Drunken monkeys and solar panels

I am a curious person. I’ve mentioned it before, this tendency to lose myself in the pursuit of interesting things. It becomes a bit like the proverbial rabbit hole as I follow some convoluted thread through not only my regular ‘haunts’ but also to new and inspiring sources that I inevitably add to my ‘follow’ list.

This week’s haul has been particularly rich in the ‘how interesting’ department so here are a few of the titbits I loved the most.

The smell before the storm

I love that smell just before a storm hits. It’s a really clean, slightly metallic smell that heralds the impending downpour. Well according to my regular dose of Mental Floss, that smell is caused by electrical charges that break down atoms which then reform into nitric oxide. This reacts with other chemicals in the atmosphere to create ozone which causes the ‘chlorine’ odour.

However, I question the chlorine claim. After all, I swim a couple of times a week and believe me, that pool smells like chlorine. Maybe a lifetime of swimming has made me less sensitized to ozone’s more fragrant charms. Or perhaps there’s something familiar and comforting being triggered in my brain. In any case, it was one more conundrum solved and led me to ponder whether more storms would help to fix the hole in the ozone layer.

The drunken monkey hypothesis

Flipboard is a great app that allows you to choose what types of articles you’d like to receive and I love dipping in and out during my commute. This week I found my way to a piece in Esquire that delved into the origins of alcohol consumption. It appears that this goes well beyond the human condition and was critical for our predecessors’ survival.

You see, while modern life finds us all looking for ways to reduce our caloric intake, our primate ancestors found feasting on over-ripe (and therefore fermenting) fruit an excellent way to get the energy needed to swing from tree to tree all day long. Add to that the need to survive by hunting and gathering enough to eat and you’ve got yourself the perfect excuse to booze all day, every day.

I wonder how much booze my fortnightly online grocery shopping would permit me. Not much I suspect.

The pyramid inside the mountain

Flipboard also led me to BBC Future piece on the ancient pyramid beneath a mountain – well, actually underneath a tiny hilltop church in Chohula in the Mexican highlands. The article reports that the pyramid is four times the size of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. I’ve been to Giza so I can only imagine how huge this one must be. Chohula was described by Cortez as “the most beautiful city outside Spain” and the BBC article reports that there are over 500 tunnels to be explored.

Mexico has been on my travel bucket list for some time but fell away as I started to read more about China and the Silk Roads cultures. However, an archaeologically-inspired visit would be an amazing thing to do. So much to do, so little time (and money).

*Sigh*

And last but not least…

The car that gives back

There’s been a lot in the press about self-driving cars and I had my first Tesla close up a couple of weeks ago at their showroom in a local shopping centre. While there was no test drive (or test no-drive as the case may be), I did think that the Model S was very nice indeed.

But Tesla are not just applying their energy breakthroughs in the automotive industry. Via this week’s Springwise newsletter, I learned that my very own hometown of Melbourne may have their first sustainable suburb in new development, YarraBend. Applying Tesla’s technology may mean energy reductions of up to 34% with the developers also suggesting significant decreases in water usage (43%) and landfill (80%).

Before I moved to London in 2004, I read about an initiative to place solar panels on the roof of Melbourne’s Victoria Market in an effort to power the surrounding suburbs. I felt a little swell of Aussie pride that Melbourne continues to champion ways to address some of our critical climactic challenges.

So there you have it – my top four commuting gems from this week. It’s certainly been a rich vein so I hope you found something here to pique your curiosity.

June: The stages of life

June brings us up to the half way point of the year so it’s time for the interval, the intermission, the half-time break. So what’s been going on in the closing stages of the first half? Plenty as it turns out.

The headlines have been all about the referendum – the lead up and the fall-out – and we are still waiting to see who will step up to the mark and lead Britain into this next stage of our history. Attending a panel discussion hosted by The Guardian entitled ‘What will the world look like in 2025’ yielded little in the way of answers other than in this world where nothing seems to last, getting skilled in the art of managing uncertainty is a smart thing to do. And while all of this was going on, a new stage closer to home came to pass with a change of ownership at work and new management marking the occasion with a rather delicious cake to welcome us to the fold. I like them already.

This month I also started volunteering again and spent a morning at one of the local secondary schools…with more than 200 fourteen year old girls taking to the stage. This definitely took me out of my comfort zone and at the same time, left me feeling really inspired. More on this in a later post.

I was also delighted with another discovery of the stage variety this month: The Invisible Hand, a play running at the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn. I even managed to get a little education on high finance as I watched high-flying banker Nick Bright, kidnapped by Pakistani militants, use his knowledge of how money works to stay alive. The cast of four were outstanding and combined with the compelling plot, I found the whole production both gripping and thought-provoking. However it finished at the Tricycle – itself a great find – on July 2nd, otherwise I’d encourage you to book your ticket but you should definitely keep an eye out for another run of this.

Staying with theatre exploits, I enjoyed a couple of previously live-screened plays in the comfort of my local cinema this month. The dark and broody staging of the RSC’s latest production of Hamlet was as one would expect but was also elevated by its militant Africa backdrop as well as by an extraordinary performance from 25-year-old Paapa Essiedu in the lead role.

At the other end of the spectrum, I spent a light-hearted evening with Oscar Wilde’s cast of pretentious yet lovable characters in The Importance of Being Earnest. David Suchet – you may know him as the eccentric Belgian detective Hercule Poirot in many an Agatha Christie whodunnit – sashayed around the stage as the inimitable Lady Bracknell and with witty repartee and oodles of innuendo, it was a very entertaining couple of hours indeed.

I also spent a hour or so wandering in between various stages of Undressed. No not me personally. It’s an exhibition on the history of underwear at the V&A running until March next year. Seeing some of those teeny tiny corsets up there on their podiums made me feel quite Amazonian in stature and also rather glad that I live in an age where I can dress in relative comfort and not have to worship at the altar of society’s [size 6] ideal. The blokes are not exempt from a little vanity either – there were quite a few examples of ahem, shapewear (not to mention that my ‘mens enhancing underwear uk’ google search yielded more than 76,000 results).

But without a doubt, this month’s highlight was The Battle of the Big Bands at Cadogan Hall. The Jazz Repertory Company recreated the famous 1938 battle on the stage at Carnegie Hall, a musical masterclass between the established Benny Goodman and the up-and-coming Glenn Miller. Compere cum clarinet maestro Pete Long (he was absolutely awesome and fairly made that clarinet talk) brought this great rivalry and the eventual changing of the guard to life with his savvy storytelling. With all of my favourites on offer – Sing Sing Sing, Little Brown Jug and In The Mood – the whole night was just brilliant, foot-tapping fun and In The Mood was definitely how I felt going home on the tube.

That, my dear Gidday-ers, was June and as the curtain falls and June takes its bow – having been fun and full of plenty – I’m already off treading the boards into July…

What’s that? An encore you say? Well okay – here are a couple of my commuting gems from Victoria Embankment, the site of many of the Thames’ old landing stages

Have yourselves a fabulous July peeps.

[Exit stage left]

January’s bucket list

I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions. My resolve tends to scatter across the year and is generally underpinned by my penchant for exploration and variety. However I do love moments, snatches of time when I am completely caught up – and sometimes out – by intense feeling, largely a mixture of delight, wonder, melancholy, outrage and curiosity. I carry this image of a bucket in my mind and I often imagine putting a particular moment into it. Somehow they all combine into a life that inspires me.

I was checking something in my calendar earlier and it occurred to me that while I share about particular experiences, I don’t often reflect on all of the things I’ve done. Fellow blogger, author and longtime Gidday follower Jack Scott commented recently “you do get about” so I thought that it would be interesting – for me anyway – to end each month this year by checking out what’s ended up ‘in the bucket’.

So here goes.

This month it all started with a new chapter in an old story and I absolutely loved Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I then moved into a Kenneth Brannagh double bill: All On Her Own, a maudlin 25 minute 3-stars-from-me soliloquy, and the hilarious 4-stars-from-me farce, Harlequinade.

A trip back in time with the Museum of London and a tour of an old Roman fort inspired my historic sensibilities so much that the Museum became a new Friend. Five days later I joined hundreds of women at the Central Methodist Hall in Westminster to listen to the Women’s Equality Party and left non-plussed and suprisingly uninspired: lots of valid and important messages but the whole thing was a bit ‘rah rah’ for me.

A decidedly French tone emerged in the second half of the month with the NY MET’s performance of Bizet’s opera The Pearl Fishers and the National Theatre’s production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons) being live streamed at the Phoenix Cinema just a ten minute bus ride away. When I was raving about the latter in the office the next day, I was informed by a young French colleague that the book continues to be part of the literature curriculum in French schools and is considered “a classic”. By the way, both productions were ‘magnifique’.

I’ve also read six books this month and rated three of them a mighty 5-stars, an excellent 50% hit rate. March Violets by Philip Kerr and A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute were my first dip into these respective writers and my return to Stephen King (and introduction to his criminal mastermind Mr Mercedes) was the recommendation of another Gidday follower, author Charlie Wade. (Thanks Charlie!)

In between all of this I embarked on some new cooking adventures with a foray into pastry (albeit frozen) as well as ‘cooking with beetroot’ and I managed catch up dinners with three different friends, one long overdue.

I also inadvertently fell across London’s Lumiere Festival on the face of the Abbey…

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…and delighted in the lighter mornings on my walk to work.

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Speaking of commuting, this gem really lifted my tube ride home one night.

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It also snowed…

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…and I celebrated twelve years in London.

So Jack was right and January was full to the brim with moments that were both planned and completely surprising. (And that’s doesn’t include what happens in my job.)

In any case, I’ve quite enjoyed this retrospective approach to bucket list-ing and am curious to see what reflecting on February might bring.

What would a look back at your January moments yield?

Leave A Light On For Me…

I was browsing through my general clever clogs emails this week and came across a bit of a gem from Springwise.com.  

Placelamp is a desk lamp which changes colour according to the owner’s status.

Image source: http://www.pixelonomics.com

You link the lamp with an app on your phone and you can program it to do all sorts of things – colour intensifies when you are closer and becomes a ‘reading’ lamp while at your desk. You can also set it to change to various colours according to your status eg. out of the office or even to reflect incoming emails or messages. Cool huh?

Anyway I got a bit excited and started looking at all of these other lamps and there’s some pretty amazing stuff out there.

This is the Titanic lamp from Viable London…


It was designed by Charles Trevelyan in 2005 and while it doesn’t seem like it’s for sale any more, it was such a great design that I just had to share it.

This next one’s the Martyr, a playful energy saver designed by UK design studio The Play Coalition in 2008…its sense of fun made me giggle.

And for the slightly morbid, here’s Hung – he (or she?) has been created by enPieza! and will set you back about €185…gulp! Game of Hangman anyone?

At the opposite end of the spectrum I found this cute cottontail on that most excellent of inspired-gift-giving websites, not on the high street. The Bunny lamp is available from All Things Brighton Beautiful for £69.95.

I meandered further and discovered an illuminating and spirited trio.

First, I found Whoopsy from Lumisource which reminded me of that deliciously intoxicating flow from cocktail shaker to glass – available in four fab flavours colours for just $24.95.

Next it was this upcycled Beefeater London Gin lamp from AfterGlowsbyStacey. She makes all sorts of spirit brands light up but I loved the mix of vibrant colour and London tradition combined with the whole upcycling vibe best. It caught my eye on Etsy for the bargain price of £20.

And the last in this alcohol-fuelled triumvariate was San Remo, an oriental inspired shade made from a whole load of paper cocktail umbrellas. It’s bottoms up from Zipper8Lighting and Etsy again for £72.34

This whole upcycling thing intrigued me so I mosey-ed around a bit further on this and got a bit excited about this recycled book lamp shade from the ‘make-it-yourself’ website, Instructables – you can download the instructions here for making this little beauty.

I wasn’t really sure how I could do that with my Kindle though so the last one I found was absolutely perfect. The Andrew Lang NOD has a slot for Audrey (that’s the Kindle for the Gidday uninitiated), a nook for my glasses and a third cranny for…well something else. It’s available from Emmo Home for $220. Yikes!

Strangely enough, all of this inspiration just reminded of an old favourite. 

I saw it in a store about 18 years ago in Melbourne, the store lights glinting invitingly off the glass beads. Struck by its classically elegant shape, I paid and took it home and it stood on the table near my purple reading chair for more than seven years before I lugged it across the world, added an adapter and found it a new home.  

It is the first thing I see when I open the front door. There’s a place for my bag on the table beside it and, when I turn it on, the beads tinkle gently as my hand brushes past before the room is suffused in a soft glow. 


But best of all? 

It tells me I am home. 

Hanging A Right…

I am lucky enough to work right near Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament and my morning walk to work from Charing Cross Station takes me along the bottom corner of Trafalgar Square and straight down Whitehall, past 10 Downing Street and through Parliament Square. With so many beautiful buildings and breathtakingly famous views, I am constantly whipping out my phone to capture a moment that makes me catch my breath and say ‘Wow!’. But this morning I turned right out of the station exit and discovered an entirely different source of snap-happy inspiration, Whitehall Garden

The Garden forms part of Christopher Wren‘s original vision of a continuous series of public gardens along the river bank back in 1666 – Whitehall Garden is one of four gardens and stretches along Victoria Embankment from the Golden Jubilee Bridge towards Westminster Bridge. It was laid out in 1875 along the river side of Whitehall Palace (which to this day still contains the Banqueting House with its exquisite Rubenesque ceiling). 

Compared with the hustle and bustle of Whitehall, the lush green landscape before me offered a more serene and contemplative space than usual for the last leg of my commute. With today being ANZAC Day, it also seemed appropriate that my decision to beat a different path to the office took me past the RAF Memorial. And I loved the opportunity to finish off my commute with a different perspective of Big Ben…

I didn’t expect to find so much that was interesting along the way, expecting a spot of vague strolling but upon crossing Northumberland Avenue, having a Monopoly moment and entering the garden, I stumbled across a fabulous little piece of history.


These are Queen Mary’s Steps and were discovered in 1939. They were built by Wren in 1691 as part of a riverside terrace for Queen Mary II in front of the original Whitehall Palace (one of Henry VIII pads) and the curving steps provided access from her Royal Apartments to the State Barge. *snap snap*

But the serenity of the gardens (and more ‘peaceful picture’ opportunities) beckoned…






And soon I was turning right and crossing into Parliament Square beneath the gothic gilded clock tower.

I do love this city…what a great way to start a Friday…and all because I had a whim to hang a right.

My Backyard…B Is For Brixton

Having returned from playing away in Abu Dhabi for a week, it was time to play a little closer to home again so this morning I was up and on the way to Brixton for another ‘backyard’ walking tour. 

Brixton is in South London and being most notable for the Brixton Riots in 1981, it’s an area of London that it’s fair to say has been somewhat tainted by its turbulent past. But the area is also one of those ‘up-and-coming’ parts of London as home buyers seeking lower property prices move outwards from the city while still remaining in commuting range. In fact it’s one of the things that surprised me today – how near Brixton is to central London. (I thought it was much further out!) 

Anyway our small group met at the Ritzy Cinema at 11am and headed down Coldharbour Lane to the frontline of the 1981 Riots at the intersection of Atlantic Avenue.


After a bit of background on the Riots from our guide Angela, we continued down Coldharbour Lane a little further to see Nuclear DawnThis extraordinary mural was painted by Brian Barnes and finished in 1981. It features a large skeleton swathed in the flags of nations who had nuclear weapons at the time and paints a grimly powerful portrait of politics and the Cold War during the late 70s/early 80s. 


Turning away from the mural, we faced Southwyck House – also known as Brixton’s Barrier Block – an unusual building featuring the Brutalist architectural style common of the period in which it was built. 


The Barrier Block has played a controversial role in Brixton’s history. The other side of the building features large windows and balconies and has been home to one of the world’s most famous artists, Damien Hirst. Ex Prime Minister John Major lived briefly in Brixton and his support for the demolition of the block later in his career was more than a little undermined by the fact his Planning Committee had approved its construction. Oops!

Our next stop was Brixton Village, a series of markets accessed through an entrance across Coldharbour Lane from the Nuclear Dawn mural. Fascinatingly enough, our short dash across the road was peppered with more art from the locals…

French street artist Space Invader leaves his mark at the corner of Coldharbour Lane and Atlantic Avenue.
Bee (top left) can be found at the intersection of Coldharbour Lane and Atlantic Avenue as can the image bottom right. The image top right was right near Nuclear Dawn and ‘B Our Guest’ adorns the railway bridge over Brixton Hill.
Lucy’ Casson’s Foxes and Cherries sculpture (top left) adorns the roof on the corner of Electric Lane and Electric Avenue; bottom left – collaborative mural near the intersection of Atlantic Avenue and Coldharbour Lane; right – an homage to Brixton-born David Bowie (or David Robert Jones as he was christened) painted by Australian street artist James Cochrane.

Brixton Village was traditionally a food market where the local Caribbean community would buy fresh produce, particularly specialities like ackee, plantain, yams and salt fish.

On our little tour, I got a bit of an education about Caribbean cuisine, also finding flying fish (top left) – which I saw flying several years ago on a trip to Tobago – and breadfruit (bottom left). The biggest surprise came when I was introduced to chow chow, which I knew as choko growing up in Australia! We also laughed at the ubiquity of Milo (a malted chocolate powder that we add to big glasses of milk) in both the Caribbean and Australia – how strange that such similarities exist between islands so far away from each other.

The produce stalls are far fewer and the markets have been taken over by restaurants and cafes. It was fairly quiet as we walked through but you could just imagine the little lanes buzzing with the energy and chatter of lunchtime or after work crowds.

Clockwise from top left: Traditional Caribbean fare from Fish, Wings and Tings; enjoy a tipple and nibble at Champagne and Fromage; tuck in to morsels from the sea at Etta’s Seafood Kitchen; beat the crowds for a cuppa at Federation Cafe, graced in the past by none other than Hollywood star, Will Smith.

Emerging from the markets it was a short walk down to Electric Avenue – yes the one made famous by the Eddy Grant song.

Electric Avenue, so named as it was the first market street to receive electric lighting. Bottom left: Healthy Eaters’ delivery vehicles feature the names of prominent locals.

Further down Electric Avenue, we found Brixton Speaks an installation on the wall of the Iceland store. Created by author Will Self, Brixton Speaks pays homage to the unique Caribbean patois of the area. Click here for a much better photo! This was also the site where a nail-bomb exploded in 1999 injuring 39 people.


Turning right onto Brixton Hill we walked under the railway bridges to visit our next point of interest, the Ricky Bishop Memorial TreeRicky Bishop was taken into police custody in 2001 and was later admitted to hospital with unexplained injuries. The tree serves as a poignant reminder of the still-fractious relationship between the community and the local police.

We crossed over Brixton Hill and spent about 20 minutes away from the cacophony of the high street.

Left: emergiing from Stockwell Avenue between the twin buildings of Bon Marche, London’s first purpose built department store; top right: the Grade II listed Brixton Academy which started life as the Astoria Theatre in 1929; bottom right: Trinity House on Acre Lane, Georgian architecture preserved since 1822.
Life in a leafy Brixton Square: a two bedroom (top right) will set you back at least £750,000 but you can always drown your sorrows at the Trinity Arms (bottom right).

With that we headed out onto Acre Lane and wandered back to the Ritzy Cinema. 

Nursing my hot chocolate on the tube ride home, I felt like I’d barely scratched the surface of this colourful neighbourhood, so different from my own yet discovering so many unexpected similarities in our cultures. And I mused once again at how utterly fascinating this big backyard of mine called London truly is.

Commuting Gems…Private Eyes

I have been travelling again this week and with today being first day back in the office, I felt too tired to do my regular walk back up to Charing Cross station, choosing instead to duck into Westminster tube and change at Monument station for the right coloured line to get me home.

Day-dreaming about the event free weekend ahead of me, I wandered onto the platform at Bank station – it’s connected with the aforesaid Monument station via a short walk underground – and stood in my regular place, the one that means I get off at the right spot on my destination platform for an expeditious exit ahead of the hordes.

Checking the overhead screen to my left, I was pleased to note I had only two minutes to wait so I turned back to face patiently forward (boy I am getting ‘British!’) and found myself rewarded with a couple of commuting gems…


Commuting just got a whole lot more interesting. 

Shame I don’t subscribe to Sky really…

Between The Sheets…My Year In Books

It’s a bright shiny Saturday and I have a mountain of chores on my to-do list at Gidday HQ today but I couldn’t help but dwell a little longer between the sheets this morning to finish my 4th book of the year so far, Liane Moriarty’s The Husband’s Secret. (Yes I know – four already!) I have been reading it for the last few days on my tube ride in and out of London and I just couldn’t start my weekend without knowing how it all turned out in the end. 

My literary start to 2014 has been a good one with three cracking 4-stars and a pleasant 3-star to kick off the year. And having returned to my commuting routine, I thought it was a good time to review 2013, my year spent flicking through Audrey‘s e-pages. 

Looking back through the list, it was an interesting spread of surprises, themes and disappointments. I ‘favourited’ new writers and revisited old ones, I read about places in fact and in fiction and as is wont to happen along the way, I found myself both disappointed and delighted by my bookish meanderings.

The 5-star favourites were few and fabulous. In February I roamed the streets of South West London in John Lanchester’s Capital (2013 #6), revisited a long forgotten fave in March, author Val McDermid and Killing the Shadows (2013 #13) and went nuts in August for Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl (2013 #35). And the theme through all of these? Who really dunnit.

You might be thinking one of two things at this point. She’s extremely discriminating or she’s really stingy with her stars. With 5-star ratings I am – something has to really make an impact to get one of the these so this trilogy comprises the stand-outs of the year. But it’s not all about the stand-outs – I had a myriad of great reads during 2013 with 26, or 48%, of my 54 reads warranting a 4-star rating. So perhaps not so stingy.

At the other end of the spectrum, I awarded eight 2-star and one 1-star rating, the latter being #38 in 2013’s Book Nook, Charlotte Moseley’s The Mitfords: Letters from Six Sisters. Having read about the Mitford girls several years ago, I was so looking forward to reading this book of letters. But I struggled and strained right up to the final page, confused by pet names and left bereft of the enchantment I’d hoped for. It felt like it went on forever. Maybe I’m just not a letters kind of girl.

And of the eight 2-stars, I was most disappointed by Hilary Mantel’s Bringing Up The Bodies (I made the comment ‘drowned in detail’ in the Book Nook 2013 #47) and the damp squib that was Fifty Shades Freed (#8) which was anti-climactic to say the least. 

Returning to the 4-stars, four of the 26 writers accompanied me on journeys near and far starting in January with David Revill’s London by Tube: A History of Underground Station Names (#5) now stored on Audrey for dipping back in to now my daily commute has gone ‘tubular’. In May, I tucked a borrowed Paris: The Secret History (#18 by Andrew Hussey) into my backpack and read page after page in the glorious Paris sunshine and in June, I was inspired by my visit to Seattle-A in – yes you guessed it – Seattle to buy Sons of the Profits: There’s No Business Like Grow Business by Seattle’s famous son William Speidel (#25). And then it was back home to old London Town in September with Niall Fergusson’s controversial (as it turned out when I read the reviews) Empire: How Britain Made The Modern World (#36).

And last but not least, there were the delightful surprises. Since my entry to Kindle-dom, I have a rule that I will not pay more for an e-book than I would for a ‘paper’ book (and given Tesco across the road offers 2 for £7 on paperbacks…well, you do the maths). This means I’m often found digging around Amazon or Kindle’s Daily Deals for a complete unknown…which can end up being an absolute diamond.

As far as the diamonds go, I stepped into an extraordinary expat story with The Cypress Tree, Kamin Mohammadi’s tale of growing up in Iran and then leaving the home of her childhood for London (#3). I took a walk alongside Harold Fry to be reminded of the joy in small everyday things (The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce #16). I discovered a new string in CJ Sansom’s bow with his post-civil-war tale in Winter In Madrid (#17) and I was moved by Tan Twan Eng’s story of war-torn Malaysia in The Gift Of Rain (#26). And to round off the year, I came back to London to meet The Radleys (#53), a truly surprising find given vampire tales are not a genre I usually enjoy.

So that was 2013, my year in books. As always, feel free to have a browse through the Book Nook tab for my thoughts and links to reviews on all of my literary meanderings. I’ve actually set myself a target of 54 books again for this year – a little more than one per week. So stay tuned. As I mentioned, 2014 is already off to a cracking start!

Brand Santa…

There are 13 sleeps to go until Christmas Day (12 if you’ve just woken up Down Under)…


…and the Gidday HQ stash is looking good under the verdant boughs of my un-real – aka plastic – tree. 

Christmas is in full swing on this side of the planet with my first festive do under my belt and a super-busy week ahead as I do more of the necessary yuletide rounds – socialising, dancing and raising a glass or two (oh alright, five) to pay homage to this most wonderful time of the year.

And I’ve also been keeping my eye out for any clever Christmas chicanery to share.

This morning I was indulging in a quick browse through my Facebook feed before the tube went underground when I found this…

Source: http://www.quietroom.co.uk

For those of you who don’t know, haven’t guessed, have never looked up my LinkedIn profile or simply don’t care, I work in Marketing. 

(Please note, this makes me a Marketer, not a Marketeer. I didn’t go off to some club, wave my arms around and wear black plastic ears to get myself a career.)

But I digress.

The folk at Quietroom have put together this brilliant Santa ‘brand book’, a fabulous tribute to the fat man in all his glory and a complete p*sstake of marketers everywhere. I chuckled at the brand promise, laughed at the brand house and guffawed at the brand assets being ‘geographilised’…and then thought about all the brand books I’ve worked with over the years.

Well, I guess there’s nothing like a little irreverent festive fun to put things in perspective.

13 sleeps to go peeps..time to Snap It Clap It Wrap It.

Commuting Gems…The Garden Bridge

A few weeks ago I was reading Time Out magazine on the tube ride home when I was inspired by the latest campaign to have the support of the fabulous Joanna Lumley, The Garden Bridge project.

Image Source: arup.co.uk

The Garden Bridge is set to be London’s first green pedestrian walkway stretching across the Thames between Southbank and Covent Garden on the north side of the river. The project has been commissioned by TfL (Transport for London) as part of their vision to create a pedestrian river crossing – the aim is to complete this rural corridor by 2017.

Image Source: arup.co.uk

Thomas Heatherwick is the creative genius behind this verdant proposal. He’s the one who designed that spectacular 204 petal Olympic Cauldron for London 2012 and has also designed a new-style ‘London bus’ some of which hit the streets earlier the same year. He envisages a peaceful and rejuvenating precinct for the nation’s capital, one which reflects the beauty of each of the seasons and creates opportunities for commuters to linger and take a breath in the hustle and bustle of their day. 

Image Source: arup.co.uk

Can you imagine what an amazing legacy that would be? I feel quite inspired by such commitment to quality of life and the philosophy of green living.

There’s currently a public consultation about the Garden Bridge project which can be found here. So if you feel inspired and have something you’d like to say about it, you have until the 20th December (2013) to register your views.

There’s also a rumour that the bridge would feature a Christmas tree during the festive season.

I’m in…where do I sign?