A corner of one’s own

Over the past 18 months, our spare room has fulfilled many roles to suit our day-to-day routine.

Despite its awkward narrow width, it’s accommodated an inflatable double mattress on at least one occasion, and a folding single one on many of my dad’s visits.

My other half would probably describe it as a music studio though. With 3 guitars hung on the wall and a crate full of mysterious leads and pedals, I suppose it qualifies as just that.

Image

In my head though, it’s obviously the laundry room, where our unsightly fresh washing likes to hang for days after it’s completely dry (don’t we all do that?)

So it was time this confused room was given a more defined function.

I started my home studies course in interior design over 6 months ago now, and it goes without saying my progress has been incredibly slow. With only 11 units under my belt (out of the total 56…), I have blamed it all along on a lack of space, and more specifically a lack of desk.

So there we were in Ikea last week picking the most practical solution to my woes: a pair of trestles with accompanying tabletop.

ET VOILA!

So we agree one half of the spare room remains a ‘music studio’…

…and the opposite corner is one of my own.

The laundry can live on the boundary I suppose.

As you can see, I’m putting my corner to good use already with a bit of blogging.

Oh and I’ll be studying here too, of course…

Out of time

Time is one for flying by, slipping away, and even disappearing.

This struck me this weekend as I was reminded of how long I’ve been neglecting this little virtual platform of mine.

Mind you, over those weeks of silence, I did find the time to scribble down blog ideas on post-it notes amidst other daily to-do tasks. Yet none have materialised into actual blog posts and my achievements of the past few weeks are so few I’m wondering what the hell happened to time.

My obsession with clocks and watches doesn’t help me work out where time goes. If anything, it’s constantly ticking away at me reminding me another hour has passed without a word from me on this blog!

This fear stops me from filling my house with clocks; a small one on my wrist and a huge one in the bathroom suit me fine.

But I could maybe get away with clocks of the non-mechanised sort:

Alarm Clock cushion, Debenhams

Who Cares clock tote bag, Cafe Press

Lucia Gloding print, Cuckoo Clock and Swan Chair, Rockett St George

Cake Time tea towel, Mr PS

Clocks lampshade, ATADesigns

I suppose TIME WILL TELL…

It all started…

… with a chocolate and banana muffin

Actually, there were 4 initially.

My sister-in-law brought them over last weekend, and I remembered to take a picture only seconds before this last one ‘disappeared’. You’re lucky to even see it.

They were delightfully sweet and moist –yet not too much– and snippets of chocolate and walnut added just the right amount of crunch (I duly congratulated the said sister-in-law).

And there it was: an inescapable yearning for baking.

My baking cupboard was a bit bare from months of neglect. But the indispensable cocoa and caster sugar were both there, waiting patiently for my return.

An open packet of polenta and some ground almond inspired me to go down the wheat-free route and I quickly came across this chocolate polenta cake recipe on the web.

bish…

bash…

bosh!

My baking hat is officially back on.

 

Lost in the supermarket

My new project for February consists of bringing a bit of Japan into my home.

It should start with a bit of cooking of course.

This new craze comes at the back of the past 4 weeks spent in baggy clothes to allow for a large intake of potatoes, cheese and cream. Of course, it was absolutely delightful. But the overall feeling of lethargy and the nasty cold that have been lingering for the past week should probably be taken as a warning sign.

Following threesmallapples‘ advice, I spent my lunch hour at the Japanese supermarket Arigato on Brewer Street, stocking up on the basics.

I could have spent hours there, but I restricted my expenses by sticking to the bare essentials. Without blowing my own trumpet, my first homemde Miso soup this evening was rather successful and the dull ache I’ve been experiencing in the past few days is slowly disappearing.

And with my new favourite tea of the week, I’ll be back up and running in no time.

Arigato (ありがと) – thank you threesmallapples!

 

Now the kitchen cupboards are full, surely I’m allowed a bit of inspired window (online) shopping:

Cavallini numbers japanese tape, £12.50 from Oliver Bonas

I’m considering getting this imported all the way from Australia…
Tasty vintage tea towel from Yardage Design

at £8 each, I’m still hoping these will make it to a sale of some sort (I need 4!)
Anthropologie Atom Art Japanese bowls, via Minori Design

nice and simple
Muji railway station alarm clock, £21.95

Until payday, it’s best I stick to the cooking experiments.

If all goes well, I should be able to instal a conveyor belt in the bay window to display my culinary masterpieces very soon.


 

Naked lightbulb seeks stylish dress

So January is thankfully behind us, but I find the doom of February actually far worse.

The regular cold snaps and persisting greyness do nothing for me, and my plan for the next 4 weeks consists of a series of cheerful injections into my world: attending the Alternative Comedy Memorial Society, booking a summer holiday to Croatia, going to the David Shrigley retrospective at the Hayward Gallery and reading Stewart Lee’s “How I Escaped My Certain Fate.” I won’t lie, I’ll also be listening to Leonard Cohen –even though he’s everything but cheerful, yet magical.

It’s also the perfect time of year to revamp things on the home front so I’ve been on the lookout for my next project in the flat.

I started with an easy one: finding a suitable lampshade for the spare room.

After 14 months in the flat, I still haven’t got around to choosing one, mainly because I’m particularly fussy when it comes to lampshades (or the ones I like tend to cost the earth).

I’ve tried my best to find interesting shades for every room whilst keeping an eye on the budget so far.

KITCHEN: enamel lampshade, Labour & Wait
HALLWAY: Cole & Son Fornasetti wallpaper lampshade, Love Frankie
LIVING/DINING ROOM: wire shade, B&Q via eBay
BEDROOM: bamboo cage shade, NEXT Home

But here’s the rather desolate and lonely energy efficient lightbulb that’s requiring special attention:

With our electrician being inexplicably keen on short flexes and our ceilings being particularly high, I favour tall shades that hang down into the room rather than a wide drum that would appear to hover too close to the ceiling.

This helps narrowing down the search, and despite the following picks looking damn good, they can be discarded right away:

Horsfall & Wright cardboard lampshade 

John Lewis Jolie Ceiling Shade, Green

Jennifer vandenBrand Haytor Tweed handmade lampshade

So I was thinking more along these lines:

Bouf smoking gun lampshade

Etsy Olive print handmade lampshade

And I finally struck gold with a bargain on the Bouf website:

Hanging flower light shade, Bouf

A bargain at £11.95, here’s my first project of the year successfully completed.

a now fully dressed energy efficient lightbulb

Still a whole month to go, but I’ve got plenty more projects to keep me busy.

Who cares if February is cold and grey!

That New Year’s day feeling

The Christmas tree is on its last leg, slowly losing its dark shade of green.

All the presents have been opened and played with so I filled the space at the foot of the tree with a rusty candlestick holder and an old hat box.

I’ve been saving that last Ferrero Rocher for the New Year…
I’ve definitely earned it

A wonderful fortnight of parties, feasts and beverages shared with loved ones has left me somewhat exhausted, so I know how the tree feels!

So I’m not sure what came to me this morning when I decided to christen my new macaroon-making equipment with a long and elaborate baking session.

Maybe I was being a bit too ambitious to tackle such a technically challenging experiment on 1st January, especially after 5 hours’ sleep, one single cup of coffee and a fried egg (on) next to toast.

how NOT to make macaroons: work the meringue too hard and you’ll get cracks

I covered the kitchen surfaces in icing sugar and the cupboards in chocolate in the process. The result looks nothing like the £3 each Ladurée macaroons, but they taste absolutely delicious of course.

the best 3 prototypes were used to achieve this highly professional photo-shoot

so you can see how good they are, a close-up of the same 3 prototypes

The other more ‘unique’ ones will have to be eaten really quickly to get rid of the evidence of failure.

A very happy new year and special thanks to you all for reading.

Here’s to many more inconsequential blog posts and baking disasters in 2012.

Featured image at the top via Parisien Salon.

 

 

Festive cheer – with a Japanese touch

My holiday has officially started after a hectic week of Cointreau hot chocolate tasting, present wrapping, tree decorating, goulash eating and Kir Royal drinking (and a bit of working in-between).

Obviously, one is not complaining.

So what better way to start a holiday in bed with a damn good read and a cup of coffee.

I’m considering attaching this book to my belt with a heavy-duty chain so I could never put it down…

Inspired by Murakami’s whimsical world, I found a great excuse to use my Muji origami paper at last.

I’ve had these in my craft box for weeks. I’ve never tried my hands at origami before, but the thought of adding these pretty things to my craft box was too irresistible.

An origami angel felt a bit too ambitious so I settled for the modular star instead.

it only works from this angle, so don’t move!

Who says it has to be shiny with wings and covered in glitter?

‘Don’t pointless things have a place, too, in this far-from-perfect world?’
Haruki Murakami, Sputnik Sweetheart