Travelling Hopefully

I believe there is a saying which goes something like “To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive” – well I have to say that I can´t quite agree with Robert Louis Stevenson. But I expect he wasn´t heading to London for eight days to visit my family and friends, so I´ll just have to excuse him.

I arrived home late last night to be met by my wonderful Big Man bearing flowers.  Lilies…my favourite. It´s been a while since he bought me flowers, (impossible to get where we live) so the surprise romantic gesture was very much appreciated.

Being a canny packer of cases, I always go right to the limit on my baggage allowances.  20kg in the suitcase, 10kg in the hand luggage and the biggest hand bag possible.  No, I most definitely don´t travel light!  I went out loaded with Christmas presents (can´t tell you much about them though, as I don´t want to give any surprises away).  The case was also packed with packs of chorizo and morcilla to make Fabada Asturiana, plastic lid things to “flip” your tortilla, chillies from my garden, wine glass/tumblers, gifts from my recent holiday, chocolates for my niece and nephew, books to entertain young children on a long flight to the States to see their grandmother, Spanish fans for a friend´s mum, olives, biscuits….well, I think you get the picture.

The advantage of this is that once you´ve unpacked and “shared the love”, you have an almost empty suitcase waiting to be filled with gorgeous things to take back home with you.  Of course, I wasn´t about to go home empty handed.

I carefully packed some lovely pictures done by the wonderful children I got to spend time with.  A very flattering portrait of me done by my 10 year old niece, Lara.  Look at that fabulous waist and bust…if only! A lovely thank you card from 4 year old William and his 2 year old brother Matthew.

Chocolate.  And then some more chocolate.  If you haven´t tried Quality Street, track it down!  Lots of lovely chocolate toffee and caramel sweets in a tin.  They just take me back to childhood Christmases when these were a very special treat.  And then you get to use the tin to put your cakes in!

I had a bit of a mad fabric buying spree.  I´m laying some of the blame for this on my new blogging pal Evie, over at Pendle Stitches.  I was the very lucky winner of this beautiful shawl that she had made, and it was waiting for me at my parents´ house.  Very handy actually, as it was a little nippy last week in London.  Anwyay, Evie suggested some wonderful fabric shops for me to look at in London.  The fabrics were amazing.

"Weigh" too much fabric!

Eventually I bought a huge variety of fabrics in Tooting Broadway, my old neighbourhood in South London, plus an amazing discovery of some vintage fabrics, still neatly folded and never taken out of storage since about 1950.  They almost tipped me over the baggage allowance, but as there were only 31 people on the flight home (I felt like I was on my own private jet), the check in girl turned a very kind blind eye to my extra kilo…20 metres of cotton, linen, silk, jersey, viyella, crepe and who knows what else do weigh rather a lot.  I also bought a new magazine to inspire me.

I´ll make that one day.....

And finally, to food.  My mother stocked me up with all sorts of odd and bizarre things I find hard or expensive to buy out here.

All spice berries, Golden Syrup, Maldon Salt.

Sugar and spice and all things nice

Loaf tin liners and vanilla for my baking.

My mum made me a wonderful beef curry with lots of vegetable curries to accompany it.

Best friend Ria made a fantastic chicken and cannellini bean casserole (recipe another day) even though she was feeling poorly last week.

And talking of food, guess what?  I got to meet one of my new blogging pals face to face.  It was Mad Dog, who was not in the least bit mad and not remotely dog like!  We spent a happy and all too short hour in Bar Italia, in the heart of London´s Soho, drinking coffee and chatting about food, Spain, food, photography, food, ourselves.  What a great guy he is, and he gave me a fantastic gift of the film Tampopo, a comedy featuring…yes you´ve guessed…food!

So, now I´m home again and looking forward to getting back into my kitchen. Big Man has already started stocking up on autumn fruits and vegetables.

A neighbour gave us a crate of Membrillo, or quince, so we´ll be making quince jelly this weekend.

Another neighbour gave us some enormous pomegranates (or Granadas) from his tree.  I may just have to eat them as is, as I adore them served simply.

I also have a couple of kilos of broad beans, but I think you already know many of my recipes for this gorgeous little vegetable.

So, time to unpack, wash, cook and sew.  Sounds odd, but I can´t wait!

PS. Am looking forward to a few days of blog catching up – really looking forward to seeing what you have all been up to.


51 thoughts on “Travelling Hopefully

  1. What a fabulous fabric haul! I’m very happy to have encouraged you in any small way. I can’t wait to see them made up.

    And Maldon Salt. I NEVER use anything else. It’s amazing.

    Glad you had a lovely trip.

  2. Looks like a great trip. The kid’s drawing reminds me of this small business I just encountered: Apparently, they will turn a child’s drawing into a stuffed animal/creature. The pictures of previous drawings they’ve made into reality are awesome. An inspiring sewing project in itself! Thanks for sharing a bit about your trip!

  3. Welcome home Tanya! Time to Spanish talking again 😉
    Parece que ha sido un viaje muy muy bueno. Me alegro mucho por ti. Me encanta todo lo que has traído y estoy deseando ver lo que haces con ello.
    Un beso,

    1. Si – ahora tengo que cambiar el “chip” en la cabeza! Estoy muy contenta de estar en casa y estar otra vez con mi marido – lo he hechado muchisimo de menos. Un abrazo, Tanya

  4. So glad to hear you had such an enjoyable visit with your family and such a warm welcome upon your return. Now that’s a wonderful trip from beginning to end! Welcome home! You were missed.

    1. Thanks for your lovely words John – it´s great to travel but I am also happy to be home. Missed my Big Man, the dogs, the veggies and the chickens (in that order)!

  5. Sounds like you had a very productive trip – I try and make a few trips a year to Gibraltar, to stock up on English things like golden syrup, caster sugar, chutney etc, as the airline weight restrictions make it so difficult, though it sounds like you have that sorted already. I’ve been reading your posts about your huerta, we’ve been meaning to start one for ages, have even fenced off part of the garden. Maybe you will inspire me to get digging and planting at last (or persuade my other half to)! Love the sound of your chicken casserole, will be making it soon.

    1. Hi Fiona and lovely to read your comment. Thanks for dropping by. I am thinking about taking a coach trip to Gib nearer Christmas – a lot of people seem to do it to stock up. It´s such a pain with the luggage and liquid restrictions!

  6. Welcome back! And it looks as though you made an excellent trade in goods there and back….and as for the romantic flower on your return, well, that’s just lovely. Now it’s time to cook those quinces!

  7. What a fabulous trip you had Tanya and so nice to bring back niceties of home! I never know how much fabric to buy unless I have a specific pattern in mind. You really did come home with some beautiful pieces.
    Nice to have you back. Have a super weekend.
    🙂 Mandy

    1. Hi Mandy and thanks for your lovely words. I never really know either but I reckon on about a metre and a half for a top, and two to three for a dress or trousers…then usually try to squeeze the absolute maximum out of every piece! Have a great weekend too 🙂

  8. Oh look at all the goodies! I once injured Katherine’s shoulder, well not on purpose. But I had her pick up a bunch of pasta you can only get on the East Coast and she put it in her shoulder bag and well changing the subject. Seriously, cool stuff. Welcome back.

  9. I adore the idea of traveling with a suitcaseful to leave behind, and then an empty space to fill. What a lovely way of spreading love around! So nice to have you back!

    1. Thanks for your lovely words. And the suitcase stunt works well in both directions – friends arrive with goodies for me and I help them fill it right back up again!!

  10. Completely jealous of all the quince you have. We received two yesterday in our CSA, but I’d love to have the quantity that you possess to make a substantial amount of jelly or paste.

    Have a great weekend!

    1. It´s hard work chopping it up, but it´s worth the aching wrists! Everyone here seems to have at least one quince tree (except us) and we get given lots….usually sending a “food package” of jelly to London too.

  11. Welcome back home and this so many exciting goodies!! I love that you purchase fabric and sew so wonderfully. I’m drawn to fabric almost as much as food but can’t get creative enough to push thru and actually make something!! Long ago I did, and as I’ve mentioned before, you do inspire me!!

  12. Well, unfortunately your luggage went home with you instead of being re-routed to Chicago because I am so envious of your vintage fabrics and the Golden Syrup! I cannot find it anywhere here and at least half of my baking recipes calls for it. Glad you are home again! So how long are you going to stay home this time?.. c ps loved the portrait! c

    1. Home for a while now (I hope)! I did say C-H-I-C-A-G-O but they spelled it M-A-L-A-G-A!! If I´d known about your lack of Golden Syrup I could have posted you the other one that just wouldn´t fit in my case 🙂

  13. Glad to hear you’re back home safe and sound, Tanya. I’ll be watching with interest, your progress with using all those lovely fabric pieces. Who knows, it just might inspire me to open the boxes of fabric I packed when we last moved house in 1999. But I guess I should first alter all the clothes that “don’t fit anymore/are hopelessly out of date” (Anyone got any ideas for a dark brown fur jacket?)
    Cheers and best wishes with the work involved in processing quinces. (Mine are just in flower, hoping for a good crop in autumn.)
    Diane T

    1. Hi Diane, back safe & sound! I´m envious of your fabric stash…shame you´re so far away or I´d have popped round for a rummage! How about making a gilet/waistcoat or a bag from the jacket? Will be posting soon on the quinces. Take care, Tanya

  14. Ahhhhh… beautiful lilies – that is so sweet, he must have really missed you! I bet they smell amazing!

    1. Wish I could send you some 😦 They are actually a bit greener than normal (usually a little more yellow) but the neighbour was giving them all away so Big Man had to step in quick!

  15. Hi T, Great to have you back. Beautiful shawl – Lucky girl! Gorgeous fabric. Lara’s picture of you is brilliant. So pleased you had a good trip.
    Regards Florence x

  16. I really enjoyed this post. I’m like that with packing too! 😛
    You’re so lucky to have gotten all that material, I can’t wait to see what you’ll be making with it! 😀

    P.S. big brownie points on the lily gesture… squirming in delight here!

    1. Thanks Fati – well, if you´ve paid for those kilos, you may as well make use of them! I was very pleased with my lilies…very unexpected and romantic. I think he did miss me…he even took photos of the simple meals he cooked in case I wanted to use them on the blog. How lovely is that?!

  17. Lovely post but can you come back please I’m missing you, it’s sooooooo quiet!! I’m heading to the loft to dig out my abandoned patchwork quilt that I started making in 1993 ………..x

    1. Miss you too – distance is a bad thing! Get cracking with that patchwork, will be back to check up on your progress! Which reminds me…must do a post on the “Quilt of Happiness” x

    1. Happy to share – it was a lucky find in a junk/Antique shop in Hastings, East Sussex. I think it was called Roberts – the owner had unpacked it the night before. A man had bought it in, he had been clearing out his late mother´s things and had found them in a suitcase – all still neatly folded and pristine. Didn´t even smell musty! There were lots of good shops there and also in the newer High Street in Lewes, West Sussex. Hope you come across some!

  18. I know you must have enjoyed spending time with your friends and family. Boy…did you bring back the goodies. Best of all, romantic fresh flowers from Big Man.

  19. Awww Bar Italia! It’s been a while, I only realise how much I miss London when people talk about places I know. It’s great for inspiration too, food, clothes, art whatever. Sometimes you need a little creative input and London does that for me. But it is always lovely to come home to this place we call home. There’s nowhere like it, even when a bolt of lightning comes down the phoneline and kills my computer, I still love it!!

  20. What marvelous loveliness here. I do love *membrillos y granadas* and all of the wonderful things that can be made with them. And Maldon salt–absolutely one of the most indispensable treats in my arsenal of seasonings. And chocolate: one of the few truly essential food groups. And terrific fabric yardage to inspire all sorts of great projects. Most of all, time with loved ones. Irreplaceable joy. Thanks for sharing it all with us!

    1. Hi Kathryn and thank you so much for your lovely comment. Thanks too for subscribing – I do hope you´ll continue to enjoy what you see. Am off to have a proper look at your blog now! Take care, Tanya

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