Things that grind my gears

Today there are a number of things that are making me angry- varying degrees of importance in the whole scheme of things, but grinding my gears nonetheless.

1. Peter Alexander are charging more for their plus-size items.

2.  People who don’t know how to do their job, yet don’t take advice on board.

3. People who have ‘Fuck Off, We’re Full’ stickers on their cars.

4. Cancer.

5. This hateful marriage equality postal survey.

6. Judgement of outfits/ hair/ make-up within the pin-up/ vintage community.

7. The amount of animals in shelters/ foster waiting for their furever homes.

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Lovely Ladies Making Gorgeous Goods, Vol 2- According to Alana

This is the second of what I plan to be a series of posts celebrating some of the awesome women I’ve discovered over the interwebs who make and sell amazing clothes, jewellery, and accessories.

This time is the #matchymatchy goddess herself- According to Alana!

I currently have 9 of her beautiful headbands and 1 pair of earrings:

And I will definitely be adding to my collection!
The headbands are so well-made, and despite my fat head (not being self-deprecating, I have a large head!) they are so comfortable.

I find it hard to resist a novelty print, so the moustache was my first purchase:

And being black and white it means I can pretty much wear this with any outfit.
Customer service was, and still is, absolutely superb- Alana always includes a hand-written note with her lovingly-packed parcels.  It is these little touches that keep me coming back- along with the great range of designs and beautifully made products of course!

Alana’s Instagram is a constant source of inspiration, and encouraged me to step up my #matchymatchy game!

The wide range of colours and designs on her site means there is something for everyone- plain block colours, polka dots and ginghams, through to quirky prints (my faves!)

One last thing that I love about Alana is that she is so supportive of other creatives and designers, in fact she introduced me to more than a few new pages to follow!

x

Work Wear, freedom of expression, and mental health.

So I read something the other day that struck me, and the more I thought about it, the more angry it made me. Apparently, in order to be successful, you should dress like your superiors and others around you in the office.

Well no offence to the people I work with- but FUCK THAT.  What I wear and how I dress in no way negatively impact my work and my ability to be successful.  In fact, being able to wear what I like makes me feel motivated and happy at work, which in turn makes me function much more effectively. 

I’m lucky to currently work in an office where I have the freedom to wear what I like, and express myself with my outfits- and my work speaks for itself. However, I have worked in a job where a uniform was mandatory, and coincidently it was a job that was purely a pay check for me- not a place I felt valued or was passionate about. So in addition to the uniform, I would wear no make-up- I didn’t see the point in ‘wasting it’.  That is something that for me, is an indicator of my mental state- if I can’t be bothered putting make-up on for days or weeks at a time, I’m not in a good place.  For the 3 months or so leading up to my breakdown and subsequent 3-year hiatus from the world of clinical trials I did not wear a scrap of make-up.

Now I am back in a job I love, and in a good place mentally, picking out a fun outfit and quirky accessories is part of my normal daily routine. So while dressing ‘professionally’ may be the way for some people to get ahead, I’ll be over here in my circle skirts, dinosaur pins, and purple sparkly eyeshadow- killing it.


Xx

Good things you can do on Good Friday (or any time!)

Now I am not remotely religious, but I do try to be a good person and do my bit to make the world a bit better.  This was originally just going to be a post about blood donation, but seeing as the world is kind of a clusterfuck at the moment I thought I would put together a short list of simple things you can do, even today when everything is closed!

Donate Blood
Ok, so you might not be able to actually donate today, but you can go online (donateblood.org.au) and determine if you are eligible to donate, and then make an appointment!
Now I know not everyone can donate- for example, you’re ineligible if you lived in the UK for more than 6 months between 1980 and 1996 (due to mad cow disease); or male who has had sex with another male within the past 12 months (a policy I don’t agree with, but is unfortunately still deemed necessary- you can read more here) – but if you’re generally healthy, and don’t mind needles, you should be fine!
The staff at every donor centre I’ve been to (5 I think) have been so lovely and will answer any questions you have.  Before you get to the needley part, you will fill out the questionnaire and have an interview with a nurse.  They’ll do the final eligibility check, and measure your blood pressure, and measure your haemoglobin levels via finger-prick, which I think hurts more than the big needle!
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This is me donating plasma, which I do once a fortnight- your red cells get returned to you after being separated from the plasma, so there is minimal loss of iron.  It usually takes me 30-35 minutes on the machine to complete my donation, the exact volume taken depends on your weight.
If you’re eligible to donate platelets, this can be done once a fortnight too.  My veins aren’t suitable for platelets (females rarely are) but my husbands’ are- he’s usually on the machine for about 45 minutes, like plasma the volume depends on your weight.
If you’re donating whole blood, you will donate 470mL regardless of your weight- how long this takes will depend on your blood pressure,  I usually take 5-10 minutes.   If you donate whole blood, you must wait 12 weeks before your next whole blood donation, but only 4 weeks before your next plasma or platelet donation.
Once you’re done with your donation, you hang around for 10-15 minutes and have something to eat and drink- they have the most awesome cookies!  How often do you get rewarded with an actual cookie?!

ASRC
You can donate to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.  This amazing organisation helps refugees and asylum seekers adjust to life in Australia, offering legal assistance, food banks, education, and more.
You can make a one off donation, order groceries to be delivered, or set-up a monthly donation.

Tsuno
Somewhat related to the above, you can donate sanitary pads to ASRC through Tsuno- a company that makes eco-friendly pads from bamboo fibres and donates 50% of the profits to a range of charities.
A monthly donation of pads to ASRC starts from $6.80- do it here.

Share the Dignity
Still on the feminine hygiene theme, you can help homeless women in Australia by donating pads and tampons to Share the Dignity this month during their April donation drive. Stop a woman from using newspaper or socks, or from having to choose between food and tampons by finding your closest donation point here.

Don’t be a dick!
Pretty self-explanatory.

dont-be-a-dick

(pins, key-rings, and stickers with this delightful message here!)

Enjoy your long weekend, and if you have to work- thank you! xx

Lovely ladies making gorgeous goods, Vol. 1- Hellpixie

This is the first of what I plan to be a series of posts celebrating some of the awesome women I’ve discovered over the interwebs who make and sell amazing clothes, jewellery, and accessories.

First up is the lovely Miss Hellpixie aka Skye! http://www.facebook.com/hellpixie.designs

I now have 3 skirts from Skye, plus the lovely dress she made for my wedding!

She makes a lovely range of vintage-inspired circle skirts and dresses, which of course are right up my alley! The range of available fabrics she has on hand are on her Facebook page, and she can sometimes also source other fabrics if you have something specific in mind.

The first skirt I ordered from Skye was this pink & white check:

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The lovely customer service Skye provided, combined with the superb quality of the skirt meant it was quickly followed by this beautiful black floral:

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which also came with a pair of button earrings, covered in the same fabric!

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The above photo shows the colours better than the crappy bathroom lighting!

Then, when my now-husband and I decided to have a small, inexpensive wedding at a local winery, I knew what I wanted- and Skye had recently started selling dress styles! It was like it was fate! I emailed her with my idea and measurements, and after confirming my fabric choices and giving me a few tips, she produced this:

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Which was absolutely perfect, and she again included a pair of button earrings, as well as fulfilling my request for a pocket square for my hubby.  She was also more than happy to go along with our plan of keeping our ceremony secret and kept pics of my dress off social media until we revealed our marriage.

My most recent purchase from Skye was a different style for me- a reversible wrap skirt in plain, block colours.

 

Which looks much better in the lighting of Skye’s sewing room!

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Skye is now also making resin bangles, and she happened to have a promotion running which included a free bangle with a skirt purchase:

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which I absolutely love! I wasn’t sure at first, knowing how clumsy I am I thought I would constantly bang into things with it, but I don’t- or haven’t, yet!  Like everything else I have purchased, the bangle is unique, and lovingly made- which are both important to me, as is supporting awesome female-owned small business.

When my budget allows, I will definitely be buying more products from Skye- the trouble is deciding on what that might be!

xx

Sex Cookies!!!

Okay, so it’s not what you think…

I have been making these cookies for 6-7 years now, and they have been universally loved… none more than when I made them for my besties, one of whom exclaimed they were ‘better than sex!’ Thus, sex cookies were born.  They are not #cleaneating or #vegan (not that there’s anything wrong with those things, whatever floats your goat) and they are mostly just butter & sugar. But that is precisely why they taste so dang good!

Ingredients

  1. 250g butter
  2. 1 tbsp vanilla essence
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 2 cups brown sugar
  5. 1 & 1/2 cups plain flour
  6. 1 cup SR flour
  7. 4 tbsp cocoa
  8. 250g White choc bits
  9. 250g dark choc bits

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C & grease & line baking trays.
  2. Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla together.
  3. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
  4. Sift in flours & cocoa.
  5. Add choc bits & mix until well combined.
  6. Roll mixture into balls & place on prepared trays, at least 3cm apart in all directions.
  7. Bake for 12-15min until cookies are just firm to touch.
  8. Cool on tray for 5min before transferring to a wire rack.

Makes about 30, depending on how big your balls are (sorry, couldn’t resist!)

From this…


To this!


Happy baking (and eating some of the dough, you know you want to!) x

Dyeing, Vixen style

So I am a bit of a grot sometimes, and somehow always end up staining my white clothes.  I seriously don’t even know why I buy white things any more… but I have found a solution other than wearing a bib or throwing out stained clothes- dye!

The inevitable happened to my white Sweet Sweater from Heart of Haute (buy your own here, https://www.heartofhaute.com/collections/sweaters/products/sweet-sweater-white  if you can keep it clean lol!) but despite using pre-wash stain removers, and even bleaching it a few times, this stain would not budge.  I did not want to get rid of it, so I decided to dye it… and while I was at it I decided to dye my white Vixen top (https://www.etsy.com/au/listing/462289823/in-stock-vixen-top-in-white-by-vixen-by?ref=shop_home_active_45) too, as I kept getting make-up on the collar!

I went down to my local Spotlight and bought some fabric dye- Jacquard iDye in Purple and iDye Poly in Violet.

IMG_2367  I needed both types of dye as both tops were a blend of cotton and lycra.  The lycra content also meant that I had to use the stovetop method, so I  bought a big, cheap pot, and a cheap ladle- as equipment that has been used to dye fabric cannot be used afterwards for food preparation.

I followed the instructions on the packs which are very clear, and also had the websites FAQ open and on hand- these are very clear so I won’t rehash them here, I’ll just highlight the main points.

I filled the pot with water, just enough to cover the clothing yet allow it move freely- constant agitation is the key to achieving a uniform colour so the fabric needs to be able to move around in the water.

Once the water, dissolved dye packets, and clothing were at a rolling boil, I stood at the stove for 45 min, constantly stirring the entire time!!! Definitely felt like Hermoine Granger in a Potions class! https://goo.gl/photos/N1Q5Urkouerpa9do9

I used rubber gloves to take the clothes out of the pot once they had cooled, as I didn’t really fancy purple palms.  I squeezed out as much excess liquid as I could before putting the tops in the wash on a gentle cycle, but some purple bubbles still managed to seep up out of the floor drain- much to my husbands’ horror!! Nothing an old towel couldn’t mop up though.

And now the moment you have been waiting for- the final outcome!

I could not be happier with how it turned out- exactly the colour I wanted, not patchy, and no blindingly white thread!  There was a slight transfer of the dye onto the inside waistband of my skirt, but only minor and should come out in the wash!

Happy DIY dyeing x

Best, most simple scone recipe!

So I thought I would start off the recipe portion of my blog with an old favourite- scones!

This recipe comes from my nana, and has never failed me.  Some people might be shocked at the lack of lemonade or other carbonated beverage but trust me- they will still come out beautifully light!

Ingredients

4 cups SR flour
300mL cream
300mL milk

… that’s it! 3 ingredients that you likely have on hand right now!

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 220°C (200°C fan-forced).  Line a tray with baking paper.
  2. Put flour into a large bowl and make a well in the centre (you can sift it in if you like, but I’ve never had an issue with lumps).
  3. Add cream into the well, then milk (I usually just use a 300mL container of cream, then fill that up with milk to save on washing up!).
  4. ‘Cut’ the mixture with a butter knife to mix until dough comes away from the sides.
  5. Lightly flour a flat surface and empty out dough, knead until pliable.
  6. Roll out with a rolling pin until dough is 1-2cm thick.
  7. Using a cookie-cutter, cut scones out of dough and place on lined tray, at least 3 cm apart.
  8. Knead the dough scraps together and roll out, cut more scones.  Repeat until all dough is used.
  9. Brush scones with milk and place in the oven for 12-15min or until light golden-brown.  Cooked scones will sound hollow when you tap them with a knife.

Keep cooked scones warm by placing them in a bowl or container lined with a clean tea-towel. This mixture will make 24-30 scones, depending on how big your cookie-cutter is.  Scones will keep for about 3 days in an airtight container.

My personal preference for serving is straight out of the oven with real butter… YUM! Though jam & cream is always popular too.

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waiting to go in the oven!

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cooked!

These ones I used a half/half mixture of white and wholemeal SR flour because I ran out of white! Still turned out fab.

Happy baking x

Intro

So I have decided to start a blog, as I wanted somewhere to capture my thoughts and social media didn’t quite feel like the right place for that!

If you have made your way here and you don’t know me IRL- welcome! My name is Erin and I live in the southern suburbs of Adelaide, South Australia.

I have been getting into the world of pinup/ rockabilly for the past three or so years, but still consider myself very much a newbie! I love quirky/ kitschy accessories and clothing patterns, and love supporting small businesses run by amazing women.  I have a few posts in mind to celebrate some of the women I have ‘met’ and showcase their fabulous creations.

I love to bake, so also plan on including quite a few food posts on here- mostly sweet things, but also some of my fave vegetarian recipes.

I work in clinical research, and am extremely passionate about science.  One of my main dislikes is people who don’t ‘believe’ in science i.e anti-vaxxers and climate change deniers.

I am also a staunch feminist and fight for equality for all women, and am continually learning how to be a better intersectional feminist and supporter of women who face additional challenges that I am privileged enough to not have to deal with.

My other big passion is the environment and animal welfare- we adopted a 9-year old dog just before Christmas and it was the best decision we have made!

That’s just a short intro to what I have planned for this blog, thanks for stopping by!

Erin x

PS If you get the play on words that is my blog title- you go Glen Coco!!!IMG_0804