A Quest For Identity…

You’ll have to forgive me, this is probably going to be a rambler – feel free to wander off now, no hard feelings.

Ah so, gluttons for a wordy post – don’t say you weren’t warned…

The thing is this, people have been coming up with words to focus on for the year, declutter seems popular, simplify I’ve seen a few times, you may have your own. I haven’t had a word for 2015, well not until now, but perhaps I might just have stumbled across one – and I’ll tell you straight away, it’s IDENTITY.

This isn’t the result of any ego-centric bid to define myself – it just happens to be a theme that’s cropped up a lot lately. Bear with…

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The first outing was the TV series with Grayson Perry – Who Are You? It’s no secret that he’s a hero figure for me, but even still, watching the programmes where he spent time with various people, delving into their identities and self-perceptions, then producing artworks to reflect his take on each, was a masterpiece – of art certainly, but also in my opinion, of his ability to penetrate through the outer layers and reach inside the character of each sitter.

I knew he was a brilliant artist, but here was also someone able to listen, observe and understand, if not dispassionately, then at least non-judgementally, a disparate group of individuals. It was humane and beautiful.

Just before Christmas I went along to the National Portrait Gallery and saw his artworks for myself. Simply stunning, although the piece I would most like to have brought home, was A Map Of Days – his own vastly engrossing and unconventional self-portrait.

So, I suppose the thread of identity started with Grayson Perry and then lay dormant for a few weeks, waiting for me to pick it up again when the BBC started all the Wolf Hall business.

Although in between was a little strand from Last Tango In Halifax, with Derek Jacobi – let’s just hold that one for a moment and come back to it.

I wasn’t going to watch Wolf Hall. I’d loved reading it so much, I didn’t believe the TV production would live up to what the words had created in my imagination – how wrong I was. I ‘happened‘ to watch the first five minutes of the first episode and that was that – hooked, 100% mesmerised. But watching it brought back thoughts from the time when I read it – how can Hilary Mantel convince us so well that Thomas Cromwell was a sympathetic character, when history, and more importantly Hans Holbein shows us such a different face.

This was precisely the theme taken up in the Culture Show Special: Holbein: eye of the Tudors, with Waldemar Januszczak. In the famous portrait by Holbein of Thomas Cromwell, what do you see? I spent over forty years looking at that image and seeing a hard man, a ruthless man – which you’d have to say, considering what he did, must have been true? And yet, Mantel has convinced my heart that this is not the character of the man, so captivatingly portrayed by Mark Rylance in the TV series. Who is right – what is the truth – where does identity lie? Is there an inner and an outer identity?

Thinking about Cromwell and that portrait made me think about another question of identity. Have you read The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey? It’s the fictional story of Alan Grant, a policeman laid up in hospital, who for the want of something to occupy his mind, investigates the life of Richard III. It starts with him seeing a portrait of the man and being unable to reconcile the moderate, benign features with those of a child murderer.

He proceeds to conduct an investigation from his hospital bed into the crimes of Richard – looking at who else might have murdered the Princes in the Tower – who stood to win and lose. If you haven’t read it – do!

Incidentally, the title of Tey’s book is from a quote by Sir Francis Bacon –

“Truth is the daughter of time, not of authority.”

That’s another thread by the way – we’ll come back to it too.

Where were we – oh yes, Wolf Hall. So, we’re extremely lucky to have a neighbour who brings us the weekend newspaper supplements every week and in the lead up to the airing of Wolf Hall, you’d be hard pressed not to have read something about it, the story, the locations and the actors taking part.

One of the pieces I read, was about Mark Rylance. In the article, it mentioned that Rylance was one of the founding members of The Shakespeare Authorship Coalition – a body set up to formalise the acceptance of reasonable doubt as to the identity of William Shakespeare.

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Now, I am a huge Shakespeare fan (my tag line is a tiny snippet from the Bard). I ‘did‘ him for ‘A’ Level (my undying gratitude Mr Holden) and loved every moment, and I’ve lapped up anything Shakespeare ever since. I’m a member of the RSC, who probably finds live theatre more exciting than almost anything else – so let’s just agree, I love Shakespeare. And therefore, hearing that the man hailed as the greatest stage actor of his generation and the Artistic Director of the Globe Theatre from 1995 to 2006, has doubts about the authorship of the plays, had me intrigued and a little unsettled. At almost exactly the same time, I happened to read in another article, that Derek Jacobi – also a great Shakespearean actor – was involved in The Shakespeare Authorship Coalition too (see I told you we’d come back to him)…

So, my interest was well and truly piqued, thus, I’ve spent a little time this week delving further into the murky world of Shakespearean intrigue. It seems there are people who fervently believe that Shakespeare – the man from Stratford, was absolutely the author. There are others who doubt that he was the author, but don’t know who the real author was, and there are those who believe he wasn’t the author and do know who the real author was.


I love a good whodunnit – or in this case ‘who wrote it’. I feel a quest coming on.

Now I have the chance to be my own Alan Grant and investigate the whole Shakespeare issue from a position of total impartiality, because the truth for me, is that I don’t really mind who wrote the plays and poems, I’m just grateful to live in a world where they exist. In a way, the qualities, the values and the character of the author are his/her identity – a rose by any other name…

I wonder if Grayson Perry, in a reverse of the process he used for Who Are You, could take all those qualities found in the works of Shakespeare, the humanity, the love, the emotions and work back up through the layers, to build us a picture of the outer layer of the author…

Anyway, I’m now looking forward to reading as much as I can about the evidence on all sides.

Today I’ve ordered a couple of books to get me started on my quest, but if I’m lucky this could keep me busy for the foreseeable future! I think the prospect of insanity has been mooted for those getting caught up in this debate, well, I’ll risk it.

Oh yes, and the quote from Francis Bacon? – well, you know don’t you, some people believe Bacon wrote Shakespeare…

I’m well practised in untangling mingled yarns – I’m not sure that this one is ever likely to be unraveled, but nevertheless, it looks like an excellent mess to be mixed up in.

I’m hoping to post about how this quest progresses over the year – anyone interested, do leave a comment – and if you’ve already completed your own Shakespeare quest, I’d love to know what you’ve discovered.


When you’re really busy and need to focus all your energies into one project, the thing you don’t want is a major distraction…



When Jenny mentioned The Wake to me last week, I knew it was going to be right up my street. I should really have exerted some self-discipline and resisted it. But there you are, look what turned up in the post this morning.

I now have to be extremely strict with myself. Stitch – read – stitch, stitch, read…

The Year In Books: October…

In which I come over all contemplative…

IMAG7609I seem to have given up on fiction for a while. Looking over the most recent reads, it’s all been factual.

I thoroughly enjoyed Marc Morris’s The Norman Conquest and was going to go straight on to read his book about castles – rather succinctly titled Castle – except that somewhere in between, I bought a copy of Katherine Swift’s book about her time creating the garden at Morville in Shropshire – The Morville Hours – and found myself immersed in a wonderful way that wouldn’t allow me to put it down until it was finished.

I had intended to read it when it was first published – am I right, was it serialised on radio at the time? But I never got around to it. I used to drive through Morville regularly at one time, before Katherine took over the garden, so I was intrigued to know more.

But this is far more than a gardening book. Oh yes, there is a lot to interest a gardener, but Katherine cleverly arranged her chapters in the form of a medieval Book of Hours, and so, following the turning year, in rhythm with the turning offices of the monastic day, she gives us glimpses of her own life, the history of Morville and people over the ages connected with the area. I was spellbound. I read a review of the book which described its tone as melancholy. I agree, but it felt totally appropriate and I felt sad when I came to the end.

I cheered myself up by going back to Castle. If castles are your thing, this is going to please you, but perhaps not the best reference for your thesis on medieval architecture. My only problem with it though had nothing to do with the content, but with the paper it was printed on. The hardback copy I have uses thick shiny paper – very pretty, but dreadfully difficult to read in bed with the bedside lamp – I had to keep moving the pages around to avoid the reflections (I know, never satisfied some people…). I hadn’t seen the TV series which went with the book, but having finally managed to get Channel 4OD to work, I might seek it out.

It hasn’t been the best summer for history trips for me this year, so reading all these history books has gone some way to sooth a need, but reading The Morville Hours, had renewed an interest in these medieval books – the Books of Hours – each one a magnificent work of art, combined with a story of the men and mostly women who owned them and used them daily. I love that rich mixture, the sense of connection both with the medieval artists who slowly, religiously, wrote and decorated the pages and with the women in whose hands these very pages were held. I suspect that it’s a similar sensation I get from looking at ancient needlework.

So when I was out yesterday on an entirely different mission, and I saw John Harthan’s Books of Hours, I couldn’t resist. It is a book for a history junkie to drool over. There are many colour pictures from Books of Hours throughout the middle-ages, accompanied by a description of the work and details of the owners.


This is just a tiny detail from The Hours of Isabella Stuart, Duchess of Brittany (c. 1417-18). So much crammed into that space – but what I adore, are the little black lines, deliberate, but also free, can’t you just feel your own hand making those marks. There’s much, much more inside – I will have to restrict my time looking at each example or nothing else will get done around here.

And then, all my Christmas’s coming together, I also found the Sue Clifford and Angela King book, England In Particular in the Oxfam bookshop in Berkhamsted. (Thanks Sue for the recommendation – it’s even better than I’d hoped).

This is another book that could easily keep you engrossed for hours. It’s an A-Z of England and its special ways. I like the blurb that says “…offers a way of looking that makes the mundane magical. It will change the way you see the world”. 

So I’m starting October with two gems. Do you believe in serendipity? I certainly think I was extremely lucky to find these – maybe magical? Who knows, it’s something to contemplate…

Changing the subject completely – I’m currently gorging myself on Cox’s apples. My mum craved them when she was expecting me, which is my excuse for eating pounds of them at this time of year. Is it me or are they especially good this autumn?

The Year In Books: July & June

A literary pick ‘n’ mix…

So it’s summer and of course that means we’re all sitting by the pool, reading something light and airy.

Or maybe not…


To be entirely truthful, my reading over the last few weeks has been extremely patchy. I’ve certainly downloaded and read a lot of sample chapters on the Kindle, but as for actually reading through a whole book, ummm, well.

The trouble started when I decided after buying the next Gareth and Gwen novel, not to read it straight away. I’ve gulped down so many series novels over the years, I suddenly thought I’d wait and read this later in the winter. But what to read instead?

I won’t bore you with all the titles I tasted. In the end, on the Kindle I have lined up the following;

  • The Passion – Jeanette Winterson (thank you to My Search For Magic for the recommendation)
  • The Gospel of Loki – Joanne M Harris
  • The Enchanted April – Elizabeth von Arnim (guaranteed to make you feel good)

While I was dithering about what to read, Jo at The Hazel Tree posted her review of the classic The Old Straight Track – Alfred Watkins.  This is one of my favourite books, so after reading her post, I dug out my copy and promptly starting dipping in again. Not only is it a fascinating read, but for me it’s quite nostalgic, bringing back lots of happy memories.


Then my yoga teacher lent me her copy of Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving Into Stillness – Erich Schiffman, so I’m gradually reading through that too.

Which would probably have been more than enough to get my teeth into. But then, a few days ago, I happened upon the new Marc Morris history book – The Norman Conquest. What is a history junkie supposed to do! I like Marc Morris’s style, and I thought before I buy the new book, I’ll re-read his previous one, about Edward I – which I did.


And then – big mistake, I looked Marc Morris up on the Kindle and found he’d written another book, about castles – Castles: A history of the buildings that shaped medieval Britain. It’s at times like these someone should take my Amazon account off me. Naturally I demonstrated no self-control whatsoever, not only did I order Castles, I also found a copy of Prof R Allen Brown’s classic, English Castles online, which I’ve also ordered.

Which would have been alright I suppose, if I hadn’t then decided I might as well buy The Norman Conquest anyway – which I have…


My name is Anny and I am a history-bookaholic.

Happy reading

Under one roof…


Many of you will know that I have a passion for historic places and keep a blog where I record my various visits. This seemed like a good idea when I started, no need to bore people who expected stitchiness with historical stuff over here, and visa versa. But – you knew there was a ‘but’ coming didn’t you – but, having had things arranged like this for a couple of years, I’ve decided to risk it and bring the historic stuff under this blogging roof.

To be honest, keeping it separate has always felt a bit weird, but when I started blogging, the advice was all about being topic specific. However, I think the latest post from Annie Cholewa (AKA Knitsofacto) sums it up perfectly, especially her quote from Mark Kerstetter .

‘The best blogs are acts of bricolage, a new kind of collage, incorporating images, texts, ideas. Why not use them all? And while you’re at it, be yourself.’

Until I brought the history stuff together with everything else, I wasn’t really being myself.

I apologise in advance for any pant-removing boringness, but at least you’ll now be getting the whole me.


The Year in Books: May


It’s all been in the mind this month…

There have been two reading highlights for me this month, one pure escapist fiction, the other not fiction at all, both have given me and my imagination a great deal of pleasure. Fiction first…

The Good Knight Sarah Woodbury

This was another Kindle late night purchase. The reviews said it would appeal to Cadfael lovers and I was ready for a mix of history, mystery and a light touch of romance.

So, it’s set in Wales in the 1140’s, a similar time period to the Cadfael novels, and the hero and heroine – Gareth and Gwen are out to solve a murder mystery, but I’m not sure that’s enough similarity to endear it to Cadfael aficionados. I’m a huge fan of Ellis Peters and I don’t think we’re on the same page as far as literary style goes – but and it’s a big but, despite the sometimes awkward Americanisms that crop up, I thoroughly enjoyed the read. (Let’s put it this way, if you liked the film A Knight’s Tale with Heath Ledger, with its modern speech and soundtrack, then this book won’t offend – if you prefer your history more in period, it will probably annoy you).

Anyway, this is all a bit beside the point, because what kept me up reading wasn’t the plot, but one of the characters, Prince Hywel. I managed to fall in love with him! Fancy that, a middle-aged woman going gooey over a character in a book. Just goes to show what the brain is capable of given the right stimulus.

Needless to say, I’m already reading the next in the series…

My other favourite for May, was unexpected. It was…

Sane New World: Taming the MindRuby Wax

This is really an exploration of depression and her views as a sufferer on ways to treat it.

I came to mindfulness and meditation via a different route to Ruby, a much more esoteric one, and one she’d probably have no time for, but  what I enjoyed were her facts about the brain and it’s function and the research results that have led to mindfulness being used as a treatment. It was a bit like being given a factual explanation for what you already knew on trust or faith.

It’s written in a very accessible style, not aimed at neuroscientists, but doesn’t dumb-down. It doesn’t give you the techniques in detail, but there are many sources for taking up a mindfulness or meditation practice if you’re persuaded to try yourself. Even if you’re lucky enough not to experience depression, I’ll bet you know someone who does – it’s an interesting read and anything that helps make mental illness less of a stigma has to be good.

Right, off to find out what Prince Hywel is up to…

Happy reading.


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The Year in Books: April…


Warning: This post contains gratuitous references to sadomasochism and accountancy – may not be suitable for those of a sensitive disposition…

April has been an unusually unsettling month for me. The Easter holidays always throw me out of what I laughingly call my routine,  but this was further complicated this month, when I was unexpectedly asked if I’d be interested in taking a six month work contract, doing some of the things I last did over fourteen years ago.

It well and truly sent me off kilter, as I juggled in my mind the pros (money) and cons (too many to mention) of taking it. I hadn’t realised how shallowly I’d buried some of my anxieties concerning office based working, commuting and work related stress. Well this certainly took me right back, only this time I had the addition of two daughters and a delinquent dog to add to the equation.

I spent a very uncomfortable couple of weeks worrying about life, the universe and everything, but when the company eventually found a more suitable candidate, my relief was palpable – in fact I’ve barely stopped grinning, which I think must tell you everything you need to know.

Which is my very round about way of saying that I haven’t read much fiction in April…

What I did read was a book I borrowed on my Kindle. I came across it one night as I lay browsing titles in bed – a very dangerous thing to do – at least in the old days of book shops, you didn’t often find yourself shopping in your nightie at midnight…

The title is Sadomasochism for Accountants, by Rosy Barnes.

Now I would like to point out that as someone from a marketing background, I have had extensive experience of accountants – I can’t say that we are natural bed-fellows; marketers are by nature fond of (and good at) spending money. whilst accountants pride themselves in saving money. It inevitably leads to the occasional conflict…

The only accountant I ever really liked, was the one who exasperated at my inability to provide my expenses on the correct form, offered to do them for me – an act of kindness which he assured me simply saved him time by not having to redo the drivel I gave him.

My experience of sadomasochism is rather more limited, although who knows, perhaps one day I might yet embrace my inner tapestry-needle wielding dominatrix…

I’m not entirely sure how Rosy Barnes feels about accountants, but her sympathies are rather more with the sadomasochists in this debut novel. It is in turns funny, sad and mildly disturbing, as it follows the attempts by Paula to regain the affections of her erstwhile partner, Alan by becoming less boring...

I can’t say that I found it quite as good as some of the reviewers on Amazon, but it was an easy, clever read, which considering my state of mind in April was just about what I needed. I’m not sure who the target market for this novel really is, but if she writes any more, I’ll probably give them a go. You never know if you don’t try it (as they say…)


The picture is a detail from a photograph in the tea-room at Rievaulx Abbey. I can’t show you the whole picture, as it has my daughter doing her impression of that expression alongside, and she would be less than impressed if I posted it!



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The Year in Books: March…

Almost the end of March already – where did that go!

I was going to say that this month’s reading had been an unusually spasmodic affair, but then it struck me that spasmodic is actually my norm rather than exception. So what has been on the bedside table?

Well, I started the month with the latest (to me at any rate) offering in the Pitkirtly series from Cecilia Peartree – The Queen of Scots Mystery. Not an historical whodunnit, but a modern one where the body is found in the eponymous pub. I came across the Pitkirkly books one night when I was looking for something light and cheap . The first in the series – Crime in the Community – was either free or less than £1, and had brilliant reviews, so I went for it.

They are not challenging reads, but there’s something about the wit that appeals to me. Having finished The Queen of Scots, I downloaded the next – A Tasteful Crime – but that I haven’t started yet, something to look forward to one of the nights.

If you haven’t met Christopher and Amaryllis yet, you can find them going very cheap on the Kindle. Cecilia’s blog would be a good place to find out more.

But the book that I’ve been most pleased to read in March is The Alchemist’s Journey by Glennie Kindred.


Now if the words New Age or Alternative bring out the cynic in you, or if your views on life, the universe and everything, are closer to the dishy Prof. Brian Cox than the tree-hugging Prince of Wales, don’t bother going anywhere near this book – I mean it, honestly, don’t touch it with the proverbial barge pole.

However should the idea of fusing alchemic principles with the Celtic festivals of the turning year, to assist on your spiritual journey, sound plausible (and that I suspect is where we’ll all entertain our own thoughts), give it a go.

I loved it, but then I am an ageing hippy and I have been known to hug the odd tree…


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The year in books: February…


Coming in under the wire – my bedtime read for February was Ian Rankin’s latest John Rebus novel, Saints of the Shadow Bible.

I read somewhere, that middle-aged women are the biggest readership for crime fiction (probably rubbish, don’t ask me to provide my sources), but I have to admit, that this eternally 39-year-old very much enjoys going to bed with a good detective story.

Over the years, I’ve read my way through quite a lot of them, Inspector Morse, Miss Marple, Brother Cadfael, Ma Ramotswe et al.

At some point when the girls were small, I started reading the Rebus books. Now, before I go any further I should point out that one of my little foibles about detective fiction, is that I much prefer to buy them second-hand, preferably in charity shops. Anything that sells in huge numbers is likely to find its way into this sector pretty soon after publication, so it’s reasonably easy to pick up titles from any particular series if you keep your eyes peeled.

The slight downside, is that you don’t necessarily get to read them in publication order – well I suppose you could, but I’m not that organised. This was the case with Rebus. I think I came on the scene after about 10 years, so there was plenty to go at. I did find the chronology factor a bit annoying, but it never really got in the way of enjoying the stories.

If your only exposure to Rebus has been via the TV or radio, I urge you to put that out of your mind and go back to the source. I’ve seen and heard the various incarnations and in every instance, been desperately disappointed. (Although I loved Ken Stott playing him, the hacking out of the plot lines and omission of whole threads of characterisation just doesn’t do justice to the books).

Rebus, as with so many of the great detectives, is a flawed character, but Rankin gives so much flesh to his bones that you can’t help but believe in him. Actually I have a theory that we fans are in reality wanting to be a bit like him ourselves – but that’s just me being fanciful. So immerse Rebus into a well-tangled plot and for me, it’s the perfect bedtime reading.


(I won’t divulge the plot – if you already know the Rebus novels you wouldn’t want me to, and if you don’t, well, don’t start with this one).


March: I’m dithering about whether to go historic, romantic or detective – watch this space!

Oh drat…


Brain all over the place today, strongly suspect a migraine is on its way.



Over in the sidebar, are my Instagram pics of the Daily Tree Project, with the occasional stitchy update and other random snaps from daily life around here.

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The year in books : January…

Story of my life really, being rather late to join in, but there you are, never likely to be labelled an early-adopter me.

When I saw what Laura at The Circle of Pine Trees had in mind – to read and comment about a book read each month – and when I saw the fabulous bloggers signing up to take part, a little voice in my head just kept nagging me to go along for the ride. So eleventh hour it may be, but as they say, better late than never…

January’s favourite read?

A History of Scotland, by Neil Oliver.

Okay, before I go any further, I’m going to have to warn you that history books are likely to be quite a feature here. History sort of flows through my veins. Don’t panic, I won’t attempt to summarise the plot, I’ll just try to illustrate what it is about this book that makes me slope off to bed early, and read into the wee small hours (or at least until the eye-lids clamp shut).

In fact, rather than say too much, perhaps I should show you some of the things that are Scotland for me and which fuel my love of the country…

Ancient monastic sites, ruined castles, ruined cathedrals, wild landscapes, perfect beaches, mountain tops, churning rivers, and whisky…

The truth is, for me there is nowhere more majestic or enthralling than the Scottish Highlands and Islands. The landscape is so overwhelmingly powerful, it puts us mere humans firmly in our place. My parents started taking me to Sutherland every summer when I was five, I’ve rarely missed a year since. In that time, I’ve come to feel the tragedy, the violence and the pathos of the country through so many aspects of the landscape and ruins.

But although I have a good working knowledge of the chronology of English history, Scottish history felt more like a jigsaw puzzle with a blurred picture on the lid and half the pieces missing. Hence deciding to read Neil Oliver’s book.

We sometimes laugh at Neil’s very earnest TV presentations, but it’s not meant unkindly, in fact we’re all big fans, hard not to be when someone is so passionate about their subject. But I thoroughly enjoy his writing style. It’s a very capable historian who can deliver facts and context in an exciting manner, without falling into dramatics. It’s not like reading a Rebus novel, but it had me totally engaged.

Scotland has spent a large part of its history tearing itself apart in one way or another. Seems as if the same story is still being played out. For this interested bystander, it feels like watching history in the making.


And so for February?

History might feature, but I suspect keeping to the Scottish theme, it’ll be Secrets of the Shadow Bible, by Ian Rankin.

Happy reading.










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Guilty pleasures…



At 6 o’clock last night, our phone rang, not another junk call (remarkably), but my neighbour, saying that if I could be ready in half an hour, she had a spare ticket for Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake and she’d pick me up. Well ballet is not my most preferred art-form (I’m being polite here), but on a cold wet Tuesday night, with nothing more to look forward to than Death on Paradise and an early night, it seemed churlish to refuse.

Now you ballet aficionados, will probably know all about Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake – I knew nothing, but I’m a dyed-in-the-wool soppy romantic who loves Tchaikovsky, so I figured that even if I sat there with my eyes closed and listened to the music, it would be okay.

So, here’s the thing (for those who might not already know); this version of Swan Lake uses the Tchaikovsky score, but after that, forget any notions of quivering girlies in tutus and boys in muscle-enhancing lycra. Instead think male swans (perfect naked torsos and feathery breeches), oozing attitude – some of it sexual…

Well, I don’t think many people in the packed theatre went home disappointed – male or female. It certainly isn’t the Swan Lake of childhood Christmas treats, but it made this middle-aged housewife extremely happy. When I got home I asked the Other Half if he thought he should do a bit of weight training and perhaps consider a pair of black leather trousers – well a girl can dream…


And while I’m on the subject of guilty pleasures, I thought I’d mention a little online find I made recently, which might appeal to the stationery freaks amongst you – yes, you know who you are…

(Here, before I go on, the ex-Marketing Manager in me wants to make it perfectly clear, this is totally unsponsored, simply a personal like with no benefit attached at all) .

If you’re at all like me, always on the look-out for a smooth flowing, comfortable grip, fine nib pen, that’s cheap as chips – go and have a look at Cult Pens. They have the most amazing range I’ve ever seen – even the daughters are impressed. But the thing I like most, is that – so far at least – they’ve given brilliant customer service. Each order has arrived by return, and each time there’s been a little added freebie too. I’m a sucker for all that. An excellent place to browse while your coffee cools – just saying.

Happy stitching.



PS: In case you missed the note on the last post, I’ve started adding daily update photos from my Instagram pictures in the sidebar – so if you want to see the latest tree photo, or stitchery, scroll down and click on the images.

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