Spring… and other fun things

12 Apr

chicky 700x359 Spring... and other fun things
It might have be sleeting, raining and a bit brrrr outside
but it was most definitely Springtime at my flat this weekend.

With daffies, my bunny vase, a ‘Hello Flower’
postcard from Lou and of course an Easter chick (or two)…

yellow2 700x365 Spring... and other fun things My postcard from Lizzy Stewart seemed very appropriate
considering I had melted a chocolate egg already.
(By leaving it too near to a window!)

napkins 700x360 Spring... and other fun things And feeling Springy… I dug out these vintage napkins
I got in Norway. Hooray indeed!

table 700x365 Spring... and other fun things And got out our charity shop find table cloth…
even if it does make the kitchen super super girlie!

IMG 52391 Spring... and other fun things Most importantly, I found our box of Easter chicks…
though I wasn’t the only one who found them!

Then we were all set for some Easter fun…

nanapapa Spring... and other fun things
First up, some Easter giggles with my Papa.
See that super happy, super dapper groom?
That’s my Papa. One of the coolest people I know.
We chatted about flat caps, the latest movies
and where to get the best chips in town.

evie 700x700 Spring... and other fun things
Then… some Easter fun with my gorgeous little sis
who was back in Scotland for a wee break
before she starts rehearsals for her new play.

pancake 700x364 Spring... and other fun things This meant mini eggs and heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast…

bubbles2 700x691 Spring... and other fun things

Blowing Easter bubbles… and discovering that cats
(well the grey one) really like attacking said bubbles!

chickwar3 700x700 Spring... and other fun things All culminating in some Easter silliness…
involving a chick, the army men who live in our plants
and a rescue mission called Operation Letter Box!


There was also lots of gin and rose lemonade,
the best veggie hot dogs ever, homemade pizza,
old movies, a spot of DIY, an epic hangover…
yip Easter is the new Christmas!


So, what about you all… are you feeling Springy?
Think I feel more like Spring being inside than outside!

My mint aero traybake recipe

3 Apr

mint aero tray front 700x618 My mint aero traybake recipe

Not so long ago, I found some vintage
cake forks… and when you find cake forks
then you have to make cake right?

Last week, I decided I was going to make
my favourite sweet treat… mint aero traybake.

It’s chocolate-y, biscuit-y,
mint fondant-y, and
mint aero-y.

Two places in Edinburgh make it
but I struggled to find a recipe
so I’ve tried to backwards process it.

Not sure I have it quite right yet but
oh my, it still tastes pretty amazing!

maycontainsugar 621x700 My mint aero traybake recipe
If you fancy trying it, you need:

250g butter
200g milk chocolate
200g white chocolate
250g of crushed digestive biscuits
200g of mint Aero chocolate
3 tablespoons of Golden Syrup
300g icing sugar
Green food colouring (8 drops or to colour)
Peppermint extract (12 drops or to taste)

icing and choc1 My mint aero traybake recipe

And here’s the how to:

To make the base, melt the milk chocolate,
100g butter and Golden Syrup together.
Crush the digestives then add to the melted choc mix.
Pour into a tray, put it in the fridge and let it set.

Then make up the peppermint layer…
‘cream’ together 150g butter and 300g icing sugar.
Then add the peppermint essence and colouring.
Smooth onto your set base with a spoon.

Then melt your white chocolate…
and pour on top of your peppermint layer.

Break up your mint Aero bar and
stick the pieces into the white chocolate.
Leave to set. (And feel free to lick any spoons!)

mint traybake before after 621x700 My mint aero traybake recipe
Cut into pieces and enjoy with a cuppa.
(And yes, you may need help to finish a bit!)


If you try it, let me know.
Or if you have any suggestions
for how to make the peppermint layer
more ‘solid’ than soft, do tell.

P.S. Been trying some new things with layouts
recently, hope you like them. Attempting to
get to grips with photoshop finally!

My favourite ever thrifty find… and some car boot tips

30 Mar

IMG 5064 My favourite ever thrifty find... and some car boot tips

A couple of weeks ago, I found this old school map
at a Sunday morning car boot sale.

I’ve been looking for an old school map for longer
than I’ve been writing this blog. And still…
I wasn’t sure. I looked at it, put it back down,
and walked on. Three minutes later, I had a mild
panic that someone else would buy ‘my map’
and rushed back to buy it.

I paid £7 for it. I’ve seen similar (and worse)
condition maps going for £180.

mapdetails2 convopieces 697x700 My favourite ever thrifty find... and some car boot tips Looking at it now, I can’t believe I almost
didn’t buy it – but it sums up my first tip
of car boot sale or charity shop thrifting…

1. You’ve got to be in it to win it.

This might sound silly but if you’re not in the mood
to rummage, give people some chat, barter, or yes
even get elbowed by some woman trying to knock
£2 off a £2.50 shirt… (ah the glamour)
then wait until you are. Or have a serious
amount of caffeine and cake before you go.

china convopieces My favourite ever thrifty find... and some car boot tips

Tip 2 I think is summed up
by the little Meakin set above…

2. Know what you’re looking for
(but be flexible about it)

I can this the ‘new car theory’.
If you decide you want a certain make of car,
suddenly you’ll start seeing that car everywhere.
Same is true (sort of!) of vintage things…
once you have what you want in mind,
then you’ll start seeing it.

Until I found my first Meakin set last summer,
I would have sworn that I’d never seen any before…
which seems unlikely now I think about it!

typewriter china My favourite ever thrifty find... and some car boot tips

(As a complete aside, I now have a tea set that matches
my fav typewriter… how cool is that? Also the tiny
milk jug from this set… might be my favourite ever!)

cameras convopieces 695x700 My favourite ever thrifty find... and some car boot tips

My third tip can definitely worked for these cameras…

3. Go super early or go at the end

Car boot sales start early. Very early.
And usually on Sundays.

I’ve written before on here that I’m not
a morning person. But the allure of
thrifty finds does drag me out of bed.

However, the vintage cameras above
(my Super Colour Swinger Polaroid Land Camera
and a very old Kodak Brownie camera)
where bought in the last 30 mins of the sale.

Basically we slept in, but thought we’d
pop in anyway on the way elsewhere.
The guy who sold us these had been up
since 6am. He sold them us for super cheap
just because it was two less things to take home.

song sheet convopieces 700x700 My favourite ever thrifty find... and some car boot tips

I can’t remember why I picked up this book
of song sheets. I can’t play any musical instruments.
But I really rather love it… I’m half tempted to do
some crafty projects with it, half tempted just to
keep it as it is. But anyway, it’s my 4th tip…

4. Expect the unexpected.

One of my favourite things about thrifting
is that you can’t know what you’ll find.

Just keep your eyes open. Look for colours,
shapes and styles of things you like…

bows blouse and skirt 700x700 My favourite ever thrifty find... and some car boot tips

I once did the wardrobe for a 1940s short film.
There were about 100 extras and at one point
my entire living room was filled with rails
of hired, borrowed and found vintage coats,
hats, dresses, shoes, bags and delicate gloves.

Yup, I don’t mention it often but
I have a vintage clothing obsession too.

I got this blouse and skirt recently…
they need adjusted so if anyone has
seen any great skirt tutorials, I need one.
Which brings me to tip 5…

5. Don’t be afraid to customise.

If you’ve found something you like
but it’s not quite right, can you change it?
Especially if you’re getting something for
a bargain, it’s usually worth having a go.

volcano1 My favourite ever thrifty find... and some car boot tips
I was really rather excited when I found
the above book… good friends of ours
got engaged next to a volcano so
it made a prefect little present for them.

On the same day, we nearly bought some Christmas
china, which I’m slightly regretting not buying. So…

6. Think off-season.

It’s summery outside now. So it might
be a great time to find a vintage winter coat.
Or get a present for a friend’s birthday…

And don’t try and find a vintage picnic hamper
when it’s sunny, people want to charge you so
much for it! (Lesson I learned last summer!)


Want more tips? I did a wee feature on
how to get the best from car boots here.


Does anyone have any other tips they would add?
Or if you know of any easy skirt diys, do let me know!

Hope you all have a lovely weekend my dears.
(And thank you SO much for all your Japan tips!
You guys are honestly the best-est!)

A perfect day for a picnic…

26 Mar

picnic1 convopieces A perfect day for a picnic...

On Saturday, Edinburgh was seriously foggy.
And cold. And damp. And very not picnic-y.

Sunday’s sunshine caught me by surprise.
(Plus I slept in as I wasn’t feeling well. Yup, fail!)

So today I’m dreaming about being outside
in the sunshine, stretched out
on a picnic blanket.

Ideally on this gorgeous diy chevron one
(by Kathleen from Twig & Thistle).

Sipping a Strawberry Limeade
maybe with a little gin in it?

Oh yes and I may have invited some
friends with these free printable invites


In reality, my picnics look nothing like this.
I usually have an Ikea fleece, stolen back from a cat
so it’s got extra fluff on it. And a carrier bag
of stuff from our local food place.

But a gal can dream right?
(Especially when she’s stuck at her desk
on a lovely bright sunshiney day!)

So who’s joining me for this
imaginary picnic?

I left my heart in Tokyo…

20 Mar

parade4 copy I left my heart in Tokyo...

November 2008.
I’m standing in Tokyo
as a huge parade comes up
a street in Asakusa.

I can barely breathe with excitement.
(I am in Japan! I am in Japan!)

I stand at the back of a crowd and try to peer
over people’s heads to see the parade…

Someone glances round, smiles at me,
says something I don’t understand,
then gestures for me to move forward,
then another person does the same,
and another, and another…

Until I’m right at the front,
with people smiling at me,
nodding, being so lovely
that it almost distracts me
from taking pictures.


It’s now 2012. And I can barely breathe with
excitement… because we’re going back to
the land that invented washi tape!
And I can’t wait! Here’s why:

tokyooh I left my heart in Tokyo...

If you’ve ever seen Lost in Translation,
you’ll have an idea just how magical,
mysterious, zany, crazy and cute Tokyo is.
Except in real life, it’s even better.
It’s overwhelming but in a brilliant way.

colour 700x700 I left my heart in Tokyo... There’s just so much colour everywhere in Japan…
from old shrine gates in Kyoto to paper
cranes in Hiroshima to this little girl in Tokyo.

signs23 I left my heart in Tokyo... Even the signs are cute…
yes, those are helpful raccoons
telling you not to get your hand stuck!

japanstuff 700x700 I left my heart in Tokyo... And the randomness… a calendar based on brushing your teeth?
Well, of course! Diet tights? Yup, you can get those too.
And an arcade game based on zombies… and eh typing?

kyotolove I left my heart in Tokyo...
As well as Tokyo, we spent time into Kyoto…
with its cute trains, Golden Pavilion, and the Geishas.
Wherever we went in Kyoto, I seemed to attract lots
of school children who wanted to take my picture…
We suspected this was because of my 2008
inclination to dress like a children’s TV presenter!
shoesfoxesh I left my heart in Tokyo... I have never been so excited to go back somewhere…
Honestly I’ve been causing myself near heart failure
while trying to plan this next trip.

My number 1 tip for Japan is to wear slip on shoes,
not Converses. I swear I spent 1/3 of our last trip,
lacing and unlacing my trainers.

Oh and this time, if I can, I’m drawing a fox wishing plaque
at Fushimi Inari (possibly the most magical place ever)
and buying a giga pudding. (It has the craziest video ever
and was everywhere we went in 2008!)


Maybe once I’m back from the trip
I might do a proper guide?
If anyone has any recommendations
of places to go, I’d love them!
Or if you share my love of Japan,
do let me know! *Super excited!*


{P.S.} Ok, not so much of a P.S.
as an extra bit of this blog post…


Guess who’s in Mollie Makes?

15 Mar

molliemakes 578x700 Guess whos in Mollie Makes? Yup, it’s me. How fricking cool is that?

When Mollie Makes asked if I’d like to do
a feature for them, I was like ‘hells’ and ‘yeah’…

Well, I actually said something way more polite
but that’s what I thinking in my head.

So it was set – I was doing a tour of my Edinburgh,
my favourite places and must go-tos.

Now some of you may already know that
I work as writer (a copywriter and freelance writer)
but this one was a biggie… as I love Mollie Makes
AND I’d be taking the pictures for it too.

Eeeek. (But in a good way.)

molliemakescrop 700x458 Guess whos in Mollie Makes? So me and my trusty SLR hit the streets,
invaded some shops and tried very hard
not to just buy things while I was at it!

zcp nyc Snapseed Guess whos in Mollie Makes?

(This is not actually me in Edinburgh.
This is me in New York, snapping in the Met
but it’s the only Zoë as photographer shot I have.
So imagine this but colder and with less hat!)

molliemakescrop2 644x700 Guess whos in Mollie Makes? Check it out if you can, let me know
what you think… or if you ever need
any Edinburgh tips, well, I’m your gal!

*off to do a happy little dance now*

Wibble wobble… how to make vintage jelly in glass moulds

12 Mar

vintage jelly moulds Wibble wobble... how to make vintage jelly in glass moulds

A few years ago, I bought a glass jelly mould.

“We should make some jelly” I announced on bringing it home.
I cleaned it up, put it on a shelf and promptly forgot all about it.

Same goes with the second jelly mould I found.

jelly moulds cp Wibble wobble... how to make vintage jelly in glass moulds

Then a few weekends back, I found a bumper stash.
One from a car boot sale, one from a charity shop,
two from a market. All on the same day. (Strange huh?)

The universe was telling me to make jelly!

(If I wasn’t getting enough hints
from our kitchen wallpaper!)


Except the jelly book we read said that
making it in a glass jelly mould is hard.
(Doomed to fail even!)


Never ones to listen to what might be sensible advice,
on Sunday we stopped off to get a whole lot of fruit,
some sugar and some veggie gelatin and got to work…


Now, I was fully expected to be sharing
a catastrophic jelly failure here…
but they turned out brilliantly.

photo 35 Wibble wobble... how to make vintage jelly in glass moulds

(Yup, beginner’s luck really!)


photo 41 Wibble wobble... how to make vintage jelly in glass moulds

Here’s how we made them:

Make 300 ml of fruit juice:

4 medium sized oranges, chopped and juiced.

1 lemon, chopped and juiced.

Add to 100 ml sugar syrup
(100ml water plus 100g sugar)

Add to 100ml to make 500ml of liquid in total.

Then add two sachets of veggie gelatine.

Boil it all up. Pour into moulds.

photo 43 Wibble wobble... how to make vintage jelly in glass moulds

(To ensure the jelly came out, we lightly greased
the moulds with a tiny bit of butter.)

And voila, vintage veggie jelly!

jelliesx4 Wibble wobble... how to make vintage jelly in glass moulds

And the important bit? How did they taste?

Really yummy, fruity and slightly tart.
Just right with a little spot of ice-cream.


So now that we’ve cracked fruit…
We’re thinking a Gin & Tonic jelly?
With little bits of cucumber through it?

Any other suggestions?
(Except vodka jelly. I had too much as a student
and the idea of it gives me the shudders now!)

You spin me right round… my 80s record collection

5 Mar

IMG 46701 You spin me right round... my 80s record collection

It’s been a bit of a Manic Monday…
so I thought it was time to go all 80s on you!

Of all the thrifty finds I have acquired over the years,
the most surprising is my collection of 80s record singles.

IMG 4671 You spin me right round... my 80s record collection

After my parents split up, I became the ‘trustee’ of this vinyl.

Which essentially meant I put it in a box
and then put that box in the hall cupboard.

Then when we moved to our current home,
someone gave us an old record player…
and so a little 80s music discovery began.

IMG 4673 You spin me right round... my 80s record collection

What we found was around 100 record singles…

Mostly what was in the charts at the time. (I think.)

We are both children of the 80s
but some songs we knew,
and some we really didn’t.

IMG 4682 You spin me right round... my 80s record collection

Like, who the heck are Five Star?

My other half promises me that they were huge
and the UK equivalent of the Jacksons.

Still nothing…

records2 You spin me right round... my 80s record collection

Other ones… I’ve looked at blankly,
could have sworn that I’d never heard
of the song before… and then the minute
it’s on the turntable… instant recognition!

Yup, I would have said I didn’t know
I Want Your Love by Transvision Vamp
but I appear to know all the words!

records 21 You spin me right round... my 80s record collection {Check out those a-ha cheekbones!}

One of the surprises is how involved it is
to play some record singles…

You have to pull a record from its sleeve,
place it carefully onto the turntable,
gently put the needle at the start…
(and try not to just pull it across the record!)

records31 You spin me right round... my 80s record collection

The strange scratchy hissy nothingness noise
before the song starts is really rather enchanting…
so different from how my Spotify playlist sounds!

records4 You spin me right round... my 80s record collection So how you all? How’s your 80s tune trivia?
(I think I’d be good for a pub quiz now!)
Anyone know all the songs pictured?

Maybe I should make a Spotify list
of all these songs to share?


{Update:} Ok, so here it is…
Zoë’s 80s awesome-tastic playlist.
It’s got all of the record collection I could find.
(Strangely Kylie’s Locomotion isn’t there!)
** Enjoy 80s fans! **

pixel You spin me right round... my 80s record collection
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