I sometimes find myself stuck in a Book Rut where my reading list swings back and forth between fluff (Shopaholic Ties the Knot) and drudgery (E-commerce for Dummies), so when I finally get my mitts on a book that I can disappear into, I get a bit excited.

I found such a book in the debut fiction novel of Dawn French (of The Vicar of Dibley fame). The novel is, as its title suggests, a tiny bit marvellous.

Admittedly, I was about a quarter of the way into the book before my attention was piqued, but then what unfolded, at the risk of sounding like "a complete wonk", was a tapestry of beautifully and intimately crafted characters.

The book is written in diary-style from the perspective of four characters: Mum, Dad, 17-year-old daughter and younger teenager son as they muddle through what they each think are disparate coming of age experiences; from our vantage point we see the connections they themselves cannot see. Any female with a mother-daughter experience I'm convinced will identify with the characters of Mo (Mum) and Dora (daughter). Dora's character is not one that you could fully appreciate, though, if you were still 17. Ten years of ripening will afford you the perspective to appreciate her fully.

One of the pitfalls of reading a great novel is that you run the risk of looking a bit silly while reading on public transport. This book caused me to laugh out loud, and caused my eyes to water and my jaw to literally drop. Such silly expressions you will never be caught with while reading E-commerce for Dummies... as you are likely to be asleep.

This is one of the rare books that I think I'd go back to read again. It will be passed onto my friends, but with a disclaimer that I'll be needing this one back.


A couple of weekends ago I flew up to Grafton to spend some time with my Nanna, Aunty, Uncle and Cousin Steff. Whenever Steff and I have hang-time there will be some kind of baking involved, and it'll often be something a little bit left-field. This time we tried our hand at replicating the old fashioned mint pattie (remember, in the green foil packets?) I have to say, they were much more well-received than the Melon Sago Creation of 2011.

This recipe called for mint-flavoured essence. My Aunty's collection of food colouring and essence yielded very interesting results, with a bottle of mint essence bearing a somewhat antiquated design. Upon questioning, Aunty Wendy, who is known for her special powers in date-recollection, informed us that she'd last used the essence in 1979 to make some after-dinner mints, but to rest assured that essence does not have a used-by date.

And so, we fullfilled that little bottle's life purpose, and it gave birth to another delicious batch of mint patties.

Our recipe came from the Frankie's Sweet Treats Recipe Book. You can find the online recipe here. Steff and I made our patties quite large, true to the form of the supermarket variety, but both agreed that next time we'd probably make them about half the size and impress the pants off our dinner guests with home-made after dinner mints!


Before the jewellery tree came along I had a very sorry excuse for jewellery storage. All of my bangles, bracelets and necklaces were hidden away in the one box in a tangled mess.

I got the idea for my jewellery tree from Cosmo, of all places. I picked up the sticks while stopped at a lookout on the drive home from a wedding at Bundanoon with my gentleman friend.

A ball of wool and four sticks is all you need. For the rest of my precious jewels I've screwed 4 mismatched glass jars to the underside of a shelf, to keep the items handy and also on display.


Last weekend was my Mum's birthday and I decided to attempt the Fruit Tingle cake of  Raspberri Cupcake fame.

It was preeeeeeeetty successful, at least by outward appearances. My cake is like the Home Brand version of Steph's.  I've recently moved and the oven in my flat is not fan forced, so by the time I pulled out the cake it was still a little gooey in the middle but with a very solid charcoal base. I hacked off the crust with a bread knife and slathered the whole production in butter icing. The cake eaters were either too polite or too tipsy to comment on the slightly weather-beaten cake, I suspect it was the latter, so all's well that ends well.

The weather is getting warmer and warmer here, finally. Being able to walk to the train station with the sun falling down on sleeveless arms does a happy girl maketh.

Such a lovely sunny weekend for Mum's birthday. Here are some photos of my party-girl nieces.