Thursday, 31 May 2012

QI screening!

On Tuesday I managed to escape work a little early and spent my afternoon in the glorious sunshine on London's South Bank before going to watch a new episode of QI being filmed at the London Television Centre! As with a lot of these free audience tickets they always give out loads more than there are seats available to ensure a full studio, so to guarantee our seats we queued for 2 hours, which was long but well worth the wait!

For anyone who is unfamiliar with the show QI stands for Quite Interesting. It's a sort of quiz show in which Stephen Fry hosts, expells his knowledge and umpires the humorous answers of the four contestants (usually comedians and stand-ups). The questions are not of the formulaic or generic ilk but rather cover a vast range of topics mostly concerned with highlighting and disproving myths which the majority of people take as fact. It's bloody great - funny and of course quite very interesting!

Stephen Fry was his jovial self, Alan Davies was on form and joining these excellent regulars - comedian Katy Brand, extremely funny and clever lady Sue Perkins and...David Mitchell (actor, comedian, writer - not the author, although that would have been awesome too)!!! As you can imagine, with such a good line up we, the audience, had a hillarious two hours of recording to enjoy. The reasons why I love going to these screenings (I've seen QI before and Shooting Stars) not only because you get to watch awesome comedians for free, but because you get to see all the bits they can't air on TV! There's normally quite a few jokes that wouldn't be suitable for BBC audiences :)

You're not allowed to take pictures in the studio so I found these ones on the internet. The studio looks v.different in real life compared to what you see on the TV- it's amazing what you do with cameras and lighting.

We watched episode 4, I think, of the 'J' series and they did quite a few shots of the audience so you never know, I might spot myself in the crowd!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

London Bloggers Meet Up!

So on Thursday I did something completely new - I came face to face with people I'd met on the internet in the form of a London bloggers meet up! Meredith from One Sheepish Girl was in town for a holiday and suggested that a group of us get together for afternoon tea at the ever-lovely Drink Shop & Do!

Aside from all the the tasty cakes, scones and tea, the afternoon was particularly awesome as I got to meet some very cool creative ladies which without the blogging world I would never have met! I was super nervous on the tube ride to Kings Cross (it felt like going on a blind date, only with lots of people rather than just one) but I needn't have been because the girls including Meredith and her mum were really friendly, chatty and had some interesting and funny stories to share about traveling, London, jobs, the WI, weddings (pirate themed and farm based), the jubilee, the weather (naturally)  and of course our creative hobbies.

If you'd like to find these excellent lasses you can, with these links :) 
Lorna from Project Lorna, founding member of West Ealing WI
Carly from Rasberry Bunny, who got married last weekend (she had her pics taken on a farm!!! awesome)
Meredith from One Sheepish Girl, knitter and crocheter extraordinaire
Katie from Ever so Ethnically Confused, movie fanatic and crafter
Jess from Pink Sunshine, who teaches jewellery making in west london and classes at Drink Shop & Do.

Excuse my lack of pictures, I was put to camera shame by everyone else - much better pictures from the afternoon are on Lorna's blog.

This experience was so much fun and has made me definitely want to go to other meet ups in the future!

Friday, 25 May 2012

magazine love

I love reading - novels, short stories, non-fiction, articles, reviews and blogs. And of course I love to read a good magazine. As far as I can tell, during my twenty-five years of life, there is a lot of quite rubbish magazines out there, garish, cheap and based around celebrities and their weight loss/gain. What a yawn. Aside from my uni days when I do admit 'heat' did provide some non-thinking relief from reading two novels a week AND Middlemarch (damn Middlemarch), I've never really been an avid mag purchaser. But that's enough of that, I'm not here to dwell on the past, I'm going to talk about the present and the magazines I love!
There are two favourites which, come rain or shine (bank balance in the black or red), I seek out, buy and happily devour their contents.

First up, Little White Lies. A bi-monthly film magazine printed on possibly the best paper ever (yes it's important and yes I do take note of such things - it also smells nice too). It is the place to go for all your movie needs. Each issue is loosely based around a specific film or films and not only contains well written reviews of up-coming mainstream and lesser known releases, it also has interviews and articles pertaining to the issue's theme. Oh and as a rule the front cover art-work (and illustrations and typography inside) is awesome.

Secondly, Oh Comely. A beautiful bi-monthly magazine which brings together all sorts of things, also printed on very nice paper. It's mostly about people and their stories told through various formats - interviews, illustrations, creative writing, photographs, objects. There's usually an out of the blue article on something a little random, a recipe or two and a funny little quiz on the last page, reminiscent of those found in teen magazines where you fit into one of four categories depending on your answers. Issue 10's quiz tells you which punctuation mark you are (it's all tongue-in-cheek of course).

A new gem of a magazine I came across this month was Extra Curricular, all the way from New Zealand. It's A5 in size, published three times a year, with an emphasis on the side projects people take on in their spare time. Issue 8 (the most recent one) was particularly interesting as it focuses on self-publishing. I'm looking forward to the next EC already!

I've come across a number of online magazines recently (some good, others not so) and although I know that we're in the digital age and publishing is changing, I personally prefer to carry around and curl up with a lovely printed magazine which I can physically lend to someone should they wish to look at it, rather than peer at something on a screen. Long live print I say! But maybe that's just me...

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Tuesday's Tees - t-rex

My new addition - Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton t-shirt
It's actually not that new but I've only just got round to wearing it for the first time - I love it!
Ah Tee & Cake what wonderful tee-makers you are. This one is particularly favoured as it's grey (they normally do a lot of white ones) and my wardrobe was previously without a grey t-shirt (bizarre! I've probably got one of every other colour)!

This particular gem has sold out online but quench your dinosaur thirst on this lovely number.

Monday, 21 May 2012

it's nice in Dulwich

On Sunday we took a trip to Dulwich. Although it's only a 15 min bus ride away from Brixton we were yet to venture Dulwich way (or anywhere beyond Herne Hill to be honest). After getting off the bus and loosing our bearings slightly we had a wander around and happened upon Dulwich Village. I'm guessing they call it that because it's as if you've walked in a country village - it's very leafy and the houses are quaint (lots have sash windows) and you get the feeling that it'd probably cost you a supremely pretty penny to live there. Saying that though there was a nice sense of community, the road was closed to cars as everyone gathered to watch people dancing (possibly morris dancing...they had white handkerchiefs...). We didn't hang about and instead joined a throng of people heading for Dulwich Park for the Festival Fair.

NB: We had originally started the day with the aim to check on the lambs, chicks and ducklings at Vauxhall Farm which we'd visited a month ago. However, we arrived at the farm to find the lambs and some of the other animals were gone. A lady there said they'd gone to the Dulwich Fair for the day. So we thought we'd go too. We were not lamb stalking.

Dulwich Park is a very lovely park indeed with a bowls green, a lake, a tea room/cafe and a slightly secluded garden with the most beautifully bright flowers. It was also home to a piece of artistic sculpture but some jerk nicked it last year. The fair had pitched up on one of the large grassy areas - there was food stalls and cake stalls, clothes stalls and vintage stalls, book stalls and homeware stalls, as well as a number of people promoting non-gm vegetables. The animals from Vauxhall farm were there (we got to see the lambs, they'd grown a lot) as well as owls and falcons doing demonstrations with their trainers. There was also a victorian style fairground with a carousel and ferris wheel. My favourite thing was probably the Southwark Children's Brass Band blaring out some well known songs, it was a pretty awesome accompaniment to a stroll in the park and a snoop of the stalls. After coffee and a cake Mitch and I had a walk around the lake and gardens, it really was very pretty. It was rather busy in the main bits but the gardens were quite peaceful aside from the odd dog or two. In fact the entire festival was full of dogs, all sorts of breeds. And babies. I joked to Mitch that I was surprised we were allowed into the park without one or both! Apparently we'd missed a dog show that'd happened earlier that afternoon which is a shame (Mitch loves dogs, he petted many that afternoon).

Funnily enough there are no pics of Mitch petting any of the numerous dogs in Dulwich, but here he is petting a baby bengal owl. Aw.

I'd like to go back to East Dulwich and have more of a mooch about some of the shops looked interesting... It felt good to do a little exploring in South London as, for me, it's mostly unchartered territory!

Saturday, 19 May 2012


Butterfly cakes were the first ever cakes I learned to make, and today I got the sudden urge to whip up a batch using the same recipe (my mum's) from when I was little. Behold!

For the sponge:
4 oz caster sugar
4 oz unsalted butter - softened
4 oz self raising flour
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the icing:
2 oz icing sugar
2 oz unsalted butter
1 tsp of milk
optional: 1 tsp of vanilla extract

Mix together the butter and sugar until there's no butter lumps.
Add the eggs, flour and vanilla extract until well combined.
Divide the mixture into cake cases (this recipe makes 12 little cakes, about 8 muffin sized ones) and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees C for 15-20 mins. The sponge should look golden in colour. I always check that they're cooked in the middle too with a cocktail stick.
To make the icing, combine the sugar, butter and milk (the milk is there to provide a bit of moisture) until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
Allow the cakes to cool before cutting a circle off the top to make a well for the icing to go in, the deeper the well the more icing is needed. I'm quite rubbish at dividing things equally and on this occasion, just like when I was young, the first cakes get a generous helping of icing which means the last few cakes are relatively icing free. Oh well, I think it's all part of the charm in homemade stuff! Take the cut out circle of cake and cut in half. Arrange the two halves on top of the icing to look like wings. Lightly sprinkle the finished cakes with icing sugar (optional, it just looks nice).
Enjoy with a cup of tea :)

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

brain activity

Another fabulous weekend which included a trip to Essex to attend Mitch's nephew's 4th birthday party (face painting, indoor bouncy castle, much cake AND special guests Mickey & Minnie Mouse!), eating the first harvest from our garden - rocket salad - yum and a trip to the Hayward Gallery on London's Southbank to see some art.

The art in question was a double exhibition: David Shrigley's Brain Activity and Jeremy Deller's Joy in People. I know nothing about art, only what I like and I have liked David Shrigley ever since I found this:

That was four years ago and, thankfully, Shrigley has brought out lots of other awesome cards since then. Brain Activity was his first major UK exhibition featuring paintings, animation, 3 dimensional sculptures, objects, even taxidermy! Sounds bizarre? It was but also amusing. Shrigley's work is simple in execution but his observations about society are thought provoking and humorous. (I laughed out loud, albeit quietly, a number of times). The highlight for me was the room of numerous drawings, which reminded me of reading all his card designs in scribbler only the ones at Hayward were more obscene. 
Shrigley's exhibition buddy was Jeremy Deller, the two make quite a pair. I'd not heard of Deller before Sunday (as I said I know nothing about art) but I was happy to discover that he too makes amusing observations about society as well as contributing quirky ventures to it - for example he produced a book of alternative sayings for tube drivers to announce on the underground. The highlight of Deller's exhibition was his Open Bedroom, a recreation of his childhood bedroom from the late 80s to mid 90s. The best bit was the toilet where visitors could read the collected/salvaged graffiti from the men's toilet of the British Library which Deller had recorded. I love graffiti in general and toilet graffiti is usually the most colourful so it was awesome to read the sprawl of political debate, religious criticism and academic sniping from men in the library.
It was a great exhibition and I would say 'go, see it' but Sunday was the last day - I very nearly missed it myself! What I would say is look out for their future work, especially Shrigley :)

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Domestic Bliss Weekend

May Day bank holiday weekend. Weather forecast: cloudy, cold & rainy. (In actuality it wasn't as grim in London as the weather man said buuuut...) Solution: drink copious amounts of tea - Orange Pekoe is the current tea of choice, catch-up on Mad Men, Game of Thrones and The Killing (it's back!), get on with my new sewing projects and attend to the garden.

April's craft project crept into May but here it is. I made a lavender bag in the shape of a robin (with Mitch in mind) and then made a few others to keep around the flat. They were fun to make as the applique wings etc meant I got to do some hand stitching. My sewing machine has been getting a lot of attention lately so it was nice to sew on the sofa for a change.
The reason why my sewing machine has been in demand is because I've started making a second quilt! That's right folks, only this one is for my parents and it's going to be nearly twice the size of my first! 16 blocks done, 47 to go! I hope to have it finished in time for Christmas...famous last words...
Aside from catching up on various tv programs I've also been avidly watching the World Snooker Championships (yes, I love snooker, no I'm not an old man - hI find it incredibly soothing watching waistcoated men achieve century breaks, perform trick shots, fluke shots and of course pot balls - such skill is involved). And it was all that much more satisfying seeing Ronnie O'Sullivan clean up and win his 4th world title. Gotta love The Rocket.

On Saturday Mitch and I did a bit of gardening (as you can see here, it's a very small garden but even small gardens need some love). What with all the crap weather we've had recently our little veg patch is looking lush. The potatoes are itching to be dug-up (one was trying to make an escape from the soil) but Mitch said they needed a little longer in the earth so we covered them again. The rocket salad is coming along nicely too. I got on with some weeding while Mitch planted a few more things - carrots, parsley and (fingers crossed) a pumpkin! I am ridiculously excited and cannot wait to start harvesting the herbs and veg from the garden! (Mitch should really take all the credit for the garden as he recognised it's potential and, back in March, worked hard to clear our little patch and prepare the soil for growing , my contribution up until the weekend was to water the fledgling shoots but now I'm totally up for getting my hands dirty!)

Incase you're concerned that I was a complete hermit all weekend I can assure you I wasn't. Sunday night I ventured out to Shoreditch for a evening at The White Horse for some socialising and dancing. We also found this little gem which amused us greatly.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend too!

Tuesday's Tees - Arquebus

Cool and meaningful designs from Brooklyn based Arquebus Clothing
Good news! Not only do they have tees but they ship internationally AND the designs are available in print form too!

Thursday, 3 May 2012

adventures with the golden half #part two


Neal's Yard, Covent Garden
Easter weekend - day out with m & d

Train home
Easter weekend - Elsenham to Tottenham

Evil Turkey
Vauxhall Farm
(seriously, this turkey was scary - it kept trying to ward us off by coming right up to the fence, puffing out it's feathers and trembling with what I'm pretty sure was rage)

Shetland Ponies & Cows
Vauxhall Farm

Giant Bunnies & Call Ducks
Vauxhall Farm

Lamb (!!!!!) 23 days old
Vauxhall Farm
(the reason why I haven't eaten lamb for nearly a month now - there were actually lots of lambs, all super cute, eager to be petted and so soft)

Circus in Brockwell Park & Brixton Saturday Market

Impatient to finish the roll
Tulips & Supermalt

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...