Friday, 24 October 2014

LIFE: Call This a Hello

Edinburgh Book

Sometimes you need to step back and get back down to the basics. We can all get a little too caught up with sharing the must have thing, that product you just gotta run out to the store and find or just sharing that huge hot chocolate we had the night before. Sometimes we just have to stop and say hello.

The past couple of months my followers have increased (yey) without me really trying (double yey). But when you stumble across a blog, a couple of years in, they have a substantial back catalog of posts, it's a little hard to really grasp what they are all about. Even with the help of an about me page. So I thought, hey why not just have a break, say hello and talk about myself for a little, and even perhaps get you to do the same down in the comments (see I like comments - there you're finding something out about me). 
So what might you know about me already? You might have worked out I live in Michigan, right outside of Detroit, you might have worked out I wasn't born in the US - in fact I'm a Brit, from a super small rural (narrow minded ahem) town in East Yorkshire. I'm 28, a little scared of turning 30, Michigan has been home for nearly three years (come November) and I share my home with my guy and my two kitties - Ed, who is fat, purs like a motor and speaks with a Russian voice - don't ask, and Smoky who is super timid and playful, aka tiny face, smokes, teeny tiny ickle bickle.

Anyway so once upon a time I met an American guy (online - controversial I know) and we got talking, fell in love and five years later we're still together. We managed the whole long distance relationship malarkey for just over two years. I filled out lots of paper work, paid lots of pennies, had interviews and moved to the US in 2011. Joe is my comic book geek, he's hell bent on corrupting me into liking comic books, Transformer toys, Star Trek and model trains. And he's succeeded. It's a good job I love him.

In a previous life I lived in Newcastle in my university years - four wild years of partying, drinking too much and studying even more in both geography (BA) and sociology (MA). My one university regret is not exploring more of the region which in turn sparks my passion for visiting and documenting the places on my doorstep (and showing them all off here). I'm a firm believer of a couple of things - you don't need to travel far and wide to see amazing things, live life with your eyes open and always look up, but you probably want to look down too, just so you don't trip up.

Saying that I have a lot of issues walking into things - sign posts, a couple of pillars in Target. You get the picture.
Aside from blogging you'll find me picking around estate sales, getting far too attached to vintage postcards, taking far to many photographs, taco bell is my weakness, I have stress issues, often found trying to craft something, pretending that I know something about gardening, cross stitching, being sarky about something. I enjoy whiskey and playing my music on old vinyl records, lots of vinyl records.  I treat chocolate digestives like gold dust and I always enjoy runny eggs. You get the picture. 

I'm a bit of an expat blogger - even though the term expat bugs me a little, a Michigan blogger, a Detroitish blogger, a Yorkshire blogger, a lifestyle blogger. I'll throw out a recipe, a kitty picture, some rant or another. But most of all this place, this blog reflects me. It's a mixture of all these things, it's a mix of everything any anything that makes up me and my life. I'm not trying to be a big blogger, or have everyone love me, I'm just trying to be myself and find the words to make them all come through the screen.

Most of all I'm glad you're all here for the ride, whether you've been here from the start or you started reading three days ago. I just want to say thank you, thank you for all the comments and shares and everything else. 

If you like what you see you can always find me in a couple of other places;

So that is enough about me, come say hello, and if you have any questions you'd love me to answer about myself or my blog, feel free to drop them into the comments! :)
Blogger Tricks

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

LIFE: Mushrooms and Autumnal Rain

mushroomsMushrooms Mushrooms Mushrooms mushrooms Mushrooms

Heavy rain seems to herald the mushrooms poking up through our grass around the old maple tree. They seem to sprout up within hours although not so many to form fairy rings. Which is probably a good thing, old British folklore would have you believe any human stepping inside a fairy ring would succumb to a hundred year sleep, or worse yet be taken away to fairy land to never return. Luckily i'm still standing.

While I can't lay claim to any knowledge about they types I do find them incredible to look at. Their peeling layers, the shades and colours, their shapes. Something I hope these photographs I managed to capture on a very damp and dark morning managed to achieve. Somewhat. I guess many may see them as a pest, an unattractive grass feature. Yet I look upon them as a sign that least the garden has lots of organic matter going on in the soil which is more then fine with me.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Food: Vintage Apple Pie Recipe

Apple Pies

It's more than possible that I blog about apple pies every autumn, but seriously they are one of my favorite things about the season especially when you pick them yourself like we did on our last trip to the orchard. But I also grew up with apple trees in the back garden so half the fun was being a tomboy and climbing them but also getting to help pick them every autumn, wrapping them up for over the winter and all the apple pies and crumbles we could eat.

Modern recipes for apple pies are far too fancy for my liking, they always to make such a song and dance out of a relatively easy recipe. So I always reach for a recipe that's in one of my favorite vintage cookbooks - The Boston School of Cooking Cookbook. It's a very well loved, a little tattered and worn but essential cookbook in my collection. It has both my go to recipe for plain pastry and for apple pies (which I love playing around and adjusting). 

Apple Pie Recipe

While this recipe is pretty simple, that doesn't mean it can't be jazzed up, I always through in a cup or two of raspberries into each pie and I'm sure brambles or raisins would taste just as good too. But this recipe is to much of my favorite to not share again (with some adjustments from the last time it was posted).

Old good fashioned apple pie

6 medium apples - eating or cooking
2 cups of raspberries
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of all spice
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 tablespoon of butter
2 tablespoons of lemon juice

Line bottom of your pie tin with pastry and cut off any excess pastry from around the edges. Peel, core and cute apples into small bite sized pieces and mix in the raspberries. Dump them both into your pastry lined pie tin. Separately mix the sugar, cinnamon, all spice salt and lemon juice together and sprinkle over your apple/raspberry mix. Cut up your tablespoon of butter and dot it around the top.

Wet the edges of your pie and roll out/take your pie top and lay over, covering the pie. Press the edges together. Cut a little vent in the top of the pie and glaze with a little bit of milk so the crust goes lovely and golden.

Bake at 450F on the lowest shelf for 10 minutes then reduce to 350F for 45 - 60 minutes on the middle shelf.

Going by how many apples we still have left, this recipe will be getting used for many more pies in the next month or so. It's that good and never lasts long around here.

But the big, all important question is, what do you serve your apple pie with? Custard, cream, ice cream?

Friday, 17 October 2014

LIFE: 30 Before 30


On the eve of my tenth birthday I remember walking home, wondering if life would be any different with my age in double figures. Waking up the next day and taking the walk to school, I realized everything remained the same. Ten year old me probably imagined I would feel different turning 28 with all the responsibility being 28 entails - things a ten year old probably couldn't really comprehend. Now that I'm 28, yeah nothing has really changed.

In a little under two years, I turn the big 3.0. The least said about this is probably for the better. But at least Joe reaches that dizzy height in little over 6 months so he can tell me how scary it actually is. Anyway, I thought I'd jump on the old *insert number here* before *insert age number here* wagon and have myself do some challenges.

And I actually came up with 30 of them;
  1. do a 365 photo challenge
  2. visit falling waters (pa)
  3. decorate the bathroom 
  4. establish a butterfly garden
  5. read 101 books I've never read before while doing my yearly goodreads challenge
  6. complete a blog every day for a month challenge
  7. get my own blog url and prob change the blog name again 
  8. strip wood paneling from the back room
  9. reach 1000 blog readers 
  10. learn to drive
  11. visit the motown museum 
  12. read gone with the wind
  13. get business cards (for blog and/or store)
  14. visit cedar point (oh) 
  15. learn to knit 
  16. try 10 new (to me) whiskeys
  17. visit canada 
  18. get another tattoo
  19. bake something using pumpkin
  20. get the house wallpaper free
  21. grow and eat something from my veg patch 
  22. embrace a more organic/green eating, products and lifestyle 
  23. try at least one new recipe a month
  24. crochet a new blanket 
  25. add 10 new pieces to my embroidery hoop wall
  26. put up a bat box
  27. make a wreath 
  28. add 20 vintage powder compacts to my collection
  29. successfully grow a plant from a cutting 
  30. work on self confidence // self love
None of them are out of the way things, hopefully things I'd be achieving anyway, this is just a way to remember what I want to have achieved by then. I want my list to be realists (like no "visit 5 countries" because lets face it, I don't have the money to do that).

Two weeks into life as a 28 year old, I'm already still on task with my photo a day challenge (basically disguised in my instagram uploads), I have a plant growing from a cutting (yey), I've read one new book (The Lodger) and tried three new recipes this month (including the raspberry cake - my late birthday cake) already.

No doubt I'll be blogging about them over the next coming two years and I'll actually get around to ticking off a few of them!