Tuesday, 30 October 2012

An abundance of birthday fun!

I recently turned 29. Not quite 30, but I'm getting there and getting nervous about it! I decided that as this was my last birthday of my twenties, I ought to fill it with my favourite things, and that is exactly what I did!

I took the Friday off work, so that I could make a long weekend of it and spent the day getting very muddy in the Forest of Dean on my mountain bike. I know this blog isn't about my mountain biking adventures, but here's a little pic from the end of the ride:

On the Saturday, I had a real treat. The Mr took me to the Bristol Lido for the afternoon. This is a little bit of magic, tucked away in Clifton in Bristol, where you can swim as the Victorians did in an open air pool. We enjoyed a couple of hours swimming, steaming and hot tubbing in beautiful surroundings, before tucking in to a rather yummy afternoon tea in the bar area. This consisted of smoked salmon on toast, prosecco, massive scones and a pot of tea. It's safe to say it was entirely lovely. I'd certainly recommend it for a relaxing day out. Here are a few pictures from the day:

Yum yum!

So, to Sunday and my actual birthday. And how did I chose to spend it? Making pyjamas at a sewing workshop of course! I went with one of my best friends to Cordial and Grace in Bristol to eat cake and learn to make pyjama bottoms. This was another thoroughly enjoyable day in lovely surroundings and with great company.

The workshop was three hours long and in that time we each made a pair of pyjama bottoms with a tie fastening. This involved my first ever encounter with making button holes, and I have to admit, I quite enjoyed that bit (even if mine did come out a bit wonky!). It always feels so good to learn something new on the sewing machine and I'm now inspired to try some more sewing over the coming months.

Here's a piccie of my finished pjs. They are ENORMOUS and I'll be trying to take them in, but they were great fun to make and I think you'll agree that I picked some super fabric!

So, that was my 29th birthday done and dusted. I wonder what adventures the year ahead has in store for me....

Monday, 15 October 2012

Souping it up!

Well autumn is now well and truly upon us. It's my favourite autumn, for more reason than one. Firstly it gives us days like this:

That was in the lovely Wells on Saturday. It was one of those beautiful, crisp autumnal days that make you feel happy just to be alive.

But the weather is not the only reason to love autumn. It's the time of year when I start getting interested in cooking again. Through the summer it's all about salads and cold foods, but in the autumn I crave good, hearty food and so my cookery books come out and I try new things.

In the last couple of weeks, I've tried out two soup recipes. The first was from The Little Paris Kitchen recipe book (which seems to be on offer on Amazon!). I tried the chicken dumpling soup recipe in an evening after work. It was pretty easy to make, but I'm not sure I did it quite right! That is, I didn't like it!

I'd never tried dumplings before and I really didn't enjoy them. Whilst the flavours in the soup were scrummy, I found the texture of the dumplings a bit odd. But, according to the Mr, the texture was just right and the soup was delicious! So I think it might just be that I don't like dumplings...!

Has anyone else tried this recipe? I'd be interested to hear your thoughts...

The second soup I tried was a delicious concoction from Rachel's Food for Living, by Rachel Allen. This is a book I really like, as it includes recipes for things that I think everyone but me knows how to make. I recommend the lasagne recipe in it, that's for sure. On this occasion I tried the Spanish Chorizo and Chickpea Soup. I made it this evening and it was truly yummy. It's a very simple recipe and only took about 40 minutes to cook, but it's so full of flavour and surprisingly filling. I can't wait to eat the rest for lunch tomorrow!

 Here's a quick piccie:

Mmmmm! I do love autumn!