Bad habits. Good food.

The last few months Husband Dave and I have been going to a church ‘home group’ where we meet every other Thursday in one of our homes and explore our faith with others. The last few weeks have been about getting into good routines and habits… which have meant cutting out the bad ones…!
One of my worst routines is definitely scrolling mindlessly through Facebook. I have it on my phone and when I sit down – for lunch, a cup of tea or on the loo- I would automatically click on the app and lose myself for a few moments. This is one habit I felt needed to stop!

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Making space for the fam {This is the funniest photo ever taken of us- looks like we are popping out in a von-trap style song!}

So after a few hours of being super strong and not scrolling – I found myself sitting down in the evening watching a ‘vlog’ (?!) on fb getting all annoyed because there was another noise playing out the laptop over the top of it. For the life of me I couldn’t find where this noise was coming from- I tried shutting down all the windows but still some music was blaring out over my vlog. How rude I thought. I stopped the vlog and realised the music in the background was some church music with the lyrics ‘God how I need you’. Oh great.

So, needless to say I have deleted fb from my phone (massive) and Husband Dave has reverted to using a bog standard nokia where he currently only has one phone number in it (mine!). We are slowly cutting out the noise from our world and making space again. The last few nights Husband Dave has been tinkling the piano, strumming the guitar, reading his book, taking Rosie for a walk… when before he would have been on some sort of device. We have felt freedom. Sometimes a little lost without the ‘go to’ habit of scrolling through the phone… But much more free. Definitely have a lot further to go, but am enjoying making space for

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Crazy kitchen state

creativity, relaxing and family time more than ever.

The meal that I made this week was Jamie Oliver’s spring chicken pie- I am a bit obsessed with filo pastry at the moment, so this recipe hit the spot! I loved the lemon and garlic element to this dish. Very zesty, although my kitchen did smell of garlic for a few days after, especially as I made garlic bread as well- (I think I used two whole garlic bulbs in total for this meal! ) and served with a salad. For pudding I made a lemon and ginger pie which is a friend’s recipe passed down from her Grandma and was a simple, but extremely tasty pudding- one I will definitely make again, and would even add another couple of lemons as I like the zestyness a lot!

I made it for friends who we are still just getting to know, so making new recipes that I have

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spring chicken filo pie

never made before felt a little risky. I was amidst craziness when they arrived ( I am not known for being a tidy cook)… the floors were still wet from me deciding to do a last minute mop (?!), every surface was covered with food, there was a pile of washing up…. but with a glass of wine in my hand, candles lit, this made for chilled out evening, and although I like having the meal in the oven, the table laid and the surfaces clear when guests arrive I quite like the reality that comes with the chaotic mess of cooking. The food went down well and washed down well with a glass of white wine. I would definitely make both dishes again.

We ended up in the sitting room in front of a roaring fire feeling at ease and had a lovely time. I will definitely remember that chaos in the kitchen is sometimes a good way for real life to shine through.

Big Love

Holly xxx

The last few weeks.

The last few weeks have all blurred a bit into one. With working, Theo entertaining, Rosie walking and general life doing, I haven’t managed to sit down and tap away at a blog. So, here are a  few of the highlights of the last few weeks

  • First date night of the year with Husband Dave(!) We spent the evening in a tiny olde
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    Rosie in the Daffs

    style pub sat in a dark candle lit corner musing over how we needed to do this more often.

  • Lovely walks in the woods with the fam. The Daffodils truly out. Summer is on its way.
  • A new make of a moussaka for a dinner party {loved the squidgy eggy topping}…Followed by-
  • -‘The queen of puddings’ A new fave pud in the house. The 3 homemade layers of custard, jam and meringue were quite the faff but definitely will be made again.mmm.
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    The queen of puddings

    Theo saying his first {naughty} word -‘poo’ when he sees it in his nappy.

  • Me starting a new tradition of  giving Theo a goodnight cuddle when I go to bed. He stays fast asleep but I get my deep, gorgeous, non-struggle cuddle. Many tears have been shed with this new tradition. I love it and never want this time to end.
  • Lots of exhausted evenings where I can’t heave myself off the sofa.
  • Walks in the rain with the family in tow. Sogginess.
  • Piles of washing to be done. done. and still to be done.
  • Having family to stay and enjoying seeing them all.
  • Theo and Rosie conspiring. Not too well- Theo will drop his food for Rosie to catch before I get there. Sometimes his aim is a little dubious… Rosie has had yogurt, banana and porridge dropped on her head in the last few weeks with no way to get to get it off!
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    Theo’s aim of yogurt for Rosie

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    Double trouble
  • Cleaning A LOT. A puppy plus toddler makes for almost constant cleaning of walls, floors, clothes, toys. Mainly everything -all the time. Yawn.
  • Marvelling at the speed of which Theo is learning and changing. He has got all the important body parts down…
  • Me being overly emotional about how much I love him and not being able to imagine what I would do if anything happened to him. A daily fear I battle with.
  • Deciding to delete Facebook from my phone. A revelation for my head.
  • Missing my Dad- Having a dog and walking more makes me feel closer to him…. And makes me miss him more.

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    A rare awake cuddle with this one
  • Having to deal with a lot of screaming and tantrumming. Not knowing how to deal with screaming and tantrumming… googling A LOT. and again. Still having screaming and tantrumming.
  • Going for a night out with my antenatal group of mums and realising everyone is in the same screaming, tantrumming boat… Enjoying letting our hair down.
  • Adoring Theo’s kisses. A new thing the last few weeks.
  • Having my hair done. A three monthly treat where I feel the world is put to rights.
  • Catching up with friends, sharing highs and lows. Feeling so thankful for them.
  • Eating lots of tea and cake <LOTS>.
  • Booking a mini break to a cottage in Cornwall. Our visions of big family holidays have reduced to a few days a short drive away…
  • Not feeling ready for another week of craziness to start.

Big Love

Holly

xxx

 

The Highs and Lows of Rosie.

The last few weeks I have mainly been racing after a toddler and a puppy. Hardly managed to sit down for a cuppa let alone a blog. A few weeks in and we have got into a bit more of a rhythm with Rosie, but we are definitely 100% more of a mad house than when we just had a toddler to race around after.

A few of the Highs and Lows so far…

  • First day I had with Rosie on my own -Trying to give Theo dinner as Rosie wees on the floor. Same sitting- Giving Theo pudding and Rosie poos on the floor. Theo in tears as I pause to scold Rosie and clear it up. Phoning HD in tears- ‘This was YOUR idea…! ‘
  • Teaching Rosie to sit, lie down and ‘Come’. Feeling super proud when she does it.
  • Shouting ‘ROSIE COME’ half way across the park whilst she totally ignores me. Wanting instead to roll over and flirt with a massive golden retriever called Finn. Feeling like I am the mum of a teenager already.
  • Watching Theo run up and down the garden with a stick and Rosie chasing him. Theo
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    Theo and Rosie in the garden

    squealing with joy.

  • Feeling like a super mum as I go out with Theo strapped on my chest in the sling and Rosie on the lead at 7.30 in the morning, giving HD a lie in. Not even getting to the end of the road and feeling completely exhausted by Rosie tripping me up and having to pick up her poo whilst I have a toddler strapped to me. Theo was NOT impressed.
  • Taking Rosie on her first long walk and her having to be carried home in HD’s rucksack as she was so exhausted.
  • Hearing HD glow about how much he loves walking her.
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    Making the most of the winter evenings 

    Rosie getting so excited to see Theo and bumping into him. Theo bumping to floor and bursting into tears.

  • Theo toddling over to Rosie chanting “DOG  DOG DOG DOG’ with his arms outstretched. Forever forgiving.
  • Letting Rosie out to go for a wee. Praising her when she goes. Unbelief as she comes in and poos on the kitchen floor right in front of me…
  • Lying in front of the fire with her snuggling in. Feeling like we are living the dog dream.
  • Watching the nephews run along the beach whilst Rosie chases the seaweed they are carrying.
  • Taking her out in the the wind and rain with my wellies on.
  • Slight unbelief at how much attention she gets. Nearly everyone want a cuddle. Cars slow down and point, and lots of “ooh what a cutie…’. And thats just HD.He loves it.
  • Hearing my mum report that Rosie is the loveliest, biddable dog… My mum is quite the dog pro, so this  glowing report was well received.

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    Best friends already

I keep telling myself it will all pay off in a few months when she is a little more trained and a little less mad… (please??!!). But generally, I am loving how much she has changed the rhythm of our world already.  Theo is desperate to go outside more than ever, we have been out for more walks in last 3 weeks than we have the last year, she is teaching Theo tolerance and how to be biddable… (…or not!) and we feel like she had made our family more outdoorsy and fuller.

With all the craziness I have managed to make a

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THE florentine

new recipe, which I have cooked three times (!) in the last two weeks. It is this one… Mary Berrys’ beef and spinach florentine.  I LOVE it. Possibly one of the best meals I have ever made. I love the filo pasty topping, and served with salad, garlic bread and a cold beer it possibly cannot be beaten. I would definitely try it if you want to try something a bit different, and Mary B just keeps it super simple which I love. If you come for dinner anytime soon there is high chance this might be on your plate!

Hope you have had a slightly less mad few weeks than us…!

Big Love

Holly

xxx

{Ironically, whilst I have been writing this, Rosie has been whining the whole time in the kitchen- and if I bring her in the living room she is racing around having a mad half hour-  so I have marched her down to HD who is down in his studio-shed saying he needs to take her for a bit.So…. The Highs and Lows continue..!}

 

New recipe. New Dog.

This week has been mad. Mainly because Husband Dave picked me up from work on Tuesday with a ten week old cockapoo puppy in the boot. Yes. We had planned it.

Ever since Husband Dave and I met we have talked about getting a dog. We both grew up with dogs, and knew that we wanted a dog to be part of our crew. Definitely since we moved to Devon getting a dog has been a frequent topic of discussion – ‘when’ rather than ‘if’. On the 1st of January, New Years Day, after another dog discussion and me looking some up that were for sale, Husband Dave announced ‘This, Holly. Is the year of the Dog!’ Hoorah!…

Of course, Dave being my husband, two weeks into January we had gone to see one to see some and 10 days after he picks me up with our new member of the fam in the car. 

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Rosie having one of her many cuddles

This is Rosie. She is from Barry Island- Wales. Which I have a soft spot for (not only because I love Gavin and Stacey) but it is also where I always went after uni exam season for a day of beaching and ice cream eating.

Rosie is a sweetie. An absolutely exhausting, lovely, sweetie. Together with Theo we have had my hands full and have been run-ragged this week, cleaning up poo and wee from both of them, I have felt like a proper ‘Mum’…! Trying to keep them separate, and introduce them slowly. Theo has been repeating the word ‘dog dog dog’ all day every day since we got her, and Rosie just adores him (mainly because they are the same size I think… and maybe because she likes smelling his nappy).16425773_10154825950540792_6883756772404115410_nSo. Yes, there have been tears. There has been complete overwhelming ‘What have we done?! moments (from Me)- Husband Dave has literally been in love all over again ‘This is the best thing ever…!’. But mainly there has the glow of having a new member of the fam who has already got us out more, made us laugh, relax in front of the fire, put our wellies on and stand out in the pouring rain. She will undoubtedly encourage more walks  on the the moors, the beaches and woods than we have done before as a fam… A positive shift in lifestyle

I have also (amongst) mass poo and wee managing… tried a new recipe this week. It was Jamie Olivers Fish Pie  and it was lovely- A summery take on a fish pie- there was lots of lemon, coriander and grated veg which made it very light. Husband Dave rated it 7.5 out of 8. (He said the max he could ever give a fish pie was 8 as he isn’t mad keen on fish)… I really enjoyed cooking and eating it. I think with any Jamie recipe the preparing/ making always feels so creative. 

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The final pie
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The raw ingredients

So, yes, mad, week, but lovely week. New dog , new recipe.

Hopefully next week I will have had to clean up slightly less poo.

Big Love,

Holly xxx

honey and lemon tea anyone?

This week I have drunk my body weight in honey and lemon tea. I have squeezed through ten lemons and made my way through a WHOLE JAR of my mums home bee-ed honey. And am drinking one as I write this. img_8779

I have had tonsillitis and have been trying desperately to avoid a hardcore round of antibiotics. Not sure I have succeeded. 6 days on, lots of aspirin gargles, paracetamol,  2 luxury- husband-provided lie ins and it still feels like I have a cheese grater at the back of my throat… I think its time…

In the midst of feeling like pants I also sliced my finger- while I was cleaning the bin (?!). This obviously was the end of the world as I knew it. I had blood pouring out of my finger , a big flap flapping around, me trying to hold it on with a tea-towel.

After a lot of phoning Dave. (No answer- not sure what I was hoping for- he was in London for a meeting), phoning my mum (who lives nearly two hours away) I got through to one my best friends. Fee. A nurse. She was at work and literally whizzed over in 3 minutes flat. Looked at my finger and said ‘I think your going to be ok’.

Relief, and a little embarrassed- for her to come over and see a small cut did not sum up

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the strudel

my uncontrolled sobs down the phone with me adamant I was going to lose my finger, or img_8785pass out from losing so much blood…I don’t know what I would have done. She cleaned it up, stuck me back together, made me a cup of tea, gave me a hug. I had crazy frizzy hair, no make up on, puffy, red, tear-streaked face, a bloody tea towel with soggy peas and pus covered tonsils. But felt completely loved and saved. A time when thank you is not enough.

Surprisingly, amidst this honey and lemon-filled week I did manage to cook a new recipe… I made a roasted veg and feta strudel. (From the WI….So it must be good- and it was). Although just after I’d popped it in the oven- after an hour and a half of preparing, Husband Dave saunters in not realising I’ve cooked and suggests we get a takeaway… uh….YOU CAN. I AM EATING MY LOVINGLY PREPARED WI VEGETABLE STRUDEL THANK YOU!! hhhmmmppphh.

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Mixed leaves and olives; pea, broad bean and edame bean with basil and olive oil; couscous with lemon, coriander, spring onion and apricot

I loved the eating the most. It says it serves 4, But it only served 2 of us (I did let HD have some in the end) – it tasted too good! I made a few salads with it and it was a winner. I would DEFINITELY do this again. mmmmm.

Anyway, hope your week has been better than mine!

Big love,

Holly

xxx

 

Mary Berrys korma and a blustery walk

This week I tried Mary Berrys turkey and grape korma curry. I definitely recommend this one.

I must admit I found it hard to keep to the recipe, but in the end I felt a strange sense of achievement for actually following through with making a new recipe that I would never usually try. ( Apart from I used chicken instead of turkey- I feel is an acceptable swap?!).

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The Korma

I loved mixing the spices to create a ‘from scratch’ curry paste. My father-in-law has recently come back from india and brought us back a selection of indian spices, bottled straight off the tree- so the flavours tasted fresh and strong.  I also loved the ground almonds and coconut milk- These two together gave a nutty creamy texture that I wouldn’t usually opt for in a curry ( I usually do a tomato based curry). The triumph though was the GRAPE. Who, apart from Mary would put grapes in a curry? I loved the fresh juicy sweet burst through the creaminess of the sauce. I may start throwing grapes in other curries more willy nilly. Yep. Willy nilly.

The other good thing was that this lasted well. I love leftovers! …Theo had it the next day for his tea, will a dollop of natural yogurt stirred through, and Husband Dave had it cold in a pitta and salad for his lunch. Overall it was a hit. ( Although HD said could probably have had a bit more of the spice to really make it feel like a curry…But I think he just wanted to sound super manly)…

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The rest of the weekend has been a hotch pot of  seeing friends, walks, family and church- also for me time this week I had lunch at my favourite cafe by the cathedral green- the plant. I had a goats cheese, mango and beetroot ciabatta, toasted. Im not usually one for goats cheese. But this was YUM. I may even try and recreate it at home.

Yesterday Husband Dave, Theo and I went for blustery walk along Exmouth cliffs and back along the beach. We left the house in a blur -after I was cross with HD for stamping his

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After the cobwebs had blown

muddy boots everywhere around the house literally seconds after I had hoovered, and HD was cross with me- arguing that it wasn’t ‘everywhere’… and then HD banged his head on the car door so hard he got a bump… So the walk changed us out of our head states, we blew away the cobwebs of the week (they literally blew away- well one of Theos socks did…) and we had a lovely evening with friends playing board games. (I am a little bit addicted to ‘Settlers of Catan’). We drank tea, ate cake and traded our way to victory…. and felt like the thirty something olds we were on a Saturday night….!

The weekends just whizz by so fast. I feel desperate to make the most of them whilst finding time to reflect on the past week, prepare for the week ahead and connect properly with friends and family. I feel we are stumbling our way into the week ahead, with a hope that next week I will take more time to REST.

Big Love,

Holly

xxx

New year. New Plan.

New year. New plans.

One of my favourites plans is Husband Daves… that he has ‘His’ day on a friday, where he hibernates down his studio and I see him every few hours where he pops in for a cuppa.

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My boys. my fave photo so far this year. Post picnic.

And  I have ‘my’ day on a Saturday ( which basically means family day). I do quite like this plan as I get to have a day with my baby, Theo on a Friday and a day with my fam on the Saturday…where I choose what we do. For me, someone who doesn’t really like ‘me’ time- this plan works for me.

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Me on the slippy, largest -gapped stepping stones- (Theo looking a bit worried)

I would like to do some of the walks we used to do as children and plough our way through this book– a gift from my mother in law, and is one of the most exciting books on the shelf.

 

One of my favourite plans for this year is to try a new recipe every week. I have got so many lovely recipe books and I always just go for my standards; spag bol, curry etc etc… So, I want to branch out and be a bit more adventurous with my cooking- Even if its just a salad or a scone… I want to cook something new every week.

The first Saturday of the year…Yesterday, we went to ‘Steps Bridge’. A walk I remember last doing about 20 years ago. It is just on the edge of dartmoor… Husband Dave, Theo and I ventured out with a packed lunch (including pork pie. The highlight- that Husband Dave asked me to get..until he realised the jelly stuff was from an animal… ‘Im never going to be able to eat pork pies again… ugh’-I don’t know how he has lived 33 years without knowing this.)

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Flapjack- I had to try it (a lot) before it had cooled

The main highlight was the stepping stones. I call them stepping… more like jumping-slippy stones…. along with having a baby strapped to your back peering into the water below made for a super team building family ‘walk’. We laughed. A Lot. Our feet got wet. We climbed over 5 gates. Ate homemade flapjack and we all had a sleep in front of the fire when we got home. The start of 2017.

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Roast veg – from Mary Berrys Christmas cook book

This evening I made a roast. My new thing for this year.Something I have always been super scared of… but this year I want to crack it . So I will be making regular roasts…(which HD is very excited about)

 
Roll on this year. I am looking forward to more cooking, wild walks and evenings in by the fire.

 

Big Love

Holly

xxx