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Strawberries & Settling in with Italian Scones

I have had an awful lot on my plate since we moved, but on the whole it’s nice stuff this week. A month in and the kids feel settled in the new school, they are really thriving. They miss old friends, and organising their social lives with both new clubs and old friends is pretty exhausting, but seeing them in school productions and seeing lots more of grandparents is lovely.

The house feels like ours now, the times when I wake up or walk into a room and feel a little lost and wonder when the previous owners will walk through the door and ask for it back are dwindling.

I look back and I realise my to do list has been relentless. I’ve ploughed on but only in the last week have I started to feel like I can juggle my blog fully again too. Everything is new, which is tiring and so many everyday things needed rethinking, from doctors and vets to running routes and food shopping.

So when Ciao Gusto offered me some products via an Ocado delivery I jumped at the chance to combine blogging and food shopping! I’ve not shopped at Ocado before, it was a real joy, so many yummy new things to try. How have I not done this before? It’s a real foodie paradise.  Ciao Gusto is a group of around 30 authentic Italian food and drink brands who have come together, and now offer a one-stop place to shop for real Italian ingredients on Ocado.

One thing I have noticed in the new house is that I am much better at taking time out.  15 minutes watching the birds feeding from the window or 10 minutes strolling round the garden or half an hour in the greenhouse to switch off from work. I’ve been trying to create lots of happy moments too for the kids, as they adjust to new school, so I decided to order something special for us from Ocado.

Sometimes the scale of the gardening feels a little overwhelming, but the house at least seems much easier to keep tidy than our old home. Part good design, part feeling house proud still. I spent 10 years without a ‘kitchen triangle’, so to be able to make a cup of tea without several trips up and down the kitchen is a revelation.

The garden is a lot of work, but it’s happy work and the views bring me so much joy.  I’m actually annoyed when I don’t have time to garden, rather than seeing it as a chore. I haven’t gone overboard with planting things, until I know what I can realistically manage to keep alive. I was fed up on Tuesday when I realised I’d forgotten to make a support for the tomato plant I was given and when I realised I’d forgotten to water things again.

But with or without water, one thing keeps giving…

The previous owners left us with a crazy amount of strawberries. The raised bed chock full with them is at least 3m x 3m. When we moved in Dad estimated 3 weeks and they would be ready. He was right, after 3 weeks and 2 days our first strawberry appeared.

And they haven’t stopped coming…

We’ve stuffed the freezer full to make smoothies with, given them away and eaten them for every meal.

I wanted to honour their arrival, we’ve had them with a sprinkling of sugar, but I thought we would have scones in their honour too.

So I ordered Ocado scones, clotted cream, and from Ciao Gusto’s section of Ocado – Santa Rosa Strawberry Jam and Bonomelli herbal tea.

May I present our Anglo Italian Afternoon Tea…

What a treat to come home from school to. I picked flowers from the garden to, to put in a vase a long term blogging friend, Kate Takes 5 sent me. The cup is one my Dad bought us, the kind I mentioned that the previous owners of the house also had in this post, which made me feel at home when I first viewed the house.

Santa Rosa jams are something else. I was so torn by the Italian apricot, peach or cherry too. The flavour is really amazing, they are sweet but not sickly and the texture is so much nicer than English brands. It made me feel like I was on holiday instantly – a feeling admittedly I have most days living in the Peak District, but this was definitely a continental holiday.
Bonomelli were founded over 100 years ago in Milan and are famous throughout Italy for their Camomile infusions.  They also have Lemon and Seabuckthorn tea, and Orange and Papaya. I tried Grape and Strawberry which was a lovely fruity caffeine free way to wash down the scones.
I’m gearing up to making some jam now, to try and make use of the strawberries, and the rhubarb, but I’m just not sure it will be anywhere near as good as Santa Rosa jam…any tips?
For a one stop Italian shopping experience at Ocado, visit the Italian shop here. Post in collaboration with Ciao Gusto.
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