Monday, 9 November 2015

Cosy Weekends // Three Top Posts

Life has been pretty busy these last few weeks, busy in a breath taking whirlwind kind of way! I bagged myself a little job and am really challenging myself with this one, relying solely on my current knowledge and skill of the Dutch language and am trying to soak up as much of it as possible with each shift. Having this job should help push my studying to the next level, that is if I don't psych myself out in the mean time (ah me and my self doubting ways).

I have also been crocheting up a storm, creating a few prototypes and mock ups of designs, hoping to have them tried and tested and ready to pop online. Oh and of course I've been distracting myself by crocheting pumpkins and slippers and what not... So naughty!

Over the weekend, besides squeezing in a few much needed strolls through the leaf sodden meadows I've been getting my read on, trying out some new podcast series and had a good old Friday night tv binge!

My favourite posts from the weekend were these three, offering up words of wisdom, motivation and inspiration from some of my most loved blogs:

'Little ways to get yourself motivated for the day' posted by From Roses; this is one to save and re read on those lazy, unproductive mornings.

One Sheepish Girl posted about 'We Are Knitters Signage Sweater Kit'; offering a discounted code when purchasing one of these stunning ready to go kits, so so tempting!

One to truly make you stop and think was 'Reluctant lessons in dealing with terrible people' from Awash With Wonder; this woman just knows how to send a message, all of those thoughts and feelings that swim around our tangled minds are laid beautifully bare in this honest post.

For other updates please feel free to head over to my Faded Windmills facebook page, loaded with pretty visuals and crammed with inspiring bits from the internet, or if you're interested in swapping book recommendations then don't hesitate to check out my Goodreads page. Have a great week, friends, and look forward to catching up soon!

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Dig Your Heels In

Well, October really is in full swing, with a brisk chill in the air and the gentle falling of the leaves. Man, I love autumn! Apologies to all those sun worshippers, but gosh darn, there is something special about the turning of a season.

It could, of course, be mostly down to being socially accepted as I bounce around in my 16 layers of clothing... I loves me a cardigan, shirt, vest, tee, slouch scarf combo... And you will rarely see me out of my trusty brown suede Chelsea boots or my oxblood red leather ankle boots, but this time around, I'm ready to spice things up and kick start this brand new month on the right foot! (Oh dear!)

Introducing to you, an alternative choice to stomp around town, skip down the lane or strut your stuff!

Twisted Sister- An edgy yet sophisticated option worn day through till evening, looking super hot here with a tiny turn up on your skinny jeans.

The Dandy- You can't beat a classic silhouette and these beauties really take the shape, comfort and style of long loved favourites and brighten up any crisp October day with a textural and colour renovation!

Whimsical Delight- What a sorry state of affairs if you can't have a little fun with your footwear. Not only are these cute pumps comfortable and chic, they tell a story and sell a mood and I'll take one of each, please!

Alter Ego- Moving on from embroidered whimsy to sheer camp as Christmas. For those moments when you need to make an impact, throw caution to the wind and reach for the brightest lipstick you can find!

From smoking slippers to ribbon tied suede, there really is a lot of joy to be found in a good pair of shoes!

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Literary Lists // My September To Be Read

Ahh September! Is it me or does September hold the promise of fresh starts, new projects and a crisp changing season? Oh, and all of that gorgeous 'back to school' stationary up for grabs!!

For me, this shiny new month calls for handwritten letters to my dears, beginning exciting projects of the handmade persuasion and wrapping up in a couple extra layers whilst diving into a great book!

Which leads me nicely into the nature of this here post. I don't usually set myself a monthly 'to be read' as I am very much a creature of mood, especially when it comes to selecting my next novel, but I decided September will be the month to give it a go:

Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
ISBN13: 9780356500157

Not every gift is a blessing. Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite. But they don't laugh. Melanie is a very special girl.

If that doesn't pull you in, I really don't know what will!! A little odd of me to include this in my 'to be read' considering I just finished it, but by now it is the 9th September and it was on my list, so...

Publisher: Alma Books Ltd
ISBN13: 9781847493781

One of Stevenson's most famous and enduring popular works, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde describes the mysterious relationship between a respectable and affable doctor and his brutal associate. Set in the grimy streets of Victorian London, this tale of murder, split personalty and obscure science, with its chilling final revelation, became an instant horror classic when it was first published in 1886 and has enthralled and terrified generations of readers ever since.

I am currently reading this delicious slice of gothic horror and have already fallen in love with this gritty historical setting and can't wait to delve deeper into its mysterious and dark world.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic
ISBN13: 9781407134611

Okay, this is a book I have chosen purely on recommendation from rave reviews over in the booktube community. It seems an incredibly popular book, which unnerves me a little to say the least, but seems a relatively short and snappy novel, so as curiosity often gets the better of me I intend to find out what all the fuss is about. That being said, I absolutely hate the description on the back of the book and therefore have chosen not to include it here. From what I gather, this story consists of magic, surreal settings, mystery, quest and adventure and naturally a healthy dose of young love (hmmm). Let's find out, shall we!

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Publisher: Random House USA Inc
ISBN13: 9780307887443

In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenager Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the Oasis. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself best by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade is going to survive, he'll have to win and confront the real world he has always been so desperate to escape.

The last book on my list for this month, added in to shake up the pile of books and in hopes of creating a varied taste to round up September.

Yes Please by Amy Poehler - perfect for multi-tasking and frigging hilarious to boot!

De Boze Heks is Weer Bezig by Hanna Kraan - my latest Dutch children's book is going down a treat.

Knowing me, this could all change, but hey ho, so is life! What books have risen to the top of your pile for this month? Have you read any of the books on my list? Would love to know your thoughts!

Friday, 4 September 2015

Settle Down // How to feel more at home in a new town

Moving house is such a huge task, exciting of course but also a touch nerve wracking; getting all your things packed/ unpacked and organised, choosing and arranging furniture, decorating, cleaning and DIY ing, not to mention some what expensive. Now combine all of this with moving into unknown territory, a village or town you've never even visited, knowing not a blinking soul... Fun times, am I right?

Well, there are some wonderfully helpful ways to focus on the amazing new change in the bright positive light it deserves, whilst getting to know your new stomping ground and eventually settling in to your new home and town. I have found, over the last couple of months, that these tricks are really allowing me to enjoy the process without that old familiar worry taking up too much of my time!

Get on your bike and ride! Seriously, the best way to explore your neighbourhood is to head on out. Whether you are lucky enough to be in a bicycle safe area or take the road on foot, discovering all of those hidden treasures will build your confidence and familiarity with your new place. Weather depending, we go on evening strolls around the corn fields and hop on our bikes to the next village over, just to get an idea of the lay of the land and have found many more gorgeous spots than we would have been able, in the car!

Nest build. Making a house into a home takes time and patience but doesn't necessarily have to cost the earth. Simple things such as rearranging a book shelf or organising your wardrobe can be super therapeutic, clearing out old crap and making room for the items you love can help to bring your living space together. I found that treating myself to some flowers or a new scented candle, it's all in the details, gave our apartment that much needed cosy feeling and I am finally starting to see things settle.

Community service. Getting to know your neighbours is a long lost etiquette in some dwellings, but I have made it my mission to strike up conversations with everybody I can, even if it's just a friendly passing by the post box! You genuinely never know what interesting people you live near and could spark a friendship simply by introducing yourself. I have found this especially helpful for my language skills. Just by pushing myself to speak Dutch with my next doorsies has boosted my confidence ten fold!

Friends + pizza = good times! Pizza night with pals is a treat worthy of any occasion, I mean pizza! But when moving to a brand shiny new area, it is essential to keep contact with family and friends and to have that piece of home right there amongst all the new. Inviting people over, cooking for them or heck, why not test out the take aways (important, no?), and making some new memories and good vibes could be just the ticket for settling in. Did I mention pizza?

Urban Legend. Another thing I have been enjoying, since the move, is learning about my new area's history. Looking into it's origins, the stories handed down generations, facts and formations of the land, and of course, noting all of the village festivities celebrating these curious historical events! Heading to your local library could present you with all manner of local folk lore, googling original maps could show you how the land has transformed over time and even speaking with the local know it all (or bar man!) could result in brilliant tales and some insider info!

Hidden gems! This ties in with exploring on foot and researching your area, but seeking out the nearby attractions is essential for anyone hoping to really truly get to know their area. We spend so much time looking over the fence, planning expensive trips to far off lands, when many of us forget to check the doorstep for all manner of wonders. On my list is visiting all the local towns by bicycle, the cities by train and the national park on foot. I hope to hunt down the museums and art galleries, the fabric and yarn shops, the best spots in the city for a little retail therapy and a coffee and discover a new favourite book shop... Exciting times.

Now, not to sound too mumsy, but there are, of course, some more rather pressing matters to research before you go gallivanting, such as checking out your local public transport routes, see what your nearest shops have to offer, keep in contact with family and mates (skype works wonders for those further afield) and sourcing essentials for your hobbies (cinema, haberdashery, vintage shop).

Just remember, it's a working progress! This is my daily mantra, one step at a time!

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Mood Board Curation

In between moving house, starting a fresh in a different part of the country and beginning the never ending mission that is finding a job, my slothenly procrastination ways have led to the creation of a series of distraction and beauty. Given that I'm a sucker for a bit of visual inspiration, lately I have been curating a collection of gorgeous, mood led images into daily boards and posting them over on my Faded Windmills facebook page.

This carefully selected array of hazy sunsets, striking fonts and current fashion favourites have been seriously brightening up my days, filling my mind with all manner of creative ideas and inspiring me to add a little beauty to my life in teeny tiny ways.

If you fancy strolling over to the original images you can find them and a spectacular amount more back at base, on my pinterest page, or for frequently updated exhibits of a gorgeous nature then head in the direction of my facebook page, but for now here are a handful of my favourite mood boards so far!

Sending luck and wishes for the week ahead. Make it a colourful one!

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Re evaluating & Reasoning

Sit down and just write.

Forget those worries. You know the ones, they pile up at the back of your mind, slowly pulling at your attention, demanding, forceful, sharp. No. Everyone has their fair share of doubts and fears where self confidence takes a step to the side allowing the critical thoughts to elbow their way to the front. Today you will take a deep breath. You will open the door, letting the light flood the room and the sound of a sleepy Sunday enter. You will ignore the gentle persuasion of tiredness and other poor excuses and you will begin to write.

Taking a moments pause from writing or blogging really set me back a few steps, when it came to jumping back into it. That daunting blank page filled me with unease. I know I'm not the only one to suffer from thoughts of 'is this good enough?', but when you think about it; who really cares? This is my blog, right? I write to entertain myself and hopefully as a result, one or two other people with similar interests, but that's sort of it. It is a way of sharing thoughts, feelings and ideas. A way of informing and entertaining. A wonderful tool to record particular moments and to open up conversations with a whole community. So why the worry?

We put incredible amounts of pressure on ourselves these days for all manner of things, so letting the fear of comparison and critique stop us from doing what it is we enjoy so much, when there are already many more important issues at hand- well, that really does put things in perspective and seems plain silly. Of course, people take pride in their work and care immensely about the quality of what they produce. Rightly so! But letting those worries pile up so high, that you can't see over them to even pick up a pen and create, well that is a real shame. So I have decided to attempt to conquer at least one worry in my life!

The strongest worry, regarding my blog, besides it looking relatively amateur layout wise (I'm working on it), was that I didn't really have a niche. I can't pin point an audience or narrow down my content to fit neatly in a typical blogging category. My friends, I simply enjoy too many things and being awful at making decisions anyway, have come to the conclusion that rather than limit myself by pigeon holing my thoughts, I'm just gonna post! Inconsistent, unregulated, eclectic as it comes, content!

This also goes for my Etsy store. I have been working at business plans, creating content, writing up proposals and budgets whilst beating away this nagging voice telling me the only way to succeed is to have A thing. A speciality, a theme, a style. This has put me off launching and opening a store since forever, as my work just doesn't follow this. I love knitting and crochet but I also love illustration. I want to create hand embroidered and beaded bridal accessories but have a million ideas for haberdashery goods. I understand the advice to stick to one thing and master it but I have really found that for me, this holds me back. This adds to those doubts and it has ground my project to a screeching halt; so a new tactic is in order. Create whatever I feel like, pour my heart into each peace and open up to opportunities! Relax, see where the pieces take me and adapt my handmade creations according to where my inspirations lie and what feedback I may receive along the way. My Aladdin's cave of treasures is on the horizon, no limitations and probably one heck of a mess but that's who I am, may as well own it, right?

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Give It Away Now // #bloggerbookswap

So the gorgeous Char over at t*rexes and tiaras held one of her annual #bloggerbookswap events where readers of her blog can unite in their shared love of literature. Of course anything to do with books, treasure hunting and post and I'm definitely in; with today's feature I wanted to share with you the delightful parcel I received!!

Char lovingly matched up all of her contributors and upon receiving our postal partners and a few likes and dislikes we set to task, picking out a book or two to wrap up with a bow and send to it's new owner. The great part about this particular event is that the books are previously owned by you! So not only do you receive a newbie with high recommendations but you also get to lighten your shelves whilst knowing your precious novels will live on and be looked after by fellow readers!

I managed to land myself the belle of the ball and got to choose a little parcel for Char herself, and upon opening my little treat from her I couldn't believe what beautiful things lay beneath that barrage of stamps!

Not only do I now own (and can't wait to sink my teeth into) Theft of Life by Imogen Robertson and The Death of Lyndon Wilder and the Consequences Thereof written by D. A. Dineley but I also have the cutest note pad/ sketch book, a bundle of sea green bracelets and a stunning post card! What a gift!!

Both of the books have me super intrigued and sound totally my cup of tea when it comes to novels. Theft of Life is set in London 1785 after the body of a West Indies planter is discovered in the grounds of St Pauls. Investigations pursue and fingers begin pointing but as the plot untangles the answers do not appear to be as simple as once thought. And in The Death of Lyndon Wilder we follow the arrival of Ridley Halls new governess Anna Arbuthnot. Entering a household deep in mourning and befriending a newly orphaned young charge, chaos, threats and family legacies question the strength and survival of Ridley estate.

Two hefty reads that I am incredibly excited to get stuck into and who knows, possibly even worthy of passing on to another book lover, sharing stories and recommendations and a great way to give an old novel a new lease of life!

Be sure to keep a close eye on t*rexes and tiaras as Char hosts many a creative swap event, so head over and get involved!