Thursday, September 18, 2014

Things I Like in London: Columbia Road Flower Market

Markets are a big thing in London. Food markets, vintage clothing markets, antique markets, flower markets, flea markets, all-kinds-of-markets. 
Although I often find myself in Spitalfields market (near a cupcakery. oh-oh!) and every other Sunday go to Bricklane market for a salmon bagel... my favourite London market so far is Columbia Road Flower Market. It's a wonderful place that makes me want to read all the gardening books in the world, move to the village and have a huge garden.  

Columbia Road Market is the kind of place you want to be on a Sunday morning. Londoners are crowding only to buy some fresh flowers, sellers are shouting, dogs are barking excitedly. And it smells of roses and lilac and coriander and lavender and rosemary and lily of the valley altogether.
I couldn't resist buying a bunch of smiling sunflowers. And a succulent. 
But I would have bought everything if I could. 
I definitely need more plants in my life. But after killing an innocent succulent I might need to educate myself on the matter first.  

Markets have become my little weekend ritual here in London. How about you? Are you in the mood for a salmon bagel and some flower shopping?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

What's in my bag?

I rediscovered tote bags.
Rediscovered as in I used to hate them and now they're my favourite choice. Plus, they come in really handy if you carry around a lot of things. And I always do. 
On weekdays my Lego lunchbox is somewhere inside, too - but usually I only bring the tiny version of it (which is packed with chewing gum). I carry raw bars (you never know when you're going to be needing a snack!) and tea (same goes for drinks... and when it comes to tea - I might as well bring a cup for it, no?) and water (you've already seen my beloved bobble bottle). 

I always carry around my Moleskine and some pens and pencils, although - to be honest - I rarely use them when I'm outside. But I know - the moment I leave them home I'll come up with the coolest idea and I wouldn't be able to write it down/make a sketch. I have to be on the safe side here. 
I carry the usual stuff, too - a wallet, house keys (can you see my super cool chocolate frog key holder?), sunnies, sanitiser, phone and - of course - an umbrella.
Because now I live in a place where I have to carry an umbrella all the time. 

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Things I Like in London: Harry Potter Studio Tour

I visited Hogwarts.
I still cannot believe it but yesterday I actually visited Hogwarts.
And it was magical.

Harry Potter and all the hype around it will always have a special place in my heart. I grew up with the books. I've read them at least a million times. I used to spend hours in the library checking what names and symbols and places meant. I wrote letters to whoever was involved with this magical experience. I made all props I could think of using whatever I had at hand. And yes, I had a hand-knitted Gryffindor scarf. I was that crazy kid. At least I didn't wear round glasses. But hey - now I do.
But seriously - I was a huge Harry Potter geek. I knew every single name, every single spell, every single potion. I dreamt of buying a book from Flourish & Blotts, I dreamt of trying pumpkin juice and Butterbeer. I dreamt of chocolate frogs and magic wands and invisibility cloaks and flying broomsticks - and it all came true yesterday.

I guess Harry Potter Studio Tour would be exciting for everybody - just because it is truly fascinating how a magical story is turned into reality, to touch all the costumes and see all the sets and have a look at all bits and bobs crafted in such detail.
It was a lot more than that for me, though - you could imagine. I was more excited than all the kiddos there combined and I honestly cried of joy during the whole experience. I wore the Sorting Hat, drank butter beer, ate chocolate frogs and fizzing whizz bees, tried magic wands... I visited Hagrid's Hut, The Burrow, professor Dumbledore's office, the Dungeons, and my most favourite Diagon-Ally. I met Dobby and Fawkes and Buckbeak and Aragog. I knocked on the door of Privet Drive Number 4, I rode the Knight bus, read the Daily Prophet and almost rode a broom. It was amazing.

This was probably my biggest childhood dream - to enter this magical world and be a part of it.
It might sound cheesy in a blogpost about Harry Potter... but let me tell it to you either way: dreams do come true - and you get a warm fuzzy feeling in your stomach. Or it might just be the butterbeer.

I am definitely doing a Harry Potter movie marathon this week - I'm sure I'll see all things differently now that I've taken a closer look at how everything has been made. I'm packed with sherbet lemons and every flavour beans, so it's going to be great.
Unless I get an earwax flavoured bean, that is.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Things I Like in London: Mayfield Lavender

London is... lilac.

If you get up early on a Monday, London's everything but lilac. 
If you get up early on a Tuesday or Wednesday - it's mostly gloomy and dark and grey.
If you get up early on a Thursday you might catch a sun beam or two.
If you get up early on a Friday - gloomy and dark and grey again.

But if you get up early on a Saturday, you might find London lilac. Let me tell you how.

Essential is to get up early on a Saturday. Eat a spoonful of chia. Go out for a quick run. Take a long shower. Put a raw bar or two in your bag, pack a good book, throw a coat on and catch the first train to south London. Get lost a couple of times. Take the underground. Take the overground. Take a bus and then another bus and then walk a little. Or just check a map before you do anything like that and go straight to the place. 

When you get to Mayfeild Lavender dark and gloomy and grey London has magically turned lilac. 
Bees are buzzing around, it smells of lavender and you get the feeling that you're someplace far far away from everything you know. It is nice and lilac.

You are nice, London. I like you way too much now.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Adventures in London

I remember very clearly sitting in the plane, listening to this tune and taking pictures out the window. The clouds were shining white, the sky was bright and blue and the sun was shining. Then we dived into the clouds and started to descend and everything changed - the sky turned from blue to grey, the sun hid behind а thick layer of clouds (which were no longer puffy and white but heavy and dark) and I thought to myself - well yeah, that must be London.

I won't lie - I didn't really like London for the first couple of weeks. I didn't like the place, I didn't like the weather, I wasn't really sure whether I wanted to spend a whole summer in the busiest city in Europe or not. I was really confused with the left-hand traffic, with the ridiculously complicated underground, with double-deckers travelling almost at the speed of light, with coins that have no numbers on them... I wasn't impressed by the traditional 'Fish &Chips' and I most definitely hated Marmite.

It took me some time before I finally gave London a chance. It couldn't be that bad... you start to get used to looking at the opposite direction when crossing the street. The underground isn't that complicated and double-deckers travelling at the speed of light are actually useful when you're running late. It still takes me some times to count my change but I'm slowly getting better at it. As for the food here - traditional english dishes might not be impressive but since you can find cuisine from all over the world here - it's not at all bad. I'd have a veggie Mexican burrito any time. Or a halumi wrap. Or green thai curry. You name it.

I visit museums. I go to food markets and flower markets and wine markets. (Markets are a serious business around here!). I discover small hidden shops that hide all kinds of treasures. I admire wonderful murals and street art installations. I drink lots of coconut water and rose lemonade. I buy sunflowers and succulents and dream of a big garden. I learn a few new english words every single day (word of the day today: salience). I munch on raw bars and caramel shortbread like crazy. I sometimes run, too. Not as much as I used to, but I'm keeping it up. London, that must mean we get on pretty well, no?

I'm in London to make some illustrations & design, learn some cool new recipes, visit new fun places and drink all the rose lemonade possible. I didn't really like it during my first days here because I couldn't stop comparing it to my most beloved Vienna - and you might very well guess that they have absolutely nothing in common. But after a month and a half here I must admit... London is actually nice. Yes, it is busy and crazy and loud and unpredictable. But very nice whatsoever.

Let's be friends, London - I'm nice as well.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Geometric pattern nesting dolls DIY

June is here, summer is almost here and I am finally here, too (wow - it's been a while, huh?) with a couple of fresh new illustrations, a bunch of fun DIYs and a delicious recipe or two out of my red lunchbox. June is going to be great, I promise you that. And because June is great and I feel great and everything feels like rainbows and sunshine - I decorated a set of nesting dolls and I'm going to tell you aaaall about it.

I love matrioshka dolls and I loooove geometric patterns in black and white - it was about time to combine the two. For this project you are only going to need acrylic paint, permanent markers and a set of blank nesting dolls.
Start with covering your dolls in your primer colour. I used white spray paint at first but it doesn't really work well on wood, let me tell you this. Or at least mine didn't. So I applied generous coats of white and black acrylic paint to my dolls and let them dry for a couple of hours. I used pale pink to paint the faces and a pinch of red for the cheeks.
I find markers to be a lot easier to work with than brushes, so I used permanent black markers to draw all the cute patterns on my matrioshka dolls. If you want perfect straight lines and forms - use the help of some masking tape. Drawing patterns is always lots of fun - the moment I finished decorating my dolls I wished I had a couple more blank sets to work on.
Go crazy with colours and shapes or win a couple of extra points in my book by keeping everything in black and white. Either way - have fun creating your own set of customised nesting dolls!

Monday, May 12, 2014


There is a magical cabin in a magical forest where magical things happen. 
Quiet music plays in the background, everything is illuminated and time doesn't pass. 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Perler Bead Dreamcatcher DIY

I have a giant jar full of perler beads. Mon has one, too. Picking the project for our next craft Saturday wasn't exactly difficult. 

Craft days mean good music, good food, quality fun, colourful messes and - of course - crafts. The music Mon picked was, well... weird (no offence here!), the lunch we had was nice and the snacks were the usual almost healthy. The idea of a bead dreamcatcher was probably a little too ambitious, but we had lots of fun and ended up with something that - hopefully - resembles a dreamcatcher. At least a tiny bit.

Оur only problem was that we had two giant jars of perler beads and not one tiny bead in a fancy colour. But oh well. We work with what we have. This project will look a lot nicer if you have perler beads in your favourite colours, but if not - brown, yellow, orange and red is not such a bad combination, is it? You could always say that you're going for that native look. 

Dreamcatchers are said to catch and hold bad dreams and energy and make them disappear into the spider web across the hoop. The web lets all good dreams and spirits pass through - they slide down the feathers to the sleeper. I am not sure if this works for perler bead dreamcatchers, but we did everything almost in a spiritual manner so it wouldn't be a surprise if our dreamcatcher truly has magical powers.
We made a hoop and three super simple feathers (since our circle pegboard was only this big we had to make tiny feathers as well to keep everything proportional... which didn't let us go crazy with the designs) аnd used red thread for the web. It came out a little too small to hang over your bed, but it's the perfect size for your inspiration board.
Who knows, it might catch a good idea or two? :)

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Lego lunchbox: courgette salad

Lego lunchbox today:
Courgette salad - courgettes, lemon juice, olive oil, feta cheese, dill
mango for dessert.

Did you know that you could eat raw courgettes? Yes? Well lucky you. No? Don't worry - I didn't know either but I'm here to save the day with this wonderful super easy recipe. 
Courgettes are just as delicious raw as they are in a cooked meal. The secret to this recipe is how you slice them: the thinner the slices the better. Whisk lemon juice (or orange or grapefruit juice if you're feeling adventurous) and olive oil and leave the courgettes to marinate for about 10-15 minutes. Add feta cheese and dill and you have the perfect lunch. A mango for dessert makes it even better. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Felt Fox DIY

Crafts are always fun. But it takes two to turn a craft day into a party and i'm glad i've found the perfect partner in crime for that. 
As soon as Mon and I visited an art supply store together (and ooh-ed and aah-ed at just about everything inside) - it was clear that we needed a craft day. We decided to make felt plushies, packed materials, bought somehow healthy snacks and made it official: Saturday is craft day.

We made homemade lemonade, munched yoghurt rice cakes and chocolate and listened to Emancipator while cutting out paper stencils, threading needles and stitching felt pieces together. Craft days are definitely my new favourite thing.

Making a fox plushie out of felt is super easy and super fun on a craft day or any day. You only need orange felt for the body, black and white thread for the details, some stuffing and a tiny piece of cloth of your choice for the scarf. 
Make a paper stencil of your fox (or print this one) and cut out front and back pieces from the felt sheets. Don't forget to leave space for stitching! Use thick white thread for the details and make a pattern than you like. You can cut out the nose and eye out of black felt or embroider them... i picked the easier way. When you're done with all the little details - start stitching the front and back pieces of the body and tail together. (do them separately and stitch them together after stuffing.) I decided that a thick black thread would go nice with the eye and nose but a thread in the colour of the fox might be a better choice. Leave a little hole so that you can stuff your little fox with whatever you have at hand. (I might have asked for Dexter's help for that). Add a scarf or a necklace or a ribbon or whatever you can think of to give your fox a more sophisticated look. 
Either you plan on making a felt fox оr an advanced three-dimentional wolf or a bear or another forest creature - have a craft day with friends. Drink lemonade. Make a mess. Eat chocolate. Have fun.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Full of ideas

Dexter and I are partners in crime. 
We are the perfect team: he's the brains, because all of his ideas are brilliant, and I am the looks, because - well, he is a handsome mister, but I am a girl and I would have been very upset with any other arrangement. We go on all sorts of adventures together: sometimes we go on an expedition to find the best waffles in the neighbourhood, sometimes we go out for a run (we both agree exercise is important - especially after a waffle), and sometimes we randomly decide that gardening is our newest hobby so we seek for lilac tulips and supplies and advice on how to take care of flowers. Dexter is pretty excited to participate in just about anything (excluding cleaning) but sometimes he likes to do things his way. 
Here's a short list of some of his most brilliant ideas:

- Can I have half of your breakfast? It looks pretty tasty and I'm sure you don't need that much food anyways. We're pals, let's share. You know you can always have some of my dog food, if you want.
- A midnight walk! But not just tonight! Every night this week! Don't worry, I'll let you know when the time is right. 3am should be just fine.
- Do I see another dog across the street? Lets totally freeze until we know for sure if it's a friend or a foe. Trust me, it's a good tactic.
- It's raining cats and dogs and it's also freezing outside - we might stay out for a couple of hours, wouldn't it be fun? Dancing in the rain, playing in puddles, digging holes - all sorts of fun activities to choose from!
- Can I have some of your lunch? I didn't have much breakfast. Sharing is caring. 
- Did I just see a cat hide under that car over there? Let's check - I think we will all manage to fit in there and have a party. 
- Let's examine this piece of rock thorougly - half an our of sniffing should do the trick. I think I might have found something. I need time. More time. More time - oh look! Another rock! Forget the first one, this is it!
- Let's bring all sorts of sticks home and hide them under the sofa. A tree might magically grow. An apple tree! Apples are tasty. What's for dinner?

Dexter is a funny little guy but sometimes he gets a little too excited. We couldn't hide under the car with that one cat. Nor was it such a great idea to play in puddles because - as it turned out - mud is fun only until you try to get it all off. But we're having so much fun together it doesn't matter that things sometimes end up with boring baths or light bruises or scratches or - like that one time - with a black eye.
We're adventurers.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

World II Illustration

I leave my house to go to an adventure by boat. I put on a raincoat, because it's a grey chilly Sunday around here, and play a nice tune on repeat.
What is your Sunday like?