so that was december...

From right to left...
*December was kicked off with a cute and edible blogging social organised by my pal Aspiring Kennedy and held at Biscuiteers in Notting Hill. Proseco and piping made for a fun evening.
*One 'Freelance Friday' started with a brutal scalpel injury and was followed with a visit to a walk in clinic and lots and lots of waiting around. Needless to say that was not a fruitful day of work! Never fear!...Santa Claus popped some nail glue in my stocking.
* We had such a lovely Christmas back in that place we used to call home. I scored big time with Christmas gifts this year. Not a questionable gift in sight, just pure pressie gold!
* A very happy December Sunday, when my friend Camille was baptised, cheered on by the TW family.
* Trinity West's first public carol service. I did a bit of decoration which mainly involved instructing big strong boys up ladders in the art of hanging giant baubles. A highlight was the kid's chance to get involved in a song, aided by the beautiful sound of clashing percussion instruments.
*Our second London Christmas has been and gone and I'm sure London is the best place to be in the run up to all the festivities. Unless you don't like crowds that is.

Well Happy New Year to you all! Hoping the year has lots of great things in store for you. I spent the last day of the year working on a bit of a blog overhaul so I'm looking forward to getting that up and running in 2014!

Merry Christmas

John 3:17 // Original photo from The Collective Quarterly
Why are we celebrating? Do we ever really stop to think for long? Today we celebrate God breaking into this troubled world with a plan to save us from ourselves. He stepped into human history; a real living, breathing, feeling man, destined to live the perfect life we couldn't and pay the price we should have. What an amazing truth to celebrate! Have a very Merry Christmas however you're spending it and I'll leave you with some words from my little bro who puts all this far more eloquently than I'm capable of. 

all tucked up

Happy Friday! It's a very happy one for me as it marks the start of my 2 week Christmas break. I haven't taken any leave since my summer holiday so I AM EXCITED! If you too or relishing your newly acquired Christmas break, perhaps you're up for a few holiday projects or even a last minute gift for a friend. This DIY phone pouch is useful and pretty. Now there's a combination you don't get that often. I'm known for smashing up phones and scratching them into an abstract mess in my bag so this is a welcome addition to my life, for sure! A sewing machine would be very handy for this project, unless you're happy to spend a while hand stitching. 
You'll need...
To make:
  1. Paint dashes onto your canvas with the fabric paint and allow to dry. Cut two rectangles 3cm bigger than your phone from the felt and then do the same from your spotted fabric but leave an allowance of about 6cm at the top. I doubled up my spotted canvas with a plain canvas layer to give a more solid white. Line all fabric sheets up.
  2. Fold the longer top edge of your spotty fabrics over the felt and iron down to hold in place. Then on a sewing machine with the white thread, stitch a straight line to secure.
  3. Then reverse your sides and pin together, leaving a material allowance around the edge. Check that your phone slots in and out.
  4. Use your sewing machine to follow the pins. Curve the corners as this will make it neater when you finally turn it out.
  5. Trim the excess fabric. Cut a few small slits in the excess around the curved corners.
  6. Turn your pouch out. This may take a bit of manoeuvring.
  7. Thread the tapestry thread through a needle and hand stitch into the corner of your pouch forming a loop.
  8. Thread on the beads, pushing them close to the fabric and then tie a knot in the loop to fix them in place. 

And there it is! Happy using or gifting. Tuck all your phones up and keep them safe.

something for your screen

This is definitely something I need to be reminded of everyday. If I really believe that God has shown me more love and grace in Christ than I could ever imagine or deserve then he should be what I treasure most! He has cleansed me of all the wrongs I've done and ever will do and welcomed me into the family of God and I've been blessed with a precious, eternal inheritance that will never fade. He didn't have to do any of this and yet he has. Ignoring this is settling for so much less and how fickle we are even as children of God, when we live out our days treasuring earthly things more than Christ. All the others things inevitably disappoint but Christ never does. What we treasure most with our time, money, thoughts, energy etc shows us what we've really given our heart to.

Download these free desktop wallpapers right here.

festive freebies

Happy Friday to you....and not long now until Christmas. Somehow I haven't managed to buy a single present yet but at least I've got the gift tags sorted (eek). Perk up your gift wrapping with this printable selection.
All you need to do is... 

  1. Download the printable gift tags
  2. Print onto card
  3. cut-out the shapes
  4. Hole punch on the dot
  5. Thread through your string
Download and enjoy while I find some presents to gift wrap and ponder why I haven't written a single Christmas card when I work in the card industry.

aspiring kennedy; what to pack for a trip to England

It’s that time again! Time for Lauren over at Aspiring Kennedy to share some travel love and as my blog readership is shall we say US heavy (an understatement) this should be pretty handy if you are thinking of making the journey across the pond. For more from Lauren, check out her awesome blog. Sit back and soak in all her fun adventures in life and all around the globe.

1. Scarf // This is essential. It'll keep you warm when the sun hides out, and can easily get stashed in your purse when it doesn't. 

2. Coat // I hate to say it, but a coat is almost essential year round here. Light weight trenches or quilted coats are perfect for the "warmer" months.

3. Booties // People think it rains all day in England. That's not true. It just typically rains at some point on every day in England. So while you won't be drenched, you definitely want to be wearing the right shoes when the clouds do cry… or you might find yourself crying, too. I wear booties a lot. It's a good middle ground from the bulkiness of longer boots while still offering good protection from the crappy weather.

4. Water bottle // I like to keep these in my purse when I'm doing the tourist thing to avoid repeatedly paying £4 for bottled water. And yes, the tap water is safe to drink…. and request at restaurants. Hooray for legislation that requires restaurants to provide it for you.

5. Socks // I always say that Brits flash a bit of their quirk through their socks. When you're on the tube, take a peek at the ankles of the businessman across from you. You'll see the brightest and happiness socks peeking out under their dress pants. Get in the spirit with your own pair.

6. Guide //Take some notes from people who know how to travel in the NY Times "36 Hours" book. It highlights some amazing things to see/do/eat during your stay. Oh, and you can also pick up a few things on the travel section of my blog, Aspiring Kennedy.

oh christmas tree

I'm very excited to be putting our tree up this weekend! It was always a bit of an occasion growing up. Even as teenagers me and my brother would clear our diary to make sure we were present on this magical day. Bought decorations are lovely but there's something even better about making a few new decorations every year. Here's an idea to try. These hanging tree decorations look just the right dose of handmade and couldn't be much more straightforward.
You will need...
How to make...
  1. Start by rolling out the clay until it's all about 1cm thick. 
  2. Use your cutters or scalpel around a stencil to stamp out your shapes. Use a pencil to make a hole at the top of each shape enabling you to hang them later. Set aside.
  3. For the circular decorations you need to stamp in your Christmas phrases while the clay is still mouldable.  
  4. Leave all the shapes to dry out overnight or you can use the microwave to dry them out quicker. 
  5. Then glaze your decorations. I did two coats either side to make sure the coverage was even and nice and glossy. 
  6. You can now get busy with your sharpie marker. The gloss enhances the metallic affect. Simply draw out whatever design you want. My doodles are pretty easy to copy. I used a medium nib sharpie but if you want more detail you can go for a fine nib. 
  7. Then thread your string/tapestry thread through the hole and tie a knot in the end.

hug in a bowl

Nothing spells out winter quite like a whopping, great, big bowl of soup. I usually make big vats of vegetable soup during the hibernation months, to take to work for lunch or I whip it out as a speedy dinner (only if Nick isn’t around as he insists that it doesn’t count as dinner). Much as I love squeezing as many vegetables as humanly possible into one broth, I tried something a bit more interesting. Grab your hand blender, follow the link to the fabulous Aspiring Kennedy for maple carrot, apple and bacon soup and get cracking.

so that was november...

From left to right:
* Geering up for Christmas at Trinity West with a scalpel workout, 'Blue Peter style' for our advent series.
* Best bonfire night I've ever had, from the comfort of my own sofa, glass of wine in hand.
* I always get sad about the lack of flowers winter brings but these potted cabbages cheered me up. A clever winter alternative!
* Longest stint spent apart followed by a lovely date day to put things right.
* A whole year in Shepherds Bush and our little flat. It's flown by!
* Sometimes I try to remember what life was like before our DSLR camera. This little friend has had some serious use this month, for work and play. It's also over a year old and I haven't dropped it yet. That's good going for me!

date day

This probably sounds a bit lame but hey ho, that’s me. Nick was away at a conference last week and it happened to be the longest we’d spent apart since being married. It was only five days but I was so ready for him to be back by Friday evening! It made me really thankful for being in a season where my husband doesn’t really have to go away on business trips. I wouldn’t enjoy that. Nope. 
We have date night or date day every week if possible because lets be honest, it’s easy for the busyness of a week to swallow up time to actually connect. It often just consists of dinner and a film or coffee and a chat but I decided to welcome him home with a day of simple things he enjoys. I even made tickets. Luckily Nick finds my creative quirks cute rather than creepy...phew.

It may sound a tad girly but it’s not just me who likes granola in our house. Nick is a big fan and has often asked me to make a homemade batch. In all honesty I didn’t need much convincing and followed this recipe for Brown Butter, Pumpkin Seed and Espresso Granola, adding even more coffee for luck hence the dark colour. We washed it down with banana, coconut & honey smoothies that were so thick the straws seemed liked a misjudgement but tasted yum. Then we tubed off to indulge Nick’s ever growing love/obsession for good coffee. I may well be the only creative londoner who doesn’t appreciate good coffee but I do love food and fun branding so going along for the ride is always a good idea. We ticked off another spot on Nick’s list and walked off our lunch via St Paul’s, the Thames and borough market of course, where Nick felt it necessary/essential to have his third coffee of the day. Basically it was a lovely, chilled day and so nice to catch up properly. Dates can so often be less than lovely when you’re both holding out to spend some proper time together and come to the table with different expectations of a perfect afternoon/ evening. Cue grouchy arguments or huffy sighs. Last Saturday however was a good one and reminded me how blessed I am to have Nick in my life, whether we are spending cute romantic days together, hanging out the laundry together or sorting our online banking together.


It's fast approaching carol season! It's our first proper carol service at Trinity West and I was very happy to design the postcards for the event.  I was equally great to have a bit of time to illustrate, something that so easily gets shoved to the bottom of the design pile. Anyway if you are near Shepherds Bush on Sunday the 15th December than we'd love for you to join us at 5pm for carols, mulled wine and mince pies. Details are on the postcard back below and you can also find out more about us via our website

keep your eye out

Two weekends ago I paid this year's Renegade Craft Fair a little visit. I'd always wanted to go, having followed all the beautiful fairs held in San Francisco, L.A, Austin etc and now living in London I had no excuse not to. It was a pretty inspiring trip all round and lovely to get opportunities to chat to the designers themselves. Its also free (winner) and a really great place to score some cute and quirky Christmas presents so if you didn't get along this year then do go next year. Here are some of my favourite stalls... 
I've seen these gorgeous prints from Paper Moon bouncing their way around the blog world and had already even pinned a few. I think her colour palettes won me over on first glance!
Aren't these beautiful?! Gorgeous illustrations turned into badges and jewellery from Kayleigh O'Mara.
I was already following this talented lady's work but it was great to see all her lovely products laid out together on the Oh no Rachio stand. I love the simplicity in her design and the build your own succulent kits were a highlight. Had to exercise some serious self control to not buy one.

I stared at Lui's necklace selection for a good long while, imagining one of these bad boys round my neck. Stunning colours that would definitely make a statement.

These illustrations probably excited me the most! I'm a sucker for collage as you may have already realised so the Lucy Driscoll stand was a real draw. They're all so thoughtfully put together and yet retain a sense of

This collection of rainbow fun would be enough to brighten up even the bleakest, rainy days (which that Saturday was). Hand Over Your Fairy Cakes is a quirky range of perspex accessories set to put a smile on even the saddest of faces and even more impressively this talented lady is self taught.

Gold, leather and pompoms anyone?...100% yes! Benu is owned by Pauline who loves working with leather. I hadn't really even thought about what a versatile material it was until I saw these. Each design was fun and bursting with personality.

Scout Editions had some really eye catching prints, my favourites being the Bird Series. These are printed using a risograph, which I'd never heard of but it creates a lovely affect and the pops of neon colour caught my fluro-magpie attention.

What a clever idea this is! Ceramic glossed gems look almost good enough to eat, especially in all these powder shades. You'll find them at Made By ME ME ME.


I know that each time I give you a DIY idea I make a point of telling you how simple it is to make but this one really is the easiest and quickest project ever. So if you have the craft skills of a 5 year old then never fear, this ones for you!
You will need to get hold of some glitter sticker paper (a totally genius creation). I found mine in Paperchase and was encapsulated so the glitter ain’t budging but you can also find it here and probably many other craft shops and websites. 

You’ll need:

  • Glitter sticker sheet
  • Metal ruler
  • Card
  • Pencil
  • Scalpel
  • Cutting mat 
  • Clear glasses (look for a flat bottom to sit the candle in)

To make:

  1. Draw an elongated triangle onto your card. Make sure you measure how tall it needs to be for the size glass you have. Then cut the shape out to make a template.
  2. Draw around your template onto the back of your glitter sheet.
  3. Then scalpel each shape out, using the ruler to guide you.
  4. Take each shape individually and peel of the backing paper. Adhere to you glass, lining up the bottom of each elongated triangle next to one another.
  5. When you are getting near to making it the whole way round, work out how many more triangles you can fit in. I had to trim a little off some of my end shapes to make them fit snugly. Alternatively you could use a tape measure to record the circumference at the start and size your triangles accordingly but this is far too technical for my enjoyment!
Now you can light your tea lights and set these glasses a-glowing! They make lovely tables centres and it turns out they look pretty festive (not my intention) so they’ve come right in the (St) nick of time! 

a diy christmas

Despite having been designing Christmas since July in my job, the festive season seems to have somewhat crept up on me. Suddenly there's gift sets at the front of every shop and the coca cola advert graces our screens and all completely unapologetically, despite not even having made it past mid November! There's always tons of stuff to buy everywhere you look at Christmas but I always think it's a great excuse to make things Here are a collection of DIY ideas I've found online to get the creative juices flowing. Sometimes the simplest ideas are actually the best. Happy making! 

something for your screen

Hello! Tuesdays don't generally have much to offer. You aren't at the start of a fresh new week and yet not quite at the middle either and certainly nowhere near the downward slope and wind down to the weekend. So here's some desktop love to put a smile on those faces or at least a smile on your machine's screen. These wallpapers were inspired by the fact that I feel super duper inspired at the moment! If only I had the time to do all the things swimming round in my head! I'm learning (perhaps too slowly) that that just ain't possible and THAT'S OK! Download your free desktop wallpaper here.

So that was October...

From left to right:
*Putting together an online portfolio is something I've been putting off since Summer. I get tired just thinking about it but at least I took the first step by shooting a load of stuff with Nick last weekend.
* So the much talked about Uk storm came and went and I slept right through like a baby. The next morning Autumn lined the floor rather than the trees and it looked kind of beautiful in the aftermath Sun.
* Tea drinking and slipper wearing had been on hold for a while but October left me no choice but to take up these activities once again.
* I'm sure I bake every week anyway but I felt like I baked a whole lot more this month, trying out new recipes and rehashing classics. Baked desserts taste a million miles better than bought!
*A whole month in our new church venue and hoping to stay on much longer. I'm so thankful for God's provision and I'm pretty sure the kids are chuffed about the extra running around space.
* I got new glasses! Hurrah I can see again! Been having a great time reciting shop and sign names from yonder distance just because I can.

autumn flavours

It's recipe time again over on Aspiring Kennedy and it's feeling pretty autumnal in my kitchen at the moment. Keep pumpkin cravings at bay with my seasonal take on our much loved Italian did. I'm sure Italians would not approve but in my opinion it's tastier (although perhaps sightly biased as I hate mince), easier and quicker. Follow this link for the full pumpkin, pancetta and sage lasagne recipe and enjoy this Autumn warmer with a glass of wine.

give me diamonds

It's been so long since I last posted a DIY project....too long! I don't seem to have much time at the moment and yet my head is swimming with endless ideas. Despite these endless ideas, here I am with another necklace DIY. Help me, I can't stop making necklaces! I'm not entirely sure how that happened but I'm just going to roll with it. Here's a simple idea where the star of the show is cork. It's cheap and easy to cut, so you shouldn't be left feeling intimidated.  Here's what you'll need...
  • Flat sheet of cork (you can buy single sheets from Ebay)
  • Rivet Punch
  • Pliers
  • White paint (acrylic or emulsion) and delicate paintbrush
  • Gold wire
  • Chain to the length you want
  • Card
  • Pencil
  • Scalpel
  • All-purpose glue
  • Ruler

How to make...
  1. Draw and cut out a diamond shape from your card. Then draw round it onto your cork and cut out with a scalpel. Make double for backing. You can then either draw on your design or use washi tape to mask off areas before painting with a couple of layers of white paint.
  2. When dry, glue the fronts to the extra diamonds to give them thickness.
  3. Then using a rivet punch, gently make a hole at the top of each diamond. Be careful as cork won't withstand lots of wiggling in one of those punches.
  4. Then cut a small section of wire and use pliers to bend it into a circle leaving a gap. Thread through the cork hole and then close the gap with pliers. Then you can thread your chain through this hoop.

Then you can wear your new necklace (it's so simple it will go with anything) or give it away as a gift. Either way give it a try!


I've been beavering away on lots of different projects recently, most of which I'm not yet able to share but this I can, as well as shamelessly plugging the event while I'm at it. I worked on some design material for the upcoming A29 Europe annual conference which will be focusing on the biblical mandate to scatter gospel centred churches across the world or 'church planting' as you may well have heard it referred to as. I heard great things about last years event so get yourself along. If you're wanting to book or get more info then click here.

bonding over baking

I've introduced my friend Lora before but not only is she a talented designer maker but also a very talented baker! I don't tend to follow recipes for savoury dishes and I'm up for putting my own twist on a dessert but Lora is always inventing new cakes. I see baking cakes as a bit of a science and not something for little old me to tamper with but Lora just wings it and ends up producing the yummiest cake creations. We decided to have an afternoon of baking to try out one of her ideas and so of course I obliged as baking sidekick and taste tester.
The result was soooo delicious. The mixture of sweet and salty worked so well (one of my favourite flavour combinations) and the dark brown sugar gave the sweetness depth. The real star of the show was the honey Lora brought back from Greece. I realised then, that I'd never truly tasted honey before that moment. It was so floral and fresh and you could taste it all the way through the cake where we'd pierced the top. So my advice is invest in some good honey. Next time she goes I will certainly be requesting a jar or two. 
Her tip was to really whip the cake mixture for quite a while, almost as if you were making meringue. This gives it lots of air and helps it rise well. You can't over whip it so go crazy! To try this tempting recipe follow this link to Lora's baking blog, All Day I Dream About Cake.

rosemarie auberson: colour

I pinned these a few weeks ago and decided I had to post them because I think they're just so lovely to look at! I desperately want a huge version on my wall...maybe every wall! These gorgeously minimal collages belong to Rosemarie Auberson, a talented lady who is well aware that less is more. Check out all her collages here

I was also quite taken with the colours she used hence the colour palettes I picked out for you. I hope they inspire! 

aspiring kennedy: lovely places you need to see

Introducing my friend, Lauren Knight from her super duper blog, Aspiring Kennedy. You may have noticed my guest posts on her blog and taken a trip over there yourself already. If not then do! Originally from Dallas, she now lives in London with her hubby Tyler and adorable (like beyond a joke adorable) little girl, Viola. She's incredibly well travelled throughout Europe, partly because of her job and partly because she LOVES to explore new places. Despite being from across the pond, even just within London she knows exactly where to head to make the most of the city around her. So here she is, in what will be a regular feature. Pick 6 will be a window into some of this acquired knowledge and a chance to enjoy her charm.

It took me several times across the pond to venture off the normal American-visiting-Europe path. Like most people, London, Paris, Rome, & Germany sat on the itineraries for each of our first trips.Obviously, these cities are popular for countless reasons…but might I suggest six places that you might not have ever considered? But six places that could absolutely rock your world? None of them are too far off the beaten path either. Trust me, I'll walk you through it.

1. St. Andrews

I love St. Andrews so much.
You don't have to be a golfer or royalist (guilty!)
to enjoy this place either.

I adore wandering through the tiny town
and enjoying quiet moments along the quiet coast…
typically with a cone of Sticky Toffee Pudding ice cream 
from the town's beloved ice cream shop, B. Jennetta's, in hand.

The prices are reasonable,
it's easily accessed by train or bus from Edinburgh,
the charity shops never disappoint in kitschy treasures
and the food at the small cafes is affordably tasty.

I love it there,
and I don't know a person who hasn't adored it 
after venturing that way, either.

2. Prague

Obviously, this one has to make it to my list:
It's where Tyler & I honeymooned!

Something about this city's fairy tale architecture
and lamp lit cobblestone streets,
makes a trip here unforgettable.

And the goulash isn't bad, either!

Accessible via rail or budget airlines,
Prague is a gorgeous city 
that has your name all over it.

Okay, not your name…
but you'll be glad you went.

3. Verona

Verona is a household name
thanks to every high schoolers favorite love story,
Romeo & Juliet…
but the experience you'll have 
in this wealthy city
is anything but textbook.

The restaurants serve homemade food with great presentation,
the gelato cones are heaped generously,
and the streets unfold with stereotypical Italian splendor
at every turn and piazza.

Spend two nights here
and I promise,
by the end of it
you'll be spouting romantic feelings
towards this little gem
in a way that might make Shakespeare blush.

4. Avignon

Most people first venture to the riviera 
when heading to the South of France…
but if they only knew what treasures
awaited them so nearby
they may change their plans entirely
and head towards Provence.

I'm embarrassed to say 
that my first time to Provence was in recent years.

After uncovering the glorious of Avignon
and it's neighbors, Aix-En-Provence & Arles,
I'm not sure I'll ever get enough of this tiny area
sat near the Rhone river.

Every moment feels dreamlike
as you float through the small daily market stalls 
and sit in cafes while wine glasses clink 
and small poodles snooze by your feet.

If it was good enough to lure the papacy 
out of Rome for a stint
and inspire Van Gogh to create his masterpieces,
I can promise: 
you'll love it, too.

5. Portugal's Algarve

I can't say that I was expecting much
out of our trip to the Algarve.

In fact, I didn't have a clue what to expect- 
but, woah, am I glad we whimsically chose to go there.

We constantly refer to it
as one of our favorite spots ever.

Sunny, affordable, stunning views, great food
with easy flights form London…

man, I'm having a hard time not clicking 
to a new window for a budget flight there right now.

6. Iceland

Isn't that, like, completely out of the way
when traveling Europe?

Obviously, but…
not really.

IcelandAir offers great prices
on transatlantic flights
with layover options at no added cost
for a stay in Iceland.

Quick dip in the Blue Lagoon
and a weekend in Reykjavic?

I couldn't recommend this idea more
as the past two treks we have taken there
have rocked our world.


So while you're planning your European vacation,
add in a few days somewhere off the beaten path
and enhance your trip with a stop off 
to one of these (dare I say, "life changing?") destinations.

something for your screen

Happy Tuesday! I bring you more freebies in the shape of cute downloadable desktop wallpapers. Update your desktop by downloading these right here. Enjoy!

simple pleasures

A couple of Saturdays ago I had two old friends over to visit. It was their first trip to see me since moving to London and probably the last time I'd see one of them before she popped and had her little baby! It makes me feel old realising that weddings are now the primary means of catching up with old friends. Anyway in the spirit of my new found love for leisurely saturday morning breakfasts I decided to do just that. Granola was of course on the agenda and I also re-discovered those Just-Roll ready to bake croissants. I'm a bit bummed that these little cylinders of joy escaped my memory for so long. They are so easy to make and you get fresh tasting croissants hot from the oven without all the work and less work is always appealing on a Saturday morning. Each section has markings to show where you cut and then you just roll them up. That's probably where they got the name from right? I decided to add a brown butter and cinnamon filling, made by melting a bit of butter with light brown sugar, spreading the cooled mixture over each square and adding a sprinkling of cinnamon.
Those place names are made from pebbles I found at the beach on our holiday last year! They've just been sat in my dorky, miscellaneous box waiting for such an occasion. It was lovely to have a proper catch up with these girls and it's always better to do that over a meal. Always!