Blog Every day in May: One Whole Month!

“Hoorah! Well done, you have made it through the month. How was it for you? Did you learn anything? What did you enjoy? What did you dislike? Sum it all up!”

Wow, I can’t believe it’s over! That went pretty fast actually! I didn’t always find it easy, but I certainly enjoyed it….I feel like the challenge has made me step outside my comfort zone, as well as give me the kick I needed! Here are some of the posts I enjoyed writing most….

A Day in The Life

Travel Dreams

Food Glorious Food

My Favourite Tradition

Fantasy Dinner Party

The real bonus has been getting to find lots of new bloggers, and reading their very different interpretations each day. I’ve found some great new blogs I know I’ll continue to follow too. Here are some of my favourite posts from other Blog Every Day in May folks….

Annelida Libris’ ‘Spring is Here’ featuring Cheaty Sheep….

Olive and Harry’s idylic ‘Walk to Work’….

Lace Lapin’s ‘Morning Ritual’….

Unfamiliar Ceiling’s creative take on ‘My First Job’….

Country Mouse Claire’s Ode to Toast….

Rosalilium’s ‘Go Green’ shopping list….

Olive and Harry’s adorable ‘Pets’ post….

And my very own hound, Cooper’s ‘A Day in the Life’! 

I’m so, so glad that I decided to take part in Elizabeth’s challenge….a massive thank you to her for organising it and chivvying us along!

Now the real challenge….to keep it all up!

Ems x

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Blog Every Day in May: Who Inspires You?

“Who inspire you? Are they close to you? Somebody famous? Or even somebody infamous?”

I get inspiration from all over the place. I love my fashion books and vintage magazines for design inspiration, blogs and old cookery books for recipe ideas, films and fashion trends for event and party planning, and friends for more personal stuff. I’ve never really thought of *people* as being inspirational to me though, at least not celebrity type people….but when I think about it, there are certainly a lot of creative people who inspire me to be more creative myself….

I saw the Tomb of The Unknown Craftsman exhibition at the British Museum about 18 months ago, before which I didn’t know a great deal about Grayson Perry. Not only did I come out of the show feeling like I knew the guy, but also feeling massively inspired, excited to work and full of creativity. I think it shows true inspiration if you can be so creative that you make other people feel creative too….often I come out of amazing exhibitions like that feeling like I’ll never be any good and it’s pointless me even trying…but there’s something about Perry’s ingenuity, originality and confidence that just grabs you and tells you that you can do it too!

I’ve been a big fan of Tim Walker’s work for a long while, but seeing his exhibition Storyteller at Somerset House earlier this year was still an eye opener. I adore his playfulness, intelligence and silliness, and I suppose because so much of his work speaks to me, I find it terribly inspiring too.

As much as I owe to these awesome creatives though, I can’t forget the inspiration I gain every day from all the creative people around me. I have lots of seriously creative friends, acquaintances and online chums…. whether they be designers, photographers, crafters or writers…. and I count myself lucky to know them and to be part of their world….

These include (but are not limited to…I know I’ll forget some people!)… Vixie of Matin Lapin…. Nevada of Joy Nevada…. Michelle of My: Creative…. Ellen of B Millinery…. Elizabeth of Rosalilium…. Jackie of Oooh Mrs James…. Sharon of Sharon Cooper Photography…. and my very own Adam of Unfamiliar Ceiling….

Ems x

Blog Every Day in May: Morning Ritual

“Tell us about what you do every morning to help you get ready for the day ahead.”

I have two of these, and the morning just doesn’t feel right without both of them.

First thing most mornings, or after a shower and prettying up rather, I head out to walk the dogs. There are lots of stunning places to walk very near us, and the hounds are always really excited to get out. Cooper loves to explore every path, and investigate every little thing, whilst Digby is still on the lead most of the time but still enjoys sniffing his way along. We get to meet lots of lovely people for chats, and lots of other dogs who Coops loves to play with. I adore the fresh air to wake me up, the amazing light early in the morning, and just ambling along without a care in the world.

About half way along our walk though I start to crave my second ritual…the morning coffee. I’ve always loved coffee, but I’ve I’ve only been able to properly enjoy it on a regular basis since I started to work from home. I’m a total coffee snob, and don’t consider a Starbucks or an instant a coffee at all (even though I do enjoy both on occasion….just not when I actually fancy a coffee!). We’ve been using the Aeropress at home for a little over a year now, which meant that we could make really great coffee fairly quickly and easily. I’ve always ground my beans fresh and taken care over the heat of the water (we bought a rather flashy kettle which you can set to heat at different temperatures) and the entire process really…it’s well worth it, honestly!

However, in the last couple of weeks we have bought an amazing new coffee machine, which grinds the beans and makes your desired strength and length of coffee at the touch of a button! It took some tinkering with to start, testing our filtered water, varying the grind, and selecting carefully all the other options….now though all I have to do is switch it on, shove a cup underneath and push a button for an amazing coffee. If I fancy a latte, flat white or cappuccino it has a milk steamer too!

I savour my coffee over breakfast, a reward for getting up and out, and to start the day ready and fresh….if I miss out on either the walk or the coffee I feel grouchy and disinclined!

Ems x

Blog Every Day in May: Secret Talent

“What are you good at that nobody knows about? Tell us all about it.”

This is tricky, if I had a talent I’d be pretty darn sure to shout about it from the rooftops! I don’t really think of myself as having any real talents, not like being an amazing musician or gifted artist or anything….I’m more a Jack of All Trades, but Master of None!

Still, I was mulling this over whilst preparing dinner earlier, and I did think of *something*. I am really good at chopping up bell peppers. No really, really good. I’ve personally developed a special technique which means no seeds are spilled, and yet none of the flesh is wasted. I personally regard this as a life skill, but I’m not going to share it with you. It’s *my* special talent.

Ems x

Blog Every Day in May: Fantasy Dinner Party

“Dinner party time – Who would you invite? What music is playing? What are you eating? Is there entertainment? Let your imagination go wild!”

This is (unsurprisingly as an Event Producer and dinner party hostess addict) something I think about all the time. I fuss over what the table centres would be, who sits next to who, and what to serve. I think though, as it’s all meant to be fantasy, I can allow myself some fantastical indulgences….

The dinner would take place I think in my dream home, because there could be no place dreamier. If it’s summer we’d eat out in my Xanadu-like gardens, or in Winter we’d eat inside in my grand dining hall. I’d prepare the meal myself in my dream kitchen, but as it’s a fantasy I’d have staff hired in specially to help serve (all the better for my Hostessing bit). Dinner would be made from all the very best Organic, seasonal ingredients, and would probably be along the lines of a huge sharing roast dinner (all the better for everyone to get to know each other and break the ice by passing the dishes around). The table centres would be made myself that morning using some of the fantastical flowers from my fantastical garden, with lots of taper candles of course. I find live music a little imposing for small gatherings, so I’d create a playlist based on my mood and the season to play just as guests arrive…thereafter giving over to the sound of chatter.

For a proper dinner party, where everyone gets to enjoy the company of each other, I don’t think numbers should be more than twelve in total. So, that leaves me the tricky task of who to invite (using hand-illustrated cards written out individually)….especially as this is a fantasy, which as far as I’m concerned gives me free reign to choose anyone from any point in time or from fiction.

Anyway, bearing in mind that I’d like my guests to have interesting discussions with each other as well as with me, I’ve come up with this table plan…..

Screen shot 2013-05-27 at 21.56.41

I’d definitely want my amazing fiance Adam to be there to share the experience with me, then clockwise from him….Grayson Perry, who I find massively inspiring, although would probably be too shy to talk to….Katy Perry, who I think would have fun chatting to Grayson, and bring lots of fun chat….Elvis I’m positive would love Katy, and he’d be close enough in this position for me to stare at lovingly, whilst not so close he could see my blushes….Fox Mulder would be just as excited as me to be at a dinner party with Elvis, and he *is* my second favourite Special Agent….first favourite though is Special Agent Dale Cooper who I would just love to spend the evening chatting with, especially with Mulder right next to him so they could share their stories with me….

My favourite British Agent would have to go to my left, and because it’s what happens in all the books, as a woman, he’d have to flirt with me all night….I think Joseph Gordon Levitt would have good chat with Bond, but he’s really there because I want to match-make him with the guest to his left….Zooey Deschanel is about my favouritest girl celebrity at the moment and I would love for her to get together with JGL to make babies and save the world….another inspiring woman is next, star of one of my favourite films and just all round awesome Tilda Swinton….and for intelligent banter, whit and trivia, the last seat goes to the wonderful Stephen Fry.

Writing all this down has made me think what a wonderful reality TV show this would make…..win your Fantasy Dinner Party by competing against other people in a sort of Come Dine With Me style, then the TV show arranges for all your dream guests to come along to your house for sups. I’d go on THAT TV show for sure!

Ems x

Blog Every Day in May: Music Love

“What are your top 5 favourite albums and why?”

I’ve already said I’m rubbish at these top five lists. For a start, I can never narrow it down to that few, and then of course I forget and miss things out. Still, I’ve had a good bash at this, and because we can interpret these prompts as we like, I’ve interpreted ‘Top Five’ in my case to mean ‘Top Fifteen’. So there.

Anyway, in no particular order…..

Blur, The Great Escape

I suppose most peoples’ favourite Blur album is Parklife, but I just adore this album. The Universal is one of my all time favourite songs (shame British Gas sort of ruined it!) and this album reminds me of my teens. Damon Albarn is also a God.

Katy Perry, Teenage Dream

Obviously a more recent addition to my favourites, this one I could listen to again and again for ever though. It’s silly, fun, romantic and pretty epic I reckon.

Elvis Presley, Presley

Like Fox Mulder, I LOVE Elvis. His voice is so melt-in-the-mouth and his songs just some of the best around. Teddy Bear is my favourite. Love.

Electric Light Orchestra, All Over The World

I know I shouldn’t keep choosing Best-Of’s but just allow me this one more….I couldn’t possibly choose just one ELO album, as I have lots of favourite songs of theirs spread across their albums….Mr Blue Sky, Shine a Light and Livin’ Thing are my absolute faves though.

Spirit, Spirit

This reminds me of driving with my Dad as a kid….I owe a lot of my music taste to him and this album has stuck with me for over half my life. It kind makes me feel cool just listening to it.

Pink Floyd, Relics

Another one I owe to my Dad, he was a huge Pink Floyd fan and I believe my name actually comes from this album too!

Leftfield, Leftism

I used to have this on vinyl but lost custody of it when I broke up with an ex. Still, it’s a classic for my generation and I could listen to it all day.

The La’s, The La’s

I’m not sure why, but this album sounds like summer to me. Another one that I lost my vinyl copy of, but I will replace it one day as it sounds so wonderful compared to the CD.

Puppini Sisters, Christmas With the Puppini Sisters

A Christmas Album was bound to find its way onto my list, and this has to be my favourite. I saw the Puppini Sisters one Christmas at the Union Chapel and it was such a great, festive, jolly night.

Bon Iver, For Emma Forever Ago

This reminds me so much of getting together with Adam, our first kisses, our first holiday together and so many memories besides.

Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly., The Chronicles of a Bohemian Teenager

This album is dreamy in my opinion. Another great one for driving in the summer, it’s relaxing and uplifting at the same time.

Duke Special, Songs from the Deep Forest

I just love Duke Special. He’s so creative and original, and I adored seeing him at Wilton’s Music Hall last year….it was Adam’s first time there too so a bonus.

Band of Horses, Cease to Begin

This is another one that reminds me of getting together with Adam. I love their sound, which is so emotive to me.

Ben Folds, Rockin’ The Suburbs

This album means a lots of different things to me, reminds me of lots of things (good and bad) and can make me both cry and smile.

Fleetwood Mac, Rumours

If I really, really, really, really, really HAD to choose just ONE favourite album it would have to be this one. I will never EVER tire of it, and I truly believe it must be one of THE best albums ever made.

Now I could easily ramble on for hours on this, as my tate is so eclectic (or bad as some people would say!)….I know I’ve left lots of things out….Michael Jackson, Annie Lennox, Robbie Williams (don’t judge me), Will Young, Sugar Babes, Beach Boys, ABBA, David Bowie, Eric Clapton, Eagles, Jeff Beck, Charlatans, James….and I could easily have gone to twenty five, but I won’t bore you and I really should get off the computer and enjoy this sun!

Ems x

Blog Every Day in May: What’s in your fridge?

“Describe and/or photograph what is in your fridge right now. Be honest!”

So my fridge contains all the usual things, organic butter, yoghurt and milk; free range eggs; leeks; charlotte carrots; half a butternut squash and some mixers….but rather than share a complete list of all those types of things, I thought I’d write about some of the more ‘special’ things that are in there.

We regularly buy fancy and posh jars of stuff from food festivals, markets and whatnot, and they inevitably hang around in the fridge for ages before we finally get around to finishing them. At the moment we have lots of really yummy jars in the fridge, including but not limited to….

Humbers Homemade Rosemary Jelly….this is made locally to us and you can buy it from local markets as well as delis. It’s lovely to cook sausages in or to serve with lamb!

We found the wonderful Pink’s range of chilli products at the Maltby Street Market whilst we still lived in London, and we just love their Green Chilli Jelly and Smoked Tomato Tapenade. They make great dips or sauces to cook fish with.

There are currently four full jars of Jules & Sharpie jams and jellies in the fridge….we discovered them at the local chilli festival last year and love the Hot Marmalade, Hot Apple & Sage Jelly, Hot Rhubarb & Ginger Jam, and Hot Lime & Green Pepper Jelly. These are lovely along with a cheese board.

Other regulars are Alfez Harissa (which I chuck into tagines and hot sauces) and Thai Taste Green Curry Paste which is a great base for a yummy curry. We also tend to keep in a few nice jams and marmalades, and currently still have a delicious Fig & Walnut Ball homemade by our friend Hannah.

Ems x

Blog Every Day in May: Compliments

“Tell us about the best compliment you have ever received.”

Although I do truly love a compliment, I’m not all that good at accepting them! I often get shy and try to brush it off with a silliness or joke, and I know lots of my friends get frustrated when I can’t accept their compliments! I do hope they don’t stop giving me compliments though, as they are rather wonderful! People have been kind enough to say lots of nice things about me, but I feel a little big headed in honesty sharing them or listing them.

There is one rather big compliment I am proud to share with you though. It’s not a usual type of compliment, such as ‘your hair looks great’ or ‘you really are very good at shopping’…..but I think it must be the biggest compliment I’ve ever been paid….

A few months ago, love of my life Adam, asked me to be his wife, and I was only too excited and delighted to accept. To me this meant that he loves me, wants to spend the rest of his life with me, and is making a commitment towards our relationship. Now I can’t think of a bigger compliment than that! It’s just a big bonus that on top of that I get to plan a splendid wedding (one of my favourite things to do!), have an excuse for a special holiday (loving thinking about honeymoons!) and got given a stunning vintage diamond ring to boot!

So yeah, this compliment stuff is rather grand!

Ems x

Blog Every Day in May: Newsflash

“Talk about something that is in the news today.”

This is my kind of news story…..

Blog Every Day in May: Favourite Tradition

Whilst I struggled to think about any traditions that I keep of my own, once I started thinking about all the traditions that I *like* I worked up quite a list!

So, here are my favourite (and although not intentionally, rather British!) traditions…..

Morris Men….what could be more jolly and British?! The bells, the flowery crowns, the costumes and the silliness!

 

I am very proud to say I’ve met a good few lovely Pearly Kings and Queens…what a wonderful London tradition….anything that involves buttons and bling has my vote!

 

I remember seeing my first ever Chelsea Pensioner, and was delighted to get to chat to some whilst living in London too.

 

I only recently learned about High Sheriffs, and when I got a thank you letter from our Hertfordshire High Sheriff to thank me for an event of mine she came to, I was incredibly excited!

 

I love that I live in a town with a Town Crier….such a brilliant tradition.

May Poles and May Queens…colourful ribbons, pretty dresses and prancing about on a Bank Holiday…just wonderful!

Scarecrow Festivals are just the most silly thing, but so wonderfully creative and fun!

Did I miss anything? There must be other such fun and British traditions!

Ems x