homestead :: domestic bliss

There is no denying that it has turned much cooler since the unexpected mini heatwave over the recent Bank Holiday weekend, but like most people I feel that we have said goodbye to summer now….ready or not.

My first reaction has been to swap the cooler cotton duvet cover for the extra warmth of my cosy flannelette. This seems a little early compared to other years and I may even throw on a blanket tonight or just grab a hot water bottle. The heating has started to come on in the mornings too now so the temperature must have dropped low enough to trigger the thermostat. Are we possibly looking at a long cold winter? I may need a new warm coat.

The kitchen is a blissfully warm place to be right now. After months of salads I am ready for a change to warmer, more satisfying meals using root vegetables and pulses and looking forward to roasted veggies with a good handful of herbs scattered on top and our favourite nutloaves. I am also being mindful of minimising our food waste and using up all the vegetables from the weekly shop in whatever creative ways come to mind.

We ended the week with a few oddments – a couple of leeks, one carrot, a courgette and two baking potatoes – once chopped I added some celery and onions together with a packet of brown lentils and made a good old warming Lentil Stew – enough for two days. Eaten with a chunk of bread and butter it was everything that I love about autumn food.

Whilst browsing my recipe books looking for some new ideas I noticed a recipe for Carrot and Walnut Loaf that I haven’t made for a very long time – a bit different from our usual nut loaf – vibrant warm colours with the mix of carrot and tomato paste – so thought I would make some to freeze ready to take with us to the cottage – when we eventually get to go. We have only just got the car back from the garage after 3 days…..I was expecting a very large bill… that you have to sit down for……however, due to one thing and another (won’t bore you with the details) the lovely garage man only charged us for the parts and no labour costs.

It has become almost a daily ritual for one of us to make a batch of soup – this week I made tomato and red pepper and a healthy green soup using a bag of the ready washed watercress, spinach and lettuce – throwing in celery, leeks and frozen peas – plenty of iron and no doubt calcium. I had a recipe for parmesan crisps that I have wanted to try for ages – I can tell you they are simply more than moreish and keep crisp in the fridge for days. I will add the instructions to my recipe tab.

The blackberries we gathered are now partly cooked and in the freezer. This little fellow below crawled out of them, luckily before they went into the pot.

He is so cute and so tiny – I have never seen a snail so small – he is on some kitchen paper here and magnified in the photo – measuring only about 0.5 cms in reality, smaller than my little finger nail. After surviving the ride home and then being rinsed in salt water I decided he should now have the freedom to live in the garden. I might regret that!

This is the longest few days we have had at home for the last two months so there has been a lot of ‘jobbing’ going on here. Plenty of domestic chores – stripping beds (as well as walls) , scrubbing floors and generally all those day to day normal household tasks. And lots of tea – mostly ginger, sometimes green or even just ordinary black.

But in and amongst and during some of the rainy days I have been sorting through my kitchenware – this is a category I both love to collect (mmm…. just how many blue patterned bowls do I really need) and find hard to part with. The one in one out rule does not work here so the new drinking glasses (only £4 for six from IKEA) – although they are a replacement still needed a home. The paper cocktail umberellas are used when Little L comes to stay – she always takes her glass of milk with one and a stripey paper straw of course – it has become a bit of a tradition now, granny’s little treat. I always loved them when I was a child and my granny used to save them for me when she had been out drinkng cocktails. I can’t say I go out for cocktails in the same way – mine just come courtesy of Sainsbury’s!

Progress on the pantry is steady – DH has stripped the walls of both paper and the old magnolia paint beneath and has started filling in holes. The back window wall needs a skim of plaster as does the ceiling – so now we wait to have someone come to do that.

The garden has been an absolute picture of colour this year and there are still plenty of bright spots here and there – but the colder wet weather is certainly bringing them to an end sooner than usual. It has been touch and go with the outdoor tomatoes but at last I think they are on the turn – just a little more sunshine should do it. Little L helped me sow a few more lettuce seeds – I may have to make some kind of cloche to help them on their way.

We have been busy cleaning and putting tools away in my new shed, which is now painted a lovely shade of grey and ready to take the harsh wet winter weather here. The festoon lighting has been taken down – drying off in the airing cupboard to prevent any rust. I decided they seemed a bit too delicate to be out over winter. I felt a bit sad to see them go and the garden feels a bit empty at night without the little trail of lights streaking across the darkness.

My dad’s old stool will have to go away too and the garden seats covered if this rain ever stops long enough for us to get all the outside jobs done. With such a turn in the weather there seems to be more of an urgency this year to get everything under wraps.

And surprise, surprise in my inbox…..I only mentioned that I needed this the other day as I was running out of face cream – a 20% discount voucher from Neal’s Yard. I decided to stick with the intense serum but drop to the cheaper Hydrating Frankincense cream to save a little money. I also had £12.90 in reward points to use so the two items were a lot less than expected.

The Liz Earle shampoo was covered using my Boots advantage points so I was well pleased with my savings this week. In fact the whole week has been quite a low spend week which is a good start to the month.

I decided I need to ease myself back into some craft work and hesitantly took the baby jumper I had been knitting out of the basket – I abandoned it sometime in May whilst making the Christening dress and never got back to it. I really couldn’t remember where I had left off but had a faint recollection that it involved some hand sewing of the seams before I can knit the last little bit of rib around the hood. I am pretty sure it will be far too small now for Sweetie so I only hope that Freddie might like it despite the bit of pink.

I have almost finished the first of the library book stack The Life of Stuff – an interesting read though I am glad to be at the end as hoarding is quite a depressing subject. I am dithering now between Christmas at Thrush Green and Not in your Genes for my next read. Do I want to be entertained or educated….

Have a lovely weekend everyone and welcome to new readers.

11 Replies to “homestead :: domestic bliss”

  1. I’m pleased that you have finally had some time to stay home and do jobs about the house for a while. It sounds like you have got a lot done.


  2. You paint a beautiful picture of domestic bliss.
    I’ve done the same as you this week and switched to a brushed cotton sheet and duvet cover. It makes such a difference. I’m not sure how early I did this last year.
    The cooler weather is creeping in and it wont be long before I pack up the garden and make preparations for the winter months ahead. So many jobs to tick off my list. X
    P.S. I’m sure there are rules that allow unlimited quantities of blue patterned bowls in a home! 😆


  3. Violet told me this morning that she feels she will be needing a hot water bottle to take to bed with her from now on. I scoffed about it as I’m still too hot (think it’s my age!), but I have to eat my scoffation. I’ve shut windows because it does feel very cold today. But that’s fine with me, I’m going to be cleaning the kitchen soon, but wanted to stop by here first.

    A decent collection of blue & white bowls sounds absolutely fantastic to me. No need to thing them out at all!
    I see you have ‘Gifts from the kitchen’, I love that book. It’s thanks to that book that I learnt how to make pretty sugar heart cubes, and the extended the idea to use it to make grass on for my gingerbread houses at Christmas. Some of the recipes and ideas are beautiful.

    You have certainly been busy, busy, busy! So much going on, and yet you’re still cooking scrummy things from scratch. You put me to shame.

    OH, and reading your previous post, I looked at a few photos and felt that I knew the place. But didn’t think it possible. Then I read it was Buxton, and I remembered. At 16 I had to go to a residential course there. Hated the course but loved the area. It is beautiful. thank you for the memory, I’d all but forgotten.

    Have a lovely weekend. xxx


    1. I have mainly white dishes and the blue pattern breaks up the starkness which is lovely but I often see more in the shops and am tempted. The ones in the picture are my favourites and not for out. The patterned ones from a past sale in Sainsbury’s and quite inexpensive, the little blue hand thrown ramekins were a gift from a very good friend.
      I have made one or two of the sweets from the Gifts from the Kitchen Book – that is a keeper too. You can see how hard it is for me to declutter anything!
      Buxton is well worth visiting if you like buildings and old fashioned shops and that feeling of time standing still. xx


  4. What a lovely post. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I so look forward to making some of the warming dishes you describe once it finally cools off. Evidently, I must wait as high temps are still forecast in the 28-31c and humid range. Will certainly appreciate the cool days when they arrive. Wishing you some sunny days to finish up your outdoor chores.


  5. Can you read both?
    The blue bowls are gorgeous and I could covet them huguely if my colour scheme was blue. As it is, I just love them!
    It’s turned jolly cold here too although we’re still getting plemty of sun. I’m hoping for what we used to call and ‘Indian Summer’ soon so more tomatoes ripen quickly. The runners are nearly past it. There’s a few more beans growing but precious few flowers now. A shame.
    And how lovely to have a pantry! Lucky you.


  6. Those bowls are lovely, so I’d be keeping them too! I love the idea of your granddaughter’s posh glasses of milk. Start the way you mean to go on, I say! I was starting to get the garden ready for winter, but it seems summer has made a resurgence in the last few days.


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