Thursday, 6 October 2016

A September Round Up And Giveaway With Carolyn Carter

I have loved this past month, it's felt long but has past in a blink all at the same time. A lot has happened in our little family and we're just starting to find our groove in a new pace of life.

The biggest change is that Wilf has started school and Anwen has started her two mornings at a nursery. They're both loving it and coming back with tales of things they've seen and done each day. Wilf's accounts of playground adventures over dinner each evening have had Sam and I scoffing, trying not to spray food over the table as we stifle laughs. "We all closed our eyes and punched each other" up there with things we weren't expecting to hear.

Anwen has chosen to surprise us with sayings at other unsuspecting moments. Like when the allotment secretary popped by last week and she asked to smell her pink lipstick and then informed her "Daddy got a willy." I laughed it off heartily obviously, whilst cringing and hoping she hadn't made out the very.clear.intonation of my two and half year old.
September also threw a couple of adventures our way, with a getaway to Bristol for the night, a night back at my parent's in Pembrokeshire cheering on Iron Men and a very special wedding in Henley.

Sam was the best man to two very special friends and I was honoured to help with flowers and gatecrash the top table (albeit with invitation). Apart from a stubborn white owl who refused to fly the rings down the aisle(!), the day went without a hitch and we danced late into the night.
As always its been busy with brief moments of calm (see below) to stop and recharge.

I've caught myself on a number of occasions recently rushing completely needlessly. Whether it's because I haven't brushed off the school run rush (always) or because I'm always just late for things (probable) but I'm trying to remind myself to just.slow.down a bit more.
A great weekly reminder for me is My Thursday Breaktime. Seeing lovely moments of calm, usually involving hot cups of tea (destined to go cold if mine are anything to go by), inspires me to carve out a small part of my day just for me.

Here are just a few of the gorgeous photos that caught my eye in the gallery last month.
@emilytalling  @toosmallforadog
Organic Surge joined us during September and generously sponsored it with a lovely prize including four of their deliciously scented hand and body washes. Although there were a whole host of great entries, I kept coming back to this sweet scene by Hannah (@hannahruthking)
I love everything about it. The smooth white sheets, the creamy coffee, matching blues and those toes and leg rolls? Don't even get me started! A huge congratulations Hannah, please drop me a line so we can get your prize to you.

I'm delighted to announce some more very exciting news in that we have made a perfect partnership for the cosy month ahead. Carolyn Carter is joining us in celebrating breaktimes and I couldn't be more delighted.

I discovered Carolyn's work through instagram and have fallen for her paired back style and the beautiful craftsmanship in her knitted work. You can find her full range in her shop here.
Carolyn is kindly offering a very generous prize of a pair of wrist warmers (in a colour of your choice) and a mini plant hanger, for our favourite October post. To enter your posts simply tag us @littlemaldod and @carolyn_carter along with the usual #mythursdaybreaktime hashtag. 
I can't wait to see what this month has in store for you all. I'll be reminding myself to stop charging about and finding some fun down on the allotment this weekend to help me with this. Stay tuned next week for a little green fingered update!

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Back to Flower School With Bloom & Wild

For as long as I can remember, the arrival of September has brought with it feelings of excitement and anticipation. With a new term and sudden shift from slow summer living back to routine, lunchboxes and brand new pencil cases, I've always loved the changes this month brings.

The sudden nip to the air, which you can almost taste, that creeps in this month also heralds a change to the seasons and a nod towards cosier days. If you've been following this blog or my Instagram for a while you will have noticed that I love to mark these changes in our home and, for me, there's no lovelier way to do it than through flowers.

So when Bloom & Wild invited me to go 'Back to Flower School' with them, to share flower inspiration and tips for Autumn I was first the first to say yes (miss). My sparkling new pencil case was replaced with a letterbox sized box of blooms and my homework to create something beautiful from The Suki, a stunning limited edition bouquet.

With an evening with friends lined up at our house and an Autumnal menu with our weekend's allotment harvest planned, I decided to create two different wreaths to welcome our guests and adorn our candlelit hearth.

I kept both wreaths quite simple using all of the elements from The Suki, made up of an eye catching combination of Protea (with a pineapple looking outer leaf) and the sofest pink Bella roses. The tools I used can be easily brought from a local florist and in a few simple steps I was able to put together two beautiful Autumnal wreaths.

If you fancy having a go too, you'll need:

Florist Wire
Natural Twine
Scissors (any old pair will do!)
 Secateurs for the tougher stems (if you have them)
Circular Wreath

Front Door Wreath
For the first wreath I used an old wooden wreath that I've used in our home before. It had sadly been left to the outside elements and hung neglected on our patio wall. Waste not want not in my book though and I set about tidying it up and snipping off any straggly bits of wood and old string I'd tied to it. 
I selected each element of the bouquet, including a Protea head, Rose, Veronica and a small piece of the foliage (Dracena Sanderiana Gold) putting them together to form a small posy.
Using about 5 inches of wire I tied the bottom of the posy together, twisting the wire at the back to tighten it in place. I used this same method (using a longer piece of wire) to attach the posy to the wreath itself. Thankfully the wreath had plenty of space in it to work the wire through to be back.

The loose structure of the wreath also meant that I could add a few stems of Veronica, weaving them around easily to finish it off.

The pinks in The Suki complimented our front door beautifully and it was lovely to be able to reuse something I already had (albeit neglected and forgotten), giving it a new lease of life with a few simple touches. 

The Rose lasted well overnight but I knew it'd need a bit of water to keep it going. Thankfully it was easy enough to gently pull out of the posy and pop in a small bud vase along with some Veronica.

Natural Green Wreath
Also included in The Suki was some wild and exotic looking foliage with a strong, flexible stem which I knew would bend easily to create a more natural wreath. I've been inspired by lots of images of this style of wreath on Instagram so decided to have a go myself. 

I fastened the stems to each other using the same method I used with the posy. Wrapping a piece of wire around and twisting it at the back to keep it in place. Once the stems were attached I gently bent them round into a circle and attached the two ends together in the same way.
Unlike the wooden wreath, the dark wire was clearly visible against the green stems so I used a natural hemp string, wrapping it around the stems helping to bind them together.
I was really pleased with how this wreath turned out, the leaves gave it a much more untameable feel (it did have to be strongly encouraged to be a circle!) and the twine complimented the rustic style really well.
I had plenty of flowers left from the bouquet which I used to fill different size vessels to decorate our hearth, helping to tie everything together. Along with plenty of candles, it provided the perfect focal point as we enjoyed drinks and a catch up with good friends.
I loved trying something different with this bouquet, homework has never looked so good! I recently started a subscription with Bloom & Wild as I knew that as our Summer of garden flowers drew to a close I'd still want blooms around our home. The wooden wreath will be an easy thing to keep using, no longer forgotten and straggly but something I can now refresh with new blooms as they arrive each month, ready to welcome guests this Autumn.

Do you have something similar you could refresh and bring a new lease of life to? You can find the full range of Bloom & Wild bouquets here, why not pick a bunch and have a go too. If you have a go at making a wreath, do drop me a line and let me know how you get on.

 This post was written in collaboration with Bloom & Wild, whereby I was gifted The Suki bouquet and invited 
to create a project. All words and ideas are entirely my own. 

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Thoughts on Summer and September and Giveaway News

I'm not sure I can believe that we're standing on the eve of September. I knew it would fly, but the Summer has past even faster than I could have expected.

I've got mixed emotions about the month ahead if I'm honest. I've found that the not planning/ 'we'll see what happens with our days' approach to the school holidays has backfired sometimes over the last few weeks. Leaving me with bored and bickering children and wishing we'd booked a two week all inclusive in the sunshine. Then there were days that we've scooted out as a three in search of adventures and, whilst tantrums are totally unavoidable at the moment, they're the ones that will stay with me when I look back (I'll forget the tantrums right?!)
At the start of the Summer Wilf reeled off a list of things he wanted to do before he started big school. Turns out a four year old's bucket list is full of simple pleasures. Eat ice cream, go to the beach, eat marshmallows, have a campfire..... Thanks to some magical days we've spent in Pembrokeshire I think we pretty much managed to tick all of them off the list. I'm sure 'have a sleepover' was on there too but you'll have to wait for that one sonny.

So I can't quite decide how I'm feeling about September. I'm eager to settle into a new routine that will work well for us all but am sad to say goodbye to the warm (ish), carefree and gentle summer months.

I've loved taking a peek at the adventures and lovely moments that you've all been up to too. The My Thursday Breaktime gallery is bursting with post after post of beautiful images. This month we joined up with House by Betty, my favourite local shop in Narbeth, Pembrokeshire. It's impossible for me to resist popping in for a browse and chat with the owner (and now friend) Lauren. I was delighted when she agreed to join us in a giveaway this month and there was nothing more perfect than a set of the totally instagram worthy mugs (also available via the House by Betty online shop here.)
Photo credit: House by Betty
It's been so tricky to choose just one image from all the lovely posts shared. As usual there's been so much variety from family shots, flatlays, to breathtaking landscapes and always a mug or two. I loved everything about these soft (and delicious) images shared last week. The photography shared honestly blows me away.
@cherry.rebecca @peonyandpraxis
@gatheredthreads @wealdstore
It was this mouth watering beauty by Tess from @tesslovesflowers that stole my heart (and lean-eating-wishing-I-wasn't stomach) though.
I actually only discovered Tess's account this month through an entry she made into the #mythursdaybreaktime. Tess shares the most stunning images, it's the sort of account that'll have you swiping your screen and scrolling back and back enjoying them all.

Congratulations Tess, please drop me a line to arrange your prize. Thank you to everyone who's joined in, as always its such a treat to host this hashtag and share favourites with you all each week.

I'm delighted to tell you that we're joining with Organic Surge for September with a very generous giveaway for you all. One lucky winner will receive all four of these beautifully fragrant hand and body washes. The Tropical Bergamont and Orange is my favourite in the shower at the moment and I can't get enough of the Citrus Mint as a handwash. Organic Surge has such a great ethical ethos and I love how natural all their products are. A winning combination in a brand if you ask me.
As usual, to enter your posts simply tag in @littlemaldod and @organicsurge along with #mythursdaybreaktime. A winner will be chosen and announced back here at the end of the month.

However you're feeling about September and whatever the new month holds for you, I hope it's a happy one and that you find moments for yourself throughout.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Sunday Afternoon With A New Camera

Today was a fairly typical Sunday in the Harris household - a slow start, church and an even slower, lazy afternoon. We didn't go much further than across the road to feed our neighbour's chickens, rabbits and to see to their plants. The cafetiere was refilled, the golf was on continuous, new magazines were opened and devoured. The lawn was mowed, Wilf had a typical number of tshirt changes,washing was dried and as usual, by the end of the afternoon, the children completely stripped off and were running around naked pre-bathtime.

The only difference to today was that I had a new camera to document our lazy Sunday moments, to capture the children as they played and record the looks on their faces that, as parents, we often see and know so well.

I've been wanting to invest in a new camera for some time as all I've used up until now has been my trusty camera phone. I've been trialing a camera (*update* an Olympus e-620 for those interested) and this weekend made the decision to go ahead and buy it. I've got SO much to learn but can't wait to try and master it. These photos, taken today, are a glimpse into our afternoon. They're all *unedited* (something else I need to master) but they're my starting point and I hope you enjoy them. I've got plans to shake things up a bit with this blog and look forward to sharing more photos as things move on.