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 Mia blue doorJosephA portrait of my children once a week, every week, in 2015

Mia: coordinating beautifully with a doorway! Such a shame about the grumpy face though…sometimes even Mia is not in the mood for photos.

Joseph: has strawberry gelato on his nose

Linking up with Jodi’s beautiful portraits at Practising Simplicity for the 52 project.

All things pasta…fresh and simple dinner ideas!

For me cooking and meal-planning centre around simple, fresh and healthy food that is quick to put together. Like so many families, we have a busy schedule, and rushing between work, school and nursery means that cooking time can be very limited. Pasta is very often the perfect quick solution! Simple pasta recipes that I can add a fresh sauce and veggies to have endless variations. I absolutely love pesto pasta with penne or fusilli, and Mia and Joe’s all time favourite is spaghetti and meatballs in tomato sauce (or peasketti as Joe calls it!) with lots of stringy cheese melting on top.

Jamies-Italian_V6Jamie’s Italian have created this gorgeous pasta infographic, with details of the unique story behind each pasta shape. Reading about the different pasta varieties and their history inspires me to experiment with some new pasta shapes. How pretty are the corzetti and campanelle shapes!

I thought it would also be fun to share my super-simple tomato sauce recipe. I make it at least once a week, and it is great with lots of different pasta varieties. It is very quick to make and (I think!) it tastes so much better than ready made sauces.


400g fresh or canned tomatoes

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 tsp sugar or honey

1/2 tsp salt

a little freshly ground black pepper

pinch of dried chilli flakes

a splash of olive oil

fresh herbs…oregano, thyme, rosemary


Add the tomatoes to a large frying pan and sprinkle in the salt, sugar, pepper and chilli flakes

Let the tomato mixture cook for 5 minutes on a fairly high heat before adding the garlic, oil and herbs. Lower the temperature so the sauce bubbles gently.

Cook the sauce for another 5-10 minutes until it thickens slightly, adding a splash of water if it starts to stick to the pan.

Check the seasoning, and adjust if necessary, and it’s ready!

Some variations I love are adding a handful of black olives, or parmesan, or some pre-cooked smoked bacon lardons.

I would love to hear your pasta recipes too, what are your favourites?


This is a collaborative post, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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A portrait of my children once a week, every week, in 2015

Mia: loves books, but can sometimes be reluctant to read to me…I sometimes find her reading to Joe though which is very sweet, and of course he loves it. 

Joseph: ate a chocolate brownie 
Linking up with Jodi’s beautiful portraits at Practising Simplicity for the 52 project.

This is the first ever post I have created entirely on my phone! I have had a week of tech break downs, which has left me temporarily without a laptop and tablet. I’m trying to remain calm, and hope that both are fixable. Normal blogging will hopefully resume soon! 

A trip to the beach: West Wittering

Joe sunhatI should have called this post ‘When summer day trips go bad’! We had planned to visit the Isle of Wight, and take a Hoverspeed crossing over for a day on the beach. But…we woke up kind of late for the 10am crossing booked. I’d also had very minor surgery the day before so felt a bit groggy and lacking in motivation for adventuring.

We had promised Mia and Joe the beach though, and as it was gorgeously sunny, decided to head to West Wittering in Sussex. It is one of our nearest sandy beaches, and really beautiful. It seemed that most of southern England had had the same idea though and the roads around West Sussex were crazily busy. Having sat in several hours of traffic jams (and annoyingly being only about 2 miles from West Wittering) we made a spontaneous diversion to Selsey, hoping that it might have a beach.

Mia beach hair Sea wall Mia Joe sunhatsSelsey did have a pebble beach, which was just fine for our picnic lunch, so we soaked up some sun for an hour or so, and had a walk along the sea-front. I attempted to climb the sea wall, whilst carrying Joe and a heavy backpack, and managed to inflict some quite impressive bruises on my poor legs!

beach pebbles boats on the beach lifeboat side view lifeboat west wittering beach huts We did eventually reach West Wittering, having found a back roads shortcut, through the lanes from Selsey. Although the beach was crowded, we found a lovely place to sit by the dunes and swam in the warm shallow sea. It was the kind of day, that you had to take the positives from!

joe west wittering beach huts west wittering