Seeking Your Inner Doris

I have been very lucky to have spent the past 6 months at home.  I love being at home and if I could afford to I would stay at home, caring for my children, being more involved in their daily lives and focusing on improving the health of myself and my family.  However, the reality is that I am now looking for work.  I will be looking back within the world of Finance, which is where my experience is from.  But I do not find that type of work stimulating or fulfilling any more.  I like pay-day and I have worked with some fabulous people and some of the projects I have been involved with have been challenging, interesting and satisfying.   But I want to do something different.  The question is, what?  What do I want to do?  What could my skills be transferred to?  What could I afford to do?

I spent a very pleasurable hour or so this morning with someone who is doing what she wants to do.  Louise Dean has had a varied and interesting career and is Mother to three children.  She is currently producing beautiful and original stoneware.  Her company is called Doris & Co. and she works from home in Hawkhurst in Kent creating Dorisware.  Dorisware is pieces of stoneware, such as mugs and jugs which are decorated with quaint and beautiful sayings and charming patterns.  The stoneware is made in Poland to her specifications and she decorates all the individual pieces by hand in her workroom and then fires them in her kiln.  Here is lovely Louise in her work room.

I enjoyed sitting in Louise’s beautiful kitchen which had lots of Dorisware on display and in use.

This is one of my favourite Dorisware phrases on the jug and it looks so pretty with the flowers in it.

Have you noticed those amazing cakes?  Imagine how tempting that was to me, especially since I had not had time for breakfast before going out this morning.  The cakes were made by Cocolicious, as recently featured in the Wealden Times magazine which is a local publication.  I resisted the little carrot cakes but did have a lamington and it was delicious and worth every calorie/point.  It was accompanied by two coffees and some funny and interesting conversations with some of the lovely local ladies who popped in to see the new Dorisware pieces.

When I got home I was definitely ready for a late breakfast.  My mission, is to use up 4 cans of pumpkin puree.   A blog I really enjoy is Peas And Thank You which is written, in a very humorous manner, by a vegan Mother of two.  She put up a recipe for pumpkin pie smoothie this week and I decided to try it.

I didn’t freeze the pumpkin or add the garam masala or xanthan gum but otherwise I was faithful to Mama Peas recipe.  As a sweetener I used 1 tsp maple syrup.  I didn’t add the cream or crackers to the top either, but they would probably have been good additions.

If you want to try this but don’t have American cup measures, the pumpkin weighed 240 g and the milk was 250 ml. And the result?

Well, it was edible/drinkable.  I liked the consistency very much but I am not convinced I like the taste. Or is it just that I can not reconcile cold pumpkin with being a pleasurable taste sensation?  I am not sure but I will not make the smoothie again, mainly because I give it a low satiety rating i.e. it did not keep me feeling full for long and I was hungry for lunch before midday.

Lunch was quick and easy; a jacket potato with a small tin of tuna and a tbsp of mayonnaise.  I was in too much of a rush to even mix the mayo in to the tuna, which would have been better, but I was hungry and due to meet Lucy for a dog walk round Sissinghurst Castle Gardens.  It was an unexciting but substantial lunch and it did the job.

What a glorious afternoon for a walk.  I am sure I have said this before but I feel so lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world which is populated by so many wonderful people with so many good things being created and made here.  One of my favourite little spots is this magical room beside the stream within Sissinghurst Castle Gardens.

There are beautiful views all around and it is just idyllic.  We wandered past the lakes and through the woods.  It was perfect walking weather.

We were so engrossed in conversation we lost our way and our walk ended up taking two and half hours which was fine with me.  I enjoyed it all, even the hurried dash back to the car when we realised there was a good chance of being late for school pick up.

For supper inspiration I returned to ‘Veg Everyday!’.  I made Porotos Granados which is a Chilean bean and squash stew.  It was very easy to make and took about 30 – 40 minutes from start to serving up.  It has in it butternut squash, beans ( I used tinned cannelini beans), green beans and sweetcorn cut from the cob.  The flavours come mainly from sweet smoked paprika, garlic and oregano.  Mine seemed more soupy than the picture in the book i.e. there was more liquid so I perhaps didn’t have enough squash but it didn’t matter.


  • 2 tbsp Rapeseed Oil
  • 1 medium Onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 400 g tin of white beans such as cannelini, haricot or pinto.
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 squash
  • 200 g French beans, trimmed and cut
  • The kernels from 2 cobs of corn
  • Salt and Pepper


  1. Heat the oil and fry the onion and garlic on a low heat until going soft.
  2. Add the paprika and oregano and cook for another minute.
  3. Add the beans, stock, bay leaf and squash and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the squash is soft.
  4. Add the green beans and sweet corn and cook for another 5 minutes.
  5. Season to taste.

Harvey declared it looked very nice and after tasting some said it was “delicious” and could he have some more?  I really enjoyed it too and am pleased there is plenty left for lunch tomorrow.

I remain unsure about what I really want to do with my life but am enjoying the process of thinking about it.  It won’t be making Dorisware.  There is already an expert down the road doing that and I look forward to having some in my home.

About Lose Weight and Gain Health

Hi! My name is Zoe and I live in Hastings, East Sussex, with my son Harvey and dog, Milton. I have been fighting the fat for years but this time I am serious. I want to lose weight and gain health. This blog is about how I am changing my lifestyle so I can lose weight but not by just "being on a diet" but by making small changes to our lives so that as I lose weight, I gain health. I want my family to be healthy too and never have to struggle with their weight like I have. In common with many large people, I have gained and lost weight many times over the years. This time, I want to lose it and maintain a healthy low weight. I am interested in eating food that is nutrient dense and delicious and that appeals to children and adults. I do not eat animal products so follow a vegan diet. I try to use locally produced food supplemented with what I can grow myself. I support and try to use local farmers markets and farm shops. Another objective is to add more exercise to our days. It sounds so simple when I write it down :-)
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2 Responses to Seeking Your Inner Doris

  1. Louise Dean says:

    It was lovely to have you here! x

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