It always seems like a quiet miracle to me to plant these nondescript little specks of seeds and watch them peek up and grow into something that I can eat. I love spending a Saturday morning sitting out and reading or writing among pots and planters of edibles with the pavement still wet underfoot from watering the plants too.

Recently I’ve been giving my little garden some much needed attention, digging up the weeds, making room for a small veg patch and sowing lots of seeds. Thanks to the mix of sunshine and rain that we’ve had lately my flower beds are slowly coming to life.

I’ve become obsessed with making structures out of canes, my sweet peas should enjoy climbing them though.

There are some pretty blooms too…..

No culinary garden is complete without some herbs…….

My cucumbers sit on the windowsill, they can join the rest when they ‘re big enough.

I can’t wait to plan some tasty meals for my veggies, I’ll keep you posted.

Emma xxx

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The power of reading

I love any story about a girl who escapes into books and finds whole new worlds of wonder and possibility within them. Plus, any girl whose favorite book is Anne of Green Gables must be a kindred spirit.

Transcript:

Once upon a time, there lived a girl called Jasmine.

Jasmine lived in a pretty rough and tough part of London with just her mum and her brother.

Jasmine’s mum worked a lot because they didn’t have very much money, and so often Jasmine had to entertain herself.

One day, her teacher gave her some books, and Jasmine soon found herself completely hooked.

She would read one book, then another, then another, and another. She just couldn’t stop reading!

One of her favorite places was the local library, where she would sit for hours and hours until it was time to close and she had to go home.

She was famous amongst her friends for missing her bus stop, because she always had her nose in a book.

Jasmine had lots of favorite stories. She liked James and the Giant Peach, because it taught her to think big.

She liked The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, because it transported her to another magical world.

She also enjoyed Avocado Baby, because it showed her she could be really strong.

But her favorite book of all was Anne of Green Gables, because she realized that, like Anne, she too could achieve anything she wanted. And she did. [English star! A+! Top of the class!]

In fact, Jasmine was the first in her family to go to university.

And what’s Jasmine doing now? Well, she’s about to publish her own first novel.

Jasmine is our friend, and we’re inspired by her story. We understand the power of books because reading changed her life.

(Directed and produced by The Curved House, illustrated by Gemma Correll, and written and narrated by Riot Communications for World Book Day 2012)

Flashback ’90s

Do you remember the first time someone or something made you feel old? For me, it wasn’t my first gray hair but this one afternoon when I was rockin’ out to Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box” while driving home from work. I was feelin’ good, the way you feel when a favorite old song comes on the radio, until I realized that I am now older than Kurt Cobain was when he died. Great.

Same disbelief happens to me when ’90s flashback lunch hour comes on the local alternative rock station. “Flashback” lunch? The ’90s?! What. But evidently I’m in denial.

Ha.

(meme via Joanna Goddard/Pinterest)

A Greek serenade

When I was idly kicking around this past Sunday, lolling on the bed before the wide open window, the memory of Ferne Arfin’s travel essay “A Boring, Unnerving, and Ultimately Enchanted Evening” suddenly popped in my head. It was published in the Christian Science Monitor in 2003, and somehow this tale of a woman traveling solo in Greece and the impromptu gallantry of three young Greeks who serenade her in the streets of Athens has since stuck with me as one of those magical, serendipitous, unforgettable moments that you can never plan for while traveling.

“You like music?” asked Apollo. “Greek music? You like that?”

“Yes,” I finally replied.

Bouzouki music? You know? You like bouzouki?”

“Mmm, I guess so.”

“You come with us later. We play for food, you know. Where you stay? We take you. Eat. Listen to music. Don’t say no. You come. Say yes. You eat. You listen. We play.”

It’s a sweet story. The woman makes her leap of faith over understandable trepidation—language barriers! no idea of where she is! a strange taxi carrying off her passport and tickets into the night!—and experiences something wonderful.

At about the same time that I decided I was doomed, we arrived at a local party. A half dozen people sat at candle-lit tables arranged on the pavement. There were no neon signs, no blazing windows, no menus or waiters to indicate that this was, in fact, our destination – a typical local taverna.

Inside, a motherly woman hugged my companions and ushered us to a table where the third fireman – with my belongings – waited. A typical Greek meal, steak and French fries, appeared on the table. Then two mandolins and a guitar were produced. For the next two hours, my new friends sang and played for our supper.

This whole scene probably came to mind because the warm sunlight filtering down through my open window reminded me of how that story feels, all balmy on an evening that careened on adventure. Not to mention summer sends my travel dreams into overdrive. But as much as I relish planning for a trip (and the anticipatory pleasure that gives me), it’s unscripted moments like these that I end up remembering most vividly.

(photo by Anna Wolf)

Heh, I can identify with this. I haven’t yet reached the one-year mark on my own blog, but I struggle too with striking the right balance between making my blog true to my voice and my interests and yet also have it be something other people might like to read. It’s a progress. :) Plus, for me, it’s also practice in finding my writing voice again, after mostly copy editing these past few years. Finally starting my own blog has likewise given me newfound respect for engaging bloggers and blogging; see Joanna Goddard, who recently told Elizabeth Street, “When it’s done right, blogging should look easy—just how magazine articles and books should look easy and fun. But it doesn’t mean that it is easy.” :)

Life on High

I’m a little embarrassed to discover and admit that I’m closing in on my one-year blogiversary. Sounds a little odd maybe, but it’s true. I’m embarrassed because in one whole year, I’ve only managed to complete a handful of posts, most of which weren’t even put up until recent months. You’d think that a whole year would be more than enough time to really make something good, but in my case, it’s only near the end that I’m starting to get the hang of this whole deal.

But moving past the embarrassment for a second (actually, let’s just leave it where it is and move on), this one-year mark is still rather a big deal. Not because I’ve managed to reach it but more because I’ve learned and experienced way more than I had bargained for. (Cliche alert! But it’s not, I promise. Or at least I’ll try to keep…

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