pretty not scary

28th October 2014

pumpkins 4 wayssequin polka dot pumpkins // succulent planted pumpkins // pumpkin candles // copper striped pumpkins

You may notice that my blog doesn’t become orange, black and scary approaching the end of October. That’s because as a Christian I don’t celebrate Halloween and feel like I’d be less than authentic / a contradiction to myself if I was to veer down that route. I’m not tempted to celebrate evil but I really do love pumpkins in every form. Whether they are in a dinner, dessert or spruced up as a table centre, they are just so inviting. I especially love the very mini ones, so small they almost look like little pets. I’ve rounded up some of my favourite tutorials this year for turning a humble pumpkin into something soooo pretty and stylish! Give them a go.

wake up & smell the roses

23rd October 2014

floral workshop

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to a workshop at sofa.com. I picked flower arranging with Daisy Doodle Dandy because the idea of walking away with an arranged bouquet of blooms sounded very inviting indeed. They run so many other creative workshops as well from up-cycling to screen printing to pinata making that there’s aways something exciting happening there. All workshops are held upstairs at their Chelsea Harbour showroom (a midst their gorgeous sofas) and there are both daytime and evening ones to choose from. It was such a lovely way to spend a morning, swimming in flowers, chatting to other ladies and nibbling on Pearl & Groove cakes.

floral workshop 2

This was what I brought home. I enjoyed that it looked Autumnal but not obviously so. I felt it was looking a bit drab until I introduced yellow to the colour palette which gave it a little lift. Then I suddenly thought how lovely these colours would look with my ‘Into the woods’ wedding stationery so being the geek I am I photographed a few bits with the flowers and decided I definitely was a fan of the combination. Just a smidgen of Autumnal wedding inspiration there for you…not that you asked for it.

floral workshop 3I’m very excited that sofa.com have asked me to put on a workshop….and it’s Christmas themed, hurrah!  We will be making stamped wrap and stitched gift tags on the 26th November if you fancy joining. Just click right here.giftwrap workshop

 

 

 

 

a better breakfast

21st October 2014

better breakfast

Yes, this is a post all about breakfast. If you know me even just a little bit that may not surprise you at all. Man I’m so predictable!

Well I’ve always loved breakfast and when my alarm would go off each day, embarrassingly / worryingly breakfast was what helped me prize myself from my warm covers , even if I had a workout to get through before that joyous first mouthful. With such enthusiasm you might be thinking I spent years eating like a queen to kick off each day. You would be wrong. My allegiances fully lay with dried cereal (I can’t have fresh milk) and for the last 5 years my pick of the bunch was Apricot Wheats. I even received two boxes of the cereal in question wrapped up as a Birthday gift one year. Needless to say, I wasn’t disappointed. If in answer to my frequently asked question, ‘What is your favourite breakfast cereal?’, you responded with ‘I don’t like cereal’…you would have received a serious look of distain.

As you can imagine I did not appreciate people harping on about all the refined sugars that breakfast cereals were ladened with. When anyone started to go down that route, telling me breakfast cereals were essentially ‘of the devil’ with their killer levels of demon sugar I found it hard not to gag them (just to clarify I never succumbed to that urge).

Then one day I decided to read one of those annoying health blurbs that people repost on Facebook. It was essentially about added sugar in EVERYTHING and there were about 35 points which I read through…all of them! I felt a little uneasy as I stared at my apricot wheats lying in the bowl the next morning but I hated the idea of savoury breakfasts. London is crazy about eggs but I don’t love them and they don’t love me. I briefly tried to give the apricot wheats up but felt light headed, groggy and harbouring a headache by the time midmorning came. I later found out this was probably sugar withdrawal. Oh dear!

I’ve really enjoyed bleeding dry the whole documentary section of Netflix while I work. I love background noise and when it’s kind of educational and I don’t really need to look at the screen that works for me. I spent an entire week watching documentaries all about nutrition and very abruptly ditched my much loved Apricot Wheats in favour of healthier options with natural sugars, less gluten and more lasting substance. Not sure at first about my new routine, I actually discovered so many yummy things to try. I don’t have the same breakfast every day of the week anymore! I also feel fuller for much longer as I don’t get that crazy sugar drop. Oats and nuts are definitely great for lasting fullness. I’m trying not to join the sugar police but personally it’s made a big difference to start the day in healthier way, something that lots of granola-like and ‘diet’ cereals like to advertise but definitely don’t deliver! Shock horror, things can be low fat but contain tons of refined sugar. Lots of that sugar turns to fat as soon as it gets in your body!

Here are 3 of my favourites at the moment…

banana nut loaf

I love this vegan and gluten free banana bread from the very talented Deliciously Ella. I replace the maple syrup with agave nectar as it’s cheaper than buying decent quality maple syrup. Agave nectar is a natural sweetener, a vegan alternative to honey and known for its low glycemic index which means you don’t get those crazy sugar spikes. It’s sweeter than refined sugars which means you need less to achieve the same taste. I usually have this loaf toasted with a scrape of wholenut or almond butter. Make sure you get the pure ones without added sugar. Then I top with sliced fruit.

rawnola

This is my most used recipe! Sometimes I make my own muesli but most of the time I would choose this vegan, gluten free and all natural sugar spiced rawnola from Flourishing health mainly because it tastes like gingerbread mmmm! It’s meant to be raw but occasionally I toast it a little under the grill but it works either way. I also add a small handful of chopped pecans and a good sized handful of chopped almonds. Serve with some fresh fruit which makes it more refreshing and even some coconut yoghurt too. The sugar in this one comes from the dates and figs which I’ve always been a fan of!

spelt pancakes

And then these! Now I don’t recommend you eat a stack this big for breakfast but it made for a pretty picture. Nick and I shared this mamma stack of vegan spelt pancakes from 86 Lemons and it was delish! I added a tsp of cinnamon to my batter, fried them in coconut oil instead of vegetable oil and used almond milk in the place of soya as in my humble opinion it’s much nicer. Once again watch out for the version they class as ‘original’. That has added sugar so get the one without…sneaky. I like this recipe with sliced peaches sauteed in a little bit of water and a tsp of cinnamon. Oh and I often sprinkle with more cinnamon after. Can you tell I like the stuff? These are great although a bit heavier, perhaps more for weekend eating. I usually have a lighter pancake stack made by blitzing up 3/4 cup of rolled oats, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 a banana and 1 tsp cinnamon. You just mix in some blueberries and fry in some coconut oil!

Thanks for indulging me in my breakfast antics. I feel better now I’ve got that off my chest…and breath.

Overwhelmed much?

18th October 2014

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don’t often get overly personal in this space and really I don’t often go into details about my freelance work either. There have been many ups and downs since spreading my wings and going it alone, somewhat like a hormonal pregnant lady watching a rom com. The short response is I love it!…But the longer response would be that most of the time I feel totally overwhelmed and the last few weeks have been that x 20.

I’ll let you into a secret…I’m not great at multi tasking and what I really mean is poor would be an understatement. I’m hoping that some crazy miracle will put that right if I ever become a Mum but for now I seem to be lacking that feminine trait. Somewhere along the way I worked out that for someone who’s totally unorganised, forgetful and unable to process more than one thing at a time, lists were going to become a dear friend. So I endlessly write lists on anything and everything whether that’s job stuff or just who I need to text back and to a degree I seem to be able to fool people into thinking I’m an organised kind of gal. The truth is I still struggle.

Stepping into the full time freelancing world meant swapping one job role for about eight instead. Obviously of all the hats I have to wear Designer and Blogger are the most fun but then you need to throw PR, Accountant, Packing Assistant, Technical Assistant and Receptionist into the mix. I’m sure there are others too. Sometimes I feel a bit like my head isn’t big enough to contain all of these aspects of life even with my beloved lists. Then I look around and wonder is anyone else feeling this too? People say pay someone to do some of the other things or even get a cleaner so that doesn’t take hours out but who is really in the position to do that when their starting out as a small business? It’s great advice for further down the line but not so much now.

Another thing I’ve been contending with since going it alone is that I feel like progress is so slow. In my old job I used to feel like a pretty fast worker. I’d get the job done, easily meet deadlines and walk away at the end of each day with not a thought about workload in my brain. Now, I feel like I’m in a dream. You know, one of the ones where you’re running but your legs feel soooo heavy that you can barely pick them up. I work much longer hours than before and yet feel like I’m moving nowhere fast. I hear ya, it’s probably because I’m much more emotionally and personally invested in my work but it’s a shift. I really don’t think I could do this kind of work if I didn’t believe that God was author of each day with all it’s joys as well as it’s limitations. Thats the place I find peace when I’m looking at my list thats getting longer rather than shorter. I’ve never prayed so much about work as now or seen so clearly my tendency to take everything on my own back and panic rather than trusting the God who’s in control and provides.

I love the work I get to do. I love that the times I spend being creative are exactly that. I love that I care about what I do and that I get to work from home. I also love the God led me into this and has kept me here despite me pushing other doors just incase…but man it’s hard. I’m realising more and more that I’m human i.e finite (obvious I know), that prioritising is a skill I will be honing for the rest of my life, as a boss I’m super hard on myself and for the most part, figuring things outs as I go along is the nature of this business. I’m learning loads! I’m excited as to where this will lead as business does seem to be growing. I’m writing this ironically having been blessed with my best month yet by far (phew) and there’s tons to be thankful for. Sometimes I just need to step away from the canvas and take some time to look at the picture.

On that note it’s back to work, thankful to know I’m not alone or doing this by accident and praying for running legs!

Laura Ashley: Handmade Christmas

16th October 2014

Laura Ashley Handmade Christmas 1

Photos by the Laura Ashley team

You may have seen by my instaspamming that I was invited to join some other lovely bloggers at Laura Ashley’s Handmade Christmas a week ago. The event was held at Homemade London, a short walk from Marble Arch and was the perfect venue for such an extravaganza. It was pretty surreal to walk into such a magical winter wonderland when I hadn’t even given a moments thought to Christmas yet. Yes, I know , slap on the wrist…and my undesigned Christmas cards say the same. But anyway the festive music, mince pies, mulled wine, tartan and super sparkly decorations were fab, even if I was only just dusting off my winter boots. Part of me started longing for a freak snow flurry outside.

It was a great chance to meet some of the faces behind emails and some other bloggers I’ve never met in person (such is the game). The Lipstick and Curls girls were there to transform our hair into retro bouffant up dos (I wish I could backcomb like those ladies) and the Photo Automattey photo booth provided endless giggles, mainly because it gave you little to no warning of when it would actually snap (can you tell). There was also an array of Christmas crafts to try our hand at, all led by the Homemade London team. I got as far as decorating a stocking for the hubby and didn’t even make it to the card making or floral headband tables. That’s what happens when you’re talking too much. Or perhaps it was the super sparkly tablecloth that was distracting / mesmerizing me.

Laura Ashley Handmade Christmas 2

Captured in these thoroughly flattering photos is myself, The Planned Adventure, Aspiring Kennedy & Emma Block

There was also a chance to see some of the new Laura Ashley Winter home ware and Christmas decorations. I have to say I’m a ‘gold’ girl through and through and silver never usually takes my fancy but I was so drawn to the sparkly mass of silver glitter on white in their displays. I pulled out some of these pretties for you to feast your eyes on. Oooo look at them sparkle!

Laura Ashley celebrate in silver

 

Glitter pine cone decoration / 2 Ombre sparkle candle set of 3 / 3 Snowflake placemats / 4 Snow Globe  / 5 Letter bunting

Thanks Laura Ashley for such a fun night!

roll up, roll up

13th October 2014

Necklaces for sale

Hello! Hope you all had lovely weekends. I bring you something nice for a bleak Monday like today. Remember these DIY tube necklaces I made for you about a month ago? Well if you’re the kind of person that enthusiastically pins DIYs all day long but never actually gets round to making them then now there are some available for you to buy!…hey, I get it, life is just too busy for cracking out the fimo sometimes. I have 9 to sell for just £12 including postage.

Polymer clay tube bead necklace with metallic gold spray painted half in granite (6 available) or white marble (3 available). Gold plated 18″ chain with clasp.

If you fancy nabbing yourself one of these then simply email stating the colour you’d like and your Paypal email address. First come first served!

a nod to the british seaside

7th October 2014

quinoa crusted fish and chips 1

Here’s some hearty grub for this blanket inducing weather. Every one knows Britain for it’s fish and chips by the sea and whilst great every now and again, I’ve created a healthier version with much less grease but no less flavour. This meal is so satisfying and quinoa is a great source of protein. I would nearly always choose sweet potatoes over standard potatoes. The sweetness makes a meal much more interesting and the cornmeal gives it a crispy coating. Nick and I wolfed this down a few saturdays ago. Find the full recipe over at Aspiring Kennedy blog right here. I experienced the lovely Lauren’s cooking last week and it was delightful. Spanish chicken with roasted potatoes, peppers and chorizo and whole baked apple dumplings for pudding mmmm. Enjoy.

quinoa crusted fish and chips 2

styling the seasons – october

2nd October 2014

October1

Happy October! Here’s my Styling The Seasons contribution for this month. As I said before, I’ve got to the stage where I’m ready for Autumn in full pelt now. Wading through leaves, hot teas, cosy scarves and donning a blanket when reading all sound rather appealing right now. I wish the weather would catch up with the month already. I’m not so excited about losing light hours but perhaps all the pumpkin related recipes and beautiful colours in the trees will make up for it. I find it amazing that every year without fail God moves us from one season to another. For me it’s a reminder that he’s constant, creative and in control of all of nature.

October2

If you want to play then style a surface, upload an image and tag Katy from Apartment Apothecary and Charlotte from Lotts and lots on social media and use #StylingTheSeasons.

something for your screen

30th September 2014

paint me a pattern free desktop wallpaper

Hello again! Just about got this new desktop wallpaper in before the end of the month. It’s almost time for October to begin! Well, go ahead and enjoy your monthly dose of pattern for your screen. All you need to do is download the free desktop wallpapers right here.

plant it pretty

29th September 2014

diy rope planter 1

Sometimes DIY projects take a long time to make it onto this space. I thought this up ages ago but only managed to make it a month ago on holiday and I’m only getting round to posting it now!  Everyone loves a hanging planter these days, so here’s a rope inspired version complete with colour blocking effect. Mine turned out to be quite mini (as I didn’t buy enough rope) but you can make it whatever size you want.

You’ll need…

  • A length of braided rope (check you have enough to wrap around your bowl)
  • bowl or pot (roughly the size you want your planter)
  • craft paint & paint brush/sponge
  • gold embroidery thread
  • macrame thread & wide needle
  • glue gun

instructions

To make…

  1. Firstly mix your paint colours and paint blocks of each colour along the length of the rope. Leave to dry.
  2. Wrap the gold thread in sections along the rope and secure well with a knot.
  3. Cover a bowl in cling film and heat the glue gun.
  4. Start by twisting a section of the rope into a tight coil and secure to the outer bottom part of the bowl with glue. The cling film will form a barrier between the bowl and the rope/glue.
  5. Continue to follow the rope around in a spiral, glueing sections as you go. When you reach the top tuck the end you no longer have a need for the bowl. Discard and glue the last bit of the rope to the inside.
  6. Using the wide needle, thread through the top of the rope planter and pull so that there is a long length coming out from either side of the rope. Do the same at two other points around the planter so that the threads are evenly spaced.
  7. Tie a knot on each length to secure and then gather each length of thread up to a point and either tie here or tie half way up and and finish off with a series of knots.
  8. Know you can sit your plant inside and hang where you’d like. The cling film should waterproof the inside.

diy rope planter 2

Give it ago and brighten up a corner of your home. I’ll focus on trying not to kill my plant! That’s my speciality after all.