I've been obsessing over anything and everything autumnal in theme on Pinterest lately, to the point where I've had to create a separate board for all the rustic and cosy seasonal inspiration I just can't seem to get enough of. What's more, if you follow me on Insta, you'll know that my autumnal obsession has had one main focus in the last week or so: leaves.

To me, autumn is the perfect season- not too hot and not too cold but cosy and rustic with just the faintest whisper of Christmastime around the corner... I think Emily Brontë perfectly sums up the joy to be found in this season in her poem, 'Fall, leaves, fall':


Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day:
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree. 
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night's decay
Ushers in a drearier day. 


As my obsession for crispy autumn leaves has clearly become intense enough to drive me to quote poetry (!) it was only going to be a matter of time before I felt the need to whip up a yummy leaf-inspired recipe to share with you all!


These spicy and seasonal biscuits are a twist on an original gingerbread recipe from the great Mary Berry herself. I've made them into a sandwich biscuit (à la custard cream) and cut out some of the darker, more 'Christmassy' gingerbread flavours to create something a little lighter and less festive in taste.

The spiced mascarpone filling adds a creamy and sweet touch to the peppery soft biscuit, but feel free to forego the extra calories and keep these as simple little cut-out cookies if you just want something yummy to dunk in your tea!

Anyway, here's what you'll need if you want to give them a go...

For the gingerbread biscuits:

- 350g/12oz plain flour
- 1 tsp. bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 125g/ 4 1/2 oz butter
- 175g/6oz light soft brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 4 tbsp. golden syrup

For the filling: 

- 1 tbsp. mascarpone
- 1 tbsp. icing sugar
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon


1. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon into the bowl of a food processor or mixer. Add the butter and blend everything together until the mix looks like breadcrumbs. Pour in the sugar and mix everything together well.

2. Lightly beat the egg and golden syrup together. Add this to the dry ingredients and then mix it all together until everything clumps into a ball. Tip the dough out and knead briefly until smooth. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and pop into the fridge to chill for 15 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 180c/350f/Gas 4. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.

4. Once chilled, roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface until roughly half a centimetre thick. Using a floured leaf cutter, cut out your shapes and place them on the pre-prepared baking trays. These biscuits will puff up and spread out just a little bit whilst baking, so be sure to leave enough room between each so they don't merge together! 

5. Take a cocktail stick and draw a leaf pattern onto each biscuit- this is far simpler to do than it at first seems, so stick with it and try not to press too hard into the dough!

6. Bake the biscuits in the oven for around 10-12 minutes, or until they have turned light brown in colour. Remove from the oven and allow the biscuits to sit on the trays for around 10 minutes before transferring them onto a rack to cool completely.

7. Whilst you wait for the biscuits to cool, prepare the filling by mixing the mascarpone, icing sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl.

8. When the leaves are completely cool it's a good idea to partner them up with biscuits of a similar size, as this will make for a neater 'sandwich' effect. Once you have your perfect pairings, spread a small amount of the filling onto one biscuit and place its partner on the top (the same way round, don't turn it over or they won't match up!), squeezing down to evenly distribute the filling.


And that's it! These autumnal offerings will keep in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to a week- if you can resist gobbling them all up for that long!


Do you have any recipes you love to bake or cook at this time of year? I'd love to hear about them in the comments below. And be sure to let me know if you decide to make these for yourself, it would be lovely to see a yummy Instagram or two!


In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x




Gingerbread Autumn Leaves

Friday, 30 September 2016


I've been obsessing over anything and everything autumnal in theme on Pinterest lately, to the point where I've had to create a separate board for all the rustic and cosy seasonal inspiration I just can't seem to get enough of. What's more, if you follow me on Insta, you'll know that my autumnal obsession has had one main focus in the last week or so: leaves.

To me, autumn is the perfect season- not too hot and not too cold but cosy and rustic with just the faintest whisper of Christmastime around the corner... I think Emily Brontë perfectly sums up the joy to be found in this season in her poem, 'Fall, leaves, fall':


Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day:
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree. 
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night's decay
Ushers in a drearier day. 


As my obsession for crispy autumn leaves has clearly become intense enough to drive me to quote poetry (!) it was only going to be a matter of time before I felt the need to whip up a yummy leaf-inspired recipe to share with you all!


These spicy and seasonal biscuits are a twist on an original gingerbread recipe from the great Mary Berry herself. I've made them into a sandwich biscuit (à la custard cream) and cut out some of the darker, more 'Christmassy' gingerbread flavours to create something a little lighter and less festive in taste.

The spiced mascarpone filling adds a creamy and sweet touch to the peppery soft biscuit, but feel free to forego the extra calories and keep these as simple little cut-out cookies if you just want something yummy to dunk in your tea!

Anyway, here's what you'll need if you want to give them a go...

For the gingerbread biscuits:

- 350g/12oz plain flour
- 1 tsp. bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 125g/ 4 1/2 oz butter
- 175g/6oz light soft brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 4 tbsp. golden syrup

For the filling: 

- 1 tbsp. mascarpone
- 1 tbsp. icing sugar
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon


1. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon into the bowl of a food processor or mixer. Add the butter and blend everything together until the mix looks like breadcrumbs. Pour in the sugar and mix everything together well.

2. Lightly beat the egg and golden syrup together. Add this to the dry ingredients and then mix it all together until everything clumps into a ball. Tip the dough out and knead briefly until smooth. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and pop into the fridge to chill for 15 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 180c/350f/Gas 4. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.

4. Once chilled, roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface until roughly half a centimetre thick. Using a floured leaf cutter, cut out your shapes and place them on the pre-prepared baking trays. These biscuits will puff up and spread out just a little bit whilst baking, so be sure to leave enough room between each so they don't merge together! 

5. Take a cocktail stick and draw a leaf pattern onto each biscuit- this is far simpler to do than it at first seems, so stick with it and try not to press too hard into the dough!

6. Bake the biscuits in the oven for around 10-12 minutes, or until they have turned light brown in colour. Remove from the oven and allow the biscuits to sit on the trays for around 10 minutes before transferring them onto a rack to cool completely.

7. Whilst you wait for the biscuits to cool, prepare the filling by mixing the mascarpone, icing sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl.

8. When the leaves are completely cool it's a good idea to partner them up with biscuits of a similar size, as this will make for a neater 'sandwich' effect. Once you have your perfect pairings, spread a small amount of the filling onto one biscuit and place its partner on the top (the same way round, don't turn it over or they won't match up!), squeezing down to evenly distribute the filling.


And that's it! These autumnal offerings will keep in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to a week- if you can resist gobbling them all up for that long!


Do you have any recipes you love to bake or cook at this time of year? I'd love to hear about them in the comments below. And be sure to let me know if you decide to make these for yourself, it would be lovely to see a yummy Instagram or two!


In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x





As I shared a couple of my quick watercolour sketches over on Insta the other day, I thought it might be interesting for me to show you the travel sketching kit I use to paint when I'm out and about.


The three main elements to my kit are: my Field Notes Memo Books, a Winsor & Newton Watercolour tin and a couple of strong bull clips. 

It's quite simple to put together one of these kits yourself, but this is the method that I find works the best when I want to whip the old sketchbook out on a muddy walk! I prefer keeping things small when it comes to my notebook and watercolour tin of choice but I'm pretty sure this technique would work equally as well with a bigger sketchbook and tin- if that's more your style!  

So my method is to pin down the open page I'm working on with a bull clip, to keep it in place (especially helpful when the weather isn't so good!) and then clip down my watercolour palette on the opposite page. I also try to remember to grab a sheet of kitchen paper and fold it up underneath one of the bull clips to use for blotting- if I forget, a bog-standard pack of tissues does the job just as well!


The Winsor & Newton tin already comes with a compact paintbrush but I like to clip a biro (I use this for initial sketching and detailing) to one of the bull clips, as well as a couple of small paintbrushes.

I also take the tiniest jam jar I can find, fill it halfway with water, and keep it alongside my notebook- making sure the lid is tightly screwed on! Sometimes I find it helpful to stow this away in a plastic sandwich bag, just to keep it separate from anything else I have in my bag.

I also know that some people prefer to use a Water Brush in place of the paintbrush and jam jar technique, as a way of keeping everything compact and easy to carry. I must admit, up until very recently I didn't even know that such a brush even existed... and I was majorly impressed when I happened to stumble across a whole new world of art equipment online! Safe to say, a pack of water brushes has gone on my Christmas list and I'm very excited to try them out soon!


So that's how I pack my watercolours for sketching on the go! Do you have any tips for travelling and journalling? I'd love to hear them in the comments below! 

I'm really determined to start using my watercolours more often, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled over on my Instagram for any further scribbles and doodles!

In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x



Sketching on the Go

Wednesday, 28 September 2016


As I shared a couple of my quick watercolour sketches over on Insta the other day, I thought it might be interesting for me to show you the travel sketching kit I use to paint when I'm out and about.


The three main elements to my kit are: my Field Notes Memo Books, a Winsor & Newton Watercolour tin and a couple of strong bull clips. 

It's quite simple to put together one of these kits yourself, but this is the method that I find works the best when I want to whip the old sketchbook out on a muddy walk! I prefer keeping things small when it comes to my notebook and watercolour tin of choice but I'm pretty sure this technique would work equally as well with a bigger sketchbook and tin- if that's more your style!  

So my method is to pin down the open page I'm working on with a bull clip, to keep it in place (especially helpful when the weather isn't so good!) and then clip down my watercolour palette on the opposite page. I also try to remember to grab a sheet of kitchen paper and fold it up underneath one of the bull clips to use for blotting- if I forget, a bog-standard pack of tissues does the job just as well!


The Winsor & Newton tin already comes with a compact paintbrush but I like to clip a biro (I use this for initial sketching and detailing) to one of the bull clips, as well as a couple of small paintbrushes.

I also take the tiniest jam jar I can find, fill it halfway with water, and keep it alongside my notebook- making sure the lid is tightly screwed on! Sometimes I find it helpful to stow this away in a plastic sandwich bag, just to keep it separate from anything else I have in my bag.

I also know that some people prefer to use a Water Brush in place of the paintbrush and jam jar technique, as a way of keeping everything compact and easy to carry. I must admit, up until very recently I didn't even know that such a brush even existed... and I was majorly impressed when I happened to stumble across a whole new world of art equipment online! Safe to say, a pack of water brushes has gone on my Christmas list and I'm very excited to try them out soon!


So that's how I pack my watercolours for sketching on the go! Do you have any tips for travelling and journalling? I'd love to hear them in the comments below! 

I'm really determined to start using my watercolours more often, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled over on my Instagram for any further scribbles and doodles!

In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x




You know what I was saying about always having too many apples knocking about at this time of year? Well I think I've found a recipe that might help us to use up some of our bountiful harvest.

I stumbled across this yummy idea on Pinterest the other day and instantly pinned it because, unlike a lot of cooking apple recipes, it calls for more than two or three apples- meaning I can use up some of our stock at a much faster pace!


It's also a very seasonal recipe. I don't know about you but I've been craving a warm bowl of soup for lunch practically everyday since the start of September! It turned chilly quite suddenly down here in Cornwall, so I think this soup (and a little bit of homemade bread for dunking!) might just become a staple for me in the weeks to come.

I've adapted the Hairy Biker's recipe to suit my own taste's (leaving out the garlic and adding some extra rosemary and spices for a fiercer kick) but feel free to refer to the original instructions if that's the sort of soup you prefer!




For my spicy + warming take on the recipe, you will need:

- 25g/1oz butter
- 1 tbsp. sunflower oil
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 600g/1lb 5oz parsnips, not peeled but cut into 2cm chunks
- 600g/1lb 5oz cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
- 1 litre/1 3/4 pint vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 tsp. of curry powder (+ a pinch of chilli powder if you're feeling daring!)
- 150ml/5 fl oz milk (optional)
- pinch of salt and pepper
- a few sprigs of rosemary
- chopped + roasted hazelnuts


Top tip before you start- I found it really helpful to cut up all the veg beforehand and then divide it into separate bowls so it was easy to pour into the pan when needed!   



1.  Melt the butter and the oil in a large saucepan or casserole dish. You're going to have heaps of veg going into this pan so make sure it's a large enough- I used a big old Le Creuset casserole dish for this and it worked perfectly. 

2. Gently fry the onions and parsnips for around fifteen minutes, or until the onions have softened. Then add the apples, curry powder and chilli and cook everything for a further two minutes, stirring regularly so the onions don't get stuck to the bottom of the pan!

3. Pour over the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and then cook for a further twenty minutes until the parsnips and the apples are super soft. Then, remove the pan from the heat and season with salt and pepper.

4. Pour the mixture into a blender and blitz until super smooth. You can add the milk in once you've blended everything together to create a creamier and thinner soup, but I preferred the taste of the mixture without.

5. Finally, season to taste with salt and pepper, sprinkle over some chopped hazelnuts and garnish with a sprig of rosemary.



And that's it!

I love the spicy kick that undercuts the sweetness and softness of the apples and parsnips here. It makes for a really warming and filling soup that's perfect for the chilly spells we've been having!


I really hope you give this one a go! Do you have any yummy, cosy recipes you turn to at this time of year? I'd love to hear about them in the comments below!


In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x



Spiced Parsnip and Apple Soup

Thursday, 22 September 2016


You know what I was saying about always having too many apples knocking about at this time of year? Well I think I've found a recipe that might help us to use up some of our bountiful harvest.

I stumbled across this yummy idea on Pinterest the other day and instantly pinned it because, unlike a lot of cooking apple recipes, it calls for more than two or three apples- meaning I can use up some of our stock at a much faster pace!


It's also a very seasonal recipe. I don't know about you but I've been craving a warm bowl of soup for lunch practically everyday since the start of September! It turned chilly quite suddenly down here in Cornwall, so I think this soup (and a little bit of homemade bread for dunking!) might just become a staple for me in the weeks to come.

I've adapted the Hairy Biker's recipe to suit my own taste's (leaving out the garlic and adding some extra rosemary and spices for a fiercer kick) but feel free to refer to the original instructions if that's the sort of soup you prefer!




For my spicy + warming take on the recipe, you will need:

- 25g/1oz butter
- 1 tbsp. sunflower oil
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 600g/1lb 5oz parsnips, not peeled but cut into 2cm chunks
- 600g/1lb 5oz cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
- 1 litre/1 3/4 pint vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 tsp. of curry powder (+ a pinch of chilli powder if you're feeling daring!)
- 150ml/5 fl oz milk (optional)
- pinch of salt and pepper
- a few sprigs of rosemary
- chopped + roasted hazelnuts


Top tip before you start- I found it really helpful to cut up all the veg beforehand and then divide it into separate bowls so it was easy to pour into the pan when needed!   



1.  Melt the butter and the oil in a large saucepan or casserole dish. You're going to have heaps of veg going into this pan so make sure it's a large enough- I used a big old Le Creuset casserole dish for this and it worked perfectly. 

2. Gently fry the onions and parsnips for around fifteen minutes, or until the onions have softened. Then add the apples, curry powder and chilli and cook everything for a further two minutes, stirring regularly so the onions don't get stuck to the bottom of the pan!

3. Pour over the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and then cook for a further twenty minutes until the parsnips and the apples are super soft. Then, remove the pan from the heat and season with salt and pepper.

4. Pour the mixture into a blender and blitz until super smooth. You can add the milk in once you've blended everything together to create a creamier and thinner soup, but I preferred the taste of the mixture without.

5. Finally, season to taste with salt and pepper, sprinkle over some chopped hazelnuts and garnish with a sprig of rosemary.



And that's it!

I love the spicy kick that undercuts the sweetness and softness of the apples and parsnips here. It makes for a really warming and filling soup that's perfect for the chilly spells we've been having!


I really hope you give this one a go! Do you have any yummy, cosy recipes you turn to at this time of year? I'd love to hear about them in the comments below!


In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x




As it's harvest season and I've been blathering on, both on my Instagram and in previous posts, about how much of a fruit glut we've ended up with this year, I thought it would be the perfect time to share some of my top fruit-picking tips with you.


We're lucky enough to have four apple trees in our garden at the moment (although, we are a man down as one sadly gave up the ghost last Autumn, RIP little tree...) and they don't half pump out a shed-load of apples! Over the years, however, we've learnt that there are a few good tips and tricks to making the most of their bountiful offerings each and every September.

Even if you don't have an apple tree in your garden, these tips will still apply if you decide to take a seasonal trip to a farmer's orchard or stumble upon some overly-fertile trees in the wild (gasp)! 


1. Before you get started picking them, be sure to know your apples. Typically, there are three types: Dessert (or 'eaters'), Cooking (which we have!) or Cider apples. It's essential you know what kind of apple you're picking before you end up with a cartload of them and begin the arduous task of trying to use them up. Nobody wants to eat an apple crumble made with a bunch of bitter cider apples!


2. When you come to picking, only select firm and bruise-free apples from the outside of the tree. Apples on the outer branches typically ripen first, so its a good idea to start harvesting from the outside and work your way into the centre of the tree as the season moves on. 


3. Remember that the colour of the apple might not necessarily indicate its ripeness, as some varieties turn red or bright green well before the fruit itself is ripe. The best way to tell if an apple is ripe is if it feels firm to the touch and breaks off its stalk cleanly.


4. The best way to pick an apple from its stalk is to roll the fruit upwards and then gently twist it until it comes off by itself.


5. Discard any apples with any signs of disease, insect erosion or severe bruising, even if they 'look clean'.


6. Be careful when gathering your harvest as apples bruise very easily and one damaged apple can spoil a whole basket. Be sure to place them carefully in your container of choice and sort them as soon as possible after harvesting.


7. Be sure to keep your apples in a cool environment (preferably in the fridge) after picking them to ensure a long shelf life.

8. And if you want to keep your apples for cooking, you can core and slice them up and then pop them in a freezer bag to store in the freezer for up to a year!


9. However you store your harvest, make sure you keep apples away from any other fruit and veg as apples emit a gas (ethylene gas- for all you science nerds out there!) that hastens ripening. Extra tip- damaged apples emit ethylene at a much faster rate so be sure to discard them from your harvest as quickly as possible to avoid other fruit going bad. 


10. And finally, it's best to use the larger apples from your harvest first, as these won't store as well as the smaller ones!


Now you've got your very own glut of apples, it's time to decide what to do with them all! I put mine to good use in a very special batch of porridge recently, but you can find all sorts of hearty and Autumnal apple recipes all over the internet.

If you're still stuck for ideas- be sure to look out for another special, apple-inspired recipe coming to this blog later in the week!    

Or if you're feeling super inspired, why not share your favourite apple recipes in the comments below? I'd love to hear some new ideas!

In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x


Apple Picking Tips

Tuesday, 20 September 2016


As it's harvest season and I've been blathering on, both on my Instagram and in previous posts, about how much of a fruit glut we've ended up with this year, I thought it would be the perfect time to share some of my top fruit-picking tips with you.


We're lucky enough to have four apple trees in our garden at the moment (although, we are a man down as one sadly gave up the ghost last Autumn, RIP little tree...) and they don't half pump out a shed-load of apples! Over the years, however, we've learnt that there are a few good tips and tricks to making the most of their bountiful offerings each and every September.

Even if you don't have an apple tree in your garden, these tips will still apply if you decide to take a seasonal trip to a farmer's orchard or stumble upon some overly-fertile trees in the wild (gasp)! 


1. Before you get started picking them, be sure to know your apples. Typically, there are three types: Dessert (or 'eaters'), Cooking (which we have!) or Cider apples. It's essential you know what kind of apple you're picking before you end up with a cartload of them and begin the arduous task of trying to use them up. Nobody wants to eat an apple crumble made with a bunch of bitter cider apples!


2. When you come to picking, only select firm and bruise-free apples from the outside of the tree. Apples on the outer branches typically ripen first, so its a good idea to start harvesting from the outside and work your way into the centre of the tree as the season moves on. 


3. Remember that the colour of the apple might not necessarily indicate its ripeness, as some varieties turn red or bright green well before the fruit itself is ripe. The best way to tell if an apple is ripe is if it feels firm to the touch and breaks off its stalk cleanly.


4. The best way to pick an apple from its stalk is to roll the fruit upwards and then gently twist it until it comes off by itself.


5. Discard any apples with any signs of disease, insect erosion or severe bruising, even if they 'look clean'.


6. Be careful when gathering your harvest as apples bruise very easily and one damaged apple can spoil a whole basket. Be sure to place them carefully in your container of choice and sort them as soon as possible after harvesting.


7. Be sure to keep your apples in a cool environment (preferably in the fridge) after picking them to ensure a long shelf life.

8. And if you want to keep your apples for cooking, you can core and slice them up and then pop them in a freezer bag to store in the freezer for up to a year!


9. However you store your harvest, make sure you keep apples away from any other fruit and veg as apples emit a gas (ethylene gas- for all you science nerds out there!) that hastens ripening. Extra tip- damaged apples emit ethylene at a much faster rate so be sure to discard them from your harvest as quickly as possible to avoid other fruit going bad. 


10. And finally, it's best to use the larger apples from your harvest first, as these won't store as well as the smaller ones!


Now you've got your very own glut of apples, it's time to decide what to do with them all! I put mine to good use in a very special batch of porridge recently, but you can find all sorts of hearty and Autumnal apple recipes all over the internet.

If you're still stuck for ideas- be sure to look out for another special, apple-inspired recipe coming to this blog later in the week!    

Or if you're feeling super inspired, why not share your favourite apple recipes in the comments below? I'd love to hear some new ideas!

In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x



Following on from my trip to Cardinham Woods, I thought I'd share a quick DIY with you that puts the collection of leaves I gathered on my walk to good use.

This is a really quick and simple craft that you can adapt and alter as you please. For example, if you prefer, you can simply print onto an existing notebook or even (as I'm thinking of doing at Christmas) forego the journal craft altogether and keep your printed paper to use for wrapping gifts! The choice is yours!

All you need are a few basic items:

- Cereal box, cut into a rectangle roughly 10x8 inches
- Scissors
- Roll of brown paper
- Plain A4 paper
- Leaves, or other materials to print with
- Paintbrush + water
- Acrylic paint
- Glue
- Needle + thread
- Bull clips



Here are a few of the leaves I collected on our walk through Cardinham Woods. 
Be sure to wash and gently pat the leaves dry before you print with them- you don't want any leftover mud or grit to mess up the effect!  


First thing you want to do is to create your printed paper. I used a brush to gently cover each leaf with acrylic paint before placing it down on the paper and carefully flattening each section with my little finger. Depending on how neat you want the prints to be, you might even want to use a sponge to press the leaves down as this can be quite a fiddly task. Personally, however, I'm quite a fan of the messy and fingerprinty 'rustic' look!    


Once you've printed enough leaves to cover your cardboard cut-out (a sheet at least 12x10 inches), set the brown paper aside and allow the paint to dry fully.


This is roughly what your cereal box cut-out should look like, folded in half to create the hard cover for your journal. Don't worry about any slightly wobbly edges you might have at this stage! 


Cover the cardboard in an initial layer of plain brown paper to prevent the cereal box design from peeking through.


Then, once your printed paper is completely dry, glue it on top of the first layer. Try and smooth out any creases or air bubbles that might form at this point.



Fold the spare paper over the edges of the hard cardboard cover and stick them down with glue. This should create a neat, straight edge for your journal.


Once everything is glued down, allow the cover to dry before moving on to the next step. 


Take a wad of paper (not too thick or you won't be able to pierce through it!) and cut it into a rectangle roughly 9x7 inches in size. Fold this rectangle crisply in half and place it in the centre of your cover, as above.  


Next, using bull clips to keep everything together, punch a series of small holes down the crease in your journal. I used a pair of nail scissors to ensure each hole went all the way through but you could use a sharp needle or even (very carefully!) the tip of a small knife. After you have punched out all the holes, you need to sew everything together with a simple running stitch.  


Your stitched up journal should look something like this.


And your done! Easy peasy.



You can embellish your journal with anything you like: glitter (perfect for Christmas!), ribbon, button clasps, fancy ties, stickers...the list is endless! Or you could just stick to the simple and rustic look, like me, and fasten everything together with a bit of twine.

However you choose to jazz it up, I think this little homemade journal would make the perfect gift for any nature or doodle-lover. I'll definitely be making a few for my friends and family to scribble away in come Christmastime!


Do you have any DIY gifts you like to make for people? I'm in serious need of some top tips for Christmas, so I'd love to hear your ideas in the comments below!


In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x


DIY Leaf Print Mini Journal

Thursday, 15 September 2016


Following on from my trip to Cardinham Woods, I thought I'd share a quick DIY with you that puts the collection of leaves I gathered on my walk to good use.

This is a really quick and simple craft that you can adapt and alter as you please. For example, if you prefer, you can simply print onto an existing notebook or even (as I'm thinking of doing at Christmas) forego the journal craft altogether and keep your printed paper to use for wrapping gifts! The choice is yours!

All you need are a few basic items:

- Cereal box, cut into a rectangle roughly 10x8 inches
- Scissors
- Roll of brown paper
- Plain A4 paper
- Leaves, or other materials to print with
- Paintbrush + water
- Acrylic paint
- Glue
- Needle + thread
- Bull clips



Here are a few of the leaves I collected on our walk through Cardinham Woods. 
Be sure to wash and gently pat the leaves dry before you print with them- you don't want any leftover mud or grit to mess up the effect!  


First thing you want to do is to create your printed paper. I used a brush to gently cover each leaf with acrylic paint before placing it down on the paper and carefully flattening each section with my little finger. Depending on how neat you want the prints to be, you might even want to use a sponge to press the leaves down as this can be quite a fiddly task. Personally, however, I'm quite a fan of the messy and fingerprinty 'rustic' look!    


Once you've printed enough leaves to cover your cardboard cut-out (a sheet at least 12x10 inches), set the brown paper aside and allow the paint to dry fully.


This is roughly what your cereal box cut-out should look like, folded in half to create the hard cover for your journal. Don't worry about any slightly wobbly edges you might have at this stage! 


Cover the cardboard in an initial layer of plain brown paper to prevent the cereal box design from peeking through.


Then, once your printed paper is completely dry, glue it on top of the first layer. Try and smooth out any creases or air bubbles that might form at this point.



Fold the spare paper over the edges of the hard cardboard cover and stick them down with glue. This should create a neat, straight edge for your journal.


Once everything is glued down, allow the cover to dry before moving on to the next step. 


Take a wad of paper (not too thick or you won't be able to pierce through it!) and cut it into a rectangle roughly 9x7 inches in size. Fold this rectangle crisply in half and place it in the centre of your cover, as above.  


Next, using bull clips to keep everything together, punch a series of small holes down the crease in your journal. I used a pair of nail scissors to ensure each hole went all the way through but you could use a sharp needle or even (very carefully!) the tip of a small knife. After you have punched out all the holes, you need to sew everything together with a simple running stitch.  


Your stitched up journal should look something like this.


And your done! Easy peasy.



You can embellish your journal with anything you like: glitter (perfect for Christmas!), ribbon, button clasps, fancy ties, stickers...the list is endless! Or you could just stick to the simple and rustic look, like me, and fasten everything together with a bit of twine.

However you choose to jazz it up, I think this little homemade journal would make the perfect gift for any nature or doodle-lover. I'll definitely be making a few for my friends and family to scribble away in come Christmastime!


Do you have any DIY gifts you like to make for people? I'm in serious need of some top tips for Christmas, so I'd love to hear your ideas in the comments below!


In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x



Today, as we decided to take Penny on a bit of a longer stroll than usual, I thought I'd take the opportunity to share one of my favourite walking spots with you. Tucked into the Cornish countryside a short distance from Bodmin, Cardinham Woods is a gorgeous area of mixed woodland open to walkers, horse-riders and cyclists alike. Spanning over 650 acres, there's plenty of space to explore and multiple routes to choose from, which means you can easily mix up your walk every time you visit- a real blessing for dog walkers everywhere who, from time to time, get just that little bit tired of plodding along the same old track!            


Our favourite trail is the Lady Vale Walk, as it's the easiest and prettiest route through the woodland and only takes roughly an hour to complete.


The track is named 'Lady Vale' because it follows the river upstream to the Lady Vale Bridge which, in turn, takes its name from The Chapel of Our Lady that stood beside the river in the 12th Century.

  
There's the Lady Vale bridge (which I was sad I couldn't step over!)


The trail makes for a really pleasant amble but I would recommend setting out earlier rather than later to truly enjoy this route in all its peaceful and secluded glory. We got to Cardinham at around ten o'clock in the morning and had the trail pretty much all to ourselves... but be warned- get there any later and you'll have a hard time navigating your way around the thousands of buggies and scooters that suddenly descend come lunchtime.

On a side note... don't get me wrong here- I'm not saying children shouldn't be allowed on the trail (I personally think its a fab place for kids...more on this later on!) but, if you're a dog-walker like myself it's best to arm yourself with the knowledge that, this being the easiest walk also makes it the most child-friendly route around the forest. So, to be on the safe side, just be sure to get in there early if you want a gentle saunter with the pooch!          






There are plenty of places along the way to stop and perch on a bench for a cheeky sandwich or two. I have hopes of coming here for a day in the Autumn and laying out a picnic amongst the leaves... although perhaps minus the crazy, river-splashing spaniel!  






Another fun thing to do whilst walking the Lady Vale route is to follow the Stick Man Activity Trail. Perfect for getting little ones to interact with nature, the activity trail is set up to keep kids entertained the whole way round the walk. There are games and challenges to complete (like building a nest out of a pile of twigs or collecting the best specimens of leaf you can find) and you might even get a special certificate for all your hard work at the end of the trail!  


As you can see, I did a spot of leaf collecting myself! More to follow on this later in the week...


There's also a lovely, wooden play area for the kids to run off any extra energy they might still have...


...as well as one of my most favourite finds in the whole of Cornwall- the fabulous Woods Cafe. A converted woodsman's cottage, this independent, local-produce-loving and dog-friendly cafe never fails to round off a visit to the woods in charming Cornish style.    


 You can choose to sit inside by the open fire or outside with your soggy dogs (although friendly, dry dogs are more than welcome by the hearth) and order something yummy from their selection of homemade treats.    

I highly recommend their Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate, as well as their homemade stew and big, beefy sandwiches! Each makes for a perfect, hearty reward after a long old ramble in the woods.


This morning however, we kept it simple and ordered some mugs of tea, as well as a naughty flapjack to share, and sat outside with Penny to enjoy our post-walk snack.




That flapjack was to die for by the way, it might honestly be the best accompaniment to a Cornish brew I've ever had!


All in all, we had a lovely morning on our little walk and will definitely be making plans to return later in the year for a potential picnic or two! Of course, I'll be sure to keep you posted on any future trips over on my Instagram or on my Twitter.


Do you know of any other walks in and around Cornwall? I'd love to know in the comments below! 


In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x


Exploring Cardinham Woods

Tuesday, 13 September 2016


Today, as we decided to take Penny on a bit of a longer stroll than usual, I thought I'd take the opportunity to share one of my favourite walking spots with you. Tucked into the Cornish countryside a short distance from Bodmin, Cardinham Woods is a gorgeous area of mixed woodland open to walkers, horse-riders and cyclists alike. Spanning over 650 acres, there's plenty of space to explore and multiple routes to choose from, which means you can easily mix up your walk every time you visit- a real blessing for dog walkers everywhere who, from time to time, get just that little bit tired of plodding along the same old track!            


Our favourite trail is the Lady Vale Walk, as it's the easiest and prettiest route through the woodland and only takes roughly an hour to complete.


The track is named 'Lady Vale' because it follows the river upstream to the Lady Vale Bridge which, in turn, takes its name from The Chapel of Our Lady that stood beside the river in the 12th Century.

  
There's the Lady Vale bridge (which I was sad I couldn't step over!)


The trail makes for a really pleasant amble but I would recommend setting out earlier rather than later to truly enjoy this route in all its peaceful and secluded glory. We got to Cardinham at around ten o'clock in the morning and had the trail pretty much all to ourselves... but be warned- get there any later and you'll have a hard time navigating your way around the thousands of buggies and scooters that suddenly descend come lunchtime.

On a side note... don't get me wrong here- I'm not saying children shouldn't be allowed on the trail (I personally think its a fab place for kids...more on this later on!) but, if you're a dog-walker like myself it's best to arm yourself with the knowledge that, this being the easiest walk also makes it the most child-friendly route around the forest. So, to be on the safe side, just be sure to get in there early if you want a gentle saunter with the pooch!          






There are plenty of places along the way to stop and perch on a bench for a cheeky sandwich or two. I have hopes of coming here for a day in the Autumn and laying out a picnic amongst the leaves... although perhaps minus the crazy, river-splashing spaniel!  






Another fun thing to do whilst walking the Lady Vale route is to follow the Stick Man Activity Trail. Perfect for getting little ones to interact with nature, the activity trail is set up to keep kids entertained the whole way round the walk. There are games and challenges to complete (like building a nest out of a pile of twigs or collecting the best specimens of leaf you can find) and you might even get a special certificate for all your hard work at the end of the trail!  


As you can see, I did a spot of leaf collecting myself! More to follow on this later in the week...


There's also a lovely, wooden play area for the kids to run off any extra energy they might still have...


...as well as one of my most favourite finds in the whole of Cornwall- the fabulous Woods Cafe. A converted woodsman's cottage, this independent, local-produce-loving and dog-friendly cafe never fails to round off a visit to the woods in charming Cornish style.    


 You can choose to sit inside by the open fire or outside with your soggy dogs (although friendly, dry dogs are more than welcome by the hearth) and order something yummy from their selection of homemade treats.    

I highly recommend their Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate, as well as their homemade stew and big, beefy sandwiches! Each makes for a perfect, hearty reward after a long old ramble in the woods.


This morning however, we kept it simple and ordered some mugs of tea, as well as a naughty flapjack to share, and sat outside with Penny to enjoy our post-walk snack.




That flapjack was to die for by the way, it might honestly be the best accompaniment to a Cornish brew I've ever had!


All in all, we had a lovely morning on our little walk and will definitely be making plans to return later in the year for a potential picnic or two! Of course, I'll be sure to keep you posted on any future trips over on my Instagram or on my Twitter.


Do you know of any other walks in and around Cornwall? I'd love to know in the comments below! 


In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x


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