Back in November 2017 I attended a half day workshop with Fearless in the Kitchen - Healthy Eating Main Meals and Snacks and had an amazing day, I learnt new skills, new recipes and picked up some fantastic tips. I wrote about my day here. I then attended another workshop - Wellness in the Menopause - also an amazing, enjoyable and really useful day!! The next one is Friday 20th April if you are interested.
So I was delighted to be invited back recently to do the Healthy Baking half day workshop and what another fabulous day. Okay so the weather let us down but otherwise it was great! Relaxing, a day away from reality, spent with lovely people, learning new skills. What more could I ask for?
Fearless in the Kitchen is run by Jen Roach, an inspirational and passionate cook and gardener. Every workshop is tailored to suit your own health issues and tastes. And Jen is just a really lovely person, a joy to spend time with.
The theme for this day was Easter because it was two days before the Easter weekend!! Which of course meant I had some really delicious and impressive treats to take home for my family. The overall aim though was to demonstrate that it is possible to bake and reduce sugar/calories by including healthier alternatives.
Also attending the day was Jackie who I met through my blog, she found me on Instagram and we have chatted and we met before on the Menopause day.
The recipes Jen had created for us to make that day were:
Hot Cross Buns
Strawberry Custard Tart
Ginger Roots and Nuts Cup Cakes
Poached Fruit and Yoghurt Cake.
Jen has a lovely large, bright kitchen. Her rural cottage is located near Warfield in Berkshire and the four acre garden is beautiful. Jen has an impressive, thriving orchard, organic herb and kitchen garden and if the weather had been better we would have been able to explore a bit more but it was torrential rain! Although it did clear up just before we left and I managed to snap a few photos to share with you.
The day includes morning coffee or tea and a snack as well as lunch - Jen had made us some scones with home made chia seed jam and for lunch we had a salad bowl which I loved and wish I made more effort to do at home. The workshops are relaxed and fun, it is very hands-on and Jen is keen to answer your questions and share ideas for a healthier approach to your diet and family meals.
And here are the results of our hard work! The scones were made with coconut milk, the the hot cross buns had reduced sugar and lots of natural sugar from the fresh fruit, the cupcakes contained parsnips, carrots, beetroot and apple, we decorated them with a traditional icing made with oatly creme fraiche, the poached fruit and yoghurt cake was wheat and gluten free and the custard tart was made with pastry using pea flour (higher in protein) and cocoa powder. The boot of my car was full and my family and visitors over the weekend enjoyed tasting everything. Favourites were the scones and hot cross buns, closely followed by the cup cakes. We had the two desserts with our visiting family on Good Friday and especially enjoyed the Strawberry and Custard Tart.
As we were getting ready to leave the weather did brighten up and I managed to have a quick look in the garden and take a few photos to share with you.
Jen has a number of workshops available to book direct from her website, the day usually runs from 10 am to 2 pm but Jen is very flexible and is able to tailor any of her courses to your own requirements. Maybe get-together with a group of friends? Or you might have a particular diet or concern that you would like help with. Just get in touch with Jen and she will be able to discuss your requirements. The next healthy baking day is on 30th May.
And how about a Field to Fork Cookery Day? Throughout the summer Jen will be offering the opportunity to come along and explore her kitchen garden, pick your vegetables and cook a seasonal recipe then eat lunch on the terrace and take the rest home for dinner! Sounds wonderful! For more details contact Jen direct at firstname.lastname@example.org. What a great way to get-together with friends.
Take a look at Jen's website Fearless in the Kitchen and on this link you can find some recipe ideas to try at home yourself.
I absolutely recommend finding an opportunity to attend one of these workshops though, you won't regret it, now I just need to find some time to try out more of these recipes at home.
Thank you for reading and if you do go along then let me know how you get on!
Jen Roach at Fearless in the Kitchen
Disclaimer: Jen did not charge me to attend this day but I was under no obligation to write a review, the opinions are entirely my own.
Welcome to the first of what I hope will be a regular monthly post and hashtag #beingfiftyandfab! The idea behind this regular post is to tell you what I have been up to be BE fifty and fab ... and for you to share with me what you have been doing. Comment below, I'd love to hear from you. Or use the #beingfiftyandfab hashtag on Instagram!
I will be posting about day to day life, ups and downs, what I am doing, what I am reading and where I have been. Just every day bits that encourage me to be fab, to include self-care in my life, to be the best I can be, for me! There might be exercise hints and tips, nutrition ideas, recipes, it will evolve!
And I want to inspire you to do the same! Put a bit of time aside for you. I will include ideas and recommendations, suggestions for what I find helpful and I hope that you will share with me - maybe there is something I can share on my blog that we can all try.
This month I have been ...
Exercising - umm not a lot at all! I got really involved in some technical bits for my blog and a few networking events plus the ongoing miserable weather seems to have sapped my energy and enthusiasm. I like to be real! And I am real, I really do hate exercise, I do it because I have to if I want to keep fit and healthy and stay slim and lean. My PT was away for a week but she is back on Thursday so I will be trying to get back into it.
Reading - I have been trying really hard to read more, to put the iPhone down an hour or so before bed and read a book. I must say I feel better for it and I do sleep better. This month I read a book that was a bit different to my usual. I joined in the book club on the Facebook support group Fifty Fit and Fabulous and read The Wonder by Emma Donoghue - it is set in Ireland and tells the story of Anna whose deeply religious upbringing is threatening her life and Lib the nurse who comes to care for her. I also read Paris for One and Other Stories by Jo Jo Moyles - this is a collection of short stories and includes a preview of Still Me (third book in the Me Before You and After You trilogy).
Wearing - I have been desperate to shed my winter woolies and start wearing some spring colours. I have had a wardrobe sort out but it is still cold and despite trying very hard to remain positive it is affecting my mood. I was gifted two new scarves from Sweet-Bea and swapping from a black base colour to navy and adding in some coral did help a bit! Don't forget that I have a 20% discount for all my followers at the moment - pop over to the Sweet-Bea website and use the code FAB20 at checkout!
Above - Hobbs Pink Jumper, French Connection Breton and Hush Blouse (similar here) - scarves from Sweet Bea
Doing - I attended another fantastic cookery workshop with Fearless in the Kitchen this month. I will write a separate blog post on this as it is so good and too much to tell you here. Look out for it. I baked some delicious healthy treats for the Easter weekend.
We have just had the long Easter weekend and this year we were at home. Some years we might be away skiing but we went earlier this year - although those skiing later this season will be very lucky - the snow has been amazing and it is proving to be a very late season.
Good Friday I had my niece and my sister-in-law here for dinner. I made a salmon recipe from my new cookbook - Sheet Pan Cooking: 101 recipes for simple and nutritious meals straight from the oven by Jenny Tschiesche - this is a really fabulous cookbook - easy, one pan meals - I definitely recommend it! We then sat down to watch the film Wonder (not the same as the book - just a coincidence)!
Easter Sunday I just couldn't get my happy head on. I just felt a bit deflated by another grey day. Despite knowing that I should look on the bright side, I just couldn't seem to snap out of it. I spent the morning cooking a chilli to take to lunch at my parents on Monday then in the afternoon my daughter got some driving practice in and we visited Thame Country Show - it was an outing and it didn't rain! I came home and snuggled down to watch another film!
Easter Monday we had lunch at my parents and looked through old photos then we came home and watched Goodbye Christopher Robin - this is a must watch! Interesting and sad but also cute.
Thank you to everyone who took part in the Instagram Giveaway over the Easter weekend - I had lots of new followers and comments on the post. The scarf was won by Lyn from London and she chose the navy pom pom scarf - it is on it's way to her as I write.
I will be back at the beginning of May with another #beingfiftyandfab round up! Until then I'd love you to join my mailing list, I promise I won't bombard you with junk - just an email to let you know when I have a new post up and any special offers just for my mailing list.
Hobbs Rhian Striped Jumper with Sweet Bea Navy scarf and Boden navy jeans
It's Easter again, doesn't time fly! Last year I wrote about using the long weekend to have a wardrobe sort out.
This year I will be doing the same again and reminding myself of the tips from Katherine in last year's post.
This year Easter is a bit earlier and we have hardly been blessed with any spring weather yet - we've had the odd day/hour/minute :) but really nothing to get inspired by.
I have even bought a few new bits of knitwear in the sales as I have got fed up with my winter colours but it is not time yet to get the lighter knits or spring colours out. It is so frustrating (yeah I know it's no ones fault)!!. These three Hobbs jumpers were all reduced in the sale and I thought with two having 3/4 sleeves I could make them work until it does finally warm up! I love a pink jumper for spring. Hobbs knitwear sale here or at John Lewis here.
But I really do need to spend some time moving my heavy winter wardrobe items out and into storage and getting out my spring / early summer bits. I've already started to sort my scarves out. Look out for my Easter discount at Sweet Bea for some really super scarves and accessories. I will be sharing some ideas for scarves that double as a sarong for the holiday season! I know it feels a long time off but it's fun to plan and dream. And I'm doing my first BLOG GIVEAWAY over on INSTAGRAM! You will have the opportunity to win a beautiful pom pom scarf from Sweet Bea so make sure you are following me and look out for the post on Thursday.
I've already bought two new summer dresses! I am always on the search for cotton dresses and I spotted a few in Monsoon so I ordered one and I am very pleased with it. I also had a £15 voucher and 20% off at Boden so decided to replace my much loved maxi dress. Monsoon Paisley Print Dress and Boden Diana Jersey Maxi Dress. The Boden dress is now reduced in the mid-season sale!
We have a fantastic trip to Sri Lanka organised this summer so I will need lots of cool cotton dresses that don't crease.
What I've been wearing:
Hobbs Etta Jumper Now £52 at John Lewis worn here with black coated jeggings from Next, scarf from Sweet Bea and red boots £18 in the sale at Marks & Spencer.
This blue coat is a few seasons back Boden sale bargain - always the best time to pick up a coat! I am wearing it with a new pom pom navy scarf from Sweet Bea and new navy boots from Hobbs (also in the sale but sold out at John Lewis and Hobbs online - Next have a couple of sizes but not showing the reduction)! I like a navy boot for spring and my old Cara ones had given up!
That's all for now - remember to look out for my Sweet Bea discount and giveaway coming soon and if you would like to have email reminders of new posts and special offers direct to your inbox please do sign up here.
A couple of months ago I was at a party and I was asked what I do. I stumbled over how to answer (admittedly it was very loud and difficult to have a conversation) - I said I was a full time mum and waffled on about how busy I am! The next day I thought about this conversation and thought why don't I say I AM A BLOGGER?
I have always been incredibly proud of my role as a full time wife and mother so I have never been ashamed to tell anyone. It is my priority in life and has been for 20 years, I never once regretted not returning to my former career.
For about 6 years I worked for my husbands business based at home, I set up the bookkeeping and admin and taught myself how to run a small business. I was able to do that alongside being at home with the children so it worked very well and I enjoyed it. Until the dynamics changed and my husband was in the office more - then I really didn't like 'working with my husband' I will save that for another post!
I started my blog as a hobby - I love style and shopping and I love helping others. And I wanted to document my life as I approached and journeyed through my fifties, I wanted to share and inspire others - style, health, fitness, taking care of ourselves. But I wanted to learn too - I don't always get it right and some days I hate what I am wearing too!
But this conversation got me thinking. I'd like to do more with my blog now. Possibly in less than two years my daughter will be going to university and I might be facing an empty nest.
I wonder if I could 'up the ante', meet other bloggers, network, chat to brands. Create something for me.
So I've bought myself two books.
And I've set myself a challenge to learn more about blogging.
I'll be sharing a bit more about me and who I am in the coming weeks.
I'll be sharing a bit more about what I'd like to achieve with my blog - what I hope you will get out of it.
I'd love to hear from you though. Who are you and what do you like about my blog Fifty & Fab, what would you like to hear more about? What could I help you with?
My one aim is to be me, to be genuine, I have said before that I am more inspired by bloggers that post about their real life and don't just put an outfit on for a photo shoot then change back into their PJ's or leisurewear. When you see me on Instagram or photos on my blog, they are absolutely what I did that day!
I'd love you to sign up to my email updates here (I promise I won't bombard you) and come along and follow me on Instagram and Facebook. I have lots of plans for Pinterest and a Hashtag and I would really love you to engage with and help me along the way.
Thank you so much for getting me this far and all your lovely comments and feedback, I am working on a blog giveaway that I think you will love so watch this space!
Fifty & Fab is all about my journey into and through my fifties, I share fashion, beauty, lifestyle and exercise/nutrition tips to inspire others to be fifty and fab too … join my mailing list below for regular updates and offers. And don’t forget to take a look at my social media pages Facebook Instagram and Twitter.