Free Norfolk Gin cocktail on arrival at 'Edit your life'

 Artisan Norfolk Gin

Who wants to talk gin this weekend? I’ve distracted myself from almost weeping at the comments on Mother Pukka’s latest post about inflexible working 😭, to being much more positive about lovely gin.

I’m so pleased to have Norfolk Gin on board as a sponsor for the “Edit your Life” event with Anna Newton and Erica Davies. Love a gin😜. And I love small businesses too, especially when you can just see the passion, craft and dedication poured into them. So here’s a little shout out for them. I approached Jonathan last year when planning the Hurrah for Gin event, as you know, it was about gin. He totally got it, and gave me an original canvas piece of Norfolk Gin art which lucky Sophie at The Night Feed won.

At the event on the 31st Jan, every guest will receive a Norfolk Gin cocktail on arrival, amazing! (There are still tickets available as we’ve already moved into the larger room as Benjis sold out overnight!)

We should be really proud that Norfolk has such a strong gin making crew. Norfolk Gin is artisan, created by Jonathan and Alison Redding in their kitchen. Every batch is still made by hand in the gin studio, and the beautiful bottles are designed to be treasured, re-used or re-filled. Aren’t they beautiful!

Just in time for Christmas, they’ve launched gorgeous little 10cl mini decanters. Currently exclusive to Jarrold (until the 17th December) at £18.50 these make a great stocking filler or Secret Santa gift for any gin-thusiast. Find the bottles in the Jarrold Food hall.

After 17th December, the mini decanters will also be available at selected independent retailers in Norfolk, including Goodies Food Hall (Diss), Beers of Europe (King’s Lynn), Arthur Howell (Wells-next-the-Sea) the Norfolk Deli (Hunstanton)

Happy Friday people! If you feel you might like to get a bit more organised in the new year, check out the next event, tickets are here😇, thank you, thank you.

Tips if you’re feeling overwhelmed in the lead up to Christmas👀

  How I wish I could make Christmas look

How I wish I could make Christmas look

The school dates are numerous, it’s birthday party season (giving and going), and the realisation that you feel (even if you’re not) responsible for all the “the planning, the buying, the wrapping, the stockings, the cooking, the cleaning, the wrapping, the cleaning, more cooking, the clearing up, the laundry, the cleaning, clearing up toys, the washing up, the dish washer emptying, bed and bath, the cooking, the clearing up toys, the wrapping, the shopping, the laundry” (Cherry Healey). Oh and work is getting busy, and it’s nearly the end of term!

I’m trying to go for low expectations but in my head I am swanning around with a glass of fizz as my kids play happily and there are sparkles in the air. If you’re the same, this is what I’m learning….

1 - Have a look at The Organised Mum, she has a week by week guide on how you can be done and dusted by Dec 1st. (I caught up, and by that I mean I feel very happy we have Santa trips booked, we know where we’re going, and it kick started me into gift buying. So it might make you feel worse to begin with, but at the end of the day, you will have to do it all. Might as well start now!)

2 - Write down everything that’s happening from 2nd Jan backwards.

3 - If you run a business or blog, schedule in some downtime over the festive break, (maybe switch to airplane mode) to properly switch off and enjoy family time. Be clear about what your trading period is over Christmas. The sooner you let people know, the better (note to self, note to self). 

4 - Schedule in some time off for you - a run, yoga, read in a darkened room.

5 - Have very very low expectations.

6 - Don’t try and do stuff that you never normally do (like bake). Think about the things you really enjoy and do them – ditch as much of the rest as you can.

7 - Breathe and find the magic, remember what it felt like when Santa had been, how lucky that we can see our kids enjoy it! Breath some fresh air, feel the sunshine, look up at the stars…

8 - Create a Christmas cocktail (Pimped-up Prosecco , Treacle Cocktail, Christmas Pomegranate Punch for the non alcoholic drinkers and kids, and here’s a Healthy Christmas Cocktail).

9 Play some Dean Martin or Frank Sinatra. Helpful Spotify list here.

Makes meal planning easy, healthy and affordable

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Suzy, founder of Bace Foods has put together a meal plan just for us! She’s given us a breakdown of the cost for each dish which feeds 4 people and includes the cost of sides where appropriate. She said she’s based the prices on buying quality ingredients such as premium sausages and British beef mince.

Ok, get your shopping list ready - click on each image to get the recipe:

Setting up a food brand - Suzy Smith

How did you come with the idea Suzy?

I came up with the innovative idea for Bace Foods when my son was weaning. I was trying to give him food that would get his palate used to a variety of flavours, and made purees that I weaved into family meals, like soups and chilli. It meant they were all getting the veg they didn’t normally eat.

 Founder Suzy Smith

Founder Suzy Smith

When did you launch?

We’ve been going for only seven months now.

What advice would you give a parent about to set up a business different to their previous job?

Talk to people who are already doing it, people are so helpful. Do as much as you can yourself. Don’t wait - lots of people think they need to write a business plan and delay launching for 6-12 months, we advise to just launch. Get feedback, and tweak as you go. We’ve done over 30 shows, it has been a rollercoaster! We sometimes wonder why are doing this, and then the creativity, the freedom and ownership feels good.

How do you manage the business round the school run?

We literally pack up the van with all our equipment two mornings a week after the kids are at school, we head to our kitchen and produce as many pots as we can. The other days (and nights) of the week, we’re contacting potential stockists, building our social media, devising new recipes, planning and actually, we never really switch off!

More info here

Kitchen hacks for people who want to spend less time cooking but want to be healthy (catchy headline!)

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Being a food marketing person who can’t cook, and is defeated by meal plans, food shopping, cooking, all of it, these products are genius. In fact, it’s safe to say my husband has been doing more and more of the cooking. When you know you’re no good at it, there’s little motivation. HOWEVER I came across Bace Foods in the EDP in the summer, and then met them by chance at a local school fete. These products are helping us, so I went to meet them so I could share this kitchen hack with you.

It’s a range of base sauces made by a mum and dad in Hethersett. I LOVE them. It’s a cooking hack that saves time chopping veg, and gets a variety of veg into your cooking that your family might not eat in its natural state. Suzy and Steve spend hours and hours cooking British beans and peas, blending with vegetables and hand filling tubs - and that is the base for your chilli, curry, soup, baked eggs, pretty much anything!

They are totally on trend - plant based, helps reduce meat consumption, vegan, British, healthy, they tick all the boxes. Before I go on - you can buy at their online shop (free delivery if you spend more than £10 in Norfolk), and at tonnes of farm shops round the county. I asked Suzy to make us (as in, you and me) a meal plan using Bace. So the idea is, you have a stock of Bace Foods in your fridge or freezer, and you can turn your hand to these easy, easy recipes. I know in general food bills are high, so I asked Suzy to cost each recipe per head, and they range from £1.03 per person to £2.17. Not bad!

When you use these sauces instead of your own chopped veg, it gives a better depth of flavour, makes it tastier and gives your meal more nutrients. There are no preservatives, the sauces are hot filled which makes them last without preservatives.

The process is a real labour of love: pulses are soaked the night before, all the stones are removed, the veg is prepared, peeled and cleaned. The pulses are pressure cooked to all have the same tender consistency in three huge pressure cookers. The veg is cooked and then blended to a smooth consistency, and the herbs and flavour is added now or after. After blending the veg in the pan with the pulses, it is all heated, and then carefully hand filled into pots.

Not only are busy mums like us finding it a good kitchen hack, but schools and care homes are buying catering size packs - imagine all our kids and relatives getting such goodness, easily.

The products are:

beans with benefits

carlin peas with perks

green peas with perks

You’ll find Bace Foods at a variety of stockists in Norfolk and they sell online across the country.

WIN! PLEASE TAKE PART IN OUR NORWICH SURVEY

We Got This (Sometimes!) - Audience Survey

We would like to find out more about YOU and what YOU would like from our events. 

Please take part in our short audience survey, it will take no longer than 9 minutes!

  • As a small thank you, you will be entered into a prize draw for the chance to win a £40 voucher to spend with any of the brands in the Norfolk Gift Guide, a bottle of Adnams Copperhouse Gin AND two tickets to our next event 

  • Survey will be open from 8th November - 23rd November 2018

WIN WIN - PLEASE TAKE PART IN OUR TW SURVEY!

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We Got This TW - Audience Survey

We would like to find out more about YOU and what YOU would like from our events. 

Please take part in our short audience survey, it will take no longer than 8 minutes - we promise!

  • As a small thank you, we will enter you into a prize draw for the chance to win a £20 voucher of your choice and two tickets to our next event 

  • Survey will be open from 5th November - 30th November 2018

Norfolk Gift Edit

Come and celebrate the creative, inspirational, entrepreneurial, hardworking families in Norfolk by shopping thoughtfully this Christmas.

This carefully curated edit has been created from a chance conversation about the incredible toys Natasha at NimmyNook Wood makes around her kids, and maybe we could showcase some of the other brands being built in our community.

Once you’ve had a browse and supported the small businesses of your choice, pop over to www.littlehotdogwatson.com, where you’ll find a Small Business Saturday - The Directory, which reaches further afield across the UK.

There are other ways to support small businesses too…it means the world when you recommend them to your friends and family, and when you follow, like and comment on their social media posts, more people become aware of their brand.

Please send this guide to partners, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends and pick out things for your own Christmas list!

Product download from Sali Hughes in conversation with Sam Chapman

 Photo by  Emily Gray Photography , at Jarrolds

Photo by Emily Gray Photography, at Jarrolds

My friend Carly and I have gathered our scribbled notes from last night at Jarrolds - not everything, so I will happily add anything else you remember…The links are just to the brand websites, no affiliates. Here we go:

Eyes:

How do I stop my mascara smudging? Need to use a tubing mascara which is not oil based, it is plastic so it coats your lashes in water-resistant, tube-like enclosures around each individual lash which can only be removed by warm water. The trick is to use a ‘big slaggy mascara’ underneath, then cover with a tubing mascara. Tubing mascara recommendations were Clinique Lash Power and Lancome Double Wear

Eyeshadows:

Foundation:

Highlighters:

Lips

How to stop feathering on an older lip: use a lipliner. If worried about it looking too obvious, use a clear lipliner or try Guerlain Liplift

Nails:

Fragrances

  • We heard about forgotten heroes like Poison, and timeless fragrances like Chanel No 5

Hair dye

  • Sali was asked about hair colour (she is allergic to PPD). She is trialling new products at the moment (skin tests). You can go lighter as bleach doesn’t contain PPD but not darker

Primer recommendation

  • Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Filter. Others have too much silicone which makes it pull

Foundation for spotty skin

Neck and jawline

  • Do you need a specific neck cream? No, but make sure you’re using your serum and cream from the bottom of the neck up. Try Vit C in the morning and Retinol at night. Do Face Exercises from Youtube

About diversity

  • Every single brand is obsessed with diversity and sustainability. Fente, Estee Lauder, Nars, Hourglass, Bobbi Brown and Mac all received shout outs for diversity

Products that Sali would include in Pretty Iconic, if writing it now:

Phew!

6 stealthy ways to bring beauty back into your life again

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When I was tagged into a post about Sali Hughes doing a book tour, I realised I hadn’t even thought properly about beauty products for a year, apart from an emergency lipstick purchase (you can’t meet Mother Pukka and not have a red lip, in my eyes). Two small kids, setting up a business, moving house, freelancing and trying to be an adult took up the time (humble brag alert).

Without sounding like a cliche, I had of course my staple dark-eye-hiding concealer and colour-boosting trusty Bare Minerals foundation but I didn’t know what had changed, what was new, who was Bobbi Brown (joke!).

What if Sali opened my eyes to this world again? (she has). What if other women feel the same (you do!). When was the last time you leisurely browsed a make up brand IN REAL LIFE?! When did you last shake up your make up?! Exactly.

I am not going to say this is how I ‘treated myself’, or ‘pampered myself’ as ALL women should find a few minutes to themselves each day.

SO. 6 ways to edge beauty back into your busy, juggley life:

1 Read the archive of Sali’s articles at The Guardian. Just google her name plus the needed product type and you’ll be faced with a range of very bank account friendly options to luxury products. Here is a handy link to her entire back catalogue.

2 I was going to say, buy a ticket to see Sali Hughes in conversation with Sam Chapman. But it’s sold out now! 140 people are gathering next week at Jarrolds. Pretty Iconic (I have the new paperback version) is a bit like a blast from the past, a chat with a friend and the start of a wish list. Anyone else remember having a tube of Rimmel Hide the Blemish in high school? Or realising that YSL Touche Eclat on under eyes made them appear a bit ‘different’ in photos vs real life? You can buy the new book at Jarrolds (online link coming).


3 Along with over 2m other people, watch video after video of Norwich mothers Sam and Nic at Pixiwoo, their makeup tutorials are utterly mesmerising. Also LOOK…Nic did a ‘Mum on the Run’ tutorial 💁🏽‍♀️.

4 Watch Sali Hughes in the bathroom with Lily Allen. And Caitlin Moran. And Charlotte Tilbury. And Caroline Hirons. And Bobbi Brown. Here.

5 See Haylie @haylieclarkey__, she is the Senior Lead Artist at Charlotte Tilbury in Jarrold. You can pick up a quick trick in 15 mins, or a transformation makeover. I was in for a transformation makeover for my birthday, and learnt about what products are good for me, why, how much passion Charlotte put into the product development and I could pick ‘a look’.

 My bestie Emma and me, footloose and fancy free on my birthday. Best pic I have of my transformation by Haylie.

My bestie Emma and me, footloose and fancy free on my birthday. Best pic I have of my transformation by Haylie.

I walked away with a few products and some samples, and my absolute favourite is the Magic Cream. It’s like using pillows of deep, enriching rose scented heaven. You can book in here.

6 Have you heard of Caroline Hirons? My friend told me all about her. I studiously examined her website to learn all about double cleansing, serums, night creams, day creams. Now THAT is investing in yourself. You might think what a load of faff, but I find I’m living my best life when I actually do this little routine. Often I don’t (very often) - a tip from my friend Gemma is to do it when the kids are in the bath. #everyoneiswinning #notexactlyrelaxing. Here is a link to Carolines cheat sheets.

I know I said 6 tips but what about all the beauty experts we have in Norfolk?! Here is a list of some I know, if you’d like me to add you, send me a quick email, more than happy to expand it!

Have fun, let me know what you find and do, let me know any tips! Emma x