Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Multiple Orange Day

Happy Multiple Orange Day!
This all started with my flatmate, Miss H and her friends when they used to buy big bags of oranges to share between them.  A few key events happened over the orange-sharing and so Multiple Orange day evolved into an actual event.  There is a Multiple Orange Day page, you're welcome to join us. 

The goal of the day is to share citrus fruit with people you love... not exclusive Valentine's Day sort of love, but more extensive, generous, friendly love.  And since oranges have segments they are the perfect sharing type of fruit.  Of course, it doesn't have to be oranges, any citrus fruit will do, so if you're more of a clementine, tangerine, mandarin type of a person that's perfectly fine.  And to be honest, it doesn't have to be today, you can share citrus fruit with your loved ones all year round.  Or even with strangers.  As long as you're spreading the love, it's all good.

oooh, citrusy love

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Maths Vegetables

This last week I've been struck by the lurgy, so I've been trying to get better which involved sleeping lots, drinking lots of throat soothing substances and sniffling.  It did not involve being interesting, hence my shameful lack of correspondence.  To make it up to you, I present one of the most wonderous vegetables ever known to...,well, er, me.  
I was shopping at the little greengrocers in town when I spotted some of these lurking, and thought I had to have one:

natural fractals, yay!

This is a Romanesco. (I had to look this up here because I'm geeky like that). I thought it was a cauliflower, but it turns out it's actually a type of broccoli, according to Wikipedia, and is full of vitamin C, vitamin K, fiber and carotenoids, all of which will be good for my cold.  

The buds naturally form an approximate fractal, the branched meristems make logarithmic spirals. (In case you don't know what a fractal is, learn about them here)  The number of spirals on the head of the romanesco is a Fibonacci number.  (You can watch a lovely video about those here

Possibly the most exciting thing is that you look up close, it looks a little like a martian landscape...

....except that mars doesn't have very much atmosphere, so chances are it's not nearly as exciting as this, but  who knows.  Ah, food and yet also geekiness! Not for nothing am I the child of mathematicians, I tell you.

Now all I have to do is figure out what I'll do with this! Suggestions welcome! Yes, really!

Anyway, hopefully, when I stop sniffling and coughing, I'll get on out there and do interesting things for you to read about. Til then I will take my leave, 
adieu lovely readers, adieu!

Edit: I made the first half lightly steamed with pasta and pesto.  It turns out that they are like cauliflower, but more creamy, and the ends of the spirals have a slight artichokey taste to them.  I think I will be more adventurous with the second half and probably curry it.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

One of those days

Just when I thought everything was going to be a bit difficult, the message on my tea bag was this:

Thanks, Yogi Tea!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Night falls like People in Love

'So you all seem pretty excited, while I'm more sleepy tonight, so this should make an interesting date.' Last night Miss R and I went to the Union Chapel, a beautiful little church in Islington with stain glass windows and wooden pews.  We were there to see the lovely Ani DiFranco, one of my long standing heroines and a significant influence on my teenage years.  

The night started with a really sweet lady called Ruth Theodore who played her guitar barefoot and sang quirky songs that we couldn't hear all the lyrics to.  One of them was about Pluto falling in love with another planet, I think.  She said that it had been quite cold in her dressing room, so she'd been doing star jumps to keep warm and had twisted her ankle a bit.  She stepped on it a bit funny during a song said 'It's pathetic, I have a star jump injury!' She was immensely endearing and I instantly wished that I knew her in real life.

I've seen Ani a few times before and every time feels different.  The venue was very beautiful and intimate and this was the first time without a backing band, so it was just Ani and a guitar.  Or well, actually several guitars cos she uses different ones for different songs.  From the angle we were sat at we could see one of the crew tuning up the guitar for the next song... which all got thrown up in the air when she decided to improvise a couple of songs at the request of the audience.  I could also see the sound guy at the back having a little dance during the songs too, which made me happy.  She started off with one of my favourites, 'Angry Any More' and she followed up with some other classics ('Napoleon','Everest', 'Reckoning','Untouchable Face') and eventually some tracks from her new album, which are distinctly more cheerful than some of her early songs. She talked a little bit about trying not to pass on the insecurities about her face when she had her daughter (she got those from her mum, who didn't like her face either) and the shock of her daughter suddenly coming home all princessy after starting pre-school (someone in audience shouted 'It's a phase!').  She read us a poem she'd written the night before.  She told us about an old cathedral in Buffalo, NY (where she grew up) that her and a friend bought because the authorities were going to tear it down - they had to take down one of the towers at the front and reconstruct it stone by stone because it had started to twist right round.  (It turns out Buffalo is located on layers and layers of sand so the buildings shift over time.)  I love the way that she makes you feel at home, like you've just popped by hers for a cup of tea and she happens to have her guitar out. She finally went off stage to a massive standing ovation.  Then she came back out and did 'Both Hands' which took me right back to being 16 again, then the title track from the new album, (reminiscent of a 1930's political strike song) called 'Which side are you on?', which got everyone singing and clapping, and finally rounding off with 'Shameless' which got people up dancing.

She is still one of the most amazing singers I've come across, especially just up there with only a guitar for company.  She's made so many albums and sung so many songs but even so  I still get excited that she's still making music.  Sometimes it feels like she's singing just for me.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Keeping toned

 I'm swinging by Lush tomorrow to pick up some goodies, but of course I always run out of one thing days before anything else, this time it was toner.  I didn't want to go out and buy a normal one cos my skin would have a riot, so I decided to make my own. 

Rose is generally really good dry skin, it makes the skin much softer and smoother.  Lavender is quite amazing in that it soaks up oil from oily skin, and gives back moisture to dry skin so it's the ideal plant to use in skin care products. Making my own also means that it's got no yucky preservatives, so my skin is happier, and also that I know where all the ingredients are coming from, so no animal testing etc.  I concocted my own mixture based on various recipes on the internet and it went a bit like this:

1 tsp dried or fresh lavender flowers 
2 drops lavender essential oil
Boiling water
Rose water 

Put the lavender in a mug or a tea pot and cover with boiling water, probably about 100 ml would do.  Let it stew for quite a while, until the water is cool.  Strain into a measuring jug and add a couple of drops of lavender oil.  Add as much rose water as you like depending on how dry your skin is.  (I put in equal amounts.) Give it all a while to breathe and then decant into the bottle you'll be using.

You can get lavender from just about anywhere, we have some growing in the front garden, but I also happen to have some dried food grade lavender lying about because I sometimes put it into muffins or biscuits.  Please use food grade if you're going for dried because it's safe to eat which means no nasty pesticides have been used.  Lavender essential oils you can find in any decent pharmacy or health food shop.  I got my rose water in a bottle at the whole food shop because there are no roses this time of year, but you could just as easily make it fresh by following the same steps as you used for the lavender.  Or if you like you can leave it out altogether.  I was catering to a fairly small bottle so I didn't need much of everything, but fiddle about and see what suits the container you're using, the toner does last for quite a long time.  

And there you have it! Home made toner.  Happy happy skin, hooray.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Nearly a Grown Up!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Welcome to the Wonderfully Curious World of Fantastic Mrs. Fox!
I finally decided that I needed a space for my outpouring of randomness, quirkyness and craftyness so here it is. The Blog has begun.

Actually today has been a beautiful day, but also a little bit scary, because.... ta da daaaaa.... I decided to buy a car!  Not a new car obviously, a very very old car, in fact, from a friend of a friend.  It's a 1993 Peugeot, which in car terms is very old, in human terms not so much.  Actually, it probably is, but I remember 1993, so it can't be that long ago.  Really. So the only things standing between me and freeeeeeddddomm is....getting my licence. Only a minor thing then. I already have my theory test and my hazard perception test, so all I need is to pass the practical bit. It is one of my new years resolutions to pass my test at some point soon, and it's coming up, so fingers crossed please (and toes, and other things if you feel the need), I need all the help I can get!
I went to have a look at the car before Christmas with my driving instructor (who is the most patient man in the world) and he showed my lots of interesting things that you should know when buying a car.  Then today Middle B (see her blog here) decided to come with me and test drive it.  We had a wee drive around some back streets and she gallantly declared that she thought I'm a good driver.  I'm not sure this is really honestly true, but thanks very much either way.  The interesting thing about this car is that it has no power steering (so I'll have really strong arms) and the pedals are pretty sensitive (so I stalled a lot, which I hardly ever do) but it's runs well and it's cheap which will do me for a first car.
So hopefully, I'll be zipping about the coast all over the place when I can afford the petrol, hooray!

This is the first step towards becoming a bit responsible!  Only a bit, mind you. You have my word that I will still continue to be incurably silly, I will just do so with the aid of some wheels.
Now all I need to do is pass my test.... yikes! I'll keep you posted.

Happy new year!
Love love x