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

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

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

Days Out // New Year Goals

Back at the beginning of January I stated that I wanted to get outside more this year.  Not a New Years resolution just a goal for myself to achieve slowly.  We as a family seem to be doing quite well, organising our time so that weekends are freer for exploring together.  Choosing to go out and find somewhere to visit in our area has been fun and has made weekends feel longer than they are.  It is so easy to get stuck by the time Saturday comes around, energy levels can be low and all you want to do is sit on the sofa, I know how easy this is as I’ve felt like it all week. A mid year slump maybe but holiday season is soon to be upon us and I’m certainly on the count down to our long break away to France in a few weeks time.  Long lazy days in the Breton sunshine, relishing in a different pace and way of life amongst the  beautiful beaches and market towns of Brittany.

It has been refreshing this week to just write about nothing much, a personal post full of images that bring me joy and memories created with my family.  So I hope that that my goal of being outside more keeps going right through into the Winter months which will make me most proud.

Did you make any resolutions or goals in January that you’ve achieved or have they gone by the wayside?

Jx

 

Away Days

I work pretty hard most of the time, making sure everything goes to plan, be it with my work or home life.  So when it comes to taking a few days away I truly enjoy the peace and quiet, no checking in with work, all technology turned off and put away so I can totally be in the moment.

So on that note I hope you all have a great weekend what ever you are up to.  I will be soaking up the clean air, breathing it in deep and taking in my surroundings to the max.

Jx

Well Being For You and Your Skin // La Eva

Being mindful of how you are living and taking care of your self come hand in hand.  We as a family have been making big changes over many years to be better in our every day lives, reducing waste, being careful in what we buy and where from ,creating a balance that we are comfortable with.  Now I am focusing on my well being through daily exercise and looking after not only what goes in my body but what goes on it.  I am very lucky that what I do brings me into contact with some fascinating people and today I would like to introduce you to LA-EVA who are definitely transforming the way I am going to nourish and look after my skin.

LA-EVA  a juxtaposition of lae.va meaning left of centre and e:va the female name meaning life, living one, mother of life or full of life.  A natural evolution from specialising in cold process soap making in an artisan studio on the edge of a saw mill in Oxfordshire, owner Louise gradually worked on exploring palettes of scents and the care and attention needed to create something beautiful using natural raw ingredients.  Building relationships with farmers, suppliers and the Soil Association along the way.

By bringing in new elements, blending them with inspiration and collaborations with artists works who’s ethereal textured paintings now decorate the amber glass bottles that LA-EVA produce.  Through this creativity ideas were generated and a careful range of products has emerged, beautiful, organic, universal units of well being. All inspired by sensory experiences and a deep love of art.

I couldn’t put it more perfectly than this quote.

‘LA-EVA stems from a spirit of joie de vivre, builds on artisan roots, and aligns naturally with the organic movementLA-EVA comes together where the senses meet skincare, where luxury is aligned with simplicity and where body & mind are treated as one.’

Not only are the bottles extremely beautiful to look at the elixir inside them is wondrous.  I have had the pleasure to sample the Rosēum wash and lotion along with the Jasmīna oil or liquid gold as my friend describes it.  Both scents are intoxicating, you don’t rush when using them, you slow down, breath and enjoy the process of applying these lotions to your skin.  The integrity of caring for yourself and your overall well being in the knowledge that you are also caring for others and the planet is rather a wonderful thing.

The combination of wash and lotion work so well together, the wash leaving your skin deeply, naturally cleansed and the lotion to soften and hydrate the skin nourishing you with the gentle hue orfrose geranium and citrus notes of petitgrain fusing with warm clove awakening the senses.

I think my favourite is the lightweight oil, I never thought oil would work so well but it soaks into your skin leaving behind its wonderful more masculine scent of jasmine, green thyme and warming black pepper.  It is an amber bottle of joy that has many uses, not only hydrating the skin of your face and body but also can be used to nourish dry hair and nails.  Liquid gold indeed, with many talents.

There are two other scents in the collection, Blū which comes in wash and lotion has woody, smoky undertones of cedar and vetivert fused with the herbaceous aroma of chamomile blue a soothing combination offering peace and clarity.   Spīce is the scent available in shampoo and conditioner, with vitalising ginger blending with amber tones of patchouli and the warming aroma of cinnamon leaf, an invigorating treat for your hair and scalp.

The philosophy behind LA-EVA is simple, that delight can be found in everyday experiences and self care.  Their products are units of well being and recognise that they link body and mind via a sensory pathway.

I wholeheartedly agree with everything LA-EVA are achieving and urge you to take a look and try some of their beautiful, organic, universal units of well being, you’ll thank me for it.

Jx

  • with thanks to LA-EVA for gifting the products that made this post possible.

 

 

The Wood House

Every now and then you come across a store that stops you in your tracks.  This happened to me earlier this year when I discovered The Wood House.  The owner Kirstie and I struck up a friendship through good old instagram, we have many things in common especially the love of interiors and clothes!

So if you haven’t come across this delicious store through social media or the internet then let me introduce you, I know like me you are not going to be able to resist.  Welcome to The Wood House the on line store where you can find beautifully curated home and lifestyle goods all with a natural hand crafted touch in a simple colour palette that makes me want to purchase every single thing.

I asked Kirstie how The Wood House came to be and this was her reply.

“For as long as I can remember I have had a passion for interiors, architecture and generally lovely things.

I studied interiors for a while and thought that my career would at some point take me into it in some shape or form.

I opened a little shop in Somerset fifteen years ago selling fireplaces and wood burners and it was always a dream to offer an interior design service. Having a busy life with a shop and children this never really came to fruition so I continued living my dream through renovating our 16th century home and helping friends with their home interiors.

This really has brought me to where I am now and in November I decided to make my dream happen and open a little on line store selling a selection beautifully curated home and lifestyle goods.

The wood house is evolving all the time and naturally progressed into selling mainly products that are natural and hand crafted with muted tones throughout.

I buy what I love and would have in my own home which makes buying for the wood house a real pleasure.”

What resonates with me the most is Kirstie only buys items that she loves and would have and use in her own home, knowing everything is curated with thought is something I admire and one of the reasons why each product compliments the next so very well all in the tones and colour palette that I adore, soft muted calming hues.  Also as you all know by now I am passionate about hand crafted sustainable pieces for my home and each and everyone that you can purchase from The Wood House is just that.  From the natural skin care products such as Grown Alchemist and Magic Organic Apothecary to candles by The Nomad Society through to hand made raw clay glazed beakers hand made in small batches in Wales, The Tea Lab teas and organic chocolate to cutting garden seed packets by Grace Alexander.  There are stunning textural handwoven hemp rugs to chunky knit lambswool throws and cushions to reclaimed unique one off pieces. Once you have created your haven of peace and calm you can even purchase tranquil reading material such as In Clover and Cereal magazine.

I am lucky enough to have been sent a care package of sorts filled with all the things I love and will treasure, hand cream, tea, beaker, seeds, In Clover magazine and a sample of the delicious chocolate.  They would all make perfect gifts for the ones you love, who cherish the simpler kinder way of life, those who make time to slow down and nourish by surrounding ourselves with beautiful things that fulfil our everyday.

So please do call in and say hi to The Wood House, its a rather lovely place to browse for a while, new stock is arriving all the time and the owner is just fabulous.

Jx

  • With thanks to The Wood House for gifting the pieces for this post.  You can find them on instagram here or click on the link above to take you to the store.

 

 

 

Hello Easter

Hello Easter you are a welcomed sight.  Taking a few days out to spend with my family and to enjoy these precious days, sleeping, laughing and eating buckets of chocolate, as you do.

Hope you all have a good Easter, it really is a magical celebration and for me the true signal that Spring is with us and warmer days are ahead.

Jx

January Skies

 

Well here we are January and I’m sat typing this still in holiday mode watching the rain pouring down outside and I have the lights on in the middle of the morning!    That said I quite like the feeling of hunkering down, laying low for a while gathering my thoughts not running head long into the year at a fast pace with a list as long as my arm of things I know I couldn’t possibly achieve.  I am a go slow kind of person, always have been but I get there in the end.  So no resolutions for me just keeping up with what I have been doing and improving on that.  Now that the Christmas decorations are packed away for another year I like the feeling of space and will take the time to stop and look around to fully appreciate all the wonderful things I have in my life and have achieved over the last year.

I find this month one of true reflection and self care.  I have planned to get outside more than ever this year, it truly helps clear ones head along with my morning swim.  I do pretty well on looking after myself, I make time on an evening to have a soak in the bath but this year I am definitely going to invest more in invigorating potions to add to the water, one of my favourite places to go is Magic Organic Apothecary, these guys really know how to self care the natural way.  Once out of the steamy bath I like nothing more than to wrap myself up in a luxurious gown and  Toast do the best ones around, one of my gifts this year was a Kimono style gown that I could honestly live in!  I adore anything from Aesop and have gradually over time added most of their products to my bathroom cabinet, a soothing face mask rejuvenates the skin especially at this time of year when you can feel a little sluggish.

Another great thing about the darker days is being able to curl up with a good book, wrapped up in blankets to lose yourself for a while.  Take the time to enjoy that pot of tea rather than drinking it on the go, things can wait. Nothing is more important than looking after yourself and one of the most beneficial things we can do is sleep, so after lingering over that cup of tea, taking a soak in the tub and wrapping yourself up in your linen gown, climb under the duvet and let your body rest, no phone, no laptop just pure sleep.  What are these darker days for if we can’t take time out to properly look after ourselves when the sun goes down.

I do hope that you are taking time out too to slow down and enjoy these winter days, simple and still is most certainly the way to do it.

Jx

 

 

 

A Week In Pictures

I thought rather than me ramble on this week I shall just let you see why I adore the Lake District so very much.  I think I have said a million times that I leave a little part of my soul there when I leave and this time was no different.

I had time to stop and breathe in the cool air and mind blowing vistas, spent precious hours with my family enjoying each others company without laptops or mobile phones.  I indulged in books when it got too dark outside to see the view of the lake.  We huddled in coffee shops out of the rain, ran along windswept beaches, got wet under waterfalls, kicked autumn leaves in the forest and didn’t want to come home.

What are half term holidays for but a bit of down time away from what you are used to, I have a few more days to hold onto this magic.

Jx

Reflection // Time to Hibernate

Some weeks you just have to slow down.  The world that I work in can be full on if you let it, you don’t realise that you don’t take time out to have a break, even on weekends you are working.  So for the next few weeks I’m taking a little time to myself and not feeling at all guilty about it.

I’m going to finish some things around the house before Winter arrives, make our home cosy for Autumn.  Enjoy the half term holiday, taking the time to eat well and have lots of sleep.  I’m also going to indulge in reading, not just my usual interiors based magazines and publications but books, ones that I can escape into another world, ones that I can’t put down.

Time to switch off the phone and laptop and take care of me, to recharge those batteries and come back full of beans and inspiration to take on the run up to the Christmas break.  I have a few projects coming up in the next month that I’m very excited about and I’m looking forward to working with these wonderful brands Bauwerk, Mandarin Stone and Kovac.

But for now, the kettle is on, the book is open and the throw is waiting for me to curl up under, heaven.

Do you take time off to recharge the batteries, if so what things do you do to make you feel rested and rejuvenated?

Jx

Images 9, 10 & 11 the rest are my own

 

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