Little Treats

May I please give you one more non-cooking / non-recipe related post? Since returning from my vacation I’ve only made pizza and shortbread, otherwise my oven remained cold and the stove top untouched. I was either sick or invited for lunch or dinner, so no cooking required. But I promise I have a few real food posts coming up, where I try to convert ideas that have been occupying my brain for a while into something edible.

Imagine this: for the first time in years I flew with BA who allow 23 kg check-in luggage and 23 kg hand luggage. Before I flew, I checked back with their hotline because it seemed too good to be true. But it was, and I was ecstatic. A couple of years ago I would have been happy buying a second suitcase in the UK just so I could get all the stuff I coveted home.

This year not even my check-in luggage reached the 23 kg limit. I felt like something was wrong with me! I did buy some stuff, mainly kitchen things, but somehow my enthusiasm was held in check.

I’d been looking forward to visit a John Lewis department store as I always find kitchen and household stuff there. And what do you know – I check out their website and it says they have a big store opening in Exeter. On October 12. Great. But then, walking the streets of Exeter my enthusiasm kicked up a notch – John Lewis had a little pop-up store there to promote their shop opening, and they had this set of cute little prepping bowls. Not that I need more prepping bowls. But I just had to have them.

I sometimes order stuff online from Lakeland, and when I actually went into a shop in Exeter I suddenly became this extraordinarily reasonable person. Scary. With most everything I checked out that I had been looking at online, I was suddenly thinking: Hmmm. Do I really need this? And reason won out. The only thing I got was a little cake push pan because I like little things and I thought it would be great when experimenting to make a little cake instead of a big one.

I bought nice cupcake/muffin cases that at home I would have had to order online. A box of M&S shortbread, only for the lovely box, though, because after the cookery course I’d be making my own shortbread, and this box was nice to store it in.

A couple of spatulas, scrapers and tea towels were also among my bounty. I brought back really nicely packaged tea (as presents), some stationary and Christmas cards, and lots of food magazines.

And then something incredible happened. I’ve owned an e-book reader for over a year now. I love books, but I read so much I don’t have the space to store them all. So I kept the books I love and gave the rest away, to the local library as they can’t afford to buy many English books, to friends, took a couple of bags to game night so people could pick what they liked. And I was fascinated with the e-book reader and happy to have it. Still am. But I went into a bookshop, and it was the weirdest feeling. I just had to buy a book. Bought the latest Tess Gerritsen, and – I know this will sound a little crazy, but what the heck… – the feeling of holding a book in my hand was like being transported into another world. I hadn’t realised I missed reading a “real” book. And then I went a little over the top and bought 13 more books.

For a week after my return I had all my treasures still laid out on the dining table, happy as a clam just looking at them. I’ll be making use of the kitchen things pretty soon, and I’ve read half of the books already. The latest one – which I really loved – was Helen Dunmore’s The Greatcoat. Anybody read that yet?