Saturday, 21 November 2015

Things I want

Yep, I'm obsessed with interiors right now, because we're decorating our home, so here's some things I want St. Nick to bring me BECAUSE I'VE BEEN WELL GOOD!

Linea at House of Fraser
Marks & Spencer Home
Clas Ohlson


Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Who's hue?

Oh dear oh dear, the boyf and I are in such dilemmas. It's autumn (nay, winter!) and we're once again turning our attention to décor after a summer of drinking Prosecco on the balcony. Only, we have a very clear vision in our minds - but when we try to articulate this, or indeed paint it on the wall, we get all confused and then just put Netflix on.

Our living room is large, dual aspect, has newly glossed skirting, door and door frame (thanks in-laws!) and we're looking to go 1970s contemporary-retro. Think mustard coloured glassware, sideboards and shag rugs.

We're going to implement a tried and tested formula, one statement wallpaper to three parts painted wall, and are stuck on the combination of colours.

Option 1, Trippy Orange 

This paper is a right statement, and we love the mix of burnt orange and deep chocolate. It's warm and cosy without being stuffy. Still, this paper would work well when papered all over a sparsely furnished room, but despite the room's size and ability to pull off such a commitment, we're only looking to paper one wall. So, that begs the question, which colour do you paint the remaining three?

The paper even features in Two Broke Girls!

We've toyed with a few muted yellows, to really hone in on that yellowish tinge so beautifully reminiscent of the 70s.

India Yellow is absolutely beautiful, the kind of earthy warm yellow you see in North African towns or south Spanish villas. It goes well with the warmth of the wallpaper, but is it too much in the way of yellow?

We also like Sudbury Yellow from Farrow & Ball too, a slightly lighter yellow, but still as warm and thick.

Option 2, Green force

The other option we've been toying with is ditching the oranges in favour of greens, which is incidentally the colour we best like for upholstery.

This moody green and mocha combo is at once freshy modern, but still harks back to a time of outside loos and cermaic ducks on the wall. We love it.

But, once again we come unstuck when it comes to the paint we want to combine it with.

Salty Peat, Valspar and Conifer, Colours
How much green is too much green? Will it be too cold? Will it be too dark? Oh the questions! Wish us luck!


Sunday, 11 October 2015


Popped by the multi-award winning Foundation Coffee House off Stevenson Sq. in Manchester's Northern Quarter t'other day. Why? For a brew, of course.

Thermos are celebrating being all good at keeping things warm and wanted to talk hot coffee with us in a hot space. The team at Foundation are hyped-up caffeine fuelled coffee manic connoisseurs, what they don't know about coffee, isn't worth knowing.

They took us through four unique brewing processes that each make a different kind of coffee. The processes were as bizarre as they were over engineered, but it was fun to watch and learn more about coffee.

I had no idea there was so much to it.

The four methods the team showed us where, Balance Syphon, Syphon, Aero-press and V60, each a totally different way of brewing coffee and not something you'll find in your local Starbucks. Note, never mention Starbucks, flavoured syrups or even sugar in front of these guys. They're serious about coffee and won't stand for it.

Syphon brewing is a bizarre one that almost amounts to witch craft. Basically, the coffee is popped into the top bit, and the water in the bottom. Then a flame is lit and boils the water, once the water reaches boiling, the vacuum created sucks the water up a spout and into the top compartment to mix with the coffee before falling back down into the bottom, ready for drinking.

How utterly ridiculous. (read: amazing)

Verdict: the coffee was weak. Not much time to brew.

Then there was this contraption. A Balance Syphon. So, much like the other Syphon, this kinetic wonder houses the water in the metal basin, where a flame underneath boils it. Once boiled it tips and the water rushes through into the glass jug to mix with the coffee before swooshing back.

Absolutely mad. (read: I want one)

Verdict: The coffee wasn't great.Once again, a little weak.

Then there's the Areo-press, an equally over complicated process to get a brew. (Anyone just fancy a Nescafe?) Here the coffee is popped into an air tight telescopic thingie and water poured in on top. Once sealed you pop the contraption over your cup and push down really hard until the water seeps through the coffee. 

Insane (No, really)

Verdict: The coffee was alright actually.

The best brew was the simplest. The V60 is your standard filter coffee contraption where the coffee is popped on top of a pot and water passes through both it, and a filter paper, to make a gorgeous brew.

Verdict: The coffee was divine.

Large flask, Thermos, £30.95

Cheers to Thermos for an enlightening and buzz-filled evening and check out their new range of flasks to keep your brew hot. They made our welcome coffee at 6am and served it to us from these flasks, pipping hot, at 7pm. Amazing.


Wednesday, 30 September 2015

You are here

We've been tarting up our new home since we moved in, but at a snail's pace because our priority has been enjoying summer on the balcony!

Now it's autumn though, our attention has turned back to décor and the hallway we need to finish off before moving onto the living/dining room.

You can catch up on our painting here and our up-cycling here

Manchester Doodle Map, David Gee, Pencil Me In, £42 (framed)

Now, Pencil Me In is a gorgeous shop, that I've mentioned in posts before. It's on Chapel St, very close to our home, and represents part of an indie renaissance around the £360m regeneration area of Salford Central and New Bailey, skirting the River Irwell and Spinningfields. Along with Lupo, the italian coffee shop, Kings Arms and its theatre space and the Salford Arms, the strip is getting known amongst the hipsters.

The store stocks gorgeous stationery, prints, gifts and all manner of wonderfully cute things, including lovely doodles by local illustrator, David Gee, who, incidentally, is based just above the store!

David's illustrations adorn ceramics, phone cases and come in the more traditional framed print form, and the boyf and I fell in love with this monochromatic doodle map of our fair city, Manchester.

It works perfectly well on an otherwise barren wall, breathing a little humour, sense of location and place within the welcoming foyer to our home.


Sunday, 27 September 2015

Read all about it, Manchester Literature Festival

Manchester Literature Festival is back in town, promoting contemporary poetry and prose from across the globe, as well as Manchester's own incredible literary history.

University Professors, writers, poets, editors, journalists and readers of all ages will come together, from 12th October - 25th October, at venues across the city to celebrate the written word. But, which of the events is worth a punt?

To mark the festival's 10th birthday, the schedule is bigger than ever, with Festival Co-directors Cathy Bolton and Sarah-Jane Roberts promising to invite, "back many of our favourite writers from the past decade and hand-picking some of the most gifted emerging storytellers, destined to make big literary waves in the coming decade." 85 events will take place, some having already taken place in September, prior to the official festival start date. They'll span talks and seminars, walking and coach tours, film screenings and things for the little ones.

Top names include Margaret Atwood, Patricia Duncker on George Eliot, Jeanette Winterson, who will launch her re-telling of Shakespeare's A Winter's Tale, Simon Armitage and, of course, Carol Ann Duffy.

On my must-see list is:

An Evening with Robert Harris
Harris was a Panorama and Newsnight reporter before turning his attention from broadcast and newspaper journalism to fiction. He's authored many thrillers, including Fatherland, which I studied when at University as part of a course on literature of the Third Reich. Harris will discuss politics, power and corruption in conversation with Carol Ackroyd.

Royal Exchange Theatre
Monday 12th October, 7:30pm

Elizabeth Gazkell's Manchester
Join Ed Glinert on a walking tour of Manchester, pin pointing many sights and sites of Gaskell's Manchester, ending at the newly reopened Elizabeth Gaskell's House for tea and cake.

Meet outside St. Ann's Church
Tuesday 13th October, 1:30-4pm

Jeanette Winterson, The Gap of Time: The Winter's Tale Retold
Winterson is the acclaimed author of many novels, including the multi award winning Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit. I've read and studied Winterson for years and got to meet her a few years back at the launch of her memoir, Why Be Happy, When You Could Be Normal? When signing my copy, she said she liked my name #fangirling

Winterson will discuss her new work, a retelling of Shakespeare's A Winter's Tale. re-set in a post-credit crash London and the US city of New Bohemia.

Royal Exchange Theatre
Tuesday 13th October, 7:30pm

Patricia Duncker on George Eliot
Duncker is an icon to any undergrad who was lucky to hear her lecture at The University of Manchester. Her opening address to the School of English, on my first day of University was inspiring, to say the least. She raised an eyebrow and bellowed into the microphone, "University is a time to experiment," a brief pause, "Lord knows I did," a whip of her pashmina and she strode off the stage.

Duncker's works include many gripping and tantalising fictions, including the mind boggling The Curious Case of The Composer and His Judge, which I highly recommend. Here though, Duncker will explore Eliot's later life, the relationship between author and reader and her new work Sophie and the Sibyl.

Portico Library
Wednesday 14th October, 6:30pm

An Evening with Carol Ann Duffy
Join Duffy in celebrating the launch of the Poet Laureate's first Collected Poems, spanning 8 collections and 30 years.

Hallé St. Peter's
Sunday 18th October, 7:30pm

Simon Armitage
Armitage's poetry touches the hearts and adorns the bookshelves of most poetry enthusiasts. For his best-seller Walking Home, the poet trekked the Pennine Way. Now, he's busking his way through Somerset, Devon and Cornwall and this will be the topic of his discussion.

Central Library
Tuesday 22nd October, 6:30pm

Find the full schedule here

See you at the event!