Thursday 25 July 2019

Time to Unwind

It is just over a week since the start of our summer break and I am loving every minute of it. This last week has been a whirlwind, beginning with a school picnic and ending with a graduation. Initially, the idea of squeezing so much activity into a short space of time seemed almost impossible, but a general buzz of excitement in the air and planning for the weeks ahead quickly took over and, before I knew it,  it had gone in the blink of an eye. Another school year over and time to unwind.

I intentionally didn't plan any activities for our first week at home and it has felt quite satisfying to spend some time catching up with chores and getting on top of the housework again. I don't feel at ease when home life is chaotic. I prefer a calm and organised environment and recently it has felt anything but - constantly chasing my tail and still feeling one step behind. Already, I feel so much more relaxed and my sleep has improved, probably down to not anticipating an early morning alarm. With having the time to enjoy the warm sunshine and drink tea in the garden, this slower pace of life is suiting me perfectly.  

For a while now I have been meaning to buy some cotton and knit some new dishcloths, so last week I did just that. The previous ones had been looking past their best for ages, even after regular bleaching and, although they worked perfectly well and hadn't got any holes, they were looking pretty grim. Hardly surprising really. When I thought back I realised I'd had them for around six years! Not bad going and even now I will get use out of them as cleaning cloths.  The new dish cloths are now in use and it will be interesting to see if they last as long.

The house plants have been receiving some TLC too. I have been re-potting, watering and polishing leaves and there is currently a Pilea and Chain of Hearts nursery on the dining table (which makes a pleasant change from a pile of ironing!) I'm keeping my fingers crossed they grow now. I have quite a lot of plants dotted around the house which I have grown this way.

I've spent time in the (now tidy) kitchen. As well as my usual flapjack I baked some lemon shortbread biscuits. They are so light, crispy and delicious. Perfect for this time of year. I mixed 125g plain flour, 60g corn flour, 60g caster sugar, 120g butter and the grated zest of one lemon. and baked at 150° for 10 - 15 minutes.

It's been an enjoyable week, although there may have been one slight incident.....

J. X

Sunday 14 July 2019

Welcoming Summer

The end of the school year is almost upon us and, as usual, I am fighting a constant struggle between structured days and winding down for the summer break. It really didn't help that Lily returned home last Friday with her P.E. bag, school report and wellies. My brain has already begun switching to holiday mode and yet we still have three more days of school to go!
As you can imagine, we've had a busy couple of weeks here with so much going on, but with the arrival of warmer weather and anticipation of the holidays, life has taken on a definite summer vibe.

In the garden the cabbages, kale and cauliflowers are growing at an alarming rate - they're huge! I didn't realise just how much growing room they required and I may need to remove one or two. The strawberries are all gone now, the last remaining few were used to make strawberry jam, but they were absolutely delicious while they lasted and the best crop I've managed to produce so far. The sunflowers are enjoying the warmer weather and I keep needing to fasten them higher up the canes to keep them steady and every time I step out of the back door I am greeted with the delightful sweet scent of the sweet peas.

Last week Lily took part in her school's summer show. She played the part of a bee and danced brilliantly. All the children put on an amazing performance, remembering all the songs and actions and, most importantly, appeared to really enjoy themselves.

Out and about our short walks are taking longer than usual. With raspberries beginning to ripen to the sides of the paths, Lily cannot resist helping herself to the small but deliciously sweet fruits. I'm sure she managed at least one of her five a day as we walked through the woods yesterday. The track through the wildflowers was home to so many butterflies and although she tried really hard, Lily didn't manage to catch one. As she runs off ahead of me it's clear to see she is getting so tall. Growing up fast, she now even has her first wobbly tooth!

J. X

Monday 1 July 2019

30 Days Wild

Throughout June we've been taking part in the month long nature challenge with the Wildlife Trust - 30 Days Wild.  As the name suggests,  the idea is to do a random act of wildness each day for thirty days, in order to feel healthier, happier and better connected with the natural world around us.

As far as challenges go, this one sounded rather appealing. We already spend a lot of our time outdoors, but I thought we could use this month as an opportunity to really take notice of our surroundings and, hopefully, learn a little along the way.

We've been hiking, bird-watching, planting wildflower seeds and sunflowers, tree hugging (and climbing), playing Poohsticks, identifying flowers and examining a whole host of insects and other minibeasts. In the middle of the month we even took part in a wildflower survey with our local Wildlife Trust. Each morning on our way to school Lily has been looking for froghoppers and has been enjoying reading her book on garden bugs, learning all their names and delighting in telling me what they are. We've really enjoyed ourselves and, although we haven't always managed to fit something in to every single day, I think we made up for it at other times.

Here I'm sharing some of the photographs I have taken during the challenge. 


J. X