Saturday, 18 May 2013

A little splurge

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1) Mint Nail polish - just because it's spring!

2) Books - for inspiration and because you simply can't have too many. I'm really into mail art at the moment and also taking a map class on Skillshare. Are you currently learning anything new?

3) Studs - these are from the fun independent shop Lovely Pidgeon.

4) Black skinnies - because everyone needs a pair.

5) New make-up brushes - love them.

6) Soppy - a sweet comic from Philippa Rice and a bargain at only £4. Unfortunately, the quality of the print isn't the best and the ink comes of the pages when you touch them. It's a little annoying, but glueing transparent adhesive sheets over the cover should take care of the staining.

What have you treated yourself to lately?

Friday, 26 April 2013

A poem for the weekend

I wandered lonely as a cloud by William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
and twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
in such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
what wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013


I spent a long weekend in Dublin back in February, exploring the city's hangouts and secret eateries with a colleague who had lived there for a while. (Aren’t local guides the best?!) We walked around a lot, ate a lot - there was so much great food around, I was in heaven (check out that burrito below!) and saw 'King Lear' performed at the Abbey Theatre.


An absolute highlight of the trip was a visit to the Chester Beatty Museum – the most incredible treasure trove for book lovers. The permanent collection includes pages from the first Bibles and Korans, books made from jade and papyrus, illuminated manuscripts, prints, scrolls, drawings, calligraphy and much more. Afterwards, I went to see the Book of Kells and the Old Library at Trinity College - it was a very geeky book day!

I hadn't particularly enjoyed Dublin in the past and I think it's because it’s one of those places that you need more time to explore and get to know properly. I had been to Ireland before; most recently in the fall of last year (you can read about the trip here), but I had never spent more than a day at a time in its capital. I’m definitely a convert after this trip!

Have you been to Dublin? What are your favourite spots in the city?
In case you’re planning a trip – have a look at this fabulous city guide on Design Sponge.

Monday, 11 March 2013

LetterMo roundup

I already posted about LetterMo here, talking about some of the pen pal initiatives I tried out during February. Now that the project is over, I thought it would be interesting to look back and do a roundup of my Month of Letters.
I managed to write every single day sending out 28 pieces of mail in total. I enjoyed the project a lot and it definitely made my day when I received another letter in the mail! It was also fun to dedicate a certain time of the day to writing and crafting and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting so many fellow mail enthusiasts. I'm still  receiving a lot of international mail which I'm busy answering, but to be honest, I'm also excited to dedicate more time to other activities again.
Here are the stats for my Month of Letters:

  • Family: 4
  • Friends: 4
  • Strangers: 20
  • Cards: 3
  • Letters: 11
  • Parcels: 1
  • Postcards: 13
  • Czech Republic: 1
  • Chile: 1
  • Finland: 1
  • Germany: 5
  • Italy: 1
  • Malta: 1
  • Netherlands: 1
  • Russia: 3
  • Taiwan: 1
  • UK: 2
  • USA: 11
TOTAL COST: £ 29.42

Please tell me about your experience with LetterMo if you took part! Did you enjoy it? How many pieces of mail did you send and receive? Are you planning to take part again next year?

Friday, 8 March 2013

A poem for the weekend

The time I like best by Roger McGough

The time I like best is 6am
when the snow is 6 inches deep
which I'm yet to discover
'cause I'm under the covers
fast, fast asleep.
My house is beautiful all year round, but its's especially magical in the snow.

Monday, 4 March 2013

March - A little splurge

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I never spend money on myself. Ever. February however was different. I went on a little splurge and didn't feel bad about it one bit!

1. I recently lost my favourite pair of earrings and was in dire need of a replacement. Can you believe I actually never purchased anything of Etsy before? I've been wanting to support independent crafters more for a while now and thought this would be the perfect occasion to buy something that was (hand-)made in the UK, affordable and unique. I eventually stumbled upon Tanya's shop TheMustardTree. Check it out, her stuff is lovely!
2. A few skeins of yarn for some long planned knitting. I'll be taking part in Alycia's crochet along on The Curious Pug. We'll be making a cute knotted headband. Why not join in too?
3. My first ever visit to Bravissimo changed my life. If you've never gotten a bra fitted, go and make an appointment now! An estimated 80% of women wear the wrong bra size and I used to be one of them. Now getting a fitting to me is like getting a haircut. Do it regularly, because your body changes throughout the month and the year! Believe me, it makes all the difference!
4. A lot of creams and lotions for my poor skin to help it cope with the wind, rain and central heating. I'm so ready for spring, hello March!

What have you treated yourself to lately?

Friday, 1 March 2013

A poem for the weekend

Horses moving on the snow by David Whyte

In winter
through the damp grass
around the house
there are horses moving
on the snow

in the half-light
they move quickly

following the fence
until the mist takes them

and evening
is the hollow sound of hooves
in the south field.
Picture by Charles Dawley

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

A Month of Letters

I know February isn't quite over yet, but I thought I'd give you an update on how I've been faring in the A Month of Letters challenge. I'll do a proper round-up post in a couple of days, but I really wanted to share some pictures and thoughts about the project now. Guys, it's been so so much fun! And I'm proud to report, that so far, I've sent a letter or card every day of the month!

When I first decided to take part in LetterMo, I printed off a calendar and highlighted all upcoming birthdays and holidays (Valentine's!). Then, I made a list of people I wanted to write to and soon realised that I needed to find some more in order to be able to send a piece of mail every day. I had a few pen pal projects in mind that I'd been wanting to try out for a while and I thought I'd tell you a bit more about them:

First up: Postcrossing. I've written about this postcard exchange project before here. With almost 400 000 members, it's probably the biggest pen pal site out there and it's free! I'm a big fan, because you can write as many cards as you want at any one time and for every card written you'll always receive one in return!

Next, I became a member of the Letter Writers Alliance which is an organisation dedicated to encouraging and promoting letter writing. They charge a tiny membership fee, but you become a member for life and can benefit from their free pen pal swap service. They also have a blog where you can download stationery and stay up-to-date with letter writing events.

Swap-bot is a platform for all kinds of swaps. It's popular with both collectors and crafters alike and I promise - whatever you're into - there will be a swap for you there. I initially checked out the site because they had an address swap for LetterMo participants, but seriously, I'm hooked! I've taken part in three swaps already and love the fact that you get in touch with people who have the same interests as you - and because you get rated - people put a lot of effort into the swaps.

Last, but not least, the Postcard Happiness Project which was initiated by Tatjana Buisson, who also invented the Postick, an adhesive label which you can stick on almost anything to transform it into a postcard (I think it's genious!) But anyway, every month, Tatjana posts a profile and address on the PHP website of someone who is going through a rough time and could do with a postcard to cheer them up. Isn't that sweet?

How about you? Did you participate in LetterMo? If yes, how has it been for you so far? Did you try out anything new for the challenge?

If you are interested you can follow along, or check out other people's mail on twitter (@lettermo)

Friday, 22 February 2013

A poem for the weekend

Porridge by Spike Milligan

Where is the monument
To Porridge in our land?
If it's good enough to eat,
It's good enough to stand!

On a plinth in London
A statue we should see
Of Porridge made in Scotland
Signed, "Oatmeal, O.B.E"
(By a young dog of three).
Porridge Pot Alley can be found in Guildford, UK

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Books of 2012

Do you remember my 4 goals challenge? I actually managed to read all the four books I wanted to read before the end of 2013. They were:

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
A Little History of the World by E.H. Gombrich
Blogging for Creatives by Robin Houghton
Hearts and Minds by Amanda Craig

You can read my feedback on the first three books here. This is what I thought about Amanda Craig's 'Hearts and Minds':

Some books are so good you never want them to end and this was definitely one of those books for me. It tells the story of various people living in London: An Australian expat, a divorced Mum, an illegal immigrant, a young Ukrainian sex worker - not the kind of people who usually star in a story set in the glamorous British capital. In fact it's quite a dark account of what live in London can be like for the less fortunate and how immigration shapes modern day Britain. The book asks the question of what we owe each other and I liked that although dark, it has an optimistic ending.

I read quite a few more books over Christmas - my Mum works in printing, so our house in Germany is stacked with books. However, none of them was particularly spectacular. I did end 2012 with a bang though when I read The Hunger Games trilogy! Have you read the books or seen the film? I think they were tremendous!

These were my top 5 reads of 2012:

A Short History of the World
The Help
The Hunger Games Trilogy
Winter's Bones

What were yours and what are you reading at the moment?

Monday, 28 January 2013

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Planning for spring and brighter days

I didn't have such a great end to 2012 and decided to take a little break from blogging. I'm also not a huge fan of January and February - Christmas has gone and spring still seems miles away. Plus they are particularly grey months here in England, so it can be hard sometimes not to feel gloomy.
Melissa from Bubby and Bean wrote a great post a couple of weeks ago about 'Creating positivity (Why the New Year isn't always easy)' that really resonated with me and I made a point of planning a few things to look forward to. I will be travelling to Ireland and France this spring with my students which I'm excited about and I also want to take part in the A Month of Letters project this February, with the aim of writing one letter, or card per day. Why not join in, or let me have your address and I'll defintely write to you!
But how about you? How do keep positive during the winter months? Do you have any exciting plans for this spring?