Monday, 30 June 2014

Book Review - Pretty Girl Thirteen by Liz Coley

I literally have one word for this book. Phenomenal.

OK book review done, bye!

Only kidding but seriously this book is still with me now. You know when you read a book and it kind of becomes part of you in a haunting way, it stays with you and you keep thinking about it and find it difficult to move on to the next one as your mind is still wrapped up in this one. Well this is that book.

This was actually quite a hard book to review other than simply saying wow, because it really was a wowzer kind of book! It was unbelievably gripping, I just had to find out what had happened and piece all of the bits together. I read this book in two days, nothing else mattered I just had to read it and get to the end, I really did.

Unfortunately the synopsis on Amazon and the new book cover is now alot more comprehensive than the copy that I bought which I think is a bit of a pity as I went into the story without knowing quite so much but I share it with you here as it is widely found on the internet:

A gripping, suspenseful debut that will haunt you long after you have turned the final page…

Angie Chapman is only 13 when she gets lost in the woods in the middle of the night.

The next thing she knows she’s returned home, scars around her wrists and ankles, physically exhausted. Her parents collapse into tears when they see her, but Angie doesn’t understand – until they tell her she has been missing, presumed dead, for three years.

Angie doesn’t remember anything from her missing years. But there are people who do – people who could tell Angie every terrifying detail, if only they weren’t locked inside her mind.

With help, Angie begins to unravel the darkest secrets of her own past.

But does she really want to know the truth?

For me the plot was a little predictable, well the main story line, the reason she went missing was and I think it will be for most people but what really gripped me was the way in which the story was told. There is an underlying plot too which I really did not suspect and the reason Angie has other people with her. That is all I am going to say as I really don't want to spoil it for anyone.

The most interesting thing in the book for me was learning about DID (Dissociative identity disorder) which I found quite fascinating. I really like a book that makes me think more. Obviously this is a work of fiction but also a very frighteningly true possibilities which makes it both interesting and scary at the same time.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

This weeks decorated Filofax Pages! - Hey Foxy!

Another week in a row I have decided to decorate my pages. I could get addicted to this! So far I don't have all that much going on but as I well know, all that could change in a blink of an eye but still there is plenty of room for me to write should I need to do so.

This week I went with a fox / orange theme!

So I started out with just two lines of washi tape, one in a plain orange and the other with a mixed pattern on. Both of these tapes are the slimline washi tape. The patterned one came from Fox and Star and is sold in a set of three along with a green and red tape.

The stickers are both ones that I sell in my Etsy shop. The fox is from the woodland sticker set and the squirrel is from the sticker set that is in the woodland letter writing set.

I then remembered that I received a woodland themed set of sticky notes in my last Linkys Stationery Subscription Box so I decided to add those in to my pages both as decoration and little places to write notes.

I always like to add in a co-ordinating paper clip or two for clipping in extra to do sheets or holding bits of mail that need attention and I also use them as page markers. This week I am using my plushie fox paper clip that came from itsfluffystuff on Etsy.

I am really pleased with the overall look and decoration. As you know I don't like to have too much stuff that will get in the way of my 'seeing' what is on my to do list extra.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Linkys Dream Stationery Subscription Box Unboxing - July 2014

Hey guys, it is that time of month again when my door mat is smiling, why? It is Linkys Stationery Subscription box time again! Whoop whooop! I cannot tell you how happy this little (well as it turns out, not so little) box of goodies makes me feel. I mean for a starters just look at the way it came! A delight even before you open it, just look at that yummy cupcake wrapping.

I loved this box and I just knew I would from the outer wrapping. I am such a packaging nerd I can tell you so you can imagine my utmost delight to open the box to find that everything was so lovingly wrapped in the cutest miffy tissue paper. The bunny fan in me practically bounced off the walls! I really don't know how she has the time to do it but pretty much everything is wrapped. By hand. By Leah herself, I tell you Leah, I really do appreciate it, it really is like Christmas.

So on with the unboxing, what did I receive? Well in every Linkys box there are always little bits and pieces like confetti, sequins, pom poms, feathers, that kind of thing and I just love it. I collect it all. You also always receive a confectionery item of some sort and she always pops other little goodies to discover in amongst the packages like paper clips and notelets, lots of nice little bits and bobs.

On to the main items or wrapped items. I received a froggy pen which is in the same style as other pens that I have had from Linkys, super cute and really good quality and they fit very nicely in a Filofax pen loop too! There was also glitter washi tape, a roller deco tape and cute little sticky notes and flags. I also received Martha Stewart Dew Drops which I have heard so much about and seen other people using but I have never actually used any myself so it will be interesting to see how I can incorporate them into my organising and the star stickers will come in handy for prioritising tasks or important dates and as symbols go I do love my stars!

I received some lovely items for my A5 Filofax. I received two super cute bunny dashboards, one super sparkly dashboard and a lovely animal print fly leaf. I also received a pack of beautiful paper, hole punched and ready to go which is just perfect for the Filofax that I use as a journal. I love it all and can't wait to pop them in my Filofax.

I do have an utmost favourite item though and that is the Little Miss notebook not only fun and so me but it is also really good quality. I will without a doubt, put that to good use along with the coloured pencils... I am thinking hobonichi or fauxbonichi style! Also included were project life sized cards which are perfect as journalling spots in my journals or as little notelets in my Filofax.

If you would like to see me 'unbox the box' so you can get a better feel for the items and size etc please do watch the video below.

Wasn't it a fantastic box? If you agree why not get one too! I would hurry if you do, I know at the time of writing this that she is all sold out for July and August is selling out super fast too. There is a limited number of each box but you can buy any month (going forward) right the way through to the end of the year. Boxes are priced at just £15 with shipping in the UK at £3, she does ship internationally and the price is dependent on your Country, you just need to get in touch with her for a quote! Head on over to to order yours!

I know everyone's boxes are different as she tries to cater to your needs. Don't worry if you are not a Filofaxer but just a stationery lover, you don't have to have the Filofax related bits! If you got a Linkys Box and have done an unboxing do leave me a comment as I would love to see what you got too! I know you shouldn't with the time away but I really can't wait until next month now...

Friday, 27 June 2014

Filofax Friday!

Hi Filofax Friday Friends! Today for FF I am coming to your in vlog format again. I do really enjoy just sitting down and having a chat with you all!

So what am I talking about this week?

Getting to 1,000 followers on instagram! Crikey, I still can't believe that over a thousand of you want to look at pictures from little old me, that just blows my mind it really does and I just wanted to say thank you so much to all of you for your support, it really does mean a lot to me and I do appreciate it. As a token of my appreciation I ran a giveaway over on instagram for a £25.00 voucher to spend in my Etsy store. This giveaway is now closed and the winner was annouced. I am sure I will do another giveaway in the future when I hit another milestone. I do very much like giving back to the people that support me.

OK so here is a misconception about me... a lot of people think that because I have a blog and make youtube videos that I am online a lot. In fact that couldn't be father from the truth. I practically never go on Facebook or Twitter but I do LOVE with capital letters, Instagram. For me that is my social media of choice because I just love the positivity and I am a very visual person and just love looking at photos about anything and everything. My instagram is not just Filofaxes but also other stationery, journals, my guinea pigs & bunnies and also random stuff about me or my life. I kind of treat my vlogs on my Ginger Juice channel and my instagram account as little mini journals in their own right, documenting the day to day stuff. Anyway I really enjoy it and I wanted to say thank you once again!

Following requests I am also sharing with you what I bought when I went to the Philofaxy meet up in London. I did say it wasn't a lot so when you see it you will probably be very disappointed lol!

I also share with you my recent planner pretty additions in the form of two lovely flyleaves from the lovely Beck of Just Keep Pinning. They are so fab. I already have the minions one in my A5 Apex and my pocket size one will be working it's way into my pocket aqua Saffiano which, hint hint, will be the topic of next weeks FF! So if you want to see what I turned that little beauty into please make sure to click the follow on Bloglovin button on the right hand side or follow me by email or other social media becuase the blog posts automatically feed in to social media when they are published.

Last but not least, homework. I mentioned in a previous vlog that I had stopped setting homework for you as it was time consuming and I was struggling to think of what to set. Well quite a few of you said that you were enjoying that and that you missed it. Sooooooo, I am thinking of reinstating it BUT I need some input from you guys too. I am happy to do that again but I would like to know what sort of topics you would like to see videos / blog posts on. As I have said all along, there will only ever be content from me when I have something to say, that is usually most weeks but there may be some weeks where there isn't any. Filofax Fridays will take place in the form of vlogs, me chatting about what has been going on FF related in my world, Tutorials & How to's, and then more inspirational and instructional videos. So let me know what you guys think.

Anyway, that is enough ramble from me, let me know your thoughts!

Click here to see the video!

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Guest Blog Post: Acetate Dashboards {Filofax, day planners etc}

My name is Becks and having recently manifested what can only be described as “Pinaddiction” - completely addicted to Pinterest. I thought it might actually be time to actually do something with all these boards I have for inspiration, creation and organisation. That way I can justify my addiction as having a useful purpose (well that is what I will tell myself and my partner) and just keep pinning!

Stop pinning and make things 

So in May the blog was born and serves as a record of my “Pinspired” activities. I hope some of my activities in turn, will inspire others to make, create and do. Pinterest serves as inspiration for my Filofax decoration and customisation. You can't really spend much time in the friendly, Filofax world before you stumble upon Mrs Brimbles wonderful Etsy shop and from their her fab blog and Youtube channel. All of which are great for top tips, and inspiration. I wanted to mention, in particular the first Mrs Brimbles video I watched "Filofax Dashboard - how to make and what with". As it inspired me to try something just that little bit different with my Filofax Dashboards. Mrs Brimbles mentions using a chocolate box acetate that she cuts down to size for a planner with a snowman on and for some reason that sent my neurons firing back to my teaching days when Interactive Whiteboards did not exist and I used (sparingly due to the expense) OHPs you could print onto. I managed to dig them out and find them:

OHP flashback! 

 I was aching to try them out as a Dashboard but, what to use as an image? Thankfully Mrs Brimbles could also provide me with the answer..... her FREE Filofax Friday could artwork dashboard, so I quickly printed this and punched it, and it looks great: 

Printed cloud dashboard 

The above is just with plain lined paper behind but because of its transparency you can use it in all kinds of ways. I tend to use mine in my journal Filofax with a quote behind it like so: 

Dashboard in my Journal Filofax 

Which looks even more amazing! That was only the beginning, it got me started creating a whole range of different dashboards with acetates: 

Mint with Pink Hearts Dashboard for A5 Filofax by Just Keep Pinning Red and pink hearts dashboard and Minions faces dashboards 

Just goes to show how one spark of inspiration can take you so far! Thanks Mrs Brimbles for being such great spark! I am even thinking of selling these in my new Etsy shop to spread the joy of acetate dashboards.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

My current journal collection {part one}

This week I thought I would share with you my current journal collection as it has been a while since I did that. I last shared them with you in May last year and I like to take stock every now and then and look at the journals that I am using. I do this because I like to take time to think about whether they still serve a purpose for me and whether I still want to use them. I hope you also find this interesting and that it might inspire you to journal in some way, whatever way that would be for you.

So here are my journals:

Art Journal
I call my art journal such because it is the term that most people will understand or recognise, however I prefer to call it just my journal, my visual journal or indeed an artiststs journal. In that journal I like to create art as well as incorporate collage and writing.

Sometimes I paint for paints sake just because I have a desire to be creative, sometimes I use it for concept art to develop something else or to learn new techniques. I also like to part scrapbook by using photos and smashbook by adding receipts and flyers from places we have been.

Whatever it is, it is my journal and it is the documentation of my life, my place to process feelings and emotions and a place to be happy or spend time with myself.

No pressure journal
I won't go into this too much as I wrote a whole blog post dedicated to this last week

Written journal
I like to keep a written journal solely for, you guessed it, writing! I like to write reams and reams when the mood takes me and at the moment I am using my A5 Finsbury Filofax for that. I love the feel and quality of the leather and I also like the flexibility of the rings for changing things about. In that journal is my life documented in writing and everything that goes with that good and bad!

My Filofax
I am using my daily Filofax to complement my written journal. In the back of the Filofax  I have blank paper (lined) in case the urge to write hits me when I don't have my journal with me. I just write in her and then add it into my journal later on.

Sea Journal
This was a book that I picked up from a charity stand for 50p. Whilst I started this and intended it to be an altereed book all related to the sea and mermaids, I literally did two pages in it and then run out of motivation for it. I still keep it in my collection of current journals because I really like the book itself. One day I may go back to this but I am not sure but don't want to part with the gorgeousness of it just yet!

My BOS is my book of shadows

This is just a cheapy sketchbook that I use for you guessed it, doodling. I use it to test and work out the little characters that then become the ones you see on my Filofax inserts and dashboards.

A whole lot more information on these journals as well as glimpses into them can be found in the video:

I hope you have enjoyed a little look into some of my journals. There are many more to come and I will share these with you next week!

Monday, 23 June 2014

Book Review - Wood Angel by Erin Bow

I have to 100% admit that this was one of those occassions where I judged  a book by its cover. I couldn't help it really because the cover artwork is just so beautiful and it totally appealed to my inner love for fairies in the garden. The story however was actually nothing about fairies! That wouldn't have been a disappointment to me at all had the story been a little better.

OK maybe that is quite a harsh thing to say. It wasn't bad as such. Don't get me wrong I did enjoy (mostly) the read. It was gripping enough in as much as I really wanted to find out what happened so that kept me reading until the end but I just don't know what it is. To me the synopsis sounded more exciting than the book actually was. Here is the book synopsis:

Plain Kate lives in a time afraid of magic. She has a gift for carving 'lucky' wooden-charms. Known as Witch-Blade, her unusual gift attracts dangerous attention in a place where witches are burned. When her village falls on bad times, suspicion falls on Kate. Scared for her life, she seeks the help of a mysterious stranger. In exchange for her shadow, the stranger will assist her, but Kate becomes part of a terrifying plan, darker than she ever dreamed.

Now the synopsis for me sounded pretty good, I have to admit I also love books about witches and I also love books that are slightly dark or macarbe so this sounded to me like it was going to tick most of my boxes. I thought this was going to be more Salem witch trial like but it wasn't.

I found Kate to be a little pathetic and I just couldn't gel with the book which is odd when the book was gripping enough to find out what happened, very odd!

The synopsis sounded fantastic but all in all my overall impression of this book was a bit 'meh'. Oh well on to the next book!

Sunday, 22 June 2014

This weeks decorated Filofax Pages

I have been doing a little decorating again so I thought I would share my pages for next week with you, I love love love them and I hope you do too!!

The inserts are the ones that I gave away for free on this post just with the designs covered over. The heart washi tape is from The Idea Owl, the plain washi was given to me in a RAK and the stickers are from the Woodland letter writing set in my Etsy shop.

I also like to add a couple of paper clips in to serve a couple of purposes, one as a little page marker and the other so that I clip notes and bits of paper in. The yellow heart came from Staples and the birdie came in one of my Linkys Subscription boxes.

I love this colour pallette so much and the smallness (is that a word?) and the simplicity of the stickers. I feel very summery and I think this decoration is really refreshing, well it is the mood that it evokes with me anyway lol!

Friday, 20 June 2014

My Desk Organisation for my Filofax / Planning Items

I thought it might be fun this week to spin the camera around and show you what my room looks like from the other side, the side that I see when I am filming and you don't! I thought I would show you some of my desk organisation but more specifically where I store my Filofaxing supplies.

I am really lucky that I have a good size desk that was here already when we moved in, I just 'Annaised' it, i.e. I painted it to make it look how I wanted it too. It is covered in paint and ink splotches from all of the painting and crafty pursuits I have indulged in but I love it, I like to feel free to create and not have to worry about protecting a surface or putting anything down and it all shows character. If you would like to see a full room tour you can here.

The light today is so bad, it is really grey so I have had to put my lights on but of course that creates pretty nasty shadows :(

At the back of my desk I have two cardboard boxes, one of which was an old Glossy Box, bottom, I like to recycle and reuse things wherever possible and this is just perfect in size and colour.

On the right hand side I have my most used items as I can reach these quite easily when I am sitting at my computer and that mainly consists of little notelets, mini note pads, sticky notes and sticky flags. I use these when I need to make a note of something, or in planning tasks, they come in handy in lots of different ways.

On the left hand side I like to keep all my inserts ready to use in my planner, to do list sheets & pads, extra paper and my dashboards and page markers. I like to keep my larger paper clips that I use for page markers on the outside of my box so that I can see them more readily and they make me smile as they are so cute! The ribbon paper clips that you can see in the bottom right are from XILE Creations.

I use the old dividers that I used to have in my filofax prior to owning a laminator in the box to act as a filing system, some I have re-named but on the whole I have kept them as they were when they were in the Filofax and they store the relevant inserts ready and waiting to go into my Filofax as and when I need to grab them. If you do print your own inserts I really reccommend printing extras and having them on stand by like this as it means you can grab and go without having to worry about printing all the time.

One of my storage must have items are plastic envelopes. I love them and use them all the time for many different things. I like them as they are clear so you can easily see what is inside but they keep everything all neat and together and don't get all dog earred. I like everything to be neat and orderly! Inside the plastic envelopes I keep my dashboards and page markers but I also have some that I have hole punched as I use them in my Filofax itself from time to time and I find them really very useful.

These are just my key items / storage so please do watch the video for more information and a closer look at these areas plus others.

I love looking at how other people store and organise their items in their house as well as on their desk because I am regularly changing how I work and what works for me and I take a lot of ideas and inspiration from other people. So I was browsing the net as I do frequently for some ideas on desk storage as I would like something that is a little larger and a bit more comprehensive when I came accross this:

Image Credit:
I wanted to share it with you because I myself love it and I know if you are like me, you will love it too! I can really see it working on my desk and most importantly I love it because it is made from recycled packaging so not only is it good for the environment it is budget friendly too! I am on the look out for either a box that is this shape or a box that is the right size that I can cut the sides down now. Please do go and have a look at Craft Room Secrets Blog as this is where I found this image.

No piece of rubbish is safe now and I am looking at everything wondering if I can make it work as storage!

If you have a storage system that you would like to share with me I would love to see it, or maybe you would like to guest blog about it on here? Either way please do leave me a comment and let me know!

See you next week :D

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Summer Home Decor Tour

So last Thursday I got all sentimental and shared with you why I love living where I do and what that means to me. If you missed that click here. Well today I thought I would share with you my Summer home decor. As you know from last week, we have been in this house for a whole year now and this tour completes a years worth of home decor tours!

I will let the video do all the talking as it is all fairly self explanatory in there :D

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

My New No Pressure Journal

If you are anything like me or you are into journals yourself, you will often find that your journals change, how you journal changes and you you feel about journalling changes too.  I go backwards and forward and in and out of love with not just the different types of physical journals I have but also how I am journalling in them. I guess different things suit me at different times and for different reasons.

Next week I will do an update on my current journals but just to give you a brief idea of my current journals, I am using an art journal and a 100% written journal but I was finding increasingly that I wasn't having any motivation for my written journal, I was finding that I didn't have the time, or perhaps more importantly that I wasn't finding or making the time to journal and when I did I just wasn't feeling it or in the mood.

Then one day I decided to set myself a no pressure journal.

I have a few new, empty notebooks / journals on my shelf and so I just went and grabbed the first one I felt drawn to with little thought into it, this was to be my no pressure journal so I didn't want to spend ages pondering over the cover, the paper quality the size and all that jazz. I was creating a new way of journaling, well new to me anyways.

So I set myself some rules for my no pressure journal:

No pressure to write
No pressure to art
No pressure to decorate at all
No pressure to have beautiful neat handwriting
No pressure to use any type of pen
No pressure to write long entries
No pressure to make eloquent entries

I told myself that I could just write whenever and wherever I wanted, multiple times a day if I wanted to. I can just grab any pen that is kicking around the house and just write until I want to stop writing. If I run out of time, or motivation I can just stop and not worry about it making sense or having to pick up where I left off the day before.

This is to be my no pressure, 100% fun journal and you know it is. I am finding myself wanting to pick it up and write in it all the time. Sometimes I will just write a sentence if it comes to me, other times I will write several pages but above all I am not worrying about it and just enjoying the process. I think this is a great tip for those just starting out or wanting to start journalling. Don't overthink it and don't worry about hoarding that beautiful notebook or worrying about not making it look nice and pretty. Who cares! It is just a notebook, it is there to be written in and loved.

I have been journalling for years and often go in peaks and troughs with my journals but I think you need to enjoy it and not force it. If you are forcing yourself to journal you are not being true to you and your reasons for journalling are all skewed. A journal is your companion for telling your woes, your fears, getting negative emotions out, rejoicing in the good times, documenting your life and record keeping. It is all there or should all be there, the real you, the place where you can truly be you and not worry about what anyone else things, so why should you worry about coherrent sentences? You shouldn't, you should just write, write whatever needs to come out and just go with it!

I hope that has helped you in some way, let me know if you have various journals that you use for different reasons, I would love to know.

If you would like to know more about how and why I journal you can watch this video. This is a video that I created in May 2013 but I realise that newer subscribers may not have seen this before and may find it interesting.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Philofaxy Meet up / London Stationery Tour!

I am an avid reader of the Philofaxy blog and when I saw that Steve (from Philofaxy) was organising a meet up in London I was straight on the case, emailing him to book my place. Do you remember Georgie from Georgie@Home who I interviewed earlier on in the year? Well, Georgie lives not far from me at all so I emailed Georgie and asked if she wanted to come with me and I was delighted when she said yes! London is only a 45 minute train journey from us (about an hour away if you count driving to the station) but I really don't go that often.

So the day finally came around and Georgie and I were so excited. You know when you are excited about something, nothing seems to go right? Well I couldn't decide what to wear (as it happens I ended up taking my big coat as it had been raining all week, only to have to carry it around with me on the hotest day in a long time, typical!) and to top it off my phone decided not to wake me up with the usual alarm. Why is it all week I had been up at 6.30 and then come this most exciting day I was fast asleep so it was all rush rush rush. I picked Georgie up from her house and we got to the Station on time to get the 8.30 train so from there on we could relax into our day.

We had a good old natter on the train on the way there and I had the privellege of seeing some of the things Georgie has been creating but I won't spoil it for you, you will just have to wait until Georgie unveils it for you, although she did show it off in the vlog we did which you can view at the bottom of this post. A rather nice chap sitting opposite us very kindly took our photo.

We arrived in London with lots of time to spare so being the tea drinking fanatics that we are we went for a spot of shopping at Fortnum and Masons. Did we buy anything? Well yes we made a few little purchases, mainly tea and naughty treats funnily enough. We had a great time and could have spent a lot longer, as it was we ended up lingering far too long in the Stationery department not realising that the time was getting away from us. I have to say though, whilst I loved the food hall, I was some what disappointed with the stationery. As it is such a unique store, bringing such varied items from accross the World, I was expecting some knock you down amazing stationery but no. The quality of the items was good, for example, really high end paper but I was expecting something abit more unique and quirky I think. And as for Filofaxes, well there was hardly any. Very disappointing which is a shame.

So we made our way accross London to Oxford Circus where we were greeted by two lovely ladies as we were exiting the tube station and they recognised us from YouTube which was great. They were so friendly and welcoming and most importantly they knew the way to the restaurant!

Outside the restaurant (Vapiano), we met Steve and then very shortly afterwards we were joined by Pamela otherwise know for her 'Roses in December' blog. So we went inside, upstairs in the far corner, tucked nicely out of the way so we could get down to the business of talking about planners! As Steve says in his write up of the day, there was a lot of fondling, smelling, ooohing and ahhing over the various planners that everyone had bought along. I didn't know what to take and actually I did kind of regret taking my A5 as it was just so darn heavy to lug around for the day, now I know why I don't do it on a regular basis. Steve had a back pack full of planners, how he did that I do not know!

After all that fondling, I have now decided that whilst I do like my Filofaxes I really want a Gillio Mia Cara, but looking at the price on their website I don't think that is going to happen any time soon. Actually I don't think that will happen at all but I do know that I would like to get a really nice leather Filofax in Personal size but I am still undecided on which one. Don't get me wrong I like my Personal Domino and Personal Saffiano but after fondling the leather ones at the meet up, I really want a touchy feely leather one! I do really like the Filofax Original in Nude, I think I do from the photos, I haven't yet been able to see one in person yet which I was kind of hoping to do whilst we were in London but none of the shops we went to had one. Oh and don't get me started on the Kate Spade planners. One of the ladies had hers with her and it was just beautiful, you could really feel the quality of it and I just wanted to hold it. I did and I am not ashamed to admit it either!

Everyone was so friendly and welcoming and it was really such a wonderful time, we didn't just talk about planners and stationery, we did end up deviating chatting about various things and we never  ran out of conversation and it was like we had known each other for a long time. The food was amazing too and really good value for money, I definitely reccommend a trip to Vapiano if you are in that part of town.

So the time was very quickly escaping us, some people had to say their goodbyes but before they did we had a line up of all the planners for their own little photo shoot!

The remaining of us decided to go on a bit of a shopping trip, well it would be rude not to wouldn't it! One of the meet up gang emailed us in advance of the trip a graphic of possible stationery shops that we could visit. Unfortunately we didn't have time to visit them all which is a shame but that is something to look forward to on another London trip!

Image creator unknown - if it is you please let me know so that I can credit you or remove if you would prefer!

So the first stop was Rymans which was dead opposite the restaurant (a different Rymans to the one listed in the graphic above). I made a little purchase of a sketch book because as you know I do tend to get through them and I am always on the look out for a good one! From there we went to John Lewis who had some pretty cool stuff. I wasn't massively excited as it was all stuff I had seen before, it was well known brand named stuff which you can pretty much get everywhere, not that there is anything wrong with it, just that, I had kind of seen it all before, some nice bits but not enough to encourage me to part with my pennies!

Next stop was Prints at St Christopher's Place. It was a really lovely little shop, everything was beautifuuly laid out and colour co-ordinated, although I didn't really have a good look around, at this point it was really warm and the little shop was just too hot for me so I stood outside with Steve and had a sip of my water! It is definitely one to check out on a returning trip.

From there we went on to Selfridge's and it was here that I saw a beautiful Cross display. I recently wrote a blog post on She's Eclectic blog about my Cross pen and here in Selfridge's they had loads of them but most importantly for me they had the fountain pen to match the biro that I have. I would love to own that one day and at £65 it will be a one day, who knows maybe I might be lucky to receive it as a Christmas present or something but I was practically drooling on the glass looking at it! Selfridge's also had a really lovely Kate Spade collection. I have seen Kate Spade items all over instagram and in various videos so it was really nice to be able to see it in person. I really can see why so many people love the stationery items, the bow paper clips are just gorgeous!

We had to say good bye to some more folks so Georgie and I went with two of the girls headed to the Paperchase store in Tottenham Court Road. I had heard so many things about this giant haven of stationery and it did not disappoint! The ground space of the store has got to be at least four times the size of the store that I go to in Cambridge and then it had three floors (Cambridge only has one floor!). It wasn't big it was humungus! The only thing is that at this point I was getting really tired and my feet were killing me so for me at this point in the day the store was just a bit too big to cope with, I need to go back again at the start of a shopping trip rather than the end. I did really enjoy the browsing though and came away with a pretty letter writing set that was in the sale. I got to see the Filofax Temperley which was interesting. I really like the inside layout in as much as it is not just a planner but it has more of a purse or clutch bag layout to it, I just wasn't taken by the exterior design. If the exterior was more to my taste that would certainly be on my wish list. I did however fall in love with a little Paperchase own brand planner which is on my one day list too! The picture I took isn't the greatest quality though I am afraid but it is the one in the middle or you can see it on this link.

And then the shop was closing so it was time to head home, mind you it was 7 pm by this point and I was well and truly flagging. Unfortunately for us there were problems with the trains so we ended up having to wait for ages and when the train came it was really crowded so we ended up having to sit seperately, I think we were just so tired by this point that we just didn't care!

We had a really lovely day and the next day my feet did ache! I would totally reccommend going to one of the Philofaxy meet ups if you can, it was thoroughly enjoyable and I would definitely go to another one. It was lovely to meet Steve, the person behing Philofaxy and I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for organising the day and also for everything that he does for us with the blog and other social media.

If you would like to watch our VLOG of the day you can do so here...

Thursday, 12 June 2014

One of the reasons I am inspired to create...

I really can't believe it, we will have been in our house for one whole year tomorrow! The time has just wizzed by in some ways and in others it feels like we have been here for ages, I guess that is a sign of feeling totally relaxed and at ease with where you live. Many of you if you have watched my vlogs will have seen my house. When we moved here we always said that this would be our 'forever home' the place where we can grow old and grey, I don't think anything could make me want to move unless it was to the coast or to emigrate, I really do love it here. I know that I am really lucky and blessed to live here and I am thankfully for that every single day.

Of course one of the contributing factors to my love of this house is the location. We live in a small-ish village where there is only 321 dwellings, we have a village shop / post office, a nice little pub and most importantly a lake. A beautifully stunning lake with an awe inspiring surrealism to it.

My instagram snaps all with no filter!
We are really lucky to have a view of the lake from our back bedroom window and it makes me smile inside and out every time I draw the curtains in the morning. The lake is sort of a kidney bean shape so it curves round the village, this means that the lake is literally right at the end of my road and in fact everyones road.

I have a lot to thank the lake for, it brings me inner calm, peace and tranquility and most importantly the changing seasons and weather conditions are a major source of inspiration in my art work. I am currently painting a series of weather goddesses all inspired by living by the lake. The lake has a radius of ten miles and for most part it is surrounded by open fields and countryside so that vast expanse of nothingness really opens us up to see some interesting weather conditions. I just love it!

So in honour of living here for a year I thought it would be fun to do the 'all about my home tag'. I actually create a few different videos over on my Ginger Juice YouTube channel that don't always get a corresponding blog post, in fact my Vlogs never do for a start so if you are interested in finding out more about what I post over there then come on over :D

If you would like to do this tag in either a video or blog post the questions are below for you. Please let me know if you do, I would love to come and read / watch. My answers to the questions are in the video!

What is your home design style?
What do you love most and least about your home?
What is your proudest DIY project that you completed for your home?
What is yoru favorite piece of furniture?
Who is your favorite TV designer or decorater?
If I walked in your home, what fragrance would I smell?
What is the best and worst kept spaces in your home?
What is your favorite home accessory?
Hardwood floors, carpet or tile, which do you prefer?
What is your favorite cleaning product for your home?

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

My Acrylic Muse decided to pay a visit!

It is funny how your muse works, well mine is anyway. She comes and goes and dictates when and what she wants to do and sometimes there is just no stopping her. When she wants to do something she just does it without a care in the World. And when she is here, she is here to stay and all hell breaks loose and we just have to move over and let her get her own way.

So for quite some time now I have not been at all interested in my acrylics. Part of that is due to the mess and that I made a pact with myself that I would only use them in my room where it doesn't matter if I get paint everywhere, but then of late I have been journalling downstairs in the evenings whilst watching TV or if Mr B is reading or such like. My watercolours and a couple of pencils are much more transportable than a whole load of acrylics and pallettes. I know so lazy but then sometimes in the evenings I want easy, I don't want to have to think about all this stuff, I just want to sit there and create or journal about my day and not have to worry or think too hard about it.

Then at the weekend my acrylic muse decided to drop in and she stayed for quite a while, in fact she hasn't left yet, she has her feet well and truly up on the desk! So there I sat on a rainy Saturday afternoon in my room wandering what to do (Mr B had a cold and was watching TV on the sofa) so I reached for some acrylics and popped them on the desk. I opened my journal and I just started dropping and drizzling paint and so this happened...

I was quite startled myself as this is so out of character for me but you know what I thoroughly enjoyed it and I love the colours and well quite frankly I love how it is. Just how it is. I may just leave it like that but at the time I was like 'you silly bean now it is all wet you can't turn the page' so I ripped a page out and smooshed it down into the paint to take some of it off. It just didn't sit right so I took my pallette knife and started mixing it all around the page which looked really unsightly so I went old school. I call it old school because for me this is something that I used to do a lot but now no longer do, and that is I took some gesso and went over the page but just left a heart shape showing...

Again this really surprised me as I ended up loving the process, not so much the finished article but definitely the process and that is what struck the chord with me. So that then opened me up and it just went on and on. So I had a purple pallette, I tore another piece out of my journal and just got playing and that playing resulted in this coming out...

And I truly love him, I think he is a cutie pie. He is now actually available in my Etsy Shop as a day planner dashboard so it is funny how a little bit of play time to free your mind can result in a whole load of art!

There is more that I created and I shared my weather Goddess over on the Journal Gypsies Blog if you would like to check that out you can do that here.

Well I hope she is here to stay for a while longer as I am loving what we are creating together. Do you find that you have a muse who dictates what you should be doing? I would love to know!

Monday, 9 June 2014

The Man Who Rained - Book Review

I read The Girl With the Glass Feet by Ali Shaw a few years ago now and ever since I have wanted to read The Man Who Rained. It is one of those books that has been on my wishlist for a while now and then recently I got to purchasing it and reading it. I am so glad that I did I can tell you!

The Girl with the Glass Feet and The Man Who Rained are both similar and different. They are both a new take on the concept of fairy tale, in fact they are fairy tales for adults but with a slight macarbe feel to them. They are darker than the average fairy tale, so I would say they are more grey than black if you know what I mean. Dark enough to be mysterious and intriguing but not too dark to be scary and frightening. I know really hard to convey, you will just have to read it to know the true extent of what I mean!

This book can only be described as Enchanting. Yes that is it enchanting. OK folks that is my review. No only kidding. Yes it was very enchanting, and dare I say seductive as well. Not in a "bowm chicka wow wow" kind of way but in a way that it wants to draw you in. I can only described his writing as more poetic as the way he describes each detail seduces you, it draws you further in to the story. I have to say that I was so caught up on the enchantment of the way the book was written than the actual story line which was OK. I don't have all that much to say on the story itself. The story itself was fairly good, a little predicatable but that didn't distract me. I think this is one of those books that I will need to read again to fully appreciate the story.

It is all fairy tale but the way the author describes the chatacters it could be the bloked living opposite!

I do reccommend this book, it was an enjoyable read :)

Have you read this book? If you have let me know what you think I would love to know!

Friday, 6 June 2014

A whole lot of catch up - Filofax Friday

Oh Filofax Friday Did you miss me? Did you notice? If you are a blog reader you probably wouldn't have noticed that I took a week off last week but if you are a YT subscriber only then you would have lol. I had non video content scheduled on the blog for last week you see.

Last week Mr B had the week off work and we were going away for the most of it but the weather put pay to that but we were able to get a way for a night at the coast and also managed to squeeze in a spa day and a couple of nice meals, all in all we had a lovely week just chilling and pottering around together and that was great fun. So I thought for Filofax Friday this week I would do a bit of a catchy up type of chatty type of vlog type video type. I don't know why there were so many 'types' in there but there are, just my way of trying to explain things.

What has been going on? Well firstly on Saturday 31st May I went to London for the Philofaxy meet up which was such good fun. Everyone was so very friendly and it was great to eat good food, have great conversation and fondle, yes I said fondle, planners. Thanks to Mr Morton from Philofaxy I am now in love with a Gillio lol! Anyway, more on that, much more next week. I went with Georgie from Georgie@Home and we vlogged our day so I am still yet to edit that footage but I will and will share it next for you all.

Also on Saturday the giveaway closed and so the winners have been randomly drawn and contacted. I just wanted to say a massive thank you to everyone who entered and also to our lovely giveaway sponsors.

Anyway lovies, I must dash, this week I am playing catch up from having last week where pretty much nothing got done and various other appointments and things have been going on this week. It is all go I tell you.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Forraging for Elderflowers & Making Cordial and Fritters

I just love this time of year, I like going out for a nice walk and seeing what bounties I can forrage! Since we moved to this house back in June last year, I have been scouring the hedgerows during each of the seasons and making a note of the goodies that will be on offer at different times. I love to pick and make my own wherever I can for a couple of reasons. One I take great pleasure from a walk in nature and the process of making it, I think it is a rather wholesome experience and almost meditative really. Secondly you know exactly what has gone into the making of it, no nasties! and lastly it is actually cheaper, the cost of the ingredients for the quantity made is far cheaper than what you would buy in the supermaket so making your own is win win all round really.

Where we live there is an abundance of Elderflower everywhere. Elderflowers are usually out from late May to July and are just simply delicious as fritters and made into cordial. Well those are the two things that I usually make from them but there are plenty of things you can do. Mr B is not massively keen on elderflowers but I love them and at some point I would like to try my hand at champagne and then look into other recipes like jelly etc.

I thought you might like to come along with us as we forrage for the flowers to help you identify then if you would like to have a go and then back to the kitchen to make cordial and fritters. Keep reading if you would like the recipe to make at home yourself.

Elderflowers are just so pretty with their frizzy little flowers and they look so lovely paired with the lemons don't you think. I am so glad I stopped this little ladybird before she went into the pot poor thing and was put out to graze in the garden!

Elderflower Cordial Recipe

To make approximately 3 litres

40 heads of elderflower
3.5 Kg sugar
2.5 litres water
4 lemons
Bottles (pre-sterilised) - Glass looks pretty but you can also use plastic and if you use plastic you can also freeze the cordial for use later in the year, just make sure to leave a gap at the top for the cordial to expand in the freezing process.

1. Shake the elderflower heads to remove any bugs and beasties and also to shake off dead flowers and pollen
2. Trim as much of the green stalks off as possible as these can make it taste more bitter
3. Put the flowers into a large bowl. Slice up the lemon and add this to the bowl with the flowers. If you would like the cordial to be less torte, use fewer lemons!
4. Pour the water into a large saucepan, add the sugar and slowly heat.
5. Once the sugar has dissolved, pour this into the bowl over the lemons and the flowers and savour that wonderful smell!
6. Cover with a clean cloth and leave to infuse for 24-48 hours stirring occasionally.
7. Pour into clean sterilised bottles using a sieve or muslin cloth and a funnel and label.

Can be stored for up to one month or it can be frozen in batches and defrosted to use when required.

My tips and how to identify the plant

Elderflowers can be harvested approximately End of May –Early July.

Once you know what elderflower looks like, you always know. That may sound silly but now every where I go I am like, ooooh there’s one, ooooh fancy it growing there. It becomes an addiction.

The main plant that you could confuse elder with is the Guelder Rose. The guelder rose however is a much smaller shrub. The branches of Elder are very brittle and the bark is slightly corky looking. You can also tell the elderflower apart from the guelder rose by the leaves. Elder  leaves have finely serrated edges on a stem with two or three pairs and then a single leaf at the end. The Elder flowers are individually very small - the whole flower head being of a larger spread than the Guelder Rose. The latter has much larger individual white flowers open around the outside of the flower head, and smaller flowers very similar to the Elders in the centre of the flower head. Leaves are totally different to the Elder, being broader - a bit like a Field Maple shape.

Elderflowers smell of what can only be described as being “Tom cat ish” if they smell too much like tom cat then they have gone over and shouldn’t be used. Anything you make with gone over elderflowers will smell equally noxious!

The other plant that you could perhaps mistake them for is the white cowslip.

I would recommend that you harvest from as high as possible to avoid the concern that a doggy may have already paid a visit and to ensure that you are not harvesting cowslip. Also as ever avoid harvesting from a bush that is potentially polluted, from by the side of a road for example.

Remember to only take what you need and to spread it out over several bushes. Leave plenty of flowers to enable the growth of elderberries.

And always ensure you have the land owners permission.