Wednesday, 29 October 2014

The Green Man

There has been a longer hiatus than I would have liked from this blog. Life has been busy and complicated of late and it's left little time for the shoots I have had in mind. Things are now starting to feel a little calmer and I am hoping to have lots of delights to show you all over the coming weeks.

Autumn has firmly set in. October is my one of my favourite months of the year. I love the oranges, reds and greens and the colder air. I also love that it is the beginning of many of the colder season's folk customs; the most famous all being Halloween of course! I do love any opportunity to dress up, 
so Halloween is a big hit in my house (it's really the only time of the year I can legitimately go out in my more bonkers of costumes). To celebrate it's arrival I always plan an elaborate costume. This year I am feeling rather enthralled by Green Men and Morris Men, so I set about creating an outfit which merged these. I really wanted to look like I had just danced out of a woodland. I also recently went to a study day at The Museum of Witchcraft on folklore which left me with a taste for all things spooky! What I created, with a little help from my mum, is far more terrifying than I could have ever imagined, I really didn't set out to scare (although I am of the opinion that Halloween costumes should at least be a little bit scary!)

I managed to purchase rolls and rolls of amazing coloured ribbon from a car boot at the weekend so I spent several hours sewing lines of them to a waistcoat I nicked from my brother. The mask was painted by mum on a blank she bought in Venice. We have lots more, so Mrs MacBeth's Department Store will have a few very soon. All the other components were found from charity shops and The Range's Christmas decoration department.

I was of course inspired by folk dance costumes, in particular those of Morris Dancers. I love these pictures (I didn't actually look at these until after I made the costume 
but I think I'd fit in quite well!)

Sources: 1, 2

Sources: 3, 4

I'm planning on wearing my costume out, although I will paint my face underneath so that I don't have to wear my mask all night (it gets a little hot!) I'm going to make some friends a warming feast before we dance into the night. What are your plans for Halloween? I'd love to hear what you are all dressing up as (that's if you are- I do hope you are!) I hope you all have a throughly spooky one.

Linking to Share-in-Style Halloween special.

Outfit Details

Ribbon waistcoat- re-cycled by me from an old Topman waistcoat

1970s red polyester flares- Barnardos

Suede gloves- gift from my mum

Vintage brogues- Oxfam

Venetian mask- painted by Penny MacBeth

Bells- The Range 

Ivy wreath and ivy- The Range

Floral garland- made by Penny MacBeth

Velvet top hat- Asda

Red and white striped wool socks- a Christmas gift


Friday, 10 October 2014

It's The Great Pumpkin

I've been feeling extremely under the weather for the last week. I spent an entire day in bed yesterday which I hardly ever do. Anyway enough of the woe is me. When I'm feeling crummy (v.punny) I like to bake: cakes, bread, puddings- it all brings a little cheer to an otherwise dull day. 

Pumpkin pie is something I've never made before today. I had a rather bad run in with it as a child when my mum forgot to put the sugar in (whoops!) and for a number of years I avoided nibbling on any pumpkiny products, deeming them all flavourless and bland. However, last year I was invited for Thanksgiving dinner by a very good Canadian friend of mine and there I sampled the most delicious pumpkin pie; I was converted, it is light, delicious and full of complex flavour. I truly do love it, and for the last week I've been craving a slice. So today for a little light activity during my bout of flu I decided to bake one.

 I followed a recipe from The Guardian which actually turned out to be very time consuming (I'd probably do it a little differently next time). Ever the maverick I made a few additions in the way of adding ground ginger to my pastry (adds a lovely warmth) and nutmeg to the filling as well as substituting the evaporated milk (yuck!) for whipping cream.  I also added much more of each spice than stated as I feel English recipes often tend to under spice. I think next time I might not blind bake the pastry as I'm really not convinced it needed it.  Overall, the results were pretty tasty! It had a lovely colour and the the pastry was delicious; thin and crisp (no soggy bottoms here!)

What recipes have you all tried out recently? I'm always after inspiration!

I'm hoping to be back on my feet next week; I have an exciting project in the works and lots of photographs to shoot!

Happy pumpkin season all! I sadly can't find the full episode online but here's a clip from It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown