Burmese Tapas Are A Thing

A very good thing, I might add. I ate in The Meeting House last night with friends and the food was delicious. As I am still on the dry until the end of the month I didn’t sample the cocktails but by all accounts they were delicious. Unfortunately, I did not get to try the tuna tacos that I had hoped to order because they were all out, but everything that was available was fabulous. Next time I’ll be a little more adventurous. I had never heard of this place before last night, but it is a sign that trying something new can be a very good thing.

Burmese Tapas Are A Thing

The X-Files

I cannot express how delighted I am that there are six new episodes of this show. I adored it when I was younger. The quality dipped in later seasons, but that didn’t stop me watching it right until the end. When all the seasons on DVD were selling for a stupidly low price I snapped them up and re-enjoyed them over and over.

Unfortunately, due to my not-at-all-good-for-keeping-to-a-tv-schedule working hours this week I have only watched the last 20 minutes of the first two episodes. This was still amazing. It is still January, therefore not too late for another New Year’s resolution. My newest resolution is to get re-aquainted with this slice of tv excellence. The conspiracy theories! The creepiness! The slight, remote possibility that the government is engaged in a decades-long cover up, of what it is hard to say!

I love it all. I hadn’t realised how much I missed it until now. And also that I need some sort of tv recorder box thing that everyone else seems to have so they don’t miss episodes of their favourite shows. Another resolution there.

The X-Files

Dinner and a movie

Last night we had a date night. We went to see Room and then ate in one of our favourite sushi places. On the spur of the moment we went to an earlier viewing of the film, meaning dinner was later. This was not the best choice. What was once a tiny, charming and efficient place to eat seems have exploded in popularity. While I’m always glad to see a favourite spot doing well, the service was not the best last night. The food was delicious, as always, and we’ve made a resolution not to leave things to chance on a Saturday night again, even in the midst of January. We’ll be back though, this time with a reservation, possibly for a different time and day of the week than 8pm on a Saturday.

Room was thought provoking. I read the book some years ago and it was unsettling and uplifting. Having read some reviews of the film (I can’t remember the book’s reviews at all) I went to see it in a slightly different light from how I approached the book. It makes one think about motherhood, parenting, identity and the barriers, physical and mental, that we have imposed on us and how, when overcome, those barriers can sometimes feel more welcome than we first thought. It also made me appreciate all the space we have in our home, because the claustrophobia of the first half of the film stays with you after the credits have rolled.

Dinner and a movie

Large Scale Orchids

When me and my husband got married, we were lucky enough to be given gifts of money from friends and relatives. Amongst our purchases was a painting from the Oriel Gallery by this artist. We spent a day looking at paintings in different galleries, and this place is a gem of a gallery. We liked one piece by Urbaniak, then came across another that we loved. I mean, it was love at first sight. It was unframed, leaning against a wall in a dark corner of the gallery and even before it was lifted out so we could see it properly we knew we wanted it. I went back two days later to have it framed and to buy it. It has hung in a prominent spot in our home ever since and is a beautiful reminder of our wedding and part of our lives. We’ve bought other pieces since but none come close to how much we love this one. Every time I look at it, I see something new in the painting.

It was what I’d call a large scale orchid and we were in a privileged position to have the ability to buy something so non-essential purely because we loved it. Every day I look at this picture and it stops me from spending money on things that aren’t really orchids, because some day I want to be able to buy another piece of art for our home that brings us the same sort of joy this piece has. It may be a large scale orchid, but it was a bargain when I think how much pleasure it has given us on a daily basis for almost five years.

Large Scale Orchids

Hansel and Gretel

This gorgeous bakery on Clare Street is my current favourite for my morning coffee and pastry. I used to go to another place, but price increases and a long queue each morning caused me to pop into Hansel and Gretel instead. I have been a convert since. I’ve weaned myself off the calorific but delicious almond croissants and am kidding myself that a pain au chocolat is a healthier alternative. With this and a latte, every morning I go to work is made brighter. This is one orchid I budget for, because it is worth it to me to bring a packed lunch and eat at my desk in order to have such a toothsome start to the day. I have taken to buying my bread there too, and I can highly recommend the sourdough and granary loaves. I bought one of the granary loaves today, and enjoyed the smell in work as it was delightful. It is both a good and bad thing that I cannot visit more frequently.

Hansel and Gretel

Accomplishments

I love cooking and baking. I’ve accumulated a lot of cook books over the years. Trying a new recipe is one of my favourite activities and enjoying the results is even better.

I am, however, sadly lacking in some of the finer skills. One such skill is icing baked confections. Alongside starting this blog, honing my currently limited skills in the decoration department is another New Year resolution. I hope to motivate myself with this resolution by committing to posting some of the results here.

I am hoping this project doesn’t add too much to my waistline. Another resolution is whittling said waistline down a bit.

Accomplishments

In Praise Of Ironing

I love ironing. It is, without doubt, my favourite household chore. I wouldn’t even call it a chore, in fact, because I enjoy it so much. I love the therapeutic nature of it, how the pile of fresh clothes gets neater and neater and how you get a tangible output for your work. An hour of ironing is an orchid for me. I am grateful for my steam iron and thankful that I don’t have to endure these kinds of things when doing my ironing. I can only imagine that for many women (yes, usually women) in days gone by ironing was not the joyful task I find it today.

Marjorie urges her readers to take care of their clothes and advises that, with the proper level care one would give expensive clothes, cheaper ones can last and wear just as well. I find ironing helps greatly in the maintenance of my wardrobe. I have such close contact with my clothes when ironing that it is really easy to spot when something needs a small repair or when a stubborn stain that washing didn’t tackle needs attention. I find it easier to keep my wardrobe in order when everything looks neat following an ironing session. As Marjorie said, it also seems to ensure that cheaper items last longer because they’re properly cared for.

I will even go so far as to say I iron my tea-towels, because they look nicer in the drawer. I won’t even pretend bedlinen doesn’t get ironed. Who doesn’t enjoy getting into a bed, replete with fresh bedlinen, that looks neat as a pin? Ironing the bedlinen also seems to prevent it from creasing in between changes. Some day, this orchid will be mine. Some day.

In Praise Of Ironing

Getting On In The World

I work in a specialised field. To say my job is in a niche sector would be an understatement. While it has many upsides, one major fly in the ointment is my working hours. They can be, to say the least, erratic and unusual. Tomorrow is one such day. It will be a long, difficult day and I won’t get home until very late.

Today was a pretty manageable day, and when getting on the train for my short morning commute I thought what advice Marjorie would give me about my strange working hours and odd schedule. I think she’d tell me to get on with things and stop complaining, even in my head to myself, about my situation. She would probably ask me what I could or would do about changing my situation if I wasn’t happy, or whether I should realise how lucky I am to work in a field I enjoy, in a secure job that makes me happy about 85% of the time.

Her brusque, no-nonsense approach makes a lot of sense. Getting On In The World isn’t about everything being just how you like it. It involves realising that practically no one has everything they want, be it time, money, or the right work-life balance. Marjorie tells us we’d be better off thinking things over and realising that not many people will fall for hard luck stories about how difficult you have it compared to others.

She’s right. I’ll stop off at my favourite bakery for my usual coffee and pastry and focus on the job at hand. Sometimes you need to appreciate the orchids that you haven’t seen as orchids up to now, like a job you enjoy even if other aspects of the working world aren’t so appealing.

Getting On In The World

Painful Necessities

Marjorie has many cases in her books, and one such case has her budget divided into her different requirements, one of which is painful necessities. Under this category, I would include visits to the dentist. I have a terrible fear of the dentist, why I do not know. Perhaps it was long hours spent waiting in the orthodontist’s office or having an allergic reaction to a painkiller when I needed some teeth extracted.

If you, like me, have put off going to the dentist for whatever reason, please make an appointment today. If the dentist you visit isn’t an orchid, please keep looking until you find one who is. I required some medium-level intervention because of my long-fingering of dental treatment and a stitch in time would have saved nine (well, more like five deep fillings in my case). Had I felt the fear and done it anyway at an earlier stage, I would probably not have needed the treatment I did.

However, now I have mended my ways, and every time I have a check up at which everything is found to be fine I make another appointment for a check up within six months. I took my dentist’s advice and use these alongside regular brushing to keep my teeth in good repair. I have had a load lifted since I forced myself back to the dentist’s chair. The fear of what I might need done stopped me going for a long time, but once I had a treatment plan in place, got the treatment and continued my check ups, my worries about my teeth all but disappeared. I won’t pretend I enjoy going to the dentist, but at least the dread of what might lurk in my mouth has gone.

Painful Necessities

When you lose an orchid

For many years my husband and I have enjoyed eating in La mère Zou. Today I heard the sad news that it has closed, for good it appears. We’ve had countless meals there and never once failed to enjoy the food. We loved trying the wine of the month, the cheese board and the digestifs on very special occasions. We dined there with our parents on the day we got married and I loved being able to eat one of my favourite meals, moules frites, on my wedding day. We had our second date there and it was a place I looked forward to returning to for many years to come. Alas, the last meal we had there was indeed the last meal we had there. We will miss it terribly, not just the food but the staff who, without fail, were the epitome of good service and had the right amount of friendliness and familiarity. I hope they all know just how much we appreciated them and the food they served. This restaurant is an orchid we are very sorry to lose.

When you lose an orchid