PayingGuest_D-2

I’m really excited about the forthcoming publication of Sarah Waters’ new book, The Paying Guests. The first chapter is currently available to read here, and it certainly gets off to a brilliant start! – Rachel

ps. Whilst Old Fashioned Girls are in Yorkshire, we’re going to be taking a little break from the blog. We’ll see you when we get back!

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Giada’s Packing, image via here

Perhaps it’s the control-freak within me speaking, but I love Giada De Laurentiis’ idea of packing each outfit she needs when travelling individually in a zippy bag and even labelling which day she’s going to wear it. What a time saver for when you’re rushed on holiday and don’t want to think about how to pull your look together each day. Unfortunately, I’m trying to fit in so much before we leave for Yorkshire on Saturday, that I’m afraid my packing is going to descend to the shoving-things-into-a-bag-and-hoping-for-the-best method. Here’s a list of a few things I consider as essential packing for the trip though:

1. A stripy top

for a nautical look as I munch fish & chips in Whitby.

2. A good camera

to capture all the beautiful gardens and historical homes we’re planning to visit, not to mention Fountains Abbey’s fabulous deer park.

3. Nail polish

for girly chats in the evenings.

4. Exercise DVDs

so I can work off all of those Betty’s fat rascals I intend to eat. 

5. A copy of Brideshead Revisited

for when we visit Castle Howard. 

I can’t wait! – Miranda 

 

edith

While doing some research online for my new classes next year, I came across this wonderful website listing London’s statues in a range of categories. I had a laugh at the ‘worst’ statues section, even if I didn’t agree with all of the choices, and loved having the opportunity to see statues I haven’t yet come across and would like to go and find. The section on women is especially interesting; typically, there are a mere handful compared to the hundreds of statues of men. – Rachel

cq5dam.web.616.462Rachel Khoo, Image via here

As a big fan of all things Rachel Khoo, I was really excited to see she released a new cookbook, Rachel Khoo’s Sweet and Savoury Pates, in July. From tapenade to chocolate spread, she’s got it covered, and I think a jar of any of her spreads would make an excellent hostess gift, as well as being rather good to eat oneself. I can’t wait to try out some recipes! - Miranda

[no title] 1985-90 by Guerrilla Girls null

On a recent visit to the National Portrait Gallery, I was pleased to find a relatively new and very interesting mini exhibit on the suffragettes, and in particular, their campaign that revolved around destroying art works in public collections. On googling to find out more, I came across this interesting piece about one of the suffragettes, Mary Richardson, and her surprising link to Charles Dickens. Further connections between women and art have come up since viewing that exhibition; I popped into the V&A’s new free exhibition, Disobedient Objects, at the weekend, and loved the above poster by the Guerilla Girls, who protest about the lack of female artists in public galleries; no doubt Mary Richardson would have approved. Mary Richardson would surely also have approved of my latest read, Siri Hustvedst’s The Blazing World, about a female artist so fed up of being ignored that she uses male artists as a front for her work, and mentions the Guerilla Girls as one of her inspirations. Isn’t it wonderful how sometimes these things align? - Rachel

jelly-shelf.580.453.sImage: Mary Pratt, Jelly Shelf, 1999 (detail), oil on canvas, 55.9 x 71.1 cm, Collection of Equinox Gallery, Vancouver, Photography: Ned Pratt, St. John’s.

My Canadian Grandmother recently alerted me to the work of the Maritimes artist Mary Pratt, thinking I might like it. She was right! It’s hard to believe those mason jars of delicious, glistening jelly are a painting not a photograph. I’ve been equally captivated by her other work and wish I could see it in person.  – Miranda

bake off

It has started again! Tonight’s episode was just as heartwarming as usual, but I have to say, I don’t understand the vogue for cakes in miniature. Who wants to eat a tiny cake? If I’m eating cake, I’m eating cake; don’t tease me with a mere mouthful! I did pick up some interesting ideas for cake recipes I might try this summer, though; lemon and blueberry sponge, raspberry and almond sponge, and battenberg, which I have never attempted. Now I actually have some time to experiment in the kitchen, I might just have a go! - Rachel

31118_522390620083_4376234_nThe Old Fashioned Girls (plus my Mum and a couple of friends) are off to spend a week in this charming cottage in Yorkshire very soon. The cottage is close to lovely Ripon, and we’re so excited about all there is to explore in the area, as well as planning day trips to Whitby and York. We’d be so grateful for suggestions from our readers for things to see, places to eat (if you can ever drag us away from Betty’s – I think we’re planning on trying all three!) and shops to visit! - Miranda

summer reading

If you are going on holiday this summer, there are some fantastic books on this list to help you get in the spirit of things. If you’re having a staycation instead, then you can have a wonderful imaginative holiday while you relax in the garden, which sometimes I enjoy more than travelling, I must admit! - Rachel

photo(2)Peanut Butter cookies are definitely one of my favourite memories from a childhood spent in North America. I baked some over the weekend to bring along to a picnic, and I have to say my friends really enjoyed them! This recipe (originally from The Fannie Farmer cookbook) is wonderfully easy and the cookies take barely any time to bake, which is brilliant in this hot weather when you don’t want the oven on too long.

Peanut Butter Cookies:

1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. chunky peanut butter
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 beaten egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 c. flour
Combine all ingredients. Mix well. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Press down with floured fork in 2 directions. Bake at 350 F (about 175 C)  until lightly browned (usually 7 – 10 minutes – they bake fast so keep an eye on them!).
Enjoy, preferably lounging in a park with friends on a sunny Sunday afternoon. - Miranda
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