Autumn Love

autumn-loveI know I say this every year, but autumn really is my favourite of all the seasons (closely followed by spring). I think it’s times of change that I really love, I tend to feel re-energised by fresh starts and new things.

Some of my favourite things about autumn include:

    • Getting my knit on. I’m such a seasonal knitter, you’ll never catch me knitting in the summer but as soon as those first leaves start to drop my needles are OUT. I’m currently knitting a super-long chunky scarf and mitten combo.
    • Staying in. Do I want to go out in the cold and wet? Not really, no. When it starts to get dark at 6pm, I know it’s time to stay indoors and put something suitably rubbish on telly. Strictly Come Dancing anyone?
    • Baking and preserving. Any excuse to make cakes, really. And what better excuse than a harvest of fruit and vegetables. I can highly recommend beetroot brownies, parkin, apple cake and making jam.
    • Going for long walks and foraging. If I absolutely must go outside, other than to – you know, like go to work – then I can usually be found in the woods somewhere, often looking for mushrooms.
    • Dressing up (the warmer the better). Give me all the woolies! I have a thing for typically autumnal colours too (mustard, teal, tan, deep red). Being a rosy-cheeked, dark blonde type, autumn just seems to suit my colouring more than any other season.

Ok, so all of that makes me sound like an early granny – but I am and proud! Autumn (and it’s chillier cousin, winter) tend to bring out something of the hibernating bear in me, and I just like to hunker down and get cosy.

Do you like autumn? What’s your favourite thing about it?

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Fabby Doodle Big Draw Workshop, 25th October 2014

big-drawHave you heard of The Big Draw? It’s a global drawing festival taking place between 1st October and 2nd November (so right now, really!)

We absolutely love to draw, here at Fi & Me. And my sister Fiona is a super-talented illustrator. To celebrate her passion for doodling, Fi is hosting a Big Draw event at our local library on Saturday, 25th October 2014, 1-4pm.

If you live near Marple (or Stockport), why not come along to a family-friendly drawing session based on this year’s Big Draw theme ‘It’s Our World’?

It’s completely free, and ideal for parents and children or anyone with an interest in drawing who wishes to find out more. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Find event details here. You can find out more about Fi’s Fabby Doodle drawing workshops on her website.

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Afternoon tea (and a special birthday)

Today I turn 30 (happy birthday to me!) I feel like I should feel different, more grown up. But really I just feel quite excited about a new chapter and all the opportunities it brings. And my imminent holiday to Amsterdam (which I really should be packing for right now).


I started proceedings off a little early yesterday as my mum, sisters and niece had planned a surprise treat for me – afternoon tea at a local café. It was really the only thing I wanted to do (it was even one of my new year’s resolutions) and I’d dropped some pretty massive hints, so I’m glad they picked up on my lack of subtlety.

afternoon-tea afternoon-tea-jen cream-tea

Afternoon tea was as delightful as I imagined; sandwiches delicately cut into little shapes, delicious cakes, scones with jam and cream, a pot of tea and not forgetting a glass of bubbly to top it all off. Delicious!


I really couldn’t have hoped for a better start to the big 3-0. Thank you ladies! (This is what it’s like every day, right?)

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Lazy Days and Crochet

Hello beautiful! Hope you’ve had a good weekend.

I’ve been making the most of having a quiet house to myself for a weekend by getting started on some creative projects I’ve had buzzing around my head for a while. Sewing, drawing, jewellery making.

A couple of them have also involved crochet. Let’s say it’s not a craft that comes naturally to me. But I have persevered (I would probably have given up if I hadn’t gone on a course taught by Rachael, who helped me understand the basics like, you know, holding a crochet hook!)

A couple of weeks ago I found this amazing hand crocheted blanket in a local charity shop for just £4. It’s incredible, not only could I not make it (it would take me about five years) but the wool alone would cost me more than £4.

The skill that must have gone in to making this is amazing and it was enough to get me picking up my crochet hook again and try, try, trying again.

I’ve mastered the basic granny square and think I’m going to make some bunting with all these squares I made (I just love these colours together). And, inspired by Instagram crush, crafty legend Pip Lincolne I thought I’d have a go at attempting zigzags. You can check out her tutorial here.

What are you making at the moment?

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Handmade Inspiration: Hello Sunshine

Well, Summer is finally here – and for once in Britain, it actually seems to have brought utterly glorious sunny weather. We’re making the most of it while it lasts!

I thought we’d celebrate with a little treasury of handmade, designed and vintage things celebrating Mr Sunshine…

Sunshine yellow paper garland - Sun Flower, bunting paper garland, summer decoration, home decoration

I reckon this sunshine yellow paper garland hanging in the window would brighten up any day

I am already thinking how ridiculously cute my nieces would look in matching versions of this dress

sunshine (5 x 5)

I love the way light leaks look in photographs. This one on the wall would be the perfect view for when it isn’t so sunny.

SALE set of 2 Bright Sunshine Yellow Bangle Plastic Knitting Needle Upcycled Recycled  SALE

These vintage knitting needle bangles would add a pop of colour to any outfit.

You Fill Me With Sunshine - Greeting Card (2-1C)

This card is a cute way to tell someone special how they make you feel.

Sunshine Hand Block in King

A gorgeous handmade quilt, imagine waking up to that sunny view every morning.

Sunny YELLOW 50s 60s dress floral RETRO romantic SUMMERY vintage rockabilly sun dress uk8 Small

This vintage 50s dress would be perfect for a picnic date in the park

Make a statement with this ombre yellow hexagon bead necklace

iPhone Case: You Are My Sunshine. Retro Scrabble Print. White Case. Sunny Yellow. Polka Dots. iPhone 4/4S Case. iPhone 5 Case. READY-TO-Ship

Spread a little love and sunshine every time you get your phone out with this cute phone cover.

Vintage Yellow Cardigan Sweater, Yellow and White Sweater, Button Womens Cardigan

And finally, for when the sun hides behind a cloud and it gets a little chilly, cover up in this sunny yellow knit.

Hope the sun is shining wherever you are!

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Make Your Own: DIY Floral Crown

With festival season well underway, and in honour of Glastonbury Festival starting today, I thought I’d share a quick and super easy DIY to show you how to make your own floral crown.

The floral headpiece is a festival season must, but its a nice addition to any summer outfit, even if you’re not sat in a muddy field.

Obviously they’re available all over the high street and internet now, but you know I think it’s always nicer and more fun to make your own – and it only cost about £5 in materials from my local craft shop, so I reckon it’s probably cheaper too!

What you’ll need:

  • Fabric flowers (the longer the stems the better)
  • Gardening wire (must be able to bend it in to shape)
  • Floristry tape
  • Cutters or scissors
  • Pliers

To make the base I had to use two pieces of the wire cause it was pre-cut – if you have it on a roll, just wrap it around your head where you want the crown to sit and cut a little bit extra than you need. If you’re using pre-cut pieces, bend two to fit your head around your head and twist the ends where they meet to make a circle.

Using your pliers, wrap the ends around the wire. You will be left with some ends that could scratch or irritate your head, so cover them with the tape.

Next, cut the biggest flowers from your bunch. Cut the stems as long as you possibly can as it makes it much easier to attach them to the crown. At quarter points on the circle, place two flowers with the stems running along the wire. Fix it in place with the tape.

Then you simply fill up the spaces in between using the same technique with your smaller flowers until the crown is full. Doing it this way ensures you get a nice even crown but, you know, you can mix it up if you want it to be fuller on one side.

Then all that’s left to do is sit in the sun and channel your inner hippy. See, I told you it was easy! And it’s pretty sturdy too. I actually made this last year and it’s still going strong 12 months later.

What do you think? Let me know if you give it a go. Or even better, post a picture!

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Midnight Walk for St Ann’s Hospice

As if one 10k charity event wasn’t enough this year, on Friday I agreed to accompany my mum on a 10k walk.

10k, easy! I thought. I can do that in my sleep. And I almost had to, as the walk started at MIDNIGHT!

Now in its eighth year, the Manchester Midnight Walk is organised by our local hospice, St Ann’s. It is an amazing charity that provides much needed support to people in the south Manchester area and some parts of Cheshire. But it costs £16,000 per day to keep its doors open – and only a third of its funding comes from the NHS. That’s what makes fundraising activity like this so important. You can find out more about what they do here.

The night was a lot of fun, with everyone dressed up (including some comfy-looking people in onesies) and a river of flashing bunny ears streaming through the streets of the city centre. I don’t think Manchester knew what had hit it! Honestly, I’ve never seen my mum so excited as she was about wearing a tutu. Or high fiving so many random drunk strangers.

If you’ve never done a night time walk, I can highly recommend it as a way of seeing a different side to a place, and maybe some areas you wouldn’t see, in a safe environment (stewards along the way make sure you don’t get lost or run over).

Of course, there was a serious note to the night too. A garden of remembrance half way round gave us a chance to light a candle and remember loved ones who are always in our thoughts and hearts, and the reason why we were all taking part.

Will I be back next year? Just try and stop me. But next time, I’ll probably wear my pyjamas!

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Introducing Cloudberry Cafe

Hello! It’s so nice to finally have something Fi & Me related to tell you about (rather than my usual ramblings).

We’ve been having a bit of a break from business side of Fi & Me, as Fiona has been on maternity leave and I’ve been busy with my day job. But recently we saw an opportunity come up in our little town that we thought was too good to miss – a chance to spread the handmade word and support a local, family run business.

Cloudberry Cafe is as new eatery that opened its doors last Saturday (21st June) in Marple. Whilst we’re not short of cafes here in Marple, Cloudberry is a little different. It’s not just about great food and drink, but also a place to be creative with kids crafting parties and other workshops in the pipeline. Something we’ve thought has been missing from the area for a long time!

It’s such a great space as well. We used to love it when it was Marple Arch, full of lots of hidden treasures and interesting trinkets. Cloudberry’s owner Karen has done a really good job with the layout and design, creating a nice, relaxing and airy space full of art.

The cafe also doubles up as a shop, selling art work and crafts from local makers. And we’re proud to announce that we’re lucky enough to have had our work chosen to be displayed in there.

Inspired, we’ve even come up with a few new designs of cards and purses (below), which are currently only available from Cloudberry. So, if you’re in the area why not pop in for some coffee, a piece of cake and a browse.

Let us know if you pop in and what you think!

All images © Fi & Me 2013

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Daytripping: Blognix and Birmingham

Last Saturday, I got up absurdly early and hopped on the 7am train to take a little trip to Birmingham for the Blognix blogging conference.

Continue reading

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Styling for the Lazy (and Cheap)

Today’s Blog Every Day in May prompt was on ‘fashion, beauty and grooming’. I feel a little silly writing about that as I’m the least ‘groomed’ person I know.

Occasionally I manage to strike it lucky but really, when it comes to getting dressed up, I’m as low maintenance as it gets. Basically, if it’s a choice between getting an extra 10 minutes in bed or doing my hair, then pass me the pillow!

So I thought I’d share a few time and money saving pointers I’ve picked up along the way…


It’s no secret that when it comes to threads, I like mine vintage. Sourcing them probably isn’t the laziest thing I could do (I actually put quite a lot of effort into digging around charity shops and bargain buckets for things I can give a new lease of life to), but the overall vintage look I’m going for is distinctly casual.

I have ultimate respect for people who can style themselves 40s or 50s every day, but I don’t have the time or inclination. I think a lot of people get put off vintage because they don’t know how to wear it, or they think it takes too much effort. But finding a few simple 80s dresses or playsuits with interesting patterns, that can be teamed up with different heels, belts, bags, tights, cardigans and other accessories, opens up a world of possibilities.

It’s one of the reasons I love vintage polyester as well, you don’t even need to iron it. Lazy girl style to the max! During the working week I also try to pick out my outfits the night before, so that I can make the most of my time in bed.


I have the ultimate in low maintenance hair. I’ve found that keeping it long, layered and chucking away the straighteners to embrace my natural wave (above is actually what it looks like before I stick a brush through it) generally means I can get away with being a bit hippyish. I only have to get it cut once or twice a year.

I’ve even stopped dyeing my hair, instead letting the sun do with it what it will. I sometimes give it a helping hand with my favourite blonde shampoo & conditioner (Timotei Golden Highlights, 99p each from any good Bodycare or Wilko). I’ve also discovered conditioning before shampooing, which means less product residue in my hair and that I can usually get away without washing it for two days rather than one. I sometimes also give it a helping hand with some dry shampoo. How I ever lived without dry shampoo I’ll never know.

Beauty products

I wear very little make up, usually just a bit of eyeshadow and mascara. If I’m on a night out I might push the boat out with a bit of liquid liner and a red lip. I used to treat myself to expensive make up, but recently I’ve found some great copies.

My favourite brand for this has to be MUA – I use their under eye concealer and neutral trio eyeshadow everyday, along with Natural Collection waterproof mascara (the only one I’ve found that doesn’t crumble off and make me look like a panda). The concealer is similar to the Bourjois Touche Eclat and the trio is very close to a L’Oreal one I used to own. Their red lipstick (shade 13, worn above) is incredibly long lasting, the best I’ve ever tried.

Saying that, I’m not a big fan of wearing anything on my lips for a whole day or night – and especially having to retouch them – so I’ve found that lip stain works best for me. Rimmel’s 1000 Kisses lip tint in Carry on Cherry gives a lovely long lasting colour to the lips that can simply be refreshed with a bit of lip balm. Easy!

One area where I don’t scrimp on time or money though is my skin. I’m prone to breakouts so I use Eucerin Dermo Purifier scrub, cleanser and night care (honestly the best acne treatment I have found, and it took me years and ££s of useless products so I’m sharing the knowledge!) as well as the hydrating care with SPF30. Being fair skinned, I’m a big believer in protecting my skin from the sun. And I figure the more effort I put in now, the less I’ll have to worry later.

What’s your approach to fashion and beauty? Do you like to keep it low maintenance or spend a lot of time to look your best?

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