Today I had a physical pang for a real book. And I was so astonished – I mean I love my Kindle and the fact that I can get my bestseller e-books in a matter of seconds. I adore that I can carry my Kindle in my bag and that waiting anywhere is a pleasure because it gives me the chance to read any of the books I have waiting for me. But today a friend sent me some of the art of Christopher Stott and I was quite surprised by my reaction.
His work is quite remarkable; I had to look at it again to be sure that it wasn’t a photograph. I was examining all the details of the books such as the little torn and curled ends of the book sleeves, the typesetting and the colours, and I realised that I knew exactly what these books looked like under those covers. I knew the familiar textured hardcover I would find beneath the sleeve and I knew the sound the book would make when I opened its cover. I knew what I would find inside the cover; often a bookshop stamp or sticker, often a beautiful bookplate a few pages along, often some line drawings to punctuate the story. Moreover, I knew what the typesetting would look like AND I even knew how these books would smell. It was, for all intents and purposes, an absolute physical reaction to the picture.
Why? Because I have books like these. The move has uncovered some of the “Treasures of my Youth” which I’ve had in boxes. For so many years I lost myself in all of my Anne of Green Gables books, the set of Famous Fives, the girls at Mallory Towers & St. Clares, the dancers at Sadlers Wells, The Secret Garden and so many more. Each book is an old friend, and whilst I could get rid of the multitude of paperbacks with ease over the last while I could not let go of these cherished tales.
So I will be reading an actual book or two over the next while. And I’ve reminded myself that, whilst I adore technology of any kind, in many ways my heart is still a little retro.
Note: more of the art of Christopher Stott here.
I’ve been a little absent, I know… but with good reason. We’ve moved to a new home and the past month has been a whirlwind of packing and unpacking and getting settled. So, to celebrate my return (because I’m my own little one-man celebration team), here’s a notepad freebie! I could not have made it through the move without my to-do lists so I’ve put one together for you – Enjoy!
Note: I’ve playing around with some vintage fabrics I found and some butterflies – so be on the look-out for some similar gift tags and other goodies soon.
Download the Vintage Butterfly Notepads here.
I’ve been spending a lot of time on Pinterest lately. In fact, every free moment I have is spent there… and I just keep pinning, pinning, pinning… I can always find a reason to justify looking at pretty things all day.
So what is Pinterest? Well, it’s a place where you can create image collections of things you love and find people with similar taste to yours. It’s a vast pinboard for everything you find you love on the internet – a great place to stowaway pieces of style or home or life inspiration.
You can see my Pinterest Boards here. I’m just heading over for my next dose of everything inspiring & beautiful!
I’m ever mindful that so many of you read this blog from the Northern hemisphere and I know that, right now, you have no need of (or want) a thick winter stew. So, all you lucky people enjoying Summer may bookmark this page for your next winter whilst I share with my fellow Southern “Hemispherians” who are braving the chill….
Well, I promised you all a uniquely South African dish and here it is….. a traditional lamb and tomato stew known to us as Tomato Bredie.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 700 g boneless lamb shoulder cut into chunks
- 1 large onion, peeled and cut into slices
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
- 6 medium-sized firm ripe tomatoes, peeled and cut crosswise into slices
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh hot chilies
- 2 whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- In a heavy 10 to 12-inch skillet, heat the oil over moderate heat until a light haze forms above it. Add the lamb and brown it a few pieces at a time. Turn the pieces frequently with a slotted spoon and regulate the heat so that they colour richly and evenly without burning. As the lamb browns, transfer the pieces to a plate.
- Pour off and all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the skillet and drop in the onion slices and the garlic. Stirring frequently and scraping in any brown particles that cling to the bottom of the pan, cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the onions are soft and golden brown. Stir in the tomatoes, chilies, cloves, sugar and salt, then add the lamb and any juices that have accumulated around it.
- Reduce the heat to the lowest possible point, cover tightly, and cook the bredie for 1 hour, stirring it from time to time to prevent the vegetables and lamb from sticking to the pan. Remove the cover and, stirring and mashing the tomatoes occasionally, simmer for 30 to 40 minutes longer or until the lamb is very tender and most of the liquid in the pan has cooked away. The sauce should be thick enough to hold its shape almost solidly in the spoon.
- Taste for seasoning. Pick out and discard the cloves and serve the bredie from a heated platter, accompanied by hot boiled rice.
Remember to cook your bredie slowly. The flavours are also greatly improved if you make it a day in advance. So, give it a try and let me know what you think…
I’m a lists kind of gal. I make a list for everything – what I need to pack, what I need to buy, what I need to do, and more. Perhaps I’m trying to put some semblance of order into a cluttered mind (and somewhat cluttered existence – I have a 1-year old and a 5-year old! Well, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.)
Anyway, for cluttered people everywhere who like making lists – here’s a freebie To Do Notepad for you today. Enjoy!
You can get the freebie here.