There's still time to snap up a crafty gift for Christmas that will look great and keep little ones busy in the holidays
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Saturday 06 February 2010
Saturday 12 December 2009
Thursday 26 November 2009
One of the exhausting things about being a woman is that there's no brief answer to that social stalwart: "How are you?" In the workplace, maybe. In the street, maybe. Even at a party, maybe, but only if you don't know the person asking you well. But with a friend? With any, in fact, of your 20 close friends? Not a chance. There's no way out. Over a glass or 10 of chardonnay, or a slice or 10 of chocolate cake, you'll have to start from the beginning and work your way grimly through to the end.
Thursday 08 October 2009
Sunday 04 October 2009
Thursday 01 October 2009
Saturday 26 September 2009
This is a nice rich tea-time cake, or you could serve it as a dessert with, say, an ice-cream such as marmalade or ginger. I've served it here with cheese as there is a British tradition, although admittedly not a terribly popular one, to serve fruitcake with cheese. But a cake like this, or even a good old piece of Christmas cake, is really quite delicious with blue cheese – try it.
Sunday 13 September 2009
Wednesday 02 September 2009
With the rain putting the dampeners on the one-day cricket series against Australia, it appears that we will not see a repeat of the "Cricket in the Park" bashes that the Test sponsor Npower dubbed "the next best thing to being at the match". No bad thing, given the way it all ended. Fans were turned away by security staff who claimed that the event was over at 5pm, despite Australia's final wicket falling 45 minutes later. Diary can now reveal that this was because staff simply lost count of the number of spectators and had to close it on health and safety grounds. Let's hope Npower do rather better at keeping count of energy bills.
Friday 31 July 2009
Saturday 13 June 2009
Sunday 05 April 2009
Friday 06 March 2009
"We are cryptic and joyful and we would like you to dance," claim the enigmatic Fol Chen, likening themselves to the mysterious black monolith on the cover of Zep's Presence – a complete red herring as regards the group's musical approach, which favours synths and strings rather than rock and riffs.
Thursday 26 February 2009
Mrs Beeton would be turning in her grave. Her sensible muffins, crumpets and tea cakes and loaves studded with dates and raisins have been staple bakery favourites since 1861, when her seminal Book of Household Management began teaching Britons how to live "economically, tastefully and well". A century and a half later, these pantry treats are being overlooked in favour of doorstop-sized cupcakes in lurid shades of pink, green and red, crowned with inch-thick smears of sugary frosting and sprinkled with chocolate vermicelli and enamel-cracking gold and silver dragees.
Friday 13 February 2009
Frank Black has always produced his best work when his more masculine tendencies are tempered by a feminine touch, and such proves the case on Petits Fours, on which he and his wife, Violet Clark, join forces as Grand Duchy. It was an alliance, if not of opposing forces, then of opposing attitudes. "She digs the Eighties," claims Black. "I had spent the latter part of the Eighties doing my part to destroy the Eighties." Yet the decade is the dominant touchstone for Petits Fours, with Clark's synth parts recalling The Human League in "Seeing Stars", and combining with Black's po-faced croon in the manner of Ultravox and Tubeway Army for "Black Suit", a perfect pastiche of the era's blend of style and alienation. Not that Frank comes too willingly along, slipping reassuringly into his Black Francis scream at points, and bashing out dirty buzzsaw guitar riffs with alacrity on tracks such as "Lovesick", which recalls "Brown Sugar", and "Long Song", which could be by The Killers. But his gentler side is responsible for some of the album's most engaging moments, notably the beautiful pop melody of "Ermesinde" and the seductive "Come On Over to My House", an invitation that includes the promise "I'll make you buckets of tea/Put your breath inside me".
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