Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Tag

Recently I was tagged by the lovely Anca at Anca's Lifestyle for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers award.  I don't usually join in with these awards but this one involves some fun questions, so I figured why not.

Rules for the award:
* Thank the blogger who nominated you and link them to your post.
* Answer the 10 questions you have been sent
*Come up with 10 questions of your own.
* Spread the love and nominate up to 10 bloggers.

1. Holidays abroad or staycations?  
Personally I much prefer holidays abroad, although for the past few years we have enjoyed some really great staycations.  I like to explore new places and I just find I tend to relax a lot more when I'm abroad, especially when the sun is shining.

2. What is your favorite TV Show?  
Right now I would have to say Once Upon A Time, I've been watching it on Netflix and am addicted to it.  

3. Would you rather go into the future or the past?
This is a great question and one I've really had to think about.  I think I would have to say the past, my reasoning for this would be so I could have a conversation and catch up with my Grandad again.

4. Do you have a favorite book?
I wouldn't say a favorite book as such but definitely a favorite author.  I really love Cecelia Ahern books, they are just so imaginative and magical.  I enjoy a good bit of chick lit, something that's easy to read and follow and drags you into the moment.

5. Sweet or savory?  Which do you prefer?
Without doubt, sweet wins every time.  

6. Have you taken dance lessons?
No, and I doubt I will for the foreseeable future at least.  

7. Would you rather spend money on clothes or makeup?
Definitely clothes, I'm not really a makeup kind of person (secretly I'd rather have the extra time in bed) Although given the choice of what I spend my money on it is usually homewares.

8. Do you prefer sunrises or sunsets?
Well as much as I would like to enjoy sunrises I'm never up early enough but I'm happy to settle for a good sunset.

9. Would you like to be a full time blogger?
I would LOVE to be a full time blogger.  I get such a buzz from blogging and it's something I really enjoy and am passionate about.  To be able to do it full time as a career would be a dream come true.

10. Do you like sudoko puzzles?
Not particularly, there are so many other things I do to fill any spare time I have.  At the moment I've been spending the odd spare five minutes colouring in in my new colouring book.

My 10 Questions:
1. What are you most passionate about in life?
2. Do you have a favourite food? 
3. Do you prefer to go to the cinema to watch a movie or snuggle up at home and watch one?
4. Bath or shower?
5. If you could travel anywhere, where would you travel to?
6. Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone?
7. What is your go to place for inspiration? (either a space, a book, a website etc.)
8. Do you have a favourite flower? What is it?
9. Handbags or shoes?
10. What's your favourite season and why?

And my nominations are:

Madeleif at Madeleif
Victoria at Victorias Cottage
Kerenza at Kezzie AG

~ Gem x

Monday, 28 September 2015

The Dolls House on The Hill Tea Room

I love visiting tearooms.  It's been a while since I've been to one, so with a visit planned to see my Nan in Harrow, and having been following The Dolls House Tea Room in Harrow-On-The-Hill on Instagram, it only seemed right to combine the two and I'm so pleased we did.  From the minute we arrived outside I knew I was going to enjoy it.  It looked beautiful.

Stepping inside the door we were greeted by friendly staff and a dresser filled with beautiful things to buy, although immediately I was thinking ahead to visiting at Christmas and it being filled with decorations and gifts.

The staff really were amazing.  We felt so welcomed and they were all so friendly, the service was really quick.  The food was delicious.  I went for a bacon, brie and cranberry panini with crisps and a still cloudy lemonade.

Of course it would have been rude not to have tried out their cakes too.  The selection was fantastic, it took a while to decide what to pick.  In the end I opted for a slice of red velvet.

I can honestly say it was the best red velvet cake I have ever eaten.  The portion was huge.  Too big to finish after lunch, so they boxed it up for me to take home.  The bonus to this of course is that i got to enjoy it twice.

If ever your in the area I'd recommend a visit.  I'm certain you won't be disappointed.

~ Gem x 

Friday, 25 September 2015

8 Photos of Happiness Tag

Earlier this month I was tagged by the beautiful Charlene from The Life of LeeshaStarr blog to join in with the 8 Photos of Happiness tag.   The tag was created by Ariel from Ariel's Little Corner of the Internet.  

♥ Thank your nominator/s and link them in your post.
♥ Link the creator (Ariel’s little corner of the internet) 
♥ Post your 8 photos of happiness; the photos can be anything that represents a moment, object, place or feeling that makes you happy.
♥ Pop in a brief description of the photo, why you chose it or let the photos do the talking 
♥ Spread the happiness and tag up to ten other bloggers!

I have an endless amount of photos, narrowing it down to 8 of my favourites was almost impossible but I've given it my best shot.

Any photos from our wedding day make me happy.  It was by far the best day of my life and the happiest I think I have ever been.

Spending time with the bestie is always good but I especially love this photo of the two of us hanging out in Cath Kidston's Flagship store, London.

I love, love, love, LOVE Christmas.  This may seem sad to many of you, but I do like looking back at photos of our tree, it always puts a smile on my face.

This was taken a few nights after our wedding, very happy and loved up, showing off our wedding rings.

A day spent with this gorgeous little lad, walking through the countryside.

Not the greatest of photos, but a reminder of such an incredible experience helping our friends at their farm during lambing season.

Seeing this man in concert and being able to get photos like THIS definitely makes for a happy photo for me.  I've actually lots count how many times I've seen Usher live, I do know that I would need more than 2 hands though.

And lastly me and my feathery baby Gladys.  She has always been my favourite, and this photo makes me feel so happy to see how far she has come since we picked her up, she looks so much healthier now.

Wow, that was actually a lot harder than I thought it would be.  Now ladies, it's your turn:

Bronwyn at QueenB Creative Me
Victoria at Florence and Mary

Of course if you fancy joining in and I've not tagged you, please don't let that stop you.  Let me know though, I'd love to see what photos you choose.

~ Gem x

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Recently on Instagram

I'm just going to leave you with my recent photos from Instagram over the past month today.

 Darker nights call for candles

 Tea and doughnuts

 Pretty rainbows

 Little posies

 Sunny sunflowers

 Making bouquets

 With home grown Hydrangeas just because

 Clear blue skies and pretty washing

 Beautiful sunsets

 Cat sitting

 New slippers from Next

Oh yes, and lots more rain.

No other words needed.

~ Gem x

Monday, 21 September 2015

My Thoughts on Renting

If you were to ask me my opinion on renting a house 5 or 6 years ago I would have told you that I was very much against it.  Living in someone else's home, unable to put your own stamp on it.  It's not at all what I wanted.

Fast forward 2 years from then and we were looking at places to rent.  Unable to fork out the ridiculous amount of money needed for a deposit on a mortgage we were left with no other choice but to rent.  It wasn't what we wanted but it meant that we were able to live together and begin a new chapter in our life.

Fast forward another 2 and a half years to today and I can tell you that my opinions on renting have completely changed.  Of course I would love to be able to own our own home and hope to do so one day.  The one thing I would say to anyone with doubts about renting is to just consider it.  You'd be surprised how much you can do to put your own stamp on a place, without the need to dig out the paint pots and wallpaper paste.  Providing you are renting an unfurnished property there is plenty you can do to make your own mark on your home.

Furniture and home furnishings can say a lot about a person and a home and can allow you to personalise a space and cheaply too, especially if your creative and good with your hands.  Don't be afraid to think outside of the box.  From pretty fabrics to make your own cushions and curtains, right through to buying your choice of bedding and bath mats in a bid to personalise your space.  Displaying photographs on the mantle or bringing in a bookcase and filling it with little trinkets and more photos of happy memories, it all helps at making the place your own.  (I plan to type out some more blog posts featuring some DIY home d├ęcor ideas, similar to the fireplace makeover, so keep your eyes peeled for some of those coming soon.)

We've been living in our home for 3 and a half years now and I'm still making changes, all without altering the basic foundations.  When it comes to time to leave, we will be able to revert everything back to how it was when we moved in.  So maybe renting isn't so bad after-all, it's funny how your opinion on something can change over time hey.

~ Gem

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

My Top 10 Favourite Reads

It should come as no surprise to you that I enjoy reading, I've mentioned it a fair few times on my blog before.  I love that feeling you get when your reading a book, the feeling of not wanting the story to end.  Of being able to imagine yourself in their little world amongst the pages, feeling and living what is going on, imagining yourself in their shoes.  That is the beauty and magic in books and it fascinates me  how an author is able to capture those feelings and emotions within you.

I thought I'd share with you today some of my favourite books that I've read in the past.  I tend to mostly read your typical chick lit type of books.  Those feel good, girly romances, I just can't get enough of them, as you will be able to tell from my list below.  Although you will also notice that there are a couple of others that have slipped through the net, books that have been highly recommended to me by friends, for which I am grateful for.

(I no longer have the books so haven't been able to take photos of the covers, all images are from Google images)

If You Could See Me Now by Cecelia Ahern - I'm a huge fan of Cecelia's work, she is a fantastic writer and she always manages to add a little bit of magic to her stories.  This one in particular follows the path of a young child and their imaginary friend, it is brilliant trust me.  

Image sourced from Google images

Thanks for the Memories by Cecelia Ahern.  Could you imagine waking up with someone else memories, finding yourself drawn to someone you've never met because of them.  Another fairytale like story from Cecilia that is definitely worth a read.

Image sourced from Google images

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, I cannot tell you how much I loved reading this book.  It's not what I would normally read but  literally could not put it down.  How I would love to visit a place like this, if only it were real.

Image sourced from Google images

The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf, a story of twists and turns provoking panic within you wondering what has happened to the two young girls who have gone missing.  Very powerfully written and a real good edge of your chair kind of read.

Image sourced from Google images

One Moment One Morning by Sarah Rayner, I read this book as part of a book group I was in quite a few years back now, but the book has never left me.  It really makes you think about a situation, and what may be happening elsewhere.

Image sourced from Google images

Rosie Hopkins Sweet Shop Dreams by Jenny Colgan, a true feel good book, who wouldn't want to run their own sweet shop?

Image sourced from Google images

Amelia Grey's Fireside Dreams by Abby Clements, I loved reading this and could relate to the whole moving house, and would love to have a project like this one day, perhaps without the love triangle though, I'm rather quite happy with my Husband :)

Image sourced from Google images

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, I read this as part of my book club and would never have picked it up otherwise, a bit of a chiller but well worth a read, and it is so much better than the film.

Image sourced from Google images

Sister by Rosamund Lupton, this is another of those breath holding, edge of your seat type books and yet the more I read the more I wanted to read, I could not put this one down.  Again completely different to what I would normally read but you know what, sometimes it's good to step out of the comfort zone every once in a while. 

Image sourced from Google images

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom, now this is a book to get you thinking about your life, how you treat others and how you may be perceived.  It definitely makes you re-evaluate things that's for sure.

Image sourced from Google images

Have you read any of these books?  What did you think?  I'd also be interested to hear what books would be top on your list.

~ Gem x

Monday, 14 September 2015

Easy DIY Fireplace Makeover

The fireplace is the one feature in our home that I really don't like.  I often look at Instagram with fireplace envy.  When we moved in the fireplace was boarded up, we had hoped to be able to open it up but it was not to be and since then our chimney became damaged and so was removed so there is no chance of it happening now.

Our home was built just after the second world war and we are fortunate enough to still have a lot of the original features, the fireplace being one of them.  However it does mean that it is a rather unusual shape so it makes it rather difficult to style it quite how I'd like to be able to.

After spotting the idea on Pinterest I knew I had to give this little DIY makeover a go and I'm so pleased I did because I love how it looks.We had a plum tree in our garden that needed cutting down so I used one of the branches.  Cutting it into slices (by hand) quite a long process but worth the hard work I put in.

I've used a thick black cardboard as the backing, although I do think a thin wood would probably be better, I may have to stick it onto something like this in the near future, just to give it that bit of extra support to hold it all up as the weight of the logs is fairly heavy.  The bits of wood / logs I have stuck on using superglue, so far this seems to have been sufficient enough.  

From there I have literally just propped it up in front of the board to the opening of the fireplace and there you have it, my fireplace makeover.  I'm really happy with it and think that it really makes quite a difference to the overall appearance to it.  It somehow makes it feel that bit more homely and cosy.  Much better than a piece of cream painted board that's for sure.  Now I can't wait to start styling it for autumn.

~ Gem x