Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Some basics for summer, free flowing hair and leaving the house

A Few Summer Basics

So I've been trying to write a post for what seems like weeks, and getting nowhere with it. I was trying to talk about how I hadn't been feeling fantastic about my body, my wardrobe and my style, and how it had resulted in spending a few days a little disengaged from instagram and from going out and really doing anything in particular at all. I've come back, because I realised that you really have to work at this blog thing and even when it feels like it's not rewarding you must remember that all blogs move at their own pace.

On Monday Martin and I went for lunch in town at one of the few not-chain restaurants here in Coventry which is just by our lovely (roof-less) cathedral. Though the roof and windows were destroyed in the blitz, i'm always thrilled by so much of the intricacy of the walls and all the lovely doors and passageways that stood through it, so we took these pictures in front of one. I wore a brand new outfit after buying some nice basics for summer. I needed a new pair of sandals and I also spied this lovely dress from H&M which I thought was completely workable into a 60s vibe, what with the high neck and the nice length. My hair was doing it's own thing, (10am run followed by a hasty shower and blow-dry will do that to a girl) especially after the walk in the town, so in the end I gave up with the bobby pins and let it flow free. It's definitely time for a trim to sort my fringe out though!

A Few Summer Basics

Friday, 11 July 2014

Cake as a Life Skill and More is More

sponge and florals

Sometimes when life is stressful you want (need?) cake, probably the reason mum insisted I bake one. I didn't have work, it wasn't particularly sunny and I had no plans so I did. I spent pretty much an entire day on this cake, doing each individual part with rests in between for cooling and cleaning and things. (you might have seen the picture on Instagram already.) I love baking, I find it very therapeutic. I also find the unbaked batter very delicious, oops. The recipe called for a half-batch of buttercream icing but in the picture it looked a bit meagre, more is more I think when it comes to baking, especially when it's cake decorating - I find it always takes more than you expect if you want a really picture-perfect look and luxuriousness about it. I also used Mum's homemade 'Rivendell' Jam (Rivendell is what she's named our garden which I find quite magical) for the filling and it was good. It's full of all the wonderful berries that grow in our garden over summer. The recipe also called for brown caster sugar and a little cornflour. We only had muscovado, so I used that, and the combination of the two gave the sponge an unconventionally dark appearance but a gloriously nutty taste, and a really moist sponge. I hate to toot my own horn but it really was a good cake. When the family came home, Martin and I cooked dinner that we ate as a family and then settled down to The Lego Movie with a handful of this cake. It was a wonderfully lazy day but I think doing something like baking gives you that sense of accomplishment so that it doesn't feel wasted. I haven't baked/iced a cake in ages so it's good to know I've still got it. Maybe it's a skill that's like driving and you never forget it. ;)

If you're interested, the recipe came from a book by The Hummingbird Bakery. x

sponge and florals

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Flowers and Poor Timing and Triumph

Up on purple hill


So, next time you're exploring in Britain, you have to remember some things. First, your umbrella. And your sunglasses. Second, a change of shoes, or, just sensible shoes to begin with. Thirdly, that not everywhere is the same as where you come from and little villages are sometimes too quiet to stay open from lunch until dinner.

Last Monday Martin and I took a walk to a nearby village called Kenilworth (anyone heard of Kenilworth Castle?) this big, beautiful mound of colour was in fact an entrance to get there, whilst we were still optimistic about food in our bellies! The walk is over an hour, but it's along a main road that gets increasingly rural the further down it you walk. It was nice and picturesque, passing woods to begin with, until it opened out onto corn fields and other fields. Then an ominous grey cloud moved over the sun and we found ourselves very quickly pulling on jackets and getting the brolly out! We got soaked, despite the umbrella, and my be-sandaled feet got quite wet. Still, it went quickly and the glorious sunshine came out, and then we took this photo. At the time I was still optimistic we'd have a longer day filled with photo-taking but after getting ignored in one cafe and greeted with a 'closed' sign in the others, we made the decision to get the bus home, grab a 'chippy' and go home. 

Still, it was a really nice triumphant feeling to find our way there, i've only ever been driven to Kenilworth before, and the walk was pretty enjoyable and funny and it was just really pleasant to hold hands and stroll and talk for an hour. We're going to go back (and erm, possibly take the bus this time!) a little earlier and get some lunch and do Kenilworth Castle. Here's to not failing a miserably next time!


Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Happy Birthday's and Secrets and Working Really Hard

happy birthday

It was Martin's birthday the other day and also our '6 months being together' anniversary, though it feels much longer. I'd been working away on this gift for a while and it sucked up a lot of my time to begin with, which is one of the things that kept me away from blogging, but of course I couldn't mention it! It's strange because I didn't know how to give him his gift, couples that live together wake up in the morning and hand it over with a coffee or breakfast in bed. I didn't want to just thrust it into his hands on the doorstep, so I arranged a little set up for present receiving. I was picking flowers from the garden for a little bouquet and ended up with a kind of yellow theme, so I stuck with it. I made ginger beer and orange juice - it's great, with just a little kick - with orange slices and strawberries and ice.

I made him a cookbook, along with a few other gifts on the same theme, but I also made the wrapping paper myself by just writing on brown parcel paper. It takes a few tries but it looks really nice, and is a cheaper way of making parcel paper pretty, rather than expensive ribbons or strings. I included a phone picture of the book I made but you can also have a look at the preview (and buy it !) here. A lot of it is fairly basic but they're all tried-and-true, and I needed to give Martin the base knowledge. I think it's nice to know these recipes all came from my home. Afterwards we went for a nice, but cheap meal as a small celebration and we're saving a more elegant meal for when I've got a little more money!

It was really rewarding to work on something completely organic, I set it out as a 'project' where I documented inspiration and development, just like our Uni briefs, and the look on his face was amazing. I think people really love when you pour your heart into something just for them, and it gave me a chance to practice and utilise my talents.

happy birthday

The Book happy birthday happy birthday

Thursday, 3 July 2014

New blue and old blue and more 50s than usual

blue old and new


The past few days we've had less of the sunshine, it's been teasing but not really ridiculously warm, but when Martin and I nipped into town for breakfast the other day we had a little glimpse of the sunshine, so much that I took off my jacket for a while. I'm wearing this jacket and sandals combination again - I have been living in the sandals, so much so that I probably need to do a bit of shopping for another pair of flats. As well as that I'm now on the lookout for some 60s-ish skirts to put with the two new tops I bought recently. I was so glad it was sunny because I was dying to wear my sunglasses with this outfit. 

I resurrected this dress from last summer when I only wore it once (the waist is preeetty snug) but I am kind of falling in love with it again, as I was/am having a huge dilemma over a lot of the 50s dresses I have in my wardrobe right now. I don't know what my hair was doing, it's funny, it seems to drop completely straight these days, I'm still waiting to grow the bleach out and get some of my natural wave back. Never again folks. I've done the bleach thing and for my hair it is so not worth it. I've also just noticed how crinkled this dress looks - 12 months squeezed on a dress rack will do that to a dress eh? 

Now i'm looking forward to breaking out my lovely 50s dresses and getting a few more pieces for summer's 'look' hopefully before summer's over and its Autumn again!

blue old and new

Sunday, 29 June 2014

New-old rooms, rearranging and new things

nest

Just as you thought I was gone forever, I'm back. This time the culprit, amongst other things, was a broken memory card. I've been working hard this weekend (hello again bar tending my old friend!) but I took a little time today to photograph my room back home. The end of first year is a funny old thing. Virtually everyone is kicked out of their halls and they are left in limbo until you can move into your new house - pleased to live at home but used to living independently is a really strange feeling. At this point I am really just wanting to build a nest already, but had to make do with trying to fit all my stuff into one room. It looks a little different (better) than last time and it's closer to how I want my future home(s?) to look. It makes me happy. It's funny that I have noticed, for me certainly, the huge difference these details make to mood and I wonder if maybe its the same for everyone, or for creatives, or for just 'some types of people? It's in pouring your milk into a jug instead of just straight into your tea, or using the nice plates, or just making your bed. 

the life
hello florals
new toys
aloe aloe

Monday, 9 June 2014

Packing, lasts and firsts in the flat, and reflections on first year

Peonies in the sunlight


So tonight is my last day here in my little halls flat, the ugly curtains are back up, and all my stuff is piled into boxes and bags ready to leave tomorrow morning. We're 'camping' in the flat tonight, just my bedclothes, a few shower things, make up and some plates to tide us over. This week has been a slightly sad week of lasts, lots of final 'nights out', dinners together and things. Me and my flatmates went to No Tomorrow festival as our final 'union' before the big holiday, and the girls from my course and I went for our final cocktails last night. It's gone so fast, and ended up being a really great year.  


The last breakfast


Martin and I used up the last of everything with lovely pancakes for breakfast with whipped cream and jam, soup for lunch, and a Domino's as a treat and because we have used everything up. My halls are eerily quiet as most people left this weekend, and I am really looking forward to going home (hello bathtub!) It's funny the way even though everything was timed down to tomorrow (all the food disappeared, my conditioner used up..) everything is still going on around me. The 3rd years are still working on their exhibitions, the 'locals' are still getting on with life, and my flowers didn't die 'on-cue' (which is a good thing, obviously!) It was also funny that through all the 'lasts' there was one or two 'firsts', like simply gathering all my dried flowers together in one place for the first time, which I had to photograph because they looked so pretty. 

What I would say to freshers next year is that, believe it or not, you don't have to do the whole 'freshers week' thing. As I went through the year I met more people who had hated freshers week, and for me I got fresher's flu (for, easily, 3 months.) I was quite reclusive during fresher's week, we didn't meet the people in all the surrounding flats, but eventually you realise that it really doesn't matter. There is a pressure to go out every night and the fresher reps are there to try their hardest to get you to be sick and pass out. I went from being 'the alcoholic' back home, to being 'the boring one' at uni and I struggled a lot with feeling like I didn't fit in. You have to remember that if there are people who don't like you how you are, you don't have to be friends with them. It took me so long to stop feeling horrible because I just wanted to cook a nice meal and have a glass of wine and play The Sims instead of spending my night drooling in a club. I'm not putting down going 'out' out, because I do, and I enjoy it, but I sometimes feel a lot 'older' that those are around me, even though I am actually one of the youngest. I think at home 'going out' was so normal that by the time I got to uni I was a bit 'over' it, and being 'the responsible one' got old quickly. You have to believe that there are people around who would rather have champagne and breakfast than 15 Jagerbombs and a chunky chicken, and will respect when you just don't fancy going out, and respect when you do want to go out for 15 Jagerbombs and a chunky chicken (Or indeed, people who don't drink, and would rather just go out for a nice meal or a trip to a theme park.) I would also say to join societies when you start. I didn't and I envied people who had friends beyond the members of their flat. If you don't enjoy it, you can always leave, and it's really good to give yourself that opportunity for friendships. 

But despite the 'rocky start' - I guess everyone can relate to that - I did meet some beautiful people and made really great friends. What were your experiences and can you relate to mine?
first flowers

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