New home

I came across a new magazine the other day called home. Targeted at the home interiors market, this magazine has the rather enticing strapline: Designer Styles At High Street Prices (and isn’t that always a sure-fire hook!?). 
I’m normally a Livingetc devotee and I occasionally drool over the beautiful, if slightly unattainable, pages of Elle Deco. But, I’m also very much into bargains and affordability, hence my love of second hand. So, when I discovered home magazine (priced at only £1.99), I had to give it a go.
It’s actually pretty good and has some really quite individual and aspirational interior designs from real homes plus a good appraisal of high street finds as well as more unusual brands. Best of all, there was a great double page spread featuring one of my design heroes Orla Kiely and her beautiful home. The only naff part, for me, was the inclusion of advice from TV personalities such as Linda Barker and Tommy Walsh – a bit predictable for my liking. I’d rather have insider tips from the stars of the future.
Home magazine is exclusively available through Tesco. Check it out!

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Free tea!

Just when I thought I had received enough treats, a visit to see my parents today has furnished me with another little extra: a box of Betty’s tea and, even better, the lovely tin it came in!
My parents, being Yorkshire folk born and bred, are very particular about their tea and have only ever drunk Ringtons tea. So when they were gifted a box of Betty’s Tea Room blend, I knew it was slightly wasted on them. So, with a subtley dropped hint, it was soon mine. 
I never say no to a taste of anything from Betty’s, which to the uninitiated is a wonderful Yorkshire-based chain of specialist tearooms. But what I really love about this, apart from the delicious tea, is the illustration on the packaging and tin.
The painted illustrations really appeal to me because I collect tea pots. In fact one of the best things about Betty’s in Harrogate, aside from the scrumptious food and drink, is the opportunity to see its fantastic tea pot collection, which I believe is the original inspiration for these beautiful illustrations. For all these reasons, and more, a visit to Betty’s is an absolute must if you ever visit Yorkshire (although be prepared to queue – it is however well worth the wait!). In the meantime I will just have to put the kettle on ready for a brew and admire my lovely new tin.

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2011 and all that

I’ve never really been one for new year’s resolutions. For me, they always seem to involve unrealistic dreams and/or punitive measures of denial or restraint, which is never a good way to start a year and is invariably doomed to failure.
However I do believe that as we bid farewell to the old year and look forward to a brand new one, it is the perfect time to consider all the good things that have happened as well as all the great things we’d like to achieve in the future.
So, rather than resolutions, I like to write a Life List, which can be ongoing and added to each year. Instead of the usual ‘I must do this/I must not do that’ style diktats we set out for ourselves, a Life List breaks your hopes, goals and wishes down into a more bite-sized declaration of aspirations and accomplishments that spans a day, a week, a month and so on.
I think it’s really important that everything on your Life List is realistic, achievable and measurable (and doesn’t rely on any other person/thing but yourself).
I recently read about vision boards, which are a bit like the mood boards used in most creative industries. A vision board is a collage of images, pictures and affirmations of your dreams and desires. Apparently visualisation is also very important when it comes to making things happen so, willing to try anything, I am accompanying my Life List with a Vision Board this year and combining the two here on my blog. I will also endeavour to put both on my noticeboard at home, as a reminder to myself over the coming year.
As you will see, my Life List contains nothing particularly ground-breaking, and that’s just as it should be. But I do believe everything on it is possible (and positive). I hope it provides a bit of inspiration.
Happy new year!

Life List
Every day, I would like to…
Make my children laugh
Do something nice for my husband
Smile at a stranger
Spend time in the fresh air
Every week, I would like to…
Try a new recipe
Do something creative
Have visited somewhere new
Give myself a treat
Tell my parents I love them (and try to do something that shows it)
In 3 months’ time I would like to….
Have booked a holiday
Put up more pictures around the house
Be going for regular bike rides again
Before next year, I would like to have…
Learned how to use a sewing machine
Returned my tax form
Been to a festival
Given the garden a makeover
Vision Board

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Look what Santa brought me

I must have been quite a good girl this year, for Santa brought me some really lovely things including a cross-stitching starter kit (I will be blogging on this in due course), some rose & violet creams (my favourite chocolates), Gok Wan’s autobiography (I’m intrigued ever since I met him) and the beautiful, soon to be discontinued, flower light designed for habitat by Helena Christensen (I have hankered for one ever since it launched nearly ten years ago).
But one of my favourite gifts by far has to be this hand-knitted, and therefore truly unique, tea cosy. Isn’t it gorgeous? As you might have read in my previous posts, I like to collect tea pots and by virtue of that fact, I have a soft spot for tea cosies too.
This cheerful raspberry cosy was made by Blue Shed Knits and was sold through a lovely contemporary crafts shop in my hometown of Harrogate called The Stalls (again, more on this soon).
If you’d like to get your hands on one like this, you can contact Blue Shed Knits on 07971 087332 or email lizrose01@googlemail.com

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Christmas greetings

This is just a short but sweet post to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and to share a few simple images that sum up my Christmas Eve.
Thanks for your interest, comments and support and I look forward to more blogging with you in 2011. Love, Kathryn.

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