Tuesday, September 20, 2011


I've set up my own Etsy shop, finally.

Up there, I've loaded two baby mats.
I was unsure about the pricing, but I've been fair to cover costs and a small profit, minus my time.

I've been advised that Not on the High Street, is also good, but I'd rather not list the same items in two places. I'll try my luck with Etsy and we'll see what happens. It's all quite exciting.

In my lifetime, I've sold a handbag to a friend of a friend years ago, but I've never sold anything to a stranger. I've always given things as gifts. It seems rather bizarre to be selling items, but also so very exciting. That is of course, if anyone buys them. Well, in fact, regardless of people buying them, it's still exciting!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dress Making

My friend Simone lives in LA and works for Alexander Henry Fabrics, every time she comes to visit, she brings me little gifts from their collections. This time, she brought me the fabric I used in the dress below, and the Frida Khalo fabric, to the right. Isn't it gorgeous, it's a deep turquoise, very vibrant and just purely adorable. Being given a couple of yards of both, was a dream come true. I love you Simone.

I had a hen do last weekend and due to being unemployed, I needed to conserve money, where I could. So decided that with the new fabric, I could be productive with my time and money. Out came Diana from retirement, and off I set. I measured the booby triangles, sewed them together. Cut four lengths of material, sewing two of them end to end, folding the edges over and ironing, then placed and sewed the boobs in place.

Eton Butterfly Print
Then I cut the lengths of the skirt and gathered them to be the correct size and sewed them in place. I was hoping to have a small open back to the skirt, but failed. I had far too much material, oops! I hemmed from 6 inches below the belt, and then sewed it all together and hemmed it. I also sewed the belt up properly. Made a quick couple of straps for the top half and popped them into the tops of the triangles.
Basically, it was really easy and took me about 4 hours to make. Isn't it cute!

It worked out really well, until about 1am, when one of my straps popped off, not so great! But all in all, it was fab and I was extremely proud to be wearing my own design. I'm extremely tempted to make a couple of summer tops in a similar style now.

Plus, I've been sewing for about 15 years now, and I've only just found out how to gather material through stitches. I guess it's true what they say, you're never too old to learn.

Too much option

Living where Tom and I live is pretty awesome. Not only is there an abundance of shops and market stalls,  awesome bars and pubs, and generally an extremely nice vibe all around, there is also, possibly, the most amount of restaurants.

We live close to Brick Lane, so automatically there are shit loads of curry and beigels. But if you go towards Liverpool St/Spitalfields, you've a whole bag of stuff.  Spitalfields is full of chain restaurants, if you fancy something well priced and predictable. In all of the side streets off Spitalfields, you'll find quaint little food bars and restaurants. Including, Japanese Canteen & Flying Burrito Bar both on Middlesex St (Not overly keen on the cactus leaf in a burrito), & Poncho8 which is the burrito bar I've not eaten at yet, next to Spitalfields.

On Commercial St, there is the good looking BoHo Mexica, & St John's Bread & Wine, which I'm dying to eat at, I want bread and wine!
Up on Columbia Road, there is a fab looking restaurant, that Tom & I are desperate to go to, called Brawn, there is something charming about it, perfectly sized, open planned, honest little tables and chairs, dim lighting, charmingly perfect. It reminds me of the Magdalen Arms, Oxford.
There is also numerous sushi bars, and Italian restaurants. I'm in my FAT element.  And I haven't even mentioned the two food courts and street market every Sunday in Brick Lane. Or the infamous curry house down in Aldgate East called Lahore Kebab House. Or the fact that our local, The Carpenters Arms, does awesome food. If you order something as simple as Potted Smoked Mackeral, it comes with a whole baguette of bread automatically and is delicious! I'm desperate to try the Escargot and chips. Yum!

Now, talking about pubs, we're within a close proximity to The Ten Bells, Commercial Tavern, The Carpenters Arms & The Pride of Spitalfields. Slightly further a field, are The Royal Oak, The Marksman & The Water Poet. These are just the ones we go to, there are about 4 off Spitalfields, in the back streets, that I often walk past and think about visiting.
One of our favourites, is The Pride of Spitalfields, it's a classic boozer. Extremely old school; carpet, curtains, dark painted patterned wallpaper, brass horseshoes, mega sized optics, cheap booze and one of the bar ladies has stepped out of Eastenders, it's perfect. We've seen British comedians in there. It's that classic typical little pub that is perfect, especially with the spilling on to the roadside for the smoking area.

Basically, I'm not wanting to sound smug, I'm just trying to say, that when I'm employed, as well as Tom, my bank balance is doomed! Although, my social life will be thriving, as will my waist band.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Naked Wines - Benjamin Darnault

I joined NakedWines about a year ago. I received £40 off my first order through BBCGoodFood, when I signed up with them, (which as a side note, is totally worth it, as not only do you get £40, you also get somewhere online to store your favourite recipes and also somewhere to submit them).

I'm not one to turn down a good offer, so off I went to NakedWines. The first thing I liked was that they support winemakers, who have found it hard to get distribution within the UK. Second, they deliver to your door (I know all wine companies do this, but it's a huge plus). Third, the website is perfectly interactive, where members can leave reviews and opinions of particular wines. Basically, there are lots of reasons I like them and chose to stick with them. I originally thought, if it's crap, I can leave, but it wasn't crap, it was great. Especially as this bottle, Minervois, was one of my first purchases.

Now, Benjamin Darnault is a genius with wine. Some how whatever he discovers/makes tastes like heaven. Tom & I adore the Minervois, ever since we had it the first time, the heavenly silky, cameral rouge has now become a standard order for us. I'm soon to order the Benjamin Darnault case, to taste all of his delightful discoveries.

This month, I got in the Celtis Australis, it's just as gluggable as the Minervois, a little fuller, but equally as rounded. Basically, if you're going to spend money anywhere, and would like a tasty wine and some thing that is purely delicious, order Ben's wines from Naked Wines, if nothing more...

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Being a Dental Receptionist Pt. 1

I got sacked today (I've never been sacked before. I've always been the dependable, considerate, trustworthy, loveable employee), it sucks. Well it doesn't massively, as I kind of really hated that job, as in really disliked my role. The people, were generally lovely, but the job, urgh!

I was working as a dental receptionist for a small practice. The owner was the head dentist, who was a lovely woman, reminded me a lot of my mother but she wasn't keen on listening to others, as it was her practice and things were done her way, which is fair enough, I suppose. But for businesses to move forward, you need more than one thinking person to assist that progression. And the way this business was run, it desperately needed a rethink, and reorganisation.

The office manager was a lovely asian lady, who for the first week I believed didn't like me, but then I realised she was so over worked that she wasn't able to be friendly. In fact, I found out that she was so over worked that she's sorting stuff out at the weekends when the practice is closed, which is ridiculous. Not only was she working 10 hour days without lunch breaks, or breaks at all. She was also working at the weekends?!

There was also, the Spanish dentist, Alfonso, who got a lot of Spaniards and latinos in, although it seemed at times that this was more a thorn in the owners side, than a gimmick which paid off. I'm guessing because Spaniards are a passionate country, who don't pay for missed appointments?! I've no idea, but they were occasionally flaky and didn't see why when you've given 24 hours notice, you should still pay. I'd always try to explain that we had a policy of 48 hours but it was hard. I felt very sorry for Alfonso, I didn't think he deserved the shit he got at times, or should I say the shit he didn't know he got.

The Hygienist who was a charming Scottish girl, who in my interview I really liked but soon realised after I started that she was more work, than play at work. I think it's safe to say she took the stress that the owner held and tried to support her 100%, to help her relax, it never worked from what I saw. The owner is one of those kinds, who will always be stressed even when she doesn't need to be. She has too much weight laden on her shoulders, most of which is self laid, but I'd never suggest that to her.

The two dental nurses were from Eastern Europe, I really liked one of them and kind of liked the other one. One was friendly, saw work as a need for money, had a dry sense of humour. The other one was a total "mother", young but took everything as her responsibility and asked me about 6 times a day "what you doing?", whenever I wasn't at my desk.

There were also two technicians, one was a sweet foreign guy who was shy and, well, sweet. The other was a grumpy bastard, who lacked any social skills and was just plan rude, horrid in fact! If he was a welcoming party, he'd be goose stepping! OK, so that analogy might be a little harsh, but he was extremely unpleasant and did nothing to try to make others welcome, or put nerves at ease. I guess that is why he was stuck away in his little box.

In my interview, I was asked if I was willing to be flexible, which of course is a "yes". Then told that the job was £20,000 perfect, not ideal but pretty good for a job that is 42.5 hours a week. The office manager then enters, I'm now informed that it's £7.50 an hour, (since when am I on an hourly rate?), and that there will be a bonus of £400 a month, if I can get the head dentist and hygienist's diaries up to 90%, (say what?!), I ask if I'll be cold calling, I'm told not at all. But, since when, is being a dentist receptionist, a sales position? I am so confused. I agree to start the job from the following monday, welcoming any form of job.
(I never realised getting a job could be this hard. I should have but?! It took Tom nearly 3 months and a lot of bullshit agency seminars to get a job through a friend. I mean, what the fuck is the point of recruiters anyhow?! And their crap "hot air balloon game bullshit", which fucker came up with that one, I'm guessing an American from the "new age of corporation"!).

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Delicate Paper Lace

This is how talented I wished I was. I adore these and think Julene is extremely creative and careful with a scalpel, I'd wreck everyone in seconds, I remember my hours of cutting at college and always ruining it right at the end. If I could, I would, but for now, I'll just adore her works of art!

Julene my hat is off to you, your very steady hand and your creative mind.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Wells Interior

My friend has a business where he hangs extremely beautiful wallpaper. Here is his website, Wells Interior.
I'm completely in awe of the flowery wallpaper and especially the one to the left. Each flower is embroidered on to the paper. Isn't that precious and darling?! One day, I'll have enough money to employ Mick to come and paper my house with such lavish paper, until then I'll stick to photos of my friends.