Monday, September 18

{ let's go somewhere . Birmingham Botanical Gardens }

This weekend the Botanical Gardens in Birmingham threw their doors open to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Calthorpe Estates. With the chance to have a  wander around the gardens and greenhouses, and lots of crafty goings on, not to mention the promise of coffee and cake, and more, I kept my finger's crossed for a sunny afternoon and popped along.

The gardens themselves date back to 1829, sited on 18 acres of land leased from the Calthorpe Estate. Designed by J.C.Loudon they were three years in the planning and making, and opened to members of the Horticultural Society in June 1832. Apart from the greenhouses the layout remains much the same today. Throughout their history the Gardens have been important as a centre for social functions in the city. From flower shows to political meetings, playing host to festivals of drama and music, and Sunday concerts in the bandstand.

Sunday's festival was wonderfully family orientated, with plenty of things for young and old alike. Face painting, vintage fairground rides, and the Punch & Judy man were proving popular with the little ones, whilst the grown ups seemed more than content with the Prosecco and Gin caravans. As befits our recent conversion to something of a foodie city, there was street food aplenty, with the Mac and Cheese van in particular, drawing long queues of hungry Brummies.

The gardens themselves are lovely to wander around, but I think it was the glasshouses that stole my heart. Ornate and iconic in their shape and construction there is something about them that brings out the Victorian romantic in me. Not to mention something of the crazy plant lady in me, making me want to rush out and fill my home with succulents and cacti, and start propagating geranium cuttings and dahlia's, enough to fill my greenhouse ten times over. 

Oh, and after a cloudy start, the skies were blue and the sun even shone. Not too shabby a way to spend a September Sunday.

{ have a happy day }

Wednesday, September 13

{ inspired#18 . Autumn . Leaves . & . the Woodland }

. inspired#18 .

" Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree "
Emily Bronte

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I don't think I will ever tire of that lovely Emily Bronte quote.  Nor will I tire of beautiful autumn hues. How can we not be inspired by such a lovely season?

There's a little more Autumnal inspiration on my Pinterest board here.

But for now . . . 

{ have a happy day }

Monday, September 11

{ four I adore . fall collections for little Ones }

I have to confess to a love of Autumn time, particularly when the weather feels more appropriate for all the new Fall collections arriving in store and on-line.  I'm lucky enough to be popping over to Antwerp next week, to have a look at all the wonderful children's wear they have, but wanted to share some of the new collections that had already caught my eye.  This post didn't start out as an ode to wonderful children's knitwear, but coincidentally, all the collections that stood out for me had particularly good knitwear pieces, so as we head into #sweaterweather, I'm happy to share the four that I most adore this season.

Sophie's collection is exclusively knitted. Beautiful sweaters and cardigans that are the embodiment of modern fairisle.  British born, now living in Normandy, Sophie knits by machine, before finishing each piece by hand.  She finds inspiration in her 1980's childhood, folk costumes and textiles, and the modern aesthetic of today, all of which can be found in her designs. Her collection is bright and colourful, playing with modern and traditional patterns, and each looks beautifully made.

. Morley .

Belgian brand Morley has been thrilling mums with it's collections since 2010.  Known for it's beautiful use of colour, print and pattern, and it's combinations of all those things, this season in particular it's thrilling us with some wonderful knitwear too.  Showcasing one of the key trends of the season with a beautiful embroidered jumper, though one of my favourites is the ruffle jumper shown above, available in many of their seasonal colours. 

 . Ylur .

In Icelandic the word ylur represents warmth and comfort, things which this brand has in abundance. Another exclusively knitwear brand, Ylur was created by Fanney Svansdóttir, inspired by the long tradition of Icelandic women, her grandmother amongst them, who had handcrafted knitted garments for their families. All garments are knitted using Alpacca wool, making them soft, yet durable. Her designs have a timeless quality, beautifully garments in subtle textured stitches, or simple two colour patterns, perfect for handing down from sibling to sibling, from generation to generation.

As We Grow is another brand from Iceland, which seems to be quickly establishing a very cool kidswear vibe. As with Ylur, this label has an affinity with timeless design and tradition,  garments made to be worn time and time again, garments that last over generations. Their story, of being inspired by the travels of one woollen sweater is a lovely one, and their ethos of sustainability and social responsibility works cleverly into their collections;  colour blocked jumpers, hats & striped scarves make use of excess yarn, yet fit into the collection seamlessly.

Lovely collections that will keep your little Ones cosy this season. I'm now off to pick up my knitting needles, though I'm not sure whether to try to recreate those colourful modern fairisles, or those subtly cosy textured knits first?

{ have a cosy day }

Friday, September 8

{ happy friday }

Ten lovely things that caught my eye this week.

{ 1 } It's sweater weather.  And I'm coveting this lovely loopy knit from Il Gufo.
{ 2 } And so to bed. Beautifully balletic shoot by Vanessa Nicette.
{ 3 } Is it even possible to look at this pixie bonnet without sighing *sigh*.
{ 4 } Far too cool for school.  Back to School shoot for Tatler by Anne Bundfuss.
{ 5 } This weeks artist crush is Maggie Chiang. Tasting the sweetness of summer. Berry by Berry.
{ 7 } Is it too soon for pumpkins?
{ 8 } Be kind.
{ 9 } This weeks Etsy crush. Nikki McWilliams. A calorie free way to enjoy your Digestive.
{ + } Not as fancy as the biscuits on GBBO, but these are my choice for this weekends bake.

{ have a happy day }

Friday, September 1

{ hello September }

. hello September .

{ have a happy day }

Wednesday, August 30

{ my august }

And so the year continues to fly along at a frightening pace. It may be a little too soon to mention the C word, but go on, admit it, you've had a few thoughts already haven't you? 

August has been a slightly strange month. I've been wrapped up in cardigans and contemplating all sorts of lovely autumnal things, and yet, isn't this supposed to be the height of summer. And then, all of a sudden, we get the most gorgeous Bank Holiday weekend weather, all blue skies and sunshine, and we feel silly in our cardigans, until just as suddenly as it appeared it disappears again, and I don't feel so bad returning to all those autumnal musings again.

{ knitting }
Thankfully this un-summery weather is perfect for sitting knitting cosy big blankets, and snug as a bug bobble hats, so for that I am most grateful. No sign yet of anything for sale, but this month has been far more productive than others, and we are getting closer to popping a few things up on Etsy.

I had some lovely reactions to my knitted wallhangings when they were posted on Instagram, and they've been a lovely way to use up left over yarn, and are a lot quicker to knit than those cosy big blankets.  I have one more waiting to be blocked and hung, and once I have a few more ends of balls left I'll be knitting a few more.

I can't wait to show you those snug as a bug hats I've been working on. Super snuggly and cute, and perfect for those autumn days that are already knocking on the door.

{ eating }
The extremes of this month was perhaps most evident in what I ate.  I finally ventured into the garden and tackled the greenhouse, which had started to resemble Sleeping Beauty's castle.  On the upside to this was a lovely haul of blackberries growing amongst the brambles.  I have a new found respect for anyone who goes foraging each year for blackberries.  The deliciousness of the blackberries made up for the numerous scratches and prickles, though I may stick to buying my fruit from the farm shop.

August is a birthday month in our family, with my Dad's on the 9th, and my Mum's falling on Bank Holiday weekend.  Traditionally a homemade birthday cake is made for all family birthday's, and as my Dad is rather partial to dark chocolate this year's cake was a Chocolate Mud Cake.  Filled with raspberry jam, rather than the ganache, and topped with flowers it was handed over with much love, and eaten with much enjoyment.

And whilst there has been plenty of summer berries, there has also been plenty of soup and stew making.  It seems wrong to be wanting comforting bowls of soup and stew, but I'll take being warm over eating salads just because it's summer.  My go-to favourite soup is a spicy butternut squash and carrot, topped with chilli roasted seeds, though I think perhaps I need to extend my soup repertoire this autumn and winter, so any suggestions and favourites are welcomed.

{ visiting }
It really has been a month of home sweet home for me, the only exception being an outing to Hay on Wye.  It had been year's since I had been, though it's an annual trip for my book loving parents. I'd forgotten quite how many bookshops there are, but also how many vintage and antique shops too.

Khoollect's wanderlust post on Hay provided some useful tips on where to brunch and lunch, in particular the great cafe at the back of Richard Booth's Bookstore and Cinema.  I breakfasted there with the yummiest selection of breads which turned a simple breakfast of toast and blackcurrant jam into something just that little bit more.  The Old Electric Shop was an eclectic mix of loveliness for you and for your home, supporting local artists and makers, also with a rather lovely cafe at the front of the shop. 

If you haven't been, and have even a passing interest in books then pop it on the list of places to visit next year.

September is off to a super busy start with a weekend full of musing over The Trouble with Goats and Sheep at The Little Book Club, and meeting the makers at the Quartermasters Market in the Jewellery Quarter, and at Pop Up + Hustle over at Tur Langton.  After which I'll be staying home as I'll have probably spent all my money at those two lovely events!

{ have a happy day }

Monday, August 28

{ summer sunshine }

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Well this is a bit of an unexpected treat isn't it? A Bank Holiday weekend with the ☀️  shining and barely a cloud in the sky.

So whilst I had been ready to start a series of warm and cosy posts, instead it's one last Hurrah for the sunshine and making the most of it whilst it lasts.

{ have a happy and sunny day }

Friday, August 25

{ happy friday }

ten lovely things that caught my eye this week

{ 1 } I want to go to Lyme Regis and find the lovely Looking Glass Cottage.
{ 2 } A sneak peek at the soon to be revealed Fall collection from the lovely Velveteen.
{ 3 } A sneak peek at next year's Summer collection from the lovely Aristocrat Kids.
{ 4 } Books & baskets & the most beautiful French Chateau shared by the lovely Decor8.
{ 5 } The Coolest kids at Munster Kids.
{ 6 } Botanicals & beaches & the most beautiful Swedish roadtrip shared by the lovely Future Kept.
         P.S. do watch their gorgeous video with hauntingly beautiful music by Daniel Glover.
{ 7 } This weeks artist crush is Zoe Young, and the lovely Space between hours collection.
{ 8 }
{ 9 } This weeks plant & planter crush is this rather lovely specimen from Made at Twenty Two.
{ + } Coffee + Chocolate + Cake = these rather lovely Coffee Blondies.

{ have a happy day }

Monday, August 21

{ inspired#17 . Llama's and Peruvian polka dots }

. inspired#17 .

Advice from a Llama
Llisten to your heart
Llook on the bright side
Llaugh more
Llive and let Llive
Llove Llife

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Llama's are the new Unicorns.

You heard it hear first.

Lots more Llama love on my Pinterest board here.

{ have a happy day }

Friday, August 18

{ happy friday }

ten lovely things that caught my eye this week.

{ 2 } Linen love #1.  I know it's not Easter, but how cute are these bunnies?
{ 3 } Gorgeous shoot from Hooligans.  
{ 4 } Cosy cushions from Numero74.
{ 5 } One of each pretty please?
{ 6 } This weeks artist crush is Antoinette Ferwerda. Just ♡ the colours in Copper Hills
{ 7 } Linen love #2.  I think I would like one of everything from notPerfectLinen!
{ 8 } Dwell on all the beautiful things.
{ 9 } Like these very beautiful plates from Anthropologie ♡ 
{ + } Get your scone on, it's Afternoon Tea Week.

{ have a happy day }

Friday, August 11

{ happy friday }

ten lovely things that caught my eye this week.

{ 1 } The very cutest of all the cats I spotted celebrating International Cat Day.
{ 2 } The rosie dress. Made to be passed on. As all the best clothes should.
{ 3 } That feeling when you wear your new dress for the first time.
{ 4 } Just this ♡
{ 5 } Pops DIY hanging table on dad's To Do list.
{ 6 } Etsy find of the week. Pickles Studio. Darling dolls who don disguises.
{ 8 } Nothing ever happens like you imagine it will. Sometimes it's better.
{ 9 } Just this
{ + } When a cake is described as perfect for breakfast you just have to bake it don't you?

{ have a happy day }

Wednesday, August 9

{ summer stripes }

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I'm dreaming of summer by the seaside, the French seaside, drifting about wearing the perfect Breton stripe t-shirt, and sitting on the sand, reading all day in the sunshine.


A lovely dream, though the closest I'm likely to come to that this year is wearing that Breton stripe t-shirt, and surrounding myself with these wonderful things in simple summer stripes.

*returns to daydreaming about the French seaside, ignoring the rain battering the window outside*

{ have a happy day }

Monday, August 7

{ pop up + hustle }

I absolutely love spotting a new pop up market happening, and the Pop Up + Hustle hosted a few weekends ago by Studio NL, was a particular gem. Studio NL are a small business, making their own screen printed goods as Young Double, whilst running their workshop, a space where others can watch them work, shop and as they so delightfully describe it, have a cup of tea and learn something new.

The market held on the last weekend of July was their first, with a refreshing mix of independent designers to discover. Their workshop is a deceptive space, a little like a tardis. It appears modest in size from the outside, and yet managed to hold a myriad of makers inside. There was a lovely buzz in the air, and even though it was a grey sort of a day, there was a crowd of shoppers happily browsing not too long after it opened.

As is usually the case, choosing my favourites from the day has not been easy, but here are my highlights from my visit.

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I stood talking to Rob and Syreeta from Moments of Sense and Style for quite a while, sharing stories of Hong Kong and Sydney. The story behind their brand is bittersweet; after meeting in Hong Kong they travelled to Sydney, where Rob suffered a brain haemorrhage, leading to their return home to Lincoln. As part of his rehabilitation, Rob began drawing, and it's these illustrations, along with products that evoke memories of each of those special places, which are the soul of MOSS. The stylish simplicity of their products is wonderful, every detail is so beautifully thought out and considered, and the colours and scents are so true to each of those places, familiar to those who have been, and a glimpse to those who haven't.

Little m has been a favourite shop of mine on Etsy for a while, so it was lovely to see all Claire's doodles and drawings in real life. Named after her little boy, Max, all her work starts off the old fashioned way, with pencil and paper. Cute characters come to life in black and white, sitting alongside hand drawn type in quotes and affirmations. The same, but also completely different, was Tipperleyhill. Roz and Abbie, two best friends, creating the quirkiest of animal artworks for your wall. Miller the Flamingo didn't quite make it home with me, but I hovered with him in my hand for a long long while!

Philippa, of Phirefly Designs, was super busy on her laptop, customising her gorgeous artworks for people to take away that day. Alongside her prints, Philippa has designed a small collection for babies and children, soft jersey pieces developed in her own prints. Both ranges have a feel for adventure, and are inspired by her love of the outdoors, nature and camping, none more so than the enamel Take Me To The Mountains mug shown above.

Finally we have Stalf, a range of women's wear, which is the embodiment of the concept of slow living. Designed and made in their studio in Lincolnshire, it's another brand with a sweet story behind it. Named after her grandparent's Stella and Alf, and remembering a time when clothes were bought to wear for years, not seasons. Simple silhouettes, in subdued tones and stripes, each garment is made to order. The quality, and timelessness of each piece makes it easy to imagine that you'll still be wearing them for years to come.

{ photo credit . OhMerde }

A few shots from the day, oh, and winner of The cutest use of the Vespa goes to Rachel of Oh Merde on Instagram. I often regret that my lack of offspring means I never get to take cute pics like this! 

{ photo credit . HAHonline }

If, having read all this, you are now crying into your coffee for having missed it all, fear not. The next Pop Up + Hustle is happening very very soon, on the 2nd and 3rd of September. Start saving your pennies now, and read a little more about it over here.

{ have a happy day }

Friday, August 4

{ happy friday }

ten lovely things that caught my eye this week.

{ 1 } Coveting Holly Becker's new pouffes from the wonderful bohemia design.
{ 2 } A gardener in the making, wearing City Goats gorgeous apron.
{ 3 } Loving UPA's new campaign for summer'18, Unleashed Princess Army.
{ 4 } Goodbye Vogue Bambini. Lovely 'Sunday Morning' editorial by Julia Bostock.
{ 5 } Etsy find of the week. AtelierMoune. And a sneak peek at work in progress.
{ 6 } New exhibition to see. Matisse in the Studio opens tomorrow at the RA.
{ 7 } New book to read. See What I Have Done released last Tuesday.
{ 8 } According to this rather fabulous quote the weekend started this morning. Yay!
{ 9 } This weeks #shelfie love.
{ + } This weekend I will mostly be baking birthday cake for my darling dad.

{ have a happy day }

Tuesday, August 1

{ hello August }

. hello August .

{ have a happy day }

Monday, July 31

{ my july }

Can somebody stop this year, I want to get off.

I'm sure I say this at the end of every month, and if I don't I certainly think it. But, is it just me, or is this year going really really quickly? I don't think I can blame this strange time phenomena on being really busy. Nicely busy, yes, really busy, not so much. The super productive month I was hoping for in June's reflective post didn't materialise in quite the way it could have done. I'm thinking more that tentative baby steps might be a better description for it. However, as I realise that we're hurtling at breakneck speed towards Autumn, Christmas, and Winter, and peak knitwear season, I really had better start taking bigger steps towards getting MissSmith up and running.

{ exploring }
A month which began with a trip to the Derbyshire Summer Market, which as usual was a delight, and led to me discovering a few more designers and makers. A day trip to Uppingham in Leicestershire led to a few more discoveries. An incredible pretty town, with an antiques centre that you can quite happily lose yourself in for a few hours, and home to a number of lovely independents, including Priddy Essentials, and Goodwin and Belle.

A happy discovery was another great independent coffee shop, almost on the doorstep. The Steamroom opened earlier this year, and it's combination of really good coffee, and a quieter location than that afforded Booboo Coffee and Peel & Stone, I think it may become my new favourite.

The month ended with the PopUp + Hustle market, hosted by Studio NL at their workshop in Tur Langton. A wonderful mix of designers, illustrators, ceramicists, and others were brought together under one roof, for a weekend celebrating local independents. A really lovely new find to end the month on, and the dates for their next one are already in my diary.

{ baking }
Slowly starting to bake again after a short break. The last of this years blackcurrants were baked on top of a madeira cake. Using Donna Hay's Olive Oil Madeira Cake, replacing the orange with lemon, and scattering a good handful of blackcurrants on top. The blackcurrants bake into a jam like consistency, adding a wonderful tart note to the cake. On a slightly healthier note, Madeleine Shaw's Buckwheat Granola made a change to my usual porridge, though it is incredibly moreish, and much like the cake, really needs to be put out of sight between servings.

{ painting }
Continuing to enjoy a little watercolour painting, as I finished the last couple of prints for a client. Really looking forward to seeing how these turn out on the finished product, and I'm happy that it's given me a bit more confidence to step away from the laptop and return to drawing and painting more. Plus I have a feeling it's a little better for my increasingly ageing eyesight.

{ freeing up my insta }
I don't think it's any secret that I love Instagram, but just recently there's been a feeling of Insta fatigue. Frustration with the change in algorithm's, the more recent phenomenon shadowbans, and a sense that Instagram has lost the spontaneity that was it's original intention. My feed is full of undeniably beautiful images, but I also know that in reality most of them are not captures of a moment, but are carefully curated, edited, captioned and scheduled, something of which I'm as guilty of as most. 

I know that I'm not alone in feeling this, but it was Allison Sadler who stepped up to the plate, with her hashtag #freeupyourinsta, which in her words, gives you the ' freedom to share whatever the f*ck you like your way '. 10,000 posts and counting, and if you fancy being an Insta rebel then round 2 starts tomorrow.

And so July, over, but for a few hours. In August I've got friends and family birthday's to look forward to, and a To Do list which reads something like this; Knit, Sell, Sleep, Repeat.

{ have a happy day }