Monday, 31 December 2012

More Street Style

For this picture I thought I'd try watercolour with pen and I quite like it. More graphicy.

I spotted this cool lady (as always) on the street between The Art Gallery and Boots. She had white hair, despite being young, and was wearing a pink fake fur coat and a long turquoise jersey skirt. It takes a lot of confidence to wear a great outfit like this.

Pink and turquoise are two of my favourite colours too. I also love green and red. I think I got too obsessed by 'Color me Beautiful' when I was younger.(I'm a Winter, apparently). But it kind of works for me. Test your colour season at the link above. It's not just frivolous, Alistair and his colleagues had this done in their office for workwear by an image consultant. It could be a good way to update your look for next year!

Saturday, 29 December 2012

52 Books Project

In preparation for my Book a Week Project, today I went to the library. I felt very ancient as, since I was last there, they had re-equipped it with self scanning machines and all manner of gizmos. My plan is to borrow four books, which I can keep out for a month.
(I would also urge people to support their local library before the government closes them all down.)

Anyway, the books I got are:

Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich, the 19th (!) in a series of comedy romance crime novels I enjoy.

Jeanette Winterson's The Stone Gods. I like her books, I was actually hoping for The Powerbook, but it was out. It is a sci-fi romance.

The Streets of Babylon by Carina Burman ('Translated from the Swedish by Sarah Death(!)) Scandi-crime set in Victorian London. I'm far too addicted to Victorian London crime but this seemed a bit different.

And Sara Maitland's Gossip From The Forest, about the origins of fairy tales. I saw this recommended in Vogue but it wasn't in Waterstone's so I have ordered it online.

Monday, 24 December 2012

What Elinor Did (2012)

Following my plans for things to do in 2013, I am pondering what I did this year...

The biggy was, I became an Auntie! Little Ava (child genius, gorgeous, hilarious, brilliant and other devoted Aunt blatherings) is the kiddie of Alistair's brother Iain and his wife Lynsey. This is very exciting as she is the first new generation and the first genetic female Dunbar for many generations (all boys). Sadly she lives in Northern Ireland though so we don't see her much (sad face.)

My second excitement of this year was running a 5k. I've posted about this already, so I won't go on, but for me this is like the equivalent of the moon landing.

Some small ones: Hired a car and drove around somewhere completely new in it (Dorset). Next step, driving abroad...

And yesterday I cooked a lobster! Ok, it was dead, pre-cooked and frozen, but I did have to tear it apart with my bare hands (Alistair assisting with nutcrackers). It looked like something from Alien and was armoured like a tank. More scary culinary challenges appreciated...

What have you done this year, readers?

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Pre-New Year Resolutions.

I do enjoy an architectural drawing, like when I was at art college.

Anyway, for many years I used to make a list of New Year Resolutions which were uselessly vague such as 'look fab'.

So this year they are specific, and following agreement at a girly pub gathering, they are before New Year to remove pressure and annoyance.

They are, so far:
Climb Bennachie and Dunnideer (spectacular and historic Aberdeenshire hills near my two places of work, one has a castle on, the other a prehistoric fort).
Climb the climbing wall (pictured) at my local gym.
Drive a tank (with Alistair).
Complete the Baker Hughes 10k.
Read a novel a week (I used to borrow 3 books a week from the library).
Go see a proper ballet and a big, classic musical (maybe in Edinburgh).
Eat out with Alistair once a month.
And, fittingly, do a big painting!

Friday, 7 December 2012

Welly Weather

It's very snowy in Aberdeen at the moment. I'm going out to a birthday party tonight and was trying to explain the classic British look of party dress, cardi and wellies. Strangely, I couldn't find a picture, although Vogue and suchlike are always depicting grungy ballgowns...

Anyway, I did my own. You can make up your own story for why this posh girl in a ballgown is standing thoughtfully in the mud.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Face at Forty-ish...

In a conversation at the weekend, my Mum Pauline remarked that there comes an age when you have to stop wearing make-up, and I countered that I was reaching an age where you feel the need to wear it.

As part of my towards forty project, a picture of my eye. I love my green eyes, inherited (well, not the eyes, the colour) from my Gran Jo. As you age, however, they tend to get a bit bloodshot, eyelids droop and creases appear beneath. To be fair, my eyes were often bloodshot when I was young too, but that was mostly hangovers.

Anyway, what make-up do I feel the urge to wear now?
I discovered on a trip to Boots, that make-up comes in a variety of hi-tech forms now. For instance, this Maybelline Colour Sensational Lipstain is actually a felt pen! Amazing. Good to draw in thin and faded lip bits but too dry for all over. Mine is in Blushing, which is a natural pink. Also lined up on the desk are: Benefit Sugarbomb (brilliantly natural blush colour) Max Factor Masterpiece Liquid Eyeshadow (stays on and doesn't go crepy), Max Factor Mastertouch Undereye Concealer (light and doesn't clag round eyes) and Benefit Ooh La Lift (undereye tightener and highlighter.) Moisturising Eyedrops are also good for those bloodshot days.

Things I've buzzed away include: shimmer eyeshadow (makes your eyes look like they've been mummified) thick foundation, matte lipsticks and powder (except on my red nose).

I also have two top tips; one from my boss: curl your eyelashes and then mascara them to make your eyes look bigger. And secondly; check out this brilliant website from Lisa Eldridge with gorgeous make-up videos, from the helpful to the outrageous!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Incongruous Buildings

I drive past this lovely building every day, on my way to work.

Dating from 1905, it houses the Broadstraik Inn. Apparently, the inn offers excellent local food, although I haven't eaten there yet (add to project list). I often see people drinking beer outside when I drive home in the summer, and I envy them.

To me, this Arts and Crafts buildings look like it would be more at home in the depths of the English countryside, although maybe you differ and see shades of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Sadly, I haven't found out any information on the architect or anything, an overlooked gem.

Does anyone else love any incongruous buildings, ducks out of water buildings? Or know of any more examples of Arts and Crafts architecture in Aberdeenshire? Answers on the back of a postcard please....

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Another Vintage Handbag

Another vintage handbag for my growing collection! This one was found while on a charity shop trip with my friend Sarah Rooftops.

It's in gold fabric, and is a bit structured. To paraphrase the film Crazy People (1990) 'Boxy is Good' in the world of handbags, if not Volvos.

My three great handbag style icons are Grace Kelly, the Queen and Mrs Thatcher. The latter, while totally evil, did sport some awesomely intimidating handbags. And give rise to the saying 'a handbagging'. Here's a link to an article on the cultural meanings of Mrs Thatcher's handbags, among others.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

More Street Style

A winter street style spotted in Aberdeen today:
Giant felt hat, fur coat, yellow heeled boots, studded black leather gloves.
I often spot cool people on the street between the art gallery and the town centre. I'm impressed by anyone who dares wear an unusual hat.

I seem to be seeing more fur coats of late, which worries me. I'm hoping they are all fake or second hand...I keep seeing second hand fur everywhere and it is fabulous, but I worry that any fur wearing will promote this horrible industry.
I do have a vintage dress with fur collar though. I think of it as my un-PC dress.Here's a link to one of my favourite style websites with a bit on fur collars, anyway.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Why blog?

I was wondering, but blog stands for web log. I suppose a blog is like an online diary or journal, except mine is more like a sketchbook.

When I was doing art in school, and later at art college, we were encouraged to keep a small sketchbook for things we found interesting or inspiring. My blog is sort of like those much loved books and I try to share these teeny snapshots into my life with friends and family here.

My husband Alistair encouraged me to start a blog with my own pictures as I had been gripped by a long creative block since leaving art college in 1996. That's a long time, but I worked so hard there I felt my creative juices had been drained dry, which made me very sad. As well as the blog, most of my rediscovered creative energy is channelled into my work (a castle is a very inspiring place to be) cooking, vintage shopping and reinventing my wardrobe and occassional knitting.( I can't spell occassional though).

I try and keep my blog light and fun, although that's not because watercolour is just a medium for pretty pictures. One of my favourite artists; Paul Nash, produced amazing watercolours as a war artist in WW1 and 2. It's also because I am quite a private person and don't want to air my inner agonies or deepfelt beliefs with the world at large. Anyway, like it or loathe it, here it is; my blog. (I've also been told off for using far too many commas, but hey, it's my punctuation of choice.)

Friday, 9 November 2012

Beautiful Car

As you may know, my work is often the home of many lavish weddings.

Today, I was delighted to see the wonderful retro cars the bride had chosen. There was this 1957 Mercury Montclair Turnpike, a white 1948 Oldsmobile Convertible and a 1960s VW minibus!

She was co-ordinated with them in a fabulous 1950s style chiffon dress with diamante embroidery.

I got a look in the car, which had bench seats and a wonderful retro dash with many futuristic dials.

Here is the company's website for any car enthusiasts/wedding planners.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

More Fortyisms

Apologies; I have used this picture before. But it perfectly illustrates my latest forty-esque rambling.

On the left, a vision of sophistication and elegance. On the metaphorical right, me, dressing like a children's TV presenter from the 1980s.

In the middle, a useful wardrobe purge of the multi-coloured (eyesore) the horizontally striped (make your boobs look massive) and the plain weird (extra long plunge front jumper with differently coloured sleeve motifs).

And the oft heard resolution not to impulse buy stuff in the sales. And that if it also comes in black that can be an option too.  And that confidence and personality doesn't have to manifest itself in outfits that are damaging the retinas of any passer by...

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Ultra Hamster

For fitness enthusiasts: Ultra Hamster in a retro weighlifting leotard. You never see those anymore, or hear the word leotard much either.

As a kid I always envied the gymnastics girls in my school because of their shiny, super-hero-like leotards.

Here is a link to the history of the leotard, with interesting bits on fashions in fitness wear.

Monday, 29 October 2012


A sad sight spotted at the end of our road on Sunday morning.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Fabulous en France

On my annual trip to Paris, I am always inspired by the amazingly stylish people you see going about. Following from this (and featuring my blog's first ever male fashion picture) I offer the following tips which I am trying to apply to my own wardrobe. (If I didn't have a rotten cold so shrouded in a giant jumper, that is.)

Cast aside: Your Ugg boots and fake tan. You won't see them here. Yes, I know France might actually enjoy sunshine, unlike Scotland. And maybe it's not quite so cold.

Embrace: knee boots over skinny jeans with a fitted jacket, lots of black with bonkers accessories like bags and scarves, everything leopard pattern and fur (sometimes real, sadly). A great Paris look is a black mac, dress and black court shoes. Red lipstick is a must have. Yes, you can still wear those shoes high. Stride with confidence, feeling fab.

And gents. On the right, a gent I saw strolling along Boulevard Montparnasse wearing a full evening suit with bowtie and olive green shoes. Amazing.

Parisian men either dress very classic (with a twist) or very hipster with cardigans, coloured jeans, sneakers (not trainers.)

And so to my wardrobe project: A daring purchase of a leopard pattern belted mac in the Hobbs sale. An ongoing search for a pair of black high heels (seriously new territory for me) and for a classic black handbag. Any advice on the latter two appreciated.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Night Time

This is a wonderfully Gothic church clock tower, especially when lit up at night. It's Holburn West Church on Great Western Road and is (sadly) a great landmark of mine, on my route picking Alistair up from Working Late at Night in the Winter. It does cheer my car journey though.

Next to it is a lovely house which I fantasise about living in. Sometimes the current owners leave the front door open while going about their Perfect Family Life and I can see a beautiful Victorian staircase inside.

I will try and paint that sometime, too.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Hello Puddies

This weekend we are feeding a friend's two cats. This is a picture of cats I drew on my shopping list to remind me.
Actually so far we have only seen one cat (the other is presumably hiding somewhere). And the first cat gave me the evils the entire time I was there, probably thought I was a burglar or something.
Also, the cats are black but if I coloured them in you wouldn't see the wee faces.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

That Forty Project

Serene facial, not disembodied zombie head, before you ask.
I'm pleased to report (for anyone who fancies trying) that regular running and a healthy diet will remove middle aged spread AND return your bum back up to where it ought to be. Well worth 1hr-ish of weekly suffering. I recently ran my first 5K and am now onto my 10K training programme!
A parallel strand of That Forty Project is a series of trips to that much feared venue The Beauty Salon. PureSpa is the most friendly and does excellent online deals. I've tried variously:
Back Massage: fantastic, really sorts out those crunchy malformed bits. Hot Stone Back Massage: soothing, but a sad lack of vigourous kneading so not so good as the basic massage.
Manicure: completely pointless with my manual job. Acrylic nails: too freaky as you can't remove it and have to put your hands in a UV lamp which made me think of hand cancer.
Pedicure: will awesomely transform your feet especially if you get the scary scalpel hard skin removal.
Facial; feels amazing, afterwards looked exactly the same as before. If Amy Pond thinks she has eye wrinkles she should see mine. Think I'll be spending that facial money on some lovely face cream instead.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Race Day!

As I have been wittering on about for a while, (and in my post about the impending 4-0) I have been training for the last 4 months towards running a 5k race.
5k is about 3 miles and is easy to walk, but hard to run. It was certainly a lot tougher than I thought. I worked up from running for one minute at a time, until I could run for 40 minutes.
I was so excited when race day came. The race was at Hazlehead Park in Aberdeen and it was a lovely fresh, sunny Autumn day.
After an excruciatingly embarassing 'warm-up' about 200 of us set off. Some zoomed away immediately, some jogged along and some just walked. Me and Alistair were about in the middle group (Alistair running slowly to stay with me.) After about 10mins, the dreaded energy drop set in, but soon lifted and we were beetling steadily along. We did two laps of the park and speeded up for a good pound towards the finish line. The feeling of elation and achievement as I passed under the inflatable arch (pictured) was colossal, I felt brilliant! We did the run in 35 minutes which was better than I hoped for. I could have gone faster but wanted to finish and not have to rest part way. My next project is a 10k next year...

Wednesday, 19 September 2012


I've always lived near parks, and as a flat inhabitant, parks have been my gardens.
I also got married in my favourite park in Aberdeen; Duthie Park. This park is currently being restored back to its Victorian glory and I can see this viewing mound with flagpole from my house! I also like to go walking and running there.
My other favourite parks in Aberdeen are Albyn Place Gardens; an elegant urban garden with an amazing, enormous horse chestnut tree and Johnston Gardens; a Japanese inspired garden built in a rocky valley with ponds and bridges.
All are free and open to the public all the time. Visit your local park today!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Go-to Recipes

This evening I'm cooking pea and bacon risotto. Which I cook a lot. I was thinking about recipes that I cook all the time (so I don't even need a recipe). They're all easy comfort foods which are what I like to eat and cook. They're also all real carb beasts as one of my friends complained, on being served pasta with garlic bread. Hey, I like carbohydrates.

The Usual Suspects line up; Macaroni cheese, marinated chicken in pitta with hummous, chilli, butternut squash soup, beef bourgignon, risotto, quiche lorraine.

Do other people have things they always cook and any recommends for a carb loving woman in an inclement climate?

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Whisky Tasting?

We went to Edinburgh to have a dinner and whisky tasting at The Whisky Society with my inlaws, brother in law and his girlfriend. I must admit, I was a bit nervous about this, thought it would be really po-faced and stuff.
Actually it was a great night out! The whisky society has a members only restaurant/bar which is in an old bonded warehouse in Leith and is very Victorian, lots of wood panelling. Food wasn't bog standard 'Scottish', I had beetroot risotto.
Anyway, to the whisky! We had three whiskies, (pictured on left) mild (Speyside?) woody/fruity (Highland?) and smoky (Islands). To my surprise I liked the smoky, peaty one best. Their whiskies aren't the usual branded ones and were pretty firey, coming in at about 50% alcohol. I'm proud to say I didn't splutter or cough once I had tried them undiluted though (unlike some of us...) There was a lovely barman who talked us through the tasting and about whisky in general. For instance, did you know most of the flavour comes from the type of wood in the barrel? I didn't. Think this could be a new vice, excited about trying more whisky soon!

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Pop Up Vintage Shop

I love pop-up shops. These are shops which appear for a few days in some empty shop or dismal shopping centre or echoing hotel, like magic. Then they are gone again. Which should be sad but makes it more exciting!

One such is the Candybelle Vintiques Fair held in the moribund Academy Shopping Centre, Aberdeen.

I scored this lovely (1970s?) dress by German label Emmeline Wessel (£30) and gold lurex 60s evening bag (£8). There were also amazing 60s homewares and a VW campervan selling old luggage and decorative items. Use facebook, council websites or flyers to track down your nearest pop up fairs, it's well worth it!

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Fabulous Fifties Cookware

I realise this lovely icing set has just the same colour scheme as my blog! Kitschtastic! I also think I remember one of these in the kitchen when I was a kid (which wasn't in the 50s, actually.)

I bought this from ebay, where it cost the same as a rubbish plastic new one. This one is all metal with a billion fancy nozzles. The project goes on...

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Avengers Assembling

And Hawkeye and Black Widow, the remaining Avengers. I think they are kind of a couple so it makes sense for them to be together, plus they are both in black leather.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Clock Turret...

This clock tower is homed in a baronial turret on the sensational Hospitalfield House in Arbroath.

Appropriately enough, the house is used as an arts centre and used to be an artist's home. The interiors are a time capsule of Victorian life and full of fascinating things.

The owner also built an enormous, creepy mortuary chapel for his family which is housed in a nearby cemetery and is well worth a visit.

I discovered the house while lost on a badly signed road detour, which proves there is always a silver lining...

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Avengers Assemble in my Kitchen.

As Alistair would point out, this is only one permutation of the Avengers line-up, which has homed many heroes over the years.

And sorry, no Black Widow or Hawkeye as I only had four gingerbread men. The gingerbread heroes project may be a goer though....

Icing Ingenious

Who knew icing was So Difficult! In a feminist moment, I'd claim it's another of the many things that people assume 'Women Do It So It Must be Easy'. It's not.

Following on from the marathon Star Wars, I acquired cutters, reference manual Biscuiteers Book of Iced Biscuits, and many food colours of the type that make small children hyper.

So far I've wrestled with consistency (from cement to water) nozzles (from supersoaker to hypo) and layering techniques. Attempt 2 was Avengers Gingerbread men (ready bought.) And so the project begins.

For no prize at all, name the cutter shapes on the left.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Braver dislikes...

OK then, following a request from No1 blog Follower, my Mum, a list (in no particular order) of things I don't like, but others do. Feel free to disagree with me on the many contentious points....

TV Soaps. Reality TV. Taking part in Team Sports. Anything involving wellingtons. Really posh restaurants. Designer shops. New houses in a historical style. Chick flicks. Religious ceremonies. Wearing trousers. Platform shoes. Mascara. White. Football. Tuna. Beach holidays. Leather sofas. Bus travel. Chinese food. Waxing. R n'B. Celebrity magazines. The Daily Mail. G-strings. Range Rovers. Casinos. Clowns. Swimming pools. Fast food. Mobile phones. Chat shows. Fake tan.

I can see, in fact, this could be the longest list of all time. Maybe I'm just Cheesed Off With Modern Life.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Learning to Like It

I wasn't brave enough to do a list of things I don't like (my friend Sarah Rooftops did this in her blog and it was fascinating, and controversial.) I have lots of things I really loathe with a passion but I thought it might upset some people if my true feelings were revealed.

So I thought I'd do an uplifting list of things I used to hate or fear and now don't! (Apologies, vegetarians for that meat picture again..)

The picture brings me on to
1) Rare and scary meat. Morally, I feel if I'm going to be a carnivore I should face challenging meat. I discovered I liked black pudding, and now I can eat rare steak like Alistair. Still working on haggis.

2) Heights. I used to be a nauseous, quivering jelly at height. When I went to work in a towering castle full of spiral stairs and followed up with a build and climb scaffolding course, I found the fear gradually subsided as I was exposed to it. Now I get quite a kick out of being 'at the top'.

3) Exercise. I described in a previous blog entry how I started running. Sometimes I'm wheezy and short of breath when I run, but now I don't panic and think I'm going to die, because IT GOES AWAY. And I enjoy the running, too. It makes me feel stronger and more confident.

4) Social events. I used to always say no. As I started to trust people more, I started to enjoy the company and stop worrying about what they thought of me. I still sometimes get panicky at formal do's though, but 9 times out of 10, if I go out, I enjoy it, despite the butterfles before-hand.

And some things I'm still afraid of: Fairground Rides, Taking off and landing in a Plane, The Dark, Extreme Weather, Daddy-Long-Legs insects, the Telephone, large Birds (such as the infamous Aberdeen Seagulls.)

Monday, 9 July 2012

Secret Sundial

Not really a tower and not really a clock...

Before the clock we had the sundial. This wonderfully complex sundial, possibly dating from the 1600s, hides away in a gloomy corner of Duthie Park Winter Gardens.

Apparently it has been in the park since 1900, but I would love to discover where it was before.

Other sundial spottings would also be of great interest. I have already had one on a church clock tower (triple -score!) from my friend Lola. (Her awesome blog.) There is one in the walled garden at Castle Fraser where I work, too.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Blog Challenge

My friend Sarah Rooftops issues a regular blog project every week. I have been trying to follow these (sometimes, when I am organised.)

This weeks is Recommend Three Books to Friends. This year, I have been recording books I read in a diary. I thought I'd recommend three novels I'd read recently.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children: An odd and intriguing fantasy horror novel illustrated with strange historical photographs collected by the author. A real one-off, this one.

Ready Player One: A really unusual adventure mystery set in a virtual future world of old school arcade gaming. Sounds weird, but is great fun, original and I couldn't put it down. This one is great for all ages too.

The Pleasures of Men: A very dark and disturbing thriller set in Victorian London, where a mentally ill girl becomes obsessed with a serial killer. Brilliantly written though and incredibly gripping. I do like Victorian crime thrillers.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Spotting in Stonehaven

This clock tower is sported by Stonehaven Town Hall, a lovely C19th building with this spectacularly Wren/Hawksmoor style baroque tower which looms over the town.

Stonehaven is one of my favourite places, a picturesque fishing village just south of Aberdeen. There are nice pubs around the sandy harbour full of boats, where we took the in-laws for lunch.

There is also lots of interesting shopping. My favourite shops are:

John Briggs Persian Carpet Specialist (a wonderfully exotic shop in a historic building, full of lovely carpets amd textiles from Turkey and Iran.)
Dunnottar Wines and Spirits (unusual selections of micro-beers, wines, champagnes, gin, whisky etc. Friendly staff and free tastings.)
E Guilianotti Sweets (proper old fashioned sweetshop with lovely historic interior.)

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Fighting Fit for Forty

First, apologies to any lovely readers who are already over forty.

Secondly, I know I'm not actually forty until year after next but, as Sally says in When Harry Met Sally...'But it's out there!'

Inspired by the many superfit people I know (including my awesome brother who runs marathons in the American wilderness) I decided to fight back, rather than sitting on the couch, feeling feeble and moaning about my mild asthma, lack of energy etc and generally declining depressively toward the big 4-0.

Running is really hard for me, but already I can breathe better, look better and enjoy being out in the fresh air. I'm only on week 3, but I have (always a reckless optimist) signed up for a 5K in September.

I would like to thank all the people who have supported me in starting this scary thing, especially my husband Alistair, my friend Fiona and my brother Tim.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Blog Twinning

This post is twinned with my better half's awesome blog Pointless Ephemera. Far from pointless, it covers cocktails, planes and scale modelling (mostly, and in no particular order.) Try it, you'll like it.

This is a bottle of Luxardo, a weirdly retro sour cherry spirit, popular in early cocktails from the 20s and 30s. We found it in my favourite deli Valvona Crolla in Leith Walk, Edinburgh which offers all things Italian.

I assume the bottle is straw wrapped for transport and it reminded me of all those straw covered Chianti bottles you got in 1970s Italian restaurants. Do you still find those at all? People used to put candles in them and the wax dribbled down the sides....

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Get Ahead...

Another from my Fashion in the Street series...

The amazing sunny weather today brought people out in all kinds of fabulous outfits. This girl's hat was so spectacular that people were turning to look in the street!

The sunshine makes everyone a bit braver...

I was loving the many hats on display, from cotton kiddies sunhats to straw fedoras.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Spire Time!

This is such a lovely photo I thought I'd use it as is. My second clock tower is from the lovely Ferryhill South Church of 1872. When I went to photo it I discovered the bonus of a bake and book sale was on too! We used to come here to vote but they must have re-organised so now we go on Holburn Street. As a card carrying atheist that's pretty much the only time I go in a church! I love the buildings though.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Time to Look Around

Apologies for lay-out, Blogger has been redone and I can't get the hang of it. This is the Holburn Junction Tram Shelter (now office) and is the first of my new blog project finds. The project: to find and draw clock towers around Aberdeen, especially working ones. I love a clock tower and the links they provide to days before the wrist watch, as well as being an exciting architectural punctuation to the skyline.

The Holburn Tram Shelter has an art-deco style mini tower and I love to think of people looking up at the tower and then peering along the road for their tram approaching. The building is sadly, easily overlooked, as it is unloved and right by a huge busy roundabout at Garthdee. But check it out if you are around there.

So look up today and find those clock towers where you live! Any pointers to Aberdeen clock towers would be gratefully there one near where you live?

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Monday, 23 April 2012

Depressed fish

Yesterday I made trout baked in a foil parcel. I was very proud of myself for facing up to a whole fish, especially with his reproachful expression.

Pros: fish delicious! Overcoming adversity.

Minus: fish slime, googly eyeball in fish skull.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Knitted London Mouse

I feel quite bad about the knitted mouse as (sadly) I spend time at work removing dead ones. If only they didn't like eating paper and textiles it would be much better for all of us.
Toerag the mouse has little arms but you can't see them under his big ears. He is sitting on a knitted hot cross bun (present, not my own work) and looking out of the window.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Three Things April 2

1) Discussion of Flinders Petrie and the Egypt Exploration Society on Radio 2.

2) Cup of tea and book on the social history of furniture.

3) Having all kinds of creative work ideas...(fear me!)

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Lothar the Knitted Raven

Second bird from my Knitted London book!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Three Things April

1) Hail bouncing off Alistair's umbrella while the sun shone, me trying to catch some.

2) Filling my birthday Cath Kidston pig moneybox with foreign coins, including pre-euro and gaming tokens!

3) Then doing the pins and needles in feet dance while Alistair tried to tread on my feet.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

The Mystic Hill

This is the hill of Dun-o-Deer which looms up over you as you travel the Aberdeen-Huntly Road (as I do once a week.)

It remins me of Glastonbury Tor or something, it is obviously a very meaningful place. The structure on the top is a vitrified hill fort.

More info here:

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

A Good Deed

Not my good deed, but a council man's. I got to the dump (now called the Recycling Centre) before it opened. After driving gloomily past with my single tin of rusting, leaky paint, I went back and approached the gate. To my surprise, my tin of paint was accepted. Is there a happier phrase that 'no problem'? Not in that moment.

It's not all bad.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

He lives!

Birdie the pigeon in his completed glory. I got a bit confused in the middle so he seems to be wearing a knitted belt, but not bad for my first 3D knit!

Three Things April 1

1) Learning new knitting skills: I-cord and knitting in the round. Making pigeon from Stitch London which my Mum got me for my birthday. It's good to be knitting again, relaxing.

2) These new skills now mean I can do an umbilical cord hat for my cutey niece, Ava.

3) Going to see 2001 at the Belmont Cinema last night. It looks awesome on the big screen, although I still don't have a clue what it all means!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Three Things March 7

VW Camper Van zooming along in sunshine.
(I'm not very good at drawing vehicles.)

Staff BBQ. Due to BBQ fail, food actually cooked in mini-oven but still excellent.

Another scorchingly hot day!

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Three Things March 6

1) We have Summer in March! It's gorgeous!

2) Birthday flowers from friends (as I'm away on my birthday). They smell fantastic, I think it's the freesias. There are also tulips in them, which I love.

3) We woke up early so the day feels really long...with lots of time to do things.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Three Things March 5

1) Discovering a huge toad under the beech hedge at Leith Hall.

2) At the Alford Charity shop (recommended!) spotting a man who informed me he was buying the baby bath 'to grow beetroot in', a pair of West German Strumpfhose (Cold War Tights!) and a tupperware jelly mould with interchangable motif lids (which I bought.)

3) Re-started my castle trips with a trip to Harthill and a wander round Kirkton of Oyne (but discovered my castle book had gone mouldy in my car boot over the winter :( not good.)

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Food Flavours

In Peckhams yesterday I discovered a jar of basil jam, which I snapped up, basil being one of my favourite flavours. And I was pondering, maybe I should be considering food in terms of flavours rather than as a whole.

I have pictured some of my favourite flavours; lemon, ginger and basil. I also love chocolate and tomato flavoured things. I hate coriander and am frankly ambivalent about orange and coffee. Interestingly, my Chinese stepmother hates anything citrus because they don't really eat that over there.

What are your favourite flavours and what foods do you seek out to enjoy them?

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Three Things March 4

1) Sunny like Spring today! The sun shining on the lego-like colourful ships in the harbour.

2) Next baking project: biscuits. Begun with Ginger Nuts.

3) Lovely magenta patent shoes (60s style) arrived on order from M&S. Just like in the Avengers and only £19.50. M&S has amazing shoes!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Three Things March 2

Spring themed TTM...

1) Pink Reliant Robin spotted in Aberdeen.

2) Child in giant paper rabbit ears in Westhill.

3) Spring flowers at Leith Hall...snowdrops, daffodils, celandines and some lovely blue ones I didn't know.

Old Favourite

It's always a sad day when you realise a favourite garment has reached the end of it's life. And the favourite ones don't last as long as the ones you don't really like and thus never wear. Also, unlike books etc you cannot replace them with one the same. Especially if you bought it in Amsterdam five years ago.

Amsterdam has really quirky, arty shops which sell all kinds of great stuff. The top is actually from Scandinavian company/shop called Noa Noa. Scandinavian fashion is really interesting and quite crafty and alternative.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Three Things March 2

1) Tickets for The Spaghetti Western Orchestra!

2) Chef on morning cookery show cooking lettuce with a blowtorch.

3) Lovely fat, glamourous copy of Vogue.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Three Things...March?

1) Trying to put post in a postbox in Kennethmont and realising it had a special anti-weather hinging flap over the hole I had never seen before. I'm sure the locals were laughing as I fiddled uselessly with it.

2) Checking out quails in the supermarket (world's smallest roast?) No I didn't buy one.

3) International Women's Day! This should be a bigger celebration. I'm thinking cards, gifts, cakes, balloons....

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Final February 2012

1) Spotting a man knocking on a window while holding a toilet seat. What happened there?

2) Driving back from work completely randomly just enjoying the hills, villages and castles. Aberdeenshire is so lovely.

3) Off to Edinburgh tomorrow, but how will I fit all my 'nice dinner' outfits in my luggage?

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

More February Things

1) Gorgeous scenery along Aberdeen-Dundee coast road.

2) Seeing a heron!

3) Picking up a lot of my old artworks etc and feeling inspired!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Three Things February Again

Not many more three things February to go! March features, two trips away (Edinburgh and Northern Ireland) and my Birthday, however, so should hopefully be a good month.

1) Warm and sunny, went for lunch with friends and fellow bloggers Sarah and Lola (and Steve, Alistair and Graham). The Cafe 52 sharing platter of cheese, salami and dips is highly recommended.) I like nibbly food.

2) Another Mary Berry traybake in progress: orange and sultana cake.

3) Sunny days encourage/force me to do dusting and hoovering. I like using my Dyson 'cos I can see all the horrible dirt that has been successfully removed from my environment.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Men at Work

Many people are apparently driven nuts by work going on outside their house. As a lifelong urbanite, I find 'quiet' disturbing...'where is everyone? I could die here and no-one would know' etc.

So, I don't mind low level noise during the day, and I enjoy seeing the colourful parade of diggers, dumper trucks, road rollers etc outside my window.

I think they are building a new pavement (sidewalk for US readers) for us. There are old cobbles on the historic Hardgate road under the tarmac, they took some away in a lorry.

(Sorry for the slight campness of the workmen here, I was looking at a photo of the Village People in a magazine earlier and I think it stayed with me.)