Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Autumn with Teresa from TCakes

This morning I'm handing over the reigns to Teresa, who is sharing her love of all things autumnal in today's post. 

Today I am guest writing for Gemma on her blog. I have followed Gem’s blog and Instagram feed for some time now and I am delighted to write a post for her, during what is one of my favourite months of the year. For those of you who don’t know me I am Teresa and have written a blog TCakes for a few years, which has evolved over time from predominately a crafting and baking blog, to one where I share snippets of my life; with regular posts on my life in London, my love of New York, favourite reads, and what has captured my attention that month.

Gem's posts this month have a real autumnal feel to them, which has allowed me to share all my favourite things about October and Autumn before we tumble into winter when the clocks fall back at the weekend.

Lots of people love Spring and the awakening of the flowers from their winter hibernation.  For me Autumn is the equivalent of spring but for the leaves and trees as they turn from green to golden glows of yellows and reds.

This year the colours have been spectacular and I have loved kicking my way through the fallen leaves as I walk and run through the park.

Every year I produce an Autumnal Bucket List which I try to complete during the end of September and October; this year we have been blessed with some gorgeous weather which has allowed me to soak up some gorgeous sunrise’s and sunsets through the city, at the seaside and in the park.

Autumn for me features Spice Lattes, Apples, Pumpkins, Cozy Sweaters, Candles, Ugg Slippers and Cashmere throw. My wardrobe switches into comfy boots, and a  capsule wardrobe of browns, tans, greens and berry. Days are filled with gorgeous Sunrises and Sunsets, and park life is filled with Conkers, Squirrels, Swans  and lots of crisp leaves. (perfect for kicking).

So as we head towards November I am going to savour every minute left of Autumn before the days become a little darker and greyer and the festive season is truly upon us and I start compiling my Winter Bucket List.

Thank you to Teresa for her post today.  You can read more from her over on her blog TCakes

~ Gem x

Monday, 24 October 2016

Sadie's Halloween Tree

I'm very pleased to be welcoming Sadie from A Life In The English Rain to the blog today.  I've been following Sadie's blog for a couple of years now and am always inspired by her simple yet beautiful creations, which all fit so well into her gorgeous home.  If you are not familiar with her blog, please pop on over and take a look, you won't be disappointed.  I'm sure you will also love what she has prepared for us today.

It's that time of year again. Halloween is sneaking up behind us, ready to jump out and shout 'Boo'!

Do you decorate?  Well, if the answer is a resounding no, because you don't like all the garish colours and tackiness of the whole affair, then it need not be that way. Keep it simple, and keep it elegant. A touch of Halloween here and there is just as effective as a house decorated head to toe in fake cobweb.

A Halloween tree is so simple. It also has the added bonus of being easily changed for any other seasonal celebration. I'll let you into a secret, and tell you, this is actually my Easter tree. A few alterations and you'd never know.

Take a few twigs, and secure in a pot. I used air drying clay to hold the twigs in place. Once the clay had dried, I added some decorative stones to the top to cover it, and add extra weight. The twigs had been painted white, but of course, you can paint them any colour. Black would be perfect for Halloween. A strand of battery operated lights is an optional extra, but it does take it up a level. I found the baubles in a supermarket, but have to say I'd never seen them before, or since. But you could easily make your own. A few unloved Christmas baubles spray painted and decorated with glittery pumpkin faces would be quick and easy to do. Hang them from the branches, add some black sheer fabric around the base, and it's done.

An inexpensive, simple, and elegant nod to Halloween.

Huge thanks to Sadie for popping over to share with us her beautiful Halloween tree.  It just goes to show that Halloween can be pretty too.

Don't forget you can hear more from Sadie over at her own blog A Life In The English Rain.

~ Gem x

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

A Fabulous Night In

For ages now I've been wanting to attend a book event with Giovanna Fletcher, but with one thing and another have never been able to make them.  So, you can imagine how excited I was when I received a text from Sophie telling me about the Fabulous Night In event last Tuesday. 

I met with Sophie and Kate at London Bridge ready to head over to the News building in time for the event.  It is such a  swanky building and the events was really well organised.  We were greeted with wine and canap├ęs, which was a very welcomed surprise and a perfect touch after a hard day at work.

The ticket for the event was £10, I didn't think this was too bad for an event in London with three well known authors, Giovanna Fletcher, Lindsey Kelk and Mahiri McFarlane.  To top it off, included in the ticket price was a book of my choice from one of the featured authors.

I decided to go for Giovanna's Billy and Me, it's a book I've wanted to read for ages now, but as I still have so many books on my book shelf, I've been good recently and have restrained myself from buying more until I've made a dent in my current collection. 

Books chosen and firmly in our hand (glass of wine in the other), we took our seats ready for the ladies to grace the stage ready to be bombarded with questions. 

I have to say, I felt totally inspired by all three ladies.  They shared many words of encouragement and wisdom both from their own experiences of writing and also pointers they have been given from other authors.  'If you want to write, then write' which was advise given to Gi by Dorothy Koomson.  It is so true though.  So many of us want to do things in life and yet we always find an excuse not to do it (I'm so guilty of this).  I guess this advise could really be transferred to anything, if you want to do it, just do it.   

Hearing them talk about their journeys was somewhat comforting and really gave hope that there is opportunity out there for all of us.  Another favourite quote from the evening from Giovanna 'Creativity is individual' I couldn't agree with this more.  Everyone is different and individuality is what makes us, so we should let it shine and just be ourselves in whatever it is that we decide to do. 

Mhairi McFarlane also made a great point in saying 'it's about what works for you'  We are all so different and that's a good thing, we shouldn't be trying to be someone else.  She also touched on writers block which as a blogger I have encountered so many times.  I loved her answer to it though '9 times out of 10 the problem is real but the solution doesn't have to be picked off the shelf, you can select your own solution'  Again I feel this advise can be used in any life situation.  We become so fixed on the standard solutions that we forget to look beyond them.

I pretty much spent the whole evening in awe of these ladies.  They each gave me food for thought and I can safely say I took away a lot from what they had each said.  The highlight for me though was getting to meet the lovely Gi.  She is just so down to earth and easy to talk to, a truly lovely lady.

It was a great evening catching up with blog friends and meeting some very inspiring ladies.

'The last page of a book is never the end'

~ Gem x

Friday, 14 October 2016

A Day at the Pumpkin Patch

After visiting Foxes Farm Produce Pumpkin Patch last year I just knew that I would be returning again this year and had been looking forward to it for some time.

This year I visited their site in Basildon, Essex and was so impressed by the size of the place and how much it had developed from last years venture.  The place was buzzing with visitors too, but due to the grand scale of the site it didn't feel at all busy.  It was so great to see an independent family run businesses thriving. 

Growing up in the UK, Halloween has never been very widely celebrated, it is a very American holiday.  I'm so pleased to see it slowly getting bigger here in England.  Especially ventures like this as it is something for everyone to enjoy regardless of whether you have children or not. 

Being able to wander the fields, picking the perfect pumpkin and getting yourself some fresh air at the same time, is my idea of fun.

I could have spent hours wandering around, snapping at the different varieties of pumpkins and gourds.  The colours are just perfect for this time of year.

So if you're close to Essex and have a spare morning or afternoon and are looking for something a little different to do this Autumn, head down to the pumpkin patch.  They have two sites, one in Basildon and one in Colchester.  I know I'm already hoping to get back there with a friend before the season is out.

~ Gem x

Monday, 10 October 2016

Lush Halloween Collection

Have I mentioned before how much I love this time of year?  Seriously, I do think it is quite possibly my favourite.  I don't need an excuse to play around with mini displays around my home, but autumn and winter gives all the more reason to do it.  The good thing with this time of year is that it can extend to the bathroom with thanks to Lush and their ever amazing Halloween and Christmas ranges.

I was invited to Lush in Romford last week after hours, to check out the new products in store for the upcoming celebrations. I must say, I liked what I saw.  I'll be saving the Christmas range for another day, as I wanted to share with you my favourites for the current season.

I fell in love with the Boo bath melts.  Such a cute design, wouldn't you agree?

I was also really pleased to see the return of Sparkly Pumpkin, this was one of my favourites last year.  Of course I had to bring one back home with me.

A new addition this year is the Autumn Leaf.  Such a beautiful design filled with pretty autumnal colours that fizz and froth away in your bath creating a colourful show

And lastly for today is the Monsters Ball.  Such a sweet design and beautiful, bright colours.

Such a great range, well worth taking a look and stocking up.  No one said that Halloween was just for the kids you know. 

~ Gem x 

Monday, 3 October 2016

October Bucket List

We're in the last quarter of the year.  It really is frightening to think how quickly time passes us by.  It makes me realise how much I need to appreciate the here and now and savour each moment for what it is.  It's one of the reasons I enjoy creating these little monthly bucket lists.

This is by far my favourite time of the year, as the colours shift pretty much wherever you turn, temperatures begin to change and there is that hint of excitement around for the celebrations ahead.  It would be a shame not to appreciate it for what it is, so this month I'd like to: 

* Make some fabric pumpkins.
I love decorating for the seasons and what better way then with some of these beauts to add to my autumn display.

* Buy myself an autumnal tartan scarf.
I've really liked these for the past few years and have often thought about buying one but for some reason, never have.  This month that's about to change. 

* Decorate a pumpkin.
I've managed to find my creative flow again in recent weeks so I'd like to put it to good use and decorate a pumpkin or two for the season.

* Go for a long walk through a park or local space and soak in the season.
Feeling the colder air against your skin, and the crunchy leaves beneath your feet.  Perfect for those autumn strolls. 

* Make the most of Pumpkin Spiced Lattes while they last.
They are not out for long and seeing as I have found a new love for them, I must get them while I can.

~ Gem x