Sunday, 27 July 2014

Slow summer days

Rustic heart on our front door
Our back yard; the pots are starting to look really pretty.

Current WIP.  These are hexies that I printed ever so slightly too small, by accident.  Not sure what they will become.
Pretty Tilda fabric.
Lizzie photobombing.  Again.
I am having a quiet summer and loving it.  The days are long and hot.  I am working, sewing, watching a little TV, reading and swimming.

Man, I *love* going off for a swim when it's hot outside.  I have started to meet an old friend at the pool on a Friday evening and I'm really enjoying our dates.  We meet straight after work and swim half a mile alongside each other then have a good gossip in the spa before we each head home.  K is getting married in September and it is so nice to hear her wedding news.  I didn't enjoy planning my wedding at all and wish, now, that we'd gone for a smaller affair.  Don't get me wrong, my wedding day was the happiest day of my life, but I did not enjoy being the centre of attention.  I've changed since we got married.  I care less about what I ought to do and more about what I want to do.  I think if we got married again I'd hold a bunch of wildflowers in the local church with just my close family and friends.  I'd wear a pale pink dress and we'd all spend the rest of the day squashed into in the garden at home with lots of fairy lights and amazing food.  Anyhoo.

I am keeping a low profile socially.  I'm lucky to have a lot of really lovely friends but I went through a phase of over-booking my social diary then cancelling and letting people down, which would ultimately make them (and me) feel bad.  So I've scrubbed the diary clear and I'm letting things happen spontaneously where possible, which makes me feel much more calm and, oddly, in control.

My book stash is severely depleted; I am tearing through it.  Really enjoyed Tracey Chevalier 'The Last Runaway' and followed it up with 'Falling Angels' which I also liked.  I've then read the latest Peter James' 'Want You Dead' (another excellent read) and have this afternoon finished Mo Hayder's 'Wolf' (which is a decent read but a bit slow and not as scary as I'd hoped).

J has been with us this weekend.  I fetched him on Friday afternoon and we spent a lovely hour or so on the swing seat in the shade, catching up.  His school prom was a couple of weeks ago and he showed me the photos of him and his friends.  He seems to have a really cool group of friends; fun and cheeky but with enough nouse to work hard at school and get good grades.

We went into London last night to have dinner and see Derren Brown live.  It was stifling in the theatre but it was such a good show.  Made a change to do something different and it was really nice wandering through the busy streets of London on a hot summer night, sipping cold drinks and discussing the show.

But I've kept my best news 'til last.  My sister gave birth to a gorgeous baby girl last night.  She went into hospital at 6:30pm and the baby had been born by 9:30pm.  She did it all with just gas and air, lost a lot of blood and I understand it was *quite* painful, but they came home this afternoon and all is well.  I am going to see them after work tomorrow.  I cannot wait.  I adore my niece and to be given another… well, I couldn't have had better news this weekend.  Happy days!

Have a good week, lovely people.



Let's finish with a little grumble, since I'm constantly hot and therefore a little bit ratty:
  • My make-up is flatly refusing to stay put in this weather.  My eyebrows melt off my face within an hour and hayfever gives me leaky eyes, ruining my eyeliner.  I look, frankly, rank.
  • Every day is a bad hair day.  My locks are well overdue a cut and colour so I am spending the summer resembling an aging rock star with long, greasy, dark roots and dry ends. 
  • I am still smarting from my doctor telling me that he will no longer prescribe the contraceptive pill for me after Christmas.  Feels like it is only a matter of time before he suggests a hip replacement and heart pills.  I am NOT old dammit! 

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Weekend Edition: Iced Chai, Blueberry Muffins and Susie Watson

When it's warm out, I like to have the back door wide open the whole time I'm in the kitchen.  I especially like to prop the door open if it's warm and rainy - I find it relaxing listening to the rain.  As soon as the door is open, Lizzie makes a beeline for her watchpoint at the gate.  She spends most of her time outside right in that spot.  Standing or sitting.  Sometimes barking but mostly just sitting quietly, watching the world go by. Andrew had gone out to pick up coffees for us this morning and she was waiting patiently for him to come home.  

Whilst Andrew was running errands, I set to work making a batch of giant blueberry muffins.  I have been craving them (with a hot, strong, coffee) all week long.  I tuned into Steve Wright's Love Songs on Radio Two and warbled along to Whitney and ELO as I sieved, whisked and stirred.  I used the recipe from The Grand Central Baking Book and it was good!  I added a little more sugar to the mix just because I like sweet muffins - they were delish.  The house smelled amazing as they baked and Andrew arrived with our coffee just as they hit the perfect eating temperature.  We sat on the swing seat in the yard together, with Lizzie at our feet, chatting about nothing in particular and enjoying the sunshine.  (Ok, that last bit was a lie.  I was chatting and Andrew was semi-listening.  As usual.)

We went to Marlow yesterday.  Late to the party, I know, but I have become obsessed with Susie Watson pottery and textiles.  Obsessed.  I had read that the shop in Marlow was kitted out like a traditional house and I fancied a looksee.  Not only that, Andrew and I both like to go out at the weekends on mini road trips wherever possible, exploring different towns or countryside and trying out new eateries.  We set off super-early and picked up a Starbucks for the journey.  I felt kind of swanky in my new long white cotton dress but within seconds of being handed my chai latte, it was in my lap.  The barista (stupid word) hadn't put the lid on properly.  Thank gawd the drink was cold because although the ice cubes were a bit of a shock, a hot drink would have been a whole other kettle of soldiers.  I was calm about the frock (now see-through and a kind of dip-dyed pale beige) but we raced home for me to change, threw the dress *straight* into the washing machine (oh hello, Postie, don't mind me here in the kitchen in my control pants and granny shoes) and I couldn't bring myself to leave the house until I was certain the dress was OK.  (It was.)  We finally got to Marlow for lunchtime, headed for the cafe that had been recommended and promptly found ourselves eating mediocre quiche in a mediocre cafe which served unattractively large slices of cucumber and plastic sachets of salad cream.  

The day was saved by a very pleasant wander through the park and along the river followed by a little sit-down at a game of cricket as we ate ginormous waffle cones of Mr Whippy with flakes and chocolate sauce.  I came home happy with a big bag full of pastel crockery and linens, a posy of flowers and frizzy hair (it rained).  We will definitely go again.  Marlow is a lovely town. There are other cafes and restaurants I'm keen to try, as well as requiring several visits back to empty Susie Watson of pink polka dot goods.  

I've been sewing today, making little wrist pincushions that Claireybelle and I hope to sell at homebird & belle.  (So exciting.  News on that for another day.)  Lizzie sat in an armchair in my sewing room looking impossibly cute and didn't bat an eyelid at my swearing or the excessive sex grunts from Orange Is The New Black on my Mac as I worked. 

Finally, our perfectly ordinary dinner of breaded chicken with salad and new potatoes was made perfectly extraordinary by the presence of salty, buttery, homegrown, freshly dug potatoes. OMGosh. So delicious.  If there is one thing you do next year, I would so encourage you to grow your own.  We have got all kinds of veg growing in pots outside and they are all coming along superbly, so far.  The pair of us are embarrassingly inept in the garden, too, so if we can do it anyone can! 

Have a great week.