Lettering and Postcards

The last few months seem to have blended into one long one. Time has flown by at a ridiculous rate this year.... Definite sign of getting older isn't it?!

Back in September I started an evening class in Calligraphy. I've been wanting to learn for a long time and after meeting Betty in Florence back in January, I decided to book onto a course and I absolutely love it! 

On arrival I was given my name card beautifully handwritten by our teacher Mary Noble ... 


There is a lovely mix of people in the class and all at different levels. As a very beginner, I started off with lower case foundational hand. Once the concept of letter shapes and spacing was figured out I moved on to traditional Roman capitals a couple of weeks later and it was a real challenge. Spacing, sizing and lots of mistakes! 

First attempts
We are now coming towards the end of the term and I'm feeling much happier with my work. Last night I moved down a nib size and getting used to the spacing etc... A few others in the class were working on Christmas cards so after practicing with the smaller letters I wrote a little festive quote. It's not perfect and I've got a lot to learn but I'm already looking forward to next term!


In October we had a much needed holiday away with Harry's family. We stayed in a lovely villa in south Tenerife. The first day or so wasn't the greatest as I was in agony from a tooth infection... luckily the drugs kicked in very quickly so I could enjoy the rest of the week.


I'd definitely go away at this time of year again. After working a very busy Summer it gave us something to really look forward to. It was the perfect amount of relaxing, yummy food, sunshine, sleep and laughter. I even read 2 books in 4 days which for me is kind of a record. When I try and read at home I get through a couple of pages and fall into a coma. 

 
Are you planning a sunshine break anytime soon or do you tend to wait for the official Summer holidays? 
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Greener with the scenery

Last weekend we drove up to Leicestershire to stay with my family and go to a Christening. Not just any Christening, but one where I became Godmother to the daughter of one of my best friends. Very proud and grown up moment!

Harry and I enjoyed some chill out time too which was well needed. We walked my parent's dog Boo across the fields, she hopped through the long wet grass and chased after us when she realised we had walked too far ahead.


I rocked my Hunter wellies that are 14 years old! They're rather tatty... the right one is actually duct taped up on the back of the calf and they haven't got much grip but they are so bloody comfy, I can't bring myself to get rid of them. Maybe I'll treat myself to some new ones for the big Three Ohh next year. 

We popped down to Foxton Locks on the way home from watching my little bro play Rugby... I've been a million times but I love it there, we sat outside with a little shandy, listened to the boats chug along and the watched sun go down. 




I love the Leicestershire countryside... don't get me wrong I adore living by the sea but coming back to the miles of green fields, smell of farmyards and lovely places like Foxton so close by I'm always really happy to be home. 

                                           video
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Recipe for a sweet weekend treat

I made these for a friends Birthday BBQ recently and thought I'd share the recipe with you.

Fancy Chocolate Cornflakes.

This is a recipe that I've had for years... stolen from my mum's recipe book once upon a time and now imprinted on my brain forever. It's so easy and so much tastier than just stirring cornflakes into melted chocolate.

I'll be honest... These aren't all that healthy or good for you... they are a little bit naughty and bloody lovely.

You will need



2 Ounces (57g)  unsalted Butter
2 Tablespoons Golden Syrup
2 Ounces (57g) Drinking Chocolate powder
Cornflakes

*These measurements don't make a massive amount but it's really easy just to double or triple the measures as needed. You could also make them with Rice Krispies, they work just as well and are also really tasty.

For this batch I doubled the quantity.

Method:

- Melt the butter and golden syrup in a saucepan over a low heat.



- Once it has all melted and starts bubbling like this, take it straight off the heat.



- Stir in the the chocolate powder.

*I always use something like Cadbury's drinking chocolate or supermarket own brand. Nothing too fancy. I tried Galaxy hot chocolate powder once and it didn't work too well.*

- Once everything is nicely mixed you can start adding the cornflakes. I start with a big handful first and stir... then add more gradually until all the flakes are nicely coated. Really scrape the bottom of the pan when mixing so you don't miss any good bits.



- Press into a baking tray, dish or into individual paper cases. Refrigerate for around 30 - 60 mins depending on how set you want them.

make sure you really press it all in so it doesn't crumble when eating! 

- Eat the bits that are stuck to the spoon while you wait.

- Once chilled and set, cut up into chunks and serve with a nice cup of tea.

And there you are... they're that easy.
Let me know if you make any and how they went down!
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Over the Solent for dinner

Last week Harry and I went out for dinner with his family... instead of a usual night out, they invited us out for a trip on their RIB. The weather was perfect so we left Portsmouth Harbour behind and headed out across the Solent towards the Isle of Wight.




We pulled up in Cowes Harbour and wandered through the town towards the pub for a well deserved drink and feed. 



After some gorgeous food and lots of laughing we walked back to the boat. The sun had set but it left a beautiful hazy sky and the water looked like a mill pond.


A perfect mid week treat and just what I needed. It's amazing what a bit of sea air can do... All the stresses of the day gone and the best night's sleep I've had in ages. 



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New Start

Two months ago I started a new job. I left behind the 8-5 office job and car commute and re-joined the world of Hospitality. A big change but I feel like me again. 

No two days are the same... I get to see more of Harry and as I'm on my feet all day everyday, I'm slowly slimming back to my normal self. WIN.

Oh and I get to see these lovely things during my shifts and daily commute.
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Wedding Planning #1

So plans for our big day are well underway!


On the 24th May 2014 we will become hubby and wifey... We'll get married in the little church in my parent's village, followed by a marquee reception in the fields behind their house.

We have the church and marquee booked, the photographer is sorted and last week we met the Vicar. Harry was a bit scared, though he wouldn't admit it... but when he saw a 1970 Isle of Wight poster on the office wall and a full drum kit set up in the corner, he soon realised that Ian wasn't like most Vicars! We drove away from the meeting grinning like chumps, chatting about readings etc and the fact that he'd seen Jimi Hendrix play live one of the last times before he died... Surreal!

A couple of weeks ago I ordered our Save the Date cards. I'd used Social Print Studio before and was really pleased with their service. They're brilliant and although they're in the USA, they deliver really quickly to the UK and postage is free! As you may know by now I'm a massive Instagram nerd, so I chose a pic that I'd taken before of the church where we'll marry. I then used Elsie and Emma's A Beautiful Mess App to add the text. I was so chuffed when they arrived in the post!

back and front

I spent Sunday evening handwriting 100 of these little buggers and then posted them out this week. Exciting and one massive thing checked off the list. YES!

So now it's onto the next planning phase... decoration inspiration and general wedding fun. Pinterest can keep me amused for hours as can my favourite wedding blogs, but there is something about seeing things in the flesh and taking in all the fun first hand! That's when ideas, likes and dislikes really take shape.

This Sunday I'm taking my Maid of Honour to Winchester. We're going for breakfast and visiting the Hampshire Bridal Boot Sale and really can't wait! It's in Milner Hall, a former church and sounds really stunning.


I went to the last one at Swanmore back in February and it was wonderful. Those boot sale ladies certainly know how to pick a venue!

It's definitely not your traditional Wedding fair. The majority of the stalls are newlyweds selling on their pre-loved wedding items along with local businesses hosting stalls in keeping with the quirky concept of the day.



There's more info on their Facebook page here including opening times and seller information. Will you be heading to Winchester on Sunday? If so I'll see you there! 
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Two hens

In the last month I've been on two hen dos. Although my bank balance suffered ever so slightly and I gained some lovely bags under my eyes, they were totally worth it!

Easter weekend my friend El and I drove up to Stratford-Upon-Avon to meet our lovely hen Sarah and the rest of the ladies. We were staying in 2 of the brand new lodges right on the river side which were great. Friday night we ordered a takeaway, drank some wine and played some naughty games...

No prizes for guessing which game this was...

After brekkie on Saturday we all changed into our nautical attire and walked into town for our boat cruise.





 After a lovely boat ride and pub lunch we then headed back for a little siesta. We then got ready for an evening meal and lots of dancing... Such a lovely weekend with the girls and lots of laughing!


I then flew to Glasgow a few days later and spent 2 nights at a friend's house. We had a great overdue catch up and I got to hang out with her little boy Max who was just an absolute cutie....


I then headed to Edinburgh for Hen do number 2. I met the other ladies in the hotel... can you believe almost 20 women managed to keep the destination of the weekend a secret from Cath up until they walked to the gate at the airport! Amazing work ladies...


We went for Mexican food and Karaoke (pathalogical fear of it) on the Friday.... and on Saturday we took a trip to the dungeons where I screamed like a moron, this was followed by cocktail making, pizza and on Saturday night we all rocked red coats for our Butlins night out. Again, so much fun and lots of laughter...



Welcome to Butlins Edinburgh!

A busy and super duper couple of weekends and I can't wait for the weddings!




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Daydreaming

This UK weather's nice hmmm? Urghh, it's crappy and it is DEPRESSING. This time last year we were having a heatwave and my toes were loving the sunshine. This weekend you'll find my toes tucked into a pair of socks with my winter slippers on. Under my patchwork blanket. With a hot water bottle. Nice.

I spent most of yesterday daydreaming about sunny days, light evenings, less layers and Vitamin D induced happiness. 





Looking at photos from last summer didn't really help so I snuggled under my blanket some more and caught up on some of my favourite blogs and internet browsing.


1 - These little pocket hand warmers from Fellow Fellow would be perfect at the moment! I love Claire's blog... she has some great DIY posts, wonderful photography and her wedding and honeymoon photos just make me swoon every time.

2 - Her Library Adventures was one of the first blogs I started to follow. Sophie has lovely style, loves thrifting and lives in beautiful Australia. Her Fab Fun Goals post back in January was great and like her, I'm trying to drink more water... it's harder than I first thought.

3. Emma from The Style Box is giving away this gorgeous dress on her blog. I'm not usually a fan of Jack Wills but I love this dress... and it has pockets. Massive win in my books so I'm off to Pinterest to enter!

4. I loved Becky's recent post on Milk Bubble Tea... having a night away in a hotel to do nothing at all... Harry and I work very different hours at the moment and I'm thinking that a trip to a nice hotel sometime soon would be fab. Watch a few films on the ipad, eat some junk food and talk through our wedding plans without any distractions...

image via Pinterest

Whilst on the subject of weddings, I am obsessed with ideas on Pinterest and reading wedding blogs... Mainly Rock My Wedding. Their real wedding features are just amazing and so many ideas on each one... This one here is a personal favourite at the mo, such a beautiful bride and the video made me cry, laugh and cry again.

Last but definitely not least is a great competition from You Flaming Brute.


Julia makes some wonderful jewellery and she's giving away a couple of pieces from her new Black and White collection... Pop over to the Facebook page and see how to enter!

Hope you're having a lovely weekend... what or where are you daydreaming about?

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Anything Goes

My last recipe post seemed to be quite popular and especially after the lovely Victoria from Lily Loves Lola mentioned it. So I thought I'd share another favourite pasta dish of mine and see what you think...



Mum taught me how to make a variation of this way back when I was at uni... It has changed a lot over the years with taste and what I have in the fridge/cupboard at the time. Hence the name...

Ingredients....



- Put the kettle on and get a pan ready for your pasta

- Chop up your bacon and throw it into a frying pan on a medium heat with a little glug of oil and your chopped garlic. After a minute or 2 you can pop in your peppers and mushrooms... they can all sizzle for a few minutes until slightly coloured. I personally like the peppers with a bit of crunch still and the bacon evenly done... not cremated. Totally up to you. Just make sure you don't burn the garlic as it'll taste really bitter. 

- Put your pasta on. The dried penne I used takes about 10 mins so works out pretty well for timings... Obviously if you want to used fresh then put it on the heat a bit later...


When I made this I had a bottle of white wine that happened to be open, so I put in about 100ml along with about half a teaspoon of wholegrain mustard. Again, this is up to you, if you don't want to, don't put it in... you could substitute the wine for Cider (which also works well) or just leave both out altogether.


Once the wine (if you've used it) has reduced down then you can add the cream. I'm not going to give you measurements as it's just a case of personal taste. I like it quite creamy and put the thoughts of calories to the back of my mind. 


- Season with some black pepper... I tend to not add any salt in as the bacon is naturally quite salty and I always put a bit in with the cooking pasta.

- Drain off your pasta but keep a teeny bit of the starchy water. Mix both into the creamy sauce... let it all heat through and you're ready to get munching...


It doesn't take long at all and it's so versatile you can pop anything in. A really nice addition are a few  cherry tomatoes as they add a little sweetness... mum often uses homegrown courgettes and instead of wine and mustard she adds a few fennel seeds. If you're a veggie then leave out the bacon... or if you like an extra meaty dish then you could use up that left over roast chicken. There are lots of possibilities so I hope it's given you some ideas.

Let me know if you make it and if you do, what will you add?

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