Tuesday Tune

For this week’s Tuesday tune/lady who plays guitar I have chosen Donna Matthews the lead guitarist from Elastica.

Donna & Justine

Now I was a teenager in the mid 90’s and I was around age 14-15 and heavily into Britpop when Elastica came on to the scene. I played their album to death. Picture me teenybopper Helen shut in her bedroom doing her art homework with Elastica’s album playing on repeat in my CD player. Daydreaming about being allowed to travel up to London to go to gigs on my own, and to look old enough to be served in the pub or The Good Mixer where I read that my idols drank in the Melody Maker, NME and Select magazine. I wanted to leave my school where all my friends liked music like this, and be able to drink pints down the pub with indie pretty boys who looked like Justin (Elastica’s drummer), and talk about important stuff like good music all day.

Soon enough I grew up to become the pisshead I daydreamed about! Sadly the boys down the pub were not that pretty! Good times! But my party days are behind me now. These days I prefer a cup of tea to a pint.

Here are a couple of videos from Elastica who’s music I think has stood the test of time.

A Sneek Peek

I have not really got the hang of blogging about the fixing up of our house it seems. I have not yet posted any pictures, or any posts at all about the progress that we have made so far!

In creating Using My Loaf I am starting to really enjoy the creative writing side of things. I have not put pen to paper (figuratively speaking) since I left school many moons ago to work in various retail roles for my career so far (ha if you can call it that!) I got two B grade GCSE’s for English by the way, although you would not know it from reading this blog! Plus I guess I just like the sound of my own (blogging) voice!

Taken by Rob on his iPhone

Here is a glimpse of our kitchen in the middle of the “during” phase in fitting our new kitchen. This small snap does not show the frightening amount of work that the kitchen still needs, nor does it show how long it is going to take!

What I can tell you is that after ripping off all the old yucky floor to ceiling tiles, poor Rob has spent two whole weekends scraping the walls to prepare them for plastering. He has also ripped up four old layers of lino and floor tiles, and now our house stinks to high heaven as there was stale water between one of the layers! We have two full giant hippo bags on our driveway with more rubbish yet to get rid of. And my dining room, spare bedroom and hallway are now filled with the various contents of my kitchen and will be for sometime yet! Plus all of the house from top to bottom is covered in a thick layer of dust which as much as you try to clean up and polish away will always return a day later.

Phew! It feels good to share!

Not Practical

From firebox.com

But I still want one just for the novelty factor! I pinned this VW campervan tent a while back. You can follow me on Pinterest If you want to blog readers (Mum – dont worry about what pinterest is – you would’nt be interested in it!)

This tent could be handy at a festival for those times when you are lost and stumbling around after a few pear ciders, and trying to spot your own tent amongst all the other clone tents bought from Argos. For those moments when you wish that you had packed a flag and a flagpole instead of so much beer! Or is that just me?

Campervan Bottom Drawer

I have briefly mentioned on here that Rob and I own a VW campervan. We are the proud owners of a 1984 type 25 van, which are unfortunately not as “cool” or as “glamping”-like as the more sought after 1970’s bay window or 1960’s split screen vans, not that we care! We are still undecided on the name for him (yes the van is a he because it is dirty, greasy and very rough around the edges!) The undetermined name is currently between Steve and Eddie at the moment! I promise at some point to introduce our van in a future blog post.

I was browsing in a charity shop the other day when these four Pyrex stacking mugs caught my eye. I bought them to put in my campervan bottom drawer as they will fit in perfectly with our future orange colour scheme when we have finished renovating the van. Plus I love me some vintage Pyrex!

Bought for £2

It was snowy outside!

This is a glimpse into our dining room!

the leaning tower of Pyrex!

Photography and Me

Isn’t it sad that Kodak have registered for bankruptcy recently? It got me thinking about what photography means to me. I cannot pretend I am a good photographer by any means – hey just look at the pictures on my blog for evidence! But I have always loved taking pictures and do appreciate other people’s artistry in the field.


from sebseballade's Flickr stream

When I was nine I received my very first camera for my birthday. It was a bright yellow rectangle 80’s point and shoot which took 110 cartridge film. How I loved that camera, I received it just before my family went on our first ever holiday abroad to Menorca. I took pictures of a sunset, some piglets that we saw while on a bike ride and the usual family line up posed snaps. I cannot remember the make of the camera but it looked very similar to this one from the same period by Kodak. I remember it did not have a built in flash, instead I had this clear plastic rectangle of 10 odd bulbs which I attached to the top of the camera when needed and blew a bulb each time I took a snap. How I wish I still had that camera to display in my black, white and yellow dining room!

At college I took photography as an A Level. I learnt about the history of the medium, I used a SLR camera for the first time and I developed my own film and photos in a darkroom. This was in the late 90’s just before the digital revolution took off. I loved it!

When I finished college I did not go on to further education, so the camera got tucked away in my wardrobe (I still have it!) and life generally got in the way of me pursuing my interest any further. Although at one point I did have a job in an in-store Kodak franchise photo development lab for Superdrug for a short while.

For the following 5 years or so I am ashamed to admit that when ever I had a holiday or a festival coming up, I would buy a disposable film camera for these events. Eventually I got a cheap point and shoot 8MG Olympus digital camera which I used for another 5 years or so.

I have been wanting to get back into photography for a while, so for my last birthday Rob bought me a Fuji Finepix bridge camera as my old point and shoot digital camera needed upgrading and this camera is half way between a compact camera and a digital SLR. In that it has the same functions as a SLR but you cannot change the lens on it, so it is a good starting point.

I am ashamed to say that since May last year I have been taking pictures with it on auto mode and I still have not read the manual! But 2012 is the year that I want to challenge myself. So I will get around to reading the instructions, and maybe I will dust off my old A Level textbook or do some googling and refresh myself on ISO’s and F-stops etc. This blog is forcing me to take the time and think more about each shot before I take it, plus I have started a photo project on my baby nephew. I want to learn edit in photoshop in time too, but with my IT skills I am not going to run before I can walk!

Food photography is really hard BTW. I have a new respect for it, as it is very hard to make some foods look pretty, plus you want to eat it up before it gets cold! I will try to get better, I promise!

80's alert!

Tuesday Tune

I must admit that I have done some googling on female guitarists for this feature. In my research I came across a few lists for *humph* the top “hottest female guitar players” etc – which I think I says it all really.

I looked at the Rolling Stone magazine’s 100 greatest guitarists of all time lists. Which as far as I could see it had one – count ’em only one lady in them – Joni Mitchell!

Thankfully I have discovered a few cool ladies to blog about, and for my second post I chose this lady. Now I am no expert on technical abilities (I can ask my guitar playing other half Rob about that stuff). But I was quiet impressed with this lady.

China in your hand?

Now I have never heard of her band, and all I know about her is pulled from Wikipedia! But despite the dodgy hair metal clothes and her huge ginger barnett I think she rocks! I have a soft spot for noisy two piece garage type bands i.e White stripes & Black keys, and white mystery seem of a similar vein. Enjoy some girl-guitar readers!


Pizza Fail!

Oh dear it all went so wrong. What a disaster! The dough stuck to the worktop and fell to pieces when I tried to put it on my new-ish bargain Gino D’acampo pizza stone.

It does’nt look too bad at first glance admittedly, but when you look closely you can see the uneven rising of the dough and all the sausage pieces in one area.

Let’s not talk about this ever again please.

What a mistaka to maka!

Cupcake Decorating Part 2

Well following last weeks *ahem* interesting leopard print cupcake, this weeks lesson focused on the more traditional buttercream piped decorated cupcake.

We were shown how to make a buttercream with a recipe using no butter (so that it will not melt and lose shape etc in the warmer months) and made some pretty sugar paste decorations with cutters and moulds as finishing touches.

Here are my cakes!

Four ways to ice cupcakes using 2 different sized star shaped nozzels

And from above

Tuesday Tune

For Xmas just gone Rob’s youngest niece asked for a guitar as her main present, from her parents I must add, not us – phew! So to see if she would actually use it, at his sister’s request Rob took around his acoustic for her to try out early last December.

She enjoyed having a little strum and Rob taught her a few cords. While she was practicing I joked “You could be the next Hendrix, Slash, Clapton, Page…..err hang on a minute they are all blokes!”

It made me think, when you think of the guitar legends they all tend to be male. So Rob and I tried to name some female guitar players, and granted there are plenty out there.  But all of the ladies we could think of, they played in bands that only Rob and I had heard of!

For the next few Tuesday’s Tunes I am going to post video’s of ladies who rock. I want Rob’s nine year old niece to know that girls can do just the same as boys if they want to, if not better! And that you don’t always have to follow the crowd. And that if she wants to be in the music industry, she does not have to get nearly naked or do whatever some male music producer/video director tells her to do to be successful. She can do it on her terms.

For my first lady who rocks I have chosen Kim Deal. I know she is more famous for playing bass in the Pixies but this guitar rift is so catchy. We have been lucky to see The Breeders live three times over the years at various musical festivals and she kicks ass! Enjoy!