9 Jan 2018

2017: in review

What a year.

There have been some spectacular highs and some heart-renching lows in 2017. When reflecting back I find it difficult not to think about some of these lows (Manchester and London terrorist attacks, the Grenfell Tower fire) largely because they hit very close to home. But I've also thought a lot about everyone who rallied together because of those lows, to help, support and stand up. That is the spirit I want to channel in 2018.

On a lighter note, 2017 was a pretty good year in my little bubble...

I finally got my drivers license! I've not driven a car since my test but we're hoping to do a lesson of motorway driving at the end of the month. Should be interesting...

I started studying for my GCSE in Astronomy. I've only had six lessons so far and it's tough but, I love it! I get to nerd it up about space, and the planets and stars, plus the school where I'm studying has a mini observatory on their roof - what's not to love?

It was one hell of a creative year - crocheting, knitting, sewing and dressmaking. As well as the baby quilt (and winnie the pooh), one of the projects I'm most proud of this year is the lopi jumper I knitted for Mitch. It took about 7 weeks but I think it was worth it :)

I got away from the big smoke, a lot. I know I thought 2016's travel was impressive but I think 2017 has topped it. There were day trips to the Cheddar Gorge and Bournemouth; long weekends in Deal, Brighton and Cumbria; work events took me to Manchester and Hull; and of course my passport saw some action with two trips to Denmark (Copenhagen and the island of Møn) as well as a return visit to Iceland (I didn't think it was possible but it was even better a second time round). We've got some ambitious travel plans for 2018, fingers crossed we'll get to do them :)

Lastly, I turned 30. I know this isn't an actual achievement, just something that happens to us all, but I just wanted to highlight the way 30 has made me feel: the most confident I've ever felt - in my abilities and in my own skin. Sure my 20s were beyond amazing, but I've got a very good feeling about my 30s. So here's to you 2018, I'm excited for all your potential!

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24 Oct 2017

Ode to brunch


I've had a little (5 month) break from the blogging world mostly because I've been off travelling - eating, drinking and seeing some seriously amazing things. But, in order to ease my way back into this blogging malarky, I want to talk you about my love for brunch.

I know us millennials get a lot of grief over our preoccupation with brunch but whatever, it's the best (and I'll never be able to buy a house in London anyway so I may as well enjoy all the brunch I can get). Also, in my defense, Mitch and I don't always venture out for brunch, in fact, some of my favourite breakfasts and brunches have been made at home, he has skillz - namely his sourdough toast with avocado, radish, mint, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, tatziki and a poached egg (bottom right). It is as good as it sounds/looks :)

Other favourite brunches around Peckham way include: the devil's cheese (cheese and jalapeño on toast) at The Peckham Pelican (their mushrooms on toast are also perfecto); the full English at Pedler; plantain and harissa scrambled eggs at Persepolis, washed down with either their avocado smoothie or orange, ginger and mint tea.

Still sticking south but slightly further afield: Maltby market for all manner of good eats - St John bakery for custard-filled doughnuts or, for something savoury, Monty's Deli for giant pastrami sarnies (and side of giant gherkin); ALL the breakfasts at The Breakfast Club in Clapham (but especially the American one).

Lastly, my ultimate fancy weekday breakfast (which Mitch and I have only done twice but it's so civilised, I hope we do it again soon), Dishoom. Yes their curry is incredible but I'm telling you it's all about their bacon naan roll (as lush as it sounds), their bombay breakfast (best scrambled eggs and beans EVER) and their bottomless chai tea. It's altogether divine.

26 Jun 2017

Me Made May 2017

Last month I took part in Me Made May over on Instagram - a pledge to wear at least one handmade item everyday in May. I had attempted to join in last year but quickly realised I had not made enough items. This year though, I did it! Okay, yes, I did double up a few times and I've counted two handmade items not made by me but, to be honest, this just highlighted two things I already know and want to change about my handmade wardrobe.

Lessons learned:
1. I do not have enough basics (particularly jersey knit tees!)
This is partly because I've not really got the hang of sewing with knit fabric. To date, I have made two Grainline studio Lark tees and a self-drafted pencil skirt, all of which I like, but they're not my best bits of sewing by a long way. Cotton is just so easy to work with and comes in so many amazing prints, I'm like a moth to the flame! Plus, I don't own an overlocker (nor have I ever used one) which means the finish on the knit items isn't great. I definitely want to try a few more jersey knit patterns, Colette's Moneta seems like a good bet.

2. I'm lacking cooler weather options
So it turns out mine is handmade wardrobe made with fine weather in mind (which is pretty funny given that I live in England where even summer is not guaranteed). About 80% of my stuff is suited for warm weather which, on reflection, makes a lot of sense; I tend to spend the autumn and winter months crocheting or knitting, and spring/summer is my sewing time. It's a crazy craft timetable which left me slightly screwed at the beginning of May when the weather was decidedly autumnal in London, and I quickly ran out of weather appropriate handmade items to wear! Luckily, there's lots of great patterns out there that are perfect for layering in cooler weather (Tilly and the Button's Cleo dress and Grainline studio 's Farrow dress to name a couple).

Most worn pattern: See Kate Sew's Zippy Top - I now have 6, plus I wore two of them twice - so yeah, my Me Made May would've been buggered without the Zippy Top.

Newest pattern: Style Arc's Blaire shirt. I love shirts but up until last month I'd never tried making one (mostly because they looked too complicated - collar, button holes - yeesh). I spotted lots of lovely Blaires on instagram - such a great boxy shape - and thought I'd be a great pattern to ease me into shirt making. Turned out that I couldn't have been more wrong! The succinct instructions (seriously, I've written more detailed shopping lists) were baffling. Luckily, some sewing bloggers had encountered the same problem and written some helpful tips on constructing Blaire. One blogger also pointed out that the Blaire shirt was not the best pattern to attempt if you'd never made a shirt before - I'm with her on that! Once I had the collar and collar stand under control, the rest was fairly straightforward; struggles aside I really do love this pattern. So much so that I started making a second shirt straight after I finished the first, and they're now both in heavy rotation in my wardrobe. I even plan on having a go at the dress version this week :) I've got my eye on a couple of other shirt patterns too - ByHandLondon's Sarah shirt and the Alder shirt dress by Grainline studio.

Aside from the challenge itself, Me Made May was also an excellent opportunity to connect with the wider sewing community. I've certainly started following a few new accounts on Instagram and the wealth of inspiration out there, all thanks to that one little hashtag, is crazy! People make some truly awesome things, my 'to make' list has grown exponentially! Seeing what people are able to achieve, making (what seem to me) difficult items - coats, bras, swimming costumes - gives me hope that, one day, I won't want for anything and that I'll be able to attempt such things myself. Grand plans coming from someone who struggles with jersey knit fabric but hey, 4 years ago I couldn't sew at all, all it takes is practice, time and patience :)

2 Jun 2017

I ❤ manchester

At 6:15 am on Tuesday morning, I found myself on a train to Manchester for a work event (namely, the UK Space Conference). Although I spent the majority of my time in Manchester Central convention centre, I did manage to get to see some of this brilliant city in the evenings. Two things stood out: firstly, the excellent food and drink options. The first night we descended upon the curry mile (surprisingly enough) for delicious curry at Mughli; and on the Wednesday night we spent four hours in the awesome Albert Schloss - home of beer, bratwurst and Baby Grand Slam (1 stage, 2 pianos, endless requests).

The second stand out thing about Manchester is it's spirit and I'm not just referring to the city coming together in the aftermath of the horrific events last Monday (although I did go to see the hundreds of flowers laid out in St Anne's square in rememberance of the victims of the bomb attack - it was very moving and heart-achingly sad). Perhaps because it is smaller than London, there really did feel like a community spirit in the city, all the people I encountered were so friendly and helpful, the vibe is effortlessly cool and positive.

I had been to Manchester for another work trip two years ago where I managed to see the stunning John Rylands library and a wander around Afflecks. This visit has only confirmed what I felt the last time: this is one cool city, I need to come back :)

22 Mar 2017


 Reading: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. I'm only 13% in but so far so good. It reminds me of a cross between DS9, The Expanse and a teeny bit of Firefly...

 Watching: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (I am obsessed); Iron Fist (meh, not as good as Daredevil but it's held my attention as much as Luke Cage); Abstract (Netflix documentary series where each episode focuses on one particular creative individual - we've had an illustrator, set designer, architect, shoe designer and typographer); Taboo (gritty, grim and kinda creepy period drama starring Tom Hardy and his trademark beautiful face, mumbled lines and weird accent - good though). 

★ Eating: ALL the vegetables. I'm still not really eating meat (unless a friend is cooking me dinner) all thanks to the great food poisoning incident in Deal.

★ Drinking: ALL the tea (with ALL the biscuits)

★ Making: A second Tilly & The Buttons François Dress. I'm rather chuffed at how my first one came out (pics soon), it really is a lovely pattern.

 Wearing: Shirts! On their own, with my pinafore dress, under jumpers - layers are the key in this transitional (not to mention changeable) March weather. 

Horrified by: My new passport photos, good god are they awful. It's amazing what not-smiling can do to your face, I honestly look about 10 years older! Vanity issues aside, yay, new passport!

★ Looking forward to: Said new passport as I really need to book some holiday when it arrives. In the more immediate future, I'm very much looking forward to a weekend away in the New Forest. 

★ Musing: Today marks six years since I started this blog. Six! Granted, it's been rather quiet on here for the last couple of years but my plan to write something at least once a month seems to be working. I say it at every anniversary but I love the fact that I have six years worth of memories here, so much has happened in that time and the blog captures a unique little part of it. As ever, I am (pleasantly) surprised that I've managed to start something and not abandon it, this blog is in fact testament that I can start a project and see it though - it's probably the only thing but whatevs. Here's to the next six eh?! 

14 Mar 2017

a weekend in Deal

Seven of us spent the last weekend of February in the very pretty seaside town of Deal. As always, it was SO good to get out of London - I'd not left the city for more than one night since October(!) - needless to say, a few days by the sea was desperately needed.

We arrived at our lovely Airbnb on the Friday evening, had some of the most delicious seafood in this restaurant, before finishing the night in an excellent boozer not 5 minutes from our accommodation. Saturday was mostly spent walking 23km on and around the white cliffs, the views were pretty sweet. We stopped for tea (and a gigantic slice of victoria sponge cake) at the half way point in St Margarets at Cliffe (it's rather cute there too).

As with all our walking weekends away, Saturday night is dedicated to having some well deserved pints and pub grub but unfortunately,on this trip, this is where it all went wrong. Rather than a pub we ended up going to a resturant which gave us food poisoning. We'd planned to spend Sunday getting fish and chips and taking a stroll on Deal pier but this was abandoned as my friend and I were sick as dogs and just wanted to be in our own homes (close to our own loos). Food poisoning really is the worst. I'm gutted that the weekend got cut short, I really liked what I saw of Deal (apart from that one restaurant) and hope, one day, to go back, for the pier, the castle and those fish'n'chips.
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