An India Summer

We’re blessed with many things in Northumberland but great weather is not one of them.

I believe it was hot in June but I wouldn’t know as I was stuck in an office and the schools hadn’t broken up; so it was like it might as well not have happened.

But last Saturday we had a special day. A summer’s day when you thought the warm weather had packed up for its long winter break. Then suddenly, from nowhere, one final hurrah before the wellies, woollies and waterproofs become essential wear.

My proud display of homegrown tomatoes

My proud display of homegrown tomatoes

Spending most of the day in the garden was luxury and gave the chance to pick my (small) crop of tomatoes. Look some have even ripened. No mean feat in the North of England. However, it looks like I’ll be making some green tomato chutney this weekend.

Still, I look forward to the change in the season. The crispness in the air and the low sun of Autumn. I can feel my kitchen calling me; preparing itself for fresh bread baking on a cold winter’s day.

My lovely boyfriend bought me the new Nigella Lawson book “Kitchen” at the weekend. There had been heavy hints made, but still a lovely surprise. Nigella has such an engaging way of writing and the section on useless kitchen gadgets (an electronic cheese grater – what?) made me laugh as I thought of my cupboards loaded with unloved juicers and panini toasters. I think deserves a blog post all of its own.


Kimonover to my place

Life is busy. We are all busy. You might be unemployed and still be unable to find time to scratch the surface of your To Do list. You might be a single mother with a full time job, a half-decent social life, and a house that needs looking after, in which case you don’t even have time to write a To Do list.

Kimono style kids

Kimono style kids

I fall into the latter category.

So, when I’m told by Child 1 that she needs a kimono made for school something inside me sighs loudly and resigns myself to another lost weekend.

[Her father’s contribution to Project Kimono was to print off a picture of a Japanese lady. Gosh thanks!]

In an inspired move I found some old curtains and created this…

Yes, I actually made this. I also made both the children in the picture but this isn’t the place to talk about that.

Btw, sorry about the appalling pun in the title; I couldn’t help myself.

Finisher and completer

It’s no secret that I’m not a finisher/completer. I start projects with huge passion, throwing myself in with gay abandon. Then after a few weeks I’m on to the next thing.

Yes, the blog has been a victim of my lack of sticking power. But it is a little more complicated that just laziness! I became increasingly concerned about the blurring between my personal and professional life.

In my professional life I look after the social media for a company. I believe in transparency, so most of this work is carried out in my own name. But, I’m very much speaking on behalf of a company.

My blog is not about business, it’s about me. Tricky. You see, I have thoughts and views. I have more opinions than you can shake a stick at. I know it’s not exactly Belle de Jour, but I became a little uncomfortable about our customers reading my personal blog and knowing a little too much about me. So, I decided to stop.

I’ve recently come to think again about this decision. Who really cares if I can bake, make dresses of variable quality and drink too many majaritas. It’s hardly likely to drive down our share price. Sometimes you need to stop thinking and just blog.

I love the blog Domestic Sluttery;  it combines food, cocktails and fashion. Fab.

They’re running a really good competition at the moment where you can win a case of wine just by recounting your worst Xmas story. I’ve added mine – 47 hours of contractions when in labour with my first mamouth child.

Should be some other good horror stories added so keep an eye on the comments.

My cooking mojo

Rachel Allen Home Cooking

Rachel Allen Home Cooking

I’ve lost my cooking mojo. It’s true, I just woke up one morning and didn’t think about what I was going to cook that day at all. I can’t be bothered to write any menu plans, or discover new recipes in long forgotten cookbooks.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been cooking, but it all seems so uninspiring. I baked some rather sad looking scones on Friday; it wasn’t easy process as I was trying to play scrabble with the 6 year old, while the 4 year old “helped” with the baking.

So, I’ve decided that it’s time for a new cookbook and with Rachel Allen’s new book “Home Cooking” at only £7.99 from The Book People I’ve got the perfect excuse.

If it’s anywhere near as good as her Bake book my mojo should be banging on the kitchen door before I know it.

Mister Pip

Mister Pip

Mister Pip

It’s been one of those weeks where I’ve been feeling in the dark about my future again. Various things in my life are a total mystery to me and it’s beginning to wake me in the wee small hours. So I decided to take myself off to the charity shop at the weekend to buy a book; well it’s easier than dealing with the root cause of the problem 😉

I’m not a big reader nor am I one for checking out The Observer’s review section, all of which leads me to choose my books at random. I literally judge a book by its cover, and at the weekend I was rather attracted to the amazing illustration on the front of Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones

The book seems to be working a treat at the moment; I’m both engrossed and sent to sleep by it. It’s the sort of book that you try desperately to keep your eyes open to read, but in the end sleep takes over. My other trick for dealing with insomnia has been to count the number of Greggs bakers in Newcastle. There are many, and this is an effective challenge! But reading a good book makes me feel a little more cultured.

My daughter is the ripe old age of 6 and I feel compelled to offer her well meaning advice. She has no idea what I’m talking about, but I don’t let that stop me.

My current advice is find a man or woman (whatever floats her boat) that bakes her fresh bread. If they are unable or unwilling to learn the art of home made bread then they are probably not going to give her the respect and love that she deserves.

Baking bread takes patience, effort and love…all vital components in a relationship. Plus the site of your loved one kneeding bread is…mmmm.

Bread on a cold Autumn day

Bread on a cold Autumn day