Bedfords Country Park

I’ve been having a rough time of it lately and I’m pretty scared about the week ahead. With all this noise going on in my head I thought it would be nice to go for a long walk and get back to nature. We decided to try a new to us country park and picked Bedfords Park which is a 15 minute car ride away in Havering. I was not disappointed. The park was abundant with wildlife with captive red deer, lots of birds, bees, butterflies and wildflower meadows. If you find yourself with some free time and the need to walk like I did, I can’t recommend it enough. I managed to snap a few photographs of my favourite wildlife moments – I hope you enjoy.

scene1

duck1

deer1

deer2

deer3

deer4

deer5

scene2

butterfly

flower

acorn
This is guys – acorns on the trees mean it’s practically Autumn!

bee1

bee2

bee3

Where’s your favourite spot to walk when you need to think? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Primark Haul Vlog

Hi guys,

today I thought I’d try my hand at something different and give vlogging a go. I started off with a Primark Haul vid. I may or may not make more of these. I hope you enjoy!

 

 

SIDE NOTE: Sadly the quality has been compromised a little as the original video file was just too large 🙁 hopefully this does not impair your viewing. If you’d like to see more videos, leave me a comment below!

Mini Lush Haul

Yesterday was payday and I happened to find myself in Southampton travelling back from a holiday we’d spent in Dorset. With post holiday blues weighing on my mind some retail therapy was a must. Whilst I spent a majority of my hard-earned cash on presents for a friend, I did stop off at Lush to replenish my depleted pile of bath time treats. Here’s what I got:

Avobath bath bomb, £3.50

Like every Lushie I have my favourites. My go-to treats for when I need a pick me up. I am a big fan of the Avobath bath bomb. The main appeal for me is that it smells absolutely divine. I am a big fan of fruit/sweet smells and tend to steer clear of the more floral scents. Avobath smells very citrusy and refreshing, turns your bath water an appealing minty green colour and leaves your skin feeling very smooth. I find this to be a great morning treat as the citrus is good for waking me up and putting me in the right frame of mind to tackle a new day. As the name suggests one of the main ingredients in Avobath is avocado – is there anything this magical fruit isn’t good for?!

Avobath

 

The Comforter Bubble Bar, £4.95

I also purchased one of my favourite bubble bars. The comforter is amazing and very sweet smelling. To me it’s quite similar in scent to Snow Fairy with definite candy floss undertones. The main scent however is ‘blackberry’. The comforter will always be a favourite of mine because it smells amazing, produces lots of super-soft bubbles and turns your bath water a pretty shade of pink! What’s more is that you don’t need to use the bar all in one go which makes it great value for money. Depending on how luxuriously bubbly my baths are I can make this bar last up to four baths which is great. Three is a good average though for luxurious bubble goodness.

thecomforter

 

Melting Marshmallow Moment Bath Oil, £2.00

My next purchase was the Melting Marshmallow Moment bath oil. This is a new one for me and I haven’t seen it on the shop floor before either. I haven’t tried it yet but what I can say is that it looks and smells completely edible! This is also similar in scent to Snow Fairy (which happens to be my favourite scent of all time.) The colours remind me of rhubarb and custard sweets! The Lush bath oils usually leave your skin in a fantastically soft state, so I can’t wait to try this one.

melt

 

Percup Massage Bar, £6.50

Another new one for me I decided to give the Percup massage bar a go after reading rave reviews online. One particular review suggested this massage bar was good for smoothing out cellulite and, being of the thick-thighed female variety I thought I’d give this a go to see if I could smooth out my legs a little. When I picked it up in store I wasn’t immediately converted. The bar has real coffee beans in it and it does smell quite like a strong cup of coffee! However, I gave it a go when I got home and when it melts in your hand the smell is much more subtle – and a lot nicer! The bar melts in to a luxurious oil that left my skin feeling nothing short of amazing! I’m not sure how well it will help with my lovely lady lumps but I will continue to use this because I love the silky smooth feeling it gives me. This is great for legs but I should imagine you could use it all over. This bar claims to boost circulation and hydrate your skin. It contains fair trade organic cocoa butter, fair trade shea butter and organic jojoba oil (plus some other lovely ingredients.)

Percup

 

Sea Salted Caramel Soap, £4.25/100g

Last but not least is the sea salted caramel soap which is another new one for me. Why did I pick this up? Quite simply the smell is good enough to eat! Lush describes the scent as: “somewhere between a hot pudding, dripping in caramel, and crunchy cinder toffee.” And boy does it smell good!  I am a big fan of Lush soaps as they last for a very long time and the scent really stays on your skin. I also find these ideal for when I have to shower in the morning and there’s no time for a lovely bath. I haven’t used this yet (have just inhaled it) but I’m looking forward to walking around and smelling like a pudding all day.

seacaramel

What have you been buying in Lush lately?

Didi Inspired Gifts and Toys Shop Review

If you follow me over on the ‘gram, you’ll know that my latest obsession is Sonny Angels – a cute, miniature kewpie doll with fun headgear that hails from Japan. I bought a couple a few months ago and from there it spiralled. I have a nice collection of them now (but no home for them so if anyone can link me to some fun shelving that’d be great) and it is ever-growing. These little toys are highly collectable and secret versions command good money. I don’t care about all that though – I just love their cute little faces!

 ANYWAY.

In a previous post I mentioned one of my favourite shops to buy these little guys from; Retro Kids. In this post I’d like to mention another – Didi Inspired Gifts and Toys which you can find here. Didi Inspired Gifts and Toys is an independent online shop run by the lovely Fiona. This shop is amazing for Sonny Angels (and other cute collectables) so if you’re looking to grow your collection I really can’t recommend it enough. As always with these types of posts, I’m shouting out Didi Inspired because it is an indie, small business that provides amazing service. If you don’t already you really should start – shop small.

 I first discovered Didi Inspired through eBay as Fiona has a shop over on there too. I had been searching in vain for the elusive Sonny Angel Halloween series and just couldn’t find it anywhere – so I hopped on over to eBay and to my luck found that Didi Inspired sold the series. From there I realised that there was also a site, and it was filled with Angel goodness!

I have lost count now how many times I have shopped at Didi Inspired but I am so impressed with the service I have received every time. Firstly, Fiona is very helpful, accommodating and just a lovely woman to chat to – and that’s something I really value and look for in small business. If you have a query Fiona will get back to you promptly and she’s always happy to help. Delivery is always very prompt also, another biggie for me as I’m super impatient! Everything is always packaged well and Fiona always leaves a little note of thanks and discount code for the next time. It’s small details like these that make you feel valued as a customer (and of course, want to come back to shop again!)

The last order I made with Didi Inspired was for an entire box of Sonny Angel Animal Series one. I was really excited to discover that these were on sale at the quite frankly amazing price of £59.99 – I think this is the cheapest you’ll find these anywhere online. Naturally when I saw the price I had to get them! If you’d like a whole box of Sonny goodness you grab one here! But please don’t grab them all as I would like to come back for more!

Anyway, my order arrived wrapped up securely and I was surprised and delighted to discover Fiona had thrown in a little freebie parrot! I love a good freebie so this discovery literally made my day. As I say, I have been shopping with Didi Inspired very frequently (so don’t expect a freebie with every order!)

sonny1
The contents of my order

 

 

sonny2
What a …kewpie pie 😉

Inside one full series box you will get 12 individual boxes. These should, in theory contain one of each of the series. However you could get lucky with a secret. I do like the secrets but I’m not usually that lucky and anyway, I love having the full set. You can imagine how excited I was to open 12 of these little guys!

sonny3

I guess you’re wondering who I got? Well, the full series duh! Here’s the line up…

sonny6
Frog, monkey, rabbit, elephant
sonny4
Lion, Koala, Crocodile, Dalmation
sonny5
Panda, Tiger, Leopard, Cockerel

And the full Animal series one line up together:

sonny7
The usual suspects!

I had another fantastic shopping experience with Didi Inspired and was very happy with my order. In case you were wondering, the little rabbit is my favourite!

Didi Inspired Gifts and Toys doesn’t just sell Sonny Angels though, it’s packed full of cute collectables and goodies for children and adults alike. Some of my personal favourites:

sonny-angels-rabbit-artist-collection-my-happy-snack-2016-p243-651_zoom-2
Okay. One more Sonny Angel. But this isn’t a regular one – it’s part of the Artist Collection and it’s a lot larger. £20.99 (it’s on my birthday wishlist)
kiddiwinks-bumble-bee-resin-money-box-p78-150_image
Super cute Bumble Bee Money Box by Kiddiwinks £9.99
tokidoki-moofia-series-2-blind-box-figurine-p259-801_zoom
Adorable Moofia collectables from Toki Doki £9.20
aurora-10-smitties-rabbit-cuddly-toy-plush-p63-85_image
How adorable is this little guy?! Range of Smitties cuddly plushes £8.50
aurora-8-baby-emperor-penguin-soft-cuddly-toy-p108-208_zoom
Pick up a baby penguin plush (adorably squinty eyes included) for £6.50

 

Happy shopping people – if you grab yourself something lovely please let Fiona know I sent you!

x

Please note, I have not been paid or gifted to write this post, I have done so of my own accord because I have had a great experience and want to support this shop. Where this is not the case I will always express so within the post. If you would like me to review your shop you can get in touch at prettylittlefinch@hotmail.com

A visit to RHS Garden Hyde Hall

Today we woke up and decided upon adventure. Our last few weekends have been lovely but incredibly lazy and we thought it time we got out exploring again. Luckily for me the weather was somewhat overcast (perfect for healing tattooed arms) yet warm with a cool breeze. After some researching we settled on RHS Garden Hyde Hall because it’s a 20 minute drive from us, a relatively cheap day out and because we’d almost visited before – before turning away at the last moment.

I have to say, I may have just found my new favourite place in Essex! I am so glad we paid a visit.

Upon arrival the staff were very helpful, explaining to us where everything was and highlights of the park. We were handed a map and headed off in search of flowers! The garden itself is not huge although it is a good size with plenty to see and explore. If you’re going to pay a visit an ideal amount of time to allocate to your trip would be about 3-4 hours. You can easily explore the gardens in around 2 hours but if you want to take your time (and lots of photos) it’s best to allow for a little more than that.

The gardens are divided up in to sections, with a large pond and converted barn at the very heart. The converted barn cafe is a gorgeous building strung with fairy lights and serving fresh handmade cakes, sandwiches, soups and more. I tried the Victoria sponge with a cup of tea whilst Gareth went for chocolate – we were both surprised and delighted with our choices – if you’re paying a visit to RHS gardens I can’t recommend the cake enough!

The gardens are full to the brim with beautiful flowers, sprawling herbaceous borders, shrubs and fragrant pines.  Alongside all this natural beauty you will find a plethora of birds including goldfinches, blue tits, great tits, sparrows, pigeons, song thrushes and many many more. I happily snapped away at as many birds as I could – feeling particularly excited at spotting some goldfinches.

We spent a good few hours in the gardens just marvelling at how beautiful everything was. Both myself and my lovely boyfriend were very impressed and will be visiting again. I took far too many photos to edit, but here’s a snapshot of our day.

DSC_0002

DSC_0005

DSC_0007

DSC_0008

DSC_0013
Mama duck and her ducklings. Aren’t they sweet?

DSC_0014

DSC_0019
A beautiful song thrush taking a load off on a bench.

DSC_0021

DSC_0023

DSC_0024

DSC_0028
The stunning goldfinch is my favourite bird – so we were happy to spot lots of them!

DSC_0030

DSC_0031

DSC_0034
Swift.

DSC_0038

DSC_0039

DSC_0040

DSC_0044

DSC_0054

DSC_0058

DSC_0060

DSC_0061

DSC_0063

DSC_0064

DSC_0065

DSC_0067

DSC_0068

DSC_0074

DSC_0077

DSC_0079

DSC_0080
Are these giant leaves or do I have a tiny boyfriend? You decide!

DSC_0085

DSC_0087

DSC_0089

DSC_0090

DSC_0091

DSC_0094

DSC_0096

DSC_0105

DSC_0106
Another beautiful song thrush

DSC_0107

DSC_0111

DSC_0112

DSC_0113

DSC_0116

DSC_0119

DSC_0121
Juvenile

DSC_0123

DSC_0125
We found a fried egg!

DSC_0127

DSC_0129

DSC_0130

DSC_0134

DSC_0135

DSC_0139

DSC_0152
A bumble bee rearranges his pollen.

DSC_0155

DSC_0156DSC_0178

DSC_0179
Gareth caught this little sparrow in flight

DSC_0180

DSC_0182

DSC_0192
The beautiful converted barn

DSC_0194

DSC_0195

DSC_0199

DSC_0203

DSC_0210
An unusual spot for England!

DSC_0212

DSC_0215
Blackbird pecks eagerly among the shrubs

DSC_0216

DSC_0218

DSC_0221

DSC_0223

DSC_0226
This song thrush was in the process of smashing a poor snail against a rock!

DSC_0230

DSC_0239

DSC_0241

DSC_0243

DSC_0269

DSC_0288

DSC_0290

DSC_0293

DSC_0299

DSC_0300

DSC_0301

Thanks for reading!

Beautiful Paris; The Catacombs & Notre Dame (unedited photos)

In March my feet started to itch and I decided I wanted to visit Paris. I had been only the year previous in February but it’s such a lovely city that I wanted to visit again and this time, with my lovely boyfriend in tow. So I booked us an impromptu and very last minute trip and off we went! For three nights and four days we spent our time wandering around the beautiful city and soaking up the familiar yet exhilarating sights. I toiled with the idea of blogging about our adventures for some time yet life got in the way and two months rolled around without me doing a single thing with the amazing photos I took. So here it is now – a little late. Just some unedited photos of our trip and some brief descriptions of famous landmarks!

The Catacombs of Paris

Picture the scene; it’s dark, the air is thick with the smell of damp and the cold stone floors are slick with water that drips methodically from the jagged rock ceiling. You’re in a dark, twisting tunnel with loose, gritty floor. You find yourself there after descending an impossibly curved staircase that seems to spiral down in to the very centre of the earth. You know that at any corner you could be faced with the grostequely fascinating – hundreds of skulls and ribcages and thighbones – arranged intricately to form columns and designs. Sounds like a scene straight from an Indiana Jones movie doesn’t it? And that’s because visiting the catacombs of Paris is the closest you’ll get to feeling like you’ve stepped straight in to a lost world. I have visited the catacombs before and I will visit again. It is unlike anything else you will experience. Whilst I don’t know the exact history of these winding caves I can tell you it is beyond fascinating. The tunnels wind on for what feels like a lifetime – all the while as you ramble through them you have that prickle of dread and anticipation – because seeing human skulls laid out like they are is a really crazy experience that will stay with you. I found myself thinking about who the remains belonged to, what they would have looked like, how they got there etc. This is definitely one for the adventure seekers at heart.

DSC_0387

DSC_0388

DSC_0341

DSC_0327

DSC_0324

DSC_0359

DSC_0364

DSC_0347

DSC_0369

DSC_0385DSC_0378

DSC_0344

DSC_0337

DSC_0351

DSC_0330

Notre Dame

Notre Dame is impossibly beautiful. It rises up magnificently to the sky and, it stands alone which seems to make it all the more impressive. Architecturally it is stunning – with carved columns and huge stained glass windows. I feel like I throw the word ‘beautiful’ around a lot when I’m describing the sites in Paris but this is just…wow. Breathtaking. Again, I have visited Notre Dame before and I will again. It is without any doubt my favourite thing in the entire city topping even the Catacombs. The ceilings rise up and away and even though Notre Dame is permanently crammed full of tourists it feels very spacious. The stained glass windows are a real treat for the eyes – with the sun filtering through beautiful shades of gold, red and blues they look like jewels. I don’t have the words to do this place justice so you’ll have to go by the unedited photos and take a look for yourself.

DSC_0448

DSC_0449

DSC_0450

DSC_0462

DSC_0451

DSC_0459

DSC_0465

DSC_0466

DSC_0467

DSC_0468

DSC_0470

DSC_0487

DSC_0491

DSC_0492

DSC_0501

DSC_0503

DSC_0511

DSC_0520

DSC_0521

DSC_0535

DSC_0543

Thanks for reading – there’s more to follow soon!

 

Retro Kids review

 

It’s been a little while since I’ve blogged- almost two months I think (I won’t bore you with the details just yet.) But today I thought I’d write a review of an amazing little shop I have recently discovered. This shop is Retro Kids and if you’d like to have a browse you can do so here

A little bit of background. Retro Kids does what it says on the tin. It caters to kids (big and small) who have a taste for retro toys, gifts and homewares. I am a big fan of anything vintage-inspired and I absolutely love independent little shops. This one is a small family business and as I’ve explained in previous posts, I really think it’s important to shop small and support local.

I first discovered Retro Kids as I was searching for Sonny Angels online. If you’ve never heard of Sonny Angels, they are little collectable figurines – hailing from Japan. A modern take on the traditional Kewpie doll, these little guys feature fun headgear such as vegetables, fruit, animal and so on. There are lots of different series to collect and they come in blind boxes meaning whatever you pick will be a surprise – something which I find seriously addicting! Anyway, I stumbled across Retro Kids because they sell these little Sonny Angels at the best price I could find on the internet.

Priced at £5.95 per box, these little cuties are a serious bargain! I’ve since shopped with R.K on multiple occasions and have had a fantastic experience each time so thought it was worth shouting about!

On this particular experience I ordered four Sonny Angels. Two from the vegetable series and two from animal series version one. I opted for next day delivery and it arrived promptly on time. The packages were all wrapped up in the most gorgeous retro-inspired striped paper bags and came with a free little bag of sweets and a thoughtful handwritten note. For me this really differentiates the service you receive from indie shops to the big boys.  Everything felt very personal, thought out and it was like receiving a gift from a friend which I adored- the small things can really make such a big difference to the whole shopping experience.

retro

retro1
Retro sweeties- yay!
retro3
Sonny Angels come in little boxes and wrapped in blind bags

So I’m sure you must be wondering – what did I get?!

DSC_0954
Crinkly little blind bags – it’s a surprise!

DSC_0955

retro4

This was a very lucky set ! from the vegetable series I got the little cabbage and the sweet potato, and from the animal series I got the elephant and lion. As you can imagine I was incredibly happy with my little haul!

Retro Kids isn’t just great for Sonny Angels however. It has so many wonderful toys and collectables that are perfect for your children or, if like me you’re an overgrown child – yourself! Below I’ve taken some of my favourite picks from the website. Beware, you may just want to buy everything.

ALLC-pink-mint-house-381x400
A cute storage solution for your collectables – £19
milky-cream-woodland-doll-400x400
Lapin & me woodland doll – £15.95
ice-cream-light-pink.1-313x400
Cute ice-cream lamp £11.50
dr_DuALc_RBLuOlqEdshjm5_inJpy3P7B9QtPOpM6Lo-267x400
Adorable sweet heart dolls £16.95

Please note, I have not been paid or gifted to write this post, I have done so of my own accord because I have had a great experience and want to support this shop. Where this is not the case I will always express so within the post. If you would like me to review your shop you can get in touch at prettylittlefinch@hotmail.com

 

Etsy review – biscuits, beans and a couple of Mandrakes

Over the past couple of months I’ve been doing some serious online shopping (whoops!) and have returned again to my favourite online outlet- Etsy! I’ve purchased some really cool things lately so thought I’d blog about what/who I’ve been splurging on.

Please note: this post contains affiliate links.

The Beast Peddler

You can find The Beast Peddler lurking HERE

This shop sells the most amazing handmade art dolls/plush all with a magical theme. It is stocked maybe once or twice a week, usually on Saturdays and stock can range from mandrakes, to teacup demons to little moths. My favourites are the adorable mandrakes and the mushroom folk. Unfortunately these guys are seriously hard to get. When the shop is restocked everything sells out in under a minute. Yep, beasts are apparently big business! I tried for months to get a mandrake without luck, then finally I managed to snag one! (He is called Enwulf and is the little guy on the right.) And my boyfriend managed to snag me one too! (Beowry) Ugh, they are beyond adorable and I am completely in love with them. These are definitely a collectors item though and they certainly don’t come cheap. They are very well made however, ship with an adoption certificate and just add a touch of magic to your home. I am besotted with my little mandrakes and can’t wait to get a mushroom folk to keep them company.

er3

You Make Me Design

You can find this shop HERE

A recent discovery for me, You Make Me Design has very quickly become a new obsession. There’s so much in the shop I want to buy it’s crazy. YMMD features loads of super cool and kitsch jewellery that’s really fun. I am a HUGE fan of all the retro beans items (and have my eye on the cushion) This time I went for the little beans pin which I think is a fun way to add a touch of playfulness to an outfit. It’s been firmly stuck to the lapel of my coat all week and I’ve had lots of comments on it!

er1

Nikki Mcwilliams

You can find this shop HERE

So, I’ve mentioned this shop and Nikki’s fabulous biscuits over on this blog on a few occasions. So much so I hardly feel it needs an introduction however if you’re just joining me, Nikki sells amazing homewares and jewellery all with a super fun biscuit theme! I have a pair of custard cream cushions that I love, as well as a mini custard cream necklace and statement jammy dodger necklace. The next step was obviously one of her awesome brooches. I didn’t actually buy this from her Etsy shop – I went to her website, however she also has a shop over at Etsy so I thought it was worth a mention!

The brooch itself is of amazing quality. Very well made, vibrant and fun. I’ve already worn it out and had some comments on it, it’s just very fun!

er2

Wooden Siberia

You can find this shop HERE

I really don’t know how I stumbled across this shop but I am SO glad that I did. This shop sells kitsch, fun, cute and quirky wooden brooches that have been hand-painted. The designs are really great and the attention to detail is spot on. Let it be known that you heard about Wooden Siberia here first! I think this girl is going to be really successful with her shop and she’s one to watch for sure. I purchased the wooden pretzel brooch and she sent me some extra goodies too! I got an adorable ice lolly brooch, sticker and thank you note. The packaging was also extremely cute. The little touches are what really make me love shopping Etsy – customers are valued so much more and it’s that personal feel that makes it so rewarding. I love my pretzel brooch and lolly pop brooch and can’t wait to wear them around a snack-themed ensemble!

er4

er5

Have you bought anything neat from Etsy recently? Recommend me a shop to check out in the comments below!

 

Lucky Dip Club Box Review

I have been following Leona and her Lucky Dip Club journey over on the ‘gram for a couple of years now – always eagerly awaiting the hashtag to peruse what fun goodies everyone received in the post. I always wanted to get a box, but I was waiting for just the right one – plus I’ve not been very good at keeping track of the time/date and they sell out pretty quickly!

Anyway, when Leona announced the April box as being Breakfast themed I knew it was time I jumped on the wagon. Setting my alarm I finally snapped up a box! As I’ve mentioned, this is my first ever LDC box – I really couldn’t be happier with it!

For those not familiar with LDC, it is a subscription service that sends you a box set to a theme every month. You can also purchase a one off box like I did. Themes in the past have included Cats and Cocktails, Biscuits, Slumber party and so much more. In the box you can expect to receive a bunch of goodies (sometimes personalised) that have been collaborated on by some seriously cool illustrators, artists and creators. This is usually jewellery, pin badges, pieces of art, stationary etc and of course, a copy of the inspiring mag Girl Planet which has lots of tips and insight in to the worlds of various creatives.

Back to the April box. As I mentioned earlier the theme was ‘breakfast’ and the artists that collaborated on it were @belsartworld@tinytreatboutique and @themakearcade whom I urge you all to go and check out!

So, what did I receive in my box?

ldc1

Upon opening the box I could see everything was neatly packaged and wrapped – this element really makes the box feel like a gift which is super exciting. Yay for nice packaging!

ldc2

As you can see the box was pretty full! I’ll go in to detail about each individual piece.

ldc3

In terms of jewellery this box came with a cute Tiny Treat Boutique milk bottle necklace and an amazing cereal pin! This adorable bowl of Yay has been on my coat lapel all week, next to my trusty beans and goldfinch pins. Personally the pin is one of my favourite bits of the box!

ldc9

ldc4

ldc5

Another favourite in the box was this super-cute fried egg brooch kit from The Make Arcade! I was REALLY hoping that egg would feature, so I pretty much lost it when I discovered this friendly little guy inside. The kit comes with step-by-step instructions and everything you’ll need to create the brooch including felt, safety eyes, thread, a needle and  brooch pin. I haven’t made my egg yet but I’ll be giving it a go shortly and fingers crossed my sewing skills won’t let me down!

ldc6

Another thing I adored was this amazing tea towel complete with breakfast truck illustration – the stuff dreams are made of! I think this is FAR too nice to dry my dishes with though so I am thinking about framing it. It really is lovely and feels very good quality.

ldc7

And then of course a lovely little print of the breakfast truck for my wall and a copy of Girl Planet!

ldc8

As you can see the magazine is packed full of fun features – this will be especially interesting to you if like me you are a big fan of Etsy! This page shows Kim Lawler of Finest Imaginary – another to follow on the gram if you’re a fan of handmade and unique jewellery.

So as you can see, the box was definitely worth it! It cost £20 as a one off box with free P&P (I believe P&P is £5 internationally but don’t quote me on that!) I was so impressed with this box that I set my alarm to go off for seven o’clock this morning to grab the May ‘Flower Market’ box! I can’t wait to receive that as I’m a self-confessed cacti lady and lover  of all things floral! If you’re thinking about getting a box I urge you to go for it – you won’t regret it. It’s so fun to receive a monthly box of goodies through your door and in doing so you’re helping to support some really cool gals. What’s not to love about that?! Hoo-rah!

 

RSPB Rainham Marshes – a few shots

On Sunday we were blessed with lovely sunny weather so we decided to make the most of our RSPB memberships and head over to Rainham Marshes reserve. The marshes were absolutely fantastic and whilst I didn’t get the shots I wanted, I did get to see a lot of wildlife and my most favourite- goldfinches! For anyone wanting to visit Rainham Marshes for the purpose of bird-watching I cannot recommend it enough. It is a lovely area also so if you’re not interested in the birds you’d still get a lot of enjoyment out of the walk. When I return I will make sure to take photos of everything and review it properly but for now here are some quick shots of the kind of wildlife you can expect to find there!

rspb2

rspb15
A lone goldfinch

rspb14

rspb13
A dunnock feeding on the ground
rspb12
A great tit feeds whilst a blue tit looks on

rspb11rspb9

rspb8
A lovely greenfinch with his grey cheeks
rspb7
Greenfinch, goldfinch and a sparrow

rspb6rspb5rspb4rspb3rspb1

A trip to Kew Gardens

I have wanted to visit Kew Gardens for a good few years now but have always put it off for some reason or the other. However, my current job permits me free entry and the weekend before last (with the sunny weather) was the perfect opportunity to finally make that trip. It’s taken me a little while to get around to blogging about it, mostly because of how many pictures I took (and therefore had to edit- lazy, sorry!)

We drove down to Kew Gardens in the car – there isn’t really a specific car park or parking – you can park along outside the walls of the garden. Not ideal and we have read this gets busy very quickly. Luckily we arrived early, around ten and we managed to park okay- so if you’re planning on driving to Kew Gardens I’d recommend getting there nice and early!

When we arrived it was lovely and sunny and the air was unexpectedly warm for  late March. Both my partner and I were able to enter for free which was a lovely perk. Upon entering these vast gardens we were met with an appealing sight for the eyes, a beautiful lake and carefully arranged beds of flowers.

kew1

By the lake there was a big glass structure- a tropical house filled with exotic palms and greenery. Inside was really hot and steamy, with water dripping from plant tendrils and thick air fogging up my camera lens. Because of this all of my pictures are a little foggy! I think it illustrates perfectly what it was like to be inside though.

kew42

kew2

kew3

kew5

Rambling through the greenhouse it felt like we were exploring some exotic forest. Among all the lush green foliage was an array of unusual plants and seed pods which were all very interesting to observe.

kew6

kew7

kew9

From here we walked past the lake and through to another large glass building – the structure much like a greenhouse. This was divided up in to sections, such as ‘desert’. We wandered through cacti patches (my favourites) and beautiful lush ferns. At the centre of the greenhouse was a large pond filled with darting fish and lillie pads.

kew10

kew11

kew15

kew14
Love a cactus!

kew13

kew12

kew17

kew18

kew19

After our stroll through the green house we were decidedly hungry and set out in search of a cafe. Walking through Kew Gardens you get to see some really beautiful scenery – tall trees and carpets of flowers.

kew21

kew22

At the cafe (which I believe is reasonably priced) we stopped for lunch. This was a fantastic cafe with a great selection of hot food as well as freshly prepared cakes, packed lunches and more. Gareth had sausage and chips whilst I had the child’s packed lunch! Don’t be fooled though, the packed lunch was filled with delicious goodies and I was quite full after eating it!

kew23

After lunch we strolled through the gardens with no real plan set in mind – just soaking up the sunshine and our beautiful surroundings. We were fortunate enough to spot a beautiful woodpecker.

kew24

kew27

kew26
And a magpie too!

kew28

kew29

kew30

kew31

Eventually we came to a bamboo garden. This, as you can imagine – was filled with bamboo – The Minka House – which is a traditional Japanese farmhouse – also stands here.

kew33

kew34

kew35

kew36

kew37

kew41
Nothing to see here
kew38
Stopping on the bench to rest our aching legs.

From here we crossed the river. Looking at our map we decided to head towards the treetop walk where we would get a lovely view of the entire gardens.

kew39

kew40

As you can see, the tree top walk (pictured above) is pretty high up. Once at the top I was a lot less interested in the view than I had anticipated and concerned myself more with keeping my balance! I never really thought I had a problem with heights, but the metal flooring is pretty rickety (albeit very safe and secure I’m sure) I wussed out! And whilst I did make it the whole way round I certainly wasn’t snapping any pictures OR letting go of the railing!

Back on solid ground we rested a little before heading to yet another green house. There are many of these dotted about, but the largest one of all was closed during our visit. The main attraction of this green house was the big pond in the centre, and the lillie pads and flowers that grew there.

kew43

kew44

kew45

Back outside again I snapped every flower I could possibly find as we walked. There were a great many trees laden with blossom which was beautiful to see swaying in the breeze. Flower beds were all neatly manicured and the colours were very pretty and spring appropriate.

kew46

kew47

kew48

kew49

kew50

The last port of call for us was the rock garden. Upon entering this part of Kew Gardens we were greeted by a brilliant blue peacock sunning itself on a rock! Being a bird person, this was particularly exciting for me to see.

kew51

kew52

kew53

kew54

kew56

The rock garden was filled with lovely plants, flowers and shrubs as well as tumbling water features. Towards the end of the garden a small green house sits. Inside are beautiful plants – some potted, some growing in the earth.

kew57

kew58

kew59

kew60

kew61

kew62

kew63

After this we decided to call it a day as we were both really tired from all the walking we had done! I had a wonderful time at Kew Gardens and can’t recommend it enough. We didn’t even get around half of the gardens so we’ll definitely be back to see the rest of it when the weather is warmer and the flowers are fully in bloom. Spring at Kew is beautiful however so I definitely think it’s worth a visit this time of year. If you’re planning a visit make sure you set aside a whole day to explore – the Gardens are really large and there’s a lot to see!

 

 

 

Ways to wear Pretty Little Finch this Spring

Spring has sprung; beautiful daffodils sway in the breeze, bumble bees hum gently around the blooming flowers and glimpses of white cotton tails can be caught as startled rabbits run for cover under the bramble. It’s a lovely season but with the ever-changing weather (sunshine one minute, showers the next!) it can be hard to dress for.

I think that Pretty Little Finch necklaces are a perfect way to embrace the new season and thought it would be fun to throw together some looks. So here they are – my ways to wear Pretty Little Finch this Spring.

Darling birds of May

Spring is the perfect time to showcase your feminine floral dresses. I’ve teamed this beautiful blue tit necklace with a lovely bright printed dress and felt hat – perfect for picnicking in the woods and gathering wild flowers when the sun starts to shine.

Dress: Forever 21, Hat: Primark, Necklace: Pretty Little Finch

Florals1.jpg

florals2.jpg

florals3.jpg

florals4

Vintage appeal

With the weather being warm but breezy, now is the perfect time to whip out the vintage and silk shirts that may be too hot to wear as the temperature heats up. A vintage shirt layered over a printed dress is an easy Spring outfit that looks charming with a friendly robin necklace. Perfect for perusing your vintage field guides when you’re out bird-watching.

Shirt: Vintage, Dress: Primark, Necklace: Pretty Little Finch

vintage4

vintage

vintage2.jpgvintage3.jpg

New-Season knits

On those days when the sun doesn’t want to shine, a knitted jumper is still an essential. Ease in to the new season with pastel shades. I’ve layered this light grey jumper over a striped dress and teamed with the beautiful bullfinch necklace – the grey, blue and red combination work well together and would make a lovely outfit for a day beside the seaside or a stroll in the shady woods.

Jumper: Primark, Dress: Primark, Necklace: Pretty Little Finch

knits.jpg

knits2.jpgknits3.jpg

knits4.jpg

knits5.jpg

Playful print

Fun prints and patterns are a great way to banish Winter blues and look towards a brighter season. I’ve teamed this slogan tee in a pretty pastel shade with a dogtooth skort. To finish off the ensemble I’ve teamed it with a cheeky nuthatch necklace which I think encapsulates the fun found in nature.

T-Shirt: Forever 21, Skort: New Look, Necklace: Pretty Little Finch

fun.jpg

fun3.jpg

fun4

fun2.jpg

If you’d like to work a Pretty Little Finch necklace this Spring, you can find them here!

What I know VS what I think; the internal struggle

I am 26 years old, an occasional size 10, a frequent size 12 and I’m 5ft4.
These are my numbers. Well some of them, the ones I feel most comfortable sharing. These days I feel like my life is dictated by numbers, most notably the number on the scale (which I’m less keen to share.)

I know I’m not alone. In today’s society I am just one of many in a sea of despairing women (and men) obsessed with their body image and weight. Dieting and exercising relentlessly, putting my frame through hell and back to lose a couple of pounds, to go down a few numbers, to fit. Where I am trying to fit though? Or rather, what am I trying to fit – what are we all trying to fit? Well, a size 8 pair of skinny jeans ideally, but I’d like to feel like I was one of the lucky few society viewed as ‘beautiful’. That would be nice too.

So here’s the thing, despite the fact that at times I am a walking cliche’ and at others I am bordering on hysterical, I have common sense. I know that despite my numbers I am worthy of love, of friendship and ultimately, of happiness. These are my fundamental rights as a human being and being a size 6, 12 or 20 should not affect that. It does not affect that. I tell myself this on a daily basis.

Despite my numbers I am beautiful. I may not be beautiful in a ‘conventional’ sense but everyone is in their own way right? Because beauty is subjective, and what is lovely to one is hideous to another and vice versa – you get the picture. I know I am not a swamp monster living at the bottom of the lake. I have flaws, sure. But so does everyone – I know this.

I also know that in the end, none of these numbers I obsess over so are going to matter. When I die, no one will scrutinising my pile of ash and wondering if it could be just a tiny bit smaller. The only thing I’ll need to ‘fit’ in to is a box placed six feet under the ground. I know that sounds morbid, but it’s true. So in the scheme of things, does my weight really matter?

Well, yeah, kinda.

Because even though I know the aforementioned to be true, it’s not what I really think and it certainly doesn’t change how I feel.

When I look in the mirror I can remind myself of all the lovely compliments I have ever received. I can think about my adoring boyfriend and how he loves the way I look. I can tell myself ‘ beauty is subjective’ – but when I look in the mirror what I see is fat. What I feel is fat. And what I think is, sure, I’m not a swamp monster, but I’m out of proportion and people are going to stare at me.

I do this every single day, multiple times a day, and that feels truly horrible. I stopped wearing jeans because I hated how they highlighted my legs and made them look even chunkier. I don’t wear tight-fitting clothing as it shows my lumps and my bumps. I can’t wear baggy clothing as it looks like I’m wearing a sack. Sleeveless dresses are out of the question because my upper arms are shameful. I wear skater dresses and black tights. It’s what I wear everyday in order to feel comfortable going out in public. To flatter my horrible figure as best as I possibly can.

And even though I know my weight shouldn’t affect my happiness, it inevitably does, especially when it leaves me feeling so ugly and restricted. I exercise every single night. I am on a constant diet and I have been for 8 months now. A lot of my day revolves around how I look because I am always thinking about what meal I can eat and how many calories it contains, or how I can improve my workouts and boost my weight loss. I spend more time than I care to admit researching diet and exercise plans. When it comes to weigh in day, my whole week can be ruined entirely by the absence of a loss. To say it affects my mood, is an understatement. It positively controls my mood.

Finally, I know I am deserving of love and friendship. But this is the thing. It doesn’t feel that way. I annoy absolutely everyone I know by accusing them of lying, by disbelieving anything nice they say, by flying off the handle. I almost always feel that people are looking down on me, that they are judging me or trying to deceive me. At best I think people are just trying to be nice because they are sympathetic.

And that’s the struggle of it all. It sounds so conceited and vain – that’s why I don’t talk about it so much. Because it makes me feel ashamed that something as insignificant as how I look could shape my life in such a negative way. But I know I am not alone with it, there are other people who feel exactly like I do and suffer just like I do.

I see it all the time on social media. And I see the hate too. When a large lady tries to show some body positivity to herself she will often be ripped down with critique such as ‘it’s not healthy to be that weight’ ‘you shouldn’t promote fat’ and etc etc. We’ve all seen it.

Truthfully weight can be an important issue for many and we should be striving to be active and eat healthily.  But in the same vein it’s important to show kindness to yourself, even if you’re overweight/fat/obese…because being horrible to yourself is damaging and it leads to a path that’s hard to come off of. Ultimately it won’t help you.

I’ve spent so long being horrible to myself that I have forgotten how to be nice to myself, and that’s pretty sad. If only I could have kept just a little bit of kindness and support for myself, perhaps then losing weight would have been easier / less of a punishment and more of a journey. Whatever the case I would have been a happier person and that’s what really matters.

In the end your numbers and my numbers are really nobodies business but our own. If people compliment you, or critiscise you always try to remember that it’s your body and it doesn’t exist to please everyone. Body positivity is important for everyone regardless of size and of shape and in the long run feeling comfortable with who you are / what you look like is going to be far more productive than giving in to the hurtful and destructive thoughts that our society sadly forces upon us. There is always going to be someone who disagrees with you and your lifestyle. I’d like to think those people are welcome to their negative thoughts. Instead of imitating what they think and taking it out on yourself,  stick to what you know to be true – show yourself some kindness, you are deserving of it and you are not alone!

A trip to Tropical Wings

It’s been awhile since we’ve had a proper day out. When we were living in London we spent almost every weekend ferrying ourselves in to Essex and beyond for big adventures but since moving to Brentwood we have been enjoying a slower pace of life and the ample countryside around us. Yesterday however we had the itch to explore and because I have wanted to visit Tropical Wings for awhile we decided it would be a good destination.

Tropical Wings is a small zoo with a family focus and it is located in South Woodham Ferrers. It’s very reasonably priced costing £10.95 per adult and £8.95 for kids. Of course, we unlike most at the zoo, did not (and do not) have kids…but I just really like wildlife and getting the opportunity to use my camera! So don’t be put off of going if you don’t have children.

The zoo itself is quite small but it’s a good size. You can get around all of it (at a moderate pace) in around an hour to two hours (we were there for the latter) and there’s a lot of really interesting animals there. If you want to see the bigger animals such as lions, zebra and hippos this probably is not the zoo for you. However it did have a plethora of interesting creatures including wallabies, Capybara, birds of prey, otters etc as well as farmyard animals and the more traditional ‘pet’ animals such as rabbits, guineapigs and chickens. The animals are really well kept too with ‘natural’ enclosures and plenty of space which was nice to see. The grounds are well maintained, everything is clean and it’s a really great place to visit. With some of the smaller zoos the upkeep isn’t always great, but Tropical Wings was really nice.

We started out in the butterfly house. In there it was very warm and there were hundreds of gorgeous butterflies floating around and landing on unsuspecting visitors! This was a highlight of Tropical Wings for me. We even spotted some quail (and as you may know, I love quail!) and some exotic birds which I couldn’t identify. I love having the aspect of walking around with animals and insects flying about doing their thing. Although some of the parents in there were rude and it made me cringe when one man in particular pushed a buggy out through the doors releasing at least two beautiful blue butterflies in to the cold. I hope those were put back in – and I’m sure they were, it just annoyed me a little to see someone be so inconsiderate!

z001
An exotic bird in the butterfly house

zoo2

zoo3

zoo4

zoo5

zoo6

zoo7

From here we moved on to the birds of the world section. Naturally this was always going to be my favourite, but when I saw there were zebra finches I was even more excited! I know what you’re thinking. I have a whole charm of the creatures myself at home/why would I pay to see them. And yes, that’s true but zebra finches are amazing little creatures and it’s really interesting to see a big aviary of them together. There were a lot of chestnut flanked zebs in there too. I could easily have taken a pocketful of them home. I didn’t though!

zoo8

zoo9

zoo11

zoo12

zoo13

zoo14

zoo15
A Harris Hawk – there are some flying displays throughout the day. We caught a glimpse of one.

zoo16

zoo17

zoo18

Whilst wandering around we came across a great many unusual creatures, some of which I (sadly) couldn’t identify. Luckily for us the animal enclosures were all accompanied by signs that identified the animals and highlighted some interesting facts. I really should have jotted these down for the more unusual creatures however being the organised person I am, I didn’t!

zoo20
This is one of said creatures I couldn’t identify! It was really large and adorable.

zoo21

zoo22

 

DSC_0359
Blending in with our surroundings and being oversized kids
DSC_0356
Improvement?

zoo23

zoo24

zoo25

zoo26

zoo27

As we walked around we came across a North American Turkey that was really friendly. He came right up to us and seemed very interested in my camera! If you visit the zoo make sure to say hi to him. Turkeys aren’t necessarily the most beautiful or exotic of animals, but this little guy had a big personality and it really shined through.

DSC_0372
The picture is blurred but this little guy was the best!

The zoo also has a wallaby/Mara walk-through. This was particularly fun and it was lovely to see a wallaby with a little baby stuffed in her pouch!

zoo29

zoo30

zoo31

zoo32

zoo34
A mara and wallaby having a relax in the hay

zoo36

DSC_0406

DSC_0411
Close up of the baby – Gareth took this photo!
zoo35
A capybara and her babies – look how adorable they are! Just like oversized guineapigs!

zoo37

Finally we ended up in what I’d call the pets/farmyard corner. As I mentioned earlier, there are lots of chickens, goats, rabbits, guineapigs etc. I believe that they have a corner where you can experience the animals and hold them (don’t quote me on this!) But that wasn’t an option when we were there. If it was I would have definitely snuggled the bunnies!

zoo38

All in all we both had a great time at the zoo and I couldn’t recommend it enough. If you’re thinking of taking a visit, you can find the website here

This last picture is not from inside the zoo, but just outside. I absolutely love sparrows and there was a great many of them flying about and making nests. The whole site feels very natural and that’s just one of the reasons it’s so lovely.

zoo39

New designs for Pretty Little Finch

So, as I mentioned a few posts back, I have been working hard to create some new designs for my Etsy shop in the hopes of luring more customers in.

I had originally created four designs but, after much thought I decided to listen to what people had been asking for – and I went back to the drawing board to create something new.

After much deliberation I settled on two designs. The robin and the nuthatch. I am really happy with how both of these designs have turned out and think they will get a good reception, what with the Robin being a firm fave with us Brits!

Anyway, here they are – my new pieces.

robin1

robin2

nuthatch1

nuthatch2

I’ve also made a few changes to my existing items, and have re-shot the photos, tweaked the descriptions etc etc. So please go and check it out. If you’d like one of my pieces, please take a look HERE

Thanks for stopping by!

alltogev3

alltogev2

alltogev1