London Calling

Its been one of those week so I knew that time was going to be against me so I decided not to write a large in depth post for you but instead I would share a few snippets of my whistle stop speed dating kind of day in London on Wednesday.

It’s always a joy to go to the capital with all its diverse, wonderful, eclectic fast paced gorgeousness.  From getting up at the crack of dawn to catch an early train to finishing the day in Caravan for our evening meal before heading back home is rather crazy but sometimes you’ve just got to do it.

I visited Coal Drops Yard to see what it was all about and boy I wasn’t disappointed this whole area of regeneration is outstanding and felt rather at home amongst the brick work and industrial architecture with a cool vibe that it purveys, its only been open for a couple of weeks so more stores are going to be opening all the time which will be a treat for me when I next go.  I absolutely loved the French store Caravane it was a  filled with the most sumptuous tactile ethical home wares, the linens and rugs where exquisite.

We quickly had a whizz around Liberty because when in London, the Christmas shop always amazes me it does make you wish you were small again, the magic and sparkle is something not to be missed.  Of course the whole town is building for Christmas, the lights and buzz was rather something.  I love wandering Covent Garden to add that extra dollop of sophistication and calm to the day, a purchase or two in Aesop and a relaxing pot of tea in Petersham Nurseries didn’t go amiss.

Making our way back to Kings Cross for a delicious meal in the atmospheric ambient Caravan was a treat, lit with candles and the buzz of the diners was the best tonic to end a perfect day.  I could honestly sleep for a week now and need lots of coffee to keep me going until the weekend but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Until next time you beautiful crazy city, don’t ever change.

Jx

Made of Wood // A Review

This book is the perfect book for this time of the year, filled with warm inviting homes that feature wood in many forms and styles and I adore every single one of them.  I can never resist a book written by Mark and Sally Bailey their effortless style and ability to fashion anything out of things they find fascinates me.  I have long been an admirer of their store Baileys Home in the heart of Herefordshire I have visited once a few years ago which is definitely not enough, I need to go back.  I have of course got a few things in my home from them, purchased over the years from chapel chairs to mirrors, Parfait jar lights, our loo seat oak of course and yes even my kitchen sink!

When Ryland Peters & Small asked if I would like to review Mark and Sally’s new publication Made of Wood I jumped at the chance.  I love wood but didn’t really realise how much until I read the book, I started to look around my home and truly noticed all the pieces I have that make our house a home, from Victorian striped pine doors to a French window shutter mantle shelf, hand made bath panels from scaffolding boards and painted floor boards in all the bedrooms, old tables and chairs and the list goes on.

The versatility of this wonderful material is endless and the book focuses on it in all its glory the warmth it brings to a home making it feel grounded either through a homes structure or the items curated within it.

“Made of Wood is a celebration of recycled pieces, age old crafting techniques, clean modern lines and global influences as well as art and tableware with a handmade feel.

The first half of the book Wooden Elements explores the many ways in which we can use wood in our homes, sculpted, left in its natural state, roughly sawn or smoothly planed, recycled or painted.  The second half of the book Wooden Stories contains 12 case studies, each one offering a glimpse into the homes of people who have used this most ancient and versatile of materials in creative and inspiring ways.

Living with wood brings tactile comfort to every day, warms any interior, and will give your home a sense of soul that is so often lacking in this age of mass production.”

I wish I could live in each and every home in this book, each so different from the next but with the one continuous link between them all that being the material that makes them special, wood.  Mark and Sally have such a way with words you understand their passion behind what they do and why, also the elements that make their homes so evocative and inviting from the Welsh Farmhouse to Whitecross Farm both homely and unique.  They believe that surrounding yourself with natural materials is a way of achieving a balanced and peaceful atmosphere in the home, wood being a principal element for harmony and I couldn’t agree more.  It is such a versatile element you can create almost anything from it with many finishes in its raw state, painted or polished, rough, recycled or reclaimed.  I would love to clad the outside of a house in it but that’s another story.

One of my favourite homes featured is The Plough to me its simply perfect with a pared back feel, no fuss just simple and honest, things have been chosen for their patina or sculptural qualities and elements have been left alone and untouched to reveal the history of this beautiful home that once was a pub.

This is definitely a book to invest in, you can get a copy from here directly, it would make a perfect Christmas gift for a loved one or a treat for yourself.  To own a copy to pick up and indulge in whenever you feel like, it will make you feel warm inside and inspire you with ideas to transform parts of your own home with wonderful wood.

Jx

  • Images 4, 6, 7, & 9 kindly supplied by the publishers Ryland Peters & Small, taken from the book Made of Wood written by Mark & Sally Bailey and photographed by Debi Treloar

 

Slow Simple Days // The Lake District

Shhh don’t tell anyone but I think I love the Autumn half term holidays more than anything in the world.  We hooked up our little van and drove a couple of hours to our special place Ullswater in the Lake District to be surrounded by big brooding hills, a riot of colour and air so still and clean that it makes you take deep breaths just so you can hold on to it.

We know the place so well now its like going home but at this time of year it has an added dose of magic, I don’t think I’ve seen it so resplendent, cold and frosty but bright. The trees a kaleidoscope of burnt umbers, ochre, burgundy, and russets, truly breathtaking.

Sitting in the quiet of the morning hands wrapped around a mug of coffee wrapped in a blanket watching the mist rise off the lake is something I will never tire of, then up and out to make the most of the day visiting and exploring the places that we love and making new discoveries.  We built a driftwood sculpture on the beach, found a hidden boat house and sampled fine wine in a 17th Century Coaching Inn sat by a a roaring fire.  We ate the most scrumptious lunch in Chesters, swang on rope swings in the woods of a National Trust property and watched red squirrels going about their day which was such a treat.  We marvelled at the sheer beauty that is Aira Force and drove down the Struggle a few times.  Everything else we did was a bonus and all with the most wondrous backdrop that I will never ever get bored with, it brings joy and wonder and makes me feel alive.

So Shhh don’t tell anyone but I think I love the Autumn half term holidays more than anything in the world.  I think if you’d been with me you might agree.

Jx

 

 

 

Made + Good // Conscious Homewares

Carrying on slightly from my post last week about nesting for the season of Autumn, I touched on sustainable home wares and mentioned a few of my favourite places to go when you want to replace or update a part of your home without resorting mass produced goods from the high street.    Well this week I would like to introduce you to Made + Good an on line store that is not only ethical, conscious of the environment but all their independent makers are based in the UK, everything is hand crafted, small batch products made with love and hard work.  Another unique point about Made + Good is that they donate 15% of all sales commission to charity.   Did you know that it has been scientifically proven that when you donate to charity it makes you happier and healthier. When you place an order you get to choose which charity you want to give to at the checkout.  So every time an order is placed through Made + Good a charity benefits directly and both the maker and you the consumer can give back with no extra cost to themselves, amazing right!

I asked owner Alex Hayes about how Made + Good came about and what the future holds for her inspirational store.

Generally, setting up Made+Good has made me excited to be part of a move towards more responsible consumerism where customers appreciate original products made by the amazingly skilled craftspeople in the UK – people who design and make with such levels of care and quality that would never be possible in mass production! I am proud to be supporting a more sustainable way of shopping that encourages considered purchases of products that are built to be used and cherished for years to come. Items in the home that show the marks of being hand crafted or are worn with years of use hold so much value within them and can bring such pleasure to everyday rituals.

In terms of future plans… I would obviously like to see M+G grow to take on more Makers and even to incorporate more areas of making such as foods and sustainable clothing. I am really keen to work some collaborations with Makers and I also definitely plan to run some pop-up shops in the future. So lots of ideas still to work on… being less than a year old I feel like Made+Good is still very much in it’s infancy

What I love about Made + Good is the level of detail, you can shop from a carefully selected range of beautiful home, lifestyle and gift products, shipped direct from the studios of the makers straight to your home.   Knowing that you are supporting small independent creative people in the UK is a great thing, one that would never be achievable in mass production.  Everything in the store is hand picked, chosen for its ethics, style and functionality.  These pieces are to be cherished and become part of your home for a long time to bring joy when ever used, hopefully on a daily basis.

Taking the environment into account is a big part of the Made + Good ethos.  Sourcing products that are made from sustainable materials and designed to last, searching for makers who are conscious of their impact on the environment.  Its perfectly normal to find Made + Good makers running their studios on green energy, spoons and bowls carved from reclaimed wood, jewellery made from recycled metals, vegetable based inks and recycled packaging being used to wrap your orders.

The store is very easy to navigate and within each section you can find exactly what you are looking for with one click.  I know this as I have treated myself to one of the Wheat Bags in the Beauty + Wellbeing section under the Lifestyle heading.  It has helped me ease achy limbs at the end of the day and is perfect for when the dreaded time of the month shows its face.  Simply pop it in the microwave for a few minutes and wrap it around the body where needed. A safe and natural way to ease aches.  When not in use the printed design looks wonderful on display on top of a pile of blankets.  The most fascinating thing about these wheat bags is the story behind them knowing exactly where and how each product is made is truly fascinating and makes you appreciate it even more.  They are produced by Blästa Henriët a Scandinavian brand with strong focus on durable design. Their wellbeing products are made from European, hypoallergenic linen that is kind to your skin. With a skill and passion for craftsmanship, each piece is made by hand in their London studio. The linen is Oeko-Tex Certified, the wheat is grown on a farm in Lancashire and the packaging is FSC-certified, made in the UK from renewable resources.

Every item from Made + Good has a story and an authentic provenance which resonates with me greatly.  From the denim aprons crafted with meticulous detail to the hand printed natural linen tea towels and napkins to the one of a kind porcelain stripe pots handmade in East London using a wheel and kiln powered by green energy and with the greatest care for our planet.  Who can resist such wonderful items that will not only bring joy but will be cherished for a lifetime.

I can honestly say I can’t think of a better way of improving our self awareness and well being by investing in a little bit of Made + Good can you?

Jx

  • with thanks to Made + Good for loaning the products for the purpose of this post

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Autumn I Think I Love You

Its time to get the house ready for Autumn, make those little changes to bring this season into full flow.   I always think I’m going to struggle with the transition but I never do, I secretly love the misty dew filled mornings and the russet red sunsets that you simply don’t get at any other time of the year.  One thing I’m not so keen on is the darker mornings I do struggle to get out of my cosy cocoon when its still pitch black outside.

The upside to Autumn is its bounty and the ability to cuddle up under blankets, light candles whilst soaking in the bath, wear soft bed socks or slippers, prepare warming stews and soups,the list is endless.   Also getting outside to kick the fallen leaves all crunchy and golden under foot, breath in the air and hint of wood smoke from folks fires, coming home to mugs of hot chocolate or home made crumble made from this seasons wind falls.

Over the years I’ve collected some beautiful handmade, organic throws and blankets that I keep close to hand at this time of year to wrap around me when it gets chill.  There’s always one at the end of the bed should it be needed.  I stock pile beeswax candles through the summer to use in Autumn, alongside the scented sustainable ones that I love too.   I have different sets of linen bedding for this time of the year, darker hues are added over the bright white I prefer in the warmer months.

I also love to decorate the house with Autumnal bounty, foraged branches stems of golden bracken or seed heeds from the garden.  Pumpkins bought from our local farm shop grown in the fields close by which all last for weeks and weeks always add to the overall display right up until Christmas.

None of this costs the earth, most of it is time taken to create something rather fabulous from nature.  Trying to invest in pieces that will stand the test of time rather than buying wastefully.  These are a few of my favourite independent places to go to get all the wonderful things I have mentioned above that have integrity and meaning for a well balanced home.

The Future Kept | where I go to stock up on beeswax candles along with other treats.  This is a delicious store full to the brim of beautiful handmade blankets, ceramics, candles and soaps, perfect slow reading material and many many more sustainable products for your home.

Aerende | I support Emily’s store with all my heart, all the ethical products in this wonderful store are good, life improving home wares at their very best.  All made by people in the UK facing social challenges.  If you are going to buy one thing this season I would highly recommend taking a look.

The Wood House |  Another one of my favourite stores who stock muted pared back home wares, I recently treated myself to some handmade coffee beakers made by Ali Herbert that will be treasured for many years.  I also get quite a lot of my favourite magazine publications from here too. I love to keep a stock to read at this time of year, curled up by the fire.

Of course I can’t forget my favourite makers of scented candles Nomad Society and Essence + Alchemy both equally fabulous, the intoxicating scents that both these brands produce are heavenly and create wonderful candles that work especially well at this time of the year, all ethically sourced and ecologically friendly, no nasty chemicals.

I am now counting down the days until the holidays and our Autumn escape to the the Lake District to feast on the splendour of this magical season finding natures inspiration at every turn.

I hope you enjoy Autumn as much as I do but I am curious do you get your house ready like I do when the seasons change?

Jx

Images 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 & 11

 

 

New Colours to Reflect the Seasons

I have a fascination with paint charts, I simply love them, especially the excitement of choosing a new colour to decorate a room at home.  I like to take my time consider all my options before going for it so that I don’t make a costly mistake and I’m not one for redecorating every five minutes using cheaper alternatives.  I am one of those lucky folk who just knows how shades work together and find it easy making the final choice, even those bold steps like painting my bathroom ceiling black and before you ask it really does work.

I am a huge advocate for Farrow & Ball, I come back to them time and time again and would recommend them to anyone who wants that subtle difference when updating a space.  They don’t release new colours very often but this Autumn they have created nine new hues to get all our taste buds tingling.  I love it that they take time to create these shades, refining each colour and giving it a perfect name along with the story woven into each and every one.  Their paint works on so many levels, from the contemporary to the traditional home, modern rustic to slick city pad.  You can have fun with texture, why can’t you paint your ceilings in gloss there are no rules when using Farrow & Ball.

The nine new colours are quite muted nothing to bright but all work hand in hand with each other, from a soft off white, a dark grey green, a brown based neutral to a muted pink and a grounding blue to name but a few.  Of course I am a huge fan of the muted shades so can’t see myself using the adventurous pink of Rangwali very soon but it still captures ones imagination, I would definitely try Sulking Room Pink a soft tone without being garish bringing with it a warmth that would lift a room perfectly.  One of my favourites is Jitney a beautiful earthy colour, there is shift towards brown based tones a warm woody neutrals of late so this muted shade fits the bill perfectly.  I like to feel calm and cocooned in a room and I think this along with De Nimes a subtle down to earth blue would do exactly that.

The next big space for us to tackle, hopefully in the Spring is our hallway, in desperate need of a touch up, I like to keep this space light and bright due to no direct light access able on the upstairs landing.  I am quite taken with the new soft neutral of School House White, not a brilliant white but a pared back, timeless shade without the cool undertones, a soft white reminiscent of old school houses.  Along with our natural sisal stair carpets and stripped pine Victorian doors I think would work an absolute treat.

You can find all the new colours on the Farrow & Ball website, they even give you design tips and colour schemes that work cohesively together, making our choices a little easier to make when deciding on which shade to go for when decorating.

Sadly I’m not decorating anything this weekend unlike the last but I will be soaking in the tub looking up at my beautiful black ceiling that is cocooning and soothing all at the same time.

Jx

 

 

When the Week Goes Awry

Some weeks just have you beat, this being one of them.  All my grand plans for my post this week have gone out of the window.  The week started with me having a huge social conscience dilemma and has ended with one too.

I watched the BBC documentary Drowning in Plastic and it caused me great heartache and sadness that turned slightly to helplessness and despair.  I wrote about my thoughts on instagram which caused a large debate, fortunately everyone seemed to be in the same boat as me but I must admit I felt rather drained by it.  The discussions my husband and I had and the endless  research into how else we can reduce our plastic took many hours.  I have also been doing paid work for brands this week that I don’t shout about much. Along with this we decided to completely trash our bathroom.  Making a new bath panel and repainting the floor, eradicating DIY horrors from the previous owners (the bathroom is still not finished). Scrubbing dirt and fixing pipes wasn’t so pleasant.

My second dilemma of conscience came in the form of a fashion brand that launched a new collaborative collection yesterday.  My gorgeous 13 year old daughter Ruby has been waiting patiently for months for a certain dress in the collection in the morning before I had chance to wipe the sleep out of my eyes it was out of stock.  This on top of my conflict about whether I was buying fast fashion for my teenager made me really evaluate my beliefs.   It’s easy for me to buy ethically as I am an adult and I do try to increasingly live in a sustainable way but buying clothes for teenagers is so very difficult.  It bothered me hugely that I had been sucked in by this crass marketing ploy that left me feeling rather confused.

So a big sorry from me for getting this all off my chest, if you have any solutions for me I’d love to hear them.

Jx

 

Windows to the World // Understated Glazing

I wrote a post about windows over a year ago with no notion that I would be writing again about the same subject but with brand spanking new ones in my own home.  A year ago I was dreaming of new windows but fate took over and here we are.   All my sentiments and reckoning in my other post still stand true today but finally I have got rid of the nasty nasty brown light sucking pvc nightmares that leaked heat.  All the glass panes had blown so we couldn’t see out of them and I couldn’t bear thinking about another winter with these dodgy monstrosities.   Waking up on cold mornings having to mop up water from the window sills was an arduous task and one that I didn’t want to have to endure any more.

A chance encounter gave us the impetus to start, not having a clue of price ranges and which companies were cowboys or not we took the plunge and had a few sales reps around (that’s the hard part) to give us quotes so we could make an informed decision.  All scary stuff as to who to trust, it is never as easy as it looks on Grand Designs but then again its always the glazing that goes awry!

Our budget wasn’t massive so we knew high end bespoke Critall windows were way out of our price bracket but what if we could get something similar we wondered?  I had set my heart on aluminium frames and not pvc, I didn’t want white or brown I wanted grey to compliment our interiors, also less frame and more glass and I found them.  Big picture windows to our specification and not an inch of plastic, we are over the moon with the service and installation (minus a fitting date hiccup) from Anglian Windows a reputable firm with high standards and who now also come with a recommendation from me.

The joy of knowing that my home is secure, energy efficient and warm is a weight off my mind.  The light that the new frames has brought to each room is utterly amazing, we knew there would be a difference but are astounded by how much.  Light plays a big part in our homes and when you are lacking it you really can tell, being able to watch the sky from bed on a morning is such a pleasure.  Not having to turn lights on in the middle of the day is another huge bonus and hopefully will reflect in our green energy bills.

I think windows with less frame and more glass are far more appealing, framing a view, no obscuring bars or added nonsense that just gets in the way and makes an ugly statement.   I like to look out of a window and to be able to while away a few hours curled up by a picture window is bliss.  Here are a few pictures of lovely spaces that inspired me to choose the frames for our house.

I know this may not be our forever house but for now the small improvements we keep making are adding value to our lives, our house is a rather homely place to be but we will keep dreaming of the modern new build that one day we will achieve and who knows Anglian may be fitting the windows.

Jx

Images 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 & 13

  • This post is written as a personal review not in conjunction with any company, I have received no payment or discount, purely my own words and opinions

 

 

 

 

Natural Wellbeing with Essence + Alchemy

When the days start getting shorter and the evenings close in
bringing with it a sense of hibernation and rejuvenation after the heady days of summer;  I like nothing more than to unwind and relax by lighting scented candles or incense sticks to bring peace and tranquillity to my surroundings.  A big mug of tea or glass of wine curled up under a soft throw with a good book, you simply can’t beat these moments.
One of my favourite places to go to treat myself to botanical scented goodness is Essence + Alchemy, from their divine packaging to the heavenly scent of each of the goods, it truly is sublime with an added touch of magic. Lesley really is an alchemist,  bringing to the fore the four elements, fire, water, air and earth the inspiration behind each of her goods.  Everything is handmade in small batches with pure essential oils and packaged in an ethical way, everything has been sourced and produced to have as little impact on the environment as possible, the brands ethos behind what they do  and why is rather wonderful you can read more here.
We all seem to be living more increasingly busy lives but I try very hard to stop on an evening, the phone goes away along with the laptop what doesn’t get done today can wait until tomorrow.  We need time to restore and recharge, learn to breath, slow down our thought patterns and relax.  I find scent be it candles, aroma mists or incense help me focus and do all of the above.  Essence + Alchemy aroma mists and incense are subtle not overpowering but have delicate tones that help aid sleep.  I use the aroma mist before I go to sleep the scent helps me fall asleep quickly and brings with it a restful nights rest.   I am also a huge fan to incense sticks, I find the process of lighting and releasing the smoke into the room has such a powerful effect, the scent lingers for a long while after the stick has gone bringing with it a soothing calmness that helps with my overall well being.
I asked Lesley the founder of Essence + Alchemy became what it is today and how she sees it growing in the future, this is what she said.
“I started out as an Environmental Scientist and after experimenting for many years with botanicals and essential oils for their well-being properties, I decided that this was a true passion and it was time to launch a new venture. I started creating natural candles in my kitchen and then hatched the idea for Essence + Alchemy, which brings together the natural scent and energy of plants (essence) with my scientific and environmental background (alchemy). 
Candle making came about because it was a happy distraction from house renovations and then slowly became an obsession into making the best candles I could with quality materials.  I started E+A alongside my career as a self-employed environmental consultant which was hard work because I was often travelling and away overnight.
Moving into the garden lab earlier this year, I’m still investing a lot of time and resources into that.  I enjoy growing slowly.  I think E+A will always be small-batch, it’s very personal to me and rooted from an idea of sustainability and creating less.  Candles and products are all about wellbeing and aromatherapy so if it was mass production behind the scenes, it really wouldn’t fit with this.
I’ve just launched candle club which is a way of reusing candle beakers so that customers can receive a refill every month in their favourite scents without having to worry about a growing container collection.
Earth products, which is a new apothecary line, is launching end of the month/early October, starting off with bath salts.  I’m a massive bath lover and it’s always been a dream to make my own range.
Continuing to collaborate, I really love working with other makers or businesses on projects, it’s always something a bit different from what I’m usually doing. I’ve got a few exciting collaborations  coming up this year.
For the future, I’d really like one day to have a small space or a travelling space because I have a retro caravan to renovate – a small sanctuary where people can come and breathe in aromas. Maybe next year!”
I can’t image not having the joy that bontanical scent brings to me and my home, to my overall well being, it nourishes my mind and brings calm to my surroundings.  The world would be an altogether sadder place without it.
Jx

Slow Fashion // What’s in your Wardrobe?

How do you shop?  Do you buy seasonally or spontaneously? Do you think about what you are buying or just binge buy?  I used to to be the latter, couldn’t resist the next thing had a wardrobe full of clothes and still didn’t have anything to wear.  You can easily succumb to this way of living because there is always something new and shiny being presented to you.   Now I am the complete opposite and goodness has it taken some time to get here but I am happier and more content than I have ever been about myself, the clothes I wear and who I buy from.

I have streamlined everything, from my wardrobe to how we live in general. It was a concious decision, I wasn’t following any self help fads it just felt like the right time to do it, everything fell into alignment at the same time.  When it came to clothes I decided that rather than shaming myself and emptying the wardrobe I’d start with a simple rule: if I bought something new then two things had to go out to the charity.  It has made such a difference I can see what I own, what I like to wear and now if anything needs replacing then that goes out and something new takes its place.  Using this method I now shop seasonally,  I like treating myself to a new outfit each season and Autumn is definitely one of my favourite times of year to update what I have.  I tend to wear a lot of dresses, ones that can be dressed up and down for any occasion and that can take you through the seasons by adding knitwear or a slim long sleeved top, versatility is key.

I also shop from a small pool, quite often on line these days, I research quite a lot but know my favourite places to go for the perfect garment.   I like quality, sustainability and integrity, well made thoughtful designs that stand the test of time and last more than one season.  Clothes made from natural materials that are modern classics that also make me feel good when I wear them.  The same goes for what goes under my clothes, underwear is so important.  So I thought I’d share a few of my favourite brands that I’m rather fond of.

TOAST

I have shopped at Toast for many years, they suit me and my style down to the ground, beautifully made garments with a genuine passion behind every piece made, they are a joy to wear.  I have my eye on this dress for the coming seasons to add a little colour to my monochrome palette.

PLUMO

I buy all my jumper dresses from Plumo, they are almost a uniform; my comfort blanket clothes, they wash don’t bobble and look good with everything, need I say more.  Plumo work with artisans and designers to create original beautifully crafted designs that are a little more unusual to the high street. Simply perfect for me.

EASTBYEASTWEST

I have followed EastbyEastWest for some time now and I own a beautiful dark blue linen dress that I adore, it is a functional dress that I can wear on any occasion or season and it just works and I love it.   Their new Autumn collection this year is beautiful and I have my eye on one of their knitted dresses in a soft mocha tone, just exquisite.   This is definitely a brand that you invest in, timeless classic pieces that will enhance your wardrobe for years to come.   Owner Sunu designs all the collections herself using natural materials which are not only comfortable but beautiful and can be worn year on year.   They kindly sent me the seed necklace I am wearing with their blue linen dress I bought a few seasons ago.  I love chunky jewellery and this is perfect to pair with my Autumnal knits and dresses, made using coconut seeds all individually hand strung onto cotton ribbon, it is very lightweight but beautifully tactile.

ORGANIC BASICS

I have become increasingly aware of throw away underwear, why wear something shoddy and ill fitting underneath beautifully sourced clothes.  I have not worn under-wired bras for quite a few years now but I have found it quite difficult finding ones that I like and don’t make me feel older than my years!   Thankfully I found Organic Basics, their ethos stands well with how I want to see the fashion industry go.  ‘Basically better made, consciously created, designed to last’ sustainable organic underwear that looks good. The packing is paper and recyclable, not an inch of plastic to be seen!   If like me you want to give organic underwear a go I highly recommend Organic Basics and as an incentive I have a 15% discount code TEAWITHRUBYXOB15 to offer my readers pretty cool right?

Last but not least I have just invested in a new pair of sneakers, I live in them right through to spring and wanted a new pair to take the strain off my old ones.  I’ve heard many a good thing about Veja so thought I’d try a pair out. Mixing minimalist aesthetics and innovative technologies, Veja are sneakers that are made differently. Fabricated using organic or recycled, fair-trade cotton for the canvas and wild, fair-trade rubber for the soles, what’s not to like.  I bought mine from Second Store a female only online sneaker store focusing on interesting and emerging brands who are totally all about girl power.

There are other places I shop for essentials such as Cos and Hush but that is about it, simple effective brands that don’t undermine the consumer.  It truly is a great to feel good in your own skin and the clothes you have made a conscious decision to wear for their integrity and design.

Jx

 

Stepping into September

As we gently drift into the month of September I feel at ease with myself.  The last few weeks of August I always get a little melancholic and at odds with saying goodbye to warmer days and not quite ready for what’s to come with the changing seasons.  Then September arrives and the calmness arrives with it, I’m not one for the back to school thing, I don’t have it as kind of a substitute for New Year.  I like to slowly embrace this beautiful month’s qualities and really look at my surroundings not rush headlong into Autumn and have it all done and dusted within a matter of weeks and onto dare I say it Christmas.

Before I became a Mum I can honestly say September was my favourite month, we always holidayed at this time of year and we knew that it was definitely the perfect month for us to marry (15 years on the 27th if you are interested) now as the years pass it has changed a little what with true ‘back to school’ feelings but now that has passed we can take stock and relish in the weeks to come and all it has to offer.

Cooler mornings but still with a little warmth to stand outside in the garden warming your hands on a cup of coffee in the soft light of sunrise looking at the dew dropped spider webs and the rich warm colours of the flower beds.  It’s also the time of year that the garden starts really giving back the fruits of your labour, ripe plums, juicy apples and seed heads to decorate your home.  Foraging for blackberries, sloes and elderberries to make delicious jams and cordials and of course crumbles, September just wouldn’t be right with out blackberry and apple crumble.

Nature has a wonderful way of finding itself in our homes, Autumn is a season where we add softer elements to our interiors, warmer knits and chunky throws in rich, deep colours that replicate what we see when we look out of the window.  I simply love slowly adding these layers to our home, bringing in other touches such as scented earthy toned candles for when the nights draw in.  Snugly blankets to cuddle up in after a long hot soak in the tub.  You think of handmade tactile ceramics and textiles far more at this time of year and I couldn’t be happier.

So here I am welcoming early Autumn with open arms, I’m ready for you and all your splendour.

Jx

Images 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, & 9 all others my own

 

Dreaming In French

Holidays are precious things.  Time to be with the ones you love without any distraction other than being with each other.  As a family we enjoy our holidays and are lucky enough to squeeze a few in now that we have a caravan, we can hitch up and go.  This post is a little ode to our recent break away in France, it’s not a travel guide, I didn’t receive anything for free, it’s not full of trendy Scandi style eateries or homeware stores just a simple post about the most beautiful eclectic, idyllic unspoilt corner of the world that we called home for two weeks.

I found peace in the little town called Le Pouldu, it usually takes me a few days to settle somewhere new and even more after a long journey like ours but within hours of setting up our mobile abode I felt a sense of ease which was rather refreshing.  This small town in Southern Brittany is unpretentious, it isn’t full of tourism or lots of Brits, no big hotels or camp sites that are all inclusive.  You have to fit in with the local French folk who live there and that is exactly what we did, it was so liberating.

We hardly went anywhere in the car, only if we needed a supermarket run for supplies we couldn’t get from the local grocery store.  We walked everywhere and explored a new corner every day discovering the coastal paths, through the streets and fields to the port, short cuts to the beach, back up the main street to window shop in the unique artisan stores.  The houses were dreamy and we talked of owning one to live in forever, especially the ones with sea views.

The proximity to the sea from our little camp site was just perfect, you could hear the waves as you woke on a morning calling to you.  I swam everyday in the Atlantic, floating, cloud watching trying to savour every moment to the memory bank for those winter days to come.   The beaches in small coves weren’t full of tourists just locals enjoying the sunshine, I felt part of something bigger, laying in the sunshine toes in the sand, catching up on many books I have been stockpiling.

Everything goes at a different pace over there, it was restorative to be part of it even if it were for only a short while. Breakfasting later with fresh croissants and coffee bought that morning,  even later lunches of crusty baguette and goats cheese with a glass of local cider to the sound of boules being played on our camp site.  Afternoons lazing on the sand, swimming, laughing, reading being with each other.  Evenings wandering markets, watching firework displays, drinking muscadet by the port, walking the paths of the town to watch the sunset over the horizon or enjoying a meal out learning more French and being treated by the waiters to after dinner rum.

I always like bringing home with  me a few things to remind me of places we have visited and this holiday has been no different.  We invested in a new piece of art, small and simple but by a wonderful artists called Marie-Laure David who has a gallery in Pont Aven the town of artists.  I treated myself to some exquiste ceramics in a cool store in Le Pouldu  La Station by ceramist Anne Huet Rapeaud and of course the obligatory wicker basket and a couple of monochrome hammam towels from the local market.

Whilst away I truly switched off, I didn’t think about anything apart from what I was doing that day.  I didn’t plan or work, I hardly posted anything I was just living in the moment which was refreshingly wonderful.  On my return it has made me think a little, wondering in what direction I want to go with when it comes to Tea with Ruby, I suppose I’m not quite sure, I’m not one for chasing the bright lights, scrambling for the next big thing or shouting about it constantly, maybe I’m getting left behind but hey c’est la vie.  What it has taught me is to live every moment in the now, I’m sure something will come along to engage me once again in this funny old world we live in.

Jx

 

 

August Days & A Small Apology

Apologies in advance for my lack of post today.  Time kind of got away with me after returning from France yesterday so what I hoped to write about today has to go on the back burner until next week.

No cause for alarm mind you, it’s just I’m still in holiday mode; craving to be back in France and living a slower pace of life so I threw caution to the wind and decided not to rush.

If you look closely there are snippets in the collage above of what’s to come next week, hopefully I’ll be all geared up to embrace the end of Summer and moving forward as the sun starts to fade slowly into Autumn with that back to school feeling.

Hopefully I’ll be raring to go, see you all next week with my holiday adventures.  Have a wonderful bank holiday weekend, may it be filled with lots of fun and laughter.

Jx