|Blue skies over East London this week|
C's new life at secondary school incorporates so many new experiences under just one heading. He is walking to and from school each day rather than being driven or travelling with me on the tube. He's doing several pieces of homework each night rather than just once a week. He's making new friends, managing his own money and learning completely new subjects for the very first time.
G is taking up new hobbies and resuming old ones, with the spare time he has now that he is no longer training for the ironman. His work hours have changed significantly, as has his daily commute across London.
I am starting new projects and using my time very differently to how I was a few months ago. O finds herself in a busy whirl of birthday parties, ballet lessons, opticians appointments and new after-school arrangements.
All of this, without exception, is good for us. I am excited and energised by the new possibilities opening up for me, C loves his new school, G and O are busy and happy. And yet...sometimes the newness and the bustle can still feel tiring and overwhelming, even though it's welcome and we're enjoying it. Sometimes we just want to curl up under a quilt, watch favourite, missed TV shows on iPlayer and eat pudding.
So I've stopped what I should be doing for the morning, and done some baking instead. This bread pudding recipe, from my friend Nina, is the most comforting thing imaginable. The children, G and I all rank it as one of our most favourite puddings ever. It tastes wonderfully spicy and citrussy and completely hits the spot when you need a bit of comfort food.
|Stale bread, about to be transformed|
|Butter, sugar, spices and fruit|
It is not a very beautiful pudding to look at, but just like your favourite pair of comfy slippers or your child's old, beloved bear-with-no-fur, it is not meant to be an object of great beauty. Its power lies in the fact that it can lift your soul and bring you comfort and reassurance when everything feels a little bit new and challenging.
|Suds in the sink|
We're having our bread pudding for tea tonight, and then tomorrow we'll all be be back out there, embracing the newness once again. That's the magic of this pudding.