Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday morning

Homemade scones and a fresh pot of tea. Is there a better way to start a busy Sunday?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Salted caramel sauce

I have recently become a slight addict to salted caramel. I first discovered it when I tried some salted caramel ice cream, and now I'm hooked. Only I'm rationing myself, because it's so damn more-ish. (Is that how you spell it?)

I found this great recipe from Nigella (our heroine for all things indulgent) in Stylist magazine which I have adapted to make is a quick and easy job for pouring over vanilla ice cream or into hot chocolate. This takes me about ten minutes.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Crochet Cafe

The key to progress in crochet or knitting is hot chocolate. That's my theory. A knitting circle that knows how to pick a good cafe becomes an excuse to sit, chat and drink hot chocolate for a couple of hours. Don't know about you, but that there is my perfect Friday evening.

This French-language circle meets in Arthur's, opposite Schumann station, every Friday evening. They are extraordinarily friendly, and oo-ed and ah-ed appreciatively when my crochet was revealed, which is a much-welcomed boost to my crafting ego.

My blanket is just the perfect project for this time of year, reminding me of the seaside and sunshine and summer. The blanket was very popular, and was spread across the knees of several knitters - making it slightly awkward when I had to change directions at the end of each row!

Unfortunately I didn't get a photo of the hot chocolate, but believe me - it was good. I'll definitely be going back.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

No-poo update: Month Five

Is it really only five months? It feels a lot longer.

I am now washing my hair twice a week with just water, followed with a dilute lemon juice rinse. I have found that if I don't use an acid rinse, my hair is dull and difficult to manage.

I sometimes neglect the mid-week wash and only wash it on the weekends, which leaves it looking a little greasy. If I wash thoroughly twice a week it looks totally normal - perhaps the way most people's hair looks on the day after washing it, not quite squeaky clean but not noticeably oily. I have also found that I can't rush the water wash - I need to spend a good five minutes massaging my scalp and hair under the water stream.

At this point, I don't have any expectation of going back to shampoo. I have reached a manageable routine and plan to stick to it for the foreseeable future - although at some point I would like to start stretching washes to once a week. The only problem I have at the moment is increased dandruff, but this isn't serious enough to really bother me. It also takes longer to completely dry - several hours, and it remains a bit straggly for about 12 hours until it gets fully dry. The colour also looks darker overall, with my natural highlights enhanced (not visible in the picture, they only become apparent once fully dry)

The picture shows my hair after washing but not yet fully dry, which is why it looks a little straggly.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Am I the only one? Does anyone else struggle with this problem?

Today I found myself distracted at work with day-dreams, illicit fantasies - of baking, crochet and curtains. It feels so illicit- betraying decades of struggle and progress for women's rights - but I'm not sure I'd choose the endless work in an isolated environment where I derive little or no satisfaction and have no sense of being valued (ie my job). For five minutes I am indulging in the weakness of wishing - prompted by the long-awaited and long-trumpeted pay rise offer. After promises of a significant offer repeated vaguely but enticingly over several months, I have been informed that my contributions to the organisation are being rewarded with the princely sum of a €15 pay rise. Before tax. That's what, €7 gross? Just about enough for a box of chocolates. I think I'd rather have the chocolates.

Does anyone else find themselves struggling with this? Is it just this job or is this a bigger question?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Reviewing my simple progress

January seems an appropriate month to review my progress in living a simple life. As I set up this new home, I want to ensure that I do so in a way that will enable further simplicity, by taking this opportunity to reduce clutter and arranging things in an organised way.

So to help me organise this, I am reviewing the various things I am managing to do simply, and looking at the areas I want to improve or embrace next.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

I'm back - with a new challenge

Well, it's been a fairly long gap, and as you can see the Simples challenge has been temporarily suspended.

There is a reason for these two things. My boyfriend and I have spent the last few months sorting out paperwork and other items - because we have bought our first flat, and will be moving in the next month.

This is of course massively exciting and massively stressful. I have in my head a picture of the flat as I want it to be - filled with homemade and preloved items, each with their own story, and set up to facilitate more homemaking. I want to cover the little balcony with potted plants and put a reflective mosaic on the wall to make it feel lighter and more colourful. I want beautifully crafted home-made curtains hanging at all the windows, with patchwork quilts and crochet blankets on the bed, and cupboards stocked with preserves and home brew etc etc.

I want, I want... I have had to accept that with our limited budget and limited time - and limited transport options, as we have no car and the flat is several floors up - many things are beyond our reach and we have to accept stop-gap measures as a temporary fix. So the Simples challenge will be carried over to the new flat and my challenge to myself in 2013 is to make this house a home. A simple home.


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