The Olympic Summer of not Blogging

So I admit that the decision to take a break from blogging was quite a quick decision and I wasn’t sure if the break would tell me to stop blogging altogether or help me sort out the problems I was having (with blogging).

Rejoice!

Because I’ve figured it out and I’m back with renewed energy and some pretty darn good posts on the way! (Including a great giveaway starting on Monday).

Whilst the sun barely shon and the temperature hit 30 twice, the summer was busy. I finished for my summer break by telling you about the 33 things that were taking over my life.  I think we are down to about 25 things – I have green beans and runner beans for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but some of the vegetables have had their day and are finished.

Of course, I’m a London gal and the Olympics seemed to make everyone proud of their country and city and I couldn’t have been prouder of my home town.  I made a few trips into town beforehand and the bunting strung from nearly every lampost and the atmosphere all around was heartwarming.  Whilst we didn’t go to the Olympics we have got tights for the Paralympic swimming on the 7th and I’m very excited.

Top to bottom:

(1) The Gloriana travelling along the Thames at Barnes with the Olympic Torch; (2) Tower Bridge proudly displaying the Olympic rings; (3) Mum and I went into Richmond Park for the cycling event, crowds built up very quickly; (4) Runner Beans growing at the allotment; (5) The allotment looking from the compost to the shed; (6) Honeycombe & Chocolate Vienetta following a trip to Norwich.

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You’ll be pleased to see that I kept to only a few photos, Tower Bridge especially had lots of photos taken of it as I saw it open (which I’d never seen before).  The boat coming through the bridge had Rule Britannia playing which must be the most patriotic thing I’ve ever witnessed.

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How was your summer?

~ Pru

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33 Things

Pinned Image

Via Pinterest via Lara Rhyner

Last Sunday as we were leaving the allotment after a couple of hours of weeding, and building, and planting, we made a list of what we are currently growing. Want to know what that list reads like?

  • Tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Green beans (x 8 rows)
  • Peas (x 4 rows)
  • Swedes
  • Parsnips
  • Peppers
  • Chillies
  • Spring onions
  • Red onions
  • Runner beans
  • Squash
  • Onions
  • Artichokes
  • Garlic
  • Sweetcorn
  • Potatoes
  • Red spring onions
  • Broad beans
  • Shallots
  • Beetroots
  • Cabbages
  • Sprouts

At home we are also growing more tomatoes and leeks. I am proud of this list. I cannot wait to eat all the produce that we are growing, and to make jam and share these foods with friends. I wake up thinking about the allotment and garden and go to bed with further plans of how we can make it better.

I have come to the decision that to fully enjoy summer and all the other things going on beside the vegetables, I am going to take a blogging vacation. I’ll be back on the 1st September when I will hopefully be renewed and afresh!

Have a great summer!

;

~ Pru

P.S. I’ll still be on Twitter and on Instagram (find me at Perfecting Pru).

This Week Recap

This week has been a strange one.  I took last Friday off from work and then Monday and Tuesday were Bank Holidays so it was hard to keep track with what day it was at any given time.

A couple of things stand out for me (apart from the Jubilee).  Great Thai in Wardour Street at Busabi Eathai:

And a very quiet walk in Richmond Park with Violet scouting around trying to find a squirrel for her lunch.  (Which of course, she didn’t catch!)

And I posted twice this week and they can be found here and here.  How has your week been?

~ Pru

Where Brette Cooks From

A few weeks back I posted photos of my kitchen and I had such a positive response (thank you).  I love looking around other people’s homes, whether in person or on the internet.  I like seeing how people work in their kitchen and how they organise their cupboards and deal with saucepans and baking trays.

Brette, Founder of Martha Mondays was kind enough to share photos with me of her lovely kitchen and I hope you like them and are inspired by them as much as I am.

We re-did our kitchen about seven years ago and I still love it.  The tiles are glass, the counters are Corian, the floors are blue and the ceiling is faux tin.

This is the window about my sink.  On the shelf is my grandmother’s wooden rolling pin and a photo of my other grandmother with some baked goods she made.  I think of them both as my kitchen inspirations in many ways.

This is the counter where I do most of my work.  It’s between the sink and stove and there are lots of outlets for mixers. 

This is the other side of the sink.  It’s my second workspace, but dirty dishes and pots usually end up here.  The food precessor is here and I use that a lot!

This shows my double ovens and stovetop.  One oven has convection which I don’t use that often but do like having it available. 

This is my collection of cookbooks.  My big stand mixer is all the way to the right.  I rarely use it though because I have to pick it up and carry it across the kitchen to the counter I work on.

My embarassing baking drawer (yes, I really did write a book on kitchen organizing!)

I had never heard of (or seen) a faux tin ceiling but I like it alot.  There is something quite industrial about it, but in Brette’s kitchen it also looks homely.  And the little alcove for olive oil above the cooker is such a clever idea, almost hidden until you look carefully.

And I am certainly moving my baking trays from a horizontal mess (where they all collapse because I always need the tray at the bottom!) to them standing vertically.

I will confess too, that I have yet to show my baking box and cutlery drawers and they are completely like Brette’s drawer above (I take heart in that!)

I am so pleased that Brette showed her photos of her kitchen here.  And I love the idea of thinking about her in her kitchen when we are both cooking the same recipe for Martha Mondays!  Thanks Brette.

As well as being the founder of Martha Mondays, a group which I love being part of, Brette has written quite a lot of cookbooks (including a great one on cooking with parchment paper – no mess or fuss) and has a wonderful no-holds barred blog.

If anyone else fancies showing photos of their kitchen then please leave me a comment.

~ Pru

From Where I Cook

I am always intrigued by other people’s kitchens.  I love articles on kitchens, their organisation and I like thinking about other people cooking in their kitchens, like the Martha Monday’s girls.

So, I thought it would be fun to show you where I cook and maybe you might like to come here and show everyone where you cook and bake from (leave a comment if you are interested).

So, here is my kitchen.  It is open plan and needs to be renovated but at the moment, this is what its like:

I took this photo from the stairs so that you could see the general size.  The box on top of the fridge holds all of my baking supplies (and will be the subject of another post soon). 

Everything was moved around a couple of weeks ago and having the kettle and tea and coffee here (above the cups) and next to the drawer with the cutlery is making a lot more sense – I’m wondering what took us so long to make the change.

My little baking section.  The Kitchen Aid has changed the way I bake (for the better) and the recent addition of canisters for flour (the big one), icing sugar (the one on top) and sugar (big glass jar with metal top) make things so much easier.  The other jars contained brown sugar and ground almonds.

All the utensils right next to the cooker.  And two lots of measuring cups now (Martha Stewart ones and Kitchen Aid ones), and the BEST measuring spoons – down to 1/8 teaspoon.

And with spring here, the seeds have appeared – the herb basket was a present for my birthday and it has been such fun watching them grow – basil, parsley, chives and rosemary.

The view from the garden whilst standing at the sink is one of the best places to watch time tick by.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this litle tour.  I’m thinking of showing you the baking box, and the cupboards where everything is kept and also where the pots and pans are kept too.  I’m hoping that you may have some ideas on how better to organise everything.

Oh!  And if you fancy showing off you kitchen here, please contact me.

~ Pru

Writing to the child you sponsor

From Pinterest and Tara Adams’ board

Recently, a lot of searches have been about how to write to a sponsored child.

When I first started sponsoring I trawled the internet for ideas and found a few things, but not much.  The one thing that did stick out was that you should write.  Send a card or a postcard from your holiday or a letter.  But for goodness sake, send the child something so that when letters are delivered she has something to open.  An article I read detailed how two siblings were sponsored and one child received letters and the other didn’t.  The child who didn’t receive letters didn’t excel at school and felt as though they had done something wrong.

Disclaimer:  I am no expert.  I have learnt a few things along the way and I thought that I would share them with you:

Write regularly

I aim to write once a month.  I find it easier to carry on with my letters that way rather than starting afresh each time.

Look at the Calendar

January you can write about Christmas and New Year and your resolutions.

February is Valentines.

March or April will be Easter.

May and June the warmer weather has arrived and there are pretty flowers in the garden and in the park.

July and August are perfect for showing photos of any holidays.

October is Halloween

November if Guy Fawkes Night.

December is Christmas.

And round and round it goes.  Also, there are birthdays and outings which you go on.  These all add to any letter that you write.

Themes

For my February card I sent a Valentines card (with a big glittery heart) and some heart shaped stickers.

This past year I have sent postcards with the royal family and a little bit of history on them.

At Christmas I send a Christmas card.

A letter on plain white paper is great, but a letter on coloured paper or a pretty postcard or card is so much nicer.  Think about what you would rather receive.

Mix it up

I like to include photos (either an actual photograph) or a digital photo which I print out with my letters.  If I am writing about my favourite flowers in the garden I take a photo so that Gift knows what I am talking about.  I include photos of Violet my dog and of me and my family.

Also, I sometimes type my letter, sometimes its a card or postcard.  I write with a green pen (which smells of peppermint) one month, and then a pink pen (which smells of strawberries) the next.  I do different fonts of the computer and try to make sure that no two letters look the same.

Remember who you are writing to

In my case, I write to a ten year old girl.  I hadn’t realised at first, but her age is not representative of ten year old girls in the UK.  No Justin Beiber or Facebook and iphones.  Simple things, write as if you are writing to someone a few years younger than their actual age.

Is it boasting?  Will they understand?

I struggled with this at first.  If I showed a photo of my garden with pretty flowers was it going to suggest that I had a huge amount?  What if I showed photos of going out and eating ice cream?  Would she know what this was?

Stop.

Here’s the thing.  Don’t go writing about receiving hundreds of presents for Christmas or how every night the butler brings you cocoa in bed.  Write about Christmas and what you did and include a photo of the tree, just don’t show the huge pile of presents.  Don’t over-think these letters too much either.  You may have more material things than the child you write to, but there is nothing to say that their life isn’t richer than ours.

Simple letters with words about you and this will work well.

Gifts

Until recently I was never sure about sending a little present.  What I have learnt is that stickers are acceptable – I try to make them go with my theme and only send them every now and again.  For Valentines I sent 60 stickers with hearts to Gift.  In the letter I explained that she should share these with her friends and siblings.

With the Olympics around the corner I am putting together a pack all about London.  Paperchase had these great stickers on London and I will be putting those in with my letter.

Turns out that letter writing isn’t that hard.  It doesn’t have to be pages and pages, but something fun and creative is always going to be nice to receive.

I am sponsoring Gift through Action Aid.  Find out more details here.

Pru

What’s On My IPod

When I saw Gemma’s tweet I was a little bit scared.  Actually very scared.

See, I like all the corney music.  I have some of the ‘classics’ but alot are songs that I hear once on an advert or in a film or programme and then have to have on my ipod (although currently new songs I just put on the iphone – alot easier).

So, I hit shuffle and this is what happened:

1.  Teeth, Lady Gaga.  I would actually be pressing the forward button on this one.  I don’t like this song.

2.  Dancing Queen, Abba.  I knew this would happen, I even mentioned on Gemma’s blog that Abba would pop up.  I admit it.  I LOVE Abba.  Have seen the tribute band twice, seen Mamma Mia on Broadway and love the film.  And I sing along to Abba at any given chance and I just don’t care!

3.  Doctor PressureMylo vs Miami Sound Machine Oh, I love this song. I can play this over and over again.  I love this version and the Gloria Estafan version, but this version more.  It was one of the songs I walked to when training for the Moonwalk.  The Gloria Estafan video is cool too and so very old.

4.  Everybody Wants to Rule the World.  Tears for Fears.  I used to jump around to this song when I was a child and I know all the words.  Am at my happiest shouting singing this song whenever it comes on.  Love it.

 

5.  Honestly OK, Dido.  It’s not my favourite song, but hey, it came up on shuffle.  And thats all I have to say about this song.

I had such fun writing this out and listening to the songs whilst writing this post.  Such great fun.  Turns out that I am quite a mover balancing a laptop on my lap, typing and listening to the songs on You Tube!

Thanks Gemma!

~ Pru

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