Monday, 17 February 2020

My Favourite Podcasts

MY TOP 12 PODCASTS - MRS BISHOP'S BAKES AND BANTER BLOG

PODCASTS. 

Have you discovered them yet? I'm OBSESSED! I've never really been one to listen to the radio as I find it quite distracting. I often get bored or find the music that they play isn't really to my taste - but since discovering podcasts I just can't stop listening! 

I love that with podcasts you can listen to ones that are made by or feature your favourite celebrities or well known people, giving you a deeper insight into their lives, thoughts/feelings, or you can search the podcast platform you use (apple, acast, Google Play, Spotify etc) for a podcast that is based around a topic you're really interested in, like food or motherhood. It's a way of filtering out all the extra noise you would usually be subjected to on a radio show, unlike radio you don't have to listen to shows about the topics you're not interested in, or with the people you don't like or find annoying/boring etc. With podcasts everything is on your time - much like on-demand TV - you pick what you listen to and when. 

They usually last anything between fifteen minutes to about an hour, so they're perfect to listen to while out and about walking, running, or in the car. I work from home, so I listen to podcasts while I work and as well as being super interesting, funny or informative, they also make me feel less lonely during the day when I work in the office from 9:30-3, often not talking to another adult all day. It's nice to hear voices and feel like you're part of a conversation...and learn something in the process!

And the best thing about podcasts? They are totally free! 

So today I wanted to share my top 12 podcast recommendations - if you've never listened before or are simply looking for something new to listen to, there might be something on this list that would interest you. 

For each of the 12 podcasts I've included the logo image, a description of the podcast series and a little note from myself about what I love about the podcast and where relevant the most notable episodes. 

These are the podcasts I listen to on a very regular basis - I have gone back and listened to many of their back catalogue of episodes and really look forward to new episodes being released. 

Are there any that you love that I've missed off the list? I'd love to discover some more!

Mrs B

xxx

PS. How many times can I say 'podcast(s)' in one post! :-) 

MY TOP 12 PODCASTS (in no particular order!)

HAPPY MUM, HAPPY BABY WITH GIOVANNA FLETCHER

HAPPY MUM, HAPPY BABY WITH GIOVANNA FLETCHER 

Giovanna Fletcher wrote a book called Happy Mum, Happy Baby. She was overwhelmed by the amount of emails and messages she received in response. She didn't want the conversation to end there, so she decided to start a podcast where she invited others to share their experiences.
Happy Mum, Happy Baby is a collection of frank and warm conversations with high-profile mums and dads. They discuss all aspects of parenthood - the highs, the lows, the challenges and rewards. There is no such thing as the perfect parent. Instead, we’re all simply doing our best. It’s time to stop comparing ourselves and champion each other instead. Each episode will be truly unique yet unifying. No topic is out of bounds, the podcast and supporting video is essential viewing for any parent seeking solidarity and support.
Lucy's Note: Gi is so warm and honest in her approach to interviewing her guests - not afraid to tackle difficult and sensitive topics, as well as the lighter and funnier side of motherhood. This podcast will have you nodding your head, breathing a sigh of relief that all parents have the same struggles and will at moments reduce you to tears in its honestly and poignancy. 
MOST NOTABLE EPISODES: HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Ferdinand, Amanda Holden, Jo Malone, Emma Freud, Tom Fletcher, Davina McCall, Fearne Cotton, Joe Wicks, Katie Piper, Jeff Brazier, Caroline Hirons, Elle Wright & Michelle Cottle. 
SH**GED, MARRIED, ANNOYED BY CHRIS & ROSIE RAMSEY

SH**GED, MARRIED, ANNOYED BY CHIS AND ROSIE RAMSEY

The only way Rosie and Chris Ramsey can have a conversation without being interrupted by a toddler or ending up staring at their phones is by doing a podcast. They’ll be chatting all about life, relationships, arguments, annoyances, parenting, growing up and everything in between. Each week they will answer questions from the public and a secret celebrity.

Lucy's Note: This podcast is a MUST for all couples out there! Liam and I listen to this every Friday night without fail over a glass of wine - not only is it just SO FUNNY, it also acts a couples therapy! We feel both amused and relieved that all couples find small things the other person does annoying - the "what's your beef" section will have you howling with laughter, I promise you. The love/hate friction between married couple Chris and Rosie is so relatable. The 'Questions from the public' section is probably the funniest part for us - it never ceases to amaze us what horrendously disgusting/funny/embarrassing things the public choose to admit! 

OFF MENU PODCAST WITH ED GAMBLE AND JAMES ACASTER

OFF MENU WITH ED GAMBLE AND JAMES ACASTER 

Website: https://www.offmenupodcast.co.uk

Comedians Ed Gamble and James Acaster invite special guests into their magical restaurant to each choose their favourite starter, main course, side dish, dessert and drink. Ever wanted to eat your dream meal? It's time to order Off Menu. 

Lucy's Note: Ahh this podcast is just a breath of fresh air - if you are into food/eating/cooking then this is a must for you - celebrities chatting about their desert island meal and why they've chosen the foods they have - what memories those foods evoke, when they last ate them etc. It's refreshing to see people choosing the comfort foods of their childhoods - it's not all haute cuisine! Ed and James are brilliantly funny, sarcastic, satirical and generally all-round funny men who will leave you cracking up and crooning in equal measure. 

Most Notable Episodes: Greg Davies, Jay Rayner, Tom Kerridge, Aisling Bea, Richard Osman, Grace Dent, Selasi Gbormittah. 

TABLE MANNERS WITH Jessie Ware

TABLE MANNERS WITH JESSIE WARE & HER MUM LENNIE


Jessie Ware hosts a podcast about food, family, and the beautiful art of having a chat, direct from her very own dinner table. With a little bit of help from her chef extraordinaire mum Lennie, each week guests from the worlds of music, culture and politics drop by for a bite and a bit of a natter. Oversharing guaranteed.

Lucy's Note: Probably one of my favourite podcasts of all time - mostly due to the hilarious mother-daughter relationship between Jessie and Lennie - it is so relatable as a daughter (& mother), funny, honest, imperfect and wonderfully warm at the heart of it. I love that they cook all the food themselves, and share the meal around their own table. They have the most impressive line up of guests - and their conversations are always so relaxed, warm, and ultimately really enlightening. 

Most Notable Episodes: Jamie Oliver, Mel B, Sandi Toksvig, Ed Sheeran, Ralf Little, Stacey Dooley, Yotam Ottolenghi, Alan Carr, Nigella Lawson, Paul Smith, Gregory Porter, Kiefer Sutherland, Raymond Blanc, Richard Curtis, Charlotte Tilbury, Luke Evans, Nicole Sherzinger, Emilia Clarke. 

HAPPY PLACE WITH Fearne Cotton

HAPPY PLACE WITH FEARNE COTTON


Fearne's HAPPY PLACE podcast series builds on the success of the top 10 bestselling book HAPPY where Fearne draws on her own experiences and shares advice from experts on how to work through feeling blue to finding joy each and every day.

Whatever your reason may be for feeling lost or frazzled from the pressures of this fast paced life, there are ways to put one foot in front of the other and help you unlock that inner happiness.

In this podcast Fearne delves into this subject further through chatting to inspiring individuals who have either made a change in their own lives or who help people every day to find a different way of looking at life.

Where's your Happy Place?

Lucy's Notes: Ahh a hug in a podcast. If you're interested in the mental health conversation - emotional wellbeing, self care, happiness and striving for better work/life/balance then this podcast is for you - there's nothing quite like the knowledge that the struggles we are facing in everyday life are shared by even the most successful among us - not only reassuring in it's content, this podcast is full of inspiring stories, motivational content and usable advice to help make your every day happier. Truly enlightening honest conversations with interesting people. And I may be a little biased as one of the episodes is actually with my gorgeous cousin, racing driver and double amputee Billy Monger. 

Happy Place podcast with Fearne Cotton featuring Billy Monger

Most Notable Episodes: Billy Monger (of course!), Dawn French, Stephen Fry, Gok Wan, Gary Barlow, Russell Brand, Zoe Sugg, Bryony Gordon, Davina McCall, Ruby Wax, Mary Berry, Reggie Yates, Kelly Holmes, Jada Pinkett Smith, Ellie Goulding, Nadiya Hussain, Rio & Kate Ferdinand. 

MOTHERS' MEETING WITH Louise Pentland

MOTHERS' MEETING WITH LOUISE PENTLAND

From baby blankets and #MumHacks to daily struggles and the tougher stuff, this podcast covers it all, offering insight into the parenting styles, personal struggles, and points of view of some Britain's best loves mums.

Lucy's Notes: Quite a new podcast on the block, social media sensation Louise Pentland chats openly, honestly and hilariously to two mothers (both famous and not so famous) about the reality (warts and all) of parenting. She's funny, warm, insightful and relaxed in her approach to interviewing her guests and I find myself nodding along in solidarity all the way through the episodes. I particularly love the conversations she has with her boyfriend Liam, and her best friend Esther. Beautifully raw and real discussions with people she clearly loves dearly. Series one has just finished and I'm excited to see who will feature in series two! 

Most Notable Episodes: Caroline Hirons & Lily Pebbles, Nadia Sawalha & Kat Farmer, Liam O'Neill, Esther Sooriah, Katie Piper & Katie Ellison, Angela Scanlon & Emily Norris. 
OUT TO LUNCH WITH JAY RAYNER

OUT TO LUNCH WITH JAY RAYNER 

One of the world's top food critics lunches big names in a restaurant of his choosing. Crackling anecdotes and blistering chat, lubricated by killer cooking. A Somethin’ Else / Jay Rayner production.

Lucy's Notes: This podcast is an absolute MUST if you love Jay Rayner (food critic most widely known for his judging on Masterchef). I adore the premise of this show - ply a guest with a wonderful meal in a (sometimes fancy) restaurant, keep the drinks flowing and get a very frank, open and relaxed conversation going. Jay's humour, quick wit and intelligence is the shining light in this podcast - he asks actually interesting questions and seems to draw out of his guests something more than most interviewers are able. 

Most Notable Episodes: Richard E Grant, Mel C, Stanley Tucci, Jessie Ware, Jamie Dornan, Grayson Perry, Jamie Cullum, Kathy Burke, Dermot O'Leary, Aisling Bea.

WHITE WINE QUESTION TIME WITH KATE THORNTON

WHITE WINE QUESTION TIME WITH KATE THORNTON

White Wine Question Time, with Kate Thornton, is the podcast that brings together three well-known friends, three bottles of wine and three thought-provoking questions. Discover the friendships behind the entertainment headlines, and listen in on their conversations for a side to the celebrities you've never heard before.

Truly a celebration of great friendships, each 30-minute episode is designed to leave listeners feeling like they've just spent a great evening around the kitchen table with their most uplifting friends.


Lucy's Notes: I'm quite new to discovering this podcast, but I'm hugely enjoying it, similarly to Jay Rayner's Out To Lunch, Kate has learnt that plying her guests with alcohol makes for a much more interesting conversation. Lots of laughs and banter, very honest, sometimes moving - Kate asks three interesting and outside of the box questions to her guests that really get you thinking.

Most Notable Episodes: James Martin, The Scummy Mummies, Matt Goss, Joe Swash & Stacey Solomon, Dave Berry & Alex Zane, Shirlie & Martin Kemp, Keith Lemon, Eamon Holmes, Kristin Hallenga with Giovanna Fletcher and Nadia Sawalha, Sarah Parish with Nicola Stephenson and Angela Griffin, JB & Chloe Gill. 

THE SCUMMY MUMMIES PODCAST by Ellie Gibson and Helen Thorn

THE SCUMMY MUMMIES PODCAST by Ellie Gibson and Helen Thorn


A comedy chat show for less-than-perfect parents. Hosted by comedians Ellie Gibson and Helen Thorn and featuring guest parenting experts, comedians and authors. The podcast covers the big issues affecting modern parents - from fish fingers to farting, to play-dates and pelvic floors. Expect frank and funny chat as well as wine, laughter and sophisticated boob jokes. 

Lucy's Notes: You cannot help but roar with laughter when you listen to these scrumptiously scummy mummies! Ellie and Helen are a force to be reckoned with - their 'no holds barred' approach to talking about parenthood is so hilarious and relatable - I challenge any parent to not listen to this and nod your head along in solidarity. They don't take themselves, life, or their children too seriously - and they seem to put their podcast guests at ease, allowing for frank and sometimes painfully honest interviews. 

Most Notable Episodes: Thomasina Myers, Jenny Eclair, Giovanna Fletcher, Lousie Pentland & Brummy Mummy of 2, Kate Thornton, Stacey Solomon, Jeremy Vine, Mel Giedroyc, Rosie Ramsey.

SUE PERKINS: AN HOUR OR SO WITH...

SUE PERKINS: AN HOUR OR SO WITH...

Sue Perkins invites a series of special guests for an intimate chat about their lives, passions and career as they strip away formalities and indulge in some good old fashioned conversation.

Lucy's Notes: Sue Perkins is just one of my favourite people, so being able to delight in her humour, wit, warmth and clear love of people is a total delight. She makes you feel as if you're right there in the room witnessing the conversation first-hand. A lovely selection of guests and I really hope she records some new episodes soon. 

Most Notable Episodes: Marry Berry, Paul Feig, Adam Buxton.

 DAVID TENNANT DOES A PODCAST WITH...

DAVID TENNANT DOES A PODCAST WITH... 

David Tennant gets talking with the biggest names from TV, movies, comedy and elsewhere. Revealing conversation, surprise stories and lots of laughs. A Somethin' Else and No Mystery production.

Lucy's Notes: This was one of the first ever podcasts I listened to last year and likely the reason I was instantly hooked! David not only is a very skilled interviewer, but also a hugely interesting, funny and insightful chap in his own right, no matter who he is speaking to. This podcast currently only has one series, but it contains a great catalogue of guests - I think I've almost listened to every single episode in the series - I hope series two is on it's way! 

Most Notable Episodes: Olivia Colman, Whoopi Goldberg, Ian McKellen, Jennifer Garner, Catherine Tate, James Corden, Michael Sheen. 

DISTRACTION PIECES PODCAST WITH SCROOBIUS PIP by Scroobius Pip

DISTRACTION PIECES PODCAST WITH SCROOBIUS PIP by Scroobius Pip
The Distraction Pieces Podcast is a weekly conversation between Scroobius Pip and a wide range of celebrity guests and even the occasional person you may not have heard of, but has an amazing story to tell.

Lucy's Notes: Despite this being one of the longest running podcasts to date, I am pretty new to it, and must admit I didn't know who Scroobius Pip was before listening. But he's a fabulous interviewer - very real and open in his approach to questioning his guests which results in some really fascinating and insightful conversations.

Most Notable Episodes: Kathy Burke, James Acaster, Matt Willis, Vicky McClure, Chris Ramsey, Dominic Monoghan, Louis Theroux, Fearne Cotton, Martin Freeman.

MY TOP 12 PODCASTS - MRS BISHOP'S BAKES AND BANTER BLOG

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Wednesday, 12 February 2020

My 2020 Reading List...

I love to read, but like most busy working parents I struggle to make the time to read as much as I would like. I usually average about one book per month - and realistically I probably can't fit in much more than than, but to help me keep focussed and on-track I've decided to set myself a reading list for 2020.

I have previously kept track of all the books I have read since 2015 - you can find the full list here or on the 'What I'm Reading..' tab at the top of this page.

The books on my reading list for 2020 have either been recommended to me by friends or family, or I've read about them online or on social media and liked the sound of them. Some of the books are new titles by authors whose books I have enjoyed previously.

Here's a brief description of each book (taken from goodreads.com)



Normal People by Sally Rooney

"The first in a gorgeous new series from the author of Summer at the Cornish Cafe.

Summer is on the horizon, and the people of Porthmellow are eagerly awaiting the annual food festival. At least, most of them are…

For Sam Lovell, organising the summer festival in her hometown is one of the highlights of her year. It’s not always smooth sailing, but she loves to see Porthmellow’s harbour packed with happy visitors, and being on the committee has provided a much-needed distraction from the drama in her family life (and the distinct lack of it in her love life).

When their star guest pulls out with only a few weeks to go, everyone’s delighted when a London chef who grew up locally steps in at the last minute. But Gabe Matthias is the last person Sam was expecting to see, and his return to Porthmellow will change her quiet coastal life for ever.

Curl up with this gorgeous novel and savour the world of Porthmellow Harbour."



Work Like A Woman by Mary Portas

"Work Like a Woman is a bold manifesto about why the way we work now is in desperate need of change, how you can campaign to help make this happen and why we will all – men and women – profit from this.

Women today are working in a man’s culture - and it’s holding us back. In Work Like a Woman, Mary Portas examines the world of employment, how it works against women and what needs to change, as she tells the story of her career – and learning to rewrite the rules.

Taking us through her working life, Mary looks at a range of topics from workplace bullying and accessing promotion, to combining a career with children and the affect that getting divorced and becoming a single parent had on her professional life. Speaking candidly about the traps she fell into – from aping the behaviour seen in aggressive corporate environments to recreating a male working culture within her own business – Mary will explode the myth of women ‘having it all’. She will also track her evolution as a business leader and the decision to rebuild her company from the ground up on a model that today embraces female values.

Examining practical issues, including flexible working and equal pay, and also cultural ones - such as gender bias - Mary will argue for a revolution in the way we work.

Work Like a Woman is a manifesto for all: from young women entering the workforce and older women trying to integrate professional and family ambitions, to executives running businesses and creating best practice and the businesses that employ them. Honest, accessible and entertaining, it is a bold and inspiring vision of the future world of work."



Feminists Don't Wear Pink (and other lies) by Scarlett Curtis

"An urgent and inspirational collection of essays by a diverse group of celebrities, activists, and artists about what feminism means to them, with the goal of helping readers come to their own personal understanding of the word.


Feminism has never been more deeply and widely embraced and discussed, but what exactly does the F word mean?

Here, personal stories from actors, writers, and activists explore the contradictions and complications at the heart of the movement. By bridging the gap between feminist hashtags and scholarly texts, these essays bring feminism into clear focus.

Published in partnership with Girl Up, the UN Foundation's adolescent girl campaign, contributors include Hollywood superstars like Saoirse Ronan, activists like Alicia Garza, a founder of Black Lives Matter, and even fictional icons such as Bridget Jones.

Every woman has a different route to their personal understanding of feminism. This empowering collection shows how a diverse group of women found their voice, and it will inspire others to do the same."



Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks
"A collection of seventeen wonderful short stories showing that two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks is as talented a writer as he is an actor.

A gentle Eastern European immigrant arrives in New York City after his family and his life have been torn apart by his country's civil war. A man who loves to bowl rolls a perfect game--and then another and then another and then many more in a row until he winds up ESPN's newest celebrity, and he must decide if the combination of perfection and celebrity has ruined the thing he loves. An eccentric billionaire and his faithful executive assistant venture into America looking for acquisitions and discover a down and out motel, romance, and a bit of real life. These are just some of the tales Tom Hanks tells in this first collection of his short stories. They are surprising, intelligent, heartwarming, and, for the millions and millions of Tom Hanks fans, an absolute must-have!"



Educated by Tara Westover
"Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her "head-for-the-hills bag". In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father's junkyard.

Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education and no one to intervene when one of Tara's older brothers became violent.

Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she'd traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty and of the grief that comes with severing the closest of ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one's life through new eyes and the will to change it."



The Woman Who Wanted More by Vicky Zimmerman
"Two lonely women.

An unlikely friendship.

And one big life lesson: never be ashamed to ask for more . . .

After a major life upheaval on the eve of her 40th birthday, a reluctant Kate Parker finds herself volunteering at Lauderdale House for Exceptional Ladies. There she meets 97-year-old Cecily Finn. Cecily's tongue is as sharp as her mind but she has lost her spark, simply resigning herself to the Imminent End.

Having no patience with Kate's plight, Cecily prescribes her a self-help book with a difference - it's a 1957 cookery manual, featuring menus for anything life can throw at 'the easily dismayed'. Will Kate find a menu to help her recover from her broken heart? If Kate moves forward, might Cecily too?

The cookbook holds the secrets of Cecily's own remarkable past, and the story of the love of her life. It will certainly teach Kate a thing or two.

So begins an unlikely friendship between two lonely and stubborn souls - one at the end of her life, one stuck in the middle - who come to show each other that food is for feasting, life is for living and the way to a man's heart is . . . irrelevant!"



Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

"Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family's Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story—and survive this homecoming."



Dear Evan Hansen The Novel by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

"From the show's creators comes the groundbreaking novel inspired by the Broadway smash hit Dear Evan Hansen. Dear Evan Hansen, Today's going to be an amazing day and here's why...When a letter that was never meant to be seen by anyone draws high school senior Evan Hansen into a family's grief over the loss of their son, he is given the chance of a lifetime: to belong. He just has to stick to a lie he never meant to tell, that the notoriously troubled Connor Murphy was his secret best friend.Suddenly, Evan isn't invisible anymore--even to the girl of his dreams. And Connor Murphy's parents, with their beautiful home on the other side of town, have taken him in like he was their own, desperate to know more about their enigmatic son from his closest friend. As Evan gets pulled deeper into their swirl of anger, regret, and confusion, he knows that what he's doing can't be right, but if he's helping people, how wrong can it be? No longer tangled in his once-incapacitating anxiety, this new Evan has a purpose. And a website. He's confident. He's a viral phenomenon. Every day is amazing. Until everything is in danger of unraveling and he comes face to face with his greatest obstacle: himself.A simple lie leads to complicated truths in this big-hearted coming-of-age story of grief, authenticity and the struggle to belong in an age of instant connectivity and profound isolation."



Queenie Malone's Paradise Hotel by Ruth Hogan
"From the bestselling author of The Keeper of Lost Things and The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes - a novel of mothers and daughters, families and secrets and the astonishing power of friendship.

Tilly was a bright, outgoing little girl who liked playing with ghosts and matches. She loved fizzy drinks, swear words, fish fingers and Catholic churches, but most of all she loved living in Brighton in Queenie Malone's Magnificent Paradise Hotel with its endearing and loving family of misfits - staff and guests alike.

But Tilly's childhood was shattered when her mother sent her away from the only home she'd ever loved to boarding school with little explanation and no warning. Now, Tilda has grown into an independent woman still damaged by her mother's unaccountable cruelty. Wary of people, her only friend is her dog, Eli. But when her mother dies, Tilda goes back to Brighton and with the help of her beloved Queenie sets about unraveling the mystery of her exile from The Paradise Hotel and discovers that her mother was not the woman she thought she knew at all ... Mothers and daughters ... their story can be complicated ... it can also turn out to have a happy ending."



The Little French Guesthouse by Helen Pollard

"Sun, croissants and fine wine. Nothing can spoil the perfect holiday. Or can it?

When Emmy Jamieson arrives at La Cour des Roses, a beautiful guesthouse in the French countryside, she can’t wait to spend two weeks relaxing with boyfriend Nathan. Their relationship needs a little TLC and Emmy is certain this holiday will do the trick. But they’ve barely unpacked before he scarpers with Gloria, the guesthouse owner’s cougar wife.

Rupert, the ailing guesthouse owner, is shell-shocked. Feeling somewhat responsible, and rather generous after a bottle (or so) of wine, heartbroken Emmy offers to help. Changing sheets in the gîtes will help keep her mind off her misery.

Thrust into the heart of the local community, Emmy suddenly finds herself surrounded by new friends. And with sizzling hot gardener Ryan and the infuriating (if gorgeous) accountant Alain providing welcome distractions, Nathan is fast becoming a distant memory.

Fresh coffee and croissants for breakfast, feeding the hens in the warm evening light; Emmy starts to feel quite at home. But it would be madness to walk away from her friends, family, and everything she’s ever worked for, to take a chance on a place she fell for on holiday – wouldn’t it?

Fans of Jenny Colgan, Lucy Diamond and Nick Alexander will want to join Emmy for a glass of wine as the sun sets on the terrace at La Cour des Roses."



DEEP WATER - Just What Kind of Mother Are You? by Paula Daly

"A searing and sinister thriller for readers who liked Gone Girl.

What if your best friend's child disappears? And it was all your fault.

A searing and sinister thriller for readers who liked Gone Girl.What if your best friend's child disappears? And it was all your fault. This is exactly what happens to Lisa Kallisto, overwhelmed working mother of three, one freezing December in the English Lake District. She takes her eye off the ball for just a moment and her whole world descends into the stuff of nightmares. Because, not only is thirteen-year-old Lucinda missing, and not only is it all Lisa's fault, but she's the second teenage girl to disappear within this small tightknit community over two weeks. The first girl turned up stripped bare, dumped on a busy high street, after suffering from a terrifying ordeal.

Wracked with guilt over her mistake and after being publicly blamed by Lucinda's family, Lisa sets out to right the wrong. But as she begins peeling away the layers surrounding Lucinda's disappearance, Lisa learns that the small, posh, quiet town she lives in isn't what she thought it was, and her friends may not be who they appear, either."



A Perfect Cornish Summer by Phillipa Ashley

"The first in a gorgeous new series from the author of Summer at the Cornish Cafe.

Summer is on the horizon, and the people of Porthmellow are eagerly awaiting the annual food festival. At least, most of them are…

For Sam Lovell, organising the summer festival in her hometown is one of the highlights of her year. It’s not always smooth sailing, but she loves to see Porthmellow’s harbour packed with happy visitors, and being on the committee has provided a much-needed distraction from the drama in her family life (and the distinct lack of it in her love life).

When their star guest pulls out with only a few weeks to go, everyone’s delighted when a London chef who grew up locally steps in at the last minute. But Gabe Matthias is the last person Sam was expecting to see, and his return to Porthmellow will change her quiet coastal life for ever.

Curl up with this gorgeous novel and savour the world of Porthmellow Harbour."

------------------------------------------------

What genre of books do you love to read? Do you mix it up like me, or do you tend to stick to a specific book type or specific genre? Do you make time to read? Or is it something you wish you could make more time for?

Here's hoping I can get through (at least!) these 12 titles in 2020!

Happy reading folks!

I hope I've been able to provide a little reading inspiration for you...

Mrs B
xxx

Monday, 10 February 2020

Perfect Yorkshire Pudding Recipe

Perfect Yorkshire pudding Recipe by Mrs Bishop
We all love a good Yorkshire pud with our roast dinner, right? Long gone are the days of only having a Yorkshire with a roast beef dinner - if there isn't a yorkie on the plate then it isn't a roast in my humble opinion. I would never DARE to give my kids a roast without one (or two, or three!) as I fear WW3 may be started. 

But time and time again people tell me that they just buy frozen Yorkshires, that they're too hard to get right, and although there's nothing wrong with a good old Aunt Bessie's, there really is nothing quite like homemade. And the absolute and complete joy of lifting a glorious golden tray of puffed up puds from the oven to the "oohs' and "ahhs" of your family/friends. 

It's taken a while to work out the perfect recipe that works for me every time, but now I have it I thought I should share it so you too can enjoy some perfect Yorkies with your next roast. 

The Perfect Yorkshire Puddings 

(makes 12)

Utensils

Batter bowl, mixing bowl or large jug
Scales
mini whisk
12 hole muffin tray (non stick)

Ingredients

Vegetable oil (to line the muffin tray)
140g plain flour
4 eggs
200ml milk
salt and pepper 


Method

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. 

2. Pour vegetable oil into your 12 hole muffin tray (make sure it's a good quality non-stick one, this will really help to get the Yorkshires out after they're cooked). 

3. Once the oven has reached temperature (NOT BEFORE) pop your oiled muffin tray into the oven and let the oil get really hot (at LEAST 10 minutes).

4. While the oil heats up make your batter. Measure out your flour, and then break in the 4 eggs - use the mini whisk to mix this up to a thick paste, and then pour in your milk, whisking until smooth. Grind in some salt and pepper to season. 

5. Once the oil is really hot, and 25 minutes before you're ready to serve up your roast dinner, bring the tray carefully out of the oven and pour enough batter into each muffin hole so that it's full to the top. 

6. Carefully place the tray back into the hot oven. This is the VITAL STEP...do NOT open your oven for 20-25 minutes. This, combined with the piping hot oil will ensure a good rise! 

After 20-25 minutes your Yorkshires should be puffed and golden and ready to serve - if your muffin tray is a good non stick one they should just lift effortlessly from the pan!

NOTE: You could also use this exact Yorkshire recipe for making a toad in the hole - same applies with the hot oil, but just in one large pan rather than a muffin tin, and you'd need to brown your sausages in the oil first and then add your Yorkshire mix - then bake for 25-30 mins to ensure sausages are cooked through! 

They also freeze perfectly - so why not make a giant batch and save some for a fuss free roast next time. Just leave to cool after cooking, place in a sandwich bag and freeze. To cook straight from the freezer just place in the oven for 4 minutes to thaw and reheat! 

Here's some examples of my own Yorkshires using this recipe and method - it really is a fail safe recipe, as long as you follow all the steps it will work like a charm! 


Perfect Yorkshire puddings example Mrs Bishop

Perfect Yorkshire puddings example Mrs Bishop

Perfect Yorkshire puddings example Mrs Bishop

Perfect Yorkshire puddings example Mrs Bishop

Perfect Yorkshire puddings example Mrs Bishop

Toad in the Hole by Mrs Bishop
Toad in the hole using the same recipe! 

And if my efforts aren't enough to prove to you that you should give them a go, here's some attempts from friends and readers of the blog who made them using my recipe (they asked privately for my recipe and method after seeing my Yorkshire photos on Instagram)...

Yorkshire puddings by Chloe Hooley
Image courtesy of Chloe Hooley (@clo_hooley) on Instagram 

Yorkshire puddings by Carla Tarry
Image courtesy of Carla Tarry (@carlatarryx on Instagram) 

So go on...if we can do it, so can you! Surprise everyone with epic Yorkies this Sunday! 

Mrs B xxx
Perfect Yorkshire pudding Recipe by Mrs Bishop
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Friday, 25 October 2019

Disney On Ice: 100 Years of Magic #AD #Review #Gifted

Last weekend we headed to Birmingham Arena to see Disney on Ice - 100 Years of Magic, it was our third visit to a Disney on Ice show (Bert and I) but it was Liam and Connie's first experience. I was so excited to experience the show with them for the first time.

Beforehand, Connie was most excited about seeing her beloved Minnie Mouse, Anna from Frozen, Belle from Beauty and the Beast, and Rapunzel from Tangled - thankfully, they didn't disappoint and she got to experience all her favourite Disney characters live on the ice. 

This fanfare production featured more than 50 unforgettable Disney stars in a celebration of 100 years of Walt Disney magic. 
Disney on Ice - 100 Years of Magic 2019
The show had us travel to the heart of Africa with Disney’s The Lion King, we were taken on an adventure in friendship with the gang from Disney Pixar’s Toy Story, and we watched in amazement as Belle broke the Beast’s curse in the tale of Beauty & The Beast. To Connie's delights we got to enter the magical kingdom of Arendelle from Disney’s Frozen and journey up the North Mountain with hilarious snowman Olaf and rugged mountain-man Kristoff, as they helped royal sisters Anna and Elsa discover that true love conquers all.
Disney on Ice - 100 Years of Magic 2019 - The Little Mermaid
Disney on Ice - 100 Years of Magic 2019 - Tangled
Disney on Ice - 100 Years of Magic 2019 - Snow White
Disney on Ice - 100 Years of Magic 2019 - Aladdin and Princess Jasmine
Disney on Ice - 100 Years of Magic 2019 - The Princess and The Frog
Out of all the Disney on Ice shows we've seen to date, this one incorporated a larger number of Disney classics/characters, the first part of the show focussing very much on all the famous Prince/Princess couples through the years - although this was very beautiful to watch, it was less of a visual spectacle than other Disney on Ice shows we've seen - there was a lot less set/large props etc - it was very much about the ice dancers (who are extraordinarily talented!) It could be because Connie is only 3, but towards the end of the first section her concentration was waning & she was becoming a little restless. 

This picked up once we got into a larger-scale sequence of the Frozen story - and she had a lot more to look at - with amazing costumes, set, lighting and even pyrotechnics. This large-scale spectacle stuff is definitely what Disney on Ice do best! 
Disney on Ice - 100 Years of Magic 2019 -  Frozen
Disney on Ice - 100 Years of Magic 2019 -  Frozen
During the interval we refuelled and the kids chose a little toy each, I will say that as expected with big arena tours like this, the merchandise is expensive - so be prepared - if it's in your budget then great, but if not perhaps encouraging the kids to save some pocket money or birthday/xmas money to spend would be wise, or to bring along their own Disney toys (mine both bought their own Minnie Mouse and Pluto cuddly toys), but they had also been given £15 each from their Nanny to spend at the show, so Connie chose a small cuddly toy Minnie Mouse ("a baby Minnie!") and Bert chose a small Woody figure which were both priced at just under £15 - there wasn't really much at all for under £12 - and the big cuddly toys were around £22. My two were of course THRILLED with their new purchases and haven't put them down a week later!
Disney on Ice - 100 Years of Magic 2019 - Bert and Connie with their toys
One thing I will say, is Bert and I have been lucky enough to be gifted tickets to see three consecutive Disney on Ice shows, and I think for Bert this time (without wanting him to come across as spoilt or conceited) the show's content was quite samey/similar to previous shows we've seen (in terms of which stories were told) but the style was different (not so much of the longer stories so much as a celebration of lots and lots of characters).

The last two Disney on Ice shows we saw were Disney on Ice: Dream Big in Nov 2018 and Disney on Ice: Worlds of Enchantment in April 2018, which definitely focussed more on telling the famous stories we know and love, rather than spanning as many characters as possible. Of course, there are only so many Disney characters in existence, so you have to expect a certain level of repetition at these style shows, but perhaps three shows in quick succession means he has been very spoilt! 

He did struggle to focus - getting a bit twitchy throughout - he found the 'just dancing' (his words) sequences a bit long, and I think he was looking for the big-scale sets, pyrotechnics in abundance and some more of the longer story sequences which we've experienced at previous shows. He got a stern talking to afterwards about how lucky he is, and how some children never get to see a Disney on Ice show, and he's seen three!! But you know six year olds - they say exactly what they think, damn the consequences or how it might sound to others! 
Disney on Ice - 100 Years of Magic 2019 - Aladdin
That being said, Bert's favourite part by far was the short Aladdin sequence (his favourite of the Disney classics) and he especially loved the appearance of all the genies!! What fun! 
Disney on Ice - 100 Years of Magic 2019 - Aladdin
For me, the best part was watching Connie's reaction to seeing it all for the first time, I loved watching her wave away at Minnie Mouse and squeal with excitement when she realised Belle was on the ice - priceless moments indeed. She wore her Frozen dress and she was so excited to be wearing it to the special Disney show - bless her heart! 
Connie at Disney on Ice - 100 Years of Magic 2019
Connie at Disney on Ice - 100 Years of Magic 2019
Disney on Ice - 100 Years of Magic 2019 - Mulan
My favourite part of the show was the Mulan sequence - especially the giant Chinese dragon, it was amazing! I absolutely LOVE Mulan (I'm SO EXCITED for the live action version coming out soon!) and because it's not as popular a Disney film, you don't often see it included in shows like this, so I was thrilled to see it had a part to play in this version of the show. They sang 'Let's Get Down to Business' which is one of my favourite songs from Mulan, and I just thoroughly enjoyed the whole sequence - my only complaint was I wish they'd told more of the story and given more stage time to it.
Disney on Ice - 100 Years of Magic 2019 - Mulan
 Despite the reservations about the content this time round, Disney on Ice in our opinion is still a very special experience, perfect for families who love all things Disney. The quality of the production as a whole is really brilliant - from the amazing ice dancers, to the costumes, the enchanting music we all know and love (and sing along to) the set design to the incredible lighting, it is a wonder to behold. There's just something about an arena full of happy Disney fans all enjoying the Disney magic across many generations that can't fail at putting a smile on your face. 

We will most definitely be back! 

Huge thanks to the Disney on Ice team for having us! 

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Book your tickets now to avoid disappointment at www.disneyonice.com

Stay current on the latest developments through social media by visiting:

Twitter: @DisneyOnIce #DisneyOnIce #100YearsofMagic
Instagram: @DisneyOnIce

We were given complimentary tickets to Disney on Ice in return for this review post. All views are our own.