Seasonal Self Care at Home // State of Liberty

I find the beginning of the year to be one of reflection, nurture, using the time to look after yourself, your body and mind whilst the daylight is scarce and the weather a little cold and bleak.

I have been lucky enough to get to know Lizzie Jones from State of Liberty, who runs her company with our well being firmly at the fore.  State of Liberty retreats are designed so that you can enjoy a retreat experience in the comfort of your own home, how wonderful is that.  The retreats are inspired by nature and aligned with the seasons, each season supports, nourishes and prepares the body for the next season creating a constant cycle of well being.  All very clear and simple, and something we all forget about in our face paced lives that we have chosen to live and consume.  If we stop and take the time to think and compartmentalise we can often see the simpler picture.

Based on the the five seasons used in traditional Chinese medicine, each season correlates to one of the five elements, wood, fire, earth, metal and water.  Influenced by these  five elements, Lizzie has created a retreat, a pamper box and an essential oil blend for each season.

The Seasonal Pamper Box compliments the online retreat content and has been designed specifically to deliver an overwhelming sense of calm directly to your door.  Every purchase you make comes with access to exclusive online content that is there to help you effortlessly incorporate State of Liberty products into you self care routine with ease.

I can honestly say that the Winter Pamper Box is one of the most wonderful gifts I have ever received.  The older I get the more aware I am of looking after myself so I am pretty good at early nights, sleeping well, reducing my screen time and cooking nourishing home made food.  I also swim regularly and walk as much as I can.  One of the nicest things to my routine is bathing and looking after my skin.  So the Winter Pamper Box is perfect for me, I have thoroughly enjoyed the process of making my own simple face mask, lighting the candle and having a hot soak in an epsom salt bath, being intoxicated by the wonderful aroma of the winter blend essential oil of Frankincense, Patchouli and Pettigrain.

To me it’s dedicating the time, going through the ritual of preparing that face mask or bath, switching off from the world and creating your own retreat that is just for you.  Emptying your thoughts concentrating on your breathing and giving yourself over to the sheer bliss of being relaxed and calm.  All of which we are capable of doing if we choose to notice and make an effort to do so.

What is also so delicious about State of Liberty is their attention to detail, the boxes are beautifully designed and crafted with care, all packaging used is eco friendly all bespoke and handmade in the UK using recycled materials.  It is also designed to be reused and you can refill any of the base ingredients in your box by simply returning your empty glass bottles or canvas bags, they will be refilled and posted back to you.  Along with this dedicated service you also have access to the Wellbeing Resource Library where you can get regular updates with expert advice on seasonal living, self care, meditation, yoga, mindfulness, seasonal food, pamper and sleep.  Its good to know if you are finding anything a little stressful that help is just a click away.

If you do find self care difficult you can sign up to the weekly wellbeing toolkit that will guide you gently into integrating wellbeing into your everyday.  What is not to like about having that friendly hand to hold to bring a moments peace and happiness to counteract the busy.

As a thank you State of Liberty are offering my readers a 15% discount on the Winter Pamper Box using the code SOL-TEAWITHRUBY a perfect gift to yourself for the New Year don’t you think?

Jx

With thanks to State of Liberty for gifting the Winter Pamper Box for the purpose of this post.

 

 

January Moments

Hello January you funny month, I must admit I find you rather perplexing if I’m quite honest.  I never want the sparkle of Christmas joy to leave so I find leaving one year and stepping into the next a little strange, especially with the noise I seem to have noticed more from social media this week about goals, year planning, resolutions, self promotion and so on.  I am a gentle person, not one to rush or shout about myself very much.  I like writing my blog for myself and hopefully a few of you like it too.  I am lucky to get to work with some amazing folk along the way too, considered brands that I whole heartedly support in every way.

So no resolutions coming your way from me, I’m happy as I am most of the time, of course I have those days where you want to change the world and everything in it including yourself but who doesn’t.  I have a lovely home, a loving family and things around me that make my little space a happy one.   I find that January is a month to hibernate a little, do those things in the short light hours that we have to rejuvenate a little, read, sleep, relax, take walks outside in the cold, swim, have warm baths, look after your skin, eat hearty well cooked food and cuddle lots.

I wrote a similar post last year here, nothing has changed much but the sentiments still stand.   So 2019 is a blank canvas in front of me, who knows which colours and brush strokes I will make, who I will work and connect with.  Maybe I should shout a little louder about my talents and what I can do but for now I’m going to let January just be simple, what will be will be, tomorrow’s another day.

Jx

 

New Year Wishes

Bringing a little sparkle to the end of 2018, I hope you’ve all had a wonderful relaxing Christmas and a raring to go to bring in the New Year.

Thank you all for staying with me through 2018 it truly means the world to me.  I hope that you are all ready to go for the coming year as I’ll be filling my little corner of the internet with more interiors, sustainable home wares and much more, who knows what this new year will bring but I’m ready for you.

Make a wish and I’ll see you all in January.

Jx

(Images via Pinterest)

Christmas Joy

I’m not going to write gift guides or how to decorate your home this festive season.  What I am going to do however is wish you all a very Merry Christmas what ever way you decorate or what ever you buy I’m sure you will have a wonderful time no matter what.

I am looking forward to slowing down, spending precious time with my loved ones and having a thoroughly decadent few days.

Happy Holidays let the festivities begin

Jx

(Images via Pinterest)

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

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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