Tuesday, 28 May 2013

DIY: Handmade sugar scrub

This is a really simple DIY for a handmade sugar scrub that you can make with everyday household ingredients.

500g granulated sugar, olive oil, few drops of fragranced essential oil, dried herb (I used dried thyme but you can use anything you fancy).

- Pour sugar into a big bowl or saucepan.

- Mix in the olive oil. It is up to you how much oil you use. I use enough to soak the sugar but not too much that it's really runny. You still want quite a stiff consistency.

- Add the essential oil (you can use any fragrance you like) and the dried herbs.

- Rub & massage a tsp of the scrub into your hands.

- Rinse with warm water. Use soap or lemon juice to take the oil off.

- Pat dry and enjoy your super soft hands!

I leave mine by the kitchen sink so I can have it at hand whenever I like!

Sunday, 26 May 2013

The wedding of the year! Josh & Natalia

I mentioned before that some of our closest friends got married last weekend. It was the most beautiful and most emotional day!
I have known Josh since I was seven years old, we grew up in church together as little kids. Sam has known him since they were eleven growing up in school together. It was Josh that first introduced me to Sam so I can happily say that it's thanks to Josh that I married the man of my dreams! It was so special to stand beside this guy on his wedding day with so much history behind us marrying the girl he's waited so long for and she was worth the wait! We met Natalia around the same time Josh did and giggled behind his back as we watched him blatantly flirt with her. The rest is history and they had the most special day with lots of family & friends cheering them on! They are one special couple!

The ceremony was beautiful. They got married in the same church where Sam & I said our vows so it brought back all sorts of crazy emotions, so special to be married in the same place. The reception venue was just down the road. We drank, danced & feasted on some incredible Polish cuisine (that's where Natalia is from). Her family travelled all the way from Poland & bought lots of love and fun along with them.

The speeches (all 1 million of them!) were mindblowing and emotional and his brothers wrote a song for them which was part of their speech! Such fun!

Congratulations Josh & Natalia! We love you! Can't wait to do more life with you in this new & exciting adventure!

Friday, 24 May 2013

The wedding cake

Some of our best friends got married last weekend & I was honoured to make their wedding cake! I went for a pink ombre design that I was inspired by on Pinterest but the bride had the very same idea.
Two tiers of lemon, one vanilla cream, a few sugar flowers and many hours later this was the result! I was so pleased with the result & I think they were too! It was such a beautiful day!

P.S. You can sort of spot some empty shelves! Our house is slowly being packed up!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Let's just take a minute...

...to introduce this beautiful boy! My nephew!

JOSHUA GABRIEL born on the thirteenth day of may two thousand and thirteen!

I have never been in love with another boy until this little one arrived nine days ago! He is total joy! I am totally smitten and I am so proud to be his auntie! I am so proud of my brother & sister-in-law. They are doing so well & although it was so strange at first to think my brother has become a daddy I knew he was always born to be one. He's always been so great with kids and kids adore him. I can't wait to see little Joshua looking at my brother like he's the most amazing guy in the world when they can start doing more things with each other & have big long conversations! This little one is so lucky and his parents are even more blessed!

I'm a little obsessed. I can't get enough cuddles with him! Oh, and he smells so good! I am totally broody, like crazy broody but I think we're going to wait a little longer, I think I still need a good amount of cuddles & quality time before someone else gets all the attention. Hehe.

Little Joshua Gabriel, YOU ARE SO LOVED!!

Friday, 17 May 2013

Reflecting on life lately...

I was refelecting back on a journal I wrote when I was younger, about 17 years old. I had been dating Sam for nearly two years and I had written down my questions over when we'd get married. Little did I know I still had a good few years to wait. I'm really suprised at how much depth I wrote in at such a young age. I didn't even realise that I wrote so much.

I came across a picture I had stuck in my journal of myself about 6/7 years old with a few questions next to it which I thought were worth sharing. I think it's been a really good way of remembering who I am and what I want for myself. I'd encourage you to try it.
Find a picture of yourself at a young age, when you were naive about the world and innocent to most things. A picture you love of yourself and ask these three questions:

1. What does this little girl/boy deserve in life?
2. What are your desires for her/him?
3. What do you want to say to her/him?

This has been a really significant thing for me to do from time to time. It really helps me to remember my desires and what God's promises are for me.

'May you grow up to be righteous, may you grow up to be true, may you always know the truth and see the lights surrounding you'. - Bob Dylan

Wednesday, 15 May 2013


I thought I'd start taking little snapshots of things in my daily life. Sometimes I am so focused on capturing moments or events that the little things in life get lost.

Started eating more fruit bowls & fresh salads to go along side my three-days-a-week at the gym, definitely feeling the great effects of it all.

Having a lot of fun with these porcelain painter pens. Going crazy decorating things for the new house to brighten & freshen things up a bit.

Lavender flowers & extract. Excited to start experimenting with this new flavour.
His & hers gym trainers. I haven't owned a pair of trainers for years but since we're getting our gym on we thought it was time to invest. His are blue, mine are purple.
Enjoying loose leaf tea. I'm a tea snob.
What I'm reading now. Highly recommend.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Chocolate & stem ginger pie

This is one of my favourite things to make! Oh, it is beautiful! If eaten straight from the oven it is sooooo gooey and gorgeous.

This recipe is for a big pie but I just halved the ingredients to make these four individual pies. You can use as much or as little chocolate as you like & it doesn't matter what kind it always turns out good. I have used lots of different ones before.

12oz plain flour, 8oz butter, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 6oz caster sugar, 1 egg, 2tsp vanilla essence, 1tsp mixed spice, 7oz milk chocolate (chopped), 4oz plain chocolate (chopped), 2 pieces of stem ginger, 2 tblsp demerara sugar (caster sugar will be fine).


- Grease the cake tin or individual tins & preheat the oven to 180oc or gas mark 4.
- Sift the flour & baking powder into a bowl and add the butter. Rub together to make a coarse crumble. 

- Stir in the caster sugar. Measure about 8oz of the crumble mix and set aside.

- With the crumble you now have, add the egg, vanilla essence, mixed spice and mix into a dough/paste - it is quite a sticky dough but don't add anymore flour.

- Press it into the base of the tin. I found putting a little oil on the back of a spoon and pushing the mixture around works great (see below)

- Scatter the milk & plain chocolate & stem ginger into the base. If you forget the stem ginger - add it to the crumble top instead like I did!

- Cover with the remaining crumble and scatter the demerara sugar on top.

- Cook individual pies for 30 mins or whole pies for 50 mins. Allow to cool for 10 mins before removing from the tin.
- Eat straight away with double cream or ice cream! YUMMY!

- If you make this beforehand you can heat the pie in the microwave for 30 seconds and it will make the chocolate gooey again. Perfect for leftovers if you have any!!

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Packing up our first home

The time has come to start thinking about packing up our first home. I don't even know where to start. When we first moved we only had our things to bring from our parents homes and all our kitchen stuff was packed up properly in boxes because we hadn't yet opened our wedding presents so moving was so easy but now we have furniture & lots of kitchen appliances and fragile items to pack. I feel a little overwhelmed that I just had to stop and write about it. How do people with big families or small children do this??!

I am soooooo excited about moving. We have a much bigger space and more freedom to make it our very own so my fingers are twitching to create & make things.

I'm in that zone at the moment where I can't be bothered to tidy up properly or use things knowing that I'll just have to pack it up in a few weeks and I'm excited to get rid of unnecessary or unwanted items, nothing like a fresh start!
It got me thinking though that we are so lucky with all the things that we have. We have been so blessed in our first few years of marriage and making our first house a home. I have been looking at so much home stuff and coveting beautiful lamps, cushions, ornaments, etc wishing I could have it all but really I do have it all. I'm trying to remember that when I look in home magazines and crave all the nice unaffordable things.
Not many people have the first home they always wanted but we got that and we're getting an even nicer second home. It might be above Sam's office and we'll be living in a community 9 months out of 12 but we will still have our space & a humongous garden to explore. I feel blessed way beyond I deserve.

With everything that happened the last few weeks I actually feel the best I've ever felt. In fact, I would go as far as to say it was the best thing that could have happened. I was ready to settle with where I was in life because things felt comfortable & I thought this is the best I'm going to do at the moment but it has so spurred me on to fulfill my dream of working for myself, to get down to business and do what I'm really passionate about.
People have said how suprised they are at how positive I am and how quickly I have come out of what was a dreadful time but I can honestly say it's only because I've SOOO felt God's peace and He has spoken such affirmation over me of who I am and who I am meant to be.
What could have been a horrible few months has become my greatest. I am so excited about this next season in life. New home, new dreams & new hope for our future. God has shown me once again that it is He who makes all things work together for our good.

Time to get packing, donating & sorting!

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Dear mom & dad...

WARNING! This is a total gush post.

This post is dedicated to my momma & poppa! They will quote me all the time on this but I'm going to say it anyway, I really would spend every waking hour with these two. 
They inspire me every day to be a better person, to look for the good in everything and give me the gentle reminder that I can't do anything in my own strength; that it all comes from God.
I am thankful that they have loved each other through all the good times & the hard times and have been a great example of how I want my marriage to be. I have seen them lose themselves & find themselves again, struggle financially & celebrate living comfortably, be generous beyond their means & give their time, advice and wisdom to anyone and everyone. I have seen them cry, fight, hurt & yearn but I've also seen them laugh hysterically, love, forgive & choose happy. 
We were never without anything growing up. My dad grew a great business & my mom stopped work to bring us up. She was with us every day, every hour teaching us, loving us, making us into creative and hardworking people.
We would have an activity to do always, bath times, story times & bed times were exciting and any health issues, sickness and poorly sleepless nights they were both around for cuddles.

They taught us about Jesus, they taught us to pray, to hope, to dream, the difference between want & need, good & bad, happy & sad. They praised us, encouraged us and loved us through our tantrums & teenage years.

They said NO! but they also said YES! and they were always right. They knew, we didn't, but now we see. They've done the hardest job in the world & they are still doing it. Even in the moments I packed my tiny suitcase & left home (hid behind the alleyway) to spite you and yelled 'I hate you!' you loved me. Even when I hit you or refused to eat the dinner you cooked, you loved me. Even when I trashed my room or slammed the doors you loved me. Thank you for loving me through all that. I bet that was one of the hardest things.

Thank you for family film nights, english country holidays, 30 mile family bike rides (ok, we did that once!), sugar sandwiches, handmade birthday cakes, dancing in the rain storms, singing us to sleep, making up stories, car games during long journeys, activity packs and dooey boxes, foreign holidays & much much much much more!
I am thankful for you and so proud to call you mom & dad. You are my heroes, my best friends!

Thank you for being here always.


Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Hanbury Hall

What a glorious Tuesday it is here in the UK. I am so thankful for the sunshine and even more thankful that I get to enjoy it!

Sam was away for the weekend with work so on Saturday me, mom, dad, brother & sister-in-law all had a spontaneous trip to National Trust place Hanbury Hall. The weather was all sorts of beautiful with the warm sun & cool breeze. It was so nice to have some quality family time, especially with my brother and his wife who are having a baby any day now. He/she is 4 days overdue now and I'm getting extremely impatient. I am soooo excited for the new arrival and excited to see my parents become grandparents!

Hanbury Hall has become my favourite National Trust place to go. The ground are spectacularly big with so much to see, full of wonderful floral smells & a vegetable and herb garden. I think I have found my place. My place to go when I just want to reflect and be quiet.

 My handsome brother & his beautiful wife!

When Sam came back on Monday we went to the gym! Yeaaah, we joined a gym and we are actually really enjoying it. We have a holiday booked and we're going in about 6 weeks! Going to get fit & healthy ready for great adventures & a lot of eating. I am so excited to get pampered and have some quality time with Sam. We will also be away for our second year wedding anniversary so it will be extra special.

After the gym we saw my momma then had an early dinner picnic in our park, made daisy chain crowns, talked about our hopes & dreams for the holiday and for the next few months and soaked up every last bit of sun before heading home to hang out with friends for the evening.

Loving life today!

Friday, 3 May 2013

DIY: Handpainted heart coasters

I am getting really excited about moving house. I bought some paint samples yesterday to try out and have been pinning ideas like crazy on Pinterest!

The other fun part is making little bits & pieces so I've got things ready to put out and make the place feel homey as soon as possible!
I know I want pops of yellow in our living room so I've made these heart-shaped coasters. I LOVED this little project. I can be very particular about buying things for our home and if I can't exactly what I'm imagining I just have to make it myself which makes it all the more satisfying.
I found these ceramic coasters from Next Home. I got two sets because I simply could not resist! Plus, you need coasters right!? 
You can buy these Porcelain Painter Pens online or in crafts shops like Hobby Craft.

Start by wiping the surface of the coasters with a dry cloth to get rid of any dust or oil from your hands. Then 'paint' on your designs. Do whatever you like. I've used a golden yellow colour and have been inspired by succulent plants. Once painted, leave to dry for 4 hours or overnight - I always wait overnight just to be 100% sure. Then place in a cold oven (do not preheat the oven). Turn the oven on 180oc for 45-60 mins. Turn the oven off and let them completely cool down inside. Placing them in the oven will secure your design and make them dishwasher safe. (You wont need to put coasters in the dishwasher but if you use these pens on mugs, bowls, plates, etc then you may want to dish wash them). 

I LOVE how they have turned out!

I also made this set of cups & saucers for my sisters birthday this week. They make a really unique and personal gift!

Happy crafting!!