“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road”

November 16, 2018

road trip, USA road trip, mustang, Utah, on the road,

Planning a Road Trip

“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than the secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.” Jon Krakauer

I love this quote because it sums up my life perfectly.  I suffer from what my fiancé calls ‘itchy feet’. I am perfectly happy living my day-to-day routine for about 2-3 months and then something takes over and I have this incredible yearning for adventure. A yearning for new scenery, new experiences and rich possibilities. It’s usually at this point that I insist we start planning our next escape. This consists of packing our bags, hopping on a plane and picking up our new ‘horse’ for the week, otherwise known as a Mustang. (James’ one insistence for a USA drive!)

Mustang, black mustang, USA road trip, drive the USA, Colorado, Utah,

I love a road trip.  Just the open road, vast sky above and unknown adventures to come, they are just exhilarating.  I will save all year for this two-week adventure. Some people save for a new car or new clothes, but I’m perfectly happy with my beat up old Kia Picanto (yes I really do have a granny car and I don’t care) and my charity shop and eBay purchases, because it affords me this two week adventure every year. 

map, road trip map, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, road trip planning,

Our first road trip saw us driving through France, Switzerland and Austria with two friends, finally ending up at our friend’s wedding in stunning Lake Garda, Italy. 

The next year we crossed the pond to California, driving a loop from San Francisco to Los Angeles taking in some jaw-dropping scenery in Yosemite, Death Valley and the Grand Canyon along the way. 

Yosemite, Yosemite National Park, USA, Road trip, California, landscapes, travel blogger,
Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA, Road trip, road trip planning, drive the USA, open road

The third trip took us to Canada’s Rocky Mountains. We braced the cold to be rewarded with spectacular mountain views, pristine glacier lakes and gigantic forests. We even saw the odd bear. 

Canada road trip, mountain biking, Whistler, Rocky Mountains, road trips

Last year, we exhausted ourselves with outdoor pursuits in the breathtaking mountains of Colorado and hot and vast deserts of Utah. 

Telluride, Colorado, road trip, hiking, USA road trip, Colorado hiking trails
Bryce Canyon, road trip, travel, USA road trip

So you could say I’ve become a bit of an expert at this planning malarkey. Here are my top tips for planning a road trip to remember.

Do your research

If you already have a rough idea of where your road trip will take you, then it’s a good idea to read up on the locations before you start planning. Don’t just stick to factual books though, I find classic literature great for getting you inspired. In preparation for our USA road trips, I read ‘Travels with Charley” by John Steinbeck and “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac. A classic will gear up your imagination.

Decide the duration and locations

After a bit of research, you should hopefully now have an idea of the country or countries you are planning on driving through, so now it is time to identify how many days you will go for. There’s no point packing five locations into a week-long trip, as you won’t see each place properly. 

For a two-week trip, I’d recommend 4-5 locations to maximize your time in each place and not feel too rushed. I will usually start with a night at the arrival airport to refresh before the first days drive. I then mix up the number of nights we stay at each place depending on what is on offer there. Some drives between two main points in the USA can take a few days, so I will split these up with a night in a hotel along the way. Once you reach the intended place, then stay for 2/3 nights to ensure you have time for those adventures!

Mustang, white mustang, USA road trip, California road trip, open road, on the road


Define your budget

Once you have your duration and location decided, now’s the time to determine your budget. This is important because it will influence where you will stay and what activities you can do. Once your budget is set, factor in each of the following:

Accommodation type – Will you be camping, staying in budget hotels or can you splurge for a night or two? Personally, we like to save our money for the experiences – white water rafting, hiring bikes, horse-riding etc. so we always opt for basic but clean budget hotels. Camping is always a great option too. I usually just book one night at a slightly nicer hotel as a treat and something to look forward to either mid way through or at the end. 

Food – What will you set aside each day for this? I tend to budget for one meal out a day and then buy supermarket snacks to create homemade packed lunches! And if breakfast is included at your hotel, always make the most of this and eat as much as you can. I will take fruit and muffins away as well which act as an ideal mid morning snack.

Fuel – Work out the distance your route will cover, research the fuel price and do the calculations. 

Activities – This is where I’m happy to pay a bit more because I love adventure. Identify what you want to do during your trip and how much it will cost. Set this aside. Remember there are so many free activities you can do as well. I’m a huge fan of hiking which is not only free but great exercise too. 

Chamonix, mountain biking, road trips, outdoor adventures, cycling
horse riding, our, USA road trip, explore USA, mustang, cowboys

Book the hotels in advance

Now that you have your itinerary planned out, I advise booking the hotels. It gives you peace of mind that you will have somewhere to stay every night. Of course, you may be the type who would rather ‘go with the flow’ and have no idea where you will stay. That’s fine too, but being a worrier, I prefer to have a back-up plan! I use booking.com to secure each reservation, but then a month before your trip, contact each hotel directly and ask to book directly with them. The reason I do this is because booking.com allows free cancellation, so if anything happened to prevent you going on the trip (god forbid), you won’t have spent a penny on this. However, hotels will always give a better rate for direct bookings, so once I know that the trip is on 100%, I’ll contact them and switch the booking.

‘Moon’s Road Trip’ by Jamie Jensen is a good place to start researching your trip and accommodation.

Book your flights wisely

I like to get my flights booked as soon as possible because rates tend to be cheaper the earlier you do. Also, if you can try to fly out and back on either a Tuesday or Thursday and early morning or late at night it’s always cheaper! Great comparison flight sites are skyscanner and Kayak. Always shop around.

Don’t always book your activities beforehand

Leave a bit of spontaneity to the trip, you want to keep that excitement going and not knowing what you will be doing each day adds an element of adventure. Sure, if you know you want to go kayaking, then research the best places to go on your route, but there’s no need to get this booked. Weather and unexpected events can throw a curveball at pre-made plans, so just rock up and book as you go!

I’m looking forward to sharing with you a more in-depth review of each of my trips, as there is so much to share! Hopefully I’ll inspire YOU to stop spending on unnecessary things and put a bit back away each month towards an adventure. Til the next time!

wing mirror, reflections, mustang, black mustang, road trips

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Support small businesses this Christmas

November 7, 2018

independent designer, sustainable, shop local, buy better, Christmas shopping

Now the leaves have fallen, and the nights are drawing in, I’ve said a sad farewell to autumn.

Autumn has always been my favourite season for many reasons. It is still warm enough to venture on long walks in chunky jumpers, but with coats left behind. Halloween brings with it childhood memories of fancy dress and spooky games and Bonfire Night offers up an evening huddled around the fire cooking marshmallows, whilst watching the sky light up in multi colours. It is certainly a Lagom season.

Then I blink, and Winter has arrived! I can no longer leave the house without an umbrella. The rain lashes down daily and the wind arrives in full force (taking my fence panels with it!). The only thing I seem to be able to do comfortably is stay indoors.

It’s not all doom and gloom though, because winter does bring with it my favourite day of the year – Christmas of course! 

Cosy fire, slipper socks, winter, hot tea, time for reading, autumn feels

Now we have officially stepped into winter, I am allowed to start getting excited about the festive season, which means I can chuck on the Christmas movies, get the cinnamon candles out and start eating mince pies again!

It is also the time to start thinking about presents – not what I would like, but what to buy my loved ones. This year I have made changes, which I intend to stick by at Christmas and I hope to inspire you to do the same. This year I’m going to get all my gifts from small, sustainable businesses and I encourage you all to do the same.

So here are some tips to have a Green and a Great Christmas by bringing joy to your loved ones and at the same time, making another real person do a little dance around too!

Buy local or from independent makers

independent maker, independent designer, shop local. buy better, Christmas shopping

Buying from large companies and high street brands is very tempting, because we think it is easy. You can go online or to one shopping centre and blitz the entire list in one day. But by doing this you are not only lining the pockets of already stupidly rich people, but you could be buying bad quality and therefore creating more waste. Not only that, but you could be wasting your own money on something your loved one might not even need, because the process of buying is quick, and we don’t necessarily put as much thought into the present. 

This year why not venture down to your local high street and wander into the boutique shops. Yes, the prices are a little higher, there is no denying that, these people have to compete with the corporate brands who are able to keep prices low because they use cheap labour and low-quality products. But by spending a little bit more, your gift is likely to last a lot longer therefore creating less waste. It will be unique, so your loved one will appreciate it more and you are also supporting a real person who has probably put their heart and soul into that creation. That sale will really make their day.

Buy less and buy better. 

Buy less buy better, sustainable shopping, less waste, shop smart, Christmas shopping

When I was younger, my sisters and I would get one main present under the tree and a stocking (well mum’s cut-off tights!) filled with wonderful things. The stocking would be a combination of exciting toys, sweet treats and useful items. It was not completely filled with tat that as a 6-year-old I would get excited by for one day and then discard. I might get a new toothbrush or some lovely bath bombs among the Loony toons Pez or slinky spring. This was incredibly clever of my mum (and maybe my way of thinking began at a much younger age than I realise because of this), because by doing this she ensured we got some lovely presents to enjoy in the form of a couple of toys, but that we also got things that were useful and needed. 

Christmas gifts, Christmas shopping guide, buy better, sustainable living, sustainable design

The main present under the tree was then something we REALLY wanted, a cuddly toy we had seen, a baby doll (in my sister’s case) or a Scalextric (in my case!). Okay, this isn’t a ‘need’ but the point is, it was ONE present and we were so completely happy to get the very thing that we had been looking forward to, that we didn’t need anything else.

I know it’s a lot harder these days with children. I know some children who receive more than ten presents on Christmas day, but most of these are not appreciated and I bet half of them will be quietly disposed of less than a year later. So, what I am trying to say is Buy Less but Buy Better. One quality present is worth much more than ten low quality presents. Or if that won’t go down too well in your house (I don’t have children so I’m not going to be one to preach), then buy several presents but make sure the majority of these are useful or needed too.

Look out for local markets or sales happening in your area

art and wine sale, Yapp brothers, Laura Rich, art, Christmas markets

Around this time of year, the creative community will usually hold a Christmas market or sale. This can be the ideal time to buy art, hand-made goods and food too!

Look in the local papers and join local Facebook groups to see what is happening and go with your Christmas shopping hat on.

In my home town in November, artist Laura Rich realised that the famous wine merchants across the road were having a sale, so she got all the creatives and sellers along the street to join up to create a Wine and Art sale! Now that’s my kind of event! An ideal opportunity to buy Christmas gifts and get your wine for the festive season at the same time.

Shop online wisely

How many of you type in Amazon as an impulse when you open your computer to shop? I’m guessing a large majority of you! Well, here’s a few online sites to check out who sell independent designers and makers. Again, make a real person happy and shop the niche and wonderful products on offer on these sites.

Trouva – for the Independents

Shop the best independent boutiques for homewares, gifts, accessories and clothing all in one place. Can’t get much easier than that!

Trouva, Christmas gifts, sustainable shopping, independent makers

Not on the High Street

The home of thoughtful gifts. Made by creatives, from the UK’s best small businesses. Shop here.

Not on the high street, Christmas shopping, gifts, local makers

Etsy

If it’s handcrafted, vintage, custom or unique, it’s on Etsy.

Etsy, vintage gifts, custom made gifts, handmade, handcrafted

Buy an experience!

Light and Land, photography workshop, photography hobby, shop local

Rather than buy a product or a physical gift, why not buy your loved one an experience. I love this idea because not only does it reduce waste, but it creates experiences and memories, which you know I am an advocate of. 

Do they love relaxing? Then treat them to a spa day or a cream tea afternoon.

Do they have a hobby such as photography? Book them onto a photography workshop.

Do they love car racing or football? Book them a day at the racetrack or do a stadium tour of their favourite club.

The opportunities are endless. Collect moments not things.

Get personal

You know that episode of Friends where Monica and Chandler have to make each other their Valentine gifts? Then you get the jist…

This one is great for the sentimentalists among us, but also if you are saving or short on cash. Why not set a limit this year on budget and make a gift instead? This is my favourite type of gift, because I’m soppy and love a present that a lot of thought has gone into. Ideas include:

Create a photo album of all your special memories together.

Design a book telling that person all the wonderful things you love about them.

Create a photo slideshow of a special time you had together and put it to music.

Give them a book of vouchers for your time – ideas include ‘babysitter for the night’, ‘cook for the night’, ‘foot massage’, ‘dinner and drinks on me’.

Christmas markets, Christmas time, Christmas gifts, shop better, buy better

It’s a time for giving

What we need to remember is that Christmas isn’t about gifts, it’s about loved ones and community. 

It’s a time to show people you care, a time to laugh, a time to be thoughtful and a time to look at the good things in life and appreciate them.

For those who are not as fortunate as us, who don’t have family or friends to surround themselves with, this time of year can be particularly hard. Maybe you have a spare seat at the dinner table and could offer it to a lonely person?

That would be the greatest gift of all.

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When I was 18 I wanted to be a fashion photographer…

October 24, 2018

fashion photography, Bournemouth arts university, vintage photography, sixties fashion

There’s a line in the Baz Luhrmann song ‘Sunscreen’ that goes, “Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life… the most interesting people I know didn’t know at twenty-two what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting forty year olds I know still don’t”.

This really resonates with me today.

I spend quite a bit of time thinking, researching and thinking some more about the topics and stories to feature on this blog. It can be really tricky to make sure content is interesting, appeals to my audience, but most of all that it inspires.

I want to inspire.

Yosemite, light through the trees, Visit USA, Yosemite photography
‘See the light through the trees’ Yosemite, USA 2014
monument valley, road trip, USA road trip
Monument valley 2018

This week, I have decided to share the ‘real’ me, because for those of you who know me, I am a bit of a closed book. This isn’t intentional, I’m just not a great conversationalist I suppose, but I do actually want others to know what makes me tick.

This post is about my journey, my struggles, my joys and what goes through my mind on a weekly basis. I am thirty-four and can now finally appreciate the lyrics of ‘sunscreen’!

Yosemite, USA. Me. 2014

Being a creative person is amazing, but it can also be a constant rollercoaster of emotions. Looking back over the past year, I have come up with five ideas for new ventures I’d like to grow and began planning and building two of these in my spare time.

This sounds great, but in reality trying to do too much has its downfalls, particularly when sticking to one thing is not my strong point and carrying one idea through to completion is even harder. I will get several months into a new project, almost ready to launch then WHAM! I go to bed and my brain pixies start working their magic, planting new inventions for me to dabble with and the previous project is deserted.

New Forest, New Forest photography,  Nature photography
Never stop exploring, even on your own doorstep

I had to congratulate myself a teeny bit when I finally got around to launching Green and the Great. This blog is the culmination of four business ideas I had been beavering away at for the last year.

  1. The first was going to be sourcebook for artists, designers and independent makers to sell their work.
  2. The second idea was an interior design and styling agency. 
  3. The third and maybe the one I got most excited about was a unique escapes directory, discovering awesome places in the UK for quirky stays.
  4.  The fourth was a place to share my love for slow living and ethically sourced products.

After deciding I couldn’t do all four independently, I pulled them together and created Green and the Great. And I’m loving it!

Writing for me is like emptying my mind and sharing my ambitions, ideas and inspiration with others. It has become really enjoyable too. Instagram continues to inspire me daily and I have a renewed love for photography after a few years of neglect.

Which kind of brings me to where we started – the big question ‘what did and what do I want to do with my life?’ 

When I was eighteen I wanted to be a fashion photographer. The piles of Vogue magazine still scattered around my house is evidence of the obsession I had with this. I hadn’t really ‘found myself’ yet and was awed by the glamour and lifestyle in the glossy pages.

fashion photography, mods, the who, sixties photography
One from my ‘Mods’ project

However, at twenty-two and after three years studying fashion photography at Arts University Bournemouth, I realised I hated the city and couldn’t bear to live in London. I ignored my heart for so long because I thought the path I had chosen was the only one and if I changed my mind then in a way I would be failing. At twenty-two I didn’t believe failure was an option.

So, I plodded along really. I moved back to the countryside (so pleased I did!) dabbling in wedding photography, studio photography and odd jobs. I had no idea what I was doing with my life.

Seriously, I was a bit lost.

Mountain photography, sunset, outdoor photography, travel blogger

It has only been in the last seven years, after meeting my fiancé, travelling and doing the things I love, that I can now identify what makes me happy.  These are:

Nature and the outdoors

Exercising, hiking, running, walking

Adventure and road trips

Being in the mountains

Cabins

Appreciating time on my own

Photography – outdoors is my new favourite!

Writing and reading

Chamonix, Chamonix photography, hiking, outdoor adventures
Hiking in Chamonix
Monument Valley, engagement, landscape photography
Road tripping in Utah, Arizona and Colorado 2018

I’m also comfortable knowing that I may have all these great ideas swimming around in my head, but it’s okay not to follow them all through. Or that it’s okay to have started something and then to switch directions half way through if you need to.

I’m not a famous fashion photographer but I don’t think I failed, I’m happy now and in my eyes that’s what success is all about.

This morning I woke feeling excited – I had another great plan in the early hours for a new venture – one that I am super excited about and includes mountains AND cabins! Watch this space…!!!

Bobble hat, skiing, self portrait, France skiing
I’ve discovered skiing too!
Finding someone who loves what you love is key

All images my own.

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Beyond mainstream: Five indie magazines for lifestyle inspiration

October 17, 2018

indie magazines, kinfolk, kinfolk magazine, creative magazine, creative reading

Okay, so my plan for today had been to conquer the ever-growing list of household tasks that have been piling up. However, due to my determination this week to restart my ‘lets get my body fit and strong again’ plan, after two days of intense exercises from ‘Sweat with Kayla’, I now resemble an old lady and can hardly move! I think I have reawakened muscles in my legs that had been asleep for years!

So… as I am sofa bound, I am going to enjoy catching up on some of my favourite magazines for endless lifestyle inspiration.

Whether it’s art, design, travel or fashion that excites you, these magazines explore topics in ways that the mainstream magazines don’t. They are open, honest, inspiring and a little bit sexy! Be awed by the best photography, off the beaten track reviews and matter of fact opinions of creatives and everyday people.

Another magazine, creative magazine, magazine review, travel inspiration, nature magazine

  1. Another Escape

“Inspired by nature to be creative and lead a considered way of life.”

Top of my list has to be Another Escape. This is an outdoor lifestyle, creative culture and sustainable living publication which covers everything I stand for. It inspires me to pursue my interests, follow my dreams and expand my knowledge and passions. Featuring the stories of passionate people, alluring landscapes and deep-rooted, innovative subject matter, this magazine is a journey in itself. The design and photography are simply stunning and not only this, but it is environmentally friendly too, being printed in vegetable inks with a local printer – bonus points!

Another magazine, creative magazine, magazine review, travel inspiration, nature magazine
Another magazine, creative magazine, magazine review, travel inspiration, reading,

2. Kinfolk

This quarterly print and online magazine delves deep into design, interiors, home, art and culture. Kinfolk promotes slow-living and quality of life and has become a leading lifestyle authority. With bestselling books (see previous post on The Kinfolk Home: interiors for slow-living) and a gallery space in Copenhagen, this magazine has a Scandinavian touch to it.

The Kinfolk home, Kinfolk, Kinfolk magazine, creative magazines, indie magazine, magazine review
The Kinfolk home, Kinfolk, Kinfolk magazine, creative magazines, indie magazine, magazine review
The Kinfolk home, Kinfolk, Kinfolk magazine, creative magazines, indie magazine, magazine review

3. Cereal

This is one cool magazine. Cereal is a biannual travel, design and style magazine and is based just up the road from me in the beautiful city of Bath. Each issue focuses on a select number of destinations, alongside engaging interviews and stories covering unique design, art and fashion. The photography is truly stunning. Goals right here!

Cereal magazine, cereal, creative magazines, indie mags, art mag, art and design, travel inspiration,
Cereal magazine, cereal, creative magazines, indie mags, art mag, art and design, travel inspiration,
Cereal magazine, cereal, creative magazines, indie mags, art mag, art and design, travel inspiration,

4. Rucksack

Two of my main passions in life are adventure and photography, so there’s no guessing why Rucksack magazine is another favourite of mine. A bi-annual publication and online journal, Rucksack celebrates both written and visual storytelling through adventure and photography features. Another reason why I love them is that they celebrate new and emerging photographers and writers, connecting a global community of creative storytellers. It is unique, quirky and inspiring! I hope to get a mention one day (#believe in yourself).

Rucksack magazine, travel magazine, travel inspiration, adventure and travel magazine, rucksack reviews,
Rucksack magazine, travel magazine, travel inspiration, adventure and travel magazine, rucksack reviews,
Rucksack magazine, travel magazine, travel inspiration, adventure and travel magazine, rucksack reviews,

5. Apartamento

Celebrating ten years, Apartamento is an everyday life interiors magazine that showcases people’s homes around the world. It is full of influential, inspiring and honest interiors and shows that there are so many different ways to ‘create home’. From designer apartments to a home in a bus, there are no limits!

apartment magazine, creative magazine, interiors magazine, interior design mag,
apartment magazine, creative magazine, interiors magazine, interior design mag,

(All images taken from magazine websites).

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Bruton: Cool, creative, in the countryside. Five reasons why you should visit Somerset’s ‘Little London’

October 10, 2018

Bruton, Somerset restaurants, Hauser and Wirth Bruton, At the Chapel, Scandinavian shops

If you are a creative soul, have a fondness for unique bistros or are lucky enough to live in Somerset (biased here!), then you are probably already familiar with the town of Bruton. For those who are not, let me give you five reasons why you should drop in on your next jaunt to the South West.

If exceptional design shops, quirky lunch options and world-renowned art galleries are your thing, then it’s not to be missed!

  1. World Renowned art gallery ‘Hauser and Wirth’ have a base here.
Hauser and wirth, Bruton art gallery, Creatives, art galleries in Somerset, Roff bar

With bases in London, New York, Los Angeles and Zuric, Bruton in Somerset may seem like an odd choice for this famous art gallery to choose as a home, but with Bruton’s artistic and hip crowd, it makes perfect sense. 

Hauser & Wirth Somerset is a pioneering world-class gallery and multi-purpose arts center which acts as a destination for experiencing art, architecture, and the remarkable Somerset landscape through new and innovative exhibitions of contemporary art.”

 Hauser and wirth, art gallery Bruton, Somerset arts, artist residence, Roth bar and grill, visit Bruton

It also hosts an on-site restaurant ‘Roth Bar and Grill’, serving seasonal, locally sourced produce and event nights. This is where the famous and cool come to party!

2. The dining rivals that of Notting Hill

Staying in the countryside doesn’t mean you are limited to fine dining. Bruton houses a number of superior restaurants and quirky bistros to choose from. If well-mixed cocktails and a Mediterranean approach to British food is your thing, then head to At the Chapel. This Grade II listed former chapel is an all-day restaurant and also offers B&B accommodation in eight contemporary and luxury bedrooms. Locals head here for stone-baked pizzas, film screenings and author talks.

At the Chapel Bruton, restaurant Bruton, fine dining Bruton, mediterranean food Bruton,
At the Chapel Bruton, restaurant Bruton, fine dining Bruton, mediterranean food Bruton,

Fancy something a bit more alternative? Then head over to Matt’s Kitchen. Amazing chef Matthew Watson has made the most of Bruton’s foodie scene and turned his high street space into his very own public dining room. Open Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings, he offers a set menu which varies daily and offers a variety of fabulous and fresh three course meals. The ‘Bring your own booze’ idea makes Matt’s Kitchen stand out from some other venues (and is a cheaper option too!).

If you fancy bumping into a celeb, head to the Roth Bar and Grill at Hauser and Wirth. Celeb’s spotted here include Rhys Ifans, fashion designer Phoebe Philo and Alice Temperley (both who own houses in Bruton).

3. Shop fashion and help raise funds for charity

The FMLY store, brought to you by Selfish Mother, aka Molly Gunn, also calls Bruton home. Selfish Mother started life as a blogzine & morphed into The FMLY Store when Molly launched her signature MOTHER tee back in 2014, to raise funds for female survivors of war. 

Selfish mother tees, Bruton fashion store, FMLY store, goodtees, charity tees,

Here you’ll find #GoodTees by Selfish Mother alongside other cool brands.

Our ethos is that style shouldn’t just look good, but do good, too. Our #GoodTees raise money for GOOD causes (we’ve raised nearly £1 million, since we launched in 2014). They are also produced with a GOOD ethos – fair wear certified, organic cotton & sweatshop free! We lovingly package each order in plastic-free packaging & send from our awesome Somerset HQ.

Selfish mother, FMLY store Bruton, charity tees, sustainable fashion, slow living

4. There is a Scandinavian design shop that promotes slow living.

Caro is a lifestyle shop offering objects for life and home, sourced from around the globe. Caro’s ethos is to share with others the moments we all covet in life: sharing a cuppa and cake with a friend, writing dreams and memories in a beautifully bound book or snuggling down in a warm, cosy blanket. Created by Natalie Jones, a former trend forecaster and Londoner, Caro sells Danish designs including HAY and Aesop and also offers an interior design service if you wish to recreate her style in your own home. Caro is a far cry from the countryside corner shops found in most West Country towns. It screams style and is Green too!

Caro Bruton, Scandinavian design shop, Hay, Bruton design, home decor Bruton

5. Independent makers and designers call Bruton home

This mix of art crowd, celebs, hipsters and foodies has put Bruton on the map, which can only be a good thing for us creative country types!

Independent makers and designers now call Bruton home, which means us country folk can shop locally and source highly crafted and unique design pieces without travelling miles. 

Independent makers, Designers Bruton, shop fashion Bruton, Rag of Colts

One of my favourite Bruton based designers is Rag of Colts, also known as Caroline Strecker. These beautiful bags are entirely hand-made and hand stitched with vintage saddlery and repurposed English bridle leather pieces. Caroline recycles old leather and turns it into a beautiful object which will last a lifetime.

Rag of colts, independent maker, Bruton designer, leather bags, vintage bags

“For me, the recycling element is crucial. The patina, character and story being told in the old leather is far more precious and appealing than new leather. It’s a process that cannot be rushed. Despite it being more time consuming to source and repurpose vintage pieces, the results speak for themselves. Each bag I create has its own distinct look and no two are ever exactly alike.” Caroline Strecker

On top of all this, there’s cheese, wine, beer and the stunning Somerset countryside all around. What’s not to love…?

Like this? Why not check out my review of Pythouse Kitchen Gardens in Wiltshire and Artist Residence hotels.

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The Kinfolk Home: Interiors for slow living

October 4, 2018

The Kinfolk Home, Interiors for slow living, Nathan Williams, Kinfolk, Interiors books
Image from Beautiful House

I’m a huge fan of books – interiors books, art books, design books, novels, I just love to be inspired by others. There is nothing more perfect than spending a Sunday afternoon snuggled up with a good book and a hot drink with no interruptions. That’s slow living summed up right there.

One book I highly recommend is ‘The Kinfolk Home: Interiors for Slow Living” by Nathan Williams. This book embodies the kinfolk mantra of slowing down and simplifying your life, the ethos I live by and hopefully encourage you to do also via this blog.

This book showcases thoughtfully appointed interiors and truly inspirational content, for those interested in interiors and slow living. It is illustrated with beautiful photographs of more considered, beautiful and intimate living spaces. 

Kinfolk home, interiors for slow living, interior design, slow living, interiors book

Slow living isn’t about luxury or laziness, nor is it about forgoing our most beloved belongings – it’s about identifying what, and whom, we simply cannot live without.

— The Kinfolk Home

The Kinfolk home, slow living, interior book, Interior design, book review

Nathan Williams travelled to 35 homes based around the globe to create this collaboration of homes that have successfully embodied the ethos of slow living. The images provide great inspiration for others (you/me!) to adopt this approach in our own homes.

Slow living is the principle of reclaiming time for what we value most, identifying the things and people we can’t live without and cultivating spaces devoted to whatever brings us joy and meaning. The Kinfolk Home covers this beautifully.

The Kinfolk home, slow living, interior books, coffee table book, Nathan Williams

The Kinfolk home, slow living, interior books, coffee table book, Nathan Williams
The Kinfolk home, slow living, interior books, coffee table book, Nathan Williams

“Through a mix of photography styles, we are welcomed into the homes of designers, architects, photographers, entrepreneurs and stylists. Delving deeper than décor, Williams invites us to share their values, the ways those ideals have shaped their homes and the ways their homes have shaped them”.

The Kinfolk home, slow living, interior books, coffee table book, Nathan Williams, Greenterior


Inspired? Five ways to create your own Kinfolk home

  • Style with vintage pieces – avoiding mass produced furniture and accessories is green too.
  • Handmade decor – Support independent designers and artists whilst creating a stylish and beautiful space.
  • Plants – great for the environment and adding warmth and style to a room.
  • Natural timbers, rattan, linen and fur
  • Up-cycled pieces

Incorporating natural timber furniture and decor in neutral earthy tones with soft linens will help you find the perfect Kinfolk home.

the kInfolk home, plants in decor, green interior, vintage decor, unique design

I highly recommended popping this book on your Christmas list pronto, you won’t be disappointed!

(Images from The Kinfolk Home)

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Lagom: food, drink & fika

September 30, 2018

tea and cake, Lagom lifestyle, fika, eat well, healthy eating, balanced living,

If you are going to live a Lagom lifestyle, then getting the food and drink part right is not only vital, but enjoyable too! I’m not sure about you, but my day usually revolves around food, I get way too excited about my next meal!

Here are my top five tips to follow a Lagom approach to eating and drinking. If you love food as much as me, I think you may enjoy this post!

Lagom, hygge lifestyle, cinnamon buns, fika, coffeebreak, tea and cakes
cinnamon bun anyone?

  • Fika – life’s silver lining. 

Lagom culture tends to lean towards balanced meals and healthy eating. However (I hear you breathe a sigh of relief!) one thing they do insist on is Fika – to us this would mean drinking plenty of coffee or tea whilst catching up with colleagues or friends, enjoying a cinnamon bun at the weekend or sharing a table full of cakes and cookies with friends complete with pretty cups and candles. (We have already learned it’s all about setting the ambience!) Remember to keep it balanced though – one cookie is fine but stop yourself reaching for that second. It’s all about ‘just enough’.

Lagom, porridge oats, overnight oats, blueberries, healthy eating, breakfast
Image @healthy_belly


  • Cut back on meat consumption & increase proteins

An estimated one in ten Swedes is a vegetarian or vegan. I don’t expect you all to give up the meat completely, but you’ll be surprised how much healthier you will feel if you cut back to only eating red meat once a week and replacing the other mealtimes with veggie options.

Another way to increase your energy levels is the obvious – cut back on sugary foods such as breakfast cereals and replace with foods high in protein. Currently my favourite breakfasts consist of eggs and asparagus, porridge and blueberries or overnight oats. Joe Wicks has some great recipe ideas which are easy to make and take little time. Trust me, the energy you will gain from making this one switch will help fuel your morning and stop those mid-morning biscuit cravings.

social eating, Lagom, picnic, food, food gathering, hygge, food lifestyle
Image _picnicnac_
  • Enjoy food with others

Food is far more than the experience of hunger and fullness. Food is a great social role – we already all love to get together to enjoy a meal out or takeaway in, so take the Lagom approach and create a social experience around food. 

Ways to do this include prepping the food together whilst chatting in the kitchen before enjoying it around a campfire or picnic table, sharing recipes with each other, going for picnics together or holding a gathering where each person brings one dish to create a feast to enjoy together. The options are endless, but the main goal here is to enjoy it together – this includes the food prep, the eating and the clearing away. Don’t see cooking as a chore but part of the experience.

Blackberry picking, blackberry crumble, Lagos lifestyle, grow your own, cook your own, home baking


  • Forage or grow your own

At a time of global warming and with food waste almost epidemic, there is something very Lagom about growing your own and eating the fruits of your labour. Not only do you cut down on food miles but it’s affordable and you can plan your meals around what is growing in your vegetable patch or on your windowsill. If space is tight for growing your own, then get started on the balcony or window ledge. These are great places to grow herbs, chillies and different types of lettuce.

September and October are a great time for foraging in the woods and hedgerows. I have fond memories of blackberry picking when I was younger, bringing a bag full home and my mum making a blackberry crumble for our Sunday dinner pudding!

mulled wine, Lagom, spiced wine, hygge lifestyle,


  • Enjoy in moderation and don’t forget the mulled wine!

As mentioned before, Lagom eating and drinking is all about moderation. Take breakfast seriously to fuel your day and you will less likely crave the sweet treats. However, treat yourself at weekends and don’t feel guilty! Even better if your sweet treat is homemade, but if not, buy a cake, cinnamon bun, bag of sweets, whatever makes your taste buds tingle – go for it and enjoy!

And seeing as it’s almost October, I can probably get away with mentioning Christmas. Advent is a very special time in Sweden. On the four Sundays before Christmas, the candles are lit, baking begins and the Mulled wine is made – nothing quite beats a nice steaming glass of mulled wine for getting you into the Christmas spirit and feeling Hygge.

Right, I’m off to cook an apple crumble now with the apples I picked up from my neighbour’s apple tree. Happy Sunday everyone!

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Artist Residence – A quirky place to stay

September 22, 2018

Oxford B&B, Oxfordshire hotels, Artist residence, unique hotels, art hotels, quirky stays
Oxfordshire

For those who have not heard of Artist Residence yet, I beg you to read on.

I first came across the Cornwall based Artist Residence, whilst looking for somewhere for our group to stay for a Light and Land tour to Penzance. This quirky and unique hotel instantly stood out to me due to its eccentric style and arty feel.

Interior design, design, homedecor, artist residence, interior, interior styling, interior décor, quirky b&b, interior inspo, London stays, boutique hotels, unique hotels, Oxford hotels,

Who is Artist Residence?

Artist Residence is an eccentric bunch of fun and friendly places to eat, drink and sleep, inspired and styled by Artists and creatives. Currently they are located in Brighton, London, Oxfordshire and Penzance, and another opening in Bristol very soon. Clearly popular and loved by anyone who has stayed with them, their style is fun, imaginative and inspiring.

Interior design, design, Oxford stays, artist residence, interior, interior styling, interior décor, quirky b&b, interior inspo, boutique hotels, unique hotels
Image credit @thecambridgest

Where it all began…

“When co-founder Justin dropped out of Uni to help out with the family B&B on Brighton seafront, he unexpectedly caught the hospitality bug, and set out to improve the business with very little budget. Inspired by the Brighton art scene, he sent out an ad for artists to decorate rooms in return for board. Hundreds of artists soon descended on the place decorating the walls, floors & ceilings with unique murals…and so, Artist Residence was born.”

This is so incredibly inspiring and shows that if you have the talent and passion for something, you really can make your dream a reality.

I love the way that limited edition art is mixed with vintage and found items to create a really unique style. Each location has an individual charm which sits in harmony with the surroundings. Their Oxfordshire retreat has a natural and rustic feel, in keeping with the surrounding countryside, whereas the Brighton retreat is more bohemian and creative, which fits in perfectly with the character of this quirky seaside town.

Interior design, design, homedecor, artist residence, interior, interior styling, interior décor, quirky b&b, interior inspo, London stays, boutique hotels, unique hotels
Image credit @mallyandthemoon

Don’t take my word for it though. Check out their website and my review below and start planning your next mini break!

Will it be Brighton, London, Oxfordshire or Cornwall? I’ve been a bit greedy and have planned both a trip to Oxfordshire and Penzance! Looking forward to sharing with you all soon.

Interior design, design, homedecor, artist residence, interior, interior styling, interior décor, quirky b&b, interior inspo, London stays, boutique hotels, unique hotels

Locations

Brighton

“The original Artist Residence, located on Brighton seafront and overlooking the iconic West Pier. With renowned restaurant, The Set, the fun and casual Set Bar with tapas, cocktails and draught beers, and a secret drinking den tucked away in the basement, this is a lively Brighton hangout with something for everyone”.


Interior design, design, homedecor, artist residence, interior, interior styling, interior décor, quirky b&b, interior inspo, Brighton stays, boutique hotels, unique hotels, Brighton hotels
Brighton

London

“Nestled in the quiet side streets of Pimlico, just minutes from the bustle of Victoria station, this is a home away from home for the city traveller. Neighbourhood restaurant, The Cambridge Street Kitchen, is an all day space for both locals & guests, whilst the moody Clarendon Cocktail Cellar comes alive at night…”

Interior design, design, homedecor, artist residence, interior, interior styling, interior décor, quirky b&b, interior inspo, Oxford stays, boutique hotels, unique hotels, Oxford hotels, Oxford B&Bs,
London

Oxfordshire

“The most recent addition to the family, this is our take on the traditional English inn. The eccentric Mr Hanbury’s Mason Arms serves a creative menu of seasonal British produce downstairs, with 5 comfy bedrooms tucked away in the eaves and the grand Barn suite in the farm outbuildings – the perfect retreat after a night of indulging.”

Interior design, design, homedecor, artist residence, interior, interior styling, interior décor, quirky b&b, interior inspo, London stays, boutique hotels, unique hotels
Oxfordshire

Penzance

“A Georgian manor house in the old quarter of Penzance, a seaside town perfectly located for exploring wild West Cornwall. Our rustic smokehouse restaurant, The Cornish Barn, serves up hearty portions of local meat and fish in an intimate and relaxed setting, with a log burner for chilly days and a sun-trapped garden for those glorious Cornish summers”.

Interior design, design, homedecor, artist residence, interior, interior styling, interior décor, quirky b&b, interior inspo, Cornwall stays, boutique hotels, unique hotels, Cornwall hotels, Cornwall B&Bs
Penzance

Maybe see you there!

If you are looking for limited edition Art or are just interested in Artists and designers, you might like to check out my review of Artist Laura Rich here.

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Koto – sustainable houses & cabins

September 16, 2018

Sustainable homes, cabins, Koto, Scandinavian style cabin, Kotodesign, architect designed cabin, garden cabin

You may have noticed from my Instagram feed that I adore a cabin escape! Being immersed in nature, along with the slower pace of life cabin escapes offer, is what I’m all about. So, you can imagine my delight when I came across Koto whilst browsing Instagram. I was so awed by the beautiful photography on their feed, along with their belief in the ethos of Scandinavian design and a slow pace of living, that I decided I simply must share with you all.

Sustainable homes, cabins, Koto, Scandinavian style cabin, Kotodesign, architect designed cabin, garden cabin

As you know, Green and the Great is all about embracing nature, slow living and sustainability, so Koto’s ethos behind their brand fits really well with what I am advocating.

Sustainable homes, cabins, Koto, Scandinavian style cabin, Kotodesign, architect designed cabin, garden cabin

So, who are Koto?

They are a team of architects and designers with a love for the great outdoors. They design and craft cabins built to the highest quality housing standards. These are luxury, architect designed, energy efficient small buildings that are beautiful and built to last. They are influenced by Scandinavian design, which of course means they are wonderfully minimalist.

Sustainable homes, cabins, Koto, Scandinavian style cabin, Kotodesign, architect designed cabin, garden cabin
Sustainable homes, cabins, Koto, Scandinavian style cabin, Kotodesign, architect designed cabin, garden cabin

Personally, I don’t own a lovely piece of land in the forest or near the sea, but if I did I know that I’d love to have a Koto home built, somewhere I could escape the stresses of everyday life and just be. However, the wonderful news is, you don’t necessarily need to have inherited a huge patch of land to benefit. Cabins range from open houses to small, medium and large cabins. If you are looking for some extra space, say a yoga studio, a home office or a kids playroom, then the small and medium cabins would be ideally suited. They are also delivered whole and complete directly to your site, bonus!

Cabins, Scandinavian homes, Scotland, Scottish highlands, Koto

The pair behind Koto are Johnathon and Zoe, who share a passion for creativity, architecture, design and surfing. They have spent the past decade living in Norway where their love for the natural elements and Scandinavian design began. 

Sustainable homes, cabins, Koto, Scandinavian style cabin, Kotodesign, architect designed cabin, garden cabin

Do check out their Instagram feed to be inspired by beautiful photography and if you are looking to create more space, then check out their website here.

 Now I’m off to cook a roast and dream of the day I can own a Koto cabin in the forest!

Sustainable homes, cabins, Koto, Scandinavian style cabin, Kotodesign, architect designed cabin, garden cabin
Sustainable homes, cabins, Koto, Scandinavian style cabin, Kotodesign, architect designed cabin, garden cabin

All images taken from the Koto website and Instagram page.

This is not a sponsored post, I genuinely love their designs and wish to share with the world.

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Lagom: Work-life balance

September 12, 2018

Hygge life, Lagom, work life balance, autumn feels, outdoor life, interior style
Image credit @jadorelehygge

Do you find yourself promising your family you’ll spend more time with them, but not being able to due to work commitments? Are you worried that your boss will think you’re just being lazy if you ask for some time off or a more flexible approach to work?  

Finding the right balance between your work life and your ‘me time’ can be an ongoing struggle, so let me share my top five Lagom inspired tips to help you make the changes you need to ensure a Lagom lifestyle.


Hygge lifestyle, Lagom, tea break, tea and cake, time out, interior style
Image credit @dear.emilyy

1. Take time out during the work day.

Take a tea or coffee break once in the morning and once in the afternoon, but make sure you step away from your work station to do this. It’s important for our brains to switch off, even if just for 15 minutes, to reboot. If your boss starts tutting about this, sit him or her down and explain how regular breaks increase your productivity. It’s also a great time to interact with colleagues and get ideas flowing. For extra Lagom, throw in a cinnamon bun or slice of cake once a week!

Outdoor life, Lagom, Hygge lifestyle, find time, outdoor life, me time, Chamonix, hiking
Get outdoors more

2. Leave work on time

If you take regular breaks throughout the day, your productivity will increase and therefore you will get tasks done on time. Learn to value your free time as much as your work time and ensure as soon as it’s time to leave, leave!

Lagom, Hygge life, Hygge style, cosy night in, interior style, candles, relaxing image
Image credit @hyggelifeuk

3. Have one or two worry free evenings a week

Give yourself one evening a week, say Friday, when you have an effort free evening and enjoy downtime. Sure, you might cook every night during the week, but use a Friday evening to enjoy stress free food, pop on some comfy pyjama bottoms, light those candles and do what it is that relaxes you and frees your mind. Watch a film as a family, with easy shop bought tacos or invite your best friend round for a glass of fizz or a cup of tea and catch up over nibbles. Most importantly, create a Hygge atmosphere by lighting candles and making the place warm. The key here is simplicity and relaxation.

Sunset, twilight, Hygge lifestyle, Lagom, night sky, interior style, landscape photography

4. Share the workload

How equal is your relationship? From childcare duties to household chores, sharing domestic tasks equally can contribute to happier parents and happier kids, according to Lagom. Throw out that age old notion of ‘blue’ and ‘pink’ tasks and make sure everyone mucks in. Dads/boyfriends should help with the laundry, housework and cooking, as should the mums/girlfriends help with the bins, painting or DIY. Working together decreases stress for all and makes for a happier household.

Hygge life, Hygge style, Lagom, interior style, woollen socks, cup of tea, relax, cosy night in
 Image credit @hyggelifeuk

5. Me time – Don’t forget about you!

With children, spouses, friends and family demanding your time, most of you may be shouting ‘What me time?!’

Balancing work, family and commitments can be time consuming, but it’s so important to find time out for yourself. I have done this by using part of my lunch break to take a walk every single day. Not only does this clear my head from the stresses of the work day, but it is also the time when my creative juices start to flow, and my ideas are formed. This very blog was the culmination of many lunchtime walks!

Don’t get enough time during lunch? Then give up one tv show a week or social media session and replace it with an art class, an hour of swimming or learn a musical instrument. Or simply take an hour and read a book. Use your time creatively and you will see increased focus and a boost in energy.

Hiking, walking, get outdoors, Zion National Park, me time, landscapes,

Try implementing the above over the next few weeks and see the difference. 

Stay tuned next week for my favourite Lagom tips – Eating!

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