Friday, 28 February 2014

The Power

I am a big advocate of the SIMPLE.  That said, if i am feeling a little less 'me' than i usually feel, i can be very easily swayed by the more materialistic things among our little world.  If i have had a bad day i am far more likely to buy a complexly flavoured body 'souffle' over my usual baby lotion.  I can quickly convince myself that i require a Lush face mask if i am tired and haven't slept well, despite knowingly being able to whip up my own with a few cupboard staples.  And i've been known to often buy something on a whim in a bid to turn my frown upside down.  To say my second wardrobe is bulging at its doors would be an under-statement.  Infact the door wont actually close anymore.  It's easy to forget THE POWER.  The power that the very small things can have without you even realising and that sometimes it really is all you need.  And in most cases it doesn't have to cost the earth, if anything at all.  I am writing this when i am having a 'GOOD' day. 

The power of PLANTS, FLOWERS and all that is green.  I bought these little Anemones reduced in the supermarket for a few pence over a pound at the end of a very wet day.  Since its been pretty grey most days, albeit  peppered with the odd ray of sunshine, i have yearned for green and colour and at such a bargain of a price, these devils cheered up my day no end.  
The power of CLEAN SHEETS after a hot afternoon shower.  I love wandering into the bedroom and the air smelling so gently of soap powder and incense.  After my afternoon shower (which also felt like a bit of a luxury), curling up in here listening to London Grammar in the softest jumper and slouchiest jeans i could dig out was pretty much heaven.
The power of COLOUR.  The greyer the days get, the brighter the colours and the crazier the prints are that i am drawn to.  If that is even possible.  I am still pairing most outfits with black tights, slim leg black jeans and layering my heart out with cotton vests and soft woollen scarfs, but i am just making sure that i am pulling out those brighter bits.  It's amazing how much use you can get out of slightly lighter pieces just by some clever layering.  I am also finding that i am drawn to much brighter foods aswell. I'll get my vitamin D somewhere just you wait!  We have been crunching and munching our way through finely sliced beetroots, the most orange sweet potato wedges you have ever seen and bright rosey red and crimson apples are a regular in the veg box lately.  I am feeling better already.
Which brings me nicely onto my next power-fetcher:  The power of DOING IT YOURSELF.  I have been lucky to have a few days off recently and it is much much easier and more enjoyable when you have got time to think and prepare and potter on with creating bright and cheerful things to eat.  I have really been trying to MAKE much more from scratch.  When the nights are dark early and the weather grey and grizzly, its easy to fire a pizza in the oven.  But if you can spare an extra half hour, most things (with the exception of say, a chinese banquet for five) can be made from scratch in not much more time or money.  Pizza dough is easy peasy lemon squeezy to make.  I spent an afternoon making rhubarb and rosewater compote, poaching mixed apples and finding bits and bobs to make a thai green curry and peshwari naan breads for tea last night.  Next on my list is sourdough bread, brown soda bread, lemon and ricotta filled pancakes and a little twist on banana bread for a breakfast treat. 

The power of the SUN.  This ones a no brainer.  Because it has been so horrid and nasty mostly always of late, whenever the sun has come out, no matter what i have been doing, i have tried my best to get out and about in the fresh air.  Within reason obviously. Spending even ten minutes in its pretty golden rays and any bad feelings can be quickly forgotten.  You almost forget how much more beautiful the world looks in the sun.
The power of PUDDING.  I am not advocating we all sit home each night and pile puddings into our cheeks.  You wont be thanking me then!  I try to be good and eat a little bit of everything as that is always my mother Tangle's philosophy:  'A little bit of what you fancy does you good.'  So if i really want pudding, i have pudding, once or twice a week.  I savour every last mouthful and for once in our little somewhere and to the Mr's relief:  there is silence.  This pear and almond tart with madagascan vanilla double cream was BLISS.  Well you can't always make everything…not when M&S do a pretty good job for a quick fix…
The power of THE SEASONS.  I am trying to be much more mindful of the seasons.  To appreciate how our world changes and what those changes are.  This was a pretty spectacular (and rare) example of a Spring day.  But i have been trying to keep my head up in the rain and marvel at those snowdrops; notice the extra moments of light on an evening even if my face is buried in a heavy scarf because it's blowing a fifty-squillion mile per hour gale and take note of the sound of bird song on those lighter mornings.
The power of PORRIDGE.  Now i know not everyone in the world celebrates oats and milk as enthusiastically as me (hey i love toast JUST as much) but there is something so delicious, comforting and fuelling about this simple combination of milk and oats.  Whether you adore toast, croissants, fruit and yoghurt or a big fat bacon sandwich, make tiiiime to sit and eat breakfast and to enjoy it.  I adore my duvet and could quite happily hibernate if i could get the time off work, but i make a conscious effor to get up fifteen minutes earlier just so i can make a good breakfast.  If i sleep in and have to eat a peanut butter and banana sandwich whilst running to work my day just goes downhill from there. and i just don't quite feel right.   
The power of PANCAKES.  This is sometimes our weekend breakfast.  Last weekend the Mr worked all weekend when i was off.  So I ate his too.  I like to make a different, more special breakfast on the rare occasion i am off of a weekend. And pancakes well they don't need much more of an explanation.  Who doesn't like pancakes?! 
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Sometimes you just need to enjoy what you have already got and realise the POWER in all the little things that make you happy, whatever they may be. 

What would be on your list?

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Wonderful Wednesday 6

Hello, how-do-you-do and how the very well are we? As you read this i shall be back at MONSOON TOWERS after seven days of jollies.  Not jollies like actual holibobs, just general time off for no apparent reason.  It felt a little self indulgent if i am honest.  Largely because i had no big plans and i knew that the Mr would be working his socks off for the most part of it.  But sometimes its quite nice to just enjoy your own company, do all those little jobs that you never normally entertain (i did sort of enjoy standing on top of the work top with a big feather duster playing 'catch the cobwebs-hope they dont contain spiders' game.  I also met friends for dinner and various coffee dates and did MANY two-wheeled laps which means it completely doesnt count that i have probably consumed twice as much as food as usual.  MANY things have been jolly good so far this week…

1  Meeting one of my closest friends and her pretty little two year old little girl.  Having a little catch up and realising how much she is growing up and how very clever she is.

2  The smell of the RAIN mixed in with the flower-y scent of shampoo on a misty, damp cycle home from town on Monday.  For a change it was less of the howling wind and torrential rain that we have all been used to and a little more the damp, misty 'in the air' sort of wet which was actually quite nice.  It reminded me a little of summer rain.  If you forgot that i was wearing many layers and mittens still.  

3  Watching FILMS in the day.  For me that is absolute luxury.  It's rare i can justify such a treat during the day but there have been a few I have had on my radar for a little while now.  I finally watched 'Never let Me Go' directed by Mark Romanek and written by Kazuo Ishiguro, who also wrote the acclaimed novel.  It stars Keira Knightly and Carey Mulligan and is a really beautiful story - i wont bore you with the details.  I also watched a film called 'Julia and Julia' which was about cook Julia Child's life story sort of intertwined with a food blogger's task of cooking all the recipes from her book in a year.  It was such a lovely story! And a real treat being able to curl up with a blanket, biscuits and an endless supply of tea on a wet rainy afternoon.

4  More carefully prepared LUNCHES.  I am usually good with remembering to take my lunch along with me to work but there is a limit on what you can do in a hour.  And i find it hard work knowing what i will want a few days before i eat it.  My usual lunches are largely based around cous cous, roasted vegetables and protein of salmon or chicken.  If i am feeling frivolous i sometimes splash out on some rainbow trout.  Being at home all week has meant i have made the effort to make lovely lunches.  Particular favourites have been smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on sour dough and baked beans piled high on sour dough toast with a generous helping of buttery wilted spinach and grilled tomatoes and mushrooms.  Comfort food has definitely been the order of the day given the grey and damp days we have long been suffering. 

5  Planning pancake recipes.  Yes i am that sad.  Can you tell i have had time on my hands? Pancake day (TUESDAY 4TH MARCH incase you have been living under a rock!) is one of those days that always surprises me.  It has been quite a delight researching interesting and exciting recipes for us to try next week.  I am going to keep the winner under wraps for now as i may write about it later next week.  I am EXCITED.

6  Making various COMPOTES and getting excited at breakfast treats to come.  On Tuesday i made the River Cottage rosewater and rhubarb compote which by the time you read this i shall have likely shovelled into my chubby cheeks after piling it high on my morning porridge.  After a week off, girl needs motivation to climb out of duvet-land no?  I have also knocked up some poached apples of all different kinds, as a little experiment.  I am usually a bramley-apple-only sort of apple poacher.  I have big plans for these seasonal gems.  

7  Sleep.  I think i have used this as a 'Wonderful Wednesday' before.  I don't care.  After having seven nights of at least ten hours sleep i feel like i look at least a year younger.  I really MUST get to bed early of an evening!

8  Dreaming up some DIY plans.  Despite me owning the most beautiful metallic Boden brogues known to man (if you peep here often you shall know the pair), i have an urge to jazz up some older brogues with spray paint.  I am EXCITED.  I have also stocked up on cold water dye and i am planing to dip dye some bedding and cushions.  And finally i hope to turn my tresses baby PINK.  Just temporarily.  I want to wait until i am not wearing a winter hat each and every day though.  COME ON SPRING!!!

What has been making your week WONDERFUL? I would love to know!

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Sunshine Forever

As i write this it is RAINING.  It is not only raining but it is blowing such a whooshing, howling WIND that it makes standing up hard work.  Therefore it gives me and my two wheels little chance of an escapade today.  So i am drinking spiced winter-berry and hibiscus tea, listening to Tom Odell and burning coconut scented oil in my little ceramic burner.  It's quite the mixed message.  The winter spiced tea is warming my soul and stopping me from eating another walnut whip, and the scented oil is taking me back to summer and to sunshine and to, well just not grey thanks kindly. And Tom Odell, well he is just fab company whatever the weather really.

Yesterday i was TEASED with such a gloriously blue-skied day, only to be slapped around my chubby cheeks when i opened my eyes this morning; with rain hammering against our attic window and the beams rattling and rolling like there was no tomorrow.  I didn't get up until 10am and i am holding such GREY-ness utterly and completely responsible.  After eating three maple and raisin pancakes with butter and honey and washed down with fresh coffee, i got dressed somewhere between 11am and midday.  
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It's been a funny few days of spending time 'just ME.'  With time off and not many people around, i have thought a lot. This isn't a bad thing as it is one of my favourite things to do.  To just get a bit lost in my head.  I have been thinking about the future, maybe where i will be and what i will be doing this time next year.  If i shall perfect the art of growing windowsill greenery.  How i want to visit foreign cities, Paris, Bruges, Munich.  That i want to continue to be less-frivolous with my money and to use it for better things than anything with a Liberty print.  That i want to meet more bloggers than i already have and that i want to visit old old friends that i haven't seen for what feels like far far too long.  Sometimes my thoughts just runaway with me you see.  Suddenly i look up, my tea has gone cold and an HOUR or more has passed.  Let us rejoice in yesterdays blustery sunshine filled day and some photographical evidence and have faith altogether that Spring might arrive soon...

How has everyone's weekend been? Did you manage a fleeting glimpse of a BLUE sky somewhere too?

Friday, 21 February 2014

Littlest Bits

HAPPY HAPPY friday to one and all! I cannot remember the last time i had a weekend off, its a rare thing when you work in retail let me tell you! Over the years i have sort of got used to it though.  I tend to find that i am far more productive on mid-week days off and if i do happen upon a weekend off, that i will mostly eat and sleep!  Not that i have a problem with that either! 
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Due to being off since Wednesday, action around these parts has been of the much slower variety.  I scheduled the time off for no special reason, and so it is pretty blissful to just meander about, cycle here and there and generally eat and curl up often.  I had hoped when i booked the time off that it would be nice, since we are meant to be heading Spring-wards and all that jazz.  HOW wrong.  The weather around these pretty parts goes like this:  RAIN SUN RAIN SUN SUN RAIN RAIN RAIN.  No jokes.

Mornings have been a little later and a little lovelier.  I hate the thought of prising my peepers open, and worse still, sliding out from the duvet and feeling cold wooden floor against my bare feet.  Once i am up, layered in floral pyjamas with old white T-shirts and woollen knits and have the kettle bubbling away and the smell of anything toasted filling our little space; i am pretty HAPPY.  Even though i know it will be freezing outside, having big rays of sunshine burst through our huge windows and dance along the shelf above the sink make washing up toast crumbs and pottering about for as long as is humanly possible in pyjamas, just a bout bearable.

My travels on TWO wheels have seen me rejoicing at those pretty white blooms.  First come snowflakes, then crocuses, then daffodils THEN  real Spring.  Are you listening Weather?  If you could start to warm up a little then i would be most grateful.  
 I feel like i am wearing the very same handful of clothes lately.  I keep rummaging through various cupboards, wardrobes and nooks each MORNING - pulling out pretty patterned paraphernalia and then remembering it is STILL cold.  The above (MOSTLY) black and white ensemble cheered me up. Accidental ornithological co-ordination at its very best!  

Afternoons after many two-wheeled laps and an extra hot cappuccino, have been spent pottering and padding around our little home.  I really struggle to drink water when i am cold and its horrid and so fruit teas have been the order most days.  Twining's 'Winter Fruit' 'Camomile and Honey' and 'Spiced Apple and Camomile' are my currents favourites.  I have been longing for comfort foods too.  And i am blaming that one categorically on the WEATHER.  I have been filling up on scrambled eggs on toasted rye bread with lots of dry-cured smoked ham and rocket.  Or baked beans piled high on a bed of warm toast and buttery spinach.  All are naturally followed by a mug as big as my head of Lady Grey.  Talking of tea, i have had this little lip balm squirrelled away since Christmas time.  I sort of forgot it was there.  It was a gift from my darling sister and is DIVINE.  Just the ticket for lips in need of a generous slather of TLC.

Such GREY afternoons have called for oversized breton tees and old skinny jeans.  I cannot wait to stock up on my STRIPES next month.  What is it about a simple breton tee that makes you feel all sorts of pulled together?  Even if you hair looks hedge-worthy and the rest of what you are wearing has been better days?  I feel like i could wear a breton tee with my pyjamas outside and i would feel dressed respectably.  I might not try that one until it warms up a bit though.

This week has also seen me do some catching up on my reading list.  Do visit these beautiful and inspirational ladies.  Each are special and unique in there blogs, writing and style and well worth adding to youR reading list if you haven't got them firmly bookmarked already.

Rachael's blog 'Made up of little things' and in particular THIS post for reducing me to a teary wreck and giving me hope that one day i will make a good mum. 

Caroline's blog 'All about the girl' and in particular THIS post because, well i am all for a breton tee and this girl is as beautiful in real life as she is on her blog.

Beeta's blog 'Fill my little world' and especially THIS post for just being a magical piece of writing to curl up and get completely lost and swept away in.  

And finally Rosie's blog  'Cider with Rosie' and in particular THIS post for just being so beautifully written and with such breath-takingly magical-moment-catcher photos. 

Have a MAGICAL weekend lovely faces!


Thursday, 20 February 2014

Currently 7

Whilst i ADORE a bright colour and even more, a bright print, these blustery GREY and long long days that seem to stretch out in front of us are making me inclined to cling on to a much softer, paler and GENTLE pallet.  There is something quite special about colours and the powers that they have to make you feel all kinds of things and this much softer collection just has me feeling all sorts of CALM.  

I feel like i am spending much more time inside than out and so i have been feeling sleepy, moving a little SLOWER and spending a lot of time simply curling up.  Wrapping up in rose-coloured and fabric softener scented over-sized cardigans, and TWISTING my blonde rats-tails ringlets haphazardly any-which way too.  Tea, tea and more milky, amber-ey tea has been sipped and many a book page has been turned.  Whilst i long for those longer days and for sunshine and all that is green, i am feeling RELAXED.  

What has been inspiring your PRETTY faces in such dull grey weather? How have you been keeping your spirits up?
(All images taken from my Pinterest HERE)

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Wonderful Wednesday 5

Happy MID-WEEK to all your lovely faces, i do hope i find you well.  Do you know what? I am really enjoying having a regular sort of post i FIRE at you to brighten you mid-week.  Last weeks wasn't so popular, so i can only assume everyone must have had such a truly positive week that they didn't feel the need to borrow my positives from this little spot.  I sort of hope so!  Whilst you are reading this i shall be basking in the fact that from today, i have a whooollllle week off work from the beautiful MONSOON TOWERS.  I do hope the rain spares a thought for me and those two wheels of mine and eases off a bit.  If not there a plenty of other reasons to smile even if it feels like the weekend is a squillion light years away...

* First little crocuses peeping their purple, yellow and white little heads out on a randomly sunny day on sunday.  If you peeped at my last post you probably got CROCUSSED beyond belief.  Just you wait until there's blossom my friends, just you wait!  Seeing little bursts of colour is such a happy-maker, especially with all that grey, grizzly weather.  It sort of gives me hope!

* Sleep.  But not just sleep sleep, really good sleep.  It is honestly true that you don't appreciate the power of good sleep until a) you are a little older and b) until you have had a bad night or two's sleep.  The older i get the more i really enjoy sleeping.  I  had horrible night of bad dream-filled, tossing and turning type of sleep on Sunday night and felt HORRID all day Monday, HORRID!  Tuesday nights' sleep was like the king of sleeps, all deep and long and heavy.  I woke feeling like a different version of me and felt like i almost looked fresh-faced.  

*  Having my MOODBOARDS gratefully received.  If you follow me on Instagram (i am @sallytangle) or stop by this little spot often, you may have noticed i have been doing some cutting and sticking for work, just to inspire our lovely lot for our new season wardrobes.  Showing them to everyone was a little daunting (i tend to cut and stick just for me and have never let anyone else see them - well i guess apart from here).  I have had some REALLY lovely comments and i feel rather proud.

*  Avocados.  With everything, on everything, just every single day.  No word of a lie.  I sliced one on top of some fresh tomato-ey pasta last night and sprinkled a generous handful of rocket and a good shake of ground black pepper.  It was HEAVEN.  I have been loving avocados with scrambled eggs, served alongside lightly breaded cod fillet with a lemon-ey salad or simply just spread upon toasted rye bread.  

*  Purple sprouted broccoli.  Which is actually just a sprout dressed in a broccoli costume.  It is DIVINE.  I have yet to try it raw (yes i am actually excited for this too!) but we had it alongside dauphinoise potatoes and lentil-ey vegetable bake on Tuesday and OH MY.  

*  Listening to old albums on loop over and over and over so many times.  Current favourites these last few days have been 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not' by ARCTIC MONKEYS, 'The End Has A Start' by EDITORS and 'Hot Fuss' by THE KILLERS.  I adore the power music has.  Suddenly you are right back when and feeling all the feelings that went along with it like it was yesterday.  It's just magical.  

*  SINGING.  Golly gosh i LOVE to sing.  I don't think i am awful but i am also not amazing either.  To be honest ever since i have been a little dot i have always sung.  When i was a teenager, and a typical attitude filled little bean, i would shut myself away upstairs and belt out whatever i could get my hands on.  If you like to sing too, you'll know how cathartic it can be.  Aside from a cup of tea the size of my head, it is the ultimate FIXER.  

How do i find you all?  I have been so thankful and grateful for all the kind comments and kind words recently about this little space, it is the WARMEST feeling to know that people like to read my creative ramblings.  What had made your week bearable so far? I would love to know.  

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Sunday and Some

It's OK. you can come out from under wherever you have been HIDING.  The monster of grumpiness which had mostly invaded my little self for the most part of last week has subsided.  Phew.  I was beginning to wonder if that little THUNDER cloud would ever pass.  Do you ever get like that?  I am convinced that i just needed some vitamin D - some sunshine and today we were spoilt with rays of sun and blue skies as far as the eye could see.  I checked the forecast for the week ahead in my delirious sun-burnt (slight exaggeration) state, only to find it is mostly going to be wet and grey and cold again! It's amazing what just a day of sun can do for the soul, i have felt so much more filled with beans and so much more energised and generally inspired because of it.  If you discount my little momentary few days grizzly grump this past week has been rather lovely…
Basking in those RAYS.  This was actually from last Tuesday.  It was a scarily hard and fast rain showers; high powered gusts and bursts of sunbeams sort of day.  It was freezing outside but our little attic is somewhat of a sun-trap and so i curled up on the windowsill and read my book, pretending it was all kinds of warm.  I kept my little feet rested on the radiator at the same time though!
I am still WADING my way through the sea of Lush bath bombs, bubble bars and goodies i received for my birthday and over Christmas.  I could be here for some time.  During my blue fog of a grumbly mood on Wednesday evening, i took myself off for a bath with the brightest bath bomb i could dig out.  I can't remember what it was called but OH MY it turned the hot waters all kinds and colours of the rainbow before collapsing into a blue cloud of powder-ey honey and citrus scent. Lying for an hour in a bubble bath of bright blue does wonders for the soul i can tell you.
My UNIFORM. Well of the inside variety anyhow.  I think i am wearing head to toe Monsoon and Accessorize here, but old old season.  I really have been struggling to keep warm as our attic is the draughtiest little space when it is blustery.  The beams shake and rattle and it felt like we would wake up somewhere completely different on several occasions last week!  I am not really a 'get in and put your pyjamas on' kind of gal, but i do have my inside go-to's and this pale pink fringed jumper, and oversized cream bobbly woollen creation are ticking all of my keep warm and cosy boxes lately.  And that necklace, isn't she the dream? I would wear it with my pyjamas if i could.  It makes me feel all kinds of GLAMOROUS!

Can you tell which day was my FAVOURITE?! The rest of the photos are from today.  Ah even just looking at that blue sky makes me want to cartwheel head-first into SPRING.  We slept late, ate warm raisin pastries and then i took myself off into that sun for a good few hours on the push-bike.  I wandered, sat by the cathedral with a take-out coffee as big as my head and just let the sun seep into my being.  MORE please!!
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This week is set to be a busy one but i am actually only working Monday and Tuesday and then i have a week off! I am plan-less and just intend to spend it out and about in the fresh air.  I would like to squeeze in some baking, possibly some banana bread or some granola bars.  I am also looking forward at being able to spend time cooking tea, lazing about and devouring some books.  I have also got some exciting ideas in the pipeline too, which i might need all of your help with! We finally got around to watching Richard Curtis' last film 'ABOUT TIME' last night and i fell head over heels with it and so i might watch that again alone with some tea and biscuits.  Most of all i am just looking forward to slowing down and to sleeping later.  If you could keep your fingers crossed for some sunshine that would be nice too!

How were your WEEKENDS? and what are you looking forward to this week?


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