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Liked and loved: November 2018

This is my first liked and loved linky entry - found on www.acornishmum.com - thank you for that! 

Here are the things I've liked and loved last month. And I've just realised the majority of them are FOOD!




My 12 year old son made a rude comment about how I wasn't able to just "throw pasta" at him every time I couldn't be bothered to cook. So I decided to make him cook. We have baked in the past, but to be honest, he's not that interested in it - so this was a task! He managed to cook filled pasta with his own tomato sauce, topped with grated cheese (and no grated finger nails!).



When my parents visited the other weekend, my mum and I took the opportunity to nip out for a sneaky steak before watching Bohemian Rhapsody. We absolutely loved both the steak and the film!

This year saw the third return to Butlins Minehead for their Shiiine On weekender (90s indie for the uninitiated). My partner and I met up with three of my besties from uni and had simply the most…

Why I can’t wait for the next book in the series

Last week, my favourite literary character made a welcome return - John Rebus. Ian Rankin’s 23rd novel (including one book of short stories) featuring the dysfunctional, ex-police detective. I await each new story, trying to eek out my reading each night so as not to finish too soon. Loving police procedurals as I do, I also follow the life story of Rebus, his ex-side kick and now rising in the ranks herself Siobhan Clarke, and also Malcolm Fox, working first in complaints and actually investigating our own Rebus. Whilst I loved the case of the a body found in a car, missing for years, it didn’t move the personal story on enough for me. Testimonies of ex-job, including Rebus, were re-examined under today’s microscope, links to the ever-present local gangster, Big Ger Cafferty, hints at a love interest for Fox... I wanted more of this. More human interaction. I think what I actually want is a book with no mystery to solve. Just what Rebus is up to.

On the TV, John Hannah played Rebus fo…

When your pre-teen son is taller than you

I should've known right from the start that he'd be huge. Created by a short- (me) and average-sized (his dad) parents, luckily the boy turns after my dad and not me. During his last three month stay in the womb-hotel, he outgrew his accommodation, forcing a referral to a specialist for his talapese. Thankfully, the specialist confirmed that it was indeed a "packaging problem rather than a manufacturing problem" in that my small stature bunched his feet up, causing him to kick me incessantly in the ribs as well as slightly deforming his feet on entry to the world. However all is well now in that department. But here are some of the issues with having a pre-teen son taller than you:
1. Sorting socks - "Are these yours or dads?" I ask multiple times. I'm sure we bought different socks for you and your dad so we'd work this out, but for the life of me I can't remember. You can do it yourself.
2. Sitting at the table is becoming impossible. No …

Ms Humdrum recommends ... The Canteen, Hot Walls, Old Portsmouth

Tucked in the redeveloped arches in Old Portsmouth is the Canteen. I can't believe I hadn't been here before! Half-term means a breakfast meet-up with friends and I was pleased it was going to be here.

A good two mile walk from Canoe Lake afforded me free parking plus a chance to clear my foggy head. We chose a large table in the middle as there were a few of us, but my mind was set on returning to the little table by the window next time. Apparently there is a small terrace to sit on, where the water laps in at high tide. That's the next but one time sorted then.

So obviously I'm going to choose the breakfast. A few of my friends go for the veggie option, but meat is the way for me. I was able to switch the evil tomato to avocado, which was offered with the veggie breakfast stack. Result number one.

The stack arrived - it was a thing of beauty. A rosti at the bottom, crispy streaky bacon (not fatty) which I thought may be from my local butcher (see later for de…

Ms Humdrum recommends... Cafe Marmalade

My friends will know that I am a breakfast aficionada. When Master Humdrum was smaller, we would be free for three whole hours on a Saturday morning (extra long football training) which afforded us time to languish over a full English. I don't know which I enjoyed more - the thrill of ordering what might be the best ever breakfast in a new venue, or returning to our old haunts as we knew we would get the best. Over time, things change. Football training morphed into a second weekend team so we couldn't really dump him at a game on Saturday morning, just to enjoy a breakfast. 


Until last Saturday, when the fortune brekkie allowed us two hours off.

Mr Humdrum found Cafe Marmalade, situated on Copnor Road, online. We had been there before, but a few years ago and I believe it was refurbished and reopened earlier this year. 

The small breakfast comprised:

A delicious sausage and slice of bacon - we knew the meat was going to be excellent as we saw the delivery van for Bransbury Park B…

Ms Humdrum recommends ... author Ruth Ware

The Death of Mrs Westaway, In a Dark, Dark Wood, The Lying Game and The Woman in Cabin 10 - all by Ruth Ware

I have read the first three of these and couldn't wait to start The Woman in Cabin 10. The Death of Mrs Westaway focuses on a tarot-reading girl who's lost her mother, who may have found a way to come into some money to pay her debts. I found the characters, especially the main protagonist, Hal, very readable and real. I loved the descriptive part of the tarot cards; this added an extra dimension to the story. 

The Dark, Dark Wood is about a hen weekend gone wrong - but not in the Hangover sense - ending in a death. Again, characters made real with back stories that come out throughout the book. I feel this one could have made more out of the copycat element between the hen and her best friend as this was left unanswered. 

The Lying Game is about a group of former public school girls who share a secret from their school years, which comes to light years later and threatens…

Ms Humdrum recommends ... beaches around Padstow, Cornwall

(1) Lighthouse walk around Trevose Head to Booby's Bay
We walked around Trevose Head from our campsite in Mother Ivey's Bay, but of course you can access it from the coastal path. Passing over the lifeboat station, this afford you a view back over Harlyn and Trevone beaches, Stepper Point at the lower mouth point of the Camel Estuary and even as far as Polzeath and Pentire Point and the Rumps on the other side of the estuary. Once you have passed the lighthouse and the blow hole, the view is south to Booby's Bay and Constantine beach. Last year, we walked this route starting off drenched with rain and ending up in full sun, with a pasty pitstop by the lighthouse on the way. Watching the waves crash into Booby's over the rocks kept us occupied for quite some time.




(2) Padstow walk
Padstow, or Padstein as it's sometimes unfavourably known, is seen as a touristy town with the harbour as the main attraction. And it is and attraction. But there is much more to the area. A …

Ms Humdrum recommends ... The Courtyard in Southsea Castle

Location and ambience: I usually only visit here during our local Victorious festival, for their bbq and the toilets, if I’m being honest. 

Today after a short stroll along the front, we decided to pop in for tea and cake. For those who don’t know, it’s set in the courtyard of Henry VIII’s castle built in 1544. Sadly, he didn’t design the castle with enough forethought to have a cafe 500 years in the future with views over the Solent, so we are under the arches. We snuck into the comfy chairs at all the end, out of the main thoroughfare. Music came on at the end of our visit but it wasn’t intruding (unlike the Adele and Kylie blasting out at another seafront-based cafe ...). 

Refreshments: The cake selection was good; we chose coffee and walnut. It was neither dry not cold, two of my pet hates. Not sickly either, even for the large slice. 

The tea (Teapigs - breakfast I presume?) was hot (sounds silly but you know what I mean!) and brewed properly on arrival rather than having to wait 10…

New beginnings

A new school term brings not only a new start for Master Humdrum in year 8, but a new start in year 5 for me. Thankfully, I know the staff very well, so it's been an easy first week back (or rather three days).

This week also heralded a new beginning at the junior premier league team for us all. New kits for him, new crowd of parents for us to get to know. First game of the season. First win.

I tried to start the term with a new attitude of exercising every day - a walk around the shore, biking to school, sea swim ... The sea swim afforded me two catch-ups too with friends.

And you can't start the school year without new hair.

Victorious Festival, Southsea Common, Bank Holiday weekend 2018 - Ms Humdrum Reviews

Friday - Day One Life is all about which choices you make. Wellies or flip flops. Shorts or jeans. Kaiser Chiefs on the main stage or Prince Brandon DJing in Beats n Swing. Whether to tune up your guitar over the DJ playing Martin Luther King's speech behind you. Whether to give Pete Doherty another chance after last year, or not. I chose to wear trainers and shorts! I was propositioned for my North Face jacket - what for, I hear you ask? Two portions of dirty fries! Coming Together - Arriving before the queues, we would have loved to have sat in the sun on the grass listening to Come Together play the whole of Abbey Road. They sounded really good but I'm afraid the lure of the bar and the shelter under Beats n Swing took us away; I hope we get chance to see you again though. Lightning Seeds - Lucky Us - Only the main stage field was open, but we wouldn't have been able to wander round too much in the rain. A few G&Ts later (slumming it with Beefeater - actually really nic…

Ms Humdrum recommends ... doing stuff near Padstow!

This is the second of three blog posts where I draw on my years of experience visiting Padstow as a child, and the last five years staying there and making new family memories. I've already written extensively about eating in and around Padstow, including an essay on pasties, but this piece is about doing


Quad biking 
ATV Centre near Truro, 01872 560753



 A couple of years ago, Messrs Humdrum Jr and Sr go karted at St Eval. This time, they fancied something different. Quad biking! An early start proved non-essential (we'd been used to St Eval being absolutely jam packed way before opening time), but this did mean they got the track to themselves. Down £75 with two overalls hired, off they went to train. Not believing Master Humdrum's age, they gave him a bigger bike which he managed very well. Until he crashed and broke it! I can't count the laps they did, but they had a full 30 minutes on the track and luckily all alone. I was impressed with the staff there. The viewing…