Listography – Top 5 things about the summer holidays

palm tree

Summer in Pompei – our honeymoon 3 years ago

Yay, Listography is back, courtesy of Kate Takes 5! And I have to tell you about one of my favourite things, so this is a double treat.

This year is a strange one in terms of summer holidays because Badgerman and I are both off at the same time for the whole six weeks (not counting last year because of having a newborn and, well, having a newborn).

Did I tell you Badgerman was a teacher? As an aside, if you think he’s going to be twiddling his thumbs for the next month and a bit, think again. He has been working every day since he left school a week ago and tells me that the only real time off he will take is when we go away for two weeks in a bit. When we get back he’ll be off to school for exam results and various other bits. Still, it’s a treat to have him around every day, which leads us nicely into my five favourite things about this time of year.

1. Sunny weather: yep, despite all evidence to the contrary, August is still the time of year when we are most likely to get good weather, and I am going to stick to my hopeful naiveté on this one. Especially if we go south on our travels, which we do.

2. France: August is now going to mark our annual holiday in France. Considering it’s been two years since our last trip, I cannot wait to see all my family, enjoy lazy days in my parents’ garden and eat lots of gorgeous food. We used to go at Christmas time, but have now decided it is too manic a time to really enjoy the trip so instead we are going to have a lovely road trip

3. Lazy mornings: even with a kid who wakes up anytime between 5 am and 7.30 am, and who likes to keep us guessing which one it will be every day, we are still managing slow pyjama mornings. I am even getting a cup of tea in bed sometimes. I am ever so grateful that Badgerman needs so much less sleep than me and can have fun with Little Girl whilst I enjoy an extra hour in bed.

4. Eating outside: of course it can be done any time of year, but there’s something I particularly enjoy about sitting outside in the summer, when there is no rush to go anywhere and lunch naturally bleeds into a drink and a book, and before you know it, it’s time for dinner. I like not having to ‘do’ anything and I am quite capable of wasting an afternoon this way.

5. Time to think and plan: or not, as the case may be. But because Badgerman is around more, we do end up having more ‘me’ time, which is great for looking back to the year that’s gone, thinking about what we’d like to achieve in the year ahead, and maybe even start doing something about it. This year, I have to set up my business venture in personal French tuition, and maybe do something at long last about this meal planning project I’ve been sitting on for the last six months.

Listography – 5 Reasons I Know I’m…

Today’s Listography is so full of possibilities, I want it to be a recurring one. Kate Takes 5 went with 5 Reasons I Know I’m… a Mother in celebration of Mother’s Day, but you can add anything you want. So today, I give you 5 Reasons I Know I’m French living in the UK.

French tricolour flag, the "Tricolore"

Image via Wikipedia

  1. I don’t stop wearing long sleeves and jumpers until it’s over 20 degrees Celsius MINIMUM. Just because the sun is out doesn’t mean it’s warm. Why Brits suddenly behave like it’s August in the South of France and wear short sleeves and shorts in the middle of February is beyond me.
  2. Whilst we are in the subject of the weather, summer starts in June, not April. Next time I hear someone say summer has started and is basing it on the fact that we’ve had a couple of sunny days and there’s a little warmth in the air, I’m going to get a bit stabby. Global warming might be messing things up a bit but there is such a thing as seasons. If you are confused as to what a season is, here’s the definition.
  3. I rant in my head every time I hit the vegetable aisle of the supermarket because of the individually wrapped avocados, potatoes in plastic bags, pre-cut onions (why, WHY?) and anaemic orange-coloured tomatoes that don’t smell of anything. It’s unnatural, is all.
  4. I spend an inordinate amount of my time thinking about cheese.
  5. After nearly 14 years in the UK, I still forget which side of the road to look at before crossing so now I look everywhere. After 14 years, I have to do the same in France. Yes I am that confused.

Listography – Top 5 Cookbooks

I’ve avoided memes and the like on the blog so far because I find them so terribly boring, especially the ones where you post a photo and nothing else. Whilst I don’t dislike photos per se, they mean nothing to me unless there’s a good story to go alongside them or they are particularly striking.

Then I discovered Kate Takes 5‘s Listography series. I love a good list and I love the topics she comes up with so I hope that you will not find it too boring if I occasionally indulge in a little photo list. It will likely ladle you with an insane amount of useless information about me, none of it particularly insightful or deep but hopefully it will be entertaining. And so I start.

I love cookery books. I have a lot of them, especially since my birthday a couple of weeks ago when I was given no less than four new books. Whilst I dip into all the books from time to time I continuously return to the same ones over and over again.

1. 2000 Recettes de la Cuisine Française.

I use this one a lot. I doubt I will ever cook all 2000 French recipes contained within but I do like to try a new one from time to time. When I came to England and discovered I quite liked cooking, I realised that I knew previous few French recipes and decided that I should really learn how to make the classics. What I love about this book is that it gives you a list of alternative ingredients so if you don’t happen to have a particular herb and like me you don’t have a clue what herb/spice goes with what, you can just slightly alter the recipe by using something else from the list.

French recipe book

2. The Every Day Chicken Cookbook.

We love chicken and now that I can’t just dish out a tin of sauce from the cupboard because of the salt content for Little Girl, I have realised that it’s just as easy to do a stew with a bit of stock, an onion and a few mushrooms (and wine, don’t forget the wine). Thank you Chicken Cookbook.

Chicken Cookbook

3. Delia’s How to Cook.

I love Delia. This is the first cookery book I bought when I arrived in England, and I can proudly say that she taught me how to boil an egg. Now that I’m a bit more ‘advanced’ I can make her goat’s cheese tart and her basic bread recipe is a winner.

Delia Cookbook

4. Michel Roux Pastry.

Michel Roux is a genius. He is the only one who has made me want to try to make puff pastry from scratch, and it even worked. I regularly make his Pithiviers recipe (with extra cherries) and his apple tart.

Michel Roux Cookbook

5. Muffins.

Another French book, it is part of a series of small books called Petits Plats Marabouts. These all run on a theme, with lots of recipes both savoury and sweet. Others I own in the collection are Risotto, Tarts, Trifle, Flans & Clafoutis and Small Dishes (for individual pots).

Muffins Cookbook


For more Cookbooks fun, visit Kate Takes 5‘s post.