Let’s talk Pinterest Story Pins and how I’m geeking out over the new feature!
The new Pinterest Story Pin feature has been made available to a few business accounts for early access. As a blogger, I have a business account, so I can cleverly link my site images to Pinterest. I have made my pictures Pinterest-friendly to enable my readers to save their fave posts to their personal boards. Using Pinterest’s analytics, I’m able to see the reach of each pin, and how many times it has been clicked and saved. It’s a great way to keep track of what content my audience has best enjoyed.
As some of us have noticed a steady decline of engagement on other social media platforms due to algorithm changes. However, Pinterest seems to be a great place for creatives and small businesses. Reaching your target audience is a breeze if you have a genuine passion for what you’re sharing and create what your viewers love.
Story Pins could be the next in thing for fellow business account holders who want to share more content in the form of multiple pages within one Pin. Think of it as a storybook with up to twenty pages consisting of a cover page, fantastic images and fabulous videos.
Pinterest Story Pins have been created for those who would like to tell a story. You could show different views of something, create step-by-step guides, show steps for a DIY projects or curate a collection of products. The possibilities are endless, and I can’t wait to see what fellow Pinners create.
How to create a Pinterest Story Pin
Pinterest Story Pin function
As you normally would when creating a Pin, click on Pinterest’s red coloured plus symbol and select Create Story Pin. Take it from there…
Each portrait image or video must be created with a minimum of 900×1600 pixels. You can, however, resize your pictures, but in terms of producing great content, it’s best to stick to the requirements. That way you know your imagery won’t be pixelated or poorly cropped.
Each engaging Story Pin must have a minimum of two pages and can have a maximum of twenty. Your title has a maximum of 100 characters.
Include links to your website or origin of each image or video; it’s good practice if you’re not solely using your own work.
Pinterest Story Pin function
The following file types are accepted: BMP, GIF, JPG, PNG, TIFF, WEBP, .mov. and .mp4.
If you’d like to include videos, make sure they are no bigger than 2GB. For more info about video requirements, refer to Pinterest’s video guide.
The max file size for your entire Story Pin file is 10MB.
Pinterest Story Pin function
Dare to be different and think of original ways that you can engage with your audience. Pinterest Story Pins have the potential to reach far greater viewers than a stagnant self-promotional picture or advertisement.
No doubt, eye-catching and engaging content will increase website traffic and help grow your audience or hike up those sales.
If you’d like to see a fully functional Story Pin, you’re in luck, my examples are live! Although, I wouldn’t blame you if you were equally interested in my Unicorn Rainbow Toasty recipe…here you go, enjoy x
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Let’s talk about sex! And gender, sexuality, pronouns and what is and isn’t okay.
There’s so much terminology for those of us who don’t fall into the heterosexual / cis-gendered categories. After centuries of being outcast, we’re finally moving into a world of acceptance, for those of us considered “other”, outside of the parameters of “straight”, “male” or “female”.
With a plethora of terminology out there, we see why folks get confused. Lexicon evolves as society does. What was once an acceptable term could now be considered derogatory. By the same hand, terms once used as insults have now been appropriated by the community.
Some people (usually the older generation to speak broadly) have a tendency to get the terminology wrong, accidentally, and cause hurt. Ignorance is not bliss people!
The vast range of terms means it’s easy to get confused. If your intentions are good, we’ll correct you and forgive you. So I’ll break the rainbow down for you, step by step. This handy guide will let you know what’s hot, and what’s not, what is acceptable and what could cause hurt.
LGBTQQIAAP (Often referred to as LGBT+)
L is for…Lesbian!
Lesbians are people who identify as women and are only interested in other women.
Like all other groups of people, lesbians present themselves differently. Some are more masculine presenting. Some are very feminine presenting. Some are androgynous. Regardless of appearance, lesbian is your go-to term for a woman who is into other women. Some lesbians may refer to themselves (within safe spaces/people they know well) as a butch or a dike. (See Lea DeLaria / Boo in Orange is the New Black.) Some may refer to themselves as femme or “lipstick”.
Your safest bet is always Lesbian. Or, you know, just their name, because why does it even matter?
Terms that are not acceptable: lezza, dike (in general reference to someone who looks like a stereotype of a lesbian), homo etc. These aren’t fun and should not be used.
G is for…Gay!
Gay refers to people who identify as men and are only attracted to other men. The stereotype of gay men indicates a feminine man, usually well groomed, high pitched voice, very camp and all a bit silly. Yes, some gay men are that, and we love them. However, some gay men are the total inverse; very masculine, deep-voiced, sensible. Everything in between those two, you can be there’s a gay man like it. Believe it or not, there might be one who looks just like your grandad. Or your neighbour. Your doctor.
When in doubt, use the word from the umbrella. Gay. It’s the only safe option. A gay man may refer to himself as a bear or a whole host of other sentiments, but I’d stick with gay. You could also use the term to refer to a woman who likes other women.
It’s not okay to use it as an insult, though. “Don’t be so gay” is a phrase people use if someone doesn’t want to do something they want, for example. That’s not okay. Being gay is not an issue, so let’s not use it as an insult. Homo/faggot/fairy/bender – these aren’t cool. Ever.
B is for…. Bisexual!
A bisexual person is a man or a woman who is attracted to both men and women. If I had to put myself in a patch in the rainbow, this is where I would fall. I have dated both men and women. My only serious relationship has been with a woman.
Some people, both within and outside of the LGBT+ community, cannot comprehend being bisexual. Bi-erasure in the LGBT+ community is real. We’re not gay enough, apparently. Some straight people think we’re just gays who are only half out of the closet.
Some people will just call us plain old greedy. Believe me, it’s not about greed. Being bi is as confusing as hell sometimes. We’re not greedy, we’re just lucky. Though believe me, it doesn’t double the size of the dating pool.
Many bi-sexual people will refer to themselves as gay when within the LGBT+ community. It’s just easier. If your friend is bi and refers to themselves as gay, that’s okay.
T is for…Transgender!
A transgender person – or trans person – is someone who was born one gender but identifies as another. Some trans people choose to undergo a very long process of medication and surgery to become the gender they identify with. Others will choose to live outwardly as their identified gender while keeping their original form. During the process of becoming the gender, they identify with (from their birth gender) is called transitioning.
A trans person’s gender and their sexuality are two very different things and not to be confused. There are trans-women (born with male genitalia) who will identify as a lesbian and are only attracted to other women. A trans-woman may only be attracted to men, too. Generally speaking, this does not make them gay, though they may choose to identify as this before their transition. Synonymously, there are trans-men (born with female genitalia) who are only attracted to women. There are, however, trans-men who identify as gay and are only attracted to men. Of course, to throw another colour into the rainbow, some bi-sexual trans people are attracted to both cis-gendered men and women.
This is a very deeply personal topic, and each trans-person’s situation is different from the next. If you are lucky enough to know a trans-person personally if they are happy to talk, ask them how they identify. Many trans people have spent much of their life being confused by “outsiders” who recognise them as the incorrect gender. They have had a deeply personal struggle to become who they are, and many find it comforting and respectful when you take an interest in their self and their identity.
What is not acceptable is calling a trans-person a tranny. This term was once derogatorily used to refer to the people we now proudly name as Drag Queens. Though the majority of drag queens are gay men, they are not all transgender. A man dressed as a woman for fun or for a show is not the same as a trans-person who was born male and identifies/lives as a female.
Q (number 1) is…Queer!
Many people in the rainbow will identify as Queer. This generally means anything outside of the heteronormative. I often refer to myself or my peers as Queer. Rather than identifying with one label, or feeling that none of the traditional profiles ticks their own personal boxes, Queer is an easy umbrella term for us to live under.
The word once was used to describe strange people. It has been historically used as a derogatory term for those not brave enough to use the term gay to refer to someone else. At some point in recent history, we have reclaimed this word. Taking ownership of the word and choosing to use it for yourself took away the insulting power it once had.
Q (number 2) is for…Questioning!
This term can be used in terms of both gender and sexuality. You may be a woman or girl (teens through to old age) who has only been sexually and romantically involved with men so far. However, you’ve always had this idea that you might be attracted to women. Sometimes you might see a beautiful woman in the street and not be able to decide whether you want to be her or be with her. It’s the same for men, too, in this instance.
A person who is questioning their sexuality may never act on it. They may have a drunken kiss in a nightclub and leave it that. Perhaps they go on to have a relationship with a person of the same gender. Life’s full of opportunity!
A person questioning their gender may have been born one gender but have felt that they might want to be the other. Again, they might never act on it. They might try dressing in the other gender’s clothes once or twice. They may go on to transition to the other gender, both outwardly and physically.
While the questioning period can be an exciting time, it can be profoundly confusing and stressful emotionally. If someone you know is questioning, be kind. Give them space to talk or just be whomever they want to be.
I is for…Intersex!
An intersex person is one who, physically, does not fall into the traditional male/female gender. Intersex people may have both (or neither) genitalia at birth. Most likely, their parents will have assigned them a gender at birth and prescribe that they live their life as that gender. They may choose later in life to change their gender to the one they identify with, rather than the one they were assigned by parents or doctors.
In Greek history, an Intersex person was considered someone with superhuman powers!
Whichever gender an intersex person identifies with, is the only option you should choose. This issue only relates to their gender and not their sexual preference.
Once upon a time, intersex people were referred to as hermaphrodites. This is a term that has been thrown out for use regarding humans and can now only be used to describe certain animals. This is never a word you should use about another person.
A (number one) is for…Ally!
You guys are great. You gorgeous allies are people who identify as straight and cis-gendered but love all of us in the rainbow. You believe in equality. You know that everyone has the right to live as the person that they want to be and to love whoever they want to – regardless of any physical or sexual alignments.
You’ll turn up to your local Pride parade dressed brightly and cheering the queers with love and support. Without allies, we wouldn’t have come as far as we have with LGBT+ rights across the world. We thank you for your continuous support and will always love you.
A (number 2)…Is for Asexual!
Asexuality is a broad term for someone (of any gender) who does is not physically or sexually attracted to anyone, regardless of sexuality or gender. This is not a person to be pitied. They may live their life in romantic, non-sexual relationships. Some asexual people may never have a romantic relationship and will live their life happily so.
There is a significant difference between someone who is asexual and someone who is celibate. A celibate person has sexual attractions and feelings but chooses to abstain from them. An asexual person has little or no sexual attraction or desire. Don’t get it confused, people!
Graphic designer Daniel Quasar’s re-booted Pride flag
P is for…Pansexual!
The last letter in our rainbow acronym is possibly the broadest of all. A pansexual person is a person who is attracted to people of all genders, including trans and non-binary people (people who identify as neither gender).
A pan person may go from sex with a woman, to a relationship with a post-transition man. They may be in one long term, heterosexual relationship their whole life but still be attracted to all gender types.
There is no link to Peter Pan here. These aren’t people who haven’t grown up, they’re just people who don’t conform to certain types!
Knowing a person under the rainbow
If you’re lucky enough to know or love someone under the LGBTQQIAAP rainbow, just ask them how they identify, and how they would like to be referred to. Some people may not want to be boxed and may not choose a term. For those who do, getting their pronouns correct is imperative. Whether a person identifies as he or she, gay or lesbian, non-binary or trans, is their place to tell you, not for you to decide.
Holly is a queer-femme lifestyle blogger and ‘pawrent’ to a miniature Dachshund, Chorizo. She bosses her role as an Office Manager during the week and spends the rest of her time just trying to figure herself out and enjoy life. Holly is an inter-sectional feminist who believes in the combination of the power of people and the power of conversation. The more we talk about the awkward topics people want to avoid, the better we can overcome marginalisation and inequality. Also Gin. There’s always room for gin in Holly’s life.
Have a chat with Holly on Twitter.
*All thoughts and opinions remain the authors own, and do not necessarily reflect the sentiments of Sareta Fontaine.
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This Unicorn Rainbow Toasty has got to be the easiest recipe I have ever shared in the history of this blog. It’s quick, simple and oh so cute! Serve at your rainbow themed party and wow your guests with a multicoloured cheesy surprise. You’re welcome.
A magical recipe that I can only assume has been inspired by a traditional Aussie treat called fairy bread. This sweet cheesy delight would be great for summer parties or fussy eaters. Who could resist any form of rainbow-coloured food?!
The only thing I’d warn you about is to go easy on the food colouring. Yes, you want pretty colours, but too much could make your magical creation taste pretty gross. A little goes a long way!
UNICORN RAINBOW TOASTY
Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple food colouring
Bright and Bold sprinkles or Hundreds and Thousands
Two slices of bread
Grated Mozzarella cheese
Preheat your grill and place on medium heat.
Place 3 tbsp of mozzarella in six bowls.
Add one small drop (1/8 of a tsp) of food colouring to each bowl, starting with red, orange and so on.
Mix each batch, making sure the mozzarella is evenly covered.
Lay the mix in order of the colours of the rainbow, from red to purple.
Place your second slice of bread on top to create a sandwich.
Grill for 1 minute 30, turn over and grill the other side for the same amount of time.
Butter the top side of your toasty and cover with your chosen decorative sprinkles.
Slice in halves or quarters and wow your diners with your cheesy, magical goodness. You have created a Unicorn Rainbow Toasty, enjoy!
Obsessed with all things rainbows and unicorns? Take a look at my Pinterest board which is dedicated to all things…rainbows and unicorns.
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Tommy’s is the largest charity that raises funds for research into the causes of miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth. They also provide information for parents-to-be to help them have a healthy pregnancy and baby, I’m totally on board with this.
This charity in particular holds a special place in my heart. I’m fortunate enough to have three beautiful and healthy children of my own. However, I have been affected by the issues that Tommy’s raise.
My first pregnancy was the most complicated. I was induced and ended up having an emergency c-section due to contracting preeclampsia, and although having your baby cures this, we were not quite out of the woods. Our baby contracted Group B streptococcus (strep), a bacterium which can occasionally cause infection, most commonly during pregnancy and before labour. Dylan caught Group B strep when my waters were broken, and he was born with breathing difficulties because of this. He spent his first two weeks in intensive care as doctors and nurses did their best to help him fight the illness. Every time we visited the hospital, my heart would hurt. Each day I’d hold my breath until the doctor told us that he was doing that little bit better than the day before. Thankfully, Dylan pulled through. Because of charities like Tommy’s, more people are aware of these types of complications, and more research is being done to avoid premature births, stillbirths and late miscarriages due to GBS.
Pregnancy number two was labelled ‘high risk’ by the doctors because of pregnancy number one. Due to the information learnt about how GBS is passed on to newborns, we knew that we had to act fast if my waters broke naturally. We were told to come into hospital if this occurred and that I’d be given antibiotics to prevent the baby from contracting the illness. Despite all of the worry, Zachary was delivered just fine: happy and healthy with no signs of GBS. Coincidentally, we were placed in a room with a friend who was also expecting, although she wasn’t due to give birth any time soon. Unfortunately for her, her baby was in distress, and their story didn’t end so well. Our blessing was with us, but sadly, that was not the case for her. While we celebrate our son’s birthday year-after-year, I’m always reminded about the loss and sadness felt at that time.
Roughly two years later, we got pregnant for the third time. The emotions that come with falling pregnant are so overwhelming, especially if you’ve planned it. You’ve eaten the right foods, you’ve calculated and recorded those fertile windows, and those blue lines were everything; they were your reward! We were pregnant, and everything was falling into place. Our family would be complete; however, after a few weeks, heavy bleeding and cramps made us think otherwise. We had to wait a couple of days for a scan, and waiting for that ultrasound was the worst feeling in the world. Previously, I’d complained about not being able to go for a wee. You see, you’re asked to keep your bladder full, so the sonographer can get a clear picture of your baby. I would have done anything to swap the feeling; needing a wee seemed so insignificant at the time.
We were sat in the same waiting room with pregnant ladies complaining about the size of their bumps, feeling fat and uncomfortable. When pregnant with Dylan and Zach, I’d never thought about why other couples were in that waiting room. The assumption was that everyone there must be happy, they’re pregnant, their baby was healthy. Oh, how it feels to be on the other side! I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone. The confirmation that our baby was no longer with us was heartbreaking. Even though it was during the first trimester; the time where people tell you that the chances of miscarriage are high, we still didn’t expect it. We were sent on our way and expected to deal with it. No real emotional aftercare and we had to have those awkward conversations with the few we had already shared our news with.
A year on and we were blessed with pregnancy number four, and our rainbow baby, Ziggy, was born. He’s the happiest and most charismatic person I’ve ever met. It’s almost like he was sent to grace us with his presence, by making up for all the hurt.
We know many others are not so fortunate. The pain of losing a child cannot be compared to any other pain, and those who have multiple miscarriages and pregnancy issues need our help.
Many women – one in four to be precise – lose a baby during pregnancy and birth. Tommy’s believe that is an unacceptable figure and, through fundraising, hope to decrease that number by raising money for research and information for parents-to-be.
This year, Tommy’s is partnering with Water Babies and is partnering with Peppa Pig to hopefully raise one million pounds. Splashathon will be taking place in Water Babies swimming classes nationwide throughout this summer. This is the first time that Water Babies have set a challenge for little ones. Children have been encouraged to swim one width as pirates and princesses within their specially themed Peppa Pig classes.
Video created by Sareta Fontaine
You can help Tommy’s reach their one million pound target by taking part if you’re already signed up- but don’t worry, it’s not to too late to sign up for this year! Answer the Water babies quiz to let them know how your little princess or pirate fairs in ‘high waters!’
If you’re not currently a Water Babies member, you can support the campaign by donating or spreading the word.
Make a splash and donate some cash!
Proceeds may go towards funding a brand new Tommy’s research centre – the National Centre for Improving Maternity Care. Let’s work together to make it happen.
*This is a sponsored post, and of course, all thoughts and opinions are my own*
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Whether you’ve planned your outfit to march or not, you may have noticed a plethora of brands selling Pride apparel. I’ve seen everything from rainbow coloured sunglasses to raincoats, but which brands support the community for real?
I have compiled my favourite Pride loving UK brands who are not only selling rainbow-themed clothing and accessories but also supporting the community by giving back.
Although you can’t purchase Ugg’s new limited-edition capsule for Pride Month through their UK site, ASOS has got your back! 25% of the proceeds go to the Born This Way Foundation, a crisis support and suicide prevention program from LGTBQ youths.
DKNY’s Pride collection consists of clothing, accessories, footwear, eyewear, and jewellery. Yes, there only seems to be a few Donna Karan stores here in the UK, however, there are a few concessions within department stores. Pick up this Pride Boxer Pyjama Set within House of Fraser. DKNY donates to the Hetrick-Martin Institute, a New York based organisation which creates a safe environment LGBTQ youth and their families.
These High Tops were made for marching! This year, Converse has honoured the 1969 Stonewall Riots, which is the origin of this LGBTQ celebration of love and empowerment. The capsule includes the Chuck Taylor and the Chuck 70 which are emblazoned with rainbow hues and a lightning bolt design. Proceeds from the Converse Pride Collection will support the brand’s longstanding local and global LGBTQ partners, including It Gets Better Project and OUT MetroWest.
ASOS has partnered with GLAAD, an organisation devoted to hitting back at discrimination aimed at the LGBT+ community. The collection comprises of tote bags, t-shirts and coordinated sets, which are included within their Plus-Size and Curve range. A staggering 100% of all net profits are being donated to the LGBT+ Charity.
Profits from Boohoo’s #LoveWithoutLimits collection will donate 10% of sales to OutRight Action International & LGBT foundation. Expect all things bright, colourful, and PRIDE worthy. You’ll definitely stand out of the crowd if you decide to pick something out of this collection of clothing, including unisex coordinates, bags and accessories.
House Of Holland
Are you heading anywhere ever-so-slightly glam, and need something to fit the occasion? House of Holland is the place to go. Three-piece satin tuxedos in the colours of the Transgender Pride flag, along with four colour-blocked suits, available in each colour of the rainbow. Their True Colours collection celebrates Pride and supports by donating 25% of profits to AKT. AKT is a voluntary organisation based in the UK and was formed to serve LGBT+ young people who are homeless, living in a hostile environment or in housing crisis.
Actress and activist Laverne Cox fronts H&M’s “Stay True, Stay You” campaign for Pride 2019. The campaign is part of H&M’s “Love For All” collection, which features a colourful range of apparel, pool shoes and accessories. 10% of each sale will be donated to the United Nations Free & Equal Campaign, which champions for equal rights and fair treatment of the worldwide LGBT+ community.
You can never be sure about the British weather, which is why a Wellington Boot may be the safest option this summer. Hunter is celebrating Pride by including a rainbow sole and tab on their iconic Play boot. Proceeds from sales will be donated to five LGBT+ organisations – The Outside Project, NAZ, Albert Kennedy Trust, MindOut and Mermaids.
Urban Outfitters Community Cares brings their employees and customers together to make a positive impact through volunteer work, events and collaborations that give back. This year, UO Community Cares has donated £10 to GLSEN, the leading education organisation focused on creating LGBTQ-inclusive schools. This exclusive “Don’t hide – show your pride” is the only piece within the collection that is available to buy through the UK Urban Outfitters site.
This year, the 1460 unisex boot takes on the colours of the Pride flag. Dr Martens made this boot “ready for you to march to your own beat – and stand tall with the LGBTQ community”. Donations are made to AKT who provide safe homes, mentoring and support for young people who have lost their home after coming out to their parents or guardians.
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The Easter holidays are upon us and that means only one thing: sweet (and yummy) treats! Ok, ok, it’s a religious occasion too, so let me dust off my Easter-best, ready for the weekend. Dairy-free treats anyone..?
Easter is a time when my kids get a whole heap of chocolate, and it’s also a time when we have to remind friends and family that Ziggy is dairy intolerant. No, he can’t just have a “little bit” of chocolate, his tummy would be a lot better if he avoided cows milk entirely.
Thankfully, as the years have gone on, dairy-free goodies have been popping up in more and more places. Our local supermarkets free-from sections have more than doubled, which means that lots of people don’t have to miss out at this time.
Last week, I took a trip to Asda to pick up a few treats and dairy-free bits ready for the weekend. Since some of you may still be on the hunt for dairy-free easter treats, I thought I’d share my finds.
Crafty Easter Goodies
Easter Masks £1.50
Pack of 16 Glitter carrots £1.00
8 mini chicks 87p
60 foam mini eggs £1.00
4 Easter nests £1.00
Dairy-free Easter Treats
Hot cross buns £2.00
Dairy free chocolate lolly 89p
Organic Rosie rabbit dairy and gluten free choccy bar 99p
Free-from tutti frutti fairy cakes £1.99 (Made with Asda free range eggs 89p and Pure Dairy-Free Spread £1.00)
Do you have any favourite places that you pick up free-from goodies? Let me know in the comments section below, I’m sure there are some fab places that need to be discovered.
Have a great Easter everybody, I hope you’ve all enjoyed the Easter break, until next year!
*This was not a sponsored post, therefore all of my recommendations were made by me, obviously I’d still share my faves if this was a collaborative post.
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I’m a newbie when it comes to coffee. I’m a novice, a baby, a child; I like my coffee sweet and preferably mixed in a cocktail. For that very reason, I agreed to accompany the other half to the London Coffee Festival.
Caffeinated cocktails? You don’t have to ask me twice! I’m not a coffee expert or guru, so I had a bit of a wander and took note of my fave brands…
Let’s be real, we know I was drawn to Grind because of the pink aesthetic, because of the neon sign, and because of the sweary bag. What can I say, I love stylish things! Besides having fabulous design skills, Grind’s ethics are superb. Their coffee is ground in Shoreditch and sent to a secret location and placed in 100% biodegradable pods; “compostable” pods to you and I. No longer will I feel guilty for using my Nespresso machine; Captain Planet would be proud.
Finally, from mid-May (2019), you will be able to buy your favourite syrups online. Monin stocks over 100 flavours which can be added not only to your coffee but to your hot chocolate and favourite cocktails. Like your coffees like you like your men? Well, let me recommend a Macaroon flavoured latte! (I don’t even know what that means).
A flower subscription with a difference, Freddie’s Flowers promise 100% fresh flowers delivered straight to your doorstep. While others boast very similar claims, I learnt that most freeze your arrangements during the delivery process. Ever noticed that some of your delicate petals are wilted upon arrival? That’s why! I’ve signed up to receive a box which comes with a step-by-step guide about how to arrange your flowers. If in doubt, Freddie himself has a nifty collection of Youtube videos to help along the way. Awesomeness!
As an avid coconut milk fan, I’ve been trying to wean the rest of the family off of cows milk. Zigs is dairy intolerant, and I’ve just gone off the taste (and thought of) baby cow food; milk. The other half has point-blank refused coconut, almond and soya milk, so to my surprise; he discovered that he loves Oat Milk in his coffee. Amazing, we are one step closer to getting rid of Cow’s milk once and for all.
We have a lot of coffee-making stuff at home; but nothing that can make real espresso. I mean, the Moka Pot does, and the Nespresso machine says it does, but it just isn’t the same. They don’t produce an authentic, full-bodied espresso. The lovely people (and they really were lovely) at Rok have come up with this ingenious and beautiful home espresso maker. It does everything that the £1,500 (and up!) espresso machines in coffee shops do, but is available for £150. It looks good, it feels good, and it makes fantastic coffee.
So far, during this hipster-fest, I realised that to be one of the gang you must love coffee, fancy tea, adore plants, have a passion for big oil’ beards and wear glasses. Since spending far too much time on my laptop and phone, I seemed to have ruined my eyes. Coincidentally after years of complaining that I love glasses, I now need them. MONC is a British brand founded by Freddie Elborne, who believes in true craftsmanship and has an eye for modish designs. Payday is next week, so we’ve jotted down a few faves.
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We attended the Ideal Home Show over the weekend, and we left brimming with creative ideas.
You may remember that we were planning on decorating/redecorating some areas within our home. We’ve been here for just over two years, and I’m itching to put our stamp on the place.
Without going through my tastes with you yet again, I will say that I am adamant that I want bold but stylish rooms. I want a quirky home that has styling elements which you may not see in others. Unlike a regurgitated trendy abode, mirroring a Scandinavian furniture shop.
Since deciding on working with emerald green in the living room, I see this colour more and more. In magazines, all over Pinterest, and now a beautifully-styled kitchen idea at the Ideal Home Show. It’s slightly irritating, mainly because I like to be different, but it does make it easier to source complimentary items. Seeing everything together only reaffirms my colour choice; a dominant emerald green, gold accents and mustard accessories are a must.
We fell in love with the pink and peach kitchen styled by GoodHomes which had us thinking, where could we possibly work-in a nostalgic area? The idea of an all-pink bathroom springs to mind, with a retro neon sign and pink artificial plumage covering a wall. But I had to ask, would we get bored, and how would that affect the house price? Should we even care? A quick chat with the guys from Zoopla would have been a good idea. If only we booked before attending, we would have been able to get some practical advice regarding that very subject; smart interior design, and avoiding design aspects that devalue your home.
With so many beautiful vintage designs around, it’s easy to fall victim to novelty-styled interiors, but I know how my mind works; if it means having to redecorate in order to sell, we can. I just know what I want! Surely, a beautiful, yet quirky styled bathroom would open up the possibility for photoshoots? That would be a great little earner if marketed well. I want a home that not only looks amazing but could be hired as a stylish location.
Our garden seemed to be the main focus when it came to looking at vendors. I’d love a purpose-built office outside, and the idea of an up-cycled caravan styled with bamboo and fairy lights seemed like such a good feature at the time. It’s easy to get carried away while you’re at the Ideal Home Show, that is until you return home and weigh up prices. Would a caravan work aesthetically, or should we stick to a modern garden pod? There are so many choices!
Things like changing doors and stairs seem semi-necessary, but I wonder how realistic that would that be in terms of getting them done this year. Growing up watching Frasier, I fell in love with his elegant tastes; his wooden doors were nothing like I’d seen before.
This home project sounds like it needs more consideration and planning, and more time may be a likely compromise in terms of affordability. Painting and the search for carpets can continue, and perhaps we can make a start on our bedroom balcony. It’s frustrating that everything may have to wait, however, I do need to remember, there’s no rush.
Brands I’ll be keeping an eye on
Witch and watchman
Hurn & Hurn
Walls & Floors
British Design Shop
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Has anyone caught Ainsley Harriot’s new cookery show? If not, let me fill you in. Each week, Uncle Ainsley island-hops around the Caribbean cooking dishes inspired by the countries most popular delicacies. Last week he visited Antigua, and he had me reminiscing about our last holiday to the island that boasts 365 beaches.
I’ve only ever been to two countries in the Caribbean; Trinidad and Tobago, and Antigua. Technically that’s three islands, but two countries because Trinidad and Tobago are separate islands. Either way, those are the only Caribbean countries I have visited, although, I do have a few others on my bucket list.
I was about six or seven during my first trip to the Caribbean. I was lucky enough to go with my grandmother as we went to visit her mother and family. My grandmother was born in Antigua, however, her family moved to Trinidad. Her parents settled there and had more children, and so my grandmothers’ siblings have Trinidadian nationality, along with my mother.
My Grandparents moved to England with my mum, worked, saved up, and bought a house. My aunt and uncle were born here, and the rest is history. Since retiring, my grandmother bought a house in Antigua and has the pleasure of avoiding the UK winter months by living in Antigua for half of the year, every year.
Flights are pretty expensive during the school holidays, so we’ve only taken the boys a couple of times. To feel as though we’ve got our money’s worth, we’ve gone during the six weeks holidays and stayed the majority of the time. Of course, my grandparents don’t mind extending their stay if we’re coming to visit.
2020 marks our 10th wedding anniversary and my grandmothers 80th birthday, and so I have proposed a double celebration. Where better to celebrate than in Antigua? Not only is it a great excuse, but we would love a do-over. The last time we visited, Zigs was little so he doesn’t remember a thing and we didn’t hire a car as we were being money conscious (read: broke). This time around I would like an epic luxury experience and possibly stay in a resort – I need air conditioning! We definitely need to hire a car, as this time around I want to be able to see more of the island.
While I ask the universe to acknowledge my request and give gratitude for the times we have spent in Antigua so far, I’m going to share my favourite Antiguan hotspots.
Out of all 365 beaches, Turner’s Beach is my no.1. I’m probably biased since the Turners are my grandmothers cousins, so we’re related! Either way, it’s a beautiful beach and the bar serves the best food and Rum Punch.
Sugar Ridge Resort Antigua
I’ve had the pleasure of dining at this luxury hotel for the evening, yes, you can book tables without having to stay at the resort! We chose to dine at Carmichael’s, which sits at the highest point in Sugar Ridge. To get there, you’ll be escorted by a driver in a golf cart to get you to the top. Beware, although the view is absolutely breathtaking, it is very high and not for the faint-hearted. “Sunday Chill” is a unique poolside dining experience pairing music with fine dining. Ask for a private gazebo and you can get in the mood and enjoy a candlelit dinner.
Annual Seafood Festival
A family event which started back in 2009, hosting live music, competitions and of course great-tasting seafood. Urlings’ locals get together and cook a plethora of West Indian cuisine including fresh crabs, conches, fish and lobsters. If you love seafood, this isn’t one to be missed. The festival is in August, for dates, keep an eye out on Antigua-Barbuda.com.
Antigua Carnival is a yearly celebration of music and dance which starts at the end of July to the first Tuesday in August. The most important day is j’ouvert, which kicks starts the occasion in the early hours of the morning. Whether you catch it on your way home after a night out, or my personal choice, an early rise followed with a 3am Rum Punch, it’s not one to be missed. Brass and steel pans perform while revellers dance in brightly-adorned costumes. Day time proceedings are child-friendly and extremely popular.
There are so many more things to do and see in Antigua, and I feel like 2020 could be the one.
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If you know me personally, you know I’m looking forward to turning 40. In my mind, that’s when I’ll have all my shit together and I’ll be on some grown-lady vibe paying no mind to negativity or drama.
I recently turned 37, and as much as it wasn’t a particular milestone, I am happy at where I am in life. I’ve never really had major goals outside of having a family and being a homeowner, so anything else is just a bonus.
I’m not your typical blogger or typical 37-year-old in general, so to some, my bucket list may be somewhat unconventional or weird. Either way, it’s mine, so accept it, embrace it or move on.
Ride in a Hummer Limo
Is this trashy and outdated? Who bloody knows, but it’s been on my list for years now. I guess the only thing that’s changed is the colour option. No longer do I want to ride in a pink one, black would be good enough, and extremely dope AF.
Be in a Panto
Is this even achievable? I know the majority of leading actors and actresses probably went to Rada, but I have seen a couple of reality stars guest appearing in Pantomimes now and again. I wouldn’t mind popping in and having a couple of lines in order to tick this off of my bucket list.
Act in a horror movie
Don’t get it twisted. Before all these maniacs surface and think that I actually want to die in real life. I don’t. But I do want to be in a horror movie. I can’t act, I’m not very theatrical, but I do want to be in a movie. Figure it out, I’m sure I’ll meet a director who wants me to die a spectacular death, or at least survive one.
Be a Zombie for a day
Maybe this goal and the above could be interlinked somehow. I’ve always thought I’d manage to survive a Zombie Apocalypse. Ok, so I wouldn’t necessarily be a “Michonne” type, but I’d be able to avoid those slow-paced walkers pretty easily. However, if we’re talking about quick 28 Day Later Zombies, yes, apparently they are Zombies, I’d be laying low. I’m not running if there’s no chance of survival, let’s be realistic now.
Be Mr Blobby’s long-lost child
By now you can probably tell that these life goals aren’t necessarily professional or, like, crazy ambitious. They are, however, things that I honestly want to achieve within the next three years. Admittedly, this
In the ’90s, I thought Mr Blobby had the best job. Ever. You could literally be crazy, take the piss and jump all over people for fun. I wouldn’t particularly enjoy being on the receiving end of his antics, because, although he is hilarious, he is simultaneously terrifying. That voice sends shivers down my spine while making me laugh at how he terrorises everyone. Being on the inside of one of those suits and wreaking havoc alongside the real Mr Blobby would be a dream come true. *Weeps.
Visit New York and take a pic on a stoop
I guess this is probably a grown-up goal? I mean, I’ve been to NYC a couple of times, but never with the hubby. He did that whole yah-yah, gap year thing. He got into the University of his choice, deferred for a year then went to NYC and illegally outstayed his welcome. It would be good to go with him so he can show me what he got up to and I can pretend to be Carrie Bradshaw for a bit. Those NYC stoops are so iconic, I want to be pictured on one.
Go to Essence Festival
Admittedly, reasons for wanting to attend
I cry. I mean, this is the only goal that would be difficult to achieve since it’s not just entirely down to me. Plus, Aunty Oprah is just…way up there with the semi-
So that’s it. I have three years to work on this bucket list. I’m not really asking for many
See, now the ending of that seemed pretty realistic, right? Oh, and the Pantomime thing…I’ll fit that in somewhere, I have 3 Christmas’ to go! Anything is possible.