Moonko Christmas Gift Guide

Christmas seems to have come around pretty darn fast this year. I’m already seeing Christmas trees up and hearing Christmas songs at the shops. There’s a vast array of jumpers available for those in the Christmas spirit and it’s getting ridiculous the amount of people who I’ve heard have finished their Christmas shopping. Yep already in November.

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It’s sometimes hard finding gifts for loved ones and friends especially when you want something a little different or unique. Independent sellers are a great way to tick all these boxes and you can be happy knowing a lot of hard work and care went into your perfect pressies.

Moonko is one of these brilliant independent sellers. Based in a bright and cheerful shop on Division St, Sheffield you can buy a vast array of wears from many established and up and coming designers. There’s also a lovely website for those to far away from the shop.

Here’s a selection from the store that really caught my eye.

Merchant & Mills Rapid Repair Kit
23uhOybfet7P07EUuaS2FoujkYwThis is a brilliant thing to give as a present because it’s so handy. It holds everything that you might need for those last minute repairs on clothing. I have one and it’s saved me plenty of times when the hems have come down on my trousers. The tin is small and portable and will suit complete novices who need to use it in an emergency up to those who frequently sew. Merchant & Mills are a well known brand in the drapery and tailor world so you can rest assured that the quality is top notch and that you’re giving the best.

Available online and in store for £15

Bonbi Forest Locket

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These look stunning! They’re available in silver or gold plated brass and all the artwork is unique. As you can see there’s a nice selection with some more Christmas themed than others. I love how different they are and how quirky the charm on the chain is. All the illustrations are drawn by Lee May Foster-Wilson and have been drawn with love and care. The lockets are a nice enough size to wear everyday or save for best. I’m sure there’ll be a locket with a design to suit everyones style and tastes. Added bonus they come in a little organza bag to make them extra special.

The store has a nice selection in and they’re available in the jewellery section of the website for a great price of £19

Nathalie Bond Handmade Candle and Soap

lqlJxDgUwoRAu2BH988ndBQweuAThis is one of those gifts that your nose will persuade you to buy. The geranium candle smells beautiful and luckily Moonko have it in two sizes. The geranium soap contains rose petals so will leave you feeling pretty and smelling flowery fresh. Both the candle and soap are handmade with natural and organic ingredients so are great for those of us that are sensitive to strong fragrances and nasty ingredients. All Nathalie Bond products are created in Sheffield and I’m sure you’ll be falling in love with the collection soon.

The Handmade Small Candle is £11 and the Handmade soap is £5.

Stoneware Whisky Cup

Everyone needs a wee dram of whisky or a hot toddy during winter so why not have aFRghBNBVy-njFuVLqHPg1yrvNsk proper whisky cup to drink it out of? And if you’re not a whisky fan then use it for the drink of your choice! There is a great range of cups available but these really caught my eye. They’re handmade in Scotland by Tom Butcher so each one is different and has it’s own character. They’ll stand out in any household and be useful to everyone.

Get your own whiskey cup for £10

 

Donna Wilson Squirrel Beaker and Tea Towel

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I love the entire Donna Wilson collection but the squirrels put a big smile on your face. Everyone uses a cup for their morning cuppa so what better gift to send. Tea towels are always useful too especially one that tells you to “Use my tail to dry your dishes.”tvaKLwj3QnUpoCdN2MbqEcjux20 These would be great for students and adults alike. You’ll definitely know who the cup belongs to. The illustrations look great and vibrant and the quality is brilliant with the cup being handmade and printed in Stoke-on-Trent and the tea towel printed there too.

The beaker is available for £15.25 and tea towel for £12.

 

Hopefully this list will have given you some ideas and steered you towards the independent scene for gifts this christmas. Everything should be available in Moonko’s store and online (subject to availability). Locals can also make use of the click and collect service which coincidentally gives you an excuse to go shopping. Don’t get stressed out in big stores this year and remember to treat yourself!

 

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Late Night Ramblings of a Girl Who Was Defeated By An Allergy Test

I know I have bad allergies and I know I have anaphylaxis. I know I have a strange condition called Idiopathic Angiodema. To some extent I know what I’m allergic to. I didn’t, however, know I was properly allergic to peanuts, walnuts and brazil nuts until that damn skin test yesterday.

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Yesterday I had to go to the hospital for a skin prick test. For those of you who don’t know what a skin prick test entails or have never been through one I’m happy to tell you all about it.

I had my skin test at the allergy clinic. Here the doctor goes through a list of commonIMG_1577 allergens and ticks off what they want you tested for. In my case I was tested for pollen, tree pollen, weed pollen, peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, brazil nuts and pistachios. They’ll also put a negative and positive test on you. This is all done on your inner arm. The negative and positive tests are put on your arm as control tests. Everyone will have a reaction to the positive one.

I hear you asking how do they know what they’ve tested you for? They write on you in pen. Then they put a little drop of the solution with the allergen in it next to the correct letter. e.g. the walnut solution went next to the W. After they put the drop on your arm in the correct place they stab you with a lancet. Honestly this part doesn’t hurt. You feel a tiny stab for every allergen you’re being tested for. That’s the easy part.

You then have to hope you’re not actually allergic to anything you’re being tested for. If you’re unfortunate to have a skin reaction then you get told not to itch it. I had a reaction to 5 out of 9 things and it felt like my arm was on fire. Or been eaten by ants. It doesn’t hurt really it’s just DAMN UNCOMFORTABLE. 15 minutes later a nurse comes back to measure the “reaction.” It all gets very technical because they measure the weal and the flare (the red bit) with a ruler… Pressed against your itchy skin. The bigger the weal the more they can tell if you’re allergic.

tumblr_m0os6c7kSE1qzr2ctThey give you a guide about a “nut free diet” where you realise all the foods you usually eat and your favourite foods are in there. You mourn the loss of toffee nut lattes and sob when you realise coconuts are classed as nuts in this case.

You also throw a fit over the fact that a nut allergy ruins all chances of you joining the military or feeling safe enough to be a journalist in a conflict zone. Being allergic to flowers is easy, just stay away from them. Many foods in the Middle East contain nuts. Hell many foods here do. At least our medical services aren’t too bad so I know I won’t die.

It’s like feeling trapped. You can only go certain places. You have to ask 100 questions at every restaurant you go to. You sometimes feel that down over it all you just chance it anyway. YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT’S IN THAT LOVELY LOOKING CAKE, and the people behind the counter usually aren’t that sure either. I was comfortable with my allergies before. They were things I could stay away from and nuts were something that were not a dead certainty to cause me harm. Now it’s a strange new nut free zone. And honestly I hate it.

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Happy Birthday Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco!

Actress. Mother. Philanthropist. Style Icon. Princess of Monaco.

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Today would have been Grace Kelly’s 85th Birthday. She was as famous an actress as she was a Princess and will always be remembered for her fashion choices, very private private life and for her leading roles opposite some very famous leading men. When she gave up acting to marry Prince Rainier of Monaco Hollywood and her fans literally mourned the loss of such an amazing and dedicated actress but we would soon see her as  the perfect Princess. She took all her duties in her stride, put her family first and became world known in her charity work.

We would then mourn her again, when aged 52, she died after a car crash. Many she had worked with throughout her life would attend her funeral including Princess Diana, Cary Grant and James Stewart who read a eulogy.

Grace, you gave us such delicate yet strong performances that showed us what a strong woman you were and what strong women we could be. You’re remembered even today for your fashion style and your beautiful hairstyle. You charmed audiences and the likes of James Stewart, Clark Gable, Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra and all the other men you acted opposite. Not many other women retired from acting and had Alfred Hitchcock trying to persuade them back into the business.

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We leave you with a humorous clip from Grace’s last ever film, released in 1956, High Society.

Well Did You Evah’s Guide To WWI Films

In this household we watch a lot of films. I have a love for war films but I tend to find that the majority I do watch are WWII based. With this week being special, it’s remembrance day on the 11th November in the Centenary year of the start of WWI, I thought It’d be a good idea to educate you in the world of World War I films. Here I’ll pick 5 of my favourites that are memorable, shocking, and very different from each other.

 

War Horse (2011)

WAR HORSEHow this film makes me sob every time I watch it. Poor horses. This film is directed by Steven Spielberg and is based on the Michael Morpurgo book of the same name. The story revolves around Albert, a Devon lad, who joins up the war just to find his horse who was sold to the cavalry to aid the military effort. He vows to find the horse no matter what. The film basically follows the horse around and we see different aspects of the war from the frontline to a small devastated family who come to be in possession of the horse. It’s a touching story because it leaves none of the brutality and scariness out of the war. You basically fear for the horse. You fear for Albert searching for his horse. It’s a war film that takes you on a journey and makes you think more about what you’re seeing.

Paths of Glory (1957)

Paths of Glory is such a great World War I film because it shows the so called coward best-paths-glory-1957side of the war. Again this is based on a book, Paths of Glory by Humphrey Cobb, and the film is directed by Stanley Kubrick. The film follows four French soldiers who refuse to follow orders to undertake a mission because it is a suicide mission. Set in black and white we see the gore and devastation of the war, especially from a French perspective. The men are tried for cowardice and are eventually executed by firing squad even though their Colonel has fought their side. Paths of Glory is a film that really needs paying attention to, the cinematography and story are fantastic with so many twists and lots of WWI politics involved.

Wings (1927)

Wings is a silent film that still maintains and shows all the drama involved with war. It’s kind of light hearted for a war film in that Clara Bow’s character is in a love triangle, the wings-1927-002-mary-david-and-jacktwo guys go off to war thinking they’ve both won her heart then she becomes an ambulance driver in the war and unintentionally meets one of the guys in Paris, France. As in all silent films the drama seems a lot more intense with the music. The acting is superb and the romantic storyline running along the war will make it a hit for a broader audience. The ending is quite emotional with a twist of fate. It doesn’t seem as realistic a war film in todays terms but you have to remember before the 1950’s they made films on what sold well.

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

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I chose this one because it’s based on factual events and looks at T.E. Lawrence’s time in the Arabian Peninsula during WWI so is completely different to the fighting and side of war a lot of films depict. Lawrence of Arabia shows us a lot of customs and difficulties a Western man might face in Arabia during the first world war. The fighting bares no resemblance to what the front lines in Belgium were seeing and the military there appear to be doing something completely different to the military in Europe. Peter O’ Toole and Omar Sharif bring life to the characters they play yet manage to have a military seriousness to the end. A great film to watch to get a different perspective on the war

African Queen (1951)

Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn star in this brilliant film set at the beginning Hepburn_bogart_african_queenof WWI in German owned East Africa. Again this is a different side of the war. Hepburn plays a missionary and Bogart is the captain of the little boat, The African Queen, who brings in all the mail. War breaks out and they watch the Germans destroy the villages. Brilliantly Hepburn decides that the little boat can be modified into a torpedo boat to sink the big German gunboat that is blocking the river, and the way out. Fun ensues and the chemistry between Bogart and Hepburn makes the film enjoyable while still being a serious war film at the same time. The African Queen is a film that you can learn a lot from while smiling as well.

 

These are just five of the films that I love to watch and find entertaining, daunting and educational at the same time. War films can be scary but some can be fun and romantic so everyone can watch.

Just remember, what those brave men and women did for us will never be correctly or sufficiently shown in a film. All that can be done is recreations for us to watch, and ultimately, enjoy.

War Horse is on BBC One this Sunday 16th November at 8pm. 

York Coffee: The Perky Peacock

York is one of those places that suits everyone. It’s historical, touristy, quirky and studenty all at once. It’s even better for hidden gems of the coffee variety. We’ve become quite the York lovers over the years and added together with our love for coffee, cake and artisan foods we thought it was a no brainer to share our knowledge with you.

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Perky Peacock at Lendal Bridge.

One of our all time favourites is The Perky Peacock. Perky is in two locations, one in the tower at Lendal Bridge (blink and you’ll miss it) and the other on Gillygate very close to York St. John Uni. It’s all ran by the wonderful Nicola Peacock and her fantastic team. Nicola knows all there is to know about the food and coffee they sell and can put together an excellent bacon butty on Via Vecchia’s cheese bread. The coffee comes from Origin Coffee Roasters and no matter who makes your drink the coffee is wonderful. All food products are baked freshly every day and sourced locally which should keep everyone visiting York very happy. If you manage to get to the Lendal Bridge one early enough you’ll find yourself being led there by the smell of bacon.

The team put together a great range of sandwiches everyday and the shop at Gillygate do wonderful warm sandwiches and platters to suit everyone’s tastes. The bread PerkyIMG_1553 uses is an art form by itself, none of this plastic bread or stuff that looks rustic, all the bread is supplied by the guys at Via Vecchia so is artisan to the very core and is literally produced 2 minutes away from both shops on the Shambles. Bluebird Bakery also have some input with their temptingly gooey brownies. Honestly you’ll have to take one home. Both sites are completely different to each other but still a great place to chill out with a lovingly made coffee and a slab of cake. The ranges of cakes they have everyday is amazing and their NobHobs rival the Mcvities version.

In Cat’s uni days Nicola even made porridge with marshmallows along with a hot chocolate with marshmallows. Unforgettable really. If you have a take out drink from Perky take a look at the cup and try not to smile.

Things to most definitely try: Bacon butty on cheese bread and a flat white.

Things to look out for: Any cakes that catch your eye and the awesome tote bags. Help promote Perky Peacock! Oh and watch out for the rising water line when it rains badly at Lendal Bridge.

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