Friday, September 26, 2008

Young Knives and Yes

I haven’t abandoned or forgotten my ‘discover new music’ project. I’ve just been distracted from it for a while. I started listening to Young Knives (Superabundance –I found my self singing along in no time at all) and Yes (Magnification – It sounded instantly familiar in the grandiose 70s style. My Dad has confirmed that he used to play Yes a lot when I was younger so maybe I unconsciously absorbed their music). Then I started reading The Heroin Diaries by Nikki Sixx and I developed a powerful urge to listen to some Motley Crue. While I was searching for Red, White and Crue on the library shelves I stumbled across a Best of Bowie compilation. I’ve been listening to them both while cooking for the last few weeks although I do think maybe it’s time to move on. It’s the old dilemma I suppose – if I like something and I’m happy with it why seek out something new…

I will move on to 'C' soon.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Regular readers will know that I love nothing better than whipping up a dish out of leftovers. Last night's dinner featured this pasta bake. I boiled some pasta for until tender and then mixed up with some Courgette and Tarragon soup and topped with some 'past their best' tomatoes before baking. The soup was one I made earlier in the summer when I had a major courgette glut. We got 10 portions out of the recipe including two I froze. I had the remains for lunch today and they were even more delicious (if possible). And there is still a portion in the freezer for me to play with.

Since I had the oven on anyway I also baked some plums, pears and apples. Preperation took place while the pasta was boiling.

Tomorrow night I'm trying out an experiement using left over celery and tomato soup, gluten chunks and rice to make a kind of casserole. I'm hoping it will be divine.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sewing inspiration

I suddenly got all inspired yesterday evening about some new stuff to sew. I was removing an enormous piece of very dark green fabric from my stash and thinking about using it for present bags when a couple of other pieces fell out and inspiration took hold.

I bought two pieces of green heavy cotton fabric from army surplus at the start of the summer and had been thinking that they’d make a dress. Something shift like and fitted because the fabric is quite stiff. This means that I can’t get away with my usual ‘minimal seams and shaping’ approach and just tie the whole ting together with a huge sash. But I did suddenly think what an amazing skirt it would make and after pinning it round me and holding in place with a large purple bow I decided that was just what it would be. I think I’ll use the usual A line pattern I vaguely follow from Yeah, I made it myself.

My other inspiration was regarding a top and came from two sources. I have some woolly fabric in a very dark grey that I made a skirt from some years back. I’ve never know quite what to do with it because it’s absolutely the wrong type of thing for a gift bag (even for lining) and there wasn’t enough to do anything else with it. My vague thoughts before shoving it to the back of the cupboard for use in the very distance future were around some kind of pillow case.

Then yesterday I looked up Sandra Garrett Multiples after I found a reference to them in an old letter from my Mum. These were pieces made from plain jersey fabric. The idea was that they all went together and that you could use various bits of the clothing in multiple ways. They were big in the 1980s and she is now selling them again. You can view the pieces on her site. What struck me was that they all had such a square shape (just like a pillow case).

Then last night I jumped from doublespeak to Fashion Robot and then to Gem Fatale. It was here that she was talking about making a top from a pillow case. I realised I had enough fabric to make a pillow case with and the dye was cast. Here comes another sleeveless top!

I can’t wait to get home tonight and do some sewing before going out the allotment society AGM. One day my fabric stash will be gone...

Monday, September 22, 2008


So one week, I am a picture of health and the next a positive wreck. My wisdom teeth are playing up again. Hopefully I am past the middle point of this episode and on my way out and back to health. In the meantime, I have experienced swollen glands, headaches, nausea, lack of appetite and now itchy teeth. I am also beginning to understand the allure of a teething ring.

It has bought to mind the marvellous The Third Policeman and the pronouncement in one of the early chapters that very few diseases do not stem from the teeth. This is prior to the discussion turning to bicycles.

The Internet informs me that Saint Apollonia is the patron saint of those suffering from toothache. Apparently she had all her teeth removed or broken prior to be burnt alive.

I’m thanking the universe for Anbesol and off to test Echinacea as a tooth pain reliever.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Lacking in a certain department

So I went home last night and looked at my wardrobe with all the thoughts about capsule wardrobes buzzing around my head. It became clear quite quickly that I have a lot of clothes that go with one think and nothing else. I was initially puzzled by this as it’s something I’ve always tried to avoid. When Dear Heart and I used to spend Saturdays roaming the shops together our conversation would go something like this:

Dear Heart: You should get that outfit over there. It would look really good on you.
Me (thrilled that he thinks something would look good on me and craving approval in an unhealthy manner): It’s really cool. I’m going to try it on.

I exit to changing rooms and reappear some minutes later.

Dear Heart: How did you get on?
Me: It looked great but none of it will go with anything else.
Dear Heart (gazing in direction of local hostelry): So? Just buy it.
Me: good idea. I’ll go to the till now. Hey I think I'll get these random items from the sale rail too. Look how cheap they are.

Additionally I have a lot of things that are vintage or homemade. If I’m making it myself, particularly from fabric I already have I am far less fussy over what goes with it. I seem to have lots of tops and far fewer bottoms. My clothes are mainly green and black with a few splashes of white, blue and red.

So rather than doing what any self respecting wardrobe would suggest (which would be to look for wear the gaps and acquire new items to fill them) I intend to use this lack to force me to explore further into my wardrobe and discover new (daring?) combinations.

Today, for example, I am wearing a long floaty black cotton skirt, long black boots, fishnet tights (largely hidden by boots and skirt), a black slip dress with tiny flowers printed on it and a green cardigan.

I would never normally of considered teaming these. I’ve had the slip dress for ages and used to live in it in my early 20s. It’s probably too short for me to get away with now, even with thick tights but it looks very slim as a long top.

I do rather like the thought of wearing out everything in my wardrobe and then moving to a palette of black, green and white (Nubby Twiglet has been inspiring me - I want to pack like her but think green not red).

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Capsule wardrobe

This raises it head and winks at me every so often and I feel a need to pay some attention to the concept.

I’ve been googling the term ‘capsule wardrobe’ for about 5 years now (if not more) and I love the way new stuff appears in the search, but old stuff (some of the articles are like old friends now) crop up again and again.

I’ve found 2 lovely new blog to add to my daily reading. Workthatwardrobe is documenting a year in the life of woman who has sworn off buying clothes for a year and puts up a photograah of her outfit. WhatIwore2day is pretty much a daily outfit blogb but it looks like there are some exciting extra articles to explore and be inspired by.

The thing that has really filled me with enthusiasm is a list of items for a capsule wardrobe:
3 bottoms
6 tops
1 dress
1 pair flat shoes
2 pairs heels
1 pair boots
1 jacket
1 cardigan
1 coat
1 wrap

(This is a slight adaptation of a list I found at 43 things)

I figure that if I can come up with a week’s worth of wearable work outfits from that I can just wear them until I get bored and then put together a new capsule. I like the idea of colour themed capsules. It might also mean that when I can change my clothes over at the end of summer (what summer??) I may well leave some of them in the suitcase if they don’t form part of the capsule. I suppose that I could have photos of all possible combinations on my phone which would help with planning (e.g. making sure stuff is washed and ironed). Then it would just be down to accessories.

Also inspired by thinking about the 10 items that I would buy if I lost all my clothes. I think it would differ for summer and winter. I’m going to have a good think about this and come up with a list which I will post here. This will also feed into my capsule and help me prioritise.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Creamy chickpea and tahini bake

It was only after I’d scoffed the last portion of this that I realised I have failed to take any photographs with which to wet your appetite.

I got the recipe from Recipezaar and was alerted to it by Kenny’s veganlunchcast (which is sadly not being updated at present). It is absolutely delicious and very filling. It also stands up well to being ‘creative’ with ingredient quantities. I mixed up a load of it and used some to stuff some courgettes. The rest has reheated brilliantly for lunch. I was also pleased that it made use of ingredients that I either had in the cupboard, fridge or freezer.

I’d forgotten what a treasure trove Recipezaar is. I’ve been tending to make use of (another Kenny recommendation) when I’ve needed a bit of inspiration. I’m determined that my fruit and vegetable consumption won’t tail off this winter even if the variety does. On the bus home I’m going to draw up a list of things that I can eat to get my five a day over the winter months. Then if I find my resolve and enthusiasm is wavering I’ll have something to keep me on the ‘straight and narrow’.

Monday, September 15, 2008

And how am I today?

  • Craving chocolate, which is strange because I have a salt tooth rather than a sweet tooth.
  • Thrilled with the variety of produce lurking in my fridge at present, a big chunk of which came from my allotment.
  • Thinking that it would be a really good idea to buy some silicon cupcake cases (there’s that sweet tooth again).
  • Loving green liquid eyeliner by MAC and loving it even more on someone else so I can admire it all the time.
  • Gutted that the pair of non leather black boots in the charity shop didn’t fit, even thought they were my size – does the universe have a better pair waiting for me somewhere?
  • Joyful how marvellous soup prepared from leftovers lurking around the kitchen can turn out so well.
  • Delighted that the henna I put on my hair on Saturday has taken so well. I may never return to chemical dyes and it really is a pleasure to find out what colour my hair actually is.

    That’s more positives than negatives which can only be a good thing! Let the week commence.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Dinner dilemma

Clearly Dear Heart and I are reaching the age when birthdays stop being a cause for celebration. We celebrated Dear Heart’s yesterday by carrying on as normal, except for a short bout of present opening. He even decided to have cheese on toast for dinner (normal for a Thursday) despite my offers to cook something more … er... complex. No a drop of alcohol passed either of our lips.

He did indicate that Chinese food would be good tonight but prefers to get a takeaway to eating out. I pestered him about Saturday night thinking that he might want to do something then – maybe go out somewhere and met up with friends?

Negative, although he did mention buying a steak for his Saturday dinner consumption.

And this does mean that I need to do a bit of thinking. We used to quite often do ‘free choice’ evening where we’d both cook different meals but eat together. Or we’d share a portion of carbohydrate but find out own accompaniments. We haven’t done it in quite some time though so I’ve gotten out of the habit of thinking of recipes that I want to try out. I’m also quite keen to ensure that whatever I consume makes use of the food I have on hand. This is most notably courgettes, but I also have beans in the freezer, seiten, dried gluten chunks and probably a few other odds and ends.

I thinking of making stuffed courgettes with a variety of fillings that I can freeze for later consumption. I don’t want to devour all the courgettes though. I was inspired by a recipe in one of the Sarah Kramer books. Courgettes fried in sesame oil with garlic and little 5 spice are yummy and served on noodles keep well in the fridge for lunch.

Have a divine weekend and I'll try and rustle up some photographs of my creations

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Don't panic

Yesterday was hectic. Things started out fine but then I had more than I expected. So I left work at usual time rather than early as I had planned. Then the bus didn’t turn up so I got home much later than planned. I only had one book with me (The Heroin Diaries by Nikki Sixx) which I finished while waiting for the bus. This must be the first time in years that I haven’t taken a spare book everywhere.

The shower is leaking (although Dear Heart may have worked his magic on it). I had planned to make tortillas for dinner because I was going to get home early. I also needed to prepare lunch because it was my turn to provide lunch for our ladies who (pack) lunch Thursday.

My dodgy ankle went over as I was hurrying up the road so I’ve got some scraps and bruises. Also today is Dear Heart’s birthday so I wanted to double check that everything was in place. Arggg!

But everything has turned out Ok. Dear Heart and I did a little switch with dinner and had a toast based snack for dinner. Tortillas will be eaten tonight or go in the freezer. I made a lovely lunch which seems to have gone down surprisingly well. I checked everything was in place for Dear Heart.

I really must learn to recite ‘panic is not a word in my vocabulary’. Actually it wasn’t’ panic that slowed me down so much as the urge to tell everyone how much pressure I felt under – just like I have here. A little less conversation, a little more action –words of wisdom from the King!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Lunch tote

Isn't this adorable? My folks bought it back from their trip to Colorado for me, along with a stash of other goodies. The bookstore it came from sounds amazing. The store's website looks pretty good too.

I already have a tin popeye lunchbox (resurrected from childhood) and an insulated thing with a couple of compartments and netbags on the side. Some days I don't use a special bag at all if I have several days worth of food to carry (or dishes that seem to have immense volume!).

This one is just right for taking lunch out to the park (weather permitting!) and easily carries the most vital of lunch accessories - a good book.

Oh and I don't think it's easily readable in the photo but the front reads:

Noonday tea is much improved when taken in the quiet companionship of a good book - Archibald Smythe

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Real snail mail and the meaning of doodles

One of the total joys of the Internet is silly sites.

I’m quite taken with Real snail mail and I just love that the organisation behind it is called Boredom Research. Your message gets sent to a server and then waits for a snail to crawl past and pick it up. Then the snail carries the message until it reaches the drop off point sending on its way. Not certain how concerned I should be about the welfare of the snails?

This morning I found my self doodling for the first time in ages (maybe because I wasn’t actually sitting at a computer?). I did a load of 3D type boxes which is not the type of doodle I usually do. I’m much more a hearts and flowers type. So I decided to look up the meaning online.

So I peeked at which says that I have an orderly mind and love of routine (just what Dear Heart was teasing me about this morning).

I also checked out
I love that there is a national doodle day. The interpretation was all rather vague, but strangely comforting. Anyhow as the site says : 'Interpreting doodles is not an exact science, but speculating about their deeper significance is fascinating and can be rewarding if it gives insight into ourselves, our friends, family or people we work with.'

I suppose random internet surfing (while avoiding doing something unpleasant or boring) can be seen as an electronic version of doodling!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Autumn wear 2008

Yet again I am trying to work out what to wear. Basically another load of linen stuff has ceased to function as it should this summer leaving me a little short on bottoms.

Items I have that are wearable: Jeans, black flowery skirt, wide black skirt
Items that are wearable when I get around to ironing them: Green linen skirt, cream flowery skirt, plain cream skirt.
Items that I can’t face wearing at present: white linen trousers, pink linen skirt
Items that need surgery to make them wearable: grey linen trousers, beige trousers

Given that I wear my summer clothes for about a quarter of the year I just can’t understand why they always seem to be wearing out? I seem to have a lot of ‘summer’ tops which don’t actually go with a single jacket or cardigan that I own meaning that they are only suitable for wear on very warm days. Also I’m less keen on wearing knee length skirts at present because (a) my legs have gone a very strange colour as a result of using ‘Holiday skin’ and (b) it’s too cold.

Quite frankly I could happily go to work in jeans until I get bored of them (and surely that won’t be until after I dig out my winter clothes). However that seems to dull for words and somehow cheating (on what or who I’m not sure – myself maybe?). Also I have had disasters in the past where I’ve spilt stuff on my two wearable pairs of jeans on the same day. Plus I can’t wear my denim jacket if I wearing jeans. So I’m giving thought to my transitional autumn wardrobe which will make the most of my summer clothes without giving me chills or being overtly reliant on my jeans.

My thoughts on this at present are around black tights. Leggings are much more comfortable but I just don’t see me working a footless tight look. I’m also looking at the cardigans I own and figuring out which I can wear as a kind of light jacket.

Of course, you can bet that just as I get warmer clothing sussed an Indian summer will kick in and I’ll be trying to work out what to wear that looks cool and smart!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Gone too quickly

Today has flown by. I almost forgot to blog. My Monday post seems a lifetime ago and I'm sure Monday morning will be here again in the blink of an eye.

I'm looking forward to the weekend. I'm going to have a couple of beers tonight and turn my failed cupcakes into truffles.

Saturday I have my usual walk and visit to the local deli and bakers scheduled. Then I'm spending the rest of the day over at my sister's place and my parents are coming up from Somerset. I haven't seen my folks for more then ten minutes since Christmas so I am quite looking forward to it.

Sunday a spot of allotmenting and preparing for the week ahead.

If time goes quickly I think it must mean that you are living in the moment?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

New blogs to devour

I’ve taken a couple of blogs that haven’t been updated in forever or have disappeared off my list. Happily I’ve discovered some new blogs to fill the gaps.

I recently came across Queen Lazy at while I was searching for daily outfit type posts. I immediately added her to my favourites list and was thrilled to see that she Twitters too.

Talking of Twitter my new find of the day is Twiller. It’s a thriller written via Twitter. Visit and have a look at mrichel and see what you think.

Then there’s queengilda. Not entirely sure how I discovered her but looks like being a blog that I will enjoy visiting regularly.

I’m still visiting littlesipsoftea, iCiNG, Brocantehome and Wardroberefashion on a daily basis. However I am badly in need of some more inspiring vegan food blogs. The ones that I have been reading regularly such as don’t get mad, get vegan and brookethevegan haven’t been posting much for various reasons. Veganlunchbox has been posting over the summer though, which has been good. I think I need a new lunchbox blog to follow into the autumn to fill me with inspiration.

Suggestions please.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

How did these end up here?

A pair of shoes put neatly side by side and abandoned on an empty
residential street. Who do they belong to? How did they get here?
What's the story?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The more you blog the more you can

I started my blog with the idea of blogging on a regular basis. However I found that when I was doing lots of interesting things I was so caught up in it that I couldn’t motivate myself to also write about them. When life was a bit less thrilling I didn’t think that I had anything to write about.

Then in June I decided that I would try blogging on a daily basis where possible. I worried that I’d have nothing to write about but I the more I wrote the more ideas seemed to present themselves. Then things have trailed off again over the summer and I find that once again I need to get back into the discipline of regular posts.

I need to look at mobile blogging this autumn. I often take photos on my phone with the intention of loading them to my blog. Let’s have a season of more spontaneous and visual blogging.

Monday, September 01, 2008

I love September

September is one of my favourite months. It’s got that fresh start, back to school, will-try-harder-this-year vibe. It seems like a whole world of possibilities being laid out in front of me. It signifies that it’s officially OK not to expect the weather to be good just because it’s August. Not to feel like you must party every night just because that’s what you’re supposed to do in the summer.

It’s been quite a hectic summer for me with lots going on at work and at home. So I really am anticipating with glee the possibility of being at my desk most days. It’s fun to plan lunches and outfits. I look forward to catching up with the gossip and the joy of working with my colleagues. I’ll be able to attend lunchtime exercise classes every week instead of grabbing the odd class here and there.

I like the thought of getting into a routine (although I suppose ritual would do just as well here?). Enjoying a cup of tea, the radio and a good book before retiring for the night. Waking up feeling fresh (and smiling!) before the alarm sounds. Watching for the colours of the trees to start changing. Anticipating the first nip of winter in the air.

September is a month of calm anticipation even if it doesn’t always come with a new pencil case. Don't forget to count your blessings.