The Nesting Magpie

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! :)