I recently accepted an offer to become a Spartoo partner, and as this is my first official post, I wanted to talk through this arrangement with you briefly.
Making the decision to promote any company on a personal blog is a difficult one, and I’m indebted to Nickie and her sensible advice as I was working through my decision on this occasion.
I’ve never worked with a clothing company before, and I had to seriously consider how this would fit into my ideas on minimalism and sustainability. As I’m already a Spartoo customer though, I realised that I already fit them into my life, and so it will not take much adjustment on my blog to accommodate them on here. Spartoo have excellent customer service and I love the range of brands they stock, so it makes sense to formalise my promotion of them on here! None of my blog content will change, and I will of course declare any posts that are sponsored (I already do this, of course!).
I like to keep a pair of scruffy shoes for generic boring wear like going for a short walk, loitering in the garden, etc., and for the last couple of years this has been a pair of Toms (these Toms, in fact). When a pair of shoes gets worn and not pretty, they get relegated to the scruffy zone and I buy a new smarter pair to replace them. As my current scruffy shoes are now getting a hole in them, it’s time for another pair of old shoes to get relegated, and for me to buy a new pair.
Shoes are hard to buy ethically, so it’s best to get as much wear out of them as possible and only buy what you need. My preference is for pretty low top trainers. My shoes must be fun, and I’ve chosen my 12 favourite designs to share with you.
I think my favourite pair at the moment is either 1, 3 or 12. Decisions, decisions! Of course, if you’re feeling very rich, this design is expensive but super cute! I’ll let you know which pair I end up buying!
If you prefer your trainers with less flowers and patterns, you can view the full range of low top trainers. They do stock plain designs alongside the exciting designs!
I’m writing this blog post whilst listening to Fleetwood Mac (Rumours – one of the best albums ever?). Anyway Songbird just came up on shuffle so that’s the inspiration for today’s title.
I was practising with my camera a lot this weekend after feeling frustrated with it during the week. I put some food in the garden to lure the birds in and then snapped away. I read somewhere that live mealworms are better than dead mealworms when birds are nesting, as the young only get moisture from food until they’re ready to leave the nest. However, I can’t quite bring myself to buy live mealworms – I feel a bit squeamish putting dead mealworms out for them (says the girl who will hold worms and frogs with bare hands – I don’t know what it is about mealworms!).
There were blue tits and great tits around over the weekend, but I didn’t get any photos of them. They were always behind a plant or flying off somewhere else!
Hover over the photos to get the species name.
Our bird table is a hanging bird table, and shortly after I’d put the food out that fat pigeon above landed on it and tipped it, dropping food everywhere. Luckily the blackbirds were around to hoover it all up!
Have a lovely Wednesday!
I recently came across this blog post, titled “It’s ok to be happy with a quiet life“. It really struck a chord. I’m working part-time now, and I spend a lot of my time pottering about reading, doing crafts or gardening. I also watch a lot of films, listen to a lot of music and loll about! I am ok with this. It suits me, and I’m happy not to be rushing from one project to the next. All I’m asking for in life is a worthwhile job (which I have), and time to spend how I want. I don’t want more. I guess I’m pretty much a modern hippy. I reject consumerism for the most part and just want to play!
As you know, I love ogling at workspaces! Here is a handy post of 40 workspaces of famous creative people. It’s so fun to have a nose in people’s homes! When you’ve finished looking at that, you should also check out this tiny house. It’s only 7 feet wide, and it is so cleverly designed inside!
This post made me chuckle. I’m not a hipster (I’m pretty sure no one is questioning this given my lack of coolness!), but this post suggests that’s probably a good thing. Have a little read and a giggle. P.S. I’m so glad I don’t share food photos or wear jeans. Haha.
On a more serious note, Kanalt wrote this. It is exactly how I feel. I have never wanted kids and still have no interest in them. I like other people’s children, but I certainly don’t want my own. I do feel that society is undergoing a shift in opinion on this: more people are accepting of the decision not to have kids, although there are still many who feel this decision is wrong.
The title of this post is “9 mind-bending epiphanies that turned my world upside down“, and David (the author) isn’t lying. Read this post, think about this post and your life will never be the same again. Number 1 (“You are not your mind”) is a key idea in many schools of happiness psychology, as is number number 4 (“Most of life is imaginary”). Consider the ideas, and improve your quality of life.
Are you looking for a new sewing project? This seems like a very worthwhile craft project.
To finish with, this is so true:
I know I said I would be taking a little break from making scarves for charity, but I didn’t. I knew that would happen! Here is another green charity scarf. I stitched it lengthways again – I think I prefer doing that.
I think it’s safe to say I can now do this stitch quite well! For my next scarf, I ought to try a new pattern. On a similar note, I have a scarf fail to show you soon – the original scarf number 8, which went wrong!
Morning, little munchkins. I hope you’re all well! I’ve been doing a photo-a-day project again. I did one in January so I thought it would be fun to do one in June (the middle of the year). However, this week I have been very disappointed with my photos. A bad workman blames his tools, so I’ve been looking at the latest camera models on the market. There are some really good products out there (personally, after reading reviews, I’m a new fan of the Nikon Coolpix p520).
I have a dSLR (a Nikon d60), and I’m desperate to leave auto behind (and some of the lenses I have don’t work well with auto anyway), but I get so frustrated with the quality of my photos sometimes. I just don’t seem to be improving! I know a lot of you are keen photographers (and some of you are amazing), but hopefully you can relate!
I can’t really afford to buy a new camera simply because I suck, so I’ve compromised and ordered a new photography book and a new memory card (did you know that the type of memory card you use in your camera is important? I didn’t, and apparently I’ve been using a slow one that isn’t adequate for my camera’s needs! There’s a handy guide on this website).
Anyway, I photographed some ducklings and their parents this week, so here are a few snaps for you.
I read quite a few books this month, go me! I had some holiday leave though so I had more time than usual.
The paradox of choice – Barry Schwartz
I kept seeing this book recommended on various blogs, and so it was inevitable that I’d end up reading it to see what the fuss was about. It’s a non-fiction book which studies the psychology of choice, and the impact that choice has on modern life. Essentially, the key message of the book is that there is too much choice in modern life, and this has a detrimental impact on our quality of life. The book is well-written and interesting, making it a good thought-provoking read.
French kids eat everything – Karen le Billon
I read this book because my Mother insisted that I should. I don’t have kids, don’t intend to have any and therefore don’t need advice on raising children with good table manners! Having said that, the book is an interesting look at how different cultures raise children to behave at the table. The book is written by a Canadian who moved to France with her husband and her two children, both of which were extremely difficult eaters. The book then charts their education in French eating habits, ultimately resulting in two children who can eat nearly anything and behave themselves at the table.
Although the book is an interesting book, and I suspect very helpful to any parents struggling to get their children eating healthily, it’s worth pointing out that her experiences in France with eating are not limited to France. Most Western European countries (France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy, etc.) place more emphasis on table manners and eating than the English speaking world does. I think the book would have been similar had she moved to any of these countries. The culture of giving children what they want to eat and indulging them in their whims is very much an American one, and the French aren’t unique in completely disregarding this! I think the book would be good though for anyone having problems with their kids at the dinner table.
The Shrink and the Sage – Julian Baggini, Antonia Macaro
I love Julian Baggini, so I read this book because he is one of the authors. He is a philosopher, and this book is a collaboration with a psychologist. It covers the mysteries of life from the points of view of both professions. A fascinating read for anyone searching for the meaning of life!
The secret life of trees – Colin Tudge
This book isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s a long book, and it is hardcore science-y in places (so hardcore that even I – the science geek – had to skip a few pages now and then!). Having said that, if you can stick with it, you will learn an awful lot about trees. I work for a conservation charity that specialises in woodland, so for me this book held both professional and personal interest. There really is a lot to learn about trees, and they are such fascinating plants!
Island of the blue dolphins – Scott O’Dell
This was a GoodReads recommendation from someone (I forget who). It’s such a wonderful little book. It tells the true story of a girl who lives alone on an American island after she gets left behind as the islanders flee to mainland America in the olden days. It does make me want to have an island to myself!
White Fang – Jack London
A re-read! If you’ve not read White Fang before, you really should. Then you should watch the Ethan Hawke film adaptation.
This is not a drill – Paul Carter
Another re-read. The sequel to Don’t tell mum I work on the rigs. More tales on life in the oil industry. I don’t think this book is as funny as the first one, but it’s still a funny read.
What did you read in May?
During the bank holiday weekend, I finally got around to decorating some new flowerpots for my bedroom windowsill. I wanted to have matching vibrant pots for my plants to add an extra splash of colour to the room (I say extra as I already have quite a lot of colour in there!). I had looked on Pinterest for some crafting ideas (I’m turning into one of those people!), but who can really be bothered to cut up intricate fabric shapes to paste on to flowerpots? Not me, that’s for sure!
I bought three terracotta pots, at £0.79 each, and a tube of kitchen and bathroom sample paint for £1. This project thus cost a grand total of £3.37 (although if we’re going to be truly accurate about cost it also cost me all the water and soap I had to use afterwards – see below). There was enough paint in the tube to do another two pots (at least), so you could have even got more value for your money.
I sat on the lawn with the three pots and my tube of paint, and I did three coats of paint on the pots (I did the rim separately to give the bottom of the pots time to dry). I also did the inside rim of the pots so that the soil didn’t have to go all the way to the top.
At this point, everything was going well. I was feeling smug about being a craft blogger and generally being awesome. However, as the proverb tells you, pride always comes before a fall! The tube had a sponge applicator (it’s intention is to make testing decorating samples easy, but it was great for this project). It was super-simple and effective. Unfortunately, as I was playing about taking photos and chatting and lounging around in the sun, I squeezed the tube and squirted paint all over my arms and legs (which were bare) and the rug I was sat on. I feel it is therefore my duty to tell you that kitchen and bathroom wall paint takes forever to wash off, and requires lots of scrubbing. I basically went around with blue legs and arms for the remainder of the weekend.
This photo deliberately has a weird crop, because my basil plant (right) is poorly and I didn’t want to include it in the photo while it’s all wilted and pathetic. On the left is my baby aloe vera (its Mummy is currently growing back after having an accident, but she is doing well!). In the middle we have a baby spider plant, which is a descendent of the first spider plant I bought in 2000 when we moved into this house. This family of spider plants has moved with me to university, come home again, been cared for whilst I was travelling, and is still here, 13 years later. The original plant is long gone, but I like that I have this unbroken link back to the first plant.
I was recently contacted by Parragon books, who asked me if I’d be interested in reviewing any of their new stationery line. After looking at their new products, I most certainly was, and today I have a review of the My Life collage notebook organiser.
Isn’t it cute? You can see why I asked to review it. It’s actually brains and beauty, as you’ll see in this review.
The notebook measures 16.5 by 12.5cm, and so is almost a square. The back of the notebook has one of those easy peel stickers, which comes off easily and leaves no marks.
Inside, the notebook is divided into sections with the handy use of tabs. There are 10 tabs:
- To do
- Blank x 3
Each section is marked by both a tab and different coloured paper. The tabs are labelled in a fun font, and each page is lined with wiggly lines, spaced 6mm apart. Pages are also decorated with cute little collage designs, with dried flowers, house and fashion items and pretty patterns. It really does make to-do lists fun!
Since this is me writing this review, what I really want to know is whether I can use fountain pens in the notebook. Surprisingly, the answer is yes. I’ve mentioned before, and many of you no doubt have experienced yourselves, that novelty notebooks often compromise on paper quality, to their detriment. Otherwise fun notebooks are ruined by their inability to hold a water-based ink. Thankfully, that’s not the case here. I think the reason the paper is better quality than would be expected is because each page is printed and decorated. The paper stock is thicker than you’d normally expect in a fun notebook, and the paper has a smooth finish.
All this means that this is an excellent notebook for fountain pens. There’s the tiniest bit of bleeding, no show through and no feathering! I prefer to draw tick boxes on my to-do lists, however I did a scribble test for those of you who are fans of the scribble method. The top line is a fountain pen, the middle line is a ballpoint and the bottom line is a felt tip. The scribbles have no show through, bleeding or feathering. Perfect!
Overall, this notebook is perfect for writing to-do lists. I did wonder for a while whether a ribbon should be included in the notebook, but I think it would make the notebook too cluttered. I’m not used to using tabs, hence my preference for ribbons, but really the system is perfectly designed for managing your lists. It also gives a splash of fun to an otherwise boring list of chores!
You can view stockists of the new Parragon stationery line on their website.