Tuesday, 25 February 2014


Yesterday, according to Isobel (nearly six), was ‘Insect’ Day, which is why my sister and I thought it would be a great idea to take her, Zach (three) and Elodie and Alana (19 and 14 weeks), to The Natural History Museum to see the dinosaurs. It was a great idea, but when you have a toddler who wants to be carried before you've even finished buying the train tickets, two enormous prams, a million stairs and no lifts, your enthusiasm quickly loses its lustre. But it’s ok, we thought. Because once we do get there it will just be us rattling around that giant museum like five smug little ball bearings. Since it was inset day surely we’d have the run of the place, because all the other kids were back at school, right? Yep, back at school, and celebrating that fact with a day trip to The Natural History Museum apparently...
Ten hours later, a shell of my former self with rows of unruly pupils in fluorescent jackets flashing before my eyes, I needed a soothing activity before being woken up at 3am for the night feed. Now I'd not actually been to The Natural History Museum since I was on one of those school trips myself, flying around with my fluffy bob and a clipboard, sketching diagrams of volcanoes and wondering whether my £1.50 spending money would stretch to a pencil and a rubber shaped like a Diplodocus. I think I actually returned home with a jar of Stegosaurus Chutney which, having let my friends dip their fingers in on the coach journey home, I proudly gifted to my mum. Dinosaur flavoured relish aside, museum gift shops are actually little havens for quirky and original things, and last night I discovered that thanks to the wordwide web I don't even have to leave my sofa to shop them, let alone zone 6. How about:

This Stirr from The Science Museum (£12) which I think I must buy in order to achieve the perfect pancake batter on Tuesday (or some such other excuse)

Or this waterproof notebook, £10. I have LOTS of notebooks. So many that I actually had to tell people not to buy me any at Christmas because the pressure of filling all the pretty books on my shelf is just weighing me down. But what with the terrible weather this winter I think this waterproof notebook and pencil is almost an essential. I’m not quite sure how I’ve survived with the regular paper and lead sort. Honestly.

I love the V&A shop, it’s full of so many beautiful things, and this Pearl Ume Branch brooch, £85, by Michael Michaud would look amazing on a black dress, and particularly good inside a pretty little box addressed to me... 

One day, I would like an art wall with an eclectic mix of prints and old photographs and witty typography and old maps all artily displayed in mismatched frames. I think this limited edition print from Tom Frost, £60, would be a good start.

I'm not very good at dropping hints (see above), so I might also like this "Things you must do to make me happy" print from The Southbank Centre on said wall. A simple tick-box system equals the key to marital bliss. A bargain for just £5.99 don't you think?

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Something Sweet: Mmmmmmarshmallows…

My friend informed me that if you have less than seven consecutive hours sleep a night you are cognitively impaired. Pah, I think, as I walk into the doorframe and return the telephone handset to the cheese compartment of the fridge. Cognitively impaired? Moi? In fact, the only real consequence of my serious lack of sleep these last few weeks is a three-Toblerone-a-week habit. Sorry, that is a three GIANT Toblerone-a-week habit. And I don’t share. If my husband reaches for a single piece it’s like he’s tried to kidnap the baby and swap her for camels. “I’m tired!” I snap, as I polish off the last three triangles (in one mouthful – just to be on the safe side).
Anyway last month I had to briefly give up dairy. Well you can imagine what a happy week that was. It was like there was a giant pyramid-shaped hole in my heart, which nothing, not even back-to-back viewing of Buffy the Vampire Slayer series 1 and 2, could remedy. This was serious.
  And then, these little beauties landed on my doorstep. Squidgy cubes of handmade marshmallow from Mallow and Marsh.

Look at them…

And you you can get them in a box with a selection of flavours – I had vanilla (amazing), coconut (amaaaaazing), raspberry (crikey), and chocolate and peppermint (no sharing). It’s a bit like eating real Turkish delight for the first time when all you’ve eaten is that chocolate-coated jelly you get in boxes of Milk Tray.
And it makes me wonder what those things I’ve been roasting over BBQs and bonfires for the last 30 years actually are?

This is cappuccino flavour.

And my favourite…. Coconut.

Oooo and you can get monthly subscriptions! Toblerone Shlmoblerone.
Er, what do you mean you want one of my marshamallows? Back off... I’m cognitively impaired don't you know... 

Thursday, 13 February 2014

LOVE IS Getting it half price

I fell off the face of the earth for a few months. I’ll try not to let it happen again. You see, I had a baby and moved house, two things I don’t intend to do again in a hurry. So anyway, today I opened my inbox to 5672 unread messages. So I read the first three and then indiscriminately deleted vast swathes of the rest. “Make time for love this Valentine’s Day” DELETE. “Discover the secret of eternal youth” DELETE. “Cats in Funny Hats” Oo, FILE.
Anyway, at 4559, one message did catch my eye. “Love is… not telling her it was half price!” Huh? Are you crazy? That would be missing the best trick in the bag. Because personally love is most certainly a bargain, and if I agreed with Valentine’s Day (which I don’t), and didn’t think it’s only good for taking your mum and nan round the fish shop for some haddock and mushy peas (which I do), I’d not only be pretty chuffed at getting a present, but on discovering it was half price would probably be reduced to a wobbling rapturous mess on the carpet. Just me? Anyway... The problem is that most typical Valentine's presents are either useless (anyone seen my solid silver heart anywhere?), ridiculous (soft toys that you didn't own aged 8 should be banned),or require a spray tan and crash diet (no-one is more comfortable in a lace shoestring thong than your big stretchy cotton pair from Marks anyway). So here are a few things I thought I might like for a Valentine's present, all with the added thrill of being on sale (swoon…).

Glitter’s not just for Christmas and this silver nail lacquer, £3.95 from £12 at Anthropologie will make you feel sparkly even if you accidentally leave the house looking like a plucked hedgehog.

I love Plumo. And I love these earrings even more now they are reduced to £55 from £89.

Pretty, pretty. A snip at £139 from £199 at Achica if you're boyfriend/ husband is feeling generous...

Part of me hates the shabby chicness, but the other part of me hearts this lantern from the Dotcomgiftshop.It is Valentine's Day after all, and since it costs far less than a glass of pinot, it would be rude not to really. £2.95 from £6.99!

I love cushions and I really like this embroidered one from Dotcomgiftshop, a bargain at £9.95 from £34.95.