Sunday, 26 December 2010


Christmas is about being with the people you love and doing the things you love. Mine was beautiful and special.

A house full of memories

A flower

A solitary walk into a Robert Frost poem

A ruffley dress and wellie boots. Pretty and practical

 A cat who didn't eat any of the garden animals I love so much

A very old man telling very old jokes

An unhealthy present for a beloved pet

A smell that makes your heart heavy with love

 I hope your Christmas was full of love and magic. Tomorrow I am going to France to visit the teacher and his family. I might be too busy eating cheese and massacring their language to blog much. Stay lovely, petals.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from a chicken and his human. Hope it's grand!

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Christmas Crafting

I'm definitely a last minute person. I'd like to think it's because I work best and my brain is sharpest when under pressure but my dad would tell you it's because I inherited a talent for procrastination from my mum. This isn't my dad's blog! Anyway, I've spent this week getting my shit together. I'm making as much as I can this Christmas. The ladies in my life are getting homemade bath and body treatments.

I'm really pleased with this patchouli and ylang ylang body scrub. I home-make as many toiletries as I can so I'm chuffed to have something else in my recipe book.

I've also spent the afternoon making fudge for everybody. Now I feel ill from all the sugar and I've not even eaten any! If that's not injustice I don't know what is.

This fudge is criminally easy and quite cheap to make so I feel a bit guilty as if I should have put more effort in. Even though I know it's delicious and they'll all love it. Is that mad?

I stayed up until 2am this morning making these after I found a tutorial online. This is the prototype which is why it's not very neat. It took me a couple of tries to get the hang of it, since I'm terrible with fiddly delicate things (except untangling. I could untangle a necklace in the Olympics) but they're actually easy enough. My mum loves paper crafts like this so I've prepared some for her to make herself when she gets home.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Belle and Boo

I need to keep reminding myself that whatever money we're saving by doing things home-made and home baked should not not not be spent on buying presents for ourselves. Maybe just some of it? All of these Belle & Boo prints would be on my list.

In saying that, though, the Teacher bought me a couple for Christmas. It was agony trying to pick which ones. Lots of them belong in childrens' bedrooms so the next time somebody I love has a baby I know where I'll be heading! We got them from the loveliest wee gallery in my home city which is crammed with all sorts of things to delight a greedy little rascal like me.

 Belle & Boo have online shops on Etsy and their own site.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

House Evy

No sooner have I surmised that Swedish houses are a lot more stylish than Ikea suggests when I find this kitchen, which I can add to the dream eco house in the Grand Designs of my imagination.

Images from here via here.


There's a place I go to escape. It's only a few minutes walk away from my parents' house and surrounded by busy suburbs but feels completely cut off from the world.

I climb the same tree, which is like an old friend, having shared the emotions of my teenage years and supported me through the trauma of growing up.

Most of the time I sit there listening to the birds and the beasties and allow myself the thought that the Big Life Things I want to run away from are actually not that big at all, in the grand scheme of things and that maybe, just maybe, things will end up ok. It's medicinal to be around things that aren't affected by you and the decisions you make.

I'd give a lot to be able to take myself there right now.

Monday, 13 December 2010

A little trip to Sweden*

Do you ever have days where you get overwhelmed at all the things you have to do and answer it by throwing yourself back into bed because it's No Use and that the Whole Day is Ruined. Saturday was one of those for me. Usually on those days the Teacher will stroke my hair and make me cups of tea, then when I eventually creep out from under the covers and agree that it's not all hopeless and the day is not ruined, he takes me out for a vegan dinner**.

On Sunday I was still miserable so the Teacher dragged me to Ikea. I love Ikea. Most of their furniture hurts my eyes (bit too wacky for me, sorry) (and disposable. I hate disposable) and I prefer things that aren't in 10000 other people's homes but I like following the arrows and feeling like I'm having a good poke around someone else's house (I'm very nosy). We got lots of little things that ended up costing as much as one of the big things we said we couldn't afford. Oops. I only cale away with one plant this time, though, which I think was a big success for my poor boy.

I also cleaned out my bag,  which had Skittles sitting underneath all the usual handbag detritus I may or may not have eaten one. It may or may not have tasted like perfume. Funny that, since I don't keep perfume in my bag.

* I'm pretty sure real Swedish houses don't look like mini Ikeas, but sometimes it's nice to pretend.
**I'm not a vegan but I am a vegan sympathiser and I do love a good ethical dinner.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Lentil Soup

The first time I made this soup we were on the cusp of summer and even though I've made it regularly since then I've been so excited to sit down with a big bowl of it in winter. The temperature hit -10° a few days ago, I doubt we'll be eating much except this soup and nutella (v. popular in France, did you know. The Teacher was going through a jar a week when we first met) for a long time yet.

Recipe- adapted from Kitchen by Australian Marie Claire 

250g red lentils, washed in cold water
2 carrots, grated (grating carrots is my least favourite kitchen activity ever, I nearly always lost some finger. It's handy if you have someone you can convince to be your minion for 15 minutes)
1 brown onion, finely diced (conversely, I love dicing onions so much. If you are not that way inclined/have carefully applied makeup, you can use your minion as before)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1L vegetable stock (you can add more later if you think your soup is too thick)
Optional: 1 or 2 teaspoons mild chilli powder if you like a kick. The teacher does; I do not.

What to do:
1. Heat some oil in a big saucepan and gently fry the onion with the garlic until translucent.
2. Add the carrots, cumin, lentils and stock (and chilli if you've decided you do like oral torture).
3. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer for 25 minutes or until the lentils have disintegrated. Give it a stir once or twice to make sure the lentils aren't sticking to the bottom.
4. Eat it/freeze it/give it to a friend.

The bowl is much prettier than the soup

How I got here part I


Once upon a time there was a little girl. Like most her age she liked to imagine what she would grow up to be, a farmer one day, a hairdresser the next. Her parents loved the enthusiasm she had for all of her new ideas and encouraged her to dream. As she grew and the dreaming didn't stop, her plans becoming more and more implausible they became worried that she would never settle, never stick to something.

This continued right the way through the girl's high school years and people began to ask her important questions about big things like University and Careers and Life Goals. These questions upset the girl. The answers she could give them were never satisfactory. She knew that there was something that fitted her personality and the vague criteria she had for what a life should be, her problem was that she didn't know what to call it.  The girl withdrew from the question askers and spent a lot of time alone, climbing up a tree beside some golden fields, dreaming like she had done so often as a child. Eventually as the fog in her mind cleared one word kept returning to her, again and again until she was sure enough to shyly give it as a response to the questions which were still being fired at her.

At last! They had real things to put in their paperwork and the girl finally had a word that encapsulated everything she had wanted to be throughout all those years of dreaming. She was going to be a nurse.

I still really want to be a farmer one day, though.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Bunny Love

The day I've been dreading has arrived: my bunny is no longer scared of me. He was a terrified baby when we first got him, wouldn't even sniff in our direction, a trembling ball of fluff. It didn't take long for him to make this (and us) his territory. He keeps an olfactory register of everything we own.

If there's fresh laundry on the clotheshorse, a new pair of shoes in the hall, a sweetie wrapper unseen on the floor, he sniffs it out and investigates. Usually he tries to eat it and most of my day is spent chasing him to recover things that wouldn't be kind to his bunny bowels. Until now, he's been a little bit scared of me. Not a lot but just enough for a shout of "stop it!" to send him racing back to his box and flop down, defeated.

Then one day a few weeks ago the Teacher and I were waiting at a bus stop after a 7 mile walk through the snow from my parents' when we noticed that Bunny was shivering. I buttoned him inside my coat and that's when he realised, I was never going to hurt him or put him in a stew, (however much I might threaten to).

Now there's nothing I can do to stop him stealing my bird's food, squeezing behind the tv in search of lovely chewy wires, nibbling unworn Kurt Geiger shoes or eating the Christmas tree...