Two Birthday parties this weekend have lead to a rather late start to the day today. It's now exactly 5.00pm and I'm having a min-afternoon tea break! A pot of Earl Grey and a slice of Christmas cake.
Nevertheless we have managed to get some bits and pieces done - sample pots of Farrow and Ball paint have been purchased in London Stone and White Tie for the bathroom. These may even get cracked open tonight! Next weekend has been set aside for bathroom re-decorating and after that we plan on tackling one room a month. The room I'm most looking forward to and most dreading at the same time is the living room. It's a big space with a high ceiling but I think between us we can manage it.
On the way back from the paint purchasing we picked up these hyacinths from the flower stall - they're going to come up blue. Ciaran recognised the stallholder as the man who sold us our Christmas tree and whilst we were umm-ing and ahhh-ing over which one to take suggested we 'forget the tree and get down the pub'.
After having friends in and out (and sleeping on various soft surfaces around the house) all weekend Toby is glad to have the place back to himself. He is usually at his most affectionate during weekend breakfasts where he not only sits up on the dining table with us (which he does most mealtimes) but repeatedly rubs his head against my hands begging for cuddles (and scraps of smoked salmon).
Tonight's dinner is going to be a slow cooked duck with star anise and ginger from Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries. This is a cookbook I haven't picked up in a while and I'm not sure why. I love the prose and the way the recipes gently shift with the season. If you open it up on the month that you're currently in you're likely to find exactly what you're in the mood for. There are recipes for grand and special occasions and luxurious suppers (like tonight's) but it is peppered with the kind of dinners we all have occasionally - beans with chilies, bacon sandwiches and leftovers. Not recipes as such but simple meals that can be elevated with a few store cupboard investments - mushroom ketchup or home made mayonnaise.