Gardening (and reading about gardening)

Moving into my first house last year brought lots of new lessons in home ownership but also in gardening. I had insisted that my next home had to be a house, with a garden, but probably underestimated both the care and reward involved, in that order. On moving in, the small front and back gardens … Continue reading

Repatriation and the reality of going home

[The long summer holiday is a time when many expatriates are on the move, in line with the school year. This post originally appeared over at Your Expat Child but I’m re-posting it here ahead of the moving season.] Having successfully moved a family abroad, the idea of the return journey can seem like a relatively … Continue reading

Book review: Wolf Hall

I finished reading Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall on the day the UK’s Public Lending Right revealed figures to show that its sequel, Bring Up the Bodies, was the 8th most borrowed library book in the country in 2013. Apparently this is the first Man Booker Prize-winning book to feature in the top ten and shows … Continue reading

Photograph of Mrs. Hemingway book with chocolates in background

Book review: Mrs. Hemingway

I was lucky enough to go along to the book launch for Naomi Wood’s (@NaomiWoodBooks) second book, Mrs. Hemingway. The British Library venue was buzzing with happy authors, publishing folk, family and friends. In her speech, Wood’s editor, Francesca Main (@FrancescaMain, Picador), introduced the author as ‘Hemingway’s fifth wife’. Wood then read movingly not from … Continue reading

Photograph of Gardens by the Bay

Mini-returns and unfamiliar ‘homes’

Towards the end of last year I went on a wonderful three-week holiday to Australia. It is one of my favourite places, if it is fair to think of it as one place – in three weeks I saw just a tiny fraction of it on this visit. My parents lived in Melbourne for a … Continue reading

Book review: The Rosie Project

The worldwide release of The Rosie Project caught my eye a long time before I saw it advertised on posters at tube stations. The title on its own conjured an English-country garden image of spring flowers in muted purples and yellows, so the bright, abstract cover in red, white, black and green caught my eye … Continue reading

Stolen bicycles and homeliness

My few ‘regular’ readers might have noticed that I have not posted anything on here for a long time (if indeed they have not completely lost interest!). The Autumn of 2013 produced two unexpected challenges to my new found love of cycling, the subject of my previous posts (on commuting and on bike personalities). The … Continue reading

Transport with personality

I have never been big on anthropomorphising things – attributing objects or other animals with human qualities has never had that much appeal to me. My transportation devices, however, seem to be different. My cars gain names, even ones hired on holiday, and usually not names you would want to give to a person (a … Continue reading

Work-life balance and commuting by bike

I have posted before about some sights from my London commute via train and tube (both people and places). Despite these positives takes, I have never been much of a fan of my journey to and from work. I have become a much bigger user of mobile technologies and e-reading to make the time productive … Continue reading

Keyboard return key

Repatriates and the value of intercultural skills

Earlier this month the British Council launched a report about the value of intercultural skills in the workplace. It concludes that, ‘Employers understand the value of intercultural skills to their businesses. In fact, they value these skills above many technical abilities and formal qualifications.’ So, intercultural skills would be good things to have on your … Continue reading