My Top Six Candles

Burning a candle always feels so luxurious to me, it the ritual creates a calming effect and delicately scented ones that compliment your home and your personality can add a lot to your space. These are my top six, I definitely have specific taste when it comes to scent so you might want to buy a different fragrance. Personally, depending on what mood I'm in I love smokey amber or light florals. The good thing is that these candles are unified by great quality. A few of them are also very inexpensive too.

The Yorkshire Dales and The Lake Disrict 2015

Around Easter time this year Simon and I headed off to my mum’s cottage in between the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District as we do every year. This wild and picturesque part of the UK always delights us. every time we go we are treated to wonderful walks, lambs and plenty of pints of beer and cider. (We've actually just come back from the cottage again as we fancied a mini trip, it looks so different in the Summer so worth a visit any time of year.)

I wrote quite a comprehensive guide last year that focussed on the more touristy “things you must do” with lots of the best attractions and walks so please read that post too. This year we had a slightly more relaxed go with the flow trip as we had both had a pretty crappy and tiring few weeks before we left. The focus this time was to relax and enjoy each other’s company. Here’s what we got up to…


When we arrived at the cottage at around four we decided to explore the fells behind the house, bear in mind these are totally barren and open with no paths or trails! Very brave I know. Needless to say we got lost in the wilds of the moors as it was getting dark. We thankfully found our way back by spotting one of our favourite local landmarks the Smardale Viaduct.


The next day we headed to Sizergh Castle, which isn’t technically a castle in the Medieval sense but still a nice place to visit for a quick walk around the grounds as the garden was lovely. 


As we were leaving I noticed that we we quite near the coast. Having never been to a beach in the North West of England we decided to go for a drive to take a look. One of the lovely volunteers as Sizergh Castle suggested that we also pay a visit to a Buddist Temple that was on the site of Conishead priory very near Morcombe Bay. After driving for about twenty minutes we suddenly came to the temple and priory through a clearing in the trees.

The Priory’s history is fascinating, it was founded in the 12th century. You really should have a read all about it here its got quite a story!


The next day we drove to Ambleside for one of the more strenuous walks the area has to offer. We climbed up past Stockghyll force ( the nordic word for waterfall) and began the rather difficult climb up Wansfell and then continued down through a lovely village called Troutbeck. We found the walk in this book in case you want to try it out too.  Here's Simon at the top of the Fell.


The next day we went on our annual walk from Keld to Muker. We always stop off at the pub for a half pint and the tea room for lunch and a cream tea (the best in the world I think!) and one of us usually buys a hand knitted jumper from the knitwear shop. I talk about this particular walk in more detail here if you'd like to read.


Oh Hello pixie cut, its taken me so long to get this post up my hair has totally grown out now. The photo below this one is of a selection on the un-dyed wool you can buy at Muker, I wish I could knit!



We spent the rest of the trip relaxing in the pub, eating at home and lamb spotting. Since these photos were taken we've been back to the cottage to have a long weekend up there with my family in July, it looked totally different in the Summer. You can take a look at my Instagram to see how much the landscape had changed.




I hope you enjoyed this post and make sure to visit The Yorkshire Dales and The Lake District if you can in the future!

Oh and one last photo, once we were back in the North East (where I grew up) and before we headed home to London we took a drive to Bamburgh. The prettiest beach in the Uk as far as I'm concerned!




My Workspace

I was invited by WeWork to share my working environment so today I am doing just that. WeWork build beautiful, shared office spaces. They promote collaboration, community and participation, something that I admire.

Although I work alone in my small flat I definitely enjoy the creative community in London. Lots of my friends are designers too and that combined with social networking sites means I have really enjoyed meeting and working with many people. Without twitter I would have never been lucky enough to be invited to have a pop up shop in West Elm for example. If you're a creative and you're finding that you're feeling a bit secluded try to network online and arrange creative meet-ups, its so important to share stories and collaborate with other self employed folk.

However you like working I hope you enjoy this little insight into my small desk space and if you're interested in a co-working space check WeWork out, they have spaces all over the globe! 





My work area is in a corner of our living room, I live in a small flat so I had to squeeze myself in! I have a large Mid-Century cabinet which holds all my craft supplies for my DIY magazine articles (I also work as a freelance lifestyle writer just in case you didn't know) it also holds some of my sewing supplies and camera equipment. I love Midcentury furniture as it can hide so much stuff! My desk is a 1950's formica kitchen table that sits right next to the cabinet. I really need to upgrade my desk and chair but for now they'll do. I have a cupboard next to my desk, the only one in the flat - modern flats are rubbish for built in storage! I keep my rolled up paper and some of my homeware stock in there. The side of the cupboard makes for a great place to stick up inspirational postcards and my quote banner that I made.


Some items that I would love to have for my little office space would be some Kate Spade accessories like this very glam gold stapler and journal. Like most of us I really admire Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co and her new bags are a must have to keep organised. As a Scandiophile I adore Hay and these set squares would be so useful for my craft projects and when I need to cut fabric for my homeware brand. Good pens are mandatory, I have lots but these inexpensive ones from Livework are my favourites. And of course you should keep those hard working hands cared for, my top skincare brand is Kiehl's.

I hope you enjoyed a look at my work area. Oh and in case you didn't see I am currently holding a giveaway where you can win a collection of my products worth over £65. See my pervious post to enter or click here

Giveaway - Win a Nancy Straughan Homeware Bundle

Hi everyone, I am a very exited lady today as its time for a giveaway! Its been a little while since my last giveaway where the lovely folks at Merchant and Mills ran a fantastic competition and gifted their wonderful products. Now its my turn and I can't wait to hear what you think!

You could be in with the chance of winning a whole heap of goodies from my own site. Up for grabs is an organic linen printed cushion cover, an organic cotton printed zip bag, a recycled Wildlife notebook and an Animals of Great Britain print. All those goodies have a collected value of over £65! 






I'm using rafflecopter to make it totally fair so please enter below. For more chances you can enter once each day if you'd like to. A winner will be chosen randomly, the winner will not receive the exact products as seen in the images if they are out of stock at that time. If you would prefer a different Wildlife Notebook from the Zebra one pictured let me know :)

The giveaway will end at 12pm on 07/31/2015
Please share and best of luck folks!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Best Cafes in London

I love coffee and I relish finding a perfect cup when I'm out and about in London. I don't drink it every day as I'm so lazy in the mornings that grinding the beans and setting up the stove top espresso maker is just too much for me to handle. My boyfriend Simon is a big coffee drinker too and he has his own morning ritual and very specific coffee gear. As his better half quite frankly can't be arsed with the faff of making coffee I've made a list of the best cafes in London that I frequently visit.

Hopefully there's one near you in this list, the only area I haven't really explored is West London as I don't really go there much. If you have an excellent West London cafe that you'd like to suggest please do. Enjoy!


Esters - based in Stoke Newington and just a stones throw away from my flat. The coffees are strong and the food very fresh and delicious.  I've been for lunch a few times and everything is always perfect. They also sell St John doughnuts. Win.


Fabrique - a relatively new addition to Haggerston. Sitting near the huge ovens in this super cool East London spot almost tricks you into thinking you're in Sweden. They don't do tea incredibly well (milk before the tea bag? Hell no) but their coffees, breads and cinnamon buns are amazing so i'll forgive them.


Daily Goods - Simon and I are hoping to move to somewhere near Daily Goods in Camberwell,  I'm sure if we do that I'll be popping in on the regular. Great service, great grilled cheese sarnies. I have coffee but they also have a great selection of other drinks.


St David - based in Forest Hill, I love how it's around the corner from my day job studio. Wonderful service and custard tarts, I also really like the Mid Century decor and the beautiful plants they have outside.


Prufrock - a great place to meet friends as its in a pretty handy location in between Farringdon and Chancery Lane. The food is really good and the space is huge so you'll always get a seat. They also sell fantastic coffee making equipment.


Cafe Viva - based in the marvellous Pekham and owned my my equally marvellous friend Lily. Viva is a great little cafe tucked away on a quiet street and serves up warming food and coffees in Mid Century crockery. They are going to be opening up in the evenings for suppers soon too.

Dowel Jones

I recently discovered the beautiful company Dowel Jones and I love their simply designed modern homewares. Dowel Jones is a young design studio operating out of Melbourne, Australia. They focus on simplifying objects to their bare essentials without compromising on aesthetic values while also minimising materials and processes.








Perfect Summer Party

The team over at Paperless Post recently invited me to share what I would do to create a perfect party. With Summer upon us I have designed my dream cocktail soiree complete with flamingo macaroons and a decorated cactus. See below for a list of resources and ideas including Paperless Post's lovely invites and cards.


Eat: cactus cookies, flamingo macaroons, watermelon wedges
Drink: watermelon mojitos and rose lemonade
Decorate with: bay leaf love banners, floral balloon garland, bedazzled cacti
Wear: anything pink or green like this dress from asos

If you are hosting any sort of party this Summer check out Paperless Post for invites. Have a look at my full inspiration board here on Pinterest.

Maps

I've always been fond of a good map and this collection of illustrated maps by various talented people would definitely add some fun and colour to your walls. I've recently been designing a map of the National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty for work and I've become obsessed with cartography!












Mr. Boddington Studio

Whilst I was browsing Pinterest for research purposes I came across Mr. Boddington Studio a truly delightful stationery brand that focusses on sunny and whimsical designs, all illustrated by the creative director Rebecca S. Ruebensaal.