Sunday, 7 July 2013

High Summer









Oh, wow. It's been such a lovely weekend. And it's been so hot! Really, properly hot, the sort of heat you remember from endless childhood summers, even a bit too hot at times, and I rarely say that. It's been about 28°C/82°F which is pretty warm for these parts. All the doors and windows are open and breezes waft through the house. The washing dries in about half an hour. We had to buy more sun cream.

We always seem to eat more fresh fruit at this time of year. I've been eating cherries by the bowlful, I just love them. And they are so pretty to look at too. We made ham and pineapple pizzas with the kids and I made pineapple-upside-down cake with the leftover fruit. You put some of the pineapple juice into the batter and it's so moist and sticky. We ate it slightly warm with vanilla ice cream.

I was up and out early with the kids yesterday morning to Hobbycraft. Funny how those little bits and bobs add up so...I wish it came up as something else on the bank statement, like "household essentials" or "totally necessary items". We were back by ten and I spent most of the day painting the inside of the Bella and Angus's outdoor playhouse. It's currently used to store toys and they never play in it - they can't get through the door - and I want to make it nice for them. I emptied and sorted it and got to work with my white emulsion. Good grief it was hot in there. I didn't really think that through but once I'd started I had to carry on. The kids were in the paddling pool and came over to help every now and then, before losing interest after about six minutes of painting in a very hot wooden box. But it was good to get it done and that shower and gin and tonic later in the day never felt so good. Then we went out to my friend Rachel's for a barbecue with some other friends. She'd prepared such a lovely meal; mezze-style dips and nibbles, then a leg of lamb marinaded then barbecued, served with flat breads, bulgar wheat, salad, amazing dips - all homemade - then for dessert what Rachel called "a sort of deconstructed baklava" consisting of honey ice cream, filo pastry, pistachos and apricots. All so good! We ate outside surrounded by hurricane lamps and tealights until by ten pm it was too cold and we came inside.

Angus was really unsettled last night - I suspect another ear infection - so we were tired this morning. We muddled through and after lunch we went to Bella's school summer fair. We wandered around looking at the stalls and games. We sweated a lot. We retreated into the school "woodland area" for shade with our ice creams. Angus was so hot and tired he didn't really know what to do with himself so we left after an hour and came home to sit indoors and watch the Wimbledon final. How fantastic! I was pretty excited and had to keep leaving the room at tense moments. John was quite pleased with Murray's win but he can only think and talk about the Tour De France at the moment - there isn't room in his head for tennis too. I'm between books so have been reading Deb Perelman's Smitten Kitchen in bed and I already want to cook everything in it.

We have only two weeks left now before the school holidays start and it already feels as though everything is winding down and the pace is slowing. Or maybe that's just what the heat does to me? 



33 comments:

  1. We all ended up in our paddling pool today by 4 pm after we had attended a christening. The girls were really well behaved and then sort of started melting at the end so we retreated to our house and all got in. Jo x

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  2. Sounds like a perfect summery weekend. I loved our English summers when we lived in London. Pure bliss when the July/August holidays arrived. Have a great week! xo

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  3. Very hot here too. How Murray could play in that heat I don't know. I'm so glad he won. KP used to suffercwithbearvinfections when she was younger and used to be under the weather and whiny. I hope Angus has a more restful night tonight.
    June

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  4. sounds like a lovely weekend in the sunshine - that bbq menu is inspired!

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  5. Ditto playhouse painting here ... seemed like a marvellous idea at 10 o'clock this morning but by the time the sun was high in the sky ... I was questioning my wisdom too ... got it finished though thankfully ... I hope Angus is back to himself soon ... I am reading The Sprouted Kitchen ... it has some gorgeous recipes too ... you have tempted me with Smitten Kitchen ... I need to attend Recipe Books Addicts Anonymous ;) ... Bee xx

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  6. Angus and Bella are so going to love all that effort you have put into making their playhouse, excellent to see that you can give yourself a real adult treat of a G & T afterwards :o)
    I had my first dip in the sea Gillian and it was cold but so delicious to lie on the pebbles and be sun soaked thereafter, I always count my blessings that we live a 5 minute walk away from our beach.
    I hope Angus is soon on the end, Alice has always been prone to coughs and colds and fortunately has never had the nastiness of ear infections, ouch they can be so painful.
    My husband, Andy is addicted to the Tour de France and is a very madly keen cyclist which can drive me potty at times. he sets records for himself and subscribes to cycling magazines and has all the gear to go cycling in.Oh well, I guess there could be worse things he could be addicted to :o) Wasn't the tennis just great.Happy winding down as the next couple of weeks go by xox Penny

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  7. Now, that is hot for over there, but quite good, when you think that we can have weeks on end over 30 and the occasional days of 40+. I'd loved to have watched the tennis, but it doesn't start here till 10.30pm and I'm ready for bed about that time. Enjoy your amazing weather while it lasts.

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  8. It sounds like a lovely weekend. The playhouse must be so wonderful for them. You have put a lot of work into it. I'm so glad you're getting better weather now, enjoy every minute of it!

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  9. Nothing says summer like a bowlful of cherries... I love them, too! The ham and pineapple pizza sounds really yummy... it's my favorite kind of pizza. I am happy you enjoyed a warm and sunny weekend! I hope Angus is feeling better.

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  10. Summer! It is so great when it's warm (even if it's +28C).
    I am intrigued by your pineapple upside down cake, could you share the recipe please?

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    1. It's basically a plain sponge mix with a little pineapple juice added. You put the pineapple rings on the bottom of the baking tin then pour the sponge on top and bake, turning it upside down when it's cooked.

      I can't find the recipe I used online but this one is similar:
      http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/pineapple-upside-down-cake-51

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  11. I hope that Angus is feeling better, ear infections are awful!
    I have never been to a hobbycraft but I really want to visit one! They remind me of what we call Hobby Lobby or Michaels, I love craft stores... but like you, I don't like how all of my little bits and pieces always add up to way too much money! I'm thinking we should just make a new rule... They are NEEDS from the craft store :)
    It always makes me wonder why our school years are so different, we have been on summer break now for a month and you have 2 weeks left to go? But I think you get more time off during the school year than we do. I plan on teaching in the UK soon and I think I'll like all those holidays!
    Have a great week!
    Tammy

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  12. What a gorgeous summery weekend. My husband is quite obsessed with the Tour also and those books on the bedside table are a familiar sight!
    M x

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  13. I love Cherie's also I hoe you have everything work out for you....what's. beautiful weekend.

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  14. Hi Gillian,What a match it was indeed!!!!I have no nails left this morning!!!Even though he won quite easily, there were too many tense moments!!!I am so thrilled that he won!!!!
    Hope angus gets better soon!!!Have a great week!!
    Love
    AMarie

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  15. Perhaps we should all get together and petition Hobbycraft to change the descriptions on their till slips - I'm so with you on that one!! ;-)
    Have a lovely week - enjoy the sunshine,
    Xx

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  16. Lovely photos of a perfect summery weekend.
    Another scrumptious cake!
    Hope Angus is feeling better.
    Lisa x

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  17. What a lovely weekend. It makes such a change to have some nice weather, I think it puts everyone in a happy mood. Hope Angus feels better soon.

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  18. I love it when the nation comes together to support one of our own. Andy did us proud, my neighbours were deafened by our cheers I'm sure :) You obviously thoroughly enjoyed Rachel's BBQ, you created a wonderful image in my mind with your description. I can't wait to see what you do with the children's playhouse, it's sure to be a wonderful space after you've worked your magic on it Gillian! x

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  19. Lovely sunny photos. The play house is looking great. I know my daughter would love that.
    Aw hope Angus feels better soon x

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  20. Hope Angus is soon better, love the photos, you've summed it up perfectly! :) x

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  21. It is so good to have a couple of days of decent summer again! Tennis and G&T sounds good to me, and I love your pineapple cake!

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  22. ooh I've just had a look at Smitten Kitchen and I want it - it looks fab!

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  23. Hi Gillian, thank you for the giggle, and I don't mean to be rude, but over here 28 is considered just warm - hot is 40 degrees!! I guess it's all relative. Relishing our "cold" Winter weather - about 14 degrees, which I guess for you is mild, but for us it's cold! Enjoy the heat while you can!!

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  24. You're right, you can't really have too many cherries. But it can definitely be too hot ... it's too hot to sleep here tonight!

    Smitten Kitchen was just added to my wish list, it looks fabulous.

    Hope Angus gets his bounce back soon, poor lad x

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  25. I've been meaning to get the smitten kitchen cookbook, heard lots of good things about it!
    Same here with cherries, i can't get enough!!

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  26. Oh you Northern Hemisphere blogging buddies have me drooling over your cherries and all round summery-ness. Lovely photos as always - your floral pillowcases are very pretty :-) Hope Angus is on the mend now. Mel x

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  27. Sounds like a wonderful weekend. Wouldn't it be great if these items appeared as household essentials in the bank statement :-)!! Also really enjoying cherries at the moment, and your photos of them are wonderful. Enjoy painting the kids playhouse, we did our a couple if months ago and have been meaning to blog about it ever since. Looking forward to seeing what you've done with yours. I'm affraid we are all tour mad in this house, and I do feel for you. Enjoy your book, I'm currently reading the encyclopaedia of quilting, riveting stuff. Enjoy this weather and the slowdown before the hols start. Xoxo

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  28. G&T, cherries and wonderfully hot sunny days make a perfect week. Wonderful photos Gillian x

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  29. Super photos! Looks like you all are thoroughly enjoying this amazing weather! :) Hazel x

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  30. I seriously want a piece of that pineapple upside down cake right now! That looks delicious. x

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  31. Gorgeous pictures Gillian, all of them! And so evocative of a true (rare!) English summer. The Smitten Kitchen book is on my wishlist too... do let us know what you think of it. And I know what you mean about Hobbycraft...fatal!

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  32. oh Gillian you manage so well! I love the sounds of the pineapple cake! Heather x

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