Category Archives: Sarah

5 of the best… ALBUMS that we’ve worn out in 2014

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As we review the last 12 months, we thought we’d share our greatest finds of 2014, from music, to movies, nights in and days out…

The Albums that have been the soundtrack to our 2014:

Hanna’s top 5

1. My Morning Jacket – At dawn

2. Ryan Adams – Gold

3. Rosie Thomas – If songs could be held (for sentimental reasons… our wedding song’s in it)

4. Phosphorescent – here’s to taking it easy

5. Lauryn hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (erm, because of my teenage years)

Sarah’s top 5:

1. Ben Howard – I forget where we were

2. Beck – Morning Phase

3. Asleep versions – Jon Hopkins – ethereal, this will transport you to a some beautiful place between awake and asleep

4. Bombay Bicycle Club – So long, see you tomorrow (not least because of Rae Morris’s sublime voice)

5. James Vincent McMorrow – Post Tropical

And a sneaky honourable mention to “We are all young together” by Walter Martin – a kids album featuring Matt Berninger and Karen 0, that grown ups will love as much as kids – our baby boy goes crazy for this album!

Celeste’s top 5: 

1. Chet Faker – Gold

2. St. Vincent

3. Bob Dylan – blonde on blonde

4. Bright Eyes – I’m wide awake it’s morning

5.  & it’s a tie b/w Bombay Bicycle Club – So Long, See You Tomorrow & M Ward – a wasteland companio

 

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Hygge and Hot Apple Punch

hygge-2‘Is there any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of friends by a good fire?’ C.S. Lewis

I was listening to BBC Radio 6 music while working this morning; Lauren Laverne dedicated her show to the Danish idea of ‘Hygge’  (pronuonced ‘Heu-gah’). We don’t have a direct equivilent in English but I came across this beautiful explanation:

‘The art of building sanctuary and community, of inviting closeness and paying attention to what makes us feel open-hearted and alive. To create well-being, connection and warmth. A feeling of belonging to the moment and to each other. Celebrating the everyday.

We all Hygge – around a table for a shared meal, beside a fire on a wet night, making coffee, together at work. In our overstretched, complex, modern lives, Hygge is a resourceful, tangible way to find deeper connection to our families, our communities, our children, our homes and our earth. It’s an uncomplicated, practical method of weaving the stuff of spirit and heart into daily life without sentimentality then taking time to celebrate it on a human scale. Hygge is a kind of enchantment– a way of stirring the senses, the heart and the imagination, of acknowledging the sacred in the secular – a way of giving something ordinary a special context, spirit and warmth, taking time to make it extraordinary. Hygge is about being not having.’ (http://hygge.co/definition-of-hygge/)

We are in the high season of Hygge, as we relish in it and be grateful for the simplest and greatest joys, my challenge to myself if who else I can make space for by the fire of my Hygge season; my advent season,  Who are those experiencing the coldness of loneliness, poverty, sickness near me who I can create Hygge for?  That I can extend warmth and welcome to? For whom is this season marked by isolation rather than the warmth of belonging? How can I cultivate Hygge in my advent? My prayer for this season is that I can stoke a fire warm enough for many,

In keeping with the notion of Hygge here is a little recipe for a Fairtrade Spiced Apple Punch (taken from the Fairtrade Cook Book) to warm your hands and your bellies:

Ingredients

800 ml Fairtrade apple juice

2.5 ml Fairtrade ground cinnamon or

4 pieces of Fairtade cinnamon stick

4 slices Fairtrade lemon

16 Fairtrade whole cloves

30 ml organic Fairtrade runny honey

Method

Gently heat the apple juice in a saucepan.

Add the honey as the juice warms through, and stir to dissolve.

Add the cinnamon powder as well if this method is used, stir well.

Once the mixture is hot (it should not be allowed to boil), pour the drinks into large wine glasses.

If you are using cinnamon stick put one piece in each of the glasses.

Take each slice of lemon and impale four cloves.

Add one cloven lemon slice to each drink.

To serve

Sip this beautiful aromatic drink, and enjoy curling your fingers around the hot glass.

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Filed under Food, Make, Do, Mend, Penny for your thoughts.., Sarah

Bake your gingerbread hero

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This a a gingerbread a very liberal representation of my gran, Nessa, My gingerbread hero!  Feisty, strong, generous, brilliant. She raised two children and worked as a shorthand typist in Belfast all while going completely blind at 22. She walking her guide dogs through belfast in the height of the troubles, She was widowed young and has lives an independent, resourceful, full life, overcoming obstacles with grace and humour… she is brilliant

If ever there was a season to indulge in some simple but delicious baking it was advent.  So here is a delicious recipe and how to from Martha off of the Great British Bake off, and along with it, a fab little idea to get us thinking about who it is that has inspired you, by changing your world, or the world… As a season to take stock and be grateful, perhaps as you get baking some gingerbread you could take a wee bit of time to be grateful and make a little bit of gingerbread hero art.

For a fab recipe and how to make your gingerbread hero pop over to here

Happy Baking and hero making!

-Sarah

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Field Trip: Portland, Oregon

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Roses, independent bookshops, Independent everything, bikes, coffee, food trucks… what is not to love about Portland?  The perks of a travelling husband is being able to tag along from time to time – on our travels we have got to pass through Portland a few times now and have left part of my heart there.  So, if you find you self lucky to have a day or two in Portland here are my top tips:

Morning Coffee:  Stumptown Coffee Roasters

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With Staff as delightful as their coffee.  Our first visit to stump town coffee roasters we met Nathan, a hirsuite barista, that looked every bit the portland hipster, but chatted with us for 10 minutes about coffee, the relationships with farmers, the differences in the beans and the benefits of an aeropress.  The coffee will leave you every bit as stimulated as the knowledgeable and friendly staff – a Portland institution & a must visit in your Portland adventure.

Browse: Powells City of Books

photo-9This is a bookworms paradise, the largest independent bookshop in the world, and it feels like stepping into heaven, once you enter you might never want to leave – good job it stays open super late!

Brunch: The Parish

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A short stumble from Powells, the Parish serve up an tasty brunch, with a local Jazz trio as entertainment – here is where i first tasted a grapefruit Mimosa… Just when you thought you couldn’t improve on the original…

Shop: Yo Vintage

As a someone who enjoys a vintage shop but doesn’t love too much clutter, this shop is beautifully laid out and curated collection of vintage wares.  I picked up my favourite dress of all time in this shop, as well as heaps of styling tips from the lovely shop assistant.  As everywhere in Portland, the staff was unpretentious, knowledgable, and gave me loads of time in helping me chose and advising me on outfit selections.

Cocktails:  Clyde Common

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I visited here pregnant and can thoroughly vouch for the deliciousness of the sparkling lavender lemonade, but have it on good authority that they do a great Old Fashioned.  You’ll find here attached to the Ace, and a few doors down from Stumptown.

Sleep:  Hotel Monaco

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Fun, Kooky, Colourful and with a happy hour free to residents, this hotel has the best wallpaper (and ostrich legged lamp) I have ever stayed in.  There is nowhere better to lay your head after all that Portland  (& tax free shopping) You should probably pick up a voodoo doughnut on the way though.

That is a round up of my favourite parts from the Portland visits, next time I am determined to check out the famous food trucks, but until then I will just need to watch Portlandia and dream of returning.

-Sarah

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Dress Up: Singing in the rain

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“There is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing” Sir Ranulph Fiennes

We know it’s been a little quiet of late and not sure how many of you out there are still with us, we three foxes, have taken divergent tracks, with Hanna embarking on a teaching career in Bristol, Celeste moving to East London and ensuring the lawyers of Chancery lane are kept well caffeinated & me having a baby and moving back to Belfast.  My Belfast move has necessitated being well kitted out for the wet weather and with the tail end of Hurricane Gonzalo visiting us this week, I thought it might be fun to share some wardrobe ideas & thoughts for cheering you through the drizzle.

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One of my most precious possessions is this yellow raincoat, from the brilliant Swedish company Stutterheim….it has seen me kept dry through the last two winters and I suspect it will keep me dry for many more: love what they say about melancholy…

“Feeling blue inspires creativity. What if August Strindberg, Ingmar Bergman, Karin Boye and hundreds of other famous Swedish artists had felt happy all the time? Would they have produced their fantastic work? No. Being melancholic is an essential part of being a human being. If we try too hard to get rid of melancholy it’s almost like we’re settling for a half-life. To embrace melancholy is ultimately to embrace joy.

Melancholy shouldn’t be confused with depression. Melancholy is an active state. When we’re melancholic, we feel uneasy with the way things are, the status quo, the conventions of our society. We yearn for a deeper, richer relationship with the world. And in that yearning, we’re forced to explore the potential within ourselves – a potential we might not have explored if we were simply content. Through our melancholy we come up with new ways of seeing the world and new ways of being in the world. Melancholy and creativity go together like ebony and ivory on a piano.”

So, lets don our best raincoats, find a fabulous pair of rubber boots (Hanna, is Finnish and thus an authority on the best in rubber boots, she can help you out over here), and embrace the melancholy of a rainy October.

-Sarah

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Dancing words: ‘A good song reminds us what we are fighting for’

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Today the world said goodbye to one of our greatest folk musicians and activists, whose songs protested against some if our great injustices. Our song is so often individual & introspective, his passing reminds me again of the power of song to unite, inspire & provoke social change. What a well lived life, rest in peace Pete Seeger.

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Weekend in Pictures

Hello all! Hope you’re enjoying the heatwave and keeping hydrated! ;) Sorry about the radio silence recently… We’ve each had a lot going on from starting a new job, finishing up training to other big life changes. So we’re trying to keep Tracks going but when it’s quiet in here you know it’s because we’re just a bit hectic on this side.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s some snaps from our weekend…

Celeste had some good coffee, found a spoon in honour of Nessie and looked down to find Pac Man on the pavement.

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Sarah is globetrotting in North America (lucky!), here’s a few beauties from Seattle.

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Hanna is moving house (again!), in the midst of packing boxes there was a bit of time to give an old banged up bureau a new lease of life.

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Hope ya’ll had a good one!

-Sarah, Celeste and Hanna xx

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