Monday, 26 May 2014

Recipe: Spinach & Feta Parcels


Last weekend I celebrated my birthday in the sunshine (seems like a long time ago now!) and decided to make some yummy snacks before my family came round. These Greek snacks (officially called spanakopitakia) went down very well indeed so I thought I'd share the recipe. They are perfect for summer picnics.

(Note, I improvise when cooking so the amounts are a bit approximate!)
Ingredients
350g filo pastry sheets
A bunch of spring onions, chopped
One pack of feta cheese
A small bag of spinach, chopped
2 eggs
Melted butter
Salt & pepper
Olive oil

Method
1. Preheat the oven to around 200 C. Heat the olive oil in a pan, then add the spring onions and fry until soft.
2. Next add the spinach and fry until the spinach is wilted.
3. In a bowl, beat the eggs together then add chopped feta to the mixture and season well.
4. Cut the filo pastry into rectangular strips and brush with melted butter. (Note, I do not own a pastry brush so attempted this by dabbing them with a buttery spoon. This is very messy so I recommend buying a pastry brush if you don't have one!)
5. Here's the slightly tricky bit! Add some feta/spinach mixture to middle of the strips and fold into triangular shapes. (Some of the online recipes explain in more detail how to achieve triangles, but that ended up confusing me further so I winged it a bit!) Some of mine came out a little less than triangular, but don't worry too much as they looked better when cooked.
6. Place the parcels onto a greased baking sheet and bake for around 20mins or until browned. Yum!
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Friday, 23 May 2014

Film Friday: Frank


Plot
: Frank is (very loosely) based upon writer Jon Ronson's memoirs of playing keyboards in Frank Sidebottom's band. In the film Frank chooses never to take off his mask, leading new band member Jon to wonder who's underneath.
Guest appearances: My favourite actor, Scoot McNairy stars in this, hurray! Michael Fassbender dons the head of Frank.
Watch this if you're a fan of.. weird stories about outsider musicians
Fun facts There is a documentary in the works about the real Frank Sidebottom (aka Chris Sievey) which hardcore fans of the musician may prefer
Overall: Although the film started off well with lots of funny moments, it didn't seem to know where it was going and I didn't really enjoy the darker tone of the second half.
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Friday, 16 May 2014

Film Friday: The Wind Rises


Plot: Hayao Miyazaki's final film focuses on Jiro, who dreams of building the perfect plane at the beginning of WW2. He becomes a successful designer and meets and falls in love with Nahako who sadly suffers from tuberculosis.
Guest appearances: We saw the subtitled version of the film, but the dubbed version has some interesting actors doing the voiceover.
Watch this if you're a fan of.. Miyazaki's previous films - although this one is more realistic than some of the others, you won't be disappointed.
Fun facts Some of the sound effects in the film, such as the earthquake noise are made by human voices.
Overall: This film grew on me more as it went on, it's a beautifully animated feature and a bittersweet story.
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Tuesday, 13 May 2014

A trip to the Town of Books


I'm back from a lovely long weekend in Wales and wanted to share some photos taken in a place known as the 'town of books' - the beautiful Hay-on-Wye. Hay lies on the Welsh border near Hereford, and plays host to the popular Hay Literary Festival at the beginning of June each year. If you're a fan of second-hand bookshops, antiques and cute cafes this is the place for you! It even has a crumbling castle atop a hill.




My favourite of the many bookshops we visited there was Richard Booth's bookshop - which was also home to a cafe AND a cinema! When the rest of our group headed off on a long (drizzly) walk in search of a stone circle, I was glad I'd chosen to stay and explore the town when I came across this treasure trove. Inside was row upon row of books on every subject you could imagine (there was even a shelf dedicated solely to books about badgers!)


Bibliophile Richard Booth, who started the shop in the 60s certainly sounds like a character, according to this source:
"On April 1, 1977, disdainful of big business and government indifference to the fate of little towns in Britain, (Booth) declared Hay-on-Wye an independent state. He crowned himself king, issued passports for carefree travel, a local currency and petitioned the local town council to ban automobiles in favor of bringing back the horse to create employment for blacksmiths, grooms and stable-boys. When a fire destroyed much of the castle in the early 1980's "King Richard" was forced to sell many of his properties."
Richard Booth's bills itself as the world's largest second-hand bookshop (although I'm not sure if this spot my have since been taken?) It's definitely one of my all time favourite book shops and the perfect place to spend a rainy Sunday. I am just sad I can't make this event coming up in their cinema - puppet maker Peter Firmin talks about a lifetime spent creating characters such as Bagpuss, Noggin the Nog and the Clangers!

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Friday, 9 May 2014

Motivation.


I am meant to be blogging every day in May... but I have stalled already. With unfinished plans and long to-do lists I think I am starting to think that maybe it wasn't such a good plan - I may need to take a little blogging break already. Damn. But alongside all the things I need to get done I do have lots of nice stuff planned this month that I plan to share along the way, including...

- I'm going to see Prince. Yes! The Purple One is performing next weekend, I plan to dance like it's 1999 and then some.
- A trip to stay on a farm in Wales for a friend's 30th
- It's my birthday soon, I plan to eat cake. Birthdays are mainly about the food right?
- Going to see Macauley Culkin's band the Pizza Underground. I have no idea what this will be like.
- Going to a friend's wedding party, and catching up with some people I've not seen in ages.
- Embarking on our Great British Road Trip up to Scotland at the end of this month. Hurray!

And, relax. *Switches off screen*
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Wednesday, 7 May 2014

BEDM #7 - My favourite gadgets over the years...


1980s - I loved my Sega Megadrive, which was kindly donated to me by an older cousin who no longer played on it. Sonic the Hedgehog is still the only computer game I'm any good at! I also had a little black and white portable TV which gave me chance to watch Interview with the Vampire secretly when I was little.

1990s - My trusty red Walkman traveled with  me on every family holiday I went on. My Salt and Pepa mixtape was on heavy rotation when I was a kid, as was Jagged Little Pill several years later. Perfect listening for an anti-social teenager!

2000s - My Polaroid camera became my favourite gadget after I found one in a charity shop six or seven years ago. I also loved my Lomography Fisheye camera (found in the same charity shop!) which uses 35mm film.

2010s - I hate to be predictable, but my iPhone is now my most used gadget. I think I am perhaps relying on it a bit too much though; when I'm on the bus I scroll through Twitter and when I'm waiting for a friend I check my emails. I need to start carrying a good book around with me instead and not get too absorbed in the virtual world!

What gadgets rocked your world when you were younger?
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Tuesday, 6 May 2014

BEDM #6 - Passion Projects


I didn't have to think for long before deciding what to post about for today's 'Blog every day in May' topic, 'passion projects'. Drawing has always been one of my biggest passions, ever since I was little. I think I inherited it mainly from my Mum who was brilliant at art. I thought I'd share a few pictures from one of her sketchbooks which I treasure (below), which she started in 1979. It really is a wonderful object, full of drawings of fruit, trees, animals, churches and seaside trips as well as sketches of my dad, his friends and beloved pets from years gone by.


My mum's old sketchbook..


 



Drawing has brought me a lot of pleasure over the years. Tom and I first bonded over a love of comic books (Blankets in particular) and going to the same drawing group helped us become closer friends. The drawing group was held above a pub which has now become our 'local'. People would meet every week to pose for and sketch each other which was free and such good practice!

Looking through our collection of sketchbooks there's quite a pile! It's lovely to look back over comics I've drawn over the past 5 or 6 years. There are events and conversations captured in them that I would have otherwise forgotten, doodles from journeys we've been on, funny cartoons and portraits Tom and I drew of each other when we first got together. I haven't done as much drawing recently, since I finished my last comic in fact, and looking back through sketchbooks has made me really want to pick up a pencil again.





 Above: the original drawing for my blog picture on the right.


Do you like to draw? I'm looking forward to reading about other people's passions and what inspires them!
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Monday, 5 May 2014

BEDM #5 - A trip to the Horniman Museum, London


This weekend Tom and I hot-footed it to London to visit some friends of ours. My friend Laura lives nearby a wonderful museum called the Horniman, and since reading about it on Jess's blog I've been really looking forward to visiting. The Horniman Museum, situated in Forest Hill, South London houses a wide array of interesting objects, collected by a chap called Frederick Horniman who brought back over 30,000 objects from his travels around the world.


There's a huge room full of hundreds of musical instruments and a collection of stuffed animals, including a walrus who has his own Twitter account.

 The Museum is located in beautiful gardens which overlook the London skyline, there's even a mini farm where you can see alpacas and rabbits. Best of all, it's free to visit! I'd definitely recommend a trip there if you're in London and if you live in the capital there's some fun events coming up there as part of Museums at Night including a live portrait booth by the folks at Modern Toss.




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Sunday, 4 May 2014

BEDM #4 - How I feel about sci-fi

I think this comic, drawn by Tom captures my feelings about sci fi the best... Happy May 4th folks!




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Saturday, 3 May 2014

BEDM # 3 - Free Comic giveaway!


To celebrate Free Comic Day today I'm giving away one of my 'This is 30' Comics. Just leave me a comment below saying what your favourite comic book/graphic novel is and I'll draw a winner next Friday 9th May. Hurray for free comics!


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Friday, 2 May 2014

BEDM #2 - My 5 Favourite Posts


Most of my favourite posts revolve around some happy memories from the past few years. Tom's first birthday present to me where he sang songs as some of my favourite musicians, the day my travelling journal (above) returned from it's long trip around the world (I'd love to do a similar project, it was so much fun). Posts that are the most enjoyable to write often involve lists of some kind - a list I made of my all-time favourite magazines for example, and a list of things I hadn't mastered by the age of 29. Maybe I should write a new one now I'm 30?
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Thursday, 1 May 2014

Blog Every Day in May #1 - What is your blog about?

Above: the Convent is a spooky place to live..

[I've decided to take on the #BEDM challenge, let me know if you're doing the same!]
BEDM #1 - What is your blog about? 

I have been blogging at Make Do & Mend since 2008 and have somehow managed to clock up over 1000 posts in that time! I started my blog as a way to document my creative inspirations. I was working as a Graphic Designer at a software company at the time, but wasn't feeling particularly inspired. Me and my workmate read Design Sponge regularly and thought 'we could do that!' I started out posting about illustration I loved (and interviewed a few of my favourite creatives, including Gemma Correll and Jon Burgerman) and I also enjoyed posting about experiments with lo-fi cameras & polaroids.

Over the years my blog has become more like a photo diary of sorts, from my first post about - well, nothing in particular, to the weekend when Tom and I first moved in together. It's really fun to look back on these bits of my life, and I enjoy getting a glimpse into other people's adventures on their blogs as well. I love the blogging community and the friends I've made here over the years. So far I've enjoyed meeting with Adeline & Janet, swapped post with Kate and Bianca and bumped into Theodora at an indie-pop festival!

Sometimes I hit a bit of a block when it comes to blogging but I usually pick it back up again after a while. When I was younger I wrote in diaries every day and I guess blogging is a natural continuation of this.

I do have a few blog-regrets at the moment. I never take a 'proper' camera with my anywhere any more and consequently have less pictures to share. I blame phone cameras, which are easy to carry around but never quite as good quality. But I have discovered that Instagram is actually quite fun (I avoided it for years as I didn't want to lose my photo mojo but it's a lovely way of getting a glimpse into friends' days).

I'd also like to redesign my blog and I'd love to post more crafty 'how tos' and recipes. But for now, trying to complete the 'Blog every day in May' is a big enough challenge I think!
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