Tuesday, 29 November 2011

The Bust Christmas Craftacular

Adeline's Diana mini!

On Sunday I attended my third Bust Craftacular, held at a venue in Bethnal Green, East London. I also had the opportunity to meet some fellow bloggers; Adeline came to meet me and was (as expected!) lovely in person, and it was also really nice to bump into London-based bloggers Jess & Siobhan.

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Adeline with her Diana Mini!

Kitty pillows!!

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Hand illustrated plates by jim bob art, i loved these!

There was so much hand-made prettiness on show, we had to do a few loops round just to let it all sink in! But in the end I bought a couple of Christmas presents for people and a nice handmade necklace for myself. As we entered the hall we noticed a huge queue stretching round the venue. When I had a peek at the front it was popular illustrator Rob Ryan, selling signed screen prints for the bargain price of £5. I couldn't resist joining the queue and am now proud owner of one myself. It was a lovely day and I'm already looking forward to the next Craftacular in the summer.

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rob ryan print!
My print - it's huuuge!
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Monday, 28 November 2011

Making Peppermint Creams!

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Last Friday I invited two of my creative friends round for an evening of wine drinking and sweet making! Peppermint creams are one of the easiest recipes to make and can make good gifts for people in the festive season.

All you need is icing sugar (plenty of it!), peppermint essence, water (or cream for a nicer taste) and anything else you fancy to decorate them with. We used melted dark chocolate (made them taste a little like After Eights!) and glitter icing. You can find lots of recipes on the web, my only suggestion may be to curtail the wine drinking until after they are made so you don't end up with slightly oddly shaped sweets as we did! Still, we really enjoyed playing with glitter icing and it made for a very fun evening in!

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Saturday, 26 November 2011

300 Followers Giveaway!

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I'm so happy I've reached 300 followers I have decided to do a little giveaway to celebrate and to say thank you for reading!

What you could win: A hand drawn portrait of yourself or a loved one (like the self portrait I did above!) I did a portrait like this a while ago for lovely Adeline and you could win one too! I shall also throw in some other Christmassy goodies to go along with it. [How it works: You send me a photo which I then draw in ink and add colour digitally.]

To enter: Just leave a comment below saying what your favourite Christmas film is (it'll help me with ideas for a future film night I am planning!) Oh and you must be a follower to enter! This giveaway is now closed, time to pick the winner!

Once again thanks so much for reading!

Laura x
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Friday, 25 November 2011

Film Friday: Mermaids


Last week me and some friends had a little food & film night and decided to watch Mermaids, a 1990 film with a stellar cast (Cher, Winona Ryder, a young Christina Ricci and er Bob Hoskins! Who we decided basically is Danny DeVito...)

Mermaids is set in the 60s and of course includes the Cher hit, The Shoop Shoop song. The film focuses on the relationship between Cher and her daughters who are constantly made to uproot to a new town to suit their mother's whim. It was the first time I'd seen this film and I really enjoyed it, I love Winona Ryder's early films anyway and Christina Ricci's character was really cute. The end scene is really sweet as well.
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Thursday, 24 November 2011

Dream Boat

from http://www.thebookbarge.co.uk/The_Book_Barg_1./Home.html

One of my dreams for the future is packing everything up and moving on to a barge, sailing round the canals of Britain with Tom and a little dog for company! So when I saw pictures of the Book Barge it got me dreaming again. It's stocked full of new and second-hand fiction. Doesn't it look amazing? (Also it would be perfect for andrea's 'amazing bookshops round the world' series!) You can find out more on their blog here. Spotted via oh comely.

from http://www.thebookbarge.co.uk/The_Book_Barg_1./Home.html

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Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Just a minute - November

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[Just a minute is a meme first posted on august street, i thought it would be fun to play along too.]

Wearing... my slippers again, and a duvet - winter is here!

Reading... One Day by David Nicholls. I'm a bit late to the game on this one but I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. So far though the characters haven't really grown on me, should I keep reading? (*I am notoriously bad at finishing novels)

Listening... to Yo La Tengo, they seem to suit this time of year

Going... to the Bust Christmas Craftacular this Sunday. Anyone else going too? Would be good to meet up!

Eating... Halloumi. Went through a bit of a break but now am addicted again!

Watching... this documentary on Art in America and enjoying learning more about the paintings I saw in Chicago in October.
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Monday, 21 November 2011

Guilty Pleasure Movies

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Recently I bought a DVD from the charity shop, I won't divulge the name of it for now (clue: it stars John Travolta and Bruce Willis, but it's not Pulp Fiction..) I'll just say I wasn't overly proud of my purchase. But it made me wonder what it is about some films that turns them into 'guilty pleasures'.

There are some films from childhood that I still love, and don't seem to cross over into 'guilty' territory. The Princess Bride, Big, My Girl and Home Alone are still brilliant, but others... (Turner & Hooch?) seem to fall into the guilty category. I remember as a kid my brother loved Mission Impossible and was dead proud of the fact he had watched it a whopping 32 times. But then tastes change over the years!

Maybe a good way of judging whether a film should be classed as a guilty pleasure would be how highly it's rated on IMDB. Anything less than a 6 doesn't seem too good... My Girl would scrape by with a 6.4, whereas Look Who's Talking (my guilty purchase) only gets 5.6. But I enjoyed it anyway! Another category would be the genre commonly known as 'chick flicks' - Dirty Dancing, Pretty Woman.. both pretty enjoyable still, I reckon! Sex & the City 2? The 3.9 score is about right.

Do you have any guilty pleasure films to add to the list? Or should we just be proud of all the films we enjoy?
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Sunday, 20 November 2011

Sunday Sunday

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The past couple of weekends I felt the urge to go some walks in the countryside and enjoy the colours of autumn. Last weekend it was Wollaton Park, a lovely warm Sunday spent jumping in leaves and spotting toadstools in the undergrowth. And today I took a trip with my friend Sim, in his beautiful old mini, to Attenborough Nature Reserve (which, despite popular belief is not named after Sir David!). It's been a very misty weekend but it made the lake look lovely and spooky. How was your weekend?

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Tom dreams of owning a dog! One day...

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in the Hard to Find Cafe

Sim in his mini

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Friday, 18 November 2011

Film Friday: Withnail & I


Okay I admit, I have watched Withnail & I countless times but we thought it was due a rewatch. If you've never seen it, the film stars Richard E Grant as Withnail and Paul McGann as 'I', two out of work actors living in squalor in a London flat in 1969. They decide to try and escape to the countryside for a while and try some clean living (err, which also involves some heavy drinking). What they don't realise is that Withnail's Uncle Monty is about to pay them a visit. I love this film and each time I see it a new part makes me laugh. (Although I remember putting it on in my halls at uni and several males who had never seen the film looking rather uncomfortable during some of the scenes with Monty!) Oh and it has a brilliant soundtrack too.

[Stumbled upon the picture here where there are some other nice images from the film, including one of Ringo Starr dropping by the set!]
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Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Bits of my living room

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Recently Tom decided to rearrange the living room to make it a bit more spacious, and we added a few new vintage items I thought I'd share. We picked up a vintage milk bottle from a flea market in Chicago (bargained down to $2!) which works well as a vase and last weekend bought a couple of old suitcases to match the one I had already, to pile up in the corner and store things inside.

Milk bottle vase

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Tuesday, 15 November 2011

NAE Workshop: African Storytelling

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On some weekends I volunteer at the New Art Exchange, a gallery in Forest Fields. Last Saturday I helped out at a family workshop run by Panya Banjonko, an artist who is extremely good at storytelling! The workshop eventually filled to around 30 people who were treated to a story about why the cat chases the rat (it's all to do with pineapples!) and afterwards given the chance to try on African clothing, play on drums and eventually make an African-style mask out of recycled materials. All the kids seemed to really enjoy it and afterwards there was a little show & tell about the masks they'd made. The workshops are all free of charge and great for families who live locally, see here for more information.

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Monday, 14 November 2011

Camera Envy


Since watching the Martin Scorsese documentary on George Harrison at the weekend I've been fascinated by the pictures of Astrid Kirchherr , then girlfriend of Stuart Sutcliffe before he sadly died aged just 21.


Astrid took many photographs of the Beatles at the time using a Rolleicord, a twin-lens camera which uses medium format film. After a bit of research I found that Lomo used to produce a similar camera called the Lubitel, which is now out of stock.

There were a few twin-lens cameras on ebay however. I would love to try medium format film but am not too sure how easy it is to use, has anyone else experimented with it? Either way I really want to take more black and white pictures so some films will be on my Christmas list this year!
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Croissants in a can!

Freshly baked croissants!

Last week I saw an unusual item in the chilled section of the local supermarket; croissants in a can! Both Tom and I love croissants for breakfast so I thought I'd try it out this weekend. It's all so simple; the can splits open and out pops your dough which is handily perforated into triangles. You roll them up and bake for 10 mins and voila!

Verdict: Not quite the same taste as regular croissants and they come out a little small but despite this a very tasty treat to start the day! (Though i hope no French readers are horrified by the thought of canned croissants?)

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Sunday, 13 November 2011

My favourite tree

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A couple of years ago, on an autumn walk through Wollaton Park our friend James introduced us to this oak tree. Its trunk is huge and its branches stretch and twirl. Perfect for climbing, or if you're like me, sitting in a little cubby hole at its base, feeling very safe and taking in the autumn sunlight that surrounds. The tree is a little hidden away, meaning only the odd jogger or explorer will find it. My dad also has a favourite tree, in Melbourne, Derbyshire which he has photographed so many times over the years in different seasons.

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Tom and the Oak

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Do any of you have a favourite tree?
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Friday, 11 November 2011

Film Friday: Please Give


I put this on my lovefilm ages ago and had forgotten about it since but I'm really glad I had chance to watch it finally. Please Give tells the stories of several characters who share the same apartment building in New York.

Two sisters are looking after their cranky grandmother who is reaching the end of her life. They keep bumping into a family who live in the same building who are waiting for the chance to expand their apartment into hers when she 'moves on.' I wasn't sure at the beginning but ended up really liking the characters in Please Give and it was a good film to watch on a dark Autumn evening.
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Wednesday, 9 November 2011

A few fisheyes..

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Some fisheye photos taken in Chicago last month.

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This record shop was cool, and reminded me a lot of the one in hi fidelity which sits vacant nearby.

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Eating sweet potato fries in the Chicago Diner (meat free since '83!) yum.

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