Thursday, December 22, 2011

Let It Snow

I couldn't put the pictures of my handmade snow globe up until after the holidays, otherwise it would have spoiled the surprise. This is another gem from the Ruche Homemade Holiday Guide; they're so easy to make, and fun too!

I used a little Bulbasaur figurine, stuck it to the bottom of a glass jar with glue (make sure it's waterproof, something which I failed to do), shook blue glitter all over the bottom and then filled the jar with water and voila! A little something special for Lovely to unwrap on Christmas Day (his other presents are currently still being shipped *sigh*)
Did everyone have a nice Christmas? I sure did!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Vegan Gingerbread Fun Times

So I had a lovely afternoon with dear Laura and Eleanor, baking tasty vegan gingerbread creations :)

We learnt very quickly that it's not about what your baked goods look like, but how much fun you have making them!

We used this great vegan recipe from VegNews, with a few adjustments and a lot of crazy shapes :) Some perhaps a little more than others....

  • 2-3/4 cups plain flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup non-hydrogenated margarine, softened (we used Nuttelex)
  • 1-1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons soymilk ( we didn't have this, so we opted for some extra Nuttelex and it worked out fine)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees and grease a cookie sheet.
  2. In a bowl, combine pastry flour, baking powder, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together margarine, and brown sugar together until smooth. Add soymilk and vanilla and whisk thoroughly.
  3. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix with spatula to form a dough. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours.
  4. Roll out dough onto a floured board, 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick, depending on desired texture (thinner cookies will be crispier, thicker cookies will be chewier). Cut into shapes with cookie cutters and place on prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, depending on thickness. Go crazy with frosting and decorations!
And we did! We used an array of cookie cutters to make stars, people, and some even more imaginitive creations.

Laura's sassy Ginger(bread)

Eleanor's pretty gingerbread star tree, and iced star cookies. Our icing was a very simple concoction of water, icing sugar and food colouring; you can add butter if you prefer a creamier icing (or Nuttelex if you want to keep it vegan), but it might not be as effective for construction.

Our houses, Hootie, and Laura's festive star cookie

Sure, these may not be ready for the cover of the Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Edition, but we love them nonetheless :)

Merry Christmas

Ribbon, bulldog clips, a curtain, and a dash of perserverence. Merry Christmas to one and all :)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Really Wild Gifts

Trying to find a gift for that one person that has absolutely everything? What about food for a rescued bear? Or a vaccination for dogs in Bali? You could even help prevent the ill treatment of Elephants in Tanzinia in their name. They may not be able to play with, watch, listen to, or even eat this gift, but thanks to you, they could be filled with warm fuzzy feelings throughout the festive season (and beyond, hopefully!)

Really Wild Gifts is a clever new fundraising project set up by the good people at WSPA, and encourages people to give much needed aid to animals across the world who are suffering from abuse, exploitation, or the threat of extinction at the hands of us pesky humans. All gifts are personally tailored; you can choose everything from the animal your donation is going to, to what kind of aid you will be giving them, depending on how much money you spend. For example, in the case of the Elephants, you can buy farmer education for as little as $39, whereas a donation of $225 will give appropriate fencing to keep the Elephants away from crops aqnd safe from agitated farmers. And your recipient will recive a neat little custom made thankyou card in their letterbox, and all the warm fuzzy feelings they can handle.

I think this is a great idea, because really the last thing we need in most sections of Western society is more stuff. I found out about this after most of my Christmas shopping had already been done, but I've decided to purchase a little something for myself this Christmas (I was going to buy a new pair of shoes, but I've decided perhaps that money could be better spent).

So if you know someone who loves animals, why not get them something a little different this year, instead of that fourth pair of explorer socks, or the enourmous box of chocolates? You'll be setting them up for some great karma for the New Year, and saving them from a rather large stomach ache.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Zoo Borns

I've fallen a little in love with this blog, Zoo Borns. Basically, it's a blog that chronicals baby animals coming into the world in Zoo's across the world.

Meerkat: Wellington Zoo

Hedgehog: Belfast Zoological Garden

Cheetah: Colchester Zoo

What I really like about this blog is it's not just about the cute pictures (although that is a large part of the allure), it also highlights the importance of zoological breeding programs in the maintenence of endangered populations, as well as giving interesting facts about the subject animal. That, and they're just so damn cute!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Bluejuice and Set Sail

There are so many things I could say about this past weekend, all the lovely moments I could go on and on about until someone decides they want to throw a fridge at me or something. Amongst these wonderful moments that spanned from Friday to Sunday night, I attended two brilliant gigs with my dear lovely.

Bluejuice - Prince of Wales

Yep. I had expected them to be about this level of crazy, but nothing could have prepared me for the caliber of their live craziness. There was stage diving, shirt shedding, I believe Jake walked across the crowd like Jesus walking on water at some point. And yet they still managed to sound damn good, which, given the circumstances, was highly impressive.
The set was just so high energy, I highly reccomend you seeing them if you can, because it is really hard to describe what you feel when at a Bluejuice gig, it could be something like a hybrid of awe, confusion and hysteria.
Highlights: Vitriol, Work, We Can Get Around It, Act Yr Age (there was more footage of Jake making out with the old lady, a la film clip), Broken Leg.

Set Sail - The Hi Fi

I love these guys. Lovely and I first saw them busking in the middle of the Melbourne CBD, and my first impression of them was that they just seemed so cool

Hmmm. Maybe goofy is a better word.

Lovely bought their EP while they were still chilling in Melbourne and busking their butts off, but since then they've evolved into this incredible live act that evokes all kinds of fuzzy warm sunshine feelings. From these humble beginnings, they have embarked on an around the world busk-a-thon, which has been documented and can be watched on youtube or on their facebook  (they're hilarous, and also fraught with pixilated nudity).
Anyway, their actual gig was quite short (only about 45 mins with encore), with a couple of  minor techincal problems along the way, but you could tell they were emotionally invested in their performance, and they were so stoked to be there, playing for such a huge bunch of people compared to what they would be used to on Bourke St.
Highlights: The Boat Song, Whales, Salt and Pepper, during which they pulled up two people from the crowd and made them dance together. There was also a conga line at some point throughout the set; it was like being at a beach party! (without the beach).

The rest of my weekend included cuddles, delicious penguin waffles, Phoenix Cola spiders, a new hair-do, blackcurrent cider and many many laughs :) Summer is coming, and it feels like it could really be great.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Homemade Holidays

Speaking of Christmas, I found this Homade Holiday guide by Ruche, thanks to the amazing blog, A Beautiful Mess, who has contributed her own Red Velvet Cupcake recipe (seriously, everything you could ever want to make is on this blog.)Visually this is a beautiful publication, combining DIY with Christmas cheer that really feels homely and warm, not cheap or mass produced.

And the great thing is you can read the whole thing online (if you have flashplayer). I'm going to make the snowglobes, and the red velvet cupcakes. Yum!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Have Yourself A Crafty Little Christmas

To me this kind of gets the point that some seemed to miss during Occupy Melbourne.

I'm planning to do most of my Christmas shopping on Etsy this year :) So much easier to find unique, well made gifts, without the crowds and blisters. Hooray!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Roll On

So tonight my dear friend Laura and I had our first Victorian Roller Derby League experience, and I have to stay that on the whole it was pretty damn awesome. I will admit that I am one of those people who really only became aware of the sport after I saw the movie 'Whip It', which I love because one, Ellen Page is a Babe (haha get it -_-) and two, I really dig Drew Barrymore. So when Laura spotted a poster advertising a local roller derby event at the Showgrounds, she and I both jumped at the chance to see first hand if it was as intense as what we had seen on the small screen.

And boy, were we pretty impressed! We discovered pretty quickly that this was no light skate skirmish, these girls packed a serious punch (although not literally cos apparently that's against the rules and will earn you a stint in the penalty box).
My blurry iPhone photos really don't do it justice, but I'm going to post them anyway to give a rough idea and add a bit of colour.

The blue team are the Victorian Roller Derby All Stars, and the green team are the Bat City Rollergirls, from the U.S. We were of course cheering for the blue team, even though I preferred Bat City's colour choice (I have a penchant for green).
The other great thing about this sport is the fact that every single team member is represented by their own choice of pun; my personal favourites were Skate Bush (!) and Sirius Mischief (I'm not sure if this was an intentional Harry Potter reference, but I'm going to assume that it is, for my own amusement). Sadly, this was the last event for the year, but both of us are really keen to go back when the season starts up again in 2012.

Another amazing thing about roller derby, or at least this particular roller derby event, is that they also have a lot of cool stalls selling not only merchandise, but alternative hand made accessories, clothes, and skate equipment. There was also a stall that had a huge collection of animal onesies, which Laura and I squealed and fawned over for quite a while, until the very nice assistant, dressed as a turtle mind you, allowed us to try one on.

How fucking cute is she?!! Seriously. The company selling them is I Can Say I've Seen It, and they have some really cool stuff in their ebay store. I am so going to be asking for a unicorn one for Christmas.

After all the dizzying excitement, Laura and I were both starving, so we met up with Laura's boyfriend Rian in the city and went for dinner in Chinatown, at the Deng-Post Cafe. And look what they serve their duck pancakes on.

Again with the cute animal shaped things! If I could have these as every one of my plates, I would. The owner was also really friendly and attentive, and the food was great, I would highly recommend it; it's times like these I love living in Melbourne.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Dinner Mark Two

So I know it's nearly a week ago now, but I made dinner again last Sunday! Hooray!

I am rather proud of myself, and am determined not  to make this one of those things where I begin with all this enthusiasm and then loose interest and stop/

I made, with only minimal help from Lovely and my parents, I might add, Creamy Pumpkin Risotto and for desert, Gin and Walnut Icecream. And it was really yum.

Creamy Pumpkin Risotto This recipe is a combination of Ruby's pumpkin risotto recipe and a recipe my mum found in a Woman's Weekly Magazine.
Serves: 4
Prep Time: It says 50mins, but to be honest it took me about an hour and a half :/

- 1kg butternut pumpkin, peeled and cut into 2cm pieces
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1.5L of vegetable stock
- 50g of butter
- 2 medium onions (300g), chopped finely
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
- 2cups (400g) aborio rice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine (I used Sav Blanc :) )
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (I used more but I looove parmesan)
- 2 tablespoons of pine nuts, toasted.

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees, or 180 fan forced.
2. Combine pumpkin and two tablespoons of the oil in a large oven tray. Season with salt, and roast for about 25mins
3. Meanwhile, bring stock to a gentle simmer in a medium saucepan
4. Melt the butter in a large heavy based pan; add onion, cook until soft but not coloured. Add garlic and rice and stir for one minute. Add wine, simmer uncovered, until liquid is evaporated.
5. Add 1/2 a cup of hot stock to the rice mixture; cook, stirring over medium heat, until the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the pumpkin, and continue adding stock 1/2 cup at a time, until all the liquid as been absorbed (this is tedious, but keep going)
6. Toast the pine nuts in a shallow pan, add to the risotto along with the parmesan cheese.


Walnut and Gin Icecream 
 I found this recipe in a Frankie magazine. I love that magazine so much, I actually look forward to the new issue of Frankie day. Start this one early, cos it takes about 6 hours to freeze.

- 3 egg yolks
-1/4 cup of caster sugar
-1/4 cup of gin
-1/2 cup of golden syrup (I used honey cos we had no golden syrup, which worked, but I'd still stick with golden syrup
- 500ml of cream, chilled
- 3/4 cup of broken up walnuts

- Combine egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat until pale
- Then beat in the gin and golden syrup, followed by the cream.
- Beat until soft peaks form (this take quite, but stick at it! Keep going until it looks like whipped cream)
- Fold in the Walnuts, and pour into plastic container and freeze.

I forgot to take a picture, because I was so eager to eat it. So just imagine a collection of creamy looking goop that eventually freezes and looks like icecream :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Discovering the Podcast

A couple of months ago, Lovely introduced me to the world of podcasting; I know I know, I'm very very late to the table, BUT better late than never. Anyway, lately I've been enjoying NPR's All Songs Considered Podcast, because it's introduced me to a lot of great music I wouldn't have found otherwise (I've tried music blogs, but my internet is too slow and I get impatient trying to sift through the backlog of videos looking for something I might like.)

Having said that, here's some artists that I was led to by said podcast and enjoyed so much I looked them up on the internet, and will probably buy their albums at some point.


If Bjork and Joanna Newsom had song babies, it would probably sound something like Ólöf Arnalds. I really love this song, although the first song I heard her sing on the podcast was a cover of Bruce Springsteen's I'm on Fire, and it was so beautiful, but I couldn't find it on youtube.
This clip is quietly terrifying, but I couldn't stop watching. I now also really want to go to Iceland.


I liked this song, Abducted, as soon as I heard it, and I remember because I wrote the name of the song and the band on the back of a bus ticket so I wouldn't forget. I like how cheery it sounds, but then you listen to the lyrics and you realise it's a very sinister song; I really enjoy songs like that, maybe that's why I'm so obsessed with Florence at the moment.
The clip is also a bit scary, but it has a nice twist at the end.

Zola Jesus

I wasn't so bothered with this song at first, but since I listened to that particular episode, she's really grown on me. Her songs feel like they've crossed galaxies to get to my speakers. This clip makes me think of a desert on the moon (even though you can see the actual moon from where she is a number of times), and I reckon she could teach Lady Gaga a thing or two about the effectiveness of subtlety, but I guess that's not really her deal.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do :) 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Bright Eyes - The Hi Fi

So you probably don't remember, but I posted a video a while back of the first single from the new Bright Eyes record, The People's Key, called Shell Games. I also wrote a note underneath, and it went along the lines of "Oh my gosh, if this means they're going to be touring I might die."

Well, I am now speaking to you from beyond the grave through this magical thing we call the internet, all because my wish came true; they are touring Australia, last night I went along, and I died.*
But I thought I would send out this last message before I depart into the next life, where every day will be a Bright Eyes concert, except I will always have the perfect view and that when he reaches his hand out to crowd, I will be close enough to touch it.

I remember very clearly the first time I heard Bright Eyes; I was in high school, I was going to turn sixteen that year so it would have been 2004. It was a beautiful sunny day, close to the beginning of summer, and a dear friend of mine, who had just gotten one of the very first iPods I had ever seen, said to me "I found a band I think you might like." He handed this big white brick with a black and white screen over to me, and said, "His voice takes a little while to get used to, but the songs are amazing." I trusted him completely, because this was a time before podcasts and music blogs and even triple j, where he was my only musical yard stick; if he found something and liked it, more often than not I was bound to like it too, and then beg him to download the album for me, because his parents let him use whatever file sharing program was around at the time (mine did not). There were only two Bright Eyes songs on there, Something Vague and A Perfect Sonnet, which he played to me in succession, watching intently for my reaction. At first I remember thinking 'This guy sounds like he's going to burst into tears at any moment." But a few weeks later, he sent them to my computer via MSN messenger, and I listened to them again. And again. And again. Soon I was begging him to send me whatever Bright Eyes songs he could find, and so my obsession began.

Last night I realized that so many of my teenage memories, like the one I just wrote down, are tied to Bright Eyes songs.
So when Conor and his band walked on stage, with his hair all in his face and a hoodie underneath his button up shirt, and they started up the opening of 'Four Winds', not only was I overcome by the power of that song, but by the memory of singing along with the aforementioned dear friend, having to fight to get it played at his own birthday party, and how it made us want to look up the Whore of Babylon on Wikipedia.
For pretty much the whole set, I felt like I was being emotionally assaulted, but in a good way; each song was tied to an old memory that resurfaced like a friendly ghost, taking my hand and taking me back to times and places I hadn't thought about in a while, but still hadn't forgotten. Something Vague took me back to that exact moment in 2004, while 'The Calendar Hung Itself ' led me to a family road trip where I, seventeen and surely,  had that song on repeat as we drove through fields upon fields of yellow grass. 'Lover I Don't Have to Love' nursed a friend's broken heart, and Road to Joy was just for me, for all those times I'd needed to be picked up off the ground.

In terms of the performance, it was loud, but not obnoxiously so, it was intense, and it was emotional. At some points Conor seemed like he was not quite there, but the part of him that was in the room with us gave us everything, throwing himself about and screaming his lyrics into the microphone; it was the perfect lesson in rocking out and still sounding FUCKING AMAZING (see Faker on how not to do this.)

And although I loved the intensity, my favourite moments were all quiet ones; I don't think I will ever forget how the room went dead silent for the whole opening of 'Poison Oak', until the song swelled to its climax and everybody lost their shit. The opening line of 'Landlocked Blues', and the first notes of 'Lua' on the acoustic guitar with also be burnt into my brain forever.
And, sure, his voice still shakes when he sings, but that's just one of the many things I love about him, because all the emotion that fueled the song when he wrote it is right there for you to hear.

Highlights (there's quite a lot of them): Something Vague, Landlocked Blues, Lua, Lover I Don't Have to Love (!!!), The Calendar Hung Itself (!!!!!), Road To Joy, Take It Easy (Love Nothing), Another Travllin' Song, Jejune Stars, Four Winds and Shell Games. And all the rest were damn good as well.

*This is not strictly true, I have just been placed in a Bright Eyes induced coma, and I expect to come out of it in a few days.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Dinner Time!

Now for those of you who cook your own dinner every night, please ignore the following post because it may cause you to slap your forehead with your hand or wish upon me a terrible and painful death for having it so easy. Unless there is some sort of baking involved, I am widely known to be a pretty incompetent cook, but I decided recently that the only thing standing in the way of my competency was myself.
So on Sunday night I decided I would cook dinner, not just for myself but for the rest of my family as well. And I did it! I made a two course dinner all by myself!

Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup
Lovely and I made this on Cup Day, but it was mostly him cooking and me trying to help :P We found this recipe on Instructables, a website that has instructions on how to make EVERYTHING EVER.

2 tbsp Olive Oil
2 cloves of Garlic
1 Onion sliced
2 pinches of Chilli Flakes ( I didn't use chilli cos my family and I don't like spicey things
2 pinches of Ground Ginger
400g of Sweet Potato
400ml of chicken or vegetable stock
200g Creamed Coconut
50g Fresh Coriander leaves chopped (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Coriander or Spinach to garnish

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan, add the finely chopped onion and the crushed garlic. Gently fry off for 3-4 minutes until soft and golden brown.
Once the onion and garlic are cooked through add the chilli flakes, ground ginger frying for a further 2-3 minutes.
Then add the peeled and chopped sweet potato cooking for a further 2-3 minutes.
 Now add the stock (hot)  and coconut. Allow to cook for about 10 minutes.
Take care when adding hot liquid to a hot pan.
At this stage if you wish to add the optional chopped coriander leaves then do so.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool before pouring into a blender or food processor.
Beware of adding hot liquids to a blender. Hot liquids can scald!
Blend until a smooth and even consistency.

This recipe I found on a great website recommended to me by a friend of mine, Green Kitchen Stories. There is so much good vegetarian stuff on there, I want to learn to make all of it. But I thought I would start off with this. Baby Steps :) I wasn't quite ready to make a pizza base from scratch, so I'm just going to post the filling, because that's all I cooked. But if you would like to make the whole, because you are a much better cook than I, just click through the link and it will take you to the whole recipe.

Rustic Potato Pizza
3 medium size firm potatoes
2 tbsp salt
4 tbsp olive oil
2 small spring onions
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
100 g goat cheese
salt & black pepper

Slice the potatoes thin with a mandoline or with a knife. Place the slices in a deep plate, drizzle them with salt and cover with cold water for about an hour. Drain the water, rinse the potatoes and pat them dry on a towel.
Brush the dough with a thin layer of olive oil. Cover it with potato slices, onion, rosemary, 3/4 of the goat cheese, salt and freshly grounded black pepper. Drizzle the rest of the olive oil over the pizza and bake for about 15-18 min until the potatoes are golden and the edges are slightly burnt. Sprinkle the rest of the goat cheese over it and serve immediately.

I guess everyone liked it :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


I'm so in love with this album I cannot even tell you how good it is. It will make that joy you're hiding swell within your chest and explode, even if you're in an awkward place like the supermarket or on a train, and if you really need to cry, it can help you with that too. Not since Little Earthquakes has an album spoken to me like this one. I could go on, but I will just say that Florence is a goddess and let you make your own decision about it.

I just found this written in the booklet, a forward by writer Emma Forrest.

"That their might be words to describe un-nameable feelings and melodies to describe those words is how an album can really make us feel less alone in the world. That longing for unnameable things is why we wear band t-shirts so we can recognise each other in the street"

"Your own love story? Your paramour may have had lovers before you. But no one has ever, ever heard this record before except you. Not the way you hear it. The songs are beautiful vampires, asleep in your iPod, coming alive at night, aglow. You can have them on your hours, all that power yours to conduct as Florence Welch used to try and conduct the ocean when she was an awkward chubby little girl
"I'll make a deal," she'd say to the waves, "You stay there. You don't come any closer."

That's it. That's exactly what I wanted to say, but couldn't cos she's clearly the superior wordsmith.

I also recommend you also get the deluxe edition, because not only do you get to read the rest of Emma's brilliant words, it comes with extra acoustic tracks that are just as lovely, and amazing photographs of Florence looking like a red haired Virginia Woolfe. Swoon

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Lovisa vs Independant Australian Design

So whilst perusing facebook, as I often do when I'm supposed to be doing something else, I found a statement posted by Lovisa, a relatively new costume jewellery chain here in the land of oz, that stated they were glad to see people passionate about young Australian designers, and that they were all for the power of the creative mind.
Hooray! thought I. They're moving on from the offshore mass production of the inexpensive costume jewellery industry and teaming up with some talented Australian designers to create some unique, high quality product!
And then I kept reading.
The statement had been released in relation to some accusations that the company had been making cheap knock offs of a ring designed by a fledgling Australian jewellery label, My Mother Mabel. Intrigued and slightly appalled, I did a little googleing/ facebook stalking and found out that Lovisa was not only being accused of creating knock offs of small, homegrown labels, but other, more famous international designers, with the most notable one being the Art Enamel Ring by Yves Saint Laurent.

Not really my taste (or price range at $195), but apparently it's caused quite a stir.

Knock offs are not an uncommon thing; you go to places like Bali or Thailand, or even the Caribbean Gardens and Market, and you can find fake versions of big name brands that even your grandmother has probably heard of. It's illegal, yes, but no one really seems to bat an eyelid, maybe because the original product costs two months rent and they believe these companies are making enough money off the Kardashians or whoever anyway. I've never really been a fan of buying something because it has Gucci or Prada plastered all over it, so I don't quite understand the whole idea of buying something that's poorly made just because it sort of looks expensive, over buying something that's nice and well made and genuinely pretty, yet was designed by an anonymous woman who workshops in her garage and wears a lot of hemp.

The thing that really bothers me about this though is when big companies rip off the local little guy, designers who have worked so hard to create orginal ideas (which is really hard these days because it feels like everything has been done before), good quality product and to build their buisness in an already overcrowded marketplace. Lovisa mentioned in their statement on facebook that it was the fault of their "supp...lier" (bless), and that it was an innocent design cross over. This could be true about My Mother Mabel, the unknown up and comers who have not shown up on Lovisa's radar until now.
However, I find it rather difficult to believe that a company that always claimed to be at the forefront of fashion, are claiming ignorance to the fact that they've been selling knock offs of one of Yves Saint Laurent's most famous designs.

Just a little familiar? (Image from Elisha Casagrande)

I used to be a salesgirl for Lovisa, back when they first opened and I was saving furiously to go overseas. Now before you rush for your pitchforks and flaming torches, I'm not about to throw around wild accusations; this is not an expose on the seedy underbelly of the production floor, nor am I about to reveal that they fuel their smelting fires with puppies and children's stolen dreams. As far as retail goes, they treated me pretty ok; at the time, I liked a lot of their jewellery (this was before I discovered etsy), and there are a couple of pieces that I bought there that are functioning and I will still wear now. However, I was never under any illusions that they were something more than a cheap, costume jewellery distributor, unlike a few of our customers, who used to come back scandalized and demanding refunds when their $5 rings became tarnished or fell apart because they wore them while washing the dishes. It's simple; you get what you pay for. I just hope that now Lovisa will pay a little more attention to what else is out there, and what their suppliers are sending them. And that they stop selling local rip offs, intentional or no.That would be nice too.

The bottom line is, if you only have $20 dollars to spend and need something to go with a dress you bought for your cousins wedding this weekend, you will probably find what you're looking for at Lovisa. But if you are looking for something original, well made, and want to support local design over Made in China mass production, may I suggest saving your pennies and checking out labels like My Mother Mabel, A Skull of Foxes, Limedrop, or just log into etsy and have a browse! I guarantee you will find something you like, you will be helping your creative collective, and it will last you a hell of a lot longer!

This is the original My Mother Mabel design. I dunno bout you, but I like this ring much better.
Here end of the rant.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sirin Thada

So I've fallen a little bit in love with the artwork of Sirin Thada, a very clever artist who makes funny yet emotional artworks, and in some cases very acurate social observations. I could trawl this tumblr for hours looking through them, so here are a few of my favourites, and you can see the rest here, or purchase some prints at society6

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Women of Letters

So, I know I already went on a bit about how much I love Marieke Hardy, but the lovely Pip Lincoln of Meet Me at Mikes pointed me in the direction of yet another brilliant new project via her own inspired blog.

Women of Letters is a collaboration between Marieke Hardy and Michaela McGuire, and is homage to the hand written letter for a world that's all about instant communication. I always love receiving letters (except bills), but send them not nearly as often as I should (or at all these days), but I would most definitely like to start again; maybe this will get me inspired. I'd also like to go along to one of their afternoon seminars, but I don't trust myself not to be a gawking moron or say something ridiculously humiliating in my excitement.

And how wonderful is this! All royalties from the book sales go towards Edgar's Mission animal rescue shelter!

Click here for more info and stockists.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Times They Are A Changin'

I read this at Angela Meyer's blog "Literary Minded". They are both excerpts from a book written by John Harvey Kellogg (as in Kelloggs Cornflakes and so on!), entitled Ladies Guide to Health and Disease.

"The reading of works of fiction is one of the most pernicious habits to which a young lady can become devoted. When the habit is once thoroughly fixed, it becomes as inveterate as the use of liquor or opium. The novel-devotee is as much a slave as the opium-eater or the inebriate. The reading of fictitious literature destroys the taste for sober, wholesome reading and imparts an unhealthy stimulus to the mind, the effect of which is in the highest degree damaging."

‘We wish… to put ourself upon record as believing firmly that the practice of novel reading is one of the greatest causes of uterine disease in young women. There is no doubt that the influence of the mind upon the sexual organs and functions is such that disease may be produced in this way… Reading of a character to stimulate the emotions and rouse the passions may produce or increase a tendency to uterine congestion, which may in turn give rise to a great variety of maladies…’

Someone help me to remove my corsets immediately! I think I may faint! The knowledge that I shall never be with child as a result of my 'pernicious habit' of recklessly indulging in fiction is too much for my poor enfeebled womanly soul to bear.

I'm sorry, I can't do it. It's too hilarious. If I were married to you Mr Kelloggs, I would have scoured as many works of fiction as I could get my hands on, rather than run the risk of dying of  boredom or consumption and never having my passions roused.

Your conflakes, however, do make excellent Honey Joys.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Wombats - Festival Hall

Last night Lovely, his friend Michael from work and I went to see the Wombats. I was originally not going to this gig, as we believed they were general admission tickets, and Festival Hall GA is the worst for me; I cannot see any of the musicians or their shenanigans up on stage because of my ridiculous height *grumbles*
Yet, as fate would have it, the tickets turned out to be seated ones and as neither were able to find someone to take the third ticket, I ended up getting to go anyway. And I'm so glad I did, because it was so much more that I expected it to be (I think I should just go in to gigs with lowered expectations from now on, because I'm always so pleasantly surprised).

I should mention the supports briefly; Owl Eyes was lovely as always, she seems to be getting more confidant every time I see her, and I love that her dance moves are evolving accordingly. Faker was....well, I will say this, I did quite enjoy 'Hurricane', if only for nostalgic purposes, but that was about it. Sorry dude, but laying on the ground and kicking your legs in the air like a flipped cockroach does not make you hardcore, but I admire your bravery.

The Wombats however, knew exactly how to put on a good show. Not only was their intensity and live enthusiasm infectious, they had tons of super cool visual and lighting effects throughout, including smoke screens and green laser beams that fanned out like neon palm fronds across the audience. I also rather enjoyed their jet-lagged banter, which came across as adorable when spoken with a Liverpool accent.
Instead of detracting from the music, all of this managed to accompany it perfectly; there was an erratic yet also kind of desperate sense of youthful indulgence that I often get when listening to their lyrics. That and they're just really good fun; at the end of the encore, Murphy came out wearing a Panda suit head and proceeded to rock out on his famous decoupage guitar (which is my favourite looking instrument of any musician ever) for a couple of minutes.

Seriously, how cool is that guitar?

Favourites included: Moving to New York, Techno Fan, Kill the Director, Tokyo (Vampires and Wolves), Jump into the Fog, Girls/Fast Cars and of course Lets Dance to Joy Divison, which was a perfect song to end on.
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