28 Sep 2015

fun breakfast #12

Peanut butter (smooth) on toast

Perhaps it's not the most unusual breakfast but it counts as fun because duh, peanut butter.

Incidentally I started this series a whole year ago today. There's not been so many fun breakfasts of late, need to up my game ;)

25 Sep 2015

moving back home: 18 months on

Last week marked 1 and a half years since we moved in with my parents. In a lot of ways it's gone pretty quickly, but then I think about all the things that have happened in that time - getting married, changing jobs, all the holidays we've been on, and suddenly it feels like we've been here forever. 18 months is a particularly significant milestone as that was how long we gave ourselves to save up and buy somewhere. No, it hasn't happened just yet but I think we're on the right track.

It's been tough, for everyone, especially the last 5 months since the new kitchen was fitted. The kitchen, as predicted, has been the root of 90% of conflicts - the fridge especially (out of date things, "who ate my...", lack of space), which is kind of funny when I think about it, everything comes down to food in my family :) Also, I know I should be thankful that the majority of conflicts are only about the kitchen and nothing more serious! Of course there have been a couple of big arguments about things other than food but I'd like to think I have a healthy, frank-talking relationship with my parents, mitch and I wouldn't have been able to move in otherwise.

There's been a number of benefits to moving home, money saving being the most obvious one, but also a decent shower, the occasional and much appreciated dinner cooked by mum, access and use of a beautiful garden (we all have my dad to thank for that), two gardens in fact if you count my nan's (aka our allotment) too. I also really appreciate the time I get to spend with my parents and sister - small time I call it. A 20 minute chat here, the four of us congregating in the kitchen and having a silly conversation, hanging out in my sister's bedroom for an hour talking about books, watching the bake off with mum, having 'life advice' and 'future plan' chats with dad, making pancakes for breakfast for everyone one random Saturday. It's quite nice being in a full house again.

However, the busyness is also a downside because some days it'd be nice if it was quiet and I didn't have to queue to use the washing machine, or be accused of eating all the hummus or chided for leaving my knitting lying around or nagged for not opening my post. I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to having my own space again. To be able to leave something somewhere and find it there again when I need it. To be able to live out of more than one room! To not revert to my teenage-self and have a strop more often than I'd care to admit! Le sigh.

I am, and will forever be, massively grateful to my parents for taking us in but I'm so so ready to go, sette into somewhere that's mine (or 45% mine) and start to make my 'nesting' pinterest board a reality. Yeah, I'll miss aspects of the madhouse and I suppose in some small ways they'll miss us too but I know it'll be better for everyone once we're gone (my mum can have her drawing studio back for a start!). And hopefully, with any luck (fingers, toes and eyes crossed) we won't have too long to wait...

16 Sep 2015

in recent times

 Reading: How to be both - Ali Smith. 100 pages in and it's good :)

 Watching: A LOT of 30 Rock interspersed between episodes of Luther (good lord that program is grim) aaaand, of course, the great British bake off.

 Eating: produce from the garden :D and gluten free deliciousness at the gluten free festival in camden market at the weekend.

 Wearing: tights, boots and jumpers - the last few days in London have been pretty chilly (not that I'm complaining, autumn is my fave).

 Making: a jumper! Finally got back into knitting, gah I missed it so much! Hopefully this one will be better than my first attempt.

 Growing: chillies, tomatoes, hopefully a couple more courgettes and we just panted some broccoli (fingers crossed for this second attempt)!

 Looking forward to: a trip to Yorkshire this weekend and, at the risk of sounding odd, a work trip to Manchester.

 Feeling: a little on edge (home buying malarkey) and oh so very tired.

How are you?

13 Sep 2015

Four days in Slovakia

A small confession: before a couple of months ago I knew next to nothing about Slovakia, let alone had ever considered it as a holiday destination. But then some friends announced they were getting married there and I figured it was high time I educated myself and accepted their v.kind invitation :)

The wedding was on the Saturday but we decided to fly out early Thursday morning and spend a day in the capital, Bratislava. I really liked what I saw of the city - beautiful architecture (such colourful tile work!), a lot of history (churches, squares and the castle of course) and culture - so many restaurants had live music and there were tonnes of cute little cafes and bars dotted about many with basements and subbasements to nose around in. There were also lots of little random shops to seek out, tucked away in courtyards reached by winding alleyways off the main streets. 

Almost everyone we encountered in Bratislava spoke English and were very friendly. The food was guuuuud. The Slovaks seem to be v.into hearty foods - meaty, cheesey and potato-y dishes were the thing (good news for me) and also soups (so many delicious soups!). Lots of the bars we visited (both in Bratislava and Nitra) had impressive beer and spirit selections. I felt there quite a lot of similarities between Bratislava and Budapest, particularly in terms of bridges, food, architecture and the price of stuff. Slovakia was pretty damn cheap - half a litre of good beer for €1.50! Bargainous :) To top it all off, the Airbnb place we stayed in had the most spectacular view of the old town.

On Friday we headed to Nitra, first to drop our stuff at the fabulous hotel where the reception was taking place and second to get some grub and a cocktail or two. The old part of Nitra was v.beautiful, especially the cathedral our friends got married in - decorated with statues and paintings and the most ornate ceilings and walls - quite a feast for the eyes!

After the ceremony we all headed back to the hotel for food. Before we could take our seats the newly weds carried out a Slovakian tradition: a shot of vodka with the hotel manager and then a plate was smashed and the couple had to work as a team to sweep up all the pieces whilst simulataneously fending off family and friends who tried to further smash the pieces. Turns out Slovaks love to party. After lots of booze, hours of dancing and SO much food (a three course meal at around 4pm and then a hog roast at midnight) I called it a night at 3:30 but the party was still in full swing! Unsurprisingly, Sunday was a bit of a sleepy-hungover haze and we caught the plane home in the late afternoon.

I'd never been to a wedding abroad before but I'm hoping there'll be more to come!

3 Sep 2015

the illustrated packing list: Slovakia

So this is the dealio today - we're off to Slovakia for a few days for a friend's wedding! Excited doesn't come close to it :)

2 Sep 2015

experiments in dressmaking - Kim dress

Last month I finally finished my version of By Hand London's Kim dress. Started in May (and originally intended to be worn to my friend's hen do) but it stayed on my dressmakers manikin, lacking a zip and a hem, for 2 whole months, until a few weeks ago...!
Truth be told I was putting off completing it because of the dreaded invisible zip, I loathe them. As you can see the zip on Kim isn't great and it looks a little tight at the back (although it doesn't feel it whilst wearing it). Positive points: I luuuve the neckline, even if it is a little more breasty that I'd usually go. Also, the gathered skirt came out pretty well and the fabric (a pre-cut 3m piece from the goldhawk road) is perfect - summery, soft and light.

Overall I'm happy but as always I've a couple of tweaks to make on take 2, pockets for start!

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