Tuesday, 29 November 2016

CHRISTMAS 2016: FOR HIM


Clockwise from top left: Low Christmas because you listen to it together every year, bottled negroni and a new glass, spruce incense and an indigo quilt, a flock of starlings, the complete Michael Palin, spruce resin ointment and Santa socks, and finally, because he puts it on everything, a tiny bottle of sriracha that he can keep in his pocket.

Friday, 25 November 2016

CHRISTMAS 2016: FOR HER



Clockwise from top left: The Future is Female, an incense holder with Japanese incenseperfume oil, House of Plants with a succulent wrapped up alongside, a marble pyramid to hold her jewellery, a book she's been meaning to read, a new pink bowl and a tub of her favourite ice-cream, cream mittens and warm socks, the complete Parks and Recreation because we need more Lesley Knopes in the world, a winter bergamot candle, and, finally, a boob bathmat because it'll make her laugh.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

CHRISTMAS CAKE, AGAIN


I made my Christmas cake on Friday and not much has changed since I wrote about it four years ago.

I'm still making Nigel's cake and have been for, I think, 11 years now. I still use the same mix of dried fruit, I still bake it in late November or early December and then soak it regularly, sometimes with calvados, sometimes brandy. I still marzipan it and ice it and, most years, take it to Sussex to be eaten after Turkey sandwiches on Boxing Day.
 

I'm usually starting to feel ready for Christmas by this time of year but this year I've been feeling it a little more keenly. I've been putting things in jars ready to be presents since the Summer, we booked our flights south in September. I've been flicking through books planning what else to make, particularly Luisa's excellent book and its chapters on cookies and Christmas which have sent me online searching for baker's ammonia and gingerbread spices.

I'm going to be sharing some gift guides, just because I enjoy putting them together, but first, in case you want to make some of your presents donations to charity in the names of your favourite people, how about helping someone else to have a happy Christmas this year through Centrepoint.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

NO WORDS

When something big happens in the world I struggle with what to do. To carry on as normal feels wrong, not acknowledging something that has shaken us to our core feels false. But what to write when so many write more eloquently and knowledgeably on the subject, when every time I try to talk about it I find I can't arrange my thoughts into anything other than a tumble of sadness and anger and horror at what is happening already, what could happen next.

Over the last week or so I've been thinking about our wedding in New York. Two days before we got married we went to the Marriage Bureau to collect our licence. It was busy that day and we waited in a line to be given a ticket to wait some more. In front of us were two men who I think were from Germany and I started to well up at the beauty of being in a place where anyone could go to get married and everyone there was entitled to the same treatment, the same license, the same ceremony.  I felt that beauty over and over as we waited. We saw couples waiting, like us, for licences and couples waiting for their wedding ceremonies, couples of all orientations, races, nationalities, and ages. There were couples in jeans and couples in full wedding dresses and suits, there were couples on their own taking selfies on an iPad and grinning big grins, and couples with large families in tow. There was an overwhelming feeling of joy and love in the air. That's the America I know and that's the America that I choose to believe will beat this.

I thought this was a fitting way to end this post...






Friday, 21 October 2016

WRITE BLOG POST

It's been on my to do list all Summer. The thing that keeps being ignored in the rush of other things to do. I kept writing bits of posts and then abandoning them so failing a plan for today but wanting to finally break this rut I offer you these glimpses from Summer...

'On Sunday I was taught to meditate by a Scottish buddhist in a Motorhead t-shirt. He had long grey hair, silver skull rings, multiple earrings, and a soothing voice that took us through two meditations, so soothing that I almost dropped off.'

'On Friday I spent the day in the kitchen with the multiple pans and processes required for any Ottolenghi recipe. Taken at a slow pace I like the multiple processes, with time to clean as I go, ending up with a pastitsio ready to go in the oven, layered in a cake tin, it was time well spent. As the sauce cooked I made a strawberry cake, one I've made before, with local strawberries, I bought enough for the cake, and jam, and breakfast.'


And now I'm mostly wearing a pair of dungarees that I debated for six months and have lived in since finally deciding to buy them, making this dish which immediately became a weekly fixture round here, trying to knit, listening to this and watching this over and over, and liking these links: 

This post
This recipe 
These mittens
This book 

And finally for those of us in need of some comfort viewing can I recommend watching any and all of Michael Palin's travel documentaries - particularly this episode of Around the World in 80 Days. I genuinely think there should be a Michael Palin channel and a David Attenborough channel on TV.

Happy Friday x



Friday, 8 July 2016

8TH JULY

We got back to Edinburgh on Tuesday evening after a holiday that had been much anticipated and was much enjoyed and now we're easing back into being at home with the usual post-holiday routines; going to work, doing endless washing of clothes only worn for those few short sunny weeks each year, cooking, trying to get my fill of the short Scottish berry season.

For me, being back at home also now means Fridays spent at home or, more importantly, Fridays spent away from work.

It's something I first thought of over a year ago and, in my usual way, debated on and off for the months that followed but only felt ready to take the plunge on after our holiday in Copenhagen earlier this year. I've struggled with it in some ways. That full-time work means five days a week, and, that if you can, you work full-time because, well, why wouldn't you, is so ingrained in our idea of what work is. But, the idea of one day a week just for me, for being quiet, or for making, or writing, or cooking, sounded like it would be good for me, something I could do that would be positive rather than feeling like a passive observer of a working life that I wasn't able to muster much enthusiasm for. 

So, here I am, and so far today has included some very important catching up on the last two episodes of Game of Thrones, one of those loads of holiday washing, a little tidying up, writing some emails, baking a cake, and finally writing this, the first thing that actually feels like I'm writing in quite some time, something that I hope will be a feature of more weeks in future.


Tuesday, 14 June 2016

ALMOST THERE

A few more hours of work and then it's time for a break. A break booked in January in the dark days and now here. Work has been whittled down, crossing items off the list to a point where I know I won't have to think about anything left undone.

But before then we're off to see Belle & Sebastian in Glasgow tonight. It's 20 years since Tigermilk was released, 19 years since I started listening to them in our kitchen in university halls, 12 years (I think) since I first saw them live. It's always just pure joy to see them, I can't wait.