The perils and pleasures of a creative life

It’s hard to find time to read books. Snatches of 30 minutes here and there; when I’m travelling on bus going in to work, in the morning just before the kids wake.

But over the Christmas break, that’s where I get to indulge in long reading stretches. Because of the time of the year, where we’re just about to say goodbye to one and about to welcome a new one, I feel the need to recharge. Reboot the system.

Books on the creative life and the creative process are always part of my reading list at this time of the year. An artist’s life in some ways can serve as an instruction on how to live a rich life.

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A mince pie recipe I really want to try

Sugar is substituted for honey in this recipe by Rose Prince. I saw this recipe about a month ago in the Telegraph but never got round to making it. If I make these mince pies in the next 12 days, that’s still within the Christmas season, right?


Makes 2 large jars mincemeat and 12 large mince pies. You will need a 12-hole bun tray


For the mincemeat
2 Bramley apples, grated
125g/4oz currants
125g/4oz raisins
125g/4oz sultanas
Grated zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
5 tbsp honey
125g/4oz beef suet, grated (or processed)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground mixed spice
2 tbsp brandy

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The stories are in your clothes

This is such a heart-warming video. It’s by Patagonia, a brand known for its extreme weather gear.

Different people are interviewed about their pieces of Patagonia clothing and the adventures they’ve had with it. It’s quite lengthy at 27 minutes but the stories really draw you in.

We can’t be a society that’s based on consuming and discarding endlessly. What we’re trying to do is make clothes that can be handed down, that’ll last forever.

At the end of the film, I was thinking of the stories in my and my childrens’ wardrobe.

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