• New Year, New Beginnings
    BLOG,  FOOD,  LIFESTYLE,  TRAVEL

    Life Update: New Year, New Beginnings

    Happy New Year!

    Can you believe we are two weeks into 2020 already? It’s been a whirlwind from christmas shopping to buzzing around running running christmas markets with Frame Your World, and taking up opportunities in London and speaking opportunities in Oxford.

    LIFE UPDATE

    I am still working on filling out the reflect part of my new 2020 bullet journal, and working to build in some exciting goals for me to form habits around this year. This is something I’ll share a lot more of in the future weeks and months as my new self care plan unfolds.

    MY PLAN FOR THIS BLOG

    I have so many platforms and channels going on at the minute that I just wanted to let this be a place where I pop in every so often, and let you know what I’m up too. If you’d like to be kept in the loop just enter your email in the newsletter and I’ll keep you posted.

    Being creative and entrepreneurial means I’m always up to something so I hope if anything you find some entertainment and at times inspiration as I share some insight and real transparent thoughts around life and my journey.

    LESSONS AND REFLECTIONS FROM

    One of the big things I’ve discovered about myself in 2019 was how much I loved the sea. Upon landing myself the best boyfriend in the world (I know I’m bias), I got to spend a lot of time last year near or by the beautiful scenery of Dorset on the South Coast. I find it so nourishing and recommend that whether you love to get lost in a field or go hiking on the mountains, to find something this year that inspires you and allows you time to reflect and reset.

    NEW YEAR 2020

    This year I spent christmas with friends and family back home in Scotland, and for new year returned to spend time with Matt and recovering from the hustle and bustle that December consistently brings with it. For new year I opted to stay home and make a buffet and watch the London fireworks from the comfort of my own sofa. It was delightful but I was also still recovering from the drive and busy period that it was touch and go whether I would even stay away to see the bells or fall fast asleep as I’m in the habit of doing right now, on my couch.

    Due to last year’s epic New Year that led myself and Matt pop down to the sea and stroll around his local town whilst everyone was still strolling home or fast asleep from the glitz and glamour of new years eve, I just had to long to capture that moment once again.

    ROAD TRIP

    We started off on a different route this year, and since we weren’t as close to the sea we drove down from Oxfordshire to the New Forest and Matt took us along some of the new villages and back roads to get a bit of something new in our new years day. It was a little rainy but in the end we had a lovely day. I stopped by a cute little cafe called the Beachcomer Cafe in Barton On Sea New Milton, and it was jam packed! It felt magical to watch the different conversations and taking in the wonder of a fresh new year and new decade. Despite tradition and plan to head home in time to make traditional Scottish steak pie, we ended up grabbing food from Turtle bay, which is one of our favourite date spots and headed home in time to watch the football. I still can’t believe how much I have grown to enjoy watching the Premier League on special occasions.

     

    Scottish Breakfast

     

     

     

     

     

    P.S. I didn’t get to make steak pie, but I did make an epic Scottish breakfast.

  • BLOG

    Embrace your grace

    I now believe the more comfortable we are with ourselves. The happier we will be. It’s time to stop beating ourselves up for what we did or did not do, for what we have or do not have. What would happen if you decided to stop comparing yourself today, if you decided to give your own inner voice an actual place on the stage of your life, and allowed yourself to enjoy where you are on the way to where you are going?

    bookshelf

    “It’s still magic even if you know how it’s done.” Terry Pratchett

    When I wrote this post before work this morning, I didn’t expect that we would lose the Queen of soul today – Aretha Franklin.

    “Be your own artist, and always be confident in what you’re doing. If you’re not going to be confident, you might as well not be doing it.”

    As Aretha once said, “sometimes what you’re looking for is already there.” Let’s look within, and embrace the grace you’ve been given. Shine bright baby girl.

  • LIFESTYLE

    International Museum Day

    “I dislike museum’s with a passion.”

    At least that’s what I use to think when someone mentioned going to a museum. I was the girl who fell asleep in history… 5 times. I don’t mind going into a museum, but I will most likely cover the whole building in under 20 minutes, in one swift swoop. I have to say they are growing on me a little over the years and to be honest when this latest trip to the Oxford’s Natural History Museum was brought up I was pretty much sold on the concept of seeing dinosaur bones. I saw it as an inspirational trip and research for my a new project I’m working on. I’ve discovered so much about Oxford lately through visiting friends and family members from hundreds of miles away. That being said, this is a great thing because now I know where to recommend or take any future visitors to this wonderful academic city!

    Always look on the bright side of life.

    I took quite a few pictures, so check out my short mini video instead. It was such a fun day it made me want to dig out my old Dilly The Dinosaur books (children’s book series by Tony Bradman).

    Don’t forget to subscribe and let me know if you have a favourite museum, recommendation, or a favourite museum story to share.

    Happy International Museum Day!

  • FOOD,  LIFESTYLE,  Uncategorized

    Easter Monday treats and beats

    Nothing like working to some upbeat music. Today I am reflecting on some awesome beats and treats from yesterday, whilst getting ready for the day. My images wouldn’t upload yesterday, hence the delay in publishing this post. And I couldn’t resist throwing in a few more. There was something about this view of Oxford town centre yesterday that just made me stop. I think it was the light breaking through the clouds, and bouncing of people’s head. There’s definitely a message in that, but for now let’s appreciate this beautiful view.

    IMG_4816

    Music today has to be Leah McFall – whilst I know she has recently released her EP. I’m still felling this collab with Will.i.Am called ‘Home‘.

    Leah McFall music - home
    I am obsessed with pink blossoms right now, and so here’s another beautiful shot from a tree close to home. The season is clearly shifting, and these beauties never seem to last long so I’m making memories whilst I still can.  No filter was used in taking this shot.

    pink blossom trees

    cocktails
    Impromptu cocktails with the girls led to delicious tapas at Kazbar in Oxford. The atmosphere takes me to Morocco. The tapas are amazing, and according to one newspaper they were voted best Tapas bar in the UK last year. I would rate it 10 out of 10 myself. It is reasonably priced, with a great selection of food, cocktails, and friendly staff. I highly recommend.

    tapas from kazbar oxford
    Having moved to Oxford a few months ago, I have to say they have lots of nice places for food, great architecture and bars. It’s not London, but it has character and lots of posh people, and people with good style. You just might need a car to explore and find gems like The Fishes. I still think about the slow and low beef brisket, with creamy mash and spring greens to this day. It’s the kind of hearty meal you want in winter, or when you’re really hungry and it just makes you smile. The brisket meals in your mouth it’s so succulent and tender. Portion size is great too. Another great feature of this place was the generous garden space out the back, there were trees dressed with fairy lights and a picnic bench. I hope they turn it into a BBQ spot in the summer. Worth the drive out of the city.

    Slow cooked beef brisket, with creamy mash and spring greens

     

  • BLOG

    Hope for the New Year

    So I’m sitting job Starbucks listening to the Michael Buble or Chris Martin singing ‘have yourself a merry little Christmas’ with my toffee but latte, Nora Ephron book “I feel bad about my neck” and some free coffee capsules for an espresso machine I don’t have yet. Still, I speak it into reality and when I do have one I have capsules ready to go!

    It’s New Year’s Eve and as I look up from my red cup to see girls studying, I’m surrounded by friends gathering and individuals engrossed in their laptops and books. As I stare at the Chinese girl across from me with a full spread of water bottle and coffee cups and a cute little iPad stand I am admiring her studious ways. What is she studying, I wonder? She’s clearly dedicated to be sitting in a standard coffee shop on New Years Eve with Christmas music playing overhead to be almost oblivious to her surroundings. It got me thinking about the purpose of studying, and indeed the purpose of life?

    What is the purpose of life? What is the meaning to study and apply one’s self? Is it for a dream job? A car, a house? To what end would anyone study and want to study so much so that they would find themselves sitting in Starbucks on New Year’s Eve? I have yet to find the answer.

    Me, Wednesday 31st December 2016

    I am trying a new approach this year to take a break and to be content with myself rather than running myself into the ground to do or achieve something that may need a bit more time to produce. Don’t get me wrong I’m not advocating myself to be lazy, but as a very good therapist, I know made a very good point that we are so consumed in our culture with rushing around trying to be or achieve a certain status in life and success. I wonder if we were to really think about where we are in the journey of our life and what our definition of success is, what would that look like? If we were to inspect our motives do they derive from comparison or fear, or a secret addition to obtaining approval from those we are trying to imitate or impress. What would life look like if we actually stopped for a second to be ok with who we are, where we are?

    “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider that I have made it my own yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the [heavenly] prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
    ‭‭PHILIPPIANS‬ ‭3:13-14‬ ‭AMP‬‬

    I often have big elaborate plans for the next year at this point, but to be honest I’m trying to take a sabbatical right now from doing anything except being comfortable in my own skin. That’s harder than it looks y’know. However, in the last few hours of this year, I have come to the conclusion that my word for 2017 is surely hope. Without going into the obvious challenges this year has presented for all of us, I think it’s more important to focus on the present and how we move forward in the best way possible. And for me, hope is the only way to do that.

    “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” HEBREW 6:19

    marble-2017-2

    So what’s going to happen with this blog and will we ever read your book? Yes, of course. I am currently juggling work, Frame Your World (my inspiration stationary and prints collection which you can check out here), and my long in the pipeline novel. This year I will be working to get that out, but in the meantime, you can feast on this blog. On the 1st of every month, I will be posting an entry on here that will either be similar to this post (random thoughts on life) or a chapter from a new online story, which I will open up and allow you to get involved in writing… if you want, of course.

    Starting with the title, which I envision to be either:
    1. Notes from Cherry Tree Lane
    2. Hope writes
    3. Year of Hope

    Pop your preference below, or on any of my social media channels. I can’t wait to get writing because next month is February – the month of love!

    Thank you for every second you’ve spent reading my posts, stopping by this website and supporting me. I wish you a very happy and prosperous New Year!

    img_2992

    P.s I am aware of the spelling errors written above such as toffee but latte, written for humour effect. 

  • LIFESTYLE

    It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

    I can’t believe how crazy the last few weeks have been. I’ve moved house, I’ve been pretty busy with my new business Frame Your World, started a new work contract, and in the middle of it all, I caught some kind sickness bug that led to yes blacking out, falling down some stairs and hitting my head. This month has been nothing short of a chapter in one of my book, but hey Ho I am still here and writing to you today on my way to town for a spot of Christmas shopping! The songs are playing, my toffee nut latte is waiting for me, and I am wrapped up in as many clothes as I could have possibly squeezed onto my body. Oxford is like a fridge freezer. I can barely think to imagine what Scotland will be like when I’m home at Christmas.

    Oxford country roadToffee nut latte
    Oxford Christmas Market Feeling inspired by gift wrapping for Frame Your World at Southbank Winter Festival the other week I decided it was time to get cracking early this year, and bring back the old tradition of Christmas movie, take away and wrapping evening, which I think I’ll do this Saturday. The only thing left to do is to decide on which movie to start with! Suggestions welcome!

    Ok, just a quick note. In other news, (this is not the only reason I have been super excited to write to you all today) I’ve been catching up on some TV this week and I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I have been for the reunion of Gilmore girls! Besides Friends and The Newsroom, this has to be one of my favourite TV writing creations.
    The show was revived this year for a special 4 part series 8 years after it was last seen on our screens – I can’t believe it’s 8 years already!! I have to say owning the box set and watching the repeats, this show hasn’t really aged much in the way other shows from this time have. I think the reason for this is the storyline, which remains relevant and relatable in today’s society. If you have Netflix, then I highly recommend it. It was the most enjoyable 6 hours of catching up with the cast of Stars Hollow, and I couldn’t believe Matt Czuchry, who plays Logan is nearly 40yrs old now! He still looks so young! He was my favourite. I was a massive Rory and Logan fan, and whilst I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, I can’t believe the final 4 words! I found myself shouting nooo at the screen it was that bad, or good, whichever way you want to look at it. This is exactly I love writing – I get to be in the driver’s seat and determine how these things go. I’m not sure if any other writers out there can relate, but I am a backseat driver when it comes to storytelling. I want to steer the story and tell it as I see it, and I want to be in control of when it stops, turns or changes direction.
    I am aware I’m waffling and ranting right now but I’m still in shock. I can’t believe this is it for Gilmore Girls, and I’m now pinning my hopes on the success of this reunion spiking interest and hopefully enticing the show’s creators to return to our screens. This whole artistic leaving it open to let the fans decide and ponder on where the characters are malarky is just not edible enough. We want the real thing on our screens please, Amy and Dan Palladino. Raise your hand if you agree, or share this post (either way).
    Until next time peeps!
    Much love
    x

  • LIFESTYLE

    Eat chips and sleep

    Blown away by today. Let it never be said that God doesn’t hear our inner frustrations or answer prayer – especially the raw, honest ones. The kind you think to yourself but don’t dare tell anyone else for fear of being judged or forever labelled by that one thought. Am I the only one that happens to?  The quote above was from a beautiful woman and her mum who kindly stopped by my stall today to give me some fresh perspective on the people that enter my life. The ones that stayed, and the ones that left. 

    I do believe everything rises and falls on our perspective, our inner well-being (our mind, spirit, body and soul). Like the image below says:

    I’m so thankful for every one of them, and the opportunity it’s afforded me to flourish, learn, and dance my way forward! 

    P.S if you’re one that left… you missed out on the best part! ?

    Ok I’m off to eat chips and sleep! Love ya!

    Mwah 

  • LIFESTYLE,  Uncategorized

    My travel journal exert 1

    Disclaimer: This post is unedited and written in mind to post last night but things got a little busy with catching up my some of my best friends, so without further ado here are just a few thoughts from the heart. 

    Guys! 

    I’m on a bus out of London for a few meetings and catch up’s! I am overwhelmed as this is the first time I’ve had in a few weeks to gather my thoughts amidst the full on schedule I’ve been running with. I want to share a few thoughts on my heart as my eyes and heart are open to the real need of humanity for faith, hope and love. 
    I’ve seen the news this week and I’ve seen the reaction to many who feel the emotional pull but fear the problem is too big for them to take on, and I want to plead to each one who reads this that just by choosing to think better, you will enable yourself that love better and in return live better. It’s so important that you don’t discredit yourself out of being part of the solution this world needs because quite frankly you are, and this world needs you. I understand you have real concerns and needs too, by no means am I minimising that. I am stirred to encourage us to see the opportunity and value within yourself to rise up from the platform you have been given, which is what you currently have, where you are in work and life and see what you can do to grow and multiply it. The thing is those dreams you have within you are not just meant to fulfil you, but also touch those around you. No matter how big or small you may think you are in the grand scheme of life, you are too precious not to step out in the area you’ve been thinking of doing but scared too. You may have good reason to be scared but our choices cannot always be led by our feelings. 
    You are on this planet with a purpose and for a purpose so please let’s not stay seated down in fear. The way we combat the darkness in this world is allow ourselves to shine, and just like the song says this little light of mine I’m gonna let it shine. 
    When you flourish, your light impacts someone else’s, and there’s someone else’s and so it goes on. We can’t do everything but we can all do something. It that simply means being your best as a son or daughter, wife or husband, in your job or career? Whatever gives you fulfilment and peace that place where you prosper, then let it be. 
    Let’s join our little lights together and create one big light of love, faith and hope. Let that be the fabric of humanity and then darkness, fear and evil will have to succumb because darkness cannot withstand light.   
    Go be the best friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, business owner. Let’s set the trend, and when we mess up remind each other first there is grace to get back up and keep going! ?

  • FOOD,  LIFESTYLE

    How Kerb makes street food work 7 days a week.

    Have you been to visit Kerb’s 7 day a week street food market in Camden yet? If not, I highly recommend that you check it out.

    Meet my partner in crime last Saturday night – Vanessa, my friend and pioneer of street food in my hometown, Glasgow, Scotland.   img_9412 img_9400 img_9404 img_9403 img_9410.jpg

    Camden is known for being edgy and the grime social scene is best seen at night. It’s not a place I go to often, but tonight was for a different reason. If you know me, you know I love good food. Kerb is a well-known street food market operator here in London, who have recently opened their gates 7 days a week to bring us London’s greatest street food.

    img_9411

    This bagel was crafted by two fellow Glaswegians who are now cooking up a storm with their twisted dinner classics. The duo who started out in West Yard has such a fan base that they now have an eat-in diner too.

    Get this gooey American bagel for a bargain of £6.50. I was so hungry I forgot to take a picture of the equally awesome Indian wrap that we sampled too, but ? next time!

    It was great to see my favourite street food burrito present – KimChinary. It was only a shame that they had sold out by the time we got there.

    img_9406.jpg

    So there you have it – my snapshot review of Kerb, Camden. With 35 traders and 7 days a week there’s lots of flavours to choose from. If you’re in London visiting, and looking for a unique but tasty experience, then do check out www.kerbfood.com/camden for more info.

    There was just enough time to grab this pistachio and hazelnut ice cream from Amorino on the way home. I paid £3.50 for a lovely looking ice cream, but unfortunately it was overshadowed by the poor customer service that remained miserable after my friend reluctantly asked the man to smile. She got a growl instead. It was clearly nowhere near as happy, lively, or good as Kerb, which if you need another reason to try street food this would be another to add to the pile. I think I’ll save my £3.50 next time.

    img_9416.jpg

  • COMMUNITY,  LIFESTYLE

    Surviving pain, and finding purpose

    I’ll never stop opening myself up to learn from the day that surrounds me. When the rubber hits the road a safe comfortable life isn’t really living at all. If you want the treasure of this life, then you must be willing to dig beyond the surface of what you currently see.

    Are you so caught up in the bills that are flying through the door that you miss our children smile? Are you so caught up in the thing that didn’t work out, the job promotion you didn’t get, or the relationship that’s come to an end that you can’t see the beauty of a new chapter before you.

    Life has a funny way of making you doubt and question yourself in times when you least expect it. It also has a habit of revealing things in me that have yet to be dealt with. Things I thought I had already dealt with, but I am so thankful for every moment I’ve encountered (yes even the painful ones) because if I hadn’t experienced them then I wouldn’t be as aware as I am today. They’ve given me the opportunity to learn, to grow, and to change. To choose to be different, to make better choices, to walk in love and not fear. To not make assumptions about the unknown.

    Have you noticed how much we like to put speech bubbles above people’s heads, and create our own story about what someone thinks of us, or feels about us? We cause ourselves way more stress than is needed. I’ve had so many conversations lately, and situations with myself and others that’s hammered home this truth.

    img_7826.jpg

    As I embark on the journey of launching our own online business and editing the sea of books within us I found this video from J.K Rowling to be a great inspiration and lesson in life.

    Everyone experiences some kind of pain in life. Pain isn’t limited to the catastrophic kind we all tend to think about. It may be as small or as big as frustration, hurt, anger, bitterness, unforgiveness.  I want to echo a thought that pain without purpose is unbearable, but when we attach purpose to it that is how we can survive and indeed thrive through the challenges and trials of life.

    I think too often we’re too scared to be honest and vulnerable with ourselves that we fail to address the very areas that we are drowning in. We don’t want to ask for help for fear of looking crazy, being exposed and most of all rejected. Or we tend to think we’ve got this and are too proud to be open enough to learn from those around us; even when it saves us so much pain in the process.

    If you would only know that you are accepted, loved and valued just as you are; dirt and all. That we all have dirt in life, and some just hide it better than others. If you would know that there are no conditions on you to be any more than you already are, but that you have an opportunity to keep climbing, to digging deeper today, to discover and obtain the treasure that is already within you. You should know you’re doing something right, by choosing to face some big challenges this year, instead of running.  If we could be less aware of the external, and more aware of the internal, which is really the only place we have the control to change, then everything else will fall into place.