Wednesday, September 26, 2012

My Embroidery Bike Ride.

It was Ed's birthday last week and whilst I was tidying up today I found some wrapping paper strewn on the table. I thought this paper was super cute and decided to have a little embroidery bike ride, which is a very good way to spend a rainy evening I think. I stuck the wrapping paper onto some good quality sketch paper, with some thin double sided tape, to give it some more stability and off I went. This was just a few hours stitching, I think next time I might use this technique to make some cards. And I am very pleased that my french knots are finally starting to look decent, it has been a difficult road mastering that stitch!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Man Flu Toddy.

My poor Ed has a stinking cold today so when I got in I decided to make him a 'bed time get better drink'. I know that you usually make a toddy with whiskey but we only had spiced rum in the house so I just used that. 

So all you need to make the man flu toddy is:
  • A shot (or two) or rum or whiskey.
  • 1tsp of honey (or agave nectar if you are vegan).
  • Juice of half a lime and half a lemon (or you could just the juice of one lemon).
  • 3 Cloves
  • Half a cinnamon stick

It is a really simple recipe, add the rum and honey into a cup and cover with just boiled water. Next add the lemon juice, the cinnamon and cloves, then give it a good stir. This has all the useful ingredients that is needed to help fight man flu, the alcohol gives a nice numb, the citrus juice has plenty of vitamin C, the honey soothes and the spice gives a lovely round warmth. Just like a cuddle in a mug.

I leave the spice in to float around and add a bit of interest for the poorly Ed (he is very easily amused when he is ill). But you can take it out if you want to after a few minutes of infusing. And that is all there is to it, obviously don't give this to your man or administer it to yourself if you have to go to work or are driving etc. because of the alcohol. 

I also learnt that the wax on lemons isn't vegan friendly! I usually buy unwaxed but my local supermarket doesn't have such luxuries at 10pm. Ed said the wax is made from bug goo or something... EEeeeww. 

Enjoy hope this helps with the Autumn/ Winter snuffles.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Our Lovely Holiday is at an End.

Our holiday is sadly over, but it has been a super lovely 3 days. The B&B was nice, the weather held up and we found an amazing fish restaurant which is probably one of the best places I have ever eaten!  

Our day trip to Whitby to yesterday lived up to all my expectations, like I said in the previous post I have wanted to go there for years. It was so quaint and had so many little quirky shops, the local jet that was on sale was spectacular unfortunately I have expensive tastes and couldn't quite stretch to the pieces that I liked. I can't wait to go back and spend more time there so we can explore more and have an adventure to the abbey on the cliff. 

After our meal yesterday night we walked back to the B&B along the harbour and we came across these spooky boats all lit up. It was amazing how big these beasts look out of water.

On our way home today we stopped by at York to break the journey up a little bit. I decided to take nine snaps of the minster and try and glue them together and this is what it turned into. York is such a gorgeous city full of ghosts and history. We did a ghost walk last time we stayed there and it was really entertaining, nowhere near as scary as the ghost walk we did in Edinburgh though, I don't think I have ever been that scared in my life!

Anyway I hope you had a wonderful weekend and are looking forward to the week ahead.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Busy Week Picture Mash Up.

It had been a busy week this week, I have been making the last few plans for Ed's birthday (Happy Birthday lovely husband Ed) and getting back into the swing of things really. The days just seem to have raced by and I got to Friday and hadn't updated my blog for a good few days! I had planned posts but they just haven't wanted to be born so here is a mash up of some of the pics and frolics that Ed and I have been having this week.  

I booked a couple of nights away near the sea side as we haven't been that much this year, due to the rainy summer we have had. And thankfully today it stayed fine, so fingers crossed for tomorrow as we have a day trip to Whitby planned. I am so excited about going to Whitby as I have wanted to go there since I was a little goth! 

Hope you have lots of loveliness planned for the weekend <3

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday in the Soil.

Ed and I spent a good few hours today tidying up the allotment today. After we had finished up there for the day we decided to pop over to our local gardening centre. The image above is a collage of some pretty plants i snapped whilst we were there. 

The picture below is of the allotment when I had nearly finished my weeding yesterday.

This one I took before we left today. We are so happy with it starting to come together and look a bit tidier now. We are going to get some weed barrier material to lay over the raised beds so they will be all ready to plant in come the spring.

Hope you have all had a great weekend <3 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Cheap and Easy Face Exfoliator. (Can be made Vegan too)

I did a whole load of work today at the allotment and biked there and back, so when I got home I was ready for a hot bath and a nice relax. When I got out of the bath I decided to whip up my favourite facial exfoliator. This is a really easy and quick little product that you can make with ingredients you probably already have in the cupboard. All you are going to need is honey and sugar. To make it vegan just swap out the honey for maple syrup, it works just as well and smells amazing! Honey and maple syrup are both really nourishing for your skin so which ever one you use will be giving your face a treat. 

Runny honey is preferable (if you are using honey) than the set one, but if set is all you have just warm in it a cup, in a bowl of hot water. I use caster sugar because I find that granulated is slightly more scratchy, but once again granulated is fine just rub more gentle when you apply it. If your skin is really sensitive you could probably even try using Demerara sugar because the grains are smaller so it would make a gentler exfoliator. 

Once you have your ingredients ready just add 1tbsp of honey (or maple syrup) to 1tbsp of sugar and stir it together so it creates a paste like texture. 

It should look something like this when you have finished mixing.

Now all you need to do is apply it to your face with your fingers and gently rub in a circular motion. When you feel that you have exfoliated enough wash it off with some warm water. I finish up by wiping my face with a wet cotton wool pad just to get rid of the last few, pesky sugar grains.

And there you go, super soft, sweet, exfoliated face.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

My Early Birthday Wormery!

It is my birthday pretty soon, so I decided to take advantage of that fact and asked Ed if he could get me a wormery. After doing a bit of research I found a UK based company and decided that the The Midi Wormery was the one for us, this was because the website said that it was the ideal size for the output of 2 people's kitchen waste. will also plant 1 tree for every wormery sold! 

We had a little worm drama today as Ed said it had been dispatched on Tuesday and the delivery company hadn't found the address and had sent it back to the depot. So we were worried about our little worms future, but thankfully Ed managed to sort it out and we were able to bring these little guys home.

I decided I wanted a wormery because I was fed up of throwing all of our veg trimmings in the bin, I grew up in the country where we had a compost heap and all that kind of waste would just get thrown on that. Apparently a third of a household's waste is likely to be made up of kitchen generated organic matter and if we just throw it in the bin it means that it ends up on landfill. I think that is a waste when I can be generating lovely compost and potent liquid fertiliser to help me grow some tasty produce in our allotment next year. 

This wormery is designed so it is ventilated for the worms to be happy and so it doesn't let any of the kitchen waste smell out, pretty clever huh? This means that you can keep these worm paradises indoor or outdoors (mine is going to live under the kitchen sink).

This is Ed screwing the tap on, hopefully in 10 weeks we can start syphoning worm juice off. Worm juice is a brilliant liquid fertiliser that you can dilute with 10 parts water and use on any plants that you want to grow up big and strong. I can't wait to start using this on the allotment next year. 

Once the tap has been fitted you place the worm platform on a little piece of polystyrene, then you lay a sheet of newspaper over the platform and pour the compost onto it to make a lovely welcoming home for the tiger worms. The bag of lime is included in the kit because every month a handful needs to be added to keep the pH nice and neutral. Also if you are putting a lot of onion or garlic in it is good to add some lime just so the worms don't slow down their dining. 

Then the worms go in! 

Newspaper can also be added if the worm environment gets a little too wet, it is best not to add newspaper all the time because the worms just can't digest all that topical entertainment.

Once the worms have gone in on top of the compost it is time to put 2-3 handfuls of kitchen waste in. Then you put it in the daylight for 10 minutes to encourage the worms to burrow into the compost. Then it is time to put the lid on, the worms won't need to be fed for a week, then the next 2 weeks they get 2-3 handfuls of kitchen waste each week. After that they should be able to much through all the kitchen waste that we can give them. They dine on nearly anything from the kitchen you can think of including tea bags, scraps and egg shells etc. I can't wait until the wormery is up and running smoothly.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Getting Ready for Halloween... 7 Weeks to Go!

It is 7 weeks until Halloween! My all time favourite time of year. I have started making my Halloween cards already and this is what I have been playing around with so far. I am addicted to doing embroidery on paper and card, it is just so rewarding. 

This is my practise ghost before I do one with my glow in the dark thread, I can't wait to see how it looks when it is glowing away! 

It is so simple to do embroidery on card and paper, just sketch out your design on some tracing paper. Lay the tracing paper on to the card then punch holes through with a needle leaving smallish gaps so the card doesn't rip (you may need to experiment with how big the gaps need to be for different stitches). I find it useful to put a thick cushion on my lap so when I am making the holes with my needle I know I won't stab myself. Once you have all your holes in the card just stitch away and make something beautiful.

EEeeeekk I just can't wait for Halloween <3 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Audio Book Review - The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

Well I have to say that I have had a super lucky audio book month this month! Both books I downloaded I have given 5 stars. I had seen this book reviewed on a couple of blogs I had meandered on a few weeks ago. So when I had my last credit of the month to spend I saw I had scribbled the title of this on my notepad and went for it. And oh my, am I pleased I did! 

I have a kind of quirky little belief that sometimes a book that finds you when you most need it and this little book found me when I most needed it. This is a really beautiful book, the characters are like flowers that bloom and wilt in front of your very eyes. It is bold and John Green is not afraid to be honest about the challenging topics of teen cancer, but he entwines this with a heart wrenching love story that would make Shakespeare envious. The plot is quite pacey, which I really enjoyed, but also dripping with meaning and thought provoking gifts. 

I could not recommend this book highly enough, it is just beautiful and enlightening and even though it was written for the young adult audience I think that it has something for everyone. I really wish that I could listen to this book for a first time all over again.   

Monday, September 10, 2012

Machinarium Inspired Stitching.

So here, as promised is my first embroidery on paper project that I did for Ed. I have loosely based it on the robots in the Machinarium game as Ed was totally obsessed with it for ages. I am really glad how it turned out and I learnt so much! Especially not to get the holes too close together or whole chunks of paper will fall out. 

I LOVE embroidering on paper and I am really excited to do more. I bought some black card and some glow in the dark embroidery thread today, so my evening is going to be spent experimenting with that. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Our Not Quite Photo an Hour Saturday.

Ed and I set out to do a photo an hour today, we didn't quite manage it as we had a busy day and we are just too scatty sometimes. So here is what we ended up with, the pictures I took are on the left and Ed's are on the right. 

Hope your having a great weekend <3

Friday, September 7, 2012

Sshhh... But These Trousers are a Size 14!

I bought these skinny jeans from Miss Selfridge about a month ago. They fit well, I love the colour, the only issue with them is that they are a size 14! Now don't get me wrong I think that us ladies look good all the different shapes and sizes we come in. My issue is with dodgy sizing, especially in high street shops.  

I have been a size 10 since I was around 16 years old, I do have to occasionally shimmy into a size 12 if the manufacturer of the clothes hasn't been generous enough with the cloth used around the bum area. So I would like to know when I go into Miss Selfridge why do I have to go up all of these sizes?

I held up the size 10 skinnies in the shop and looked Ed in the eye and loudly exclaimed "I would be lucky to fit these around one thigh". I think realistically I could have eased them a few inches above my knees. So I decided to scuttle off to the dressing room clutching my size 14s.

I was in good spirits that day so I laughed off the fact that I had seemingly grown larger since the last time I had been shopping. But if I had been having a 'Oh my I am huge day' (which I don't have too often thankfully) I would have tried on the size 10, come out of that dressing room with a size 14 self loathing and pledged to diet maybe forever!

I chatted to my lovely bunch of lady friends about these trousers and they all agreed with me that it was ridiculous and some of them said "I would just cut the label out". So this proved to me that this problem does not just affect me and that the size labels in clothing can really affect how us women feel. These trousers only go up to, I think, a size 18 so realistically any beautiful ladies over a size 14 could not even wear these, which I don't think it right at all. 

These trousers have taught me to be a lot more aware of when I am clothes shopping and not to let the labels in clothes dictate how much self loathing I am going to allow to scoop onto myself. Well that is my goal anyway, I am not saying I am totally over it yet. But they ARE just numbers! Has anyone else had problems with this I wonder?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Our Lovely Allotment.

Ed and I both signed up for an allotment about 6 months ago when we moved into our apartment. We were informed that we would probably have to wait at least a year. So when I got a phone call at the weekend offering us a plot we were super excited! We went to look at this one yesterday to see if it was what we were looking for... it was!

It has 3 fruit trees (which at least 2 are cherries), 4 raised beds (as you can see) some more raised beds towards the back and quite a big planting bed to the right of where I took this photo. Also I spied in the tuft of grass to the left of this picture that there were quite a few raspberry bushes. This plot also has hard standing right at the end so we can put a shed on it to keep all our tools in. 

Hopefully by the weekend we will be ready to start to tidy it all up because I am going to try and grow some hardy broad beans and peas through the winter. Time is of the essence now Autumn is sneaking closer to the peripheries. I can not wait to explore our plot further. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Dipping my toe into the Waters of Embroidery.

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I had bought Embroidered Effects by Jenny Hart after seeing her on a Threadbanger video. I have never tried embroidery in my life and I was a little bit scared of it, but this book makes it so straightforward. The only thing I had to remember was to hold a mirror up to the diagrams because I am left handed.  

This has become one of my favourite crafts at the moment.

I didn't plan this design out, I was originally just going to do rows of stitches but then a row went a bit wonky and looked a bit too much like a toadstool stem for me to resist. Then I just worked around that trying out different stitches along the way.

I love the fern stitch, it is probably my favourite stitch because it just looks so cute! I have to admit I did have to look up how to do a french knot on youtube because my lefty brain was struggling with the diagram even with a mirror.

I tried three different versions of the satin stitch here, I liked the first one better, I think that one was the 'padded version', It just seemed to work out the smoothest.

I need way more practise with the stem stitch, as you can see on the left hand of this toadstool, it is all a little bit wonky. The frill just under the lid was added later when I realised the stem and lid would never be connected otherwise. But that is one of the things that is so great about embroidery, it is so versatile and you can turn your mistakes into features.

Twinkle stitches are also one of my favourites! They are so fun and quick to do, I would love to add some sequins or crystals to this kind of stitch. The back stitch, whilst maybe a little boring, can create some lovely shapes as well.

I love, love, love embroidery! I have started another piece on paper this time for a little present for Ed, it is nearly finished so I will be posting that up when it is. I would really recommend the book, Embroidery Effects it breaks all the stitches into simple steps and I have found it really inspiring.  

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Audio Book Review - Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce.

My first 5 star review! When my Audible credits came through this month I didn't have a clue what books I would buy. So I had a little wonder through Audible and stumbled upon this book. One part of the publishers summary really jumped out at me, it said "It is as if Neil Gaiman and Joanne Harris had written a fairy tale together." Now if you have been reading this blog for a while you will probably be aware that I LOVE Neil Gaiman. I also adore fairy tales and folklore, so I knew that I should give this book a chance and I am so happy that I did. 

This book is by the English author Graham Joyce and it is set only a little way from where I live, which made it even more atmospheric for me. I was totally blown away by how gritty and intelligent this book is. The premiss is that a young girl of 16 goes missing in the local woods without a trace and 20 years later she returns on Christmas day having not really aged at all. The story blooms like the buds of the bluebells in the book, it is heady and enticing whilst also threatening danger just to warn you not to get too carried away. The characters are all beautifully thought out and their relationships are scripted with the love and fragility that will leave you not wanting to let go of them.  This is a book for people who love fairy tales and yearn for that certain something, dare I say it... magical. It will also leave you wondering what the truth really is and it may make you think twice about wondering in that cherished bluebell wood near you.  

Saturday, September 1, 2012

My Total Rip off of Damien Hirst Because I can't Afford to Buy My Own!

Earlier this year Ed and I journeyed down to the smoke (London) to see the Damien Hirst exhibition at the Tate Modern. I was SO excited because I am a total fan girl of his work and had wetted my appetite by watching the Channel 4 Private View with Noel Fielding months before we managed to get down there. 

It did not disappoint, it was all so amazing. There was even a room full of tropical butterflies just fluttering around feasting on fruit. He also had created absolutely huge works made out of butterfly wings that looked just like stained glass windows. 

This weekend we are visiting my parents in Shropshire and mum has some enormous buddleia bushes that the butterflies just flock around. I've been struggling through a migraine for the last couple of days so I was just spending some time outside in the country air when I saw that there were these wings just lying on the lawn. I'm guessing that something had been munching on the butterflies but didn't like the wings too much.   

I found this poor little bumblebee dead in some china cups I was sorting through that my mum had dug out of the attic. (Ed was really scared of it hehe). 

Hope you are all having a great weekend <3