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.

Monday, March 14

Victorian Living Room / Mood Board



Since moving into our new home back in December, we have been researching Victorian interior design as our home was built in the mid-1800's. When we bought the home, the previous owner had decorated it in a mis-matched fashion, not in-keeping with the house's design and age. We have therefore since made it our mission to redecorate the whole of our home and give it the Victorian spark it once had. Pinterest has been a fantastic app to use, with lots of Victorian interior design ideas for Ben and myself to be inspired by and ponder over.

We eventually want to extend our home and turn it into our family home, a place where we want to have our children and make memories. For now, however, we are starting the renovations with our living room. The living room is a place where I love to relax in after a busy day teaching and watch House of Cards or Sex and the City boxsets. I will post a before and after article here once the renovations are done. But for now, these ideas and colours on my mood board are acting as my Victorian interior go-to inspiration.

I would love it if you had any suggestions with the interior of a living room! Leave any suggestions in the comment boxes below.

Saturday, March 12

Sorrento, Italy / Part II






DAY 2: VESUVIUS

On our second day in Sorrento we decided to catch the train to Pompeii station in pursuit of Mount Vesuvius. Joining the hustle and bustle of the people going to work, we hopped on the train and took in the beautiful scenery around us on our way to Pompeii. Once here, we used our tickets (which we bought at the Sorrento train station) to jump on the free and rickety bus to the Vesuvius 4x4's.

I was so excited to see Vesuvius in all its glory. Once our impressive Mercedes 4x4 had dropped us off at the highest parking point, we began our hike up the volcano. The views were absolutely breathtaking. I was lost for words.

Vesuvius is a magnificent volcano, a force of nature which the people of Naples and surrounding areas are constantly ready for any possible eruption in the future. Vesuvius, in 79 AD, erupted, killing thousands of people and burying Roman cities, such as Pompeii and Herculaneum to name a few. It is still a live volcano today and is considered to be the most dangerous!

Despite this unsettling information, we hiked up the volcano, looking down into the pit.

***
EVENING: ENGAGEMENT PROPOSAL

After our exploration of the destructive volcano, we headed back to Sorrento to grab a well-deserved lemon sorbet and wandered around the narrow streets. As this was our anniversary of 6 years we had booked a table at the Michelen Star restaurant in Sorrento. Before we headed out for our delicious celebratory meal, Ben wanted to have a toast of Prosecco on the balcony overlooking Sorrento. As we raised our glasses, Ben went down on one knee. I was overjoyed with excitement as he proposed to me. I was presented with the most beautiful platinum ring ever.

As Ben carefully took it out of the box to place on my finger, he explained that he had designed it himself and had engraved a special note on the inside. The six claws holding the diamond represent the six years we have been together. I couldn't be more happy with my ring and keep hafting to pinch myself at how beautiful and thoughtful it is. And so now we are planning our wedding, not knowing whether we would prefer to do our wedding at home or back in Sorrento.

Friday, March 11

Beauty Review / L'Oreal Sleek It



Recently on my shopping trip into Liverpool with Charlotte, I came across a new haircare range from L'OrĂ©al in Boots. There was an array of yellow and black products standing proudly in the store. I couldn't resist the promotional offer of 1/3 off (oh I do love a good offer) and so I bought this beauty bargain and saviour.

To be honest with you, I am an Aussie haircare girl and just love their products. However, seeming as I was out of smoothing cream, I thought it'd be interesting to try out other products on the market. And I have to say, this Ultra Smoothing Cream is fabulous. I love how it smells and how easy it is to apply to my hair after a shower. This cream leaves my hair feeling soft and silky, whilst also protecting it from any damage with its 230*C Heat Protection formula. I will definitely be looking into getting more products from this haircare line.


Wednesday, March 9

Snapshot #2



With the nights getting progressively lighter for longer, I have been finding myself spending more time outside, whether it's for a longer walk than usual or pottering around the garden. March is the busiest month in Ben's family, it is his birthday, his mum's and nana's birthdays. This weekend I am looking forward to spending some quality time with the family celebrating birthdays.

The five things that are making me happy this week are:

1. Feeding the pony that lives on the field behind our garden. Harry gets jealous of my new found friendship and barks relentlessly at this new neighbour.

2. Trying a new restaurant in the local town and having a chilled glass of prosecco.

3. Sketching with charcoals in my new moleskin book.

4. Taking photographs of the sunset over the farm.

5. Organising all of my teaching documents (I have a slight obsession with stationary)!

Monday, March 7

Sorrento, Italy / Part I


 DAY 1: EXPLORE

After checking in at our gorgeous hotel in Sorrento, we quickly unpacked our bags, had a glass of iced water and then headed off to explore the sights of Sorrento. One of the places top on my priority list was the lemon orchid as I was eager to try the famous Limoncello liquor. This garden was mesmirising, it felt like a scene out of The Godfather, a place where I felt as though I could escape to for hours on end. After trying a the local liquor, we wandered back into the Italian streets, loosing ourselves in the winding roads and quaint antique shops.

Not before long, our stomachs started to rumble and so we stopped for a homemade pizza and a cool drink. We people watched in the glorious warmth of the sun and decided what we were going to be doing in the following days.










Wednesday, March 2

Snapshot #1



Life is a rollercoaster, enjoy the ride.

This past week I have reflected on what it is that makes me happy. For some people, happiness is the goal in which they want to attain. Whilst for others, happiness is a way of life, the driving force behind any decisions, however big or small. Happiness is something which I base my life on. If I'm not happy, then what can be changed? In a world where life is going at 100mph, it is important to stop, take a step back, and reconsider what makes you happy.

Happiness can come in many forms. Happiness can be the simplest thing, such as a lie in, a walk on the beach or being surrounded by the people who you love. Happiness is something which many people do not stop to think about, so I want to create a new series called Snapshot. Here I will talk about 5 things that have made me happy.

1. Listening to the new Jack Garrat album on repeat. I am going to his concert in Manchester in April so I am learning the words to all of his songs.

2. Receiving flowers from my wonderful best friend, Charlotte.

3. Getting paint samples for the living room which I am in the midst of redesigning.

4. Going for spontaneous walks with Harry (who now has his own Instagram account!) and taking my camera with me.

5. Writing for my blog and reinvesting my creative energy into this love of mine.