Recipe Wednesday: potato ‘n’ carrot pasta

It’s still emphatically winter (I was too busy with work to leave the house today, but Geth informs me that it was snowing again) and so I thought I’d start my weekly food series with my most stodgy, wintry pasta dish.

Potato 'n' carrot pasta
It’s stodgy, ridiculously carb-heavy, and one of my favourites, especially at this time of year.

I’m a lazy cook, so like everything I make, it’s ridiculously easy.  Boil chopped peeled potatoes, chopped carrots and chickpeas for 25 mins (no measuring free foods on Slimming World – I just make sure that the carrots constitute a third of the total food I’m eating); with 15 mins to go, start boiling some pasta in another pan.

While everything is boiling, I make up my pasta sauce (passata, tomato puree to thicken it up, lemon juice, freshly ground black pepper, dried basil, dried oregano, hot chili powder and the lifesaver that is Very Lazy chopped garlic, all to taste) and grate some parmesan (30g for me as my Slimming World Healthy Extra A, lots for Geth).

Once the 25 mins are up, I drain everything, mix it all together, mix in the sauce, and serve with the grated parmesan.  Highly comforting on winter evenings!

Vintage fair haul: Vintage Pop-Up at Newcastle SU

Well, I did say February was going to be big for vintage fairs.  Averaging two a week at the moment!

Today I went to the Vintage Pop-Up at Newcastle Student Union, put on by University Vintage Fairs.  Like the one at Northumbria I went to last week, it was quite a small affair, but I managed to pick up another addition to my ’80s jumper collection:

Black and red '80s jumper
I love the embellishment on this one, even if it does mean I’ll have to be a bit less lazy with the laundry and remember to turn it inside out!

Seeing as winter’s not showing any signs of going away yet, I’m going to count this one as a ‘sensible’ purchase!

Dancing progress

I went to my sixth Strictly Dance class this evening.  It took a few weeks, as expected, but I finally feel like I’m starting to get the hang of remembering the routines.  It’s not quite as taxing as Zumba in a cardio sense, though, so I definitely need to get back to running this weekend!

Vintage fair haul: Newcastle Does Vintage

Another weekend, another vintage fair!  Today I went to the Biscuit Factory, Newcastle, for the fair put on by Britain Does Vintage, and added a few more pieces to my collection…

Vintage fair purchases
Today’s additions to The Shiny.

From left to right, the black material is a wool-blend bolero jacket, the silver floral material is a dress, and the shiny matching things are clip-on earrings.  Very pleased with today’s haul!

2018 Ciders #8: Old Mout Kiwi & Lime

Another cider I had a week ago:

Old Mout Kiwi & Lime
Old Mout Kiwi & Lime.

Old Mout Kiwi & Lime is one of my favourite fruit ciders.  It sort of suddenly appeared in British pubs around the summer of 2014 and has been ubiquitous ever since; for me, it’s my go-to ‘we only have fifteen minutes left in this pub but I want another pint’ drink, as it’s just the right level of sugary-sweet (not cloyingly so like Kopparberg or Rekorderlig) that I can down it like juice.  I like the other Old Mout flavours as well, but Kiwi & Lime is my favourite by a country mile.

Phone Box Thursday: Durham Cathedral

This week’s phone box is the first one I found in the North East of England, outside Durham Cathedral.

Red phone box
Red phone box, Durham Cathedral, 1st May 2015.

When I took this one, I remember Geth going on a big rant about how there was this beautiful medieval cathedral right in front of me and there I was, taking a photo of the phone box.  An older lady who was walking past backed me up, saying ‘they don’t make them like that anymore!’  They most certainly don’t.  Anyway, I did take a photo of the cathedral as well:

Durham Cathedral
With bonus traffic cones.

But frankly, you can see pictures of Durham Cathedral any time you like (given that it has a Wikipedia page and everything), and you can’t say that about the Durham Cathedral phone box.

New addition to my flower tattoo

As promised…

Iris tattoo
The newest bit of the ever-growing flower garden on my arm.

I had an iris flower added to my collection, coming down onto my forearm.  What I absolutely love is that my old butterfly tattoo from 2002 had a reworking!  It wasn’t the best quality tattoo in the world to begin with, and after sixteen years it had become a bit of a blur:

Old butterfly tattoo
Yes, that was a butterfly once upon a time.

My arm as a whole is looking pretty floral now:

Floral arm tattoo
All the flowers and insects! I’m so happy with this piece.

Thanks to Raven at Sakura Tattoo for my flower garden.  I’m sure I’ll be in again when the tattoo itch next strikes…

Post-tattoo tiredness

So I finally had the not-so-badly-timed-after-all tattoo appointment this afternoon.  I have a beautiful new addition to my arm piece that I will be telling you all about tomorrow, after I’ve cleaned it up and taken some pictures.

I’m super happy with it but also super tired now – three hours around the elbow will do that.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get a nice early night and a good sleep after a few days of staying up late.

My history of excursions into ’80s fashion

There have been a few periods in my life where I’ve tried to fit in with the prevailing fashions of the day, but in all honesty, I’ve never really succeeded, and when I look at photos of myself during those periods, I always think I look uncomfortable and not quite right.  The style of the ’80s has always felt ‘correct’ to me; it gives me a strong sense of ‘these are what clothes SHOULD look like’, and later fashions just look dowdy and unstylish to my eye.  I’m not sure whether I just internalised it really strongly when I first came into the world, or whether I’ve just come to love that aesthetic by chance, but thirty years later it’s still what I’m drawn to, and I think I always will be.

So, my history of being an ’80s fashion throwback, then.  I don’t think it counts as being a ‘throwback’ when you’re still in the actual ’80s, but that’s where it began, and clearly my toddlerhood was the best dressed era of my life:

Clothes I wore in the '80s
Check out that lookbook! I will never come close to being this stylish ever again.

I wore so many different (and AWESOME) outfits during this era.  I guess most toddlers go through lots of different clothes, due to the whole rapid body growth thing, but looking at pictures it really seems like in my five short years spent in the ’80s I wore more clothes than in the rest of my life put together.

Shame they couldn’t all have grown with me.  Especially the moon ‘n’ stars nightdress in the bottom right corner, my favourite nightdress of all time.

The ’90s, meanwhile, were probably my most difficult decade fashion-wise.  Due to a combination of hand-me-downs from family friends, thick curly hair that utterly refused to be browbeaten into the poker-straight trend it was supposed to be following, and a stubborn fully-developed taste that meant I was already gravitating towards the styles of the ’80s, I spent the whole decade doing the awkward ‘dated by quite a few years, but not enough to be retro or vintage yet’ look:

Clothes I wore in the '90s
Looking a bit ’80s in the ’90s.

Jeans, especially, I found so awkward – I was drawn to high-rise straight-leg styles, but as the decade went on, they became more low-rise and bootcut – that it put me off them for a long time, and nowadays I don’t own any blue jeans at all.  When I reach my target weight, I’ll maybe give them another go.

The ’00s were better (not in general fashion terms – I think the trends of the ’00s were the absolute nadir of fashion in my lifetime so far – but for me personally in terms of style).  My teen years, 1998-2004, coincided with the first big wave of ’80s nostalgia in pop culture (The Wedding Singer!  The BBC’s I Love The ’80s series!  The accompanying CD that I got for Christmas in 2001!  Bergerac repeats on BBC2 every day while I was on school exam leave!  Websites such as Like Totally ’80s starting up!  ’00s indie bands aping ’80s indie bands…now I’m nostalgic for a period of nostalgia.  I’ll stop there), and so it was then that I first became conscious that I loved the ’80s so much – that the music was better, the films and TV shows were better, the fashion was better.  (I also had a brief flirtation with the early ’70s due to my love of glam rock.  You can’t beat a pair of silver glitter platform boots.)

2003 was also the year I became goth.  Goth is a wonderful subculture for ’80s throwbacks of a certain style, because the look has basically stayed the same since 1978, and all the clubs play lots of post-punk and synthpop.  Utter bliss.

As such, my ’00s look can basically be divided into pre-2004 (Madonna-style fishnet gloves, jelly bracelets and plastic beads from Claire’s Accessories in every shade of primary and neon) and post-2004 (mainly goth, with occasional disastrous forays into mainstream contemporary fashion):

Clothes I wore in the '00s
These two pictures illustrate my point; both were taken in 2004.

Which brings us to the ’10s.  The less said about the first half of the decade, the better – I was uncomfortably overweight and spent most of it hiding away in leggings, baggy t-shirts and hoodies – but now that I’ve lost most of the weight, I’m starting to remember how to have fun with fashion again, hence my recent interest in cultivating a vintage ’80s wardrobe.

Clothes I wore in the '10s
’80s-inspired looks that I’ve worn out to goth clubs recently. Those old Claire’s Accessories beads are still going strong!

I know – from reading stuff by people who are into mid-century vintage – that as time goes on, ’80s vintage stuff won’t always be as readily available and affordable as it is at the moment.  As such, I’m making the most of it, with the aim of being able to dress in clothes from my favourite decade for the rest of my life.  I hope I’ll be lucky and long-lived enough to be eighty or ninety years out of date one day!