Thursday, 13 October 2011

Teeny-tiny festival review: In The Woods Festival 2011

The trees and paths behind my cottage ignited into a sea of lights and lampshades, bustling bars, trees wrapped in knitted yarns and stages filled with music...

In The Woods Festival, hosted and organised by The Laurel Collective transformed a once romantic woodland filled with age-old trees and trickling streams into a grand, magical party for one weekend only, resulting in some brilliant madness....

Paths were cleared through the woods to host two stages, with artists that are regularly acclaimed on BBC6 Music. From the hauntingly pretty sounds and lyrics of Lucy Rose to the soulful, startling vocals of Lianne La Havas in the Laurel Lounge. Alt J and many many more performed on a little stage crowded with people soaking up the melodies.

The main stage played host to the electro-pulsing beats of Post War Years and The Laurel Collective and many more, where the wild-folk danced 'til the cows came home...A yurt sold tea, coffee and friendly faces if you needed a rest - and there was plenty of room for quick kip by the bonfire. If, next year you are looking for a 'boutique' festival, then look no further. The infamous Biddenden Cider poured on tap, and a delicious pig on a spit, spat away - as girls in their floral dresses and boys in their waistcoats nodded, jumped and sang their way through an evening of inspiring music and beautiful people. Check out:

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Art, sea and sandwiches in MARGATE

The Turner Contemporary opened in April this year - a large, modern building on the seafront - marking the very place where JMW Turner frequently stayed in a lodging house throughout his life. Turner had spent time in Margate as a child, and continued to visit often. A number of his paintings, watercolours and sketches feature part of the Kent coast, particularly Margate - and Turner was said to have remarked that ' the skies over Thanet are the loveliest in all Europe'. (Thanet is just along the coast from Margate.)

Today, grey clouds loom above the vast expanse of sea, a couple of fishing boats bob about in suspense and a strip of coloured warehouses stretch out, masking the horizon. An overwhelming stench of whelks wafts about the muggy heat of the day, yet still tourists queue for a punnet of shellfish.

Entering the Turner Contemporary is little like opening a door into another world, a world away from the rough and ready streets of Margate, where crime rates are the highest in Kent. The big sun-like window looks out to sea, and people who like like they've just stepped off Brick Lane wander about gazing at work through their thick-rimmed professor-esque glasses.

The gallery plans to show changing exhibitions, and will always have one of more Turner works. This exhibition (Revealed: Turner Contemporary Opens) is inpired by Turner's 1815 painting of a volcanic eruption in the Caribbean. A range of work is shown in each part of the gallery, and all exudes incredible beauty and sentiment.

Douglas Gordon's texts appear on the main stairs - the final words uttered by Turner 'The Sun Is God' are played with to express the possibility that 'some things are better read than said'.

Ellen Harvey's installation ARCADIA is dazzling and reflective; a projection of the sea onto a long white wall swishing in and out of the shore and the sounds of the waves fill the room.

The most striking for me were the works of Russell Crotty, who - like Turner is fascinated by nature. Huge sketchbooks filled with large landscape drawings in colour, are scratched away intricately. Inspired by walking, surfing and observing the stars, Crotty uses words in his works to explain his thoughts and processes. Large, delicate paper globes hang from the ceilings, bearing drawings and hundreds of words from long walks and trailing thoughts.

Once you've looked around the shop at the front of the gallery, you can wander over to the Old Town and check out some of the extortionately priced Vintage shops, if you like. You could visit The Greedy Cow - a really lovely cafe selling delicious toasted ciabatta's - I recommend the Turkey, Stuffing & Cranberry Sauce... and nice glass of local (Chapel Down, Tenterden) wine.

So, don your candy-striped dress and get on down to Margate - there are some great retro furniture stores too!

Retro furniture:

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Into the wild: Blackberry Woods, South Downs, Sussex

If you are looking for a romantic getaway or just a beautiful place to camp with a nice old group of friends - then this is the place! If it's just the two of you, you might like to go for Blackberry Fields... nestled into parts of the forest are your pitches, and once the tent is up and the fire stoked - it's just you, your sweetheart and the stars above. (It is for peace-lovers, if you want to party the night away, then don't book into Blackberry Fields. There's a shower with an open roof, clean toilets, sinks and wheelbarrows to carry your camping gear - you leave your cars in the carpark).

The main campsite is set in the secluded glades of the South Downs - an area of truly outstanding natural beauty. There are plenty of walks, and pubs in nearby villages - but once the breakfast is sizzling and the kettle boiled you should start to feel pretty settled just where you are.

You can also book in to stay in the following - for a whole new experience:

Gypsy Caravan: This 1930's, original, hand-crafted Gypsy caravan is the perfect retreat. There's an original wood-burning stove and a very snug double bed which will fit just two adults. You just need to pack some bedding, 'and a crystal ball' they say!

Retro Caravan: 'Bubble' the Dutch Caravan, has been around since 1963, and sits nestled in place, and will sleep just two adults. It has all the cutlery and crockery that you may need, you just need to bring a nice soft duvet and a few pillows. There's a fully functional two-ring gas cooker, a cooler and the sofa turns into the double bed, which is around 6ft long. Children aren't allowed to stay in here, it's old and needs looking after... perfect for kicking back and relaxing for a long weekend.

Holiday Bus: Honk Honk! This 1964 Routemaster - giant red double-decker sleeps two couples in the comfy cosy upstairs - upper deck, which also bears a lounging area... downstairs you have the kitchen and dining area, and if you have little ones - this might please you... there's a fun play area which turns into a bedroom at night. It comes equipped with pots, pans, cutlery and all you need to do is bundle some bedding into the boot then away you go - 'summer holiday' time!

Friday, 17 June 2011

Listen to: 'Johannes' by Cocos Lovers

This incredible band dropped out of the blue blue skies of Kent and landed on a stage at a tiny little village festival last year...
Sitting and people-watching, I spotted this talented group long before they took to the stage. Couples entwined, children ran about, and a slightly bohemian air danced above them, so I wasn't surprised when they took to the stage and arranged a plethora of instruments: Violin, Tenor Banjo, Mandolin, Guitar, Flute and Ukelele were lifted out carefully and tuned.

African inspired, deep-rooted, harmonic folk sounds resonated as Cocos Lovers got into the swing of the set. Each took their turn to sing, harmonise and chant, the instruments combining to create touching melodies. Soon, everyone began humming along, and then clapping and dancing in time to their infectious rhythms. The mix of tuneful upbeat new folk sounds, with heartier, traditional folk tunes and instruments has made for something inspiring. I am hooked, and I want to be a part of their band.

The band have performed at Bloody Awful Poetry events in London, and have so far supported Mumford & Sons, Alessi's Ark and Fionn Regan amongst others. They have also performed at Secret Garden Party and Greenman Festival, and this year are set to do the same, as well as performing at Glastonbury this weekend, and Lounge on the Farm in a few weeks time.

Look out for Cocos Lovers this year. Their debut album, 'Johannes' is out on Smugglers Records, and their new album is set for release this year. It's called 'Elephant Lands'.

Have a listen here:

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Go see: Every Day is a Good Day! John Cage @ The De La Warr Pavillion

Whilst trawling charity shops in Bexhill for cups and saucers, the large white (art deco-style) building that perches on the edge of the sea caught my eye. The De La Warr Paviliion has exhibited a number of inspirational artists over the years, and this exhibition surrounded and interpreted the work of John Cage (musician, artist and philosopher). Cage is most widely recognised for his works entitled: 4'33" which is a series of three movements, played without hearing a single note. The content supposedly revolves around the engagement of the audiences with the sounds that they hear and create whilst participating in these 'movements'.

So, the De La Warr came up with A Nod To Cage, which includes work from Yoko Ono who worked with the man himself, some newly commissioned works from Shelley Parker and Charlie Hooker, and six students from Brighton University and Sussex Coast College. The exhibition covers the whole of the De La Warr - Gallery 1 showing the handiwork of John Cage, and suitably named Every Day is A Good Day. Drawings and watercolours are arranged in sporadic fashion across the long hall. Based on the order of I Ching, fostering the beliefs of the artist, the works are distributed at random, and so a guide book is provided to help navigate your way through the show.

There is a grand piano sat atop one flight of stairs, playing notes on it's own accord - depicting the effects that sound has as it enters and leaves our bodies.... a camera on a long, wooden arm which faces towards a projection wall, showing a film of two dancers at either end of the camera. One a ballet dancer, moving in her way, and one a tap dancer, responding in hers. It was moving, and tempting to jump up and swing the camera around! All relate to the concepts of sound that Cage discovered, shared and explored.

It's also a place to chat to people openly and freely. The staff are very passionate about the works that they exhibit, and clearly put their heart into their research and happily share their knowledge if you are keen to hear it. It was a day for meeting people, as two other young people crossed my path from polar-walks of life to my own, opening my eyes and heart to the way that they experienced the world...

Check out the De La Warr line-ups here: and make sure you take a look at the LIVE PROGRAMME. Alan Carr and Mogwai coming soon!

Monday, 6 June 2011

Go visit: Oxford for Art, TRUCK & Meadows

Recently, I took a trip to Oxford, learnt to punt on the River Isis (the Thames), walked through meadows filled with wild horses to cross the city, and stumbled across galleries, such as Modern Art Oxford and the Ashmolean.

Modern Art Oxford is spacious and interesting, and also quite hidden which adds to the initial appeal. On entering, the shop is there to greet you, and it really is quite a wonderful little treasure trove. They've picked out the finest, arty cards and postcards, some great tote and hessian bags, and jewellery from the likes of Tatty Devine. Check out the mustache cufflinks/ necklace if you haven't already!

There's a lovely cafe, which sells homemade cakes and the infamous, glorious, Monmouth Coffee - and the area is dotted with woodblock tables (designed by Richard Woods) in primary colours, with beanbags to lounge in. It's light and bright and all very tempting, and there's free wi-fi if you've got work to do, or need to plan your next stop!

We saw an exhibition by Slovakian artist Roman Ondak which aimed to 'transfer real life experiences into the context of art'. The first room showed 'Time Capsule' revolved around the incident in San Jose where 33 miners were trapped for 69 days. Set in a large space, the work evoked a sense of claustrophobia and fear, replicating the device that pulled the miners from the mine. The second work, 'Stampede' - 'reflects the movement of people through spaces'. Walking into a dark room, you are faced with a projection of the same room that you have entered, filled with hundreds of people.

See: for more information on upcoming exhibitions.

The gallery also run talks from artists & writers, exhibition tours, live performance, residencies, film screenings, oh - and they sell a cool beer called Plot 16: The Fermenting Room in the cafe. It's grown and made by artists in residence on their allotment, hence the name.

One last word - make sure you visit the TRUCK record store if you go to Oxford, these are the guys who set up and run the festival, and it's always a pleasure to visit a good music store, with high-quality records from years gone by, and the new ones from J. Mascis, Bon Iver and co.

Pubs to visit:

Turf Tavern (down a crooked path, lovely little beer garden)
The Perch: Across the meadow, past the river, down a path that bears twinkly lights after dark - and sells a range of Gins, with Cucumber dont-chya-know!
The Bear: Tiny, tiny pub - sporting over 2,000 ties... all framed and covering walls and ceilings. It was the tradition of the old Landlord to cut off the the bottom of scholars/ pilots ties (if he liked the look of them) promising them a pint-in-the-wood for their wares!

For breakfast:

Try Bleroni Cafe in the Jericho District for either a very tasty, not too naughty full-english, or a huge bowl of toasted muesli, yoghurt and banana, and a darn good cuppa.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Place to stay: Zanzibar Hotel, St. Leonards-on-sea

Well well well, how could I forget to mention this one! The Zanzibar Boutique Hotel sits on the edge of the sea, down in St. Leonards - a sparkling little white-washed abode which emenates the most laid-back atmosphere. No pretention, just a little bit of comfort, and the most incredible sea-view!

If you're lucky enough to visit when they are painting the walls - you get a pretty good discount, and up on the third floor rests the Manhattan Suite. You have your own staircase... which leads to an open-plan, attic-style appartment with huge windows that open out to let in a cool sea-breeze and a big, sometimes moody ocean. I won't give everything away, because there are so many nooks, crannies and gadgets to explore... but the duke box was by far the highlight of this adventure.

The staff at Zanzibar as so friendly, making you instantly feel at ease and at home. There's an honesty bar, an interesting garden, some really beautiful design and decor, and an incredible breakfast!!

Up the road, just off of Norman Road (a five minute walk from Zanzibar) is St. Clements restaurant (as mentioned in previous post). The food is exquisite, and although a little on the pricey-side of town, it's not extortionate, and if you've got a spare bob-or-two and fancy a really good, hearty meal cooked by a great chef who trained at The Ivy - then do it!

St. Leonards is well worth a visit, and if you're planning a weekend treat away from it all, it's a haven of activity, culture, sea, great food and mystery. From ladies wheeling cats down the promenade in their buggies, to deleicious food, dukeboxes, plunge-baths and G&T's, you will, I'm sure, have a great time.

Look here: and here:

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Morning Campers! : Sleep in a Yurt beneath the stars

Sleeping in a yurt is like snuggling up in the best 'den' you ever made in your nan's front room. They are little (or big) self-sufficient dwellings in and amongst the tweeting birds and rustling trees...

Baskets of blankets, a Wood Burner, cooker, coolbox and tea-lights are all provided for you - as well as all the cutlery and a big futon to nestle into as the night cools down... All you need is some food, a few books, a pencil and paper, a scrabble board, some wine (or Crabbies) and someone lovely to share it all with (if they are early risers and like putting the kettle on in the morning, even better!)

The Wowow campsite is really well organised, so they've set up some lovely big sinks to do your washing-up in after a good hearty risotto! When we were there, they were building a pizza oven in one of the fields... getting everyone together (if you want to) a couple of nights a week to eat delicious home-made pizza in a beautiful open field...not bad eh!

If you fancy stretching your legs during the day, there's a trail through the forest and over a big field which leads to a pub with a very enthusiastic landlord!! (Avoid the fishcakes... but enjoy your well-deserved pint!)

All-in-all, Yurt-ing is a magical experience, there is something about it's shape and the quietness of the surrounding fields and trickling rivers that takes you to a land of Zen. Even in torrential rain, as we discovered, there is still room for fun and laughter.

Have fun!

Check out:

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Place to visit: Hastings Old Town

Dotted with a couple of lovely rustic shops (Gone Tomorrow & another which you will see, it's a couple of doors down) selling everything from beautifully hand-picked pieces of old furniture & fabrics to wonderful old fireplaces, Hastings Old Town has some quirky shops, restaurants, a sea front, museums and walks to experience. Just try and make sure the sun's shining when you set out on your adventure... Hastings in the rain ain't so pretty!

If you get hungry, there's a wonderful little bookshop that also serves traditional Thai food. One Thai lady, in a very small kitchen cooks up a beautifully fresh meal for you and friends to enjoy, whilst you sit amongst the old books full of stories old and new. You can take your own booze too - which is quite a treat out of London!
The Dragon is also a winner for a good meal! You will find the Dragon at the end of George Street, which is the first part of the Old Town.

Moving on up on to Croft Road (left at the end of George Street) - there's a tasty Organic Bakery called Judges, which sells lovely bread in all shapes and sizes, and some great old fashioned cakes and slices! From iced Bakewell tart to Gingerbread men, it's a treat! Aside from the bakery, there's a whole range of delicious delicatessan too.

Also up this street, there are a few lovely eateries and bars - Porters and Harris's to name a few. And then there are some really great vintage clothing and furniture shops, proper old antique shops with reasonably priced picture frames (and all the other wonderful little finds), and the Electric Palace cinema, which shows a huge range of films from month to month, old and new. It's decked out with old red-velvet theatre chairs, and gives a sense of going back in time...

On top of that, there's also an art gallery being built at the moment, The Jerwood - which is on the seafront and going to be amazing.

Nearby Bexhill is home to the De-La-Warr Pavillion, and St. Leonards-on-Sea is another, very interesting little place to go and see. Norman Road holds an excellent (so I've heard) market, and there are some wonderful cafe's and again, the seaside is so calming. St. Clements restaurant also resides on Norman Road, and is renowned for it's exquisite menu. Affordable (in the day time) and frequented by many these days, the chef moved down from London where he worked as a chef in a top restaurant.

The beach, on a sunny day - is seriously stunning. Once you've sat yourself down on the (orthapaedic) pebbles, with or without a bag of chips and look out to sea, with the silhouette of the old pier glittering in the distance, you can't not feel a sense of belonging. Hastings is a seaside town without the pretention of the big towns like Brighton and now Whitstable... it's a bit rough around the edges, and that's why I, and I hope you, like it.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Beautifully odd: Shack-up in a Shepherd's Hut

Ahhh the feeling of Summer has taken my mind back to sleeping, nesstled away in a field or forest in a Shepherd's Hut: Fire lit outside, bottle of red wine warming against it, and woodburner puffing out warm woody smoke from the little chimney. You can wile away the hours in the peace and quiet of the beautiful Sussex Countryside... cooking and drinking, walking (along the river, to the castle, or to the pub!) and reading - all in the comfort of a transformed Shepherd's Hut, comprising of two double beds (it's a bit like a campervan in that you can turn the kitchen table into a bed!) a hob, sink, tea, coffee, woodburner, comfy seating area covered in brightly-coloured, hand-made cushions... and a little ladder that takes you up to the second double bed. Your 'fridge' is outside, and is filled with ice packs to keep food chilled, and there are logs-a-plenty to keep your fires stoked! If you like to do things a little differently, and enjoy creating your own comfort... check these out!

Also: The duvets are so thick and snuggly, and the linen is all clean, fresh and beautiful!

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Place to go: Juliets, Tunbridge Wells

Juliets is one of those rare places that combines everything beautiful, scrumptious, wholesome, nostalgic and wonderful, one of those places that you want to take everyone you know too, but at the same time want to keep for yourself, like a great dream that you can keep hold of and revisit when you need to.

When I first peered through Juliet's window I felt like I was looking into a vintage/antique shop, one in particular springs to mind that I've visited a few times on East London's Columbia Road; where everthing sits perfectly in a completely imperfect, staggered, hickledy-pickledy kind-of way. And it isn't at all chintzy, or cupcake-y, just splendid really.

Big, rustic-looking Victoria Sponge cakes sit invitingly atop glass cake-stands, with enough cream and jam to make your mouth water. Big bowls filled with perfectly-dressed, seasonal salads - overflow onto prettily-painted old-fashioned crockery, and tea is served properly in a tea-pot, with a tea-cup and saucer, just the way I (and my great nanny Lottie used to) like it.

There's a lovely breakfast menu too, which all looks comforting, filling and healthy - all the things you need to set you up for the day - even better if you can give yourself enough time to really savour it and soak up the friendly atmosphere whilst reading your way through your favourite book or magazine.

Mmmmmm - delightful...go and see for yourself - and if the orange blossom and apricot cake is on the counter that day, treat yourself to a good slice!

NEW GALLERY: The Singing Soul

It is rare that I walk through my local town and see something that seems to fit with me. And here, today I stumbled across a new gallery in the little old town of Cranbrook in Kent, near to where I live at the moment, in a mansion (a school) in the middle of nowhere (next to a huge magical forest). Not only are there some very interesting, story-like paintings, beautiful theatrical ceramics and other hand-crafted creations - but the place will be running some great courses throughout the year in art, craft and writing. From Dress Making to 'Getting Published' - if you're live in the South Kent area - it is well worth a look! Private View tomorrow night (Friday 26th February).

It's Marie Prett, who I met today (she is lovely, and the lady that I want to be one day) - who is the gallery curator and shop owner.

You can check out her wares here:

Janome Sewing Machine In Need!

I have an old-ish Janome sewing machine that my once- housemate, lovely Japanese friend Miri left for me - and I am struggling to find the right needles to fit into it. I am also really badly in need of some sewing lessons. I am struggling to find any local classes or kind people to teach me - so please if you know of anyone in the Kent/ South London area who teaches sewing/ may have some expert sewing-machine knowledge (or any knowledge at all) then please leave me a comment - I would be most grateful!

DELICIOUS: Rhubarb Cake

If like me, you love rhubarb - then this is the recipe for you. Sweet enough and cake-y enough to treat yourself, yet still with those tangy undertones of rhubarb to give just enough flavour of the wonderful winter fruit. It's really quite simple to prepare and make, and even better after a day of chilling - in my mind, best served cold - the softness of the cake mixture tastes slightly custard-y, and goes down very well with a nice cup of tea. My boyfriend loves rhubarb, and liked it with a dollop of rhubarb yoghurt on the side. It looks beautiful with the icing sugar scattered over its bumpy, crumbly top - it's lovely! If you've got a couple of hours to spare, go grab the ingredients and get baking-up some rhubarb-y goodness!

Follow of Delicious Magazine on Twitter too....

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Nostalgia: Amelia's Magazine

Once upon a time, I used to write for Amelia's Magazine. I was the Music Editor there for some time, and was lucky enough to make friends for life, experienced a plethora or interesting/ quirky/ whacky events which led me down all sorts of paths, none of which I regret, and all of which I remember.

The first gig that I went to with Amelia, on my first day working with her, in her cosy little house off Brick Lane - was to see a small Australian band called Operator Please . Amelia lent me her old bike, which didn't have any breaks - and I hadn't ridden on London roads before. Thankfully the gig was just around the corner, only one slightly nerve-racking experience whilst sat in the middle of quite a fast road with buses whizzing past.

Anyway, that experience set me up for what was about to come - a fast-paced, culture fix that fed my imagination, and still feeds me today. I met countless arty-types who were brave and skillful, and even if they weren't that skilled they were at least brave. My own confidence grew enormously - still at university, I was already interviewing the likes of Erdem, and it certainly helped me on my way.

Now, I still marvel at Amelia's creations - I learnt to work with a woman who followed her heart every inch of the way, and although at times intimidating, entirely honest and open to ideas and moving forward, getting on, breaking out, and not being afraid to speak up.

Take a look at Amelia's Blog here:

Explore: Knit 'n' Sew/ Rock 'n' Roll

Interesting little nougats of today:

This place looks really quite wonderful - lots of courses, ways to expand and explore all of those ideas big and small, busting to break out of your head... I love the idea of sitting amongst other women knattering and knitting. It really does fill me with joy!

I once celebrated a birthday at the Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes and had such a wonderful evening. From the twist-and-shout to come-on-eileen we danced and laughed and just had the most wonderful time. So go!

Baking: Whoopie Pies by Claire Ptak

Claire Ptak, founder of Violet Cakes has recently opened a shop on Wilton Way In Hackney.

Once upon a time, I lived on Broadway Market. At that time, my friend and I would sit by the river and eat Violet Cakes whilst the sun shone on our faces, and even if it rained, we would still enjoy the velvety-wonder.

I moved away from Hackney a couple of years ago, but still long for those cakes, and so was over-the-moon when I discovered Ptak's 'The Whoopie Pie Book' on Amazon. Inside, are all manner of delights - and all in the prettily-perfect shape of buttercream, icing, marshmallow or ice-cream filled cookie-cake-pies. They really are little wonders to create, and even better to eat, share and enjoy. And - although the mixtures can be pretty time consuming at first, once you've got the knack of the style of preparing the mixtures, they are only in the over for a mere 10 minutes, and then once cooled ready to serve with the filling. You really can go all out with the muffin cases and the the design/ colours - and be as overstated or understated as you like.

If you need a pick-me-up on a dull day, or an idea for sweet-treats for a Spring/ Summer picnic - try Claire Ptak's Whoopie Pies!

Events: Stand Up Sit Down Party

I stumbled across Great Little Place on Twitter whilst looking for people to follow. I am relatively new to the Twitter game, and enjoy finding more and more creative minds across the network. Great Little Place find places to go, see and do that are slightly off of the beaten track, and may only be known by a few groups of people. This is why I like the sound of it. Anyway, they are putting on an event in Old Street tomorrow night: GLP Stand Up Sit Down Party and I may just go along and check it out. Follow Great Little Place on Twitter and find more little gems to visit in the big smoke and beyond!

Book Review: Women Who Run With The Wolves

I'm reading this book at the moment, and I am amazed by Clarissa Pinkola Estes's bravery and insight into the female! I feel that, as with all women and also men, we all seek that feeling of freedom, that sense that we are being wholly true to ourselves and not just doing what is expected of us. It is something that we all battle with, I think -and an issue that few writers actually take and deal with in the way that Pinkola does.

Using fairy tales and folklore, Pinkola studies the characters and then describes in details the psychological relation that they have to women, and to life. From how to imagine ourselves to be, to knowing deep down who we really are but being afraid to show it, Pinkola encourages women to act as they see fit, making sure that we know our boundaries, to keep ourselves safe and protected from addiction and abuse, but letting ourselves run into positive experiences, develop positive, honest open and free relationships that do not taint our oh-so-precious wings.

Book Review: Sun Dog - Monique Roffey

What a wonderful account of a boy with red hair.

This book sucked me straight in with it's beautiful descriptions, it's wholeness and it's imagination. I bought the book after reading The White Woman on the Green Bicycle -which again, with exquisite descriptions took me on an imaginary journey which I didn't want to leave. August's upbringing on a commune left him scarred with memories of sexual liberation, explicit scenes of nudity and his mother's promiscuity, and all told as a memory and through the eyes of August as a child - the reader can really feel how August felt and seeks to understand him further. This, along with August's rare, yet magical condition - makes for a story that oozes with colourful, sumptuous appeal -and keeps you yearning for more.

I can still picture the jars of pickles and fruits that were stacked on the shelves of the deli that he worked in - one looked like 'the sun', and I can still feel and see the pale legs of the girl that he falls in love with, and the pale-blue veins at the back of her knees. If you are in need of some creative stimulation, and are happy to let yourself flow with a make-believe story about a sensitive boy with a wild condition, then read this book!

Oh and you will find out what a Sun Dog is, if you don't know already.