Wednesday, January 24

Thinking Positively | Resolutions

The celebration of New Years seems like a distant memory, time has flown by with everybody going back to work and crashing back down to normality. Over the Christmas period, Ben and I were talking about how truly fantastic it was to be off work together, spending quality time at home. Both of us seemed to calm down as soon as we stepped into the house after finishing work on the 22nd December. Further into the Christmas period, we were talking about how it would be great to always be this chilled and relaxed. I know that I myself, when I'm teaching, have so many jobs to do each night after a day where all of my patience and selflessness has been drained. I am sure that I am not alone in thinking of how great it would be to have more spare time, more time to think, enjoy life and slow down from the fast-paced world we live in. There are multiple articles stating that juggling the work-life balance perfectly on an equilibrium is something that many 25-35 year olds struggle with. So, this begged the question for me and Ben, how can we take ownership of our lives, our free time and make time for the things we enjoy?

So, we both made a New Years resolution to be more content. Content with how hard we've worked, content with the progress our home has made over the past two years and content with life in general. Content for me means to reflect, pick out the positives and be proud of it. Time seems to go by ever so quickly and so, instead of looking ahead into the future to the next holiday, or item of clothing you are going to buy, think of the present.

What are you grateful for? What are your accomplishments? Who is there for you through thick and thin? 

Being content covers every aspect of our lives, even down to our personal perceptions of body image. Be content with who you are, because you have so much to be grateful for... yes there are things in life which hurt you, make you sad, challenge your values. But no matter what, remain proud of who you are in the present. Be content with yourself. You are amazing.

Saturday, January 20

Provence Post Cards

France will always hold a special place in my heart. If you were a reader way, way, way back when I published 'French Update' & 'Postcards from Carcassonne', you will know that I am practically a local to Provence. Well, not really, but you get the idea. To recap from 4 and 1/2 years ago, my family visit France every year and do a grand tour with the caravan of all the various stops along the way...

So, as part of Dad's 66th birthday present and Father's Day present combined, Mike and I purchased the air tickets to the South of France. This is where the caravan stays throughout the year, in a beautifully quaint campsite located in the town, San-Remy-de-Provence.

In true style of our family, we visited many churches and drank a lot of French beer. I chilled for days, reading my ELLE magazine and researching wedding ideas. It was a truly lovely holiday. The pool at the campsite was massive, yet, as Mike (my brother) and I quickly found out... it was freezing as well. We braved many swims in that pool and found it useful as a way of cooling down. 

So, I thought I would post some photographs of the amazing holiday, as they say a photograph speaks a thousand words, so I will let them do the talking...

Wednesday, January 17

Living On A Building Site | Diaries

I thought that as I and Ben are currently undergoing major renovation works to our property, I would start a new series all about what life is like when living on a building site. As the timescale of the build is unknown and so far we have been in the thick of renovations since May 2017, I don't want to promise a weekly update on what is happening, purely because the building progress will fluctuate. However, something I will say, is that I intend to break this diaries series into phases, and thus today is the start; with 'phase one'.

In May 2017, Ben was tirelessly digging out the foundations for our kitchen diner extension. This felt like a real accomplishment when Ben starting digging, as we felt as though we were finally embarking on the extension of our dreams. 

Going way, way back to September 2016 we enlisted a reputable local architect to design out kitchen/diner and double side story extensions. I found it so useful to call around a variety of different architects, ask for a home-visit where you can get to know them and also enquire about costs. In addition to this, it is also always extremely important to check out their portfolio on their website as architects have expertise in different styles. Ultimately, the style that we are aiming for with our property is modern, updated Victorian style. There will be details giving a nod to the property's Victorian past, but we want to bring it into the 21st Century and thus inject some modern aspects, e.g. bifold doors.

Then it was the real task of receiving full planning permission. This took 8 weeks for the local council planning office to grant, however, before we went to full planning permission, we did a prior planning application. This basically means that we ran our initial ideas with the council, only to get knocked back. We had to reduce the size of the extensions as we live in a Green Belt area. Yet I would recommend doing this, as it only cost us £150 compared to the full planning permission which is in the region of £400. It's far less stress on your budget to do this first, especially if you feel as though your plans may be a tad too dreamy.

We received planning permission with our reviewed plans a few days after my 23rd birthday which was a nice surprise. Then it was really a matter of saving up for the extension and riding out the harsh winter weather until Spring in order to be able to start the extension. We then enlisted a building regulation inspector to frequently approve our build as the extensions progressed. We found a really good company through being recommended by Ben's parents who had only very recently had a kitchen/diner extension themselves on their property. 

Once Ben dug out the footings for the kitchen/diner extension, he then organised for the concrete to be poured into these footings to establish the foundations to lay way for the slab of concrete. It felt like a real accomplishment to get the concrete slab done as we could really appreciate the sheer size of the extension. 

Continue to stay tuned for Phase Two of the Living on A Building Site | Diaries.

*(All photographs were taken on Ben's iPhone as I foolishly forgot to take photos of this stage! Photo credit: @moenjoineryltd)

Saturday, January 13

Interior Series | Kitchen


For the past 2 years, ever since Ben and I moved into our home, we had been restlessly waiting for the right time to renovate and extend our home. The room that we wanted to work on the most was the kitchen. In our previous home, we had a modern, but basic kitchen. Nevertheless, it served its purpose and was easy to navigate round, meaning I was able to cook and bake with ease. This was not the case with our home that we are in now...

Yes, it had space to work on and a fully functioning kitchen sink. But the oven was outdated and didn't work. Plus, it stunk of grease. So, in May 2017 we finally started our kitchen extension - I will be publishing a post on this process very soon. 

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8 months on and the kitchen is nearly complete. The only things left for it now are kitchen accessories that will make it feel more homely and give it the personality it deserves. So, through browsing Pinterest and all of my favourite interior design websites, I have made a mood board for what I will be hopefully furnishing my kitchen/diner with. 

Stay tuned...

Thursday, January 11

Kefalonia Post Cards

Way back when the sun was shining proudly and the days seemed to last an eternity, Ben and I were in Kefalonia, Greece. Amongst other tourist and holidaymakers, we set up camp in a beautiful self-catering hotel called 'Crystal Palace'. We stayed there for 2 whole weeks and throughout this time we grew to know the place very well. Kefalonia is such a beautiful place, and to be honest, anywhere you venture to amongst the many Greek islands; you never seem to be disappointed. There is something for everyone, whether you're seeking peace and quiet, sight-seeing, or a party town; Greece always delivers. 

Thus, we were seeking peace and quiet, after a busy year of being an NQT (Newly Qualified Teacher) and Ben had has a great year with his newly established business. The swimsuits, books, sun lotion, euros and cameras were packed (as well as the passports of course!). July 25th to August 8th. 

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Over the course of our holiday we sunbathed, soaking up the warm air and the sea breeze. We laid by the pool engrossed in our novels. We ate lots of crisps and drank lots of Mythos. We paddle boarded and explored the coastline of Skala. We also went on many excursions. Something which I would definitely recommend, whether you have hired a car or not, do go on these excursions as you don't need to worry about the geography of where you're going. You just sit back, and relax whilst taking in the hairpin bends and picturesque views on an air-conditioned coach. I absolutely love excursions as you learn so much about the particular place that you are visiting and really get a thorough understanding of the history of the place. 

Mine and Ben's favourite excursion was the day visit to Ithaca. This is a small island situated off to the east of Kefalonia. The views are absolutely, drop dead gorgeous(quite literally drop dead if you stand too close to the edge). We ate tons of fresh fish meals and learnt about the myth of Odysseus who apparently lived on the island of Ithaca. 

I can understand why Ithaca stole Odysseus' heart... 

Below is a poem by C. P. Cavafy about Ithaca:

As you set out for Ithaca,
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery. 
Laistrygonians and Cyclops, 
angry Poseidon - don't be afraid of them:
you'll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon - you won't encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbours seen for the first time; 
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind-
as many sensual perfumes as you can:
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.

Keep Ithaca always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaca to make you rich.

Ithaca gave you the marvellous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca won't have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithaca mean.

Saturday, January 6

Blogging: Your Voice Does Matter

A little while ago I did a post all about my return to the blogosphere and what this re-energised love meant for me (Blogging With a Purpose). Ever since my return to blogging, writing and re-immersing myself in photography; I have been the happiest I have been in a while. 

Along with everything that has unfortunately happened in 2016, with losing my mum to lung cancer, I have needed to find something that makes me happy. Although I have tons of things that I am absolutely in love with, such as Ben, my family, friends and pooch - Harry; I needed something positive to focus on.

It is so easy to get caught up in the daily grind of life, working full time and then being exhausted after work. However, I feel that with my blog it isn't a drain on my energy, in fact it rejuvenates me and I get so excited when I think of new blog post ideas. 

I intend to therefore create authentic content which is a reflection of my life, whether it be through illustrations, photography or cinematography. I know that it may seem ambitious to be delving head-first into different types of creative mediums, but I just figure if it makes me happy then why wouldn't I do it? Of course, my video editing skills aren't going to be first-class from the get go. I will learn, I will make mistakes, but most importantly I will be communicating my perspective of this crazy journey with you. I don't want to put a structured timeframe on my blogging patterns just yet as I am getting back into the flow of the blogosphere so I don't want to make false promises, only to let you down. Please do keep updated with my ramblings and articles on my instagram (@kthrn.mlry) as I do always post on their, almost on a daily basis.

Wednesday, January 3


So here we are, I can officially wish you a very happy and healthy 2018! 

2017 whizzed by faster than I thought and yet so much has happened. I have so many things to fill you in on. But firstly, I just want to  say a big thank you for your support over the last 5 years of 'And Kate'. I have been off and on again with my blogging and I have to say that my absence was due to working full time as a teacher. I focused all of my time and energy on teaching that I wasn't giving myself the space to continue to enjoy writing, taking photographs and communicating with you... So for that I apologise.

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If you are familiar with my blog, then you will also notice that I have changed the appearance of my blog. I feel like so much has changed in my life and I want my blog to reflect that change. I feel that, maybe it sounds somewhat silly, but I wanted to change the layout of my blog in order to feel as though I could authentically blog. I am excited for the road ahead, bring it on MMXVIII!

Sunday, August 6

Travel Check In

All the way from Skala, Kefalonia I am wishing you a very happy Sunday whatever you may be doing. I am planning on spending the day finishing Eleanor and Park, before heading into town to the local bakery and getting some delicacies for brunch. Today is it set to be a beautiful day, a very hot day indeed, so I intend on trying to stay in the shade and take the occasional dip in the pool.

It feels good to be back to blogging, I am excited for the content to come!

Kate xo