1, 2, 3….Cheese (club)!!!

Have you ever been involved in a cheese stampede?  It’s a unique but pleasurable experience that came about from our involvement in ‘Club Homage2Fromage‘.

Cheese club is a bit like fight club but with less violence (other than a few stray elbows).  They don’t ban you from speaking about it, but they do have rules.  Actual written rules.

Hello-walls-cheese-club

Homage2Fromage takes its cheese seriously. It isn’t a cheese and wine night, wine has no business jockeying for attention.  It’s all about the cheese, unsullied by alcoholic distractions (other that those you buy yourself).  Just because it’s serious about cheese, doesn’t mean that it’s a humourless event though.  Far from it.  In fact there were a lot of cheese puns going on (more of those later).

So far Liz has been to a Manchester event and I’ve been to events in Leeds and Bradford.  They all work the same way – you pay for a ticket, scoff as much cheese as you like, but you taste the cheeses blind to encourage you to be adventurous.  Afterwards the cheeses are revealed, so you can find out if you’ve been cheating on your trusty Stilton by declaring a Fourme d’Ambert as your favourite (a bit like blind swinging but with less serious moral implications).

Hello-walls-cheese-club

The Homage2Fromage folks know how to cheese complement and condiment.  The cheeses are lovingly arranged on rustic wooden and slate platters with an abundance of grapes, celery, tomatoes, apples crackers, breads and chutneys nestled in and amongst. Appropriate cutting implements for each cheese are provided and they are unwaveringly generous with portions.  You can eat like a cheese overlord for a measly £8-£10.

You get a plate, a stack of bread, and at the call of ‘1,2,3….cheese!’ it’s every man for himself as you rush towards the trestle tables.  Some show polite restraint in only cutting a sliver, most go for a small hunk, and some groups strategise and dissipate around the room to seek out priority cheeses in slabs big enough for 4 or 6 (an effective but less gentlemanly approach). You must queue, and you mustn’t touch the cheese before they call CHEESE – them’s the rules.

Hello-walls-cheese-club

Afterwards the cheeses are unveiled and lovingly described by Nick and Vicki (your hosts).  Occasionally there are cheese themed quizzes involved (not for the naive cheese eater) and at the 3rd birthday event we attended at the Adelphi in Leeds there was even a cheese themed joke contest (my personal favourite: Q. What kind of cheese do you use to disguise a small horse? A. Mascarpone).

Homage2Fromage currently run events in Sheffield, Leeds, Manchester, Harrogate and (most recently) Bradford and Farsley, so check out their website.  They’ve got French events lined up for July, but be quick – they sell out pretty fast (especially in Leeds and Manchester) – you wouldn’t want to miss out on the cheesy action.

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Hola Walls! Buenos Aires Street Art Tour

Street mural of tortoise with ammunition on shell

For a blog called Hello Walls we don’t talk about walls very often.  That would perhaps get a bit niche after a while though I suppose, but these particular walls are pretty darn special.  I  discovered them during my trip to Argentina and Chilelast November when we opted onto a walking tour with Buenos Aires Street Art.

A German, ex-scientist-turned-street artist took us round several residential neighbourhoods to the north west of the city centre.  He introduced our little group to a whole new international community of street artist and muralists.

Buenos Aires Street Art - mural of female head

The city attracts worldwide renowned street artists like Italian, ‘Blu‘, Argentinian artist Martín Ron, and Australian Fintan Magee.

Buenos Aires Street mural of disembodied head against a sky by Martin Ron

We learnt about the etiquette of street art in Buenos Aires.  For example, you should always ask before painting someone’s house wall.  However if you want street art on your house but don’t volunteer to pay, you shouldn’t expect to get a say in the artist’s subject (the peacock mural below was supposed to be a tiger but the owner didn’t cough up…).

Buenos Aires Street Art - Peacock Mural

IMG_4161

There’s also a big difference between street art and graffiti art, and the two do not like to be confused with one another.  There’s a mutual respect in some quarters, but occasionally lines get crossed (see exhibit A below).

Buenos Aires Street Art Tour - Mural of Bull Fighting

I learnt a lot about the intricacies of street art; the different nozzles used, the techniques for shading and texture, and different styles and methods.

I draw like a five year old, and am immensly impressed with anyone who can sketch a half decent human figures, never mind paint one 20 feet high.  I therefore definitely have an appreciation for the amount of effort that goes into planning and executing these murals and the talent behind each art work.

It’s a shame that Banksy’s the only one that’s crossed over into common popular culture in the UK – hopefully word will spread, and they’ll become more valued (although hopefully not to the extent that people chip them off the walls to sell to private bidders).

Buenos Aires Street art of woman with chicken slung on back

The Buenos Aires Street Art Tours run a few times a week and cost a bargainous US$20 (about £13).  I’d wager that’s better value than a number of more ‘traditional’ art galleries, plus you get a healthy walk in the mix.  Apparently there are more of these cropping up in different cities globally, including London, so I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled when I’m next on my travels.

Buenos Aires Street Art - outstretched hand

Buenos Aires Street Art - Mural of a head by Blu

What do you think?  Would you go on a street art tour, or would you prefer to spend time in an art gallery if you had the choice?  Would you ever want one on the side of your house?

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Etsy Picks: Woven Magic

woven items choseny by Hello Walls

Head over to Esty to see the complete woven themed collection.

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Mix Tape: Glastonbury 2015

This time next week the Hello Walls team will be on their way to Glastonbury 2015. I think it’s fair to say we’re a little excited so here’s a selection of tracks from our favourite acts.

Let the countdown commence….

 

 

Original image ‘Dangleglove’ by: Giles Moss via Flickr

1. Gangster Tripping Fatboy Slim
2. I’ll Take You There The Staple Singers
3. Huarache Lights Hot Chip
4. The Drowners Suede
5. I Heard the Angels Singln’ Eric Bibb
6. Tell Me Again Ron Sexsmith
7. Hell Is Around The Corner Tricky
8. Lately I Am Kloot
9. Railing Roni Size/Reprazent
10. Groove It Out Lonelady
11. Because The Night [Live on OGWT] Patti Smith
12. Music: Response The Chemical Brothers
13. Release The Pressure Leftfield
14. To Be Young Ryan Adams
15. All Of My Thoughts Spiritualized
16. Superstylin’ Groove Armada

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Moss Cider: Pony Up For Manchester’s Finest!

Moss Cider Bottle label

Cider from Manchester you say? Manchester, New Hampshire?  Nope – Manchester as in the other side of the Pennines.

This particular cider came to me courtesy of Liz – the girl’s always good with a gift.  And was sourced in her (adopted) home town.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from a cider made on one of the most notorious estates in Manchester.  Hard apples?   Apples that have taken a bruising?  Apples that haven’t fallen far from the tree? It does have a little chequered flat cap that indicate it’s northern upbringing, but beyond that I think it stands its ground admirably against southern softie ciders.

Top of Moss Cider bottle with herringbone patterned cap

The Moss Cider project takes donated apples and turns them into small batch ciders, and has plans to develop its own orchard in which to nurture home grown fruit.

Thirsty Pony describes itself as ‘tangy’ and it’s not kidding.  It’s definitely on the sour side, and I found this pale, cloudy cider to be too tart for my tastes to drink on it’s own, but when paired with food it really came into its own.  We had it with a steak and blue cheese salad and it worked perfectly to balance out the rich, creamy cheese, almost like a bitter rather than a cider (but not as heavy).

Moss Cider is only currently available in selective stockists around Manchester, but if you see it it’s definitely worth picking up and supporting Dan Hasler and his vision to turn an old Stagecoach bus depot into a thriving cider hub.

 

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Etsy Picks: Totally Tropical

ETSY-picks-totally-tropical

Head over to our Etsy treasury to see more of our totally tropical taste(ful) picks!

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A Snoop Around Our Favourite Rooms

Have you seen the Habitat Voyeur ad?  It’s a touch racy, but we’re loving all the sumptuous red and copper 70’s style, and envying the very hip pads of the creative folk featured on the site (and coveting their outfits).

Peeking into our houses isn’t quite as thrill inducing, but everyone enjoys a nosey now and then (and some people make a full time hobby of it), so here’s a little tour of our own habitats, and our respective picks from the Habitat collection…

Kath's-place

Kath's-house-dining

My art wall is mainly sourced from Etsy, but I found these two little weird creatures in a wall in Barcelona (they have friends in Liz’s house). The milk bottle is from my grandad’s farm and makes a perfect specimin vase for the flowers I accidentally break in my garden (I’m more clumsy-fingered than green-fingered).

Kath's-house-mantle

Now that my garden is taking shape, I try to make use of the free outisde flower supply when I can – this blossom on the living room mantle is from our quince tree.

Kath's-house-dresser

I love ceramics and vintage curios, so I’m forever rearranging the bits and pieces on this dresser. I was going to replace the images in the photoframes, but I’ve become rather attached to the stern looking chap and the winsome ladies.

Kath's-house-shoes

I have a soft spot for antique mahogany furniture – I love the warm tones of the wood, and the shoe ladder was my inspired idea to make efficient use of space in my bedroom (I’ve colonised 80% of it so far…)

Kath's-house-globe

The globe lives in our spare room, so our visitors can plot their travels. Our desk is framed by washing lines of art postcards – I pick them up every time I visit a gallery. I affixed them with some twine and mini pegs so I can switch them out whenever I want to change the view.

Kath's-habitat-picks

1. Mickey Natural – Rattan dining chair £60   2. Peeta – white metal and wood desk lamp £28   3. Hop – grey hare patterend cushion £12   4. Trunk – small grey metal storage trunk £35   5. Flap – small analogue wall clock £60   6. Marne – small yellow jug £5  7. Marteau – copper coated brass ceiling light £150

Liz's-pad

Liz's-house-study

My room. My stuff. I love my office. The shelving and wireframe storage mean everything is lifted off the desk, giving me more space to work – or to make a mess…

Liz's-house-sweden

I’m obsessed with Sweden and here lies my shrine. Dalahest (Dala Horse) is my fave, rescued from Stockholms Stadsmission. Clearly he’s had a tough life but it was his broken nose that appealed to me.

Liz's-house-objetcs

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.’ — William Morris.

I have a lot of random objects in my house, and quite a few are animal themed. They’re not in any way useful but I, at least, believe them to be beautiful.

Liz's-house-bathroom

The smallest room in the house – my bathroom. Note the animal detail continues…

Liz's-habitat-picks

1. Ginnie – orange office chair £70  2. Tommy – yellow metal desk lamp £18  3. Sushi – cat patterned cushion £12  4. Pollo – grey metal wire chicken object £25  5. Durrie – red/white patterned floor cushion £95  6. Durdle – blue patterned small vase £18  7. Hatch Yellow – metal yellow bin £20

 

This post was created in collaboration with Habitat

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Apple Crate Side Table

Say hello to the newest addition to our dining room!

In its previous life it was a pre-war apple crate, but with a bit of TLC it’s been re-purposed into a  2-4-1 piece of furniture, providing us with a new side table for our settle as well as some overflow storage for my (allegedly excessive) recipe book collection.

I picked it up on eBay for a bargainous £16.95  including UK postage.  They are sold pretty rough and ready, so they aren’t washed or sanded and they show a bit of wear and tear, but it doesn’t take much effort to get them looking pretty.

I gave this one a light sand down  – enough to knock off the roughest edges, but not so much that it sanded away the original branding, or the rustic look and feel.  Originally I was going to wax it, and I did use a clear Briwax on the inside (worked in with some wire wool), but I switched up to a couple of coats of clear varnish on the outside to give more protection from water marks and to seal some of the remaining rough, splintery bits.

All in all it was about £20 and an hour or so’s labour to give this crate a second lease of life (and in a cider lover’s home – very fitting!)

 

p.s. if you don’t fancy the hassle of prepping them yourself, you can also pick some up here from Baileys Store where they pre-scrub them for you.

 

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Rad Studio: Funky Homeware & Gifts In Saltaire, Yorkshire

Retail-crushes-radstudio

Liz and I are longtime fans of the village of Saltaire in West Yorkshire.  Not only is the UNESCO World Heritage Site home to Salts Mill and host to our beloved Bradford Beer Festival, but it’s also boasts a great range of independent shops, making it a hotspot for design and vintage lovers.

Rad Studio on the Saltaire main street is a riot of colour and fantastic spot for picking up design-friendly homewares and gifts that suit a range of budgets.

I stop in every time I’m in the village and find it very difficult to leave empty handed – I’ve picked up cards, jewellery, an iphone case, gifts and some pretty little copper and ceramic bowls which I use to house my earrings and bracelets.

earrings in small green and copper bowls

It’s got a great laid-back vibe, which I love, as my pet hate is high-design concept shops that make you feel intimidated or under pressure to buy. It’s lovely owner Ali is on twitter over at @radstudiouk, so you can follow her there for updates on special offers and new items in store.

I’ve selected some of my favourites below (under the cut), from their website, but if you’re in the area it’s definitely worth stopping in for a mooch around as they have an even bigger range in store…

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Etsy Picks: Band Of Gold

ETSY-band-of-gold

Head over to Etsy to view more items with a hint of gold bling…

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