Tigers Approved: folksy dinosaurs and an abundance of tomatoes 🦕🦖🍅
And a book that made us cackle.
There was a little wardrobe moment six or seven years ago, when everything we owned was covered in a quirky print. Dresses and tops adorned with whales, BBQ tongs, submarines, books, toolboxes, cocktails, hotel room safes. There wasn’t a fabric that didn’t have some sort of cute motif on it. Of course dinosaurs featured heavily. If you’re wondering what actually happened to the dinosaurs, perhaps the real extinction was the big charity shop clearout that we had in 2016.
We truly loved the prints, but we’ve since come around to the idea that a bit of white space can be a good thing. Then we spotted this super cute top £36 (was £49) from Sugarhill Brighton. So taken were we with the coral embroidery that we almost didn’t notice the little brachiosaurus having a natter on the neckline. Topics of conversation might have included: where they’ve been on their holidays (terrible queues at Terminal 4), what it’s like working as an undercover dinosaur, the new Pret that’s opened down the road. Welcome back to the wardrobe, chaps. We’ve missed you.
Lessons in Chemistry
What was the last really funny book you read? There are few books on our shelves that really make us cackle. And certainly none of them as funny as Lessons in Chemistry, which made Sian do a snort-laugh so loud it caused several people on the fast train from Kent to look over. Just in case they didn’t happen to make a note of the book that caused so much glee, we’re telling you about it now. The book dives into the life of Elizabeth Zott in 1960s America – a chemist who becomes host of a TV cookery show – and she is a marvel. She’s drawn in such a warm and kind way that you feel like you’ve known her your whole life, yet everything that she says and does is a surprise. It is a book you cannot predict.
Bonnie Garmus’s debut is so much fun that it falls into a rather small category for us – books we’re pleased we bought in hardback. There’s even a wonderful dog who almost steals the show entirely. The book is so busy being fun that when it does hit you right between the eyes with sexism, misogyny and tragedy, it’s all the more heartbreaking. Although the ending was a little too neat for our liking, Lessons In Chemistry was one of those rare joys: a book that you want to race through because it’s so wonderful, but you don’t, instead you savour it, holding on to those last few chapters for as long as possible because you don’t want it to be over.
Snip of a thing
We cannot imagine the strength it takes to continue to create art in a war zone. After fleeing her home in Kyiv earlier this year, Ukrainian paper artist Eugenia Zoloto and her family recently returned to the capital and she is making art again.
The delicacy and ethereal quality in Zoloto’s work is remarkable. Each piece is cut by hand, a painstaking process. The pieces in her dress series are life-size. Her garden box looks like something from a museum.
Talking to My Modern Met recently, she said “I felt so much mental suffering, so I decided to create more positive art… only kindness, only love helps us not to be stuck in war and hatred”. Her recent work has been directly inspired by the war – one piece has the caption “we are all trying to breathe even if it is so hard” alongside it. It’s this green woman, with her beautiful butterfly, that we are particularly drawn to and many more of Zoloto’s pieces are available to buy directly from her Etsy shop.
Hedge your bets
Foraging is a lot of fun, but if you prefer to enjoy the fruits of someone else’s labour, we know exactly who to call. Macclesfield-based Fruits of the Forage – aka brothers Fred, Bert and Archie and their mum, Claire – make wild preserves, pickles and cordials using foraged ingredients from hedgerows and abandoned orchards, as well as surplus produce from farms.
They go beyond the usual blackberries and elderflower (though they do make an appearance, of course) to bring us unexpected flavours. This dandelion syrup is a good honey substitute for vegans, but really it’s a delicious addition to ice cream, roasted vegetables and salad dressings for everyone. The intriguing curry chutney includes hogweed seeds, and their pickled wild garlic buds are great with a hunk of sharp cheddar. We’ve got our eye on the damson breakfast sauce to try next – it’s an alternative to bog-standard brown sauce that we’re sure is going to transform our bacon butties.
You say tomato
It took a long time for Laura to finally enjoy an unadulterated tomato (thank you for your help, Italy), but nowadays she’s all-in. Claire Thomson’s newest cookery book is, as its name suggests, devoted to them, and it’s filled with recipes to turn even the staunchest tomato naysayer into a superfan. Tinned toms get a look-in, too, so you’ll be cooking from this all year round. There are salads, soups, sauces and stews galore, and if you fancy a taste of what’s in store, these gorgeous recipes will whet your appetite. Claire’s food never fails to impress, and this is destined to become one of our favourite books of hers.
Gladiators, READY: happy kitchen helpers | pad of butter | there go our deadlines | guaranteed to make even the most chaotic hair look amazing.
This week Sian’s headed to Dorset to do absolutely nothing and Laura is doing absolutely nothing in Dundee. Like what we do? Buy us a cuppa.