Monday, April 4

Why Did I Start Blogging in the First Place?

Way back when I was in first year at University, me and my friend were discussing our favourite blogs, my favourite being Cupcakes and Cashmere and hers was The Londoner. It was so refreshing to be able to discuss with someone else the whole blogging world as many people were not aware of lifestyle and fashion blogs. We would spend hours discussing their travels, recipes, clothes and cosmetics. I had already started And Kate in the summer, but I felt that I wanted to blog with a friend and learn together more about the excitement of blogging. 

And so The Lifestyle Digest was born. This was a really fun project that we had going on the side of our ever increasing University work. We would both alternate with our posts, taking it in turns to create and publish posts that really reflected our passions. After a few months of blogging together, I was thirsty to blog more frequently and really wanted to generate a reflective blog of my life. So we both decided that it would be better to create our own blogs now that we had gained our experience of the big blogging world together. 

So in December 2012 I returned to my original blog, And Kate. This is when I majorly fell in love with blogging, the concept of creating an online visual diary of your life inspired me and ever since then my blog has grown along with me. This is probably one of the main things that keeps me blogging, the creative expression and connecting with other bloggers. I also find it amazing how I have documented my life for the past 4 years and I can see how I have evolved as a person. 

I thought that it would be a really nice idea to take you back to where it all started and share with you my first few favourite blog posts.

1. Our Summer Escape - my first blog post ever back in August 2012 where I created a photo diary of my holiday with Ben to Corfu.
2. City Break Edit: London - a post all about my fabulous short stay with my cousin Charlotte and older brother Mike.
3. This Week - this was my first ever series where I would discuss five things that had happened that week. It's not all that different to my series that I am currently doing, Snapshot (#1, #2).

Thursday, March 31

March Vlog

As I love taking photographs of near enough absolutely anything, I thought I would start a new series where I document the highlights of each month, but through a video diary. It has been such a wonderful month, I have realised the importance of doing things that make you happy rather than seeing happiness as a distant goal. I have also loved spending time with both mine and Ben's family celebrating birthdays. Onwards and upwards with a new month tomorrow, lets hope April is just as fantastic :).

Expect to see a video diary on the last day of each month! 

What was the highlight of March for you?

Wednesday, March 30

Snapshot #5

Given that it's been a long Easter bank holiday weekend and I am now off work for a week on my Easter break, I have been busier than ever. Our home is undergoing serious renovations in both the living room and kitchen. In my previous Snapshot #4 article I mentioned that we were getting an AGA fitted. The electrician has done all of the electrical work, fitting lots of thick looking cables and making a lot of mess in the kitchen. However we are still without our AGA as we need to fit the slate that the AGA will sit on before it gets connected to the wire. That means that we have been without cooking facilities for over a week, which has left Ben and I resorting to lots of take-out meals. Pro of this being: we don't need to cook in the dust of the kitchen. Con of this being: eating far too much unhealthy food. I am really missing cooking as I find it extremely therapeutic. I have to say though, I cannot wait for the AGA to finally be fitted as then I can return to being a domestic goddess.

As well as the kitchen being upside-down, Ben and I spent the whole weekend laying, sanding and sweeping the reclaimed pine floorboards in our living room (documented on Instagram). I am so excited with the renovation so far and am starting to be able to picture what our living room will look like when it's all done. My previous post on Victorian living rooms is serving as my inspiration go-to.

This week I am smiling because...

1. I received an invitation to my best friend's wedding. 

2. Designing the gallery wall in the living room and looking for inspiration on Etsy and Pinterest.

3. Grabbing a take-out coffee and editing photos for endless hours.

4. Binge watching Orange is the New Black and being fixated. I am yet to get Ben to watch it!

5. Tending to my newly planted flowers. I am hoping the English lavender and white rose bush start to bloom.

Friday, March 25

Spring Walk

With it being Easter Bank Holiday weekend, I am planning on doing lots of walks with Ben and Harry. A few weekends ago we went on a delightful walk around the fields behind our home. We are so fortunate to have endless fields surrounding our home and so when we take Harry for a walk, we are able to let him off the lead to really run wild in the wilderness. He absolutely adores playing with his blue toy, he could be distracted for hours on end. 

I hope you all have a lovely weekend relaxing with your loved ones!

Wednesday, March 23

Snapshot #4

This past week has been a real eye-opener for me. I am increasingly learning how to develop a healthy work-life balance. Being a primary teacher, as well as working towards my qualification, is a very demanding job. Even though school finishes at 3:15, there are still 101+ things that need to be done in preparation for the next day. I am steadily learning the importance of prioritising my workload and realising that sometimes I am best being honest with people and saying 'no' rather than increasing my workload to appease others. I think the whole topic of a healthy work-life balance is really important to discuss in greater detail and I want to share more of my thoughts on this constant battle in a subsequent post. 
For now, I am enjoying the following five things...
1. Pottering around my garden and tending to my newly planted flowers.
2. Finally getting our AGA fitted in the kitchen. Now I can cook proper meals and have dinner parties! Yippee.
3. I'm looking forward to the fast approaching Easter holiday where I will spend my days aimlessly walking with Harry, Ben and my Nikon.
4. Editing a video which I think you will all love! Eeeek.
5. Heading down to the local pub this Friday with my brother, Charlotte, Ben and Sam. 
Happy mid-week everybody!

Monday, March 21

Sorrento, Italy / Part III

After celebrating the night away as we were newly engaged, we woke up gleaming with happiness and skipped to breakfast. The breakfast at our hotel was unbelievable. The panoramic views of Sorrento all the round to Vesuvius were staggering. And as for the food, oh my goodness me! The food was equally unbelievable. The hotel served a continental breakfast with a banquet offering everything you could imagine, from cereal, pastries, hams, cheese all the way to a chef who cooked you fresh eggs whichever way you liked them. Ben religiously every morning opted for an omelette, whilst I asked for fried egg. 

After our breakfast we headed towards the train station, stopping at the local bakery for a sandwich to take with us for our lunch in Pompeii. Like the previous day, we had already purchased our tickets for the Pompeii ruins at the train station in Sorrento. This meant that when we got into Pompeii train station, we were greeted by a tour guide who took a group of us around the Pompeii ruins. This was such a wonderful experience, we learnt so much about the history of Pompeii and the volcanic eruption of Vesuvius. Walking around the town, it felt surreal, there were so many similarities with this ancient town and modern day towns. One of these similarities being that there were numerous fast food restaurants, the Roman equivalent to a McDonalds!!

The tour guide lasted around 3 to 4 hours and by this point our breakfast had been digested and our stomachs were relentlessly rumbling for our bakery sandwiches. So we found a quiet bench and people watched whilst devouring our sandwiches. 

And of course, once we landed back in Sorrento, we had to get a lemon sorbet!

Friday, March 18

The Girl on the Train / Review

Ever since the publication of Gone Girl a few years ago, I have developed an obsession with murder mystery books. I love the thrill of a good read, where I am left wondering what twist the story may take next. During my time at university I commuted every day on the train into Manchester. So, when I discovered the book titled The Girl on the Train, I felt it was only right that I read it. In some ways I could understand the main character, Rachel's daily routine. Always going the same route on the train, past the same houses, the same people always getting on the train.

Paula Hawkins' debut novel is absolutely fantastic. The structure of the chapters keeps you thirsty for more information. There are three female characters which have chapters from their points of views, Rachel, Jess and Anna. This gives the story an interesting dynamic, as the reader is able to see into the thoughts of these characters prior and after the incident of Jess disappearing.

A whole range of emotions are experienced throughout the reading of this novel, fear, anticipation, empathy and anger. Paula Hawkins has wrote this story beautifully, I really felt a connection with Rachel. Ever since reading it I have regularly thought back to its gripping plot. I would definitely read this again.  

Wednesday, March 16

Snapshot #3

Wow what a busy week it has been since my last Snapshot! As mentioned last week, March is an extremely busy month of the year with all of the birthdays. It was a special birthday for Ben's mum and so we had lots of glasses of champagne and meals out. Ben, Charlotte, Sam and I tried out a new bar in the neighbouring village and absolutely loved it! The cocktails were scrumptious and the interior design was minimal and comfortable. I think what I especially loved was the fact that they were playing music from Grease! 

With there only being one birthday this week, I am looking forward to nights in with Ben watching a movie and snuggling up with Harry. The five things that have been putting a smile on my face this week are...

1. Investing in a Macbook Pro Retina Display laptop. I am so excited to edit videos and photographs on this!

2. Warmer evenings where I don't need to wear a coat!

3. Seeing all of my friends this coming Friday.

4. Cooking octopus for the first time with Ben.

5. Sun beams streaming through the windows in the morning.