Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Wonderful Wednesday #224

 {First picks:  the tiniest tangle of baby sweetpea blooms - i couldn't resist!}
Oh hello there!  I'm here reporting for duty #wonderfulwednesday -ness still feeling as tired as i did when i finished work last Friday for a few days off.  How can that even be?!  Do you ever feel like you're sleeping fine - you're getting the hours in but you're busy-sleeping?!  ie:  You're waking up from your solid eight hours only to actually feel not very rested at all.  Well hands up if that's you this week 'cos it's most definetly me!  I think it's mental exhaustion as appose to the physical kind.  What has helped it the past few days has been some dry weather and time out on those magical two wheels after the wettest most grey weekend!  Not only does riding several thousand laps of our sweet park physically tire me out but the time spent focussing on not much else apart from my breathing and the gulping great big lungfuls of fresh air also helps my mental state - no question.  SO predictably just as i'm starting to feel more's time to go back to worrrrrrrrrk !!!

Here's hoping a great dose of #wonderfulwednesday listing sorts out my frown...

1.  Alone time!  Something that's such a personal thing.  Some people are their happiest surrounded by others and in company and don't need nearly as much alone time as others.  For me personally i really and truly relish my own time and space and find if i don't get enough of it i almost feel a little flutter of panic in my chest.  I find it helpful to be alone with my own thoughts regularly - it almost makes them not so hard to digest and to sort out{?} even.  I use my alone time to think, and sometimes in quite the opposite way:  to not think at all and just to be.  Whether this time spent by myself is intentional - so a really long good few laps of our local park by myself on two wheels - or unintentional:  My twenty-five minute walk home from work no matter what the weather throws at me, {i'm very proud to have never caught a bus home in the whole two years we've lived outside of the city centre even if i have arrived home covered in half a hailstorm, several blizzards or even just well and truly soaking wet on many occasion!} or the ten minutes sat eating my breakfast in the morning or taking off my make-up and having a bath or shower on an evening.  It doesn't matter how i get it, just know that with it I.  Just.  Feel.  Better.  And i've stopped feeling bad about that!  This week i've felt like i've really treasured being able to have a Monday off work and some time with just little old me!

2.  Exercise.  Sort of, kind of linked to the above BUT with a little 'less-than-best' feeling self comes the urge to get out and move in fresh, blustery, 'blown-each-way-and-that' kind of weather.  Even if riding my bike in said gazillion  mile per hour winds on Monday might not have been my very best idea this week {hello when it hurts to bend down and hurts even more to get back up again!} the ten minute ride to our park; plus the six blustery laps of it {my usual is around and about three} and the uphill ride all the way home again made me feel on top of the world!  The fact that i struggled to get a brush through my hair on arriving home was more than worth it.

3.  Really rather ripe bananas.  This week smooshed onto toasted rye sourdough with a great big zig-zag of runny peanut and coconut butter, toasted coconut flakes and a little pink salt.  Or sometimes positively devoured after a really painful 'twisty-turny' sort of a ballet work out.  Caramel-y sweet and oh-so-yummy ripe bananas are my absolute favourite!

4.  Stretches.  Whether it's the first one i do lay in bed on my back in the biggest star-shape i can manage OR the other few i do in the early hours as the kettle boils for a little warm water and lemon.  Stretching really helps set me up for the day.  Does that sound weird?!

5.  Watermelon and lime.  Best.  Combo.  Ever.  Or not least one of them and actually up there with peanut butter and raspberry jam; tea and biscuits and rosemary and potatoes {nb:  this list could go on for a long, l-o-n-g time!}.  But as a summer pick you up?!  Just the bees knees.  I cut it up into bite-sized chunks and just squeeze a great big wedge of lime juice over the top.  If i'm ultra organised i add in some torn up mint leaves for extra freshness.  Top tip:  If it's really hot, watermelon is the bees knees frozen in chunks.  You heard it here first.  Go forth and be refreshed my friends.

6.  Listening.  But to the insides.  I think i'm quite good at this but as with everything there's always room for improvement.  I try to always listen to my body when it comes to eating.  I can have such an irritable tummy and i know what will aggravate that if i'm feeling less than my best.  It's never been a case of food intolerance for me but much more about my mental state when i eat.  I like to think that my body 'asks' for what it needs when it needs it and that the key to a more...peaceful {?} tum is balance.   If i'm really craving something, i have it.  I believe that my body is craving something for a reason and the key to really enjoying your food, apart from the balance aspect; is to feel fully satisfied in what you eat and not forever trying to curb those cravings.  They're there for a reason!  This week has been all about listening to my tummy even more and feeling the benefits of that.    

7.  Charred baby gem lettuce.  Quite possibly THE most middle class sentence i might have ever typed.  Also by me telling you that i have wanted to try charring a lettuce for SO LONG, will you judge me?!  Please don't because it is ALL kinds of delicious!  This idea has mostly been born from the fact that i am trying to stop buying bags of lettuce.  There really isn't any need since a) {i hear..} that growing your own salad leaves at this time of year is a doddle {i'm sticking to my flowers this year, but next?  I'm all over those leaves!} and b) you can so freely buy actual whole lettuces - tons of kinds come this time of year in the U.K.  The thing is with fresh lettuce, i always find that i use up all of the outer leaves in a jiffy and are left with the bitter, core {?} part and it usually just gets tossed in the bin or dunked in a tub of hummus.  Baby Gems have always been one of my favourites.  They've got back bone you see. You can pile individual leaves high with anything and everything {i love smoked salmon, creamy cottage cheese and loads of fresh dill and a squeeze of lemon} and kind of use them as a non-bread sandwich if you're feeling like you've eaten a bit too much bread lately.  You can use them for dips.  Hells bells they're even delicious diced ever so finely and stuffed into pittas, burger buns and the like.  

{This is SO GOOD i needed a paragraph pause}

So where were we?!  Oh YES CHARRING THEM!  It's not rocket science and so easy you could do it with your eyes closed {but you know, don't!}.  I warmed up a dry frying pan on a medium heat.  Sliced a baby gem down the centre and popped in both sides; flat side down.  I moved them about a bit here and there and just let them char as much as i wanted.  Then i popped them onto the plate and zig-zagged them with tahini, salt and black pepper and a squeeze of lemon.  I'm also going to try them marinaded face down in a little tamari first, and then topped with tahini, chopped chilli and toasted sesame seeds.  Such a yummy side for any meal and something you definitely could play about with.   

 8.  Home.  I'm such a home-y person.  I love nothing more than pottering about here at home and being cosy.  Or when it's warm, just sat in the garden with a mug of tea and my book.  Even though i like going away, visiting people and seeing lovely places; i always feel grateful coming back home.  There's nothing better than having a safe haven and place that you can feel totally relaxed.  Especially if you're feeling just a little bit frazzled!

And that's a wrap:  Sat, thought and listed-out for another week of #wonderfulwednesday goodness!  Go, go, go forth and hop to  Jo, Helen, Michelle, Sarah, Kate, Cat, Sam, El , Kerri's, and Peta's and Ellie's blogs and catch up with their very own #wonderfulwednesday posts! 

Have the most wonderful of weeks!

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Wonderful Wednesday #223

{Wonderful, glorious, summer blooms...}
Well hello!  How the devil do you and 'all that?!'  This week has been a tough one.  Long and lasting since this time last week.  If you read this early-doors i'm hoping i'll be curled up in the deepest sleep born entirely from sheer emotional exhaustion and a distinct imbalance in hormones.  Those little things are demons lately.  I'd put good money on the fact that they are trying to kill me i really would.  

Fear not.  I'm present and correct to count the best bits and i'm doing so to some of my favourite music.  Let's get on it...... 

1.  A breeze.  Even if it's one that brings with it a sprinkle or two of pollen and few hundred sneezes as a sneaky side order.  How ever it comes - be it sneaking up and under couple of curtains or just tickling my knees after a few crafty laps of our dear sweet park after the longest 'never-ending feeling' day; it's this time of year that makes you grateful for it.  For it's welcome cool, for the sweet wave of summer scent that travels upon it and even just for the ability it has to bring calm and clarity when you're feeling frazzled and tired and just done  for the day.  A summer breeze is just the bees knees.  

2.  A cool spot.  It's all about the 'keepin' cool' this week!  You can't beat the feeling that comes from finding a special cool-cottoned spot to curl up in and doze on a heady, heavy and humid feeling summer evening.  The kind where sleep doesn't come easy and you often wake feeling like you've been busier than you were awake - tossing and turning and unintentionally shrugging off the sleep that's trying it's very best to come.  That magical little cool spot is exactly that. 

3.  Mint tea.  Yes i'm that person that still likes hot drinks come this time of year.  I still crave my morning Cup of Magic no matter how good an icy glass of crystal clear water spiked with a few wedges of citrus tastes first.  Despite that, this weeks' beverage choice isn't even born out of a restless tummy - as it often can be where mint tea is concerned!  No, it comes purely from the fact that mint tea has the magical ability to cool, calm and refresh me no matter what time of bed.  It's the perfect mid-morning refresh-er; the most delicious after dinner 'settle-r' and even the very thing to calm a restless mind before bed.  It's the 'Fixer' of all teas in my opinion and is *even* delicious iced......Between you and i that was a little bit of an accidental revolution!

4.  Natural-ness.  I never appreciated how many other colours were dotted and sprinkled in my natural hair colour.  I count every single day as lucky that i have only one single grey hair on my head {i'm too scared to pull it out!} and have loved noticing what a difference a little bit of sunshine makes upon my little head.  You don't get that when you colour your hair - not that there's anything wrong with it - but you lose track of what's yours and what's not.  I always thought my little bright and light platinum blonde 'helmet' would stay with me forever but i weirdly feel more 'Me' than ever before with that tangle of dark blonde speckled with sun streaks of red and light blonde.  

5.   Ballet.  Have i told you i used to do proper ballet classes when i was a little bean?!  Despite the fact that we moved away and i distinctly remember forever being told by my mum that i was much more of a 'Pet Elephant' than any kind of graceful swan; i really used to love it.  I haven't plucked up the courage to try a proper class but i have been dabbling in You Tube ballet and 'Barre Core' exercises for the last two years or so and i really, really love them.  I love the slow stretches; the calming repetitiveness of it somehow and even the pain it brings.  It's brought more shape and definition to my arms and upper body and also my waist and for me it's the perfect antidote to a long and stressful day.  I roll out my mat, stretch and switch off.  This week and the seven days in a row at work that i feel like i've currently been wading through has had me really relishing evening time spent on my mat.  

6.  Music, magical music.  As i type this i'm listening to a live recording of 'Cosmic Love' by the mighty Florence and the Machine and i don't mind telling you that i have tears prickling my eyes and it's taking all of the will in the world to make sense and to concentrate on not letting them spill over and trickle right down my cheeks. I'm ok!  But it's been a funny week and i feel both physically and emotionally.....just a bit exhausted.  I'm in that kind of mood where i don't know *quite* what to do first.  And when i feel that way i listen to music and i write.  And it helps.  It fixes whatever wasn't really wrong somehow.  It fills that funny void and gap of 'nothing-ness'  and evens my little heart out again.  Music and words have always been my solace and this week they've really helped my frazzled little self.  Words have always been my 'Magic' and coupled with music.....?  Well in some form or another they'll forever tug at my heart strings and bring me comfort. Let's not even get me started on singing.....

7.    Sweet-pea FLOWERS!  Okay this had to go in this weeks post.  Incase you haven't seen my sweet-pea progress and approximately five billion squillion Instagram Stories tracking my green-fingered progress; this week my little baby-not-so-baby sweet-pea plants finally came into bloom!  I have grown them from teeny tiny seeds and i am ridiculously proud of that!  They're the prettiest tangle of flowers you've ever seen - all twisty and turny and a haphazard selection of green, white and purple.  I can't stop smelling them each morning and night when i also give them a little drink.  I just want to wait for a couple more to bloom before i can finally pick some to pop in the house.  

8.   A fringe.  For many fringe-shaped reasons simply for the fact that it covers my non-existent eyebrows meaning an extra few moments in bed has definitely been spent instead of fiddling and faffing  with make-up that i have just realised is actually entirely pointless given that it can't be seen.... OH AND for making me look younger.  Let's face it that's probably the reason it's stuck around for so long.  That and i have had a fringe for so long that i imagine it's nigh-on impossible not to have one.  My non-existent eyebrows and pale face would probably resemble a boiled egg.  

*  *  *

And i'm done.  I don't mind telling you this week's post has been tough.  I might have dug deeper than i ever have before.  But i knew i the words would come and that the the tumble of music as dear sweet company would propel me through. Sort of reminds me of revising for exams with my headphones on and my music turned up embarrassingly loud.  It felt like the world didn't understand how i could concentrate or how i could hear any kind of anything above and beyond the music in my ears.  Truth be told some of my very best work through school and university came from exceptionally loud and deceptively distracting music and singing at the top of my lungs at the same time.  Nice to see that not much has changed!

Oh!  Listen to me still rambling!  Cast those beautiful eyes of yours over my favourite faces:  Jo, Helen, Michelle, Sarah, Kate, Cat, Sam, El , Kerri's, and Peta's and Ellie's blogs and catch up with their very own #wonderfulwednesday posts!   

See you next week...?!?  Where i promise they'll be far more frivolity...and far less spelling mistakes, missing words and general melancholy.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Wonderful Wednesday #222

{Those dear sweet Donut peaches....}
 I feel funny this weekA bit like there's been no middle-ground on anything:  I'm either not hungry at all or all of a sudden could eat my own arm if i could and might cry if i don't eat quick-march.  I'm either freezing cold and can't get warm {not normal for this time of year!} or so hot that i just can't sit still  and even less of an attention span than usual.  I'm either ridiculously chipper that i could give the birdsong at silly o'clock in the morning a run for it's money in the 'happy stakes' or i forget to do something silly and immaterial and okay to forget and i could actually cry.  I mean i'm fine.  I'm fiiiineI'm even Fine.  But did i tell you that i'm fine yet?!  But i think i'll take it easy tomorrow on my day off:  Less rocket power and more crumpets and tea and few slow laps of the park on two wheels if the weather plays along.  Because if it's one thing i've learnt as i get a little bit older, it's to listen to my body and the little voice in my head more.  It's there for a reason afterall.   

So right now i'm going to count some really lovely things, because these kinds of posts - both reading and writing - are a great big shot of happiness and a great way to put things into perspective.   Let's go, go, GO!  

1.  Grass cut.  Yes we're going right in and jolly well head-first with just about the most simple thing ever:  A jolly good grass cut.  Apart from the solid-gold 'summer is here'- shaped joy of the sweet scent of cut grass {best sweetly inhaled after a long balmy summer day and on the evening of such, whilst you stand and marvel at the neatness and maybe swing a little watering can here and there....or is that just me?!?} - another one of those 'if i'd bottle it i surely could' type scents - then there's also the tidiness too.  I'm going to admit right here and now that this week is the first time our grass has been cut since.....Maybe last October....?!? Overgrown is the biggest understatement of the whole year {and let's face it we're only halfway through!} but now that it has been cut and trimmed i just want to be in the garden even more than usual.  Which FYI is already all of the time....

2.  Elderflowers.  The 'what comes next' of seasonal wild forgaging {or at least my knowledge of it!} after i've finished putting wild garlic pesto on anything and everything!  We've got a baby Elderflower bush at the very bottom of the garden {which i can now see - hurrah!} and i'm debating picking some flowery stems.  I'm just not quite sure what to do with them...?  I'm not really someone who drinks a lot of sugary drinks to make it worth making cordial.  I wondered if i should wait for the berries...?  Or infuse it into gin for a gift...?  What do you reckon...?!?  Either way the sight and smell of Elderflowers is just 'summer' to me!

3.  A jolly great thunder storm.  I say 'jolly great' and at the time it was neither really! The thunder woke me up with such a jump that i tossed and turned for a good few hours after and couldn't really settle back to sleep at all.  What was a little bit lovely was the sound of the kind of rain that only a heavy, thick and hot sky can bring.  And the smell - the smell of thundery rain is just - delicious, don't you think...?!?  Murky, humid, heavy and damp....but weirdly comforting.  It just does something to my heart and soul.  I'd never usually leave the windows wide open if it poured rain any other time of year; but summer rain and an angry rock and roll of thunder too?!  I had ours as wide as it would go and even though i was a bit annoyed at being awake; i lay still as a mouse watching the the crumpled cotton curtains light up and waiting for each roll of thunder to follow.  

4.  Ice cold cucumber.  A savoury watermelon if you will since the smell and taste of the both of them remind me of each other in equal measure and i've often been known to snack on wedges of the both of them at the same time.  Maybe it was the two or three heavy-headed and humid days that came before The Storm of the other night, but this week already i've eaten two huge cucumbers.  Is that excessive?!  They were totally worth the five or ten minute round of hiccups i got after a few too many slices.  When i'm not eating cucumber wedges, i'm slicing them into iced water with torn up mint leaves.  I got a funny look at work the other day because i was eating slices of cucumber with mint leaves squished in between!  I'd like to add this was an accompaniment and not my actual lunch....I just can't get enough!

5.  White cotton tops.  I daren't admit how many i own.  But they're my spring summer fail-safe and if i only buy on thing each spring or summer it's usually a variation on a white cotton top.  If it's Broderie Anglaise or seersucker to boot or indeed has any kind of ruffle detail then i'm there.  They go with every single thing some this time of year:  Slouchy soft pale blue denim jeans, wide-leg and floaty cotton trousers, tucked casually into a midi skirt and sometimes even worn with a pair of pyjama trousers for sitting in the garden on a lazy Sunday morning.  I'm wearing one as we speak i type.....

6.  Growing things.  I think i mention a variation on this every single week or have done since i planted some bits and bobs in our garden but there is honestly nothing nicer than planting something and seeing it grow and chit-chatting to it each day; watering it and nurturing it.  I feel so proud that i have expanded the three ceramic pots i had last year and this year have NINE POTS with things growing in them!  I have neither killed or destroyed anything!  I don't want to wish away 'Lately' since this summer is proving so flipping lovely BUT i can't wait until it all flowers and i can pick my very own blooms!  I'm most excited for Hydrangeas and Sweetpeas.  They're both just the epitome of my childhood.  Maybe next year i'll branch out {see what i did there?!?} into some fruit or vegetables....

7.  Less of everything. Well this could apply to a hundred and one things couldn't it?!   But if there's one jolly great thing about warmer, brighter and more sunny weather it's the fact that you can care less about hair, make-up and the like.  Everyone's skin is better with a little bit of vitamin D:  a sweet scattering of freckles and a little bit of sun-kissed colour.  All i've been wearing lately is SPF and a few dots of concealer and a little blusher.  And i'm finding i need to bother even less with my hair:  I can leave it to dry and only really have to rough dry my fringe and rub a little coconut oil through the ends and i'm good to go.  Hurrah for sun and blue skies!  And embracing natural 'Everythings.'  **makes mental note to embrace more often**

8.  First Donut peaches.  Picked up excitedly at the weekend from our local Sunday farmers market and left to excitedly ripen on our kitchen window-sill.  There's nothing better than thick coconut yoghurt, chunks of juicy Donut peach, a zig-zag of runny honey and a scattering of chopped walnuts.  Or!  Thick and as creamy as you can get cottage cheese spread on dark toasted rye bread with wedges of Donut peaches and torn up mint leaves.  Or!  Griddled 'dribble down your chin' -ripe peaches with a scoop of coconut milk ice-cream, a drizzle of tahini, one of honey and lots of black sesame seeds.  I'm actually considering making this flavour combo into an ice lolly.  What do you reckon?!?  DONUT PEACHES FOREVER!!!!! 

9.  Commuting sing-songs.  I always sneak a lift to work in the morning with the Mr as he drives past the city centre on his way to work most days.  This week we discovered an old David Bowie CD that we'd both forgotten about and have been enjoying singing 'Star Man' at the very top of our lungs together each day on our drive to work.  It's rare that we both agree on music but David Bowie has always been an exception - a 'meet in the middle' if you will and a little sing-song morning karaoke has been the perfect antidote to bleary-eyed sleepy morning drives.
*  *  *

And i'm all done and dusted and loved and listed for another whole week!  These posts are rocketting around each week {infact it sometimes feels like the weeks get faster and faster lately, do you feel it too?!} and you'll join me this time next week almost at the end of eight days in a row at work!!  So brace yourself for some seriously long and under-punctuated sentences and far too many brackets!  

Don't forget, since you're already here and sitting comfortably; to pop right on over to my favourite  ladies Jo, Helen, Michelle, Sarah, Kate, Cat, Sam, El , Kerri's, and Peta's and Ellie's  #wonderfulwednesday posts and catch up with their weeks and what's been making their little hearts happy!  I'm excited to spend this afternoon curled up with bottom-less Lady Grey and a little blog catch up myself since as it's my day off on Wednesday.  
Find me me here same time next week....


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