Sunday, April 24, 2016

word of the week

No attempt at calligraphy this week, instead a completely unrelated picture from my walk with Millie today (pre-downpour), so you will have to believe me when I say that my word this week is: classes.

There have been a multitude of classes this week, The latest term of our art course has started, and it was nice to be back with sketchpads and pens, and a few hours of escapism on a Monday evening.

Having started a series of pregnancy pilates classes a few weeks ago, I skipped my first class this week. Sleep was still proving evasive, and after a particularly wide awake night on Monday, I got home from work on Tuesday and decided that a nap was probably what I needed most. It was a shame to miss the class, as, although I always get home and have to talk myself into going back out again, I enjoy the hour, even if it does require the wearing of leggings, and standing on one leg, neither of which I would describe as my forte. However, this week it seemed more sensible to try and rest, and we then did a late evening supermarket trip where I bought every lavender product I could source, and some herbal tea and horlicks. The lavender and horlicks seem to be a winning combination and the nights since have been more restful. I haven't dared try the tea yet which sounds like a potentially unpleasant blend of chamomile, lemon, lavender, rosehip, fennel and spearmint, but it was called snore and peace which was a tempting offer as I wandered the shop in a daze.

On Thursday evening we had our first antenatal class, and though I was feeling in need of a night where I got in from work and didn't have to immediately turn around and go out again, it was a really interesting few hours. It felt a little daunting at times, especially the picture quiz which revolved around spotting how many things, in what seemed to be a perfectly pleasant nursery, could harm your baby, but overall it was a nice balance of different topics. I do feel like I missed the class on "how to bloom in the second trimester", as those weeks have been and are pretty much gone and I don't recall feeling anything other than round and pale. Similarly, some pointers on how to start thinking about when the baby will be get here rather than if the baby will get here would be a huge help, as I still don't seem to be able to let myself believe that things will actually be ok! The Husband has worked so hard all weekend getting the nursery repainted, and we have a new carpet coming this week, so things are starting to come together in that respect, and the furniture is ready and waiting to be assembled, so hopefully we are acing the class in getting prepared for a new arrival.

I'd also love a lesson in blogging, as I seem to be losing followers at a rate of knots, and I didn't exactly have a surplus to begin with! There hasn't been much of interest in these parts in recent weeks, I do realise, although I do think as I look back over this post I might be slightly overcommited at the moment! Hopefully I will get back into writing here more regularly at some point, and posting a bit more of a variety of things, other than my two Sunday night contributions only. In the mean time, thank you for visiting, and I hope your week is a lovely one.

The Reading Residence

Project 52: Week 16

Back to Millie for this week's photo, after our Sunday walk was perfectly timed with a major downpour, just as we were half way round a rather lengthy route. The Husband, having seen the weather turn, decided to take a quick drive to some of our favourite haunts, and I must admit the sight of his car sat waiting for us as we trudged across a field was a particularly welcome one. We got home and dry, but not before taking a few pictures of our rather fluffy looking beagle.

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky


Sunday, April 17, 2016

word of the week

One of the first signs that I thought I might possibly be pregnant, way back in late November, was the onset of some incredibly vivid dreams, and every couple of months since I have had spates of rather intense recollections as I wake in the morning. In the last week or so, though, I have instead found myself sleeping very little, and for some reason suddenly being an incredibly light sleeper.

I've never been easy to wake, sleeping through multiple alarms, much to the frustration of The Husband who often has to turn off the incessant bleeping coming from my side of the bed, as I remain peacefully oblivious. Recently I am being woken by the slightest thing, and am getting to the morning feeling drained by frequent bouts of being wide awake in the small hours of the morning. It hasn't been helped by the fact that when I am asleep I am having awful nightmares, the kind where you shock yourself awake, and find yourself struggling to breathe, heart racing, and, on more than one occasion, crying too. Hormones are incredible things! The Husband, has impressively, managed to learn the art of comforting me back to sleep while apparently not actually waking up himself. This was revealed when I thanked him for knowing exactly what to say to settle my panic and helping me drift off the previous night, and it quickly became clear that he had no recollection of either of us having been awake at all. Quite a skill to have!

Having spent all week looking forward to the chance to catch up on sleep over the weekend, in the end I did the opposite and feel all the better for it. We have deliberately been up early both days, and have had a lovely weekend. By ten o'clock yesterday morning the shopping delivery was unpacked, pancakes had been cooked and eaten, a cake was in the oven and my baking cupboard had been reorganised. There was cooking, a visit to friends, and some time in the garden sowing seeds in our vegetable planter and tending to the herb garden. This morning we had an early morning walk with Millie, enjoying the sunshine, followed by a trip to pick up supplies for the new term of art class that starts tomorrow, and various bits of pottering around the house. It has been good to be up and about and making the most of the days, a weekend well spent, and now to bed and hoping that sleep will not be quite so elusive tonight. 

The Reading Residence

Project 52: Week 15

The sun was shining through the trees as we took a walk to the local park with Millie, these fallen trunks contrasting with the signs of spring blooming all around.

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky


Sunday, April 10, 2016

word of the week

I have been toying with the idea of having  as my word of the week for a few weeks, but the weather felt too changeable to commit! After taking a day off on Friday so we could visit the Lake District with family, including our relatives from Australia, it felt like the right word to sum up our week. There has still been some rain, and cooler weather, but wandering through the Wordsworth Daffodil Garden in Grasmere, enjoying the sunshine and the blanket of yellow, it was a perfect spring day.

This weekend has included meals with the family, a trip to the shops which included some baby purchases, and plenty of walks with Millie. It was lovely to wander through the park today, no coat required, even if Millie was too distracted by the sights and smells to feign any interest in chasing her ball. There was a snuggle on the sofa with Millie in the early evening light, followed by a trip to the theatre for The Husband and I. This afternoon paperwork has been sorted, the house has been cleaned, flapjacks have been baked, and now, a bath and a book beckon.

I hope you all have a lovely week ahead.

Project 52: Week 14

As part of our family trip to the Lake District on Friday we spent a happy hour wandering around Brockhole Visitor Centre. Beautiful views and the perfect place to take Millie too. We did look at the archery, the horse riding, the treetop adventure course and all of the other activities and think that it was definitely a place to revisit in the future, though for this week, a gentle stroll taking in the scenery was an ideal way to spend our time.

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky


Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Cookery Calendar Challenge: March

It was another enjoyable month joining in with Penny and her Cookery Calendar Challenge. For this month's recipes I used the The Abel and Cole Cookbook: Easy, Seasonal, Organic. Back when I was at University my parents would occasionally send me an Abel and Cole fruit and veg box, which was always a great treat, and was a clever way of making sure I ate reasonably healthily now and then. I think the book was a free gift with one of the boxes many years ago, but other than the carrot cake recipe it has sat mostly untouched.

We did get some fruit and veg boxes for a while when The Husband and I moved in together, but in more recent years we have got out of the habit. I do occasionally get tempted to sign up again, and notice that they are doing recipe boxes now too which are a new addition.

The first recipe was "Gazza's Goulash with Rosemary Dumplings" and I have linked to another blogger who has put the recipe up online. Apologies for the picture below, but I think it is a difficult dish to make photogenic! I was surprised how little in the way of any veg there was in this, it was a very meaty stew, and had quite a kick. It was really warming, and the sour cream helped to balance it out, but as Grandad was joining us for dinner I wished I had made something else, as it was quite hot, and I also found out he isn't a huge fan of dumplings!

This is the first time I have made dumplings, and The Husband loved them. I enjoyed the rosemary flavour, though found them quite thick and stodgy, but having never had dumplings before I don't have much by way of comparison. I note the blogger who posted the recipe above also found them quite heavy, so perhaps that is how this recipe is intended to turn out. The portion size was huge, I think because the dumplings were so filling, and it made five large servings from this recipe.

The second dish from the book was a vegetarian dish of Asparagus Risotto, and I have linked to the recipe, which is listed on the Abel and Cole website. While it isn't speedy, I do enjoy making risotto, and find the gentle, constant stirring quite a relaxing process. This was a really simple dish, with only a few ingredients, and the flavours were fabulous. It felt like a real contrast with the Jamie Oliver recipes from last month in terms of complexity and I enjoyed this kind of cooking more.

Where the book more similar to Jamie Oliver, was that it took quite a relaxed approach to weights and measures. Apart from the baking recipes, the ingredients are measured in mugs for a lot of the time. I still prefer having definitive measures, but at least I felt that the approach of using mugs meant it was quite consistent. 

There was an option to add parma ham to this recipe, but we decided to keep it vegetarian, and it was a definite success. It was a lovely dish, and felt like a nice spring recipe. The book is split into seasons, I assume to encourage you to utilise ingredients that are currently in season, and so I picked these recipes from the winter and spring sections. That seemed like a simple way to structure the book, and I liked the idea of being directed towards using seasonal produce within the recipes.

I haven't selected April's book yet, and I had better hurry considering we are almost a week in already. Having perused the bookshelf, I realised that a large majority of my recipe books are focussed on baking, mainly cakes and desserts. For this challenge I wanted to stick to main meals, so I may well be forced to open up a few of the dustier, somewhat unloved. volumes in the coming months! I did, however, notice a few interesting looking books when I visited my parents' house recently, so I may alternatively borrow a few of those!

Sunday, April 03, 2016

word of the week

The last two weeks have absolutely flown by, I think the clocks changing and the long weekends have added to that sense of time shifting and moving apace. For us, Easter was spent entirely at home, some cleaning and clearing, and gentle days with films and dog walks. After a busy start to the year it has been great to have a few weeks with no major plans, and it feels like we have made the most of the time off, relaxing and being productive in equal measure.

The shorter working weeks and the lighter nights have meant more energetic evenings, and Millie has been enjoying the evening sunshine as she bounded around the fields. Today there was a meal out with family visiting from Australia, and yesterday was a completely free day, which felt like a luxury. We got up early both days, had leisurely breakfasts, pottered around the house and enjoyed being home. I made soup, and a lovely roast aubergine dish, and this morning there were homemade american-style pancakes using a recipe that will definitely become a favourite. The house is feeling more organised, and lots of little jobs that have been on the to-do list have been gradually crossed off.

It has been a perfect mix of special celebrations and gentle normality, and home is feeling like a lovely place to be.

The Reading Residence

Project 52: Week 12 and 13

Over the Easter weekend, we made use of the one good day of sunshine to take Millie for a walk. I took lots of pictures of her running around the fields, and I think this one is easily my favourite, there's something about those ears billowing in the breeze that makes me grin every time I look at it.

This weekend has been a lovely one, especially today spent with relatives visiting from Australia and a celebratory lunch at the place where The Husband and I got married. Dessert was this incredible apple crumble inspired dish, the apple was made from a white chocolate shell, and we later found out it was based on last week's episode of Great British Bake Off Creme de la Creme. It was a superb end to an incredibly special meal.

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky


Friday, April 01, 2016

first things first

The first of April.

The first day of a very welcome weekend. Despite it only being a four day week this week, somehow the end of the week seemed a long time coming. I think perhaps the clocks going forward caught up with me, and Friday afternoon was much longed for.

The first proper catch up with some fabulous relatives from Australia who arrived late last night and spent a few hours with us this evening. It is so lovely to see them, having stayed with them on both of my visits to Australia in recent years, and we have some great days planned in the coming weeks.

Maybe, just maybe, feeling the baby move for the first few times. I am still not certain, but I am becoming gradually more convinced, and can't wait for The Husband to be able to feel them too. We had our 20 week scan last week, happily everything went well, and we have a very energetic baby with rather long legs snuggled up contentedly.

The Easter weekend brought with it the final purge of what will be the nursery, and so this is the first weekend since we moved in almost six years ago that we no longer have a spare bedroom full of junk. It is satisfyingly, completely empty, and with the furniture ordered and the paint bought, it is starting to feel a little bit real, especially as we are now officially past the halfway point.

Now, though, is that most wonderful of things, the first night of freshly changed bedding, so I shall wish you a good night, and a great April.