A teeny bit Halloweeny (pocket-sized pumpkins and a sea green squash)

26 Oct

halloween squash  A teeny bit Halloweeny (pocket sized pumpkins and a sea green squash)

This week, I fell in love… with a sea green squash and some tiny pumpkins.

Now you can probably guess my general tiredness (and sanity) levels lately… by the fact that I went to buy lunch and came back with a ‘slightly (ok, very) more expensive than a pumpkin’ squash. Yes, I was vaguely delirious about the whole purchase – in the way you should only ever be about an expensive pair of shoes or a new camera (please feel free to insert your own item there).

Even carrying it home (it’s not exactly light) didn’t deter me from my new-found obsession…

P1010173 A teeny bit Halloweeny (pocket sized pumpkins and a sea green squash)

Thing is… I couldn’t bring myself to carve it! Yes, you know you’ve reached a new level of weirdo when you (a) buy a funny looking squash to carve up and then (b) get too emotionally attached to said squash to actually carve it!

P1010205 A teeny bit Halloweeny (pocket sized pumpkins and a sea green squash)

I mean really it’s the perfect shade of Where The Wild Things Are green! It just seemed mean to do anything to it. Ahem…

P1010239 A teeny bit Halloweeny (pocket sized pumpkins and a sea green squash)

Thankfully, we’d bought some pumpkins that I could carve (though does anyone else feel that emptying out pumpkins feels serial killer dark?!) We do take the carving quite seriously – see on the table behind me? There’s a mallet, a power drill, hacksaw etc. Um, yes, that might explain why it seems so dark!

P1010223 A teeny bit Halloweeny (pocket sized pumpkins and a sea green squash)

As well as getting some normal sized pumpkins (and the squash), we also picked up some munchkin pumpkins… possibly the best thing ever (second to the squash of course). Now they’re quite teeny for carving…

P1010291 A teeny bit Halloweeny (pocket sized pumpkins and a sea green squash)

But oh boy are they brilliant! Carve out the middle, stick in a pair of vampire teeth (10p from Asda!), then simply poke two holes in for the eyes (I put the ends of match sticks in so they had a bit more definition here). So easy and how much fun do they do look? Love them!

P1010271 A teeny bit Halloweeny (pocket sized pumpkins and a sea green squash)

So this is our entire pumpkin (and squash) family… a rather handsome set even if I do say so!

P1010191 A teeny bit Halloweeny (pocket sized pumpkins and a sea green squash)

(Um, yeah, this mask has nothing to do with this post… but hey, it’s here anyway. Just in case, you need a small break from pumpkin shaped objects!)

P1010247 A teeny bit Halloweeny (pocket sized pumpkins and a sea green squash)

And oh yes, the dinos… well, that meant we had to have a dino carved into a pumpkin right?

P1010262 A teeny bit Halloweeny (pocket sized pumpkins and a sea green squash)

Stegosaurus pumpkin meets plastic Stegosaurus…

P1010264 A teeny bit Halloweeny (pocket sized pumpkins and a sea green squash)

And oh yeah a Polaroid pumpkin… mainly as this seemed an easier shape than carving another dinosaur!

P1010266 A teeny bit Halloweeny (pocket sized pumpkins and a sea green squash)

Oh and a New York skyline – partly as it gave me an excuse to use the drill to do all those windows!

P1010268 A teeny bit Halloweeny (pocket sized pumpkins and a sea green squash)

Does anyone else see that the Polaroid totally has a face?!

P1010281 A teeny bit Halloweeny (pocket sized pumpkins and a sea green squash)

Ok, this is pretty much the same picture as before – but how cool are the pocket-sized pumpkins? If I had a free day/weekend soon, I would so want to take these guys round town and do a mini photo shoot. (See the soliders/Easter chicks post for what happens to my brain during a ‘holiday’!)

wild thing mini pumpkin 2 A teeny bit Halloweeny (pocket sized pumpkins and a sea green squash)

And just because… doesn’t the munchkin pumpkin make a good Wild Thing?!

I hope you all a lovely/scary/spooky Halloween! (As some of you probably know, Halloween is also pretty much my birthday so I’m taking some time out to do some celebrating/chilling/costuming!)

See you all in November xx (Arrgh! Now that is terrifying!)

 

A rather cool day trip… to Scotland’s graffiti castle

9 Oct

conversation pieces kelburn castle 2 A rather cool day trip... to Scotlands graffiti castle

I like castles. Visiting old, ancient ruins. Learning a bit of history. And wondering how on earth they kept warm. (Does anyone else think they’re too soft to have lived in the middle ages?!)

I also like street art. If you follow me on instagram (or saw my Barcelona post), you ‘might’ know that already.

So… a graffiti castle… well, how darn cool is that?

And in Scotland too!

conversation pieces kelburn castle 6 A rather cool day trip... to Scotlands graffiti castle

Kelburn Castle is one of the oldest in Scotland… and the only one to have been given a makeover by four Brazillian grafitti artists.

It’s also possibly the cheeriest looking castle I’ve ever seen!  How adorable is that sun for example?

conversation pieces kelburn castle 5 A rather cool day trip... to Scotlands graffiti castle

Though I really couldn’t decide whether certain bits were cool, creepy or both!

Conversation Pieces Kelburn Castle 10 A rather cool day trip... to Scotlands graffiti castle

And with so many details you could stand there all day… yes that girl has a squirrel on her head and a kitten hanging from her sock. (Just your average day there then.)

conversation pieces kelburn castle feet A rather cool day trip... to Scotlands graffiti castle

Turns out there was more to Kelburn Castle than graffiti… there was a rickety bridge over a waterfall…

And a leafy valley that  was like something from Jurrasic Park!

Conversation Pieces Kelburn Castle camera A rather cool day trip... to Scotlands graffiti castle

It was here we decided to have a bit of a photo off… one of our new things since I got the other half his La Sardina camera.

Conversation Pieces Kelburn Castle 1 A rather cool day trip... to Scotlands graffiti castle

And I think I can admit that he won with this shot. How ‘Lost World’ does this look?!

conversation pieces kelburn castle maze A rather cool day trip... to Scotlands graffiti castle

On the grounds, there’s also a maze. It’s one of those things that kids probably love but it freaked the heck out of me.

Yes, I see tiny little houses, all alone, set in the woods – and think horror movie thoughts!

conversation pieces kelburn castle goblins A rather cool day trip... to Scotlands graffiti castle

Apparently there was a narrow tunnel you could crawl through to get into this… Yes, I thought it was too spooky to do that!

Conversation Pieces Kelburn Castle 5 A rather cool day trip... to Scotlands graffiti castle

Oh and there were some creepy caves too… definitely like something from Lord of the Rings!

conversation pieces kelburn castle chickens A rather cool day trip... to Scotlands graffiti castle

And then… well, then there were these guys. Chickens I think. (These piles of feathers are chickens right?)

conversation pieces kelburn castle goose A rather cool day trip... to Scotlands graffiti castle

And a goose that seemed intent on having a nibble of my other half’s boot…

2012 10 08 001 A rather cool day trip... to Scotlands graffiti castle

And a whole lot of owls. Quite an easy spot the difference this one!

And there was cake and tea too – but we did the un-bloggy thing and just ate it, instead of taking pictures. (Yes, it does happen some times.)

conversation pieces kelburn castle 3 A rather cool day trip... to Scotlands graffiti castle

Then there was just time for one more look at the castle… I do think it would take you hours to take this all in!

Conversation Pieces Kelburn Castle detail1 A rather cool day trip... to Scotlands graffiti castle

And then it was time to go home… well, with a little trip to Glasgow Ikea on the way. Which might have broken the spell somewhat really!

Dinosaurs, cameras and vintage… a look book & magazine photo shoot

20 Sep

Main Shot zoë house 15 Dinosaurs, cameras and vintage... a look book & magazine photo shoot

Some Sundays, you have pancakes for breakfast. Maybe go car booting. Maybe go on a day trip. You know the usual…

Then some Sundays, you find yourself being snapped by the lovely Lauren McGlynn for a lookbook and a magazine.

And what a wonderful Sunday it was too.

If you’ve not come across Lauren before, she’s an American wedding photographer in Scotland, soon to be based in Edinburgh. She’s also all kinds of wonderful. Super talented. And damn good fun to boot.

zoë house 65 Dinosaurs, cameras and vintage... a look book & magazine photo shoot

Now, anyone who’s known me/this blog for a while will know that I’ve said I’m not a huge fan of getting my picture taken. Heck, I think I’d even told Lauren that on several occasions. (So I think she was somewhat surprised when I first mentioned the shoot!)

But I’ve learned to let go a bit lately. I just decided to stop being so hard on myself. It’s strange but that’s all it took. Who knew?!

Anyhoo… so Lauren came round to shoot a lookbook for Hannah Zakari. (Possibly one of the sweetest shops in the entire world). I had a stegosaurus print from Hannah Zakari – by the super Robbie Porter – so I’d spray-painted some toy dinosaurs gold to go with it…

zoë house 6 Dinosaurs, cameras and vintage... a look book & magazine photo shoot

… and then Rachael from Hannah Zakari also gave me this ace brainbow camera necklace to model.

(You can actually look through it which is pretty cute!!)

zoë house 19 Dinosaurs, cameras and vintage... a look book & magazine photo shoot

And at the same time, it so happened that I was writing an article about car boot sales for the ever so pretty 91 Magazine – so I needed a pic or two for that as well. You can read my car booting tales/tips in Issue 4, page 70 onwards – inbetween Anna Weinreich‘s beautiful home and The Seventy Tree‘s Kerry’s super illustrations.

zoë house 47 Dinosaurs, cameras and vintage... a look book & magazine photo shoot

So Lauren took shots for both… including in my never seen before on the blog (I think?) spare room. Yes that room that you normally pile all your random stuff in and just close the door when guests come round… yip, that room. That’s my recovered 60s daybed I’m sitting on… one of my prized (furniture) possessions!

zoë house 34 Dinosaurs, cameras and vintage... a look book & magazine photo shoot

We even took off a cupboard door in the kitchen… just so you can see what’s inside my kitchen cupboards.

Surprise, surprise, it’s more vintage china!

2012 09 17 002 Dinosaurs, cameras and vintage... a look book & magazine photo shoot

And Lauren was polite enough to tolerate me doing lots of silly things like juggling the dinosaurs… and pretending to do the congo with them. (The things you do when you’re nervous!)

 zoë house 56 Dinosaurs, cameras and vintage... a look book & magazine photo shoot
Oh yes and we took some shots of me with my cameras… It has to be said, I’m giggling in a lot of these. This was my only straight faced one. And why was I giggling so much? Well, because I was taking pictures of Lauren.

Lauren Polaroids Dinosaurs, cameras and vintage... a look book & magazine photo shoot

Um yeah… there’s a reason Lauren’s the photographer and not me!

Life is sweet (or how to make Scottish tablet… the most sugary sweet thing ever)

11 Sep

IMG 7143 Life is sweet (or how to make Scottish tablet... the most sugary sweet thing ever)

Life lately has been pretty sweet… and not just because I made the biggest batch of tablet ever.

If you follow me on Twitter, you probably know that I have a shiny new exciting job. (And that’s on top of lovely things like the Mollie Makes Japan feature, winning an award for my old job and oh yes my mister getting an ace new job too.)

Anyhoo, all that said, what I really want to share with you is how to make Scottish tablet.

Last time I mentioned tablet on this blog I got a mixture of people craving a fix and people being entirely confused as to what on earth I was talking about.

If you don’t know what tablet is, it looks like fudge but is creamier and more crumbly. (And better.)

Oh yes and it’s made with sugar, condensed milk and butter. (I’m not claiming that this is a healthy treat here.)

Tablet was also my Nana’s favourite sweet. One of my last memories of her is us having sweet tea and some tablet together. And for that alone it will always have an extremely special place in my heart.

IMG 7137 Life is sweet (or how to make Scottish tablet... the most sugary sweet thing ever)

So how do you make it? Well, first thing first, most people will tell you that it’s super hard to make.

The first time I made it, it was so easy that I was baffled by that. Then I tried to make a second batch, using a different recipe, and it went so badly wrong that it never even set. (Yes, sad times!)

So for the third batch, we went back to this recipe. That bit that says “Remove all children, pets and clumsy people from the room. They tend not to mix well with vats of boiling sugar”? Wise words!

Also don’t accidentally touch the wooden spoon that you’ve just the mixture with. (Yes I did that. Yes I may have said some very bad words. Yes I had a horrible white numb bit on my finger for a week!)

IMG 7151 Life is sweet (or how to make Scottish tablet... the most sugary sweet thing ever)

We did change the recipe a bit so here’s what we did:

2lbs granulated sugar
1/4lb butter
1 cup of soy milk (because we never drink normal milk)
400g tin of condensed milk
Two teaspoons of vanilla essence

Melt the sugar, milk and butter together.
Add the condensed milk when that mixture starts to boil.
Then start stirring…

Now once this starts to boil again,
turn down the heat and keep stirring.
And stirring. And stirring.
And oh yes, more stirring.

We stirred this batch for a full-on 20 minutes until it went a yummy caramel colour.

IMG 7154 Life is sweet (or how to make Scottish tablet... the most sugary sweet thing ever)

Then you take it off the heat… and guess what?

You stir it some more! (Like the ‘keep swimming’ motto in Finding Nemo but with stirring.)

IMG 7153 Life is sweet (or how to make Scottish tablet... the most sugary sweet thing ever)

(Concentrating very hard on the stirring here!
Can you tell I wanted this batch to work?!)

Once the mixture was ready, we poured it – very carefully – into a tray to set. Except that wasn’t enough for me…

Back before our wedding, I’d watched to make tablet hearts for the day. I never got round to it so I was determined to try it now.

So if you want to make shaped tablet…

Basically you have to wait until the mixture has slightly set. If it’s fully set, you won’t be able to cut into it. Ours was just right after watching one episode of New Girl (though you can use your own timing method!).

IMG 7156 Life is sweet (or how to make Scottish tablet... the most sugary sweet thing ever)

Tip your now set-ish tablet onto a chopping board, choose your cutter and get making hearts…

It should feel almost doughy – like a grainy, warm play-doh!

IMG 7130 Life is sweet (or how to make Scottish tablet... the most sugary sweet thing ever)

Oh yeah and I made some tablet bunnies too. Just because! (Anything bunny shaped always makes me think of Peonies and Polaroids now. I guess in the same way that people see foxes and think of me!)

IMG 7136 Life is sweet (or how to make Scottish tablet... the most sugary sweet thing ever)

Next you leave it to set… and then comes the fun bit, trying not to eat it all yourself!

I’d originally meant to make this batch when our friends were over from Norway and my sister was back from London, but yes we left it too late and ended up making it just for us!

So that’s my final tip: wait until you have a reason to make this, or you’ll soon realise you’ve just eaten 1lb granulated sugar, 1/8 butter and 200g of condensed milk in hardly any time at all.

IMG 7141 Life is sweet (or how to make Scottish tablet... the most sugary sweet thing ever)

Maybe I need to start blogging healthy, veggie recipes instead?

(I promise I don’t just eat sugar!)

 

Mollie Makes, Japan and me (and tales of a cat cafe!)

1 Sep

Mollie Makes Japan – Convo Pieces 4 Mollie Makes, Japan and me (and tales of a cat cafe!)

So I’m guessing by now most of you know I have a thing for Japan?

Well before we went earlier this year, the lovely Mollie Makes commissioned me to a do piece on crafty, cool and fun places in Tokyo and Kyoto.

As you can imagine I was over the moon… until I realised I was about to do only my second ever photography/write-up piece in one of the most amazing places on Earth. How on earth could I do it justice? (Yes, cue massive stress on my part!)

Mollie Makes Japan – Convo Pieces 12 Mollie Makes, Japan and me (and tales of a cat cafe!)

But I have to say I’m really proud of how the feature has turned out… thank you Mollie Makes for giving me the chance to do this!

As well as my ramblings, you can also read about Ebony from Hello Sandwich who’s photo collage workshop I went to… she’s uber nice, one of those people who instantly makes you feel comfortable, and super crafty in a way I can only admire!

Mollie Makes Japan – Convo Pieces 3 Mollie Makes, Japan and me (and tales of a cat cafe!)

Anyway, the magazine was out yesterday so if you pick it up, let me know what you think! (In a ‘I hope you all really like it’ kind of way!)

Now, if you follow me on Twitter, you might (most likely not really!) remember me saying I took a ridiculous amount of photos in Japan… thousands in fact! Yes, it’s probably my most documented trip EVER. So I wanted to share with you a few things that I didn’t get round to blogging and didn’t end up in the feature… outtakes if you will!

And when I say outtakes, what I really mean is… pictures from the Cat Cafe we went to!

Shimokitazana Cat Cafe 3 Mollie Makes, Japan and me (and tales of a cat cafe!)

In Shimokitazana (probably my favourite area in Tokyo we went to) as soon as we left the train station, we spotted this sign… cat cafe!

Now I can’t remember if we knew about cat cafes on our first trip but it was on our ‘to do/only in Japan’ list so we decided that now was the time.

So we went up the stairs, opened the door and well, there was a man with a desk who politely told us that you pay by the hour and you pay when you leave (in case you love the cats so much you want to stay longer). Kind of like karaoke but with cats instead! He took our drinks order and then directed us to the cat room…

Shimokitazana Cat Cafe 5 Mollie Makes, Japan and me (and tales of a cat cafe!)

Now… anyone who has cats knows they quite clearly have a mind of their own, and the cats at the cat cafe were no different. First up, was this guy – ignoring all the comfy bedding put out for him and sleeping in a plastic bowl.

Shimokitazana Cat Cafe 4 Mollie Makes, Japan and me (and tales of a cat cafe!)

Then there was this noisy powder puff of a cat… yes also ignoring the beds/bedding and napping in a box.

One of the Japanese customers was intent on getting this cat to like him… putting a cosy blanket on his knee, rattling cat toys, making kissy sounds… the cat was having none of it! I wanted to explain to the poor Japanese man that this is the real cat experience… they do what they please!

Shimokitazana Cat Cafe 7 Mollie Makes, Japan and me (and tales of a cat cafe!)

My husband made friends with this stripey purr machine and was quite chuffed that he’d won over at least one of the cats!

And me… well, I happened upon a cat who looks like an even more freaked out version of the Fox Owl Cat!

Shimokitazana Cat Cafe 10 Mollie Makes, Japan and me (and tales of a cat cafe!)

Oh gosh, look at that expression! I felt rather bad for giggling every time it looked at me!

Japan Cat Fox Owl Cat Convo Pieces Mollie Makes, Japan and me (and tales of a cat cafe!)

And here they are for comparison… though now I put the pictures together, I think the Fox Owl Cat might be the weirder of the two! (In a nice way!)

I guess the strange but maybe not too surprising thing about the cat cafe was that it just made us miss our own fluff balls. The Japan cats were cute but not a patch on the Velveteen Cat and the FOC!

Anyway, that’s it… that’s me done with Japan posts!

(Well, until my next trip of course!)

Still smitten with NYC… the High Line and the secret whispering gallery

20 Aug

New York Conversation Pieces 13 Still smitten with NYC... the High Line and the secret whispering gallery

About this time last year (well September to be precise), we took a trip to NYC… I blogged part 1 and then sort of forgot to do part 2.

So here it is. Better late than never… my favourite (and free!) spaces in New York.

And a few of my random NY tips that I don’t have pictures for but they’re here too!

New York Conversation Pieces 14 Still smitten with NYC... the High Line and the secret whispering gallery

One of my absolute favourite things was the High Line. (Yes, we got this shot by lying down on the ground! Yes, we got strange looks. Totally worth it though!)

It’s a section of old elevated rail line that’s been converted into a park. You basically walk from Downtown to Midtown on it, and get a great view of more unexpected New York sights (like the New Yorker sign above)…

New York Conversation Pieces 16 Still smitten with NYC... the High Line and the secret whispering gallery

And the Empire State building peeking out from behind this reddy church…

New York Conversation Pieces 12 Still smitten with NYC... the High Line and the secret whispering gallery

And amazing ghost signs (I was obsessed with these on our trip and would stop to snap them wherever I saw them, usually to the confusion of other pedestrians)…

High Line Bird Houses NYC Convo Pieces Still smitten with NYC... the High Line and the secret whispering gallery

And arty things… like this cool bird house installation. (Though I got the feeling this wee guy was none too impressed with me taking his picture!)

 

New York Conversation Pieces 6 Still smitten with NYC... the High Line and the secret whispering gallery

At the end (or the start I think, we might have walked it backwards!) we came across this street art… which I can only assume refers to the massively scary…

New York Conversation Pieces 5 Still smitten with NYC... the High Line and the secret whispering gallery

… HUGE CLOWN sitting nearby! Clowns completely weird me out – mainly because I watched Stephen King’s IT at an early age. (Even linking to this is giving me the shivers… and I didn’t even watch it!)

Pandas NYC Conversation Pieces Still smitten with NYC... the High Line and the secret whispering gallery

But the drunken panda street art made it all better. Mostly better. Ok, ignore the clown. Go to the High Line. You’ll love it. Pretend I didn’t mention the other bit.

Whispering Gallery NYC Conversation Pieces Still smitten with NYC... the High Line and the secret whispering gallery

Inside Grand Central Station, there’s an amazing ‘whispering gallery’. It might be hard to see from our slightly murky photos – but you can stand at opposite ends, talk into the wall and hear each other.

It’s the strangest thing to be leaning against a wall (as pictured) and be able to hear each other’s voices as if you were standing next to each other.

If you’re looking for it, there’s no sign… just go under the main station, towards the food courts and look for a sort of curved roof with four pillary bits.

New York Conversation Pieces 24 Still smitten with NYC... the High Line and the secret whispering gallery

It’s an obvious one but Central Park is a must-go to…

Alice Zoe Conversation Pieces Still smitten with NYC... the High Line and the secret whispering gallery

So you can hang out with Hans Christian Andersen and Alice in Wonderland…

Central Park Bubbles Convo Pieces Still smitten with NYC... the High Line and the secret whispering gallery

But also to do some brilliant people watching… especially when they’re watching giant bubbles being blown.

This woman’s reaction to the bubble coming her way is just the best. That’s pure joy right there!

Spongebob and Spidey icecream Conversation Pieces Still smitten with NYC... the High Line and the secret whispering gallery

And if that’s not enough joy, why not treat yourself a silly ice-cream. We couldn’t decide who’s would win the silliest award…

*****

Here’s my other random tips as promised:

Pick up a Time Out NYC magazine at the airport – that’s how we found out about comedy shows, pop-ups etc that we wouldn’t have known about otherwise.

Best view… I would say go up The Rockefeller. Most people do the Empire State but the queues are long and once you’re up there, well, you can’t see the Empire State if that makes sense! icon wink Still smitten with NYC... the High Line and the secret whispering gallery

Rooftop bars we were lucky in that our hotel had an amazing rooftop bar… which was basically an outdoor club with a view of the Empire State and the Chrysler.

Best bakery... Two Little Red Hens. These guys do mini versions of all their cupcakes too so you can buy lots and not over-do it (too much).

Best breakfast (and lunch!) in Manhattan… Penelope on Lexington. There can be huge queues for this place so
it’s best to turn up not too hungry, put your name on the waiting list and grab a coffee nearby while you wait.

Best shop (certainly one of my fav!)… in god we trust in Brooklyn.

Best coffee Cafe Grumpy (the original is Brooklyn but it’s also served in a cool hotel bar that’s opposite the Public Library)

Getting about… we jumped on the river taxis for getting to and from Brooklyn/Downtown etc… might be a bit chilly but you get a great view of the city that way.

New York Conversation Pieces 30 Still smitten with NYC... the High Line and the secret whispering gallery

Oh yes, if you ever get the opportunity to eat some Fruit Loops at 3am on a deserted hotel rooftop… while the lights from the Empire State turn the whole misty sky red… then take it.

Honestly, it’ll be the best cereal of your life. In a crazy, only in New York sort of way!

Thrifty finds… sewing machine, my first Pyrex & a lost bear

5 Aug

Thirfty Finds Aug Conversation Pieces Thrifty finds... sewing machine, my first Pyrex & a lost bear

Life lately has been a little hectic… but I’ve still found time to squeeze in some charity shops and a little car boot sale-ness…

Now as lots of you know I have a lot of old china and teapots etc so recently I’ve been searching for novelty mugs instead. Partly based on this mug I found for my mister… I’m hoping to find a Zoe version. (If anyone ever does find one, let me know!)

Anyway, I came across this Scotland mug in a charity shop and thought it was quite stylish for a tourist mug! Scotland, I’ve been there!

Thirfty Finds Aug Conversation Pieces 21 Thrifty finds... sewing machine, my first Pyrex & a lost bear

Then early one car boot sale morning, we came across this baby… a boxed Singer sewing machine. (I was starting to think they’d all gone thanks to All Saints’ window displays!) We cautiously asked how much it was, trying to be all nonchalant of course and probably failing!

And oh my word, she wanted nearly nothing for it. So much so that I temporarily felt bad that we were paying so little. But then the thriftaholic in me took over and kept quiet… (Yes, thriftaholic me is hard-edged!)

Thirfty Finds Aug Conversation Pieces 20 Thrifty finds... sewing machine, my first Pyrex & a lost bear

And here my Singer is… ain’t she pretty? And she works perfectly too. Even just turning the handle is deeply satisfying.

Thirfty Finds Aug Conversation Pieces 19 Thrifty finds... sewing machine, my first Pyrex & a lost bear

Now in the last while, I’ve developed a bit of a thing for old cameras (some of you may have noticed that!). And especially instant cameras.

But I’ll be honest and say what first attracted me to this camera was the box… yip, look at the rainbow arrow! So colourful! (These sort of things really stand out in a grim, grey car boot sale!)

Thirfty Finds Aug Conversation Pieces 10 Thrifty finds... sewing machine, my first Pyrex & a lost bear

Now the funny thing about this camera is that it’s huge… you lift it up and it completely obscures your face. That gap on the right hand side there? That’s the handle. Yes, you know something’s a bit cumbersome when it need a handle!

Thirfty Finds Aug Conversation Pieces 17 Thrifty finds... sewing machine, my first Pyrex & a lost bear

Oh yeah and it can’t stand up. Put it down and it sort of drops to one side. Yeah, you can kind of see why they don’t make these any more right? Which isn’t to say that I don’t love it.

I do. Especially as it had one piece of instant film left in it… which my other half accidentally took a ghostly shot of me in the kitchen with.

I like to imagine some 70s family being really excited to own this camera, only they were saving that very last shot for a special occasion. (Yes, if we’d know there was one left, we’d have maybe tried to take a better shot!)

Thirfty Finds Aug Conversation Pieces 4 Thrifty finds... sewing machine, my first Pyrex & a lost bear

(Um, this is to prove that I have a bit of a camera obsession going on right now… see that little white Instamax on the top right? It was a present from us to us in Japan. Ridiculously cheap. So sort of counts as a thrifty find right?!)

Thirfty Finds Aug Conversation Pieces 14 Thrifty finds... sewing machine, my first Pyrex & a lost bear

But this… this photo negative envelope is currently my favourite camera-related find.

It’s just rather glamorous… and so far away from the Boots disposable cameras from my childhood!

Thirfty Finds Aug Conversation Pieces 5 Thrifty finds... sewing machine, my first Pyrex & a lost bear

Even inside is just brilliant… “What to do with your best snapshots? Have them enlarged… and make them into real pictures”. Only your best snapshots mind you!

Thirfty Finds Aug Conversation Pieces 3 Thrifty finds... sewing machine, my first Pyrex & a lost bear

Yes, I’m a sucker for old packaging. Even this bit gets me. So pretty!

Thirfty Finds Aug Conversation Pieces 11 Thrifty finds... sewing machine, my first Pyrex & a lost bear

I also picked up my first piece of Pyrex. Now ages ago someone tweeted me to say that Pyrex always reminded them of me and I had to tweet back to admit that I have none. (Oh the shame!)

But now I have these three triangular little dishes… which I suspect where originally six dishes to hold veg/accompaniments in?

They’re surprisingly handy, so much so that I’m keeping an eye out for another three to complete the set.

Thirfty Finds Aug Conversation Pieces 2 Thrifty finds... sewing machine, my first Pyrex & a lost bear

And this is my 40p jug that a car boot sale man dissed me for buying!

I have a sort of thing for milk glass and I thought this was rather cute… and you know, jugs are pretty useful really. So I handed over 40p then moved on to the next stall where a man tried to convince me that my new jug was worthless and I should really buy the brown jug he had for £14 instead.

Um, no. I’ll stick with my little floral number instead thank you very much!

Thirfty Finds Aug Conversation Pieces 6 Thrifty finds... sewing machine, my first Pyrex & a lost bear

And nearly my most random find (I think the next one takes the title) are these old National Geographic magazine maps. Technically they came with the magazines… so I had to flick through a HUGE pile to find the ones with maps (and not just big pull-out posters of scary looking spiders! Who wants those? Who?!)

No idea what I’m going to do with them… but I’m sure they’ll be involved in a future craft project.

lost bear convo pieces Thrifty finds... sewing machine, my first Pyrex & a lost bear

And here’s the title for my most random find ever… this little knitted bear!

Yes, one night when walking home I spotted this wee guy lying in the street. I took a snap of him (yes I am a total instagram addict!) and then popped him on wall in the hope the owner would come back for him.

The next night, I was taking the same route home and there was this bear, now lying in the road, looking grubby and kicked about. So I took him home and tweeted his picture but no-one claimed him. Instead I just washed him and  he’s  been sitting about the flat ever since…

convo pieces fox owl cat and bear Thrifty finds... sewing machine, my first Pyrex & a lost bear

Until the day our fox-owl-cat decided that the bear belonged to her. (Again if you follow me on instagram, you’ll know this is a cat that likes cosy things!) Isn’t this possibly the cutest thing you’ve ever seen? I think I ‘awwwwed’ for about 30 minutes on seeing this!

So that’s my lot recently… well, apart from the uber cute little telephone table I picked up. But that’s a story for another day!

Japan finds: a tape elephant, washi tape stamps and more

23 Jul

DSC 04371 Japan finds: a tape elephant, washi tape stamps and more

At the weekend, the lovely Lauren came round and took some pics of me and my flat for a feature I’m writing (and another little project too). Before she arrived, I was having a look at my own camera and discovered that I’d taken lots of snaps of my Japan finds and never shared them…

DSC 0546 Japan finds: a tape elephant, washi tape stamps and more

I took them so long ago (or it feels like so long ago) that the pictures next to them are all of Fab ice lollies! (Yes, it was back when we had some sunshine and I ate up to 2 Fabs every day! Very healthy I know!)

DSC 0441 Japan finds: a tape elephant, washi tape stamps and more

Anyway… normally when I go away, I buy nearly nothing. I think I worry about how much money I spend while I’m there and then when I get home, I go “I wish I’d bought xxx”. Always.

So this time, I treated myself to a few funny little cute things (you’ve already seen the biscuit maker and the egg moulds) but here’s some of the other things…

DSC 0450 Japan finds: a tape elephant, washi tape stamps and more

A pink elephant sellotape dispenser… an essential, is he not?

And of course more washi tape. It’s so cheap in Japan. So so so very cheap. And so pretty! And there’s so many more varieties (yes, that’s one with pins and safety pins on it!)

I actually bought more than this but managed to leave a bag on the plane that had some of the rolls in it. And it was never found, sad times! (Or a good excuse to go back!)

DSC 04551 Japan finds: a tape elephant, washi tape stamps and more

I also ‘invested’ in these gorgeous wooden stamps… yes those three on top are washi tape stamps! Just when you thought I couldn’t get any more washi tape obsessed!

DSC 0457 Japan finds: a tape elephant, washi tape stamps and more

I also bought some doily stamps too… again utterly essential! (Not sure how yet!)

DSC 0484 Japan finds: a tape elephant, washi tape stamps and more

Does anyone else totally geek out over stationery? (I know Lynne from Tea For Joy would have been in her element!) I kept picking up pretty tags and fun stickers… and thinking ‘I need these!’

Zoe Conversation Pieces 040 Japan finds: a tape elephant, washi tape stamps and more

Oh and you know you really need some ‘puzzle point markers’… yes I don’t really know what they are either but I loved the way the animals were jigsawed together.

And how could I resist some bunny shaped paper clips?

All my important documents are going to have these on them from now on! Maybe… (Or at least anything I send to Cara from Peonies and Polaroids should!)

DSC 0492 Japan finds: a tape elephant, washi tape stamps and more

There’s a shop in Tokyo called Winged Wheel. It sells the most beautiful little letter-pressed things I have ever seen. (And they are amazingly, mouth-wateringly affordable! Yes, you can salivate over paper!!)

DSC 0489 Japan finds: a tape elephant, washi tape stamps and more

I bought myself some tiny business cards… which are way too nice to give to anyone!

DSC 0482 Japan finds: a tape elephant, washi tape stamps and more

Yes, those are sponges. Wearing outfits. Yes, I know. Insane but amazingly so. (I popped in to see Rachael from Hannah Zakari the other day and she has one too in her kitchen. So I’m in good sponge company!)

Zoe Conversation Pieces 035 Japan finds: a tape elephant, washi tape stamps and more

Um, yes, you can never have enough cute sponges right? (These cost the equivalent of 50p, it seemed rude not to get them!)

DSC 0498 Japan finds: a tape elephant, washi tape stamps and more

This is my little watcher… the Fox-Owl-Cat is always fascinated by me taking photos of things on the floor…

DSC 0504 Japan finds: a tape elephant, washi tape stamps and more

… things like these animal soy bottles. (I do eat a lot of sushi, so I’ve been using these already.)

Zoe Conversation Pieces 034 Japan finds: a tape elephant, washi tape stamps and more

And some Japanese paper balloons… again so cheap in Japan, it made me want to buy them by the boxful.

DSC 0540 Japan finds: a tape elephant, washi tape stamps and more

Just in case, you were wondering cats are not so impressed by Japanese balloons…

DSC 0522 Japan finds: a tape elephant, washi tape stamps and more

And so there you have it. Possibly the most random selection of stuff I have ever brought back from a trip. But good, happy, colourful random… which I think is a pretty good memento of Japan really.

So, my dears, what do you bring back from your travels?
Do you buy sensible stuff or silly souvenirs?

pixel Japan finds: a tape elephant, washi tape stamps and more
Page 3 of 6512345...102030...Last »