Tuesday, 24 June 2014

BREAKFAST AT A BOOK SHOP


This is no ordinary book shop and they don't sell fancy books, magazines, or coffees. No delicious looking muffins or biscuits in fact almost every time I visit I am welcomed by peace and solitude and a place to sit and ponder. Though today there was a very friendly chap whistling a merry tune doing his best to interest me in various folk cd's, did I like folk music, I really ought to give it a try.  Then off he went tending the wonderful flora & fauna and left me to wander.


My favourite book shop is in a church. A church with the most glorious grounds, you can browse the second-hand wares and then stop for a minute or two outside on a bench and take in the the sights and sounds of the countryside around. 


I have been several times lately needing some space to think, still feeling rather lost and spinning round without any idea whats next. Its daunting and it zaps the energy from me...a plan is needed Without it there is pointless wandering about the place doing nothing and achieving nowt. There are deadlines looming and lots to be done but the switch ain't clicking.


There is a worry that it it is the early signs of depression sneaking back but it doesn't feel a dark place just one thats not decided. Oddly physically feeling better than I have in an age, strange times when everything is a bit of a muddle.

So with a breakfast stashed in my bag, a bit of clickerty clack on my favourite bench pondering and knitting. Nothing fancy just a plain and simple dishcloth, a bit of a morning meditation mumbling away to myself & Margaret who is buried next to the bench and has the most fabulous overgrown wild floral grave...


I did have a spark of an idea though, one that could mean an awful lots of work but would fit in with my third book snug as a bug but one that would mean totally rebranding and moving on from everything that has been to a new look return to my roots kind of plan....I am hoping that its the direction I need. 

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

FERMENTING FOR HEALTHY INSIDES


Part of the juicing program we followed involves taking pro-biotics, those millions of hard working good bacteria that sort out your gut and make it a happy place. I have tried various times over the past few years with drinks & pills and they have all ended in disaster and a not very happy tummy.... This could mean that I don't need them but various stomach troubles leads me to thinking that this isn't so, I just need to find the right ones.

I like crunchy, sour & salty...this is what was most apparent after 28 days straight of juicing. I didn't miss sweet things or indeed any of the things I thought I would miss the most but I missed salty in a big way. I have always loved salt not in a sprinkle table salt from a shaker over everything kind of way but on certain foods it is a must...Anyway I'm rambling and maybe a salty post is for another time.

So as with all things the closer to the natural produce for me is best, less tinkering means more goodness and I have decided to take several different routes to a healthy gut...Water Kefir and fermented vegetables for starters.


Our journey has begun with water kefir, I had dabbled with milk kefir sent to me by a most generous soul a few months ago but after giving up dairy i decided to try to convert the grains but this was a big disaster...start again. So I purchased a couple of packets of specific water grains from the Happy Kombucha who specialise in all things fermented and their water grains are on half price at the moment so if you fancy giving it a whirl pop on over to the site.


They arrived super fast with great instructions which involved fermenting the grain over a 24-48hr period in some sugar water laced with ginger & lemon...already sounds yum don't you think. This makes your basic Kefir water which can then be fermented grainless for a few more days depending on your tastebuds. We have been experimenting with various flavours adding it to the basic kefir water after it has been strained and these have included mint, ginger, blackberries and some elderflowers and cherries as an alternative to that most delicious but sugar laden syrup that is usually a summer staple here. It seems to be going down a treat with the big boys guzzling for England and even the most picky of eaters is partaking of a glass with breakfast and as an after school snack (as you can see by her fingernails she had already been out digging around looking for strawberries....its 6.30am!)





Then onto cabbage and the most magical sauerkraut...I have been buying raw unpasturised kraut from my local health store and thought it was high time to give it a go at home. This crunchy delight full of friendly happy shiny bacteria is at the top of my list for daily munching. So armed with my favourite Alys Fowler book Abundance and various how to's from across the t'internet I decided to start small with my UK version of the pickl-it jar, if anyone has a uk source of these or something similar please shout as drilling and faffing with the lids is such a nuisance. The site was also a wonder of info on fermenting so if you have any questions its a good place to start.

So it sits on a shelf waiting for bubbles and the magic to start....and lets hope it doesn't end up on the compost heap...I also started a small jar of red cabbage & ginger...thought it might be a nice combo, we shall see.


So if you fancy having a go yourself below are a few links to get you started, it seems like bread that everyone has there own way so use these few links as a starting place and let your fermenting journey unfold....x

most useful places to visit

Pickl-IT
Sauerkraut in a mason jar
German Sauerkraut in a jar
Nifty plastic mason jar lids.....as given the heads up by Gloria Nicol
Kilner Jars - find your nearest stockist

Sunday, 8 June 2014

NOT A MORSEL HAS PASSED MY LIPS

a good old radish named violet and planted by a wee girl with the same name

for 28 days....no crunching or chewing, no cheesy goodness or my favourite crisps. Not even one cup of tea. Just glasses of various coloured elixir sipped through a brightly coloured straw.

I have been pondering a bit of a detox since I came off the old pills. Feeling that I really wanted to give my mind & body a good old clean up. I have always been a lover of fresh healthy food but would often settle for a take away when tired & grumpy after a taxing day knowing that I couldn't face cooking. I don't even like take away food and knew that it would make me feel more sluggish & slug like but those few minutes of ease whilst munching and knowing that there wasn't going to be a huge kitchen mess made it an easy & lazy decision.


So after being inspired by 'sick, fat and nearly dead' a film by Joe Cross and the new film by Jason Vale 'Superjuice Me' it was decided that we would embark on a 28 day super juice program to give ourselves a right go clean up on the insides.

It wasn't about shedding pounds but losing 22lbs has been a wonderful bonus, it has been about washing away the toxic overload that had built up inside. Rebooting as Joe Cross likes to put it and resetting some of those trod and worn neural pathways in the brain that make us reach for the easy option one too many times.

spirulina....the wonder green
We have been through 3 juicers on this journey and have now settled with a upright masticating juicer...the optimum 400 which is the bestest best we have used. Along with my favourite piece of gadgetry in the kitchen my omiblend interestingly enough both excellent machines, both made in Australia both have hugely over priced fancy alternatives.

So today is day 29 we are carrying on juicing twice a day and will eat one meal, hopefully as raw as possible with some meat or fish....tonight we are having Salmon and I am licking my lips already.

homegrown wheatgrass...

I had hoped to feel elated and over joyed along with a feeling of huge achievement but to be honest I feel crazy lost. Pondering my direction and where I want to go next. I have a few projects to finish off and then who knows. Everything I loved my crafting & stitching and faffing about has become so saturated in everything, everywhere I look its in my face and I almost feel smothered by it. I am surprised by my reaction because I always thought I would be overjoyed by this prospect and can't fathom out why I am not. I hope this will pass but it again urges me onwards to simplify everything and get right back to basics and just tread the path of day to day.

Monday, 19 May 2014

THE TALE OF TURMERIC AND OTHER SUCH THINGS...


Now this is really just a chapter in a much longer story. I have shared some of it with you but most of it isn't really very exciting but as you know if you have read my past ramblings I finally kicked the anti- depressants and waved them cheerio. That was a good few months ago.

Around the same time a most lovely friend of mine who is rather wise in all things good for the soul happened to post a picture on her Facebook page of a cuppa turmeric tea. It was one of those moments where I though mmmm that looks tasty I'm going to try that, little did I know that it would indeed start a cascade of changes that would completely re jig so many parts of my everyday.

You see Facebook and instagram aren't all evil......;)

So I drank a cup of yellow tea, I was hooked
(though a big spoonful of honey or in my case sweet freedom did make a difference) and in my usual way consumed many more cups of delicious tea over the next week or so. One morning I got up and thought to myself hold on my back isn't hurting...why is this so....typed away of the tin'ternet and found the amazing info that is out there regarding turmeric. So I went out and purchased it in tablet form as there was far too much almond & coconut milk being consumed...in fact could of probably kept a small army in drinks for a year to two.

So tablets morning and night...no back pain. This is fab I thought but that little cynical parrot muttered in my ear and so I stopped the turmeric to see if it was making a difference or my back had repaired itself. Ten days later my back began to ache and so straight back on the turmeric and within a week or so back to pain free...phew. I am a convert to the yellow powdery stuff and indeed it will be something I take for life.

The next chapter takes a bit of a twist....with lots of fruit and vegetables, a rather loud machine and a good old clear out...that indeed is a tale for another day.


Friday, 16 May 2014

RIGHT THEN....TED & AGNES IS GOING LIVE


Website is up and the shop has opened its doors. I have decided to do things a little be differently this time so that I don't get in a muddle with lists and chance upsetting folks with taking an age to make their order because its way down on the list.

For the moment there are only coats in the shop as I am planning a fab sale of my other wears at a most lovely location so that people can come try things on, have a ponder, sip tea, nibble some cake and enjoy the day but more of that to come.

So there will be no  custom orders (sorry) what goes live will be all I have until it is sold out...so first come first served my lovelies and don't delay as the coats have already sold before I had even announced it open....

STICKING TOGETHER....

Today I recieved the most heart warming email of an honest tale of a business on the edge. I subscribed to Pretty Nostalgic for a while but let it lapse and continued to buy copies as and when I saw them. This morning I have resubscribed and I hope that in the name of all thing crafty and handmade you do too. This is a magazine that has been flying in the face of the commercial big guns and as a small time maker myself I feel quite passionate at giving them a break to continue this great publication.

I have posted below the email received from Nicole this morning in a hope that it will inspire you to support a company with this much passion and will to survive in a market which is quite frankly being snatched from under us because it has become a trend.




Dear Pretty Nostalgic subscriber, supporter and friend

I have just heard that the vital investment I was hoping upon hope would come through today to ensure the safe future of Pretty Nostalgic isn’t going to come through after all and it has come as a huge and unexpected blow. We are now in a difficult position and I am going to be totally open and honest with you because you are our reason for being and I don’t want to handle this like a big corporate business. I know this is going to be seen as totally unprofessional and I could be destroying any future by opening up to you but I am still a museum curator at heart you just wanted to make a difference and so I am explaining the whole situation here and sharing everything with you – sorry it is quite a story but I hope it will make you understand our situation

Back in May 2012 I launched Pretty Nostalgic with my then business partner and many of you have been with us since our first issue. My reason for starting the magazine was to provide a quality alternative to other homes and lifestyle magazines, which I felt were lacking in content and too full of the wrong type of advertising. I wanted to promote brilliantly British things and those businesses that deserved it rather than those who could pay for lots of advertising and share my love for vintage and nostalgia. Pretty Nostalgic gathered some lovely subscribers before launching and when we found out we had been accepted to sell in WHSmith from issue 1 we were over the moon. However, the high spec design and quality of the magazine meant that even with a RRP of £8 we were going to make a loss until our actual sales per issue reached over 5000, at the time we had another business which was going to provide the short fall until we were established. However, after 3 issues, my business partner decided she couldn’t afford to wait for the magazine to turn a profit and wanted to pull out, so we split businesses and I continued with Pretty Nostalgic. I totally believe in Pretty Nostalgic and everything we stand for and have never taken a penny in earnings over the past 2 years and have invested many many thousands of my own family’s money to make this work. We chose to publish a beautifully designed and illustrated magazine printed sustainably on quality paper with the appearance of a book rather than a magazine and at the moment each issue costs us £2 just to print. We then have to design, post and cover all the other overheads of running a business and so it really does upset us when people say that Pretty Nostalgic is too expensive compared to other magazines, because if they realised how much more time and effort goes into the design and production compared to other publications they would understand.

We had to increase our print run to over 7500 to supply WHSmith and Barnes and Noble in America with the copies they wanted – in return we got only 40% of the sales price for just those they sold and then we had to wait 90 days for payment. Needless to say the staff in the stores didn’t care whether we sold or not and took little care of our magazines. We had many readers buy us on the newsstand and then join us as subscribers, but we were never sure whether Pretty Nostalgic was reaching the shelves and had many complaints from readers that they were unable to purchase them. By issue 9 we had spent thousands on printing magazines and made very little money in return so we decided that selling through big stores wasn’t right and that we should stick to selling only in independents and following through with our ethos. We have been trying to build up our stockists, but haven’t managed to get back to the level we need in time to help us.

From the beginning Pretty Nostalgic decided to only promote British made goods and forming a close relationship with our advertisers was very important. However, so many small indie businesses and makers have no advertising budget and rely on free editorial and publicity from magazines that it soon became clear that we had to work in a different way. From issue 4 we stopped advertising and instead focused on business membership and promoting our British directory online and through the magazine. We offer great value for money and we promote businesses through the magazine and online for a whole year for between £100 and £600 and we send them copies of the magazine to sell and promote them on social media and invite them to work with us on features. The hope was that this would build a strong community of like minded businesses and that we could work together and we have been joined by some very lovely ones and have really enjoyed working with them. However, although so many businesses continue to contact us desperate for us to feature them in the magazine, the vast majority have never bought a copy of the magazine or even intend to. We made the decision give our priority to those businesses and readers who are loyal supporters and that’s how we produce the magazine now.

I have to put my hands up and admit that I was wrong – I thought people would see that we were different to other magazines, pay a fair price for us and work with us, and while I have been overwhelmed by the support and positive feedback and co-operation of many of our readers I have found that the vast majority just want to take and see what they can get for nothing and treat us the same way as the big corporate magazines, which of course have vast fortunes to back them up.

Our subscribers have been wonderful and we get so many lovely emails and letters saying beautiful things and I know that many of you love and appreciate what we do but there are just not enough of you to make it work - I am not expecting us to get the hundreds of thousands of subscribers that other magazines get, (Country Living has a circulation of 170,000!) but we do need at least 5000 to be viable and I truly thought we would find 5000 like minded people out there, but the publishing business is hard and you have to behave in a cut throat way to survive and thats not me.

I am now at a point where I don’t know what to do – Our next issue 13, our 2nd anniversary issue is designed and ready to go to print, but we don’t have the funds to print it. We have been given some amazing opportunities over the next few months to promote the magazine and increase sales, and many great organisations such as The Goodwood Revival, The Royal International Air Tattoo and the Dig for Victory Show want to work with us and promote us even though we can give them very little in return. We are on the turning point of achieving great things, but the money has just run out. Most magazines launch with a budget of millions, I launched one of the best quality magazine out there on the smallest shoes string budget and just hoped I could make it take off enough to break even before my money ran out. I am obviously more of a dreamer than a businesswoman and I just couldn’t make it. I never wanted charity, but for people to pay a fair price for a lovely product and this is all we have ever tried to help other artisan makers to do.

We were so close to succeeding – if 100 lapsed subscribers renewed today or we got just 150 more subscribers per issue we would be saved, but I didn’t want to lock people into direct debit subscriptions, and people are so busy and have so many outgoings that they are putting other things before us and I really do understand that.

For the last week I have been in negotiations with angel investors – I thought they could see the value of what we were doing and what we could achieve – I wanted to create a brand which promotes artisan makers, indie businesses and supported independent shops and publish a publication with 100% original and wonderful content – they however, just focus on the money and tried to make us something we don’t want to be and just like all the rest – they didn’t share my vision and perhaps nobody does

I am so sorry for the vast babbling explanation and thank you for reading it – I really needed to explain things from my perspective. I really want to thank my wonderful art editor Rae Edwards who has stuck with me and I am sure you will all agree that she is a total design genius and produces a beautiful magazine

I am endeavouring to do all that I can to find the £5000 I need to get the next issue to print and ensure that you get that and any others you are due and I will do all I possibly can to ensure that nobody looses money because of my ambitious leap of faith. Issue 13 will be late but it will arrive and then I will do my utmost to make sure we continue but please be bear with me I don't want this to be the end of Pretty Nostalgic but it is very much out of my hands now.

As a subscriber you are the first to know and I will wait to see what you think before telling the world - what should I do? is Pretty Nostalgic worth fighting for?
I would really appreciate your thoughts, feed back, advise, criticisms, solutions, help, rants, anything really and I will keep you up to date with how things are coming along.

With very best wishes

Nicole x

Nicole Burnett
Founder, Publisher and Editor
Pretty Nostalgic

Friday, 28 March 2014

A SPRING IN YOUR STEP

Crocus are blooming and the little yellow trumpets are waving their heads about calling out that spring its on its way. There I am the same every year eager to welcome back the light and cast off the shackles of layers, stop lighting fires and switch off the radiators only to suffer for most of March as it turns nippy again, everyone is freezing and I'm cold to my bones....never will I learn!


Recently I revisited an old morning ritual of lemon in hot water, it somehow got lost over the childhood years and was replaced with some rather strong coffee...two cups at least to give me strength to cope with early morning feeds, breakfast and general chaos.

There is a lot to be said for the humble slice of lemon in hot water to start your day but this time I have super charged it to hopefully give me a bit of a zing and a boost to my immune system.

A blend of lemons, limes, ginger, a clove or two of garlic and a red pepper taken in hot water every morning certainly has been an acquired taste but I am actually starting to enjoy it ( tho truth be told the last couple of mouthfuls have to be glugged down pretty quickly) and who knows whether it is doing any good or not but I do feel a little sparkier most mornings which feels like a return to my former self.

I was always up with the lark, an early riser enjoying the quiet time of the day before the world stirred but the last couple of years have seen a shift in my patterns and late night crappy film watching & struggling to get out of bed have become more the norm. I don't like it and I need to swap things around.



So if you fancy pulling a bit of a face in the morning but want to clear your head here's what you need.

2 lemons - skin removed
2 limes - skin removed
2 cloves garlic
a red chilli pepper
1 cup of spring water

stick them all into a blend and blitz away.
leave your concoction over night and then strain into a bottle the next morning
add about 1-2tbsp to a cup of hot water and swig away.

If you want to make it a much more palatable drink add something sweet, honey, sweet freedom or maybe a spoonful of maple syrup.

Happy Mornings to you all xx