This recipe is all about minimum effort expended for maximum effect. Complicated instructions are all well and good when you have the time or the inclination to use every utensil in the kitchen, but why bother when you can impress with something that is actually dead easy? As a supremely lazy cook (I prefer the term ‘efficient’), frangipane in all its guises has become my fail safe pudding. Anyone I’ve ever cooked for is likely bored to death of these tarts, but they’re so goddamn easy and delicious I can’t stop making them. Here’s how. Continue reading
I’ve only ever been to a handful operas over the course of my life and I have to say, I’m not mad keen. I’ve tried to understand why so many people are moved to tears by the great tragedies but, opera philistine that I am, I just don’t get it.
I couldn’t wait for Mimi to hurry up and die at the end of La Bohème just so it could be over. I nearly walked out of The Marriage of Figaro in the interval due to the cringe factor of this ‘comic’ opera, highlights of which included some crossdressing and lots of hiding in cupboards. Maybe it was funny in 1786. I almost enjoyed Verdi’s Nabucco and an opera adaptation of Il Postino, but the extended periods of ‘recitative style’ (singing with the rhythms of ordinary speech) made me want to claw my own ears off. I’m all for the arias, the duets and the big choruses, but speech which is sung instead of spoken cuts right through me. I’m not into it. Take me to the ballet over the opera any day. Or so I thought. Continue reading
There is no one, in my very humble opinion, who writes more beautifully about the world of nature than Thomas Hardy. Some choose books which allow them to escape to fantasy lands across distant galaxies but my preferred location for escapism is the inside of a Hardy novel. Perhaps not Jude the Obscure, but certainly the green, rolling hills and meandering lanes of Wessex, the semi-imaginary county which features in many of his novels. I do love a descriptive passage about nature, me. Especially when the charming landscape clashes so violently with the human tragedy unfolding within it. I read a Hardy novel every summer. He’s my fave. Continue reading
November and December seem to have passed in a blur during which, at any given moment, I had a small notebook full of tasks I should have been getting on with. Time seems to be getting faster and the days on the calendar are being eaten up alarmingly quickly. How on earth is there only a week left until Christmas? At least I haven’t had the time to dread an impending birthday…
Horror of the passage of time aside, here for your reading pleasure (or not) is my November and December combined in music. A tiny bit Christmassy and apparently a lot melancholy, singer-songwriter-y for some reason. Happy Christmas! Continue reading
I read recently, in a feature in The Times Magazine about the ladies who work for Tatler magazine (have you seen the trailer for the documentary? It’s on tomorrow night and looks totally brilliant), that one of the supposed ‘rules’ of being posh is the ability to be self-deprecating. Now, I have no clue how to be posh and I certainly don’t claim to be any kind of poster girl for how to behave. In fact, I put my foot in it so often that I might as well leave it hovering close to my mouth at all times. I am, however, quite self-deprecating by nature.
Just in case you hadn’t noticed, the clocks changed a couple of weeks ago. This was great in the immediate short term, because it meant an extra hour of sleep, but upsetting when it began to get dark at around 5pm and I realised that we’re now, inescapably, in winter proper. From here on in, it’s only going to get colder, wetter and darker as we head towards the shortest day of the year on 21 December. Every year I forget just how cold and miserable this country gets in winter. It’s understandable that we have made such a hoohaa out of Christmas. It breaks up the six month slog of sleet, icy gales and grey puddles reflecting grey skies with something twinkly and cheerful.
I’m one of those types who lives their life to music. I listen to it in the morning to wake me up, I have it on quietly in the background while I work, I put the radio on in the kitchen while I’m cooking and occasionally I have a little sing-along while I do the washing up. What a wild life I lead.
When Spotify announced, many, many, moons ago that it was going to start charging, I was torn. All of those carefully curated playlists, the time spent browsing the ‘recommended for you’ section, could I bear to let it all go to waste? A wise friend told me that the company had done it on purpose, reeled me in and hooked me with a free service before starting to charge for it out of the blue. It was a clever ruse and continuing to use it would mean I’d been swindled. Now, Spotify Premium is one of my monthly direct debits, as essential a payment as my phone bill. Continue reading
A couple of weeks ago, I popped into Selfridges with mum to pick up a sample of the YSL Fusion Ink Foundation. I’d been to Harvey Nics first, where they told me they had ‘run out of samples’. Run out of samples my arse, they just didn’t want to give me a freebie. Pro tip: take your own little pot, then they can’t be stingy about it. It’s only fair to give someone a teeny tiny sample before they spend thirty quid on something which might not suit them.
Anyway, I digress, which is also exactly what I did in Selfridges. Having caught sight of the Charlotte Tilbury stand, I was drawn to the rose gold packaging like a moth to a flame and promptly forgot what I’d entered the shop for. After 0.3 seconds of browsing, Mum and I were invited to sit down in plush black velvet seats under Hollywood-style mirror lights. Then a makeup girl showed us product after product, and we oohed and aahed. Continue reading
Into The Fold
I spoke to the hosts of five of the best podcasts by women, for women and wrote about it for ITF here. Featuring all of my personal faves: The High Low, The Guilty Feminist, Nobody Panic, The Fringe of It and Hashtag Authentic. My infatuation with DFW and Dolly & Pandora continues.
I also wrote a personal piece entitled ‘The Benefits of Getting into Gardening in your 20’s‘ about being a young(ish) gardener, with a slant on the mental health benefits.
I wrote for the soaps section of the Radio Times Online from August 2016 to March 2017, covering breaking soap news and writing up spoiler articles from embargoed story line documents. You can read my back catalogue here.
My interview with Anna Potter, the florist and founder of Swallows & Damsons, was a cover story for the summer 2016 print issue of Betty Magazine (pages 16-17).
Betty describes itself as ‘a magazine that is dedicated to sharing with you only the things that we like’ and the editors say their vision was to ‘create a more intelligent choice for girls’.
A magazine which describes itself as a free arts, culture and politics magazine. You can read my review of I, Daniel Blake (October 2016) for the filmreel section here. I interviewed theatre director Phillip Breen about his adaptation of Lady Chatterley’s Lover for a feature in both the print and online Theatres Section, (September 2016) here. I’ve also written theatre, ballet and restaurant reviews.
A surreal recounting of that time I was harassed by a Tudor pedlar. Read on and laugh at my misfortune, whilst also having a think about women’s equality. Oh yeah. Published in Talking Soup, a magazine I love perusing and which calls itself ‘a publication that puts the spotlight back on traditional long form storytelling’.
This print and online lifestyle magazine is published quarterly. I wrote a piece entitled ‘The Changing Face of Photojournalism‘ for the current affairs section in Issue 3. I also wrote an exploration of the surge in popularity of the vegan lifestyle, published in Issue 4 and available to read as a PDF here: Education or Judgement? How Vegans are Spreading the Message.
I’m a regular contributor to Wonder Magazine, an online lifestyle magazine which publishes one article per day based on a monthly theme. I’ve written opinion pieces and features on dementia, travel, the cult of ‘neo-positivity’ and nostalgia, alongside film and recipe articles, all linked below.
Have an Indulgent Heartbreak (for the ‘Heartbreak’ issue)
On Finding Lost Treasures (for the ‘Lost and Found’ issue)
Horror Films for Scaredy Cats (for the ‘Fear’ issue)
Moving Away (for the ‘Far, Far Away’ issue)
How Much Positivity Is Too Much Positivity? (for the ‘Positivity’ issue)
Escaping on Holiday: A Necessary Luxury (for the ‘Escape’ issue)
Memory as Identity: What Happens When It Fades Away? (for the ‘Memories’ issue)
Films for a Rainy Sunday (for the ‘Home’ issue)
Ambition Shouldn’t be a Dirty Word (for the ‘Ambition’ issue)
This online community has made it their mission to ‘change the dialogue of what it’s like to be a woman — and in doing so, make our world a better place’. I wrote a piece about friendship for their ‘Comfort’ issue.
I’ve contributed a ‘Lemon and Din Drizzle Cake‘ recipe post, a ‘Cocktail Hour‘ post and a ‘Colouring in the Lines‘ post about the trend for adult colouring books to their online magazine, which describes itself as being ‘for the young and stylish, mixing fashion, music, film & art’.
All of the articles on this portfolio website were originally published in the lifestyle magazine ‘Zarwil‘ which was founded January 2012. In March of 2015 I noticed it had disappeared off the face of the earth, taking all of my writing with it. I have made a new home for most of the articles I originally wrote for Zarwil on this new site. Here you’ll find cultural reviews, travel pieces, lifestyle articles and much more. Some examples:
My review of Stewart Lee’s ‘Much A-Stew About Nothing’ from the ‘Reviews and Press’ section of his website (originally for Zarwil).
I wrote an article entitled ‘Am I A Bad Feminist?’ for feminist blog The Hussington Post.
I wrote a teeny, tiny music review for this monthly music and listings magazine.
A magazine aimed at students. Read my rant in their Opinionated section.