This is an oldie but a goodie. I wanted to develop a new one for you but I am travelling and without a kitchen at the moment. I Hope you enjoy making these. There truly are delicious and a bit different from the regular pancakes. I love the thin pancakes with lemon and sugar too. I remember when my mum would make them. These are good for every day but wishing you a Happy Shrove Tuesday!
225g/8oz self raising flour
3 tbsp soft light brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp Cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
½ lemon zest finely grated (optional)
½ vanilla pod or a couple of drops of vanilla extract (optional)
300ml/½ pint semi-skimmed milk
1 medium free-range egg
4 tbsp sunflower oil
12 slices Parma ham or bacon
100ml/3½fl oz maple syrup
100ml/3½fl oz sour cream or creme fraiche
1 Preheat the oven to 110C/225F/Gas ¼ (this will be to keep the pancakes warm as they are cooked in batches).
2 Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt into a large bowl, give them a quick mix and make a well in the centre. Finely grate the lemon zest in, if using. Split the vanilla pod open, scrape the seeds out and add them, too (or vanilla extract). Then gradually pour the milk in bit by bit, stirring all the time to give a smooth mixture. Then beat the egg in well and set aside.
3 Put a drizzle of oil into a large frying pan on a medium heat and cook the Parma ham for 2-3 minutes on each side until nice and crisp. Then remove with tongs and drain on kitchen paper. Keep the ham warm in the oven until ready to serve.
4 Leave the pan on the heat, but reduce the heat to low and add a little bit more oil if need be. Then spoon in four dollops of the pancake mix (to spread to about 10cm/3¼in wide). Leave to cook for about 1-2 minutes until golden, then flip them over and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Slide them onto a baking tray and put in the oven to keep warm. Then, repeat with the remaining mix to make about 12.
5 Once you have made all of the pancakes, divide them between four plates. I like to pile the parma ham high on them and then drizzle with the maple syrup and serve with a dollop of sour cream or crème frâiche.
Those of you who read my blog regularly know that I go on about the benefits of meditation, how to do it and how much it has changed my life, this is, of course, correct and I am very grateful for its many benefits. I dutifully get up in the morning, shamefully check my Instagram and emails, take a glug of water and then head for a first thing pee. But then I always sit back on the bed, pillows plumped to support my back, eyes closed and go start my morning practice. There are some occasions when I don’t meditate in the morning like if I have a migraine or much more rarely a hangover. If I have a migraine, it is often caused by said hangover; or if I have made myself late, scrolling mindlessly through my social media feed.
I make a promise never to go two days without meditating otherwise the wheels start to fall off my zen-ness. I do know how frustrating it has been for some of you to get your meditation practice off the ground. You have told me that you’ve downloaded the apps; you got up an hour early; you’ve crept downstairs before your kids, and snoring partner wake up, and you have even taken the time to set up a little meditation area in the corner of the living room. But try as you might this meditation lark just isn’t working and I blame that Pascale.
I really want you to get in to meditation. I feel that even if thing are tickety-boo on the mental front, having a spiritual practice such as this is something special that you can do for yourself, and it only serves to enhance your mental as well physical wellbeing. But I do know how hard it can be to get a meditation practice off the ground.
Put down the app for a second and google your nearest mediation centre. There are some places which are free and others you pay a small sum, but even if you go once to get into a better meditative place then do go. This is meditation made simple because someone is basically doing it all for you. If you find the right place, they will guide you through the steps and when your mind starts to wander there will be gentle prompts to bring you back. On top of that, the vibe of the place will help. There will be no people with annoyingly loud voices (my Achilles heel). No temptation to put on the last few series of your latest binge-watch, no rearranging your knicker draw and no glancing at that skinny yoga girl (urggggh that bod) and her hot new boyfriend on Instagram.
The energy of the place will help carry you in a space which is more conducive for your meditation. You may even learn some new ways of doing it which will help deepen your practice. Try a few different places if you can even after work or on the weekend. Eventually, I hope you will find a place and a technique that suits and helps you do your meditation more easily, alone at home. I went to one in New York’s Flatiron district called Inspace. I had a big meeting later on that day, and I was feeling nervous, so I added a visit to this place on top of my morning meditation session.
The minute I went in I felt relaxed. Everyone walked around looking peaceful, and whiffs of ylang-ylang and lemongrass filled the air. The girl at the desk took my fee of 22 dollars for a single session.
After entering the silent area to dispose of our possessions in a locker (which cleverly had a USB port at the back of each one so you could charge your phones), we received a talk from the facilitator. She explained what to expect during the next 35 minutes. She said to make ourselves comfortable in The Dome, use the bolster cushions wherever we saw fit and then just listen to the audio recording, guiding use to a higher place.
There were for of us in the group and she gave us all a drop of essential oil on our wrist which we were instructed to rubbed together with the other wrist and give it a good sniff. This magic blend was supposed to make us feel relaxed but alert and ready for the rest of the day. I remember thinking I must buy a vat of that stuff to take back to blightly. I sat in the room and made myself comfortable with the cushions and bean bags.
She dimmed the light and off we went. The room was like a hive with a bamboo ceiling, and a lady’s voice began speaking. I must admit for the first few minutes I was trying to figure out what the heck her accent was. It started off like an Aussie, then slipped into a La Valley girl and then, was that a west country twang? Eventually, I settled in and became relaxed, and just as I felt my mind emptying of thoughts my stomach started gurgling and I began to regret eating that vegan black bean burger for dinner last night. I tensed up hoping that no orifice would make a scene in this serene and silent place.
The session consisted of guided breathing ,and gentle stretching exercises plus a few moments in the middle with no audio for us go deeply into our unguided relaxation. When the 35 minute was up, we were allowed to leave at our own pace and offered fruit water to moisten our mouths and invited to set an intention with their ‘map’ in the reception area of the studio.
There are a lot of other little activities to get involved in like a place to dissolve your worries and also a place to write a wish to carry with you for the rest of the day. I thoroughly enjoyed having a guided in-person meditation, and I highly recommend trying out this place . Do find one near you for some easy peace and or to help you to get your meditation grove back if you are struggling to find it.
I have made a list of some places below that you can try in London.
I am a classically trained chef, a model, a mum, a mature First Class Honours Student. I have studied as an actress, a mechanic, a secretary, a hypnotherapist, dabbled in interior design and even owned a bakery business. I have been (and still am) so many things. I wanted to write this in response to an Instagram comment which I received yesterday. I won’t name and shame as there is no need for that, but I will give you the gist of what she said. Said person wrote, in a tone unbecoming of a lady that she that he did not like what I was doing on my social media, that I should stick to baking and cakes only and that she was going to unfollow me with immediate affect.
The Perils of Social Media
Follows and unfollows happen all the time but it is people like this that can affect us and hold us back in life, if we let them. I am writing this post to encourage you to be unashamedly who you are and who you want to be. It’s challenging when you are under the watchful eye of the media to do different things the way I do, but I know that it can be equally if not more challenging to be yourself when you have a husband/wife, family and friends who are putting you in the spotlight and holding you back. Naturally, there are often challenges such as money and time when we want to do something, but there are also ways that we can find, to do some of the things that we really want to do in life.
So why today?
Today is a super blue blood new moon lunar eclipse. The Astro Twins say it is a great time to let go of the old and get very honest with what is no longer working in your life; be it a job, a partner or the way that you take care of yourself. But of course it would be great to do this on any day of the year. When you have time later, rather than scroll through your social media as most of us do, take a few minutes to sit quietly and ask yourself what it is you no longer want in your life. Which people are supporting you and which people are holding you back? Which things are keeping you in a negative place and which situations that you frequent give you an uneasy feeling in your gut? Write everything down by hand on a piece of paper and then (carefully) burn that piece of paper, or bury it. Yes sure this might be mumbo jumbo, but even if you don’t do the destroying part of this, it can only be a good thing to have a clear idea of what is working in your life wouldn’t you agree?
Yes you can.
If no one has told you today, recently or indeed ever, I want to tell you that you can do whatever you put your mind too. And if you are going through some challenging stuff, the intense feelings will pass. I do understand that I won’t be playing for Manchester United or landing on the moon anytime soon, but I do know that there are dreams, hope and goals that I can achieve if I put my mind to it. And the same goes for you too.
Start writing that novel, begin working on that new project. Have a look at the course you have always wanted to do; perhaps you can find one online? Get up a couple of hours earlier, go to bed a couple of hours later and use that time to pursue your dreams. Say yes to opportunities which are going to propel you forward, to meet new people. Take a chance with that evening class you have been scared to do ask out that person out that you have been thinking about for so long. So often when we take a leap, the net will appear.
The timing will never be just right.
Don’t wait for everything to be right or for you to be in the right mindset, just start doing, and the right motivation will come. If we sit around waiting for motivation, it may never find us. The motivation comes from the momentum of doing. Don’t tell other people your dreams, even the most loving and supportive around us can sometimes say something which may hold us back from going for it. Be careful with whom you share your precious plans. According to research, you are more likely to do something new if you don’t tell other people about it. Gollwitzer, Sheeran, Michalski, and Siefert published a paper in Psychological Science which explained that we lose impetus and excitement in pursuing the new project if we tell people before hand and it can decrease our likelihood of seeing the task through.
Think it forward.
My philosophy is to think forward to my end of days and make sure that when I have my final thoughts and breath, I can look back at my life and feel that I have no regrets. I want to seize every opportunity which feels right for me and do all the things I have ever thought of doing, and I urge you to adopt the same way of thinking. Comment below and let me know what you have not done in your life that you wish you could do within the realms of your physical possibility, and what holds you back and what you can do to change what holds you back. Be bold, dare to be you, ignore the naysayers and even if you feel like you can’t do it, Go for it.
Pics via unsplash. Noel Silliman, Nathalia Y, Arnel Hasanovic,
I woke up this morning in a terrible mood. Maybe it was a bad dream, or possibly me taking on too much of other people’s stuff. Either way, I was in a tiswas when I woke up. I had spent much of the day before working from 6 am until 10 pm and did not feel it had been that productive so that may have added to my mental malaise also. I sat up in bed fighting with the pillows attempting to get comfortable for my 20-minute meditation. Then with my eyes closed I tried my hardest to relax. The feeling inside me was persistent. I just felt crappy. I finally managed to settle into a relaxed state, as I repeated my meditation mantra over in my head. Just as my shoulders beginning to soften, I burst into tears.
A friend is going through an awful trauma at the moment, and I was feeling so much for them. I went back to the meditation again trying to fight away bad feelings. And then words came into my head which said ‘just sit with it’. These words are ones which I have said to friends so often. Today was the day I needed to practice what I preach.
It is ok to have the occasional bad day and not feel great. It is okay to be in a grump from time to time and just have feelings which don’t altogether feel nice in the gut. The worse thing, for me is to try and fight those feelings. It’s almost as if the more you fight them, the more they stay and the stronger they get. Much like pulling a rope with someone pulling at the other end. The more you pull, the more they pull, and the tug of war goes nowhere. Until you decide to just let go of the rope and stop pulling. When you do this, a miraculous thing happens. Usually, the feelings get a little better and the tension releases. I always say if you are struggling and nothing is working then please do seek help, but if you like me have woken up on the wrong side of the bed, then this simple tactic seems to work. I have listed 10 things below which may appear trite at first glance but trying to do a few of these a day magically does help. I Hope they bring you as much relief as they do me. If you are a spiritual person, these are a great way to raise your energy vibration to bring better things to you during the day too.
1. Avoid Gossiping
I know how tempting it is. It’s Strangely soothing in a way. Gossiping takes us away from our troubles or mundane lives and into the chaos of another, but it’s not a kind thing to do.
2. Think positive thoughts
People often think that this method is a load of jibberish but some of the most successful sports people use it, so that says something about its efficacy.
3. Be grateful
A gratitude list does wonders for the soul and helps to bring the focus back to what is working in life.
Move your body. Walk, jog on the spot. Get the blood flowing and the endorphins pumping.
5. Random Acts of Kindness
Leave a kind note for someone, Give a busker some money. Make up with a long-lost friend.
6. Pay someone a compliment
When was the last time you paid you loved one or a friend a compliment? Go beyond saying that they have a lovely frock on or their hair looks nice. Mention something about who they are or what they have done.
7. Do some breathwork.
I downloaded an app called Pranayama. There are some calming exercises on it taking from 5 minutes and up.
8. Eat healthy foods
I know boring. But putting junk in your body does not make it feel or function as well as if you when you are eating nutritious, healthy foods. And naturally, the body affects the mind.
9. Walk in Nature
Being near a lake or grass has healing properties about it. I am not advocating you hug trees which my dear mum used to swear by, but getting away from the urban zoo for a few moments in your lunch break can be beneficial.
10. Listen to music/meditate
Stick your headphones on and find some spiritual/meditative music on youtube to listen to for five minutes or so before you go steaming out of the door or at your desk in between tasks
Photo credits: Tim Goedhart, Mike laburnum, Hannah Naibaho on unsplash
I have been 5ft 10 inches since I was 11 years old. It happened overnight. I went from being a little bit taller than everyone else to towering above the whole class in what seemed like 24 hours. I don’t mind being tall; in fact, I quite like it. Of course, there are some #tallgirlproblems. For example, some guys that I fancy come up quite short; I am always at the back of the group photo, and I don’t make many friends at concerts towering in front of people like a big black leather clad sequined human wall. I honestly don’t mind dating a shorter guy; usually, men can’t handle it though. I have even had a request from a particular 5ft 8 ex to ‘not wear those heels again’ and ‘why don’t you wear flats tonight’. The bottom line is fellas, unless you have the confidence, and self-esteem to date a woman who is taller than you in her stockinged feet and be all right when she slips into a 5inch red bottomed shoe, then please do us tall gals favour and pick on someone your size. Or better still, smaller; because we tall girls don’t have time for that.
I was at a party in my standard going-out-uniform of black trousers, black top and of course a 5-inch black shoe. The event had got off to a flying start with some people up to no good in the bathroom above. Strange noises and been emanating from up there for a while and of course it had become the talk of the moment. The offending couple had then come giggling down the stairs, messily put back together. The female culprit had a curious choice of bright white powder dotted around her nose, and her male counterpart was blowing his nose profusely. I thought Bonnie poor dear, needs to rub that matifying powder in properly and as for Clyde, is it allergy season already, in February? It does seem a little early for that.
The gathering crowd stood gossiping in hushed tones about the rumpus, clinging on to their sparkling flutes. A young woman sidled up next to me and gently touched me on the shoulder.
“I simply love your recipes,” She said with a smiley look in her eye
“Oh I am so pleased, do you have a favourite one?”
“Yes I do” she exclaimed, “but you know what Lorraine.”
“Know what?” I replied thinking, no, I probably don’t know what
“I’m finding it rather difficult to talk to you.”
I took a step back and looked her up and down, had I missed something?
I racked my brains for a few seconds and said
“I am so sorry; I don’t know what you mean.”
“Well Lorraine,” she began, as I waited patiently for the reply “You’re just well, you’re just too tall”.
I looked her square in the eye, raised my drink to almost cheers with hers (you can never be too careful in flu season), gave her a brief nod and then artfully shimmied away across the room.
Tell me in which universe should it be fair to state that someone’s’ body part is ‘too’ something? My first retort used to be “too tall for what, or compared to whom?” But now I am in the public eye if I respond to any personal attack with anything other than gratitude and grace, rest assured there will be a twitter rant on my feed about what a rude person that crap TV chef is. So, with the blessings of age and some semblance of maturity, I have learned to listen and hold my tongue, even in the face of height adversity.I for one would struggle not to wet myself if Robert Downey Jnr came strolling into the room. I would for sure tell him how much I love his movies and everything he has done, how I follow him on social media and think he is everything as a person. But I’ll tell you something for nothing; as my Hollywood heartthrob stands at only 5ft 8, I sure as heck wouldn’t touch his arm and whisper tenderly in his ear “Bobby darling, you’re just too short”.
I would like to put out a public plea to stop people from commenting negatively on how tall someone is. The Oh- God-you’re-just-too-tall-mantra, is often said in the tone akin to someone stating that you have a pile of steaming poop on your head. So, unless you are going to compliment a person’s height, then the best thing to do is to talk about something else or just to keep your beautiful mouth shut and put your height shaming speech in the bin.
I can’t just go strolling up to people and start saying they are too short ad infinitum. I must admit though; I did of a few years back, I am not proud of it, and I won’t be doing it again. The old halo must have slipped. I used it as a retort to a 5ft 1 lassie who was banging on to me for a good few minutes about me being too tall, asking me how the weather was up there and of course my all time favourite
“Oh please don’t wear those heels around me” gem. I bit my tongue for most of the tirade, but towards the end, I said to her
“Well, am I too tall or are you perhaps just too short?”
She stared at me with horror in her eyes. The horror soon turned to water as the rim of her eyes filled with tears. She looked (up) at me, red heart-shaped lips trembling and said as clear salty droplets started tumbling down her face
“You can’t say that! That hurts!”
She ran towards the ladies’ loos in floods of tears followed swiftly by her now Lorraine Pascale hating angry mob of tiara wearing girlfriends.I woke up the next morning after height gate, reached for my phone, rubbed my eyes, and started scrolling through my twitter feed. Nothing too unusual to report; Brexit is a God-awful mess, some ex-Premiership football player is now manager of a 2nd division club, someone made my chocolate cake for a birthday party, and it worked out pretty well and oh what did this last message say? “Met @Lorrainepascale at an event last night, What a bloody bitch.”
Photo credits top to bottom: Caitlyn Wilson, Quentin Rade, Brigitte Tohm, Titouan
If you Spot any typos let me know and I’ll correct them.