Thursday 18 December 2014


I like making a few things to give people at Christmas, some years there's more, some years less. One year there were boxes packed with strawberry jam, chilli jelly, chutney, apple butter, and cookies, there were bags of granola and wrapped up loaves of gingerbread but in other years there has just been Christmas cake. This year it'll be something in between, the cake has been drinking up Calvados for a few weeks now and I finish work today so tomorrow will be spent pottering about at home, a little cleaning, a little baking, a little luxuriating in being off until the 5th.

Some of my favourite things to make... 

Bags of Christmas granola with cranberries, pecans, and maybe some warming spices. I like this, this, or this recipe.

A vanilla cake that will last for a few days and is perfect at any time.

A batch of cookies to share between friends and family. 

 Gingerbread - a batch can be baked into a few small loaf cases

And peppermint bark that I've always like the look of, maybe this year...

And, one last thing, just because...

Friday 12 December 2014


I wasn't going to do a gift guide this year but it's so cold and I was thinking about things for staying warm and, well, here we are... Clockwise from top left: there's always room for another pair of wool socks, a large mug and some good hot chocolate to help you get through January, the softest jumper and the warmest mittens, a blanket to curl up under and a candle in lieu of an actual fire, and, finally, festive nails to brighten up the dullest of days.

Thursday 11 December 2014


It was hard to leave Folegandros but it was Milos where we left our hearts. We swam every day, multiple times a day, driving from spot to spot; from Papafragas with rough swoops of cave creating tunnels to swim through; to Firaplaka with cliffs of soft pink rock, harder pieces of multicoloured stone nestled within; and, our favourite, Sarakiniko with its lunar landscape of white rock that curves and falls into the sea, with its shipwreck in the distance, that white rock making the water cloudy at first before suddenly opening out into deep water so clear you keep expecting to brush the floor with your feet. In the evenings we would sit with bottles of Mythos watching the sun set before walking to the village to sit at the restaurant where we would end up eating on three of our six nights; Greek salad, boiled greens, tomato fritters, octopus, seafood pasta, I want to go back.

Thursday 4 December 2014


Releasing Anna et Salomé, this week, got me to thinking about the sea, about sun, about those posts from our now long ago holiday in Greece that I never quite managed to finish...

I read an article about Folegandros when we were planning our trip and immediately wanted to go, I saw photos of the town on the rocks, of the views, and the cliffs, and the sea but I didn't really know what to expect. I didn't expect the rough, rocky paths with wild thyme everywhere; the kid with lemon sauce that we ate on our first night; the car-free streets of the Chora, tavernas everywhere, groups of local children playing while we ate dinner at 10pm. I didn't expect the clearest blue water that I've ever seen; the, frankly ridiculous, walk that we did in the hottest part of the day; or the beach that we took a boat to on our first anniversary, through rough water, finding ourselves eating a picnic under a tree, one of only a handful of people; and I certainly didn't expect to be sitting under that tree when one of the two naked German men on the beach approached in only his flip-flops to ask if we knew when the last boat would be leaving (later we took the boat back with him, now fully dressed, while his naked, sunburnt, flip-flopped companion stood on the edge of the shore, the only one left on the beach).

I didn't know what to expect but now, having been, I know what to say when people ask, I say it was like magic.

Monday 1 December 2014


There has been quite a lot going on since I was last here. A long, and incredible, holiday, a house move, and this:

It's been a while since Brian's book was released but we've been gradually working away and are absolutely delighted to be able to say that Anna et Salomé, a book of new photographs by Adrià Cañameras, is now available to buy from our website. We hope you love it as much as we do.

Friday 8 August 2014


It's been a long week but I made it to the end and the book festival starts tomorrow. Until then a little something for a Friday...

Thursday 12 June 2014


We left Syros on the Aqua Sprit, a small ferry as these things go, walking down from our hotel to the boat, stopping off at a bakery for supplies - water, a few different varieties of cheese pie, just the usual - standing on the deck to watch as cars, bikes, tractors, came aboard, as a small group of people joined us, the locals staying below, in the cool. We took a spot on one of the blue plastic benches, listening to three men as they discussed the difference between holidaying and travelling, assuring each other that this was travelling, as we pulled away from Syros, rocking slightly, a motion that would take us through 7 hours, through stops on Paros, Naxos, Ios, and Sikinos, to Folegandros. 

As we arrived on Naxos, as a few more people joined those who had come onboard on Paros, and as we stood watching the routine of ropes being thrown, the unloading and reloading of vehicles and passengers, we sat alongside a Blue Star ferry. It was almost the same as the one we had taken to Syros, a monster compared to the one we were on now, and, as we saw the number of people, the speed as that ferry left the bay, as we compared it to our leisurely pace, to our stops announced first in Greek, then English, 'parakelo, parakelo..', we realised how glad we were to be travelling on our boat, with the blue plastic benches, the tomato plants being grown on deck.

We spent those hours watching. Watching the sea, the sky, the waves as they hit the front of the boat, the rainbows in the spray, the other people travelling alongside us - an elderly couple, him looking at the same Greek phrasebook as we had in our bag, her doing crosswords; a foursome of leathery skinned Brits, the men sitting with their tops off, clearly used to Greek ferries, to Greek sun; a large group from Texas, parents, teenage daughters, a son who we spoke to as his wife slept and who we then would bump into over the next few days, comparing notes about where we had been, what we had done.

We reached Folegandros just as the boat started to lurch a little more, as the waves started to get higher, as the wind picked up, and as the spray from one of the waves managed to reach the deck. We decided to head inside as the announcement started, 'parakelo, parakelo...', going downstairs, collecting our bags from the store where they nestled against boxes of fruit and vegetables being delivered to the island, the door starting to open as the boat slowly pulled into the dock, someone in a uniform beckoning us forward to leave the boat before it had quite touched land, people running on to collect their deliveries.

We had sea legs for the rest of the day.  

Friday 6 June 2014


I've still got three posts to write about Greece (and it might be more considering how much I'm struggling to cut down the file of photos). But, in thinking about Greece I find that I can't write any more without writing about my Aunt who loved it there and whose funeral we went to yesterday in Chester.

I wonder whether it is hard to get someone so right on the day that is there for saying goodbye. Or, whether it says something about who she was that it was so right, that it came through at the church, the crematorium, in the pub afterwards as we stood in the sun: her love for her family that came above everything; her smile, that was in the photograph on the altar but, more than that, is in our heads in all our memories of her; her warmth; her strength; her love for Greece, for the holidays taken there year after year, for the planning that started as soon as the last holiday had ended, her joy in the planning almost as much as in the holidaying. My cousin, Mark, chose the music for the crematorium and as the curtain closed, and as Zorba the Greek started playing, smiles appearing around the room, breaking through the tears, there could have been no better choice. 

Uncle Simon said a few words before reading a poem at the mass. He said that Aunty Di, of the nine of them, of which my Mum is the fourth, of which Aunty Di was the sixth, five brothers, four sisters, that she was was the best of them. And when I think of her, think of that smile, think of the love that she had for everyone in this extensive family, the love that shone out of her every time I saw her, all I can think is that she was the best of us all.

Aunty Di, we love you, we'll miss you, this one's for you.

Friday 30 May 2014


Summer has been coming and going over the last few weeks, a day of sunshine, seats outside, sandals, then back to rain, jackets, feet dyed blue from navy moccasins worn without socks. But now the days are so long, the evenings so light, and the countdown to a few days in the sun in June has begun. But, before then, and because my parents recently followed (roughly) in our footsteps, some long overdue posts from last June... 

We got to Athens in a roundabout way. A flight to Frankfurt and a night in a hotel with German beers bought from the airport supermarket. When we arrived we waited for the bus to the port, cramming ourselves on, resigning ourselves to a long trip spent standing up all the way. At Piraeus we found the ferry, set out to buy food for the journey, and I acquainted myself with the perilous mix that is saltwater sandals and marble pavements meaning that for that first week my bikini would be accessorised with a giant bruise on my hip. Onwards - cheese pies, beers, a seat in the sun on the deck of the ferry as it filled up - families from our flight, Greek people heading to islands. The first stop in 3.5 hours would be ours, Syros, the last in the early hours of the morning. We were giddy for most of those hours, the sun, the blue, the islands that we passed with solitary white churches on outcrops of rock.

Those two nights on Syros were marked with a small hotel, the view from the balcony - a blue-domed church in one direction, the port in the other, walks on marble pavements and through marble squares (treading carefully, my lesson learned), swimming from rocks where children launched themselves into the sea while older men and women sat under trees watching on, Greek music playing, an elderly man teaching the littlest ones how to click their fingers in time. We swam there twice, once luxuriating in our first swim of the holiday, retreating eventually to sit outside under bougainvillea for lunch, the second time as the sun dropped, the water colder, the light astonishing. We swam every day after that until we got back to Athens.