As we spend the Christmas holidays with Steve's family in New-Zealand, I most often come back jet-lagged for a few days, then the post-holidays blues kicks in (read these tips to fight it) along with a mere attempt to resist giving in too quickly to the busy pace of my working life.
Do you know the feeling?
I have to admit that at the beginning of my holidays, I miss the fun and interaction from Facebook and Twitter because it's nice to have friends who will get as much excited as I'm about a new design or how beautiful the styling on a photo is (in comparison to Steve who does not really care).
However, having started a trend last Summer when our little family went on holidays on a 7m boat without internet connection and no shower (don't worry we used the ones available in the harbour), I had a taste during our back-to-basics holidays how hugely enjoyable my holidays were if I was nowhere near a computer to work.
Let alone the good this new trend has done to my relationship with Steve
No work, no social media, no pictures taken thinking that they would make a good post for the blog on my return...Nothing, peanuts! I slept for the whole of England and when I was awake, I spent quality time with my family and looking after the body I had neglected in the busy run up to Christmas.
It always amazes me (and saddens me) how I can easily throw away months of healthy habits when stress kicks in. Do you get that too? I find it so easy to reach out for the chocolate bar while trying to do several things at once...
It also hit me that as we are now trying for baby no 2, more than ever I need to look after my body and make sure whatever I put in my body is worth it and full of nutrients so rather than stocking on self-development and business books, this year, I got my first Donna Hay book: Seasons.
I love French food (actually food in general) but when it comes to cooking, I much prefer the relaxed, easy-going approach of the Australians and New-Zealanders rather than the pompous style of French nouvelle cuisine which does not inspire me.
Each year I marvel how Steve's sisters Linda & Caroline can make a whole, delicious homemade meal in no time while the rest of us is sipping wine and I bow to the two homemade meals our friend Verity made of us in Auckland while we were catching up after two years. I beg her to send me the recipe of of the chocolate brownie with coconut.The thing is, while I love food, I'm not much of a cook.I spent years thinking it was boring and it is only since I met Steve and had Mila that I started appreciating how creative cooking can be and how important I need to make it fun & healthier for my daughter so she enjoys the art of cooking rather than living on cheese and toast at Uni like I did.
So when I look at a cooking book I want to be inspired and I feel a lot more in tune with the relaxed approach of the Australians.
My first love was Michele Cranston who took over Donna Hay as Marie Claire Editor and has written over 25 books. I discovered her book Seasonal Kitchen three years ago when we were staying with Steve's sister at the beach and it changed my view on cooking. Here I was, reading this amazing book filled with inspiring images and easy, healthy recipes thinking I could re-invent myself. While her Spinach and coconut soup is not Mila's favourite, it's extremely good for the body and her spicy prawn salad has became one of my staple dish. It is delicious, easy to make, healthy and very comforting.I then added Bill Granger to my collection, a self-taught Chef who recently moved to the UK and has opened a new restaurant in Notting Hill. His book Bill's Basics is full of classic recipes made simple and I like his easy-going approach then there was Donna..
Ah Donna...who took my love of Australian cooking to the next level. Not only her book is filled with easy, healthy recipes to feed you through the four seasons, the stylism and photos in the book are simply amazing and this is why, this month, rather than rushing back into the world of interiors, I shall indulge a bit more into thinking I'm still by the beach, eating fresh fish, scallops and avocado on toast and ensuring that I'm healthy habits are there to stay and will not be replaced by a Kit-Kat at the first sign of stress!
(C) images: Seasons by Donna Hay