Archive for ‘Three Good Things’

March 19, 2014

Three Good Things.

Hello, and welcome to this week’s Three Good Things! It’s been a few weeks since I did my regular round-up of the small things in my life that have brought happiness to my days. Not because there isn’t any happiness going on, actually I’ve just been really busy enjoying life…

Anyway, without further ado, here we go.

One: Avoca socks

Avoca socks

I know, socks are not exactly the most thrilling of subjects. But when you’re trying to live a more minimalist lifestyle, a new pair of socks is a big deal! I only have five pairs of socks (two pairs of walking socks, one gym, two everyday) so I’ve taken my time to choose a new pair. I first saw these Avoca ones (which are designed in Ireland and made in Italy) a few months ago on a trip away to the Lake District and when the time came to buy new socks, decided to track them down, finding them in a little store in Harrogate, where I spent the day last week. More on the Harrogate trip later. Suffice to say, I love my new socks.

Two: The Grand Budapest Hotel. 

We paid our first visit to the Everyman cinema in Leeds on the opening night of Wes Anderson’s new film (which has its fabulous own website here) and it was such a great night. I loved this film so much. Aesthetically perfect, multi-layered (including being shot in three different formats to distinguish between periods), laugh-out-loud funny and overwhelmingly poignant, this is a triumphal return. As always, the whole film looks like it’s been shot through an Instagram filter, living in that parallel universe where all of Anderson’s films live. Which brings me neatly to number three…

Three: Pink.

I blame Wes Anderson for this. Ever since watching the above film, I’ve been obsessed with the colour pink. Not since Kay Thompson*  sang ‘Think Pink’ in Audrey Hepburn’s ‘Funny Face’ has the colour worked its magic through a film so much. The Grand Budapst Hotel in its heyday is a giant, frothy, towering fondant fancy of a hotel, and it is now all I can do not to paint my whole flat pink. Add to that the blossom trees near our flat that are teetering on the brink of exploding into confetti petals, and I’m totally sold that pink is my colour of spring.

So, those are my Three Good Things this week, what are yours? Do share…

*PS Kay Thompson is probably more famous for writing the ‘Eloise’ illustrated books about a small girl living in the Plaza in New York. They are all utterly fabulous and charming and you should read them. 

February 19, 2014

Three Good Things: learning something new.

Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of Three Good Things!

Sweaty Betty

One.

I’ve wanted to try a yoga class for such a long time but never plucked up the courage to take myself to a class, until I discovered Yoga Kula, a yoga centre really close to home. They offer a free trial class, which seemed like too good an opportunity to miss. I joined a level one Hatha class and I loved it. I’ve since returned for a second class and I’m doing a workshop on Friday night. So it’s safe to say that I’m hooked on yoga. The lovely folk at Sweaty Betty were handing out goodies at my first class, which is where the products in the photo above comes from. I’m going to put the water bottle on my bike–the colour ensures it’ll be seen when I’m on the road!

Watercolour box

Two.

I’ve not done any watercolour painting since I was at school, but I really love the time I spend doing art and craft activities with the kids and I’ve had a real yearning to try some more myself. Thanks to my boyfriend for the watercolour set above, I now have the chance to try! I’ll try to pluck up the courage to share some of my work over on Instagram.

Flow International

Three.

I finally got my hands on Flow InternationalHurray! Although it’s described as a magazine for paper lovers—and indeed it is — I was really drawn to the strap line at the top: Simplify your life, Feel Connected, Life Mindfully, Spoil Yourself. That sounds like my kind of life…

What are the little things that have been making you smile this week? Do share your Three Good Things with me…

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February 5, 2014

Three Good Things: another paper-based edition!

Quite by accident, this week’s Three Good Things has a paper-based theme again. I think it’s because I seem to spend so much of the winter huddled inside, awaiting Spring! Here are the things that have been making me smile this week…

One: Frankie magazine

Thanks to my lovely friend Kay, I have issue 56 of Frankie to read. Even though it’s their December edition, they’re Antipodean, so there’s plenty of sunshine between the pages, as well as beautiful arts, crafts, photography. There is also a iguana, which I initially thought it was a pet. Until half of  it appeared, cooked and nestled on a plate between rice and beans. But I have decided to gloss over that page, with a shudder…

20140202-085634.jpg

Two: The Night Circus

I’ve just finished this novel by Erin Morgenstern and so I’m officially in mourning; a slightly empty ‘what will I do with my life now?’ feeling that appears at the end of a great book. Unfortunately, I passed it along to a friend before I remembered to photograph it for the blog.  Highly recommended.

Three: Zebra Notepaper from Rifle Paper Co. 

Because no matter how many productivity apps I have on my iPhone, I’ll always turn to pen and paper. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as crossing things off a To-Do list, and this pretty note paper from Rifle Paper Co. (bought in Waterstone’s) actually makes me want to get organised!

What are your Three Good Things this week? I’d love you to share them with me!  I will link to any Three Good Things posts you write, in next week’s edition of this series. 

January 22, 2014

Three Good Things: January film edition

This week’s Three Good Things has a distinctly cinematic theme to it. January is the perfect time for film. It’s cold and gloomy outside, and the prospect of snuggling up on the sofa to watch an old favourite has much appeal. I’m also a huge fan of the cinema, so we often venture out into the cold to watch new releases on the big screen.

If Christmas and the summer holidays are reserved for giant super-hero blockbusters, then January is the worthy month; all the serious award heavy-hitters are arriving on the big screen around this time. The Golden Globes have passed and the Oscar nomination list has just been announced. My plan is to watch all the nominated films this year, and I’ve made a good start already.

One.

Hyde Park Picture House.

We’re so lucky to have this beautiful cinema in Leeds, and we recently saw American Hustle there (part of our Oscar nomination list) which was good. Not amazing. But good. Jennifer Lawrence is superb, in my opinion and the source of most of the humour in the film. I’m hoping to spend a lot more time in Hyde Park Picture House this year…

Hyde Park Picture House

Photo credit: @man_with_bag, who also bought my ticket!

Two.

Making an appearance for the first time on Three Good Things – YouTube. Because Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s Golden Globes 2014 hosting is perfect.

Three.

The third Good Thing this week is my joy to have found a fellow film lover to share my life with. As I mentioned, we’re working our way through the Oscar nominated films. Christmas was fun with Frozen and Despicable Me 2 (Best Animated Feature, so they count!)  and of the Best Picture nominations we’ve seen Gravity, Captain Phillips, American Hustle and 12 Years a Slave so far.  Of these, if I was to choose Best Picture it would be 12 Years a Slave. It’s a harrowing, important and beautifully acted film, with many incredible characters and a haunting score. In his Top 5 films of the week, Mark Kermode put 12 Years a Slave in all five positions. Whether it deserves that hype is another matter, but if there’s one film you should see in January, it’s this one.

What are your Three Good Things this week? What do you think will take Best Picture at the Oscars this year? And do you have any film recommendations for me to curl up on the sofa in front of? 

January 15, 2014

Three Good Things: get well soon edition.

I’ve been ill all week with a chest infection and feeling pretty sorry for myself. Thankfully, I have been taken care of very well by my lovely boyfriend and now I’m back on my feet and, a week late,  ready to crack on with 2014!

So, this week’s Three Good Things is the Get Well Soon edition…

One: Flapjack from Millies

When I’m feeling poorly, I tend to indulge myself in whatever food I fancy. My opinion is that it’s a good way of making myself feel better, or at least forget that I’m ill for a while anyway.  I discovered these flapjacks a couple of weeks ago, and OH MY GOODNESS, they are amazing. And, they have lots of healthy seeds and goji berries in them, which totally offsets all the sugar, right? (In my head, yes.) If you ever find yourself in Leeds, then I completely recommend you get along to Millies Local and Organic Store and buy yourself one. Or a bundle. You’ll find them near the cash tills, assuming I’ve left any…

Flapjack from Millie's Organic

Two: Planning travel

Lying in bed feeling sorry for myself has been rubbish. I get to the point where I’m just cross and bored with my own illness. Taking myself out of the situation by planning future travel is an excellent way to cheer myself up. As a result of this, and thanks to my back issues of Lonely Planet magazine, current plans for the year include Paris, Amsterdam, a bit of Scandinavia and Oxford. I plan to travel alone, with friends, with my beloved children and with my equally beloved boyfriend. I’m very excited about these plans. Now I just need to pay for them!

Lonely Planet magazine

Three: Long baths.

Long, warm baths are just the thing for helping to soothe away the soreness that comes from being ill. A favourite bath oil, a fragrant candle, and a good book complete the picture. Heaven.

Bathroom

What have your Three Good Things been this week? I’d love to hear from you.

Let me know if you write a Three Good Things post, and I’ll link back to it in next week’s edition.

December 4, 2013

Three Good Things:Country Living Christmas Fair edition

It’s been a while since I did a Three Good Things post, and I’ve decided to resurrect the series for Wednesdays, whenever I’ve got enough good things to share! I went to the Country Living Christmas Fair in Harrogate last weekend and had a lovely day buying gifts for people, a few decorations for our new home and a couple of treats for myself! For me, this Fair marks the real start of Christmas, and now it’s finally December, I am starting to feel festive…

One:

Quernus Reindeer

First up is my reindeer from Quernus Crafts. He’s about an inch tall. Kirsten, the creator of these wee creatures, is a lovely friend and her amazing creations never fail to raise a smile. I have several now, including ‘Margot and Barbara’ mice and ‘Coco Chanel’ cat, that I had commissioned. I’m also really looking forward to bringing my Quernus mouse ballet (The Nutcracker, obviously!) back out of storage for Christmas and this little chap is the first decoration I’ve bought for my tree. As we’re three floors up, we’re going for a small, potted tree which will hopefully survive for next Christmas too!

Two. 

Malinka's fairy

The next decoration I bought is this fabulous tiny Christmas fairy from Halinka’s Fairies. Again, this is entirely hand-made and it’s just beautiful. I can see a collection of these in my Christmas future – the beauty of a small tree is that you need fewer decorations and so each one can be special.

My children are going to be so excited to see both of these new decorations!

Three.

IMG_9340

I have been wanting a pair of wrist warmers for ever, and these cashmere ones were a bit of a bargain, so I indulged. Sometimes I get really cold even when I’m inside and these really do make me feel better. And they’re super-soft too. Lovely. Pilling already, typically, but lovely nonetheless.

What are your Three Good Things this week? Have you bought any new decorations? Feeling festive? 

September 18, 2013

Three Good Things: Week 9

Hello, and welcome to this week’s edition of Three Good Things!

As ever, this post is about finding the small things that make me happy and grateful for my life.

Last weekend, I did a two day course at the West Yorkshire Print Workshop, and so this week’s Three Good Things is heavily influenced by that experience…

One: Hello!

Hello letterpress print

I did loads of different prints on my course, and this one, which was the fastest to create, is a bit of a favourite. It’s a brighter lime green than it appears in this photo (taken in poor light), and will be framed to go on the wall in my new home.  I love the simplicity and the way that the old, wooden type has created imperfections in the print. To me, letterpress  (with old type, rather than new photopolymer plates) is a wonderful example of the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi; the beauty in impermanence and imperfection. I’ll be blogging more about my experiences at the West Yorkshire Print Workshop on Friday!

Two: Uppercase.

Uppercase magazine

Uppercase magazine is a visual treat every issue. The special stationery issue in this photo was the final push in my decision to sign up for a letterpress course in the first place and I read every issue from cover to cover and keep them for inspiration. They describe themselves as ‘creative and curious’ to which I’d add joyful, colour-filled and uplifting.  Even, if, like me, you’re not already working in a creative industry, it’s really inspiring. It’s definitely influencing plans I’m dreaming up for the future and I’m already looking forward to the next ‘gem’ themed issue.

Uppercase is available from loads of places, but I buy mine from Colours May Vary.

Three: Just My Type.

Just My Type

This book about fonts is my current read. I’ve loved Simon Garfield since I read his beautifully edited trilogy of books based on Mass Observation diaries from before, during and after the Second World War, and I’m loving this just as much. He has a wonderful way of taking something that could be  rather a dry subject, and bringing it completely alive. I cannot pass a poster now without wondering about the font. He begins the book by discussing Comic Sans, which feels a bit like tackling the elephant in the font room straight away and now I’ve discovered that it’s really valued by dyslexic children, I’m feeling somewhat gentler towards it! It’s a great, fun and informative book that I highly recommend. Learning more about type and fonts is a great way for me to continue my education now I’ve done my introductory letterpress course. Now I just need to decide what’s next!

Now, I recommend that you hop over to  Espresso Coco  and Tonight’s Menu to see what they’ve chosen as their Three Good Things and then share what’s been making you smile this week in the comments. Or, if you’re a blogger too, I’d love you to join in with this series on your own blog!  Just let me know you’re writing it and I’ll make sure to link up with you next week…

September 11, 2013

Three Good Things: Week 8

Hello and welcome to week 8 of Three Good Things! Can’t quite believe I’ve been doing this series of posts for two months already. It’s a very enjoyable process though, and is definitely helping me to appreciate all the little things in my life that add up to happiness.

The most important good thing to happen this week was my children happily going back to school. In the case of my little boy, for the very first time. Although I had a bit of a weep because it only seems like yesterday that he was born, he was very excited to be joining his big sister and so, instead of bemoaning the fact that he’s not a baby any more, I am celebrating the next chapter in our life. After all, they’ll always be my babies really…

However, Three Good Things is about the little things in life, and so here’s this weeks edition.

One: Letter Twenty.

First in my list this week is Letter Twenty, a new blog about tea that I’m writing in collaboration with the wonderful Dave Graham. I’m starting a weekly recipe post there after this week, so please do go and have a read. Now that I’ve worked out how to incorporate this into my weekly schedule, it’s feeling like a very optimistic addition to my world and I have great hopes for it. After all, tea is one of my life-long good things!

Tea. Vital to my existence and now a new blog!

Tea. Vital to my existence and now a new blog!

Two: ‘About Time’ at the Tyneside Cinema.

I’ve been going to the cinema a lot more recently ( thanks to my film-loving boyfriend), in particular to the lovely Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle, which, in a very civilised fashion, serves beer as well as popcorn in rather more stylish surroundings than the local multiplex. This week I saw the new Richard Curtis film ‘About Time’ and I loved it. Yes, the sci-fi is wonky and won’t stand up to any real scrutiny, but then science fiction always seems able to explain away any questions you ask of it anyway, and in this case it really doesn’t matter.

What you’re looking for with a Richard Curtis film is rather posh, upper-middle-class people in a bit of a relationship tangle, some laughter and a few bitter-sweet or weepy moments. And with this film you get that in spades. Not to mention the most beautiful sprawling coastal country home I think I’ve ever seen. The characters are well created and empathetic and the central father-son relationship is very well done. I really enjoyed it, so it’s definitely a good thing for this week.

You can see the trailer on YouTube here, but be warned, it seems to contain most of the film!

Three: Being the Tooth Fairy.

This week my daughter lost her second tooth. She’s one of the last in her class to lose teeth and so is very excited about it. Last night, armed with a bit of glitter, I was the Tooth Fairy. I love her belief in the Tooth Fairy. And the Easter Bunny and Father Christmas, come to think of it. It’s just such a magical thing in a world of grey seriousness. Father Christmas doesn’t appear to have any kind of budget, being magical and all, which is a bit of a problem. I’m still working on that, and preparing the kids not to expect everything they’re mentioning. But, thankfully the Tooth Fairy just brings a pound. And some fairy dust, obviously…

Over at Leeds&Me, Isobel shares her Three Good Things for this week.  I’m trying not to be jealous of her Elton tickets…

What are your good things this week?

September 4, 2013

Three Good Things: Week 7

Welcome to this week’s edition of Three Good Things! 

Here we go…

One: Hugh’s loo roll creations!

My first good thing this week is a rather special one. Those of you who read this blog on a regular basis will remember that last week, I posted photos of cardboard owls that I’d made with my kids out of loo roll inners. Later in the week, I got a tweet from the lovely Rachel (@textilesteacher) saying that her young son, Hugh, was busily rootling around in the recycling bin looking for loo roll tubes to make his own owls.

Then, a bit later, she tweeted me these photos! How wonderful. It really made me smile. One of the nicest things about blogging, and indeed, about Twitter is the sharing of joyful, uplifting things and making new friends. I LOVED that Hugh had been inspired to make his own owls, and then he went one better and made Despicable Me minions. This was a genuine highlight of my week. Thank you Hugh, for your wonderful creations, and thank you Rachel for sharing them with me.

Hugh's wonderful creations! (photos credit: @textilesteacher)

Hugh’s wonderful creations! (photos credit: @textilesteacher)

Two: My sweetcorn.

The second thing to make me very happy this week is my long-awaited sweetcorn! Last year, the birds treated themselves to a feast of it, and so I didn’t get any to eat, but this year it’s amazing. Big, plump kernals, all the way round well grown cobs. And all with the minimum of help from me!  It’s been a tricky year on my allotment this year (and I’ll share more about this with you in another post) but this is a lovely success.

Sweetcorn

Three: A special birthday card.

Three Good Things is about celebrating the small things in life that make everyday worth smiling about, and yet the third thing to make my list this week isn’t small at all. For the past few years I have sponsored a small boy in India called Kishan through Plan and it’s soon to be his birthday. And so my third good thing this week is a birthday card. Written by me, and containing some drawings by my children, it will be on the way to India now. That my children know about Kishan and why we send money to help support him, his family and local community, is really important to me, and without wishing to sound like a spoilt cliche, now that my children are getting a bit older I hope that it helps them to understand a bit more about the world, the people who live in it and how important it is to share with those less fortunate than themselves. Kishan (who is only seven) goes to school now, instead of having to work in the local textiles factory. If that’s not a good thing, then I don’t know what is.

What are your good things this week?

August 28, 2013

Three Good Things: Week Six

Hello! After a week of holiday, Three Good Things is back for the usual dose of positivity amidst a busy week. It’s a pretty brief post this week, because I’m still recovering from a week in a yurt (which I’ll tell you more about on Friday) and am surrounded by laundry that I really should do something about.

So without further ado…

One: Collective nouns.

The first thing bringing me joy this week is collective nouns. I know, it’s perhaps not quite what you were expecting from Three Good Things. But I love the English language for collective nouns, especially those for animals and birds. There appears to be several variations for some animals, in many cases where it’s a group in a different situation, such as a hive of bees and a swarm of bees. We’ve all heard of a pod of whales or a pack of hounds but how about a shrewdness of apes? Some other favourites of mine are a glaring of cats. A business of ferrets. A murder of crows.  And I defy anyone not to smile at a flamboyance of flamingos. If you’re ever stuck for something to do, I highly recommend looking up collective nouns. It’s most entertaining!  Here’s a parliament of owls. We made them this week out of loo roll inners. I’m becoming quite the loo roll art expert…

A Parliament of Loo Roll Owls!

A Parliament of Loo Roll Owls!

Two: Cheese!

Second up this week is a new cheese, discovered by me, and lots of other people, during a tour of the Wensleydale Creamery on our holiday. It’s called Bishopdale, and it’s a cheddar. But, oh what a cheddar. Utterly gorgeous. Sadly, only available from the Creamery shop, not even online. So, a regular trip to Hawes is going to be needed. Ah well. Any excuse for a trip to the Yorkshire Dales! Alas, I have no photo to share with you because I’ve eaten it all. Sorry about that. But you can all imagine what a block of cheese looks like, can’t you?

Three: Playmobil silo.

My third thing this week is the most utterly perfect toy I’ve ever found for my son. Like many young boys, my son is a huge fan of farms. Tractors, combine harvesters and other machinery feature high on his list of loves. But absolutely top of the list is grain silos. I know. Don’t even ask. I have no idea why.  Before our holiday last week, I told the kids that, rather than buying loads of holiday rubbish, I’d buy them one decent toy each. And my son wanted a toy grain silo. Cue a spot of panic, until I came across the Playmobil catalogue and lo and behold, a grain silo. Thank goodness for Playmobil!

Now, if this was a weekly ranting post, I’d tell you all about how it comes with a bag of teeny, tiny plastic grain that gets spilled all over the floor every time he plays with it, and that are soon to be put in the bin and replaced with red lentils that I can just vacuum up. But its not a ranting blog post, so instead I’ll concentrate on telling you that he loves his grain silo so much that he takes it to bed with him alongside his toy monkey. And that makes me very happy indeed.

Toy grain silo. Weird, but he loves it!

Toy grain silo. I know, its weird, but he loves it!

So, those are my Three Good Things this week. What are yours?

Don’t forget to visit Hello Kirsty and Mummy Plum  to see what they’ve chosen as their Three Good  Things this week too.