Wednesday, 31 July 2013

july: hello heatwave!

The summer finally hit and boy has it been super sunny and hot! Lots of great stuff happened this month AND things are certainly back on track with my 4 things challenge!

De-clutter: the ultimate de-clutter took place this month with the partaking of the brockwell park car boot sale. We managed to shift a whole box of stuff and then the things we didn't sell went off to the charity shop! Even more stuff has been listed on eBay so I'm pretty chuffed with myself in terms of clearing out the flat.
Health: thanks to the heat I've been drinking a hell of a lot of water and I think all the vitamin D we've had means my skin has been feeling pretty good. Not so much good news on the exercise front mostly because I cannot bare to go for a run in the heat (poor excuse I know). But, I shall have a bit of spare cash next month so I fully intend on joining the gym.
Money: saving is again under way, thank god as we're fast approaching the time when we need to start paying deposits for wedding related shiz... 
Do more new: Obviously the car boot sale experience was a first and I also branched out and tried a new restaurant in the village AND cooked a few new recipes, all of which turned out rather well and will definitely re-created soon. Plus, tonight I'm heading to the Science Museum Lates. This month it's all about SPEED (the force not the drug) - should be fun I reckon.

Monday, 29 July 2013

this + that

It was a pretty quiet weekend - plenty of eating and sleeping and not much besides. Kinda nice really, especially after the last weekend where I went back to work on Monday feeling anything but rested. Anyhoo, here's a bit of this + that from the last week or so.

I've started working on a new quilt - a baby quilt no less - to give to one of mitch's best friends who recently had a baby girl. It's coming along nicely.

Starting the day right with poached eggs and salmon on toast. I bought mitch an egg poacher for his birthday and we finally tried it out over the weekend. It works like a dream, plus as a former egg hater, I've now discovered that I like poached eggs! Weekend breakfasts are the bees knees.

Bought some new hamster food for Moriarty and it's heart shaped! This pleases me a lot.

Watermelon during these hot days is a god send.

On an afternoon visit to Angel I took a stroll down the camden passage and picked up a pretty sweet dress and this is its inside label. It intrigues me and although I  don't get the bit about 'the game', I do like the last statement. 
On saturday mitch and I cashed in on our car boot sale profits with a well deserved trip to The Joint. Simply lush.

And lastly, this was actually taken at the beginning of the month on an impromptu visit to mitch's parents. This peacock has decided to settle in their garden and happily potters about the lawn and roosts in their tree! Crazy but true.

Friday, 26 July 2013

summery stuff wish list

Some summery things I'm a-wanting to match my sunny mood. 
I love fridays.
1. sunglasses from the white pepper - wouldn't mind a couple of their dresses either - too bad this beauty is sold out!

2. pin up ukulele from the ukulele workshop - obviously I love my plain pink ukulele but wouldn't this be awesome. Ally has quite a few different designs to choose from, they're well worth a look.

3. petits four plates from BHLDN - I don't need them. I just want them. i bet cake would actually taste better eaten of them.

4. tea dress from motel - They've stopped making just body con dresses which means: Motel has once again become one of my favourite sites. so. many. pretty. dresses. 

5. cat pacifier tee from fab - love it.

6. metal triangle necklace from fawn and rose - v.pretty colours.

7. boyfriend cardi from ASOS - I've been on the hunt for a long-ish grey cardigan for aaaaages. I like the look of this one but am I too old to have stars on the elbows? I hope not.

8. folk modern fabric from the village haberdashery - I'm not too sure what I'd make with them but by god I need them in my stash.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

experiments in dressmaking #take 4

Whilst compiling my illustrated packing list for Italy I came to realise that I was seriously lacking summer dresses and with extremely limited funds, buying something was out of the question. So, I made one.
It's nothing fancy just a simple elasticated waist sleeveless number but it was perfect for the warm evenings in italy, eating alfresco and drinking on the terrace.

As it was a very last minute thing and I didn't want to spend any money I raided my fabrics stash and decided it was high time I used the fabulous 1000 cranes fabric I bought back in March. I didn't have enough to make both sides of the dress with it so I improvised with some plain navy that was left over from my parents' quilt.
 If I'd had more time I'd have added some pockets. This was a very simple shape but I think it works well. I'll probably make another like it again, maybe before the end of the summer...!

And here, for your viewing pleasure, is a rather blurry picture of me wearing it!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Tuesday's Tees - Out of Print

How I've managed to go for over a year without devoting a tuesday's tees to Out of Print I don't know, but here it is!
The delightful coupling of books and tees - oh what a romance! I pretty much want their entire stock but here are a few of the long long-term favourites plus a v.cute Barbar tote bag. Yoga for elephants! <3

Monday, 22 July 2013

the weekend in reverse!

Kicking off with yesterday - myself, mitch, some south london chums and thousands of others descended upon brockwell park for this year's Lambeth Country Show!
Blimey, it was super crowded and a bloody good day to boot! Naturally Mitch and I gravitated towards the farm zone for a look at the owls and a brief stop at the sheep shearing show we watched last year before we headed into the competition tent. Clearly you can compete in just about any category you could think of - flower arrangement, vegetables, homemade jam, bread and handcraft (slightly kicking myself for not having known about this one - 
note to self: enter something next year).
We stopped off for a gawp at the birds of prey and then headed for food. Dear lord there was so much choice! I opted for a pork butts roll with BBQ sauce, tomatoes, onions, gerkins (unbelievably good) washed down with some coconut water! As it was bloody hot we spent the rest of the afternoon in the shade of a big tree near the main stage. Good company, fabulous tunes and red stripe - couldn't have asked for more really :)
Saturday was my dad's birthday and we offered to help with the catering. I say 'we' but really I offered mitch's BBQ skills and jerk chicken recipe and he v.happily agreed! (There's a reason why I didn't offer my 'skills' with the barbecue, namely that I know nothing about using them. As evidence, my mum and I went to collect the stuff needed for said barbecue and unintentionally tried to buy 1600 firelighters for the bargainous price of £2.50 - the people in tesco thought we were insane, it was pretty funny. I'll eat the stuff cooked on a BBQ no probs, just don't ask me to help set-up or cook on them.) I helped by making a couple of salads but the jerk chicken and my mum's kebabs were the real stars of the feast! My sister also pitched in with some lush rockyroad cakes for dessert. Nothing like a good old family bbq and a few glasses of pimms in the sunshine. Wish I'd taken a pic of all the food - you could barely see the table!

And friday, despite being on a location shoot for work, felt v.much like the start of the weekend. The house we were using was simply amazing and boasted the largest garden in London I've ever seen!

Hope you had a sunny ol' weekend too!

Friday, 19 July 2013

16 mm film quilts

A few weeks ago my friend sent me link to this - Sabrina Gschwandtner's film reel quilts. 
Awesome no?

I think they appeal me particularly as it's the perfect mash-up of two things I have a great interest in: film (as in actual old school film) and quilts!

Technically they're not actually quilts but there's no mistaking what the artist had in mind when making them. The log cabin motif in quilting is v.much present in her new collection. Rather perfectly the artworks are made mostly from film footage of educational documentaries focusing on textile crafts including sewing, knitting, crochet, fabric dyeing and, of course, quilting!

The exhibition, Sunshine and Shadows, displays the quilts on light boxes so you can get a good look at all the individual frames in the film. Sadly it's on at the Philadelphia Art Alliance so I've not got a chance of seeing them up close but anyone who's philly based the exhibition is until August 18th.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

car boot sale-ing

Last sunday mitch and I left the flat at 6:45am armed with 4 big boxes of stuff. Why? To take part in the brockwell park car boot sale of course!
I'd never sold stuff at a car boot sale before and I certainly learned a lot from this first experience.

Good points

★ A productive morning - The early start meant that I really felt like I'd done something with my day (i usually spend whole sunday mornings in bed before getting up to a very leisurely brunch - so it was nice change).
★ It's a pretty good way to get rid of odd stuff that wouldn't sell on ebay. You know the things I mean - old board games, toys, books etc. Stuff that'd you normally just give to the charity shop but only at the car boot you can make a bit of profit. (That sounds terribly uncharitable but the stuff we didn't sell went to the oxfam in herne hill - we're not total jerks!)
★ Meeting people. As I've said before, I very rarely meet new people, I'm quite settled with my social group and rarely, if ever, meet people outside of it, so the car boot sale was perfect for engaging with an altogether different group of people. Not only do you get to have a good old chat with the punters but also with your fellow sellers. ALL the sellers we met/spoke to (and that was quite a lot) were v.friendly and chatty.
★ Something different to do - mitch may have done a car boot before but not with me. It was a pretty fun thing to do together, you know, working as a team. Although, I have to admit, mitch was the real star - he was so good with the potential buyers and definitely made most of the sales. I perked up by about 10 but he was the one with all the positivity and kept us going for 6 hours! I did end up making a few sales  and I deffo got a buzz from it.

Bad points

★ We had to get up really early and even then the car park was already over half full with sellers. Not long after we arrived a few people got turned away due to lack of room!
★ It was really hot - unluckily for us the car park was almost completely exposed to the sun. I applied sun cream several times while we were there and still got burnt. However, had it not been nearly 30 degrees the car boot sale might not have been as busy as it was so I shouldn't complain really.
★ You can't choose your neighbours - the people who pitched up next to us were, on the whole, nice people but the lady did talk a lot and a couple of times prevented us from conversing with potential buyers. As for the guy, he found a rugby ball in the park and then sold it to a little kid and later bought something from us and then sold it on his stall for 3 times the price. Mitch did warn me that that sort of thing does go on at car boots and there's no law against it but it just doesn't sit well with me. The guy also kept complaining (loudly) to us about the punters not buying any of his stuff. I dunno, it just wasn't the sort of convo I wanted to have, nor did I want to tell him how much money we made, despite his asking a number of times.
★ It can get a bit boring. Most of the time we both manned the stall, which was cool, but we needed breaks (the loo, filling up the water bottle) and when I was left on my own I realised that doing a car boot sale alone would not be fun.
★ It's a hard days work for not much in return. This aspect didn't actually bother me too much as the main aim for us was to get rid of our stuff and we did - a whole box full! There were definitely people at the car boot who do it all the time - you can tell by their set-up and items for sale - and they probably walk away with a v.tidy sum. We set ourselves a target, just to make it a little more interesting, and to our delight we actually reached it plus a little bit extra. The profits will pay for dinner and drinks in the village on night next week and that's good enough for me!
this was our little plot.

After the car boot sale we went to watch some of the brockwell park dog show but had to leave before the end as we were both completely shattered. I'm gutted we left before the fancy dress round as this years theme was space and aliens. On our way out we did catch a glimpse of a dog in a princess leia outfit - it looked ace.
the 'cutest puppy' catergory. Trust me, they were all cute.

pooches galore!

Monday, 15 July 2013

super sister saturday!

Pretty much the entirety of saturday was spent in the fabulous company of my sister. 

We began by heading over to gallery 71A near old street station to catch the Not For Rental exhibition. Set up in the basement below the headquarters of excellent film magazine - Little White Lies - the exhibition was set out like a video rental store, with shelves of VHS boxes bearing the works of 200 artists. 
As it was the last day of the show, the artworks were on sale and disappearing off the shelves, the proceeds going to charity. Aside from appreciating the art, it was also pretty fun to guess what films were being depicted on the covers (most satisfyingly, the answers were on the back). These were a few of my faves. 
Then we wandered down the road to The Book Club for some brunch. I had the salmon and scrambled egg (it was huuuge - enough for two!) and my sis had the pancakes with maple syrup and summer fruits. We both drank their iced coffee - it is delish!
After a good old chinwag we decided to venture to kings cross - the original plan involving checking out the free exhibition at the british library but, we didn't make it past caledonian road. There we stopped off at a second hand bookshop before whiling away the rest of the afternoon in the ever-lovely Drink Shop & Do.
An ice coffee (there's was also v.good) and a slice of victoria sponge later and it was time to head home.
The best saturday I've had in ages and my sister actually managed to get me to leave Brixton - it's no easy task!

Friday, 12 July 2013

Reading & Seeing 11

Man of Steel
The highly anticipated re-launch of the Superman saga. They'd been teasing us for weeks with awesome looking trailers and I can happily say that the film was grand! To be honest, Superman, of all the super heroes, never really appealed to me - I never watched more than a couple of episodes of Smallville (I got bored) and I didn't watch the film that came out in 2006, I thought the TV series from the 90s (you know, the one with Terri Hatcher) was laughable and I didn't get into the comics. I think the only superman related thing I've embraced before Monday was the old Christopher Reeve movie. But that has changed. Man of Steel completely flipped my opinion of the guy, mostly thanks to the first 20 mins set on Krypton, with a fatherly Russell Crowe kicking some ass as Jor-El. The story creeps along at a tantalising pace - the audience getting glimpses into Clarke's past and present - before a seriously explosive conclusion. Henry Cavil is a dream as the troubled alien hero and the supporting cast is on form including krypton general gone bad, Michael Shannon. I think I'm right in saying that there might be a second instalment in the pipeline...the last few minutes are mighty pleasing and certainly suggest it. Fingers crossed!

War Horse at The New London Theatre
Back in December 2011 I promised Mitch that we would see this stage production - it took me a year and a half to make good on it but better late than never. We both resisted seeing the Speilberg movie version and remained in the dark about the ending which I imagine is the best way to see it. Our avoidance tactics were well rewarded - it was brilliant! I am constantly amazed at how stage productions work around the fact that there is only a stage upon which to tell epic stories - epic stories that are often made into movies with special effects, stunning locations and hundreds of extras at the director's disposal. The team behind War Horse - that's the set designers, puppeteers and cast - should be congratulated for their skills and imagination. I completely forgot I was sitting in a theatre looking at horse-sized and shaped, machanical puppet controlled by three men - it was a horse, a real horse, in my mind. It's a fantastic story and incredibly emotional (a lot of this has to do with the WWI setting which is just devastating) - I cried about 5 times, particularly at the end. I highly reccomend seeing it on the stage - nothing can really compare to a live performance, it draws you in more than something on a small screen can ever do.

The Eyre Affair - Jasper Fforde (2001)
Set in an alternative 1985 where a specialist law enforcement agency has been created to police the rising crimes against literature (forgeries and the like), the crimean war has been ploughing on for 130 years, people keep dodos as pets and the end of Jane Eyre concludes with the heroine going off to India with her cousin. The story follows Literary Detective, Thursday Next, as she sets out to catch one of the world's most wanted men for crimes against literature, Acheron Hades and rescue the story (and characters) of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. It is as bonkers as it sounds but absolutely brilliant! Part detective story, part sci-fi (time travel is an everyday occurrence and worm holes are dealt with in a v.matter of fact way), part fantasy (blurring the lines between fiction and 'real life') and a little bit of horror (the Hades character does some pretty horrendous stuff plus there's a few werewolf and vampire references thrown in for good measure). There are so many twists and turns that you're always kept guessing as to what will happen next. It's been a while since I read a good adventure story and I definitely need to get my hands on the next book in the series.

The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins (2008)
I was skepitcal about this book when it came out and again so when they released the film - Battle Royale for kids anyone? But then I watched it. And loved it. So, I figured I should try and read them before the next film comes out and the first in the trilogy seemed like the prefect holiday read. It's not the best written book but the concept is a winner and Katniss is a v.likeable character who you can easily root for. What was interesting about the book, compared to the film, was that you get a lot more insight into her thoughts, particularly concerning her feelings towards Peeta. I'm not gonna lie, I got a bit of a laugh from people when they saw what I was reading but whatever, it's a page turner and I liked it (also, I pretty sure that this is the main reason why people use kindles). I kinda gave up with Harry Potter and there was absolutely nothing which appealed to me about the Twilight series so The Hunger Games is my little guilty pleasure and I shall definitely be reading the sequels.

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