Life After Ballymaloe

This post would more accurately be titled ‘the mad busyness which has been life after Ballymaloe.’ I really didn’t think things through before launching myself back into the real world, becoming some sort of crazed yes lady – ‘shifts in the shop? Sure. A fortnights cooking out west? Yes please. Another 3 weeks in the middle of nowhere? Yes yes yes.’ I feel like I’ve been firing on all cylinders for the past wee while and, as a friend accurately pointed out, I’m not very good at doing nothing; I thrive on busyness. I often wish this wasn’t the case. I fear an inevitable burnout, which generally emerges towards the end of a busy spell, turning me into an emotional, teary wreck. For a short time only, but still. This happened frequently during 3rd and 4th year of University, resulting in messy, semi deranged ‘everything is awful’ bawling.

Anyway, life, if you hadn’t gathered, has been busy. Hence not a lot of sewing is getting done, but on the flip side a lot of cooking is (cooking being my job after all…).

Life post Ballymaloe has seen me return to my private cooking work, cooking for many of my existing clients but also for some new ones. This time of year especially sees a good mix of clients holidaying in Scotland for a variety of reasons, namely fishing, stalking (deer, just to be clear) and shooting. The food they want is varied, making menu planning for each group interesting. A big cooked breakfast everyday is a must – sausages and bacon from the local butcher, eggs – scrambled, poached or fried – black pudding, homemade granola, yoghurt and fresh fruit. Then for lunch maybe a picnic by the river of homemade onion, bacon and blue cheese quiche, cold roast chicken and salad. Or else a filled roll for on the hill, with a flapjack for energy and lots of fruit. Dinner varies from season to season and from group to group – those out on the hill all day want hearty fare; casseroles and soups, big roasts with lots of sides, roulades and tarts for pudding. Others prefer lighter options; salmon with salsa verde, roasted peach and Parma ham salad for starters, little meringues with a raspberry coulis for pudding. It’s always varied, always interesting. I have a stack of cookbooks I carry everywhere with me, the current selection being; Darina Allens ‘Ballymaloe Cookery Course’ (naturally), Claire Ptak’s ‘Violet Bakery Cookbook’ (cinnamon bun recipe to die for in here), Nigel Slater’s ‘A Year of Good Eating’ and Amber Rose’s ‘Love Bake Nourish.’

It’s a good job for now – I enjoy being on the move, but have, of late being feeling restless with it. It can be wearing always working on your own – I miss the buzz and energy that comes from working as part of a team.

And so, booked up until the end of October with cooking work, from November I will be making a few changes (learning to say no and plan ahead better) and settling into more of a balanced rhythm with a new job (which I will talk more about in a future post – it’s still all too new and exciting to write about yet). So still busy, but balanced.

Anyway, that’s more than enough of ramble for now – I’m off to cook dinner.

Hannah x

7 thoughts on “Life After Ballymaloe

  1. Wow it sounds like you have been ultra busy, I hope you get a rest soon as burnouts are not nice, I’m not good at saying no either but over the last year I have learnt to pace myself better by leaving gaps, saying yes but with conditions or even saying no (which I am always proud when I do) your job sounds hard to do this but hopefully you can find the balance soon so you go doolally.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It has been a bit manic – I need to learn how to say no and prioritise my time a wee bit better. I’m glad it’s not just me who struggled with saying no! For this half of the year my goal is definitely going to be learning to say no and finding a better balance.


  2. I’m excited to hear more about your new job!! From the outside your job sounds really exciting, however nowadays it’s a serious problem that more and more people seperates and get individual and I also don’t like to work on my own – people need to be the part of communities, so I totally get what you mean when you talk about missing team work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I will be writing more about it in my next post (as soon as I’ve got the contract all signed and sorted!!)! I hate working on my own – I start talking to myself after a while – so I’m super excited to get back into working in a busy team environment again!


  3. Hello Hannah, I’ve just discovered your blog, thanks to The Fold Line. I absolutely love your style and suspect we are of similar build, so am feeling inspired to dig out some of the patterns you’ve used successfully that have been sitting unloved at the back of my cupboard… Which is interesting, as I am probably twice your age! But never mind. It cheers me up no end to see the kind of clothes I like to wear looking so great on someone young and stylish, as I also believe they are not of the kind to lead to ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ errors… (I hope not, anyway…)
    So, I do hope you manage to get back to sewing once your career is settled as I look forward to seeing what you make next.
    Good luck with it all!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Anne, thank you so much for your comment! I am so glad you’re feeling inspired to get sewing with some of the patterns I’ve used! That’s what I love so much about sewing your own clothes – being able to create unique clothes which look great no matter your age/stage in life. I definitely don’t think they’d be mutton dressed as lamb! Thank you so much for the ‘stylish’ comment – most of the time I feel far from stylish so it means a lot!
      Sorry I’ve taken so long to reply to your comment – I fully intend to get properly back in the swing of blogging soon! 😊


      1. Glad to hear you’ll be back soon. I’m about to sew up my first Esme tunic… Also have plans for an Elisalex dress. Both inspired by your versions!


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