Monday 27 August 2012

My 2012 Man Booker Challenge... Fifty days to read twelve books...

This year’s long-list for the 2012 Man Booker Prize has been released and in precisely fifty days the winner will be announced. Last year I was poised and waiting to read the winning title but this year I want to be in on the decision making, part of the debate and to be able throw my two pence in on the inevitable discussion on whether this year’s winner is the right one. I’m setting myself a (hopefully) realistic goal of reading all the long-list books ahead of the prize-giving on October 16thAdmittedly, I’m probably not the only one to do this and some are already over half way through, but better late than never.  

So here I am, fifty days away from the announcement and downloading the first of the chosen twelve… reviews to follow…

The 2012 long-list
The Teleportation Accident - Ned Beauman
The Yips - Nicola Baker
Philda- Andre Brink
The Garden of Evening Mists- Tan Twan Eng
Skios - Michael Frayn
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry- Rachel Joyce
Swimming Home - Deborah Levy
Bringing up the Bodies- Hilary Mantel
The Lighthouse - Alison Moore
Umbrella-  Will Self
Narcopolis-  Jeet Thayil
Communion Town - Sam Thompson

Monday 20 August 2012

Book Review: Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann

So it seems I have been suckered in to choosing my next read by good old fashioned advertising. After passing the same posters numerous times, I was persuaded to pick up (or rather download) Tigers in Red Weather. What a few choice words from my favourite magazines won’t do… I'm pleased to say, in this case, they've actually got it right.

Tigers is a whirlwind of a read that I couldn’t put down. Set on the glamorous US East Coast in post war society, the novel tells the story of a family who summer at Tiger House. The story spans twenty years and hinges around one summer where a local maid is found dead on the island. The story has undertones of To Kill a Mockingbird, bringing to life the idea that one event in a community has an effect on everyone and unknowingly, can seep into all areas of their lives.

Klaussmann’s cast of characters really bring the story to life.  Staring with Nick, a bit of a siren, married young with a traumatised husband back from the war; fast forwarding to her blonde bombshell of a daughter Daisy who is mostly concerned with winning her next tennis tournament and ending with her cousin Ed who is downright creepy. While each is obnoxious in their own way, caught up by their own heart breaks and disappointments, they are also uniquely endearing. Seeing the same situations through the perspective of a different relation adds depth and humour to quite a dark story.
Tigers is a haunting book that combines the familiar 1950’s from Mad Men, with its glamorous parties, chilled martinis and smatterings of extra marital sex; with a mounting tension and a sense that something bad is going to happen: as if we are witnessing another crack forming in an already fragile society.  It’s like a hot, sticky summer that you won’t forget in a while.

Saturday 18 August 2012

A trip to the Crazy Bear, Oxford - June 2012

Perched on the edge of suburbia and overlooking beautiful countryside, we rolled into the Crazy Bear ready for some relaxation and good food.  
The reception was sited in a old red London bus signposted with neon lights. We were intrigued..
Having booked quite last minute we were only able to get one of the rooms in the main building. Even though it wasn’t one of the gorgeous rooms we had eyed up on the website, our room was cozy, well furnished and stocked Molton Brown goodies - so we weren’t complaining. 
We had a choice of restaurant for our evening meal a Thai or an English restaurant. Like all of the areas of the hotel, the restaurants are finely decorated and have a unique decor. We spent the evening in the English restaurant surrounded by plush leather and wine bottles coating the ceiling. 
What I particularly liked about the Crazy Bear is that they run their own farm, rear their own livestock and grow their own produce. The wine list is regularly updated and you just know you will eat a hearty, delicious meal.  My steak went down a treat and the chocolate dessert was delightful.
The next morning we ventured up to the Crazy Bear farm where if you book, you can take part in some Clay Pigeon shooting. We opted for meeting the resident animals (pigs, badger-face lambs and reindeer..) and enjoying a coffee overlooking the countryside. We even stocked up on some fresh sausage rolls and cheese for the journey home. Bliss! 
The Crazy Bear isn’t the cheapest of boutique hotels to stay in but if you are looking for a spot of luxury and a unique way to spend the weekend, then this is the hotel for you. The hotel describes itself as a ‘unique oasis in a countryside setting’. I couldn’t put it better myself!

Southbank Chocolate festival- April 2012

We spent a sunny Sunday afternoon perusing the chocolate stalls at the Southbank’s Chocolate festival. I stumbled across this through Twitter and promptly dragged my other half up into town to pay the festival a visit. 
The Southbank was thronging with people and we had to battle our way to the front of the stalls. There were many chocolate wonders to behold including cupcakes, brownies, icecream, fudge, pancakes and even beer! 
A surprising combination that worked well and tasted well, mostly like beer!
Delicious chocolate and blueberry- a shot was enough for me!
A very busy Southbank full of chocolate lovers. Not quite the idyllic Easter chocolate festival as shown on in Chocolat but definitely worth a visit to enjoy the samples!

Review of Pure by Julianna Baggott: A must read

Pure. The title doesn’t give much away, neither does the cover. The blurb simply reads:

‘We know you are here, our brothers and sisters. We will, one day, emerge from the dome to join you in peace. For now, we watch from afar.
I was hooked. Pure is the first in a new young adult trilogy written by Julianna Baggott…
Check out my full review at:

5 things to know about Pinterest- a newbie’s guide

Have you heard about the new Pinterest phenomenon? Are you wondering what on earth it is? Are you sick of the notifications from your friends that keep popping up on Facebook (*cough* sorry about that)? Do you want to know more about this new social media site?
 Then read on for five Pinterest facts that will shed some light on why so many of us are getting involved!
1)     What is Pinterest?
Pinterest is a refreshing new site that exposes you to new photography, places, phrases and images that you would never normally find. Our internet journeys are becoming so tailored to what the web thinks we want to look at that it is becoming harder to be surprised and find something unexpected.  Pinterest is a great way to share content and find like-minded individuals, wherever they are in the world.
Pinterest acts as an on-line pin board where you can pin as many images as you like to save for later, use for inspiration or share with friends.
2)     How does it work?
Pinterest is a content sharing site. Every time someone uploads a new pin (a new image) it is available for others to pin on their boards as a re-pin. The site is searchable so, if you like pictures of cats for example, then you will find thousands of pictures to choose from.  You can also follow other ‘Pinners’. If you find someone who pins content you like on just one board, or perhaps all of their boards, then you can choose to view their pins in the ‘Pinners you follow’ section. You can comment on pictures, like them and re-pin them: you can interact in the same way as other social media sites.
 3)     How do I pin an image and what should I pin?
Anything that you find interesting, inspiring, that makes you smile or something that you just want to keep for later. You can upload your own pictures or other pictures that you find on-line by adding the ‘pin it’ button to your browser tool bar.
4)     What type of boards can I create?
Pinterest will give you a few starter boards to inspire you e.g. travel, books you want to read, things for the home etc. Pinterest is particularly popular for wedding planning, home decoration, typography, art, tattoos etc.. the list goes on. You can create boards about whatever interests you, and chances are there will be someone else on Pinterest with a similar passion who you can share content with.
 5)     How do I get involved?
Pinterest users currently need to be invited by existing users or request a login from Pinterest. So if you want a recommendation- ask me or any friends you know who are already addicted!
And who wouldn’t want to look at gorgeous sunsets, fabulous recipes and cute baby animals in their spare time?
Follow me: mytatterednotebook

Video: B***** in bookshops

Bitches in bookshops- definitely worth a watch! For all book lovers out there :)

A weekend in Venice- March 2012

Venice has always come highly recommended as a city break. It promises beautiful views, delicious food, lovely weather and plenty of history. A no-brainer when we chose our next weekend destination. We liked Rome, so why not Venice?

We arrived for a long weekend and the sun was there, waiting for us.Bellissimo! Venice airport is situated away from the centre of Venice, cut off by the Grand Canal. We were funnelled off with the other tourists to board theVaperetto (water boat). Now here’s something I didn’t know before leaving… it takes an hour and a half to actually get to the centre of Venice from the airport! Certainly not the worst way to start or end a holiday but worth bearing in mind when planning your flights…Arriving in Venice by boat was a good way to glimpse the sprawling city and get a taster for what our stay would be like.
If you pick up any guidebook, you will find that Venice is packed with are countless churches and piazzas. We enjoyed stumbling through these piazzas and getting lost in Venice’s maze of side streets, alleys and canals not knowing what we would find next. We had a vague sense of direction knowing whereSan Marcos’ square and the Rialto Bridge were but what lay in between started out as a mystery to us. We found picturesque bridges, spots to enjoy the water, lazy sun drenched piazzas where cafes served delicious bruschetta and the morning fish market where the fish and crabs were so fresh some were still gasping for their last breaths! I tasted delicious gelato and stuffed myself with meringues fresh from the patisseries. Ok so we ate a lot!! We spent three glorious days walking, eating, wandering off the beaten track and then finding ourselves at the heart of bustling centre just as quickly.
We stayed at Ca Alvise hotel which had a second building located right by St Marco’s square. A typically Italian hotel with rich decor and a comfortable clean room, we were impressed by the location and kept stumbling across it during the day.
My only watch outs for Venice would be: the extortionate Gondola rides (80 Euros for ½ an hour), the designer bag men touting their wares and the expensive cafes around St Mark’s square; walk an extra few minutes and you will find a cheaper place to stop!
Venice is now one of my favourite places and I will be telling everyone about it, I’ve come away with a full stomach, a few more freckles, a slightly dodgy knee and a smile. And, after all, that’s what you want from a weekend away isn’t it?

Another brownie picture… This one’s from Jamie’s Italian restaurant. Loving the unexpected cherries and hazelnuts.
Another brownie picture… This one’s from Jamie’s Italian restaurant. Loving the unexpected cherries and hazelnuts.

Iydea in Brighton: Top cafe in Brighton’s North Lanes

Hidden in Brighton’s bustling North Lanes,  we stumbled across Idyea  in the hunt for an afternoon snack. Our noses found the cafe first with the aromas of the vegetarian menu drawing us in from the street. Idyea has an extensive menu with freshly made veggie salads and hot dishes ranging from lasagne to filled tortillas. They have an extensive and healthy selection of smoothies and some delicious home made cakes. The brownie caught my eye…  as you can see. Delicious!! This quirky vegetarian cafe is definitely worth a visit with a fantastic choice of food that will entice even the most dedicated meat-eater!

One to read in 2012: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern #goodreads

‘The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices on downtown posts and billboards, no mentions or advertisements in local newspapers. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.’

These words draw you into the fantastical and magical world of the Night Circus. After reading this paragraph I was hooked and, lucky for me, had a few long days by the pool in Santorini to immerse myself in Morgenstern’s world. 
The Night Circus tells the story of a magical duel between two young magicians Celia and Marco. Pitted against each other since childhood and trained by their eccentric mentors, Celia and Marco must battle a remarkable battle to the death using their unusual talents, imagination and sheer tenacity. This tale of forbidden romance is set on the stage of the Night Circus, a place that entraps all those who get a glimpse. Follow their international journey across beautiful cities with a cast of characters who capture your imagination and heart straight away. 
Released last year in hardback, and on the good ol’ Kindle, the paperback will be published in June and will be a great summer read. But if you fancying brightening up these winter months, then reach for a copy and enter the ‘Cirque de Reves’, the Circus of dreams….

Delicious chocolate cupcake from Patisserie  Valerie. A lovely Valentines treat!

Delicious chocolate cupcake from Patisserie Valerie. A lovely Valentines treat!

10 reasons why you should read the Hunger Games …#hungergames

As many of my friends and family will agree, I am constantly talking about this trilogy so wanted to pull together my top ten reasons why you should read the Hunger Games today…

1. It’s one of the best titles to come out of the plethora of young adult fiction that currently fill the shelves of our bookshops.
2. It’s coming out as a film in March and will be as big as Twilight. Fact.
3. It’s a harrowing look at what our fascination with reality TV could turn into. Think Big Brother meets Battle Royale. Interested yet?
4. It has some thing for everyone action, humour and a good old teen love triangle.
5. BUT it’s not a Twilight mushy love triangle either, no pining and not too many longing stares. Sorry Twi-hard fans..
6. Its easy to read in the ‘oh is it midnight already?’ kind of way.
7. All three books have already been published so you can get your greedy hands on all three right away. And trust me you will be reaching for book number 2 after the first one. Just ask my other half…
8. Katniss Everdeen kicks ass ok. I now want to learn to hunt… except without the killing animals bit. Ok maybe more Ray Mears survival than Bear Grills…
9. It’s very different to other books. Isn’t that a good thing? To read something out of your comfort zone that isn’t set in a modern day city?
10. I have recommended this trilogy to 3 people already and they all agree it’s AMAZING. Can’t say better than that.
Let me know what you think!

Book Review: Laini Taylor 'Daughter of Smoke and Bone'

This time last week, I hadn’t even heard of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I hadn’t met Karou, Brimstone or any of the chimera and nor had I spent a few days with my head in book willing the real world to leave me alone and let me read. Daughter of Smoke and Bone was only published at the end of 2011 and I predict will become a must-read this year….
Check out the rest of my latest book review @

Totem: a spectacular show #totem

Stepping into the Royal Albert Hall was like stumbling across some tropical wonderland. Reeds lined the stage and water gently lapped across the floor, birds were singing somewhere up in the Gods. I knew we were in for a fun evening… As someone who has never seen a Cirque de Soleil show, I didn’t quite know what to expect and so spent the next three hours with my mouth wide open and at times gripping the edge of my seat. We saw acrobats hanging by their necks 50ft in the air, climbing poles balanced on a single man’s shoulder, spinning so fast in air that they turned into blurs of colour and even balancing bowls on their heads whilst effortlessly peddling unicycles in unison. The artists made these acts look elegant, beautiful and oh so easy (putting whatever I and anyone-else tries to do in the gym to shame!)  I know the idea of Totem is to tell a story about evolution, certainly there were monkeys and frogs in there, but it did get quite confusing. Not that it mattered. The story of Totem was simply a way to showcase the artist’s fantastic talents and we, the audience, enjoyed every moment of it. Totem is only in London for a limited time, go and visit wonderland before it heads on its way.

(by Guyana)

Artisan restaurant, the perfect place to brunch in Hove

We stumbled across a little gem of a place for brunch today when wandering the streets of Hove looking for something to help us recover from the night before. Newly-opened Artisan, located just off Palmeira square, caught our eye as it serves breakfast all day alongside its normal menu… excellent! The restaurant itself was inviting with a rustic, French feel and a stylish looking wine bar which we will have to visit another time. After settling down for a chin-wag in the corner we all ordered the Artisan English breakfast (and one veggie!) and tucked in. The food was delicious and perfect for Sunday Brunch. The ingredients were good quality and the price was very reasonable for the size of the portion. I really liked the laid back atmosphere of the restaurant and could see how it would also be a perfect Saturday night eaterie with candlelight and wine. Definitely worth a visit if you are ever in the Brighton and Hove area…

Time for a Sundae

Something to put your diet plans on hold.. a gorgeous brownie sundae from our local dessert restaurant Afters. A must for all those with a sweet tooth!

Something to put your diet plans on hold for.. a gorgeous brownie sundae from our local dessert restaurant Afters. A must for all those with a sweet tooth!

An evening at Le Relais de Venise, L’Entrecote, Marylebone December 2011

A few weeks ago, during the festive period, we ventured across London for a different kind of dining experience.  Nestled in the heart of Marylebone, Le Relais de Venise waits each evening for customers to fill its seats and line the streets. Le Relais is renowned for its steak and chips and the restaurant prides itself so much on this dish that it is the only dish you can order. The steak is prepared as you wish and you can have as many chips as you can possibly stomach. Le Relais is so popular that we had to arrive half an hour before opening and join the fast-growing queue. Looking around me I noticed that most of the hungry diners were men. This was certainly the place to take a man if you were looking to impress! I really enjoyed the food, though perhaps not quite as much the men did in my party, and would recommend it if you are in the mood for steak. It’s not the best steak in the world but its cooked well and the sauce is quite addictive… My top tip would be to arrive early to avoid disappointment and peering through the windows.

Who knew what books get up to after dark...

What a great video! Will be watching books out of the corner of my eye now…

My first forray into creative writing, a new take on the Cinderella story…

She opened her eyes and for a moment she felt numb. She couldn’t feel her toes and there seemed to be a ringing in her ears. And then it hit her. It was as if a heavy load of bricks had fallen on her head. Lily shut her eyes tightly to try and block out the pain, oh no, she thought, how much pumpkin juice did I drink last night? Lily tried to recall the events from the night before but with little success. The memories seemed to fly above her head just out of reach like fireflies desperate not to be caught. She sat up in her bed and looked around her. Her normally immaculate room was in state of disarray. Clothes were hanging from the door knob, the chair and the curtain rail; empty bottles of pumpkin juice were lying at the foot of her bed, and the glitter! Oh there was glitter everywhere, it clung to the walls, was embedded in the carpet and there on her grandmother’s antique mirror it was written:
‘Find your prince charming’.
What on earth happened last night? Lily murmured somewhat groggily...
For more click through to

Book Review: Julian Barnes 'The Sense of an Ending'

Check out my review of the Man Booker Prize Winner 2011 'The Sense of an Ending' on the indie pedant site.

A weekend in Zurich - October 2011

Zurich is a short flight away from the big Smoke and I recently paid a visit for the weekend. I have to admit it wasn’t on my current list of places to go, but a friend’s recent relocation changed our minds. Normally, when you think of Switzerland, the first things that spring to mind are the snow-capped Alps, beautiful landscapes and delicious chocolate.  However, our guide book described it rather ominously as ‘hip and efficient’. Can you really describe a place like that?
 We spent the first day roaming the city, heading first down to the stunning Lake Zurich and meandering through the shops and Old Town. As suspected, the Swiss shopping experience is far more expensive than that of England, so asides from a necessary hat and scarf to keep warm from the cold; my purse stayed shut. We were however tempted by the Swiss cuisine and many a chocolate shop beckoned us in. Spingli was a firm favourite with an abundance of delicious treats on offer; truffles, macaroons, cakes, gateaux, I could go on. I was also really impressed with the quality of the Swiss food. Over the course of the weekend I sampled sausages, steak, fish and chips and even some cheese fondue and each tasted fantastic. Whilst the presentation was fairly pedestrian, the flavour and quality more than exceeded my expectations.
 After going to a few bars the night before, we decided to sample some Alpine air, in hopes that it would reduce our beer-induced hangovers. We ventured up Mt Uetliburg on the train and were met by panoramic views of the city and glimpses of mountains. It was a pleasant way to spend a Sunday morning and I rather envied the locals who could just pop up on the weekend.
I have to say I am still puzzled by the guidebook’s description. I suppose, after experiencing the Swiss rail system, you can certainly call Zurich efficient. I am however at a loss to why it is ‘hip. Perhaps I didn’t delve further enough into the nightlife….
I would absolutely recommend Zurich for a short getaway and would suggest you pack your walking boots and leave enough space to bring some chocolate home!

Book Review: Mitch Albom 'The five people you meet in heaven'

I’ve had my first book review published on the fantastic online magazine Indie pedant. Check it out and have an explore of the site too!

Choccywoccydoodah Cake

Delicious chocolate cake from Choccywoccydoodah Cafe in Brighton. Definitely worth a visit!

Delicious chocolate cake from Choccywoccydoodah Cafe in Brighton. Definitely worth a visit!

Rock of Ages- a musical not to be missed

I hadn’t heard of Rock of Ages when I was given the opportunity to see it the other night and went along with no idea of what I had signed up to see. When we walked into the theatre and found ourselves in the 1980’s LA sunset strip, we knew this would either be really good or terribly bad. Well, it was fantastic!

Rock of Ages is an all singing and dancing tribute to 1980’s rock. It includes songs from White Snakes, Bon Jovi and Journey. Whilst the storyline itself isn’t original (and the narrator makes fun of this), the premise of the whole musical is and it serves up plenty of opportunities to have a laugh, dance and sing along. The cast are all great and I was pleasantly surprised by both Justin Lee Collins and Shayne Ward’s performances. Ladies, Shayne Ward is a particularly pleasant surprise…
This musical has been described as a ‘guilty pleasure’ and I totally agree. I defy anyone not to be up and dancing by the end of the show waving their fake lighters* in the air!
*Fake lighters are an audience must and you will be given one when you take your seat!

Santorini- Island of sunshine and olives!

Set in the Aegean Sea, Santorini is renowned for its beauty and its picturesque villages. As one of our guides commented ‘it’s pretty difficult to take a bad picture of Santorini’. She was right. Even my camera managed to capture some postcard- like shots that we can treasure.

Through my lack of research, I hadn’t realised that Santorini is in fact made up of a number of different islands. It sits on an active volcanic crater and the islands are made up of dried lava and ash.
We signed up for a day trip that took us out on a boat across the stunning caldera and up one of the volcanoes. The views were stunning and throughout our trip we kept coming across fantastic view points of the caldera from all angles on the island. After our little trek up the volcano we were dropped off at some hot springs. We dove into the sea and joined other members of our party in the murky hot waters where we could cover ourselves in mud (it has anti-aging effects apparently…). Definitely a unique experience! 
Santorini is relatively small compared to other Greek islands like Crete or Corfu. It is slightly more mountainous than others so don’t forget to bring your trainers! In less than an hour you can easily drive from top to the bottom of island and this is exactly what we did. Hiring a car internationally was a first for us, and I admit a little scary at times, but it was definitely the best way to get around the island. We stumbled across a couple of fairly deserted beaches and were able to drive to towns like Thira and the famous Oia at leisure.
I won’t bore you with ins and outs of our week long holiday (lots of eating, drinking, sight-seeing, reading and sunbathing!) but I would definitely recommend Santorini as a chilled out holiday destination- as ever the food is delicious and the Greek people helpful and smiling. I would highly recommend the resort of Kamari, plenty of things to do to keep you entertained and lovely sea views. 

Bath- a girl’s weekend away - September 2011

Outside the Roman baths. Spot the bonnets…

I visited Bath in September with a few friends for a girl’s weekend away. Bath has always seemed popular for a trip be it with your other half, family, a hen do or just a gathering of a few friends so we thought we’d give it a go. It’s easy to get to from Paddington on a train journey that lasts just ninety minutes so bundling down after a week of work in the big smoke was quite pleasant. Well perhaps that might be an overstatement, the train was actually very full, so much so we had to sit on our own luggage in the gangway. Oh and we were by the toilets too… (spot the girls with the Groupon tickets who didn’t click on ‘reserved seating’) But we were armed with some perfume and lots of humour. So after an hour and a half of spritzes and giggles we arrived.

Even just stepping out from the station I felt we were well and truly out of London. Looking across the road you could see some cobbled streets winding away and a sweet looking tea room greeted us with promises of afternoon tea, shame it was 8.30 in the evening…
In walking around Bath over the course of the weekend, I found it to be deceptively big. Within the first couple of hours we thought we had found our bearings and worked out where the Roman Baths were (Clue: it was the gathering place for many Jane Austen character look a likes. We soon realised this wasn’t a typical Saturday morning in Bath and that we hadn’t missed the memo but instead was the start of the annual Jane Austen festival*.) And we had worked out where the river and the shops were. I thought we had the lay of the land but each time I took a wrong turn or took a different route I would find yet another cobbled street full of shops and restaurants. 
I really like the character of the city. Combining old and new alike yet still keeping to its Roman roots. From different places in the city you can glimpse the Abbey that lies at the heart, a centre point as it were. The older sweet shops were a great find with so many choices of fudge and the toffee apples were winking at you from the windows, attempting to lure you in.
Some of us found our way to the renowned Bath Therma Spa. We had heard great things and were not let down. The spa has a small day package, which works well for tourists like us who were just visiting for a couple of days. For £25 you can get two hours to spend in the spa visiting the roof top pool with stunning views, five different aromatherapy steam rooms and large indoors heated bath with a lazy river. As we were there quite early too, we didn’t need to queue.  After a couple of hours in the spa we were feeling well and truly relaxed.
For our evening meal, I was so glad we had asked our host for a local recommendation. We went to the Greek/Mediterranean restaurant called OPA. We honestly wouldn’t have found it or considered it had we not heard of it before. It’s tucked away down by the river and you have to venture down some stairs to reach the tavern. Set underground in a cave with lots of nooks and crannies this restaurant/bar has a great atmosphere. We managed to book the last little cave area which seated everyone easily. The walls were draped with fabrics, candles were burning and this seemed like a really cool place. The menu was varied with options for Greek mezze or full plates. The food was delicious and everyone left with very full stomachs! The wine and cocktails were pretty good too… The staff were really friendly and had quite a sense of humour ( one waiter suggested that whoever left the most on their plate would be taught to belly dance… an incentive to finish your dinner certainly!)
Bath was a great city to visit and I’m glad we made the trip. I still feel there are a few cobbled streets left to explore and it seems to be a city that is full of surprises where each visit uncovers more than the last. I think I will have to have to bring the other half along next time to show him what a great place it is. After the big bag of fudge and the toffee apple I brought back, I don’t think he will need much persuading!
*Although Ms Austen did indeed live in Bath for some time, it turns out she didn’t enjoy living in Bath and felt unable to write there. It wasn’t until she was back in her home in Hampshire that she felt truly able to pick up the pen again. This is something that isn’t advertised on the festival posters…
Delicious fudge

Harvest at Jimmy’s- 11th September 2011

When I was offered the opportunity to go to the Harvest festival I confess I had never heard of it and I also hadn’t heard of Jimmy… After some research, however, I realised that this sort of festival was ideal for me as it involved lots of eating! Jimmy is also a friend of Jamie Oliver, so I knew we would be in good hands.
After trundling up to Ipswich in a little KA, we arrived, parked the car( in hope that we would find it again) and followed our noses to find the delicious food.
Once we had checked in my stomach started to growl and I didn’t know where to look. All around us were stalls selling delicacies from cupcakes to burgers to fish to ostrich to a very large hog roast! Everything was tempting. We opted for some olives to start with to try and quieten our tummies whilst we attempted to make an educated choice on what to eat.
Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a Wellington boot flying through the air before   plummeting back to the ground. We ventured over to investigate…  It seemed we had stumbled upon a game of Welly Wanging. This old school country game had been set up by a local boutique clothing and Wellington boots store ( as way to entertain the punters. Depending on which pad the Welly landed on, you could win various discounts or even a free pair of Wellies. Some contestants made it look easy and my friend managed to win a 40% discount. Alas it was not my day for Welly Wanging, as I missed on all three attempts…. perhaps I should practice in my garden for next year…
I really enjoyed the laid back atmosphere of the festival. There was plenty to see and taste. The burgers were fantastic, excellent quality meat and the ice cream was delicious. We managed to dip into one tent and learn a mackerel dish (I shall be practicing next weekend)  and in other tents you could find regular master classes or a food safari where you could discover how to pick wild foods.
As you have probably gathered I was particularly interested in the food at the festival, but not to forget Harvest does have a good line up of acts. The Kooks were headlining on the Sunday and other acts such as Eliza Doolittle and Charlie Simpson (Charlie from Busted) were also performing. I had to leave early to make it back down to the big smoke in time for work on Monday but the music I did catch was easy going and fitted in with the vibe of the festival.
I would definitely recommend this festival and would strongly suggest you bring two things: a healthy appetite and a strong right arm to throw your Wellies!