Sunday, 29 June 2014

ask her friends: the summer gift wishlist

I'm back over at Ask Her Friends this month, taking part in the blogger panel for June; this time, the brief was to choose a set of summer-themed gifts, so I opted for a cut-out vintage map bird print to add a touch of summer to the wall, a simple necklace to wear with floaty frocks, a rose scented candle to bring the flowers inside and a hamper to make the most of the beautifully sunny weather. I also chose a Serenity bouquet from Appleyard, made up of roses, daisies and lizianthus - summer in a vase.

To be in with a chance of winning a gift voucher worth £50 to spend on the Ask Her Friends website, you can head over and vote for my set - but be quick, there's only a few hours left. Go, go, go!

From top: Gold Pyramid Necklace by Bohemia Design // Dyptique Rose Scented Candle from The Collection //
Vintage Map Birds Trio Art by Bombus //  Cheltenham Fitted Picnic Hamper by Regency Hampers //
Serenity Bouquet by Appleyard


Thursday, 26 June 2014

we are adventuring

At the moment, when every other blogger and magazine writer seems to be trotting off to all the festivals and jetting off to different countries, or packing up their posh bell tents and vintage camper vans, we are in the midst of probably the skintest period in our entire lives. Copywriting has peaks and troughs, and while I've got enough to keep us ticking over, we're certainly not going to be buying organic handwash or heading out for dinner any time soon (it was the Husband's birthday yesterday - we spent the afternoon in the garden, then had a takeaway pizza and a banoffee pie from Waitrose with a candle stuck in it....).

Still, they say that comparison is the thief of joy, so to be honest, I'm steering clear of blogs and websites at the moment; the last thing I want to do is get caught up in that downward spiral of self pity that's so easy to get sucked into. We might not have much (any!) money, but we have our health, and a home and each other, so we've still been making the most of the beautiful weather with plenty of day trips out to parks, gardens and beaches; watching the kiddos is the best possible therapy, as they're at their happiest with a wide open space, some nature to explore and a scooter to whizz about on. Daisy is utterly fearless; she embraces every experience with open arms and an open heart, diving into water, rolling through long grass and enthusing over everything, while Ben is more cautious and likes to examine creatures carefully, get lost in his own thoughts and read his beloved Lego comics. They both remind me of what's important in life, and I think the times when you feel like you have nothing are the times when you realise you've got the most.

We pack pretty much the same things for days out, regardless of where we're going; the usual suncream-anorak-hat-wellies combination (because this is England, after all!), and then some other bits and pieces which we almost always use.

  • Being super skint means that we haven't been able to go out for good coffee for ages, so we've started taking our own out with us in a flask (ours is not nearly as wonderful as the vintage one above, but it's a good representation, don't you think?), and then drinking from sturdy beakers or enamel mugs - if we're heading out for the day, we take a cool bag and our picnic basket with us to hold the food (because there's nothing worse than warm, squashed sandwiches!). 
  • With Daisy being in nappies, we still have to take some spares, wipes and whatnot with us, so the Husband usually carries all this (plus some toys and books) in a backpack; he used to have a Kanken, but the zip broke after about a year, so we've replaced it with a Mi Pac - they come in a huge range of prints and colours, and have all sorts of nifty elements, like the waterproof headphone socket and padded laptop section. (This sounds like a sponsored post, but it isn't - we're just really pleased with our bag!)
  • We always take at least a couple of towels with us, and the obvious blanket - although the clouds might be out when you leave, the sun can appear at any time, turning it from a huddling-on-the-shore day to a throwing-yourself-into-the-sea-with-abandon day, and you want somewhere comfy to dry off. 
  • We don't usually take many toys with us, just a ball or scooters, because Daisy and Ben prefer to just run about and explore, but I always take a magazine or two, just in case there's a chance I get five minutes to myself; I'm currently in love with Cereal and Another Escape, which combine stunning photography with beautifully written articles. I've been reading Cereal for a little while, but only just tried out Another Escape - they're both really interesting, and I find myself coming away feeling like I've learned something magnificent and unusual. 
  • Apart from that, we take drinks and snacks (Fentimans for a treat, fruit juice otherwise!) and my huge straw bag to carry any extras and found treasures in. Oh, and of course there's my camera - I take that on every trip we go on, even if it's just the local park!
That's pretty much  my tips for packing for a day trip - what do you think is an essential for a great day out? I always wonder if I'm forgetting something vital!


Tuesday, 17 June 2014

found: Jonah//Reenders

I've been obsessed with making plans for adventuring lately; we're planning on buying a tent at last, which means I'm now trawling Pinterest and the internet to discover places to go and find cool bits of kit to take with us (if anyone has any tips or 'must have' items, do feel free to leave them in the comments section!). Not only that, but we're off to stay in this amazing eco-hut in August, which I am BEYOND excited about - it's got a vegetable patch, chickens and opens onto local woodland and fields, and is right next to the coast. Can. Not. Wait.

Anyway, last night I ended up on one of those random Pinterest-Tumblr-Internet rambles, where you leap from one website to another, and suddenly I found myself at the blog of Jonah Reenders, an amazing photographer and adventurer. I love his photography work; for me, it manages to be calm and vibrant at the same time, and I adore the way he mixes up images of his friends with the wonders of local landscapes and nature. Not only that, but he sells his work on Society 6 - I've spent the last half an hour scrolling through, pondering on which one would work with the botanical prints in our bathroom. I think we need bigger walls.

Monday, 9 June 2014

hayling island and rosie loves vintage

Over the half term (which seems like ages ago now!) the Husband had some time off of work, which meant we got extra time to go out exploring. Being out and about is my absolute favourite thing to do when the weather warms up - even if it's raining (which it was quite a lot of the time!), I still love just chucking everything into the back of the car and setting off for the day. We're thinking about buying a tent so we can spend our weekends travelling the country, but so far there seems to be a hell of a lot of stuff to buy, and our bank account is looking pretty, erm, slender.

Hayling Island is literally minutes away from our house; a couple of junctions down the motorway, and we're crossing the bridge onto coastal heaven. If you like modern cafes, contemporary shops and plenty of things to do, don't bother visiting - Hayling Island is a little bit like the Land that Time Forgot, which is probably why I love it so much; there are plenty of lovely antiques, farm shops and rural walks, but not a lot else. We drove through the village of Northney, which is full of tiny cottages, wildflowers and open fields - I could have happily stayed forever!

I fell hugely in love with Northney Farm farmhouse with it's thatched roof, English Country garden, red window frames and chickens scratching about in the yard - heavenly!

I also stumbled (I say 'stumbled' - the Husband was driving past, and I screeched, 'STOP!') across the most beautiful little shop called Rosie Loves Vintage; outside there were piles of wicker and woven baskets, old suitcases and wooden crates, but what caught my eye was a beautiful vintage sewing basket.

Big floral patterns just aren't my bag at all, so when I saw this ditsy printed fabric, I snatched it up straight away - what made it even more wonderful was that it was just £5!

 Inside, there were piles of old lace and embroidered handkerchiefs, mismatched crockery, vintage books and games, and furniture that had been beautifully upcycled by the owner; I had a little poke around and was even more overjoyed to find some vintage style botanic prints. I've been looking for some for the bathroom wall for ages, but they're all way out of my price range - these were marked at a purse-friendly £3.50 each, which made me a very happy lady indeed.


Thursday, 5 June 2014

bloggers at home: little green shed

In the second of my nosy little series about bloggers beautiful spaces, I'm bringing you a peek inside the lovely Bristol home of Lou Archell from Little Green Shed. If you haven't already visited her blog, make sure you do; it's a wonderful mix of simplicity, calm and beautiful imagery - I highly recommend settling in for a read with a nice big slab of cake. 

Hello, thank you for having me! I must admit, when Victoria asked me if I would be interested in doing this, I really freaked out about my messy house. But once I chose the room and gave it a good ole clean, I really enjoyed this process of taking images. I hope you like it; my lounge is very much a 'work in process'. I think Pinterest is to blame really. Always finding inspiration in other peoples homes.

My lounge is possibly one of the smallest rooms in the house. We use it for relaxing, watching movies as a family, and as a grown-up space away from the mayhem of the rest of the house. I love mid-century furniture, mainly because you can pick them up pretty cheaply and they have a great shape, and lend themselves well to being upcycled. I painted the little chest of drawers in the corner recently with Farrow & Ball Molesbreath. I think it looks great.

As you can see, I am a lover of plants and nature. We have a 'curio cupboard' which contains our family 'treasure'. Things the boys have found whilst out adventuring; a sheep skull, shells, seed heads and so on. Not for the faint hearted I know, but we love it. On top of the cupboard is a small card sculpture by my son Charlie. He made it in art class, it's a 3d sculpture of London, I adore it and will treasure it forever.

I have many plants in this room, I think it adds a sense of calm and peace. Just what I need after a busy day working and being mum. The small pot with a face on is by Atelier Stella (she has a monthly sale, and they sell out pretty quickly too). The terrarium bowl is from the Pippa and Ike Show - I must remember to do the tutorial for this as part of my Nature in the Home series.

I love our big sofa, it was a lucky Freecycle find. In fact, most of the things in the room have either been 'found' or cost no more than £20. On the sofa are cushions I have made and bought, including some by Donna Wilson and Hello Milky. On the wall by the window is one of my favourite prints, it's by Bold and Noble and is called 'Trees around Britain'. Are you noticing a nature theme here?

Thank you Victoria for having me! I hope you liked having a little peek into my world.

Huge thanks to Lou for taking part in the Bloggers at Home series; to see more, head over to Little Green Shed, or look for #natureinthehome and #52loaves on Instagram, both started by Lou herself.

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