Author: Emily Llou

Vegetables for the soul, vegetables for the Mums…

I don’t think there is a truer quote than the following: You wait for bus then three come along at once. I’ve had about 65 buses in the past couple of weeks and I’m feeling the pressure a little. This is not me complaining, this is me saying you’ve got a bit of time to breathe now Emily, so take it, relax a little and most of all, keep yourself well. There’s been filming, there’s been radio interviews, then there’s the book writing – all inbetween looking after a toddler, a couple of nights with literally no sleep and oh yes, my day job. And what I don’t have time for most? Cooking.  While Maggie May had her nap, I sat down with a bowl of tasty vegetable stew and a chunk of homemade bread. I felt as though I hadn’t had much food in the form of vegetables lately either so used the opportunity to make use of the leftovers in my fridge. I could hear Maggie snoring softly, the rain was lightly pattering the …

When I meat Jean, 90, a former Women’s Land Army lass…

I think people sometimes wonder why I’m so intent on bringing up the past, or question my fascination for it. But it is days like today where I just don’t care what anybody else thinks, because this journey I’m currently embarking on has been a dream of mine for some time and to see it coming together is somewhat overwhelming. On my way to meet Jean this morning, I couldn’t help but smile. I knew what she was going to be like – she was going to be like my Grandma. A sharp memory, funny, direct and simply wonderful. She has been the first former Land Girl I’ve met for my book and she lived up to every expectation I had, and then some. At 90, Jean is so alive, you know? Like other members of the Women’s Land Army I have spoken to, she speaks vividly and lovingly of her time there, laughing wickedly as she tells me some of the tales from her colourful past. Sitting next to her, I just instantly enjoyed …

My Women’s Land Army journey: A book to honour my Grandma…

I’ve been so lucky. To grow up with two beautiful, inspiring Grandmothers has been such an honour and I have the chance to ensure their legacies live on. My Grandma Vera left me almost a year ago now, but there isn’t a day goes by where her smile or her twinkling blue eyes don’t appear in my thoughts. Even Maggie May has started to have a look of her. I have always said I wanted to write a book about Grandma and her endless ream of tales she had and you know what? I’m doing it. She, as many of you know, was a Land Girl during World War Two and soon, the remaining ladies from the Women’s Land Army will be lost time. It is my duty to uncover their stories – the friendships, the romances, the sadness, the joy – and make that book I’ve always wanted to create. One of my favourite books of all time is The Help, with the way it documents the lives of women who nobody knew about …

Chicken and nutmeg stew: A one pot winter warmer…

The nights are long and the days short. Yep, we are still in that winter phase and up here, in the North, we’re freezing basically. I can’t even put the bins out without getting frostbite so what I need, is some warmth and some comfort – from the inside out. These days, time is of the essence. I love cooking – without it, I kind of crumble but I work and I’ve got a toddler. I need something I can whip up while she’s asleep or have a dish Maggie May can sit and help with meaning, we have about twenty minutes to spare before she gets bored of me enthusiastically waving a carrot in her face. This chicken stew is exactly what your cockles need. And the secret ingredient that will really set your chilly evenings a glow? Nutmeg! Winter can bring a real need for hibernation. It’s difficult to get outdoors and enjoy yourself in such horrid weather but what was so nice about this stew was the smell that filled the house …

Potters Barn Cafe: Bringing a splash of colour to my grey Northern Christmas!

I spent my childhood doing all sorts every weekend with my Mum and Dad, or my Grandma. They are memories that will stick with me forever – from the holidays abroad to the little things like walks or trips to our favourite cafe before my ballet lesson. Having Maggie May has made me realise just how important time together is, and there is nothing I love better than finding a fabulous day out. After learning about Potters Barn at the Lancashire Toursim Awards, it was high on my “must eat” list and I can confirm, it was the heart-warming, zingy experience I so badly wanted. In the heart of Ribchester, Lancashire, from the outside you can’t begin to understand the little wonder that lies inside until you walk to the back door and find yourself entering through a small, cottage-like door, almost as if in to someone’s house. Although only small, there is a homely, lively buzz. It feels alive. Everything about this place is so me! From the spotted tablecloths to the teapot wallpaper; …

An ode to Christmas: To new loves and love lost…

I’ve been thinking about this blog for a few days now because everyone who knows me will tell you I. Am. A. Christmas. Maniac. I love it. It isn’t about the stuff wrapped up under the tree (although I am a ‘buyer’!), it’s about people. It’s the one day where people just shake off all that dust, talk to each other, carry out family traditions, sit around the table, be close, be merry and be together. This year has been a tough one for me. I’ve lost people I truly loved and many things have changed in quick succession, meaning I was left running trying to catch up. It’s been exhausting. But, I’ve also seen life come in to the world. We welcomed Maggie’s cousins in to the family – one in February and one in April – so my emotions have been, in a word, chaotic. I said goodbye to my beloved Grandma but hello to two little boys who have stolen my heart. It was my first Christmas without Gran, but our first …

Mama’s oozy boozy mince pies: The perfect pastry and filling recipe…

If there’s one thing we don’t do in our family, it’s neat little mince pies, perfectly topped, all uniform and compact. No, I’m afraid Mum’s mince pies are anything but good looking, but god they’re tasty! It’s down to Dad – he likes em’ bursting at the seams, filled to the brim with mince meat and reeking of brandy. And that’s really how it should be shouldn’t it? Too many times have we been full of hungry anticipation when ordering a mince pie, only to be left thoroughly disheartened by the “all pie no meat” scenario. So this year I took on the task. I was a little anxious: Do NOT disappoint Dad! And truthfully, I will never make them exactly like Mum because I’m simply not her. She has her own little tricks and know how’s, but I think I did this festive little delight justice. It’s only now I think I truly understand the saying, “Christmas spirit” literally – it’s all the booze in the mince pies! Please make sure to check out …