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Reconstructing Renée

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Thursday, 06 November 2014
It seems that this particular Halloween, Renée Zellweger felt the need to go the whole hog by ordering herself a brand new face for the occasion. I say Renée Zellweger as that’s who I can only presume is behind that recently revealed stretched, pulled face of intense shock. But to be honest, it could be anyone… simply terrifying the ghouls, vampires and anyone who might ever be tempted by the horrors of plastic surgery.

But, fear not, oh taut ones, I’m not about to wax lyrical in this week’s post about the idiocy of Botox. No, right now, I’m more interested in Renée’s bid to reconstruct herself. With a career twisting uncomfortably between success and failure, here is an actress who has never made a comeback since the days of Jerry Maguire. Bridget Jones was, of course, a heart-winning performance but in such a desperately pitifully way. Perhaps even you and I wouldn’t have bounced back from those needy binges and single awkwardness.

So Renée, it appears, has turned to her face to exercise some sort of control over her image and has seemingly hidden her issues behind an ever-tightening mask. And, readers, I suppose I do understand this. Many of us feel the need to evolve and alter our external image and sometimes this desire can be overwhelming. So I suppose I see Renée’s reconstruction as just one step further than this. That said, I’d opt for a purple rinse any day rather than ever go under that knife.


Posted by Mum About Town
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on Friday, 01 November 2013
It’s at this time of year that I am reminded how scarily different I am from our English-speaking American allies. My Brit reservation and modesty kick right in as I try my best to dodge supermarket aisles, magazine pages and TV ads, all dedicated to what the Yanks call Halloween. Bloodied masks, mini-sized broomsticks, glow-in-the-dark paint, sparkly-coloured hair spray, gruesome table decorations, never-ending spider webs…. it’s all crossed the big pond ready for the retail vampires to spook us out.

But, of course, as a mum I have NO WAY OUT. Especially as dressing up is a rather regular occurrence in our house (amid the Smalls, I should add) – and that’s before the temptation of punk witches, bleeding pirates or a day-glo skeleton. More than this though as, on top of the fancy dress expenditure and hassle, I pretty much need to re-think my parental values for the night. As far as I can see, [which is not far as a) it’s pretty dark and b) it’s very crowded on our local trick or treating well-trodden path] I need to encourage my Smalls to knock on strangers’ front doors. Yes, I’d like them to reverse all that I have taught them over the last 9 years and, once they’ve knocked, I’d like them to beg in front of these strangers. A hungry, innocent face will do. More and more sugar, all in vibrant colours, shapes and sizes, will drop into their little hands. After an hour or so of this begging ritual, I’ll have to allow them to cram their little mouths full of this (usually rationed) evil sugar before a scrap will ensue between the two little horrors as to ‘who has more?’ in their begging bucket.

Having revealed myself as the officially haunted scrooge of All Hallows’ Eve, I don’t mind admitting that the majority of the looted sweets will end up in the bin the next morning. And the only relief will be that Halloween is over for yet another year.

PS of course the MONSTER fun that I had at Home House’s Halloween Party last Friday night is a completely different kettle of (grown-up) ghoulies.

You can read more musings from Emma at

Sweet spiced pumpkin bread

Posted by Nigel Brown
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on Thursday, 31 October 2013
nigel oct31Have a very happy Halloween with this delicious sweet spiced pumpkin bread recipe...

Makes: 2

  • 2 loaves
  • 425g pumpkin puree
  • 4 eggs
  • 250ml vegetable oil
  • 150ml water
  • 600g caster sugar
  • 450g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger


Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4.

Grease and flour two 20x10cm loaf tins In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger.

Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended.

Pour into the prepared tins.

Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven.

Loaves are done when skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

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