Ceramics

I have a confession, I’m a little bit obsessed with ceramics in all it’s guises.  I’ve had a good clear out of old crockery, mugs and bowls that are no longer used or serve any purpose, even most of the vintage china has gone.  Clearing out and starting again feels good and I’m starting a curated collection of beautiful ceramics and pottery.

I have a few pieces of old that have come back into the foreground but it was a Parkwood pottery mug by Lane that started me on this path and obviously my need to clear out and feel free from clutter.   I have recently invested in some new dinner plates from Minor Goods which have the most beautiful glaze.  I don’t want matching I want mix and match but all within the same hues of stone through to deep blue.

I am fascinated and in awe of those who use there hands to create objects that have been born from the ground and turned into useful, practical objects and art forms in their own right.

I love the tactile nature of ceramics, the different methods and stories applied to each piece that make that certain mark or colour.  There is nothing better than wrapping your hands around your favourite mug or bowl and the comfort it brings, like saying hello to an old friend.

There are many artists out their that I admire greatly who turn, sculpt and manipulate wonderful pieces using their hands, Sue Prkye, Pip Wilcox, Sarah Jerath and Jono Smart to name but a few.

Follow my ceramics board for more inspiration.

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Image 1, 2 and 3 my own 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 sources highlighted.

 

September Reclamation Special

It was a joy to be asked again if I would review the Arthur Swallows Decorative Home and Salvage Show at Ripley.  It was a beautiful serene Saturday morning when I arrived, the air slightly Autumnal.  Walking through the gates makes me feel like coming home, a familiar place that has a special place in my heart.  Seeing old friends and catching up, wandering around the perfectly styled stands full of new finds.  There is always such a warm friendly vibe at Ripley and definitely something for everyone, it’s simply a great day out and if you leave with that perfect item you’ve been looking for, even better.

You’d think that the exhibitors had all talked and compared notes about the look of their stands, they all flowed and coordinated so well: green tones, metals and neutrals.  These elements always catch my eye, it’s a look that I’m extremely inspired by at the moment.

As always Millington and Hope‘s careful arrangement made me gasp, tactile wooden bowls, rough hewn linen chairs and tactile ceramics.  I was also drawn as always to Chris Holmes display, Chris has such an eye for the unusual. He is the master of curation and is so knowledgeable of his stock.  Chris was also showcasing a body of work by Chloe Holt an artist who creates stunning contemporary paintings. I fell in love with them and I am seriously saving my pennies to own a piece of Chloe’s work that I can call my own.

This fair Matt Dixon of Tallboy Interiors in Aberford has taken his own stand. A qualified interior designer with a flair for the unique; I loved his stand and it’s curios but also thoroughly enjoyed talking to Matt who really knows his stuff.

I’m so pleased that this fair has taken place twice this year, you always find something new for your home. I was looking for something in particular this time that I didn’t find so the search goes on. Maybe it will appear in May next year when I next visit.  I did get seduced by a simple ceramic vessel to add to my collection as ceramics are a growing passion of mine so I left a happy customer.

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A Gallery of Summer

This week has been a tough one, I don’t do transition too well and Autumn is on it’s way, there are little tell tale signs but I’m trying so hard to hang on to Summer.   Also my daughter started her first foray into the big scary world of senior school, she is coping far better than I!  We are all feeling a little exhausted to say the least.

So I thought I would go back a few weeks and share with you some of my memories from our Summer getaway to the most beautiful of counties, Somerset.  We’ve never been to Somerset before so it was a delight to find so many wonderful things to see and do all within easy access to where we had chosen to stay on the outskirts of the picturesque village of Batcombe.  If you like quiet, quirky and rural this is the camp site for you.  So simple but wonderful for children to explore and just be, no play park but trees to make dens in and a lake to go boating on which caused great excitement.

Of course whilst so close to Bruton we had to go sample the pizza At The Chapel which was such a treat.  I bought bread there first thing on a morning from the bakery too, their sour dough loaf is one of the best I have ever tasted. We visited the Hauser and Wirth Gallery with it’s contemporary art juxtaposed with heritage farm buildings brought back to life to create the most wonderful atmosphere in a quintessential English setting.  As you wander through the gallery you find yourself coming out into the most stunning gardens I have ever seen designed by Piet Oudolf, I could have stayed there for hours and hours running my fingers through the grasses, gazing at the clever planting, swallows swooping and diving above our heads.  It was one of my favourite places and as we were so close we went back again and enjoyed a meal at The Roth Bar and Grill simply prepared fresh sustainable and seasonal dishes that were superb, the friendly atmosphere and surroundings are rather intoxicating.

The rest of our time away was spent lingering at many a National Trust property, Stourhead and Barrington Court being our favourites.  Sitting in orchards having picnics, whiling away moments on swings in oak trees and sampling the  best cider.

On a recommendation and luckily for us perfect timing we were able to go to the Frome Independent Market that is held on the first Sunday of the month.  One of the best markets I have ever had the chance to go to.  The town square is full with artisan makers, street food stalls, organic produce and vintage wares.  The vibe was electric, the independent stores that were open on Catherine Hill have a such a vibrant feel, all unique in their own way, I loved Resident and happened to make a purchase.

From the hulabaloo of shopping, galleries and stately homes it was always a joy to get back to Agatha and wind down the day sitting in a deck chair watching Ruby rowing with her new friends, enjoying the tranquility and peace of our surroundings in the glow of the warm evening sun.

Now back to reality we are planning our next escape to try and keep the inspiration alive.  The simple way we try to live and to embrace the slowness that we crave, finding that balance can be tricky but I don’t think we are doing so bad.

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Inside / Outside

If you are like me, you’ll like nothing better than being outdoors. Be it in a grand garden that you are visiting or just in your own little plot.  I try very hard not to get bogged down with the daily routine and take a few moments to step out of the patio door with a coffee, take stock and go through my mental task list for the day.  I find that sitting on my bench, surrounded by the scent of my plants, really does help me stay focused on the day ahead.

I think seating in any outdoor space is key to bringing your garden scheme together.  When wandering around any large garden you will notice little pockets where seats are placed, perfectly positioned in the right spot for maximum effect to enjoy the vistas.  You will normally find that the seaing in these public spaces is usually beautifully honed wooden benches that have silvered over time; or if you get to visit somewhere like the Hauser & Wirth Gallery in Somerset the Piet Oudolf garden has the most exquisite contemporary designed metal chairs that fit the surroundings of modern design to a tee and are also exceedingly comfortable.

Getting the right balance is key, if you are a modernist at heart your garden will reflect your sway to contemporary design through it’s planting and what furniture you choose to place in it.  The same will go with those of us who like a cottage garden, wild and abandoned foliage mixed with fruit trees and vegetables.  You will most certainly find an old vintage bench or folding chair placed next to galvanised potting benches and possibly a French café table.

Blending your interior style to that of your outside space is relatively simple too, using your garden as an extra room especially in the summer months and into autumn is a bonus.  Create an area close to the house where you will spend the most time, position a seating area that can be shaded if need be, add an additional table so that meals can be eaten outside too.   A communal area that can take your right from your first coffee in the morning to enjoying a glass of wine in the evening.

I also like to mix things up a little in my interior style too.  If you choose correctly, garden furniture makes for a quirky look inside so why restrict it solely to outdoor use.  I love the mix of industrial style café chairs and benches around a dining table.  I myself have folding wooden garden chairs mixed with chapel chairs around the chunky farmhouse table in my kitchen.

Deckchairs in a large open plan modern living room would work well as extra seating. Metal stools can be used in bathrooms to place your towel when you are having a soak.  Wooden garden benches look fabulous in hallways with shoes neatly lined up underneath.  Why not throw away conventional thinking and shake things up a bit, creating a space where the outside comes inside and vice versa.  Blending the two spaces makes for a perfect interior that flows.

A great source of inspiration for me is my outside board showing you ways of creating a well designed room outside using the correct garden furniture for the right space.

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  • This post was written in conjunction with Homebase.  Images 1, 2, 4 ,6, 7 & 8 are my own, the collaged images are all from here

 

G&T Time with a Twist

Just because the Summer is in its last throws of decadence it doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy these heady warm evenings just that little longer with a few G&T’s on the terrace.

I try to keep the Summer vibe going as long as I possibly can before I give in to the Autumnal pull but for now there is nothing nicer than creating a cool drink after a long day at work and taking the time to enjoy each sip.

I was asked by Diageo to give some of their classic cocktail recipes a try from the myriad of choices on thebar.com website but my eye was drawn to simplicity and the elderflower G&T.  Firstly as it’s my husbands tipple of choice and secondly we made our own elderflower cordial this year so I thought this would be a winning combination and very simple to do.  No messing about as long as there is ice in the freezer and a lime in the fruit bowl you can mix a delicate and delicious cocktail in seconds.

The elderflower cordial lifts the gin and tonic with it’s floral notes enhancing the vibrant botanicals and highlighting the subtle juniper aroma, adding a squeeze of lime finishes it off to perfection.  I can honestly say this combination is becoming one of my firm favourites.

As it’s the bank holiday weekend some of you may be entertaining, having friends over for a BBQ, or a cocktail party of your own in the garden.  There are some super Summer cocktail recipes to try at thebar.com with simple step by step instructions and lists of ingredients to help you create the perfect tipple of your choice, what could be easier.

So I raise my G&T filled glass to you and I hope you all have a super long weekend with a few cocktails thrown in for good measure.

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  • This post was written in conjunction with Diageo with many thanks

 

Holiday Moodboards

While I’m away I thought I’d fill a page with beautiful inspiration that I have collated over the months.  A happy moment that I get great pleasure from putting colour and form together to make cohesive mood boards that bring joy.

These boards have a summer vibe from perfect natural sunkissed tones to a refreshing hint of lush green. Summer frocks, al fresco dining, shadows, holiday home inspiration.  All conjuring up time away relaxing, unwinding just being in that moment.  Thank you Summer you are worth waiting for.

Whether you are on holiday yourself or planning to go, take time out to enjoy each precious moment.  Have a lovely weekend everyone.

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Take A Break

The next few weeks I am going to be away, downing tools hooking up Agatha the caravan and hitting the road for some seriously needed rest and relaxation.

 

The summer frocks and sandals are packed the green fields of our campsites are waiting.  New and exciting destinations are longing to be explored, the days to be played out in front of us.

No rush, no worries, simple living at it’s best. As long as I have a cold glass of wine and a good book to indulge in once back at our van, sat outside in my deckchair bathed in the glow of our new festoon lights until the sun goes down I shall be one happy girl.

See you all on the other side, if you follow me on instagram come and see what I’ll be getting up to over the next few weeks, it will be full of holiday moments.

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Images Source ~ 2, 3, 4 & 5 (1 & 6 are my own)

 

Bedside Matters

There is something lovely about curling up under the sheets with a cup of tea and a good book.  Even better if your book is bathed in a soft glow, not too harsh but gentle enough to light the room while aiding relaxation.

I like the contrast of these industrial table lamps against my antique French bed.  Mixing things up a bit by putting contrasting things together refreshes a space and I think these work very well.  The cool marble stand with the added touch of copper against the grey walls, pale bedding and grain sack cushion unites the paired back scheme perfectly.

The fabulous MiniSun filament bulb is a revelation, not only is it one of the first LED bulbs to replicate that of an Edison style filament but is ultra energy saving only using 3W.  It gives off a warm ambient glow that is perfect for a bedroom.

With thanks to Iconic Lights for making my favourite room in the house even more hard to leave than it already was.

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Gather.Harvest.Feast

A couple of weeks ago I spent a wonderful Saturday in the great outdoors.  I helped set up a great event that hopefully will become more of a permanent fixture through the coming months.  The meaning behind Gather.Harvest.Feast to me is an appreciation of the seasons, taking time to enjoy the nature around me, the food I can forage and create, the seasonality of natural home grown flowers to fill my home.

Jen has written it in a far more eloquent way that I ever could below;

“Gather. Harvest. Feast. is a collaborative project between creative bloggers, writers, photographers and artists.  It is our way of celebrating the seasons through nature, food and flowers. We want to spend time in our beautiful landscape,  learn new skills and enjoy the wealth of produce our Northern part of the country has to offer. 

Our aim is to make new connections, seek inspiration and gain knowledge from one another. We will be holding workshops in floristry, foraging, traditional crafts, photography and natural skincare. 

We hope to meet once every season, with picnics, lunches and days out and all in locations that showcase our beautiful North. Our plans are to incorporate family friendly events too. 

Together we will gather, together we will harvest and together we will feast.”

It was a day filled with friendship, laughter and learning, being surrounded by nature in every sense. We didn’t need the sun to shine we made our own sunshine through the home grown flowers we arranged, the mocktails that were made with foraged seasonal ingredients and the natural skin care we blended using natural plant extract and essential oils.

Days like these cement the belief I have in a better world, that each and every one of us can create a healthier place to be by simply living in a more considered way that help us to achieve a balanced beautiful life.

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With  many thanks to Jen, Clarey, BeckyLiz and Sarah for friendship, flowers, mocktails, detailed botanical artwork and the most wonderful bath oil (top note of blood orange, who knew!)

 

Best Laid Plans

I was supposed to be full of vigour and write a post about my wonderful day at Manor Garden to celebrate our first foray with Gather Harvest Feast but life has put a spanner in the works.  Not a horrible spanner by any stretch of the imagination simply time poor when it comes to having a moment to put my thoughts down articulately.

Ruby my very cool, strong, clever, funny, wonderful little girl is leaving Primary School today, a big thing in any child’s life and this week has been filled with proms, assemblies, performances, late nights and tired eyes. So I have decided to postpone my Gather Harvest Feast musings but I will tease you with a few images to whet your appetite hoping you will return next week.  If you can’t wait until then Jen has written a beautiful post on Little Birdie about what the day meant to her.

See you next week….

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The Lifestyle Atelier

Please let me introduce to you & MEAD a beautifully curated new on line store run by a very dear friend of mine Susannah Mead.  It takes courage and conviction to go it alone in the world of on line retail but I think that this lifestyle atelier has got the balance of product and lightness of touch just right.

The store is set out in specific rooms, each space designed to bring each room of your home a new sense of style. Pieces that you just can’t resist from smaller items such as utilitarian enamelware to luxurious hand made, loving sourced table linens and exquisite silk shawls hand dyed and block printed with finesse.

Susannah wanted to bring the essence of our coast line to the fore. She’s passionate about the North East Coast the sea and all it’s elements play a big part in how the shop feels.  She also wanted to showcase the delights of artisans meticulously and passionately creating each of their pieces with care and attention.

In Susannah’s words “&Mead simply put is me – a collaboration of the practical necessity, vintage provenance and most of all the childlike whimsy and fanciful dreaming we all deserve.”

 

I am very careful now about what I buy for my home, I have de-cluttered and pared back over the last few months.  My  goal is to source well made pieces for my home that I will cherish for a very long time and everything in curated rooms of &MEAD have exactly that ethos behind each item.  I treated myself to a lovely versatile zinc pot to hold a gifted succulent but it’s uses in the years to come are many.

I do hope you go and browse this lovely store, I promise you, you will not be disappointed and hopefully will purchase an heirloom for the future.

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Summer Breeze

After a difficult week and a head full of lacklustre I have found it hard to even open the laptop to write, share, connect at all. Even the weather hasn’t played ball.

I’m sitting writing this with Wimbledon on in the background, a summer staple that takes my mind away to other places for a while.  Whilst trying to find words for my post I keep looking out of the open patio door at my washing blowing in the breeze, a sight I do enjoy immensely, even more so when the rain has been more of a permanent fixture of late than sunshine.

Anyway I digress, this brings me onto why I’m waffling on about our summer weather and washing, The Linen Works kindly sent some of their newly launched washing range to try.  I am all for sustainability and try very hard to make a conscious effort to use the right cleaning products in my home that are environmentally friendly and naturally sourced.

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linen laundry bag white duck egg dot stamped

Our range has been meticulously developed using ethically safe ingredients that are both kind to the skin and environmentally responsible. Delicately fragranced with essential oils with notes of Bergamot infused with meadow flowers, vanilla and patchouli.

Made in the UK with naturally derived raw materials, effective, biodegradable and hypoallergenic. Does not contain chlorine, optical brighteners, synthetic perfumes or phosphates.”

The Linen Works laundry collection is not only packaged with flair but also works beautifully well, the fragrance is delicate and the end result is a laundry basket full of soft clean washing.  I do rather like ironing too I’m not sure I should admit to that!   Using linen water is quite a luxury but oh my the iron glided over my linen with ease.

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arles tea towels charcoal raspberry navy hook[1]

There is nothing like climbing into a freshly made bed on an evening and after using this lovely range of laundry products it made it even more pleasurable and aided restful sleep.

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*  With thanks to The Linen Works for supplying the Laundry Products and the use of images 5, 6, 8 & 9

 

 

Relax with Plum & Ashby

There’s nothing nicer than after a long day to run a bath filled with the scent of summer to sooth away those knotty thoughts in your mind and body. I adore having a soak in the tub a simple pleasure and recently made even better by Plum & Ashby and their contemporary bath & body range.

Not only does their range smell delicious but it comes in the most stylish packaging with a nod to old apothecary bottles.  Deep amber toned glass and screw topped clear vessels which when not in use will make your bathroom shelf evoke that of a stylish store.

The heady scent of lavender is one of my favourites especially at this time of year, I have lavender hedges that line my garden paths and doorways, when you brush past the air is filled with it’s aroma and I simply love it.  So of course I couldn’t resist the temptation of the Green Fig and Lavender hand and body wash and Lavender bath essence.

My new bathroom companion Green Fig and Lavender wash is being used daily, made with natural essential oils it cleanses and moisturises without over dying my skin, a mini pamper every day is good for ones soul.  For those bathing moments I described at the beginning of the post you really can’t surpass this wonderful moisturising bath essence.  With the calming lavender notes and soothing tones of marigold helping relaxation, pour a small amount to running water when drawing a bath and completely unwind. The essence is also made with all natural ingredients including coconut and lavender oil.  I find that taking a bath in the evening helps me sleep better too especially with these subtle scents that calm the senses.

Not only do Plum & Ashby provide you with the complete bathing experience they also supply super wash bags for you to store their products in too so you can take them on weekends away and holidays so you always have that little bit of luxury where ever you go.

I’m having a few days away with the girls this weekend and guess what will be coming with me in my over night bag!

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Seasonal British Best

This week is British Flowers Week and to celebrate this I was asked by Four Walls to spend £50 on seasonal home grown blooms.  I didn’t hesitate to take up this challenge, I knew exactly where to go and was overwhelmed by the flower explosion in a bucket that arrived.

I simply can’t not have flowers in the house, they complete a room, I get a bit grumpy if I don’t have jug filled with colourful stems even if it’s just a jam jar with one stem cut from the garden.  I try very hard to buy seasonal flowers and foliage when I can but this can be tricky.  I most certainly buy British where ever possible and at this time of year forage the hedge rows.  This sadly is in serious decline today as much as 90% of our flowers are imported.

Things are changing if you choose to look, the flower revolution is gaining pace, small growers wanting to produce home grown in an eco friendly sustainable way.  Bringing old varieties back and creating stunning displays with flowers that are grown at the correct time of year.  Yes summer blooms may be fleeting but oh my they are beautiful.

I am a very lucky lady to call the family behind Manor Garden friends and knew that Clarey would come up trumps when I asked her to fill a bucket for me for this post.  The walled garden is situated in beautiful country side by the banks of the River Tees and is truly magical; their passion for home grown seasonal flowers is infectious.

To be honest when I came to arrange the flowers I didn’t know where to start, I’m no Simon Lycett!  The arrangement just as it was was so very beautiful, full of delphiniums, foxgloves, alliums, cat mint, aquilegia, astrantia, roses, peonies, thistles, daisies, snap dragons, scabious, corn flowers and the list goes on.  The heady scent was and still is intoxcating, I can honestly say I can’t remember the smell of flowers being so strong but so very right and just how it should be.  After sitting for a while a little bewildered I calmed down and decided on different colour ways and heights to go in chosen vessels so I could place them in various spaces and rooms of the house.  I also decided I needed to keep a big bucket full of wonder as I probably won’t see anything like this in my living room again for a long while.

British Flower week should be celebrated and shouted about from the roof tops not only for this week but all year round.  Do a bit of research and you’ll be amazed at who you will find tucked away down a country lane, people who are creating pockets of magic in the flower world.

I shall be back at Manor Garden in a few weeks helping with a wonderful gathering of like minded souls.  Spending a day in the walled garden creating our own flower arrangements from the cutting garden, having a go at making a skin care using botanical and herbal ingredients and generally enjoying being surrounded by nature, good food, friendship and laughter.

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With thanks to Four Walls for the generous gift making these floral arrangements possible.

 

Minimal but with Meaning

Over the last year I feel that I have finally found my space, I have an inner peace in all aspects of my life, knowing that I am who I am and truly comfortable within my own skin.  It’s taken a while but hey, and YES I have off days but who doesn’t?  When it comes down to how I look, dress, feel on a daily basis I’m doing ok.   I have a capsule wardrobe, I love having a crazy haircut  (being free of hair dye rocks) and also having the confidence to have 3 tattoos that hold great meaning and symmetry to me.

Which brings me onto Lines & Current. Through the magic of instagram and my latest inking of a closed circle, I met Rebekah the owner of L&C; a down-right amazing lady.  We sing from the same hymn sheet when it comes to pursuing simplicity in our everyday lives, how we live with minimal clutter in the home, to our minds and wardrobes creating an overall well being.

Simplicity is most definitely the key word in the ethos behind Lines & Current. The on line store is beautifully clear, perfect minimal pieces of jewellery that I find compelling.  I’m not one for bling and never have been, but I do like an statement piece to finish an outfit and ODIN is just that, sublime.  I can wear it with everything, it sits high and proud but with an air of delicateness that really appeals to me.

Funnily enough, meeting Rebekah and being able to wear ODIN truly makes my circle complete, everything fits into place as I said at the beginning of this post.  I am one now, strong, content, peaceful, life is good.

I highly recommend that you go and check out the other Lines & Current collections too, the sunglasses are some of the best I’ve worn in a long time, light weight with a classic edge that I haven’t taken off since the sun started shining (probably because Ruby wants to steal them too!)

SignatureThis post was written in collaboration with Lines & Current all words and opinions are my own.