Sunday, August 31, 2014

weekend wanderings #29

(images from, and uncredited on Pinterest)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Q #18

More feminism this week, in the form of Stevie Nicks - this is one of those things that I need on a t-shirt, pretty much.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

the summer of iced coffee

(photographs from and

I really do love coffee, you probably know that if you've read my blog for a while. At uni, I went through a stage of drinking a coffee when I got up, a big flask of coffee on my way into uni and in my studio in the morning, again at midmorning and at lunch, and then one mid-afternoon and sometimes when I got home. It was probably why I was so neurotic at university, but we'll leave that story for another post. 
But I mentioned in my a recent post that I just cannot stomach hot liquid when the temperature is above twenty degrees. And this was the summer that I apparently perfected my iced coffee recipe. I know it's drawing to a close now, but there are a few of you out there that are fans, so thought I'd show you the recipes I've been drooling over recently.
  • Cold brew coffee 101: cold brew is next on my list to try, it's apparently less bitter or acidic tasting than hot-brewed coffee, and it can keep for quite a while in the fridge. I definitely want to try this, but I need a bigger cafetiere - my mini one doesn't hold much. There is also coldtz brew coffee, Pioneer Woman style; I say PW-style because it is, like most of her recipes, super-sized.
  • Cold brew coffee & Mint Syrup: we have two giant bushes of amazing smelling mint left over at the allotment from the previous owners, I'm tempted to harvest a load and try this out. 
  • How to make a layered latte: I really had no idea that this was so easy? Maybe it's a rookie mistake on my part, but it looks so cool and it really is completely easy.
  • Easy to make coffee syrups: Again, they look really simple to make and I know I'll definitely be trying one of these once my Lidl caramel syrup has run out.
  • Ultimate iced coffee: this doesn't really tell me anything that I didn't already know, but the photographs are mouthwateringly good. 
  • Vanilla cinnamon coffee: I'm saving this mostly for the autumn. How some people go over Pumpkin Spice-everything? I'm like that with cinnamon. Cinnamon everything in the autumn. 
  • 'Skinny' vegan coffee: Personally, I don't like almond milk, but I get that it is lower in fat than regular milk. I don't know how almond milk would effect a coffee, I figure not at all, but then again I wouldn't know, so thought I'd include this here.
  • Condensed milk iced coffee: Now I know this is a thing, usually called Vietnamese coffee, because I know they used it with condensed milk, but if you've ever tasted condensed milk, it is the most sickly sweet thing imaginable. But that could negate the need for syrup, so I'm willing to try it.
Look, Huffington Post understands. It's just really good and so damn refreshing in the heat we've had this summer..

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

homemade mango chutney: recipe

The other day I made mango chutney. I make it sound so simple, don't I? However, stoning 4 giant mangos, your house stinking of vinegar and standing over a hot stove on a very hot English summer evening (read: humid!) is less than easy. It was worth it, though, when you end up with this most amazing chutney. I made about five jars (but have given a few away already) and I've been spooning it liberally onto curries and barbecue chicken ever since. 
A lot of the mango chutney's you can buy weren't sweet enough for me, or were too vinegary. which I'm not a huge fan of, so I wanted to make some that was exactly how I wanted.
I browsed a lot of recipes, and consulted my mother who is the oracle of all things jam and chutney related, and she said this BBC Food one would be a good one to try, so she helped me make it. I'll repost the recipe here:
- 4 large mangoes, peeled, stoned, and sliced
- salt
- 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
- 450g (1lb) of caster sugar
- 2 baking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
- 1 tbsp English mustard powder
- 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
- 600ml (1 pint) of apple cider vinegar (the recipe calls for white wine vinegar, but the apple cider vinegar is a bit more mellow, so I used that because I don't love vinegar)
- 1 tbsp cayenne pepper

1. Put the peeled, stone and sliced mangos in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt. Leave overnight. In the morning, drain the juice and rinse all the fruit.
2. Put the garlic, sugar, apples, mustard, ginger, vinegar and cayenne pepper in a pan and over a low heat, dissolve the sugar.
3. Bring to the boil and add the mangoes. Simmer for 45 minutes until the chutney is thick and syrupy, keep stirring so the mixture doesn't catch on the bottom of the pan. (The recipe says to simmer for 30, but after testing a bit on a cold plate in the fridge, it wasn't nearly thick enough, so we left it for about 45 minutes.)
4. Spoon (or use a jam-funnel) into sterilised jars. Allow to cool and seal. 
I gave a jar to my brother and his girlfriend, who are quite the foodies,  and my mum gave one to a friend of hers who likes chutneys, but nothing spicy, and they both agreed it was good! So I am pretty pleased, generally. It's got the perfect sweetness, with a bit of a vinegary kick that makes it just right. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

blackberry season

If you follow me on Instagram - you'll know I had to say goodbye to the allotment this month, which made me pretty sad. It's something I've really enjoyed doing, particularly spending time with my dad, which isn't something I get to do a lot. We've had a difficult relationship over the years, but I feel like the time spent digging up potatoes has helped, a bit. 
Our last day there was spent picking the last of the blackberries from the hedges there, as well as picking the last of the damsons and digging up the final row of onions. It was kind of sad to say goodbye to it all - but I know there'll be other things that I'll enjoy in the future. I'll post the last photographs I took one day soon, but for now, I'm just sharing these of the blackberries.
Anyway, any ideas on what I can do with all these berries?! I've frozen a bunch already and my mum's already made a few jars of blackberry, apple and damson jelly (which tastes amazing). When my mum and dad are back from their little break, I think I might have a go at making us a blackberry pie, which is something I really enjoy.
Anyone have any suggestions? I'm open to anything and everything! 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

weekend wanderings #28

(images from Pinterest, and

Saturday, August 23, 2014

plant life

Gradually, I am trying to turn my room into a jungle. I am collecting plants that remind me of something from The Drowned World. Ideally, I would live in a giant greenhouse and be surrounded by cacti and succulents and giant palm-trees. Until that day, I'll be content with these little ones. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Q #17

At uni, I felt like I went through a short, intense phase of being really into female artists - it's probably something that every young art student goes through. I remember seeing a room of her Inflammatory Essay's at the Tate when I was maybe sixteen or seventeen, and I thought it was everything I needed in my life. This is a quote from one of her projection works - recently I've been trying to be more forgiving towards other women, and have been trying to stand up - and more importantly, speak up - when people say things that aren't right, towards women, and it makes me feel like I'm at least trying, you know?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

dark chocolate seed + nut protein bites: recipe

I have to say that I am unbelievably happy with these! Sweet things are my weakness, completely, so whilst I can substitute most cravings whilst on my diet, sometimes I just really want chocolate, and nothing else can really take that place. The other week I caved and bought some chocolate and wolfed it down. Not wanting a repeat of that, I decided to try and whip up some dark-chocolate seedy-protein bites.
I just grabbed a bunch of nuts, seeds, etc, that I really liked, mixed them all up in a bowl, and came out with this. You can really adjust this to include whatever you like, because to be honest, what wouldn't taste good covered in dark chocolate? A lot of the recipes I was looking at for inspiration contained protein powders, but I'm not about that, I just wanted something crunchy and filling, so picked ingredients that would be good for that.
(All ingredients amounts are approximate, because I just added until I found a decent mixture. I weighed the pumpkin seeds and added similar amounts of everything else.)
- 40g pumpkin seeds
- 30g raw cashew nuts (not roasted or salted)
- 40g sunflower seed hearts
- 20g pine-nut kernels
- A handful of sultanas
- A handful of rolled oats
- 1 tbsp of peanut butter
- 100g dark chocolate (the more cocoa solids the better)

1. In a microwavable bowl (or on the stove over a bowl of water, if you're feeling fancy) melt the chocolate.
2. Add in all the seeds, pine-nuts, sultanas and peanut butter and mix together. Break the cashew nuts into pieces as you put them into the mixture, so you don't get giant lumps.
3. Add the oats as necessary, these are mostly to just help the mixture to stick together, so you don't want many.
4. Allow the chocolate to cool slightly, before making it into balls and placing on baking parchment. Put in the fridge to cool completely.
5. Keep them in the fridge, as they're best cold.
So as you can see, they're not hard to make, in the slightest. They're super tasty and they're really good for when you fancy something chewy and chocolatey - and each ball is only about 100 calories the way I make them. It gives you that sweet kick you want sometimes. They go great with iced coffee (I can attest to that) mid-morning, when you're flagging after an early start, or as a little treat in the evening. You can change the 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

each peach (pear) plum

I feel like I've eaten literally pounds of nectarines, peaches and plums this summer. Is it just me or have they been really good this year? Maybe it was all the rain we had earlier in the year, but I've noticed an abundance of them in the shops, and cheap, too. 
I've been putting them in smoothies and salads and just cutting them up and snacking on them whilst I knit or watch TV. They're so sweet that I almost forget I'm eating something relatively healthy - I picked up these giant peaches at Lidl the other day, they were the size of cooking apples and ripened perfectly and snagged a few plums cheap at work after my shift the other day.
Today I popped out to do some errands, and it felt noticeably cooler - like the weather is turning already. I look forward to autumn, and what that brings - but knowing that the summer is getting closer and closer to ending and that means the end of all the lovely cheap fruit in the shops makes me a little sad.
What are you really enjoying eating at the end of the summer? Let me know, and if you have any good recipes for stone-fruit, let me know those too!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

weekend wanderings #27

(images from and the 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

taking stock #4

Making: my fluorescent long-socks & working on an old, forever-knit (a blue and grey top, above you can see it in progress). They're both slow-going because my hand is hurting still.
Cooking: some sweet, dark-chocolate seedy nutty treats (recipe coming soon!).
Drinking: sparkling water.
Reading: The Snow Child, by Eowyn Ivey.
Wanting: to take a break from eating healthily, haha.
Watching: The Art of China, on iPlayer.
Eating: ice-creams which are only 90 calories - so damn good.
Deciding: what to do this afternoon.
Wishing: for more indulgent lie-ins, these early weekend starts are rough.
Enjoying: the latest issues of The Knitter + Oh Comely.
Waiting: for autumn.
Loving: the fact I finished work early today.
Hoping: for good weather, it's been on the turn this week.
Needing: more time, I feel like.
Smelling: mint.
Wearing: grey jeans, a new brown sweater from H&M (bare feet).
Thinking: about how quick this year has gone.
Hearing: Diane Birch.
Feeling: sleepy.
Admiring: my own perseverance.
Buying: new trainers - my first proper, branded pair - ever! Also, they're bright blue & green.
Getting: fitter and healthier everyday and feeling so good about it.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Q #16

I'll stop with all the Sylvia Plath quotes, one day, but she really is one of my favourite writers for a reason - she's absolutely spot on, all the time. Her writing is simply amazing. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

blueberry elevenses

I wish I could take credit for these amazing looking blueberry scones... I cannot. My mum made them - and of course, because she made them, they're amazing. She bakes the most amazing cakes, but recently we've both been trying to be healthier, so there are only treats about when he friends come for coffee. The other day she made these blueberry scones and they were insanely good. Hot out of the oven with butter, an iced coffee and some strawberries... So freaking good.

I also wish I could tell you a recipe... I cannot, because my mum doesn't really do recipes. She can make the most amazing cakes, scones, bread, lasagnes, pizzas... all sorts of amazing things from scratch, but ask her exactly the proportions of whatever went in? Well, that is trickier. She doesn't cook anything she considers 'a faff'/uses more than two bowls/involves folding, using a bain-marie.. I could go on, but you get the idea. 

I can tell you that the recipe she uses is probably derived from a Delia recipe, once upon a time, because that is usually where they originate. And she used one whole pack of blueberries to make about a dozens scones. I really cannot tell you that much about them, really, but I just thought I'd tell you how much I enjoyed them!

Monday, August 11, 2014

new in: books

I managed to pick these books up at the Oxfam charity shop, all three of them for £6, which is why I really love charity shops. I went in with the intention of looking for the Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, because I've wanted to read it for such a long time now. I downloaded a copy for my kindle, but I only really like reading things on my kindle when I'm travelling or not at home. I also saw the Snow Child, which I keep seeing good things about. I also found a John Wyndham novel that I've never seen before and thought I'd give it a go. It's short and about spiders on an island... 
Have you read any of these, and if so, do you recommend any?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

weekend wanderings #26

(images from, and

Friday, August 08, 2014

Q #15

I love that this is from one of my favourite comedians, Dylan Moran. It's a little bit out of context, but it's still true - and it's something that I have to keep reminding myself of, over and over again. Other people will try to drag you down, I've had my fair share of 'friends' like that, and it's sometimes hard to remember the bigger picture when they're shooting down every thing you say.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

golden hour

It is officially the last month at the allotment, and that's pretty much all I have to say. All we have left to pick are some potatoes and a few sad onions. I took these photographs a couple of weeks ago as the sun was setting, but I'm going to try and take my good camera down one day this week and get a few last photographs to remember the place..

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

jane austen county

I've lived in Hampshire all my life (well, apart from when I was child and our postcode was listed as Surrey, for some reason) and I always laughed when we'd been out somewhere or away and we passed the sign that said Jane Austen County as you enter Hampshire... My friend Tam came to visit last weekend, and we had a nice jaunt around the Hampshire/Surrey border, going to see Jane Austen's house (pictured), making little lavender bags there and having my first cream-tea all year. We also popped into Farnham and made a hot walk up to the castle, which despite having gone to university there, I never went to during my time living there. It's weird how there are these places right near you that you never visit, isn't it?

Monday, August 04, 2014

summer face favourites

After posting about my current face - I  realised how much I used to enjoy writing about makeup, which I don't do too much anymore, since I got out of the whole #bbloggers scene. So I thought I would talk about my favourite summer makeup. It's really not that much different to my regular makeup.. Just, more pared back than it is in winter. Less vampy purple lipstick.

MAC Brow Pencil in Spiked: I recently purchased this and it's just a great. I spoke about it in this post, but it's really fine, creamy and just all round great. I was using the Soap & Glory Archery one, but this is much nicer, I think.

Kiehl's Creamy Avocado Eye Treatment: I've been using this for quite a while now, and have noticed a definite improvement in the skin around my eyes. I still use a regular face moisturiser, but I find the recent humidity has all by completely sucked the moisture from my skin so it's great to inject a little extra moisture if I can.

MAC Carbon Eyeshadow: I love eyeliner, it's a problem. Pretty much all I wear these days is black cat-eyes, crap tons of mascara, and red lips. So adventurous, I know. But in the summer, unless it's a special occasional I really can't be bothered to deal with putting that stuff on my sweaty (sorry) eyelids. This is where a matte black shadow and a tiny angled brush (I used the MAC 266) comes in handy. Quickly sweep it along the lashline, and it looks like eyeliner. Super quick, no fuss.

MAC Eyeshadow Quad in Deep Truth, Big T, Nylon and Woodwinked: This quad came about because I saw this beautiful looking eyeshadow palette by Laura Mercier which I still really want, but thought I had the exact same shades in my MAC collection. So I dug out some similar shades and changed it up a bit, swapping the light blue for a shimmery white highlight, and I've got my perfect summer quad. The bronze and blues go amazingly well together when swept across the lid lightly, with a little bit of shimmer, it's a good combination. Some of the colours I have (the blues) were limited edition, but MAC re-release so many of them, you're bound to find similar ones.

Malin + Goetz Lip Moisturiser: I got this free with a magazine recently, and I think it's absolutely amazing for those days where you've been out in the sun a little too long without an SPF lip balm on, you know you're guilty of it too. This gets them feeling a little less disgustingly flaky afterwards, always a plus.

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer: I love this concealer for under my eyes and wherever else I need a little extra coverage, quickly. It's in a really easy to apply with the twist up tube and means I can throw it in my bag without needing a makeup-brush or anything else. When slipped over well moisturised skin, it goes on like a dream. 

MAC Chili lipstick: I can't forgo red lipstick, even in the summer, but I've managed to take step away from my favourite vampy reds and berry hues, and have been reaching for this one so much in July. It's sort of a browny-orange toned red, but don't let that put you off, it works amazingly well with tanned skin and barely there makeup. A little mascara and highlighter and it looks so effortless.

Benefit Sunbeam Highlighter: The perfect shimmery gold highlighter, which doesn't make you look like a glitter bomb exploded on your face. Mine is a little sample size version, but it's lasted me forever, and I love it dabbed lightly along my brow and cheek bones.

Bobbi Brown Bronzer in Natural: I've posted a full review of this here, but it's really just the perfect, terracotta shade, with a great formula. No shimmer, so great for contouring, too. 

Sunday, August 03, 2014

weekend wanderings #25

(images from, and