Saturday, 19 April 2014

Just Wanted To Say...

Wishing you all a wonderfully happy Easter weekend! Let's hope for some sunshine, time spent with friends and family and maybe even a chocolate egg or two!

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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Road Trip To Middelburg

Hey there friends, today I thought I would share a few snaps with you from a trip Rich and I took, as a way of celebrating my belated birthday, enjoying some valuable time together, raising a glass to Rich doing so well in his new(ish) job and as a blooming good excuse to stay in a fancy pants hotel!!

We packed the car with a cool box of goodies and headed off to our first stop- the gorgeous Domburg. This place was tiny but held some really pretty architecture and some seriously inviting shops. After a wee stroll around and some lunch, we continued on our journey until Westkapelle. We braved the skirt lifting winds and climbed the stairs to marvel at the view atop the dyke (separating the village from the sea), and learn a little about the history of this area, including when it was bombed during the second world war and how it took more than a year to close the gap in the dyke.

After almost being whisked off with the breeze, we headed to our desired destination, Middelburg!


Shop fronts in Middelburg

It's all in the details

Such a variety of styles and structures

Majestic church spire hidden amongst the roof tops

Wandering around the old streets

Hidden treasures

This is somewhat of a large town, in comparison to our previous pit stops, but was no less pleasing on the eye. Take a look at those buildings, the fine details and curiously intricate silhouettes. This place is steeped in history and character and may I also say THE place to go for some delightful boutiques.

The sun shone down on us as we hit the cobbled streets and stretched our legs, taking in the sights and soaking up some rays.

Now, I'm not sure about you chaps, but staying in a luxury suite with a freaking sauna in the room, is not an every day occurrence, and I may have done a little happy dance when we walked in! The place was huge, all open plan and seriously indulgent. The bath was ridiculously amazing, the shower was ginormous and did I mention the sauna? I may have mentioned the sauna. We even had fluffy bath robes and slippers, I mean come on! We lounged about like royal slobs and treated ourselves to an equally fancy meal in the restaurant.

I can't say enough about the hotel, and really really hope to go back (soon!), the whole trip was incredibly relaxing and really good fun, just what we needed. The dust is starting to settle, now I have my feet firmly planted on Dutch soil, Rich is hard at work and I am attacking the language continuously. So much time spent checking things off lists and organising the serious stuff, this was a highly required and thoroughly enjoyed bit of time spent together.

Do you have any tips for squeezing in essential down time, during a somewhat hectic routine? Is there an effective way to balance things without piling on pressure or stretching in too many directions? Let me hear em!!

Friday, 11 April 2014

Identity Crisis

Calling all subtly styled sirens! I am in need of your assistance and advice. 

Do you ever have those moments when you peer into the depths of your wardrobe, searching for something wearable, amongst heaps of items, yet never seem to find a single thing? Or one of those days when you pass a mirror and think to yourself '... Really?' ? My friends, I must confess... I have lost my fashion mojo.

I am not sure if it is the changing of situations, starting in a completely new direction with my life, or if it is perhaps the age I have reached, or maybe even it is my ever developing personality and evolving preferences... But I really do not recognise myself these days, highly shallowly and strictly fashionly speaking (yes, I said fashionLY).

I think I am in need of a shuffle up of stylings. A fresh outlook on my clothing and perhaps to try new shapes and colours, introducing a more current representation of myself. This isn't the easiest of tasks, especially considering living on a budget, but in order to organise and collect my thoughts I have gathered some images of styles I really like.

// image: here //

There is no escaping the fact that I will, and always have, loved a good pair of jeans. I have three pairs here with me in Holland, only one of which fits properly (how annoying). The right pair of jeans can do wonders for your shape and are the mother of all comfortable clothing, bringing an edge to any outfit. High waisted, turned up hem, however or whatever a bit of denim goes a long way.

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I love the twinset style of pairing a cute collared shirt or pussy bow blouse with your trusty cardi or slim fit jumper! It has a deliciously Man Men secretary-esque vibe that appeals to my inner librarian. This look can work with a skirt, jeans or dress and styled with the right accessories or slick of lippy and I really think it looks a treat. I own more than enough cardigans, an embarrassing amount actually, so perhaps layering over a sweet shirt would breath new life into an old knit.

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Another classic item that has a multitude of styling options is the dress. In particular, for my short frame, a hem length a bit above the knee, fitted or full skirt, and my sleeve of choice is forever a cap or a three quarter length (or bracelet, if you will). I definitely need to expand my colour palette and explore prints, as I generally tend to stick to navy, black or grey.

// image: here //

Oh my, I could lick this image, (I won't though). I know, I know, not very Spring / Summer but I really can't help myself here. There is something about a high impact coat or jacket that sets off a whole outfit. I have only recently discovered the power of the right coat, and can't seem to get enough of this soft, layered approach to an outfit completer. It really doesn't matter what goes underneath, almost. The right jacket does all the work, and I would be delighted with any one of these!

Sincerely chaps, if any of you have any advice for how I can reclaim my mojo, please let me know. Any great online shops, any refreshing your wardrobe techniques... Or even dressing for the right shape (5 ft 1 ain't easy!). I would love to hear your wisdom.

Monday, 7 April 2014

DIY Easy Peasy Mini Bunting

Whether it's to brighten up a sad and sombre office, to bring some handmade fun to your bookshelf or perhaps you're looking for a quick and super cute celebratory garland to bring in the cheer; this easy to create, felt bunting will do the trick!

All you need for this mini piece of crafting is some felt, string and good old fashioned needle, thread, scissors and your trusty thimble.

It is as simple as this; cut your pieces of felt into small triangles, however big small or isosceles as you like, in whatever colour combination you fancy. The beauty of felt is that it doesn't split or fray so no need to worry about seams or hemming!

Once you have your coloured pieces in order, and have chosen a contrasting or complimenting coloured thread then go ahead and stitch those little guys to your length of string. It would be a good idea to chose where you will be displaying the garland, in advance. If it's going to sit on a shelf then perhaps measure your length of string against the shelf, this way you know how much to cut from the ball and how many triangles to attach.

I used a basic straight stitch across the top of my triangle, but again, you can get as creative as you like with these. There really are no limitations!

Next step, go hang them EVERYWHERE!

I have decorated just about everything with these little chaps, including across the top of my sewing machine. Just think of the colour combinations you could use for a Spring inspired number!!

Monday, 31 March 2014

And So It Begins

I'm going to throw this out there in one big ball of gushy love, and say a huge thank you for the support, words of kindness and general sweet hearted advice and messages from everyone. This journey is just beginning, and although I have made the first and potentially hardest step now, the rest is still unfolding, and during challenging moments it really truly lightens the load to have people to share the experience with.

And talking of taking those first steps into fresh newness and unknowing… Here are a few snaps from my very first weekend as a resident in the Netherlands! My wonderful parents in tow, we began by squashing my belongings in the back of our mini and off we set for a weekend of introductions, discoveries and a whole lot of food!

// And so it begins! //

// Touch down in the Netherlands, view from my parents B&B //

// Day trip to Veere, taking in the gorgeous architecture //

// Beautiful buildings and quaint shop fronts //

// Cottage chic, some serious home wear beauties //

// Easter (Pasen) was in the air with these spring time displays //

// Flowers, bunnies and piglets… Whats not to love! //

// Showing my parents around my new stomping ground,
 dad couldn't resist touching the sand and the sea! //

// Walking around Hellevoetsluis in the hazy sunshine //

// Just across from here I signed in as an official resident! //

It was such a lovely weekend, our two families became one big crazy gang and my dad kept everyone entertained with his newly acquired Dutch skills (I say entertained, he actually put me to shame with how quickly he picked it up!!). We dined like kings thanks to Rich's moms cooking and raised a glass (or two) to new adventures.

My folks are already planning their next visit over here, much to my delight, and although it has been a fairly surreal experience planting my feet firmly on Dutch soil, I have to say I am comfortable here in my new surroundings. There is much to do to continue the settling in stage, and I continue to remind myself that it can not be achieved in a day, but with the help of everyone around me and a little enthusiasm and persistence, each day feels more and more familiar.

The next step for my transition is setting challenges and goals to push myself out of the house and to build up my little world here. Continuing like a Trojan with the language, gaining a bit more confidence with meeting new people and getting re-inspired with my sewing and craft projects.

I can't wait to share more of my discoveries and snippets of adventure with you. Have you taken any first steps recently or do you have any new projects on the horizon?

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Down The Rabbit Hole She Fell

One foot in front of the other it goes. Make a choice with a heavy dose of anticipation, nerves tingling like a charged bolt of white hot light. Reach out for that steady hand, firm and reassuring, grasping it tightly. Into a land of unknown opportunities, blind as I am I stand tall against the pressure.

Never really knowing what lies ahead creates a world of worries. This most unsettling of habits whips up a storm in my mind, but learning to reign in the freak outs and temper the emotions is proving key to survival upon this newest of journeys.

Over night, nothing can become. Time and a fudge load of patience, persistence, hope and a little blind faith, these are my weapons. Equipped as I can be, the pages are turning. Making the most of this little life around me weighs important, and I all too often forget this. Searching ahead, scrambling for the answers to questions yet un asked. Frustration at my limitations. Enough.

One foot in front of the other it goes.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

A Little Birdie Told Me

There is something timeless about a good piece of writing. Literature connects people, each of us tangled together in a sticky web of thoughts and feelings, linked to one another through the weaving of words. A barely spoken whisper can hold such emotion and deliver mighty impact. A note scribbled on the back of an envelope. The beginnings of stories, told over and over, weightless yet enduring.

Whether it is your favourite book or a line from a song, there is a story in everything, even your own to tell. I salute the people with courage enough to share their tale with the world around them, to open themselves up in a vulnerable state, to allow outsiders in.

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Once upon a time, writing was for writers. You know, successful established and published. The lucky few that pursue a dream and strike gold as the doors of acceptance and acknowledgement swing open. But that is not where the story ends. For every 'head in the clouds' day dreamer, such as myself, there is opportunity to delve into the world of writing, to take your first steps towards a chapter and to develop a taste for description.

A fantastically eloquent and exciting post, opened my eyes to the perfect starting block, and you'll never believe what it is! The ever gorgeous Bee from Vivatramp has shone the light on this new challenge called #TwitterFiction. Yes, that's right TWITTER fiction. If you haven't already devoured Bee's post, then what on earth are you waiting for? There's another link right here! The seamless wordsmith herself, offers some excellent tips on getting started, including the use of prompts and visual inspiration boards. Of course, I can not resist but to contribute, and have compiled a selection of images based on my own prompts, as suggested on the delightful Vivatramp.

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/ / skin. veins. stretching. tight. pierce. silence. ground. grasp. reaching. compass. time. warmth. grit. air. light. breath. voice. motion. explore. dirt. clouds. feathers. foot step. //