Monday, 1 May 2017

Of This & That

We've all seen blog posts discussing the best literary fiction, the top 50 websites for women, 10 awesome websites to read and talk about, the best this and the best that, etc., etc. Well today, I'm going to share some of my favourite websites and a nifty little low tech invention I've recently discovered. I'm not being paid to share these I'm simply sharing them because I like them, and I hope you will too. 

My friend and neighbour Mary told me about Olive & Sage an online boutique bursting with gorgeous vintage and modern furniture & accessories for the home and garden.  I was looking for something unusual for my sister’s birthday, and found it here!  I can't tell you what it is because my sister might see this post, but I can tell you she will love it!
If you like vintage ephemera, Milly & Dottie’s Emporium is the place to visit. It's a vintage treasure house full of wonderful books, old greetings cards and other treats too numerous to mention.  When you arrive at the site, you are greeted with an image of a house with lots of rooms. Each room is named according to the kind of things you can expect to find in it.  My favourite rooms are the library and the study, although I’m also rather partial to the sewing room, the nursery and the dovecot.  As you might expect the study contains lots of vintage postcards and greetings cards, in the library you will find pretty and interesting books, and the dovecot is filled with vintage school posters depicting birds, flowers and animals.  Don't miss a visit to the attic, the kitchen and the boudoir where you will find vintage hair ornaments, handmade embroidered stocking pouches and other such delights.


If you are new to cooking or would like to brush up on your skills Now Cook It is a good place to start. The site is maintained by The Co-operative Group, commonly known as the Co-op a British consumer co-operative with a diverse range of retail businesses, including food retail, financial services and much more. None of that need concern you (or me) the important bits are the core techniques and complete recipes many of which are accompanied by videos. All the recipes are designed with new cooks in mind. I’ve been serving up food for years, but I’m always looking to improve my skills so it suits me very well. I’m going to try Shakshuka next (see pic below) simple and delicious.


Brightly run by Penguin Random House have lots of lists like those I mentioned at the start of this post but these are carefully thought out, useful lists. The purpose of Brightly is to help foster a love of reading in children, which can only be a good thing as far as I'm concerned. Happily, lists are just a small part of the site. They cover all kinds of interesting topics and provide story time pages featuring lots of different books like the one in the following image. 


Now for that great little idea I promised you.  Bookades from This & That Services are perfect for summertime reading. No more searching around for your sunglasses, leave your Bookades between the pages of your book, and you’re ready to go. I’ve tried them and they really work, place a single transparent Bookades over the page you're reading, and you're all set.  What could be simpler?  You even have the choice of three colours Slate Grey, Grape and Mango – but why choose, my advice is to buy one of each and use them to suit your mood. If you can’t find these in your local bookshop be sure to ask for as Nora Roberts said, “if you don’t ask the answer is always no."  




You might remember a post from the beginning of the year where I shared five of my favourite blogs and asked for links to others. Willie Wine (of comment fame) shared five more, one of which is the one you are reading right now (thanks Willie). These are the other four.

Justcats  I'm a new visitor to this blog, but I can already see why Willie enjoys it.

Linda's Peaceful Place, I love Linda’s blog and make a point of visiting her at least once a week.

My Threadbear Life  Another favourite of mine. Why not pop over and say hello to Julie, I know she will be happy to see you.

Poppy Q I’ve yet to visit Poppy Q, but I will be over there soon.

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I’ve just made these yummy biscuits. They are simple to make, buttery, crispy and decidedly moreish. The nice thing is you melt the butter in a saucepan and add the rest of the ingredients to it, so no messing around with lots of dishes. The recipe suggests making 25 biscuits, but I made 24 because they were a perfect fit for two baking trays.  I didn’t adjust the quantities of mixture, but I did cook for the full 15 minutes.  I found the recipe online, but I understand it originally came from a book called Cookie Jar by Love Food.



Cherry Almond Cookies

200g butter, cut into cubes
90g sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
280g self raising flour
25g ground almonds (5 TBS)
Glace cherries 

Preheat the oven to 180/160 Fan/ 350F/ gas mark 4.  Butter 2 large baking sheets. (I covered with non stick baking paper – much easier than buttering)

Place the butter in a saucepan and melt it slowly over low heat, without allowing it to colour.  Remove from the heat.  Stir in the sugar and almond extract.  Add the flour and ground almonds to make a soft smooth dough.  Roll into 25 equal sized balls and place the balls onto the baking sheets, leaving some room for spreading.  Flatten slightly with your hands and top each with a cherry. 

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let stand on the baking sheets for several minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Bon Appétit!

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Have you heard of Book Spine Poetry? I’ve seen references to it around the web but hadn’t really paid attention until a recent visit to Marcia Strykowski’s blog. Now I’m seeing Book Spine Poetry everywhere. The only trouble is most of it doesn’t actual rhyme but apparently that doesn’t matter. The ‘rules’ such as they are simply state: Create a poem by stacking book, CD, DVD or audio book spines. The poem should have a minimum of three titles and a maximum of eight and there is no need for them to rhyme. 

This is my first attempt, I must say I'm rather pleased with it!

The Winter Children / Left Neglected / Behind closed doors / One day in May 

I did warn you this post was full of ‘this and that’, but I hope you found something enjoyable, a new website to visit, a friend to make, or a book spine poem to think about.

65 comments:

  1. Once in a while in my life...I wish l had some
    patience..! :(.
    It's no secret, said it many times, l don't..I
    can't sit down, I can't sit still..and, read a
    book, a book~~book..! :(.
    Over the years, l've had pills..seen doctors..
    consultants..psychiatrist..(of which my daughter
    is one)..and, at the moment l'm seeing a psychologist!
    You see..l live most of my life...On the ceiling!
    HeHe! Sorry Dr Hitchcock..I'm 'still' up here! Bless! :).

    So, later on, l'm gonna sit down, and go through the
    links above..but, l'll miss out the food ones, when
    your baking on line, l find the food..ingredients...
    slide down the screen, onto the keyboard...such a mess! :).

    And, yes, check out the other four l mentioned...each to
    their own l know..but, those four are lovely! Just like
    this one of course, down to earth and interesting...!
    Lot's of fun to...with a funny slant...Great! Love it!


    Well Barbara...I'm for a little light lunch...40watt bulb!
    Will, pop back later for a follow up on those links......
    Looking forward to Olive and Sage...Blockades...? No! l
    don't think so...!

    'This and That'....so now it's 'Why and When'....! :0).

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    1. Ha Willie I will leave the Why and When post to you - your life is far more interesting than mine – I’ve never even been on the ceiling!

      Terry can’t sit and read either, and yet he watches dozens of films. I read books all the time but find it difficult to ‘get into’ films. Still we are all different, thank goodness. I hope the psychologist is helping. Anything is better than taking pills, and who says it’s wrong to spend your days on the ceiling, if that’s where you are happiest … :)

      Thanks for always making me laugh Willie. I will remember what you said about food blogs – nothing worse than seafood sauce in your keyboard! xx

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    2. I've looked through the links...
      Very impressed with.. Milly & Dottie’s Emporium..
      Loved the lay out, and, all the things on there..
      Did'nt bother with Olive and Sage..They wanted know
      to much info to get going...something l don't do!
      Shame!
      HaHa! The Co~op...Goodness! Less said..once you've
      eaten their food, all they want to do then..is bury
      you..! :(.
      Oh! And talking of the ceiling....

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovo6zwv6DX4

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  2. Lovely post today, I will definitely explore some of those places you have described so lovingly. Bookades sound good, too, although I mostly read on my Kindle these days, which is a boon for those of us who can't see so well. And I am going to try that recipe, yummy, I think I can smell the cookies from here! Hugs, Valerie

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    1. I’ve just made another batch maybe that’s why you can smell them! You are welcome to one if you would like to ‘try before you bake’. :-) x

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    2. Oh those cookies look lovely. Have had a look at Olive & Sage and really looking forward to opening my present! Had not heard of the book spine poetry and you did well on yours. I shall be looking for them everywhere now xxx

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    3. Hello sister, the cookies are really easy and very tasty. I hope you like your present. It's bigger than I though it was going to be – just hope it doesn’t frighten the local wildlife! Be careful of book spine poetry it becomes a habit! xxx

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  3. What a great post! I am hopping over to some of those blogs to share some bloggy love! Bookades sounds perfect when I am not using my Kindle outside. What a great idea!

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    1. Enjoy Beth Ann (both the blogs and the Bookades) Thanks for coming over. :-)

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  4. I have never heard of Book Spine Poetry. What fun!
    The cookies look delish.
    Thanks for introducing us to fun blogs.

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    1. You should try Book Spine Poetry Sandra it’s fun, and the cookies are really easy to make.

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  5. You're right - there is a lot of stuff in this post and bears re-reading. But I laughed at the two little ceramic dolls you show. We used to be able to win those at games in Coney Island before it was gentrified. I also like vintage stuff and will visit your recommendations. Thanks for sharing all your favorites.

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    1. Hello Alex, I’m afraid the post just went on and on, rather like me when I start talking. :-)
      Gentrified is such an excellent word, I’ve always wanted to use it but never had the opportunity – thank you for providing that opportunity.

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  6. I'll take a cookie!
    Jo Wake's site has some great recipes as well.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Please, take two. Would you like a coffee to go with them? Thanks for the info re Jo Wake’s site.

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  7. So many delightful things in this post, not the least of which is those yummy looking biscuits! Now I'm off to see if I can stack books into a poem.

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    1. Yay! Bish! I will look forward to seeing what you come up with.

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  8. Lots of wonderful things in your post today, Barbara! I will have a cup of tea and explore all the things you are sharing. The cookies look very good. Thank you so much for mentioning my blog, dear friend. I hope you have a fantastic week! :)

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    1. Willie shared his five favourite blogs, and I found myself agreeing with him. Your blog is one of the best! Thanks for coming over, have a lovely week.

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  9. You covered quite a lot of territory today! I don't know where to begin, so I'll just say I had a great time reading about your finds. Loved the book spine poetry. I'm going to try that out on my books and see what I can come up with!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Yes, I’m sorry about that I had lots of ‘little bits’ I wanted to share and it ended up being rather a long post. Thanks for reading it and leaving a comment. The book spine poetry is a lot of fun, but it can be addictive.

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  10. Thanks for the mention, Barbara. I have some visiting to do.

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    1. I’m sure you will enjoy it Deb. I hope your week has started well.

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  11. Barbara, I must thank you for introducing me to Book Spine Poetry...Marcia Strykowski’s blog! The poetry is like a Haiku/Senryu...which I am learning to love and write!!! I have become a follower of Marcia's blog!!! Again...thank you!!!
    BTW...those cookies look yummy :D

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    1. Hello Jan, I’m sure you will enjoy Marcia’s blog, she writes some really interesting posts, and I often get ideas from her. I’ve seen Book Spine Poetry before, but it was Marcia who inspired me to give it a go. The cookies are very tasty and easy to make. Have fun with those book spines!

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  12. Dear Barbara - wonderful links you have shared. Will be visiting them. Vintage cards are always a favorite of mine. Remember those old Valentines you shared and passed to your classmates when you were in grade school. I have mine tucked away in old scrap books. Fun to get them out and take a walk down memory lane. Hope you have a lovely week. Hugs!

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    1. Hello Debbie, I do have some old scrap books somewhere. I must get them out and take a look at them because I honestly don’t remember what is in them. My school days were a very long time ago, and my memory is not what it was. Maybe you could share yours on your blog one day. Hugs Barbara

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  13. LOVE the cherry Almond Biscuit/cookie recipe. Also Bookades -what a brilliant idea! This is a fun post, Barbara-I will be investigating links all week. Sending you a hug!

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    1. Hello Colleen, I love simple ideas when the work and Bookades really do. I hope you find something to enjoy at the end of each link. Hugs Barbara

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  14. Book spine poetry looks like a lot of fun.
    Thank you for introducing us to more bloggers.

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    1. I’m getting carried away with the Book Spine Poetry, so I’m sure I will be sharing more before too long. Have fun on the other blogs.

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  15. Hello my friend.....I love just browsing through your blog this afternoon, as if I was in an old book shoppe. Enjoy MAY!!!

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    1. Dear Anita that is such a lovely thing to say, thank you. Our home looks more like an old book shoppe with every passing day – which is just the way I like it. Happy May dear friend.

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  16. I so enjoyed your post ... and yes, it was full of 'this and that'!
    A brilliant read, thank you.

    All the best Jan

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    1. Thank you Jan, this and that sort of summed it up. :)

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  17. Hello Barbara, thanks so much for your visit over to mine & the lovely comment you left me. What a delightful post full of this & that!! Thank You SO VERY much for the link to my blog .. that was so kind & thoughtful of you. I love the book spine poetry & think I shall definately be giving that a go. I had never heard of it before so thanks for sharing about it Barbara. I am just off to visit the other blogs you have mentioned & also Olive & Sage. I just love reading Willies comments on the blogs he visits & have several followers of my blog that only pop in to read his comments !!!!! Have a wonderful week my friend xxx

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    1. Hello Julie, I love to come and visit you so it was no trouble at all. Willie is an absolute treasure with a gift for making people laugh, and I’m quite sure lots of people visit me to read what he has to say. Be careful with that book spine poetry it becomes addictive. I'm getting to the point where I want to rearrange all books into an epic poem! :-) Enjoy the rest of the week I hope the sun shines for you. Hugs Barbara

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  18. Barbara, your book spine poetry is excellent! I doubt I'd be able to make a full sentence with my covers. Your almond cookies look delicious. I love watching baking and cooking shows even though I'm terrible at baking.

    Hope things are going very well for you and Terry and that you had a wonderful Easter! Stay happy every day. xo C.

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    1. Hello Claudine, I must say I’m rather pleased with the book spine poem, although I can’t really congratulate myself as the authors did all the work – I just arranged the books.
      I’m very well, and Terry is much improved so everything is good here. I hope the same is true for you and also hope all your projects are progressing as you would want them to. I’m going to pop over to your blog after leaving this reply just to say hello. xx

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  19. Not terribly good for the bank balance or the waistline, but who cares! Thanks for the website links and ideas - I am very taken with the 'retro aeroplane shelf' from Olive and Sage.

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    1. Hello Sue, I had to go and take a look at the retro aeroplane shelf and can see why it would appeal to you. It's perfect!
      I’m past caring about the waistline, but I agree with you about the bank balance! :)

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  20. I love Deb's website, too. You have lots of fun links I'll enjoy pawing through here and those cookies look delicious! I love this-and-that posts! Sometimes it's exactly right. In fact, I have one in my queue right now!

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    1. Hello Jeanie, several blogging friends have done this and that posts recently, and I love them. Sometimes it’s easier than trying to stick to a theme and it certainly allows for sharing of more things! Have fun with yours. I will be over to take a look in just a minute.

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  21. It's been awhile since I've tried my hand at "book spine poetry", but I think it can be great fun. Your first attempt is excellent! Makes me want to go scan my shelves and see what I can come up with. :)

    My mind tends to ramble anyway, so a This & That post suits me just fine!

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    1. Hello Kelly, be careful book spine poetry is addictive. I was so tempted to start rearranging shelves in Waterstones the other day!

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  22. I love your book spine poem. I must try it one day! Some great info here on your blog. Thanks!

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    1. It’s a lot of fun Darlene, but it’s also very easy to spend days just staring at book spines.

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  23. I'm going to have to say that's a pretty amazing poem. Very nicely done! See, that would be a challenge for me...since most my books are digital. I love paper books, but I read digital ones almost twice as fast. Page turning really does take time. ;)

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    1. I hadn’t though about page turning Crystal, but yes, it must take time. I’m afraid I’m rather old-fashioned and like the feel of a real book in my hands, I do read digital books from time to time but not all the often.

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  24. What a wonderful post, filled with super ideas and interesting blogs for us to check out. The cherry almond cookies look delicious; oh and I love the little vintage dolls, too. Great to see you're still having fun with the book spine poetry. :) Thanks, Barbara!

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    1. Thanks Marcia, the inspiration for the book spine poetry was entirely down to you. My cousin gave me a pile of Dick Francis books the other day two of them are Field of thirteen / Came to grief there has got to be a poem in that, I just need to find the ending. :)

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  25. Another librarian I know did spine poetry with her students and I wanted to try it this year with my students during National Poetry Month. But, out month was jam packed and I never had the chance. I will try it at some point! Loved seeing your poem. :)
    ~Jess

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    1. Hi Jess, what a great idea, you could give a small prize to the student who comes up with the best poem. I wish the teachers at my school had been so inventive it would have made lessons fun.

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  26. Hi there Barbara, I'm really taken with the nowcookit site, thankyou. I too love Linda's Peaceful Place and will pop over and visit the others one day.
    Thanks too for the lovely biscuit recipe, they look similar to my Mum's Thumbprint Biscuits (jam goes into the middle) but have different ingredients.
    I think the Book Spine Poetry is a really fun idea, and you did so well! Cheers now :D)xx

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    1. Hi Sue, I’m really pleased you like the nowcookit site. Your mum’s thumbprint biscuits reminded me of the j 'n cream ones I used to eat like a child. I think they were made my Fox’s, but I can’t quite remember. I must have a go at making some, probably without the cream though. :)

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  27. Wow! Love the recipe, sounds so yummy! Thanks for posting about it.

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    1. They really are yummy and very simple to make.

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  28. Thanks for introducing us to some great blogs! Love the recipe! I just wish you could send us some in the mail! LOL! Take Care, Big Hugs!

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    1. I would be happy to but I think you might receive an envelope full of crumbs. :-)
      Hugs back to you, enjoy the weekend.

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  29. I love places like Milly & Dottie’s Emporium, but have to admit kind of avoiding them for the past year, having previously helping my now ex with his antique shop for the previous 2 or so years. It's amazing what you can find in those kind of places though :)

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    1. Hi Nikki-ann, I always enjoy a good rummage or an online browse but I can understand why you would want to avoid such places for the time being.
      Thanks for coming over.

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  30. Must try the cookies they look delicious and very easy to make and I am all for easy recipes, can't be bothered with reading too many things to measure and complicated ingredients to mix😀

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    1. They are delicious Shashi and easy to make, which is why I made them. I'm not a very good cook, so I always look for simple recipes. :-)

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I really appreciate your comment. Thank you!
Barbara xx

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