See this picture? My phone thinks it’s me. It filed the photo under “selfies”. I’ll admit
I don’t often take selfies, so perhaps it doesn’t know what I look like, but this is going a bit far! If Oliver Sacks were alive he could write a book and call it The Phone that Mistook its Owner for a Lamp. I’ll let you know if it thinks I look like any other inanimate objects. This could be an ongoing thing. Perhaps it’s trying to tell me something: lightbulb moment/shady/let your light shine. Feel free to add any other lame puns.

Life in the small, quiet, pretty house is humming along quietly, which suits me fine. There was a new arrival a couple of weeks ago…a working oven. Cue the fanfare. It’s been a while, so as soon as it was plugged in I started baking like a woman possessed. There was date cake with caramel icing. There were monte carlos. There was Persian love cake. There were coconut sugar cookies. There was gluten free bread that was, though I say so myself, a triumph. It sliced beautifully, was the right combination of crusty and soft, and toasted well.

I was planning to share the bread recipe, but when I made it again it came out looking like a mountain in Norway:

Can you tell the difference? Neither can I. I’ll experiment a bit more and post the recipe once I know it’s reliable.

Baking again has reminded me just how much people appreciate home-made food.
I don’t have much of a sweet tooth anymore, but I love the ritual of baking and sharing and it makes me happy that such a small gesture makes other people happy. My colleagues at work devoured everything I brought in. A friend bought me the book Sweet, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh, purely out of self-interest, she said. My mission is to bake my way through the book. I think there’ll be quite a few willing taste testers.

On another creative front, a while ago I said I was going to try to make myself some clothes. In fact, I think I said all my clothes. Progress has been slow. There’s been a lot of cutting out and pinning and tacking but no actual completions yet. As I cut out the latest project on the floor it occurred to me that this could be how the phrase “to cut a rug” originated:

img_3637.jpgOne thing I’ve learned already is that making your own clothes is time-consuming and sometimes tricky but it’s definitely MUCH cheaper than buying them. And it’s fun!

There’s also been a bit of sashiko stitching happening:

There’s been nodding and guffawing while listening to Russell Brand and Ruby Wax discuss meditation on Under the Skin. It’s probably the best discussion I’ve heard on why meditation works, in whatever form it takes for you: mindfulness, prayer, guided meditation, mantras, walking or focusing on the breath. Or baking and sewing! It’s certainly been my experience that being able to step back from your own thoughts is
life-changing, and the more you practise it, the more able you are to do it.

So there you have it: a little bit of what’s been going on here. There’s been just enough time to bake, make, observe and listen in between the busy parts. All those little slices of life: small yet so satisfying and very much enjoyed.