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

 

Freight

If you’ve ever visited the East Sussex town of Lewes you’ll know that it hosts many stylish independent stores, ones that you won’t find on every high street.  I love the diversity that Lewes has, it is a beautiful place to visit.
One of these stores is Freight,  a favourite of mine not only because the products that they sell are exceptional and work perfectly with my pared back style, but the atmosphere created is one of calm, like spending time in a friends home.  Also I never leave empty handed, the well curated house-hold goods are exquisite and I really can’t resist having them in my own home.  They have an on line store too, perfect for when you are wanting that unique item that only Freight can deliver.
I had a chat with owner Helene who runs the store with her daughter Adele about how Freight came to be.
Helen previously had a shop in Lewes called ADAMCZEWSKI that she opened in 1999.  With similar principals to those Freight has now, the shop was all about finding useful things for the home that weren’t so easy to find pre-internet days. She sold products such as string, brushes and ceramics; anything that worked with the shops ethos with it’s own classic style. This chapter closed in 2010 to explore greener pastures.
 Fate took a guiding hand and in 2014 the shop which Helene still owned   became unexpectedly vacant again just before the Christmas period.  Helene’s daughter Adele thought it would be wrong to just leave it empty and sad looking due to it’s prominent position on the high street.  An opportunity not to be missed they quickly put together a temporary store naming it POPINSKI,  partly in homage to the old shop that had previously been there and the fact it definitely was a pop up.
 Having worked so hard to set up the temporary store full of new products they found themselves discussing and analysing the nature of shop keeping. They came to the conclusion that just filling shops from trade fairs was a bit boring and that the more interesting and challenging route to take would be to design and commission their own products by working with makers and manufacturers. They wanted a collection that would stand the test of time and that would be an ongoing response to how they wanted the collection to grow.  Recently they have added a knitwear collection which couldn’t have been further from the original concept but after meeting with some knitters and really liking  the Shetland yarn they used, they were inspired to trial it.   A decision well made as the knitwear has proven to be rather popular and Freight are now in the process of adding to the current collection. 
  It’s also so important to this dynamic Mother and daughter team that they are not designing for design’s sake. Freight products have to be functional, durable and of a very high quality.  They follow no one else’s rules, don’t follow trends or the latests fad fashions and subsequently their stock change is of a slower nature.  
This is why I love them, you know what you are investing in when you buy anything from Freight. I cherish the items I have, all of which enhance my home enormously. Simple earthenware storage jars made in Stoke on Trent, Spanish boxwood carbon steel knives that are sharpened by hand using artisanal techniques established by the original founders, a deliciously scented soy wax candle with scents from narratives drafted and worked on with a perfumer, making them unique to Freight.
 I can’t recommend this beautiful store to you highly enough, if you get the chance to pay a visit and experience it yourself then all the better but for now do drop in on line to see their wonderful products, I know your shopping basket won’t stay empty for long.
 *  with thanks to Freight for letting me put this post together. Product photography by Susan Bell and Benedict Stenning

Wanderlust

A short but stylish post this week.  I’m having a little break away, taking off in our caravan for a few days to big open spaces,  wandering familiar paths and exploring new places not yet discovered.

Wanderlust takes hold in these heady days of late Spring, early Summer, adventures being planned, new experiences excitedly being looked forward to.  Life is certainly for living in these crazy times we are party to.

I want to live a slower life, take time to embrace what I have and to enjoy my future.  Relish the time it takes me to make my morning coffee, curl up in freshly pressed sheets, make food for my family with the finest of ingredients,  read the books I’ve always intended to, go on journeys that scare me a little.  Happiness is there for the taking and wanderlust is definitely the word I am going to hang on to through all of it.

Have a beautiful week, see you when I get back with a delightful post about one of my favourite stores Freight who are the epitome of cool.

Spring Break

We’ve had a wonderful Easter weekend but I’m lucky that the holidays are not quite over for me until next week.  So I thought I’d have a little on-line break for a few days this week, I am escaping for the first time this year in our little caravan for some R&R, fresh air, sleep and no wifi!

Because I can’t bring myself to not post anything at all, I shall leave you with this small offering today and I’ll be back next week with a fabulous post featuring Radley London.

PS.  I had the honour of featuring on the Linenbeauty blog this week, taking part in their A Simple Path series, talking about doing more with less, a perfect read for a slow weekend.

 

Warm & Bright

This is an image I never thought I would be taking, one of a fire sitting on my hearth but lo and behold here one is.  We live in a smoke free zone in a 1980’s build, when we moved in 13 years ago we inherited with a grotty electric fire that we never used and covered up.  The fire surround is still not to my liking but I having just replaced the horrid tiles that were there before, the surround will have to stay a little longer until we decide what to do.  We are thinking a big solid oak beam would look good as I can’t live without a mantle, where on earth would I put all my candles!

This ingenious fire is  free standing and runs using bioethanol by imaginfires, I am so impressed with the whole ethos behind these clever fires and they look pretty good too.

Here comes the clever stuff, you don’t need a flue or chimney to use a bioethanol fire as they don’t emit any smoke, making them environmentally friendly, clean and can be used in smoke controlled zones.  The fuel burns with a 98% efficiency rate meaning you get no nasty residue to clean.   The biofires give off real heat, no artificial flames, you can also adjust the flame size and heat output if your room gets too toasty.  No gas or electricity sources needed either just the bioethanol fuel.

So bioethanol, what is it?  This fuel is a renewable energy source produced by a sugar fermentation process.  The sugar comes from renewable crops such as corn, maize and wheat which create a much lower carbon footprint than fossil fuels.

For someone who thought moving house would be the only way to get a fire this simple stylish fire has made me very happy.  To be able to light it with no mess just as easy as lighting a candle and have it warm the room with it’s flickering flames has been magical.  Even better it has arrived in perfect time as the nights are drawing in and the evenings getting colder.  It has made our living room so cosy that we find it hard leaving the sofa!

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With thanks to imaginfires for providing the Bredon Fire without whom this post would not be possible.

 

The Perfect Night In

As Winter approaches I like nothing better than staying in, no plans made, nowhere to go and I couldn’t be happier.   Don’t get me wrong I do love getting glammed up every now and again, high heels on, glass of fizz in hand, creeping back in in the small hours. Then sometimes after a busy week you long to recharge, shut the laptop, turn off the phone and just savour those precious moments at home.

I don’t need to give you hints or tips as to how to do it, I think we all  have our favourite ways of unwinding and making the most of our down but these are a few of the things that I find irresistible to me.  When I get the chance to do more than one of these rituals together then I have succeeded in creating the perfect night in.

As the day draws in I like nothing better than to light many candles.  The warm glow creates the perfect atmosphere to start relaxing.  Light the fire, put the kettle on and curl up in your favourite chair with those books you’ve been meaning to read for a while and haven’t quite got around to yet.  I also like indulging  and losing myself in a good film, wrapped up in blankets on the sofa, movie night is another way to escape, to drift off into another world for a while you simply can’t beat it.

Whilst you are in no rush there is nothing nicer than to draw a warm scent filled bath, to soak away those knots, breathe deeper and slower while immersed in the warm water.   Fill the room with candle light, maybe enjoy a good glass of wine and stay there until your fingers get all wrinkly.

Something that my husband and I like to do is cook, through the week evening meals can be quick and rushed as we all do our daily tasks, homework to be completed, clubs to go to, meetings to attend.  On one of those rare evenings that it is just the two of us, there is nothing more satisfying than to make a meal together, taking our time preparing, laying a table, talking about the day, creating new plans without any time constraints.

Then my all time favourite of all favourites for a perfect night in is to get into bed ridiculously early.  Comfy and cosy, fresh bedlinen, books and magazines at the ready, blankets to snuggle up in and a warming cup of tea.  Truly it doesn’t get any better than the cocooning sanctuary that is the duvet.  To be able to fall asleep when relaxed and rested, enjoying a good nights sleep and to wake refreshed and renewed, there is nothing that can top that, not in my book.

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This post was inspired by National Sleep Comfort Month and the online mattress company Leesa

 

 

Created + Found

You don’t have to look very far to find wonderful independent makers and creators.  I am very lucky that in my line of work I come across many folk who do just that and I’m honoured that I can call many of them friends.  Jette is one of these creatives and she has recently launched a beautiful on line store Created & Found.  Jette is a food stylist based in Dublin her passion lies in the kitchen as her first collection testifies.  I asked Jette to tell me the story of starting Created & Found and the ethos behind it.

“Created & Found is a home ware range that encapsulates slow living, functionality and aesthetics, focusing ruthlessly on creating incredible products that encourage memories and experiences around food. Created & Found is based on honesty and authenticity and we believe in community not competition and working in collaboration with Irish makers has helped to build a community for the long term. Within the collection are ceramics, wood products, linens and beeswax items and they have all be created with a vision to make everyday living a little more special.

Each piece is lovingly made by hand, taking into account environmental and traditional practices. The range is completely unique in that we have created only 50 pieces of each item in a bid to create a range that is so special and in keeping with our slow living, maker focused ethics. In our ceramics we have a dinner plate, bowl and beaker, we have 5 sizes of chopping boards, aprons, tea towels and napkins, two styles of wooden spoons; serving and cooking and beeswax candles. The items available range from €8 to €52.”

The current collection makes my heart skip a beat, linen, ceramics, wood; what’s not to like?  From the rustic rough edged oak chopping boards, to soft Irish linen aprons and napkins , ceramics hand turned in Kilkenny using natural dyes to create the stunning one off pieces that you will treasure for a long time.

To celebrate the launch I was lucky enough to be sent some of Created & Found linen napkins and a to die for plate.  What better way to showcase these lovely wares than to bake!

With it being the end of Autumn I had an abundance of home grown apples and pears to use up, so I got creative in the kitchen and baked a delicious apple and almond cake and our family favourite apple and pear crumble.  It is so quick and easy I’ll share the recipe, just in case you want to give it a go!

Ingredients

700g apple (cookers)

225g dessert apples (such as cox or russets)

225g pear

50g unsalted  butter

1 tbsp golden caster sugar

Topping

140g golden caster sugar

140g plain flour

2 tsp cinnamon

140g unsalted butter

140g rolled oats

First pre heat the oven to 200°c.  Peel, core and cut the apples and pears into large chunks.  Melt the butter in a frying pan, add the apple and pear chunks and cook over a high heat for a couple of minutes, turning all the time.  Sprinkle over the caster sugar and keep turning until slightly soft and caramelised.  Spoon the fruit mixture into a baking dish.

To make the topping, place the butter (cubed), caster sugar, flour, cinnamon in a large bowl and rub between your finger tips until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs.  Mix in the oats and scatter the mixture over the fruit, pushing it firmly down.

Bake for 25 mins until the topping is golden, serve with anything you wish.

There’s nothing better than baking and serving your handmade goodness to the family especially on beautiful ceramics.

Everything featured on Created & Found would make perfect gifts for the artisan cook in your life.  I have my eye on the chopping boards *wink*

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  • With thanks to Created & Found for gifting the plate and napkins for this post

 

 

 

 

 

A Gallery of Summer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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G&T Time with a Twist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Holiday Moodboards

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

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

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

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Merry Christmas

As my usual post day falls on Christmas Day I thought I’d put out my post a day early as I know fine well I won’t be going anywhere near my laptop after writing this.  Truly a seasonal break is most certainly needed to take time to slow down and be inspired by what is around you rather than through a screen.

So on that note I am wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, I hope you all take time to snuggle, feast, gather and laugh with those you love most dearly.

Lots of Love

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All image from here

Styling the Seasons ~ December

My final styling the seasons post for the year, I’m rather proud that I completed a whole year of styling a surface in my home during the months of 2015.   Goodness me how the year has flown and but I couldn’t style December any other way than with a festive table setting.

I’m rather organised so far for this Christmas so my thoughts have wandered to how I’m going to dress my table on the big day.  This is surprisingly the first time I’ve ever cooked Christmas lunch.   After 12 years of marriage we have decided we want a simple and quiet time just the three of us, family gatherings will happen during the holidays but the 25th is reserved just for us and we are looking forward to it immensely.

We are slowing things down, snuggling under the duvet opening stockings by the glow of fairy lights and carols softly playing.   I think I may have to treat myself to a glass of fizz whilst present opening and then enjoy the morning preparing our feast and laying the table.  There will be no time schedule things will happen when they happen just the way we like it, laughter, good food and lots of love.

I will be making this tin display probably on Christmas eve with foraged branches and wired cranberries so we can light the candles on Christmas morning.  The rest will be simple, vintage crockery and cutlery, handmade name places and foliage from the garden no need for fuss.  The candles are the crowning glory, one can never have too many at this time of year and there will be plenty lit all around my house not just on the table.

So however you are all celebrating in the coming days I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.  Also a special thank you to Katy and Charlotte for having me a long for 2015 I’ve enjoyed every minute.

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If you want to take part with Styling the Seasons this month remember to use the #StylingtheSeasons hashtag and tag  Katy and Charlotte.

 

A Warming Cup

Sometimes tea is the only thing that will help calm and sooth.  To take the time to make a perfect cup and to stop for a while to enjoy it is one of those simple pleasures in life that you need to let yourself have.  There is complexity behind that cup of tea that we take for granted but at Williamson Tea they explain every element with great aplomb.

Williamson Tea are a specialist tea company who are committed to growing sustainable teas that benefit their farms and communities in Kenya, and also help protect the environment and wildlife in East Africa.

Their commitment to produce something totally unique is paramount, they believe in total transparency  from bush to cup.  No blending from different sources takes place, pure tea naturally grown, pesticide free, straight from the bush which decreases the carbon footprint that would come from transporting teas from around the world.

Also, through the help of the  Williamson Tea Foundation and their work with the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, everyone who invests in buying Williamson Tea can feel that they are truly making a difference to future generations so that we can enjoy the wild forests, fertile soils and, in particular, the elephants; making their teas sustainable for years to come.  With their commitment to caring for the natural environment around them Willimson Tea donate £1 from the sale of every tea caddy to help keep our beautiful elephants wandering in the wild.

The health and well being properties of a cup of tea have great beneficial effects too.  Tea has very high levels of antioxidants called polyphenols, especially the flavonoids anthocyanin and catechin.  They conribute to improving your skin condition and circulation, aid digestion and stimulate clear thinking.  These naturally occurring molecules are used by our bodies to clear up harmful radicals helping us feel a cleansing calm and improved health.

So when you reach quickly for that cup and tea bag, take the time to stop, slow down and enjoy.  Knowing that those precious moments taken to make that cup of tea will also be helping farmers, wild life, the environment and of course you and your well being too.

Every one needs a calming moment in the fast paced lives we all lead.  Taking the time for slow living isn’t easy but if we try we can achieve snippets of it.  Now go and put the kettle on…..A Warming Cup

Moodboard images above from here

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Yawn at Runswick

A wedding anniversary that falls on a weekend surely deserves a couple days away we thought.  So when Yawn wanted me to write about a British holiday I thought that this was the perfect time to go away for an Autumn jaunt in Agatha.  As the days are starting slowly to draw in there won’t be many more windows to go away in the caravan so we threw caution to the wind, packed the car, hitched up and set off to one of our favourite places, a little slice of wonderful Runswick Bay on the North Yorkshire coast.

We snoozed had coffee and snuggles under the blankets and lazy breakfasts in our pj’s.  I was able to try my new Yawn Night T, so soft and comfortable I didn’t want to get dressed.  Such a rather cool addition to my sleep attire from the most perfect company that have everything just right in my book.  To take the time to turn off and stop for a while,  to enjoy the quiet moments of the day amongst the busy when we can.

We walked the lanes filled with nature’s autumnal bounty,  pottered around the coastal villages taking in the sights and quaint shops filled with vintage finds, local produce and sea side essentials.  We had a pub lunch watching the sea from the window then meandered down the winding paths to wander along the shore, my happy place, I stood for a while breathing deep taking it all in.

I made a mini film of our weekend away, my first foray into moving pictures, another skill that will be honed through lots of practice but for now  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did making it.

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The Night T was kindly gifted by Yawn for the purpose of this post