SNAP: Reflections

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In the last few months I seem to have become fascinated with capturing reflections

Whether it’s water, windows or mirrors, I can’t help myself!

It doesn’t always result in a great shot – but it’s been a fun way to get used to the new camera I bought at the beginning of the year

I think I especially like the shots that appear to be double or triple exposures – they have a kind of dreamy quality to them

So I thought I’d share a few of the shots…

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Photos: my reflection in a train window; stairs in the Musical Instruments Museum, Brussels; railway tracks through a window, a gas tower reflected in a puddle, east London; the same gas tower reflected in the window of The Oval venue; a duck reflecting in Bruges (see what I did there?); a tower in the water in Bruges

What’s inspiring you to get snapping recently?

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READ: Book Q&A

Harry Potter

I love filling out forms for some reason - and I miss the teenage days everyone used to email each other pointless questionnaires

So when I spotted this book survey doing the rounds, I couldn’t resist…

Author you’ve read the most books from: 
Realistically it’s probably something from my youth – Enid Blyton most likely, as I got through a fair few Famous Five and Secret Seven books!

Best sequel ever:
Well as a kid, I absolutely loved the Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper – and I find the interesting thing is that the first book reads largely like a Famous Five book, but the second book massively steps up the magical elements – I keep meaning to re-read them all at some point

Currently reading:
Longbourn by Jo Baker, ready to discuss at book group later this month – it follows the stories of the servants who serve the Bennets in Pride and Prejudice – enjoying it!

Drink of choice while reading:
Tea… plenty of tea

E-reader or physical book:
I don’t have an e-reader – although I’ve had a go with other people’s and can definitely see it would be useful for travelling, I don’t think I can get away from the idea having a real book in my hands! I feel like I look at too many screens in a day as it is…

Fictional character you probably would have actually dated in high school:
I was absolutely in love with Bran in the Dark is Rising – and as a result decided I wanted to learn Welsh… which of course never happened

Glad you gave this book a chance:
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert – I think I was a little put off because of the film and, weirdly, because there was a phase where so many bloggers were going on and on about it – but I tried it, and loved it (and then watched the film, which I didn’t like so much…!)

Hidden gem book:
Hmm, this is a tricky one! There’s a lot of books that I wouldn’t have thought to pick up if it wasn’t for studying them at school or university – one being the lovely Border Country by Raymond Williams, who I’d always just thought of as a literary critic – annoyingly I lent the book to someone a few years back, as I’d like to re-read it and rediscovered what captured my imagination so much

Important moment in your reading life:
I think maybe when we given a reading log in high school, to write down each book we read in a term - it was suggested we read something like five to 10… I was already pretty into reading, but I saw this as a challenge and ended up reading over 80 – I’d just sit and consume books

Just finished:
I’ve not been getting round to reading much recently, so it was the last title from my book group – The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, which I’d massively recommend

Kind of books you won’t read:
Ghost stories and horrors - this goes for TV and films too – I’m a wimp! As a kid I used to buy ghost story anthologies and could never sleep after reading them

Longest book you’ve read:
I’ve attempted War and Peace and David Copperfield a couple of times without success, so it might  have to be one of the Harry Potter books or I remember Sebastian Faulks’ Human Traces being pretty long

Number of bookcases you own:
Not a bookcase as such, but lots of shelves (and a few cupboards!) Recently I’ve rejoined the library, which is saving me space and widening my reading horizons

One book you have read multiple times:
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley – firstly as part of my degree, and then a couple of times since for pleasure – most recently after seeing live streams of the National Theatre production with Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Miller swapping roles as Frankenstein and the monster – amazing!

Preferred place to read:
Lying in the sunshine on a warm summer day, or buried under a blanket on the sofa in the winter

Reading regret:
The hundreds of books I want to read, but haven’t got round to yet – and the fact that I’m terrible at remembering details, I often know I liked/didn’t like a book without remembering exactly why!

Quote from a book that inspires you:
‘Eat food. Not too much. Mainly plants’ – I could (and maybe will) write an entire blog post on Michael Pollan’s non-fiction book In Defence of Food, it’s really made me think about what and how I eat

Series you started and need to finish:
Stieg Larsson’s trilogy – I just have the final book to go

Three of your all time favorite books:
A very hard question (I’m always terrible at ‘top’ lists) so I’m just going to do this off the top of my head…
- In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
- Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
- Enduring Love – Ian McEwan

Unapologetic fangirl for:
Hmm, I’d probably say Ian McEwan and Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Very excited for this release more than all others:
I hear Kazuo Ishiguro is set to publish his first novel for 10 years – I loved Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go, so I’m interested to read his new offering!

Worst book habit:
Going through phases of reading loads and loads, and then nothing for ages… to the point where I lose track of where I am in a book

X marks the spot: start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:
Empire of the Sun – J.G. Ballard

Your latest book purchase:
Along with Longborn, I bought Under the Skin by Michel Faber – I read about the film of the book coming out with Scarlett Johansson as the lead character, and then it was recommended as a book to read while in Scotland (not that I got round to reading it on our recent trip to the Cairngorms!)

Last book that kept you up too late:
The Rosie Project (and before that, re-reading Harry Potter!)

Do you agree/disagree? I’d love to see your responses – post a link to your blog if you do the same questionnaire! Any recommendations?

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Visit: Dungeness

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Ok, so I’m eking out my visit to East Sussex, but we have to talk about Dungeness, my favourite of all the places we visited during our holiday, if you haven’t visited already you must go.

Right now!

Set in the shadow of a looming nuclear power station and a lighthouse that throws a beam for 17 miles Dungeness is bleak, eerie place and enticingly unusual. Its flat, barren landscape exposes an enormous expanse of sky and it’s ever growing shingle beach scattered with the remains of abandoned boats and fishing paraphernalia is one of the largest in Europe.  The arid landscape, fuelled by battering winds during winter and persistent sunshine through summer make it the UK’s only desert.

It’s a uniquely strange place.

Despite this, Dungeness is home to a unique variety of wildlife and a fair few people too, most famously the late Derek Jarman whose modest little fisherman’s hut Prospect Cottage, famed for it’s beautifully crafted garden is host to a huge range of rare and beautiful wildflowers, all planted by Jarman.

On the Subject of Derek Jarman’s wildflowers, I received an amazing gift from my friend H this week. Perhaps because I had been banging on about the wonders of Dungeness whilst never actually getting around to writing a blog post about it, or perhaps (and more likely!) because she’s brilliant, I now have some Californian poppy seeds to sew in my garden this spring, so although I did not see Dungeness in all it’s wildflower glory, I’ll have a little bit of Dungeness in my garden this summer, and hopefully summers to follow!

 

 

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Looking back: March

Here’s a little look back at what we were doing this time last year…….

B was visiting Toronto…….

……And the Rain Room

E was Visiting Brussels………

 And making hot cross doughnuts

And two years ago….

What were you up to this time last year? 

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Make: Rhubarb Sorbet

spring rhubarb

I think i’m addicted to spring rhubarb, It all started on pancake day when B came round for dinner, and since then i’ve been buying it in bulk and hoarding it any way I can. So far this month i’ve worked my way through poached rhubarb, rhubarb meringue pie, rhubarb curd and finally, rhubarb sorbet. I’m not a fan of stringy old rhubarb but spring rhubarb I just can’t get enough of, it’s one of my favourite things about spring. This recipe also makes the poached rhubarb B + I ate on Tasty Tuesday, just pop the poached rhubarb in the fridge once it has cooled down- its great spooned liberally over pancakes or french toast.

You will need:

  • 500g rhubarb
  • 100g caster sugar
  • the juice of 1 orange
  • 2 tablespoons of honey or agave syrup
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of aniseeds

stewing the rhubarb

Chop the rhubarb and place it into a pan along with all the other ingredients. Warm the pan over a very gentle heat for around 15-20 minutes or until the rhubarb is just starting to soften then remove the mix from the heat. The rhubarb will continue to poach in the residual heat of the pan so it’s important to take it off sooner rather than later to keep the beautiful pink colour and the rhubarb texture for poached rhubarb. If the rhubarb is overcooked it will turn to mush but this is still delicious and perfectly ok to freeze down as a sorbet. Set the poached rhubarb aside to cool for 20-30 minutes.

If you have an ice cream maker, churn the rhubarb mix according to the manufacturers instructions until frozen then transfer the mixture into a Tupperware container and freeze until ready to use.

If you do not have an ice cream maker place the rhubarb mixture into a tupperware container and freeze for half an hour or so until semi frozen, give the mixture a good stir and freeze for a further half hour then stir again, repeat this step until the sorbet is firm.

Remove the sorbet from the freezer around 15 to 20 minutes before you wish to serve, pour boiling water into a measuring jug and allow the ice cream scoop to stand in the boiling water for 10 minutes. Add scoops of the mixture into small bowls using the warmed ice cream scooprhubarb sorbet

What’s your favourite thing about spring?

 

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