Saturday, 24 March 2012

The Button Tin, Rotherham

On Thursday I took a much-anticipated trip to The Button Tin in Rotherham. Located in a beautiful Victorian arcade near the town centre it is a pretty vintage retreat, like something from a Lewis Carroll story, full of the most beautiful antique haberdashery, fabrics and crafts.

Gemma runs workshops from The Button Tin - details on her website:, and she is such a lovely, warm, inspiring person to talk to. Her passion is so apparent in her art that fills the space, and her vision is so clear; she creates beauty from things that other people might throw away.

I was totally inspired and uplifted by the trip and would really recommend a visit. I'll try and post more pictures from via Instagram.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Simple Tips for Everyday Mindfulness

I took up yoga at 21 as an antidote to the stressful, frenetic life I was living in London. It was an hour of calm in a storm of deadlines and rattling insecurities, this was something I could control and enjoy at my own pace - no-one was judging me or making demands of me, but my own body.

15 years on and I'm still practicing most days, and my asanas are still frustratingly hard, but I still enjoy the relaxing calm that descends after an hour of good practice. I have discovered a wonderful teacher who approaches the classes with a sense of humour and an enjoyment that radiates throughout the class. [Nicola Harpin -]. Thank goodness, as it was a long search after leaving London to find a teacher that worked for me.

After Noah was born my yoga took on an entirely different meaning - like an anchor rooting me back to myself when I felt lost in nappies and sleepless nights. And now Noah is growing up I'm discovering all new lessons again in my practice.

Yesterday, after an invigorating class I sat down to read Yoga Journal and was struck by an article by Maggie Lyon Varadhan on svaha []. She wrote about recognising the significance of every moment, no matter how small, which really resonated with how I'm feeling at the moment. Again my life seems quite frenetic and demanding, but for entirely different reasons, and too easily my mind and focus is elsewhere. The computer is switched on, the texts are ringing through, and the radio hums in the background.
I know women are meant to be good at multi-tasking, but I also think women can suffer from the urge to cram too much into a day out of guilt and a sense of duty and responsibility. All well and good, but this often leads to us juggling the demands of everyone else above ourselves.

So I thought it would be nice to list some simple, practical ways to be more present and mindful everyday, which can help to relieve stress and anxiety. It is mostly a reminder to myself that every moment is precious and I need to remind myself of this everyday.
  1. Learn to meditate - begin with a few minutes of deep breathing in a quiet spot, listen to the sound of your own breathing and try to still the thoughts in your head.
  2. At moments of stress or tension - stop and take 5 deep meaningful breaths.
  3. Resist the temptation to over-commit, this means learning to say no - a difficult one, but much better to do a few things well than too many things badly, and while ever you have too many things to think about your focus will wander too easily.
  4. Switch devices off when spending time with family, this means when playing with kids if you are a parent or when you come home from work with your partner. Mindfulness is about focusing on the moment and not being distracted - phones, iPads and laptops on the main distraction in our hectic modern world.
  5. Try to limit internet or surfing time to specific periods, when the kids are being entertained elsewhere or after bedtime, and be strict about the time frame. We are more productive if we are working in a focused way within a limited period.
  6. Concentrate fully on the task in hand, whether that is baking a cake, writing an email, or eating dinner, avoid multi-tasking.
  7. This is a good one, and one that is so easily forgotten: when speaking with someone, could be your child, partner, or work colleague look directly at them and don't busy yourself with doing other things at the same time. I know this sounds pretty common sense right? But too often I find myself doing several things whilst having a conversation instead of really listening.
  8. Mindfulness should reach every part of our lives including what we eat. I am guilty of not eating mindfully but just grabbing whatever is quick convenient, and in my case, usually a quick sugar fix. I always regret these rushed decisions, rather than taking a moment more to think better about my choice.
  9. Being present is not just about good habits but about also bad habits which are mostly done unconsciously in moments of stress, or anxiety. This can be eating as I mentioned before, or in my case picking my finger nails [the most awful habit!!]. Being more conscious in the everyday can help to change those bad habits.
  10. Write lists of all the things that are cluttering our brains - our blackboard is a brilliant place for keeping the day to day jobs - and there is nothing more satisfying at the end of the day than to literally wipe the board clean ready for the next day.

Do you have any of your own thoughts on mindfulness? I'd love to hear them, and hope these small suggestions might give you something to think about.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Yee Haw Letterpress - Cupcake print

Wanted to share this cute print from Yee Haw Letterpress on Etsy - it made me smile and was kind of the reason I chose cupcakes in my blog title - just lovely!!

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Jelly in a Jar

I have a sweet tooth.

Noah has inherited my taste for all things sweet and sticky, but something I don't mind him indulging in is jelly in a jar. I collect jam jars to use all around the house for storing cotton buds, as tea-light holders in the garden and for small posies of spring flowers around the house. Another use is for making small portions of food that can be easily stored in the fridge.

I add fresh fruit and juice - in this case I used some mango juice to make it even sweeter! It can be kept in the fridge with the lid on for a good few days and can be whipped out for a quick, sweet fix after pre-school.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Blackboards at home

For those of you that have followed my blog from the beginning you'll remember that it originally started as a catalogue of our home renovation with a baby.

The baby is now a very confident 3 and a half year old [the halves are oh-so important at this age], and our home is [almost] finished. I almost prefer that it isn't finished - maybe I'm abit crazy but it gives us something to continually work for, and it's an excuse for us to be creative with our space.

Next week we begin the final big project - the bathroom, which is currently a 1980s caramel suit with matching brown floral tiles. Even more worrying than the colour-scheme is that bits of the tiling have begun falling away so needless-to-say we are ready for the change.

A few weeks ago we did a small project that was unduly stressful [my husband and I are DIY-averse], but has been well-worth the effort.

We have put up a large blackboard in the kitchen. It sits over a radiator in a redundant galley area of the kitchen that was only ever used as walk-through space. Now at the beginning of each week we write down our schedule, Noah practices writing out some of the words on the board and it acts as a prominent place for messages and reminders.

This was some of the original inspiration for the board from my pinterest - home board.

How we did it:
  • Got a piece of 8mm mdf cut to measure at Homebase.
  • Painted it with 3 coats of magnetic blackboard paint from Wickes before attaching to wall and left to dry.
  • Got metal shelf from Ikea [lucky for us it was exactly the same measurement!].
  • Measured up and screwed board directly into wall with shelf screwed in directly below.

PS. If any fellow bloggers are interested in the starburst shapes I've added in the last couple of posts they are from the brilliant Katrina at PuglyPixel. Her website is full of tutorials, free downloads and inspiration for all aspiring bloggers and web designers.

Totally inspiring.

Ode to Pinterest

This is for all of my friends who share my interest addiction...x
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