Making Sloe Gin

Making our own sloe gin | Hello Victoria

Now I’m not sure if it’s just because I’ve never been much of a drinker, or if it’s because it’s not very common in Canada, but I had never heard of sloe gin before coming to the UK. Apparently it’s something that lots of people enjoy around Christmas, as sloes usually ripen in October, and it takes a minimum of 2 months to make sloe gin.

Well, we’re doing things a little differently around here! I actually bought Richard 1lb. (454 g) of sloes on eBay for Christmas! He had been looking to make some in time for the holidays, but couldn’t get any for a reasonable price in the markets. I can’t tell you how fun it was to see him open it on Christmas morning (along with the swing top bottles), as he had been so confused up until that point. He didn’t understand why his present was living in the freezer…

Making our own sloe gin | Hello Victoria

Making the sloe gin is quite simple, and really only takes time. The sloes are meant to be picked after the first frost, to split their tough skins; as our sloes were frozen since they were picked, their skins had already split, but we pricked them with a toothpick anyways. Simply fill your sterilized bottles with the sloes, as well as a couple spoons of sugar, and fill to the top with gin. Shake up the bottle and store someplace away from direct sunlight for at least two months; turning it every day for a week, and then every week for at least 2 months. (more…)

Mushroom + White Wine Risotto

Mushroom and white wine risotto | Hello Victoria

I know that I should really be trying all of the recipes that I already have saved on Pinterest, but for some reason I keep adding new ones. I’m pretty sure we all have the same problem, no?

I found this recipe after racking my brain for something new to make for dinner – I had recently bought a box of arborio rice and been itching to finally try my hand at making risotto. Mushrooms are one of my favorite things to eat, and while I don’t enjoy drinking white wine (red all the way!), it does add a wonderful flavor to the dish.

The instructions for the recipe were really easy to follow, and worked out beautifully. I’m pretty sure that if he didn’t want to take some for lunch the next day, Richard would have finished the whole pot!

Mushroom and white wine risotto | Hello Victoria

The only things I changed were the amount of cheese I added (less than it called for, as I didn’t want to use too much expensive cheese!) and more mushrooms. I had bought waaay more than necessary by accident, but figured another cup wouldn’t hurt. (more…)

Old Town Rhodes

Old town Rhodes | Hello Victoria

One of the two day trips that we took while staying in Rhodes, was to the old town. A walled part of Rhodes set along the water, it’s the oldest inhabited medieval town in all of Europe!

Bougainvillea in Old town Rhodes | Hello Victoria

beautiful bougainvillea vines growing all over the place!

We spent the day roaming the streets (getting lost a few times), looking in the shops, and enjoying some halloumi and greek beer! (I’m pretty obsessed with halloumi, as evidenced by its constant appearance in my fridge.) I quite enjoyed some of the older architecture, as well as all of the bougainvillea growing around the city. (more…)

Installing a Plaster Ceiling Medallion

One night while discussing the flat, I mentioned to Richard that I thought it would look reeeaaally cool to have a ceiling medallion in the living room. Something that looks like it’s always been there, and then contrast it with a really modern chandelier. Surprisingly to me, he actually agreed! We both thought that it would tie in very well with our 1920’s building, and seeing as how they took out the original fireplaces etc. to convert this all to flats, it would be nice to add back some character.

We found our medallion at B&Q, and thought it would be absolutely perfect. It’s technically a few years older in style than our building, but it’s pretty close to being historically accurate. We really liked that it was actually plaster, rather than the plastic/foam ones you find most of the time.

Installing a plaster ceiling medallion | Hello Victoria

The plaster, however, created some problems with installation that wouldn’t be there if we had picked a simple foam one. This thing is heavy!! Unlike the other kind, we had to actually screw this into studs while the adhesive cured.

Studs eh? In a converted building from the 1920’s? Good luck finding those, while missing all the random electricals… (more…)

First Days in Rhodes, Greece

Traveling to Rhodes, Greece | Hello Victoria

Now seeing as how Richard and I both had three weeks off from work, we didn’t spend the whole holiday painting! A week of that was more than enough, so we jetted off to relax a little on the Greek island of Rhodes.

When it comes to our vacation styles, we both enjoy visiting places with lots of cultural stuff to do… but this trip was all about doing nothing. Richard’s work means he sometimes has to go away for huge chunks of time (he was about to go away for 6 weeks), so we saw this as a great excuse to go somewhere and just relax in each other’s company.

what we woke up to each morning… sigh

Rhodes, as we discovered, doesn’t look like the Greek postcard we had in mind. Most of the older architecture on the island could be described as medieval in style, so it’s not the island to visit if you want to have lots of pretty photos of little white hillside villages with blue accents (darn). What it does have are cheap flights and lots of all inclusive beach-side resorts!

We spent our week at the Ixian Grand, which was in a nice quiet location. No one ever came to bother us at the beach, selling trinkets, and the water was beautifully clear and warm. I’m pretty sure we spent half our vacation just sitting under umbrellas, reading books, and drinking piƱa coladas. (I know, I know… that’s not a Greek drink… but I am a sucker for the combination of pineapple and coconut.) (more…)

Dark + Moody Bedroom Inspiration

Dark + moody bedroom inspiration | Hello Victoria

navy bedroom via Design Sponge

I’m normally a fan of very light and bright spaces – shades of pale grey and blue tend to be where I gravitate – but I think I’m slowly converting to the dark side. Or, at least when it comes to my bedroom.

Dark + moody bedroom inspiration | Hello Victoria

charcoal bedroom via Design Sponge

I first got inspired by the impact that a dark bedroom can have when I saw San Fransisco blogger Jordan Ferney’s black bedroom. While most everyone in the blogging world was painting their whole house white, she had created this eye-catching space by painting all her walls and trim in the softest of blacks. (more…)

Updating the Flat with Colour

One of the first things that I wanted to tackle with the flat, was the paint colours. Almost every room had some sort of a blah colour – beige, cream, and purple everywhere. The colours weren’t doing anything for the lack of lighting in some spaces. The hallway was the worst culprit, with the mauve above and dark purple below making the whole space feel small and dark.

Updating a dark hallway with paint | Hello Victoria

the hallway before

So, when Richard and I were both off for a couple weeks, we decided to tackle painting the hallway and living room. To be fair, we had aspirations to paint the bedroom as well, but just ran out of steam. While all the moldings and trim in the apartment add such wonderful character, they also add an insane amount of time to paint. The trim and door colour in the apartment was a gross yellowish cream colour (hard to capture in photos, just trust me), so we decided to paint everything, doors included, back to a nice white.

Updating a dark hallway with paint | Hello Victoria

look at all the trim we had to paint… yikes!

After researching colours for a few days, and even getting some swatches mailed to me, I was having a hard time picking. From my limited experience, painting in the UK and North America is very different. Back home, the hardware stores carry a huge assortment of swatches and tend to have other colour brands on file to match. But in the UK, colour matching is a bit more new, and the brands they carry offer a limited selection. (more…)

So Now I Live in London…

Livingin in London | Hello Victoria

… well technically, Sidcup, Kent – but hey! – given that it only takes about 30 minutes to get to London Bridge, it’s basically London.

I moved from Victoria, BC about 7 months ago, as my boyfriend Richard lives and works here. Most days I still feel a bit like a tourist, but I’m starting to get my bearings. Sure, I constantly find myself fascinated by buildings that are older than Canada itself, but I shall soon become a jaded Londoner, walking past Shakespearean architecture without a second glance. (At least, I hope I don’t…)

Living in London | Hello Victoria

Early last year, I went back to school to become a pastry chef, and it’s taken me this long to find a job with a good work-life balance. In the meantime, I’ve been trying to hone those skills in my own kitchen, with one small problem. I had heard that kitchens in the UK were small, but had no idea just how small they could be! The size of the fridge we have here is the same as the little beer fridge in my parent’s house! Not ideal when you have grandiose aspirations to make amazing layered cakes or dinner parties. (more…)