Majorca 312 Cycle Sportive – a must for any distance cyclist

As far as bike crashes go, it was pretty minor but it still shook me up. As I lay on the pavement along the main drag in Palma I realised I was lucky to be relatively unscathed and not to have wiped out any fellow riders taking part in what was a truly spectacular cyclesportive [...]

By | Notebook | Monday, 27 April 2015 at 4:20 pm

Her Outdoors: A patch for Girl Outdoors, Her Outdoors

Her Outdoors: A patch for Girl Outdoors

My four-year-old daughter, Girl Outdoors, has a see-saw attitude to our allotment -a very up and down view of Plot 35a. Sometimes she loves it, wants to dig up potatoes that aren’t ready, can spend hours down there arranging her picnic chairs outside her playhouse and setting out tea and grass sandwiches as I work [...]

By | Her Outdoors, Notebook | Thursday, 23 April 2015 at 10:00 am

Her Outdoors: Peas and queues, Her Outdoors

Her Outdoors: Peas and queues

The terrible pun in the headline refers to the queues of everything – packets of seeds waiting to be sown, seedlings in the propagator needing to be pricked out, and larger plants waiting to be hardened off outside. But first, the peas. I’ve had mixed fortunes with growing these tiny bursts of spring sweetness. One [...]

By | Her Outdoors, Notebook | Wednesday, 8 April 2015 at 8:38 pm

Marathon des Sables – Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Notebook

Marathon des Sables – Sir Ranulph Fiennes

The Easter weekend saw the start of one of the high points in the ultra-marathon calendar – the sand- and sun-blasted Marathon des Sables that involves a six-day challenge across 251km of Moroccan desert. I did it myself in 2011 – the most expensive self-catering beach holiday I have ever been on, as I may [...]

By | Notebook | Wednesday, 8 April 2015 at 11:51 am

Her Outdoors: The first kiss of April is mine, Her Outdoors

Her Outdoors: The first kiss of April is mine

It is difficult, as the general election is now full flow, to keep on top of the allotment and this blog. But I will do it, because April is the most intense month of the year and if I leave it to its own devices all my hard work would be wasted. The weeds would [...]

By | Her Outdoors, Notebook | Saturday, 4 April 2015 at 6:59 pm

Her Outdoors: Wasabi and chips, Her Outdoors

Her Outdoors: Wasabi and chips

Even though they take up a lot of space on the allotment, I wouldn’t stop growing potatoes each year for two reasons – first, because the taste is so much better than shop-bought, and second, because they are prolific. Potatoes do need a lot of compost for earthing up, but this just takes some planning [...]

By | Her Outdoors, Notebook | Tuesday, 24 March 2015 at 8:45 pm

Dior and I: an artful argument for a new couture, Fashion

Dior and I: an artful argument for a new couture

It’s really difficult to get fashion on film right – because it means so much to the people who love it, and is worthless to those who loathe it. Nothing will change those points of view – not extolling the hours of work poured into intricate clothes, not bandying about awe-inspiring figures about fashion house turnovers, not filming seamstresses weeping with emotion as their work is showcased, or possibly ripped to pieces. I personally fall into the former camp, so no matter how much you question the worth versus the cost or roll your eyes with puritan disgust at the vanity of it all, I won’t be swayed.

By | Fashion, Fashion Sense | Monday, 23 March 2015 at 7:22 pm

Her Outdoors: Sowing outdoors, Her Outdoors

Her Outdoors: Sowing outdoors

Yes, spring is stalling and all that warmth we had earlier this month has been replaced by chilly air. But nevertheless, when I put my soil thermometer into my beds this week it read 9.5 C – warm enough to start sowing seeds direct. Woohoo!
I spent four hours at Plot 35a on Monday, and it [...]

By | Her Outdoors, Notebook | Tuesday, 17 March 2015 at 10:35 pm

In Paris, food for thought at Miu Miu, Alexander McQueen and – maybe – Saint Laurent by Hedi Slimane, Fashion

In Paris, food for thought at Miu Miu, Alexander McQueen and – maybe – Saint Laurent by Hedi Slimane

Prada’s Miu Miu label have commissioned an ongoing series of film shorts, titled “Women’s Tales”, by leading female filmmakers. The latest is by Alice Rohrwacher. It’s number 9. The intention, Miu Miu say, in the lavish literature that’s issued out with each, is to answer a few timeless questions. “How do women appear to themselves? How do they appear to each other? Isn’t appearance also a political and intellectual issue? How should a woman be today?”

By | Fashion, Fashion Sense | Thursday, 12 March 2015 at 7:21 pm

Her Outdoors: Planting onions and sowing tender veg, Her Outdoors

Her Outdoors: Planting onions and sowing tender veg

Temperatures were as high as 17C last Saturday, and – even though I was at work writing about the election TV debates – I thought of how the spring sunshine would be warming the soil on Plot 35a. When I got down there yesterday, there were signs that the warmth has, like a thermostat, clicked [...]

By | Her Outdoors, Notebook | Tuesday, 10 March 2015 at 11:13 pm

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