Sunday, 29 January 2012


As part of my New Year's programme of Beauty Experiment, I went to my local salon for a scary sounding European Pedicure. It was great, and armed with these top pedicuring tips, I thought I would pass them on here.

Soak feet in soapy water, remove dead skin with a pumice stone or rasp (or, if you are my scary Eastern European Manicurist, a fresh scalpel). Soak feet to clean them, exfoliate with scrub, dry, massage with cream and paint nails.

Your feet will look and feel fantastic!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Tap Hamster

As I am having a really hectic weekend and my kitchen is in chaos, no blogging has appeared. So, from my stock of doodles, I present a Fred Astaire hamster. Combining the best aspects of the classic age of Movie Musicals and the cuteness of small, fuzzy rodents.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

The Sourdough Project 2

Using the sourdough starter I was describing last week, I had a baking frenzy this weekend. First up, a German-ish apple, raisin and cinnamon cake that came with the starter instructions. Mmmmmmm. So Good. Then I tried a sourdough bread. I rose it overnight so it was massive. It makes a lovely bread, firm and light with a crunchy, chewy crust. I think this week, the starter will just be on a flour and water diet though so it is more savoury. I love baking as it is magical and chemical and smells fantastic!

Sunday, 8 January 2012

It's Alive!

Last week I recieved one of the most bizarre and unusual gifts ever. In a small pot marked 'Custard Powder' a foamy, yeasty gloop. This is a sourdough starter. Sourdough is a natural yeast and is used to make my favourite kind of bread. It needs to be regularly fed and divided and can live forever.

Sourdough occurs naturally and dates back to the Ancient Egyptians. It fell from favour in this country in the Middle Ages when a beer by product was used to rise bread instead, but reamins popular in Northern Europe and America. In the Gold Rush, miners carried a bag of sourdough starter so they could always make bread.

From a scientific point of view, sourdough is a mixture of natural bacteria and yeasts which are present in the air and will grow in a flour and water mixture.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Best Books of 2011

Another post inspired by my friend Sarah Rooftops...

But as, unlike her, I cannot remember all the books I read in 2011, I thought I would flag up my favourites:

The very best: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. A unique, magical fantasy book.

Runners-up: Paperboy by Christopher Fowler, a gripping, funny and sometimes traumatic autobiography. I love his Bryant and May crime series. Generation A by Douglas Coupland , a sinister and witty future dystopia. The City and the City by China Mieville , a political thriller set in an alternate world divided city. All new books (to me) by some of my favourite authors.