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!

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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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Click: A reminder

Hello! Just a quick reminder that throughout this month B has been part in Sarah McGarva’s lovely photography blog Two Days The Same

As always with ‘photo a day’ challenges, it’s been fun to have a reason to pick up the camera and not be lazy about looking for interesting shots – and then get to see how someone else’s day differed

(B does however need to get better at sorting the snaps once she’s taken them – she’s been late a couple of times – sorry again Sarah!)

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