The Shadyside Snark Sisters are back!

Okay, we’ve technically always been around, but I just wanted to let everyone know that I’ve finally posted to my other blog, Shadyside Snark. If you didn’t know about my other blog, well you are in for a treat, because that is where I, along with my partner in all things early-90s horror YA literature, have read every single Fear Street novel and recapped it for your reading pleasure. RL Stine has started to release NEW Fear Street novels, and we are totally behind in recapping them. But here you go, the next one in the series. Suffering from some mid-week February boredom? Indulge yourself by reminiscing about your favourite¬†really poorly written horror books that remind you of a simpler time.

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This is a bomb shelter

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This is my bomb shelter. It is designed to withstand not just bombs, but chemical and nuclear attacks. The door is six inches of concrete, and it has an air filtration system. Every home in Switzerland is required by law to have one of these. It takes a great deal of power to remain neutral during a time of war, and Switzerland remains vigilantly ready to guard its border and people, even now in this time of peace.

This bomb shelter used to be a source of levity to us. We use it for storage, things like winter coats, extra diapers and Christmas wrapping paper. The cool air and stable foundation makes it an excellent place for a wine cellar. I will admit that every time I walk past that heavy door I get a small frisson of anxiety. It is a potent reminder of what people once needed protection against. Imagining huddling in that small claustrophobic space with my loved ones, listening to the booms around us or sitting quietly, watching the hours tick by as I guess and pray as to when I can safely return back to the world as I knew it – never fails to stir a deep-seated disquiet. Continue reading

Book recommendations: March picks

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Seven Ages of Paris, by Alistair Horne

This is such a beautiful book, looking deep into the history of Paris through the ages, from Philippe Auguste in the 12th century, who essentially founded Paris as the major centre of French life, all the way through Henry IV, Louis XIV, the French Revolution, Napoleon, la Belle Epoque, the Occupation and the Resistance, and post-war life under de Gaulle. It’s a fascinating read, especially if you are a Francophile, which I will admit I am turning into. Continue reading

Book recommendations: February picks

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You know how there’s “porn” for everything? Usually found on instagram – fashion porn, book porn, food porn, just regular porn porn I guess¬†– the photos of lifestyle stuff that gets you hot. Well, I think I’ve topped all of this with grocery porn. Has #groceryporn become a thing yet? Are the hipsters all over it? I’ll have to ask my sister.

I wanted to take a photo of my grocery bag the other day. Since moving to Europe, the ideal grocery bag looks like this: some delicious cheeses, a bottle of red wine, a bit of chocolate, strawberries and of course the ubiquitous baguette peeking out of the top. And I had every single one of those things in my bag. It made me inordinately happy. Sometimes, you just have to enjoy the small things. Of course, I didn’t take a picture of my groceries because that would be insane. Continue reading

Celebrating Valentine’s the European way

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I had been discussing the other day the ways that living in Europe has changed me. Initially, I pretty much thought, not at all. I didn’t think I live any differently than I used to. But on reflection, there are some little things I think I’ve started to do, little ways I’ve changed my life, that reflect a more European lifestyle. And actually they are things that I’m not sure I could go back from. At the very least, I’d try really hard to maintain these elements no matter where I go – bringing Europe with me. Continue reading

Book recommendations: January picks

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I haven’t blogged in awhile. Sorry. Am tired. I’ve been working on other projects and between that and the kids there hasn’t really been any time left over. Even for sleep. E has become the most clingy child in the history of my term as a mother, and now that she can crawl, she goes on a dogged pursuit of me the second I put her down. My sweet, stubborn little girl. No matter where I go, I can see her coming after me, tongue peeking out of the side of her mouth, bound and determined to get into my arms come hell or high water. I love her, and I love her determination, but it means no free time for me. Hell, it means there’s barely any time to cook, clean or wash my hair because this little girl has needs. Continue reading

Mushroom empanadas

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Hello all my fabulous people! I’m writing from gorgeous Chamonix, because where else do you want to spend the week before Christmas? It’s been incredible – I’ll do a post on how lovely this little ski village is, but for the moment, just wanted to share a really easy, really tasty appie that I’m going to serve post-ski, post-hottub.* I actually prepared these beforehand, so all I have to do is brush the tops of these delicacies with egg and pop them in the oven. Having it this easy becomes necessary after a Baileys or two!

I often only use one sheet of puff pastry, which will still get you lots of empanadas, and then use the rest of the mushroom filling as a pasta sauce. Just add in some tomato sauce and heat, then pour over pasta. Mushrooms are a great alternative to meat sauce – they are so tasty and kind of meaty, but so much healthier. This sauce was a huge hit, and a great way to sneakily get X to eat his veggies! The original recipe came from one year I was at Christmas in November at Jasper Park Lodge. I don’t even remember who made these tasty guys, but it’s a recipe I’ve used often for years. A real fan favourite. Continue reading