#Mamamail

Mamamail is a project devised by the lovely people at The Paperdashery.

It is a charitable exchange where new mums can sign up to receive some happymail, and other(mostly mum)s can sign up to do the sending.

So far I’ve participated twice, and I’d like to continue to do so.

I suffered quite badly with PND with my first and the worry it would happen a second time out a bit of a dampener on what should have been a time for celebration with the second. I was lucky in that I had lots of support around me during a horrible time, but I firmly believe that you can NEVER have too much support at such an exhausting and emotional time, and sometimes it takes a stranger telling you that “Actually, you’re doing okay!” for you to believe it.

My first Mama was a lovely Mum named Michelle, she had recently given birth to her second daughter and was struggling with being tired and hungry (I could relate to that! Offspring#2 was a boy who liked to feed!)

She describes herself as creative, tired, and hungry and said that food and sleep made her happy!

I put together a package of treats for her; chocolate, tea, biscuits, toiletries, and a little crafty sewing kit as she had mentioned she was creative.

I knew it would be another few days before I would be able to get to the post office so, on the way home from an event that night, I popped a cheery little card in the mail; just so she knew someone was thinking about her.

A few days later I found she had tagged me in a social media post about the project, and mentioned how my Mamamail had brightened her day. She also, unexpectedly, sent me a message of thanks; which was really sweet of her. (This did however give me the opportunity to ‘meet’ her via Instagram and I just have to say that she has THE cutest girls ever!)

That gave me such a warm feeling, that I immediately offered to sign up for another round.

My next Mama is Kate, she describes herself as creative, passionate, and independent; but at the moment she is struggling with Post Natal Depression. Cats and chocolate make her happy, so I’m planning to incorporate those into her Mamamail.

I am currently putting together a little box of self care treats for Kate, and am writing a note of solidarity, in the hope that I can bring a moment of cheer to a cloudy day.

The Mamamail project is so incredibly worthwhile, and if you think you may be interested in participating in this rewarding endeavour, I urge you to go and take a look at the details and sign up.

The Paperdashery even have a great range of products suitable for #Mamamail , starting at under a pound!

Mamamail senders also receive a code for £5 off a £15 spend at The Paperdashery, but; to be honest; I’ve never cashed mine in as I signed up for the sole purpose of brightening someone’s day NOT to see what I could get out of it.

Have you heard of Mamamail? Would you consider signing up to send or receive? Or do you participate in other charitable mailing projects? Why not share in the comments below?

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Hugs,

Crafty xxx

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A Belated Birthday Treat: Lunch at Don Michele’s, Dundee.

It was my birthday a while back, and one of my gifts from Offspring#2 was a voucher for a 2-course lunch for two at one of the local Italian restaurants.

Since we knew I’d be off today, we booked a table earlier in the week.

It’s one of those places that we’ve been meaning to try for years but had just never got around to it. 

A family-run restaurant, Don Michele‘s prides itself on it’s friendly & attentive service and authentic Italian cooking. It is warm and inviting, with an intimate cosy atmosphere.

The friendly waiter showed us to our seats and asked if we would like any drinks, before returning with the menus.

We perused the menu, the waiter giving us plenty time to choose our dishes. I must admit that’s a bit of a peeve of mine, I do hate when you feel rushed into ordering!

I picked the Fungi Alfredo starter and the Risotto Al Pollo main; whilst my suave, sophisticated, handsome companion went for the main of Linguine Carbonara followed by the Vanilla Cheesecake.

We then sat back and relaxed while sipping our diet cokes, and soaking up the ambience.

It was, as my compadre pointed out, the most Italian-y looking Italian restaurant!

The walls were adorned with portraits and photographic prints of the most Italian-y poking Italians, and there was a wallart plaque shaped like a Vespa which bore a tricolour paintjob; there was even a teatowel tacked to one wall that pictured a map of Italy, anoted with regional pastas (they should sell those….we want one!).

The background music, which wasn’t too loud, was Italian; and, sitting next to the serving hatch to the kitchen, we could hear the chef’s talking to each other in Italian.

When my starter arrived, it was jam-packed with mushrooms. 

 The thick creamy garlic-laced sauce was delicious and the warm chunk of accompanying ciabatta was just the right density.
At this point, we realized that our vantage point by the kitchen afforded us the perfect spot for noseying at what other diners had ordered, thus aiding our menu selection next time. The Lasagne and Penne Salsiccia heading to a couple at a nearby table both looked appetising and hearty sized portions.

We didn’t have long to wait before our mains made an appearance too.

The rice in my risotto was perfectly cooked and the dish was well-flavoured.

The linguine was however outstanding, the sauce was gorgeously thick and rich.

I was offered the menu incase I wished to order dessert, I had a look (for future reference) but ultimately didn’t order as I was already pleasantly full.

The cheesecake, when it arrived, was attractively presented and I did have a taste so can report it was as good as it looks!

It was incredibly light and the vanilla drizzle put us in mind of that which accompanies a crème caramel.

Now, as I mentioned, we had a voucher for the food so when it came to paying the bill we were only charged for two drinks each; but at £10.50 for two courses, we could both indulge in a similarly delicious lunch some other time for around £30. 

We’ll definitely be returning. Soon.

Ratings & Recommendations 

Service: A warm welcome by staff was followed by friendly attentiveness throughout our visit. 5/5

Menu: The menu offers a good selection of traditional Italian dishes. 5/5

Food: Looks and tastes freshly prepared. Well presented and good-sized portions. 5/5

Ambience: Cosy and welcoming. The Italian decor creates a warm feel which we enjoyed. The subdued lighting and background music enhanced the setting. 4/5

Cleanliness: Spotless! Dining furniture & table linen impeccably clean; as were the cutlery, crockery & glassware. Toilets were well maintained. 5/5

Value for Money: Our two courses for two would have cost £10.50 each, ordering from the Special Lunch Menu, plus 4 soft drinks @ £2.60 each = £31.40 which seems reasonable for what we had. 4.5/5

Would we return? YES! Definitely.

Would we recommend? YES! Definitely. I also think this would be the ideal venue for larger celebratory gatherings as well small informalrmal meals out such as we had today.

TOTAL: 28.5 / 30


Don Michele is situated on Perth Road, Dundee and is easily accessible from the city centre.

Contact Details

Address: 177 Perth Road, Dundee, DD2 1AS

Phone: 01382 660600

Opening Times: Lunch 12 – 2pm Daily 

                            Dinner 5.30 – 9.30pm                                                (10.30pm Fri/Sat)

Website: http://donmichele.co.uk/

Facebook: @donmicheledundee

Instagram: @don_michele_dundee
I think we might have found our new favourite Italian restaurant, we just have to think of an excuse to take the rest of the family along soon. Have you finally made it to any great local restaurants you’ve been meaning to visit for a while but just hadn’t gotten around to? I always love when it turns out to be really good 😀

Thanks for stopping by!

Hugs, Crafty xx

Celebrating at Shehzad

I heard today that I had been successful at my recent interview for promotion (Yayyy me!!!) so my Other Half and Offspring#2 decided to take me out for celebratory eats.

We are lucky to have quite a number of really fantastic Indian restaurants locally; but the Shehzad Tandoori & Balti Restaurant is one we use often if we are ordering takeaway online, or popping out for a quick bite.

One of the reasons this is our go-to for impromptu mid-week dining out is their ridiculously inexpensive pre-theatre menu. Monday – Friday, dining between 4 – 8pm you can get 3 courses for £8.95!!!

When it comes to starters, I am a creature of habit; and usually order the chatt patt, or the chicken pakora. Both are delicious but today I went for the chatt patt, as did Offspring #2.

Two huge chicken wings, cooked in a flavoursome marinade, chargrilled, and served with a salad garnish.

OH plumped for the chicken tikka, which was tender chunks of meat cooked in an amazing tikka marinade, looked almost as delicious as ours, and again was served with a salad garnish. The chilli sauce served alongside the starters is always tangy with a pleasantly rounded flavour.
Main courses are usually a sharing affair when our household dine out, so we tend to order a selection of dishes.
The menfolk both opted for the Lamb Punjabi Massala whilst I chose the Lamb Kadie.

A kadie is a traditional Afghani dish made using fresh tomatoes, green chillies, ginger, garlic, spring onions & coriander. It is delicious and takes it’s name from the pot it is traditionally cooked in!

 

The sharing aspect extends to accompaniments, so we ordered 2 portions of pilau rice and 1 portion of chapattis. This works well as it means we all get a variety!

Now, before we discuss dessert, can I remind you that we are eating 3 courses for £8.95!?!? To be completely honest, the first time OH & I popped in to try this deal we weren’t expecting much. We knew the food was good quality and tasty as we ordered regularly but for £8.95 we expected small portions of food that maybe wasnt quite as great, and a limp defrosted slice of generic Sara-Lee -esque frozen cheesecake….

THE CHEESECAKE!!! 😍😍😍

The cheesecake alone is worth £8.95 on any restaurant menu.

It’s homemade, the feather-light creamy topping is the most gorgeous texture, and the biscuit base is just the right crumbly buttery mix.

It’s always a topic of conversation throughout dinner, wondering what flavour the cheesecake will be! We never ask until it’s time to order dessert, Offspring#2 says it ruins the surprise, and so it was only once we had finished off our delicious mains that we discovered tonight’s offering was Galaxy Cookie Dough Crumble.

I have a confession to make. It was only when I was a third of my way through this heavenly concoction that I realized I had committed somewhat of a faux Pas.

I started eating my cheesecake before I remembered to take a photo for you all…. Sorry!

Ratings & Recommendations

Service: As always, a warm welcome by staff was followed by friendly attentiveness throughout our visit.  5/5

Menu: The menu offers a wide and varied selection of both traditional Indian abd some European dishes. Both the Pre-Theatre menu and the Tandoori Night menus offer a smaller selection for very competitive prices. 5/5

Food: Looks and tastes freshly prepared. Meat dishes always contain a decent serving of tender chunks of meat. Well presented and, although the starter portions are smaller on the Pre-Theatre menu, the mains and desserts are good-sized portions. 5/5

Ambience: Bright, light & airy; the decor is standard for a typical Indian restaurant looking to create a contemporary interior. Background music is always upbeat and not so loud as to be intrusive. 4/5

Cleanliness: Spotless! Dining furniture & table linen impeccably clean; as were the cutlery, crockery & glassware. Toilets are well maintained. 5/5

Value for Money: Whilst value for money on the special pre-theatre menu is epic, the standard a la carte menu is also reasonably priced . The bill for tonight’s 3 courses for 3 people plus a few soft drinks was around £35.   5/5

Would we return? YES! Definitely. We do so regularly!

Would we recommend? YES! Definitely. I also think this would be the ideal venue for larger celebratory gatherings as well as the small informal meals out we tend to have there.

TOTAL: 29 / 30

Shezhad Tandoori and Balti Restaurant is situated on Dura Street, Dundee and is easily accessible from the city centre. It is on a main bus route, and there is a free carpark nearby.

Contact Details

Address: 104 Dura Street, Dundee, DD4 6TE

Phone: 01382 457502

Opening Times: Sunday – Thursday 4 – 10 pm , Friday / Saturday 4 – 11 pm

Facebook: Shezhad Tandoori & Balti Restaurant

The cheesecakes are lovingly handmade by the very talented local lass, Zara, you should go have a drool over on her Instagram @_elegantcakes .


Do you have a regular go-to local restaurant? What do you order when you’re there?

Thanks for dining with us! 😁

Hugs, Crafty xx

[Book Review] “FIND YOUR AWESOME” by Judy Clement Wall

  • Title: FIND YOUR AWESOME 
  • Author: Judy Clement Wall
  • Published by: HCI Books
  • Publication date: 4th April 2017
  • Edition: Paperback
  • ISBN: 9780757319754
  • Price: $14:95 (USD)
  • Self-Help , Crafts & Hobbies


Find Your Awesome

A 30-Day Challenge to Fall in Love with Your Playful, Imaginative & Colorful Self

by Judy Clement Wall

Part self-help book, part adult colouring & activity book; this lovely offering will appeal to those who love to doodle & scribble, and anyone who enjoys ‘Wreck this Journal’-style books.
Essentially a self-love & self-worth workbook, “Find Your Awesome” takes the idea of a 30 day challenge and turns it into a book. Taking the realisation that whilst we have no problem telling those around us how awesome they are; we find it difficult to extend the same courtesy to ourselves; self-confessed artist, writer, doodler, and love warrior Judy Clement Wall challenges us to 

“Fall in Love with Your Playful, Imaginative & Colourful Self”

through a set of daily challenges designed to encourage you to do just that.

Judy’s writing style is Awesome, she has you nodding along and giggling at the many witticisms she shares. Nevermind being a self-love guru; it seems like she’s the kinda person that would do your soul good just by knowing her! Someone you’d love to hug, hang out with, drink tea and eat copious amounts of cheecake with; regularly.

The book is a fun read, at times touching, and actually quite eyeopening – through sharing her own story of opening herself up to embracing her own Awesome badassery she gives us the impetus to proclaim our own. 

In case you haven’t worked it out yet; I LOVE THIS BOOK!! I must admit, I never really ‘got‘ the whole Adult Colouring thing, I understand why people enjoy it; it just never clicked with ME. But, this? This I can embrace. I’m obsessed with daily/monthly challenges but sometimes get bored if they are the same thing repeated (a month worth of photoprompts is fine, once you’re into your 3rd month, it gets a bit ‘mehhh’) The clever thing here is that the style of challenge differs from day to day; some days you doodle, some days you write, others you send a text; it keeps it varied and interesting.

Fancy a sneak peek at some of the challenges? I’m happy to oblige:

  • Doodle your perfect t-shirt
  • Text love
  • Writing yourself a love letter
  • Appreciate your body in all its awesomeness
  • Make time for you by writing a Not-To-Do List
  • What’s your Personal Manifesto?

Another idea suggested throughout the book is choosing your favourite challenge(s) and turning them into month, or even year, -long challenges in their own right; similar to the author’s own Year of Loving Fearlessly challenge.   

Now, obviously, you can work through the book on your own, but I was excited to discover that Judy is running a free online group, starting May 15th, where you can sign up now and then complete the challenge alongside [as she puts it herself] “a posse of like-minded love-warriors”. I have, of course, signed up; and now I’m off to buy a physical copy to play with.


Rating

I award this book 5 out of 5 stars. I found it Awesome! 


Connect with the Author

     



    Disclosure: A free ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

    A Sunny Saturday in 1300s Arbroath

    Arbroath Abbey has always been a favourite haunt and we’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve visited over the years.
    It is a place of calm tranquility, steeped in history, and I always feel at peace there.

    This weekend there is a re-enactment event; held annually in honour of the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath (6th April 1320); so today’s visit wasn’t quite as tranquil, what with the clash of swords as the Scots & English forces battled through the Wars of Independence.

    The medieval encampment came courtesy of The Historic Saltire Society, a living history group based in Inverness who perform all over the country.

    The society members are all very friendly and eager to talk about the history of the period.

    We all had an attempt at some medieval calligraphy using quills, reeds and iron gall ink.

    The professionals made us some personalised bookmarks to show us how it is really done…

    In our defense, they did get to use proper nibs!

    We also saw how cloth would have been woven.

    The lunch tent was well-frequented, although somewhat surprisingly there wasn’t a cauldron of pottage in sight!

    The camp jester was on hand to show us various medieval games & pastimes.

    The Armoury was a lot of fun! The guy we spoke to spent ages talking us through all the protective clothing and weapons. 

    There is always ample opportunity for audience participation.

    Offspring #2 found himself conscripted into the schiltron.

    Whilst the kids army is always fun

    Obviously the finale is The Big Battle… 

    The event continues on Sunday, so if you happen to be around Arbroath, pop along!

    Oh, and no trip to Arbroath can be complete without a good portion of fish and chips!

    We can definitely recommend The Bellrock.

    Do you have any annual local events you enjoy attending?

    Have you heard of Arbroath Abbey, or The Declaration?


    I’d love to hear!

    Hugs, 

    Crafty xx

    Flippin’eck! It’s Pancake Day!!

    Pancake Day (also known as Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday; if you are so inclined) is traditionally celebrated on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday; which signals the beginning of Lent.

    Shrove, derived from the word shrive, meaning to confess; was traditionally a time for Christians to confess & serve penance (not being religious, I’m afraid we just serve pancakes!)

    Pancakes were traditionally eaten on Shrove Tuesday, as they used up a lot of eggs, milk & sugar; rich ingredients which were omitted from your menu for the duration of the 40-day long fast.

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    Of course, like so many other events throughout the calendar, the Christians weren’t the first kids on the block to celebrate it.

    Pagan festivities included eating these delicious warm round sun-like cakes in the belief that it would invoke the gods of Spring and fertility, and banish the cold dark winter months. Which sounds pretty good to me!!

    Anyway, as I mentioned, we aren’t a religious family; we do however usually make pancakes on Pancake Day.
    We used to do it when the kiddos were…well…kiddos; in fact Teen2 was a bit miffed last year that we didn’t (the fact that this was probably due to the fact that it was one of those nights where he had three social engagements between school & bed was almost definitely lost on him!) and its a tradition that has carried on.

    Usually we make thinnish crepe-like pancakes, and everyone takes a turn of flipping or tossing theirs in the pan.

    When I was young, my parents told me it was good luck if you managed to get your pancake to somersault in the air and land back flat in the pan.
    I had no basis to believe or disprove this, so decided it was most definitely true.
    Teen2 may disagree after the year he grabbed the hot pan rather than the plastic insulated handle and ended up with a trip to A&E (I know, I’m a terrible mother!) but I still stand by my belief that it is most definitely lucky.

    TOP THAT!

    After the making and the tossing, the next step is the topping.

    Usually this starts rather sensibly, with a sprinkling of sugar and a dash of lemon juice; or perhaps a spread of jam, maybe even a drizzle of honey or syrup.
    But, before long, Someone instigates nonsense and they end up covered in all sorts of things…
    Generally there is a combination featuring some (or all!) of the following…

    Nutella
    Ice cream
    Banana
    Syrup
    Cherry pie filling
    Cinnamon
    Lemon juice
    Sugar
    Whipped cream
    Jam
    Marshmallow fluff
    Chopped nuts
    Honey….

    …and anything else He thinks he would get away with!!

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    If I remember correctly; this monstrosity contained ice cream, hazelnut chocolate spread, sliced banana, chocolate syrup, whipped cream & chopped nuts; a few years back.

    THIS YEAR, WE TOSSED TRADITION

    This year, instead of our usual large thin pancakes; we had Scotch Pancakes.
    This was not a decision made through some patriotic fervour; in actual fact, I was running low on flour after making a couple of batches of pizza recently.

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    TheTeens were suitably impressed that their mum actually knew how to make Scotch Pancakes, something normally just bought and eaten from supermarket packets and; after revering me as a living god; polished off *some*

    MY SUPER EASY SCOTCH PANCAKE RECIPE

    Ingredients:

    200g Self-raising Flour
    100g Caster Sugar
    Pinch Salt
    2 Eggs
    120ml Milk

    (If you don’t have SR flour, replace with 200g plain and add 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder)

    How To:

    Sieve flour, sugar, salt (& baking powder if using) into a bowl.
    Make a well in the middle, crack in the eggs, add the milk, and mix.

    The batter will be thicker than a regular pancake batter, but not as dense as a cake batter.

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    Allow to stand for 20 minutes then heat a lightly greased frying pan over a medium heat.

    Drop a tablespoon of batter onto the pan for each pancake. You will fit 2-4 in a regular size pan.

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    Once the top has evenly bubbled, flip them over

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    Repeat until you have used all the batter.

    You can keep them warm on a tray in a low-heated oven, whilst you finish cooking the rest.

    Ready to eat? Time for TOPPINGS!!

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    Jam & Cream

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    Marshmallow fluff

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    Butter

    Yuuuummmm!!!

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    They made me do extras, so they could have some for breakfast tomorrow (totally against the rules of Lent)

    Do you have any Pancake Day traditions?
    Perhaps a favourite pancake recipe or topping?
    Please share! And, as always, thanks for stopping by!
    Hugs,
    The Crafty Lass
    xXx

    Great Chieftain O’ The Puddin’-Race

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    It’s just one of those things….

    Knowing full well we are only feeding a family of four, I still find myself buying a haggis the size of a small nation every Burns night.

    You’d think we’d learn our lesson with Christmas Turkeys, but oh no! Same mistake every year!

    So, tonight we toast the bard in traditional fashion; a plate of steaming haggis, carrot, chappit neeps an’ tatties (that’s mashed turnip and potatoes to the sassenachs among you) washed down with lashings of Irn Bruobviously!

    Guess what we’ll be eating for the rest of the week….

    The Kid votes for Haggis Nachos tomorrow.

    Wednesday will probably be Balmoral Chicken, a firm favourite of The Teen.

    Which leaves Haggis Pizza as OH’s dish of choice on Thursday.

    What’s YOUR favourite way to serve haggis?