Hello Nancy

Paper at Home Book Review

Last week I popped over to the beautiful Quill shop in Clerkenwell for a little launch party for Ether Thorpe's first book Paper Home. I adore Esther's work and I've featured her in my Meet the Makers series here if you'd like to find out more about her lovely work.

The book is beautiful. It's full of modern origami projects that are not only relaxing to make but useful too. The book teaches you how to make 15 projects from decorative star garlands to an ambitious concertina lampshade. If you'd like to learn Ester's origami techniques you can buy the book here.

At the bloggers launch event Est taught us how to make her decorative diamonds which were so addictive to make, I think they'd make perfect christmas decorations. As we folded we drank prosecco and nibbled on super yummy Crosstown doughnuts, it was a perfect evening with like-minded creatives.

Thank you to Quill, Pavillion Books and of course Est for such a lovely event.

A Break in Wiltshire with Bishopstrow Hotel

Last weekend Simon and I had the pleasure of staying at the beautiful Bishopstrow Hotel in the Wiltshire countryside. After a very hot and slightly stressful train journey from London we arrived at the hotel eager to check in and jump into one of the pools.

Bishopstrow is a modern hotel set in a Georgian house with touches of luxurious details in the various lounges, bar area and the bedrooms themselves. It just so happened that it was one of the hottest weekends of the year which we made the most of by enjoying the hotel's pretty grounds and near by River Wylye.

There are two lounges to enjoy in the house as well as an ornate bar area. We enjoyed a cocktail and chatted about our dream dog breeds (fingers crossed we'll be adopting a little pooch very soon) after a delicious meal in the restaurant that evening.

We had a lovely three course dinner which featured sustainable and locally sourced produce. I never buy or cook meat at home so when we eat out I usually treat myself, especially if I know that the ingredients support local farmers. The pork and broad bean dish I ordered for my second course was delicious and the next day we happily discovered the hotel veggie patch in the grounds.

Our room overlooked the outdoor pool area which had a 1930's feel, it reminded me of a pool you might find in a Poirot novel (I love Agatha Christie). Our room also had a little outdoor seating area, perfect for the Summer.

The best thing about our room was the bathroom which had his and hers everything. I didn't realise how much I wanted two showers in my own home, one just doesn't seem enough now. Sadly I didn't have the chance to use that amazing roll top bath but luckily the hotel spa meant that there were plenty of other bathing opportunities.

After a restful night's sleep and breakfast in the sun we headed to the gym, had a quick shower and I booked us in for some back and neck massages. We also spent a few hours enjoying the indoor pool, sauna, steam room and monsoon showers before heading outside to the courtyard for some afternoon tea.

Once we checked out of the hotel we decided to explore a little bit. As both Simon and I love a good walk we explored the hotel's grounds and found a short circular footpath by the river down to the next little village. We then headed down to the Warminster to get the train but not before a quick cider pit stop at a local pub.

A huge thank you to Bishopstrow Hotel for inviting me to stay. I also want to say thank to to everyone who worked at the hotel as every member of staff was so polite and helpful.

French Frills

Wow it's hot in London this weekend. I have all the windows and doors open and I'm still melting. The UK does not know how to function in 30c degree heat! It's been hotter these past few days than it was in France, lets hope it sticks around so we can all have a taste of a real Summer.

Speaking of France I'll be popping up a blog post all about our ten day trip really soon. I can't wait to show you all my photos. I absolutely loved our holiday and I really hope that I get to go back next year, rural southern France gets a huge thumbs up from me. In the interim, while I'm editing those photos, I wanted to share my new favorite dress that I wore whilst I was there, perfect for the Summer holidays.

I was kindly sent this really cute ruffled dress from Shein which I think is a perfect addition to my French wardrobe. I wore it the day we visited a lovely medieval town called Sarlat and luckily it was a beautiful day that day so I managed to get some sun on my face.

Thank you to Shein for gifting me this dress. I'll be posting the blog post featuring my French holiday snaps over the next day or two so come back soon to have a read, it really was so beautiful there.

Hello Kitty Afternoon Tea at Cutter & Squidge

A few Sundays ago I had a secret plan to tell my friend Lucy that I wanted her to be one of my bridesmaids so I booked an afternoon tea session at Cutter & Squidge to make the afternoon even more special. As Lucy is a huge Japan fan I thought that the Hello Kitty pop up would be the perfect place for me to ask her to be part of my special day (she said yes by the way!).

All-natural bakery Cutter & Squidge transformed its basement into a secret garden paradise with Hello Kitty shaped topiary and rose arches. The afternoon tea came with a super cute mini pink lemonade and our choice of pot of tea. The cakes and sandwiches themselves came served in bamboo steamers which I thought was pretty ingenious. There was so much food we had to take half of it home but I did ask for another round of the apple pie mouse (the one with the little pastry bow) as it was SO GOOD.

 A little bottle of pink lemonade complete with it's own Hello Kitty bow.

strawberry milkshake biskies aka whoopie pies, choc chip loaf cake, strawberry shortbreads with matcha tea and chocolate dipping sauces.

Strawberry and dark chocolate truffles, tangy pink lemonade marshmallows and strawberry Hello Kitty shaped jellies.

Various sandwiches including some super cute Hello Kitty ones with bows.

Mud pie chocolate cakes with apple pie mouse and pastry bows. As you can see there were a lot of bows!

If you're a fan of cakes, Hello Kitty or Japanese culture in general I would definitely recommend a trip down to Cutter & Squidge if you live in London. The Hello Kitty Afternoon Tea is the first ever pop-up café in Europe and it's only on until the end of August so you might want to get a shuffle on if you don't want to miss out.

Crafting with Viking

Before I headed off to France on my jolly holiday I spent an afternoon crafting with lots of other lovely bloggers. I'm a very creative person and I love attending craft workshops so when Viking invited me along for a day filled with French pastries, making and chatting to like minded creatives I jumped at the chance.

We were all taught three really useful and relaxing skills including block printing, calligraphy and mindful origami. As I work pattern designer I skipped the block printing to focus on wandering around the room to snap some pictures of everyone else working on their projects.

Last Summer I went to a calligraphy class and it was so great to have a little refresher course with Viking. I think I'll have to keep practicing so that I can hand letter the place cards for my wedding and maybe even try my hand at calligraphed addresses for the invites. 

The mindful origami workshop was so lovely, and as someone that practices positive thinking and meditation it was a perfect class for me. Transforming a flat square of paper into a hand crafted 3D object is very satisfying and I found myself naturally meditating without realising. 

Thanks so much to Viking for inviting me along to such a fun event, it was wonderful to have an opportunity leave my studio and be creative for fun rather than work. 

The block printing class was run by Tea and Crafting, the calligraphy workshop was run by A L'aise and the mindful origami was run by Mindfoldness. All three tutors regularly run classes so check out their websites for details. 

Off To France

For 10 days I'm going to be completely internet free in the French countryside. It's going to be great being completely off the grid for a while and I'm looking forward to the sun, cheese and tennis playing. I have some fun posts to pop up when I get back and I'm sure that I'll be taking lots of photos of our trip. Catch you on the flipside.

East London Bloggers Meet Up

Last Saturday I hopped on a train to Liverpool Street to meet up with a bunch of creative ladies for the London Gathered Cheer Social event. The day was organised by Ruth of Gathered Cheer in collaboration with Made by Molu and Daisy Fay who had all meticulously planned a lovely photo walk around London with plenty of shopping and coffee shops along the way.

Alongside the three lovely organisers I was also joined by Zeena and Katie, I was very glad about having an opportunity to get to know everyone better as sometimes it's too easy to just remain "internet friends". It's so refreshing to meet up with people I don't know that well and as a hardcore introvert (although I hide it very effectively) sometimes its difficult to push myself outside my usual circle of close friends. A few hours chatting with like minded creative folk was just what I needed.

We took in all the best sights that Shoreditch had to offer but if you'd like to see the route we took have a look at the map here.

I loved the coloured shutters on this quiet street.

Bagel cheers on Brick Lane!

We stopped off at Barber & Parlour for coffees and political discussion, damn you EU referendum.

Redchurch Street is my top spot for shopping in Shoreditch.

A stop of at Vintage Heaven on Columbia Road is a must while it's quiet on Saturdays

I regret not taking Mr Celery head home with me.

If you'd like to join in on the next Gathered Cheer social (you totally should) keep checking Ruth's site for updates about upcoming events. I personally can't wait for the next one.

Hackney Coffee Co.

Even though I've lived in East London for over five years now I'm still discovering new places to try. I rarely leave my little bubble in Stoke Newington so I was thrilled to be invited to pop along to Hackney Coffee Co. last weekend to try out their food and coffees.

Hackney Coffee Co. is an intimate spot just two minutes walk from Cambridge Heath station (so handy for me). We popped in to grab some lunch and test out their drinks too, Simon and I love our coffee so I was really looking forward a good latte.

The coffee was pretty darn good, actually it was really good. Simon always has a black filter which I think is the best way to judge if a coffee is good as there's no foamy milk to hide behind. Plus filter coffees tend to be a little more complex in flavour. However, I'm too much of a wimp to have my coffee straight up so I opted for a latte which I really enjoyed.

We sat upstairs which had hundreds of books to read. There's a little cosy reading room tucked away up there too which I think would be a lovely spot in the Winter time. Along with our coffees we also enjoyed two huge sourdough sandwiches and it wasn't until we had finished eating them that I realised I hadn't taken any photos of our food. That's what happens when you're too busy enjoying what's in front of you I suppose. I also noticed a selection of cakes but I was way too full after my mammoth sarnie.

If you're based in East London or work in the area I highly recommend popping along to get your coffee fix, these guys know what they're doing.