Make a paracord bracelet

Let’s get this straight. This is not your average friendship bracelet. This is a paracord bracelet. Paracord as in the stuff from parachutes.

It’s tougher, more hardy, more adventurous than your regular friendship bracelet. The girls from the Bodyform ads would wear it if they could. It hints at days spent throwing yourself out of a plane for fun with a balloon-y thing on your back.

And we imagine if you ever accidentally threw yourself out of the plane before you put your parachute on that your instructor would be able to drag you back in by the scruff of your paracord bracelet. It’s that strong. Plus the flecks in the material glint.

It’s the perfect guest to a wrist party, too. See how nice it looks next to Alice’s digital watch and Links of London bracelet? You get to say “Oh, this old thing? Knocked it up myself. Out of paracord. Yeah that’s the one, the stuff from parachutes. Have I ever done a parachute jump myself, you ask? Er, of course ye’ – oooooh, is that the canapé tray?”

Anyway, here is everything you need to have and know to make one…

What you need:  7-strand paracord in colour of your choice (we like our feisty neon green from Yougle UK on Amazon); a large-hole bead; scissors; tape measure; pointy ended tweezers; lighter


1. Cut a 50cm length of paracord.

 2. Make a loop towards one end of your paracord; the leftover cord at end-A should be at least 8cm long.


3. Take end-B and thread it over then under the loop.
 4. Now make a V-shape in the loop, pulling the top down over the bottom – like so!


5. Now take end-B again and thread over the ‘point’ of the V and under the next piece of paracord. (This bold and italic thing is working, isn’t it..?)


6. Now pull end-A and end-B gently at the same time.


7. Tighten and tamper a little with your finished knot to make it neat like the one above.


8. Now thread your large-hole bead on to one end of the paracord.


9. Push the opposite end of your paracord through the large-hole bead, too. You will need your pointy tweezers to help get it through. It’s a tight squeeze. Don’t be put off. This tightness is what gives your bracelet its tension/ability to pull open and squeeze close.


10. In order to get the right fit for your bracelet and to know how much leftover paracord to cut off the ends, you’ll need to try your bracelet on; squeeze it past your knuckles. It should be a comfy but snug fit.

11. Now ease your hand out of your bracelet again and, without adjusting the loop’s size, manoeuvre your bead a bit so it sits nice and central.


12. Now tie a knot at each end of your paracord, as close to the bead as poss.


13. Cut off the leftover paracord.


14. Flick on your lighter. Hold the flame close to, but not touching, the  ends of your bracelet. We’re melting the ends so they don’t fray, not singeing the blighters. Leave them to cool. (By the way, slightly chipped nail varnish is where it’s at these days.)


15. Next, apply to wrist – pulling your bracelet open as wide as you need to, to get your hand in, then pulling it closed again.

 16. Et voila! A crash course in using paracord for something even more useful than those handy suspension line things on parachutes.

* If you like this but can’t be arsed to make it, fret not. We’ll have neon green, gold, black and grey-blue versions,  with a sterling silver bead, in our shop from next Friday (23 Oct).

STRICTLY SUNDAY

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Movie night – and, dance off aside, it was a tale of two Travoltas. The be-quiffed teenage heartthrob version and the middle-aged man with middle-age spread version…

Let’s just talk about Jay for a minute, who, for his jive, was channeling fat druggy gangster Vincent Vega from Pulp Fiction. Who himself was channeling, albeit in a totally meta way, disco king Tony Manero  from Saturday Night Fever.

Now for anyone who wasn’t a The Wanted fan, erstwhile member Jay and his crew prided themselves on their inability to dance. They revelled in looking like ‘normal lads staggering through the pub’ on stage. So where – where??? – did this come from? 

Little nervy Jay was a revelation. Those flicks! Those spot turns! Those swivels! His trademark stony/scared stiff gaze fitted the brief brilliantly. Go on – YouTube it if you didn’t watch it or you’re based outside of the UK. Oh, go on…

The best bit? That he started the dance in the same slightly embarrassed, half-arsed fashion JT did in the film. You know, where you think he’s going to unleash the dad dancing only to surprise you with a thunderbolt of silky-hipped, feather-footed rhythmic brilliance. Yippee!

The studio erupted! They were on their feet! The pros didn’t know where to look! Jay’s mum blubbered stoically. Jay was even better than Travolta according to Bruno, who quickly despatched the first 10 of the series. Craig Revel-Horwood, who’d been on particularly mean form all night, said he’d never seen technical ability of its like on Strictly before. Whoa.

Oh, and Daniel O’Donnel pretended to be Danny Zuko from Grease.

Back to the dance-off and it was a sad farewell to Anthony, he of the poorly shoulder. It’s a shame; he and Oti had potential. They were showing week-on-week improvement, if not knock-out performances yet (ber-dum) and they just looked so pretty together. But despite getting in a flap with his penguin moves, it was fellow dance-off contestant Ainsley who lived to waddle around for another week.

Elsewhere, Anton failed Katie by creating a dance routine that had no dancing in it; Helen looked sweet, floaty and elegant as usz (zzzz…); Georgianni did a super-sexy but slightly stiff-hipped Rumba; Carol smiled her way through a Quick Step; Jamelia looked like she was thinking about it all too much and Kirstie was better than last week but still less than paw-fect in her Lady and The Tramp dance. She was the prettiest pretend dog we think we’ve ever seen, though…



  

There were some pre-Jay show-stoppers, too. Kellie and Kevin, as Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia, looked handy with their lightsabers during their Charleston and lolloping Jeremy made everyone, bar R-H, smile with his. (His Charleston not his lightsaber.)

Fan favourite Peter Andre, doing his best Jack Sparrow, was outshone. He suffered from a too-bulky costume and thumpy choreography and looked a bit more panto character than Paso Doble don. Better luck next week, Pete.

Finally, Anita channeled Demi Moore in a Moira Stewart wig for her Ghost-themed dance. At times she looked lovely and ethereal; at others her wayward twirls made her look like a tiny lump of clay spinning out of control on a potter’s wheel.

Until next Sunday!

The perfect brunch: swoodle pancakes 


Author: Sarah-Louise James

So if zoodles are zucchini noodles, swoodles are officially sweet potato noodles. And swoodle pancakes are what happens when you lightly fry them in olive oil with eggs, spring onions and garlic.

Yep, the Spiralizer’s been out again and we’ve been having oodles of fun making food that rhymes with oodles. Foodles.

Anyway, while the Spiralizer is amazing for pasta-impersonating dishes, we wanted to do something a little different but just as easy, for the blog.

A couple of hours rummaging around Pinterest, Instagram and BBC Good Food later, and the swoodle pancake – or, sweet potato latkes sans flour, if you’d rather – was no longer just a twinkle in the eye. It was becoming a cobbled-together fully-formed thing.

And once the ideas became ingredients and those ingredients went into the frying pan, we were looking at a potential brunch winner.

These babies are easy to make, taste good and they’re healthy. And here’s the thing, they can even be made without a Spiralizer (gulp). You can grate the sweet potato instead if you like. You just won’t be able to call them swoodles very convincingly.

So… with two whole days of weekend coming up, tonight’s the night to stock up on sweet potatoes and get prepared. (Because everyone loves nothing more than stocking up on sweet potatoes on a Friday night.)

Ingredients and how-to after the pics…





What you’ll need for 4 people eating 3 medium-size swoodle pancakes each:

2 large sweet potatoes, 5 juicy cloves of garlic, 2 big organic eggs, a bunch of spring onions chopped up (we used 6 sprigs. Is sprigs the right word?), rock salt and pepper, olive oil, sour cream (we used shop-bought)

What to do:

  1. Wash, peel and halve your sweet potatoes
  2. Unleash the Spiralizer; stick the fat, flat half of your sweet potato to the spikes and go, go, go. (Or grate your sweet pots)
  3. Transfer your sweet p ribbons to a chopping board and cut them into more manageable shorter curls (make ’em about 5 inches)
  4. Now pop them in a big mixing bowl and sprinkle them with rock salt and pepper
  5. Chop your spring onions and add to the bowl
  6. Grate or finely chop your garlic and add to the bowl
  7. Crack two eggs into a jug, whisk until silky smooth and pour into the mixing bowl with all the other stuff
  8. Stir your mixture with a wooden spoon so it all starts bonding together
  9. Pour one tbsp of olive oil into a big saucepan, swirl it about then stick pan on hob on a moderate heat
  10. Once your oil looks ready, fork out some of your mixture out and create  a circle/patty shape with it in the pan, like in the pics above – do 3
  11. Press down on your sweet pot patties (that sounded a bit wrong) with your fork or spatula for about about 3/4 mins
  12. With a spatula, carefully check that the underside looks golden brown and if so, flip it over and cook for same time on the next side
  13. When you’re happy with your swoodle pancakes’ tans, whop them onto a plate and top with a dollop of sour cream
  14. Repeat the above for the next 3 people
  15. Don’t beat yourself up if some people’s swoodle pancakes are smaller than others. Trial and error. Trial and error.
  16. Serve with a Bloody Mary


Happy weekend, folks! Will any of you be whipping up brunch or, better still, whipping out your Spiralizer? Let us know x

Last of the summer holiday snaps

HOLSMONEY

Author: Sarah-Louise James

We May Be Little – AKA, me, Maria and Alice – went on holiday to Menorca with a group of family members a couple of weeks ago.

While we were there, we sunbathed, baby-watched, blogged, did craft stuff, macrame’d, drank coffee, drank cocktails, came up with craft ideas, did a bit of cooking, came up with a few food ideas for the blog, ate nice food, drank more cocktails. And then we came home.

And now, if you’re UK-based, you’ll know: the weather is ruddy horrendous. And that holiday feels like a milllllllllllion years ago (sung in the voice of Youssou N’Dour).

So on this wet Wednesday afternoon in London, I decided to go through our snaps and upload some nice sunny ones in the hopes it would result in a nice, sunny feeling. It sort of worked. So we hope it works for anyone reading, too.

In no particular order are: sunsets, cocktails, things we made (there’s a paracord knot jewellery how-to coming to the blog soon), palm trees, sea views, padron peppers cooked by us and various restaurants (simply fry those devils in olive oil and a load of rock salt for one of the tastiest tapas going), us – working; scary clowns and all the other things you might expect to see on a sunny Mediterranean holiday.

Wish you were there. Oh no, hang on, we wish we were there. We wish we all there!

HOLS POOLHOLS PINK FLOW

HOLS PADHOLS BUBBLES

HOLS CLOWN

HOLS WMBL2HOLS RED FLOW
HOLS MARINAHOLS WMBL3

HOLS COCKTAILS

HOLS WMBL1HOLS ROPEHOLS FAIRHOLS PAD PRAWN

HOLS NIGHT PALMSHOLS CODHOLS JASMINEHOLS PALMS

Strictly Sunday

  

Duh-duh-duh… The first results show. And there was Jamelia in the bottom two. What a turn up for the blooming books. And yet… Her limbs were wayward, her footwork too loose and her posture all nervy. Meanwhile, Iwan’s powerful pelvic thrusts were more “murderous” than Mmm-mm, according to the sometime viciously-bitchy Bruno. It was the former Olympics-y man who eventually sashayed, – or rather, thudded – into the sunset, however. And neither the judges nor his bruised-footed partner Ola look too upset about it. 

As for the Saturday night show, well there were a helluva lot of fours going on. And everybody seemed a bit rubbish for ages, if we’re honest. We’ve already mentioned Jamelia. Brendan hoisted a rather stiff-looking Kirsty around like she was a sideboard that needed shifting into the next room. Anthony was less go-go-go and more no-no-no. Georgianni lost their fizz. And even Jay – who made the judges froth – is still wearing the look of a man who doesn’t have enough credit on his Oyster card. 

  
  
Thank goodness for an upturn in skillz in the second half of the show. Kellie and Kevin are looking likes ones to watch, as are dark horses and unexpected “It” couple Katie and Anton. Everyone loves an underdog. And a dark horse. Anita was slick. Peter once again ruled the roost, like a magenta-clad cockerel. And Helen did a scary sex look during her Cha Cha while shaking her tassel-clad hips. Other mentions go to grandfolk’s faves – Daniel, Carol and Jeremy. All rubbish but charming enough to be a bit lovable. 

Until next week!

Pimp a pumpkin

pumpkin

It’s October 2. It’s the weekend. Let’s pimp a pumpkin.

We’re not going to pretend this is going to win us any pumpkin carving competitions – particularly as it doesn’t require any ruddy carving – but we will not deny that it’s a pretty cute, and dare we say it, stylish, way of inviting Halloween into your home.

Plus, it’s so easy we can’t believe we’re writing a 3-step how-to.

Nevertheless, there’s a 3-step how-to after the pics.

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3 simple steps to a stylish pumpkin

What you will need: a selection of gourds from your local greengrocer – it’s nice to mix it up on the size and colour front; a Sharpie

1. Draw a circle for an eye 3/4 of the way up one pumpkin rib
2. Draw a nonchalant v-shape for a smile half-way up the next rib
3. Draw another circle for an eye – just a smidgeon less than 3/4 of the way up – on the next rib for a lovably wonky look

Now find a home for your pumpkin friends somewhere nice in your home. As you can see from the picture below, we created a whole pumpkin family. We kept it chilled, however, by only adding faces to three of the five pumpkins. Because we’re cool like that.

Gourd-jus, eh? (Never gets old, that one.)

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Will you be decorating your home for Halloween? We’d love to hear your ideas if so.

Make Your Own Mini Felt Bunting

BUNTING MAIN

Bunting, like wine, makes things better.

Just look at that storage chest above and tell us it doesn’t.

And as you can see, mini bunting needn’t be Cath Kidston-twee. For example, you could make this with dastardly skull and cross bones-patterned felt if the fancy so took you.

And you can hang it anywhere. On your trunk, a la us. On your kid’s bedroom door. On a gallery wall. On a drinks trolley. From the mantlepiece. A kitchen book shelf. Above your bed. Diagonally above your desk like a hipster blogger. Up to you.

The best thing is: it’s SUPER easy to make.

So if you’re on the market for a bit of quick and easy mini bunting making, check out this how-to.

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1. For a strip of mini bunting like this, you will need: about a meter of bias binding and your own selection of squares of coloured felt – buy from any good online or in store haberdashery.

Or just Amazon it, if you must. Plus, scissors (fabric ones, ideally), thin cardboard, pencil, ruler, needle, pins and thread. Oh, and an iron.

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2. Make a triangle template. Using your ruler, draw a 4-inch horizontal line. Measure 2 inches in and then draw a 4-inch vertical line. Then fill in your triangle sides. Easy, right.

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3. Now pin your triangle to your felt and cut around the bugger. Continue like this until you have 7 triangles.

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4. Now fold your length of bias binding in half and press with iron.

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5. Next, tuck a felt triangle into the pressed binding, a few inches in, and pin it in place. Leave about an inch and pin your next one. And so on, until you’ve tucked in all your triangles (aw).BUNTING 11

6. Now it’s time to unleash the needle and thread – and your primary school sewing skills – and start sewing that bad boy.

Don’t worry too much if you’re crap. You can get away with a lot with white thread on white binding. OR, if you’re a whizz on a sewing machine then do it that way.

7. Give it all another little press with the iron once you’re done – et voila, easy mini bunting for your place

As a side note, obvz if you’re feeling confident you can get longer bias binding and more felt and turn your mini bunting into big bunting that you hang from your ceiling and your walls like in Bake Off. Or something cooler. Being little, we thought we’d start small.

Are you a fan of crafting? Bunting? We’d love to get your feedback/tips!

Ooh and feel free to visit our shop if you fancy – we have lots of nice craft-y things in there if you don’t feel like making things yourself.

STRICTLY SUNDAY

STRICTLY GROUP

And welcome to another gratuitous Strictly post.

The countdown to Christmas is now on. Don’t shy away from that fact. If you’re based in the UK or Ireland, embrace ‘Strictly Season’ – formerly known as autumn and winter – and all the sequins and spray tans that come with.

This double bill had it all: stilted limbs, shimmery tassels, caught-on-camera bitching judges and real-life glowering looks from Danny Dyer. Craig Revel Horwood, don’t innuendo-cize him, please!

And what with this being the first proper week and the judges not wanting to be too forthcoming with their marks, there were also a heck of a lot of 7s on the go. 

So in the spirit of Len Goodman, we’re going to sum up each Strictly couple in precisely ‘Sev-ern’ words!

Kellie and Kevin: Fab. Gotta (upper) hand it to her.

Anthony and Oti: Forever be remembered as Trouser Split-Gate.

The moment the trousers went?
The moment the trousers went?
Helen and Aljaz: So sweet, like dancing marzipan cake toppers.

Carol and Pacha: Storm ahead. Two ways of reading that.

Dancing marzipan cake toppers
Dancing marzipan cake toppers
Kristina and Daniel: Sex-free but Irish eyes still smiling.

Anita and Gleb: Saucy. Remember though, Gleb is happily married.

Jay and Aliona: Nerves never did stop good body roll.

Kirsty and Brendan: Power couple sadly looked a tad shaky.

Was Jeremy on stilts?
Was Jeremy on stilts?
Jeremy and Karen: Impressive dad dancing on stilts. Stilts, right?

Georgia and Giovanni: G-whizz. This cute pair got fizz.

Ainsley and Natalie: Cooking puns are served. Next week: salsa.

Katie and Anton: Prom-ises to be good ‘un for Anton.

Iwan and Ola: More lumpy-pumpy than sex on legs.

Jamelia and Tristan: Mind the gap. Between your feet, Jamz.

Strutting it in cerise
Strutting it in cerise
Peter and Janette. Majestic in cerise. Snake hips next week!

Needless to say, Peter Andre ended up on top of the leaderboard with poor Carol from BBC brekkie propping everyone else up, at the bottom. And there we have it. Until next week, Keeeeeeep dancing. (Soz)
Are you a Strictly fan? Who are your faves? Indulge us, go on, and let us know in the comments.

But first… Coffee, cake, croissants, toasties…

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Never is coffee more important than on a Monday morning. A little bit of much-needed rocket fuel to chase the post-weekend blues away and make the boss’s demands a little more bearable.

And while we definitely don’t turn our noses up at a Nero’s cappuccino, there’s nothing better than finding a quirky little independent coffee shop, that does a rich, strong bean (with a flourish), to put a spring in your step.

We’re going to be reviewing indie coffee places whenever we come across a good ‘un. First it’s independent family-run Coffee Circus in Crouch End, nestled down a little side street, like a secret – within sniffing distance of Costa and Starbucks, but a world away.

If you come early in the morning you’ll find a long queue snaking its way out of the door but if you come mid-morning or afternoon, you’ll get a bit more space to explore a menu boasting blends and beans from all over the world – sourced by artisan roasters, BeanWanders.

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You can slurp your way through flat whites, French press, long blacks and skinny caps, macchiatos and ristrettos or really live it up and try an affogato – rich, dark espresso poured over creamy vanilla ice cream and served in a cup. There’s a loose tea list for brew lovers too.

There are homemade cakes – all gluten-free – plus a range of superior toasties and melt-in-your-mouth pastries. We’ve been a few times and not encountered a stale crust yet.

Local artists’ work adorns the walls; there’s a book shelf with tatty old reads for anyone who really has a day to while away but for anyone else there’s free wi-fi so you can come and work here. Though it’s not the kind of place to be a table hogger. Nip across the road to Starbucks for that.

And if you like what you drink, you can buy it. All the teas and coffee beans are for sale too. Open 8-6 during the week and 9-6 at weekends, this place is a little haven worthy of your attention if you ever find yourself in the locale. There are two adorable little Coffee Circus takeaway places in Camden Lock and Stables, too.

Do you have a favourite indie coffee hangout? Let us know.

Coffee Circus, 136 Crouch Hill, London, N8 9DX

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Things we love this autumn

TREND BOARD

Brrr.

There’s no denying it. Summer is dead.

Fortunately, here follows the cosiest season of all. (Let’s not think about what happens after that.)

And here are just a few of the things that are putting a smile on our faces. Things we’ve fallen for. Fallen for.

1. Pumpkin Spice latte Whether you love Starbucks or want it removed from your neighbourhood, you’ve gotta admit there’s something about their Pumpkin Spice lattes – back in store now! – that make you feel all warm and toasty inside. How can anything bad happen when you’re sipping on this potent mix of sugar and dreams? From all the Starbucks in the world.

2. Kiko Glass Frame We’re loving these vintage-meets-modern glass picture frames with a choice of zinc, copper or brass frames. We’re liking them even more piled on the wall en masse. £19.95 Notonthehighstreet.com

3. Zara Jacquard Scarf Wind? Rain? Pah! None of you are a match for this big, thick rug-like scarf from Zara. Could also double as a blanket on the night bus home. £22.99, Zara.com

4. Atterley Road Kaleidoscope Asymmetric dress All the style mags are full of Atterley Road’s boho 70s-style midi dress. We prefer this non-nostalgic asymmetric number. £65, AtterleyRoad.com

5. Tinsel garland We’re going to be spending a lot of time indoors. Time to get a Confetti System-style glitzy garland above the bed. In autumnal golds and bronzes, naturally. We’ll be making our own soon and giving you a how-to on the blog.

6. Topshop Hijack fringe ankle boot Ticks all the trend boxes for the new seas’. Suede. Tassled. Chunky-heeled. Like. £69, Topshop.com

7. Cosy Camel Because a longline camel coat never goes out of style, like this one modelled by Atlantic Pacific, a fashion blogger we like.

8. Biker Sheepskin biker jacket? See above. (This one is from Fitzroy Boutique)

9. LSA International Tortoise Shell globe vase Leopard print vase? Give it. From £42, Johnlewis.com 

10. Blythe. Always We have a dirty secret. It’s a Blythe doll obsession. It’s the Diet Cokes ads that did it. Anyway, here she is styled up for autumn, courtesy of OhChiWaWa

11. Low-cut jumpsuit We’ll mock this cut-off culotte jumpsuit in years to come. Right now its awkwardness is where it’s at. And it’s under £30! £29.99, Zara.com

12. A messy Bardot ‘do It’s mingin’ out there. Time to let the summer top knots down and get a bit of warmth around the old lug holes. Photo courtesy of Anthropologie.com 

*NB: This trend board is pretty female-centric on the fashion front. We know. For those of a more masculine persuasion, never fear. Your time is coming.