Sunday, 30 March 2014

March in pictures

Spending a weekend with my Nan | A lovely sky over the Park in Nottingham

A sunny walk in Stamford | The Bridge near MediaCity, Salford

The wonderful Fred Aldous store + photobooth, Manchester | Amazing cakes in Teacup, Manchester

Watching Round the Twist, Girls, Louis Theroux
Reading The Psychopath Test, The Color Purple, Oh Comely
Catching many trains (I've just discovered that there is a 'Two Together' railcard for two people catching the same trains - thanks Sally!)
Giggling to David Sedaris' live show
Buying tickets to see Macauley Culkin's band The Pizza Underground (!)
Planning our summer UK road trip, thanks for all the brilliant tips!
Looking forward to meeting Janet next weekend for lunch, picnics in the park, seeing friends and publishing a new zine.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Film Friday: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Plot: Hotel concierge Gustave H and his lobby boy Zero Moustafa embark on an adventure to keep a priceless painting.
Guest appearances: All the usual Wes Anderson suspects show up - though some of them (like Bill Murray) only briefly!
Watch this if you're a fan of.. beautiful colours, symmetry, pastries, graphic design
Overall: As with all of Wes Anderson's films, it's a visual treat to watch and every tiny detail is perfectly rendered. A great cast, Ralph Fiennes was excellent as was newcomer Tony Revolori. However after a while I found the perfect framing of each shot a little bit distracting from the plot, so not my favourite Wes Anderson film. I'd probably go for The Darjeeling Ltd or The Life Aquatic if I had to choose, what's your favourite?

Friday, 14 March 2014

Film Friday: Her

Plot: Her is set in the near future, where Joaquin Phoenix has recently broken up with his wife and is feeling lonely, so installs a new operating system designed to meet his needs..
Guest appearances: Scarlett Johansson plays 'Samantha' the OS who manages to charm Phoenix.. but how long can their relationship last?
Watch this if you're a fan of.. high waisted trousers
Overall: ★ out of 5 -  I really enjoyed this film, it made me think about the future of relationships and how we communicate (although my dad who i watched it with said he predicted the ending!)  

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Great British Road Trip - where should we go?

This year we are trying to save a bit of money so sticking to the UK for a holiday seemed like a good idea. Both Tom and I have never been to Scotland or the Lake District before so we're planning to hire a car and do an epic British road trip to Scotland and back. I got all excited making a Google map, you can see our potential route here!

So I wanted to ask you lovely readers if you have any tips on where to stay/visit/camp in any of the following areas - The Lake District, Edinburgh, seasidey places in Scotland (I did want to visit Loch Ness but it's quite far from Edinburgh so anywhere that's within an hour from there would be bettter), Northumberland and Whitby. I'd love to visit some quirky places on our route (like the Pencil Museum for example!) so if you know of anywhere else we should go do let me know. We will probably stay in B&Bs but am also keen to camp for a couple of the nights to save money. I'm excited about documenting the trip in my sketchbook and may even make a new zine out of our adventures. (Note the car above isn't ours, we shall be hiring one for the week - a mini is very tempting though!)

Friday, 7 March 2014

Film Friday: Broken Flowers

: On the day that Don Johnston's (Bill Murray) girlfriend walks out on him, he receives a mysterious pink letter from an ex, telling him he now has a son. The letter is anonymous and Don's friend encourages him to hunt down the sender.
Guest appearances: lots of familiar faces pop up as Don's ex girlfriends. But my favourite cameo is Bill Murray's real-life son Homer Murray (I kid you not) who pops up briefly at the end of the film!
Watch this if you're a fan of.. Bill Murray, mysteries, typewriters, great mix CDs
The film leaves quite a few questions unanswered which can be a bit frustrating, but I enjoyed giving it another watch as I couldn't remember much from when it first came out. The director Jim Jarmusch has another film out at the moment, Only Lovers Left Alive - let me know if you've seen it!

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Favourite books from my childhood

To mark World Book Day I thought I'd write a list of ten books I loved as a child. I still enjoy flicking through children's books in Waterstones, and marveling at the beautiful illustrations inside, it's so comforting looking back through books I treasured when I was a kid. What were your favourite books growing up - I'd love to know!

1. Burglar Bill by Janet & Allen Ahlberg
A funny children's classic about one of the nicest burglars you'll ever meet.
2. Dogger by Shirley Hughes
This is a sweet story about a boy who loses his toy dog. Every child can relate to his pain!
3. Alpaca by Rosemary Billam
A story about a rabbit called Alpaca who gets forgotten amongst the other toys.
4. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Although the story is slightly scary as a child this book is still amazing.
5. The Jolly Postman by Janet & Allen Ahlberg
I really loved undoing the envelopes and reading other people's letters.
6. Famous Five series by Enid Blyton
A must-read for every ten year old, I'd stay up late at night to finish Enid Blyton books. Not to mention the amazing Magic Faraway Tree series.
7. The Worst Witch series by Jill Murphy
Before Harry Potter there was Mildred Hubble!
8. The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl
I enjoyed most of Roald Dahl's books but this was a favourite; a strange tale about a girl who zapped a group of duck hunters with her magic finger and turned them into ducks. Yes!
9. Esio Trot by Roald Dahl
This made me really want a tortoise of my own.
10. The Fiend next Door (and others) by Shirley Lavelle
I also loved this series, about a girl and her best friend Angela who always ends up getting her into trouble.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Making Vegetarian Pesto

I recently purchased a brand new food processor, and the first thing I wanted to make was fresh pesto. It is one of the easiest things ever to make and only takes a few minutes to whizz up enough to last a week. If you're vegetarian it can be extremely hard to buy veggie pesto as it normally includes parmesan which is impossible to make without animal rennet*. So my version omits the parmesan and is perfectly fine without. I wasn't sure what cheese to replace parmesan with but if you are having it with pasta just sprinkle some cheddar on top and it tastes lovely.

Time taken: 10mins

50g pine nuts (this uses about half a standard pack)
150ml olive oil (note this does seem a lot but you need to add a small portion at the end if you're storing it in the fridge for a while)
a large bunch of fresh basil leaves
2 garlic cloves

1. You can either toast the pine nuts by frying them for a few minutes (note, they burn easily so keep an eye on them!) but you can also add them fresh if you prefer.
2. Pour all the ingredients into a food processor and whizz until smooth. Store in a jar or pastic container. The pesto will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Recipe ideas: as well as with pasta I added the pesto to some tasty baguettes with halloumi and salad which was great. Next time I want to try adding sundried tomatoes, yum. Any other ideas for pesto flavours to try?

(*animal rennet comes from the stomach of a baby cow.. eep!)
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