Monday, 27 February 2017

happy hour

The weekend started with cocktails at OneAldwych.
It's almost worth going just for the flowers.

MasterM's cocktail arrived in a cloud of dry ice.
Which we all agreed was pretty cool.

MrsM chose the 'Hairthief' cocktail with absinthe.
And regretted it on Saturday morning.

Thursday, 23 February 2017


You know those long arm IG photos of bouquets? I used to think they were easy. Turns out I was wrong. Or perhaps my arms are unusually short. Also, one handed phone photos? Don't do it if you want to retain your sanity. But when I get a surprise bouquet from MrM because it is 35 years since we met for the first time - well, I am going to do those things anyway.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

message for Santa

Molly Longlegs
George Stubbs 1762

MasterM is having riding lessons.

Just done our first bit of jumping today!
Very cool! I want a horse for Christmas!

I will tell Santa.

It's not going to happen.
MasterM will have to be so good
that it will seriously cramp his style.

Walker Art Gallery

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

picking up stitches

So, I started knitting again. Picking up where you left off isn't quite as straightforward as it sounds because there is the phase when you think about possibly restarting and then get distracted. Next you have to work up the courage to open the bag, pull it out and try to remember where you are which is always too difficult and so it goes back in the bag. Time passes and then you get exasperated with yourself and at this point I imagine Monica pointing to her pile of completed projects and telling me not be a wimp which is a surprisingly effective motivational strategy. Of course you still can't remember where you are in the pattern so you start at the wrong place and have to rip out your first two rows and you almost stop again. If you can overcome this period of frustration you are finally on your way to rediscovering the joy of knitting, sitting in front of the fire gradually covering your knees with a soft aran throw worked to a pattern gifted by the lovely Kristina.

Monday, 20 February 2017

sunshine in St. James's

A sunny afternoon in February. Children everywhere. Running, scooting, cycling, rollerblading, wrestling, wriggling, cartwheeling, hand-standing. An intoxicating, exhausting, exhilarating experience to weave your way through the crowds. Especially if you had forgotten it was half term. Which is what happens when your children grow up.

Friday, 17 February 2017

rescue remedy

This is my recipe for the days when you feel frozen with horror after reading too much twitter.

Put the kettle on and make some fresh green mint tea. Take your favourite mug, breathe deeply as you add the hot water and enjoy the minty goodness. The next step is to buff up some furniture with beeswax polish and select your favourite duvet cover so that you can change the sheets even if it is not the day that you normally do this, ensuring that you inhale the lovely clean linen fragrance. Wrap up warmly and get out of the house, off for a little jaunt in the car and the first stop is the car wash for a scrub and blow dry. When the car is clean and shiny drive to a florist and spend an absorbing hour trying to decide which colours to buy so that you can go back and arrange the flowers in your favourite blue and white china. If you want something frivolous to listen to instead of the radio I can recommend 'The Corinthian' by Georgette Heyer read by Georgina Sutton. When you have finished arranging the flowers find your best hand cream and relax.

At this point do not, under any circumstances, sit on the sofa and look at twitter.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

a bunch of grapes

I love old fashioned junk shops where pictures are stacked against rickety tables, piles of china languish in cardboard boxes and assorted flatware mingle with old watches and paste jewellery in glass cabinets. I spotted one last week en route to a tyre centre with MasterM and so I left him considering the prohibitive cost of replacing a tyre and walked back with my purse feeling pleasantly warm in my pocket.

Through the dusty windows I could see an elderly lady reading a novel next to a two bar electric heater and I felt my pulse rise as I walked through the door. I was immediately distracted by the £1 bargain basket which contained a rare Wedgwood plate with a hairline crack. That was definitely being rescued and coming home with me.

There were so many things that I wanted to buy but I was very restrained and selected this charming little watercolour. It is in a shabby frame with a lopsided mount but just look at the delicate detail and colouration. I have no idea how old it is or what it was originally but I am delighted with my find and will be taking it to my friendly framer for an upgrade.

The lady wrapped up the plate in newspaper, put the picture in a shopping bag and said that she hoped that she would see me again. I promised that it wouldn't be long before I was back.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

bitter sweet

Can I tempt you to a slice of treacle tart? I realise that it may not be featured in the index of your healthy living bible but I could cut a very tiny slice so that you can inhale it. I am not sure if you can inhale clotted cream - that could get a bit messy - so I'm afraid you may have to do without that.

This is my treacle tart recipe, inherited from my mother, but includes the bitter zest and juice of seville oranges giving it a delicious burnt caramel flavour. I got this idea from Jo Clark at Notes from a Sussex Kitchen - I love Jo's passion for cooking and her inventive use of seasonal ingredients which feature on her blog and inspirational instagram account.

MrM was happy to have another helping but MissM was not convinced "It tastes nice but I prefer Grandma's treacle tart." Fair enough.

Monday, 13 February 2017


This bold wave of snowdrops, white capped,
cresting over heaped churchyard turf,
curling around groyned gravestones.
I do not remember such icy exuberance
when I looked before, too eager for joy,
but I am beyond the wall now and careless,
caught in the breaking, drenched in wonder.

Alice Christie
13 ii 17

Friday, 10 February 2017

risk analysis

It's another day in the office of the Research Group. A visiting academic, explaining his project, points to a minuscule island in the middle of the ocean. "This is where I need to be but I can't work out how to get there."

Our feisty research assistant gives him a withering look. "When I do field work there" she says "I fly from Darwin to here...get a ferry to here...then I hitch a lift on a fishing boat from here..." The visiting academic gives her the side-eye but she points to the map again "Obviously I don't get on the fishing boat here because of the pirates."

I can see that the visiting academic is reviewing his career choice.