Monday, December 29, 2008

Chillout



Hope all have had a good Christmas and you are enjoying this season of love, joy and eating chocolate! We have been 'offline' for several days, enjoying the B&B Chez Noble in Lisburn which has been highly relaxing. We're both amazed how quickly time flies when you're chilling out and doing quite a lot of not much :)

Christmas itself was great (apart from a nasty Christmas Eve cold) with a goodly amount of scrummy turkey with all the trimmings and then some compliments of L Noble chef extraordinaire! Gifts included a lovely watch from the ever thoughtful Stu, Bake by Rachel Allen (drool) and some gorgeous clothes in those very thoughtful packages that arrived from Canada a few weeks ago. And yes, as if all that was not enough, I am now trolling the internet for a January sale on a sewing machine (advice gladly accepted!) and looking with great aspirations at Amy Butler patterns. Boxing Day (and truthfully, the few days following it!) was traditional in that fantastic all-day pjs and watching tv kind of way.

We grudgingly decided we should eventually go back to being grown up so today made the long trek back to East Belfast in time for the highlight of meeting up with some of the Belmont Road Bloggers for lunch! You might think seven people who have never met getting together could be slightly awkward, but it was really good fun and conversation. This afternoon we ventured into town (humming with credit crunch shoppers greedily pilfering the sale racks) and I picked these swishy new specs (purple!) to replace the ones that I broke with impeccable timing right before Christmas.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Hitting the highlights



Can you believe Christmas is in five days!?!?

Sometimes I go quiet on the blogosphere because I feel like nothing has happened in my life that's worth sharing but my most recent silence is explained by a wholly different situation - believe it or not, so much has been going on that I just haven't had the time (or perhaps the ability to focus) to sit down and post! I must also admit to falling to the hurdle of trying to cover too many topics in one post and then giving up because it's turns out to be just a big jumble - Stu insightfully likened this to the 'Christmas letter syndrome' which afflicted my dear dad one year when he tried to write a Christmas update on our family and felt compelled to go back to 1980 - needless to say he didn't really get past the first paragraph!!

So then, what's the story? Brief re-cap is that we had a fantastic, if somewhat exhausting, time in London last weekend - shopping, catching up with lots of dear old friends and eating scrummy food was on the agenda. Extra unexpected highlights included happening to meet Cath Kidston (yes, the Cath Kidston!) at a book signing for Make. This was quickly followed by a sighting Gok Wan (yes, the Gok Wan!) who was shopping for baby clothes in House of Fraser. I got a picture with Cath (evidently we're on a first name basis now) and we did our darndest to snap a sneaky pic of Gok on the mobile but we gave up after we saw shop security closing in (and we realised that maybe, just maybe, we were being a bit sad!)

Later that evening I recounted my brushes (plural!) with celebrity to two different male friends who looked at me blankly without the faintest hint of recognition on either count but I was not dissuaded, knowing my story would make for hot news on APYOC! Other London highlights included ogling sewing machines in John Lewis (I think I want this one but am still researching), some mean burgers and fries from Ed's Diner and a visit to the fabled IKnit. You can see from my description that big chunks of our weekend were driven by yours truly and here's where we all pay tribute to Stu for being such a good husband!

Okay, so what else has been going on you ask? The other big news in my world is that last week I passed my driving test!!! This folks, is a BIG DEAL!! I was surprised and super pleased to have succeeded on my first attempt (brag brag) as, truth be told, I was bracing myself for a few go's. But miracle of miracles occurred in the season of advent! I felt relieved and pleased with myself, although in practice I will likely continue doing a lot of busing, walking and availing of Stu's taxi as that's just the way my life is structured.

So, that's the scoop with me. This weekend we have been getting organised for Christmas and basking in the thought of only two more days of work before a nice break. To get into the spirit, today I channeled Nigela and made multiple batches of chocolate chip banana bread, fifteens and rocky road squares and tomorrow I intend to crank out some gingerbread loaves, all to the chilled rhythms of Merry Mixmas which I downloaded on Dooce's recommendation and have been love love loving.

Feels good to get caught up!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Market Mania




A big thank you to everyone who came down to the Market on Saturday to visit Knitwear Deli!! We had a really fantastic day with a unexpectedly high volume of sales (hurrah Christmas cash) and lots of very positive responses. The Market was absolutely packed with people and there were lots of interesting stalls with some really beautiful crafts. For us, the satisfaction of selling our wares was added to by opportunities throughout the day to catch up with all the friends that came by for a visit!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Be there or be square!

At the risk of invoking the wrath of the lurgi gods, I am willing to declare myself pretty much . . . cured! Well, my head still feels like it's stuffed with cotton balls and I'm tired (what's new you say?!) but other than that I'm aight. I even enjoyed being in work today - a surprisingly welcome change from mooching around the house in my pjs feeling completely miserable. And with that, I'm sure you (or at least poor Stu) will be relieved to know that I have resolved to stop all this whinging and complaining (at least for now!)


So then, I promise not to sneeze on you if you come down to what I'm confident will be an amazing Christmas Craft Fair at St George's Market tomorrow 6th December! The Knitwear Deli elves (all two of us!) have been busy busy busy knitting, cutting and gluing in anticipation for the big day and we have some pretty nice stuff, if we do say so ourselves. Even if you don't fancy some of our fine wollen goods, hopefully we'll see you there for a chat!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Deck the Halls

I think it's safe to say that APYOC's new look makes me appear more than slightly obsessed with all things Christmas. After getting my oh so nifty Christmas countdown widget, I came this close to getting one counting down to Baby's arrival but thought that perhaps it's a bit early, or perhaps just a bit intimate (still not entirely accustomed to talking about activity inside my body!) Watch this space.

I set up our Christmas tree on Sunday night (30th November yes - but at least it was after American Thanksgiving so I think I'm okay!) Being only three feet tall, the whole process took all of four minutes.

When I was young we always went and got a real pine tree from a stall outside Safeway or the Co-op (don't worry, I'm not going to pretend we were uber-Canuckian and chopped it down in the forest ourselves.) Following the exciting occasion of picking the tree - and the mostly stressful experience of bringing it home and getting it to stand up straight (no mean feat) in the wonky tin stand - there was always the agonising experience of waiting for it to warm up and spread out so the decorating could begin. You see, a tree that's been bundled up in minus 30 weather does need a chance to acclimatise before it will spread its boughs. I remember this day long wait (yes, a whole day!) as being more than a bit torturous. You probably won't be surprised to read that I was an impatient child.

Converse to my happy childhood memories, our modelle plastique was purchased at the soon to be no more Woolies a few years ago for the admirable sum of £2.99. We sortof contemplated upgrading to a bigger one this year but then credit crunch sensibilities prevailed. Ended up sticking with the mini tree because we like the cosy glow it casts across (let's be honest) our small room and also next year we'll have a wee Kidney Bean crawling around (well, maybe not quite crawling) but no doubt at least threatening to pull any tree over no matter the size and we'll probably have to put all decorations up on a table anyway. (Interesting to note how my pregnant brain cannot stop planning/obsessing about life in the baby era!)

Oh, and I'm still sneezing, in case you're interested.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Sniff

I think my recent baby announcement has saved APYOC! Haven't had this much traffic in ages.

I am home sick today (that's sick at home rather than sick for home, but come to think of it, that too.) Along with growing a human being, my body has been busy busy busy working overtime fostering a diabolical new hybrid strain of stomach flu and head cold, which I think is pretty innovative. I'm doing my own small part during these dark economic times by purchasing an unholy amount of Canada Dry and Kleenex. And all this without resorting to my usual beloved cocktail of Lemsip and cocodemol!

Okay, back to bed.

Monday, November 24, 2008

This just in!

It's been a while since I've posted and I guess it would be fair to say I've been a bit . . . er . . . preoccupied! The word is out about the big news in APYOC land . . . wait for it . . . Stu and I are expecting a baby at the end of May/start of June 2009!! It's all very exciting/scary/overwhelming (in a good way) and lots of fun to finally share what has been 'our little secret' for a good while now. When I told my dear friend DwD she asked if I was going to go into knitting overdrive now. This is entirely possible.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cut and paste


Have had a lovely therapeutic night. Stu was out at a groaner of a meeting, so glue gun in hand I happily settled myself down to do a bit of card making in preparation for the fast approaching Christmas Craft Fair. My yuletide craftiness was well accompanied by a few installments of the most excellent Vinyl Cafe podcast. And there you were saying my life was getting a bit dull . . .

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Many happy returns!

It's a very special weekend in blog land. Stu's demonstrated his mad skills by moving his cyberhome to a swishy new address, while I'm celebrating APYOC's 2nd birthday!! Happy birthday little blog! By my count, we've had 287 posts to date, giving me a platform to chat (and yes, sometimes rant) about, well, pretty much everything! We've laughed, we've cried . . . yada yada.

In the words of my new (and he wouldn't be offended for me to say somewhat crazy bro-in-law), paddle hard and enjoy the ride!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Milk 'n Cookies

The ever clever DwD just sent me this link to Gourmet magazine's favourite cookie recipes from 1941-2008. Drool. I think some holiday baking might just be coming soon to a kitchen near me.

Are you getting in the Christmas spirit yet? It certainly feels like proper winter out there (granted, not the Sasky minus thirty version) what with the pitch dark nights and the cold wind. Being that we're well into November now I have been tentatively considering becoming Christmas-y, mostly because I've recently been enjoying making felted greeting cards in preparation for Knitwear Deli's long awaited return to St George's for the fantastic Christmas Craft Fair on December 6th. See you there? :)

Also, last week we did our annual Secret Santa gift draw with Clan Noble which always elicits queries about what each person is hoping for in the area of gifts. That, of course, got me thinking during my recent visit to Waterstones. One nice treat that is definitely on my list is Rachel Allen's new book Bake. I was pleased to see, when leafing through it while sipping a latte at my favourite coffee shop in the bookstore (how great is that?), that there are lots of savory recipes as well as some scrummy looking cakes and cookies. Any other must have cook book suggestions (or otherwise!) for my wish list?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

YES WE CAN!!

Obama fever has even made it to Belfast! Here in our little living room, Stu and I are hunkering down with some Ben and Jerry's for some late night election returns. And, if my friends' FB status updates are anything to go by, I'm thinking the Democrats have got the Big Mo (ode to Josh in season 7 . . . sigh) in a mighty big way. Have to say, the world seems excited today.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Cuture in Peril

Meant to post this weeks ago prior to the non-event that was the Canadian election 2008!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Prodigal Blogger






Not even a bit sure where the time has gone since I last posted! Well, just in case you've been dying from suspense to know if Eminem (that's N and M, har) actually got hitched, I'm delighted to report that they tied the knot on a sunny autumn day in beautiful Saskatoon. Our bride looked AMAZING and everything was just perfect from start to finish. Highlights included a canoeing bride and groom, lovely speeches, scrummy Thanksgiving dinner and a packed dance floor the whole night long! It was a true celebration!!! Handily the wedding presented us with a unique opportunity to see lots of friends and family that we don't usually get to connect with which was really so wonderful. Click here to see many (many!) quality photos of the main event by Stu.

After the nuptuals, there was much cleaning and returning of rented tables etc to be done and then finally some well earned relaxation for us two weary travellers and my parents up at the cabin which was just lovely. Stu poetically calls the cabin 'the spiritual home of Always Paddle' which I kinda like, since I'm usually wishing I was there whenever I start blogging lyrical about home. We fired up the cookstove, lounged around, went for walks and just generally chilled out. My dad and I enjoyed watching the non-event that was the 2008 Canadian election together, yelling and throwing popcorn at the TV as the commentators completely ignored reporting any races outside of Toronto!

After cabining there was a bit more time for catching up with friends and family in Saskatoon and then it was time for goodbyes which I won't dwell on now as they are truly awful and seem to be getting more so as time goes on. Sigh. We had an uneventful trip home (which is good) and then it was time to go back to work and life as we know it. I managed to be only somewhat zombie-ish at work but definitely enjoyed my after work naps (excused by jet lag I would like to think) this week while Stu had to go to London for work which meant more lack of sleep for him. Sad to think that already a week has passed since we were home.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Demain

Nancy and the MJ are getting married TOMORROW! We've had a busy and fun week of list checking, errand running, detail discussing, thanking our lucky stars for Kate and yes, there has been partying as well! Soon it'll be time for the main event (and we won't mention the possibility of snow!)

Paparazzi Stu (who, judging by his FB activity of late, clearly doesn't have all that much to do in Sasky!) has been chronicling our adventures with some fun photo journalism available here (and he has been warned of dire unnamed consequences if he publishes one more photo in my pj's!)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Sleepless in Saskatoon

We made it! After a smooth trip over it was fabulous to arrive to warm and sunny Saturday afternoon in Saskatoon.

Some things I liked about the trip included really fast connections (horrah for not sitting in LHR or YYZ for hours at a time!) making the trip a mere 18 hours instead of the usual 24 (queue sympathetic response here). Also, we had personal movie screens from TdotOdot to S'toon which was great. Watched What Happens in Vegas which was surprisingly funny! Oh yeah, we also had a flight attendant that reminded both Stu and me of francophone version of Al Pacino circa The Insider which was a definite highlight.

Some things I did not like about the trip included Air Canada's inability to seat us together on any of our flights! This made me feel grumpy. We had to play a serious game of seat chess (I traded four times!) to end up together. Also, the movies were absolutely dire on our long flight - Sorry Beth, I am going to go out on a limb here and say that I completely don't get the whole Indiana Jones thing. Having never watched one before (yes, it's true) I thought I will give the new one with old Harrison (sad sad earring and all) a go. Totally passed me by! It was made only slightly better by the fact that I was able to knit a hat for my nephew for the entire journey as my bamboo needles seemed to slide by the crack airport security teams undetected!

All in all everything's grand except perhaps the minor annoyance of being wide awake at odd times in the middle of the night. There is no time for nursing jet lag as straight away yesterday we went to fantastic wedding shower for my sister hosted by our kind and generous aunts which was lovely (and had the added handy benefit from my perspective of gathering many relatives and friends together all at once.) It's vunderbar to be home with my family!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Pack yer bags

I try to plan ahead. I really do. But alas, despite having known about the big trip home for a good six months now, here we are doing our late night packing and tidying the house ritual. Thankfully we're nearly done now which explains why I'm on the internet rather than scurrying around.

Thankfully I managed to get the requisite wedding gift, dress and shoes (very pretty imho) well in advance. Nonetheless, the family will be glad to hear that tonight we found ourselves scrambling to Sainsbury's to buy large quantities of Namosa and Jaffa Cakes!

Could do with fast forwarding 24 hours now and just getting straight to the arrivals gate!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Free your blog, the rest will follow

The lovely L and C sent me a link to these marzipan knitting cupcakes. Yes, you read that right. How much do I love these!? Just looking at them made my day!

It's the weekend again, and excellently in exactly five days from now we are heading home for Nancy and Matt's wedding! On top of getting together with friends and family to celebrate these two wonderful people, I also just can't wait to see everyone and be in lovely Saskatchewan for Thanksgiving (turkey dinner at the wedding reception!) Btw, if you're interested, here's the gorgeous pottery they have had commissioned for wedding gifts - great idea!

It's been a very lazy Sunday morning for us - I've been pottering in the kitchen, drinking tea, making soup and a curry for dinner tonight while listening to the very hilarious Jon Richardson on BBC Six Music. Hmmm - once a colleague told me that I was pre-maturely middle aged (I was probably talking about cookbooks or something.) Maybe she's right.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

Home Truths


I am watching the evening news and have basically concluded that the world is falling apart, what with all the collapsing banks etc. This, combined with the fact that we basically had no daylight today (and no, last time I checked this is not the Land of the Midnight Sun), has made for something of a morose Monday!

When in doubt . . . knit! For all you craft-skeptics out there, check out this story just to find out how hip and happenin' all we knitters really are. If, on the other hand, you are not averse to enjoying a bit of cake with your stocking stitch (who doesn't really?) you might also enjoy this article (as spotted by the Curly Singer) which applies a bit of high brow typically Guardian-style analysis to the recent trend toward domesticity. Don't panic though - I'm a good ways off from starting my own WI!

Friday, September 12, 2008

“Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.”

What fun do you have planned this weekend? I think Friday evening is quite possibly my favourite time of the week.

I made this Aubergine, Potato and Chickpea Balti for dinner tonight (and there you were saying I don't know how to have a good time . . . ) It was really lovely (despite the couple of omissions in the recipe, like when to add the chickpeas!) And yes, I know what you're thinking - everything I blog about cooking is 'lovely' and 'turns out wonderfully' but rest assured, that's only because I can't be bothered to highlight the so-so's or the bombs! ;) I am, by the way, loving the UKTV Food website - free recipes galore!

Oh yeah, and check out Stu's post to see why Belfast and I will never be a match made in heaven. (We manage to live in an uneasy harmony most of the time.)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Lights, camera . . .

We saw Man on Wire tonight - so wonderful - go if you have the chance! Visit Stu's blog for his review which I endorse wholeheartedly.

Every morning after checking Stalkerbook, me and my cup of coffee peruse CBC Sask and the Globe and Mail to get all caught up on the news at home. Lightweight that I am when it comes to hard hitting news first thing in the morning, (next to all the Palin stories of course) I have been enjoying all the TIFF coverage. (Yes, it would seem that I'm back on my favourite topic of movies!) I have compiled a little list of flicks to catch whenever they finally get around to showing here. I didn't, however, enjoy this story which just oozes with romanticized misconceptions. (For the record, Stu, a real live Irish person, shared my indignation!)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Karate Chop Chop


I am just recently home from my BodyCombat class and am still laughing. I had a new instructor tonight who, for some reason that to me still remains a mystery, felt compelled to shout little pearls of pop psychology wisdom into the microphone against a background of very loud dance music. Jab, cross, hook . . . 'You must love yourself!' . . . Roundhouse, sidekick . . . 'You must believe in yourself!' . . . Scissor kick . . . 'Let's count our blessings ladies!' Seriously. Now, don't get me wrong, I love this workout. And well, as funny as a room full of 30 sweaty women kicking, punching and hiya-ing (okay, well, I don't really hiya) might look, it's certainly therapeutic after yet another frustrating day chained to the desk. It certainly makes you sweat and yes, it clears away the cobwebs. But the earnest Dr Phil exhortations were, perhaps, a kick too far.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What's in a name?

People so do not get my double name. I say this because I got a letter today at work addressed to Julieanne Broten-Oble. (Didn't mind, truth be told, as it evoked a fond memory of of our friends' son Sam who used to call Stu and I collectively 'the Oble's'.) The other day as I signed for a recorded delivery the postman (who, incidentally, is a dead ringer for Sean Connery - not a word of a lie) remarked that he wouldn't like to write my name out out after a few pints. I often get Julie-Anne Broten-Noble which I think looks like I've been blessed by the hyphen fairy. And that, ladies and germs, concludes my mini rant for the day.

I had a driving lesson tonight after work and, well, it wasn't a disaster, so that's promising . . .

Friday, September 5, 2008

A few of my favourite things . . .

Stu and I love going to the movies. After a hard day's work I can think of few finer combinations than Boojum and the QFT. Last night after scrummy fajita burritos we saw the film Paris which, despite what this uppity movie reviewer says, was really well done. I really like movies that weave together a bunch of individual stories. Juliette Binoche is beautiful and magnetic as usual in her leading role and the soundtrack added a lot too. As you might guess from the title, the city itself is one of the film's best characters. I left the cinema daydreaming about how we could fenangle a Parisian weekend getaway!

So yes it's true, if you did a credit crunch analysis of our cash flow, you might find that we spend a fair wee chunk on things like movies . . . and coffee! To our delight (or peril?) some great new cafes have opened recently in and around the hood . . . In picking my hot spots, my two key factors to consider (apart from the coffee quality) are atmosphere and, it has to be said, the selection and goodness of the tray bakes! And so, without further adieu I must blow the trumpet for the splendid (and dangerously close to our house!) 'Eat etc' on the Belmont Road. We are also really liking 'Ground' which has opened up on the top floor of Waterstones in city centre - it is perfect for a Sunday afternoon newspaper reading session, although (at the risk of sounding like a grumpy DINK) during our visit last week the nice vibe was marred ever so slightly by two small children who screamed and yelled about the place the whole time we were there.

'I'm ginger and I'm proud'

Check out these links - despite scare mongering, I'm pleased to see that ginger power is going strong in Wolverhampton . . .

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Stranger than Fiction

As you might have noticed, we are West Wing addicts. But somehow I don't think even Aaron Sorkin could've come up with the recent storyline of the Republican VP candidate! (Speaking of which, did everyone catch this story about Sorkin's upcoming movie about Facebook? Here's hoping Josh is in it - swoon!) I actually happen to agree that politician's children should be off limits so please don't think me irresponsible for posting the graphic compliments of this guy - I just thought it rather clever . . .

Very little else is new in the hood. Here in Belfast it's officially fall and right on queue the temps seem to have dropped significantly. Now instead of it being rainy all the time it's rainy and cold all the time. Charming. On the plus side, the arrival of autumn might give me an excuse to do some 'back to school' shopping and order these beauties.

Oh, and I must mention this upcoming gig announced this morning - Stu and I were seriously bummed when we realised that we can't go due to an unfortunate calendar clash which calls into question my fabled status as a dedicated JR groupie.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Mardi soir

Me and an enthusiastic customer at the ever colourful Knitwear Deli stall on the weekend

Oh, pity the neglected blog! This will be quick, but I promise, more to come soonish . . . If, in the meantime you need a laugh (as I often do these days) check out Dooce - she's delightful (mad props to net savvy edunny for the tip!)

I am on my way to bed, reflecting on the profound realisation of just how many people from West Wing have gone on to be big hitters in other shows . . . Tonight the Chief from Grey's turned up! Who knew?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Family Tree

Was putting together some pics for my mom in preparation for a family reunion this coming weekend and couldn't resist sharing these happy looking snaps . . .




Saturday, August 23, 2008

Saturday night and the gentle art of domesticity

Just was flicking around on Ravelry and discovered this gorgeous pattern for February Lady Sweater. How lovely. There is simply not enough time for my ever expanding queue of projects!

I love Saturday nights. Even a weather whiner like me is willing to admit that (yet more) August rain is not entirely depressing when you're warm inside with good food and good company. After being out on the town last night it's nice to take it easy. Tempted by the glossy photo in the cookbook, I made this Bill Granger recipe which was delicate, tasty and yes, fragrant . . .

Fragrant Chicken and Spinach Curry
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp tumeric
pinch cayenne pepper
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
750g boneless chicken thighs, cubed (I used 4 chicken breasts, cubed instead)
400g tin chopped tomatoes (I added an extra tin to make it go a bit farther)
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp soft brown sugar
1 tbsp lime juice
90g baby english spinach, finely chopped
large handful fresh coriander leaves, chopped

Heat the oil in a large heavy-based pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 5-6 minutes until the onion is soft. Add the spices, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes more. Add the chicken and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes, or until the chicken is browned.

Stir in the tomatoes and salt and bring to simmering point. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Add the sugar, lime juice and spinach and stir until the spinach has just wilted. Remove from the heat, sprinkle with coriander and serve with steamed rice.

Lovely.

At the risk of sounding like a Delia wannabe, in terms of speedy cooking I can heartily recommend ginger, garlic and chili's in a jar (as recommended by my savvy sister-in-law R.) Is that a boring thing to devote blog space to? Don't answer that.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I like the way you work it

Well, Stu's recent foray into the world of Photoshop inspired me to give lil' ol' Always Paddle some snazzy new duds - ain't she purdy? Thanks to the wild and wonderful templates available free from - brace yourself- Suck my Lolly and the very user friendly Picnik haut couture blogging is easy as pie.

Things are just ticking along in my world. Back to work after hols is never (ever) fun, but thanks to a lovely evening out last night at the swishy Cloth Ear with the Curry Club to celebrate Anon's big 3-0, I think we might just make it through the week. (And before you comment, yes, Tuesday night is a very respectable night for cocktails thank you very much.)

Right this very minute (in addition to bloggin' that is) I am making dinner for the in-laws (expected momentarily) while listening to BBC 6 Music - it's the bomb.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Anymore relaxed and I'd be in a coma . . .




The bottom picture is from my favourite time of the day on our holiday - after spending literally all day (nearly every day!) under our beach umbrella reading, napping and reading some more (how good is that?) we lingered on the beach into the evenings to watch the blazing sun set and take in the happy vibe as families came down for a dip.

So yes, we had an incredibly relaxing and wonderful time - more by luck than planning, truth be told, our apartment turned out to be perfectly located in Juan les Pins, only a minute's walk from the beach, train station, grocery store and cafes. The coastline, while humming with Parisians en vacance, is stunning and the warm water of the Med actually is turquoise. We did some sightseeing to Nice (very cool) and Monaco (kindof weird) by train but the plus 30 temps meant that for us sun-starved folk la plage was our favourite destination.

Hightlights were many - morning coffees in the sunshine, visiting fabulous food markets in Antibe and Nice, using my mad French skills to save the life of a pigeon (there's a story there, oh and it's a goodie!) and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention our mid-afternoon granitas on the beach.

Stu and I burned through paperbacks like they were going out of style and I can proudly boast that I read five books during the week! I absolutely loved these three -

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant has been on my list for a long time and I am glad I finally went for it. The book tells the story of Dinah, Jacob's only daughter, who gets only a passing reference in the Bible. I got into the story immediately and loved hearing the story of Jacob's clan (including the tale of Joseph) from another perspective and to learn more of the role of women in that time.

Next I read The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahari as recommended by the illustrious Down with Digital. DwD has flawless taste in pretty much everything, so I knew this would be good - the emotive andengaging story follows Gogol, the son of parents that immigrated from India to America in the 1970's. Great characters and I can't wait to move on to Lahari's short story collection.

I was on a serious roll as far as good reading went because I then started Peace Like a River by Leif Enger. Totally wonderful redemptive story of through the eyes of children set in the American mid-west in the 1960s. I loved Reuben the narrator's voice and his younger sister Swede (great name) made me think of To Kill a Mockingbird's Scout.

Well, that's probably enough book reviewing for me for one night! If I were responsible I would go put my wet beach towels in the washing machine and shake the sand out of my suitcase . . .