Where to buy good looking ethical footwear!

I am certifiably in love with these, the Ashley shoe, by Vegetarian Shoes, also available in navy, black & tan.

Also from Vegetarian Shoes is the Maja, a beautiful pair of flats if you ask me!

Love hi-tops? Ethletic do a range of colours all made with eco-friendly, Fairtrade organic cotton, I love these orange ones!

From Beyond Skin, the Toni shoe. Vegan & made in Spain.

TOMS shoes. Even though it's Autumn these would still be perfect for an evening out on a crisp, dry day and for every pair we buy, a child in need also get's a pair of much needed shoes.  

Remember "Every time you spend money, you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want."

Super foods: Five reasons why you should be eating the humble apple

We all remember the old adage "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" but these days the humble apple has been somewhat forgotten, competing with super-foods such as seaweed, chia seeds, blueberries, spirulina and acai berries. Yet the apple has a whole host of benefits making it a super food in it's very own right!

1. Apples are high in antioxidants which help fight the free radicals from chemicals, smoking & pollution that can damage our bodies and particularly our skin.

2. Apples can actually help reduce tooth decay, although that's no excuse not to pick up your toothbrush!

3. Apples are high in fibre which is good for your digestive system as well as stabilsing your glucose levels. Fibre helps clear your colon too meaning apples are good for IBS sufferers.

4. Apples are recommended for their detoxification properties.

5. Red apples contain quercetin which helps boost your immune system, particularly useful at this time of year!

New page: The money diaries

Casting a Vote

Every single time I spend my money I am casting a vote as to what kind of a world I want to live in. If you think of it that way buying your morning coffee, your lunch on your break & picking up your groceries on the way home becomes more complicated doesn't it? Let alone buying clothes, items for your house, shoes etc.

The thought behind my new page is two-fold: firstly where does my money go? {It has a terrible habit of disappearing in to thin air!} And secondly: what vote have I cast with every penny spent? Is it possible to benefit others through my shopping choices? Is it possible for someone who earns less than the average UK annual salary possible to be a philanthropist by being careful with money?!

I'll be recording where & to whom my money goes in a personal experiment to see how much of a difference I can make and just how difficult it is to think before I spend...

Things I liked to do when I was a child...

Draw matchstick pictures.
Play hopscotch.
Make paper dolls
Play with marbles.
Dress up like a princess.
Make daisy chains.
Learn about dinosaurs.
Play with my brothers cars. (I made them go to school.)
Play dress up with Sindy & Barbie.
Learn the names of all the flowers and birds.
Go on long nature walks with my mum.
Go the park with my dad & my brother.
Colour things in. 
Write stories.

I still do a few of things.. reading, drawing matchstick pictures, colour things in & learning about dinosaurs.. (I'm an avid dinosaur documentary fan!) Maybe I should give some of the others ago too...

What about you, do you still do your favourite childhood things?

First posted on my old blog here

Eat to beat colds this winter

For me winter (ahem, autumn) snuck up and caught me by surprise, I've had a full on horrible cold for over a week now, although usually I don't get colds...


I eat to beat them that's why!

I am a huge fan of garlic, adding it to virtually anything I cook at any availability. A Spanish friend of mine told me that her grandmother swears by eating a clove of garlic every day. Yep, she eats a clove a day, not counting what she has in her dinner! The same lady moisturises with olive oil but I have to admit to not having tried that yet ;) Garlic is a powerful antioxidant with antimicrobial, antiviral and antibiotic properties as well as containing vitamin C. Garlic contains allicin, a powerful antibacterial, which is released when you crush raw garlic so it looks as though her grandma is right! If you can't stand the thought of eating raw garlic wikiHow has an alternative method here which may be easier to swallow... {geddit??! ha ha}

Honey is an antioxidant and has antimicrobial properties and being so smooth makes the perfect sore throat remedy, particularly when added to ginger, lemon, hot water and/or cinnamon.

Boosting your vitamin C if you are prone to colds or have a week immune system is a good idea during the colder months but you're not just limited to reaching for the orange juice. Chilli peppers, bell peppers, dark leafy greens such as kale, kiwi, broccoli, lemons & strawberries are all high in vitamin C, just don't forget to add iron to your diet too as iron is needed for your body to absorb extra vitamin C. If you're vegetarian then dark leafy vegetables are a great way of boosting your iron levels... try spinach, it's so versatile & I love it!

How do you evade the nasty cold?

Life lately...

Life lately has been, well, strange. I had some time off work using up my holiday. I spent some time with my mum (who taught me how to knit!) but whilst there I came down with a cold and I just haven't been able to shift it. Therefore I spent most of my time off work feeling kind of listless. I did spend hours tidying our room and sprucing up my corner, it's looking pretty cute now.

I've been getting some making done...

I've watched a lot of murder mysteries too... and I've reopened my Etsy! I'm back at work today & I still have an icky cold but c'est la vie.

What have you been upto?

Sunday reads... Twilight


What is a better way to chill on a Sunday morning that to read a good book in bed? (Apart from surfing pinterest of course!)

I know that Twilight came out years ago. I know that you've probably seen the movies. I know that you probably chose Edward or Jake. But hey, I would happily reread the series. They are totally ridiculous. They are totally absorbing. You can relate to Bella even if you are in your thirties. And there is something totally and utterly spellbinding about the myth of vampires, non?

If you're late to the party and you haven't read them yet, do it!

Edward v Jake?
Vampires or werewolves?
Are you a fantasy fan or not at all?

The Harvest Moon

Yesterday was a full moon, the Harvest Moon (excuse the photo quality, taking a photo of the moon of your phone is tres difficile!). The Harvest Moon is so bright you can see it for three nights as clear as bell. The full moon is in Pisces, our dreams & intuitions so what better time to dream big and begin new intentions? As the Full Moon falls towards the end of Virgo it is also about our sacred purpose, our service to the world. How can we serve others?

Funnily enough new dreams and intentions have been in my mind very much these last couple of days, as well as a lot of thought about how to serve others. I want to know when my time on this Earth is up that I did my best, that I helped as many people as I could and I have been thinking a lot about how to make that happen.

What are your dreams and intentions?
Are you living them?

Textile wild woman gypsy style necklaces...

I felt moved to make today, for the first time in a long time so I went with it. I've been sick the past few days or so with a cold and today I felt even worse having slept badly (a worrying reoccurrence of late) but by early afternoon I was so beyond bored that I went to my crafting desk and started pulling bits and bobs out and just looking at them. Randomly my eyes alighted on these cute small doilies and I knew I wanted to make necklaces with them, they're kind of different aren't they? Little bit wild woman, little bit gypsy?

I've been eyeing up leather supplies on Ebay (actually pleather & recycled leather) thinking it would be fun to work with, particularly with yarn and crystals... I might have to give it a try. I'm really keen to actually be making my jewellery myself rather than simply assembling jewellery. I enjoy doing it but it isn't enough for me, these hands want to make!

Have you ever tried working with (p)leather or making textile jewellery?

Sunday reads... Oh Dear Silvia

Oh Dear Silvia

Last weekend was the first real touch of autumn. fresh but bright sunny mornings, spurts of rain (at one point, hail!) & grey chilly evenings. perfect curl-up-with-a-book-weather.

So I did. I picked up Oh Dear Silvia not because it is by Dawn French but because I was intrigued by the cover. I liked the tree & the typography. I was curious as to who Silvia was. 

At first when reading it, I didn't think I'd get to know who Silvia was, but you do. you learn about her through those around her. Each character is vivid. The book is well-written and made me laugh out loud in places. It was un-put-downable.
The end, when it came, was as I expected, the twist of emotion that came with it I hadn't expected!
A beautiful read, well done Ms French.

Have you read it?
What makes you pick a certain book?

Thursday thoughts

{source unknown, via  my pinterest}

"Sometimes the wrong choices bring us to the right places" I totally believe this to be true. We all make wrong choices occasionally but that doesn't mean we'll end up in a bad place. Not every bad choice has huge ramifications in your life. of course, some do. But sometimes, the wrong choice still leads you to the right place.

Perhaps you needed to make the wrong choice in the first place to appreciate the right choice when you got to it. I've definitely had that in my life. Decisions that other people thought were crazy but made sense in the end. Decisions that were definitely wrong but that led me to make a better choice, the right choice, the next time.

I don't know if our paths are already laid out for us. I don't know if we really do forge our own. I think maybe the larger events, the things that really shape us, perhaps they are just there, in our lives, waiting to happen & it's how we deal with those things that is down to us. I know that when i look back on my life everything seems to have led to the next. My life has led me here. It seems so simple, although i still don't know where I'm going!

How about you?
Has the wrong decision led you to the right place?

Creative catch-up ~ instamemories DIY photo album

If you're as much as an instagram addict as me then this is a fun way to turn your instagram photos in to a real keepsake!

I ordered two different sized matt square prints from printstagram and picked up a plain brown paper scrapbook/photo album from paperchase. I sat the other afternoon gluing my pictures in and then realised I needed to do something pretty special with the cover...

So I grabbed a pencil and drew the instagram icon on the front cover...

And then is started colouring it in with pencils, finally drawing the outline with a black sharpie & adding "memories" to the bottom of the icon.

Cute huh?

Here's a sneak peek inside...

Can’t remember the last time I sat & put a photo album together, years?! http://instagram.com/p/eC2oXzLRFR/

So I’m making an insta-album of my favourite Instagram shots! http://instagram.com/p/eC2gMyLRFL/

I can't remember the last time i made a photo album! I adore instagram as it's such and fun and instant way to capture memories, but I didn't want them hiding away in my phone never to be seen again.

Are you an instagram fan?
Have you made an instagram album or ordered prints?

Life lately

#oxford early morning sun… #clouds #sunlight #sky http://bit.ly/15zsAvy
Cool #tiles #blackandwhite #mono http://bit.ly/1aOPdQD
#butterfly #stencil #graffiti #oxford http://bit.ly/16SAOyo
Doors through which the hallowed enter! Ha ha, one of the #oxforduniversity college doors http://bit.ly/1aOPfYJ

Oxford in the early morning sun
Black & white tiled floor
Butterfly stencil
Doorway to one of the University of Oxford colleges

Reading: oh dear silvia by dawn french
Watching: NCIS back to back! (i love it!)
Wearing: fuchsia pink tights
Eating: homemade chips are a current favourite
Listening: to absolute 90s, the UK's only 90's music radio station, ha ha!

Today is my man's birthday so HAPPY BIRTHDAY TOMMY! I love you baby.

What are you up to?

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Welcome Autumn!

(source via my pinterest)

I absolutely love autumn, it is my favourite season. You can justifiably wear scarves (I wear mine all year round, but autumn makes it okay!) and you can layer up and be all cozy.

I love the freshness in the air, the crisp bite in the mornings, the crunch underfoot as the leaves come down. The colours are so vivid, oranges, reds, golds, yellows and the sky the most perfect shade of blue. Occasionally grey ;)

Salads go on the back burner, root vegetables are top of the menu. Stews, lasagnes, pasta bakes, hearty foods. Yum.

And because I love layers so much...

Military Leather Jacket

The hair, the jacket, the overall look! CS

(Keiko Lynn via my pinterest)

What's your favourite season?
Why do you love autumn?
Do you layer?

Living your values...

I'm going to be honest here and say that every so often I remind myself of this and I make an effort, I really do. On the whole I manage fairly well, staying away from "bad" companies when I know there is a better choice, but sliding on various things such as buying vegetables from the supermarket rather than my local market due to sheer convenience. The thing is, I work for an "ethical" company. The people I find most inspirational in the world are those doing something that matter. Those that live their beliefs, make it their story and work for what they believe in, always.

I'm currently reading the TOMS story by Blake Mycoskie, Start Something That Matters. It's a great read! One of things he recommends is downsizing. Not having to much stuff. Clutter clouds the creative mind according to Blake. This did make me a snort a bit as my boss at work says the same thing and spent months nagging at me to tidy my desk! Anyway, the point is when you read/hear this from two inspirational men (my boss founded Student Hubs) you start to think that maybe there is something in it. I look around at home and I have stuff everywhere. Everywhere. Some of this stuff hasn't been touched since I moved in two years ago. I am 30-something so I can be forgiven for having acquired some clutter, but I dread to think how much money I would have laying around if it was converted back into the money I spent on it all!

This got me thinking about it all.
*Where did I get all these things from?
*Was it money well spent? Did it benefit any of the people I'd wish to support?
*How can I most benefit others in giving it away?

I try not to be a mindless consumer but when you're tired, or in a rush, or exhausted, or looking for a retail therapy hit you often don't stop to consider the back story of the product that you're buying. I'm realising that if I want to live my values then I need to spend less money and more time on the purchase.

*Do I really need this particular item?
*Could I buy this in a more beneficial way?

I'm going to give Blake's method a go and declutter. I will actively try to live my values. Oh and I'll let you know if my creativity goes up a notch or ten!

Here's hoping!

Are you messy or streamlined?
Have you read the TOMS story?
Do you consciously live your values?

Why, hello there!

I used to blog, a lot. Being Beatrice & Charismagick being two previous incarnations. But I lost my blogging mojo. This kinda went hand-in-hand with losing my sense of self slightly and working long hours in a new role. But I missed blogging, sooo much, and I missed the interactions and I missed the thrill of finding a new blog... so I'm back!

A few instagram shots from of late! So this time around I'll be posting jewellery makes, pictures I take, recipes I like, books I read, my art journey, my life. I'll resist the temptation to be anybody else and just keep it real and hopefully get to know you!

Are you a maker, a crafter, an artist?
Do you cook or bake?
What is your favourite book?
Are you on instagram? (I am addicted!)