more like this 

I saw this piece last week. It resonated.


22/07/2009. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.


I just finished reading Dancer by Colum McCann. Not usually my cup of tea given that firstly its historical (albeit recent) fiction and secondly the cover reminds me of Angela’s Ashes (and I promised myself when I finished that, through tears of rage, that I’d never read another like it). Dancer is a loose fictional biography (a what now?) of Rudolf Nureyev.

It is a wonderful read. Told from many perspectives, both of the man himself and also relatives and friends, it presents his story in a number of different written styles (only one of which I found difficult to engage with).  I knew nothing about the man when I picked the book up, beyond that he was a ballet dancer (truth be told I half thought he was the one who was in Sex and the City).

The book details his early years, his extraordinary talent, his defection, his voracious sexual appetite, his generosity and loyalty and beyond all this, the magic of seeing him dance. 

Despite loving it, I did question the morality of writing fiction about someone who has not been dead long (16 years). Write what you want about Napoleon, but Nureyev will certainly still have living friends and relatives to be affected by this work.    

Will readers believe that the events depicted are true, or based in truth, despite the disclaimer at the beginning? I struggled to remember that this was not a biography, and that I should not take it as (ballet) gospel.

With the above warning, I can wholeheartedly recommend.

19/07/2009. Uncategorized. 5 comments.


I saw a trailer for a new comedy online last night (of which more later). It made me think about the sort of movies I get excited about these days. Pretty much above all else I love a good thriller, of which the best in recent past has been Breach. Good thrillers are few and far between though.

 A close second is the big blockbuster. All of my cinema visits of late (Star Trek, Transformers 2, and earlier Iron Man) have been to see big, loud movies. I suspect that a big part of me is forever 12.

I can’t find a pithy title for this next batch – Role Models, Dodgeball, Knocked Up, The Forty Year Old Virgin – boy comedy with a heart maybe?

You will understand my excitement then when I saw this:

Vaughn and Favreau together again for the first time since Swingers (I’m 98% sure)! Bateman! There’s no Rudd, which is obviously a massive omission, but I’m willing to overlook it.

15/07/2009. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.


Feeling a little bit picked on by the universe. To remedy that, I have been looking through photos from our idyllic trip to Fermanagh last month. Here’s my favourite landscape one.


It all feels long ago and far away now.

03/07/2009. Tags: , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Cake O’Clock

So, cake o’clock was the original name for this blog, but it was (selfishly) already taken.  Cake o’clock is that rather wonderful time of day (and it can be any time of day) when cake is on the table. It is the tradition in my place of work that you bring cake for everyone on your birthday. On birthdays then there tends to be cake in the kitchen from early in the day. There is always some discussion about when we can open the cake. How early is too early? For me, its always cake o’clock.

In all matters cake, I am willing accomplice to my girl Laura who is the queen of cake o’clock. I am sad every day at around 11.30 and 3 as she is currently on maternity leave. However, I am happy that I’ll get a chance to lose the half a stone I’ve put on since she came back the last time.

So, in honour of my cake buddy, what’s your favourite kind of cake?

Mine? Victoria sponge. With buttercream icing and not (repeat not) fresh cream.


28/06/2009. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. 11 comments.

I Lovefilm

Me and the mister signed up with Lovefilm in October, following the closure of our local (admittedly crap) Xtra-Vision. So here’s our entire lovefilm history, accompanied by a one word review.

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist – sublime

Frost/Nixon – good

How To Lose Friends And Alienate People – AWFUL

Role Models – Rudd++

Igor – meh

Iron Man – awesome

Eagle Eye – middling

Space Chimps – Warburton

The Golden Compass – unseen

Gavin And Stacey Christmas Special – Class

Ghost Town – funny

Zack and Miri Make a Porno – one word can’t do it here. I loved 98% of this movie and I love Kevin Smith. He is just too much sometimes.

Gavin and Stacey Series 2 – classer

Open Season 2 – disappointing

Baby Mama – Fey

Hellboy 2 The Golden Army – Antrim!

Street Kings – gritty

The Other Boleyn Girl – bodices

Tropic Thunder – hilarious

What Happens in Vegas – shite

Charlie Wilson’s War – unexpected

Star Wars The Clone Wars – boyish

Pineapple Express – middling

Gavin And Stacey – Series 1 – classest

Sarah Silverman Jesus Is Magic – controversial

X-Files 2 I Want to Believe – letdown

The Dark Knight – painful 

Hancock – Bateman

The Chronicles of Narnia Prince Caspian – teenage

Horton Hears a Who! – lovely

Over her Dead Body – Rudd+

Wanted – good

 Son of Rambow – unfinished

The Incredible Hulk – loud

The Truth About Love – WORST

I Could Never Be Your Woman – Rudd-

27/06/2009. Uncategorized. 5 comments.

Songs in the Key of Wife

Can you sum up your life in ten songs?

I can’t, I need 13.

Isn’t She Lovely – Stevie Wonder

Songs in the Key of Life was released the year I was born. My mum and daddy sang this a lot.

Little Green – Joni Mitchell

My mum’s song for me, for reasons that are too sad to go into here.

Every Little Thing She Does is Magic – The Police

Because, you know, when I was a toddler, every little thing I did was magic

The Weight  – The Band

My second favourite song of all time. It was used in the Big Chill and slightly inappropriately I loved this movie was I was a kid (should have been watching cartoons, instead was watching a college reunion with lots of sex).

Catch the Wind – Donovan

Don’t know where my love for this song comes from (possibly the Born on the Fourth of July soundtrack). I was already crazy about Rich when he revealed that not only did he know this song (weird enough for a 17 year old in 1994), but he could play it on the guitar. Be still my heart.

Hey Jealousy – Gin Blossoms

Our first song. Its a break up song, but its very romantic.

Slide – Goo Goo Dolls

First dance at our wedding

Godspeed – Dixie Chicks

Beautiful song that I listened to a lot when I was pregnant with Lucas. Godspeed little man.

Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey

I came to this song pretty late in life, but now I rarely go a week without listening to it. It makes me so happy.

The Time is Now  – Moloko

One of my top five all time favourite songs to dance to.

Now That We’ve Found Love – Third World

My all time number one song to dance to. I love to dance, and get precious little opportunity in Belfast. No clubs for grown ups.

Ooh Child – Beth Orton and also the version by the Five Stairsteps

Another one I listened to when I was pregnant with Lucas, and my mum was so sick. Ooh child, things are gonna get easier.  They didn’t.

We Are Family – Sister Sledge

You ain’t lived til you’ve seen the Halsalls crew (of which I am one) bust a groove to this.

24/06/2009. Uncategorized. 6 comments.

Chuckling into myself

Along with my girl Leelee, I am on a mission to halt the overuse of LOL. With this in mind, we are encouraging the world to use CIM instead. When I read something amusing, it is much more common that I chuckle into myself, rather than actually laughing out loud, ergo CIM.

The spread of LOL is so prolific now, its used as punctuation. People write LOL when I KNOW they did no such thing. Most damning of all though is the news that teens are not just using it online, but as actual VERBAL punctuation. Teen one says something funny. Teen two responds by saying LOL (the word, not its composite parts). I may be being over dramatic, but I do feel that this represents the beginning of the end of civilisation.

So, pass it on please. CIM is currently being used as far away as Australia. But we need 25,000 uses to get it recognised as a word. Get to work.

22/06/2009. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. 7 comments.

Same Happy

We grabbed a quick bite on Friday at Same Happy, a tiny wee Chinese/Thai eatery on Donegall Pass.  I had been warned that it was a grab any seat you can get kind of place. This was lucky. Most of the seats were taken up by one Chinese family, which made us feel a bit like we were invading someone’s dining room but, as my good friend Julie Drama says,  its always a good sign to see Chinese people eating in a Chinese restaurant.

R had beanthread salad with minced pork, lime juice and chilli (recommended by my food guru the Debster), and I had pork with chilli and basil. How to describe the food? It was as close to Bangkok street food that we’ve had since we left Thailand in 1996. This is just about the highest compliment I can bestow. Fast, fresh, fragrant. I’m running out of F words, you get the idea. It was also incredibly cheap, £12 total, with lashings of green tea thrown in for free.

Its bring your own, and it is really tiny (8 tables maybe) so I can only imagine the havoc we’d wreak if we brought the kids. Luckily they do take away. We’ll be back very very soon.

So its friendly, tasty and cheap. I heart Same Happy for two other reasons. Firstly it reminds me of a ruler Rich bought me in Bangkok which had the best bonkers translation: it said ‘the little lion have happy expression’. This pleased me. And on a slightly,but not really, related note, the version of Star Wars that you buy in Bangkok has got subtitles when  Chewbacca roars. It cracks me up to think of the poor translator who had to guess what Chewie was saying. I really wish we had watched it with a Thai person to find out.  Some day, some day.

21/06/2009. Uncategorized. 8 comments.


I have been pondering writing a blog for a while. I like to write. I don’t do it very often. I hope that the tyranny of the blog will force me to do it at least semi-regularly. The next few months will tell.

My main concern is how to write about me and things that interest me without being too personal in a public space (nice save Ed, I had written pubic space). Again how I manage this remains to be seen. 

In short, welcome to bethheartscake. I picked the name because, well, I heart cake.

I’m still thinking about the layout and the look and the content. Deciding whether to have a movie quote of the week/book of the month/cake of the day, amongst others. I suppose you’ll have to come back to see what I’ve decided…

15/06/2009. Uncategorized. 7 comments.

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