Monthly Archives: June 2012

A reading passport from your local library

In the international spirit of the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games, the libraries across the South West have created a reading challenge with a suitcase of books as the prize. They are offering an invitation to “take a voyage of discovery, experience new cultures and be inspired as you cross the world’s borders, exploring new lands beyond your normal reading territory”.

The Challenge: Read six books, one each from five continents plus one other of your choice. Use the book lists as guides to the world of reading possibilities.

For example, you can choose Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami for Asia and Ice Station by Matthew Reilly for Antarctica. Not sure how many athletes will be competing from the latter continent this summer.

Pick up a Reading Passport from your local library to record and review the books you’ve read. Write your thoughts and reflections on a page of the passport, tear it out and hand it in at your library.

The pages may be displayed in the library and each review handed in before 30th September 2012 will be entered into our regional prize draw to win a ‘suitcase of books’. Click here for the competition terms and conditions.

This project is the result of a collaborative approach between all of the regional library authorities, Cyprus Well (the regional literature development agency), and the South West Regional Library Service (SWRLS).


Grillstock, festival and opportunities

Grillstock is back this summer bigger, better and with a performance by Alabama 3 (who recently played at Trinity in an acoustic set which I missed). They have asked me to pass on this message about volunteering opportunities. See if you can be tempted by the following.

Grillstock 2012 is a two-day BBQ and Music Festival taking place at Bristol’s waterfront on Saturday 30th June and Sunday 1st July, celebrating the best of al fresco living with the UK’s biggest ever US-style barbecue competition, rib eating competition and chill eating competition.

Bristol Event Volunteers are looking for individuals to get involved with the festival, and are offering a free ticket, plus various incentives to help out on the day. There are several roles available, different shifts, and if there is a particular band/artist you would like to see they will even work out a shift to suit you.

Opportunities are now live on the Bristol Event Volunteer website – but places are going fast. If you are interested in getting involved, gaining free entry to the festival and acquiring invaluable live events experience, please apply now.

Production Assistants/Runners
Stage Assistants
Site Crew
Décor team (and décor Manager)
BBC Events Assistant
Social Media
Demo Tent Assistant
Taste Tent
Walkabout Artists/performers

About you
The roles would suit anyone proactive, approachable and comfortable liaising with the public. Event students welcome, and anyone passionate about music and food festivals.

A T-shirt
BBQ Food
Free entry ticket to the festival (weekend pass)
Performers get a free pass plus 3 extra tickets for friends.
Huge amounts of fun.
References for good work

The Little Book of Truth and Wellness

The Little Book of Truth and Wellness: 1 by Bristol author Nicole O’Driscoll is now available on Amazon.

Nicole describes how one relentless life situation after another caused her to become ill with anxiety and depression, and M.E. Forced to take a break she found herself looking for answers from herself.

Medical support didn’t go far enough and that’s when she created her own process for finding “full wellness” by going within. The guide she created helped her find exactly what was true for her, and how to build the foundations of a new, healthier life based on that.

Having had a former career in healthcare, Nicole sees writing not as a one-way lecture but as a two-way conversation. She says that the Little Book of Truth and Wellness gradually introduces food for thought, showing that how we look at things and react to situations can keep us stuck or set us free.

I haven’t read the book but I am interested in it because of the topic and the fact that the author is Bristolian.


Creme brulee at the Pony and Trap

The Literary Blog Hop Giveaway (23 to 27 June)

** The winner is comment 4: Mystica. Congratulations. **

The Literary Blog Hop Giveaway is back and there are now over 60 participating blogs. You can click on any of the links below and you will be taken to a competition. No need to have a blog to enter.

Judith from Leeswammes is hosting and has put all this together so drop by and say hi. She’s very nice and always ready for a chat about books.

Giveaway: Leave a comment on this post, of any type whatsoever, and you will be entered to win one of the five books listed below. There will be one winner*.

The draw will be random using If I can’t find your email address then I will choose someone else. The competition is open to countries where Book Depository delivers as that is the site I will use.

Have fun.

*Just like in Highlander

  1. Leeswammes
  2. Candle Beam Book Blog
  3. Musings of a Bookshop Girl
  4. The Book Whisperer
  5. Book Journey (US/CA)
  6. breieninpeking (Dutch readers)
  7. bibliosue
  8. heavenali
  9. I Read That Once…
  10. The Parrish Lantern
  11. The Bibliomouse (Europe)
  12. Tell Me A Story
  13. Seaside Book Nook
  14. Rikki’s Teleidoscope
  15. Sam Still Reading
  16. Nishita’s Rants and Raves
  17. Readerbuzz
  18. Books Thoughts Adventures (North America)
  19. 2,606 Books and Counting
  20. Laurie Here (US/CA)
  21. Literary Winner (US)
  22. Dolce Bellezza
  23. The House of the Seven Tails
  24. The Book Diva’s Reads (US)
  25. Colorimetry
  26. Roof Beam Reader
  27. Kate’s Library
  28. Minding Spot (US)
  29. Silver’s Reviews (US)
  30. Book’d Out
  31. Fingers & Prose (US)
  32. Chocolate and Croissants
  33. Scattered Figments
  34. Lucybird’s Book Blog
  35. The Book Club Blog
  1. Lizzy’s Literary Life
  2. The Book Stop
  3. Reflections from the Hinterland (US)
  4. Lena Sledge’s Blog
  5. Read in a Single Sitting
  6. The Little Reader Library (UK)
  7. The Blue Bookcase (US)
  8. 1morechapter (US)
  9. The Reading and Life of a Bookworm
  10. Curled Up with a Good Book and a Cup of Tea
  11. My Sweepstakes City (US)
  12. De Boekblogger (Europe, Dutch readers)
  13. Exurbanis
  14. Sweeping Me (US/CA)
  15. Living, Learning, and Loving Life (US)
  16. Beauty Balm
  17. Uniflame Creates
  18. Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book (US/CA)
  19. Curiosity Killed The Bookworm
  20. Nose in a book (Europe)
  21. Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews (US)
  22. Giraffe Days
  23. Page Plucker
  24. Based on a True Story
  25. Read, Write & Live
  26. Devin Berglund (N. America)
  27. Ephemeral Digest
  28. Under My Apple Tree (US)
  29. Annette Berglund (US)
  30. Book Nympho
  31. A Book Crazy, Jane Austen Lovin’ Gal (US)
  32. Love, Laughter, and a Touch of Insanity

Mersina’s cardigan

Today, Mersina received the loveliest cardigan from her godfather’s mother, Paula. This is the third beautiful cardigan that Paula has sent us and she also crocheted the most beautiful blanket for little M which she has used since birth.

I wish Paula had an Etsy shop so other people could share but here’s a glance at what Mersina has been wearing.

Mersina and her new cardigan

Mersina in her new cardigan

Mersina's new cardigan

Little M with her cardigan, two short legs and her godfather


Top five places for breakfast in Bristol

Update: this list has been updated at this link

Breakfast suggestions were flying around Twitter this morning so I thought I would put together a top five for this weekend.

1. 40 Alfred Place is hosting a French pastry morning this Saturday with delicious taste sensations baked by Laura from Harts Bakery. From 8am till noon, they shall be providing a deliciously continental petit déjeuner avec croissants, pains au raisins, croissants aux amandes, pains au chocolat, baguettes, croque-monsieur et bien plus encore.

2. Lahloo Pantry in Clifton Village is probably the most wonderful place for cakes and tea plus one type of coffee. In addition they serve unlimited toast, boiled eggs and soldiers and French toast among other breakfast items.

3. Source food do the best pancakes with maple syrup and bacon. The pancakes are a bit teeny, however, which is strange as they are probably the cheapest part of the dish. I have also had some lovely French toast and boiled eggs and soldiers there. Most importantly the coffee is good – Extract Coffee as also served at 40 Alfred Place.

4. Primrose Cafe at Clifton Village is quite nice if the weather is lovely and pleasant and you can get a table outside. They have fresh orange juice and very tasty cooked breakfasts and pastries. When I have to sit inside and it’s a little busy, my claustrophobia kicks in and the fact that they have the radio on is doubly annoying.

5. The Watershed on the Harbourside. My daughter loves their scrambled eggs so much that last time we were there she grabbed my fork and nearly ate all of mine.

Bonus. Arch House Deli – Their food is amazing and they serve coffee and pastries. Not really dedicated to breakfast but still a very pleasant place.

Brunel’s Buttery on the Harbourside – SS Great Britain and M Shed side – is also notable for its crowd-drawing abilities. I have yet to go but many Bristolian’s swear by its tastiness and hangover-curability.

Mersina at 40 Alfred Place

Places that are in my bad books at the moment:

1. Rosemarino in Clifton: We visited on the Diamon Jubilee bank holiday Monday and I wasn’t that impressed. Their scrambled eggs were dry and their toast was drier. The other breakfasts looked very nice but their coffee was served in minuscule portions and their orange juice was served from individual bottles.

Saying that, the restaurant itself was lovely and the music was pleasant. It may have been an off morning. Their pastries, made in-house, were excellent.

2. Bordeaux Quay on the Harbourside: The last time we visited they were so busy that the service was barely polite. The full English breakfast may have been local and ethically sourced but the homemade beans were bland and the sausage was tasteless.

I actually still hold a grudge from the time I visited about a year ago and instead of serving me a stack of pancakes, the chef just made one big pancake which was entirely unpleasant as a visual experience.

A suggestion for independent bookstores

There is an article in the Guardian about how independent bookshops face a crisis because of ebooks. The Bookseller association quotes figures of declines in paper based books and an increase in ebooks.

Here’s a suggestion that may help. Sell access to the ebook along with the tangible paper copy of the book. I prefer to buy a book so I can lend it and have it on hand when required. At the moment, however, I don’t have the time or the ability to read a paper book. I read on the train, while out with my daughter when she is sleeping, and while I am nursing. So, when given the choice between paper and electronic versions, I will choose the electronic one because I have more of a chance of reading it.

I read on my phone either through the Kindle app or through an e-reader. I buy the content of the book so why can I only have it in one format? The cost to release the ebook must be minimal when also publishing a paper book.

Sell the rights for all formats of a book and paper copies will start to sell again. That’s my suggestion.

Buttercup, Wardrobe Theatre

In a theatre above the White Bear pub on St Michael’s Hill you will find one of the most brilliant social commentaries from a cow called Buttercup whose very touching description of love has to do with square eyes and sticky teeth.

With a swipe of his DM shod foot and a twist of the arms, in a graceful imitation of a matador in a Paso Doble, Tom Wainwright, the Venue’s last and shortest reigning editor, transforms himself into the working class bovine who wins Masterchef and finds that the working class can fall in love too.

Wainwright’s physical charm is mesmerizing as he samples from a wide -range of tv chefs and reality tv stars. He is a one man tornado of magnetic and magical delectable offerings and he is hilarious to boot.

£5 for 50 minutes at a theatre above a pub will be the most rewarding choice you’ll make this year. The show is amazing.

Just a day ago I would have wrongly told you that the Phantom of the Opera was the best thing in Bristol. Now I say go see Buttercup more than once, instead.

Runs until 23 June

Father’s Day

For Father’s Day I wanted to make a card for Martin and Mersina and I decided to find letters for their names around Bristol. Luckily they share many of the same letters but it was still quite an enterprise and I don’t think I was entirely successful.

So this isn’t really a happy father’s day post. Little M’s dad had his treats on the day. This is more of a crowdsourcing activity for any suggestions about finding letters in the environment. They can’t be Written letters from signs.

See the following and let me know what you think. My toughest letters so far have been N and A. He was (just) about able to see what the words were meant to be luckily.