October

Making: It’s soup season again. I’ve made lentil vertes & vegetable, Nigella’s split pea with lime chilli and ginger (really tasty, but needs more vegetables, it’s very split pea heavy. I would recommend an adaption…) Chicken & vegetable soups, Fish chowder and this week a Beef & Vegetable. Dinner in a bowl

Am planning to make Rachel Roddy’s lentil & tomato. If that sounds good to you check out the Guardian, it was featured recently

Experimenting: I’ve harnessed the slow cooker once again and tried it out in the garage (!!!!) It worked really well, no smell wafting around the house for hours and hours

Cooking: Birthday cakes

The Roman Baths, Bath
Museum of Bath at Work – fascinating and quirky place to visit

Surprising: someone with a birthday trip away for a couple of days, it was lovely. Thank you Bath

Sipping: Nespresso cappuccino in the mornings, it became a habit this month, after having the machine years and using it only sporadically for a treat. I bought some lemon and ginger herbal teabags in Louth Aldi and I’m cutting down on caffeine again

Reading: back on to another Ann Cleeves after reading a few proof copies of forthcoming books. I’ve just started The Seagull, which is another in the Vera series

Waiting: for Sunday lunch today

Looking: forward to his roast chicken, gooseberry crumble (which I’m making with homegrown goosegogs, which have been frozen) with good company later on

Listening: to Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers, an audiobook I’ve had for awhile.

I really enjoyed this, but oh the ending! So unnecessary and abrupt. You almost feel betrayed after for listening for so long and then feel let down at the end. Have you read this book?

Wishing: in August I wished for a dibber, a friend read the post and sent me one of her mother’s. In September I wished for rain. After I published the post it began to drizzle. So…. I need to think about this one carefully! **

Buckets & spades and donkey rides on a sunny start to half term

Enjoying: remembering walking on the beach in the sunshine last Saturday in Mablethorpe, with a good friend

Sipping: Mulled Cider a couple of times this October. Check out Nigella‘s recipe from her Christmas book. I sub the rum with whatever we’ve got, sometimes Armagnac or Calvados

Missing: these cheeky little girls! I went up to Lincolnshire to cat sit and I’ve missed them all week

Appreciating: all the warm sunny days we’ve had this month. I know that on 29th of October we should not really be sitting outdoors in England, coats off, drinking coffee and eating cake in a museum garden. But it is really nice, I really like it, although I know it’s global warming

Deciding: To start crocheting a new blanket, I know I’ve got to finish my Coast blanket and my knitted Stripey blanket, plus a few smaller items. I’m seeing such a lovely mix of autumn crochet on Instagram that I want to buy some different colours and start something new

Contributing: crochet poppies for a friend’s WI forthcoming yarn-bomb for a postbox topper for Remembrance Sunday (I’ll maybe try to take a decent photo of mine before I pass them on.) Here’s her knitted ones, they look so good

Munching: apples from Apple Weekend at Waterperry Gardens

Eating: Licorice torpedoes I’d bought at the sweet shop on the seafront at Mablethorpe, and catching up on Taskmaster last night. Actually, I caught up with half of Taskmaster as I fell asleep for half an hour, and kept waking up periodically to say can you stop laughing so loudly, it’s waking me up? Unreasonable half asleep & tipsy behaviour? I reckon so!

Liking: Stuck which is on BBC iplayer. Only 15 minute episodes. Dylan Moran! You know? Black Books Dylan Moran. Yay

Loving: sharing links and “What’s for dinner?” messages in the first few weeks of the month, with a very likeminded foodie friend. We were all about lentils, pulses and soups

Buying: A pink leather friendship bracelet from the pop-up artisan’s shop in Witney yesterday

Watching: the leaves change colour. It’s one of my favourite things about autumn

Hoping: for a sunny few days this week to catch up on some more laundry and to wash the kitchen floor. It’s really magic when you wash it and it starts drying instantly, I know, I’m so, so boring

Wearing: pjs

Noticing: The luxury of an extra hour in bed this morning but I’m not looking forward to the darker evenings

Recommending: The Guard film on Netflix. Very funny

Also recommending: The Jazz man’s Blues on Netflix, watched on Friday night. Liked the realistic ending. Although I did feel there was one iffy plot thing, but no worries because it didn’t overly affect the story. I really enjoyed the music and played some of the soundtrack afterwards on Spotify, through the TV. I streamed Netflix to my friend’s TV when I was cat sitting, via Chromecast. The magic of technology!

A walk at dusk

Following: Ancestors’ journeys and careers, using censuses and local information, talking to local historians

Sorting: summer clothes into a bag and to the top of the wardrobe. Then the weather became very warm again and I regretted my tidied away T-shirts and cropped trousers

Coveting: one of those all in one instant pots, they seem to do everything from yoghurt making, slow cooking, pressure cooking and rice steaming, plus more

Visiting: Witney Blanket Hall

To be in the building alone is a treat, but there’s also a superb shop with scarves, socks and blankets all made in this country, plus a selection of nice gifts to purchase, The Pie Shop (a cafe), a garden with the river Windrush flowing at the end, a museum and a really nice woman called Angela

I had no idea that thousands and thousands of Witney blankets were sold by the Hudsons Bay Company in Canada
Made into a cosy coat
A Banbury Cake for me

Feeling: lazy, but I need to Hoover, do a little bit of spot cleaning and make some crumble mixture with some brown sugar. flaked almonds, porridge oats, spices, butter and flour

Hearing: bird song

—————-

What about your October? Has it been a challenge or a pleasure? A mix of both? Please share a few things…

** I know, I wish for one of those Ninja Foodi Multi-cookers

Books I’ve enjoyed 005

Oh, I’ve got some good reads for you today! Here’s another six books which you can snuggle down with and hopefully enjoy too.

One Moonlit Night by Rachel Hore

Rachel Gore’s latest is historical fiction, set during WW2. It is the story of a family and secrets that have been concealed for decades.

It is a nice read, a simple linear story which reveals what happens to Maddie and her two children after they leave London and wait to discover the fate of Philip, their husband and father.

I really like stories set in large ancestral homes in a rural setting. They are always appealing; I find the descriptions of nature restful, there are plenty of secrets hidden within and scope for strained relations and mysteries at the heart of the household.

The Lido by Libby Page

The story of Kate, a 26-year-old local newspaper reporter and Rosemary, an 86 year old lifelong daily swimmer. Kate goes to interview her and find out about the potential closure of the Lido in Brixton, London. This is the start of a blossoming friendship, an unexpectedly good thing for both for different reasons.

As you’d expect The Lido is a story about community, relationships, and the importance of fighting for what you believe is important. It also describes a very touching love story.

This is a light and rather lovely read. It would be a perfect holiday read if you’re off to find some sun. (Just don’t tell me about it. I’ll be envious.)

The Romantic by William Boyd

*Will be published on 6th October (UK)*

A fictional auto-biography which incorporates most of the 1800s as we follow events and relationships in the long life of Cashel Ross. It is the study of a life fully lived, and lived during an extraordinary period of history, filled with innovation and change.

This is truly escapist fiction. It made me really want to travel again, particularly after a few years grounded with the pandemic.

I particularly enjoyed the depiction of the long friendship between Cashel and Ignatz. You find yourself cheering Cashel on as he gets into all sorts of scrapes and commits misdemeanours.

The Romantic is a book where not everything is neatly wrapped up. The loose ends where you wonder what happened to so and so, are just like real life. In particular I was left with a lingering sense of wanting to know what would happen to Frannie…

By the way, if you’ve never read Any Human Heart by William Boyd then I recommend searching out a copy. It’s a 5 star read.

The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford

‘Few aristocratic English families of the twentieth century enjoyed the glamorous notoriety of the infamous Mitford sisters. Nancy Mitford’s most famous novel, The Pursuit of Love satirizes British aristocracy in the twenties and thirties through the amorous adventures of the Radletts, an exuberantly unconventional family closely modelled on Mitford’s own.

The Radletts of Alconleigh occupy the heights of genteel eccentricity, from terrifying Lord Alconleigh (who, like Mitford’s father, used to hunt his children with bloodhounds when foxes were not available), to his gentle wife, Sadie, their wayward daughter Linda, and the other six lively Radlett children. Mitford’s wickedly funny prose follows these characters through misguided marriages and dramatic love affairs, as the shadow of World War II begins to close in on their rapidly vanishing world.’ From Goodreads

I’ve just reread The Pursuit of Love for probably the third time. The best parts are when the girls are at Alconleigh and especially when they’re altogether again near the end. (I LOVE the Bolter! I remember after I first read this years ago, I got a book about Idina Sackville who was almost certainly the person the character was based upon: The Bolter by Frances Osborne.)

I bought the complete Nancy Mitford collection for a little sum when it was a recent Kindle Daily Deal. I’m planning to read the other two books in the trilogy at some point too.

Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson

I’ve been waiting for publication day to come around since I read this in July, so I could tell you about it. It’s a five star read. I adore Kate Atkinson’s books and this is one of her best.

An absorbing read, with a multitude of characters. This is London in the hedonistic 1920s, post-war, fizzing with energy, opportunity, money and lots and lots of crime. Nellie Croker is the Queen of the Soho Clubs, she wants to advance the futures of her six children, but her empire is facing multiple threats.

Kate Atkinson’s writing is so gripping, I enjoy it so much that I read slowly, every single word and sentence is savoured, so as to make the book last.
I loved the structure of the book; it basically loops around introducing an event or character and then revisits it, or them, more fully, often from another point of view.

It was a relief that I could read this on my Kindle. There are many characters fleetingly mentioned, when they reappear I feel compelled to look up where they first came into the story. If I was continually flicking back and forth through a paperback it would have taken me weeks to finish!

There’s a little mystery at the end, a will they-won’t-they and a generally satisfying rounding up.

The Rising Tide by Ann Cleeves

I read this in May and have waited a long time to write about this too! It’s just been published. 2022 really is my year of reading Ann Cleeves books. I started another last night, well actually it was the ungodly hour of four o’clock this morning. I might need to start it again, things were hazy after a gin cocktail and red wine, plural.

The Rising Tide is book number ten in the series and this time we find Vera Stanhope investigating a murder on Holy Island off the Northumberland coast. 50 years ago a group of teenagers went there on a camping trip, every five years they get together again for a reunion weekend. This time one of them is found hanged.

It’s an engrossing read which I really didn’t want to put down. I loved the concept of the school friends meeting up for a reunion. It gave so much scope for backstories to explore tensions and past relationships between the group.

I really didn’t know who the murderer was, until Vera worked it out. That’s the mark of an extremely well plotted and executed (!) murder mystery.

I’ll be interested to see if this one gets made into an episode of the TV series.

~~~~~~~~

There is nothing like snuggling up with a good book on chilly autumn nights. I like to read all year round, but there is definitely something so cosy about going to bed early with a book at this time of year. I find I keep looking at my watch to see if you can go to bed yet. The other night I went up at nine thirty to read. Bliss!

What are you reading at the moment? Any books you’d like to recommend?

Books I’ve enjoyed 004

The Green Roasting Tin by Rukmini Lyer

My current favourite recipe book which I’m using to bring some fresh meat-free meals to the table. Last week I made the courgettes roasted with olives, feta and tomato bake. It was delicious both hot and cold, though perhaps not for someone who is advised to use eat a low-salt diet. You could maybe miss out the olives and cut it down that way, but it wouldn’t be quite the same. Tomorrow when I’m doing my groceries order I’ll choose another recipe to make this week.

The Diet Myth by Tim Spector

Tim trained in medicine and rose to the position of consultant rheumatologist before turning to genetic epidemiology, the study of genetic factors in health and disease. Now he is professor of genetic epidemiology and director of the TwinsUK registry at Kings College London. He is a specialist in twin study, genetics, epigenetics and microbiome, and diet. (Wikipedia) You may also recognise his name and his face from the Zoe website. He’s very active on Instagram and Twitter too.

The Diet Myth is an exploration and explanation of why most diets fail, why despite, the multi million pound diet industry, and so much advice about what to eat, and what to avoid, people are still gaining weight and populations are becoming fatter every decade. This is a fascinating read.

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim

Published a hundred years ago, in 1922, this story is about a couple of women who are unsatisfied in their marriages and leading pretty dreary lives. They decide to rent a small castle on the Italian Riviera and gather two others to help pay for it during a summer holiday, without their husbands. It’s a lovely read, with some very touching and humorous lines. Apparently at the time it did wonders to advertise and bring tourism to the area. This paperback was a surprise sent by a friend when I was unwell, along with Midnight Chicken which I wrote about in my last books post. Friends who post books they think you’ll enjoy and cheer you up are treasures!

Telling Tales by Ann Cleeves

The second in the Vera series. This time she’s investigating a crime which happened ten years before. New evidence has come to light, which throws doubt on the original verdict. I found this absolutely masterful; the characterisation, setting and plotting. It could be any one of the community, it’s impossible to guess the ending.

The Woman on the Island by Ann Cleeves

If you have any interest in reading the Vera series then you MUST go to Amazon next and select this because it’s currently FREE! (Even if you don’t have a Kindle, you can get the free Kindle app on your phone or tablet and read the short story.) We learn the motivation for Vera becoming a detective during this short backstory. As she goes on a day trip to Holy Island with her father Hector. There’s an excerpt at the end for the new Vera book (number ten) The Rising Tide, which is set on the same island. This should whet your appetite for when it comes out on 1st September (sorry, I’m not sure of international publication dates) next week. I read of a proof copy, back in May, and it’s a 5 star read.

The Night Ship by Jess Kidd

I’ve been looking forward to telling you about this one. The Night Ship is structured with a dual time period, which tells the stories of two nine year old children Mayken and Gil more than 300 years apart. The author weaves fiction around fact to tell the story of Mayken, who is a newly motherless child en route to the care of her father. She is travelling with her nursemaid Imke on an East India Company ship The Batavia. The ship is undertaking the long and hazardous sea voyage from Holland to Batavia, the capital of the Dutch East Indies as it was (Jakarta in Indonesia as it is now called.) It is carrying goods and 200 passengers. Gil is also newly motherless and has been sent to his Grandfather Joss to spend the fishing season on a remote island off the west coast of Australia. Their story and developing relationship is rather touching as both adjust to each other and become closer.

Mayken is a fabulous character, she and Imke definitely have all the best lines. Mayken’s story made me both laugh and cry. She is a character who will stay with me.

Jess Kidd paces this atmospheric story perfectly, as usual in her writing there is folklore and supernatural elements. The tension gradually ramps up until the denouement for both children. I enjoyed the parallels between the two and found myself thinking a lot about cultural norms and what is thought of as endearing, or alternatively as weird; particularly from a gendered point of view.

From now on I shall be keeping witch’s stones / hagstones that I find on the beach and trying to see what has already been and what is to come! This is another 5 star read. If any of you have not yet read any of Jess Kidd’s books I urge you to find them. She’s such a talented and entertaining writer. I cannot wait to see what she writes next.

~~~~

There are some absolutely cracking books coming out in the autumn, I’ve read a fair few advance reader copies this year and I’m looking forward to writing about them, when I get the publishing dates.

We’ve had a good summer here, albeit far too dry, but now I’m looking forward to autumn. This is usual for me at this point in the holidays. I’m beginning to anticipate apple picking, soup making, cooking stews, walking through crunchy leaves and having cosy evenings crafting (crossed fingers) with lots more good books to curl up with on the sofa.

Want to share what you’re currently reading? Any book recommendations for us?

August

MAKING: salads still. Today’s lunch was delicious! You know when you really enjoy a meal?

Rocket, watercress, cucumber, vine tomatoes, sunblush tomatoes, artichokes and peppered smoked mackerel

COOKING: a new courgette recipe tonight from my latest KDD – 99p!

SIPPING: water

READING: Silent Voices by Ann Cleeves – fourth in the Vera series

WAITING: for my free tickets and food vouchers to a craft fair this weekend. I finally won something. Whoop whoop!

LOOKING: at the large miniature rose bush, I need to go and deadhead it again

A 6 mile circular walk on Sunday

LISTENING: to Craig Charles on BBC 6M

WISHING: for a garden dibber

ENJOYING: researching my family tree

EATING: fresh berries, greengages and nectarines

APPRECIATING: that I can see censuses from well over 100 years ago. Family Tree research has been consuming my thoughts and a fair bit of my time lately as I’ve been given a year’s sub

LIKING: all the colour in the garden still

LOVING: that the things I took on a long weekend away to the seaside recently are pretty much the same as I would’ve taken as a child! Something to make, read, colour/dot-to-dot, in case of rainy days and for quiet moments

BUYING: well, failing to buy some grey mats for the bathroom, currently out of stock. Wins were a Craghoppers top and a linen skirt from the M&S sale last week

MANAGING: to put off transferring my photos from the cloud to my laptop. I must because my phone told me I have 3,000+ on here at the moment

Ripe & juicy early this year

WATCHING: Rev on BBC iplayer. Why have I not watched this before?! It’s funny, touching, sad and thought-provoking. Absolute quality

HOPING: for RAIN. We’re going to have a hosepipe ban soon otherwise. It’s been so dry for so, so long

WEARING: shorts & a tee

Rousham church

NOTICING: The birds are really quiet today and not around

Breakfast (at this rate I’ll need to send you all a pic of today’s dinner*)

FOLLOWING: I thought of a good line for this one in the shower this morning. Can’t remember it….

GETTING: stiff from sitting a bit too much. I’ll move soon and dead-head those roses

BAKING: I made wholemeal pitta bread last week. Pleased with them. Will definitely be making pitta again, such a treat to eat one fresh from the oven for lunch

Nope, you can’t even eat lunch in peace here

COVETING: knowledge – what can I grow radishes in? I bet there are some good ideas online, but it’s nice to ask people, not Google all the time. At work I once grew potatoes in two tires which were stacked up, then you add another when the soil needs topping up. I need some ideas for radishes please

Great name, huge hydrangea flowers

FEELING: relaxed and happy

HEARING: Craig talking about embarrassing listener experiences. Lots of wind in funeral services and inappropriate laughing

*****

Tell us a few things? Maybe 4?

* Don’t panic, I promise I won’t

Books I’ve enjoyed 003

Midnight Chicken by Ella Risbridger

Part memoir of a specific period in Ella’s life, mostly recipe book. What makes this an ideal book to dip in and out of is the lovely way that she writes about food in the introduction to each recipe. And the recipes sound good too!

Very sad endnote, but I’m glad she’s sounding happier and all is ok on the other side of everything now.

I’m definitely going to make the Midnight Chicken and a few other recipes too.

Kiss Myself Goodbye by Ferdinand Mount

‘Aunt Munca never told the truth about anything. Calling herself after the mouse in a Beatrix Potter story, she was already a figure of mystery during the childhood of her nephew Ferdinand Mount. Half a century later, a series of startling revelations sets him off on a tortuous quest to find out who this extraordinary millionairess really was. What he discovers is shocking and irretrievably sad, involving multiple deceptions, false identities and abandonments. The story leads us from the back streets of Sheffield at the end of the Victorian age to the highest echelons of English society between the wars.’ From GoodReads

This is a rollercoaster of discoveries, and it never stops! I read it while away last weekend by the sea and found it distracted me from paddling, ice cream and rock throwing games. It’s a goodie.

An Island Wedding by Jenny Colgan

A welcome return to the Scottish fictional island of Mure and lots of familiar characters. I enjoyed catching up with Flora, her family and friends. It was a welcome escape from the news and everything going on in the world. (I read an advance copy in March.)

I feel Jenny Colgan is at her best writing this series; it’s not sickly sweet like some of the others and it’s not repeating the same basic premise over and over like the recent Bookshop series. (Girl moves to new area due to unhappy previous situation, has to find a job, ends up selling books, meets a cast of quirky characters, including one or two possible boyfriends. Chooses one, lives happily ever after.) There’s some attempt at reality, grit, hardship and exploration of how characters really feel in the Mure books. These aspects take you on rather an emotional journey and you find you care about them.
The story has really moved on throughout the series, sometimes in unexpected ways, and there is definitely space for more; as this latest book ended with plenty of ends dangling. I’m glad.

(It is odd how from book 1 to book 4 Jan’s maiden name and both her father’s first and last names have been changed. I couldn’t work out why I didn’t recognise Malcy Doherty, head of the local council. Well, that’s because he was Fraser Mathieson in the first book!)

Factory Girls by Michelle Gallen

For Maeve and her friends daily life holds not just the common feelings experienced by all teens: anxiety waiting for exam results, the mad swings of love and lust, boredom with where they grew up, and worry about earning enough money to save for what comes next. Their days are also full of frustration and fear as the threat of violence flares up around them on a daily basis as there’s continual tension between the Catholics and Protestants and resignation about the troubled political situation in the country. Mixed into this mix there is heaps of black humour. It’s hilarious from the beginning and the humour doesn’t let up. This is a story where well-drawn characters are living in dangerous and strained circumstances over the border from the Free State, under British control in Northern Ireland, but it’s not nearly as grim as it sounds.

‘But it’s all these good intentions that’s killing me,’ Maeve said. ‘Everyone’s always asking us to paint pictures or write poems. Ye’ve artists sculpting doves. Teachers sucking the fucken lifeblood outtay us by asking us tae sing “Imagine” – like, no harm, but is that not showing a total lack of imagination?’ ‘Aye,’ Fidelma said. ‘Nobody’s tackling the hard stuff.’

Maeve and her friends then outline how they believe life could be different without segregation, starting the process of integration from the earliest years. The insider knowledge and lived experience of the author shines out, this is not clearly not researched, but drawn from the author’s own life growing up in County Tyrone.

It has to be said (and I know I won’t be the first to say this and certainly not the last) but it is a good companion if you’re watching Derry Girls. Some of what is sketched out in Derry Girls will make much more sense after reading Factory Girls.

Factory Girls is laugh out loud funny, irreverent and touching. I loved it. I know this because I read it slowly and properly, always a good sign as I did not want it to end.

How long until until there is a film or television series? I’m positive the rights will be snapped up. At the end I felt there was also a lot of scope for a follow up book about what Maeve (and friend) do next ….

The Crow Trap by Ann Cleeves

Detective Vera Stanhope’s first appearance, this was published in 1999.

Three very different women are living together in an isolated cottage, while undertaking an environmental survey. An apparent suicide, then another death and Vera Stanhope appears to try to piece together what has happened…

The first ever I read in the series was a proof of the tenth book, lucky lucky me. That’s coming out in the autumn. I have to say that’s a fabulous read, if you’re a fan then you’re in for a treat! Then because I enjoyed that so much, I decided to read all of the books in order.

I was already a fan of the tv series, but I think you need to let some time go by to forget details if you watch first, then read. In the TV adaptations motives have often quite changed and it can be disorienting to remember who and why, then find a completely different murderer in the book. That was why I stopped at the first Shetland book; it was too soon after I’d watched that episode. I’ll go back to the books when I’ve finished Vera and have forgotten a lot of what I’ve seen. (By the way: do you know the last series of Shetland has begun to air? The first episode is available on the BBC iplayer now.)

Ann Cleeves writes so well. I love her clear style of writing. I’ve got to look out for the fourth book, I keep checking on Amazon and finding random Kindle deals on different books in the series. I’ve only paid full price for one so far. Huzzah!

The Corset by Laura Purcell

Melodramatic and tense gothic storytelling set in the Victorian era. I started out listening to the audiobook, but I was finding it so anxiety inducing and generally horrible that I decided to read at my own speed (faster! Get past the gory parts!) and power through the e-library book instead.

I underestimated this book. It was a 3 star read all the way. Then, I got to maybe 80% of the way through, maybe more, and realised that it was going to be quite a rollercoaster of an ending. Upgraded to 4/5 stars, don’t underestimate a talented author like Laura Purcell.

~~~~~

What have you been reading lately? Anything you want to recommend to us all?

Mid-June

Eating: Mackerel salad with homemade honey, lemon & mustard dressing, sprinkled with 4 different mixed seeds.

Reading: The Crow Trap by Ann Cleeves it’s the first in her Vera Stanhope series. Far, far too good. I’m bleary today as I stayed up reading until 12:15 this morning. Oops!

Looking: at all the colourful photos I took during a recent visit to Waterperry Gardens

Glenfiddich rose

Baking: cinnamon buns in May, a few times. It was a very, very tricky month and they were needed to bolster and treat a few special people.

Anticipating: paddling in the sea, eating Cornish pasties for lunch, walks, a cream tea, cold lager shandy, ditto cider, toast & salted butter with marmalade for holiday breakfast, ice creams, chatting to strangers, taking flowery and coastal photos, visiting a favourite garden, zooming down the motorway to sea views and sand!

Watching: Everything I Know about Love on the BBC iplayer. It’s one for when he’s gone fishing!

Smelling: the scent of the Ambre Solaire I’ve just put on. It’s such a nice smell. It’s 25° today. Lovely.

Wearing: shorts & t-shirt

Drinking: cold filtered water. A glassful has just thoughtfully been brought to me outside.

Planning: a return visit to the Cotswold Sculpture Park. I bought May’s issue of Gardeners World magazine from Mags Direct after hearing about the 2-for-1 card, it’s valid for a year. It’s given us a couple of really nice days out, to places we’ve never visited before. We’re planning to take the card away on holiday too.

Repeating: this superb recipe with cod, butterbeans, canned cherry tomatoes, rosemary & parmesan breadcrumbs on top (with my twist of lemon zest.) It’s so tasty and healthy. Recipe from Olive mag website

Before it went into the oven

Buying: my first pair of prescription sunglasses.

From now on I won’t be screwing up my eyes through lenses of cheapy plastic sunglasses and making them tired from lots of reading. I have also bought some better quality sunglasses from Boots.

Visiting: my Aunty with my Mum next week. I love being ‘the young one’ and seeing them together. It feels special. There’s also something that makes me laugh about it too, but I can’t tell you. Sorry.

Loving: the new to me Czech gin Tōsh which was sent to me in a surprise free gin box on Saturday. It’s strongly flavoured, citrus with rosehips and works really well with Fever-Tree original tonic. I’m not a massive fan of it usually, because it’s quite bitter with strong quinine, but this gin complements it well.

May’s box – given free to me in June. Whoop!

Recommending: Craft Gin Club yes I know – again! But every time I include a referral code it’s used. If you also love gin and live in the UK this is for you. The offer is £15 off a box, free delivery and no further commitment. I love it.

Use my referral code to get this offer.

Visiting: a new National Trust property. We went at the weekend. Well, it was completely new to Someone, only new as an adult to me. Chedworth Roman Villa has changed as a visitor experience since I had to complete a worksheet and “Pay attention!” on a school trip.

All from the 4th century. The FOUTH century!

But it was these that made the hairs on my arms stand up:

I recognised and remember liking the dog and cat paw prints which were captured as they wandered around while the tiles were drying, either at the site of the villa, or in nearby Cirencester. But I remember feeling regretful that the cat’s print was not clearer, since I always preferred cats to dogs!

And a human print too

What have you been up to lately? I hope June is being good to you, so far. Please tell me three things?