Early prep for Christmas 2017

Monday, 16 October 2017

Hi!

Some may think it's too early to start talking about Christmas, but for Christmas fanatics like myself it's perfect timing. I'm a proper Halloween Scrooge, so I tend to skip Halloween altogether and spend most of October getting hyped about shopping for presents and what new decorations I can buy to adorn the house with.

So if you're like me and you're prepping for Christmas already, keep reading!

Right, let's get cracking...

1. Planning & organising:

I know some of you may be dreading Christmas already (bah, humbug), but planning early means you can avoid last-minute rushing and unnecessary stress. If you know you're a bit of a scatterbrain this time of year and you have a lot on your plate, consider getting an organiser to keep on top of your shopping and food planning.



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2. Early bird Christmas deals:

Stores already have plenty of Christmas deals online and in store. Marks & Spencer has 3 for 2 on decorations and gifts, Matalan has 3 for 2 on cards, gift wrap and bags, Boots have 3 for 2 mix and match on gifts, and WHSmith has 3 for 2 on boxed Christmas cards. Stock up now before this stuff goes full price...



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3. Events & activities:

Who doesn't like to get out and about over the Christmas period and see some festive sights? Light switch-ons, festive house tours, ice skating, carol services, winter weekend breaks, sledding... the list goes on...

Christmas at Lanhydrock, Cornwall - National Trust

You can search the English Heritage website for events taking place near you over the Christmas period. National Trust, too

Center Parcs

TimeOut has their Christmas in London 2017 guide up.

Consider a weekend break at Center Parcs over Christmas or New Year, there's loads of activities and entertainment on for the kids.


Go ice skating at Yorkshire's Winter Wonderland (above) from the 18th of November.

If there's any days out, events, or shows you want to attend, make sure to mark them down on your calendar now and book those tickets (if they're available) to avoid disappointment. If you want to find out more about what's going on in your area over Christmas, simply Google ‘Christmas events in [insert your county or town]' and you'll soon find something that tickles your fancy.

Hope this was helpful to some of you! I'll probably have more Christmas posts for you guys in November.


Kate

Lovely quotes / 10

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Lovely quotes 10 is here. Enjoy!


“Here’s to October…frost-kissed apples; the wild-as-the-wind smell of hickory nuts, and the nostalgic whiff of that first wood smoke.”
— Ken Weber

“You would think the year was resting too, its work done. And I whispered to myself that I too would begin to rest.”
— C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces

“We are mosaics. Pieces of light, love, history, stars. Glued together with magic and music and words.”
— Anita Krizzan

“October, crisp, misty, golden October, when the light is sweet and heavy.”
— Angela Carter, The Magic Toyshop


“I like it when it rains hard. It sounds like white noise everywhere, which is like silence but not empty.”
— Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

“Even a small star shines in the darkness.”
— Danish Proverb

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
— Albert Camus


Kate

Showcase: relaxing candles

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Autumn - it's cold, it's dark, it's dull... it's time to break out the beloved candles. I know some people burn candles all year round but I tend to dig them all out in September and have them lit non-stop until the warm weather comes back around in May.

Candles to me mark the beginning of the end of the year when it starts getting dark at 3pm and you spend most of your spare time cosied up in bed watching movies with a mug of something hot on the bedside table.

So here I am with a big ol' candle showcase. If you don't have any candles yet, this is the perfect post for you, and even if you already have a ton of candles, there's no harm in adding more to your collection, wink wink. Happy shopping!












Kate

Lilac sunsets & peeping pups

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Hi!


I love sunsets in autumn. I like the red and orange ones the most, but purple's good too.

Very happy October is finally here and I can be excited for Christmas without being judged too much. It's officially acceptable now anyway because Wilko has their Christmas range in and that marks the beginning of the festive season. Sorry, them's the rules. 🎅🏻 

I really dislike Halloween, sorry not sorry. Halloween also isn't that big of a deal in England, so it's not that weird to not celebrate it. I only like Halloween for when all the chocolate and sweets get discounted the following day (because I'm greedy and I like a bargain).

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In other news, this is one of my favourite sights ever:


Every time we're round at my brother's house and go to leave, the dog legs it upstairs, jumps onto a pouffe in the spare bedroom and stares us down as we walk to the car. He looks so gutted we're going but at the same time I have to laugh. He's got such a cute resting sad face (I think it's a Staffie thing).

Also when he wags his tail and his entire body shakes it makes me so happy. He's just a giant waggy puppy and I love him.

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And lastly, I'm in the process of trialling some bath products I was lucky enough to be sent. A review should be up in the next couple of weeks, but so far so good! Here's a sneak peak:


Pink! And lots of it! This one smelled like vanilla and berries. Yum.

Hope you're having a good week.


Kate

Recent bargain book finds

Friday, 29 September 2017


Hi!

Hadn't bought a non-fiction book in ages and then suddenly I pick up three in the space of a week, like you do.

I found these beauties in TK Maxx and The Works; I've bought many a bargain from The Works (I have a huge hardback collection of Shakespeare's works that I bought for an astounding £5) and TK Maxx's selection changes so often you never know what you'll find from one visit to the other. It's a real treasure trove.

I just love finding gems like these with a good amount of £££ knocked off because I can be a bit stingy sometimes. Bargains make me haaaaaappy. So I'm kicking this post off with...


L'art de la Simplicité: How to Live More With Less by Dominique Loreau - £2.00, The Works (out of stock, sorry!) - buy here and here.

This book is one of those I first spotted floating around the blogosphere when the whole Marie Kondo-minimalism-decluttering lifestyle emerged. I had it on my shopping list for ages but it eventually dropped off at some point (I don't quite remember when or why), probably because I already had so many books about the same topic. That's still the case, but I still had to buy this book when I saw it at two whole pounds in The Works. Really pleased too because what I've read so far has been rather interesting.


The Luxe Life: Everyday Luxuries for Lovers of Beauty, Fashion & Food by Fleur de Force - £8.99, TK Maxx (not online!) - buy here and here.

I don't actually keep up with Fleur de Force's blog, but I've heard her name before and heard she'd brought out this book. It wasn't something I was eager to get straight away, but I knew I'd quite like to have a look through it at some point to see if it was my cup of tea. I spotted it hiding in between some cookery books in TK Maxx and I felt compelled to buy it. It's essentially a glamorous do-all guide, which I can appreciate. It has loads of useful tips and tricks which are easy to absorb - it's not an overly wordy book, it's very easy to flick to a subject (hair, clothes, beauty, home, wedding, food etc.) and read little snippets.


Happy: Finding joy in every day and letting go of perfect by Fearne Cotton - £8.00, The Works - also buy here and here.

I first saw this book in WHSmith and thought it looked like something I'd enjoy. I never bought it because I was trying to save money at the time, and then after a few weeks I'd forgotten about it, but when I saw it in The Works recently I figured it was about time I bought it - its colourful illustrations and wide mixture of content (recipes, advice, activities, stories etc.) appeals to me, and I reckon it will be one of those books you can sit down and get cosy with when you're not feeling 100%.

I've added shopping links for each book if you fancy purchasing them yourself. If you want in-depth reviews, I suggest looking them up on Goodreads.

That's all, folks. Hope you have a fab weekend!


Kate

Creative writing prompts / 1

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Hi! 

Here's a big old creative writing prompt dump. The first of many.

New to writing prompts? Lemme steal a definition off the internet for you...
A writing prompt is simply a topic around which you start jotting down ideas. The prompt could be a single word, a short phrase, a complete paragraph or even a picture, with the idea being to give you something to focus upon as you write. You may stick very closely to the original prompt or you may wander off at a tangent.
— Simon Kewin, Writing Prompts 101
Enjoy! Want more? I'd highly recommend RedditVivatramp, and writingprompts.tumblr.com.

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

1. A raging sea
2. A dripping tap
3. A sunflower field
4. A lone deer
5. A disastrous wedding

A distant scream 6.
A medical examination 7.
A cup of tea 8.
A lost cat 9.
A red-haired woman 10.

Photo by Laura Gariglio on Unsplash

11. A midnight phone call
12. An abandoned toy shop
13. A torn-up photograph
14. A full moon
15. An allergic reaction

A vintage car 16.
An old school friend 17.
A quiet pub 18.
A box of chocolates 19.
A silk nightdress 20.

Photo by Corey Blaz on Unsplash

21. A snow storm
22. A secret diary
23. A football game
24. A frozen pond
25. A bloodied t-shirt

A cheap gold ring 26.
A flock of birds 27.
A baby’s bottle 28.
A pumpkin patch 29.
A graduation ceremony 30.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

31. A litter of kittens
32. A stolen bicycle
33. A false accusation
34. An underground tunnel
35. A password-protected phone

A second-hand armchair 36.
A creased shirt 37.
A run-down country mansion 38.
A fishing net 39.
A cold shower 40.

Photo by Massimiliano Latella on Unsplash

41. A palm reading
42. A complicated lie
43. A glossy magazine
44. A plaid skirt
45. An unfamiliar scent

An angry bee hive 46.
A frosty morning 47.
A busted nose 48.
A broken violin 49.
A nervous date 50.


Harbours & beach-combing in Norfolk

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Hi!

I came back from North Norfolk on Thursday morning after spending a few wonderful days with my dad. I love going to Cromer and being by the sea, I live nowhere near the coast so I get really excited to have it on my doorstep for a couple of days.

On Tuesday morning we took a drive into Wells-Next-the-Sea, about 20 miles west of Cromer. Lovely little place with a quiet harbour and plenty of beached boats to photograph.


After spending some time hanging around the harbour, we drove up to Wells beach. At the top of Beach Road near the car park and cafe there's a Joules of all things(!)

Didn't get close enough for a proper snap of the beach huts, but you can see them lining the beach in all their rainbow glory below. They're quite a famous sight around NN.

Prints & illustrations by Esther Sandler

Friday, 22 September 2017

A few days ago I stumbled across Australian textile designer Esther Sandler's Etsy page while scouring the site for a floral illustration and fell head first in love with her fun, bold hand-drawn designs that are completely unique to anything I've seen before. Her textile work is incredible and each item is a pure work of art. I love the colour combinations she puts together, especially in the Togetherness Design Summer '14 range which you can view in all its dazzling geometric glory here.

You can shop some of Esther's work on her Etsy, and browse her website here.

Brb, heading to Norfolk

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Hi!


I'm going to Norfolk/Cromer tomorrow to spend a few days with my dad. I will make sure to take loads of pictures to post when I get back (which will most likely be Thursday) but the blog will be a bit quiet until then, sorry for that.

I'll be Tweeting as usual if you want to keep up with what I'll be up to. Hope you guys have a great week.


Kate

Autumnal homeware 2017

Wednesday, 13 September 2017



Back again with another homeware post, as if you haven't seen enough of them on my blog recently (whoopsie). 

I did a post like this last autumn and I really enjoyed it so I decided to do one again this year. I just really like autumn and homeware, OK? Put the two together and bam, I'm in heaven. Sorry if you're not feeling autumnal yet (I know many of you are still clinging to summer) because I haven't shut up about it since September began, but y'know... I like cold weather and being cosy. I'm done sweating cobs in a vest and shorts, thanks.

Anyway, I like the mish-mash of stuff here. Bit of modern, bit of traditional, bit of gold, bit of silver, and lots of rich, seasonal colours. The green velvet and dark wood tones work really well here, they'd fit seamlessly into an industrial space or a modern home looking to add a touch of cosiness during the cooler seasons.

Hope you enjoy my autumn homeware picks, let me know what you like best!


Kate

Ah, September!

Thursday, 7 September 2017

A gorgeous pink rose I shot last autumn in the park next to my work.

Hi!
Ah, September! You are the doorway to the season that awakens my soul...
— Peggy Toney Horton
Thought I'd start this blog post off with an autumnal quote, because why not? It's September after all.

So, I'm having a bit of a naff week so far (boooo). I don't feel inspired or particularly energised lately, and honestly I've much preferred lounging in bed, watching Come Dine With Me repeats, and feeling sorry for myself than sitting at my computer wracking my brain for blog ideas, so I'm sorry for the lack of posts!

I'm not in a brilliant headspace at the moment, so I'd rather just take time away and let the ideas come when they come instead of trying to force them.

Aside from being a massive Debbie downer this week, I have managed to do some writing. I've started a brand new story which is going pretty well so far (I know, I'm just as shocked as you are). I've put my beloved medieval fantasy tale on the back burner for now while I focus on something completely different to kick my uncreative brain into gear. It's working! (I think!) I'm enjoying writing in the present day rather than the fictional medieval times. It's easier, and I like easy sometimes. I was planning on publishing some of this new story to my FictionPress account, but I'm not 100% sure yet. Keep your eyes peeled though (I'll Tweet the link if I ever get round to posting it). 👀

Little duck pond littered with leaves. My favourite place to be this time of year.

TV wise - still loving Bake Off a lot. Also loving the new series of Rick and Morty. Not everyone's cup of tea I understand, but if you like the idea of watching a foul-mouthed grandpa with a god complex taking his awkward teenage grandson on adventures to weird alien worlds (kind of like a cartoon R-rated Doctor Who) then Rick & Morty is the show for you. I would recommend it to everyone (if you're over 15).

P.S. I contacted a free local counselling service earlier this week and may be booking an appointment soon. I've come to accept that maybe CBT isn't a load of rubbish and I should give it a go. Lol.

P.P.S. I recently rediscovered the Scott Pilgrim soundtrack and now I need it to be autumn. Like, now. Literally this minute. I need crunchy brown leaves and woolly scarves round my neck this instant.

Hope you have a great weekend!!


Kate

Dog walks & Amazon deliveries

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Lovely little flutterby posing on the flowers this morning.

Hi!

My brother and I took his dog for a walk this morning - a lovely route neither of us had ever been on which takes you through a huge pit wood with some pretty good views from the pit top. Doggo was so happy to run free through the long grass and even met some other dogs who were so playful and lovely. 

Because my brother's dog is a rescue and arrived at the shelter with little to no information about his background, we've always been careful not to let him get too close to other dogs on his walks just to be safe, but this time he was perfectly fine. He wasn't nervous or defensive like he has been in the past. He's improved loads. I think it helps when the other dogs are calm and friendly too - doggo met an overexcited puppy earlier this year and didn't rate it much. I think it scared him. 😂 I'm so happy he's finally getting more comfortable around other dogs. One licked his eye the other day, I think he liked it.

So yeah, do love a good dog walk. Especially when the sun is shining and you've got the cutest pupper by your side.

In other news, I received a rather exciting parcel yesterday from Amazon. I ordered a new hairdryer, new straighteners, and some heat protection spray a few days ago because I am on a mission to improve the condition of my hair (I want glorious shiny locks and I will not give up until I have them). I recently changed my shampoo and conditioner (both are excellent, 5/5) so it was about time I upgraded my tired old hair styling tools too (which were kinda on their way out anyway). I got some KIPOZI straighteners (these are TREMENDOUS) and a JINRI hairdyer (yet to test), both with pretty impressive 5 star reviews and both affordable.

One more thing before I finish up - that Game of Thrones finale?! GoT viewers, feel free to hit me up on Twitter. I'm always open to a good Thrones ramble. I'm still thinking about it and it's been almost a week.

Hope you guys have a wonderful weekend!


Kate

Autumn wardrobe 2017

Monday, 28 August 2017


5th row: Vagabond Grace black Chelsea ankle boots from Urban Outfitters | Khaki oversized wool scarf from & Other Stories | Grey marl pure cashmere jumper dress from La Redoute

When I started putting this post together I thought "it's not too premature, is it?" and yes, although it is still August and still technically summer, shops in store and online are already filling up with autumnal clothes and getting ready for the cold to hit, so I thought now would be a good time to put all my favourite autumn 'new in' products in one easy-to-shop place.

So here are my autumn choices - very much in love with the blue denim, khaki and neutral tones in this year's picks. Never been a huge fan of khaki but I do like it in small doses. I also added a dash of burgundy and a sprinkling of mustard to this collection because to me, no autumn wardrobe is complete without those classic autumn colours (which I love year after year).

Have fun shopping!


Kate

A life update in verbs / 4

Sunday, 27 August 2017

The view from my bedroom window - caught the birdies hovering around the garden (probably dropping hints that we need to fill up our bird feeders)

It's been a while, huh?

WatchingGame of Thrones s7 (of course), House of Cards s5Rick and Morty s3, and soon Bake-off! Very excited for that.

Reading: I've got a nifty little Goodreads gadget in my sidebar now so you can see what books I'm currently reading (yes, I'm the slowest reader on earth, tell me something I don't know). Feel free to add me as a friend on Goodreads!

Eating: A lot of custard donuts, strawberry shortcake Müller Corners, and Seabrook cheese and onion crinkle cut crisps. So healthy, I know. It's been that kind of month.

Drinking: Arla Lactofree chocolate milk. It is heavenly. I used to be obsessed with Cocio chocolate milk but they stopped stocking it in all my local supermarkets. They have it online (Waitrose, Sainsbury's) but I never see it in store. Turns out Arla bought Cocio in 2008 which might explain why their Lactofree chocolate milk tastes identical to Cocio. I'm so happy I've finally found something to replace Cocio because I was getting major withdrawal symptoms. 

Loving: The lowkey Autumn vibes we're getting here in the UK. I don't think England's done with its heatwaves yet (unfortunately), but I've woken up to many a crisp, misty morning already this month. I'm even getting a bit giddy about Christmas. I don't think my Autumn and Winter & Christmas boards on Pinterest are helping the situation. I'm just so over summer - the UK had its summer months ago and I was on the verge of breaking out a jumper the other day when I learned we were having more heat hit us next week. Boo, hiss.

Feeling: Relieved now the bank holiday weekend is here! Going to spend two days off with my family, maybe do some gardening, and I'll try and do some blogging too since I've been a bit awol recently. Been feeling very uninspired, plus I've been busy at work so I've not really had the energy or motivation to sit at my laptop. I tend to get home and flop straight into bed.

Thinking: About my future. Bleugh, I hate it but it has to be done sometimes. As much as I like to wing it and go with the flow, I'd also like to have some sort of loose "plan" so I don't reach 30 and have another life crisis. Thing is, I have no idea what to do with my life. Super helpful! Someone wanna decide what I should do with my life so I don't have to? Cool, thanks. 🙈

Hope you guys have had a good week. Weather's not been too shabby recently, has it? Hope it sticks around for the weekend.

P.S. Might have a DIY post up for you guys this week. Fingers crossed.



Kate

Lovely quotes / 9

Monday, 21 August 2017


“A thousand little winds pass through me this morning, fragrant with forest leaves and bright autumnal berries.”
— Emily Dickinson, from a letter to Austin Dickinson written c. October 1851

“I think the only way we can grow and get on in this world is to accept the fact we’re not perfect and live accordingly.”
— Ray Bradbury, The Illustrated Man

“August rain: the best of the summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time.”
— Sylvia Plath

“The sea: I didn’t lose myself in it; I found myself in it.”
— Albert Camus, Notebooks (1942-1951)


“We forgot crowns do nothing for kings but put weight on their heads and a target on their backs.”
— Loyce Gayo, How We Forget


“Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.”
— George Orwell, 1984

“Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely.”
— Edna St. Vincent Millay


Kate
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