Monday, 29 October 2012

pin stuff, do stuff: pumpkin cake

I've seen quite a lot of other bloggers do this and I think it's a very good idea. As I'm sure you all know and appreciate, Pinterest is a great procrastination site where loads and loads of awesome recipes and DIYs get pinned to boards with the intention "I must do/make that one day". But, if you're anything like me, these great ideas never seem to make it off pinterest. So this is me starting my version of Pin and Do!

I've got two boards which are reserved for future makes and experiments:
1. food and drink recipes and 2. arty/crafty DIYs

This year I've been pretty much ignoring halloween, except for buying a pumpkin, and I guess they're not really halloween specific anyway. Using just over a quarter of the pumpkin (and some other ingredients) I made a rather autumnal and tasty cake. 

I pinned this image from this site and pretty much followed the recipe to the letter except: using mixed nuts rather than just pecans and a larger sized tin as I didn't have the size the recipe required (it meant that my cake had to bake for an extra 30 mins at a cooler temp) but the results were excellent. I did manage to completely screw-up the icing (not entirely sure how that happened as I've made icing a million times before) but the cake tastes just as good without it :)

Have you been making anything recently as a result of extensive pinterest browsing? 

Thursday, 25 October 2012

time out

I've some-what neglected the blog over the last week due to the fact that I'm on 'holiday'. Having taken hardly any days off this year I had quite a lot of holiday allowance to use-up before November. An actual leaving-the-country holiday wasn't feasible (ALL spare money is being saved for NYC) so Mitch and I have been mostly just chilling-out in good old Brixton. 

Last weekend I ventured out to the coast for a sort of uni housemates reunion at my friend's amazing flat in Leigh-on-Sea. As on previous visits we drank lots of wine, watched a lot of shit TV (a particular favourite is Take Me Out), chatted about everything under the sun AND set off on a 9 mile walk which included a stroll along Southend Pier (Europe's largest pleasure pier). Weekends at Lauren's are hugely relaxing - she also has the comfiest sofas in the world and the prettiest pair of bengal cats I've ever seen. Fact.

tides out at leigh-on-sea

I always feel rather deflated upon returning to the city after a break from it - but Mitch and I have been keeping busy hence the week long silence on here! As a 9-5er I massively appreciate London on those v.rare occasions where I find myself not a work on a week day, so, as you can imagine, Mitch and I have been making the most of it. On Monday we had a leisurely brunch at the Duck Egg cafe (you cannot get a seat at the weekend) followed by a good root around the most amazing secondhand bookshop. I've been living in Brixton for just over a year now and every time I walk past the bookmongers it is always, always closed, I was so happy to finally get a look inside. I was not disappointed - it's an aladdin's cave of reading material. I came away v.chuffed with 3 novels although it could've easily been more. 

secondhand finds - sci-fi overload? never!

Another place which benefits from a weekday visit is of course Oxford Street. Mitch and I are v.conscious of the fact that it can get super cold in NYC in december and that snow is a possibility (here's hoping). With that in mind we thought we should invest in some decent footwear. After a delightful bus ride into central (that's not sarcasm, it really was a nice ride on the no.3 from brixton to regent street - almost like a tour ride past loads of London's landmarks) we went boot shopping. Mitch got a pair of v.sturdy looking timberlands and I got myself a pair of DMs - they are pretty heavy and feel like I could reduce rocks to dust.

first pair of DMs

Other highlights of the holiday so far: visit to Essex to see Mitch's family including his nephews, dinner and drinks with friends, trying out the new craft beer pub in Brixton, lie-ins - so good.

Good things to come (because I'm only half way through!): theatre tonight, cinema trips (hopefully Ruby Sparks and Skyfall), family lunch, more knitting and sewing as well as a trip to Berwick Streets fabric shops. Stay at home holidays are awesome :)

Thursday, 18 October 2012

cornwall, circa summer '93

Not that long ago I entered a competition which required you to find an old holiday photo and describe the nostalgic-ness surrounding it. Sadly I didn't win but the competition lead me (and my sister and parents) to look back upon some v.old holiday snaps. My parents have boxes upon boxes of photographs (not to mention an impressive album collection) from when my sister and I were little. Overall I'm really glad that they were snap happy, some of the photographs unearthed were absolute gems, bringing back great memories and stories. However, in amongst the large semi-labelled photograph collection I was searching for pictures from a v.specific holiday. Eventually, we found them: our family holiday to Cornwall in the summer of 1993. Here are three of my favourites from those two weeks.

I absolutely loved the coast (and still do) - all the caves to explore, rocks to climb, sea to swim in. That's me in the bright yellow raincoat and my sister to the left. 
I love this shot - my sister, me and my mum in a line following a gravelly path heading seawards. 

Me and my sister (yes we are both wearing socks with our sandals). 
We look so small. I like the angle of this picture, I can just imagine my dad balancing on a rock trying to take it. I lived in that hat and I actually still have it somewhere.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Tuesday's Tees - J W Anderson

4 favourite tees from J W Anderson's collection for Topshop. Fabulous.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

the leaves are turning

After the unproductive, and frankly wasted, two days of last weekend I was v.motivated to get the most out of this one. The majority of Saturday was spent in the woods near the little town of godalming, surrey, it was so good to get out of London for the day. The leaves were all changing from lush greens to beautiful orangey reds - the epitome of autumn - the views were really quite spectacular. Whilst rambling in the woods, up and down the hilly footpaths I tried to take some pictures but my camera doesn't really do it justice. We had to contend with some v.changeable weather, even hailstones at one point, but that just made the day more of an adventure trying to avoid the muddy slippery paths, plus I really do like the sound of rain falling in and amongst the trees. Throughly exercised from roaming the woods, my parents and I had enjoyed some tea and cake in godalming, the perfect end to a rather wholesome day!

Also this weekend I went to an artist's house exhibition. I'd met the artist a year ago having interviewed her for the magazine at work. I think she was a little surprised but pleased to see me. Most excitingly I came away with one of her pieces, now I've just got to decide where to put it! Sunday has inspired a flat tidy-up, some ukulele jamming and scarf knitting. Hope you're all having a good one too!

Friday, 12 October 2012

knitting & stitching 2012

Yesterday marked the start of this year's Knitting & Stitching Show taking place at London's Alexandra Palace. I went for the first time last year and had a thoroughly good (albeit tiring) time and this year was just as good, if not better!

Highlights included:
  • John Allen's decorative carpets (yes, carpets, I've never been enthused about carpets before), they reminded me v.much of the old british railway posters only instead of paint and canvas they were all created by weaving!
  • The work of recent graduate Rachel Parker who's use of stitching, digital images, geometric shapes, and beautiful colour ranges really caught my eye. Check out her stuff here
  • A drink and a chat with a lady who I've been working with for 14 months but had never met! She lives in Edinburgh so we only ever email each other - it was really great to finally meet her face-to-face.
  • The amazing range of wool, embroidery AND fabric on offer - there were soooo many stalls, I was seriously spoilt for choice.
Ally Pally, it was a v.misty morning, normally the views of London are fantastic from here.

left: close up of the knitted village - it's a vegetable patch(!) with a few goats and piglets thrown in for good measure. right: you can't really see it but this is made from suffolk-puffs made from plastic bags - kinda clever no?

top left: one of the vintage wallpapers used in the Sonic Wallpaper exhibition
bottom left and right: John Allen's carpets (see, I told you they were pretty!)

top: a v.small part of a textile sculptures collection based on the imaginations of Lewis Carroll - it was all rather surreal and very intricate. These little guys (possibly the cards from alice in wonderland...) were my favourites. bottom: some of Rachel Parker's work - colourful stitching, patterns and repetition - all things I love.

Aaaand because I couldn't possibly have come away empty handed (there was actually a danger of me using all of this months money on wool/fabric/ribbons etc). Some fabulous new wool from a really lovely lady at the Woolyknit stand and 2 fat quarters from the new Denyse Schmidt collection (v.restrained, I could easily have bought more) from the cheery people at The Village Haberdashery who are, incidentally, having rather a large sale on their site at present....I'm just saying.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

good distractions

A few things which have delightfully distracted me over that past few days...

The new and beautiful collection from vanilla & lace - these three are my favourites, the patterns on the those two tunic type dresses are amazing and I'm liking the unusual sleeve lengths. (actually the other items in Abi's shop are also pretty cool)

A ghost-town in Svalbard might not be everyone's idea of the perfect gig venue but to me this sounds like a rather awesome place to see, as long as the polar bears stayed away (unless of course one of them was Iorek Byrnison from Northern Lights in which case I'd suggest we become friends). Also, extra coolness as the interview was carried out by my v.talented travel writer chum.

An excellent article about literary New York via Kirsty Helen. I'm heading out there in just over 11 weeks (so I might be counting...) and this just added to my (already astronomical) excitement.

Wool! Arranged in colourful, eye-pleasing displays! It's given me hope for my own knitting adventures which were abandoned in the summer/september due to the warm weather. But now it's colder and I've picked up the needles again with one resolution: finish my scarf.

image source one, two

And these are distracting things which I am v.much looking forward to: getting issue 12 of Oh Comely (bi-monthly treat), a weekend trip to see my friend in Leigh-on-Sea in a couple of weeks and this year's Knitting & Stitching Show which starts tomorrow!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Tuesday's Tees - I'm with the band

In case you hadn't guessed it already, this Tuesday is all about band tees. There's something quite awesome about going to a gig (especially for a band you really really love) and picking up their tour tee  (especially when it's an awesome tee) as a souvenir. Below are some tees I covet either because I went to their show and didn't get a tee, or, worse still, I haven't actually seen them play live! Devastating but true in some cases.

More fun t-shirts here

These two, however, are band tees I proudly own. Fond memories. 
Yeah Yeah Yeahs (left) Broken Social Scene (right) 

Got any good gig related tees knocking about?

Saturday, 6 October 2012


There were actually a couple of posts that I had intended for this week but it was one of those weeks - busy and rather stress-filled at work but also socially jam-packed - which has left me completely shattered AND, like a lot of people, a victim of cold and fluey symptoms. So, finding myself at snotty nose and headache central for the last couple of days I've mostly been trying to catch up on sleep and eating soup, I figured lots of veggies are bound to sort me out, that and a sunset wander around lovely Brockwell park. Stay tuned, I'll be back with this week's intended posts soon. Now for some lemsip and bed I think.

Monday, 1 October 2012

New Specs

Compared to the other weekends in September this, the fifth and final, one was rather quiet. Not that I'm complaining! There's was plenty of tea, sewing and tidying (our living room is looking particularly neat at present, I just hope it lasts!). We also managed to do some, much needed, clothes de-cluttering. A group of people in Brixton were staging a 'Give & Take' event on Saturday - ie, turn up with some stuff you don't want anymore and help yourself to stuff donated by others. I managed to cull a whole black-bag's worth of stuff and a few pairs of shoes. Also on Saturday these v.cute cat stickers arrived, I won them through a giveaway on Amy's blog. These little guys are guarding my light switch so now I just need to find a home for the others! The rest of Saturday was spent with my sewing machine. Spurred on by the drop in temperature I took it upon myself to start a new quilt for Mitch and I. My parents' quilt is also progressing and I'm pleased with how it's going. On Sunday my friend and I had a look around the vintage event at Brixton's Dogstar. She picked up a couple of items and I collected my new glasses from Auntie Aviator. It's only been a two week wait but it felt waaay longer. I cannot explain how excited I was to take them home – I love them! This pair now entitles me to a choice of specs to wear (as well as the option of my good old contact lenses) but I think I know which ones I'll be wearing pretty much all the time :)

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