The Bloke and I decided to spontaneously go out on a day trip the other day – we’ve both been feeling a little low and have cabin fever from being in the house for an extended period of time, so we both took the day off and went to Blenheim Palace. As you do. It is something that has been on my UK bucket list for a while, the weather was fairly reasonable and surprisingly, it’s only a 90 minute drive away from Birmingham.
Most famously known as being the birthplace of Winston Churchill, Blenheim Palace is the principal residence of the Duke of Marlborough and the only non-royal country house in England that holds the title of ‘palace.’ Built between 1705 and 1722, it was a gift to John Churchill – the 1st Duke of Marlborough – by Queen Anne in thanks for his victory at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704, and was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.Continue reading →
2018 has been a mixed year. There’s been a few personal and professional changes, some of which were not as positive as I would have liked and I’ve allowed myself to wallow in a funk on more than a few occasions, at one point even contemplating giving up blogging altogether. However, when I looked through my Bullet Journal and the photographs on my phone in preparation for this post, I was reminded that this year has actually been full of more incredible experiences than almost of any other.
I’m serving some ‘food barrel realness’ after consuming more than my entire bodyweight in Toblerone, cheese, crisps, dip, honey roasted peanuts and potatoes over the last few days. I always find it incredulous how quickly the Christmas Eve / Christmas Day period actually goes, especially with the hype and the level of preparation that goes into the weeks (and sometimes, months) leading up to it, and yet it is already over for another year, seemingly in the blink of an eye.
Our Christmas was spent at home with the cat. I had planned our eating and viewing schedule and got most of the food ready in advance, and for the most part, it all went very well.Continue reading →
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Bullet Journals are a great tool for anyone who (like myself) have busy lives, being easily adaptable for tracking daily and future activities, goal-setting and organising your lifestyle with the use of bullet points instead of repeated lists and complicated organisers. Created by Ryder Carroll, a digital product designer from New York, they have become an internet phenomenon over the last few years and I have developed a personal obsession – it has helped me to developed my own blogging and business strategies and activities, helped me to streamline my working day, become more organised in my personal life, and I can’t get through my week without it.
While they were initially designed to be purely simple and functional, I have seen the development and creativity of different layouts (or ‘spreads,’ as they are known) become increasingly more exciting and detailed, with trackers and overviews now being adapted for every possible activity. However, the beauty and effectiveness of using a Bullet Journal means that spreads can be as easy or as complicated as the creator decides and they can be customised to suit every individual need. To date, there isn’t a diary, notebook or journal available on the market that is suitable for the sort of trackers I use, so it’s easier to create my own. I also find the process enormously therapeutic and fun! Continue reading →
Not the dress I bought, but always like a bit of shiny…
At the start of November I set myself the challenge of blogging every day during the month. I managed twenty-one days continuously… until yesterday. Quite simply, I wasn’t in the mood, I couldn’t think of anything productive to write that wouldn’t take several hours, I had spent most of the day working on another project and I gave up. The blogging enthusiasm went in the bin. To be fair, going from posting three to four times and month to writing every day for three weeks isn’t bad, but I’m still a little disappointed that I fell short of my target. Still, with a week to go until the end of the month I can catch up on the missed post, but sometimes a break is necessary to regroup and get back on track, even if it’s a short one.Continue reading →
Last week I was invited to a Digital Photography Masterclass with Viking, given by professional photographer Elouisa Georgiou.
I love taking photos – amassing thousands of images over the years in various folders on my computer and blog – but usually find it easier to use my phone for the ease of taking a quick picture without having to go through the hassle of carrying a heavy camera around and the option of immediately editing and sharing across my social media. However, this masterclass was a great opportunity to develop some of my skills using a DSLR – something that I rarely use – and I asked The Bloke to give me a crash course on the basics beforehand.
The event took place at Dirty Martini in Birmingham, and I was joined by other bloggers in a Christmas-themed setting as Elouisa introduced us to her work and some of the techniques she uses to create different effects on her images.
The Christmas set-up
Elouisa gives her introduction
Elouisa explains the challenge and gives some ideas
Whenever I go to London I always research interesting ideas on Pinterest for places to visit and experience as I find that tips from locals are always much more useful than some of the bigger travel guides. During every search there is always one thing that appears repeatedly: Peggy Porschen Cakes ‘Parlour’, an Instagram haven with a pastel pink frontage, adorned with gorgeous floral displays that change throughout the year.
Opened in 2010 by award winning cake designer, author and Creative Director Peggy Porschen and her husband, the bakery is situated in Belgravia, and I discovered that it was in the vicinity of the station I was travelling from on Monday, so I decided to take a little detour and treat myself to a cupcake (for breakfast – why not!). Continue reading →
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I love Friday night, particularly at this time of year. When we both worked in schools, The Bloke and I would desperately look forward to it – we would get in after struggling through an often crappy week, order a takeaway, get the blankets out, put the heating on and would spend of the evening snuggled up with the cats while watching a film, desperately happy that we wouldn’t have to get up and go to work the next day. Even though we’re now both in a different situation with regards to where and how we work, we’ve carried on with the weekly routine – we still curl up on the couch under a blanket and watch a film, although the cat now prefers to sleep on his own blanket on the armchair since his feline sister passed away last year.Continue reading →
I love everything about Christmas. I love decorating the tree and displaying the cards. I love the carols and the annual Christmas songs that are blasted out in every store. I love the Christmas market that appears in Birmingham every year (even though many Brummies I know think of it in the same way as New Yorkers view Times Square). I love wrapping the presents, drinks with friends, planning the dinner on the day and stocking up on Boxing Day treats. I love Christmas movies and over the years The Bloke and I have developed our own little traditions of when we watch them. In particular, I love the general festive cheer that the community adopts, making more of an effort to be kind to each other. Continue reading →