Monday, 26 January 2015

Inspiring work spaces

One of the things i'm most excited about because me and Alex are moving out is decorating our new home. And because we have a spare room i'm finally going to have my own studio which I can make my own. Obviously I've been perving over all the gorgeous home decor and interior design images on Pinterest and here are some of my favorites that i'm hoping to take inspiration from for my studio!


Image by Amy at www.homeyohmy.com

Amy did a great post on her new work space that can be found here. She includes some great pictures of her new beautiful office and a lot of the things you can see and love are made by her! She was even kind enough to label her DIY decor pieces and give her readers a step by step of how to create them yourselves - so go take a look if you love anything in this image! I know I will be trying out some of these great ideas for my home.


Image by Sarah at www.smittenstudioonline.com

Sarah had the great idea of making a large wall of her studio into a chalkboard which is perfect for any creatives needing a space to pin up ideas/swatches/inspiration/notes and i'm tempted to give this a go myself! Sarah's blog is at the top of my reads at the moment because of the huge amount of home inspiration as well as some great DIY posts. You can check out her post about her chalk board wall here.


Image by Carol and Eva at www.hadasycuscus.com

This office space really caught my eye because I love storage ideas (especially the combination of big and tiny draws for all your stationery). The way the desk and wall are fluid looks great in this space and the surrounding elements like the wooden chair legs and flooring. Carol and Eva are really talented DIY fanatics and have some must read content on their blog for anyone looking to try something a bit funky with their rooms. And even better they go into such depth in their DIY posts which makes it so much easier to understand and recreate yourself! You can find the post for this DIY work space here.


Image by Mandy at www.fabricpaperglue.com

I spotted this fantastic work space on Pinterest the other day and I just couldn't stop looking at it. It's such a brilliant ideas for your desk area! The way you can Mandy has created all these little shelves/baskets for specific uses and that they all work together on the wall in harmony is beautiful. She doesn't go into a lot of depth into how she did this great DIY but she is very attentive at replying to comments and questions so she has mentioned where she got most of the supplies from in the comments of this post. If you would like to check out Mandy's awesome DIY pegboard click here.



(Please note that the images used in this post are not mine and all sources have been added below the image)

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Friday, 23 January 2015

Monthly Art #2 - Do more of what makes you happy

If you have read my 2015 goals post you will know that one of my resolutions for 2015 is to create more. I work as a graphic designer five days a week so I'm always creating but never for myself which I really miss. I used to paint and draw a lot and that's how I ended up getting into design in the first place, but when you work full time you can slowly put these hobbies aside and forget how important it is to create for YOU.


This is where this handletting piece comes from, the words "Do more of what makes you happy" are what i'm focusing on for 2015 and even after one month I feel like it's improved my life. I enjoy blogging in my free time, I feel like it helps me relax and go to a different place where I can express myself and after almost three months I'm hooked. This is where I got the push to produce some kind of artwork at least once every month and at the moment i'm experimenting with handlettering which i've never done before so i'm learning something new at the same time. It makes me feel like i've done something worth while at the weekend when I look and see some sketches in my book or the beginning of a piece of work in illustrator.

So I think what i'm trying to say is consider thinking about doing one thing every week or month that makes you happy. It could make all the difference to how you feel or you could even learn something new or discover a new passion.

And to keep you motivated I've created a desktop and mobile background out of this month's piece as well as a printable poster you can hang in your room, stick on the cover of your notepad or even frame and put at your desk.


Backgrounds:

16:9 Desktop or 16:9 Retina Desktop
4:3 Desktop or 4:3 Retina Desktop
iPhone
iPhone 6
iPhone 6 Plus
Android


Prints:

Colour Print
Black & White (printer friendly) Print

> (NOT for commercial use) <



You can also find this post at A Little Opulent as well as other great content!



What can you start doing one a week/month that would make you happier? Are there any desktop sizes you would prefer me to do? Would you like to see more of my work available for you to print or use as your background?  
Let me know in the comment box below, i'd love to hear from you!


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Friday, 16 January 2015

Daniel Wellington Watch

I finally got round to buying one of the beautiful Daniel Wellington watches that I got off Amazon for £125, £34 cheaper then buying it off the Daniel Wellington site!

I chose the silver version with the black leather strap because I've found recently I'm wearing more silver and the more neutral the watch is the more I will wear it. And that's what I was looking for, a watch with a simple design that I can wear everyday no matter what I'm wearing.

The watch comes in a small suede box that feels 'expensive' and makes the whole product feel special. It also has some nice little touches like the tiny adorable screwdriver in the box and a little sleeve with an information booklet telling you how to set the watch etc. It those extra bits that make a purchase feel like a good quality item and brings the little kid out in you that gets you excited about your new toy! I mean watch...








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Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Travel Tips - Beijing (China part 1)

China was my most recent trip so I thought I would start with it first, and the first place I travelled to in China was Beijing! But I want to try and go through all the places I have been in the recent years and give you my tips which will hopefully help you if you're thinking of traveling there anytime soon.

(View from the Great Wall of China)

Expect to come across any of these in China:

- People can spit a lot, especially the older generations.
- Don't expect many western toilets in public areas, most will be squatting loos.
- Remember to take toilet paper in your bag everywhere, a lot of public toilets don't have them.
- They won't smile back at you, it's nothing to do with you, but the Chinese don't smile at strangers.
- A lot of your normal sites will be blocked in China, for example Facebook and Google.
- Don't be afraid to haggle, it's amazing how much they are willing to reduce the price by. I was told that you find on average they double the price of things for foreigners.

Beijing Specifically:

- I got asked by a lot of people if they could get a photo with me. It was a bit weird at first but then the guide that was showing us around the sites explained a lot of Chinese tourists like to get photos with white people for souvenirs. This is because they have probably come from a rural part of China where they never see foreign people.

- Look out for happy/sad faces on little posters in restaurants, this is like a version of star rating. Sad face is bad, happy face is a good restaurant. Simple right? But a lot of the time you won't see them until you have already gone in and been seated. I found a lot of them were near the door as you exit (which you obviously don't see until you leave) or behind the reception desk.

- I found you get pretty good sized meals for your money, so I wouldn't say you need to worry about going hungry.

- I didn't get sick at all on my whole trip so just be sensible with food and you should be fine.

- Beijing is famous for it's peking duck so while you're there definitely go to a good duck restaurant!

- This also applies for street food, I tried some of the street food dumplings and event fried scorpion and I didn't get sick! So don't be afraid to try the street food, it would be sad to miss out on it.

- Definitely go to the Beijing Night Market, even if you just walk around it's a great experience. You will see so many weird fried foods like scorpions, seahorses, beatles etc. As well as some great stools for little gifts and souvenirs.

- As well as the Beijing Night Market, I would also recommend having a stroll around one of Beijing's little street markets even if you're not planning on buying anything. I spent a good hour or two walking down one (can't remember which one it was but you can find lots of options here) and you will find lots of little tea houses and shops as well as souvenir and food stools.

- If you visit the Great Wall of China (which I recommend you do because the views are beautiful) I recommend going on the toboggan slide when you come back down, it's so much fun!

- You really need to do the standard tourist site seeing if it's your first time here because there is a lot to see. I picked Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and The Summer Palace because they are all very close to each other so it makes it a lot easier to visit and see more in a short space of time. Although I would be prepared to want a long relaxing day the next day because your feet will hurt with the amount of walking you will be doing to see all of these. I think I fell asleep as soon as I got back to the hotel I was so tired.

(The Great Wall of China - toboggan slide)

(Beijing Night Market)

(Temple of Heaven)

Have you visited Beijing before? Would you recommend any other places to visit? Any questions about my experience in Beijing?
Let me know in the comment box below, i'd love to hear from you!


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Saturday, 10 January 2015

Long distance is hard, but worth it.

Me and Alex have been together for almost 5 years now and for almost 4 years of our relationship we have been long distance. Me living in Essex and working in London and Alex living near Gloucestershire and working on a 4 on 4 off shift which meant he didn't always have the weekends off.

One of the hardest things was probably his shift pattern...

...we could go a month without seeing each other because his shifts fell on the weekends. This was probably more difficult than the standard long distance relationships because we couldn't see each other on a regular basis. As well as not being able to see each other when we wanted as his shift pattern determined when we did and didn't (which was a pain when we had other plans like birthdays or meeting up with friends).

Costs of travel can pile up...

A long distance relationship is always going to rinse your bank a little because trains are so damn expensive but we didn't realise how much until I added it up. We were spending around £50 for a return ticket each time we traveled to each other. And because I could only travel to him after work on Friday's by the time I got there it was around 10pm which meant I had to get a bus or cab sometimes which would add on more money (and is obviously tiring) and over time it starts to pile up.

Feeling held back in the relationship... 

You can feel like a long distance relationship can hold you both back sometimes. I don't mean in the way of your career or life goals but holding you back from progressing in the relationship. Sometimes you can feel like you're stuck in a point of the relationship where you've been together a long time and you love each other and spending time together but you don't get to do it enough. You want to progress to the next stage and see each other often like a normal relationship or even move out together.

Moving to the next stage...

At the same time this can be scary if you haven't got to see each other regularly (which you don't in a long distance relationship), it's only normal to worry about how things could change when you do start seeing each other a lot. Will we still get on? Will we discover things about each other we may not like? But don't worry! If you've got on so far, seeing each other more will just make things better. And that's how it's going for us. Just remember it's only natural to both be scared, but be scared together and support each other through it. 

It's all worth it though...

After almost 4 years of our relationship being long distance we are finally seeing each other more and I couldn't be happier. Seeing each other more has improved our relationship so much, it feels like we are more in love than ever. Being able to go out and do stuff together when we feel like it as well as the simple things like being able to fall asleep and wake up together. It all sounds super cheesy but it's true! And it seems like it can only go up from here :)

Are you in (or have ever been in) a long distance relationship? What do you find is the hardest?
Let me know in the comment box below, i'd love to hear from you!

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Thursday, 8 January 2015

365 Blog Topic Ideas - By Dana Fox

After hearing that Dana from www.thewonderforest.com had published her first book and that it was 365 blog topic ideas I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy!

I love reading blogger advice and topic idea posts so to have 1 for every day of the year at my fingertips is so incredibly helpful. I know there are a lot of bloggers out there that post topic ideas but theres just something nice about the way you can physically hold it.


The design of the book is simple and clean with a lovely teal blue cover that looks great on your bookshelf. It's layed out with the topic ideas being the main focus of the page in a bold serif font which makes it quick and easy to flick through and get inspired for your next post.

I think this book is such a great idea and has already helped me with future posts and I would urge any new lifestyle blogger to consider buying one for themselves. Even if you have it on your desk just incase you have one of those days where you think "shit...I have nothing at all to write about" and it does happens to all of us. This is the cure.



You can find out more about the book here and is available to buy from Amazon for £9.48


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Monday, 5 January 2015

Mexican Restaurant - Chico Bandito

I had a lovely catch up with the girls on Friday and we decide to do something different this time as we normally meet up in Westfield Stratford because it's convenient. But after so many times of Wagamama you get a bit bored.

We all decided a Mexican would do nicely and I found a little place 10 minutes walk from Liverpool Street Station called Chico Bandito which seemed to have good reviews for the food (always a good start). We arrived and it only had one big table of people (which must have been a birthday or something) so it was quite empty (and it only had about 10 tables anyway) which was nice because you want to be able to hear each other when you catch up with friends. It was obviously decorated and painted by the owners and it had a very 'cafe' feel about it rather the a restaurant so you probably wouldn't give it a second look. But it was a really cosy place to have a nice casual meal and they even had ponchos and sombrero at the door for you to pop on!

(Banana  Daiquiri)

They do a great deal on cocktails Monday to Friday from 3pm to 7pm all cocktails (expect ice teas & worldwide cocktails) are £3.50! Which for London is really good, although they don't have a huge amount of alcohol in they are still yummy.

When it comes to food I ordered a few starters instead of a main (I made the bad choice of having a huge lunch) but what I did get was really tasty. I would say they were a bit small for starts, especially the Cajun Prawn Skewers which you only got a few prawns on one skewer, but it did taste great! I also ordered the Buffalo BBQ Wings which I don't think you can really go wrong with because the bbq sauce is the main part. And the Cream Cheese Jalapenos which I always enjoy almost anywhere I go but these weren't bad and you got 4 for £4.45? Not sure if you would get better than that in London.


Negatives:

My only negatives for this place would be that as it is very small (and seemed family run) they didn't seem to deal with multiple tables as well because they only had 1/2 waitresses and one guy behind the bar making ALL the cocktails on happy hour. So when we first sat down it took quite a while before we got asked if we wanted to order drinks which can be a bit annoying.

Another negative would be that the waitresses do not speak very good English, so when ordering anything you had a point to it on the menu as well and when I mentioned about my nut allergy she really had no idea what I was talking about. But she did go and get someone else who spoke better English and it was fine so no problem there.

And because I've only been here once I don't know if this would happy regularly but we found a few mistakes on the bill with the happy hour cocktails which were on the bill as full price. But once I spoke to the guy at the bar and explained we ordered them an hour before happy hour finish he was happy to change it.

 (Apple Mojito)

 (Cream Cheese Jalapenos)

(Buffalo BBQ Wings)

(Cajun Prawn Skewers - although I did eat one or two prawns on the skewer already)

Overall:

So overall it's a small independent restaurant that does nice cocktails, good food, isn't too busy or loud that you can't have a conversations and the bill won't add up to very much at the end!

Have you been here before? What did you think? 
Let me know in the comment box below, i'd love to hear from you!

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Saturday, 3 January 2015

10 Diaries for 2015

I love notebooks and diaries,  I could literally spend hours writing lists. And I get super excited when it comes to a new year because it means a new fresh diary!

So here are my top 10 diaries you need to consider buying, there all so beautiful and some different reasons. Some are really ornate, some are very simple. Whatever your preference there's something here for everyone.


3.  A5 Striped Journal - £10
5.  Sandra Isakksson Diary - £7.99
7.  Eiffel Tower Diary - £17.91
8.  A5 Rika Lace Diary - £12
9.  Noto Stone Diary - £10
10.  Suede Journal - £19.95

Have any of these court your eye? Do you have a favorite?
Let me know in the comment box below, i'd love to hear from you!

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Thursday, 1 January 2015

Monthly Art #1 - Happy New Year!

As I mentioned in the my goals for 2015 post (that you can find here) I wanted to start creating one piece of artwork every month. It can be a sketch, a typography piece or illustration but I just have to create something.


This month it's a New Year themed piece, unfortunately I didn't get to spend as long as I wanted on it as I haven't felt great for the past week but hopefully i'll be healthy and normal again soon!

I'd love to know what you think and if you have any questions. Would you be interesting in a post going through my process and how to do handlettering? 
Let me know in the comment box below, i'd love to hear from you!

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