Our first month in Otley

Hello! From Yorkshire!

Yes, a month ago today we made the move from Hitchin in Hertfordshire, all the way up to the little market town of Otley in West Yorkshire. It was a horrendous move….we collected so much stuff living in such a big place in Hitchin, especially with all the wedding things. Plus it was our first move with the dogs, who have a lot more luggage than you might expect! Still, they were as good as gold during the move and really did us proud.

Dogs in the car on move day

Are we nearly there yet?

Dogs on moving day

All in!

We’re finally getting sorted in the new place though, and have a place for most things and most things in their place….it has been a great opportunity for some serious sorting though and we’ve had lots to Freecycle, donate to charity shops and box up for the car boot sale. And hopefully the next move will be much easier as it won’t be so far away….we very much intend to stay in Yorkshire as we have so many friends and family here, not to mention the fact that we’ll be able to afford a much nicer house than in pricey Hitchin!

My home studio

My new studio….still a bit of sorting to do but I can work in it at least!

We’d not been to Otley ever before our move day, and hadn’t even seen our new house! With such a busy summer we just couldn’t get the time together to do a proper scout as we usually would, and were lucky enough to have some family and friends view a few places for us. Our dear friend Craig actually came to see this place and said we’d love it….and we do! Thanks Craig!

Otley is a lot like Hitchin really. It’s a market town with lots going on, but also has the advantage of quick and easy access to the countryside. My morning walk with the dogs is just perfect….we’re a few moments away from a playing field which we walk through first, then a little river side park before we get to the gorgeous formal gardens (and playground!) and then wonderful fields for the hounds to race around, as well as lots of places for them to dip into the river….Digby has even had his first proper swim (so proud!)! We’ve seen Kingfishers along the river and I’m told you can see otters if you’re out early enough too….fingers crossed!

Swimming dog in the River Wharfe

Digby taking a swim in the goregous river Wharfe

Being a little more remote we decided we’d finally have to get a car, which means we can explore other places for our walks too. We’ve taken to driving to the stunning Chevin Forest, just two minutes away, for our afternoon walk. The dogs love exploring all the winding paths, and we adore the views from up there. There’s even an ice cream van waiting at the summit, which is a great treat after the climb! The Chevin is actually thought to have been an inspiration for some of Turner’s paintings, and I love having that connection!

The view of Otley from the Chevin Forest

The view of Otley from the Chevin Forest

We’re hoping to explore some of the nearby places too before long….I love Skipton and the Dales which are now very close, and then there’s the Keighley Railway (famous for appearing in the Railway Children!), Bronte country in the pretty village of Haworth, nearby Ilkley and its Darwin Gardens and stunning moorland, plus more of Leeds which I love for food and shopping.

There’s plenty to do in Otley too, and we’ve been enjoying getting to know it. There’s a regular market which I’ve been going to for our fruit and vegetables, plus a monthly Farmer’s market which is just wonderful, and a craft market in the Old Courthouse. There are stacks of tea rooms and plenty of good pubs….all of which we have vowed to try out, although that may take us some time!

Otley Farmers Market

Shopping at Otley Farmers Market

All natural dog treat

Cooper ready for a treat from the Farmers Market!

giant yorkshire pudding filled with chips and gravy

My kinda grub….local ‘delicacy’ of giant yorkshire pudding filled with chips and gravy

Otley Folk Festival

Dancers outside the Court House Project for the Otley Folk Festival

Adam has joined the Otley Camera Club, which is celebrating its 75th year, and we’re hoping to find local dance classes and an archery club too. I’ve been loving all the gorgeous galleries in town, and there’s a Sunday car boot within walking distance, plus several more we can explore in the car. We’re looking forward to some upcoming events as well….there’s a science fair and beer festival very soon and a Victorian fair at Christmas, plus food festivals, arts events and all sorts in the new year. Oh, and we checked out the Vintage Transport Extravaganza too which was super!

Otley Old Grammar School gallery

Art this way, at The Old Grammar School gallery

Ice cream at the Otley car boot sale

Me with my ice cream at the car boot sale. There’s ice cream everywhere here!

Otley Vintage Transport Extravaganza

At the Otley Vintage Transport Extravaganza

We’re celebrating our first month here with a trip to the wonderful sounding vegetarian restaurant, The Cheerful Chilli, up on the Chevin tomorrow night….it’ll be such a treat to have so much to choose from for a change and I’m looking forward to trying it out! Then it’ll be more exploring for potential places for us to settle down in….the plan is to buy a place within the next year, so we want to get a flavour for where in Yorkshire should get to keep us!

That’s all for now, but I’m sure I’ll have lots to share about our new town soon. Have a lush weekend!

Ems x

About these ads

Twelfth Night

That’s it. All over again for another year.

I hate this bit. The Christmas come-down. Yesterday was spent packing away the decorations, finishing off the festive treats and generally de-Christmassing the place. So sad.

I thought though to help perk me up a bit, I’d look back over the Christmas snaps I took. Here’s how I spent the last couple of weeks…..

20140106-181050.jpg

Our tree in all its glory!

20140106-181041.jpg

I was also allowed a second tree this year….for all my tacky decorations!

20140106-181101.jpg

I wrapped gifts in pretty bright colours this year, labelled with my new label maker and finished off with all-important glitter tape!

20140106-181111.jpg

Gifts for our friends ready ahead of our annual Christmas party.

20140106-181228.jpg

We made extremely yummy Sloe chocolate for friends, made from the sloes we used in last year’s gin and this year’s port! Boozy!

20140106-181821.jpg

We added home made Cinnamon and Frankinsence vodkas to the chocolate, and topped off with a home stitched tree decoration, they became our little Christmas mini-hampers this year.

20140106-181132.jpg

Hitchin got a German style Christmas market this year, but I was disappointed they didn’t have Lebkuchen or Kartoffelpuffer!

20140106-181829.jpg

We made up for that slightly by drinking lots of lush Gluhwein in the mugs we got at the Christkindlmarkts in Vienna last year!

20140106-181835.jpg

And of course, MUCH chocolate was consumed. Including this smug looking Milky Bar Kid.

20140106-181144.jpg

My Mummy came to visit over Christmas, as did Adam’s parents, eldest brother and sister in law. The dogs enjoyed the extra attention no end!

20140106-181153.jpg

Father Christmas made a HUGE delivery to our house!

20140106-181202.jpg

My haul! And it was the first Christmas I didn’t have to wish for a puppy!

Hope you had a fabulously festive time too!

Ems x

Tuesday Tutorial: Jewellery Picture Frames

photo (5)

I actually first made these to display my jewellery in at a pop-up shop I was exhibiting in, but once I’d brought them home I thought they’d just be perfect for keeping my own collection all tidy! I have a beautiful big jewellery box, and a big hat box that’s crammed with jewellery too, but despite all that my things invariably end up strewn across the fireplace in the bedroom!

photo (6)

I have my flavours of the month, then they get buried underneath the next favoured few, and before too long I’ve forgotten what I have! This way though I get to show off several pieces at once, keep them all de-tangled and then just swap them back into the jewellery box when I want a change!

photo (7)

These are super easy to make, and only took me moments. They’re cheap to put together too (I made them using bits and bobs I already had at home!) and don’t take any special skills!

What you will need:

  • Picture frames (broken, or with the glass and backing removed)
  • Pencil
  • Ruler or tape measure
  • Small cup hooks
  • Drawing pins
  • String
  • Mini pegs
  • A bradawl tool, if you have one, or something sharp and pointy if not! (Please be careful!!)
  • White tack or picture nails

How to make:

1. Along the top edge of your tallest frame, measure the inside edge and mark out where you’d like each hook to go using the pencil

2. Using the bradawl, start off a hole at each mark

3. Screw your hooks into the holes, ensuring they all end up facing the same way

photo (4)

4. Along each side edge of another frame, measure out and mark with a pencil where you’d like a string to cross, leaving a good 5cm in between each

5. Push a drawing pin into each mark

6. Tie string across and between each set of drawing pins

7. Attach pegs to the strings

photo (2)

8. Now they’re ready to go on the wall, either suspended on nails or just attached with white tack (like mine!)

9. Hang long necklaces from the hooks, and rings, brooches etc. from the pegs

photo (1)

10. Stand back and admire your work!

Ems x

photo (3)

Catching up: July

I can’t believe it’s August already….it seems the summer is going by in a flash! July was just as much fun as June though, and it finally felt as though the real summer weather had arrived….

It all started with a most amazing wedding weekend up in Yorkshire. Two of our friends were getting hitched and rather than settle for just one day of frivolities, had planned an epic Wild West Weekend! We drove up on the Friday and dressed up Western style for the pre-wedding party, ate fish and chips for dinner and then went to bed in our very own Tipi!!!

Breakfast next morning was a lush barbecue, then we set about some sun bathing and a few jobs to set things up before we donned wedding attire and the lovely humanist ceremony took place. The whole thing was outside, which was made even more splendid by the astonishingly good weather. It was another barbecue for supper, as well as a bouncy castle, sumo wrestling, gladiator jousting and a live band to dance to. It has to have been one of the most thoughtful, personal and unique weddings I’ve ever been to (which is A LOT) and I just loved every minute of it.

20130716-222323.jpg

20130716-222344.jpg

July was the month for DIY and gardening…..I wanted everywhere to be as pretty as I could manage in time for our Engagement Party, and built two picnic tables (which also got painted white and had chintzy covers and cushions made specially for them) as well as getting the garden as colourful as possible! The party went wonderfully and it was gorgeous to have so many friends visit us to celebrate….even if it was a whole six months on from the actual engagement!

20130716-222438.jpg

20130716-222504.jpg

With the warmer weather came lots of lovely long dog walks, with lots of lovely wildlife to be found along the way too…..

20130716-222452.jpg

20130716-222531.jpg

The Hitchin Duck race took place in town and we went down to see them off…..it was a slow race though so we listened to the ending from the garden some twenty minutes later!

20130716-222542.jpg

Above all else, July was for spending time outdoors and enjoying the lush weather……

20130716-222549.jpg

Hope you’ve enjoyed the summer so far too!

Ems x

Something from the weekend…. A stunning wedding weekend in Austria

I bally love a good wedding. And so an entire weddingy weekend was just bliss. I was honoured to be be invited to our friends Katie and Peter’s wedding, and even more delighted that it was all taking in place in Austria! If you’ve read my last few posts you’ll know that I was lucky enough to take a holiday to Vienna in November for the Christmas markets, and I was only too happy to get back there in the sunnier weather…..

Friday started out a little stressful, as in taking a little holiday, we had to leave the pup for the first time! It was worse still because Adam’s mum, who would usually look after him for us, is away at the moment so he had to go to her friend…..she’s a long time dog owner and lover though and we got him used to her and her house over the last few weeks by going for walks together and visiting her cute little cottage. Still, I was a bit of a wreck and properly welled up as we left him, despite the fact that he was clearly very happy to be having a bit of a holiday of his own!

After dropping Cooper off, we made our way to the airport and had a nice leisurely journey to Vienna. We had a couple of hours to spare at the airport at that end, before the coach arrived to take us to the wedding venue, so we indulged in a nice big dinner….I love the food in Austria, and very happily yummed up a large helping of Wiener Schnitzel with parsley potatoes, as well as some excellent coffee…..there’s no pretence with Viennese food, but it’s all such great quality and so very tasty!

20130423-184032.jpg

20130423-184039.jpg

After a few more guests had arrived on a later flight, our little coach took us south towards Graz, to the little village of Bad Waltersdorf where the wedding venue is. We made the journey fun by taking along some very sweet fizzy wine and lots of sweets, and so it didn’t seem too long a journey at all. We were taken directly to the Schloß Obermayerhofen and walked through the castle grounds up to the idyllic little chalet at the top of the hill. The Gaisrieglhof is a 250 year old farmhouse from nearby Pöllau, rebuilt here and used for the traditional pre-wedding gathering. Some guests had dressed in the traditional national dress, including the beautiful bride, and there were traditional musicians playing and wearing wonderful lederhosen! It was lovely to have a little pre-wedding catch up with everyone and drink a couple of glasses of the delicious local wine after our journey!

20130423-184045.jpg

20130423-184053.jpg

After our long day prior, we enjoyed a bit of a lie in on the Saturday morning and spent most of the day getting ready for the wedding in the afternoon. It was great fun getting ready with some of Adam’s lovely old school friends, and at 2pm we all took a taxi up to the Schloß from our hotel to start the celebrations. We were greeted by lovely cold drinks and yummy nibbles as part of the Agape feast, and before long watched the stunning Katie walk down from her room. We moved through to the pretty meadow behind the castle, where a cute gazebo surrounded by chairs was set up for the civil part of the wedding….it was beautiful to be out in the open air and the weather was certainly kind! There was a Catholic ceremony after that, in the gorgeous Baroque chapel, then music and fizz out on the castle’s terrace as the couple had lots of photos taken.

The wedding breakfast took place in another of the castle’s incredible rooms, and we were treated to an exceptionally good dinner (asparagus soup with herb dumplings, wild garlic ravioli, crusted lamb and a trio of chocolate desserts!) alongside some wonderful local wines. The speeches were all very funny and touching, and after dinner the happy couple took to the floor for a very impressive tango for their first dance.

20130423-184123.jpg

We whiled away the night chatting, drinking and dancing, and having a lovely time in great company. There was a midnight feast of gulaschsuppe (possibly my favourite thing we ate on the whole trip and absolutely divine!) and so we were very contented indeed when we finally got to our beds.

20130423-184113.jpg

After breakfast and checkout on Sunday morning, another coach took us back to Vienna airport where we dropped off our bags and then made our way into the Vienna Mitte to spend a few hours before our flight home. We’d not managed to visit the popular Zanoni Eis gelateria when we were there last, so that was an obvious choice….. we were a little overwhelmed by the masses of flavours though, but did finally manage to choose six different scoops to fill a nice large tub with (nutella, melon, pistachio, strawberry, coffee and chocolate!). They were all super-yum, but the melon was a definite favourite, and the treat was very welcome in the city heat!

20130423-184150.jpg

20130423-184142.jpg

We had a little mooch around the city after that, going back to the fun clock in the town and also heading back to the wonderful Cafe Pruckel next to the Stadtpark…..we yummed up very naughty iced coffees that were drowning in cream and chocolate! We walked off the treats round the sunny park, and then slowly made our way back to the airport for the flight home.

20130423-184129.jpg

20130423-184158.jpg

We were lucky enough to catch a lift home with some other friends who’d taken the same flight, so our journey wasn’t too arduous. Still, we were pretty exhausted when we got back and flaked out almost immediately. The house didn’t feel like home though until our precious pup was delivered back to us on Monday morning….I’d missed him so terribly and despite having had a wonderful little holiday of his own and loving all the attention from his new friends, he seemed delighted to see us too!

Hope you had a lovely sunny weekend too!

Ems x

How To…. Transform a nasty dresser into a nice dresser

20130226-141801.jpg

You may have heard me going on about the dresser we’ve been transforming for our kitchen, and I’m so pleased with the results that I thought I’d share how we did it here.

We bought a very orangey-varnished dresser for the kitchen from a local-pick-up Ebay seller last year, and although it’s a nice shape and size, it looked very dated in its finish. So, we decided we’d give it a make over, to make it brighter and fresher, and here’s how…..

What you will need:

  • Your dresser or other piece of furniture
  • Fine grade sand paper (an orbital or palm sander makes it easier if you can get one!)
  • Lots of scrap paper or newspaper
  • Masking tape
  • Wide and narrow brushes
  • White (or any colour for that matter) DURABLE kitchen-friendly paint (we used Wilkinsons Durable emulsion)
  • Tester pots in contrasting shades for handles (we used Wilkinsons emulsion tester pots in pastel shades)
  • Satin finish durable varnish
  • A piece of dowel for stirring the paint and varnish
  • Sugar soap
  • Rubber gloves
  • Protective goggles and mask (wear these all the time you’re sanding and preferably when you’re painting too!)
  • A clean cleaning cloth

How to do it:

  1. Prepare the area you’re going to work in by ensuring you have good ventilation, your piece of furniture is free from any obstacles, and any other furniture or belongings are covered in newspaper to protect them from saw dust and paint. Also remove any handles etc. and take off the doors and drawers to make them easier to paint separately.
  2. Decide which areas of the furniture you want to paint and which you want to leave as exposed wood, and put on your goggles and mask.
  3. Sand the entire piece, just roughly all over, so that the first layer of old varnish or paint is roughened. This level of sanding will suffice for all the areas you want to paint.
  4. For the bits you want to leave as exposed wood, continue sanding until all the old varnish or paint has gone, and you are left with a nice smooth surface and a more natural colour.
  5. Now mask off these areas you want to keep un-painted with newspaper, sticking this down carefully to the edges with masking tape so that none of the not-to-be-painted surface is exposed, but all of the areas to be painted are exposed.
  6. Wearing your rubber gloves, pour a little sugar soap onto the cloth and clean away the dust from the sanding, so that your to-be-painted surfaces are nice and clean. You’ll need to wipe over a few times with water too, in order to get rid of the soapiness.
  7. Now you can finally start to paint! Don’t forget to stir the paint pot well before starting!
  8. It’s better to paint three or four very thin coats as opposed to one or two thicker ones, as you’ll get a better finish and the paint job will be less prone to chipping. Use a narrower brush to get into all the nooks and crannies and corners, then a bigger brush to fill the larger areas.
  9. Let the paint dry THOROUGHLY in between each coat….it’s hard to be patient but the finish will be much better if you are!
  10. Keep painting thin coats all over the piece until you have a good coverage, then leave it to VERY THOROUGHLY dry before carefully removing the masking tape and newspaper.
  11. Now you can clean the un-painted surfaces with the sugar soap, and get on with the little details.
  12. Lightly sand the handles and clean them with sugar soap.
  13. Then paint each one in your chosen colour, again in several thin coats, waiting for each coat to dry in between.
  14. Once those are dry, stir your pot of varnish well, then take a small brush and thinly coat each handle with the varnish. Again, you’re likely to need around three thin coats.
  15. Once the varnish is dry, replace the handles and doors and drawers, then fill up your dresser with pretties, sit back and admire your hand work!

All in, our dresser cost less than £100, including the piece itself and all the painting things. A bit of a bargain I think and well worth the effort! So much so in fact, that we’ve already done our kitchen table to match (with exposed wood top and white legs) and we’re planning on painting the chairs in the pretty pastel shades of the dresser handles!

Hope this is useful and you enjoy your project!

Ems x

20130226-141724.jpg

20130226-141740.jpg

20130226-141732.jpg

20130226-141752.jpg

Something from the weekend, the week before, and a good few weeks before that….

Yes, it’s true, I’ve shamelessly neglected you for weeks again. But as usual, I’m going to offer an excuse…..or even a few!

Starting where I left off…..the penultimate weekend in January to be exact…. we had a wonderful Friday night in after I got home early from work due to all the snow. I love feeling all cosy and warm inside the house when it’s all chilly outside! As we were still to finish the final few coats of paint on the Welsh Dresser we’d been transforming, we spent some time on that so that we could well and truly finish it on Saturday!

20130218-181524.jpg

Our snowy garden

We got up at a reasonable hour on the Saturday (scoffing Belgian waffles and home made banana ice cream for breakfast) then made our way into town to run some errands. Once back, we set about making the final touches to the dresser, cleaning it and taking off all the masking tape. It looks really good….a total transformation, and well worth all the effort.

Then we got engaged! Adam asked for my hand on Saturday 19th January, which I’ve already posted about in a bit more detail!

We decided initially to keep the news to ourselves, until we’d worked out how we wanted to go about telling everyone. So, we kept quiet and headed as planned to Adam’s Mum’s for dinner. We sat down to watch Gavin and Stacey afterwards with her, giving each other knowing glances and smirking to ourselves when the engagement and wedding bits were happening!

We popped back around there on Sunday morning, as we both had a craving for proper toast, and nothing makes it better than Adam’s Mum’s Aga! We took a walk around town after that, enjoying the fairly deep snow. We enjoyed it so much in fact that we headed straight into the back garden on our return to build a snowman! He was rather marvelous I think, and wore a top hat and mirrored aviators. We made sure the birds had plenty to eat and drink in the snow, then came back indoors to warm up and set about feeding ourselves……we’d bought everything to make Jamie Oliver’s Mountain Meatballs for dinner and they were a fabulous success!

20130218-181601.jpg

Our handsome snowman!

20130218-181624.jpg

Treats for the birds

Monday continued to be eventful, as we finally got the go ahead to have dogs! Our landlords had been a bit funny about our request, saying we could only have one and that it couldn’t be a rescue dog initially. But sense prevailed in the end, and we were permitted to have up to two dogs of our own choosing! We celebrated with a trip to our local pub for dinner…. A trip which doubled as our first ‘Wedding Summit’! I’d been pretty reserved until then, but it wasn’t long before I’d bought my first wedding magazine and began making notes about guest numbers and budgets with a slightly nervous Adam! Once we’d started to get our ideas sorted though, we decided we’d tell everyone, and so started that task by going to tell Adam’s parents, with a bottle of fizz in hand! They were delighted for us of course, and so were the rest of the family when we called to tell them later!

And not wanting to stop with all the good news and fun goings on, we next arranged for our home check in order to start the process of fostering for the local Greyhound Rescue! The lovely Gulie and her gorgeous hound Frodo came over on Thursday to check we were suitable fosterers, and signed us up right away! I couldn’t believe how fast it had all happened and began to get more excited still about the prospect of our having a dog very soon!

Friday being Burns Night, we used the excuse to invite our friend Hannah over for a Burns Supper, and to tell her our news. She too was delighted and excited, and we had a lovely evening eating haggis, drinking whisky, and chatting.

On Saturday morning we made our way into London and to Hatton Garden, in search of an engagement ring for me. We’d been looking at lots online, especially Art Deco ones on Etsy, but I’d decided I rather wanted to see it in the flesh before deciding! So, we stalked around the jewellery district, snooping in all the jewellery shop windows, and for a long time I thought we were going to leave disappointed. I’d checked before we went that there were some antique jewellery dealers there, but all of the shops seemed to be full of new, more modern stuff. After not too long though we found the most marvelous antique jewellery shop, and once I’d tried on near a dozen rings (all very different!) I quickly narrowed my choice down and decided on a gorgeous diamond cluster ring from the 1950s.

20130218-181800.jpg

The ‘bling’

I had to leave it behind unfortunately, to have it reduced down to fit me, but I was consoled by a meet up with dear friends Richard and Tara who live just around the corner from the jewellery quarter. We shared with them our news, and went off for a yummy lunch at the Long Room to celebrate. We enjoyed a rather mammoth sharing board of salt beef with pickles and lovely breads, as well as some of their delicious beers and ciders. We carried on drinking, celebrating further back at their flat, before making our way back to King’s Cross and home.

20130218-181723.jpg

Lush salt beef board at The Long Room

Adam especially was feeling rather jaded on the Sunday morning, as a result of his trying the entirety of Richard’s whisky collection, so we had a really long lie in (long enough to miss out on the market even!) then decided to head to our local greasy spoon for a very welcome pick-me-up brunch of cheese omelettes. We pottered about town a bit after that, then came home to slob about and start getting excited over wedding ideas on Pinterest, before snuggling up on the sofa to continue watching the X Files.

The following week I spent a couple of days at the office of the not-for-profit I’m working on some events for at the moment, as well as doing some networking at the local ‘Cuppa Connect’ coffee morning, and going back into London to collect my ring. It certainly felt funny wearing it for those first few days, but I soon got used to it, and enjoyed sharing photos of it with everyone as we announced our engagement properly.

20130218-181829.jpg

Gorgeous flowers to celebrate our engagement from Hannah P!

On the Wednesday I received a call from the re-homing officer at the Greyhound Rescue, asking us if we could take in a young hound who was due over from Ireland the next day…..he had been found as a stray and had been hit by a car which badly broke his pelvis! He was on the mend enough though to make the journey over, and to get further care from GRWE.

We excitedly accepted, and by Thursday afternoon we were looking after the gorgeous Cooper, a ten month old fawn Lurcher. He very quickly won me over, although I was quite proud of my disciplining skills (as was a surprised Adam!). I’ll write more about Cooper (alongside some of the hundreds of photos I took of him!) as I promised myself I’d write a post to remember each foster dog we have….but suffice to say that by the Saturday I was totally smitten with the adorable hound, and was rather relieved that he had a potential home as of the Sunday, so he’d be gone before I had even more chance to want to keep him!

20130218-181906.jpg

Coops settling in

20130218-181951.jpg

Out on his first walk with me!

We set off on the Sunday morning with a chipper Cooper, just a few minutes’ walk from us, where we met the Greyhound Rescue gang for a big walk. There were a good dozen or so hounds there, as well as lots of other fosterers and adopters. We also soon met the family who hoped to take Cooper, and they spent time walking with him to see how he liked them and their existing Greyhound, Indi. Cooper of course won them over, although they were concerned at how well he would keep up with Indi and their three young children, owing to his still healing pelvis. So, we invited everyone back to our place so that the dogs and children could play together off leads in our garden. Cooper was wonderful, and so enjoyed playing and running about with Indi, so after we filled in all the adoption paperwork, we said a sad goodbye to Cooper and watched him walk away with his new family (still looking over his shoulder for us!).

No sooner had the front door closed and I was in floods of tears! I had thought I’d stand up much better to the fostering process, but I was so in love with little Cooper that I wanted to keep him for myself! I knew in my heart we’d really helped him out and that he was going to a great forever-home, but the selfish part of me just wanted him to stay with us. I was crying about him for days afterwards in fact, which resulted in our reviewing the idea of fostering. In the end, we decided that we’d look into adopting a dog of our own, then potentially fostering a second further down the line. I was relieved that I wouldn’t have to go through such a dreadful goodbye again and soon became excited about finding our very own pooch!

20130218-182136.jpg

Consolation prize….chocolate pick-me-up to help with Cooper’s departure!

So, the following Saturday we drove up to Wood Green Animal Shelter, where Adam’s family had adopted pets from before, to see if there was a dog there who wanted us to take them home. We met the lovely Sandy, a beautiful Bull cross with stacks of energy….she enjoyed her walk with us and with Adam’s Mum’s dogs Newton and Piper, but when it came to ensuring they were ok together off-lead she was just too bouncy and poor Newton especially got rather upset. We next met a rather smaller and less boystous dog called Hugo. A Corgi, Jack Russell cross, he was quite charming, but we didn’t get the ‘fireworks’ we knew we’d feel when the right dog bounded up to us. So, we left without a new house mate, but having learnt a bit more about what we wanted and needed in a dog.

20130218-182219.jpg

Beautiful and bouncy little Sandy, on a rare non-bouncy moment

On the Sunday we looked a bit more into other places we could find a dog in need of a home, and started to send out some enquiries. We also painted our pine kitchen table (just the legs) to match our newly painted dresser, as well as painting the door handles on the latter in pretty pastel shades. It’s great to see it all finished now….the next task is for more comfy chairs which we want to paint in matching pastel shades!

20130218-182244.jpg

I took a cupcake decorating class a couple of weeks ago too…will share all the proper photos soon!

Last week was filled with more work at the office, as well as my running an event just over the road at the British Schools Museum. I spent some more time working on my new online vintage shop too, as well as my new site for my wedding planning business….I’ll have some proper updates for you on those soon! We also did a little more wedding planning, and actually had a meeting with our caterer to discuss ideas for the menu.

20130218-182029.jpg

We ate LOTS of pancakes for dinner on Shrove Tuesday!

On Friday night, Adam’s mum and I made up another batch of the yummy Mountain Meatballs, which we served up at a dinner with some of her friends. Then on Saturday we drove the little distance to the English Birds of Prey Centre, where we took in the falconry experience. It was a wonderful afternoon out…I’ll post more about it soon when I’ve uploaded all the photos!

20130218-182112.jpg

An Eagle Owl we made friends with on Saturday

On Sunday we got up at a reasonable hour for a packed day….we first walked around the car boot sale at our nearby market, then went along to Jolly Brown’s wonderful Rummage Sale, which was full of wonderful vintage treasures. Next, we made our way to The Priory, a local wedding venue, where they were hosting a wedding fair. I’d lured Adam there on the promise of cake and ice cream samples, and he sure yummed up a few! There were some great suppliers there, although because we’ve got such a strong idea of what we want at our wedding, it was most useful just to get some new suppliers for my local wedding planning.

20130218-182054.jpg

Choosing silk shades for my wedding dress

In the afternoon we finally managed to get rid of the extra spare bed we ended up with when upgrading ours….we had to wrap up the mattress in plastic and tie it onto the ladders on top of Adam’s Dad’s car, and carry some of the bigger bits of the frame around to their house where they’re going to put it in the spare room. After that we deserved a rest, so the remainder of the afternoon was spent relaxing and on more wedding discussions, before we settled down on the sofa for the evening to watch Jurassic Park.

So, it’s been a busy old few weeks, and despite my unscheduled rest, I’m very keen to get into the swing of my regular posts again. I have a load in my head that I want to tell you about, so watch this space!

Ems x

Wednesday Wants….a super quick round up of my latest Etsy favourites

Sorry! Can’t stop! Crazy week of adventures going on! Will tell you about it later!

To keep you busy in the mean time, here are some of my latest ‘wants’ taken from my recent Etsy favourites……

Make a wish upon a star... Tiny enamel gold star necklace - Delicate Jewelry -

Make a wish upon a star… Tiny enamel gold star necklace by Little Me’s, £8.63 each (although I’m gonna need one in each colour!)

Colorful in bed. Pajamas sleeping shorts (Clothing lingerie panties)

Colorful in bed…… Stripey sleeping shorts by Di’Soro, £16.19 (I’ll have to wait til it warms up a little though!)

Sweet Tooth…. Gold Bracelet by Jack and Hazel Store, £10.33

UNICORN and RAINBOW necklace, GEMMA Correll Illustration, eco-friendly silver. Handcrafted by Chocolate and Steel

Over the rainbow….. Unicorn pendant by Chocolate and Steel, £37.57 (I will never grow up!)

Large Butterfly Mobile, Paper, Art,  Hanging, 3D, Nursery Decor, Baby, Baby Shower, Girls Room

Take flight….. Paper butterfly mobile by Simply Chic Lilly, £48.58 (my home studio just won’t be complete without this)

SALE Japanese Washi Masking Tape -  Red hearts in Clouds 10m

Hearts in the clouds…. Washi tape by Cinderella, £1.94 for 10m (that’s 10m of joy!)

Women's Bird Top Handmade Grey Cotton Jersey Vest Tunic Tank Top

Someday I’ll fly away…. Hand made cotton vest by Baggy Fitted, £21 (is that little bow to die for or what?!)

GRACE. Leather ballet flats. Womens flat shoes. US 5-14 sizes.

Made for walking…..Grace leather flats by Elf Elf, £64.87 (I could make believe it was summer in these)

Happy browsing!

Ems x

More Valentines Cards now in my Etsy shop!

I know I’ve already posted about Valentine’s cards, and that it is still a little way off, but I thought you may like to see the new Valentine’s cards I’m now selling on my Etsy Shop. My ‘Love Is….’ vintage Panini sticker cards have sold pretty well already, but I wanted to paint some romantic designs more in keeping with the cards I made for Christmas last year. The result is these rather kitch, lovey-dovey designs……

Flamingos In Love, Valentine's Card, print from original watercolour

Swans In Love, Valentine's Card, print from original watercolour

I have drawn and painted in watercolour these elegant swans and pretty flamingos, whose slender necks make the shape of a heart! I think they are wonderfully whimsical and rather cute!

I have made the designs into Valentine’s cards, but am also selling A4 size prints of the drawings, as well as the original paintings…. I think they’d make just as good a gift for someone’s home as a Valentine’s card…. and of course they work just as well for anniversaries and special occasions too!

Each card is printed in high resolution on high quality, thick 350gsm art card from FSC credited paper stock. There is a light satin coating on the outside, whilst the inside is left un-coated, making it easier for you to write your own message. Each card measures 4.13″ x 5.82″ / 105mm x 148mm and includes a good quality matte white envelope. They are available now in my Etsy Shop for $5.00 / £3.23 each.

Hope you like them!

Ems x

Living for the weekend….dealing with the post Christmas blues

That sky is grey again. And it’s all cold out there (and not in a Christmassy-winter-wonderland way). Still, the weekend is already here, and so I’ve been thinking of ways to fill it with fun stuff to take my mind off the fact it’s no longer Christmas. (Yes, I *am* still talking about Christmas, sorry)…..

Planning for the year

January is always full of the dulls. Everyone is shattered after the festivities, low on funds, and trying to catch up and get back to normal. But I find that there’s nothing like having something to look forward to to cheer me up, so I’ve been enjoying making lots of plans. I’ve bought tickets, made bookings, and started organising fun adventures to keep me busy and excited for the months to come. Get your diaries out!

20130111-180919.jpg

DIY Projects

With all the Christmas decorations gone, I know I’m looking forward to sprucing up the house a bit and starting work on some little DIY projects I’ve been planning. We have a Welsh dresser to sand and paint, and a few little tables and plant stands that I want to make-over. It’s a cheap and fun way to spend time, and you get the reward of something pretty to brighten your home at the end of it!

Bring in the Spring!

I don’t know about you, but I’m aching for the new season already! I’m bored of the cold and grey, and I want to see the Spring flowers come up. I’ve instigated this ahead of schedule by buying some lovely stocks to brighten up and scent the house…they look great in the Moomin Papa hat vase that I got for Christmas!

20130111-180927.jpg

Baking and Cooking

I know that every other person is on some kind of diet or detox, but I firmly believe that in order not to go cold turkey, you need to slowly wind down from the festive gluttony. I’m still not used to *not* having a pudding after every meal (yes, including breakfast) and being surrounded by naughty treats. And so to ween myself off, and hopefully shed a few of the holiday pounds, I think it’s only sensible to get doing some good home cooking and baking. You’re more in control when you make it yourself, so you can start to think more healthy and reduce portions, whilst still technically treating yourself and avoiding going into complete withdrawal! I have had some success with new recipes, including making French Onion soup for the first time in years….yum!

20130111-184952.jpg

Check on those resolutions!

It’s not too late to revise them, so have another look at whatever list you may have made and think about how realistic it all is. If you’re getting on well, well done you! If not so much, there’s no shame in re-working your list….you’ll do better for it in the end! I have done OK so far…..I have started getting myself sorted by way of a spider diagram (LOVE THEM), as well as playing around with the new pop-up studio Adam gave me for Christmas to help with my photography!

20130111-180935.jpg

20130111-180943.jpg

Go for a walk

I’d much rather kick off the new year with a nice country walk than a fad diet or detox. It’s far more fun and much easier to stick with too! The weather has been pretty gruesome all told, but the rain seems to be staying away rather more at the minute so why not take a nice long stroll this weekend? Extra points for finding a pub lunch along your way!

Whatever you get up to, I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Happy adventuring,

Ems x