childhood

Cadbury’s Novelty Cookbook

I got this late 70s/early 80s book from a charity shop a while ago. A lot of families in the UK had it when I was a kid I think. I got it out because I promised to make my friend a really ludicrous birthday cake from inside. The recipes are fine, various flavoured sponge cakes with buttercream icing (albeit with gratuitous Cadbury's product placement in every recipe). It's the choice of cake themes in the book that's a bit odd ...... Read More...

Fanzine Ynfytyn 26

This one is about the experience of growing up holidaying in a caravan at French campsites. A typical holiday for British people, but probably weird and exotic for those from further away. Available for £2 from my shop (includes UK postage- international extra)... Read More...

Godless heathenry

The next issue of Being Editors will be about C.S.Lewis and Phillip Pullman. As a sneak preview, and to give contributors an idea of what my own religious (or more to the point, non-religious) background  is, here is the article I wrote which leads in to another about why That Hideous Strength is a guilty pleasure- if you'd like to contribute, find out more here That Hideous Strength has always been a weird guilty pleasure. I’m not a Christian, never have been, and didn’t grow up in a religious environment. People enjoy the Narnia books because they’re good children’s books and written with charm and wit, and they don’t Jesus you too hard (except for the last one). That Hideous Strength is nothing like that, the plot is weirdly cobbled together, and it’s full of railing against every single one of C.S.Lewis’ personal bugbears as a sexist old Christian university don of the 1950s, and he doesn’t bother to hide it. The relentless sexism, homophobia and evangelising makes me want to throw the book against the wall as the godless hell-bound pinko lefty I am, but it’s just so gleefully bizarre that I actually quite enjoy it and have re-read it countless times.... Read More...

Costumes for Plays and Playing

When I was a kid I used to borrow this book again and again from the local library. The first thing I ever sewed myself was from it. A friend of mine at junior school's older sister was in a school play of Toad of Toad Hall, and we went to watch. When you're 7, 13 year olds seem incredibly impressive. What impressed me even more were the weasel costumes. I wanted one for myself. Armed with an offcut of brown fabric and a toy sewing machine I'd got at a bootfair, I made a hood with ears like the ones in the book. It was wonky, and I was a bit ashamed of it though, and wished I knew how to sew straight (looking back, I'm not sure the toy sewing machine was actually capable of a straight seam). My opinion of my sewing projects has improved slightly since.... Read More...

Nature All Around

These are some pictures I scanned from a 1970s kids book at my dad's house called Nature All Around. My uncle used to work for a non-fiction publisher and we always seemed to have strange free books from his work around the place. It has drawings and photographs of things children can spot around the average british garden/field/beach and information about the lives of the various creatures.... Read More...