Monday, 24 August 2015

Fruit picking

As a little girl my mum grew raspberries on canes in our garden. As summer rolled around each year my brother and I would greedily snaffle them, taking them to our playhouse to make faux raspeberry tarts with (raspberries squished onto bits of bread). It was not until a couple of weeks ago however, that I got to experience a pick your own farm! I've dreamt of visiting one for years; the idea of filling baskets with fruit and then hopping it home to make jams, jellies and cordials filled me with excitement. 

A few weekends ago my mum and I made a trip to Trevaskis Farm. They offer a variety of pick your own crops; we picked raspberries, strawberries, gooseberries (red & green), blackcurrants and redcurrants but they also have plums, broad beans, sweet corn and runner beans (amongst many others). It was so lovely spending the afternoon in the sunshine with the smell of sweet soft fruits wafting in the air. There are also quite a few chickens clucking about so I made friends with a few of them.

Here are few more snaps from our day:

On our actual fruit picking excursion I wore jeans and a lotus flower t-shirt. However because I love to re-imagine things these photographs depict what I'd have liked to have worn if berry juice, mud and chicken poo hadn't have been an issue. They are very slightly inspired by Laura Knight's wonderful paintings of Hop Pickers painted in the 1940s:

Hop-Picking Granny Knowles, an Old Hand, Laura Knight, 1940
Source: 1

Hop Picking No.1, Laura Knight c.1946
Source: 2
 I love their layers of neckerchiefs, shirts and skirts coupled with their heat glazed expressions and poses. My own ensemble features one of my favourite items of clothing; a strawberry print shirt, perfect for fruit picking! I bought it years ago in Daisy Rain Vintage who are based in Redruth. My dentist is just up the road so I always look forward to having my teeth checked over because I can visit afterwards! It's such a beautiful shop, the main downstairs room's ceiling is completely covered in parasols. They also sell plants and the most beautiful selection of antique furniture (I wish my house was bigger!) I definitely recommend a visit if you are ever in Redruth (which is also home to the most beautiful Art Deco shop La Belle - seriously glorious).

An afternoon of picking certainly makes for thirsty work on our arrival home I felt so sleepy. There was no time for sitting about though as we had to convert our fruits into yummy treats! We ended up making redcurrant jelly, blackcurrant cordial and a summer fruits jam which is a delicious mixture of an array of fruits.

The blackcurrant cordial was by far the best product of our cooking marathon. If you fancy making your own this is how:

Lemon Juice

Rinse the blackcurrants. Place in a preserving pan and add water  (allow about 140ml per 450g (¼ pint per 1lb) of fruit). 
Bring to the boil and simmer until the fruit is soft this should take around 30 minutes.
Using elastic bands tie a muslin to an upended stool. Place a bowl under the muslin and pour the blackcurrants into the muslin. 
Allow to drip through. You can speed up the process by stirring it with a spoon however your cordial will not be clear (we didn't mind too much about that so we squashed away - it's only if you are keeping it for a long time that you should worry about clarity). 
Once it's all dripped through discard the fruit pulp (or save it for a crumble or pie).
Pour the liquid back into the preserving pan and bring to the boil. 
Add the sugar and lemon juice (allow about 170-340g (6-12oz) sugar to 570ml (1 pint) of liquid) and simmer for 5 minutes until thick and syrupy.
Pour into sterilised bottles (I find the best method is in the dishwasher) and label. Refrigerate once opened.

It's delicious mixed with sparkling or soda water. Poured over ice cream or with porridge!

(all measurements taken from

In other news I've started writing a cookbook, it's very much in it's early stages but I'm getting on well and really hope to share more with you all very soon. In the meantime I'd love to know about when you learnt to cook – Who taught you (if anyone...)? What did you learn? What do you still hanker after learning? Any answers will be extremely gratefully received! 

Have a wonderful week.

Outfit Details

Strawberry print shirt - Ben Sherman via Daisy Rain Vintage
Silk skirt - Jaegar via a charity shop
Rose print silk scarf - a birthday gift
Clogs - Ebay & hand-painted by me
Basket - a Christmas gift


Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Pearl of the Danube

It's been an awfully long time. I really didn't mean for so much time to develop between my last post and this one but life has been rather busy of late. I spent a week in London seeing friends, catching up on exhibitions and writing then I went straight to the very Southern tip of Cornwall for a week. This is my first stationary day in quite some time and will be my last until next week so a blog post had to be squeezed in between washing and hoovering!

Being in constant motion, and living out of a suitcase, has made me consider dressing in a completely new way. I've become pretty adapt at rehashing an outfit over several days, changing the top, accessories or shoes. It's been a useful learning curve as I've always been firmly in the new outfit every day camp.  Dressing for comfort has certainly never been a priority for me, and still isn't really, but if I was going to dabble in it this two piece fits the bill. It's a lovely soft jersey and is perfect for travelling in as it's a bit like jim jams for the daytime. It's also wonderful because I can wear it together or as separates which is extremely handy when vying for space when packing.

The print is really what caught my eye though; Hungarian embroidery of the sort found on the intricate lace waistcoats used for folk dancing.
Hungarian waistcoat available on Etsy
Hungarian embroidery
Source: 1

The ensemble was a late birthday gift from my lovely mum to go alongside my main birthday gift - a trip to Budapest! I'm so excited as I have always wanted to visit. I love Hungarian folk costumes so I can't wait to see them in the flesh at The Museum of Hungarian Applied Folk Art and to visit the beautiful baths across the city. I'm not off until November so if any of you have any tips for things to do/ places to eat/ places to buy folk art/costumes please do let me know! I love to have a bit of insider knowledge when I'm off to somewhere new.

The photographs were taken in my bedroom, it's rather dark in there during the day due to being right at the back of the house. However, now that the warm weather has finally arrived I've been able to throw open my windows and let the light stream in. It's a wonderful place to sit and read and write. 

Being in motion has been very useful for writing (I find it, for one reason or another, enormously difficult to write at home). I've begun a very exciting written project and for the first time in a long time I've very excited about putting it together - more on it at a later date! I find I go through stages of craving travel and at the moment I'm in the throws of needing to spread my limbs. Long journeys are providing the perfect space in which to work and think.

In other news, inspired by my cults & communes post last month, I'm putting together a new zine on the subject of cults - religious ones, cliques, cult films etc etc - I'd love submissions of poetry, painting, stories, collage or whatever else takes your fancy. Email them to me by Monday 10th August.

I hope you are all well. I'll be back at home next week and I have plenty of exciting posts planned for the rest of August!

Outfit Details

 Two piece printed with Hungarian embroidery - Jaded LDN via ASOS
Pom pom headdress - Penny MacBeth
Clear jelly shoes - a gift 
Feather necklace - market stall