10 Things I Can’t Live Without!

Sometimes products or objects come into your life and you really struggle to imagine what life was like before them! Here are my 10 must haves at the moment, this list is ever changing as new products come out, but these are really special. So in no particular order:

1. Pilot frixxion pens…

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These clever little pens write like normal ball pens but you can rub them out with their built in eraser- so far so normal but if you ever work with pattern pieces that need drawing onto fabric, this is where the imagic happens! Gently heat with a hairdryer and all pen marks disappear!! I found mine in WHSmith.Thanks to the super talented Sew Sweet for the tip and now this life changing info is yours!

2. Micellar water..

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It has taken me until 50 to realise that cleanser does not necessarily mean make up remover! This fabulous water by Garnier  does the lot and soothes at the same time, absolute must have, available at Boots approx,4.99.

3. Repix photo editing app…..

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This is photo editing for dummies I.e me! the ability to adjust all the properties of a photo with a slider is genius and produces great results. Available in the Apple app store.

4. Make Up

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i need great quality make up as my skin and eyes are so sensitive, I only use Charlotte Tilbury and this great palette by Toofaced recommended to me by Itsmisstazmin.   These are all great products which need little skill or time to apply, perfect! Charlotte Tilbury from £19 and Toofaced palette approx £40 from various retailers.

5. Derwent Inktense pencils…

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These are water soluble but are beautifully vivid whether they have been diluted or not. approx £40 from large art stores.

6. Lush Kerbside Violet perfume

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This is a new one for me and it is gorgeous, exactly as it says it is a sweet Violet perfume but with a faint hint of city smoke. £9 from Lush stores and online.

7. Australian bush Flower essences..

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These amazing sprays smell delicious but also provide instant calming relief. Approx £14 from health food shops and Amazon

8. My iPad! ( there are other tablets available)

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My entire life is run from here! It’s a mini iPad so it is light and the touch

screen is great for my painful joints, the camera is phenomenal and I write and edit my blog almost entirely from here. Approx £300 from various retailers.

9, Buddhify app.

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This is is also a new one for me, but it is great! There are meditations for every situation and they are very affirming, the stress one ends with the voice over telling you ” you are more brilliant than you think” who doesn’t need that every now and again! From the app store.

10. My ice cream bracelet

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This amazing little charm was bought for me by my husband and I think it’s perfect, I wear it when I have to do something difficult as it reminds me, quite literally that life is sweet! charm £50 form Swarovski

Do do you have any special things that you can’t live without? Let me know- I might need it!

kisses

Karen

In And Out Of The Dusty Bluebells

Aaah bluebells, I adore them! I have fond childhood memories of picking huge bunches – it was the seventies! And now I am privileged to live a few hundred yards from some ancient blue bell woods. For me the gradual emergence of the bluebells is like the slow burn of a fire, this morning the first bluebells look a little like smoke hanging over the ground…. image Then they build to an indigo inferno, the smell is so intense it can make you feel slightly dizzy and as we know it’s sends Miss Darcey round the twist! image And then just as quickly as they came, they leave, last year they left me with a palpable sense of loss so I set about trying to replace them! I knitted this amazing pattern from Tiny Owl Knits, so I could wear them! image But that wasn’t enough, I needed the smell of them, I bought two Bluebell perfumes, one was Jo Malones Wild Bluebell… image This is a gorgeous scent with notes of grass and moss as well as the flower, it is £40 for 30 ml. i also bought this one from The Apothecary on Etsy, more floral and a bargain at £4.99… imageIt’s way more floral than the Jo Malone one but very pretty. ( don’t worry no bluebells were harmed in the taking of this photo, because the wood is so close we get ones springing up in our garden). And this year they are inspiring me to paint, I have in mind a series of pictures about a group of tough fairies, these fairies are trying to protect my ancient wood from the slow creep of housing that surrounds them. The first picture is underway…… image It features the Bluebell fairy riding a younger Darcey, holding her bluebell like a flag, patrolling her flowers and protecting them. The next one will be a fairy sleeping with the dormice that live in our wood, however  I am struggling with a name for these fierce fairies, any suggestions? please let me know.

Finally, some writing about my bluebell fire:

There’s a fire starting near my house,the first small blue flames have started and soon it will consume everything around it.

Soon there will be no smell available to you except that of the fire,no colour other than its colour will be visible.

No one will make any effort to stop it even though it will rage for weeks. And when it is time the fire will stop as suddenly as it started and I will weep for its return.

kisses

Karen

Turn Up, Tune In And Veg Out!

If you have picked up a magazine or newspaper or turned on the telly, you will have seen an increasing amount of cookbooks that steer clear of wheat, dairy and refined sugar. After a visit to the hospital and the impending summer, I decided that I should improve my diet, not calorie count just improve the quality of my food.

I am ashamed to say that all the books I review here are all mine and have been used at best sporadically, that is all about to change, let’s dig in!

First and closest to my heart is Deliciously Ella, written by Ella Woodward…

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Ella suffered from Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia, a horrible debilitating disease and claims that she has cured it by becoming vegan. This book is easy to follow without too much need for a trip to the health food store. My favourites from this book are the breakfast shakes which are really creamy and indulgent…

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and the baked beans, so easy to make and once you have tried them,Heinz will no longer hit the spot!

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Next up, Hemsley and Hemsley the art of eating well, written by the gorgeous Hemsley sisters…

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this is not a vegan book but does steer clear of refined sugar and grains. My favourites are Pablos chicken a really good alternative to fried chicken….

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And the super indulgent lime cheesecake……

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Fancy some more healthy sweet treats? Try Sweetness and Light by Daisy Lowe…

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lots of great recipes in here but our favourite is the courgette cake……

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If you grow courgettes, you will almost always have a glut, this cake is a glut buster!

And finally, if you are fed up of being saintly but want to avoid eggs and dairy ( half our family is egg intolerant! ) please go and buy this….

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I am not a great baker but I have had such success with this book, the vegan way of cake baking seems to me a lot easier than conventional methods. Our family favourite is the Turkish delight cake, it is soooooo good!

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I will periodically update you on how my diet is going, in the meantime please let me know if you have any healthy cookbook favourites.

kisses

Karen

Friends With Fringe Benefits!

We’re you a child in the Seventies? If you were you will remember fringing and tassels, and maybe not fondly! Fringing was on everything, I had a rather stupendous faux suede fringed bikini! If you are  good I’ll dig out the picture.

Well the good/ bad news is fringing is back BIG TIME…….

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And a rummage through the handbag wardrobe revealed this….

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Pretty much bang on trend, this little beauty will do me for this trend, but what if you are fringe less but don’t fancy the £500+ price tag for this Yves St Laurent fringe fest….

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So my lovelies grab your supplies:

A plain object you want to be fringetastic, bags are a no brainer but what about a pair of shoes with an ankle strap like the pink shoes in the first image.

Fringe! Mine came from New Trimmings.co.uk  and I bought a metre – I should have bought two and then I could have fringed both sides!

A glue that bonds all materials, there are loads available check out your local hardware or craft shop.

Scissors!

Here are my supplies….

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Then start measuring lengths of fringe and work your way up from the bottom if your doing multiple layers…

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Keep going….

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Et voila! One little fringed clutch for approximately a tenner…

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Let me know if there are any other trends you would like to try, there are some great floral painted bags around I might give that a try!

 

Kisses

Karen xxx

Oh Deery Me 2 Or How To Keep The Key To Your Imagination!

So who remembers when the deer crashed into my car? Well this week my insurers decided to write off my car and demand that their courtesy car be returned within the space of about 20 minutes!

I then had to drive about 40 minutes in a car I had only driven once, this presented me with both physical difficulty ( the arthritis in my shoulders hates long drives) and mental difficulty – I could feel the rise of anxiety. This is an actual picture of me from Wednesday afternoon..

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This came on top of my mums long-term illness, my mother in law becoming increasingly frail and my daughter entering the study furnace that is GCSEs.

So, how do I cope with these everyday stressors and stop the panic monster returning?

1. I practice mindfulness, this is an easy version of meditation, it doesn’t mean you have to clear your mind and chant Om, it means you bring your focus in and recognise that thoughts are like clouds – you don’t have to follow them as they drift across your mind. An easy exercise for instant mindfulness? Quickly decide which of your feet is coldest, it doesn’t matter what the answer is, because for a few seconds you are totally focused on your body! Cool isn’t it?

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2. Exercise, and this doesn’t have to mean hours in the gym, it doesn’t have to be outside even ( for a few weeks I couldn’t go out, so I rode an exercise bike) but if you can walk this should be your first choice. There is good scientific evidence that walking is very effective in tackling anxiety and depression. I have the bonus of Darcey to walk, who could be sad watching that nutter ploughing through bluebells.

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3. Do things you love, we all have to work but is there something you could do that would bring you real joy every day? It could be your favourite coffee it could be a bubble bath, look after yourself as you would if your best friend was stressed. I am lucky that finally I am doing work that I love but believe me it hasn’t always been that way.image

 4. Try and remove all stimulants from your diet, the last thing your body needs when its stressed is a stream of caffeine and sugar, I made the switch to decaffeinated everything and soon found an improvement in my stress levels.

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5. Fake it until you make it! there is also evidence that pretending to be happy will eventually make you happy, this is tough when you are at the bottom. I started by making sure that I only watched “happy” television, no Rip Off Britain, Cowboy Builders etc, you get the idea. Surf the internet for inspiring quotes or just plain silly ones, the one below is opposite our loo and greets me first thing….

imageI hope this helps, you don’t have to be on the brink of a breakdown to use these tips but if you are please talk to someone, once I started telling people about my panic disorder I found nearly everyone had personal experience of mental health issues.

So, I wish you love and light for the coming week and thank you for being part of my work that I love and I will reward you with a tutorial next Wednesday!

Kisses

Karen