Thursday, 29 December 2011

Spot On...

I am currently home for the holidays in deepest darkest Dorset, and the free time I have on my hands has allowed the inevitable to occur - crazy purchase! Not a wildly inappropriate item of clothing in the January sales, but a...

...practically life-sized 'leopard skin'! The whole thing is some sort of embroidery/tapestry, and looks to be handmade. It seems fairly old, it has a few holes, but it is so bizarre, I had to get it, found in a random vintage/junk shop in a small town, day after boxing day. I'm not quite sure what I will do with it yet, it is probably to fragile to have on the floor, but back of chair or sofa would be good I think. Beat that for a wild (haha) post-christmas purchase!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Frozen Precipitation And Preoccupations

My mind is not here
It is soaring through wild hills
On the freedom road

Bring on ice and snow
Escape with good company
These are the best times

Apologies for appalling haiku, but forming incoherent, poor poetry is about all I can achieve at this late stage in the year. Also, it snowed today, and I love snow. Nearly holiday time, and I feel a road-trip coming on with my co-pilot (boyfriend). Pictures were taken a couple of years ago in the Brecon Beacons, on a day that was so cold we couldn't stay outside the car for more than a few minutes. Good times.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Time Tourist

There can't be too many places where you can travel from the present day, through Victorian splendour, straight into Roman Britain and then back to Georgian high society, in and below busy shopping streets. Welcome to Bath.

I love it, everything is well done, even the cheesy handheld audio guides, as they are voiced by Alice Roberts and also Bill Bryson, who happens to be one of my favourite authors. The site is pretty big and must stretch quite a long way under the streets above (most of it is underground), the extent of the Roman remains is pretty impressive too, and a cold day is best for a visit, the water is really warm so lots of steam!

And the best thing; if you are a Bath resident, get yourself a discovery card and it is free!

Monday, 28 November 2011

'Contents Of The Fridge' Cooking

I think I have mentioned before how bad I am at following recipes; it is a rare event when I buy all the correct ingredients and follow a recipe to the letter, although I usually stick to baking recipes - they have a habit of producing disastrous results if tinkered with too much. My usual method of concocting meals is to look in the fridge, then chuck the contents in a pan together and see what happens. Obviously this produces a rather wide range of results, but as I am usually only cooking for myself, so long as it is just edible then no worries! Sometimes I am actually pleased with what I end up with, and this was one such momentous occasion. I call it (unimaginatively perhaps), Hot potato salad:
Ingredients (approximately for 1):
New potatoes - A few, chopped smallish
Spinach - Couple of handfuls
Red bell pepper - 1/2
Onion (white or red) - To taste, but I used approx 1 tablespoon chopped
Creme fraiche - Couple of tablespoons
Wholegrain mustard - 1/2 teaspoon
Small red chilli - To taste
Garlic puree (or fresh if you are less lazy than me) - 1/2 tablespoon, less if fresh
Fresh coriander - loads if you love the stuff like me!

Boil the potatoes in seasoned water with a bit of mixed herbs chucked in if you fancy. Finely chop the pepper, onion and chilli. Mix together the creme fraiche, mustard and garlic, then mix in the chopped vegetables. When the potatoes are soft, drain and stir in the spinach, wilting for a moment if you want (I didn't). Stir in the creme fraiche mixture, season to taste, sprinkle (heap) fresh chopped coriander on top, et voila!

Barely a recipe, but I thought I would share anyway, plus, I won't forget it now either!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Wanderings Through Georgian Space And Time

I am having a Bath weekend this week, and that means trying to get out of my boring anti-social house and doing stuff, to save myself from going slightly nuts before monday. It always seems strange to me that we work for five days and only have two to play, but then if I have a weekend on my own without the company of my lovely boyfriend or friends, I find myself going a little bit mental if I sit still for too long, sad I know. Anyway, such ponderings mean you would of found me this saturday wandering through the streets of Bath. Photography ensues.

Bath is of course a perfect city for just wandering. Even though I spent 3 years here doing my undergraduate degree, I still love it and it's Georgian delights, and the honey-coloured Bath stone makes the city seem really individual, and the architecture more pleasing than greyer counterparts. I stumbled on a cute vintage and handmade christmas market so have actually made a start on the dreaded christmas shopping, although after spending a little time wandering around the main shopping streets I have now vowed to try and complete said shopping online, I hate (most) people! I also stopped in at the free art gallery right in the centre of the town, which is quite good for a quick browse. A good place to get a bit of peace as well, from busy streets to the practically empty galleries, just through a set of doors, quite a contrast. In these recession-hit times, people seem pretty keen to keep on shopping . . .

I then stopped in at my favourite place in the world for wasting an hour or so, the greatest bookshop in Bath, possibly the world; Mr B's. It is a good size, stretching over 3 floors, and really relaxed and cosy. The staff are brilliant too, I got some great recommendations last time I was in; Any P.G. Wodehouse fans out there, get yourself a copy of Stella Gibbons 'Cold Comfort Farm', best book I have read in a while. Plus they don't mind you hanging out and browsing for ages, and the stairway is papered with comic strips!

Overall, good Saturday : )

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

I'm British, Therefore I WIll Do A Post Entirely About Weather

Hello, post opportunities are a little thin on the ground at the moment due to nasty horrible British autumn weather, and my photography skills are no match for the resulting poor light conditions, especially with my 6 year old compact camera in hand (I will get that new camera one day ! ). However, just before the weather went severely downhill I got a few quick snaps on my way to university, not a bad commute really :)

Please go away miserable drizzle, bring on some beautiful crisp winter mornings, here's looking forward to some frost coated pictures.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Capability Brown Woz 'Ere...

For the first Sunday in a little while I have found my self at a bit of a loose end in Bath, and in need to some fresh air, so I thought I would explore the National Trust managed Prior Park Gardens just down the road from my house. It was a good move - the gardens are lovely, with some very good views down the valley to the city, full of autumnal colour, and as all the National Trust literature is at pains to point out; one of the only Palladian bridges in the world (there are three others apparently). You have to admire the Georgians for building such an extravagant yet essentially useless structure, but if gives us something to look at and photograph on a lazy Sunday, so I have endeavoured to take many pictures to bore you all!

There was some pretty old graffiti on the bridge! The whole thing was absolutely crowded by ladybirds as well, the stone must of warmed in the sun during the day. While I was there a guy proposed to his girlfriend on the bridge - I wonder how many proposals have been made on said bridge?

Happy Sunday everyone : )

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

A Walk In The Woods And On Heath

I was feeling fairly sickly this weekend with the nasty cold that seems to be circulating around my campus, but last weekend was a good one. I finally invested in some sensible walking shoes so I can go hiking (My version is probably more a rambling pace) with Darren, and we went for a test drive on the Sunday, just close to home in Dorset. We went through woods, then onto the heath near Lulworth then around the bottom of Lulworth Castle estate, we even got to watch some cross-country jumping for free - there was some sort of event on at the castle, and a couple of the jumps were right by the lake where we stopped for a cup of tea, so all in all, a proper English country afternoon! Here are some photos : 

As usual, some (or most!) of the photo credit should probably go to my lovely boyfriend :)

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

I Call That Curry O'Clock

I have never been much good at curries, I don't have the patience for anything that takes ages, and I have a bad habit of tinkering with recipes that have massive long lists of ingredients; substituting for whatever I have in the cupboards, which is an approach that does not produce tasty curry! However, I really did fancy a curry tonight, so I thought I would give this recipe from my new favourite cookbook 'From Season to Season' by Sophie Dahl a go. It was pretty simple, as I am lazy I used ready mixed garam masala, and there was no pumpkin in sainsburys so I used butternut squash, oh, and all the mangetout was better travelled than me, so I used broccoli (see what I mean about the tinkering?! ). I also didn't bother with the rice this time, although it does sound lovely.

Success! It was pretty damn tasty (if I do say so myself ), will definitely make it again, maybe with proper rice too.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

A Study In Greys And Haiku

Wind chasing steel clouds
Crisp ice autumn air beckons
Weekend is freedom

Nearly weekend o'clock : )

Pictures taken (mainly by my boyfriend) on my birthday a couple of weeks ago, in north Devon.