Currently Coveting - Wednesday Wishlist

Well hello there! Today I'm bringing you another little round up of things I've had my eye on recently! There's a real mixture here - we've so nearly finished decorating our bedroom so a couple of these bits I've got in mind for in there, and my sister is moving out this weekend (hoorah!) so as of next week we'll have our spare bedroom back! We'll be keeping it as a spare/guest room so it'll need a bit of a jazzing up and a few of these things would be perfect in there! There are also a couple of things that have definitely crept in because Autumn is on the way. 

Here goes... 


I love having fresh flowers around the house but I'm always a little reluctant to buy them for myself for a few reasons. One, they're expensive, two, I'm rubbish at remembering to change the water and wilted flowers don't really have the same effect, and three, I seem to be allergic to everything at the moment, so flowers in the bedroom isn't really conducive to a good nights sleep. However, these wooden flowers from Anna Winscombe would solve all my problems. I already have a beautiful little wooden bird brooch from Anna which I love, and I think these wooden flowers are really minimal and striking - and definitely won't make me sneeze! They're available in lots of different sizes, but the spot I have in mind it quite large so I think the larger ones would be perfect!  



As you may remember from my podcasts post, I've recently fallen a bit in love with Edd Kimber. I spotted his recommendation for this book on twitter a few days ago and it sounds bloody AMAZING!! I'm a huge fan of salted caramel (actually, I'm a fan of salted anything!) and an entire book of salted caramel treats sounds right up my street. Salted Caramel Dreams comes from Chloe Timms, of London based Fatties Bakery. The amazon listing for it allows you to look inside, and some of the recipes sound delicious (not to mention incredibly indulgent and definitely for special occasions) - caramel rye truffles, salted caramel custard and...brace yourselves...chocolate chip salted caramel peanut butter!! I need this book in my life for all the Autumn and Winter occasions when treats are in order! 



Black and Brass Hook Rack - Cox and Cox

This is maybe a bit boring, but whenever we buy something for our home, even if it's something small, we like to make sure we love it! Now it's starting to get a bit chillier, my dressing gowns and onesies were starting to litter our bedroom and I was getting on my own nerves leaving them all over the place. I've been using an overdoor hook to corral everything which is working well as there's not much point pointing them away when I wear them everyday, so hiding them behind the door keeps them accessible yet out of the way. I don't love it though, so I've been on the lookout for a small rack of brass hooks that will sit on the back of the door. This one from Cox and Cox is a little pricey, but it would be perfect! 


As soon as I saw this print I loved it. Since we were in our early twenties, D has done a daft running game where he'll grab my hand and run down the road, or through the reception of a hotel, or down a corridor in an attempt to embarrass me. He first did it when I was about 20, we were staying at The Strand Palace and felt completely out of place in such a posh hotel. Far from being embarrassed though, we both just ran along the corridors laughing like kids. He's done it ever since, and this print from Oliver Bonas makes me smile just thinking about the silliness. I'm kind of waiting for it to go into the sale, but I know I'll be disappointed if it sells out so perhaps I should just order it - such first world problems!  


We've recently recycled all our old bedding in favour of some crisp navy sheets which are making me want to go to bed at 7pm every evening! What I didn't consider before piling them all into the textile recycling bin is that we will need to make the spare bed up once my sister has moved out. So, I set about finding some cheap-but-stylish bedding and I think this graphic set from Ikea might be the one! The room is currently grey and yellow, with white walls, a yellow light fitting and grey carpet and curtains. I'd like to add a little more colour to the space while keeping the things we currently have so this set would tie everything together nicely. It's really cheap (somewhere around £25) which is fine as it won't be used often, and I love that the double and king size Ikea bedding sets come with four pillow cases!   



One of my absolute favourite ways to relax, switch off, warm up, or just spend an hour on my own is to run a really deep bubble bath. I'm firmly of the opinion (so much so that I wrote a whole post about it last year) that unless you have candles, a pile of magazines, a drink, some music (or an audiobook) and potentially some snacks then it's not worth it and you might as well have a shower! I love a bath all year, but when it's cold outside there really is nothing better than sinking into the warm water and finally defrosting. This gorgeous wooden bath caddy from Rustic and Retro Furniture on Etsy would bring together all the necessary bath elements perfectly; somewhere to prop your book to prevent soggy pages (or perhaps a phone or tablet if like me you've taken to catching up with vlogs in the bath) little cut outs for tea lights, a genius slot to slide in a wine glass if its a with-wine kind of bath, and also plenty of space for a mug if it's more of a hot chocolate affair! 



Once my sister is gone, our spare bedroom furniture will consist of a kingsize bed, a bedside table, bookcase and a corner desk. We have a third bedroom too which will be used as a nursery when we need it, so for a while this room will be a combination of office, yoga space and guest bedroom. We therefore want there to be somewhere to hang clothes if people stay but don't want to fill the space with a wardrobe. This copper pipe rail from The Little Deer is beautiful enough to be out all the time, and could also be used to display blankets, maybe with a box or basket on the rail at the bottom for yoga props and candles. 

***

There we have it! I don't always actually purchase the items on my wish lists (although Father Christmas and the birthday fairy do look through them every now and then) but there are a few on this one which I think will definitely be coming home with us. 

Talking of the man in red...I'm considering doing some Christmas gift lists this year. What do you think...who would you like to see gift guides for? Would you even want them to be categorised? How about a DIY gift list? Let me know what you think, either here or over on twitter or instgram!    






Food Moments - 'Boiled Eggs Atop A Mountain' by Kat Nicholls


Today I'm excited to bring you another instalment of 'Food Moments', a series of guest posts sharing moments involving food that have changed or shaped the way we live.

Today's is a particularly personal account of two very similar packed lunches, eaten in two very different frames of mind. It comes from the wonderful Kat Nicholls of Blue Jay of Happiness who I had the pleasure of meeting at Blogtacular a few months ago and who's story I can absolutely relate to! 

Enjoy! 

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"Before I tell my food moment story, I feel I should give you a quick bit of background on my relationship with food. In my teens I had anorexia, an eating disorder that essentially makes food the enemy. Pretending food didn’t exist and crying with hunger pain was sadly my reality back then.

Thankfully, I recovered once I hit my twenties, but I still struggled to find the balance and there was still a lot I didn’t like about my body. I still saw food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and joined in when people at work talked about calories and losing weight.

Fast forward to the summer of 2014 when me and my then boyfriend went to Switzerland to visit my friend and her boyfriend who had recently moved there. It was my first time to the country and we had an incredible weekend exploring our friends' new home. 


One day we went on a hike up a mountain. It was 30 degrees and I was wearing jeans. Combine that with the fact that I hated physical exercise in those days and I’m sure you can imagine the sweaty mess of a person I became on that mountain.

Despite genuinely thinking I might die because I was so desperately unfit, I still took the time to admire the beauty. Once we reached the top, we found seats among the rocks and cracked open a glorious packed lunch.

Cheese sandwiches, crisps, boiled eggs and Swiss chocolate washed down with cool water. I remember thinking at the time how incredible this combination of simple food was. While there was nothing gourmet or ‘special’ about the ingredients, at the time it was the best tasting food I had ever eaten. After all, I had just hiked up a bloody mountain and had never felt more deserving of food.


After this holiday, I remember looking back at the photos from that hike and fixating on my body… still. Rather than looking at the incredible sights, I was looking at my upper arms. My body was trying to tell me it deserved the food I was giving it, but my head wasn’t quite there yet.

This summer, I went back to Switzerland. I’m in a new relationship now and this was our first trip abroad together. My friend and her boyfriend are now husband and wife, and as usual they showed us an excellent time. 

Learning our lesson from my last visit (i.e. that I am not cut out for hiking) we skipped proper hiking for a leisurely walk in a mountain town. There were still waterfalls, Swiss cows and incredible sights to be seen. And of course, there was still a glorious packed lunch to be eaten.


I peeled the shell of my boiled egg, looked around and felt grateful. Not only because of the beauty I was surrounded by and the people I was with, but because this time I knew I wouldn’t care how I looked in the photos.

I knew I deserved the food I put into my body, that I’m beautiful just the way I am and that my upper arms are fabulous even if they wobble. I knew it was absolutely OK to savour and enjoy this delicious food, even if I hadn’t hiked up a mountain first. I knew I was worthy of everything I was experiencing. 


And, well… nothing tastes sweeter than that."


Kat is 31, lives in Surrey and works in communications and content creation. When she's not at work, you'll find her writing about health, happiness and hope over on Blue Jay of Happiness. You can also find her on Instagram and Twitter with thoughts on mental wellness, body positivity, and daily musings (and videos of her cat, Sanka.)

***

Thank you Kat for sharing such a personal story, and also for such beautiful images - I've definitely just added Switzerland to my list of must visit countries! 

How Podcasts Are Changing My Life (Plus 5 to Binge-Listen)


It might sound a bit extreme to say that something as simple as listening to podcasts is changing my life, but it really is that big a deal. I've always been a craver of background noise, and that mostly means the Harry Potter audio books which are on pretty much continually in our house, including as we fall asleep! Recently though, I've discovered the world of podcasts. I'm probably a little late to the party admittedly, but mixing up my audio has had a life changing impact. 

Since I left my full time job, I now have three and a half days "off" each week. One of those is Sunday and is my only day off with my husband so we try to keep that as a definite non-work day. The others are the days I have designated as working days: blogging, emailing, newsletter writing, recipe testing, making and generally working on achieving my internet based work goals. 

Sounds great doesn't it, two and a half days each week to work on my own goals. However, my creative brain just doesn't seem to work that way. I don't always want to blog 9-5, I and find it really difficult to do anything creative during the day. I might have ideas, but it often feels like the words just won't come, or I spend ages faffing about and getting distracted when I try to do anything during normal working hours. This post, for instance, is being written in the notes on my phone at midnight while I wait for D to come to bed. I had the idea for the post while I was mowing the lawn earlier today, but when I sat down at lunch time to write it, the words just didn't seem to be in my brain. Now however, just when I should be sleeping the sentences start drumming their fists on the inside of my skull trying to get out and I know if I wait until the morning they will have skulked off again. 

So, what have podcasts got to do with this? The life changing factors are several-fold.... 

I've started to learn that if I try to force myself to work when I'm not in the right frame of mind, I'll get distracted by Pinterest or Instagram or back-to-back house tour videos and manage to convince myself that it's all inspiration, that I'm conducting incredibly important research and that I'm 'at work' so even if the mood catches me, the time is not for ironing and gardening and decorating. Not only do I not get any actual work done, the food shopping and the house work don't get done either and I end up miserable and frustrated that I've wasted a whole morning!   

Then, a few months ago I climbed fully aboard the podcast wagon and my outlook on my working day began to change. A college tutor of mine once said that, as a tutor, she had to insist we were in the building from 9-4, but as a maker, she totally sympathised with the many of us who wanted to work in the middle of the night and therefore wasn't too concerned with what we actually did during those seven hours as long as the work materialised at the end of term. So, I spent a lot of time while I was at college going out for breakfast, having a little snooze in the park, searching the city for new jeans or wandering about with my camera pretending to take important photos. Of course, an an adult things aren't that simple, if I spent every day faffing about we'd never have any clean clothes and we'd have to live with the wallpaper we hate for an eternity! 

However, I've found there are some really inspirational podcasts out there that I can listen to while I'm getting all the non-work things done and it feels like I'm getting the best of both worlds. Rather than scrolling and calling it 'research' I'm actually picking up valuable nuggets of information and guidance while I prune the hedges, and I often find they spark ideas for new content which definitely doesn't happen while I'm watching '100 ways to organise your knicker drawer' or some other nonsense disguising itself as inspiration! 

Another area of my life that podcasts are changing is my fitness. I used to love getting out for half an hour or so with my headphones and could fairly easily run 5k. When I developed back problems though, I had to stop doing any form of exercise that caused any impact, and it's only recently with lots of yoga and pilates that my back feels strong enough to do it again. I've been feeling frustrated that my fitness levels are not where they used to be, and I certainly don't find running a 5k relaxing yet. However, as many podcast episodes are around half an hour, I can download one before I leave and kill two birds with one stone; distract myself from my legs telling me they've had enough, and learn something new or listen to an interview with someone interesting. 

I find there's often a bit of a rabbit hole to fall down in the podcast world which is exciting. For example, I was listening to an old episode of the Blogtacular podcast a few weeks ago (while sanding the living room door frame, in case you were wondering) which featured Edd Kimber. I had no idea he also has a podcast, Stir The Pot, so I lined that up to listen to next and absolutely fell in love with it! One of Edd's guests was Jemma Wilson of Crumbs and Doilies, and listening to her talking about baking, combined with then discovering her Youtube channel reminded me that before my relationship with food went a bit haywire, I used to adore baking and decorating cakes and it completely reawakened that part of me! Similarly, Edd spoke to Harry Eastwood who has just written Carneval, a book about eating less meat and really celebrating it when you do choose to. We've been feeling iffy about supermarket meat for a while and listening to Harry talk was enough to convince me and we haven't bought meat from a supermarket since - a fairly big life change to adopt after a 30 minute podcast. 

So, which of the bazillion podcasts out there are changing my life right now? Here are five of my favourites: 



A Playful Day - Kate isn't currently making her podcast, but it was the one that first had me peeking down the rabbit hole. Early episodes were knitting and yarn focused, but more recently Kate has been exploring themes of adventure and family with some really fascinating guests. Above all, Kate's voice is just so soothing and I love to dip into her back catalogue for a bit of comfort.  


Blogtacular - I've written at length about my love for Blogtacular and the podcast is no exception. Kat  interviews THE BEST guests, as well as sharing blogging, business and creative life insights, and I've actually discovered several new podcasts after further exploring the guests she's had on the show. The podcast is over for the season at the moment but it's always a good choice if you need to top up the blogtacular-love!



Hashtag Authentic - Sara Tasker (of Me and Orla fame) is undeniably the Instagram queen and her podcast is a veritable trove of information for everyone perusing a creative career online. It's super informative and I could listen to Sara's voice all day. 



Stir The Pot - I discovered Stir The Pot after it's founder and winner of the first ever Great British Bake off, Edd Kimber appeared on the Blogatacular podcast. I LOVE it! Not so much because it's super inspiring in an online business sense like some of the others I've talked about, but because I adore food almost as much as Edd does and it's such a joy to hear him and his guests talking at length about how food became their careers and why it's such a huge part of their lives. It has meant that I've ended up buying three recipe books and watching the entire back catalogue of Cupcake Jemma's Youtube channel after she appeared on an episode - but it's also served to reinforce that I'm in a really happy place with food these days and that I might even look into making it more of a career... 


The Mavericks - The Mavericks is a new podcast by Charlie Gladstone, founder of Pedlars, The Good Life Experience and Hawarden Estate Farm Shop (all the awesome things in life basically!) Each episode is 30 minutes long and is simply a chat with anyone doing something brilliant, different,  worthwhile, or to quote Charlie 'swimming against the tide.' I can particularly recommend the episode with Rachel Kelly which is super honest and incredibly inspiring - listen to it if you or anyone around you has mental health issues. Just a warning, it might make you want another recipe book and I'm not even sorry!  

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Has anyone else caught the podcast bug? I'd love to hear your recommendations for what I should listen to next! 

Spotlight: Vandertas Accessories {Plus A Super Exciting giveaway!}


Today I'm really excited to be bringing you another post in the spotlight series, as well as a giveaway! I love to champion small, independent businesses and makers and this post is all about a maker who is local to me which makes it even more special!

I discovered Nienke Vandertas and her beautiful leather and canvas accessories brand Vandertas at the Fresh Artisan Market in Norwich back in May. At the time, my beloved Vivienne Westwood purse was on its last legs and given that I'd had it for seven years I was pretty attached and didn't really want to have to replace it. However, I spotted Nienke's gorgeous purses on Instagram during the lead up to the market and as soon as I picked one up I knew I'd found 'the one.'

I chose a beautiful soft grey leather with contrasting yellow panels and stitching and the happiest gold lining! I've loved using it so far and Nienke very kindly sent me the matching card wallet too as my various cards didn't quite fit!

I was really excited to learn more about Nienke's work and it's a fab interview! She has also sent me two of her gorgeous grey canvas foraging bags to give away to you lovely lot, so read on the the end for the details of how to enter and be in with a chance of winning! 

Over to Nienka...

1: Can you introduce yourself and describe what you do?

I’m Nienke Vandertas and I design and make leather and canvas accessories under the name Vandertas. I’m originally from Haarlem, The Netherlands and have lived in the UK since 2000. My background is graphic design, but by chance rolled into freelance event design after a few years living in the UK, which I still do along side my bags.





2a: How did you life as a maker begin? 

My Dad is a gold and silversmith and I remember from a very early age making things and being in my dads workshop. On our family holidays I would make jewellery from shells and sell them at the local market - I think I was about seven. A few years later my Dad started to show me how to use certain tools and I started making earrings and bracelets from perspex. I did consider studying gold and silversmithing, but decided to do graphic design instead.

I didn’t realise I would even like sewing, as it never occurred to me…but after being given a sewing machine for my birthday in 2003 I found my passion! Once I started sewing, I couldn’t stop. Funilly enough I never made clothes, always more utilitarian items; bags, purses and wallets and other accessories. 


2b: When did you start working with leather and why do you love the material?

This was early days. I was already using heavy duty materials like army canvas, but at a market I found some leather offcuts. When I got home and started putting it to the the test I realised my sewing machine was perfectly capable of sewing leather and that was it. Slowly, I started finding out more about the material, where to find nice leather and how best to use it. There were not that many leather merchants online at the time, so it was a process. I love the fact leather is very pliable, doesn’t fray, is very durable and combines very well with all sorts of other materials. 


3: What is your favourite item to make and why?

My favourite item to make is the gladstone (doctor's) bag. Every gladstone I make feels like a little gem, each has it's own character I guess. This character depends a lot on the materials I use make them; a doctors bag made out of a thick shoulder hide has a completely different look and feel as if I was to use a thinner leather.
The exterior is always a plain colored leather, but as soon as you open the bag it will either be lined with beautiful vintage fabric or a bright metallic foiled leather. 

I’m proud that I have doctors and midwives amongst my customers, who use their doctor's bag everyday at work.






 4: You use a lot of recycled and vintage leather and fabrics in your collections. Is this for ethical reasons as well as aesthetics? 

I would say mainly aesthetics, but its very good re-using anyway of course. Vintage fabrics have, in my opinion, much nicer designs. Very rarely I find a modern material I like. Used army canvas I use because it has a nice worn look, which gives a bag character. 

5: Living near the coast has always been a huge inspiration for me. What are you major inspirations?

It’s hard to think of where I find my inspiration as I guess it comes from so many different things. An afternoon lost in the Rijks Museum or Bag Museum in Amsterdam, finding a piece of beautiful fabric at a carboot sale. Any old style typography and design, fashion I like – particularly 1910’s till early1960’s.

6: You also teach leather workshops in Suffolk. What is the best thing about teaching other people to make something with their hands?

To see how proud students are with what they’ve made after finishing the workshop and realising the potential they have to create at home too!


7: What are you plans for the future of Vandertas?   

Keep on making!

***

How stunning are Nienke's accessories! She has very kindly sent me two of her foraging bags which were designed for the Alde Valley Spring Festival in 2012. They're made from used army tents, finished with bronze poppers and are just perfect for foraging or as a bag for general use. They proved so popular they became part of Nienke's main collection and I have one of each size to giveaway! 

So, to be in with a chance of winning all you need to do is: 

1: Head over to Instagram and follow both me (@thesaltedtail) and Nienke (@vandertas
2: Comment on the giveaway image (which the same as the one at the top of this post) telling us what treasures you'd collect in your bag if you won! 

For two extra chances to enter you can:

1: Repost the giveaway image on instagram (either in your main feed or stories) tagging @thesaltedtail and @vandertas so I can find it! 
2: Sign up to receive my email newsletter 'The Treasury' (which is launching soon) by clicking 'The Treasury' tab at the top of this page.

Two winners will be chosen at random on August the 11th. The first name drawn can choose either the medium or small bag, and the second name drawn will win the other! 


Good luck! 

(All images except the first are courtesy of Vandertas)

Recipe: My Go-To '5 A Day' Green Smoothie


Like many of us who got wrapped up in the 'clean-eating' craze that's happened over the last few years, I've done my fair share of experimenting with green smoothies! I've thankfully come out the other side of my food issues, and as a general rule I don't think green juices and smoothies are all they're cracked up to be. They're often more fruit than vegetables and if they're not can be a bit prone to tasting like a mouthful of hedge! Given that I love non-blended spinach, kale and broccoli it makes sense to me to just eat them!

However, I do make this one quite regularly, on days when I know I might not be getting my full quota of fruit and veg for the day from meals, or if I don't feel particularly hungry at lunch time. It's got more veg than fruit and contains your entire 5 portions in one go!

You will need a really good blender as well as:

1 apple
1 kiwi fruit
1 lime
A really big handful of spinach
5cm piece of cucumber
3 big pieces of broccoli

Optional:

1 date (sometimes I add this, sometimes not depending on how sweet the fruit is and what I fancy)
1 tablespoon of greens powder
1 tablespoon of protein powder (I sometimes add pea or hemp protein if I'm having this at lunchtime)

Squeeze everything into the blender, cover the veg with cold water and whizz it up! I like to put it in the freezer for a bit before drinking so it's lovely and cold but you could also add ice to the blender in place of some of the water. It's also amazing with coconut water - but we're not all made of money now are we...

Now, for your enjoyment, some flat lay out-takes featuring my sister, who thinks me and my piece of white card are ridiculous, so stole my apple then wished she hadn't because juice went all over her face...


Our Home Tour: Downstairs Toilet Reveal


Now we're really starting to make some progress with making our house feel like it actually belongs to us, I thought I'd start to share some of the finished rooms with you.  

Shortly after moving in we decided we'd start with the downstairs toilet because, a: it's tiny, and b: it was really sad in there! It was lilac, which is my least favourite colour in the world, it had dark purple carpet (yeah I know - nasty) and before these photos were taken there were four shelves above the sink and a medicine cabinet above the toilet which made the whole room feel really claustrophobic and dark.





There was also a very nineties (and not in a cool-again-revival way like chokers and space buns) border running around the room which  I took great pleasure in tearing off one night after work!



We wanted a really bright clean space, somewhere that some of our house plant collection could live and where I could indulge my copper obsession without it being too overpowering. We also didn't want to spend too much money as it's not exactly a room we'll be spending much time in! 

I love how it came out! The lilac took a surprisingly long time to cover and we've still got the door and doorframe to finish but it feels SO good to have a whole room exactly how we want it. I'm really pleased with the wall decals which we'd never used before. We had planned to wallpaper the wall behind the toilet but the paper we chose was something like trying to put actual toilet paper on the wall so we gave up and ordered these instead. If it's REALLY warm the edges do lift slightly but otherwise they're perfect!  



I made a little reed diffuser from an antique ink well and some essential oil, and a few of my vintage observer and Harry Potter books have found a home in there too. I also planted a few cuttings from a string of pearls plant in a hollowed out seed pod which seem to be doing quite well perched on the window sill. 



I knew I wanted to hang my beloved air plants in here and their hangers were sort of the inspiration for the rest of the room. I made them from some really thin copper tubing and copper wire and hung them with leather cord. Aware that as the plants grow they might become difficult to get in and out of the hangers for watering, I used jewellery findings to link the top of the copper tubes together so the hangers could open. They we're really easy to make but I might write a tutorial if anyone's interested in knowing more? 







What do you think? I sort of want to fill it up with even more plants and have a mini jungle in there. One day we think we'd like to extend this room to fit in a shower cubicle/wet room area too but for now we're concentrating on making the rest of the house as happy as this tiny space is! 

Here's where everything came from:

Blind: Ikea
Flooring: Homebase
Wall Decals: CGHome - Etsy 
Shelf Brackets (sprayed with copper spray paint): All Things Brighton Beautiful
Copper Ampersand: Hobbycraft 
Geometric String of Hearts Planter: Isatu Hyde
Copper Mirrors: I bought these in Cornwall but you can find similar here
Wall Hooks: Mica Rica - Etsy
Light Fitting: Ebay  
Towel Rail/Shelf: I made this from an upside down Ikea spice rack and a piece of copper pipe - you can find my tutorial here 

Introducing 'Food Moments' - A Beid Bil Tamriya Recipe from Ellie Ward


I recently got an interesting message from an online friend I met through instagram. She is a fellow Eleanor, although she prefers Ellie, and I believe we 'met' (albeit virtually) after discussing natural dye techniques. We've stayed in touch, and a few weeks ago she suggested a recipe I might like to feature on The Salted Tail and it got me thinking. 

Reading the post submission Ellie sent made me realise how instrumental food can be in shaping our lives. I certainly have several memories that have food at their centre, and it is one of the most important factors in my life, from deciding where we go on holiday to the time spent perusing recipe books before I go to bed. 

I have also had some issues with food in the last few years, and it's only recently that I've let myself re-discover my love for it. I've been reading my books like they're novels, perusing the market stalls for local ingredients, devouring food based podcasts and binge-watching baking videos. 

It's like a really big bit of me has woken up (and gone in search of breakfast!)

So, to celebrate my reawakening, I've decided to start a new series I'm calling Food Moments. These will be guest posts, (plus a few moments of my own) sharing life's important memories and moments where food has been at the heart. Prepare for lots of reminiscing and recipes! 

For now, it's over to Ellie for the first in the series. She shares why a favourite cafe in Peckham became an important part of her family life, and a brunch recipe she devised after tasting a particular dish and needing to re-create it at home.

Enjoy! 




"I lived in Peckham for a decade before making the predictable move to outside the M25 when our son was born. We saw the area of London we lived in change over time. From a place with low rents that encouraged many to start innovative restaurants, artisan delicatessens, gallery spaces and yoga studios to a place known for exactly that. In poured money and gentrification took a firm grasp. Rents crept up and many of the original businesses were forced to re-locate. We decided at this point it was time to cash in and sell. 

Despite it’s relatively rapid ascent (or descent as some may argue) I miss that beautiful part of London everyday. I miss it’s vibrancy, its inclusion and its warm openness to all. One place sums up Peckham for me better than anywhere - Persepolis. Persepolis is a corner shop and cafe that has been in the same spot for 16 years. It’s run by an incredible lady called Sally Butcher and her Iranian husband Jamshid. It houses an amazing array of exotic goods: herbs, spices, oils and teas as well as other impossible-to-find-elsewhere ingredients.  

Pre-child, we would often go on a weekend morning for a slow brunch, tasting several unusual yet totally delicious dishes.  Once our son Ludo was born, we would call in after swimming for a refreshing pomegranate juice and a takeways box of Turkish delight from the counter. In fact, our son had his first taste of solid food Persepolis - flat bread and hummus - true story! 

The first plate I ever tried was an Iraqi breakfast dish called beid bil tamriya which is basically eggs, dates and cardamom. It’s so ridiculously simple yet so delicious. I ordered it because it sounded so odd I just had to try it! In the UK we tend to consider eggs outside of baking as a savoury ingredient - quiche, omelette, or hard boiled with a pinch of salt and soldiers. This dish however is a sweet sensation! 

For two people you’ll need:




- Butter or coconut oil for frying (I personally prefer coconut oil for it’s plant based fats and creamy taste) 
- 2 medjool dates (or three regular ones)
- 4-5 eggs (depending on your hunger level!)
- A teaspoon of cardamon powder (you can buy this pre-ground or break open some pods and grind the seeds - you'll need about 10 pods)
- Some great sourdough bread



First, de-stone and roughly chop the dates. Heat the butter or coconut oil over a medium heat and add the chopped dates. Fry them until they’re softened, mashing a bit with a wooden spoon as you go. Take care not to let them burn. 

Beat your chosen number of eggs and add to the pan with the dates. Stir constantly to scramble your eggs to your preferred consistency then remove from the heat and stir in the cardamom powder. 

Serve with sourdough, black coffee and a Sunday supplement." 



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Ellie is a 36 year old ex-fashion buyer, now a mother and a maker. She lives in the modernist village of New Ash Green, Kent with her husband and son. She has a jewellery brand called Unknown Legend. You can find Ellie and her beautiful jewellery on Instagram or have a look at her etsy shop here.

This beid bil tamriya recipe is wonderfully delicious! I've made it several times already and I've also found that combination of dates and cardamom makes an amazing addition to porridge! I will definitely be visiting Persepolis next time we're in London. Ellie also recommended their recipe books which do look wonderful! Persia in Peckham for example is describes as 'A slightly daft English woman guide to Persian cuisine"


Hopefully you enjoyed the first Food Moment. I can't wait to share more stories with you, and if you have a favourite food moment you'd like to share please to get in touch - everything you need is under 'Contact' above!