About Me

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I currently live in Birmingham and come from Solihull. I have a love of all things crafty, developed from my mom's love of crafts as I was growing up. I currently work in marketing, but I'm a qualified Aromatherapist, and use to be self employed alongside a day job, might one day return to that. I try to fit in crafts when I can, I wish I had more time and money to spend on it! I enjoy researching my family history and finding out about the past. It can get frustrating, but is really rewarding when you have a break through! I hope to meet people with similar interests as me and swap advice/stories.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012


Trying to get into the Christmas spirit is so much harder this year.

I have not put up the Christmas tree and only have a little deco in the flat, but I did put the decorations up at my parents and have helped cooking all the lovely Christmas foods.

I haven't yet watched all the usual Christmas films and tv shows or actually listened to much music- not even heard Slade yet.

This has been and is the most difficult year. Illness and trying to move. I am just trying to get through Christmas, it certainly won't be the usual Christmas. This year has certainly told me cancer is such an evil disease and we need to know more and do more to stop it.

I have made some plans for 2013...

I am thinking to re-launch my crafts and holistic therapy business, hopefully I'll move and get a new day job (to keep £ coming in whilst I set up crafts and holistic stuff.)
I have already started by getting a new website ready, still need to add in all the information but quite happy with how it's looking.

Craft wise has pretty much come to stand still. I am thinking of re-naming myself and trying new projects...a work in progress!

So despite the doom and gloom, we all need to keep smiling, it's tough but focusing on the positive, there's always something to be thankful for, you just have to look (quite hard sometimes!)

'Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, when one only remembers to turn on the light.'

May the light find you this Christmas.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Mary Berry Queen of Cakes

Baking again- this time inspired by The Great British Bake Off (I was backing Brendan!)

So I dug out a Mary Berry cake book, selected a few recipes to have a go at and here's the first one!

A twist on Devonshire Apple Cake, I added some pears to the cake as well as apples and omitted the almond essence.

450g of cooking apples (if making just an apple cake) or for an apple and pear cake, 2 apples and 2 pears
juice of 1/2 lemon
350g self raising
2 teaspoons baking powder
350g caster sugar (I used part golden caster sugar)
4 eggs
225g butter, melted
1-2 teaspoons of mixed spice (optional)

 Pre heat oven 180C / 350F / Gas 4
Grease and line 12 x 9 inch (30 x 23cm) roasting tin with greased greaseproof paper.

Peel and core apple and pear, thinly slice, squeeze lemon juice over them.
Place flour, baking powder and caster sugar into a large bowl. Beat the eggs together and stir into the flour with the melted butter.

Mix well then spread half the mixture into the tin. Arrange apples and pears over cake mixture.
Pour rest of the mixture over the top.

Bake for up to 1 1/4hrs (mine took around 55 minutes) Check the cake until it is golden brown, with a spring touch.

Leave to cool for 15minutes. Turn out and remove paper.

You can serve the cake hot with custard, ice cream or yoghurt, or leave to cool and eat on its own.

This is a really light, moist cake and the fruit tastes really nice.


Sunday, 23 September 2012


I've just updated my family history page with some more information on looking at weddings through your families history.

Please take a look here

Saturday, 22 September 2012

I dreamed a dream

Well, haven't beenable to get on and update my blog much- got all the ideas but getting to do them is tough right now.

It's been a rocky road and one that won't be getting any easier. Aside from the stresses of moving and all that we were hit by a massive blow that my mom has terminal cancer, it's definatly a difficult time and you just try to adjust and keep going, which isn't always easy. I hope to keep in touch with people and keep doing things I like when I get time and when I have energy. I am hoping to get back into my crafts as I plan to make bits and pieces for Christmas gifts. I also hope to get some new posts on here- I might even later today put a more cheerful one up! I also debated about doing one on cancer, more so as a help/advice to others going through similar things. I have actually just completed an aromatherapy course on cancer care so that's been useful.

Anyway, I always find music lifts me so here's some songs:

Through the rain

March On

Keep holding on

Disney - always light hearted!

Friday, 31 August 2012

Fashion Through The Ages

Over recent years I have become more and more interested and drawn to vintage fashions. Yes some clothes/styles just don't suit, but you can always add a little modern twist to make them more suited/practical.

I thought, since we are building up to the new series of Downton Abbey and since doing some family history research and looking back over old photos I'd take a look at some vintage styles and fashions. This is an ongoing theme and I'll update with various images and descriptions, any good 'where to buy' locations and my own purchases and finds.

You'll find more about the fashions here, but as a quick taster here's a few images.

The 1900s

 The Dowager Countess Outfit - handmade, original period lace was used.

Corsets - all women of this period were expected to wear a corset, no matter your social standing, it was a staple part of everyday outfits.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Who Do You Think You Are?

With the new series on TV I was inspired to get back and update my family history page.

Please take a look here.

Or simply click on Family History page link at the top of my blog.

I have added information regarding marriage.

Here's a few images of past weddings:

Left: Original photo of what we have deduced as my great great uncles wedding c.1921. I'll be coming back to this in a later post on 'mystery weddings' ...some mysteries over this one!
Fred Schulze - m - Marie Rieziska
 Right: My grandparents wedding copy photo.
1938 John Lovelcok - m - Florence Johnson
 Left: My great grandparents original wedding photo 1904
Henry Edward Smith - m - Emma Schulze
Right: Original photo. We had no notes as to who this was, but from deducations and little help we now believe these are my great great grandparents and this is an engagement photo, taken in Germany.

Bruno Schulze and Marie Justine Siebe c.1878

One thing I love about all these photos is looking at the fashions, the different styles over the years and any cultural influences/differences. It's also fun trying to see family resemblances or traits!

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Apricot, Mint and Lamb Meatballs

I fancied doing something a little different for dinner and found this recipe which I adapted. It's nice and straight forward and tastes good too! It's also great because it's freezable, so after it's cooked and cooled down you can freeze it or if you make too many, there's another meal.

Minced Lamb (500g) serves 4
Apricots (approx 8 chopped)
Fresh Mint - leaves chopped
Coriander leaves (1-2 teaspoons)
Cumin (2 teaspoons)
Red Onion - x1 chopped
Bread Crumbs (3oz)
A tin of chopped tomatoes
Optional fresh basil

Pre-heat oven to 200C/Gas Mark 5
Mix ingredients in a large bowl, adding the lamb last. The breadcrumbs can be made by weighing the bread and using a blender for just a few minutes - you can increase/decrease the amount of breadcrumbs you want to use.
Use your hands to break up the lamb and mix fully with the other ingredients.

Roll the mixture into balls and place into an oven proof dish (a foil tin if you want to freeze.)

Pour oven the chopped tomatoes and garnish with fresh basil, or additional mint.

Cook in the oven for approx 30 mins- please note dependant on the quantity and size of meatballs you will need to check them and may need to allow up to 45 mins, so check part way through cooking.


You can serve the meatballs with pasta, spaghetti, salad, in a wrap, chips or with potato wedges.


Friday, 27 July 2012


Pinned Image

Everyone has those 'mental block' moments and struggle to find a way to express themselves, sometimes for no apparent reason and sometimes because life throws a curve ball and we don't know where to turn.

Currently I have several 'curve balls' so it can take its toll. I have temporarily stopped selling crafts and taken a step back whilst dealing with other things, but I still have creative bursts every now and then. I have various craft ideas and blog ideas, as well as my holistic therapies. I find a great way to 'store' ideas is simply writing them down, keeping a record/sketch of whatever it is you are thinking of and then when your ready to carry on you have that store of ideas. It's also great looking at others and their creative designs/plans and tips to inspire you.

Recently I have found a lot of people using quotes and images to express themselves and I think this also a great method- sometimes you yourself can't put into words how you feel or maybe just see a quote that really applies. Here I've found some that seem appropriate to me right now.

Pinned Image

 Pinned Image     Life

Pinned Image

Thursday, 28 June 2012

How does your garden grow?

I was lucky to grow up with a large garden at home, plenty of room to have adventures, explore and build dens, also played football and tennis...although often remember being told off for the football hitting the window, the flower beds, going in the pond...and next door!

My parents are mad on plants and they are everywhere, but now I'm getting into gardening, I don't think I'll ever has as a big a garden (1. it's a lot of work and 2, you rarely have houses with that size garden these days.)

Even though I'm in a flat we have plants growing, despite the small space and I thought I'd show you what we have.

 The kitchen window sill - basil and lemon verbena. The basil is in a decoupaged flower pot, vintage feel black, gold and white floral pattern with a hand painted black rim.

(There is myrtle plant there too, but it some how fell out the window of a top floor flat and it's not looking too good now so I avoided photographing that!)

The juilet balcony with a selcetion of plants including:
Thyme, tomato plants, rosemary, lavender, lettuce and radish

We also have a basket holding sweet williams, chives and a small white flower, the name now eludes me...something about snow!

The Sweet Williams are flowering!

So, as you can see, even tiny spaces can produce healthy plant life! We even have a bird feeder on the window and have a lot of visitors, although since the starlings discovered us the robin and others haven't been around much (or at least not when I've been in!)

Hopefully my next move will allow me to have a herb garden, fruit and vegtables, a small pond and mini wild garden and some beautiful flowers!! Alongside space to sit and enjoy it! (Here's hoping)

What about you? Are you green fingered?

Tuesday, 26 June 2012


Just an update to say my 'Family History' page is active with various stories, tips and advice on research ,as well as photos. This week I have written about Births.

Please take a look, just click on the tab at the top of the page (I know there's some way to put little links in here without getting the full html, but I haven't figured that out yet!)

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Craft Space

As part of Blossom and Snowflake's link party, here's my crafting space:

The coffee table in the living room...with a few craft bits. I don't know whether I prefer working sat on the floor or at a table, but I don't really have the option here (well we have a table but it's not easy getting it out every time you want to craft)

Under the bed has become my main storage area (technically the cupboard was, then I ran out of room and then the wardrobe and then it spread further- I really must clear some stuff out!)

The 'Tom Kitten' box is my jewellery store, it was actually a box for storing baby items. There's a aromatherapy oil box I was meant to redecorate and a vintage suitcase I plan to use for displays.

One day I'd love a craft/office space...for now it's wherever I can squeeze in!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012


So here were some of my Jubilee festivities...sadly the rain came down and we decided not to go to the park, but had a good seat and food watching the tv.
Got carried away with strawberries, but you can see what I was going for!

Butterfly cakes!

Loved this I have to say! Vanilla buttercream with strawberries!!


This song so very appropriate and a great way to end the celebrations!

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Preparations Continue

Well time is escaping me...as usual, and I have decided to have a simple Jubilee celebration...well I have a few foody bits to make, but hopefully nothing complicated, although I just saw another pudding dish I might make (if I have enough strawberries!)

Here's a little peak of some decorations I will be using, handmade (though not all by me.)

 These various items will adorn the flat for the Jubilee and I may well make some more, I have  various ribbons and fabrics around, if I get time I'll see what I can some up with, alongside some lovely food (fingers crossed.)

As well as food and deco, entertainment is important, so yes tv events, possible local park (if weather holds up) but also at home I'm thinking British music and film...so I have a list of possibles:

Take That, Oasis, Blur, Muse, classic rock, 60's - Cliff, Tom Jones etc

The King's Speech, Four Weddings, probably some drama/comedy too, can't beat Only Fools..oh the list goes on!

Monday, 28 May 2012

Jubilee Preparations

It's almost here and whilst I haven't gone all out for the Jubilee, I have suddenly decided I want to do something to mark the day.

First thought is decorations...I'm making some bits and I'll post photos of various items this week, but a big focus is food!!!

Now I'm sure there is a picnic in the park or some event near to me and I might pop along for a bit, but I also want to do something at home and either way food is required. I have seen some lovely reciepes in magazines and I may attempt some, but I also remembered from my time in America a 4th July cake/pudding someone made with strawberries, blueberries and cream in the sahpe of the US flag, so I thought I might try something similar, but whether I make it into a trifle or cakey thing I haven't yet decided. I did however manage to trawl through my American photos and find one of the pudding to work from and I then found this which is quite similar:

I'll attempt something similiar I think...my mouth is watering already!

I'm also thinking of cakes and various dessert items, perhaps a main meal of roast chicken and these bits for afternoon tea!!! Unless we go for the picnic in the park, oh it's all last minute but whatever I do hope it's memorable, and yours too!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Vintage Delights

I visited, for the first time, the Custard Factory in Birmingham last week and went to a fabulous vintage fair, a mixture of clothes, accessories and hand made items for sale (plus some lovely tea and cakes!)

This was the first of these sort of fairs I have been to, was great to see so much variety and so many well kept vintage items surviving.

Although I was on a budget, I did manage to treat myself to a few bits, including this fab vintage dress, date approx 50s.

 I have always liked this style of dress, more so the ones with the petticoats underneath that really give the dress a flare (sadly too much £ for me), but this was spotted by my sister and turned out to be a great buy, already worn once and now eagerly awaiting some sunshine for its second wear!

Other items I found were little accessories that can really make an outfit vintage, without having to go all the way with the whole outfit. One accessory that is popular at the moment are scarves. I found this lovely red flower one, it can be worn in so many ways.

 Round the neck, over the shoulders, as a headband, round a bun, you could even attach it to a bag or, if long enough, use as a belt! Very versatile and in expensive!!!  
Another great item to accessorise yourself is jewellery. Now I make a lot of my jewellery, but also love buying bits and even better when it's handmade (support other crafters) and I picked up this chunky white bead necklace. This has a very 60's feel to it, whilst not original, it was handmade and whilst not my usual jewellery style I have worn this and think it does just give your outfit a little edge of something different.

I am a keen bargain hunter and think if you have a good eye you can really get some great stuff at these fairs, but don't forget to keep your eye out in charity shops, car boots and antique fairs, I've collected a few items here and there and made a few unique accessories by up-cycling old items. I made some lovely vintage button earrings and I'm keeping an eye out for more items like buttons which perhaps don't suit our day to day clothes now, but can be creatively used to make something unusual and fun!

So here's to all the future discoveries. Let me know what you've found, or any vintage style tips you have! Love to hear comments.

Monday, 30 April 2012


Well it's been 'one of those days' and so much going on you always forget to take time out for yourself. So a few tips on relaxation- using essential oils.

I have always used essential oils, much relied upon since I started getting migraines as a child and I still use the oils today for myself, but also as an aromatherapist.

Most people who have treatments with me have specific aliments they need help with, but what is at the heart of everything is finding time to relax. 9/10 times an oil I use in my blends treats problems of stress, worry, insomnia and aid the body to relax.

Most common relaxing oil is lavender- great for so so many things, but ideal for sleepless nights and stress. You can get lavender yourself and just add a few drops to your pillow at night, in an oil burner or in the bath. it works wonders to calm nerves and it is probably the most gentle of essential oils on your skin, even helping with those little kitchen burns you get.

Just look how beautiful it is too- my fave colour purple! A great place to visit is Norfolk, so much lovely lavender, and it's used in so many ways!

Another great essential oil which aids relaxation is Ylang Ylang. A stronger, floral, almost tropical aroma. It is termed as a 'base note', meaning its aroma is deeper and these base notes are known for being good sedatives. You only need to use a small amount of this oil in any burner or massage blend, so as not to overpower the rest of the oils and get the right balance which allows the oil to work at its best.

Another stunning looking plant, that when oils are extracted, can have really benefical effects on the human body and mind.

Other oils that might work for you to help you relax (remember each individual will have preferences over scent, one of our most powerful senses) include:
Chamomile (Roman)
Sandalwood...the list goes on, so why not try them. Even a few drops in an oil burner can make a difference.