Tag Archives: travel

Reading List (25/4)


On book hoarding. I am very familiar with this problem. At present, there is a stack of unread books by my bedside and more mounting on the shelf in our bedroom. So many lovely books.

Pistachio cake.

Has the wellbeing cure gotten to individualistic? Should we be looking for ways to build community, rather than focusing on our individual wellbeing as the world burns?

Anna Jones’ recommendations for food and coffee in London.

Advice on getting rest (and why you should do this).

Food in books.

Spring pasta ideas.


Have a good week! x


Reading List (18/4)

Sea view Skye

I have been away this past week so I don’t actually have a very long list. (And this is also why I am publishing this so late today!) I’ve read a few things on The Guardian and The New York Times but I’ve mainly been reading a book called An Enchanted April, which I have just loved. It is, quite frankly, an enchanting read. (See what I did there?) The story has made me smile, sigh, and wish for Italy in springtime. I have loved the writing enough to seek out another of her books – Elizabeth and her German garden – to read this week.

Kitchen envy.

Christiane Amanpour’s favourite books.

It’s all about sleep people. As someone who loves to sleep, and is appreciative of at least 9 hours a night, I am all for this trend.

A new exhibition at MoMA on women artists.

I want to read this book. A review of Tartine All Day, yet another cookbook I want to read.

Oatmeal fudge bars. Please. Also, these almond cookies.

Have a good week! x

Reading List (4/4)

Spring bulbs

Hello April! It has felt very much like spring the last few days. It has been more sunny than not. It is warmish during the day (although still quite cold in the evenings). And the days are long! It is light when I need to get up and stays light so far into the evening that we have been eating dinner after 8pm. Spring and autumn are truly my two favourite months but spring might just win out. I love the light. The blossom on the trees and bulbs flowering on every street corner. I love the warmth.


Words of advice from female chefs.

Cooking and the senses.

Learning to make stone tools, and understanding prehistory.

Claiming back religious traditions, through food.

For Mom: Anna Wintour’s Wild Garden. I love this garden. I love the wistful meadows and rambling roses. And the colours. I think it would be rather wonderful to spend a summers day meandering until slightly lost, lay a rug and read a book in parts of this garden.

I baked this weekend. For the first time in ages. I made an orange almond cake that walks the tightrope between a cake and a pudding. It is very bitter so I find it best served with yoghurt and a little honey. Good for breakfast too.

Orange almond cake


McDonald’s is switching to fresh beef.

For when you are in need of perspective: a video of the known universe.

Food writing for everyone.

I’m still obsessively listening to Elly Griffiths’ Ruth Galloway series. I find Ruth is like an old friend and I’m catching up on her life. I particularly love listening to these books on lazy weekends, when I’m pottering about the house. I can knit, bake and hang up washing all whilst on the Norfolk salt marshes, solving mysteries. I’ve read these out-of-order because I started in the middle reading books 6 and 7 first and have now gone back to read 1, 2 and 3 in quick succession….

Have a good week! x

Reading List (28/3)

Margate sea

Grilled cheese.

I love this description of seeking the sun in the British winter.

Benedict Cumberbatch reading Sol LeWitt’s letter to Eva Hesse. Advice, fairly simple but good.

For Louisa: chicken-fried steak!

Yet more reasons to go to Paris. Jen/Ali/Lucy: maybe this could become part of #dessertskitastic2018?

On writing and teaching children’s literature, or books with magic. (Jess, read this!)

Creative projects in libraries.

Food and memory loss.

I’m busy reading The Little Paris Bookshop, which is lovely. All about a bookshop on a barge, love, literary remedies to life…

Morellis ice cream

Have a good week! x


Reading List (21/3)

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Jack Russells are just the best dogs. Here is some evidence.

The Two Fat Ladies. I used to love this show. Did you?

Being a mother and working in the food industry.

A woman in farming.

I am listening to Reader, I married him. It is a collection of short stories edited by Tracy Chevalier. All the stories are inspired by Jane Eyre. I am loving them. I don’t normally go in for short stories – mostly because I become attached to the characters and then don’t want to let go (it is a thing). But these are so wonderful and arresting. I particularly loved Grace Poole, Her Testimony by Helen Dunmore and Reader, She Married Me by Sally Vickers. But all the stories have been superb.

A round up of the weekend’s food news and recipes.

Peanut butter brownies.

Lucky Peach is closing.

Persian New Year. I also listened to the Bon Appetit Foodcast talking about Middle Eastern foods. After listening to talk of cooking rice, I finally managed to crack out some decent rice at the weekend, for our vegan cookbook club. (More on that hysterical experience another time.)

This picture of Viennese desserts. Plus the accompanying article.


This is a beautiful piece of writing that makes me happy and sad at the same time.

Sketching the restaurants of NYC.

A library across borders.

Listening to podcasts is stress-relieving…

Swimming in Snowdonia.

Which bodies can go where‘ – reflections on travel writing. (There’s a number of articles in this series now up.)

Woman, dog, sea

Have a good week! x

Reading List (7/2)

On marching for life. Here are some ideas if you’d like to make some changes to help the world. Bookstore subtlety.

Mint-chocolate chip ice cream.

Farming in times of climate change.

Feeding defective Skittles to cows. Apparently this is a thing. Mind. Blown.

Arriving at JFK after the ban. On ‘disremembering‘ the past and realising there is more than one fight.

Love this: 100 days, 100 dinners.

New chef crushes: Pierre Jancou and Adeline Grattard. Both in Paris. Both on my list of places I’d like to eat when next there. (Late September maybe.)

God this is depressing: even from a young age, girls don’t think their gender is super smart. And to compensate: feminist writing for young people.

When you start to feel bad about not being happy.

Rachel Carson.

Gossip Girl is 10 years old.

Resetting your wake/sleep cycle.

Exhibition on at Nottingham Contemporary. A really fascinating research project on young children in the theatre.

I read, on Sunday afternoon, Bee Wilson’s This Is Not A Diet Book. Every now and then, I need someone to talk sense to me about eating. This year, this was this book. Nothing silly. No radical changes. Small steps.

Adventures in Spain (part 1). (And another Sunday reading list.)

So I promised a catch-up post and this is the first of a few. Whilst I have been writing my thesis in (what at times felt like) a hermit-like cave for many many months, I have somehow managed to fit some fun in around it too. After I redrafted my conclusion at the end of May, Andrés and I made a trip to Spain so I could meet his family and see his hometown. It was my first time in Spain and I absolutely loved it, although I desperately need to work on my Spanish (currently non-existent). I discovered there is nothing more frustrating than being unable to communicate with someone, particularly when you have many many questions to ask.


Andrés comes from a small town (he swears it is not that small but really, when you come from Joburg, everywhere else seems pretty tiny, and yes that is my Joburg-biased voice talking) called Chiclana de la Frontera. It’s on the Andalusian coast, near Cadiz. Chiclana has the most incredible beach (the picture above) where we spent several afternoons swimming, hanging out and sun worshipping. I met various members of Andrés’ family – his parents, his grandparents, various uncles and cousins. We ate a lot – I even tried tiny fried birds (I am not convinced).

We spent several mornings in Chiclana’s town centre. Andrés took me to the covered market, where you can get fresh fish, fruits and vegetables and meat. We wandered aimlessly along the cobbled streets, went down to the river, and visited several cafes for fino and tapas. I particularly loved how over the hours of lunchtime people popped into the cafe (where we stood at the bar talking and watching the goings-on) buying fino or beer and talking to each other. It was such a significant change to my own experience of people rushing from one meeting to the next, grabbing lunch to go and rushing off again. Here there was time to talk and share a drink, and the occasional snack too.

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One day we drove to Cadiz, which, alongside Seville, was one of my favourite places. I loved everything about Cadiz – the clear blue water, the fig trees, the food, the quirky streets, the old buildings.


But my absolute favourite in Cadiz was the market. The market is in an open square, the traders are (undercover) around the edge and in the centre, and in-between, there are tables and stools so that you can buy things to eat and enjoy them in the sunshine whilst people around you shop and talk about food. It strikes me as incredibly special to be able to visit such a place to do your weekly or daily shop – where you can strike up conversations with your favourite butcher or fishmonger, dally awhile amongst the noise and bustle, and delight in the colours.


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We wandered through the city, watching people sunning themselves on the beach, boats anchored just off-shore. We visited the castle where we found a random (but fantastic) collection of old ophthalmology equipment (I took photographs for my dad) and ate a spectacular lunch at a restaurant where a friend works as the pasty chef.

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I also insisted we poke around Cadiz Cathedral, mainly because I love churches for their aesthetic beauty but also because I am fascinated by their power and wealth. Andres was super chuffed because he charmed the guys at the entrance into giving me a student ticket (despite my lack of student card). The cathedral is beautiful and intimidating – the way one should be, I imagine.

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Finally we took refuge from the heat in a museum where Andrés showed me a painting of the signing of the 1812 Spanish constitution.


More on Spain next week but in the meantime, here is this week’s reading!

Sunday Reading List

This article was in last month’s Observer Food Monthly magazine. It details how one school has successfully changed their lunchtimes and food to suit their children’s needs, with the help of a wonderful chef. Feel good reading about the world, if you need it.

I was reminded of the article above because I was reading today’s Observer Food Monthly. It has a great article on chefs and their gardens. I love stories about people growing and then cooking food and the pictures of the gardens are inspiring. I particularly love how so many stories begin with gardening in childhood – with grandparents or parents.

I also read Rachel Roddy’s article in the FT. I love the way Rachel writes about food. If you haven’t read her blog about her kitchen in Rome, do. I want to learn to write about food and life the way she does. It reminds me strongly of writing field notes, paying attention to the small details of everyday life but somehow I haven’t yet learnt to do that in my ordinary day-to-day living. Her book – Five Quarters: Recipes and Notes from a Kitchen in Rome – is on my list of things to buy soon.

I’ve been listening to The Moth on the Power of Storytelling via The New York Public Library podcast.  Inspiring storytelling and fascinating ideas of how to tell stories – Carly Johnstone’s piece was particularly gripping.

I’m still busy with H is for Hawk (almost but not quite done) but I’m also reading Ghosts of Spain which I actually started before our trip but then put down. It’s an expat investigation of the art of forgetting (about Franco) in Spain. I’ve found it historically fascinating but I’m also enjoying it for the insights of an English person living there.

Finally, I’m working on a book chapter on gardening and have been perusing My Cool Allotment for research purposes. The photographs are fantastic but the stories of the allotments and community gardens are just wonderful. If you’re in need of inspiration for a green space, pick this up!

Til next time!