Friday, April 28, 2006

French Bull: Fabulous Design, that I'm planning to "borrow" as my own

Ok, so I've just seen this on the design*sponge website, but I love this design. These plates are from French Bull, and I love the pattern on these vine plates:

The thing that I really like is what one of the design*sponge readers did on their blackboard which I've now started to see if I can take a similar design and put it on a set of 4 canvases, each in a different colour. I've tried it out in crayon to see how it would look and on paper, I think it's fabulous, so hopefully I'll get a chance to see if I can paint at all anymore, and I'll post the pictures (of the probably disasterous results) up.

Watch this space. Hopefully not for too long!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Jackhammers in the brain and angry chick music

The powers that be have decided that the building next to ours will now become a student hall, so a coupld of weeks ago they started to put up scaffolding and started gutting the inside of the building. Today though they've started to remove the LIFT SHAFT which is right behind the wall next to my desk. There is a constant stream of jack hammering, and what sounds like oversized elephants trying to kick walls down cause they're trying to get away from a swarm of mice. Not only can I feel the vibrations in the floor under my feet (making it feel like the floor is literally about to fall out beneath me) but the noise is so loud that you have to shout to the person 2 feet away from you. It's like being in an indy night club without any of the good bits like vodka or class A drugs.

So to combat the noise I'm now listening to angry chick music. My current play list consists of:

  1. Charm Attack - Leaona Ness
  2. Hanging Acount - Gemma Hayes
  3. Boys Wanna Fight - Garbage
  4. Sex Is Not The Enemy - Garbage
  5. Only Happy When It Rains - Garbage
  6. #1 Crush - Garbage
  7. When I Grow Up - Garbage (There's a lot of Garbage huh?)
  8. Not An Addict - K's Choice
  9. Celebrity Skin - Hole

If anyone's got any other suggestions they are ALL welcome right now.

The only problem with trying to block out what to me sounds like German tanks driving around next door blowing walls down, with very loud music, is that occasionally I'll have to take my headphones off to talk to someone, and the noise next door will stop. Then it'll be eerily quiet for a few minutes, and I'll put my headphones back on. Then I'll hit play again on my itunes, and the music's up so loud that it feels like my ears drums burst and I have to hold bandages to my head because my ears are bleeding.

It's pretty fantastic being at work right now.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

"Small Pie n' Mash Thanks Luv". Please god do not let this become the new Shoreditch meal du jour

I really like pie n' mash. Not pies you get from the freezer section at the supermarket, but from one of those traditional pie n' mash shops. The ones covered with their original tables and chairs, with their original tiles on the walls that look like they've not been washed since the early 1930s when the shop opened, and where the original lady whose been serving pies since the early 30s is still sitting there, looking like she's been paid in pies instead of money. These ladies always look at me with a bit of suspicion, like she doesn't know if I know they only serve 2 types of food: large pie n mash or small pie n mash, and says, with her squinted eye "alright you won sauce wid dat luv?" (Yes, yes I do thank you).

Anyway, small pie and mash. Nuffin' better. Extra liquor, chilli vinegar. And the now painful rumbling stomach I've got now, probably due to the ulcer I'm getting.

However, I am starting to fear that the traditional pie 'n mash shop may be under siege from the Selfridges type shoppers who spends £100's of pounds on second hand clothes they could just get from Oxfam. One of the defining London East End meals, the usual haunt of east end lads and ladettes, who ask for a "nice cup o tea, fanks darlin'" and then leave for some more 'ard graft, could be the new cuisine of the poncy media types. As we walked past our local pie n' mash shop, out walked two of the most haughty Selfridges/Vogue buying/champagne guzzling/Shoreditch types. The woman had on 4 inch stilettos, tweed calf length shorts, matching short jacket and flat cap, jauntily "placed" on her over peroxided blonde head. The guy was in a pair of those extra baggy designer jeans, complete with the "worn" designer holes (which you know some 9 year old in China or Taiwan got paid 50 cents to sew in some factory, because you need small hands to get the delicate stitching done), £200 t-shirt and slightly too big leather jacket. YUCK.

Please god; don't let pie and mash shops become the new Shoreditch discovery. Please leave it to the ordinary people, the every day Joe. And the Farringdon lot like me, who are neither.

Sudoku: Why it makes you want to take people who've finished theirs and choke them to the ground.

Why is it that when someone else does their suduko faster than you, all you want to do is rip their throats out and pull their eyes out with a spoon?

A couple of days ago, I walked into my flat mates room and, noticing he was doing the times Sudoku, asked him politely if I could have a look at it. He said no, to which I responded with "why not? I won't do any of it". To which again responded with a flat "no". This ended up with us wrestling each other for the newspaper, kicking, fighting and biting, until the paper deteriorated in a scrunched up tiny ball in his hand so that I couldn't get to it, and with most of the newspaper ink smeared all over his hands, my arms and parts of his head.

Now, it's not that I'm bad at Sudoku. In fact, I'm pretty good at it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not Rainman good or anything, just good enough to do the ones in the paper, and look kinda smug about it when I can finish them before other people I know. I am starting to think that it should become a government law to BAN giving this stupid numbers game to anyone vaguely competative. Or anyone whose natural tone of voice is condescending. Like one of my friends, whom I take great joy in saying "you sure you don't want any help? I mean you've used your brain to get a PhD in partical physics. My slow pathetic 2.1 Honours degree getting brain should surely NOT be able to put 9 numbers in a box faster than you?". Imagine his beelzebub like glee when he realised he'd finished the Killer Sudoku before me and came over to gloat by saying "do you want some help? Oh look, you need to put the 9 there. Then the 7 here. Then the.."

I fucking hate sudoku. No correction, I hate the gloating gits who do sudoku and then smugly look around to see if they've finished it before everyone else. Arses

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Protecting myself from prostate cancer, one chilli at a time

I know this is exactly how I got my first stomach ulcer. (When I was 16 or so, I went through this phase where I would get through one of those family size bottles of Tabasco in about a month and a half. Try it. About 10 slugs of Tabasco on 2 minute noodles. God DAMN that's good). Anyway, knowing that this may cause me pain, I gotta say, I can NOT stop myself eating those yummy picked chillies from a jar. Every day, out they come from the fridge and sit on my desk at work, where I end up picking out painfully burning after painfully burning chilli. And I'm not even deterred by the fact that it will burn the next day. Like a ring of fire. Even now as I write this, there is a little burning sensation on the outside of my lips.

Hey, at least I'm making absolutely, 100% sure I will never get prostate cancer. Eating chilli's to protect myself from prostate cancer. HOOTENANNY!

Monday, April 10, 2006

I am going STRAIGHT to hell

Honestly, I am. Last Friday night, in a moment (well, several moments) of weakness, I smoked a couple of cigarettes (and I don't even SMOKE!) after repeatedly telling everyone I had given it up for lent. I don't even LIKE it. I don't do it regularly, I don't do it irregularly, and I "gave it up for Lent" in all honesty as a bit of a joke. Normally, I don't have any desire to touch the cancer sticks. But sometimes... Sometimes, when your so drunk and you start to get upset and weepy for no reason at all, and you have no idea why you've just asked for that 4th cocktail, the only way from keeping yourself from completely breaking down is to bum a smoke of a friend. (Who also assures me she only smokes when she's drunk too). Oh the shame of it all. The "I only smoke when I'm drunk" smoker. Strangely though, I am actually ashamed. Even though I know that giving things up for Lent is passe, and no one really cares, and I didn't think I did. However, even as I trying to recall Friday night, when I made sure that everyone who did know my lenten promises couldn't see me, I did feel like I was letting myself down. How corny is that? I couldn't even stop myself from doing something I said I wouldn't do for 40 days, and that I don't even do anyway. I have no self control.

Yeah, going straight to hell.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Bright Lights, Big City

I found these today on the design*sponge website, and I LOVE them!!

The coolest part is that you come from the UK! Loads of design blogs are all based in the States, and have loads of really cool stuff that I like but I can't be easily buy over here (not that I have any space in my flat to store anything). These beautiful light blubs are from Habitat, and at £5 a pop, I'm definitely getting my pale monkey arse over there quick smart to have a look (and possibly to buy them too).

Ahh. It's kinda sad that even a non-girly girl like me can go giddy at light bulbs.....

Duck this (or why i'm starting to hate masterchef)

I'm a decent cook. I can take most things and do something with it. And sometimes I even has small flashes of inspiration that even I love. Tonight however, was not one of those nights.

Ever since I watched last season's masterchef, I've noticed myself constantly turning every meal into a "how can this be better? Would that bald bloke on the show say 'yes this is fabulous' or just rip it apart with his fingers, touch everything, thus ruining it from other scavangers, and say 'yeah, can see what you're doing, but it's still crap'" I've recently started to think that constantly wanting to make food that's just outside my comfort zone is fine. It's good. It's positively healthy in it's growth of knowledge. BUT when it's a Tuesday night, and I decide that roasted ducks legs, on a bed of roast new potatoes, pancetta and fresh thyme, accompanied by saute├ęd savoy cabbage, with carraway seeds and pancetta, is a good idea, people should just stop me and say "NO. A takeaway will do".

Anyway, here's what I made for dinner tonight. I was exhausted even before I started it (and being the only one in the kitchen cooking and washing and prepping and cleaning whilst everyone else sat in the lounge room watching the tele, is a sure fire way to piss me off real quick): (I've put ingredients in bold, as I seem to be ranting a bit)

Duck quaters - preferably legs
Potatoes - ones for roasting (I'd love to be able to say "ooh only Charolettes darling" or "freshly roasted new potatoes are fabulous" however tonight I got whatever they had at Tesco's. In one of those (gasp) tesco's value bag. Yes, all you proper foodies can get over yourself. Don't even get me started on the whole "oh I only buy organic vegetables and meat, over the internet, or from that farmer in Yorkshire, who I go to visit every 3 months, and who delivers me £90 pork chops from an animal he named and whom his kids loved". I just can't afford it, and yes, there is a reason why 1 in every 4 pounds in Britain is spent in Tesco's. Cause it's there and it's affordable, so shut up. We don't all live in Chelsea)

onion - 1 or two or however many you like.
fresh thyme (only cause they had those really cute little pots of herbs in the veg aisle that I KNOW I'll only kill from me either ignoring it and drying it out, or giving it too much attention and overwatering it. Either way, it'll be dead in a matter of minutes of reaching house. They all do. I am no green thumb. Dried thyme will do. If you don't have thyme, don't worry about it.
Salt, pepper, oil etc

1. Par boil the pototoes, and shake them in the pan to get them to all break up. This I always thought was crap and rubbish, but it lessens the roasting time (quicker food!) and means you get really nice crispy bits around it.
2. Season duck with salt and pepper and oil
3. Fry the duck (with no oil in the pan) to brown it. (I tried this tonight to see if i could make the skin go crispy (there seems to be a theme about me and crispy skin...) but I'm not sure if this is necessary. )
4. Put potatoes, pancetta, onions, thyme, a bit of olive oil and black pepper in a roasting tin, so they coat the spuds. Lay the duck legs on top. Bung it in the oven for 40 mins, on about 180 degrees ( I have no idea what gas mark that is).
5. Serve to the people who've been watching TV the WHOLE time you've been in the kithen cooking, who will promptly wolf it down, and yet, still manage to look disapointed with your food.

Problems I had:
1) slighly over done duck : not sure if it's cause I seared it first, or I just cooked it too long. Problem is that we had someone have dinner with us, and I always get a little nervous making dinner for someone who is fussy, and in an attempt to make it perfect, end up dissapointing myself.
2) After all of that, I couldn't be bothered to make a sauce. I know. I KNOW. WRONG. BAD. BA-BAAAAWWWW. I should stop cooking cause I knew the spuds needed a sauce, and it would have help the duck. But the bottom of the roasting tin was full of duck fat (yes yes it's good yes yes blah blah blah, it's still duck FAT), and I just couldn't get myself to be bothered moving all the spuds out of the pirex roasting tray and testing if pirex doesn't go BANG when put on a stove.
3) It was a bit much for a Tuesday
4) I thought it would have been nicer. Not sure what I was hoping for, but it needed. Something.

Moral of the story. Part of me thinks I should just give up. I mean the people I cook for don't really seem to show any real appreciation (other than wolfing food down as quick as you like), or maybe I am just so needy I constantly need to be told "that was good. that was good". Or what if it wasn't any good? And all this time these same people are wolfing it down because it's actually rubbish, but they are the best of mates and will never tell me it's crap for fear that I'll cry, cause I've deluded myself into thinking that I am good at something when really I'm just stuck in middle town mediocraty, and I'll never get any better.

And another part of me thinks that I should just keep trying. If I enjoy eating my food, and everyone else doesn't then, at least I'm keeping myself happy. What's the point of always sticking to the safe side and cooking the same thing you know you can do with your eyes closed, if you don't try the stuff you don't know you can do sometimes. Even if you are exhausted and it is only a Tuesday night.

Monday, April 03, 2006

There has too be more to life than just a bowl of crunchy nut cornflakes

Today is one of those days that you imagine end up thinking "God I've just wasted 9 hours of my life that I'm NEVER going to get back". I have NOTHING to do. I'm still bored after having done all of the following:

1) Read all my favorite blogs (like Design*Sponge, Dooce, and am looking at The Julie/Julia Project), and realised I'm no way in their league. I don't have Dooce's humour, or the Design*Sponge's lust for all things beautiful, or even The Julie/Julia Projects purpose in life)

2) I've gone looking at Ikea for a new lamp to go behind my lovely new couch (which is coming on Thursday)

3) Tried throwing money at the problem, by trying to go online shopping for make up I'm not sure I need (can I really justify £20 on some loose powder to put on top of the foundation I'm now wearing daily)

4) Chased up every person I need to (and some people I don't) for work....

5) Eaten my second bowl of Crunchy nut cornflakes, without milk, like a bowl of chips. And contemplating my third bowl....

And yet, I still have nothing to do. It does make you wonder "what the hell am I doing? I'm NEVER going to get this time back" PLUS I don't just want to think "god i wish this day was over" because if you end up doing this every working day of your life, (of which there are approx 9685 of these). Again, maybe I should think about a career change. If anyone has had a dramatic change in their lives, and wants to let me know how it went (was it worth it (almost everyone says "yes" don't they?)).

So what am I doing tonight to combat this? Going down to the pub to lose at the local pub quiz. Again.