Making at Home with Paper Christmas by Emily Dawe…

November 28, 2018

Every year, my sister and I purchase a themed set of decorations to wrap our Christmas presents.  We are known in our family for really stepping up the wrapping game!  Last year we had glitter star stickers, with a beautiful pink ribbon, set against gleaming metallic silver paper.  This year we have more time to create our decorations and Emily Dawe’s Paper Christmas book is the perfect inspiration.  Full of step by step instructions, there are templates at the back which means easy making.  Emily has put together 16 projects to make your own labels, bunting, Christmas trees and advent calendars.  The best bit is that you can use these ideas all year round.

When I was growing up we always had a craft area in the house.  Sometimes it was just a section of a bookshelf and later an entire room!  Having craft bits and pieces on hand is so normal for me that I have a three tier Ikea trolley full in my current flat.  It contains wood spoon blanks for carving, acrylic and water colour paints and my entire candle making collection.  So.many.essential.oils!  It is not unusual for me to spend hours on a craft activity, lost in the mindfulness and happiness of creating.

I used black and white stock card, self adhesive glitter papers, fancy Christmas twine and my favourite purchase, eco glitter!  Emily has suggested colour ways in the book but feel free to go with your creation.  It is straight forward following the instructions provided, as every step has a picture showing you what to do.  This is my kind of crafting.  It takes the work out of understanding someone’s instructions when there are pictures!  The crafting then becomes family friendly as children can make alongside you.

Watch my timelapse video on instagram where I make the beautiful feathers.

I’ve often seen templates that require a size increase but I hadn’t done that before.  Turns out it is quite easy to find the enlarge function on a photo copier!  I recommend copying each page twice.  Just in case you make a mistake cutting, or if you have a big group working on your decorating project no fighting over templates!

I loved making the feather labels and they were so easy to cut out.  They would make a great family project with little ones.  Feathers don’t have to have perfect sides!  I arranged the five feather templates on the A5 black card and was able to put them in a way that minimised any waste.  The bunting is really cute and instead of hanging it up I used it to wrap the presents.  If you had a few helpers, creating strings and strings of bunting would look stunning around your tree.  A lovely alternative to tinsel, adding a handmade element to your festive décor.

Emily is such a lovely human being and you all know I enjoy supporting small business entrepreneurs.  We recently caught up and I asked her three questions about Paper Christmas…


Jessica – What did you enjoy the most about the book making process? 

Emily – I know that sounds like a cop out, but I loved the whole process!  From the very beginning, I loved researching different projects, trends, and styles.  Then the making process, which always takes much longer than you think, as there’s a lot of trial and error, but getting to the finished result is always so rewarding!  Then I was in my element photographing the book, as a stylist who absolutely loves Christmas, I really enjoyed creating little festive scenarios and flat lays, using my own hands where possible and using my friend Emmeline as my model!

Jessica – That’s sounds so fun, I’d love to be a hand model!  Did you approach the publisher or vice versa? 

Emily – It was a case of being in the right place at the right time!  I was working at Woman’s Weekly at the time, as the Home & Craft Editor, we were working with Roz and Judy from The Woolly Felters on a feature for the magazine about how to needlefelt.  Amazing and magical process if you haven’t tried it!  During our lunch, we got onto chatting about my hopes and goals for the future, one of which was to have a craftbook published.  Roz then announced she was one of the Commissioning Editors at Search Press books, and asked me to chat through my ideas!  She then pitched my idea with a few prototypes, and it was given a big thumbs up!  That was June 2016, so it’s not been a speedy process!

Jessica – Wow I didn’t realise it would take so long.  Patience testing!  What do you hope people get from the book and crafting? 

Emily – I knew I wanted a diverse combination of projects in the book, which would appeal to an array of people, the styles they have in their home, and their skill level.  So if your thing is Scandi minimalism then my folded book angels or white feather garland would suit you.  Likewise, if you want something to make with the kids, my mini bunting, gift tags, party hats or even marbled wrapping paper would be ideal, made using shaving foam!  I chose to make the paper wreath from traditional colours, but I hope people just see this as a starting point and adapt the design to suit their decor – white and gold, or neon pink for example.

In a nutshell, I just wanted to create a fun, contemporary, on-trendcrafting book that would appeal to lots of people, no matter their style, skill level or how much time they have.  Crafting is such a simple pleasure, a time to be mindful, get back to basics with glue and glitter – it’s so nostalgic!  Technology has changed the way we communicate, some people rarely pick up a pen these days, which is so sad.  So it’s really special to actually do something creative withyour hands, forcing you to put your phones away and enjoy some well earned’you time’….saying that, I will forgive you if you want to take a picture of the end result or a crafty flat lay though…oh, and if you want to post it on social media, please tag me @editbyemily and use the hashtag #paperchristmas….it’s good to share, and I’d love more people to hear about my first book!

Jessica – Thank you so much!  I know I enjoyed making everything with some Smooth FM on in the background and a hot chocolate.  I was so relaxed afterwards!


Happy Crafting lovelies!  For more information about Emily’s book, her creative workshops and sign up to her mailing list head to her website.  You can find her on instagram here.  Emily is also going to be on Kristie’s Handmade Christmas, lucky duck!  Remember whilst the book is Christmas themed, lots of the templates can be used throughout the year!  PF xo

Emily and Search Press kindly gifted me Paper Christmas but I was under no obligation to post and all words are my own.

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Making at Home with Paper Christmas by Emily Dawe


The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion Book Review…

November 27, 2018

I borrowed The Rosie Project from the library on a short loan and requested The Rosie Effect* before I had even finished!  Captured by the story of Don Tillman, his love interest Rosie and their close knit friends, I was keen to see what happened next.  There were mixed reviews on my social media about this second book.  I wasn’t really sure why people were telling me bad things but I guess people need to share!

The story kicks straight in following on from The Rosie Project with Don and Rosie in New York.  They are studying and working at the same university, spending a few nights a week working a bar job for fun, whilst trying to settle in a new city.  It all takes a bit of a turn, Rosie takes it upon herself to get pregnant under a false assumption that it might take years.  The life plan that Don has in his head, previously agreed with Rosie, is thrown into chaos.  The result is a series of events that jeopardise their relationship and cause the reader much frustration.

There is little interaction between Don and Rosie, my favourite of the previous narratives, as they close off communication with each other to deal with the pregnancy.  Instead new characters are introduced for Don to bounce ideas with who rarely advise him correctly.  The subsequent comedy of errors became a sticking point for me.  I kept shouting at Don and Rosie to have a proper conversation, the same conversations they were having with their friends.

If you are going to read this book I recommended reading it back to back with The Rosie Project*.  The second book will feel less jarring and the lack of Rosiness will be overcome!

Enjoy PF xo

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London’s Best Christmas Makers Craft Markets…

November 21, 2018

I love a Makers Market where modern crafts of woven hangings, fine jewellery and hand poured candles reside.  It’s time to give back this year and purchase from our friends who toil each year making beautiful works of art.  Here is my selection of London markets recommended not only for the wares on sale but for the added entertainment provided.  Even if you don’t want to purchase anything these markets make great destinations for friend catch ups and date night antics!

Enjoy!  PF xo

Crafty Fox Market. This monthly modern craft market ramps up over the Christmas season with multiple locations across London.  I recommend attending the Brixton market so you can enjoy a drink inside without the impact of the weather.  A DJ will be playing tunes and different craft traders every day.  Make it your local base and gets friends to come visit you there everyday!

Columbia Road Market. Celebrating Christmas every Wednesday leading up to the big day the independent traders of Columbia Road will stay open late.  Sip on hot chocolate and fresh pastries from Cake Hole and purchase vintage homewares from my favourite store Vintage Heaven.  Margaret set up the store when her two garages and house overflowed with vintage china!

Urban Makers. Housed in Old Spitalfields markets over the Christmas period, Urban Makers is brining together the finest talent from East London.  Founded by makers for makers, you will be able to find scented candles, face clays to help combat the party season and local crafted jewellery.  Not sure if you can make it down to the market?  Urban Makers has recently launched their online marketplace here.

Renegade Craft Fair. A US craft fair that ventures across the pond, Renegade will be in London at the Old Truman Brewery mid December.  Designed as a day out, there are DJ’s, food trucks and cocktails, perfect for a shopping date!  Not only will they have markers selling their wares there will also be plenty of workshops for you to hand make presents for your loved ones.

Turning Earth and The Kiln Rooms. Wanting to purchase a special ceramic piece?  Both these markets are operating late November giving you plenty of time to seek out the perfect item.  Both studios are shared membership spaces encouraging their potters to produce one off pieces for the Christmas season.  I am biased and would encourage you to come south to The Kiln Rooms and then venture to Peckham Levels for a spot of indoor mini golf, food and drinks on top of carpark!

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london makers markets christmas


My Must Have Footcare Beauty Products…

November 19, 2018

Looking after my feet was not really a priority or need until recently.  I’ve found that the water in London is quite harsh, sapping the moisture out of my skin and hair.  It is a constant battle to have nice skin and maintain some sort of good looks.  That is possibly a bit vain to talk about good looking feet but I’ve always really liked mine!  Coming from a country where bare feet and sandals are everyday attire, having a pedicure and getting all that skin scrubbed off your heels is normal.  I personally don’t like pedicures.  Having someone cut my nails and scrub the feet is not relaxing for me.  I am a do it at home kind of woman!

Two months ago I decided to take action seriously in regards to my feet.  I was no longer getting away with a little swipe of moisturiser when I remembered!  These are the four products that brought my feet back to life.

Footner Exfoliating Socks.  Kick start your foot care routine with these socks that perform magic and make your skin shed over a week!  I recommend soaking your feet in a warm bucket of water for an hour before using.  This helps to get any top layer skin off and allow the product to hit the tough areas.  The socks themselves are to be kept on for a further hour.  Adding your favourite movie into the mix makes sense!  Over the week bits of skin will come away.  I found it better to soak my feet every night to encourage the shedding, rather than wait for a sudden drop.  It is going to be a bit gross when this bit is happening so plan your diary.  Day 4-7 should be closed shoes and book in time to soak and shed!

Drink Up by Origins Overnight Mask. I got this little sample that worked wonders overnight on my face.  Soaking in it left my skin fresh and not at all oily.  It then came to me that it would probably do the same for my feet!  It works well.    Slather this mask on your feet and pop on some cotton socks before you fall asleep.

Welsh Lavender Foot Cream.  I discovered this Welsh brand when I spent the weekend at The Goodlife Festival.  Every time I bring my small hand cream version out everyone wants to use it!  I am now using this nearly every night religiously to help keep the moisture levels up.  The lavender is perfect for bedtime and the smell helps me to sleep better too.

Flexitol Heel Balm.  This heal balm is recommended by nearly every beauty blogger and it was on offer at Boots so I thought it couldn’t hurt.  Well it’s everything that is promised!  A thick cream that helps to clear up cracked heels.  When mine were really bad I used it every night.  Now that they are all good I pop this on every couple of days to keep on top of it.  Like with the mask, layer this on and pop on cotton socks to help it soak in overnight.

Pumice Stone. I know I said four things however I have just realised when writing this that I also use a pumice stone.  It’s great for getting that hard skin off your heels but for me it’s not a permanent solution.  I try to remember to use it when I shower but it isn’t unusual for me to forget and quickly doing it post dip!

What are your favourite foot care products? I’d love to hear what you are using too.  PF xo

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Ideas to Buy Small This Christmas…

November 14, 2018

Everyone, including myself, is getting a bit tired of huge department stores and their offerings for Christmas.  It just isn’t sitting well hearing stories of stolen copyright of the small guys to fund million pound Christmas advertisements.  The thing is shopping with small business does require a little planning, as they are more likely to go out of stock or need extra time to send items.  To help you out I put together this list of people I have met this year and their gorgeous items that they sell.

Support local business and shop small.  You’ll feel good for supporting all these makers.

Happy shopping, PF xo

I’ve included my own pottery in the mix here.  This makes this post an advertisement.  My goal is to sell enough plates to be able to buy more pottery studio time.  I like to create and as a hobby these things aren’t cheap!  Plus I can’t store all the pots and plates in my house indefinitely!!

1. The Joy of Watercolour by Emma Block.  My friend Emma has been drawing with watercolours for years and doing workshops for this and brush lettering.  I first met her when she did a portrait of me at an event and then again this year when she did a picnic for creatives with Zeena.  Wanting to share her love of water colouring with more people Emma developed this book and approached a publisher.  The Joy of Watercolour takes you through step by step from basic techniques to more complex pictures.  Everyone I have seen use the book has been able to recreate the images quickly and notes how much fun they had.  Buy the book here from Emma.  You could go to Amazon, heck I could throw in my affiliate link, but this post is all about supporting the small business so buy direct so Emma makes a well-deserved profit!

2. Lauren Ashton Designs.  A keen knitter who studied knitwear Lauren has developed a business that creates super chunky designs and those fabulous chunky blankets.  Her range includes patterns and kits to make your own at home.  A perfect gift for someone to tackle during that Christmas and New Year hiatus!  Not sure if your gift receiver is into making?  No problems Lauren has you covered with pre made items that her knitters work up in 4-6 weeks.

3. Petalon Flowers. Started by Florence, who wanted to distribute flowers by bike, she recently was able to expand and offer her bouquets nationwide.  Each week two bouquets are offered based on what is seasonal and at the markets.  Select your bunch and send to a loved one.  You can order ahead and have flowers for the Christmas holiday period.  Florence also offers workshops for making bunches and comprehensive all day courses for those wanting to move into the floristry industry.

4. Grain and Knot.  I have been fortunate to attend workshops with Sophie who carves spoons and butter knives from reclaimed timbers.  Based in London her work can be bought online and at various markets.  Not sure if your loved one would like a spoon?  Gift them a voucher for a workshop with Sophie in 2019.  Trust me, they will get the bug and be buying spoon blanks from Grain and Knot to carve at home in no time!

5. Print Club.  This year I went to Print Club’s Blisters Exhibition and saw so many beautiful screen printing works. Lots of these can be found online and are only £50.  Working together as a collectible the artists buy time from the studio to print their works.  Based in London all the prints can be sent to you in time for Christmas.  You could also buy gift vouchers if you aren’t sure what to pick or purchase a workshop for your loved one.  This is my favourite one, Frozen Planet by Charlie Blanchard.

6. These Two Hands.  Run by my friend Naomi, this small business is a curated collection of nature inspired products.  Everything is made by British crafters and creators with hand printed tea towels, woven throws and leaf print coasters.  Often at markets around the Bristol area Naomi also operates her online store.  The most darling item sold are the baby moccasins that have local sheepskin to line them.

7. Farmers by Welsh Lavender Farm.  I stumbled on this product whilst attending The Good Life festival a couple of years ago and it’s my go to Foot Cream.  Deliciously thick with a gorgeous lavender scent everyone wants some when I bring it out.  I do not share! I’ve gifted it to family and friends and the hand cream is a perfect size for the handbag.  Next year I hope to go to the farm and run amongst the lavender fields when they are in bloom!

8. Gatha Betty Joy.  AD. My own ceramics brand where I slowly make bowls, weird vases and plates.  I’ve been making ceramics for two years now and it is one of the hardest things I have put my mind to.  Shaping clay, testing glazes and hoping that it makes it out in one piece are all things I am learning!  The pots are wonky and the plates have misshaped edges but everyone likes them that way.  Check out the Instagram and buy straight off the image you like.

9. Oliver Rose.  I met Charlotte at a creative conference this year and loved her small business of dollhouse furniture.  Her selection is contemporary modern which I love, and there are collaborations with well-known brands including Buddy & Bear.  Having just done a relaunch and sold out of most things, the store is being restocked.  Follow her on Instagram and be ready to pounce when items are back on sale.

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Buying Small This Christmas

Life Travel

3 Locally Recommended Places to Eat, Bristol…

November 12, 2018

Bristol.  One of the most creative spaces I have visited in Britain, is full of university students, artists and Londoners escaping the city.  An hour and a half out of London, over the past few years it has become the place for creatives migrating from pricey London.  Interestingly, my friends who live in Bristol have told me that rents are going up that many are now moving to Bath!  The spa town that was considered posh and out of reach.  But I digress!

This year I have visited two friends a couple of times and roamed Bristol.  The first visit had us staying in the heart of the city which is like any typical high street.  This area comes to life on the weekend with lots of pop up stalls selling handmade soaps, cakes and puppets!  Stokes Croft is the artier end of town with graffiti walls by prominent artists, independent craft stores and plenty of vintage.  Clifton, the posh area, has a steep main street peppered with university lecture halls and high end retail.  I stayed in Clifton with a friend the second trip and would thoroughly recommend basing yourself here.  Whilst being central the first trip was nice and gave us a lay of the land, however Clifton is a magical English village with magnificent sandstone houses, tree lined streets and wood fires burning.  It reminded me of my childhood and how I kicked the leaves in the little village on my walks to school.

Bristol Lido

The Lido Bristol

Bristol Lido

It pays to know a local and ask for recommendations. The Bristol Lido opened in the 1850’s falling into disrepair closing in the 1990’s.  Restored by a local restaurant group The Lido is now a secret local destination.  We had our brunch inside the glass house that runs the length of the heated Lido.  At times we admitted it felt like we were spying on the swimmers!  I had delicious Turkish eggs, in a spicy tomato sauce with yogurt and added bacon.  I highly recommend that you book as we only just got a table Saturday morning and there was a line of people waiting for lunch.  The lovely staff told us that leading up to Christmas they hang fairy lights and when the sun goes down it looks like a dream land.  Due to high membership numbers The Lido is restricted to being opened to the public during the week, but you can get around this by booking a Spa Package with massage!

Soukitchen Bristol

SouKitchen is a Mediterranean, tapas style restaurant with two locations in Bristol.  We visited the Clifton kitchen tucked off the main street.  First up the entrance is a glass conservatory which makes a perfect place for summer lunches and great to keep out the cold for winter dinners.  We stuck with the sharing plates and got five between two which was plenty.  They have a fantastic cocktail selection and I recommend the Bloody Mary.  The spice and thickness of the drink made it feel like I was drinking my dinner.  It was delicious!

The Florist Bristol  The Florist Bristol

The Florist BristolThe Florist.  Recommended by many an Instagram follower and when we arrived for Sunday brunch we could see why.  Like a Tardis, this restaurant has lots of different rooms, all with bars, and filled to the brim with flower walls.  We were told Saturday is the busiest and Sunday was just us for the first hour.  I had the Nutella and Biscoff pancakes that had a caramelised banana, snapping perfectly when eating!  To drink I had the Juniper Garden, a mocktail with my favourite elderflower syrup and it is the best drink I have had this year.  My friend had granola with peaches and yoghurt which came to the table deconstructed.  Fun!  Her drink was the Rhubarb and Custard which had a real version of the sweet hanging off the side!

Bristol Pinkmans

Bristol Good Egg

Bristol Harts BakeryI visited Pinkmans as I had heard about their donuts and The Crafty Egg for a hearty second breakfast on Sunday.  Both did not disappoint!  Also go early to Harts Bakery under the railway arches of Temple Mead for delicious savoury pastries and a tasty rhubarb and sour cream crumble slices.

Do you have any food recommendations for Bristol?  I have now fallen in love with this city so will be going back in 2019 for sure.  Happy eating.  PF xo.

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