Saturday, 3 November 2012

Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies

It's one of my oldest friends birthdays tomorrow so we are indulging in our own version of afternoon tea, all handmade, before heading to the firework display at Shugborough Hall.

As my contribution I originally wanted to make Passionfruit Curd cupcakes after discovering some amazing curd at the Beverley Food Festival a few weeks ago. Alas, I felt that Passionfruit wasn't very in the spirt of Bonfire Night. Instead I made these peanut butter cookies.

The surprise is that hidden inside (or not so hidden on the few that I left in the oven for a minute too long) are little chunks of Mars bar that slowly melt but retain their nougat-y, caramel-y, chocolate-y goodness. The below picture has led to several recipe requests. As I blended a few recipes together (as my fridge is currently egg-less) I thought I'd share my version with you here. 

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Edward Turner: n i g h t

My taste in music has changed quite a lot recently. When my iPod is on shuffle I am continuously surprised at the music that I used to love and find myself selecting songs by the likes of Laura Marling, Sam Beeton and Daughter instead.

That's why, after Pegasus Bridge split a year ago, I was so pleased to hear vocalist and guitar player Edward Turner had recorded some new songs. I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy of n i g h t, his EP, particularly as he was selling hand painted copies. It is the second CD I have brought within 5 years, the first was Pegasus Bridge's While We're Young, which says quite a lot really.

When my copy came earlier this month I was ecstatic, especially as it also came with a lovely little note from Ed, which is an amazing personal touch. He was right, it is best listened to in the dark.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

A Levels Results, Twitter and £9000 Uni Fees

As Twitter will probably have reminded you all, lots of teenagers got their A Level results this week. That means it is six years since I got my results and times have changed with social media, as Sabotage Times highlight in 'How Facebook & Twitter Ruined Celebrating A-Level Results'.

When I got mine back in 2006 Twitter had just launched and Facebook wasn't yet big in the UK, that would come part way through my first year at university. We were on the cusp of a social media revolution and so, the morning I got my results I was not on my iPhone tweeting (my little Samsung didn't even go on the internet). I was sat on my boyfriend's bed trying to convince him to check on the UCAS website so he didn't need to freak out worrying he hadn't got on to the Dentistry course he was hoping for whilst we were at school. (He didn't listen.)

I wasn't putting pictures of my results and congratulatory letters on Instagram after panicked status' that I wouldn't get on to my course. As a "Dignified Straight A student" I was rather quiet about how well I had done. As I wanted to do a creative course (Fashion and Brand Promotion with Journalism) I only needed a C in Art and Textiles so I wasn't concerned. My good results were just the icing on the cake, not necessary at all. 

Only those doing Dentistry or Medicine really needed to worry about their results, unless you had your sights set on Oxford or Cambridge but as a normal school in a sleepy village in Staffordshire we knew we weren't really posh enough for that. Now, with fees of £9000 a year and AAB becoming a prerequisite for hundreds of courses the new nature of A Level results day seems to have changed beyond sharing on social media.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Pantone Hotel, Brussels

Anyone that does anything with design will know the importance of Pantone references. When I came home from doing my Masters with a red Pantone mug as a leaving gift from my lovely friend Ashleigh my dad was so confused about why I was so pleased with my present. Now our house is full of knock off "Colour" mugs from B&M Bargains. He still doesn't quite get it.

When my boyfriend and I got cheap flights to Brussels there was only one place I wanted to stay - Pantone Hotel. When I realised it was within budget I let out a girly scream (very unlike me) and rang him straight away to say that's where we were staying. Thankfully, he didn't question it.


Sunday, 8 July 2012

Not Quite Mary Berry...

If you've read my blog before then you'll know I'm quite fond of baking. You may not know that getting a new job and the fact our oven is definitely hotter than it should be all the time. I really should have known better than to try a Mary Berry recipe in our oven because it's sure to disappoint me. However, it was recently both Father's Day and as Victoria Sponge is his favourite I had to try the classic that is Mary Berry's recipe. I was really hoping for something that looked like this...

Mine was rather too brown, a little dry and not quite as perfectly level and looked like this...

Height wise I think I nailed (thin layers never look so appealing) it but I really, really do need to invest in a thermometer for the oven! I had tried my new springform glass bottom cake tins but nobody thought to tell me that the cake sticks to the glass. I thought it didn't, which is why I brought them! Thankfully, my dad is a fan of cream in his Victoria Sponge so that helped cover over the cracks I made. 

Have any of you tried this recipe? Did you go for classic Victoria Sponge, lemon or chocolate? I would love to hear your tips if you have or if you have a better recipe for me to try?

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Fake Magazine: The Dreams Issue

You may remember that back in March Fake Issue 4 was released, featuring my article Good as New all about upcycling and independents. Well, the lovely Kerry and Sophie got in touch and asked me to write about dreams for their fifth issue.

I won't lie, I struggled with this. I was going to just write about my own dreams but I find my story so boring I decided to interview as many people as possible. What intrigued me when I did was that all these designers, makers and writers I interviewed lived at home... as do I. How, I thought to myself, is it that all these people that I think are doing amazingly cope with living with their parents? That is one of the things I have always felt makes my own story so boring.

The article deals with the theory of shifting focus and reevaluating what you really want out of life and which dreams are more important. Would you want to live in London, on peanuts, miles from your family and friends with no cash to get home? Or would you stay nearer to the nest where you can experience more, earn more, save lots and work your way to achieving your dreams. Sometimes going leaving when you're ready isn't such a bad thing...

The article features the wonderfully talented John Williamson of No Fit State (formerly Cuppa Tea) who also illustrated the article, Niki Lau of Hero & Cape and Victoria Jackson who is both editor of MWB and blogger extraordinaire over at I Heart Fashion.

The magazine is absolutely gorgeous in it's new A4 size so you should definitely see what else is in this issue and then go and order a copy. It actually came out a few weeks ago but I haven't had time to blog about it until now so make sure you order soon!

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Back to Belgium

A few years ago, on a road trip around Europe, we went to Bruges. It was a stunning place, truly lovely, but ruined by the fact we were involved in a car accident. One that wasn't our fault I might add. Being surrounded by people speaking Flemish and refusing to acknowledge us whilst we were waiting for the police to arrive was not a good experience.

3 years later, having forgiven Belgium for not treating us well when we last arrived, my boyfriend and I booked to go to Brusells. The plane was delayed by hours, my iPhone was stolen within an hour of finally arriving in Belgium and then my boyfriend over indulged in Belgian beer and one day may as well have been a complete write off.

So, you can see, Belgium doesn't seem to treat me very well. Really, I'm not sure why because I love it. The mixture of Flemish and French, the contrast between the buildings at La Grand-Place and the Atomium!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Wakey!Wakey! Summer

I love summer. It just makes me happy, it's as simple as that. Technically it's still spring but in Britain our summers are so limited that I am clutching at this brief interlude of sun and have convinced myself it's summer. I dread looking at the weather forecast to see it's going to go cold again.

For now, I am embracing summer with sandals, pretty 50's style dresses, picnics and lots of smiley, happy songs. One band that doesn't fail to get me in that sunny and relaxed mood is Wakey!Wakey! If you watch One Tree Hill you'll be familiar with them but just in case you aren't here are two of my favourites....

Sunday, 20 May 2012

A Belated Birthday in Budapest

I love experiencing new places. I'll go anywhere and see anything if someone suggests it. In fact, I have been known to randomly select places in Europe from closing my eyes and pointing at a map. (I still plan to go to Sofia due to this.) Travelling around Europe is getting increasingly expensive and so when the other half saw a very cheap trip to Budapest a few days after his birthday we had to go.

Not only is Budapest cheap but it is also beautiful. Not beautiful in that every building is stunning like in Paris. You don't begin to pay less attention as time goes on, the fact that not everything is perfect makes certain things stand out. For instance, there was a row of three buildings with 2 gorgeous spires each, only one had been damaged and replaced with a hideous black box. A lot of buildings do have the most amazing tiled roofs though.

Fisherman's Bastian, View from the Castle Grounds, Matthias Church and  Castle of Vajdahunyad

Saturday, 10 March 2012

My Love Affair with Newquay and The Island

For a lot of people my age, their childhood holidays weren't spent in Spain they were spent on the coast of the UK, whether their parents' preference was Barmouth, Swanage or Skegness. My parents' loved Newquay.

As I was an only child until I was 10, and a very demanding and stroppy child at that, my very patient cousin Zandra was like a sister to me and would come on every single holiday. Whilst she was a tomboy, I was a girly girl. When at home she would climb in trees and I would sit inside and colour but when on holiday this all changed. Holidays were spent paddling in the sea today in our vests and shorts (the concept of swimwear abandoned in haste) and posing on the rocks for pictures pretending to be the Ariel from the Little Mermaid. (Well I did that, Zandra just grinned with a spade in her hand whilst building sandcastles.) The most memorable moments include Zandra reminding us to be careful when in the sea... "Don't go too far out the cherries will get you!" Currents Zandra, currents.

My mom and I paddling in the sea at Newquay

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Upcycling and Independents

As you know, I contribute to several magazines but you may not know that on March 1st my first article for FAKE magazine was published. As this issue (their fourth) was based on nature the lovely editors, Kerry and Sophie, asked me to write about upcycling. You can buy the issue here - and if you do make sure to let me know what you think!

As an independent magazine that supports new talent it was the perfect opportunity to highlight some of great independents from across the county and the role upcycling has within their business and on society. The article was accompanied by a specially commissioned illustration by Lucy Driscoll and features:

Yellowstone Art Boutique - Based at Trentham Gardens' retail village, Yellowstone sells work by fresh, exciting new makers and designers. It offers an outlet for the new artists on the contemporary craft scene, whilst concentrating on quality and an attention to detail.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Cellardoor Magazine: Snow Angel

I have been rather lacklustre with my blogging recently. You have probably all forgotten I exist. In case you haven't, I promise to find time to catch you up on some recent activities soon. In the meantime, you can read more of my writing in Cellardoor Magazine. Yes, I admit my lack of blogging is potentially because I have been spreading myself a bit thin and often the thing that gives is the thing with no deadline.

The mini winter issue launched late last night and I have a short story called Snow Angel on p.59. They are a great magazine to contribute to, so much freedom and it is always so beautifully put together. In case you haven't heard of it before you can also find Get it Loud in the Library, a feature of mine, in the Spring Fling Issue (p.78-81) and a short story called Daisy in the End of Summer Issue (p.84).

Friday, 27 January 2012

Valentines Gift Guide

As you can imagine I have had an extremely busy what with starting at Video to Viral last Monday. In addition, right before and during my first week I was working on features for both Area and FAKE magazine. It's always good to see the fruits of your labour though and now the February issue of Area is out! You can pick it up around Birmingham or view online here. My Valentines Gift Guide is on p.34 - 41.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Napping, Cluedo and the Wrong Number

As I know I will be spending most of my time in front of a Mac when I start work tomorrow I have been really trying to stay off my computer until then. (Needless to say this post is a bit of a mess of things - apologies!) I have devoured all but one of the Sookie Stackhouse novels that I got for Christmas (the last is nearly finished too), ate a LOT of Quality Streets (all but the fruity ones) and spent this weekend with my boyfriend.

We seem to have spent most of it napping or "resting our eyes"; I dread to think what I'll be like next week after my first full week back at work in over a year. On Saturday that was very useful as he had made me spend what felt like hours in Boardwise trying to select a pair of snowboarding trousers and I was exhausted. Of course, he brought the ones I had suggested about 10 minutes in.

We did go to see Girl with the Dragon Tattoo... nobody told me it was a who-dunnit, it reminded of a big game of Cluedo. Maybe that's because last Sunday I played a lot of Cluedo with my sisters, tipsy mother (who had only two small glasses of red wine) and one of her dogs. Oscar just couldn't help but poke his nose in...

Friday, 6 January 2012

Dressing for the Office

As I am starting my new job very soon I figured it was about time I invested in some clothes. The office for me is a creative studio so a suit isn't required (nor is it my style) but I did want something that could be adapted to see clients, was fashionable and comfortable enough when sat working at a computer. Oh, and that I could adapt to be wearable in winter. If I see one more pair of 7/8 trousers I may scream, as much as I love them. Oddly enough I don't want my ankles to freeze and this wind is not productive to anything less than full length/thick tights.

Finding clothing that transcends AW11/12 and SS12 is not easy. The process becomes even harder when you try to find something that won't require you to wear heels. My poor ankles are currently very weak (who knows why) and as such heels aren't really suitable for trotting around in all day. I've not had much luck, except for a few items in Next and Oasis, but there are some great new pieces showing up in the spring collections and I can't wait!

 Marks and Spencer
Left: Deco Diva Limited Top £35, M&S trousers £25, Shoes £29.50, Earrings £12.50, Watch £25
Right: Park Avenue Autograph Top £45, Trousers £45, Shoes £29.50

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Happy New Year

Now if you aren't already its time for you to sit down because I have something to tell you. It's 2012. Can you believe it? I can't. This year is the Olympics, The Queen's Diamond Jubilee and my 24th birthday. It is also the year that I officially put university behind me and head out into the big wide world. To kick that off I'm starting a placement at Video to Viral in Birmingham in a few weeks. It's a busy year, and one I'm excited about, so of course I celebrated in style...

I went to Hull to see my boyfriend and on New Years Eve Eve we went for some impromptu drinks at the pub, which of cause led into a long night that left us a little worse for wear on New Years Eve. Due to this there was no posh outfit, no expensive entrance fees or queueing 5 deep at the bar, no dancing and no drunkenness. We woke up very late, had a team nap with his flatmate around 7 (by which I mean we all fell asleep in the living room watching television, not that we all snuggled down together) and woke up to see in the New Year with Jools Holland (only at the last minute for the countdown - I'm not a fan) and drank champagne that he had very thoughtfully purchased and had chilling in the fridge.

Hornsea Beach

I had a great time. New Years Eve Eve is the new New Years Eve don't you know. It meant that on New Years Day we were bright, shiny and smiley so we decided to go to the coast. I've never visited a northern beach, I'm all about Cornwall and Wales, so Hornsea's surprisingly brown sea wasn't quite what I'm used to but I loved it nonetheless. Pottering along the sand and listening to the waves is one of the most relaxing things to do. Oh, and we got back in the car just before the heavens opened from those grey clouds. Amazing timing. I hope my luck continues for 2012 and that you all have a great year.