Friday, 30 September 2016

30 Before 30 First Quarter Update

How fast  does this year want to go?  I thought I'd check in to see how my challenge was going, when I realised that I am already one quarter of the way into it.  I'm actually finding that quite hard to believe and I won't lie it has made me panic a little.  You can see my original post for my list of 30 things to do before I'm 30 by clicking through on the link
I've managed to cross a few things off from the list but not as many as I'd hoped I would have by this point.  Don't get me wrong, there is still plenty of time left though but I do need to pull my finger out if I am going to stand a chance at crossing everything off by my 30th birthday.

Already achieved are:

#4 Visit a lavender farm. 
This was done in July, such a beautiful day.  I am so glad that I've done this and will definitely visit again in the future.

#8 Watch a film in an outdoor space.
This was completed (twice) earlier this month.  Another great experience and again something I plan to do next year.

#10 Start some form of exercise.
Apart from yoga once a week my exercise up until recently was zero.  However I have started going to a bootcamp at my workplace once a week which I always assumed I would hate but I was so wrong, I really enjoy it.

#20 Do something spontaneous.
I think it's fair to say this one has been done a few times these past couple of months, which is not like me at all.  Firstly was the very last minute decision to book tickets for V festival.  And then there is the body ink.  I have got myself 2 new tattoos, one was booked in 3 days before getting it done, the last one though I literally walked in last Friday and got it done there and then.

I feel as though I have touched on some of the other things on my list but don't feel confident that they have been fully achieved so I shall continue working on those ones and hope to be able to include them in my six month update, no doubt that will be here before we know it.

~ Gem x

Thursday, 29 September 2016

John Lewis Chelmsford - Grand Opening

Today, at 9:30am Chelmsford in Essex see's the very long awaited official opening of the brand new John Lewis store as part of the new Bond Street development.  It has been talked about for years and now finally we can see what it has all been about.

I was lucky to get a sneak preview of the new store on Monday during their dress rehearsal day, and I think it is safe to say that shoppers will not be disappointed by this new shopping experience.

Spread across 3 floors offering home and gift ware, haberdashery, womenswear, Kuoni Travel, beauty, menswear, electrical and more.  The store felt easy to navigate around and flowed well between the various departments. 

For me personally it was the little touches and the heritage of Chelmsford radio that was picked up by John Lewis that really outshone and gave the store that personal touch unique to Chelmsford. 

The personal detailing that will be found in no other John Lewis store, like the telegraph poles in the stationary department.  The use of microphones with the male mannequins in menswear and the on air signs and CD's dotted about the place.

The visual merchandising all over the store has clearly been well planned and thought out.  It almost tells it's own story and I was so impressed by these details.  My favourite being the swing as you walk through the main entrance into the beauty and fragrance department on ground floor.  It is definitely something that will get people talking.

Homewares was by far my favourite department which can be found on the third floor.  Very spacious and complete with room sets, which I fell in love with.  It reminded me very much of Ikea, being able to visualise the products in a home setting, another great visual merchandising tool.

Everything about the store was just so fresh and clean cut.  It's definitely somewhere I can see myself spending time, especially on the run up to Christmas.

I'm so pleased to be welcoming John Lewis to Chelmsford and can't wait to see what the new Bond Street development brings to the city.

Thanks for the team at John Lewis for the tour on Monday and I hope to be seeing you soon to be spending my heard earned wages.

~ Gem x

Monday, 26 September 2016

Gem's Country Life ~ A Day In The Life

Like most peoples day's mine tend to be rather different from day to day, depending on what is planned and also what day of the week it is.  I've chosen to base today's post on Saturday just passed.  Much more fun and interesting than a weekday spent at work.  

A typical Saturday would see me waking up anytime between 7am to 9am.  I jump out of bed to let the chickens out of their little house, popping the kettle on as I wander through the kitchen to get outside, ready for the first brew of the day.

The morning entails pottering about at home, replying to any outstanding emails and generally catching up with things.  Occasionally a spot of reading whilst curled up on the sofa

At 11am a visit from a friend for a cuppa and a catch up for about an hour, telling stories and putting the world to rights.

After  bit more pottering at home I made a pit stop at the village library.  I could spend hours pouring over all of the books, if only I could read quicker, I'd actually stand a chance at getting through some of these.

Next was time for a spot of retail therapy.  I'm loving the autumnal tones that are decking out the shops at the moment. 

As the nights begin to draw in, my evenings are being spent with the candles lit, creating a warm cosy atmosphere at home.

And of course Saturday nights also now include X-Factor, which I can't get enough of.

So after a generally laid back day and an evening in front of the TV, my bed calls to me, ready for another day.

~ Gem x

Friday, 23 September 2016

An Outdoor Cinema Experience

Having never been to an outdoor cinema and having seen them about over social media, I knew it was something I wanted to try.  With that in mind I'd added it to my list of 30 Before 30.  I'd initially thought it would be something to do next year now, as summer was fast coming to an end, but it turns out I was wrong.

After a bit of research I discovered that Dirty Dancing was being shown at Hylands Park and so the tickets were purchased and last Thursday, with a picnic basket packed myself and my sister in law set off. 

It was a perfect location to sit back relax and drink in the atmosphere.  Thankfully the weather was kind to us too, although later into the evening we did sink down together under a blanket, but if anything it added to the overall experience and I loved it.

There were a couple of food places to pick up burgers and pizza, which we took advantage of.  As well as a bar for your drinks, but we went prepared on that front.

I'd never actually seen the film before and to be honest have no idea how I have never seen it.  It is just my kind of film, I loved it, although slow to start it totally made up for it.  We both enjoyed the evening so much and were a bit gutted that we'd left it till the end of the season to experience it as we'd loved to do it again.  Or so we thought.

It turns out Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone was showing in Maldon the next night, so we booked our tickets and headed off to see that too.  Another film I'd never seen and loved.  Now to watch the next however many Harry Potter films there are.

I'll definitely be looking out for the outdoor cinemas next summer, and if you haven't been to one yet, you definitely have to give them a go.  Such a great nigh out.

~ Gem

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

A Craft Collaboration With Michelle Louise Love

On Sunday I had the pleasure of spending my day with the beautiful Michelle.  We met back in December at a bloggers event and hit it off straight away.  As the time has passed we have grown closer together and have secured a great friendship with one another. 
We have quite a lot in common including recent personal circumstances, which in itself has been a great support to one another.  But being able to share the things we're passionate about in life has been a very welcomed treat.  When Michelle asked me if I'd be interested in joining her for a craft collaboration I just knew that it would be right up my street.  Having lost my creative flow recently this was the perfect opportunity for me to jump back on the wagon. 

We each chose a craft for us to do together, but kept it a secret from the other until we sat down to start work.  It was such a fun idea and strangely exciting to have a surprise craft activity planned.  After having visited Hobbycraft a few weeks ago and both cooed over this BeYouTiful canvas watercolour project I decided to choose that as my craft knowing it would be something we would both enjoy.

I haven't painted like this in years so I wasn't too sure how I would get on with it but I needn't have worried.  It was really simple and so much fun.  I'd definitely buy more of these sort of projects.  

Michelle had chosen for us to make some pretty autumn themed bunting, made from old pages from a book, kraft card, glitter, twine and mini pegs.  Completely my style, I love that rustic effect and I love autumn so I was thrilled with this activity. 

I've never been much of a fan of paper crafts but this was so simple yet so effective.  I actually found it quite relaxing.  Even better the fact that it involved glitter too.

I was so impressed with the finished product too.  It is absolutely perfect to add to my autumn mantle this year, and is proudly taking centre stage.

Big thanks goes to Michelle for having such a great idea and for involving me in it.

~ Gem x

Friday, 16 September 2016

Excitement For The Arrival of Autumn

As much as I love each of the seasons for their own individual reasons, I think its fair to say that Autumn is quite possibly my favourite season out of the four.  It gives me a rather warm and fuzzy feeling inside to be seeing it's arrival in  2016. 

As the evenings begin to draw in and the temperatures drop (not so much the this past week in the UK).  The jumpers come out of hiding and evenings indoors are spent with the candles lit, as a rather cosy atmosphere descends on my home.


The autumn decorations have been dug out from the shed and are now happily adorning the mantle.  And weekend evenings are spent in front of the TV watching The X-Factor (don't judge, it is pretty much the only trashy TV that I actually watch).

The roads are lined by the glorious shades of orange and the ground beneath them soon becomes a stunning golden brown, as it is covered by the crisp and crunchy leaves just waiting to be walked over and kicked into the air.

There is something quite mesmerising about the morning sunlight at this time of the year.  That hazy glow that it creates, made even better with a morning mist rolling across the fields or lake that surround my home. 

As the shops begin preparations for Christmas I can't help but find myself getting exciting for the few months that lay ahead.

The seasons we experience in the UK make me feel rather grateful, as without them we wouldn't appreciate each one for what it actually is.  It's one of the many reasons I love living in the countryside, as you seem to be able to identify with the seasons that little bit more than in a built up suburban area, which is what I have been used to until moving here.   

So I shall be embracing this season and breathing in every possible moment of it until we see it again next year.

~ Gem x

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Jane Means Pop Up Shop Press Launch

Monday evening was spent at the press launch of Jane Means brand new pop up shop at Clifton Nurseries.  I was lucky enough to be contacted by Jane last week inviting me along. 
Having worked with Jane in the early part of last year on one of her gift wrapping workshops, I was excited to see the shop and knew that it would be a treasure trove of beautiful things.

I wasn't wrong.  It was an Instagrammers paradise with lots of cute little displays just waiting to be photographed.

I literally didn't know where to look next.  You could tell that a lot of hard work and effort had gone into the preparation of the shop.  The finer details really outshone throughout and screamed Jane Means.

I have to say the location of the shop is just perfect too.  If you've never visited Clifton Nurseries before and ever find yourself in the area, it is worth stopping by.  Especially if you have a passion for flowers and plants.  

It was a truly wonderful evening enjoying the yummiest of cocktails amongst great company (finally getting to meet the lovely lady that is Teresa from TCakes Blog and not forgetting my blogging partner in crime Michelle from Michelle Louise Love).  Massive congratulations to Jane and her team for such a beautiful shop, I hope it is a huge success. 

~ Gem x