Oxford Literary Festival

Oxford Literary Festival | Miranda's Notebook

On Saturday, I set off with my Mum to Oxford to attend the Judith Kerr talk that was being held as part of the Oxford Literary Festival. I’d been to the Oxford Literary Festival last year and had had a fabulous time so I was eager to book again this year. There were several talks I wanted to go to, but in the end I settled on Judith Kerr’s. I absolutely adored The Tiger Who Came to Tea and the Mog books as a child, and I still have a fabulous time reading them to the children I teach in Primary school. When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit was another favourite read of mine as when I was little, and I couldn’t wait to hear its author speak in person.

I settled down to reread When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit on the train journey from London to Oxford, and it’s just as wonderful as I remembered. A slightly fictionalised autobiographical account of the Jewish author’s escape with her family from Nazi Germany, When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit is an endearing tale of courage and an unbreakable family bond. It was lovely to reread it, and whilst in Oxford, I picked up the two sequels which I’ve never read, so I have a treat in store!

When we arrived in Oxford, it was lunchtime, so we hopped in a taxi to take us to The Oxford Kitchen. In the past, I’ve often been disappointed by Oxford’s choice of restaurants, but this time I was determined to try somewhere different, and I’d read good things of The Oxford Kitchen.

The Oxford Kitchen | Miranda's Notebook

The restaurant offers a great set menu: £20 for three courses and a Kir Royale.  I started out with rabbit and ham hock terrine, pistachios and pickled carrots.

The Oxford Kitchen | Miranda's Notebook

It was delicious, and surprisingly light and flavourful. Next, I chose duck confit with salt baked beetroot, braised fennel, madeira and blackberry jus.

The Oxford Kitchen | Miranda's Notebook

Duck confit is one of my favourite things and this was perfectly done. On to dessert – whipped chocolate ganache with peanut and pear sorbet.

The Oxford Kitchen | Miranda's Notebook

I scoffed this down in a flash! Is there a better combination than chocolate and pear? I’m not sure there is! The meal was a fabulous deal, and I’d definitely recommend The Oxford Kitchen if you ever fancy a bite to eat in Oxford.

After polishing off our lunch, it was time to head to the beautiful Sheldonian Theatre for Judith Kerr’s talk.

Oxford Literary Festival | Miranda's Notebook

Judith Kerr was a fabulous speaker, and it was fascinating to learn more of her life, from being forced to flee Germany as a child to her love of illustration and how she first came to write and illustrate her much loved books. Kerr is clearly a lovely person, and she spoke with wonderful thoughtfulness, honesty and humility. I feel really lucky to have heard one of my very favourite childhood authors speak in person. Judith Kerr is also giving a talk at the upcoming Cambridge Literary Festival – I urge you to go if you get the chance!

Oxford Literary Festival | Miranda's Notebook

Of course, I had to pick up a few books at the talk. As there were so many people, Kerr wasn’t signing books, but photocopied bookplates of her signature were given out, and they’ll certainly serve as lovely reminders of my fun afternoon!

When the talk was over, Mum and I had some time to kill before heading onto The Old Parsonage, where I’d booked us a table for afternoon tea. Despite the rather grey and miserable weather, we had a lovely time wandering around the beautiful city.

Oxford Literary Festival | Miranda's Notebook Oxford Literary Festival | Miranda's Notebook Oxford Literary Festival | Miranda's Notebook Oxford Literary Festival | Miranda's Notebook Oxford Literary Festival | Miranda's Notebook Oxford Literary Festival | Miranda's Notebook Oxford Literary Festival | Miranda's Notebook Oxford Literary Festival | Miranda's Notebook

After working up our appetites again, we headed to The Old Parsonage, where we were delighted to be greeted by a roaring fire (it was getting decidedly cold by this point!).

Oxford Literary Festival | Miranda's Notebook

The Old Parsonage is beautiful, inside and out. I definitely want to go back in the summer to make the most of its charming outside terrace!

The Old Parsonage, Oxford | Miranda's Notebook

This time, though, we were more than happy to take a seat right by the fireplace and tuck into a delicious afternoon tea, complete with sandwiches, scones, jam, cream, cakes, tea and champagne.

The Old Parsonage, Oxford | Miranda's Notebook

It was the perfect end to a lovely day and fuelled us for the train journey back to London.

My day in Oxford marked a fabulous start to the Easter holidays, and I can’t wait for some more excursions over the next few days too.  I’ve decided to take a little bit of a holiday from blogging, as I’ve got a lot of running around to do, but will be back to posting next Tuesday. I’ll still be on instagram and twitter so do please feel free to keep in touch! I hope you all have a wonderful Easter!

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  • Cee

    Oh my goodness, that chocolate ganache with pear and peanuts looks absolutely divine! What a wonderful meal to go with a wonderful day 🙂
    xox,
    Cee

  • What a fantastic day! I am not familiar with Judith Kerr’s work, but it sounds interesting.

    Aisling | aisybee.

  • These photos are just beautiful! I’m off to Oxford this weekend but it’s for a hen party…Argh! I loved the MOG books as a kid. 🙂

    Tara x

  • Claire

    It’s outside Oxford but I highly recommend The Perch the next time you are there/if you are driving.

    I considered going to see Judith Kerr in Cambridge but regrettably I have plans the same day that I can’t really move. Next time hopefully!

    • Oh thanks for the recommendation, Claire! Will look up The Perch now. Oh it’s a shame you can’t make it to the Cambridge talk, but yes, hopefully another time. xxx

  • That looks like such a brilliant day! I can’t think of anything nicer 🙂 And what a delicious lunch!

    Have a fabulous Easter break

    xxx

  • sunday taylor

    Oh I love Oxford and your photos really took me back. I’ve been there a couple of times. Literary festivals are one of my favorites things to attend and this sounds as if it was a very good one. I love the sound of the Old Parsonage and will definitely try it next time I am in Oxford. So glad your Easter holiday is getting off to such a good start!
    xx Sunday

    • The Oxford Literary Festival is really brilliant. I’m looking forward to attending the Cambridge one for the first time this year too. I think you’d love The Old Parsonage – it’s so charming! Thank you Sunday – I hope you’re having a lovely Easter weekend 🙂 xxx

  • This is pretty much the ideal day- delicious foods, great literature, and beautiful neighborhoods. All that food you got to sample had my mouth watering- and the pictures just about did me under. That duck confite sounded incredible! I’ve never tried duck before, but now I absolutely have to. Also, I’ve never been to a book reading type of thing, but it sounds wonderful. I’d probably turn into a huge fan girl upon seeing them, haha! And how gorgeous is Cambridge? Those buildings! They’re unreal.

    xo marlen
    Messages on a Napkin

    • Thanks Marlen! It was pretty much my ideal day too, hehe. All the lovely food was definitely a real highlight!! Duck is one of my favourite things – I definitely recommend trying it; it’s so flavourful. I get rather starstruck around famous authors, I have to admit!! xxx

  • “The Tiger who came to Tea” is a firm favourite! (Especially when the tiger drinks dads beer…) Ah the memories of children’s books! x

    • Ha, I especially loved the part when the tiger drinks the beer when I was little too (I also had a thing for Sophie’s tights and wanted a pair just like them!). xxx

  • This looks like such a wonderful day! Oxford is one of my favorite places in England: The architecture, the charm, the vibe – it’s so perfect! I wish I lived in the UK, so I could go on trips there more often! 🙂 Glad you had fun hearing your childhood idol speak!

    • It was so much fun, thank you! 🙂 Oxford is just such a beautiful part of the UK. I have lots of happy memories visiting friends there at uni all through my early 20s so it’s always fun to go back now! xxx

  • Oh wow, this sounds like it was such a wonderful day! I have never been to Oxford…it looks like such a beautiful place! And the food…wow…looks amazing!

  • Sounds like an amazing day, love the photos and your outfit.

    http://www.mintnotion.com

  • Kristina Collins

    Such an amazing day out–and especially wonderful to hear Judith Kerr in person! It’s been years since I’ve been to Oxford. Must remember about The Oxford Kitchen when I do manage another visit–looks fabulous! xx

    • It was a lovely place for lunch, and we were very impressed by the reasonable set menu! I had so much fun hearing Judith Kerr – definitely one of those ‘pinch me’ moments. xxx

  • Sounds like so much fun Miranda and that food looked amazing! X

  • Oxford looks so beautiful through your lens! And that flowering magnolia outside the Camera is the stuff of springtime dreams. So cool that you got to see Judith Kerr speak – The Tiger Who Came To Tea is such a classic and I’ll definitely be reading it to my children one day 🙂 Hope you enjoy your next literary stint in Cambridge! xx

    • Thank you so much Tamsin! Judith Kerr was fabulous, just as you’d expect 🙂 I can’t wait for my literary jaunt to Cambridge 🙂 xxx

  • It seems you had a great time at Oxford Literary festival. I wish I could hear Judith Kerr’s talk. I love the photos of bicycles and trees. Your afternoon tea is so delicious.

    • I did have a lovely time 🙂 Oxford is littered with picture perfect bicycles against beautiful walls and buildings – perfect for shutterbugs! The afternoon tea was definitely the perfect ending to the day 🙂 xxx

  • Your photos are beautiful – especially the duck confit as I have personal experience of those being difficult to photograph! 😉 The Literary Festival sounds lovely too (how could it not, books are fabulous) x

    • Thanks so much Frankie! Ha, thank you – you’re right, duck confit (although tasty) isn’t the prettiest thing to photograph!! xxx

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