A weekend of moving (!)

 Image via  Jacquelyn Clark

Image via Jacquelyn Clark

Hello! Happy July! How are you?

A LOT has been going on here. May and part of June disappeared into a university hole (another semester done!), I started a new role (so.much.learning, but it's awesome. I like learning), we went to Fiji (winter sun!) AND, after nearly two and a half years, we will be moving into our new apartment next week!

I am just so excited. We went to see it a few weeks ago and it's totally been worth the wait. Official moving day is not until next week, but we should have the keys in time for the weekend so we'll get some small things in and spend some time with Amelie there, getting her used to the place. We've explained the move to her a lot, but until it's done I'm not sure how well she understands the concept. This weekend will be good.

For those of you with more chill time this weekend (I hope that's most of you. I may be super excited but there is no doubt that moving is hard) here are a few fun links for your Saturday (or Friday afternoon! I'm not here to judge).

Anyone else find the subject of exfoliation oddly difficult but also important and fascinating? This is a great guide.

Joanna Coles is pretty rad. It's nice when people acknowledge that relaxing isn't all that for everyone!

My pinning to this board has really ramped up over the last couple of years.

Good advice.

Fast becoming one of our favourite easy weekend lunch staples

Have a wonderful weekend! x

 

 

A weekend of cramming

 Palm trees in the park on a rather summery autumn morning.

Palm trees in the park on a rather summery autumn morning.

It's so definitely time I did another Friday post...I have so many amazing links!

Before that though, the usual Friday excitement for the weekend ahead. What are your plans? If you're in the northern hemisphere I hope they involve enjoying some spring weather...and if you're in the southern I hope they involve enjoying some autumn weather...this is such a nice time of year, when (usually) nobody is facing anything too terrible weather-wise!

I have an assignment due for uni next week so my weekend is all in the title of this post. I'm sure I'll get some fun in somewhere as well though. With a toddler, there's no other option really; she neither cares about nor appreciates my need to study – all she wants is to play! Thankfully, there's H1 to help too (and it helps that Amelie is such a good sleeper as well).

So onto the promised amazing reads!

This adds more weight to my thoughts on buying clothes that can have a life with someone else when you're done with them.

The Cut is amazing and this article gives some insight into why (do you read it? You should!)

Do you take selfies? How do people react? (You'll see from my Instagram I really don't but this article is making me question why not).

Simple rules for healthy eating.

Haha.

Have a super weekend! See you back here soon (after my paper has been handed in I imagine...)

How I'm getting out of my cooking rut

What do you do when something you used to love becomes a chore? This has happened to me more than once with cooking, and no surprises there really – cooking can be so fun and creative, but it's also something that usually has to be done every single day, after expending most of your time and energy on other activities. It's not the perfect context for enjoyment.

 Lamb meatballs in avgolemono. Image:  The Guardian

Lamb meatballs in avgolemono. Image: The Guardian

For me, a bit of a mental shift was required. I've mentioned before how we do My Food Bag and what we do in the weeks when we don't get meal delivery. Most of the time, I don't love cooking that way, and that's okay with me – we have to eat! But that's because I don't really count it as cooking. It is something different, and cooking is when I have fun and get creative.

I realised the difference during the Christmas holidays, when I had a whole afternoon to get into my in-laws' kitchen and cook dinner for all of us, as well as some willing grandparents to look after Amelie. I chose what I was going to make in the morning (this part is as fun as the creation itself), headed out to buy the ingredients, and spent hours cooking in a relaxed and non-demanding way, knowing I could take the time to make something new and delicious for us all to enjoy.

I can't cook that way every day, nor would I want to (what's that they say about moderation?) But as part of my kind-of New Year's resolutions – or rather, little things to change and improve to make my life better, as I'm thinking of them – I made myself a deal that I would regularly make the time to cook this way. To keep myself honest, I actually set myself a challenge of cooking something new to me every month, as well as buying the very best of everything that I could afford (no compromises!) Unsaid in that challenge is that it has to be something with a certain level of intricacy that'll stretch my cooking skills – this is a challenge, after all.

We're into March now so it's time for round three. In January I made these lamb meatballs in avgolemono, and in February I made this aubergine salad with saffron yoghurt (twice, actually). This month I'm leaning towards something that'll make the most of these last days of summer. Any ideas for me? 

7 favourite foodie Instagrammers

Food is just the best, isn't it?! I got the chance to do some proper cooking over the Christmas break (e.g. cooking complicated recipes for fun, not just throwing some stuff together after work because we need to eat) and it reminded me how much I love really great food. I'm trying to cook something a bit more involved on a weekly basis now, and Instagram is proving to be a great inspiration. Here are some of my favourites...

Food52

A New York favourite that goes heavy on the pasta. I strongly approve.

 Image via  Instagram/Food52

HalfBakedHarvest

Tieghan just obviously has so much fun with food! And she's even written a cookbook off the back of her blogging, which is so impressive.

Ottolenghi

Yes, I'm a little obsessed, but Ottolenghi recipes are always worth the effort (and then some). His passion for the ingredients really stands out.

Williams Sonoma

Another New York favourite! Last time we were there we stayed so close to the Columbus Circle store...it was heaven. Williams Sonoma is cooking paradise.

La Cigale French Market

An Auckland institution. Pastries as far as the eye can see (and some delicious fresh veggies too).

Dish Magazine

Another NZ goodie. Mostly simple, beautiful food celebrating the amazing goodness we get here.

Smitten Kitchen

So much amazingness...but let's be honest, it's mainly about those puddings.

I know there are so many more I've missed! Who are your favourites?

Do your children eat dinner with you?

 Eating an early dinner in Takapuna one evening.

Eating an early dinner in Takapuna one evening.

I was brought up almost always eating dinner with my whole family, and without thinking it through too much I always imagined Amelie would do the same. Right now, however, her bedtime is between 6.30-7pm and by the time we're all home, unpacked and ready for the next day, there usually isn't time to eat together and still get Amelie in bed on time.

Thankfully, this doesn't mean it's always impossible. Occasionally we cook an extra meal over the weekend and have it for dinner on a weeknight; sometimes we have leftovers, and there are always weekends of course. On these nights, H1 and I eat earlier than we'd prefer, but it's worth it to get the time to eat with Amelie. I want her to learn that eating together is the norm, and that it's a lovely way to spend time with people you care about. I also find that she eats a lot better when she's eating with us – she's less likely to play with her food or throw it everywhere, and apparently our meals are consistently more appetising than hers (even when it's the exact same food). It's not unknown that we pretend to take spoonfuls from our own plates to give her so she'll eat it.

I also think it's best for her to eat the same range of foods as we do, and not to restrict types of food from her (as long as it's reasonably healthy). This has resulted in a couple of interesting situations – some tears over chorizo, when she realised she didn't like it as much as she thought she would when she demanded it; olives all down the front in a similar situation – and some surprising ones (like the time she decided she loved the saffron yoghurt in this recipe!) We try to trust her to work out for herself what works and what doesn't for her. This part's not too hard, fortunately – we save a small amount of our dinner so she can eat it the next night; we go out to eat a reasonable amount and ignore the kid's menu; and, of course, we try to get that time to eat together fairly regularly. It's really nice for all of us (in fact, it was one of the things I listed as needing more of in 2018 to keep me happy) and I'm grateful that it works well for us now.

How about you? Do you eat as a family, or do the children eat separately? Are weekends treated differently from weekends? Is it important enough to you that you compromise on things like your preferred dinner time to make it happen, or would you rather wait until your children are older and have a later bedtime?