Easter giveaway! Scout Edition pigeon print

win scout

I was very happy to get a sweet email from Pui, designer behind Scout Editions, after I featured their pigeon print a few months ago, to offer up a little giveaway.

scouted1

Just check out their site for a dose of pastel-hued loveliness! These nautical-themed prints and pins make me feel the yearning for a little adventure…

scouted2

… and the birds series would look so great framed up on a wall together.

win

Want to win a charming Pigeon edition 2 print of your own? Just leave a comment on this post and a winner will be drawn at random from all the entries a week today on Friday April 10th, and it’s open worldwide. Good luck! The competition has ended, congrats to the winner, Joelle.

What’s doing?

Gosh, I’ve been really out of the blogging game lately. I had a bit of drama right after my last post, when I was trying to do some routine tidying up of my webspace and ended up corrupting the database and temporarily losing all of my posts from the last two years (your timely reminder to BACK UP REGULARLY).

It coincided with doing a bit of a mega apartment-cleanse during which I threw out half my clothes, dozens of old photos, payslips from my first job, cards, souvenirs, unused art supplies… so I started thinking maybe it was time to declutter digitally and let my blog go too. Would it even be missed? Who even reads blogs any more? I know I wouldn’t miss a lot of the side-effects of modern blogging – the endless irritating stream of irrelevant PR emails, the constant niggling obligation to blog even when I didn’t feel like it, and of course the stress of technical FUBARs.

Well, I managed to get the posts back which kind of made up my mind for me to at least get it all back online for now – the design‘s still a work in progress but I quite like the minimal aesthetic for now. More than anything I would have been sad to lose my travel posts, which basically function like my personal journal of the trips I take and are hopefully useful to anyone else who stumbles across them too. I’m still not really sure what path the blog will take next, but it’s almost reassuring to know it’s back and waiting for me if I do feel like writing.

Besides the tech fail, one of the main reasons for the hiatus is that I haven’t been doing much except working. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I hasten to add, because I’m loving my current job. I’m at Mastered, who create online fashion courses with some of the world’s best industry experts. (If you’re in, or looking to get into, make-up, nails or fashion design do go check them out!) I think for the first time ever I’m working with more women than men, and brilliant women at that whose enthusiasm, work spirit and general awesomeness is contagious. Plus I really believe in what they’re doing, so it’s been a pleasure to be involved.

Work aside I’ve been in general hibernation mode; I get terrible SAD and generally feel pretty dejected all winter. But now, it’s breaking: days are longer, it’s almost light when I leave work, there have even been a few spells of cardigan weather. I can feel my spirits lifting already, so hopefully that’ll encourage me to get out more and do some things worth writing about again.

Back in Barbados

Barbados

Avert your eyes now if a bit of tropical sun is too painful to comprehend at this point of winter! Last week we scooted back out to Barbados for a little escape from January blues. (In case you’re wondering, the villa is in my mum’s side of the family so we’re lucky enough to get free use of it every so often.) I posted a lot about Barbados two years ago when we last went, so I’ll keep it short this time! Mainly because we actually did do less as well – having visited before it was good to not feel pressured into dashing around seeing all there was to offer on the island. We hit a couple of favourite places from last time and a few new things, but also had a lot of down-time just relaxing at the beach or pool.

Barbados
Barbados

We spent a bit of time at a few beaches on the south coast, where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean. It’s noticeably rougher than the west coat (where our villa was) due to stronger winds and tides, so not so good for swimming but you can still go catamaran sailing, try surfing, or go turtle-spotting. Or you know, just sit around eating chips and drinking rum punch.

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Just Good Friday

justgood

1. These surreal, 80s-inspired ‘motivational’ posters are brilliant, and you can buy them for your office walls here.
2. This Nessie ladle, having a whale of a time cruising round in your soup, is amazing. By Ototo.
3. Love The Smiths, love Peanuts, so this mashup gives me happy feels.
4. I don’t really follow fashion except to look for sewing ideas, but Valentino are killing it lately both in mens and womenswear. Gimme all the constellation-print stuff please.
5. This collection of Alexander Girard-designed fabrics is a riot of cheery colour.
6. I’ve been researching art as we want to upgrade some of our walls from a mishmash of street art and odd ephemera to something a bit more grown-up. This Whistler is just a bit out of budget but ever so beautiful. I’m using Artsy and saving ideas over here.

Recipe: Winter tomato and bread salad

Winter panzanella

For me, one thing that’s up there amongst the suckiest things about winter is the lack of tomatoes that actually taste of anything. The only way I’ve found to coax some flavour out of them is to smother them in salt and olive oil and roast them long and slow in the oven. Then they’ll reluctantly relinquish some sweet concentrated flavour, along with delicious umami-rich cooking juices to boot.

Winter panzanella

Panzanella is one of my favourite summer dishes, so I’ve adapted the basic idea to make it a warming winter dish that can get away with flavour-lacking tomatoes. In fact, I reckon it’s even better than summer panzanella – we’ve had it for dinner three times this year already. It’s incredibly easy to put together and rather healthy too.

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2014 in pictures

Ibarra Salinas train

Time for my yearly wrap-up of photos, as I do every year (previous years here). This year has basically been brilliant for one main reason: TRAVEL. I’ve been extremely fortunate to visit Israel, Panama, Ecuador, Mexico and Paris – four new countries and four continents in a year is not bad going at all. Otherwise, 2014 has been an improvement on 2013 generally. Yoni has had the all-clear from the vet, there have been far fewer family/life dramas and work has been steady and fulfilling for the most part. 2015 is promising to kick off well too, with some fun work lined up, trips to Berlin and Barbados in the calendar, and my 30th birthday – and that’s just in January! Anyway, here’s the year that was…

Foxlow

January: I turned 29, celebrating with tasty food and drinks at Foxlow.

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Just Good Friday

good

OK, it’s not Friday, but just squeezing in a little post of prettiness before checking out for Christmas. Have a good one, everyone!

1. Artemis’s words on winter, nature, and being a good person without religion really resonated with me.
2. It’s a bit late for Christmas gifts, but keep this in the bag for another time. Yawn sent me a set of their luxury pyjamas and they’re absolutely lush for these cold nights. Plus they come in cat print! Get ‘em here.
3. Merchant and Mills x Uniqlo is making my heart flutter! Only in Asia but I hear it might be coming to the UK early next year…
4. Zoe has been spreading a little London love with her #positivitypigeons project – how lovely?
5. Loving this triangley round rug, a maybe for my new sewing room…

48 hours in Paris

Paris

We took a quick little hop over to Paris at the weekend, my main 30th birthday present to Josh. Unfortunately it coincided with us both being cripplingly ill with bad colds, so we kind of took it easy and spent most of the time near to our Airbnb in the Marais district. Luckily with St Pancras only half an hour from our door and our apartment the same distance the other side, the Eurostar trip itself was super easy so the travelling wasn’t too much of a backbreaker.

Paris

That was no bad thing really as the Marais is a totally charming area, stuffed with beautiful boutiques, cool restaurants and cosy cafes. I haven’t really scratched the surface of Paris before, but I’d definitely stay in this area again. It’s a little out of the way of the tourist sites like Monmartre and the Eiffel Tower/big museums, but we weren’t really interested in those so it worked out great for the quieter pace of our weekend.

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Beyond Oaxaca

Cooking class

The city of Oaxaca is nestled in a valley in the middle of Oaxaca state, an area not far off the size of England. In fairly close radius around the city are lots more towns and villages as well as some spectacular scenery and ruins, so we were able to take lots of day trips to see more of the state.

Cooking class

One day we took a cooking class in the weaving town of Teotitlan with Maria Reynes of El Sabor Zapoteca.

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Market day at Tlacolula

Oaxaca

Tlacolula is a city about a 20 minute drive from Oaxaca, famous for both its 16th century church and its huge Sunday market, to which thousands of people from the neighbouring towns and countryside flock. We took a cab out there the day after arriving in Oaxaca on Saturday night to check it out.

Oaxaca
Oaxaca
Oaxaca

The market really is absolutely ginormous – up to 1,000 individual traders – and quite disorienting, although it’s hard to get completely lost as it’s all on gridded streets. The main things on sale are vegetables and fruit, toys, clothing, kitchenalia, and street food. There’s a pleasing lack of souvenirs or tourist things because at heart it’s a market for locals, who come from all the nearby towns and villages to shop and socialise. So for us it was really a chance to soak in the culture and atmosphere (and to eat) rather than to shop.

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