Seasonal living: January.

I had planned the first seasonal living post to go a little differently than it has done, but the seasons aren’t always how they’re supposed to be, sometimes its freezing cold and raining in Summer, sometimes its blue skies and warm sunshine in October, with that in mind, this month, I’ve just kinda’ gone with the flow.

Around the home:

I’ll have to be honest, I’ve not really achieved much in the home month. The ‘Drain people (?!)’ were supposed to be coming early on to sort out the drainage issues with 90% of the garden whenever it rains for more than 2 hours. My back garden is a bog.

Once this was drained and re-turfed, the plan was to then be able to build up the back of the garden for the chickens, which would then make room for the Veg patch. Of course, nothing this month has really gone right, so I’ll just try and get all that done next month.

So, I may not have ticked anything off the garden to-do list, I have however been putting a little bit of effort elsewhere into living seasonally.

 

What I’ve been doing:

One of my main goals this month was to get outside, and even before everything started to get a bit crazy round here, we had definitely accomplished that one. Mischa isn’t super keen on my new “Lets explore” mentality, in fact on one of our vistits to beacon fell earlier on in the month, she told me it was the worst day ever. It was pretty cold… and we were sat eating sandwiches on the very tip of a high hill…. I know, I know… I’m such a meanie. I did however promise her that by the end of the year she will love our adventures out. I’m really going to have my work cut out with that little promise.

 

 

What I’ve been eating:

Food wise, I’ve been keeping it simple, For the best part of the month, I’ve been trying to cut down on our meat consumption, so we’ve been quite happily doing two meat free dinners a week, this slow cooker mushroom risotto was a firm favourite, as was the Leek and potato soup (Just switch the chicken stock for vegetable) For all the other meals its been stews, stodgy puddings and homely comfort foods. It is after all January. One of my favourite new tries this month has been this Somerset stew with cheddar and parsley mash. I popped some sausages in and WOW. This is the ultimate in winter comfort foods.

 

How I’ve been feeling:

This one is obviously a difficult one to answer normally this month (You’ll find an explanation in this post for why) But If I try and ignore all of the crazy stuff, and just focus on our household, and how everything was prior to the giant explosion that went off the middle of the month, I’d have to say fresh… I had and still am feeling quite refreshed. January is quite a miserable month for so many people and for so many reasons, but I haven’t been feeling that, the first week or so was just met with relief that the Christmas season was over. And now, the days are finally getting that tiny bit longer, just noticing that has give me a little boost and helped appreciate the time of year we are in.

 

All in all, its been a cosy January, but I’m ready to prepare for spring now, February is already looking to be busy.

How have you been living seasonally this month?

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

Sticky toffee pudding.

In the spirit of easing. my way back it normal life, I thought I’d pop up a recipe post. And I know, I know… Most of the world is on some sort of ‘New year, new me’ health kick, but seen as I’m all about balance, I thought I’d entice you over to the sweet side of life with this delicious classic, Sticky toffee pudding!

I have to be completely honest, this isn’t my recipe… its originally, this Ginger & sticky toffee pud by the baking goddess that is Mary berry (I’ve just tweaked it slightly for my tastes), I received a lot of feedback from the photo I posted on Christmas Day and so thought I’d give you a complete post all about it.

So, here’s how you make it.

Here’s what you’ll need

For the cake

175g Self raising four,

75g butter (softened),

150g soft brown sugar,

2 eggs,

1tsp baking powder,

2 tablespoons Black treacle,

1tsp Vanilla,

125ml full fat milk.

 

For the toffee sauce

110g Butter (Softened),

250g soft brown sugar,

350ml double cream,

1/2 tsp vanilla.

 

And here’s how to make it. 

First, put 75g of softened butter and 150g soft brown sugar in a bowl and beat together.

 

Then add the rest of your cake ingredients. Flour, eggs, bi-carb, vanilla, milk and treacle.

 

 

 …And give it all a good whisk up.

 

Whilst your cake batter is whisking, butter your dish. You can use a cake tin for this, if you want to turn it out and then pour over your toffee sauce, but it can get a bit messy, so I prefer a baking dish.

 

And finally you can pour your toffee cake batter into your dish. Pop it into the oven, middle shelf at 180 dg for around 40-50 minutes.

 

Once your cake has baked, pop it out of the oven and set aside, whilst you make up your caramel sauce.

 

Making up your caramel sauce is really easy, Simply grab a saucepan, pop in your butter, soft brown sugar, vanilla and double cream, Before turning your hob on medium heat. And now you just leave it to bubble, you can give the pan a swirl every now and again, but avoid stirring until the very end.

 

Once your sauce has turned a lovely rich caramel colour, simply take off the heat and give it a stir. * Be extremely careful with it. This stuff is like molten lava and it will really hurt you if you drip any of it on your skin*

 

Its as easy as that really! Now you can pour half of your sauce all over that delicious pudding…

 

And pour the rest into a jug for a side sauce.

 

Now its ready to serve. Simply scoop out a lovely big chunk, drizzle over some more of that homemade caramel sauce…

 

… And slather it with custard.

 

… and just enjoy.

The perfect way to start a balanced new year.

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

*Massive thank you to LJ Photoboards who very kindly gave me this beautiful textured/darkwood photo prop board. After being covered in flour and caramel sauce, they wiped down so easily, ready to be used again.*

Real life, real problems.

*Caution, if public expressions of sadness aren’t your thing, you should probably avoid this one – Normal DIY/FOOD/LIFESTYLE posts shall resume shortly*

I don’t often stray too far into my personal life over on here, however today I’m going to share something quite serious. One week ago, I had a phone call that made my heart sink into the lowest most darkest depths of my stomach. My mother has been missing for over fifteen months and last week they found her body.

I’m not sharing this as gossip, I’m not sharing for sympathy, nor to boost any blog stats. I’m sharing this because the week that has followed receiving this news has been one of the hardest of my life. I’ve changed, my life has changed, everything I thought I knew has changed and everything I thought was important has changed. And when anyone who follows my blog life notices the change, I want there to be an explanation.

I’m usually a supporter of change, change is good… this however is the worst kind. The positive outlook I have spent years training myself to default too is disappearing, Issues I’d spent so long working through have returned. This week I had the first panic attack in over a year. Everything is everywhere and I’m in pain, real, raw emotional turmoil. The type that will always alter a person at their very core.

I know some people, quite a lot of people just don’t ‘get’ blogs. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there that think this is better off being kept private, written in a journal or something. But yesterday when I broke down to Sam he told me to write, just write it all down… share it, don’t share it… just write. So this is what I’m doing. And really, any writing is at its finest when its so brutally honest. So I just decided to hit that publish button and secretly hope that no one reads it.

My plans for the immediate future are pretty uncertain. I might share this and go back into hiding for a few more weeks… Or It might give me the release I need to get some normality back. I miss my camera, I miss my Insta- buddies, I miss my lists… oh all the lists. And I miss everything that goes into creating my content.

First and foremost, I’m making self-care my biggest priority. I absolutely can’t cope with what these on coming weeks will bring if I’m uncared for. And so I’ll continue sleep and eat well -ish, I’ll stick to exercise as a release – as opposed to screaming with anger, I’ll keep alcohol consumption to a minimum and most importantly, let myself feel what I need to feel, when I need to feel it.

Maybe, just maybe… Then I’ll be alright.

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

The home life project 2017 : January.

It doesn’t feel like two minutes ago that it was Decembers HLP, but here we are in a brand new month and a brand new year! I’ve been so excited about this months edition, mainly because I rarely have my camera out of my hand nowadays, and I don’t blog much about family life, but our days together really are my favourite thing to photograph.. so its nice to be able to share some of those family photos over here.

So, anyway. This month. I wasn’t really sure what day I was going to photograph this weekend, but then I had a ton of college work to get through on Friday – so that ruled that day out- and on Saturday our day out plans had to be postponed whilst sam recovered from illness *Hangover* So, I just left it until yesterday. We had no real plan in mind, but I’ve been eager to get out of the house a lot more recently, so we settled on somewhere outdoorsy, and seen as we did a woodland hike earlier on in the week, it made more sense to go to the beach. So after a slow morning, we wrapped up warm and spent the majority of the day chasing the tide out on a very foggy beach. *At one point, I had no idea which direction we had come from, or which direction we should have been going, it was so weird, and obviously  unnerving… turns out you follow the tide lines and hope for the best before the tide starts coming back in again!*  After a long walk, breathing in all that refreshing sea air, we headed to a pub close by for  lunch, before heading back home too lounge before the girls were bathed and put into bed. It truly was a lovely Sunday.

 

 

…And then of course there was the January Challenge which I dedicated a lot of time to thinking about, but left it so late to actually do! This is about three minutes before bath time, I didn’t want to force them into any poses or anything, so I think I just about managed to grab one before they noticed. It was so weird peering in on the family from outside… felt a little bit like a stalker. Ha ha.

 

So, thats that. The first Home life project of the year. Its great to be starting a brand new year with this, I can’t wait to see where the year takes us.

 

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

The year of seasonal living.

I’ve always had a fairly simplistic approach to life. I, like most have a dream, my dream is to build a big beautiful house (New England/ranch style) out in the middle of nowhere, to have a flock of hens, maybe a couple of pigs, probably a goat… a library, a vegetable patch I can tend to all summer long, a beautiful kitchen to prepare wholeosme meals. Its all very simple. And whilst I can’t do anything about the house building part just yet – other than day dream – I can start on all the other stuff.

Back in July last year we got our first chickens, three beautiful girls who give us the freshest eggs possible every day. They’re such a dream to have (not including the current Avian flu outbreak thats left my girls on lock down since the beginning of December) very easy to look after and the rewards are really the tastiest rewards ever – Boiled eggs & soldiers on a drizzly winters morning. Is there anything more cosy?!

 

Last year was a turning point for me, I’ve always had a certain wildness, one that has caused me a fair bit of trouble as a young un’, but as I’ve got older, I’ve learnt to channel that wildness, 2015/2016 were the years I started listening to my body more, I realised just how much balance and mental clarity having a good diet and regular exercise gave me. It was over this last year I also started to notice the seasons a bit more, though having developed an obsession with taking my camera everywhere, had an awful lot to do with that.   All this combined created an interest, something I’ve spent a fair few hours researching, Pinterest-ing, reading about and trying to better understand.  By the end of 2016, I was eager to get started on this years big plans.

To spend the year living seasonally.

 

I’m not being strict about all this, it isn’t some religious thing I must live by every single day, For me, this includes eating more locally produced -in season food. Growing my own – or at least trying too. Spending more time outdoors, making it a priority to surround myself with the natural life and embracing the calm it brings. I want to spend winters evenings snuggled up early with candles, books and tea, I want to live an entire Summers day out in the woods, staying out long enough to see the sun-set instead of rushing home to get the kids settled. I want celebrate the individuality of each season, the weather it brings, the food it brings and the way you live because of it.

It might all sound a little bit hippy dippy, but the simple life really does appeal to me more than any other way. Its something that already in-built, its just now I’d like to make a little more of an effort acknowledging it.

 

 

So, this year I’ve devised a plan of action and at the end of each month I’ll keep you all updated with a blog post. Beginning with my first post at the end of January.

 

 

I hope you’ll join me in a little Seasonal living.

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.