Thursday, 2 July 2015

June

What Catey Made Next... | June
Cidona - scrummy fizzy apple juice I lived on in Ireland; Week 24; Sunset on our last night in Ireland; Gluten free chocolate cake - a Harry Eastwood recipe; The Sovereign Cup boat race; Thai Lobster Bisque in the Bulman; The Bulman Pub in Summer Cove, Kinsale; The view from our holiday cottage; A little bit of door love; Happy toes in the sand; Lemon and Blueberry Drizzle Cake at the Lemon Leaf CafĂ© in Kinsale; Looking back towards Summer Cove from the Town of Kinsale; My gorgeous husband; Yogurt and Citrus Potato Salad Recipe; Summer Wish List; Early morning baking; Holiday beach selfie; Paperchase haul; Chicken and Waffles at Splendid Kitchen; Sunset in Cheshire; A sweet note from my MIL; View from the train window; Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris; View across the valley from Mossley, Pretty early morning sky; His and hers Lego Star Wars keyrings; View of the Canal from the train; A little sunshine for the birthday girl; View from the kitchen; Roasted tomatoes, before and after; Guacamole in the making; Our living room in Cheshire;  Morning rainbow; The Runcorn Bridge from the train; Lemon and honey with chamomile tea to soothe a cold; Sunbeams at sunset on the last day of June.


Oh gosh, what was the weather like yesterday?  I meant to write and publish this post, but the heat did for me, it's no picnic being pregnant in the summer!  Wowzers!

Any way... June!  Where did you go?  In fact where did the first half of this year go?  I can hardly believe that time has gone so fast this year!  But this month has been a good one, I've felt more like myself than I have in ages, I've been doing things that I enjoy again, my emotions, though still quite volatile, are more under control, and apart from this heat and the swollen ankles, I'm coping with what pregnancy is throwing at me, and beginning to enjoy it, rather that just loving what it means for me.  Also, we had a wonderful relaxing holiday on the South Coast of Ireland, the weather was beautiful, the scenery stunning, the people friendly and the food was delicious, what more could I ask for!

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I'll be on a bit of a hiatus for the next few weeks, we move in to our new place on Saturday but it looks as though we won't have internet for a while :(  So blog reading and writing will be at a minimum!

Hoping that June was good for you too, and that July treats you well, see you all on the flip side!

Friday, 26 June 2015

Books: January to June

What Catey Made Next... | Books: Jan-June

After a year where I hardly read, I've been trying to make 2015 the year where I not only read every day, but the year where I read a wider variety of books.  I made a list of titles at the beginning of the year, some of which I never would have considered before, some of which I would and some that were recommended to me, my only rule is to give it a go!  Below are my thoughts on the books from the list that I've read so far, any books not on the list haven't been reviewed (mostly because they were they type of thing I was trying to get away from).  I'll hopefully be doing a post a month like this from now on.

Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch - I love the Peter Grant series and this was no exception, even though we took a trip to the countryside and left London behind, all the usual factors were in play, magic, mayhem and mischief, just with a few more trees thrown in.  But for anyone who hasn't read the pervious books it could be a bit off putting as it really feels a bit rushed, there are continuity errors and random words in the middle of sentences and a little bit too much assumed knowledge/understanding of the Grantiverse.  For me this was put-up-with-able though.  Recommended, but only after you've read the rest of the series.

The One Plus One by Jojo Moyes - Nice easy read, the most ordinary and relatable setting of any of her books that I've read, I just loved the everydayness of it.  Despite the cringeworthy mistakes made and other issues the protagonists go through (things that would usually cause me readers-stress) I really enjoyed this and felt happier for reading it.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell - Oh wow, I adored the way this book made me feel... young and light and fluttery, full of the butterflies of young love, Rowell captures the bittersweet awkwardness beautifully.  It's not all light and fluttery though and the darker moments bring balance.  If you haven't already, please read this book.

Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy
 by Helen Fielding - I was a big fan of the first two books and this one felt just like catching up with an old friend, Bridget is unmistakably still Bridget, still as funny, still as whimsical, but just older.


Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn - I was very disappointed with this book, especially after all the film hype, it took me ages to really get hooked, both in pages and in time, as I found the beginning so boring I could sometimes read only barely a paragraph before I had to put it down.  I did get hooked somewhere a long the line and enjoyed the plot twists but the end really annoyed me.  The main takeaway from this book for me was, that when the baby comes and I only have limited reading time, I will still give any thing a go, but I will be abandoning my usual philosophy of once started, must finish.

Looking For Alaska by John Green - I like YA books, they don't shy away from difficult topics, but still feel like light relief.  Despite what happens in this book, it still feels quite innocent and made me glad that that age is well behind me, that I have life experience and some control over my emotions (pregnancy hormones not included!)  Quick easy read, nothing ground breaking but really enjoyable.

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green - Enjoyable, easy read, lots of anagrams.  Not much else to say really, but that is not to say it's not worth a read.

Landline by Rainbow Rowell - Brilliant concept, makes you consider the unique aspects of your own relationships and while you may not have a landline to your past, you can always make more effort to work on the promises you made to the ones you love. Very enjoyable read.


How to Build a Girl
 by Caitlin Moran - I loved this book, I laughed the whole way through!  I've seen a lot of criticism for it around the internet that I don't really understand, yes the main character is quite weak and horrible at times, but at the end of the day she is a teenager trying to find her way in the world and what teenage girl isn't horrible at some point?!  Very real life, very honest, very well written, give it a chance, your laughing muscles will be sore but you'll be glad you did!


One Day by David Nicholls - Perfectly imperfect love story. A bit of a slow starter for me, but soon picked up pace and totally captivated me. The format is clever and each snapshot provides just enough information to build up a full picture of both Dexter and Emma's lives. I loved the true to life awkwardness and the big love down played. Such a good read, even if I am late to the party!


Then We Came to the End
 by Joshua Ferris - I really wasn't sure about this book at the beginning, it's written from the collective perspective and I spent quite a while trying to work out who was 'really' writing it, which one of the characters was speaking for all of them.  When I eventually let go of my need to know, I really enjoyed it and began to think about the collective aspect.  The way that we may think we are separate, or different, or even better than, the group, and we all do have our own little crazies but in the end when we spend time in a big group, we really are all just part of the collective.  Very interesting and thought provoking.


Have you read any of these books?  What did you think? Do you have any recommendations for me? What are you reading at the moment?  I'm currently reading both Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (you know, for a bit of light relief from all the scary giving birth malarky!)

Happy reading,

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Before the Baby Comes and the Summer Ends...

What Catey Made Next | A Summer Wish List

I love reading other people's summer wish lists, finding out what their dreams for the warm weather are, what they hope to achieve and enjoy, where they see life taking them on these light nights and long days.  My favourites are always those that involve activities for little ones, maybe because i'm a big kid at heart, or maybe because I've been looking forward to been able to make my own kiddo friendly list.  Soon enough my time will be here and I'll be writing out lists tailored to this little wriggler.  For now though, I have one final summer to do as I please and lots of time off to do it in, and doesn't the summer solstice just seem the perfect day for a summer wish list?

So before the baby comes and the summer ends I want to...

Enjoy our last holiday as a family of two... currently taking place, and so far so good!
Make fruity ice lollies and lots of ice cream
Move in to our new (but temporary) house, and make it feel like a home
Finally get a wedding photo/photos printed to put on the wall
Make something for the baby, quilt/blanket/soft toy/all three
Make my own maternity clothes
Finish January-March project life
Go swimming
Join the library in our new town
Enjoy lazy summer breakfasts
Convince someone to invite us to a bbq (as we sadly won't have our own garden)
Get to know our new neighbourhood and find some new favourite places
Enjoy my baby shower with my lovely ladies around me
Make it to the beach once or twice
Learn how to use at least one manual function on my camera


What wishes do you have for your summer?  Leave me a link and let me know if you have your own list, i'd love to come read it!

Wishing you a happy summer solstice...

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Yoghurt & Citrus Potato Salad Recipe

Yoghurt & Citrus Potato Salad

Although maybe recipe is not the right word, this is more of a pic 'n' mix of ingredients that you toss together.  Nothing complicated here, nothing ground breaking, just yummy potato salad, the perfect carb accompaniment to summer meals when a jacket or wedges is just too much.

I love potato salad... when it's done right, the supermarket stuff just does not cut the mustard, way too creamy way too heavy, way too... that taste at the back of your mouth that is just odd and acrid, yuck no, not from the supermarket, never from the super market...  except from maybe M&S, but only the really good stuff, the one with cucumber and salmon.

Yoghurt & Citrus Potato Salad

I like my potato salad to have a light creamy dressing, that tastes fresh and zingy, and be definitely more potato than dressing, I like crunchy bits in there, a bit of bite, some piquancy, colour and herbs.

I made this yesterday to go with marmalade ribs, salad and guac, it was good: tasty and satisfying but also light and summery.  I used baking potatoes, because that's what we had in, chopped small, skins on, because i'm lazy, I also got distracted slightly overcooked them, not ideal, but not a disaster.  If I were to shop with this in mind though I would go for a nice small waxy potato.

Yoghurt & Citrus Potato Salad

I sometimes add radishes to this, or celery, anything really that has a bit of crunch to contrast against the yielding potato flesh.  Sometimes mustard goes in too, just a teaspoon, preferably wholegrain.  Different herbs have been added, parsley, mint, basil.  I like spring onions in here too.  I might use lemon or even orange juice.  Sometimes I leave out the capers or gherkins, or add in different pickles.  Salad cream is often substituted for the mayonnaise, or I go without either.  And of course it goes without saying that if there are no vegetarians around (very rare) then little bits of crispy bacon or chorizo can be added.

The only constant with this recipe is the potato, the yogurt, the citrus soaked onions and the seasoning, everything else is part of the pic 'n' mix.  I've given amounts in the loosest possible meaning of the term, really you should just go with what feels right for you: Want more of something?  Add it!  Don't like something?  Leave it out!  Think something else would make it better?  Go for it!

Yoghurt & Citrus Potato Salad

5 medium baking potatoes or equivalent of potato of your choice
3/4 tub of low fat super thick Greek yoghurt (my favourite is Fage Total 0%)
Tablespoon of mayonnaise
5 small gherkins chopped
Juice and zest of 1-2 limes
1/2 large red onion (or one small) sliced in to thin slivers
1 generous tablespoon of capers
Good big bunch of chives chopped
2 cloves of smoked garlic minced...or normal garlic or even lazy/dried/frozen garlic
Seasoning

Cook your potatoes, leave to cool.

Meanwhile mix your lime juice, zest and red onions and leave to turn pretty and pink and mild(er) in taste.

Mix everything together, taste and adjust to your liking.

Serve.

Yoghurt & Citrus Potato Salad

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I have so many things I want to blog about, so many draft posts that are waiting to be fleshed out, but yesterday it felt good to get in the kitchen again and create, not to set the world on fire with my genius recipe but just to potter and make and take photos, with my real camera (which I realised I've missed sooo much) and then hop straight on the laptop and write about it.  Yeah it felt good.

I know my me-time is limited now, my life is changing and my ability to do this will be, if not gone, then few and far between.  So that is why today's post is about potato salad, because it's what I had in me, it was something I could do, just because I felt like it, had the time, and the motivation.  Potato salad, just because, seems to me right now, like a really glorious thing!

Wishing you a summer full of me time, glorious moments and doing as you please.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

February, March, April and May: Projects

12 Months of the Rainbow
  
Yesterday I shared a little bit about life over the last four months, today I'm sharing an update on the progress of the projects I started at the beginning of the year.

12 Months of the Rainbow - I did pretty well during January and February (see that gorgeous purpley/dark blue goodness), but my enthusiasm trailed towards the end of February (the peak of my nausea and exhaustion) and on to nothing in the last few months. I do still love the idea of this project though and you can see how wonderfully it would work just from the small amount of photos above, but I think it's something I’ll have to leave for another year now.

Reading list – Although I have read almost every day, I've only read 7 books from the original list so far, and one or two that were added as recommendations.  I did slip back in to old ways for a while and read a bit too much of the kind of easy, fluffy books I wanted to move away from... but generally I feel I’m doing well, and hopefully I'll get round to doing a book report soon.

One Little Word - I do still like the concept of this project, and hope to try again in future years, but I'm afraid that the word I chose this year turned out to be both a bit vague and a bit too all-encompassing, if that can possibly make sense?!  It’s as though I was trying to change my whole life with just one slightly lacklustre word.  Even with all my plans for the different areas I wanted to focus on, DO just turned out to not have the motivational properties I needed.  I think if I do OLW again (and I hope I will) I'm going to focus on one area of my life that needs help and a word that will help me get where I want.  So a bit of a fail for now, but we don’t learn if we don’t make mistakes!

To Do Lists - even though DO by itself was a little vague for me, I still love a good to do list, and even when I wasn't posting them I was still making lists and attempting to tick things off, it’s how I get things done!  If anyone remembers my February to do list, i'm quite happy to say it's actually almost all ticked off, not all of it completed in February, and just one un-ticked item...
Read every day – yes
Send post to my far away friends – yes
Apply for my passport – yes, received!
Continue to organise our paperwork – yes (ongoing)
About Me page  - yes Category pages - in the works
Made it down to the Albert Docks – yes, twice!
Most happily…
Start my project life album – yes!
The only thing left on the list is being unrestrainedly creative, but it was probably a big ask from someone who spent a lot of time sleeping… definitely something to work on though!

One project I didn’t mention, but did start was a 365 project which sprang from last year’s growing fascination with the ever changing sky, a picture every day for a whole year.  Of course, I did actually forget to take a picture on the first of Jan, not the best start and clearly the way I meant to continue since I’ve only managed around 90 out of 155 days.  But I just keep going, and I do love looking back at them all together, which is what I wanted when I started, so in the end it doesn’t really matter how many there are.  I’m hopefully going to add a page for them so you can join in my sky gazing awe.

It feels good to have recorded these last few months here, especially since we moving on to the next part of our adventure soon!

I hope that this year has been good to you too...

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

February, March, April and May: Life

I thought I would kick off this month with a roundup of the last four… today some highlights and what life has been like, and tomorrow a bit of an update on all my other non-baby-making projects!

A visit from my Mum, War On Drugs gig at the Albert Hall, Wandering around Albert Docks with Laura, New Shoes,  Exploring Liverpool, Odd mist while driving over the hills, Exploring Manchester with Tim, crossing the Mersey every day, Flowers from Elkie, Wire rhino sculpture seen on a day out with my parents, Enjoying pregnancy, Admiring my beachcombed treasure in Newcastle, Brownies at Teacup, Grafitti found on the way to meet Becky, Reading, Ice cream from Snugbury's on a daytrip with my MIL.


I've really missed putting together monthly posts, it was always nice to have a chance to reflect and remember what had been going on.  This year has, unsurprisingly, been so full of emotions, and I sometimes feel like all I've done is worked, slept and cried, but by taking the time again to look back, I notice that we have been up to quite a lot really, much more than I’ve shown here, there are lots of good memories!


We've seen so much more of my family now were closer and spent quite a bit of time in Yorkshire, we’ve also been able to meet up with our North West friends more, and spent time getting to know two new(ish) cities.  We've been living with Tim's family since we moved and have therefore naturally spent more time with them too… All reasons why we wanted to move in the first place.

Life in Cheshire

While it’s not always easy to live in someone else’s house, it's been good to spend time with Tim’s family, and we’ve tried to make the most of it while we have the opportunity: Sunday dinner’s with the whole family; Takeaway and board game nights with his brothers; Walks with the puppies.  It’s been good to see so much of them.  I’ve especially enjoyed having his mum around, she’s been so kind to me during my pregnancy and we’ve spent a lot of time together just hanging out and chatting.

This year more than most have really noticed the change in seasons too, from bare branches to popping buds to full blooms.  I think it’s because this place is so green, the village is gorgeous and has the most beautiful churchyard, full of flowers and ivy and blossom, and Tim’s parents have such an eclectic garden full of life, that you can’t really help but notice what’s going on out there.


It’s definitely one of the things I’ll miss… I say miss because we are moving on to the next chapter of our life now.  We finally sold our house in the North East last week, meaning we can finally afford to find somewhere of our own!  We’ll be renting for a while, until we get know our new home and have welcomed our little one in to the world, and then we’ll look at buying again next year.  I’m so grateful to Tim’s family for giving us somewhere to live these last few months, but it’ll be so wonderful to have our own space again.


Wednesday, 27 May 2015

My Best Project Yet...

I started the year with such good intentions, lots of ideas for projects, so many goals and a brimming to do list but one 'project' has really knocked all others out of the water...  the tiny person growing inside my belly :)


We are at 24 weeks now, just over half way through and god willing everything is going well so far.  It's been tough though, tougher than I imagined, I've been soooo tired and had so little motivation for anything creative, which coupled with the move across the country in January and a new job in a new city, means I really feel like my life has been turned upside down...

I did pretty well with the morning sickness - I just had all day nausea instead!  The ever changing emotions have been hard to deal with, I feel like tears are my default reaction these days, frustration, joy sadness, humour... all the emotions come with tears now.  I've felt vulnerable and helpless at times, it was a shock to realise there are things out there that can hurt me now that never could before. My ankles and feet are puffy and huge, and I've had terrible back pain that resulted in me waddling around and earning the nick name Mrs Waddleduck!  

Not the idyllic picture of pregnancy I previously had, but, you know what? As hard as it is... I am loving every minute! I just feel so blessed that I'm finally able to experience this utter miracle, because, although our journey hasn't been as hard as that of others, it's not been easy for us getting here either, so right now i am just so over the moon, feeling sooo grateful and enjoying every single minute... every weird new experience... The emergency shoe shopping trips to house my new fat feet; My growing belly and the tiny little flutters that have happily been increasing in intensity and frequency lately; The cravings for pickles, pineapples, ice cream, and bacon (sometimes together!); The new liking I've taken to, for afternoon naps; Yes, even the constant tears, and exhaustion and so many other things too unmentionable... because it's all just evidence of that little life inside me :)