Relax and breath

Relax and breath

Just give yourself a break.

Nowadays, working 9-5 is some of what of a rarity. People are working crazy hours, with the the few spare hours being left for much needed errands or DIY. We don’t seem to have enough time to rest. I think we forget sometimes that we need a lazy day. Not necessarily to watch Netflix, (although that is a plus), but to recuperate for our own health and well-being.

We need to learn that it’s not healthy to rely on coffee or cold tablets to keep us going. We need to listen to our bodies and get some well earned rest. If you can’t concentrate because of tiredness or illness put health first. I appreciate that it can be a financial burden, but sometimes mental and physical wellbeing comes first. And taking a day can be more fruitful.

Make a cuppa, put on your jim-jams and get on that sofa!

Rustic little garden

Rustic little garden

Please forgive this awful picture

Gardening is a interest that has grown with time. I wasn’t always green fingered. I am a indoor person and a cosy lounge always seemed more appealing than a rain filled garden. In the last year however, I’ve discovered the joy of gardening and absolutely love it. I’ve started growing herbs, vegetables, fruit and of course flowers. Its amazing how therapeutic gardening can be. I started my little garden with a cactus; now its growing bigger and bigger. My next gardening project is Dahlias.

My garden is rustic and small but its mine. I live in a flat that doesn’t have a balcony, so my plants are taking roots at my parents house. I still maintain them as best I can, watering and weeding. And collecting any fruit that ripens. Its a shame I cant bring them with me, but my plants relish Mums garden and for now that’s good enough for me.

When planting I use large pots and plenty of soil. Digging a hole big enough to pop my plants in and packing them tightly. Depending on the species, I may add stones or gritty sand. Then it’s time to water and allow them lots of sunlight.

Strawberry jam.

Strawberry jam.

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Going picking is slowly become a family tradition. It was something my Mum and Nan grew up with and its now an activity I have grown very fond of.

The last couple of summers me and Mum have visited our local ‘pick your own farm,’ collecting many strawberries and making jam.

The whole process from start to finish is just, so incredibly satisfying and so much fun. You rummage through all the vines looking for the juiciest, plump strawberries, putting half in the basket and half in your mouth!

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I have jotted down the recipe so I can share it with you. It will allow you to make 3-4 jars.

  1. After rinsing them through, weigh 1kg of strawberries. Then remove the stem and cut each strawberry in half.
  2. Once every strawberry has been halved, pop them into a large bowl, suitable for heating and gently pour in 750g of sugar- stirring until the crunch has gone. Keep on a low heat and squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into the bowl.
  3. Once all the sugar has disintegrated, it is time to turn the heat up. The jam will not set if there’s left over sugar, (so make sure to check the bottom of the bowl).
  4. Keep the mixture boiling for 5-10 minutes before it reaches 225F and starts to rumble. A sugar thermometer is a brilliant way to check the temperature.
  5.  At this point, put a clean plate in the fridge for a couple minutes.
  6. Take the bowl off the boil and with a teaspoon pour a bit of jam onto the plate. Then push your finger through the mixture, watching for any wrinkle’s. If it does, its ready. Otherwise put the jam back on the boil. Repeating this process until its done.
  7. Using a spoon, skim any scum that has risen to the surface.
  8. Leave the jam to settle for 15 minutes and sterilise the jars.IMG_4412
  9. Ladle all the jam into warm jars and fill them to the top. Place a wax disc on top of the jam to prevent mildew and cover with a cellophane lid. If you want to be fancy, pop on a label and fabric cover. The finished jam can now be stored for up to a year but make sure to refrigerate once opened.

Most importantly, enjoy!