When the sun sets two seconds after it rises, things can feel a little gloomy. The following are a few things that have been lighting a little fire in the hearth of my heart when I’m stuck with a day that’s grey and lonely. I just saw Annie: The Musical. It was great. There was the cutest lab that would make the sun come out in anyone’s day. Bet your bottom dollar.


Homemade Mustard. My meals revolve around condiments. Vegetables, proteins, and carbs are the sides, the support, the vehicle for harissa, pickles, olives, sauerkraut, sechuan pepper, sriracha, kim chi, beetroot chutney, hummus, and/or mustard. 

Homemade mustard is one of the easiest things you can make. Just don’t be put off my the initial bitterness and throw out the whole batch like I might have done. It’s like your grandma-in-law. The bitterness will soon give way to a piquant, aromatic, tangy accompaniment. 


A Hot Toddy It’s taken me over a decade to come back to the classic. I didn’t have a bad experience per se, the results were actually remarkable, but I drank this cocktail at first gratefully, then politely, then under duress. See I had a pretty heavy head cold, feeling a bit snuffly and sorry, and so my friend made me a ‘miracle cure’ – a hot toddy. A big one. It was warm and delicious. ‘Mmm thank you’ I said, after two sips and set it down beside me. My friend looked at me. “Drink it.” he said. I took two more sips. It was very strong. “Mmm delicious. Hits the spot.” I said, and put it down beside me. My friend glared at me, “All of it. Now.” I took two more sips. Then another. Then another. My eyes started to water. Whiskey vapour assaulted my nostrils with every sip. My ears crackled. After half an hour of supervision, it was finished. As was my stomach lining and will to live. I was thus ordered to bed. 

To this day, I don’t think I have ever slept so well, or woken up so transformed. The fog had cleared! My nose a wind tunnel! My friend no longer on my blacklist! The Hot Toddy remained.

Until the other day. I didn’t have a cold, but it was cold. I wanted something soothing, a warm hug of a drink, and whiskey. Hot Toddy it is.

This recipe did not strip my insides, it did not reduce me to a pit of despair, clawing at the walls to escape. It wasn’t a lot of things relating to my first experience. It was delicious. The warming glow of the whisky, the earthy sweetness of honey, and delicately spiced with cinnamon and cloves. A real treat. 


Ulysses Not so much of a read as watch and look like an audiobook. It’s the 101 birthday of James Joyce’s Ulysses, the novel that follies Leopold Bloom and Stephen Daedalus about their day in Dublin on June 16th. Such a rich culture has burst forth from this book, Bloomsday has been celebrated every year on June 16th since, with public readings and pub crawls across the land. To celebrate its centenary, Thornwillow Press have collated over 300 authors, artists, scholars, actors and hoi polloi reading clips of Ulysses. And you can enjoy seeing Oliver Jeffers kick everything off in his studio of paint, brushes and paper, donning a fisherman’s beanie, whimsically askew, here

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