March 26, 2013

Make | Damask Shawl

I have a serious project on the cards this week that I am aiming to get finished by Wednesday (tomorrow!!! aaaarrrrgh!!!).  For the past seven weeks, I have been working on a knitted lace shawl as part of a Winter knit-a-long at Gather DTLA.  It has been a seriously steep learning curve as it is my first lacework project and has been super difficult to do so far.  I have had a good few mishaps along the way, but if nothing else, it has taught me how to be more patient!  I have really enjoyed my time with it so far and the final finished product will , undoubtably, be beautiful.  I don't think I really realised what I was getting myself in for when I signed up for the class but I'm so pleased that I did.  I have made some lovely new friends (including a puppy named Skuli), discovered a new part of LA, learnt a new way of knitting (by following a pattern) and also gained a better understanding of basic knitting itself.  As much as I have wanted to rip it out and re-start the project several times, I'm so glad that I've had my little angels on my shoulder telling me not to (thank you Evi and PC!)  I'm really excited for it to be finished so that I can move onto a new project and start the next knit-a-long.

See below for more progress photos

Collection 06 | Easter

1. Day of the dead by Rococo exclusive for Harvey Nichols | 2. Jelly sweet white chocolate from Harrods | 3. Hand decorated from Fortnum and Mason | 4. Brownie and raspberry milk chocolate from Harrods | 5. Button dark chocolate from Harvey Nichols.

{images taken from seller's websites}

March 25, 2013

Week 13 | Spring Purge

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon at a 'Manifest Your Best Life' workshop hosted by Meg Haines, a lovely LA friend of mine.  The workshop, among other things, encouraged us to create a vision board of the dreams and goals we'd like to achieve in 2013.  The idea being, you can break down your bigger goals and make them seem not so daunting by creating smaller, easier steps to achieve them.  My personal goals are mainly very practical ones: get a job, get a car and move house.  All very important but big goals!  I do have a few sideline goals: pay off my credit card, find a yoga centre that suits me, juice more (fruits and veg, not HGH), be more socially active... and the list goes on.  What was really good about the session was that we actually took the time to sit down and listen to ourselves.  In my experience, it's not often that you take the time to take stock of what you really want.  So, to spend an afternoon with people who are also looking to visualise their goals for the year, was really inspirational.  Meg did a really great meditation for us too, and it has been a while since I have meditated so it made me really get back into that form of relaxation.  I think I will try to do it more often.

I didn't quite finish my vision board but I have started to put together a pinterest board that I will eventually collate onto one sheet.  Below, however, are a few photos of some of the areas I managed to start.

Since taking part in the workshop I have had the urge to spring clean the house.  I am still partly living out of boxes which is starting to take it's toll, but until we can move house we are making the most of the space we have.  So my spring purging can only make things look and feel better.

The workshop (and self-empowering work like it) really was the perfect way to start off my week and the spring season.




Meg also does some other really amazing and inspirational workshops.  "Like" her facebook page for regular event updates.

Happy Week 13 ! 

March 22, 2013

Make | Moleskine cover

All around the house, there are Moleskine Cahier notebooks dotted about ready at any given moment to receive one of my many lists.  So when I saw a Moleksine DIY of how to embellish the cover, I thought I'd give it a try.

Tools required:
- Moleskine Cahier notebook (the one with the paper cover not the hard cover)
- Scrap fabric
- Scissors
- Glue
- Sewing machine

How to:
- Cut your fabric down to the size you want it (so that it will fit within the parameters of the cover page.
- Fold back the edges so that you get a neat finish to the edge.  I found that it helped to iron them down.
- Apply a little fabric glue to secure.

March 21, 2013

Recipe | Quinoa_Cous Cous Salad

It's not as complex as it may look from the list of ingredients and my (longwinded) explanation.  It tastes delicious and a really nice 'wintery spring' lunch!  The cauliflower is my favourite part which I didn't expect.

What you'll need: 
Serves 2 (generously)
- 1 cup of either quinoa or cous cous

- 4/5 uncooked beetroot - peeled and quartered

- 2 carrots - peeled and cut into chunky strips

- 1 cauliflower head - cut florets off the stalk into mouth sized pieces

- 1 handful of radish - sliced thinly (optional)

- 1 handful of leeks / spring onion - sliced thinly (optional)

- 6 garlic cloves

- 1 lemon - cut in half

- 1 bunch of rosemary

- Olive oil

- Handful of walnuts or pecans - roughly chopped

- Salt and pepper

March 19, 2013

Collection 05 | Mint

1. Drinking glass from Glassybaby | 2. Love Triangles print from Wit and whistle | 3. Charm bracelet from Babasouk | 4. Washi tape set from Etsy | 5. Knitted cardigan from Vogue Knitting review of article from Knit Inc with thanks.

{images taken from seller's websites}

March 18, 2013

Week 12 | Feeling crafty

I cannot believe we are nearly a quarter way through the year already!  I hate to say it... but time does fly (especially when you're not working at the minute).  I have been reading through several lovely blogs over the past few weeks and found that my reading interests have fallen mainly within the crafting category.  There are some amazing people out there making some really fun and inspirational things.  I started following Folk Fibers by Maura Grace Ambrose.  Maura is a girl who has a serious passion for making patchwork quilts and cushion covers.  She also makes her own dyes for the fabrics using foraged plantlife, flowers, wild mushrooms and other sustainable organic matter.  What wowed me the most about her is the fact that she hand-embroiders all the stitch details onto the quilts.  This must take such a long time but the end results are beautiful and unique.  

See below for few of my favourite currently on sale from her website:

Birthday Celebrations !

This post is really long overdue.  Back in February when it was PC's birthday weekend, we headed to El Matador Beach as the weather was particularly nice.  On the actual day of his birthday, the weather wasn't so great so we spent the afternoon having coffee and cupcakes at Akasha. They do the best cupcakes that I've tasted in LA and have lots of flavours to choose from.  They also do smaller sized ones so that you can sample a few without feeling too sick afterwards.  On this particular visit, I had a carrot cupcake and PC had a peanut butter chocolate cupcake (his favourite).  Since visiting Broome St General Store I have been in love with properly made cappuccino coffee.  I usually opt for a quick hit of espresso but when it's afternoon cakes a long cappuccino is the perfect accompaniment.  

See below for more about what we did in the evening

March 17, 2013

Happy St. Paddy's Day

For PC's birthday, I did some secret knitting and made him two golf club socks in his favourite colours:  green and orange for the Irish flag.  For the green colour, I used Manos del Uruguay silk blend #3204 and for the orange, Noro Cash Iroha #116 Lot E.  I'm not sure that these are available on their websites, but you can get them from other online yarn stores.  I got mine from Wildfiber in Santa Monica.  The pattern I used is from Purl Bee.  There are supposed to be 3 in the set but I haven't got round to knitting the driver yet (the biggest).  I also still need to weave in the ends of first two.  I'm running out of the green yarn, so I will need to buy one more skein and possibly another skein of orange, but I won't know until I start knitting.

See below for more images and link to pattern.

March 12, 2013

St. Patrick's Day 2013

Now that I am living with an American/Irishman, I thought it only fair that I dedicate this week's collection to St. Patrick's day (Sunday 17th March). I'm not sure what our plans are yet but we'll definitely do something in celebration.  An Irish movie marathon, a pint of Guinness and some beef stew with dumplings sounds like the perfect mellow Sunday to me. 

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

1. Mojito Madness nail colour by Essie | 2. Fear of Desire nail colour by Essie | 3. Guinness print by An Inspired Image from Etsy | 4. Lucky clover necklace from Alex Monroe | 5. Jameson whiskey glasses by Bottle Rehab from Etsy | 6. Irish flag cushion by Mazizmuse from Etsy 
{images taken from seller's websites}

March 11, 2013

Week 11 / Family time_LA

This week, my parents are in town on their first visit to see me since I moved out here in November.  We will spend lots of time exploring the city and trying to give them a taste of how we spend our time and give them a taste of the places we go to on a regular basis.  As soon as I knew I was moving to LA, I realised I had taken my time in London a bit for granted. I had a bucket list of places I wanted to visit:  the Tower of London, the V&A museum, the Natural History Museum and Buckingham Palace, to mention a few.  Some of these places are typically more tourist destinations and I generally would have avoided them at all costs come weekend.  But as my time living as a 'Londoner' began to run out, I started to try and cram in as much sight-seeing as I possibly could.  I'd arrange dinners at restaurants I'd been meaning to try and I used my weekends to visit new galleries or museums or revisiting some of the places I'd come to love so much over the years.  It soon became apparent it just wasn't possible to do everything before leaving.  I don't have any regrets about the things I didn't get chance to do whist living there.  London will in fact always be there... and no, I am not still upset about not getting the chance to take an open top bus tour around the city... honest! :)  

I will say this though, as much as the idea of parading the Walk of Fame does not appeal to me, nor does taking a tour of the 'star's homes', but if there is one thing I have learnt since leaving London it is to embrace what is at your doorstep.  Even just for one day.  What point of interest is at your doorstep?  When was the last time you took a day out to visit something new or allowed yourself to get lost amidst the 'tourist trap'? It's not quite as bad as you might think and who knows what you might discover on the way.

First stop this week... Solvang and Santa Barbara. 

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March 07, 2013

Pen pals and chocolate

This week, I have had two lovely surprises from my amazingly fun friend Ms Helen Renshaw.  Helen and I have known each other since September 2005, when we lived together in Manchester whilst studying at university.  We'd spend some of our days in PJs hungover watching sh*t TV whilst eating crisps and toast.  Sometimes I wouldn't even make it out of my room due to a banging headache and sickness (oh the shame) and eventually (around 4 o'clock), I'd hear a tiny tap on my bedroom door. Dishevelled and groggy, I'd drag myself out of my pit and open the door to be blinded by artificial lighting and a concerned looking Helen checking to see if I was still in the land of the living.  She'd end up rolling around laughing at me in humorous disgust. This was usually followed by a trip to Subway (yes we did go in our PJs once... twice maybe) for a footlong and a large diet coke.

To this day, she still hasn't stopped 'looking after' me.  When I told her I was moving stateside, we decided to go 'old school' and vowed to become pen pals.  Sure enough, Helen was the first to send out a postcard like we'd promised, and I reciprocated.  This week, however, the first surprise I received from her was a Converse shoe box (typical Helen loves her trainers!) jam packed with a selection of Cadbury chocolates including:

two freddie frog chocolates 
two crunchies
a curlywurly
a bar of dairy milk 
a bar of dairy milk fruit and nut
a bag of mini creme eggs
a bag of mini eggs 
a bag of mini egg caramel!!!

When she said she was going to send me a few Cadbury's chocolate bars, I certainly wasn't expecting this much :)))))  It was a total dream surprise and so thoughtful.

The second surprise was a lovely and witty post that she put up on her very colourful and entertaining blog, which you can read here.

What a superstar friend you are Miss Renshaw... Come and visit me soon please ??? :) 

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March 06, 2013

Breakfast Fruit Bowl

How it's done:

- Take one lovely breakfast bowl

- Throw in a handful of fruit | strawberries and blueberries

- Add a dollop of plain greek yoghurt

- Scatter some seeds | sunflower and pumpkin

- Drizzle over some good quality   clear runny honey for some sweetness

- Devour

Quick. Healthy. Breakfast. 

March 05, 2013

Yarn Crawl | Brooklyn Craft Camp.

There are two amazing events happening on the East and West coast this spring: Brooklyn Craft Camp and Yarn Crawl LA.  I'm getting on board with the LA yarn crawl and going to see how many stores I can visit over this four-day event.  For those who are East coast based, get down to this amazing looking one-day event.  You can partake in various craft classes ranging from beginners crochet to paper cutting crafts and DIY nail art. I wish we had something like this in LA!

Collection 04 / Over the rainbow

1. Crocheted blanket kit from Purl Soho | 2. Ecofriendly soy & beeswax bowls from Enchanted Dandelions at Etsy | 3. Colourwheel pendent necklace from Leif | 4. Polka dot milk bottle from Poketo | 5. Rainbow hue diamond picnic blanket based on a design from designlovefest made by me!

{images taken from seller's websites}

March 04, 2013

Week 10 / Reduce the intake

For those who know me, you'll know how much I love my food!  I love to cook, I love to eat out and I love to talk about food.  There isn't a moment where I'm not considering what I'm having for my next meal. It has been a whirlwind of new dining experiences since arriving in America.  Even heading to the supermarket for weekly groceries is a new challenge when compared to what I'm used to back home.  It's strange how you get used to what brands of food you buy on a weekly basis, and when they are not readily available how much you miss them.  New brands almost seem alien to you.  In a way, it's exciting to discover these new products, but then there are times when all you want is a good old English banger and a Pret BLT!  

The downside to most of these new dining experiences is the amount of food I'm consuming.  One thing in particular America is known for is it's portion sizes.  Unfortunately for me and my food loving self, I have fallen fail to this on a number of occasions.  In some ways, I am over the moon about the food I eat, but it's now got to the point where enough is enough:  fries with everything is not gonna keep the lbs off my backside.

My main weaknesses are bread and butter (and salted butter, at that), burgers (with blue cheese, or with  gruyere cheese, or with cheddar cheese, or with mozzarella cheese) and yes, cheese is another weakness (ahem... mac n' cheese).  As are crisps (chips) and dips!

Living with a boy also doesn't help, but there are ways and means of how I can overcome this overindulgence of food.  So for this week's task, I am planning to reduce my intake.  I aim to make healthier choices when we dine out (which we also need to reduce), and portion control:  one plate of food without any return trips back to the kitchen for seconds.  I also aim to cut down on my vices listed above.  I won't, however, be giving up on my bacon butty on a weekend and butter is out but olive oil is in!

And don't hold me to these rules.  If you catch me sneaking bread and salty butter, or heading back for seconds sometime down the road, my rules may have evolved!

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