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Simple pleasures

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Now that we're in to September and autumn is on the way, I thought I'd take a little look back at some of the simple pleasures I've enjoyed over the summer. It's not my favourite season by any means, but there have been aspects of it that I've enjoyed, especially now that we're becoming settled in our house and have got more furniture set up around the place.

Baking

After a hiatus of nearly two years, I've finally started baking again! I used to bake nearly every weekend when I lived in London, my housemates were generally out of the flat on Sundays so I could use the kitchen to my heart's content in the afternoon. When I moved back with my parents I didn't really have the inclination to bake, especially as it's my Mum's kitchen and there's always something going on there. I made one batch of cookies while the rest of the family was on holiday, but that was it.

Now that we're settled in the house and there's less decorating to do at weekends I've started to pick it back up again. A new colleague started in our office recently so as a welcome I baked some chocolate chunk cookies, which turned out very nice. Then this weekend I had three quarters of a lemon left and decided to make lemon fairy cakes, which have also come out nicely. Once I've got back in to the swing of baking I'd like to try some new things, I've got recipes for shortbread and a chocolate loaf cake which I'd love to test, and I've never made a lemon drizzle cake or a Victoria sponge, so getting to grips with them would be nice.

When it's warm enough to have the windows open
I'm not a fan of hot weather. I've probably said that on this blog before, but it makes me feel sweaty and gross, and I hate walking around when the humidity makes it feel like a sauna. It's the main reason why I'll probably never visit Florida.

But that doesn't mean that I can't enjoy good weather. I like it when it's sunny but not excessively hot. I particularly love being able to have the garden door and all the windows open, allowing a lovely breeze to circulate around our house. We're really lucky, when you open the garden door and the window in our bedroom you get a lovely current of air. Plus our living room has a large window overlooking the back garden, so I love to sit indoors in the cool, looking out across the grass, with the door wide open so I still get some fresh air!

Keeping plants alive
It's the miracle of miracles! You may remember from my post about my week off back in July that my attention has slowly been turning to our garden. There was so much to do back in March that there wasn't really a chance to do much with the garden, apart from cut the grass and see what was growing. But in July I set up two hanging baskets and some plastic troughs with petunias and lavender. The petunias went a bit mad and grew quite large, they're now starting to die back a bit (helped by me forgetting to water them, it's rained so much I wasn't sure if they were too damp or too dry, turns out they were a bit too dry). But the lavender is coming along nicely, it's taking a while to grow but I'm hoping that it'll survive the winter and grow back in the spring. My mother-in-law is a keen gardener and has loads of lavender so I'll be asking her what I need to do with it to keep it alive in the cold weather.

I'm just generally impressed with how well they've survived. It's amazing the difference the petunias make in the hanging baskets, they light up the whole of the front of the house. I really hope they grow back next year, but if not then I'll be happy to plant new ones, maybe in purple rather than magenta, or maybe a mix of both!

Visiting new places 

If there's one thing summer is good for, it's visiting new places. As we're still new to the area we've moved to it's been a real pleasure to occasionally get out for a little drive and then stop somewhere for a walk. Along with visiting some of the local villages around our way we've also been up to Hedingham Castle and down to Maldon, and I've had a little visit to the lovely old town of Coggeshall. I also had a nice walk along the river near where we live and found a load of blackberry bushes, but sadly didn't have a walking stick to hook down the really good berries at the top!

Obviously with autumn all we need to do to go out is wrap up a bit more, so I'm hoping that we'll be able to visit a few more places before it gets too cold for my warmth-loving husband to want to venture outdoors. I've got a book of walks around Essex that I keep intending to use more, so we might see about going for a nice stroll somewhere soon.

I hope you all managed to enjoy some simple pleasures in the summer, and that you have some lovely ones in autumn too :)

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