Sleeping Lions | Credits

July 24th 2015
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screen grabs from the BBC iPlayer site.

A few months ago our super talented friends, David & Louise, asked my amazingly talented Mr to create some graphics that they could translate in to credits for a short educational film they were making for the BBC. Having never done anything like that before it was a challenge and I’m really proud to say they went down really well. He came up with something really simple and well thought out in the end but they capture the essence of the story being told if you watch carefully. I’m so totally proud of him and to see our company name credited on a film, especially one made by two wonderful friends.

I found out this morning that the film was broadcast very early this morning. It’s quite a dark storyline so be warned before you head over to watch it. I truly think it’s a fabulous film and is very sensitively done but is very clear in its intentions.

You can find it on BBC iPlayer here.

Weekend Frolics

July 3rd 2015
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We had the busiest weekend last weekend and I’ve a lot of photos to show for it! Making, learning, experimenting, participating, meeting and eating… Phew I’m ready for a lie down just thinking about it all!

SATURDAY: This past weekend was such a fun packed one. Our local University hosts a family fun Science Festival each year. We’ve seem BMX bikers do tricks to teach us about gravity and movement and this year we saw how Star Wars was actually real. No, seriously lightsabers will be in shops form next week! Ok slight exaggeration but the technology is in our not too distant future.

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The boy loves anything sciencey and geeky and especially anything Star Wars. So many cool things to do, like robotic dinosaurs (which we kept missing!) and lots of building activities and experiments to partake in. Because it is soooo good it gets busier every year and after lunch it just got a little too busy for our liking. The wee man is going on a cub camping trip in a week so we needed to purchase a few items to make sure he was covered for all weather & activity situations. We ended up driving out to the town we work in and did a little bit of shopping. Whilst we were there we had a couple of birthday items to exchange that he (*read I!) wasn’t keen on. We got a bit of a result and exchanged the tee and sunnies for some funky striped socks and 2 pairs of really cool boots that both he and I liked. They stated £18 on the ticket, so we were going to exchange the gifts and add a bit of money to buy them. At the till they came up as £1.99? Yes you saw it right less than two whole pounds, hence I sent hubs back to get another pair in a bigger size. Had I have been on the ball I would have scooped them all up so he had nice shoes till he was 20!! They are super soft and comfy and have a thinsulate label on them. I do love a bargain but I especially love them when I was prepared to pay full price in the first place!

What’s the best bargain/surprise you’ve ever had?

Anyway whilst we were there we bumped into friends, who also happen to be clients of ours (my hubs has made many a friend from a client, it’s just the kind of nice guy he is). They reminded us of a show we said we wanted to go and see so we headed home for food and caught the bus at 7pm.

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The show is actually called Back of the Bus by Java Dance Company. What a fantastic show to see. I had no idea what it was about, I’d only seen the Mr’s design of the flyer a day or two before and didn’t take much chance to read it. If you hear of it happening near you then I highly recommend going to see it. It was only an hour but the time flew and it was just so funny. It’s always done on the top deck of a bus and three super talented dancers in the show are also brilliant actors. I can’t believehow entertained we were for the whole hour. We made two stops and there was a lot of laughter, cheek, fun, craziness oh and in all the commotion I manage to drop my phone and crack the corner! Thank god it wasn’t the whole screen!

I don’t really want to give too much away but lets just say for the first 10 minutes Lucas was a little afraid, I was very confused and my husband had a large bag of crisps and popcorn dumped all over him! Yes it was really that crazy but it started to make sense as the chaos calmed down. The hour for us turned into 2 as we stayed behind to chat with the dancers who were all the way from New Zealand. I took a lot photos but it was so difficult to capture the essence of the ‘story’ as there was so much movement from the 3 characters. We were told to stay in our seats and not move in the aisle and now I know why!

I know they did the Edinburgh Fringe last year. Apparently it’s slightly different in every venue as they have to figure out a route with two very specific stops where everyone gets off the bus. I’d love to hear if anyone else has seen them.

 

SUNDAY: I’ve been looking forward to Sunday for two weeks! I went to Blogtacular, held in London on the 13th June, and I met some of my fave blogger ‘friends’. I chat to few via blogging but mostly through social media such as Instagram. I’d been quite nervous about them all in real life but they were ALL just so bloody lovely. I was lucky enough to snag a spare bed in a hostel with 3 very lovely ladies. Two of which I’d already been chatting with for some time and another who I was just so glad to meet on the day. Anyway you can read more on that here. I was saying how lovely it is that have a ‘circle’ of blogger friends down South and that I wish I lived nearer to be able to be a part of that. Sarah-Louise introduced me to the lovely silver haired lady Nina. We chatted and she invited me along to a little IG gathering in Manchester she’d organised. Well this is just what I’ve been after. A chance to meet some bloggers from the North. Not as many as we’d hoped could make it in the end but you gotta start somewhere!

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What an absolutely inspiring and lovely day it was. So nice to catch up with Nina again but also to meet 2 other ladies that we had so much in common with. Sarah is from more over my way and Rachelle lives between Manchester and Leeds. Both Nina and Rachelle had a lot to chat about as they are both relocated from the South to the North.

We met at Picadilly Railway Station at just after 11am and headed to one of my all time fave cafes in the Northern Quarter, Fig & Sparrow. It’s a lovely little shop of scandi and other amazing, ‘I need to purchase something every time I go’, homewares and they does awesome food. After we ate and did some good old getting to know you chatting amongst the 4 of us, we had a little wander around Manchester. We went to the Craft & Design Centre. It was a super hot day for traipsing around with camera, bag, coat etc but shortly after we arrived at the centre the heavens opened and gave us a good old downpour. It cooled us down temporarily but it was very short lived. Now be warned about the centre on a Sunday, not all the little shops are open which was a little dissapointing but to be honest we were too busy scheming and plotting the future… oh yes we were.

There were so many places we would’ve liked to have gone but time was just flying by so we headed to the best place in Manchester that wasn’t too far away… Fred Aldous. It’s got to be the best place to just wander and drool over all the stationary and craft goodness.We spend quite some time in there… again mostly scheming and plotting.

It was so fun to meet three awesome ladies what blog and stuff and we have discovered that we all want to continue this little community and meeting up as often as we can manage. We have been in touch nearly every day since and have been coming up with some plans and ideas that I hope we can share more with you soon. It’s really great to have this little community of local (ish) boggers that really want to share, teach and empower each other and I for one am super excited about the future.

I’d be really interested to hear from any of you who blog from the North of England or can at least get to Manchester with relative ease. Either leave me a comment here or drop me an email and when things start to happen I can get in touch.

I want to thank Nina for making this happen and want to thank Sarah & Rachelle for for just being so friendly and chatty and letting me crash their get together at such late notice. You ladies have totally made my week.  ♡

 

Oh and I met up with my boys afterwards, who’d had a fun day at MOSI and we headed to HOME for a bite to eat as the traffic didn’t seem to be easing up at 5pm! More about HOME and some of the other wonderful venues we visited in a later post.

 

 

real {home} life | Fiona

June 25th 2015
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REAL {home} LIFE : 4

I found Fiona through her husbands IG account and I immediately fell in love with her style, work ethic and ability to just do so much! She’s an absolute force to be reckoned with and I would love to have a fifth of the get up and go she has. She has a beautiful home and family and since I started to followed her a few short months ago she has has set up another business, in addition to the design studio she runs with her husband Bobby.

(Sorry I’m a day late with this post as life has just gone mad… back on track for next month though)

If you’re not following Fiona… then why the hell not? Get on over there and click follow and say hi! She’s very lovely.

If you want a little of Fiona’s style then check out the resources at the end of the post.

Fiona lives with her lovely family in a stunning converted Factory.

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All photography by Fiona
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What part of the World do you live? 

  • I live in Norwich, Norfolk, which is a beautiful cathedral city in the East of England. It’s about 2 hours from London and about half an hour from the sea.                     

Who do you share your home with? 

  • I live with my husband and best friend Bobby, our two year old son and two black cats, Tim and Gareth (who are brothers and named after characters from Ricky Gervais’ The Office).

Tell me a little about you and your family?

  • Quite central to all our lives is new experiences. None of us, and that includes Stanley, are couch potatoes. We loved to travel before Stanley was born and are so looking forward to our first holiday abroad together next month. We are firm believers that travel broadens the mind. 

What sort of space do you have? 

  • Our home is 154sqm with a 28sqm roof terrace. We have a master bedroom that is a mezzaine, the landing to that and our bedroom overlook the open plan living room. Below the mezzaine is a family bathroom and two storage cupboards, as well as three smaller bedrooms. Stanley has one for a playroom and the other is his bedroom. We aren’t opposed to knocking through the walls as he gets older and then having one bigger room. For us it’s not about maximizing the apartment for estate agents valuation, it’s about building a home that meets all our needs as, to us, it’s a forever home.

Can you tell me a little about how you came to buy your home? 

  • We lived on the floor below for a year and had always(!) had our eye on the penthouse apartment. We were lucky enough to have a tip off when our home went on the market and went direct to the owners the same day.

What was it that you first fell in love with?

  • Space and light. The south facing sun trap of a roof terrace was the ultimate cherry on the top!

Can you tell me a little about what makes your home different?

  • The fact it was formally a factory definitely sets it apart from a conventional home. I love that Stanley will tell his friends he lives in a factory when he goes to school. Different is definitely cool.

What’s the best thing about your home?

  • The tranquility. I’m not sure whether that’s due to it being open plan or the height of the roof. For how central it is in the city, it really is peaceful.

What’s the worst in your opinion?

  • The apartment is perfect just the way it is but if I could change one element it would be the 70 odd stairs I have to climb with a sometimes stubborn toddler.

Which room/space is you favourite?

  • If you’d asked me before Christmas, it absolutely would have been the living room but now we’ve had the bedrooms fitted with plywood cupboards, that’s my favourite. Our vision was a ski lodge – we just need the reindeer hide to complete the look.

Tell me a little about your taste/style?

  • I would imagine that’s pretty evident on my Instagram feed but I love Scandinavian design and minimalism. I enjoy wearing black and grey but absolutely love splashes of colour. 

Where do you get your inspiration to decorate and furnish your home in the way you do?

  • I think I just know what I like when I see it. As I get older, I am becoming a lot more decisive. I enjoy reading the obvious magazines like Wallaper and Elle Decoration as well as watching some beautiful feeds on Instagram and finding pins on Pinterest. I love achieving a look for less and then adding a few key pieces.

I know you do a lot of work from home. This has to be a bonus spending time with Stanley and getting the work you need to done. Was it always your intention to have enough room to have an office space as well as comfortable living space? 

  • Until a month ago I was at home and it’s impossible to work with Stanley in the day time, the best I could hope for was to be able to fire a quick email off. I work from our home studio mostly when he’s in bed in the evenings. The studio is our third bedroom. I finally feel that now is a good time for me to work and him to spend time with his grandparents, neither of us were really ready before. 

What is your most prized possession?

  • Oh wow, I really don’t think I have one. I love my family and all of the sentimental things we have chosen to furnish our home with.

How do you fit in family and work and keeping house being a busy mum?

  • I’m not entirely sure, somehow things tick over. Lists are my saviour for reminding me when we run out of things.

What is your favourite shop – Online and bricks and mortar?

  • Gosh, this is a difficult one. When it comes to basics and absolute consistency it would be H&M. Whether you’re in Norwich or Oslo you know what you’re getting and at an incredibly affordable price. Online, I buy from so many wonderful independents but one of my favourites would be the lollipop shoppe I’ve been in both the London and Brighton shop.

Do you buy many magazines and if so which ones would you recommend?

  • Yes I do, although I rarely get the time to read them! Three titles spring to mind: Cereal, Wallpaper and Porter magazine. And my lovely next door neighbour always shares Elle Decoration with me.

What 3 pieces of advice would you give to someone starting out on their journey of furnishing and decorating their new home.

  • Don’t rush into it. Live in the space a while – a lot of costly mistakes can be made by trying to decide your needs before you’ve used and lived in the space. 
  • When you have decided what you want to achieve, think how can you can do the look for less. I don’t mean finding counterfit copies but if, for example, you’ve decided on a string system, have a lateral think and see if you can achieve your own take on it.
  • If you’re in any decision, always start by painting it white, I’m not a lover of magnolia, but I’m a firm believer that if you white wash the walls, it helps free up your mind on colours.

If money was no object, what is the one thing you would change about your home if anything?

  • There’s two elements I still have my heart set on. One taking out the stairs and reversing where you start and finish them – it would free up the landing to have a rain shower under the sky light. And on that thought, I’d also like to have an outdoor shower on our balcony. How lush would that be in the summer?! I still need to look into it though…

What do your friends say about your home?

  • Erm depends on the friend. Some love it and some say they’d struggle to keep it tidy. Just for the record, and Bobby will definitely attest to this, I am by no means tidy, although I am fairly organised. As soon as Stanley is in bed, he sweeps up all the toys and, to be honest, we regularly declutter things in our home.

What’s your biggest indulgence?

  • Our Hay chairs, although we did get a very good deal.

What has been your best DIY achievement?

  • Bobby designed our storage/shelving solution in the living room and a lot of people comment on it. I would say my favourite additions are the suspended Plumens and Boskke sky planters as they add height and depth to the room.

What’s the best thing about living where you do? 

  • We are just on the cusp of the city centre, we’ve got a park on our road, a football ground at the end of it, a train station a couple of streets over and it’s the perfect location for our family to access us from the ring road. From a locality perspective it really couldn’t be any better positioned!

I want to say a huge thank you Fiona for sharing your lovely home and taking the time, which I know is so precious, to answer my many questions. x

If you don’t already follow Fiona you can find her here: instagramblog, pinterest, twitter, facebook

Don’t forget to tune in next month for another Real {home} Life post and if you miss any you can see them all by hitting the REAL {home} LIFE button on the right side bar.

Resources List:

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Hay Boskke | Eames | Ikea | Lucky Boy Sunday | OMM | Plumen

Blogtacular! | thoughts

June 18th 2015
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Grace Bonney of Design Sponge 

Wow I survived my first ever blogging event! I had absolutely no idea what to expect but it was both awesome and exhausting. That may seem like a pretty pathetic start to a post but for someone who isn’t good at or can’t really be arsed with small talk then it really IS a big deal. My brain takes time to process… you know like really slow. I’m the one who hears a joke and then laughs 20 minutes later when it’s finally engaged with my brain!

My poor body was up at the crack of dawn to get a train from Up North to London. I was fairly prepared for the travel… food, notepads etc. I wasn’t however prepared for the awesomeness that ensued and the mind blowing information that I had to retain in my small, can’t remember anything, brain of mine. Thank god the seminars are video’d so we are able to re-watch them at our leisure later. FYI even those who didn’t attend can watch them. How awesome is that!

I wanted to chat and mingle with so many people but it was just so overwhelming that I didn’t talk to nearly half as many people as I wanted to. Also there should be a rule that you look EXACTLY like your IG, FB or blog avatar. I recognised so many faces but couldn’t place which blog or social media name they went under! I was terrified that I’d completely ignore someone I had a pretty good friendship with on social media, thankfully I don’t think I so much ignored as just didn’t get the opportunity to find them.  So if you are reading this and thinking ‘hey you! Ignoramus’. Please don’t be mad with me. I have a condition called stupid-itus and I have very few brain cells left to remember much more than my own name and address. So if you wear a flower crown on your avatar, or have your hair in a top bun, or have it blowing in the wind whilst you look away from the camera then please respectfully do the same wherever you go just in case you happen to bump into me.

For anyone I didn’t talk to… I’m sorry. For those I did, thank you for being so lovely. Everyone I talked to was just fabulous.

Whilst I was sat patiently on the train there were some blogtacular attendees meeting for the West Elm colour walk, lucky duckies they were, I really wanted to do the photo walk. Looking at the photos I’m thinking I could have just stalked them on the way and they’d never have known.

I dashed into the Royal Institution of Great Britain possibly a little panic stricken as it was 9.55am and I had to get rid of my overnight bag and coat in the cloakroom and everyone was already heading into the main Faraday Theatre for Grace Bonney’s opening keynote speech. I was a little hot and flustered I can tell you. Thankfully the first person I met was my long time IG friend Tip. I think I spent the first 10 minutes just prattling on and talking AT her. She was however very calm and understanding and hopefully she didn’t think I was a total nutbag? I was pretty much straight of the train, on the tube, into the conference and off we went! It was a packed out day and not sure I necessarily attended the right seminars for me but I went with what I thought would give me some answers. I don’t really want to talk too much about the seminars as I still have a lot to process and work out but I do want to share a few thoughts.

 

Goodie Bag

Firstly though I want to show the goody bag… it was filled with some great items from some amazingly creative sponsors. We were also rather spoilt in the evening too with a West Elm Pintacular event with canapés and drinks and lots of crafting activities as well as the chance to be able to relax and chat with people you’d met throughout the day or even a chance to grab and chat with the people you didn’t get a chance to chat with earlier. It was a very full but fun day.

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Speakers and seminars

I’m happy with the seminars I went to but I would possibly change tact next time. I’d like to try the styling sessions so I get to interact in the sessions a bit more but it was good to know that I already do some of the things that were suggested. However I think I’m far more focused on the things I need to up my game in and I’ve already started to make a few changes. The closing speaker, Anthony Peters, was in fact not a blogger, for which he apologised by showing us some very cute and funny photos of him as a child. We all forgave him rather quickly as he had some very wise words. He came across as very witty and charming and considering he was in a room predominately full of women he did an amazing job and had us all laughing and totally inspired by the end of it. He really topped off the day just right.

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Business Cards

The one thing I kept hearing and reading about was to have a business card with your details on it. I’m so glad I got my Mr to put something together. We were printing and spray mounting and cutting up on the Friday afternoon but I’m so glad we did it as I exchanged cards with quite a few people. Some I literally spoke to for a minute as we were dashing off to the next seminar, so the one thing I would absolutely recommend is to get a business card and put a photo on it. The photo was great advice as it’s easier to place a face than a name. The process of making my business card actually highlighted a few inconsistencies with my names! I started out blogging under flutterbymama so my twitter, IG etc is under that name. I also have an FB page, twitter and IG for TTT. These are some of the things I’m currently looking at changing.

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My business cards for TTT

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Bloggers business cards I exchanged with

 

Making, fun, discussion & shopping

Blogtacular put on a lovely spread of sandwiches, salad and fruit and a special chicken salad for those with certain requirements, me included! Nothing quite like sharing health stories over a yummy chicken salad. There was a room dedicated to crafting with Hannah & Davina from Seeds & Stitches. You could also get your photo taken courtesy of The Photo Booth Guys as well as get some advice about your blog from a panel of 3 lovely ladies. Along with all this you could, if you wished, do a little shopping from a small number of stalls including some of the sponsors. What more could you possibly want.

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Tea (Dinner) out at Leon

I was so thankful that Tiffany of Curate and Display took us for good clean healthy food at Leon’s. I don’t mind admitting that I was flagging by 6pm and needed a good meal filled with protein and good carbs.

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Ok, back to my thoughts… I started blogging in 2009 but, for me, it was a very different experience to now. There are bloggers I admire, some for their design, some for their content. I’ve always felt that blogging was a great way to find like-minded people and brilliant ideas. That is still true today but now we have so many other mediums like instagram, twitter and pinterest and these are ALL great ways to connect and share. I’m not sure exactly when things changed for me, I’ve started to take it a little more seriously but I don’t want to lose that element of fun. I’ve never been involved with sponsored posts or advertising but that’s not to say it isn’t something I won’t consider in the future, I’m just not at that place yet. I have a business to run and blogging is secondary to that. I know for a lot of bloggers that this is their full time job and also their only source of income. I applaud them for how well they run their blog ‘business’ and they should be taken just as seriously as anyone else running their own business.

I was lucky enough to share a room at the hostel with 3 very talented and serious bloggers. Sarah-Lou from Lapinblu, Lori of Wild and Grizzly and Mel from Geoffrey and Grace. There is a definite blogger ‘circle’ that these ladies are a part of and that’s through meeting at events and workshops held by third parties. They’ve become good friends and it shows just how serious they take their jobs in the blogging world. I’m a little envious they all have such a great circle to be a part of in their neck of the woods as there doesn’t appear to be any of that up North?! Hopefully that is about to change after meeting a lovely lady, through these three, who lives a little nearer to me. Nina from Nina Nixon blog is a fellow photographer and blogger and we plan to meet and chat about ideas for us bloggers in the North of England. That will be news for a much later post so do come back if you are interested in possibly being a part of something interesting up here.

What I was hoping to get out of Blogtacular was to know if blogging was worth pursuing. I don’t get a lot of comments or followers but when I do post it on IG I know people hop on over and read it and come back to leave a comment on IG. This is wonderful as it’s always nice to get feedback on a post whatever shape it takes. The important thing, and I already knew this, even though I may not have adhered to it, is to post regularly. Time is a factor in my blogging life as I know it is for everyone. I could stay up till after midnight but I choose not to as my health is suffering and until I can get my health in order then I can only manage what I can manage. I don’t plan to become one of the next big bloggers and I’m happy enough with that… for now ;) I’m happy to continue as I am but I’m going to plan more time to post a bit more often. I still want quality over quantity but I’m looking to plan a few more regular posts as well as sharing our weekend adventures when they happen or the odd recipe or health and wellbeing post.

Will I go to blogtacular again next year? Absolutely! Will I do anything differently? Hell yes! I’ll be taking my time and choosing the seminars very carefully. I will take time out to stop and talk to more people and to really connect rather than just swapping business cards. I’ll also be coming down on the Friday and try to connect with a few other people I know and generally just enable myself to slow down.

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Did you get to Blogtacular this year and if so what did you think? Would you head back again next year?

 

 

{make a list monday} | the beginning

June 15th 2015
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I’m one of those people that has a lot to do but can never quite prioritise so in the end nothing gets done. Does that sound a little like you?

At the end of January this year I was having an IG conversation with my beautiful friend Karen. We were both having a rather non ideal Monday in that we hadn’t achieved anything of what we set out to do. We were both feeling a little lost and so the idea came about that we should inspire and be accountable to each other. We decided on a hashtag and thought it would be lovely to get other people involved… after all the more people who know what our mammoth tasks are for the day/week the more likely we are to get those things done.

So #makealistmonday was born. The idea is to help break down your lists into manageable daily tasks and see how you get on. Take a composition whether it be your actual list or a view of somewhere you write your list or even an activity you wish to do. It could literally be anything. Post it to instagram and remember to use the hashtag so we can find it. In the comment be sure to let us know what your plans are for the day/week ahead. On Sunday we’ll choose a grid of four of our favourite posts and it will also act as a reminder to think about your lists for the following day. Each month I’ll share a selection of some of our most favourite images and/or comments over here on my blog.

Having done this for the last 20 weeks there have been a couple of small changes. Life has increasingly got busy for both myself and Karen so sadly she has had to take a step down to concentrate on life and work. However the lovely Emily has stepped in to offer to join with me. I wasn’t certain whether I’d continue, especially if it was a solo mission, but Emily, who is currently waiting for the arrival of another baby, kindly offered to join with me and take on from where Karen left off.

I feel really warmed by everyones help, in deciding what to do once Karen was no longer able to contribute, and am so happy that we are able to continue. I had so many ideas in what I’d like to do for the future of the hashtag and I think once Emily’s little bundle has arrived and settled in to our World then we shall get together to put some of these plans into action. For something that was started to help two people get off their sofa and actually do something I’m surprised and pleased that so many of you have joined us weekly.

Thank you… to all of you x

a year older | my baby

June 9th 2015
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Taken in 2009

I can’t quite get my head around the fact that my son is 8 today! It feels like only yesterday since we struggled to conceive and went through the tests, tears & trauma of trying to start our own little family.

He’s such a sensitive little soul and a joy to be around. I couldn’t imagine our life without him and that so very nearly happened.

My husband and I met when we were 30 and started trying for a family when we were 33 but it was a struggle for a year. I won’t bore you with those details but I do remember the day so clearly when I saw those little lines. Actually I remember it well as we’d been to visit a friend in Sweden and the Mr told me I was acting weird so I did a test. I came down stairs and just cried in his arms as it was negative… no line. The Mr, being the wonderful man he is, went to clear it all away and re read the instructions. It was the faintest line ever. I rushed to the chemist for another test and the lady behind the counter said even the faintest line is absolutely positive. Happiest day of our lives… well until 9 months later at least.

We’ve been very lucky to have our wonderful boy and I’ll be ever thankful for him because he was pretty much a miracle. It should have been an IVF journey for us but we were fortunate. We’ll never have any more but he’s enough. It’s taken a lot of getting used to but we settled as a family of three.

He brings sunshine and light to dull grey days. His sweet voice is like an angel (with exception to his singing!) His little nose and beautiful mouth and those piercing blue eyes always melt my heart. I didn’t realise I could love another human being quite so much. He means the absolute world to me and as frustrating as some of his little quirks are I love them all the same. I see myself in him, his words and his actions. His frustrations and temper, his smile and love of life. I see his dad in him through his actions and easy going-ness, he never wants to upset or disappoint, he’s kind and gentle. He’s clever (not sure where that’s come from?!) considered and wary. Most of all he is my love and I truly don’t want him to grow up. I want cuddles ad kisses forever but some day, and probably some day soon he will recoil at the thought of kissing his mama. I’m hoping that day will be far away.

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To my darling pickle… I love you more than fish fingers and jaffa cakes (not that I’m allowed either anymore). You are my shining star in a sometimes dark sky and you are my bubbles in the bath. Keep being you for every little quirky and unique bit that your are. Happy 8th birthday sweetie, you’ll always be my baby. Thank you for choosing us to be your mama and dada. x

 

 

Blogtacular | Eeeeek!

May 29th 2015
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Blogtacular Conference

Photo credit: Will Ireland for Blogtacular

BLOGTACULAR

I started blogging back in mid 2009. Why? Errr simply because I liked the idea of sharing stuff. My husband and I were looking to have the back of our house remodelled, gosh that sounds fancy, it was more knocking through walls and living with brick dust for months. We started to search for kitchen ideas as this was part of the work we’d started. I came across the perfect kitchen, which we incidentally didn’t go with in the end, and I discovered this lovely ladies blog. Her home was virtually the same layout as mine, albeit a mirror image. I fell in love with her style and this was one of the first times I realised there were other people out there that liked the same stuff as me. Anyway long story short I was inspired to start a blog. I shared my thoughts, my family, my car boot finds and anything else I wanted to share. It was my way of sharing and got a few lovely followers along the way. If you’re not a blogger you won’t have any idea how a comment pinging up on your inbox can make you feel.

In 2011 I wrote my last post on that blog. I revisited it in 2012 just to leave an explanation as to why my World had changed.

I took over blogging for the studio, that I now co owned with my husband, and I’ve dabbling ever since. I’ve found it difficult to get my flow and have been a little sporadic to say the least!

Since 2009 and now, things have changed dramatically. From something I did for fun now feels like I need to take it a little more seriously. There are full time bloggers! That get paid to blog! What the…? I’ve looked at what they do and I feel inadequate. How sad is that? I don’t want to be comparing myself to others but I’m struggling not to. I shouldn’t be just playing at this anymore so I need to find another way. I toyed around with regular Monday and Friday postings as I had help from a member of the studio staff. It worked really well for a while but I’m now back to blogging alone and I’m just unsure whether what am I writing is of any interest to anyone? Strangely this hasn’t stopped me and I post when I feel like I have something to say or time permits it. Time is a also a big one at the moment, or rather lack of it! Having found myself in full time work, running a business and looking after my family and home I don’t always have the time or inclination to spend a couple of hours a night blogging.

Thing is I have lots of ideas and I just don’t know how to organise it all and to get myself going. I’m checking out people who post things on ‘how to blog’ etc but I just need to meet some fellow bloggers. In all the time I’ve been doing this I’ve met only one other blogger. She’s a relative newbie but has a lot of determination and drive and after speaking with her I discover she has a very specific plan. She has built a huge following both on her blog and social media and her secret, as it were, is organisation and planning. This seems obvious I hear you cry. I’m good at being organised at work but for some reason I struggle with blogging. Maybe it’s a mind set. It should be fun and not feel like work. If I have to plan it all then I’m back in the realms of it being work.

In may 2014 I was perusing instagram and happened across a lot of folk talking and posting about an event they were at called Blogtacular. Itlooked like so much fun. I heard a lot about it and decided I would go in 2015. Well as soon as the early bird tickets were released I got myself all signed up for it. I’ll be heading to London in exactly 2 weeks… eek, all by myself, no one to hold my hand. It’s only really hit me this last week or two what I’m about to do. I’m going to walk into a room full of amazing bloggers and feel completely out of my depth. But you know what I’m gonna chat and mingle and most importantly I’m going to get inspired and get that kick up the butt I need to make some decisions about my blogging future!

I’m nervous as hell and excited in equal measures. Check out last years promo video. If this doesn’t get your blogger juices flowing I don’t know what will.

If you happen to going already I can’t wait to meet you! x

 

 

Real {home} life | Andrea

May 27th 2015
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REAL {home} LIFE : 3

Andrea is from my neck of the woods in good old Lancashire, UK. I discovered that she literally lived 5 minutes away from me before she moved with her gorgeous family to the beautiful countryside of France. Andrea used to have a shop selling interesting vintage pieces she’d source locally and also handmade items like the little apple cushion I bought from her which is how we came to discover we would have virtually been neighbours in our younger years.

I’ve been in love with Andrea’s instagram feed because it’s not like everyone else’s. It’s warm, fun, family orientated and most of all full of love. Her feed is just beautiful and I adore what she has done with her homes (they are currently relocating).

If you want a little of Andrea’s style then check out the resources at the end of the post.

Andrea lives with her husband and three beautiful children in rural France (at the moment!).

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All photography by Andrea (edited by Cat of TTT)
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What part of the World do you live in?

  • We live in rural France, pretty much in the centre of the country.

Who do you share your home with?

  • With my husband of nearly nine years and our three wonderful children and our two old collies.

Tell us a little about you and your family?

  • I’m at stay at home mum, still adjusting to life with three children. I never thought it would be so tiring! I have an etsy shop (temporarily closed) where I sell French vintage homewares. Also, I love to be creative, making the children’s clothes and creating with the kids but since Anna was born there never seems enough hours in the day. By 7pm I’m pooped! It’s getting easier so I’ll be back on track with shop and creativity soon. Our two eldest children; Sam 7 and Bella 5 attend the village school and now speak French fluently which sounds so sweet. I’ll never get tired of listening to them. My husband, Scott is a joiner/shop fitter. He runs his own business here which is going really well and hopefully will continue to do so.

How would you describe your taste/style?

  • I don’t seem to follow one specific style. When I buy for the home it’s usually without much thought and more if I like it. Vintage, mid century items are my favourite, all of which I pick up at the charity shop.  I also love the Scandinavian style and simplistic French Blue/grey colours.

Can you tell me a about how you came to stay in your home?

  • We’ve recently sold our old French farmhouse where we lived for nine years and moved into a 1960s home. We live on one level and the children have the converted attic for playing and sleeping. It’s smaller than our old house but much lighter and warmer. It’s actually a temporary situation as we’re soon to be moving to a city apartment. A complete change of life for us!

Where does your inspiration come from to decorate and furnish your home in the way you do?

  • My inspiration comes from many things. From Pinterest, Instagram, magazines and blogs to places I visit for example, friends houses, restaurants, airbnb apartments, shops. I loved our recent trip to Amsterdam as I spent most of the time looking through people’s windows. The Dutch have effortless style.

Does having children influence your decor and if so how?

  • Definitely! Ever since I was pregnant with Sam, I could imagine a house full of children’s paintings and toys. Every room has to include them or their art work. It’s not forever, so I love to make the most of it. We have pieces of furniture with their toys/books in each room for them.

How have you found the transition moving from the UK to rural France?

  • We moved to France before the children were born. We wanted to escape the rat race. My husband had a stressful job and we made the insane decision to sell and leave. We didn’t really research what we could do in France but we dealt everything as it happened. Overall, it’s worked out really well and we’re happy and settled. That’s not to say it’s not been tough and overwhelming. However, after nine years in the countryside, I’m looking forward to city living for a while :)

What is your most prized possession?

  • Hmmmmm, I’m not sure. My sewing machine comes to mind. I couldn’t be without it. On a sentimental note, the precious stone guardian angels my best friend bought for each child and a black and white photo of my nan dancing which I want to blow up into a canvas.

Is there a particular piece or something you have an interesting story about?

  • There is one I shared on Instagram recently. A carved wooden man I found in our last house. It was such a special house in many ways. Owned for more than 100 years by the same French family. They left many belongings including old recipes, photos etc. but the old carved man is pretty special. It’s like my mascot and I’ll take him everywhere we’ll live :)

Do you have a favourite shop – Online or bricks & mortar?

I love a good rummage in a second hand shop and you seem to like the same. Do you often buy something just because you love it or it’s too good a price not to take home or does it have to have a place before you will buy it? 

  • I used to buy anything if I loved it. I now have to restrain myself, especially as we live in a smaller house.
  • I’m looking forward to reopening my etsy shop so I’ll be able to go back to buying what I love, waiting until someone buys it to pass it on.

Do you buy many magazines and if so which ones would you recommend?

What 3 pieces of advice would you give to someone starting out on their journey of furnishing and decorating their new home.

  • 1. To take your time. Don’t make any rash decisions. Sometime you have to live somewhere a while for ideas to materialise. 2. Do research- pin pin pin! 3. Don’t follow a design or style to the t. A mix of styles or adding your personal touch makes all the difference.

If money was no object what is the one thing you would change about your home if anything?

  • I have a few! change the floors to wood, add velux windows upstairs and add a bath. The children currently have to manage with the shower or baby bath.

What in your opinion is the best thing about your home?

  • The light. There are lots of windows. It’s so nice after living in a dark house for so long. It really does lighten the mood on grey days. However, the amount of windows to clean is not so good.

What do your friends say about your home?

  • They love that it’s light and not as small as I make out. Also, the decision to paint the staircase grey was a good idea. That has made a huge difference to our living room.

What’s your biggest indulgence?

  • I don’t really have an indulgences. Though I do have a potential rug and bed linen buying problem! I’m following several rugs on eBay. But I really can’t justify buying one.

What has been your best DIY achievement?

  • DIY really isn’t my speciality. I’m not to be trusted with a drill even. A hammer is my only tool for putting pictures up and even they fall down. I do paint things a lot but my husband has a real knack of choosing great colours so I leave that part to him.

Thanks Cat for inviting me to be your blog guest. It’s been an honor :) x

Thank you Andrea for sharing your lovely home and for becoming a true friend. x

If you don’t already follow Andrea you can find her here: instagramblog, pinterest

Don’t forget to tune in next month for another Real {home} Life post and if you miss any you can see them all by hitting the REAL {home} LIFE button on the right side bar.

Resources List:

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BESbswyBESbswyBESbswyBESbswyBESbswyBESbswyBESbswyBESbswyBESbswyBESbswyBESbswyBESbswy

Habitat | Kanken | Fine Little Day | Tea & Kate | Pia Wallen | Ingela P Arrhenius

real {home} life | Gayle

April 29th 2015
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Welcome to the second instalment of the REAL {home} LIFE posts.

REAL {home} LIFE : 2

This month I’d like to introduce you to the lovely Gayle. I met Gayle on that marvelous app, instagram. I meet the most lovely people over there so I’m very lucky indeed.

If you want a little of Gayle’s style then check out the resources at the end of the post.

Gayle lives in a beautiful Edwardian home which they have been remodelling for a couple of years. The progress is amazing and I for one would love a peek at some before photos! It truly is a stunning work in progress.

TTT blog Gayle's home_01

All photography by Gayle (edited by Cat of TTT)

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What part of the World do you live in?

  • Worthing, Sussex.

Who do you share your home with?  

  • My partner, Steve, and our 5 year old daughter Edie.

Tell me a little about you and your family? 

  • Steve is a graphic designer and I am a stay at home Mum, currently setting up my own business selling homewares (watch this space). As a family at weekends we like to go swimming, exploring on the beach, zoo, farms, seeing friends and extended family, also getting on with little DIY projects around the house etc.

Can you tell me a little about how you came to buy your home? 

  • We were renting a house just outside Lewes in East Sussex and when it was time to buy our first family home there wasn’t anything we particularly liked that was within our price range (Lewes prices are crazy). So we started looking further afield and a friend put the idea of Worthing in our minds (she has since moved – to Lewes of all places!!!). We spent lots of weekends looking at houses with a then toddler Edie (no mean feat) but didn’t find anything that grabbed us. We decided we would just carry on renting in Lewes for the time being and look again at a future date, but then I received an email with the details of this house and told Steve we absolutely had to see it. We’d seen nothing at the price that also had so much character. We arranged a viewing and that was it, we were sold, and putting an offer in straight away. We didn’t even go for a second viewing. There was loads of interest and we ended up in a bidding war but I’m like a dog with a bone and I think in the end we got the house by paying £400 more than the other family!

What space do you have?

  • It is a 3 bed Edwardian semi on two floors. One thing that stood out for me was the size of the bedrooms – one large double spanning the width of the front of the house and then two smaller doubles (so no box room).

How would you describe your taste/style?

  • I am really drawn to minimal, modern, Scandinavian style.  I love white walls and simple furniture, I also love typographic prints/graphics. I don’t like anything fussy/chintzy and don’t like too much clutter.  I also like the industrial/warehouse look – things like exposed brick walls, untreated metal work and large open plan spaces.

You are currently renovating your home, which I know takes time, patience and money. Has Instagram influenced you in any of your interior design decisions?

  • For as long as I can remember I have had a passion for interiors (particularly Scandinavian) and I’ve collected interiors magazines for years. Instagram has been really useful/inspirational as well though, as you see evidence of everyday people making interior design decisions which helps you be more brave because you can see it works. I’d say the main way it has influenced me is pushing me more towards monochrome – whilst I have always loved white and grey I definitely used these colours as background for other colours before IG – but now I seem to only add black! I am currently trying to get a bit of balance between some monochrome and some colour!  It’s also opened up some new brands to me and encouraged me to shop more independently.

Where does your inspiration come from to decorate and furnish your home in the way you do?

  • Pinterest, interiors magazines – in fact it was one particular issue of Ideal Home magazine that convinced me to knock our 3 downstairs rooms through to one big space – the house in the magazine was the exact same layout as ours.  I knew I wanted to do some knocking down of walls but was possibly going to keep one room separate.

What is your most prized possession?

  • Not strictly interiors related but I would have to say my photos and videos of Edie. I do also love our “love seat” – bought as one of the first bits of furniture when we first got together, in a lovely shop in Brighton that is sadly no longer -hopefully this will be passed down the generations. I also have a large picture of Twiggy that I’ve owned for years and love but Steve is not hugely keen on it! We are currently coveting some string shelving for our kitchen to replace some IKEA shelving, and I’m sure that will become a prized possession!

Is there a particular piece or something you have an interesting story about?

  • Not particularly as most of our furniture is IKEA!

Do you have a favourite shop – Online and bricks and mortar?

Do you buy many magazines and if so which ones would you recommend?

  • I have subscriptions to both Living Etc and Ideal Home magazine. Occasionally I will buy Grand Designs and Elle Decoration, also my Mum passes on her “Good Homes” to me. Ultimately I am a bit nosey so I love a good look through an interiors magazine! I think Ideal Home is great at showing relatively “normal” people’s homes and also it has floorplans – I am a sucker for a floorpan as I love to look at the pictures and get a sense of how the rooms fit in with the other rooms in the house. Living Etc is definitely very aspirational and guaranteed to make me a little envious at times, but good at showing slightly more daring design.

What 3 pieces of advice would you give to someone starting out on their journey of furnishing and decorating their new home.

  • I would say – try to do one room at a time – this is not a piece of advice I have followed  so every room I go in is unfinished which is annoying!  Also, gather lots of inspiration from magazines, other peoples homes, IG, Pinterest etc and stick to what you love – don’t necessarily just follow the latest trend – go with your gut. Lastly, practice the art of patience (I need to take this advice!!!) and don’t rush into anything – we lived in our house for a year without doing anything drastic, working out how we live as a family, before we knocked all the walls down. Also if you have an idea of a particular piece of furniture you might like, wait until you can afford it – I have made a few mistakes trying to get cheaper alternatives which haven’t worked and have turned out to be a waste of money.

If money was no object what is the one thing you would change about your home if anything?

  • Nothing about the home per se as I think we have made the best of the existing space – in an ideal world I would have extended into the side return and maybe out into the garden by a few metres to have an even bigger kitchen/diner but I don’t think its necessary. I would also love a driveway as parking on our road is a bit rubbish. If we were to move again then a drive would be high up on the priorities list.

What in your opinion is the best thing about your home?

  • That it is so light and bright and open and white. That it has wooden floorboards and fireplaces. That after years and years of renting I have finally got to make my mark on my own home, something I definitely want to do again if money allows.

What do your friends say about your home?

  • It depends on the friend, as if they like floral/fussier decor they generally don’t say anything much!!! I also hear “do you like white?” quite a lot!! Some friends have said that it should be in a magazine which is very kind and most comment on how they like the open plan nature of the downstairs. People do also comment positively on the use of the space under the stairs, that we’ve managed to squeeze a loo, sink, washing machine, and coat/shoe storage space in to.

What’s your biggest indulgence?

  • White floor paint???!!!! We painted our floor 7 times in the end as one brand of white we had used was not white enough!!  I don’t really spend silly amounts on anything as funds don’t allow!

What has been your best DIY achievement?

  • I would say the sanding, filling and painting of all the floorboards countless times. Also the impromptu knocking off plaster in our bedroom to have exposed brick.

Thank you my dear friend for sharing photographs of your beautiful home with us and telling us a bit more about yourself and your style. I love seeing the changes by following you on instagram.

If you don’t already follow Gayle you can find her here: instagrampinterest

I’m really excited to be sharing some lovely real homes with you so be sure to tune in next month for another Real {home} Life post and if you miss any you can see them all by hitting the REAL {home} LIFE button on the right side bar.

Resources List:

IkeaMarimekko | Eames | Lego | Stokke | Jansen&co | Naked Lunge | Habitat | SeventyTree | TKMaxx

Giveaway | Style Me Vintage Home

April 3rd 2015
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Hi there!

Photographer :: designer :: blogger :: vintage hunter :: wife to @stecaton :: mama to a funny boy ::

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