Archive for the ‘What I like’ Category


I’m doing that thing I always do when I come back from new and wonderful, and I try to transport the lifestyle. When H and I went to Borneo by steamer sometime back in the 1800s, we came home and bought an entire pantry’s worth of ingredients to make complicated sambals and rending pastes, not to mention buying five limes for what would have bought us 100 kilograms of them in Kota Kinabalu.

I’m doing the Scandinavian equivalent. I’m eating rye bread and smoked fish, putting dill on everything, and being genuinely baffled at why everyone is so loud and rude and demanding. Why can’t my children be more Finnish, and refuse to make eye contact or talk to me? Why can’t they be more like the Swedes, and dress effortlessly stylishly and get about on bikes like it’s normal? Why can’t they be more Danish and tidy the fuck up occasionally? (more…)

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legoThis week has marked an important childhood milestone in our household: the transition from Duplo to Lego. Due to my fear of my family actually drowning in clutter and the paramedics not being able to push the door open to reach us when we are lying on the floor, our feet cut to ribbons by the sharp plastic edges of the little bricks, I’ve been strongly resisting this transition by using a clever psychological technique called lying, but they saw through me. (more…)

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DSCN1671Ten years ago today, the day before I turned twenty-six, I went to a thirtieth birthday party for two people I knew. It was a circus/carnival-themed party. I thought long and hard about what my costume would be, because I knew there was a very good chance that my most recent ex-boyfriend would be there and thus I needed to not go dressed as a clown or a strong man or anything that didn’t lend itself to looking really hot and showing desperate and vengeful amounts of cleavage.


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My most excellent friends Nic and Wilf are getting married today! So, in their honour, I present my top ten pieces of wedding day advice.

1. If your dress has buttons down the back with tiny button loops, do them up and undo them a few times before the moment when you are running forty-five minutes late for the ceremony. That is not the time to have your bridesmaid attempt to do them up for the first time. That will lead only to nervous panic and a call made to the seated guests for your bridesmaid’s all-capable mother to come in and help. If said mother is a nurse by training, this may cause mild panic among some of your guests, not to mention to your long-suffering intended who has been standing in front of everyone he knows for the best part of an hour, nervously cracking jokes accompanied only by his brother and his cat. (more…)

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It’s Thanksgiving! The day we eat turkey and gravy and stuffing and pie until we pass out; the day we move all the the furniture in my parents’ house a bit to the left; the day my mother spends running up and down the back lane simultaneously cooking two turkeys in two ovens — one in her house and one in her neighbour’s house, six doors up.

Actually, this year the game of Move The Tables From The Verandah To The Garden And Back Again Thrice As The Weather Changes was knocked on the head, with the decision taken early to just have the damn meal inside and not try to use the courtyard at all. It’s going to be cool and rainy tonight, so all the living room furniture has been moved into the garage and we will dine in dryness and warmth. Hurrah! But it’s a bit sad that all the guests won’t need to sneak, one by one, into Mum and Dad’s room to raid Dad’s jumper shelf , another traditional aspect of our Thanksgiving. (more…)

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Better a terrible photo than none at all, that’s what I always say. I couldn’t put my spoon down long enough to take a photo with two hands. That’s all you need to know about this meal.

I know, it’s a big call declaring a Lunch of The Week on Monday, but I’m feeling quietly confident that this will be the one to beat. It’s not a good-looking lunch, but it has hidden depths of deliciousness and you will find yourself a bit in love with it. It is the Stephen Fry of lunch.

This morning May Blossom and I donned aprons and scrubbed out the inside of the oven, which was, to paraphrase Neil from The Young Ones after he sticks his head in their oven to gas himself, dirtier than ovens at the bottom of swamps. It was a thoroughly dispiriting job, and one not made any easier by my insistence on using only bicarbonate of soda and vinegar (and child labour). With every scrub my brain screamed ‘Go buy a can of Mr Muscle, hippie!’, like Rik would have if they had ever actually gotten round to cleaning the oven on the show. (more…)

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Swimming in an ocean rock pool. I am a bit slow, clearly, but I have finally discovered a place that has all the nice seawater of the beach, but no horrible sand and no scary waves. It is bloody freezing, but once you go numb it’s refreshing and makes me feel brave. There are also lots of interesting old people to talk to while you swim.

Eating five-hour Greek leg of lamb, bought from our local butcher down here. I’ll tell you more about him another day, but he is known in our family as the perpetually surprised butcher, because everything we ever say seems to astonish him. Today he told us that yesterday his daughter’s longtime boyfriend had come all the way out to the shop to ask him for his daughter’s hand in marriage. It is top secret, as the boyfriend hasn’t proposed yet. I am certain we were not the first to be told this secret today. (more…)

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