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Seasonal Summary (Beltane)
The division of the Celtic Wheel of the year into eight seasons - the Solstices and Equinoxes, and the midpoints between them - makes so much sense to me. More so than just Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter - too long and varied - and more so than the months of the year - too short and fleeting. To me, these roughly six week increments strikes the ideal balance, like micro-seasons that capture the quiet-magic of the in-between as well as the pivotal start and end-points that punctuate the Celtic Calendar. In my newsletter, I thought I’d start sharing my own seasonal summary reviewing the segment of the year just gone: things I’ve been making, doing, baking, cooking and reading. So without further ado, before I start sharing my Midsummer content in the lead-up to Litha, here’s my seasonal summary for Beltane.
I’m on course to make my target of reading 50 books this year. I’ve written before about how vital reading is for my mental health, and I’ve truly missed it these last few weeks as I’m in the midst of my annual marking for the exam board. I managed to devour Candice Carty-Williams’ latest novel People Person just in time though - I adored Queenie so had high expectations of this one and it didn’t disappoint. I just love her characterisation and mixing of humour with hard-hitting themes. In terms of non-fiction, Bloomsbury kindly sent me an advance copy of Ella Risbridger’s The Year of Miracles which I reviewed on my Instagram - a blend of memoir and cookbook with some garden growing thrown into the mix, it’s my favourite book I’ve read in a long time. I’m really drawn to hybrid, genre-defying books at the moment. What about you?
I’ve been enjoying British asparagus as much as humanly possible during its short season - brightening risottos, stirred through pastas or served simply with soft-boiled eggs and sourdough toast. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before but Anna Jones’ one pan pasta is always delicious cooked with whatever is in season and I’ve loved making it with asparagus and plenty of lemon zest. I also keep the woody ends of asparagus in the fridge for making soup with, a great food waste hack. During my marking period we also treated ourselves to the most delicious veggie sushi and vegetable gyoza from local Japanese chain Maki and Ramen. A must if you’re visiting Edinburgh.
As we’re moving house at the end of the month (!!!) I’ve been busy trying to run down the larder and use up those ingredients lurking at the back of the cupboard. You know the ones - niche ingredients that I bought for a recipe and then didn’t use again! Enter strawberry trifle layer cake (made with ladyfinger biscuits) and lemon and pine drizzle loaf (to use up my pine sugar stash!). I’m testing a new no-churn ice cream recipe to use up a tin of out-of-date-but-still-delicious condensed milk as we speak, and will be incorporating the rest in some millionaire’s shortbread. I’m thinking raspberry and white chocolate for a seasonal twist… What do you think?!
There’s sadly not been much time for crafting with everything going on just now and I always, always miss it when I don’t get the chance to make something with my hands. So I’m promising myself I’ll prioritise time for making in the lead-up to Litha. I have been making sure that I pick up fresh blooms when I can though - and even a few minutes spent arranging some flowers makes all the difference. I have been making some mood boards in shades of green and pink for an exciting project or two though (pictured at the top of this newsletter). Watch this space for more soon!
Getting quotes for movers, booking movers, finalising paperwork, messaging my joiner… Moving house is a lot of life admin at once! As a result of this, marking and a secret project, I’ve been spending a lot of time at the flat, mostly marking but simultaneously trying to savour the flat’s beautiful views, period features and quirks before we hand over the keys soon. It’s been putting on a particularly good show, as I knew it would! It’s that late Spring golden light. Otherwise, the main event in the diary has been the ECA Graduate Show this weekend as a wee respite from marking - always a highlight of the Summer calendar for me here in Edinburgh. I’ll be sure to share pictures on my Instagram soon, the highlight, as ever, was the Illustration students. It’s on until 12th June, be sure to book ahead if you’re visiting.
A few weeks ago Meadows hosted a pop-up here in Edinburgh for one weekend only. It was a sample sale with past season and seconds and filled with bargains. Sadly I didn’t make it until the Sunday when most things were gone in my size but there was a lone, dusky pink smock with embroidered detailing and ruffles that had my name written all over it! Lovely now with sandals and later with tights, roll-neck and boots. Meadows is on the more expensive side usually but I love their vintage-inspired aesthetic and the quality is truly lovely. I’ll be looking out for future sales online too.
There are so many great writers here! I’m particularly enjoying Emma Gannon, Ella Risbridger and Emma Barnett on Substack. I had mainly been using Substack as a platform for sharing rather than networking, but in recent weeks I’ve been discovering a whole other side to it through their writer Office Hour threads that I’m really enjoying. Do you have any favourite Substackers?