Monday, 13 April 2015

Keeping it simple...

I've hit a big black wall just lately. Nothing seems to magically conjure up any enthusiasm, not even the weather. It happens sometimes. It will inevitably pass. It could be hormones. It could be events. It could be people. It could be all of those things combined.

I feel like I drowned a long time ago. Round about the time this stranger came on the scene, the person who became a stranger when two little people started calling her Mummy. I loved drowning in Motherhood, we had some good times, but lately I want to resurface. Find that old thing that used to be me.

I've got a daughter, fast approaching eighteen. She's intelligent but says exactly what she thinks, no holds barred. It's at odds with the way I was brought up and I feel powerless to make her any other way. It has it's good side. No-one is in any doubt how she feels. Lively debates ensue. Life would be dull if we all thought the same way.

I have a son, six feet tall and fourteen years old. He's thoughtful, quiet, loving and will only say your bum looks big in that if he's genuinely teasing. He's closer to the personality I had when I was a child; tactful, peace keeping.

So I find myself wanting the best of both worlds. I want to speak up for myself but I still want to carry on being thoughtful and tactful. It's a fine line. Just how do you pull off being married to someone with such different values in life? Speaking up for mine (which I'm guilty of allowing to be brushed under the carpet for the sake of 'harmony') causes a certain amount of friction but also, surprisingly, a little 'give'.

M prefers me to stay out of the kitchen. He sees himself as something of a 'masterchef'. This suits me fine except for those occasions when he moans that he's tired, that he has to do everything, that he doesn't feel like cooking tonight so we'll have to go out (hello? I'm here, I'm a fully grown adult and I can actually cook a meal!), or when his concoctions are so elaborate they taste awful.

This Easter holiday I took a little control back. I insisted on being the meal planner. We went shopping with my new approach firmly in my mind. I wanted to strip it all back, keep it simple. Keep it tasty. I needed to give M a buzz word so that he could relate to it; too many floaty words and I lose him! We settled on 'artisan'. Simple, tasty, thoughtful, creative, rustic, quick; those are all the words we associate with artisan food.

Day one: Burgers. The best we could find. M reached for the sesame seed buns and I said a firm NO. We found alternative, tasty ciabatta rolls. He reached for the iceberg lettuce, I said NO! I bought tasty salad leaves. Cheap, flavourless tomatoes? Ugh. Plum tomatoes instead...and so on. M cooked the burgers to perfection. I laid out the salad in bowls and a bottle of balsamic dressing. The kids sat down and demolished piles of salad proving M completely wrong. He said they wouldn't touch it or that it wouldn't be filling. It had taken just one item to cook and the rest laid out with minimal preparation. The glass bowls have lids so they went on the leftover salad items and straight into the fridge for the next days lunch. Simple.

Day two was a similar affair. Our one cooked item was a large jacket potato each. Tuna mayo was made. The salad made another appearance with one or two changes. J ate a whole bowl of plum tomatoes (we are growing our own this year!). They both declared Mozzerella cheese was their new favourite thing (ugh, really?).

Day three and I thought it was time to do 'keeping it simple' without the salad. I cooked a whole chicken and we had it with mash potato and one veg. It was still a very simple, easy to prepare meal. Feedback was good. Plates were empty.

So the week went on like this until we got to Sunday and M reverted to his old behaviour and HIS way of doing things. Instead of the suggested beef with roast potatoes and purple sprouting broccoli (from the veg box), which quite frankly would have been plenty... He decided to do two different types of potato and four different types of vegetables and Yorkshire puddings. The final quantities would have fed a table of ten, nevermind four. Some of it was over cooked as will happen when you are juggling so many items. A lot of it ended up in the dog bowls, along with my good feelings about a. Having my voice heard in this household and b. Getting M on board with the whole simple living ethos.

I've been hatching plans to replace the playhouse at the end of the garden with a shepherds hut. There will be no electricity, no wifi, no tv. There will be a log burning stove. Ella said it sounds like solitary confinement. Oh yes please.

In crochet news, there is a new hat! It's my new favourite one. I finished it a week ago but haven't had a willing model and this one has an interesting crown and deserves to be photographed properly. I may have to bribe Jake with chocolate.


  1. shepherds hut sounds like a good log cabin replacement! don't give up on the artisan style, it takes men a while to learn.........

  2. Hang in there. I understand how you're feeling. I'm not feeling so perky myself these days. I think a shepherd's hut sounds very interesting, I'm looking forward to hearing more about it...