Returning to clean eating with homemade tomato soup

After two weeks of enjoying a lot of delicious food whilst on holiday I need to kick start a return to clean eating. I love making warming and filling soups from fresh veggies, and this basic tomato soup is definitely one of my favourites. The basic recipe is so easy it can be adjusted in so many ways depending on what happens to be in the fridge, or how hot and spicy I want it. If I want super heat I leave the chilli in when the rest of the ingredients are blended together, but usually I take it out and slice it so it is less potent. A dollop of low fat protein like creme fraiche, soured cream or even cream cheese helps with feeling fuller for longer too. Even better news is that it is incredibly simple to prepare, requiring the bare minimum of attention and labour.
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Thoughts from this week

Il Dolce Far Niente

Obviously thoughts this week come from having a lot of time to think whilst away on holiday. Yesterday was the half way point and we started to think about everything we wanted to do with our remaining week....kind of makes you wonder what happened to all that time that was stretching ahead as we left the UK. I also started to get a little anxious and realised that I tend to suffer not so much from FOMO but FOWT. Fear of wasting time.
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7 travel make up essentials to make the most of sunkissed skin

Trying to pack light whilst having products that would make the most of sunkissed skin presented a new challenge for me this year. Instead of packing my whole make up drawer I had a look around for travel friendly products to suit bronzed skin. Using smaller sizes and eyeshadow compacts, and keeping within a rose gold theme, here is what I found to take as my capsule make up collection for whilst I am away and to look awesome when I get back too.
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Thoughts from this week

Notebook love

Getting ready for holidays is a lot of work! It has made me appreciate all the different ways that I use to stay (or try to stay) organised. Our holiday was booked so long ago that I have forgotten most of the details so have been going back through these, finding emails I filed away 'safely' for details that at the end of the day are just better written down. I'm finding that I have to write pretty much everything down now. I have four notebooks on the go (two for work, one for sewing, one for blogging), as well as an Evernote app on my phone.

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How to make life work for you part 1 AKA 5 reasons why I'm happy the tubes were on strike

This year I have really been working on positivity and seeing the good in situations that would normally frustrate me. I have developed this now to such a habit that I was happy that the tubes were on strike last Thursday. It was the best day ever. Last year I would have been annoyed the whole day, but now I've found a way of turning negative situations upside down.

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A Traditional Afternoon Tea at Luton Hoo, with some Spa time

It's Afternoon Tea Week! I love a good afternoon tea, and popped along to Luton Hoo last week to enjoy tea and some spa time with a friend.

Every couple of months or so my friend Rhea and I indulge in some relaxation therapy and a leisurely lunch as we catch up on what has been going on in our daily lives, ask each other's advice and generally recharge our minds and bodies. After a little bit of looking around locally, and on the search to try something different, we found ourselves at Luton Hoo. This had everything we wanted in one place - relaxing spa, delicious food and beautiful grounds to explore if they took our fancy.
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Thoughts from this week

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Eating out...San Carlo Cicchetti in Piccadilly

Classically Italian in the heart of Piccadilly.

Though perilously close to the tourist throng of Leicester Square, San Carlo Cicchetti is an Italian restaurant that is definitely worth visiting if you are looking for a relaxed and authentic eating experience. The window display invites you in by showcasing the produce that makes up the menu; huge hams hanging above fresh fish, shellfish, fruit and vegetables. We dropped by for a drink on an evening in London and ended up returning for a meal having been tempted by the dishes we saw being served up around us. Coming from an Italian family we enjoy revisiting traditional specialities that aren't usually seen on the menus of larger chains. We weren’t disappointed!

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Sunday Sewing ... Easy Summer Maxi Dress

Easy no pattern summer maxi dressNo pattern empire line maxi dress. 

In anticipation of some sun this summer I attempted to sew a maxi dress without a pattern from fabric I had left over from an earlier make. Though I had found this viscose tricky to manage when sewing it felt so nice on I had to find a way of using it for the hot weather. After toying around with some skirt draping I decided to take the opportunity to make a maxi dress as I have never found one in the shops that fits me (all far too long). Now I have ended up with a comfortable, summery dress perfect for my upcoming holiday.

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Welcome to Sewing and Other Stories; my journeys with sewing and knitting; pattern reviews, tips and guides for beginners. I'm also the designer behind West Beach Knits knitting patterns and I host a Knitting and Sewing channel on YouTube where you can see all of this in person. Come have a look!

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