Kimya Dawson, with Little Wings and Your Heart Breaks

The Juno soundtrack, Moldy Peaches and Uncluded singer is back, and her 14th April show at the Islington Assembly Hall was a fantastic “hey, it’s me again!”

The first support act, Clyde from Your Heart Breaks, sang some beautiful songs and showed videos to go with them. Clyde called Kimya onstage for a touching trans themed song, and showcased a section of the stop-motion animation that’s currently in the making.

The second support, Little Wings, was a very beardy singer who had a group of fans in the audience. Continuing the night’s line in beautiful songs, Little Wings sang a Merle Haggard cover and talked about life, death and getting older.

Kimya Dawson opened by opening up; she told us she’d had trouble writing new songs, looked to her previous songs and realised how much she sings about the ocean, before singing us the sea shanty that broke her song-writing dry spell. Her set was a good mix of old and new, and she warned us pretty early on that she intended to make as many people cry as she could.

Her new songs included a present to a friend who is very sick, and had asked people to visualise her growing old and being there as her young daughter grows up. Her older songs included the reaching-out lyrics of Loose Lips and the recovery song Year Ten. If anyone can make your cry with their songs, it’s Kimya Dawson, and she didn’t hold back.

It wasn’t just an emotional night, it was a political one as well. Kimya talked about a major issue close to her heart and very relevant at the moment; police violence and racial injustice. In fact, she left a pointed silence in Same Shit/Complicated where she used to sing “there are some good cops in Madison, Wisconsin”, explaining she has had people quote her lyrics at her as reason to stop criticising the police force as a whole. There was a new song with lyrics about the pain of facing institutional racism and having hope as a black person in the USA.

Seeing Kimya Dawson isn’t just about listening to her music but live, and she shared insight into her life. We heard a cute anecdote about how her daughter had been sleeping behind the merchandise stall, and she updated her age and length of sobriety. I’ve often said being a fan of Kimya Dawson is dual experience, and even with the barrier by the stage it felt like a very intimate gig. She responded to shouts from the audience, including “You’re a goddess!”, staffed her own merchandise stall and made sure she had time to say hello and hug everyone who wanted to afterwards.

If you’ve ever listened to her music, seeing her live is an experience you won’t want to miss. This show didn’t disappoint.

Roast Chickpea Recipe

Many recipes exist for this moreish recipe, all with much higher cooking temperature and with much longer cooking times. Trying those out left with a bowl of charred, flavourless mess… This quicker, less hot version is what got my roast chickpeas perfect. Don’t be afraid to fiddle with the timings and temperature, and get these so delicious you’ll be licking the spoons, bowl and the baking tray!



1 can/tin of chickpeas, drained

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 teaspoon of cumin

1 teaspoon of oregano

½ teaspoon of salt



Mixing bowl

Baking tray



Preheat oven to 180°C

Mix all ingredients together in the mixing bowl

Pour out onto the baking tray, making sure there is one flat layer

Roast in the oven for 15 minutes

Serve and enjoy

Six Versatile Foodstuffs to Stock Your Kitchen With


Yeah, you know; boil em, mash em, stick em in a stew. But as well as making roasties, mash, and boiled potatoes or being the basis of stews, there are some things to make with potatoes you might not have thought of. Cut into wedge or chip shapes it’s easy to oven cook your own chips, or even shallow fry them. Diced, they can be sautéed (quickly fried to you and me) or used in a curry where the spicy flavours cling to them.

Sweet Potatoes

They’re not the same thing, as they’re harder with rougher skin and orange insides, but you can basically treat them exactly the same as potatoes. Swap your regular roasties for sweet potato roasties, mash the two together, or give your spicy potato wedges a visual twist by using sweet potato instead. Anything you do with potatoes you can do with sweet potatoes!

Spinach Leaves

Push aside thoughts of slimy greens, boiled to hell and back again; spinach doesn’t need much cooking… or to be cooked at all! It can be used as an alternative to lettuce or other salad leafs in sandwiches and salads, as it’s perfectly good to eat uncooked. Added as one of the last ingredients, it can fit nicely into most dishes; stir fry it, put it in soups and sauces, or add some to a lasagne or other oven-bake for a little greenery.


They’re a good and healthy snack, if you like them, and a great addition to the sweet breakfasts. Chopped or mashed in porridge or cereal, or on toast with something like chocolate spread or peanut butter, they make breakfasty foods more suitable for lunch or tea. They make a good egg substitute in cakes and work wonders added to cakes that get a little dry. The flavour is subtle in cakes; even if you dislike them you might like banana bread, which you can taste them in much more. If you love them you could even roast or grill them like plantain for an even sweeter treat.


Yes, they’ve been a trendy superfood recently, and have a ‘posh’ association, but affordability is coming back down and with it the trendiness and poshness. They’re tasty and fresh tasting raw, and can be sliced easier as they reach ripeness and mash easily later on. They’re a traditional part of the ‘tricolour’ Italian flag starter, a salad of sliced avocado, mozzarella and tomato, and work very well mashed on toast. They’re a good way to make Seuss-inspired green scrambled eggs, and the main ingredient of guacamole. Like bananas, they’re even a good egg substitute.


On the topic of eggs, they’re one of the original health and versatility superfoods. Cakes, pastry and pancakes use eggs, and they’re a good glaze to put on shop-bought oven pies. Obviously, they can be soft or hard boiled in the shell and fried, poached or scrambled without. Scrambled eggs and omelettes can have literally any ingredient you want to add, to the point when egg is just part of the stir fry or the glue holding everything together.

Easy Origami Popcorn Cone (with photos)

Five very easy steps to make a simple cone that you can use for popcorn, chips or anything you like. There are three ways to do this, making three slightly different looking cones. The bigger the paper, the bigger the cone; this guide uses A4 paper turned portrait and landcape and cut into a square.

Step One:

Fold your paper in half, side to side,  so the fold is on the left.

Step Two:

Fold your paper so the bottom left corner is against the top right corner.

Step Three:

Take the corner of the paper with the original fold at its edge, and fold it over the other part of the paper.

Step Four:

Fold one side of the open corner over the folded end, turn the whole thing over and fold the other side to match.

Step Five:

Open the open side out to reveal a cone.

Cauliflower Popcorn Recipe

A popcorn-style snack tried and tested by yours truly; the photo is of my cauliflower popcorn. It might not taste exactly like popcorn, but it has a nice crunch and a moreish flavour.


  • One standard sized head of cauliflower
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Half teaspoon salt or garlic salt


  • Mixing bowl
  • Baking tray


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C or 400°F
  2. Cut the cauliflower into popcorn sized pieces – you won’t need the stem
  3. Mix the oil and salt together in the bowl
  4. Add the cauliflower to the bowl and make sure it’s all coated in oil
  5. Spread the cauliflower on a baking tray, all in one flat layer
  6. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, giving the tray a shake at 15 minutes to turn the pieces slightly
  7. Serve and enjoy

Working From Home: Routine

[Related – “Working From Home: Workspace“]

The difference between working from home becoming a distracted, lazy waste of time and becoming the most productive way you’ve ever worked is often routine. It’s easy to fall into a habit of procrastinating or flipping between unfinished tasks without getting any closer to finishing them. A routine can stop that before it even begins. In the same way you need a good physical workspace to get to work in, you need a good mental headspace for work.

The most basic aspect of a routine is times. Set aside a fixed amount of time every day for work, and don’t do anything unrelated to work in that time. If it’s as short as an hour, set a timer and give yourself a small reward afterwards; do it before lunch and have your lunch as a reward, or mid-afternoon and then play videogames when you’re finished.

If you’re working all day, for example starting at nine am and finishing at five pm, give yourself set breaks to stretch your legs and rest your mind. If you’re working at the computer, the recommended screen/break balance is an hour on the computer then 15 minute doing something else. It’s a good time balance for many things, as it’s not healthy to sit all day if you can avoid it. Remember to have meal breaks!

If you have trouble feeling focussed, a tighter or stricter routine might be helpful. Just as offices and work environments have dress codes, it can help to get dressed in a work-appropriate outfit before sitting down to work. It doesn’t have to be a full suit if you don’t want to, but rolling from bed to work in your pyjamas is not a motivating set up. Getting washed and dressed and putting on a polo shirt can be a big part of feeling motivated and ‘at work’.

The real secret to working at home successfully is finding your own balance – some articles will tell you that you must recreate a typical office environment as closely as physically possible, but the main appeal of working from home is the comfort and ease of working in your pyjamas on the sofa. Only you can find the balance between the two that works for you. Maybe you need to allocate tasks to a timetable and work to a strict list on the clock, but you can sit around in your onesie and eat snacks. Maybe you can come and go on work and don’t need reminders, but only if you wake up and put on a shirt and trousers. Maybe you need a little of each.

Once you’ve got some sort of routine down, working will become habit. You won’t have to focus on going along with your routine when you’re used to it, and you won’t have any trouble getting down to work and being productive when you’re in the habit of working and being motivated. Without the time taken up by a commute and with the fine balance you’ve worked out, you might even be far more productive and create far better finished products at home than you ever did before.

Working From Home: Workspace

[Related – “Working From Home: Routine“]

Setting up a good workspace is a vital part of working from home. For one thing, having a dedicated workspace that you avoid doing non-work activities in helps you feel like you’re at work and be focused when you want to get work done. It doesn’t have to be an entire room or a fancy set up. In fact, you can easily set up a great home workspace without spending a penny!

Choose a table space you can spare in a room that won’t be distracting. A desk in your bedroom or a table in your living room are good places, as is a corner of the kitchen/dining room table if you can spare it. Try to choose a table at a good height for working. You don’t want to be bent over, so make sure you can rest your arms on the table and have your back straight comfortably. There should also be plenty of room for your computer and/or other equipment, a drink in case you need one, and space around the table for you to move easily.

Most people find it easier to work sitting on a chair, but it can be good for your posture and productivity to work standing up. If you prefer this or just like the idea, you’ll need a higher desk and might have to buy or make one specially. On the other hand, you won’t have to worry about a chair!

An office chair is the best option, because they’re designed to be good chairs to sit in while you work, but if you don’t have one you don’t need one. As long as your chair means you’re sitting at the right height for the table and doesn’t make you slouch it’s a good enough chair. If possible, get a chair that you find comfortable to sit on with your feet under it somewhat, as this leg position makes sitting up straight easier.

Really, the table and chair, and that the room isn’t distracting is most of a good workspace. A distracting room is one where there are things that might distract you, obviously. If you need quiet, choose a quiet room, if you prefer to listen to music, choose a room you can play music in, and don’t pick the kitchen if you snack to put work off. Try to choose a place you’ll be alone in, or at least where the other people won’t affect you.

All that’s left is the actual table space. The typical advice of avoiding clutter applies, but it can be good to have things you often need.

The top of a computer screen should be level with your eyes, and everything you need such as a mouse should be within easy reach without moving your shoulders. A mouse is preferable to a mousepad if you have one, and all kinds of keyboard with various degrees of ergonomics exist if you want to splash out.

Art or craft tables should have a clear space in the middle big enough for a typical piece of work, and at least enough space for both your hands to comfortably rest. A nice little desk organiser, or even old mugs, should be within reach so you can easily find and use things.

With an appropriate table and (possibly) chair, and a neat space on it, you’re finished; that’s all you need for a working at home workspace. Get to work!