Seven Days, Seven Dinners

Please excuse the awful photography in this post – they are all hasty iPhone snaps.  I certainly shan’t be in demand as a food stylist any time soon!

Sunday

Slow cooked jerk pork with Caribbean salsa (from this recipe) , served with roast potatoes, tortillas, green salad

The weather was still really hot when I cooked this, and although I’d originally bought the pork joint planning to make a traditional Sunday roast, this was so much more suitable for al fresco eating.

pulled pork

 

Monday

Salmon with wasabi, white wine and horseradish sauce, new potatoes, asparagus

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Tuesday

William was away and Ashley and I weren’t particularly hungry, so we decided on snacky dinner outside on the balcony with a nice glass of white wine.

Baked camembert with pancetta cubes, celery and bread

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Wednesday

Chicken bacon and leek casserole, mustard mash, peas

This is one of my favourite recipes for easing into early autumn – comfort food, but not too heavy.  Recipe for this one to follow next week.

chicken

 

 

Thursday

Spaghetti and meatballs in tomato and mascarpone sauce with buttered asparagus.

Bit of a cheat this one, as I needed something quick and easy: bought meatballs and bought sauce.  Not as tasty as homemade, but superfast to get on the table when the hungry hordes are waiting to be fed!

spag

 

Friday

Butternut squash and bacon risotto

I love butternut squash, and I love risotto, but this is one of my first successes at marrying the two.  I’ve discovered through trial and error that the best way is to roast the butternut squash in the oven first, and to add it into the risotto right at the end, otherwise it breaks up and goes soggy.  This was well-received even by my fussy teenager.

butternut

 

Saturday

Prawns with chilli and ginger in a lemon butter sauce with ciabtta. Yum.

Euphemistically known in our house as ‘Jamie’s Prawns’ because the original recipe was from a Jamie Oliver cookbook, we’ve honed this one over the years to our own tastes, and it makes a perfect light supper dish.

prawns

 

 

 

Currently: End of August

CURRENTLY

 

Book

 Unknown

Just started this – not loving it yet, finding it quite hard going if I’m honest.

 

Music

I’ve been driving Ashley’s car a lot this past week, and he only has one CD in it at the moment, which is an old James Blunt one which he played to death in the hot tub when he first got it years ago, and made me really sick of it. I still don’t like James Blunt much.

TV

Damages_S1_DVD_early

Just finished re-watching the first series of Damages with Glenn Close and Rose Byrne. Enjoyed it almost as much the second time around.

Also watching The Great British Bake Off, which I’ve never seen before. Enjoying that, too.

Make-Up/Beauty

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Loving Pixi Glow tonic, which I’m using every night and which has really made a different to my skin – it’s definitely looking more fresh and healthy in the mornings.

 

Frequently Worn Outfits/Items

I’ve been living in a pair of bright pink skinny jeans that I bought from Tu at Sainsburys earlier this summer. Super comfy and fab colour – pity they don’t make them in other colours as well, as I’d have gone back and bought more!

Food

I’m not generally a huge fan of roast dinner, but the chicken with all the trimmings that Ashley cooked on Monday really hit the spot – perfect food for the end of the dull, wet and rainy Bank Holiday.

 Drink

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Douwe Egberts flavoured coffee – I bought Enticingly Chocolate for a change from Smooth Caramel, and it’s not nearly as nice, disappointingly.

Bane

Summer seems to be over rather abruptly, doesn’t it? August was a bit of a let down, weather-wise.

Joy

I had a fabulous day out in Cheltenham last week with my bestie, Faye. Both our birthdays fall in August and last year instead of buying each other gifts, we had a day out in Bath and enjoyed it so much that we decided to make it an annual event. Cheltenham was lovely – so much so that we might even go back again for next year’s birthday outing.

Anticipation

September is going to be a busy month with lots of fun stuff happening. Culminating in a week away in Greece. I. Cannot. Wait.

Wishlist

New towels. I have somehow become the owner of a grotty selection of mis-matched old scratchy towels and have been putting off buying new ones for ages. The time has now come. New, luxurious, fluffy towels that match each other – such decadence!

Random Thought

I wish there were more than 24 hours in each day – I always seem to be playing catch-up.

 

Random Questions Tag

Jay over at My Family & Other Cricketers had to pose 11 random questions as part of a tag she was doing, and she asked for volunteers to answer them, so I put myself forward.  Here are my answers to Jay’s questions:

1.  What would you do on your ideal day? 

Oh, it would have to be a day on holiday, I think … And I’m thinking probably the Maldives. The weather would be perfect, the relaxation would be total, I would be reading an amazing book, my family would be with me; there would be gourmet food, delicious cocktails and I wouldn’t have to lift a finger. Just perfect.

 2. What did you want to be “when you grew up”? And did you achieve it?

I always rather fancied working at an airport, but ended up on a cruise ship which, in retrospect, was probably a better option. I also quite fancied being a journalist at one time, I seem to recall – ha ha, the frustrated writer in me found an outlet in blogging later in life!

 3. Tattoos and/or piercings; do you have any, do you love/hate them?  

Hate hate hate, with a passion. I have my ears pierced but nothing else, and would never ever ever EVER have a tattoo. Each to his/her own, though, obviously. My 14 year old niece recently had her nose pierced (14? What are her parents thinking?), and made the mistake of asking me whether or not I liked it!!

4.  Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

If I’m still living in the same place, doing much the same as I’m doing now, and I’m still healthy, I’ll be very happy, thankyouverymuch.

 5. What are you reading right now?

I’m reading a Simon Kernick novel, Siege, which is not holding my attention as much as his thrillers normally do. I’m nearly at the end and looking forward to reading something different next.

 6.  Serious theatre or musicals; or do you not visit the theatre?

Both. But more musicals, if I’m honest. I’d love to go to the theatre more, but it’s such a lot of money these days, it always seems a fortune to spend on one evening’s entertainment.

 7.  Do you have a secret crush? (famous person or otherwise!)

I don’t think I do.

 8) Who knows about your blog, or is it secret?

Not at all a secret. All my immediate family know about it, but my husband and son never read, my Mum does, my Dad doesn’t unless my Mum makes him read a particular post(!), and my brother and his wife dip in and out, I think.  A few ‘real life’ friends found my blog through my Twitter profile which has a link here (hello Sarah R and Claire S – and maybe Julia P, Jenny H and Rachel B!), but I don’t really tell people about it.

9. Would your ideal holiday (if funds were unlimited) involve seeing more of your own country or worldwide travel?

I love to travel and I often feel that there’s a lot of the UK that I’d like to explore further, but time is limited at the moment and our preference when it comes to holidays is gorgeous weather and relaxation, so I’d have to say worldwide. I do hope that in the future, as time and funds allow, we are able to travel and see more of the world on our doorstep as well as further afield.

 10. If you could rescue one item from your house in the event of a disaster what would it be?

The answer to this used to be ‘photo albums’, but now all my photos are stored online (thanks, Flickr), I think the answer would be my engagement and wedding rings, and William’s soft toy elephant which he still has on his bed at the age of 14 (don’t tell him I told you that!)

11. If you were invited to a fancy dress party would you get excited, have a head brimming with ideas and immediately throw yourself into creating a fabulous outfit or do you struggle and wish it wasn’t fancy dress?

GREAT question, this. I loathe fancy dress parties, as does Ashley. Thankfully I haven’t been invited to one for years, but the last time I was, I explained that I didn’t ‘do’ fancy dress, and was more than happy to attend the party, if they’d like me to, but I wouldn’t be dressing up! They were fine about it, and we were not the only people to attend in our normal clothes, by a long chalk. Every time somebody looked me up and down and said ‘what have you come as, then?’, I replied ‘A party guest’.

 

Thanks, Jay, for some interesting questions, and if anybody else would like to play along and answer these on your own blog, feel free.  Let me know in the comments so I can come and have a read.

Places I Have Lived

I whiled away a happy hour early one evening this week down the rabbit-hole that is the internet, and somehow found myself on Google Earth looking up places I’ve lived in the past.

 And I thought it would make a good blog post.

 So here’s a whistlestop tour through the places I have lived in my (almost) 46 years on this earth.

 monktonMONKTON

 This is the house my parents brought me home to after I was born, and where we lived until I was 4 years old, in a small town near Bournemouth in Dorset.

ravensdale

 When I was four and just a couple of weeks after my brother was born, we moved to this house, where my parents still live today. It’s only a couple of miles away from the previous house, in a large village called West Moors.  When and if they ever sell it, I will feel a real wrench, and I’ve loved that William has been able to spend time in the house and garden where I grew up.

 torrevieja

 The summer after my A Levels, when I was 17, I lived and worked in Spain for the summer, and this is the apartment block I lived in with three friends (near right of pic, third floor as far as I recall!).  We were very close to the beach (you can just see the sea down the road on the left hand side of the pic). We had a brilliant summer, and I was sad to say goodbye to that apartment and my friends when I left (they all lived permanently in Spain).

pontypridd

 After my summer abroad, I moved to Pontypridd, where I attended the (then) Polytechnic of Wales. After a brief stint in halls of residence, I moved with four friends into this house, about half a mile away from campus. It still looks almost identically rundown to how it did in 1986!

 After my two years in Wales, I moved to Torquay to live with my boyfriend at the time, Jon, and we lived in various grotty rented flats over the course of that time, none of which I can remember the exact addresses of, so no pics.

 ships2

ships1

 After a year in Torquay, I said goodbye to Jon and to Devon, and went off to sea for four and a half years, where I lived and worked on board these four cruise ships.  (From the top, the ss Canberra, the ss Dawn Princess, tss Sky Princess and mv Island Princess.)  Happy memories.

 27 st clements

Whilst still working at sea, I bought my first home of my own, which was the downstairs flat in this building, in Bournemouth. I still own it now, and it’s been rented out to various tenants (stories within themselves, one and all) since I moved to Devon 20-odd years ago.

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 After a couple of very happy years in my flat, I moved to Devon to live with my then-fiance, Ashley, into his home, which was this terraced house in Torquay. It was grotty, and I missed my flat! Ashley still owns this house, and again it’s been rented out since we moved out in 1996.  I should point out that we’ve recently had it fully refurbished and it looks a lot smarter than in this old Google Earth pic now!

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 A couple of months after we got married in 1996, we moved to this end of terrace cottage in Combeinteignhead, a village in South Devon, where we stayed until 1998, when we moved directly across the road to …

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We lived in the thatched cottage and rented out the one on the left (originally a photographer’s studio built by a previous owner of the cottage) to Ashley’s brother and his wife, Although I’d always wanted a thatched cottage with the Aga and the inglenook etc etc, there were a lot of drawbacks once William was on the scene, and even more once he started moving around!

SCAN0151

 In this pic above, you can see how close together our houses were – the first one we lived in on the right facing, and the one we moved to on the near left.  We didn’t need removal men!

We did love the village we lived in and the people, though, so we stayed put until 2005, when we bought a converted barn in Denbury, another, slightly bigger, village.

IMG_2894

 This house needed a LOT of work (almost the entire inside ripping out and refurbing) before we moved in, which was the first time we’d taken on a project of this size, and was really quite stressful.  Once we moved in, though, we loved the house. And hated the location, more and more as time went on.  We stayed 8 years, by which time I was so over village life. And a move into town was on the cards.

 6637 front Aidans

Which brings us to our current home, which we moved into at the beginning of 2014, and where we are all three very happy. Here’s to many more years living here!