This Week I Have Been Mostly…(week 14)

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London Sky from the garden

1. Catching Up

One of my university friends has been living in Seville for the last four years, and is spending a few weeks in between London and her hometown before moving to Vietnam for a year. If you’d like to follow her journey, her blog is here. She spent the weekend in London, so a couple of us spent an evening at the end of last week keeping her topped up with bubbly, while she scarfed down sausage and mash, and even more bubbly. We met more people on Saturday morning, to walk over to Maltby Street for coffee and juice, and other tasty things.

I woke up early on Sunday to see what East Street Market had to offer, but found the internet claim that it opens at 8am is rather inflated – by 9am there still wasn’t a lot going on. I do love a market though, even at unpackaging stage, as the sellers stretch, unfurl and prepare for the day. It’s seems all excitement and expectation and hope – the opposite of a closing down market at 3pm, when everyone’s tired and deflated and just wants to head home. I love walking amid the cheer and chat as the stall holders catch up, and present their wares.

On Sunday afternoon took advantage of the sun and lay outside, reading and listening to podcasts.



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Wrapping Paper

2. Spending too much time in a six storey bookshop

Having had a quieter weekend than expected, I wanted to stretch my legs, and get some research in, so I headed for the six storey Waterstones off Piccadilly Circus to look through some stationery and books, and to fall in love with the fact I live within walking distance of such a shop. I love looking through other illustrations, stationery and packaging to appreciate what other people are doing and to bounce my ideas around.  I spent a lot of time looking at the backs of Greetings cards. It’s sort of absorbing once you get into it; like watching the Olympics – at the beginning of the process you feel like you don’t particularly have an opinion on the subject, but 15 minutes in, you’re an expert, with a very judgemental attitude!

Having kept an eye out recently for greetings cards, I have fallen for Laura Skilbeck’s illustration style and Alison Hardcastle.



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3. Seeing things in Somerset House

I went to see a couple of exhibitions at Somerset House, the Tattoo Art Today  and the Print Club London Film Poster exhibition.

I wasn’t blown away by either to be honest. I was really excited about the Tattoo Art exhibition, because, other than my Pinterest board and following some tattoo artists on Instagram, I don’t often search out interesting tattoo artistry. I was interested in seeing the history and different styles of the artists. However, in a strange choice, the exhibition was based on tattoo artists’ work, that had to be produced not as a tattoo – that was a requirement, and a disappointment for me. I thought it was strange to require artists to specifically reject their chosen medium, and I don’t think the work or exhibition benefited from it at all.  I would have loved to have seen some amazing images of fantastic tattoos – back to Pinterest for me!




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4. Making and eating summer rolls

It might be because Alex is heading off to Vietnam, and I’m eating my way through jealousy, or winning Noodle! in a Twitter competition, but I cannot stop making summer rolls and eating giant piles of them. I really recommend them to those who work from home – or if you just can’t stop snacking, and would really rather stop eating toast and biscuits.

I keep all the chopped ingredients – leaves of herbs, sliced onion, pepper, spring onion, cooked rice noodles, grated carrot – whatever ‘fusion’ (i.e. incorrect ingredients) I like – in the fridge, and then when I get peckish, I simply dip the wrappers in water, fill them with a combination of fresh vegetables, noodles, some protein and herbs, and roll them up, one by one and eat them with a big pile of chilli sauce. If you want something quick, easy and extremely tasty that’s not bread based, they are brilliant. When I’ve run out of different ingredients I have improvised, and discovered rocket gives a good citrusy, peppery hit. I haven’t got either the prawns or the tofu for my protein hit, so I’ve been using roasted peanuts. They’re often used in sauces for summer rolls, but they have a really good savoury salty hit, which is just what you need, amid the fresh herbs and bland noodle. Also, since the amazing Turkish shop down the road sells it fresh, I’ve also tried – purists look away now – little slices of grilled haloumi for the protein base, and to me, it worked really well. The texture was just right, and it works very well with the fresh herbs. I have got to the point today when I have too many ingredients substitutions, and I’m not longer even nearly making them properly, so tomorrow I’ll head out to the shops to buy some big bundles of mint, coriander and basil and another bag of roast peanuts, ready for lunch…and probably dinner.




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