Saturday, December 23, 2017


This is my granddaughter's much loved bear showing off his new summer clothes made by me. I say they are for him but, really, they are for her. There's been much secrecy to get everything made in time for christmas as she doesn't like to be without his company for long and I needed him for fittings. He is such an odd shape but by sewing for him I've learnt quite a bit - mainly by trial and error - about pattern drafting like working out how to make sandals for a bear that doesn't really have feet!

Reading: Anything is possible by Elizabeth Strout. This is a short story collection in the style of Olive Kitteridge but the stories revolve around the character Lucy Barton (from My name is Lucy Barton). A beautifully written and compelling book. ***** 

Watching: Mindhunter on Netflix. Based on the true crime book of the same name. Two FBI agents interview serial killers to help them develop a method for criminal profiling. ****

Happy holidays to you. I wish you safe travels and good times. 

Friday, December 15, 2017

home and away

We've just had a wonderful week staying in Russell in the Bay of Islands. Russell is a lovely town and there's plenty to do up there.

I'd recommend
  • a visit to Waitangi and the new museum
  • a boat trip to Urupukapuka Island - the pohutukawa and flax were in bloom and full of bees and tui plus you often get to see dolphins in the harbour
  • doing the full circle walk from Russell to Opua to Paihia. It's a bit of a stretch - 14km - but you can stop half way at Opua for lunch at the marina.
  • Pompallier House - they now have a small cafĂ©. You can sit on the verandah drinking coffee and eating croissant while looking out on the garden and harbour.
  • swimming at Long Beach

And back home, the cornflowers are in full bloom and bringing lots of bees into the garden. And the christmas cake is fresh from the oven. It's a "blonde" fruit cake that can be made close to christmas. The recipe is Eliza's fruit cake by Annabel Langbein. It contains prunes which give it a wonderful, moist texture. Last year I spent ages decorating the cake with concentric circles of blanched almonds but this year I got lazy and simply scattered sliced almonds over the top. Have you made your cake yet?

Tin man by Sarah Winman. This is a novel about what might have been, memories, sexual identity and love - of childhood friends Ellis and Michael and, later, of Ellis and Annie. It's a well written book but it lost me about two-thirds through. ***

Bertie's guide to life and mothers by Alexander McCall Smith (44 Scotland Street series) I found this in one of the local book exchange cupboards when I was looking for something light and quick for a holiday read. Which is exactly what I got. I like McCall Smith's #1 ladies' detective agency series but Bertie's guide was just too twee for me. **

Listening: Tiny desk concert by Cat Stevens