Category Archives: Uncategorized

I’m Back


I’ve started writing this post so many times. So. Many. Times.

One version is a very introspective look at how David’s heart attack has made all my clocks start ticking: my Be A Successful Businesswoman by the Time I’m 30 Clock, my New House Clock, and my (gulp) Mommy Clock* and how that’s made me re-evaluate how we spend our time and money.

Another version is a light-hearted tale about metamorphosis in which my blog hiatus was cocoon time that has allowed me to quietly transform. But don’t be alarmed, I’m not turning into a butterfly! I just have big changes going on at Gradient– which you can read about here– that are rapidly pushing us forward.

The third and final version is a story of how broken and frustrating the immigration services are in this country– and this version is definitely the tale that nobody wants to hear but that I’ve told to all my friends in the pub whether they want to hear it or not. But I’ll spare you, dear reader. I’m kind like that.


So, all the stories aside, I withdrew for a while. I needed a break. In the time since I last checked in I:

  • Travelled to Minnesota for the 4th of July and for my brother’s wedding!
  • Encouraged my friend and business partner, Liam, to quit his job to work at Gradient full-time
  • Went to Swanage for a seaside retreat with Liam, Nick and my Redcoat
  • Re-evaulated my entire business/life plan and started to be more proactive about accomplishing my goals and making cool shit under our Gradient umbrella
  • Had my dear friend Kate come to visit from Switzerland
  • Got super stressed about everything, basically


But I’m very happy to report that yes, the rumours are true. I will be back to TWM and TWV. In fact, we (Liam and I) will have a pretty special TWM (Tuesday With Nous?) coming later this week.

I’m looking forward to sharing with you again, dear reader. Onward and upward! xx

*I want a dog

Fire in My Belly, Whiskey in My Glass

Today, I had an aha moment and hired myself to give my brand a little makeover.  And by little, I mean an enormous makeover, complete with false eyelashes and lots of rouge.  I’m delighted to report that already, I’m feeling more energized, flexible, and focused (it’s like doing yoga!) but also like I could use a nice drink (so, maybe not like yoga).  My stomach, it’s a’burnin’ and I’m feeling pretty hungry, you guys.


When we moved in May, we sold all of our fancy kitchen gadgets- most of which we never used, anyhow- and have yet to regret life without them.  A KitchenAid blender?  I’d rather buy shoes.  A food processor?  That’s what knives are for, silly.  Measuring spoons?  REAL SPOONS!  Rolling pin?  Wine bottle.  A can opener?  Who needs one when I can use a screwdriver and hammer*… Are you sensing a theme here?  Do you understand that I’m a bona-fide kitchen rebel?

With that in mind, you can understand why I’ve been reluctant to tackle something as seemingly difficult as bread baking.  Every recipe I read calls for a bread hook, a bread-maker, or some such device that I do not have and have no desire in procuring, but last week, an intense craving for a proper, American-style bagel stirred me to action and I perused Stephanie’s blog for inspiration.  BAM, there it was, a recipe for New York Deli-Style Bagels that didn’t call for anything more technologically advanced than a stove and oven.  I rolled up my sleeves, greased my elbows, and rattled around the kitchen until I found things** that would work well enough to get the job done.  Then, I started bagel-making.

Due to laziness and my own taste, I made a few minor adjustments to Stephanie’s recipe:

  1. Instead of using active dry yeast, I just used a packet of easy bake yeast.  It worked like a charm.
  2. I substituted white baking flour with wholemeal baking flour and used only a tiny sprinkling of sugar because I hate sugar and don’t enjoy it in anything other than the occasional Old Fashioned.  (Next time, I’d cut out the sugar completely.  I’m all about savory ’round these parts.)
  3. Before putting the boiled bagels in the oven, I painted (literally, with a paintbrush) a liberal coating of rosemary, Maldon sea salt flakes, and olive oil on top.

After a little bit of kneading and an almost tropical afternoon in my very warm kitchen, you’ll be happy to know that my American-style bagel craving has been cured.  The bagels, they’re delicious (just ask David, he’ll tell you!).  They’re wonderfully springy, toast well, and are perfect for bacon and egg breakfast sandwiches.  Now, I just need to find a recipe for homemade cream cheese and I’ll be well on my way to paradise… suggestions are welcome!

* On second thought, maybe a can opener would be a sound investment?
** In lieu of a mixing bowl, I used a Le Creuset casserole thingy and instead of a slotted spoon, I used a slotted spaghetti spoon because I’m fancy.  (Please note: the spaghetti spoon will put holes in your bagels unless you’re careful.  Halfway through, I swapped it for a spatula and the results were very successful.  Don’t be afraid to get creative in your kitchen, you guys!)

Stuck in the Web

Do you love Jack White?  Do you love Conan O’Brien?  Great!  Watch this. (WARNING: it’s 75 minutes long, so, like, make sure you’re sitting somewhere comfortable and have a snack and/or beverage on hand before you settle in and enjoy.)

Beginners is one of my favorite films.  I watched it again this past week, this time with David, and it was so lovely to sit beside him and experience the subtlety of the storytelling, the melancholy and beauty of the love story, and the stunning set styling again (check out Brian Ferry’s screen captures, here).  Plus, Christopher Plummer has my heart- now and for always- and the entire cast is really terrific.
Fun Fact:  The film’s director, Mike Mills, is married to fountain-of-creativity, Miranda July, and if that doesn’t make you more inclined to watch it, I don’t know what will.

I’m making New York Deli-Style Bagels later today using a recipe by Baker Extraordinaire, Stephanie Wise.  She’s always baking the most delicious sounding breads and I’m excited to finally try one for myself.  Obviously, I’ll update you on how it goes…

This peek inside the International Space Station is an absolute delight!  No, really.  A DELIGHT.  If you’ve ever- even for a fleeting second- wondered what it would be like to live in space, you need to check it out.

And finally, prepare to be amazed: How Sewing WorksSo entrancing!

Now, get outta here and have a happy weekend! xox

You’re Ace!

Today, I cut and hand printed a few copies of this card.  The inside reads, “You’re Ace!” and though they’re not perfect (whatever that means), I’m pretty darn proud of them. 

For a while now, David and I have been playing around with linocutting.  Admittedly, David is much better at it than I am (which he proved when he made two beautiful landscape prints for my parents this Christmas).  Happily, I’m slowly learning and have even made it to the point where I now cut more lino than I do fingers… those little tools are sharp, you guys!

This weekend, my friend Jill is coming for a Hobbit Town slumber party and David and I are hosting his sons for řízky on Sunday. What are you up to, dear reader? Whatever it is, I hope it’s marvelous!  

Outgrowing Our Pots

This is Jim.  He is a plant and belong to David’s son, Tom, and currently lives on our windowsill in the living room.  Jim is a nice plant but he has one crucial problem, he’s outgrowing his pot.

Yesterday, I quit my job.  My Job, that makes it sound so important.  Let me start over: Yesterday, I quit freelancing.  Like Jim, I found that I’d outgrown my pot.  My legs needed room to move, my arms to stretch, my mind to grow.  I’ve been craving a more routine schedule and the ability to work as part of a team- alongside people I can share ideas with and an occasional laugh, too.  It’s important that I leave my flat, establish myself here and focus on filling a new pot, in a new space, on a new windowsill.

Obviously, I’m terrified.  But I’m so so so excited.  I’m keeping my mind open as I enter this next phase in that I don’t care what I do so long as I work with inspiring, creative people, am intellectually challenged, and am given the chance to flex my creative muscles and grow.  I want to meet new people, work hard, and turn out quality work.  I want to get my hands dirty and sharpen my skill-set.  I want to learn things and I want to share the knowledge I have, too.  I want to make this world a more beautiful place, someway, somehow.  Like I said, I’m excited!

So, dear reader, onward and upward- let’s see what Tunbridge Wells has to offer.  Wish me luck!

Christmas in Cox Quarters, Part 1

Today, I’m decorating… finally.  Some jazzy tunes are floating through the flat, tea lights are twinkling, and David and I are snacking on minced pies and sipping red wine.  It’s quite nice.

And yet, there’s still so much to do, so much to reflect upon, so much to be thankful for… We’re incredibly blessed to be where we are, we’re thankful for the gifts we’ve been bestowed with this past year, and we’re looking forward to a low-key Christmas and a few days of peace and laughter to recharge our batteries and launch into 2013 with the force of 10,000 ninjas. 

Have a tremendous weekend, my friends, and I’ll see you back here on Monday.  xo

A Picture, A Scene, A Kitty Cold

“Where are you gonna go?”
He shrugged, kicked his shoe in the dirt until he made a small hole.  ”Guess I’ll go wherever I think they’ll need me.”
“But what about this?” With the sweep of a hand she motioned to everything: the house they’d grown up in, the orchard, the wood, the flower beds, and the pool, still glittering in the sun like nothing ever happened.
Again, just a shrug.  He glanced at her sideways and she pulled her knees up, wrapped her thin arms around them like they were all she had.
“And what about me?  What I am gonna do?”
“The same.  Go where you can, find some kind of work.  Leave this all behind.”  
She let out a sob- just one loud, heartbroken cry that came from somewhere deeper than her lungs, her throat, her mouth.  They were silent a moment, listening to the world turning around them, the wind blowing through the trees.  She stood with a sigh and walked toward the door.  ”We best be goin’ then.  Come on.”
For the last time, he followed.

Everyone in our house has a cold.  Me, David, Le Chat.  Can cats get human colds?  I don’t know, but she seems drippy and slow like the both of us.  Good thing kitty sneezes are the cutest, I guess.

Christmas Drear

Yes, friends, it’s a Cox Quarters Christmas this year and, though I’ve yet to actually decorate, it’s all going to be about holly- which grows in great thickets in our local wood- and mail.  And wine, too.  Obviously.

I’m doing my best to be filled with the spirit of the season, but I’m having trouble getting into it this year.  Instead of decking my halls, I’ve been listening to Solange Knowles’ EP, True, on repeat, succumbing to DIY food poisoning (thanks, nachos), and drawing silly pictures when I should really be banging out website copy like it’s my job, because, well, it is.  Even Elf can’t inspire me to hum a carol or find some red to wear.

I need to get it together.  After all, it’s called Christmas cheer, not Christmas drear.

On a very cheerful note, however, I’m super stoked about tomorrow’s Tuesday With Vous and you should be, too!