Thursday 3 October 2013

National Poetry Day 2013

Thought I might as well mark National Poetry Day, as I do write it occasionally. You know when you're a kid and you get the wrong end of the stick about something you've only heard about in passing? And then you never get disabused of the idea? This is about when I realised the Elgin Marbles weren't big round rocks. Yeah, I was an idiot. And about 25.

A Misapprehension
remembering the British museum

We’d taken the whole day off I think,
escape via annual leave.  A virgin page
in a brand new Moleskine journal, begging
to be filled with our unoriginal musings
on culture and art.  ‘We have this  great city
on our doorstep’.  ‘A scandal’. ‘We really must’
‘Let’s be one of those couples’.

I’d wanted to see the Elgin Marbles.
Since childhood years, I’d pictured those
huge cool spheres. A giant’s game of Rolley Hole,
wasn’t the wonder in how smooth they are?
The seventh Earl called keepsies, when Greece
thought they had been playing fair. [Of course,
 rules should be decided in advance.]

‘Over here’, you said. You realised, but didn't
smirk. My eyes tracked the gallery,
bemused. A cathedral aisle of polished floor;
supplicants crowded the walls. Oh.
How could I not have known? The blood
in my ears felt thicker. Hot. Words buzzed.
Distorted, in swimming pool air.

The sightless fury of a centaur, remaining limbs
still striking for the throat. That discorporate
mare. Poor Ginger on the knacker’s cart,
tongue lolling. Torsos missing only the gibbet.
Exposed to time and air and public scrutiny.
No Arcadian pursuit after all. Who’d have thought?

We bought coffee and perched, high on stools.

Thursday 26 September 2013

Guess who's back, back again?

Hiya. Yeah it's me. I got into drugs, went to rehab, got clean, put out another album, bitched about the critics and found that Kanye West had stolen my thunder...Oh no, wait, that's Eminem. I'm just using him as a sneaky way of bypassing long explanations and justifications as to where I've been. I'll probably get round to that. But if anything could haul my arse out of hibernation it would be the prospect of a blogger meet-up in London town. And not just any old meetup, but a super transatlantic inter-city multi-national one. It was gritty, but glamorous. And if Film4 made it, it would be called:






That other one!
I wore my graffiti print skirt, it's not that I stood there too long

Terrifyingly - to anyone who has a passing familiarity with my sense of direction - I designated myself tour guide and dragged everyone off to Shoreditch. Now, as any fule kno - the East End is no longer synonymous with the denizens of The Queen Vic (or Jack the Ripper, or the Krays) but is the natural haunt of the hipster in London. Locals are used to bearded men in cardigans putting up flyers for vegan crunk nights*, girls with undercuts and 80s batwing jumpers get barely a second glance. However, being out with these three was like being out with some kind of rock supergroup. Or possibly Courtney Love on the razz with Harry Styles. Seriously, we got stopped and asked for photographs. We got sneakily papped while we ate pancakes in Spitalfields market. We got cat-called [once by crackheads, admittedly. But one of the Indian restaurant owners was very taken with Vix, calling her his 'tropical banana'. All these guys ever say to me is 'come in, come in, lamb bhuna is on special today']. I think I need to make more of an effort. 

Erm, yeah, we're err, Little Mix. Honest

Suzanne claimed the bargain of the day at Absolute Vintage - a £1 cheongsam languishing in their bargain bin. [My £4 version is here]. No doubt they doubted their chances of finding someone tiny enough to fit in it outside of Hong Kong - seriously, it was weeny - but as you can see it looks incredible on her.

Suzanne Wong

Another highlight was finding a subterranean vintage market held in the old Victorian public toilets. Dora and Vix bought skirts while I wrestled with my ever growing attraction to 80s goth prom dresses. I blame my addiction to John Hughes films and the fact that I was 13 when the decade ended - I didn't get to wear any of the fun stuff.

I didn't buy it, even though the lady offered to knock a tenner off. It was a bit big and also cut so I'd have been flashing my gusset with every step. Leggings would have solved the second problem but I'm not enough of a needlewoman to start attempting to take things in. 

Despite proclaiming that she wasn't shopping, Vix got a fabulous skirt for a ten quid (pic on her blog), and I felt strangely relieved that the queen of thrifty vintage managed to find something in the smoke that wasn't too ridiculously priced. These Topshop sequin shorts were quite fun (found at another vintage market on Brick Lane), but I think I'll be able to find them cheaper on eBay:

Awkward grin. Cameras still freak me out.
 I like black. Matches my cat.

I did get a denim waistcoat a la Vix for £4, but the best buy from here was Dora's 'Blade Runner' shades. Excuse me for going all Project Runway for a minute - but FIERCE!

Why yes that is a chartreuse glitter skull on my head, thanks for noticing.
Can you believe someone actually asked her if she'd ever been to Mexico?

It was great to meet 3 such incredible women who are just as cool as their blogs would suggest - thank you also for the wonderful gifts (I had a mild and as it turned out totally justified panic about this before I left - my main excuse is not having left the house in a week aside from school pick ups. I will reciprocate somehow). If anyone else is planning a London trip and fancies meeting up do give me a shout via my blog email - I am checking it again now!

Hmm, 40 million blog posts to read. I may be some time.

Lakota x

* Yes, it's an oldie. But makes me laugh.

Friday 28 June 2013

Ten years married

Happy Anniversary to my gorgeous husband, who walks every mile with me - whether home or away. Thanks for the best time in New York.


Wednesday 12 June 2013

Freebie and Competition Roundup

Hello, isn't the weather crap again? Luckily for me I'm off to New York for a few days next week - see how I threw that in, all nonchalant? - so it's time to pick some magazines for the airport. June is peak time for magazine freebie madness - probably something to do with submitting their circulation figures soon - so even if you don't usually succumb to the lure of the glossy, there are a few which are worth picking up at the moment.

Magazine Free Gifts
Marie Claire
£3.80 - but you get a very cute free Ciaté nail polish set worth a tenner. It's a mini 'cookies and cream' polish, plus a bottle of nail caviar, in pale gold tones. If you have no idea what the hell I'm on about with my talk of nail caviar, I will show you in another post. [Once I've cleaned the bathroom. It's not exactly a low maintenance look]. Anyway, it's the one with Alicia Keys on the cover, who sang with Jay-Z about New York on 'Empire State of Mind'. Oh, and also in the wrapping was a mini sample of toothpaste, very handy if like me, you happen to be going to New York. Ahem.

This month it's at a special price of £2.50, rather than the usual £3.90, which makes the free full size 50ml Neal's Yard  Power Berry Moisturiser worth £12 even more of a bargain. Fairtrade, Organic and Cruelty Free. What's not to like? [Well, there is an article where Cheryl Cole says absolutely nothing of any interest and wears a dress made out of wicker, but you can ignore that bit]

It's a bit odd that they've decided to give away a Rodial Self Tan lotion the month that porcelain skinned actress Amy Adams is on the cover, but mine is not to question the doubtless terrifying editorial team at Elle. I'm not buying this one because I don't do fake tan - flashbacks to a secondary school production of Jesus Christ Superstar in which I appeared as a tango'd leper - however, a £4 spend for a product worth £13.50 seems pretty good, if you're a bronzed glamazon type.

Free this month is Elemis Beauty Balm worth £11.50. Red is usually £4.00 but is currently on offer in Tesco at half price. This is a real 'luxury brand' moisturiser - if you bought the full size 50ml product it would cost you £32, so for an £8 spend you could get 60ml.

Not quite such an impressive offering from Cosmo, one of three pairs of sunglasses, some Smints mints and a packet of sweeties. You could probably get equivalent sunnies in Primark for around about the £3.60 spend, but it might prevent you from being nagged by the offspring for a comic while you browse the mags if you bribe them with the sweets.

£2 gets you the magazine and one of five products from Model Co. There's a mascara worth £16, two lipglosses at £16 each, plus a lipliner and an eyeliner retailing at £15 apiece. I've never tried their products but it would be a great way of replenishing your makeup bag on a budget.

Once you've finished the mags - or if you've bought multiple copies - why not drop them in to your local dentist or doctor's surgery? There's nothing worse than being without a book at the health centre and having to resort to reading a copy of People's Friend from 1992, or a leaflet on malaria. Hairdressers always need a good supply of glossies too, and I've also seen them sold in certain charity shops.

Competition of the week

I was asked by to help launch their latest competition - they must have heard about my shady past as a comper - and as the prizes look pretty good I was happy to oblige. All you have to do is guess which blockbuster movie (from this year) the prizes they've stuffed into their bathroom cabinet refer to, and email your answer to them, along with the make of cabinet they've used. Bit random, but look what you can win:

  • Simon Carter cufflinks from Liberty of London
  • Mac red lipstick
  • Black and silver beaded headband
  • Red feather boa
  • Baz Luhrman's 'Epic Romances' DVD boxset
  • Silver plated faux pearl and diamanté necklace
  • Sunday jazz cruise on the Thames for two
[I think I know the answer - my advice would be to think more about the 'Jazz' aspect of the cruise prize than the fact you're on the Thames. And perhaps pretend the setting is New York rather than London. Anyway, full details on how to enter are here, and the competition closes at midnight on 24th June]

Once again I am woefully behind on reading everyone's blogs - I apologize, again - and am unlikely to manage to catch up as this weekend I'm off on my sister's hen do. We're white water rafting - as you do - and then off to Essex glam mecca Sugar Hut to mingle with big boobed D-listers. Obviously I'll fit right in.

Seen any good freebies or comps? Let me know in the comments.

Lakota x

Tuesday 4 June 2013

Ta-dah! Tuesday - insert 'horny' joke here...

 Look what I got when I went to Brighton a couple of weekends ago. 

It's currently doing necklace hanging duty in the hall, as I haven't yet put up the vintage coat hooks which usually hold my jewellery.

I don't know if it would go with the rest of my bedroom, but I'm really tempted to spray paint it neon pink. Or maybe just the base? Anyway, I fully recommend embracing the Scottish hunting lodge look when it comes to jewellery storage. Although don't blame me if Herne the Hunter shows up to chase you down next time you're on a forest ramble.

What have you got to share this week? Link up below.

Lakota x

Friday 31 May 2013

Frock on a Friday - cheongsam

Hilariously, while I was away I found out I'd been shortlisted for a BiB award. I don't quite know how this happened, as it wasn't in the 'Mildly humorous Drivel' category, but 'Fashion'. Supposedly once you're nominated someone on the panel takes a look at your blog, so I'm not really sure how no-one twigged I'm not a fashion blogger. I mean, I love clothes and all, but hate having my photo taken, so it's not really a match made in heaven. And if you look back through my archive, there's only a handful of posts featuring me [although I have stopped cutting my head off. And my profile picture is now me. That's progress, people!]. Anyway, I didn't bother confirming my blog and getting a badge because it just seemed a bit weird and frankly made me think less of their selection process anyway. It would make about as much sense as Rihanna being voted Miss Modesty. However, I did figure it was time for another awkward outfit post.

So, on to the dress. I found it in a charity shop for £4. It looks hardly worn. And it's purple! Yay! I had a cheongsam years ago but it met with an accident so I'm really pleased to finally find a replacement. [It only took a couple of decades]. Possibly it needs removal of another rib/5lbs to be completely flattering - shiny satin not being the worlds most photograph friendly material, but  I swear that is just wrinkles in the fabric, not flab. Mostly. Possibly it would look better inside, in the gloom. [Gosh,I'm really working this fashion blogger angle].

Breathe in! Grin! Stick your elbow out in an unnatural fashion

I got the straighteners out - big hair wasn't working

Cheongsams are possibly the world's most impractical clothing - you can't really sit down, or eat, or um, breathe - but hey, respiration is overrated!

And finally, here's my contribution to the 'chronic Bitchface' archives:

Yup, nailed it.

Lakota x

Linking up to Magpie Monday over at Liz's

Tuesday 28 May 2013

Ta-dah! Tuesday - Banana and Chocolate Muffins

This is another great recipe for using up over-ripe bananas*, and can go from thought to plate in less than half an hour. The big chunks of dark chocolate all the way through them make them really special - and even if you think you don't like the dark stuff, the sweetness of the bananas offsets it perfectly. My boys would turn their noses up at 70% cocoa solids chocolate, but they'll devour these. Also, if you use Fairtrade bananas and Chocolate, you'll actually become Gwyneth Paltrow, only with a sense of humour. [Obviously she wouldn't eat them, cos of the wheat, dairy, sugar and fun thing. But she might serve them to Bono]

Ingredients (makes 12)
10oz/275g Self Raising Flour
1tsp bicarb soda, pinch salt
3oz/75g sugar
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 egg, beaten
2 fl oz/50 ml milk
3 fl oz/75 ml oil (veg/sunflower)
4oz/100g bar dark chocolate, smashed while in the wrapper using a rolling pin.

  • Preheat oven to 190c
  • Sift the flour, bicarb, salt and sugar into a bowl and make a well in the centre.
  • Add the bananas, egg, oil, milk and chocolate and stir briefly to combine. The mixture will be quite lumpy, this is fine.
  • Spoon into paper cases in a muffin tin, or silicon muffin moulds.
  • Cook in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, until they look like this:

  • Amazing warm or cold.

Lakota x

I've missed loads of your posts during my moving/home schooling/no internetz hiatus - so link link link below!

*Yes, I purposefully buy bananas so they can go brown and have to be used in cake recipes.

Friday 24 May 2013

G'day Africa!

[I just found this knocking around in my draft posts, written shortly after Children in Need day at the boys' old school.]

Following a day where he'd gone into school wearing spots à la Pudsey Bear for a £1 charity donation*, Boy2 was uncharacteristically forthcoming about what he'd learned in class. I listened proudly as he told me they'd watched a film explaining why they were raising funds, showing children with no shoes walking miles to school, and how sometimes they would only have one meal a day. "They don't have houses like us Mummy, and maybe only one toy. And they have to drink dirty brown water that can make you not well". I was really pleased at how carefully he'd listened and taken in what they'd been taught, and told him so, adding that we were very lucky in our country, and shouldn't forget it. 

He walked from the room with the satisfied air of one who has imparted great wisdom:

"And that is all about Australia" he said.

So close...

Lakota x

* you can tell whoever thinks up this stuff has girls. When was the last time you saw boys' clothing with polka dots on? 

Thursday 23 May 2013


Happy May!

It's been way too long. Thanks to those who have emailed or called me in my absence, I'm now officially a Home Counties mama instead of a Sarf London mum. There's plenty to do on the house, but the garden keeps drawing my eye to the window and I find myself gazing vacantly out, not achieving very much. I have plenty of my usual random nonsense to get around to writing about, but in the absence of any actual Springlike weather here's my Kate Humble-esque nature report from Hertfordshire. [You'll have to imagine me in a fleece, the odd leaf tumbled artlessly in my pre-Raphaelite locks]

Wood pigeons are even stupider than I always suspected. Did you see this picture on Yahoo? [It was a slow news day, obviously]. I have something similar on my kitchen window, after a collision sounding and looking like the Grinch had lobbed a Christmas turkey at it with some speed.

It flew off, then it or one of its equally dozy cousins did the same thing to an upstairs bedroom a couple of days ago. When they're not being kamikaze at our windows they tend to strut around the garden, puffed up with their own importance, giving the ladies piercing looks and shitting all over the lawn. [Only one of those things doesn't make me think of Paul Hollywood off Great British Bake-off]. One met an untimely end at the claws of a sparrowhawk in next door's garden - we'd already seen him narrowly miss a siskin in our own - which was unfortunate for the pigeon, but another exciting day for the twitchers in the house. That's all of us, with the possible exception of boy2. He insists on referring to certain avian visitors as 'Batman birds' and 'the boy wonder'. [He has a pretty good sense of humour for a 5 year old]. Incidentally, the boy wonder has made a nest in the ivy on our fence, so we should have baby robins soon.

Mentally traumatised but undamaged siskin recovers at Lakota's bird hospital

'Batman' bird

Squirrels are annoying little buggers. The seeds of this thought were planted long ago when one ran up my leg in Singleton Park, Swansea when I was about 8. It shot down a tree and up my sock about as far as my knee before exchanging an alarmed look with me and running off. [I once had a lost homing pigeon land on my head too. Evidently I resemble Nelson's column]. Still, I'm fond of wildlife in general and boys were pleased that 'Squirrelly' appeared to have made the move with us from our old house. I don't mind him helping himself to a few peanuts or sunflower seeds from the birdfeeder, but I do object to him then burying said peanuts in my newly planted rocket - merrily digging up seedlings as he does so. Also running off with not one but two entire fist sized suet balls hung up for the birds is just plain greedy.

Apparently there are black squirrels locally. Now if that doesn't sound like some kind of witches' familiar I don't know what does. Cute though.

Far away Tawny Owls manage to sound just enough like a crying child to make me go upstairs and stand outside a bedroom door, listening intently. Hearing nothing, I return to my Sons of Anarchy boxset only for them to do it again. Outwitted by an owl. I must be losing it.

Lakota x

Tuesday 26 March 2013

Ta-dah! Tuesday - Angry Birds Cake

Hello! Everything needs to be packed up by tomorrow, so this is another scheduled post. Please do link up as usual though, and I'll read all your posts and comments when I can. Remember that the second I'd finished Boy1's birthday cake I had to start thinking about Boy2's? I was really pleased with how it came out in the end, even if it was held  together with cocktail sticks and royal icing 'cement'.

The fudge 'bricks' are hiding a multitude of fondant icing sins. I really must find out how you cover a round cake with roll-out icing without getting tablecloth-like wrinkles. Still, was robust enough to make it intact to the bowling alley party we had on Sunday morning. [Twelve children between 4 and 8 years old, extremely excited, at a time of day when you can still taste toothpaste. Moving all our worldly goods 60 miles round the M25 should be easy by comparison]

I've been asked recently about the 'rules' for Ta-dah! Tuesday. Just to say again that there really aren't any - anything you've been doing and are pleased with is fine, from outfits to art, makes to bakes, second hand finds to garden growth. I'd appreciate a comment rather than a link and run, and it's nice if you can visit some other participants, but anything goes really. 

Lakota x

Friday 22 March 2013

More stuff to painstakingly pack in a box and then not open for months when we get there...

Despite all my protestations about not buying anything else, as I'll only have to pack it and then find a place for it, I did succumb to the charms of this coffee set recently. Well, it was only £3 for the pot, 3 cups and saucers, 3 side plates, sugar bowl and milk jug. It would have been rude not to, don't you think?

I love the retro pattern and colour, although I haven't been able to find out what it's called. I also realised when I got it home that it reminded me of a print we have by Sally Elford - you can see more of her screen-prints here.

I'm off to see a new school for Boy2 in a minute. Sadly they don't have a place for Boy1 yet, but he's so sweet and eager that it won't be a problem to have him at home for a while. I told him we'd have to do a bit of work together, and he immediately said "I'll make a schedule!". He came back 5 minutes later with a timetable, saying "I've given myself a fun day on Fridays - art and Spanish!". Sadly all I can currently teach him in Spanish is rude words and how to order beer and tapas, but I can't fault his enthusiasm...

Lakota x

Linking up to Magpie Monday

Tuesday 19 March 2013

Ta-dah! Tuesday - 8th birthday Cake

Boy1 has been into cars forever. He spent hours looking out of the window of our flat as a 18month old announcing 'car, car, car, bus, car, four-four (4x4), van, car...'. His first word was 'cah' - with pointing. He became addicted to Formula 1 at the age of three, when Lewis Hamilton won the championship. So I've been wanting to make him an F1 themed cake for a while, but it seemed a shame not to make use of a number shaped 'track'. But he finally turned eight the other week, so I got to make the cake I'd had in my head for a while. 


As you can probably tell, I'm not a professional cake maker or icing modeller - but they generally look fun and taste good, so the kids are happy with that. I just made two sponge cakes, cut a section off each and pushed them together, used roll out grey fondant for the road, coconut buttercream for the grass, and liquorice allsorts for the finishing line and road markings. A couple of cars stolen from his bedroom and two little cocktail stick flags and it was done. And it was pretty stress free for once - I usually get myself and the kitchen in a right state.

Boy2 turns five next week - just a few days before our big house move - so I'm not sure I'll be similarly zen when it comes to making the requested Angry Birds cake. I'm going to try and schedule a few posts for the next couple of weeks, but we have a ton to do and won't have broadband when we move in, so apologies if I don't get a chance to comment for a while. I will read on my phone though.

What have you achieved this week? Link up your best outfits, finds, makes and bakes below.

Lakota x

Wednesday 13 March 2013

Freebie Round-up (UK)

Hiya, I said yesterday that I'd do a quick post on various freebies and offers I've come across recently - there are all sorts of websites out there which will round these up, but some are clearly just out there to harvest your details so I've only included the ones I personally think are worth it. [Apologies if you're not in the UK.].

Magazine Free Gifts
These have come a long way since my magazine buying heyday  when all that was ever given away on the front cover seemed to be some plasticy smelling perma-creased tote bag, but one would hope so, given that the average glossy mag seems to cost the best part of a fiver these days. And I do not count a John Lewis catalogue as a 'free gift' - you know who you are, certain interiors magazines! On the stands at the moment is a particularly good selection of beauty products, so worth buying even if you wouldn't normally fork out for the magazine.

Glamour - only £2, and you get a full size Percy & Reed shampoo, conditioner, volumising oil (whatever that is) or shine stuff. I got the shampoo, I like to change what I use occasionally.

Cosmopolitan - Not full size, but probably luxury sample size. Elemis is pricey, and I needed moisturiser. They have a regular one, a mattifying one or a lip treatment on offer. Cosmo costs £3.50.

Marie Claire - Full size Neal's Yard handcream worth £10. Well worth getting. Bargain.

Also offering hand cream is Good Housekeeping, this time by Balance Me and again worth £10. The magazine costs £3.90

Mollie Makes has a free 'make it yourself' cover-mount every issue, and costs £4.99. This month the gift is an oilcloth coin purse. If you like the cross-stitch I showed yesterday, that kit is still available on the current issue of Cross Stitcher, which costs £3.99.

I quite like a read of Ideal Home occasionally - especially now our move is confirmed, hurrah - so although I wouldn't buy the magazine just for the silicon spatula, it's a better read than a lot of the interiors mags so worth picking up if you need an extra dose of house porn. And those spatulas are the best at making sure all your cake mix goes into the tin. £3.50.

I also spotted this Let's Grow Veg magazine - which costs £7.99 but claims to have your 'complete start-up kit for 2013 worth £72'. I don't know about that, but it does contain 10 packets of seed, so even assuming they're as little as 99p each, you'd still get two packets free, plus the magazine. The seeds are Courgette, Beetroot, Radish, Chilli, Tomato, Salad, Rocket, Leek, Carrot and Kale.
Edit: I've just checked here and the seeds are worth £17.62. The other offers are 'free item but pay postage' where you can claim strawberry plants, potatoes, bird feeders etc.

Free Copy of InStyle Magazine
Don't want to fork out for a magazine at all? Get a free copy of InStyle by entering your details at this link. They'll ring you back to get your address, and probably offer you a further 3 issues for £1. You can take this up or not, as you prefer. I think it's usually £3.80 an issue.

Free H&M Voucher
If you fancy an high street shopping splurge, why not assuage your guilt by dropping off a carrier bag of second hand clothes at H&M? You can donate garments for adults or kids, and they don't even have to be wearable quality - ripped or stained (washed though) is fine as it will be sorted for rags. In return you get a £5 voucher off a £30 spend for each bag you donate - valid til the end of June. [Yes, these are new jeans, ahem]

Free Cat and a Cup of Tea 
OK, not really a free cat. But the furry devils cost a fortune don't they? All that feeding and de-fleaing and outrageous vet bills. Purina Go-Cat are giving away 185,000 samples of their latest Crunchy and Tender cat food if you fill in your details here. You're a blogger, you're bound to either have a cat or want a cat. If not, hand over your ipad now. On the same note, Twinings are giving away free samples of their tea - you can choose any two from a choice of eight by going to their Facebook app here and filling in your address. 


Hope some of these are useful to you - have you got any good freebies to add? I haven't listed competitions as you are obviously not guaranteed to win those - even if they have a ton of prizes - but if you want some tips you might want to see my posts from a couple of years ago here and here.

Lakota x