Monday, 9 December 2013


Clockwise from top left: a knitted fox, stacking penguins, and a wooden dachshund. A Christmas favourite to watch every year. A LEGO log cabin (complete with LEGO drumsticks). A red bike horn and magnetic blocks. A children's classic and clicking frogs for stocking fillers.

And, because it's always worth watching...

Thursday, 5 December 2013


Clockwise from top left: a new Mociun Baggu, fennel pollen and Pedro Ximinez vinegar (or any number of other things from Sous Chef), hand woven placemats, a two tone marble platter, a perfect tea towel, all the essentials for a British version of a French 75, a gold glass coaster, new enamel, a book to bring back memories of New York, indigo linen, an iron candlestick and beeswax candles for the table.

And one final suggestion:

Tuesday, 3 December 2013


Clockwise from top left: Fellow Barber candle, a whale knife, an original copy of a favourite album, Douglas Fir incense and something good-looking to hold it, the best toothpaste and a striped tin cup, solar system magnets, a new book from Peter Liversidge, the bottle opener that everyone wants, beers and a brewery tour, and finally, because sometimes it's true, a print from Stephen Powers

Sunday, 1 December 2013


Is it too soon for Christmas Creature Comforts...

Tuesday, 26 November 2013


It's that time of year again. A few things I like, I hope you like them too.

Clockwise from top left: Galaxy clutch, grey nails and pink lips, burgundy and navy cashmere, an Aran jumper to go with everything, wool socks, a small vase, a Malteser Reindeer just because, Merino boots for permanently cold feet, a ring from a favourite jeweller, a good read, pistachio baths, a pen for (my annoying habit of) doing puzzles in bed, a new favourite mug and a trivet to rest it on, a copper can for earrings, an infinity ring, tinted vaseline, and some pretty Maine gems

Tuesday, 5 November 2013


The temperature has plummeted. On Saturday it rained on and off all day. On Sunday it was bright but cold. Friends came for brunch, waffles with bacon and maple syrup for three of us, with bacon and sriracha for one with a limited appetitie for savoury sweet. After brunch we headed out for a walk, over to the Botanics, through the gardens to Inverleith Park, the temperature dropping more as we went. Our friends peeled off and we holed up in a quiet corner in Stockbridge with Guinness for me, Landlord for him. Last night it was -2, today there is a freezing cold mist hanging over the city.

In previous years the 5th November has been and gone with conversations about how mild it seemed. How mild compared to those childhood bonfire nights when we wore layer upon layer upon layer, heading outside a little bundled mass to look at the Guys that had been entered for the competition (the winning Guy destined to be carried aloft, flung onto the roaring bonfire). The brown paper bag heads with features drawn on, the old pair of trousers, shirt, tank top or jumper, all stuffed with newspaper and secured with string.

As we got older there were other bonfires. One with teenagers and adults walking with flaming torches to light the fire. One in our garden, the wood a little damp, a dubious decision regarding petrol, matches, and singed eyebrows (not mine). My favourite bonfire night as an adult, in London, watching from our balcony as the sky was lit by fireworks, spotting the glow of bonfires spread across the city.

But those bonfire night memories that I come back to the most are memories of Milland, the village we lived in until I was six. Maybe that's when this night felt the most magical. Going out after dark, watching the fire start and grow, holding sparklers with mittened hands, watching the fireworks. Halloween was fun but bonfire night felt special, otherworldly.

Today feels like one of those bonfire nights. Built for layers, for warm drinks, for frosty breath over sparklers.We'll be at home this evening, the heating will be on, bangs will pepper our conversation. We'll look outside, we'll see fireworks from Leith, from Calton Hill. It still feels special.

Monday, 4 November 2013



'The first cashmere sweater I owned was dusty sugar pink, and I wore it so a boy I liked would want to put his arms around me.'

Words: Sophie Dahl for J Crew
Lambswool jumper: YMC

Friday, 1 November 2013


I've been a little quiet of late. 2 months have been and gone, there was a trip to Arisaig, a bout of tonsillitis, a few birthdays, a wedding. I'd been planning to post today. A list for Friday perhaps, a link to a gig I'm looking forward to next week, a book, you know how it goes. Or maybe I could tell you about my morning. How I can't remember if my alarm went off but I can remember how Chris gently shook me awake after I had overslept, how I tried to claw back the minutes and managed to take a big chip out of my favourite mug in the process, how I had to get the bus to work to be at a 9am meeting, how I went to get a coffee and a pain au chocolat to compensate for it all but I'm still sleepy and I want to go home. But I'm sure you don't need to hear me whining so I'll tell you about tonight instead. Tonight I'll finish work and Chris will come to meet me. We'll walk to Analogue to pick up some books he's ordered, maybe a magazine, and then we'll head over to Blackfriars.

I feel a little remiss in not mentioning Blackfriars before now. It's the best kind of place, good drinks, nice people to talk to, great food. We sit at our favourite table and order a beer (they were good, now, with a new list, excellent). We chat, between ourselves, with friends, with Wes, Andrew, Georgie, we have another drink. We might have talked about making dinner at home but the bar menu calls to us. I'll see the chips with bearnaise sauce, the steak roll. Chris will start talking about the black pudding with fried egg, the broccoli salad. And it's done, we stay to eat. Again, and again, and again. As I said, it's the best kind of place.

Friday, 30 August 2013


It feels like the end of Summer now. There were leaves on the ground at lunchtime, I'm back to wearing socks in the house, pulling something warm on when we watch TV in the evening. The windows are still open but the slight chill is actually welcome, we ate soup last night. August was all about the festival. We saw La Belle et la Bête, then Patti Smith with Philip Glass for an homage to Allan Ginsberg. La Belle et la Bête was spellbinding, two days later Philip Glass made me cry. His three movement piece, that he so quietly introduced, with the first movement gently leading us into the second, the second wrapping me up in melancholy as I bit my lip, blinking frantically, trying to stop the tears from coming, realising as I reached for a tissue that I couldn't, the third allowing the tears to ease, to stop. But tears come more easily when they have already been allowed to fall and I was left on the brink, clutching a tissue, until we left the theatre. Maybe it was a theme for the festival as three weeks later, seeing Judith Kerr, listening as she talked about her husband, his influence on her work, their lives together, his death... my eyes are welling up even now. There was lightness too. Caitlin Moran standing up to sign books, one DM-clad foot on the table, surprisingly approachable, taking Mum to see Hadley Freeman, unsure whether she would like it, hearing small sounds of agreement to my right throughout, a Swedish couple who we chatted to for a while and who then, a week or so later, sent us a postcard before they headed home, having guessed a work address for Chris from our conversation, Margaret Atwood always. It's been good, sometimes great. This weekend is the dividing line. Edinburgh is slowly getting back to normal, the festival venues are being dismantled, the crowds of people have gone, the end of festival fireworks are on Sunday, it's winding down. Until then... 

And finally, sadly, goodbye to Seamus Heaney.


 Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.

Under my window, a clean rasping sound   
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:   
My father, digging. I look down

Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds   
Bends low, comes up twenty years away   
Stooping in rhythm through potato drills   
Where he was digging.

The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft   
Against the inside knee was levered firmly.
He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep
To scatter new potatoes that we picked,
Loving their cool hardness in our hands.

By God, the old man could handle a spade.   
Just like his old man.

My grandfather cut more turf in a day
Than any other man on Toner’s bog.
Once I carried him milk in a bottle
Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up
To drink it, then fell to right away
Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods
Over his shoulder, going down and down
For the good turf. Digging.

The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap
Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head.
But I’ve no spade to follow men like them.

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I’ll dig with it.

(Seamus Heaney, "Digging" from Death of a Naturalist. Copyright 1966 by Seamus Heaney.)

Friday, 26 July 2013


The good weather here continues, not quite unabated. I am in shoes today rather than sandals, we’ve had a few thunderstorms, I wore a raincoat yesterday. But no complaining here. I don't know if it's the sunshine or just that time of year but I seem to have been having a lot of conversations recently about childhood holidays, where we went, what we did, how we remember those days. 

I remember our holiday to Ibiza, I must have been about seven. Mum, Zoё and I flew from Gatwick to meet Nana and Taid (our Grandparents), Aunty Di, Uncle Steve and our cousin, Michael, at a villa that Nana and Taid had booked for the week. At the airport Mum bought Zoё and me a Walkman and said we could choose a tape each to listen to. Zoё chose Bros, I chose Five Star. I’m not sure I even knew who Five Star were. When we got to Ibiza there were push-up ice-creams. 

But most of our Summer holidays were spent in North Wales with Nana and Taid (Taid being Taid and not being Grandad because of their move from Chester). Mum says it used to rain in the morning and then clear up in the afternoon and we would dash through the fields next to the house (down the lane, across one field, through a gate, another field, another gate, a raised path alongside a graveyard, past the primary school, down the road, past the shop) to the beach to stay there for as long as we could. I’ve mentioned those Summers, that beach, here before and those stories are often repeated – the rock pools, the games, the caravan, the old brass bed, the farmer down the lane... But there is more, always more when I start talking to Mum and Zoё about it, we fall down a hole filled with 'do you remembers'. We usually start with the drive, those 300 miles from Sussex which would sometimes be interrupted with a stop in Chester, sometimes not. When it was we would stay with my Mum’s eldest sister and spend a few days playing with our cousins, mostly in the barn that belonged to the farm next door. We would build dens out of hay bales and our cousins would scare me, the baby, with tales of the farmer and his anger if he found us. We built a crash mat out of a pile of hay to jump into in case he ever came. I think about this now and realise how big a jump that must have been.  

On the trips where we hadn’t stopped at Chester it felt like the drive would never end. It was seven hours, three of those along winding Welsh roads. When we started seeing places we recognised the excitement would build, first Nefyn with its tiny Spar, then to Morfa Nefyn and the turning for the lane to the house. Along the lane, past the farm, to the house where Taid would have been watching out and where he would be waiting for us with his arms held high. I remember the room we shared with Mum, a room with a double bed and a little annexe off with single beds for us. It looked out over the garden and sometimes we would wake up and go downstairs to find Taid clearing out the fireplace from the night before, sometimes we would wake and he would be knocking on the bedroom door, bringing Mum a cup of tea and a rich tea biscuit. The room had green carpet with a pattern of big leaves and we would leap around the room trying not to land in the ‘water’, we hung off wardrobe doors, jumping to the bed, making our way round. I remember the small outhouse attached to the side of the house where there was an outside toilet that was full of spiders, from the front of the house we would climb a wall and sit on the outhouse roof to watch what was happening in the garden without being seen. I remember Taid’s constant annoyance at Shandy, then Heidi, Nana’s small dogs. I remember the times when more family arrived (my Mum is one of nine). I remember helping in the kitchen, peeling potatoes or washing dishes. I remember big roast dinners with puddings which I invariably didn’t want to eat as I didn’t like trifle, apple pie, crumble, Queen of Puddings and just wanted a bowl of ice-cream or custard. I'm sure I just waited knowing that Mum would pass me the pudding I wanted, as Nana asked if i was sure I didn't just want a little bit and I would shake my head. My great-Aunt, Aunty Hilda, recently said that she remembered me as a quiet little thing with very big eyes. I remember finishing dinner and the men staying at the table to drink brandy and smoke cigars. I remember wanting a glass of milk and having to run through the cigar smoke haze to the kitchen. 

I remember a lot, I hope I always do.

Friday, 19 July 2013


For just over two weeks now we have had good, mostly glorious, weather. I have been wearing sandals every day and we've been drinking cold brewed coffee every morning, Chris with an extra splash of water and a little milk, me with a lot of milk and a teaspoon of maple syrup. I've been donning dresses that usually only see the light of day on holiday, I even wore a bikini at North Berwick last Friday and braved a swim in the North Sea for the first, and possibly last, time. It was my (34th!) birthday last week and this happened...

Last night, on possibly the warmest evening I have ever known in Edinburgh, we had salt and vinegar potato salad with freshly podded raw peas strewn over the top and tonight the first, and happily the best, of the festival venues opens so we're meeting friends for drinks in the sun. Happy days indeed.

Have a great weekend xo 

Monday, 8 July 2013


We got back from two weeks of sun last week. Two nights on Syros, four on Folegandros, six on Milos, three in Athens.

It was heaven.

By the time we arrived on Folegandros we knew that we had taken far too much with us, Scotland can make it hard to remember that there are places where you won't need layers, where one cotton cardigan and a cotton scarf will be enough, where the same dress will be thrown on over a bikini day after day...

Clockwise from top left: an easy dress (sadly sold out) to throw on over a bikini, zipped pouches, some holiday reading, a lightweight towel to use for swimming, sitting, or as a quick cover-up, a Summer dress for evenings, a coral lipstick that looks good with a tan, my favourite earrings, a canvas bag, sandals that go with everything. 

Thursday, 16 May 2013


I just had a meeting sitting outside on the stoop to make the most of the bright sunshine that has finally appeared (although maybe just for one day).

Whether the sun shines on you or not, here are a few links for your weekend:

Flags for Edinburgh
How to make baklava
An easy dress for Summer
The cake we'll be eating this weekend
It might be time for new sunglasses
Salted chocolate pretzel peanut butter cookies
A sweet Summer bracelet
This farro
Ice-cream (I want to go back to Portland)

And, if you're in New York you should really be going to this exhibition.

Finally, because we all need to laugh at stupid things and because I only found this out yesterday, if you have an iPhone with Siri go and send yourself an emoji filled message and ask Siri to read it. 


After attempting to buy lamb late on Easter Saturday and (seven shops later) failing, and after calling Chris (who had had to abandon the lamb hunt three shops in to go home and tidy up) while standing staring blankly at the supermarket shelves trying to decide what to make instead of the baked lamb with tomatoes and orzo that had sounded just right that morning, we settled on chicken. Margot Henderson's roast chicken with lemon potatoes and wilted watercress.

The chicken was great - lemon, thyme, garlic, olive oil, butter.

The watercress was a hit - a tiny bit of olive oil in a pan, add watercress, salt and pepper and stir until it just starts to wilt.

The lemon potatoes were the star.

We made it all again on Sunday just to make sure. 

Peeled and halved (or quartered) waxy potatoes go into a roasting tin with some quartered tomatoes. You quarter a lemon and squeeze over the juice, then throw the lemon shells in with the potatoes. Next you add four crushed garlic cloves, a teaspoon of paprika, some salt and pepper and a hefty glug of olive oil. It all gets mixed together and roasted in the oven until the potatoes are caramelised and the tomatoes have released their juices and become jammy.

You eat a few potatoes, and then a few more, eventually sitting with the empty tin between you as you idly scrape up nuggets of crispy deliciousness, making sure that nothing is missed.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Wednesday, 20 March 2013


It doesn't feel like it with the snow and the rain and the sleet and the hail and the heating and the scarves and the hats and the gloves but, apparently, Spring starts today and it's Easter next week...

Clockwise from top left: a green egg cup, an illustrated edition of Watership Down, a rabbit jelly mould, mallow eggs, a baby bunny, chick and egg biscuits, duck egg nail polish, Cadbury mini eggs, a wooden egg cup. some flocked chocolate ducklings, a Bath stone egg cup, a vintage wooden bunny, and, finally, some tiny bunnies for your ears.

Thursday, 14 February 2013


Happy Valentine's Day.

(Food valentines by The Indigo Bunting, available at Paperless Post.)

Friday, 8 February 2013


This week I have mostly been...

Making pizzas and banana bread to feed to some fab new parents.

Eyeing up a Spring dress

Admiring a little loop

Watching Paperman.

Wishing I could go to Amy's flower workshop.

Wondering if this will help with my moth holes.

Getting excited about seeing Yo La Tengo in March.

Have a fab weekend x

Friday, 1 February 2013


Well, that's a relief. January is finally over, the days are getting ever so gradually lighter, we can stop reading posts and magazine articles about New Year's resolutions and wondering whether plankton drops are really a thing.

We're going to Chris's parents for dinner tonight, I have a loaf of good sourdough in my bag for tomorrow's breakfast, there are plans for magazine buying followed by a seat in our new favourite bar and I could be tempted by a detour to the cake place I've been wanting to try. On Sunday I have book group and brunch (it will be a miracle if I finish the book as I am now on part two of book three of Game Of Thrones and failing miserably at reading anything else, sorry in advance book groupers).

Roll on 5pm, but until then... 

Exciting Lawson's Books news.


Before Midnight is out later this year. This is one of my favourite ever film scenes.

Oh, Totokaelo. Loving these Pilar Wiley pieces. 

The new Odette website. We visited the studio in June so that I could buy an arrow cuff and now I've got my eye on the hera cuff.

Raw colour.

This song...