The stuff of nightmares

Ahh so here I am again. Moany McMoanFace. Whingy McWhingeBag.

Speaking of that – if this bloody Referendum ‘has to stand as a democratic act’ then I think we should demand Boaty McBoatFace is given its true name.


Yes, we are all quite whingy and annoying us ousted Liberals, but you know what – everything is total shit right now.

After humiliating us all further when speaking in Brussels last week (seriously, are you like 5 years old Nigel? Shouting at people they’ve never had a real job? Twit.) – he has now announced he wants his life back and has resigned.

Don’t get me wrong, I do want him to disappear the F off, however part of me also thinks he should have to face up to the pile of crap he has helped cause. My only consolation is the realisation that for the most part he faces a lengthy future knowing that wherever he goes, be it petrol station, cinema or pub – chances are someone will call him something amusing to his face. But he won’t find that amusing for long.

That leads me to the Tories and their little scrabble to rescue us all by delivering an anointed leader. The selection of people genuinely sends a shiver down my spine. I know we basically can’t believe much of anything in the press, but the variety of terrible things being written about them all – without apparent risk of being sued – tells me that this aint a great bunch of people to lead a nation. This evening I have gleaned that one of them has been in support of small companies not having to observe any workers rights and Teresa May apparently refuses to confirm that EU citizens already living in the UK  are not going to be repatriated.

WTF Teresa? If this is your big plan to negotiate with the powers that be in Europe, well – I am guessing they might not like that kind of thing. Which spells a lot of trouble for British people living in Europe, either now or in the future.


And Michael Gove – well, apparently he tweeted this morning “We need to renegotiate a new relationship with the EU, based on free trade and friendly cooperation.

Seriously Gove?


He has of course been punished the modern way, by being crucified on twitter. My favourite response is:

Are you FUCKING KIDDING ME? We had one of those you haunted pork mannequin.

(Check it out on the Huffington Post)

People are definitely getting better at coming up with insults, that’s one positive.

I’m clearly not a political expert. Like 99.9% of the British population I cannot claim to have a full understanding of our current situation. But it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that what is happening is pretty much massively rubbish.

The trolls are out in force, of course. I have virtually had to cut myself off of social media entirely, because of the rage it’s bringing out in me at the plethora of nasty comments I am seeing everywhere. How anyone can troll Caroline Lucas, who genuinely must be the nicest (if not – only nice?) politician out there is BEYOND ME!!!!!!!

In good news, the general personal rage has definitely subsided. The sadness has also ebbed. I am starting to regain normality little by little – but don’t think that means I am not pissed off still. Because I am. I don’t think I will ever not be angry about this.

However, in an attempt to ‘find joy in the every day’ or whatever happy hippy bull shit I purport to be doing … here goes.


Well, I cleared a lot of work backlog today? Boring, but always satisfying.

I chased Kasper round the sofa with a fakey tasmanian devil, he chased me with a monkey.

Kasper gave me his first attempt at a funny story, which went something like ‘Daddy ate all the cake’. Given that it’s only Mummy who even eats cake in this house, I laughed my little booty off.

I spoke to an old friend who told me her and her family were going to Amsterdam for a day. Yes people – we can still do these things – we can visit Amsterdam in a day! Sounds quite tiring if I am honest, but let’s do it anyway.

And finally… Kasper had a haircut and was a total cutie pie, which is never guaranteed so I ticked it off as a success.

For the cheese record – I have mainly consumed a nice wedge of brie. Does what it says on the tin, nout can go wrong with a wedge of brie.

That is all. What can I say, it’s Tuesday!

Moany McMoanFace

Finding Joy in the every day, even when it’s not easy!

The atmosphere of the UK this past ten days has been like nothing I have experienced before, and hopefully will not again.

We are not simply a country divided, it feels like we have quite literally combusted.

As written in this week’s Economist “It is now a week since voters narrowly opted for Brexit, and the country has seldom looked so wildly off the rails…The damage to Britain’s prosperity and to its standing in the world is already grave, and will become far worse if the country now fails to ‘take back control’ of its future.”

How very bleak.

The Economist is where I go to make sense of things happening in the world – so to me this sentence just further demonstrates the depressing gravity of the situation Britain finds itself in.

I don’t want this! I don’t like this! Why is this happening?!

My fury and rage have mostly disappeared (as long as I don’t watch the news and avoid at all costs Michael Gove’s face which makes me want to scream upon sight of it).

But it has been replaced with mostly sadness. I just find it all so incredibly depressing.

We have done it to ourselves.

Well, 52% of us have.

And the reasons for doing so remain so unclear to me. I haven’t heard a single thing which makes me think ‘ah well – there’s the silver lining!’. Nothing, because there is no silver lining.

The fact that no one seems to have a game plan, or know what to do next just makes the whole thing feel even worse.

So, this kind of sums up my general mood. Sadness, irritation, melancholy. It’s not good – and I know I am not alone! But it is nice to vent.

Waking up every day feeling like a massive moaning whingebag with a face on is not how I prefer to be, believe it or not.

So, in an effort to cheer myself up (whilst plotting things I can do to change and improve things in this here life) I have been doing the following:

Listening to a lot more music. Truthfully I am not someone who listens to music all that much, and I have even been accused (quite fairly) of not knowing anything past 1999. However, this week I have been really reminded of the restorative nature of music. It’s been a varied selection from Andreas Boccelli, The Beatles through to Radiohead. And listening to all of these things has definitely made me feel better.

Spending time with family. As mentioned, my family has been quite divided regarding the Referendum, with most older people I know voting to Leave. There have been quite a few tense whatsapp discussions and I haven’t been as pleasant as I should be, for someone claiming to foster and promote tolerance. But family is family eh. So we had dinner at my parents last night, and ate an extremely delicious meal which my Father had spent about eight hours preparing, genuinely. We had home-made chicken satay which reminded me of street food in Indonesia, and then red pork with stir-fried vegetables and rice. The first meal I ever ate in China was red pork – it was on my first night there in the city of Kunming, it was absolutely delicious and I have always remembered it. And last night it tasted just the same. Lucky old me.

Making the most of Kasper.  Many spiritual people talk about the importance of being grateful, and thinking of things which we are grateful for. I have been trying to do this as much as possible. Although when you’re feeling sorry for yourself this can be hard. Still, there is always one thing at the top of my list and that is Kasper, who always wakes up happy. Not like his mother at all in that sense. How grateful for that am I!

So here we are, Day 8. Day 8 since Britain officially lost its bloody mind.

I haven’t written a blog post for nearly a year.

Why? All the usual reasons, life got busy on me. I’m a working Mum with a toddler, and my all pervading fatigue simply got in the way. Plus, I thought I was never going to be able to produce enough unique and visually appealing Hemsley style cheese posts. So I stopped.

But now I am back. Because for the last 8 days I have been filled with an enormous sense of rage and sadness and anger and fury – and the only thing I can think of doing is writing. I have missed it.

So here I am. I’m not going to lie, the main cheese that has been eaten this week has been cobbled together cheese toasties – but so what. Because bigger things are going on in the world, and sometimes the only thing which helps is a cheese toastie.

And this blog is called ‘My life with Cheese’. So I am going to start writing about just that. My Life, with cheese. And if no one reads it then so be it, I don’t give a shit. Because I actually need to write this right now, it’s that or go completely insane!

So here we are, Day 8. Day 8 since Britain officially lost its bloody mind.

When I woke up at 4.30am on the morning of Friday 24th June it was to the sound of Adam crawling into bed going ‘I think it’s all over. It’s an Out vote’.

I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t.

The boiling rage that waged up in me from that moment has only barely subsided, it took about 6 days for me not to feel overwhelmingly physically furious and grief stricken.

Why? Why? Why have you done this? This 17.4 million of you – why???????????

If you hadn’t already guessed I was and am a staunch Remain voter. No part of me has any understanding of why a British person would vote to leave the European Union. I have always considered it to be a good thing. A thing that British people should be proud of.

Yes, it is not perfect and yes I completely agree that it could be improved upon – but I strongly believe it would be better to fix it from within. Not by removing ourselves from it, especially in the ridiculous manner we have done so – it is awful. Awful!

I do not understand why people think it is so bad that we should leave, at any cost. Why did people make this decision when they didn’t have a true understanding of what the consequences of leaving would be?

I have not been measured in my response. I am not one of those people who was a bit pissed off but after a couple of days started sharing Winnie the Pooh posts about how I could never belittle my friends or loved ones over a simple matter such as a vote.

Oh no.

I think that if you voted to Leave you made a dreadful mistake, and I have made my feelings extremely clear. Probably pissing off quite a few older people I know (most of whom voted out), and no doubt some younger ones too. I’m not especially proud of having such a drastic reaction – but here’s the thing. I also don’t really give a toss because I want people to know how angry I am.

This ridiculous referendum should never have happened. The fall out since is further evidence of that. Neither the Conservatives or Labour expected this to happen and they have no plan – it is a total and utter shambles. An embarrassment.

I do not think the British people were given enough correct information to make an informed decision. But more importantly than that – I do not think the vast majority of the population – say 99% – have enough understanding of all of the issues involved to EVER make an informed decision about this.

We are never trusted to make a decision on other important issues like oh, say – going to war! So why this?

Over the last week I have read many interesting articles and blogs about this, all far more eloquent and knowledgable than mine – my favourite being Katy Boo’s Blog.

What I have started to see is a recurring theme – the anger of liberal people at what they see as an enormous loss, and ultimately – a loss of their and their children’s rights.

The important thing now is that we channel this anger into positive, tangible change for the better.

How to do this is the difficult part. That is for everyone to decide by themselves.

For me I think the answer will lie in actually joining a political party for the first time ever (jury is still out on which one).

Plus other things. Doing some kind of good, be that volunteering or donating. Anything that makes me feel a bit better about the state of the world and bringing positivity back into the community.

But it also needs to be about finding joy in the every day again.

I  appreciate that there are many, many, many worse things that happen to people than what has happened to the British this past week – but for me, bar mass murder, this is the worst thing to happen to this country in decades. The flurry of racist attacks that have happened since, the simple nature of being so divided – across not only communities but families. My own family.

So as well as posting ranty mostly nonsensical posts about political topics I admit to not really having a full grasp of, I am also going to write here about finding joy.

Today’s joy?

Taking my Mother and my Son for lunch to a newly discovered Italian deli and eating  an absolutely, hands down DELICIOUS meal of eggs, prosciutto and taleggio cheese.

Taleggio. Now you can’t get better than that.

Kasper enjoying voting – his 3rd experience! Or as he’d say, ‘boating’!



In need of a Young Buck!


I seem to have taken an unintentional summer break from blogging. But as it is now officially Autumn (ok maybe not but it certainly seems like it looking out the window this week) I find myself here again.

I happened to be in the locale of London’s best food market today – Borough Market – and as I traipsed through the rain dodging puddles I couldn’t resist a visit to one of my favourite cheese shops. I have a feeling Neal’s Yard is going to feature quite a lot on this blog!

Anyhoo. A helpful young Yorkshire Lass guided me in the direction of a blue cheese I have never had before. Young Buck from Northern Ireland. It’s got the depth of a stilton but a slightly milder flavour. It’s delish!

Young Buck is the brainchild of Michael Thomson of Mike’s Fancy Cheese

Michael was a young cheese fiend who worked hard to learn his craft, becoming his own master of artisan cheeses through crowdfunding no less. And so we have Young Buck.

I’m not eating this with fancy crackers oh no. This is currently delicious with a simple Jacob’s cracker and a mug of tea.

Jacob’s are one of my fall backs and they always remind me of my Grandpa Angus.

My grandparents lived in a tiny village in Scotland. The front of the house looked out on the sea and the back looked out at a canal, so no matter what you could look out a window and see water.

Every evening Grandpa would go for a walk and often I’d join him. Sometimes it would be along the canal bank, where you’d see yachts mooring up for the evening. Or down to the seafront and along to ‘Ian’s’ beach as we all called it for some reason.

After his walk he’d settle down for a spot of ‘tea’ (the main meal of the day was at lunch of course) which usually seemed to involve a couple Jacob’s crackers,  slices of cheddar or red leicester and perhaps a tomato. All washed down with a cup of tea and a few drafts of his pipe.

The simple pleasures eh.

When it gets to this time of year and I haven’t been to Scotland I find myself missing it. The smell of the ever fresh air, the sea, the mountains. The rain. After the week we’ve had no wonder I’m feeling nostalgic. But Jacob’s crackers and delicious Young Buck will have to do.

Happy Autumn!


Cornish Cruncher Delight

IMG_20150612_204037133It’s been a funny week, but all rather good. My sister had a very exciting experience on Tuesday which has made me happy too.

My sister is a teacher and earlier this week none other than Michelle Obama came to visit their school. Isn’t that mental! Michelle Obama. At a school in East London. Wowsers. There is something so impressive and wonderful about that lady. I loved her speech too.

It wasn’t quite on the same scale but I had a surprise too. With Adam working at home and myself working in London (it’s usually the other way round) I had a free pass, so met up with some old friends at a pub garden in Brixton. We had laughs, talked about funny, interesting things and I ate a giant halloumi kebab. Sweet.

One thing about having kids is that you lose the ability to be spontaneous in the evening, so it was very nice to have an unexpected night out.

After all that excitement I have of course been taking a more relaxed pace, quiet and reflective, taking it all in.

With the help of this little beauty. A three year aged cheddar, the rather delicious Cornish Cruncher.

Believe it or not it was created only a few years ago, by Davidstow Creamery in Cornwall. It is quite lovely if you’re in the mood for something sharp, it measures a 7 on the cheese richter scale. Perfect with some leftover Roquefort, green tomato chutney bought from my local farmers market and of course, a lovely glass of red. Yum.


Cheat’s Carbonara

My word, this last week has flown past like a bloody juggernaut. Seriously, how is it already Sunday evening?!

The English summer has been as typical as you can possibly imagine this weekend. Gloomy, grey and rather miserable. Which is why my evening meal tonight was focused on filling comfort rather than the salads and cold meats I’d expect to be feasting on mid-June.

My cheese of choice this evening is Comté. In this country it still retains an allure of mystery. It is one of France’s most popular cheeses. And I love it! It’s hard, delicious, with a warm flavour all of its own.

Similar to cheddar it makes a wonderful combination with many other foods. Such as this, my Cheat’s Carbonara! I apologise to any Italians who don’t think this is worthy of the name, but personally I think it does the trick very nicely! Especially if you’re tight for time and energy.

Cheat’s Carbonara


  • Spaghetti for 2 people (I have one of those handy spaghetti measuring instruments. Yes, insane. But useful!)
  • 1 courgette, chopped into thin slices
  • Handful of green peas
  • 6 rashers of streaky bacon
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons of crème fraîche
  • Handful of grated Comté cheese

Put a pan of water on the stove with a dash of olive oil and salt and set to boil. As soon as the water is bubbling add the spaghetti and cook until al dente, or however you prefer it.

Whilst your spaghetti is cooking slice the bacon and shallow fry. Set a small pan of water onto boil, once the water is bubbling add your courgette and peas. These should take about 5 minutes.

In a bowl stir your egg until it is a smooth yellow, then add the crème fraîche and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Add half the grated cheese.

Once the bacon is crispy remove it from the pan and lay it on paper towel to remove as much excess oil as possible.

Once the spaghetti is sieved and ready, add your cheese, egg and crème fraîche mixture and stir.

Then add your bacon, peas and courgette and mix well.

Finally, season with lots and lots of black pepper and the remaining Comté.

And enjoy!

cheat's carbonara

Saturday steak night

Today has been a bit of a blur thanks to a hangover earned from a night out with both sets of Olds. A delicious Chinese meal was washed down with several vats of beer and white wine. In the past this might have meant consignment to the sofa for the day, eyes fixed on the telly and domino’s pizza on demand. With an 18-month-old however, things are different. Instead of lazing around we spent the afternoon at our local Carnival. A quintessentially English activity with rides, arts & crafts stalls and classics like Punch and Judy. Needless to say, K loved it. Especially the taste of his first 99.

Now that we’re old boring married people with a baby chances are we will be home on the weekend. Which is the perfect excuse to eat something deliciously naughty. Nothing says saturday night to me quite like steak. My preference is always fillet, and yes, I know that probably makes me boring and clueless but what the hell. Potatoes covered in cheese? Yes please. Especially Roquefort.

Roquefort is a true gem. Rumoured to be over 2,000 years old in origin it has been protected since the year 1411. It has a longer history than America! In 1926 it was also the first cheese to be granted appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) status. Made from ewes milk, rather interestingly Roquefort is matured deep in the limestone caves of Cambalou in Southern France. That’s right, all Roquefort becomes so melt in the mouth delicious from hanging around in a damp cave. Wow. I wonder if you can visit. Can you imagine the smell!? Plus, if this article is to be believed Roquefort even holds the key to a long life.

This recipe is my version of one by Rachel Khoo. For the last few months every time I visited the Olds I found myself drawn to the same cooking book The little Paris Kitchen. I enjoyed the TV programme, there is something about Rachel’s style and culinary choices that I really like. So I finally gave in and bought it, and I am so glad I did!

It is one of those cooking books that you can almost read for pleasure. French cuisine is one of my absolute favourites after all. Plus, there is a hell of a lot of frommage to be found within! I highly recommend this cookbook.


Here is my version of Rachel’s dish:

Steak with Galette aux pommes de terre et poires avec Roquefort & tomato salad


2 steaks (I bought fillet steak from my local butcher)

Potato dish:

  • 3-4 waxy potatoes (I used Charlotte)
  • 1 pear
  • A very healthy portion of Roquefort cheese, roughly two handfuls

Tomato & Onion Salad:

  • Handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 6 basil leaves
  • Sprinkling of olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Peel the potatoes and cut into 2mm thick slices. Cover a baking tray with grease proof paper (although I couldn’t find any so instead used tin foil, smeared with butter) and overlap the potato slices as tightly as you can, making 4 rectangles. Peel the pear and cut into small cubes, then cover the potatoes with the pear. Finally, cover each rectangle with crumbles of Roquefort. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes turn golden brown and crisp round the edges.

Whilst the potatoes are in the oven sear the steak on a very hot griddle pan. Cook on each side for five minutes, shorter or longer depending on how you like it served. Leave to rest for ten minutes.

Chop the tomatoes and onion and basil and mix together, with a sprinkling of olive oil.

And enjoy!


Somerset Stawley

Today I was fortunate to be working just down the road from Neal’s Yard Dairy in Covent Garden. At the moment I am working one day a week in London and the best bit about that by far is taking a wander on my lunch break. Covent Garden is an amazing location to work in.

For years I was there five days a week, and had the opportunity to buy cheese from Neal’s Yard all the time. Did I? Of course not. I’ve probably been in there about three times. There is something quite overwhelming about it. Any self confessed cheese freak will surely understand what I mean. You walk in, and in front of you is a delightful array of delicious, albeit reasonably expensive, cheeses. How do you know what to choose?

Thankfully there are plenty of tastings on offer. And I am getting my cheese groove on these days ya get me. So today I walked away with half a Stawley. A Somerset goats cheese with a rather pungent smell, but is quite smooth.

After a day in the office sitting here and eating Stawley on oat cakes with a glass of Spanish Red to wash it all down. Well, what more could I ask for. Happy plate time.

It turns out Stawley is made by two relative newcomers to the cheese world, Caroline and Will Atkinson on Hillside Farm in Somerset. Caroline apparently used to work in Neal’s Yard (I swear I didn’t know that when I bought it! Some kind of weird pre-requisite!?) and Will was a Lawyer. Go figure. Now they have a farm in the Somerset countryside where they keep 100 goats and make a few cheeses. Nice.

I’d recommend Stawley if you fancy a different goats cheese. It has a nice, smooth flavour. I suppose it’s on the stronger side, but for me that is just perfect.



The beginning of My life with cheese

It’s British Cheese Week! Which seems like the perfect time to launch my new cheese-love-filled blog ‘My life with Cheese’!

I am a self-confessed cheese freak, as my friends and family can confirm. I thought it was high time I merge my great love of cheese with my other great love of writing, so here I am.

When I’m not gobbling cheese I can be found looking after my little one, going for walks, watching too much Mad Men and more than likely not too far from a bottle of red. Oh and occasionally work gets in the way of cheese hunting.

I foresee this blog being a haven for cheese inspired treats, recipes, restaurants and also simply sharing stories from my life. It’s never too hard for me to bring everything back to cheese, so it shouldn’t be too hard. Ha! She says.

So if, like me, you are a total cheese pig and know exactly how fabulous it is then please keep reading my erstwhile cheese blog.

Shivvie x