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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