What I’m Currently Reading ~ September

What I’m Currently Reading ~ September

I feel as if I am the last person on the planet to read this book. More significantly, why has it taken me THIS LONG to read it? It’s amazing!

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Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman 

I’m about a quarter of the way through and I catch myself during the day eagerly looking forward to the evenings, which is when I can steal a chance to curl up and read a bit more about the goings on in Eleanor’s life. I’m probably talking to you right now and you’re like ‘I’ve so read this. Have you been living under a rock for the past year?’ 

But if you’re not thinking this and you haven’t read it. I cannot even find the words to describe how refreshingly different this book is.

I won’t spoil any of it. I will just say that I spent the first few pages being frustrated with Eleanor and the way that she deals with daily life and ultimately, the people she comes into contact with. Whereas, I now find that I have such a massive fondness for her. I would love to dive into the pages and experience a conversation with her. I especially, at this point in the book, would like to talk to her about her slightly alarming weekend intake of Vodka (…and why Vodka of all things?!)

Anyway. Amazing, amazing, amazing.

Madeleine Shaw a Year of Beautiful Eating Image 2.JPG

So my other book indulgence for this month has been, yes of course, a recipe book! The beginning of September and the cold, dewy mornings has inspired me to fill the kitchen with bubbling pots, crumbles in the oven and stews in the slow cooker. I am already a huge fan of Madeleine Shaw as she really helped us out when I was struggling to cook healthy, gluten-free meals for Mr D-F.

She didn’t come round and cook with me, or offer advice over the phone (just to clarify)! I just bought her first book Ready, Steady, Glow and was hooked.

Her more recent book: A Year of Beautiful Eating advocates the use of fresh produce when it is in season and therefore at its most nutritious. The recipes are set out into seasons and each has a breakfast, lunchbox, snack, sides and main course section. I always find with Madeleine’s books that she packs a lot of useful recipes into one book and you feel like you’re getting your money’s worth.

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We have already tried this recipe (above) and it is the first time that I actually enjoyed eating aubergines – so that’s got to be a good start.

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Also, for everyone who asked me about the recipe for these Oat and Peanut Butter bars that I put on Insta last week, the recipe is IN THIS BOOK! They need minimal ingredients and are so delicious. I think I made about six bars in the week. How many did I eat? One and a half. Where did the rest go? Well… you can guess I’m sure (sideways glance at Mr D-F, who is probably reading this and then shouting ‘What, they were good. Weren’t they meant for me?!)

A lovely recipe book, especially for those looking for less gluten and less sugar in their food. It gets a big tick from me.

So, that’s it for September reads. I’m going to continue to wistfully think of my evening reading nook and catching up with Eleanor. Are you into any good books at the moment or is life a bit hectic? Please whack in the comments what your favourite read of the summer was. I need something to fill the void when I’ve finished this one! x

This post contains an affiliate link – this doesn’t affect you at all, but if people purchase from the linked shop after clicking, it might eventually cause a tiny payout to me. What would I do with it? Probably go out for a cup of tea and a slice of cake! You are welcome to join me. x

 

 

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Travelling 1000 Miles For A Weekend Wedding

Well, not exactly 1000 miles, more like 995.2 according to Google maps. Nevertheless, it was a long way to travel for 2 days but worth it in every way as we not only got to fly, spend some time in the sunshine but more importantly, we got to be a part of the celebrations as Mr DF’s cousin and his lovely fiancée got married.

Apologies for any disjointed spelling, wobbly images or other glitches in this post (hopefully there won’t be too many); I’m currently typing as we drive through the mountains from Monaco, where the legal ceremony took place, to an 18th Century country house situated in amongst olives groves and vineyards.

As the internet connection is sketchy at best, I thought I would share just a few photos from the weekend for now, wish you a happy Sunday and have a proper catch up next week. X

Kayaking (And Capsizing) At Studland Beach

Kayaking (And Capsizing) At Studland Beach

This week, Mr DF was on holiday and instead of going abroad (and having to leave the dog – too sad a thought), we decided on packing the week out with day trips and catching up with friends.

One of the activities on our hit list for a while has been to try kayaking. Although we were tempted to go all maverick and try this out on our own with borrowed equipment, we saw a place that runs tours and training from Studland. After phoning Fore Adventure and talking to a really upbeat member of their team there, I was convinced that we were making the right decision and would have the best possible experience.  The bonus being that they provide you with everything you could possibly need.

(This is not a sponsored post – I just really rate these guys). 

 

fore-adventure

view-out-to-sea

The weather was perfect and the sea was calm. We had a practise paddle on the beach before we left and spent almost 3 hours out on the water.  Josh, our guide, talked to us about the marine life, rock formations, the history of Old Harry and (my favourite bit) – which seaweeds you can forage for and eat!

View out to Old Harry

Kayaking Around Old Harry

Old Harry On A Kayak

We travelled close to the shore, from Middle Beach to around Old Harry’s Rocks and back. It was quite easy paddling until we rounded the land at Old Harry where the waves were a bit more choppy. I actually found this bit more entertaining as we got continually sprayed with water as we hit the waves. The only frustrating part was when I turned around to check if Mr DF was managing ok (I was paddling like mad and we weren’t going anywhere) to find him with his paddle on his lap admiring the view! Ha!

Once back into the more sheltered waters we were given challenges and games to play; like swapping seats, kneeling up and then standing. It was during one of our seat swapping manoeuvres that the whole kayak flipped over and sent us straight into the sea. We were quite proud of ourselves, if a little soggy.

mint-choc-chip-ice-cream

boat-anchored

We ended the day by getting ice-cream and sitting to watch the world go by.  Very importantly I didn’t give up the traditional choice of Mint Choc-Chip, especially after I tried Salted Caramel – I just don’t get the excitement over it. Mint Choc-Chip is a winner, every time!

Let me know if you are thinking of doing some kayaking adventures or if you have any suggestions for our next activity. Just scroll down a little way, and enter a comment. It’s really easy. Promise.

(To everyone I have seen over the holidays and bored senseless with my crazy ideas, no, I have not yet tried skateboarding. There is, however, still time…)

Sunny Weekends

cinammon and ginger cookies refined sugar free

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Hello! I hope you are having a wonderful weekend so far. Yesterday in our part of Dorset, the sun was shining, the wind was warm and it was a perfect day for messing about in the garden. We tied back the roses that have gone crazy after all of the humid weather  and noticed that there are so many more buds this year compared to last. The aphids are still my nemeses but despite their recurring appearances, I’m hoping that before long we’ll have an explosion of beautifully-scented, pink blooms from my absolute favourite – The Generous Gardener (a David Austin rose).

The Hydrangea Annabelles are also looking particularly healthy (they need lots of water too) and should soon be opening up their striking white mop-head like flowers.

Finally, after many months of procrastinating, we managed to sort out the veg bed, bordering it properly and making a little fence so that *someone* doesn’t go digging in amongst the plants.  With help from the aforementioned little terrier, I roped together the cane supports and planted the sweet-peas.  We are a bit uncertain how well the veggies will do in this bed as it gets only partial sun during the day. We might have to adapt what we plant as we go along.

All-in-all, it is turning out to be my favourite sort of weekend; dressed in scruffs, running (or ambling) about in no shoes and lots of outside eating! (By the way, the gluten and refined sugar free biscuits in the first picture were really rather good. So easy to make and very easy to eat! You can find the recipe here).

Have a great day x

eating-lunch-al-fresco

The Opening Of The New Gin House ~ Wimborne

pouring gin

freshly-poured-gin-and-tonic

I was very excited to be invited to the opening of the new Gin House in Wimborne last week.  I have fond memories of having lovely dinners in The Tickled Pig before tripping over to the opposite side of the road to visit The Gin House in its former location. I loved the ‘secret club’ feel and the timelessness and wondered, if housed in a bigger place, would it be able to retain the same atmosphere?

I needn’t have worried; the bar area has become significantly larger and they have gained an upstairs area (for functions and gin tasting evenings) – therefore addressing the main issues of the previous site. However, the whole prohibition, speakeasy vibe is still very much intact and when you walk through the heavy velvet curtains after choosing your drink of choice, it is very much a place where secret meetings and cosy discussions can be had!

conker-gin

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laras-gin

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I took my friend Lara, who is a bit of a gin connoisseur and has particular favourites.  She was able to talk in depth with the staff behind the bar about local gins, botanicals and general gin trivia. I on the other hand (as I don’t really drink) was served a wonderful non-alcoholic tonic and herb mixture. Yum!

If you are also a gin fan like Lara, you’ll be pleased to discover that The Gin House is featuring more than 200 new gins as well as opportunities to book ‘behind the scenes’ packages that include bespoke menus designed by experienced mixologists.

If like me you prefer to enjoy something else, they have a range of interesting and tempting gin-free drinks to excite most tastebuds!

Although I was obviously invited to attend, I honestly thought it was a fantastic upgrade to the previous Gin House location (which I loved) and Lara and I are already planning our return visit. Come and say hi if you see us! x

 

the-gin-house-wimborne-exterior

 

A Quintessential English Day Out (One For Your Diary)

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Hello again! Just a little post to give you all the heads up that it is Turnworth in May this weekend (on Sunday 27th from 11am – 5pm). A village with which I have very strong ties and I can say with utter certainty that this event is a special one to drop in on (I say drop in, many people hang out all day)! There’s free parking and free entry, not to mention a massive array of homemade cakes and quiet spots to sit in while you take in the beautiful surroundings.

As you can see from the pictures above, there will be stunning handmade toys, bags and aprons for sale which are really one of a kind. Although, you’ll have to race me to the monkey! He’s mine! There will also be the very popular bric-a-brac stall, which is known for some quality finds for those with a good eye as well as the very well stocked plant stall. Just a word of warning, if you get asked to buy a picture of a cat – be prepared to haggle. (Sounds bizarre? Just you wait)!!

Many of the villagers will have their gardens open for you to wander round, hopefully in the warm sunshine and will be there to talk to you, if you wish, about what they’re planting and what’s been going on in the village. 10 points to the first person who spots a runaway tortoise!

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wisteria

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I will definitely be there to lounge about in the gardens and drink plenty of tea. Please come and say hi if you see me about. Have a lovely weekend x

 

Lunch With A View At Hive Beach Cafe

Lunch With A View At Hive Beach Cafe

Hive Beach Cafe

Hive Beach Cafe Deli

Whenever I tell people that I had lunch at the Hive Beach Cafe in Burton Bradstock for the first time last weekend, I am usually met with a similar sort of response; one of shock, awe and exclamations of ‘Oh we love it there, it’s one of our favourite places – did you take the dog?’

Yes it was our first trip to experience a meal at Hive, it was a beautifully sunny day and no, we didn’t take the dog! However lovely it would have been to have taken him, he was much happier playing with his doggy friends. I had visions of him slyly taking someone’s lobster off of their plate while we were deeply involved in our lunch. I would have been mortified and you might be thinking right now, that this was extremely unlikely to have happened except that it ALMOST did happen!

Mr DF was out of his seat putting another hour on the car-parking ticket and our food arrived. I was people-watching and generally day-dreaming when the most enormous Great Dane strolled past (oh my goodness, I love Great Danes – in fact after this event occurred, Mr D-F and I spent the next half an hour talking about how lovely it would be to have one in the family… sorry I’ve totally gone off point here)! So, yes, the Great Dane ambled past and was, as you can imagine, taller than the table. His head slowly turned towards me and my lunch and I am pretty sure, if it hadn’t have been for his wised-up owner and a firm grip on the lead, that he would have wolfed down my fish before I had even had a chance to take a sniff.

So you see. A close call, non?

cake while you wait

Cake while you wait for your table? Yes please!

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Every seat in the house seemed to have a wonderful view of the sea and I could have happily stayed there all day. We had fish for our main course and even though I was so full I couldn’t resist a mouthful or two of this pudding. Mr D-F ordered it and I asked the waitress, much to Mr D-F’s horror, for two spoons please! Argh! I’m the worst wife ever!

Then we had leisurely coffees and mint teas before it really was time to tear ourselves away and head back home. The most perfect day!

H x