Renovate

Time flies when you’re having fun. Or something like that. The latter part of 2014 passed in a whirlwind of Christmas hampers and baking; everything from Danish pastries for breakfast on Christmas Day (yes family, that is how much I love you) to vanilla bean fudge and pineapple, date and ginger chutney which is actually amazing with cheese.

But what does 2015 hold? Well, to an extent it’s too early to say but I am making the plans that I can (ski trip, trip to New York etc.) and have already baked cookies, lemon and rosemary drizzle cakes (delicious) and good old fashioned seedy cakes, and I have also christened my new ice cream that I got for Christmas by making a cherry and ricotta ice cream. Verdict, I probably wouldn’t make it again but I didn’t actually have to buy any ingredients to make it because I already had them all. And that is one of my new year’s resolutions, to shop better and to always use up what is in my fridge… We’ll see how it goes.

And another resolution: to make something new every single month using my vast cookbook collection. Why have I decided to do this? Because when I was mentally ticking off my cookbooks, I realised that there are a great number that I am yet to make something from. Sometimes this is a time issue but mostly, it is a lack of people to eat the food issue. Ergo, I need to host more dinner¬†parties in 2015. I used to hold many more but it is always difficult to tie people down, even the promise of food is not always enough, they can be pretty costly if you find yourself always in the position as host, and I have also found it more difficult to host since my status as single was reinstated, possibly because I don’t want things to be too coupley. I always have the dinner party scene from Bridget Jones’s Diary in my mind where it is a room full of smug married couples and she is asked why there are so many single girls in their thirties. Ok so I’m not quite thirty yet but I’m getting closer every day. It might also be because I’m always looking for the perfect male : female ratio and the truth of it is that I just don’t know that many men. Dilemma. But it looks like I’m going to have get over this, man up and invite some people round for dinner.

That said, there is going to have to be a slight break in dinner party hosting. Nay, and embargo for a brief period of time because what is the first quarter of 2015 all about? Renovating. A word that produces almost equal quantities of fear and excitement. Fear because I’m going to be homeless for a month, fear because what if I’ve made the wrong decisions and it looks frankly, terrible? There will be no one to blame but me. And then there’s my fickle nature or even split personality to consider where by I’m essentially contradictory in almost every respect and I change my mind over and over again about what I think I want. On the kitchen front, it’s too late. I’ve paid the deposit for a new, completely white kitchen. I have modified the layout ever so slightly although not radically enough for it really to be an issue although I am starting to panic about ‘But what if I’ve lost cupboard space?’. There’s a middle class woe if ever there was one.

On the flip side, I’m excited about the prospect of clearing out the cupboards, getting rid of things I no longer want/out of date items from 2011; choosing a new, bigger dining table that will seat 8 people comfortably so hopefully 10 at a push so that I can have bigger dinner parties than ever before. I’m also, sadly, very excited about changing the tiles on the kitchen floors to some dark. White really isn’t a practical option – it never looks properly clean. Especially not when you have a cat. I am so looking forward to his little paw prints being less visible!

But it’s not just my kitchen that is being modified, oh no. My garden is going to be completely transformed! The old decking that never dries out, is rotting and becomes an ice rink in the winter/rain is going to be replaced with flagstones and my beautiful water feature will be installed. All the old flower beds are going to be removed and everything will be replaced with pots of herbs, hydrangeas, grasses, foxgloves and eryngium. The planting will be green, white and purple and it will look like there was a plan (hopefully!). The doors leading from the kitchen into the garden will be replaced so that they actually work properly and you can dine inside but outside. Oh the parties!

I know that it will absolutely be worth the short term inconvenience and cannot wait for it to start taking shape. I just need to trust my judgement and remember that everything will be just fine.

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