06 December 2009

Christmas house

Recipe (such as it is) over at Recipes for Millie.

Lanterns, Santa and clementines

We headed up to the Alnwick Garden yesterday - this time it wasn't a common or garden visit (geddit?), but a lantern-making day for their lantern parade to welcome in Father Christmas.

M had a fabulous time with her Dad and Grandpa making the lantern above - lots of pieces of willow, with an old-school candle in the centre (none of this tea-light nonsense), overlaid with tissue paper rubbed all over in a solution of pva. Messy, brilliant fun (I still love that sensation of peeling glue off your fingers that I enjoyed at primary school), and glorious when lit up.

We paraded with hundreds of others through the dark and dank gardens (the paths lit by flares), carrying our lanterns. The trail led us through the winding cherry orchard, into the walled garden where more lanterns floated on the pond, and then down through the trees to a lantern-lit grove where Santa stood handing out clementines.

The girl was enthralled.

01 December 2009

Cheap days out (2): Christmasland

...otherwise known as your local garden centre. For some strange reason, garden centres have turned themselves into Christmas emporiums. I'm not complaining - it's an excellent way to spend a morning with a small person, as long as you budget for buying a bauble.

We trotted off to the Peter Barratts garden centre in Gosforth, which features an animatronic reindeer, donkey, calf and (my favourite) a life-size camel. It also has a fantastic range of Christmas kitsch - we particularly liked the all-singing, all-dancing Victorian villages complete with fibre-optic snowmen - some rather fancy trees, and more baubles than you can shake a stick at.

We came home with a sparkly snowflake. Not a bad trip out for £1.99...

29 November 2009

Cheap days out

I've got a confession to make. One of my favourite afternoons out with M if it's raining is a trip to IKEA...

If you can avoid spending any money on candles, kitchen gadgets and things in bargain corner, it's rather a giggle. There's lots of beds to bounce on, sofas and chairs to sit on, kitchens to have a pretend tea party in, patterns to find, signs to read, sums to do with money you don't have, escalators to ride on, silly Swedish words everywhere and free tea and coffee if you've got a family card. We often pick up two toy cats from the children's section and treat them to a rip-roaring journey around the store, leaving them in the cat and dog beds near the end (or in a chest of drawers in bargain corner - oops).

What more could you want?

(Mind, willpower is required if you are to leave the building without spending more than £1.71 on carrot cake.)

13 November 2009

Fame and fortune...

Ooh, I appear to have appeared on the list of the Tots100 UK's Top 100 Parenting Blogs. Hurrah!

There is some stuff about parenting on here, somewhere. It's mixed in with a whole load of pictures of the allotment (in the summer, obv - it looks rather like a bomb site at the moment, given all the rain we've had), lots of meanderings about cake and recipes, and one or two posts about my other incarnation (editor and writer). I *do* have a daughter, honest, who I sometimes talk about (and in fact, who I write a recipe blog for). So hello anyone visiting, nice to see you, settle down and have a browse. If you comment, I'll usually talk back.

You can also find me on twitter - in fact, I'm probably there more often than not. I try and blog when I can, but sometimes 140 characters is a lot easier (in fact, as an ex-Ceefax journalist, it's a breeze).

03 November 2009


Over on the other blog: Halloween spider cakes. Let it never be said we didn't make an effort...

21 October 2009

All recipe-d out

It's a sad day when you realise your culinary creativity has run out.

After months of posting 15 or more recipes a month on Recipes for Millie, this month I'm down to two. I was all set to post a couple more this evening, only to realise that I'd made spinach and stilton quiches and baked eggs with chorizo and lentils a whole year ago. They're obviously an October thing.

Oh well. Back to the Ottolenghi book and some more copies of Olive for inspiration...

18 October 2009

Harlow Carr

We visited the RHS gardens at Harlow Carr for the first time yesterday, and they were absolutely gorgeous - huge swathes of trees with gold, yellow and orange leaves; beautiful red, feathery acers; and lovely swirling grasses.

So of course I took a picture of something made of metal:

What surprised me most was the fun you could have if you weren't that fussed about the plants. We had a go at the very good kids autumn I-Spy booklet, chasing down mushrooms, acorns and the Log Ness Monster, and spent a while tramping around the log maze.

It's got a lot in common with the rather more manicured Alnwick Garden - they're both places you can take kids to get them interested/excited about nature/plants/trees/the outdoors in general, in a way that doesn't ram it down their throats. Top marks.

Also scoring highly this weekend was Fountains Abbey's adventure playground, whose swing reduced all of us to feeling queasy within seconds.

14 October 2009


It's that old chestnut again - kids and tv. Like everything else, I suspect it's probably best in moderation. We attempt that - we watch telly in our house - but not a lot. And when we do, it tends to be a sociable activity - M watches it with her Dad or me (and occasionally on her own if I'm in the middle of making tea and there's no-one else in).

But after a long day at nursery, or swimming, or buzzing about in the park, why shouldn't she sit down for 20 minutes in front of something she likes and relax for a bit? We don't tend to watch much scheduled telly (the 5pm slot is usually terrible), so it's usually something from a DVD like Shaun the Sheep, the Muppets, Bagpuss or the Clangers. We've always done this since she was small - and she's shown no signs yet of demanding more and more and more telly.

And on Saturday it's sparkly shoes for everyone and tea in front of the telly for Strictly Come Dancing. (M's betting on James and Zoe, while I have a sneaking love of the pixies Chris and Ola).

05 October 2009

It's not even a proper word

There's a fascinating discussion over at Who's the Mummy, about the term "mumpreneurs". I have to say I agree with Sally Whittle - I can't stand it, and would run a mile rather than be labelled as such.

Don't get me started on the whole "Mummy blogger" debacle either.

01 October 2009

Pastures new

I'm leaving home. No, not *that* kind of leaving home - the other half will be relieved to know I've absolutely no intention of moving out - but I am going to be leaving for work again.

After nearly 5 years of being at home, I'm going to rent some desk space, and escape the corner of my bedroom that doubles as an office. Hopefully, there'll be fewer distractions (there's no way I can put the washing on, or empty the dishwasher), and some new folk to interact with (I'm taking a desk in a shared workspace).

I'm sure there's going to be some drawbacks (I can't exactly turn up in my pyjamas, for example) and the cat will no doubt take advantage of my absence and take up residence on my chair. But the other half will get some peace and quiet (if nothing else, the running battle with the cat over his office chair might stop) and hopefully I'll get a glimpse of the outside working world.

I'm rather looking forward to it.

23 September 2009

Millennium Bridge

Even on my terrible tacky camera phone, the Millennium Bridge still looks awesome at dusk:

21 September 2009

Why I love a good vide-grenier

Collapsible stables: 2 euros
Two small ponies: 20 cents

One small child happily washing/grooming and racing ponies: Bargain.

10 September 2009

It's all gone very green down on the allotment...

Here's the two main culprits from the current glut: courgettes and runner beans

The latter I've pickled, in a desperate attempt to stem the tide.

In other news, we've got sweetcorn. Hurrah!

09 September 2009

Work, motherhood and a balancing act

A fantastic post on having it all, working for yourself, and balancing work and motherhood over at Superhero Journal:

"I have been living with the belief that I can probably have everything I want, just not everything at the same time. Right now, I am choosing my creative work with Mondo Beyondo and time with family over most anything else. This means that we eat a lot of macaroni, takeout thai food and drink a lot of coffee around here. Our house isn't grand or exactly how we want it, but we live next door to a park and we spend a lot of time outside. In the end, I want to know that I didn't miss this time with Ben. I also want a rich creative life, to do work I love, and to enjoy how things are right now."

Me too.

06 September 2009

Happy Birthday!

Following on from the multi-coloured coat cake, and the strawberry cake, may I present the princess palace in all its sticky glory...

Note to self: next year, it might be a good idea to try something a bit less complicated if you're going to assemble it in the middle of a windy beach in Northumberland...

The rest of the birthday celebrations were equally popular. We may have hit horse obsession.

02 September 2009

September resolutions

* I will stop whinging about how cold and grey this summer has been up north, and start looking forward to windy beaches for flying kites, frosty spider webs, the leaves falling off the trees and hunting for conkers.
* I will try and start collecting all the Recipes for Millie together, to make a book for her.
* I will dig furiously at the allotment, and get rid of all the weeds.
* I will bake and bake and bake to get rid of all the courgettes.
* I will finish my knitting project (fat chance).

Wake me up at the end of the month, and I'll let you know how far I've got...

30 August 2009

Autumn's a-comin

We went to the Bellingham Show yesterday, to be entertained by Northumberland wrestling, the building of the Taj Mahal by moonlight (using the medium of straw bales), much horse jumping, lots of sheep, and the world's best industrial tent (my favourite was the octopus made from vegetables, closely followed by the carved walking sticks). All for the bargain price of £5.

It was wild, windy and freezing cold - so cold that we had to be revived by doughnuts and coffee halfway through the afternoon. Autumn's definitely round the corner.

27 August 2009


There's definitely a theme to this month's recipes over at Recipes for Millie: courgettes. So far since coming back from holiday we've eaten

  • ratatouille
  • courgette and goat's cheese pancakes
  • courgette, chickpea and filo pastry pie
  • the smaller ones sliced raw in salads
  • the larger ones diced and thrown into any recipe that requires vaguely Mediterranean veg
It's all a bit of a novelty, really, having so many of the things. The last couple of years we've grown them from seed, and then planted them on the balcony in large pots, where the slugs have promptly eaten them, or the courgettes themselves have turned yellow and dropped off. Turns out what we really needed to do was get a couple of cheap plants from B&Q, chuck them unceremoniously in a flat bit of the allotment with a bit of manure, and leave to their own devices. Maybe ignoring more plants is the way forward?

Anyway, next on the agenda: courgette and cheese loaf, piccalilli, and possibly courgette chutney, if I get round to it. Then it's onto the potato mountain...

18 August 2009

I don't know, I go away for a couple of weeks...

and slugzilla here takes over the front garden. I'm guessing there's been a bit of rain? It's done nothing else since we got back, that's for sure.

Mystifyingly, there's also what appears to be owl dealing going on in my local Sainsbury's car park.

I turned up on Saturday shortly before closing time to find two slightly dodgy looking hire cars parked in the far corner and a few blokes clustered around some cardboard boxes. I know I was parked a couple of rows over, but I swear one of them took out what looked like an owl from a box and stuck it on his gloved fist. The owl flapped its wings for a bit, before hanging upside down. The bloke stuck it upright again. The owl fell down again (obviously not a top quality specimen) and flapped about. Money changed hands. The owl was shoved back in the box, and placed in the back of the car.

At this point I made a swift exit and went home for a large glass of wine. Foolishly I Twittered about my owl dealing experiences. And now, I am being spammed on Twitter by a man who shouts OWL FOR SALE a lot, and followed by a lot of people who like owls.

I think I need to go back to France.

23 July 2009

In which Captain Jack endures yet another costume change

This one's for the South Pole, apparently.

To make up for recent indignities, he does, however, have a rather pimped ride:

13 July 2009

In other news...

I'm over at Enjoy the Ride for the next two weeks, with a series of tips on kids and gardens.

In which Captain Jack dons a multicoloured cape...

and channels his inner Rick Wakeman.

11 July 2009

Druridge Bay

It all looks rather Mediterranean, doesn't it? It being Northumberland and July, I still kept my fleece and long trousers on. Cast na'er a clout and all that. Oh.

We finally got the flexifoil out today - it's been in storage rather a long time (flying an 8ft powerkite isn't really recommended while pregnant, and we've been rather occupied with bucket and spade work ever since). I'd forgotten how much fun it is - today was a nice light breeze, but you could still make the kite travel pretty fast and pull a few stunts (and make your arms ache like billy-o).

We didn't abandon the bucket and spade though:

07 July 2009

196 recipes and counting...

It's almost a year since I started Recipes for Millie, and I'm nearly up to 200 recipes. That's not bad, considering there's some things I make quite often, we eat out occasionally, and we've been on holiday for a couple of weeks too.

It's fascinating looking at my virtual shopping list - I've tagged each recipe with the main ingredients, to make everything more searchable. Here's my top 5, and the numbers of recipes they're mentioned in:

chicken (18)
lemon (17)
tomato (14)
courgette (12)
apple/cheese/leeks/onion (10)

It'll be interesting to see how the produce from the allotment skews the recipe collection - will I have 95 recipes involving potatoes, or will it be rather like the gooseberry glut (where all I've done is make jam)?

25 June 2009

Hello, world

Just a quick hello *waves* to anyone visiting from Enjoy the Ride, where I've been interviewed about blogging, cake and all sorts of other stuff. My first interview - I'm dead chuffed! Nice to meet you all, anyway. Do make yourselves at home, peruse the endless gardening/cake photos, and generally have fun.

A day out (not in the rain for once)

It's come to a pretty pass when your three-year-old takes better pictures than you do (although she's rather more fascinated by things on the floor than I am). Here's a selection of her recent work at Souter Lighthouse. It's a fantastic place to visit - a great pirate ship and train outside to clamber all over, fancy dress pirate/princess costumes, and a tower with more steps than you can shake a stick at.

For once, it wasn't freezing cold and raining, so we had a picnic. It's amazing how nice cream cheese and pickle sandwiches taste in the open air, even when you are surrounded by two bus-worths of small schoolchildren who also happen to be visiting on a day trip.

15 June 2009

Allotment mosaic

The tomatoes get a new home

It remains to be seen how long their plastic fortress lasts, given the force 9 gales that seem to sweep through on a regular basis...

13 June 2009

Car parking, 1960s style

More photos from the Manors car park - I love the little jaunty man icon!

So much to post about, so little time - visiting the new Great North Museum, two camping trips in the Rapido, and lots of interesting design exhibitions. I'll get there in the end - in the meantime you'll probably find more up-to-date ramblings on twitter.

26 May 2009

18 May 2009

Mint and potato frenzy

This has rather turned into the allotment blog at the moment - blame the fact that (a) as ever work has taken over my life, and it's nice to post pretty pictures of vegetables (b) I'm avoiding the knitting as it's lurching from one crisis to another with rows having to be painfully unravelled and (c) it's allegedly summer. Normal service may resume around December...

It was fantastic though, coming back to the allotment after a week in France - everything's grown, especially the mint and potatoes (which will hopefully taste fabulous together).

In fact, I'm feeling rather pleased with myself gardening-wise, as yesterday we managed to use lettuce, parsley, mint and bay leaves from the back yard and front garden, and planted some dwarf broad beans and nasturtiums. Let's hope the evil slugs leave this lot alone - our tactics so far at the allotment seem to be working:

07 May 2009

Days out

The woods near Durham Botanic Gardens were carpeted with bluebells.

Manors car park

It's a timewarp in Manors car park in Newcastle - and the 1960s signage is wonderful (unlike the photo, which is pretty terrible. I promise to return with a proper camera soon).

04 May 2009

Inspirational stuff

A couple of links for you, on a grey and chilly Bank Holiday:
(Thanks to Brian for the last one.)

03 May 2009

It's fruit-tastic

Lots of nice things happening on the allotment today - currants (above - not sure if they're black or red) are starting to form, the gooseberries are inflating by the day, and the strawberries are flowering.

On the down side, my spinach is being nibbled by the evil slugs. I've covered it with those plastic cartons your tomatoes etc come in at the supermarket (I don't have enough plastic bottles), so we'll see if that helps.

The rest of the weekend has been spent in the depths of North Yorkshire, which was equally sunny. We trooped off to Filey on Saturday, to marvel at the 1970s-ness of it all (actually, a lot of it probably hasn't changed since the 1950s). There were shops selling sticks of Filey rock, endless tea shops full to the brim with elderly ladies, more buckets and spades than you could shake a stick at, and a rather natty giant lobster in the middle of the crazy golf. M had a donkey ride on the beach and came back with a grin a mile wide. It were good, like.

26 April 2009

Allotment frenzy (4)

Spent a happy afternoon down the allotment today - the perfect way to recover after my stint yesterday as the back legs of a pantomime horse (don't ask).

The latest additions - sugar snap peas and broad beans that have been quietly growing on the window sill and in the cold frame. Let's hope the slugs (and the pigeons) leave them alone.

I also planted some coriander and speedy salad leaves, and started off some runner beans in the cold frame. Now all I need to do is remember what I've planted where...

23 April 2009

Beach art

Rolf Harris, eat your heart out.

21 April 2009

The folding beast in action



Despite forgetting to take the instructions with us on the inaugural trip with the Rapido Confortmatic, we didn't do too badly...

20 April 2009

Allotment frenzy (3)

Gill found this round the back of the shed during a clear out. I think it's been there a while.

As opposed to these, which M and her Dad made last week, in an attempt to keep the pigeons off. Sadly, they appear to have no effect on slugs (I daren't tell M that all her precious radish leaves have been munched).

31 March 2009

Allotment frenzy (2)

Here's what we have to work with. It's slightly less weedy now, as I spent a couple of happy hours in the sunshine with the girl this afternoon, pulling up the dandelions hiding in the strawberry patch.

Every allotment needs a shed, preferably one held together with string and sticky-backed plastic.

28 March 2009

Point Hotel, Edinburgh

Fluorescent lights at the Point Hotel, where I stayed this week (I was blogging at the JISC Conference 2009). The place is looking a little shabby these days, but the lighting is still fun.

27 March 2009

Allotment frenzy

Yes, it's finally happened. I now have shares in an allotment, courtesy of my friend Gill who was wise enough to put herself on the council waiting list when she moved here around three years ago. It's a lovely plot, which has been really well looked after by an old couple - so there shouldn't be too much of the horrendous digging to start off with.

So, it's time for a little light website reading - I thought I'd start with Jane Perrone, and move on to Alan Titchmarsh (if the pink shirt, Estate Agent Capitals and apostrophe misuse on his site don't drive me mad in the meantime). Has anyone got any other suggestions?

Update: The RHS Grow your own veg site has an excellent calendar of what to plant each month. Might be time to get the onions in, I think.

15 March 2009

Ghosts of Paris past

Lurking on my dining room bookshelf is a Paris guidebook. In fact I've got several, as Paris is my favourite city, but this one's always intrigued me.

It's called Muirhead's Paris and its environs, and it was published in 1921, as part of the Blue Guides series. I picked it up in the Oxfam bookshop in Newcastle a few years ago for £1.99, mainly because I loved the maps inside. They're not in the most amazing nick (one or two have obviously seen some heavy use), but the sheer detail (and wonderful design of them) more than make up for it.

The text is also fascinating, particularly because it was written such a short time after the first world war.
"Paris, with the added prestige of the late ordeal of war heroically borne, is, more than ever, one of the most interesting cities in the world and has already practically resumed her normal state. But though the traces of the War are not conspicuous, its effects still linger in the uncertainty attending many points of practical detail. The tourist will be principally affected by the disorganisation of prices, which prevents any but the most general hints being given on this important topic."
As well as the usual 'how to get there' niceties (including regular air services from London's Croydon Aerodrome), there's a wonderful section of general hints.
"The traveller who knows no language but English can get along quite comfortably in Paris, though he may have to pay in cash for his ignorance. Even a slight knowledge of French makes the visit not only cheaper, but also much more interesting and more intellectually profitable."
No change there then.

I also love the section on politeness and the wearing of hats:
"Forms of politeness are more ceremonious in France than in Great Britain or America. Men doff their hats in restaurants and cafes, and frequently also in shops, picture-galleries, and the like, though in the theatre they keep them on until the curtain rises. They greet each other by raising their hats. Gentlemen are expected to uncover to a lady before she bows to them, and , in speaking to her, to remain uncovered until requested to resume their hats. The hat is raised also to any lady passed on the stair of a flat and when a funeral is passed in the streets."
But the other thing that's fascinating about the book, is the letter that's taped inside the back cover, which was written by Findlay Muirhead (the editor of the book and managing director of Muirhead Guide-Books Limited) on 9 June 1922.
Dear Mr Haigh,

Will you and Mrs Haigh accept the accompanying 'Blue Guide to Paris' as a small wedding gift, with my most cordial wishes for your prosperity and happiness, not only in Paris but all down the long road of life?

If you notice any inaccuracy, however small, in the book, I should be most grateful for a post-card pointing it out; and I am always open to receive hints as to new ideas fo the these guides.

Litellus seems to have had a fine time in Glasgow; he arrived this morning full of his experiences.

I am very truly yours

Findlay Muirhead
From the address at the bottom I can work out it's a Mr Philip Haigh, who seems to have been staying at the Grosvenor Hotel at the time. Litellus is Litellus Russell Muirhead, Findlay's son. (I love the non-sequitur paragraph about him!) But I'd love to know more - were the Haighs resident in Paris, or simply visiting on honeymoon? How did they know Findlay Muirhead? How on earth did this book end up in a Newcastle Oxfam shop?

Sadly, I suspect it'll have to remain a mystery.

12 March 2009

Stealth reporting

I came across some interesting stuff today about how to deal with the increase in blogging and twittering at conferences.

Having liveblogged JISC's Innovation Forum last year, I'm off to JISC09 in a couple of weeks to do a similar thing, so it's interesting to see the presenter's perspective covered...I'd never really thought about how intimidating it could look from up there on the platform, to see a raft of folk looking down at their laptops and typing away (me included).

It'll be fascinating to see how this year's speakers interact with the laptop audience, and whether they go down the route of actively incorporating material from the backchannel, especially as Twitter usage has become more widespread (and this is a fairly tech-heavy conference).

Hopefully I will have my exciting new netbook by then, so following what's going on on twitter and on the blogs (as well as the speaker) should be a lot easier - the laptop has a tendency to die with loud beeping after about 30 minutes, which doesn't do much for the stealth reporting.

11 March 2009


I'm a sucker for typefaces (especially Helvetica - although after my experience last year of watching the Helvetica documentary, my opinion may have dipped somewhat). I got sent a link to the rather wonderful Periodic Table of Typefaces today (via Patroclus), which reminded me of a few things I've been hoarding for a while:
By the way, I know I've got the most appallingly boring font on offer here in Blogger. I'll get round to changing the design at some point, but I can't find one I really like.

06 March 2009

The perniciousness of pink

We've been watching a bit of Charlie and Lola this week, the girl and I (blame it on the chicken pox). As merchandised-to-hell kids tv shows go, it's rather good (and in fact, the tv programmes work much better for me than the books, which although beautiful to look at don't seem to flow dialogue-wise).

What's really nice though, is having a heroine who isn't a princess, doesn't wear pink all the time, and certainly isn't obsessed with fairies. Lola seems pretty normal - she goes to school, she has an imaginary friend and a best friend, and likes wearing shiny red shoes, going to the park and watching tadpoles. Hallelujah.

I'm so fed up of the whole pink princess girly thing, and M's only three. God knows what'll happen when she's older - we were speculating the other night whether she'd turn into a goth at some point (as opposed to a Goth, which might be rather worrying) in sheer rebellion against the pinkness of it all.

I don't remember it being quite so nauseatingly pink when I was small (although I'm pretty sure I did have a pink stripy top and skirt at some point) - but now, if you go into any high street store it's wall to wall pink/lilac/purple for small girls, complete with fairy wands, sparkly shoes and princess tiaras. Nice some of the time, yes. But some choice (and also the idea that you can achieve more in your life than being a princess) would also be good.

Yearly anti-pink rant over. I'm off to bake a (not-pink) cake.

04 March 2009

Links to more work stuff

Here's a couple more things I've found while on my travels (Twitter is turning me into a dangerous procrastinator at times).
In other news, M is still covered in spots, but we are no longer a plague house. Hurrah! We can now go out to enclosed places, which is rather a bonus considering it snowed this afternoon.

02 March 2009

Bits and pieces on writing

  • Jakob Nielsen on writing content that can be used in different ways and in different contexts (eg headlines, summaries). He's got some excellent advice on assuming your information will be read out of context - you can combat this by modularising, and using specific language or keywords so it's searchable.

23 February 2009


See, I do actually get round to things:
  • chocolate and beetroot muffins were a success, if a little bizarre.
  • Studio 60 and Mad Men series 1 have arrived. Hurrah!
  • complicated walls climbed - but there's still a bugger of a route that I can't get. If only my arms were a couple of inches longer...
  • Tynemouth Long Sands beach was fab on Sunday, if a little chilly. Rather strangely there were a bunch of folks (studenty types) racing up and down pulling a plough, creating deep furrows in the beach. This was all being captured on film by an Andy Warhol-esque character, with a shock of white hair. I am none the wiser.

18 February 2009

Confessions of a book junkie

It's the covers (and especially the spines) that do it for me. I can be browsing in a bookshop, or a library, and it'll be the font on the spine that jumps out at me, making me take it down from the shelf. Then there's the cover to consider...before finally opening a couple of pages, scanning the text, and seeing if I fancy reading it.

I know. I should have a more literary method of deciding what to read next.

For fellow enthusiasts:

16 February 2009

Wish list

At last, the big work project comes to an end, so blogging can resume. There's only so many words you can summon up in an evening when you've spent all day editing someone else's.

Here's what I'd like to get round to in the rest of the month:

(a) make a bit more headway into the research for the radio play I'd like to write.
(b) bake some cakes (chocolate and cherry muffins were good, but I've got a stack of beetroot that I think I need to disguise in some chocolate brownies too).
(c) watch some more telly - I've just ordered Studio 60 and Mad Men (series 1) from Amazon, and I'm rather liking the new sitcom Free Agents on Channel 4. Mind, at the rate I watch telly, this lot could take me til 2012 to get through.
(d) climb some complicated walls (they've reset the holds at Climb Newcastle, and there's a couple of routes that have me foxed at the moment, much to my annoyance).
(e) start thinking about what seeds I want to grow in the veg planters this year.
(f) go to the seaside in the sunshine, and eat salty, vinegary fish and chips.

As there's only 12 days left, I reserve the right to roll this over into March...

08 February 2009


What she said. Thank you Patroclus - my thoughts entirely.

I spent the first two years of my daughter's life looking after her at home. It was a full-time job. Like many people, I talked about my job...

02 February 2009

Another day out in the big smoke

I rather like London in the snow - not quite as romantic as Paris, but pretty good fun.

It was a gorgeous walk through Bloomsbury, Russell Square and King's Cross - not a bus, taxi or car in sight. In fact it was eerily quiet, apart from the squidge of shoes on snow, and the thud of the odd snowball. There was even a snowman waiting at the traffic lights in Russell Square, which made me giggle.