Spring clean your wardrobe in 1 weekend – day 3 (Final day)

Spring clean theme for March - Champagne Twist

To recap, on Friday, you separated your Autumn/Winter clothes from your Spring/Summer clothes.

Yesterday you will have:

  • Completed your laundry,
  • Taken your clothes to the repair shop, dry cleaners,
  • Taken your unwanted clothes to the charity shop,
  • Set aside any clothes you wish to sell,
  • Prepared your clothes for ironing and/or mending.

Now for today’s tasks:

Spring Clean Your Wardrobe in 1 Weekend –

final day

spring summer wardrobe 2017

Sunday afternoon

You deserve a lie in, it is Sunday after all. Unless you absolutely have to, don’t get out of bed before noon.

1pm; Let’s make a start on those repairs, get them all out of the way.  Next, complete the ironing and put away your clothes. Prep your work clothes as well while you’re at it.

2pm; Give your wardrobe a quick wipe with a dampened cloth. There is no point organising your lovely clothes, only to place them in a dusty wardrobe. If you wish, you can line your drawers with scented paper, and add lavender bags to your hangers.  This may help keep your clothes freshly scented, and the moths away.

After all that, spend the rest of the day online shopping. Yes, shopping. You can browse your favourite online shops, order those pieces missing from your wardrobe, and look forward to receiving them in a few days. If like me you like sewing, you can purchase haberdashery according to your wardrobe tastes. You will find the notes you made on Friday and yesterday useful.

Your evening should be free for rest and relaxation, safe in the knowledge that your spring wardrobe is up to date. It’s nice to know another task that we so often put off, is done and you helped a charity in the process.

spring clean your wardrobe in 1 weekend

I hope you found this mini series useful, please leave your comments and suggestions in the comments box below. Don’t forget to subscribe for more. Thanks for reading.

Spring clean your wardrobe in 1 weekend – day 2

Hello,

Spring clean theme for March - Champagne Twist

Friday has finally arrived, and I hope you are looking forward to the weekend. Yesterday I posted suggestions on how to steal a March (see what I did there?) on spring cleaning your wardrobe, focusing on sorting your Autumn and Winter clothing before storing. If you didn’t get a chance to read it, please click this link.

Today, I’m posting suggestions on how to tackle your Spring and Summer clothing for the coming season.

Spring Clean Your Wardrobe in 1 Weekend –

Day 2

Saturday morning

Arise nice and early, make yourself a hearty breakfast and set to work on sorting out your wardrobe. Ideally the following should be completed by 12.30pm.

  • Anything that needs mending, set aside, you will be repairing these later this evening or tomorrow.
  • Anything that needs dry cleaning, add to your dry cleaning bag you started last night.
  • Anything that needs washing, add to the laundry pile.
  • Next, quickly sort out the clothes you don’t want or need any more. Spend no more than an hour doing this, and be ruthless. If you haven’t worn it in a year and it’s not of sentimental value, out it goes. If it doesn’t fit, say bye bye. If you have never ever worn it, and it’s in good condition, consider selling it or send it to the charity shop. Either way, it’s leaving. If you can alter it to make it into something new, then by all means keep it, but be honest with yourself. Will you have time to adjust your items in the next 12 months? If you know you won’t, consider donating your clothing instead.

You should now have:

  • a set of Autumn/Winter clothes drying,
  • a set of Spring/Summer clothes in the wash,
  • a set of clothes ready to take to the dry cleaners,
  • a set of clothes ready for repairing or altering,
  • a set of clothes for the charity shop.

SC wardrobe

That’s enough hard work, time for tea and cake.

Saturday early afternoon

Time now to take your stuff to the dry cleaners/seamstress/charity shop etc. Aim to be back home by 2.30pm.

When you return, make yourself a hearty lunch with loads of fruit, veg and plenty of water. Enjoy, for work starts again at 3.30pm.

Saturday late afternoon

Time to check the washing – hopefully they should have dried and be ready for ironing and/or storage.  That said, this is England, where it rains … a lot.  Do what you can!

Take a good look at the remaining clothes and your notes of the clothes you have taken for repair and/or dry cleaning, you will need these later.

Is there anything missing from your wardrobe? Do you need a pair of jeans, or a little black dress? Perhaps you fancy a new shirt, or some Summer shorts. Make another list of any gaps in your clothing collection.

Saturday evening

It’s Saturday night. You can have a night in and start on the mending in front of the TV, or enjoy a well deserved night out.  Whatever you do, enjoy yourself, Spring is here!

Tomorrow, I will post further suggestions on how to Spring Clean Your Wardrobe. You are 2/3rds of the way done now. Whooppee!

I hope you are liking this mini series so far, if you have any comments and/or suggestions, please write them in the comment box below.  Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the final instalment tomorrow.

Easter Spring Dress 2017 Sew-along | Champagne Twist


“#EasterSpringDress2017"

Hello folks,

In addition to the #2017MakeNine sewing and knitting challenge, I’ve just signed up for the #EasterSpringDress2017 sew along hosted by Akram of Akram’s Ideas and Judith of Judith Dee’s World.

I already have the bonnet, which I have never worn – long story, will explain one day – the fabric and most of the notions.  When I dig them out from the darkest depths of my fabric stash Indiana Jones style, I will show you.  I have a pattern in mind too, again I will show you in another post shortly.

The deadline is Easter Sunday, 16 April 2017, (I believe the absolute deadline is Tuesday 18th April, but I want to wear my frock on the actual day!) so if you would like to participate you still have time, but maybe start thinking about putting your skates on.

For more information, please head over to judithdeesworld.com and akramsideas.com. Please find below links to Judith’s and Akram’s YouTube channels.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to seeing all your wonderful Easter sewing creations.

Spring clean your wardrobe in 1 weekend – day 1

The weather is getting warmer, and for me that signals a change over of seasonal clothing. It’s also a good opportunity to ditch, repair and rethink my wardrobes pieces.  As the weekend is fast approaching, why not dedicate it to sprucing up your wardrobe?

Spring clean theme for March - Champagne Twist

Equipment:

  • Basic sewing kit
  • Refuse bags
  • Cardboard boxes, to send items to the charity shop
  • Laundry basket
  • Clothes hangers
  • Notebook and pen
  • Long term storage bags (optional)
  • Lavender bags or cedar blocks (optional)
  • Dance music (optional)
  • Tea (essential)
  • Cake (essential)

Please note: I have excluded footwear, evening wear and specialist clothing such as ski wear or uniforms. There will be a post about these items on a later date.

hangers clean wardrobe

Spring Clean Your Wardrobe in 1 Weekend –

Day 1: Friday evening

Empty your wardrobe and place everything on your bed or a large, clear and flat surface such as a table. Get rid of any wire hangers and where possible recycle them, or if you think they will accept them, donate them to your local charity shop. Your reaction to wire hangers who be on par with this …

 

On a slightly more serious note, try not to use wire hangers as they tend to mis-shape and generally shorten the life of your clothes. Any broken and damaged hangers should ideally be replaced too. If possible recycle any plastic clothes covers you have from the dry cleaners.

Sort your clothes into 2 piles;

  • Autumn/Winter clothes
  • Spring/Summer clothes
Spring clean your wardrobe weekend | Champagne Twist - champagnetwist.wordpress.com
Separate your clothes into Autumn/Winter clothing and Spring/Summer clothing

Autumn/Winter clothes

Making a note of what items are in each section, sub divide your Autumn/Winter clothes into 5 piles as follows;

  • Repair pile: Anything that needs repairing, do so right away if you can, or place in a bag to take to your dressmakers or dry cleaners tomorrow afternoon (Saturday). When repaired, store immediately and if possible away from your Spring/Summer wardrobe. Use lavender bags or cedar blocks if you have them. These will help to prevent moth damage, and should add a lovely scent to your stored clothes.
  • Laundry pile: Anything that needs cleaning, prep for washing and if you can, start washing them. If your clothes are dry clean only, make a note and take to the dry cleaners tomorrow afternoon.
  • Sewing recycling pile: If you’re handy with a sewing needle and can transform an old piece into something new and useful, add this to the sewing recycling pile. In the past, I’ve changed a well loved dress into 3 adored new pieces – a top, head band and matching scarf. Now that’s what I call ultimate recycling!
  • Charity pile: Donate any clothing you don’t want but is still in reasonable condition, to your favourite charity shop tomorrow.
  • Anything remaining should be in the Return to storage pile. Store carefully and if possible separately from your Spring/Summer clothing.

You should now have plenty of space for your Spring/Summer clothes in your wardrobe. Your Autumn/Winter clothes are either ready for the laundry, in the repair, recycling, charity shop piles or stored ready for next season.

Reward yourself with a cup of tea and a slice of cake.

clothes folded

If you have taken notes of the items in your Autumn/Winter wardrobe, you can work out what items to make or purchase over the next few months. I noticed that I have a lot of black and navy clothes, so I will avoid making any Winter clothing in theses colours. Since I’m donating a number of trousers, I will need to replace some of them at a later date. Creating an inventory is a useful shopping reference, helping me to stay organised and avoid doubling up on items I don’t need.

By the end of the evening, you should only have your Spring and Summer clothes left to sort – leave these in a safe place and tackle them tomorrow.

I will post the tasks for Saturday’s great Spring/Summer wardrobe spring clean. For now, relax and enjoy the rest of your evening.

Don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss out. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday Thinking – Music Diversity?

Wednesday Thinking The Mid-week Editorialv
Wednesday Thinking The Mid-week Editorial

Is Ed Sheeran’s dominance of the UK music charts a cause for celebration, or does it highlight the lack of diversity in the music industry?

Last week, much was said about Ed Sheeran’s remarkable feat of having no less than 9 singles in the top ten singles chart. News commentators made much of the phenomenon, and music industry experts celebrated the success of the British artist and his huge record sales.

Ed Sheeran is a great talent. He has achieved in his short career levels of success than can only be arguably beaten by the likes of Adele, Robbie Williams and Coldplay. A host of number 1 singles and albums, Brit Awards, Sheeran is a young man, dare I say, precocious talent with a very long career ahead of him. His reputation as a musician, singer songwriter of unique talent, particularly in an overly commercial world, is well deserved.

His dominance in the British Music Charts, in any other era, would rightly be a cause of celebration. However, the Music Charts today, in the time of instant downloads and streaming, have perhaps unintentionally shown one side of the industry’s personally, which if not checked, could signal its rapid demise.

In a world where civil liberties are more under threat than they have been in decades, 2017 has already seen children dying from starvation and families destroyed in war-torn countries. Many in these uncertain times turn to some form of escape, such as music, and therein lies the problem.  In an industry which is still predominately run by white men, it appears that it’s true face is now being exposed by the one young, white male artist who has 90% of the top 10 singles in the chart.

Actually, it’s worse; Sheeran has no less than 16 singles in the top 20 chart. If it wasn’t for Chainsmokers and Coldplay, who are currently residing at number 7, Sheeran would have made a clean sweep of the top 10.  The entire top 20 is dominated by White artists, with Katy Perry featuring Skip Marley, the sole female act featuring the sole Black artist, (who happens to be the grandson of Bob) at number 17. Chainsmokers, a 2 piece DJ outfit from the US, collaborating with Coldplay, a 4 piece British band. The entire top 10 therefore consists of  7 White male musicians – only 3 acts from just 2 countries. Hardly an endorsement of musical diversity.

While the talent of these artists is undeniable, I’m disappointed that there was little mention of the screamingly obvious lack of diversity. When there are so many musical acts, playing a huge range of genres in the UK alone, coupled with the current global political climate, it is more than worrying that there are so few different artists and music genres represented in UK music charts. It is even more worrying in Brexit Britain, that the captains of the music industry, still predominantly white males, are celebrating this, especially in the week of International Womens’ Day.

If after all these decades fighting for equality, today women are only represented in the music charts by Katy Perry, and people of colour are represented by a ‘featured’ artist, then we have a very, very long way still to go in terms of diversity in the music industry. I hope that 1 person dominating the charts in this way, is a fluke. I fear that this may signal the start of a more aggressive move towards exclusion, in the pursuit of profit and we will all be poorer if that continues.

Monthly Resolutions – March

Wait! It’s March already? How did that happen?

Well, to be honest, I’m happy that March is finally here, because it means that Spring is officially around the corner. It’s been a long, cold and dull Winter. But now hope Springs anew and we can all start acting on our plans for the season of hope and renewal.

This month is Spring Clean month, which means at CT HQ, there will be a lot of clearing out KonMari style, a lot of decorating Hygge style and tons of fashion and dressmaking, my style!

Spring clean theme for March - Champagne Twist

I have actually made a start on my life spring cleansing, focusing mainly on my new look blog and social network. But March for me is the official kick off of Spring and all related merriment. So please join me as I stitch, hammer, bake, knit and paint my way through March.

#2017MakeNine – March Update

Hello,

This is an update of my #2017MakeNine challenge.

grid make 9

fullsizeoutput_9f93Greenery knit set – I am re-doing the hat because I made it far too big for my little head. I tried blocking it, and then shrink washed it, but it didn’t help. I even thought about adding a couple of pleats, but I knew I wouldn’t be happy with the end result, so I spent half an hour in front of the TV and unravelled it.  I shall start the remake as soon as I have completed my current knitting project.

I also plan to decorate my Greenery Knit set with embroidery, and I think I may have found a nice pattern to adapt. Watch this space.

fullsizeoutput_a019

Protest hat – I managed to get the sizing correct, but ran out of wool. But no fear, I managed to find another ball of yarn in my stash, so this will be next on the list after the Greenery knit set.

 

 

Neptune wrap cardigan – this is not part of the Make 9 project, but is the reason for the delay in the 2 projects above.  I don’t like to have too many projects on the go at the same time, hence I won’t be starting anything else, until these 3 knitting goals have been completed._DSC5427

However, I will take this opportunity to explain my Neptune wrap cardigan, so called because of the beautiful sea greens and blues of the yarn.  A cardigan made of this wool, caught my eye during my visit to the Spring Knitting and Stitching show. I was inspired and nabbed myself a couple of balls – and they are huge.  Lovely to knit, vibrant of colour and a bargain at £5.25 per ball, I initially thought I would make a simple, quick scarf for spring. As the wool features a shade of green close to the Patone colour of the year, Greenery, I figured it would be an affordable way to update my wardrobe.

fullsizeoutput_a3df
Neil the Knit Stall at the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show. 

Then I started knitting. And knitting and knitting. My ‘scarf’ grew into the the size of a blanket. Then, somehow, I thought, ‘I have more than enough scarves, I should make a cardigan’. I’ve never knitted a cardigan before, but heck, I’m not going to let a little thing like that stop me. I have knitting needles, courage (or madness, not sure which yet!) and wool. How hard can this be? Famous last words …

It’s taken me about 3 days to knit the back piece, and now I’ve sort of come up with a plan to make the front – a 2 piece affair which I hope will have an wrap over effect and self ties. And maybe some sleeves. Did I mention I was winging this?

I have employed my bamboo stitch skills for all of the back, which took up about 75% of the first ball of wool.  For the front I think I will start with the bamboo stitch at the bottom of the bodice to the mid way point, and then switch to good old stocking stitch. That’s the plan anyway, fingers crossed.

It feels strangely liberating to be free style knitting like this. I love the fact that I am utilising my knitting skills in a slightly different way. I’m looking forward to finishing it, and showcasing the final results in the near future. Keep posted via my Instagram account and fingers crossed, I will be able to model it here on the blog soon.

Thanks for reading, please comment and subscribe for more.

 

 

Wednesday Thinking – International Women’s Day

 

Wednesday Thinking The Mid-week Editorialv
Wednesday Thinking The Mid-week Editorial

Today is International Women’s Day. There will be several high profile, peaceful protests,  marches, events around the world, people brought together for the cause of equality for all.

If you’re marching tomorrow, taking part in an event, or would just like to get in the spirit of things, please check out my playlist of tunes with a not to subtle theme. Enjoy!

If you have music suggestions to add to the playlist, add them to the comments, and I may add them.

Thanks as ever for reading and happy Women’s Day, every day!

 

February Favourites | Champagne Twist

February was a fun filled, choc-a-block month. And it looks like March with continue the pace. Here is a favourites video, highlighting the events of the 2nd month of 2017 on Champagne Twist.

feb fav.jpg

 

The CT Show, new episodes live – The Spring Knitting and Stitching Show

Not 1, but 2 new episodes of The CT Show now live on the YouTube channel, featuring The Spring Knitting and Stitching Show. Check them out here!

200 posts on Champagne Twist

screen-shot-2017-03-03-at-22-02-08

Another milestone, 200 posts on Champagne Twist!

Thanks to everyone who has supported this site and have kindly taken the time to comment. It means so much, and encourages me to continue to grow this little corner of the internet.

Earlier this year, I vowed to use my voice more to help promote health, wellbeing, diversity, peace and equality. You have helped me to achieve my goals, and for this, I thank you all so very much.

Read my 200th post here.

The Spring Knitting and Stitching Show – review

Screen Shot 2017-03-03 at 20.33.12.png
Photo Credit: Theknittingandstitchingshow.com

So off I went to Kensington Olympia, in fear. Financial fear. When it comes to fabrics and now increasingly knitting products, all reason temporarily escapes me and I end up with reams and reams and reams of fabrics, to add to my reams and reams and reams of fabrics in my stash, and enough wool to make each sheep in a huge flock a jumper and matching scarf! But I digress!

Tips and suggestions when you arrive

My suggestions if you attend the show – wear some comfy shoes. And for heavens sake, if you’re arriving by train, when you get out of Kensington Olympia Overground Station, turn right and follow the signs to the venue. Trust me, your legs will thank me later.

I attended 2 days, the first I went the long way round, and had to wait in a very long queue. That said, I didn’t have to wait too long, within 20 mins of arrival at the station, I was in the building.  It was the first day, so I will let that slide. On the 2nd day I was in the building within 10 minutes. So please  – turn right!

Is it worth buying the official show guide or bag?

The show guide is I think a rather pricy £4 and the show bag is £3, for which you get the bag and nothing else.  Save yourself £7 and bring your own bags and note down any stalls, demos and exhibitions you would like to see from the website beforehand.

_dsc5410

Highlights

The demos in the Creative Living Theatre to my surprise were not as fully attended as I would have expected, a great pity as many of the high flyers of the sewing world were leading fantastic demos for free.  I took full advantage of this, and strongly suggest you do to.

My favourite demos were lead by Laurie Guthrie, Chinelo Bally both former contestants of the Great British Sewing Bee and Tree Walsh from Stitchless TV. Chinelo Bally may be signing copies of her book tomorrow (Saturday) after her demo. The book costs £20 – bring cash if you would like to purchase. They don’t have debit or credit card machines at the Creative Living Theatre, the ATM is out of order at the show and the ATM in the foyer charges £1.99.  But note most of the stalls I attended do accept debit and credit cards.

_DSC5380.jpg

Internet Access

There is free WIFI, apparently, but I couldn’t for the life of me get connected, and sadly I was unable to report live from the event.  There wasn’t an area dedicated for bloggers, which I think would have added to the excitement. It certainly would have been wonderful to meet fellow bloggers, some of whom I saw on Friday, but felt it wasn’t appropriate to introduce myself whilst they appeared to be working. (I know, I should be more forceful, I’m just too polite!)

Refreshments

You can purchase food and drink at the venue, and there is plenty of space to sit and enjoy your meal. I saw sandwiches sell for around the £4- £5 mark, so at London prices, not too bad. But if you can, bring a packed lunch and a flask of tea, you will save yourself a few pennies.

Bargains and Must Visit Stalls

Check out Bombay Stores – stand F2 and M Rosenberg and Son – stand L20 for bargain fabrics, Montreux Fabrics – stand D70 for Chanel type Linen Mix Tweeds. For yarns, you could do worse than visit stand 78, Neil the Knit.

The McCall Pattern Company – M2 stall sells McCall’s, Vogue and Butterick sewing patterns, and there are ‘buy 3 for £12’ deals.

Don’t forget to visit the various exhibitions, including the Textile Galleries and make sure you take plenty of breaks so that you don’t exhaust yourself.

As per usual I spent a small fortune on fabric and supplies, but I’m glad to say that I had enough change left for my bus fare home … just.  I will post a haul video on my youtube channel. The prices of the products on sale suits all pockets, so you will find it difficult to leave empty handed.

I had a great time at the show, and would happily attend again. I’m looking forward to the next show in October at Ally Pally.

 

 

Teapigs Liquorice and Peppermint Tea – Review

Teapigs Matcha tea product flat lay by Champagne Twist champagnetwistwordpress.com
Teapigs products – champagnetwist.wordpress.com

This is the 2nd in the series of Teapigs product reviews. This time I tried out the liquorice and peppermint tea. I was impressed with the ingredient list – 70% liquorice, 30% peppermint and that’s it, it’s exactly as it says on the packet.

I will quickly mention the packaging, I love the design, clean, simple and most importantly, recyclable.  The tea bags are also biodegradable, so perfect to add to the compost bin after use.

teapigs-l-and-p

The tea itself is delicious, the peppermint component is tasty, refreshing and easy to drink in vast quantities.  The liquorice adds a sweet dimension to the tea and complements the peppermint flavour. My only gripe, I think there is a little too much liquorice for even my fairly sweet tooth.

That said, in the summer I imagine that a couple of bags would make a beautiful iced tea, with some fresh sprigs of mint and a few orange and lemon slices.  If like me, you find the tea a little too sweet as a hot beverage, try using 1 bag between 2 servings. The quality of the ingredients used means that you can be economical with the tea bags, without compromising on flavour.

teapigs-liqourice-peppermint

I would also suggest drinking this with Moroccan style meals, or using as an healthy alternative to sugary drinks, coffee or black teas.

At £4.49 for 15 bags, it’s a little on the pricy side compared with other herbal teas, but it’s more than justified, because of the high quality ingredients. As I mentioned before, if you find the tea too sweet, you can share a bag between 2 cups, effectively doubling the servings to 30.

4-star

Rating 4 out of 5

Have you tried liquorice and peppermint tea? What did you think of it? Please comment below and subscribe for more reviews from Champagne Twist.

Thanks for reading.

5 sweet pancake fillings for Shrove Tuesday – recipe ideas

So it’s Shrove Tuesday, Pancake day. You’ve a stack of pancakes ready, but what to fill them with? Here are 5 suggestions –

Limoncello Pancakes:

limoncello pancakes recipe | champagne twist
Limoncello Pancakes | Champagne Twist

Heat the pancakes (2 or 3 per person) in a frying pan, with 3 tablespoons of limoncello. Remove from the pan and place on a serving plate. Sprinkle with fresh lemon zest, a little fresh lemon juice and some golden caster sugar, honey or syrup.

Lingonberry Pancakes:

Lingonberry Pancakes Shove Tuesday pancake day recipe
Lingonberry Pancakes | Champagne Twist

Heat the pancakes, then serve with a tablespoon of lingonberry jam, thick yogurt, a dusting of icing sugar and a sprig of mint.

Chocolate and Hazelnut Pancakes:

Nutella chocolate and hazelnut pancakes, served with coconut yogurt recipe by Champagne Twist
Chocolate and Hazelnut Pancakes | Champagne Twist

Cover the warmed pancakes with Nutella, sprinkle with whole roasted hazelnuts, and a dusting of icing sugar. Serve with coconut yogurt, seen here with a dusting of ground chocolate.

Caramelised Spiced Apple Pancakes:

caramelised spiced apple pancakes recipe by Champagne Twist
Caramelised Spiced Apple Pancakes | Champagne Twist

Serve the warmed pancakes with a few slices of apple which have been caramelised and flambeed with brandy. Then fill the pancake with ginger yogurt, and dust with mixed spice, stem ginger pieces and icing sugar.

Coconut and Lime Pancakes:

coconut and lime pancakes recipe by champagne twist champagnetwist.wordpress.com
Coconut and Lime Pancakes | Champagne Twist

A few tablespoons of your favourite coconut yogurt, together with some fresh lime zest and a squeeze of lime juice will add a mojito zing to your pancakes. Finish with a drizzle of fruit or maple syrup.

How are you celebrating pancake day? If you would like the recipe for the pancakes, please visit this link Pancake recipe.

Thanks for reading and if you havent already, please subscribe for more recipes.

Get ready for Pancake Day – recipe

pancake recipe champagnetwist.wordpress.com
Pancake recipe by Champagne Twist

Tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday, otherwise known as Pancake Day. This means that Winter is on it’s way out and Spring is around the corner. Shove Tuesday is one of those annual events which sneaks up on you suddenly, and then there is a huge panic to get those pancakes made. But this year, make sure your prepared and make these pancakes today and save yourself the hassle tomorrow.

Pancakes – recipe by Champagne Twist

Ingredients:

  • 2 extra large eggs
  • pinch of salt (optional)
  • 300ml milk
  • 200g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for frying

Method:

  1. In a large bowl or jug, add the eggs and salt if using and whisk for about 30 seconds. Add in the milk and stir until well combined.  Fold in the flour until a batter, with the consistency of single cream, is formed. Then stir in the oil and set aside in the fridge for 30 mins to rest. Note; the salt adds flavour and helps to break down the eggs so that they are easier to whip. Personally, I tend to leave as much salt as I can out of recipes, especially if I know I may be using high salt or sugary fillings.
  2. Add a tiny drizzle of oil to a crepe or frying pan and preheat over a medium temperature. Using a small ladle, when the oil begins to sizzle, carefully pour 1 ladleful of batter into the pan, swirling the batter around until it covers the inside base of the pan.  Cook for about a 1 or so until golden brown, and then flip the pancake over to cook on the other side. Cook for a further minute.
  3. When cooked, place the pancake on a plate and cover with a sheet of greaseproof paper. Continuing cooking the pancakes until all the batter has been used up.
  4. After cooling you can place the pancakes with the greaseproof paper in-between each pancake into a freezer bag  and freeze them for later use.
  5. When you’re ready to use, simply take as any pancakes as you require and leave them to defrost overnight in the fridge.

Remember pancakes are not just for Shrove Tuesday. Pancakes are extremely versatile, and the range of sweet and savoury fillings are endless. These little beauties are ideal for creating last minute meals, or pudding treats when time is short.

Pancakes separated by greaseproof paper
Pancakes separated by greaseproof paper | Champagne Twist

Tomorrow I will post some suggestions for sweet fillings. Enjoy pancake preparation day!

Are you making pancakes for Shrove Tuesday? Please share in the comment section your favourite recipes and pancake fillings.

Thanks for reading.

 

Quick Flat Bread – recipe

quick flat bread recipe by champagne twist.
quick flat bread recipe by champagne twist

If you need bread in a hurry, try this recipe. It only takes 40 minutes from start to finish to make 12 flat breads. They keep well for a day or 2, or you can freeze them to eat on another day.

Quick Flat Bread – recipe by Champagne Twist

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 2 tsp dried yeast
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup warm water

Method:

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a food mixer, until a slightly sticky dough is formed. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel, and set aside for 10 minutes to allow the dough to rest.
  2. After resting, divide the dough into 12 small equally sized balls.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a heavy bottomed saucepan or frying pan over a medium to medium high heat.
  4. Roll each dough ball on a well floured board, into a circle about the size of a tea saucer.
  5. Cook each flat bread for a minute on each side.
  6. To keep the flat breads warm whilst cooking, cover a plate with a clean tea towel, and add the freshly cooked flat breads on top. Cover again with another clean tea towel to keep them warm.

Enjoy with your meal, or make sandwich wraps. They are even delicious on their own.

If you try this recipe, please share your results in the comments below. Don’t forget to subscribe for more from Champagne Twist.  Thanks for reading.

 

Top 5 YouTube Sites of 2016 | Champagne Twist

TECHNOLOGY
Photo Credit ‘Death to Stock’.

These are my top 5 YouTube Sites for 2016 (in no particular order) –

  1. Kristabel Always interesting, and often thought provoking Kristabel’s YouTube channel has given me loads of inspiration during 2016 in the realms of travel, fashion and lifestyle.
  2. Lorraine Pascale My favourite ever chef and one of the most multi talented and inspirational people ever, Pascale proves you can achieve your dreams and eat cake too!
  3. At Home With Nikki If you love anything to do with home decor, you need to check out this youtube channel.  Nikki plus Homes and Gardens to shame.
  4. TED-Ed another highly inspiration and educational resource, Ted-Ed has 100s of videos covering a wide range of subjects – there is something for everyone.
  5. The Resistance with Keith Olbermann – Keith Olbermann is a riot! If like me you were disappointed with the results of the recent US election, check out Olbermann’s posts. If nothing else he will give you hope for 2017.

And as a bonus, why not check out my YouTube channel – Champagne Twist

champagne-twist-logo

What were your favourite YouTube sites of 2016? What YouTuber are you currently excited about? Please share in the comments below. Thanks for reading! Please subscribe to Champagne Twist for more.

Why I’m staying home during London Fashion Week

The sun is trying its best to shine, but it’s attempts are thwarted due to the London grey skies. However it is unseasonably warm, ‘only 3 layers of clothing required’ temperature.

Yet, I’m staying home, and contemplating a host of tasks – laundry, ironing, gardening, catching up on telly, sewing, on-line window shopping, drawing … basically anything that doesn’t involve me moving more than an few metres from my home.  On a Saturday. During London Fashion Week.  An event I had been looking forward to for weeks.

I don't like Mondays

Why? Because I just haven’t felt the good vibes to go. Despite the talk, the fashion industry is still one of the most non-diverse in the world. When an industry says they believe in diversity, yet the powerful and the influencers in that industry tend to talk alike, walk alike, think alike, act alike and look alike, I being to wonder if there is any real meaning to their diversity hype.

Yes, I have attended many a LFW event – fashion catwalks, product launches, fashion talks and they have in the most part, been good. I have traveled to parts of London that I would never have visited, seen and met loads of interesting people and generally had a great time, at the time. But afterwards, I have more often than not felt a little underwhelmed. The goodie bag half filled with stuff I would never use in a million years, and the other half never intended for me.

The models with expression-less faces, looking like carbon copies produced from a plastics factory, wearing clothing that seems to showcase the designer’s inner-porn king desires, rather than the art of dress making. What are we saying to our young girls and women? The message I’m getting is that male designers are still the majority, in an industry, mostly owned by men, that uses expression-less and voice-less young girls and women to showcase their work, in order to sell their dreams of youth, and promote their own power and dominance to wealthy middle-aged women. The irony being that some of these women achieved their wealth from their fathers or husbands and have little real power of their own, having being taught that having their own opinion or voice is somehow unfeminine. The myth of equality continues, season after season.

#YouCanSitWithUsLdn - Champagne Twist
#YouCanSitWithUsLdn – plant in blue pot

Recently there have been 3 events (Vegan Life Live, a blogging talk with Ella Gregory and #YouCanSitWithUsLdn) which have made me think about my role in this ever madding world and less philosophically, how to make this corner of the internet reach more people and encourage conversation. Where do I want to take the website? Why do I really want to grow this blog? Why am I willing to get up at stupid o’clock to go to the other side of London, using a sub-par and expensive weekend transport system, it’s raining cats, dogs, rabbits, horses and a couple of hedgehogs, suffering from a bad head cold at the drop of a hat to help promote some ‘new thing’, but take 3 weeks to decide if I should purchase business cards for my own website?

The answers to the questions by the way, I want to take this social network as far as it can go. I want to grow this blog, because I want to be heard, within my own terms and not those dictated to by convention. The 3rd question – well the answer to that is a bit more tricky. And it’s taken me a long time, too long really, to figure out the answer. I’m seeking approval. I want to be accepted, I want validation and I want someone to say, ‘yes you are allowed in this group’. It’s so ridiculous, yet sadly true.

The business card thing was a manifestation of my lack of self confidence. ‘My brand isn’t good enough yet. I’m still on wordpress.com, it’s not perfect, the colour scheme isn’t right yet, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.’ If I was advising someone else, I would have said, “What are you waiting for? Get the darn things printed already. So what if your website look isn’t 100% ready, are you seriously going to wait for that day, because let me tell you, you’re a perfectionist – that day ain’t gonna come.”

So this weekend, instead of going to a number of LFW related events, most of which I know I wouldn’t enjoy, I’m going to work on me. It’s vital to remember that being your best self is a continuing work of progress. You evolve from day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute. You are a living masterpiece, you have to be seen now, not just when you think you’re ready, or worse, when you think the world is ready for you. The world knows you’re ready. You were born ready. That’s why you are here. So go and get seen already!

 

 

Are Business Cards Old Hat?

Hello folks,

At the end of last year, aka the year we won’t mention, I finally took the plunge after weeks of procrastination, indecision and worry, to purchase some business cards. It took me another 3 weeks to research a suitable company, create what I thought was a good design, and get them made.  I erred on the side of caution, and economics, and had 100 cards made.

Arriving early February, I promptly stuffed my new business card holder with as many cards as possible and placed them in my bag.  I have been to several events since and so far have given out a grand total of … 4.

Why only 4?  Because of a little invention called the mobile phone. Naturally, the contemporary blogger, reaches for their mobile devices to swap contact details. It’s quick, simple and socially acceptable as being a modern way to do such things, whilst not looking like a 90s Wall Street Banker.

So I started to think, maybe I should ditch the whole business card thing. Attending the #YouCanSitWithUsLdn event last Sunday changed my mind.

Armed with a handful of business cards, I headed to the Camden Collective building on Hampstead Road, determined to off-load as many of my cards as possible.

I didn’t hand out any cards. Not 1.

Instead, I swapped contact details using my mobile, having taken advantage of the free wifi connection. My phone now full of new contacts, but my business card holder was also still bursting at the seams.

At the end of the event, I popped into the local supermarket in search of flowers for a photo shoot and milk, as you do. I left empty handed as the flowers looked a bit sad and thanks to Valentine’s Day, were over priced. All the 4 pint bottles had sold out, so that was a no-go too.

As I left, I spotted 2 fellow event attendees and waved hello.  We didn’t have a chance before to swap details, so we attempted to do so there and then. Of course away from the wifi service our mobiles were still adjusting. Then, I remembered my business cards.

I suppose this is a reminder that we should never be completely reliant on our tech devices, because lets face it, how many times have the batteries died, or the network service started playing up?  Then there’s the awkward scramble for the pen languishing at the bottom of our bag, and looking for a scrappy bit of paper … yikes.

I simply (and admittedly uncharacteristically added to my coolness points) pulled out my card holder and handed out a couple of cards.  Quick, simple, no awkwardness, no fuss.

At the moment as you may know, my website is currently going through a transition phrase. So I didn’t want to do an ‘American Psycho‘, and order gold embossed cards with a fancy script font. I suppose the movie also helped put me off the idea of using business cards, as I’ve unintentionally linked them as being one step away from chainsaws, and who wants to be associated with that? If you haven’t watched the movie American Psycho, I warn you now, don’t watch at night or alone. Or with people who know how to use chainsaws.

But, neither did I want to leave it until my website is perfect, because that will take a while and it’s not worth the risk on losing out on positive opportunities.

Plus, it makes me feel, and I hope look, organised and prepared.  Even if my website is under a little scaffolding, it’s still open for business. If I can get this small detail right, just think what I can achieve when it comes to bigger projects?  Heck, I organised my first photography exhibition last year, I can do anything!

What do you think about business cards? Do you use them? Please comment below.

Thanks for reading, and if you haven’t already, please subscribe for more.

 

You Can Sit With Us Ldn

#YouCanSitWithUsLdn - Frankie, Betty magazines - Champagne Twist
#YouCanSitWithUsLdn

It’s Sunday, it’s freezing, it’s raining, I don’t feel 100%, the transport system is partly closed due to engineering works … again. Why don’t I just spend the day in bed, nice and warm, with my ready supply of cups of hot tea?

Camden Collective, 110 Hampstead Road, London #YouCanSitWithUs - Champagne Twist
Camden Collective, 110 Hampstead Road, London

Because, I would have missed out on a golden opportunity, that being the #YouCanSitWithUsLdn. The inaugural event hosted by Kristabel Plummer of I Want You To Know at the Camden Collective, was a marvellous event where a host of social networkers, bloggers, YouTubers and Instagramers, both newbies and established, came together to talk, share ideas and network about all things primarily relating to blogging.

I managed to have a few words with Kristabel, she said that it was the first time she had ever arranged such an event.  I would never have guessed. A simple concept that was extremely well executed, I left not only impressed by her natural gift as an event organiser, but also empowered. Empowered by the fellow social media dons at the event, their openness and willingness to share their knowledge. Kristabel managed to create a welcoming space for social networkers to come out of their collective shells and share their experiences with virtual strangers. All this on a limited budget (although again, you would never guess), a short time frame and help from her friends. It’s amazing how a good idea can develop into something great, positive and empowering.

At times, for me, it was a little surreal. I was suddenly chatting away to bloggers I’ve been following for years. I felt I knew so much about them, but they knew little about me. Yet they were still interested in what I had to say. Before, they had been people whom I would watch on YouTube, or I would read their adventures in some far flung place on their blogs. The curious thing I quickly realised was that every person in the room, no matter their personal journeys, had at least 3 things in common. 1) They worked hard on their respective social networks, 2) Their are all multi-talented and/or multi-gifted, and 3) They all, without exception, at some point had exactly the same fears and angst as everyone else.  It didn’t matter if they had 1 follower or 1 million followers, making social networking perhaps the great societal leveller.

#YouCanSitWithUsLdn group photo set-up
#YouCanSitWithUsLdn Champagne Twist champagnetwist.wordpress.com
#YouCanSitWithUsLdn group photo set-up - Champagne Twist
#YouCanSitWithUsLdn Champagne Twist champagnetwist.wordpress.com

I know that I will have to pull my little socks up in terms of my own social network, and I was very nervous when I arrived, attending the event on my own and meeting new people that makes me a little uncomfortable. Some of these women are fierce – their knowledge is vast, and their energy levels are immense. However, I left believing that it is not only possible to achieve the goals I have set for my blog, but I can surpass them. The social network community is very friendly and I was soon made to feel at ease. Blogging offers wonderful opportunities for people who enjoy solitude, but the benefits are 10-fold when you take just a few steps outside your comfort zone.

I could have easily spent the day at home working on my blog, with my ready supply of tea. Instead I spent the day with the caring bloggers support group, surrounded by positive energy, and meeting fabulous people. I think that’s a good swap!

#YouCanSitWithUsLdn - Betty, Frankie, Umbrella magazines - Champagne Twist
#YouCanSitWithUsLdn – Betty, Frankie, Umbrella magazines

Hopefully, this will be the first of many events, and I for one will place the next event at the top of my agenda. This will certainly go in my end of month favourites video, and is an early strong contender for the best of 2017.

#YouCanSitWithUsLdn - Champagne Twist
#YouCanSitWithUsLdn – plant in blue pot

Did you attend the #YouCanStillWithUs event? What did you think? Please comment below and subscribe for more.

Thanks for reading.

Teapigs Matcha Elderflower – Review

Teapigs Matcha tea product flat lay by Champagne Twist champagnetwistwordpress.com
Teapigs products – champagnetwist.wordpress.com

Hello folks,

This is the first of a series of reviews based on Teapigs products.  I recently attended a fun Masterclass, hosted by Whole Food Markets in Kensington, lead by co-creator of the brand Louise Cheadle.

Today, I’m reviewing the Matcha green tea drink with elderflower.

The drink, when chilled is so refreshing and tasty. I happen to like elderflower a lot, but adding it to the Matcha gave it a lovely kick of flavour and refreshment.  I would be happy to drink this all day, every day.

Teapigs Matcha Green Tea Drink - Elderflower - Champagne Twist ChampagneTwist.wordpress.com
Teapigs Matcha Green Tea Drink, with Elderflower – Champagne Twist

At 330ml the carton is just right for lunch boxes and could be a useful, healthier alternative midday pick-me-up to the standard black tea or coffee.  At £1.89 per carton, the price is comparable to coffee-shop beverages, if not cheaper.

In this format, the drink is also a good introduction to people new to green teas. Consisting of spring water, grape and elderflower extracts, concentrated lemon juice, matcha green tea and citric acid, the drink is only 21 Kcal per 100ml.

I can’t fault this, (believe me I tried!) and am looking forward to trying out the other products in the range.

Rating 5 out of 5.

Disclosure: The product reviewed was part of a goodie bag as part of a Masterclass. Reviewer paid for the Masterclass ticket.

February Resolutions – Design Month

Hello,

Continuing with my monthly resolutions series, here is a preview of what’s coming up this February on Champagne Twist.

Design Month, February 2017 - Champagne Twist
February is Design Month, on Champagne Twist. champagnetwist.wordpress.com

February has been designated design month. It’s going to be an exciting mix of fashion, crafts and home decor design. What do you hope to achieve this month? Do let us know in the comments box, and please subscribe for more information.

Check out the my 2017 resolution plans video below.

Thanks for reading.

Bergamot Lemon and Poppy Seed Loaf

Bergamot Lemon and Poppy Seed Loaf - recipe
Bergamot Lemons from Borough Market Champagne Twist -champagnetwist.wordpress.com

During a recent visit to Borough Market I came across a stack of Bergamot lemons. I knew that these lemons are a key ingredient in Earl and Lady Grey teas, but I had never seen them in the flesh, as it were.  So I thought I buy a couple to see what all the fuss was about.  I left with my purse £3 lighter, thinking that these lemons had better be the bee’s knees at that price.

They are!

Bergamot Lemon and Poppy Seed Loaf

Ingredients:

  • 225g butter or Stork margarine, softened
  • 225g vanilla golden caster sugar
  • 3 extra large free range eggs
  • 225g self raising flour
  • 2 tbsp milk or milk alternative
  • zest and juice of one bergamot lemon
  • 2 tsps poppy seeds

 Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c, 160c Fan or Gas mark 4
  2. Butter and line a large loaf tin with baking paper or parchment.
  3. In a food processor or mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until the mixture if light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs one by one. I tend to beat the eggs separately before add to the butter sugar mix as this ensures that the egg white and yolk are fully combined.
  5. Add the milk, seeds, zest and juice  and stir until well incorporated.
  6. Sift in the flour and fold into the batter.
  7. Pour the batter into the loaf tin, making sure that it even.
  8. Place the tin on the middle shelf of the oven. Bake for about 40 – 50 mins. Check the loaf at 40 mins with a skewer, if it comes out clean the loaf is done. If not, then bake for another 5-10 mins.
  9. Allow to cool in the loaf tin for 1o minutes, then turn the loaf out onto a rack to continue cooling.  Serve with a cup of tea.
Bergamot Lemon & Poppy Seed Loaf
Bergamot Lemon & Poppy Seed Loaf Champagne Twist – champagnetwist.wordpress.com

320 Mhz Organic Rose Otto Serum oil – review

As promised, here is my review of the beauty product I mentioned in a couple of my previous posts.  Introducing the 320 MHz Organic Rose Otto serum oil.

rose-otto

A brand which is described as 100% natural, the beauty treatment was inspired by ancient botanicals, Botanic science and aromatherapy.  Having tested the face oil serum on the back of my hand, it is very fast absorbing, leaving the skin smooth, supple and moisturised.  I was particularly impressed by it’s rapid absorption and lack of any oily residue.  You only need a drop or 2, as a little goes a very long way.

Using organic Rose Otto essential oil, combined with cold pressed Moringa Oleifera seed extract, the serum support healthy cell regeneration, promotes well being and can help alleviate stress.

320-mhz

At £62 for 50ml, it initially seems outside many people’s beauty budget, however, I disagree. This product has the potential to last at least 6 months, and bearing in mind you only need 1 or 2 drops for your face and neck, after a few weeks you may find that you won’t need other creams and potions.

The only slight grumble I have is with the packaging.  The colour scheme is chic and sophisticated, but if you suffer from poor eyesight, it can be difficult to distinguish which product is which, especially as the text on the label is very small, and doesn’t stand out very much against the dark background.

Aimed at all skin types, using 100% natural aromatherapy grade ingredients, the brand excludes additives, chemical processing, synthetic perfume, fragrance or animal testing. As Valentine’s day is approaching, the serum could serve as an alternative to a bunch of over priced roses, or break the diet box of chocolates. The serum along with other products in the range can be purchased at http://plantmebotanics.com

Rating 4.5 out of 5.

 

Niche Co. Tea: Skin – review

I recently attended a Collaborative Store event in Marylebone, where they showcased their beautiful clothes range (which is currently on sale, so go and check them out now), as well as a beauty product, which I will post about on Monday, and a simply marvellous brand new tea range by the Niche Co.

niche-tea-2

The packaging alone is a wonderful feast for the eyes, and is made from recycled card. They are very sturdy, so can be re-used for storage after the tea has been consumed.

niche-tea

A premium tea collection, Niche Tea consists of unique, blended wellness teas, which takes full advantage of the medicinal properties of natural herbs, roots, petals and spices.

A brief conversation with the creator of the brand established that the tea collection was born, like most good things, out of necessity – a need to improve general health and wellbeing, and seeking an alternative to traditional black teas. Marrying the ideology of wellness with an added touch of luxury, the ingredients are ethically sourced globally, and made in the UK.

I liked that this company embraces the notion, what goes inside reflects what happens outside. Having the most expensive creams, lotions and portions will do little without the benefits gained from a healthy diet. I especially like how every aspect of this brand, from the bright environmentally friendly packaging to the ethically sourced ingredients, prove that it is possible to create high-end, high quality products, without it costing a fortune, or the Earth.

niche-3

I sampled the ‘Skin’ tea, and was immediately impressed by its delicious taste. Sometimes, floral or herbal teas have a disappointing bland flavour and a strong, often synthetic aroma that bears no correlation to the actual taste of the tea.  This is not the case with Niche Co. tea, the sample I tried was very drinkable, flavourful and refreshing.

 

For £10 you get 15 biodegradable pyramid bags. The Skin tea is described as a delicate white tea, paired with herbs and flowers thought to promote beautiful skin, including Burdock root, red clover, rose petals and rose hip.

Other teas in the collection are designed to improve hair and energy levels, promote sleep and aid digestion.

I highly recommend the Skin tea in terms of flavour, and hope soon to try the other varieties so I can report back. These teas would be ideal gifts for the tea connoisseur in your life, for people wanting a change from other herbal teas, or for those wishing to supplement their diets with a tea which may aid certain ailments. These teas are most definitely worth a try.

Rating: 5 out of 5

 

Village Haberdashery – New Location Report

vh-dummy-2Some afternoons start off a little dreary with grey skies, as did last Wednesday when I made a trip to the new Village Haberdashery site. However, the grey skies were soon banished, to be replaced by a rainbow of fabrics, yarn and flowers.

The Village Haberdashery is a sewing and knitting emporium, newly situated in West Hampstead Square. A very short walking distance from West Hampstead Tube, Rail and Thameslink stations, the store is ideally situated for those who live in and around North London.
vh-magic

The new shopping estate where the store is located is still a bit of a building site, but it’s easy to find, and if you look suitably lost, a skill I have perfected over the years, a nice group of helpful builders are on hand to provide precise directions should you need them. After climbing a flight of stairs, or if you’re more sensible using the lift, you are greeted by a beautiful retro dressmaker’s
mannequin on the first floor, outside the shop front.

 

Follow the sign, where a magical wonderland awaits.

vh-fabric-1

vh-fabric-2

vh-quilt-1
vh-quilt-2    vh-yay-1vh-tulips-yay

vh-wheelbarrow

A unique, and I think better, use of a wheelbarrow. I wonder if I plant my yarn scraps in the garden, will they grow to be huge balls of wool like these ones?

vh-floral-dress

 

 

After seeing this beautiful dress, I was inspired to purchase some of the fabric. Initially, I thought about making a summer skirt with it, but I’ve changed my mind and will instead make a square necked tunic, to show off the beautiful print. The tunic is part of my #2017MakeNine challenge, so please stay tuned.

If there is any fabric leftover, I hope to make a matching Ghislaine hair tie.

vh-fabric

Les Fleurs Rayon by Rifle Paper Co. – Birch Floral in Periwinkle

vh-table-chairs

Lots of space for sewing and knitting classes, or for a good cup of tea and a natter. In the background, you can see some of the sewing machines set aside for classes.
vh-wall-of-wool

Just look at this marvellous wall of wool. Imagine the wonderful array of knitted goodies you could make with this collection of yarn.

vh-flowers

I have often tried to visit the old location, but it was a bit of a trek and difficult for me to get to, however the new location is more ideally situated. The new store is bright and roomy, yet jammed packed with lots of sewing, knitting and paper crafting goodies.  It is quite easy to spend an entire afternoon browsing and chatting to the owner and members of staff. They are welcoming, helpful and ready to offer their expertise should you need it. A home from home. I’m already looking forward to my next visit and adding to my ever increasing stash.

Have you visited the new Village Haberdashery? What do you think? Please add your comments below.

Thanks for reading, and please subscribe for more. Oh, and please check out my seamstress tag YouTube video here 🙂

#2017MakeNine – Sewing and Knitting plans

Hello folks,

I don’t know about you, but I am done with Winter. I’m fed up with the cold, the rain, or as the tube station announcer described the miserable drizzle as, ‘adverse weather conditions’.  Hey, at least it wasn’t the usual, ‘leaves on the line’ or ‘wrong type of snow’ excuse for late running trains.

So today, I’ve turned off the TV and will keep it off, as quite frankly I can’t cope with another day of #FakePresident and his new side kick PM May. I need to recharge my batteries so that I can be more effective for the #Resistance.  Who would have thought that word would be trending 70 years after World War Two. Didn’t our grandparents leave this scene already?

Yesterday, I went to West Hampstead to visit the new Village Haberdashery shop, and then onwards to the Collaborative Store in Marylebone, to test a beauty product which was featured in Vogue and a new-on-the-market tea brand. During my travels I saw no less than 4 famous people – who needs Hollywood? Sewing, knitting, people watching, beauty, clothes and tea; ingredients for a pretty good day. I arrived home exhausted, hence posting today and not yesterday. When my legs ache from a walk-about in the beautiful parts of the the city, it’s another sign of a good day, at least that’s what I’m telling my poor little legs.

I will post more about yesterday’s mini adventures later this week, but today I’m concentrating on a new sewing and knitting challenge for 2017. The concept was originally developed by Lucky Lucille. I didn’t plan on doing another make challenge this year, as I was going to tackle my UFOs pile. But then 2016 happened, and knocked me and my challenges sideways. Having a perfect wardrobe of hand made clothes didn’t seem such a priority, when people were drowning in Mediterranean sea.

I made a vow that 2017 was going to be the year when hope triumphed, and I was going to play my part in making the world a better place. For me to do that, I have to fully embrace my creative side, so #2017MakeNine challenge accepted.

I’ve already technically made 3 items, so it’s nice to know that I’ve already made a positive start. But in the interests of fairness, I will count my Greenery knit set as 1 item, and will embellishment them with some very trendy embroidery by the end of the year.

greenery-knits

So allow me to introduce to you, my sewing and knitting plans for the #2017MakeNine challenge:

make-9-credit-graphic

  1. Greenery knit set, with embroidery
  2. Pink pussy protest knitted hat
  3. Black cat knitted hat, with felt and embriodery embellishments
  4. Floral square neck tunic, with rick rack embellishment
  5. Blue gingham dress
  6. Cerise gingham skirt
  7. Cobalt palazzo trousers
  8. Sunshine knitted scarf, with bumble bee embellishment
  9. Balloon print dress

I will soon post a youtube video to showcase my crafting plans with further details, so please stay tuned for that.  By the way, I have designated February as ‘Design Month’, so this list fits in perfectly with what I have in store for you over the shortest month of the year. Cue new graphic!

design-feb

I’m pretty excited about this core list of makes, and I know that as the political turmoil waves it’s ugly wand, I will have something to occupy my thoughts when I need hope and light during the dark times.

Are you participating in the #2017MakeNine challenge? What are your sewing and knitting plans? Please share in the comments box below.

Thanks for reading, and please subscribe for more. Continue to go high people.

Resist.

January Favourites

Ugh! Can you believe there are only a few hours left of January 2017? It has been an eventfully month, good, bad and very awful for some sadly.  But it was nice to see that a certain orange person isn’t getting all his own way, despite trying his best to spread false news and ‘alternative facts’.

Anyway, here is a short video of my favourite things of January 2017.

As ever, if you have any comments, add them below. Thanks for reading.

 

New Look Champagne Twist 2017

Hello folks,

New Look

I’ve been doing a little spring cleaning and today is the soft launch of the new look Champagne Twist social network.

New logo, new website format and new video! These are just 3 of the changes and there are more to come.

New Promo Video

Please check out the new 2017 welcome video below and if you have any comments, suggestions, requests let me know.

New Features

There’s even more to come over the next few days. There’s the January review, a new theme for February and of course the official relaunch of Champagne Twist, with more treats, surprises and there may even be a give away … watch this space.

Want to know more? Then subscribe to Champagne Twist and make sure you don’t miss out!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Greenery, colour of the year projects

January 2017 Health and Wellbeing January 2017 Champagne Twist champagnetwist.wordpresss.com
Health and Wellbeing January 2017 Champagne Twist champagnetwist.wordpresss.com

Greenery, colour of the year

The Pantone colour of the year 2017 is imaginatively titled, ‘Greenery’.

greenery-colour-of-2017

And as it so happens, whilst I was sorting out some things, I discovered 4 and a half balls of deliciously green yarn in my stash (well it’s actually my Mum’s stash, but she said I could have it).  Ooh, me thinks a knitting project coming along.

Green knitted scarf

This is my first knitting project of 2017. After a couple of attempts trying out a lace stitch, I settled for the old faithful stocking stitch.  I wanted to make a scarf – yes it’s another scarf – and showcase it’s beautiful green shade and it’s soft mohair mix texture.

knitting green scarf.jpg

Details

I cast on 36 stitches, and the plan is to continue until the scarf is nice and long, or when I run out of wool – which ever is sooner.  I’m using 4.0mm/size 6 needles, and the wool is a 70% Acrylic, 15% wool and 15% mohair mix. It’s so lovely and soft, I’m looking forward to wearing my new scarf. However using such small needles and thin wool, it’s taking an absolute age to knit. But, it’s something I need to do – get out of my comfort zone of only using large needles and thick wool in order to get speedy results.  Time for something a little different.

Sadly, I had to resort to stocking stitch, instead of using another stitch, but I have learnt how to do a lace stitch and I’m reserving that new skill for my next knitting project – a shawl.  Yes, I’m really branching out now LOL.

Dressmaking

This fabric is in my stash – Park Landscape by  Michael Miller.

Screen Shot 2017-01-11 at 22.21.55.png

I am toying with the idea of using the Simplicity 2444 dress pattern. If I do, I will change the neckline of the bodice to either a round neck or square neck, again to ring in the changes.

Decorating with Foliage

My 3rd project within the theme of greenery, is creating a floral arrangement, using only evergreen foliage.  In the deepest, dark of winter, some greenage can be a welcome addition to the home. It serves as a reminder that Spring is not far away, and that hope like some plants, is evergreen.  I particularly like the following quote I found on the Pantone website;

pantone-color-of-the-year-lee-eiseman-quote

Picture source: Pantone.com

I think Leatrice pretty much sums it all up.

Do you have any plans to incorporate Greenery in you wardrobe or home decor? Are you going to add this shade of green in your colour scheme? Please share in the comments below.

Thanks for reading, please subscribe for more information.

 

Proper Corn Smooth Peanut and Almond – review

proper corn.jpgWow! This is INSANE! Popcorn isn’t supposed to taste like this! I have wandered into a dangerous world of Proper Corn, and I’m loving it.

For years I have seen bags upon bags of Proper Corn popcorn, with their varying and often intriguing sounding flavours. I was given a sample of the Smooth Peanut and Almond flavour, and was a little apprehensive, but thought I should give it a try.

WOW! Blow your socks off amazing! Popcorn isn’t supposed to taste like this! I may have said that last line already. The combination of peanut flour and ground almond, together with the popcorn creates what I can honestly describe as the best flavoured popcorn I’ve ever tasted. I say this as a popcorn lover. I say this as the kid who would devour a huge bag of popcorn, before the pre-movie adverts had started. If you see someone ordering 2 extra large popcorn buckets at the cinema, come over and say hi, it’s most probably me!

But this blasts away any cinema popcorn to the little leagues. You’re lucky to see any, as I had scoffed 3/4 of the bag before I remembered I needed to take pics.  It is so nutty, without being clawing. It does contain salt and sugar, but the quantities are more of a gentle seasoning, rather than an overpowering flavour enhancer. My only gripe, the bag should have been way, way bigger.

To boot, this is suitable for vegetarians and vegans and only 120 cals per bag. Where has this product been all my life? Oh yeah, I know, I just kept passing by it, because I didn’t know popcorn was supposed to taste like this.

People, do yourself a favour – if you love popcorn, get this.

Rating 5 out of 5

 

Learn how to knit the pussy hat

Hello,

Well, what a fabulous day yesterday was. It was the first time I have been able to smile until my face hurts for months. Ever since #FakePresident robbed the election, I have felt helpless, down hearted – you know all the usual. Actually, it not usual. None of this is. I’m normally a happy, go lucky, cheerful soul. Brexit and #FakePresident temporarily hampered that. Temporarily not permanently.

Recently, as my Instagram followers know, I came across, during my pre-spring clear up, some lovely balls of wool.  In less than 10 days I knitted 1 scarf, 1 hat and a pair of mittens. I am not a knitter. I occasionally dabble in the craft, but I generally stick to the knit one row and pearl one row regime and that’s about that. Hardly challenging, but it served me well every time I wanted a new scarf.

But 10 days ago, I discovered 4.5 balls of wool. Such a lovely green shade, the colour of growth, nature, even hope for the future. And I started knitting. But I didn’t just want to knit. I wanted a challenge. I wanted to do justice to this beautiful yarn and create something other than just a bog standard garter stitch scarf.

I did some research and learnt finally how to do a simple 2×2 rib stitch. That lead to me successfully knitting a wearable hat. I then researched how to make finger-less mittens, and I’m happy to say that I have made my first complete set of winter woollen  accessories.

greenery-knits

If little me can do this in 10 days, whilst running a social network, working and negotiating life in a capital city, what can I achieve in 10 weeks?

In those 10 days, I have watched as one role model family left the White House, to be replaced by the most despicable, greedy, criminal, un-American, unpatriotic, classless, unworthy, traitors move in.

But during those 10 days, I have also witnessed the very best in humanity. Millions boycotted the Inauguration, much the annoyance and embarrassment of the #FakePresident, and millions and millions, not just in Washington, but all over the US and all over the world came out the very next day to protest. The causes were many and vast, but centred around the fight to protect the civil rights for all. The protests also gave me something. Something very dangerous to people who believe in hate. The protests gave me hope.

So to my fellow fighters of equality, lovers of the human race, protectors of civil rights, I want to say …

THANK YOU.

This is a long introduction to a video I have discovered earlier today – a tutorial for the pussy hat project. Yesterday’s worldwide protests may be over, but it only marked the beginning of to the road for justice. So I encourage you to continue the protest by knitting. Knit your pussy hats, not only for yourself, but for your neighbours, family, friends, even people you don’t know. Knit, and wear with pride your creations, and continue prove to the #FakePresident, that Love will always trump hate.

By the way, I described myself earlier as, ‘not a knitter’. That was 10 days ago. Now, I’m working on my 4th knitting project of the year (day 22 of 2017!), and planning my 5th. I think I can call myself a knitter now. I wonder what I will be in 10 weeks from now – word on the street is there will soon be a vacancy in the Oval Office …

Just imagine what you can achieve when you believe in yourself and love others. But don’t just imagine, work towards your goals, then set higher, bigger goals. That way our children and grandchildren won’t have to protest in the same way we, our parents and grandparents had to.

I shall be sharing more details about my knitwear collection soon. For now, thanks for reading, and please join me in our quest for equality for all. Subscribe, follow, like, comment and love 🙂

Revamp your blog with me.

jan-17

If like me you’re revamping your social network sites, but funds are not abundant, especially after the Christmas festivities, you could do worse than invest in a reference book.

Fiona Humberstone’s, “How to style your brand”, has been recommended by many successful bloggers, including Kristabel’s, I want you to know and Olivia’s, What Olivia Did.  If your funds can’t yet stretch the £20 or so to purchase the book don’t worry.  Below are links from the Hiscox website which were published in 2015, featuring a wealth of information written by Fiona, which should act as a pre-cursor to her book.

Part 1 – The Absolute Essentials

Part 2 – Finding Your Focus

Part 3 – Colour Psychology – Your Secret Weapon

Part 4 – Creating a Compelling Vision

Part 5 – Reviewing Creative Work

Also, check out Fiona’s website, which includes a number of resources, some of which can be downloaded for free.

How are your 2017 plans going? Please share with us in the comments below, and track my site revamp progress by subscribing. Thanks for reading.