Inspiration

Sometimes I feel a little lost, this is when I try very hard to not feel guilty for stopping for a while.  Putting the phone down and turning it off, not going near the laptop and to tell myself it doesn’t matter that I’ve stepped away from the technology for a moment.   I get a bit frustrated with myself that I can’t muster good ideas or create good images for instagram but I also get a bit scared that what if it never comes back; what if I’ve peaked.

I do try very hard to be mindful, working through some of the knots I’ve got my head into, I spend a lot of time reading indulging in my favourite magazines and interior books hoping that a spark will appear.   Taking time away from the screens is good but I do let myself browse through Pinterest, a happy place where colour and images bring moments of joy.  Putting together mood boards that reflect what I’m seeing and feeling helps too.

So today this post features some of these boards; calming images in colour palettes that I find inspiring at the moment helping me to work through my anxieties a little and hopefully a little spark will be reignited once more.

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New Year Wishes

friday-musings-127A simple style New Year is filling my thoughts.  Well planned escapes, working with cool clients and ambitions to strive for.  Beautiful simple moments to be enjoyed and cherished with those I love.

For now though I shall immerse myself in the last day of fairy lights and tinsel, champagne and naughty treats.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year may it be all that your heart wishes it to be.

Monochrome & Geometric

Some things I know I will never tire of, beautiful tiles, especially ones that are geometric and monochrome.  The trend continues and I don’t think it will fade any time soon, they are a classic and will add an air of luxury in any space big or small.  I am always drawn to the pared back muted tones of black and white and all the subtly beautiful hues of grey in between.  From the clothes that hang in my wardrobe to the décor in my home this colour palette is most definitely the one for me.

So when I came across these stunning tiles by Laura Ashley my heart skipped a beat.  The Heritage Collection is a collaboration with British Ceramics and they are simply perfect.   The ceramic feature floor tiles come in two unique patterns and colour ways, Wicker and Mr Jones, charcoal and dove grey in both.  This sophisticated geometric style would bring such a distinctive look to any room you chose to use them in be it a kitchen or bathroom floor.  Or if you are like me and don’t have the space to do a full tile refit with large tiles but can’t resist owning one or two because of their striking pattern you’ll come up with inventive ways to give these tiles a new purpose in your home.

Using a tile other than its purpose is fun and resourceful.  These large square tiles look amazing used as boards on your dining table, placing one or two (if you have a large table) down the centre as serving boards, or they would make the most stylish cheese platter.  They would look equally as effective as the centre piece to a well styled table setting filled with candles and greenery.   Place one by the side of your cooker to hold all the necessary utensils and condiments you need when cooking a meal.  You could also have a tile as a feature on your footstool or coffee table in the lounge, a perfect place to put your hot drinks or glasses of champagne and nibbles when having a party.  Of course, they work very well in a bathroom, as tiles on the floor or maybe placed as a splashback or a stylish way to display your favourite bathroom essentials.

If you are lucky enough to have to space to use them en mass in a room scheme let the monochrome patterns on these tiles speak for themselves, they don’t need fussy surroundings, by keeping other elements simple you will be rewarded with a very classic look.  Keeping the fabric and paint choices within the spectrum using linen fabrics and matt grey paints, mixing and matching to create different vignettes with each tile.   Laura Ashley’s choice of fabric and paint is always excellent, the ones I have matched the tiles with here are, Bacall charcoal and Dalton pale natural fabric, Dove Grey and Steel water based matt paint which bring the tonal variations of grey together cohesively.

An easy way to make sure you are going in the right direction is to look outside to nature.  The tonal elements between a stormy sky, sea and rock for instance or the patina of metal and weathered wood.

On that note I think it’s fair to say that my love affair with all things monochrome, geometric and ceramic will never fade.

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With thanks to Laura Ashley for providing the materials for this post.

 

Design Elements // Childrens Books

I know before anyone asks if I’ve gone mad then the answer is most certainly NO!   Children’s books in all their colourful, imaginative, educational other world inspiring glory are full of design.  Can you see the connection?   I wonder how many times you have read a book to your little one and studied the art work, I know I have.  Pondering questions of what inspired the illustrator and how they came up with their brilliant concept that will be treasured at bed times by so many small people.  Even to the point of connecting with a child so much that this is what they end up doing themselves when they grow up.

Design is everywhere you look and I was fascinated when I was asked to take a look at three new very unique children’s books based on their design ethics. The books in question are Handstand by Lisa Stickley,  An Animal ABC by Alice Pattullo (to be released on 13th October 2016) and a re telling with a twist on a classic tale Sleeping Beauty: a mid century fairy tale illustrated by David Roberts and retold by Lyn Roberts-Maloney.  Rather than me review each one I thought that I would ask the author illustrators about their creations as they know far more about design than I!

1. Where did the design influence come from when putting the book together?

Lisa ~ I wanted to create a ‘fresh air’ feeling for this book so I embraced the naivety and simplicity of coloured pencil and oil pastel often used in my work. Combining this with mono-print and injections of colour by way of collaged pattern I hope it evokes a feeling of unfussiness and ‘only just cut grass’, which is exactly what I think of when I remember ALL of the handstands I used to do when I was little. Books on Saul Steinberg, David Hockney and William Scott were regularly perused when I was creating Handstand too.

Alice ~ I’m generally very inspired by mid-century artists and illustrators like Edward Bawden, Eric Ravilious, Barbara Jones, Enid Marx, Barnett Freedman….I could go on! All of these artists crossed the (invisible) line between ‘art’ and commercial illustration and I like to think that I am doing this with my own work now. I am also very interested in the print aesthetic of 1930s/40s lithographed children’s books, like the Puffin picture books (of which a few of these artists produced designs for). I particularly love the limited colour palettes which force an ingenuity when it comes to layering colours – so you make the most out of the few you have. I wanted to adopt this technique and stick to just 4 colours throughout the whole alphabet, emphasing different colours in different animals to make it look like I had a wider array than I really did.

David ~ It came from the idea of how the culture of the 1950s envisaged the future. Sci-fi films, robots, comics and cartoons were all an influence on the look. I also looked at furniture, fashion, surface patterns and textiles of the period. Russian architecture was also an influence as it seemed to have a futuristic look to it.

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2. Who or what inspired you as a child?

Lisa ~ I was always a maker and a doer from a very early age, with huge encouragement from my aunty who is a great sewer and knitter. When I wasn’t cart wheeling myself around the garden I would be painting, playing at shoe shops, baking cakes or making things.

When I was a young teenager I remember having a Dryad mini screen-printing kit, and my first print being a ‘flower power’ type flower in two colours on a white pair of shorts! I used that little screen for years after that, and ended up printing some of my very early labels with it onto cotton binding tape.

My art teacher at secondary school was also a huge influence. She was the most wonderful lady and I remember how she would sit at her desk before class sharpening all her coloured pencils with a penknife. She used to set up the most fantastic still life compositions for us to draw and opened my eyes to the world of Art and design. I had found my happy place.

Alice ~ I was brought up in a creative household. My mother is a textile artist (who has also actually just released a book with Batsford – ‘Textile Collage’ by Mandy Pattullo) and my father is an architect, so I guess they were the initial inspiration that led me down a path towards a creative profession. Myself and my brother were always encouraged to draw and paint and be creative at the kitchen table and were regularly taken to galleries and museums. I remember a visiting a particularly influential exhibition as a young adult of Shirley Hughe’s work – seeing her sketchbooks and inspiration and how they translated into her picture book work was really pivotal in pushing me in the direction of ‘illustration’ as a career.

David ~ I was very much inspired by music, particularly Kate Bush. I also loved fashion and dressing up.

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3. Can you tell me a little about your design background?

Lisa ~ I trained as a printed textile designer at Central Saint Martins and The Royal College Of Art. Having originally founded Lisa Stickley in 1999 (from my bedroom, using the original Cash’s labels my mum used to sew into my school socks, and subsequently said screen printed ones above) I was lucky enough to sell my first ever products to Paul Smith, Designers Guild and The Cross. Since then I have collaborated with the likes of Burberry, Harrods, Liberty, Tate, Selfridges, Heals, Boots, Debenhams, John Lewis and Japanese stores Ships, Hankyu & Isetan.

I opened my first shop in 2007 in South London, which, behind the scenes, doubled up as a bustling print studio and creative hub. I have designed and developed lifestyle brand concepts, and have produced and sold home-wear product and accessories all over the world.

Alice ~ Other than my childhood as explained in the previous questions, I studied a foundation at Newcastle College which was brilliant (I’m saddened to hear that a lot of universities aren’t looking for this as a pre-requisite any more and that many of the foundation courses across the UK are now being cut altogether) – It was a really encouraging and explorative year – although you have some art education at school – it by no means is reflective of what you could be studying in higher education and foundation really provided a glimpse of this and again helped me understand that I wanted to pursue illustration, in particular more concept driven work. I went from here to study BA Illustration at Brighton University, with a brief stint in the US at Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Upon graduating I continued working on self initiated projects which would generally manifest themselves as a series of screen prints which I then showed to various shops and galleries around the UK that I particularly liked and thought my work would sit comfortably in. From this my first few illustration jobs actually came from people seeing my prints in the right place at the right time really – and a lot of my commissions generally have come from word of mouth to begin with. That in itself is humbling that people want to share my work. Now in an age of the internet, I find a lot of my commissioned work actually comes from other people’s pinterest boards which is almost the same thing! I now have an agent for my illustration work, Central Illustration Agency as well as continuing to produce self initiated screen prints, such as the ABC series.

David ~ I left school at 16 and I went to art college with the intention of becoming a costume designer but I found I had a keen interest in fashion design and textiles so I went to study for a BA in Fashion Design at Manchester Polytechnic. Whilst there I did a short course in millinery which I fell in love with and so on leaving college I went to Hong Kong and worked as a milliner and a fashion illustrator. I returned to the UK and found work with the milliner Stephen Jones but I’d always at back of my mind had a secret wish to become a children’s book illustrator. I did a short course at the City Lit in children’s book illustration which led to my first children’s book in 1997.

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4. Is anything in your home’s interior reflected in the book?

Lisa ~  I think being a designer you never really switch off from the ‘day job’ so your work and style often seeps into everything else in your life too. I think I have quite distinctive handwriting and that aesthetic is part and parcel of our home too… albeit a lot more untidy of late having two very little ones running around the place! An eclectic mix of pattern and simplicity is quite a big part of the look and feel of Handstand, which runs true at home. For specific and quite literal inspiration, book two (out in spring 2017) includes quite a big chunk of my eldest daughter’s toy collection, so keep your eyes peeled for that!

Alice ~ No! Can’t really expand here!

David ~ Yes, I have one of the robots. My personal style is more 1930s and 1970s so I don’t have many 1950s pieces.

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5. Do you have any words of wisdom to children who are passionate about design?

Lisa ~ Explore, experiment and don’t be afraid to try all sorts of styles and techniques. Happy accidents are the best way to learn and discover new things. If you are passionate about what you are doing then do LOTS of it and keep going. Draw draw draw, and look look look, these are the fundamentals of design and will give you the best grounding to become a good designer.

Alice ~ Words of Wisdom? Just to be aware of your environment and history and to make sure to keep drawing and observing.

David ~ Be indulgent.

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Many thanks to Lisa, Alice and David for being so generous with their time to answer my questions.  Also to Ruby for being my model even though she is a little older than the books are aimed at she poured over them looking at every detail.  My girl devours books, draws like a demon and has an imagination that makes my head spin.

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This post was in collaboration with Pavilion Books, with thanks

 

All The Stripes

Dare I say that it’s rather near the time we dust off the garden furniture and bring out the deckchairs for those sunny moments captured in the garden or nearby sandy beach.  I was honoured when Hen & Hammock recently got in touch regarding their superb deckchair fabric.  I’d never really given the fabric itself much thought if I’m honest, I have a vintage deckchair that comes with me on holiday in Agatha our caravan so writing a post about the sublime striped cloth that eptomises all our childhood seaside holiday memories was a great challenge.

Yes to start with I did the obvious and covered a wooden deckchair frame  kindly sent by Hen & Hammock.   All that is needed are some sturdy upholstery pins and 1.5 metres of fabric.   Such a simple and easy way to update an old frame with a worn out cover or to simply start from scratch like I have and create a new chair.

There is a myriad of multi coloured striped canvas to choose from, each fabric is designed to be the right width for a deck chair and to have sufficient strength to support a person’s body weight.  It is traditionally woven entirely from cotton, although some material includes a polythene warp to make it more weather resistant for those unexpected rain showers.

The Beachcomber fabric I have used goes perfectly with the cool colours I chose to decorate our holiday home on wheels.  It’s simple lines of blues, mauves and a hint of lemon make for a very inviting seat to while away the hours in dappled sunlight.  This specific fabric is woven in south west France by Henry and Françoise Quinta here’s a little bit about their story.

Henri and Françoise are the saviours of the textile industry in south west France. They bought the last surviving mill in the early 1990’s, and since then have set about transforming the business with the vibrant colours that the Catalan region is famous for; vibrant oranges, golds and blues, that shout sun, sand and sea.

All the fabrics are woven on traditional looms that involve a considerable amount of skill and craftsmanship. The weft and warp yarns are each crossed by hand to produce a very high quality deckchair fabric. These are the fabrics that Henri and Françoise cherished in the youth, with a contemporary twist that ensures they are more popular today than ever.”

What I also like about this woven canvas is the versatility of it, you can buy deckchair fabric by the metre so other items can be made to use outdoors or in the home.  Why not use it as a bright table runner or bath mat that will make you smile in the morning.  I used the left over fabric to make a cushion with, pairing the stripes with a plain linen hemp.  It makes the perfect head rest when lounging in the chair.

So don’t think that deckchairs are just the ones you hire when you visit the beach, the choice of fabrics are endless so get making your own, so simple, so fun, so effective.

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  • With thanks the Hen & Hammock for gifting the Beachcomber fabric and wooden frame.

 

 

Yawn

This past week I was kindly invited by the ever so generous Yawn to take over their instagram feed.  It’s been a fun week balancing my own and their accounts and everything else in between.

I thought I’d share with you some of the images I took for their feed.

Everything about the Yawn ethos is focused on relaxation, their nightwear is especially cut to fit perfectly, no tight uncomfortable bits just soft luxury fabrics.  All the quirky fun designs are hand drawn in their London studio. I particularly like the hidden messages on the inside cuffs of the nightshirt and pj’s, these little touches are exactly what makes Yawn stand out from the rest.

I am also quite partial to a bed sock or two, not necessarily to sleep in but in the colder months I do enjoy  a leisurely soak in the tub, wrapping myself up in pyjamas and cosy sleep socks to then curl up on the sofa with a good book.  I can honestly say the Yawn socks are the softest I have ever owned and quite frankly I didn’t want to take them off!

Along with their perfect packaging I would highly recommend that you all own some of their sleepwear.  Even the Financial Times says so!

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  • With thanks to Yawn for the generously gifted nightwear

 

Moments

I’m still in holiday mode which is going far too quickly for my liking.  Days are being filled and routines gone to the wayside which is a good thing but really messes with my orderliness.  Something I have to learn to deal with, whether or not that ever happens is another story.

So slightly out of sync, lacking spontaneity and vigour (having a dastardly cold  doesn’t help) I thought I’d highlight some of my favourite stills I’ve taken over the last few months. A reflection of sorts on the now so when I look back I may still love them or I’ll have moved on, learning and changing as I go.

Also note to self, must get better at taking and liking images of myself….

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Perfect Pastel Musings

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I’m having a little break of sorts as it’s the Easter holidays and everyone needs a bit of down time right?

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I love creating colour inspired mood boards, you really see the seasons in the them as I put together one every Friday, my musings as I like to call them.   Inspirational pieces from flowers, interiors, furniture, fashion all in a similar hue.   Going back through the archive makes me smile and also gives me the belief that I am good at what I do on those days when self doubt decides to hang around.

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So I hope you enjoy these pastel inspired collages as much as I did putting them together.

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New Inspirational Palette

I was most excited when the new Farrow & Ball colour card landed on my doormat.  As I poured over the brochure, taking in each beautifully styled room bringing the colours alive, I couldn’t help be impressed with the level of detail that goes into the choice of colours.  They blend so well with the existing colours it’s hard to tell that they haven’t always been there.

Farrow & Ball are my go to company when I redecorate a room in my home. Their subtlety of shades from the soft neutrals to strong rich tones work in both a modern and traditional setting.   There most certainly is a colour for everyone and I can’t wait to use one of the 9 new shades available.

Please let me introduce each colour to you now. I’m sure you won’t be able to resist when you get lost in their stories….

Shadow White takes its name from the soft tone that you get when white is used in a shady area.

Drop Cloth is what it says on the tin, a traditional name used for the dust sheet that every decorator uses to protect floors and furniture.

Salon Drab, salon being a small outer room off a drawing room and drab meaning a colour lacking in brightness.

Worsted the flat woven fabric used for gentleman’s suits which was named after the village in Norfolk where the yarn was originally produced.

Cromarty a term used daily in The Shipping Forecast for the sea mist that rolls and swirls in the Cromarty Firth estuary.

Peignor a softly romantic grey pink taking it’s inspiration from days gone by when ladies wore chiffon gowns.

Yeabridge Green this fresh colour was originally found in a 18th century Georgian Hamstone farmhouse in Yeabridge, Somerset, behind a gun cupboard still shining bright like fresh grass.

Vardo takes it names from the traditional horse drawn gypsy wagons that would have originally been painted this tone of teal with bright vibrant reds.

Inchyra Blue this traditional colour was first used in Scotland on the barn doors at Inchyra House a classic Georgian property which sits at the bottom of a grey and imposing hill so the barn doors needed to make an impact within their surroundings.

I know last week I claimed Ammonite was the colour of choice for my kitchen revamp but I can now officially declare I have changed my allegiance: Worsted is now the colour, so fickle!

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Grey

Yes I am currently slightly obsessed with all things monochrome but deeply in love with grey even down to it being the colour of choice for my own hair. This book is superb it channels and inspires the beauty of the subtle palette that seems to be dominating my thoughts at the moment.  This is, bible-like, sitting by my bed for me to have my fix when I’m feeling a little off course; it brings with it calm and serenity.

At the weekend I dyed a lovely linen sheet grey and it is now the starting point to a room refresh.  Our kitchen is green and even though I like it, it’s looking a little tired so it’s the next space to be repainted in the spring.  We are having a new back door installed so I thought while that is happening why not paint the walls too and update the blind at the same time and I can’t wait.  I’m going for a fresh look so the cooler side of the grey spectrum is my choice for the walls, I’m thinking Ammonite by Farrow & Ball, with a darker grey linen blind.  I’m hoping that the colours will unite perfectly and give the space a cohesive look.

The beautiful tones of this muted shade are creeping through my home unifying it as one space, from blankets to bedrooms, it’s simplicity shines out.  If like me you have a need for all things grey, a perfect place to visit is S2 20.  This stunning on-line store is streamlined to perfection, the collections are at their monochrome best, simple items for your home that will bring that touch of modernity and cool.

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Images via S2 20

Pale & Interesting

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If this post resonates with a yearning for a change in you, come and be inspired with my pinterest board pale & interesting which is full to brimming with the pared back style and lots and lots of grey!

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Winter Mood

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The light and mood of the beginning of the year always seems bleak and a bit dark, I find myself struggling with it, always have.  I’ve found it rather hard to get going this week, an empty diary a birthday passed and the death of two geniuses filling my thoughts.  I’ve not had the notion, inspiration or light to be able to take any images.  To be honest maybe I need a few weeks of being kind to myself and not trying to strive for something I’m not even quite sure I know what is to be truthfully honest.

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All moodboard images via my pinterest boards

So on that note I thought I would immerse myself in mood boards I have created over the last couple of months to centre myself.  I find great pleasure in collating colour, interior, fashion and lifestyle images together making a cohesive story.  The above boards are most definitely my favourites at the moment the pallette reflect my mood.

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New Year Wishes

Dropping in to wish you all a wonderful New Year, may this evening be filled with fun and plenty of fizz!

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Looking ahead to 2016 a blank page, new horizons putting last year behind and truly stepping forward into another year.  I like the freshness that it brings, a de clutter within the home and within my mind.  Making decisions of where I want to go and what I want to do.  It brings a stillness with it and a glisten of anticipation.

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So whatever your plans are for the months ahead I wish you joy, happiness and success.

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All images from here

Happiness is Owen and Hunter

“Owen and Hunter is a coming together of two like minded souls with a thrifty nature and a magpie’s eye. Together on their wanderings gather pieces from days gone by. Spinning a tale and creating beautiful items to give as gifts or to fill your home with charm”

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It really is a wonderful thing being able to spend time doing something that you are passionate about with one of your closest friends.  Owen and Hunter is sheer joy, a pastime that Vicky and I get to dabble our toes in to keep our insatiable talent of scouring car boots for treasure well and truly alive.

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Our first outing this year is this coming Sunday at the Hospitium in the Museum Gardens York a beautiful venue for a Home and Lifestyle fair.   We are then venturing south in the summer to visit Guilford to sell our wares at Selina Lake’s Handmade and Vintage Summer fate in July.   September we will be having fun at the Festival of Thift and then in November at a wonderful homespun fair with our favourite girlie girl Cheryl-Ann Taylor.

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Our tumblr page is ticking along nicely full to the brim with inspiration and what we aspire to achieve in the future.  Things that we find truly beautiful and would love to have in our homes.  Hopefully it will ignite that spark for you also, simple things to create a calm and simple life no fuss or clutter just pleasing on the eye.

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Some of the things coming with me this weekend….

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Other things that make my heart sing that we are on the hunt for over the summer months ….

 

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Hopefully we will see you on Sunday, you’ll be greeted with big smiles and a stand full of things I know you won’t be able to resist.

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All Images Mine, Owen and Hunter and Pinterest

Do drop by and say hello ….

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Time Out ….

Sometimes after a beautiful relaxing break a cacophony of incidents comes and bites you on the bum when least expected.  These are the sorts of days I endured last week, loosing my purse and having money stolen being one of them.

This week I have been playing catch up, trying to gain some order of calm through the choppy sea and hopefully quelling that swell.  Unfortunately my usual post  didn’t pass the post hence this one being penned in its place.

These are a few images that brought me a moment or two of calm before fighting these darn waves again.

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Because this little fish made me smile

Until next week have a good weekend and don’t forget to spoil your Dad where ever they may be ….

Jane x