1970s House Renovation

Where have I been?

Same place as everyone else. At home. I’ve worked on other creative projects, and this blog took a little hibernation. But during lockdown we bought a home! We sold our flat, and purchased a 3 bed detached property in a tiny village in Oxfordshire. And I mean tiny. It doesn’t have a shop, or a pub, or a school. Nothing. I don’t know where it gets off calling itself a village really. I googled ‘definition of a village’ and it said ‘bigger than a hamlet, but smaller than a town’. So I googled ‘hamlet’ and it said ‘smaller than a village’. Helpful.

So I’m here, in Oxfordshire in my village location. Whatever that actually means.

Home Renovations

So what have we done since we moved in in February? A lot. We’ve had most the property (minus the kitchen and bathroom) painted, and re-carpeted. We have had electrical works done since it failed it’s safety inspection. We’ve also had work done to the sewage pipes since they were cracked, and to the asbestos in the property as there was exposed and damaged asbestos in parts of the property. We’ve installed a fridge, a washing machine and new furniture.

And still to come we are getting the parquet floor restored, carpeting the back room and sorting out new front doors. It’s been a whirl wind but we are finally getting there. So in celebration of that fact, I filmed a little before and after tour. Hope you enjoy!

New Year, New Journal

The Bullet Journal

Many of you, I’m sure, will have heard of the bullet journal. It’s a way of organising your life, but old school – analogue; using a notebook instead of Google Calendar. I’ve been doing a version of it for years. I don’t fill my journal with tasks and planning, because I don’t like to have my work life in my journal, so my journal is more about recording. I love being able to look back and see how I felt, what I was doing and how my year unfolded.

1. The Notebook:

I use a Leuchtturm 1917 A5 dotted notebook. I find the dots really help me set the spreads up. However, the pages do bleed through a bit, they’re very thin, so if you want to do a lot of colour and even paint, I wouldn’t recommend this one.

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2. Monthly Spreads:

I have a few ‘spreads’ which I use every month. I use a ‘month at a glance’ which is basically a calendar which I make for myself and populate each month, and I have a ‘line a day’ page where I write one line for each day of the month.

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I love having the month spread out before me, and the process of adding in events and birthdays really helps me not to forget anything important. I also like looking back on these years later to see what I was getting up to that same month but 3 years ago.

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My line a day is my own mashed up version of what other bullet journalers call a mood tracker and a gratuity log. A gratuity log is where you write a line a day on something you’re grateful for, while a mood tracker is a means of plotting your mood and emotions over a month – it useful for working out what might be triggering low moods. However, I don’t want to stick to either of those two things as a focus so I simply write one line about anything that happened that day, but this will often be a statement about my mood, or something I’m grateful for.

3 Weekly Spreads:

After you’ve created your monthly overviews of anything you want to track and log that month, the weekly spreads then follow. These can be highly functional – an overview of tasks, appointments and to do lists, or can be more more about journaling. I tend to do a mix. I have a whole separate notebook for work bullet journaling, and that’s where my most functional spreads live.

I decorate my spreads with stickers, washi tape, magazine cut outs and some of my own photos which I get printed as ready made stickers from my redbubble account.

4 Get Creative:

This step is very much optional, but I personally try to use my journal as an opportunity to be creative. So, sometimes, I add paintings and spend more time on the aesthetic of it. But other people keep their bullet journals very functional and don’t worry about this step.

5 Enjoy!

It’s very easy to get bogged down with trying to make your journal ‘perfect’ but remember that it’s just for you, and the process should be calming, satisfying and enjoyable.

 

To help with some ideas, click here to watch my 2020 set up!

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5 Things to do this Autumn

Wow it’s been a while since I’ve posted, I’ve had a busy term at work. But now Autumn is in full swing, and I’ve been absolutely loving the change in the season. I normally hate the cold and the dark, but I’ve been trying to embrace each season for it’s own beauty, so here are some things I’ve been doing to welcome in Autumn.

 

1. Drinking hot Apple and Cinnamon Tea. No drink smells as Autumnal as apple and cinnamon.

Apple and Cinnamon Tea

2. Harvesting. Whether it’s walking along an English hedgerow and harvesting the blackberries, or digging up veg from the garden or allotment, nothing is more heartening than cooking with something fresh out of the earth. Somehow it tastes so much better.

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3. Eating porridge – I’ve never been that much of a fan of porridge, I find it rather claggy. But I recently tried putting blackberries into it to make ‘purple porridge’ and ohmygoodness, it’s so good. Add pumpkin seeds, blueberries, chia seeds and maple syrup for extra sweetness, goodness and crunch.

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4. Welcoming in the darker evenings by stringing up fairy lights, and lighting candles. Make a little Autumnal display and change up some of the cushions for a cosier Autumnal feel. Try adding warmer tones, and cosier textures, it’s amazing how a change as small as cushions and throws can change the feel of a room.

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5. Reading. I’m not much of a reader, and in Summer I always feel like I ought to be outside, not reading. But in Autumn and Winter, it’s often too cold or wet to be out, the perfect time to re-kindle you’re love of books.

What traditions/rituals/routines do you have for welcoming Autumn?

Ode to an English Garden

English Country Gardens

I wanted to create a post purely dedicated to the English Country Garden in early Summer. I’ve come to feel that it is one of the most delightful spectacles available. And while we might lament all this rain, its worth remembering, that without this rainy climate, our gardens wouldn’t look as wonderful.

Canal facing front garden in Bath.

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My Parents’ Oxfordshire Garden

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Bampton Village Open Garden Day

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Having no garden of our own currently, we have to live through others. But thankfully there are plenty of opportunities for this in Oxfordshire. There are wonderful national trust properties like Grey’s Court and Hidcote – see my previous post on this – Open Garden schemes, both village planned and with the National Open Garden scheme.

Which gardens would you recommend in the Oxfordshire area?

Skincare Review: Drunk Elephant and More

Skincare Review:

I did an order from Cult Beauty a month ago and most of the order was skincare. So I thought I’d post a little review one month on, and let you know how I’ve found these new products. Before I get stuck in, I just wanted to quickly mention how impressed I was with Cult Beauty – firstly in the range of brands and products they stock and then secondly their delivery – my products came the following day – despite it being a Sunday!

Anyway, let’s jump in. First up: Drunk Elephant.

Drunk Elephant:

I’ve been seeing this brand everywhere and I wanted to see for myself whether it was worth the hype. I purchased two products; the Makeup Melting Butter Cleanser and the C-firma Day Serum. One hit and one miss.

The Makeup- Melting Butter Cleanser was a major hit. I’ve tried the Clinique version before but this one is far superior. It really does melt away makeup and leaves your skin feeling nourished without leaving a slightly slimy film that I find the Clinique one leaves. It – possibly combined with the Pixi glow tonic – has reduced the size of my pores because I’m getting a far deeper clean. This is definitely worth the money at £29.99.

Drunk Elephant Butter Cleanser

The vitamin C serum. Not so much. Although a serum its very thick in the way it sits on your skin. And I cannot handle the smell! It smells like fake tan, and I can still smell it up to 24 hours later (I am very smell sensitive). I can’t comment on it’s effectiveness as I’ve not managed to use it consistently due to the smell. I will continue to use it up as it’s expensive and I’m not wasting all that money. But overall, not a fan: especially at £67!!

Drunk Elephant Serum

Pixi:

Next I picked up the Pixi Glow tonic in Boots. I’ve never been one for toner, I always forget to include it in my skincare routine and I’ve always found the ones I’ve used in the past have stripped my skin and been quite stingy. This one however, manages to deep clean but without any alcoholic smell or sting. It’s actually very soothing and moisturising; no idea how it manages that as a toner but it does! I absolutely love this, its a new permanent addition to my skincare.

Pixi Glow Tonic

Embryolisse:

This moisturiser doesn’t look like much, but it’s fantastic. It also comes in a bigger tube, I got the 30ml but it also comes in 75ml. It’s a really nourishing moisturiser without being heavy. It has a very light scent but its a very natural scent, nothing floral or chemically. It’s worked wonders on my dry skin which is now completely gone and it’s not caused any aggravation or break outs (I have really sensitive skin). The only downside is that it doesn’t contain SPF. At £13 for the small tube and £20 for the 75ml I think this stuff is amazing value for how good it is.

Embryolisse

Lanolips

Finally I purchased the Lanolips original ointment. I’m not blown away by this, I find the thick ointment sits on your lips all night – which is great for getting nourishment but I find it a bit gross when I wake up, and I worry about smudging it allover my pillow while I sleep. Ew. It also hasn’t made a massive difference to my chapped lips. But given that I don’t use a lip balm at all this is definitely better than nothing!

Coco and Eve

And then finally, I wanted to give a quick shout out to a hair care sample I received in my birchbox from Coco and Eve. It was their nourishing hair masque. I used it just before getting my hair done before a wedding and it was wonderful. It wasn’t too scented which I really liked and, having left it on for a few minutes in the shower, it made my hair instantly de-tangled. And I have really knotty hair. Because I don’t tend to brush it! I will definitely consider purchasing the full size when my sample runs out.

What are your current skincare favourites?