Books + brews: Career of evil

October 29, 2015

Robert Galbraith's Career of Evil |


BREW: countless Utica Coffee Roasting decaff lattes
BOOK: Career of Evil – Robert Galbraith

Is anyone else so bad at horror tension that they couldn’t watch the whole of Scream? Anyone? Oh. I’m not a regular crime-reading person, but I do love a good thriller now and then. Which is weird, because I have legit screamed when people I already knew were in my flat have opened the door and said hello. (I just was just concentrating very hard on making a cup of tea, okay?)

So it wasn’t the wisest decision to read the opening chapters of RG’s darkest of the Cormoran Strike series in a room on my own, late at night ‘before I go to sleep‘. ‘To help me drop off‘. Wiser decisions I have made before. It’s the sharpest, twistiest of the novels, with far more emotion (oh my gosh, will they won’t they? WHY are they? WHY ARE THEY NOT?). I love this series so much, I actually pre-ordered the book to have it on the release-day while we were on holiday in the US.

In this, the third of the series, there are some Robin revelations, and more plot twists than you can brandish a knife at. And there are lots of knives in this particular book. But the twist that had me most was the VERY LAST LINE. WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO MY EMOTIONS ROBERT GALBRAITH? In retrospect, I felt the final third of the book a little too drawn out, but the pace doesn’t drop so you don’t really notice you feel that way until you actually find out whodunnit. If you love a well-written thriller with two finely carved protagonists (including the wonderfully layered female joint-lead Robin), then why haven’t you started reading these yet?

…just, you know, don’t do it on your own.


October 17, 2015

I feel like this is a really important point to be made – don’t go thinking that I don’t want Big Magic to be a No.1 New York Times Bestseller, because I do. I have an ego that’s very strong and it wants the same things everyone else’s ego wants, which is everything. It wants everything, it wants 10 of them, it wants them in blue and it wants it tomorrow morning at 7am…it wants and it doesn’t know how to do anything by want, that’s the definition of an ego. Don’t be kidded into thinking I’ve conquered that or that doesn’t exist within me because it absolutely does.

Here’s the thing though, I know that’s not the only thing that I am, and I also know that I’m never going to get rid of that thing, because I also know that that’s a common human denominator of what it means to be a person. I had a friend who was a therapist who had a great line that said “desire is the design flaw”. It’s the glitch in the software system, we all have that. And beautiful things can come out of that desire, because that’s where the urge to make art comes from and where the urge to have romance comes from and to explore the world – all of that is sort of ego-driven from wanting. I want stuff. I’m full of what, brimming over with want…and always was.

But I’m not only that. There’s other parts of me that I think are more interesting, and the part of me that I think is the most interesting is my soul. My soul just wants wonder and connection and creativity, and y’know, forgiveness…and everything my wants are such good things.”

^ Elizabeth Glibert dropping truthbombs on the 100th episode of the Lively Show podcast. I had to go back and transcribe it for myself and really take it in. Because that incredible urge to want things is often so strong, that it sometimes seems to crowd out the desires we have that are less tangible – to want to create, to want to love, to want more time. And especially when you’re an aesthetics addict and collector of many useless small things. Especially when you love instagram and pinterest and do you really need to decorate the house to have people over to celebrate thanksgiving? No, but it’s so satisfying, somehow. Make the world beautiful! Make it pretty! But then also trying to remember that you can just suck the joy out of life desiring one that looks too perfect instead of listening to the other desires of your soul. File under ‘things I’m trying to remember’ as I continue trying to streamline my life and make room for all the good things, instead of only the pretty ones.


books + brews: the most of norah ephron

October 11, 2015

norah ephron 2


Books + Brews: Nora Ephron |

Books + Brews: Nora Ephron |

Books + Brews: Nora Ephron |

BREW: dirty chai, Damson & Co
BOOK: The Most of Norah Ephron – Norah Ephron

Ah Nora. The Nora. Screenwriter, Director and Producer of some of my favourite films…Do I know You’ve Got Mail backwards? Why, yes, yes I do, because Tom Hanks carrying a goldfish in a little bag is the cutest thing ever, and I desperately wanted Meg Ryan’s hair. And bookshop. Was the soundtrack to When Harry Met Sally teenage-me’s gateway jazz album of choice? Absolutely. She could make you fall in love with cities you’d never before wished to go to, and her people who inhabited them. So when this book came my way on twitter after a casual competition RT (thank you @alisonbarrow!), that pretty much made my week <3 Wellesley alumna, wit, word wizard…someone who always ended an article with the perfect sentence. Nora Ephron was everything I wished to be as a writer and creative woman.

So while I knew the more recent articles and commencement speeches and films, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed dipping into this book on the commute and on coffee stops, and learning more about her early days in journalism at the New York Post, her navigation of feminism and Wellesley-related hang-ups. Admittedly, some of the early stories can be as frustrating as they are tantalising. Like being at a dinner party with a table of guests, half of whose names you didn’t catch and it’s now just a liiiittle too late to ask them because it would be rude, and half the time you have no idea who they are and what they’re referring to. What I mean to say is, even though I studied American politics and history, a quarter of the cast of her early political columns are unknown to me and that can be a little vexing with a style so familiar and knowing as hers.

That said, there are about 50 turned down ‘remember this quote’ page corners, and it pairs excellently with a decaff dirty chai and a few moments to yourself. Dip in, put down, dip in, put down. If you’re in soho, Damson & Co froth the world’s most perfect milk. ☕️👌 10/10, would drink again, etc, etc.

It’s so important to make someone happy…

October 10, 2015

bouquet |

How has it been a full week already?! It was only two minutes ago that I was full of nerves, blasting the Hamilton soundtrack on repeat and trying not to think about tripping over my dress or entering the room too early for the music, or how the tables would be set up or any number of small and now seemingly insignificant details. One week since the cake cut, the first dance, an amazing hog roast, a hundred polaroid photos and an epic ceilidh.

wedding |,uk

On 3rd October (also, it turns out, the Obama’s wedding anniversary!) we said ‘I do’ in a little Jacobean house in Halifax, Yorkshire. The room was filled with ruscus and eucalyptus and dusky pink and cream roses (from Triangle Nursery, who I highly recommend for their knowledgeable and lovely customer service, prompt delivery and, of course, beautiful flowers). Best of all, it was filled with people we love, including Sean’s mum, dad and sister who had flown over to the UK for the first time for the occasion <3

The whole day was a joyful, warm and happy blur, with ceremony conducted by a colleague and friend who everyone said did the most fantastic job. I can concurr, it was wonderful.

Schwester and me |

Thanks to my sister for this great shot of my stunning bouquet – if anyone in the Yorkshire area needs flowers (for a special occasion, or just because) you really need to talk to Keeley of Molly’s flowers & gifts in Wakefield because she’s brilliant – just tell her what you’re after and you’ll get something gorgeous in return :)

Soon we get to do it all again in New York, celebrating with our friends and family over there, and my gorgeous dress gets a second outing!! Just a few days of work to get through first…Cannot *wait*! I also cannot wait for the photos from our very lovely and excellent photographer Alex Miller, but in that respect I’ll have to be patient…(according to Sean he got some epic dancing shots. Aah!!)

But I leave you with one of our readings, a poem by the brilliant Neil Hilborn that seems to sum up so much of our relationship in the past decade…

“This has been and will be the year of airports”

I don’t know where I will get the money
I don’t know what I will tell my friends
I don’t know how we will love each other in the nights of cold and quiet
but airplanes exist
and will fly between where I live and where you are
so hold on
I’m coming


September 30, 2015

We interrupt this scheduled nothingness for this PSA: listen to this album, listen to it all, revel in wit and the wordplay and the insanely, wonderful visceral way Lin Manuel Miranda can bring history to life and omg Angelica and Alexander and omg Burr, sit down and omg founding father beef. This is everything right now and I already know it off by heart and am 100% brokenhearted that we couldn’t get tickets in October, and that I didn’t think to book ages ago when I first knew it was booking. WHAT AN IDIOT.

La belle france

September 19, 2015

Aix en Provence |

Two weekends ago was saucisson and rosé vin and fromage. This weekend is not. This weekend is picking up final bits and bobs for the big day and also wondering what the ***** I’m going to do with 8 kilos of courgettes that found their way into my online grocery shop.

Aix en Provence |

Aix en Provence |

Thankfully the error wasn’t mine (I really did just order 2!) but that still doesn’t solve the issue of what I do with about 20 giant courgettes. I made a cake! …That got rid of all 1.5 of them. Sooo just 18.5 to go. I suppose I should probably try to eat more vegetables given the amount of artery-clogging food we ate in Provence…but the siren call of the cheese we smuggled home is very strong.

Aix en Provence |

How gorgeous is Aix? Sadly while I was vainly attempting to document this prettiness and weathered windowpanes and cream walls everywhere, various sundry parts of my camera decided to essentially die on me…it’s about time I admitted I need new batteries, and a new memory card and potentially a new body, but in the meantime… here is a picture of a beach:

Aix en Provence |

Aix en Provence |

By the way, it looks idyllic and all, but it was so windy we were washing sand out of our scalps for days. Days. BUT THAT’S OKAY because beach and sea swimming and pals! it was honestly the loveliest weekend, and over far too quick. I would like to be back in a plaza drinking wine as the sun sets and restaurant lights softly fizz into life, chatting about everything and anything. Next week is cancelled & we’re all getting flights…yes?


Hen times

August 31, 2015

Go Ape zipwire

I discovered this weekend that the best hen dos include HUGE zipwires and terrifying tarzan swings and epic shots of sailing across the sky in veils. They also include amazing friends who have known you for actual decades now, and a sister who is willing and able to coral them all into the same place with prosecco and video Mr & Mrs games where your future husband tells your friends about how your leaving the cap off the toothpaste speaks to a wider issue of your general inability to be tidy. Hahahahahaha. He also gets spot on that your celebrity crush is Anna Kendrick and is so bugged that he can’t remember what the first film was you saw together, that he starts googling films released in 2005 while the camera is still going. I’m marrying an adorable nerd. Thank you schwester for such a brilliant weekend… I loved it all!xxx

Books + Brews*: Arsenic for Tea

August 16, 2015

BREW: Dunkin Donuts hot chocolate

BOOK: Arsenic for Tea – Robin Stevens

When I think of summer reading, I think of cycling to the library, loading up on Asterix, Jane Austen and books with first names for titles and dragging them, blankets, snacks, and half the series of Mallory Towers into a teepee in the garden. My mum could whip up a teepee in minutes. And you’d usually find me there, all snack carcasses and finished books, come rain or shine. So when I started reading the Wells and Wong series, and realised it is basically Mallory Towers with murder (but you know, better than my description), and that it is technically summer even though you’d never know it from the weather, I thought…why not bring out the teepee…?

It may not surprise you to learn that I am now much too big for a bamboo stick teepee. This was disappointment number 1. Disappointment number 2 is realising that Keurig cup hot chocolate does not taste the same if it hasn’t been made with a Keurig machine. This is my plan for drinking all the Dunkin Hot Chocolate whilst not in the US scuppered, I tell thee. But back to the books. I am in utter love with this series: Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are schoolgirl detectives extraordinaire, running around Deepdean School for Girls attempting to solve crimes and forming a secret detective agency. Narrated by Hazel, an international student from Hong Kong, it’s as much a wonderful study of the absurdities of British people and their education system in the 30’s as it is a romp of a read. They’re also fantastic books for when you decide you really should have read the Bell Jar by now, and frankly things look a bit bleak afterwards until there are more shrimps and bunbreaks in your life. If you’re a fan of mini female Watsons and Holmes’ mixed with a tiny dash of Enid Blyton, then these books are absolutely for you.


* Books + Brews: a new, hopefully-regular bit on the blog where I talk about what [books] I’m reading now and accompanying [brews]. Brews loosely termed here to mean some sort of tea/coffee/cocktail/beverage. Because what is a book without a brew, yes? Also, it was probably odd to start off with hot chocolate. Oh well.

The outtakes

July 1, 2015

A week home from Tanzania, and it’s still a little bit unreal. June has really been a whirlwind month for me (for us) and I think I’m still processing…

Zanzibar |

In fact I’ve been so busy in the week I’ve been home, especially thinking about healing my stomach (whoo* for not thinking tortilla chips could be wheat as well as corn!!) that I haven’t really thought much about Tanzania Tanzania as opposed to just remembering the azure wash of Zanzibarian water and wishing I were about to go swimming again. In awesome* news, I also have some sort of fluey ache and hayfever so. You know. All round pathetic health whimperings.

*SOBZanzibar |

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