Friday, 18 June 2021

NEW// This Is Me

Who am I?

I thought it was about time I reintroduced myself. It’s always hard writing about yourself, even though most of the time you are sharing your likes, home and thoughts quite often. But sometimes people wonder, and actually it is very rare that I talk about my whole self in one place so I thought I would. 

I am Emily, born into a family of 8 children to practising Catholic parents. (I always like to mention religion early). I am the eldest daughter but second eldest in the family line. 

I have spent my entire life being around children. This lead me to choose a career in childcare, first getting a diploma after leaving school in Childcare & Education and then a degree in Education & Early Childhood Studies. This was all leading to following on with a PGCE to get a teacher training qualification which I actually didn’t want. I never wanted to be in full control. In fact, my dyslexia made me quite shy and I have always wanted to follow the lead of someone else. Knowing this I went straight to work as a Teaching Assistant in a junior school after my degree, a bit overqualified but nonetheless overjoyed to be working in an environment that I had been training for academically for 5 years, but really, all my life for. I met wonderful people, learned a lot and was pushed to gain qualifications in counselling in schools and became a Higher Level Teaching Assistant; a qualification which doesn’t now exist. The people there helped me grow in so many ways. The experience helped me know what I did and didn’t want to do. I miss that family and that period of my life. It doesn’t exist for any of us who were together at that time now but its a nice place to know where I started and who helped form me.

Within a year of starting that job I married a boy who I'd had a crush on my whole teenage life. As life does, we were on very different paths through all of this time, not even friends, just knowledgeable about each other's existence until one family party where we were unexpectedly in the right place at the right time. Who knew that was how it all worked!

With marriage 'done', a first home moved into on our wedding night (we were young and traditional and quite frankly had no other option then) we had our first child two years later. He was then joined by a second two years after that and to be quite honest I think I became a bit traumatised with her birth, motherhood and keeping myself together. That's another story of growth though so maybe on another day I will write my thoughts on that. 

As we grew so did our repossessed ex-council house. Rob made a good decision on buying our first home with me having not seen it at all. It was a repossessed house in the crash of the late 2000s that he just knew would eventually be good enough for me. In honesty my first viewing after we had our offer excepted ended with me sobbing. It wasn’t the town house I had imagined but he has turned it into something that my dreams couldn’t have even conjured up.

Over a decade later, our two-up-two-down still houses us perfectly. The house that we hope we will never have to sell, the one that has held us, has grown with us. It is enough.

Through child bearing I left working in the school environment. My family secured their first flower shop, a physical premises on one of the main streets in town in the Cathedral quarter of Lincoln. It  opened up opportunities we couldn’t have imagined. It was where I realised I had a creative strength that I had suppressed, seeking a career in something else. Quickly with an opportunity to learn from my florist sister and my own natural ability to create floral arrangements I found myself working in a little shop for the family business. 

It lasted for some time until it didn’t fit with me anymore. 

Within this time a blog was born, (about 7 years ago) it is six months younger than my daughter Etta and was created alongside us creating a new extension space on a budget. It transformed over the years and grew, but I didn’t grow. In fact I needed replanting and rewatering; I needed to grow at a different speed to it. It consumed me. So I left it a bit behind and what was all encompassing changed to be just a bit about me, what I like and what I got up to. 

The blog has earned me money. Lots of it. But then it didn’t and that is also OK.

Two and a half years ago I got a message from a stranger off instagram. It was a message from @charloteejacklin, a similar aged girl who was moving back to her home county from London and wanted to meet another blogger who took nice pictures and had good content. I think some like minded followers of both of us pushed us together and we met to see if there was any way we could work together on photography and blogs. What developed was a job opportunity that, to this day has given me some of the happiest working days of my life.

Charlotte and I decided to work together on taking photos of outfits and giving each other content for instagram. This quickly turned into a paid gig for me as Charlotte is a much more successful blogger than I and got paid to make content for brands: something I had obviously done and stepped away from. Being the absolute gem of a person she is, she offered me a role that would see me get paid too. This then grew into a job where I worked for her, some weeks full time, on building her brand. Her website, the content she made, her photos, we worked on it all as a team and had the best time.

March 2020 we signed off as I became full time mum again, homeschooling the kids and isolating as we all did when the global pandemic hit. Now spring 2021, we are just getting back into the idea of meeting up each week to take photos of each other again. As life changed, so did we, so did our blogs. We now create with each other again and it is so refreshing working with someone rather than on your own. If you see *Photos By Charlotte Jacklin* on the bottom of blog posts that's because she simply came round and snapped me rather than me doing it all myself and using a tripod. 

I have now made a few goals to see if I can grow the blog at all. It has been a constant for so long in my life and even though there are always going to be people doing more or doing better, this is my space that I have created and I am going to keep on at it.

So, this is me. A woman who started a career journey in Education, fell into floristry, became a photographer and a writer and had a family. My life has been a joy. It has had sorrow. It is what it is. I now embark on only focusing on each day, I try to suppress my anxiety by reminding myself that the past can’t be changed and that the future may always change. I can only live each day at a time putting effort into being present, trying my hardest and achieving what I do.

My Beliefs and I

Faith and spirituality – I am a practising Catholic who doesn’t follow all the rules but who seeks God with a whole heart. I can’t pretend to be a good human everyday, but I do strive and look to the cross for guidance, fulfilment and joy.

Honesty & Authenticity – if we cannot truly be ourselves, what's the point?

Living with courage and kindness – Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella is my favourite film. Not only because the Prince (Richard Madden) is, well, charming, but because the whole ethos of the story is about living with 2 simple rules. We simply must have courage and be kind.

Nature – I just like to reconnect with the world and use the awe inspiring natural surrounding to help me do that. 

Balance – exercise and food have been of equal love and loathing for me. Now I make sure to enjoy what I eat and to enjoy my exercise. Dancing and walking are how I keep my body and mind healthy.

Mindfulness – living presently, in the moment, with a lack of judgement. 

Gratitude – Living a life deep rooted in gratitude to what you have is key to me managing a positive sense of self. Daily gratitude practices of waking up with thanks for the new day and going to sleep having journalled gifts from the day helps me to see good even on bad days.

Acceptance – what has gone can’t be undone but can be learned from. Accepting the past has helped me to understand how to better behave today. How to grow. How to stop self deprecation. How to be at peace and carry the lessons with you without letting them control you.

*Photos by Charlotte Jacklin


Wednesday, 14 April 2021

CREATIVE // Beads & Bracelets

Creating Bead Bracelets  

You know I love a simple creative project. One that can be easily completed with pretty results. Well as we are on school holiday, last week I was feeling the itch of creativity and it manifested into some lovely ideas for making bracelets.  

Recently I was lucky enough to receive a gift from Harps In July , some of her beautiful bracelets and it rekindled the idea of making a few more to match them. My Harps In July bracelets are beautiful gold filled bead bracelets that instantly reminded me of the summer phase we all go through where we want to build that arm stack of holiday beads and bands. It reminded me that last summer I also enjoyed making some bracelets ( See This Post ) which are sat in my jewelry box ready to be worn again.

This time though, I wanted to have a bit of a glow up and I exchanged the plastic pearl beads of last years makes to better match these new ones by purchasing some gold plated brass beads and some pretty letter ones.

Now I take no credit for this idea. Name and phrase bracelets are no new thing and plenty of better brands before me are making them to sell. In fact I will include a list of shops you can support later. But for me (a girl who has a tendency to making her own) I wanted to share what I have done and where I got my bits and pieces from.

Making my bracelets

If you fancy the idea of whipping up a few bracelets yourself  I thought I would just share a simple how to:

I really like clear elastic for threading my beads on to. Depending on bead size I use 0.6mm or 0.8. These were just elastics I picked up off Amazon last summer and do the job well. Recently I actually got myself some seed bead needles which help you to pick up the beads that are more fiddly. Again these were off amazon and I will add them to the shopping list below. 

With regards to threading patterns and styles, Pinterest is an absolute trove of ideas. Just check out my board on bead bracelets to see some of my favorites.

I really simply thread them, tie them in a knot and wear them with pride. More often than not I get a message off a sister who asks, "Can you make me one please", and I happily do so. Someone also asked on Instagram if I would be selling them but I am not sure that is my calling right now. That point leads me nicely on to these guys though.....

Where to buy ready made bracelets

Like I said, plenty before me make a living out of making jewelry so here are some of those shops.

Bracelet shopping list

If you still fancy having your own go here is a list of products and links to shops where you can find lovely beads.

ETSY Has so many small business selling beads; you might want to support them.
Baker Ross Provided all of our lock down crafts and they have a great selection of beads which are inexpensive.
Hobby Craft Also have a huge selection of beads all in one place.

I used:
Gold Plated Beads (Approx 50+ per bracelet needed)

Getting creative is a really nice way to pass the time. It is also a really good way to express yourself and give yourself some mental freedom from life thoughts and busyness.


Wednesday, 24 February 2021

LIFESTYLE// Home School Wardrobes & A Bit About The Kids

Items in this post are gifted.

The Home School Wardrobe

 I remember at school, home clothes day was the best day ever. It seemed like the ultimate treat, being able to wear your own clothes to school. Following lots of American movies where they get to wear their own clothes everyday always made me jealous. Especially when we got to secondary school. Nowadays it seems to still be the most exciting thing ever. Etta and Raph get especially excited for days when school uniform doesn't need to be worn. Unbelievably, right now, we are finding that every day is home clothes day! Whilst on National Lockdown Number 3 we have found ourselves wearing nearly every item of clothing more than ever. With the recent cold weather too, layers and snugly wear have been key.

Our kids are great at filling the washing basket with loads of laundry. It's been important to me for a long time now not to waste money on lots of cheap clothes but rather to spend money well. I am lucky as the items in this post have been gifted by the wonderful team JOULES, but if you have followed me for a long time you will know that this has been a long standing ethos of mine. Buy cheap; buy twice is something I truly believe in, and in more normal times when the kids have school uniform to wear, I had learned to really keep their wardrobes more minimal and from well made brands. There is nothing I love more than seeing the kids' younger cousins in hand-me-down clothes from us. It means that the item has really served its purpose. It's been used well and with 7 younger male cousins, Raph's wardrobe gets filtered down many times. Joules has long been a favourite in this house, especially for their classic striped tops, but as a staple brand that we buy into because their clothes last and last.

Whilst we have been homeschooling life has been really different. The whole structure of our day was reconfigured to suit the schooling needs and that meant that space around the house has been used differently. We go from dining table to bedroom desks, to working on the floor and sitting in bed. The space we have is used more than ever and luckily since redecorating the two bedrooms for the children, we have been able to really use their spaces in our everyday life to bring movement to our days. Upstairs, downstairs daily life flows through the house and I have never been more thankful that the kids have this space to move around. Their renovations were completed at the end of last year and at the time I didn't really realise that my forward planning in giving them both desks would turn out to be such a useful tool. These days our life revolves around zoom meetings and lesson videos and that is just fine. Like all, we are doing what we can to make remote learning work for us. With each new day comes different challenges but with space, comfortable clothes and a willingness to try, we are just getting on as we can.

The JOULES website is one I like to visit regularly. When in need of a new outdoor coat, some cosy basics or even just looking for something fresh, a trip to the online store generally sorts out my needs. Raph has been loving their joggers for a few years now, easy, pull on, wash well, what is a 9 year old boy not going to like about that? Etta loves a Joules package arriving on the doorstep. She lives in hope that it will contain dungarees, dresses or cosy fleeces; this recent parcel did anyway!
For me, it's the JOULES Knitwear and practical outdoor coats that get me. Every. Single. Time. Guaranteed either one of these is my most searched for item, I just have a thing for chunky jumpers and practical coats!

I thought it would be nice to share just how the kids have been using their rooms (and wearing their clothes) recently. Life has been good to us. I am grateful every single day for the opportunity to just live and do in our easy little way. 
Etta Wears below // FLEECESKIRTTOP

Etta is a real bedroom lover. You can find her writing songs or sitting at her desk. She loves to create; that is something that is quite clear and she is never too far from toys she likes to care for. 
Etta wears below // GILETDRESSTOP

Etta is keen on books and she has wanted to read from a very young age. She is forever picking up the Little People Big Dreams books and is fascinated by people like David Bowie and Rosa Parks. 

Raph is never far from Lego. He plays and plays with the stuff and it is at the top of every present list he ever writes. He loves to be read to at any time and even though his own relationship with reading didn't start out well he now really enjoys comic style books and even children's novels, his favourite being Tom Fletcher as he particulary loves to use gross words!

Raph is a huge Fan of drawings and wants to be an illustrator when he grows up. I put that down to great artists like Joe Todd Stanton whose books are a huge hit round here. Raph loves stories with few words but amazing pictures and that love makes him want to create. 
Raph wears below // TSHIRT

Both the kids are just getting on with life. School isn't boring it's just different to any experience we have had. Their creative studies though are where they have a passion and we encourage that in this house. When the children are home, in their space and comfortable they are winning at living the good life.

Another huge part of our day is getting out for a walk. One thing JOULES has always been good at is producing great grab and go outerwear. Whether that be their easy pull on or pack up wellies or their grab and go coats. I know what I am getting with their products. Every morning we go out for a walk before school. This is sometimes the hardest part of our day but because the day gets so full of doing work, getting out first thing helps to set us up for all of that. After lunch we always do a science, or history lesson and by the time that is done and a round of Horrible Histories has been watched I am ready to just stop. Getting out first thing just means that we do actually get out in the day.
I wear // COATTOP,

No matter how each day starts we get what we need to do done. That doesn't mean it is easy or in fact looks anything like the images above; some days are more picture perfect that others though and that is a real blessing. Day to day life now blurs a bit, it resembles the same shape but all the little things that are within it are most certainly different.
All I know is that the days carry on like this but it won't be forever and soon enough I will be wishing for the washing pile to be fuller of worn home clothes because it means that we have all had fun together. 


Saturday, 13 February 2021

HOME INTERIORS // A Bedroom For a Tween Boy (for now and beyond.)

Creating a bedroom for a near ten year old which will see him into teenage-hood.

When it came to creating a room for Raph I wanted to very much create something that would suit him for years. I think it can be hard to create a space for a boy sometimes that can also represent the idea of minimalism and simplicity yet suit the realities that early teenage boys might like. Much like our daughter's room, a lot of the ideas behind this decoration was creating a space that suited our home and felt like it matched in well. I have never been a fan of having lots of different colours round the house, but when it came to creating a space for the children I also didn't want it to solely be a white space like the rest of the house. I have learned to like colours and how you can use them to create warmth and comfort. 

Raph's room went for being packed with two single beds and lots of toys to being the biggest room for one small boy. As a growing boy there were some features that I knew I wanted to carry him into teenage hood / secondary school and that was really at the forefront of our designs. 

The first choice of colour, a copy of Farrow & Ball's Calke green was what we have on the walls. As this room is so big for one body I wanted to bring a bit of warmth with a darker colour. With the white top boarder and white wooden floors you bring a lot of light into this west facing room so having a warming shade of green against that and then the natural wood colours (I will talk about later) really creates a sense of calm and warmth.

With the room having a dark radiator (now one of my favourite features of the upstairs rooms) and a pine wood windowsill creating a room that had features of natural wood were, like Etta's room, very important. Raph's head board was always going to be self-constructed and was the only way we were tying the rooms together. The feature of natural wood is not only visually pleasing but textually as well. It is now the way that we connect the room's round the house; some wood feature in some way. In Etta's room she has the peg rail and in here there is his wonderful strip panel headboard reaching from floor to ceiling. 

Raph also has a new small double bed, (I point out the small bit as we had that embarrassing error with ordering the wrong sized mattress) From a UK manufactured pine bed company. We have also left this unpainted which matches the headboard really well. Like Etta's room, the under bed storage is essential for not filling up the edges of the room with furniture. The boxes were originally made from their old room which rob just adapted for the new bed. All of Raphs clothes fit under his bed and in his bedside table meaning that he has no wardrobe in his room. 

From the wooden bed came the feature oak desk, an integral part of growing up. I wanted him to have space to work, play and a place to draw. This, and the black chair, were new from Ikea. The bookcase is also Ikea, part of the Billy range, but we had this from when they shared a bedroom. Raph's bedside tables I spotted from Ikea about a year ago and have patiently been waiting to buy knowing they were going to be perfect for a boy's room. Its always nice when you find furniture that you know would really suit a personality.

Parts of Raph's room that were really important to have was a Lego display unit, a desk for the impending homework situation and floor space so that he, with or without his sister, could have another space to play. Raph has a lot of the Lego now in his room. Mostly completed sets that get played with but he also wanted to display. This Great Little Trading Co unit has been in this room for sometime now and works as a great source of storage, with a couple of baskets full of Lego to play with the rest of the space is taken up with complete models right now and they look great. It's messy but neat at the same time. It's well played with but also looks like art. It's a really colourful feature to the bedroom. 

After the physical furniture part of Raph's room was complete it came down to sourcing artwork which I feel will be an ongoing part of decorating. I have written a post all about the art from the kids' rooms: a bit of bespoke by me, art from independant printers and pieces mass produced that I have jazzed up. 

I am so pleased with how this and Etta's room have turned out. Both individual but also both matching well for our little house. Having these two spaces completed has really opened the upstairs to a working space, one that we actually like to hang out in rather than one which hasn't quite gelled for a few years now. 

Shopping list for Raphs bedroom:


Small double bed


Bedside tables

Desk chair

Lego sidboard



Have you seen related posts about Etta's room and our bathroom?

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