Gypsies, Food Planning, French Decor and Finding Your Feet

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Local Libraries are a rich source of recently published books, including Mandy Sayer’s, “Australian Gypsies Their Secret History”, which traces the arrival of the first Gypsies in Australia as convicts on the First Fleet, including James Squire, the brewer, whose company still exists today.

Her meticulous research across Australia reveals the origins of Gypsies and their history in Australia. Interestingly, Sayer’s research highlights their ability to adapt to the host culture while still maintaining their own traditions and mores.

Sayer traveled extensively and records the movements of many families and changes to lifestyle as they leave their nomadic lives and settle. Traditionally, the Gypsies preferred to work for themselves and still prefer to work within their family or social groups.

An easy to read, well researched and informative book.


After reading so many blogs about meal planning written by very well organised and inspirational people, I printed off a grid, made a plan and went shopping. Unfortunately, I forgot we were going to the cinema the very first evening of the plan, so not a great start. Will keep trying.


Also another book from the library, written by Australian Jane Webster, who has written two other books about her family moving seasonally to France where she hosts cooking and shopping events for paying guests. Beautiful photos and inspiring story focusing on the renovation and decoration of their chateau in Normandy.

The cover is gorgeous, but hard to read the title, ditto chapter headings.  The photos accompanying each chapter are very chic, French and beautiful.



Went to the cinema to see Finding Your Feet. Full of humour and human frailty  and some sadness; this is a very entertaining film. Funny with a great cast. Some wonderful photographic shots of London, too.

Today is Dog Biscuit Day! Dogs will be pleased, just like every other day when they’re given a biscuit.

Dog biscuits were developed in the mid-19th century by an American, James Spatt. He’d been visiting Liverpool, in the UK and saw street dogs hungrily  sniffing out and eating dropped ships’ biscuits.

Made in London, his recipe included both meat and vegetables. Useful for training, these little treats now come in a wide range of flavours and sizes and remain very popular.

Louis, our dog, has trained me well. He often stops in front of the cupboard where his biscuits are kept, looks meaningfully at the cupboard door and then at me and back at the door, and yes, often I give him a biscuit.


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2 thoughts on “Gypsies, Food Planning, French Decor and Finding Your Feet”

  1. Hi Deborah, I had to laugh at your story of menu planning fail! I often try to menu plan, and it never works, as I end up with heaps of leftovers. I cook with what’s in the kitchen or garden, and use it all up before I allow myself to go shopping again. Which means I get all the food out on the bench and then ask everyone in the house what we can possibly make with it. Not very organised!

    1. Hello Jo,
      Lovely to hear from you.
      Still stuggling with the food planning! I read so many blogs from unbelievably well organised people and think I’m ready to adopt the system, then we go out unexpectedly, or our son wants to cook something special and I’m never going to say “no” or somebody ate all the leftover roasted vegies. I really want to reduce wasting food and will keep trying.

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