Inspired by… A Playful Day podcast

Listening to A Playful Day
I’ve been listening to A Playful Day podcast for just over a year, I adore my weekly date with this podcast and it has become one of my favourite things to listen to. There are very few British podcasts that I listen to that I love so much and that I am really inspired by. With season one of the new-look podcast recently completed, I thought it would be a great time to share it with you so that you can catch up on the wonderful content over this rainy May bank holiday weekend…

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From the bookshelf :: 16 brilliant books for 2016


Top 16 books for 2016

One of my favourite things is sitting down to read. Like many people it’s a way to escape but also for me it is one of the best ways to learn and discover more. Taking the time to savour the sculpted journey created by an author’s words, absorbing the content, and enjoying the main message from cover to cover is one of my simple pleasures. I fit in reading a book where I can, whether its my 15 minutes during my commute to work on the train or snuggling into a blanket with a cup of chai tea in hand at the end of a busy day at work. I enjoy the moment and I’m trying to make more time for it, especially at weekends.

Over the past year or two I’ve rediscovered my love of books, last March I wrote a blog post about a few of the books I have been reading and some of them crop up here too. For me at the moment I’m especially loving the raft of personal development and creativity books that I’m finding. I haven’t read a novel for quite some time, I love them but I know in time that they will be there waiting for me when I’m in the mood. For now it’s all about reading about and discovering more about creativity, development and making changes to life.

I wanted to put together 16 books that I have read (or have re-read) over the past year and share my thoughts on them. I’m not going to review them in a way where I tell you what happens but provide a short summary so that you can make your own discovery of the book and enjoy the process of reading. Grab a cup of tea and let’s start…

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Inspired by…A wall of feel good messages

Inspiration wall

Wherever I have lived I have always tried to create a space that shows elements of my personality and inspires me. Throughout university I decorated my bland walls with colour and images that spoke to me, creating a space that that reminded me of what I love and things that made me smile. I clearly remember a motivational board that I put together in a clip frame at university that came with me everywhere I lived.

I’m spending a few hours today in my creative space and I wanted to share with you my inspiring wall of feel good messages that I’ve been collecting over the past year or so. Each one motivates or connects to me in different ways and this week I added a few new postcards so it was a perfect time to tell you about this space I have created.

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The Handmade Fair – Inspired by…


Bunting at the Handmade Fair

During mid September I headed to The Handmade Fair at Hampton Court. Over the course of three days Kirstie and her handmade team brought together a huge number of makers and delivered an impressive number of practical craft sessions over three days. I attended on the Saturday with my Mum for a day out together,  doing something that we both have a shared passion for, handmade crafts.

The scale of the Handmade Fair was impressive, with lots of delicious places to eat and many beautiful handmade crafts on display. During the day we spent time going in between the workshops, sessions we had booked onto, and the shopping spaces. In my last blog post I told you about the Mollie Makes Mash Up I attended. As part of the Full Experience ticket there were two other making sessions you could take part in as part of the ticket.

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The Handmade Fair – Mollie Makes Mash Up – Totes, Wearable


The Super Theatre at The Handmade Fair

On Saturday I visited The Handmade Fair at Hampton Court Palace and spent the day looking at all things handmade. The first session I attended was the Mollie Makes Mash Up at the Super Theatre tent. Inside a large big top tent a huge audience of passionate crafters watched Jamie ‘Mr X Stitch’ Chalmers take on Lisa Comfort in a crafty challenge. Their task was to each take a plain calico tote bag sold from Hobbycraft and to transform it into something to wear. With a basic Brother sewing machine available to use and 45 minutes, the battle commenced…

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I’m going to The Handmade Fair

The countdown has started and in two weeks time I will be heading to The Handmade Fair at Hampton Court Palace. For a second year Kirstie Allsopp and the Handmade Team have created a three day event bringing together designers and artisans, to teach and sell craft products in a stunning location. I love the idea of attending a huge crafting event that isn’t just about shopping, the focus is about learning, trying new crafts during hands-on sessions and meeting the people behind the best of handmade. Take a look at this lovely video showing highlights from The Handmade Fair in 2014, watching this I get a giddy with excitement.

For me The Handmade Fair feels like a crafters dream event and I’m really excited to be going and being surrounded by others who share my handmade passion. I’m heading over on the Saturday and have selected the Full Experience ticket, giving me the chance to attend the three interactive craft areas, the Super Theatre, a Skills Workshop and a Grand Makes session, as well as having access to delicious food and the boutique shopping village. When you book your Full Experience ticket you get to choose from a huge variety of sessions to attend. There’s such a wide mix of options to choose from it has taken me a little time to decide which sessions to go to!

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Blogtacular 2015: My key takeaways

 photo Bloggers I met_zps9qslfy88.jpg

On Saturday 13th June I attended my first ever blogging conference. After taking a month off blogging, having a holiday abroad and sitting down at my desk on rainy Sunday I can at last tell you about the experience. It is one that I will never ever forget and I very much hope to repeat next year too. The joy and emotions I felt during the day were off the scale and I felt that I had found a community I really click with and who just get it. I’m sure that for those bloggers reading this you will know what I mean as blogging can be quite a solitary activity, so meeting people face to face who are fellow bloggers and are as passionate about it as you is something really special.

Blogtacular 2015 had a the perfect combination of inspiring speakers, enthusiastic bloggers all held at the stunning Royal Institution. Blogtacular as I mentioned in my last post is “a place for bloggers whose hearts beat with creativity to come together to meet, share and inspire” and it didn’t disappoint. Meeting enthusiastic bloggers has enabled me to reframe what I do, feel more connected with my blog, and appreciate again the hard work that goes into creating content and blogging.

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I’m going to Blogtacular…

I can’t quite put into words about how excited I am… At the moment I’m feeling nervous and giddy with excitement at the same time. Next Friday I’m heading to London to my first ever blogging conference, Blogtacular. Over the years I’ve taken part in e-courses about blogging but going along to a proper conference is so very exciting. Rather than hiding behind my screen at home, it’s taking me out of my comfort zone and it’s one of the important leaps I’m taking for me this year.

Blogtacular is described on the site as…

“a place for bloggers whose hearts beat with creativity to come together to meet, share and inspire. This is day for people who create vibrant original content to discuss their work, fill their minds with new ideas and to collaborate with fellow bloggers”

…Each time I read this I get goosebumps!

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From the bookshelf – The Fringe Hours


It’s been a busy month! At last on a Bank Holiday Monday I’ve managed to take a moment to stop and write about a book I mentioned back in March. The Fringe Hours by Jessica N Turner, is a book that I hugely enjoyed, so much so I re-read it again over the past few weeks. I’ve found this book a guiding hand in helping me make the most of my time. I’m someone who has been using my spare time reasonably well for a while but I am always looking to mix things up and find new ideas, The Fringe Hours has helped me do just that.

The Fringe Hours is about how to find time in the day to do things that you love and how we should focus more time on self-care. The book is based on Jessica’s research collated from over 2000 surveys completed by women. It’s a collection of ideas, thoughts and quotes from women showing how they feel about needing time for themselves and how they are using their fringe hours.

Using themes from her research and her own methods of finding time, Jessica has written a book that is divided into four parts – Explore, Discover, Maximise and Live Well. The sections work through a set of stages. Firstly exploring why women don’t tend to prioritise self-care, then discovering what we most want to do in our fringe hours, how to find where the fringe hours are within our own lives, how we can work more activities into our day, and finally how to live a more meaningful and well rounded life using our fringe hours.

What stuck with me most powerfully was the definition of the fringe hours… 

“fringe hours are those little pockets of time throughout the day that often go underused or are wasted altogether” p84

The deeper explanation was just beautiful…

“a fringe hour is literally a limited or appointed piece of time that is found in the margins of a day…The primary definition for fringe is something that is decorative. Think about it: fringe typically makes a piece of clothing, an accessory or and object more beautiful. Fringe does the same of life. Activities and passions pursued during the fringe hours make a life more beautiful and the participant feel more alive and more uniquely herself.” p85

On reading this I felt a rush of warm positive feelings and it made me really see the benefits of taking the time to pursue my passions.

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From the bookshelf…March – the month of self improvement


Over the past few weeks I have fallen in love with reading books again. I read whenever I can fit it in and recently I’ve tried to make it a more prominent part of my daily routine. I read whilst travelling to work by train, when I get home instead of watching TV, and I try to read before I go to bed to take my head away from screen time. I thought it may be great to tell you about the books I currently have by my bed that I’ve recently discovered.

You may have noticed by the titles of these books that they are about self-improvement. My collection of these types of books seems to grow each year and many that I have read have led to profound changes in how I see and do things, sometimes bringing about a shift change in my life. I enjoy reading the ideas, approaches and tips and trying to apply what I’ve read and see if it fits with me and my life. Some of them help me work through things on my mind, and others inspire and deliver great ideas and concepts to weave into my life. I’m always looking to expand my skills and learn new things so these books provide a great way of doing this. I enjoy finding different ways of thinking, hearing about different perspectives, and expanding the way I understand the world and how we as humans deal with what life throws in our path.

In the past month or so I’ve read a number of books…let me tell you a little bit about them..

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