Thursday, 31 October 2013


31 OCTOBER 2013

What better way to celebrate All Hallow's Eve than with a hot, steaming bowl of pumpkin soup! This delicious recipe is another of Jamie Oliver's best, courtesy of Below is a picture of the soup we ate tonight thanks to my amazing Mum - and there might be just enough left for me to take some to work tomorrow! 

To make this beautiful winter warmer for yourself, follow this link: 

31 OCTOBER 2013

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

30 OCTOBER 2013

The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.

- Sylvia Plath                                                                
30 OCTOBER 2013

You might wonder where the topic of domestic abuse comes into the theme of my blog - it doesn't seem to fit, right? Well, I disagree.

This blog is about my life and the creativity and design that inspires me from day to day. Drawing on a 'Quote of the Day' that I published last week, I saw an opportunity to share my views on a subject that not only touches my life as a worker in NHS commissioning, but also affects the lives of so many other women (and men) in the UK - domestic abuse, and the cloud of silence that seems to surround it.

Henri Matisse once said that 'Creativity takes courage', and he couldn't have been more right. In setting up this blog, I found out first hand that any element of design or creativity takes a huge leap of faith. Showcasing your most intimate thoughts and feelings can be incredibly daunting, but with the right encouragement and support, you can learn not to fear the criticism and scrutiny. Much of this comes from believing in yourself - from believing that your work is worthy of the limelight.

In a similar way (although in no way do I attempt to compare the severity of domestic abuse and fear of sharing creativity), victims of domestic abuse often stay quite about their suffering, afraid to speak out against their abusers for fear of the consequences, or in the belief that their abuse is a deserved punishment. One in three women in the UK are victims of domestic abuse, yet you would be forgiven for not knowing this because so few victims talk about their experience. But can you really blame them when their abusers make them feel worthless and that they deserve the treatment they receive? Only by building their self confidence and self worth will victims of domestic abuse find the courage needed to speak out against their abusers.

The question is, how do we do this? I know that the answer won't be simple, that creative and inspirational techniques will need to be employed. On 5th November, I will be attending a steering group, aimed at tackling domestic violence in the West Midlands. I hope to gain some insight into what the region is doing to help victims of domestic abuse find the courage to speak out against their abusers. Either way, I feel this action is positive and should be encouraged. Whatever can be done to tackle this violence epidemic should be shared and applauded.

Check back here after the 5th to find out about my experience at the steering group, and my thoughts on what the West Midlands is doing to tackle domestic abuse. 

Monday, 28 October 2013

28 OCTOBER 2013

I have to remind myself that some birds aren't meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright.

- Red, The Shawshank Redemption      

A little Sunday experiment - Chocolate Orange Cupcakes. These chocolatey treats are deliciously zesty and so simple to make. Give them a try by following this step by step recipe. X

Thursday, 24 October 2013

24 OCTOBER 2013

Creativity takes courage.

- Henri Matisse                                                                                    

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

23 OCTOBER 2013

The inner fire is the most important thing mankind possesses.

Edith Södergran                                  
23 OCTOBER 2013

Those of you who have read my blog before will know that I like to dabble in making paper flowers. I thought I'd show you the project I'm working on at the moment - a bouquet of white calla lilies. At the moment I only have two, but I think they're coming along nicely. What do you think? X

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

22 OCTOBER 2013

Most of the time I have all these thoughts bouncin' around in my head... 
but with a brush in my hand, the world just gets kinda quiet.

- Allie Hamilton, The Notebook                       
22 OCTOBER 2013


So, I've obviously been watching a bit too much Strictly, as I've booked myself onto my first ever dance class with Real Dancing in Shirley. I have never danced before, so this will be an interesting experiment to say the least! This week I'll be learning the cha-cha-cha, a dance of Cuban origin. I'll keep you posted on how it goes, so keep checking back for a full update later this week. X

Monday, 21 October 2013

21 OCTOBER 2013

Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.

- Pablo Picasso                                                     

Thursday, 17 October 2013

17 OCTOBER 2013

Somehow, a little sprinkling of Christmas spirit managed to find its way to me last weekend (only about 10 weeks early!). I had a hankering for some gingerbread - something I have never made before - so I donned my Christmas hat (metaphorically of course), rolled up my sleeves, and got baking! Thanks to some fabulous gingerbread house cutters (thanks Karl and Daisy!) I managed to create this beauty below. A little more ginger needed next time, and some experimentation with decoration, but all in all I think it was a success. Keep your eyes peeled for Gingerbread House (Mark II) in December, but in the meantime, embrace the Christmas spirit early and enjoy some of your own gingerbread by following this delicious recipe. X

Sunday, 13 October 2013

13 OCTOBER 2013

I had a fabulous Friday night at The Jekyll & Hyde on Steelhouse Lane in my hometown of Birmingham. This Victorian-themed gin parlour is a twist on the Robert Louis Stevenson novel, Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde, with fun cocktails and a gin-infused gormet menu. A unique experience that must not be missed! Click here to read my full review...X

Thursday, 10 October 2013

10 OCTOBER 2013

I switched on the radio this morning to hear a news story about pioneering developments into degenerative brain disease. As an NHS worker, I instinctively reached for the volume, keen to hear every detail. Extensive research has enabled scientists to prevent the degeneration of brain cells in mice that, without intervention, would have progressed to brain death. This is first time degenerative brain disease has been prevented by an oral compound, illustrating a giant leap forward in improving the mental health of those suffering from degenerative brain disorders like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's.     

This 30 second snippet of news seemed even more poignant to me knowing that today is World Mental Health Day. It's an opportunity to raise awareness of the seriousness of mental illness and the effect it can have on people's lives, but also to celebrate the pioneering medical advancements that make living with mental illness a little bit less painful each day. It is also a day to acknowledge the contributions that those living with mental illness continue to make to society, whether this is through medical research, artistic creativity, or the everyday work of the 1 in 4 people who suffers from a form mental illness.

Since my blog focuses on creativity, I have chosen to list a few of the famous faces who have made an artistic contribution to society whilst suffering with mental illness:

Stephen Fry - Actor & Comedian

Marcus Trescothick - Cricketer for England

Ruby Wax - Comedienne

Gok Wan - Fashion Consultant & TV Presenter

Together these celebrities form part of the backing behind Time to Change - a campaign to raise awareness and reduce the stigma associated with mental illness - by sharing their own experiences of living with mental illness. 

If we are to change negative attitudes towards those suffering with mental health problems, we must embrace World Mental Health Day and talk about mental illness. Perhaps then we can eliminate the stigma that surrounds mental illness and lift the shroud of shame and secrecy that hides it. X

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

7 OCTOBER 2013

Today marks the 4th birthday of my favourite magazine: Stylist. I'm lucky enough to live in Birmingham, one of the cities in which this genius compendium of style and journalism is distributed for FREE. You can also snap up a copy of Stylist in London, Brighton, Liverpool, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle and Leeds. So, if you haven't already done so, pick up a copy and get reading! Whether it's uniquely stylish fashion finds or intellectual feminist editorials, I'm sure you'll find something you love in this truly fabulous magazine. Happy Birthday! X

Issues are release weekly on a Wednesday. For more information and to read the latest issue online, visit the Stylist website or follow the team on Twitter @StylistMagazine.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

4 OCTOBER 2013

It's my birthday today! So, I thought I'd take the opportunity to show you one of my favourite gifts. Everyone knows how difficult it is to find a good watch. I spent many an hour trawling online shops for the perfect one - something classic, but a bit different at the same time. 

I came across The Kensington by Nixon, a California watch brand. Its large face and clean lines are simple but elegant, and classically beautiful. Coming in at £170 and with a Japanese movement, this exquisitely made watch is a bit of a bargain.

Take a look at this unique and up-and-coming brand's gorgeous collection at X