Heart-shaped shortbread recipe perfect for your Valentine as they do say the way to a person’s heart is through their tummy.

heart shaped shortbread



225g Salted butter, softened
100g caster sugar
225g plain flour, sifted


200g icing sugar, sifted
4tbsp Rachel’s Low Fat Raspberry yogurt
A few drops of pink colouring, if required

Preparation time: 10 mins

Cooking time: 10 mins

Serves: 12 biscuits


1.Pre-heat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas Mark 2. Lightly grease a baking tray.
2.Place the butter and the sugar in a mixing bowl and beat together until pale. Add the flour and bring the mixture together until a soft dough is formed.
3.Tip the dough onto a floured surface and using a floured hand gently roll out to ½ cm thickness. Using a heart shaped cutter, cut out the dough and place on the prepared baking sheet.
4.Bake until golden brown for approximately ten minutes. Leave for five minutes on the tray to cool and then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
5.To make the icing, mix the icing sugar with the Rachel’s Low Fat Raspberry yogurt and beat until smooth, add the colouring and beat again.
6.Using a small piping bag, pipe the raspberry icing within the contours of the biscuit. Allow to set.

Heart-Shaped Shortbread Recipe



My Random Musings

Dream a little dream with me.

I am on medication with gives me some strangely dramatic dreams almost as if I am processing past hurts and difficulties. They can be quite gruesome so I won’t trouble you with the details.

dream a little dream

There are the more pleasant dreams which also make me at peace with how things panned out in one area of life.

Of course, as past hurts are healed in the sleeping life, new dreams come to the waking life. It ain’t over yet. I am still breathing so there is still more to experience.

I feel ambitious and intend to take various aspects of my life in new directions. I want to make this blog more about my real passions rather than a mish-mash of what other bloggers write about. I have my own true voice and I must use it whilst I can. I am giving it a year to become what I want it to be or blogging and myself may part company.

I have had an aspiration for decades which I thought was a dream but actually have worked out there is no reason for it not to come true. It’s not a joke. It doesn’t have to be a daydream or a fantasy. I can rebrand it as a goal or a plan.

Of course as soon as you dream powerfully, opportunities emerge to take you in the right direction. I was going to choose cosmic as my word of the week as the order is in and the very thing turned up remarkably quickly it seems.

I am on the move and the dream will come true.

When did you last aspire to something new?

On reflection, even the apparently huge dreams are only little ones if you break them down into baby steps and put I in a cosmic order.

The Reading Residence

Esther has kindly shared her story of recovery from addiction, and self empowerment.

Esther Nagle created a mask and comfort blanket out of alcohol for over 20 years. Wracked with self loathing and shame, she had virtually no other coping strategies in life besides drinking. When life got difficult, that coping strategy made things worse, and Esther surrendered into a breakdown.

That led her to Yoga teacher training, and her salvation. Through Yoga she learned tools that helped her reach a place where she no longer needed alcohol. This showed her that Yoga is far more powerful than she ever realised, and she realised she had a message to share.

Esther is the author of “Bent Back into Shape, Beating Addiction Through Yoga”. Esther is a Yoga teacher and public speaker, and the host of the new podcast Sober Living Rocks. She writes about her journey on her websites Sober Living Rocks and Balance and Breathe

Esther Nagle at Om Studio

In 2013, after 20 years of alcohol dependence, and depression, and 8 months of the hardest year of my life, I had a breakdown. I was the single mother of 3, two of whom still lived with me, a 3 year old and a 16 year old. My resilience was at an all time low, I had life hitting me from all angles with work problems, family health problems, a vicious breakup and court proceedings with the father of my youngest, who had managed to destroy what little self esteem and sanity I had throughout our relationship.

In August of 2013 I realised I could actually cope no longer, and, in a state of complete overwhelm, quit my job and fell into a vat of cider as I tried to cope with my breakdown. I spent the next few months crying, drinking, sleeping really badly, and making very erratic decisions before calming down a little and starting to think about what I was going to do once my government benefits ran out. I knew that the 9-5, commuting to sit in an office wasn’t going to work for me anymore, so I needed a new plan.

I had been going to yoga classes for a number of years, and it was one of the things I really loved in life. I had long wanted to become a yoga teacher, but had never been able to find a course that worked for me. I started looking again, and, as though the universe was lining it up for me, at the same time a local teacher started advertising her first teacher training course. I signed up and immediately felt myself begin to calm down a little.

The course started in April 2014, and within a matter of days my mind was being blown as I discovered aspects to Yoga I had never heard of in the 6 years I had been attending classes. I had thought Yoga was a physical exercise class, but I was learning how it could change me and my life at the deepest levels imaginable.

Through the practices and course work I started to unravel the knots that had existed in me for so long I didn’t even know they were there. I learned to properly relax. I learned the magic that happens when you start to pay attention to the breath and learn to breathe properly. I started to see patterns and identify the source of behaviours I had always just accepted as evidence of my flaky and unstable personality, and began to change them. I developed a new, positive outlook not only on my present, but on my past, seeing lessons and gifts in the pain of the past.

After just the first 7 months I was a different person entirely, and on October 12 2014, I woke up with the worst hangover ever, and made a life changing decision. True, I had made the ‘I’m never doing this again’ declaration many times in the past, but I had never really meant it before. I knew wihtout a doubt that I preferred waking up sober, and I no longer needed the comfort blanket of alcohol to help me hide from my problems. I had gained enough insight into myself not to tell myself I was quitting, and risk triggering my self sabotage, so spent the next few weeks making a daily decision that I was ‘not drinking today’. When I attended my brother’s wedding 6 weeks later, and shunned the endlessly flowing red wine in favour of Elderflower cordial, and had a really good time, I knew I had turned a corner. From that moment on I started talknig about quitting drinking, and, singificantly, started to finally be honest with myself and others about the nature of the problem I had lived with for 20 years. I had been an alcoholic in total denial and had risked so much to hide my addiction. Finally being able to talk about it, to be comfortable in discussing it with loved ones and strangers alike felt like a weight lifted from my shoulders.

I have been sober and smoke free (I quit smoking the same day, but seem to forget about that, despite having smoked for longer than I was drinking alcoholically, and being asthmatic!) for over 2 years, and at no time have I come close to a lapse. I know that this was completely down to the deep inner work I did through Yoga.

I was truly amazed to learn the power of Yoga, It is not just an exercise class, not just relaxation and meditation. Yoga is a system for living that addresses our whole being, how we live, how we speak, how we think, what we do to and with our bodies, minds and souls. It can improve how we relate to ourselves and to others. It can help us to defeat old habits and create new, more positive ones. Any change you want to make in life can be helped by adopting Yoga principles into your life.

I would love to hear how Yoga has impacted on your life, or how you have created positive change in your life

How to get kids to do stuff inspired posts like my one about being a waitress to them.

how to get kids to do stuff

I have driven myself into the ground all too often looking after my children. I am one of those mums who wanted them never to be upset and that was unrealistic. It wasn’t their fault but they learned through my bad parenting skills to take advantage on occasion.

My most wise child is my youngest who told me that if I show him how to do something he is more than happy to help with household tasks.

So I did. He has started keeping his room so much nicer as a result and has offered to help even when I could not see that things needed tackling.

My daughter at the age of 12 suddenly has started to take a pride in her bedroom.

I am still working on the sulky teen.

Having said that today, I put my “I mean it” voice on which actually does work and does not require a raised voice or tension.

Imagine my happiness when my 3 little ducklings (yes all 3 of them!) did exactly as I asked immediately and with no arguments or attitude problems.

Is it really simple as that? I believe it is and wish someone had told me so much sooner!


As I am joining in with the Reasons to be Cheerful linky, I will add in the following lovely things.

1. The dream is becoming so realistic now. Watch this space!

2. I am feeling better after a week of feeling grotty. It shows how when you rest up it does you the power of good.

3. My son is walking better and becoming more independent after his operation.

4. My daughter continues to amaze me with her vivid imagination.

5. I had a lovely long film session with my youngest. I love quality one on one time with each of them.

Do you find it challenging to get kids to do stuff?