31 Jul 2014

what a week

It's been a funny old week. A lot of stuff has happened in the last seven days, lots of change. Here's what it looked like.

Last Thursday an interesting bombshell was dropped at work which has seriously shaken-up my August. Friday was my friend's wedding which took place on an island in the middle of the Thames (such a lovely day). I woke up on Saturday to find that my sore throat (contracted on the train back from York on wed) had morphed into the most disgusting cold & cough. Despite my hideousness I hauled my sick self to Forest Hill to pick up my wedding dress on Saturday afternoon (:D totally worth it). My mum hosted a family lunch on Sunday to welcome my auntie and cousin who are over from New Zealand for the wedding. Monday was devoted to a lot of wedding craft (the bouquets are finished!) whilst the last two days involved yet more wedding shiz (vases, cake toppers, decor stuff, place cards). After a day of wedding admin I'm having tonight off - drinks on the south bank with a friend. Happy Thursday y'all.

24 Jul 2014

one sunny wednesday in york

To celebrate the end of quilting magazine, work treated us to a trip to York, home, amongst other things, to the Quilt Museum and Gallery, whom we'd been working with fairly closely throughout the last three years.

I was pretty young the last time I work to York and it was all about the castle and the Yorvik Centre, so it was great to see a different side of the city. The old part is incredibly pretty - narrow winding streets, comprised of seriously cool and historical looking buildings. This city certainly has excellent architecture. It's even difficult to distinguish the chain shops from the independents as nearly all the shop fronts have been left unaltered.

We walked along the city wall from the station to the Quilt Museum - so much of it has been preserved. The museum itself was v.teeny but their collection is ace, some of the pieces dating back to the 1700s! Despite the age of the quilts, the majority are in incredibly good condition. We weren't allowed to take pictures but here's what it looks like inside, pretty huh?

After the museum we went off in search of lunch and after wondering around for a bit, we settled on the Lamb and Lion Inn near High Petergate, mostly because of its gorgeous garden terrace right beside the old city walls.

After several glasses of wine and the tastiest (and most gigantic) steak and ale pie I've had in ages  (which I sadly could not finish no matter how much I wanted to), we made our way to the river to see the Clifford Tower (which was what my pie was based on - the likeness is pretty good I thought).

After a roam around the shambles and the v.pretty centre, it was time to head back to the station and catch our train to London. The train was surprisingly quick considering the distance (and a fairly good price when booked in advance) but next time I think I'd like to spend longer than a day in York, I feel there was a hell of lot we didn't get to explore.

23 Jul 2014

the hen do

Saturday was my hen do and it was all that I hoped it would be and more! One of my lovely bridesmaids asked me to come round her flat at 5:30 to drop my stuff off (I was staying at her's that night). I arrived only to find that ALL my faves were gathered there, in her perfectly decorated living room might I add, waiting to surprise me. It was so lovely. We all mingled, nibbled on the prettiest spread (also made by my fabulous bridesmaid), drank many glasses of prosseco before opening our goody-bags (lollipops, nail transfers, bubbles - all the good stuff). My goody bag contained some extra special items: the prettiest bride sash that I've ever seen, my very own shot glass necklace and, of course, a veil! I know that sort of thing isn't to everyone's taste but I thought it was awesome and wore them all night :) To conclude the first part of the evening, my sister (also a bridesmaid) led a Mr&Mrs type quiz - she'd recorded Mitch asking questions on her ipad and I had to guess what he would answer. Thankfully I know my future mr rather well and so only had to do three shots of mango vodka - the penalty for wrong answers - and instead shared them out between my fellow hens. At 7:30 we were all whisked away to Drink, Shop & Do for jugs of cocktails and dancing. Our third and final stop was House of Wolf in Islington and there we danced the rest of the night away to an excellent assortment of 90s and early 00s tunes. It all gets a bit hazy at this last venue so the mountain of pictures taken by my fabulous loves have really helped me piece together the night. Those of us left standing at the end made it back to Herne Hill by 5am.

Needless to say I was suffering from a gargantuan hangover the next day, made much better by my bridesmaid and her flatmate cooking a big ol' fry up. At midday we headed over to the Lambeth Country Show where we lazed about on a picnic blanket in the shade eating ice-lollies and the most delicious wraps from French & Grace. I dragged my hungover ass back to west london just as the heavens decided to open. So there you have it, one bloody amazing hen weekend. I have the best bridesmaids EVER who I cannot thank enough for sorting out the entire shebang without me lifting a finger! I also have the best bunch of friends in the world, all of whom made my night freaking ace. I am one lucky gal and I cannot wait to do it all over again at the wedding :)

18 Jul 2014

experiments in dressmaking - Pastille

Hello! Hope you've managed to enjoy some of the glorious weather we've had this week. My time has been equally spent between sunning myself outside and cracking on with wedding related crafts inside. Yesterday however, I took some time out to finish off my latest dress. Behold!

I used the bodice from Colette's Pastille dress pattern (one of the five patterns featured in their sewing handbook) but instead of the fitted skirt I went with a simple gathered one. It doesn't look as fancy as the original but I do love me a gathered skirt and I personally think it's a bit more summery.

The fabric was from a fairly recent trip to the Goldhawk Road and I bloody love it. It is so light and soft - perfect for a summer dress. I also really like the binding around the sleeves and hem, it makes the dress look more 'finished' I think.

Fit-wise, it's a bit loose around the sleeves and a made a fairly noticeable mistake on the back which you can probably see from the photo. I've still not quite mastered the invisible zip either, boo. On the plus side, with each dress I make I'm getting better at knowing my body shape and which sizes to choose on the pattern (as I lack any kind of waist I'm usually in between two pattern sizes). Also, this dress is SO comfortable to wear so I can overlook the errors.

For it's first outing yesterday I teamed the dress with my gold sandals (which I basically live in at the moment - yay!) and my favourite headscarf. I felt so damn summery :)

In other news, it's Friday and a hot one at that. I just met Mitch at Westfield to collect our wedding rings which was cool and now there's just three hours left of work and only 27 hours till my hen do :D - I cannot wait! Hope you've got a fabulous weekend lined-up too.

15 Jul 2014

Reading & Seeing 19

How to Train Your Dragon 2
I know, it's for kids, but I'm a child too, especially when it comes to dragons, especially one dragon in particular...Toothless! I bloody loved the first film and this sequel did not disappoint in the slightest. All your favourite characters are back, fives years older and sporting facial hair/more grown up hairstyles, we're introduced to yet more dragons (never a bad thing) and the story is awesome - no dreary re-hash-of-the-original-just-to-make-mega-bucks here. There's plenty of laughs, quite a few tears, the animation is excellent and Toothless is as adorable as ever. I wish he was my dragon. Overall it's pretty light-hearted, v.colourful and lots of fun - perfect escapism for a sunday evening.

The Raid 2
Another sequel but an altogether different affair - martial arts fighting, gang wars, corrupt systems, mass amounts of bloodshed. I v.much enjoyed the first film which had an incredibly simple premise - a police squad were to break into a crumbling tower block and arrest the crime boss who occupied it. The simple set up, of course, meant that the film was essentially a vehicle for some seriously awesome fight sequences, all backed by an ace soundtrack. The sequel however is hampered by a rather lumpy, convoluted, and at times confusing, plot. There's some great fight scenes but I kind've lost track of who was who and what side they were on. It also felt like this film went on forever, nowhere near as gripping or suspense-filled as the first.

Fahrenheit 451 (1953)
Another SF classic which I'd never read before. The concept is pretty excellent and rather thought-provoking: a dystopian future where Firemen no longer put out fires but start them, and what are they burning? Books, works of fiction, anything that's a 'lie'. Messed up huh? As books have become controband, technology has advanced and people no longer have TVs but TV rooms where whole walls project shows (kinda like soaps) which you can join in with. It's an incredibly bleak future but one v.few people in the book seem to oppose, apart from our fireman protagonist of course, who suddenly starts to question the way society is run. Like The Slaughterhouse Five, it's one of those great SF novels that somehow escaped me, glad I finally got around to it though.

The Blind Assassin (2000)
This is actually a re-read and one of my all-time favourite novels. It tells the story of sisters Iris and Laura Chase. Although they were close when they were young growing up between the world wars, they become distanced thanks to Iris', to an extent, arranged marriage to successful businessman Richard Griffen. Their lives are being recalled from the present (1999) by Iris, now in her 80s and so the narrative flits between her life now, her childhood and the novel: The Blind Assassin which in turn tells the story of a young woman engaged in an affair with a man wanted by the authorities. In their meetings (seedy restaurants, grotty hotel rooms, wherever they can without being caught) he tells his lover stories, SF stories which he writes to make a bit of cash: stories about lizard men, women only planets, fantasy kingdoms and the story of The Blind Assassin itself. Yep that's right, it's a story within a story within a story within a story. So many layers - god I love Margaret Atwood. It's a pretty long book (about 600 pages) which might be off-puting for some but it's awesome and definitely worth persevering with. Who could dismiss this for an opening line: "Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge." I'm already looking for my next Atwood fix - possibly Maddaddam as I need to complete the trilogy or maybe Alias Grace as I've heard that's a goody.

What are you reading at the moment? I can always do with suggestions :)

10 Jul 2014

good distractions #6

Some things that are keeping me sane now that there's only 37 days to go until the wedding 
(oh my gawwwd).

These fabrics 
So summery! I want them ALL - just think of the dresses! All from The Village Haberdashery.

These exhibitions
 The trouble (not actual trouble) with London is there's so much going on and I always miss stuff. But not these four! Most excellently the Somerset House and British Library ones are free!
1 // 2 // 3 // 4 

This pattern
 A number of bloggers have been v.helpful and posted up links to lots of free patterns, this top from Colette being one of them, so I really need to get on this.

These cakes
 I have massive cravings for summery puds and I haven't baked a cake in months! For shame.
1 // orange polenta cake
2 // key lime pie
3 // raspberry cake
4 // lemon curd and cream layer cake

These dresses
 Ah lovely (sort of) summery cotton dresses.
1 // 2 // 3 // 4

This event
Yes, I am referring to my Hen Do - a fun event involving all my faves where I don't have to organise a single bit of it. The only thing I have to think about is what to wear. Bloody aces!
pic credit

This place
 If there's only 37 days till the wedding that also means that there's only 39 days till the mini moon :)
 Pentewan, Cornwall I can't wait to be better acquainted with you!
pic credit

7 Jul 2014

East London Street Art

A lot of tours happen every week in London - bike tours, pub tours, architectural tours, historical tours, the famous 'Jack the Ripper' tour - and on Saturday evening my lovely friend Alex got us tickets to a Street Art tour around a small part of London's east end. 

Now, I'm a Londoner (west londoner originally) and I've been to Shoreditch/Brick Lane more times than I can count but I'd never really noticed the hundreds (probably thousands) of pieces of street art around there. From the stickers on sign posts to the pasted up paper pieces, stencil art, paint etchings on windows and the huge spray painted art works more than two stories high, it's all there, right under my nose and I'd never given any of it much thought aside from, "that's cool". All that came to an end thanks to 2 and a half hours on the tour. Our guide was incredibly knowledgable about the artists, their backgrounds, the meanings behind their work and the rivalry between them. She also knew a lot of interesting facts about the east end, the etymology of the place names and even it's inhabitants, including  Gilbert and George, a pair of tweed wearing gents who live in 3 storey house without a kitchen, and thus they go out for breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday. We actually spotted them on our way to spitalfields (which gets it's name from the ho'spital' that once stood in the fields where the built-up area is today - cool huh). 

Back to the street art, our guide gave us a little insight into how it all works in the sense of the etiquette behind painting over each others work. (Respect for certain pieces meant that some of it would remain for years without be painted over.) I think the transient nature of the art was the most difficult thing to get my head around. Imagine spending 2 or 3 days spray painting something that you thought looked pretty awesome, only to find that someone had painted over it a few days later with something kinda shit?! I think that's just the nature of the street art beast though, nothing lasts forever. 

But, enough of that. Here's a few of my favourite things which we saw on the tour.

I love you more than cheese 


please wait here until you are useful

If you're curious about Street Art and the artists behind it, or if you just fancy looking at a different side of London, this would be a good bet. Extra bonus points because we stopped at THE bagel shops Brick Lane about half way through, and at the end of the tour, our guide dropped us off at the Rockwell House rooftop where many of the street artists were hanging out thanks to the Meeting of Styles street art festival that happens every year! Talk about good timing. Unfortunately Alex and I were too shy to converse with the street artists but we did enjoy a couple of cocktails whilst admiring the views of the city. 
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