Tuesday 16 April 2024

My Monthly Chronicles: March 2024

Today I am starting what I plan to be a regular post chronicling my eating out, events, random moments and reflections in the previous month  It is written as a companion post to my In My Kitchen posts about cooking, purchases and eating at home.  I hope it will help me catch up with the sort of places and photos that I have good intentions of sharing in more detail but never find the time.

Triennial @ the NGV: The top two photos are from Triennial 2024 at NGV.  This was a brilliant exhibition with art works looking at the world from a new perspective with a touch of insight and beauty.  I didn't get to as much of the exhibitions as I had hoped but was glad I got along before it closed last weekend.  Above is an installation by Diana Al-Hadid which is an ethereal modern copy of a medieval panting with medieval statues to be seen behind the gossamer images. The top photo is of an installation where the artist Richard Lewer invited people to come to "confession" and he painted these on the walls.  These are just two artworks to show the diversity and richness in the exhbition.

On the telly: This is Going to Hurt.  Insightful and often uncomfortable British tv series starring Ben Wishart in a drama about the difficulties of working in the NHS.  Based on the Adam Kay book of the same name.  Plus a soundtrack by Jarvis Cocker.

Where does Batman get his mail? A local area called Batman amuses with Batman Train Station and we also have this Batman Post.  Just in case you wondered about where Batman goes when not fighting crime!

Five Buck Schmuck: We had lunch at Five Buck Schmuck in Thornbury.   As the name suggests it is cheap as chips.  I wasn't so keen on the $5 Feta Mac and Cheese but Sylvia loved her $5 Biscoff Croissant with cream.

In the news: In March there was a crazy amount of speculation and wild stories about Kate Middleton lying low.  It culminated in her brave announcement that she has cancer.  I am glad to see this quietened all the chatter about her and I hope she is able to get through this difficult time with as much privacy as a princess can.

Ima Asa Yoru: This Japanese restaurant in Brunswick called Ima Asa Yoru has a fantastic menu with lots of veg options.  The tempura eggplant was excellent as were the greens and miso soup.  A very sleek outfit that I hope to return to for more good food.

Duckett Street Party:  We saw that there was a street party in Duckett Street which gave us a great reason to go to Ima Asu Yoru.  It was a lovely balmy autumn afternoon with some street art, cookie monster and food carts.  Sylvia loved the tiramisu from Freda's Bakery.  I enjoyed people watching and would have stayed for the trivia but we were not keen to hang around too long.

Famil-LEE Korean Restaurant: Sylvia spotted the CBD restaurant, Famil-LEE, online because she has been interested by the ttoek-bokki.  This dish of round chewy rice cakes in a slightly spicy sauce with lots of optional extras is quite fascinating.  Unfortunately we assumed from the menu that the dish was vegetarian but should have checked when ordering.  Once we started to dig in for chewy rice cakes and oozy cheese, Sylvia told me there was fish cakes in it.  It wasn't quite as good after that.  At least the corn cheese kimchi kim bab (hand rolls) were amazing.  And we loved our drinks: Korean debang coffee and orange lime bitters.

Podcast stories: I really enjoyed listening to the ABC RN Conversations interview called Jarvis Cocker and the Pulp Masterplan.  Jarvis is one of the most interesting pop stars ever!  I highly recommend this discussion about an exercise book of his teenage plans for his band Pulp and other detritus from his attic.

Cobrick Cafe: After an initially underwhelming first visit to Cobrick cafe at Pentridge, we were really impressed with a recent lunch.  My avocado on toast was seriously loaded with salsa as well as the slick of beetroot hummus and chunks of feta.  Really good.  Sylvia had some of the best loaded fries ever: waffle fries, beans, avocado and cheese sauce.

Lucky Little Dumplings: We have had a few enjoyable outings to Lucky Little Dumplings at Pentridge, the most recent being last month.  It was great to go there after Sylvia had a clean bill of health from her dentist.  I love the dumplings but was especially impressed on this visit by the sweet and sour fried eggplant with the fried rice.  Even Sylvia loved them.  It was a huge serve and we had plenty leftover that we took home in a doggy bag.

Oh Boy, It's a Food Truck @ the Barbarian Brewery: Sylvia loved the food from Oh Boy It's a Food Truck at the Coburg Night Market and saw that they were doing a pop up at the Barbarian Brewery in Kingsville on St Patrick's Day.  We went along for a drink, and shared some of the food truck's delicious poutine and a mac and cheese croquette roll.  I washed mine down with a Heaps Normal no-alcohol beer.  The staff at the bar were really friendly and the place had a welcoming and family-friendly vibe.  There was a brewery-owned dog who was so lovely and so well behaved that we were quite amused by him.

At the cinema: I saw the Holdovers at Cinema Nova.  It was excellent with a 1970s retro vibe, Christmassy snow, and the humour and insight that comes with an unlikely boarding school friendship.  Heather and I had dinner at King and Godfree afterwards.  My gnocchi was nice but needed a salad, if only I didn't resent paying the extra.

Chookas: We love visiting Chookas cafe in Brunswick for interesting drinks and omusubi.  Sylvia could not wait to get back there after our holiday in Europe in February.  I convinced her to have the black sesame latte while I had the ume plum soda.  The latte was not Sylvia's thing - she doesn't like sesame.  I ended up sharing my soda because I love sesame flavour, albeit not milky drinks.  I asked a staff member to add some chocolate sauce to the latte - because who doesn't love chocolate and sesame together - so that I could drink it.  Meanwhile I was very happy to have a kimchi edamame and cheese omusubi and Sylvia loved her gorgeous matcha affogato.

Hope Street Space: We are sad this amazing warehouse of treasures on the corner of Hope Street and Frederick Street in Brunswick is closing soon.  Hope Street Space is a favourite place for Sylvia and her dad to have a browse after Chookas and I have been occasionally.  

Helping Hands Sunshine Op Shop: We have been to a few op shops lately and the best one in terms of price and quality goods is the Helping Hands Sunshine Op Shop in Sunshine with an amazing warehouse of second hand goods sold to raise money for charity.

Tiny hands: One of Sylvia's favourite purchases from Hope Street Space has been a pair of tiny hands.  Shadow might look thoughtful in the photo but he was less than impressed!

Kines: I had a lovely lunch catching up with Faye at Kines in Hope Street, Brunswick.  It was very pleasant to sit outside and eat arepas topped with cashew cheese, sauerkraut and chilli sauce as well as a generous side serving of mushrooms.  I was impressed at how accommodating they were about my requests to swap out the dairy cheese and egg.  (Although I eat dairy I love cashew cheese.)  Faye enjoyed a fennel toastie.  She shared her carrot cake which she found quite sweet.  I was amused that my blueberry kombucha came in a bottle with a masking tape, hand-written label.  I guess it was home made.

Village Door cafe: When visiting my parents in Geelong, we had lunch at the Village Door in Pakington Street.  Sylvia and my dad had Dutch pancakes, my mum had tomato bruschetta and I had avocado on toast.  It was nice, other than the oddness of the untoasted toast, but it had a lot of meat and eggs on the menu so I didn't feel I had a lot of choice.

The fun garden I: While driving through Sunshine we stopped to admire a topiary dinosaur.

The fun garden II: We discovered an amazing garden behind the dinosaur.  Lots of topiary, cacti, succulents, animal statues and whimsy.

Reading: I have been reading Rather his Own Man: Reliable Memoirs (2018) by Geoffrey Robertson.  I was fascinated by him on Hypotheticals as a kid and enjoyed reading about his compassion and travels in his wide ranging experiences, many as a human rights lawyer.

Ramadan in Coburg I: We live in an area with a strong Middle Eastern presence.  I was struck by this Modest and Islamic clothing store with a twist on Christmas messages: "All I want for Ramadam is a free Palestine."

Ramadan in Coburg II: These cute Ramadam Kit Kats were seen in our local supermarket.  I assume it is a sign of the modern Muslim who does not have a problem with images of humans.  The chocolate people seem a departure from a lot of the traditional Islamic art which does not have images of humans because it was considered idolatrous.

Cat of the Month: This cute cat was spotted on a walk to the shops.  Sylvia was so charmed by its friendliness she told me to go ahead to the shops because she might be some time.

Easter: I went to my parents for an Easter Sunday Roast.  My dad usually does an Easter egg hunt for the grandkids.  They are reaching their teens and adulthood now so instead of the hunt, my parents gave each kid a potted pansy.  Sylvia was delighted. 

This post is a work in progress as I feel my way through collating lots of information about places and other stuff that I am not always finding time to post.  It is quite similar to In My Kitchen with a touch of Sammie's Taking Stock posts but is likely to develop as the months go by.  Let me know what you think.

Thursday 11 April 2024

In my kitchen: March 2024

April has greeted us with heavy rains, cooler nights and the end of daylight savings.  March was a busy month with some hot weather.  We eased back into home life after travels in Europe.  I spent a lot of time blogging about this trip and catching up with friends and family to discuss it.  We have tried lots of new dishes for dinners and new cafes: mostly hits but a few misses.  And then there was the Oscars, Easter and the NGV Triennial to keep me occupied.

I have a few changes for this blog, which I will talk about more but will just mention briefly here.  I have added a subscribe button (finally got this done after Blogger removed the default subscribe function a few years back), It is on the right hand column of the web view but not on the phone view.  I have been working on my recipe index to break up some long sections.  And I am inspired by these In My Kitchen posts and also Sammie's Taking Stock posts to start a writing monthly companion posts to catch up on what is happening outside my kitchen.  Currently I think I will call it Monthly Chronicles.  It is intended to help with my desire to post more blog posts than I have time for.

Above is Carrot Fritters, which was one of our star recipes of March.  We found the recipe in the month's Coles Magazine.  Our version was adapted from the Coles version but the basic fritter recipe was really good and has been made twice in the last few weeks.  And requested a lot more!  It was delicious served with the yoghurt sauce from the broccoli fritters I mention below, brown rice salad and salad vegetables.

These are some of the new fridge magnets from our travels.  We loved the tiny pasta packets, drink bottles and cheeses magnets at Milan railway station and Sylvia got the fondue and cheeseboard magnets in Zurich.  If you would like to catch up on my travels, I now have a complete list of European 2024 travel posts.

We've made a few favourite recipes since getting home from our trip.  When Sylvia baked these cheese and parsley muffins, she took some cherry tomatoes from our garden.  Not many of the tomatoes were up to her high standard.  The muffins were delicious.

Sylvia still loves her pasta recipes. This creamy zucchini alfredo is one of her favourites and was a great warm weather meal.

We love bangers and mash in cold weather but when it gets warm the sausages are paired with potato salad.  I think it is because we had so many barbecues with potato salad in hot weather when I was a child.  The one in the photo also has some mock tuna (chickpea) salad, rocket, cherry tomatoes and of course tomato sauce.  Perfect summer meal!  Even good when the season has turned to Autumn but is in denial.

Another current favourite salad of Sylvia's is the Ramen Noodle Salad with Kimchi.  She has made it twice and both times we thought we had kimchi but it has gone off.  When she made it recently I made some honey garlic tofu to eat it with it.  The tofu and the salad worked really well together.

Occasionally we buy something interesting from the supermarket.  I enjoyed the French onion and cracked pepper lavosh crackers and the Sun-dried tomato and olive flatbread crackers with hummus.  The buckwheat flakes were excellent and crispy in my toasted muesli.  

I was really interested in trying the Vitasoy Greek-style strawberry soy yoghurt.  I have wanted to find a vegan alternative to yoghurt but the coconut yoghurts are too rich and the soy ones are often lacking oomph and have an unpleasant aftertaste. I was pretty impressed with this yoghurt.  While there was a slight aftertaste, it was smooth and pleasing in texture and flavour.

The Whittaker's peppermint and lavender milk chocolate was excellent.  Sylvia not usually a fan of mint chocolate but with the lavender, she loved it.

We loved the Whittaker's peppermint and lavender chocolate so much that we tried others.  The Relax passionfruit and chamomile milk chocolate was lovely and mellow.  The Revive ginger and mandarin dark chocolate was a little more intense but very nice.  As well as great chocolate, we loved the dreamy designs.

This Super Green Sheet Pan Soup was one of Sylvia's favourites.  It was lots of roasted vegies (broccoli, cauliflower, leek, potato and zucchini) made greener by the addition of green peas with the stock.  I really liked it but found it quite thick and sludgy.  It was elevated to amazing by the pesto and cheese toasties that was chopped into croutons.

I made this Kale Potato Salad on a warm lazy night.  I loved the way the kale was massaged with lemon and salt and then mixed with a grainy salad and the potatoes were added at the last moment.  I kept the potatoes and kale separate so we could add as much as as little of the kale as we liked and then I added cashews, cherry tomatoes, celery and some yoghurt and mixed it all up in my plate.  It was amazing.

As the mushroom lover, Sylvia could not get enough of this Creamy Mushroom Gnocchi.  She added quite a bit of different seasonings to the  it more than the recipe's simple cream and mustard dressing and it worked well with the gnocchi, mushrooms and spinach.  She loved it so much she made it again for herself and E one night when I was out at the cinema with a friend.

These Raspberry and Custard Buns are from the March 2024 Woolworths Magazine.  (As an aside, it has the best vegetarian recipes I have seen in a supermarket magazine for some time.)  Sylvia made these with a little help from me.  I was impressed at her gung-ho approach to making her first yeasted recipe.  Though she has spent years helping me with yeast and sourdough recipes so she does not know of the fear some people have with yeasted recipes.  I am not sure why they were called buns rather than scrolls.  They worked ok but I felt the recipe should have had included more kneading time in it.

This chickpea pilaf is an old favourite of mine.  Sylvia turned up her nose at it.  But she was eager to taste the mushrooms that I made with our favourite tofu bacon marinade.  I have served the pilaf with tofu bacon marinade before but wanted something a bit easier than chopping up all the tofu.  The mushrooms were fried golden brown and then fried some more when the marinade was added.  They were so so good!

We tried the Recipe Tin Eats Broccoli Fritters (which came from Smitten Kitchen).  They were really good but I stumbled at the mashing the broccoli part.  I was unsure how mashed the broccoli should be.  I ended up chopping them more than my masher could do.  They were so green and delicious with the yoghurt sauce Mock tuna (chickpea) salad and Macedonian eggplant salad.  

I preferred the amazing carrot fritters at the top of the post would love to make them again.  Sylvia is now loving fritters and requesting other vegetable variations.  I really want to try Dreams of Sourdough's idea of adding corn to sourdough starter to make fritters.  (She is an inspiration with her beautiful creative sourdough baking!)

Another warm weather meal Sylvia made was this delicious haloumi and lemon pasta.  It had little chunks of crispy, salty, golden haloumi and red onion that we complemented by the lemony flavours.

We were inspired in our pizza toppings by our trip to Rome, especially the Campo de' Fiore Forno.  We made one zucchini pizza with lots of cheese and grated then wrung out zucchini.  That was Sylvia's favourite.  I really loved the mushroom and truffle pizza made with the truffle paste we brought home.

When planning to make tteokbokki, we found some kimchi and enoki mushrooms at ima Pantry in Brunswick when waiting for a table at sister venue ima asu yoru.  We forgot about the enoki and when we looked at the kimchi it was mouldy.  I wonder if it is because when we carried it home it leaked brine.  I was surprised as usually jars are well sealed but I am not sure what happened here.  Sylvia fried some enoki to have with noodles and enjoyed it but I think we haven't paid the packet enough attention.

Here is Sylvia's tteokbokki.   I was under the impression there was a recipe she was using but apparently she just watched some videos and made the sauce with butter, gochujang, soy sauce, brown sugar and cream. It had udon noodles, rice cakes and cheese in it.  Hers had eggs and spring onions.  It is pictured in our lovely new bowl.  I served my tteokbokki with broccoli, tomatoes, spring onions and black sesame seeds but it is not pictured so you will have to imagine how colourful it was.  This Korean rice cake stew was better than one we had at a restaurant a few weeks back.

I had this page torn from a Coles Magazine with the colourful variation on my childhood zucchini slice.  I tried the broccoli and pea zucchini slice that was even greener than the original.  It was something I would like to make more for lunches.  Sylvia didn't love it.  In fact she said it "tastes like a fart."  Brassicas!

I only baked one batch of Hot Cross Buns this Easter.  They were delicious warm with butter.  Much better than the ones I bought but my mum's were amazingly soft and pleasing.

I went to my parents on Easter Sunday for a family roast dinner.  It was great to catch up with everyone.  I made a nut roast to use up a creamy pesto that Sylvia made with lots of cream cheese and no nuts.  I added breadcrumbs, ground nuts and eggs.  It was a little dense but worked well with my mum's roast potatoes, roast pumpkin, peas, tomato sauce and my sister's cauliflower cheese.  

For dessert we were spoilt by my mum.  She made a pavlova, a berry meringue cake (based on Nigella's lemon meringue cake), and a baked cheesecake with chocolate chunks.  When my sister got up in a hurry she knocked her glass of white wine into the cheesecake.  Even though the wine was drained off the cheesecake immediately and could not really be tasted, it amused us to call it the drunken cheesecake.

This is my grandmother's handwritten cookbook that my mum gave me after she died.  I have had it for years but my mum wanted to look at it so it has left the building.  I have asked that it comes back some day.

We had a visit to see my parents in Geelong a couple of weeks back.  Sylvia and my mum spent some time in the garden and we came home with a couple of boxes of cuttings from my mum's plants.  Once home, Sylvia repotted them in our backyard.

On the trip to Geelong, we had lunch at the Village Door in Packington St followed by a browse at Geelong Fresh.  I bought some of the amazing Irrewarra sourdough bread and large twisty pasta.  My dad said one piece of that pasta would be enough for a meal.   So I came home with these plus some lovely tomatoes from my brother in law, John and lemons from my mum's tree.  You might also be able to see a chunk of apple cake my mum gave me.

I am sending this post to Sherry of Sherry's Pickings for the In My Kitchen event. If you would like to join in, send your post to Sherry by 13th of the month.  Or just head over to her blog to visit more kitchens and her gorgeous hand drawn header.

Monday 8 April 2024

European holiday - souvenirs (and a list of posts from my trip)

This is my last post from our European trip (Edinburgh, London, Rome, Zurich) in January and February.  At the end of this post is a list of all the posts I have written on this trip.
It is a chance to share some of the souvenirs we brought home.  Most, but not all, are mine as Sylvia got most of hers away too quickly to photograph.  At the end of a month in the UK I always feel like I should have bought so many more souvenirs but also that I am lucky to have so many that I did buy.
I start with the top photo of some London souvenirs.  Some icons are essential: Big Ben, Telephone box, Post box, and a fry-up from St Pancras Station  A telephone box from Camden Market. A handkerchief to the iconic department store: I bought a beautiful handkerchief at Liberty.  A pair of Moomin socks and a spoon from the Moomin store at the iconic Covent Garden.  Souvenirs hold so many memories.

I start with some of the tickets and business cards.  It used to be that everywhere had nice tickets or at least sturdier than a flimsy credit card recipe.  These days they are not a given.  Some are still lovely.  Tickets are from major attractions such as the Vatican Museum, The Colosseum, Westminster Abby and Highgate Cemetery.  The business cards are a variety of businesses and the transport tickets include the one paper ticket we bought for the underground when our digital wallet was not accepted at one station.


The Cameron Toll Sainsbury;s had everything.  It was huge!  If I was going to be locked up in a shop I think I would choose this one.  Lots of good food, books, clothes, kitchenware and plants.  I'd just have to get some woolly jumpers to make up a bed on the cash register conveyor belt (turned off, of course).  I love this stainless steel pastry scraper with the ruler-style measurements on it.  It has been great for bread baking.

We could not resist these mugs from Marks & Spencer.  Like a lot of crockery these days, they seemed to be supersized when compared to my older mugs.  Sylvia loves her gold stripey mug and I am in love with my puffin mug with the green insides.

We picked up this Guilliano Tartufi truffle set of spreads and oil at the Campo di Fiore Market.  There were so many truffle goods on display but we only had room for this one.  The spreads are excellent on a mushroom pizza.

My favourite Rome souvenirs were from Miss Babbingtons Tea Rooms.  The cat bag is gorgeous and rolls up into a small bag.  The notebook had the loveliest illustrations.  I also like my mini Trevi Fountain, the miniature packet of pasta on a fridge magnet, and some pens with a story.

Sylvia was very cross that I bought this charming miniature libreria (bookshelf).  I, on the other hand, was very pleased with my purchase, even if it was a tad pricey.  I love these sort of tiny unique works with lots of detail and history.  My only concern was that it would break or get rejected by customs australia but I never regretted my most expensive purchase.  When I yearned after other wonderful souvenirs I could not take home with me, my mind would go to this one and contentment would chase away the desire.  t makes me very happy to see it on the wall and think of the gorgeous little shop - Cartoleria Pantheon - in the Piazza Navona where I bought it from the man who crafted it.

Seems they like red in Switzerland!  I was pretty upset when my Swiss army knife was taken off me at an American airport soon after 9/11.  Zurich seemed a good place to replace it.  While there I also bought the Swiss chocolate fridge magnet and the national flag pen.

We left Zurich with a lot of Swiss chocolate from the Lindt factory.  We got our museum ticket refunded and probably spent the money on chocolate.  Some were presents but it was great to have some for us when we got home.  The Venchi chocolate is from Milan train station and the Butlers chocolate is one that my sister brought us from Ireland when she visited us in Ireland.  All.  So.  Good.

I listened to a great ABC Conversations interview with Jarvis Cocker recently and loved all his stories about his band Pulp.  An opportunity to buy a Pulp tote bag at Camden Market was not to be missed.

I wanted to add to my collection of Christmas tree decorations from around the world.  The Swiss clock and the London Mind the Gap sign will be great additions to our Christmas tree to remind us of this holiday.  At the Cathdral of Rome link I also bought a lovely little festive souvenir to display on a shelf at Christmas.

Our kitchen now has some shiny new additions.  The blue plate is quite cosmopolitan.  It lives in a Melbourne kitchen, was bought in Zurich from a Danish shop (Flying Tiger) we first visited in Dublin.  My plate from John Lewis in Edinburgh seemed second best to the more pricey William Morris plates but I have come to love it as much if not more than those William Morris plates.  In London I bought a stylish pot holder from the Borough Market pot holder and a London icons plate from Camden Market.

We brought home more edible souvenirs.  Some were unexpected delights.  The Sicilian lemon salt from the Borough Market was a difficult decision at spice stall with so much interesting foods.  I don't eat much jam but the chance to buy the Bramble and Blackcurrant Jam from Edinburgh Farmers Market was not to be missed because it is so very British and not likely to be found in Australia. 

Some souvenirs are surprises in different ways.  The Misura Fibrextra crackers from a Rome supermarket were meant for snacks in our holiday kitchen but  came with me on my travels and were with me when I got home.  They wee finally eaten with hummus and wistful thinking.  Other souvenirs are not what I expected.  The little purple lidded citrus looked brilliant when demonstrated at the Campo di Fiore Market in Rome but less impressive in action at home.  I have tried pushing it into a lemon a few times to squeeze lemon juice into the pourer but it does not seem efficient.

Sometimes the souvenirs are all about the packaging.  The Scottish Walkers Highland Cow shortbreads were too adorable to ignore.  They were a gift.  As was a packet of vegan kit kat I bought in Edinburgh for a friend.  I had meant to photograph the gorgeous packing but forgot.  The Popping Candy packet looked like fun. And I liked the retro packaging on the Creamola foam which are marketed as iron brew flavoured drink crystals.  When I got home, I was surprised that E was quite familiar with them from his Scottish childhood.

This lot of foods was in Sylvia's souvenirs: Tunnocks caramel wafers, Penguins chocolate biscuits and Sainsbury's golden syrup porridge.  She was very pleased to bring home a taste of Edinburgh.  As you can see there were quite a few foods to remember to declare at Customs when entering Australia.  I remembered most of them and the officers seemed pretty relaxed about packaged foods.  Even the fudge-like tablet (not photographed) got through.

Tea towels are such a great souvenir.  Easy to stuff into an full suitcase, useful for wrapping more delicate items and bring some colourful memories to the kitchen.  The Highland coo tea towel from Edinburgh was so bright and cheerful.

This tea towel featured Rome icons that look seriously vintage with the sepia tones.  We managed to visit most of these so that tea towel holds many memories.

The Plates tea towel from the Museum of the Home in London demonstrates that a plate is not just a plate.  Each tells a story or as the website puts it more eloquently: "This design is inspired by domestic ephemera from our archives; it features a curated mix of hand drawn plates from different eras, revealing stories of personal taste and ceramic innovation."  I like to think that our eclectic pile of bread and butter plate in my kitchen is also a curated mix!  There are a few on the tea towel that I would not mind adding to the pile.

I bought this London tea towel because it is in the same style as one I have of Edinburgh.  I really like the line drawing style of the Architectural icons and the way they are presented together as though you just need the right place to see them all at once.  If only! 

The Seaweed tea towel was bought at the V&A museum gift shop which had the most gorgeous fabrics.  It is described on the website as "Lovely tea towel featuring Seaweed, a wallpaper by John Henry Dearle (1860-1932), produced by Morris & Co., England, 1901."  I would love to have such wallpaper in my house but it is not so practical.  For now this tea towel will have to suffice.

I took these photos of souvenirs when I first got home from our trip a few weeks back.  I blame the jetlag on including the popping candy in two photos!  There are a few gifts in this photo: a gorgeous thistle fold up carry bag that I have been loving using and some serviettes with Scottish slang from Anne.  The little recipe book from Steampunk in North Berwick has lovely photos.  We didn't get to go there but HH knows we are very fond of North Berwick where she and E have spent many happy days.  The glass on the little atrium broke on the plane, which made us sad.  And you can never have too many Edinburgh fridge magnets!

The purple suffragette figure is also a present from my sister while we were in London.  The other items in this post as from Sylvia's souvenirs.  The Jellycat Acorn was a fun travel companion.  Sylvia loved the miniature buildings and bought a Trevi Fountain, a Houses of Parliament, a Big Ben and an Edinburgh Castle.  She also liked her tote bags which include one from the Moomin Shop and one from Flying Tiger.  And she was delighted with the little wooden mushrooms from Ragamuffin in Edinburgh.

Waterstones is such a great bookshop and they do some fine tote bags.

These fingerless gloves are also from Ragamuffin in Edinburgh.  They had such beautiful knitted items.  I hope they might be useful for bike riding in winter.  We bought quite a few clothes on our travels but I didn't photograph them, other than these gloves and some Scottish loch ness monster socks.  I loved the little bothy (rural cottage) and the wee hairy coo.  I bought the bagpiping angel fridge magnet from St Giles.  I was given one years ago when I finished my volunteer work at St Giles but it has fallen apart so it was time for a new one.

Postcards used to be a big thing in souvenir shops but seem to be phasing out, taken over by social media and better quality smart phone cameras.  I brought home a few that I liked.  They might find a place on a wall somewhere.  The Glasgow one is because I was amused by the traffic cone tourism, the Edinburgh Robert Messer brush shop one was for old time's sake, the black and white one is from our fondue dinner Zurich, and I was amused by the science one (if only science could find a cure for stupid people!)

One of the last souvenirs I bought was one of those pieces of adorable detritus: an M&S carry bag with the Scottish Saltire made with oats, blueberries and blackberries.  I admired it whenever I saw it in the shops or seeing people carrying it about in Edinburgh.  One on of my last days I bought one as it was easy to pack and such a nice reminder of our time in Scotland.

As I noted at the start of this post, this is my last post on our trip to Europe.  Over the last few months I have written a massive 47 posts on the trip.  (That is more posts than I wrote in the whole year of 2022 and almost as many as I wrote on 2021.)  It has been fun but has also taken a lot of time.  I am looking forward to posting less regularly and catching up on posts about life in Melbourne.

Holiday posts list


Edinburgh (and Glasgow)