Tuesday, 29 November 2016


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


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


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


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...