London 3 times and a bikini

Oh hello 👋 It’s been a while… 3 years to be exact.  Is anyone still here? I keep meaning to blog but life just happens, lots happens!  I’m not going to go over the last 3 years. It will take too long and the past is in the past.  Today is more important and those four words are how I’m trying to live my life now (this is where the bikini comes in, keep reading).

Today I’ve got tired feet, a headache and a huge smile.  Today I drank cider in a park at a festival with special people. Today I feel grateful that I’m not going to London next weekend, 3 weekends in a row have been enough – Ed Sheeran, Foo Fighters and my son was in a show at Sadler’s Wells theatre last night.  Today I decided to blog again and today I bought a bikini.

Yep.  This bikini.

It may not fit and it’ll certainly show off my mummy tummy and squishy bits.  It’ll definitely show off the fact that my belly button isn’t central and that I’ve got one hip about 2 inches higher than the other and it will show off the fact that when I’m happy I eat! But when I find the confidence to wear it in the garden/at the beach I’ll know I’ve completely found the living for today attitude that I want to find.

💋 Ali

 

 

Can I have another one … ?

brownies

They taste like heaven!

I couldn’t ask for better endorsement for my new brownie recipe, could I? Brownies are our celebration cake, what the children ask for at birthdays instead of a traditional cake.  Today we were celebrating my 10 year olds success with her school in a recent dance competition 🙂  These are gluten free, sticky, chewy and downright naughty!  You can find my recipe here.

fougassepre

I made a rosemary and olive fougasse and a couple of chocolate orange loaves using the sourdough starter.  We had the fougasse with minestrone soup for tea, it went down a treat.  I can safely say however, that olives are not all of my children’s favourite food!

The fougasse rose beautifully, it was deliciously fluffy and light … nothing like my first ever sourdough loaf which was tough enough to be used as a house brick! The olives add a juicy saltiness that worked well with the soup.  I added 1tsp finely chopped rosemary to the dough mix, next time I’ll add 2 tsp as I wanted a more fragrant loaf.

Food brings people together … ‘the family that eats together, stays together’.

fougassebrokenfougassebaked

This is the chocolate orange loaf, it’s tasty but the orange flavour isn’t pronounced enough so more tweaking is required.  I’ll post the recipe when I’ve perfected the flavour.  Going to try some different orange extract next time and it’s an excuse to order from one of my favourite places, Lakeland Limited!chocorangeToday I was asked why I bake when I’m so busy raising my four children on my own and running a small business.  It’s not a question that has a simple answer.  Baking gives me time to put those errant thoughts in my head straight. Kneading bread dough for 10-15 minutes gives me the time to reflect, work out what is important, to let go of and accept those things that I can’t change no matter how much I want to change them. Yes, it would be easier to buy bakery foods from the supermarket and I’m not a slave to the sourdough (we still have plastic bread for school lunches) but  I wouldn’t get the satisfaction and the calm within me if I didn’t bake. It’s a sense of achievement.