Building blocks from a Freddie’s Flowers box
Several bake sales ago, I discovered a brilliant new use for the boxes from Freddie’s. This week I learned of another. Helena, my six-year-old, was home sick from school. After a movie and some Calpol, we read one of her favourite books, Iggy Peck Architect. It inspired us to create a structure of our own.
Options for building materials were wine boxes (my husband is a drinks writer) or flower boxes. We chose the latter and even did a little landscaping with some of this week’s fresh flowers.
The thlaspi looked particularly pretty when paired with the previous week’s waxflower. Bright pink and pale green is such a cheerful winning combination–one that I know has definitely helped me avoid a post-holiday-malaise.
Baking the bad weather away
Today is beautiful and blue. The air outside is cool as a cucumber and crisp as a cracker. That said, most of this January has felt unusually cold and grey. All I’ve wanted to do is hibernate. How lovely it’d be to curl up for a long winter’s sleep and emerge with the sunshine and scented blossoms of May. Then again maybe not. I really do love going for country walks and seeing the fresh flowers of spring pushing through the earth. I’d be cross if I missed them, especially the primroses.
True to form, I’ve successfully managed to distract myself from the cold weather by keeping busy in the kitchen. The Harry Potter Cupboard under our stairs is presently stocked with stacks of jars of marmalade. For Epiphany I made a Kings Cake and even devised a method of making puff pastry that doesn’t involve bashing 250 grams of butter into the dough. As for bread, I have baked so many loaves that I now have arms like Madonna. Okay that’s an exaggeration but I am noticeably stronger.
Qwirkle crazy, Qwirkle mad
My family has also kept busy with Qwirkle. When I say busy I mean become wholly obsessed with. Which is odd because we are not a board or parlour game family.
Qwirkle is a tile-based game that looks a bit like Dominoes and is played like a hybrid of Rummikub and Scrabble. My father got it as a present for Helena as it encourages lateral thinking. While she loves it, we love it even more. The moment she’s tucked up in bed, the adults in the family battle it out.
Out with fermentable flavours …
Do you know what FODMAPs are? Neither did I until a few weeks ago. They are Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols and as far as I can tell, they are what make life delicious. Which is why, as someone who loves cooking and eating, I find it difficult being on a low FODMAP diet. It’s so restrictive that it makes cooking for vegans seem easy. Too many delicious things are not allowed, including alliums. The other night I made a Bolognese so bland, it made my child cry.
… and in with fresh flowers and an old time favourite
For the time being, I’ve had to shelf my flours and cover the flat with fresh flowers instead. Honestly, I’m beyond thankful for Freddie.
To balance out what I’ve given up, I have decided to take up something as well–Whisky and soda. My husband’s grandmother was right. Some things are classic for a reason. If you asked Nanny how she was, she’d respond with a warm smile, pat your hand, and say “Whisky.” It really is a lovely drink. I swear one was smiling at me last weekend.
Misti Traya fell in love with an Englishman and moved from Los Angeles to London in 2009. After her daughter was born, she began a blog called Chagrinnamon Toast that won the writing category at the 2014 Young British Foodies. She was also named runner-up for the Shiva Naipaul Prize. She has written for Gawker, Jezebel, Look, Mslexia, The Pool, The Spectator, and Stella Magazine.
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Featured photo by Annie Spratt