Monthly Archives: December 2009

Presents are absent

None of the presents I ordered have arrived; we leave for friends’
house tomorrow morning. There are no presents for under the tree, and
I’m loathed to buy more today just for the sake of it. It is my own
21st century first-world nightmare.


The snow’s here

We don’t often get snow on the west coast of Scotland: we’re more your
sludge and sleet weather in winter. But today, we were lucky.


Hey doll


There’s something a little bit wrong with this: a Barbie range by Christian Louboutin. Firstly, she looks like she’s had a bit too much facial work done, and secondly it’s ???115 for a doll. I’m all for the real-life red soled shoes, but not the plastic inch-long versions.

Lush skin


Forget more expensive brand-name moisturisers: Skin’s Shangri La from Lush is the business. Lush’s skincare range is phenomenal if you have delicate and easily-irritated skin – it was recommended to me a couple of years ago after frequent flying took its toll on my skin. Don’t be put off by the often-overpowering smell in the shops: speak to one of the assistants, who will give you generous samples to try at home.

Festive coffee


I haven’t made any mulled wine yet, but I did order the Christmas
Variation Nespresso capsules. The apricot one is divine, and just
festive enough to handle in the mornings.

Uncommonly good

Selected as one of the Telegraph’s 50 Best Summer Reads, 2009.Shortlisted for the Audiobook Download of the Year, 2007.

It was the corgis’ fault. When they strayed through the grounds of Buckingham Palace, the Queen discovered the City of Westminster travelling library. The Queen has never had much time for reading – pleasure’s always come second place to duty – “though now that one is here I suppose one ought to borrow a book”. She is about to discover the joys of literature, albeit late in life. One book leads to another and the Queen is soon engrossed in the delights of reading.

However, this uncommon reader creates an uncommon problem. The royal household dislikes the Queen’s new interest; it makes them uneasy. Books are devices that ignite the imagination. And devices like that are likely to explode.

Alan Bennett reads his new story about HM the Queen’s all-consuming new interest, as heard on BBC Radio 4. This exclusive and extended edition is twice as long as originally broadcast.

I was asked today for watching/listening recommendations for someone who is in hospital. This audiobook immediately came to mind: I bought it last year and have listened to it several times. Alan Bennett (for whom the phrase “national treasure” may have been invented) reads his own work. I can’t think of a single person that wouldn’t enjoy this.

Midnight music

I was lucky enough to hear Jana Carpenter and David Sherwood from Piefinger play a short set at a friend’s 40th recently. They played this track, Midnight: pared down, just voice and guitar, and stunning. You can buy their album on iTunes.