Frankie Rose’s rainbow party

April 22, 2014 in MAKE, ME & MINE, STYLE

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Frankie Rose turned two last month and we celebrated with some of our favourite people, some singing, a barbeque, an enormous cake and rainbows. A lot of rainbows. Frankie-Rose has been infatuated with rainbows since she was introduced to them in Mark Herald’s wonderful book of nature (one of our all time faves), and a rainbow party makes an irresistibly cute theme so I kind of ran-like-the-wind with it.

Rainbows could be found at every turn; decorating mini pizza’s, on top of the cake, in the shape of the fruit platter, hanging above the table, on the plates and cups, and in the kids amazing rainbow outfits.

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sleeping bunnies

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IMG_5031The details…

Dave and I draped Rainbow streamers along the ceiling of the lounge, at midnight the night before (naturally) but surprisingly without marital rumpus. We hung a huge rainbow and some rainbow garlands above the table (the large rainbow was printed at a local printers then spray mounted onto some spare foam core). Paper pompoms, garlands, and balloons hung from every nook and hook around the room. Frankie squealed with glee when she saw the rainbow which was rather gratifying, I must say.

The grown ups were cooked a kick ass barbeque with homemade burgers by my mister and the kiddo’s had homemade mini pizza’s (decorated with veg in the shape of mini rainbows. Took me forever and once they came out the oven?!  The rainbows were indistinguishable in the general veggie pizza mess. Great!) My cousin and I made a 4 tier carrot cake with buttercream icing (with half the sugar) from the hummingbird bakery book and decorated it with rainbow smarties. My thinking was that smarties could be removed if parents preferred. It was quite seriously delicious: moist and still really sweet with only half the sugar. I could have gone down the rainbow cake path, dying the different layers a bright colour but I didn’t fancy all the sugar and e-numbers. I made rainbow ice lollies by freezing different blended fruits in layers in the freezer. I then promptly forgot to take them out at the party (of course!). So Frankie Rose has been enjoying a LOT of rainbow ice lollies since!

There were 9 toddlers at the party (and 21 adults!) and I knew it could get a little manic without something for them to focus on, so I set up a few activities. I dyed pasta rainbow colours for the kids to make rainbow necklaces with and made each of them a birthday crown. Frankie-Rose ‘s most favourite thing in the world is singing and dancing, so Dave played his guitar and the kids sang and danced their little rainbow butts off. This was the highlight of the party, they were all so focussed on singing and dancing, on ‘sleeping’ then hopping like little bunnies, on holding hands and ‘okey cokey’-ing. The songs were followed by a breathless chorus of “more! More!” so they were repeated and repeated. They also played with rainbow rhythmic gymnastics ribbons which I didn’t get any photo’s of, but you can see a little video of Frankie working the ribbon like a champ on Instagram. They all really loved this and were able to make some impressive shapes with the ribbons. Little gymnasts! Cute overload!

I typically ran out of time to finish the decorations before everyone arrived.  There was supposed to be a rainbow streamer curtain behind the table, and a mini rainbow streamer strip around the cake stand. I also ran out of time to take proper photo’s before everyone arrived too, as I was upstairs dragging a dress over my head and running around trying to find my shoes (at the same time. Not a good plan. Slightly ripped the dress. Wore it anyway). I could have kept going I guess but I chose to down tools and crack open a bottle of prosecco. A very good idea.

Preparing the house, decorations, activities and food was only possible because my cousin (baker, crafter, babysitter, all round amazing person) came to stay the week leading up to the party. And I’m under no illusions that most of the party decorations were for anyone other than me. I know that Frankie would have been delighted to dance naked around the living room and eat breadsticks. But I happen to get a kick out of party prep and if time and energy allow, I go for it. And it was wonderful. Just the right amount of rainbow themed kiddo fun balanced with grown ups eating burgers and quaffing sparkles.

P.S To give you a break from the onslaught of rainbow photo’s, a seperate post about our invites and thank you cards is coming soon!

Easter morning tea photo shoot

April 16, 2014 in PUBLISHED WRITING, STYLE

I am sloooowly grinding my blogging gears back up to full speed again and catching up a little. Posting should be a little more frequent freom now on.  Kristy,( the photographer I work with when we shoot houses) and I, have started to get together every month or so to do some seasonal test shoots, just to practice styling and photographing together. Our first shoot day was last month and we shot an Easter morning tea story. We styled and shot 2 colourways, firstly a muted black, white and green colour way, with understated Prius* foliage and secondly a bright multi coloured table with gorgeous daffodils in full bloom.

Baking! An abundance of flowers! Nice china!

Suffice to say, I was happy gal.

Because I am also the writer, when I style these things, the words that will accompany the images sort of spill and coil around the room like smoke…

“Bypass the traditional, and expensive, Easter roast in lieu of a pretty morning tea.…”

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“Bedeck the table in Spring flowers, one can never have too many”…

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“Let us not forget those yellow trumpets of Spring, the daffodil”

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“the rich spicy smell of hot cross buns rising and baking in the oven…”

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“Display eggs in decorative vessels; whether they are freshly blown hen eggs, or painted, heavily decorated wooden eggs, they always looks charming.”

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“Dye icing in pretty pastel colours and have fun dolloping, flicking and dribbling icing on to simple home made lemon sugar cookies…”

Photographer Kristy Noble, Stylist Hannah Bullivant. Thats err, me.

*Not the correct name but it sounds like Prius- anyone know?!

That was January

January 31, 2014 in ME & MINE, OUT & ABOUT, STYLE

A walk round Faversham marshes

Winter soup

So, that was January.

We started the year as we meant to go on; brewing beer and making massive batches of marmalade, filling the whole house with the sweet malty smell of hops and the citrussy tang of seville oranges boiling on the hob. Both are such lovely January activities that we hope to continue every year.

The Shingles I had over Christmas, although now clear, is still evilly clutching on somehow and I’ve spent the whole month in a fug of post-viral exhaustion, crawling into bed shortly after Frankie-Rose. Or at least thats what I intend to do. 10 o’clock jumps out at me from nowhere and proverbially whacks me over the head most nights. How does that keep happening?!

Our January was also very dry. No TV, chocolate, cake or booze. At times it was unbelievably difficult. And there have been a few minor hiccups. But we got there, with fresh resolve to be a bit healthier. Tonight we celebrate. Yes, one day early, but we won’t be together on Saturday so we’re calling it quits a little bit early. I’m almost quivering with excitement about the prospect of a bit of chocolate cake and a glass of wine (I had to stop myself from saying a MASSIVE SLAB OF CHOCOLATE CAKE AND A WHOLE BOTTLE OF WINE. Moderation. Moderation…)

We have been on a few walks around Faversham, our favourite being the Faversham Marshes, into the bird reserve. Its by far the most beautiful I’ve seen in Faversham, despite it ending in an (inevitable) slip and muddy bottom for me (Clumsy Mc-clums, me). You start at the boat yard, on a very straight path with bushy borders of grasses and reeds that sway as you pass. As you walk along the creek more and more boats appear, resting on their sides, pillowed in the glistening mud. Fishermen clean nets and yell instructions at each other, snippets of which reach your ears, on the other side.  Eventually you get to the marshes themselves that stretch out a vast distance in most directions. Pylons stand sentry in lines crossing the landscape and birds that we don’t know the names of dart above us, dancing in the wind. Frankie slept in the sling for the first half, then was a star when she woke up, braving the mud, then ultimately choosing to go back in the sling. It ended up at the pub for a …cup of tea (see Amish January above)

Winsome visitors have descended and left again; my lovely Dad came for a weekend. We took him to Whitstable for fish a chips and cooked steak at home and Frankie revelled in the love and attention lavished on her. Our London friends popped up for the day. I made a simple lunch of Pea soup (I’ve been making tons of soup) and bread then we hauled the buggies and their sleeping contents along the creek (a different bit to the one above). My misters family came to celebrate both my father in laws birthday and Burns night. I lived in Scotland for a few years and love all things Burns. Evergreens and candles clustered in the middle of the table and my brother in law served up Cullen skink, haggis, neeps and tatties, and I served up Mary Berry’s Scottish Mist. Yes, its as good as it sounds.  (I was too busy eating to take photo’s though)

Frankie and I continue to collect treasures from the woods, which assemble on the table in varying combinations. Evergreens are my new love, and they decorate the front door and and the table. I stole the idea of putting them in a jar from Ray (my sister in law). Candlemas is nearly here and we have stocked up on Beeswax candles in celebration (a new tradition, and an excuse for more candles, really).

Some (/too many) pictures to illustrate.

sleeping toddler in the sling

A walk round Faversham marshes
A walk round Faversham marshes

A walk round Faversham marshes

A walk round Faversham marshes

A walk round Faversham marshes

A walk round Faversham marshes

A walk round Faversham marshes

A walk round Faversham marshes

A walk round Faversham marshes

Winter kitchen tableThe concrete shapes wont stay there. They’re new, from  the Goodhood Store and I love them. 

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making seville marmalade

making seville marmalade

Homemade seville marmalade

Homemade seville marmalade

Homemade seville marmalade

 

Winter kitchen table

Evergreen January door decoration

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Gorgeous wintry light. 

More has happened, I’m filling the house with house plants, theres been some good work news, some illness, childcare developments. My mister is SUPER busy working on a secret project with a mega band- very exciting! But I have to stop somewhere

This was supposed to be 2, or even 3, posts, but I lost time in the midst of all that was January so here we are; one enormous post, on a stormy Friday evening. Oh well, Chin chin! I hope January has treated you kindly, it has a habit of being a bit grumpy. But, onwards! Spring is just round the corner. Happy February to you and Happy Chinese New Year too. x

Stick tales. How I came to hang a massive stick above our table.

December 24, 2013 in MAKE, STYLE

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I have been searching for the perfect stick to hang in our kitchen for a long long time. Perhaps since an ancient episode of Changing Rooms in which Carol mounted a large stick on the wall of a house that had almost no budget (clever clever woman! I still love her!) But finding the right stick has proved to be a challenge. In London, opportunities to pilfer a big stick were few and far between. And I wasn’t looking for any old stick.  it had to be the right shape and size, with the correct number of branches, and the correct spacing. And the bark had to ether flake off completely or be firm enough to be painted, and….  you see why it took so long. However I found my stick of dreams! O happy day! It was at our allotment in a big pile of other sticks destined to be burned. I saved it from its fiery fate, along with a few of its brothers and sisters and carted the beasts home on my shoulders (much to the bemusement of passers by, and my husband, who humours me with these things in a mocking sort of way.)

I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to do with it, but having recently painted and wrapped wool around some much smaller sticks for a mobile for Frankie’s room, my clever mister suggested we do the same to this one. So we did. I have since found lots of images of people who have done the same, not least in the latest Mollie Makes Mama, and i think they always looks lovely.

painted kitchen stick

painted kitchen stick

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We played with a couple of vintage camera lenses on some of these shots, which was fun, but also slightly blurry, but I kinda like it?

The stick is currently dressed in it’s Christmas finery but it will change over the year.

I think (think?) that this concludes my binge blogging. We hope to be able to get me a new laptop in the new year which will mean I’ll be able to upload and edit the photo’s in my own time, and blog a wee bit more normally. Fingers crossed!

So, all that is left for me to say  is a humungous THANK YOU, you lovely, lovely readers. Thank you for visiting and commenting here and on Instagram, twitter and Pinterest. They really do make my day.

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, and i’ll be back in a week or so. MWAH!

Christmas round ours part 3: tis the season to be jolly!

December 22, 2013 in MAKE, STYLE

Merry and bright lounge

Continuing my barage of Christmas related posts, I bring you a a christmas tour of our lounge, because why not. Christmas titivating happens to bring me deep joy.

Above is our cosy Christmas sofa, with  cross stitch Reindeer pillows bought from M&S in the sale 5 years ago, and some other bright cushions and blankets from round the house. The grey blanket covering the sofa (I’ve not re-upholstered it yet- a 2014 project) is from the wonderful Urbanara, a cool ethical homewares company.  I added a spare Christmas tree branch to the mix and my beloved make your own banner letters from Papermash. I made the colourful felt scolloped garland a year or so ago and it was very easy as it involves no hemming. I love felt!

Stacking santas

I was pretty pumped about putting my vintage Matryoshka santa dolls out this year, a bargain treasure from Deptford Market, and I pick up bottle brush trees where I can find them; charity shops etc. Glinting in the background is a humongous Liberty chocolate coin! Wish I’d bought more.

Christmas sideboard

I made the slightly odd looking screen at the back of the sideboard because I wanted to think of a use for the vintage wrapping paper I’d bought. I just spray mounted it to some cardboard. But it serves its purpose I think?! I spray painted the large wooden reindeer and the little wooden trees which I bought from the V&A sale last year.

Christmas sideboard

Christmas sideboard

Christmas sideboard

I made the little felt tree in about 5 minutes and the yellow tree was from the M&S sale 5 years ago. It was originally red but I painted it yellow. The print in the back ground is from Seventy Tree.

Christmas sideboard

Christmas sideboard

Pinted wool wrapped pine cones

Pinted wool wrapped pine cones

Frankie and I have collected a veritable forests worth of pine cones, fir cones and acorns from the woods and I have been thinking about what we can do with them. I decided we’d paint them and wrap them in brightly coloured wool, after seeing a link that Mollie Makes tweeted. Frankie was very excited about  ’helping’ me with these!

Merry and bright lounge

More (yes, more!) Christmas posts coming over the next few days. Wishing you a jolly, merry and bright Christmas season!

Christmas round ours part 2; Christmas wreath (A first attempt)

December 20, 2013 in MAKE, STYLE

Homemade pompoms, spare Christmas tree branches and a wreath ring, do a christmas wreath make! A first attempt, anyway. Christmas pompom wreath

Christmas pompom wreath

I wrapped fabric around a metal wreath ring, attached branches with colourful wool, then attached my homemade pompoms by wrapping wool around both the poms and the ring. It was actually really easy. Not a masterpiece, but jolly nice to welcome guests, and also the Faversham post people who are currently delivering parcels dressed as Santa Claus. Small Town Win. Have you bothered with a wreath this year?

Our Kitchen Christmas Pegboard

December 19, 2013 in MAKE, STYLE

It should be noted that initial melancholy about moving to a very new and slightly strange and scary place can be mollified by setting up a whole new house, twice the size of your last one. It’s especially exciting because it has coincided with a slight break in our grinding poverty and I’ve also found that seemingly out of nowhere I am feeling  insanely creative. This trio is so unlikely that I feel it ought to be celebrated somehow. A trinity of good things. Chin chin!

This means in any spare time we get, (and I do mean we, Dave gets in on all the crafty action, especially if were also watching Fringe) we are making paper snowflakes or pompoms or painting sticks and acorns, or hanging pictures and moving furniture around. Consequently our house is so dirty I am almost ashamed. But not quite, fuck it I say. Wooden floorboards are literally 10 times more forgiving than the crappy plastic fake wood floor we used to have. It’s been mopped a total of….wait for it…..ONCE since we moved 3 months ago! Yeah! (right?!…right?!…) So, anyway We’ve been able to indulge in a couple of lovely things for the new house. One of them is our new kitchen peg board (for the grand sum of £17!). Bought from a truly wonderful local hardware shop run by women! M&J’s sell everything, with impeccable service and knowledge, including lots of old school DIY things like pegboard, which can be tricky to get hold of. So, here it is. Our (currently Christmas) kitchen pegboard

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Christmas pegboard

Christmas pegboard

Christmas pegboard

Christmas pegboard

 There are no before photo’s but we had it cut to the size of a door and then Dave made a frame for the back of it out of some 1 x1 timber.  I painted it with some paint we already had (kevin McCloud for Fired Earth- I am in love with this green). Frankie Rose blessed us with an enormous 3 hour nap so we got it all done in one go! I then decided to spray paint the pegs yellow; a whim I am very glad I humoured. We boith love it. It is currently arranged to look like a Christmas tree but will take many forms throughout the year, displaying the dfferent oddments and knick knacery my mister and I are partial too.

 

Christmas round ours part 1; How lovely are your branches

December 18, 2013 in ME & MINE, STYLE

Christmas boxes

The Christmas boxes are out…

I am in love with this years tree. Not least because its our first real tree and it smells, looks and feels utterly sumptous. Yes, feels. I greet the tree every morning (Margot), switch on her twinkles and give her a little stroke. I recommend it.

Frankie Rose helped us to both choose and decorate the tree this year, on the 1st December. I use the term ‘choose’ an ‘decorate’ loosely. She is so into anything that we are that she was almost effervescent with excitement, simply feeding off our jolly festive (possibly slightly inebriated) spirit.

decrating the tree

decorating the tree

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Ingredients:

Elvis’s White Christmas on our new record player (Favershams vintage shops have bestowed upon us some utter gems in the Christmas record department).

A very excited toddler eagerly pulling the ribbons off baubles in her haste to add them to one, and only one, branch of the tree.

2 parents quaffing delicious red wine.

A host of homemade christmas tree decorations from christmasses past and present.

The Deets:

My mister and I made the paper pompoms this year, which was highly enjoyable whilst watching a good series.

The coloured LED bulb lights are from Lights4fun- We already own the white version of this, and they have tons of lovely very energy efficient lights.

The paper circles garland I made 2 years ago (by hand, by Jove!)

The felt ball garland was made with felt balls from ebay. I wish I bought the bag of 100 though, 40 wasn’t quite enough to match my exacting felt bauble standards. And they are exacting.

I made the star for the top of the tree last year out of felt and little pompoms.

Merry and bright christmas tree!

Merry and bright christmas tree!

Merry and bright christmas tree!

 

Hommade Christmas star

Merry and bright christmas tree!

 
Originally We just hung all the ornaments in the box and it was lovely if a tad chaotic but I actually ended up taking it all off again to use in the kitchen (more on that in another post). This meant I was able to start again from scratch, and try to create the clear vision of how I wanted it to look! Not that I’m slightly christmas crazy, or anything. My theme this year is lots of natural elements with bright splashes of colour and neon, so look out for lots more of it this week!

Our upcycled vintage office chairs

October 29, 2013 in LIVING GREEN, STYLE

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Picture last summer. London is our home, the weather requires sandals and sunglasses and a local afternoon pootle takes us to the salvage yard down the road. We poke and prod and greedily eye the objects considered refuse by the pubs that have gone bust, nursing homes that have been re-fitted, homes that have modernised. We marvel at what people throw away, sickened and appreciative at the same time. We admire the enormous stacks of old school chairs at the bottom of the yard, the weeds that have grown out of them, the bugs and mould that had made them home. Suddenly, and without much talk, we envision them spruced up, tucked underneath our new (imaginary) kitchen table and before we really know whats happening, and after some bartering with a man that grunts a lot, we are carting home 6 of the yards finest 1960′s office chairs having partednwith the princely sum of £35. And by finest I mean cracked, mould covered, faded and filthy.

In the following weeks we painstakingly strip off the old paint, prime them, then paint them in marvellous rainbow colours. Just for kicks, we do up our old table too.

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Finished Kitchen table top (image by Rebecca Bond for Apartment Therapy)Hannah&Davekitchen

Finished Kitchen table and a couple of the chairs in my old flat (image by Rebecca Bond for Apartment Therapy)

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Chairs and new table in new house

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The house
move meant we never quite finished them with the lacquer thats needed to keep them looking nice, and consequently they look a little scuffed and will need a little more work, but they are loved, those chairs, that tuck underneath our beautiful new, no longer imaginary, mid-century table ( a Preloved bargain. My current fave site).

P.S My misters latest ad for 02 just came out (featuring a dog with a song in its heart!) and last night he won an award at the Music Video Awards (MVA’s)! So proud of my hardworking genius of a husband right now.

Our sofa.

October 25, 2013 in STYLE

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 Image by Rebecca Bond for Apartment Therapy

With all of the attention my old flat has been receiving of late (right after I move out of it. Normal, right?!) I wanted to give a little shout out to one of the only expensive pieces of furniture we own, and the talented people that made it.

Our beloved pink sofa is now languishing rather awkwardly in our new kitchen after the size of its bottom prevented its ascent up the stairs to the lounge. I was hanging around dejectedly downstairs in the immediate aftermath of this realisation (after a group of us had spent a sweaty 40 minutes trying every which way to coax, manoeuvre, and beg it up the stairs) when someone suggested we could sell it. The speed and force of the glare that met the innocent commentator put paid to that immediately. Our pink stripy sofa was a generous wedding present from Dave’s Dad and step mum. It was the first proper piece of furniture either of us had owned and it took pride of place in the first tiny flat we lived in together. It is an original 1930’s wing back sofa covered in Osborne and Little fabric from Liberty. Paul Danby at “Show Sale Interiors and Furnishings” on York rd in Battersea restored and re-covered it for us and the workmanship is incredible. 8 years later and its still in very good nick. I stumbled across this workshop whilst working nearby, and I’m glad that I did as they don’t seem to be very well known or do any advertising. The shop is an old-school workshop and showroom and they’ve worked with the same team of UK based artisans for all of the time they’ve been in business (read about Herbert here). They are very friendly and accommodating, specialising in bespoke pieces. I simply think they deserve more attention!

by Paul Danby

 Image by Rebecca Bond for Apartment Therapy

Hannah&Davelounge Image by Rebecca Bond for Apartment Therapy

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Image by Kristy Noble for Homes & Antiques Magazine. This one is for all the Triangle wall decal haters on Apartment Therapy, this is what used to be on our wall!)

This isn’t sponsored in any way, by the way. I just love their work. And I’m coming round very nicely to the concept of a sofa in the kitchen. The perfect place to lounge when ones beloved is cooking and a lovely spot for an impromptu kitchen story, or an unscheduled nap when you’re bubs is napping upstairs.

And whilst we’re on the subject of family run British business, David Mitchell framers on Loampit Vale in Lewisham are brilliant. Very reasonable and friendly. We took a load of stuff to be framed there before we moved. They custom framed lots of our wedding polaroids (£5 each) and an enormous Rob Ryan poster too (£50), plus some other medium frames for about £30. Cheaper and better quality than lots of other places we got quotes for, plus one of the framers played with Frankie-Rose for about 25 minutes as I ‘uhmed’ and ‘ahhed’ and generally pontificated about mounts and wood width etc. I had just arrived home with my exciting paper wrapped packaged from the framers when I managed to smash one of the frames (my clumsiness knows no bounds). So I took it back the next day and he re-glazed it at no charge. Lovely chaps.

Happy Friday to you!