Q&A: Eleven things

E + B

One of our favourite bloggers, Janet at Words That Can Only Be Your Own kindly nominated us for a Liebster Award last week – which is good news as we love a good questionnaire!
So, the rules of the award are:

- List 11 random facts about yourself (we of course have made this a joint effort)
– Answer 11 questions given to you by the nominator
– Set 11 new questions for the bloggers you nominate
– Tag your chosen bloggers and wait to read their answers

Raspberry Sherbet Bundt cake

11 Random Facts About Us!

1. A shared love of photography and cake brought us together
2. We both prefer noting our ideas with pen and paper, than keyboard and software
3. Yesterday E dyed her hair pink (temporarily)
4. B studies French at night class, but is never brave enough to speak it
5. E had a green front door, B has a blue front door
6. E makes her own ice-cream and sorbet, B doesn’t own a freezer
7. We’re both terrible at the geography rounds in Articulate
8. Until earlier this week, B genuinely thought K2 and Kilimanjaro were the same mountain
9. We are both big Kasabian fans (the extent of this will be revealed in November…!)
10. E hates bananas, yet really loves those foamy banana sweets
11. B hates horseradish sauce, but has a bit of a wasabi pea addiction

Loughborough, Great Central Railway

Janet actually asked us 13 questions (just disguised as 11!), which were…

1. Why did you start blogging?
B: I’d tried unsuccessfully to get a blog going on my own in the past – just as an outlet for some creative urges – but it was joining up with E that really gave me the momentum
E: I too had dipped my toe into the blogging sphere, without great success. Meeting B through Leicester lo-fi helped me realise there are many other people out there who had the same ambition and B helped me get the kick start I needed to put myself and my ideas out there
2. What post are you most proud of?
B: My post that has had the most hits is oddly one I wrote in just 10 minutes, so it feels odd to be proud of it. I really like looking back at our posts and remembering all the things we’ve done – like the fun of our steam train and cake ride, and the patience involved with baking Herman
E: It’s a great feeling to write a popular post, one that gets people coming back to visit your blog time and again but my favourite posts are the more personal ones, Mutley springs to mind instantly, as does the post I wrote about My Grandpa,..
3. What’s your favourite thing about blogging?
 B: That it has inspired me to try new things and meet friendly new people, online and in ‘the real world’ – and as a space to share creative thoughts with those outside of my direct circle of people
E: I love the freedom it gives you to express yourself creatively and to write about what really matters to you, (No matter how mundane!) this isn’t necessarily an easy thing to achieve outside of the blog world
4. And a least favourite?
B: The feeling that we don’t always keep on top of writing posts as perhaps we should do
E: Yes to the above, time is precious and you’d think with two of us we’d be churning out at the very least 1 post a week, sadly sometimes work and  life get in the way. That’s my least favourite part, so many ideas, so little time
5. Important matters now: what’s your favourite colour of sweet?
B: It always used to be green, but at some point in the past 10 years I think I’ve moved over to red (or red and yellow ideally – I’m a fan of rhubarb and custards!)
E: I adore this question! I love sweets, though I’ve learnt a lot about what goes into them in the last 10 years that should really put me off ever eating them ever again. Purple wins for me, every time
6. And what’s your least favourite?
B: White. I never trust what flavour it could be
E: Blue, billiant blue. It’s really and truly not natural, seriously. Google E133… in fact Google the Southampton 6, it may change how you feel about all sweets, or at least make you check the packet first!
7. What is your favourite flower?
B: Tough one! Tulips are lovely (especially after my trip to the Keukenhof last year), as are violets, and I do love a simple daisy
E: Daliahs! No, wait. Maybe sunflowers…….actualy, can I change my mind? Ranunculus. These are definitely my favourite, this week.
8. Did you have a favourite dressing up outfit as a child (or, indeed, as an adult)?
B: Definitely my Grease outfits – I made up one for both Sandy (in her pink, frilly phase) and Danny (I spent ages cutting out a ‘T Birds’ logo from white sticker paper to attach to my uncle’s old leather jacket!)
E: As a child I was heavily influenced by my Dad’s musical taste, this involved a lot of jazz and an obscene amount of opera. My go to fancy dress outfit was always Carmen. It was only in my teenage years that I was enlightened to the fact that Carmen, my childhood heroine was actually a prostitute. Oh the shame. Dalmations featured heavily too.
9. Zayn or Harry?
B: I genuinely don’t have an opinion on this – so let’s go with neither
E: Who? Seroiusly, I just had to Google them (my god daughter would be so disappointed!)
10. What was your best holiday, and why?
B: Such a hard question! One of the stand outs was a two week road trip around Canada – only some of which I managed to post about – the highlight of which was going dog sledging!
E: All childhood holidays in Menorca win, hands down. Such magical memories
11. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
B:This questionnaire is really highlighting how indecisive I am!  There’s so many places in the UK I’d love to live, let alone thinking about the wider world. Just a few – Bristol, Amsterdam, Montreal, Edinburgh… and Leicester, of course
E: Leicester is home, but I have strong family links in Norwich so this would absolutely be my second choice, I’m a home bird at heart
12. What’s your favourite Christmas tradition?
B: I love practically everything about Christmas (minus the crazy present shopping stress) – I love the morning in particular – when I was a kid I’d shake with excitement about opening my presents from Father Christmas. I’ve calmed down a bit, but I still can’t wait to sit with my family, in our PJs with mugs of tea, and share gifts with each other
E: The best, and perhaps most traumatic thing about Christmas is the build up, so I’d have to say Reading the Night Before Christmas en famille on Christmas Eve. Then more recently, Christmas Hampers
13. Do you have a nickname?
B: Well, B is actually one of my nicknames – despite the fact my full name doesn’t actually begin with B!
E: Jelly

Ice cream

Many of our favourite bloggers seem to have already been nominated – luckily there’s still a few we can target!

So we’d like to nominate Kerry from Kerry Cooks, Fiona from Big Hungry Gnomes, Holly from Holly Loves Cake, Bridget from Thinking of the Days, and Ruth from Clarendon Spark to answer these 11 questions…

1. What’s the best thing about blogging?
2. And the worst?
3. What do you like most about the area you live in?
4. Spring/summer/autumn/winter, which season is your favourite and why?
5. What’s your favourite form of transport?
6. Your top three most-loved pieces of clothing?
7. What was the last thing you watched at the cinema? And theatre?
8. Favourite childhood book?
9. What one piece of advice would you give to someone thinking about starting/just starting a new blog?
10. Now for the important question – whippy or scooped ice-cream?
11. Which flavour?

Do: Look up!

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Sometimes when I’m walking along the street I play a game

It’s really very simple – as I stroll along I make sure my head is lifted up and as I pass by someone else I look at their face and attempt to make eye contact

And if I get it, I smile – and if it’s early in the day, maybe even throw in a ‘good morning’

(For some reason I never quite know what to say post-12pm, ‘hello’ seems a bit awkward and ‘good afternoon’, very formal!)

Sometimes my smile is met with an unfriendly deadpan stare, sometimes people look away awkwardly, sometimes they genuinely look surprised that you’re acknowledging them 

I win the game if I get them to smile back

Try it – you’ll be surprised by how many people walk along staring at their feet – or at their phone

As well as the dangerous possibility of walking into the road, they’re missing so much of the world around them!

And if you do get a friendly response, you’ll be amazed by how much it can brighten your day

On a vaguely related note

The perils of not looking up when you’re taking trendy shoe shots…

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Watch: Safe House

This is a call out to anyone in or near Leicester today… if you’re not doing anything tonight then I’d massively recommend spending 40 minutes of your life watching Safe House!

Created by Leicester-based theatre company Metro-Boulot-Dodo, this is an incredible outdoor performance which mixes music, recorded speech, visual projection and aerial dance

It explores our emotional ties to where we live and the differences between a ‘house’ and a ‘home’

It’s already toured around the country (you can see some clips from Stockton in the video above) and this weekend forms part of Leicester’s City Festival

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I went along last night (see rubbish phone photo above!) and thoroughly enjoyed it

It really was visually stunning and like nothing else I’d seen in the city, especially as it was based around a large purpose-built house structure, which had been erected in an old car park

Tonight is your last night to see the (FREE!) show in Leicester – I’d recommend wrapping up, it pains me to say it, but I think summer is coming to an end

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Make: White peach, honey and Lavender Sorbet

white peaches and lavender

Can you believe it’s August already? This summer has raced by in a whirlwind of  activity and i’m a little sad that the end is now in sight. Of course there is plenty to look forward to for the coming months but in order to eek out the last of this summers sunshine i’m turning my attention to sorbet. Nothing screams summer more than a ripe peach, team these with lavender in a refreshing sorbet and this recipe makes for a winning summer combination. I have a preference for white peaches, I just think they are sweeter and fresher but this recipe would work just as well with yellow peaches. A note on lavender, 2-3 sprigs doesn’t sound like a lot but a little goes a long way. Use only a few sprigs for a soft background flavour rather than an overpowering soapy taste, the peaches are the star of the show and their flavour needs to shine through.

You will need: 

  • 4 ripe white peaches
  • 2-3 sprigs of lavender
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 2 Tbls honey
  • the zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 75ml of water

poaching

Peel and slice the peaches, if they are really ripe the skin is easily teased away from the flesh with a pairing knife. Place all of the remaining ingredients into a saucepan and gently heat to a rolling boil to make a syrup then turn of the heat and throw in the peaches. Rather than boiling the peaches in the syrup and risking them turning to mush the residual heat from the syrup will gently poach them and infuse the delicate flavour from the lavender whilst retaining the peaches freshness of flavour. Allow the fruit and syrup to cool completely then remove the lavender sprigs and blitz the mixture to a fine pulp with a stick blender or a food processor.

If you have an ice cream maker, churn the peach mixture according the  manufacturers instructions until frozen then transfer to a Tupperware container and freeze until ready to use.

If you do not have an ice cream churner transfer the peach mix into a tupperware container and freeze for half an hour or so until semi-frozen, give the mix a good stir to break up any ice crystals that are forming then freeze for a further half an hour before stirring again. Repeat this step until the sorbet is firm.

Remove the sorbet from the freezer 20 minutes before you wish to serve so it can soften a little. Place an ice cream scoop into boiling water and allow to stand for 10 minutes or so before scooping.

bowl

Serve the sorbet in a bowl topped with a few lavender flowers and crushed amaretti biscuits or alternatively apply generous scoops of the mix into ice cream cones, less washing up this way!

cone

How are you making the most of the last of summer?

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Do: IndieTracks

IMG_1649I’ve spoken before on the blog about how much I love trains, and specifically steam trains

I’m not sure where this fascination comes from, but I do know that last weekend, en route to IndieTracks, I was much more excited by the tracks element!

The annual indie-pop festival is held at the Midland Railway Centre in Derbyshire, and promises three days of upbeat music and vintage charm in a unique setting

I first went in 2011, and since then I’ve been desperate to go back – but every year something has happened to prevent a return visit – until last weekend!

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As with my first experience of IndieTracks, Saturday was a scorcher – and it was for this reason (plus bad time keeping skills) that we decided to skip watching a band on a train 

That didn’t stop us from jumping on a steam train at the first opportunity, and taking a ride up the line and back

I was in my element, sticking my head out of the window and waving at a not-quite-so-enthusiastic-old-man in another carriage – my friends just calmly watched while sipping their beer

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Seeking some shade in the early afternoon sun, we headed into some of the exhibition sheds

I absolutely loved all the railway paraphernalia – it’s odd to think they were just functional signs at one point, but such desirable decorative objects now 

And we were sure to stop by The National Fork Lift Truck Heritage Centre – I’m afraid I couldn’t quite get as excited by this machinery, but it’s great that some people do appreciate fork lifts so much they created a dedicated museum!

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We returned to the main festival site and spent the rest of the day watching bands (on the main stage, in a huge shed, in a fake church, in a tent…) and chatting away (on the grass, on the fake beach, in a train-carriage-now-bar…)

As well as friends Andy and Lisa, it was fantastic to be able to spend time with Laura from make do and mend and her friend Caroline – I couldn’t believe how quickly the day flew by

What I love about IndieTracks is that you could know absolutely none of the bands and still have the most amazing day – it’s just such a lovely, friendly atmosphere, with so much to see and do

There was one act that I was really looking forward to though, and he definitely didn’t disappoint…

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Gruff Rhys performed an excellent set, with songs from his latest concept album American Interior, which follows the story of explorer John Evans, who travelled across America in the 1790s searching for a fabled Welsh-speaking tribe – very funny, very talented

What an excellent day – I’ll be back next year (fingers crossed!)

Know of any other festivals with unique settings? I’d love to hear about them!

And make sure to check out Laura’s review of IndieTracks HERE

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