Friday, 20 November 2015

BEDN - Friday Update

I've had a lovely day catching up with a friend today in Bristol. Much wandering around in shops was undertaken - although not much actual buying was done - a miracle! Although it might have been useful to actually do some Christmas shopping. Oops!

Bristol has a pretty amazing Christmas Market happening at the moment and the photo above is of a  giant cone of light above a cafe. Awesome.

I definitely need to start getting organised for Christmas. No last minute panics for me. No sir.

After a day of wandering around, eating too much and lots of chatting I'm just about ready to curl up under my duvet.

I hope your weekends are filled with all things lovely. I'm feeling inspired to get some serious Christmas planning done.

Bye for now xx

Thursday, 19 November 2015

BEDN - Beauty

Link to original image
I started writing a post about make-up for this BEDN prompt and then realised that as much as I love make-up and all things pretty, that isn't really what beauty is about.

So instead I thought I'd share this quote from the most amazing Roald Dahl.

And I like to think it's true!

Bye for now xx

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

BEDN - Entrepreneurship Week

I have so much admiration for anyone with entrepreneurial skills. So often I've had little business ideas working their way around in my head, but have never had the confidence to just go for it.

I've dipped my toe into the world of business start-ups a few times - normally with a crafty focus, but have never gone any further. My recent foray into the world of small business ownership has given me the courage to try and develop this further - so at the moment I'm making some plans for a business start-up in 2016 - with a focus on cross stitch. Now, I've been here before (several times) but feel far more motivated and confident than before, so I'm feeling very excited about the whole idea.

In the interim I thought I'd share some of my favourite people who have turned their passion into a crafty/ arty business...

Gemma Correll has been a favourite illustrator of mine for a few years now - it started with my pug obsession and has grown as Gemma's portfolio of cute and quirky designs has developed.

Sublime Stitching - I have Sublime Stitching to thank for helping me develop my embroidery skills beyond the world of Cross Stitch. I love the business that the founder, Jenny Hart, has set up - making embroidery fun, accessible and modern. 

What Delilah Did - I could not love the cross stitch designs from What Delilah Did any more than I do. I have her books, used her designs in my wedding and am currently working my way through the CinderMouse stitch along. Sophie Simpson has developed a truly stylish craft business.

If you have any inspiring examples of crafty businesses I'd love to hear about them!

Bye for now xx

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

BEDN - Home Sweet Home for Christmas

It's pretty much a yearly tradition for me that around this time in November I start browsing Cath Kidston's Christmas range and imagining just how pretty and nostalgic my home could look if I made some purchases. I never do - because - you know - any spare income is clearly used for presents - but it doesn't hurt to dream!

Here are some of my favourites from this year (clockwise from top left):

1. Christmas Ditsy Napkins - I love this little print!

2. Christmas Tea Towel

3. Billie set of 2 decorations

4. Snowman Salt & Pepper Shakers

5. Merry Christmas glass tumbler - this is my absolute favourite - I love the design so much - although, honestly, I have no idea where I would store some Christmas glasses for the other 11 months of the year!

Bye for now xx

Monday, 16 November 2015

BEDN - Anti-Bullying Week

Imagine if everyone followed Thumper's advice - what a wonderful world it would be.

Unfortunately life isn't that simple, and the online world seems to have opened up new and exciting avenues for people who would like to make others feel like crap.

Bullying is never ok.

If you need any support because you're a victim of bullying in its many shapes and sizes then go to Bullying UK .

Sunday, 15 November 2015

BEDN - My current favourite YouTube Video

I spend less time on YouTube than I used to. I'm finding some pf the Vloggers I used to watch a little bit...forced...and aimed at the tween market.

However, every now and then another little gem (normally involving a ridiculous animal) grabs my attention.

Teddy Bear the talking porcupine is no exception. I watch this video and suddenly the stresses of the day melt away.

So if you haven't been introduced to this chatty little guy before, enjoy.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

BEDN - My Expertise

Print from TheNativeState on Etsy

The prompt for today's 'Blog Every Day in November' is 'What is your Expertise'.

Which is a question I apparently find it difficult to answer. I asked my beloved what my expertise is and his answer was 'faffing' - ie spending a lot of time doing not much. He may have a point.

In relation to my crafty pursuits I feel confident in saying that my expertise is embroidery. I've been cross-stitching for many years and feel like I'm confident in what I'm doing to the point where I could teach others - I think that makes it an expertise.

Outside of that I'm stuck. I don't think it comes naturally to me to sell my skills, knowledge or expertise, and that is something I need to work on. As a step in the right direction, here are some things I think I'm good at...

  1. Being loyal
  2. Listening
  3. Writing lists 
  4. Finding the perfect present
  5. Remebering song lyrics (a skill that will help me in no way whatsoever)
Is it just me that finds it hard to define my expertise?!

Bye for now xx 

Friday, 13 November 2015

Thursday, 12 November 2015

BEDN - My Local Area

It can be so easy to take your local area for granted. At first I had to sit for a little while when I saw this blogging prompt, racking my brain for what to write about.

That then led to an aimless browse through the photos on my phone - which was closely followed by the realisation I live on the doorstep of some seriously beautiful sights.

So for this post I thought I'd share a few places that are about 15 minutes from where I live - and I suddenly feel very privileged.

I live in Plymouth, in the South West of the UK. I moved here about 8 years ago but still feel like I'm exploring.

Here are a few of my favourite places...

Burrator Reservoir is my place to go when I feel like I need to get some space. It's a good walk around the perimeter of the reservoir (about 4 miles) and on the right day the views are just stunning. The wildlife is pretty lovely to see - lots of ponies, sheep, deer and some seriously aggressive geese are a common sight.

Aquariums have been on my favourite attractions list from a really young age. I'm just slightly fascinated by the world in the water - it seems so - alien. The National Marine Aquarium is no exception - some beautiful tanks full of slightly magical things. I find it super relaxing so is a place I visit often.

Dartmoor National Park is a breathtaking area of Moorland, perfect for walks to blow the cobwebs away. I've realised that I don't have any photos that do it any justice so I think that means it's time to head out with my camera (I might wait for the rain to stop first!).

...and lastly - Buckland Abbey, which is a National Trust Property. I found it hard to pick a photo for this place, but I'm a little bit in love with this gate. The Abbey itself is just lovely, and has a really interesting history and the restaurant serves a one-pot barbecue bean meal which is to die for! Now I'm a National Trust member (oh my word, I suddenly feel so old) I plan to go there often, so expect more pictures in the future! that's it...although actually it's only really scratching the surface.

I'm feeling inspired to do some exploring xx

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

BEDN - Lists

I love making lists, so this post will be a list of the reasons why I love lists...

...not really (that would be list-based madness!).

However, one reason why I love lists is that they are an excuse to buy more stationery (I'm starting to think I should be a stationery blog)! Here are some pretty nifty pads for list writing for a range of different purposes...

Paperchase - Nordic Nights

The Nordic Nights design at Paperchase at the moment is definitely one of my favourites. This list book is perfect - just look at the haven of list based loveliness it contains...
Also from Paperchase is a cute pad for writing out your wishlists...

Owl Wishlist Pad

 I have a handy little notepad in my kitchen for writing out shopping lists (before I forget that I actually need things!), and this pad from East of India is perfect...

East of India Shopping List Pad

And lastly, a couple of pads from Ohh Dear (which is fast becoming my new most favourite online shop!)...
Ohh Dear Floral Desk Pad

How did we ever cope in the days before Desk Pads? I rely on mine every day for writing out my schedule/ to do list/ other little things I need to remember!

And lastly, just because sometimes your list needs to give you a bit of motivation...

Ohh Deer - Kick Ass Pad

Happy Listing xx

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

BEDN - Family & the Innocent Big Knit

Print by DesignsbyNicolina on Etsy

 I think it goes without saying that family is incredibly important to me. I have a small family but treasure every moment I get to spend with them, and feel very lucky and privileged to be part of the family I have,

Recently (partly because of some campaigning to raise awareness in the UK), I've been thinking a lot about people who have no-one in their lives to talk to.

Age UK are a charity focused on supporting the elderly. They currently estimate that a million older people in the UK haven't spoken to anyone in a month. This fact, couple with some heart wrenching videos of people describing the loneliness of their lives has made me consider what I can to do help.

Ultimately I'd like to volunteer to be someone who calls an older person for a chat, to break up the silence of their day. At the moment this scheme is only open to corporate members and not members of the public. So in the interim I'm settling for helping out with the Innocent Big Knit. The Big Knit involves Innocent butting little tiny woolly hats on their smoothies, and 25p of every bottle sold is donated to Age UK.

So get a crafty project to do, which will help a charity support those in need. It's a win-win.

Image from Age UK

And in case you needed any more persuading - there are some free patterns for tiny hats, both knitted and crocheted - including an adorable little ow, a fox cub and a banana - what more could you need?

The deadline for hats is 11th December so I'd better get started!

Bye for now xx

Monday, 9 November 2015

BEDN - Style

I've been shopping around for some dresses for the Christmas holidays recently, and I'm totally in love with the idea of going retro this year. I dip in and out of the retro 1950s style (depending entirely on how confident I'm feeling at the time.

I love black, white and red as a combination. Maybe I have Frank Miller's Sin City to blame for that. Either way this little style board I've collated on Pinterest is pretty much making me drool at the moment.

I mean, come on, a brooch with a ray gun in the middle..seriously...can accessories get any better than that?

Now for the big dilemma - red shoes, black shoes or black just with red detail? I can't decide (and therefore assume the correct answer is all of them - no?)

Bye for now xx

Sunday, 8 November 2015

BEDN - Self-Care Sunday - My go-to Lush products

My self-care Sunday post is dedicated to the Lush products I use regularly. I became a Lush skin care convert about 6 years ago. My skin was going through a particularly difficult patch - really dry and just generally uncomfortable. A trip into Lush changed all of that and I haven't looked back.

For reference, in case you're thinking of trying these products, I have combination skin but it generally leans more to the oily side of town.

So here are my everyday essentials for my face - they keep my skin moisturised, non flaky and pretty much clear of blemishes - hurrah!

1. Ultrabland - this is my everyday cleanser. Containing beeswax and honey, it has a really subtle smell and removes all my make-up. I literally apply to dry skin and then remove using moist cotton wool and it removes even my toughest make-up.

2. Eau Roma - this is my favourite toner (and I've tried a lot). Containing rose water it smells heavenly and helps to calm my skin - especially useful as the weather gets colder and the wind gets harsher. I use this after cleansing each day by just spritzing on a piece of cotton wool. It seems like the perfect partner for using after Ultrabland as it helps remove the last little traces.

3. Imperialis -  this moisturiser has a really lovely subtle floral smell - particularly of lavender and has completely sorted out all of my dry skin problems - but it's also perfect for my oily areas - how does it do that? Magic I tell you!

So that's the three products from Lush I use every day without fail. I have more favourites and I'm sure they'll appear here at a later date!

Have a lovely Sunday and don't forget to give yourself some care time!

Bye for now xx

Saturday, 7 November 2015

BEDN - Unusual Hobbies (aka my secret eraser stash of shame)

Today's prompt for Blog Every Day in November is Unusual Hobbies, and the little guy above is a bit of a hint about mine.

As a bit of a crafter I guess I have quite a few hobbies which wouldn't be considered as that unusual. However - I do have another hobby which I guess is a little unusual - I collect erasers (or for the 80's kids of the UK out there - rubbers - a word which has taken on a whole new meaning now)!

My love for stationery in general started when I was about 8 years old, and I don't think there's been a point in my life when it has lessened at all! So now I keep a box of erasers - about 90% of them of animals. I'm always on the look-out for a new eraser to add to the stash. A bit weird, huh?

This is a very tiny selection of some of the newer erasers in my collection...

And then there's all the vintage animals erasers - these were totally the favourite style of eraser for 8-year-old me...

Honestly though - this is the tip of the iceberg regarding my eraser stash - I may have a problem. It's a good job they're tiny and take up no space!

Do you have any 'unusual' hobbies or collections (although I can't help but think that everyone's hobbies are probably considered unusual by other people who just don't 'get' whatever that hobby may be!)?

Right, time to go and browse e-Bay for some more of the vintage erasers of my childhood collection.

Gah! I need help!

Bye for now xx

Friday, 6 November 2015

BEDN - Friday Night in...

I don't ask much from my Friday nights - some serious relaxation is really all I'm looking for. I'm trying to start a bit of a Friday night relaxation routine at the moment to help me unwind. It starts with listening to some music which I know will chill me out - Mumford & Sons, Ben Howard, Tom Odell...something along those lines.

As I mentioned in my recent Hello Fresh post - I'm really enjoying learning to do a bit of decent cooking, so that has definitely formed part of my Friday night in.

Next up is some crafting - and I feel a little bit happier with the world knowing that a book dedicated only to stitching Benedict Cumberbatch related patterns has been published. I snapped that bad boy up straight away because...well...I'm pretty sure it needs no explanation. Friday nights in will be dedicated to a bit of Cumberstitching for the near future.

And lastly - no Friday night in would be complete without something great on the TV. At the moment I can't recommend anything more than Mr Robot - I've watched my way through it once and am now on the return visit. It's mindblowing. I absolutely loved every minute. I'm not going to attempt a review - I wouldn't do it justice (the trailers for it certainly don't), but if you like beautiful imagery, acting so engaging you don't want to blink and some themes that make you sit back and think then this is probably for you (it's certainly not a show full of unicorns and rainbows though so if the grittier side of life isn't for you then this might be one to avoid).

If you have any ideas for the perfect Friday night in I'd love to hear them...or the perfect Friday night
out (I have those too...occasionally!).

Bye for now x

Thursday, 5 November 2015

BEDN - Fireworks

Ahh fireworks - the beautiful lights shooting through the sky, the smell of bonfires in the air ... the idiots setting them off in dangerous places (aka the bus shelter near my house). I have a love-hate relationship with fireworks. They're so pretty and conjure some happy memories of being wrapped up in wooly layers oohing and ahhing as they do their thing.

The only thing I hate is the danger they pose to animals...and to some of the people that use them.

Buy hey, I don't want to sound like a fireworks scrooge so here are some photos I took using the fireworks setting on my camera (I was so impressed with this - these fireworks were probably about 6 miles in the distance and love the effect here)!

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

BEDN - Photography

I have a new camera! It's a Fujifilm FinePix S9400W and I'm in love. I could not be less qualified to review a camera so I'm not going to even try - there's a detailed review here in case you're interested.

There's no doubt in my mind that it's really wildlife photography I'd like to learn more about and practice. The first time I ever really used a camera was snapping pictures of animals on a school trip to a farm (the same visit that made me decide eating meat was not for me - clearly an important trip in my formative years) - and my love for photographing wildlife has stuck - I just have literally no clue about the techniques or skills involved.

I thought I'd share a few of my favourite wildlife pics taken so far on my new camera...

A bunny taken from afar...

Gorgeous bird of prey at a display event...

A flower and bee close-up

And the wildest of all wildlife - my kitties...Clara's photo is at the top of this post and then there's Bob...

I'm fairly sure I have more photos of my cats than is healthy...seriously. 

I've started an on-line course in photography to try and develop my skills so hope to be able to share some more of my pics in the future!

If anyone has any good tips I'd love to hear them!

Bye for now xx

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

BEDN - Food Glorious Food

I love the BEDN prompt for today because I've recently started to try and learn the fine art of cooking items that are slightly more complex than pasta & sauce and a curry straight out of the jar.

I guess I can be a bit of a lazy cook - I struggle to keep my cupboards stocked with all the ingredients needed to cook things from scratch and so resort to things that are quick and easy. That changed a few weeks ago when a friend referred me to Hello Fresh.

Hello Fresh is a weekly subscription service which delivers a box full of all the ingredients and instructions needed to cook three different meals for two people (different amounts available). I'm two weeks in to my subscription and here are my thoughts:

The recipes
The recipes so far have been absolutely gorgeous and really easy to follow. I've gone for the vegetarian option because the only meat I eat is fish, and they've honestly been some of the tastiest vegetarian meals I've ever cooked - including a paella, a greek ragu, a persian soup, welsh rarebit...

and my favourite so far, nachos!

The instructions come on individual cards with all the information in easy to follow steps...and mean you can make the meals again...and again...bonus!

The ingredients

The ingredients have been so lovely so far - the fresh food has been gorgeous. A lot of the ingredients are organic and everything in general has been of a really high quality.

The ingredients mostly come measured out already, which has really helped take out some of my initial terror when it comes to dabbling in some new recipes and techniques.


I'm a bit torn on the value. The subscription I'm on is £36 per week which seemed a bit expensive at first - there's no way we'd normally spend that on three meals. However - the portion sizes are really generous, ingredients are stunning and I'm actually learning some new skills so it's pretty much a cookery course from the comfort of my own home. Everything is really well packaged as well (with a very innovative use of sheep's wool to keep things cool). When I add everything up it's good value for me, for now. I'm not sure that it would be without the 'experience' element, but as long as they keep up with a variety of recipes I'm happy!

Overall experience

 There are a couple of things I'd like to change - although I've loved the recipes so far, being able to have a bit of choice about what is arriving each week would be great. I'd also love to be able to occasionally add in one of the fish options every now and then. The only other downside is the price which is likely to stop a lot of people from signing up. However - the Mr and I have had some fun cooking together, I'm gaining in confidence regarding how to put together meals from scratch and how to use some ingredients I haven't tried before - and have now had six flipping gorgeous meals.

So far I'm definitely a happy Hello Fresh customer - I just need to perfect my food photography skills and I'll be posting my own recipes here in no time...errrr...maybe.

Bye for now!!

Monday, 2 November 2015

BEDN - Monday Love

Print from TheWatermelonFactory on Etsy

In general I have to confess that I don't particularly like Mondays. If I dig deep into my subconscious I sure my hatred mild dislike of Mondays is linked to my childhood obsession with Garfield and his clear disdain for this particular day (I mean...the little fuzzball even had a whole book dedicated to his hatred of Mondays)...

Available at RetroActiveToys on Etsy

But if I put my grumpy inner-Garfield to one side I kind of like the idea that Mondays should be seen as a fresh start - a time to try something new or approach an old problem in a new way. Having this as a blogging prompt for today inspired to try a few new things today and I thought I'd share in case they help spread the Monday love...

  1. Buy a new piece of stationery - I appreciate this is probably a more positive step for people like me who are stationery obsessed, but stick with me on this one any bizarre people out there who don't drool over a shiny new pen. Today I bought a lovely new notebook to start writing out some of my work notes in. It felt like an automatic fresh start  
  2. Take some time for some planning - Whatever your current commitments in life, a little bit of time out at the beginning of the week to plan next steps/ a schedule for the week can help it seem a bit less overwhelming. And if you have a shiny new notebook to write it out in? Bonus.
  3. Do at least one thing that will make you smile - It's really easy to get sucked into the negative vacuum of a bad Monday - so taking some time out to call a friend, watch a favourite TV programme or read a chapter of a book can help shake that off and put it into perspective. Do something for you or a loved one that makes you happy, just because you can.  
  4. Write a list of good things that are going to happen this week - I'm a massive fan of to-do lists but my Monday to-do list can be kind of terrifying. To combat this I'm made a seperate list of some of the nicer things I plan to do this week - go to the gym, start my Christmas crafting, seeing family. It's really helped me to balance the bad with the good and stopped that total feeling of being overwhlmed (it's also a wonderful excuse to buy your favourite indulgence just know...buying it is a good thing you're going to do this week)
  5. Be mindful - I've started using Headspace to learn mindfulness techniques and oh my god the positive impact it's having is huge. So it you feel yourself getting into a Monday panic take a deep breath (or 10) and spend a few minutes on calming your mind. Headspace is fab, but there are loads of online guides/ books and apps to support in learning the techniques.
Although Mondays can sometimes be a bit difficult to deal with, working out a little strategy for getting through them with a smile can really help....and it'll be Friday before you know it!

 Now go kick Monday's arse!

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Blog Every Day in November - Something New

Blog Every Day in November badge

I did the 'Blog Every Day in November' over at Rosalilium a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it as a way of encouraging and supporting me back into writing. I am again. 

My blogging habits of late have mostly involved having lots of ideas floating around my head but getting none of them onto my blog. Be that because of writers block, lack of confidence in my blogging ability or a total lack of focus (uh-huh- tick, tick and tick). Whatever the excuse, I'm hoping that this will get me past that little block I currently have.

Today's prompt is 'Something new about yourself' so here's a few new things I've been up to recently which may find themselves creeping into my blog very soon...

  1. I've joined a gym! (that's right...exercise my friends, exercise)
  2. I've started an Etsy shop - finally!
  3. I've joined the National Trust and am spending some lovely days wandering around some beautiful places 
  4. I've invested in a new camera and a photography course - time to learn how to take pictures that aren't a fuzzy mess!
  5. For the first time ever I've started getting organised for Christmas early - presents are being bought, and crafty projects started - so no more last minute panic on Christmas Eve sewing presents until I lose my vision and all feeling in my hands - this year I'll be a super organised Christmas goddess. Uh-huh, that's me!
Anyway, I'm looking forward to being around these parts a lot more in November - see you very soon!

Kat xx

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Collection Crush - Cath Kidston Woodland Rose

It's been a while since there has been a pattern collection at Cath Kidston which I've loved enough to want to invest in. My bank account has been very happy with this, but I've missed having any Cath Kidston kitsch to add to birthday and Christmas wish lists. However, with the release of the new ranges this has all changed. There are some truly lovely new items. I have a sneaky suspicion a few of my Collection Crush posts will be Cath Kidston related! For today I thought I'd share my overall favourite pattern - Woodland Rose. The pattern comes in two slightly different colour ways - with an emphasis on either red or yellow.

Here are my favourite items with a red focus...

1. Sausage Dog Shaped Dish - I mean, seriously, could a dish get any cuter? I have no idea what I'd serve in it (Banana Split maybe?) but I'm not sure that functionality has a role to play when it comes to dog shaped serving devices!
2. Bento Box - This would make my lunches much prettier to eat
3. Soup Flask - I'm not sure I have enough soup to warrant a flask but it's so pretty!

And my favourite items with a yellow focus...

4. Glass Tumbler - I'm decorating my lounge in blues and yellows at the moment and am now dreaming of serving people drinks in matching glasses (any excuse to buy new glasses)
5. Digital Scales - Pretty and practical
6. Leaf-Shaped Dishes - I love the idea of serving all kinds of retro party food on these - so incredibly pretty
7. Gola Trainers - These are going on my birthday wishlist without a doubt - I'm normally a fan of super practical trainers but these are too cute and perfect for more laid-back wanderings

I'm really happy to have some Cath Kidston items to drool over again whenever I fancy a spot of cyber window-shopping (is that a thing)? I've also just found out that my home town is getting a Cath Kidston pop-up shop - hurrah!!

I'd love to hear if you have any favourites in the new ranges.

Bye for now
Kat xx

Monday, 3 August 2015

Motif Monday - I Am Groot

James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy found a place in my heart after the first viewing - by the third viewing I was pretty sure it was one of my all time favourite films. Seriously. I went to the cinema to see it three times. That's a record for me. As it turns out, the third time was the evening before my (now) husband proposed to me so that has added an extra layer of happy attachment to it.

It's now the films one year anniversary as it was released a year ago in cinemas across the world. In that time - this little big fella has definitely become one of my most loved characters. Quite an achievement for a character who has a three word vocab. I love his sense of family, loyalty and friendship though - and his love of nature. Oh, and his big heroic act (which I won't spoil for anyone who hasn't seen this yet - although - what do you mean you haven't seen it yet? Go watch it. Now!) has me in tears every time. 

So if you're a Groot fan like me here's a little motif you can cross stitch to add some Groot love to the world. I haven't had a chance to stitch him up yet as I've been finishing a project, but I'm hoping to get him stitched up in the next couple of days.

Until then here's the pattern - nice and simple, although with a few half stitches thrown in to give him his shape. He just requires two different browns and a black, so hopefully not too taxing on your floss stash!

If you have any questions about the pattern just let me know. If you use him at all don't forget to post a link to your completed project!

We are Groot!

Happy stitching xx