The Tulip Tree

A drizzly-damp day brightened by a trip to The Tulip Tree. Coffee, lunch and quirky furniture. Cakes and muffins galore. And a shop with fresh produce just next door. I’m in a bit of a mood, it’s fair to say. Monday blues. Dull day doldrums. Weekend promise of Spring ­čî×┬á­čîĚ┬ádenied ­čîž­čśö. So it’s just as … More The Tulip Tree

Simple Serendipity

A surprising shift from the daily routine (a tiny but potent tweak), and suddenly I own my day more than it has sworn to own me. So I run out in the winter-rare sunshine to meet it. A twist in events could occur at any time – I know that – so I sit in … More Simple Serendipity

Sweet Spice

I’m feeling tired and fed up. I may even have sniffed back a tear. It doesn’t matter why – things have just got to me. I lie to the kids: I say I am “Fine.” But they know I am not. I throw off my apron in a bit of a grump; it has been … More Sweet Spice

Making Manakish

In the Levant (so I’ve heard), people take their own za’atar┬áto the local baker, where it is mixed with olive oil, then smeared onto flatbread dough and baked for a few minutes until crispy brown but with a lovely softness inside. These manakish (or man’ousheh in the singular) are very good for┬ábreakfast. Za’atar is both … More Making Manakish

Snow run

First snow run of the season. Freezing low mist merges with the white-flecked ground. I skid down a mud-slush path, then skate to the side in search of firmer footing. There is none. It’s a hop, skip and slide run. Only a few well-wrapped walkers and some skittish deer are out, plus a father and … More Snow run

A Serious Case of Escapism

In an attempt to take my life a little more seriously than I habitually do, I make coffee, then grab a pen and a whimsically-covered notebook. I plonk random pieces of fruit next to me for colour and inspiration, and read snippets of this fabulously escapist and informative book (another Oxfam bookshop gem). Funny and … More A Serious Case of Escapism

Sunset slows the day

I am rushing along a featureless fast road rising high above the London orbital, my mind muddled by a million different mundanities. I am half-running, half-walking, needing to be somewhere else, blindly ignoring the faceless cars swiping too close and too fast. Then I look over my left shoulder, primed by I don’t know what. … More Sunset slows the day