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31 May 2016

Going on an adventure: Glamping

With the range of souped-up tents and yurts you can stay in at musical festivals now, glamping is fast becoming a popular and alternative way of holidaying. If you're not familiar with glamping it's basically a 5-star tent that never leaks, does not require a head torch or blow-up bed (for lights are installed and a bed, fully made with fresh linen, is provided) and has a private, clean loo nearby. In other words, you're not really camping, you're staying in a small house with some of the mod-cons.

As well as glamping in posh-tents and yurts, you can also glamp in gypsy caravans, chalets, tree houses, cabins and converted buses, train carriages and wagons and you can do so in some wonderful places across the UK and abroad.

If you fancy giving glamping a go this summer, here are some great sites to book through:

Canopy & Stars
Cool Camping
Classic Glamping
Glamping UK
Go Glamping
Love Glamping
Wigwam Holidays

If you're in need of more inspiration, head to my adventure themed Pinterest board and check out my previous posts on how to begin an adventure and how to explore the great outdoors. And for more creative and lifestyle inspiration direct to your inbox, don't forget to sign up to my monthly newsletter

Happy glamping!

30 May 2016

New in the shop - Cherry Hanky

cherry hanky

New in my Etsy shop - Hand Embroidered Personalised Cherry Hanky. This is available in a small and large size and it can be personalised with special initials, words or a memorable date. It is made from beautiful medium weight, white cotton and all the embroidery is done by hand. It comes wrapped in a cute Adventures & Tea Parties gift box and includes a washing care card, so that you can keep it pristine.

To celebrate this new design, I'm offering 10% off all products in my Etsy shop only until the end of May. Simply enter the following coupon code at check-out: MAY2016

26 May 2016

Knitting shops in London

yarn and needles

Over on the Simple Stylish Makes blog I'm sharing four top knitting shops in London. Pop on over to have a look and don't forget to share your knitting projects with all of us at the Simple Stylish Makes team using the hashtag #simplestylishmakers. Happy knitting!

20 May 2016

What's on the jukebox, Jo?

taunton canal

I've spent my first full week in Somerset, unpacking, setting my studio up, acclimatising to my new surroundings, walking along the canal and finally getting going on some gardening and photography. I'm really enjoying being back in the countryside and as a result all week I've had Primal Scream's Country Girl rattling around in my head. Pop it on and have a dance for the weekend is nearly here!

19 May 2016

Sewing shops in Cambridge

sewing shops in cambridge

Over on the Simple Stylish Makes blog I'm sharing four great sewing shops to check out in Cambridge. Pop on over to find out more and share with your sewing pals. Also, don't forget to share your sewing makes with all of us at the Simple Stylish Makes team using the hashtag #simplestylishmakers. Happy sewing!

15 May 2016

While I'm unpacking ....

unpacking studio

If you hadn't already noticed from my Instagram and Twitter profiles, I've recently moved down to Somerset and I'm currently in the throws of setting up my studio, unpacking boxes and trying to find where I put that......yeah, the joys of moving yourself and a business hey! 

somerset orchard

As soon as I'm set up, I'm taking a much needed holiday for a week. So, life on the blog is a little quiet until I'm back and raring to go on Monday 30th May! In the mean time, have a catch up on my blog. You can read all about how to get your creative mojo back on, how to go on an adventure, top tips for planning a fab tea party and also get inspired by finding out all about the faces behind some awesome blogs! Enjoy reading and don't worry my online shops will be open again on Sunday 29th May, leaving you plenty of time to order for Father's Day. And don't forget to follow me on Instagram for behind the scenes glimpses of life away from the studio :-)

12 May 2016

Spring Colours - Fiesta Red

fiesta red

Over on the Simple Stylish Makes blog I'm sharing some ways you can have fun with one of the colours that is on trend this spring and summer - Fiesta Red! Pop on over to find out how you can add a splash of red to your life. And don't forget to come and tell all of us at the Simple Stylish Makes Team about how you're using Fiesta Red this spring and summer!

6 May 2016

What's on the jukebox, Jo?

behind the scenes

I'm currently in shock. Today was my last day at my part time job and as of next week I am officially a full time designer/maker and freelance blogger. I cannot believe that the long hard road to get to this point is finally here. At times I thought it would never happen. I think I'm going to be pinching myself for weeks asking myself if it's true.

While I acclimatize to all this, I'm going to be taking a much needed break because not only am I going full time on my business but I am also moving house for a fresh start on a personal level. So, as of Wednesday it's bye-bye to Leicester and hello to Somerset! I cannot wait.

And on that note, here are some tunes that have been getting me through a week of house packing and an amazing number of orders. Pop these on and get yourself ready for the weekend!

Da Da Da - Trio

Ooh La La - The Faces

Golden Gal - Animal Collective

Voodoo Doll - John Grant

Where The Light Gets In - Primal Scream

5 May 2016

How to blog

how to blog

Over on the Simple Stylish Makes Blog I'm sharing some top tips for starting your own blog. Pop the kettle on and head on over for a read. And don't forget to come say hi to all of us at the Simple Stylish Makes team too! 

4 May 2016

Favourite Stationery Blogs

stationery flatlay

I'm a bit partial to stationery (who isn't?!) and with all the excitement over it being shared as part of National Stationery Week recently, I suddenly realised how I've let my own stationery collection fall by the wayside in recent years. So, I'm starting to rectify that and my first purchase has been these AWESOME Motivational Pencils from Claireabellemakes. I can't wait to start using them!

As well as improving my collection, I have also felt inspired to check out more stationery blogs and I thought I'd share my findings with you all. 

All Things Stationery

Fox and Star


Paper Crave

Stationery Wednesday

We Love Stationery

I'm sure I haven't even skimmed the surface of stationery bloggers out there, so please do share any blogs and sites you love in the comments field below. It's always good to share a blog or two! 

1 May 2016

Blog Gem - Mitenska

Hello and happy May everyone! To kick start the beginning of Spring I'm finding out all about the fabulous Sarah who runs the beautiful blog, Mitenska

Hello there Sarah, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I started my blog, Mitenska, three years ago. It was mainly a creative outlet but I also wanted to document the little details of my everyday life and to use my photos (I'm a keen snapper). Since then I've rediscovered my love of drawing, painting and more recently, printmaking. I live in a cottage in the Pennines with my partner and three-year-old son. I'm a keen reader, a wayside wanderer and a lover of beautiful things. 

What is your creative space like?

We only moved into the house six months ago, and my upstairs workroom remains unfinished. I write my blog and edit photos at a little cafe-style table. The room's small, painted white and gets the early evening sun. I store all my art materials in here along with lots of notebooks (I love stationery), vintage nature books, which I use for reference and all the other stuff a creative type needs: my sewing machine, piles of fabric, pinboard, camera equipment, old typewriters (another weakness), jars of feathers and shells... There's also a bureau which belonged to my mum and has great sentimental value. I'm currently deciding on a colour to repaint it. She'd approve of me making it my own, I think, although the photos and quotes she stuck inside will definitely stay.

For printmaking and painting, I head downstairs and use the dining table. When Joe's not around. I really need a studio (and to start doing the lottery!)

If you could only take one craft tool to a desert island, what would it be?

Would my camera count? With some sort of solar-powered charging device? If not, a sketchbook for doodling and jotting down thoughts and ideas.

How do you work and get inspired?

Nature's my inspiration. The seasons, the little things you spot when out and about (taking a camera everywhere has a way of training you to seek them out): berries, fungi, buds, lichen. So I walk. We're lucky to live in a village with lots of countryside quite literally on the doorstep - our garden gate leads into a field with a footpath up to the moors.

I'm also a sucker for pretty magazines, particularly the autumn and winter issues of Country Living. Not the coolest perhaps, compared to some of the edgier mags around, but the styling and photography's always spot-on. And Pinterest. I LOVE Pinterest.

What top tips would you give anyone starting a blog?

Be yourself. It sounds a cliche, but it's true - don't try and emulate other blogs you admire or which are massively successful. Write about what interests you, using your own voice. That way you'll start to link up with other like-minded bloggers and readers, and that's great. Don't compare yourself to others. We all start somewhere (for quite a while, my only reader was my mum) and if you enjoy writing, you'll keep doing it regardless.

Also: think about what you like in a blog. I personally like lots of beautiful pictures with not a great deal of text, so that's what I try to do with Mitenska.

Is there a story behind the name Mitenska?

I get asked this quite often and yes, there is. I worked for a long time in a museum. It was a listed building with huge, draughty sash windows, so I knitted myself some wrist warmers to keep my hands a bit warmer whilst typing. Janusz, our lovely Polish cleaner, spotted them and informed me that in his language they'd be called 'mitenska' (Janusz and I became firm friends when he learned my mum's side of the family are Polish). Whether it is the Polish term for wrist warmers or not I don't know, but it seemed as good a name as any to use for my new blog.

If you could go to a Creative Blog Award dinner with any five people (dead or alive) and/or fictional characters, who would you choose?

This is such a tough question! I've come up with quite an eclectic mix of people, and will probably think of loads more at a later date, but here's my 'right now'​ ​ choice:

Julia Davis (her humour, that watch-through-your-fingers kind, I just love it)
David Lynch (I was addicted to Twin Peaks when I watched it for the first time last year)
Margot Leadbetter (one of my favourite TV characters, and those kaftans!!)
David Suchet as Hercule Poirot (you can't beat watching Poirot under a blanket on a cold evening, and he'd be fascinating company)
Roald Dahl (for his wonderful imagination and storytelling).

And if possible, Ma Larkin to do the cooking and Pop Larkin to keep the glasses topped up with blow-your-head-off cocktails.

And finally... If you had to choose one song to represent Mitenska, what would it be and why?

'Happy Alone' by Kings of Leon (from their first album, 'Youth and Young Manhood'). I'd always listen to it on my long commute by bus in the summer, wishing I could stay home and follow my dreams instead of riding into the city to be chained to a desk. It's also a bit hillbilly, just like me :)

Thank you so much, Sarah. It's been absolutely wonderful hearing all about your blog and creative world. Your space sounds like a very inspiring place to work. I love your comment about how a camera trains you to seek beautiful things when you're out and about, so true. And your blogging tips are spot on!

I hope you've all enjoyed this Blog Gem interview! You can catch up on all my Blog Gem interviews here and don't forget to sign up to my newsletter too, which will be landing on your email doormat very soon!

All of the images and interview answers are the copyright of Sarah at Mitenska. Please do not use without seeking permission first. Thank you.


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