Paper Clips: Online Journal

Creative ramblings from my moments of ‘me time’…

Snapshots of Life

The other day I read a lovely article in the John Lewis magazine. India Knight was discussing how she passionately believes you should put the ‘heart’ into the home, especially in this era of minimalism. This is something I constantly struggle with! I want a home which is clean, cool and soothing… Yet I also want to have around me the objects and trinkets which make it a true home. For a long time I thought the two weren’t compatible, and then India’s article got me thinking…

I am a sentimentalist at heart, and I freely confess to collecting and keeping items which resonate with me – a wonky clay pot made by my children, their brightly coloured artwork, my Grandmother’s silver hat pins and silver sugar tongs… None of these items have any real monetary value, yet all are precious in their own ways to me.

I guess what I’m beginning to understand is that less is sometimes more! Minimalism can be the very vehicle which actually allows you to put your heart into your home!

Snapshots of Life

This autumn I’m really focussing on what I can cull (the mundane paraphenalia which I unnecessarily accumulate!) and on making room for those possessions which I can lovingly curate and display. No more dusty boxes under beds, housing treasures which are forgotten but not quite forgotten…

Magical Memories

 

My goal over the coming months centres on reconnecting with those snapshots of my life represented by items which deserve to be seen and curated in little seasonal displays. Above all they need to be enjoyed! These items really are my treasures, each tells a story and connects me to a time, place or person in my life. All are emotionally nourishing and stand as testaments to the life I have lived.

As India Knight says herself, ‘precious doesn’t even begin to cover it’.

What items will you be displaying and curating this autumn? I’d love to hear from you!

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Embracing the End of Summer

Well September is well and truly underway, and summer feels like a lifetime ago! I don’t know about you, but I always feel that as soon as the September routine kicks in everything which has gone before seems to become a bit of a blur!

I know for some people the end of summer and the beginning of autumn can be a difficult time. It’s not hard to see why – we lose the warmth and daylight hours and for many of us with families, our days return to routine, clock-watching and generally spinning plates!

I personally love this time of year, and try to embrace all that it has to offer. For those of you who are less keen, here’s a few tips on how to ease that transition from summer into autumn and winter…

Embracing the End of Summer

Daylight

It sounds so simple but remember to savour and enjoy the daylight hours we still have! The nights are definitely drawing in, but make the most of the remaining daylight hours – whether it’s an early evening stroll or simply a quick walk at lunchtime when the weather is nice, get out there! Autumn is renowned for its’ ‘golden light’ – so catch it when you can!

embracing autumn

Routine

Embrace the opportunity to get into a new routine, and think critically about how you can plan your week. Learn from past mistakes and see this as a new opportunity to approach your week with a different outlook and different time frames to reduce pressure. What didn’t work last year, and what could de done to improve the way your week flows?

embracing autumn

Reflect

Autumn has recently be referred to as ‘the new January’. I can see the logic in this. It can feel like a fresh start and an opportunity to look at what you have achieved this year and what you want to achieve during the last part of the year. Don’t beat yourself up about what you haven’t done, celebrate where you are now and plan where you want to be by December.

Rejuvenate

Every season brings with it a certain necessity to update your home and wardrobe, so embrace that! I’ve just taken lots of pleasure from choosing a new winter coat – in a rich and cosy dark grape shade for something different, and a total contrast to my cream coat of previous years! I’m deliberating on a new shade for my Moshulu slippers too!

At home my light strings and Skye scented candles are really coming into their own, and I love creating a cosy, intimate environment! I’m going to be getting my hygge on too, as soon as opportunity allows!

Whatever your plans this autumn, look for the joy a change of season can bring. If all else fails, at least you can hope for an ‘Indian Summer’!

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La La Land Yellow

I recently had the opportunity to go and see ‘La La Land’, and have to say I absolutely loved it! I was somewhat apprehensive though as this film has received plenty of critical acclaim and many awards. Would my expectations be too high and would the film would disappoint? It didn’t!

La La Land is a musical… A glorious old-fashioned but curiously contemporary musical! It is a wonderful feel go film with many layers. I left the cinema with songs in my heart, and a few tears in my eyes! Colour played a vital role in the film, and everyone is talking about La La Land yellow.

La La Land Yellow

Posters for the film show Emma Stone dancing in a much-talked-about retro dress in a shade that we’re calling ‘La La Land Yellow’. Later, she is also seen carrying a yellow handbag too, and somehow this colour reflects her optimism and tenacity in world in which she lives. Hollywood is famous for it’s knocks, and Emma’s character has a fair few to deal with!

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In our real world, psychologists acknowledge that injecting a little yellow zest into our wardrobes is good for us, too.

Yellow is seen as an optimistic, life-affirming colour. It reminds us of sunshine and stimulates our mind, body and emotions. Yellow arouses the brain and help memory. so, with that in mind, here is my idea for injecting a little yellow into your daily lives too!

Whistles Matte Croc Leather Small Clutch Bag

Crafted from pure leather with a shiny croc texture, this yellow clutch features a chunky metallic zip top fastening to keep valuables safe whilst on the go. Ideal for storing your essentials, pair with day or evening outfits to instantly brighten your look.

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There is a larger version too, perfect for packing those extra essentials! This clutch is definitely going on my wish list, especially as the medium size is a very reasonable £65.00!

Happy shopping!

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How To Banish Those January Blues

I’ve always found January a really difficult month to navigate! I think it’s largely because it provides such a stark contrast to the hustle and bustle, twinkle and sparkle of Christmas. It’s odd really as I often find Christmas pretty crazy and actually like the peace and quiet which immediately follows Christmas. The house is calmer and clutter free and we get back into some semblance of routine.

How To Banish Those January Blues

January itself though seems to stretch on for an eternity and so this year I’ve come up with some strategies to get me through it and embrace all it offers… I hope you will find a few helpful ideas here too!

1. Plan for New Opportunities

January is about being kind to yourself. I’m not advocating you sit down and challenge yourself with formulating major or action plans for your life, business etc… It does, however, provide a new beginning and new possibilities. I intend to use some of January to ‘map out’ the things I hope to do and to achieve in the year ahead. A ‘Word of the Year’ is a good starting point if you feel in need of some focus!

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2. Find your ‘Hygge’

I know lots of people have jumped on the ‘hygge’ bandwagon, but the principles of hygge seem especially appropriate for those grey January days.

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Hygge is essentially about taking care of yourself and giving yourself some cosiness, comfort and attention – what better way to start the year! I treasure my Little Book of Hygge (see Amazon details below) and will be turning to it for inspiration in the coming weeks.

january blues

3. Embrace Nature

Yes, January can be grey and cold, bleak and dull! It can also bring wonderful bright, crisp and sunny days and spectacular snowfalls in certain parts of the country. On those bleaker days it’s fine to embrace being indoors, cosy and comfortable. However, don’t forget to enjoy the beauty of a frost or snow covered landscape if we are ‘lucky’ enough to have them! Connecting with nature is a great way to put things in perspective!

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Whatever you have planned for January, and however you approach it – I hope it brings you joy! Together we can banish those January blues!

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NB: Slipper image courtesy of The White Company

Word of the Year 2017

I am one of those people who find the whole concept of New Years Resolutions extremely tricky!

Generally I have always made resolutions largely because people around me tended to, and sometimes I’ve found myself trying to magically think them up as ideas didn’t always come naturally! I guess at the time I thought it was the right thing to do and that basically I was at least fitting in with the rest of the planet!

Word of the Year 2017

Many people are now using the concept of a word for the year, and I have found this to be a much more powerful concept. I first came across it on the Makelight Blog. By choosing a word for the year ahead I am able to give myself a theme to work towards. As a result I have an intention and a way of focusing on how I want the year ahead to flow. It works brilliantly and removes many of the stresses associated with trying to keep and not break New Years Resolutions!

When you start to choose a word you initially might find this a little tricky! I usually find the easiest way to do it is to focus on what I want to achieve in the year ahead. I then play around with words which might lead me to achieve my goals. Here’s the steps I take to choose my word:

1. Make a Word List

What do you want to do, to achieve or have in the next year? Simply list random words which come to mind. Take your time with this, and go with the flow… No analysis or judgment, just write them down!

2. Look for a Theme

The list of words will then need to be reviewed, and you can begin to highlight any which are similar or related…

I identified focus, embrace, connected, explore, think, create and meaningful and ultimately chose ‘mindful’ as my Word for the Year 2017! Remember, a chosen word doesn’t have to fit every word perfectly. It should help you think about what’s really motivating to you right now. For 2017 I want to pay more attention to the present moment – to my own thoughts and feelings, and to the world around me. I want to live in the moment and enjoy the moment… I want the clarity which that will hopefully bring, along with a reduction in stress and an awareness of when I need to stop and slow down!

img_5462 Once you have decided on your word, keep it really visible…

3. Remind Yourself Daily

You will need a reminder of what you’re working to create and achieve in the year ahead. You could create a mood board with images to represent how you’d like to see this word come to fruition in your life. The more visual you make it, the better. You could write in in the front of your diary, on a post-it note on your desk, on your calendar. Write it everywhere you will see it!

When you have your chosen word, be sure to share it with me here! I’d love to support you by holding a place on my blog for you this year. What will your Word of the Year 2017 be?

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The Moshulu Winter Hygge Edit

Having blogged about my enthusiasm for all things hygge, I thought for my next hygge post I would look at the gorgeous Winter 2016 offerings from one of my favourite companies, Moshulu.

The latest new and fascinating Danish import is a concept which you’ll hear lots about in the months ahead – hygge (pronounced hue-gah!). Hygge is an approach to living which encompasses those qualities of life we all aspire to – warmth, cosiness, peace, tranquility, togetherness and contentment. It’s about creating an atmosphere and an environment where those qualities can be promoted and developed wherever you are – at home, at work or out and about.

Hygge isn’t uniquely Danish, it’s there for everyone and approaches comfort and warmth in the same way we traditionally reach for ‘a nice cup of tea’ when we need cheering up, or arrange a social time with friends, some pampering, or five minutes away from our busy lives. Hygge is a way of life and of design which works all year round but seems particularly relevant as we approach winter…

The Moshulu Winter Hygge Edit

It was almost impossible to choose, but here are just a few ideas for The Moshulu Winter Hygge edit… Items which encompass hygge are often promoted as being neutral in tone and colour, but what I love, and have always loved, about Moshulu is their celebration of rich, vibrant yet warm and comforting colour palettes! Here’s a few of my top winter selections for a colourful and hygge inspired season…

1. Aromel  – When wrapping up for the winter months, this super soft acrylic, cable knit bobble hat is totally hygge, and it really oozes cosiness and comfort! I am in love with the deep, rich cranberry marl (I’m wearing it constantly!) and it is also available in a gorgeous indigo marl. Matching items are also available.

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2. Blanc – Designed with a fine gauge wool mix and incorporating a super stylish and very contemporary Moshulu fairisle design, this gorgeous scarf is a ‘must have’ and is perfect for a winter stroll. Matching items are also available.

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3. Alaska 2 – Designed to add comfort and cosiness to every day, these beautifully soft and colourful slippers are luxuriously lined with faux sheepskin. Lovely winter colours, softest suede and lightweight soles are a winning combination to enjoy wonderfully warm toasty toes!

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4. Finally, Snow Angel – New and wonderfully soft and luxurious bootie slippers are a Moshulu must-have for adding a little hygge appeal to the winter season. Think warm and cosy nights snuggled up in front of the fire! You can choose from 3 great colours all with snuggly faux fur linings, lightweight EVA soles and soft suede uppers. Heel height 2cm

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Happy hygge shopping with Moshulu!

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The Peony Shop

I think that the more I enjoy and develop my photography skills, the more I want to photograph flowers! The more I photograph flowers, the more I want to do photography! These two passions of mine seem to go hand in hand as time goes on!

With flowers and photography being such a winning combination, I couldn’t resist a visit to The Peony Shop by Bloom & Wild at Topshop in London.

Bloom & Wild The Peony Shop Bloom & Wild The Peony Shop in London

The Peony Shop

As a huge fan of Bloom & Wild I knew it would be something special and I certainly wasn’t disappointed by the gorgeous peonies which were on display! There were buckets of them, different shades of pink, and all ready to unfurl their tightly packed petals in a splendid display of sumptuous beauty! Peony flowers don’t last long, but my goodness they produce gorgeous flowers!

Peonies from Bloom and Wild Bloom & Wild Peony Display London Bloom & Wild Peony Shop London June 2016

I’m tempted to treat myself to a peony plant for our cutting flower garden, I’ve just got to decide which one to buy, and at the moment the choice is almost impossible to make!

Hanging peony bauble

I absolutely adored the curtain of hanging baubles which were the perfect shape and size for a peony, and provided such a striking display! The peony blooms in buckets were provided so  that customers could make a pick and mix bouquet. With 6 varieties of peonies to choose from there was plenty opportunity to make a truly unique and beautiful small, medium or large bouquet.

My daughter even had a bespoke peony crown made for her at The Peony Shop which you can see on my Instagram feed!

Bloom & Wild Peony Workshop - June 2016-5

Bloom & Wild Peony Workshop - June 2016-8 Peonies are absolutely there at the top of my list of favourite flowers and it was lovely to see them on display here.

Do you have a favourite flower? If so, I’d love to hear from you!

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Clearer Thinking – Filofax Tablet Cases

One of the very first gifts my husband bought me was a Filofax diary. I still have, and cherish, the deep chocolate brown cover and the well thumbed pages which contained every detail of my day-to-day existence when we first met – appointments, contact telephone numbers, addresses and important notes for the days and weeks ahead, all stored with great care and precision!

I am still very much a ‘list person’ and could not imagine ever being without a printed diary and notebook, there is simply something so satisfying about writing things down and ticking them off on my numerous and never-ending ‘to-do’ lists! Equally, I now cannot imagine life without my iPad, which also goes everywhere with me and has become a constant point of reference for my ‘online life’.

Clearer Thinking – Filofax Tablet Cases

When I was kindly sent a Filofax Tablet Case I was, quite simply, thrilled! Here was everything I needed and wanted in one super stylish, fashionable and functional case!

Filofax Tablet Cases
Filofax Tablet Cases

 

I am now the proud owner of a Finsbury zip iPad 2/3/4 Tablet Case, and I couldn’t be happier. The case has the filofax quality I’ve come to expect, with beautiful hand finished leather cover and a handy pen holder.

Filofax are masters of their craft and their organisers always make me feel super efficient from the moment I hold them! The craftsmanship of my new case makes me want to do it justice, and so (for a little while at least) I know I will rush less and take my time neatly filling in everything on the pristine diary and notebook pages.

Filofax Tablet Case
Stylish and Practical

 

I also love the 360 degree rotatable iPad 2/3/4 holder, which folds open to enable multiple viewing positions – perfect for when i’m catching up on blog posts and keeping up to date with social media. As a busy working mum, photographer and blogger this really has everything I wanted, and makes both my digital life and paper organisation so much easier. I am also in love with the beautiful raspberry colour!

My goal for 2016 was to simplify my life, focus on my priorities and become more organised! I couldn’t think of a more beautiful way to achieve this than with a gorgeous Filofax Tablet Cases!

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Spring into Summer with Moshulu

Today’s blog is all about my aim to spring into summer with Moshulu!

As many of you will know from my post last December, I simply adore the Moshulu brand of footwear. I love their unashamed use of colour, and their brightly and boldly coloured footwear and accessories make me smile whenever I see them.

Last December I wrote about the beautiful Moshulu socks and slippers – which incidentally made perfect Christmas gifts! I’m still loving my cosy slippers (especially during these cold winter nights) but am also super excited to introduce the Moshulu SS16 range. Today I’m focussing on their gorgeous canvas shoes!

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Ice Floral

 

Spring into Summer with Moshulu

The Moshulu brand is all about comfort, fun and colour, and from a Devon base this family business has been creating colourful products since 1997. Moshulu pride themselves on using the best leathers and fabrics, comfy cushioning underfoot and beautiful flexible and bouncy soles – perfect for springing into summer!

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Navy Floral

 

I have lots of favourite Moshulu canvas designs, and it seriously took me quite a while to choose a pair to buy! I love the new Cuddy Toy 2 range as they come in a great selection of unique prints. They are cushioned under foot, with bouncy rubber soles, and come with 2 lace colours so you can change your look whenever you like! The heel height is a very comfortable 1.5cm. I also love the new Key Lime 2 canvas shoes, chic on the outside and cute print linings inside!

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Navy Spot

 

I have the Navy Spot design, fun, practical and super stylish! I’m also considering a second pair, Ice Floral, for summer! Do keep a lookout on my Instagram feed, as I’ll be posting lots of Moshulu photos this spring using the most popular hashtags – #fromwhereIstand and #Ihavethisthingwithfloors – see you there!

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Navy

 

Do pop over to the Moshulu website, or stop by one of their lovely shops, I’d love to hear what design you’ll opt for!

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Mother’s Day Treats

Hello, and happy weekend!

This weekend will be a special one for many of us as we celebrate Mother’s Day and think of our own mothers, mother figures in our lives and our own role as ‘Mums’ and ‘Mummies’ in our children’s lives. For some of my friends it’s a bitter-sweet weekend as they remember family members who are no longer around, or think of their own longing to become a mother themselves. I truly hope that this weekend will be one that we can all enjoy, and that we can all give thanks for those who have looked after us and cared for us at some point in our lives.

Mother’s Day Treats

Last year I wrote a Mother’s Day Gift Guide (which is still relevant this year with some lovely ideas for treats!) and I know the shops are full of tempting merchandise, but don’t despair if you haven’t had time to think about a gift or card for someone special. Homemade treats and gifts always have a charm about them, and they are often the things I treasure most! They don’t have to be expensive either!

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Simple but beautiful!

 

I made this simple pot of flowers using an old jam-jar and a few chrysanthemums! Chrysanthemums are currently one of the most reasonably priced flowers around and they last much longer than some! I used a simple gift tag, printed the lettering on and attached it to the pot with some ribbon which I found in my craft box! Voila!

Flowers are always an appropriate gift, and a personalised gift-tag makes them extra special!

Happy weekend!

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2016 Vision Board Inspiration

Here we are on New Year’s Eve, and I’m still wondering where 2015 has gone! With 2016 only a few hours away I thought I’d share an idea with you which might help you realise your dreams for 2016.

In previous years I’ve made to-do lists, action plans and new years resolutions, but this year I’m trying something totally different – vision boards! The idea of creating a vision board appeals to my creative side, love of images and passion for photography, as well as making sound psychological sense!

2016 Vision Board Inspiration

A vision board is essentially a cross between a mind-map and a collage mood-board. It features images which you’ve collected or love. These can be treasured photos, pictures kept from magazines, postcards, quotes, or souvenirs from a special event. It’s a way of creating a visual prompt or reflection of your dreams and ambitions, and research has shown that by creating and focussing on this you are much more likely to make things happen. It’s about clarifying your goals and embedding these into your subconscious.

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A vision board for 2016…

 

I have made a vision board for 2016 and included images which I love but which also resonate with me, helping me to focus on what I want to achieve in 2016, and what my priorities and dreams for the year ahead are. Somehow it feels a lot more positive than a list of things to give up for 2016!

Your vision board can look however you want it to – it can be clean, organised and minimalistic or have scattered images and notes pinned in a haphazard way. I have yet to decide how I will present mine! The main thing is not to over-analyse it, let your instinct, intuition and dreams come to the fore, don’t be afraid to aim high with your aspirations, and let the vision board develop naturally.

My board contains things which I hope will help me focus and prioritise during 2016, whilst also aim for new goals and achievements:

1. Pictures of my children as toddlers, to remind me how quickly they are growing up and how I want to make more time to be with them and share their achievements during 2016.

2. A glamorous 1940’s black and white image I love, to remind me to find some ‘me time’ this year and not neglect myself!

3. Images of flowers to inspire me to continue my cutting garden project, filling my home and garden with gorgeous flowers.

4. A well-organised desk to inspire me to be more efficient and organised during 2016, with a proper desk area – I have bought the chair but nothing else yet!

5. Two favourite cards to frame and display (maybe on that new desk!) so I enjoy the little things during 2016.

6. A passport, origami kite and beach hut gift tag to represent my desire to travel a little more next year with my family, and enjoy some new experiences and freedom.

7. An image of a well-organised home, something I want to focus on during 2016 as I prepare possibly to move house!

What would you include on your vision board? What are your dreams and aspirations for 2016? I’d love to hear from you! You can either contact me here, or if you post any images on Instagram then please tag me via my Instagram feed with @muffandteacake and #muffandteacakevisionboard.

Wishing you a very happy and inspirational 2016!

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Blended Therapies Aromatherapy Christmas Gifts

I love it when I find something new in a skincare range, especially if it’s a gentle range based on natural ingredients. Whilst browsing on Not On The High Street, I came across Blended Therapies, a company local to me in Kent and with a brilliant approach to skincare.

Blended Therapies Aromatherapy Christmas Gifts

Blended Therapies offer natural aromatherapy products for you, your family, pets (yes, pets!) and home. Their products are handmade from pure premium quality essential oils and hypoallergenic bases. Blended Therapies products have also been designed to effectively treat and prevent common ailments naturally whilst promoting a positive attitude to well-being.

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Foot Cream

 

Their aim is to make wonderful products which do what they say on the pot, and there’s nothing more reassuring and powerful than that!

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Relaxing Bath Soak

 

All base products are ‘lanolin’ and ‘paraben’ free which is great news, and they also use natural SLEs. All blends used contain nothing but the highest grade of therapeutic essential oils chosen for their healing properties. They are not diluted or adulterated in any way.

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Make me happy…

 

I have a few Christmas gift ideas (more to follow in a later post!) and have earmarked some of their products for my projects, including their foot cream and range of gardener’s products’! My daughter also suffers from seasonal (winter) eczema, and I’m tempted to try a couple of products on her too, avoiding my GP’s steroid based cream as much as possible.

Do you have any aromatherapy products you use, I’d love to hear from you!

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All images courtesy of Blended Therapies.

 

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