions of grandeur, you are simply accepted and everyone is the same. 

I was in awe of this new family who were unlike anything I had experienced before and they all swept me up, accepted who I was - warts and all and provided me with a place where I could be me, without being judged, and flourish by doing what I do best. 

The older (& wiser!) I get the more I believe everything happens for a reason and I think that it’s no coincidence that I came to the circus when I did. I absolutely adore working there and being a small cog in a truly huge wheel, it doesn’t feel like work, in fact some of our most stressful times bring us closer together as we laugh through our woes. Anyway I digress, what I wanted to say is that after 18 months working these I found myself in a period of reflection at the company party the other night and I realised that I didn’t feel like the awkward new girl anymore, I felt at home, I had a sense of belonging and was surrounded by the most amazing, wonderful and ever-so slightly bonkers people in the world and I felt truly blessed. For the first time I don't feel that I have to pretend to be something I'm not. 

Some people who know how much I adore the circus warned me about working at Giffords Circus would loose its magic but actually there is more magic behind the scenes than you see in the ring. The circus is a mini metaphor of life, people come and go, some stay a season, some remain in your life longer, but you make the most of all the little moments and opportunities as you don’t know when they might happen again. This is so true of life - who knows what's around the next corner and I believe there’s always something no matter how big or small waiting to challenge you especially when you least expect it! 

When I originally posted this on Instagram someone said in the comments that when you feel very self conscious some people push you further into a corner, whilst others bring you out and that choosing to spend time the right people is what it's all about. That and being open to change I believe is the key. 

Who knows what the future holds? I might only be at the circus for a short time or I might be there for years ahead, but I know one thing, I'm not going to stop being grateful for my circus family and enjoying every single minute. 
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