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Thursday, 16 April 2015

LEMON COURGETTE SALAD


Last month, Graeme and I did the Whole 30 challenge. For a big part of it, we lived off delicious roasted chicken dinners with a healthy side of vegetables or salad, which wasn’t all too different from what we used to have for our dinners during the week. Breakfasts were a bit more difficult. We got a new appreciation for both kale and sweet potatoes, and probably doubled if not tripled our egg intake. The first week we both experienced crankiness and headaches, and it felt odd having a Netflix movie night without chocolate. But it wasn’t nearly as bad as we were expecting. And breakfast and Netflix trials aside, we’ve definitely benefitted from the challenge and feel both healthier and happier. Personally, I noticed a huge improvement in my overall mood, and the quality of my sleep. I’ve been known to lie awake and toss and turn at night, but suddenly found myself actually sleeping at night and waking up feeling alert and refreshed at 6.30 am, a feeling that was pretty new to me.

More importantly though, doing the challenge has changed our habits, and we've been eating way healthier even after we finished (with the exception of a holiday in Scotland were we ate ALL the food and were left gagging for chicken and kale). One of the salads we've been having a lot, and potentially one of my favorites, is this lemony zucchini salad. It's based on a recipe from the Polpo cookbook, but over time I’ve changed the cooking method and the ingredients a bit so that it feels more like a meal. And if you’re doing a whole 30 challenge, you can easily adapt it—it’ll still be delicious. Yummers all around!



Lemon courgette salad recipe:
1 courgette
juice form 1 lemon
100 g rocket
15 g pine nuts
cured meat (prosciutto or similar)
grated parmesan
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
sea salt
pepper

Directions: Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Slice the courgette, and place on an oiled oven tray. Squeeze half of the lemon juice over, and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, flip the courgette discs, season and squeeze the rest of the lemon juice over. Roast for another 10 minutes until they are a bit translucent and tender all over. Leave to cool. Lightly toast the nuts in a dry pan. Toss rocket, courgettes and cured meat with a splash of olive oil and balsamic. Top with pine nuts and parmesan and serve.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

LA SARDINA / BENICASSIM, CARTAGENA, MURCIA

I think my favorite thing about using analog film might be the anticipation and excitement of getting it developed. I tend to save them up and go and get a whole bunch of films developed at the same time, so quite often I have no idea when the films are even from.

Last week, Graeme and I were in Glasgow and in between wedding errands and visiting friends and family, I managed to sneak off and get a couple of 35 mm rolls developed in Snappy Snaps on Byres Road. The two rolls that were mine turned out to be from last summer- one from when Graeme's dad came to visit and the other from our trip to Spain. I've been working on a photo book from our Spain Trip, and didn't even realize I still had undeveloped rolls of film! And as this week's been pretty grey and dreary over here, I thought I'd share a couple shots of sunshine.

These were all taken with the Lomography La Sardina using 35 mm film. They were shot in Spain, namely in Benicassim, Cartagena and Murcia.


Saturday, 28 March 2015

DENIM SHIRT TO DENIM SKIRT

I've been experiencing a bit of sewing performance anxiety recently. My parents bought me a new sewing machine for my birthday, a Janome 2030DC. It's awesome. It’s a world away from my old machine, a John Lewis mini. Don’t get me wrong—I LOVE my JL mini. It’s red and super cute. It’s tiny and light weight and really easy to transport, which was very handy when I was doing my ├ůsom sewing course. Not to mention, I’m a bit sentimentally attached to it, as it was a spontaneous gift from Graeme when we first started dating—I’d seen it in store and mentioned to him how cute it was, and then one day I came home and there it was, sitting in my bedroom. I've since used it for tons of projects, including several dresses and skirts and pillows and other projects. But lately the seams have come out a bit wonky. And let’s be honest, there’s a lot of things the JL mini just isn't made to do.

Enter the Janome 2030DC. It has a ridiculous amount of functions (especially for someone used to using what is essentially a kids’ machine). Every time I turn it on, I squeal with excitement as the LCD screen lights up. And so many features! It’s got 30 seams! Various feet! It can make button holes like no other. When I made this skirt with my old machine,  I had to do various calculations to determine the button hole size, and then do each one by hand, which took me about twenty minutes each and didn't even end up being even. No more of that! In short, this machine is a bit of a revolution. And I've been pinning tons of inspiration and projects to try. But, where to start? With great sewing machines come great sewing expectations, right? (teehee—see what I did there?)



But eventually, after trying to decide between all sorts of elaborate ideas, I ended up just sewing something that’s been on my to-sew list for a while: turning an old denim shirt into a denim skirt. Said shirt used to be a bit of a favorite (aka. I used to wear it far too often), and I was absolutely gutted when it tore, so it’s nice to be able to breathe some new life into it! To turn it into a skirt, I cut across under the arms, cut and hemmed the bottom, and used fabric from the sleeves to make a waistband. I meant to cut it a bit higher, so that I could use one of the buttons on the shirt in the waistband, but alas I ended up accidentally tearing it and went with plan B: using a clasp from an old pair of suit pants. And as a result of the tearing it ended being a bit shorter than what I had planned, but I’m still pretty happy with the results. Looking forward to wearing it bare-legged in the summer!




Hoping this will put my sewing performance anxiety to an end! Can’t wait to try that button hole function.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

DEC 2014 PHOTO ALBUM

My original plan was to fire out this album in the first weekend of January this year.I was on duty anyway, so a weekend of crafting sounded like the perfect plan. But I don't think I was really prepared for how time consuming it was gonna be, so here we are, well over a month after and it's finally finished.

And I'll be honest, making this album was a bit of an emotional roller-coaster for me. there was a definite moment where I just wanted to abandon the whole project. I just wasn't into it. Turns out that my printer isn't really the greatest (or if it has hidden potential, I don't know how to unlock it!), and my photos would come out in funny colors or covered in lines.  And I found the whole plastic pocket system really limiting, and felt like I really had to think it through before I used a pocket because I only had a limited amount of them and might need that particular page for something else. And if I changed my mind I'd have to resize and reprint and basically start all over again. Guess I'm a little too used to making photo books and adding pages and layouts as I go and changing my mind about a billion times without it having much of a consequence. I got way frustrated with the whole process and ended up leaving it sitting in a pile in my living room for about a month.


But then I decided I just needed to get it done and out of the way. I started caring a little less about funny colors and lines on my photos. I added personal touches, like journaling a bit on the photos, adding elements and stamping patterns. And that's when it got really fun. I got a little addicted to my gold stamp pad. I started seeing results that I liked, and my head started swimming with ideas. It finally started looking and feeling a bit more complete. There's still tons of flawed photos and pages that aren't 100% perfect, but I'm still really happy with the result.

I still haven't quite decided if I'll be making another one, but at the same time, I have so many ideas. In particular, I've been thinking about making one from the three years I spent living in Doha in the Middle East. I have so many photos and little mementos from this time (like my Qatari health card, notes and pictures from friends and even my old house key!), and I'd love to have them all in one neat album. Ok, maybe I'm a little into it.
(Also, that last photo of me and Graeme where I'm waving my sparkler around and almost hitting us cracks me up beyond belief. Those faces!)

Sunday, 1 February 2015

GINGHAM MEGAN DRESS


Woohoo! I finished my Megan dress from Love at First Stitch by Tilly Walnes! I actually started this way back in November in my sewing class, but then basically didn't touch it all through December or January, until I finally picked it up again this weekend. And here we are, dress complete! High five for a productive weekend.

I decided to add a contrasting peter pan collar and rolled up sleeves. I didn't actually have a pattern for the collar, so I basically just made it up based on the pattern for the neckline. All the seams are neatly finished with bias binding on the inside. And I'm so happy with the fit. I was a bit worried for a while, when I got to the bit where you're supposed to sew the zipper and I realized it was waaay too big. I guess I was a bit off with my measurements, as I ended up cutting off 5 cm at both sides. I'll need to keep that in mind for next time I make it. Cause there definitely will be a next time. Maybe a floral version?