Recently Reading...

Saturday, 11 July 2015

I'm always reading and it's one of the greatest pleasures in my life.
I thought I'd share some of the books I've been reading lately and maybe get some suggestions of books to read next!

First up is The Rosie Project which I read on holiday a couple of months ago and it is the perfect holiday read. Set in Australia, Don Tillman is a genetics professor on the autistic spectrum, most likely Aspergers Syndrome, but he doesn't know it (a funny moment is when he delivers a lecture on Aspergers, listing quality after quality that he exhibits, without twigging). Having reached middle age without even getting to date number 2, he decides he wants to get married and creates a thorough and frankly tactless questionnaire designed to find the perfect wife. Rosie, who he meets at the University, smokes, is a sometime vegetarian and leads a pretty wild life; she definitely doesn't meet the criteria...but when has that ever mattered to Love?

A light and charming read, The Rosie Project is a testament to the unpredictability of love and Don's way of viewing the world makes for an interesting voice. A quick and untaxing read, it is perfect summer holiday read as I mentioned.

My favourite book of the three, Maggie O'Farrell is a beautiful writer. Set in the heatwave of 1976 in London, the sticky, claustrophobic, unbearable heat sears through every page of the book. Robert Riordan goes out to get a newspaper as he does every day...but this time he doesn't come home. His wife Greta, the Irish matriarch of the family might know where he is, but she is not letting on. Robert's sudden and out of character disappearance brings home his children in the search for him, and the complicated dynamics of a close, working class family are crafted so perfectly. 
Michael Francis, a father himself whose marriage is on the brink of collapse due to a one time infidelity and a wife whose resentment has built over the years, is the only brother and the peacemaker. The sisters, once so close are now estranged and the reason why is teased out slowly, throughout the book. There's Monica, the eldest, a goody two shoes to her siblings, who is now caught in her own struggling second marriage, trying to be a step-mother to two girls who hate her and Aiofe, the wild, youngest sister who has relocated to New York. As the book is set in the 1970's we can understand why her obvious dyslexia has not been diagnosed, but the descriptions of her life as she tries to struggle through without anyone realising, are heartbreaking.
As the family join forces to find their father, the intricate writing delivers a portrait of a complicated and realistic family. The plotline of the missing father actually feels very secondary to the family dynamics and when the reason Robert is missing is uncovered, it is a slight let down, but overall the book is brilliantly written and well worth a read.

Lastly, The Husband's Secret, another book set in Australia, funnily enough. Centred around the generations of families who have attended a Catholic primary school in Sydney. This book is sweet, with some nice character development, but was a little too chick-lit for me. The big secret seemed a little unlikely to have gone undiscovered for so long but did link the characters together in a feasible but not obvious way. The three protagonists are all female, but without any of the complexity of my favourite women in modern fiction. Cecilia, the super mum and Tupperware queen, who knows everything about everyone and manages to keep all the plates spinning effortlessly, Tess, who suffers from social anxiety but manages to run a business and who has escaped to her mothers after discovering her husband and cousin, who are also her business partners, have fallen in love and want her blessing and Rachel, who never recovered from her daughters murder and is now dealing with her son moving her beloved grandson away to New York. The most interesting feature of this book, is when the narrators voice changes from describing the actions of thoughts of the characters to that of Fate, explaining what would have happened to the characters if things had been different, a Sliding Doors type of peek at what might have happened.

More recent reads coming soon!

Eat: MUD

Sometimes, convos are so deep that you don't even want to take pictures of yourself or each other, You leave it all to the food, because when discussing matters of love and heartbreak you can't bring yourself to crack a smile. That was the kind of the deal when a friend and ended up wandering to MUD in Tooting, a cute and new-ish place that serves brunch and coffee.

Lemony Lemonade!

Being a sunny day, I always try and soak up a few rays so we headed out to the tiny little garden in the back, walking past the rows of benches and the kitchen. The little courtyard garden houses 4 tables and benches and a little shed, with adorable strawberries growing in pots on the wall.

I don't eat meat but the Breakfast Burger looks pretty good - brioche bun with pork patty, streaky bacon substituted for avocado, burford brown egg, potato cakes and homemade tomato ketchup.

I went for the sweetcorn fritter stack and was more than happy with my decision! Corn fritters, avocado and chilli jam with egg that I asked for scrambled. The spicy sweetness of the chilli jam tasted great with egg and the smashed avocado was a perfect partner for the corn fritters. A touch too much coriander, but then I'm not a fan. Other than that, a delicious alternative brunch dish, should be on more brunch menus!

Food helps heartbreak. And brunch like this has to beat ice cream and wine, which would be my go to but as it's not my heartbreak I didn't get to decide ;)

MUD serve brunch and coffee daily until 3pm. A nice SW London addition.

Go: Grand Union, Wandsworth

Thursday, 9 July 2015

 Top: Lazy Oaf
Dungarees: Primark

In the middle of a busy roundabout in Wandsworth, lies this unlikely and hidden gem. Away from the hustle of Southside shopping centre and the high street, is Grand Union, a pub with its very own Pleasure Garden! A bar built around a tree, complete with swings and £5 cocktails dominates the centre, with beach huts and sheltered seating areas all decorated in cutesy kitsch styles.

Perfect to enjoy the sun, it seemed my friends and I are late to find out about this place as it was heaving with young, pretty and incredibly well made up people! It was ideal for a bridesmaids reunion and lots of gossip over daiquiris in the summer sun.

PRIDE in the Park

Sunday, 5 July 2015

The day after London Pride, some friends and I headed over to Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens for Pride in the Park, a chilled day of music and food in the sun. A day for people of all genders and sexualities to celebrate our right to live and love how we want. I wore Topshop leggings and vest, with a little H&M jacket and New Look hat, accessorizing with a Barefoot bottle of Rose wine. Of course!