Thursday, 27 June 2013

Did you get the memo?

In case you were unaware, Google Reader is about to kick the bucket. So, should you like to keep up-to-date with Beard Today, Gone Tomorrow you still can by following me on Bloglovin'!

Of course there are other alternatives but I've been using Bloglovin' for over a year now and I'd definitely recommend it. It's super simple to use AND they have a button you click which transfers all your Google Reader blogs onto your new Bloglovin' account. Neat huh?

If you're still on the fence about what replacement to use, remember: you've only got until Monday 1st July to make your switch.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

the future...

Over the weekend Mitch and I had a good old chat about The Future. And not in a science fiction type way. I'm not talking about the rise of the machines, a zombie apocalypse or even the polar ice caps melting. I'm talking about the rather immediate future which, depending on how you look at it, could be just as terrifying as facing an unknown opponent in the Thunderdome.

So who is the adversary in this 'Future'?

The answer is Time. Isn't it always?

I find myself at 26 in a good job that I mostly enjoy, living in a part of London that I love, surrounded by the best network of family and friends I could possible want and in a relationship with a bloody great man who I love more than anything. So what's the problem? It's very much a first world problem (perhaps I should've called this post that) and I am so so v.grateful for all those things listed above but! There's always a but. The chat at the weekend left me feeling rather overwhelmed. You see, there's going to come a time (not far off) that I'll be thinking about kids (yes, I want them) which is a pretty big deal - some might say the biggest deal there is - but there's also the fact that there is so much I haven't done and really really want to do before that time. It's crazy to think that 100 years ago (or probably less) that women weren't afforded the luxury of choice (and actually, thinking about, there's places in the world today where they still don't). But I, living in London in the 21st Century, do. And because I have this choice, I feel I really should get it right. It's a weird kind of pressure that I (perhaps with a little help from society) seem to have placed upon myself - along with the pressure to get on the property ladder, save enough money to get on said ladder, but also to save-up and travel - see some of the world whilst I'm young and in good health. And it all sounds amazing - but is there enough time? Or, am I just the girl who wants it all? Or, (and quite probably) am I just over thinking/over planning everything?

I love distant future planning with Mitch - we're both a couple of dreamers at heart, with sincere intentions to get stuff done - but suddenly the future doesn't seem so distant. What I've realised, and what I'm ultimately daunted by, is the fact that I'm going to have to disrupt the lovely balance that's currently in place. Because I can't save for anything whilst paying rent. Because I'm not really in a job where I would, when the time comes, be able to rely on maternity pay. Things are going to have to change in order for 'future Annie' to cash in on all the things I want to do. Worrying is one of my greatest faults and worrying about the future is both an arse and completely pointless. At least the reasonable part of me knows that but for the moment thinking ahead is tough and I was never any good at chess.

Does anyone else have future talks and freak out about time, or is it just me?

Monday, 24 June 2013

the illustrated packing list: perugia

Only 4 days to go until Italy! Obviously that means I am beyond excited and am struggling to concentrate at work. It also means that I need to start thinking about what I'm going to pack. Now that you're aware of my bizarre packing ritual, this will come as no surprise.
I deliberately used a small piece of paper because, in my logic, this will help me to keep items to a minimum as there's not that much space in hand luggage, especially RyanAir hand luggage. Wish me luck!

Friday, 21 June 2013

a life in colour

Yesterday I ventured to the Fashion and Textile Museum to catch the soon-to-be-over Kaffe Fasset exhibition, A Life in Colour. In case you've not come across him before, he's an American artist and designer specialising in textiles. Before the exhibition I'd only really heard of Kaffe through all his fabric designs but it turns out that the man has his fingers in lots of craft related pies!

He originally started out as a painter but then, after visiting the UK and Scotland, he got very into knitting and then needlepoint and eventually designing fabrics and making quilts. Personally I didn't think much of his paintings and that branching into textiles was the right move. He's big on colour - all aspects of his textile work are super bright and, if I'm on honest, a bit clashing but in (mostly) a good way.
mosaics and needlepoint work

jazzy quilt and insane needlepoint chair

There was a hell of a lot of stuff on show from all his crafty disciplines including a chair completely cover in needlepoint - god know how long that would've taken! My favourite pieces were actually his knitted work, especially the jumpers - I would definitely wear the crosses one.

knitted tumbling blocks blanket and shirting quilt (rather muted for Kaffe but this was probably my fave quilt there)

the 'feeling wall' and the amazing knitted jumper

Although the exhibition really was a feast for the eyes, a glutenous colourful feast, there wasn't that much to read. All the info printed next to the quilts was already written in the exhibition leaflet and so nothing new was given away. There was a film playing on loop featuring Kaffe (15 years earlier) talking about his love of colour and sitting in, what I presume was, his house, but even this wasn't particularly informative. We came away with the conclusion that perhaps if you wanted to find out more you'd have to buy the book which accompanied the exhibition.
some of the design sketches for Kaffe's fabric range

a small preview of the next exhibition to take place at the FTM - Sindy!

If you're a Kaffe fan it's a great opportunity to see so much of his work in one place - there's certainly a lot of variety! But you haven't got long, the exhibition is only on for another week.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

dream house

This will be brief. The house we used for yesterday's location shoot was the most amazing place. It was: my dream house. Now I know I've been to a lot of houses for the quilting magazine but everything about yesterday's location was perfect, from both a photographer's and an eager-to-start-nesting 26 year old's point of view. White walls with pops of colour was the overall theme but it wasn't just the decor that I coveted. There were so many odd little bits and pieces dotted throughout the house which, despite it being a film and photography property, made it feel like a lived in home.
This was my favourite room. I absolutely love the wallpaper backed boxes on the wall. When we move into our own place I really want something similar. And just look at the crochet blanket!
The garden not only had outdoor seating, a trampoline, tonnes of v.colourful flowers but also a swing seat! When I was little I always wanted a swing seat that hung from a tree.
Perhaps the most enviable room in the house (for me) was the dedicated sewing room - stuffed full of all the crafting paraphanaelia you could possible want - thread, fabric, wool, countless old jamjars of beads, buttons and trims. *sigh* One day, one day I will have a house big enough that there will be a spare room with no purpose so that I can turn it into my 'making room'.
And on to the kitchen, the big spacious kitchen with tonnes of surface space and an entire wall covered in these little cubby holes - practical but also like a piece of art.
The corner of the first flight of stairs featured a bendy tube light and the walls were full of mirrors of all shapes and sizes. I tried a number of times to get a decent pic but to no avail, so I settled for this.
Some of those odd bits and pieces I mentioned. A collection of globes in the second living room. Just because.

A day of serious house envy but also rather inspiring.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

father's day weekend

It was one of those weekends where I barely had 5 mins to myself, which is totally cool - I love socialising - but dear god I'm knackered!

Saturday was spent in little old Surbiton. I'd not been back since Mitch and I moved to Brixton nearly two years ago so it was good to return and meet up with some of my friends who still live in the area. I had a nosey around the charity shops - the ones on surbiton highstreet always had a few gems and I was happy to see that that hadn't changed - before heading to The Grove, the local pub just a minute walk from our old flat. It has a massive beer garden but sadly the weather wasn't great so we ate inside in their newly refurbished restaurant. I had the best tart I've ever eaten. It was huge. Wild garlic and mushroom filling inside shortcrust pastry to die for, plus a side of truffle mash. Heaven. Food was followed by loads of catching up with everyone, much drinking and a rather late taxi ride home (I could not face a 2hr night bus ride).
Charity shop haul - a childhood fave and an amusing purchase originally published in 1945.

The beast of a tart.

Getting in at 3:30 was not a smart move as I had to be up at 7:30 to join the rest of my family for father's day and my nan's 89th birthday celebrations in the New Forest. Needless to say I was a little worse for wear but nothing that some sausage, bacon and homemade oat cakes on arrival at my auntie and uncle's house couldn't sort out! Bellies full we spent the afternoon at one of my favourite places, Milford on Sea. It's not a fancy coastal spot, just a small pebbly beach (with an cafe that sells good icecream) but I love it. We all enjoyed some afternoon tea (including salmon and cream cheese sandwiches, flapjacks and muffins) and some birthday cake back at my auntie's house before driving back to London.
Milford on sea and homemade coffee cake

A lovely weekend but I feel like I need another weekend to recover from it!

Monday, 17 June 2013

holiday wish list

Less than two weeks to go until we fly to Perugia and I'm pretty excited to say the least. Although my friend assures me that I won't need nice new things for this holiday - we'll be basically lounging by the pool all week wearing the bare minimum as it gets unbelievably hot - I still wanted to make a wish list, because if I did have the money I would buy this stuff anyway.

These floral sunglasses from OASAP - nothing has really filled the void that was left by my favourite sunglasses which broke last summer but I think these would come pretty close.
This sundress  from ASOS - a dress with pockets. Need I say more?
This straw hat from Accessorize - I don't own a summer hat (as a rule, I don't look great in hats) but I'm definitely going to need one in 40 degree heat!
The Hunger Games - I loved the first film and several people whom I trust (as well as tonnes of bloggers, critics) have said this is an awesome trilogy. When better to start than basking in the Italian sun!
This stripy tee from Pull&Bear - gotta love a neon stripe and this tee looks super soft and comfy.
This summery number also from Pull&Bear - I love the colours, the pattern, the shape and basically everything from Pull&Bear.
These coral sandals (orange non?) from Topshop - don't get me wrong I LOVE my office sandals (which have keep me going for the last two summers) but these are v.pretty and it'd be good to have a colourful pair of footwear.
This woven bag from urban outfitters - liking the pattern a lot.
This swimsuit from anthropologie usa - is this not the most fabulous one piece you've ever seen?!
Another pair of sunglasses? Well yes actually, sunglasses are one of my favourite accessories and I would have about 20 pairs if I could.
These shorts from Topshop - loungewear is v.important on hols and these babies only a tenner!

Friday, 14 June 2013

suits you!

The holiday season is upon us and my own summer vacation is only two weeks away so, you know what that means....! It's time to begin the hunt for swimwear! 
Swimwear has got to be the worst thing in the world to shop for (along  with exercise -related clothing). Year after year of  summer shopping trips spent trawling through the 'beachwear' sections trying to find the perfect bikini that would fit both my bum and keep the boobs contained - personally I think it's a myth - or the perfect one piece that wasn't ugly and didn't cost the earth - up until last year I'd thought this was only a myth too. Because last summer I did, I found the perfect one piece on ASOS of all places! It was affordable, keeps the beasts at bay, hides the fact that my body is not (and has never been) 'bikini ready', and,  v.importantly, is super cute and makes me feel fabulous! I think I was bloody lucky last year because ASOS don't seem to have re-stocked it for this summer, they, along with a lot of other shops, seem to be well into the 'one-piece-with-loads-of-bits-cut-out-of-it-so-it-may-as-well-be-a-bikini' type thing. BUT, should you also be looking for a flattering one piece (without loads of bits cutout of it) then Modcloth is your friend. 

If I hadn't found my dream swimsuit last year I would be purchasing the one on the left (which is actually a two piece - yes, it's true, a flattering tankini!).
Taken the plunge (sorry) and got your swimsuit sorted yet?

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Reading & Seeing 10

How to Be A Woman - Caitlin Moran
Hands down, the funniest book I've read since...ever? Quite probably. I can't remember reading anything else that made me laugh out loud on the tube. At rush hour. I think Caitlin Moran is awesome - not only is she a great writer but she also raises some excellent points about girl stuff and life in general. It's sort of like a critique on the behaviour of women told through a v.amusing narrative which links back to events in her life (so it's a little autobiographical too). The critic quotes on the cover of this book are correct: every woman should read this book. Guys might be interested too but I imagine a lot of it might be lost on them. She may not have all the answers but she's got some excellent (and hilarious) ideas!

The Teleportation Accident - Ned Beauman
A completely random read. If I'm honest I initially picked it for the title and cover but the blurb got me hooked. It's an odd little story centred around german theatre set designer Loeser and his two life passions: 1) Renaissance set designer Lavicini and his 'Teleportation Device' which destroyed a theatre and killed members of the audience. 2) sex, and more specifically, his obsession to bed one lady in particular, Adele Hitler (no relation). It's these two interests that take him first to paris and then to LA. Along the way he meets a string of interesting characters - good, bad and some who are completely superfluous to the story's progression. I liked the oddness of the dislikable protagonist and the bizarre back stories (and conditions) of some of the supporting roles, but most of all, the end was exactly what I'd wanted. So rarely does that happen these days. It's a delicious soup of odd-ball characters swimming around in the increasingly un-rigid elements of time and space. I wouldn't say that this book is for everyone but this is Ned Beauman's second novel (he's only 28!) and I liked this a lot so I think I might try his debut too...

Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013)
I may live with a die hard star trek fan and I may, from time to time, watch an episode of the tv show all the way through but I'm not a big star trek fan and frankly, I think it's a little bit silly. BUT, J J Abrams has brought star trek to the masses, he has reached out to those who, when hearing the words star trek, roll their eyes and shake their heads at the thought of william shatner et al running around cheap looking sets fighting/conversing/attempting to get off with various humanoid aliens, and given them so much more. J J Abrams has made star trek cool. I was sooooo looking forward to this and it did not disappoint. Yes, perhaps it's not as good as his first foray into the franchise but by god it's bloody good. It's action packed, the script is sharp and the cast is superb! Seriously, the line-up for this movie is fabulous and I'm not just talking about Cumberbatch (even though he was my favourite thing in this instalment). There's lots of old skool star trek references  for the trekkies (especially concerning the continuing spok/kirk bro-mance, particularly the part involving the radiation chamber - it's all rather touching) and it's a superfun journey for all the rest of us waiting to see how the gang will put an end to the evil (and delicious) Benedict Cumberbatch. Unsurprisingly, I highly recommend it, on the big screen if you still can!

The Fall (2006)
Possibly the most beautiful film I've ever seen both aesthetically (the locations in the 'story' sequences are AMAZING) and the plot itself. It's a simple tale - set in a hospital, a little girl with a broken arm befriends a fellow patient - a stuntman in the movies. He's depressed as his lover has left him for a movie star so, enlisting the innocent girl's help, he tries (a number of times) to kill himself. In return for 'helping' him, he tells the little girl the story of the Red Bandit. The characters and story in the hospital run parallel to the events in the fantastical story of the bandit until the v.touching (and bloody) conclusion of both. I cried at the end - the actress who plays the little girl is adorable - I defy you not to do the same. This is a great film which I deffo recommend - a real gem.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Tuesday's Tees - zara

To be honest I'd never thought of Zara as a good place for tees but they've got some lovely and light  looking ones at the moment, perfect for summer. Liking the citrus fruit one especially!

Monday, 10 June 2013

a weekend of limited tech

Over the weekend our TiVo box decided to die and for some odd reason my laptop refused to connect to our wireless. Thus, a weekend of limited technology. In truth, Mitch and I have been contemplating downgrading our Virgin account to just broadband for quite sometime now and I think the defunct TiVo box has spurred us on. I didn't miss the tv at all. There's rarely anything on I actually want to watch and if there is we could, in future, just catch it on i-player or 4oD. I did miss the internet though. Saturday was mostly spent in brockwell park - the weather in brixton was superb - firstly going for a jog and then, post shower, lunch and some reading *bliss*, before heading back to flat to cook dinner which we ate, you guessed it, in the park. Sadly, sunday was v.cloudy and windy so I did some doodling - nothing really beats drawing - whilst catching up with Mad Men and starting 30Rock (Mitch v.kindly helped me out with his portable hard drive/media player set-up so I could watch them, so I guess there was rather a lot of tech going on on sunday). I also cut out more flags to add to the growing pile needed for the wedding bunting :) In the evening we took a bus over to peckham rye to see the visiting fun fair. A quiet weekend but lovely just the same. I do hope that's not the last we'll see of the sun!

In the games arcade at the peckham rye fun fair. It was a victorian era affair with some of the rides still running on steam! The arcade was basically a huge collection of, mostly, working vintage games.

As if I couldn't get enough of bird families at the moment, we happened upon a family of canada geese at one of the ponds in brockwell park on saturday. The goslings were so cute and fluffy.
tomato doodle

bunting to be

Friday, 7 June 2013

of late

Here are some pics from the last week or so. There was quite a lot going on but I neglected to mention it. 
Blossom in chiswick - there was SO much of it throughout May.

Last Thursday Mitch had reserved us a table at the Paramount Bar. A rather fancy establishment at the top of Centre Point. The views over London were pretty amazing. I wish I'd taken some pics of the actual bar - it felt like something out of the 1920s - but alas I was distracted by the view! I'd deffo recommend this as, unlike the london eye or the shard, it's free (apart from your drinks bill of course but you can always opt for a beer rather than one of their cocktails if you are a bit skint)! You do need to book in advance though and don't wear trainers, they won't let you in.

On Monday we went to a BBQ at our friends' house in epsom. It was a lovely day - super sunny and the perfect excuse to indulge in some serious meat-eating. 

Yesterday as the weather was fabulous, my boss took the company out for lunch at Chiswick House. The grounds are v.pretty PLUS there were lots of ducklings. We saw about 4 bird families with their little ones including a swan family (with 4 cygnets) and an egyptian geese family with 7 baby geese - sooooo cute.

So v.happy that it's already Friday - fingers crossed for some more glorious weather!

Thursday, 6 June 2013

going veggie at home

A while back, Mitch and I decided to stop cooking meat at the flat - apart from fish as I love fish a lot (perhaps the title of this post should've been going 'semi-veggie at home'...). I just thought I'd share some of the recipes we've discovered and adapted over the last couple of months, you'll have to forgive me for my extremely poor attempts at food photography, it really is a skill that I clearly do not possess.

 Shrimp Pad Thai - It is actually heaven in a bowl (this image does not do it justice). I've made it about 5 times since stumbling across it and every time it's bloody amazing. I don't use brussell sprouts as I detest them but I've found that greens or regular cabbage works swell.

 Veggie Burgers - I love a good meaty burger so was a little skeptical about a veggie one but this recipe is delish. I ommitted the egg and just used more salsa to combine the mixture which worked a treat. I also added waaaay more chilli powder (and some other spices) than the recipe suggested to give it a bit of a kick. Further proof of their tastiness: I fed these to a v.ardent meat eater and he loved them!

 Tofu - I'd never cooked it before and for some reason it didn't come out that well for me. It took FOREVER to fry and although it made a perfectly acceptable veggie alternative to the king prawns in the pad thai above, I prefer the prawns. However, I've not given up just yet. I'm going to try again with tofu and this recipe seems like a good candidate.

 Mushroom and Leek pie - adapted from the chicken and mushroom pie recipe I made back in feb. It's a winner both ways but I prefer it with the leeks. Chicken does seem to be the meat I miss the least as it's fairly easy to substitute. (Although, Mitch's jerk chicken is absolutely fabulous and I do miss that. A hell of a lot. If you have a veggie alternative to jerk chicken I'd love to have it! Can you have jerk fish?)

 Lemon and caper pasta salad - this is a perfect summer recipe. Unbelievably quick to make, very few ingredients (most of which you probably already have in the cupboard) AND it's so easy a child could make it. Blindfolded*.

*blindfold not recommended as there are sharp knives and hotwater involved.

 Fajitas - Following on from the 'not missing chicken' thing, veggie fajitas are the bomb. Kidney beans, peppers, onions, spices, guacamole, tomatoes, salsa, nachos - why on earth did I ever need to add chicken to it? I don't have an actual recipe for this as it pretty much consists of me cooking onions and peppers with paprika, chilli fakes, pepper and a cajun mix, heating up the beans and then bunging them both in a wrap with all the other aforementioned ingredients. Idiot proof and YUM.

I'll share some more of our veggie (and fishy) favourites soon - hopefully with some half decent pictures. In the meantime you can peruse more fabulous recipes on my food based pinterest board.

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