Today it has become apparent, from what I have been reading here and there, that some of us have started to take ourselves for granted! We are all still girlies after all, despite the work clothes, dirty nails and dishevelled hair that comes part and parcel with renovating a house.
I know what it’s like, waking up every morning and getting yesterday’s jeans back out of the laundry basket again. It just doesn’t seem worth wasting lovely clean clothes. All that effort… the gathering, taking to the utility room, sorting, stuffing in the machine, taking out of the machine, stuffing in the next machine, taking out again, shaking out, folding, sorting, taking upstairs, sorting again, putting into drawers… Don’t even mention ironing, or trekking out to hang each individual item up on a line, only for it to get crapped on by some thoughtless bird – I’m just not going there!). They are just too precious!! Why would you sacrifice all that effort, when you are going to be covered in cement dust, paint, or whatever?
Maybe, I am just lazy and you are all now recoiling at the thought and searching for the unsubscribe button in disgust. However, there is hope. And if you can relate to this, don’t worry,I have a plan. So…STOP RIGHT THERE!
We do not need to give in to Sad Hermit Syndrome!
Here’s what I am thinking. I dont know if it’s just me, but I’m much more likely to do something if someone tells me to go and do it, than if I have to make the decision myself.
TAKE A BREAK CHALLENGE
So with this in mind, I am setting a challenge to all my lovely AperoGirl readers out there! If you are stuck in that rut of spending more time doing up your house than yourself (and to be honest, who isn’t?), now is the time to do something about it. Just for one evening, or even a whole day, if that is at all possible, I want you to put on something nice, dig out your mascara, a quick spritz of perfume, and pick one of the following:
⦁ A trip to the pub
⦁ Take a picnic to the woods
⦁ Cooking challenge with what’s in the fridge, wine and a film
⦁ Grab a takeaway pizza and a bottle and eat it somewhere in the countryside
⦁ Candlelit carpet picnic – if you have carpet!
⦁ Ask a friend if they are free and happy for you to turn up with wine or a cake
⦁ Do your own raclette or fondue. So easy and so cheesy!
⦁ Clear a space and invite some people for an impromptu get-together
⦁ Arrange to meet friends at a bar or restaurant
⦁ Go to the local market and stay for coffee and a croissant
⦁ Visit a place you’ve not been to before
⦁ Plan a mini road trip or mystery tour
⦁ Order a cocktail
⦁ Invite a girlfriend round for a chinwag
⦁ Wine, nibbles and music (what’s not to like!)
⦁ Go to the cinema. Even if you are abroad there are sometimes films in English (VO in France)
⦁ Book a massage, facial or some other treat
⦁ Have one proper Sunday – lie-in, cooked breakfast, walk in the country and a nice roast
⦁ Or even if you can’t face any of the above, a hot bubble bath, face mask and a good read in bed
GO AND DO IT!
I know it’s hard to make the effort sometimes and leave the building. I can tell it’s been a while when I go out and notice that a whole housing estate has been built since I last passed that field! There is more to life than working on-site and only going out to the bins, but we get stuck in our own little worlds and just keep battling on.
I am not going to lie, I am one of the world’s worst at socialising. The committment of going out makes me a bit stressed and uncomfortable, but I always love it when I do. We say how we “must do this more often”, and then months go by and we haven’t. Perhaps I should make this my little crusade? Write a date in the calendar for once a month.
IS IT REALLY SO IMPOSSIBLE?
I think not. It’s just isn’t in the forefront of our minds right now. And if you have an OH, then I am sure he (or she) will appreciate it too and you will earn extra brownie points for organising it into the bargain! Go on… take a break!
SO IF YOU DO IT, SO SHALL I…DEAL??
Looking at what I have written, of the 19 suggestions, 13 of them would appear to be directly associated with food and/or drink, and 4 would most likely involve food and/or drink. The other two are perhaps very nice and relaxing on their own, but in my humble opinion, would be greatly enhanced by a glass of wine!!. Do you think I have a problem?
LEAVE ME A COMMENT AND LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU DID! DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER SUGGESTIONS? I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU X
HOMEMADE LIQUEUR ANYONE?
Plum season is upon us. We have some really old wild cherry plum trees, which provide an abundance of both red and yellow plums. I think the yellow ones are called Mirabelles, but that’s by the by. Normally I make a wicked cherry plum jelly which we use not only on toast, but also with sausages, duck and in place of cranberry jelly at Christmas. We are very much in need, but I have no idea of the whereabouts of my piece of muslin, that is normally used as a jelly bag. So… using this excuse to forego the jelly, I will have a go at homemade liqueur. The results of this remain to be seen, or tasted, but I’m quite excited at the prospect of my first ever attempts at liquor making, and, to be honest, anything that can jazz up my cheap fizz at apero time is worth a go.
PERHAPS SOME OTHER HEDGEROW PRODUCTS TOO?
This brings me to wondering what might achievable with other freebies to be found in the hedgerows. Figs, Pruneaux d’Agen (more plums, but bigger purple jobbies), blackberries and maybe something with herbs. I discovered Genepi on our last trip to the Alps to visit our daughter who lives and works there in the winter. It is a herbal kind of digestif, some would say a bit like mouthwash, but I quite liked it. Now how to brew up something similar? There is definitely some more homemade liqueur experimentation to be done.
BUT SADLY, NOT ELDERFLOWER THIS YEAR
I missed the elderflowers again this year, and I’m quite cross about that. Intending every year to make something delicious from them, I never quite get round to it. Years ago we tried to make elderflower wine. It didn’t look good at all and we ended up shoving all three demijohns outside in the yard. We were too lazy to empty and clean them out. Well… about three years later, when we had a clean up in the yard, we finally had to deal with these old jars. They were full of what looked like… well, we won’t go there… Anyway, the most wonderful bubbly elderflower champagne had secretly developed!! So, again this year, that is a loss, but elderflowers inevitably turn into elderberries, so I have a goal of finding another homemade liqueur recipe in readiness for their arrival. The challenge is down. I will keep you in the loop.
WANT THE HOMEMADE LIQUEUR RECIPE…IT’S SUPER EASY!
So, back to the plums… They were picked and washed, checked and pricked over with a fork, before being put into sterilised mason jars with vodka and gin. Vodka was chosen for the red ones and gin for the yellow, for no particular reason really… They will live in the dark for a while in the pantry. I suppose they should be left two or three months, though I doubt that will be the case! Any tastings could always be topped up with more gin or vodka. No-one would know! Then they will be strained, probably through the jelly bag if I have rediscovered it or bought a new one. It’s tempting to squeeze the bag to release every last drop, but this could make the liquid cloudy. Finally the homemade liqueur can be decanted into sterilised bottles.
Disclaimer – this post contains some affiliate links, which means that should you purchase something through one of my links I may receive a tiny commission, but it won’t cost you any extra – every little helps, so if you do, thank you x
These are the Kilner jars I used. They can be sealed really airtight and look nice and traditional on a shelf too>
CLICK HERE FOR KILNER JARS
I found my bit of muslin in the end but it had seen better days, so I invested in a new jelly bag, and I’m so glad i did.
CLICK HERE FOR MUSLIN BAG
When the plums had mascerated I decanted the liqueur into sterilised bottles. I recycled some bottles I already had, but if you were going to give the delicious liqueur as a gift or wanted it to look a little bit special for an occasion, you could use some pretty bottles like these.
CLICK HERE FOR SUPER SMART BOTTLES
AND CORDIAL AS WELL
The left over red plums were boiled up with some water and when well liquified sugar was added. Strained and bottled, it is all ready for non alcoholic creations or even with a splash of fizz.
There is something so satisfying about seeing the shelves of the pantry decorated with multi-coloured bottles and jars of homegrown produce. I hate, hate, hate wasting anything so it’s a great case of win win when you have so much of something to be able to add to my apero repertoire.
Hmmmm…I wonder what I could brew up with courgettes……!
The liqueur was a great success and as a bonus, once strained and decanted into bottles, the remaining plums were amazing with ice cream. A rather boozy dessert that was deemed a complete success after a relaxing summer barbecue on our aperoterrace with family…perfect!