Location:United Kingdom

An avid tea-drinker who likes nutmeg in her coffee and warm lavender-scented quilts. She knits, crochets and partakes in random acts of craftiness (and kindness). She likes obscure works of literature, philosophy and the idea that her mind exists separately from her body. She enjoys moving furniture around, literary criticism and baking bread. She writes haiku about nettles, would like to swim with seals and become completely self-sufficient. She writes as if her life depends on it, listens to beautiful music, and loves her darling husband Mr. VP.

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Monday 17 November 2014

NaBloPoMo 2014: Day 17. Do They Know It’s Christmas

Today saw the release of the new Band Aid ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’ single, with the hope that the monies raised will go towards fighting the ebola outbreak in Africa.  It’s also the sign that a certain season is on the way, though at the moment, due to house and move stresses, my love of all things Christmas has had to go on the back-burner for a while!  I can heartily recommend buying this single because giving just a bit can help a lot.

Sunday 16 November 2014

NaBloPoMo 2014: Day 16. Our Daily Bread (and Soup).

Today has been frantic as we attempt to get the house decorated and in a clean-enough state for us to move back in.  At the moment, it still looks like a building site, as everything is caked in a thick layer of powder-fine cement, brick and general-muck dust.  Not to mention the amount of rubbish littering the place; former cardboard boxes line the walls awaiting someone to remove them, the kitchen is almost done (except for the tiling, electrics and finishing!) and we are still lacking flooring up and down.  And we haven’t really even begun to pack for the move which happens in less than 10 days!  So, you know, no stress here whatsoever!  I did get up pretty early this morning, as Mr VP’s coughing woke me up quite early.  He has come down with the lurgy at the most inopportune moment (if ever there is one) and I am doing all that I can to avoid the same fate as, you know, we’re due to move in less than 10 days.

To soothe my soul and to help him get better, I made a big pot of vegetable soup for lunch.  It’s become a regular thing, this soup-making, and allows me to use up what’s left over in the veg box.  This week’s soup is a mix of beetroot, cabbage, onions, leeks, sweet potato, swede and garlic, rosemary, red lentils and a bit of Ras el Hanout spice added for pep.  At the same time, I whizzed a two separate batches of flour into the Kenwood mixer, along with water, yeast and salt and made two loaves.  One is seeded white and the other is seeded and spelt (so tasty!).

I’m not sure how feasible it will be to continue NaBloPoMo, given the sudden dawning realisation that we have yet to do any packing and There Is So Much To Do.  Apparently, for the last month or so, I’ve been on a river cruise on the Nile (get it?) but now the penny has dropped and suddenly we’re in full-on panic stations!  I will try to do my best to get through the month, but I’m not making any promises!

Friday 14 November 2014

NaBloPoMo 2014: Day 14. Spiral Staircases.

Going through photos on Mr VP’s camera, I noticed he’d taken two lovely photos of the grand old staircase at Seaton Delaval Hall and knew I had to share.  They knew how to make an impact in the eighteenth-century, didn’t they?

NaBloPoMo 2014: Day 13. Pottering at the Pottery

About a month ago, we met a potter at a local market selling his wares.  After chatting with him a while, he mentioned that he runs classes for people who want to give ceramics a go.  As this has been something I’ve wanted to do for ages, I leapt at the chance and Mr VP and I signed up for one of his courses immediately.  Yesterday was the first session and after a rush to get everything done so I could be on time, we made it and ended up having a very enjoyable evening indeed.  The first session is where we got free reign to make any sort of Christmas decorations we wanted – about ten each.  It’s always daunting starting with a blank slate, but I soon found my mojo and had such fun.  Next time, we will glaze and raku fire them in an outdoor clay pit kiln and be able to take them home the same night!

Wednesday 12 November 2014

NaBloPoMo 2014: Day 12. Midweek Music – everything NOLA.

To let my hair down at the end of a really hectic day, I will sometimes curl up in front of the iPad and watch a film on Netflix. I have been going through the archives in search of cheesy comedies and rom-coms and came across 1998’s Hope Floats starring Sandra Bullock and Harry Connick, Jr. Whilst the film isn’t Oscar-winning material, it’s a tale about a woman whose whole world and self-worth is turned upside-down when her husband leaves her for another woman; which is where Harry Connick, Jr. steps in! And seeing him on film reminded me that it has been a while since I last listened to one of his songs, so I dusted off the iPod and let it rip!

I first came across his music when someone suggested he has the most Sinatra-like voice going – and it’s true, he does (and also the best Christmas albums). But not only does he have a killer set of pipes, he also writes, composes and produces songs in many different styles, from New Orleans jazz to modern ballads.  Hailing from New Orleans himself, a lot of his music is jazz-oriented and back in 2007 he released ‘Oh My Nola‘, a mix of original and cover songs that exemplify his musical roots.  It’s a great LP and one that I knew I had to have on this week, given the grey and dreary weather.  I also thought I’d mention some other NOLA jazz from the new-to-me Rebirth Brass Band, which is definitely the sort of thing to put a smile on your face!

So here’s my antidote to a grey and miserable November day in music form!:

  1. Harry Connick, Jr. – Sheik of Araby
  2. Rebirth Brass Band – Why Your Feet Hurt
  3. Harry Connick, Jr. – Working in the Coal Mine
  4. Harry Connick, Jr. – Oh, My NOLA.
  5. Rebirth Brass Band – AP Touro

Tuesday 11 November 2014

NaBloPoMo 2014: Day 11. Remembrance.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.

Monday 10 November 2014

NaBloPoMo 2014: Day 10. Grainger Town

After showing you around one of my favourite parts of Newcastle the other day, I thought I’d show you the main, and one of the most beautiful, parts of the city: Grainger Town.  Named after Richard Grainger, a Newcastle man born and bred, he ascended the ranks of society through the connections he made from his building work.  After marrying well, he became more influential and went on to shape the whole style of Newcastle city centre, as well as some of the suburbs.  The Monument is one of the best places to sit down and people-watch, and serves as a permanent reminder of the man who changed the entire look of Newcastle.  It is also one of my favourite places to stand and gaze up at the enormous Georgian architecture, huge stone crescents and ‘Tyneside Classical’ stylings of the buildings.  Thanks to this man’s vision (with the help of architect John Dobson), we now have one of the most beautiful cities in the world (in my humble opinion!).

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