Friday, 26 August 2016

Recipe - Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup with Basil Oil

Thanks to my Grandad and his amazing gardening skills, we've been growing three different types of tomato this year. He starts them off from seed, and when the plants are strong enough passes them on to pretty much anyone who will take them (we've suggested he just doesn't grow as many - but every year there appears to be more!)

These three plants alone are more than enough for the two of us, and every morning there are a few more perfectly red ripened beauties waiting for us! Last weekend, my Grandparents popped over with two huge butternut squash (which we've been steadily ploughing through all week) some cucumbers and a huge bag of tomatoes! Then on Wednesday, I met a friend for lunch and her husband gave us a bag full to bursting with runner bean, and even more tomatoes.

Now, I'm not complaining in the slightest, but I was slightly fearful that these lovingly grown vegetables might end up going to waste with only two of us to eat them all, so I set about making some soup to make sure they all got used up! I was never a fan of tomato soup until I started making my own, and now it's a firm favourite! I especially like it with some baked sweet potato wedges and a swirl of cream if I'm feeling particularly indulgent.

This recipe is about the simplest thing ever, yet when you serve it up with a drizzle of basil oil and some drops of extra virgin, it looks pleasing professional!

I hope you enjoy - do let me know if you make it!

Thursday, 25 August 2016

My Kilimanjaro Adventure

In yesterday's Wednesday Wishlist post, I briefly mentioned how my adventure in Africa eight years ago still spurs me on to do achieve things I sometimes feel are impossible. Whenever I feel I can't do something, thinking about how hard I had to push myself to get to the top, and remembering what it felt like to really put 100% of myself into something somehow makes whatever it was I couldn't do seem so much more achievable:

"Will it be as hard as Kilimanjaro?" 


"Go do it then, you've climbed a mountain - you've got this!" 

So, in the spirit of Throwback Thursday, I thought I should re-post some of my African adventure. Be warned, I was nineteeen, my haircut was questionable and I get increasingly puffier as the pictures go on - I could blame the altitude - a lot of it was down to pasta!



When I started uni back in 2007, I of course went along to the standard freshers fair. Amongst the multitude of free spatulas and leaflets about foam parties and vodka ice sculptures, there was a stand from Childreach International. I eagerly rushed over (having wanted to go to Africa and help out in a school since I was young) and within a few minutes I had signed up to "Climb Kili 4 Kids" in aid of the charity. This sounded perfect, just raise £2000 for the charity by getting sponsored to climb Kilimanjaro, and off you go! After the climb there would be the opportunity to visit some of the schools the charity supported, and go on a safari trip, another of my bucket list dreams. 

Needless to say I had no idea what I was getting myself into! I phoned my Mum to ask for the deposit money to secure my place, and started fundraising. With massive amounts of help from my family, by June 2008, I'd raised the money! I bought the extensive list of equipment, went on a single walk to break in my boots (people train for this climb for months - I was pretty blasé about the whole situation) and on the 30th June, I set off to Heathrow!

Once I arrived, I wandered through the terminal looking for the neon yellow t-shirts of the other 25 people who would be climbing with me. Considering I'd only ever been on a plane once before, had always been useless at going anywhere on my own, and am still the most stupidly homesick person, this in itself was an achievement! 

After an eight hour flight and lots of extremely fast bonding, we arrived in Nairobi, Kenya.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Currently Coveting - Wednesday Wishlist

Wednesday seems to have come round super quickly this week - I'm not sure what's happening but even though I'm not working 9-5 anymore the days seem to be slipping past faster and faster!

I'm technically still on my summer holidays (as if I hadn't left my old job I wouldn't have gone back until the beginning of September) but obviously given our current situation, breakfast in bed and reading in the garden aren't exactly on my to do list, so I've been pretty busy filling up the days.

One of those day filling activities has been gathering together some beautiful things I've spotted for this weeks currently coveting round up. It's a mixed bag this week, however I really enjoyed doing The Bookshop Edition last week and I'm toying with the idea of giving each week a theme. I'd really like some feedback on what you'd like to see, so if you've got a moment after you've had a look at this weeks offering, I would really appreciate it if you could answer the poll at the bottom of the post!

On to the beautiful things...

The first is this Resin Boulder Pepper Grinder from Dinosaur Designs. It's made from resin but it has a wonderful stone like quality, and those of you that remember my degree show will know why I gasped and cried "D - I'm in love with a pepper grinder" earlier this week. I'm always drawn to stacks, and specifically stacks of stones, and this is perfect! Dinosaur Designs have some really beautiful organic resin pieces, both homewares and jewellery and I feel like I'll definitely keep them bookmarked for later - everything has that wonderfully 'pebbly' quality that I just adore 

(Update - I've just looked through the entire jewellery collection and discovered that there is indeed a "Pebble" Bangle - you see, pebbly should definitely be a more commonly used adjective! 

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