Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Wonderful Wednesday #227

{My nightly walk home from work view...}
Who can believe we're knee-deep in July?!  Who can also even believe that it's been pretty much solidly warm sunshine for what...over a month now?!  I've become so accustomed to it that i'm a little bit worried what might happen to me when it finally decides to leave us!  I genuinely can't believe how much more energy i've had, how much happier i've been and how much better i've eaten.  I mean i think i eat a pretty balanced diet all of the same but i feel like i've been much more creative and innovative with what we've eaten for supper and i've really enjoyed cooking from scratch and preparing food a lot more.  

Am i the only one who's not yet bored of the heat?!

I think it's high-time we cartwheeled right into this weeks #wonderfulwednesday happy list...

1.   Hummus. I mean i've always got love for this stuff.  I go through at least one pot per week - heavens sometimes two.  I'll put it on anything and everything and it's just an all-round great fridge staple.  Lately i'm all about beetroot and mint or split yellow pea and turmeric.  What's best about the stuff is come this kind of weather:  The hot, sticky, no energy to even turn an oven on let alone a stove ring; well you can pretty much build a decent and filling meal or snack from hummus.  Mid afternoon hunger pangs?!  Chopped 'whatever veg you've got' and hummus - win win! And if you're in a bit of a supper quandary, i love adding hummus to a big plate of salad, leftover sweet potato wedges, roasted veg cous cous etc.  We even use the stuff as a pizza base on pitta bread too.  I have also been known to just eat it from a spoon, sat cross-legged on the kitchen floor!  Sometimes hunger just comes out of nowhere...

2.  Summer mornings.   I just can't get enough.  Buzz off with your 'it's too hot' summer weather moaning.  I'm useless in the heat but that said i've just been making use of the cooler mornings and evenings and always making sure i have a cool shower before bed.  But summer mornings are just heaven.  I stand and drink a mug of tea on the patio first thing and just collect my thoughts for the day - even for just ten minutes.  It totally makes a difference to my mind-set for the day.  Then i sit and eat my breakfast at the table with the french doors open and the cool early morning breeze tickling my ankles and the birdsong my only company.  It's a little bit lovely.  I'm far too often sad to actually move and get ready and fear i could sit there and collect my thoughts for hours on end!

3.  Sleeping only half under the duvet.  Do you know what if it was a million degrees i'd still need some sort of duvet to snuggle up to or at least to be partially under!  As much as i wish i could sleep under just a cotton sheet or on top of the duvet entirely, i just can't settle!  Heaven is sleeping half in and half out.  Just enough to feel an evening breeze from an open window dance across my bare skin whilst having enough of the cool cotton quilt to snuggle up to.  I {weirdly!} have been sleeping really well in this weather!  Just waking up quite a lot earlier.  I am much more productive earlier on in the day though so i have just been going with it and getting up and just easing myself into the day a little more slowly and gently.

4.   Picking sweetpeas.  I'm vowing to grow even more things next summer since this years flowers have turned out so well!  Picking sweet-peas takes me right back to being little and i've been loving how much i can't keep up with the daily blooms creeping up our trellis in the garden and flowering overnight! I feel like i add a few more to the vase in the kitchen each morning before i give them a little watering.  I also love how the smell fills our kitchen - and i especially notice it first thing in the morning.  And on the odd day i miss picking the sweet-pea flowers that have opened, come early evening as the temperature cools, you can really smell the sweet scent in the garden.  

5.  Making my own lunch.  I'm feeling proud and really enjoying the fact that i've got back into making my own lunch to take to work each day.  I'm usually  so easily swayed by an extra ten minutes in bed and not leaving myself enough time or being organised enough to gather up ingredients that inspire me to want to create something for my lunch.  Also sometimes it feels like it's tricky enough to meal-plan suppers alone for two of us for seven days at a time, that often the thought of having to sort out lunches too can seem daunting!  That extra time in the morning though - born from this sneaky spell of beautiful blue skies and sunshine though is doing wonders for my mornings!  It's also quite meditative when i give myself the time to prepare my lunch and some snacks each morning.  I'm determined to keep it up as the months go on and summer slips into autumn.....

6.   Actually wearing summer clothes without hesitation or a single shred of doubt.  More than that, buying actual summer clothes to wear in this country and actually wearing them.  I went full throttle last weekend and bought a broderie anglaise white cotton sundress and i have actually lived in it.  When has this ever happened?!  When have we ever trusted the weather as much in our whole lives?!  Hurrah for bare legs every single day, for not taking any kind of cardigan or jumper {who remembers those things called coats?!} with you anywhere and not even giving it a second thought!  If only you could depend on every single season.  I mean i would two-hundred percent accept a long and cold winter like last years if i knew this was what i got come June.  Eeeeeasily.

7.   New potatoes and tomatoes.  Because there isn't a single time of year but right now -   maybe even this very second -  that both of those things taste like heaven on earth.  Oh and maybe strawberries and raspberries two.  I can take or leave tomatoes the rest of the year you know.  I prefer to roast them and have them piled on sourdough toast.  But come summer?  I could eat a bowl of baby cherry tomatoes from the little porcelain dish on our kitchen window-sill.  And new potatoes?  Hells bells they are dreamy tossed in nothing but salty butter and fresh torn up mint.  Hot or cold i'm not fussy.  HURRAH FOR SUMMER FOOD!!!!

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And i'm all done All!  Loved and listed and tip-tapped out before a Tuesday night supper of a great big summery salad with two kinds of hummus and maybe even some seedy flat-breads - you can't tell me i don't know how to live! Would you judge me if i told you i'd been looking forward to it since this morning?!?

Don't forget to hoppity-hop right on over to Jo, Helen, Michelle, Sarah, Kate, Cat, Sam, El , Kerri's, and Peta's and Ellie's #wonderfulwednesday posts OH - AND LU's TOO - blogs to catch up their very own #wonderfulwednesday -shaped happy lists.  And tell me what's been making your week  fantastic too?!  Leave a sweet comment below or give any of us a nudge on Twitter or Instagram {i'm @sallytangle} using the #wonderfulwednesday tag!    

See you in another seven days.....

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Wonderful Wednesday #226

{'Cos i've been living in white cotton sundresses!}
Hello, hello, and hello again there! How the bobbins are you?!  Tell me how has your week been...?  If you are an eager beaver and read this early-doors on Wednesday morning i'll be getting myself ready for a thirteen hour shift at work.  I am absolutely dreading it and worrying myself silly that even-though i have so much time, that i just wont get everything don't that i need to in those thirteen hours.  Crazy!  And stress is no good for anyone - at my most-stressed i'm mostly just useless:  My minds here and there and everywhere it shouldn't be and it takes me a million times longer to achieve anything because my mind can't and wont settle on just the one task!  I'm already thinking of the next thing and the next thing and the next thing after that and quite frankly it does nobody any good.  So tonight {Tuesday} i'm going to take it easy:  Have a long, cool lavendar-y shower and read my book and try and not think myself into an impossible dark little hole where i am no use to anyone!  

More than EVER, i'm going to list my little heart out and remember {and treasure} the very best bits of this week....  

1.  Melon.  Melon, melon, MELON!  I'll take whatever there is but my all-time favourite has to be watermelon.  I've been living off the stuff:  Storing chunks of it chopped up into tupperwares so it's easy-peasy to de-cant and transport to work with my lunch.  I've been saving it until right at the end of the day and eating it on the walk home in the sunshine.  Here's a game-changing tip for all you melon worshippers like me:  Chop up your melon into bite-size chunks and freeze.  When you take it out, pop a few chunks into a bowl and squeeze a wedge of lime over the top.  Torn up mint leaves are optional 'cos we're getting a bit fancy-pants and carried away over here but OH MY it might go down in history as THE most refreshing thing ever!  Word to the wise:  It's ridiculously easy to almost eat an entire watermelon this way also.  Chopping it all up sort of means you also lose track.  Don't do that.  Stomach ache is nobody's friend.....

2.  Pea pesto.  I mean WHERE have i BEEN?!  Pesto is one of my favourite things in the whole wide WORLD.  I don't know why i had never considered adding peas into the equation.  This kind of pesto will CHANGE  YOUR  LIFE, or at least your Summer.  If you're all like me lately, it's all about what can i make that takes barely any heat or time to put together at all but that tastes really rather amazing.  It's just cooked leftover peas {sometimes i also add in a few podded broad beans or edamame beans too if they're hanging around causing trouble} whizzed up with a garlic clove, a handful of spring onions, some olive oil, a great big handful of fresh mint and a little dried or fresh chilli and then salt and black pepper to taste.  IT'S HEAVEN .  Infact it's particularly yummy tossed through leftover baby new potatoes or spread thickly on top of toasted sourdough with a few dollops of as thick as you can get cottage cheese and crumbled walnuts.  I even used it spread on a tortilla wrap the other day.  I then piled in some spinach and boiled eggs and rolled it all up and it was YUM.  You are welcome my friends!

3.  Swallow-spying.  It's sort of become my evening ritual. Have a shower and pop on my pyjamas.  Then pop into the garden to water the plants and pick and any flowers or herbs i fancy.  Then to just stand and watch the swallows swish, and swoop up, up, up and and away, dancing so gracefully along the warm summer evening breeze.  It's actually quite calming to watch!

4.  Holiday weather.  It's worth noting that i am not one of those people who can lie out in the sun star-shaped.  My skin is so naturally milk-bottle white that it's nearly translucent.  I'm a restless soul at heart and so sitting still at any point is tough for me.  I like being on the go, doing things:  Fizzing and whizzing about.  Therefore i'm not naturally somebody who copes well in temperatures over, say 20 degrees.  All of that said, lately is LOVELY.  And despite all of the previous factors, i will NOT hear one single bad word said about the glorious and consistent holiday-feeling 'Real Summer' type weather that we have been so blessed with up in 'Never Quite This Sunny Consistently Cumbria.'  No i will not.  I will spread on the factor 50 SPF like the pale gal that i am, i will cycle in the morning or after 6pm and i will drink more water than i know what to do with - even if it feels sometimes like i am more water than human - I will eat all of the icy melon, be creative with all of the seasonal fruit and vegetables and be really and truly grateful.  Because i cannot actually remember a time when Summer has ever felt like this since i was at primary school.  And that's that.

5.  Blusher.  'Cos it's mostly all i've been wearing on my face, save for some SPF and if i'm looking really tired, a few slicks of mascara.  I used to hate not wearing make up a few years ago.  I got so used to my face being one colour, one solid samey all over kind of a colour.  And you know what?  News flash:  At any given time of year, {granted everyone's skin looks miles better after some serious vitamin D} nobody's skin tone is one shade all over!  Now i've come to terms with that i spend more time {and money, but not lots} on my actual skincare rather than my makeup.  A few laps of our dear sweet park and my walks to and from work in this lovely sunny weather mean that a little smudge of pink on my cheeks and i feel like i look like me.  Hurrah for sun!

6.   Summer mornings and summer evenings.  The two best parts of the day if you ask me although obviously the scales sway ever so slightly in favour of the AM vs the PM but i'll take either lately.  Mornings for the early morning light, the sound of chattering birds and for flinging open our french doors and stretching with the cool morning air dancing around my sleepy body.  And for breakfast in the garden, or tea in the garden - are you sensing a theme?!  Summer evenings for cool lavendar-y showers with my favourite scented candle lit.  For soft evening light and only fairylights to light the way.  For slathering coconut body butter on damp sun-kissed skin after a shower and curling up on the sofa in cool cotton pyjamas with the french doors wide open the smell of early evening grass  and listening to the sweet twit-twoos of swallows as they swoop and dip along on the cool late evening breeze.  And for sleeping with damp coconut-y hair and the window open as wide as it'll go. 

7.  Poetry.  By far my favourite medium, to read anyway.  Oddly enough, despite being a lover of the written word and one for always admiring a long and beautifully tangled sentence that i can get lost in, i've never tried to write a poem.  Maybe i should give it a go!  This week i've been reading through a few poems - the first time i have taken time to do this in years.  It's really affirmed my love for it and i think i might try and do a little more. Maybe i will even try and write a few verses.  Hey, maybe one week i'll write a #wonderfulwednesday poem!  I have considered a #wondefulwednesday Vlog or podcast but find just fitting in this little corner a tough job sometimes so wouldn't want to promise something i couldn't put my all into, you know?!  BUT POETRY!  Send me over your recommendations if you love it as much as me!

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And we're all done and dusted!  All listed-out for another seven days!  I do hope you're all well and that this proves useful as a little mid-week rocket-fuel for the rest of the week.  Or maybe it reminds you to, to take a few moments to count the little moments of lovely in your usually hectic, non-stop type week!

Remember to pop right on over to Jo, Helen, Michelle, Sarah, Kate, Cat, Sam, El , Kerri's, and Peta's and Ellie's #wonderfulwednesday posts OH - AND LU's TOO and soak up even more lists of great and good and jolly glorious #wonderfulwednesday -ness that they have to offer.  I am eternally grateful to these gals for their continued support and contribution.  Warms my little heart it does!


Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Wonderful Wednesday #225

{Because nothing smells like Summer more than Elderflowers}
Today at 7pm {Tuesday evening as i type, the time of the week i write my #wonderfulwednesday} it's 28 degrees.  I can't ever remember a time in Cumbria it has ever been 28 degrees.  Scratch that i can't ever remember a time in my life it was ever 28 degrees!  It's made my head do funny things!  I feel as if it's not been fully attached to my body all the live long day!  Today will also forever be known as the day i wore the prettiest white cotton sundress and only noticed about ten minutes ago that you could see my underwear through it!  You can also see the great big splodge of orange melon juice i dribbled down the front of it as i scampered out of work shovelling icy chunks of the stuff into my mouth because i was too hot and too impatient to wait any longer.  I hope it comes out.  Any tips if it doesn't?!

Scorching heat and melon gobbling aside it's been a busy but a-okay sort of a week. Productivity {or at least the feeling of it has been resumed}, jobs have been done and things ticked off too.  But with that and The Heat {i wonder how many times i'll mention the weather this week?!} comes the inevitable tidal wave of sleepiness and tired.  Thanks goodness for this little post and for tomorrow off work to potter and adventure on those two wheels without a see-through dress and with plenty of suncream!

Let's list!

1.  Ice-cold watermelon and cucumber.  What i really want to write here is 'anything cold.' But actually what's winning in all of the fruit and veg stakes around these parts is great big chunks of as cold as i can get it {read:  sometimes ten minutes before i eat a few chunks of either i put my little tupperware in the freezer just for fun - that's right i do know how to party!} cucumber and watermelon - both or one or the other.  Either way they're both just ridiculously refreshing and is it weird that i'll take either of them over ice-cream any day?!  Honestly give me a great big bowl of ice-cold watermelon, torn up mint leaves and a squeeze of fresh lime and sometimes if i'm hungry a great big dollop of equally ice-cold Co-Yo right on top and i'm happy as the happiest clam ever was.  Also for those savoury beans out there, those great big chunks of cucumber work just as well with torn up fresh mint, a few toasted sunflower seeds aaaaand a great big spoonful of the thickest, creamiest cottage cheese you can lay your little hands on.  

2.  Remembering to put an apple in the fridge at work all ice-cold and ready for 'end of day twenty-five minute wanders home' where you crave something sweet for energy but nothing but icy-cold will do.  Are you sensing a theme...?!

3.  Having an empty laundry basket when it's barely even Tuesday.  Who am i!?  Not the productive domestic goddess you're imagining that's for sure!  Praise be to drying washing outside any-which-way but let us praise even more  the ability that almost thirty degree temperatures has to mean i can get ALL OF THE WASHING done in a blink of an eye!  

4.  Wafty cotton dresses, bare legs, tan flip-flops and the hugest floppiest sun-hat to hide hair that hasn't been near a hair dryer in the best part of a week!  Pretty much my every day uniform lately and just the coolest and comfiest!  Does it make me sound old if i tell you i wish that more things were made of linen and cotton?!  

5.  Turtle doves.  There's a pair of them {least i think it's the same pair!} that have hung around our garden since we moved in.  They sit on the fence next to each other and they cuddled up when it was really snowy over the icy months.  Sometimes there's a great big flutter of feathers and a ferocious squawking that comes from the great big sycamore tree at the very end of our garden when i assume they've had a little fall out or maybe Mr Turtle Dove hasn't washed the dishes.  But most mornings lately they're all i can hear first thing as i get ready in out spare room - coo-cooing to each other, one on the roof above my head and the other in the tree.  When there's nothing else to hear in the morning but that, and the birds twittering away in the distance, it's actually really lovely.  Maybe i should give them some names...?!

6.  Tea on a hot day.  Okay so i'm one of those people:  Not much can keep me from my cups of Lady Grey and actually even in this hot, hot, hot  summer weather i find nothing more refreshing than a little mug of tea!  Obviously it's even more  delicious if you can find a shady cool spot on the grass in the garden.  In fact i've been making a point of drinking my morning cuppa in this exact way!  The only small problem is that it leaves me very much not wanting to go to work!

7.  Salad-y suppers.  My favourite kind of suppers.  Well, you know unless you're going to let me have something breakfast-y for supper instead 'cos then we'll be BEST of friends!  Jokes aside, there's nothing i love more at this time of year than just filling up our fridge with fresh seasonal fruit and veg and making supper up based around the most basic things - torn up basil, wild rocket and tomatoes from the window sill with sea-salt, black pepper and a really big zig-zag of olive oil with some crusty bread.  Or grated carrots, apple, toasted sesame seeds and torn up coriander dressed with fresh lemon juice and tahini.  Or charred baby gem lettuces served up with tamari, toasted sesame seeds and fresh lime.  These are all so good served on the side with some protein.  Or sometimes i just pair them with left over new potatoes with fresh mint and butter; some leftover quinoa, or even just a little leftover pesto-y pasta and some olives or anti-pasti.  If i'm ever in doubt, a slice of toasted rye bread with hummus is always a safe bet too.  I LOVE summer food!

8.   Cucumber and mint chopped and torn up in a great big glass of cold, iced water.  At this time of year, it's the simplest most easy things that really are the best and if like me, you're just not a sugary drink, drinker then this ones for you.  I also love frozen raspberries dropped into water with mint, or even a couple of fresh strawberries and some torn up basil leaves.  Lime and mint is also a great combo!  Or lemon and basil!  The options are endless!  And you can even make up fresh fruit or herb ice-cubes so they're good to go whenever.

9.  Homemade ice-lollies. The bees knees if you ask me!  Ours were made from coconut yoghurt blended with frozen blueberries and a great big scoop of Acai powder for extra goodness.  I then popped some desiccated coconut and chopped walnuts into each mould before i poured in the mixture for some extra crunch.  They are so easy and SO GOOD!  
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And we're done:  all loved and listed and finished for another week of stopping, sitting {sipping something!} and counting the littlest moments of lovely from my week.  Don't forget to bob right on over to  Jo, Helen, Michelle, Sarah, Kate, Cat, Sam, El , Kerri's, and Peta's and Ellie's #wonderfulwednesday posts - AND LU's TOO - this gals words well gosh i could lose myself in them for hours and never get bored - and catch up with their best bits too!  I'm off to put my head in the freezer......

Sending love!


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