Tuesday, 31 January 2017

January Round-Up - The Month in Review

Uhhh...what just happened to that month? 2017 has been fairly kind to me so far. Busy...but kind. I thought I'd start doing a bit of a monthly round-up of how I'm progressing with my resolutions and thinking about the month ahead.

My Blogging Resolutions

I've stuck to my blogging schedule...hurrah! I still want to do a lot more here..and make it more personal...but for now I'm back in the flow of blogging, which I've really loved. I'm worrying less about whether my posts fit the blogging mould and that's helping me get over my blogging-block. I also want to get more crafty on here, so that's a goal for February.

My Personal Resolutions

I've been trying to focus a lot on my health this month, and it's been working. I've lost weight (yay!) and feel like I have lots more energy. So I plan to keep up with that for Feb. The aspect I need to focus on more is de-stressing. I think it's just in my personality to worry about things and with the worry comes the stress. A February goal is to try mindfulness to combat that. I've definitely managed to look for the positive this month, instead of focusing on the negative, and have spent lots of quiet time with loved ones doing things I enjoy. For February I want to get back to doing a lot more crafting...I've signed up to 2 crafts swaps over at Craftster to help with that! I'm definitely frozen with fear when it comes to starting up my online that's something to work on over the next few months!

What I've loved this month (as told through blog posts)

1. Using my happiness planner this month to focus on the positives each day

2. Learning how to make beeswax candles

3. Discovering Readly, which is a far cheaper way of feeding my magazine addiction!

4. Watching this is us...definitely my favourite TV show of 2017 (so far)

5. Having a relaxing day out with Hubby and Puppy

6. Joining a book club, which has got be back into regular reading 

So there we go January is finished and I'm looking forward to February. I'm hoping it gets warmer and the evenings get lighter. I'd love to get some crafting projects finished, some more books read and some new places visited.

How was your January? I hope it has been kind to you too...and here's to a love-filled February!

Bye for now


Monday, 30 January 2017

Subscription Box Reveal - Papergang

My Papergang Subscription has arrived...and it's my favourite yet. The artwork on the items is so, so lovely!

Here's the box itself, which is a little hint of the beauty inside...

Read on for more pics of what was inside (and...don't forget...spoilers!)...

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Sunday Best - Monograms

I'm really happy to see that the monogram trend seems to be here to stay this season. It's a given that you can't beat the design of a black letter in a classic font on a white background but there are some really gorgeous designs that give the old classic a new twist. I've been searching around for some monogram pressies recently and so thought I'd share a few of my favourites for today's Sunday Best.

Slide View: 2: Buoyant Letters Mug

These Buoyant Letter Mugs from Anthropologie are combining two of my favourite things...monograms and blue. Love them!

Slide View: 2: Monogrammed Meadow Trinket DishSlide View: 1: Monogrammed Meadow Trinket Dish

Also from Anthropologie (who are, after all, the kings of the monogram) are these really pretty meadow trinket dishes. I'm a bit disappointed my initial has a kite rather than something a little bit more awesome (Koala, Kangaroo, erm...Kazoo?) but they would make the cutest presents, maybe teamed with a little soap or some earrings.

Hand Illustrated Monogram Notebook

These notebooks from Not on the Highstreet give a cute modern twist to the monogram design.

Personalised Floral Monogram Print Green

...and this monogram print from Not on the Highstreet would be so perfect for a little girl's room 

And lastly - I love these clay gift tags by The Squid Ink Co on Etsy so much that I think I'm going to plan what birthdays I need to buy for over the next few months and then but a little stash of them - they'd make any wrapped present look so special but then would be really cute to pin on the wall afterwards....and at £2 each they are an absolute bargain! 

Are you a fan of the monogram letter trend? One thing that does always amuse me is the letter range that is always left in the sales...there aren't enough people with names starting with Q or Z in the world...that's for sure!

Bye for now


Saturday, 28 January 2017

Doggy Days Out - January Edit

I've definitely found that since getting a dog I've been exploring more places and I've seen some truly beautiful places. At first I found I needed to adjust to the fact that having a dog with me limited what I could access, particularly at National Trust properties (not that I can imagine for a second why most of the properties don't want you to take a dirty smelly whirling ball of chaos into their beautiful old buildings).

However - I've found myself doing a lot more walking around grounds, instead of walking around old houses, and have seen some old places in new ways.

I thought I'd share one outing each month on here. Our walks aren't earth shattering in their excitement, but I try to get some pretty pictures and these walks are definitely an important part of my lifestyle now. I live in the South West of the UK, so the posts may be a little tiny bit biased towards this area...but I'm hoping it'll encourage me to explore more areas. I'll mostly tell the story of the visit in photos but if you have any questions just ask!

For today my doggy day out was at Buckland Abbey. The Abbey is steeped in history and is a National Trust property but for me the most amazing part of the Abbey is the incredible sense of peace and restfulness which just seems to surround the grounds. It was raining when we arrived...but that didn't put us off...and we were rewarded with a rainbow...

...and then the sun came out...yay! (although that lasted about 10 minutes)...

If you have a dog with you, you can't go into the Abbey, for obvious reasons - but you can see the Abbey as you walk around...

There are a few different walks you can take - depending on your stamina. We chose the shorter walk today (partly because a welcome addition to the rain was hail...woo!), and that took about 50 mins (allowing plenty of time for Indy to sniff everything in sight). The walk follows a path through some fields and then through a forest. It's absolutely beautiful, and there's a lot of wildlife to be seen... well as beautiful views...

At the end of a long walk the reward is food and drink (hurrah!). If it's not raining or pelting tiny bullets of ice at you then you can eat with your doggy pal in the courtyard. Today the wiser choice was to shelter in a cute little room at the back of the courtyard which dogs are allowed in...bonus. 

The menu is pretty comprehensive - soup, paninis, jacket potatoes, sandwiches...all very lovely and warming.

Indy seemed to have a lovely day...he got to drag lots of sticks along the ground, eat part of a sausage roll, and get really, really, really soggy. Three of his favourite things...bonus.

This was just a super relaxing afternoon of walking, taking photographs, and eating comforting food. It was exactly what we all needed. We looked pretty terrible after the first no photos of us...but we didn't even mind the rain.

If you're ever in South Devon and looking for somewhere to take your doggy pal I can honestly recommend Buckland Abbey. It's peaceful, beautiful and can either involve a short or long walk. Oh, and it has my favourite National Trust gift shop. I can't believe I almost forgot the gift shop!

I hope you enjoyed the photos of January's doggy day out...I'm already planning February's venue (and hoping for sunshine!).

Bye for now


Friday, 27 January 2017

That Friday Feeling...This is Us, Lightboxes and a Funky Tune!

This week has simultaneously flown by and seemed to last forever. I'm not sure how that's possible, but there we go!

I think lots of deadlines and lots of 'to-do lists' have left me feeling like I've been fighting to achieve things all week, but that I've just run out of time to get everything done!

It's the weekend though...hurrah! I'm got some work to do, but also some chilling, and some crafting, so I'm feeling pretty content right now (and I have a pizza cooking in the oven...bonus!).

Here are a few things that have been bringing a little bit of loveliness my way this week...

What I've been watching...

This is Us is probably my favourite TV show at the moment. With only one episode a week available (rather than the binge watching of series we're used to these days) it's a little piece of pure and beautiful pleasure. I don't want to give anything away but if you enjoy a heartfelt, character driven show then I couldn't recommend this highly enough. It's made me cry and laugh all at the same time and I adore every single one of the characters. It's a perfect show to curl up and watch while wearing a giant dressing gown and drinking a big ol' mug of tea. If you haven't seen it yet, it's currently showing on Channel 4 in the UK and so some episodes are on All 4.

What I've been decorating my home with...

I love my lightbox. I've had it for a couple of months now and have changed the message a few times. There's something quite lovely about thinking of a positive message you want to display and then undertaking the game of 'do I have the right letters'. The answer to that game is often 'no' so I'm looking into buying some additional letters (and I've found you can get some different symbols for lightboxes too...yay!)

What I've been listening to...

I have a habit of getting addicted to songs. At the moment it's Sing by Ed Sheeran. I've needed a bit of uplifting this week and this helps every time. Love it!

Whatever you are doing I hope you have a lovely weekend, I'm hoping to set some time aside to do some crafting and take some photographs for blog posts, so wish me luck!

Bye for now


Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Collection Crush - Marigold at Marks and Spencer

The 1970's are alive and well in Marks and Spencer for their new season of 'Marigold' home ware. The colours in this collection are so pretty and remind me of spring. The oven gloves also totally remind me of a pair my mum had so they get plus points for nostalgia. Here are a few of my favourites:

1. Tea, coffee and sugar tins

2. Oven Gloves 

3. Tea Towell 

4. Apron

Bye for now!


Sunday, 22 January 2017

Sunday Best - Valentine's Presents for under £10

Buying presents for Valentine's Day is pretty simple in our house - we generally buy each other a book and write a cute little message inside it. However, for the last couple of years I've also bought a little gift to go alongside the book. I'm definitely not a believer in over-the-top gestures on Valentine's Day but there's nothing wrong with a little treat (or two). Here's my selection of my favourite finds from Not on the Highstreet, all with a price tag under £10.

I actually bought this last year...because oh my's a lobster cookie ...and is also a reference to one of my favourite Friends episodes ever: Lobster Biscuit

This 'reasons why I love you' tag book is such a cute and simple idea

Everyone loves a fortune cookie and I love the idea of giving your beloved a personalised message in one...and also the challenge of writing it in the traditional fortune cookie style.

I think I might get a couple of these personalised photo letter coasters for my desk at work - they're a cute way of having photos around without creating desk clutter. I think they'd also make a sweet Valentine's present with a favourite photo of you and your loved one (you, woman, cat, dog, parakeet...whomever it may be)

If you have any ideas for simple and sweet Valentine's presents I'd love to hear them!

Bye for now.


Friday, 20 January 2017

That Friday Feeling...Hygge, Crafting and The Fresh Prince

Hello, hello! Welcome again to my favourite time of the week...Friday evening! This week I've been focusing on really trying to create a relaxed and comfy feeling each evening. Lots of crochet, reading and gentle TV viewing has definitely helped me feel more calm and content each evening.

What I've been watching...

In West Philadelphia born and raised....I'm so happy that the Fresh Prince of Bel Air has arrive on Netflix in the UK. It used to be a favourite of mine, and it's definitely standing the test of time - it's had me laughing aloud so many times (and not just because of some of the fashion choices). I'm not as pleased to realise that I'm closer in age to Aunt Viv than to Will mind you...

What I've been pinning...

I'm well and truly sucked in to the Hygge lifestyle. I think it helps that it's pretty much I how decorated my home and tried to live anyway...but I even find pinning pretty Hygge inspired pictures relaxing!

What I've been crafting...

I can't share pictures yet, but I've signed up to a craft swap over at Craftster and I'm really happy to be back to craft swapping - I love making things for people (way more than crafting for myself) and the craft swaps just help focus that on a theme. It's definitely helping me to set aside some time for creative things as well, which I desperately need! If you're crafty and haven't visited Craftster I'd definitely recommend it - it's a really lovely community.

This weekend I have a lovely family day planned, some crafting and some work (boo to deadlines) - all of which will be achieved in a state of Hygge peace and tranquillity, of course (or chaos...definitely one or the other). Whatever your weekend holds I hope it's a good one.

Bye for now!


Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Collection Crush - No Probllama at Paperchase

I've realised recently that whenever I post items/ crafts/ collections of 'things' that involve animals/ birds/ all creatures great and small I always start by saying that I "love (insert creature here)". That's mostly because I genuinely do get so much happiness from watching/ being around most living things (not slugs...never slugs) but I do have a list of my favourites, and llamas are definitely on them. This new range from Paperchase - No Probllama - is perfect in it's style, colour, pompominess (new word) and name. A few of my favourites are above and follow the links below for more llama and pom pom joy...

1. Tin Tray

2. No Probllama Pouch

3. Luggage Tag

 4. Set of Drawers

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Sunday Best - Valentine's Cards

Whether you have a partner, someone you want to be your partner or someone you think is awesome and should be told as much, valentine's cards can be a cute way to spread some love ( quiet the part of my brain which tells me it's just a money making scam developed by greeting card companies).

I've been browsing for a card for my better half this week, and there are so many funny and cute cards out there this year that I couldn't resist sharing some of my favourites from selection of online shops...

This might be the most perfect card yet. Absolute genius. I almost want to send it to myself!

If you're shopping for a card for a loved one I hope this little round-up has helped suggest some places to browse through. If you're not then take that money and treat yourself to something pretty.

Bye for now


Saturday, 14 January 2017

Stitch 'n' Tell - Cross Stitch Otter

Today I thought I'd share a completed cross stitch project which has been keeping me very busy(I have a few of these on the go!).

This was a present for my dad who is a big otter fan. I'm so happy with how this little guy turned out but have to admit I found him a challenge! I'm better with projects that involve lots of different colours so I don't get bored - but this kit was obviously predominantly brown. I didn't complete the whole picture (as it's quite honestly massive and I didn't want a detailed border around the otter), but this is what the completed project would look like if all of the outlines were added...

The kit itself was perfectly put together and really clear with good quality threads and fabric included. Although I found the design a bit challenging at times, the fine detail of the otter is just so stunning it was worth it in the long run.

If you fancy a challenge, the kit can be found here. I'm going to go and get on with my next project...a Christmas robin who wasn't quite ready in time for Christmas....with any luck he'll be ready for Christmas 2017!

Bye for now


Friday, 13 January 2017

That Friday Feeling...Rocking out, Magazines and The Cranes

It's Friday the 13th! I'm not really superstitious but still always treat this date with extra caution! Really Friday 13th marks nothing other than the start of a new weekend...hurrah!

This week the glow of the Christmas holidays has definitely worn off and I'm very happy to have made it to Friday! Here are a few of the things I've been doing this week to keep calm and carry on (I know, I know...that phrase is sooo 2013!).

What I've been watching...

Frasier - I had the best advent calendar ever this year - 24 days of Frasier, with 2 discus from the all-season box set received in an envelope each day. I'm still working my way through all of the episodes and loving every nostalgic minute. So funny and I think Frasier, Niles and Martin's relationship is one of favourite on-screen dynamics ever.

What I've been reading...

Readly - A friend introduced me to readly - a digital magazine subscription service - and I may never have a dull moment again. I've had a love of magazines since buying by first copy of 'Mizz' as a teen and I'm always popping over to the magazine section for a browse. The problem is that I end up throwing them away to try and clear clutter. I'm so happy to have found a way of having loads (and I mean loads) of my favourite magazines at my fingertips...amazing! The only problem is getting myself to be productive because the magazines are luring me in with their pretty pictures and bitesize pieces of information!

What I've been playing...

Yeah - there's nothing like rocking out on a tiny plastic guitar while making a clacking sound with a plastic strum. Rock n' Roll my friends. I flipping love this game. The live element is so much fun...and playing through some 90's classics has made me all kinds of nostalgic. And it includes 'No Rain' by Blind of my favourite songs of all time!

So that's been some little pieces of entertainment joy this week. The weekend involves some boring practical jobs (booo) but I'm also determined to try and sort out some stock for my online shop (yay!). I'm also planning some long walks and some exploring, so fingers crossed for no rain (or snow)!

I hope that whatever your weekend holds, it is a happy and relaxing one.

Bye for now


Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Collection Crush - Cath Kidston Ducks

I only have one word to say about Cath Kidston's new collection..and that word is awwww!

I flipping love ducks. Always have. One of my first pieces of jewelery when tiny was a necklace of a mother duck and her babies, and I think that set a life-long love for our webbed footed friends. I was absolutely delighted to find some duck themed items in Cath Kidston's new season. At the moment there are only 4 items (hence including 2 aprons...but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for more! The colour palette of these items is beautiful as well...perfect for a country kitchen.

Follow the links if you want to find out more:

1. Ducks in a row apron - this is my favourite item - it has a duck swimming on the pocket for goodness' sake!

2. Ducks Double Oven Glove

3. Ducks Set of 2 Tea Towels 

4. Ducks PVC Apron 

Bye for now


Monday, 9 January 2017

Subscription Box Reveal - The Melt Crowd by Flamingo Candles

I get a couple of subscription boxes at the moment, and quite honestly love them. Although subscription boxes can seem pricey, I find that they stop me buying random items in the shops (I've completely stopped my stationery buying habit since subscribing to Papergang), and I love getting exciting mail.

I've been subscribing to The Melt Crowd, run by Flamingo Candles, for almost a year now and I really like it. The subscription box contains 8 wax melts (and sometimes a bonus) each month. The scents received are often exclusives, or previews of upcoming collections, and I think they're a perfect way of getting a nice selection of scents each month. With a dog who smells like he takes a dip in the bog of eternal stench on a regular basis they are a very welcome addition (he's not actually that's mostly just when he chooses to wallow in ponds).

If you'd like to know what is in the January subscription box, read after the break (but don't forget...spoilers!)

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Sunday Best - Constellation Theme

I think I've mentioned recently my love of all things star related at the moment. I've been working my way back to when this current love started...and think it was when my husband gave me a gorgeous personalised constellation print for our anniversary.

In honour of that print (and to feed my current obsession) this week's Sunday Best features some beautiful items with a constellation theme.

This necklace from notonthehighstreet is so unusual...and so, so pretty.

These constellation crawler earrings from anthropologie would add some subtle constellation style to any outfit.
Hitting two trends in one attractive this monogram constellation mug by EllieEllieLtd on Etsy.

What wall is complete without a print of the Big Bear from Lollipop?

Lollipop is, in fact, the home of much constellation loveliness. I love this srirch it yourself pegasus constellation bag:

I think this bag is going to end up on my 'crafty to-do list'.

That's all for this week's Sunday Best. I hope the week ahead of full of greatness for you and I'll see you soon!

Bye for now.


Saturday, 7 January 2017

Craft Kit Review - Kirstie Allsopp Beeswax Candle Kits

I was having a little browse around Hobbycraft after work (as you do) one day and found a kit to make beeswax candles. I've always wanted to try candle making, but have never had the inclination to invest in the kit needed - and hot wax seemed like a terrible thing to be messing with due to my clumsiness, so this seemed like a perfect solution.

The kit itself looked like this:

The kit itself comes in a pretty box (1. and 2.). The kit included is incredibly straight forward - 8 sheets of beeswax, and a reel of cotton wick (3.). My favourite part of the kit are the two cute glass candle holders, which have a lovely vintage look.

The instructions were incredibly simple to follow. To make a tapered candle I just ran the wick along the long edge of a sheet of beeswax and began rolling. Then trimmed the end of the wick. That's it...candle made.

There are instructions in the kit to use the wax sheets in different ways - to make small rolled candles and birthday candles, and then some ideas that are decorative rather than actually making a fully functioning candle (which seemed a bit like clutching at straws). I knew that the type I would get the most use out of were tapered candles, so I just kept rolling. I did make one shorter candle by cutting the beeswax with scissors, to go in my house candle holder...

As far as projects go, this was absolutely perfect for sitting down after a day at work and doing something super simple and yet effective. I had a little pile of completely usable candles before I knew it.

I burnt my first candle from the set yesterday and it was all kinds of relaxing. It didn't take long to burn down...I think about 20 minutes...but those were some relaxing minutes!

The Verdict

The presentation of the kit was beautiful, the instructions clear and the glass candle holders were a nice addition in acknowledgement of the fact the kit was fairly light on resources.

This kit is so simple it's not going to appeal to people who craft for a bit of a challenge. It is, however, perfect for an evening of tuning out and focusing on something pretty and simple.

I thought 8 candles and 2 candle holders was good value for the price of the kit (£10.00 on offer).

The kit is also a good starting point - particularly because it gives the initial safety warnings about using this type of candle.

The only thing I was disappointed about was that the beeswax sheets had no smell. I've always thought of beeswax as having a lovely sweet smell, and a yellow tone. The wax in this kit was white, and had no smell. This makes me thing it has been treated, which would be a shame (although my beeswax knowledge is limited).

I would definitely try making these candles again. I've been reading about Hygge recently (more on that to follow) and appreciate the relaxation organic candles can provide. I've been researching beeswax sheets online and am planning to buy some natural sheets to try using them. I'll be really interested to see if there's a difference.

I think little bundles of these candles would make a really lovely present, especially when coupled with a pretty little candle holder.

If you're interested in buying your own kit you can find it here.

Bye for now!