Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Crystal Visions...

I spent the weekend before last in beautiful Hastings catching up with Kate, Lauren and Hannah. Kate brought along these awesome camera filters from the 1960's - aren't they amazing? They wouldn't fit on my camera but you can kind of see the effects they produce by just holding them up! I love how they give everything a psychedelic vibe - way more interesting than any Instagram filter (though I do love those too!). If you would like to score a set for yourself try ebay - if you can't find ones to fit your exact camera I'm sure you could work wonders with a bit of electrical tape.

Instant album artwork!

I'm excited to share some more photos from this Hastings trip later in the week!

Friday, June 20, 2014

May according to Instagram...

I do enjoy these little retrospective roundups - I find I spend so much time thinking about the future that it's nice to look back over the previous month and remember what we've been up to! We kicked things off last month with a little trip to Prague - you can read the blog post about it (mostly consisting of restaurant recommendations natch) here!

We also finally bit the bullet and started clearing out the spare room (otherwise known as my sewing room) to make way for our little one! I have so many nursery DIYs swirling round my head at the moment, I can't wait to put them into practice next month!

Aren't these mini Minnetonka's the cutest? True story: my Aunty sent these to my Mum from the US when I was born (29 years ago this July!) but by the time they arrived my feet were already too big (story of my life) so I'm going to go ahead and call them vintage :)

Fruit in my cereal, tomatoes at the farm shop and a tiny oak tree I found growing in my herb garden (currently comprising three flower pots). I've re-located this sweet tree to an appropriately dinky flower pot - I'm hoping that it will stay cute and small like a bonsai tree, what do you reckon?

Don't forget you can find me on Instagram @StoneColdComfort

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Forget-Me-Not Quilted Zipper Pouch

Here's a peek at my latest make - a quilted zipper pouch using one of my favourite Liberty print fabrics, Forget-Me-Nots!

It's perfect for holding all of my girly bits and pieces like hair bands, perfume, lipstick and spare change! It also makes swapping between bags easy peasy so I never leave anything behind.

You can make one for yourself using my super simple Liberty print quilted zipper pouch DIY tutorial! If you give it a go don't forget to send me a photo - I love seeing all your makes! The Forget-Me-Nots fabric is currently on sale at Liberty £15.40 per meter.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Getting ready...

The nursery is almost ready! By 'almost ready' of course I mean it's practically empty except for a changing table and this rather charming bunny rabbit lamp! We're getting there though.

I can't quite believe we've only got 7 more weeks to go before we get to meet our girl! We're so excited! In contrast to the first few months (when I felt so exhausted I basically had to lie on the sofa all the time and could only eat Wheetabix) I feel pretty good at the moment. I'm planning on spending the next two weeks wrapping things up at work and enjoying these long Summer evenings (can you believe it's the Summer Solstice on Saturday? I don't know if I'm ready for the longest day of the year yet!). Then all being well I'll have a few weeks to myself to finish decorating the nursery, spend time in the garden, make jam, go swimming in our local open air pool and of course get stuck into the many craft projects on my to-do list! Taking it easy isn't really my bag - instead I would rather make the most of this time and be as creative as possible before my hands become rather more full!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

DIY Liberty Print Fridge Magnets

Here's a super simple, no-sew tutorial that can be whipped up in minutes and is perfect for introducing a touch of Liberty print charm into your home!

Liberty sell some gorgeous printed wrapping paper in their stationary department - you only need a tiny amount for this project so it's perfect for using up any leftover scraps! You could of course use any printed paper of your choice - smaller designs tend to work better so some pretty origami paper or scrap booking paper would also look great!

Materials & Equipment:

Clear glass circular tiles (I bought mine online here - they cost 99p for 10 including P&P from China!)
Printed wrapping paper of your choice
Matching coloured card
Small magnets
Paper scissors
PVA glue and a small brush

Step 1: Using one of your tiles as a template, draw one circle per tile onto the wrong side of your wrapping paper and coloured card. Cut out the circles you've just made and check they're the right size by holding them behind the glass tile (the sides of my tiles were slightly curved so I found that I needed to trim down my paper circles a little to stop them peeking over the edge).

Step 2: Apply PVA glue over one side each tile, scraping away any excess, then place a wrapping paper circle on top, pattern side down. Make sure they're stuck down smoothly right the way to the edges and leave to dry.

Step 3: Once dry, apply a thin layer of glue over the back of your wrapping paper covered tiles and carefully place a circle of coloured card on top, right side up. Repeat for all your tiles and leave to dry.

Step 4: Now is a good time to double check which side of your magnet is going to stick to the fridge and which side isn't! Apply a blob of glue to the non-sticky side and affix to the middle of the coloured card on each of your tiles. Leave them to dry thoroughly and you're all done!

Friday, June 6, 2014

I scream for ice cream...

I love a good retro recipe book - particularly ones for desserts that make liberal use of the piping bag or squirty cream canister. I have fond childhood memories of my mums lemon sorbet and chocolate mocha ice cream - both of which are cleverly made without the need for an ice cream machine! When I recently asked her for the recipe I was delighted when she produced this book! Look at those bombes, aren't they hilarious? I'm desperate to make one. This book has a recipe for every type of ice cream or sorbet you could imagine - even brown bread!

I've had the classic ice cream craving basically since day one of my pregnancy and I'm so glad that the weather is finally catching up. I'm so looking forward to trying some of these recipes and will let you know how I get on!

Pssssst.... If you would like your own copy of 'Ice Creams' by Heather Lambert, you can pick one up from Amazon starting from 1p!

Monday, June 2, 2014

When in Prague...

Did you know that people from Prague are called Praguers? It doesn't have quite the same ring as 'Parisiennes' but that's OK! Ciaran and I spent a lovely weekend exploring the Czech capital last month and this is what we found...

There is so much good food to be eaten in Prague!

For breakfast try Cafe Savoy. The beautiful carved ceiling dates back to 1893 and you can have the biggest and best breakfast of your life for around £10. I ordered the Savoy Breakfast which included a slice of home made nut marble cake, fresh bread and fruit compote, organic emmental cheese with local ham and eggs, all washed down with velvety rich coffee. If you're feeling especially hungry try the French Breakfast, I dare you... All the bread and cakes are baked daily and when you go downstairs to the loos there is a mezzanine level with a glass wall that allows you to look down into the pastry kitchen. When I visited the bakers were all hard at work filing big cake tins with that magical marble cake mixture and piping out what looked like Viennese Whirls onto a giant baking tray. The cafe itself has a lovely, refined vibe and is the perfect place to get your visit off to a good start!

Sansho is an awesome nose to tail restaurant serving up fresh and tasty Asian food.  Go for the tasting menu - my personal highlights were a delicious pork knuckle taco, beef rendang curry and deep fried soft shell crab steamed bun burger! The restaurant has a nice and relaxed (and slightly East London) vibe.

Try La Bottega Di Finistra for wafer thin prosciutto and for plates of deliciously fresh and juicy salads (perfect if you happen to have eaten veal escalopes deep fried in dripping the night before...). They also serve freshly squeezed carrot juice and make sure you get an ice cream to take away with you for desert!

You must must must also go to Bakeshop for gorgeous, velvety coffee and croissants. We also bought a bag of their Delicious fresh baked cookies to have with a cup of tea at home!

We hopped on a tour bus and whizzed around the city for an hour (I'm 31 weeks pregnant OK!) and wondered about the old town gazing at the pretty roof lines (make sure you check out the old astronomical clock in the old town square - on the hour every hour it plays a little tune and a saint pops out from behind a door. It was built in 1410 and the city councilors were so impressed with it they blinded the inventor who made it so that he couldn't make another one for anyone else ever again...)

You can walk over the famous Charles Bridge and up the hill to the castle and if you stand at the top and look down the hill you'll see some sweet little gardens which admittedly don't look like much from above (see photo below) but as you're winding your way down through them you'll find hidden rose gardens, herb gardens, statues, fountains and even an orangery built back into the hill (the smell inside was incredible and as a native of a cold and wet country I always get a kick out of seeing nobbly bobbly citrus fruit growing on trees). This was probably my favourite bit of Prague!

We arrived at lunchtime-ish on the Friday and flew back on the Sunday evening which was the perfect amount of time. There's probably about two days worth of sightseeing to do and some great places to eat - all cheap as chips too!