Saturday, 30 July 2011

Stylish and elegant - new bag by Boye By Red

Hello all,

I have been busy doing all sorts of things lately, including visiting all your lovely blogs. 

However, I have not neglected my little crochet business. In fact I have just finished a new bag. It was commissioned by a friend for her sister's birthday and I stayed up till 4am last night working on the seams and the label.

I know I am biased, but I think it is one of the prettiest ones I have done so far.
What do you think? (Click on the picture to enlarge):


It took me at least 15 hours to make the bag and it turned out just the way I wanted it. The more I crochet, the more my skills improve and the stitching becomes neater and tighter. I just hope the girl I made it for likes it too. It is bespoke and nobody else will have one like it (although I am seriously considering making one for myself too; with different lining though). The bag is called AJ Red (I name all my bags :-) and AJ stands for her name initials. I'll let you know what she thought of it.

Do you have a bespoke item you think nobody else has?

Have a lovely weekend and enjoy the sunshine wherever you are.

See you all soon and thank you for visiting.

Red xx

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Beetroot, carrot and coriander soup and mango on the menu

Hello dear foodies,

As I am on holiday I have more time to cook. I never, ever buy ready meals and I do cook every day, but as I have more time now, I can dedicate more time to it, and that's exactly what I did this morning. So, here is what is on my menu today:

Starter: pieces of cooked beetroot.

I first washed them very well under cold water. Beetroot skin has lots of nutrients so you want to cook them with it on. You also want to keep the roots and a short stem of leaves while cooking them. Beetroot is naturally rich in sodium so you don't need to add any salt in the cooking water. If you want, you can add vinegar in the water for preserving colour and minimising the cooking smell. I didn't do any of that, I just cooked and cleaned them. When they were done, I peeled the skin off with my fingers under the water, cut off the roots and stems and cut the beetroot into pieces. You can add a bit of lemon, vinegar, mustard seeds, chili... I like my beets plain, but you can experiment with different tastes.

Main course - carrot and coriander soup. These are the ingredients:

So here is the list: 6 large carrots, 2 large cloves of garlic, 2 onions (any sort or colour, I just had lots of red onion in my bowl), vegetable stock and lots of fresh coriander. First you cut onion and garlic and saute them in a large pan (I also added red paprika. My nan always used red paprika in her cooking and so I never cook without it either). Here is how it looks:

Once the onions and garlic are brown, add your chopped carrots and saute them together for 5 minutes. Add half a litre of vegetable stock, as much coriander as you like and a pinch of salt. Put the lid on and simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes:

Once the soup was cooked, I used my "best friend" in the kitchen to blend all the goodness together:

And finally for dessert, fresh mango, cut in pieces (no instructions needed for that :-). 

So this is how my healthy little feast looks like:

You can serve your soup with a piece of fresh bread too. And of course, to wash it all down, you need lots of water.

This is a very simple meal with lots of vitamins and nutrients packed in. I am sure you can find other better and more complicated recipes for carrot and coriander soup, but I did not want to consult any books, I just wanted to put things I like together and see what happens. I only made this soup two other times, but had very good feedback from friends and family, so it's now one of my favourite things to eat. If I may say so myself, it is delicious!!

Also, all three things have lots of natural sugar in them, so there is no need for you to sneak into your ladder and get biscuits out. Your body won't crave any sugar if you have this for lunch, so you'll be alright in that department.

And can I just add an important note? I bought everything in Brixton Market for just £2. It will feed two more people tonight and I will still have some left for tomorrow's lunch. A healthy bargain, don't you think?

If you would like tips for eating healthy for the rest of the day, here is what I am doing:

Breakfast - porridge with natural live yogurt. For more taste, sprinkle cinnamon on top (cinnamon is so delicious and good for you!)
Lunch - delicacies I just prepared.
Dinner - small bowl of carrot and coriander soup and a piece of white fish.
Don't ever go hungry, so it is important to have snacks every few hours. My snacks for today are sweetcorn (I love, love, love sweetcorn), leftover beetroot, walnuts and pumpkin seeds.

And to reward yourself and your body and mind, go for a run (or any other exercises you enjoy doing, but make sure you enjoy it). In fact, as soon as I finish writing this, I will go for a short run (only 30 minutes) and do a few cardio exercises (another 30 minutes). I did it at 10pm last night as I was out the whole day and didn't have time to do it before. But I felt very good and pleased with myself afterwards.

However, if you feel lazy to do any of this (we all do sometimes, let's face it), or don't have the time, then make sure you do something you like doing; treat yourself. It can be a movie, eating a chocolate, having a glass of wine, or reading a book, but something you like doing on your own. Whatever you choose, make sure it is something that you enjoy doing. And of course, don't forget to make someone smile. That is important too and it will come back to you tenfold. 

Let me know what is on your menu today. Maybe you can share a few healthy ideas  - I'll be happy to give them a go. 

Have a lovely day and don't forget to be kind to yourself, your body and your mind.

See you all very soon.

Red xx


Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Are you sweet, or salty?

Hello all,

today is my first day off and I am spending it in style. I went out for a run, had a nap, went shopping, read my book and am about to go out for Spanish tapas with a friend. Perfect way to start a 6 weeks holiday, don't you think?

I am a foodie. I'll try anything and I love everything (apart from celery and goats cheese). I also like cooking and at the moment I am experimenting with different quinoa recipes. When I say experimenting, I mean thinking up new recipes. I mix things I like and think can go together and let my imagination run. Although I love sweets (in particular biscuits and good cakes), I am definitely a savoury person. 

I'll post some of my favourite recipes in the next few days, but for now here is a sweet shop in Brixton Village. It is called Sweet Tooth and it is fabulous. It has all sorts of candy; colourful and yummy. You can go and buy sweets for yourself or get a present for someone you like.
Here is their website, (that is fun too):

And here are some pictures I took (of course, click on the picture to enlarge it):


Can you see any sweets that you used to eat in your childhood?

So come to Brixton and see it for yourself. Not only would you be supporting a local business rather than a high street chain, but you'll also be reminded of your childhood and treat yourself too.

Have a sweet evening and see you all soon.

Red xx


Sunday, 24 July 2011

Sleep walking, fish and strolling around Brixton

Hello all,

This week has been very, very busy. End of school, million things to finish off, observation at work, saying good bye to some lovely children and staff at school, going to theatre, meeting friends,... 

I didn't even realise it, but my brain was working over time even when I was sleeping. On Friday, in the middle of the night, I got up and prepared for work for the next day. Only, I don't work on Saturdays!!! I only realised what I had done in the afternoon that day. I saw that I chose what I am going to wear at school, I prepared my water bottle and my morning snack. I usually do all that every evening, but as I got home very late on Friday night, and as I didn't need to prepare for the next day, I read a little and went to bed. My brain obviously didn't compute that I am not working the next day, so unknown to my conscious self, I got up and got ready for the next day.
I never knew that I sleep walk, but apparently I do!!! I have to say, I was amused but I also realised I need to chill out and relax a little. So, I made my way to Brixton market for a bit of a stroll and people watching. 

I found lots of colour, smiley people and,.... lots of butcheries and fishmongers!!! Don't know, but I have taken quite a few pictures of different meat and fish stalls. If you want fresh food, this is where you should come:

While I was waiting for my chicken pattie to be ready, I took a few pictures of this stall. The guy selling there saw me and happily posed. I love his smile and the colours around.
Oh yes, and here is that pattie I was waiting for. It was delicious, hot, spicy, mmmm,...

Both the pattie stall and this butcher are in Electric Avenue. You won't make a mistake stopping by and getting some good quality food.

Next was this fishmonger. Fresh fish and neatly arranged too:

This place is inside the Brixton Village, at the entrance from the market side. Next two are from random stalls around the Village and the market:


Gruesome looking, I know, but also quite photogenic, it has to be said.

I just love the randomness of this fishmonger's name: Twin Peaks Fish Co.
This next picture is of the butchers just a few stalls away from Twin Peaks. The meat is good and fresh, and it used to have good looking Polish girls working there. They are often nicely made up with make up and hair done up. I am not sure if these are the same ones as I haven't been in there in a while, but here is how the stall looks like.

I finished my walk with grocery shopping (only £4 for a bag of fresh vegetables) and just as I thought how well I've done at not spending much money, I was 'trapped' by a massive sale at one of my favourite shops, Joy. So, I went in for an innocent browse and came out with two dresses, a shirt, turquoise sunglasses and short of £42! Silly girl! But on the positive side, I now have lovely stuff to wear and if I had bought all these things at regular prices I would have spent £145. So, I feel I've done well (or so I keep telling myself).

In the evening, friends invited me for an amazing home made Indian dinner and some good wine, beer, and of course great company. Suffice to say, I slept well last night and didn't sleep walk. Well, at least not that I know of. I am going by how disorganised and messy everything is around the flat. And I didn't find clothes ready for today or snacks or watter bottles filled.

So, now I am continuing my weekend of relaxing by reading, blogging and getting ready for a barbecue. 

Hope your weekend is as fun as mine. Did you see any fun things in the markets and streets around you?
Hope the week ahead brings you many happy moments.

See you all very soon.

Red xx

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Rainy weekend

Hello all,

Unexpectedly, I spent this weekend at home cleaning, reading, watching Mad Men and listening to good music. I just went out to buy papers yesterday, and the rest of the time I spent at home. I haven't done that in a long time, and I have to admit, it is just what the doctor ordered. The house is now clean and tidy, and I got back in touch with myself (hope that makes sense). 
And I looked at my photo albums again as well as took some pictures of my room and balcony.
Here is what I found:

This is the view from my sitting room. It was grey and cloudy, but I was safe inside my warm room. 
And here are the flowers I am growing on my terrace. Pretty, I am sure you'll agree:

I took pictures of the stuff on my sitting room table. It is always messy, but there is always so much to look at. Let me know what details you like on these two pictures:

What did you do this weekend? Do you sometimes just stay at home and potter around?

Have a great week.

Red xx

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Do you notice things other people don't?

Hello all,

One of the teachers said something about a boy in the school I work in that has stuck in my mind and I can't stop thinking about. She said that he notices things other people don't. He is acutely autistic and finds pleasure and excitement in simple things like: watching birds go into a birds' house, bees flying around flowers, shadows in the sun. I have had a great privilege to work with him in the last year and I have learnt so much from him. We are all so busy (or sometimes we like to say that we are to sound important, but aren't really doing much).
Amongst other things I have learnt from him, is to stop and look around, notice the details and take pleasure in small things.
I seem to do that mainly when I have my camera with me. Here are some of the details I have noticed in the last few years. Some of them are simple things, like a funky button, or an interesting cup, and some are unusual things I have seen on some of my travels. I thought I'd share them with you:

I found this rocking horse in an antique shop in Rye, a few years ago. I don't know why, but rocking horses always catch my eye. I have taken many pictures of rocking horses I have seen along the way. I don't know why they attract me. It must be that they remind me of my childhood and being playfull. Here is one I remember very well, and I wish I bought (not that I have any space in my house to put it in).

And here is another one above, although not as pretty :-)

We all need time to be alone, to sit, think and enjoy a moment with ourselves. I usually do that late at night, but I also love taking a book with me and going to a cafe to read and gather my thoughts. I think this man was doing something similar on the Brighton beach.

These two men caught my attention fooling around on Brighton Pier. I don't know why, but the moment made me smile then, and it still does now.

Here is another one I have seen a few months ago in Brixton. The shop was closed so I couldn't go in and take a proper picture, but I stood outside wathcing it for a quite a while. It is the best one I have seen in a long time and I desperately wanted to sit on it and try it out.

That's it for now. I will share my moments and "unnoticeable" things with you again, very soon.

Do you find the time to look up and enjoy the people and things around you? What relaxes you? What brings you back to you? 

Have a lovely day and let me know what detail to look for.


Red xx


Sunday, 10 July 2011

More bags, more colours

Hello Friends,

Hope you are all well and healthy. 

Lately, I have been both working and playing. Crocheting, spending time with friends, selling at the market. Well, selling might be stretching it. I went back yesterday, after a month or so, but unfortunately, there were very few people coming through and as a result, I didn't sell anything. Anyway, here are the bags I've been working on in the past month. I've now gotten pretty good at doing the lining and I am pretty happy with these. See what you think:

This one is called Bluey and is a small Oyster card holder. Here is another one, called Pinky:

I know, I know, I've done these before, but I sold them, and as I love the designs so much, I made them again.

Here are also some new beauty bags I have made. This one is called Peachy Beauty:

And, here is Burgundy Beauty:

So, this is my latest collection. The next few weeks will be pretty busy. I've got a commission for a big bag, so I've got to start on that, and as I've got two more weeks at work before a long holiday, there is lots to sort out, prepare for an observation on Wednesday, get my planning in order,... and, I am determined not to just work, but also go out and see friends. 

What have you been doing in the last few weeks? Anything fun?

See you all soon.

Red xx

Monday, 4 July 2011

Taking pleasure in small things

Hello, hello, hello!!!

Hope you are all well. I have been busy lately, hence no posting on the blog for a while. This was the first weekend in a month that I have had free and I could spend with friends. Yesterday was spent at the Gay Pride in London and today I hung out with two of my dearest friends. And I feel good.

I have been looking at my picture albums and saw things that I never posted but really like.

So, here are some for your viewing pleasure. The first one is of a coffee afternoon at Rosie's (in Brixton, of course). It was a Sunday, it was raining and I had time to dedicate to myself. I armed myself with a book and ordered a delicious espresso coffee:

Still in Brixton, when I need a snack, I get a pattie. If you are around, this is the man to buy it from (I usually go for the chicken one):

If it is pizza you are looking for, this is the place to go to. It is one of the best pizzas I've tasted in London and it is in Brixton Village. Come and visit:

And if you are looking for snails, you don' need to go to France, it is on your doorstep. Brixton Market (I don't buy or eat them, but they do picture well!):

And to finish off with something sweet, visit this shop:

So, there you have it. Another interesting day in Brixton Market. 

How have you been spending your time lately? Reading a good book, cooking, or hanging out with friends?

See you all soon.

Red xx