Monthly Archives

January 2017

Found, Grooming, Shop

An attempt to glow.

I find sometimes all you need to right yourself is a few minutes sat down, a cup of tea in hand and some silence. I am a big believer in the power of us all needing moments of peace and quiet to help us get through the day unscathed.

A few years ago, I made the decision to stop eating and drinking dairy. It was a part of a larger lifestyle shift I made, a move to feel better within myself and my own skin. I had read a lot about the effects dairy can have on your skin and it all seemed to start to make sense. I have never particularly battled with acne or spots as such, certainly not more so than anyone else, but I do always find my skin to be the first sign that something isn’t right within my body. It can be an incoming cold or a sign I’ve eaten something I shouldn’t have, but my skin will become blotchy and dry. The kind of dry even copious amounts of moisturiser is not going to fix.  As soon as I removed dairy from my diet, my skin improved. It really was that simple. Removing refined sugar at a later date only went on to improve it further. Everyone’s body is entirely different and I am certainly no nutritionist, but it worked for me.

Every now and then I lapse and will give in to a bit of pizza with some cheese on. Perhaps I’ll buy some feta and use it in an omelette. I love cheese, so it’s tough to be going without it. The rest of the dairy group I am fine to be living without now. Each time I do give in however, well, it comes back to bite me in the proverbial arse. The blotches return, the irritated and inflamed patches begin to rear their head and the regret of that feta omelette slowly creeps in. For the most part I am good at sticking to a dairy free existence however. We all have slip ups. Feta shaped slip ups.

Along the way I’ve found one or two things that I genuinely believe do help me, which is where we come full circle and we arrive back to the discussion of tea. Having been an avid tea drinker (let’s call it what it is and admit I used to drink around 10 cups of tea a day) I have spent quite some time testing out the alternatives over the years. Perhaps it’s all psychological but this tea from SPACE. NK and KiKi Health’s collaboration has been one of my favourite finds. The taste is quite mellow – dandelion, nettle and juniper berries mostly, with a hint of spearmint and chamomile – but it feels quite soothing I feel? Perhaps it’s all in my head.

I find loose leaf tea is always a pleasure, it seems to ensure it isn’t a process you can do in a rush. You must take your time. As a result, it all becomes quite a therapeutic process in my house. The laboratory-like flagon the tea rather nicely arrives in just makes it all quite the event.

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Ate, Cook

Bitter Sweet Orange.

I like to cook dinner for people, it just makes me inexplicably happy. I enjoy a culinary challenge even more. For a number of years now my mum hasn’t been able to wheat; not a welcome ailment for someone with a sweet tooth. When she visits I like to try and cook something she won’t have had before, or at least something she won’t have had in quite some time.

This weekend my head was filled with the promise of spring, a curious thing amidst the snow and biting cold. Perhaps its simply optimism that spring is on the way or maybe it’s just because I bought myself some tulips for the dining table, but either way my head was firmly in the next season. For dessert I wanted to serve something fresh and citrusy, maybe even a little sharp. Over the Christmas period we seem to spend so long eating rich, complex flavours I felt I wanted the total opposite of for this week’s Sunday lunch.

Step forward bitter Seville orange tart. With a few adjustments to a recipe I’d bookmarked with a receipt sometime ago in Simply Nigella, the tart was made wholly appropriate for a celiac with a fondness for dessert. In lieu of a pastry crust there’s a ginger spiced biscuit crust, extra thick for a bit of texture against the creamy curd of the filling. There’s little denying that this is not one the healthier options I’ve cooked. Butter, sugar and a large quantity of eggs feature even if wheat and gluten are entirely missing. I’m not going to claim to have bettered Nigella’s recipe but I definitely don’t feel she’d scoff at the altered rendition. Short, sharp and filled with the promise of a warm spring day, the tart was swiftly demolished by all involved.

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Interiors, My Home

A lack of blue.

I hear a lot of rumblings about the pain January inflicts on a lot of people and I can’t lie, mostly it alludes me. January always feels fresh and new to me, even when faced with the arrival of snow and ice so thick my evening run became a game of chance. I think it’s the hope that comes with the light holding out just a little bit longer each afternoon that keeps me going. Spring is definitely planning its arrival, I just know it.

After a precarious walk across an icy moor I found myself faced with buckets of tulips, daffodils and hyacinths. I’m not naive enough to believe they’ve arrived in January by entirely natural means but still, I’m going with it. My mantlepiece is now fully stocked with fresh tulips, along with a glass jar filled with muscari, soon to burst open, a snip at only £4 from M&S. It sadly didn’t come in white so in a few times my mantle will be crowned by a vibrant purple.

I’m willing to accept that sudden outburst of colour if it gives me an element of hope spring really is en route. Until those buds open, I have tulips. Lots of tulips. Arranged in a bit of a ramshackle manner in a series of glass vases, bottles and jam jars I’ve amassed over the years.

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Design, Interiors, My Home

Blank Space.

For the most part I am aware of what I like and what I want, in an interiors sense at least. However I constantly struggle with deciding on what to hang on my walls. It seems such an important decision, even though I am fully aware that prints can be changed and frames can be switched in next to no time should I have a case of midnight regret.

When I think about how much time will ultimately be spent with it in my eye line, it makes it all the more important to get it right. The space behind my sofa in the living room has always troubled me. What exactly was I going to do with it? It is the largest blank space in my entire flat if you discount the extensive double-height walls of the staircase. (I do chose to discount this presently painfully magnolia space, as until it is reworked into a beautiful sea of white, it absolutely does not exist.)

In a spirited moment of potential creativity I purchased a large canvas to fill the space. Quite what I planned on doing to said canvas was as unclear then as it is now to be perfectly honest. It has stood propped against the place that may perhaps be its home one day for several months now. Blank. Very big and very blank.

As I now find myself the owner of the canvas I feel I really do need to see it through produce something for the space myself, although the fear of producing something altogether a little amateur is very present. Nothing is quite so upsetting as being made to admire someone’s bad artwork.

I think the ultimate problem – and the reason the canvas has found itself so unadorned for quite such a long time – is that I’m not actually too sure what art it is I do like? Let alone what kind of ‘art’ I’m capable of producing myself. So this week’s task is to try and pin down exactly what I want through the medium of a moodboard. Oh yes, I plan to moodboard.

Watch this (blank) space.

 

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