10 Summer Pastimes

24/07/2015

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Have you seen the horizon lately?
It's the time for long hazy days, warm sunshine, packing for the holidays, ice cold drinks, sun cream, freckles, pretty dresses, sandles, crisp blue skies and the smell of cut grass. I adore the summer, and here are a few things I'll be doing to celebrate the season.

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The rolling hills of beautiful Britain

1. A picnic with a view 

I love packing up a basket of treats and heading out for a lazy afternoon. There’s nothing quite like relaxing outdoors with good food and good company. My favourite places to open my picnic blanket are under a large shady tree or by the river. Guess what I’ll be doing this weekend, weather permitting!

2. Go on a bike ride 

I'm the first to admit I don’t do this often enough, which is strange because Oxford is famous for bikes. But when I do dust off my bike I love to ride along the river, stopping at the country pubs along the way. This year I’d like to explore a little further afield, perhaps taking in some of the scenic country paths.

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A macaron and an iced tea with Jeska of Lobster and Swan

3. Meet some new people 

The longer days and lighter evenings make socialising a delight, so why not meet up with a few kindred spirits where you live. I recently organised an Oxford Instameet which was brilliant fun and utterly inspiring.

4. Head to the seaside 

It wouldn’t feel like summer without a day or two by the coast. The sea breeze, crashing waves and sense of space are good for the soul.

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I do like to be beside the seaside

5. Something new for my wardrobe

When the weather changes I like to treat myself to something new (hello marvellous espadrilles!). Just one or two items can make my entire wardrobe feel exciting again. And it's fun to experiment with colours and styles I haven't tried before.

6. Switch off and get outside

There's no excuse to be sat in front of a screen when the outdoors is calling. So perhaps take an afternoon, or an entire weekend, to switch off and recharge. If this is not something you do, you'll be amazed at the difference it makes. And trust me, you won't miss anything!

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Drinks al fresco with Alex of Aesme

7. Hold a garden party 

Summer is the time for relaxed outdoor living, so make sure you keep your diary clear for all those seasonal invitations. Just don't forget your suncream!

8. Have an ice cream 

When was the last time you enjoyed an ice cream? If you prefer strawberry, mint choc chip or even salted caramel there’s no better way to celebrate the summer.

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Ice cream anyone?

9. Try a new beauty routine 

Whether it’s a new perfume or lipstick, it’s nice to try something new. This season I've been enjoying Jo Malone’s Peony and Blush Suede which is a perfectly sweet scent for the summer months.

10. Get creative

I've been spending more time than ever pursuing creative projects. Giving myself the time and space to get lost in creativity has been marvellous. So why not pop to your local craft shop and see what seasonal things inspire you. Or perhaps try flower arranging, as I did last summer.

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Creating pretty arrangements at The British Flower School

I hope you have a wonderful summer and do feel free to share your favourite seasonal pastimes in the comments. I'd love to hear them!

Living Etc House Tours || Inspired to Restyle my Home

21/07/2015

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'There's no place like home.'

I'm feeling inspired after attending the Living etc House Tours with ao.com. It was a snooper's paradise, even if it felt a little odd wandering around the bedrooms and bathrooms of strangers! I was especially honoured to visit the home of Debi Treloar. I've admired Debi's photography and styling for many years, and so it was a joy to meet her.

Spending a day looking at eclectic London homes, and chatting to interior design bloggers, generated a lot of creative thought. As I travelled back to Oxford I decided I would get all the niggly jobs in my home done before Christmas, and give it a reshuffle and restyle.

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I've recently updated my living / dining space and so my plan was to address the other rooms. I wanted to make them feel as calm, look as minimal and be just as easy to keep tidy.

My plans were as follows:

1. Remove the few remaining kitsch collectables, vintage florals and most of the stuff on the walls.
2. Repaint the hall, bedroom, en suite, office / guest room and bathroom. They were painted four years ago and needed some attention.
3. Replace the vintage floral curtains with pale taupe or white linen blinds.
4. Replace the dated taps in the bathroom and en suite.
5. Replace the bathroom and en suite mirrors.
6. Address the rather sad looking lamp shades in the Hall and office / guest room.
7. Restyle each room - the fun bit!

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I'm not quite ready to get my tripod out, but I can report that I've already completed 1, 3, 4 and 6, and I'm a third of the way through 2, having repainted the hall and bedroom. Go me!

My restyle to date has been relatively inexpensive. I took advantage of the Homebase 15% weekends, and my lampshades and blinds were from John Lewis because I love classic pieces and most of all free delivery! A further declutter has given an even greater sense of space, and after years of vintage and kitsch I'm enjoying a more contemporary look. After all modern is the new vintage!

There's still some way to go but the positive changes have motivated me to continue. I'm looking forward to relaxing in my restyled apartment when the evenings draw in, and I will of course share everything with you once it's done. If you're planning a restyle I'd love to hear your ideas - we can keep one another motivated!

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Thank you ao.com and Living etc for inviting me, it was an inspiration! 

Thank you also to the lovely bloggers who made the day so much fun: Jen, Katy, Bianca, HannahAlina, Jen, Kimberly and Carole

Floral Friday

17/07/2015

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The best things in life are free.

When I simplified my life and stopped thrifting in flea markets and antique centres, I lost my continuous supply of vintage photography props. And as someone who likes photographing objects I soon realised I needed to find inspiration elsewhere.

While spending my weekends exploring I found an infinite supply of props: flowers, leaves, fir cones, shells and so on. Things I didn't need to buy, or would clutter up my home. And there began my new passion which I like to call floral thrifting!

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All my images are available as cards and prints, to see more please visit my shop. I hope you have a wonderfully flowery weekend!