Thursday, 26 July 2018

Holiday Happies

Hello! Everyone alright? Thank you for sharing your holiday plans. I was happy to see how many involved simple things like yarn, going for a walk, spending time with family. I finished work yesterday. These last few days have been busy, but not as crazy busy as usual, and we are starting to slip into a more relaxed holiday routine. The kids have had some wonderful days already at the beach, seeing friends and cousins, staying up and sleeping in later. Five and a half weeks stretch out ahead of me and they're already almost filled but that's ok, they're not filled with work, they're filled with good things.

A few things that are making me happy this Thursday night:

:: Beach days. This was last Sunday, with my friend Charlotte and her boys. We swam in the sea and ate delicious lemon ice cream with bits of meringue mixed in. The beach is the only place you really feel cool at the moment and the sea is deliciously, uncharacteristically warm.

:: We ticked off the first thing from our holiday list and went out for a family dinner. We chose a local pub with a beer garden right on the edge of the harbour and the breeze was just lovely. The kids were up and down, exploring and paddling, having a wonderful time. It was really nice.

:: Spending a few hours cleaning upstairs earlier in the week. The children were at the beach with my parents and all their cousins and I made the most of the time, sorting and tidying bedrooms, changing sheets, mopping floorboards and cleaning windows. It was wonderful to come back to our bedroom later with clean sheets that were washed and dried on the line, a bunch of sweet peas by the bed, everything tidy and smelling of lemon. I don't like cleaning but I do, if you know what I mean. I like the results. And I love clean sheets. 

:: Overnight oats are my new favourite breakfast and I don't know why I've only just found out about them. I have tried Bircher oats/muesli before but didn't really like it (probably I just need to try more recipes!) but these are different, simpler and easier. Put 50 g oats and around 130 ml milk in a bowl with a little lemon juice and honey, cover, and leave in the fridge overnight. In the morning I just give them a stir and add some homemade blackcurrant compote. It's not like cold porridge as the oats, while soft, have much more texture. I don't know what it's like but it's ice cold and delicious. 

:: My sister gave me a huge bunch of lavender cut from her garden in exchange for a bunch of sweet peas cut from mine. The smell is just glorious - I think that lavender might be one of my favourite scents - and I've hung it for now in the porch where the scent greets me every time I open the door.

:: Giving homemade jam a a gift. When I first started making my own preserves, I was so proud and amazed that I'd actually made something that could be called jam or chutney that I would spend ages making the jars as pretty as possible, with toppers, ribbon and labels. As my cooking skills and confidence have increased, so the time I have to spend faffing with labels has gone the other way, and anyway things like bramble jelly are all gone within a few months - nothing sits in the cupboard for long in this house. But I'd forgotten how lovely it is to spend a little time making a jar of something homemade look pretty, especially when you're giving it to a friend.

:: A new addition to my mug collection by a local independent potter I recently discovered, Rebecca Williams Ceramics. I'm a sucker for anything with cow parsley on it and it's just the right size for a coffee. Her work is quite beautiful and I've seen lots of things on her website that I might have to add to future birthday or Christmas lists...

:: Today, on the hottest day of the year (it's disconcerting how they keep saying that, how the heat keeps on rising), I set aside some time to clean the kitchen. Obviously I clean it week to week, I am not a complete slattern, but every summer I like to clean it. I empty, wipe and organise cupboards and drawers, scrub the oven, take everything off the surfaces and wipe, run things like the extractor fan filters and utensil pots through the dishwasher, bleach whatever needs bleaching, scrub the dining chairs, mop the floor. Some of you are probably appalled that I don't do this more often, while others may think this is too much. That's ok, we all do what we think we need to make our own homes look and feel welcoming and, while I lost about a stone in sweat today, my kitchen is sparkling. 

Of course no-one is allowed to make any mess or cook anything in the kitchen ever again, so tonight we ordered Chinese take away, a rare treat, and ate it in the garden. I think we were all happy with that solution. 


  1. Oh how this reminds me of summer holidays with my two girls - I loved them we had so much fun making dens with dust sheets and the clothes horse, finding natural ponds to paddle in and picnics lots of picnics and then at the end blackberry picking.
    We will be doing all this over again now we have our granddaughter to entertain during the summer and I am so looking forward to it.

  2. I love it when the house is clean as well, it's such a lovely feeling. I need to get to grips with things here, but oh, the youngest is demanding. And I'm spending the entire week at cricket this week, so everything at home has gone to pot. I am back to peak frazzle. And who knew that sitting in a deckchair in the sun for six hours a day could be so utterly exhausting. Love your new mug, very cool and pretty, and I do like to support local craftspeople. Overnight oats are my absolute favourite thing, I eat them for dinner too when I can. Oats, a chopped apricot or two, a couple of cashew nuts, all soaked in soya milk, then topped with some live yoghurt in the morning and a spoonful of ground flaxseed/sunflower seeds/pumpkin seeds. I can pretend I am a healthy person for the first few hours of the day. Hope you have a good rest of the week, your hols certainly seem to have started well. CJ xx

  3. Hahaha, your last part (never is allowed to ever cook in your kitchen again) made me laugh - I love cleaning and tidying but am the same, I want it to LAST and not have anyone touch my freshly cleaned things and walk over my freshly mopped floors!

    Your beach pictures are so, so very summerly, and I love the idea of lemon ice cream with meringue bits, even though I never eat lemon ice cream; I am a full-on chocaholic.

    Lavender is also one of my favourite scents, and I always have sachets in my wardrobe and the drawers where I keep my undies. Such a clean, old-fashioned scent, isn't it.

    Enjoy the next 5 1/2 weeks!

  4. I just love the fragrance of lavender. These are very cool pictures. Much appreciated for sharing the post.

  5. This is how I used to spend my first week out of school too..-clearing, deep cleaning and usually a fair bit of major hedge cutting. Then we could go on holiday and come back to a welcoming, clean home. Now I’m retired I just do as I go, with the occasional blitz in the cooler weather.

  6. Birchermuesli is best made when home made. I grew up with that stuff, indeed, it was a common summertime dinner option at my house. It is essentially overnight oats as you make it but in Switzerland, we would use yogurt (often fruit varieties) instead of milk. Then chop fresh fruit and nuts in. The birchermuesli mixes you find here are two heavy on cereal. It feels a bit claggy in the mouth. The authentic version contains only oats and not very much of it. The focus is on fruit and yogurt. I have just made my first batch of drinkable yogurt after discovering it in Denmark, using a special starter culture I bought somewhere online. I think this would be perfect for for your overnight oats, not as thin as milk but not as thick as yogurt and with a pleasing acidity. I am going to try this actually. Sorry, didn't meant to ramble on! Have a great holiday. xx

    1. I find there‘s usually a goodly amount of
      cream added to muesli here in Switzerland, too... ��

  7. What a lot of fun plans for the summer. Cleaning in the heat is not fun, your house looks super. Our summers in PA regularly hit 95F for long periods of time, with high humidity, which is the killer, you never get used to it and we do not have AC except in the bedroom at night. I'm wondering whether the UK heat wave will continue into August, that's when I visit my sister. No green and pleasant pastures!

  8. I hope all your cleaning enthusiasm will inspire something in me! I like the feeling of having cleaned, but I have trouble motivating myself most of the time. It sounds like you're enjoying your holidays already, I hope it only gets better and better.

  9. That looks a lovely cooling breakfast idea. Have seen overnight oats recipie ideas before so may give it a whirl. Happy holidays xxx

  10. I have my big clear ups on the week before the holidays when everyone is still at school then I can throw things away without anyone noticing. I can take a days holiday and it feels like the best day. I can reduce clutter freely and have the radio on really loud.

  11. Looks like a lovely mix of a fun and productive first few days of holiday... not sure mine has been productive yet...


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