Can I help you find something??

29 November 2013

Black (read: Gold Glitter) Friday Promotion

It is the OFFICIAL first day of the Christmas season!!! Ding Dong merrily on high!

Whilst I still won't be decorating my house with lights, eating rum balls, drinking eggnog and singing carols until the 1st of December, my Etsy Store is getting into the spirit of Christmas today, kicking off a Black Friday promotion!

Under the giving tree this year, until midnight Saturday, there will be 20% off sitewide on meg-made! 

And because it is the season of giving, for every order over £15 (excl shipping) you will have a choice of two special gifts, from me to you! 

*exl shipping, on orders placed until midnight Saturday
You will have a choice of 10 Christmas themed Confetti-filled balloons or a beautiful gold sparkly Cambridge Crown headband, to ensure your little girl is every bit the princess this festive season!

Here's the meg-made Christmas magazine to browse through. Simply click through to my Etsy store from any of the listings and then enter the code GIVING13 to enjoy 20% off!!!

Happy first day of the most wonderful time of the year!!!
post signature

28 November 2013

Being thankful with Pumpkin Ice-cream

Just because I'm Australian, it doesn't mean I can't partake in a day about being thankful (and a day dedicated to having me some pumpkin!!).

I have so much to be thankful for I don't know where to start. 

We spend a lot of our lives working towards future goals that we seem to let the present fly by and quickly become the past. I have a bit of the opposite problem and relate far too much with this old Cup of Jo article about worrying. Some nights I just peep into Maddie's room to hear her heavy breathing, climb back into bed next to a snoring bear of husband and burst into tears. I feel so incredibly lucky that I am terrified. But with the worry comes thanks. Every day I am thankful for the amount of love I have in my life,  and even though I miss so many of them being all around the world, I am thankful that I have so many special people to miss. I am thankful that I said yes to the nervous Senior who asked me to dance 14  years ago, and thankful for the life that we have forged for ourselves ever since. And words just can't describe how thankful I feel for my healthy and happy little girl who every day melts my forever swelling heart.

I need to stop there before I go on all night long and dissolve into a puddle of emotion! The other part of Thanksgiving that I love is the overuse of Pumpkin!! I have always loved pumpkin soup, roast pumpkin and pumpkin scones. A bowl of comforting pumpkin soup was always my request when I wasn't feeling well, it just seemed to have healing powers for me. 

I was introduced to the concept of canned pumpkin by my friends in Oxford and it still confuses me a little! I have had some and its great and all, but I guess what I don't understand is why you wouldn't just use the real thing?! I guess I think of pumpkin too traditionally, so can't conceive of a world where you'd make an entire pot of soup from canned/sweetened/spiced pumpkin. 

We had a very pumpkin-filled meal tonight. It was kind of by accident, kind of on purpose! I wanted to make pumpkin ice-cream and pumpkin risotto, so cooked up two big butternut pumpkins. 

The risotto was creamy and delicious and not dissimilar to my SuperPumpkin Soup from yesteryear! 

And onto dessert...

Once the pumpkin was cooked and had cooled, I added in cinnamon, ginger and mixed spice. I then mixed it together well with regular vanilla ice-cream and put it back in the freezer to reset. 

Then I got to work on the meringues! I made mini-pavlova's I guess you could say, but then added in the traditional pumpkin spices too, to really compliment the pumpkin ice-cream. 

It could be said that these were "indescribable" but yet "the goodness of a ice-cream with the greatness of pavlova and the amazingness of a pumpkin waffle". Thanks husband. 

Wishing a very Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American family and friends. And happy and thankful thoughts to all of my non-American family and friends, may the pumpkin be with you all. 

post signature

27 November 2013

For the budding Sous Chef (SPECIAL OFFER)

When Madeleine is a Michelin Starred Chef in the future, and magazines interview her about her love of cooking, she'll be able to trace it back to first starting as a sous chef for her mama when she was less than 1 years old. 

And then, when she was 17 months old, she got her very own kitchen, was head chef almost overnight, and the rest, as they say, is history. She was very comfortable as Head Chef straight away, but her poor little boyfriend Ilia seemed less than thrilled to be her Sous Chef!

I just love how comfortable Maddie is in an apron, it is just the cutest thing to watch!!!

And she gets you trying all sorts of cuisines you would never have usually been tempted with, but she's pretty hard to refuse, and is very persistent! 

I have always loved little girls aprons, but was never terribly fussed about boys wearing the same type, so designed a little boys apron, so that he can match Daddy! Its a MANS apron, but for little men!!!

I have just put these sweet aprons on my Etsy store but only have enough supplies for 5 of each print, so if you would like one, here is a direct payment option below (with a super special price).

There are two colours for the boys:

And two colours for the girls:

But lets be real, the girls can wear the boys aprons and the boys can definitely wear the girls aprons!

So if you're looking for a Christmas gift for a special little Sous Chef (or budding Head Chef like Maddie!!) then look no further! 

meg-made will be having a Black Friday Promotion on Friday which will bring the original prices (£20.50) to a similar point, but if you want to make sure you get one before the sale, here's your chance to get one now!!

Usually £20.50, now only £16.50, only through this buy it now option!

Gender and Colour

post signature

26 November 2013

meg-made Christmas 2013 Glossi

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!!

I just love Christmas. I love all aspects and I'm sure I'll do countless posts about Christmas cooking over the coming month, but I also love December 1, decorating the house. 

This year we are getting our very first real Christmas tree! Unfortunately it won't arrive until December 3, so we won't be able to decorate our tree on December 1 this year, but we will decorate everything else and still enjoy eggnog and treats. It is my only family tradition and I simply love it. 

To get in the festive spirit, I have put together a Glossi e-catalogue which shows some of the Christmasy things that I have going on over in my Etsy store. 

I have made some new items for my store recently, and am super excited to release them through the catalogue!

I really love the little kids aprons, which has two designs of each, and are for both girls and boys!

I really love seeing a man in a man's apron, and so I thought that a little boy would look just so gosh darn adorable in a mini version too! And I was right! Look how cute Maddie's boyfriend Ilia looks!!!!

I am also super excited to announce that I am now making cookies for sale on my Etsy store as well. They are 100% gluten free and 100% delicious (with a 100% strike rate, everyone is loving them!!). 

There is a Vanilla & Honey cookie as well as a Choc-Chip cookie. 

I made a mini gold glitter bunting for our tree, and decided it was so cute, you should have one for yours too!!!! I will now have bunting in every room of the house this Christmas, could things get any better than that!!! 

So have a look at my e-catalogue and let me know what you think.

meg-made Christmas 2013 Glossi

Do you have any pre-Christmas traditions that you just love?  post signature

Fast Diet - Week 6 - #LoseDayTuesday

Week six of the 5:2 Fast Diet!! To find out more about it, read my original post here.

I'm really enjoying the Fast Diet community. Its been fun finding other Fast Dieters on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook etc and seeing other people's results, motivation and meal ideas has been really inspirational for me this week.

I am definitely still enjoying my non-fast days far too much, I really have to remember that I am actually trying to be healthier and lose weight, and shouldn't be putting 100% of the pressure on the two fasting days!! I have had a bit of shift in mindset though this week. Rather than waking up on a Fasting day with the first thought being "bugger, no breakfast", I now have managed to think about it as such an opportunity day. I always feel better about myself after I've done a workout (not the endorphin rush kind of better, just feel more empowered and proud of myself), and so this feeling I now get in the mornings is similar to that, and I try to carry that feeling and remember it when the hunger pangs hit around noon.

In reaching out and connecting more with the Fast Diet community, I have stumbled upon a few awesome recipes that I am keen to explore more over the coming weeks and tried out another awesome recipe from the Fast Diet Recipe Book

Again I am finding that in putting off eating my first meal as late as possible, I am not nearly as hungry for as long in the day now. Its as though my system forgets about food overnight, and it isn't until I remind it what its missing that it starts growling for more!

Lunch - Chorizo & Butterbean Soup

I made this soup once. And then twice more that week! On one of my Fast days I actually had it for lunch and dinner, it's THAT good! I added some extra chorizo in mine when I had the spare calories because, well you can never have too much chorizo. 

I love how simple and easy (and affordable) this soup is. I am not going to reinvent the wheel, so here is the fabulous recipe from Lavender & Lovage

Snack - Green olives

Yes, the same snacks as I've had before, but I got some flavoured ones this week, so have added a few extra calories to the total for the pesto and pimento olives! Instead of 60 calories, I have had to guestimate about 100 calories. 

Dinner - Masala Prawns (with chickpeas and spinach)

I really do love reading a recipe, wanting to cook it, and finding out you had mostly everything you need already! Very neat. I followed the recipe from the Fast Diet Recipe Book for Masala Prawns, and given that I had had a very low calorie day thus far, added in the chickpeas and spinach. My husband even had the same meal as me, no rice, no bread, nothing bulky at all, and he commented that he was full without all of that starch!

The recipe from the book is as follows:

Ingredients (serves 2)

2tsps cumin seeds (I used ground cumin)
1/2 cinnamon stick (I used 1/2 t ground)
3 cloves (I used 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves)
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
Salt and pepper
2 tsps chilli powder
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp vegetable oil (I used sunflower oil)
2 tsps butter
150g raw prawns
coriander leaves

And my other changes were the addition of 120g of tinned chickpeas, 2 tablespoons of no-fat yoghurt and 2 handfuls of fresh spinach leaves.


1. Make the masale paste by heating a pan and adding the cumin, cinnamon and cloves, dry frying for a minute. The smell that this creates is amazing!

2. Remove from the heat and crush in a pestle and mortar (I don't have one, so I figured the ground spices made up for that).

3. Put this mix in a blender with garlic, salt and pepper chilli powder, turmeric and oil and whizz to a paste (again, I didn't do this step, but stirred it well into a paste in the pan instead).

4. Melt the butter in a heavy pan and add the paste and fry for two inures.

5. Add the prawns (and chickpeas) and stir gently until cooked through. Meanwhile cook the spinach.

6. To cook the spinach, turn a pan on and wait for it to be a little warm before tossing two handfuls of spinach leaves directly in the pan. Toss gently and the spinach will begin to wilt almost immediately. It will need to cook for no more than a minute in total.

7. To serve, I stirred through 1 teaspoon of yoghurt just before serving and dolloped one teaspoon on top before  sprinkling fresh coriander over the prawns.

The masala tasted like authentic Indian curry, without all the oil! It was filling and full of flavour.


Lots of water as usual and some more of my new favourite Teapigs Rooibos Creme Caramel herbal tea. (2 calories). And what better vessel to brew it in that my brand new Fast Diet mug! Woohoo!!!

Total calories for the day = 477


Reformer Pilates, lots of incidental walking and one Heath Hills walk! I had a bit more energy this week and so made sure I made the most of it! I still find designated exercise unlikely on a Fast day, but walking half an hour each way to take Maddie to her swimming lesson is still on the agenda!!

Weight loss?

Total loss to date = 2.7kgs (5.95lbs)

I was stoked to see the number on the scales this morning, I was sure there wouldn't be any change at all! I have two targets that I've set myself, and the first one is 4kg by Christmas (yay, only 1.3kgs to go), and then I want to be at my goal weight by my 30th Birthday in February (4.3kg to go). I am starting to believe it might just happen too!!!

On a very unrelated note, other than ticking off items on my Non-Food Cuddles list this week, here's a project I have been working on that has kept me busy and kept my mind away from food thoughts!!

I have put together all of my favourite items that are on my Etsy store in one easy to read e-catalogue. If you're looking for some Christmas gifts or decorations, you might just find a little sparkly piece of London that is perfect for your Christmas!

I hope you have a great week! One Fast Day down, one to go!

post signature

25 November 2013

Potato and Beetroot Gratin, curtesy of Gordon Ramsay (again)

Another Gordon Recipe recipe. Did I mention that I love Gordon. Well I do.

I've been a fan of potato bake for as long as I can remember, well before I knew that it didn't actually count as a serve of vegetables for the day! Shame. It should, I would eat five serves every day. 

I love finding a new way of twisting an old favourite into something with a bit of a modern kick. When I saw Chef Ramsay's take on a potato gratin which included red beets, I was intrigued to give it a go. 

750g large potatoes, peeled
500g cooked whole beetroots, peeled
500ml double cream (I used Emla)
Salt and pepper


1. After you have peeled the potatoes and beets you need to slice them all into rounds, approximately 1cm thick. There is no need to precook the potato.

2. Layer the potato around the base of your ovenproof dish until it is all covered, sprinkle with salt and pepper.

3. Place a layer of beetroot on top of the potato, and repeat until you have used all the potato and beetroot to form complete layers. 

4. Pour the cream around the entire gratin and bake in a moderate oven (180C/350F) for an hour. 

The colours are gorgeous and the beetroot really gives the potato such heavenly flavour.

There aren't many bad ways to eat potatoes thats for sure, but this has to be one of the best ways! Not really an every day side dish, but I cooked this when we had Brisket a few weeks back, and it was just sensational.

So if you want to double the flavour and halve the carbs, add some beetroot and make this gorgeous winter Potato & Beetroot Gratin!
post signature

21 November 2013

Non-Food Cuddles

I'm not sure if you know this about me already, but I LOVE food. I love thinking about it, photographing it, writing about it, Pinning it, preparing it, cooking it, smelling it, and of course eating it. 

If you've known me a little while, you may also know that I am an emotional eater. I eat especially when I am anxious, and don't get me started on how I recover from a migraine! 

The trouble is, when a foodie and an emotional eater are combined in one package, the results are often lots of jiggly bits. Many years ago when I was in the throes of a 5 year chronic sickness phase I met a great dietician who was unable to cure me of my pain, but did help me identify some unhealthy associations I had with food. I hadn't really noticed how much I used food to soothe me, calm me down, and all other kinds of negative emotional attachments I reacted to with food. Food can be such a positive experience though. It can be sociable, rewarding if you cook something impressive, and just downright delicious. As someone who spends a lot of positive time with food, I have noticed that in doing the Fast Diet (my original post here) I still was hanging on to some of my negative attachments, and so needed to turn back to some old techniques, and my most effective was the Non-Food Cuddles. 

Much like the little character Jules in "Hug Time", one of my favourite book of Madeleines', you have to come up with a list of hugs! But these are a list of things that you can do instead of reaching for food when you are bored/upset/stressed/anxious/angry/etc then you may stop some bad habits and in turn, be a fair bit healthier, in many ways. 

The list I had when I was 19 was VERY different to the list I made this week, but, the important thing is finding actual things you would choose instead of food, or it won't work. So here are my Non-Food Cuddles, and most of them are very affordable, so its not like you need to go and buy yourself a  pair of earrings instead of having a donut!! Mmmm donuts...

1. Literary Cuddle

I often find that when I have a bit of time free in the afternoons while my baby girl is sleeping is when I like to create something spectacular to eat for myself. It is very indulgent but I feel like having that un-interrupted time to myself is such a luxury and so reward such time with food. Instead though, my non-food solution is a Literary Cuddle. When I have quiet free time, I should embrace reading a book for half an hour. The settling down for some quiet personal time would be such a departure from my day that I might just find it relaxes me far more than does beating eggs! 

2.  Conversational Cuddle

I'm not a very chatty person. Unless I know you well, then you would know I can gabber on all day. I am quite shy by nature and am far better at conversing via the written word rather than spoken. But, when I do call a friend/family member and have a chat, I just love it and feel so much better afterwards (most of the time!!). So again, if I have free time I have been finding that picking up my phone/signing into Skype is a great way to feel connected to the world and take my mind off whatever it was that I was trying to cover with food. 

3. Floral Cuddle

I am very lucky, my husband buys me/the house flowers a lot. We have a little florist stall down on the High Street which sells extremely affordable blooms and so we don't mind spending £3 on a bunch of beautiful roses every other week. I was walking past said florist the other day (which is right next to Starbucks I may add) and I had the thought, would you rather spend £3 on a Starbucks coffee that last half an hour and is quite likely terrible for you; or, would you rather spend £3 on a bunch of flowers that brightens you and your house for about a week?!? I chose flowers. You don't have to have someone buy them for you, why not cheer yourself up a little when you are out next instead of spending money on bakery food/coffees/donuts.

4. Exercise Cuddle

Exercise gives you endorphins. You, not me. I feel tired and sore most of the time! But, lately, I have been choosing to go for a walk, or run up and down our stairs, or do a 7 Minute Workout and then I feel better about myself for the rest of the day. If I do this earlier on in the day it also means for the rest of the day I don't want to un-do my good work from the morning, so make better choices all day as a consequence. 

5. Bubble Cuddle

Not the drinking kind (unfortunately, although they give other sorts of cuddles too) but the bathing kind. You are never EVER too old for bubble baths. I could spend hours soaking in the tub, aside from the wrinkly fingers and curious baby wondering why she can't get in too! I know bath's aren't for everyone, but they make me happy. I have finished my all time favourite bubble bath now (hint hint Santa...) but this Laduree bubble bath is not too sweet but yet very bubbly! Until I have a replacement though, it's Burts Baby Bees for mama!! 

6. Stretch Cuddle

It is so simple and you can do it anywhere but it feels so good. For someone with hyper mobility (most of my joints have an unusually large range of motion) I am extremely un-flexible! I can't sit on the floor with my legs out straight without it pulling my hamstrings. So stretching is a bit important for me, but I never remember to do it. But being on my list means I do it a lot more than before!! And the funny thing is that it hurts but its a good hurt. If I commit myself to a ten minute stretching session I feel more relaxed and feel like I have connected with my body and so are more in tune for the rest of the day. 

7. Dance Cuddle

VERY embarrassing so for me, it's blinds closed, lights off, earphones in and GO FOR IT! 

8. Beauty Cuddle

I don't really have a beauty regime. After spending a few hours at a makeup counter in Bloomingdales and having the Estee Lauder continually threaten to "slap you down girl" I do now take off my makeup each night, apply an eye cream, and then moisturise in the morning! But the one beauty routine I do adore is painting my nails. As soon as I became a mum, it felt like I could have everything crumbling around me but if I had my nails nicely painted, then I would at least feel a little bit like I had my sh*t together. I loved getting my nails done in NewYork ($10 manicures, yes please) but can't afford the £30 ones here in London, so do it myself at home. 

9. Pinterest Cuddle

Warning: Do not ambly browse Pinterest if you are trying to avoid food. It will find you. Instead, you need to use the categories to narrow the field to something enjoyable to look through. I have a few favourite boards that I add to when I'm avoiding food... Theres: Bub Love,  Tickles my funny bone, House to Home, and Where are we going I don't quite know.

10. Creative Cuddle

I think this one is quite a meg-specific cuddle because I know not everyone feels buzzed about spray painting an old iron doorstop!! But I sure do. I get an infinite amount of enjoyment out of creative things and love making something and seeing the finished product being put to use. I have a bucket list of a gazillion things that I want to make/create/recondition and so I keep this list nearby and let the creative juices flow through me instead of Mimosa juices!! Perhaps art gives me the endorphins that exercise should! 

And of course, the cuddles that don't need to be on a list...

So there you have it, my personal 10 Non-Food Cuddles. Being on the Fast Diet has really just brought to my attention how much of my time is spent participating in food, and made me want to make sure that these behaviours are the positive ones from here on out. 

Have you heard of coming up with a list like this and if not, what would you include on yours?? 

post signature

19 November 2013

Fast Diet - Week 5 - #LoseDayTuesday

Week five of the 5:2 Fast Diet!! To find out more about it, read my original post here.

Four weeks down and into the fifth week. I have continued on with Monday and Wednesday fast days and have found it easier to get them "over with" earlier in the week. I am not finding the fast days quite as difficult as they first were, but I would rather fast on busy days to keep my mind from constantly thinking about food.

This diet has really identified my eating patterns that need changing. I have always known how much time I spend thinking about food, but I hadn't really noticed how much of the day I participate in food, be it prepare, cook, eat, pin and now calorie-count! I justify it partly because of this blog, but I have become aware of some of my behaviours towards food that I have held onto that must change.

Whenever I have some time to myself in the afternoons when Baby M naps, I make an afternoon treat. Whenever I feel unwell or have had a migraine, I heat up potato in some form to soothe my woes. Whenever I am stressed or anxious, I bury my worries in sugar. These behaviours are ingrained in me as a way of dealing with life, but as I have other mechanisms to deal with things these days, it surely is time to let go of the emotional eating! I have a post prepared for later in the week regarding non-food cuddles, a topic that is personal to me but something I really want to talk about.

I am still enjoying good food. I am still baking and not worrying about eating an entire fish (he was a little guy don't worry), followed by rhubarb and apple crumble. The difference is now though, that knowing a big dinner is looming, I ate small and healthy meals all day so that my evening intake wouldn't tip the scales terribly. This diet is helping me restore balance in my food life, and it is starting to show, ever so slightly, in my clothes!

The scales may not be saying all that much still, but my clothes are fitting better and having tried on clothes from a few years ago that are now fitting (but not quite yet looking good, still work to do!) it is giving me a surge of motivation to keep going and see where this diet can take me.

Enough ramblings from me, here is my food intake for last weeks' fast day. 

Lunch - Scrambled eggs with grilled tomatoes

This was made possible by the discovery of oil spray. I've always seen it on the shelves but never felt compelled to pick it up before this diet. But hey, if you can have a little moisture in the pan to grill some tomatoes and it only adding one extra calorie for the process, well that's okay with me. I grilled 5 cherry tomatoes, and then scrambled one egg with some fresh parsley. Delish.

Snack - Green olives

Yes, the same snacks as I've had before, but I was just needing some salt!!

I also had to sacrifice some calories on throat lozenges, darn cold and flu season is playing havoc on me this year!! 30 calories were wasted, grr!

Dinner - Chicken Puttanesca with Courgetti

This was definitely a case of moulding a recipe around my pantry, but it worked! I again consulted the Fast Diet Recipe Book, and stumbled upon the Sarah Raven's Chicken Puttanesca recipe, and adapted it to match what I had on hand. I had some spare calories up my sleeve, so had my chicken on some amazing courgetti (courgette-spaghetti). Here's the recipe post.


I caught up with a friend for some park time for our little girls and then we huddled inside at the nearest coffee shop for a warming beverage. I asked (without too much hope) what herbal teas were on offer, and to my surprise, discovered a new tea that blew me away! Teapigs Creme Caramel tea is divine. It is sweet and packs a punch in the flavour stakes. I've had it since with milk and sugar, and it really didn't need it, or add anything really, it doesn't need it. 

I found drinking water much easier this week, so was able to get 2L per day easily. 

Total calories for the day = 415


Pilates, lots of walking, and a workout in the stairwell again. It's actually one of my favourite ways to work out. I have loaded up a fun playlist on Spotify on my phone, plug the headphones in and away I go. It is such an exit from life for me, and I really enjoy it. Plus, I can look ridiculous and get really sweaty, without anyone ever seeing!! 

Weight loss?

Total loss to date = 1.8kg (3.97lbs)

Last week I was toying with the idea of doing a third fasting day, and gladly was talked out of through some really encouraging comments. This week, I am wondering whether I need to start actually counting calories on non-fast days. If you're doing the Fast Diet, do you count calories every day? I just am starting to feel like whilst I am seeing some changes, I'd like to see more, and am wondering how to tweak my week to make this happen. So I think my two options are to count my calories every day (oi) or to up my exercise... Which do you guys think would be more successful??

Have a great week! One Fast Day down, one to go!

meg xx