I wrote last week about how I’ve spent most of my summer working and how hard I find it to relax. And while this remains true (I write this post sitting on the floor of my bedroom working in pyjamas while the Notting Hill Carnival takes place right outside my window) – I have still spent a large portion of my summer trying my best to ‘chill out’, ‘max’ and ‘relax all cool‘.
Incredibly unhelpfully, one of the things I find hardest about relaxing is what to wear when this relaxing takes place. I wake up in the morning – a beautiful empty day of sun, family and pretending to read Madame Bovary ahead of me. ‘I will be calm’ I tell myself ‘I will be serene, and chilled out, I will wear no make up, my hair will be coiffed into the perfect messy bun and I will rule this relaxing day like a boss’.
Half an hour later I am lying on the floor still trying to figure out what this ‘perfect relaxed day’ outfit might look like. By this point I’ve tried everything – all my jumpers are too baggy or too tight, leggings make me look like I’ve just come back from a run which is most definitely not true and all my dresses completely contradict the ‘Oh I just threw this on’ look that I have been painfully trying to achieve.
The truth is, I will never be chilled out. I will always try too hard, always overthink everything, and always get too excited about a new episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashian’s for anyone to ever truly believe I am a calm and collected person.
In the end I opt for my favourite jumper, a skirt, and tights. Not quite the low slung sweatpants and cropped gym top that the ‘calm’ girl of my dreams is wearing but close enough.
I spend the day baking, reading, going on a long walk with Posy who never has to worry about whether or not she looks relaxed enough and watching that previously mentioned new episode of KUWTK. I’ve written a lot in the past about how much baking helps me when I’m anxious, and this summer has reignited by love affair with anything containing baking soda. After a year of trying to cook in my minuscule New York kitchen and realising that when you live alone you have to do all the washing up yourself, I didn’t get to bake as much as I would have liked. In the picture above I’m icing the Pumpkin Cake from the painful Horticultural Show nightmare, but my favourite new recipe of the summer has been for homemade custard creams.
My brother gave me a custard cream stamp for my birthday and I came up with this recipe to try and imitate the real thing. Much like everything homemade – they actually taste better, and if you happen to have a day off where you’re trying to relax, I would highly reccomend spending more time making these and less time panicking over how to dress so everyone thinks you’re not the kind of person who would panic about their outfit.
To make the custard creams: mix together 100g butter, 100g flour, 50g sugar, 50g custard powder and a teaspoon of vanilla extract until they form a dough. Roll the dough out onto a floured surface and cut into whatever shape you choose. Then bake for 10 minutes or until biscuits start to turn golden brown. To make the filling cream together 75g butter, 100g icing sugar and 50g custard powder until you get a buttercream and sandwich it between two biscuits. Enjoy!