Sunday, 6 August 2017

Venturing Into Pattern and Colour



It's tine to reopen my shop, but I want there to be something new. Over the past year at university, I've been truly inspired to test the boundaries of my personal style, because after 2-3 years of doing virtually the same thing, I am bored.

Making the decision to switch courses from Graphic Design to Illustration triggered a (slow and tentative) change in the way I view myself and my work. I feel more comfortable identifying as an art student, somehow. Graphics always seemed like visuals were used as tools, the skill was decision making, whereas on my illustration course the visuals matter a lot more, they're valued and developed lovingly.

I want to make beautiful things. I want them to have a purpose, but definitely be beautiful and a pleasure to own. Scrolling Instagram is becoming a dangerous game as so often I get the restless itch of wanting to jump up and make a ceramic bowl (glazed to perfection), create vibrant patterns on canvas, weave an intricate wall hanging with big fluffy bits and paint fancy ladies with pastel gouache.

Before, I'd stare in awe, but now I'm thinking... why can't I do that? Nothing is holding me back. I finally want to learn all of the things. If I'd been this open in 2014, maybe I would have continued on my foundation course for more than 3 days and never applied to do Graphic Design. Oh well, it's better late than never. Better in third year when I get to write my own projects and still have access to the university's equipment, than after uni when there would be a lot more in my way.



So last week I decided to give some pattern making a go. Colour is something I adore but have very little skill in, so working with abstract marks and shapes has helped take the focus off my usual form & lettering, and onto how to create an appealing colour piece. 

Probably the BEST THING I HAVE EVER LEARNED at uni, and that arguably is completely worth the estimated £21k I've already spent in fees, is how to change colours with adjustment layers in Photoshop. All these marks were made with black ink, and edited digitally. It blew my fucking mind. I used to select the areas and fill them with colour. You would not believe the pixelation. I'm living in a new world. I bet you all knew how to do it too.

This was a really quick post, I just wanted to shout from the rooftops that I'm excited to learn and try new things. I hope you guys like what I make next!










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Wednesday, 19 July 2017

What I ate: Feta & spinach puffs and Halloumi Kebabs


The second I got back to my uni house in Leeds (well, after laying on the floor panting. It’s far too hot to drag a suitcase up hills) I planned out my meals for the week. Knowing all the good food waiting in my future is a good way to raise my spirits and makes me feel at home!

During the summer I really like having a load of pre made salads/mixes/bites in the fridge to pick at during the day and put together for meals. Usually that involves a big pork pie that I segment out for each meal, but I’m trying to cut down on pork pies again. However, that pastry taste and texture would be missed, so I thought why not make something else of my own.

I’m not trying to convince you that feta and spinach puffs are a direct vegetarian alternative to pork pies, but they hit the spot in similar enough ways. Pastry & feta: filling, caramelised onion: sweetness. 

And another element I like to keep in the fridge is leftover kebabs. Not the scary kind from takeaways, the chopped up, seasoned and grilled kind. I decided to keep the meatless theme and go for halloumi, bell pepper and onion, which would top salads nicely & add some substance!

Together, these took about an hour. Read on for the recipes!

Leftover Kebabs:



  • 1 pack of Hallouimi 
  • 1 Bell pepper 
  • 1 small-medium onion
  • [extra ideas: 1 courgette, diced chicken/lamb] 
  • Black pepper/fajita seasoning/a marinade of your choice
  • Kebab sticks - wilkos do packs of 4 metal ones for like £2!


1. Chop your ingredients into similar sized squares and apply to the kebab, alternating each ingredient. You want the ingredients to flavour each other. They can touch, but don’t pack them too tight or they won’t cook well in the middle. Once done, sprinkle seasoning (to taste) over each kebab, covering each side evenly.

2. You can either barbecue or grill your kebabs. I rested mine on the edges of a foil lined baking tray, so the kebabs were suspended. Some of the halloumi is likely to get soft and fall off, so if the tray is lined it will still cook nicely and be edible!

3. Grill until the tips blacken, take out to turn, and repeat until you’re satisfied everything is cooked. Be particularly careful if adding meat by chopping off a piece to make sure the centre is cooked. 

4. Store in tupperware the fridge and use to top salads/add to pasta dishes that week!

Puffs:



  • Pre-made puff pastry 
  • 1 bag of spinach 
  • 1 pack of feta 
  • 1 onion 
  • 1-2 garlic cloves 
  • (nutmeg)
  • black pepper
  • (lemon juice)


1. You don’t have to do this step, but I wanted caramelised onions in the parcels. Chop your onion in half, and then into thin [5mm] strips. Fry with oil or butter on a medium heat, and cover with a lid for up to 10 minutes, stir, add a small spoonful of sugar, then stir and cover again. Keep checking on them until they’re soft and browned. Remove from the heat and put to the side. 

2. You can use the same pan for the spinach mix. Crush the garlic and fry it off in the pan. Add the bag of spinach, maybe a little at a time until they wilt down and free up space. Add black pepper and a little nutmeg (to taste). When completely wilted, remove from the heat and stir in the roughly chopped/crumbled spinach. Add a little lemon juice to taste. 

3. Pre heat the oven. 

4. Flour a clean surface and roll out the puff pastry slightly with a floured rolling pin. Cut into fairly large squares of 3-4 inches. Mine were all slightly different sizes which resulted in different shaped parcels! Only the proper squares will fold diagonally into nice triangles, but you can fold more rectangular pieces in half.


5. When the mixture has mostly cooled, spoon it onto one half of each pastry piece, leaving room around the edges to seal. Consider how each piece will need to fold. You can easily nudge the mixture around if you go wrong though! I ended up mixing the caramelised onion into the spinach & feta, however It would be nice to spoon the onion on top of the filling, creating layered flavour. 

6. With your fingers and lukewarm water, rub a little water along the edges of the pastry. Fold each pastry down the middle, over the filling. To seal, use a fork to press the top pastry layer into the bottom, creating a nice edging. To decorate you can poke little holes in the top or place a slice of onion.

7. Bake for 20 minutes, making sure to check them periodically. Remove when golden on the edges and top.

8. When cooled, place in tupperware or wrap individually in foil.


I hoped you liked the post! I'm going to make an effort to do more of these "What I ate" posts as I do get a lot of messages asking for recipes of the things I make & show on Instastories. Do let me know if you make these & how you get on!! 



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Sunday, 18 June 2017

Thailand Diaries - 28th May - Temple Tour


So after our nap we woke for 12 and quickly got ready to meet our transfer at 1. Slathering on the suncream and mozzie spray, we headed out to the tour car, not really knowing what to expect, but much more optimistic than yesterday!
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Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Thailand Diaries - 27th & 28th May - Chatuchack Market & Chiang Mai


9AM

We have the shits.

Jack thinks it was last night's curry, but I think it was that water fountain. Bloody hell. Now, every traveller gets this at some point because of the change in diet, but Jesus Christ.
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Monday, 12 June 2017

Thailand Diaries 26th May - Sightseeing 2.0


I woke up this morning to a message from the Australian girl saying that she'd had a wonderful experience booking through the travel agency, and she couldn't imagine that they would con us. I, however, fuelled by paranoia, was still convinced all our tickets were fake and we wouldn't even be able to get on the train to Chiang Mai. I told Jack I was tempted not even to go on the route, forget it ever happened and book everything again ourselves. He, however, suggested we just ride it out and see, because we still didn't know. Our receipt said a taxi would pick us up at 4PM tomorrow, so we should wait for it and see what happens. 

We were meant to move to a hostel tonight, but I went and booked another night at the Arun hotel just to feel more secure after the shock of yesterday. I also got a little discount too. Whether my bartering skills have improved, or the hotel staff are just nice, I cannot say.

SO. First stop on our Sightseeing Day 2.0 was brunch, at the most AMAZING little place - AMA. I went for Tom Kha Goong soup and sticky rice, which came in a teeny little bowl but was incredibly filling. It's a spicy, prawn and lemon grass concoction of WONDERFULNESS and my favourite dish so far!

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Sunday, 11 June 2017

Thailand Diaries - 25th May - Quite the tour of Bangkok


When visiting Bangkok, be careful, and do your research. Today's post is a big one, I'm afraid! Maybe put the kettle on.

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Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Thailand Diaries - 23rd - 24th May - Travel & Birthday

{23/05/2017 - 24/05/2017} TRAVELLING TO THAILAND

Believe it or not, and I'm sure those of you who know me intimately absolutely would, we booked our plane tickets to Thailand two days before departure. Our first hotel the night before flying. It's not that I'm disorganised, I just have an inability to make decisions. I will dither between two paths until there is no option left but to cover my eyes and point. This ailment plagues me most when the decision is under pressure, and deciding what to do for my 21st birthday was pressure. Honestly, I was very close to opting for a nice dinner with my boyfriend, Jack, and buying myself some flowers and a haircut, but we ended up going to Thailand for two weeks.
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