April reflections / May hopes

April reflections - May hopesWhere are these months disappearing to? I can’t quite believe how quickly April flew by or how far through spring we now are. April has been a little calmer, although still pretty full. We’ve seen friends, enjoyed some sunshine, taken photographs and celebrated at a baby shower and our anniversary – the latter in the beautiful city of Paris. For once I’ve even managed to achieve all of my goals!

>Reflections<

Do brunch – more than once would you believe! With friends and with my hubby, brunch has been wonderful. We’ve also discovered that other friends love brunch as much as we do so long may this leisurely meal continue in our weekend priorities!

Clear my laptop and iPhone of photos – yes! My devices actually seem to have responded and are working a little quicker… my hubby also updated the firmware on my Pentax Q camera and it’s as though it is now a brand new phone. So exciting! Nice to have renewed technology around the place without spending any money at all.

Make homemade GF granoladone. So quick and easy to make and you can make so many varieties. I kept it pretty simple this time round, but next time I think I’ll add in some dried fruit, nuts and rice krispies so that all it needs is milk and it’s good to go!

Make popcorn without a microwavethis was really fun. I love hearing the kernels popping in the saucepan! We tried a few flavours but I haven’t settled on one I really like yet. We’ll keep trying I’m sure, it’s a great snack!

Buy some sports clothes – 3/4 length joggers and 2 sports tops bought! Comfy, cute and easy to move in – check!

>Hopes<

May brings an end to my long commute as the office for my new job finally moves close to me, so hopefully I’ll have some time to stop and look around me a little more.

Take a class at the leisure centre – I may need a friend to drag me to this, but in principle I really like the idea of having a set time to go, work out and come home. I like the flexibility (and the free-ness) of doing Tae Bo at home but I need a little sports inspiration. With my new sports gear, I think I’m ready to venture out…

Don’t get sunburned in Turkey – I cannot wait for the last two weeks of May as one of my best friends is flying over from LA. With my hubby and another friend we’re all visiting a mutual friend who is teaching out in Turkey. It should be a really great holiday as I’ll be with four of my favourite people! Although, as my sister put it, this is such a middle-class goal…

Pin down a date to make an item of clothing – it amuses me slightly that my goal is to get the date in, not actually make the skirt. However, the person who will be helping with it is hard to catch so it may take most of this month to find a date we can both commit to!

Wash the car – it’s May, that means it should be sunny right? Well then, hubby and I can make sure we find a couple of hours to hand wash our car in the sunshine! I noticed when we were with my grandparents in Germany last summer, how well people take care of their possessions and I think that’s a really good thing to abide by. Not to have pride in what we own, but to steward it well for as long as we have it. For me, washing the car comes under that category and if I get a little time in the sunshine with my husband, all the better!

Get some more dates in the diary for fun things – some kind of watercolour or baking course, dinner somewhere posh and maybe a mini-break. That’s not too much to take on, right?!

So by the looks of things, May will involve some preparation for future activities, some time in the sunshine, a holiday and getting back in shape. Here goes!

Paris

Our third wedding anniversary happened to fall on Easter Monday this year, so we escaped for a long weekend in Paris. It was so wonderfully relaxing. We stayed with friends and I fell in love with the four-hour meals, aperitifs and slow-moving time. It was perfect. Great food, wonderful company and a magical city.

There is something about the combination of Parisian architecture, food, coffee, wine and even the smell that makes it quite enchanting and four days was an ideal amount of time to forget the rest of the world.

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If you’re a chocoholic in Paris, visit the Lindt café. We devoured a hot chocolate and mousse. It was basically melted chocolate in a cup, amazing!

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I developed a love of night photography when we were on holiday in Malta a few years ago and our hosts willingly played chauffeur for the evening tour of their home city. We set out about 9pm when the sun had set and spent about 3 hours driving around Paris taking photos of the city, alive at night. It was one of my favourite evenings.

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Such a fantastic way to celebrate our anniversary 🙂

No-microwave Popcorn

Collage - popcornI very rarely notice that we don’t have a microwave. We defrost food in good time in the fridge, we heat milk on the stove for hot drinks and we reheat leftovers either in the oven or on the stove. The only time I mind that we don’t have a microwave, is when I feel like fresh popcorn. Until, that is, a friend in Ethiopia mentioned they were making popcorn on their stove!

Why I hadn’t thought of this before, I have no idea, but it’s so simple! Just take some very hot oil and some popcorn kernels, put the lid on(!) and wait until the popping dies down to less than once every 15 seconds. You can take a sneak peak to see how it’s getting on, just be warned that you might have some excited popping kernels hop out of the pan!

Then, add your flavour – just sugar or sugar and salt is great. We tried cocoa and sugar (chocoholics as usual) but it wasn’t as good. Trying out new flavours is half the fun but I’ve yet to find my perfect combination.

It was fun though and we’ll definitely be making more!

Brunch

Collage - brunchBrunch is the most wonderful way to enjoy food at the weekend. There is no need for an early start, nor is there an expectation of having to be hungry first thing in the morning, which I’m usually not. Brunch enforces a leisurely pace where time can be infinite and there are no deadlines or chores. All that is required is that you eat when you’re hungry and make the meal last as long as possible.

Brunch is at its best when shared with friends. The day stretches out ahead of you and you can take your time putting the world to rights. The food has to be good and hearty – after all, it is technically combining two main meals – but other than that, it can be nearer breakfast or nearer lunch. It is whatever you want it to be and therein lies its joy. It’s dictated by you, not by the time or routine or tradition.

Whether it’s smoked salmon and scrambled egg on toast, or granola, yoghurt and fresh strawberries, brunch is really the way all weekends should start.

Baby shower – Twinkle, Twinkle theme

One of my closest friends is expecting her first little one. She lives pretty far away so she and her husband took a road trip – a ‘Big Bump Tour’ if you will – to see friends and family before baby arrives. While she was here, we took the opportunity to throw her a baby shower and I had the joy of planning it.

As they’ve chosen not to find out the gender of their baby, we wanted to keep colours and the theme neutral. So, with help from friends and Pinterest (of course!) we decided on yellow and white with a ‘Twinkle, twinkle, little star’ theme. We joined up with the boys for the second half of the shower so that we could all celebrate their anticipated new addition together.

It was such a fun afternoon getting to spend time with this precious couple, soon-to-be a little family!

Invitation – designed by the creatively wonderful Leah Eli

Cake!

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Food

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Stationery – all designed by Leah Eli

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Decorations

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Games – a nursery rhyme quiz, memory game with baby clothes, plus a couple of other games without photos – Fifty Shades of Lullaby and getting a baby’s bathwater to within 2 degrees of the recommended 37 degrees in the time it takes to play ‘Feelin’ Hot Hot Hot!’

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Gifts – as well as the traditional gifts, each of the girls bought their favourite childhood book and wrote a little message for the Mama-to-be inside.

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