29/3/12- Thoughtful Thursdays. The cost of words

Books can be expensive or cheap. You can get first editions that cost thousands, or go to a charity shop to get a book for 50p. Certain classics seem to be a dime a dozen at second hand shops, whilst sometimes your best bet is to get to the bookstore to get the newest release. 

I read Hunger Games last week which I enjoyed, it was a fast read, and a quick escape. I ordered the next two books on Amazon and couldn't believe the difference in price. 

If I were to buy the second and third books in Waterstones (chain bookstore) they would be around 7.99 (12.70 Canadian) each. However, I purchased them on Amazon and they were 7 pounds for two! How can you argue with that?

There is discussion that companies like Amazon are killing local bookstores as they just can't compete with those prices. But what's a girl to do? We have a few small independent bookshops in town, but how long will they be around? And can Waterstones compete with Amazon prices?

Oxfam's book shop (charity shop) in town has lots of books to choose from, and lots of new ones as well. I just bought "Room" from there for 2 pounds. However, its hard to find new releases or popular books. 

What are your thoughts on this? Where do you get your books? The cheaper the better? Or if you can, do you support the independent stores?

Reminds me of Shakespeare & Co in Paris. Source.

28/2/12- Patty is back!

This week we've had such glorious weather, it's been fantastic! 
Lots of bare legs (and shirtless teenage boys), summer dresses and ice cream is happening round here this week. 

I took Patty out for a ride yesterday, my first of the season. Patty is my super-fast-sporty-"I feel like I am in a race"- cycle. She did well on her first day out this year.

Spring has sprung! 

27/3/12- My new fave baking book

For todays 'Taste of Britain Tuesdays' I am going to talk about a recent addition to my bookshelf. 'The Great British Book of Baking' is a cookbook based on a show of the same name. This book is from last seasons show. 

The premise of the show is exactly what you would guess. Contestants create delightful British baked goods to win the title of Great British Baker (or something of that sort). The show is filmed in a marquee tent on the grounds of some country house, and is so visually appealing to watch. Last year a chap by the name of Edd Kimber won, and has now come out with his own baking book "The Boy who Bakes"

(Give him a follow on twitter if you like reading about baking and all things related).

I've made three recipes from this book so far and all have been amazing. Banana bread, brownies and scones. (All very simple recipes I know. But if they can give me successful simple recipes, I have faith in the more difficult ones). Over the past few years of living here I've tried to find a good scone recipe, and this book has it. Amazing.

Not to mention the amazing recipes, the book itself is a treat to own. Lovely illustrations, nice recipe layout, great paper (I think the type of paper in a book is important!). The neat thing, is at the start of each chapter they talk about that genre of baking and what it's all about. Like biscuits- where did they come from? What makes them special? How did they factor in Britain's history?

I have a feeling you will be hearing about this book more in the upcoming months. 

Drool worthy pics, and nice recipe layout.

How lovely!

Intro to the pudding section. Everything you wanted to know about puddings!

26/3/12- Feels like home!

Happy Monday! 

If you are reading this from the UK then I am sure you enjoyed some beautiful weather this weekend- wasn't it lovely? It was around 17 degrees here! The rest of the week should be similar. How exciting that Spring has arrived! For those in Calgary, how is the snow? 

A few weeks ago a group of gals and myself went down to London to celebrate a hen do. This was my first British hen do, and yes, it is very similar to a Canadian 'stagette'. 

One of our events on the saturday afternoon was to head to the Ice Bar in London for a drink. No one in the group had been to an ice bar, (Not even our lovely Swedish friend where the original ice bar is located) so we were all pretty excited about it. 

It was a neat experience for the weekend, though not something you'd do on a regular basis I am sure. You end up being in the room for 45 min, having a drink in a ice glass, and being surrounded by walls of ice. Music is pumping and lights are constantly changing to give it this club atmosphere. Can't forget to mention the lovely hooded capes we were give to keep ourselves warm during the experience.

The hooded capes you got to wear. Gloves were included as well!

The ice glasses and bar. 

This week I am excited to get some DIY started again, so watch this space. 

21/3/12- Not always picturesque

I like to take pretty pictures. Lovely scenes that make you go 'oooh' and 'ah'. 
The majority of my photos around town are categorized in that genre. 

One day I found myself waiting under a train bridge, by an art studio, waiting to meet a man about renting out a space there. 

Below is a kebab shop called 'The Flaming Great'. Every time I walk by this place I think of two things from home. The Calgary Flames, and my lovely Greek friend. My mind keeps thinking this says 'Flaming Greek' hence why I think of my Greek friend. I am ok with that.

17/3/12- Happy Paddys Day!

Happy Paddy's Day!
(I know, it was two days ago- but we were too busy celebrating for me to post!)

I made these cupcakes in celebration of the day, and I have to tell you that they turned out amazing. I think using Guinness in the cake allows the cakes to stay moist, and you really can't taste it (just in case you are not a fan). I highly suggest giving these a try next year, or for any old reason.

100% positive feedback from all that I gifted these to, and I think I will make them again next year. 

We had a fantastic Paddy's day. Its not about green beer or leprechauns as the day has become in North America. We are lucky to celebrate with a fantastic group of Irish lads and lassies, and plenty of Guinness was consumed. 

Measuring out the Guinness in my matryoshka doll measuring cup

Lovely, chocolatey, Guinness cakes

A bit of Baileys in the icing...

And whiskey in the chocolate ganache

Finished product!

Chocolate ganache in the centre 

Happy Paddys Day!

14/3/12- Page turning

I think blogging about books is one of my fave parts of this blog- not only do I get to share what I am reading, but most importantly I get to hear what YOU are reading which I love.

I've just put in an Amazon order with a few books that you, my lovely readers, have suggested. In the meantime here is what's sitting on my shelf. 

I've not started reading this yet, but I am very interested to see what its like. 

I've just finished 'Watching Willow Watts' by the lovely Talli Roland. I've had the chance to 'meet' Talli via twitter and her blog, so it was delightful reading one of her books. 

Really interested to get stuck in with this book as I've heard a lot about it.

This months Oh Comely mag- YAY! I mentioned this mag in my last post here

One of the illustrations in this months Oh Comely. How cute (and true!). 

So tell me- what are YOU reading?

12/3/12- Comfort food

A few weeks ago Alice from Quaint Living posted this lovely recipe for homemade granola. I think granola is a comfort breakfast, and I enjoy that you can make it yourself! 

I highly suggest giving this recipe a try, it's nice to adjust the seeds/nuts/fruit yourself according to your tastes. Not only that but granola is healthy breakfast and makes the house smell lovely when its toasting. Thanks Alice! 

Lovely golden granola toasting away

This batch included walnuts, sunflower seeds, sliced almonds and dried fruit

11/3/12- Cycle Sundays

Cycle Sundays!

I've not rode my bikes since September, I think its time to get back out there. 

Taken at Camden market last weekend

8/3/12- Thoughtful Thursdays- Challenges

Thoughtful Thursdays is something I started last week....thought I'd drop a new feature in the blog to keep me motivated and to change things up a bit. Now, I like to keep things light here, so I probably won't start talking about politics, the financial crisis or the new topic that has lit up the internet- Kony 2012. (If you've read this blog for a while you know it's all about crafts, baking and flowers ;)

Yesterday after a yoga session, I worked on mastering the headstand. (This is being done over many sessions, not just one!) I've done yoga for a good amount of time, and am finding I need challenge in poses, and have decided to take on this. (By the way, I miss Lululemon).

It got me thinking about challenges in our daily lives, and how I think I need to take on more of them. Nothing wrong with a bit of personal challenge...so this is mine right now.

What's yours?

7/3/12- The gift of cake

A friend made me a lovely earl gray tea loaf recently- what a cute way to wrap it up!

5/3/12- Adventures in fruit

Have you ever tried quince? 

A local grocery store was selling some, along with a recipe for roasted quince so I decided to try it. The recipe sounded like I was making a batch of mulled wine, and the house smelled like that as it was baking. 

The inside of a quince. Quite hard to cut through, and looked like an apple on the inside. The seeds were scooped out. 

Cut side down in a baking tray, cloves piercing the skin. 

A mixture of red wine, lemon, honey and cinnamon sticks were poured over.

It's then put in the oven for an hour and 15 min. What you are left with is quite a soft-wine-infused fruit that has the texture of a pear, and is nice with ice cream. Saying that I didn't love it, and it seemed like a long time and a lot of effort for a few spoons of a fruit. 

1/3/12- Thoughtful Thursdays- Spring is coming

Is it just me, or does Spring feel like its coming? (I apologize if you are in YYC and its snowing and -18). 

The sun is out in the 'Shire today, and all of a sudden I've noticed on Pinterest all the lovely springy feeling pins. They make me want to dust off my sewing machine, get outside, and enjoy that lovely Springy feeling!                                  

Create some homemade bunting for the garden via Sparkle Power

Plant a wee veg patch via Boys Life

Jazz up your lemonade via I Love Eco Blog

Lovely interior florals from 79 ideas

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