Archives for category: Books

Grace Coddington stares up at me as I type. Her pale skin intricately lined with experience and a no-shit determination emphasises the piercing pin-point eyes. They stare up at me from my thumb while I deal with the praises and complaints of the nation.

it sounds a bit odd doesn’t it? I suppose it is really. To have an idol on your thumb. Let me explain.

Whilst wandering the open road of Regent Street, I was asked whether I would like the face of a woman of influence as a nail wrap. Was it free? The lady who answered had a 20s bob cut and bright pink lips. Yes. Great. Out of the images that were available, I chose Grace.

Artist Phoebe Davies has collaborated with women’s groups across the country in order to question the attitudes of women today and to explore the expectation of female figures in society. After accepting the portable art and walked off on my way, I began to wonder what this little figure on my thumb meant to me. Any woman (or man come to that) who have met their own expectations and who are able to say truthfully – I have done well for myself  – is someone who I hold with the highest respect.

Grace Coddington – “All I know is that if I continue in fashion, no matter what, my head will always remain firmly attached to my body.”

Bam. That’s it. She creates for fashion and for herself.

Dorothy Parker, an American  writer and poet I have recently discovered wrote prolifically about the life and the loves of people – real people. She sculpts her characters with such masterful fingers that the reader can hear the charge of the voices and see their faces – drunk, debauched, depressed but always animated – “But I shall stay the way I am, Because I do not give a damn”.

Delicious rebelity to remain truthful to yourself.

Words of wisdom from wise women.

What has this got to do with food? Can we eat words? No. Do we read food? No. But we consume both.

Creativity can come from all over the place and with both of these incredible women producing work that remains fresh and beautiful, there is the constant hope that food can be created with this continuous excitement.

Food of Fortune

Broad beans, Courgettes, Lemon, Godminster Black Pepper Brie, Parsley, Mint, Lettuce


Rosie x


Delia’s Cheese-Crusted Scones with Smoked Bacon and a MEGA amount of Butter. What a way to start a weekend!

First of all, I would like to apologise for the shocking title of this post. It is Sunday and a week of office talk has numbed any gram of wit I possess. For this reason, I turned to the help of my boyfriend who responded, looking ever-so-pleased with himself, with this idea. I didn’t have the heart, nor the sense of humour to turn him down!

Delia’s ‘Cheese-Crusted Scones’ from my mum’s ancient copy of Delia’s Book of Cakes, take me right back to Saturday mornings when I was tiny.

Mum at that time was one of the babes (and also the youngest) out of the local WI group. She would make what seemed like thousands of scones, biscuits and cakes and luckily we’d get to taste a few – just to make sure that they weren’t, you know, ‘poisonous’ or anything.

Brian Matthews was on the radio, I’d been made a stonking cuppa, and the fridge was stuffed full of leftover cheesy bits – I’m afraid I couldn’t resist it. (I ran out of cheddar and ended up squishing up bits of brie in instead! It worked just as well.)

Who knew Delia could be such a babe? Check out this vintage clip of the Queen of Cakes herself. I’d bake many cakes for a pair of dungarees like this. – I used plain white flour, a little brie and a healthy pinch of paprika to go INSANELY well with the smoked bacon.



Rosie x

Yes! I have a job! One whole week of soggy feet and broken brollies running about job agencies has earned me a job in an office. But I’m not going to describe it in great detail. Firstly, because there is not a huge amount to describe. It’s computers. Buff files. Databases. Cups of tea and the ‘Treat Trolly’. And a very numb bottom from sitting for too long on a wheelie-chair – the novelty of which lasted approximately 27 minutes.

I bought a new outfit to suit my Mad Men-like image of clipping around an office with hussy-hips, a sassy little pencil skirt and immaculately coiffured hair.

An office job is NOT like this. Ignore your imagination. It will try to deceive you.

I wore my heels on the first day before making the sensible decision to save them for future interviews. BUT this is all experience and it allows me to save money AND get to grips with office terminology for the future – (“It doesn’t like it” in relation to a temperamental computer/printer/fax machine is the most annoying yet.)

I judged the 21st-century-workplace-fashion-code situation wrongly.

This was not the last misjudgment.

I also misjudged the complexities that having a lunchbox would bring.

Day 1 – balsamic vinegar, feta, peppers, lettuce and tomato salad box = inquiring faces + comments on healthiness

Day 2 + 3 – small snacks, nuts,seeds and dried fruit + crackers + banana = motherly expression + guilt

I didn’t even contemplate the effects that my lunch choice would have on others. Though I have given my feet a break, I will not let my eating habits be changed.

My revision? River Cottage Lunch.

As of next week I will challenge the status quo of the office and will try to come up with something edible that will make me actually excited to eat it. I will NOT be daunted by other people’s snack-a-jacks and brown bananas.

Or anything of the Treat Trolly…though the apple crumble slice did look very good.

Challenge set. Full stop.

New para.

New subject.

As I write this, 50 Shades of Grey is the most talked about book in the world (probably). I am intrigued. But due to me being as difficult as Microsoft Access, I refuse to venture into the stagnant world of WHSmith until I learn whether or not I will receive any form of ‘literary’ gratification from reading it. Do I dare?

Or should I stick with Polo of the Middle Ages, Pillars of the Earth? (I was going to link that up to Mr Follett’s website but I find it is a turnoff somewhat…)

Never judge a book by its author?


Rosie x

English with...Summer Show!

Students of English are secretive beings. If anyone happens to be about (!), then be sure to call in to witness a rare bombardment of creativity shown off from the Chapel Lecture Theatre at Tremough Campus.

Poetry. Essays. Stories. Plays. Audio. Is this what is almost called a symposium? Who knows! Top stuff.

There is also free wine.



Yesterday was a fantastic and beautifully sunny day. and yes, it was FULL of culinary delights! In our usual try-as-many-coffee-shops/restaurants-as-we-can-possibly-afford, Jessie and I had several cups of coffee of various degrees of deliciousness, as well as visiting some wonderful ‘places of interest’.

Here’s a little run-through of our wanderings, with some links. All places mentioned come HIGHLY recommended. What a lovely place Exeter is!

I was met at Exeter St. Davids by Jessie and her dad, local story-telling legend, Kevin Cotter. He was equipped with his story-telling hat, (straw with several magnificent feathers bobbing in its brim as he led the way to the car), as he said he would drop us off in town after visiting a local school. What a dad!

Off we wandered through Exeter and stopped at The Plant Cafe.  A vegetarian deli/cafe/restaurant, we shared a lemon and crunchy polenta cake, which was lovely. From our table outside, we had a view of the Cathedral as well as the historical buildings surrounding it. We also had a great view of the local drunks, semi-permanent fixtures of the Cathedral grounds. They were completely harmless, and were just out enjoying the sunshine (Did I mention it was sunny?)  as much as we were!

After feeling ever so slightly intimidated by the row upon row of sparkly windows in Princesshay, we headed away from the torment of the hideous high street and towards the beacon of culture, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum.

I could have easily spent a whole day there. Instead of rows of identical dresses and printed jeans, there were glass case upon glass case of the most intricately original butterflies, beetles (some male and female species as small as a nit) and the famous Gerald the giraffe, which towers above the tusks of a stuffed elephant. (FACT OF THE DAY: Rumour has it that the tail of the giraffe, a resident of the museum since 1920, was mislaid, and now has a carefully painted replica, courtesy of some poor bottomless horse). After 5 years of refurbishment, the museum has been quirkily curated to encourage the interaction of the observer. Not all additions make perfect sense on a brief wander, yet the entrance, painted the most phenomenal pink, marks the old building with an immediate vibrancy that demands the notice of the modern visitor.

We were hungry… I was whisked off to The Exploding Bakery on Queen’s Street where we tucked into tomatoey-oniony-rocketty focaccia, a middle eastern spiced chickpea soup which was accompanied by a hunk of soda bread (the hunky assistant was just as tasty!) Dodgy puns aside, everything that we ate here was absolutely delicious. The soup was full of flavour, the spices fragrantly refreshing on a hot (yes, hot!) day. And at just £3 for a cup and the bread, it was perfect. We stashed the bread in our totes to feast on later.

We then weaved our way down little and large streets old and new, to find the Book-Cycle. Situated opposite the House That Moved (another barmy story to research later), the unusual charity book shop works on donations that are used to send books to children in developing countries. An allowance of three books a day, the price you wish to pay from goodwill. I’m not sure on the proper details, but please check out this website and be inspired by it. Surely it can’t just be books that the success of this ethos is limited to… The upstairs room in this fascinating shop is well-worth the visit – just being in it will make you want to read!

A final note. Kevin works for an Exeter based company called, Love Local Food. The not-for-profit business seeks to encourage the positive effects of shopping in local businesses, in order to create a community that cares about the origin of its produce.  I am absolutely thrilled to have one of my recipes on the website now! The (Non-Stinging) Nettle Quiche was trialed for my children’s recipe book and voted by a trusted group of hungry students as the tastiest. Have a look at it here on the Love Local Food recipe page. Enjoy!

Rosie x