What I’m Currently Reading ~ May ~ Part One

What I’m Currently Reading ~ May ~ Part One

 

the knife of never letting go by patrick ness

I was so excited to write this post for you as I am extremely into my two ‘May reads’ at the moment. I’ve separated this post into two parts (the second will follow on Sunday) and when you see the books I think you’ll agree that they needed to be showcased in a blog post of their very own. Two very different books but oh, so good!

The first title is a fiction book and one that I was very glad to indulge in over the warm and sunny bank holiday weekend. Recommended to me by a friend and on Mr D-Fs list to read as soon as I’ve finished is: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness 

If I say that this book is set in a dystopian future, I don’t feel like I’m doing it justice. Many of you might leap in the air shouting, ‘Whoohoo – that sounds like the book for me!’ While others might be put off by the mere thought of it. I promise it isn’t overly sci-fi at all, it could just as well be set in another country or in another time and the setting is so gently woven into the story.

The story itself is based all around some central, wonderful characters.  The book is heartwarming, heart-wrenching and a wonderful read. Thank goodness it’s the first in a trilogy and I can indulge myself further. Argh! I don’t want to give too much away and if I say almost anything then I might spoil it for you. The best advice from me is this: hop on over to Amazon or wherever and read the proper blurb. Go on, you’ll love it. Plus, there is an adorable dog in the story and he’s my favourite.

Let me know how you get on. H 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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Embracing My Inner Yogini

rose gold water bottle on yoga mat

Lucy Yin Yoga Teacher

the yoga lounge

Good morning and Happy Sunday!

Some of you may know that I practise yoga regularly at home. Especially on the days when I am sitting at the computer a lot editing photos and writing content, I look forward to getting out my mat in the afternoon, positioning it in the sunshine (when it’s there) and taking the time out to do some Vinyasa.  I have never been to a Yoga class in my life (or rather, had never been), possibly because I struggled to find where my favourite styles were being taught in places near to me or to find times which suited my rather haphazard timetable.

I was so excited when, a few weeks ago, the Yoga Lounge in Bournemouth invited me to join them for a morning to try out a class. I spent hours (oh yes, many, many hours) scouring their timetable trying to decide… did I feel like Aerial yoga (oh my goodness, yes I did) or hot Bikram or warming Yin. I was so tempted by the Aerial Yoga but the timings didn’t work out for me, I was not sure that I wanted to put myself through something extreme like Bikram for my first ever class and so I happily chose the warming blanket of a Yin session.

Our teacher Lucy couldn’t have made me feel more welcome. The class was busy and a wonderfully supportive atmosphere emanated from all of the Yogis and Yoginis. The studio was beautifully warm and I felt myself properly relax. After a good hour of holding positions and stretching I felt AMAZING! Honestly, I’m not over-exaggerating; it was one of the best experiences ever and if I lived a bit closer to Bournemouth I would be regularly attending that class. I felt the effects for the rest of this week, especially when practising Yoga on my own and when I went to my usual Zumba class.


miffy the dog on the counter top

miffy the dog

After the class, look who was in the reception area?! How cute is she?

The whole place has such a great vibe; dogs on the counter tops, friendly conversations and large open spaces. If you feel like trying out a new class or you are completely new to Yoga and want to see if it’s for you, I can heartily recommend The Yoga Lounge. My nerves at going to my first ever class in an unfamiliar place, pretty much disappeared the moment I walked in.

Please let me know in the comments if you have already tried out The Yoga Lounge, if you’re a regular or if you, like me, are an at home Yogini!

Have a wonderful rest of your day. H x

 

 

This post was sponsored by The Yoga Lounge, in that they invited me to join them for a morning and try out a class, however, my opinions are completely my own and my general rule is that if I don’t love something, I tend to not write about it! 

Lunch From The Sukha Lounge ~ Bournemouth

lunch from the sukha lounge

raw felafel, broccoli and cauliflower

sweet potato cake

Look what the lovely people at The Sukha Lounge left for me when I was in their vicinity last Sunday. They also had made me a matcha smoothie, which was green and frothy and delicious. I did take a photo and post it on Instagram, however, it didn’t last long enough for me to get it home to take ‘proper’ photographs – it was that good!

If you are as yet unaware of The Sukha Lounge; it is a vegan cafe which specialises in gluten-free and refined sugar-free food.  Such a perfect match for my current eating habits (I’m predominately gluten free and pretty much 100% refined sugar-free).  As they are not open on a Sunday, I took my take-away home with me for Mr D-F and I to share for lunch.

Our meal comprised of raw falafels (I’ve never had falafels raw before but these were so good), kale and mango salad with some raw broccoli and cauliflower, along with some zingy humous, which was amazing. For pudding, we had a slice of sweet potato cake, which I was expecting to be a strange consistency but it tasted like an in-between mix of chocolate cake and chocolate mousse. A combination I am very much in favour of!

I will definitely be going back to The Sukha Lounge on a day that it is open and after having another dreamy, green smoothie, I can’t wait to see what else is on the menu.

x

This post was sponsored by The Sukha Lounge, in that they gave me a free lunch, however, my opinions are completely my own and my general rule is that if I don’t love something, I tend to not write about it! 

 

My Newest Haunt (Yes It’s A Place With Food)!

the interior of Joshuas in Sturminster Newton Dorset

lemon and amaretto biscotti

coffee and walnut cake

a worried looking Miles

You are completely forgiven if you think that my life almost completely revolves around food (well, it does a bit) or that I spend the majority of my time, going out to eat cake and drink tea. There are two explanations for this; firstly, the weather has, once again, turned dismal and if I don’t get out and do something I can end up being marooned at home by the rain. Secondly, I am on a mission to discover as many Dorset places and events as possible and where better to start than the county’s myriad of wonderful cafes and tea shops.

The weather was so utterly wet on Friday that my friend and I (and her gorgeous son, Miles) took off to Sturminster Newton to seek a warm refuge in Joshua’s cafe. It is such a friendly, relaxed place to go. You receive a lovely welcome (from Joshua himself) and their cakes and chai lattes are delicious. We had heaps of coffee and walnut cake, pots of tea, chai lattes and it didn’t take much persuading for us to try their amaretto and lemon biscotti.  Miles was more interested in chewing the head of his squeaky giraffe than in our treats, but he did spend a fair amount of time covering a large radius of space around us in home-made sweet potato muffins and pea fritters.

If you are out near Stur and feel like enjoying a calm cup of tea without feeling hassled, head for Joshua’s… and if you see me (probably with empty tea cups surrounding me), please come and say hi!

x

Ooh, and I need to add… if you have any interesting suggestions for my next excursion, please drop them in a comment below. H x

This Week’s Bakes

This Week’s Bakes

 

close up of gluten free tart base

tart base of medjool dates and oats

gluten free refined sugar free chocolate tart

Can I just start by saying that this beautiful chocolate tart was a huge success, incredibly easy to make and can be made to be gluten and refined sugar free. However, this week’s baking adventure did not start out this confidently.

The whole story began with a conversation between myself and a friend of mine. It went something like this:

My friend (who shall remain anonymous): Would you like to come for supper on *this date*?

Me: Oh yes please. Can I be helpful and bring anything?

My friend: Yes, pudding would be brilliant please.

Me: Do you have any preferences?

My friend: No. Whatever you like…

(…and then she added): but it needs to go with Persian inspired food.

Me: Right. Ok then.

Which started me off in a grand panic. I googled, looked in my recipe books, asked friends – you can just imagine! Until I stumbled upon this recipe on Madeleine Shaw’s website.  I love Madeleine’s recipes, as well you know, due to their mainly gluten free nature (perfect for Mr DF) and generally refined sugar free ingredients (perfect for me). This chocolate tart is made from a base of oats and medjool dates and is finished with a filling of raw cacao, dark chocolate, more dates and a dash of espresso, which I felt would be a great compliment to a Persian main course.

The flavour is incredible but it is best eaten on the day that it is made.  By day 2, although still yummy, the intensity of the rich, chocolate flavour had started to lessen.  I cannot recommend it highly enough and when you taste it, you won’t believe the flavour that can be had with just a few, simple ingredients!

I’ll let you know how it goes down when I serve it up at supper.

Hx

 

A Sweet Send-Off

sweet potato and butternut squash soup

pretty glass tea light candle

stag head on the wall at the barn cafe

the most amazing rocky road cake

In my day-job-life as opposed to my blog-life, I am about to start at a new workplace.  An exciting change but also a sad departure from a place where I have been very happy for many years.  On my last few days, I was spoilt with cakes and presents, beautiful cards and good wishes and last Friday, we went out for a wonderfully indulgent lunch at The Barn Cafe.

Situated on the outskirts of Lytchett Matravers and nestled within a courtyard of shops, the Barn Cafe boasts a mesmerising selection of beautiful cakes and a great lunch menu, which includes freshly made soups and sandwiches.

I was relieved that we had reserved a table as it was so busy and the day was too cold to make use of the pretty outside seating area. In the short breaks in-between all of the chatting, we ordered rounds of pea and mint soup, butternut squash and sweet potato soup, as well as brie and bacon paninis with tortilla chips and salad.  Everyone had their eyes on a particular cake for pudding and it wasn’t long after our main course had been polished off, that we welcomed the arrival of enormous slices of Rocky Road, a rice crispy cake with chocolate topping, lemon sponge and a creamy chai latte (for me)! I am having a serious chai latte obsession right now (I think it’s because of the cold weather that we’ve been having and it’s just so warming and yummy)!

Our table was booked for someone else at 3:30pm and we’d all exclaimed at the beginning of the lunch how we would be long-gone by then… we all had different plans for the afternoon and in any case, we’d arrived at 12pm – what could we have to chat about for that long?! So you can imagine the shrieks when we realised that it was well past 3 and we were likely to be turfed out at any moment!

H x

 

What’s Growing On My Windowsill?

thyme seedlings in hand

cornflower seedlings on my windowsill

rosemary seeds on my palm

Dark and moody photos for a dark and moody few days.  Having not been able to get out into the garden to do any jobs, I’ve been resorting to greening up my kitchen windowsill in the hope that I can get seeds started before they have to cope with the crazy weather outside.

I was given a packet of Cornflower seeds by a friend along with a pretty, greeny-blue bucket to plant them in (I think you can get these in Marks and Spencer).  Although it is supposed to be a patio arrangement, the instructions suggested planting inside first, which I did.  I couldn’t get over how fast these seeds germinated; there were mounds of soil being pushed up by the sprouting seeds within 2 days. By the end of day 4, there were little green heads covering the soil’s surface.  The only downside to their speediness is that they have been very quickly bending their leaves to face the light and I need to continually turn the bucket around to encourage them to grow straight up. The minute the weather looks as if it is going to settle, I’ll put them outside to be surrounded by sunlight (ha)!

Mr D-F bought me a little present the last time he was out – a packet of Thyme and a packet of Rosemary seeds. Isn’t he a cutie?! The Thyme has germinated quickly, thanks to the warmth in the kitchen, but the small shoots have grown on much more slowly compared to the lightening-fast Cornflowers. I’ve been a bit disappointed with the Rosemary seeds as they haven’t germinated at all. It’s been roughly two weeks now and not a sign. I think I’ll need to ditch the seed idea and buy a small Rosemary plant instead.  At least that will mean that I can use the leaves in my cooking much sooner!

Please leave me a comment below if you’ve done any planting recently and let me know what you went for. x