Since I saw you last….

Yes, I know that’s a Gary Barlow song. And no, I won’t apologise for the ear worm.

Anyways! Hello! Long time! It’s been a seriously busy few months, and possibly the most momentous time ever for me. So, without further ado, here’s a whistle stop tour of what I’ve been up to…..

April was really all about wedding prep….making favours, up-cycling furniture for the reception, and oh, you know, making my wedding dress! Just as everyone always says it does, the wedding came round so fast and there was some frantic organising done in those last few weeks! We did manage to fit in some fun and relaxation though, and on the last weekend in April we hosted our joint Hen and Stag do!

Wedding Crafting

Wedding Crafting

Neither of us was terribly keen on doing separate Hen and Stag parties, and whilst we initially intended not to bother at all, when we hatched an idea to do them together we thought it’d be fun. We booked our fabulous dance teachers (Modern Jive World Champions!) Lee and Dawn to teach a bunch of us for a few hours in a local hall. It was great to have lots of friends meet each other for the first time, and the dancing was a brilliant ice breaker as we had to keep swapping partners throughout the class. Even the hounds came along and dressed up for the occasion too! By the end of it we were all pretty good at the little routine, which we vowed to practise and use at the wedding reception a few weeks later.

007 Cooper

007 Cooper

Rock n Roll Digby

Rock n Roll Digby

Afterwards we met up with more friends and had a yummy meal at our favourite Hitchin curry house (they do awesome veggie dishes), then made our way to one of our favourite bars in town to drink lots and lots of cocktails. We love the little Music Room at the back of the old Corn Exchange on the market square, and we have to admit that Pitcher and Piano have done a grand job with the place….not to mention their cocktails.

The morning after we were in need of some serious calories, so a bunch of us headed to The Groundworks for breakfast (the chorizo omlette the most popular) before everyone made their way back home and we began the final preparations for the wedding the following weekend!

Espresso and chocolate crepe at Just Desserts

Espresso and chocolate crepe at Just Desserts

During the week running up to the wedding I was also treated to a night out with my colleagues. We met just around the corner at Just Desserts, which as the name suggests, only serves puddings! We all toasted with fizzy and ate large amounts of waffles, crepes and sundaes, before I headed home wearing a flashing ‘Bride to Be’ sash and with a big bunch of cute balloons.

Bridal shower garms

Bridal shower garms

Bridal shower balloons

Bridal shower balloons

So next of course, we got married! I’ll leave off all the details and photos for now as I’ll write about all that separately. Suffice to say, we had the most amazing time ever though! We actually did the ceremony bit in Greenwich on the 3rd of May, then followed up with the reception on the 24th…..we like to drag things out! Anyway, it was the most wonderful excuse to spend time and have lots of fun with our nearest and dearest, so I’ll look forward to sharing more soon. Here’s one sneak peek of a photo for now though!…..

Me and him on our wedding day in Greenwich

Me and him on our wedding day in Greenwich

In between the ceremony day and the reception, we were super busy getting things ready for the big party. Adam finished work a couple of days before the wedding, so he had a few weeks to help me out with the huge amount of craft and DIY projects we had planned. We did make time for a few dates though, and it was lovely to enjoy his time off with some cocktails and meals out. We discovered (after way too long!) that the Hermitage Road Restaurant, which is just a few minutes walk from us, serves some seriously good cocktails, and we also enjoyed an amazing Thai meal at Sukawatee opposite.

My Husband and a rather yummy cocktail in a tin mug

My Husband and a rather yummy cocktail in a tin mug

We had another week between the wedding reception and going on honeymoon, which we used in part to recover from the party! We both came down with colds, which was a real drag and stopped us from doing all the sorting we’d planned. The house looked like a party supplier had exploded in it, with excess furniture cluttering up the place, and various random things hanging around such as small wooden windmills, boxes of jam jars and copious amounts of left over booze. We did however enjoy spending time going through all our cards and messages, opening gifts, reading the recipes people had given us (we asked for these instead of having a gift registry) and laughing at all the photo booth pictures. We were so very ready for our holiday by the time we set off for the airport though….we’ve not had a proper sunny summer holiday for years and couldn’t wait to relax by the pool!

Waiting for our second flight of three to our honeymoon destination

Waiting for our second flight of three to our honeymoon destination

After thirty hours of travelling (eeep!) we were finally welcomed to our stunning hotel in Nusa Dua, Bali. The relief as we sunk into the huge sofa in the air conditioned club room was immense, and the yummy cold cocktails and gifts we were brought made us start to think it had all been worth it. After checking in, we went to our room to find yet more gifts, and un-packed as we awaited our room service supper before crashing into bed. The time difference and the flights had all happily made it so that we could fall asleep at our usual bed time, bang on bed time in Bali….although that said, we were still rather lazy in the morning and didn’t get to breakfast until pretty late! We spent the day eating, drinking cocktails and exploring the resort….nicely settling in to the incredible weather and the laid back vibe.

Pretty much my view for most of the holiday

Pretty much my view for most of the holiday

Again, hopefully I’ll write in more detail about our trip….we did quite a few activities and excursions (not to mention three trips to the amazing spa!) so there’s lots to write, and stacks of photos too. We totally fell in love with Bali though, and would really recommend it for a holiday….the weather is spot on, the people are delightful and the food is terrific! In the mean time, here’s a few of my iPhone snaps to show you some of the highlights…..

The view from our lovely room

The view from our lovely room

Room service breakfast on the morning of one of our excursions

Room service breakfast on the morning of one of our excursions

Our trip to a coffee and spice plantation, including an awesome coffee tasting with a view to die for

Our trip to a coffee and spice plantation, including an awesome coffee tasting with a view to die for

We saw lots of traditional, local dances, including a wonderful fire dance performance

We saw lots of traditional, local dances, including a wonderful fire dance performance

I LOVED meeting a whole lot of monkeys on one of our outings!

I LOVED meeting a whole lot of monkeys on one of our outings!

We were in Bali for two weeks and loved every minute of it. We did miss the dogs terribly though (my Mum looked after them for the first week, Adam’s Mum for the second) and so were ready to come home to see them. They were a sight for sore eyes when we got home after another thirty hour journey, and their reaction to our return was wonderful. They’d been a little spoiled whilst we were away, with lie-ins in the grown up beds and endless sofa time cuddles, but they were still very pleased to see us and seeing them made parting with Bali all the more bearable!

Adam had a full week off after our return, which was a real treat. We made the most of it and planned lots of meet ups and outings and things….all of which was made even better by the fabulous weather we came home to! By a happy coincidence a bunch of our friends had the Friday of that week off, so we met up in a local park for a picnic. We made up a load of Pimm’s with ginger ale and got a stack of yummy treats from M&S, which we scoffed whilst sitting in the gorgeous sun. It was so nice to come home to such great weather after being so spoiled on holiday, and better still to be able to spend time outdoors with friends.

Picnic Pimm's

Picnic Pimm’s

The indulgences continued as we met friends again for afternoon treats at Just Desserts…..it was lovely enough to sit out in the garden there as we ate delicious sundaes, waffles and crepes.

Just Desserts crew

Just Desserts crew

Then on the Sunday we celebrated my birthday. Adam made me breakfast to have out in the garden, which was just lovely, and I had a whole lot of wonderful birthday cards and gifts to open too.

Birthday breakfast in the garden

Birthday breakfast in the garden

Later we went out for an amazing Sunday roast lunch at The a Black Horse at Ireland….I had their seriously good roast chicken followed by an incredible poached peach dessert which came with a slice of courgette loaf and a stunning coconut panna cotta!

Black Horse birthday pudding

Black Horse birthday pudding

Our first proper day out was to Wimpole Hall, which is a stunning National Trust property about half an hour away. We took the dogs with us and explored the extensive grounds with them first….they love adventuring in new places and the walk was a lovely change to our usual haunts.

The hounds discover a Gothic folly

The hounds discover a Gothic folly

We dropped the dogs back off at the car for a bit whilst we went to look around the gardens, then had a picnic lunch at the car to check on them. Then it was into the house to see all the incredible interiors and chat to the super knowledgeable volunteers in each room. We came away dreaming of a house with a library like the one there, and I know I certainly coveted more than a few of the incredible ornaments all over the place!

After a final check on the dogs, we went to see the charming home farm where we met some darling little piglets, then stopped in at the impressive walled garden before doing a spot of shopping on the way out…. I treated myself to one of their gorgeous picnic blankets made from oddments of yarn, and Adam splurged on some yummy wines and raspberry curd.

Wimpole Hall really is worth a visit if you’re in the area….there’s easily a full day’s worth of things to do there, and they even put on outdoor theatre events in the summer which I bet are worth checking out.

The library at Wimpole Hall

The library at Wimpole Hall

As our second little day trip we decided to drive to Ampthill, in search of the wonderful antiques emporium there. I’d never been to the sweet little market town before, and was delighted to to find that the emporium was even larger and grander than I’d thought! Spread over three floors are stacks of treasures, from old shop fittings and stunning lamps, to rocking horses and vintage clothing. Some of the furniture is just incredible, and there are lots of collectables to root through too. I fell in love with a very old and shabby rocking donkey, who I’d have loved to have taken home to revamp, but with a house fit to burst after all the wedding additions I left without him. I did treat myself to a beautiful silk scarf though, in my current favourite colours of coral and spearmint.

The Ampthill Antiques Emporium

The Ampthill Antiques Emporium

Afterward we found a darling little tea room called Cakestand and Crumb, where we had delicious sandwiches and seriously yummy cake to follow. Everything in there is super cute and chintzy, and I just adored the vintage record player and the lovely old tunes it put out.

Me in my new scarf at Cupcake and Crumb

Me in my new scarf at Cupcake and Crumb

There was still more to look forward to as our amazing wedding photographer Sharon delivered our wedding pictures! They were all wrapped up beautifully with local lavender and lots of other little gifts in a darling linen bag Sharon had made! We just loved going through them all and couldn’t be more grateful for all of Sharon’s hard work….she really goes above and beyond!

Wedding photo package

Wedding photo package

Sharon also featured one of our wedding shots in a local exhibition for the Humanitas charity, which took place in the barn at The George in Hitchin. The theme was ‘Imagining Animals’ and her photo of Adam in a giant panda head, with our guests around us in panda masks looked great amongst all the other wonderful local artwork.

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Exhibitionists!

Soon though it was time to get back to work, although I softened the blow by treating myself to a new pair of shoes to wear to the office….I’d been eying up the silver and white Hamble brogues from Clarkes and when they came into the sale I had to have them (I’d love the Taupe version for winter next!).

Back to school shoes

Back to school shoes

We also had to set to work on finding a new place to live, as we have to move out of our house in Hitchin! We opted to make the move up to West Yorkshire a couple of years earlier than planned, and after a huge amount of faffing, to-ing and fro-ing we finally found a place in Otley. The next job of course was to pack….a job which has filled most of our time since, and is still very much on-going! We’ve loved the fine weather though….it seems a real treat to have had a ‘proper summer’ and to get to wear summery dresses and whatnot. The dogs have enjoyed it too, with lots of paddles in the river and even their very first ice lollies!

Cooper's first blueberry ice lolly!

Cooper’s first blueberry ice lolly!

We spent one lovely sunny weekend with friends Dan and Brigitte, who came for an overnight visit. We took them to The Groundworks for their ‘Late Night Sessions’ cocktail night, which was a great way to spend a hot evening! I especially enjoyed the Gabriella cocktail which came with a rocket lolly dunked in it!

Late Night Sessions at The Grounworks

Late Night Sessions at The Groundworks

Another lush Saturday was spent at my dear friend Claire’s home for her Bridal Shower. Fellow bridesmaid Eileen hosted the Parisian themed afternoon, and I helped with chintzy china and bunting. I ate far too many macaroons and drank far too much fizz, but we had a lovely time playing games and chatting!

Parisian Bridal Shower

Parisian Bridal Shower

And because the last few months have been all about utter indulgence, we took a trip to a favourite local Italian restaurant in Letchworth, where we scoffed yummy pasta before heading to Hitchin Lavender to take some sunset photos. It really is stunning there, and it was lovely to go at ‘golden hour’.

Hannah in the lavender

Hannah in the lavender

Our next fun day out was into London for a very early Christmas present from me to Adam! I booked us onto a speciality whisky, bourbon and rye cocktail making masterclass at 69 Colebrooke Row, and we had an amazing time learning some new recipes and perfecting some old favourites. We also used the opportunity to scoff Fro Yo and drink Taro bubble tea whilst in Islington, as well as having a wander round the flea market.

Adam mixing with the pros at 69 Colebrooke Row

Adam mixing with the pros at 69 Colebrooke Row

We’ve been celebrating another amazing year for soft fruits, and harvested a bumper crop from our greengage tree. I made kilos of jam, a greengage and vanilla tart, and still had plenty left over to eat on their own! The garden has suffered somewhat due to my busyness, and is looking rather over grown! It has had a bit of TLC in the last week or so though, and there are lots of plants I want to dig up to take with us!

Ready to jam

Ready to jam

On Friday I travelled into London to meet my lovely friend Jo and her adorable one year old, Teddy. We had a good mosey along the Southbank (I loved the carnival performance in the Clore Ballroom with steel drums, brass band and dancers in neon pink tutu wigs!) before a gorgeous lunch at the Tate Modern. We walked back along the North bank together, then I was off to church at Aldwych for a wedding rehearsal! I had the honour of being Bridesmaid at Claire and Matthew’s wedding, and it was great to have chance to catch up with folk before the big day, not to mention getting some tips from Rev David on walking down the aisle in high heels, and drinking gin fizz afterwards!

Carnival fun

Carnival fun

Then yesterday was the big day itself! I travelled to Leyton to get ready with Claire and the other Bridesmaids….having a good cry when I buttoned her into her stunning dress and saw how utterly gorgeous she looked! We then travelled into town for the lovely ceremony (I loved singing the hymns and managed my role as veil monitor without disaster!) before heading to North London to the pretty cricket pavilion and marquee where the reception took place. The day was filled with fun and merriment, and all passed by so fast, but it was such a delight to be part of Claire and Matthew’s day.

Bridesmaids on the move

Bridesmaids on the move

Badger wedding cake

Badger wedding cake

We had our good friends Craig and Shelley stay over after the wedding, so this morning saw a lie in for me followed by lots of tea and chatting. They will actually be very near to us when we move so we packed them off with some of our more delicate cargo (the precious contents of Adam’s well stocked bar as well as some of my house plants!) and then the rest of the day has been about walking the dogs and lounging about.

This week will see a packing frenzy ahead of our big move next week…..I’m so excited to be in our new home town, but the thought of getting everything up there is rather a frightening one! Wish me luck as I bubble wrap and tape gun my way through all our junk! I’ll be sure to update you at the other end, but ta-tah for now!

Ems x

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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

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

Something from the weekend….a picture-worthy few days

I’m always snapping away on my phone, truth be told, but this weekend seemed to give me more in the way of picture opportunities than usual. It was indeed a lovely weekend, filled with fun but relaxation too. Anyway, I thought I’d share my instagram feed by way of summing it up…..

Friday night started the weekend with cocktails, as it always should…..

…..we played Guess Who…..

……and then Adam beat me at Triv!

Saturday began with a lovely long dog walk……

…..we headed to Barton Springs for a nice change…..

…..and the sun shone for us rather splendidly!

We found a darling little tea room and gallery for lunch…..

….where they serve an epic Hot Chocolate…..

….and yummy tea on quaint mis-matched china…..

…..as well as lush lunches like the stuffed mushroom on toast that I went for!

Once home we set about hanging our new treasure, the huge antique map of London that looks rather marvellous on our lounge wall…..

….and after that it was an afternoon of snoozing as it all got too much for my boys!

Another lovely walk on Sunday morning, this time at the stunning Chick Sands woods….

….I love all the little dens people have built there!

After a yummy breakfast of Staffordshire Oatcakes (the last left in the freezer after my Mum’s visit!) we pootled around the market and car boot sale, where I picked up some little treasures….

…..and where my favourite stallholder gave me this incredible menu from the 60’s!

We finally took the tour of the museum opposite where we live in the afternoon….

….and took part in a Victorian lesson where we had to practise reading parrot-fashion…..

…..did maths in old money on slate….

….and worked on our handwriting with a dip pen!

The rest of the day was more relaxing, eating and watching of Buffy. Bliss!

What did you get up to?

Ems x

Blog Every Day in May: A Day in the Life

“Tell us about your typical day. Or maybe do a photo diary of what you are doing on the hour every hour for 12 hours. Or you could sum up what you did today.”

I’ve been fancying doing one of these ‘Day in the life’ posts for ages, but the truth is, there is no typical day in my life, and so I was worried it’d all come across a bit odd! One of the things I love most about having given up my ‘day job’ and moving out of London, is that no two days are even remotely the same, and I get to pack in all sorts of things I love doing!

I do admittedly have little bits of routines….I walk the dog in the morning and afternoon….I like to do house work on Fridays so the place is nice for the weekend (although it doesn’t always pan out that way!)….and Sundays usually start with a lie in and end with an early night! But, lest I bore you to death with my Friday house working activities, I thought I’d share a sort of ‘best bits’ version of my day….all things I do get up to, but not necessarily in the usual spirit of a blow-by-blow ‘A Day in the Life’….

NB. All times are very *ish*

7:00 am 

Wake up….often naturally but sometimes with my alarm or Adam’s. Before the clocks turned I was waking up wonderfully naturally at a rather respectable 6:30am, but since then I’ve been struggling to drag myself out of bed!

7:15 am

After using the bathroom, I often just sling on a coat and walking boots over my PJs to take the hound straight out for a walk. It always feels a bit of a drag to begin with, until I see his bright face and wagging tail, all excited, and once I’m outdoors I love it. We walk most mornings at the Priory grounds near us….there are lots of public pathways in all sorts of different routes through the farmland, and Cooper loves to meet his dog friends there and run about like a crazy. We sometimes get picked up by his Grandma Liz (Adam’s Mum!) who might take us to the nearby common for a change, or will drop me off at the office I work at sometimes then walk him with her two dogs over at Letchworth or Willian. I do love our walks together at the Priory though, just the two of us through the morning mist, or across the deserted fields listening to the sky larks in the blue skies above us.

8:15 am

Once home, and after the habitual ‘welcome home’ doggy biscuit, I prepare Cooper’s breakfast (he still needs feeding up so he gets two large meals a day!) and then make coffee and cereal for Adam and I. We have intercom phones in the house because it’s a bit rambling, so I call Adam on the kitchen handset to tell him it’s ready. He’s already been working since I got up, so it’s a nice little break for him and we chat for a little until he goes back up to his home office.

8:45 am

After breakfast I shower, get dressed in proper clothes and put on my makeup….even if I’m going to be home all day, I still at least do my eyebrows and put mascara on. If I’m off out anywhere special I’ll make an effort to look nice, but otherwise I just wear what’s comfy and practical!

9:00 am

And so to work! I do go into an office in Letchworth once or twice a week to work at the local CVS. I love working there as I get to do so many varied things (I plan events, help with publicity and communications, and am currently overseeing the new membership process) and I get to drink LOTS of tea and chat to all the lovely people there.

If it’s not an office day though, I’ll often spend the morning in my studio at home, working on orders or creating new stock….I adore my studio and it feels like such a luxury to have a space of my own to work in. This week I’ve been working on a miniature sculpture for a bride and groom getting married in Texas….I love working in miniature so it was great fun!

There’s usually a tea break or two during the morning, when I’ll stretch my legs to the kitchen, then take a cuppa up for Adam. The hound usually follows me about, although of late he’s been settling upstairs on the guest bed in order to catch the morning sun!

11:00 am

I’m often popping into London for meetings and what have you, and yesterday for example I made the journey to East London to take some stock to a new pop-up shop some friends are opening. I also often take stock to more local shops, who sell some of my hand made jewellery for me….I love doing it this way as I don’t have to store the stuff at home and once they sell, all the money is mine rather than having to pay Paypal or anyone!

This morning though, as it’s a Friday, all three of us popped to the market for a wander. Fridays are my favourite at the market, as it’s Antiques and Collectables day. There are always loads of brilliant stalls, some with expensive antiques, some with wonderful thrifty finds, and some full of really random stuff! I love a mooch about there, and it’s nice for Adam to get away from his computer screen, not to mention how much Cooper loves a sniff about and getting lots of fuss from other shoppers! I often buy things from the market to sell online on my vintage Etsy shop, or we buy pretty things to make our home nice.

12:00 noon

We have lunch quite early, for no reason other than we like our food really! So at around noon I start making us something….often a nice soup from scratch, or if we’re being naughty like today, a cheese toasty! Cooper gets lunch too at the moment, a nice big Bonio biscuit, as he needs some more flesh on his ribs! We eat at the kitchen table like at breakfast, and usually I’ll have the radio on in there….nearly always tuned into Gold FM, my favourite!

1:00 pm

Back to work. This might consist of more work in the studio, setting up my mini photography studio in the dining room and taking pictures of my stock to list on Etsy, a little blogging, or some house work. This week I’ve been enjoying spending a little time out in the garden though in the afternoon, just slowly tidying things up, weeding, water the pots, and throwing a ball for the hound (who doesn’t ever bring it back, just runs around the garden with it like a crazy).

Whatever I’m doing is usually punctuated by more cups of tea, and visits to Adam’s office upstairs, as well as lots of fuss and cuddles with the pupster.

4:00 pm

I think I love the afternoon walk even more than the morning one in some ways. Maybe because it’s often a little longer, or we see more people and dogs, or maybe because Adam usually gets to come too. Again, we’ll often walk at the Priory, although we have a different route through the ‘burbs and some playing fields for when it’s raining, to avoid the mud! I often take lots of photos on our walks, as the surroundings are so stunning. It’s so wonderfully relaxing!

5:00 pm

Again, we eat early….I set to work on dinner. Favourites at our house are Butternut Squash Lasagne, Cowboy Meatballs and my rather wonderful Chilli (even if I do say so myself). I usually cook as I have more time on my hands than Adam does, and he enjoys a rest after being in his office all day staring at data! He is however in charge of cooking certain meals, especially if I’ve been out for the day, so he will often make his amazing Spaghetti Carbonara!

We eat at the kitchen table again, unless we have guests, in which case we might eat in the dining room. Cooper has his dinner too at a similar time, or when I’m cooking ours, and if we have a pudding he gets an extra treat!

7:00 pm

After dinner it’s ‘sofa time’ which is Cooper’s second favourite time of the day! He gets to snuggle on the sofa with us whilst we blog, plan stuff, or do other computery or internety stuff. Then we’ll usually watch a bit of telly….although we don’t actually watch ‘live’ telly at all, preferring to watch series on DVD all at once! We are currently making our way through the X-Files….we’re on season seven at the moment….although we do sometimes watch a little anime in between, like Azumanga Daioh or Magic Users Club.

9:00 pm

We are usually pretty early to bed….we love our sleep….so at about nine we take Coops out into the garden for his last ‘spend-a-penny’ and then he races upstairs for his bedtime Chomping Chew! I think this is his favourite time of the day…he LOVES his chews and seems very happy to settle down on his bed for the night once he’s had it!

We then tend to read in bed, play computer games (awful at bedtime I know, but I never find it hard to get to sleep!) or do more internety stuffs. Now it’s lighter in the evenings though I want to get back into the habit of knitting or crafting something to wind down in the evenings.

10:30 pm

After brushing teeth etc. we settle down in bed, and as I’m very lucky that way, I nearly always fall asleep within a couple of minutes….and there I stay for my nice solid 8 to 9 hours beauty sleep, until it all starts over again for a brand new day…..

Ems x

Something from the weekend….guests, burgers and even a bit of sun

Well it was short lived, but I’m glad the sun hung around at least for the weekend. We had a lovely couple of days….

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On Saturday, and after a walk with the hound, we set off to nearby Letchworth for the little craft fair there and to snoop around the antiques shops. I managed to pick up another bell cloche for my collection, as well as a few more pairs of pretty pastel metal knitting pins and some gorgeous retro glasses, then we made our way home for lunch.

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After that we had a quick trip into town then had our friend Hannah over for a cuppa and chat, before our overnight guests arrived…..great friends of ours Claire and Matthew came up from London in the afternoon, and got to meet Cooper for the first time as he came to pick them up from the station. He loves having guests and immediately fell in love with them….especially when he was presented with lovely gifts from them! Adam and I also got some gorgeous gifts too….yummy fruit cake and fudge from their trip to Cornwall (the latter of which we have scoffed already!).

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After a pot of tea and yumming up a victoria sponge, we drove to the nearby Plume of Feathers where we had a delicious meal and lovely ales (rare burgers with bacon and cheese for Adam and I, and rump steaks for the others!). We made  a pledge to go there more often as the food is amazing, and Cooper is welcome there too!

Back at home, Adam mixed us up some great cocktails and we just chatted the evening away….Cooper very much enjoyed cuddling up with our guests for his evening sofa time and it was nice to relax and catch up for a few hours.

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We were rather naughty again for breakfast on Sunday, scoffing Belgian waffles, pancakes, strawberries, bananas and maple syrup! We walked it off though by snooping around the Sunday car boot sale and having a brief walk through town. Then after a last pot of tea our guests headed back to London….much to Cooper’s disappointment!

The rest of the afternoon was spent loafing about and on a nice walk out with all the dogs….Coops certainly loves being out with his Auntie Piper and Uncle Newton! It was even nice enough to need our sunglasses and for me to leave my gloves off!

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Did you get out and about? I hope you had a great weekend too!

Ems x

Launching my new online vintage shop…… Under A Glass Star

Well it’s been months in the making, but after weeks trawling car boots and rummage sales, days of photo shoots, and hours of listing, my new shop is now officially open!

I wanted to set up a new shop to sell some of the wonderful vintage and antique finds I’ve been making….mainly so that I still get to buy such lovely things without filling the house up to the brim! Now that I have more storage space, as well as lots of local treasure hunting haunts, I intend to keep buying up the things that take my fancy, so that I can share them with you (and still get the buzz of ‘the find’ without going bankrupt!).

So, I hereby declare Under A Glass Star officially open!

My new shop can be found on Etsy, like my other shop…although the latter is getting a bit of a face lift soon too! There will be a huge range of vintage treasures, and I have already listed a rather eclectic selection…..you’ll find cocktail accessories, home decor ideas, kitchenware and vintage craft supplies. I have more finds to list soon too, including some gorgeous tea sets, costume jewellery and collectables.

Below is a taster of some of my favourites, but do pop along to see the shop and please ‘favourite’ it too! I’m offering a discount to all Under A Glass Sky readers…just enter the code READERS10 to benefit from a 10% discount on check-out!

Ems x

Super cute and kitsch Vintage Deer ornament

Super cute and kitsch Vintage Deer ornament, £12

Cute retro vacuum flask, by The British Vaccum Flask Co. Ltd.

Cute retro vacuum flask, by The British Vaccum Flask Co. Ltd., £7

Beautiful Vintage Paddington Bear

Beautiful Vintage Paddington Bear, £16

Super cute and kitsch 'Little Forks' cocktail picks

Super cute and kitsch ‘Little Forks’ cocktail picks, £8

Vintage TWINCO Knitting Pin Box in Bright Orange

Vintage TWINCO Knitting Pin Box in Bright Orange, £6

Pretty Pastels Colclough Fine Bone China Tea Set

Pretty Pastels Colclough Fine Bone China Tea Set, £30

Wednesday Wants…… Hornsea Pottery Fauna

I’ve recently developed an obsession for Hornsea Pottery, and especially their Fauna range. As you may have seen, I snagged a gorgeous piece at a recent vintage market, and ever since that I’ve been hunting for more!

In fact, I’ve managed to find a lovely bunny version, as well as a super cute squirrel to make a little set….can’t wait to find a place for them in my new house (will be sure to share photos!).

I just adore the cutesy creatures and the whimsical designs. I want them all!

Anyway, as is my new habit, I’ve created a treasury on my Etsy to show my appreciation! And here are a few of my favourites…..

Hornsea Fauna Royal Vase, £25 from RevolverVintage54

Vintage Hornsea Fauna Rabbit Posy, £6.50 from daisysteps

Vintage Hornsea Fauna baby Lamb Bud Vase, £12.81 from Violet Syrup Vintage

Hornsea Pottery Foal Vase, £10 from Pratts’ Patch Vintage

Set of Two Gorgeous Vintage Fawn Posy Vases by Hornsea Pottery ‘Fauna Royal’ c. 1960 – 1967, £18 from FerretsandFlamingos

You can see my whole treasury here, and I will of course keep adding to it!

Ems x

Something from the weekend…… The August Bank Holiday in Instagram

I bally love the weekend. Even more so a long weekend! Despite having lots to do with our impending move, we managed to have a very fun weekend in London as well as in our soon to be home town of Hitchin!

On Friday afternoon straight after work we caught the train into Hertfordshire to stay with Adam’s parents (and the dogs!) in Hitchin. After a yummy supper of fajitas, we watched the BBC Four documentary on Mark Knopfler. It’s an amazing programme and shows what a remarkably lovely and intelligent man he is, as well as an incredibly gifted songwriter.

It was early to bed though because we were keen to start early on Saturday and cram lots into our day! We set off earlyish into town, just a few minutes walk away, and to the monthly craft and farmers market which takes place around the gorgeous St Mary’s Church. I’m hoping to have a stall there myself when we move, so it was lovely to meet lots of the regular traders. I fell in love with the ‘The Knitting Ladies’ stall, which is full of hand knitted treasures, including the most gorgeous bears! The ladies are most proud of their celebrity knits….in one little basket resides Audrey Hepburn, Ziggy Stardust and a Clanger!

After a browse (and buying up some free range bacon, and home made fudge!) we took the minute’s walk to what will be our new home. Adam hadn’t seen it yet, as I viewed it by myself before we signed up, so he was super excited to see it for the first time and I couldn’t wait to go back. It’s a gorgeous property right in town….it’s actually Grade II Listed and belongs to a local historical trust. It’s full of beautiful period features, and there’s lots more space! I’m going to finally have a studio to work in, and there’s even a garden!

With all the extra space to fill, we set off to a local furniture warehouse afterwards to look for some pieces we’ll need. It’s a great place to look for bargainous things….it’s actually run by a charity that our friend Hannah works for, so buying their lovely second hand stuff helps them with their fundraising! We snapped up a wonderful little extending pine table with chairs for the kitchen…it’s the perfect cottagey looking table to fit in with the old house.

The thrifting didn’t end there though, as we popped into Letchworth and picked up some gorgeous dining chairs. As well as all the shops to look in, there was a sort of mini vintage car show going on in the pedestrianized High Street. I fell in love with a huge turquoise Chevrolet truck, and an amazing little camper trailer with a super cute kitchen at the back.

Next it was into Hitchin again for a snoop about, and to buy sausages for supper from the charming Allingham’s which is the wonderful butcher on the market square and has been there since the 1860s! We couldn’t resist some more furniture shopping though, and Adam fell in love with (and bought!) a stunning sewing machine and table. I also picked up a darling little camera….the Italian Comet S which takes 127mm film…can’t wait to get a roll and try it out!

After our busy day, we needed a serious re-fuelling and yummed up an awesome fry up! It was to the sofas after that though to slob away the evening in front of the telly….we watched the BBC Drama ‘Best of Men’ which I’d been wanting to see for a while. It’s about the first ever Paralympic Games at Stoke Mandeville, and the amazing work there of Dr Guttmann. We all really enjoyed the programme which featured Rob Brydon (one of my favourites from Gavin and Stacey)….it’s well worth watching for anyone interested in the games.

After a little Sunday lie in, we started the day with a nice long walk across Ickleford Common, past Gerry’s hole and over the railway to the Lavender and Sunflower farm. Everywhere looked very lush….. there was wild chicory flowering everywhere, and the fields of wheat just looked incredible. We saw lots of sloe berries getting almost ready to pick (we are planning on making a large batch of sloe gin this year again) as well as lots of rosehips that we plan to make something with too.

After that it was more furniture shopping, at the big shopping park in Stevenage. We tried out lots of sofas, but both chose the same as our favourite, so it was an easy decision and we left having ordered a gorgeous two seater and three seater in sanded and waxed leather, which is now being made for us in Italy….hopefully it’ll be delivered not too long after we move in!

That sorted, we drove to Benington Lordship for the annual chilli festival. The house and grounds are just stunning (I hope to go back in the new year to see the famous snowdrops!), so it was lovely to wander round all the stalls selling chilli-based products and chilli plants of every variety. We bought a big box of Stratta‘s award winning flavoured vinegars (including the lavender, elderflower, raspberry and blackberry)…..and yummy preserves from Jules and Sharpie (including their hot apple and sage jelly, the green chilli and lime jelly and the hot marmalade)…. I’m really looking forward to serving them up and cooking with them.

It was off home then for a quick fish supper, before packing and heading back to London. We wanted to cram as much into Monday too, so we had a big breakfast at our local, then made our way to the British Museum. We have membership there and we promised ourselves that we would see every room there this year….we’ve not done terribly well really but we have at least seen all the special exhibitions.

I’ve been looking forward to seeing the Shakespeare exhibition there ever since it was announced, so we made our way there first. It’s a wonderful exhibition, which comprehensively walks you through all the historical impacts and influences on the playwright, and on ‘his London’. It’s the perfect show for this year of festivities I think….I learned lots about the history of London and England, and the beginnings of Great Britain and our National identity.

It’s quite a big exhibition (well worth a visit and the £14 entry, although you can become a member and get in free!) so we needed a sit down afterwards…. There is now an additional cafe in the Great Court, run by Benugo, and we had a perfect double espresso and flat white there whilst watching the window cleaners high above us on the glass ceiling.

We couldn’t miss the chance to go and see the Olympic and Paralympic medals too whilst they are being shown there, so we popped in to see them and the exhibition about their design and the history of the medals. Right next door is the stunning clocks and timepieces room, so we investigated that next…..I fell in love with the huge gold ship clock which was used to call guests to dinner (it plays music via an internal organ, ‘sails’ across the table, and fires its cannons!). It was lovely to hear all the amazing clocks chime on the hour too, and there is even a charming cuckoo clock!

It was a lovely day outside when we emerged from the museum, so we sat in nearby Russell Square to eat the fruit we’d packed, before walking back to the bus stop. Once home I started on our supper of roasted butternut squash stuffed with ratatouille and topped with cheese, and we’d eaten it in good time to settle in front of the telly to watch our friends appear on Only Connect! It was ace to see them and their admirable performance….well done guys!

We were too shattered after our busy weekend to do anything other than sit, so we slobbed out watching The Incredibles on Blu-ray (which looks amazing!) before hitting the hay…… what an awesome long weekend!

Hope you enjoyed yours!

Ems x

Something from the weekend….. markets, photos and cocktails

WHAT an amazing weekend! I’m shattered after doing so much, but it was all so worth it. Adam and I had our dear friend Hannah to stay, and so we made sure we crammed as much in as possible. There are lots of things I’d like to share individually, so for now I’ll just give you the lowdown….as soon as I get chance I’ll be back to tell you more about the things in bold in detail!

After a lazy start and a bit of a lie-in, Adam and I trundled down the road on Saturday morning towards Judy’s Affordable Vintage fair at Old Spitalfields. On our way though, we decided to pop into the Adnams shop, which is actually one of the shops on the outer edge of the market…..I’d read about their new eau de vie de biere ‘Spirit of Broadside’ on Domestic Sluttery, and wanted to try for myself! I’d never been in before, because I’d foolishly presumed that it’s just a shop full of beers (although I do really rate their beers, that said) but inside it’s actually an incredibly well-stocked wine shop. As well as a great range of wines, home wares and other bits and bobs, there are actually several Adnams spirits for sale…I had no idea that they have their own distillery and make vodka, gin, limoncello and other treats! Anyway, suffice to say for now, we very much enjoyed trying out lots of things, and came out with a bottle of Spirit of Broadside!

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After getting a bit tipsy on samples, we headed inside to the indoor market, and set about snooping the many vintage stalls. There were a few that we recognised, and I was very, very tempted to buy several little Hornsea pottery deer, but it wasn’t quite as good as when we’ve been before. I did however pic up a very lovely floral dish for just a pound! But we couldn’t potter about all day…..we popped across to Brick Lane for some provisions, and on the way finally got around to trying Nude Esperesso next to the Truman Brewery, buying a couple of very good macchiatos and a bag of beans to take home.

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Back at home by mid afternoon, I set about making the flat ready for our visitor, and we prepared our breakfast for the next morning…. I’d been inspired by a post on The Cake Hunter earlier in the week, and decided to make us all cinnamon whirls for Sunday morning breakfast. I actually ended up adapting a couple of recipes to make banana and cinnamon whirls in the end….I made the dough and filling, and put them together in the tray ready to bake first thing in the morning. It all smelled wonderful as I prepared it, so I was most excited to bake them on Sunday!

Before long though it was time to pick Hannah up from the tube station, and for our first adventure we took her to our local, the Oliver Conquest. We only recently discovered that they serve over fifty different gins, so it has fast become a favourite of ours! We all dutifully sampled a gin each…. the Geranium gin (for Hannah), the Hayman’s (for me) and the Old Raj (for Adam). It was a great way to start our evening, sat on the big comfy sofa with drinks, chatting and catching up.

Next, we made our way to Brick Lane where we met up with friends Richard and Tara for a curry. Hannah had never been before, so we’d prepared her for the usual….lots of salesy people out on the street trying to lure you into their respective restaurants with various deals. We decided we wanted to make our way at least half way down the road before choosing somewhere, as we often get over excited and choose the first or second place we come across! And we made it a good way along before heading inside a restaurant where we’d been promised Lychee Lassis!

After the meal, we headed just around the corner to what is probably one of my top three places to drink….. I was told about Lounge Bohemia just after it opened a few years ago. A colleague had worked with the owner, so I was told a little about this fantastic bunker of a bar which served totally out of this world cocktails. Just as well really, as I’m not sure I’d ever have found out about it otherwise! There’s no flashy website to draw you in, and you HAVE to book (there’s a no suits policy too!), but this gives the place a feeling of accessible exclusivity….it’s really not just a bar, but (forgive me) a drinking experience. As usual, we were treated to exemplary service, and THE most incredible cocktails available to man. I won’t give away too much before writing the visit up properly though!

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After our fairly late night (and the copious amounts of booze we’d gotten through), we have another fairly lazy morning on Sunday. I was pretty smug that I’d prepared the cinnamon whirls already though, so they just got brushed with honey and baked for about 20 minutes before we scoffed them alongside the Nude Espresso coffee we’d bought the day before. Then, well fed, we began the walk to Columbia Road flower market. Unfortunately, only half way there, the skies opened and we had to take refuge in Old Spitalfields. Still, it’s not a bad place to while away an hour whilst waiting for the rain to desist, and it was good to show Hannah around. We had started to flag already though, before the rain had even stopped, so we took up a nice spot in the covered terrace of The Luxe. I felt rather better for one of their ‘Veggie’ juice blends, and so with the rain stopped and our energy levels boosted, we finally set off again towards the flower market.

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It was a leisurely, meandering walk there, just because there were so many eye-catching things to photograph, including lots of very cool street art. Nevertheless, we made it there in good time really, and immediately immersed ourselves in the street market. Columbia Road is taken up every Sunday for the famous flower market, and sellers line each side of the road with stalls bearing stacks of fresh cut flowers, herbs, gardening stuff and pot plants. In fact, it’s a mecca for the bargain botanical, and I found myself wishing I had a garden to plant lots of the treasures in. Even if you don’t though, you can pick up amazing steals such as a huge bunch of sunflowers for just a fiver.

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Behind the stalls, there are lots of lovely shops to root about in (handy when it started to rain again!), including Ryan Town, the Rob Ryan shop, which I’ve been wanting to go to for ages. There are also some gorgeous nick-nack shops (my favourite the pretty boutique shared by Buddug and Jessie Chorley) as well as some amazing antique and vintage shops (I was in my element at Vintage Heaven with piles and piles of lovely vintage china!). There is also a little vintage market one road over on Ezra Street, as well as several (very packed) places to eat.

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We opted to make our way back towards Brick Lane though, and stopped in at Benets Ice Cream Parlour for a much needed sugar fix. After being served a rather disappointing Tiramisu, I was given a rather better Rocky Road by the nice man who agreed that the former didn’t taste of anything much. We wandered along Brick Lane with our ice creams and had a snoop about some of the markets. I was very pleased that I Shoot Film were there again, as I’ve been seeing their incredible horse photo for ages and knew Hannah would love it….and in fact, she bought it! We were seriously weary by that time though, and so it was home for a cuppa, and shortly afterwards Hannah made her way home to Hitchin.

Supper was going to have to be pretty filling and very quick and easy, so I roasted up some pumpkin and made a very simple risotto. It was so yummy, despite its simplicity, so I’ll be sure to share the recipe here soon. After that, we were only fit to slob on the sofa watching a film, before we fell into bed for an early night.

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Amazing times!

Hope you had a great weekend too!

Ems x