photo 042BoatonBeachGP2_zpsd8e9e5d2.jpg  photo 058LavenderPSGP2_zps78e05370.jpg  photo 0041010102_zps8f05d8b3.jpg  photo 255SunsetPS_zpse44eb3af.jpg

Weekend Picks

Friday, 19 September 2014

We've been having a bit of an Indian Summer this last week ~ long may it last!
Here's some interesting linkage for your (hopefully sunny) weekend...

: : Shoot
Get inspired by these 25 pictures with vanishing point perspective

: : Wander
Check out this brilliant bucket list of the 16 best places in the world to watch the sun set

: : Nourish
Lately I've been thinking about getting a waffle maker ~ could these wholewheat vegan waffles be the first experiment?

: : Nest
After our weekend on the Isle of Wight I'm in full seaside obsession mode and this elegant coastal cottage is hitting the spot nicely!

: : Inspire
These tips on how to have a mindful commute are helping me in my quest to retain that holiday feeling...

Have a great weekend everyone!


2 (hours) for the price of 1 on the Isle of Wight

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Last weekend we spent a lovely couple of days on the Isle of Wight with my family. I booked Friday as holiday so we could travel down to Southampton and take the ferry before the weekend rush started.

It was my first day off work since Easter.

It wasn't long enough, but I sure needed the break.

During the trip, I started thinking about how much longer the days seem when you are out of your regular routine. It's not the first time I've felt like this on a holiday.

We arrived on the island at about 7pm on Friday and left at 2.30pm on Sunday and yet I felt I'd been there for days. A joke started that 1 'normal' hour is worth 2 on the Isle of Wight! And who doesn't love a 2 for the price of 1 deal?!

At the end of the weekend I felt calm and rested and ready for the week ahead.

You could argue that most of us get two days off a week in the form of Saturday and Sunday, but let's face it, that time is often spent catching up with ourselves after a week at work ~ washing, household admin, sleeping, the list goes on. And I'm sure that's not just me.

So how is it that time away feels so deliciously long? Is it because in shelving our regular routines we become more spontaneous, more open to doing new things and stop watching the clock so much? Or perhaps it's because when we're away from home we can't get drawn in to filling any spare moments with stuff that has been waiting to get done for ages? (clean fridge/touch up chipped paint on window/descale kettle, blah, blah, blah, I'm sure you know the drill!).

Whatever the case, I'm interesting in how I can prolong the BOGOF (buy one (hour) get one free) feeling once I'm back in my day-to-day.

Here are a few areas I plan to consider whenever I come back from time away:

Prioritise sleep
Everyone feels better after a string of decent nights. Going to bed half an hour earlier will make you more efficient the next day than if you stay up and plough through that thing you really want to get out of the way ~ I'm guilty as charged here, practically every night of the week.

Schedule chores AND rest time
I admit to being hopeless at this, inevitably ending up doing a series of housey things all day and before I know it's time to go to bed (or past time, see point above). Perhaps I'd get that stuff done more quickly if I blocked off time between to rest and do something I love? This is a toughy as we're not conditioned to 'allow' ourselves rest time ~ and I'm talking about lolling around kind of time, not charging to the gym or calling that friend you promised to get back to asap...

Usually being on holiday means getting outside and seeing different things (even when you're on a beach break), which brings perspective and, I find, wonderfully boosts creative spirit. Getting out for a 'destination-less' walk will calm your mind and help you to focus better when you get back to the things you need to do. Not to mention the health & fitness benefits...

Have some news/TV/email/social media downtime
I am also terrible at this! We've all been there ~ you sit down for a quick cup of tea and a browse of "a couple of things" online and before you know it several hours have passed. Pinterest I'm pointing a finger at you!! A break away with no Internet connection (gasp!) really puts this into perspective. Half a day or more of media switchoff at home will give you some mental breathing space.

Mindful living
In essence, all aspects of life become a pleasure and time will always be your friend if you do everything with a mindful awareness and enjoy it. Why do we make things into chores? Whoever invented the idea that ironing was work/boring/the worse thing ever? (I'm not saying it isn't, but I hope you see my point). Mindfulness is an ongoing journey and takes work, but when you make the effort the benefits are incredible.

I'm a do-er/achiever/completer-finisher type. Can't help it, I've always been like that and it's great on many levels. It's got me where I am today.

But writing this post makes me realise (again) that it's ok to stop the wheel and get off and that aiming to do this more often makes for a happier, relaxed life and better productivity in general. I'll be coming back to re-read what I've written in the next few weeks to remind myself of what I've learnt...

How do you prolong that holiday feeling?

Do you schedule time in your day to do things that you enjoy doing or are you quite good at being spontaneous?


Mid-week Inspiration

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

We spent the weekend by the sea and it really reminded me of the importance of slowing down every now and then ~ more coming on that tomorrow!


Apple & Blackberry Crumble

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Crumbles are big in our family. My Mum makes a mean one and it's one of the desserts I often turn to if we have friends over for dinner.

M loves the crunch of a good crumble, and as it's considered to be quite British, we made it when his family visited from Colombia.

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that I was pretty chuffed this year with the apple harvest from our little tree. It probably seems tiny to you if you have a big garden, but after 3 summers of only getting 3 or 4 fruits, this is a major leap forward in our 'grow your own' skills!

I had some wild blackberries tucked away in the freezer, which we'd picked from the hedgerows back in Gloucestershire ~ so a crumble it had to be!

I decided to experiment a bit this time with the topping, to up the crunch hit and reduce the bloat factor. Here's how I did it:
Apple & Blackberry Crumble

90g rice flour
30g ground almonds
30g oats (the larger the better)
90g brown sugar
90g unsalted butter, diced
300g apples
115g blackberries
30g toasted flaked almonds
1 tbs cinnamon (I like quite a lot of cinnamon, you may prefer to reduce the quantity)
Vanilla yogurt to serve

1. Pre-heat your oven to 190C / Gas Mark 5

2. Peel & core the apples, then chop them into eighths

3. Dot with 30g of the butter and sprinkle over 30g of the sugar

4. Add the blackberries

5. Combine all the remaining ingredients in a bowl and lightly rub in the butter - I like to keep things chunky

6. Cover the fruit with the crumble mixture. Sprinkle over a little more brown sugar if you like it crunchy (I do!)

7. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until the topping begins to turn golden

And so it is ~ delicious, crunchy fruit crumble, with a healthy twist!

Interestingly, I've talked to a few people recently about rice flour and the feedback hasn't been great. It worked well in this recipe though ~ I wouldn't say we could tell the difference from wheat flour.

Do you have a signature dessert or one that's especially popular in your family?

If you have any tips for using rice flour in other recipes I'd love to hear them!


Weekend Picks

Friday, 12 September 2014

Supermoon, harvest moon, you've been stunning us in London recently!

In other news, here are some of the best reads I've found this week...

: : Shoot
Loving these 7 fun photo tricks for iPhone, #1 is definitely on my list to try!

: : Wander
These morning views from a tent make me want to pack up my camping gear and get outta here!

: : Nourish
Check out these fun & delicious ways to sneak more veggies into your diet

: : Nest
Can't stop thinking about the blue walls and simple style of this cosy Danish apartment

: : Inspire
10 simple habits to help grow a positive attitude

Have a great weekend ~ we have a little trip planned, so watch this space!


The Clockworks

Thursday, 11 September 2014

There is a small, relatively undiscovered museum, close to where we live, that I've been interested in visiting for a long while.

So when I saw that The Clockworks was open for tours as part of Lambeth Heritage Festival I quickly booked us places.

The Clockworks is a museum, workshop and library dedicated to electric clocks.

The collection dates from the mid-19th century to the 1970s. It might look/sound a bit geeky, but there are actually lots of really fascinating things to look at! Many of the clocks can be opened to see their inner workings and are beautifully designed and decorated.

The on-site workshop is dedicated to conservation and repairs of all types of clocks. It's all very open and accessible so you are able to see what the guys are up to ~ this is Johan, a Dutch clockmaker...

We were treated to a talk and tour by Clockworks founder, Dr James Nye, who told us about the strong history of clock making in the area (who knew?!) and some of the stories behind the clocks and their mechanisms.

It was great to visit such an interesting place, just a few minutes' walk from home. I've lived in the area for many years and it's lovely to see places like this opening their doors to the community.

Have you ever found an undiscovered gem close to where you live? I'd be interested to know!

If you live in South London, you might also be interested in Brixton Windmill.


Mid-week Inspiration

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

I'm looking forward to crunching through the golden leaves of London over the next few months. Let's hope it stays dry!