jeudi 26 mars 2009

Predictable? Moi?

The things you discover while packing...

I think I must be predictable. I love France, I love shoes, I love strong black coffee - so is it any surprise two people bought me these French shoe espresso cups one birthday? In fact - three people bought me a set, but I thought 8 was enough so I exchanged the third box.

Packing Tip No.1

Top packing tip, courtesy of my Pa -
- don't worry about packing your book into boxes (nothing more upsetting than a box bottoming out and depositing the contents on a pavement in the middle of a move) - instead, tie them up into beautiful little parcels with string, just like this:

Easy to carry, easy to fit into small spaces in the car/van and most important - don't they look adorable?

mercredi 25 mars 2009

Shoes. Sigh.

Having a very hastily mixed Martini (all in the name of using up the last dribble of gin before moving day on Friday) before heading out to meet Mr C for date night. Sushi by the Thames - really, it's a lot more romantic than it sounds, I promise!

I am officially the worth packer in the world. I started on the shoe collection (or at least the portion that currently lives with me and isn't out at my parents' place). Trying to pack them descended into trying them all on..admiring them..and then lining them up on the stairs...and admiring them some more.. Here are two steps' worth where some of the ones dearest to my heart are standing.

Why did I never use stairs to store shoes until 2 days before moving out? I could have left a small gangway wide enough to creep past, and wouldn't they have looked cute?

mardi 24 mars 2009

Saving the best for last?

Now, this is something that my boyfriend thought was hilarious when he first noticed it, and it's something I wasn't even conscious of doing but I will always save the best bit of any meal or snack until last. In fact, with a big meal there's a strict order of eating everything, from least favourite to most favourite (this take some planning with a sunday roast when the plate's full).

It's very simple - I always save until last...the frosting on a cupcake, the mash in bangers and mash, the asparagus in anything served with asparagus and so on.

I just read an article about it on the wonderful kitchn website, and I feel vindicated - I'm not nearly as weird as my boyfriend thinks, there are lots of us out there who do this..... you?

jeudi 19 mars 2009

The marvellous Martini

I grew up in the countryside in the middle of nowhere. I loved it. However, occasionally my over-active imagination would be more of a hindrance than a help if I was home alone. One weekend when my folks were away I forgot my cease and desist rule about reading or watching anything remotely spooky as I was embroiled in reading Dracula.

Big mistake.

Once it got dark and the wind was howling outside and the trees were creaking I decided there was only one possible solution: booze and Singin' In The Rain. Nothing bad can ever happen if you're watching Donald Connor sing 'Make 'Em Laugh', or marvelling at Cyd Charise's legs and how sexy Gene Kelly is, and booze - well, it's obvious.

I decided this was the perfect time to learn to mix and love Martinis - a proper grown-up drink that takes some getting to know. He's (I definitely see a Martini as a man) not a chap you like when you first meet him perhaps. You might find him abrasive - or perhaps you don't get his sense of humour...but the more you chat to him you realise he has quite an allure about him and you love his company and his jokes and you feel like you're in on a great secret knowing him.

So, my dad has a great book all about the history of the Martini, stories about it and films it's featured in plus of course recipes.

It's a simple recipe:
1. Cocktail shaker
( I wish our cocktail shaker was so beautiful)
2. Ice
3. Dry vermouth
4. Gin
5. a Martini glass
Plus optional green olive. Officially the proportions are 4:1 gin to vermouth, but many people prefer less. I've read of some people pouring vermouth in the shaker, swilling it round then tipping it out leaving just a thin coating on the inside of the shaker. Winston Churchill apparently liked to pour in the gin then glance across the room at the vermouth - and can you blame him, gin is so wonderful. I would say the best way to describe it's taste is 'silver'. If that makes sense to you.

I just read this wonderful quote from The Thin Man “You see, the important thing is the rhythm. You always have rhythm in your shaking. Now a Manhattan you shake to a foxtrot. A Bronx to a two-step time. A dry Martini you always shake to waltz time."

Anyone for another ... I'm about to go shake my shaker waltz time...

Fringe/bangs pondering

Sensible things to do on google streetview:
- Look at your new neighbourhood you're moving to next week

Silly things to do on google streetview:
- Look at all your favourite places in 'your' old neighbourhood in New York


In other news, I'm contemplating a fringe (bangs). I haven't had one since I was a child, and I feel like my hair's had a vast personality change since then.

These days my hair is quite fine with a bit of a wave. Do you think in this age of a zillion and one hair products and straighteners with bells and whistles etc that it's possible for any type of hair to pull it off successfully?

Have you got a fringe? Does it take massive amounts of maintainance?

P.S. Louise Brooks - best fringe ever?

mercredi 18 mars 2009

Homes to envy

Look at this beautiful, creative living/working space featured on Etsy. I'm quite simply green with envy!

vendredi 13 mars 2009

Friday In and Out

Regular Friday duty

1. 2 weeks until moving date
2. My dark green metallic nails - very Sally Bowles
3. Hen party antics tomorrow, complete with cake bites!
4. Homemade banana pancakes
5. The smell of spring in the air
6. My MAC eyeshadow palette gradually filling up

Boo Hiss
1. Still more people tramping through the flat having a look at it
2. Being broke

That's all - the glass is very much half full!


Thank you Ruggy (I never know if I should be calling you Ruggy or Adorably Distracted..that seems like too much of a mouthful!) for this:

The instructions are...

List 7 things that you love, and then pass the award on to 7 bloggers that you love! Be sure to tag them and let them know that they have won. You can copy the picture of the award and paste it on your sideboard letting the whole world are Kreativ

1. My family
2. Mr C, mon cheri
3. Burritos
4. France in general, Paris in particular
5. Old stuff - I have second hand books, antique cutlery, vintage bags etc I love it all
6. New York
7. Hitchcock films

7 people to tag...

1. Lazula80
2. Zoella
3. Tabitha
4. Mizz Worthy
5. Hele
6. Rosie
7. Molly

Get to it ladies!

mercredi 11 mars 2009

Cake Bites

This weekend I'm off to a friend's house for her hen weekend. Since I'm bridesmaid-ing I wanted to make something fun to take along. I didn't fancy hauling tins of cupcakes on the train as I just know they'll arrive looking a mess, but I thought Bakerella's cake balls would be perfect. They're bite sized little cakes and come in various incarnations - there's no end to her creativity and skill in making these. I decided to start with some simple chocolate coated chocolate ones.

The original recipe obviously calls for red velvet cake mix, but alas it's not available in England so I've substituted a devil's food cake mix. I've turned up my nose at cake mixes for so long now like a snob, but it's a pleasure to lob it in a bowl with eggs, oil and water, mix it briefly and be finished. Behold my detailed list of ingredients:

The recipe also says use 'chocolate bark' to melt for the coating. What is chocolate bark? How is it different to 'normal' chocolate? I got in a right pickle trying to do the chocolate dipping phase so perhaps this chocolate bark has something in it that makes the consistency a little easier for dipping...?

So, the process goes a little like this...
1. You make the cake according to instructions on the box
2. Let it cool, and then crumble into very fine crumbs in a bowl
3. Add your frosting to the bowl and mix throughly until it's very well combined. The recipe calls for a whole tub of frosting but I found I only used about three quarters
4. Roll into bite size balls
5. Chill in the fridge
6. Melt your chocolate and coat the little balls in this, laying them on baking parchment to set.

They look messy but cute and - I had to sample one for quality control you see - taste delicious!

The finished article, dark chocolate and milk chocolate - some decorated with cyrstalised rose petals, some with pink chocolate. Ok, well nobody's going to mistake them as something from a French confiserie I grant you, but they've got a certain homemade charm to them.

lundi 9 mars 2009

Tag - What's in my bag?

This tag is somewhat of a legend now - why is it so interesting? I guess we're just nosy by nature hey? I know I am. Anyway, Zoella just did this so I thought after having looked at so many others it was about time I took the plunge.

1. Post a picture of the bag, purse, handbag, pocketbook that you are carrying. Now, don't even think about going back to the closet and getting your very favourite one or that cute little vintage clutch that you carried the last time you went out... I want to see the purse that you carried today!
2. Tell us how much it cost. Oh my, I know what you are thinking - a proper lady would never discuss such matter of money darling. Well, yes, but today we are gonna break that rule and tell. Yes, tell how much it cost. We won't judge. This is for entertainment purposes only. And if there is a story that goes along with the purse, tell it.

So voila..
It's a light blue suede hobo style bag, bought years ago from M+S of all places. In fact - I lie, I exchanged it for a Christmas present I didn't like, ungrateful wretch that I am. I think it was about £30. I feel ashamed I'm not toting around my pride and job handbag (a Rebecca Minkoff Morning After Mini) but the weather was due to be vile today and I didn't want her getting rained on. Poor old suede hobo is brave enough for rain. Anyway, I love the slouch in this bag and of course the tassles are great.

I'm travelling relatively light today having had a clearout at the weekend, so inside we have...

- A mini A to Z - I've been doing flat hunting recently all over London in areas I don't know so well
- Paul Auster's New York Trilogy - essential to have a book if you experience London public transport and the hours it takes
- Moleskine diary - I'd be lost without it
- Gold leather oyster card carrier
- Jo Malone mini perfume in Wild Fig and Cassis
- iPod
- Sephora compact mirror
- House keys (with far too many assorted keyrings)
- Black leather gloves (or my "strangler gloves" as my mother likes to call them)
- Gold enormous purse from Tabitha
- Big pinnk leather pouch from J Crew - this has plasters, pen, lipstick, safety pins etc

I tag anyone who hasn't yet done this!

Photo tag

I saw this fun random tag on Just Playing Pretend. Here's how it goes:

1. Go to your picture files or where ever you store your pictures on your computer.
2. Go to the sixth folder and select the sixth picture.
3. Post it on your blog and tell the story behind the picture.
4. Tag a couple other wonderful bloggers and leave a comment on their blog telling about it.

Good random selection photo! So, this is from when we were living in New York last year. It was amazing, I loved it, I never wanted to leave.

I'm a very sentimental person anyway, but you can imagine how bad I was our last weekend there before returning to London. So - I drove my boyfriend mad photographing every inch of the city. So here you go - 5th avenue, right next to Bryant Park.

I tag anyone else who's interested

vendredi 6 mars 2009

In and Out

It's Friday!

Vintage Handbags
- I can feel spring is coming..the days are getting longer!
- Getting excited about moving to a new flat
- My "new" MAC pigments
- Having sloe gin in the house once again
- Watching The City

Smelly Socks
- Why is it still so cold?
- Dealing with incompetent estate agents showing people round my flat
- Having to wait 3 weeks until we move into the new flat
- Organising a friend's hen do - why won't people do as they're told and pay up?!
- Law and Order UK. Don't do it. It doesn't work.

mercredi 4 mars 2009

Buried Treasure

Today I found some buried treasure. I'm moving flats in a few weeks time so have started some very gentle purging of 'things in general' to check if there's anything to be thrown away or taken to the charity shop.

The end of a long row of books on one of my bookshelves is propped up by an antique silver ice bucket (of course - what else would you use?) so I had a peek inside and what did I find - five little phials of MAC pigments! "Of course" I hear you say again - "where else would you keep your MAC pigments?"

I had totally forgotten than I owned these. They were a present from a very glamourous, gorgeous and well groomed friend years and years ago, in the days when I owned about 3 pieces of makeup and wouldn't have known what to do with them. I'm relieved to see I obviously recognised their importance even so, as I stashed them away safely. In an ice bucket.

So behold my mini pigments:

Aren't they cute? From left to right.. Golden Olive, Blue Brown, Tan, Absolute Gold and Hottest Pink (the last two are labelled as glitters and not pigments)

Swatching wasn't hugely successful as the lighting's a bit strange but here you go anyway:

L-R: Hottest Pink, Absolute Gold, Tan, Golden Olive and Blue Brown

I've always admired the various looks people have done in tutorials using pigments, but I don't know if there something I'd have bought so I'm tickled pink to have found some already in my possession!

Time for some experimentation I think.

What's your favourite pigment?

mardi 3 mars 2009

Chunky necklaces

Though I do love buying things (notably makeup, books, bags and shoes) there's also a strong hippie-DIY-make-do vein running through me. I love re-using and recycling things, making things myself, buying second hand and generally trying to get pleasure from things while feeling a little virtuous about it too.

So - when I stumbled across a recipe for making your own beads on the forum on the wonderful Threadbanger site, I couldn't wait to get cracking.

Just in case you want to have a crack at it too, here's what's required. You can of course scale the recipe up or down as you want:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup salt
3/4 cup water

Mix the flour and salt well first, then gradually add the water, bringing the mixture together with a fork. Knead it a little then put it to chill in the fridge for about half an hour.

Then it's just a case of getting stuck in - it's very remeniscent of play-doh! Shape them into whatever shape beads you want. You also need something to make a decent sized hole as it'll close a little during baking. I used a chunky knitting needle. Then you bake them for an hour and a half at 175 C. I think the recipe said 2 hours but mine were clearly done after an hour and a half.

This was I ended up with. Mini bagel anyone?!

They're slightly less than perfect and some have cracks in them (much like you'd get in a loaf of bread) but they're good enough. Then you need some acrylic paints to decorate them - this can be a little bit of a messy job. but it's fun.

Here they are strung up for display, waiting to be turned into "proper" necklaces.

Now - I don't deny they have a slightly 'look what my kid created in his/her art class today' look about them, but I love chunky beads, and I think they have a certain charm to them.

Too chunky for you?

lundi 2 mars 2009

Let's hear it for The City

Perhaps this should be on my guilty pleasures list, but again I don't feel that guilty about the big love I have for The City. Whitney was always my favourite from The Hills, and I love that a) she has her own show now and that b) she's moved to the best city in the world (fact).

My boyfriend and I lived in New York last year and it was without doubt the best 6 months of my life. I never expected to fall in love with the city so whole-heartedly and so deeply but to my surrpise I did, and leaving was truly heartbreaking. So now - watching anything set in New York holds a special resonance for me. Anyway, I digress. I know there's a lot of speculation about how genuine these shows are - whether the jobs, friendships and relationships are real at all, or whether they're all set up by MTV and purely for the cameras, but I'm finding this all a little more realistic than The Hills. I have a proper adoring girlie crush on Whitney and her slightly offbeat beauty and style.

I love the way she does her makeup, which looks to be basically be flawless natural skin, lots of liquid eyeliner and mascara on upper lashes only and a slick of lipgloss and perfect blusher.

She manages to show those endless legs of hers without looking slutty and over-vamping it.

I love Erin who seems like a sharp girl...Olivia though..hmm.

Anybody else love The City as much as I do?