Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Books to Read When Baby, It's Cold Outside

Posted By Daisy

you are doing great
AT DINNERTIME yesterday, a little boy I know laughed so hard that milk came back up his feeding tube from his tummy, and overflowed out the top of the funnel. Everyone in the kitchen laughed with him, and for the next few minutes we sang the funny song ('Wild Thing') and cracked up as we watched his delighted gasps push the milk levels up again.
Despite the numerous curveballs that life has thrown at him, that boy never stops laughing. It was the loveliest moment of the day.


As an antidote to the recent grey days, and the dread of the next few wintery months - being spat out of packed, steamy tubes into the dark, rainy evenings for a shivery trudge home, wrapped in scarves and gloves and wet wool coats - I recommend the following books:

This book is for 'instant moral fibre' and there is a selection of poems for every eventuality e.g. Breakups, Don't Let The Bastards Get You Down, Love etc. When in doubt, read Wendy Cope or Dorothy Parker - they make misery funny.

'The Happiness Project' is a book-length-gee-up to remind yourself to 'Quit Slacking and Make Things Happen', and even provides practical tips on how to do so. I haven't picked up the book in a long time, but find Gretchen Rubin's daily happiness quotes and monthly newsletter fascinating.

And if all else fails, settle down and watch re-runs of 'Murder She Wrote' while eating freshly baked banana bread dripping in butter, accompanied by a large mug of tea and a tartan blanket. Works for me anyway.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

A Book to Read on Your Holiers

Posted By Daisy

Dingle Harbour

THIS SUMMER, I spent almost three weeks in Ireland. With fabulous weather (it rained twice) and lots of my friends and family around, there's nowhere I would rather have been.

A guy in the nightclub told me I didn't look a day over 37...arghhhh. I blame the over-zealous bouncy blowdry.

In Cork, I met people for coffee and burritos, and spent lazy afternoons drinking beer in the sun. We did laps of the spa pool and snuggled into robes for chats and snoozes on the heated beds before folding chocolate brownies into our mouths during afternoon tea.

Dee's husband does an amazing BBQ- but gets FURIOUS if you open two boxes of tea at the same time.
 'You know that Barry's Tea isn't actually grown in Cork,'  he says.

In Dublin, I ate barbecued corn on the cob with butter dripping down my chin, drank 'Away with the Fairies' cocktails (the phrase my family uses to describe me) in Fade Street Social, and danced to old favourites in Whelans. We took a stroll through centuries of Irish history collected in a three-storey Georgian townhouse in the Little Museum of Dublin, and ate Croque Madame in the Powerscourt Centre.

Treasures at the lovely Little Museum of Dublin
Reminders of the good times during the Boom: Gold-Plated Monster Munch by Caroline McCarthy (2011), and the non-ironic 'Nouveau' magazine which folded after one issue. Cover tag lines included 'Dirty Filthy Lucre: And how to Make More' and 'Champagne Powder: Skiing with the Rich'.

We sat on the faded couch of our house in Dingle, eating crisps, reading magazines and drinking beers.
 We drank rose in plastic glasses while throwing down confident fivers at the races. We listened to incongruous techno  in a secret beer garden, and shot the breeze with lots of chatty drunken strangers, one of whom insisted on walking us home.

I did a dance of terror one morning, as I reached into the box of teabags to find a spider hiding inside and begged M to get rid of it.

I read my book and drank coffee while looking at the amazing scenery at Tig Slea Head, and later we sat in the car smiling at the screams of laughter from a trio of women struggling to get dressed on the beach as a flashstorm blew around them for ten minutes before the sun returned.

I saw Fungi the dolphin from an old fishing boat, and watched G's children making pottery at Dun Chaoin.

'A Rainy Day in Dingle' by Tom Roche
I drank crab bisque and walked the deserted beach at Smerwick Harbour with my mother, and ate porridge with cream and fresh fruit compote, and smoked mackerel and blue cheese for breakfast in Benners hotel. I also had a big argument with her over dinner one night (too much wine) and almost walked out of the restaurant. Although, I can’t even remember what it was about now.
Mini Dingle Tourist Guide:
 Best Cream Slice: Courtney's Bakery (have it with a coffee in the little courtyard)
Best Restaurant (and I've tried most of them over the years): The Global Village
Best Beach Walk: Smerwick
Best View of the Blasket Islands from a CafĂ©: Tig Slea Head
Best View of the Sleeping Giant: Clogher strand
Best Pub: Foxy Johns
Best Hidden Beer Garden: Adams Bar
Best Lunch on a Sunny Day: Fish at the Marina
Best fresh scampi and chips: Harringtons chipper
Best Tourist Destination fairly near to town: Pedlar's Lake, Conor Pass

I watched 'Mortified Nation' on Netflix (hilarious) and spent a nostalgic afternoon reading through old diaries in a big box in my mum's house.
This is where it all started, aged 15. Big mistake. Huge.
'Guess what. I did it. I smoked my very first cigarette!!.....Actually it was rather gross but we're going to do it again tomorrow.'

Before I knew it, I was on the flight back to London, having a vodka and coke and a cheeseboard and feeling a bit sad while scrolling through my holiday phone pictures.

Elevator Pitch: One day, Dr Yvonne Carmichael does something risky. And discovers she likes it.
When something terrible happens to her one evening, she is forced to reveal her recent activities, and ends up exposing uncomfortable truths that may destroy her hitherto ordinary life.
It's a cold, uncomfortable thriller, but somehow, even though I read it ages ago, I still remember it very well.
(I'm being deliberately very vague but don't want to ruin such a compelling story for anyone who has yet to read it.)