Saturday, 6 September 2014

Life // Changes

Hello lovelies, how are you all? It's early Saturday morning, Mark's gone off to work like postmen do at these foggy times of the day, and I'm finally ready to blog. What started as a tiny blogging break ended up as a huge I've not posted in almost 2 months scenario. I've missed you all, and my little blog, lots! It's been a challenging time, but also an exciting time, and I'm going to catch you up on what's been happening lately. Settle down and get comfortable!

First of all, Mark, Rufus & I finally made the leap from staying at my mum's house to our own lovely little rented apartment. It's described as a coach house and it's just perfect for us! It was quite stressful making the actual move, and it was quite a while after our official moving date that we actually moved in. On the day of us getting the keys, I noticed all the things that I hadn't noticed on viewing and I felt overwhelmed by the move. After a big clean, and the addition of our belongings, it feels much more like home. Now that we're living there, we love it. We love having our own space and freedom, and choosing furniture and other things makes the creative side of me so happy! We've still a lot of unpacked boxes around, but we're finally getting there.

On moving day, Rufus had to go on his first ever trip to the vets, because he was a poorly little fluff. We were given three different medications for him, and he was totally exhausted by them. I think he was also a little shaken after being handled by someone he didn't know. He's on the mend now, though we're not sure if he's still not quite himself or if he's still settling in after the move. He's got one more course of his last medication to have next week, then we'll take him to get checked over to make sure he's fully recovered.

Whilst all this moving business was going on, I was on the search for extra hours in the form of a second job or a full time job. A couple of months back, I had an interview for a new store opening in Leicester. I was offered the job, but afterwards it turned out the hours weren't what they'd promised, so I turned it down. I was offered this job two further times! The latest offer having been just a couple of weeks ago when I randomly received a phone call offering me 40 hours a week. But through the power of Facebook & friends, I got a temporary job in a lovely little tearoom. This has meant that mostly I've been working 7 days a week, 6 days on a good week. I've been tired and somewhat grumpy! But I've really enjoyed working with the lovely staff at the tearoom, and will miss it when I leave the week after next. My manager in my local newsagent job offered me enough hours to keep me, so I'm staying put for a while.

Then there's my studying with the Open Uni. This is something else that, as well as blogging, has had to take a backseat in such a hectic period of my life. I managed to keep up to date with everything until my final assignment of this module, when I tried to get an extension. Unfortunately, they said the extension this time wasn't possible. But luckily, with my two previous assignment results being high enough, I was able to skip it and still pass as long as I pass the exam. Which is where it gets messy! The day of the exam is the day we go on holiday to Barcelona (12 days!!), and the OU say that going on holiday isn't a good enough reason to miss it. Despite the holiday having been booked in January, when this course started in March. But I'll get on the phone on Monday morning and attempt to negotiate something..!

I'm one of those people that struggles with change, and it takes me a little while to adapt and to feel comfortable again. But lately I've been embracing change and the positive things it can bring. It's been difficult in places, and some things aren't quite worked out yet, but I'm staying positive and enjoying the happy place I'm at now. I can't wait for the break our holiday brings, and to do some exploring in a new place! If anyone has any recommendations of places to eat, see or things to do, I'd love to know!

Thank you to anyone who made it to the bottom of this lengthy post, and I promise normal blogging will resume soon. I don't know how soon, but I do know it's good to be back :)

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Friday, 18 July 2014

Remembering: 5 years

14.02.65 - 18.07.09
~ never forget ~

"who knows if the moon's
a balloon, coming out of a keen city
in the sky - filled with pretty people?"

E. E. Cummings

Today is the five year anniversary of my dad passing away, and these are his roses. His rose bush blooms beautiful pale to vibrant peaches, yellows, oranges and pinks every year, a beautiful reminder.

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Sunday, 13 July 2014

SHOP: The Idea Owl stationery

Hello lovelies, how are we all doing? I have a fantastic post for fellow stationery addicts this week, showing off a package I recently ordered from The Idea Owl. Let me tell you a little bit more about who they are and what they do. The Idea Owl is a family run business based here in England, specialising in Kawaii stationery. For those of you who don't know what that means, it's basically all things cute! New stock is added each week, and there are two ways to shop.

Shopping via Instagram:
The first way is via the website, the traditional way. Then we have Facebook or Instagram, which are similar. The method I used is via Instagram. The rules are simple, you send Donna a message including your PayPal address and your postal address. You then have 4 weeks to add anything you like to your package, by commenting on the pictures. After 4 weeks, you will receive your invoice and a few days after payment your package will arrive, lovingly and carefully packaged in cute paper bags!

I really enjoyed shopping this way, you have to check regularly on Instagram because new stock is added all the time and it's first come first served! I nearly missed out on my beloved little llama stickers, luckily Donna had them back in and remembered I wanted them, so she saved me some until I confirmed I still wanted them!

I had to restrict myself, and try to be careful not to choose too many things! It can easily mount up, but receiving your package is so exciting, especially when you can't remember what you've ordered haha. I'll definitely be ordering from The Idea Owl again in the future, it will be a wonderful occasional treat I think.

The Ideal Owl website // The Idea Owl Instagram // Facebook

Can you see anything you'd like to order? I'm hooked on stickers! Now... where to find a penpal..!

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Friday, 4 July 2014

Little Five Friday #14

Hello dear readers, how are you doing? Summer has well and truly begun and I've been enjoying the sunshine and hearing the birds chirping from the early hours. Rufus isn't enjoying either, but he's still his funny adorable self and makes me smile a lot. It's been a busy few weeks and we had a lovely surprise break when we spent almost two whole weeks on the Wirral, enjoying Mark's birthday and time out from work. We went to see Maleficent on Wednesday with my sister Willow and my niece Caitlin, it wasn't what I expected but I'd still recommend a watch! Here's a few of the little things I've been enjoying lately...

1. This jellyfish installation in Toxteth was overwhelmingly beautiful, it was
so soothing and calming, and slightly haunting. It was in total contrast with the
area of Toxteth, where we didn't feel safe at all. A full post with artist details
and where exactly the jellyfish are located is coming up in the week.

2. The 27th was Mark's birthday, hip hip hooray! We had the loveliest day after
a soggy start which ruined our Chester Zoo plans. We spent the day playing ten
pin bowling, air hockey, shooting basketballs and Mark trying to teach me how to
play pool. I won 2/3 games of bowling but lost miserably at pool!

3. I received my lovely package of stationery from The Idea Owl this week, a
full post including the lovely things I ordered will be up soon :)

4. I took part in Lauren's (The Emerald Dove) postcard swap! It was so nice
to receive a good old fashioned handwritten postcard this week, with a lovely
picture of Somerset on too. Such a fantastic idea!

5. Last but not least, today was the Summer Fayre at my little sister (Indigo) &
nephew McKenzie's school. Lots of fun was had, choosing plates of cakes, Kenzie
scoring goals in the shootout and winning lots on the tombola, (including a can
of corned beef, yes really!).

What have you been doing lately? Are you enjoying the Summer? :)

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Monday, 23 June 2014

Handmade Mondays #11: Laura Blythman

Good morning lovelies! Today I'm going to share with you the work of Laura Blythman, a very talented illustrating/designing/makes awesome things kind of lady. I first fell in love on Laura's Instagram, take a peek and I bet you'll hit follow. Who can resist a dose of pretty coloured sunshine in their day? It was Laura's use of gold foil that initially caught my eye, and I wish I could get my mitts on one of these fabulous 'throw glitter in today's face' prints, but they are of course sold out. If you'd like to find out more about Laura and her work, there's a wonderful interview over on The Finders Keepers blog, and a list of other such loveliness in the Press section of Laura's website. I love finding out more about creative folk and the ways they work!

01. She should dance print
I'm a lover of quotes as you'll know if you follow me on Pinterest, any wonderful quote in a wonderful font/handwriting will make it's way into my favourites. What I like about this particular print is how lighthearted it is, and how it incorporates an eye-catching pattern in with the handwriting. I'd say the fantastic pattern and the quote itself are on equal footings in my affections!

02. Mr. Feathered Rabbit Limited Edition print
The subtle yet striking use of colour is one of my favourite things about Laura's work, the beautiful blue and gold tones in contrast with the simple black lines is so aesthetically pleasing. The different textures and patterns all make for a very unique style, and I love every piece! This particular print is a limited edition of 50, so you know you'll be one of very few people to own and display such a gorgeous illustration in your home. Click through for a closer view of each piece.

03. Feathered Fawn baby vest
As easily as I can picture each piece in my future child's nursery, I also want to buy all of the baby vests! How sweet is this little design? And if you're tempted too, you can get 20% off any clothes, bags and cushions at The Club of Odd Volumes" right now with the code 20PERCENT. Don't worry if a child isn't in sight in your immediate future either, they do adults clothes too!

04. Dream Catching print
From the same collection 'Love, Lyrics, Neon' as the 'She Should Dance' print, it's no wonder I was also drawn to this pretty dream catcher illustration. With similar subtle colouring and pretty creative patterns, this is another print that both catches and holds my attention. I think it's one of those pieces that you couldn't walk past without looking twice!

You can find Laura here:
Website // Shop // TCOOV shop // Facebook // Instagram // Twitter
All above images are copyright of Laura Blythman

If something more colourful is your thing, check out Laura's other work for some rainbow shades, mountains and monsters! Which is your favourite?!

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Sunday, 15 June 2014

Remembering on Father's Day 2014

"This is not the sound of a new man or crispy realisation, it's the sound
of the unlocking and the lift away... Your love will be, safe with me"

This is my dad and I one month before he passed away, in 2009. The photo is tinged with sadness, you can see my dad's stoma which he was left with after a tracheostomy which was supposed to save his life being taken from laryngeal cancer. My dad was very poorly, and the thought of what he went through still and always will make me extremely sad. That's the reality of cancer, which is something so many people are afraid to talk about. It's so difficult to understand until you experience the effects of it, or someone close to you does. I had never heard of laryngeal cancer, but I'm all too familiar with the symptoms now.

On the other hand, the photo makes me happy. It's one of the last handful of times we all went out as a family, with our friends to a lovely local park. We had a bit of a picnic, we played in the park and we enjoyed time together. My dad took photos, and appeared in them too. Being the photographer, it's often the case that there might not be a photo of my dad from an event where only he took photos. This has made me more snap happy, and I would encourage everyone to take photos of every happy moment!

My dad was a get up and do things kind of guy, get out there and live life to the full. If he had his camera with him (as he often did) and he saw a bird he'd been tracking down, he'd stop the car and stand by the road to capture it. No matter if it held him up, he always made time for the little things, and for everyone. Through the hazy sadness, I search for these memories and I'm happy. I'm happy to have known such a wonderful man, and so privileged and happy that he was my dad.

So here's to my dad, I love you.

To all those other dads that were taken too soon, to those dads you're still making memories with and to those dads we miss - you're the best. Appreciate those you love, and make time for the little things.

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Monday, 9 June 2014

Handmade Mondays #10: The Little Fox

Good afternoon lovely readers, I'm back with a lovely new Handmade Monday to share with you all! I really missed doing these posts, and I'm so happy to resume sharing wonderful independent shops with you. Today is one that I have bought quite a few pieces from, including gifts for others (and myself!), and I'm sure you're all going to love The Little Fox as much as I do. Despina in her own words is a picture crafter, imagination enthusiast and daydreamer. This is evident in her beautiful creations, which have the ability to effortlessly transport you to another place, a place full of friendly animals and pretty girls. Despina's art is also surprisingly affordable, with such talent and beauty going into the work you receive, you'd expect it to be far pricier. I certainly wouldn't mind paying more for The Little Fox's gorgeous pieces!

01. Books Can Take You Anywhere
I actually bought this picture for my sister, Willow, for Christmas. She too is a bookworm and I thought this was pretty perfect. Every book enthusiast knows that once you're suitably engrossed in a book, your head is in another world in another time. Despina has perfectly captured that feeling in this whimsical painting.

02. Naptime Owl Original Painting
This original painting is listed at £45.77, an absolute steal for an original piece of work! Some shops sell prints for this price, and I can only imagine how beautiful an original piece by The Little Fox actually is. The prints are so beautifully done, and in such high quality, that the originals must be stunning. I wish I could afford to snap this up right now, but I'm definitely adding an original piece to my growing The Little Fox wishlist. How sweet is this sleepy owl and his little bird friends?

03. The Owl And The Pussycat
The owl and the pussycat is one of my favourite poems and I love to see new takes on the Edward Lear classic. There's something so serene and peaceful about this scene, the smiling moon and the gentle waves lapping against the pea green boat. It's something I'd love to hang in a nursery (or anywhere in my future home for that matter!) for all to see.

Let me know your favourite piece from The Little Fox once you've had a look round, I could add them all to my favourites! :)

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Friday, 6 June 2014

Exploring: Thornton Reservoir

Last Sunday, I finished work at 4pm and the sun was beautiful! Mark & I decided to head out to Thornton Reservoir and make the most of it. Thornton Reservoir is a 20 minute drive from where we live, and it's about 2.5 miles walk all the way around it. Being part of the National Forest, it's very pretty and there's a track through the woodland and all the way around the reservoir itself. We saw plenty of fishermen fishing, and a few other groups of people feeding the ducks, taking a stroll or enjoying an ice-cream.

Before setting off Mark chose a real (his words) ice-cream complete with sprinkles, strawberry sauce & flake and I chose a delicious cola lolly from the little ice-cream van parked outside. There are plenty of benches dotted around, including picnic benches - it's a lovely destination for a family picnic, and we'll definitely be returning sandwiches in hand!

There were lovely birds everywhere, including ducks, swans and many more. We saw a big fish leap out of the reservoir and horses in the adjoining fields. We decided to walk along the bike track for a little way, closer to the water and all the pretty wild flowers. I picked up as many pine cones as would fit in Mark's pockets (much to his dismay!) and enjoyed stopping at regular (perhaps too regular) intervals to point things out and take photos. Mark read out the information sign to me, just like our first date in the museum in Liverpool over four years ago, ahh!

When we were over halfway around the reservoir, and into the more wooded part of the walk, a lovely gentleman on a bicycle saw my camera and asked what I was taking photos of. Of course my reply was everything! He told us that there had been a swan nesting for a while now, and that she had not long had her little baby swans. He pointed out the route to us, which we ended up following him on anyway! When we reached the point where the swans were, we all stood and admired the swan and her 8 babies. The gentleman was very sweet and helpful, and we hope to spot him again on our next walk around as he's a regular!

We spent so much time cooing over the baby swans that we had to rush a bit around the last stretch as the car park closed at 7.30pm and we hadn't realised the time! We had a lot of fun, and saw baby cows on the way back too! We can't wait to explore more of the local villages and National Forest when the sun is shining.

Do you enjoy walking? Where is your favourite local walking spot?

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Monday, 26 May 2014

Little Things #13: I've missed you

Hello dear readers, I have missed you and your blogs so much. As ever, life has gotten in the way of my blogging with my first assignment having been submitted last week, my first night out in over two years (and it didn't make me ill or give me vertigo!), and me being me - being ill again! I'm currently doing some tests to return to the doctors this week, and then my doctor said it will probably be another hospital referral. I'm having a cystoscopy in June, which I'm so not looking forward to but gladly will be under anesthetic for! One day I might have no hospital stuff going on right? Haha I hope so!

How cute is Rufy in the cup?! And the little drawing Indigo did of him - ahhh!

1. Mark & I recently celebrated four whole years together :) I can't believe
it's been so long, and I can't wait for many more adventures!

2. This no oil hair oil is supposed to give fine hair volume, I don't have fine hair
and I don't notice added volume - but it works wonders on smoothing out those
flyaways and generally my hair feels healthier and looks more shiny.

3. I finished and submitted my first assignment on this module, and I passed!

4. Mark & I went for lunch at The Marina, and spotted this Rufus canal boat!

5. I've been loving taking film photos with my lomography camera lately, the
results are so varied (I'm still getting used to it) which makes it more fun
because we never know how they're going to turn out.

6. At some point during the big move, the majority of my earrings and my rings
went missing in my lovely new jewellery box. It made me so sad to lose all my
favourite jewellery, but I'm slowly trying to replace them with new ones.

7. My sister Phoebe gave me this pretty daisy chain bracelet she made for me
the other day when it was sunny (where have you gone sun?!).

8. I recently joined Twitter! I joined because someone recommended I'd get
through to a company with a complaint on there, but I wimped out! I'm still
not sure what I'm meant to do, but you can find me here on Twitter.

9. On Saturday I went on my first night out in over two years!! I couldn't have
had a more fabulous night with my besties & hope we can do it again soon :)

10. Sunday was spent in true hungover style, in comfy PJs watching rubbish TV
and eating toast and chicken noodles, as made by my lovely boyfriend!

I'll slowly but surely be catching up with you all over the next week - did you do anything special this bank holiday?

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