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.

 

 

The Art of Giving with Edge and Company

Sometimes I think I’m the luckiest girl it the world doing what I do, meeting the talented, amazing people that make my everyday so special.  I would like to introduce you to Edge and Company a well being and lifestyle store selling ethical and innovative products for the home and outdoors with a twist.  This wonderful new company crowd funded to get it off the ground with great success.  All the products you can purchase are handmade, crafted in the UK and worldwide by people living with disabilities, mental health issues and addiction and homelessness, who find it very challenging to access and maintain employment.

Edge and Company have an ethical buying policy which to you and me means we can filter their product range by their five categories, Organic, Upcycled, Eco Friendly and Made in the UK, a simple and effective way of finding the things that are most important to you when shopping.  Along with the filters you can find what you are looking for in the categories, Well Being & Lifestyle, Pantry, Homewares and Art & Culture.  Everything in its place from soap pebbles and ceramics to chocolate and coffee there really is something for everyone.

I absolutely love their tag line Radical Giving something we should take into account every time we invest in something new.  The reasoning behind Radical Giving is that every product sold will help to support organisations that are striving to break perceptions and social stigma, to help build acceptance and provide employment opportunities for  people living with life challenges.

Milly and Steve kindly sent me a gift box that showcases some of their wonderful suppliers, they know me well and chose some of my favourite things to keep me cosy over the holidays, from the toastiest slippers, to candles and hand blended herbal tea to add a little calm over the festive season.

The slippers have been a huge hit and my husband wants to steal them NAUSENI’s handmade felt slippers take their inspirations from the rich cultural heritage and dramatic natural landscape of Nepal.   The brand was founded in response to the Nepal Earthquake of 2015, with a mission to empower women by providing skill development and income generating opportunities for those affected by the Earthquake.

I love candles in any shape or form, these 100% naturally sourced beeswax dinner candles will have pride of place on my Christmas table made by Camphill Village Trust who provide a home within a supportive community for  people who have are living with a range of different disabilities.   The Calming hand poured candle will help me unwind and relax with its heady scent of jasmine, lavender, rosewood and bergamot, it will be perfect when I’m taking a well earned soak in the tub.  Made in collaboration with Beacons Creative who also produce beautiful soaps  all hand made made by people with learning difficulties providing them with a secure environment and employment.

I love a good cup of tea and I can’t wait to try this calming blend by Hackney Herbal who are a social enterprise promoting well being and healthy minds through herbs and nature based activities. The scent as you open the bag is intoxicating and I’m savouring the moment to make a brew.   I also fell in love with the perfect ceramic pot because you all know that ceramics are my weakness.   Hand thrown and glazed by Studio 360 a creative space for those recovering from mental illness.   This beautiful pot has found a home on my table and I found the perfect winter plant to put in it, this tiny white cyclamen fits in wonderfully well with my natural theme this year.

So if you haven’t quite found that elusive Christmas gift yet please do take a look at Edge and Company I’m sure you’ll find that special something, not only will you be giving a loved one a unique gift but also a boost to someone that has faced challenges in their daily life which makes all the difference in the world.

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

Catherine Hills Jewellery // Bold & Beautiful

The older I get the more confident I become within myself, I have a definite style that I feel good with from the clothes I wear to the tattoos I have to the jewellery I choose to wear.  I don’t like following the crowd I like being a bit different, dare I say it bold.  I like quality not throw away, I like hand crafted and unusual.

I was over the moon when Catherine Hills got in touch as I’ve been an admirer of her work for a long while.  Her beautiful jewellery has a strong identity, it is tactile and sensuous but undoubtedly feminine, these are a small fraction of the reasons why I find it so intriguing, it fits my ethos perfectly.

Catherine works from her atelier and shop in the heart of The Pantiles, in Tunbridge Wells.  The shop itself has a wonderful mix of old and new with a feel of a Victorian Workshop. The cabinets are filled with her diverse collections and as a customer you can also watch Catherine create her beautiful distinctive pieces.

Starting back at the beginning of her career Catherine studied Goldsmithing, Silversmithing, Metalwork and Jewellery at the Royal College of Art and gained a Masters.  After all her hard work honing her skills she was awarded a prestigious business grant from the Craft Council to establish her own central London studio.  From here she launched her signature collection and grew her portfolio of clients.  Her work has been stocked and showcased in: Harrods, Heals, Selfridges, Dickens and Jones, The V&A, The Gilbert Collection in Somerset House and The Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco.

Not only has Catherine worked with some of the leading names in the design and fashion industry she was hand picked by Warner Bros as the jeweller for the Harry Potter films, which she describes as being the most exciting and probably career enhancing job  she has ever done.  To hand craft Slytherin rings and radish earrings for Luna Lovegood along with many more pieces for the films is beyond exciting. Seeing your work on the big screen and being part of something this big is quite awe inspiring.  Catherine will be seeing her work again on the big screen with an upcoming release of a major feature film, I can’t wait to find out which!

Catherine’s work is a unique insight into hand crafted jewellery she says “I feel that my Atelier and boutique not only gives me a presence on the High Street, but means I can now offer a truly bespoke service, working closely with customers to deliver individual pieces. This is a very exciting time for me”.

Her pieces make me feel good, they are pieces of art that you can wear which is a wondrous thing.  I have had the pleasure to wear the beautiful petal bracelet for this post, it is delicate but also robust, the fine detail on each petal is exquisite and would finish off any outfit to perfection.  I am also a lover of rings, this isn’t a new phase for me, before I was married I had a rare collection but then went down the simple path of wedding and engagement ring for many years.  Now though my itch to have more rings is now being scratched.  I love stacking rings ones that you can wear on the top part of your finger too, I think they are rather unique and always get compliments.  Catherine’s bobbled stacking ring collections is stunning, so versatile and textured I want them all, from the plain bobbled rings to the snake eye, or pollen each fit perfectly with the other creating fabulous combinations.  Even better they come in a choice of metals, silver, oxide silver, gold plated or rose gold plated silver, mix up the colours to create an eye catching effect or simply stack them all up in one block of colour, either way these rings are sublime there to make your hands sing.

Beautiful pieces of jewellery are there to be seen, they make the perfect gift or present to yourself, something that has longevity an heirloom in the making, I think you will all loose your heart a little when you see Catherine’s collections.  I do hope you tell me which ones caught your eye because I know I simply can’t resist their elegant beauty.

Jx

  • with thanks to Catherine Hills for gifting the use of the jewellery for the purpose of this post

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.

 

 

Healing Wonder // Magic Organic Apothecary

This post is a dream for me to write, hand on heart I use a MOA product every single day be it the magic of green balm or the soothing qualities of the fortifying green bath soak.   I don’t know why I haven’t written about this wonderful brand before as it’s been in my bathroom cabinet for quite a few years now.  I definitely need to be shouting rather loudly about it as I most certainly couldn’t be without it and I think if you don’t already know about MOA then you most certainly should.

It all starts with the humble herb yarrow or it’s Latin name Achillea Millefolium, I grow it in my garden but it can be found up and down the land growing in hedgerows all across the country.  This simple but beautiful plant holds amazing properties for healing and repair that go back centuries   It is steeped in history and folklore for it’s healing powers but has been slightly over looked in modern day skin care, until now.

I talked to Charlie the owner of MOA about how it all started and what plans she has for the future.

It all began after my first child Jemima was born, she suffered with horrible eczema as a toddler and so I started to look into the petrochemicals being prescribed and began to realise the scary long term effects of using these creams on a daily basis. Although I was lucky enough to have been brought up with home cooked meals, becoming a mum had opened my eyes to a more healthy plant based diet and I was more conscious about what we put in, and on our bodies and what to avoid!

I inherited a love of gardening and plants from my Father and Grandmother and had become really interested in herbology and was introduced to a humble herb named yarrow (Achillea Millefollium), this powerful, ancient healing herb has so many properties and I was astonished to find that very few skincare products contained this miraculous ingredient, despite being a favourite amongst many herbalists.  I was also particularly charmed and inspired by the wealth of magical folklore surrounding our plants and flowers. I draw all the illustrations and design the packaging and have always been fascinated by myths and magic and so these old tales have become an important part of the MOA brand. I am constantly inspired by nature and I love being outdoors appreciating the shifts in seasons and all the different flora and fauna that emerge throughout the year.

Our original product, The Green Balm harnesses the powers of our hero herb yarrow – Achillea Millefolium, it takes its Latin name from Greek hero Achilles, who legend has it, used it to heal his soldiers wounds after battle.  With its simple nourishing base and tea tree, nature’s powerful antiseptic, it creates a powerful healing synergy and can be applied to soothe a lengthy list of skin complaints from eczema, psoriasis, insect bites, bruises, minor burns and it also makes a wonderfully balancing facial cleanser, ideal for acne and problematic skin.  My whole family use it for everything at home, we have pots all around the house!  In the beginning I worked alongside a herbalist to create our organic Green Balm, but now I have gained more experience, I start the initial formulations at home and bounce ideas off my small team and my family.  The yarrow is grown at an organic farm in Somerset, which is where I grew up, I try and get down there to sow the seeds as I love the creative process of making a product from start to finish.

We already have new ideas in development for 2018, I am impatient to get them out there, but the process is so long and we are all so busy juggling the rest of the business, so it takes time.  All our newer products are all vegan and we are also looking at ways of becoming more eco, using less plastic and recycling our bottles somehow. So looking forward to revealing our next product launching this April”

I like to take care of my skin and my evening routine involves MOA, to relax and de stress I always take a bath using either the fortifying green bath potion or the dreamy mineral soak.  When I need to focus on my breath and relax my limbs then green bath potion is my preferred choice.  The heady scent of peppermint and detoxifying fennel help enormously, this revitalising herbal blend makes your skin tingle and is also brilliant if you are feeling a little under the weather.   If I’m wanting to wind down ready for a good nights sleep then the therapeutic qualities of a salt bath using the mineral soak is perfect.  The scent of lavender oil eases your mind and the antiseptic lemon peel gently brightens the skin.

 

I finish off treating myself to Hello Sunshine an energising zesty body oil hydrating and purifying my skin, the citrus sweet notes of antibacterial lemongrass and marjoram essential oils awaken the senses, kick-starting circulation providing essential minerals, antioxidants and vitamins to protect and tone.  It truly is sunshine in a bottle and makes me feel fabulous.

Of course green balm gets used for everything especially on a daily basis for keeping my hands and feet soft and subtle.  Ruby my daughter uses it as facial cleanser which helps enormously with her teenage skin.  I’m also starting to use Aphrodite facial oil to help ward off premature ageing especially my neck and to smooth fine lines around my eye giving my skin a radiant glow.

So yes I would be totally lost without my MOA products they make my skin feel alive.  Plus the added gravitas of the products being cruelty free by carefully selecting organic and botanical ingredients that improve overall well being.  Also creating mindful and conscious packaging using recycled board and vegetable inks for printing, everything that I hold dear in my every day life.

If you love MOA as much as I do or want to give it a try Charlie has generously given me a discount code for my readers to use to get 25% off all products until 30th April using TEA25 at checkout.  Let’s start the green balm revolution together!

Jx

  • With thanks to MOA for gifting products for the purpose of this post.

 

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

Me & Mine

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This is me, a rare close up.  I’ve been thinking about how I am perceived out there in the big wide world, never quite confident enough in myself at times but then other days I do things that I’m told are brave.   I’m getting better at being more comfortable with who I am and deciding to go with what I feel rather than being led.   Hence deciding to stop dying my hair and cutting it all off.  It feels amazing and very liberating being grey.  I try to look after myself well too, eat well and swim for well being.

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I am also blessed with a husband and daughter that make everything fit, we three have a bond that will never be broken.  They give me a confidence like no other, the warmth of that love is indescribable.  So as well as cutting all my hair off and embracing the grey I got another tattoo, small but powerful, the 3 lines representing the 3 of us, always there always together.

We took time out last week we spent it outside with nature, a perfect few days quiet and still another reminder that everything is ok, life is good.

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So when I’m feeling those little devils on my shoulder I shall take a moment to reflect on all the wonderful things that make my world turn and of course a hand picked display of garden flowers makes everything better don’t you think?

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Tea of The Black Variety

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I’m quite a boring old soul when it comes to tea, I do love a good cup but I drink it fast without really appreciating the slowness of making it and enjoying it’s taste and aroma.

I thought it was about time to realise the potential of tea and the benefits it can bring to your health and well being by drinking different varieties; also to slow things down a bit put everything on hold whilst brewing a fresh, clean smooth tasting cup.

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The lovely folk at Teatulia sent me a sample of their black tea to try and it hits the spot perfectly.  It has a faint apricot aroma, such a fresh taste with no bitterness, I think I’m converted.

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Teatulia produce organic single garden teas in Northern Bangladesh where their tea is grown. Their organic teas reflect the pristine and delicate environment in which they are grown; untouched beautiful gardens nestled against the Himalayas to the North and the Brahmaputra and Ganges Rivers to the South.

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There are five refreshing flavours to choose from: Lemongrass, Tulsi, Earl of Bengal, Green Tea and Black Tea. All Teatulia teas are grown and cultivated in such a way that respects the land on which it’s grown and the community of workers who produce it.  

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As the summer months approach I thought I’d give their iced tea recipe a try, something cool and refreshing to enjoy whilst sitting in the garden.

How to make iced tea:

Brew your tea the way you like it

Let it cool to prevent dilution, giving you time to reach for your glass and fill with ice

Garnish with a slice of lemon and mint

Enjoy

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Teatulia tea is available to buy from Holland & Barrett, Harrods and selected independent health and whole food stores nationwide.

 

 

Changes in May

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A bit of a random post today. Sometimes my brain runs away with me and I crave change, the ability to remove everything and start afresh. Like the first white untouched page of a notebook, or an empty room freshly decorated in calming tones before the furniture goes back in.

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I’m having one of those moments. Following a crazy filled April I want to embrace change in May; put aside silly sentiments and remove many an item from my home that I no longer want, need, or don’t quite know how it came to be in the house in the first place.

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I’m trying to bring the same ethos into my own well being so my head is clearer too. I go swimming 3 times  a week which is a great tonic for body and mind, trying to cut back on the coffee drinking and embracing lemon and hot water which is a a slow process at the moment but I’m trying.

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The house is slowly starting to reflect the person I am today not the one I was 10 years ago.  Carpet has been stripped out of rooms and floor boards painted, our bedroom has just had a de clutter and paint refresh, what a difference it has made from deep red to pale grey.  I highly recommend Lamp Room Grey by Farrow and Ball, it has made our little haven a restful calm space.   I can’t remove everything and start again – that would only happen if we moved – but I can make changes little by little, replace and discard where needed.

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All images via instagram and my Pale and Interesting Pinterest Board

The blog is having a bit of a makeover too, simplified and clearer I hope you like it.

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