Blog Every Day in May: Pampering

“What is your ideal way to pamper yourself and relax?”

I’ve never really been into the traditional pampering stuff. I don’t mind a mud mask every now and then, but I don’t enjoy it enough to do it regularly and I’m not organised enough to do it far enough in advance of a special occasion. I have NEVER been for a facial, not because I have any kind of adversity to them, I’ve just never gotten round to it. And I’m not really into relaxing type massages…I’d much rather get my back cracked by my great osteopath!

If I do want to relax, treat myself and prettify though, there is one thing I’ll always make time for. Painting my nails is something I just love to do…not just getting the nice end result, but actually taking time to decorate them to perfection. I’ve hardly painted them at all recently, just because they get ruined so fast when I’m cutting and gluing all day or out in the garden, but when I had a proper job in a proper office I painted them religiously.

It’s a bit of a ritual I suppose, filing and buffing them, moisturising them and tidying the cuticles…then base coating before starting the real fun of applying colour. I have a huge collection of nail polishes (well in excess of 50 at last count) so it’s always a tricky choice, but I tend to go with the seasons and my moods or fads…I’ve been loving really dark colours of late (a throw back to my gothic youth and a response to the lack of spring weather!) but very often wear ridiculously bright shades, or even ten different colours all together!

I love to coordinate my nails with my outfit, and have even been known to replicate a pattern in detail to match! If I have enough time I very much enjoy using a tiny brush to paint on little pictures and whatnot too! I’m currently after a really good set of neon colours….proper fluoro shades of pink, orange, yellow, green and blue!

My favourite brands are O.P.I, Essie, Nails Inc and good old Barry M….I know lots of people don’t get on with it, but I find the slender brush really great on my tiny nails, and they always have the best colours and are great value too!

I currently have no nail polish on actually, having spent the entire day sticking and sanding and scalpeling, so I thought I’d share some past creations….

Ems x

Wearing my current favourite, Barry M Greenberry (which nicely matched the water tester for the new coffee machine!)

Christmas cheer!

Alternative French Manicure

Crazy brights to match my awesome vintage 60s dress

To match my favourite shoes for my friends’ wedding

Sugary sweet to go with my bubble gum ring

Bunting to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee

Blog Every Day in May: Life’s A Lesson

“What is the single most important lesson you have ever had?”

This is not so much a lesson, as a sort of a massive learning experience! After wracking my brains trying to think of some kind of a lesson that I can both remember and think fondly of, this seemed like the most appropriate thing to share!

We (my younger brother and I) were very lucky as children as Mum worked part time so that she could pick us up from school each day. In the summer holidays though, apart from when we were actually on holiday, we’d be dropped off at my Nanna Doris’ house to spend the day there. We loved spending the summer holidays with her, especially as she’d take us on her errands around town, and because there was lots to explore where she lived!

When the weather was fine we’d be outside on adventures….making rancid perfume from berries and plants we’d found, or playing games with other local kids. But when the weather meant we had to stay indoors, it was time for the big cupboard of stuff to be opened!

Basically, Nanna D would keep a cupboard stocked up with all sorts of fun stuff for us to make things with….she’d collect empty cotton reels, bits of cardboard, left over bits of yarn and tin cans etc. so that we could make whatever we wanted. Firstly it meant that we didn’t have to cart a whole load of toys there with us every day, but it also meant that we could never get bored, as we’d spend time making something, get fed up of it, then make something else!

I remember wanting a skateboard as I’d seen some other kids with one, so I made one myself from cardboard, garden canes and cotton reels! Given, it wasn’t sturdy enough for me to stand on, but it was perfect for my doll Sarah to be strapped onto and send gliding down the nearest hill! I also remember well building our own little post office…a cardboard kiosk with signage (obvs) and all that goes in a Post Office! We made our own stamps, envelopes, paying in books and all sorts…Nanna D even played along as a very obliging customer!

Apart from teaching us to entertain ourselves, and that we didn’t need lots of expensive toys to keep us happy, this was all a great lesson in being resourceful. As a result, I’m a natural hoarder, but can turn my hand to most things, and can work out how to fix a problem in a jiffy.  I pride myself on being exceptionally resourceful, and I am sure I owe it to that wonderful summer holiday cupboard of stuff at Nanna D’s!

I wish I could share a photo of some of my creations, but alas digital photography wasn’t even heard of then! Still, I have wonderful memories of those times and the things I made.

Ems x

Blog Every Day in May: Go Green!

“Talk about being green, eco-friendly or ethical. What do you do to make a difference?”

Deep breath.

And don’t hate me.

My name is Emily and I don’t believe in going green. There. I said it.

Now, before you brand me a selfish ignoramus, hear me out, do!

For some time now I’ve been getting progressively more cross with the concept of ‘Saving the Planet.’ The reason being, when people and organisations talk about doing just that, they’re not really talking about saving the planet at all. They’re talking about saving the human race!

Our planet is very old indeed, and has seen many lifeforms come and go. It’s survived all sorts, and whilst humans, animals and plant life etc may well die out if we don’t respect our environment, the planet itself will still survive! It will some back with new lifeforms, old ones will re-emerge, and it’ll be another clean slate.

And I personally think it’s time for a clean slate.

Every time one or more humans try to save something, another human just goes right ahead and un-saves it. Take tigers for instance. Organisations have fought for years to save them, but it’s a case of one step forward and two steps back when there are people in this world who think they have dominion over animals and abuse their habitat and hunt them for medicines or trophies.

So, rather than fretting over recycling every last scrap of whatever, or religiously turning the power off when things are not in use, I personally prioritise some different things…

  • I only eat free range or organic meat and animal products. I personally believe that as omnivores by nature, humans should get to eat animal products (although I accept that lots of people can get by without them, and I don’t eat nearly as much as most just because I can’t have this rule and eat like most people!) but I feel very strongly that we shouldn’t neglect animals, we should be grateful for them (and the products they give us) and we shouldn’t unnecessarily make their lives a misery. More on this tomorrow though when the subject is food!
  • I am very conscious of what hidden foods lurk within foods…there are so many animal products in things like spreadable butter and confectionary, so I often spend a long time reading packaging!
  • I don’t buy products that contain palm oil, because of how it is farmed and the effects of that on the environment, and the poor animals who live in the places it is farmed. I’m also very open to giving up other ingredients for similar reasons, and am always grateful to learn more about that.
  • I use vegan cosmetics as far as possible, and am always trying to find more to replace the less ethical ones I use.
  • I will always rescue my pets rather than buy them, and rant at anyone thinking about doing the latter to get them to see how important it is to rescue and save one of the thousands of needy animals in this country, rather than supporting money-making breeders!
  • And I will go to lengths to pick up bumble bees, worms etc who are stranded on footpaths etc. In fact, I nearly failed my driving test on account of performing an emergency stop for a crossing shrew…the test person didn’t think it was important enough to not run over the shrew!

Now I’m not a complete pleb when it comes to green stuff. I don’t run a car, instead walk mostly or use public transport. I recycle everything that our council will collect (which doesn’t include plastics yet, unless you have a car to take them to the dump yourself…oh the irony!). And we compost all food waste to use on the garden. I also don’t take lots of long haul flights or train trips as a rule. So I can’t feel too guilty about my stance on being green!

I can understand that my view may well rub a lot of people up the wrong way, and especially if you’ve taken a lot of time to talk about today’s subject in a more positive way!

But, that’s how I feel about it!

Ems x

Blog Every Day in May: 5 Lines

“Introduce yourself or sum yourself up in just 5 lines. Include a photograph that you are proud of.”

My name is Emily, and I’m a blogging, crafting, thrifting treasure hunter and events producer living in Hitchin, Hertfordshire.

I’m a little bit into everything, and to say my taste is eclectic would be a serious understatement…..I like to think I can see beauty in everything.

I can’t think of any music that I don’t like, there is certainly no food that I won’t eat (with the exception of Marmite which isn’t really a food), and I just don’t believe that any colours clash.

My greatest loves are my wonderful fiance Adam, my darling lurcher Special Agent Doggie Cooper, weddings, blowing bubbles, the TV Tower in Berlin, blue skies and stationery.

I hate having photos taken of me, but I love to take photos of pretty much anything else…. especially road works, buildings that other people think are ugly, and enchanted places where fairies probably live.

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Our secret garden, St Dunstans in the East, near to where we used to live in London. Taken with my Diana analogue camera with 120mm colour negative slide film.