Friday, 21 October 2016

Tutorial: Autumnal Nails with Dotty Designs

I'm fairly sure that the only downside to working in a bakery is not being able to paint my nails - however, as I generally have five days off in a row there's still plenty of time to have fun with them, and this tutorial is certainly good fun! 

I first met Charlotte, also known as Dotty Designs at the Norwich Makers Market back in September where she gave me an amazing pink and blue dotty manicure that easily lasted ten days! We chatted for ages while she worked her magic, and decided then that working on a tutorial together would be perfect! 

Charlotte (on the left) has been painting nails since she was just ten, meaning she's now been at it over 14 years! When she wasn't enjoying high school, she started experimenting with nail designs on a Sunday evening to bolster her confidence for the week ahead. Fast forward a few years, and Charlotte graduated from university with a degree in Ecology that just didn't feel right. Rather than search for something that did feel right, Charlotte decided to concentrate on the thing she'd always been good at and had a passion for - fun and beautiful nails! 

She's now fully qualified in manicure and pedicure from The Norwich School of Beauty and is still studying to keep improving her skills. Charlotte recommends Barry M nail polish because the range is mostly vegan and 100% cruelty free! The paint responds really well to shocks so it doesn't chip as quickly as other brands (which I can vouch for...10 days!) plus the range of colours is vast, and the colours are really strong and opaque. Charlotte adds 'The pens are the best nail art tool I've ever used because they're so easy and you don't necessarily need a super steady hand to use them.'

Charlotte has been kind enough to share a few of her secrets, and we've worked together on a lovely Autumnal (even a little Halloween-esq) tutorial which should be really easy to recreate at home! 

While Charlotte prepped and filed our lovely model's nails, I set about choosing some colours from her really rather extensive collection (I'm told this isn't all of them either!)

We decided on this fantastic metallic copper (I am seriously copper obsessed at the moment!) and also a matte black. I've never been completely convinced by matte nail polish as I couldn't help but imagine it would feel like a chalkboard. Putting a chalk board on your nails just seemed like a disaster, but this totally has me convinced! 

Step One

Using the colour you've chosen to go closest to the base of your nail (we chose the black) paint a diagonal stipe approximately half way across the nail. 

Step Two

Use the brush to fill in the area between this line and your cuticle. It will need two coats so don't worry too much about it being patchy. Paint each nail in the same way. 

Step Three

Give this first coat a minute or two to dry, then paint each nail a second time to give an opaque finish. 

Step Four

Using the second colour (copper in our case!) Fill in the other half of each nail. You're aiming for a nice clean line down the centre, but the dots will disguise any small mistakes so don't worry too much. As with the black, wait a few moments for the first coat to dry then paint each nail again. Barry M polishes only need two coats but if your colours still look a little translucent you may need three. 

Step Five 

This next part uses Charlotte's favourite nail art pens. They come in several colours, but for this we went for the white. Press the nib of the pen down onto a tissue or cotton pad to get the paint flowing, then dot onto the nail, following the line where the two colours meet. You could leave it here, but we decided to add a row of dots either side of the central row too. Try to keep the dots evenly spaced, and go slowly! 

Step Six

Leave the dots plenty of time to dry so your top coat doesn't drag the colour and make your design blur. We chose a matte top coat to go with the matte black polish and Charlotte gave each nail a coat to seal in the dots and make the design last longer. 

There we have it! Beautiful eye catching nails for Autumn! I love making my nails really stand out, especially as my wardrobe is mostly greys, blues and neutrals and I always feel much more successfully put together when my nails are done too!  I hope you've found this tutorial helpful and feel able to give it a go at home (the nail art pens are really easy to find!)

Alternatively, if you're local and would like to have Charlotte work her magic she is available for private appointments, weddings, hen parties, pamper parties and children's parties and craft fairs. Get in touch at or follow her on Instagram and Facebook for more stunning designs.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Spotlight: Pedlars (Plus WIN some wonderful stuff for your home!)

Pedlars is a treasure trove of homewares, bags, stationary and gifts based in North Wales, with a general store and cafe in London's Notting Hill, and vast online store. But it's so much more than that too - Pedlars is fast becoming known for it's vintage marketplace, and their website is a fascinating source of inspiration (and cute dogs!) 

I have long been a customer (and fan) of their carefully curated range (these pencils are the only ones worth using!) and eagerly anticipate each weeks vintage additions! So, when I got in touch to see if the lovely folk over at Pedlars Towers would be interested in being featured in a Spotlight Post I did a real-life happy-dance when they not only answered a few questions, but also agreed to support an exciting giveaway! Read on to the end of the post to find out more about the prize and how to enter! 

1. For those readers who have yet to discover it, can you introduce Pedlars and describe what you do?

Pedlars is a homewares brand, which was started by husband and wife team Charlie and Caroline Gladstone. We are primarily based online, with a bricks and mortar General Store and CafĂ© just off Portobello Road in Notting Hill. Pedlars offers a curated, considered, beautifully designed range of homewares, and a huge range of vintage from all around the world. We have recently launched our Vintage Marketplace, a new venture that enables vintage dealers and enthusiasts to offer their goods for sale via Pedlars. We have a solid reputation for sourcing and selling the best vintage items and a large and eager customer base, so our aim is to expand our offer by inviting sellers to show our customers their goods. 

2. Your range of homewares, stationary and gifts is so varied, yet wonderfully curated - how do you decide which pieces make it into the shop?

Pedlars founder Charlie is our chief buyer and taste maker. He has a keen eye for top quality vintage and an incredibly strong sense of style. This is played out in all the Gladstone’s businesses; The Good Life Experience, their Farm Shop and their pub The Glynne Arms. We also try to source from British and European manufacturers where possible. Oh and if it’s orange, it stands a pretty good chance of making itself into the shop, Pedlars loves orange!

3. I'm becoming more and more disillusioned by the mainstream high street and increasingly wanting to support local, independent makers. Pedlars is a big supporter of British designers and makers - why do you feel this is so important? 

We’re interested in products that have a story to tell, and the warmth and detail that you get when you move away from the mainstream and seek out small, often one-man-band manufacturers.

4. Every Friday you launch a new vintage collection, often with a french or military connection. How do you decide which pieces become part of this, and how do vintage items influence your main collection?

It’s really a case of whatever catches Charlie’s eye. And as a team, if it’s something that we would want for ourselves, we’re confident that our customers will love it too. At this stage it’s almost the other way around, our non-vintage collection complements our vintage collection, which is what people now know us for.

5. Charlie and Caroline also founded The Good Life Experience festival which takes place in Wales in September. What is the Pedlars definition of The Good Life? 

Charlie and Caroline founded The Good Life Experience with their friends Cerys Matthews and Steve Abbott. For them, and for Pedlars The Good Life is all about good food, friends, great music, learning new skills, new crafts and perhaps a new perspective. And a camp fire, that’s important too.


I love it! Everything about the Pedlars ethos makes me feel all warm and fuzzy (plus the cafe is big in avocado which is the way to my heart!)If you missed my post about The Good Life Festival 2016, do pop over and have a look - it was the definition of magical!

I'm thrilled to be able to share a little of the Pedlars magic with you all, and they have kindly given me a set of three Military Prints to give away to one lucky UK reader! These prints are reproduction of military instruction cards that were bought at auction in the USA, and have been printed on 1950's printing presses in Yorkshire with fluorescent inks!

Fantastic aren't they? I'm a bit envious that I don't get to keep them for myself actually!

There are two ways to enter, and each way counts as one entry so that's two chances to win! 

First - Sign up to follow The Salted Tail via bloglovin or email - (you can find the links to do so on the right hand side) then leave me a comment to say you're in and would love to win! 

Second - Head over to Instagram and find the giveaway post. Follow The Salted Tail, like the image and tag three friends who you think might like to win! 

The winner will be drawn on Halloween (so thats nearly two weeks to enter and tell anyone else who you think might like to win this lovely prize!) and they will win all three, unframed prints. Once the winner is drawn I'll get in touch for your contact details and the lovely folk at Pedlars will send your prize. The giveaway is open to UK residents only!   

Thank you to Pedlars for supporting me in this adventure of mine - hope you all enjoyed the interview! 

Happy entering - and may the odds be ever in your favour! 


Monday, 17 October 2016

The Good Life Experience 2016

One month ago today we were on our way to the Hawarden Estate farm shop in Flintshire, the car full to bursting with tent, blankets, welly boots and marshmallows and positively fizzing with excitement about arriving at The Good Life Experience festival!

The lovely people at Pedlars invited me along, and I really couldn't be more grateful! The Good Life Experience was founded in 2014 by four friends who shared a vision for a festival unlike any other, one that reflected the need for a return to a simpler way of life, a life closer to that of our grandparents, where we shopped local, our food came from the ground, we supported makers and craftspeople, spent less money on 'stuff' and more time creating memories and relishing in experiences, particularly those that took us outdoors and got us using our hands. Pedlars founders Charlie Gladstone and his wife Caroline, musician Cerys Matthews and arts consultant Steve Abbott could not have got it more right!

When we arrived at the Hawarden Estate we were greeted with the most beautiful blue sky, the sound of music drifting through the trees, campfire smoke still lingering in the late summer air and the promise of an amazing weekend ahead. It felt totally different to any other festival, it was possibly the epitome of laid back, and every single element so carefully considered and soul nurturing. As we wandered around trying to take everything in, a vintage helter skelter loomed above us, there were hay bales, tents and pumpkins aplenty, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I cried with joy at how perfect it was. I felt like I'd come home, like some one had reached inside my heart a spread it out in front of me and every single person there totally felt it too!

I also felt rather overwhelmed because there was so much I wanted to do and see. We walked around the festival site for a while and booked ourselves some workshops for the afternoon then went to put the tent up. I love that even the campsite was relaxed, no pitches or rows but a simple instruction to find a gap and get comfy! It's situated under both the imposing Hawarden Castle and the Old Hawarden Castle ruins (which are just stunning) and after having a nose at some of the beautiful bell tents as we wandered through the site in search of a good spot, then putting up our rather flimsy Argos tent (coupled with me later telling D every five seconds not the touch the inside) we've started some research into buying a bell tent of our own. We actually had a couple of tent related mishaps, one snapped pole and the realisation that we'd brought the wrong air bed pump, but after borrowing a knife and a foot pump from some friendly neighbours, we replaced the pole, pumped up our bed for the night and rejoined the action.

I honestly can't explain how simultaneously excited and serene the whole place made me feel. We explored slowly, stopping to listen to music as we passed, and watching the various workshops taking place. In the Fun Fair field D found a coffee (as ever!) and after discovering that maybe I do like gin after all and getting a taste for something alcoholic I went for a dark and stormy. We watched as children learned tree climbing and an old man who looked like my Grandad rode the helter skelter! The Fun Fair Field also contained the first of two Makers Rows. There were floristry, screen printing and pumpkin carving workshops, leather work, a fascinating knot tier and spoon carving. The Bicycle Academy were building a bike from scratch over the course of the weekend, and the rocking sign atop the Black Cow Saloon welcomed people in for a drink around the camp fire.

We headed to Speakers Corner to listen to Tom Herbert (one half of The Fabulous Baker brothers) and I was again reduced to tears - I totally wasn't expecting his talk 'Which Side is Your Bread Buttered?" to be so inspiring. Over the hour or so he talked, the audience passed around a mixing bowl and whisk, and all together we slowly turned cream into butter. This for me was the essence of Tom's talk, and in a way the whole festival. It was slow. He talked about how the magic of bread happens in the rise, at the point where you've done all the hard work of mixing and kneading and you've looked after it, tucked it up somewhere warm and left it. In this pause, the yeast is given the time and space to grow, and that couldn't happen if you didn't let rest. This same principle could be applied to us as humans, and our attitudes towards self care. Sometimes we get so carried away with the notion of being busy, we forget to stop and give ourselves the time and space to grow. You know how sometimes you have no words for how deeply something resonates with you and you want to clench your fists and screw up your face and shout. That. I was so full of that feeling right there I could almost feel it bubbling up under my eyes!

In the second Makers Row, I fulfilled two of my dreams, one I've held since childhood! Firstly, I got to sit in a real life coracle! A coracle is a type of boat, and I am maybe the only person who remembers this so vividly, but in an episode of Rosie and Jim, the pair snuck off the canal boat and into the workshop of a coracle maker to watch one being made, then went back to the canal boat to make one of their own out of tissue paper and glue. I was seriously obsessed with making a coracle and used to recreate the paper version over and over again so when I realised that the Coracle Society were going to be at the festival you can imagine my excitement! Unfortunately you couldn't have a go on the water, but a real life coracle was good enough for me!

I also signed up to the Raku Firing workshop, something I've been fascinated with since university when the ceramics technician introduced me to it. I'm going to write a post about it in more detail as I adored the whole experience, but in short, it's a glazing and firing process involving sawdust and fire and I am completely in love with the pot I produced. The glazes were applied in a really fluid way and because of the unpredictable nature of the firing there's no way of knowing what your pot will really look like until the very end. The people running the workshop were fantastic, so helpful and inspiring and it was while chatting to one of them that I introduced myself as a blogger with some real conviction for the first time! While we waited for our pots to fire, I chatted with a women from the WI about the importance of making things with our hands, about how fantastic is was that children were getting muddy and setting fires and staying up past their bedtime to eat marshmallows. How the impressionable little people walking round with feathers in the their hair, mud on their faces and carrying their handmade bows and arrows with pride had felt the spark that we both knew so well, the spark of joy that making something with your hands ignites.

The whole festival site felt different as the sun began to set. The lighting was atmospheric, the music a little louder, and the queues for the various food stalls and bars began to lengthen again. The festival was very family friendly (and all the workshops are aimed at adults and children alike) and it was lovely watching children playing outside, wrapped up in wellies and coats well into the evening, so excited that they were still rolling down hills and having hay throwing fights in the dark. And of course, Fairground rides take on a whole new magic when they're lit with fairy lights and the glowing red harvest moon!

We decided on crab rolls and chips from 'Claw' (excellent decision!) and shared a picnic table with some people we'd never met before, and their dog helped us out with our chips! We grabbed blankets from the tent and laid on the grass outside the main stage listening to Fanfare Ciorcarlia, and couldn't feel further away from the stresses of the world.

I felt so grounded and alive and full of magic. This was me. The inside of my head and my heart spread out in front of me under the stars. I tried to sum up that feeling, the one that doesn't have words and makes you've want to screw yourself up into a ball and scream. I just ended up whooping in a field of corn and laughing till I cried.

We awoke to calls of 'Morning' called out between strangers, brushing their teeth or dressing their children outside their dew covered tents. We went in search of breakfast and quickly happened upon porridge and bacon.

The Market Place was next, and it was full of some fascinating people, tea sellers, a lavender farm, vintage shops and indie makers. I met the lovely Amanda Banham who I'd seen previously at a Makers Market in Norwich (a small world indeed!) and added another Observer book to my collection.  Talking of books, Dylan's Mobile Bookstore were running a Blind Date Book club which is a genius idea, a wrapped book with only a hint of the story contained with in. A risk yes, but you might find something wonderful! 

We made our way over to the Campfire Cooking tent and again watched Tom Herbert, this time making sourdough bagels with his family's decades old sourdough starter which totally inspired us to start our own, and we actually went back to the market place to buy a book all about it.

D was booked into a coffee workshop with Allpress later on, and while he got geeky about grinders and weighing out beans I sat in the sun, taking in the atmosphere and wishing I didn't have to leave and Ben Fogle wandered past with his family looking totally at home!

In the afternoon, we went over to the lake to watch the Coracle Society Regatta, and needless to say I loved it! I look about 4 in this photo, wide eyed with excitement - real life coracles!

It was one of the best weekends of my life, and just the perfect way to see out summer. Such a sense of camaraderie and belonging, and I felt like I'd found my tribe. Everything the festival represented for me is everything I want The Salted Tail to become - slow, local, crafted and considered, enlightening and inspiring and dream realising. About moments and memories and only the most beautiful things.

I want people to leave full to the brim with joy and magic and solid understanding of who they are and what they believe in, just as I did as we packed the tent up with heavy hearts on Sunday evening.

Thank you to Pedlars for inviting us along, I could not be more grateful and we're already so excited to return next year. I think this weekend will become tradition for us and I just can't wait to watch the festival evolve even more.

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