Christmas Wreath

My friend Sarah-Lou said that she would love to make Jack Monroe’s Christmas Wreath and put a call out for scraps of fabrics, well you don’t need to ask me twice for that sort of caper, I mean to say, Christmas, fabric, girlfriends crafting together, whats not to love. Sarah-Lou’s friend gave her lots of lovely materials which were gorgeous – she makes very pretty costumes – and I added some fabric,  so we were all set. Wreath 1

I cut myself a circle out of cardboard, I used a wok lid and a big dinner plate, but you can make yours to whatever size you would like. Wreath 2

I then covered it in silver masking tape.  This is to strengthen it and make it waterproof should it go outside, mine isn’t going outside, I’d rather cherish it from the view from the sofa. Wreath 4

And then the ham came out and I glazed it with orange marmalade whilst the potato dauphinoise was just coming to perfection, after all girls need a good supper too. Wreath 5

There was so much treasure to wade through, it was wonderful, I sent my thanks on to Sarah-Lou’s friend countless times during the evening as we found one exquisite fabric after another. Wreath 6

And then we started to wrap and tie and eventually found our way on what lengths we preferred and how we liked to develop our ideas, a very companionable hour or two was spent, Wreath 7

whilst drinking bubbles. And eventually we had Wreath 8

these.  Aren’t they lovely, I think they are wonderful.  Two lovely Christmas wreaths, made from scraps, with love.

Window Shopping – Labour and Wait, Shoreditch, E2.

I was just a little bit giddy when I saw a photograph of Labour and Wait posted by one of my newfound instagram friends and knew I had to go and see it for myself.  I could sense it would be very much a shop I would enjoy and I wasn’t disappointed.Labour and Wait 1

The sense of excitement starts right from the very beginning, Labour and Wait are housed in an old Truman Brewery pub once called the Dolphin.  The gorgeous green glazed bricks call to me to quicken my pace and enter. Labour and Wait 2

As I wander around the lovely assistant makes me feel most welcome as I ask for permission to photograph. Labour and Wait 3

The owners Rachel and Simon wanted to source products that fitted with their ethos of functionality, quality and honesty, a place where we as customers could buy well designed timeless products that would mellow and improve with age.  Labour and Wait 8

I loved its concept and execution, Labour and Wait 7

many of the products I’d grown up with or were familiar to me from my grandparents using them. Labour and Wait 6

There was even a tiny corner for interesting books. Labour and Wait 5

And I do love enamel pans, Labour and Wait 4

I may have treated myself to the small but tall blue milk pan on the right, well it would be rude not to wouldn’t it.  If you get the chance go, you’ll love it.

Coffee – Counter Albion, Shoreditch, E2.

I decided to have a wander into Shoreditch to see what I could see, I’d heard tell of a gorgeous shop more on that tomorrow and knew that there would be other lovely things to discover.  And as I was padding around I decided to stop for a coffee and not knowing the area decided to take a chance on these doors. cafe 1

Which was a good decision. cafe 3

The espresso was delicious and the home made granola bar was just the right level of stickiness but not too sweet packed full of nuts and seeds – and only 90p!  The perfect amount as a pick me up,  but what I haven’t really explained was the real treasure inside.

When I arrived the bar was full of nuts and seeds and yoghurts and fruits and breads and all sorts of other breakfast goodies, which I didn’t photograph, but when I was leaving they had cleared and replaced all those lovely goodies with lunch. cafe 4

The lunch is based on self service by the plate, ALL of the food is made in their own kitchens, nothing is bought in, their view is healthy, seasonal, balanced. I would have stopped for lunch, it looked delicious. They also made me feel very welcome, there was no rush to hurry me out, I was allowed to be in my own space and ponder my own thoughts without interruption, and they were quite happy to allow me to take a few pics, whilst carefully explaining their ethos and their reward system, which is very generous  – you can’t say fairer than that.

cafe 5

They have two rooms to choose from, both of which are very cute, with art on the walls to buy, kitchen equipment, their own tiny bookshop and cordials, mixers, pale ales and 6

It was so nice to chance upon the Counter Albion,  one just never knows what goes on behind closed doors. cafe 2

Then I found the bigger doors on the way out, so if you come from another direction this is what you need to look for.  Try it, it was just lovely.


Pootling around Pottery.

I’ve always had a yearning to do more with clay, no I haven’t watched the latest series on television, more from lack of time than anything else. When I was a child I was quite good at making pots and playing with glazes and then I took it back up whilst pregnant with son no.2 but a deep vein thrombosis and several weeks in hospital put paid to that.  And then life moved on.

During September I killed two birds with one stone, I headed out to see The Geffrye Museum of the Home which was lovely and had been on my to do list for quite some time whilst at the same time allowing my inner potter to revel in all the shapes and glazes at the pottery exhibition, Ceramics in the City 2015 as part of the London Design Festival.  A lot has happened since September and paper work and notes have long since been misplaced, but it would be a shame not to at least have the tiniest of glimpses. Pottery 1Pottery 2Pottery 3pottery 4

And whilst looking around the various rooms devoted to the history of the domestic interior. I came across this marvelous painting. sock 2

With the inscription,

A Life Well Spent, 1862 – Oil on canvas, by Charles West Cope

This young mother is depicted as the Victorian ideal – surrounded by her well-behaved children, she is usefully employed in the economical task of knitting socks. sock 1

So fishing my knitting out of my bag I thought it only right and proper to spend a little time in the beautiful gardens of the museum working on a sock of mine.

A breath of Fresh Air at night.

I always feel very invigorated when I’m crossing over the Thames, I’m not sure if its the fresh air or that apart from the Thames I’ve never crossed, on foot, another river so wide.  I just shiver inside with delight. Evening Thames 1

And it is always so busy. Evening Thames 3

Even when darkness is mere moments away. Evening Thames 2

Which gives great interest, I am always curious as to what other people are up to in a city as busy as London. Evening Thames 4

The view changes by the second. Typical Londoner._

I must say my boy is looking very much a cockney lad again (his mother was cockney although she’d never admit to it!). Through him I can see his ancestors working on the docks and railways, sturdy little men doing an honest days work.