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  • September16th

    Lovely, intense, moody, and utterly soothing–Balmorhea’s “Pilgrim” is my current creativity stimulant. Sometimes, it does us good to listen to music without words.

    The next time you need some mental stillness, try playing this.



    In these interludes, poet and singer-songwriter Hannah Stephenson invites you to eavesdrop on the music bouncing around her brain. She’d love to hear your thoughts, your inner soundtrack, and what band inspired that shrine in your bedroom.

  • August14th

    Somehow, it’s been twenty years (?!) since Portishead’s Dummy was released.

    13-year-old me LOVED this album. I’ll tell you, it holds up really well. I almost spat my coffee out with joy upon reading in Consequence of Sound that Dummy will be reissued in fancy, moody blue vinyl.


    To celebrate, here are my three favorite songs from Dummy.

    “Sour Times” (Obviously. And how I loved that creepy-cool video!)




    “It’s a Fire”


    In these interludes, poet and singer-songwriter Hannah Stephenson invites you to eavesdrop on the music bouncing around her brain. She’d love to hear your thoughts, your inner soundtrack, and what band inspired that shrine in your bedroom.

  • July10th

    The only two competition shows I watch: Project Runway and So You Think You Can Dance. Both are new this summer, much to my geekish delight.

    My husband and I both adore SYTYCD….we saw this video from Season Two online, and were hooked. Although there are silly reality elements involved, the best parts of the show are watching some fun, beautiful dance and choreography (it’s too hard to choose a favorite–but just look at this one or this one or this one!) I admire how the show makes dance so accessible–as a poet, I can’t help but think that some kind of show featuring poets reading their work would help gain more readers (I might get chased through poetry village with torches for saying that, but I would totally watch America’s Next Top Poet).

    I love how choreographers (who are dancers themselves) use dancers’ bodies and music to make their art. I try to imagine how a dance starts for a choreographer–perhaps they envision a piece of movement, or hear a song that conjures a strong image.

    Sometimes, when I hear a beautiful song, I think, “Ugh, that’s gorgeous, I wish I could see a dance to this.” So here are five songs I’d submit to the suggestion box for choreographers of SYTYCD.


    “Blood,” The Middle East
    Oh, this song begs for a gorgeous contemporary routine….

    “Animal Arithmetic,” Jonsi
    Weird and joyous group number, please!

    “It’s Oh So Quiet,” Bjork
    Broadway! It can count as Broadway, right…?

    “Concrete Schoolyard,” Jurassic 5
    C’mon, Nappytabs….I see a playground theme here….

    “Ribs,” Lorde
    There’s a cool jazz routine in here somewhere. And you already know my feelings for Lorde…

    Any other fans out there with a wish list?


    In these interludes, poet and singer-songwriter Hannah Stephenson invites you to eavesdrop on the music bouncing around her brain. She’d love to hear your thoughts, your inner soundtrack, and what band inspired that shrine in your bedroom.

  • June15th

    If you knew a female singer in the 90’s, chances are she spent most of the decade singing alone in an apartment. To be a Woman Singing Alone in an Apartment, here is what it takes:

    1. Female artist must also be the main performer in the video

    2. Female artist must “sing” at least some of the words

    3. Female artist must acknowledge the camera

    4. Female artist must be in an apartment of some kind–we must see furniture, decoration, and/or architectural detail to distinguish this place (“Woman Singing Alone in Warehouse” or “Woman Singing Alone in Car” would not count)

    5. Other people may appear in the video, but their screen time must be limited

    6. A love interest may appear in the video, but must not be a focal point

    7. We may see flashbacks or outside of the apartment, but the majority of the video must happen inside the apartment

    8. Female artist must appear appealingly disheveled but still sexy (her look may include messy hair, tank tops, sandals, belly chains, etc.)

    The Cranberries, “Linger” (1993)

    Variation: “Woman Sings Alone in House and Won’t Look at Camera”

    Janet Jackson, Again (1993)

    Lisa Loeb, “Stay (I Missed You)” (1994) 

    Tori Amos, “Pretty Good Year” (1994)

    Variation: “Woman Walks to an Apartment and Then Sings Alone In It”

    Everything But The Girl, Missing (1994)

    Variation: “Woman Sings Alone in Abstract Apartment”

    Jewel, “You Were Meant for Me” (1995)

    Toni Braxton, “I Don’t Want To” (1996)

    Natalie Imbruglia, “Torn” (1997)

    Fiona Apple, “Criminal” (1997)

    Meredith Brooks, “Bitch” (1997)

    Variation: “Two Women Sing Alone in Their Respective Apartments”

    Brandy and Monica, “The Boy Is Mine” (1998)

    Variation: “Woman Sings Alone in Apartment and Then Goes to Club”

    Lauryn Hill, Ex-Factor (1998)

    Who did I miss?

    (Note: This may also be of interest–“Women Laughing Alone With Salad”)


    In these interludes, poet and singer-songwriter Hannah Stephenson invites you to eavesdrop on the music bouncing around her brain. She’d love to hear your thoughts, your inner soundtrack, and what band inspired that shrine in your bedroom.

  • June10th

    Jasmin Dwyer

    Jasmin DwyerJasmin Dwyer

    Jasmin is an Australian born, London based artist who has just landed her dream job, teaching the hearts and minds of children in a highly regarded school.  In her own words, her work is “abstract art and geometric design with a contemporary approach to illustration” and we tend to agree! Following her passion from such a young age, Jasmin has now created her own little empire on the internet selling her prints, ceramics and very soon a new tote bag collection.

    Having purchased a number of prints for my own home I can say that without a doubt her passion for vibrant colours, high quality products and modern imagery are evident in the works being produced.

    Jasmin Dwyer the store launched this weekend and prints are available to purchase here.

  • May27th

    Here in Melbourne, winter is already upon us.  A walk through our city streets is proof enough with café signs announcing today’s soup special, the leaves on most trees turning a bright gold and storefront windows adorned with scarves and winter woollies.  When I think of indulgence in winter I surprisingly think less about food (shocking I know) and more of the creature comforts that we desire like being wrapped up under a fort of blankets, adding extra layers to our clothing and lighting rooms with candles for the ambient glow that just whispers “welcome home”.  This month is all about the indulgence of the season, I’m sure most of you have something that you associate with particulars times of the year, but I wanted to give you a list of my favourite winter essentials to kick start your hibernation.  haven’t you always wanted a snood? Fun to say right?  Snuggle up Spoonful readers; it is going to be a very long winter.

    Winter Warriors

    1. Escape our cold reality and into the world of The Bees.
    2. Need a new favourite pair of boots this season?
    3. Every woman deserves one of these amazing coats (I have it in blue!)
    4. Make your tummy nice and happy too with comforting caramel popcorn.
    5. Snuggle up in bed and listen to your favourite beats or Ebook, aren’t these fabulous?
    6. My drink of the season is chai tea with cinnamon sugar, even better in a mug sprinkled with gold!
    7. The aforementioned snood!
    8. I love every design Happy Socks come up with, perfect for warm toes.
    9. Sarah McNeil has your hands covered this season.
    10. A perfect addition to any blanket haven.
  • May9th

    friendsimage by the amazing Amanda Mabel

    When I first learned about Pandora Radio in 2005 or 2006, I was hooked. Part of this was the name–Pandora had been (I’m somewhat embarrassed to say) part of my first AOL screen name and email a decade earlier, back in The Old-Timey Internet Town of 1995. I think I’d misunderstood the myth somewhat, and had seen Pandora as this empowered woman wielding chaos (“It’s HER box, dang it! She owns chaos and destruction! Now let me get back to watching Welcome to the Dollhouse and making this beaded choker…”).

    But back to Pandora. I’m not sure how I found it, but I thought it was an amazing concept: type in a musical artist that you like, and Pandora (based on The Music Genome Project) will begin to stream artists that it thinks you will like. I’d type in M. Ward, and it would recommend Magnolia Electric Co. or Grandaddy. Type in Bjork, and Pandora would play Frou Frou. This blew my mind. Up until then, I depended on a few different sources for music recommendations: the other artists carried by labels I loved (Helloooooo, Secretly Canadian), blogs and magazines, the occasional lucky radio/soundtrack moments, and most importantly, suggestions from friends and family.

    From 2000-2010, I burned and exchanged hundreds of CDs (and maybe a few cassettes–I do believe I had a walkman in 2003, which seems absurd now). Wherever we moved, my friends and I would mail one another CDs, lovingly scribbled on with Sharpie. Collections from my friend Ryan would skew a little electronic and romantic (Her Space Holiday or Sneaker Pimps or Death Cab for Cutie). My Uncle Jerry sent me a tape with Freedy Johnston and Damien Jurado on it, and I’d listen to it as I walked to class (I sent him either a tape or CD that had Badly Drawn Boy on it).

    In the mid 2000’s (what should we call those? The mid-aughts?), I was part of a CD exchange group. I remember buying blank CDs in stacks of 50 or 100. A group of us would meet every few months, and create a CD around a certain theme (there was “Rites of Passage,” and “Love,” and a Halloween-themed one). We’d make a dozen of them, and leave with a dozen new beloved collections. Nerdily, I’d slave away over mine, my husband cracking up at how painstakingly I’d arrange and rearrange the order of the songs. I continue to be grateful for people who love music (or art, or poetry, or anything) this much.

    Now, I listen to Spotify regularly, as well as Pandora. It’s helpful and entertaining. I’ll continue to use it, and don’t wish to criticize it. Sometimes, I forget whether I’m listening to Spotify or to my own music. Customized radio will play you what you already like. Sometimes, that’s exactly what we want (when we want background music, for instance). But other times, I crave hearing or reading or absorbing new sounds or ideas. And nothing scratches the “discovery” itch for me like a good, personalized recommendation from a friend does.

    When a person tells me about a book I should read or an album I should hear, I take it very seriously. I treasure that recommendation. They aren’t recommending what is similar to my tastes, necessarily (a la Netflix or Youtube)–they are recommending something that they love, that they think I might love. Often, it’s unexpected, and not always what I’d select for myself. There is a bit of a risk here–I want you to try this experience, they are saying. I still remember friends of mine driving over with a CD, walking in, and telling me that I had to listen right then and there (and proceeding to play me “John Wayne Gacy, Jr. ” by Sufjan Stevens). That day, I must have listened to the song twenty times, trying to get at its warbly, sad, balladeer-esque magic. I hadn’t heard anything like it.

    What recommendations have you been grateful for? What have you recently recommended to a friend?

    In these interludes,  poet and singer-songwriter  Hannah Stephenson invites you to eavesdrop on the music bouncing around her brain. She’d love to hear your thoughts, your inner soundtrack, and what band inspired that shrine in your bedroom.

  • April30th

    Hello wondrous Spoonful readers!

    This year’s Easter contest has had us receive a delicious batch of truly gorgeous contemplative Haikus…

    Uh! I fell in love with so many little moments and word arrangements it was lucky I didn’t have to judge as we’d have had everyone winning!

    I cannot thank each & every one of you enough for joining in the spirit and putting pen to paper. You make our world richer and the world seems a little sparklier knowing you’re around ;)

    The lovely Kelsie has chosen our winner of her beautiful golden egg! She said that she chose this particular gem as it “describes exactly what [her] daughter does every time she checks the chicken coop for new eggs!” The winner is *drumroll* this magical little Haiku by the lovely Justine Wake.

    by Paul Armstrong

    image by Paul Armstrong

    across the dawn grass

    child’s smile, skip and tiny tiptoe
    treasure hideout- found!

    Congratulations Justine & thank you everyone for your beautiful words.

    You have enriched our lives and over the next few days we shall be sharing your gems and poeticisms. They’re just TOO GOOD not to!!!


  • April22nd

    Rocky Road

    By now you will have all had your fill of chocolates. Easter is always a double edged sword – sure you get a mountain of chocolate, but what you also can get is a mountain of guilt!  If you are looking for an easy way to get rid of the chocolate eggs I have the perfect recipe for you.  This one is another tradition created by yours truly.  I started making this for my Dad for Father’s Day and then also for Easter, Christmas and any day ending in Y.  It has been coveted by my partner and his friends and family so now I am going to share it with you.  Rocky Road doesn’t have a great reputation for being a “pretty” treat, but I can almost guarantee that once your guests, friends and work colleagues bite into it, all will be forgiven.

    I wanted to give you some variations on this classic as well, so don’t be afraid to experiment if you have a favourite flavour or lolly item you would like to add!  The method is the same for both and added at the bottom – would love to see what you create!

    Traditional Rocky Road

    400g of milk chocolate broken into small pieces

    200g of hazelnut chocolate (yes with nuts!) broken into small pieces

    1 x bag of marshmallows (minus 6 white mallows, trust me!) cut into halves

    160g of chocolate covered Turkish delight cut into small pieces

    Roughly 15 raspberry lollies cut into halves

    ¼ cup of desiccated coconut

    ¼ cup of unsalted peanuts chopped into small pieces

    ¼ cup of cashews chopped into small pieces

    Indulgent Rocky Road

    600g of dark chocolate broken into small pieces

    1 x bag of marshmallows cut into halves

    160g of cherry ripe cut into small pieces

    Roughly 15 raspberry lollies cut into halves

    ¼ cup of shredded coconut

    ¼ cup of almonds chopped to small pieces

    ¼ cup pistachios chopped to small pieces


    1. Place all dry chopped ingredients into a large plastic bowl and line a large glass baking dish with baking paper.
    2. On the stove, place a heat proof bowl over boiling water and add the chocolate.  If left on a medium-low heat, the chocolate should continue to melt without burning quite steadily but please remember to stir it every so often.
    3. Once the chocolate is melted, remove carefully from the stove and allow to cool for a few minutes.  Pour the chocolate into the bowl and mix well with a metal spoon until all ingredients are combined.  It can take a little while to incorporate the coconut but just keep mixing!
    4. Pour into the glass baking dish and level out the mixture with the back of a metal spoon.  Place in refrigerator for a minimum of 3 hours to set.   When you are ready to slice it up, allow it to sit out of the fridge for 10-20mins to allow cutting easier. Never use a wet knife!

    Best of Luck!

    X Steph

  • April14th

    Each of these covers is a lovely surprise, both in song selection and in arrangement. These are such terrific, inventive versions that they somehow make me fonder of the originals.h

    CHVRCHES covers “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay” (Whitney Houston)h

    James Vincent McMorrow covers “Higher Love” (Steve Winwood)


    John Legend covers “Dancing in the Dark” (Bruce Springsteen)

    In these interludes,  poet and singer-songwriter  Hannah Stephenson invites you to eavesdrop on the music bouncing around her brain. She’d love to hear your thoughts, your inner soundtrack, and what band inspired that shrine in your bedroom.

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