Every so often I like to do a quick roundup of things that I’m enjoying in life just now – mainly things I’ve encountered by chance, occasionally things I’ve been sent for review. Here is our current love list.
Huckle the Barber: I love Shoreditch. It’s a great place to walk around and feel inspired by the street art and the buskers, and it’s full of so many great places to eat and drink. DorkyDad gets his haircut in a place that has recently opened on Old Street – Huckle the Barber – and although they don’t really do kids haircuts we sneaked DorkySon in for a wee trim the other week too. He loved the fact that it was called Huckle – like the character in so many of Richard Scarry’s books – and felt like a real big boy sitting high up in the proper barber’s chair. Is three too young to be a hipster?
Unteteatete: I absolutely love this blog of portrait photos taken by a friend of ours in Edinburgh. She’s taking a photo (or a set of photos) of people every week, and as we used to live in the same tenement building I’m really enjoying seeing her lovely shots of some of the local Bruntsfield characters. My favourites so far have been the butchers and the tailors at work, but I can’t wait to see more over the coming year.
Brain Games for Your Child: DorkySon loves doing word and number games – from simple I Spy, to making up stories by taking it in turns to say a line, to doing treasure hunts around the house. I was very pleased to be sent a copy of Brain Games for Your Child by Robert Fisher, which includes over 200 games to play with your children at different ages (it covers from 0 to 9+). It’s not a book that you would sit and read cover to cover, but it’s great for dipping into on a rainy day to find some new ideas for ways to engage with your child and occupy them without having to turn the house upside down!
DoodleMum: I was so pleased to see in the Guardian the other weekend that lovely DoodleMum has a book out! Her blog is a record of the small moments of family life that we all like to record, but in sketch form rather than words. They utterly charming, and I hope she sells oodles of her doodles.
Marcs Words: Last year when I published a post about Gaza I was expecting some fairly strong reactions, and I did get one or two loons, but on the whole I was incredibly pleased by the very respectful discussion that took place. One of the people who took time to comment – and also to write a post of his own in response was Marc Goldberg, a blogger, writer, and former IDF paratrooper living in Israel. Marc blogged for the Times of Israel about the last conflict from the perspective of a reservist waiting to hear if he will be deployed in Gaza, and I thought it was an incredibly strong piece of writing. While he and I do not agree on a lot, we have kept in touch through Twitter. I always find his posts on his own blog an interesting and informative read, and I have nothing but respect for someone who takes the time to engage and discuss issues with someone coming from a very different position, as he did with me.
Arts Emergency: I’ve hosted a guest post from Arts Emergency on here before, but they are always worth another wee shout out. They’re a small (tiny!) charity, founded to provide an alternative the traditional ‘old boys network’ and to help make arts and humanities subjects available to anyone who wants to study them, regardless of financial barriers. If you’re an arts grad, or work in the arts and creative industries, you can get involved by mentoring pupils and students, providing useful contacts, or donating a few quid to help with their running costs. If you want to find out a bit more, you can go and say hello on Twitter – they’re very friendly.
Bonnie Gull: It was my brother’s birthday last weekend and my Mum was down visiting, so we headed into London for a lovely family meal. I’d never been to The Bonnie Gull before, but it’s definitely a new favourite for us all. Amazing fresh seafood, delicious wines, friendly staff… When we were mid-meal a man in a wooly jumper and large hat came through the door, carrying a few boxes of shellfish. “Look,” said DorkyDad to DorkySon, “I bet that man has come from Billingsgate Market.“ He turned and looked at us with a grin. “Not likely, he said, I’ve just driven up from Devon.” Hard to imagine getting a meal much fresher than that!
What’s making you happy just now? What are the books, songs, sites and shops putting a smile on your face? I’d love it if you’d spread the love, and leave me some suggestions in the comments.
Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of Brain Games for Your Child free of charge in order to write this review. I received no other payment, and all opinions are my own.