Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Good morning all and Happy Halloween!
First of all, I hope everyone who was affected by Hurricane Sandy is alright. I have been glued to the news for days and it looked really scary on TV so I can only imagine what it was like IRL... 

Secondly, it is Halloween. And for some reason I am not jumping for joy. I've managed to carve zero pumpkins, make zero costumes, write zero blog posts about it, and bake absolutely nothing. I could of course dash into the kitchen now and quickly make something before work but I'm lacking ingredients and awakeness to do so. I guess when I said last year that I didn't want to have a party in 2012 I really meant it! LOL. I'm still sleepy from our trip to Boston and we also had visitors last week which meant I only had a few hours sleep. That plus work equals a very sleepy me. Maybe I'll celebrate next week. I heard in Hoboken they might postpone it, so I think I might just join in. Probably for all the wrong reasons but solidarity can only ever be good right?

Wow this is turning into a very negative post this early in the morning. One should not write blog posts when sleepy and in a hurry. I have to leave in about 20 mins and I still have to get ready! *yawn* Not all is negative though as we have managed to secure tickets to the Fields of Nephilim which has been sold out since April, so that should be good at least. Then maybe a quick horror movie before bed and that will be it for Halloween for me this year. 

Our trip to Boston was great though and I will be sharing photos of it with you, once I've gotten a very loooong sleep. But as it is Halloween, I just had to share this one picture with you which I thought was just brilliant :)

I hope you're having a good Halloween, whether in style or not, and I'll share more later!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Anniversay Trip to Edinburgh

Hi all,
Last June, I gave the bf a long weekend in Edinburgh as an anniversary present. Due to work commitments etc we only managed to get there last weekend. But it was perfect :) The weather was fantastic and we saw everything we wanted to see. We both took so many pictures that I made some collages to share with you here as otherwise this post would be very photo heavy. I hope you like it anyway!

The trip started off perfectly with breakfast at Giraffe at the airport. Pancakes yumm!

On the first day we kind of just walked through the city and took in the views.

Of course Edinburgh Castle was a must-see and we spent several hours there. The views were amazing as was the Great Hall. If you're ever nearby, you have to go here!

St Giles Cathedral was nice to visit also. As we went there about 30 mins before closing time, we had to hurry up but it was another attraction ticked off the list.
 On Sunday evening, we visited the Real Mary Kings Close. It is a tour of some streets that are now underground as they built something on top and kind of forgot about the street. The maquette on the left shows the now covered street.
We really wanted to visit Arthur's Seat but it was quite a hike. After some careful planning and rescheduling, we managed to find the time to hike up there though. We did get completely lost and had to take some insane stairs to get up here, but it was so worth it! You see that hill in the top left picture? That's the end destination... 

After climbing Arthur's Seat we were starving, so we went to Frankstein's Pub to have lunch. I had haggis which I love :) The pub was very Halloweeny and everything was Frankenstein related, very cool.

Pretty much next door to Frankenstein's was Greyfriar's Kirk. The church itself was not as spectacular as the cathedral, but the cemetary was really impressive. The autumn colours helped as well of course.

 The Edinburgh Dungeon was great, and check out my shiny new cookie cutters! Perfect for Halloween :) I love the axe especially muahahaha...

It was a really good weekend, we saw a lot, had amazing food, and now need another weekend just to recover. But I think the bf liked his present :)

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Cross Stitch WIP

Heyhey all!
Another WIP is my Spooky House cross stitch that I've taking with my absolutely everywhere... On the train (much to the amusement of some other passengers), to all the sewing and crafting group meetings, and sometimes I even work on it during my lunch break. But the result is getting there :)

I started this in April this year after having finished the Witch Hat one,and I'm still trying to finish the moon. It is so much work! Much more than the hat project, but it's slowly getting there. If I leave the moon until the end, I'll never finish it LOL.

This is how far I got in June... One of the bats is slowly showing... 

In August I finished a lot more already. I had to do some of the tree so that I could finish the 'floating' pieces on the right.

This is my progress at the end of September. You can see the outline of the house now! I have officially finished two of the moon sections. Out of 6 so still a way to go... but I'll be carrying it around some more so I'll keep you posted on how I get on. 

Though maybe I'll do some of that tree as I'm nearly out of the white floss... No way that this will be done before Halloween, watch this space as you never know ;)

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

New Coat and Visit to Choccywoccydoodah

Hello again all of my lovely readers!
It is slowly getting colder here, which means I get to wear my shiny new coat! Whoohoo! A couple of months ago, I really wanted to go shopping during my lunch break. So I dragged one of my colleagues along to the market and off we went. I have to add that it was extremely warm, in the high 20s C outside. We went into many shops which had absolutely nothing for me, but lots for my colleague. Not to worry, I was sure I would find something. Once we found a more 'me' shop, I dove in and browsed. And there is was, in a wonderful shade of purple, exactly in my size, and on sale, my new winter coat. It had to be tried on of course so the shop lady was kind enough to turn on the fan (which idiot tries on a winter coat in nearly 30C heat?!) and I tried on the coat. It felt like a big hug so I had to get it. 

Many years ago (!) I bought some really nice red fabric to actually make a coat, but as said fabric is still awaiting its turn, buying this coat was much more efficient :) It was perfect!. But as it was so hot, I couldn't really wear it. Until now! Yay :) My coat had its first ever outing during the 20% off event at Carnaby Street a few weeks back, when I went to Choccywoccydoodah with my friend J. 

Choccywoccydoodah is a fabulous chocolate shop where they made chocolates, chocolate cakes, have a cafe, they are just fab. Their head office is based in Brighton but I haven't made it there yet. The one in Carnaby Street is often visited though :) They also have a TV show which shows the world how they work and what wonderful cakes they make. The one thing that I really want to buy one day is their chocolate skull. It's a bit pricey at £63 but it's life sized and solid chocolate so you'll need to smash it with a hammer. Yumm!

 My friend and I posing in front of the yummy chocolates

 Ben from the TV show was in the shop and was too happy to pose with us :) Groupie alert! Hihi...

They even had this throne in the shop which of course just had to be tested! Here you can see my lovely new coat also, isn't it so me?! I love it! 

This was also the first outing of my knit dress, but more on that later :) I have some chocolate to eat...

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Halloween Quilt - The First Sew

Hi again everyone!
I've started sewing the first bits together! Oh my how nerve wrecking that is... As it turns out, it is actually really difficult to sew in a straight line for 4.25 inches. The last bit is always a bit curved for some reason... I had to take out several seams and start over, but I think it's ok now... 

Here is a loose idea of what the sewn parts look like

This will be the busiest quilt known to man! LOL. But it will sure be fun once I'm done... I haven't had the energy to do any more at the moment, but I'm sorting the squares with the borders so once that is done I can start those too. I doubt I will finish this before Halloween, but it's still a great project. Plus, by now you should know it's always Halloween at our place! :)

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Recipe - Salmon in Pastry for Two

Hi everyone!
I was trying to empty the fridge so nothing would expire and I still had lots of puff pastry left. I also had a ton of carrots and potatoes so what to do with that? Not another chicken pot pie ;) I went to the shop and bought some salmon, still without a clue as to what to cook for dinner. But after some time online, I found this fantastic recipe by Nigel Slater that just had to be tested. The original recipe can be found here amongst many other salmon recipes.

You will need:
  • salmon - 2 pieces, roughly 150g each
  • puff pastry - 375g (enough for 2 servings)
  • parsley, chopped - 2 heaped tbs
  • basil, chopped - 2 heaped tbs
  • butter - 35g, at room temperature
  • beaten egg
Set the oven at 200°C/Gas 6. On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry into four pieces roughly 12 x 20cm.

Transfer two of the pieces to a baking sheet covered with a piece of baking parchment.
Remove any skin from the fish. Place a piece of fish in the centre of two of the pieces of pastry.

Add the herbs to the butter and season lightly. 
Spread the herb butter on top of each piece of fish. 
Brush the pastry edges around the salmon with beaten egg then cover with the two remaining pieces of pastry. 
Press firmly to seal and trim the edges, pinching them together if you wish.  (my crimping really needs to be improved as you can see from the picture below).
Brush the surface of the pastry with beaten egg, making certain none drips over the edges. 

Make a couple of small slits in the top to let the steam out, then bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry is risen, crisp and golden. I nearly forgot to take a photo of this so I had to take this from the oven!

My slits were way too big, I had way too much pastry, but the end result was not at all bad:

Serve with mashed potatoes and enjoy!

In the end I had even more pastry left as the batch I had was one of those 500gr blocks, so with the remaining pastry and some plums I made my infamous plum tart for dessert. Yes, let's ignore any cholesterol issues for today ;)

All in all a lovely dinner, although I did forget about the carrots and used too much pastry around the salmon. But the bf liked it anyway and I can do this again sometime :) Have you ever made something like this?

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Halloween Quilt - The Final Cut

Hi everyone!
Oh my, how time flies! I've been so busy doing stuff/organising stuff/making stuff that I didn't actually have time to blog about stuff. Not very convenient... Have 2 weeks really gone by already? Well, let's not keep you waiting any longer and show you what I've been doing as of late. 

The main thing I've been trying to do is to continue the Halloween quilt. I must have spent a week or more cutting. It is the part I hate the most, so I wanted everything to be cut first before I start any of the sewing. My previous post about the cutting was only part of it. I am officially done cutting :) Well, at least for the top part of the quilt... 

The large squares at bottom centre (7.5"x6"), the small squares at top centre (4.25"x3.50"), and the borders on each side (6"x3" and 13"x3"). 

Trust me, it was a LOT of cutting... 

It's going to be a double sized quilt with hangover, so let's hope it all fits! Depending on how big is actually ends up being (my projects tend to morph halfway through sometimes) I'll cut the back pieces later. Now for the sewing part... Wish me luck!

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