PRAVDA HA HA – True Travels to the End of Europe

PRAVDA HA HA – True Travels to the End of Europe

Reading Time: 6 minutes


PRAVDA HA HA – True Travels to the End of Europe by Rory MacLean

Published by Bloomsbury in hardback and as an audio book on 1st November 2019
An important and unsettling exposé of Putin’s Russia, European disintegration and Britains future
from the acclaimed  travel writer and historian, Rory MacLean.

Pravda Ha Ha asks the question what has happened to the optimism of 1989 and, in the shadow of Brexit, chronicles the collapse of the European dream.

In 1989, the year when the Berlin Wall fell, 11 countries had border walls or fences.
Thirty years on, there are more than 70 around the world. 

November 9th 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

‘No one writes quite like Rory MacLean’ – Robert Macfarlane

“A gem of a book, informative, companionable, sometimes funny, and wholly original. MacLean must surely be the outstanding, and most indefatigable, traveller-writer of our time.” – John le Carré

Available now to pre-order from Amazon

Book Synopsis:
In 1989 the Berlin Wall fell. In that euphoric year Rory MacLean travelled from Berlin to Moscow, exploring the forgotten half of Europe. “Stalin’s Nose”, his book about the journey, became a UK Top Ten and has never been out of print.  Thirty years on MacLean retraces his original journey, backwards, travelling from revanchist Russia through Ukraine’s bloodlands, to illiberal Hungary, Poland, Germany and the UK, across countries confronting old ghosts and new fears. Along the way he shoulders an AK 47 to go hunting with Moscow’s Chicken Tsar, plays video games with a St Petersburg cyber-hacker who cracked the US election, drops by the Che Guevara High School of Political Leadership in an unrecognised Nowhereland and meets the Warsaw doctor who tried to stop a march of 70,000 nationalists.  As Europe sleepwalks into a perilous new age, MacLean explores how opportunists – from Putin to Home Counties populists – have made a joke of truth and examines the veracity of historical narrative from reportage to fiction to fake news. He asks what happened to the optimism of 1989 and, in the shadow of Brexit, chronicles the collapse of the European dream.

Rory Maclean Biography:

Rory MacLean is one of Britain’s most expressive and adventurous non-fiction writers. His books – which have been translated into a dozen languages — include UK top tens “Stalin’s Nose” and “Under the Dragon” as well as “Berlin: Imagine a City”, “the most extraordinary work of history I’ve ever read” according to the Washington Post which named it a Book of the Year. He has won awards from the Canada Council and the Arts Council of England and was nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary prize. According to the late John Fowles, Rory’s work “marvellously explain why literature still lives”.    In his humanitarian work, Rory has written about the missing civilians of the Yugoslav Wars for the International Committee of the Red Cross, on divided Cyprus for the UN’s Committee on Missing Persons and on North Korea for the British Council. In addition he has made over 50 BBC radio programmes. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he divides his time between London, Dorset and Berlin.

Book Background:
“Thirty years have passed since I made my original “Stalin’s Nose” journey from Moscow to Berlin, at the dawn of a new age. In 1989 Europeans embraced the idea of a borderless continent, believing that they had changed the world. Now in “Pravda Ha Ha” I’ve retraced my journey to try to understand what went wrong. Why – after liberating themselves from Soviet tyranny – have Russians surrendered their freedom for Dictatorship 2.0? How could so many in the West have fallen for the populists’ lies and spin, dragging democracy to this precarious moment? At the dawn of another new age, I have to find a way to keep faith in tolerance, empathy and the promise of the future, despite the rise of chauvinism and xenophobia, the echo of marching boots and the shadow of Brexit.”

Book Details:
“Pravda Ha Ha: True Travels to the End of Europe”
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Hardback publication date (UK): 1 November 2019
30th Anniversary of fall of the Berlin Wall: 9 November 2019
RRP Hardback price: £20
Hardback ISBN: 978-1408896532
RRP ebook price: £16.80

True Travels to the End of Europe by Rory MacLean
Published by Bloomsbury in hardback and as an audio book on 1st November 2019
An important and unsettling exposé of Putin’s Russia, European disintegration and Britains future
from the acclaimed  travel writer and historian, Rory MacLean.





Reading Time: 4 minutes


One of most exciting discoveries this year has been the highly gifted and inspiring Artist, Jenny Anne Morrison who is living proof that anything can be achieved if you feel the passion and follow your heart.

Jenny is also a practicing Buddhist of many years and firmly believes that her mantra Nam Myoho Renge Kyo has been the key to her success, and enabled her to keep on track with her creative vision and ultimate success.

As a young adult, Jenny was advised by her parents that art would never yield an income, and that she should pursue a more reliable ‘day job’.  Jenny then went onto run a highly successful health and beauty business but never felt completely fulfilled.

Then after a number of major life challenges and changes, Jenny decided to study Art, which had always been her life’s ambition.  She enrolled into the Heatherly School of Fine Art in Chelsea in 2005, having not picked up a brush since her childhood.   Within a short space of time, this amazing lady realised that she had a very special gift and decided to pursue it wholeheartedly, now with the full support of her family.

The rest is indeed history, as Jenny moved to Spain with her highly supportive husband Willi Morrison and has now transformed part of their home into a heavenly art gallery where she can exhibit her paintings and host viewings for her guests and loyal clientele.


Jenny has also travelled the world and seized the opportunity to interpret on canvas vibrant flamenco dancers, ballerinas, horses, landscapes, seascapes, sunsets, skies, people, places, feelings, faces; and indeed anything that has captured her eye and imagination.  Her paintings and art are awe inspiring.

Jenny Anne Morrison is now a highly acclaimed and successful International Artist, and has exhibited across the World at renowned galleries and exhibitions.

She is also running a thriving business with her work, taking instructions from all over the Globe with original commissions, as well as transforming her original paintings onto cards and canvas.

But to us the most exciting aspect of Jenny Anne Morrison is her overall objective as an artist which is ‘to lift the spirit, to elevate the soul and to give inner peace, joy and happiness.’which in our book is the most important thing of all.

Check out Jenny’s paintings at

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Cheesy Pin Wheels – with Love or Hate Twist

Cheesy Pin Wheels – with Love or Hate Twist

Reading Time: 3 minutes

We have had a big response to our recipe for Cottage Pie with a twist of Marmite and we were asked if we had anymore Marmite enriched recipes to try. Well here we go with a very quick and simple recipe for Marmite Cheesy Pin Wheels, They can be prepared really quickly for last minute guests or as a treat to be shared with a glass of wine or prosseco. They are also easy for the kids to make for party snacks or picnics.



Packet Ready Made Rolled Puff Pastry


Grated Mature Cheddar Cheese

1 egg whisked for glazing



Preheat oven to 180°C

Un-roll pastry. Spread Marmite evenly over pastry. Tip: Heat the marmite in the microwave to make it easier to spread but work quickly as it cools fast.

Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the Marmite leave a small gap at the far end to seal.

Roll up from the long side tightly, sealing the end with a dab of water. Cut into 1cm slices.

Form into wheels and lay on a lightly greased baking sheet Brush with egg mix and bake for about 20 minutes until puffed and golden. Serve hot or cold.



Try a Pizza version by spreading Tomato paste onto the pastry, sprinkle dried Oregano onto the paste, Top with grated Cheese, and roll into wheels as above.


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Reading Time: 4 minutes


The Edinburgh Fringe has grown in stature beyond recognition since I used to hang out there as a jobbing Actor back in the day.  It was a place to see new writers, converse with the like-minded and indeed revel in the party festivities of which there were many.

One friend I had spent time with on my first evening at one of the festival parties, saw me the following day commenting on how long it had been – years in fact since he had seen me.  Temporary memory loss from the inevitable drinking spree that was a given in those days.  We still comment on that hilarious exchange when we see each other!

The Edinburgh Festival today is far more respectable and widely attended from visitors from all over the Globe.    It still showcases new writers and shows, but is far more contained and deftly organised than in the past heady days of raw experimental theatre.

There is however a positive side to every evolution, and The Edinburgh Fringe is no exception.  Rather than rubbing shoulders with young hopefuls and drama students, if you are thinking of attending, you will be in the company of the rich and famous as well as curious corporates and the numerous visitors who want to experience new plays and entertainment.   Plus there are thousands of new shows and performances to see.

Edinburgh itself is also a joy to visit, and you will find something that will appeal to every taste, from the extraordinary architecture and surrounding landmarks like Arthur’s Seat which towers over the City, to the fabulous restaurants and bars.

There is still time to attend this year if you hurry, or you could really plan ahead and book accommodation for next year.

If you are still baffled by the concept of the Edinburgh Fringe but want to experience it for yourself, head over to their website and start with the ‘Fringe Inspiration Machine’ to see whats to see and to be ,well, inspired….

check out all the latest info on the EdFringe website.

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Reading Time: 5 minutes


How many times recently have you heard the words ‘don’t beat yourself up’ or ‘don’t put yourself down’.  I can bet it has been said to you a number of times in recent years.  I know I am guilty of doing both, and it is now time to stand up to the ‘inner bully’ and show it who is boss.

It is hardly surprising as we are constantly ‘bullied’ by the media, ordering us to look more attractive, younger, thinner, smarter – unrealistic goals when juggling any sort of descent lifestyle.

As a woman of a certain age, I now feel compelled to fight back at this tough tyrant within, and have begun to congratulate myself on bringing up a family – no easy feat, being a great friend and partner, my own skills and talents, and doing a list of my assets.  I don’t mean in monetary terms, but my own attributes, and if you search you will find there are many that you can write down about yourself.

If you have this list by your bed, or in a prominent place where you can read it daily, I guarantee the negative feelings relating to yourself will begin to disappear.

Since I instigated this exercise into my own regime, as advised by a renowned life coach, ‘miracles’ started to happen, I was advised that they would.  I was sceptical at first, but seeing a close friend successfully turn her life around, I was urged to try it, after all what did I have to lose.

So this, along with daily meditation, my life began to turn around for the good.  I can’t explain how things began to improve, but can certainly pinpoint when, and that was the moment I stood up to the inner ‘bully’ and resolved to overturn the negative feelings I had for myself and stop setting myself unrealistic goals.

Small things started to happen at first, like a Yoga class appearing, practically on my doorstep and a part time job opportunity mysteriously coming up that would not eat too much into my time.  I have even been given affordable beauty products and treatments at the local spa, and a multitude of benefits I hadn’t previously been made aware of.

Perhaps it is the Universe rewarding me for taking action against the ‘bully’, or maybe I am now freed up to notice my own good fortune, but I recommend taking charge, as it can only be for the greater good, and certainly in these circumstances, it will be for your own inner strength and future.

So, the rule of thumb is that bullies are actually cowards, and if confronted will always back off.  So if you have done any sort of meditation, now is the time to have a serious talk with your inner ‘bully’ and tell them their voice is no longer effective in your World.

When the pressure is off you can then decide what is best for you, and you will be surprised at how liberating it will be to make your own decisions, based upon what you really need to make you happy.

If you would like more information on the above subject or any sort of holistic help, please contact us at, where we can recommend related reading and life coach options.

Also check out the following for inspiration

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