Five things in July

July, July…what can you say about July? It’s cold, it’s bleak, it rains a lot. Thank goodness for this series or I swear I’d look back and just think the whole month had been a total write-off. But we’re here, we made it through! Below are some of the highlights. What were yours?!

1. Homemade lemonade

Our friends came to visit and brought us a huge bag of lemons from their tree, so Amelie and I made lemonade! She was so thrilled to use our citrus squeezer to get the juice out of the lemons, and just as thrilled to sample the lemonade afterwards (big eyes, huge smile…she’s a fan). By the way, I happen to own the best citrus squeezer in the world, if any of you are looking to make your own lemonade. I bought it from Williams-Sonoma years ago, when I lived in New York, and it’s travelled from place to place with me ever since. I bought it because it was just so cheerful, but it is also incredibly effective!

2. A surprisingly good read

I randomly read Open Book by Jessica Simpson, and it was, ummm, really great! I was never even a Jessica Simpson fan back in the day (because I was too busy loving Hanson and Britney Spears, not because I was in any way cool) but this book is fascinating, and really well-written. It’s worth it just for the ‘Ryan Gosling as a child’ references but it’s also just really good. You absolutely should read it.

3. Blowing away the blahs

Ugh winter. I’m not a fan. But I’m trying really hard to remember that blah days can be turned around with some fresh air and exercise, preferably by the beach…I picked Amelie up a little early on one particularly blah day last week and we headed to the beach for a run along the sand. I felt so much better afterwards!

4. Mangawhai Cliff Walk

This walk, along the clifftops above Mangawhai Heads and the beaches that stretch north of it, is so insanely beautiful. I did about half of it one weekend day in July (see above: fresh air, exercise) and it felt so good to remember and appreciate what an amazing place we live in. Hayden and I have done it a couple of times in the past – once just the two of us, once with a small baby Amelie along for the ride in a front pack – but this was the first time I’d done it on my own. It’s an easy walk, although the path is narrow, slippery in parts in winter, and there are many steep drops off the unfenced cliff…it’ll be some time before I feel comfortable taking Amelie back up there! It’s sparked something in me, though, and I’m looking forward to finding other walks in the area that we can take her on though. Any tips for hiking with a preschooler?!

5. A deliciously warming soup

I’ve been enjoying sitting down with my cookbooks every few weeks or so and planning some different meals. Usually I make these during the weekend, as they’re often a bit more involved than I have the bandwidth for on the average weeknight, but the Coconut Chicken Soup recipe from Annabel Langbein’s well-named Great Food for Busy Lives is super quick and super simple. I go off-piste with the recipe and throw in whatever additional veggies I have to hand – usually corn, sometimes red capsicum, sometimes spinach – and it makes for a delicious, filling meal on its own. It’s spicy and creamy and warming, but because of the lime juice in the recipe, it’s also really bright in its flavour. The recipe doesn’t seem to be available online unfortunately but this one looks fairly similar (use good quality chicken stock as well as water though)!

6. Hanging out on a boat

A bonus sixth this month because…JULY. 🤬. It’s needed.

I had lunch with my mother a few weeks ago and she mentioned that my father was working on their yacht, down on the hardstand, so after lunch was done I toddled down and hung out with my dad for about half an hour. It’s been a long time since I spent any time with just my father, especially on a boat (when I was a teenager I worked in a kayak shop by the water and he designed kayaks – and kayaked frequently – so hanging out with my dad around a bunch of boats used to happen all the time!). Anyway, it can’t compare to actually being on the water, but it still felt great to spend some time on Te Kaitoa and catch up with my father. Te Kaitoa should be just about back on her mooring…I’m so excited for spring and summer sailing! And now we’re one month closer. Au revoir July!

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