Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Wednesday remembering

This is a regular post featuring an old picture of mine, usually from former travels, with a short description of the story behind the photo.

In the summer of 2006 I spent two months in the state of Tamil Nadu in south India. Most of this time was spent with these ladies here. They lived in Arulagam, a women's refuge on the outskirts of Madurai. The women had come there for many reasons, some had left abusive husbands, others had been abandoned and no way of securing income. Whatever the reason, what sticks in my memory, and the reason I chose this picture is that this was a happy place, the women here were friends with each other, they wanted to have fun and wanted me to have fun while I was there.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Things from the internet

It's been ages since I did one of these posts, here's loads of stuff from the internet

I've been reading Nothing But Bonfires for awhile and this lovely post made me slightly teary eyed. I want to write like Holly when I grow up

I'm pretty much in love with this slightly trippy mixed media piece by Sarah Eisenlohr, she makes them with glue and old magazines 
These pictures are from the ridiculous and hilarious tumblr Cats that looks like pin up girls! (not entirely work safe!)

This Oxford Union debate on whether we're all now feminists sounds pretty interesting. (Also, it's where I met Hanson!)

I've nearly finished making my own ripple blanket using this pattern, I love Lucy's tiny blanket for the red nose day dolls on top of her full size blanket.

True story, I used to do synchronised swimming. I love these synchro inspired patterns by Elizabeth Olwen

In a previous things from the internet post I wrote about how a group of protesters had shut down a power station. EDF energy company who own the gas powered West Burton plant are now seeking damages of £5million. I feel this is unjust. Civil disobedience has been necessary to effect change in so many different political causes from women's suffrage to civil rights, it is part of a healthy democracy and should not be taxed by big business. If you'd like to sign this here petition, about it, that'd be grand.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Wednesday remembering

This is a regular post featuring an old picture of mine, usually from former travels, with a short description of the story behind the photo.
In February 2009 I went with two friend to Dublin for a few days holiday. We'd had a long, dark winter with regular snow but the weather in Dublin was beautiful. We were able to walk around comfortably without coats and there was bright sunshine. We all wanted to see the sea. On our second day there we took the train to Dun Laoghaire (after getting all confused over the pronunciation, and amusing the ticket seller). Unfortunately this day was not as warm or as bright but as we'd come all the way out to the sea front we were determined to paddle. Although it was too cold to take our coats off, we all pulled off our shoes and stripped off our socks to put our feet in the Irish Sea. It was cold!
I love this image of my best friend Rachel leaping across the boulders in her thick wool coat and bare feet, we definitely like to have an adventure.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Sheepish heart yarnbombing

Yesterday I joined in with Meredith's sheepish yarn bombing.
I crocheted three hearts from some orange acrylic yarn that I'd had hanging about, left over from a previous project. I used two patterns one was Attic24's teeny tiny hearts and the other Cherry heart's small heart pattern. I was a bit vague with them both though so some of the hearts are a little wonky.

 I put one of the hearts on some park railings near a school. I hope this one stays for a while and is seen by all the children going in to school. I tried to be a bit surreptitious putting these up and then photographing them but people kept on walking past while I had my big camera out.

 I put this heart, the biggest one on the gate to a local doctors. What better place for people to see a little love than when they're not feeling their best and on the way to the doctors. I was a little nervous about this as it's on private property and the others are both on publicly owned parks. I'll see how long it lasts there!

 This last little heart was placed on railings of a bridge going over a footpath in another park. I'm not sure how easily this one will be seen, it's pretty little and quite low down.
I'm quite excited to go back and check on them in a few weeks time. I'd also like to make some more hearts and keep putting them up. I think it'd be nice to leave a trail of crocheted hearts behind me.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Outfit Post; Purple and Butterflies

Do forgive the odd arms here, I think I was trying to rearrange my jumper
 Unusually for me this outfit contained two new items of clothing. I'm not totally convinced by either of them yet. The purpley jumper is made by Boden but I bought it on ebay. I'm not entirely sure about it. I think it may have been washed at slightly too high a temperature as it felt both bulky and a bit tight, I'm not used to wearing things that are as high necked as this either.
 The skirt came from Monsoon at the end of their winter sales, I really like the butterfly and buddlia print and the colours but I don't know how I feel about the mullety hemline. Although it's not very obvious here, the back of the skirt is a lot longer than the front, I think this makes the skirt a bit fancy and I'd wear it every day.

 I tried to do a sort of victory roll type thing with my hair but it's not quite there. I really love my glasses. The arms are zebra print which is pretty fantastic.
I'm also wearing a silk blouse that was my Granny's. I don't know how old it is, the label is in Chinese. From the embroidery on the collar it could be 40's but I think it's probably more recent. I tend to wear this necklace everyday, it's silver with a single pearl and was a present from my friend when I was her bridesmaid.

Jumper, Boden;Silk blouse, inherited from my Granny; Butterfly skirt, Monsoon; Glasses; Versace; Necklace, gift; Boots, vintage.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Celebrating Chinese New Year

I feel like this post could be alternately called "Here are a lot of pictures of fireworks"

Last Sunday, my friend Kathleen and I met up in Manchester's China Town for Chinese New Year Celebrations.We weren't able to get there for the big parade but we had fun watching the fireworks and wondering around the stalls.
Snow  had been forecast, none actually fell in Manchester but it was bitterly cold, we had to keep popping in to caf├ęs to have a drink and warm up. All the restaurants around China Town were really full so we ended up eating Korean food which was quite exciting.



Fire Safety workers


 It was a really fun celebration, very, very cold and busy but really nice to be with so many people celebrating and having a good time.


Tuesday, 12 February 2013

It's Pancake day!

I loved Maid Marion and her merry men and this episode is perfect for today. I'll be eating lots and lots of pancakes this evening because it's Shrove Tuesday.
I very much enjoy any festival that has a specific food connected to it!
What do you have with your pancakes? the traditional lemon and sugar? golden syrup? Nutella and bananas?
In case you want a bit of variety from very sweet pancakes, I'm sharing my spinach, pesto pancake recipe. We'll probably have these and then quite a few sweet ones too!

I'm a bit vague with my recipes, things usually turn out fine
Spinach Pesto Pancakes
(makes about 10)
125g plain flour
2 eggs
300ml milk
40g (ish) finely chopped spinach, frozen or fresh (I tend to use 4 or 5 bricks of frozen)
 2 tsp pesto
Oil or butter for frying

Sieve the flour into a bowl, make a hollow in the middle. Separately whisk the eggs with a small amount of milk, add this to the flour and combine. When this is fully mixed add the rest of the milk and whisk until smooth. Add the spinach (I tend to use frozen for this as it's usually chopped finely) and a couple of spoons of pesto, Leave to rest (if you've got time) for about an hour

Heat the oil or butter in a large frying pan. Each pancake will be 2 tbsp (about half a ladle) of batter as this is quite a liquid mixture, swirl the batter around the pan to form an even layer. The pancake should be thin and slightly crispy around the edges, flip it using a spatula to loosen.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Fruity February

I've finished my first week of 10 fruit and vegetable portions challenge.
In some ways it's not been too tricky, I do tend to eat quite a lot of fruit and veg and as I'm vegetarian there's always veg in all my meals. I have on a couple of occasions found myself eating a late night apple or pomegranate or spinach soup to try and make a better total though!

This is what I've been eating.
1st )   1 apple, 2 bananas, 1 portion of strawberries, 1 onion, plenty of spinach, half a courgette, home made soup (2 portions), celery =10
2nd)   strawberries, banana, raisins, soup(2), lychees, mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach, sweetcorn, spring onion =11
3rd)   soup (2), big salad(3), beans, lychees, apple = 8
4th)   strawberries, banana, raisins, soup(3) pomegranate, stew with kale, tomatoes, courgette, spinach, onions, beans and peppers = 11
5th)   2 apples, 2 bananas, soup(1), raspberries, courgette, pepper, tomatoes, mushroom, onion =11
6th)  2 apples, banana, 2 oranges, soup (2) veg noodles(1) strawberries =9
7th) strawberries, 2 bananas, raisins, 2 apples, soup(2) aubergine, tomatoes = 10

I eat a lot of soup, in fact I've had soup every single day this week. This is for two reasons, firstly I had a rather painful and not exactly successful trip to the dentist on the 1st that is still bothering me and secondly, it is very easy for me to put a tin of soup in my bag for lunch every day which means I don't have to do any preparation for my lunch. As I've been having tinned soup I've put the number of veg contained in the soup next to it, most of the soup we buy says "Contains 2 of your 5 a day" or sometimes 1 or 3, I'm not too sure about these claims but I'll count it here.

I am starting to feel fuller most of the time and I've noticed that I'm choosing to eat fruit a lot of the time instead of chocolate or biscuits, I'll how long that lasts though!

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Bright colours and fun!

I've been having lots of slightly daft fun recently, writing letters and decorating envelopes to send to friends. I rediscovered my stash of stickers from 90's pop magazines. I hope my friends are appreciative!
Hanging strands of beads at the Creative Stitches and Hobby Crafts show that I visited this weekend with my mum. I don't really have a huge need for more beads but the beads looked so bright and cheerful hanging together in order that I may have purchased a few
Here's a slightly fuzzy picture of me under the sea, under a knitted and crocheted and needle felted sea. This amazing installation is being used to raise money for the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution). I'll be sharing more pictures of this.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Raising Money

Fundraising events 2013 from Christians Against Poverty on Vimeo.

A lot of my friends work for charities. Quite a few for this charity, Christians Against Poverty (CAP). CAP is a debt counselling and financial advocacy charity that is based in Bradford where I used to live. They do a great job helping people to get out of debt and learn how to manage their finances. I thought this was a pretty fun video.
I also have friends organising climbs up Mt Kilimanjaro, running marathons, co-ordinating large scale collections for refugees and taking part in round the world sailing events.

I've been thinking quite a lot about Charity recently and I'll have more to say in future posts but I really love how many people are getting involved and doing things to try and change things for the better

Sunday, 3 February 2013

My first Outfit post (contains hedgehogs!)


 I've been planning to take some outfit pictures for ages but it's a bit trickier to get pictures of myself than of anything else. These were taken using the self timer while having my camera cunningly placed on top of  our bin. They're not super perfect but I feel like it's a promising start, perhaps next time I'll manage to get my feet in?

 This heavy wool cardi was my Granny's. I love it. It's really warm and cosy and pretty awesome, it's actually navy not black as it looks here. I need to sew on some of the fastenings as they've come off
My hedgehog t shirt is new and from People Tree. I'm also wearing a plain black jersey dress from h+m, black leggings and brown vintage boots.
I tried to take a picture of my boots as they have a really sweet bow at the back but couldn't get anything to come out clearly.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Fruity (and Vegetabley) February

I'm setting myself a challenge this month.
I know I'm a month too late for a New Year's resolution but this is more of a month long goal and as February is the shortest month, it seems like good timing.
I've still been eating all the fatty, sugary, junky food I have as treats at Christmas all the time in January. This is not super great for me! I'm not particularly planning to loose weight or "drop a dress size" I just need to be a bit more mindful when I eat and not just inhale a "sharing size" bag of chocolate because I'm bored.

My challenge is to eat 10 portions of fruit and veg a day. 

 I know the usual advice in the UK is to have 5 portions a day but that's based on minimum recommendations of 400g of fruit and veg daily from the World Health Organisation. I wanted to make this a real challenge for myself, I think I generally do ok with 5 portions also, really I could still have 5 portions and eat lots of junk and not feel too full, 10 portions is the normal recommendation in France so I'm going to see how easy it is!( In Japan it's 13 veg and 4 fruit portions!)

Pictures of market stalls in Pisa and Rome taken while I was living in Rome in 2011

I'll be following these NHS guidelines to work out how much I need to eat and trying to get as much variety as possible. I'm pretty excited to see how feasible this is and to see if I notice any effects from increasing my fruit and veg intake.

Does anyone have any advice, recipes or feel like joining in? I'd love to hear from you.