Thursday, 19 April 2012

What to do when it rains (and pours!)

Hone your scrabble skills

When was the last time you tested your linguistic abilities? Brush up on them while the roads turn to rivers.

See the Damien Hirst retrospective

Its doors have just opened and the exhibit includes the first recreation of Hirst’s 1991 'In And Out Of Love' installation - complete with real butterflies.

Make homemade pizza

Pile on the toppings and serve just before our next idea!

Watch a black and white classic

Switch on Sunset Boulevard (circa 1950) or Fritz Lang’s original Metropolis. Rather see a colour flick? Stick with the classics and download Gentleman Prefer Blondes.

Take to the library (or revisit an old favourite at home)

Usher the kids out of the door and spend some quality time reading Roald Dahl to them, while you reacquaint yourself with some of the greatest children's books ever written.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Chit-chatting with Rory Dobner

British artist Rory Dobner has carried a sketchbook with him since the age of 14. It’s here he has scribbled down ink drawings of his surroundings, and when the notebooks are full, they begin to tell their own narrative.

Rory studied at both Chelsea School of Art and Design and Central St. Martin’s where he developed this narrative further – devising a strong signature style of inky, intricate drawings with a humourous slant. The etchings themselves, have since adorned everything from ceramics – such as his beautiful monogram tiles - and sheet metal, to even being timelessly captured in tattoos. We caught up with Rory to find out a little more about his work, and to tap into the secret behind his flourishing success.

When and why did you decide to be a designer?

From being pint-sized and drawing on my dad’s cherished Herbie Volkswagen Beetle with a compass.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?

Mainly in the natural world and history books.

What aspect of your work gives you the most pleasure?

Putting ink to paper.

When are you most creative?

The witching hour.

What is your workspace like?

I am creating a new studio as we speak so watch this space. Most likely it will end up like the old one i.e. 90% full of frames with a teeny-weeny corner left for me to draw in.

How do you describe your style?

Eclectically English.

What are you currently working on?

Wallpaper and upholstery fabrics.

When you first started out, what was the best advice you received?

Dance like no one is watching – it’s something that applies to everything I do.

What advice do you have for other designers starting out?

Talking as well as drawing helps!

How do you achieve a work/life balance?

What’s that?

What are you other passions?

It’s a family joke that I draw in my spare time.

What is your favourite food?

Shortbread is my favourite midnight feast.

What is your greatest weakness?

Sunglasses. I’m obsessed.

Rory Dobner's Original ink drawings, prints, tiles mugs and lighting are available online.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

The Easter Nest

Easter is a great excuse to get creative, whether it be decorating eggs, making simnel cake or handmade chocolates.

We've been getting messy with our toddler making delicious chocolatey treats, Easter nests. What a treat! And they couldn't be easier.

  • 225g plain chocolate

  • 2 tbsp golden syrup

  • 50g butter

  • 75g cornflakes

  • 36 mini chocolate eggs

  1. Line a 12-hole cupcake tin with paper cases.

  2. Melt the chocolate, golden syrup and butter in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir the mixture until smooth.

  3. Remove the bowl from the heat and gently stir in the cornflakes.

  4. Divide the mixture between the paper cases and press 2 chocolate eggs into the centre of each nest. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour, or until completely set.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Poached eggs & quinoa cakes

Waking up to the sunshine on Sunday and a day of little plans ahead (delightful!), we decided to get creative in the kitchen.

After scrolling through a few ideas online and flipping through well-thumbed cookery books, we settled on an inventive way to have eggs - swapping the somewhat tiresome companion of toasted muffins for home-made and healthy quinoa cakes.

Here's how we made them...

Ingredients, makes 3-4 cakes:

1 cup of cooked quinoa
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 egg
2 egg whites
1 onion (make sure it's finely chopped)
A good handful of mature cheddar
Salt and pepper
Spinach, wilted (or other leaves if you prefer)
3 poached eggs


1. Mix together the quinoa, egg yolks and whites, onion, cheese, salt and pepper.
2. Add in the bread crumbs and leave to stand for two minutes.
3. Pat mixture into 3-4 rounds, squashing them together with your hands.
4. Fry each cake in a large pan for about 7-10 minutes either side.
5. Top each cake with the leaves of your choice and a drippy poached egg.