Easy Mackerel & Avocado Rice Salad

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Delicious, ain’t she?

The inspiration for this lunch time dish came to me while I was rooting around the cupboards, looking to use up the odd little ingredients I couldn’t make a whole meal with.

I watch Nigel Slater do this (in a much more stylish and professional way) as though my life depends on it. When we’re starving hungry, we go in to the kitchen with our rumbling stomach’s in the vein hope that an imaginary chef has rustled up a culinary wonder when we weren’t looking and has left it for us in the fridge. Yet, as we stare in heart-breaking trance at the seemingly empty fridge and baked bean-filled cupboards, we dramatically declare there is NOTHING left to eat.

Now, I’m not saying you have to be particularly creative and artistic in order to put stray ingredients together, but perhaps a little imagination can help. This very thing happened to me a few weeks back, on a day I was feeling not only ravenous, but mildy creative. And the result was simply delicious.

She goes a little something like this…

  • Tin of Mackerel in Sunflower Oil
  • Long Grain Rice
  • Avocado
  • Beetroot
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Vinegar

The steps for making this dish are incredibly simple. However, as my mother always taught me, some of the simplest ingredients can create the loveliest of dishes.

  1. Boil 3 oz of long grain rice for 10 – 15 minutes
  2. Open tin of mackerel and lightly drain the oil from it, keeping some in the tin.
  3. Chop avocado, beetroot and tomatoes
  4. Once tender, drain rice fully and fluff grains
  5. Tear apart the mackerel with a fork from the tin into the rice and lightly toss, ensuring remaining oil is evenly distributed
  6. Mix in the avocado, beetroot and tomatoes, letting the oil cover everything.
  7. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper

If you have a little gem lettuce or Romanian heart in your fridge too, this would be a complimentary side.

Once you have these ingredients sitting dormant (but fresh) somewhere in your pantry, a whole world of taste bud heaven comes alive in your kitchen.

It’s quick, uncomplicated and uses ingredients which are fresh, healthy and easy to pick up in a local shop.

A scrumptious and colourful way to brighten up your lunchtime, and your body.

Amy x

 

Pretty Natural

 

I don’t know if it’s my old age kicking in about 30 years too early, but I’m starting to prefer wearing less make up.

I used to go to town on blusher and would always be the teenager who kohl pencil lined her eyes something chronic, but as time goes on, I am beginning to appreciate the ‘less is more’ look.

I no longer use a kohl pencil, barely use mascara and have no clue how to contour. I think, if my spots are covered, my skin looks reasonably even and there’s a hint of color in my cheeks, then I’ll do just fine. On my beauty wish list is a tinted moisturizer, as I’d love to use that instead of foundation on days when I don’t have much on.

We are in an era when women encourage each other to embrace their natural looks and their bodies, while at the same time we cake ourselves in about eight or ten different products just to leave the house. We’re not monsters ladies, we are beautiful women with features to be proud of.

After you read this, I want you to try something. Go and take a look in the mirror and eye yourself up. Take your make up off if you can and have a good ol’ look at your face. Isn’t she a beauty? And smile. Smiling automatically enhances a woman’s beauty and it’s good for the soul. Stop looking for all the imperfections and start noticing the clear perfections you have without the need to concealer you skin into porcelain hell. Trust what you’ve been given and rock it. Rock it like the Queen of natural.

Happy-Girls-Audrey-Hepburn

Listed below is my little make up montage for when I feel like rocking a subtle look of glamour.

Maybelline Forever Strong Super Stay Gel Nail Color – Nude Rose 

Maybelline Dream Satin Liquid Foundation – Ivory

Maybelline Super Stay 24 Color – Rose Quartz

Bourjois Cendre De Rose Brune Blush – Ashes of Roses

Natural Collection Eyeshadow – Barley 

Gold Ring with Diamond (Fake AF but cute)

Bird Cage Silk Scarf

 

Stay Beautiful, naturally…

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Book Wish List 2016

  
One of my many wishes for this year is to read more books and not just look at them on book shelves in shops and day-dream about how wonderful I’m sure they are.

I adore books; when I allow myself the time and space to read them. That’s the thing these days isn’t it? We’re always too busy with something else, or too near a deadline to be sitting around with a cup of tea, becoming absorbed in a story, another world. It’s sad and it’s going to stop. For no one should ever be too busy to sit down and read.

I’ll never forget that one summer when I read a whole book in one weekend. It was incredible and for the entire two days, I was transported into this wonderful and magical world. The book, you ask? A Weekend With Mr Darcy by Victoria Connelly, and it truly was…

The sky is looming over in all it’s grey and dramatic glory and there looks to be a shower of rain on the hills in the distance, no doubt heading this way. I’ll leave you all with the list of books I would really love to read this year. Let me know which books are on your wish list for 2016.

              2016 Book Wish List

  • The Jane Austen Collection
  • The Rose Girls – Victoria Connelly
  • The Secret Garden –  ‎Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Alice In Wonderland – Lewis Carrol
  • The Cuckoo’s Calling – Robert Galbraith
  • Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
  • Garden Spells – Sarah Addison Allen
  • Agatha Raisin Collection – M.C. Beaton
  • The Little Paris Book Shop – Nina George & Simon Pare
  • The Angel Tree – Lucinda Riley
  • Te Little Coffee Shop of Kabul – Deborah Rodriguez
  • Bridget Jones: Mad About The Boy – Helen Fielding
  • Sex And The City – Candace Bushnell

For the month of February, I am setting myself the challenge of reading over my lunch breaks at work, and ignore the distractions of more important stuff.

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10 Ways To Survive A Messy Breakup

 

If you’re reading this with a broken heart, whether it’s fresh, old or in the process of breaking, know you are not alone and that everything, despite how it currently feels, will be ok.

I wish I had believed that when I had a freshly broken heart. For I lay sobbing into my duvet convinced no one else had ever felt pain the way I felt it and that nothing, nothing was worth living for anymore.

A freshly broken heart is one of the most painful experiences next to loosing a loved one and it is often sorely over looked by friends, family and colleagues with how damaging it can be. 
I was lucky in a sense when I had a freshly broken heart, in that I had a fairly supportive family and very supportive friends and colleagues who told me I was doing well and made me see that life wasn’t over. But I was also fortunate in that despite the crippling pain that soared around my body like a deadly virus, despite the constant ache to run back to my lost love and beg a second go at things and despite the back-stabbing self doubt that crept into my mind and slowly began to take over my self-esteem, I fought against it best I could and rose above the immediate heartache and fear. And I taught myself, (as hardened as this sounds) to not miss him.

The days following a messy break up are (hideous, granted) the most crucial in the sense that how you approach them, how you deal with them, will shape the way you handle the later days to come. It seems such an impossibility, I know from experience, to imagine life without the person who has just parted ways with you, to imagine living a life without their love, without their friendship, and at first it’s all too easy to dismiss the fact that’s happening and that’s how it’s going to stay; but if you can find it within yourself to have a little faith in you, trust that deep down you know you can get yourself through the next few weeks to come, then my dear, you’re doing great and you’re already fighting half the battle, even though it doesn’t feel like it.

So, what does one do in the immediate days following a messy breakup? There’s a few options, some I wouldn’t wholly endorse but will still list for the purpose of shits and giggles; and I’m guessing right now, we could all do with a bit of that! Minus the shits.

  1. Go out and get completely rat-arsed with your gal friends and declare hatred for all mankind.
  2. Decide on a total change of style, dye your shortened hair green and go all punk to rebel over how reserved and suppressed you were while you were with that man.
  3. Quite literally bust the windows out his car because even though it won’t mend your broken heart, he’ll feel lucky that’s all you did. Yeah the piece of steaming poo!
  4. Run a campaign on being single and promote that women shouldn’t dread it, they should encourage it.
  5. And lastly (because I don’t want to be responsible for any more anarchy) say “Sod the lot of you” and bugger off to Tibet for 8 months on a “How to be a Tibetan Nun and find your life’s true meaning” course. Then come back 12 months later, head still shaved, married to a man called Yin with a mountain donkey and the mud hut equivalent of an unpaid mortgage.

But in case you’re at all like me (you poor dear) and you just want to take things easy and ‘heal slowly’ like I did, then read on for some sensible ways to cope, that works a tad better than the crap above.

EAT, TREAT, REPEAT

I lost a stone in the two weeks following my breakup and trust me, it was not a good look and it only added to the awful way I was feeling and dealing with things. I suggest, you don’t do the same thing. Hell, you’ve just gone through the most painful, sad and litteralay hideous thing, the least you deserve is a bag of jam donuts every day and a bag of chips every hour, on the hour. And if anyone even so much as tries to intervene, like they did with me; remind them who has the broken heart. I personally recommend tea (because it’s Britain for goodness sakes), chocolate, pasta, Brioche, ice cream (naturally) and anything with a higher calorie average than a deep fried mars bar.

*Disclaimer as the world is reaching morbid obesity lock down* It has to stop at some point but it’s totally fine for like the first month! After that, treat yourself to superfood salads, yummy sugar free smoothies and seeds and nuts which will build you back up to the goddess you always are.

PAMPER YOSELF AND FEEL ALL THE BEAUTIFULS

So you have no one to look beautiful for but yourself. “Tragic”, I hear you scream louder than than the woman off Psycho? No, just because you don’t have a guy to look a million bucks for now, just because no one will be able to feel how smooth your legs are after using that new Gillette for women razor followed by a shea body butter application and just because that one guy won’t be able to see that perfect new shade of lipstick you have on, does not mean you don’t look beautiful. Girl, you’re more beautiful than ever, because you’re you. Just you.

It may take a while to shine on the inside, but we must still take care of ourselves even when we’re hurting. Don’t stop shaving, washing, painting your nails and wearing eyeshadow just because you’ll be the only one to notice it and think it looks great. It’s time to stop doing those things for someone else, and start doing them for you.

They say the best way to get over a broken heart is to fall in love with someone else. Fall in love with yourself. It’ll be the best relationship you ever have.

MAKE A GIRL POWER PLAYLIST AND DOWNLOAD FEEL GOOD SONGS

One of the things which seriously helped me stop feeling mopey and sorry for my unrequited self, was listening to the likes of Beyonce and Gloria Gaynor. I created my own playlist (called Girl Power) and played it on repeat for a good few months. Here’s a few songs to get you going.

  1. I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor
  2. Single Ladies – Beyonce
  3. Survivor – Destiny’s Child
  4. I’m Every Woman – Chaka Khan
  5. Single – Natasha Beddingfield
  6. Bulletproof – La Roux
  7. I’m On My Way – The Proclaimers
  8. Respect – Aretha Franklin
  9. Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves – Girl Power
  10. Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life – Monty Python

All at their best when sung along to 😉

VISIT SUPPORTIVE FRIENDS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE

I swear to this day, the main reason I coped as well as I did after my break up, was being able to escape the clutches of everything and abscond down south and take refuge with my hilarious and supportive friends. Before then, I had never really embraced spontaneous solo travel, but as soon as it was suggested, I packed a rucksack, announced I was off to the seaside and boarded a train all by myself. Proudest moment ever! It was very empowering actually; suddenly going from thinking “I can’t function and don’t want to live without this man” to “I’m leaving  town and don’t know when I’ll return and I’m doing it by my self.” And while you’re away, let your friends help you. Let them take you out, make you laugh, make you see that you have a wonderful life still to lead. Not all is lost because someone has broken up with you. I didn’t believe them at that point of course; I still believed that my love would be waiting for me on the platform when I arrived back in town, but of course he wasn’t and that was a huge wake up call.

Being away is also a great time to write down some feelings. Take a journal, sit by yourself (either in your room, or by the sea or in a summery meadow if you’re really that cliché) and let the words just pour out. When you’re somewhere different or new, you take notice of many things around you, and you may just find yourself more aware of feelings you didn’t know you had.

REMOVE ALL PHOTOS & KEEPSAKES OF THE RELATIONSHIP

And in other words, don’t do what I did. Do yourself a favour and take down every single last picture of you two together and put them in a box in the wardrobe or in the spare room. Box away everything related to him away and revamp the areas he’s been in. I don’t mean get in pest control and fumigate the place, I just mean spray Oust, burn some sage and hire an exorcist for a few hours…

BUY FEEL GOOD BOOKS AND READ THEM

When you’re confused and hurting and feeling like the worlds most despised girl, it’s important you surround yourself with people or things which tell you otherwise. Best friends are perfect for this, but they’re not always on tap 24/7 for words of reassurance and wisdom. Therefore, buying books on how to deal with breakups and self help books are great to carry with you and have by your side, for the times you’re by your lonesome and need reminding that you’re not alone, that there are things you can do to help yourself and that everything, in the end, will be OK. 

I picked up It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken, by Greg Behrendt and Amiira Ruotola-Behrendt whilst having a minor self-pity attack in town, a couple of weeks after my breakup. Standing there, sniffling loudly into a tissue, convinced I would never laugh again, I saw a colourful book and pounced on it and read the back…

“From how to put yourself through ‘He-tox’ to how to throw yourself a kick-ass pity party, Greg and Amiira share their hilarious and helpful roadmap for getting past the heartache and back into the game.”

And I smiled. Chuckled and did a victory punch. Right in the middle of Waterstones. 

JOIN A GYM OR FITNESS CLASS

So you’ve stuffed your face with necessary crap, binge-watched Pretty Little Liars to your hearts content, and bulk bought baggy clothing to hide the yards of fat-rolls you’re happily donning. Girl, it’s time to get yourself to the gym! 

One of the first things I did the week after I was dumped, despite loosing pounds of weight by the second and not eating an awful lot, was re-join my local fitness group. Ok, so it probably wasn’t the wisest thing to do in my unwell state, but it worked wonders for my mental state and meant I wasn’t moping around my parents house every single night feeling sorry for my situation whilst getting hideously fat.

So get yourself to a gym or better still, a local fitness class like Jazzercise or Zumba to make new friends who you can feel great with and to boost your mental and physical state out of Miss Self-Pity At Your Disposal. 

Under note, it’s also very satisfying, whilst you’re punching the shit out of the air in front of you to “I’m Sexy And I Know It”, to think you’re going to look a damn sight fitter than and a damn sight stronger than you were when you with that guy. And, should he ever accidentally bump in to you in town, then whoops, he’s going to see just how bloody gorgeous you are and he’ll walk away realising what a complete and utter knob he’s been. But do it for you, mostly! 

KEEP REMINDING YOURSELF IT’S NOT THE END OF YOU

Let’s be honest with ourselves. When someone we’ve loved with all our hearts and whom we assumed loved us just as much back, breaks up with you and breaks your heart too, the rest of our lives may feel like an impending sense of doom with nothing but loneliness and a bunch of cats to look forward to. (I thought that).

And whilst the cats aren’t a bad part of that, the loneliness aspect of it might be. At first I felt lonely as hell despite being around my parents. Now, I can’t wait to embrace being single and have a place of my own, by myself. See, there are plenty of great points to living by one’s self; Being able to decorate how you want, having your posessions where you want, being able to eat what you want, when you want, the list is endless. But one very important aspect which I am certainly looking forward to when I live by myself, is learning about me. Understanding how I work when I’m by myself, enjoying the peace of my surroundings and feeling comfortable in them, having the chance to grow and develop, uninterrupted by someone else’s perceived idea of how I should be.

And to travel to the hidden places of the world, to learn something new, take a course in something. The possibilities now you’re single are my dear, endless. And yes, that’s scary at first, but trust me, soon they will become an exciting prospect you can’t wait to get those kitten paws on!  

DON’T HOLD ON TO TOO MUCH HATE AND ANGER

You’re hurting, you’re broken and you might be having flashes or mad. Fair enough. The man’s broken your heart, and whether or not he’s got a good enough explanation, it’s just not sitting well. As previously mentioned above, in my not so top tips, you may have feelings of wanting to bust the windows out his car and declare mutiny on his existence, but holding on to that kind of hatred and ill feeling is going to not only damage you short term, but it may leave an unpleasant taste for a long time to come. 

After a few compulsory weeks of hating his guts, calling him every name under the sun and listening to “O Fortuna” on repeat, day dreaming about the revenge you could reap, have a cleansing evening and decide to leave all ill feelings you have towards him and the break up at the ‘hate door’. Light a few white candles, have a long and scrumptious bath and play some relaxing music (sounds a bit chliched but girl, does it work), and meditate your way out of hate. Visualise as you deep breathe, the hateful feelings inside you leaving your body in a dark mass and in replacement, calm waves of bright light shining down into you, filling you with peace and closure. Acceptance is key to moving on, and creating a little under stated ceremony like this will enable you to calmly and peacefully leave behind the hurt and welcome in the new, cleansed and positive you. 

Only do this when you feel ready. Forcing closure is never a good idea and will never properly work. But feel happy and proud of yourself when you do achieve it.

PLAN NEW DREAMS

So, you’ve eaten you’re own body weight in mac & cheese, traveled to see friends, joined the gym, read books and sang songs; What more could there be to do on your journey?

Make new dreams. It’s highly likely you’ll have made a ton of dreams and wishes with the person you were in a relationship with and now you’re not with them it may feel like there is nothing else to dream for. I thought this, but it wasn’t until I sat down on the beach with the sea washing in and out, that I realised I had a myriad of dreams I could make come true by myself, and in fact, would be much more enjoyable done by myself. 

Re-Decorate, move to a cute chic city apartment, go on holiday, get a cat, dye your hair, take that course you’ve had you eye on, volunteer, see your friends more, take that promotion, try new hobbies, write that book… So much is now waiting at your door, and you can do it by yourself because you’re smart and beautiful and you never needed anyone but yourself to get you to the places you truly deserve and want to be in life.

Leave behind hating, regretting and forgetting and move on with grieving, accepting and healing…

Go get em girl! And don’t let anyone or anything stop you from being happy. 

 

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Glitter, Books and Wishing Hearts

Despite the lack of orange, crunchy crisp leaves and wooly jumpers, I am actually preparing for Autumn! 🍁🍂

In the last couple of weeks, I have picked up a few things which I wanted to share with you all as I think they’re pretty lovely. They’ve come from all sorts of places including Oxfam, Polkadot, Boots & Waterstones. I am slowly but surely building a collection of nice things to use, read, watch and wear this Autumn and this, some could say, is  just the beginning…

First up is this glorious looking book that I’ve seen all over the place and each time I’ve seen it, for some unknown reason, I haven’t picked it up. Well, during an impromptu and long overdue visit to Oxfam recently, as I was pouring my excited eyes over the girly books on the shelf, Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan appeared before me. Now, given my much needed escape to the seaside this summer and my increasing love for all things cake, I decided I was going to buy it before I read the back.

Escape to Cornwall to visit the enchanting…

This book is about finding strength in independence, finding joy in the simplicity of sharing your creations with friends and relying on yourself to get through when everything is against you. The description on the back of the book completely sold it to me as I could be Polly. Minus the Bakery and living in Cornwall… I am in times which seem against me and I am fighting so hard to get myself through this unexpected tough patch and tough as it often seems, I have this fiery determination brewing inside me to burst through and catch hold of my new dreams and wishes, because I know they are possible and I know it’s what I need and that’s what uplifts me, even when life is trying its hardest to kick me in the teeth!

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The amount of times in the past few months that I have gone shopping to the supermarket and forgotten my bag for life (which in theory only lasts about 6 pints of milk, two bags of Kind Edwards and two thousand chocolate bars later) and have had to shamefully use a few plastic bags which the cashier reluctantly plonks down, making the loudest, disgruntled rustle imaginable. Well, there’s been a few of those times and I’ve quite simply had enough of letting myself and the ozone layer down! So, whilst I was happily dancing my way around Polkadot shop this morning, I discovered the above beauty. A floral clip bag thingamajig which I can attach to my handbag so, in theory, if I remember to re-clip it to my bag after using it, I’ll always have a reusable bag with me to take to the supermarket! I don’t know who thought that up but they’re a genius! I just have to do my bit and keep it clipped on! Tricky times…

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This is little wooden wall hanging was also from Polkadot and its caught my eye on a few occasions, however, misery guts has been a little too disgruntled about life to by anything with the word heart on so soon, so I haven’t touched it! But today felt like that silly emotional restriction was a better time than any to stop, so, gleefully & carefully I picked it off the hanger and took it to the counter.

A dream is a wish your heart makes

i have been wanting to get an inspirational cute wall plaque for a while and this one seemed perfect. I love the design and font on the White wooden square and knew exactly where it would go in my room. It’s now hanging next to the shelf with my angel figurines and fairy dust ✨ Obvs…

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Sparkle Every Day…

Boy oh boy and does it sparkle! This is my new favourite nail varnish and might be my current favourite thing! Rimmel  have created a little jar of magic when they made this and to brush is gently onto my nails appears to be a real treat. I have never been keen on glittery nail varnish as I’ve worried they look a bit too partyish and not very elegant… But I take it all back and hold my imaginary unicorn tail between my legs! It’s the most beautifully elegant nail varnish I’ve worn in a very long time! The delicate shimmery golden gloss mixed with the dots of purple glitter glides adorably over my nails with a varied but terrific coverage. It feels very Autumnal thanks to the golden shimmer but could be worn in any season I feel. It’s just so pretty to look at on my nails and in the tiny jar. So pretty in fact that it’s taken pride place on my new shelf which I’m very happy about. You’ll be able to see that in my Favourite Things post which I’ll be doing very soon. It also has excellent staying power and only needs one top up coat and it’s good for a couple of days. You do have to be quite firm when taking it off mind you, but a little bit of elbow grease never hurt anyone 😉 At risk of sounding like a double cheese burger with extra cheese and a side of cheese; with this nail varnish, you really do sparkle every day… ✨

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I think I let out a too-loud-for-public yelp of glee when I first stumbled upon the set of books by M.C.Beaton, whilst I was gallantly striding in and out of the shelves at my love palace, Waterstones.

I was heading fiercely towards the crime section with intent to find a gripping novel about a gruesome murder with gory details, the sort of spine chilling page turner that would make Stephen King shiver. Instead, I pick up the girliest lady detective books that exists in the whole book shop and pant with happiness like a dog in a bone store!

A Spell of Trouble by the Seaside

Agatha Raisin and the Witch of Wyckhadden is one of a series of books by this author and in true classic Amy, I didn’t buy the first of the set, I picked one slap bang in the middle. But the plot sounds great and they’re clearly a set of books not short on humour dotted around here and there. I’ve mentioned here and there of my dream to be a lady detective and these books are only going to add tons of fuel to that fire. Funnily enough, I’ve picked another book where a woman is fleeing to the seaside in a bid to re-establish herself and re fluff up her feathers ready to take the world by storm again. I don’t know about you, but I think that screams volumes!…

So there you have it, my recent purchases I am simply thrilled with! I shall leave you with these little pieces of advice…

All that glitter and all that gold, can in actual fact buy you happy ✨

A dream is a wish your heart makes, so keep your heart strong and your dreams will be too.

Always keep a bag for life with you, preferably firmly attached to the bag you’re taking out. If not, there really is just no point…

And if you get repeated urges to escape to the seaside, you probably should go and establish whether you’re there to soak up the sun ( a good joke I know), re affirm your life’s dreams and ambitions or whether you’re just lost and have no idea why you’re on a filthy sandy beach in winter, sea spray splashing onto your frozen body and an ear ache so bad from the sea breeze, you consider stuffing a 99 over your ears for slight warmth!

With that chums, before I go off on a tangent… I shall bid you goodnight.

Amy 🌸

Teacups, Trays & Bows 🎀

 

After a dramatic evening and a night filled with dreams I could really do without, I felt the need to distract myself with something pretty. So, yesterday morning, I took a trip into town and visited the little shops I like.

Polkadot Home was the first shop and love it in there. They have so many beautiful furnishings for the home ranging from a lovely nautical collection of fairy lights, candles and shells, to modern cushions, high end gardening gifts and clocks. The clocks are all hanging on the back wall of the shop against some very pretty wallpaper; it’s really very effective.

I had a good old nosy around yesterday and managed to stumble across a couple of little beauties.


When I saw this espresso cup & saucer set hidden away on a lower shelf amongst other little treasures, I think I did a little victory dance! I’d eyed this up a few weeks ago when I’d previously been there but it had gone all the other times. This time it was back and as I was happily gazing at it, I feel more and more in love with it. The design is so elegant & quirky. And I think I’ve realised that really is my style of homeware and decorations; Elegant & Quirky. It’s just a shame that I can’t seem to find a shop in my price range who specialise in that style of products. A huuuuge shame! So, I was standing there thinking to myself, this cup & saucer must be at least £10 maybe even £15, but as I delicately picked up the saucer and turned it over, to my intense surprise and joy, I read the price label. £6.99 this bundle of joy was and so I thought, “I’m having that!” And I did and here it is and I am so happy! It’s all tiny and cute and will not be used for espresso (as very sadly, I don’t own an espresso machine), instead it has been placed on my bedside table. I’ve put some of my crystals/tumble stones on the saucer and a tea light candle in the cup and it looks really cute. Yay! ✨


The next pretty purchase is this delightful mini tray, seen above, which I also bought from Polkadot Home shop. It’s a floral decoration or should I say botanical. I think it’s more gardeny than say, Kath Kidston. They also came in blue and black and while I loved the others, the cream version just felt more my style than the bolder effect of the others. I’d had a few ideas of things I could keep on the tray but I have decided to use it for keeping my hair clips on as they’re always scattered around my bedroom!


And the last little purchase is this Polkadot bow head band and bow clips from Peacocks. Since having shorter hair, I have felt the need for outlandish hair furniture and so when I discovered these on the shelves of Peacocks, I decided they would be the start of my collection of colourful hair bits. I am wearing the Polkadot bow band today and while I’m slightly paranoid that I look like I belong on the driveway to Disneyland Paris, I am enjoying the look and knowing I’m wearing it, is making me feel more upbeat strangely. But I’m not complaining… Anything to make me more upbeat! Just not in a Minnie Mouse kind of way. I can squeak at the best of times when I’m hyper but looking like the squeak isn’t really what I’m after. Anywho, I am mildly in love with it so far and can’t wait to find more online. The other are bows that clip onto the hair. One is like denim, one is quite colourful and reminds me of Hawaii for some reason, and the other is white and has a kind of crochet effect. They’re all pretty and act as a statement piece for the hair. I’m all about the bows this year it would seem!🎀 😃
Amy 🌸

What’s in my Handbag 🎒

Forever struggling with my medium sized cross-body bag which I’ve had for years and finding myself constantly shoving it back further onto my hip as its shunted round to my front because of its weight, I announce I am now in search of a brand new bag.

As I am finding my feet with writing again as I now (tragically & pleasingly) have a lot more time to myself nowadays, I am wanting to carry around notebooks and sometimes my iPad, for the moments of madness and inclings of inspiration that sometimes befalls me. And to have a sentence or even a paragraph come into your head and not have the means to write it down before it dashes away, I’m sure many of you know how upsetting that is.

On with the show… My bag!

  1. My iPad. I don’t often carry it with me to work but occasionally I like to just so I can type what I need to say instead of writing. I don’t always have the concentration to write neatly enough to read it back later! Oh, and she’s called Ruby 😄 I give a lot of inanimate objects a name… I don’t know what that says about me…
  2. My Paperchase purse. 👛 This is reasonably new… I love how floral it is and that it zips the way round, but I am struggling with it a bit now as its a bit too stiff to open now I’ve put everything in there… And I don’t mean all my money unfortunately, I mean member cards, receipts, notes and other bits and bobs I’ve decided would be great stored away in my purse that have no relation to money whatsoever! Plus not overly digging the material.
  3. My make up bag. 💄 Again, Paperchase. Finding it a bit too small for my make up contents now… And the zip is broken so I’m using a safety pin. How very “make do and mend” of me! I need to get a new one really, but a bigger make up bag means a bigger handbag… Right?
  4. The Clockwork Sparrow book by Katherine Woodfine. I haven’t started reading it yet but it looks and sounds very good so I really am going to have to knuckle down and get on and read it. I’m famous for reading the blurb on the backs of books and claiming I’ve read the whole thing… So, so shameful! 📚
  5. My “Baldwins Nervous Pills” notebook. This was given to me as a joke as my last name is Baldwin… I’d never heard of the brand before, but it turns out they’re quite big. I’m classing it as my claim to fame. If I don’t with this, I never will with anything! 😎
  6. “The Little Book Of Calm” book. My Granny bought this for me quite a few years ago when I was in those distant memories of late teenhood. One of my favourite pages; “Frown Darkly”. 😡 There is no other way of frowning for me! It really can provide a little distraction and thought change when you’re freaking out a little, having a moment or someone in the room has shaken your tail feather slightly. But if you’re beyond anger, feeling really depressed or in full blown panic attack mode, I’ve found the Little Book Of Calm doesn’t really cut the mustard. You can pretend, sure, go ahead. Fool yourself that you can remain calm and stay sane. But it’s risky business. Trust me, it’s a cute tiny book that will fit in the smallest of bags, if you’re that dedicated to it, and I’m sure looks great to people you pull it out in front of. But when you’re manically flipping through pages walking through the city streets, crying hysterically  😭😱 and shouting swear words to the tiny book in your hands at why it hasn’t calmed you yet, that’s when it’s time to accept the book doesn’t actually work the way you’d hoped it would and it’s time to seek therapy. Or at least that’s what the professionals have told me… Moving on to number 7, quickly…
  7. My glasses… No overly long description of these needed in the slightest. They do what they say they’re meant to do on my specsavers prescription. Just not very well…
  8. My life saving little stash of Twinings Lemon and Ginger teabags in a playing cards tin from Paperchase. And I’m not going to lie, it does look a little dodgy when I pull the small metal tin out of my bag at work and declare I need a moment of calm… Today for example, I got some strange looks 👀 after I’d applied some hand cream & then tried to open said metal tin… Well, slippery and awkward springs to mind. And even more awkward when I had to ask my manager to open it for me, followed by me declaring it was nothing dodgy in the slightest and most certainly wasn’t me about to suggest we play a game of cards mid shift. I often use little tins for things that most definitely don’t involve hash! Usually teabags, nuts and seeds and trinkets. I lead a far more innocent life than my handbag leads itself to believe.
  9. iPhone charger. I have this genuine worry that I’ll get stuck somewhere and run out of battery on my phone. I honestly cannot bare the thought of that so, wherever I lay my phone charger, that’s my home.
  10. A couple of rings. I am usually found wearing a ring of some sorts but I like to keep one or two in my bag, just in case. And by just in case, I mean having to suddenly pretend I’m very married 👰🏼 should a creepy guy start to show an interest. Not that that’s ever happened, but I feel it’s good to be prepared and does provide minor comfort.
  11. A pen. And while I’d love to have some witty anecdote shoved right up my sleeve about this bad, bad pen, I haven’t, but I do have some great uses for it and they often involve noting down strange happenstances, dodgy numberplates and sudden ramblings.
  12. Earphones. I have tWo pretty shoddy pairs which I will either have at home or in my bag, both falling foul to that tangled up malarkey and sounding properly grainy, like the old records do from the olden days… Who needs to hear every part of a song clearly these days?
  13. Spare hair grips for those windy days when bits of hair you thought were securely shoved in place, declare war against you and make a bid for freedom; Messing up my look and not to mention the sane look I’d just manage to perfect through neater hair. 🙆🏼
  14. My keys. With a temporary key ring I bought in the sale from Polkadot Home. 99p later and I no longer need to store my key in my purse… I give it 3 weeks before it breaks and I end up back to square one.
  15. Dove Intensive Nourishment hand cream. This is lovely stuff. Absorbs into the skin beautifully, makes my hands look all soft and shiney and smells divine. What more could you want from hand cream?
  16. Last of all, my trusty Bach Rescue Remedy. I am a big fan of all things Bach and all things herbal/natural as a means of calming ones self. A cute tiny yellow wrapped bottle with a dropper that drops brandy tasting drop,rats onto your tongue and turns a moment of horror into the opposite in a matter of minutes. Or so I believe anyway. Even just carrying it around in my bag can sometimes be just as comforting as taking it. I love how it’s there, at the very second I begin to feel a bit wobbly (quite a lot), it’s there like a little bottled friend. And seriously, it tastes just like brandy and no, that’s not why I love it so much… I don’t like brandy. But I do love my bottle of rescuing drops for those moments where I do need to be rescued. For the record, that’s not very often, I’m quite capable and together thank you very much! Despite the impression numbers 6, 8 & 13 of this post give 😜


So there it is… The current contents of my bag, ever growing, ever changing and about to have itself a whole new home hopefully, providing I can actually buy a bag and not just stare at pretty ones online for the next 6 months because I’m a dreadful impulsive buyer who overthinks all purchases like an absolute saddo!


Amy 🌸