I drink lots of different types of coffee, but Café Direct was the first fairtrade certified coffee in the UK and they don't stop their work with a certification, so I like to keep buying from them. That little mug I picked up in the Design Museum gift shop in Copenhagen a couple of years ago, thinking it would be a gift to my part-Danish ex-boyfriend but since we never survived my return from the holiday, I kept it and love it so much! It's by Studio Arhoj and on finding the link for this post I've realised it's stocked in Islington at Twentytwentyone! The Denby has sentimental stories as my family all bought bits for me in waves when I was starting to build my nest solo, so my crockery doesn't match but I love it all. And that's a terrible cafétiere; I don't know who thought metal ones were a good idea, they scrape every time you plunge and it kills the coffee moment.
One of my 'go-to' recipes is this one from Booths - a one pot pork shoulder. My brother-in-law Tim cooked it for me when I went round to his and my sister's house for supper and it’s the perfect dish for a group in winter. I’ve done it since for friends, and Georgina took the recipe and now cooks it with her family when she goes home to the north. I think that means it’s a winner.
I was reminded of it as Tim said at the Christmas meal table that Booths is up for sale. My Leeds-based aunt was gutted to hear this, so hopefully someone good will take it on or there will be cries of sadness echoing across the North of England. (It seems Yorkshire folk put down any east/west divide when it comes to Booths.)
The only thing I change is to cook the broccoli separately so it stays in contrast to the creamy goodness. Tonight I'm doing different greens and have gone off piste a bit due to holiday cottage ingredients, but I'm sure it will still taste dreamy.
I'll pop it in the oven for a couple of hours, serve with crusty bread and use any leftovers for a nice soup.
The lovely Kate Biddlestone, did #50thankfuldays recently and here are my #50thankfuldays.
I am thankful for my balcony.
I often wish I had a garden but I'VE GOT A BALCONY! I have mint, tomatoes, potatoes. I have a seat. I can see Kings Place from it. It looks out over a quiet dead end and some parking and not a road! It is hardly overlooked and most of what you see from it is sky and leaves. People on London canal walks pass by regularly, reminding me that I live in a place people go to for a special treat or day's activity.
It may be about three square metres, but I have a balcony and I am thankful for it.
There's nothing quite like a holiday to get me inspired to do lots of stuff. So here I am after two weeks away from the office, sat in bed, drinking coffee and preparing myself for my first day back. I have following ideas:
If you know me, you've heard some of these before -- I'm on a loop. I should possibly learn from this and give up, but instead I'll return and try again as the alternative is less good.
Yesterday we had a Sunday Roast (chicken) and in the evening I made Cauliflower soup and Mushroom soup, and the recipes are below. They taste lush and lunches are sorted for a bit.
I have no idea if they would have been better had I done things differently because cooking ain't my thing. I did make the stock from boiling off the carcass from the Sunday lunch of roast chicken, maybe that's why they taste good this time...
Ultimately all these resolutions show is that I have had enough holiday this year for the first time in AGES. My mind is wanting to get moving, and that is all that matters.
Now to the office and the dreaded email inbox...
*returns under duvet*
I am brilliant at saying ‘yes’ to things – even when I know quite clearly the answer should be ‘no’. I can be quite certain that there is no way I can take on the commitment being asked of me but still hear ‘yes, sure’ tumble out of my mouth. I don’t know if it is fear of letting people down or what, but it has happened at various times in my life with various consequences, so from now on if an ask doesn’t meet one of the below, the answer is NO.
Does it bring me JOY?
This a great reason for doing almost anything. Almost.
Does it pay my bills?
A girl has got to live. Especially a single one.
Is it a personal priority of mine?
For me, examples of these would be exercise, family commitments, church and other things that I think are important to invest my time in, even when I don’t feel like it.
Is it part of a vision of mine that I want to see realised?
This is simply a reminder than other people will love to have you work on their projects and you may make other people’s art, businesses, dreams, music and plans see the light of day while yours remain half-sketched or forgotten.
If the answer is NO to all of the above, say NO. Only go forward if you have a yes -- ideally two or, better still, three.
Then ask if it leaves enough time for eating, sleeping and watering the plants. A further yes, and you are good to go.
This picture is 'Solent Sunrise' and is currently looking a little lonely on my office wall. I've got a new office and whilst I want to fill it with things quickly, I want to fill it with things which mean something to me. Martin is an old friend from the church where I grew up who moved to Norwich when I was still young, possibly before I was a teenager. Having a little bit of my history through something of his present, on the walls of my day-to-day life, seems really special. But not quite as special as the glimpses of the sun breaking through in this painting. Thanks Martin! For more about Martin's work visit: www.martincottam.co.uk