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Small City Life on Hertfordshire's Mix 92.6

Arts & Culture Podcasts

Marissa Laycock looks at aspects of life in a small city, focussing on St Albans. The area, the attractions, and the people. Bought to you by Radio Verulam and The St Albans Review.


United Kingdom


Marissa Laycock looks at aspects of life in a small city, focussing on St Albans. The area, the attractions, and the people. Bought to you by Radio Verulam and The St Albans Review.






‘Getting to Zero Emissions’ will take time, technological innovation and huge investment

Bill Gates’ new book, How To Avoid A Climate Disaster is not an easy read. If you read for pleasure or for escapism, I suggest you do not add this sobering book to your pile of bedtime reading. Bill Gates tells us that climate scientists have confirmed that we are already in a state of ... Read more


Box-set binge-watching during lockdown

It appears that times are changing and most of us are more likely to be glued to our screens than engrossed in a book. I’ve been as guilty of this as anyone during lockdown! Not so long ago, I used to have quite a few chats about which books friends and family were reading. Nowadays ... Read more


Wandering amidst Verulamium Woodlands

There’s nothing better when you live in a city than taking a walk into a vast spacious landscape. London parks are cultivated by expert gardeners and of course, the manicured gardens are such a pleasure to explore, but to walk up hilly slopes and into a wild woodland breathing in clean country air is especially ... Read more


The holiday season will return eventually! For now we’ll just have to roll with it.

Around this time of the year, we start to wonder about our Summer holidays. The last few years we’ve been on a cruise or two. We’re really missing it. Last year there were no exotic cocktails or musical spectaculars, no pink sunsets glistening on the calm seas, no hour-long full body massages or dance lessons. ... Read more


So glad 2021 is finally here!

Although we are now immersed in yet another lockdown, I think we all feel quite relieved that 2021 has finally dawned. Looking back on the year 2020 and the extraordinary things that happened within society as a whole has been a strange experience. Deciding how to pitch my column during lockdown has been a challenge ... Read more


December’s Farmers’ Market

Phew! I managed to catch St Albans Farmers’ Market just before another lockdown was announced. I discovered three delicious foods which will become regular additions to my pantry – chestnut honey, chilli cheese and chilli vodka. Of course this Christmas will be different for us all, but at least we can cherish happy memories from ... Read more


Breathe. Walk. Relax. Repeat…

They say that a good walk in nature can cure many ills. How is it that such a simple act can clear the brain, seriously lower stress levels and induce a feeling of enhanced well-being within us all? Nothing could ever compare to feeling part of that inherent seasonal dynamism, that sense of the ‘now’ ... Read more


Shipshape and Bristol Fashion!

I was never one for housework. I find is so time consuming and not hugely rewarding. I love that famous Quentin Crisp quote: “There’s no need to do any housework at all. After the first four years the dirt doesn’t get any worse.” These days I can see the importance and satisfaction of having a ... Read more


Treating myself at 66 Book Club

I enjoy reading many different genres and being at 66 Book Club in Hemel Hempstead was like going to ‘Book Heaven’. Upstairs, every single shelf within aisle upon aisle was piled high with pristine quality paperbacks. Down on the ground floor there were countless more books of all shapes and sizes. The question I had ... Read more


Let’s get the show back on the road!

Lockdown has certainly reminded us about the importance of our individual freedom, and that our happy memories are made up of personal life experiences, not possessions. Something that I guess we had forgotten in pre-Covid times. As I wrote this piece, I felt an inner contentment and re-lived many wonderful ‘showtime’ experiences. It felt great ... Read more


A Tinned Food Renaissance

I found it hard to believe that a “Love Canned Food Festival” was taking place on Instagram last month over a four-day period. I enjoyed scrolling through countless colourful photos of luscious recipes mixing fresh and canned food together. March 2020 saw overall sales of canned food climb to over 70% and we are now ... Read more


Along the Garden Path

I was amazed by this garden and got totally lost in its horticultural richness. Row upon row of Dahlias were thriving in all their glory. They had been so carefully cultivated by experts. Walking between the rows of such contrasting varieties had a dreamlike quality to it. The celebration garden was just as breath-taking with ... Read more


Camping in Norfolk

I wouldn’t regard camping as a holiday. It is more of a change of scenery really. It’s wonderful to get out of the house and forget about the carpet that needs hoovering and the mound of clothes that need washing. We didn’t go far, but going to a beach I’d never been to before, visiting ... Read more


Rediscovering my Garden

I mentioned that I was gardening in late March on my Facebook page and received a few messages that made me smile like “Blimey Marisa you must be bored!” or “Are you okay Marisa?” Gardening was never really my thing. I was just dabbling in it here and there, then discovered that I now quite ... Read more


‘Life is better around a campfire.’ So they say!

I wrote this while feeling sorry for myself and in dire need of a sun-kissed Mediterranean holiday. Camping is not really my cup of tea and I have been known to pack up in anger and book into the nearest luxury hotel for a night to get over a miserable soggy weekend on a campsite. ... Read more


The Importance of City Allotments

I must admit I do envy people with green fingers whose mysterious abilities make everything grow in such abundance! How do they do it?! Their hydrangeas are always rich and sturdy, their camellias are always the pinkest and their vegetable patches are always bulging with goodness! Growing up in a city has its advantages but ... Read more


Time for a new Personal Image!

We’ve all had a chance to pause and reboot over the last couple of months and have become aware of our inner feelings and certain aspects of our outer lives. Personally, I have reached a stage where I want to change my personal image or at least mix it up a bit. This has been ... Read more


Missing my magical shopping trips under lock-down.

Although the lockdown has led to an increasing sense of introspection, I am missing those rejuvenating feelings that only those magical little shopping trips can provide. After reading online about the female evolutionary need to gather, I don’t feel like a shallow shopaholic. Meandering around Oasis, Neon Sheep and Neal’s yard is always a pleasure ... Read more


Earth is healing under lockdown

Over the past ten years or so I remember being aware that people were talking a lot about environmental pollution and the destruction of nature and animal habitats in relation to capitalism. I distinctly remember making a mental note that nobody was really engaging with issues around how humans were going to be affected in ... Read more


Thank the Lord I never decluttered!

We were up in our loft one recent afternoon. I rediscovered a set of wonderful coffee-top table books. I felt overjoyed, enthusiastic and excited about dipping into them again. Meanwhile, my daughter was marvelling at her old dolls and Pokemon cards and my husband was sitting there amused after discovering the pink RAZR V3 phone ... Read more