Showing posts from July, 2014

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent.

I have to read this book for our September bookclub, which is doing a double-meeting with this and The Rabbit Back Literature Society. Now, that sounds more ungenerous than I wanted it to. I wanted to read this book anyway and choosing it as a bookclub book gave me a legitimate reason to buy and read it.
It is set in early 19th century Iceland, at that time a dependency of Denmark and based on real events that happened in 1829 when the last execution for murder took place on Icelandic ground.

Another Time... Another Place....

I can't remember if I've ever posted about Another Place before? I haven't been for ages, a fact proven only too well today when I told the Princess where we were off to and all she could ask was "What place? Where?"

Another Place is Antony Gormley's art installation of 100 cast iron men, height 6ft 2 and based on his own body. It's been at Crosby since 2007 when permission was finally granted for it to stay permanently. I find it an amazingly intriguing collection since the men are all identical and variety comes from the positions they hold on the beach.

We were there near to high tide so there were only a few figures available to see, but the chance to be your own Figure was too good to miss.

The Princess and JW spent quite a while dipping their toes into the freezing waters, trying to bury their feet as deep as the figures, stand still as a statue (difficult considering the wind off the Irish Sea was... well, lively) and basically getting their legs a…

Sometimes the best things happen in Liverpool...

It's easy to forget that not everything really good happens in London; this weekend Liverpool has been alive with people and happiness because the Giants are back.
It's about 2 years since they last came, with the Little Girl and her Dog chasing after her Uncle the diver. This time, the Little Girl was back and so too was Xolo, the dog, but this time she brought her Grandma.
We went today and waited to see them, planning our routes so that we could see both of them.

The streets were heaving with people and noise, the cars had left the city for the afternoon and for a few brief hours there was a lot of waiting (a lot) while people filed past; police, stewards, the press...

And in the end there were the puppets. Massive, fantastic puppets operated by velvet-coated servants who sprang and bounced to make these puppets live. Xolo, bouncy and full of life. He raced past as fast as he could when the street was clear, stopping to smell and sometimes to catch a drink of water.

The Gir…

Linky Dream Stationery Box

It comes wrapped up in gift wrap, with items nestled amongst tissue paper and covered in confetti.
You unwrap it slowly, piece by piece if you are alone.
But if your daughter is there you fight to slow her down as she asks, "What next? What next?"

It's like a dear friend has chosen items just for you and had a lot of fun wrapping them and sending them to brighten your day.

And the best thing? You could be Billy No Mates and  send this to yourself. Brilliant.

The Linky stationery box is available to order here. It costs £15 for the monthly box, but you can order one or more and don't need to subscribe for a fixed period. You have to choose the size of Filofax you use, and suggest some of your favourite hobbies. I really enjoyed opening it, and have placed an order for a September box which I selfishly hope arrives when the Princess is out.

Want to go back in time? Visit History Live!

We went as a family to History Live at Kelmarsh Hall last weekend. It's English Heritage's flagship re-enactment event and all history is there. Choose an era and there was probably somebody dressed in the costume to meet with and talk to.
The event had a choice of arenas to watch different re-enactments in. We really enjoyed the Roman army being put through their paces and cheered when they made the Testudo (tortoise). There was a little lad next to us aged 8 or 9 who was obviously a Roman fan in his helmet and armour who positively jumped up and down when he saw the shields go up.

But from Romans to Roses and on to WW1 and 2 there was something for everyone. It was very boy's History, all battles and burly men, but that's not a criticism. So often a museum, by dint of being enclosed or static or just keen to follow the National Curriculum is restricted to the how we lived and forgets that throughout history it is the STORY that gets people's interest. And there i…

Filofax for the summer; a new little baby!

Summer comes every year, right? And every year I get my bag of choice for the summer out and fill it with the stuff of summer. The wet wipes in a small packet for cleaning the inevitable mess. The sun cream that will spill over the inside of the bag and empty the mini wet wipes quicker than a bad smell empties a full lift. And the umbrella for the inevitable wet day. This is England.

And usually my back creaks with the effort of carrying all that and my beautiful (love it still) Matt Malden.  And all the time I worry that the sun cream will spill on him, or the wet wipes will bleach out his colour. I do love my leather Filofax, and I know a battered Filofax is a thing of beauty and a joy forever, but just occasionally I don't want to batter it more than is necessary. So I gave in to temptation and got me a plastic Filofax. A Patent Pocket size in Duck Egg Blue.

It's a very pretty shade of blue; more subdued and delicate than baby blue, but definitely a blue. In Dulux colours y…

One day, Paddington found a new suitcase on the table....

It was a small size, about the same as his old suitcase.
 The back was very clean but the front looked like somebody had carried it out in the rain. "Poor suitcase," thought Paddington, "the rain has such a bad effect on pure leather in pale shades like tan."

He took a close look at the handle. "Good strong stitching, "he thought, "and a nice sized grip for my paws."

The suitcase had a price label still attached. "How marvellous!" thought Paddington, "Perhaps the case is for sale?" He was surprised at the reasonable price displayed on the suitcase. "Mr Gruber will think it's an absolute bargain! And enough change from a fiver to get a sachet of Suchard's hot chocolate to drink!"

Paddington liked catches that are easy to spring open. "Bear's paws aren't built for stiff openings," he said to himself as he opened the first catch. It sprang up quickly and Paddington wondered if the suitcase wa…

Meal Planning Monday

To link up with At Home With Mrs M

Last week I never even went to Mrs M's blog and linked. I don't know what happened; I scheduled the post on Sunday (the free time I had to schedule it) and meant to go on Monday to link in, when ...poof!... the time vanished, it was Friday and the planned week was nearly over.

I plan my menu a month in advance, often using just one cook book as my inspiration. This month I'm planning on using Jamie's Italy. That doesn't mean I'll slavishly plan every meal out of the book, or even use any of the recipes, but that I read the book a few times and see a dish I like the look of but it reminds me of a family favourite or with a twist would be fab to use, or I need to use a cheaper cut so instead of roasting would prefer to slow cook. Like crochet patterns, recipes are only advisory, except for baking recipes where I KNOW I need to follow them to.the.letter.

Enough already! You want to know what we're eating this week, no?
For yo…


"Hygge is as Danish as pork roast and cold beer and it goes far in illuminating the Danish soul. In essence, hygge means creating a nice, warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people around you. The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Friends and family – that’s hygge too. And let’s not forget the eating and drinking – preferably sitting around the table for hours on end discussing the big and small things in life. Perhaps the Danish idea of hygge explains why the Danes are often considered the happiest people in the world?" (From The Art Of Danish Hygge on
"One of the fundamental aspects of Danish culture is "hygge", a concept closely related to "coziness": relaxing with good friends or loved ones, often while enjoying good food and something to drink or creating a more friendly atmosphere by lighting a few candles. Christmas time, when loved ones sit close together on a cold rainy night, is a true moment of h…