Saturday, 26 February 2011

ISO turbo 3000

Since Christmas, I have heard an awful lot about apertures, depth of field and ISO Speed. These terms were usually restricted to conversations when Sam and Laura were here and to text exchanges with Dan. But a few weeks ago, Jonathan bought himself a posh camera and these words have become a part of my daily life.

It works quite well, he talks to me about cameras and in return, he has to hear me waxing lyrical about vegetables. Some of the photography knowledge seems to be sinking in and on Sunday we went to Shoreham and I took a couple of snaps. Snowdrops, my favourite thing to draw, and now my favourite thing to photograph. I'm quite proud of these.

Jonathan took some too. They're alright.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Bobbing along

Although I don't win things very often, when I do they tend to be quite cool.

I won some tickets to the Sealife Centre a few months ago and had a brilliant day there last Saturday. These pics were taken with Jonathan's new camera. He made some videos too which were amazing, once he's processed them I'll be sure to post them up here as soon as I can.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Chinese tomatoes

In the complete absence of any idea what to eat this evening, I turned to They Draw and Cook, a smashing cookery blog where each recipe is depicted graphically by the very talented artists of the world.

Tonight: Fried rice with these chinese tomatoes and eggs.

Monday, 21 February 2011

I am a camera

Found this pretty little necklace for Patsy in Urban Outfitters. I'm quite addicted to this shop and don't know what I'd be doing without it now that I can't shop in Topshop.

It's the new American Apparel. But with Jewellery.

I made a little origami box to put it in.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Gainsbourg: Vie Héroïque

It was pure coincidence that I recently saw the film Gainsbourg: Vie Héroïque twice in the space of a week. Initially, I watched it with Jonathan on a Friday night, then was happy to see it for a second time when I found out it was the featured film in the Basement Cinema at The Globe last Tuesday evening.

The Globe shows films in the downstairs bar every Tuesday; popcorn is provided as is a phone number so that you can text your drink order to the bar upstairs so as not to miss any of the film.

The film gives a surreal French twist to the tale of Serge Gainsbourg, turning his story into a fairytale as viewers are taken for a spin through the life of France’s popular hero. The film was wonderfully directed, with the tragic and beautiful Lucy Gordon an ideal choice for the role of Birkin, and Eric Elmosnino taking Gainsbourg seamlessly from a young art student through his life as a womanizer and provocateur. It’s moving and exciting and funny. The scene in which Laetitia Casta’s Brigitte Bardot struts along the corridor of Gainsbourg’s lodgings is surely the perfect visual representation of the term Blonde Bombshell.

There’s a moment where the morning after a night together, Bardot asks Serge “Are there any croissants?”, to which he replies “No, I’ve written three songs”. Rather egoistically, I couldn’t help but compare Serge’s attitude to Jonathan’s when he is making music. My lovely boyfriend is currently undertaking a project to write a song a week for the entire year and when he’s composing, he is absolutely single-minded in his aim to get the song finished. To the extent that he sometimes forgets to eat.

Oh dear, have I really just turned a post about Serge Gainsbourg into a yarn about my boyfriend? I must be in love. Yuk.

Here’s my favourite song so far:

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Make Up tutorials

I’ve never worn a lot of make up, so it’s no surprise that it wasn’t until September that I learnt how to use foundation, and found out what toner is for. I’m now hooked and imagine I shall spend some years now trying to achieve the perfect cover.

My aunt Sylla, a singer by trade, swears by MAC. So after a visit to the optician this afternoon, I popped into the Brighton store to see what they had on offer. It’s fun to have a makeover in store when you’re out shopping. And even though the lady only applied some moisturiser and foundation, it’s quite nice having your face touched by someone who knows what they’re doing. Leaving the shop feeling fresh faced and blemish free, I decided to try out some new looks when I got home.

I looked up Lauren Luke’s make up guides on youtube after having read her column in the Guardian. The videos are lovely, with Lauren in her bedroom, happily prattling away about bits and bobs while she expertly applies the make up to herself. The video I’ve attached to this post is especially sweet, as she is continually interrupted by various flying creatures which have come through the window on the balmy summer evening. She even includes photos of the bugs at the end of the film.

Feeling inspired, and armed with a generous glass of Merlot, I set to work hunting for some make up to try out my newly acquired knowledge.

This was not as easy as it sounds. Because I’m fairly low maintenance (ie lazy) and have a boyfriend who likes me just fine without make up (aaahh), I have a fairly limited selection. Most of my make up has been gifts, or recommendations from other people, and I’ve never been loyal to a brand (ehem). This could explain why my make up bag contains such curious items, all of which have been predictably underused; a lip primer, illuminating eye treatment, buffing lip beads, and a sparkly purple lip gloss I made myself during my induction programme at work.

With background music by Neil Young courtesy of Spotify, I had a productive evening trying to get the looks right. The result wasn’t half bad but I definitely need more practice, next time I’ll get the lift share girls round to help.

Thursday, 17 February 2011


I'm getting started on the allotment earlier this year so chitting all the potatoes ready to plant out end of March.
There were pick and mix potatoes on offer for 15p each at Seedy Sunday so I bought 6 different varieties, some of which are blue, some of which are red and some of which are potato coloured.
Just waiting for them to sprout a bit now.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Spring is springing

Some days it's warm, some days it's freezing. But my little crocuses are doing fine..

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

From about 6:30 last night for an hour, Wu Tag Clan's Ghostface Killah was tweeting about how to show your girl some loving on Valentine's Day.

Here's a snippet. He's adorable.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

National Debt

Amazing reaction on Question time this evening when Francis Maude once again cited Labour's debt legacy for the dramatic cuts the Tories are implementing.
The crowd booed as they heard the standard Tory line. We've heard it so often now and it's becoming clear to everyone that it's just a front for slashing public services.

It's worth remembering, that our level of debt is not out of the ordinary compared to other countries. And even more importantly - I read a while ago that 65% of our debt is owed to British Companies.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Seedy Sunday

The start of the Strebergarten planting season was marked today by my first visit to Seedy Sunday at Hove Town Hall.

Launched 10 years ago as a way for gardeners in and around Brighton and Hove to swap seeds not listed on the National Seed Lists, it has become an important fixture on the East Sussex horticultural Calendar.

As well as the seeds available for swapping ( for your own seeds or for a 50p donation) there were various stalls with gardening related goods for sale (bird feeders, wormeries), talks and demos (ideas for dealing with gluts, how to save seeds) and of course, the crew from Climate Connections promoting interaction between the many environmentally minded people of B&H. Some pictures of the delights on offer:

The seed packets were adorable. I bought far more than I have room for on the plot, so there will be plenty leftover for my other allotment keeping friends. Here are some of my favourite packets:

Seedy Sunday is without a doubt a fun day out for the entire family, but the importance of Seed Swapping is highlighted by the “Outlawed” stamp that each visitor has planted on their hand on their way in. The sale of seeds is so closely regulated, that it is illegal to sell any seeds not registered.

Around half of the world’s seed supply is controlled by three multinational corporations (Monsanto, DuPont and Bayer). You may know these companies better as Chemical Producers. Not only do these corporations supply chemical weedkillers to a large section of the world’s farmers, they also supply the only crops to contain a gene making them resistant to these specific pesticides. And since the creation of the WTO in 1995 made seeds liable to patent rights, the chemical giants also own these seeds, meaning it is against the law for farmers to save their seeds and forcing them to buy new batches from the same multinationals year after year.

Initially viewed by farmers as advantageous – they could spray whole fields to remove weeds and not damage their crops; the corporations claim to be feeding the growing world population by increasing the yield of crops through genetic modification. But how ethical is it to make farmers completely dependent on an outside source, and unable to sustain their own supplies of seeds? And when you factor in the dangers of soil erosion, decreased soil fertility and the need for ever increasing volumes of fertilizers (guess where these come from) due to the over cultivation of the land, the picture doesn’t appear so rosy any more.

The idea of huge corporations effectively "owning nature" is something that Caroline Spelman would likely approve of and as the threat of climate change looms, the need for farmers to have as diverse a range of crops as possible, becomes imperative. In this context, that the world food supply relies on such a small number of crops (of half a million known species, just 15 variants provide 90% of the world’s food crops) begins to seem spectacularly unwise.

The importance of seed saving only came to my attention in September, when the New Internationalist covered this subject in some detail, especially in this article by David Ransom, which has provided most of the information I mention here.

Organisations like La via Campesina - the International Peasant’s Movement, and, campaign for community-controlled and decentralized food production in their mission to defend the way of life for farming communities around the world.

And community Seed Swaps, by encouraging people to keep swapping seeds and by increasing awareness of the unjust system, allow us to continue growing all the magnificent varieties of flowers, and fruit, and vegetables, that this planet has to offer.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Keeping warm

My reluctance to throw anything away is bordering on the obsessive.

I accidentally slightly shrunk one of my winter jumpers in the wash, making it a bit too small and uncomfortable to give to charity.

As the pattern is so cute I decided to make it into a hot water bottle cover. Here's what I did.

I cut the front and back into rectangles:

Used crochet to join the 2 pieces together:

Found some ribbon for the top, et voila:

Mmm, will keep my hot water bottle nice and warm during these frosty winter days and nights.

As a reward I snuggled on the sofa to enjoy some delicious banana cake from the Climate Connections get together last night:

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Gong Hei Fard Choy

Happy New Year of the Rabbit!

Went with Ali to get Aubergine Chilli-Salt Pepper and some fried bean curd in China China this evening to celebrate Chinese New Year and were excited to receive our fortune cookies at the end of the meal .

Looking forward to the cryptic clue inside, I snapped the cookie open and was disappointed to receive the following blunt message:

Alice's was worse:

Where's the mystery in those??