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

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Wednesday Wants…. Totes Amazing

I’ve had a thing about bags for as long as I can remember. I recall as a child I’d blow any money I had on a new purse or bag at the first opportunity….and with all my money spent I’d have nothing to put into it! The ‘problem’ once got so bad that I had to limit myself to buying just one bag a month!

I’ve rather curbed the habit since then, favouring buying ‘investment’ bags to last me forever, and I’m currently in the process of streamlining my collection (I have a walk in wardrobe dedicated to accessories and it could do with a tidy up!). I do think though that you REALLY can’t have too many tote bags. They pack down flat, they’re inexpensive, last well, don’t mind being chucked in the washing machine and are infinitely useful to keep around. I have a big one filled with lots of others, and they’re just perfect for using for supermarket shops, throwing parcels and purse in when going to the post office, and for carrying lunches and documents to the office.

I also think tote bags are a rather wonderful way of buying into a new trend you like, your new favourite style, or just to show off your love for dogs or knitting or whatever. The nicest ones in my opinion are the pretty illustrated ones by independent designers, and I do love to carry a piece of artwork around with me!

Koala Screen Print Tote by Depeapa, £14.11 on Etsy, via Craft Gawker

How could you not feel cheered on a shopping trip with this fellow on your arm?! I love a Warly Bear (or Koala Bear if you prefer) and this chap is so charming with his smart yellow jumper!

Rob Ryan Canvas Shopper by Wild and Wolf, £7.50 on sale from £14.95 via Bloomsbury & Co

I actually have this one and I love it! I fell in love with the design when I visited the Ryantown shop on Columbia Road, and the bag itself makes me smile each time I look at it….I think it’s a rather apt saying for me! It’s a good size with a gusset bottom and a little zipped pocket inside, plus it’s a really sturdy, heavy canvas….a total bargain at the sale price!

Dachsund Tote Bag by Jeff Josephine Designs, £10 on Folksy

I adore this little guy! He reminds me a lot of my Digby hound, with his little Queen Anne legs! I am crazy about his striped scarf too!

‘Bad Mother Knitter’ Bag by Kelly Connor Designs, £13.75 via Not on the High Street

Hehehe! I love a pun, and a shiny gold print….. not to mention knitting! This one would be super cute to collect all your yarns and knitting pins together in!

Tipsy Badger Tote by Sophie Parker, £12 on Etsy, via Boys with Banjos

This badger knows how to live! Look at his shorts! I love this guy, and I have a certain badger-mad friend who will go crazy for this I’m sure…. especially as she’s partial to a glass of vino too!

‘Ignition’ Illustrated Rabbit tote by Gallons of Ink, £6 on Etsy

Pretty sure this one is my favourite….there’s something about the juxtaposition of these cutesy little bunnies and the innuendo-filled R&B lyrics of R Kelly’s ‘Ignition.’ So much fun!

How about you? Are you bag mad? Do you have a stash of totes for running errands with and cramming treasures in?

Ems x

Wednesday Wants: Strangely Yours on Etsy

I’m always finding gorgeous things as I browse Etsy…..lovely new shops, unique gifts and clever products that capture my imagination. It’s not that often though that I find a shop FULL of very, very *me* things….

Strangely Yours though is very much my cup of tea. Wonderfully whimsical, imaginative and exciting, each darling piece of jewellery would sit happily amongst my collection. I adore the etched wood, the clever compartments and secrets….these designs remind me of my childhood when hidden messages and secret stashing places were the stuff of my daydreams. Not that they’re not still!

Here are six of my favourites from the charming Etsy shop…..

Polaroid Camera Locket, £22.56

“This retro little camera has a tiny film that slides in and out, making it look like your photos are really developing! If you are an avid Polaroid taker or instagrammer, this wooden camera makes an awesome accessory! Proudly display your best photo, or a special occasion in the space of the black square. Laser cut from wood, the “flim” is made from white & black acrylic, with a gold mirror for a lens.”

Personalised ‘Message in a tree’ Necklace, £16.70

“Like lovers scratching their names into the bark of unsuspecting trees with their keys, vandalize the poor trees no more! Now you can carve a special date, name or message into the hollow of your very own secret tree! A little slide up door shields your messages from prying eyes. Etch the date of your anniversary, or lover’s names. Maybe you have words of encouragement to give to someone, or perhaps a personal motto that keeps you going. Either way this little stump is your very own private hollow!”

How adorable would this be as a wedding gift?! (*Hints to her Groom*)

Bow and Arrow Layered Necklaces, £15.41

“A minimalistic bow and arrow pairing. Both arrow and bow are individual necklaces that look great layered together, or each on its own! Etched with geometric markings on wood, these lovelies are then hand painted. Gold rings accents are added for a tribal style with a single gold feather paired with the arrow.”

Having just completed my beginners archery course, I feel this would be a rather apt treat to myself!

‘The Collector’ Wooden Crate Locket, £16.70

“Little crate lockets you can really keep stuff in. If you’re the sort to pick up small bones & pebbles on long walks, or maybe some pretty glass found on the beach, this unique little locket is a cool way to hold your secret finds!Its also a great way to hide little surprises.. pop a small photo inside, or a meaningful note. If you are forgetful like we are, a folded grocery list, or just some change for bus fare. Whatever the reason, these little crates are are sure to be a conversation starter. Choose from a few phrases to fit your purpose. “Fragile/Caution/Radioactive/Top secret/Do not feed” or engrave your own custom text! These miniature crates are hand crafted in our home studio. Each piece is unique and will have its own variations in coloring and distress markings just like a real crate!”

I just adore these….and I am totally the kind of person who picks up bits and bobs on walks!

Personalised Vintage Sewing Machine Necklace, £22.56

“A beautiful rustic sewing machine modeled after a vintage Singer. Cut from solid cherry wood and engraved with detailed floral flourishes, it features a tiny spool that has been threaded with real thread, a wheel that really spins, and a tiny gold needle! Sew cute! And as added bonus, personalize “The Seamstress” with a name instead.”

What a gorgeous gift idea for a crafty sewer!

Woodlands Secret Locket Necklace, £22.56

“An adorable handcrafted piece, stash away your secret finds with this little locket! 2 squirrels holding an acorn stand atop the headpiece with a whimsically victorian motif. The little key works as the latch, pop the key and open the tiny doors! This miniature locket is fully functional and just like some closets, can hold a few skeletons!”

If I had to choose just one thing from this amazing collection, it would be this. So imaginative, charming and whimsical….love love love!!!

I want it allllll!!!!

Ems x

My NOT ON THE HIGH STREET shop is now officially open!

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It’s here! How exciting!

I now have a very professional looking shop open with NOT ON THE HIGH STREET!

You can find the shop here, which is full of my vintage stamp jewellery….it’s all hand made by me and every piece is totally unique! Look out for more treasure going onto the shop soon though….I intend to launch my treasure charm necklaces there very soon!

Hope you like!

Ems x

Something from the weekend: Treasure hunting, archery and more gardening

I do love it when the weekend starts early, and it certainly did this week! My dear friend Vixie came to visit Hitchin on Friday and we happily spent the entire day moseying around together! We hit the Antiques and Collectables market hard…spending hours there in fact! Then it was to the local vintage shops and charity shops until we were all shopped out! We both came away with lots of fabulous treasures and it was so lovely to catch up with her.

On Saturday morning we took a drive out to Chick Sands for a lovely long morning walk with the hounds….it was a beautifully crisp and bright morning and I do love exploring that place! Once home we scoffed belgian waffles for breakfast and then I spent some time in the garden, readying it for winter!

In the afternoon we set off to nearby Knebworth where we were having the first archery lesson of our beginners course! The course was a gift for Adam’s birthday and lasts four days. It’s with a great local club called the Green Dragon Bowmen (how cool is THAT?!) and they shoot right out front of the stunning Knebworth House. We started with a warm up and then the very basic techniques, just shooting at paper plates to begin with! After tea and biscuits we carried on freestyle shooting, with some great teachers who are members of the club. We had an amazing time and soon saw some progress….as well getting rather achey to boot!

We spent the evening relaxing in front of the telly, watching Buffy after a naughty dinner of pizza….a much needed rest after the day’s adventures!

Sunday morning saw another lovely walk over at Radwell, then it was back home to do some housey things before heading back to Knebworth for our second class. We progressed to proper targets this time, and further away too….my first few arrows didn’t even make it far enough, let alone hit a good place on the target! Still, with more help from our great teachers, we carried on progressing, and by the end of the day Adam was looking like a proper archer and getting some really impressive shots!

It had rained on us during our lessons so we were keen to warm up back at home with a cup of tea before heading back out again to walk the dogs. Adam’s Mum had been gardening for us whilst hound sitting so it was great to see what she’d been up to too! We now have a large new flower bed to play with, and soon will be able to grow veggies there!

Our afternoon walk saw lots of pretty rainbows and great skies, then it was back home to indulge in a take away curry as we were too shattered to cook! It was more vegging out after that, then very soon to sleep after a super tiring weekend!

Ems x

New items in my Etsy shop!… The Capy Collection

Just thought I’d update you about some new items I have up on my Etsy shop for sale now! I’ve been drawing Capybaras for ages now, as they are Adam’s absolute favourite, but when a friend told me I should really try to sell them I wasn’t sure how popular they’d be! It seems though that lots of people also think that capybaras are truly amazing, so they’ve gone down very well so far!

I’ll be making lots more capybara-based treasure before too long I’m sure, but in the meantime, here is my Capy Collection…..

‘Capybaras in Love’ Espresso Cup and Saucer Pair, £35

‘Monsieur le Capybara’ Pint Mug, £15

‘Mr and Mrs Capybara’ Salt and Pepper Shaker Set, £15

‘Partybara’ ‘Capyccino’ Cup and Saucer, £15

Hope you like!
Ems x

Something from the weekend….Foraging, gardening, making and treasure hunting

I had such a lovely weekend! The weather really does help of course, and all the sunshine hours make such a difference!

I spent a lot of the weekend gardening….the front garden has been transformed after many hours of hard work and is benefitting from having been totally dug over and filled with plants! I can’t wait to see it all bloom, although I guess I have to wait til Spring for that. Still, it looks better already and has tidied up the front of the house no end.

We did some great foraging too…..we picked loads of blackberries and elderberries from the local common, as well as some sweet pea pods and honeysuckle berries I’ll be planting for next year. We also raided the back garden, and came back indoors with stacks of apples, more blackberries and greengages too. There is a medlar tree that is also looking rather full, but I think we have to leave those a little longer before harvesting them.

We spent an absolute age rinsing the elderberries, plucking them off their stalks, rinsing them again and then bottling them….I hope it’s going to be worth it! We made one bottle of elderberry schnapps and one bottle of spiced elderberry liqueur….can’t wait to try them! I made jam from the greengages, and it was probably my most successful yet….it tastes yummy and is the perfect consistency so I’ll have to share some tips soon!

As is traditional, we also visited the antiques market on Friday and the car boot sale on Sunday….I picked up some great treasures to use at the wedding and the place was really buzzing in the fine weather. It was also the crafts and  farmers market on Saturday, and we dawdled around there awhile, spotting some great new stalls too.

Other than that, it was a weekend of domesticity, relaxing, cooking endless amounts of marrow, walking the dogs and watching more Buffy. Bliss!

Here are a few photos from the weekend…..

Ems x

Wednesday Wants: Back to School with Not On The High Street

This week I got the very exciting news that I’ve been accepted to join Not On The High Street, and I’ll be opening up a little Under A Glass Sky shop there very soon! Naturally, I’ve been using this as an excuse to spend ages browsing this lovely site, snooping around and window shopping…..And what with it being that time of year (not to mention my stationery obsession) I’ve been very much led down the ‘Back To School’ path. And that’s despite not actually having been to school in some time now!

Still, a girl can still hanker after some fancy new stationery can’t she? Here’s my picks….

Personalised Pencil Case, by TILLYANNA, £8

Well this literally has my name all over it! And not only was this lovely pencil case clearly *made* for me, but it also stipulates it’s to carry my ‘creative kit’….which means I could fill it with all kinds of marvellous things!

Pack Of 12 Personalised Colouring Pencils, by ABLE LABELS, £6.50

And to fill that personalised pencil case? Why, a set of personalised pencils of course!

‘Stuff I’m Likely To Forget’ Notebook, by BREAD & JAM, £13.50

Another thing *clearly* made for me! I just have to keep list upon list, lest I forget where I’m coming from and what I’m doing. And there’s nowhere better to keep all those lists than a super cute note book like this one.

Personalised ‘From The Kitchen Of’ Stamp, by PRETTY RUBBER STAMPS, £12.50

I love stamping things. I used to have a self built toy post office as a child and would merrily stamp anything that sat still for long enough. This one would be great for home-baked gift giving….and you know, just anything that sits still long enough.

Rob Ryan For Alphabet Bags Initial Tote Bag, by ALPHABET BAGS, £16

Of course, one always needs a pretty new bag to carry one’s pretty new things in. I adore Rob Ryan and these initial book bags with his darling paper-cut initials on make me smile.

Bunny In The Field Paper Clip Holder, by KIKI’S GIFTS AND HOMEWARE, £15

And now for the pièce de réstistance…. I am just crazy about this little bunny rabbit! He cleverly gathers up all your paper clips, and he’s silly cute to boot. I want him on my desk this instant!

Are you allowing yourself any ‘Back to School’ time extravagances? What type of stationery really floats your boat?!

Do keep an eye out for my Not On The High Street shop….my vintage stamp jewellery should be live on there in a week or so!

Ems x

Wednesday Wants….Sompex Balloon Dog Lamps

They’re metallic. Love.

They’re balloons. Love.

And they’re DOGS. LOVE LOVE LOVE!

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I’m desperately hankering after one of these Sompex Balloon Dog Lamps on Fab.com at the moment. I adore Jeff Koons’ huge balloon dog sculptures, after which I’m sure these are based. And really anything shiny and dog-shaped is going to have my name written all over it. But which colour….?

They’re currently £85 on Fab.com which I don’t think is *too* bad for a rather wonderfully different lamp. Especially when it’s shiny and dog-shaped.

 

Ems x

Something from the weekend: Fudge, walks and White Russians

Another little whistle-stop tour of my weekend…..

Saturday:

Lie in due to headache….followed by a naughty breakfast of Staffordshire Oatcakes with cheese and bacon…into town after that, to buy eggs from the farmers market as well as some much-needed fudge….

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Some home-alone training for the dogs, leaving them for twenty minutes at a time to pop into town…coffees back at home in between and reading up on the upcoming Hitchin Festival….

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A little gardening, plus a good couple of hours building our new barbecue….Home made veggie Moussaka for dinner….

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….then watching The Big Labowski whilst drinking White Russians.

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Sunday:

A lovely morning walk at Chick Sands….followed by a walk around the car boot sale and more home-alone training for the hounds….

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Gardening and barbecue prep after that…..then Adam’s parents over for an afternoon of grilling meats and other goodies….and some slobbing on the sofa for the evening, watching The Fifth Element….

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Bank Holiday Monday (yay!):

A stunning walk around Ickleford, through beautiful fields of barley with blue skies above….

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Another trip into town to visit the Humanitas shop and to buy sweets….then some more gardening time as well as some wedding stuff whilst sat outside in the sun eating too many sweeties (including strawberry ones shaped like brains!)…

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A lazy dinner of nut cutlets then more weddingy stuff before an early night.

Lush.

Ems x