10 minute creamy mushrooms with cous cous

Chop up a few mushrooms, as many as you fancy.
Chop up finely, half a clove of garlic. Rub some sea salt on it to grind it up a bit.
Melt some butter in a frying pan, add a tablespoon of flour
add the mushrooms
fry a bit
add a quarter of a stock cube
add some cream. Bring to the boil and then simmer for a bit.


Boil the kettle.
Put half a cup of cous cous in a bowl.
Add 3/4 cup of boiling water to the cous cous.
Add a pinch of salt.
Cover for five minutes.
Stir a bit.
Cover for five more minutes and then the food will be ready.

Add the mushroom mix to the cous cous.

Delicious and lovely.

A House in the Sky, A Memoir of a Kidnapping That Changed Everything

houseinthesky At 18, Amanda Lindhout moved from her Canadian hometown to the big city, saving tips as a waitress to travel the globe. In war-ridden Afghanistan and Iraq she carved out a fledgling career as a reporter. In August 200, she travelled to Somalia to report on the fighting – and was abducted.

Her story illuminates the psychology, motivations, and desperate extremism of her guards and the men in charge of them. She survived by finding strength and hope in the power of her own mind. A House in the Sky refers to the place Amanda went to during her abuse. A place of peace and happiness she built for herself in the sky and this story is a moving testament to the power of compassion and forgiveness.

Since her release after 460 days in captivity, she has devoted herself to the cause of the rights of women and girls in Somalia, founding the Global Enrichment Foundation charity which funds women’s education projections and offers support for survivors of sexual violence.

A House in the Sky has its opening pages set right in the midst of the kidnapping and the writing allays all fears of a story written for the sake of tearing at the emotions. The events happened and they were real and someone survived them. And then there’s life that comes after that and strength and determination.

“This is one of the most powerfully-written books I have ever read. Harrowing, hopeful, graceful, redeeming and true. It tells a story of inhumanity and humanity that somehow feels deeply ancient and completely modern. It is beautiful, devastating and heroic – both a shout of defiance and a humbling call to prayer,” is how Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love describes it and I couldn’t agree more.

A House in the Sky: A Memoir of a Kidnapping That Changed Everything Published by Viking Paperback on April 3, 2014

Happy families

Facebook can be very useful sometimes. Life changing announcements are as simple as a quick notification which is what I did with my pregnancy – I posted the baby scan and then everyone who wanted to ‘liked’ and commented. Well, that baby’s father is now part of our family and has moved in to live with us. I’m no longer a single parent and neither is he.

I have a lot of attachment to the idea of single parent but I’m happy with how we are as well.

I’ve posted a fair amount about the pregnancy, about the baby stages and about growing up and co-parenting. I haven’t yet posted anything about a relationship and a family. Not until now and even now I’m not saying much. Let’s see how it goes.

Family photo

Se7en Dwarfs, Wardrobe Theatre

se7en dwarfs“Sner” White has lived her whole life in the shadow of her Disney namesake who for generations let down feminism with her weak behaviour. Kicked out of home at 16 by an evil stepmother she became a sexy and strong police officer who is just a little overemotional. This weakness led to her dismissal from the force while investigating the “12 days of Christmas” murders and shooting the suspect. But now the murders have started again and Detective White is needed once more.

While you might think that a production based on Snow White crossed with cult film Se7en is probably not quite easy on the stomach, the irreverence and humour of Se7en Dwarfs is beyond what you can imagine. The creativity of the production is brilliantly fun and utterly surprising when you consider the tiny theatre in which they are performing. (It’s very small.)

Emma Keaveney-Roys as Detective White is colourful and brash while sounding like a cross between a northern truck driver and a beautiful deposed princess. Adam Blake as Detective Bramley could have possibly carried off the whole show on his own but it was nice that he had the others with him too. Vince Martin did a beautiful job as musician and mouse. Oh and corpse.

The play is riddled with Snow White puns and pulls off some great genre-jumping with its Raymond-Chandler-esque Noir, Christmas movies, Leslie Nielsen-like deadpan ridicule and nursery rhymes combined with fairy tales. Definitely one for Jasper Fforde fans and for Prince ones.

Don’t miss it. This is the one Christmas show that should have its own feature film.

Se7en Dwarfs is Playing at the Wardrobe Theatre until 22nd of December, 2013.

Some useful and lovely book-blog links

Let Me Be Frank

One of the most pleasant pieces I’ve read recently is this post called Appearing In Public by Let Me Be Frank.

Author Sarah Laing writes “I am going to be talking with three grand dames of NZ literature – Stephanie Johnson, Charlotte Grimshaw and Paula Green.”

First Lines

The literary journal First Lines takes submissions of works from 300 to 3000 (ish) words and pays on publication. The only restriction is you have to start your piece with the first line they supply.

Read further for information.

The Best Sunday Roasts in Bristol

Looking for the best Sunday roast in Bristol is probably one of the loveliest past-times but it’s not really a Summery sunny-day kind of activity. For a while we used to go to the St Werburgh’s Sunday roast pop-up which not only made for a good walk from the city centre but was one of the most excellent Sunday roasts around. When that stopped operating a few months ago we tried a few different places but then forgot all about it when summer kicked in.


Mid-August can be the hottest part of the year in some countries but not for us. I think we could handle a roast again. The criteria are a little tough, an excellent meal, space for the little one and close enough to walk there.

1. Town House, Whiteladies Road:

We’ve eaten there many times and even though it was never for a roast, I know they serve award-winning Sunday roasts. On the negative side, there’s not much for M to do there and the outside part is right on the road.

2. The Old Bookshop, North Street:

The veggie roast includes a Heidi Pieminister pie and we had one of our best roasts there last winter. It was very crowded though and again, had little for M to do and little space to run around.

3. No 1 Harbourside, Bordeaux Quay:

Very good food that looks so stylish, I’m always surprised that it’s available in a sparse looking place with such a casual atmosphere. A big ‘maybe’ of a choice.

4. The Pumphouse
I’ve never been but the outside terrace looks on to the Floating Harbour, the food is meant to be superb and it’s close by.

5. The Hope and Anchor, Jacob’s Wells Road
Perfect location with a wonderful and surprisingly huge beer garden. Last time we were there though (over a year ago) the vegetables were more washed-out than fresh and vibrant and none of it was particularly inspiring. There’s a great space for M to run around though. Do we go and hope that it’s all somehow, magically changed? It is a rather lovely and cosy pub.

Where else serves Sunday roasts?

Bordeaux Quay, Grain Barge, Glassboat, The Gallimaufry, the Rose of Denmark, The Victoria Park (Windmill Hill) …

Any suggestions?


We ended up going to the Hope & Anchor which turned out to be a great choice. The day was warmish and sunny and the beer garden was wonderful for my daughter to explore. There were three veggie options and I went for the Butternut Squash, Leek and Coconut Bake which looks a bit awful in the picture but was lovely to eat. My daughter’s dad’s roast beef was a bit too gravy-heavy but the location made up for it.


My glass of house wine was a Sauvignon Blanc and there are three sizes. It was a lovely choice.



A few coffees in July

Black Coffee at Hart’s Bakery


Sometimes Hart’s Bakery is the best thing about travel.



Coming back from holiday

#0022 The remains of a triple caramel frappucino

Here is where we were, it was a lovely place and we have a rather wonderful time – I forgot to take pictures of the coffees






A Tuesday, last day before work


I feel like the luckiest person in the world to be able to spend four days a week with my daughter.




“Now it’s early. It’s early in the morning. Early in the morning and I ain’t got nothing but the blues.”

– Five Guys Named Moe (best musical I’ve seen)

17 July 2013

Thursday’s coffee has far to go





Coffee that got thrown out


The coffee had been opened at least two-three weeks and it tasted of nothing so I threw it out after a quick taste. I like the picture though.


Coffee at Wallfish Bistro


Most pleasant coffee. No soy milk on their first day but as they told me, they are happy to take suggestions.
A small piece on their breakfast which I thoroughly enjoyed.


Coffee in Clifton


Second coffee of the day at a Clifton playground where I ran into another mum who was at my antenatal class. We met for breakfast with M’s dad before he left for a few days.


(For consistency and flow 23-July-2013)

Coffee on the way to work


Golden Girls, knitting and a soy white mocha.



This is the knitting I’ve been obsessing over (free pattern):






Coffee at work





Saturday morning coffee


Early to bed, early to rise and all that. This coffee preceded a day around Bristol starting on Whiteladies at River Cottage for breakfast and ending up at the Stable for pizza and cider. There was much rain in between and three hours spent at the Bristol Old Vic where M had a nap.


Morning coffee






At the Harbour Festival


A surprisingly wonderful Harbour Festival this year and here’s our last stop – at Cafe Gusto on the Harbourside for two machiattos (one with soy). M got to play with the toys. The paint on her face resembled a tiger for a while.

I was terrified of taking her out among hundreds-of-thousands of people but the rain drove most away luckily and her dad had a good plan for avoiding most of the crowds. We actually visited a fair few of the permanent non-festival things such as the M Shed, the Youth Hostel and Gusto (plus the Gromits at Aardman).


Morning coffee with the winning cup


M and I both won cups from the Clipper stand. You had to spin a wheel which had a one in five chance of landing at the right spot. Mersina was so happy to have won something that as soon as we got home she demanded to drink her juice from it. This morning her cup held my coffee at about 6 in the morning.


Second coffee of the day


My first coffee at Boston Tea Party was curdled so I took it back. My next one came with the information that the first was too hot which is why it curdled. I didn’t bother taking it back after discovering it too had become clumpy and lumpy. I just removed about a third of it and drank the rest. Not the most pleasant experience.

I ate my porridge while staring over at Starbucks across the way – there would have been perfect soy milk and porridge there but I chose to go independent instead. Good for Bristol but not for my taste.


Breakfast at Wallfish Bistro in Clifton


Two days ago, I had some black-looking thick and ugly mushrooms on toast at River Cottage Cafe. They were most unpleasant to look at with the grimy streaks they left on my place and weren’t exactly exploding with flavour. A week before that I had been served the most beautiful looking girolles on toast served with herby butter and arranged like little flowers around and top of a slice of sourdough.

The Wallfish in Clifton may only have started serving brunch for the first time last weekend but they were certainly miles ahead of the River Cottage on service and flavour. They were perhaps a little overenthusiastic with the drinks menu which I was handed as I walked in and all the cocktails listed on the breakfast menu are a bit daunting for 10am but nevertheless, I have become a big fan of their breakfasts.

Their baked beans are home-made and taste authentically country-farm (probably). They were lovely and smokey and have bits of bacon. I ordered them for my daughter but she was not impressed as they tasted nothing like Heinz.

I did wonder about the freshness of our bread as the delivery came in from Jo’s Bakery on Gloucester Road after we had been served but it was toasted and sourdough so I wasn’t surprised at needing a knife to cut it, it tasted ok. The water jug looked like a fish and glugged when you poured in a most pleasing way. I liked it. I’ll be back.