Friday, October 20

{ happy friday }

ten lovely things that caught my eye this week.

{ 1 } #sorrynotsorry for a little more crochet inspo from LittleDoolally.
{ 2 } Will we ever grow tired of gingham
{ 3 } This weeks 'Does it come in my size?' Polly's fabulous forest dress.
{ 4 } Will we ever grow tired of velvet?
{ 5 } #weekendgoals time to sit & enjoy reading the latest 91magazine.
{ 6 } Preferably with a plate of these cookies by my side!
{ 7 } Oh my! Am I too old for a house tree of my own?
{ 8 } Creativity is intelligence having fun. Albert Einstein.
{ 9 } Etsy find of the week. The Minted Evergreen. The loveliest ombre patterned knits.
{ + } #prettyinpink with the cutest babycakes from the team at Khoollect 💕

{ have a happy day }

Wednesday, October 18

{ hooked on crochet }

One of the many ( many ) things on my Fifty before 50 list, was to learn to crochet properly.  It's something I've dabbled with now & then, but not something I've ever felt I really knew how to do. I've been keeping an eye out for a crochet workshop, and was especially pleased to find happening not too far away from me, and even more happily, taking place in one of my very favourite coffee shops, The Steamroom.

And so, on the past three Sunday mornings, I've sat in the company of Clare, of Clare Gets Crafty, being taught how to chain stitch, how to execute a double crochet, a treble crochet, getting to grips with the magic loop technique, all accompanied by a cup of the house batchbrew. Happiness, as it turns out, is simply coffee and crochet on a Sunday morning *sigh*. Clare made the best teacher; calm, with infinite patience and a yarn and crochet book stash to make you more than a little envious. Looking back, each week was structured in ways that made the most of the time we had, teaching new skills each week with time to get to grips with those new skills during the workshop. It's safe to say that I was a little hooked after the first lesson. A brand spanking new Pinterest board pays testament to that! Week two saw us fall in love with Granny Squares - or maybe that was just me ♥︎ ? And in our final week we crocheted an amigurumi cactus, which I enjoyed, but I'm not sure that it will grab my heart in the same way that granny squares did. 

As I don't have an abundance, just yet, of crochet loveliness to share with you, here is a little of the inspiration I've been busy pinning. I think I've a way to go before I reach this level of crochet craftiness, but I'm guessing practice makes perfect. 

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 

I can't thank Clare enough for the past few Sundays. You can find Clare over on Clare Gets Crafty, and read more about her workshops here. And for any of you local to Brum, she'll be at Etsy Made Local on the 2nd and 3rd of December, and at the Harborne Handmade Christmas Market the following weekend, on the 10th December.

And look, that pile of granny squares just keeps on growing #hooked.

{ have a happy day }

Friday, October 13

{ happy friday }

ten lovely things that caught my eye this week.

{ 1 } A few black cats inked by Laura Hughes to ward off any Friday 13th bad luck.
{ 2 } When the city of Westminster is your playground #citykids.
{ 3 } A Technicolour treat from MilkMagazine #colourfulkids.
{ 4 } Wondering if I could get away with those cute Kitty tights?
{ 5 } Wishing I could go #nestandflourish with Object Style this autumn 🍂
{ 6 } Counting down the days to this Autumn Insta Gathering.
{ 7 } Etsy find of the week. Max and Mila. This Bham girl loves this BHM flag.
{ 8 } Chase your dreams #wordsfromthewise.
{ 9 } Can you fall in love with a painting #hillsandhouses.

{ have a happy day }

Monday, October 9

{ inspired#19 . Sheep . Lambs . & . a week of Wool }

. inspired#19 .

Baa, baa, black sheep
Have you any wool?
Yes, sir, yes, sir,
Three bags full.

clockwise from centre
1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

Yesterday, over our Sunday lunch, my sister and I were reminiscing about our childhood, and in particular our costumes for the street party for the Queen's Silver Jubilee.  I was six, she was a toddling 18months. I was Bo Peep, and she was my sheep, complete with a hand knitted loopy lamb bonnet. Photographs do exist, though, possibly to my sister's relief, I can't quite place my hands on them at the moment. I still have fond memories of the crook that my Dad made for me, complete with crepe paper streamers. It turns out my sister's memories are less fond, though I seem to remember her making a particularly cute little lamb on the day.

Our trip down memory lane coincidentally coincides with The Campaign for Wool's annual Wool Week. A week of exhibitions, events, activities and initiatives, by amongst others, Wool and the Gang, Brora, and Jack Wills, who are celebrating their obsession with wool with a rather sweet, specially commissioned film, which you can take a look at here.

Not quite in the same league as their film, today's post is my own small celebration of wool, and those sweet sheep for whom we have to thank for so much lovely yarn, and cosy knitwear.

Now, off to knit my sister a brand new loopy lamb bonnet 🐑 !

{ have a happy day }

Saturday, October 7

{ happy weekend }

ten lovely things that caught my eye this week.

{ 1 } So in love with this sweater and cowl combo knitted by Happy Love Co.
{ 2 } Boys in beanies looking just so blinkin' cute!
{ 3 } This week's 'Does it come in my size?'. Polder's covetable mohair coat.
{ 4 } And also crushing on this camelia pink embroidered dress from Hello Simone.
{ 5 } First there was sweater weather. Now I'm ready to get my beanie on!
{ 6 } October aka Inktober. Pop over & follow Flora Waycott to see all her inky adventures.
{ 7 } My Etsy find of the week. Sincerely Louise. And her most wonderful knitted taxidermy.
{ 8 } Live cosy.
{ 9 } Tomorrow I learn how to crochet granny squares. Properly!
{ + } Tuesday is World Porridge Day, and I'll be pimping mine with cherries and chocolate.

{ have a happy day }

Wednesday, October 4

{ four I adore . Cake Bakers }

There was little question of what this month's four I adore should be about. With National Cake Week falling in this first week of October, it was the opportune moment to share some of the fabulous foodie bloggers I follow, the ones who seemingly have the same fondness for cake as I do. I could wax lyrical about the culinary creativity of these bloggers, their absolutely beautiful styling and photography, but quite frankly I know that you are just here to gaze at all that cake, so without further ado, here are four cake bakers that are worthy of our adoration.

Call me Cupcake began back in 2009, and is written by Linda Lomelino. She published her first book back in 2012, aptly titled Lomelino's Cakes: 27 Pretty Cakes to Make Any Day Special, which is a pretty lovely way to think about cake. A lot of her baking is inspired by her Swedish heritage, none more so than the Cinnamon Bun Cake pictured above. As today also happens to be Cinnamon Bun Day in Sweden, it was the perfect recipe of hers to share. The cake is scented with cardamom and speckled through with that most Swedish of fruit, lingonberries, the brown butter frosting is heavy with cinnamon, and the whole thing is doused liberally with a cream cheese glaze *sigh* How incredibly lovely does that all sound?  Just as incredibly lovely as it all looks. 

For something just as Autumnal, but perhaps a little simpler, lets pop over to The Kitchen McCabe. Cardamom also appears in this recipe for Spiced Wholewheat Apple Cake, which is topped with an intriguing sounding Honey Caramel. A delicious sounding way to use up that glut of in-season apples you may have, and the use of wholewheat flour turns this into a slightly more healthier treat of a bake. Kayley, the author behind the blog, has a baking style that gravitates towards wholesome ingredients, and making a considered choice about the nutritional qualities of the recipes she develops. 

At the moment I have a few fresh figs languishing in my fruit bowl, which is one of the reasons this layered Fig and Almond Cake caught my eye. The other reasons being all those lovely lovely layers, and that most darling of dark chocolate glazes. Butter & brioche is one of my favourite blogs, not just because of the recipes, but because of the quality of Thalia's writing. Using the most poetic of quotes and prose to accompany her posts, her writing has a literary quality, and more often than not, a melancholic note, that can resonate far deeply than perhaps a recipe post should. Butter & brioche is one blog where you should not just skip to recipe. Or perhaps skip to recipe, bake the cake, then sit and take time to read her wonderful words.

After the fanciful layers of that Fig and Almond Cake, we return to something a little simpler, though no less delicious I'm sure. My final bake, and baker, is this Tahini Cake, from Souvlaki for the Soul, the perfect cake to bake if you happen to find yourself without butter and eggs, or you need to bake yourself a vegan friendly cake. Souvlaki for the Soul's author is Peter, an Australian with a strong affinity to his Greek heritage, who marries his loves of food and travel in his blog. A photographer by trade his imagery is an absolute delight. Simply styled, but with a strong narrative, in line with his aim of capturing the beauty and simplicity of the food we eat and the big wide world around us.

Now, are you still with me, or are you already busy in the kitchen, lining cake pans and searching for enough eggs to make all of the cakes featured here? If you're already in the kitchen, I can't say I blame you. If you're still with me, then what the heck are you waiting for. Go. Bake. Cake!

{ have a happy day }

Sunday, October 1

{ hello October }

. hello October .

{ have a happy day }

Friday, September 29

{ happy friday }

Ten lovely things that caught my eye this week.

{ 1 } I think I would be quite happy with this Cup of Happy.
{ 2 } Pop over to Moumout and happily browse through pages of autumn hued loveliness.
{ 3 } This week's 'Does it come in my size?'. Velveteen's gorgeous gold pleated skirt.
{ 4 } Though this stunningly simple dress comes a close second.
{ 5 } Just a little in love with Emma Lacey's little bowls.
{ 6 } Etsy find of the week. Pretty Little Knots Co. Who does indeed tie the prettiest of knots.
{ 7 } Just a little in love with Katy Pillinger's Plant Love Grow Peace pin.
{ 8 } Courage, dear heart.
{ 9 } The prettiest pear printed by Ruth Green.
{ + } The prettiest pear baked by Dolly and Oatmeal

{ have a happy day }

Wednesday, September 27

{ my september }

{ a is for apple }
I think I must have blinked and missed September. Once again the month has flown by so quickly, but looking back it has been a lovely month. I was happy to embrace autumn as soon as the 1st of the month arrived. The summer berries have been replaced with English grown apples, happily scrumped from next doors apple tree of which a few branches over hang my garden. I would love to say I've been incredibly creative with them, but in truth have enjoyed them simply stewed with a little brown sugar and lots of warming cinnamon. A few transformed this sticky toffee cake into a rather delicious sticky toffee apple cake, and I have my eye on this maple apple butter, that sounds like a slightly more indulgent, spicier version of my stewed apple.

{ drinking }
At the beginning of the month I reached my 1000th Happy Day. It seems such a long time since I first signed up for the #100happydays challenge, and I still remember my very first 100th day, sitting outside the Sydney Opera House, enjoying a Sydney Sling. The challenge is one I've enjoyed doing, and whilst I have a feeling that pure stubbornness played a part in reaching the 1000th day, it has changed my perspective on what happiness is to me. Sometimes it is the big things, like spending your first day in Sydney, though more often than not it's something much smaller, having half an hour to read a book, or that first cup of coffee in a morning.

Having said that, neither of those things were what I had in mind for that 1000th day, so I popped along to The Edgbaston, somewhere that's been on my to visit list for quite a while. The Edgbaston is a beautiful boutique hotel on the outskirts of Birmingham, with one of the most creative cocktail lists I've had the pleasure of tasting. Inspired by Birmingham itself, there are cocktails inspired by Cadbury's, The Electric Cinema, The Botanical Gardens, and more. Served in it's Art Deco inspired cocktail lounge it's a real treat and sensory delight, as cocktails arrive with more than a little theatre, looking, smelling and tasting so good.

For those living in travelling distance of Birmingham, this is definitely one to pop on your to visit list.

{ welcoming autumn }
Ah, hello my favourite season. I love all the seasons for their differences, but I think my heart belongs to autumn. Even rainy days hold a certain charm in autumn, being the perfect excuse to hibernate indoors with a good book and lots of coffee. And of course, knitting and autumn go hand in hand. Chillier mornings and darker evenings make you think of getting cosy in hats and scarfs, snuggling under blankets on the sofa. And of course, this serves as a timely reminder that I still have yet to list any of my knitting on Etsy. So, a promise to you, but mostly to me, watch this space, and the first few bits will be on line super super soon!

{ visting }
A wander around Birmingham led me into the newly opened Honest Skincare. Tucked away in the beautiful Great Western Arcade it's a little smaller than it's King's Heath store, though no less lovely for it. As lovely as all their skincare is, on this occasion it was their shelf of plants that caught my eye and made it onto my Insta feed, though I promise their handmade skincare is more than worth making the trip for.

Somewhere that I rediscovered this month, was our Botanical Gardens. Just around the corner from The Edgbaston, it played host to the Edgbaston Tricentenary and I couldn't resist the chance to have a look around for free. If you missed my recent post, you can read much more about my visit here.

I also got the chance to revisit one of my favourite European cities, Antwerp. Somewhere I have been lucky enough to visit many times with work, I was thrilled to have the chance to spend a couple of days there, wandering around it's pretty cobbled streets, re-discovering just how good their kids wear shops are, not to mention buying a little of that delicious Belgian chocolate to bring home. An early morning stroll around the railway station reminded me what a stunning piece of architecture it is, and the discovery of a new { budget yet boutique } hotel, which had an abundance of Insta worthy plants and art, makes a return visit a must.

And so September is so very nearly over. There is a visit to the Autumn Market at the Bond to look forward to on Saturday, before starting October learning how to crochet with Clare gets Crafty, which I'm more than a little excited about. 

Oh, and there's a small matter of getting that Etsy shop up and running isn't there #octobergoals.

{ have a happy day }

Friday, September 22

{ happy friday }

ten lovely things that caught my eye this week.

{ 1 } My Etsy find of the week. Tracy Walker Ink. Say hello to Mr.Squirrel.
{ 2 } There is always The moment you feel like a(n Autumn) princess.
{ 3 } Once upon a time. There was a beautiful new collection from Marie Chantal.
{ 4 } This weeks 'Does it come in my size?' is Pepper's Bunny Hat.
{ 5 } Welcoming Autumn. With a beautiful new featurekins from Babiekins.
{ 6 } This weeks artist crush is Vanessa Bell.
{ 7 } Currently crushing on Miss Tilly's Autumn wardrobe.
{ 8 } Autumn goals. Books, coffee and making the most of rainy days.
{ 9 } The loveliest pumpkin I've seen so far this Autumn.
{ + } The yummiest pumpkin I've seen so far this Autumn. Oh, and happy Cupcake Week!

{ have a happy day }

Monday, September 18

{ let's go somewhere . Birmingham Botanical Gardens }

This weekend the Botanical Gardens in Birmingham threw their doors open to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Calthorpe Estates. With the chance to have a  wander around the gardens and greenhouses, and lots of crafty goings on, not to mention the promise of coffee and cake, and more, I kept my finger's crossed for a sunny afternoon and popped along.

The gardens themselves date back to 1829, sited on 18 acres of land leased from the Calthorpe Estate. Designed by J.C.Loudon they were three years in the planning and making, and opened to members of the Horticultural Society in June 1832. Apart from the greenhouses the layout remains much the same today. Throughout their history the Gardens have been important as a centre for social functions in the city. From flower shows to political meetings, playing host to festivals of drama and music, and Sunday concerts in the bandstand.

Sunday's festival was wonderfully family orientated, with plenty of things for young and old alike. Face painting, vintage fairground rides, and the Punch & Judy man were proving popular with the little ones, whilst the grown ups seemed more than content with the Prosecco and Gin caravans. As befits our recent conversion to something of a foodie city, there was street food aplenty, with the Mac and Cheese van in particular, drawing long queues of hungry Brummies.

The gardens themselves are lovely to wander around, but I think it was the glasshouses that stole my heart. Ornate and iconic in their shape and construction there is something about them that brings out the Victorian romantic in me. Not to mention something of the crazy plant lady in me, making me want to rush out and fill my home with succulents and cacti, and start propagating geranium cuttings and dahlia's, enough to fill my greenhouse ten times over. 

Oh, and after a cloudy start, the skies were blue and the sun even shone. Not too shabby a way to spend a September Sunday.

{ have a happy day }

Wednesday, September 13

{ inspired#18 . Autumn . Leaves . & . the Woodland }

. inspired#18 .

" Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree "
Emily Bronte

clockwise from centre
1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

I don't think I will ever tire of that lovely Emily Bronte quote.  Nor will I tire of beautiful autumn hues. How can we not be inspired by such a lovely season?

There's a little more Autumnal inspiration on my Pinterest board here.

But for now . . . 

{ have a happy day }

Monday, September 11

{ four I adore . fall collections for little Ones }

I have to confess to a love of Autumn time, particularly when the weather feels more appropriate for all the new Fall collections arriving in store and on-line.  I'm lucky enough to be popping over to Antwerp next week, to have a look at all the wonderful children's wear they have, but wanted to share some of the new collections that had already caught my eye.  This post didn't start out as an ode to wonderful children's knitwear, but coincidentally, all the collections that stood out for me had particularly good knitwear pieces, so as we head into #sweaterweather, I'm happy to share the four that I most adore this season.

Sophie's collection is exclusively knitted. Beautiful sweaters and cardigans that are the embodiment of modern fairisle.  British born, now living in Normandy, Sophie knits by machine, before finishing each piece by hand.  She finds inspiration in her 1980's childhood, folk costumes and textiles, and the modern aesthetic of today, all of which can be found in her designs. Her collection is bright and colourful, playing with modern and traditional patterns, and each looks beautifully made.

. Morley .

Belgian brand Morley has been thrilling mums with it's collections since 2010.  Known for it's beautiful use of colour, print and pattern, and it's combinations of all those things, this season in particular it's thrilling us with some wonderful knitwear too.  Showcasing one of the key trends of the season with a beautiful embroidered jumper, though one of my favourites is the ruffle jumper shown above, available in many of their seasonal colours. 

 . Ylur .

In Icelandic the word ylur represents warmth and comfort, things which this brand has in abundance. Another exclusively knitwear brand, Ylur was created by Fanney Svansdóttir, inspired by the long tradition of Icelandic women, her grandmother amongst them, who had handcrafted knitted garments for their families. All garments are knitted using Alpacca wool, making them soft, yet durable. Her designs have a timeless quality, beautifully garments in subtle textured stitches, or simple two colour patterns, perfect for handing down from sibling to sibling, from generation to generation.

As We Grow is another brand from Iceland, which seems to be quickly establishing a very cool kidswear vibe. As with Ylur, this label has an affinity with timeless design and tradition,  garments made to be worn time and time again, garments that last over generations. Their story, of being inspired by the travels of one woollen sweater is a lovely one, and their ethos of sustainability and social responsibility works cleverly into their collections;  colour blocked jumpers, hats & striped scarves make use of excess yarn, yet fit into the collection seamlessly.

Lovely collections that will keep your little Ones cosy this season. I'm now off to pick up my knitting needles, though I'm not sure whether to try to recreate those colourful modern fairisles, or those subtly cosy textured knits first?

{ have a cosy day }

Friday, September 8

{ happy friday }

Ten lovely things that caught my eye this week.

{ 1 } It's sweater weather.  And I'm coveting this lovely loopy knit from Il Gufo.
{ 2 } And so to bed. Beautifully balletic shoot by Vanessa Nicette.
{ 3 } Is it even possible to look at this pixie bonnet without sighing *sigh*.
{ 4 } Far too cool for school.  Back to School shoot for Tatler by Anne Bundfuss.
{ 5 } This weeks artist crush is Maggie Chiang. Tasting the sweetness of summer. Berry by Berry.
{ 7 } Is it too soon for pumpkins?
{ 8 } Be kind.
{ 9 } This weeks Etsy crush. Nikki McWilliams. A calorie free way to enjoy your Digestive.
{ + } Not as fancy as the biscuits on GBBO, but these are my choice for this weekends bake.

{ have a happy day }

Friday, September 1

{ hello September }

. hello September .

{ have a happy day }

Wednesday, August 30

{ my august }

And so the year continues to fly along at a frightening pace. It may be a little too soon to mention the C word, but go on, admit it, you've had a few thoughts already haven't you? 

August has been a slightly strange month. I've been wrapped up in cardigans and contemplating all sorts of lovely autumnal things, and yet, isn't this supposed to be the height of summer. And then, all of a sudden, we get the most gorgeous Bank Holiday weekend weather, all blue skies and sunshine, and we feel silly in our cardigans, until just as suddenly as it appeared it disappears again, and I don't feel so bad returning to all those autumnal musings again.

{ knitting }
Thankfully this un-summery weather is perfect for sitting knitting cosy big blankets, and snug as a bug bobble hats, so for that I am most grateful. No sign yet of anything for sale, but this month has been far more productive than others, and we are getting closer to popping a few things up on Etsy.

I had some lovely reactions to my knitted wallhangings when they were posted on Instagram, and they've been a lovely way to use up left over yarn, and are a lot quicker to knit than those cosy big blankets.  I have one more waiting to be blocked and hung, and once I have a few more ends of balls left I'll be knitting a few more.

I can't wait to show you those snug as a bug hats I've been working on. Super snuggly and cute, and perfect for those autumn days that are already knocking on the door.

{ eating }
The extremes of this month was perhaps most evident in what I ate.  I finally ventured into the garden and tackled the greenhouse, which had started to resemble Sleeping Beauty's castle.  On the upside to this was a lovely haul of blackberries growing amongst the brambles.  I have a new found respect for anyone who goes foraging each year for blackberries.  The deliciousness of the blackberries made up for the numerous scratches and prickles, though I may stick to buying my fruit from the farm shop.

August is a birthday month in our family, with my Dad's on the 9th, and my Mum's falling on Bank Holiday weekend.  Traditionally a homemade birthday cake is made for all family birthday's, and as my Dad is rather partial to dark chocolate this year's cake was a Chocolate Mud Cake.  Filled with raspberry jam, rather than the ganache, and topped with flowers it was handed over with much love, and eaten with much enjoyment.

And whilst there has been plenty of summer berries, there has also been plenty of soup and stew making.  It seems wrong to be wanting comforting bowls of soup and stew, but I'll take being warm over eating salads just because it's summer.  My go-to favourite soup is a spicy butternut squash and carrot, topped with chilli roasted seeds, though I think perhaps I need to extend my soup repertoire this autumn and winter, so any suggestions and favourites are welcomed.

{ visiting }
It really has been a month of home sweet home for me, the only exception being an outing to Hay on Wye.  It had been year's since I had been, though it's an annual trip for my book loving parents. I'd forgotten quite how many bookshops there are, but also how many vintage and antique shops too.

Khoollect's wanderlust post on Hay provided some useful tips on where to brunch and lunch, in particular the great cafe at the back of Richard Booth's Bookstore and Cinema.  I breakfasted there with the yummiest selection of breads which turned a simple breakfast of toast and blackcurrant jam into something just that little bit more.  The Old Electric Shop was an eclectic mix of loveliness for you and for your home, supporting local artists and makers, also with a rather lovely cafe at the front of the shop. 

If you haven't been, and have even a passing interest in books then pop it on the list of places to visit next year.

September is off to a super busy start with a weekend full of musing over The Trouble with Goats and Sheep at The Little Book Club, and meeting the makers at the Quartermasters Market in the Jewellery Quarter, and at Pop Up + Hustle over at Tur Langton.  After which I'll be staying home as I'll have probably spent all my money at those two lovely events!

{ have a happy day }