New Life, New Focus, New Balance

The last few years have been a rollercoaster for myself and the family. We’ve had a lot to deal with and have had some hard things to deal with. Without each other, our families and friends, I’m not sure we’d have kept it together. Throughout most of this time the allotment has been a place of escape, a place where the usual concerns in my life evaporated, and where gradually some brightness and confidence have emerged from the quagmire that is depression. fennel hopeThe blog was always a way of sharing these steps into a changed life. A log of the recipes (both literal and metaphorical) which have helped me on my journey. It still continues to be that, and writing things down offers me a therapeutic outlet. However, as the fog of depression and anxiety begins to thin, and the new life as a community baker emerges out of the gloom, the allotment has taken a back seat. Where once I found solice in getting to the plot and getting my hands filthy as I weeded, sowed and harvested; now the draw is to kneadinf, shaping and baking. Spare time once focussed on planting plans, seed thinning or recipe writing is being spent trialling breads, planning bakes and ordering flour. This change of focus is not unwanted. I like the new challenges; learning new skills is afterall one of the 5 Ways to Wellbeing, and has helped me to build confidence and happiness. It is however all too easy to forget the good the allotment has done me. Afteer all, the ‘me time’ at the allotment has been instrumental in dragging me back.

One of the recipes for change the blog has charted is an improved balance in my life; and it is a new balance I seek now. Something which allows time for myself, family and friends; for home, the bakery and the allotment.

Dead Chuffed: Shortlisted for a Brilliance in Blogging Award


Spade Fork Spoon has been nominated in the Brilliance in Blogging Awards in the food category. This is amazing and I’m dead chuffed, especially as there are so many amazing food blogs out there. I started the blog as a way of documenting the change from being a full-time teacher, to becoming a stay-at-home Dad; spending time in the kitchen and at the allotment, as well as spending quality time with my family. Cooking and growing fruit and veg has really helped me to become a happier person and I really feel it can help me as I continue my journey and I blog about my recipes for a changed life. It’s so nice to think that what I write about is liked and appreciated by others; and even liked to the point of actually nominating me. Thank you whoever you are!

You can see  the other amazing blogs who made the shortlist on the BiBs2014 website; and if you can see your way to voting for Spade Fork Spoon, then you can do so by clicking on the badge below.


The Liebster Award

The fabulous The Dessert Course has nominated my blog for the Liebster Award. It’s always nice to be recognised as doing something which others enjoy and benefit from, so thank you. The Liebster Award is awarded by fellow bloggers, and is intended to promote new bloggers. The word ‘Liebster’, as my GCSE German tells me, has a variety of meanings, but essentially it’s kindest or sweetest. I love the sentiment of this; bloggers sticking together and being supportive to each other, despite geographical separation. As part of the Liebster Award process, I need to answer some questions set by The Dessert Course. So without further ado, here are my responses.

Which cook book could you not be without?
Like many food bloggers, I’ve got many cookbooks and probably don’t use all of them that regularly. I have some favourites and tend to use them more than others. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Everyday and Nigel Slater’s Appetite are favourites and I’d always want them in my kitchen.
Who taught you everything you know about cooking/baking?
My mum was the cook in our house, so it was mum who gave me my grounding in cooking. I have fond memories of great food as a kid, and always enjoy heading home for home cooked deliciousness.
What is your favourite holiday destination?
I’ve had a number of great holidays, but perhaps my favourite was to Dubrovnik and the Dalmatian coast. It was about ten years ago and we arrived at 2am in a thunderstorm; even so it was 30+ degrees. We stayed in an apartment in the old town and spent our days swimming off the rocks, drinking coffee, having the best (and cheapest) ice creams, and enjoying fantastic Italian food. Given the chance I’d go back any time.
When you were a child, what job did you see yourself doing?
From an early age I always saw myself as a teacher. My grandfather and aunt were both teachers and I suppose I felt I should follow in their footsteps; although basically I always felt I could be a good teacher and help children, in the way I was helped by some great teachers.
What food can you not stand the sight of?
I’m pretty sure that all food looks appealing to me, I would certainly try anything which is eaten by others.
Who is your favourite musician/band?
I’m not sure I have a favourite band. I listen to a lot of radio, but it’s usually Radio 4. When I want to relax I tend to listen to jazz singers like Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday.
What issue are you most passionate about?
I’m passionate about my family and making them happy. Happiness is a very underrated thing and not something which just happens – you need to work at it.
What is your biggest fear?
Crikey, that’s a deep one….
Are you a dog or cat person?
Cat. Don’t get me started…
How long have you been running your blog?
Spadeforkspoon has been running since September when I went on sabbatical from my teaching job.

The idea of the Liebster award is to promote new bloggers. I can’t seem to find out who of the bloggers I follow are new and who are more experienced and more followed, so I’ve listed a few blogs I really enjoy reading.

So, here are some questions for my nominees.
Describe yourself in three words.
Why did you start the blog?
What is your favourite food?
What is your most memorable food location?
What is your favourite book?
What is your most prized possession?
Countryside or city?
Book or Ebook?
Marmite or no marmite?
What is your favourite blog post (provide a link)?