Easy To Make Mother's Day Card

Every year I make my mum a homemade card.  That's all she ever asks for and who am I to deny such a simple request!  Except, the older you get the harder it is to think of something different to make.  Lucky for me Pinterest and Kat Got The Cream are on hand to provide me with an endless source of ideas.

Such as this cute as a button design made by Kat.

Kat's Design

My Card

Here's one I made earlier!

A big thank you to Kat for posting this very easy to make Mother's Day card.  I had all the items in stock so didn't need to buy anything extra and I have to say this is probably one of the best cards over the 32 I've ever made!!!  You really don't want to see my earlier attempts, trust me.

Anyway, this is what you'll need to make the card: -

Card stock or in my case cartridge paper
PVA glue
Fine black pen

Excuse the dark photo!  More daylight hours needed!

As Kat says, it's pretty self-explanatory as to what you do.  I had a go at placing the buttons in different places first and then drawing the stems and leaves in pencil.  I've actually gone for straight stems and Orla Kiely style leaves but it's really up to you how you draw them.

And there you have it! A very stylish, if I do say so myself, homemade Mother's Day card and something fun you can make with the kids.

Do you prefer homemade cards? There's something so much more personal about them don't you think?


Home Is In The North

I love to support independent designers and shops but realised lately I don't blog about them as often as I tweet about them!

Although your big high street stores seemingly create a lot of jobs which in turn supports the economy, what about the little guys?  The ones who work endlessly designing those perfect pieces only to watch a high street store then produce the same thing for a fraction of cost and sell for half the price.  Being the little guy can be tough but they do what they do because they're passionate about their work!

Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti super stores.  They're convenient, you know what you're getting and they're usually affordable, but it's good to mix it up. And, by shopping in an independent outlet you're not only supporting that business owner, you're helping to support all the other businesses they deal with.  In fact if we all spent a fiver a week with our local independent shops we'd put £4.1 million per year back into our local economy! That's something to think about!

Am I going somewhere with this? Yes!  Because I've been invited to the Home Is In The North event at Halle.St Peters, Manchester.  A unique collective of independent designer-makers and boutique homeware brands from across the North.  An opportunity for 30 independent talented designers, who specialise in modernising traditional crafts, to exhibit their work.

Inspired by the industrial North exhibitors range from surface pattern designers, ceramics, textiles, upcycled lighting and illustrators.

Charlotte Nash
Natalie Laura Ellen

Annabel Perrin

Ink Inc

As well as the chance to meet with inspirational designers there are also interactive workshops, demos and seminars taking place throughout the day. Highlights include a ‘Create Your Own Art’ workshop with interiors blogger, Kimberley Hughes of Swoonworthy, who will also be sharing her trend predictions for 2014 during a 30 minute seminar.  I really looking forward to seeing what trends she forecasts and hearing her tips on decorating on a small budget.

How does this help independent designers?

Home Is In The North will also be launching ‘The Future Design Showcase’ in partnership with Manchester Craft and Design Centre, concept store Fig & Sparrow and online market place What I Always Wanted.  The area has been created as a support network to give emerging artists and makers the unique opportunity to meet potential stockists in person and seek advice and guidance about building their brand.

Stella Photography

So if you live in the North and would like to support some homegrown talent and independent businesses why not pop along on Saturday 26th April, 11 - 4pm.  


Take A Bow - Win £50

And so, the end is near...well I guess all good things come to an end and my time on the AHF Bloggers Panel is up!  We could call this my swansong! Sob sob, pass the tissues...

It seems only right this is my last panel, because this months theme is Mother's Day.  I'm even more excited than usual for Mother's Day because it just so happens to fall on my birthday!  This doesn't happen often.  In fact this will be the second time it's happened in my *whispers* 32 years! And yes, I did google it just to be sure! 

So, here's my gift guide: -

1. Eye Spy Wallet by Kate Garey 2. Confectionary Grey Silk Bracelet by Ella Georgia
3. Dozen Literary Paper Roses by Bookish England
4. A Mother’s Love Print by Wink Design
5. Cake In a Can by The Food Ministry 

Eye Spy Wallet - Kate Garey, Silk Bracelet - Ella Georgia, Paper Rose Bouquet - Bookish England

Mother's Love Print - Wink Design, Cake In A Can - Food Ministry

Like my gifts? Fancy winning something from Ask Her Friends? Me too! If you win, then I win, so just pop over to their site and enter here.  It's so easy and there's a gazillion ways to enter!  It would be the icing on a very lovely cake if we won : ) 

Before I go I just wanted to say big thank you to all the team at Ask Her Friends.  They really an awesome lot and love a good chat over on Twitter. 


Loving Lately

I've always had a thing for wallpaper, the quirkier the print the better.  Although accessories are key to any room, wallpaper can make or break it.

This latest design, Folie, by Cole & Son is inspired by statues, follies and architecture found within French landscaped gardens.  I'd say this print is definitely a bold statement in any room! It's one you either love or hate.

I'd keep everything else in this room fairly neutral like these accessories from Mia Fleur, although I'd probably have to add something mustard. I've got a thing about the colour mustard at the moment!

Folie - Cole & Son

Chesterfield - Sylvester Oxford, Accessories - Mia Fleur
So what do you think about this wallpaper. Love it or hate it? What kind of style would you go for?


Cheating At Ciabatta

So you may be aware that I'm not a brilliant cook. 'Can't cook, loves to eat,' should really be my motto.  Luckily for me my other half is a dab hand in the kitchen so it's not something I need to worry about.  

Occasionally though I sometimes surprise myself and manage to whip up something I'm proud of.  It got me thinking if I can make this, anyone can!  So maybe I should write on post on my adventures in the kitchen.  

There's something nice about the smell of freshly cooked bread isn't there?  Well I'll show you how easy it is to make this Ciabatta with just 3 ingredients for less than a pound!

Mix the entire packet of Wrights Ciabatta Bread Mix with 350 ml of water.  I used the kneaders on my electric whisk.  

Mix for 5 minutes and then add 1 tbsp of olive oil. Mix for a further 1 minute.

Put the dough on a floured surface and pat out into a rectangle - you can do this with your hands. It should measure around 30cm x 15cm.  Leave for 10 minutes.

Cut the dough in half length-ways and place on a greased baking tray. Dust the tops with flour. Don't ask me why, I really don't know!

Cover with a damp cloth or cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 25-30 minutes.  This could be somewhere like on top of a warm oven.  Don't just leave it on the side, like I did first time round because that won't work! The dough must double in size before you bake it.

Pre-heat the oven, uncover and bake for 25-30 minutes  on 230C, 210C fan or Gas Mark 8.

Turn out and cool on a wire rack. Don't be tempted to let the bread bake for longer as it will continue to cook whilst it's cooling down.

And there you have it.  Ciabatta!

So what do you think? Are you woeful in the kitchen like me or do you love to bake? Do you have any tips when it comes to making bread?


A Rare Fashion Post

A rare fashion post for me.  I don't usually do fashion posts because a) I hate having my photo taken and b) you can guarantee I'll blink at the wrong moment.

So why am I bothering with a fashion post? Well because I love clothes and I think it gives you an insight into someones style.  I could have posted images of the clothes taken from websites but it's just not the same, is it?  I'd much rather see the clothes on a real person and see how they've styled them.  

So, last Saturday me and my little sis laughed our way through an afternoon of photo taking. It turns out she's pretty handy with a camera and managed to get quite a few of me with my eyes open! 

Skirt, shoes & jumper - Topshop, Jacket - Oasis

I love the detail on this jumper. It's really eye-catching and I forgot how much I love this skirt.  I really need to wear it more often. The shoes on the other hand I practically live in! They go with everything! I love them so much I had to buy the open toe version, haha. Although in this picture they look a bit shiny, in real life they're not. 

So have you got any favourite items of clothes that you wear all the time?


My Wedding Scrapbook

Whether you're engaged or not, if you've been to a few weddings you unintentionally get an idea of what style wedding you'd like to have. In my head I wanted something low key, small and intimate with nothing too fancy. So when my boyfriend got down on bended knee, last October and popped the question, little did I know Bridezilla would soon be making an appearance with a few ideas of her own!

Before I knew it, small and intimate was soon turning into lavish and outrageous, not to mention expensive.  I was torn between what I wanted and the endless options available.  Yes I wanted something special with close friends and family but on the other hand, hey, it's my one big day, lets go crazy!  I'll admit it, there were a few tears.

After we'd found a venue we both loved I felt like a massive weight had been lifted off our shoulders. I had a stern word with myself and banished the Bridezilla.  I don't want a wedding that's going to consume our everyday lives. I don't want to spend hours agonising over flowers that'll be dead in a few days. I want something simple with a few special touches that shows our personality, in a venue where we feel comfortable and of course surrounded by our closest friends and family

Although our day will be special to us, our married friends tell us it will fly by in the blink of an eye.  Creating this scrapbook has helped me focus on what's important because when it's all said and done we'll only be left with the memories.  The minor details aren't worth stressing about.

1. The journey  2. The dress  3. The suit  4. Some personal touches  5. A keepsake box   6. Simple flowers  7. Ok this cake is amazing!  8. Our loved ones  9. Really what it's all about

My Wedding Scrapbook – How To Enter
Create your own ‘Wedding Scrapbook’ post and you could win a 2 Night Luxury Break for Two in a Suite at the stunning Ox Pasture Hall Hotel in North Yorkshire, including Dinner, Bed & Breakfast, Cream Tea on arrival & other little treats - worth up to £800!
Excludes Christmas & New Year - available any other time, subject to availability
All you have to do to enter is write a post entitled ‘My Wedding Scrapbook’. Your post should include all the aspects you believe make a dream wedding and can feature words, images, photos and sketches - in fact anything you would put in a real life scrap book.
Once you’ve written your post, make sure you add these ‘how to enter’ instructions as they appear here at the foot of your post and then tweet a link to it from your Twitter profile including the hashtag #myweddingscrapbook.
Two runners up prizes of a £100 and a £50 Love2shop gift vouchers will also be given to the 2nd place & 3rd place post respectively. The winner will be the most inspirational post, as chosen by the judges. Competition closes midnight 31 March 2014. Winners will be chosen and notified by email using the contact details on their blog within 10 working days of the competition closing.


Working From Home

What do I love about being freelance? I can work from home.

What do I hate about being freelance? I can work from home!

Yep, picking and choosing your hours and where you can work from is great, but it can also lead to distractions and there's plenty of those at home!  If you're a freelance you have to be disciplined.

[Img from Dashburst]

On the days I'm working from home I still get up around 7am, just like I would if I was going into the office.  Having a routine helps me get into work mode and I'm usually ready to face the working day by 8:30. However, there's always those little distractions there to tempt you away from your paid work.  Like the washing. Or vacuuming.

Who would have thought household chores could be so inviting!?  I confess, my house is always at it's tidiest when I'm working from home.

So how do I make sure I don't become distracted?  I allow myself to do those little household jobs which also helps to break up the day.  If I don't, I find it hard to concentrate and that's ten times worse.

I'm not the kind of person who can sit in my PJ's knowing there's a wash load which could be on. Or the floor needs mopping.  If I can get those few extra jobs done it helps me focus.

For me, a tidy workspace (or in this case house) means a tidy mind, which equals productivity.  We don't have the luxury of having a home office so I can't just close the door on the rest of the house and pretend I'm at work.

It might sounds a little crazy and probably means I work longer hours, but when you work from home you have to find the best solution that works for you.

Are you a freelance?  Do you work from home?  How do you make sure you stay focused?


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