Friday, 17 October 2014

my food story

shopping at the local farmers market
I have been really trying to improve my relationship with food. Don't get me wrong, I love food, I just don't think I am very creative with it. A little while back I felt I had really lost my way with it. I was doing the same old shop, spending far too much I thought. Forgetting what was in the fridge, throwing forgotten things away. The freezer was full, but I had no idea what was in it, or how long it had been there..... I didn't know what to cook. The kitchen felt cluttered. No one seemed to want anything from it. The tins of baked bean were looking attractively appealing and fast food had infiltrated our lives in a way that's made it hard to get rid of it since.

bringing home lots of tempting goodies
So this summer I de-cluttered and cleaned all the horrible corners of the kitchen. I emptied everything of the shelves and cleaned the whole thing.This was a good start. Cooking and preparing with everything to hand and only what I use around me makes a huge difference.
I've gone through this clearing process in the kitchen now a few times. Using the kitchen feel's so much easier now.  

Of course the next thing was to tackle was the food itself. I went through my whole fridge and freezer and made a list of what I did actually have and stuck it on the fridge door.
I was surprised by how much was actually in there! I made a list of some meal ideas just using this and realized I could probably be buying less for a while. Just perhaps adding some fresh ingredients.

I made it a plan to keep checking what needed eating, to try and avoid wasting food.
It wasn't exactly meal planning, I'm not convinced that would work out for me everyday.
What I noticed as I ate my way through the fridge was that the vegetable section would still look quite full and rather bedraggled! Something was amiss. Not exactly veggies bursting with health.

If I was growing my own food, or shopping at the local farmers market, I would no doubt be planning my meals around my vegetables, and eating more seasonally too. I have fallen into the habit of buying the same things over and over, no matter what the season! My inspiration had hit the floor. I  felt like nothing short of a magic wand would transform my meals!

flowers and fruit grown in a local garden
I've been thinking a lot about how this all came about.
As far as I can remember, I think I was basically brought up eating versions of the same meal, until about age twelve. Fish fingers, baked beans, chips and of course ketchup! I didn't mind, I was quite happy. I didn't mind eating the same thing over and over. I'm fairly sure there was nearly always a Sunday roast and I expect the odd vegetable was eaten now and again.

There was some simple baking I remember. Flapjakes, cupcakes, cheese straws, apple crumble all the things I make now, and probably from the same seventies cook book which I still have. And not forgetting banana and custard too! It was all simple and straightforward, and not too clever.

There was quite a lot of anxiety in the early years for my Mum and me. Eating the same food for me became a kind of security blanket I think. Also I loved apples. There was a time probably around the age of five when my Mum tried to check in a suitcase full of apples as extra luggage while we were going on holiday. I can remember the suitcase having to be taken back the car!... obviously I found something else to eat and survived!

From that point on other dishes appeared,  but the whole idea of different flavours and exotic spices didn't really reach far into our world. I don't think it naturally set me up for a life of creative cookery. I find myself in awe when people seem to throw in all kinds of ingredients and flavours. 

There were a few simple meals were learn't at school, and then forgotten. I have to say when I left home, (the first time!) I was seventeen and didn't know how to cook at all. I once famously boiled an egg without putting the water in.....I never did that again! And the packet of lasagne I kept in the cupboard. I really expected to find a complete lasagne in there.....

As I grew older I found I would begin to eat like whoever I was spending time with. I feel as though I learn a dish from everyone I meet. I hadn't really found my own way of eating. I still have moments when I look inside my fridge and have no idea what to do with it all.

Mainly I think I eat okayish, I try and aim for organic when I can. I think I could be cooking with more vegetables. I could probably forgo meat most of the time. We have our little range of staples. Dishes we have eaten for years. Truth is we are probably a bit fed up with them. The habit of not venturing far from the known food perimeters is still very strong I note now with my own son. It's a challenge to want to create new things when you feel they won't be tried. I have spent years trying to eat round what other people want.

So.....to cut a log story short. I want to re-introduce myself to food. Really find my own way with it for the first time. I've been asking myself what do I really want to eat? Imagine not having to shop around anyone else? How would you eat if you were only catering for what you want? Breaking away from the set family shop! It was surprisingly difficult actually. All I could think of was more vegetables, maybe soups. Juices. Perhaps some stews and hotpots. Less meat. I can feel a kind of new eating plan evolving, but don't know quite what it is yet.

The Farmers market cookbook by Nina Plank
A couple of weekends ago I shopped at our local farmers market.
I have been reading The farmers market book by Nina plank. Nina was the founder of the organic farmers market movement in America. She describes the aliveness of the produce that she loves and the way the food can be used in a way that made me have an inkling of what I'm missing.

The book was left here by a previous cabin dweller. In truth I may have almost wrestled her to the ground for it as she was leaving. The name of the town Nina grew up in and the name of my house were the same and I felt that on some level me and this book were destined to meet! Her message was for me. I knew I needed it more! and bless the good natured gal that she is, she let me keep it.

So armed with Nina'a advice I set off to snap some fresh peas and marvel at the local produce.
I really wanted to stall holders to tell me how fantastic their produce was. How fresh, how ripe, how tasty it was. I wanted to feel like Nina! I wanted the hard sell on the veggies! I wanted to be enticed. I wanted them to wave their vegetables in the air and call out how wonderful they were......what lovely meals I could make with them.....

Actually it was a bit more subdued than that.....! but really I feel like I should have asked more questions. You know, drawn them out. I'll do that next time..... I've got my bearings a bit now. It's a great excuse to dig out the baskets and string bags.
I'll try and keep you posted.

Enjoy the weekend :-)

Monday, 6 October 2014

oh hello autumn!

Echinacea
Hello there, don't adjust your monitors!.....I am having a pink and colourful moment here on this rather wet and dreary Autumn day. It just had to happen, we shall see how long it lasts. Playing with the screen colours and changing everything around is always interesting. Albeit, slightly compulsive, in a really how many hours kind of way. Until eventually we decide that we have found ourselves here and here we shall stay. Wondering if some kind of hormonal madness has led us to this pink place. Actually, I do kind of love it!......

Friday, 26 September 2014

A fresh start and all things berry!

7.30am
I have a new routine. 
(It starts with early nights!)
7.30am. I am up on the top of the common. Not the first I note,
but definitely out there with the early walkers.
I arrive with the sun, or sometimes a soft mist.


The day is fresh and new.
The feeling of clearness and calm is tangible.
Wrapped in soft, vital air.
I march along, swinging my arms, a new route taking in a bit of climb.
Heart pumping, lungs working.
I marvel at how good it feels.
This is my daily exercise.
The gym membership is cancelled......!
I wear my clothes for the day.
I only need to show up and it's all there for free. 


I stop to fill my beaker with blackberries.
Bursting, ripe, vitamins.
Some are tucked away in the freezer, apple and blackberry crumble this winter.


The berries are bursting and abundant.    
The hawthornes are the reddest of red.
I can't remember noticing them like this before.
One of my hardy cabin folks tells this means it will be a cold winter.


I admire the lovely calves.
This one was born yesterday, a few metres from the road!
I phoned the herald of the common and was surprised to hear that the calving takes place on the common too.
He had been watching out for this one and already knew what was happening.
So this one day old is already wandering slowly along with Mum, feeding and looking around.


There's been a lot of this going on.
Random road crossings.
Drivers having to be patient.
Let the horns cross first!

Swan stretch!
This one made my laugh. What a great stretch. There's actually a great sign there for a scratch.
Now if I could go home and do some yoga too,
I would really be flying. 
I plan on building this into my week too.

At home we had birthday waffles with gorgeous ripe strawberries, sugar and Agave syrup. 
I had to include these.
I don't bake much,
but I can make waffles!


Last but not least,
I have had this chunky berry wool for a while, and this is it's moment.
I have quickly made up a chunky cowl,
almost finished.
So quick with a 9mm crochet hook.
So I will be very berry ready for the cold!

Friday, 12 September 2014

Summers end

It's taken me all summer to finally pick up my crochet hook. I was a little wary of being pulled in to something new. (What about all those wips for starters?). I found my way back in with Hannapat's monthly mandalong. Following the pattern here. This was fun, I keep admiring it. Simple things! Simple pleasures.

mini granny mandala
The summers end for us as well as the beginning of a new school year has always meant a birthday. This boy of mine who was born when the sunflowers were opening and who has indeed always been willowy and fair, and now almost a head taller than me. And who I now have to look up towards to wag my finger at. Although this practice works no longer in fact it may not have worked at all. Negotiation and de-escalation has now taken it's place.

time for sunflowers
The sunflowers have been brought. The presents are secretly wrapped. I love this wrapping. It reminds me of the colouring books I loved and my felt tips. I would spend hours colouring in those patterns.

sunflower boy is 16!
As I type I realize there is probably lots to bring you up to date with. This year we are beginning a new regime. It's called Hope training. A local project run by The Door youth project. I have been worrying about it all summer. It means stepping away from the secondary education system, which for one reason and another hasn't really worked for us. So it's quite a plunge. But it seems like a positive place, where they meet you, where you are actually at. A place to be accepted and acknowledged for who you are and to build up confidence. It's a big letting go of a system that hasn't been able to meet our needs and stepping into our own path. Officially we will be counted as home-schoolers, although at this stage I wouldn't really have wanted to consider that without this project in place.


Sixteen feels good though. So grown up suddenly. I keep thinking about this sweet little blond boy I used to know. It's been such a journey.

I had to adapt this card to say sixteen, you can see why! We do love Jack Russels around here.

dreaming of chasing rabbits
Todays snooze took place here, in the lovely warm sunny boot room. I really quite envied her. It's a dogs life. Thrifted blankets are her favourite too.


Just above her is a chalk board, I found it being thrown out. Of course I rescued it, knocked out the rusty that nail which was probably making it rather unchild friendly, and decided to hang it here where I plan to change the saying regularly. 'Let the heavy stuff go' Was really rather appropriate to the two days I spent last weekend clearing out the garage. I exhausted myself, the garage is almost empty and this is the kind of thing I do when I am worrying about things it seems. I think there is a lot of letting go going on at the moment to. Might be time to change it soon though!

I seem to have a lot to say.......

Can I just show you this.

a special card wallet from Kingsley leather on Etsy
The wonderful Kingsley from Kingsley Leather made this. Kingsley is credited with starting the Crafters of Gloucestershire Etsy group. It's a great idea, bringing the local crafters together. He makes funky leather bow ties as well different kinds of wallets/purses too. He is our group leader. I have to resist the urge to sing Kingsley is our leader, Kingsley is our leader, la la la la , la la la la hey! ....... when I speak to him! It's a very cute handmade slim leather card wallet. It's very light, just right for sixteen I hope. I love the red stitching, it called me! and the lion stamp. I hope he won't lose it. It's a great size for tucking in your jeans, perhaps with a little cash and a card inside. It goes very quickly at sixteen that's for sure.

sunflower embroidery by my Mum
Well I'm glad to be able to have a catch up. Hope September is going well for you all.

sweet nectar
and life is good.


Sunday, 7 September 2014

Moved by the immovable.....


IMAGE: CHARLES DHARAPAK/ASSOCIATED PRESS
This image has stayed with me. An almost Iconic image I think. Barrack Obama's spontaneous visit to Stonehenge on Friday after being at the Nato talks in Wales. It's a powerful image. A powerful man in a powerful place.

I hope he felt drawn here because these Stones needed to impart their wisdom to him. I do believe these stones hold the consciousness and energy of ancient wisdom. Call me cuckoo if you like. He needed to be here. It's important. He carries a powerful weight on his shoulders.

It makes me think of times I have felt drawn to visiting ancient sites like these. Avebury, Glastonbury Tor, The Ring of Brodgar in Orkney, are the ones I can think of. These places stay with you, continue to work with you. I can think of monumentous life events that have followed visits like these. I believe they are strengthening places for the times ahead. Of course Stonehenge is like no other. He was able to wonder amongst the stones, touch them, feel them, be in awe of them. I wonder if the magnitude and presence of being with them helped him some how. I think so.

You can see him here. Didn't the Raffle family have a great day out!

Moved by the immovable..... Perhaps he felt some solidarity with these stones.

I feel a visit may be needed sometime soon..... A little mission to visit somewhere powerful.....a little re-charge, if I dare.....because I know how powerful that movement in your soul can be.....



Monday, 18 August 2014

slaying the dragon......


It's a funny thing coming here today. I wanted to catch the thought of this strange, or perhaps not so strange idea of a double edge sword I find myself travelling along. I love this visual place of ideas and inspiration. I could honestly say that most of the things I do or aspire to do have sprung from this online world, over the last couple of years. For me inspiration is what moves me. Really quite literally.

But the truth of the matter is this.......,
as I look around I can see quite clearly what I'm not.
I'm not saying this is a bad thing.
Maybe it's a very necessary thing. Maybe it's helps with right now.

you see I'm not creating a blog which is stampeding along.
I'm not running a busy on-line shop.
I'm not on a weight loss programme.
Or jogging, or stretching. 
I'm not going on lots of family days out. 
I'm not making or designing anything.
I'm not cooking interesting things. Or baking.
I'm not doing a 30 day anything.
I am not being radical.
I'm not having enough positive discussions about what's going to happen in September either. 
I not sure what it is I am doing.
but it seems to take up most my time.

Actually I've been rather good at letting the comparison dragon, take over today, and it's kind of blocking me from connecting to be honest.....or honestly connecting!

and I need to slay it. 

Self-acceptance come out come out wherever you are!



Thursday, 14 August 2014

oh ladies of the friday flea.....

vintage linens
Oh ladies of the friday flea, we do love you so, especially when you say 20p an item!

Please excuse the random photos in this post. I managed to lose all my holiday photos, before I could even look at them.....which can only mean I will need to go back there one day. I was looking forward to showing you the lovely beach at Durdles Door and reliving the lovely heatwave dip in the sea..... But not the treacherous climb to the beach!.....I think I'm okay with it, I have to let them go, although I'm trying to persuade the teen to get some of his instagram photos printed.

It's just another sign that I need a new camera and to try and hustle that up to the top of the list. Sometimes we just have to work with what we've got.

vintage hangers - I know what I'm going to do with these!
So I am back, and hello again. I didn't plan on it being such a long break, but somehow the loss of the photos seemed to leave my blog at the last post about the seven mile peace scarf for several weeks. Somehow I feel like it was the least I could do. I wish I had supported Jaine of Beeswax and Broomsticks more in her Wool against weapons quest.

The last 18 months or so for her must have been hugely challenging. I'm sure she would have felt as though her life had been taken over by this scarf. I confess when she told me about it I felt that it was just too much to make happen..... But she did it..... I can only look on in awe at the level of commitment that must have taken. How do you get 6,000 pieces of one metre length scarf made and sent to you?!.... You can see a 5 minute film of the day the scarf was rolled out here. Didn't they do well.

vintage embroidery brooch
Before my holiday I made a few embroidery brooches. I have decided it's all together easier to chop up napkins, rather than large table cloths, and that it would probably be fun to learn to embroider a few myself. Brooches that is not tablecloths.

vintage letter stamps
I'm looking forward to using these again. I'm still very much hoping to put more energy into my shop. For me this summer has been more about shuffling things around at home, fixing broken things (or finding someone who can!) summer jobs. The eternal quest to de-clutter. Making home, it's so very important to me.

blue bird toffees
So I'm glad I managed the summer holiday mission with the teen. He agreed to come. We both tried. It's hard to please a nearly 16 year old who wants to hang out and a Mum who wants to gallavant around the countryside having little coastal adventures! compromises were made. Maybe a little bit of new ground was found too. A bit of a space from the uncertainty that has surrounded us. I can see this newly growing up teenager now another year older and pretty grown up sometimes, becoming more ready to step into some new possibilties in a stronger way. The ground is feeling pretty solid beneath our feet right. I am so thankful really. Sometimes life can seem a little quiet. But I think quiet and steady is what we need right now.

It's great to say hi again. Thanks for coming by. Hope to catch up more soon. X