Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Journeying up Mount Doom in Doris.

There is nothing I love better on a rainy evening than looking at all the random photos that I took on our last camping trip. I forgot I had taken all these until Ed reminded me yesterday. He was a little bit disappointed that I didn't take any pictures of our 20% gradient hill accent! He then just teased me that I was too scared to think about anything else whilst we were doing it. I must admit when the hill loomed in the window I did hold my breath slightly. It was steep and we had never done anything like that before, so all that was left to do was Ed to put her in second gear and then we prayed whilst she slowly journeyed to the top! Frodo climbing up Mount Doom had nothing on us.  

Every journey is super fun in Doris, especially now I have got used to all the mechanical noises she makes, the first long trip I got Ed to explain what all the noises were because some of them were a bit scary. And when we get to our destination it feels so awesome.

We are already planning our next trip, just can't wait!!
Much Love.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Our Visit to Portmeirion - part 1.

If one post from me today just isn't filling your Porcelain Agaric appetite then pop over to By The Lock where the lovely Chloe has posted my vegan Peanut Butter Sundae Hair Mask recipe. Her blog is an ecclectic mix of crafting, cooking and wonderfulness in which you will find plenty to make your eyes happy.

Back to our camping adventures, it turned out that our campsite was right opposite the estuary to Portmeirion. This amazingly, strange place was designed and built by Clough Williams-Ellis in 1925-1975. He bought the site in 1925 for around £5000 and based it on a typical Italian city. I loved visiting here so close to finishing Elijah's Mermaid because some of that was based in Italy so it really immersed me in the feeling of it all.

This place is just so strange to walk around, its all so contrary in a way, very beautiful and quirky though. If you are in North Wales it is definitely worth a look around, you can easily while away most of a day there immersed in all the candy colours and fresco-esque buildings. We even caught up with my aunty and uncle there and spent a lovely few hours wondering around and drinking tea. I took a lot of photos here so I will be sharing more of these when I need a camping fix in the week. 

Hope you have had a fantastic bank holiday Monday <3 
Much Love

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Doris' First Trip to Wales (with Us).

You may have noticed that I haven't been around a lot this week, well I have still been getting over my gluten episode and we had to get ready for our camping trip mid week. Ed and I decided to go to Wales and my folks came with us and brought their tent. This was the longest trip we have taken Doris on. We did the first part on Wednesday evening, Nottingham to Shropshire which was is about 90 miles, then on Thursday we did the rest which was close to 100 miles because we took the scenic route. The weather was beautiful and this was the view we had from Doris in the evening. 

This was probably the best camping trip we have had so far, it was so much fun and we even caught up with my aunt and uncle which I haven't seen for years. Doris was very well behaved and the slight issue we had with her cutting out when coming to a stop was fixed when Ed tightened up a loose part of the carburettor. We are already planning out next couple of trips! 

Hope you have had an awesome week and bank holiday weekend <3
Much Love.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Frank & Jeff Growing Into Big Pigs.

Jeff and Frank are about 5 months old now! Ed and I can't believe how the time has flown by and how big they are getting. I took these pictures when Ed was cleaning them out the other day, we sometimes put them in my wicker basket to keep them out of trouble whilst we are sprucing up their home as they enjoy getting into mischief. 

They are lovely creatures and both have their own huge personalities. Frank is the dominant one of the two and is pretty outgoing, whilst Jeff is a little shy and will hide more in their house. They make us laugh a lot with their crazy antics. We are now used to loud, continuous squeaking whenever the fridge door is open, a plastic bag get scrunched or they hear one of us chopping in the kitchen. Oh they also squeak when we get home to try and persuade us to give them treats as well, which they usually manage to achieve, mainly because Ed is a sucker for their cuteness.

Hope your Monday was awesome <3
Much Love

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Books, Glorious Books...

I have been in a bookish mood lately and lots of different genres have been entertaining me. NOS4R2 I haven't quite finished yet, I am only a couple of hours from the finish line though and it has been the first story for a good while that has nagged at me to want to know how it ends. Joe Hill's writing is visceral and fearless, I picked up his first novel a good few years ago called Heart Shaped Box and I loved how much it scared me alongside the heavy rock music influence. His second novel, Horns, I didn't even finish I found it took too long to get to any point, so when I saw NOS4R2 I decided to give it a chance. I am so glad I did, this book has a villain that makes my blood run cold and one of the most kick ass heroines. This story is so awesome, the concepts in it are really clever and it has been keeping me on the edge of my seat. I would even be brave enough to say that Joe Hill is our generations Stephen King.  

I accidentally stumbled on Elijah's Mermaid whilst I was browsing through Amazon. I adored Essie Fox's first book The Somnambulist. So when I saw her second book had been released I trekked into town to buy it so I could take it on our last camping trip. Both Essie Fox's books are based in the Victorian era in London and Hereford (which isn't far from where I grew up). Elijah's Mermaid really highlights the emancipation of women and how awful some of the conditions women had to endure. This book is fantastic and the twists and turns were really satisfying. If you like a Victorian story full of intrigue and well crafted characters then you will love this book. 

I have a love affair with Scandinavian crime fiction, I just love it in all of its dark, exciting drama. I have read or listened to three of the Harry Hole thrillers. I have very mixed feelings on them and Harry Hole. I have found Harry a very difficult protagonist to get along with, but I am starting to realise that is part of what brings me back to keep reading these books. I really enjoyed this book, even though I was a little underwhelmed about the big reveal at the end. But I don't think it detracted from the book because the rest of the story was seeped in great detective work. I love this book because I also learnt quite a lot about what happened in Norway in WW2. I think Jo Nesbo's fifth book The Snowman had a lot more twists, turns and reveals which kept me excited and eager to finish the book, but The Redbreast enhanced Harry's character for me, as more time was spent on him. 

The next few books on the top of my reading list are Half the Sky that I am reading for The Feminist Book Club, Anno Dracula and The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson, that I discovered through a video on Ted talks.

Hope you have had a great weekend <3
Much Love.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

50 shades of Teal - Well 5 to be More Exact.

Ed and I have been living in our apartment for over a year now and we are finally getting around to decorating. When we first moved in we decided that we wanted to live in the space for a while to get a good feel of how we wanted it to look. So now the weather is getting a little better we decided to start trying out some colours. We are going to start with the living room, we want to have one feature wall and the rest will just have a fresh lick of white paint. I wanted to have wallpaper on the feature wall, but I quickly realised that I have VERY expensive taste in wallpaper! The cheapest rolls that I had my eye on were £50, this could prove really expensive because we live in a Victorian house that has been converted into apartments, so we have gorgeous high ceilings. Which means a roll of wallpaper will not go very far in our place. That is when we decided that paint would be cheaper. Teal is probably my favourite colour, so Ed and I decided that would be a good colour to start with. 

What I have noticed is how far out the colours on the paint websites and on the paint pots are to the colour of the paint in the pot! I loved Teal Tension on the Dulux website and on the paint pot but when Ed slapped it on the wall it looked more like a dull navy, the Proud Peacock was disappointing as well, it was too greeny grey. We mixed the two colours together to see if it was any better and it was a little, but when it dried it just wasn't THE colour. We got two more testers today, 1997 Aqua is quite a nice colour but it is just a little bit too drab and then there was Palm Springs. I love this colour it is bright, vibrant and it does have a hint of teal. Palm Springs also looks great in all the different light conditions that we have in the front room. I can't wait to have a whole wall of this lovely, cheerful colour. We also chose a white paint called Blossom White. It has a slight touch of pink, I think it will make the front room look warmer and a bit brighter. I can't wait to start decorating! 

Hope you have had a wonderful week so far <3
Much Love.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Going to a Burly Show...

Me and a couple of friends went to a burlesque show on Sunday called the Gilded Merkin.  It was a wicked night, we had copious amounts of fun and a splash of gin. This was the outfit I chose for the show, it is the first time I have worn my candy striped dress that I found in TK Maxx for £13! The rest of my outfit has lived in my wardrobe for a quite a while. 

I love the necklace with a little mushroom in a vile, Ed bought me this for my birthday last year from Mab Graves. I am a huge fan of her work so I was super excited when this plopped through my letterbox. I really like this outfit, it is sugary sweet with a slight twist of nature. 

Hope you are having a great week <3
Much Love.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Coeliac Awareness Week - Yummy Gluten Free Garlic Bread.

It is Coeliac Awareness Week this week, so I thought I would share my super easy gluten free garlic bread recipe. Warm, soft and buttery on the inside with a slight crunch on the outside. I must admit I used to be very lazy and just buy garlic bread and put it in the oven to heat it up. When I found out I was gluten intolerant I couldn't do that anymore. So I had to take matters into my own hands and make my own! I don't make my own bread, I have tried a couple times and once the 'bread' is cooled I could defend my home against an intruder with it, it is that hard and dense. I have found that gluten free ciabatta or regular gluten free rolls work brilliantly though. So this is how I make my garlic butter. 

I don't ever really measure this recipe because it is so easy to make yummy. This is what you need:

1 knob of butter
6-7 cloves of garlic (I like my garlic butter strong, reduce this amount if you want)
3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
1/4 teaspoon of dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon of dried tarragon

Put the butter in a cup in a bowl of hot water (so the butter starts to melt). Peel the garlic cloves and grind them into a smooth paste in a pestle and mortar, you could just chop the cloves up small if you don't have a pestle and mortar. Put the garlic paste in with the butter and add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Stir this until the butter has nearly melted and add the dried parsley and tarragon. Then add the rest of the olive oil. You want the garlic butter thick but pourable. All you need to do now is to slice into some rolls, you want to leave one edge uncut so the slices don't fall apart and spoon the garlic butter down every cut you have made. Put them on a baking tray in an oven heated to 200 degrees C for about 5 minutes, until the crust of the bread has just started to toast. 

Hope you enjoy <3
Much Love

Monday, May 13, 2013

Our Future Food is Growing!

So you may have noticed I haven't been around for a couple of days, I've had a bit of a gluten attack. It must have sneaked into my food somehow over the last couple of weeks. A lot of people ask me what the symptoms are, for me the main ones are horrendous stomach cramps, exhaustion and this weird brain fog. It just means I have to be even more careful for a little while to get insides properly functioning again, I am eternally thankful that I can control this just by diet though. Healthy me is definitely worth all the label reading and ingredient scrutinising. Anyway enough of that...

There seems to be so much to do at the allotment right now, I didn't want to plant a lot in early April because it was still quite cold. Now it seems like everything needs to be planted and the weeds are making a run for it. So Ed and I have plenty to keep us busy. It is a lovely feeling to watch seeds grow into little plants. I am especially pleased with my sweetcorn because I was worried the seeds were a bit old because some of them had a bit of mould on, but they seem to be really healthy little plants. Our allotment neighbour warned us that the badgers like sweetcorn so we will have to put a fence up when it grows larger. 

It is amazing to see how much everything has grown in only a couple of weeks, you can see the previous allotment post here. I also bought a cucumber plant at the weekend for £1.40 which I thought was a bargain. Mum is starting us off some runner beans and we are also getting some tomato plants off our friend tomorrow which I am super excited about. It feels like it is coming together... slowly. 

Hope your week is off to a good start.
Much Love.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Feminist Book Club - The Whole Woman.

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Well Germaine wasn’t kidding when she said “The time has come to get angry again!”, The Whole Woman is 330 pages of angry! I was really excited to read this book, I hadn’t heard of it before but I thought it was definitely time to read some Greer. I was bitterly disappointed. All I found in this book was rage, topics that were talked around in circles and prejudice, not only towards men but minority groups such as transsexuals as well. So here are a few examples of the topics that annoyed me the most (it was very difficult to only choose a couple of them as well).

“No one ever asked women if they recognised sex-change males as belonging to their sex or considered whether being obliged to accept MTF transsexuals as women was at all damaging to their identity or self esteem.” 

Well if being born a female in a female’s body gives me a VIP pass into the feminist club then I am happy to lend it to MTF transsexuals, if they want to join the lady party then they are very welcome! All the atrocities that happen to women all over the world and ink was wasted on these ignorant, hateful words. I would like to state right now that MTF transsexuals have never been ‘damaging’ to my identity or self esteem thank you very much.

Then there was the chapter on Daughters, wasn’t that a jamboree of sadistic stereotypes. Based on some very dated Freudian archetypes, Germaine decided that fathers harbour all these sick, sordid feelings towards their young daughters. My favourite bit of absolute craziness was where she said:

“Daddy may respond by bouncing her on his leg. It did not need Freud to point out the similarity between this activity and sexual intercourse.”

Germaine are you actually kidding!? I remember this being done to me when I was young by lovely, caring men who I adored. There are millions of wonderful dad’s out there who would move heaven and earth for their children. My dad is one of those wonderful people, so I do not appreciate this horrible, bleak, perverted look on one of the most amazing things that can happen on this planet, the father, daughter relationship.

Now there were some interesting, informative parts of this book, but for me it was like searching for diamonds in a stinky bog of man hate. Some of her views are absolutely shameful, especially in this day and age (and I know the book is a little dated, but it isn’t THAT old).  Germaine ends the book by saying:

“The second wave of feminism, rather than having crashed on the shore, is still far out to sea,”

I just don’t accept this statement, feminism is progressing every single day, it’s all those small things that we do as well as the large. Women have come such a long way and it will continue to get better if we just keep promoting, thinking and discussing. If feminism was ‘far out to sea’, surely we wouldn’t be in a Feminist Book Club, would we?

I just don’t believe that such anger driven, hateful elitism will progress us further as women. Germaine talks like we are about to go into battle and I just feel she is trying to use patriarchal devices to try and beat the men down. I think we will continue forward at a much greater pace if men and women work together. It isn’t about being the best sex or the most important sex, it is about utilising each other’s unique abilities to create a better world for everyone to live in.

The next book to read in the Feminist Book Club is Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn, I am really looking forward to getting my hands on this book, it can't be anywhere near as difficult to read as The Whole Woman. 

Much feministic love.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

More Aquatic Loveliness.

As I was free range blogging at the weekend, I could only upload a small handful of pictures from our trip to Hunstanton Sea Life Centre. So now I have proper internet I can show you the rest. It was such an awesome place to take my camera, we spent a good few hours in there enjoying watching all the random fishes.  

I can't wait to visit some more aquariums this year with my camera... and Ed of course hehe. 

Hope you are having a productive week so far.

Much love

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Post Camping Blues.

I am missing camping sooo much! It was a perfect weekend and one of my favourite things was going to sleep staring at the stars out of the back window, life doesn't really get much better than that for me. I am still impressed with how cosy Doris is inside, when the bed is made up in the back it is my version of heaven! 

Hope you had a lovely bank holiday weekend and managed to soak up a bit of that much needed sun. We have another camping trip planned in a couple of weeks and I am super excited <3

Much Love

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Free Range Blogging & Hunstanton Sea Life Centre.

Just a quick post today as I am on a slightly dodgy wifi connection in a field! We are having a wicked time camping away with Doris in Burnham Deepdale on the North Norfolk coast. The weather has been beautifully sunny, if not a little chilly at times. Ed and I went to the Sea Life Centre in Hunstanton today and it was sooo much fun, it is one of my favourite places to go. I have more piccies from today but this little taster is all I could manage to upload. They have a Clownfish Kingdom there now which is pretty awesome, but they seem to have got rid of the horseshoe and spider crabs which made me a bit sad because I loved them. The horseshoe crab loved to lie on its back and the staff had to put a notice up to say it was okay because a lot of people had been concerned by its horizontal flailings! 

Mr Turtle was probably my favourite creature in the whole sea life centre, he was so majestic and huge. Just look at his cute face! Hope you are having a fun filled bank holiday weekend <3

Much love

Friday, May 3, 2013

Kitchen Glamour - Refreshing Face Mojito.

I love Mojitos, they are the epitome of summer fun and frolics. So with spring in full throw and the promise of summer getting nearer I was inspired to make a mojito for my face. My pot of mint is thriving under the windowsill, I love rubbing the leaves as I walk past and smelling the fresh scent. I put about 3 healthy springs in this refresher, mint is really good for the skin, not only can it be soothing for irritated skin, but its high amounts of salicylic acid loosens up dead skin cells, which can help stop your pores from clogging. Mint also has vitamin A in it which means that it can strengthen and balance oily skin.

The other ingredients in this face refresher are 2-3 slices of cucumber, 1 tablespoon of caster sugar and the zest of an orange. I have raved about cucumber in my 3 Ways to Combat Puffy Eyes post. Cucumber is 90% water so its cooling and hydrating for your skin, the cucumber acts as the liquid ingredient of this recipe. I also zest an orange into this, this is optional but I think it adds a lovely zing to the aroma. Citrus is also amazing for the skin because of its high content of vitamin C, it can tighten pores and make your face look and feel a lot fresher, you can read more about how oranges are good for your skin here. The last ingredient I add is caster sugar, this helps to grind everything into a pulp in the pestle and mortar.

Once you have all your ingredients ready, put them into a pestle and mortar and grind away until it is a pulpy consistency. You could pop it into a food blender if you wanted. Once you have your face refresher ready you could place it into the fridge for half an hour just to chill it down or you can use it straight away. I massage the pulp around my face (over the sink to catch any drips). Once I have used all the pulp I rinse it off with some cold water and towel dry. This makes my face feel wonderfully soft, refreshed and ready to slip out for an evening of adventures. 

Hope you have a great, glamourous weekend <3