Autumn TV Recommendation: The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell

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.

The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell (2018)

IMDB Synopsis

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.

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NBD, just an exact replica of her own house made out of biscuit…

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.

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Dog days are over

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.

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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?

A Voluptuous Love

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This week (and beyond) I have decided to set little daily tasks for myself in a effort to motivate myself towards change.

Before anyone panics and throws themselves into a wild flap on my behalf, I’m doing okay, despite not being in the best place (professionally/creatively/spiritually/healthily).

I don’t want to be the person who just sits there biding her time, waiting for change. For a while now I have been doing just that, and I have to stop now or I might go mad.

Over the next few days I’ll share more about this (lucky you!) but yesterday morning I was thinking about the brilliant Radical Self Love Movement and how maybe I should start my own. So I’m going to start tagging these posts with my own version, #avoluptuouslove.

Cheesy, innit? I don’t even care. I need something to fire me up in the mornings and this might be it.

So, you may wonder what I did on Monday after my light bulb moment. I’ll tell you.

I did three wee things:

  1. I started listening to the highly motivational Bangs and a Bun The No Bullshit Guide to Life podcast (here). Oh, really? Not familiar? Well you should get on it because I really think there is something for everyone within. My favourite so far has been How Do You Define Yourself? as it really hit home in a number of ways.You know the best thing about this whole discovery (I’ve been meaning to tune in for some time, after following Muireann (AKA B&aB) on Twitter and Instagram for the longest time)? I tweeted her to say thank you and that she’d really struck a nerve. And she tweeted back! Suffice to say I am even more smitten now.
  2. I bought my blog a birthday cake (above). But then I had to eat it. Which is okay really, because we’re worth it.
  3. I wrote this post.

So, this is my vow to have nothing but #avoluptuouslove for myself and others, from now on.

The Reluctant Baker

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Baking the right way

I baked a cake this weekend.

I was going to wax lyrical for a while about how inept I am in the kitchen but examining the evidence, I’m not sure that is the case. Based on cooking Christmas dinner last year for five people (successfully) and now this cake, I would have to describe myself as a perfectly adequate chef.

However, unlike my talented baker friends, I do not class this past time as one of my favourites. Given the choice, I would set foot in my kitchen only to replenish cups of tea and to grab a biscuit every half hour. I do, of course, feed the family, sometimes without complaint and that is about as far as my affair with domesticity goes.

But Mr Bee needs a cake for next Thursday and I’m a nice woman. Oh and he wasn’t convinced I could do it successfully so part of the appeal of this experiment was to stick two fingers up at him. I hate being told I can’t do something.

So he gathered the ingredients and I mustered the enthusiasm and together our peanut butter cake was born!

It’s delish by the way. I won’t include a recipe as this isn’t a baking blog but I was so proud of my handiwork that I took a bunch of pictures and they tell the story just fine.

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Ingredients / So far unused baking goodies / Messy kitchen

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Fresh out the oven / Success! / Details

In your face Mr Bee! For the record I should say he wasn’t being mean about my skills really. And he did sort of help, making sure I had all relevant utensils to hand and washing things up as soon as I was done with them. Basically, he was the perfect assistant.

What have I learnt from yesterday’s Bake Off? Well, I now understand the joy baking can bring. I’m ridiculously chuffed that it turned out so well and am also proud I can take some to work with me tomorrow. The girls in my office have all had a go at bringing the homemade cakes in and I’m always only too willing to eat them. Now it’s my turn!

Incidentally, if you’re a baker and would like to add some gorgeous ideas and recipes to your collection, check out my friend Boo at Lip Smackin’ Treats. She’s really good.

Now, for a giant slab of MY cake and a nice strong cuppa. Happy Sunday all!

An Object of Beauty: Getting to Grips With Self Love

I read this cartoon (left) on Facebook yesterday morning. It made me smile.

Of course it simplifies the Body Hate issue somewhat, but I don’t feel it diminishes the message: you wouldn’t starve, verbally abuse or overfeed a pet, would you? So why is it okay to do it to yourself?

Since Self Love is something I have been halfheartedly working towards for the last few months, something about this strip sticks. Plus the simple issue of general Body Standards and how absolutely no woman can win, no matter who she is.

This topic, for me, is a hard one. It’s hard to admit that you are starting to despise parts of yourself, or to admit that the view you have of yourself is out of control; that you feel like The Blob on your very worst days and would happily stay indoors until you have enough strength to fake some confidence.

It’s hard when you read a lot of blogs by so-called ‘plus size’ women (yuk to that phrase) who inspire every day and you know – you know they are right – that we must say fuck off to this unrealistic standard of beauty. Yet, we still beat ourselves up, don’t we?

My relationship with myself is full of contradiction, as most women’s doubtless are. I am happy to be bigger than most of my female friends, yet I’m not happy being *this big*But then, the smaller I get and more I see positive results, the more critical I get of myself. Then there’s the self-sabotage and the panic that I will lose who I am, if I lose the things that make me Me.

Where the fuck does it end? (Spoiler alert: I don’t think it does).

Anyway, this is not all woah is me. I’m here to talk about how I am going to handle my shit. How I propose to start loving myself.

Clue: I’m going to start treating my body like a puppy!

It’s going to be this simple: I will eat good things, but also cake when I feel like it. I will walk everywhere as much as possible. I will ignore that horrible bitchy voice within that tells me I’m a monster.

I will stop comparing myself to others, because that will never end well. I will get on with life, go out. See people.

When it all gets too much, and I find myself throwing insults at the mirror, I am going to remind myself that if my body was an animal, would I speak to it this way? Would I speak to another human being in this fashion? And would I accept it, if someone spoke to me like that? Probably not, so I’m not going to accept this behaviour from myself either.

It stops today!

So what do you do to make yourself feel better when you’re not feeling your best? I’d be interested to know any and all techniques!