Thursday, 15 July 2010

Going Easy

Hello dear souls ~ how are you?

I'm in the process of making something, and I've taken a picture of it to show of those horrible sneaky peaky pictures that doesn't really give anything away, but lets you see a little bit of what has been going on hooky-wise here this last week.

I'm afraid the light is a bit rough today, try as I might I just cannot get the colours to zim and ping as they do in real life...but suffice to say they do, and I'm very skippity-happy about this little project which I will hopefully be able to show you properly next week...when it will all be finished. Am I awful for teasing you with it? I am sorry - perhaps to ease the frustration, you could all play at Guess What It Is?!

Ah look. That's much better. Now you can see just how zimmy and pingy those colours really are!

Well, I've been stuck indoors these last couple of days (as most of you around this island of ours probably have at some point) due to the typically British July weather conditions of gale force winds, lashing rain and cracking thunderstorms. My garden is a mess, but during an impromtu blue bit, I ran out and had a tidy up.

What a heavenly relief to see blue skies again, with drifty white clouds billowing about instead of nasty dark grey ones silently flashing with far away lightening...

The sun squeezed itself out for only a few minutes, long enough to illuminate our first little sweet pea...oh my goodness I do love these flowers, and I'm sure the fairies must come out at night and paint their soft petals those beautiful colours!

Life this week has been mostly about small moments like that. I've got to tell you that seemingly out of nowhere, my poor little bod succumbed to an awful outbreak of exzema...and that usually means that something is becoming a bit too much in this life of mine and needs dealing with pronto. It has been several years since this happened, and that was due to the perils of working away for months at a time and not being particularly happy with the job I was doing then.
Anyhow...I've worked out that in all, I've got rather too much heaped on my plate and I've got to do a bit of prioritising...let a few things go, start being a bit easier on myself as far as those mental To Do Lists go.

Do you have those? They are created in your mind (or in my case, increasingly more on paper too these days) and they are rather long. They include all the usual things like 'tackle that mound of ironing that is now making friends with the lampshade on the ceiling' and all manner of other pressure inducing things that have been made Very Important and Very Necessary.

So...I am making more time for the small stuff. The simple, necessary stuff that makes us feel good - the stuff that is necessary to ground us and keep us sane, like quite literally smelling the roses and admiring a blue, sunshine filled sky.
It's also about saying No to things that can't be achieved, or to things I don't always feel I want to do. No can be a hard word to say at times, but I've realised if I want to keep my sanity, and have an hour or so to myself each day then I'm going to have to.

And so far so good. The skin has cleared up, the gentle pace and just making time for little me has proved to be the best medicene there is!

I've been eating a bit healthier too, after some recent baking jaunts I felt enough was enough, there is only so much rocky road one can consume without being sick, and so it was a real pleasure to go into the garden and pick our first little crop of dwarf peas and broad beans...

The daughter's first strawbs appeared too...

...look at all those pretty borage flowers! Methinks I can feel a recipe coming on...

A Tasty Summer Garden Pasta if you please!

It's so very easy, and you don't have to have borage flowers to decorate (but you know me, I couldn't help myself) :D
I cooked up a batch of spaghetti and grated a big handful of parmesan cheese.
Meanwhile, crush a little garlic clove and sizzle gently in a tablespoon or so of good olive oil (don;t let it burn though, it tastes revolting)...when the pasta is half way cooked, toss in the broad beans and peas to cook for the remaining 4 minutes or so, that's all they need honestly - drain when ready and add to the garlic and oil mixture. Toss well and add the parmesan, stirring quickly as it will melt beautifully over the pasta, peas and beans...season with salt and pepper and eat it quickly, before somebody else does!


It doesn't get much better than that, from garden to plate in 15 minutes.

(This has turned into one of those famously long posts again...)

Before I go, I just wanted to show you something we bought at the weekend, and I was in a rapture about it the minute I clapped eyes on it!

Now, some of you who kindly visit me regularly will know about our camping escapade that we have been planning for a few weeks now...buying the tent and all manner of bits and necessary bobs so that we have the delicious luxury (weather pending of course) to take off somewhere on a whim if the weekend is free! Hurrah!! What a plan indeed!! And yes, already our first weekend is looming large, we travel south tomorrow to road test our new kit! Lets hope the weather is kind, but if it isn't I can heartily thank Diane at Heartshaped for all her generous and thoughtful camping wisdom.

But anyway, I digress...I was going to show you my latest purchase that had me swooning...

Isn't that the sweetest, most retro, most funky camp kettle you ever clapped eyes on??? And doesn't it just sit beautifully with its little melamine neighbour? Oh people, I can only imagine that with age a slight lunacy decends when one is reduced to having raptures about a camping kettle...add to that it whistles and I really felt I had gone to camping heaven. Honestly.

I suppose it happens to the best of us, and yet its just those very moments that make ordinary life so very extraordinarily special!

I'm off to pack now, keep your fingers crossed that we don't suffer the mercy of those vile storms that crossed Yorkshire last night and we'll be happy...if it's dry, it's a bonus isn't it?!

Have a good weekend, thanks for stopping by.

Mucho love
J x


  1. Oh Julia I get excited by little things like new kettles too and it is very pretty.
    Your spaghetti dish looks yummy and so nice with the lovely flowers.
    As for your crochet I have no idea what it is except that it is gorgeous, such delicious colours!
    I hope you have a great camping weekend and that the weather behaves for you. :)
    Vivienne x

  2. Your crocheting is so pretty. Love the bright colours. Your pasta has made me hungry. Think my first broad beans [nearly ready] just have to go the same way as yours. Oh and I really love your funky little kettle.
    A x

  3. Fab post my lovely! Cannot wait to see what the finished article will be with the old hook and yarn! Lovely yummy scrummy colours!

    I am totally with you on the 'taking on too much' front. Today has been one of complete chaos for me. I'm really not sure how I can regain control of my house! So, so much to do. Like you, the ironing pile is humungous. It never goes away. It has got to the stage where I really have to tackle it all head on. You know when you just cannot rest easy, your head is all fuzzy because of the mess and you cannot concentrate or enjoy anything else properly? well, that's me at the moment! We all go away at the end of next week and I have to get it semi tidy. If I don't, I think I will have a breakdown coming back to complete mess!

    I am rather taken with your kettle I must say! Like you, things like that can almost send me over the edge with pleasure!

    We got a new cabinet yesterday, with the intention of putting boxes in to tidy away paperwork...but as a treat to myself today, I filled it with all my crochet bits and it was alive with colour, and it made my heart sing......then I took it all out and filled it with the boring stuff! Nice to have a bit of colour therapy today though! he he!

    I hope that you have the most amazing camping trip and that the weather holds out for you to make it a hugely wonderful time!

    Your pasta recipe is definitely one to try! Weird, I made pasta with peas last night. Had prawns and asparagus in it and was yummy, but I would love to try your one looks and sounds amazing!

    Right, more mess to sort!

    Have a gorgeous rest of a week and hope the thunderstorms pass!

    Much Love Vanessa xxxxxx

  4. WOW! Yes I can relate to the mental to do lists and the paper lists are EVERYWHERE in my house and in the kiosk...oops! I have had to say no myself recently as my mind was going to explode and I was fast running out of matchsticks to help my eyes stay open. I have been concentrating these last few days on the things that make me smile as I know the next few weeks are going to be verrrry busy.
    I LOVE your kettle it is so cute, I am so jealous of everyone going camping as I really want to go but have no car...maybe one day :)

  5. Have fun. And you'll really enjoy your morning cuppa...Ax

  6. Ha! I bought the same kettle last year in a fit of 'if-I'm-going-to-have-to-camp-I'll-do-it-prettily-so-there' to my husband! I'm sure I there's a picture of it somewhere...!

  7. pasta looks delish - so does the crochet - happy camping

  8. I love the hooky goodness! I have no idea what it is but it looks yummy!
    I'm also loving the kettle, such a good colour.
    Take it easy. x

  9. I can't wait to see what your crochet project is...

    Sorry to hear about the recent outbreak of eczema, but it sounds like you've been doing what your body has been telling you to do by taking time for yourself and eating well!

    Have fun camping, can't wait to hear all about it x

  10. Hi Julia ,
    I love your bright little squares :0)
    My guess would be a cushion cover.
    Your kettle is perfect,love the red.Have a great trip.
    Jacquie x

  11. 'the pasta looks delish as does the crochet - good camping

  12. Fingers crossed the weather is good for you!
    As for the crochet - is it a pair of hotpants?!

  13. Love the idea of garden to plate in 15 minutes. I picked some courgettes this morning and froze them in preparation for my winter stocks.

    Love the kettle, especially if it whistles.

    Vanessa x

  14. Hiya Julia!
    That crochet looks lovely! I don't have a clue what it's going to be, but whatever it is, it's going to be lovely! :D I've made a start on your hearts garland at last, it's taking me ages though and my hearts don't look as good as yours, but I'm trying my best.

    Happy camping!
    Joey xx

  15. I just love reading what you've been up to,makes me feel all warm and smiley. My daughter bought a similar little kettle at Glastonbury the other weekend,it's so very pretty. Can't wait to see your crochet project,don't keep us waiting too long!!! Julie.xx

  16. Oh Julia, such loveliness in your post.

    Simply wonderful crochet colours, can't wait to see the finished item.

    Your pasta too looks delightful. I was so inspired by your use of borage, I've Googled edible flowers and there seem to be loads - I had no idea. Hmmm, carnations on fish fingers for lunch tomorrow me thinks!!! ;-)

    Fingers crossed for a lovely sunny weekend.


  17. Hi Julia
    Silly arn't we to get excited about a kettle but I know just what you mean! I can get excited about a tea towel! must be the sun or lack of it this week, hope you are not camping Devon/Cornwall way as you will need to hold on to your tent!!! Lists what are they!! Couldn't live without them, but do I keep to them.
    have a good weekend.
    hugs Jill

  18. Julia, every bit of this post cries out ... Summer is Here! It is delightful to read your words and see those pictures.

    I often fix quick pasta suppers, with lots of seasonal vegetables ... just wish that I had a garden from which to gather some beautiful flowers like those you found.

    (Not too easy in New York!) We find our own ways to get through summer, and celebrate this season.


  19. Lovely Julia! Beautiful colour combination in the cushion cover, scarf, hat, blanket,sleeping bag, tea cosy or whatever it is!!! The pasta dish looks lovely and I think I am going to use broad beans in my pasta dishes now too! Take it easy on your camping trip and have a relaxing time. x

  20. I wonder why it is that women seem to find saying NO to something harder than men seem to find it? Or is that just my imagining?
    I learnt a long time ago to say NO, to anything I didn't want to do. I stopped being and doing things I thought were expected of me, and felt all the freer for it. Of course, there is a downside, in that people find it hard to accept being refused something they either think is their right, or that you should do willingly and without hesitation. It has caused problems, but all in all, I am far happier this way. Women seem to be expected to do everything, and be everything to everyone, but there is only so much woman to go around you know, and a big part of it should be kept for YOU. Selfish if you like, but sometimes it's the only way to remain sane when you are a mother of young children, or teens, are working, have a house to run and so on. I know from past experience. Now I am much older and much wiser.
    Even at my age I get flippity and silly over the maddest things. Seeing your kettle reminded me of the time I fell in love with my fat, round pink kettle. I had gone into the cookshop for something sensible, saw this and swooned, couldn't stop stroking it, so voluptuous and tactile, and pretty pink. my husband bought it for me as a Valentine's day present... not something he normally does, so despite it's expense, I happily took him up on it. I don't use it all the time of course, it tends to sit on the hob looking lovely!!!

  21. The Pasta looks so beautiful!!! and I love the thought of fairy's painting sweetpeas! Have a great weekend - and I forgot to mention hubbies top camping tip - don't forget the Gaffa Tape (or electricians tape). It fixes a multitude od mis happenings - broken tent poles, leaky seams etc. xxxxxxxxxx

  22. Hey hey, love the kettle. I bet you are going to have a great time.
    I am very intrigued by the new project. It looks very scrummy I have to say.
    Your crops are coming along great and your pasta dish looks divine.
    Thankyou also for the gorgeous comments that you leave me on my blog. They really make me smile.
    Have a great weekend. I will be thinking of you all and hoping that the weather is good to you.
    Much love,
    Rachael. xx

  23. Great post - love all the fab colours - kettle, crochet and flowers. Hope the exczema is better.

  24. Yes, a kettle to make any camping tea-time a treat! I share your enthusiasm! The dish you created looks so beautiful, too beautiful to eat maybe? ;o) xx

  25. Yes, but it is a very lovely retro camping kettle Julia. I hope your camping trip gets good weather and the storms abate for a bit. I love the borage flowers too and we use them in a pea and borage soup...yum! x

  26. Hi Julia,

    Hope you have a lovely trip :D Will miss you at the craft fair - but let you know all about it!



  27. Hope you eczema (or however you spell it) goes soon, I also get that pesky little thing appear every now and again as a little warning sign to chill a bit. Loving your sweetpeas - we have the verigated one too, gorgeous! oohh that kettle is lovely, I can see why you are cooing over it.

  28. It definitely is a zingy pingy colouful sneeky peek of a thing - can't wait to see the whole thing.

    Eczema is the pits - the littlest boo suffers, but it is allergy related rather then stress.

    You probably know this already and if you're not allergic to petrolium, vaseline is really good applied on top of your eczem cream as it retains moisture - Tabi has almost immediate relief when it is applied.

    Anyhow, have a fabulous weekend,

    Nina x

  29. Julia there is so much to comment on (I am sure I will forget something)! The small things are so very important they make the big things!The spaghetti looks delicious - a great spring/ summer meal - I like to do eomthing similar peas, some good olive oil, parmeasn and fresh mint. As for the crochet, I am guessing a mini granny scarf? I have one of these in the works! LOook forwar dot the big reveal - Anna

  30. gosh you and me in a v similar place Julia, my skin is also doing not-nice things atm as a result of too much sugar/baked goods and too much of EVeRYthing I suspect.
    Such a lovely post, can't wait for the crochet reveal. oh, and I so totally get you on the kettle thing :o)xx
    love and hugs to you


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