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In Wellness

Mix a pancake

Stir a pancake, Pop it in a pan. Fry a pancake, toss a pancake, catch it if you can.

When I was little I never understood the ‘Don’t forget the pancake on Jif Lemon Day’ advert. It was extremely clever advertising to establish their product, essentially processed lemon juice, as synonymous with Pancake Day, but I didn’t understand it because we never ever ever had lemon juice (fresh or processed) on our pancakes.

Growing up, pancakes were firmly reserved for Shrove Tuesday (usually after an afternoon spent watching Shrovetide Football in town, but that’s a whole other story). It simply never occurred to me to eat them …

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In Wellness

2019 – full of promise

We have waved goodbye to 2018 and stepped across the threshold into a brand new shiny year. Welcome 2019.  New Year is usually a time for reflection on the past year and looking ahead (as the name January, derived from Janus the two faced God suggests), setting out where we’d like to be at the end of another 365 days. To be honest, I’m still trying to work out what 2019 should and will mean for me. But I know that my starting point is to focus on my comfort zone.

Or more accurately escaping my comfort zone, that sweet sticky trap in which we …

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In Inside

Mistletoe and December skies

He is nothing if not stoic, brooding on his watch tower  like a mottled tawny and brown drowned rat,  tail feathers scraggly forlorn and drooping down, raindrops dripping off the ends. His head turns and he looks straight down at me before swooping off silently over the fields beyond the road side hedgerow. This is how December has greeted us too; swooping and silent.  And somewhat schizophrenically with dismal mornings of endless rain giving way to glorious afternoons of blue skies and long shadows and back to evenings of gales and streams of rain. I yearn for a properly cold spell.

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In Wellness

A life with letters

When was the last time you wrote a letter? Not a thank you or a birthday/christmas card, but a letter just for its own sake, to write to a friend you haven’t seen for a while for instance? Or to a pen pal, if such a thing still exists?

My friends and I used to write letters over the holidays, at the weekend, in-between classes when we hadn’t seen each other for a few minutes. They were full of pictures and cartoons, our secret code words, …

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In Outside

12 years

This post is a little different from my usual – but it’s something I feel passionate about. I always have ever since I was little. And now the clock is ticking….

I worry about my children’s future – as any mum does. But when it’s October and the temperature gauge in the car says its 23 degrees and its warm until their bed time alarm bells start ringing. This, just a day after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that we have 12 years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen …

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In Family

I know what I did this summer

The first full summer we had as a young family in the countryside was difficult.  My youngest hadn’t yet started nursery, my eldest had been going three days a week. Our old nursery operated all year round, but this one was attached the primary school he would be starting in September and therefore closed over the summer holidays. And they have long summer holidays. I didn’t know the area well, I didn’t know many people, my husband had a work training course and was away a lot, the house and garden felt overwhelming. I remember feeling so relieved when school and nursery started. I was …

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In Outside

Blessed be…

…the fruit.

I used to think blackberries were only for picking in September; a truly autumnal fruit, so I thought. Every year I was disappointed to have missed the best of the crop. Amateur. Because the secret to blackberry picking is to go earlier than you think. The last couple of weeks of August is probably the best time, before the birds have pecked at them, before the weather rots them and before others pickers have been out. This year they seem to have ripened even earlier.

I have always gone foraging for blackberries – even in London on Putney Heath. Blackberry picking offers rewards …

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In Outside

August August

August, the height of summer, some may think. Or perhaps its depth.Either way this year has been the kind of summer that children store up as memory of all summers. Sunshine and barbecues, icecreams, open windows on hot nights and paddling pools.

In one of those neat word plays, August is named after Emperor Augustus, (after the latin for venerable or consecrated)  and originally had only 30 days. It was thought necessary to add another day in order that Augustus might not be in any respect inferior to Julius. Thus Augustus was exceptionally august in altering August. The only Augustus I can think of is …

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In Wellness

A feast with friends

July is all about the birthdays in our household, and this year there was a biggie. We planned to be in Cornwall for the birthday celebrations – we love it so much and is such a special place to my husband and his friends. Plus, for once, the weather was on our side for the clearest and warmest of July nights. Utterly magical.

We decided not to do the big bash thing, but invited 8 good friends to join us for dinner with a difference. Whilst both my husband and I enjoy cooking we wanted a night off to enjoy the company of those who …

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In Outside

Dog days and birthdays

Seamlessly we sweltered from June into July with a prolonged warm dry spell that children will remember in their adult years and adults will remember in their dotage. The dog days are truly here,  sultry days and still nights of heat, drought, fires, thunderstorms, lethargy, mad dogs and Englishmen out in the sun. Even the birds seem to languish idly in the suspended in the humid air, barely moving their wings for flight, as if it’s too much effort. The buzzard is more present and seems to follow me; flying over the garden, perched atop his telegraph pole on the school run. Hot and hungry …

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