It's still very much winter

I forget how long winter is. It's fine in December but by the New Year it needs to just hurry up and get on with Spring!

All images from Pinterest

Weekly thoughts #6

This week...
  • I have been researching city breaks in great detail! With 5 days holiday to take before April, I'm completely torn between a week in Scotland, visiting relatives, staying in Fife and a few nights in Edinburgh or a short break abroad. Phil fancies Scotland being the Scandi type he is, the cold appeals whereas I'd love some sun right now. I've been looking at Barcelona and Venice mainly but also Marrakesh in the pursuit of some sunshine. Any suggestions about where I should go?
  • I've once again hit the bleach. I don't know why I think I can do my own hair. Note to self... learn to trust hairdressers, they are professionals, you are not!
  • Brunch on a Sunday morning before a walk up Cleeve Hill in Cheltenham is just about the very bet way to spend a Sunday.
  • First week back at work after Christmas is hard and long but as Phil says, be more grateful that I have a job!
  • Marathon training this week hasn't been too bad. I've done four 30 minute sessions this week. I'm feeling more determined than ever to keep this up!

Cashmere love!

Cashmere, how could I have been so wrong about you in the past?

This Christmas I got given a pure cashmere jumper as a present made by the brand Poetry and I've hardly taken it off since. In the past I'd have never bought myself a cashmere jumper. Don't get me wrong, I thought they were lovely, I just didn't think it was worth the investment but I am now a complete convert.

It's made me think a lot about my spending habits. I admit I can sometimes be a bit more quantity over quality but I'm going to see if I can curb the temptation of a Primark haul of unnecessary items and instead buy better quality classics that will last.

Poetry has lots of beautiful cashmere on sale at the moment, you might want to check it out whilst I start saving my pennies for more!

New year inspiration

A new year always comes along with an urge to organise!
Organise my flat with a spring clean, organise my life with resolutions and a new diary and of course organise my wardrobe with nice clean, fresh clothes. I'm always gutted when I have to wash something new, it's never the same again after going through my vicious washing machine!
Once again Zara's clean shapes and neutral colour palette appeal massively!

All images via Pinterest

And it's another year!

Well surprise surprise, I took a little blog break again towards the end of this year but we're back!
Happy New Year's Eve, I hope you all have a good one tonight. 
As I write this I am still not sure what I'll be doing this evening. I'm tempted to stay in with Phil and have a very lazy evening. I've never been a huge fan of NYE so I tend not to plan and the best nights out are always the most spontaneous ones anyway!
Like everyone else in the world I'm awful at keeping New Year's resolutions but I've thought a lot about making changes this year and I'm feeling determined so here we go...
  • Run the Stroud half marathon.
    Anyone who knows me, will know that I am not a natural runner! There's no avoiding this fact. I am not graceful, it is not comfortable and I am not fit but I feel like a challenge this year. I am being kind to myself  though and allowing it to be a half marathon but it's still an awfully long way for someone who doesn't even jog! I plan to run it in aid of two local cancer charities who are now very close to my heart.
  • Take up illustration.
    It's been a long time since I put pencil to paper and drew anything. I loved all things creative at school and it seems a shame to grow up and spend my free time just doing chores and boring adult stuff! This year will be the year of re-discovered creativity!
  • Less stress, more mindfulness!
    Find a way to stress less about everyday things and learn to accept that there are some things you just can't change like a random strangers bad driving, your boyfriends inability to use a wardrobe or drawer for his clothes, job security, car breaking down etc. I need to remember that most of these things aren't life or death situations. I need to gain a little perspective. If it's life or death then that's the only time to stress!
Photo via Pinterest

Weekly thoughts #5

This week...
  • I realised how much time has slipped by since my last weekly thoughts, about two months... whoops!
  • We enrolled our latest addition to the family into puppy school! Ted starts puppy classes in September. We hope this will ensure that he's well socialised with other dogs and perhaps will suppress some typically unappealing Jack Russell traits such as 'small dog complex'!
  • Swimming on Tuesday night is probably my favourite way to spend time at the gym. 
  • Having finally been able to book some time off work is exciting! I've only had a long weekend or two yet this year. A full two weeks off work at the start of September is well overdue.
  • Having said that, I've had a great couple of days meeting amazing local food producers to find out more about their businesses. In the last two days I've been foraging for wild ingredients, meeting a herd of rare breed Gloucester cattle and the single Gloucester cheese produced from their milk, a fantastic local artisan baker and a aristocratic goats cheese maker. It's been an interesting few days!
  • I put slippers on for the first time since last winter! The last week has felt decidedly Autumnal. I'm kind of mourning the loss of summer already.
  • This weekend will be spent eating and trying on bridesmaid dresses with my soon to be married best friend.
I hope you all have a lovely weekend. Let me know what you have planned!

The Wheatsheaf, Northleach, again...

The Wheatsheaf Cerney cheese
Wheatsheaf Bavette
The Wheatsheaf, Gloucestershire
Wheatsheaf marathon pudding
 A friend recently groaned when I started talking about The Wheatsheaf, apparently I've mentioned it before! However you can't really blame me. There must be a reason that Tatler, The Times, The Guardian et all keep coming back and as it's right on my doorstep it'd be rude not to make regular use of such an excellent pub! Well 'right on my doorstep' is not technically true, since moving a few weeks ago but it was my local pub for many many years... until now!

So we went the weekend we moved out as a final moving treat to ourselves! It really never disappoints. The starter I had may look fairly uninspiring from the photo but that's not just any old goats cheese and tomatoes! That's Cerney goats cheese from down the road at North Cerney. They stock it at my work too and it's genuinely amazing cheese! Creamy and light and coated in oak ash with numerous awards under it's belt. Combined with sweet heritage vine tomatoes and basil it's a cheese dream! However the thing that really stands out for me at the Whatsheaf is their selection of steaks. 
They've been championing the more unusual, cheaper steak cuts for a good few years now. Whilst I've seen Bavette and Onglet steaks creeping on to a few restaurant menus more recently, The Wheatshef was definitely ahead of the crowd with the current 'cheap steak' revolution. They also certainly don't take the piss on price. The Bavette steak with salad, chips and an amazing salsa verde was £13 and delicious. Nothing fancy just very good, tasty food. 

Now, on to the pudding. Jay Rayner recently wrote what was basically an ode to 'the Marathon pudding' in The Guardian and although on the one hand I wished he'd kept it a secret, I'd also feel sorry for all those who would miss out on this pudding in their lifetime if he hadn't written about it. It's nothing sophisticated but a damn good chocolate fondant with ridiculously moreish peanut butter middle topped with ice cream. The last time I went though I could have sworn they'd made the portion a lot smaller than my first experience of it, or perhaps I was just feeling greedier. Ether way their attention to detail is spot on. All the dishes somehow just taste better then they would elsewhere. They've managed to nail a concept that you'd think would be more widespread. Excellent ingredients, cooked simply but very well and not trying to be anything more than that. I kind of miss that it's not down the road anymore, but at least my bank balance will be healthier!

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