Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Summer Bank Holiday weekend

It's still a lovely sunny week but I can't help feeling now that the last bank holiday before Christmas has  gone, autumn is just around the corner.

I made the most of the long weekend and added last friday to it with a trip to York.
Nothing much on the agenda other than a potter about, some nice coffee and good food. I'll share a veggie eaterie which hasn't appeared on my blog before because it's about 5 years since I last went.

The place is El Piano on Grape Lane.

I hadn't been for a while because the tapas style menu used to be rather complicated and I did feel the portions had diminished slightly on that visit 5 yrs ago but I'd heard good things about it recently and decided to go back.
So pleased I gave it a second chance. We sat in the courtyard outside under a shady brolly.

The food portions were more than ample and it was more delicious than I ever remember, just wonderful and such a relaxed setting.
Below we have coconut dhal, mixed vegetable tempura and salsa salad.

My dining partner had spicy soya meatballs, falafel and a potato and dill salad. This was a particularly filling plate full! We couldn't manage pudding, shame as they sounded yummy.

Really enjoyed El Piano and it's back on my list of top veggie eateries.

My next trip out over the weekend was to the vintage fair at Brid Spa. Only got there for the last hour and a quick look but the stalls were very good and things were not too silly prices.

Here's what I picked up, some fabulous 60's material and a brightly coloured Yorkshire t-towel which I shall turn into something.

My last trip of the weekend was to Hornsea on Monday, started with a lovely, almost Mediterranean stroll along the prom.

Then to the Hornsea Pottery Nostalgia Day (it had run all weekend), and by all accounts had been very successful which is great news. Helped by a celebrity dealer to do valuations on the last day.
I am always amazed at how much pottery still exists in the form of dinner sets in immaculate condition. It's great for anyone wanting a vintage tea set or if you need replacement pieces.

This year saw a tribute to the designer John Clappison whose work I admire, with some rare unseen pieces which I found interesting.

Of course I did make a little purchase, these 2 mugs in a design I hadn't seen before, it is called Floret and I believe dates back to the 80's. They have a lovely mat exterior which I like.

Quite a nice weekend. :)

Monday, 19 August 2013

50th afternoon tea party at Bridlington Spa

My dear friend Martyn was 50 yesterday and he celebrated in style with a vintage tea party in one of the suites at the Brid Spa. The weather was perfect and you can see from the window shot it was like being aboard a cruise liner with the lovely view out to sea.

The theme was the Ritz and the 1930's, most people had dressed appropriately but I don't really do fancy dressing so opted for the smart casual look and avoided getting on any photos so as not to spoil the theme of the day. Here is Martyn in his suit and trilby

The tables were beautifully laid with vintage, mismatched china

After a few savoury nibbles the cake stands made an appearance and it was patisserie heaven with glazed tartlets, creamed pastries, Spa scones and French fondant fancies my particular favourite with that beautiful hint of almond to them.

We were treated to music by a local jazz trio and guests were invited to take a break at 5.30pm for the pleasure of a promenade and a breath of breezy, Bridlington sea air.

We returned in the early evening for more champagne and hot canapes and then the grand finale of fireworks on the beach which we viewed from the Spa upper balcony.

I have to admit I went a bit mad with the firework pics and I know they are mainly blurry because it was a handheld point and shoot but I quite like the effect. I think I enjoyed these more than bonfire night as it's usually too cold to enjoy them. It was a lovely late summer evening and the moon is nearly full shining across the water on the left.

A brilliant day and Martyn had a most wonderful time amongst family and friends.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Cooking and crafting in purple!

Purple is my favourite colour although aubergines are not my favourite vegetable. Infact I pretty much stay away from buying them or eating them after only remembering they tasted nasty when I found them in something a few years ago!

But there is light at the end of the tunnel, after all, this is someone who hated sprouts for about 30 maybe 40 years and I've embraced them in the last 5 or 6!

I think I've mentioned before that Morrisons in Beverley have a wonderful selection of exotic veg, usually at least 4 varieties of aubergine in shape and colour which do look tempting. Now if only a recipe presented itself that I quite fancied...... ta dah! A recent offering on the Allotment 2 Kitchen blog run by Shaheen, had a lovely little recipe that made me want to buy one of those aubergines.

There's no point in me repeating Shaheen's words so here is the link to her recipe if you fancy it

I bought this very pretty Graffiti Aubergine and this equally gorgeous purple pepper

These are some stages in production

And this is prior to tucking in, wobbly photo due to being pretty hungry and itching to dive in!

Verdict: it was a very lovely curry, easy to do and the aubergine was pretty much hidden so nothing was wasted and I'd say a good result for me. The only tiny bit which could be improved, and this is a criticism of our poorly performing aga, the oven isn't capable of getting hot enough to roast the aubergine at the high temperature to give it that charred bit of taste so it was a tad soggy and still with the aubergine taste. However  I think I've embraced my inner aubergine and I won't be put off by it and come the glorious day when I have my own nice oven, the sky will be the limit!

One other tiny purple thing. I have my gran's birthday party this week so here is a little card I made. It seems to be all birthdays this month with a 50th afternoon tea bash in a few days also.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Fabric competition results

Just a quick note to show the top 10 winning fabric designs for the 8 bit colour challenge. I didn't do brilliant but I did come within the top 100 at 60th place so I'm quite pleased with that.

A little bit surprised that the winning design was quite plain and not very colourful but I guess they know what will work for them. 
I quite like the 5th place which is a bird design.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Long weekend in the North East

My trips are always very last minute, I'm not comfortable booking my life away weeks in advance if I can avoid it. And sometimes you can get quite a cheap hotel by hanging on until the last minute. Last Thursday afternoon I found a cheapish B&B rate for a couple of nights at the hotel next to the Tees Valley Airport, only a small, quiet airport with a couple of flights a day so not a problem. 

I wanted to visit the Baltic Mills contemporary art centre in Gateshead, this would be a great opportunity for a cultural break and to see a few sights. I hadn't been into Gateshead or Newcastle for about 20 years so there were definitely some changes.

No trip up north would be complete without seeing the Angel of the North, here he is in all his glory.

After a little bit of getting lost on the road system we arrived at the Baltic Mills by the side of the Tyne, what a wonderful conversion of the old mill.

Of course I took my little friend Bob.

The mill has 6 floors with a restaurant on the top, there are some magnificent views to be had from the specially created viewing decks. Looking up and down the Tyne you can see the silvery, curvy Sage centre and the Millennium Bridge.

From one viewing deck you can see a Kittiwake colony ledging perilously on the edge, this is the largest inland Kittiwake colony in the UK.

My only criticism of the gallery itself would be the lack of art on display and on this visit no local artists work. There is a huge amount of space but there was only one full exhibition on by a German artist which wasn't quite to my taste. It seemed at least 2 floors were shut and out of bounds, there was some weird film and animation stuff in a small area downstairs but again, not my bag.
I wanted to see a mix of contemporary art, local artwork etc but sadly nothing really inspired me. I think the views from the building inspired me more than the current art on display.

It's a lovely surrounding area by the river side and very cosmopolitan, the weather was great too.

Didn't have chance to seek out any special coffee shops or veggie eateries but had a lovely weekend and visited other places such as Hexam (good wool shop & deli), Barnard Castle & Yarm.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Fabric for competition & more butterfly fabric

Thanks to everyone who joined in here and on FB in helping me decide which fabric to enter into the competition. The one with the most votes was the above which I've called Retro Pixel.

This particular competition is this weeks Spoonflower contest but it's a bit different to normal because the winning fabric is to be used by a US clothing company with bigger bucks at stake. After a week of voting it will go down to the top 10 before a winner is revealed, I'll keep you posted!

I'm also waiting for samples of a new fabric I have designed, again butterflies seem to be quite popular with me at the moment, this is called Butterfly Waltz in pink, maybe more colours will follow when I see the samples.

The weather looks promising today making me think summer is still here but I'm really noticing the nights drawing in. I'm doing a lot of sewing on a night and I've noticed I'm struggling with the natural light by 8pm and it feels like I've lost an hours evening sewing time since July, grrrr!
Hopefully it will stay nice for the weekend as I haven't really been anywhere much for months and I feel the need for a bit of culture (not the theatre or ballet I need to point out, not my thing at all!) I reckon a gallery and a change of scenery will suffice.

Have a nice weekend everyone. :)