Wednesday, 30 November 2016

My Real Life Christmas Wishlist

What is it about this time of year that seems to cause a huge amount of rushing about and flapping? As much as I try to avoid it, and start sorting presents and food and decorations early, I still seem to end up lost amidst a flurry of lists and recipes and sewing projects left until the last minute! 

I'm determined that's not going to happen this year - after all, I'm searching for a slower way of life! With less than a month to go until Christmas day, our shopping is finished (except for one present we're yet to find...but thats not bad going!) the outdoor freezer has been cleaned and switched on ready for mince pies and sausage rolls, and I've finished the first round of homemade presents!

Something else that inevitably happens around the end of November is that people start asking me what I might like for Christmas! Usually I have no idea, mostly because I much prefer buying presents for other people, but this year I've actually spotted a few things that I would rather like!

So, I've put together a little wish list of some things I would be chuffed to find under the tree! 

I spotted this pan in Lakeland after our trip to Wells a couple of weekends ago. I love the vintage enamel pan we use to make hot chocolate in, but it isn't really the most effective thing for pouring hot liquids from, particularly outdoors! This pan, with its little spout and lovely grey leaf design looks fab! 

I spotted this elephant dish in Anthropologie while I was in London last week and loved it immediately! I'm a bit of a sucker for elephants, especially if they're ceramic and with a tiny copper pattern! Lovely for holding earnings and rings, although he'd more than likely end up adorned with hair grips and hair bands if he took up residence in out bedroom!  

I've always enjoyed reading autobiographies, and when I picked up Sara Pascoe's 'Animal' in Foyles last week I nearly bought it there and then! I'm not usually one for overly feminist comedy or writing, but recently I've been increasingly interested in the way gender is defined and what it means to be male or female (remember my musings on the notion of 'girlboss' that caused a bit of controversy a few weeks ago?) and Sara's book immediately made me laugh! In the short part I read, she remembers the 'special assembly' we all had around the age of 12, the one where all the boys were sent out and a lady wheeled in a suitcase load of sanitary towels! It was to the letter exactly like my experience of this strange life phenomenon, and as well as being hilarious, Sara also ponders the idea that maybe the boys should have been allowed to stay...just a thought! If the rest of the book is as good I think it'll be a winner! 

I've been a big Leon fan for a while now, and was pretty excited when they announced a cook wear range for John Lewis! When I went to have a nose around it the other day I was totally taken with this   huge stock pot! We used to make a lot of stock, boiling up chicken bones or leftover veg and peelings ready for the freezer, but we've sort of fallen out of the habit since moving house. I think this lovely enameled pot would help me get back into the swing of things and it would look great out on display in the kitchen too (handy, as in real life it looks even bigger, definitely wouldn't fit in the cupboard!)

Last Christmas D surprised me with seagull earrings from Rust, and this year I've got my eye on the matching necklace! I adore Rust jewellery and have a couple of pieces now, and seagulls have a special place in my heart after spending Summers in Cornwall, listening to them chatting away as they soar over head. I'm also a big fan of simple jewellery and this is just that! Theres also a beautiful little boat pendant too...just sayin'.... 

This book as been on my radar for a while now, and I mean to buy it then it slips my mind for a while before popping up again, so I think it's about time I owned it! We're planning a bit of a decorating mission in 2017, and this will be an amazing source of inspiration I think. One of the featured homes is that of Victoria Suffield who runs The Hambledon in Winchester which I adored when I visited earlier this year, as well as many other inspiring spaces. 

Last on the list is this print by Lisa Congdon who's opening keynote at Blogtacular this year continues to inspire and comfort me when the dreaded imposter syndrome strikes!  With all that hideous things going on in the world at the moment, I'm thinking its more and more important to build bridges and foster relationships, and be the change we want to see - however, sometimes hiding at home and pretending the world isn't there works too!


There we have it! It's December tomorrow - seems hard to believe doesn't it! I'm working at the bakery lots over the next few weeks which wasn't quite what I has planned for the lead up to the festive season, but that's the way things have worked out! I'll try and be here as much as possible though, and will at the very least be sharing what I've making and getting up to over on Instagram! 

Enjoy the last few days of November folks, it's nearly time to watch Elf!  

Thursday, 17 November 2016

A Sunday Well Spent (Hot Chocolate, Pine Woods, and Coffee in Wells-Next-The-Sea)

D and I only get Sundays off together now (which is a bit of a pain) so we've been trying to make the most of them, make sure I have a proper day off (after my near burn out a few weeks ago) and to do a few of those things we're always saying we should do! 

This Sunday, it was freezing cold but the sky was really clear so we decided to tick an item off our Autumn bucket list and head over to Wells-next-the-Sea on the North Norfolk coast. 

The town of Wells-next-the-Sea isn't actually next to the sea at all, but approximately a mile away, along a raised path which runs along side the harbour. The beach is vast and backed by a pine forest, and we had a lovely wander along the sand, looking for the most unusual beach huts and smiling at their names. 

We took the camping stove along with us, and before we left I made up some hot chocolate to warm up on the beach. We had to make a sort of nest next to the groyne as it was quite breezy in the open and the flame kept blowing out!  

This guy strolled over for a sniff at what we were up to! There were so many adorable dogs on the beach, rolling about in the sand and splashing though the waves. I must admit that, cute as they were, I couldn't help but imagine the sandy mess in the back of the car...I think we'll stick with the cat! 

The bakery I work at makes the best marshmallows, spiced cherry for me and D had some maple and pecan ones! 

Just behind the beach is a densely packed pine forest, accessed by a flight of steps. It always reminds me of the Enchanted Forest where the Magic Faraway Tree is. 

I did a bit of tree climbing and practiced my 'cactus-arms' - some of the trees have grown in such bizarre directions and definitely seem to have a life if their own. I collected some pine cones too which are now drying out ready to be sprayed copper and hung on the christmas tree (another bucket list item ticked off!)  

We then dropped the hot chocolate things off in the car, and walked the mile or so into town. I stopped to run down the slope into the harbour quite a few times to take pictures of the little rowing boats. Some of them had very grand names, 'Blue Celeste' or 'Moanin Moo' - but my favourite was called 'Bill' which made us laugh a little more than it should have! 

One of our favourite places for coffee Grey Seal is in Wells, as are two of my favourite shops! We stopped for a while with a coffee and a cake, then meandered through town to Nomad and The Bowerbird and Bringing the Outside In (which are joined together with a pleasing neon banner!)

We bought a few Christmas decorations, and I cooed over the quilted yellow sweatshirt of dreams! By now darkness was threatening, so we headed back along the path to the car.

A Sunday well spent indeed! I always feel so much better for having spent a while day outside in the air, and especially if that air is rolling in from the sea.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Spotlight: Bloom Remedies (plus 15% off for readers)

Today, I'm very excited to be brining you November's spotlight post! 

This month I have a fab interview with Marie from Bloom Remedies, a Cornwall based aromatherapy  company I discovered while we were on holiday there in May. I recently featured their wonderful essential oil blends in a Wednesday Wishlist, and I use their products every day so I was really eager to find out more about creator and founder Marie, and her fascination with flowers! It's a wonderful interview, and I really hope you enjoy it. 

Marie has a also very kindly offered The Salted Tail readers a special 15% discount off everything in the Bloom Remedies range, including the really beautiful sounding Restorative Rose range which Marie was yet to launch when this interview took place but is now available! 

Over to Marie - grab a cup of something calming and enjoy, lovely people!

1. Can you introduce yourself and your business and describe what it is you do?

I'm Marie Hall, the creator and founder behind Bloom Remedies, affectionately known by many of our customers and ourselves simply as Bloom.  I help organise and run the company - which involves some of the 'boring but essential' bits like paperwork, record keeping, and 'keeping the business house in order' but I also still 'create and make' and am involved a lot with direct customer contact too.  We get a lot of customer queries asking about essential oils and their therapeutic benefits - my background is in essential oil science so I love these queries, and it's amazing when an email comes your way to say that a certain complaint has been really helped by an oil that I've recommended.  Natures remedies are my favourite!

2. You say you have a 'Fascination with Flowers', how did this begin, and how does it continue to influence your products?

The fascination with flowers began early.  I grew up with a family of gardeners, we had a massive allotment and we always grew our food organically long before the word 'organic' became a buzz word.  We would companion-plant to deter certain pests and I became intrigued and amazed by the way in which nature could be relied upon to sort out 'problems and pests' if encouraged to.  We always grew wild flowers on the plot and had bunches of them around the house across the year and I would, when bored, make little potions with them and attempt to infuse waters and oils with their fragrance.  It was a bit hippy, but it was blissful and my love of nature and flowers definitely came from the hours and hours of contact I had with it during my childhood.

3. I adore Cornwall and as soon as I arrive in the county I'm hit with a wave of inspiration. How does Cornwall inspire you?

It's so beautiful I hardly know where to start - the skies, the views, the space beyond when you stare across the sea at the horizon, the feeling of ancient living that has gone here before us - particularly in our base of West Cornwall where there are so many Celtic sites.  It's a beautiful, wild, rugged and free place.  In spring the hedgerows are alive in a way that I have yet to see anywhere else and for a flower lover like myself it is paradise!

4. I love that you keep your prices 'inclusive' so your products are accessible to everyone. Do you think self-care goes beyond the surface?

Absolutely, self care involves so much more than surface level care.  I think we live in a mad dash society and the need for a bit of 'time' during the day to stop and reflect on ourselves, where we are at, how we are feeling, has been lost along the way.  I love our wellness ranges because they encourage you to self reflect and self care from the inside out - if you're feeling low, then uplift your spirits with some Ginger, Lemongrass and Lime from our Deep Release products.  If you're feeling tense - then reach for Geranium, Ylang Ylang, Cedarwood and Lavender in our Serenity Slumber range.  I love the way aroma can reach to the 'inside' of a person and help with the ritual of self care.

5. What is your favourite ingredient to use and why?

It changes all the time but it is always an essential oil rather than a base oil, and at the moment my newest-yet-to-launch blend (Restorative Rose) is perfect for where I'm at.  I often find that I 'create' products that are perfect for my needs at that time, then I offer them out to the public and realise that there is a whole audience out there with the same need.  The Restorative Rose blend contains Rose which is a heart nurturer and definitely links to Self Care and Self Love and Support.  It also contains Cedarwood - all about inner strength, and Rose Geranium - all about Balance and these are another two of my favourite essential oils. 


It's relaxing just reading it isn't it? Oh to be in Cornwall! 

If you'd like to try some of Marie's wonderful products for yourself (I can highly recommend the Serenity Slumber range) she is offering 15% off everything for The Salted Tail readers until the end of November, just enter the code salted15 when prompted at the checkout! 

Thank you again to Marie for another great interview! I do hope you're enjoying this series of posts, and would really love some feedback if anyone feels like sharing! This will be the last one of 2016, but they will be back again in the New Year and I have some more fantastic ones up my sleeve! 

(All images from Bloom Remedies) 
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