The author of this blog is a photographer and lifestyle blogger who loves to write about all things home. You can expect to find tips, tricks and tales about home making, gardening, crafts, cooking & baking on her blog.
The living room - where do I start!? This one was always a bit of a battle between the two of us - I wanted everything white, but Paul wasn't keen on that idea at all. We then both stumbled upon some lovely mustard and teal curtains (that we certainly weren't looking for!) and finally found a middle ground in which to settle. And to be honest, I'm pretty glad that I never won the white battle, because although it's still a look that I love, I love this one so much more... Gradually, over the years, I'd begun to creep towards dark woods and muted tones of a rich colour palette - ultimately resulting in me now having somewhat of an obsession with mid-century living - and that suits both of us just fine. So this is where we have now arrived - taking our old 1930s house and turning it into a retro retreat with carefully selected textures, warm tones and some key period features. We're currently waiting very patiently for the arrival of our new sofa that we ordered last week. It's the first proper piece of furniture that we've ever bought and it's the missing puzzle piece for this room. Keep an eye on Instagram for it's arrival!
A few weeks before Christmas last year, Paul had a vision and somehow managed to build his very own bespoke bar completely from scratch. I still look at it now and struggle to believe that it isn't a genuine piece of mid century furniture.
It's definitely worth it's weight in gold, too - not just for entertaining guests, we've also spent a fair few nights mixing cocktails after dinner with a record turning on the Dansette.
These are the curtains where it all started, but all I can remember is they were from 'a curtain shop in a retail park in Bury St Edmunds' - it was so long ago I have no idea what the shop was or even if it's still there!
This antique Ercol table is my greatest furniture find of all time... I managed to save it just before it went into a skip - just because it had a water mark on it - seriously, who just throws out a £500 piece of classic Ercol!?
I'm pleased to say it's been very happy in its new home ever since... And it has a hella lotta love in its new life!
I bought this early Andy Warhol print for Paul one year for our Anniversary. Not only does it have the right sentiment, it's a cat, it's teal, and it's Andy Warhol. Win win win!
A little over a week ago, we headed down to London for Paul's birthday present gig: Celebrate Otis Redding with Mudibu and the Jezebel Sextet. After a quick detour round Brick Lane vintage markets on the way, we then got the tube down to Pizza Express Live in Holborn for the gig. The outfit...
I actually threw my outfit together as a bit of a last minute thing, so you can imagine my delight (which you maybe even followed along on Instagram stories!) when I realised that my new, and as of yet, unworn cloche would set the outfit off perfectly.
I love a bit of leopard but I'm very fussy when it comes to prints like this - it's got to be subtle if it's going to have class - I can't pull off big bursts of colour and pattern, that's just too busy for me. So black accompanied by the muted browns of the leopard top and hat made a perfect base on which to build - and the addition of gold buckled shoes, ivory pearls and burgundy gloves created the perfect outfit for a wet January evening in the big city. Not to mention back seam stockings for that extra kick of vintage flair! I matched my handbag to the pearls and wrapped up warm in my supersize vintage faux fur coat in chocolate brown.
Plus, as I suspected in my last post - it rained for most of the day so the cloche was perfectly practical as well as just plain awesome!
Around 6.30pm, we stepped out of the rain into the ground-floor restaurant of a bog-standard Pizza Express branch, where we were directed down a spiral staircase into the basement. They took our names and guided us into a low-lit room - and that's when it became something totally magical.
A low ceilinged, curved stage backlit with neon tube writing sat opposite little bistro tables scattered about the place, and the copper bar that bordered the stage was dotted with Pizza and cocktail menus, beneath the soft light of the bar-mounted lamps. We were shown to our front row seats on the hammond side and settled in with a cocktail and some olives.
The tables began to fill as we ate our pizza and before long, the lights were lowered and the band appeared on stage.
I must confess, I didn't actually take any photos of the band - my battery was super low and I was far too busy enjoying the show! But they truly were amazing. They all exuded such energy and fun that every second was a delight to witness. It almost felt as though we'd stumbled upon one of their rehearsals - they were so relaxed throughout and chatted to the audience between songs - it really was a fantastic gig.
Once the music was over, Paul talked shop with the hammond player then we strolled back to the tube to head back home. The evening was everything that it needed to be; a rainy January night in London, an underground jazz club, wonderful music, Italian food and a couple of cocktails to wash it all down.
So tomorrow night we're off to London to see 'Celebrate Otis Redding' at Pizza Express Live in Holborn. I'd started putting together a wardrobe post, then I realised that really this is the perfect outfit for what we're doing tomorrow. It's forecast to be a rainy day, but that's ok because these outfits conjure up all the romantic notions of dashing from cab to cafe sheltering from the heavy English downpour under a shared umbrella with your beaux. And later on, after dinner, darting down the stairs of a low-lit jazz club, removing your cloak while you order a French 75 cocktail at the bar. All the while feeling safe and warm in your underground sanctury while the rain drizzles down outside. This magnificent skirt is the work of vintage extroardinare, Miss Victory Violet in her collaboration with stunning retro clothing brand Voodoo Vixen. I fell pretty hard when I first saw this skirt, it's just the perfect winter staple for any retro wardrobe. It also has that wonderful ability to flit flawlessly from day to night - so here I've paired two looks to showcase this nifty number.Look 1: Laid-back Chic for Rainy January Days
A black rollneck is one of my essentials, and works especially well for smartening up a more casual look. It also adds a hint of vintage sophistication - and even offers a beatnik vibe when paired with a beret!Super versatile, super toasty, super classic.
Keeping it comfy for daytime, I'd wear this with low-heeled Mary-Janes by Lulu Hun and why not - lets bring in those beatnik feels with a simple black beret from Accessorize!
And to top it off, a striking pop of colour; this deep red bag with gold coloured metal by Dancing Days for all your retro essentials, is such a lovely shade - the cherry on the cake! Look 2: Timeless Elegance for West End Jazz
Look number two is a dressier look, perfect for an evening of late night jazz in the West End, I'd team the Bridget skirt with another of my staples, the Dolores top by Collectif. I've got this in a few different styles already as it's just so versatile and super flattering. It’s also a style that you can easily dress up or down, and for any season.
To give this look that touch of vintage glamour, luxurious faux fur and crisp white pearls are the perfect accompaniment. This classic pearl necklace from Collectif twins beautifully with the pearl trim on these fab Rainbow Club shoes, below. Ok, so they’re wedding shoes – but if they’re designed to make a girl feel like a princess, then why save them for just one day!? These shoes are the epitome of timeless elegance and the peep toe gives a nod to retro styling too.
To obtain the ultimate fairytale feel, I'd team the skirt with a white petticoat like this one from Lindy Bop. There's something to be said for slipping a big blousy petticoat on underneath a swishy swing skirt - no matter how many times I do it, it still takes me straight back to stepping into my fishtail wedding dress all those years ago.
And the icing on the cake this time is this adorable Lulu Hun 'Love Potion' bag - the silky shade of blush pink is so feminine against the greys and whites and really softens the whole look - plus the cute label is great for date night!
So a little over a week ago, our alarms bleeped at 3am and off we went to Stansted airport. After a fab breakfast at Balzar excitedly chatting (and yawning!), we checked in and headed through to the lounge.
...to find that our flight was delayed.
By four hours.
Never have I had a delayed flight and never have I spent a total of seven and a half hours in an airport with nothing to do. Ok, so we've been lucky to have never been in this position before but when you've spent all your savings on a short break away, and you lose a day hanging around an airport, it's really not the exciting start to your holiday that you'd pictured.
But, after 7.5 hours of sleeping (for all of 10 minutes despite only 4 hours sleep the night before - sod's law does like to kick us when we're vulnerable!), aimless wandering, reading a book and staring into space, we finally boarded our flight and off we flew to Pisa airport.
After another looong wait to pick up our car and some trouble with our hotel in Florence, we finally had a roof over our heads and a means of transport for the week.
But not just any old transport - a wonderful little white Fiat 500!
We've been wanting to buy the Fiat 500x for over 2 years now, and were hoping that we wouldn't get the 'or similar' part of the rental contract - and as luck would have it, we got our little 500 that meant we could have a feel for owning a Fiat while looking chic and retro all over Tuscany!
After a quick wander down to the river, we settled in an authentic and very friendly pizzeria for a quick dinner of chianti & tagliatelle before collapsing into bed.
It was a super hectic first day that involved a lot of nothing, but a lot of very stressful nothing! But after a solid night's sleep and a short stroll around the corner, we stumbled upon the most perfect little cafe for breakfast.
I mean... what a spot!
And also, what a breakfast!!
After our amazing breakfast feast, we strayed away from the ever-increasing crowds and headed down random backstreets in search of the 'real' Florence.
And we were very happy to find the quiet, rustic, stripped back side of this bustling city. (And the odd scooter on a boat beneath a bridge...)
We did a few of the touristy things too, just because, well, Florence.
But it wasn't long at all until we were ready to return to the forgotten streets and unknown paths.
We set up camp for a little while in this lovely rustic wine bar, Cacio Vino Trallalla, and sipped on Aperol Spritz while horse & carts clip-clopped past.
We finally peeled ourselves away from the peace and quiet of the wine bar & headed back to the main town to do some shopping.
A couple of hours, one new shirt for Paul and a cheerful little market-stall bracelet for me later, we had had enough of crowds and were more than ready to make our way to our base for the next week.
...And off we headed into the sunset, towards the medieval Tuscan town of San Miniato...
7 years together to this very day. 6 years to this day with our loopy little fluffball, Roma in our lives, and 3 years to this day since the most wonderful man in the world asked me to be his wife. And most importantly, two years - two whole, wonderful years to this day, married to the love of my life.
I owe a lot to the 13th September. It's given me the most beautiful things in the world. Things that I dreamed of as a child but never knew that I would be lucky enough to have. We've already been through so very much together, and I know we have much more to come. It may not always be good experiences, but they are experiences, and there's no one else in the world who would be worth going through the hard times for, and with whom I'd like to share these good times.
So, here are some amazing memories from our engagement, wedding, and the last two years...
Our First Wedding Anniversary - a picnic at the beach followed by a night in the honeymoon suite at our reception venue
My favourite Christmas!
Birthday nights in Brighton
...then my Birthday surprise at the Savoy hotel in London!
Him raising over £3,000 for charity!
The arrival of our gorgeous nephew Max in June & Paul being a total natural at being Uncle.
Honestly, how did I get so lucky? This man has been with me through thick and thin. He's stuck by my side every step of the way. And has also kept me laughing uncontrollably, for 7 wonderful years.
The day I met him, my life went from being great to absolutely bloody marvellous. And I'm so glad he felt the same way and decided to spend his life with me.
A very happy 2nd Anniversary to my one and only, I love you to the moon and back! xxx
To be left breathless at the sights, the sounds, the scents.
An overwhelming feeling of calm, of peace, of purity.
To be at one with nature, to appreciate the Earth, to feel nurtured and blessed.
There truly is something about mountains. Something I can only try to describe - but they create inside me a longing; a need to be with nature and to basque in all it's monumental beauty.
Silent giants; come rain or shine, come mist and fog, they are ever present, ever grand.
In their presence, you really can feel the earth breathing. The lush green landscapes of trees backed by the harsh, cold rock of mountains. Bold, bright sunlight shining down through crisp, pure air onto nature's finest creation, softly dusted with snow. The strongest force of nature and to me, the greatest attraction.
The bustling life that lives inside their shadow operating below the scarcely seen life atop the very highest peak.
They create a desire in me to wander and to roam. To feel free and simple, to live a pure life. I can honestly say that I've caught the bug. And while I was scrolling through Instagram recently, an old friend had posted a quote that made me shout YES! I finally understand - it is a bug, a feeling of longing, an undefinable sense of awe. There is something about being around mountains that pulls me in; a magnetic force so strong that I know I won't be able to ignore it for long...
"That's it for you now. If you didn't know it already, you've woken something up and it's never going away. If that part of you is there, everyone's got their own moment when they felt their mountain heartbeat spring to life."
from 'Between the Sunset and the Sea' by Simon Ingram.
I can't describe how true this statement is. One morning last week, I was scrolling through Instagram and someone had posted a photo of them and their partner at Moraine Lake. Honestly, when I happen to stumble upon a photo of the Rockies like that, my heart skips a beat. There's just something there, a connection that I will feel forevermore. And now I understand; it is my mountain heartbeat.
I know that a big part of how I feel about the Rockies is to do with the euphoric cloud that we were on after getting married and jetting off there for our honeymoon. I also know that there's more to it than just that - something I can't quite describe, or fully understand. But nor do I need to. It just is.
Photos from our Canadian Rockies honeymoon, September 2015.
Now, it's been a while since I've added to my garden diary, and sorry to say I bring you a set of unedited images straight from the camera - not what I normally do! I don't tend to make many changes but like to have the option if something needs a brighten or a crop. But in the absence of my Macbook Pro, it's a bit of a miracle if I manage to get a post live let alone edit a set of images! Hoping to bite the bullet soon(ish) and buy one but for now, I couldn't waste these snaps of the garden in all it's July glory.
Petunia 'Night Sky'
Hydrangea 'Glam Rock'
Petunia with white Lobelia
Fuchsia 'Black Beauty'
Petunia with white Lobelia
Petunia 'Night Sky'
The Night Sky Petunias were a new variety over the past year or so, and this is my first time growing them. I have to say, I am absolutely, in LOVE. They are so stunning, and no flower is the same as the next. They truly are the showstopper in my garden this year and I think they'll be a permanent staple in future years!
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