Thursday, 31 March 2011

For the sake of our planet


Recycle and actually, just cut down on your waste. (Please don't be put off by this eco-warrior style title, and carry on reading!)

I happened to spend all day yesterday at a landfill site in Essex. An active landfill site. Now don't get me wrong, this isn't the aspect of my job I love the most, but it was an eye opener. I'm sure, like me, you've all seen footage of huge landfill sites in developing countries such as India, where people live off the landfill, collecting rubbish to sell on. And you think this only happens in those types of countries. Well think again, what I saw looked very similar to this (apart from people scavenging of course).

Maybe some of you have seen the kids movie Wall-E? All I can say is this: yesterday, I felt like I'd jumped into that movie. Huge mounds, mountains of rubbish everywhere, the wind picking up plastic bags before lorries had time to cover the waste with the daily cover of clay.

What shocked me the most? That the most common item of household waste that I could recognise apart from supermarket plastic bags was the plastic bags loaves of supermarket bread are sold in. Suddenly I felt like there is a whole new reason to making my own bread. It's not all about saving money, the truth is it's pretty clear that shop bought supermarket bread would cost me less than home-made bread, seeing as I try and pick nice (and occasionally organic) local flour. And it's not about knowing exactly what I put in my mouth. It's about not making the planet pay for me by throwing away plastic bags after each loaf.

I found this really disturbing. What are we doing?! Surely being self-sufficient shouldn't just be some hippy idealistic version of the world, this should be what we all aim for. Trust me, every time I went to the bin this morning and threw something in, I felt a little bit sick inside. Pure guilt basically. Because when I saw things that I consume and that I don't actually need (salt and vinegar McCoys for example), I felt guilty. Guilty that a little pleasure such as eating crisps ends up like this. Is it worth it? Definitely not.

So there. I think all school children should have trips to local landfill sites to make them realise that we recycle for a reason. If you can, I encourage you to make you own bread when you can (bread maker I love you!). Recycling helps to preserve this planet, and I mean this in the least eco-warrior way. Surely there shouldn't even be a label for people who care, it should just be normal.


Now, onto something a little more light hearted. I'd like to say a big thank you to you my lovely lovely readers. After a dip, I now seem back on track and more "on it" blog-wise. I've had the nicest comments lately, so a special thank you to Deb from Dedanotions and Katy (who doesn't have a blog and commented about 10 days ago- hope the quilting is going well by the way!) . Deb, thanks very much for your offer to send me lip balms, I am so touched but can only turn down your offer, it's so kind of you, but to be honest, your comment is plenty reward for me, so thank you! Thanks for all your encouragements and congratulations to me busting my gross little habit, I hope to give an update on it at the end of the year, hopefully it'll be a positive one!

And Mooncalf, no I didn't write numbers anywhere (of the threads I wound up around little cardboard things, in case you're wondering what I'm going on about) because I'm not that fussed about that to be honest, I don't think I'll be buying more of that thread and I don't follow patterns to the letter, I just use what I have! I guess that just shows the limits of my organisational skills ;-)

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

New year's resolutions

Eurgh, do you know it's nearly April Petit Filoux?!!!

Well yes readers, I'm not going completely bonkers!!!! Today, I want to tell you about a little resolution I kept to myself. One, because it really won't interest anyone, and two, because it's a gross habit anyway. (So yes, please don't feel you have to read on!)

Basically, you know how some people bite their nails when they're nervous/ stressed/ bored? I don't do that, but until 31/12/10, I did have a rather unappealing similar habit of my own: I bit my lips. And I didn't just bite them with my teeth, I'd pick at them with my nails too. Gross, I know. Now, I can't explain where this even came from, I certainly don't remember doing it a primary school. But my mum assures me I did in secondary school. My memory's not that great, so that'll have to remain a mystery.

Basically, as you can imagine, it didn't use to leave my lips in tip top condition. More often than not, I'd make myself bleed, or even worse, would bring on a cold sore or two. It wasn't pretty and I knew it, but I just couldn't help it. It felt good. Really satisfactory.

But there had to be an end to that. I didn't want to turn 30 and have to carry on hiding my sore lips in photos. No no no. I must be grown up and give up this silly unsightly habit.

And so I did. On the 1st of January 2011. I didn't mention it to you because, well I know it's rather disgusting, and more importantly I wasn't sure I was going to succeed. I'd given up temporarily before when I'd been in places where I couldn't wash my hands often - see, I'm clean, I only used to pick with clean nails ;-) Going to Cambodia for example helped a lot. But I was determined to see this one through regardless.

As a reward, every time I pass a month, I allow myself to buy a new lip gloss/ balm/ lipstick. I live on lip balm anyway, I'm sure if you did an analysis of the chemicals in my stomach at any one time, there'd be a ridiculous amount of Carmex and/ or Body Shop hemp lip protector. Not something I like to stop and think about if I'm completely honest.

But anyway, in a couple of days it will be April and I'm still doing ok. No way has this been easy. I still touch my lips on a regular basis, just to pretend I'm picking at them I guess. I still need that contact. And when the weather's really rubbish and they turn into cardboard, it makes it particularly hard. Little dry bits of skin scream at me PICK ME PICK ME PICK ME!!! But I'm fighting it. I suspect this isn't a habit which is going to go away easily. But goodness it feels good to know I'm trying to beat it. And it's worth it every time I go to the toilet and look at myself in the mirror, and there's a lovely pair of lips smiling back at me (well not really, I don't just check myself out and smile obviously, they're just smiling on the inside).

If there's anyone out there from a make up company who'd like to send me lip products, go for it :-)

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Neat threads - done!

You may remember I'd started on a thread organisation project last week. Well, I couldn't stand seeing those bunches of thread lying around on the ironing board, I just had to get it done as soon as possible. That did mean my left hand temporarily turned into a claw and my feet/ knees got a new found use (to hold the thread while I wrapped it around my cardboard holders!).

So anyway, I can't say it was a pleasurable experience, but knowing what the outcome would be filled me with determination to get the job done. Slightly boring you know.... all this thread, round and round in circles...

But I finished it on Saturday! I sorted them out by colour, and tried to arrange the threads in the most pleasing visual way. I also found this little wooden box - I knew it would come in handy one day!! Perfect size! (and perfect as it doesn't leave any more space for any new thread - the bank'll be happy!)

Eurgh, who said you could look at it from the wrong side?? Back of cardboard only please!!

That's better ;-)

So there it is, in all its glory. Ready to be used at any moments notice. Oh yeah.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Pet Peeves

Hello everyone! How are you? Hope you had a nice weekend, a little more calm than mine! It was a little up and down to tell the truth, and topped up by a minor car accident yesterday afternoon (some prat reversed into us and he wasn’t even apologetic in the least), which meant our planned evening of curry followed by the theatre was somewhat jeopardised and we only had time for some poppadoms before the show…! Anyway, I was thinking about doing a post about little things that bug me last Friday, but then work got in the way – honestly, they think it’s ok to give me all this work with deadlines and everything – do they not understand the necessities of running a blog?!

So there, I’m up to it today. A list of things that I find irritating, mildly amusing, or that simply piss me off. Please add your own in the comments section!

  • Women (it’s only ever women sadly) who fail to remove shop price labels from underneath their shoes – it looks so tacky – I mean what, did you run out the shop wearing them and never had time to peal them off?! Bad bad bad fashion.
  • People who play music etc so loud through their earphones that you can hear Every. Single. Word. of what they’re listening to. Some idiot does that in the morning on a certain train I occasionally manage to catch and he loves listening to the news. Most irritating.
  • Trains that leave early. Yes yes, you read right, it happens!!! I think that might even be worse than arriving late. I mean how does that even happen? There’s a timetable in place, how about trying to stick to it?!
  • Ladies who don't turn the taps off completely in my office toilets and leave the taps dripping - I'm considering putting a sign up saying "close the frigging taps properly you wasteful beanheads!" - not sure it's appropriate for the workplace though, shame!
  • Nail polish that looks nice in the bottle but crap on your nails. Such a disappointment.
  • Women (now I’m not on one against women I promise!) with a dog/ a pram/ you name it, and think it is their absolute right to take over the whole pavement and don’t even say thank you when you walk out into the road to let them pass.
  • In the same way, people who don’t say thank you when you keep a door open for them. I must admit, I then usually say something like “You’re welcome!” quite loud to make them feel guilty/ snap them back into polite society – honestly.
  • Now maybe I’m showing my age, but teenagers who play music OUT LOUD from their phones I find extremely annoying. On train platforms, in the street… Ever heard of ear phones?! Perhaps ear phones have been declared one of the most un-cool things on the planet, I’m just not up to date.
  • Those text messages I get once in a while telling me I’m entitled to all this money for an accident I had recently. Hmmmm how do these crooks even get hold of my number?!
  • French websites – now, this is one thing that is definitely wrong with my home country. How about they try catching up with the rest of us and having decent websites, instead of really backward one which have photos overlapping with text, tiny little photos that don’t show anything, English translation buttons that inevitably take you back to a page all in French…
  • Bigger bags of food in the supermarket which actually turn out more expensive per weight than smaller bags – where’s the sense in that?!
  • Booking and admin fees - why don't they just include it in the ticket price then no one would feel cheated for having to pay extra to pay with a certain type of card or basically, to pay for what, stationnary?!
Right, I think that will do for today! I might add some more in the comments section if I think of anything else!!

Thursday, 24 March 2011


Good morning!

Well, here we are, it's Thursday, and the weekend is not far ahead. Plans to be made, restaurants to be picked (oh yes yes yes!), and hopefully some not too shabby weather to be enjoyed. Obviously, some serious crafting will have to be undertaken too, and in the meantime, I'm doing my best to crack on with things. Ali guessed right, I am indeed working on the herringbone cowl! I discovered a mistake the night before last and spent a good half hour trying to figure out how to fix it last night... My planned early night turned into a little bit of a headache! Nothing more difficult than taking back stitches on circular needles on a stitch pattern you're not really too familiar with... Hopefully I've cracked it but I'm not holding my breath.

The thread organisation is plodding along too, which is rather nice. One thing I haven't had time to touch since the weekend (and my crafting marathon) was this little beauty:

A round crochet cushion cover! In the colours of the Arc-en-ciel ripple of course, as I've still got some (ok plenty) yarn leftover, and I thought it would be nice to be able to get a coordinated cushion out on picnics. How retro chic would that be hey?! But anyway, after several problems with rounds curling/ waving, I think I've managed to get it nice and flat now. All I need to do is buy a cushion insert to work out how much bigger I need to make this crochet lovely!

So there, a nice healthy mix of crochet and knitting going on over at Petit Filoux. And I can tell you, I can't wait to get those projects out of the way (to be enjoyed of course) because the list of future projects is fast growing...! Happy Thursday all xx

Wednesday, 23 March 2011


That's what it's all about. I love being tidy, and even though I often get accused of being the one who makes the most mess in the flat (it's all for the love of crafting though), I feel that I'm quite tidy and organised compared to other people. Boyfriend's mum always marvels at the state of our cupboards, as in you can actually open them without anything falling on your head as you do so. And everything is neatly piled up inside. Oh how I like that word: neat. It's quite neat itself don't you think?

Anyway, what I was about to talk about today was organisation. Organisation of crafting supplies to be more precise. A while back, I purchased a load of embroidery thread, and it came in this ugly little box. I didn't find it user-friendly, it got messy as soon as you used some thread, and there's nothing that I find less conducive to creativity and crafty happiness than crafting supplies in a mess. You just don't want to touch them you know?

But recently, with embroidery getting a revival in several of your blogs (Mooncalf I'm looking at you here!), I have been itching to do some myself. But that just couldn't happen until the thread got a touch of the organisation magic wand. So I started by sorting it all out colour-wise, and then I got my trusty cereal cardboard boxes out and cut out H shapes. Lots of them. And I started wrapping up the thread around said Hs. Not a quick easy job I can tell you that. The spools of thread look rather tidy but there are quite a few knots in there. But I'm getting there, I'm thinking doing two or three a night would be a good rhythm. I can't wait to see it all finished, in a neat little box of some sort!!!

Neat = Petit Filoux happiness. Fact of life.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Charity love

I find that in my neck of the woods, charity shops aren't that great. When I hear of what people find in theirs, I get a little bit jealous because mine tend to be filled with real worthless junk. And I won't even start on the ones near work, who just because they're in central London, feel they can seriously bump up their prices. Isn't the point of a charity shop that you can buy cheap stuff in it? £100 items have no place in there.

Anyway, there is one that has a special place in my heart. This particular one seems to get all the good stuff. A while back, I got a cool looking glass bottle and a porcelain thing that I use to hold my hair dryer, straighteners etc. I like to pop in every weekend if I have time, leaving Boyfriend on the door step as he's not one to enjoy stuffy little busy shops.

But last Saturday morning, we were out bright and early and I dragged him in. After this minor achievement, a miracle happened. We both spotted something that most definitely had our name written all over it. Want to see?

Three little red Le Creuset heart-shaped ramekins. I drool over anything by that brand at the best of times, but never allow myself to spend my hard-earned cash on it, it's just too expensive. But there they were, these little beauties, at 75p each. And guess what happened? They actually launched themselves onto the till, magically wrapped up in newspaper, paid for themselves of course, ran home, threw themselves in the sink to get a good clean, and then, they arranged themselves very neatly in the sunniest spot in the living room for me to take a photo. Honestly, you just wouldn't believe it would you?!

Another great charity shop find! Hooray!!

Monday, 21 March 2011


That is how I would describe my weekend. Utter pleasure. Fantastic weather. Pure crafting marathon.

I loved every minute of it.

Sitting on a hill near home yesterday afternoon, cup of chai latte in one hand (my new favourite hot drink), knitting in the other, I felt content. Content with my life. That my dears, is a great feeling, one that I'm not accustomed with. But there I was, the sun warming my face and hands, and it all suddenly made sense.

That's why I wake up early and go to work every day. To enjoy sweet moments like this. I tell you, it's all worth it.

I hope you all had as lovely a weekend as I did. Really I do :-)

Friday, 18 March 2011

Arc-en-ciel: the end!

It all started here with photos of the yarn I was planning on using. And then I updated you on the state of Arc-en-ciel a few times I realise: here, here, here, here and here!!

Since then, I've finished it, and it's even got a nice border!! How about that?! Ok, maybe not the best in the world, but I reckon it looks cute and fits in the look of it. Basically colourful, pretty mental, childish perhaps, but definitely there to be used and enjoyed. It's 100% acrylic, so I hope it'll survive all sorts of mischief/ picnics in the parc/ camping in the cold.

It's been a long time coming really, it even came with me to Cambodia. Not that it got even touched at all in between the flight there and the flight back, but I certainly got a few looks at Siem Reap airport! What can I say, it may have been 30degrees + outside, but the air con always makes me feel cold! Perfect conditions for crochet I say!

So there, once again, thank you very much Attic 24 for the pattern for this ripple blanket, it was perfect! And I also adapted Attic's granny blanket edging for my edging too. All in all, a a sucess I reckon! Well, I hope you like it too obviously, but I'm just so pleased with it! I smile everytime I look at it, it's just so cheerful and happy :-)

So, I bet you'd like to see the finished article right?




Ta-dah!!!!! Isn't it cool? So happy and colourful!!!! (Yes slap me if I say those two words once more in this post!!)

And now for the precariously-standing-on-chair photo ;-)

So, for information purposes only, and if you like numbers like I do, enjoy Arc-en-ciel's vital statistics:

Vital statistics

Length: 165cm

Width: 85cm

Weight: 612g

Colours: 13

Stripes: 65

Waves: 10

Ends sewn in: 142

Estimated time: just under 50 hours

Price: practically free! I mostly used up yarn that I had in my stash, only bought a few more extras in France during a holiday last year, about 10euros worth.

Yarn used (number of times used) / origin:

  • red (5) / Yarn Red DK from Wilkinson
  • pink (6) / Yarnfair DK Pink colourway 737 from Wilkinson
  • coral (7) / Yarnfair DKCoral colourway 036 from Wilkinson
  • purple (7) / Bergere de France Bergerama Weigelia colourway 21158 from Toulouse, France
  • mauve (6) / unknown
  • shiny blue (5) / Impact de Phildar Myosotis colourway 026 from my nan
  • deep blue (6) / Yarnfair DK Dark Blue colourway 205/80 from Wilkinson
  • green (6) / Bergere de France Bergerama Majorque colourway 21153 from Toulouse, France
  • yellow (6) / Yarnfair DK Warm Yellow colourway 027 from Wilkinson
  • orange (6) / Bergere de France Bergerama Mineola colourway 21655 from Toulouse, France
  • light green (1) / Yarn Jade DK from Wilkinson
  • dull blue (2) / Bergere de France Bergerama Delft colourway 21566 from Toulouse, France
  • dark green (2) / Robin DK colourway 45 from Wilkinson

Totally love it! Another happy crafty project to make my flat feel more like a home :-)

ps: I'm yet to work out how to sort out my photo problem without actually having to go through all the photos and resize them, or just pay for more space... although at the moment I don't see another possibility.... which is why these photos are tiny - no more massive photos on Petit Filoux I'm afraid (the type that you could click on and would expand to the size of the universe pretty much). I'll let you know if I come up with an easy simple solution of course. Hopefully a quick one too!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Eurgh what now?!!

Right, today was going to be good. It was going to be the Arc-en-ciel super reveal.

But I've got a problem, a technical problem.

Apparently I've reached the limit for photos with Blogger and to add any more I'd have to pay money. Anyone come across this before? Any suggestions?? I definitely don't want to have to pay for this, but the thought of removing old photos or reducing them in size is 1/ a bit crap and 2/ would take a ridiculous amount of time.

Mmmm what to do now?!!! Any suggestions welcome!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Things that make me happy today

Knowing that a little painting from Cambodia has found a temporary home in England (temporary because it's not yet on a wall, but personally I think it rather enjoys leaning on our souvenir champagne bottles)

Remembering a recent meal that had travelled a long long way from Dubai a long long time ago (just under a year pretty much!)

Admiring a recent treat to myself - how many 26 year olds treat themselves with a new set of tea towels I wonder...!

Thinking back to my pancake orgy last week - pancakes with jam for breakfast 4 days in a row - I can't do anymore than that!

Feasting my eyes on all the flowers and blooms that surround us at the moment - if you see a woman with a silly grin on her face, looking up to a tree in bloom, say hello will you ;-)

What's making you happy today?

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

A dollop of sweetness

Good morning!

Well I'm glad that some of you do like the new look of this blog! I must say I'm always intrigued about the rest who never comment or those regular readers who don't visit anymore, but hey, what can you do. To those of you who read my little words each day and comment, thank you :-)

I haven't got the blanket post ready just yet, I've got photos but I haven't sorted out details about the yarn yet, and essential measurements, so it will have to wait a little longer!

Until then, I'd like to keep you content with this, an offering of sweetness, a cute little dollop of happiness. What more could you want on a grey Tuesday morning? (apart from gratuitous photos of flowers that is?!)

I found the recipe for these peanut butter and chocolate bites in Rachel Allen's Food for Living which I picked up from the library at the weekend. These little cookies are so moreish it's ridiculous. And they're just as good cooked straight from the freezer too. Not sure if that's such a good thing after all! Having a ready supply of treats in the house means they never last very long...!

Anyway, if you have the chance to lay your little fingers on a copy of this book, do it, it's very pretty indeed, lots of nice looking recipes, some simple, some more challenging. I'll definitely be trying a few more in the near future.

Monday, 14 March 2011

New look!

Well hello there everyone! Don't worry, you've come to the right place! Guess I just fancied a new look, I got a little tired of my old set up. What do you think of it? I aim to keep it more up to date, more vibrant and change the background photo in line with the seasons or whatever large project I have on the go. I hope you like the changes. Do let me know if there's anything you're not sure about!

In other news, when I wasn't faffing around with Blogger and fighting with html code this weekend, I managed to squeeze in quite a bit. Some tapestry, quite a bit of cooking, and a finished project! Yes you read correctly, a certain little blanket might just be finished... I just need to sort out some photos of it and then I'll organise a big ta-dah moment! Hope you come back and join me for that!

Hope you have a lovely start to the week and that the sun is also shining where you are! x

Friday, 11 March 2011

And it was all yellow

You can't deny it, yellow is a happy colour. Now, you may not like to wear it, but it does bring a whole lot of joy when it graces other objects and items which surround us everyday. Daffodils? Yep, super happy. Butter? Again, you can't get more cheerful than that in the kitchen (ok ok, that's a joke!). Yellow roses? Now, this is truly sunshine in a vase!!!

I enjoyed these roses for a good couple of weeks before they started to look a little worse for wear, and looking at these photos of them fills me with warmth and happiness. How can one not like yellow flowers?!

Of course, it's not all about flowers. Last summer, when we were doing a little road trip in the south west of France, we picked up some wonderful post cards in the Toulouse Lautrec museum in Albi. We knew straight away that we wanted to frame them some way or another, but as life got in the way, nothing happened to this little bundle of cards until one Saturday morning in February. It took us forever to find a disposition we were both happy with. The moment this was done though (after MUCH rearranging, trust me!), we knew we were close to the end. All it took was a little trip to a craft shop to buy a glass frame and a coloured sheet of paper for background. And yes, the colour of that sheet? Yellow. Not just any old yellow though, no, more like sunflower yellow. The yellow that graces field after field during the French summer, a yellow that fills you with warmth and comfort. It all happened so quickly, I don't have any 'in the making' photos. I hope you appreciate the finished article nonetheless.

This now graces the wall above the television, and I love that it's there, looking down on me, showering me with warm glows as I knit and purl and sew in ends. Oh yes, a lot of that going on lately...

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Quilt d'amour

I didn't make it. I'd need some sewing skills for that. And a sewing machine would help too.

No, it's not even hand-made. I don't know where it was made, but I know it's travelled quite a bit already. Not far in the grand scheme of things, but over the English Channel, which is a fair bit already.

I love it though. Not only because it has graced our double bed for the last few months, keeping us warm and cosy. Not only because it's very pretty, full of pretty motifs and embroidery.

No, I love it because my mum bought this for me. And sometimes, shop bought items mean just as much. Not everyone is into this craft malarky. This is pretty, serves a purpose, and is linked to much happiness :-)

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

A little weekend sunshine

We did do more at the weekend than just sit in front of the television (watching The Promise), we did so much more indeed. I guess it was one of those weekends that leaves you feeling happy and exhausted, but rather happy to be going back to work for a little bit of peace and quiet! That kind of weekend. The super productive type.

Sunday saw us going to London to attend a talk at the Jewish Book Week, which was very interesting indeed. It also allowed us to wonder around Regents Street and Soho before most of the shops opened, which was truly lovely.


And a little wonder around Liberty's when it was open a little later, how can anyone resist?

We even managed to get home whilst the sun was still out, which was truly lovely. You know that feeling when you've done loads, but you still manage to get back to your comfy little home before it gets dark? Such a nice feeling, such a lovely weekend.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Pancake day!

We started our celebration of pancake day a little early on Sunday morning. I woke up and had a strong urge for some American-style pancakes. Our Good Food magazine cover for March happened to answer my dream. An easy recipe that used simple ingredients.

I made up the batter and looked around the kitchen for some topping options. No blueberries here at this time of year, so I grabbed a banana, some pecan nuts and some golden syrup (the last two being leftovers from the granola making effort) - the winning trio.

All I did was slice the banana and break up the pecans in smaller bits. I put the pecans to toast in a hot pan, then added half of the banana and finally 2 very generous tablespoons of golden syrup. I let it heat up (not boil), until it became rather runny and lovely.

Ended up piling up the pancakes on each plate, with fresh banana slices in between each, then spooned the hot syrupy mix on top. I can't think of a better way to start the day!!!

I love pancakes with all my heart and one lot is simply not enough. We'll be having some more tonight, of the savoury type however. Stay tuned for more details!