The Adventures of Flappy Bird

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You know how you have this new year thing happening so you decide to do things a little differently this year, and mix things up a bit, learn from your mistakes, or just try something new? Well, this year I have decided to embark on more adventures. Such a great word, isn’t it, “adventures”? Makes me think of Christopher Robin and Pooh Bear or Jack Sparrow of Pirates of the Caribbean. If I had more adventures in 2016, I would be very happy.

In keeping with that aim, I have joined Meetups, subscribed to Time Out, Secret London, and various other things. The thing is, there is so much going on that there is far too much to keep up with! But equally, I guess if I don’t try then I’ll soon slip back into my little routine (which is needed but dull). I found an Owl Experience Day with the English School of Falconry on Time Out and took the husband for a little jolly to Bedfordshire – 3 hours of handling owls and flying them? Yes, please! We were lucky it was sunny, because the day was amazing. Friendly staff, sweetest owls (how cute are they??), impressive falcons/eagles/other birds of prey in the falcony show, sunshine (although it was freezing cold)… it was such a fun afternoon. The School of Falconry has a range of experience days and demonstrations (by the way, England has very strict rules around birds of prey in captivity – the birds are well-looked after!) – do check them out!

 

Images: Courage & Dash

Sweetly feasting.

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I know Christmas is over, but I just remembered I haven’t shown these to you! One weekend in December, Xin, from Pudding Pie Lane, baked up a storm and we spent all of Saturday catching up, giggling, getting far too sugar high, and playing with Christmas decorations. So much fun! If only we could do this all the time?? Sadly, I am back to work on Tuesday (I know lots of you are too, so we shall be mournful together!), and so no more feasting and lazing. Christmas season is, alas, over (although technically speaking, it’s not over until 12 days from December 25, no?)… for me at least. Until 2016.

Hang in there folks… 3 more working days until the new year.

 

Images and styling: Courage & Dash; Food: Pudding Pie Lane

Curious Shop: The Future Kept

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Why, hello there! Only 9 sleeps until Christmas day… how quickly the festive season has crept up on us. It’s  been some time since we had a #CuriousShop feature, so here we are, with our current favourite new online shop, The Future Kept. Remember Jeska Hearne from Lobster and Swan, whose lovely home studio we visited here?

Jeska, and her husband, Dean, recently launched their latest project that combines their backgrounds in design, styling, photography, writing, and brand development. The Future Kept is based on the ethos of slow-living, sustainability, and supporting artisans. And you can tell that the two have a clear vision for their brand – from the product images, to the materials to the design and makers, all tell the same story of taking a deep breath and stopping to think about how and why we buy.

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The shop stocks a range of products, from bags to bath products to home furnishings, and the is something for almost every budget. If you are still on the hunt for that elusive Christmas present for the friend who has it all, or the picky aunt, pop on over to the shop for a browse! Oh, and you really don’t want to miss their Instagram feed: it’s gorgeous (@thefuturekept).

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Visit The Future Kept at http://www.thefuturekept.com

See Jeska’s blog at http://www.lobsterandswan.com.

 

Images via Jeska Hearne

Styling with Flowers

Hello there! What a lovely weekend – have you been out enjoying yourselves, watching the football, tennis, cycling?

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Last time we got to take a look at Katy Barraclough’s fun kitchen and clever styling ideas. This week, it was our turn to pop over to her blog, Folly & Bloom, to share some of our ideas for styling with flowers. Hop on over here to have a look!

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Thanks for having us, Katy!

Images: Courage & Dash

Chelsea Flower Show Series: Flowers + Letterbox = …?

We are so pleased to be featuring Bloom & Wild as part of our Chelsea Flower Show series. Not sure when or how we first discovered them, but we were immediately enamoured with the idea of fresh flowers as often as you wanted, without the hassle of running over to the florist’s (or market, in our case, because we are flower market fiends) or settling for store-bought flowers (which, to be fair, could really be much worse!) or worse still, not being able to be home to receive the delivery!

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It’s been a month since we first signed up; Thursday evenings, when the flower parcel comes, have been pretty exciting. Here’s how it works: You subscribe to floral deliveries and pick a) the theme of your flowers, and b) a day (or days) of the week when you will receive the blooms – think Graze or LOVEFiLM, but pretty. You also choose how often you want them, e.g. every week, once a month, etc. We get ours every two weeks. Bloom & Wild send you your flowers in tip-top condition (we marvel at how well they travel), packed in boxes designed to fit through a standard UK letterbox.

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According to Nathan from Flowers by Nathan (previously at Wild at Heart), flowers can last up to 2 weeks if you take great care when preparing the stems for display, and if you are diligent with providing fresh water for the flowers. Admittedly, we haven’t been that good at Courage & Dash, but our flowers have lasted for nearly 2 weeks now!

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Bloom & Wild’s flowers last longer because the company has made an effort to cut flowers to order and reduce middle-men and transit time along the way. This means the bouquets you receive will have been cut only 3 days before. Nice.

We asked Bloom & Wild to share some thoughts on decorating with flowers:

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What are your top tips for decorating with flowers?

1. Allow your creativity to blossom!

2. Experiment with different vases/containers and choose the container to fit the flowers, not the other way around.

3. For a pleasing arrangement, stick with one colour and choose flowers of various tones.

4. Find the best place in your home/work environment where the flowers will take centre stage.

5. Buy seasonal flowers.

How do you ensure flowers last as long as possible?

Make sure vase is as clean as possible, finishing with a rinse of bleach to get rid of any soap. Clean stems thoroughly of leaves so there are no leaves at all that will be in the water. Cut stems at an angle, and re-cut stems every 2-3 days. Use flower food in the water, and keep your display away from sunlight and sources of heat.

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What kinds of containers could you use if you don’t have the right vase?

Recycle jam jars, bottles, tins, teapots, scour car boot sales and flea markets for interesting vases and containers.

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Apart from arranging flowers in vases, how else can you use flowers in your living spaces?

Display single flower heads floating in water, or display single or a couple of simple stems submersed in water (we like this idea!). You can use a few stems in a large decorative vase instead of a full bouquet to mix up the look, and remember to also buy flowers for their scent for an added dimension to arrangements. For a great DIY hanging display idea, check out the Bloom & Wild blog.

Favourite Summer flowers?

All white flowers are on trend for this summer, as they are fresh, elegant, and of course really versatile. Team them up different textured foliage to make an interesting arrangement. White flowers look great in any decor setting, and don’t forget to use them for al fresco dinner parties.

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Images courtesy of Bloom & Wild

Coloured what?

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Where has this been all my life?? Coloured grout! What an invention! I first came across these on The Design Sheppard (thanks, Stacey!), and was immediately drawn to both the metro tiles and THE BLUE GROUT. BLUE GROUT! Such a quick and clever way to add colour to your living space, SO Bright Bazaar-worthy! When I used to think of grout (not that I would often think of it!), images of messy, half-renovated bathrooms would spring to mind. Or, perhaps bathroom walls which were at best, dull and white, and at worst, grimy and calcium stained. Yuck. British Ceramic Tile will be changing all that with coloured grout, which will make the process so much more like icing a cake than mucky, needs-to-be-done-not-glamorous-at-all renovation work. As the name suggests, British Ceramic Tile offers a wide selection of tiles for your redecorating needs. Bored with oblong? Try an adventurous shape (I’m looking forward to the day I have my own home and can have fun hexagonal tiles)! The Design Sheppard has some ideas on choosing colours; as I’m a blue person, the blue and white pairing above is a winner for me, but I am told there are plenty more colours available for infinite palettes. Somehow the bright borders between the tiles seem to really add a fresh and modern, almost Scandi-chic feel to the whole look. A quick way to freshen up your kitchen or bathroom!

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Photos from British Ceramic Tile