Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Eating Animals & Five Dials

Today I received this surprise in the mail:

The super cool people at Five Dials (or, really, the super cool editor Craig) mailed me a signed copy of Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals.

I saw J-Saf (yes, that's what I call him to try to pretend we're friends) about five months ago at a Book Slam event where he did a reading from this very book.  I am a HUGE fan of his fiction novels, but delayed buying Eating Animals because I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the similarly themed literature and films that were so popular at the time. I do have to say that although I am a meat-eater, I've grown more conscious about where my food comes from and try to limit the amount I consume.  Vegetarian meals have become a much more important part of my diet.

I have to be sure to properly emphasize how much I love Five Dials.  I started reading this online literary magazine when it was in its third issue (now on seventeen) and have been hooked since the first page.  One of the things I really love about it is how it combines pieces from contemporary and up-and-coming writers with some good 'ol classics - even Gandhi makes an appearance in one issue!

It's free to download and clearly, the people behind it are really awesome.  I highly encourage you to check it out!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

sloe gin

Trying to immerse myself in British culture as much as possible, I made a batch of sloe gin this year.  The process was so fun - I rode my bike, found some sloe bushes (trees? bushes, I think) growing in the hedge, gathered as many as I could stand to pick (the bushes are actually quite prickly!), plopped them in my basket, and rode home.

There is something so satisfying about venturing out into nature, gathering and using food that is growing of its own accord.  It is so much more common to do this in England than in America, and it's one of the things I love most about the culture here.

Sloe Gin Recipe:

The best time to pick sloes is just after the first frost of the winter.  The berries are round, purple-black and plump - they look almost exactly like blueberries.

For every pound of fruit add 8oz of sugar and a pint or so of gin (don't worry too much about the proportions as you can add more sugar or spirit later).  Leave it until Christmas, shaking the bottle every couple of days.

After a few months (the longer the better, although mine didn't last long enough to test this theory!) strain off the sloes and bottle the gin.

...that's it!

My sloe gin was brought to America with me over the holidays and given away to friends and family as gifts, but I made sure to leave some behind for myself to enjoy.

I've heard a lot of different ideas about what you can do with the sloes after they've been strained.  You can make sherry or jam... mine are still sitting in a jar waiting for me to make a decision.  If nothing else, they look pretty lovely sitting on the shelf.

Monday, February 14, 2011

wooly man socks

I made these socks for my brothers and dad for Christmas this year, but just finally got around to taking some photos.  

Sunday, February 13, 2011

longing for summer

Holkham beach.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

longing for summer

I miss taking my bike out for impromptu rides.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

pigeon prints

From Genevive Dionne.

V&A Reading Rooms

Ever since I can remember I have had this romantic vision of my future, grown-up self living in a house with the most perfect library - dark wood, spiral staircase, cozy fireplace - where I could sit and read all day long.  Let's suffice it to say that even though I'm somewhat grown-up (ahem) the dream is still alive, and, sadly, still merely a dream.  Luckily, while I'm still not able to build my own fantasy library, I can visit the V&A reading rooms instead.

Pictures found here.

I haven't been yet, but you better believe it's on the top of my to-do list.  Who wants to start a book club with me?

Monday, February 7, 2011


Some time ago, I accidentally found my way to Greenwich while driving around south London.  It's not a place I would have ever made a real effort to visit, mostly because I had it labeled in my mind as a strictly tourist destination.  I ended up enjoying my afternoon there a lot.  I saw some really interesting things including one of the first ever life-sized camera obscura's, and visited the Meantime Brewery (get it? Greenwich is where "time starts"... GMT... Greenwich Mean Time?). 

Anyway, the Meantime beer is dee-lish.  And has some pretty great packaging too, don't you think?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

i will never love you more than...

... the beautiful, muted, dreamy colors and styling in this video for Kate Spade.