The Nesting Magpie

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Getting back blogging is #1 on my list of things to do, you know...

...and I know it's sounds silly, but sometimes it feels kinds silly; as though I'm talking to myself (which is a lot easier to do that when it's not on the internet!). Being totally honest, nobody ever talks about how hard it is when you first start a blog and not know if there's anybody reading it. Kinda like that awkward feeling you get when you say hey to someone on a crowded street and they don't say hey back. Anyway, I'm totally just thinking out loud here, and maybe wondering if any other bloggers ever felt the same? If so, don't be all ironic-cool and please let me know! #ifeelsodesperate

But hey, in other (good) news, I finally got invited to Pinterest! Man, granted I haven't been invited to many parties in my day, but not being invited to Pinterest for so long was tough. Yeah, that shit hurt. 

(Why do I feel like this post has made me look like the biggest lame-o ever?)

Anyway, check it out?

New post coming soon. If anybody's reading this. ;)

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Nutty blueberry, raspberry and apple crumble.

So not gonna lie, this recipe came to fruition after I noticed we had some half-full Bonne Maman jars of jam in the press that I wanted to use up really quick so that I could have the empty jars. You're probably familiar with this brand; it's sold overseas, but can be a little pricey. But y'know, with some things you just pay for quality. Now, I would consider myself a hugely superficial kinda gal.... But if it's French and comes in nice packaging, I will spend the extra money! It's kinda like I just feel like I'm paying for a) the food itself, b) a nice prop for my cupboard, c) packaging I will reuse (so hello, technically I'm being very thrifty!) and d) a little bit of Frenchy-ness. A 'lifestyle' product, I say! Buying French food is kind of a back-up plan for if I never actually get living in France. Yep, I put a lot of thought into my grocery-shopping. It's an art form, really. Funny enough though, my shopping companions tend to think it's just me being a pain in the ass and wanting the most expensive products. Whatever... My lovely Bonne Maman jars look cute with simple home-made labels and filled with my spices and dried herbs. And I don't mean to get competitive, but cheap, ugly jars just won't do. (Is it kinda bad that my first "I'm RIGHT" moment of the day has come while talking about jam jars?)
Anyway, time to remember that "it's what's inside that's important"- the jam. I've used the blueberry and raspberry ones, but of course you can use whichever flavour you have. This recipe is handy because the only  fresh fruit needed are apples, which have a longer shelf-life. Fresh berries can be expensive and tend to go bad quickly, but they would be great for a crumble. Really, crumbles are so versatile and such a classic. Switch up the fruit and nuts accordingly and you're bound to please!

* 2 cups of rolled oats
* 1 cup of plain flour
* 1 cup of ground almonds
* Handful of chopped nuts. (I used a mix of chopped hazelnuts and flaked almonds for texture and extra flavour.)
* 150g of butter
* 100g golden caster sugar
* 1 teaspoon of mixed spice
* Pinch of cinnamon
* 2 cooking apples
* About 10 tablespoons of jam; 5 of blueberry and 5 of raspberry.
* Zest and juice of one orange
* 1 level tablespoon of cornflour
* An extra knob of butter and pinch of sugar for caramelizing the apples.

On a low heat, caramelize the chopped apples with a little butter and  sugar. Cook for 5-10 minutes until the apples are tender, but not too soft and mushy. Add in the orange zest and juice, the jam and then gradually the cornflour. In a separate bowl, rub together the sugar, oats, flour, spices and nuts with your fingertips until the mixture resembles peas. Well, funny-shaped, non-green peas. :) In an ovenproof dish, tip in the fruit and then scatter over the oaty crumble mixture. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius, covering with tinfoil for the first 15-20 minutes to prevent your crumble drying out too much. Allow to cool slightly before serving. I feel like such a rustic, old-fashioned dessert deserves an old-school accompaniment. My choice? Good ol' fashioned, from-when-you-were-a-kid custard. Failing that, good vanilla ice-cream or creme Chantilly.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Confession: Is it bad that I tend to like people better if they have nice houses-?

...Or zillion year old cabins in the woods outside of Nashville? Yes. Yes, this is shockingly judgmental and superficial, I know that. But let's just say, after seeing Oprah's interview with Carrie Underwood and her hockey-player husband Mike Fisher, my respect for Carrie Underwood and hockey grew substantially. Their weekend cabin outside of Nashville is so beautiful and quaint, I loved everything about it. Good choices in home decor, children's names and wedding favors make me like people I don't even know all that much more. It's my deep, dark secret. Kinda like when I was little I used to always ask to use the bathroom when I first went into a person's house. And if I didn't like the way their bathroom was decorated, I didn't like them. Yes, I was very cut-throat for a 4 year old. (I would like to take this opportunity to say that I no longer use bathrooms for being a bitch-child. I just drink a lot of water.)

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

"Leave me alone today... I think I can remember who I was..."


"Where is "home"?
How can you miss a place that was gone so fast and maybe never really existed.
What is it that you really miss..........? 
Is it your mother falling asleep with you on the chair next to your bed?
Or your father lifting you up high on his horse and took that tall unpredictable world into his arms that you feared without a word? 
What's left of all that coziness, of the fog along the poppers outside
Do you even remember what poppers feel like? 
And linden trees and bloom??
Did you forget how much you needed to be read to, or to be worn out with kisses..?!
What happened you your red woolen slippers, your thick cardigans and those goofy headbands? 
Your need to climb trees? 
Your passion for grated apple?
Leave me alone today... I think I can remember who I was.........."

Fancy Parisian-Hotel style bathroom.

So, my goal in life is pretty much to live in an early twentieth century Parisian hotel. Nice, achievable goal, yes? Quintessential shabby chic; it's the juxtaposition between romantic simplicity and old fashioned grandeur that I just love. I always think it's an important concept to remember- to marry the livable with the beautiful. A little bit of vintage, shabby charm mixed with modern practicality makes for comfortable living. I'm constantly collecting images from interior design websites- these pictures come from House Beautiful. It's probably my favourite bathroom I've seen. 
{Break up the prettiness; leaning the mirror rather than formally hanging it adds some casualness, and the pharmaceutical style cabinet adds a subtle industrial quality.}
{The bathroom was inspired by those of five-star luxury hotel suites- and you'd know it. I love the addition of a cute, personal note; Monsieur and Madame "mats" have been created with inlaid mosaics.}

{Glass, chrome and marble are all wonderful reflectors for the lovely glow of the lighting fixtures; both the modern sconces and the antique chandelier.}

Thursday, 10 May 2012

I read this today, and thought it was lovely.

It's from a new collection compiled my Glamour called "30 Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She's 30"
which features words from Maya Angelou, Katie Couric and Lisa Ling, among many others. I love these kinda of books, where you can quickly read how inspiring people sum up their experiences, just when you feel you need some advice, or to see someone else's perspective on things.

I came across this today and found these words so easy to relate to. As a complete over-analyser, over-planner and over-dreamer  think about my life at different ages all the time. Will I have children? Will I be in love? Will I be happy?? I worry a lot that my best days are over, and that once I'm set out in the big, bad world my over-sensitive nature will crumble. Or that the world will make me bitter- that I'll have seen too much. Then I snap out of it and realize that the only way to prevent any freak-outs is to grow up little by little everyday. And to appreciate who you are in this stage of your life. And to always be learning- to always learn something from everything.

What 30 Means To Me - Taylor Swift
Having no deadlines for love or anything else.
I’ve been thinking about turning thirty- and forty and fifty! -since I was about ten. I’ve always wondered what I’ll feel like at those ages and I spend a lot of time day dreaming about the future.
Hopefully, at thirty, I’ll be like my friend and fiddle player Caitlin. Everyone thinks she’s twenty-three, but she’s thirty two. She’s just this carefree little hippie. Once, I asked her how she felt about getting older, and she said “I’m never going to.” She lives her life like I’m never going to act burdened and bitter and all the things that make people seem older than they are. Caitlin is also the kind of person who doesn’t fall in love often, but when she does, she falls in love love love love. 
I guess I’m already like Caitlin in that way. It’s rare that I have a boyfriend- that only happens if I fall in love. I’ve noticed that people who are never in a relationship just to be in a relationship keep their childlike spark because they don’t end up settling for things that make them unhappy, and they never feel as if they took less than what was out there for them. So for me, being single is what I do, and falling in love is the exception.
Lately I’ve been listening to “You Learn” by Alanis Morissette: “You live, you learn. You love, you learn. You cry, you learn. You lose, you learn.” I think there’s something pretty comforting in knowing that even the biggest mistakes I’m inevitably going to make will turn me into who I’ll be at thirty. 
One thing I’ve learned in my twenties is that if a relationship has to be kept secret, you shouldn’t be in it. Going forward, that’s going to be concrete, 100-percent-of-the-time rule for me. If a guy wants to keep the relationship quiet- whether its some weird privacy thing or he just doesn’t want to show you off- and if you don’t feel the same way, and it makes you feel like he’s not proud of you, then that’s not the relationship you want to be in.
Another rule of thumb is that if it doesn’t feel like love - if you’re sad more than you’re happy - that’s a huge indicator that you need to walk. You need to know when to let go.
For now, I have absolutely no love plans for thirty. No deadlines. Just vague, blurry, pretty, daydreams. You never know what’s going to happen. I do hope that marriage and children are in my future. I think it would be unbelievable someday to be chasing around a couple of crazy little kids who have tangled hair and mismatched clothing because we let them dress themselves. One would be in a princess costume, and the other kid would walk around in a Spider-Man suit because he wanted to, and we wouldn’t bother arguing with him. 
With daydreams like that, it’s almost impossible to fear turning any milestone age.

Probably because we're so close in age, I always feel like Taylor Swift expresses my thoughts better than I can myself. Yes, I will admit that I am one of those girls who wears floral dresses and sees the world through those deceiving rose-tinted glasses. 

My 'Big Girl' kitchen wish list:

I'm moving into my first 'big girl' house soon, and I've been planning like crazy. Which, luckily, is my favorite hobby. Through college, I lived in four different houses and have experienced all too well how frustrating bad-quality kitchenware is. Everything was supplied when I moved in, and I was stuck with a huge abundance of junk every student tenant before me had bought cheaply, half-broken and left there. I swore never again! Thankfully I did have access to proper kitchenware- a set of those kitchy flame-colored Le Cruset saucepans and some very funky 1980's pieces were received as wedding gifts by my parents some twenty-five years ago and are still in everyday use. Investment, yo! Mind you, being the apprentice domestic goddess that I am, I've decided to go ahead and get me some pieces myself and rely on any wedding presents (because, unfortunately, homegirl could be waiting a long time. Sad face.) It seems I have expensive tastes though, so maybe I could hang on to the receipts so when I do get married I could just ask my guests to reimburse me?!? Well, you know what they say, there is no greater gift that the gift of giving...

MacKenzie-Childs Flower Market Enamel Tea Kettle
{My favorite thing on my list! I want one in every color. But I'll settle for the black one. And the green one.}

 {The good ol' fashioned cast iron skillet. So that I can make corn pone and pretend I'm Southern.}

Waring Pro blender
 {I make a lot of smoothies and soups, so I'll need a blender. Plus I want to be super eco-friendly, so I'll want a green one. ;) }

Bialetti coffee percolator 
{I love proper brewed coffee. And I just think these are so retro and cool.}

JME Mixing Bowl Set
{From my boy Jamie Oliver's line. A nice simple set. Lovely.}

Ruffoni Convivium Hammered Copper Soup Pot
{This is so beautiful and Frenchy that I'd use it everyday just so that I could keep it out on my stove.}

KitchenAid Stand Mixer in Majestic Yellow
{So yes, I've lived my whole life with a plain old hand-held whisk... But this is "Majestic Yellow"? We all need something majestic in our lives?}

Falcon Oblong Pie Dish
{This is one of the few things off my list that I actually have. Unsurprisingly, it's also the cheapest! #studentliving}

LeCruset set in Cobalt Blue
{Great investment set! Will last forever.}

Anthropologie apron
{Have this!}

Anthropologie oven mitts
{And have these!}
Dualit two-slice toaster
{...Because it's always nice a when life-time guaranteed breakfast companion looks good in the morning. ;) }

My theory on interior design.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Almond Thumbprint Cookies

A sweeter take on the old 'fruit and nut' snack option. This is one of those unbelievably easy, quick recipes that can be whipped up using store cupboard ingredients and whatever jams, curds, nut-butters or chocolate spread you have. It's all good. I've experimented with the method a lot; and have found that you can totally get away with throwing everything in a bowl and using an electric whisk or a stand-mixer until everything is combined. Life is complicated enough; it's nice to know that there's at least one thing that can make you happy with minimum effort, right?

*  2 cups of sifted plain flour
*  2 cups of ground almond
*  1 cup of caster sugar
*  1 cup of butter (I soften this in a microwave for 10- 15 seconds to make it easier to combine)
*  2 eggs
*  Zest of 1 orange
*  1 1/2 tablespoons of natural vanilla extract (yes, vanilla essence is cheaper, but its sickening, synthetic flavor will ruin your cookies)
*  Pinch of salt
* Whatever jams you fancy! (I usually make a variety of flavors with each batch. Blueberry, apricot, raspberry...)
*  Icing sugar, for dusting

Start with the dry ingredients, and then add in the butter, vanilla and eggs. Whisk together until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Take ping-pong ball size pieces, flatten lightly, and use your thumb to create a shallow pool in each cookie. You're going for a homemade, rustic vibe here- so don't freak out about any cracks or imperfections. Fill with jam, and bake on a greased cookie sheet for 15 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius. Wait until cooled until dusting with icing sugar or else the sugar will just dissolve. Enjoy! :)

Thursday, 26 April 2012

What is it about tents that are just so cool?

Not so much a 'tent' as these are 'forts of love and adventure'. I love how nostalgic and romantic the notion of indoor fort-building is. Like, as if once inside; you're safe where you belong.

(apartment therapy)
(hooked on houses)
{Indoor tent from The Holiday. That movie encouraged three significant moments of self-discovery for me; that I love Jude Law, that I want to be English, and that I want to live in a tent like this one. With all the glittery stars.}


(happines is)

And you know, anyone can make one. A variety of sheets, old curtains, tablecloths or unused fabric remnants in mixed color and pattern are all great for adding whimsy and interest to the 'walls'. Hanging birdcages, lanterns, fairylights and homemade streams of  paper hearts make it lovely. And tea, of course. Lovely cups of tea...

 bed, fort, imagination, lights, lovely, pillows

To Do:

sdsplove Saturday DO
(Free People)

Rules of a Creator's Life.

1 Saturday DO
(Free People)

An old time favorite.

Dasboard Confessional; Stolen.

"I watch you spin around in your highest heels- you are the best one of the best ones. We all look like we feel."

Monday, 23 April 2012

LOVE= Tracy Porter's Poetic Wanderlust.

I have many inspirations. All of whom I admire for many different reasons, and have influenced me in many different ways. From Dolly Parton and Martha Stewart to my dear mother, or the girl who sat beside me in class when we thought we knew it all. My daddy always taught me that you can always learn something from everybody, and I think he's right. But with some people, I definitely learn a lot.

As I've gotten older, I've started to appreciate the commitments women make in order to enjoy a balanced family life and career-- and for struggling everyday to make it possible for themselves, and for proving it's possible for others is, itself, something that amazes me. About a year ago I came across a homeware/ fashion designer, business woman, author, mother and wife named Tracy Porter whose charm and bubbly personality draws you right it to her world, and before I knew it, Trac (yep, I just nicknamed her 'Trac'. I just went there.) and I became imaginary BFF's (well, I felt the connection anyway. She may not have known of my existence but whatevz, still counts!) I LOVED reading her blogs, watching videos and drooling her designs that- as a broke-ass student on a whole other continent- were a tad out of my reach. But man did I wish-list! 

One can only imagine how excited I was the other day when I saw that Tracy had commented me on her site telling me that for a twenty-one year old I had "a lot of soul", and that she was "proud of me already". *Tear* Nobody ever writes sweet things like that anymore, but I think that's just Tracy's generous nature. Like seriously, it might sound lame, but I am a very excitable person, and when I'm a fan, I'm really a fan. Damn, I was like an eleven year old at a Biebs concert. I went back later to, like, FRAME the comment and hang it on my wall (I kid. Well, sort of...) and I was so upset to see that a bunch of the comments had got lost. Maybe it was all just a figment of my imagination... If so, my life has dropped to a pathetic new low.

I was beyond excited to hear that Tracy and her company have evolved and re-branded under the name of Poetic Wanderlust. A pretty name, yes? The line is all so beautiful that there is, literally, not one thing I don't love. It's all so bohemian and quaint, and looks like it has traveled both geographically and through time. I'm so inspired by how her designs are so well-studied and how she embraces all parts of the world, and of life in her collections. I can't wait to see this line grow, and I wish Tracy and her wonderfully talented team every success. But y'know, as a young woman and a design hopeful, on a personal level, I appreciate the trail Tracy has set. It's no easy feat to mastermind both a company and a family (and as I'm learning oh-so difficultly keeping one boy happy is a freaking achievement; nevermind five!!) She's an inspiration to me for that. It's lovely to see it can be done.

A pretty little video. With some pretty little lyrics.

Kenny Chesney featuring Grace Potter; 'You and Tequila'.

"One is one too many. One more is never enough."

*Sidenote* Just me, or is that a really nice tequila bottle?! Decorative- would make a nice vase. I'm not much of drinker, but I think I get me a bottle of that bad boy...

Do what you love, love what you do.

(via Volume 25)

Monday, 16 April 2012

'The Delicious Miss Dahl''s delicious kitchen.

I first discovered the BBC six-part cookery series 'The Delicious Miss Dahl' channel-hopping late one night. And my, oh my, it was love at first sight. The kitchen... 

(via the Kitchn)
(via Sanctuary)
(via Sanctuary)

Perfectly shabby chic, grandma's cottage-y, it serves as the perfect backdrop to English rose Sophie Dahl's romantic, nostaglic approach to cookery. Each recipe is prefaced by the most charming little anecdote recalling her childhood (which is all the more interesting when you remember that the grandfather she speaks so fondly of is children's author Roald Dahl). Granted, I am a cookery show obsessive, but this one really stood out. Even for non-chefs, the show was beautifully filmed, and had a lovely, rainy day soundtrack. A curious new little ritual of staying up until 3am on a Wednesday to drool over a yellow KitchenAid oddly began...

(via the Kitchn)
(via Cotton-Hearted)
(via the epitome of quiet)
(via the epitome of quiet)

Listening to Dahl speak is like reading a poem filled with whim and delight. It's lovely. You can watch the whole series on YouTube;

Sophie Dahl
(via Mail Online)
(via HOME)
{This is what the kitchen looked like before Dahl invaded with her wild flowers and vintage wares.}

Finding out the kitchen used for the series was not actually her's was a little like finding out there was no such thing as the tooth fairy. Just a little bit heart-breaking. The house is actually owned by a London-based photographer and is available to rent for photo shoots. I've seen it a lot recently in interior design magazines and store catalogs. Not gonna lie; I kind of want to rent it out myself for a shoot just so that I can frame the pictures and pretend I live there. *sigh*

I ate more cake, read tragic French novels and hated the fields and stupid fences I was surrounded by. I longed for London, a minor Parisian appetite, lithe limbs, complication and Chantal Thomass knickers. Mercifully, the knowledge of how to aquire such things remained totally out of my reach.
Sophie Dahl 
--It seems Miss Dahl and I have shared the same feeling of misery that being landlocked brings.