Countdown to Victorian Christmas!

In just 15 days, the largest Christmas festival on the south coast is set to return when Portsmouth Historic Dockyard welcomes back the ever-popular Victorian Festival of Christmas.
The festival is the perfect way to kick off seasonal celebrations. You will be transported to a bygone era where a cast of colourful characters roam the snow-covered cobbled streets. Rub shoulders with a medley of street entertainers, enjoy seasonal refreshments and browse over 150 stalls for perfect gift ideas.
Encounter the ever-popular traditional Father Christmas dressed in green, see Scrooge in his hand-drawn carriage, bump into young chimney sweeps, and enjoy street performances from Victorian magicians and musicians. To top it off, there will be a 35-foot Christmas tree alongside HMS Victory. Historic parts of the dockyard will be transformed into a Victorian-style street, complete with coffin measurers, ladies of the night, street urchins, market sellers and many more.  This year there is a brand ne…

Van Kuijk Quartet performs in Portsmouth

The Van Kuijk Quartet will be performing in Portsmouth on Monday 30th October as part of the Portsmouth Chamber Music Series.
Currently BBC New Generation Artists, the Van Kuijk Quartet’s international accolades boast First, Best Beethoven and Best Haydn Prizes at the 2015 Wigmore Hall International String Quartet competition, First Prize and an Audience Award at the Trondheim International Chamber Music Competition, as well as becoming laureates of the Aix-en-Provence Festival Academy. Further to this, they join the ECHO Rising Stars roster for the 2017/2018 season.

Since their formation in 2012, the ensemble is already an established presence in major international venues, performing at the Wigmore Hall in London, Auditorium du Louvre and Salle Gaveau in Paris, Tonhalle in Zurich, Musikverein in Vienna, Berliner Philharmonie, Tivoli Concert Series in Denmark, Sage Gateshead, and at festivals in Cheltenham, Heidelberg, Lockenhaus, Davos, Verbier, Aix-en-Provence, Montpellier/Radio F…

Southsea Library

I love reading and grateful that the city has a good collection of libraries. I often think it's the one resource that is worth spending money on. 
Libraries give people access to knowledge and leisure. Whether you are an extrovert or introvert, there is a place for you in the library. Whether you are highly educated or just started learning, the library is for you.
I go to the library to read novels, literary genius or pure chick-lit depending on my mood and inclination. I look up holiday destinations and even use the maps on the holidays themselves.
At the library I spend hours looking at books for ideas to decorate the home or learn a minor DIY needed to be done. I cook many delicious meals from books borrowed from the library. Most of all, I learn. Every single thing I read in the library, I learn from.
This week I read 'Homegoing' by Yaa Gyasi about the slave trade and displacement, and the finding of your soul's home. What will you learn this week? 

Portsmouth home of the arts

As appeared in Portsmouth View, October 2017 edition.

Portsmouth is home to the arts and this month you can see just what a variety there is for everyone to enjoy.

The fifth “Created in Portsmouth” arts and craft trail will take place the weekend of 13- 15 October and will feature a number of exciting local artists showcasing work in their studios.

See the work of painter Lizzie Cornelius at her Hotwalls Studio, or Myrtle Clark Bremer at her home on Pelham Road. Popular graffiti artist, My Dog Sighs is exhibiting above the Wedgewood Rooms.

Details from their website

Along the way, make a stop at many of the area’s great cafes. There is The Canteen at Hotwalls, Bread Addiction on Elm Grove and Casa de Castro on Albert Road, as well as Hunter Gatherer further along near Highland Road.

Every third Wednesday of the month there is a free, drop-in interactive Story Time session at Fort Nelson. Great for the under 5s, the session on Wednesday 18 October start…

Art Walk in Southsea

Saturday is chores day, but I cannot miss the Created in Portsmouth arts and crafts trail, which saw local artists and crafters opening their studios to the public.

I had very little time so briskly made my way to Darlington Road, where bookmaker and paper artist Adrian Munday was opening his front room to showcase some of the fabulous books he has made. The photographs of the books were enticing enough, but to actually feel the books yourself was quite something. I know I have a thing about stationary, but these books were exquisite!

Adrian's mother Shirley also had her crafts on display and she was an amazing woman who has a passion of beading and embroidery. You cannot miss her enthusiasm for the crafts and she couldn't avoid infecting me with her delight in crafting. Safe to say that I could not walk away without purchasing one of her beautifully crafted beaded bracelet.

Having had such an inspiring visit with these two I thought it would be churlish to skip the studio on …

Slow cook Sunday

Now, of course Sunday lunch is what everyone talks about on Sundays. A chance to sit with the family, over a long hearty dinner, communing and getting ready for the week ahead.
I love to cook on Sunday and today I bought a large leg of lamb and made lamb apricot. The recipe is simple but the lamb has to stew for at least an hour and a half.
The sauce is made up of basic soffritto, or chopped onion, carrots and celery sticks. Added to it some tomato puree and chopped dried apricot which all combined into a lovely orange sauce at the end.
Keep the recipe simple, after all, Sunday lunch is about sharing and caring with your nearest and

Love, Nina

Just finished reading a book entitled "Love, Nina" and really enjoyed it. The title caught my eye as my niece is called Nina.
Written by Nina Stibbe, the book is a series of letters she wrote to her sister at home detailing her time working as a nanny in London.
Her language is fun and it makes a very effective autobiography. By putting in some conversation in dialog format she avoided awakward description and kept the story fresh and honest.
It's an interesting read and as a student of creative writing I find the style interesting. Dialogues are hard unless you have a very good command of personalities and tone of voice of various characters.
Have a read, it's funny in most part and a very diverting read.