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August Favourites

It's the last day of August, which means that as far as I'm concerned, we've officially reached the end of summer. August has been good to me, soothing the stress of searching for jobs and internships with a trip abroad, some good weather in Britain, delicious food and drink, and a spell in an exciting publishing house. Here's what made me happy this month. 

Harvesting the crop of damsons from the garden this year. The birds 'planted' the plum trees a few years back, and this is the first year we've harvested them. We filled a clutch of kilner jars with damson jam, and have used it to accompany vanilla ice cream as well as to fill a Victoria sponge a week or so again. It's so unexpectedly rich and delicious, and I'm excited to use it in more baking this autumn, perhaps in a galette or an apple crumble.

Watching the video for Taylor Swift's new song. I haven't really been paying attention to Miss Swift since she provided the soundtrack to the heady days of my late adolescence with tunes like 'Our Song', 'Teardrops On My Guitar' and 'Love Story'. This is such a different sound - Tay's left country firmly behind (yes, I know, I've been hiding under a rock with regards to popular music in the past year or so) and I love how the video hinges around the wonderfully gauche admission that she just can't dance. A girl after my own heart.

Playing around with the calligraphy set I bought from Cass over the Easter holidays. I definitely need to get myself to a class and learn the basic letter forms. Unskilled as I am, it's really fun and a therapeutic way to pass the time.

Listening to Alex playing from songbooks and improvising jazz on the piano. It's part of the reason I fell in love with him two years ago, and every time I hear him play it reminds me all over again why I like him. If you just gagged a little, I wholeheartedly apologise.

Grazing on my mother's homemade gluten-free orange cake, made with almond flour. One of her best bakes ever, I'd say - and perfect with a little drizzle of cream. If this were a permanent fixture in the kitchen I would be very pleased indeed (hint hint).

Unwinding in front of the TV. The BBC always cushion the end-of-summer blow with a fantastic programme of new shows, bribing us back inside from flip-flops and barbecue weather with shows like The Great British Bake Off and Doctor Who. Bake Off has seen a huge Baked Alaska-related scandal inside the bunting-festooned tent this week (such good television. I love Britain.) and Peter Capaldi has already stolen my heart by bringing fiercely knitted eyebrows and Scottish quirks to the part of the Doctor. Catching up on episode two today, and I can't wait for the return of the Daleks...

Reading the giant pile of goodies I was allowed to bring back from a fortnight of work experience at Random House. I sent myself twenty books on Friday, took two out of the charity box with me the week before, and was given six from a week at Hodder in July, meaning I've racked up 28 free books over the course of this summer. So happy. From the Random House pile I've started with Martin Amis' Booker shortlisted Time's Arrow, which is thrillingly executed, with a fantastic concept. I'm particularly excited to read the new Haruki Murakami, having witnessed the man himself signing piles of copies while at work - definitely the highlight of this week! This pile probably has me sorted for…oh, at least the next few weeks. Until the new Shopaholic comes out, which my inner chicklit-lover dictates I must buy. 

Starting a scrapbook with A. We finally went to Cass and bought a scrapbook and some washi tape, and we've been pasting in our little souvenirs from our trip to Norway in January, May Week, and our July trip to Paris. It's so fun to do, and a really nice way of keeping all the little bits and pieces in a neat place.

Goodbye, August! Some say you're a wicked month, but you've been fun. See you again next year.

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