Absolutely Nothing to Listen to – Brain Food

Let’s call this part two.

It was raining this morning.
Far too heavily to cycle, so I caught the bus. I like the bus, I’ve always preferred the bus to the tube. Not as many people standing on the left, or stopping as soon as they’ve passed through the barriers or stepped off the escalator.

It might seem a little draconian but I’ve often thought that people should have to hold a license to travel on the tube during the rush-hour. A license that requires the holder to have passed a stringent exam, both theoretical and practical, on the intricacies and etiquette of tube use.

I’m not for one moment saying that people without such a license should be prevented from using the underground. However, like L-plates, perhaps they should be issued with a florescent bibs highlighting them as ‘learners’. Maybe with ‘Might Stop Without Warning” emblazoned on the back…

Might be a little too draconian.

But it’s a thought.

Anyway this morning, as I was saying, I took the bus.
And like I said I like the bus. You get to look out of the window.
I’m also lucky that my bus stop is at the beginning of the line so there’s always a seat. Not that I wouldn’t give it up if the situation arose.

This morning the bus was empty. Well nearly empty. There were a few people on the top deck. One of them was a girl called Emma. She had just finished her A-levels and was on the way to meet some friends in Battersea park, but not Jemima, Emma doesn’t like Jemima. Jemima’s a bitch apparently.

Emma’s just been asked to be a bridesmaid at Vicky’s wedding. The dress is to be blue but Emma’s worried that it won’t go with her hair, she might have to get it coloured.

She’s not keen on the shoes Vicky’s chosen to boot, which is just making matters worse. She’s actually thinking of saying no to being a bridesmaid, just so she can choose a dress herself.

Now you might be asking yourself; what I was doing talking to an eighteen year old girl called Emma on the bus?
I wasn’t.
I wasn’t even sitting upstairs.
Emma’s quite loud when she’s on the phone.

Luckily I had my iPod, it just took me the length of the wedding conversation, inter-cut with a bit of Jemima bashing, to unravel my headphones…

So on to part two:
I decided not to listen to comedy. My laughter might have been misconstrued and thought to be directed at Emma.

I decided instead on a bit of brain-food. And for brain-food, with a little comedy too, I highly recommend either of these:

The Infinite Monkey Cage: (BBC podcast seasons 1-4)
Professor Brian Cox and comedian Robin Ince invite renowned scientists, theologians, writers, thinkers and the odd comedian to discuss everything from religion and the universe to the LHC and statistics. It’s brilliantly insightful, often hilarious and always a good workout for the grey cells.
Brian Cox is as enthusiastic as ever and really quite funny .
Things can’t get much better than this

The Museum of Curiosity: (Seasons 1-4)
It’s a bit like QI for your ears. John Lloyd (creator of QI) is joined, depending on the season, by guest hosts Billy Bailey, Jon Richardson, Sean Lock and Dave Gorman as they invite a panel of brainiacs to take on the job of curator and fill the museum with things they find fascinating.  It really is a quite exceptional series and I hope there’s more to come. Listen out for the mind blowing episode with Dr Rupert Sheldrake.
Cracking stuff.

That’s it for now.

I wonder why Emma hates Jemima so much?

Absolutely Nothing To Eat

When it comes to sandwiches and my 2 year old, there’s only ever one response, “I YUCK dem”

So, on his first full day at nursery I packed him off with his lunch and had to get a bit creative with the bread option. And apparently if they’re shaped like a dinosaur they’re not yuck at all. Makes perfect sense, obviously.

You can get your very own dinosaur shaped sandwich cutter here

Absolutely Nothing To Buy – Woop Studios

The very clever people at Woop Studios have brought out a whole load more fabulous prints all based on the wonderful world of collective nouns. No, really.

Woop was founded by Miraphora Mina, Eduardo Lima, Harriet Logan, and Mark Faulkner who all came together through their love for graphic design, images and words. You can read all about them here. Their online gallery was launched in November 2010 and they now have a growing collection of limited edition and stock prints all available to buy framed or plain.

They not only make brilliant gifts for anyone with a liking for birds and animals, but their LOVE collection make the perfect wedding presents. All the designs are printed on 308gsm pure cotton, acid free paper which means they will last for 200 years and each limited edition print is numbered, signed and embossed to make it extra special.

Prices vary from an unframed print costing £69 for a small version and £169 for an extra large – other sizes available in between. Or you can choose to have your print beautifully framed for an extra cost – applicable to UK orders only.

Woop woop for Woop. I’m having the Exaltation of Larks and possibly the Parliament of Owls and maybe A Charm of Finches and……

Absolutely Nothing To Cook

Cauliflower and Smoked Cod Chowder (well more of a soup really)

I was hoping to be eating nothing but salads and ice cream at this point in the year but seeing as it’s as cold as Autumn, I made a very delicious soup last night which I thought I’d share.

It was a mix between a chowder and Cullen Skink, the lighter version, using cauliflower instead of potato. It was enjoyed curled up in front of the fire. The bonkers British Summer.

So here it is :

1 cauliflower head – broken in to florets

1 small onion – diced

2 cloves garlic – cut finely

rape seed oil


2 fillets smoked cod (or you can use haddock)

sweet corn (I used frozen but you could use tinned)


chicken stock

flat leaf parsley

salt and pepper

So, firstly I put a generous splash of oil and a bit of butter in to the pan. Added the garlic and onion and cooked until soft. Then in went the cauliflower and turned around in the onion for 5 minutes or so. I had some chicken stock in the freezer but you can use a cube – I made up about 500ml….just enough to cover the cauliflower and simmer until soft. Near the end I added the sweetcorn, it needs hardly any time at all to cook. Then on to the fish. I halved the fillets and put them in a pan with enough milk to cover, a couple of bayleaves and some pepper. Brought to the boil and then simmered….dont know if that’s the right way to do it but it works for me.

While the fish was poaching, I put the soup in to the blender and whizzed it up until really smooth. Now, if I was a proper domestic goddess and wife,  I would have put it through a sieve to make it really super smooth – I didn’t. Once the fish was cooked I lifted it out of the milk on to a plate and added the liquid to the soup. Then the fish went in just before we were ready to eat with a good handful of chopped flat leaf parsley and a sprinkle of pepper.

It was really good and super quick and very tasty.

I don’t have a photograph I’m afraid so here’s a similar soup which I didn’t make.


Absolutely Nothing To Listen To – Radio Comedy

I have a new office and I have a new bike. Actually I have 4750 newish bikes to be exact. And whilst whizzing around town on my blue-boris I’ve been getting an earful of radio comedies and podcasts.

I know I’m a little behind the times, I just got so bored with bloody Ricky Gervais (are we allowed to say that yet?) that I put all podcasts on the backburner for a while. And I’m glad I did as I now have hundreds of hilarious hours to listen to as I look for a cycle-dock.

There are so many to mention that I’m not sure whether to write separate reviews for each or just bombard you with a long list now.
It’s  Monday and I’ve got a lot to do.
A list it is.
Well maybe a few words with each….

Giles Wemmbley-Hogg Goes Off (Seasons 1-4)
Marcus Brigstocke’s hapless Carthusian takes a permanent gap-year and generally toffs things up as he travels from lovely Budleigh to Bolivia and beyond. With two M’s, two G’s and a 90 litre rucka, Giles leaves his mark on more countries than cholera, with not dissimilar results.

Think The Unthinkable (Seasons 1-4)
Brigstocke again, this time in the world of management consultants. Unthinkable Solutions are all about pushing the envelope, riding the gravy train, low hanging fruit and corporate restructuring that incorporates the elephants ears whilst keeping the feet, tail and trunk in a logistical three-way paradigm that best serves the consumers spending power. These are the kind of guys that call a spade a square headed digging implement. Don’t be afraid of change, be brave, run towards it. Listen out for the brilliant David Mitchell as IT expert Owen, all aboard the fraternity of the sacred goat. Pump.

Old Harry’s Game (Seasons 1-7 and a bonus Christmas special)
Andy Hamilton is the Devil, Beelzebub, Old Harry, Satan, Old Scratch, He of the red pajamas and pitch fork; and he’s had enough. Hell’s overcrowded, his demons are revolting and they’ve just taken delivery of mankind’s all time most despicable soul, Thomas Crimp.
To make matters worse arriving at the same time as Thomas, in fact killed at the same time as Thomas, in an accident caused by Thomas, is the Professor and the Professor doesn’t believe in Hell.
Old Harry’s got to do something about this. How about instead of sowing discourse in the world of man he tries to convince them to lead better lives?
It’s a thought….

Cabin Pressure (Seasons 1-2, bonus Christmas special and Season 3 coming in July)
My personal favorite. Benedict Cumberbatch, of Sherlock fame, is Martin the only pilot on the only plane of MJN Air (actually he, Martin, agreed to work for free just so he could be pilot). Still being paid but sitting in the co-pilots chair is the sharp-tongued and infinitely more experienced Douglas, played by Roger Allam. With creator and writer John Finnemore playing the hilariously exuberant cabin boy Arthur and Stephanie Cole as Carolyn, owner of airline and Arthur’s mum, Cabin Pressure flies well away from the expected ‘airline’ humour concentrating character rather than cliché. The writing is brilliant and the acting first class.

Ok enough for now.
Lets make this part 1.

Now, off to try and find a bike.

Absolutely Nothing To Read….one for the kids-ish

I was going to post this last night as a finale to a Father’s Day well spent but I was too busy trying to get my own children to “Go The F To Sleep” 

I’m also a bit of a prude and was nervous of the bad language. But it is funny. And even better when read in the dulcet and oh so slightly menacing tones of Samuel L Jackson. Click here and let the sleepiness roll in….

Roll up roll up….

Or don’t, as the case may be. I’m talking about men and the trend for rolling up their already skinny, tapered jean.

I know this has been around for a while, seen first on the Milan and Paris catwalks and slowly filtering down ever since. So it wasn’t a huge surprise that on a recent visit to Westfield shopping centre in London (the Mac store – the only reason to ever ever go there) I noticed they were absolutely everywhere but on the most unlikely of candidates. If I’m really truly honest, I sort of liked it. I liked the confidence with which it was worn and the tight neatness of the roll, more than the fashion itself perhaps. The hilarity came from the shock and total incomprehension shown by my husband who was the first to spot the many male ankles surrounding him. “Why would you do that?” he kept saying as he pushed his way through in his twisted, loose, rolled down, Levis. Which I would like to go on record as saying , I like much much more than the male skinny jean. Especially when it’s on my husband.

What did confuse me about all the ankle exposure wasn’t so much the style of jean (very tapered) worn with the espadrille pump (an understandable shoe choice) but it was the person wearing said ensemble. They weren’t fashion types, they were groups of twenty and thirty something boys (men) who just didn’t strike me as tapered jean wearers. They were more loose and lager than skinny and sushi. And then, to my husband’s complete horror, the particular group we were following and observing, took a sharp right turn and went in to Topman. “What are they doing???” he exclaimed, a little too loudly. Maybe we should just put it down to being a generation divide. I think it’s safe to say he will never roll up his jeans, thank goodness, I on the other hand just popped to the village shop in a pair of rolled up PPQ skinnies and my black and white brogues and it felt pretty darn good.

The men in Westfield did not look anything like this.  Just thought that was worth mentioning.

Best bits from a week of Absolutely Nothing….

Absolutely Nothing To Watch – Bored To Death

Absolutely Nothing To Wear – Braving The Brogue

Absolutely Nothing To Watch – Luther

Absolutely Nothing To Cook – Lemon Sole

Absolutely Nothing To Wear – Merchant and Mills

Absolutely Nothing To Wear – Bring Your Own Blanket

Lots more coming this week from a whole host of new contributors…..

And now a day of doing absolutely nothing at all.

Is it better to smell like your mother or your mother in law?

My husband isn’t really one for lady fragrances, he refers to perfume as aftershave, but then again he doesn’t know the difference between a skirt and a dress, so you can see the problem.

I’ve often asked him if he likes my perfume, likes the smell, thinks of me when he smells it, that kind of thing  and he’s always said, “yes yes, it’s lovely”. I wear YSL Rive Gauche….or at least I did until the other day when I asked the same question and he replied, “yes I really like it, reminds me of my Mum”. Is that a good thing? I don’t know. Should it worry me? Do I want to remind my husband of his Mum?

So, I was coming to the end of my bottle of regular Rive Gauche and decided that rather than buying more, I’d have a change. So, I looked through the myriad bottles of half worn perfume which line my bathroom shelf, and decided to go for Coco by Chanel, which I’ve always loved….and which reminds me of my Mum. You can see where this is going. One evening, wearing said perfume, we were lying on the sofa watching CSI, in that precious hour between the kids and our own bed time, and suddenly he said ;

“I really like your new aftershave”

“It’s the one my Mum always wears” I replied, testingly.

“That’s ok” he said, nuzzling a little closer.

But is it ok? Who should I smell like, my mum or my mother in law? Or should I just start completely from scratch and find a whole new smell.

Oh the dilemmas I find myself in. Life is really never simple.



Absolutely Nothing To Watch – Bored To Death

Not many TV series escape my attention so when I find something of this caliber I’ve not seen, and with two whole seasons to watch, well it’s sad to say but I get quite excited.

After the success of his first novel, part time society columnist,  Jonathan Ames (Jason Schwartzman) is struggling with his second. He drinks too much wine and smokes too much weed, and as such his girlfriend has left him along with his inspiration (this is not a situation I can relate to. I haven’t written a novel).

So Jonathan does the only thing he can do in this situation. He puts an ad on Craig’s List and starts moonlighting as a private detective…with reasonable rates.

With Raymond Chandler in his pocket, noir in his veins and leather patches on his elbows Jonathan hits the bars, bordellos and burger joints of Brooklyn looking for missing sisters, lost dogs and cheating lovers.

With a little assistance from his best pal, and cartoonist, Ray (Zach Galifianakis – in one of his best roles). And some serious hindrance from his; part-time boss, full time lothario and occasional confidant George (Ted Danson – who steals the show) Jonathan Ames is the best ‘unlicensed’ PI out there.

Bored To Death is occasionally on Sky Atlantic or season one is available to by on DVD from Monday. Season two has already aired stateside with season three on the horizon so for those of you who know how, and don’t mind doing so, there are other ways of procuring this sensational show. The way I see it, I pay for Sky and it’s going to be broadcast eventually….is that so wrong?

Oh and did I mention it has one of the best opening titles ever….