Just a quick update as I know I haven’t added anything for a few days – here are some good illustrations from the text I’m currently working with, GWM Reynolds’ The Mysteries of London.  It was issued in weekly penny numbers from 1844-48 (well actually 1844-56 but these are all from the early parts) and some of the illustrations are priceless.  Here are just a couple:

Mysteries of London 1Yes, they’re horrified because they’ve just discovered a stillborn baby in her trunk (bottom left).  It’s not actually hers but the aristocratic friend she’s covering up for doesn’t let on – and doesn’t even thank her for it later.  Typical toff (the book is basically a Chartist polemic so it’s pretty much anti-aristocracy).

Mysteries of London 2Another disgusting aristocrat.  This time it’s a lechy old Lord expiring on the bosom of his concubine (he has five, all from different countries).

Mysteries of London 3I’ll be honest with you – this is in the second series of the book and I’m yet to read this far.  So I have no idea what’s going on here… but I’m looking forward to finding out…


In a moment of (unrelated) crisis on Tuesday, my phone compounded the problem by suddenly dying; the screen blacked out and all the flippings open and shut in the world couldn’t revive it.  It was about three years old so I guess it had a good innings but in any case I had to launch a speedy quest to find a replacement.  I like my electronics to be pink (AND WHY NOT?) and I need them to be pretty budget so I ended up plumping for this little number from Argos:

Samsung E250 in blossom pink

My favourite bit is the swirly tattoo design… thing… on the back.  And it even came with a classy silver heart necklace.  Happy days.

OK so the latest and most exciting book that I found in my reading pile was a PUG BOOK!  I’ve stuck the title page on the pics (partly because of the fabulous pug curlicue) but it seems to be out of print – it’s on Alibris but is ridiculously expensive.  Anyway it’s about two pugs who go to different households, a nice one and a mean one, and how they are eventually reunited.  I mainly liked it cos of the nice illustrations, which I have poorly captured with my digital camera…

Imp and Biscuit - title page

Imp and Biscuit sittingLook how nice they are!

Imp sadImp is the black pug and he’s sad because his owner is mean, only the housekeeper looks after him (here she is).

Biscuit sitBiscuit is fat and spoiled.

Biscuit pieThis is why she is fat!!!

Biscuit and Imp runningAhhh reunited at last!

As a final pug highlight, this website is the funniest thing I have ever seen in my life.

One of my favourite things to do is to read real-life magazines like Chat! (from whence this blog derives its name) and Pick Me Up.  Imagine my delight when, researching for an essay I’m writing on popular fiction in the 1840s, I came across this ad for a periodical which looks to be exactly what the nineteenth century me might have enjoyed…

terrorhorrorterrorIt’s actually in the Bod so I am very tempted to order it up one rainy afternoon!

While I was at home over the past couple of days, my friend Dan and I did a bit of baking and the most notable success was these pistachio and almond shortbreads courtesy of Nigel Slater in Observer Food Monthly.  I love the Nige and these tasty beasties didn’t disappoint!

Pistachio Biscuits

The recipe’s at the bottom of the page I linked to – but am sure the others will be gorgeous as well.  I might try the Afternoon Tea cake next…

A wildlife observation from my mum, who likes to get obsessed with slightly random animals at the zoo.  I thought she’d like an okapi but she dismissed my suggestion: ‘It just looks like a wild dog’.  A quick Google Image search revealed how very truly she had spoken.


wild dog


My parents (and grandparents) came to visit this past couple of days and my dad ended up buying Mum and me dresses in the French Connection sale (cos he’s lovely like that).  Here’s mine – it’s not on the French Connection website any more but I found it at Macy’s online.


All their dresses are £30 this weekend and this used to be £110 – which would have probably meant that I’d have bought it even without my generous father there to fund me.  But I’m very grateful that he did.

Tiki Pug

I really like this pug because it feels like if it was a person it would be obese.  But it would still wear a bikini and a Hawaiian skirt.

Today’s treat from the Upper Reading Room reserve:

Saved by the Bell Super Scrapbook

Yes, it’s the Saved by the Bell Super Scrapbook.  Unsurprisingly this is a rarely-used item and actually had to be brought down from Cheshire.  Best not think too hard about the carbon footprint involved…

Continuing the FASHION THEME of today, here is my favourite bit of glitz from the fun-fest that was yesterday’s inauguration… (Mate, but the British need to sort something out in the way of an EXTREME PARTY by the time the next election rolls around.  Credit crunch, credit smunch.)


Voila Bush Senior effortlessly upstaging even Michelle O in her sexy lemon shift.  What a mighty hat (and massively practical too).  BIG PROPZ.  (Screen cap is courtesy of Gawker.com who had the sense to include the hat in their top ten inaugural moments… ohhhh yeah)