Here One Minute, Gone The Next

When I woke up this morning I was happy and sad.  Happy because my sisters and their families were coming for lunch and sad because my lovely girl is going travelling for 6 weeks.  It seems as if she has only just come home and she is going again.  I really hate it.  I have never been good at not having my children near me and it doesn’t seem to be getting any easier.

On the up side, we had today together, and alongside Lara’s packing, she helped me prepare lunch and we had a lovely walk together over the road through the woods.  There were 20 of us for lunch and everyone was bringing something so we didn’t have too much to do.

I made a vegetarian dip to serve when people arrived.

Seven Layer Dip


  • 1 can refried beans
  • 1 can sweetcorn
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 lime
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olives
  • 2 ripe tomatoes
  • 1 pot sour cream
  • 100 g mature cheddar cheese


  • Spread refried beans across the bottom of the dish
  • Spread sweetcorn over the beans
  • Mash the avocado with lime juice and season with salt and pepper and spread over the sweetcorn
  • Spread the olives over the avocado
  • Chop the tomatoes and place evenly over the olives
  • Cover with sour cream
  • Grate the cheddar over the cream
  • Serve with tortilla chips

 We were cooking in the BBQ house so everyone was bringing meat to BBQ and ww were making some of the side dishes and salads.  We made a delicious lentil and tomato salad.  I bought a mixture of tomatoes yesterday in Borough Market and used them all in the salad.

Puy Lentil and Tomato Salad


  • 1 red onion
  • 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup puy lentils
  • Vegetable stock
  • Fresh juicy tomatoes (4 red tomatoes, 8 baby plum tomatoes, 2 kumatoes, 12 cherry tomatoes)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper


  • Chop the red onion as finely as you can
  • Place in a dish and add the red wine vinegar
  • Set aside to marinade for 1 – 2 hours
  • Place the lentils in a saucepan with 3 cups of water and 1 vegetable stock cube
  • Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes
  • Drain and set aside to cool down
  • Chop the tomatoes and parsley and add to the lentils
  • Stir through the olive oil and season to taste.

This was really good.  Full of flavour and a lovely variety of textures and flavours.  I would say good quality tomatoes are important in the success of this dish.

I couldn’t wait for people to start arriving.  My youngest sister Holly was first and literally as she arrived the sun came out.  We had worried about being able to eat outside but as it turned out, we were outside all day until about 7 pm.

Followed by my cousin Bruce with his 2 boys and wife Fiona.

What a wonderful day.  Cooking lovely food, much of which was provided by our visitors.    Serving drinks and food to many of my nearest and dearest, enjoying the sunshine, the Spring flowers out in bloom and making the most of my time with Lara.

I love long lazy days in the garden and could do this every weekend.

I am so lucky to have such a dear and lovely family where everyone is friends with everyone else and we all enjoy being together.

Everyone pitches in to help and we ended up with a veritable feast.    Abi and Katie took a turn in the BBQ house.

Chicken kebabs, Chicken pieces bbq’d in different sauces, burgers, sausages and ribs.  Served with a variety of salads, breads and dips such as smoked aubergine and hummus from Arabica.

All very enjoyable.

I particularly love being with my gorgeous girl (even when she is wearing my Ray Ban Cats – just observed since looking at these photos!).

Harvey and I made a coffee cake (his choice) in the morning which I attempted to decorate as a Union Jack.

I will never make my living out of cake decorating but it tasted really good.  And was accompanied by a very lively rendition of our National Anthem.

We also had chocolate brownies, treacle tart, scones with cream and jam, red velvet cake and plenty of strawberries and blueberries.  I didn’t eat all that by the way!

Too soon Lara’s travelling companion Holly arrived to whisk her away to the airport and on to Asia for 6 weeks.  Have fun girls but be careful.

Back at the ranch the table tennis tournament began.

The children and men were thus occupied and so our chatting, eating and drinking continued.

Today was a lovely day, apart from Lara leaving.  As I write this, she will be in the plane, bound for Bangkok.  I look forward to her return and to hearing about her travels.

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 Here One Minute, Gone The Next

  1. abi says:

    What a lively day it was indeed, thank you so much. The food was gorgeous, as was the company 🙂 I would say, when making the 7 layer dip, I think it would be better with pitted olives. Your garden looks the most beautiful I have ever seen it. See you soon, love you lots xxxxx

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