I’m finding it hard to hang up my Halloween hat and move on this year. It’s been such an awesome month. November will be just as cool – it’s birthday month! – but I don’t want to turn my back on spooky things just yet.
UGH. I’m completely obsessed with this woman – and now, this show. I woke up early (ish) this morning and have mainlined a handful of episodes in one sitting, while supping tea and being thankful for no work for another day.
This is my favourite month hands down and it’s because of little gems like this.
Inside the cooking lab of Christine McConnell, who has attracted hundreds of thousands of social media followers with her creepy edible creations.
Christine McConnell is a very clever woman (model, actress, baker and photographer), making unbelievably detailed baked goods and dishes with a heavy Gothic edge. Spiders, monsters, Ouija boards and eyeballs all feature heavily but really there is no limit to her imagination or skill.
While I suppose this is technically a baking show, it doesn’t stop there. Produced by The Jim Henson Company, Christine is joined by a band of weird and wonderful creatures who terrorise the neighbourhood with their beastly goings on – so it’s part Sabrina the Teenage Witch (particularly Rankle the Sphynx cat who’s been to Salem Acting School), part sitcom, part cookery show.
And it’s all brilliant.
Dita Von Teese even joins Christine as Vivian the enchanted mirror – and it’s so camp I just love every minute. So far (in the handful of episodes I’ve wolfed down as I type this), Christine has built a biscuit replica of her own creepy mansion, made chocolate chip eyeball cookies, peanut butter and white chocolate bones, constructed an entire tea set out of dark chocolate – and even made a chicken-shaped chicken pot pie.
All this while looking like a Queen and she still has time to romance Norman, the man she met at her grandmother’s graveside (is there more to Norman that meets the eye, I wonder? Of course there is!). While Christine’s creations are definitely inspiring, the show seems to be aware that not very many people would have the time or inclination to whip up their own so it doesn’t spend too much time going in on the recipes – it’s directive but doesn’t pretend that the whole process is easy or quick.
At one point Christine puts the biscuit mansion in the ‘chiller’ and I had to lament my lack of fridge space at home. A couple of jars of pickled onions and ours is packed. No room for a giant cake/and or an octopus called Millie, sadly.
I would say, even if you’re not into cookery shows (and I’m not really), there might be something here for you. Christine also makes candles and decorative pieces for the home and in one episode, even gives us a brief sewing lesson.
She rocks a lovely vintage look and is one of those women I absolutely admire, the ones who never seem to succumb to a jogging bottom or bedhead (there’s one of them in my office). It’s a total and utter dedication to her brand that I could never achieve but wish I could. She’s very cool and even though it’s all so tongue in cheek, the Tim Burton-lover in me adores the dark tones.
At one point, Christine’s live-in companions Rose (raccoon), Rankle (cat) and Edgar (beast) kidnap and plot to murder their busy body neighbour, until Christine opts to kill him with kindness (and cocoa) instead.
I just want to watch this for the rest of the day (and my life) and eat candy-hued goods while I do it. Cancel all my meetings. Check it out for yourself on UK Netflix now.
You can follow Christine on Instagram here.
What are you watching?
I haven’t really planned much for Autumn apart from my trip, which in itself is a pretty cool thing to cross off the bucket list. I’ve always wanted to visit Copenhagen, so I guess I’ll start there.
These are the things I’ll be doing this Autumn, in no particular order.
Tora and I have been friends for years, ever since I got back from Vancouver. My old BFF was always trying to force us together, even before I left and neither of us were that into the idea. But on our own terms we inevitably fell in love and have been close ever since. This will be our first trip away together and we can’t wait.
We have rented our own apartment about 45 minutes from where all the action happens in the city and have a very vague to-do list – I want to visit The Little Mermaid, Tivoli and the design museum and just generally mooch, and Tora’s in agreement.
This is exactly what I need right now, good company, good surroundings and a shitload of good food and drink. And as you read this I will be away enjoying myself. Catch you on the flip side.
The Perfect PSL
In a pinch obviously Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte will do but it’s not great. Much better if you have it made with soya milk. This Fall I will be searching for the perfect PSL – I have a suspicion it’s out there somewhere just waiting for me to rescue it.
I do love a seasonal drink in the late Autumn sunshine, leaves crunching satisfyingly underfoot as I amble on my way to wherever I’m going.
As her 16th birthday nears, Sabrina must choose between the witch world of her family and the human world of her friends.
I’m quite certain Jill will be with me on this one, and I really hope it’s great. Riverdale, like Sabrina is based on the Archie comics and was a pile of trash (sometimes in a good way, ultimately not).
Any 90’s kid worth their salt had a soft spot for Melissa Joan Hart’s Sabrina, the Teenage Witch in all it’s cheesy, all-American splendor. To be able to revisit the source material with a darker twist sounds blissful and I’m very excited about it. I’ve missed Salem the cat.
Whisper after me: Please be good. Please be good. Please be good.
There’s an art to doing nothing and I think I have it down pat. I’ll be making far less plans in the evenings and I shall be nesting with the best of them. Heaven.
What have you got planned?
Autumn is my own version of Spring and when the days are bright and crisp, I’m inspired. I thought I’d let you in on one of my favourite ongoing projects and how my partner and I have been working to streamline everything for our brand new season.
I’m talking about the podcast I co-host with my friend James – it’s called All Out of Bubblegum and we’ve been doing it for two years now. I love doing it as much as I love my blog because I get to watch movies for a purpose: to talk about them with my friend to my hearts content.
We recently took an extended Summer break and have just recorded two new episodes for Season 2. The break illustrated just how much work the podcast had become in addition to our other commitments (full-time jobs, social life, other creative undertakings). Since we both love doing it so much, we never want it to feel like a chore – so we’re making some important changes.
We’re going to start splitting the podcast into seasons. Each Summer we’ll take a long break and when we return we’ll start in on a new Season. We’ve never done this before but I think it will break things up a bit. Season 2, Episode 1 will drop very soon – and even though it’s still the same as before, it feels like a fresh start, which is always a plus for any creative project.
Instead of recording two episodes every two weeks and posting weekly, we’re moving to monthly and posting fortnightly. This gives us more time to do our homework and actually have a life. Nobody wants their hobbies to feel like an obligation, God knows we have enough of those.
I’ve been really bad about managing our marketing ‘strategy’. I share the episodes on Facebook and Twitter but that’s the bare minimum required – and I’ve forgotten about everything else.
The plan was always to pad out the episodes with opinions on films and blog posts so I’ve just set up the All Out of Bubblegum Hub. It’s still a work in progress but I’ll get there – and we’re not putting too much pressure on ourselves. We want to beef up our content but there are no rigid rules or expectations – we do what we can, when we can – and we do it ‘cos we love it.
We Only Review Worthwhile Things
We don’t have to love all the things we talk about – you win some, you lose some when it comes to art – but if we’re both on the same page about something that isn’t working for us, instead of enduring it, we’ll let each other know. Life is too short to sit through boring TV and films – especially when there’s so much good stuff to discover.
We’re been asked to contribute a film column to a friend of James’ zine which is exciting. It may only be quarterly and we’re not sure when but still, could be interesting…
We’ve always said we’re doing this for ourselves and that it the truth. It’s lovely when someone listens and comments on something we’ve done – but we’ll never be concerned about viewing figures (which is just as well). In fact, we’re both on the same page about what it would be like if we did have the added pressure of a decent following – it would probably freak us right out.
So for now we do this for ourselves and if anyone enjoys it – then I’m grateful.
If you’re interested, you can listen to All Out of Bubblegum here or find us on most podcast listening platforms.
Anyone else spend a fair portion of their life worrying that they’re not a good person? I think I question this every day at least once but when drama occurs the feeling hits me tenfold and I go all floppy with inertia. Like, why am I bothering, I’m the worst, I might as well give up, go to the end of the garden and eat worms. I hate this element of myself, the part that immediately concedes that everything is my fault and rightly so I should be punished for it.
I’m really trying to take these moments and hold them at arm’s length. To examine them before I commit to hating myself because of them. Sometimes this is possible and other times, not so much. I’m trying to understand that I’m not a perfect human being and that I will make mistakes and sometimes I will be insensitive and a dick – and as long as I acknowledge these times and try to fix them (and ultimately learn from them), then I can’t be all bad. It’s always a thrilling ride inside this head of mine, thanks anxiety.
Anyway, as it’s slipping nicely into Autumn, I’m in a pensive frame of mind and trying not to beat myself up over every little thing. I’m really not a negative person on the whole and my philosophy is to try to keep things upbeat where I can so anxiety feels like the voice in my head trying to bring that down. I’ve mentioned before that it feels like a constant battle of the wills to be myself and live with these feelings. Generally I’m winning though which is good.
The chill in the air is really nice though and we’ve had a couple of those perfect cold sunny days. I’m loving wearing jeans and boots – and I love my life very much. Apart from the little wobbles about what I’m doing with my life, I know how lucky I am. I have good friends, a home, I get to live and love a really good guy – and my family are the best. I want for nothing and deep down I know I’m not the failure human being that the voice sometimes makes me believe.
How are you?
It’s that time of the year again. Yes, the best season of all, Autumn – and the impending arrival of magical Halloween – but also Blogtober, the month in which I aim to blog every day without fail.
We’ll see how that goes but I’m going to try. I feel like I’ve got a piece of myself back after a hazy and somewhat melancholy Summer, and there’s lots to say about some of the changes I’ve made in my life so if you’re game then I am too. Starting tomorrow there will be a post from me for the next 31 days. Lucky, lucky you!
I’m hungover AF after Friday drinks so I’ll leave this post here for today – and catch you tomorrow.
PS. Anyone else care to join me in this? 🎃 🦇 👻
I’ve had my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the year so it is officially Autumn and therefore the real New Year.
Fuck January and the blues that subsequently follow the turn of the year. Fuck wet weather and grey days. This is my new beginning, that beautiful crossover, from Summer into burnt and rusty Fall. I’m here for it more than ever.
It’s corresponds perfectly with the start of my new job which admittedly isn’t brain surgery or saving puppies, but it is exactly what I needed to do and I’m feeling much more myself than I have in months. My last new beginning turned out to be miserable and more than that, damaging to both confidence and general well-being and I am so delighted to be free of it now.
I feel positive again and valued, and that in turn makes me want to start creating. I’m dying to get back into writing more, reading more and just being more present in the projects I love – and with people I want to spend time with. I want to do meaningful things, even if they’re just for me.
I want to be me again – and that is what I’ll be focusing on for the rest of the year (like, the official end of the year). I’m going to be kind and generous to myself – start as I mean to go on, basically.
In other news, my new work crew are all lovely and interesting people. I couldn’t be luckier and again, that’s why I wanted to leave my old job in the first place – to meet new people, stretch my wings, learn new things and mix it the fuck up. Now I’m going to enjoy it.