In my kitchen - June 2014
A little birdie once told me that life in retirement from full time work would be busier than I could have ever imagined. I simply smiled and nodded, secretly dreaming about the relaxed, if not altogether-lazy, lifestyle that Peter and I were so looking forward to. Six months into it I can unashamedly tell that you I'm eating humble pie on this one. Bizzy Lizzy is busier than ever!
It's quite interesting. The solid work ethic that has been with the both of us throughout our lives is still very much there, so we do look for structure in our days, to a degree. But it's at a far gentler pace. For me, there has been a little bit of crash and burn, physically, I mean. My body is still recovering from last year's illness and, truth be told, years of pushing through stress in all its forms. And it has taken me until the last fortnight or so to allow or force myself to sleep beyond 6am! Go figure, I know.
There's no sign of boredom on the horizon. Frankly, there's no time for that. As Peter says, 'we do stuff' now. We go to the gym and swimming pool, as regularly as possible. Then there's the cinema. We no longer have to wait in line, as there aren't too many folks who go to the movies mid morning! We can travel (near and far) on a whim, or simply take it easy and read a book all day long. Peter is engrossed in researching his family tree and has traced lines back to the Normans. He is meticulous in his research and I feel sure that the book he finally produces will be as accurate as can be. It's a wonderful retirement project for him.
Meanwhile, I've engaged in casual PR and marketing consultancy work, food-related, naturally. And I'm thoroughly enjoying it. In between jobs, I've been de-cluttering and re-organising the Blue House, as some of you who follow me on Facebook will have seen. Hopefully I've inspired you to do the same. I'm amazed at how much of 'everything' we have accumulated. Clothes, books, shoes, pantry items and kitchenware. We have loads of storage space, much of it groaning under the weight of 'things'. It's a slow but truly liberating process. Most recently, I re-arranged the white ware in my kitchen, freeing up space and storing dozens of items that are not used on a daily basis. I love white china and ceramics, evident by the stacks of it in my kitchen cupboards. Once upon a time I would scour op shops looking for more unusual pieces to add to the newer items in my collection. I thought it would be fun to showcase just a few of the pieces via an In My Kitchen post:
In my kitchen is my little mortar and pestle, handy for crushing or grinding everything from a few peppercorns to dried chillies or things like walnuts, when I don't feel like chopping them. It's also great for a small quantity of pesto.
In my kitchen are these very cute little chopstick rests, purchased for $1.00 at an op shop many years ago.
In my kitchen are these fluted ovenproof dishes, which can be used as soup bowls, deep pie plates or pudding bowls.
In my kitchen are these heart shaped moulds, about which In her book, Good Things (the name sake of this blog), author Jane Grigson wrote: 'Little white china hearts... make a good summer birthday present'. I use them for my couer a la creme.
In my kitchen are soufflé dishes in various sizes, perfect for baked puddings and pies too, including these chinchillas.
In my kitchen are these squared off bowls which can be used for salads and soups. Of course I have a dozen of them, as well as their 'Mother' which is a much larger version.
Also in my kitchen there are exquisite Meyer lemons, freshly picked from my pots. Oh, and a tiny white espresso cup.
My lovely friend, and fellow cook and food writer, Celia, hosts a round up every month, where food bloggers from around the world open the doors to the kitchens. Pop in to Fig Jam and Lime Cordial and say hello! Happy cooking.
Tell me dear readers, what do you imagine yourself doing in retirement? What are your plans and what's on your bucket list? Perhaps you are already retired? How are you finding it? And do you happen to collect white ceramic ware?
6/6/2014 08:39:44 pm
The little chopstick rests are cute, aren't they. You never know, a little birdie might send some coeur à la crème dishes your way someday!
4/6/2014 01:33:48 pm
I have been thinking that a little mortar & pestle would be handy for crushing small amounts. My large one is far to heavy and bulky to justify dragging it out for a few peppercorns or spices. I like the look of yours. Might have to go shopping ;)
6/6/2014 08:40:25 pm
Hi Tania, the little M&P is perfect... I have a large granite one too... but this is perfect for those fiddly little tasks.
Great post! Not sure the white theme was done on purpose, but it is all very peaceful and stylish, I love it!
6/6/2014 08:41:20 pm
Hi Sally, thanks so much for your kind words... yes, the white theme was deliberate. Retirement is fabulous... as you get older you will come to appreciate the prospect, I'm sure!
6/6/2014 08:41:37 pm
Thank you Amanda, they are cute, aren't they!?
4/6/2014 05:31:39 pm
Good for you Liz, with the retirement and all. Beautiful white porcelain pieces. I can imagine, they must look great together in a cupboard.
6/6/2014 08:42:05 pm
Thank you Ela, I love the white too, they look even better when used
4/6/2014 07:11:58 pm
I really enjoyed your post Liz, as my husband and I have recently retired...and you have described exactly the way it feels to us. It is just so wonderful to have a bit more head space, rest, and time to enjoy reading, cooking etc...even de-cluttering!!
6/6/2014 08:42:46 pm
Gerrie, thank you.... it's good to know that others like yourself are finding fulfilment in retirement. Thank you for stopping by : )
4/6/2014 07:36:51 pm
Your kitchen is always a nice place to be Lizzy! I love that little espresso cup, it looks nice and weighty without being too chunky. Beautiful colour in that lemon too!
6/6/2014 08:43:20 pm
Jane, your wishes for retirement sound beautiful and I wish that your dreams will come true, my friend xo
What beautiful items you have In Your Kitchen! I am just starting to harvest the lemons off my trees in the garden and love how they smell in my kitchen, better than flowers! I'm not sure I would use a little mortar and pestle as mine is large (featured in my IMK) and it never seems to be big enough! Thanks for sharing! Liz x
6/6/2014 08:44:05 pm
Hello Elizabeth... aren't freshly picked lemons exquisite! I have a large M&P too... love both. Thanks for calling in, I'm off to see your kitchen now.
4/6/2014 09:16:18 pm
So many gorgeous white items with a splash of yellow this month!
6/6/2014 08:44:17 pm
Thank you Lisa! : )
4/6/2014 09:52:45 pm
Hi Lizzy. I've never seen anything like those fluted ovenproof dishes before. I absolutely love the shape of them! Thanks for the tour :)
6/6/2014 08:44:43 pm
Thanks Taryn, I used to sell them when I co-owned the cookware store and cooking school. Love them!
6/6/2014 08:45:08 pm
I do, Liz, and feel so chuffed to be growing them! Thanks for your kind words.
5/6/2014 01:48:58 am
Oh I love that everything in your kitchen is white Lizzy. Beautiful!
6/6/2014 08:45:23 pm
Thank you, Mandy, happy cooking lovely xo
5/6/2014 04:32:45 am
Love all the porcelain goodies in your kitchen! When we retired we got up early at first too. Didn't last long, though -- now we get up pretty late every day (although we also go to bed quite late too).
6/6/2014 08:46:02 pm
Makes a difference, doesn't it John. I feel a little sorry for all the people rushing around first thing in the morning, on their way to work.
5/6/2014 10:09:27 am
Love those cute chopstick rests Liz! And lovely to read about the joys of retirement for you both. Glad that it is working out so beautifully for you!
6/6/2014 08:46:17 pm
Darling, I'm so glad you're enjoying retirement so much! And I love your white ceramics, particularly the little chopstick holders! We have a set of white bone china that we've used daily for 21 years. Most of my other pieces are colourful, but I've never tired of eating off basic white plates - they always seem to make food look better!
6/6/2014 08:47:15 pm
Thank you love... I really like the white too! We have two other sets, which were Peter's, but I prefer the white ware... and most of it was second hand!
5/6/2014 08:14:26 pm
I'm a bit of a white bakeware/crockery fiend. Love all your white goodies Liz.
6/6/2014 08:47:31 pm
Thank you, Jennifer.
6/6/2014 08:48:00 pm
Oh wow, a missing-in-action M&P... I do hope you find it soon! xo
6/6/2014 12:55:11 pm
I love it all but I especially like the Meyer lemon in the white cup. :)
6/6/2014 08:48:19 pm
Karen, thank you... I was rather taken with that shot too.
8/6/2014 09:58:30 pm
Hi Sherry, wow, glad to know you are finding retirement enjoyable. That's great. Thanks for stopping by... do come visit again! : )
8/6/2014 03:34:47 am
Retirement? We decided years ago we would not retire as is commonly imagined, but reduce working to some kind of part-time. Being purposeful is important in life. Of course, we want to enjoy traveling or popping in to see grandchildren. I am glad you are doing so much better, health-wise, stress takes a toll we do not even realize at the time we are pushing through it.
8/6/2014 09:59:29 pm
Helloooooooooo Judy! How are you getting along? So good to hear from you. Part time work is good too... that's what I'm doing I guess.I have not one but three Meyer Lemons! : )
8/6/2014 08:06:51 am
My favorite color is white too! I love all of your dishes, especially the sweet heart one.. I adore anything shaped like a heart. You say your lemon is from a pot.. where do you live that you can grow such beautiful lemons? The flavor must be spectacular! xx
8/6/2014 10:00:00 pm
Hello Barbara, I am in Australia.... I have a thing for heart shaped dishes too. Thank you for stopping by!
8/6/2014 01:41:13 pm
Beautiful meyer lemons!
8/6/2014 10:00:12 pm
Laura, thank you!
8/6/2014 03:50:10 pm
I love a good theme. Those little chopstick holders were no doubt made cheaply and were a cheap buy but these days, you'd never see them as manufacturers go to even cheaper plain designs. Good buying Liz!
8/6/2014 10:00:44 pm
Many thanks, Fiona! And I can now taunt you more for I am even more at leisure with a broken foot! : )
8/6/2014 10:01:09 pm
Hi Moya, lovely to hear from you... yes, white dishes are so nice... : )
9/6/2014 01:26:06 am
I love all your white wares, Lizzy - most of ours are white, too, but I can't help but have at least 30 million other things for photos, too. Okay, 30 million might be a bit of an exaggeration, but Mark will think it is an underestimation. Reorganizing is fun. I can't wait for retirement, as I just have so many projects waiting to happen!
10/6/2014 09:51:01 am
Hi David... retirement is da bomb, until you break a bone!... but that will pass soon I guess. I love all my white ware... used to do a lot more entertaining once upon a time. Some day I might have to part with it all, or some of it, but not yet : )
10/6/2014 09:51:44 am
Thanks Rosa... isn't it funny, you see props, I see dinnerware that I use, or used to use. We are indeed enjoying retirement... it's great! : )
13/6/2014 09:48:00 pm
Liz, I enjoyed your thoughts on retirement and your pie bird, too. That lil' birdie speaks the truth! After I left the workaday world several years ago (unofficially retired), I found myself wondering how I "did it all" back then. These have been the busiest years of my life! I think a lot of it has to do with pursuing your interests to a degree you weren't able to before -- and you have many interests.
16/6/2014 10:37:33 am
Oh Kim... isn't it the best time... and you are so right... Peter and I are now wondering how we had time to go to work! Strange, isn't it!
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Cooking and writing have been a lifelong passion.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.