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Funky Notepads

As I mentioned last week, I have been participating in NaNoWriMo this year. It's the 6th time I've done it, and I'm pleased to say that for the 2nd time ever I managed to complete it! I came in with 50079 words late on the evening of the 30th, and heaved a massive sigh of relief. I ended up writing the last 15k words over the final three days, after spending the weekend desperately catching up and writing just over 14k words in two days.

Part of my procrastinating involved browsing Etsy and favouriting lots of random things. This included some very pretty notepads that I came across. I'm a big fan of stationary so you will probably also get a post on pens coming up in the next few weeks as well XD

Quit Procrastinating by modernemotive

I love this simply because the title line is one I really should heed; quit procrastinating!

Personalised Family Notepad by itsybitsypaper

The cute birdie pattern along the bottom right caught my eye for this one, but I also love that it is personalised so you can have your family name at the top and the names of family members along the bottom.

Meal Planner by mikiodesign

If you're like me and like to make a little menu each week then this is the notepad for you! Not only does it include the days of the week down the side but it also has space for you to write your shopping list, so you can keep everything on one sheet of paper each week!

I Will Get It Done Soon by papersquid

Another one to help you stop procrastinating, with the bright green base for this notepad it is definitely not one set of lists you are likely to lose in a pile of paperwork!

Have a lovely week everyone!

Remember November

This is horribly overdue :( Got eaten by NaNoWriMo and then a week of work.

So for everyone in Britain, 11th November is Armistice Day. It is the memorial of the day that the first world war ended, at 11am on the 11th November 1918. In Britain we mark this day, and Rememberance Sunday which is the nearest Sunday after the 11th, with poppy wreaths. And in the days before it the Royal British Legion sells paper poppies for people to wear.

So it seems like an idea to feature some poppy-themed things from Etsy.

Felt Poppy Brooch by ZMFelt

Red Poppy Landscape by drobart

Simple Red Poppies by Sidereal

ACEO Red Poppy Flower Painting by DreamON

We will remember them.

Snuggle Time

Autumn is here, the clocks have gone back today so it’s getting dark early in the afternoon, and I keep finding myself feeling chilly during the day. And for some reason this in turn makes me feel a bit sleepy, possibly because I can’t help but want to snuggle down in bed and hibernate like animals do in the winter.

Summer Afternoon Quilt by CarleneWestberg

Obviously one needs a quilt to curl up under. Personally I prefer a nice thick duvet but patchwork quilts can give an extra layer that adds to the warmth.

 Sweet Candy Cushion Cover by lisaghove 
Cherry Blossom Linen Pillow by HomemakerMovement

You need a nice cushion or two to prop up your head. Actually you’d ideally need some pillows but I love both these cushions so I decided to pop them up on here instead.

And then of course you need something to cuddle while you’re napping.

Alexander Skarsgard

Hmm, very nice but I don’t think he can be called “cuddly”. At least not with the fangs he has in True Blood!

 Ben Barnes

Again, lovely and I’m sure he’s snuggable but it’s still not quite what I’m looking for.

Blue Steel Bear by clarebears

Ah, perfect! The best thing to cuddle while you sleep is something that doesn’t snore, move around in his sleep, or complain that you snore/fart/mumble while you’re asleep. Although sadly this lovely fella won’t make you a cup of tea when you wake up, but some sacrifices have to be made for comfort.

And finally I think it’s nap time! Have a nice week everyone! Now, where did I put Ben Barnes?


I would like to apologise now for the lack of posts in the past two weeks. I went on holiday to Cincinnati in Ohio because a friend there was getting married and I was invited to the wedding. This meant that I didn’t make a post because I was on holiday and then when I came back I went straight back to work so spent the following weekend catching up on my sleep and chores.

However I am happy to say that I had a lovely time in Cinci! I was staying with my lovely friend Meg, who was one of the bridesmaids, and also got to see Ames (maid of honour) and Beth (the bride). I left London while it was in a heatwave and found that Ohio was in one as well. It was a good thing I had packed a pair of shorts with me “just in case” since I would have baked to a crisp in my jeans.

Cincinnati Museum, photo by me.

We went to the Cincinnati History Museum, which was very cool, it’s made out of an old train terminal (we don’t have anything the same size in London as we’re still using all our train terminals). We ended up in the natural history wing where we found Native American artefacts, stuffed animals, and a cave! I’ve never been in a cave in a museum before, it had running water and everything, suddenly I wanted to close down Waterloo and turn it into a museum complete with a very nifty cave!

Ice cream! Photo by Meg.

Ames, Beth and Tim The Groom took me to Skyline for a Cincinnati Three-way, which is chilli on top of spaghetti with grated cheese. The cheese was orange! Cheddar cheese is not meant to be orange! As far as “comfort food” (my uncle described it as such when I told him about it) goes I think the British can do much better, if any of them come to the UK I will be sure to make them a nice toad in the hole to prove what comfort food really is. Thankfully the next day I could forget all about their strange orange cheese because Meg took me to an ice cream place and we had cookie dough ice cream that was AMAZING, even better than Ben & Jerry’s (creamier and less sugar-stuffed).

Me and Liz at the Reception, photo by April Besl.
There was also a bachelorette party (which was fun but ended in true legendary “we won’t talk about it” style) and a rehearsal dinner and before we knew it the wedding day was here! It was a really lovely wedding, and along with only being my second ever wedding it was also the first time I had seen a Catholic mass. The reception was a lot of fun, I haven’t danced so much for quite a long time. Every time I sat down for a breather I was pulled back up to my feet again. I had to have quite a long lie in the next morning. Between the rehearsal dinner, the wedding and the reception I managed to get to know a whole bunch of people, so a big thank you to Cheryl (poppet XD), Manny, Liz, April, Morgan, Kirk (aka "Ames' bloke") and Karl (aka "Ames' brother") for being fantastic company!

It's not traditional for the Beefeaters in London to kill people with spades,
but apparantly it's common in Ohio.

And then on Sunday, the day before I was flying home, Ames took me, Meg, Liz and Liz' husband Brad to a renaissance faire! We don’t have anything like that in the UK that I know of. We spent the entire day there, live music, people in costume, jousting, the whole nine yards and it was completed by perfect weather, it was an excellent day out! Monday was spent sleeping, packing, seeing some parks in Cinci and having one of the BEST burgers I've tasted before Ames dropped me off at the airport and I had to say my goodbyes.

So a big thank you to Meg, Ames and Beth for a fantastic week in the USA! And many congratulations to the bride and groom, Beth and Tim, and here's to many happy years!

The Tudors

I have recently been re-watching the TV series The Tudors. Admittedly it’s riddled with historical inaccuracies but I love the costume and jewellery design. I had a little search on Etsy using the term “Tudor”, and was stunned at some of the super-talented people that have shops there.

 Shakespeare in Love by RomanticThread

This gown is simply gorgeous. The colour catches the eye but it’s the level of detail, especially the beading around the bodice, which really makes this a gown fit for a Lady of the Tudor court!

 Renaissance Nobleman Hunting Outfit by MattiOnline

Because not everyone can wear a dress! From the wonderfully baggy sleeves to the bright red breeches, this makes a wonderful costume for the historically-inclined gentleman.

Tudor Dress Girdle by RecycledRockstah

We all know that the devil is in the details. This girdle means that the details have suddenly become a lot easier! Pearl cabochons and gold filigree really add to the beautifully opulent feel of this piece, a worthwhile addition to any costume.

Henry VIII Costume Set by midnightbreezedesign

And last but certainly not least, if you’ve ever wanted to dress up like a king then this may be the costume for you! This is a full set; hat, breeches, doublet and, mostly importantly, the coat! The use of faux-fur is what draws the whole thing together for me, making this a very regal costume.

I bet you’re now all looking for renaissances fairs in your area!

Have a good weekend!

Autumn Part 2

I have a cold, so today I'm curled up in bed with lots of tissues and lots of tea. But even though I've got the first illness of the season I'm still celebrating the fact that it's autumn!

Glass magnets by TrendyTilesbyTara

The cute designs make these magnets thoroughly adorable. I must admit I never think of an owl as an "autumn" animal but the colours are perfect and make it fit in with the rest of the theme.

Autumn Leaf by TCaponePhoto

Let's face it, this photo sums up autumn perfectly! A fallen leaf in red and orange, is there anything else that could sum up a season so well?

Autumn Fall Colours by accessorarti

I love pearl charm braclets, and this one is so full of the colours of autumn that I had to include it! I especially like the little leaf charms you can see peeking between the pearls.

Autumn Leaves Book and Box by PhoenixFinery

And finally a lovely origami book and a beautiful box. The paper colours suit the theme well and the gold glitter used to embellish the leaves makes them stand out beautifully.

I'm going to go and dose myself up with lots of tea! Have a nice weekend everyone!

Autumn Part 1

Today is the tenth anniversary of the attacks on the Twin Towers. To all Americans, my thoughts are with you. Today is also the 14th birthday of my first sister, Sarah, so if you're reading this Sarah; Happy Birthday.

It’s September and autumn is pretty much here! The conker tree (“horse chestnut” if you want to give it it’s proper name) has had it’s leaves turn brown most of the summer actually because this is England and summer never really kicks off. But still it’s made me go and look for some nice autumn themed items on Etsy.

As it turns out there are quite a lot of nice autumn items on Etsy and I had quite a hard time choosing between them, so this is Autumn Part 1! Part 2 will come next week.

 Stained Glass Panel by DesignsStainedGlass

So I find stained glass pretty anyway, it’s one of the few reasons why I go into churches nowadays. And this is really pretty, the fact that they’ve managed to get the glass into mottled shades is really stunning.

Falling Leaves earrings by whimsydaisydesigns

I think the crystals are what really make these earrings, they bring out the colour of the leaves and make them look properly autumnal.

Autumn tree save the date cards by PrettyWithInkInvites

Perfect for an autumn wedding! I like the fact that two of the leaves are falling off the tree.

 Colourful Acorns by Fairyfolk

These cute felt acorns would definitely give your home a hint of the season without you having to find actual acorns outside and bring them in (difficult if you don’t have any oak trees around you).

Have a nice weekend everyone!


Today it's been nice and sunny outside, and I've remained indoors. I've hoovered, I've written a letter in support of my old Classics department (they're trying to close it down and merge part of it with the history department! To call me miffed would be an understatement), and I've baked fairy cakes.

Given the good weather outside and the fact that summer is now drawing to a close it seems like a nice idea to wave goodbye to the flowers with some pretty floral patterns.

And the really funny thing is while I'm posting about delicate, pretty things I am in reality listening to Slipknot in an attempt to drown out my housemate's RnB choices. He's a nice guy but he has no idea of volume.

Let's Get Cooking by homesweethome23

Vintage Inspired Coasters by BurlapandBlue

Floral purse by Tacitashop

18 inch pillow by iWunderSews

No comments to go with them today  because they're pretty enough!

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Sarah's Picks!

There was no update last week because I completely forgot about it!

This week is slightly different. I asked my teenage sister, Sarah, to pick some things off Etsy for me to feature. She recently had her ears pierced so it seemed like earrings would be a good thing to go with. She's even written her own comments about what she's chosen.

If this goes well, or if I become very lazy, I may ask my other sister Tilly to pick some things as well in the future!

So here we go, Sarah's Picks;

 Earrings - Heart Spots by AmaltheaCPH

I like these earrings because the colours are really nice and they remind me of summer! Also they are very cute ;D

Elegant Leaf by iloniti

These earrings are.....AMAZING!!! I love the how the gold leaves go with those pastel pearls. Very vintage and very pretty. I want them........ !

Emma Earrings by tamar

These earrings are very pretty and very summery <3 I love them!

Little Birds by smallhappinessdesign

I like these earrings because I think those little birds are cute and sweet :] I love those little beads, really nice colour! I'm thinking maybe Spring and Summer earrings ;D

And that's Sarah's Picks! Have a lovely week everyone. Normal service will probably resume next Sunday!

The Walk!

I've just stumbled through the front door with knackered legs and worn out feet, because today I did a five mile walk for the Motor Neurone Disease Association around Bushey Park, near Richmond/Twickenham/Kingston in London.

When I woke up this morning the first thing I did was look out my window. Yesterday it rained a lot so I was praying that it would stay dry, and while it was cloudy that didn't necessarily mean that it would rain. I just had to cross my fingers. My first stop, before getting the bus to Richmond, was to the bakery for breakfast. The original plan was to get cheese straws but I realised that while they're tasty they're not exactly filling. So I also bought a flapjack too.

A flapjack like this by Marmalady, except mine didn't have fruit.

The bus journey was interesting, I've been driving for nearly 7 years now so I'm not used to buses, so the trip consisted of me worrying that I had got on the wrong bus and was going to end up miles away in the wrong direction. When the display showed my stop was next I nearly threw myself out of the door then and there XD

The set off point was the Stockyard Entrance to the park, marked out with blue and orange balloons and a bloke in a blue t-shirt who pointed me to the little tent set up where I could register. I was already wearing the MND t-shirt I was given when I went to cheer at the London Marathon, but they gave me a second one ("this one has extra feet!") and a little two orange feet badge. After that there was nothing to do but stand around and wait for the 11 am kick off. I was on my own and knew absolutely no one, but one of the marshalls wandered over and had a chat with me and explained the route. It started to rain so we all ran under cover, but it quickly cleared up so we all hoped that that would be end of it.

By 11 everyone was ready so we went to the "starting point", the gate to the Park, where a man with a megaphone gave us a few quick details and then we were on our way!

There were quite a few people ahead of me, and my intent was not to stride on ahead like I normally do but to stroll along. Unfortunately I didn't have anyone to talk to and match paces with, and I had Metallica in my ears and some of their music has quite a fast beat, so I slowly but surely began to overtake people until I was well ahead, with only two people in front of me.

The walk was very nice along a path that wound it's way through the park. It's obviously a very popular space, there were lots of cyclists and joggers and a few other walkers as well. The problem with being in front was that I wasn't sure if I was going in the right direction so I occasionally glanced back to see if anyone was following and felt very relieved when I saw the line of other blue shirts, until I ended up going a bit too far ahead and lost sight of them completely but by this time one of the marshalls, who was on a bike, realised just how fast I was walking to he gave me directions for the next section so I knew where I was going.

I spotted a deer like this! (Photo from petekdesign on Etsy)

I eventually caught up with the couple ahead of me when they slowed down to look at some deer that were in the park and talked to them as we walked. And then the rain started, properly. They paused to pull on coats and take cover under a tree but by this point I was in my stride so I carried on walking, even though the rain was rather on the heavy side. It soon stopped but by that point my clothes were quite wet, however I simply bore the damp (I HATE walking in wet jeans) and strolled on regardless, still listening to Metallica who proved to be a very good motivator.

Bushey Park!

And then suddenly the sun came out! And it was at that point that I remembered I had my camera with me so I dug it out of my bag (still walking) and shot my only sunny snap of the day (again, while still walking) as I rounded a corner and found a nice green space. At this point I was starting to slow down as my energy was flagging but I knew I couldn't be too far away from the end. I had been overtaken by two people jogging (jogging five miles!?) but apart from them I was still well ahead. I finally got to the final stretch, which is always the worst part. It was about two thirds of the way up the original path from the main gate but it seemed much, much longer! The end was in sight but it looked like the longest distance in the world!

Me, massively frizzy hair is totally in fashion this season XD

Except obviously it wasn't the longest distance in the world. I walked through the same gate I had started at and wandered back to the tents. The problem with being the first walker to finish (I have no idea where the jogging people went) was that I had no idea where I was going, no crowd to follow, so I stood around like a lemon until someone in yet another blue t-shirt spotted me, asked if I had finished and sent me off to a barn where food had been set out! As soon as the word "tea" was mentioned I nearly collapsed on the floor from relief before getting a sandwich and some sausage rolls.

The next people to arrive were the couple I had spoken to, and then other people began to arrive back and wander in as well. I had a nice conversation with a lady called Kim, who is part of one of the fundraising groups and has now added me to their newsletter and who took the above photo for me, and then I headed home.

In total I've raised £275 for the MND Association! My target was £200 so I'm ecstatic about thoroughly breaking it and owe my sponsors a big, big thank you for contributing on my Justgiving page. This is a charity that is very close to my heart since my Grandad passed away from MND and is always going to be close to my heart, at least until a cure for MND is finally found. It says a lot about this illness that the first two questions I was asked this morning (and several times throughout the day) were "What's your name?" and "Who did you lose to MND?", and those weren't official questions for the registration.

Me and some of my family in Italy in 2005, with my Grandad on the far right!

Have a nice week everyone!

Ham House!

For the first time in a while I managed to get a weekend that was dry and warm, but not excessively hot and humid! To me this is a rarity so I took the opportunity and joined a little social group in their trip to the lovely Ham House.

Ham House is a beautiful red brick building just east of Richmond in Surrey, set near the Thames. It was built in the early 1600's and was owned by Elizabeth Maitland, the countess of Dysart. It stayed in the line of the Earls of Dysart until it was given to the National Trust in 1948. Oh, and it's apparantly haunted but luckily I didn't see any ghosts while I was there.

Obviously, this is the front of Ham House. There's a walk up a paved road to get to the main gates where you pay to go in (or wave your National Trust membership card and get in for free like I did). They don't have a ticket office but they do have a National Trust branded van, where they can also sign up new members if you want to join! Once you get through the gate you're free to wander as you wish, you can go into the house, round the gardens or to the cafe which is in the old orangery. The group I was with decided to go into the house first before going on a short garden tour.

Yes that's me (spot the iPod earphone wire XD) outside the very large front door! This led into the main hall, a lovely big room with a nice tiled floor and various pictures on the walls. There isn't a guided tour, like most NT properties nowadays you just wander as you wish, but we were given a nice mini guidebook which had a suggested route for us to take and gave a bit of information about each room. We got to see some rooms on the first floor and the basement before we returned to the great hall and went back outside.

The main staircase was decorated with beautiful wooden carvings such as this one of a cannon! Unfortunately you can't take photos using a flash and my camera is rubbish in the dark so that's the best picture of several that I took in the place. But the inside of the house really is lovely, my favourite room was the library which was filled with vintage books! The basement was interesting too, although I must say that I think my time at Wimpole Hall spoiled me as some of the basement was on the bare side when compared to that at Wimpole. It was still nice to see though, the best part of these houses is seeing how both sides of the household lived.

And finally we went on a short garden tour. There was a nice "cherry tree orchard", which was missing it's cherry trees because they were removed long before the National Trust took over. At the back of the house were some lovely lawns that then led down to the "wilderness", which is a semi-cultivated space with lots of hedges and tucked away corners for picnics. And there was also a statue of Hermes! Of course, the classical theme is strong in these kinds of places.

Once we were done with our garden tour we had tea and cakes from the cafe and sat outside near the kitchen garden and chatted. It was a really lovely day out, if you're a National Trust member and have to visit Ham House then I thoroughly recommend it!

My next weekend is going to be just as eventful, not only am I working on the Saturday but on the Sunday I'm going to be doing a sponsored walk for the Motor Neurone Disease Association. This is a charity really close to my heart and I've set myself a target of raising £200, you can read more about it at my fundraising page!

Have a lovely week everyone!

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