Coveted: October

I’m making a conscious effort to want less, spend less and make better choices with purchases, but there are just certain things that catch my eye and would look just darling on my feet or on my mantlepiece… I’m trying!!

Below are a couple of beautiful goodies that are making my eyes sparkle so far this month.

 

 

  1. Zara: Striped sweater with round neckline and long sleevesYou know I love a striped knit and for Autumn, I can’t think of a better pairing colour palette than black and camel.
  2. Gucci: Gucci Bloom eau de parfum. I don’t know if it’s because of the gorgeous, Sofia Coppola-esque advert with that hypnotic backdrop of Portishead, or because of the pink, minimalist packaging, or, simply because it smells amazing, but everytime I pop into duty free, this has been my spritz of choice before boarding.  I need to add this to my Christmas list.
  3. Rupi Kaur: The Sun & Her Flowers. If you’re a Pinterest addict, like myself, I’m sure you would have noticed Rupi Kaur’s previous book of poems ‘ Milk and Honey’ pinned to the boards of almost every lit loving female in all the land. I’ve been a fan of poetry since I was a child, but was introduced to Kaur’s adaptions of love, feminism and despair, coupled with her own simplistic illustrations, a few years ago with thanks to Pinterest and Instagram. This second book is long awaited and one that I will have to buy.
  4. H&M: Textured-weave cushion cover. I’m still lusting after the boho, aztec homeware vibe and as  I’m struggling with which cushions to buy at the moment, spotting these on the H&M website came at the right time. I just love the cream and black contrast with the boho fringing.
  5. The People Shop: Glazed black hanging planter. I follow Allison, the co-owner of The People Shop, on Instagram and not only is she a positive, inspiring, down to earth, fellow brummie (well, i’m brummie-ish) but the homeware, beauty and style pieces stocked in her Kings Heath store are the stuff of dreams for any scandi/nordi/boho babe. I want everything. E V E R Y T H I N G. This planter is currently out of stock but I need!
  6. Heavenly Homes & Gardens: ‘Hello’ doormat. Another IG find.  I first discovered Heavenly Homes & Gardens on Instagram one day when I was scrawling through for home inspo and came across Jade’s gorgeous grid filled with faux silk flowers and stunning homeware.  Jade herself is a total babe and stocks some amazingly wonderful goodies. This doormat though…Navy blue and gold polka dot? I mean…Ugh. So pretty.
Advertisements

Soundtrack 1: Before October…

 

As I’ve been spending some much needed downtime at home, I’ve really been enjoying pottering around the house or in the garden, listening to my favourite songs. It’s a favourite pastime of mine and if you know me well, you know I always need music playing.

Live music is even better, and I try and see as many live shows from my favourite artists as often as I can. Last month I was dazzled in Manchester by The National, and my god, did they put on a show. They were insanely good, as were the crowd, but then Manchester always enjoy themselves.


Wolf Alice are one of my favourites and their new album came out on Friday, which I was lucky enough to get signed during a meet and greet in town. It was super cringe standing in the queue with mostly teenage girls and I felt like a teenage fangirl myself, but, hey, my record is signed! And it’s a good bloody album!

I’ve added a couple of my favourites from Wolf Alice’s ‘Visions Of A Life’ and The National’s new record ‘Sleep Well Beast’ to this playlist I wanted to share with you. It contains some new stuff, some old, and some spoken word from the poet Kate Tempest, because she’s doing amazing things lately and i can’t get enough of her.

 

I hope you like it and I hope it gives you inspiration to discover new music.

Also, I’m always looking for recommendations, so if you’d like to share your fave songs at the moment, hit me up.

P.S You can find this playlist on Spotify.

xxx

Paul Simon: Me and Julio down by the schoolyard

The National: Walk it back

Wolf Alice: St. Purple and Green

Charlotte Gainsbourg: Deadly Valentine

Broken Social Scene: Hug of Thunder

Broken Social Scene: Please take me with you

Kate Tempest: Tunnel Vision

Maggie Rogers: On + Off

Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Skeleton

Portishead: The Rip

Martha Wainwright: Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole

Phantogram: When I’m small.

 

 

Rest and Invest

It’s been a year since I last wrote anything here. I guess I just ran out of things to say, or I became too busy, or too self conscious to put my thoughts and the small glimpse of my life out into the public domain.

Maybe I didn’t see the point in keeping this blog anymore as it originally began as a breast cancer blog and I have well and truly finished that chapter and have moved on to life after… But more of that to come in due time.

 

A lot has changed since this time last year. We bought a house, well actually, our offer was accepted and the mortgage was all in place at the beginning of August last year, it just took some time to actually move into the house.

We’ve been kept busy renovating and decorating the house, ripping out kitchens and digging up floors, knocking down bricks and fireplaces and creating a home that is truly ours and reflects our personalities.

We’re only halfway finished… It’s bloody hard work, not too mention expensive, so although I had this grand idea that our home would be complete within four months of moving in, it’s not quite worked out that way! But, it’s okay. It feels like home now and I still walk around the rooms that we have finished and take great pleasure in knowing that this is all ours.

In other news, work has been…extremely engaging. I didn’t want to use the work ‘manic’ which is a word I’m conscious that I throw around often. Maybe if I stop using negative words to describe how busy we are, I won’t feel so anxious about the whole thing. It’s justifiable I suppose, as we’re diversifying the brand in the UK, *and* have set up a company in Barcelona. Yep, as in Spain. As in 1,051.1 miles away from Birmingham.

Myself and my business partner are there every other week at the moment. I’m so over flying. I hate airports. I detest the queue’s and the bag checks and the plastic socks. I love the sunshine though and the mountain views, and the sweetness of the tomatoes.

Due to the packed schedule this year, and due to the fact that I have deprived myself of annual leave that lasts any longer than a week since I got married over four years ago – I am feeling super run down, frazzled and in desperate need of a break.

We’re off to New York next month, but before that, I desperately require some down time, which is exactly what I have planned for the next few weeks.

I haven’t made plans as such, only to allow myself time to embrace the season, take walks, meditate, lose myself in cooking and baking, connect with creativity and really give myself some care. After all, the business and our home are important, but the biggest investment I have is in myself.

 

 

 

To The Mountains And Back

If you’re a regular reader of ALE, you’d have seen that every year, FT and I like to get away to Nant Yr Onnen – a little cabin in the lush Llandovery mountains.

We’ve already been this year – August to be exact, to celebrate FT’s birthday – but we decided that once wasn’t enough – and booked for a second time. This time round, we stayed at the barn, and we didn’t go alone – we decided to share our special sanctuary with my sister Jay and our friend, Glover.

I love this place, and was so excited to share it with Jay and Glover. They both instantly fell in love with it too and vowed to return again in the near future.

Our weekend was spent walking, eating lots and lots of carbs and cheese, midnight rope swing sessions in our swimwear, being left dehydrated from spending too long in the hot tub drinking beers, playing board games and  watching horror films.

I wanted to share a photo diary with you so you could see why I love Nant Yr Onnen so much.

 

 




The One Where We Went To Friendsfest

Last week, FT and I was lucky enough to spend the evening at Friendsfest in the grounds of Oxford’s Blenheim Palace.

We’re both massive Friends fans, and like a lot of people, still love a good Friends quote – I mean, do they ever get old? No. No, they don’t.

FT and I would religiously watch Friends in my bedroom on Friday nights when we were sixteen but unfortunately, didn’t get to watch the finale together because WE WERE ON A BREAK!  True story. Anyway…

We’ve watched the re-runs together ever since.If they’re on the television, you just have to watch them. I don’t know what it is that keeps me loving it, but I still do, and probably always will.

When I heard about Friendsfest last year, it was too late, and all of the tickets were sold out. Absolutely gutted. So, when I learned it was happening this year, I put a reminder in my phone for the day the tickets went on sale and was fortunate enough to grab my first choice location and timeslot. OH. MY. GOD!

Highlights included Central Perk and the Smelly Cat Karaoke. Burgers and fries at Monica’s Moondance diner, here come the meat sweats, and of course, Monica’s apartment. It was a surreal experience walking around the set, and it seemed smaller than what it looks like on tv, although just as colourful and gorgeous!







The staff were brilliant too, everyone so happy and cheery, but what I really liked, was that there was always someone there willing to take your camera and get a picture of you, so you didn’t even need to take selfies! The staff were the selfie takers! Brilliant!!

 

If you’re a Friends fiend and Comedy Central do Friendsfest again next year, I highly recommend you go.

And, Just Like That, Summer Fell Into Fall

Or Autumn, should I say, you know, being British and all.

So, last night was the first night in months that I had slept without the fan on, and when I woke this morning, I’m regretful to say that I was actually a bit chilly.

Autumn is around the corner, and as much as I love it and am looking forward to wearing boots and coats and crunching leaves with each step I take,  I’m actually quite sad to see the end of Summer.

This year has been jam packed and fun filled, and I wanted to share some of my adventures with you as I’ve not really been keeping up to date on the blog due to a super busy schedule this year, and to be totally honest, a bit of writers block too.

 

There are far too many pictures to share so I’ve made a collage to save you scrolling with the homies.

My Summer started off quite creatively, with me attending a food photography course in Dulwich with Makelight and Borrowed Light. My friend Christina is a teacher/baker extraordinaire, and suggested I take a look at the Makelight Facebook page for inspiration as we had both agreed that I should take the next set of photographs for her Cakes By Chrissie website.
It was a great day and I learned so much about styling; turning a boring food pic into something quite beautiful, and about finding the right light in which to take the photographs.

An added bonus was meeting new friends who shared the same interests as I did, you see, FT thinks that it can get a bit tiresome when he’s waiting for me to take the perfect picture of our pancakes before he can eat it. He just doesn’t get it!

Emily Quinton, the amazing lady behind Makelight, and Catherine Frawley of Borrowed Light were the perfect teachers – always patient, on hand with lots of thoughtful advice and more importantly, they gave us freedom to create our own designs with whatever we could find in the workshop – and let me tell ya, I WANT that workshop. Ah, that light.

I met some great ladies on the course, some very talented bakers, bloggers and deli owners, who all took amazing photographs and were kick ass inspirational girl bosses.

We keep in touch via Instagram, mainly,  it’s great to keep in touch and see what gorgeous captures they’ve created. I’m hoping we’ll get the chance to meet again on another Makelight course, or something as equally creative, because creative magic is my new jam. Work is so stressful and hard, it’s a relief to find solace in the beauty of creation. You have to find that balance.

PS-I’ve not managed to take the photographs for Christina’s website yet, but will let you know when I do!

I did a quick trip to Milan and Turin as I’m in the middle of setting up a second business in Italy (humblebrag) and I only managed to catch a few hours to myself as it was all work. What I saw of the city was breathtaking though and I’m sure I’ll be returning more often than not over the next few months, so I’m confident that I’ll get to discover more of the city.

FT and I managed to steal a weekend away at the cabin, but you guys have read the post on that I bet, so I’m not going to bore you with the details again. BUT I’m excited to say that we’ll be back there in a few weeks with my sister and our good friend, G Dawg. I just can’t stay away – I just love the outdoors and want to share our special place.

502bc6ef-cb7a-4117-a4ae-549a1319b9ae

 
Myself, FT and G Dawg spent the last bank holiday weekend of the year in Brighton. It was my first ever visit, in fact, it was the first visit for all three of us – so we ran around town like excitable puppies, wowed by everything Brighton had to offer.

We were fortunate enough to have gorgeous weather on the Saturday; it was absolutely boiling, so we took full advantage and spent the day on the beach, chatting, napping and drinking beer, before going into town for the night and making friends with the locals.

 
I’m sure you don’t want to hear about New York and Boston again…So, I’ll shut up now.

 

There have been romantic walks, picnics, forest days, Goonie nights out, family get togethers, BBQ’s, girly lunches AND my third Rocky Horror Picture Show experience, but the best day of the Summer for me was a few weeks ago, when I got scan results and was told I was cancer free for a second year running. Unless you’ve been through it, you’ll have no idea what those days/weeks feel like, leading up to the scan and waiting for the results.

It’s like the world stops whilst you basically wait to see if the cancer has returned. Getting the all clear is like winning the lottery, and you feel like you have another chance at life again – until a few weeks before next years scan, when you go back into depression and panic mode…

It’s getting easier – but it will always be a constant fear. I’m just learning how to manage it.

New York trips, visiting new cities, opening a second business… My scan results top all of that, and although I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to do the things that I do, I will be eternally grateful for my renewed health and am thankful every day.

So, thanks Summer 2016. You’ve been a beaut. Autumn – what you got for me? I’m ready.