Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Day 25 - I'd Do Anything (for Christopher)

Day 25 of my ‪#‎MusicalAdventCalendar‬ to raise money for Shelter Cymru.

Day 25 - the final track! Thanks to all who donated to my Musical Advent Calendar for Shelter Cymru, you have helped make a massive difference. This song isn't strictly a Christmas song, but Oliver is always on at Christmastime and I wantred a song for my wonderful fiancé Chris. It's also now Christmas Day, so Nadolig Llawen i chi gyd!

My donation page
What Shelter Cymru does and why they need our help

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Day 24 - Hallelujah chorus

Day 24 of my ‪#‎MusicalAdventCalendar‬ to raise money for Shelter Cymru.

Today is another bonkers 8-bit bit of loveliness was sponsored by equally bonkers and lovely (and all round darling) Julian Rosser. It's Christmas Eve and I'm on £590, let's see if we can get it a bit higher for this amazing charity - the donation page is open for a few more months, so if you're feeling flush after Christmas, please donate then.

My donation page
What Shelter Cymru does and why they need our help

Monday, 23 December 2013

Day 23 - Some children see him (Rainbow version)

Day 23 of my ‪#‎MusicalAdventCalendar‬ to raise money for Shelter Cymru.

Today is a rather special one. I collaborated with my good friend Kitt of Jesus in Love, to make a new inclusive, queer version of this lovely song. Extra special thanks to Kitt, Audrey and Three-Turtle Man for sending me such excellent ideas, music and love all the way from LA. This was probably the hardest of all the tracks to do, but I love how it turned out.

Kitt will also be promoting this on her blog, and she has kindly allowed me to use her text: 

A Rainbow Version of the Christmas carol "Some Children See Him" was released today. It has a new straight/queer stanza added to the standard multiracial lyrics. 

"Some Children See Him" is a delightfully liberating song about how children imagine the baby Jesus looking like them. It has a verse for every race -- so why not a verse for every sexual orientation?

Here are the new lines that I wrote:

Some children see him straight as they Playing like most boys play Some children see him straight as they Straight but not narrow. Some children see him queer or gay Because some kids are born that way Some children see him queer or gay The rainbow child of God.

I even sing on the new track. Our band is called "Kitt and Andy and the Splott Queer Community Singers."

My co-leader Andrew Craig Williams is a queer artist and music maker in Wales. He and many of his queer friends live in an area of Cardiff called Splott.

Andy often provides queer Christian art for the Jesus in Love Blog. When he asked me to suggest songs for his Musical Advent Calendar, I offered to write some queer lines for "Some Children See Him."

He was immediately enthusiastic and started organizing a group to sing it. I thought he would record everyone singing together in Splott, so I was flabbergasted when he asked, "Is there any way you could record you and Audrey singing?"

I live in Los Angeles, home of the recording industry, so it turned out that there was a way -- with the help of a mystery co-producer behind the scenes in true Hollywood tradition. My life partner Audrey and I are raw amateurs when it comes to singing, so it was rather embarrassing when we got the star treatment at the professional recording studio of a friend, who shall be known here only as Three Turtle Man. But somehow it made sense because it was all for the cause of showing God's unconditional love.

The church has often excluded LGBT people from Christmas festivities, so we all made our best efforts in the spirit of Christ who was born in lowly circumstances to embody God's wildly inclusive love for all.

Andy mixed both our voices into the final version along with heavenly synths, piano, strings, and maybe a bell or two. We are a truly international group, with singers from Wales, England and America.

"Our singers hail from American, Welsh, English, Scottish descent," Andy said. "How's that for multicultural!! A wide range of beliefs too; people from Anglican, Catholic, MCC, pagan, and atheist backgrounds. Wowsers!!"

The Musical Advent Calendar is a fundraiser for Shelter Cymru, a charity for the homeless in Wales. Donations can be made at:

If you like our Rainbow Version of "Some Children See Him," please consider making a donation at my GoFundMe page for Jesus in Love, a project supporting LGBT spirituality and the arts.

The original lyrics [link] are great, including these words in the final verse:

The children in each different place will see the baby Jesus' face like theirs, but bright with heavenly grace, and filled with holy light. 


My donation page
What Shelter Cymru does and why they need our help

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Day 22 - Ring Out Solstice Bells

Day 22 of my ‪#‎MusicalAdventCalendar‬ to raise money for Shelter Cymru.

Today is a collaboration with my lush friend Jane Oriel - she normally sings the blues, but she turned into a folk mistress just for me! Thank you sweetheart.

My donation page
What Shelter Cymru does and why they need our help

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Day 21 - Last Xmas

Day 21 of my ‪#‎MusicalAdventCalendar‬ to raise money for Shelter Cymru.

Today is a collaboration with lovely Matt Cook (who did most of the work on this one!)

My donation page
What Shelter Cymru does and why they need our help

Friday, 20 December 2013

Day 20 - Riu Riu chiptune

Day 20 of my ‪#‎MusicalAdventCalendar‬ to raise money for Shelter Cymru.

Today is a mediaeval chiptune.

My donation page
What Shelter Cymru does and why they need our help

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Day 19 - 12 Days of Christmas

Day 18 of my ‪#‎MusicalAdventCalendar‬ to raise money for Shelter Cymru.

Today is super late, busy day in work, then a terrifying drive back to West Wales in torrential rain!

My donation page
What Shelter Cymru does and why they need our help

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Day 18 - Away in a manger

Day 18 of my ‪#‎MusicalAdventCalendar‬ to raise money for Shelter Cymru.

Today is super late, busy day in work, then a terrifying drive back to West Wales in torrential rain!

My donation page
What Shelter Cymru does and why they need our help

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Day 17 - Ave Maria

Day 17 of my ‪#‎MusicalAdventCalendar‬ to raise money for Shelter Cymru.

Today is a whole orchestra (well, all me) doing Ave Maria.

My donation page
What Shelter Cymru does and why they need our help

Monday, 16 December 2013

Day 16 - Oer yw'r gŵr

Day 16 of my ‪#‎MusicalAdventCalendar‬ to raise money for Shelter Cymru.

Today is a really old Welsh folk dance tune, that you might recognise as a carol. Oer yw'r gŵr sy'n methu caru.

My donation page
What Shelter Cymru does and why they need our help

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Day 15 - Sleigh Ride

Day 15 of my ‪#‎MusicalAdventCalendar‬ to raise money for Shelter Cymru.

Why not donate a fiver, then join me for a sleigh ride!

My donation page
What Shelter Cymru does and why they need our help

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Day 14 - Fairytale of Cardiff

Day 14 of my ‪#‎MusicalAdventCalendar‬ to raise money for Shelter Cymru. Today's tune is also to celebrate Andrea's birthday, Happy Birthday Andz! And was also sponsored by loads of people - it's a very famous song, after all.

Cath and I changed the words and Cardiffised it right up!

My donation page
What Shelter Cymru does and why they need our help

Friday, 13 December 2013

Day 13 - Mele Kalikimaka

Day 13 of my ‪#‎MusicalAdventCalendar‬ to raise money for Shelter Cymru. Today's tune is also to celebrate my sister's birthday, Happy Birthday Beverley Williams! And was also sponsored by Becca Bowen, diolch cariad. It was made by my gorgeous friends the Pickle Belly Newts - Matt Cook, Sam Evans, Catherine Kerry, Shauna Guinn, Alex Nute, and wouldn't have been at all possible without the lovely Chris Walker. So after all this hard work, lovely music, silly singing, why not donate a fiver?

Mele Kalikimaka! x

My donation page
What Shelter Cymru does and why they need our help

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Day 12 - Y Darlun

Day 12 of my ‪#‎MusicalAdventCalendar‬ to raise money for Shelter Cymru. Today is a really old Welsh song, I've loved it since I was little. Nowhere near as good as Cerys Matthews' gorgeous version, but there's no doubting my enthusiasm!

My donation page
What Shelter Cymru does and why they need our help

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Fröbelstern wreath

I made a beautiful wreath from Fröbelstern (froebel stars, or German stars). I'm so pleased with how it turned out, I plan to make more as gifts for friends this Christmas. They're not too difficult to make, but they are a bit fiddly! I followed this excellent tutorial.

I wonder if it would work with fabric? Hmm, well I'm super busy this December, so that's something to think of for next year.

Day 11 - Rudy

Day 11 of my ‪#‎MusicalAdventCalendar‬ to raise money for Shelter Cymru. Today is yet another 8-bit electro instrumental, but this one includes live Casio keyboard. Old school!

My donation page
What Shelter Cymru does and why they need our help

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Day 10 - Merry Gents

Day 10 of my ‪#‎MusicalAdventCalendar‬ to raise money for Shelter Cymru. Today is another 8-bit electro instrumental (there may be a few more of them before the 25th, as they are easier to do that organise singing etc. and I've already chucked the song order out the window!)

My donation page
What Shelter Cymru does and why they need our help

Monday, 9 December 2013

Teimlo'n Nadoligaidd

Had a lovely weekend. Spent some time with family, had a few beers, then Chris came down and we watched lots of old films. Finally got round to trimming up, and I'm very happy with how the tree looks.

My queer nativity has a new visitor this year - Father Christmas! I know Father Christmas doesn't normally visit baby Jesus, but it's my nativity so it's totally allowed. Father Christmas visits children who are nice, not naughty - so he's here in my nativity to show that queer kids can be just as nice or naughty as straight ones. I was nice all year, obviously! 

Day 9 - In the bleak midwinter

Day 9 of my ‪#‎MusicalAdventCalendar‬ to raise money for Shelter Cymru. Today is more dodgy singing, but like I said yesterday, it's all for charity!

In the bleak midwinter, specially for my faraway friend Audrey.

My donation page
What Shelter Cymru does and why they need our help

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Day 8 - Un flambeau, Jeanette, Isabelle

Day 8 of my ‪#‎MusicalAdventCalendar‬ to raise money for Shelter Cymru. Today is a beautiful old French carol, I've tried my best, but neither my singing nor French is really good enough - but it's all for charity, so I don't mind if you laugh! I'm having loads of fun while raising money for a brilliant charity!

Don't worry, there's better singing on the way!

My donation page
What Shelter Cymru does and why they need our help

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Day 7 - Dance of the sugar plum faiy

Day 7 of my ‪#‎MusicalAdventCalendar‬ to raise money for Shelter Cymru. A silly 8-bit version of Dance of the sugar plum fairy! 

TV advertising in the UK this year seems to be stealing my ideas!

My donation page
What Shelter Cymru does and why they need our help

Friday, 6 December 2013

Day 6 - Here's Fat Daddy

Day 6 of my ‪#‎MusicalAdventCalendar‬ to raise money for Shelter Cymru. This one was requested by my lovely colleague Gwenllian, and I know her housemate Haf will love it too (they've got good taste in Christmas songs!)

Today I am duetting with Baltimore's finest, Fat Daddy.

My donation page
What Shelter Cymru does and why they need our help

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Day 5 - Let it snow

Day 5 of my ‪#‎MusicalAdventCalendar‬ to raise money for Shelter Cymru. This one was requested by my lovely colleague Tess (though she may regret it once she hears my singing!)

The old crooners had some great Christmas songs!

My donation page
What Shelter Cymru does and why they need our help

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Day 4 - Linus and Lucy

Day 4 of my ‪#‎MusicalAdventCalendar‬ to raise money for Shelter Cymru. This one was a request, but who doesn't love the Peanuts Christmas Special?

I love the 8-bit sound mixed in with the old piano!

My donation page
What Shelter Cymru does and why they need our help

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Day 3 - Stille nacht

Day 3 of my ‪#‎MusicalAdventCalendar‬ to raise money for Shelter Cymru. I wanted to make something slow and experimental, but it had to be a slow and beautiful Christmas song: what better than Stille nacht? The sound is sampled from an old music box, then heavily processed and slowed down. I'm very pleased with it.

You may have noticed by now that I'm not doing conventional Christmas songs, well don't worry - I've got Santa Baby and Last Christmas coming up!

My donation page
What Shelter Cymru does and why they need our help

Monday, 2 December 2013

Day 2 - We Three Queens

Day 2 of my ‪#‎MusicalAdventCalendar‬ to raise money for Shelter Cymru. After yesterday's wistful housey sound, I wanted the complete opposite for today. Imagine a primary school band playing in a Christmas concert (except, yes, it's me playing the melodica, piano, recorder, glock and bodhran)!

Also, it's called We Three Queens, not kings. Drag queens, wise women, witches... they could have been anyone!

My donation page
What Shelter Cymru does and why they need our help

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Day 1 - Videte Miraculum

Day 1 of my ‪#‎MusicalAdventCalendar‬ to raise money for Shelter Cymru. Today's track is a Fflwcs version of a very old Thomas Tallis song called Videte Miraculum, behold the miracle! Vocalisations provided by the lovely Tamsin. Angelic, isn't she?

Please donate, I'm on £355 so far, but I know I can get it to more than that for Shelter Cymru. Thanks everyone, Nadolig Llawen x

My donation page
What Shelter Cymru does and why they need our help

Saturday, 30 November 2013

The shit I have to deal with every day

Julia Gasper is a complete horror, a stain on humanity, the lowest kind of person ever. Read this post. Then read the comment. This is the fucking shit I have to deal with every day. I'm proud of who I am, not because I'm gay, but because of all I've had to put up with all my fucking life for being gay - what my gay brothers and sisters, and ancestors have had to put up with, and the battles they fought and won so that Chris and I can now buy each other rings and get married.

Imagine being told all your life that there was something wrong with you, wishing and wishing that you could change, hating yourself because there was something so bad inside you that it made your family ashamed, and meant you were going to hell, and were probably a paedophile as well. It makes you feel so desperately horrible that you feel you don't deserve to be in the world. Many many gay people try and make that happen. I did.

So the next time you say "that's so gay" when actually you mean "that's not very good", or the next time you call someone a poof or a dyke, please remember that every day in the UK four gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender young people aged between 12 and 18 take their own life. Because for the whole of their short lives, they have been told that they are sick and wrong and don't deserve to be in the world. That's FOUR every day who succeed. Every day 12 more try, and thankfully fail.

Julia Gasper, you are a terrible, terrible person. I really hope you find a way to stop your hatred.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Thai fisherman's trousers

I made some Thai fisherman's trousers. I can't call them pants, here in the UK pants means underpants! These are actually the second pair I've made, but I don't have any photos of the first ones, and they look a bit pyjama-y anyway. I got the idea for the pattern from here, which is where the photos below come from. Really easy to make, probably an hour from start to finish, and that's including time to turn the house upside down looking for the right colour cotton! I think these grey ones are smart enough to wear to work. Nice shoes and a black top and I think it would look really nice.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

An apology

I have had an apology from Shaws the Drapers for how my partner and I were treated.

The text reads:

"Dear Mr Williams,

With reference to your visit to our Wellfield Road shop. I was most disappointed to hear of the treatment you received and can only apologize most sincerely.

We pride ourselves on our customer service and our staff are constantly reviewed on this. We have obviously failed you on this occasion. I have spoken to the members of staff concerned about their attitude and have reminded them that customers are the most important aspect of our business.

We have traded now as a family business for over a hundred years and thankfully we do not get many complaints relating to our staff.

I can only apologize once again and woudl like to take this opportunity to thank you for shopping with us at Shaws the Drapers.

Yours sincerely

Philip Shaw

I am very glad that they sent this apology, and yet... no mention respect for their LGBT customers, or that they do not condone homophobia. Oh well, as I said, I am grateful that they did apologise - but sad that in 2013 they needed to.

I am still never going to shop there again.

Maddison Cowl

A friend asked me to make a cowl for her little girl Maddison, so I thought I'd write up how I did it. 

You will need: 
Less than 50 metres each of three different colours of double knitting 
3.5mm hook 

You will need to make 8 granny squares using your favourite method. I really like the Purl Bee tutorial, it is explained really well and is super easy to follow!

So you'll be making 8 squares and sewing them together into a band. You could make all the squares the same, but I like them all to be different. Have a look at the picture to see how I made them. The sizing can be adjusted at this point - my squares were a little under 3 inches - so if you want to make it smaller, make fewer squares - if you want it larger, make more!

Once the granny squares have been sewn into a band, you'll be continuing the granny pattern (*3 tr, ch1, rep from * - or in American terms it's *3dc, ch1, rep from *) remembering to make 3 trebles (or doubles if you're American) inbetween each square. Look at the next picture to see how I did it. Easy right? I did 5 rows of granny, but you could make fewer, or more if you wanted. The last row is slightly different - just do the 3 trebles (or doubles) in each ch1 space, but don't ch1 - this makes the top and bottom of the cowl ever so slightly smaller, which helps to keep it snug on your neck. 

Isn't it pretty? The next time I make one I'm going to use all my favourite granny square patterns. Hope Maddison likes her cowl, and that it keeps her warm this Winter.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Low level homophobia

I can't believe that I'm still experiencing that low level homophobia that I had in school and University - you know that sniggering, nasty "Oh my God look at the gays" kind of homophobia? Last Saturday Chris and I went to excellent Juno Lounge for breakfast (I highly recommend it, lovely breakfast, and they're super friendly in there. They do good coffee as well!) and Chris wanted to get some wool for his ugly blanket. I taught him how to crochet, and he picked it up so quickly. He started learning squares and wanted to make a blanket, but all he had was random yarn that I had given him, so none of it goes together! He's now on a mission to make the blanket as hideous as possible.
So we went to Shaws the Drapers to get some cheap yarn. I was horrified in there. Two shop assistants goggled at us, then laughed at us, then stared at us as we walked out. I bit my tongue - but after speaking to Chris about it afterwards, I realised I should let Shaws know that I would no longer be shopping at any of their stores. Here is the letter that I sent to them today:

"To whom it may concern,

I wanted to let you know of some poor customer service that I experienced in your Wellfield Road store. My partner and I called in to buy some wool on the morning of Saturday 19 October. We are a gay couple.

I have been shopping at this particular shop for over ten years, and always had a warm welcome. Often the shop assistants are amazed that a young man is buying wool, and ask what I'm knitting or crocheting. I have never felt anything but comfortable and accepted there. This was not the case on Saturday.

One shop assistant stood in front of the counter explaining to the queue of customers that there would be a short delay as one of the tills was not working. My partner said "thank you". He turned to face the counter, but she continued to look at him with a horrible expression on her face, but soon stopped as when she saw me looking at her.

When we left the shop, both shop assistants whispered - something derogatory - and sniggered, staring at us as we left the shop. It made me feel very uncomfortable to say the least. I have experienced homophobia many times, and I'm sure I will continue to experience it, but to be laughed at in such a scathing way in a shop that I have always thought to be a welcoming place upset and disgusted me.

I can only hope that this is not the way all of your employees behave, and I would suggest some diversity training for your staff. A review on Yelp says "I'm always amazed that Shaws the Drapers is still going in the 21st century." Unless your staff are happy to embrace the fact that we are living in the 21st Century, then all the younger people who have taken up knitting and crochet will not go to your shops.

I hope things do change, but sadly I will not see these changes as I will no longer be shopping at Shaws the Drapers. I am sorry that the poor attitude of some of your employees has stopped me from shopping with you in the future, as I have always found your knitting and crochet supplies to be very good value for money - but I do not spend my money in shops that are homophobic.

Yours faithfully
Mr A C Williams"

I'll let you know if I get any reply.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis

My version of Ralph Vaughan Williams' "Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis". Noisy.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Mittens for Christopher

Some mittens I designed and made for Christopher. Pretty cool, huh? I'm working on the pattern at the moment. Hope to have it in my Ravelry shop soon.

Monday, 30 September 2013

Winding wool

My generous friend Jon gave me seven skeins of beautiful, natural Merino wool. I got my swift out last night and wound it into balls, but what am I going to do with it?

I'm designing a cardigan with it! I want something a little bit Starsky & Hutch, a little bit 70s, and very warm and snuggly. If the pattern turns out good, I might see if Lynne from Calon Yarns wants to stock it in her shop.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Low fat banana bread

A really, really easy, and low fat banana bread. It can easily be made gluten free too.

You will need:
4 ripe bananas, mashed
225g self raising flour (can be substituted for gluten free flour)
100g low fat margarine
100-150g of unrefined caster sugar (the less sugar you use, the less calories the final loaf will be!)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla paste/extract
handful of dried fruit (optional)

1. Preheat oven to gas mark 4 (180°C/350°F), grease and line a 2lbs loaf tin.
2. Put everything in a large bowl, and mix with an electric mixer for a few minutes. Leave for 2 minutes for the raising agent to start working, then fold int he dried fruit (if using).
3. Pour into loaf tin and bake for 1 and half hours until the top is golden.
4. Leave to cool on a cooling rack. Scoff!

Is also nice with a shake of ground cinnamon in the mix.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Chairlift - Bruises (ukulele cover)

Hi everyone, my lovely friend Amy is raising money for Tenovus by recording 30 songs in 30 days. She kindly asked me to duet with her on one or two. Here's the first one: Bruises by Chairlift.

We're happy with how it turned out! It's such a lovely, summery song.

If you enjoyed it (or even if you didn't!) please donate to this amazing charity. Here is Amy's Just Giving page.

Thank you!

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Halve EP

Here's some ambient fuckery from me.

Routine Atrocity

Last Friday, 7 June, I went to the launch of Routine Atrocity, an exhibition by Cardiff-based artist Twang! The premise is decommissioned weapons of war, painted to resemble beautiful china, or maybe primitive folkiness. The juxtaposition of the the pretty, happy colours on, for example, an AK47, was... I don't know the right word to use here. They were beautiful, but also really quite scary. I stood next to the AK47 and imagined that it had probably been used to kill people. People were dead because of this once ugly, now transformed into beautiful, piece of deadly machinery.

Look at the detail of painting. It must have taken ages to get the tiny dots and hearts just right. The craftsmanship was undeniably staggering.

The chess pieces and board was my second favourite piece in the show. I have no idea if my interpretation is correct, but I'll try and explain it: Chess is a war game, but the most important thing is that there are two sides that can be told apart easily. One is black, and one is white. But in this piece, each pawn and knight and rook is painted differently. The Queen on one side, was painted in similar colours to the King on the other side. To me, this meant that we can not easily tell who is on who's side. The pawns were all painted differently, some had dots painted on the top, some didn't. Now pawns are the easiest pieces to lose, and the ones that players sacrifice in their strategies when playing chess, so to me it meant that there are varying levels of footsoldiers - perhaps some were meant to represent civilians, or innocents.

The board itself had no squares, demarcated places for the soldiers and infantry to advance or retreat. The board was a lacy, pretty battlefield - war, real war, is not as easily played as chess. It is not as tidy, or ordered, there is chaos, and inequality. It is not until the battles are lost and won, and the final conflict resolved (sometimes not until years later), that the real victor is known.

There were also some beautiful pen and watercolour paintings, the knuckle dusters one was my favourite. Something really horrible made to look pretty - I imagined a gay man using these to beat seven hells out of a violent homophobe. Maybe I should request a set for myself!

The tiny, painted razor blade was my absolutely favourite piece. It is small and perfect, and I love the way it's encased in glass. Trapped like a rare moth in a museum's  lepidoptery section. One side was painted in warm colours, the other in cold. It can be used to shave a face, or slash a vein.

I also really loved the teeth! So, it was a marvellous exhibition. I loved the lacy, chintzy stands everything was displayed on. The little cards by each piece read (in a lovely cursive font): "Please Do Not Touch, fiddlers will be executed". I said a brief hello to Chris, he's small, handsome, and very smiley. A great artist.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Viva la Buffalo

I made a maship of Shampoo's "Viva La Megababe" and Neneh Cherry's "Buffalo Stance". Utter nonsense!

Monday, 20 May 2013

The Smiths vs Pet Shop Boys

I don't know who'd win in a fight between The Smiths and the Pet Shop Boys, I suspect Andy Rourke could win on his own! So here's something silly I did yesterday, it's called "girlfriendonmymind". My friend Sue has challenged me to mash up the Fraggle Rock theme with Wham!'s Club Tropicana... oh, it's on!

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Healthy workout cookies

I saw this recipe online, but a few of the comments said they were a bit tasteless, so I decided to make my own version.

You will need:
2 large (or 3 small) ripe bananas
400g rolled oats

1 small handful of dried fruit (I used currants)
1 tablespoon of cocoa powder (must be cocoa, not drinking chocolate, that has sugar added) 
2 teaspoons of honey
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of chocolate extract
1 teaspoon of cinnamon (optional)

Method (makes about 12 - I ate one before I took the picture!)
Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 (180°C / 350°F)

Mash the bananas with a fork, then add everything else and bring together into a rough dough
Shape into 12 cookie shapes on a greased baking sheet, and pop in the oven for about 15-20 minutes
Leave to cool on a cooling rack

That's it! Easy peasy. They have a lovely chewy texture, somewhere between a cookie and a cake. They'll keep for a few days in an airtight container. 

This is the secret ingredient! Chocolate extract (I got mine from Lakeland). The cookies turned out really nice, much nicer than I thought they would. One or two before a workout gives you some good carbs for energy, or if, like me, you love cakes and biscuits, one of these is a nice healthy alternative. 


UPDATE: 21 May 2013
I made these again today, but totally forgot that they were in the oven! I left them in there for just over 40 minutes. I thought they'd be ruined, but they were actually really nice - a bit crunchier on top, but still moist and chewy in the middle. So I'll be intentionally overbaking them from now on!

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Daft Shit

The most mental remix I've ever done!

Tuesday, 14 May 2013


And here's some Shakespeare-flavoured silly house! 

Two households, both alike in dignity, 
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, 
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes 
A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life; 
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows 
Do with their death bury their parents' strife. 
The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love, 
And the continuance of their parents' rage, 
Which, but their children's end, nought could remove, 
Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage.

Where is Red?

Some fairytale-themed trip hop.

Friday, 19 April 2013

8-bit Adagio for Strings

Some chilled out, 8-bit loveliness. The picture is of some army dog tags (pixelated to be 8-bit!) as the original piece was used in Platoon.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Focaccia recipe

You will need: 
500g strong white flour 
7g sachet of dried yeast
80ml extra virgin olive oil
400ml lukewarm water
pinch of salt
good pinch of sea salt
few more drizzles of extra virgin olive oil

Mix the flour, yeast, salt, oil, and 300ml of the water in a large bowl and bring together to form a dough. Knead in the bowl for a few minutes, gradually incorporating the last 100ml of water (the more water you can get in the lighter the crumb will be).

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. It is ready when if you press a finger gently into tit, the indentation springs back - if it stays pressed in, knead for a few more minutes.

Lightly oil (normal olive oil will do for this, or even vegetable oil) and put in a tea-towel covered bowl. Leave in a warm place for about 1 and half hours until doubled in size.

Once it has doubled in size, gently knock it back by pressing it lightly with your fingers, then knead gently for a minute or two. Divide into two equal balls. You can either shape them into two rounds, sprinkle with oil and sea salt and bake, or you can make them into a sandwich with delicious things inside! I always do it this way.

Shape the first ball into a large round, then add the fillings. I use a torn up mozzarella, some sun-dried tomatoes chopped up, some olives, a few splashes of pesto, maybe some salami. It's quite nice with Gruyère cheese, or some ham and basil leaves, or halved cherry tomatoes - basically you can go wild with anything you like!

Then shape the second ball into a round and press it down onto the first round and fillings. Then press your finger all over it, drizzle with more oil and scatter with sea salt. Leave this somewhere really warm for about 40 minutes to prove. The longer you leave it the fluffier the crumb will be. I like to leave it near the oven with the oven on low. Now is a good time to preheat the oven to gas mark 7 (200 degrees).

Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown on top (I turn it halfway through, and also turn the oven down to gas mark 6 / 180 degrees). Turn onto a cooling rack and drizzle with (yet more) extra virgin olive oil. It's lovely still warm, but will keep until the day after. 

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Single again

Just become single again. It was my decision, but it's still hard. I hate to hurt anybody. I'm worried that I am broken and can't fall in love any more. So I'm taking time to be creative, make things, write, paint, do. 

Looking forward to the warmer weather so I can go camping in West Wales, walk on the beach, on the mountains; take photographs, draw, read, lie in the grass or on the sand. It's taken a while, but I quite like me. So I'll spend some time with me.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Origami books

I saw some lovely pictures of crown binding origami books, but try as I might, I couldn't find instructions on how to do it. I did find instructions on how to make a blizzard book, though, and with some experimenting, I managed to work out how to do it! So after work today, I made these two little books as a test.

The little one is made of braille paper. The covers for both books are made from the endpapers of an old children's book about castles, and the inserts for both are from a book about badminton from 1972. 

The larger one's insert is made from the pages of the castle book, so there is a little bit of illustration and words. You can see the origami mechanism in the next picture.

The pages can all be removed to be written or drawn on, each one is held in by two folded triangles. So you just need to lift one of them up...

And presto! The page pops out. I think using a thicker card to make the insert would mean that you could store more than one page in each of the section. I will try this out.

I quite like the edges of the pages being torn, it gives it a nice homemade feel. They don't take too long to make, are great for using up bits of random paper that you might have in your stash, and they're cute too. Kind of a Victorian feel to them, not sure why. maybe it's because Victorians liked giving each other little folded love letters and stuff. I want to make a load of these - I'm currently building my stock of sellable things back up. I let my online shop on Folksy run out (the main reason was the way it was rapidly becoming more like Etsy, i.e. full of shit glued to other shit, those bloody octopus things, and necklaces of an Eiffel tower charm with a heart - meh), but I'm building up stock so I can have a little stall again. There's a few places in Cardiff that you can have a stall, I just need to make sure I have plenty of stuff to sell first.

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