Week 5 of Lock-down!!

Hi everyone! Apologies, I’d hoped to write a blog post every week but in all honesty, I’ve been quite busy. Not only am I helping at Tom’s work pretty much full time, but I’m also doing daily workouts (if anyone is interested, please get in touch!). I’ve started a personal training page but it’s definitely still in its infancy - so any follow would be welcome @trainwithvp. I can do 1-2-1 virtual workouts or set you a program - all for free, obviously!

I’ve also been baking most days, in preparation for my time at Kelmarsh Hall. Everything from breads, cookies, hot cross buns to cheesecakes. I’ve also been experimenting with gluten free flours. Working in a grain business and not being able to buy flour from the shops has given me the perfect opportunity to start experimenting. After a lot of 'interesting' bakes, it turns out self raising flour is used in cakes for a reason! I’ve tried bean flour and oat flour so far; both resulted in a lovely light sponge when it came out of the oven, but with very little rise - so it ended up being quite stodgy once rested. So, the experimentation will continue!

I’ve been really interested in how other similar businesses to me have been coping with ‘lockdown’. Most restaurants have shut down completely, rather than offering delivery service. Our local bakery and takeaways also closed, however, have recently re-opened. We couldn’t understand why any food business which could offer delivery, would close in this period. Being in the industry, I haven’t had any government ruling or legislation advising me to suspend trade until I have a Covid-19 plan. I was wondering whether maybe these businesses could only get relief if they closed completely. Unfortunately, I can't serve pizza because I can't seem to source yeast anywhere. However, bakeries are still open so yeast must be somewhere - so finding it is my aim this week.

As much as I am enjoying working for Tom, I am chomping at the bit for someone to find a vaccine for Coronavirus to allow life to begin to go back to normality. I had everything ready for Kelmarsh and I am trying to ignore the amount of money I’ve spent on equipment. If there was anything I could do on that front, I’d be doing it. I'm hoping that by continuing my recipes and social media; I might create a small following for when we open, however, I think I might need to go on a social media course to achieve that!

Personal life wise - wow, I’m more tired than ever. For us, you could argue that Coronavirus came at a manageable time because we took the decision to re-level our garden shortly before. This involved digging up the old one, putting on hundreds of tonnes of topsoil, remarking our boundaries and then rolling it. I naively thought that machines would do everything for us; what I didn’t realise was the amount of grafting that was involved. We had to rake up all the stones in the soil… with garden rakes of about a foot wide and a pretty hefty half acre garden, this was no easy feat. I’m always the positive one in our relationship, starting out by saying “ah this is easy, we can do this!” Four hours later, I was feeling thoroughly unmotivated and fed up. Tables soon turned and Tom was the one taking on my usual role.

It didn’t stop there. Raking done. Now, time to pick up all of those stones. I chose to do this by hand as the shovel provided an extra level of effort. Goodness knows how many wheelbarrows of stones I transported, probably over 80, but by the end of the day, I honestly needed help standing up! We also planted nearly 100 trees and did the obligatory weeding. Oh, and to finish it all off - we sewed our new stone-free (nearly) lawn with grass seed. This was an experience in itself; with the wind picking up every other time I tossed some seed down, I ended up with it in my mouth and my shoes. We then had to rake over the seed, to enable it to grow. Oh boy, I don’t really want to see a rake ever again!

On a positive side, we now have a level garden which we can forever look at and say, “ we did that!” and I must have burnt THOUSANDS of calories this weekend, so I just ate and drank everything I could possibly want. It was great! We’re also trying to crack on with our house project; I’ve chosen new bathrooms so those are going in. Unfortunately we are currently living in a demolition with our kitchen as Coronavirus has obviously stopped our kitchen manufacturer from working; so hopefully the rules will be relaxed soon.

Other than this, we've been spending a lot of quality time together; I've even managed to persuade Tom out on a long run, numerous cycle rides and some dog walks with Tarka. He's also been making me some pretty delicious cocktails, so life could be worse! I keep thinking about our honeymoon and am praying that we will still be able to go before it becomes a distant memory. Maybe we can have one to celebrate our year anniversary; fingers crossed life is normal by January!! Here's hoping.

Anyway, I hope everyone is keeping healthy and doing well. It must be so strange for so many of you living, working, socialising and doing absolutely everything at home. I can't help with much but if you need any fitness tips, or motivation, get in touch :)

#baking #cakes #kelmarsh #lockdown #coronavirus #business #personaltraining

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