Lovely Things || September 2017

Lovely Things September 2017 1

Once again my call from September to HELLO October is a little delayed. This often happens around this time of year. The #bakeoffbakealong takes some time up, and with a fresh new season and what feels like a fresh new start, there are always changes to make at home and things to do. Perhaps the worst part is the slowly dimming light in the evenings, probably my least favourite thing about Autumn. However, making it an excuse for lighting an extraordinary amount of candles, digging out my tights and boots and jumpers, and cooking delicious meals long and slow. There have been lots of lovely things during September 2017, even if it has felt a month of winding down and settling. Unlike my usual praises of an Indian summer we haven’t been blessed with so many softly lit warm days as we’d usually expect, and instead the ground has been thoroughly watered! Still, with more time spent in our lovely house, there should be no complaints about the weather!

Working From Home

I’ve recently asked, and subsequently been given permission to work from home on a Thursday and Friday. The difference this has made to mine and Adams’s quality of life has been huge. I now come home on a Wednesday evening after my fitness class and then head back as normal at sparrow’s fart on a Monday morning. I love that I can actually live here anve have moved the majority of my belongings into our house, which has been fab. With a recently decorated office, I wanted to set up a routine from the beginning, so each working day get up early, shower and properly dress, get breakfast and take a coffee upstairs. Then, other than a quick wee every now and then, I’m in my office working hard with the door shut until lunch time. Accompanied of course by the wonderful Jo Malone dupes that Aldi has released recently. £3.99 for a beautifully scented candle in Lime, Basil and Manderin, Blackberry Bay, or my favourite, Pomegranate Noir. I’m just waiting for them to bring out Peony and Blush Suede and we’ll all be happy!

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Pedal Power

Ok, so we *may* have only been once so far (Thursdays have been unusually busy since I’ve been around in Cornwall for them) but would you believe it, we attended our first ever spin class.

Now I’d consider myself a fit person. Fat, but fit.

I do plenty of other exercise each week and work out quite hard.

Nothing prepared me for spinning.

To begin with I felt ok. From a non-cyclist (Adam has done a hell of a lot more than I ever have), I thought it was gonig alright for the first couple of tracks. Maybe I tried too hard from the get-go? Maybe my legs just aren’t used to the repetitive continuous strain? I was sweaty AF and physically exhausted before we were even halfway through. I mean, I literally thought at one point I was either going to chunder, or have an asthma attack.

I didn’t, FYI.

Then afterwards I felt pretty good, and as my heart rate slowed I actually realised I’d enjoyed trying something different and doing a challenge. We will go again, maybe even this week!

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The Devon Girls came to Cornwall

Seeing as I went to Secondary school in Devon, many women in my life could be referred to as the “Devon Girls”, but this bunch of ladies I’ve known for a very long time. As in, Alicia’s mum and my mum were in the beds next to each other when they were giving birth. Funny huh?

Having Alicia, Hatty and Charlotte to stay for the weekend was glorious. We had food, went for a lovely walk up to Rame Head (in the mizzle) taking photos and selfies like it was 2008, wondered around Kingsand and Cawsand, got absolutely drenched by the rain, and drank tea and ate cake in the shelter of a warm friendly pub.

Possibly my favourite bit was the rainy Saturday afternoon spent playing Harry Potter trivial persuit (with thi gal living up to her Ravenclaw name and studiously winning) and eating the Bake Off offering for that week – teacakes with cinnamon butter.

Sometimes it’s so good to see the people you can just be yourself around, who think of you as the strange geeky 11 year old you once were, so don’t care about you being a cool together 25 year old you now are trying to be.
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Bake Off Bake Along Week three bread - teacakes 6

A short stay in Southampton

For work during September I also attended a research colloquium on anaerobic digestion which was held at Southampton University. As a uni I very nearly attended, it was interesting to go back, especially as I got to spend a lovely evening with my friends Amy and Rob who now live there. Both with big cheese high flying jobs (think heels to work every day), it was fun to reminisce, and chat through life plans and hopes and dreams.

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Babcia’s 80th Birthday

My lovely Polish Babcia (granny) turned 80 in September! Firstly, what a grand old age ehh, but secondly, she’s such a young looking 80 year old. I think of her as a little bird as she’s tiny and sweet and has a lovely sing-songy voice. She’s also the #1 person who thinks I’m outrageous and hilarious and will 100% laugh at my stupid jokes.

It was so sweet as well – rather than wanting to go out for a big fancy meal to celebrate, all Babcia wanted was her family, at home, with a Chinese takeaway. Between Adam and I, instead of the local takeaway, we cooked up a Chinese feast of cashew chicken, crispy chilli beef, rice and homemade pulled pork spring rolls from scratch, and I made her a caramel apple cake which may or may not have already appeared on this blog. Having time with my immediate family and uncle was such fun and a really lovely day to remember.

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We picked 1000 apples

In our garden we have a very old, very crooked and small apple tree which this year produced the world’s most apples. I mean, I know I said 1000 and that may have been exaggerating just a little, but it felt like it! We’ve got many plans for cider apple butter, so watch this space!

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I finished upcycling my bureau and we got a Pia-pia-piano

As the house moves forward, we have so many projects to complete still. The #nofilter selfie below is proof of September’s task to smash up the rubble left over from smashing up the house in August. However, whatever we manage to get done is a step in the right direction, so I was really pleased to finally finish upcycling my bureau after my mum chalk painted it for me. I’ve lined the inside with the same wallpaper as the ceiling and I love how it looks.

The other exciting addition to the house recently has been the piano! Purchased from the local catholic church, it’s apparently a very old, very good piano that is just in need of some love. We’ve had the first tune, and just need another to lift it. Though my main instrument was the violin growing up, I taught myself the piano mainly from YouTube tutorials so that I had an instrument to sing along to.

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Partying hard

I’m being ironic.

Has anyone else noticed that as we get older, we favour nights in over nights out and sitting in your pjs chatting the night away is preferable over clubs. One of my oldest friends (length of time rather than an ancient friend) visited with her housemate during September so we had a tasty meal together, followed by a lot of wine, and the crossword…!! Turns out doing a puzzle as a team is really quite fun, especially combined with prosecco and *nearly* a crackling fire!

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Bake Off

As you will have seen, the majority of the posts on this blog recently have been Bake Off related. This being my third year taking part in the #bakeoffbakealong, I love watching the episode each week with the choice as to which bake I’m going to replicate. I’ve tried to take it quite easy this year, though I’m sure I’ll squeeze another extravagent bake out of the bag before the end of the series. It’s been fun and busy in the Hall Farm household, but I’ve still enjoyed taking time out each weekend to bake up some treats. You can see September’s bakes here:

Salted Caramel Apple Cake

Toasted Teacakes with Cinnamon Butter

Fortune Cookies

Pineapple Illusion Cake

The Bake Off Bake Along Week One - Pineapple Illusion Cake

Bake Off Bake Along Biscuit Week Fortune Cookies 1

Bake Off Bake Along Week three bread - teacakes

Bake Off Bake Along Caramel Week Apple Cake 1

 

So there you have it, another month summarised, and a lovely reminder in years to come of what I enjoyed during September 2017. I would like to say that it was a glorious Indian summer, but alas, not this year. As I’m already 8 days into October I have had a sneak preview of what this month holds so far and I can let you in on a secret – it’s a good’un! Hope you chicklets all had a good Autumnal weekend and I’ll be back tomorrow with this week’s latest bake! 

  • That sounds like a lovely September (and seems to have involved a lot of delicious sounding/looking food)! You’ve done a great job of upcycling the bureau, that wallpaper on the inside is so pretty – I keep wanting to do that with an old bookcase we’ve got, paint it white and put some wallpaper on the inside at the back. Also totally want to get on this Aldi candles bandwagon, seen a few people mention them now and they sound divine! Hope your October is wonderful xxx

    Sophie | Sophar So Good

    • Thanks Sophie! You should just bite the bullet and do it – I ended up doing the wallpapering after dinner one night – using wallpaper paste is much quicker and easier than any other glue, though I guess spray adhesive would also be quite quick too if you have that instead. Also, get yourself to Aldi, they’ve started doing diffusers too, and I don’t know how they get away with the scents being so similar to Jo Malone! xxx

  • I love your monthly roundup posts, you always pack so much in!

    I’m definitely with you on enjoying nights at home in your PJs, my clubbing days feel far behind me now, the thought makes me tired!

    Only found one Aldi candle so far, our local is constantly out of stock!

    • Oh no! I’ve been into a few different ones and I think I may have been lucky because they’ve just been unpacking full crateloads of them! I felt like such an old lady doing the crossword with a glass of wine and friends rather than out on the tiles, but actually it was a really lovely night! xxx

  • Woo thats exciting about the working from home! When I travelled for work, my work from home days were an absolute life saver! x

    • Yes it has been fabbbbbb so far, it makes such a difference when Adam and I can actually live together and do the boring stuff in the week (as well as, y’know, seeing each other more of course…!!) xxxx

  • What a lovely september (and I do love monthly recap posts so much!) – congrats on the piano (what truly makes a house a home!) and getting to work at home. I would love to have a job where I can work at home but in my line of work I don’t think that’s really possible aha. Hope you have an equally lovely October!

    • I’m so glad because I love writing them, it’s so nice to sit and summarise everything you’ve done in a month, it reminds you of all the lovely things you should appreciate – big and small! What do you do for a living? Luckily for working from home, my job mostly involves phone calls and computers, and if I have a site visit, well i just have to travel from here rather than from the office. xxxx

      • I’m not really working full time at the moment as I just finished my MSc, but I qualified as an occupational therapist, so when I start working it will be quite confined to whatever setting I get a job in!