Monday, 30 June 2014

Honeycomb homeware

Manuka honey, beeswax, bee themed brands – they're everywhere in the beauty world, but now it seems the bees are invading the homeware and interiors world too. I've been having a good scout around the web and to be honest most of the pieces I like in the honeycomb trend are handmade, so the majority are from Etsy, who I only just wrote a post on! I have been really selective with this trend and only picked pieces that I would happily have in my own home. Here are my top picks from the honeycomb trend:
1. Honeycomb Cubby Shelves, Etsy, £50.64 (Pine, more for different woods)

2. Honeycomb Geometric Pillow Cover – Mustard Yellow, Etsy, £21.10

3. Modern Honeycomb Lamp Shade, Etsy, £53.65

4. Tissue Paper Honeycomb Ball Decoration, Not on the High Street, £5

Please let me know if you know of any other great bees or honeycomb homewares in the comments below.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Running tips for beginners (like me!)

My running kit: New Balance trainers and T-shirt and leggings from JD Sports

I am 100% not a natural born runner. The only reason I have started to run more often and for longer is that I stupidly agreed to do the Race for Life with my sister and some old school friends. It is 10k! What am I doing?! I feel slightly pathetic finding a 10k overwhelming when my boyfriend goes out and casually runs 12km AND he's not even training for anything! However I think you have to believe that some people are just natural runners. For example if you are short like me, you have to be kind to yourself and remember that you will probably be taking twice as many strides as your taller friends, therefore more energy is required. 

During my training, for which I am now up to 5k (half way there, woot!), I have learnt a few tips, partly from my Mum, who is training to be an Alexander technique teacher and partly from the boyf, who has done the marathon. I thought it might be useful for me to share these tips with those of you who are looking to get into running. Before I start, I'll just add a little disclaimer: I am not a running coach, trained medic, or anything like that, if you have any health issues it is probably best you consult your GP. If you are thinking of starting to train for something like a marathon it might be wise to get a Bupa health check. I made my boyf get one of these before the marathon and it just gives you that peace of mind. Anyway, let's get going! Here are some tips I have learnt in the past few months:

What to do before your run
Make sure you stretch before AND after your run. It is surprising how many people don't realise you should stretch after your run. It really helps your legs recover and avoids stiff legs the next day. I just do really basic stretches that I learnt from sports classes at school, but if you want specific instructions then Runner's World have some good tips on their website.

How to get rid of a stitch whilst running
Start thinking about breathing in when one of your feet hits the ground. If you have a stitch on your right side you want to be breathing in when your left foot hits the ground and vice versa. I try to stretch the leg through the stride, it seems to help!

How to build up to 10k
Take it steady. If you have never run before, but are otherwise a healthy weight and fitness level, start with one mile*. Keep practicing one mile until you feel perfectly fine and are not coughing and spluttering! Then build it up, I've been adding half a mile every week. If at any point you feel like you can't go any further – stop or take it slow. Even if you might be running slower than walking, you are still technically running!!

What to think about when you are running
Think about how you are running. I know this might sound weird, but think about how a cat walks, elegantly, rolling the foot, make sure you do not slam your heel down! Make sure your neck is not too far forward and that you are not clenching your fists. Also, think about your breathing. I hardly think about anything other than running and monitoring how I am feeling when I run.

What to wear if you feel self conscious
I found all the women's trousers were so tight on the bum and then the tops were too short, so I went for the tight three-quarter lengths BUT with a man's T-shirt that covers my bum. Don't be afraid to buy men's sportswear!

I hope you enjoyed this slightly longer than normal post and please share with me any of your running tips! I am running the 10k in just under one month – I plan to write a post on how I found it, so watch this space!

*If you are not a healthy weight and fitness level consult your doctor for advice on how to start running, it may mean you start with power walking.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Easy and healthy summer salad

Puy Lentil and Pumpkin Seed Salad
Serves 2
You will need:
  • 2 x Little gem lettuce
  • Orange or red plum tomatoes
  • 1/4 cucumber
  • 1 pack of tender stem broccoli 
  • 1/4 pack of pre-cooked puy lentils
  • Handful of pumpkin seeds
  • Olive oil and vinegar for the dressing
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional extra: Feta cheese

Step 1
Start with the stuff that takes the longest. So, take the whole pack of tender stem broccoli and add to a lightly oiled frying pan and fry! Then take a small frying pan, something that you might do one fried egg in, and fry the pumpkin seeds. Be careful when frying pumpkin seeds as they can burst like pop corn. Fry both until they have a golden brown colour. Enough of the word 'fry' in that step!?!

Step 2
Use a herb chopper to shred the lettuce. Add the shredded lettuce to a salad bowl.

Step 3
Take your 1/4 of a cucumber and chop into round pieces and then into quarters. The cucumber will give a good bite to this salad. There's nothing worse than a salad without a crunch. Add the cucumber to the shredded lettuce.

Step 4
Chop the plum tomatoes into halves and add to the shredded lettuce. The orange plum tomatoes are sweeter, so they compliment the earthy taste of the puy lentils. However I'm sure if you can't find orange tomatoes the red ones would work just as well. Add the tomatoes to the salad bowl!

Step 5
Now add the fried broccoli and pumpkin seeds, along with the puy lentils. 

Step 6
Mix together oil and vinegar and use as a dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste. If you are making this as a lunch to take to work, I advise keeping the dressing separate and adding it just before you eat the salad.

If you want the salad to be slightly less healthy you can always add some Feta, which will make it extra delicious.

Let me know if you try this salad and enjoy the summer weather today. So far it looks like a beautiful day, hope it will last!

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

The Gate

As you may or may not know I won a three course meal at the Gate through Instagram! I never win anything so this was very exciting for me! The Gate is a vegetarian restaurant with two branches in London. There is a Hammersmith branch and an Islington branch. For those of you who don't live in London they do a couple of great cook books too. It is pretty much my favourite restaurant anyway, so when I won the meal I was absolutely delighted. I thought I would share with you what I ate, sorry if it makes you hungry!

Smoked Tofu spring rolls


Dark chocolate pear tart

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Etsy: the homeware

If you've not hear of Etsy... where have you been?! It's an amazing website where artists, makers and creators can sell their wares and you as the consumer can be more considered about your approach to buying. You can favourite a shop, follow a maker, read blog posts, they even have events!

I also love that they pick up on what you like and suggest other products you might like to buy. Although this is not good for my purse strings! My top favourite thing about Etsy is that there is so much variety and so much creativity. I am always amazed at how creative the makers and craftspeople are. For example...

Who remembers where this song lyric is from? Here's a clue, the next line is: 
'Do I hear happiness in here?'
Annie! I love it! Check out the logo of the people who sell this at My Bearded Pigeon. Legends.

This fuels my Liberty and William Morris obsession.

They are in Australia, but I want all of their furniture, my favourite Etsy store is Senkki Furniture. I've fallen in love with these bedside tables. What do you think?
I could spend HOURS on Etsy, and lots of pennies. Go check out the site and let me know if you find any winning products, it's like Aladdin's cave! Enjoy!

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Two shops, one blog

Sometimes I have those days where I'm just clicking around on the internet, surfing if will, and I end up finding some new incredible sites. 

The first one I have to mention is The Lifestyle Editor blog. Firstly, the photographs on this blog are amazing, the colours are so rich and vivid, every photo makes me want to be in it or hang it on my wall. Not only are there fantastic photographs, but also great interviews with photographers, stylists, makers etc. Two things that interest me the most in life at the moment: people and lifestyle photographs! 
Through finding this awesome blog I found these next two sites: 95% and Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.
Schoolhouse sell a similar banner to that of the 'It's Ok' banner I mentioned in a previous blog post, however their one says 'Let it Go', one for all you frozen fans out there! 
Schoolhouse also sell Handwoven Mayan Throw Pillows, oh yeah, you know, those Mayan pillows... yeah I'd never heard of them before either, but styled up in this way...
...I need. Schoolhouse also have a blog where they do helpful posts such as 'Refresh and Renew: 3 Simple Updates', where, oops, the pillows are featured again!
95% of what 95% sell is Danish and 5% of what they sell is Swedish! Get it?! They have some really innovative products such as this iPad holder for when you are using the iPad to read a recipe whilst cooking, which I do all the time, it has saved me buying so many cookbooks and wasting paper printing recipes from my desktop.
Anyway, this just shows how the old school way of surfing the internet can still find many wonders and exciting new products! What have you found whilst surfing?

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Straw and Gold

Recently I came across Straw and Gold online, I mentioned them in my previous blog post, however at the time I had not yet received my purchase, and now I have, and I just want to buy more!! I must not though, as I am meant to be saving for Australia. Anyhow, I felt they deserved a blog post solely about their store. What I love about Straw and Gold is that they focus on the Artists and Makers, you can search by Artist and Maker and you know exactly who your product comes from. I really like having a product that has a bit of a story or a product that supports independent craftspeople, and Straw and Gold delivers 110% on this. What I also love about Straw and Gold is how carefully curated the website is, the taste of the buyer or buyers is impeccable.

I received my pennant at the beginning of this week and the packaging was so cute. It was paper wrapped up in string and they even threw in some free incense sticks! Lauren the founder also wrote me a cute message on a postcard enclosed within a beautiful Muji-style envelope. The pennant is really good quality and looks great on my wall. I can't wait to own a flat of my own so that I can really go wild with the wall decor. I realise it does look a little plain, but that's rented accommodation for you!

I am seriously tempted by the Vintage Swedish Tapestry and the Elephant Strength Print. If I lived in the US I would definitely be purchasing the Half and Half Planter, but I fear an overseas journey would be too risky for these fragile objects. Anyhow, please do go and check them out and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

North American homeware love

It all started when I saw this sign behind Essie Button.
I searched the internet to see where it was from and came up with Secret Holiday & Co. Unfortunately they are completely out of stock, do not fear I have signed up for their newsletter, but this led me on to look at their stockists. I should not have done this. I found a wealth of curated stores and OH MY GOD they are sooooo good! I've already made a purchase from Straw and Gold.

Firstly, Straw and Gold's website is so beautiful, the photographs and design of the site are so slick. I am most impressed by their taste, I am sure Essie Button would approve! I have purchased this 'Do Your Best' pennant, it is based on an original 1950s Cub Scout motto! I will probably do a blog post on this when I receive it. I was also inspired after watching 'A Fab Life' style Ingrid's flat, I want the California flag!
Obviously, one click led to another and I googled 'Three Potato Four' who make the 'Do Your Best' pennant and see they do lots of other gorgeous pennants. I also love how they have a 'Found Objects' section of their website. There is a lot of focus on 'found objects' in the art world at the moment and they are really on trend.

After this I decided to give Etsy a browse and found Fairy Doors! I just had to share! I also came across an excellent seller called Bichen Vintage. She sells really kitsch vintage items. 

Vintage 1962 Children's Book from Bichen Vintage.

I suppose my conclusion from this is do check out those North American curated stores online, there is so much good stuff on them! Please do recommend any similar UK stores to these!
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