A 240 Sq Ft NYC Apartment with Library and Laundry in Loft
This is terrible news! Dispute over the authenticity of historical accounts should always be encouraged, but when it gets to the point of individuals being eradicated from the curriculum because they are not deemed ‘important’ enough, it threatens a return to the ‘history from above’ approach which, thankfully, died out in the 1950’s. My opinion would always be that it is only when we study the lives and actions of people from every aspect of society that we can fully comprehend our history, which was undeniably made up of more people than Kings and Queens, or in this case Florence Nightingale. Mary Seacole may or may not have done everything that has been commonly attributed to her, but can Gove honestly say we can learn nothing from her? Ruling people out can only limit our knowledge.
Reading this book at the moment. It is essentially a catalogue of alphabetical experimentation, and an incredibly relevant look at how type affects our perception of a message.
As a book lover this particularly appealed to me!
For a while now I have been almost obsessed with making myself as much stuff as possible that is usually bought around Christmas. This extends from presents to foods (one of my favourite things about Christmas is planning what Yule Log recipe I am going to use – this year has seen some very interesting recipes incorporating caramelised nut and fake edible snow, among other things).
Something that I feel involves both these areas is the advent calendar. These aren’t something I have really paid a huge amount of attention to since I reached adulthood, but whenever I see them in the shops around Christmas I always have a moment of madness where I consider buying one for myself, before deciding not to as it would be tragic. However, it struck me recently that making one from scratch would be a really nice way of re-introducing it as a sort of gift to those you live with (going to all this effort if you lived alone would be a little odd to be honest).
My initial basic plan was to have a box structure with 25 open-able doors on the front, with an internal grid structure with sections that would correspond with the doors. I decided to use a shoe box I had to hand as it was fairly sturdy and about the size I needed, and saved me making a net and sticking together a box from a flat piece of card, though you could also do that. I cut the main part of the box so it was the same depth as the lid (I didn’t want the finished product to actually look like a shoe box).
Then with the bits I had cut off, and some of another shoe box as I didn’t have quite enough, I made the grid. Unfortunately, my phone lost all the photos of these stages, but basically, I placed the grid inside one half of the box and then measured and cut out door flaps on the other half that corresponded with the spaces in the grid. I did the same thing on a piece of thick good quality paper, and then drew my design for the front of the calendar on top. Setting this aside, I fitted both halves of the box together and wrapped it in wrapping paper, taking care not to cover the front so I would still be able to open the doors! I used a really pretty wrapping paper I found with a vintage-esque design of reindeers frolicking in the snow, but you could use any, or even just brown paper with a design of your own on. Then I stuck the drawing I had done on the front, and put a chocolate in each door.
The finished product looked like this (after a few doors have been opened!):
I really enjoyed making this project, the only drawback was that it got a bit fiddly cutting out all the flaps and measuring the grid to make sure it all fitted together. But if you use a ruler and take a little time, it’s not too tricky, and my family love it, which makes it worth the effort!
Finally all book lovers will have a place to share what they are reading!
All accepted into thin network
This network contains of …
- A place to share what you are reading
- Request other books to others
- To reflect how this relates to your life
- A place to make new friends!
Reblog to spread the word if you are interested!
Message me here your email address so you can be added to this wonderful place!
Making beauty products has fascinated me for a long time. From making face masks from mashed avocado and yoghurt as a teenager at sleepovers to mixing dried milk powder and Andrews with some essential oils into a bath recently, I have often wandered how many products could be easily replicated at home, for a fraction of the cost. On top of saving money, sometimes the list of ingredients on the packaging of a bubble bath has made me a little nervous. So I figured it would be nice to make something that I could be sure had nothing harmful or unnecessary in it. As well as this, I think making beauty products from scratch informs you about what your skin and body need, how essential oils can benefit you in different ways, and actually teach you a lot about health in general. This seems important to me considering how different everyone’s bodies and sensitivity to different products is.
Evidence of this was when I made some bath salts for my boyfriend, who suffers from terrible bouts of eczema, from Andrews, bicarbonate of soda, dried chamomile flowers and lavender oil (all of which I found on the high street). His skin was instantly soothed and redness was visibly reduced far more effectively than any scary cream he has so far been given at the doctors. I am fortunate enough not to suffer from sensitive skin, but I do have to be careful of dryness, especially on my hands and arms (a lot of this I think is down to working as a waitress, and constantly cooking or making stuff with my hands in my free time). With this in mind, I decided to make an invigorating, but intensely moisturising body scrub.
I chose my components with a variety of inspirations such as word of mouth, my own knowledge, conversations with friends, and a wonderful book I own called Organic Body Care Recipes. The list of ingredients I decided on were:
- Sugar (any kind really, as you’re not eating it, though I would say the coarser the better)
- Coconut oil (unrefined – you can usually find this in health food shops or even some local chemists)
- Ground coffee (you could buy pre-ground coffee but if you have a grinder I think it is better to do it yourself as you will be able to achieve a coarser texture which will contribute to the exfoliating properties)
- Mint essential oil
The caffeine in coffee is supposed to help get rid of cellulite. I chose the mint essential oil partly for its energising properties, partly to cut through the scent of the coffee and also because something about the mixture of coconut and mint reminded me of a tropical cocktail and massively appealed to me! This turned out to be a really effective and cheap product, and I’m glad I didn’t spend another 7 quid on something that frankly wouldn’t have been as good. I know I haven’t put specific instructions (it’s pretty straight forward to be honest) or quantities, but I plan to do another post on a selection of easy to make at home beauty products. This will be soon as these are also a great idea for homemade Christmas presents, and also expect pictures!
In keeping with my post about nail art a couple of weeks ago, I thought I would post a couple of pictures of recent nails I have done. Both were inspired by (or to be honest a bit ripped off from) Sophy Robson, the amazing nail artist who I always look to for inspiration when I want to try something new.
These heart nails required me to file the nails into a soft point, sharp enough to define the shape I painted on as a heart but not so sharp as to make me look mental. This was okay with me, because I have been filing my nails in a more defined oval shape recently rather than the popular squoval, which feels a little dated. I feel that most designs look more glamorous on an oval nail.
After that, I just painted a nude base and then used a deep red to paint the hearts on. I really like this look because it was elegant but also fun.
The second ones were inspired by a last minute trip to a b&b in the middle of nowhere me and my boyfriend booked last weekend. I wanted something that wasn’t so loud it wold contrast with my jumper/ wellies getup, but also something pretty and a bit different.
I really like both these designs, and think I will experiment with them in the future. I think the second one would look good with bright, almost fluro colours and maybe a black line to separate instead of silver. So thanks for the inspiration Sophy!
Me showing off with my holiday reading
As the last week has been pretty stressful for me, I decided yesterday evening to do something which always helps me relax: cook. I find cooking therapeutic and calming, especially when I make something from scratch, the process of taking raw ingredients and crafting them into something delicious, however modest, makes me forget all other troubles that may plague my troubled self.
The finished product
With this in mind, I decided to make a soup. As it is getting colder, and I was craving something nutritious, soup immediately called to me. I used a lovely recipe for tomato soup from Good Food Magazine. Perhaps not the most adventurous of choices, but with soups I usually do something with an abundance of mixed vegetable, some kind of pulse, and often various spices and herbs, always a lot of garlic. But recently I have been enjoying the simplicity of soups that focus on one vegetable, and enhance its natural qualities with carefully chosen ingredients. In Potsdam this summer, I had a chanterelle mushroom soup, brought alive by just a splash of cream and well chosen herbs, and it really inspired me to embrace singular ingredients.
Getting everything ready
In the spirit of making everything from scratch, I also decided to make my own bread. After scanning several recipes of seeded/ cheesy/ herby breads, I decided to just make a simple whole meal loaf, which I felt was most in keeping with my mood, and wouldn’t distract too much from the subtle flavours of the soup. There is something deeply rewarding about the ritual of making a loaf of bread, and it is a lovely thing to have in, it just makes having toast and sandwiches that bit more exciting (well, in my food obsessed opinion anyway!)
And the finished loaf (I forgot to take a photo before eating some!
Now, I am a fan of making my own stock. It is just so easy, and it’s good to know every ingredient that has gone into your recipe. A lot of shop bought stock cubes are full of salt, sugar and god knows what else, so making your own is a safer bet. For me of course, it also adds to the therapy of making something from scratch! For vegetable stock, what you essentially need is the flavour from a variety of different vegetables and herbs, so whenever I am cooking, I put the trimmings from these things into a bag in the freezer. Adding to it for about a week (depending on how much you cook) will usually give you an ample amount of stuff to make a good mixing bowl sized portion of stock. Things like onion and garlic peel, carrots, celery ends and herb stalks are particularly good to save. It is also a great way of using up old herbs and vegetables that would otherwise just go off. I even add cabbage hearts and tomato stalks but steer clear from starchy or bitter peelings like potato or avocado skins.
Bowl of stock and (above) stock boiling
It is also worth noting that this was the first soup I have ever really made from a recipe. I don’t often use recipes when I cook (though I have an abundance of recipe books), but prefer to read several, gaining different inspirations from each, and then create something using my own knowledge. So I was surprised by some of the ingredients; red wine vinegar, for instance. Though I realised I often add this to a tomato sauce if I have no actual red wine to hand. In the end, I think the vinegar prevented the flavour becoming too bland or one-dimensional. This was also helped by the addition of a tablespoon of sugar, and a small amount of carrots, celery and potatoes. The latter three ingredients were not obviously detectable because of the blending process, also something which I have never done before with soup. In keeping with my preference for more robust and varied soups, I usually prefer a chunkier texture. However, blending makes sense with a soup where one vegetable is the focus, I think you need a consistency of texture to compare with that of the flavour, otherwise you risk ending up with something that resembles a watery tomato stew.
This experiment really was a lesson for me in appreciating the simple things a bit more, or better put, the beauty that can be found in simplicity. A mixed vegetable and lentil or chickpea soup is a wonderful thing, but occasionally a well-executed mushroom or tomato soup is a more refined pleasure. Carrot, parsnip, beetroot and onion are just a few examples of vegetables that with a little care can be transformed into something quite remarkably more than the sum of their parts. Now I am off to have the leftovers!