Take A Breath

Take a Breath

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

Turns out the last time I did one of these posts was a long old time ago – two years and almost two months in fact! The Tour de France was happening and those twins were nothing but a twinkle in my eye. How time flies, eh? Back to 2016 and it’s been a bit of a bumpy few weeks in the Dix household. As well as our daughters turning a grand old six months, we’ve had runny noses and hospital admissions, alongside cozy nights on the sofa, a few good coffees and catch ups with friends after weeks apart.

We’re all safely back at home, with better health in sight, and finally making plans for our garden just as the summer ends. We’re hoping that by this time next year we will have actually spent an hour or two enjoying it. Plans to pull up paving slabs and conifers are on track for next spring, gravelling the whole thing over and dotting around lots of pots with shrubs and herbs. Stage two is a grander affair with some benches, raised veg plots and even a… shed! How exciting. It’s nice to be working on the house again. I seemed to miss that whole stage of pregnancy, what with giving birth early and having a less than satisfactory time towards the end, so it’s nice that “nesting” has finally caught up with me.

I’ve been spending a lot of time inside recently, I guess mainly so the girls can fully establish a napping schedule and also, because you kind of run out of places to go with a double buggy. I’m very much an “always out” person, or I have been previously to having kids, so I still try to get out and about everyday, even if it’s just for a coffee. It’s easy to feel isolated in the first stages of motherhood but I keep myself busy with classes and long lunches with fellow mum and mum-to-be pals. In general though, I’m back home by 2pm with my feet up. The to-do list for the house is getting smaller, and aside from a repaint in a few rooms and a new runner on the stairs, it’s mainly about soft furnishings and putting prints up now. It’s lovely to have seen it come so far in three years. I suppose we’ll finish things just when we find we need to expand space-wise… typical! I really enjoyed Amy’s post Things I Have Learned About House Renovation and a lot of memories from the early days came flooding back!

I’ve started reading quite a lot more, too. In the past month or so I’ve read The Pelican Brief by John Grisham, A Clash of Kings by George R. R.  Martin, and Me Before You by JoJo Moyes. I’d never have usually chosen that last one but I took part in a book exchange on Facebook that ended up with me promising to throw genre expectations to the wind. I really enjoyed it and now I’m part way through The Girl With All The Gifts by Mike Carey and loving it so far. Weirdly, though I turned my nose up at the prospect, a Kindle has really changed the way I read and I’m much more enthusiastic about it somehow. Looking forward to several other novels I have waiting in My Library.

Foodwise, I tried the new I Am Doner via Deliveroo and absolutely loved it. Would recommend the halloumi kebab wholeheartedly. It’s huge, reasonably priced and stuffed with loads of good stuff. The chips travel well too. I’ll definitely be tucking into that again soon. Other than that, I haven’t tried much new recently. I’m a slave to my daily Flat White from Opposite and this summer I’ve really enjoyed sitting on their benches outside, pushing the babies backwards and forwards in the pram and having a bit of quiet time. Matt’s birthday is coming up so I’m looking forward to a meal out then – probably a trip to Ox Club or The Reliance, his favourites. 

I’ve started Baby Led Weaning with the girls this week so hold tight for some posts about that, and I’ve been trying some new recipes at home – hopefully some of which I can photograph and get up on the blog over the next week or so. I’m also heading out to the North York Moors this weekend for a little break so I’ll report back on that too.

In the meantime, let me know what you’re up to down in the comments or come and chat to me over on Twitter @whipuntilfluffy. Photos go up pretty much daily on Instagram and remember you can keep up with me over on Facebook, too. See you soon!

Take a Breath

CatchUp3

I’m not a very organised blogger. I like to take photos, but it feels like things are rarely complete. I currently have 17 drafts in my posts folder. The pressure, self-inflicted of course, to produce well-rounded posts with a beginning, a middle and an end, has increased tenfold over the past few years and a thousandfold since I started blogging for the first time in 2001. But I’m trying to shake that off. Forget about it. Have fun. This isn’t my job, after all. I’m making like this is the mid-noughties, and for this post I’m taking a breath. This is a round-up of what I’ve been up to, where I’ve been going and what I’ve been eating (naturally).

Up top there is a picture of my tea on Wednesday night. An impromptu dinner at The Reliance, there was rabbit loin, chorizo and peas. I also shared pig cheeks with pomme puree and it was glorious, with the sunshine blazing in through the huge windows. Add Moules Marinere for a main, with a lake of silky, garlicky sauce and chips to dip in and I could’ve been in a cafe with gingham table cloths, on the back of a beach somewhere. True seasonal grub. I left full and dizzy with love for the summer.

CatchUp5

A few weekends ago I got to spend some time at L’Eroica Britannia, in the Peak District. I was there in a Street Food Wife capacity, sampling all the delights and snapping pictures – but, weirdly, it filled me with a huge enthusiasm for bikes. The vintage outfits, buzzing atmosphere and the lady who had come all the way from Canada in a full 80s power suit to take part in the 30km ride on a Pashley, were all extremely lovely and made me feel like I wanted to be part of their vintage cycling club. Instead, I ate my weight in street food and watched everyone else burn calories. It was fun! You can tell we were in Derbyshire, they served their bacon in “cobs”. It’s a breadcake where I come from, love.

(No it’s not, I’m a southerner… please don’t tell anyone).

CatchUp4

The guys over at @BodegaOlives sent me a few boxes to try this week. I’m going to be making Gin Martinis and antipasti platters for the foreseeable future. The Alfonsos are my favourite.

Other action from this week – I’ve been getting to grips with my new camera lens. The change has made me keener to use my DSLR on manual, so I’ve been reading up on aperture, shutter speed and ISO, and looking at some of my favourite blogs for inspiration. Working with a 50mm is different, and it’s hard to be lazy. The whole “zoom with your feet” thing is starting to sink in and I’m looking for opportunities to shoot everywhere I go. The slightly more compact lens also means I’m more inclined to carry my camera in my bag, so hopefully I’ll be taking pictures a lot more regularly. I’m having a lot of fun playing around with the f-stop, which has produced a lot of out of focus, super ugly pictures, but I think I’m learning. The photo below was taken the day I got my lens, sitting outside the Corn Exchange with a tray of ribs from Reds.

CatchUp2

Oh yeah, there was a big cycling race too. The Tour de France came to town, and it was pretty fun. Most of Yorkshire turned out and apparently there were over 200,000 people lining the streets of our fair city. I was lucky enough to watch Le Grand Depart from up high, out of first floor windows at The Light, so I saw the whole thing – giant Fruit Shoot and all. After I saw the start I headed over to Ilkley on the train for the day for more street food and street parties. For about 20 minutes I thought I might invest in a road bike. #cyclefever.

CatchUp1

I also got to treat myself to some excellent cookware this week, thanks to my prize money. I added a 30cm Le Creuset Casserole to my kitchen collection, a set of measuring spoons, a KitchenAid ice cream maker and a waffle iron! So tomorrow I’m treating myself to a rare Sunday off to test a few recipes. Watch this space!

In the meantime, let me know what you’re up to down in the comments section or come and chat to me over on Twitter @WhipUntilFluffy. Remember you can keep up with me over on Facebook, too. See you soon!