Wednesday, 30 April 2014

sunny day wish list

The weather is lovely.
I just got paid.
The mind wanders.

1 // lauren moffatt spring collection, palmgrass blouse - completely out of my price range but it looks so lovely and summery.

2 // preppy sunnies from topshop - no pair has come close to replacing my old sunglasses which I loved but these are cool.

3 // bronze sandals from ASOS - I've been wearing the same pair for the last two summers, I think it's time to try out some new ones.

4 // boxy backpack also from ASOS - this has been sitting in my saved list for two months and I still want it. Also it's dropped in price. Two very good reasons to buy methinks...

5 // Sleeveless smock dress from the white pepper - pink's not really my colour but I would make an exception for this. Liking those ruffles a lot.

6 // watermelon slice necklace by Lucie Ellen - having quite a large watermelon obsession at present. This is ace.

7 // floral kimono by Sunset to Sunrise (found on etsy) - I've wanted a kimono type robe for aaaages and this shop has them in a range of colours (liking the mint version in particular). Although she seems to do them for bridal parties I guess she'd make just one for me...

8 // anchor duffel bag - Rosie featured this on her wish list recently and now I want it too! I really need a decent weekend away bag (or gym bag - ha!) and something like this would be perfect. 

9 // the vintage quilt revival - the block and quilt designs in this are so pretty and inspiring. A book I'd rather own than admire through the pictures of it on the internet.


Monday, 28 April 2014

april pics

Some random pictures from the last month


1 // going for the pot
What with the World Snooker Championships on, and having watched a fair bit of the action, Mitch and I decided to play a game ourselves on friday night at our local working man's club. The drinks are cheap and the table is free.

2 & 3 // sunny brixton village
An afternoon in Brixton which featured a quick stop off at the Crafty Fox Market to pick up an awesome tee from Skev before one of The Joint's finest pulled pork burgers and a salted caramel ice cream.

4 // cloudy skies over battersea

5, 6 & 7 // bluebell carpet 
Yesterday, we went to visit Mitch's parents in Essex. For the first time since I've been going out with Mitch, he took me on a little walk in the woods behind his parents' house. This is what we found.

8 // waiting for the train at Elsenham

9 // shell collection
Discovered when I was clearing out some stuff.

10 // on the actual banks of the thames
A friend and I walked along the south bank to vauxhall. The river was so low that we wandered down the ramp (where the duck boat tends to sit) and admired the view.



Thursday, 24 April 2014

Melon

A couple of nights ago, Moriarty tried melon for the first time. He liked it :)


 

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

exploring richmond park

Mindful of all the food that was consumed on Easter Sunday (pasties, cake, chocolate eggs) a walk around Richmond Park on the monday seemed like a good idea. We started off at the Petersham gate and headed to the centre of the park and the Penn Ponds - we saw a herd of red deer on the way :) At the ponds it started to rain but luckily it didn't last and it was boiling hot again by the time we reached the Isabella Plantation. One thing that I really love about Richmond Park (apart from the deer) is the variety of it. You'd never guess that the beautiful cedar trees, Pembroke Lodge, the Penn Ponds and the plantation were all part of the same park. Depending on what you want to do in the park - climb trees, go on a bike ride, have a picnic, walk the dog, watch the wildlife - there's different areas you can go to get the most out of your day. I can sense we'll be spending a lot more time in Richmond Park as soon as the summer arrives.

After Isabella we headed towards the Kingston gate and into the town in search of food. A Five Guys opened up in the Rotunda last month which meant I fiiiiinally got to try one of their burgers. Seeing as we'd been walking for 5 and a half miles we opted for the cheeseburgers with all the extras we were allowed. I now get what all the fuss is about. It was guuud. As were their fries! I might be a little more adventurous with my beverage next time as the drinks machine had Coke flavours I'd never even heard of. We finished the day with some playtime with Moriarty and a cup of tea in front of My Neighbour Totoro, which was super weird but cute. Hope you all enjoyed the long weekend!



Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Making & Baking - easter weekend

A lot of cooking went down over the long weekend, mostly thanks to the fact that I was catering for the easter sunday family get-together. On the whole it was rather successful but a bit of a pastry overload.  Let's just say, people certainly didn't need to eat anything else that day! I also did a bit of sweet baking in the form of this (even if I do say so myself) a-mazing sweet potato cake. It actually requires a cream cheese icing but seeing as it was intended for my v.pregnant friend who can't eat soft cheese, I made a simple buttercream topping instead. My sister found the recipe and it really is a winner: super moist (much like a carrot cake) and delicious without icing if you find it too sweet. Plus, there's the added novelty of cooking with vegetables - never a bad thing in my view. The cake made the journey to Essex with me and, thankfully, arrived in one piece. After a nose around my friend's new house we had a good old catch up over lunch, the best bon-bons I've ever eaten, tea and homemade goodies. Pretty much the perfect day really :)
As well as baking and stuffing my face I met up with a few friends in the evenings for drinks (and on friday, a game of five-way ping-pong - best. game. ever) and made time for a bit of craft-related productivity. I'm about half way through making the top of a baby quilt for my friend who I mentioned above. She's actually 8 months gone (and looking fabulous) so seeing her was both a reminder for me to get a move on and the exciting fact that the next time I see her, she'll be a mum! The quilt itself is a v.simple '+' shape design which I might do a DIY for once it's completed... I'm also slogging away at the crochet blanket - not long now though, I'm hoping it'll be finished by the end of the month.





Thursday, 17 April 2014

a little less floral

The sun seems to have disappeared today (and the bank holiday weekend ain't looking so good either) so what better time to bang on about some seriously colourful fabrics. 

As I've mentioned before nearly all the dresses I own are made with floral prints so, the next dress I make should not be. Here are some contenders...
Amy Butler's Hapi collection is stunning - particularly loving the glow, camel blanket and sky pyramid designs. Too bad the latter is only available in a linen blend. 

This fabulous collection by Arizona is coming soon to the Village Haberdashery. Love the one in the bottom left corner.
Lastly there's this from the Henna collection, a first from UK designer Beth Studley. I want a dress made from this v.muchly.
 Happy faux friday! I'm cooking for all the family on easter sunday and taking a trip to Essex on saturday to see a v.good friend :) tomorrow and monday I shall play by ear - really looking forward to a lie-in! Hope you've got lots of good stuff planned for the easter weekend too. 


Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Reading & Seeing 16

Under the Skin
Chilling, sinister and amazing. Set in Scotland, Scarlett Johansson plays a seemingly attractive and friendly young women who picks up single and unattached young men on the pretence of giving them a lift somewhere. Once they're seated in her van, she asks if they'd like to come home with her. Unluckily for the poor bastards who say yes, they're not about to get their rocks off. They're about to meet their end because Johansson is some sort of alien. She's actually seducing them and taking them back to her creepy lair to harvest their bodies in one of the most terrifying sequences I've ever seen. But it's not just the action on screen that's frightening, it's the music. With very little dialogue, the music (and the stunning Scottish scenery) is a powerful presence throughout the film. It's unnervingly atmospheric - whether it was the eerie, minimal rhythmic beats or the frantic violin (or strings) music, I had goosebumps. Johansson is spot-on, as are the v.brief appearances of the supporting cast. Director Jonathan Glazer has been likened to Kubrick and I can definitely see the similarities. I'm not sure if this is still on at the cinema but I do highly recommend watching it on the big screen if you can. We had to watch something funny before going to sleep (I have a v.active imagination) and I suggest you do the same.

In the Heart of the Sea (2000)
The true story of the Nantucket whale ship Essex which foundered in 1820 thanks to an encounter with a sperm whale. Its crew faced a harrowing 90 days in open whale boats searching for land in the Pacific Ocean, with next to nothing to eat or drink, apart from each other... Around forty years ago, a new first-hand account of the Essex crew was unearthed which is why Nathaniel Philbrick wrote In the Heart of the Sea. Before the diary of cabin boy, Thomas Nickerson, was discovered the story of the Essex was almost solely known thanks to the account of Owen Chase, the vessel's first mate, whose own journal was published soon after the sinking and rescue. Philbrick uses both these accounts, which sometimes conflict, in order to piece together what happened. As well as the narrative, Philbrick also provides some useful and interesting contextual information - whaling terms, maps, what life was life was like in Nantucket at that time etc. I also liked the fact that he tells us about what happened to each of the survivors. Yes, the tradgedy of the Essex is apparently what inspired Melville to write Moby Dick, but for me I thought this true story was even more fantastical and shocking. It's no secret that I couldn't get to grips with Moby Dick at uni but I thought this book was excellent and gave a real sense of what it was like to be a whaler in the mid 19th century. I read this in 6 days (into the early hours of the morning on a couple of occasions); I could not put it down. An incredible (and gruesome) story of survival, definitely worth reading before hollywood have its way with it anyway.

The Last Runaway (2013)
Another book set in America in the mid 1800s (I appear to have gone off on a historical story jaunt), however, this novel is centred around Quakers, quilts (yay!) and the underground railroad, a movement which helped slaves on the run to reach the boarders of Canada. At the centre of it all is Honor Bright, a young English quaker who finds herself v.much alone and somewhat stuck in a tiny, developing village in Ohio. Understandably she feels completely alien in her new home, and the majority of people aren't particularly sympathetic. Quite a fuss was made about this book, possibly because of Tracy Chevalier, but I have to say I found it rather simple and straightforward. (My auntie pointed out that the simple writing style is supposed to mirror the simplistic Quaker way of life. Or something.) I confess I did enjoy the quilting references but at times it felt like Chevalier, who'd obviously done a lot of research into the craft, was determined to squeeze in bits of her new-found knowledge when the story didn't need it. I like the mixture of third-person narrative and letters but unfortunately Honor is a little irritating, Jack Haymaker is terribly one dimensional (in fact a lot of the quakers are either beige or unpleasant) and the meatier characters (Belle and Donavan) aren't really given enough page space. The truly interesting subject - the underground railroad - sort of trundles along in the middle distance which is a shame because I think that's the book I'd rather have read.

The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable
Chances are you've heard something of the hype surrounding this production of promenade theatre. Well, let me tell you, there's a damn good reason for it. I went last Thursday and I can honestly say it was probably one of the best things I've seen. Rather than sitting down to watch a story, imagine walking around inside it - following the action from scene to scene over four floors of the most incredible sets, silently watching the drama play-out before you. Well, that's what it's like and it was amazing. I'm not going to say any more because it's way more fun to discover stuff for yourself. They've extended it until the end of June and I thoroughly intend to go again. Intrigued? Read more about it here.






Tuesday, 15 April 2014

my heart lies south of the river


SATURDAY

Saturday started off with delivering my fabric to the dressmaker in Forest Hill which is not only a load off my mind but also very exciting. We stuck around in South London for some breakfast on the terrace at CafĂ© St Germain in Crystal Palace, and v.nice it was too. In the afternoon I met some friends for a mooch about in Richmond and a stroll along the river before heading up the hill via Richmond terrace gardens. I'm not sure how but, I always seem to forgot how amazing the views are from Richmond Hill. My apologies, these pics really do not do it justice. An early night was desperately needed on Saturday after a v.busy week. We also finally caught up on Game of Thrones.


SUNDAY

The gloriously sunny weather coupled with the lambing season (bear with me) could mean only one thing for Sunday... a trip to Vauxhall farm. We arrived by mid-afternoon and sure enough, munching away on a big bag of straw were 5 five week old lambs. One of the guys that worked there even brought one out so that the children (and me & mitch) could pet it. Tearing ourselves away from the lambs we stopped by to look at the bunnies, horses, pigs and hens. We also fed the goats and sheep before petting the largest guinea pig I've ever seen! The alpacas, who are usually more friendly, seemed quite content to sit and enjoy the sun on this occasion.
2 minutes from the farm is the Tea House Theatre, a very lovely, higgledy-piggledly (in a good way) establishment serving, you guessed it, tea and massive doorstop wedges of cake. It had a v.chilled out atmosphere - cakes were randomly distributed throughout the place and all the teapots, cups and cutlery were laid out on a large table at the back. They have a selection of books and board games that you can use so, whilst we listened to the live music (provided by a man playing what look like a lute?!) Mitch and I played draughts (I'm too stupid for chess). It's a little pricey but we did spend a good hour and a half there and the pot of tea we ordered lasted the whole time and, as I've mentioned, the slices of cake were ginormous. Their breakfast menu looked good so I'm tempted to go again to try that too.
All in all, a v.good weekend with lots of food, good company and a very healthy dosage of vitamin D.

Monday, 14 April 2014

the hunterian museum

Last Friday I didn't go to work, instead, I went to visit the Hunterian Museum at The Royal College of Surgeons. Not for the faint of heart (or weak of stomache) - the museum houses a huge collection of specimens: human, animal, inspect, reptile. Some of it is pretty gross but hey! gross stuff can also be rather fascinating. As well as the specimens, there's also information about the history of surgeons including how they learned about anatomy, the tools they used to 'operate' (terrifying) and the way in which surgery has evolved and changed over time - the stuff about sterilisation and early plastic surgery for WWI soldiers was particularly interesting. There's also lots about the museum's name sake, John Hunter, who was some what of a pioneer thanks to his "scientific" approach to surgery. The Royal College is only about a 5 minute walk from Holborn station and faces a pretty leafy patch known as Lincoln's Inn Fields. Plus, the museum is free and has lockers to put your stuff in.
Friday evening was spent with a v.good friend in a bloody fantastic pub in Surbiton. Recently refurbished, it has a seriously impressive ale selection and a v.tempting menu (I can vouch for the scotch egg and sweet potato fries - cutlery and condiments arrived in this holder which I thought was cool). Seems like West London is finally cottoning on to the idea of mirco breweries and ale pubs (huzzah!) - which reminds me, I reeeeally must to go back to BrewDog in Shepherds Bush soon.













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