Wednesday, 28 March 2012

loving the little paris kitchen

Image from BBC website

Oh my, I love the new cookery show from the BBC 'The Little Paris Kitchen'. Rachel Khoo conjours up amazing food in a truly tiny kitchen. I often watch cookery programmes where they swan around in massive kitchens to die for. Well this kitchen is also to die for but in a teeny tiny way. Rachel even cooks on two tiny gas rings and uses a mini oven. It just goes to show that you don't need a big fancy kitchen to make delicious food.

We are currently up to week 2 and I'm sat there frantically scribbling down the recipes each week. Last week the boeuf bourguignon with baguette dumplings looked lovely, as did the chocolate lava cake (sadly the recipe isn't available online at the moment).

I often get into a food rut and seek out new recipes to try. And we are trying to our 7 year old to try new foods to widen his rather limited food choices. So I will take inspiration from whatever source I can find!

I love Paris. Or rather I love the idea of Paris! I have been twice so far and both trips weren't the best experience I have had! The first one was a business team building freebie trip.  Eurostar from London to Paris, overnight in a lovely hotel and back the next day. Which was fine except one of us got mugged on the Metro, then some of the group witnessed an armed robbery in progress! Then I made another trip some years later with my then boyfriend. He proceeded to spend much of the trip watching football on tv and was more interested in that than exploring the city. And our hotel was on the edge of the red light district which was a bit of an eye opener.

One day I might be lucky to go back and have a nice time!

spring lamb stew

There are currently 4 of Rachel's recipes available online here and you can watch previous programmes on iPlayer here.

Monday, 19 March 2012

rolled fabric roses

I love rolled fabric flowers and I have been busy making new brooches using the technique. I'm really pleased with how they have come out. The first ones were made in a cream linen to give a shabby chic look. I think they'd look great attached to a coat or cardigan or even pinned onto a bag for a pretty touch.  

The centre of the flowers have been finished off with a selection of beads, pearls and sequins in co-ordinating neutral colours. These first ones are brooches but I have plans to make smaller versions as hairclips, leaves are going to be added and also some in other colours. The possibilities are endless!

I have added a brooch to my Folksy shop, which has been sadly neglected for a while!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

auction style

Plant stand bought at auction £5
Blue glass jars from antique fair

I love to visit auction houses, car boot sales, antique fairs and charity shops, mixing the vintage finds in with more modern furniture, invariably from IKEA or wherever. I'm not a fan of identikit houses which all look the same because they have all bought items from the same store.

Local vintage bottles from auction

As a child I remember visiting auction houses on their preview days with my mum. I used to follow her around the dusty old room as she poked around the furnite and nic nacks. We didn't have a great deal of money but in my bedroom I had an Edwardian gentleman's wardrobe and antique Victorian shelf edge lace along the cast iron fireplace. My mum also handstitched a hexagon quilt made from my old clothes. It must have taken her hours to hand sew all of the hexies! I loved that quilt and would spend ages looking at all the different fabrics and remembering what clothes they had been cut up from. Unfortunately, my mum isn't around now and I have no idea where the quilt went.

I always thought I was nothing like my mum, maybe I'm more like her than I'd like to admit!

Pine table £2 at auction 

When I look around the house I see more and more old and vintage items sneaking in. Each piece tells a tale; a car boot find, charity shop visited on holiday or a hard fought auction bidding battle. For instance, the table in the above photo came from an auction for the princely sum of £2. It is really rough looking and needs a good sand and repaint but the husband snaffled it straightaway and it is now covered in papers in his office. One day it might get painted!

Oak cupboard from auction £36

Here is my supplies cupboard which I bought at auction. It is an oak glazed bookcase with drawers underneath. One of the doors needs new glass but apart from that it is perfect. I'm undecided whether or not to paint it so for the time being it is dark oak. I think pieces like this are lovely but then again I keep looking at Expedit bookcases at Ikea and nearly ordering one of those. Mix and match maybe?

Bakelite rotary dial telephone bought at an antique fair

I need to get braver at auctions though. I keep missing out on things because I'm too nervous to bid or stop bidding because I think the item is too expensive then kick myself when I get home. I have got some of my best buys from auctions: vintage leather suitcase, stoneware jar with local brewery names printed on it, plant stands, display shelves for use at craft fairs, etc. I even bought my car at an auction. Now that was scary bidding!

Although I have a love of auctions I don't really get much from Ebay. I never seem to find those 99p bargain pieces of furniture or vintage goodies. I have a wish list of things I'd love to get (red fire bucket, shop scales, Singer table, etc) and every now and then I'll see if there is anything I like for sale but not much turns up locally. I'll keep looking though.

I think my ultimate buy at auction would be a house. How scary would that bidding process be?!

Do you go to auctions? Tell me your best buy!

Monday, 5 March 2012

celebrating all things london

The momentum is starting to build and things are getting exciting for the UK with the forthcoming Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics. It is promising to be a summer of celebration of all things British. To be honest, I never really got the Union Jack obsession that seemed to be all over products over the last few years but I'm definitely embracing the patriotic look now!

What does 'London' mean to you? To me it is all about London buses, black cabs, Big Ben, red postboxes and telephone boxes.  I love the red telephone boxes; the iconic design, the cast iron materials and the history of them. Did you know that many of the boxes are classified as listed buildings? Listing status doesn't just apply to buildings, as the name suggests, but can also be applied to structures too. So telephone boxes, post boxes, milestones, etc can all have protection of listed building status. I think it is important to protect what we can!


These are my new designs which I have worked hard to make unique and in a nellie dean style. Hand printed iconic designs onto linen with carefully selected co-ordinating buttons and trims. Here are my first items: small hanging decorations and bagcharms/keyrings. I'm working on more items which I will share with you soon.

They are all available on my website.  Please let me know what you think. I love all feedback!

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