Thursday, 29 October 2015


Good Morning to you,

Have you ever felt the need to practise the way you smile?

Have you even thought about the way you smile? 

Well my answer to both questions, is no. I have never practised my smile,  and I have never really thought about how I smile.... I just smile.... it's a part of me.

.... aah but there lies the quandary. It seems that as I've got older, my smile has changed. Apparently, nowadays when I smile, I scrunch up my eyes..... who would have thought it.

The giver of this information is my lovely daughter, Danielle. So to see if she was right, I stood in front of my mirror and smiled and there they were those scrunched up eyes... yes, it is official, I certainly do scrunch my eyes when I smile.

Now why on earth do I do that..... I really have no idea.... and when did it happen.  When did the eyes go from wide open to half asleep.... and more to the point, why had I never noticed.

I don't know about you, but  I am very critical when I see myself in photographs and between you and me, I have sometimes thought to myself "Is that really me, I thought I looked much better when I looked in the mirror this morning". 

So Danielle decided, it was time we rectified the scrunched up eyes.

So there we were.... still in our pyjamas, curled up in our arm chairs practising our smiles.  

Now Danielle has her smile down to a tee.... but then she has been the keeper of the information I am about to share. I can't help but wonder, without this information, would Danielle have drifted through life unaware that she smiled with her eyes half closed. Probably not, as the younger generation are more self aware when it comes to photos.

So Danielle put me through my paces and when she felt I had practised enough,  it was time to put into practise what I had learnt. 

Well, when my first effort was photographed and I looked at the result, I burst out laughing. I looked like a rabbit who had been caught in a cars headlights. I looked hysterical, I would go so far as to say I looked like I had been given an electric shock..... but minus the frizzy hair.... not a good look I might add... so that photo was deleted.

I began to think, my scrunchy eyes were a much better look, but Danielle did not give up, she persevered until I perfected the look.... well sort of, I like to think I perfected the look.... but I don't think I really did.

.... and where did this advice come from.  Well it appears that this is the advice given by the super model Tyra Banks.... and she knows a thing or two when it comes to photographs.  Now here comes the fun part, this is what you have to do.

Turn your head to the side, open your eyes wide, then lower the eyelids slightly and turn to the front, ready for your photograph to be snapped.... oh yes and don't forget to smile.... which is what I did. I was so focused on the eyes, I forgot about the mouth.... hence the many dreadful photos.  By all accounts, follow these instructions and you will always have gorgeous photos.... or if you are like me, probably 30 photos which are dreadful..... yes we practised that much.  It was so much fun.  At one point George came into the room to check what was happening because we were laughing so much.  When we told him what we were doing, we invited him to join us..... and do you know, he smiled, with scrunched up eyes I might add, and turned around and walked out of the room. Now why on earth would he not want to practise his smile.... could it be because he doesn't care what his smile looks like when he is photographed.... mind you, he does have a lovely smile.

So the upshot is, Danielle continues to have lovely photos..... but me, not so much.... but I will continue with my lessons. You never know, there may be 1 out of 100 photos which will be acceptable. Thank heavens we don't have our photos developed any more, we can just delete the awful ones.... now that saves us a small fortune doesn't it, as we don't have to waste our money by developing awful photos.

.... or maybe, I will just return to my old ways and smile with my scrunched up eyes.... at which point I will have to say, sorry to Tyra and Danielle.

.... but I make no apologies for what I am making today.

spicy lentil soup with cumin, ginger, garlic and curry powder. This soup has a little heat, but not too much, it just leaves in its wake, a lovely warm glow.

So it's 'on with the pinnie', and the music I am listening to this morning is,

Simon and Garfunkel's album, Wednesday Morning, 3am, which I have listened to since I was a teenager. Back then I loved folk music, well I still do. There is just some music which travels with you through your life time and which you never tire of.... and for me this is one of those albums. Do you know, I was just working out how long I have been listening to this record and it's 47 years.... goodness me.

I feel sure none of these tracks need an introduction, but I have decided not to choose the obvious, such as 'Sound of Silence' or ' The Times They Are A-changing', instead I have chosen,

for you to listen to.

So while I gather my ingredients, I am listening to


1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 large onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of fresh ginger
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 400g tin of tomatoes
1 400g tin of Bijoux Verts Puy lentils
850 ml of chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper


Finely chop the onion.

Place the olive oil into a large saucepan
add the chopped onions.
Cook over a medium heat
until the onions are golden in colour.

Whilst the onions are browning.

Peel and grate the garlic
set aside for the moment.

Using a teaspoon
remove the skin from the ginger
and then

When the onions are golden, 
the grated garlic and the grated ginger.

add the ground cumin to the pan

the curry powder.

Move around the pan for a minute or two
or until you can smell the 
aroma of the spices.

Chop the tomatoes
add to the saucepan.
Stir the ingredients together.

Add the chicken stock

bay leaf
bring to the boil.
Reduce the heat to a simmer,
then place a lid partially on the saucepan.
Simmer for 30 minutes.

Add the puy lentils
and bring back to the boil.
remove the pan from the heat.

Season with sea salt


freshly ground black pepper.

Carefully remove half of the soup
 and blitz with a hand held blitzer. 
Before I owned a blitzer, I used
 a potato masher.... there is 
always an alternative.

Return the blitzed soup to the pan and stir.
  Now then, if you can wait for
 20 minutes or so, then do so, because you
 will find as the soup cools, it will thicken....
 and if you can wait until the following
 day, the flavours of the soup will be enhanced.

.... and then, all there is left to do, 


If you find, the first time you make this lentil soup it has a little too much spice for you, then don't worry, 

just add a tablespoon of Greek yoghurt to your bowl of soup.... give it a little stir and the yoghurt will quieten down the flavours.

Then maybe, just maybe, someone special will say,

Thank you.

Take care and I will see you next Thursday.

This week I will be joining,


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Best wishes to you.


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