18 January 2018

Music Memory - Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin Greatest Hits recordI never tried at school, or at anything because from an early age I assumed I was going to be the next Janis Joplin. Hopefully minus the heroin and sadness, but ugh that voice. Hearing Janis Joplin for the first time is one of those incredible vivid memories from youth that stay with you forever. So much of life goes by and though it may feel intense at the time you don't remember it 10, 20, 30 years later. And yet some things, for whatever reason, are there, stuck in your heart like a note on a pinboard.

One of those halcyon spring/summers that you don't notice the significance of until years later. Warm, English weather. My mother was helping set up an opera festival in an old estate in Hampshire and I was either on holidays or bunking off. The opera was set in the grounds of this huge, mostly derelict house, with a few usable rooms that would be used as a dining room. A lovely (I think Swedish) artist had been asked to paint a massive clock on the floor of the dining room and for whatever reason she agreed to have a grumpy 13? 14? 15? year old hang out with her for the afternoon while my mum helped in the grounds. She even let me paint.
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9 December 2017

Christmas Gift Ideas - Books

Murder on the Orient Express Illustrated EditionAs some of you will know I used to work in publishing and so I am very much a fan of giving and receiving books. Though this has got me into trouble - I am currently desperately finding places in my already-full house to put yet another bookshelf - its an addiction I just can't seem to give up. My Amazon wishlist has got to be one of their longest.

A good cookbook or coffee table book makes a great house gift if you are going to stay with unfamiliars this Christmas. There are some great kids books in there too.

Agatha Chrisie - of course I think my favourite author should be given to everyone. If you can track down the little hardbacks they look amazing on your shelves. My recommendations are - Mrs McGinty’s Dead, Five Little Pigs and Sleeping Murder. There is an absolutely stunning illustrated edition of Murder on the Orient Express: Illustrated Edition film tie-in that is beautiful to look at let alone read.
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3 December 2017

Confessions of an Agatha Christie addict


Few things give me as much pleasure as reading an Agatha Christie. In fact anything to do with her makes my heart sing. I can remember the first time I was aware of her. We were staying in a holiday cottage in Trevone, Cornwall and there was a bookshelf in the kitchen that was full of trashy, well-read, paperbacks. On of them was 4.50 From Paddington and I used to read the first couple of pages, with their description of a lady getting strangled, and quickly put it back into the shelf. I can still remember feeling the thrill and being desperate to read more but not quite being brave enough. The next year I read the whole book and I was hooked.

Agatha Christie Collection


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2 December 2017

Christmas Gift Ideas for Grown-ups

Medium Kitchen Pack from Beeswax WrapsIn my notes I've called this 'Present's for Grown-ups' because it's so hard to divide everything into categories all the time and it's not like when you are Christmas shopping you go 'Oh well I'll just buy for the men I know today, women can be next week'. These can be actual presents, stocking fillers or presents for those tricky-to-buy-for friends of the family who may spend some of the festive time with you. Also some great suggestions for house gifts if you are going to stay with people and want to avoid the usual wine/chocolate/panetone.

Beeswax Wraps - I love these. I love them so much that they sent me some to say thank you for a review and I immediately went online and bought some for friends. If I could be bothered I'd find the timing that I Instagrammed my excitement at the post and then the receipt of my purchase. There's an hour in it max. Anyway, I love all of these and we use our Medium Kitchen Pack all the time and you can read my full review here. Any of these packs would make a really unusual house gift and I like Cheese pack but as a stocking filler the 1 Medium and 1 Small wraps would be great and men who have fires will love the Bee Bombs (a useful present that doesn't clutter up the house... who doesn't
want that?)
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28 November 2017

Christmas Gift Guide for Kids 0-10

Ned playing with the Kid-o magnatabFor a while it was really hard to find decent, not-too-expensive, gifts and stocking fillers for children but thanks to shops like Flying Tiger this seems to be improving. Some of these presents would work as gifts for other peoples children, stocking fillers or presents for your own squad but rather than dividing into categories I've listed them alphabetically. I will be posting books separately so keep an eye out.

I know that most people say babies don't need stockings but if there are second, third, fourth children then how are you going to explain to the older ones that santa didn't bother with the baby? My tip is to fill the babies stocking with stuff it needs anyway - teethers, vests, Ella's pouches, weaning stuff can all go in.

A quarter of - yes sweets are bad but with Christmas being such a time of consumerism children are often overloaded with presents and actually are just as happy with a box of illicit sweeties. A Quarter Of is the place to go. Not just for kids their bags of friendship rings got me through the last pregnancy.

Animal Antics Ride on Dino - We all know a dinosaur lover and this is perfect for them. It's dressing up but with a little less faff. My nephews would go crazy for this. And they also do unicorns!

Biscuit cutters - I don't know why but I seem to have a bit of an addiction to these. The right cutter brings such simple pleasure and these are a great stocking filler.
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25 November 2017

Christmas Gift Bags

If you have girl friends that you buy Christmas and birthday presents for every year it can be hard to come up with ideas and it can get very expensive. I always love the idea of putting together goodie bags (or hampers) for friends which include lots of lovely little treats and if you are clever you can do lots of friends at once and not break the bank. I've come up with a lovely goodie bag, some ideas of what to go in it and then some budget options to help you out.

Christmas gift bag and contents

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