Saturday, 29 June 2013

Coo & Co's Landbaby Exhibition

We never actually got to see Stef Bradley's Today Zine exhibition at Landbaby, partly because we seem to be stupidly busy all the time at the moment and also because we tried to go and look on a Sunday when Landbaby is closed. Duh!

When we heard that Coo & Co were doing an exhibition there we pulled ourselves together and managed to get down to the shop when it was actually open. Jenny McCabe is super talented! We met her at a craft fair in Lancaster ages ago and her lovely stall, as part of the Make District collective, was definitely the best thing there. She makes loads of lovely textile things, including some 'make your own bird/moth' kits that I really want to have a go at.

You can see for yourself anyway - the exhibition is on until July 20th. And while you're there, Landbaby have a couple of our brooches left for sale too! Here's some photos: try and see if you can guess which ones we took and which ones have been lifted from Landbaby's Facebook page!



Sunday, 23 June 2013

Blog and Buy Sale Summer Wish List

Apparently it is supposed to be summer, although looking out of the window of our flat you wouldn't know it. While we may not actually get any prolonged periods of nice weather this year, the super excellent Blog and Buy Sale website have featured two of our things (Our owl tattoos and our mountain cushion) in their Summer Wish List. We're very excited about this! Here is some pictorial evidence, just in case you think we're making stuff up:

We are extremely excited about this because we are featured with loads of dead talented designer/makers. Here are our top five things on there that haven't been made by us:

What Ever the Weather brooch set
Chunky Knit Hair Band
Book Stack Illustrations
Dog and Fox Ceramic Mug
'Diane' Twin Peaks Brooch

There's plenty more ace things on there too. Go and have a look!


Thursday, 13 June 2013

Woodland Month Part Two: Etsy Treasury List

As part of Woodland Month on the Young Explorer blog, we've curated a list of our favourite woodland themed stuff on Etsy. Have a look!

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Woodland Month Part One: Blackley Forest and Boggart Hole Clough

June 9th - July 9th is Woodland Month on the Young Explorer blog! Over the next few weeks we'll be posting a series of bits and bobs about our favourite type of geographical feature. Basically, anything we can think of that is even slightly related to woods or forests or trees or the kind of animals that live in woods or forests or trees.

This first post is going to be about a couple of super beautiful wooded areas that you can visit in Manchester. We'd love to hear about where you like to go and pretend you're in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, or where you take your dog for a walk or whatever it is that you do in the woods. 

We are going to be utilising every single one of our 'social media channels' for this, so feel free to: Tweet us, talk to us on Facebook and tag us on Instagram with your top tips. And you can follow our Woodland Pinterest board here. Phew!

We very rarely venture into North Manchester, but I'd heard people mention Blackley Forest before as they sometimes do mushroom foraging days there. It isn't, however, marked on Google Maps. Perhaps this is why, on a lovely warm Saturday afternoon, we were the only people in there.

According to its very informative website, Blackley Forest was planted in 1953 and was Manchester's 'first true community forest'. It was made into a local nature reserve in 2005 and it is a lovely hidden treasure that you should definitely go and visit. It's extremely easy to get to as well. Just get the Metrolink to Bowker Vale and it is about a five minute walk from there.

After leaving the forest, we made the short walk over to Heaton Park to eat our picnic. As it was a hot day, the park was absolutely packed with people. They should have gone to Blackley Forest instead! Although our visit to the forest might not have been so nice if it had been full of people. We'd prefer to keep it as our little tree-filled secret.

Also in Blackley (North Manchester has it pretty good when it comes to woods and forests), the bizarrely named Boggart Hole Clough is the larger, more mainstream sister to Blackley Forest. It even has a café and a boating lake. If Heaton Park is the One Direction of urban green spaces, I reckon Boggart Hole Clough would be, uh, The Wanted? I don't know which boy band Blackley Forest would be in this ill advised, not-really-making-sense metaphor.

It's a little bit harder to get to from Central Manchester and we had to get the bus (!). It was worth the effort, though. It's got loads of lovely paths running through the trees, up fairly steep banks and there are even bridges going over brooks and streams and things. 

You can buy stuff to feed the ducks that live on the boating lake from the café, so we did. They went a bit mad and didn't seem to understand when the bag had been emptied so we had to make a run for it. Greedy geese are terrifying, with all their flapping and hissing and what have you.

Boggart Hole Clough  is undoubtedly 'better' than Blackley Forest. It's much bigger and there's loads of different paths you can explore. But it's not as cosy, and there were actual people there too, so our picnic kept getting interrupted by nosey dogs. Worth a visit though, and you could probably do both forests in the same day if you wanted to have double forest fun!

More forest related stuff to come over the next few weeks! Remember, get in touch with all your tree related tips, please! Maybe we'll do a little blog post with all our favourite suggestions at some point?

See yer!


Friday, 7 June 2013

Local Favourites Part One: Potato Scones

Hey! Did you know that the third issue of Young Explorer (Which is, according to the Shrieking Violet, "Manchester's loveliest zine") is now available to buy for a mere two quid? Well it is. The theme, this time, is food and there are loads of dead good things to digest in there. Like Laura Kirsop from Internet Forever talking about what she eats when she's on tour, a comic by Stef Bradley of Today Zine super stardom and loads more besides. There's more info here if you're interested.

There's also a super nifty bit in the middle of the zine about regional food stuffs that you would probably enjoy. We talk about our favourite local foods and then there's an annotated map of Britain with arrows and things on it, so that you know where all these nice foods are originally from.

To accompany that bit of the zine, we're going to do a series of blog posts where we attempt to cook each one of the six things that we highlighted as being our favourite regional foods. Then we'll share the recipe, and post some pictures of how things looked as we were going along. This first post is POTATO SCONES.

Potato Scones

Potato scones are pretty easy to make. We've intentionally started with the easiest recipe of the bunch and will probably forget about the harder ones on the list. But potato scones are dead nice and are a perfect accompaniment to any fried breakfast (Particularly if you're vegetarian or Scottish). I had them for the first time in Edinburgh years and years ago, in a breakfast that also included chips and hash browns. So much potato! You don't have to go so spud mad though - we've restrained ourselves here and served our potato scones with some nice beans and fried mushrooms.

500g floury potatoes
115g self raising flour
A knob of butter
A splash of milk
Sprinkle of salt

Step one - mash some potatoes. About 500g will do. Lots of recipes that we found said 'floury potatoes' are best, but we just bought the one kind of potato that the Sainsburys in Piccadilly Station sells.

Step two - mix in about 115g of self raising flour. And also a wee bit of salt. Och, I have only just started writing about potato cakes and already I've turned Scotch!

Step three - turn your flour/mashed potato combo out on to a surface that you've dusted with some flour. Give it a bit of a kneading, but don't go too mad. Just push it all together roll it around a bit until it resembles a big ball of dough. Like this:

I wish we could take amazing photos of our food, like those on Fish, Chips and Gelato. But we can't, so these will have to do.

Step four - roll out your ball into a pancake type shape. 1cm thick, perhaps? Quite thick but not really thick. Thicker than a pancake. If you've had a potato scone before you'll know what you're aiming for, anyway. At this point you can cut your big potatoey pancake into quarters and fry them separately. Or you can just put the whole thing into the frying pan and cut it up when it's cooked. I have no idea which way is the most authentic. Possibly the former, so obviously we did the latter.

Step five - if you're going for the 'stick the whole thing in the pan' approach, fry it for about ten minutes and then awkwardly slide it out on to a plate. Using another plate, flip the scone over and then slide back into the pan (We were regretting not cooking them in quarters at this point) until both sides have gone kind of golden and crispy looking . Then turn the whole thing out on to a chopping board and then quarter it. Don't worry, yours will look better than ours.

Step five - serve with whatever fried foods you fancy eating. Or I guess you could eat them on their own, but you know, that wouldn't be as good.

So what's your favourite regional food? Tell us about it. Please. We never get any comments on here! Alternatively, why not tweet us, talk to us on Facebook or follow us on Instagram and Pinterest?

Enjoy the nice weather!