Blogging101, Cooking

Blogging 101 Update, Kitchen wins and a Jelly fail

I have been a bit rubbish the past week on keeping up with the Blogging101 daily challenges. But now I’m back and here is what has been happening!

Blogging 101

I experimented with trying out different themes last week, so much so that I lost about 4 hours last Monday night playing about with themes, backgrounds colours, images etc only to pretty much return to my original theme but this time with added header photo. Ha!

On my list of things to do this week is play about with widgets, strike up some conversations and have a look at blogrolls. The latter I am looking forward to getting to grips with as (if I understand the brief correctly) it allows you to follow other blogs that aren’t on WordPress. I have visited quite a few other blogs in the past which I have really enjoyed reading but not figured out a way to link them apart from signing up via email.

Wins and Fails in the Kitchen

In my last blog I was all excited about our new chilli plants and had a few ideas up my sleeve of what I was going to try to make. I am pleased to report that my attempt at Young & Hungry’s Chilli Chicken was a success!

First I mixed up all the spices and chilli’s.

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Then added the chicken

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Then cooked in the oven – it was so simple and tasty!

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I also made Chilli and Cheese Straws with a tried and trusted recipe from an old Be-Ro book. The yellow chilli’s are the scotch bonnets – super hot!

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Here are the finished straws! They didn’t last very long, Mr A was going on a stag do and needed to eat them all to line his stomach….hmmmm….

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And for my final show and tell…..

I have been to Bath this weekend for my best friends hen do. It was flipping brilliant. We hired a house and had a bit of a party and this is what we wanted to make – vodka jelly worms! They look simple enough right?

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However this what we actually made….

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They were half-worms, but least they tasted good!! 🙂

Blogging101

Shiny New Blogs on my Reader :)

Day 3 of Blogging101 was to get to grips with the Reader topics list and find some new and interesting blogging neighbours to follow. Having branched out of my usual ‘knitting’ or ‘crafting’ tag search I spent a large chunk of yesterday evening reading and following some brilliant blogs that I am really excited about. Here are just a few of them:

Young & Hungry – a great cooking blog with some fantastic recipes! I am not a brilliant cook and it’s something I really want to improve on. The blog tagline is ‘Delicious doesn’t have to be difficult’ – so that’s good news for me!

As a sideline, Mr A. and I went to the Garden Centre at the weekend and being rather late in the day we arrived at the end of a Chilli Festival. Our lateness may have caused us to miss the Mexican Pan-pipers but it turned out ok in the end as they were selling loads of chilli plants for just £2 each – bargain! So we got 3, ‘Ring of Fire’, ‘Scotch Bonnett’ and ‘Joes Long Cayenne’.

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And also some of this…

Chilli Beer

So after finding the Young & Hungry blog I feel super inspired to impress Mr. A with a surprise dinner. First up will be….Chilli Chicken! 🙂

Helen’s Journal – Helen’s photos are simply stunning. The latest post includes some soft image photo’s taken in New York and I love the abstractness (is that a word?) of them; the images appear as if they are made up of little balls of coloured light. I’m not explaining myself very well am I – probably best you go check them out here, you’ll see what I mean!  Some photos on the blog are also accompanied by a poem or a quote. I am looking forward to following Helen’s Journal and seeing some more beautiful pictures taken on her travels.

paris: small capital – Having spent an amazing weekend in Paris earlier in the year this blog totally captured my imagination. The author is Kim who moved to Paris in 2009 and through her blog explores the back streets of Paris and the places lesser known on the tourist trail. It is brilliantly written, very funny and full of interesting stories about Paris. I will be returning to this blog soon with a cup of tea!

White Elephant in the Room – this blog actually made me laugh out loud,  I love this post about wine tasting – brilliant! The author is someone who finds fun in the everyday things and I also love the fact that each post is individually illustrated with a white elephant to tie in with the post, very clever.

Today I have been filling up my reader with lots of  interesting new topics; there will never be another dull moment 🙂

Thanks for stopping by! x

Blogging101

Who I am and why I blog

I have decided to take up the Blogging101 challenge currently being run by The Daily Post. The first challenge is to write about yourself and let others know what you are about and why they should grab a cup of tea and start reading your blog.

So… is the kettle on? Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

By way of an introduction – these are a few of my favourite things (please feel free to sing along):

My favourite things

Knitting and yarn shops and books full of patterns
Casting on projects and seeing what happens
Sunshine and friends, cats, cake and wine
Getting hooked on a TV show, forgetting the time
Holidays in Greece or exploring a new place
Benefit make-up to decorate my face
Writing, guitars and trying to sing
These are a few of my favourite things!

And why do I blog? I set up my blog about a year ago, mainly to write about knitting and to connect with like minded, creative people. I enjoy seeing what other people get up to and marveling at some amazing creations that fellow bloggers have made!

My page name is Jem Arrowsmith Designs as I am starting out in the world of writing knitting patterns. So far I have self published 4 patterns  on Ravelry, with another waiting to be written up and a new one on the needles. It’s a slow process for me as I work full time but I flippin’ love it!

Do stop by and say hello!

Art

Adventures in London Town

We had a brilliant time in London this weekend. I really wanted to catch the Matisse exhibition at the Tate Modern before it ends this week. BUT like a fool I didn’t even think about pre-booking tickets, I just thought we could breeze straight in, but no. We arrived at 3pm only to be told that the next available slot was 7pm!

Luckily our visit to London was 3 fold. We were also going to Covent Garden to surprise my Mum for her birthday and then stopping over with my husbands parents. So we booked the exhibition for 6pm on Sunday and took a leisurely stroll through Southbank over to Covent Garden.

On our journey we saw the Dazzle Ship.

The Dazzle Ship

Dazzle Ship

This is the HMS President (1918) which served during the First World War. The ‘dazzle’ camouflage on this ship was done by Tobias Rehberger and the original purpose of such a design was to confuse enemy U-boat captains.

In Covent Garden we successfully surprised my Mum who was there on a day out with her friend and enjoyed a cheeky glass of Pimms 🙂

On our way back we passed the London Film Museum where my husband stopped dead in his tracks. They are currently exhibiting a large collection of James Bond vehicles. Now marriage is about give and take right? He was willing to come to Matisse with me so surely it was only fair that I returned the cultural favour. And as it turns out it actually it was quite interesting!

Here are a few of the cars that caught my eye. Not because I could admit to recognising them from the film (I know, shame on me) but because they were lovely. Here are the Rolls Royce Phantom III and the Aston Martin DBS from Goldfinger.

Rolls Royce Phanton III Goldfinger

Aston Martin DBS Goldfinger

What I also found fascinating was seeing the storyboards that are created for films. I am not a film buff and I have never really thought about how much work goes into making a film before, but seeing each camerashot sketched out like this really opened my eyes. The scene below was from Skyfall.

Skyfall Storyboard

We eventually arrived at the in-laws late Saturday eveining. It was lovely to see them. After Sunday lunch Mr. A disappeared for a while only to come back downstairs with a couple of ‘finds’. Of the old vintage camera variety.

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We searched online to see if we could find any film for them. Unfortunately, they stopped producing film for the polaroid ‘swinger’ in 1970!! However we have found a film for ‘The Button’ and duly ordered a couple. Stand by for some polaroid fun in a future post!

After saying our goodbyes we headed back into London Town for the much anticipated Matisse Exhibition. We parked our car in the Mansion House area, and as we exited the car park we came out at Baynard House and came across an interesting sculpture of Shakespeare’s 7 Ages of Man by Richard Kindersley. Constructed in a totem pole style it depicts the aging process from the youngest at the bottom to the oldest at the top. What doesn’t really come across in this photo is that the top head, the old man, actually looks quite skull-like from certain angles.

The 7 Ages of Man

From here we walked over the Millennium Bridge. You can’t beat London when the sun is shining.

London

We made it to the Tate Modern bang on 6pm and the exhibition didn’t disappoint.

Matisse Cut Outs

You couldn’t take photo’s in the exhibition but here are 3 of my favourites.

‘Icarus’ – I have always loved this image and I used to have a large print of this hanging in my old flat and what struck me when I saw it was that it was a lot smaller than I had expected. But the impact of seeing the original was still immense.

matisse icarus

Photo from http://www.tate.org.uk/about/press-office/press-releases/henri-matisse-cut-outs

I was fascinated by some of the ‘wall’ pieces. Matisse cut out these shapes and pinned them to the walls of his apartments in Paris and Venice. Called ‘Oceania, the Sky’ it began by Matisse cutting out a swallow shape from a piece of writing paper, and not wanting to tear it up or disregard it he pinned it to his wall to cover up a stain. Over the following weeks more shapes followed, including fish, coral, birds and leaves. According to the guidebook for the exhibition he was inspired by a visit to Tahiti 16 years earlier and quotes ‘There, swimming every day in the lagoon, I took such intense pleasure in contemplating the submarine world’

Oceania, the Sea 1946 matisse

Picture taken from http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/apr/20/henri-matisse-the-cut-outs-tate-modern-review-laura-cumming

I don’t know if it is the colours or the shapes of this piece, but it also makes me think of Egyptian hieroglyphics.

Finally, The Creole Dancer. I just love this. The colours, the movement – it just makes me smile. And at the giftshop it was my fridge magnet of choice 🙂

Matisse Creole Dancer 1950

The pieces were complemented by film footage showing how Matisse worked on these cut outs in his later years, instructing his assistants on where to place the shapes. I am so glad we caught this exhibition before it closed.

On our way home we drove through Trafalgar Square. Here are the final few pictures of a great weekend.

The London Eye

The London Eye.

Nelsons Column

Nelsons Column.

I do love London!