Sunday, 23 October 2011

Just My Type

I've been savouring Simon Garfield's book about fonts and typography Just My Type

I am a self-confessed type geek - not sure if its down to granddad being a printer all his life or just my obsession with books and words. This is like a holy book. Garfield's thesis, so far, seems to be the importance of the relationship between type and meaning, rather than type and syntax.  The book is a tour of the history of typeface and issues and anecdotes beyond.

How can you not love a book that has as an epigraph a story about a printer's apprentice who set his lover's name in type and swallowed it? And he devotes an entire chapter to my favourite character (and close contender for my favourite English language word), the ampersand! My hero.

He begins with a discussion of the Marmite font, Comic Sans, which attracts a fair amount of vilification and scorn in the font world. Comic Sans is widely used - for the ropier side of home desktop publishing, yes, I mean you church newsletter writers - and is widely despised, as the Ban Comic Sans website shows.

I do dislike Comic Sans myself, for its ubiquitousness and for its blandness - ok for comic books, not ok for medical leaflets and powerpoint - and because it's just not that appealing a design. But I was reminded, while reading, that it has its uses: we used it frequently when I taught ESOL in Manchester for students who were illiterate or unfamiliar with the Roman alphabet, as it closely resembles handwriting and has no confusing serifs or formally shaped letters like 'g' and 'a'. I think it is also used for dyslexics as well.

I was also reminded of the sheer joy of playing with fonts. I was a kid when the Apple Mackintosh was born and my computer geek dad had one of these:

I think we forget now how revolutionary the visual nature of the Mac operating system was - surely the late Steve Jobs's real legacy? Me and my best mate, the Pink Floyd fan (yes, you!), would play around on it for hours constructing newspapers and writing stories, making full use of the entire range of fonts available. San Francisco for the ransom notes, and Gothic for anything 'antique', of course. Happy days.

On the same theme, I just love this witty greetings card, a recent Etsy find ...

Saturday, 22 October 2011

I Thank You

Recently, little signs have been popping up imploring you to water the trees in the street. Council cutbacks, I suppose.

This irreverent take on the concept, spotted outside the tube stations, tickled me ...

Saturday, 15 October 2011

New Addition

I picked this sweet vintage book up recently: I love books with dedications and old-fashioned illustrations. Can't decide whether to keep it or Etsy it. Maybe I'll just gaze at it for a while and then make up my mind...

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Vague Science - The Cartoons of Stephen Collins

Loved this cartoon in the Guardian Weekend mag on Saturday by their new cartoonist Stephen Collins...

Image by Stephen Collins from

See more on the Guardian website - also love the 'I am the Internet'one. Genius.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011


Welsh tiles

Image of Welsh Scrabble originally uploaded to Flickr by afagen

I heard this rather lovely word being discussed on the radio this morning - on the Chris Evans show on Radio 2 of all places. I was stuck in traffic on the M11 and had grown bored of the Today programme. They were using it to talk about the Welsh rugby success.


It's Welsh and means, according to Oxford Dictionaries Online, "a stirring feeling of emotional motivation and energy".

How poetic.

Another favourite Welsh word - I only know two so far, of course -  is "cwtch", which means "a cosy corner" or a "safe place". Sianuska uses it in the name of her splendid blog A Cwtch and a Cuppa, which I recommend you visit when in need of beauty and sustenance.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Saturday, 8 October 2011


We had a lovely day, the boy and I, pursuing our favourite past-time: hunting for treasure.

After a frustrating visit to an auction house - the words "As seen on 'Flog It'" should probably have warned us no bargains were to be had - we ventured to Lewisham to the best salvage yard in the world.

I just wish I needed gigantic crystal chandeliers, cast iron radiators and a million mismatch chairs. Not to mention the five foot bronze of a parrot ... One day ...

Thursday, 6 October 2011

National Poetry Day

I just realised it's National Poetry Day. Go over to Poetry Archive immediately and read this gorgeous poem - you can even listen to the great man himself reading it.

Poetry Archive | The Whitsun Weddings by Philip Larkin

Like Totally

Revisiting my teens and indulging in a little 1990s nostalgia thanks to this splendid post over on Design*Sponge...

Design*Sponge | Living in: Clueless

Remember this?

Such a witty film. Best moment has to be Cher's debate club speech on offering aid to Haiti
And so if the government could just get to the kitchen, rearrange some things, we could certainly party with the Haitians. And in conclusion may I please remind you it does not say R.S.V.P. on the Statue of Liberty. Thank you very much.
I never rocked the knee highs and mary janes look, but still ... like way influential....

[uploaded to YouTube by]



Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Jammy Dodgers

First steps in jam making.

Rather pleased. Much easier than expected, set but not too set, and ever so strawberryish. Yum.

Highest praise from my friend's three year old, Little O, who must have it on crumpets for breakfast..


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