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!  
*  *  *
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!

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.


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