Friday, 12 September 2014

Friday Feline #12

< Ladybird Likes >
< Laura Hughes >

< Munchkin Cat >           

Time for my favourite blog post of the week, a happy round up of kitty themed loveliness!

Laura Hughes' Cat Jumper illustration in this week's post is currently part of an exhibition called '100 Cats' taking place at A-Side B-Side gallery in Hackney. Loads of talented illustrators have taken part so do pop over for a look if you are in London, the exhibition closes this Sunday 14th September at 6pm.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Recipe: Whole Sea Bream


I often post up desserts on the blog so thought I would pop up a dinner recipe for a change.

I do all the cooking in our house and love to try out new recipes - and despite not actually eating fish myself (or any seafood for that matter!) I enjoy making food I know Jon likes to eat, even if it does mean cooking two separate meals every now and then :)

This was my first time cooking a whole fish and I am amazed at how easy it is! It looked a bit hard to eat as the bones obviously are still inside but Jon assured me it tasted lovely. And he does usually say if something comes out a bit rubbish!!!

You can find the Whole Roast Bream recipe I used over on the BBC Good Food website. A couple of the ingredients I substituted for other things - I only had green olives and curled parsley - but it turned out pretty well. It only took about 40 minutes from start to finish, and a fair bit of that is oven time so it's great for a midweek meal.

Any other easy seafood recipes you can recommend? Jon will be pleased if I can whizz up a few more!


Monday, 8 September 2014

Top Ten Ways To Relax

This weekend I forced myself to spend a whole day at home, not working. It was harder than you'd think!

I find it ridiculously difficult to de-stress and relax - I think it's a hazard of doing a job you love and being able to run a business from home. There is always that temptation to 'just do one more thing...' and to get caught up in a cycle of always being in work mode.

My day of rest was definitely needed though (and I know lots of you are workaholics too) so thought I'd share my top ten relaxation tips:

Take a nap
This is actually my mum's answer to all of life's problems. But she is right. A quick snooze can be all that's needed to take the weight of the world from my shoulders. Plus a tired mind is much more inclined to get exasperated and stressed.

Get cooking
I love cooking and find it really therapeutic to bake a cake or find something new to try for dinner. It also means that I am out of the studio and away from my laptop and phone for a bit - an iPhone covered in icing is not a good look and a break from emails and Facebook is sometimes very much needed.

Read a book
Escaping into a good book is a foolproof way of taking my mind off of other things. I have started downloading them on to my iPad so I always have something to hand to distract me when needed.

Have a good chat

Making time to go for a coffee, have a good moan and a laugh can turn a crappy, stressful day into a much happier, chilled out one.

Watch some rubbish TV
Geordie Shore. America's Next Top Model. House of Food. Need I elaborate any more on this one?!

Stick on some Classical music
I've recently started switching over to Classic FM when I am feeling a bit overwhelmed - or I find some meditation music on YouTube. It might sound a bit old ladyish but I've found it's brilliant for refocusing my brain and calming me down!

Go to the gym
I won't lie, this is not one I am very good at sticking to, but a good sweaty gym session is a very good way to unwind. Even if I don't like to admit it.

Tidy up
A messy house or workspace doesn't lend itself to a calm state of mind. Doing the hoovering or putting some washing on might seem like work but I always feel more relaxed in the long run when things are ship shape and mess free.

Get in some water!
A long bath, a hot shower or a trip to the sea are guaranteed to wash away my daily stresses. Obviously the first two are a lot more practical but the sound of the beach is a winner every time.

Cuddle a cat
This one does rely on you having access to a cat. Luckily my house resembles a cattery so I'm always good to go - it is impossible to feel uptight when you have a small purring furrball giving you cuddles. Fact.

What are your favourite ways to relax?


Friday, 5 September 2014

Friday Feline #11

< Baby Birdie >
< Illustration by Ana Walker >

< You Me & The Cat >

< Cat Vans >

Some lovely cat things for this week's Friday Feline including one of my favourite photos of baby Birdie and the kitty Vans that I need in my life {Jon, if you're reading this, size 4 - hint hint
Happy Friday!


Monday, 1 September 2014

Take Me To The Sea

We combined our summer holiday with our first wedding anniversary this year and booked a week by the sea in the South of France. It was my first time to the Cote d'Azur and I can't begin to describe how beautiful it is.

Rather than stay in the more touristy St Tropez we opted to stay in Sainte Maxime, a short car ride away. This view was from the beach, 2 minutes from our hotel, looking over to the livelier part of the town.

Our hotel was away from the hustle and bustle, backing on to a stunning botanic garden - you can walk through the gardens to reach the beach. Trop jolie.

Every evening there is a tourist market in the old quarter of the town as well as various fresh produce markets throughout the week. No wonder the French have such a good culinary reputation, look how amazing their market stalls are!

One evening we drove along to St Tropez (take or hire a car if you visit the South of France, it's so handy being able to hop from one town to another). The yachts here are ridiculous, bigger than houses; people crowd round as they dock to see who disembarks.

The whole town is much busier than Ste Maxime but is absolutely beautiful. I managed to lower the tone as always by falling flat on my bum just before this photo was taken. Despite my clumsiness we enjoyed a great meal by the sea and a Malibu or two in the local Irish bar!

The architecture and surroundings are stunning, I love the sun bleached pastel buildings. And who can resist a carousel that pretty?!

As we took our own car to France, Jon decided to make the most of it and found a nearby driving route to visit. The Col de Turini is a mountain pass in the Alps - lots of windy, twisty roads to zoom up (and down). Whilst the hair-raising journey was more Jon's cup of tea than mine, the views were well worth it.

I'm convinced we should move to France and spend our lives with our petit chats eating cheese!

What are your travel recommendations? Any other French towns you love to visit?


Monday, 25 August 2014

STACIE SWIFT Workshop | Make Your Own Stationery Set

I'm running a workshop on Thursday 9th October where you can learn to make your own envelopes and greeting cards using STACIE SWIFT printed papers and illustrated patterns.

All materials will be provided plus there will be lots of tea and cake and a chance for a chat too. The workshop will take place at The Shop At Forty in St Neots - it's a really gorgeous shop, definitely take a look at their website!
You'll never need to buy another boring card and envelope again!

When: Thursday 9th October at 7pm
Details: £12 per person, all materials included

Limited space available, book your place by emailing hope to meet you there!


Saturday, 23 August 2014

First Anniversary Paper Gifts | For My Husband

Today Jon and I have been married a year!
You might have seen my post the other day about first wedding anniversary gifts... I found it tough trying to find the perfect paper presents for him, after much deliberating here's what I came up with!

A Year Of Dates
This idea is all over Pinterest, with tons of variations and date ideas, it's a great one to adapt and personalise to suit your relationship or special occasion.

I decided to hand-make a series of envelopes and label one for every month until our next anniversary. Inside each envelope is a date idea I have planned. I thought this would be a great way to make sure we have a 'date night' each month; some are more expensive than others, some don't involve leaving the house and some are things we have done before, and enjoyed. I will keep you updated on what we get up to!

Photo Frame
I love this mulit-aperture Umbra photo frame, there is room for 16 square photos (great if you print directly from Instagram!). I filled the first square with a photo from our wedding day, the rest with pretty constellation paper. The 15 gaps will get filled in with a photo each year on our anniversary, so the frame won't be full until 2029! It'll be nice to look back and see how we change each year, and to have a ongoing record of our marriage. In the meantime, the pretty paper means it's nice enough to hang up even though the spaces are empty.

What do you think? What did you give (or receive) on your first wedding anniversary?