Why I support #natstatweek #writingmatters each year

I have a confession to make, I have terrible handwriting, always have, and probably always will.

But writing still matters to me.  I think ideas flow more naturally on paper and I like to map out thoughts, linking ideas and colour coding, it’s something the researcher in me loves about working on a big blank sheet of paper!

This year National Stationery Week is running from 25th April to the 1st May, and it’s my third year supporting as a #natstatweek blogger.

I love to get involved as it takes me back to the beginning of every school year, the promise that came from a new pencil case, new colouring pens, and later even the boring stuff, the maths sets and protractors; I always have and always will love shopping for stationery, I know it doesn’t set everyone’s world on fire but I find it utterly joyful!

Over the coming weeks I’ll be reviewing a selection of products from Staedtler and Scheaffer to Maped and NuCo, here’s a sneak peak of what’s to come, and I’d love to hear about your must have products too!

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Autumn/Winter 2015 Girls Style Edit

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1/ H&M 2/H&M 3/H&M 4/M&S 5/Next 6/Kickers; Jones the Bootmaker

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post

Big issues: Save Syria’s Children #savesyriaschildren

In the Syrian conflicts fifth year civil war continues to devastate children’s lives, living in fear, being denied an education, hospitals destroyed and fleeing war. Refugee resettlement isn’t a new issue, this hasn’t somehow just reached fever pitch, the scenes in Calais and Hungary are simply the tip of the iceberg and the world can no longer avert its gaze.

Humanitarian Disaster

People didn’t expect and many didn’t like the picture of three year old Aylan Kurdi appearing on their newsfeeds, Aylan’s tiny body was washed up on a beach in Turkey, this beautiful little boy the same age as my daughter, sadly his photograph is the one thing that has made people pay attention and so I won’t apologise for sharing it. These are real people, real children, fleeing, it could have been my daughter, your son.

There are millions more children just like Aylan who need help; the refugee crisis isn’t going to go away and I feel we have a moral obligation to join together and act accordingly. This is the worst humanitarian disaster of our time – The U.N. estimates that 7.6 million people are internally displaced. When you also consider refugees, more than half of the Syria’s pre-war population of 23 million is in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, whether they still remain in the country or have escaped across the borders. As we have seen, the risks of the journey to the border can be as high as the risks of staying, imagine weighing this up for your children, what choice do you have, what chance do they have?

Do something

The groundswell of grassroots campaigning and organising that I have been following has heartened me (North East Solidarity with Calais Refugees for local readers but there are lots of other local groups springing up nationally), people organising collections of goods and clothing, tents and shelters, encouraging donations and organising protests, ordinary people who want to stand together and say yes, we see you, we hear you, we stand by you. People asked what real difference can we as individuals make, we can speak with one voice and say refugees are welcome, we can raise awareness and we can give our money, time and resources. When I was contacted by a group of bloggers who suggested we get together as use our blogs as a collective voice I thought this was another way I could be involved.  I love how the blogging community gets behind a cause and each other and feel privileged to be part of this.

It could have been me

I am using my blog post to say ‘it could have been me’ and am making a donation to Save the Children as well as getting involved in local community activities.

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You can make a donation by TEXTING 70008 and the word SYRIA to donate £5 (see T&Cs) or you can make a web donation

There’s lots that you could do from the comfort of your own home.

Please don’t turn a blind eye.

Do Something to help.

Anything.

Whatever you decide, don’t choose apathy

#savesyriaschildren

Inkly Moments

During National Stationery Week we reviewed the Inkly cards service. Inkly recently added a new, free, feature to their app, called Inkly Moments, that is adding a little extra to my photos right now!

In the app you can upload a photo, add filters, text and choose from a wide range of stickers uniquely designed by Inkly to add a special touch to your photos, the fonts on offer are brilliant!  Here’s one I screenshotted before uploading to Instagram with #inklymoments

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Helpfully categorised into a wide range of topics such as ‘weddings’, ‘pets’ ‘birthdays’ and ‘baby and bump’ it’s quick and easy to find just the right sticker; you can then easily share your ‘Moment’ across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook (or you can just save it to your mobile device).

I quite like those Instragram pics with text overlayed, you know the ones I mean? With inspirational words and quotes –  it’s easy to do with Inkly Moments – here’s a Birthday one I sent to a special friend this week, when I saw this poppy and photographed it I thought of her, so it makes a great birthday sticker!

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What will you create when you have your own Inkly Moment?

Disclaimer: I reviewed the free Inkly app Moments feature in exchange for Inkly card printing credits, all views are my own

Top Tips for creating a home office in your bedroom

After five years in my current job I am moving on to pastures new, starting a new full time job working from home. This has its benefits in terms of my personal preference for homeworking, but also enables my lovely husband to drop some of his hours to have more daddy-daughter time which I’ve blogged about before, this is an important change for all of us, and a busy time too!

I haven’t worked from home in the time since I became a parent, and space is at even more of a premium for my family, so I saw some challenges in creating a home office space that I think I have managed to meet happily.

Last time I worked from home my office was set up in our living room, but this is no longer practicable with a toddler around and all of the trappings of life with a small person, so this post is all about setting up a home office space that integrates with living in a small family home and uses smart solutions and technology for making the transition into home working.

Top Tips for creating a home office in your bedroom

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I’ll precede all of this by saying that we live in a small flat, well, it’s actually a large flat in some aspects, the rooms are light bright and spacious but storage space is lacking, and space for a desk even harder to accommodate!

Home office in a bedroom: planning

I decided to set up my home office from our master bedroom in the absence of a spare room. Creating a home office in your bedroom is actually pretty practical if you’re clever about your use of the space.  I have opted for a bureau setup with the IKEA Secretary desk from their PS 2014 range, complemented by office furniture and peripherals that make the space really work for me.

Opting for a laptop bureau means that I can pop my devices and paperwork inside the main body of the desk at the end of each day so that we reclaim the space as our bedroom and I can literally call time on the working day. The space up top acts as a handy store for all my stationery and keeps important papers and notebooks out of the way of my inquisitive toddler!

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I thought about whether to make the space distinct or keep the colour scheme in line with our existing bedroom palette, I opted for the latter because it’s a calm room and I didn’t want bright and vibrant office ware to detract from the relaxed feel of the space.  Hannah from Mumsdays has wrestled with such issues recently, and I love the palette she is looking at too, but her post really inspired me to look at what we already have and how we can complement this!

Top Tips for creating a home office in your bedroom: colour

So… I have gone for a soft, complementary and feminine palette to denote a separate work space that ties in nicely with the overall feel of the room, my chest of drawers gives you a feel for the style of the room.

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Speaking to Graham and Brown about some ideas for the space I decided to build on the soft sage theme in our bedroom drawing in colours from their Dreamscape range which I have also drawn out in the stationery and furniture too. You can see from my home office pinterest board that this draws on peach, cream, soft muted blues and corals.  More on this in another post looking at the Dreamscape range with a review to follow.

Follow Thereandbackagainamotherstale’s board Home Office Edit on Pinterest.

Top Tips for creating a home office in your bedroom: making the space work hard

I sought advice from Logitech about smart wireless solutions for homeworking and I have found their K400 wireless keyboard and mouse to be really effective in making the transition to homeworking in a way that works for me, they’re sleek and really easy to get to grips with, I’m not very techie but I got these two beauties up and running in minutes!  I can now work from anywhere in the house, so on days when I am home alone and everyone is out I can be in the living room with a wireless setup that I can also take out on the go when I am on site visits too.  This fits really well with blogging life too – with a wireless range of up to 10 meters, I can even browse the web and blog all from the comfort of my sofa!  I thoroughly recommend exploring wireless options as you can make your whole home work for you!

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As a National Stationery Week blogger you will know stationery is a priority of mine! I’ve selected complementary colours from Dutch store Hema, Smiggle and Marks and Spencer drawing on the colour scheme with fun and practical notebooks, pens and office equipment – I know this stuff doesn’t set everyone’s world on fire but I’ve always loved to work with a bit of creativity and this helps me draw a bit of colour into my working day!

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Having some photos helps personalise the space and I wanted to treat myself to a little something special too, when I heard I got the job I treated myself to some accessories from my favourite homeware store, Anthropologie, I adore this coaster and mug, as well as the sweet little plant pot!

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Top Tips for creating a home office in your bedroom: Practical planning tools

And finally, in terms of literally working from home and doing the do, I selected a bright vibrant magnetic glass noticeboard in Retro Yellow, (no secret that it’s my favourite colour!) from Boards Direct – this lets me make a quick note whilst I’m on the phone, have a visual to do list to hand and handily stores notes and business cards too with super strong magnets.  I love the write on wipe off nature of this, and with a choice of up to 21 beautiful colours and 7 sizes there’s something to suit every office space and budget, with boards starting at less than £25.  This 45cm x 45cm board is ready to be fixed up on the wall later this week, priced at just over £40 it’s a bright statement and functional piece that offers great value and quality.

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What about you? Do you work from home? What tips do you have for making your workspace work hard for you?

Disclaimer: I received goodies from Logitech and Boards Direct, all views are my own, all other brands referenced are of my personal preference and I bought these products or already owned them!
Post Comment Love

Our stay begins at Poppy Cottage

This week we’re taking time out from research and project work and taking a family holiday at Druridge Bay on the beautiful Northumberland Coast.  Poppy Cottage is a literal stones throw away from the most glorious coastline, its site is a working farm and September is fabulous for quiet walks and blowing the cobwebs away.

As we live near an urban farm Joss has loved seeing farming on a bigger scale, with diggers, tractors and different breeds of livestock than we’re used to its a country mouse’s dream!

Sadly Joss is loaded with cold and don’t we know it, a bad nights sleep was much more bearable for these views though and I’ll be sharing more of our holiday snaps as the week goes on.

The Farm itself at Hemscott Hill has also seen camping action this summer with some brilliant bell tents set up, more on those later but suffice to say their pitch is in a beautiful part of the world!

I’m off for a glass of red and a spot of reading before we’re back to exploring again tomorrow!

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I dream in citrine, where blog props find new homes

This weeks Mumslist comes to you from Etsy, namely my new store!

Real Life

OK, there’s not much on there yet but I finally set up an Etsy store.  I Dream in Citrine does two things, it allows me to feel better about the vintage treasures I’ve accumulated over the years and it helps me move them on to new owners as blog photo props, now I just need to put some time into stocking it!

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https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/idreamincitrine

Blog life

I’ve had to accept that between now and September I can’t blog daily, and I’m OK with that.  I’m hitting a critical point in my working year and that can take over into home life if I’m not careful, so I need to free up a bit of diary space to see friends and arrange playdates and may need to use the odd spare hour for reading instead of blogging.  Popular posts continue to be my crafty ones, including these washi tape ones

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Inspiration

I’m browsing/reading the Calm Things blog at the moment; I’m in a busy place so I need calming influences in my life!

Mums' Days

- See more at: http://mumsdays.com/#sthash.QVf4yUtN.dpuf

Mumslist feat Mollie Makes Blogging

Real life

Remember this post featuring Nelly’s gorgeous new piglets?

Well they got big!

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This has been my week, Farm, home, lunch, park, Farm Saturday-Wednesday, then Wed-Fri it was work, home, dinner, Farm, park…

Not that I mind, it’s repetitious but Joss loves this latest routine and all this fresh air and running has yielded some good lie-ins!

Blog and Inspiration

Rolling these two together this week, I treated myself to Mollie Makes Blogging because I couldn’t get to Britmums (boo!)  I was glad I had a voucher as £9.99 for a mag is a lot but I’ve dipped into it all week!

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I love Mollie Makes and blogged about the shoeclips I made with my latest kit, I loooove them!

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Do you regularly buy any magazines for inspiration?

Mums' Days

- See more at: http://www.mumsdays.com/#sthash.G7Ecz7rZ.dpuf

Cake Angels Ice Cream Cone Cupcake Review

Goodies

The lovely folk at Cake Angels sent us an exciting parcel this week, look at all those sprinkles, a cake lovers dream!  Ice cream cone cupcake anyone? I was intrigued!

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How to

These cupcakes were so simple to make, just add water to the mix, fill the ice cream cones, and bake for 20 minutes. When they came out we let them cool, topped them with butter icing using the icing sugar from the pack, and then the fun part, decorations!

Sprinkles everywhere and a sticky child who really loved the vibrant colours!  A stroke of luck that we had icecream themed cups from Polarn O Pyret’s party pack!

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The proof is in the tasting of course, the cakes were light and airy and the chocolate flavour came through well, Joss loves icecream cones so that they stayed crispy was a big plus for her, and they were so simple for us to make together that I’d definately pick up another pack for a fun afternoon together!

What do you think?

Good enough to eat?

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Thanks Cake Angels, we really enjoyed our treat!

Disclaimer: I received these goodies for the purposes of review, all views are my own.

Family Fever

Five blog photo design tips for non-artistic types!

I wish I was artistic, I like to think I’m creative and have a good eye for design and colour, but I can’t draw for toffee and struggle in the execution of the masterpiece ideas I visualise in my head.

I bring you fellow non-artists five blog photo design tips — disclaimer — I am no expert but I have spent a month messing about with some failures but some successes too – just see this as something to get you thinking!

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  •  Inspiration

Take inspiration from setups that you really like. I absolutely adore flowers and this Red Magazine floral splash really caught my eye. Lots of rich colours, carefully chosen textures and playful shapes! This is my What’s The Story photo for this week, as I can’t stop looking at these two pages of this magazine!

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  • Design cheats

So this is what you see…gosh doesn’t Ang have some cool wallpaper?!

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…and what you don’t see!  Just a big old piece of plywood and some cheap wrapping paper!

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  • Colour

Create mood boards to experiment with colours, textures, backdrops and more, see how clashing colours work, pile stuff together, break them up, having that big bit of plywood helps as a base!

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  • Themes

I love a nautical theme and it often creeps into my craft, I like to use props that reflect this theme, and we’ve a lot of beachy stuff around the house!

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Look out for small bits and bobs from nature to add interest to your photos, like this little whale eraser that cost me a quid and often crops up in photos!

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  • Props

Props can be anything, stuff you have around the house repurposed to add interest to your shots.  Mix textures, colours, shapes and shade, here’s a selection that I use:

1) Huge fabric flower 2) LOVE lettering from our master bedroom 3) Dried craspedia heads 4) A noticeboard 5) Crochet cloths to add colour and texture just a quid each on Ebay 6) A string of vintage beads

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This is a little setup in Joss’ room

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And that wreath from our wedding day…

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Frequently crops up in blog pics!

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And finally, take your lead from the experts, check out magazines that you like and blogs that you like, and really look at their styling!