Slow Sundays: board games and home-cooked meals
The Slower Sunday series is where I share what I have done that weekend to slow down my Sundays, whether that's making a homemade meal, waking up early to do a yoga practice, or dedicate an entire afternoon to a can't-put-me-down novel (recent favourites: The Essex Serpent and The Remains of the Day). I decided to share these glimpses into weekend life as more informal entries to this blog. These photos are more spontaneous, less polished, and about as real as it gets. When I first became interested in intentional living or slow living blogs, I found that a lot of bloggers shared one-off lifestyle tips such as decluttering, without sharing how they incorporate this mindset into other activities. I was like "okay an 8-piece Spring wardrobe sounds great. Then what?". For me, the Slower Sunday series is a way to try out new, intentional routines that bring me happiness. I hope that they'll offer you funny stories and ideas for how to bring intentional living into your every day.
1. Playing board games on a rainy afternoon
This first edition of Slower Sundays took place on a particularly wet, foggy weekend. A and I had finished a particularly tiresome week at work and, having done nothing but binge watch The Good Wife every evening (to the point where I feel the need to yell 'Objection your honour' during staff meetings), we decided to go buy a board game as an alternative to going from work-screen to home-screen. Setting off under threateningly grey Hong Kong skies, I imagined we would come home with a wooden chess set, or some other classical game. All this disappeared by the time we got to Jolly Thinkers, one of Hong Kong's favourite spots for playing board games. Shelf upon shelf of illustrated, strategic war games were upon us. It took us about five seconds to find the geekiest board game we could 'Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilisation', and we promptly took it home. To me, nothing resonates more with slow afternoons and hygge moments than playing a board game with ample pots of Earl Grey while there is a downpour outside.
2. Clearing out the kitchen pantry
I say pantry, what I really mean is tiny-little-hole-in-the-wall. Trust me when I say that every rumour you have heard about the tiny size of Hong Kong apartments is true! The boyfriend oggled me from the sofa as I delved into an ardent Spring-clean of our kitchen: balancing on chairs to wipe down all the corners, checking sell-by dates, re-arranging the spice sections and even buying those Pinterest-worthy glass jars from Muji to store the sugar and flour in (edit: after two weeks of this, I can't believe I didn't do this earlier! It avoids the inevitable sugar/flour spills over everything else in the hallway). Quick tip for storing dry food in jars: unpeel the sell by date sticker from the packaging and stick it on the bottom of the jar.
3. Cooking a roast from scratch
Meat and minimalism seem to be conflicting ideals at first glance. Being minimalist should be all about drinking carrot juice and surviving on kale, right? Thankfully not. I believe everyone is entitled to their own definition of intentional living. Minimalism is not about getting rid of everything in your life, but rather only keeping the things that matter to you. I'm easily a vegetarian most days of the week, and when I buy chicken or meat it's free-range and organic (this goes for eggs too!). It's eye-wateringly pricey, yes, but I'm more than happy to cut down on meat during the week so that I can support the farmers I believe are adopting good practices for their livestock and their environment. My favourite cookbook (okay Mum it's my only cookbook) is The Roasting Tin by Rukmini Iyer - an absolute must in my opinion for anti-washing uppers, university students, working parents and busy careerists. It's totally beginner friendly and every one of those delicious recipes can be made with one roasting tin. It even has a delicious dessert section (think: honey-roasted figs with raspberries & rose). My go-to recipes for lunchboxes are:
Summery roasted courgettes, aubergines & tomatoes with feta & pine nuts
Oven-baked asparagus & parmesan tortilla (I recommend tripling the cheese dose though)
Orzo with chilli & garlic roasted broccoli, lemon, parmesan & walnuts (see above cheese recommendation!)
All three take less than 15-minutes to prepare before sticking in the oven. For this Sunday's roast, I popped in to Marks and Spencers to get steak and potatoes to make her sublime rosemary & lemon steak with garlic-salt potatoes. I took the leftovers for lunch the next day: a serious way to induce lunchbox envy among colleagues!
It was one of my favourite Sundays in a long time. If you have any tips to share about how you incorporate intentional or slow-living on your weekends - especially if you live in a city - do share! I'd love to hear your ideas.