On Blogging

March 6, 2017

Social Media & Freelancing

Once, A Glimpse blog, On Blogging

So, it’s been a good couple of months since I posted here. The hiatus wasn’t exactly planned, but it also wasn’t entirely unintentional either. Although I’ve been blogging in one form or another for the best part of a decade, I’ve never exactly been great when it comes to consistency. During the final few months of last year I found that having my focus on other things just didn’t allow the time, or creative headspace, to put into writing blog posts and I found myself thinking a lot about how I wanted proceed with blogging – if at all.

In October 2016 I signed up for Me & Orla’s Instagram E course and really threw myself into improving, developing and growing my Instagram channel. I found taking the course so inspiring and the work I’ve been putting in there has definitely been paying off. Along with improving my photography and growing my following and engagement, I have also made some lovely new friendships with fellow Instagrammers (a few of whom I’m hoping will be reading 🙋🏻). The thing is as I’ve been getting so much fulfilment out of Instagram I found myself wondering if there’s much point in keeping up blogging.

I now plan and create for Instagram the way I used to for my blog. It used to be if I was going to and event, out for a walk or even baking a cake, my DSLR would be right with me to document and the occasion would (eventually) find its way onto my blog. Although I never grew a particularly large readership, that little old blog helped me show off some skills in a couple of different job interviews and really was my way into a career in social media.

Despite launching with big ideas I haven’t given this space here at Once, A Glimpse anywhere near as much dedication as I did my old site. But yet here I am…

Once, A Glimpse blog, On Blogging

To be fair, when I launched this blog last spring I was on the cusp of a year that would prove to be full-on; I turned 30, bought a house and moved, we had a major family bereavement, I got made redundant and began working for myself. Despite not finding the time or general wherewithal to publish posts I never stopped writing, albeit in a sporadic kind of way. I have been writing content for clients along the way and contributed a few bits to local sites. Intermittently I got into the practice of doing morning pages, I’d scribble down ideas, kept gratitude journals on-and off and fill note books pages with half-formed blogs posts in-amongst to-do lists.

I think ultimately it’s that desire to keep writing that makes me know I’m not done with blogging. But I want to give more of myself to this space, not just hop on to re-hash Instagram content or post a quick playlist, not just keep up with the bare minimum so I can use it on my CV!

I toyed with the idea of trying something a bit different with the blog, to rekindle my inspiration… choosing a particular theme, or something like that. But, ultimately I realised I would be creating more of a rod for my own back. So, I decided instead to just chill about it… and lo and behold there’s three posts scheduled for this month already!

There’s a few things I know I would like to work towards on the blog – like including posts related to social media and other elements of my freelance work, sharing some of the changes I’ve been making over the last year and generally just go deeper with my blog writing…but no grand plans or promises to stick to a posting schedule. I’ll be here, more wholeheartedly and hopefully more often, and when I’m not – you know where to find me.

Dear January…

February 1, 2017

Life

Dear January, Hot mug of tea in hands with CraspediaDear January, for me you were a month of contrasts – busy yet slow, pretty darn damp but also “dry”, not particularly blue necessarily but undoubtably bleak. At times I’ve wanted to bury my head in the sand and ignore what’s going on in the world, but at others I’ve been unable to tear myself away from the news.

The new year brought new clients and exciting new work opportunities. Aware that so much newness all at once could threaten to overwhelm, I did my best to “arm myself”- meditating before starting work most mornings, trying to managing my time well, leaning into the business and enjoying my full days. It’s a constant learning curve.

As much as your weekdays were busy, your weekends were quiet and slow; reserved for movies, lie-ins, mooching, friends and cooking of course. There was the therapeutic new year clear out, continuing the epic decluttering that began in 2016, each purge feels more and more freeing. This year even unwanted Christmas presents went straight into bags for charity, taking with them the usually inevitable feeling of guilt that comes months later when these items have had no use. Smug ex-hoarder here – sorry!

charlie swift, craspedia billy ball flowers

You then went oddly musical in the middle there January, as I greeted grey mornings with bursts of ‘Another Day of Sun’ and spent days singing along so loudly I’m sure I drove my neighbours La La!

January, your last day felt much like your first – minus the hangover – grey, damp, dreary. But underneath it there’s something more, daffodils in the shop, fresh growth in the garden, longer days , with a promise to soon bloom and bring brighter days.

Playlist: Winter Winds

November 27, 2016

Music + Playlists

Winter Winds playlist

This is a playlist I return to every year around this time. A playlist of songs that aren’t quite Chrismassy but seem to evoke the seasonal spirit.

It’s perfect if you’re beginning to feel festive but you aren’t quite ready to embrace Bing just yet…maybe you’re a Grinchy Christmas music hater, or maybe you just love folky types singing about winter – either way, this one’s for you!

Track List

Kate Bush – Army Dreamers
Antony and the Johnsons – For Today I am A Boy
Mumford & Sons – Winter Winds
Laura Marling – Goodbye England Covered In Snow
Martin Grech – Push
The Staves – Winter Trees
Joni Mitchell – River
Matthew and the Atlas – Come Out Of The Woods
Rufus Wainwright – Hallelujah

Check out my other playlists and recommendations in the Music + Playlists series.

(image via Unsplash)

Seasons in the Frame: Squash Watch

November 11, 2016

Photography

Squash Watch, Pumpkins on truck

During autumn over the last few years I have been sharing pumpkin pictures on Instagram with the hashtag #SquashWatch.

When I started popping the Squash Watch tag on my posts back in 2014 it was really just so I could look back through them myself; nothing makes me happier than the sight of pretty pumpkins at this time of year. The idea of the Instagram community connecting via a hashtag was not so much of a thing two years ago as it is today, not in a way I was aware of anyhow.

Squash Watch, Pale Pumpkins, Instagram #SquashWatch

|@blidandhatton | @catherine_frawley | @hellokiddostudio | @littlegreenshed |

Since my lovely friend Kym shared the #SquashWatch love, the # feed has been filling up and looking so very gourd-geous! This post features just a few of my favourites but please jump on to Instagram and marvel at the beautifully styled shots on the feed; it is entirely my happy place right now. And of course, keep tagging #SquashWatch – Halloween may have been and gone but the pumpkin party is still going strong on Instagram!

Squash Watch, Pumpkins, Instagram #SquashWatch

|@jmpsmithdesign | @muustardgirl | @kymgrimshaw | @littlegreenshed |

The Pig near Bath: Our First Wedding Anniversary

October 29, 2016

Travel

The Pig is a small chain of hotels with five locations across the south of England. As a self-proclaimed “restaurant with rooms” The Pig is a dream getaway for foodies so treating ourselves to a night at The Pig near Bath was the perfect way to celebrate our first wedding anniversary.

The Pig near Baththe-pig-near-bath-01The Pig near Bath, hotel room, bed

Wanting to make the most of our time away we headed out of Bristol just after lunchtime and checked in at The Pig in the early afternoon.

Opting for a ‘Snug’ room (The Pig’s smallest, cheapest option) certainly didn’t feel as though we were scrimping in terms of luxury at all. The lovely room, with its Pinterest-worthy bathroom, huge bed and gorgeous countryside view was perfect for us and included all those little touches that make a stay feel that bit more special. I’m almost certain you won’t find such a well-stocked room fridge in any other hotel! As tempting as it was to just don robes and stay in bed all day devouring the contents of the mini-larder, heading out to explore the grounds won out.

The gardens at The Pig near Bath are some of the best kitchen gardens I’ve ever had the pleasure of wandering around. I think we were especially lucky to visit at what, in my opinion at least, is the best time for gorgeous produce; surely there is nothing better than a greenhouse full of pumpkins?! We had such a dreamy afternoon wandering around the grounds, admiring the abundance of veg, visiting the resident pigs and deer. We also shared a pizza from the outdoor oven and enjoyed a couple of beers in the September sun.
The Pig near BathThe Pig near Bath, PizzaThe Pig near Bath, bread trolley

One of the things I love about The Pig near Bath is how many different spots there are to just stop and sit and enjoy your surroundings. There’s just something that delights me so much about a well-placed bench in a secluded spot or a vintage armchair in a cosy nook –  it conjures up and encourages ultimate relaxing experiences – drinks on the terrace, conversations under  the trees, watching the sunset over the deer field, reading by the fireside. Of course, all this luxuriating and relaxing can be taken to the next level as The Pig has a potting shed spa treatment room – next time maybe!

The Pig near BathThe Pig near Bath, The Pig near Bath, greenhouse

Starting with a celebratory cocktail in the bar, dinner was divine. In our typical indecisive nature, we opted to share a selection of ‘Piggy Bits’, starters and small plates to try as much of the menu as possible. Everything was delicious with Will and I agreeing that the cured salmon, which is smoked on site, was honestly some of the very best smoked salmon we’d ever had; and despite all the amazing things we sampled our resounding favourite dish was the bacon jam on toast!

After dinner we decided to retire to the library room to enjoy a cheese board and another couple glasses of red wine, we even found our favourite board game. Sat in the cosy room by a roaring fire, playing backgammon with cheese and wine we felt quite at home.

The Pig near Bath, greenhouseThe Pig near Bath, dining roomThe Pig near Bath, sunset

The breakfast spread at The Pig is what I imagine mornings must look like in heaven – fresh sourdough, homemade granola, boil-your-own eggs; plus we ordered from the cooked breakfast menu to boot!

Determined to squeeze every last moment out of our stay, we ordered a final coffee after we checked out and whiled away another hour with a book in the comfort of the drawing room. Can you tell I would have happily stayed at The Pig near Bath forever!?

The Pig near BathThe Pig near BathThe Pig near Bath, dining room

I’m a girl who enjoys life’s simple pleasures so to me, true luxury is feeling totally relaxed in beautiful surroundings accompanied by good food… that said, what can’t be improved on by a sea view and fresh seafood? Pig on the Beach I’ve got my eye on you for the next special occasion!

Pumpkin Salad with Fig & Goats’ Cheese

September 30, 2016

Food + Recipes

This seasonal pumpkin salad with fig & goats’ cheese is so full of the joys of autumn I simply love it!Pumpkin Salad with Fig & Goats' Cheese

I have this thing with pumpkins, they just bring me so much joy to look at and eat that I can barely walk past them without buying one. Seen as my local greengrocer has a lovely display of brightly coloured seasonal squashes at the front of the shop I’m currently bringing home pumpkins home like little lost kittens! Although I’m perfectly happy to have them brightening up my home, I thought seen as we’re still a month away from Haloween I better cook one up before the collection gets out of hand!

Pumpkin Salad with Fig & Goats' CheesePumpkin Salad with Fig & Goats' Cheese

I’m a big advocate that salads aren’t just for summer, and this pumpkin salad with fig & goats’ cheese is just the ticket for the transition into warm salad season. The spices added to the pumpkin for roasting bring depth and a little heat with the cinnamon adding that extra hint of the cosy season upon us. The soft squash contrasts wonderfully with the crispy chicory and the sweet figs and goats’ cheese combo is always a winner. This is a lovely simple bright supper to make as the evenings draw in. Oh, and the method I suggest below is my absolute favourite way to cook crispy bacon which is amazing in salads!

Pumpkin Salad with Fig & Goats’ Cheese

Salad
1 small pumpkin or seasonal squash – skin on, cut into wedges
Cumin seeds
Chipotle flakes
Cinamon
2 figs – quartered
50g goats’ cheese
4 rashers of good quality smoked streaky British bacon
2 heads of chicory – 1 white / 1 purple
A couple handfuls of other salad leaves – rocket, little gem, red oakleaf etc.
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds – toasted

Dressing
balsamic vinegar
small tsp dijon mustard
small tsp honey or date syrup
olive oil

Place the pumpkin wedges into a roasting pan and drizzle with oil; dust each slice with a little cinnamon and sprinkle over cumin seeds and chipotle flakes. Roast at 200c until cooked through and caramelising slightly. Toss the pan once during cooking. Remove the skin before serving if you prefer.

Line a tin with baking paper, lay rashers on the sheet and cover with a second sheet of baking paper. Place another heavier tin on top to keep the bacon flat and bake in the oven for 20mins. Cut into squares once cooked.

To assemble the salad: Separate the chicory leaves – slicing the larger ones in half lengthways and add to salad bowl or platter with the other leaves; top with the warm squash, fig quarters and bacon; top with crumble the goasts’ cheese followed by toasted pumpkin seeds; dress and serve.

My Loves: ‘Reversal Of The Muse’ Podcast

September 23, 2016

Music + Playlists

reversal of the muse podcast, Laura Marling

I am a podcast junkie – I listen to them on a daily basis and love their company when walking or travelling, whilst working, when I’m doing house chores or in the wee hours during bouts of insomnia.

As I listen to them so much I’m always on the hunt for new shows to download and my current favourite new discovery is a show called ‘Reversal Of The Muse’. The podcast is hosted by the amazing Laura Marling and features Laura in conversation with a variety of fellow female musicians and women who work in the music industry.

“Reversal Of The Muse began as conversations between friends about female creativity.
In reversing the muse it became an experiment.
As a small part of the global conversation about women in the arts, it became an obsession.
It occurred to me that in 10 years of making records I had only come across two female engineers working in studios.
Starting from my experience of being a woman I began to ask myself what difference it might have made had I had more women around, if any.I wanted to know why progress has been so slow in this area and what effect it would have on music.”

I’ve been telling everyone about this podcast and I wanted to share this recommendation here. I frankly feel it’s a bit weird that I’ve never really engaged with the fact that there is almost a complete lack of women involved in the technical side of music creation, so I feel like I can’t stress enough how great it is to hear these conversations.

Each episode has been fascinating to listen to and has really got me thinking – about women in music, female creativity and gender roles within the workplace in general. If you’ve listened to it I’d love to know your thoughts !

Listen to the podcast at reversalofthemuse.com or subscribe via iTunes.

Farewell Number 36

September 19, 2016

Home / Life

Farewell Number 35, View of Feet in Bed, Striped Bed Sheets,

We moved house back in the middle of July so in some ways our previous place seems like a bit of a distant memory already, however I wanted to jot a few things down about our dear old flat for memory’s sake.

Farewell Number 36 New, mantelpiece, Vintage Glass Bottles,

Six years is a long time to live somewhere. Here are a few of the things – good and bad – that I’ll remember the most…

The small but lovely kitchen where I experimented with food, learnt new skills and my love for cooking truly grew. And the oven which I always accidentally set to grill.

So many dinner parties. Especially the ones that started out so civilised and ended with dancing on sofas.

Parties with people crammed into small rooms. Brilliant nights spent with best friends. Countless bottles of wine.

The often overgrown garden belonging to the downstairs flat but sometimes shared. It may have been filled with Japanese knotweed and a hideous amount of earwigs but that didn’t stop epic BBQ birthday parties.

The girl who lived downstairs who became one of my best friends.

Games nights on cosy evenings.

The wind howling down the chimneys and rattling the old wooden window frames.

Hours spent together planning and crafting a wedding.

Christmas trees.

Farewell Number 36, Bedroom, Unmade bed, Gallery WallFarewell Number 36, mantelpiece, Mirror Selfie,

 

Watching foxes from our windows.

The 2nd neighbours we didn’t get on with who managed to have fun far too loudly, even at 2am on a Tuesday.

A mouldy, mouldy bathroom.

The view across the city.

Sitting on the bay window drinking trying to make the most of summer evenings.

The afternoon light that filled the living room.

That time I came home to pumpkins and a marriage proposal. 

… Farewell Number 36 – you were pretty awesome.

 

Hello Number 14

Evening meals eaten in the garden. Washing hung out on the line. A lack of storage space that’ll take some getting used to. Vintage furniture purchases. New neighbourhood to discover. Spaces filling up with new plants. Magical morning light that makes patterns on the bedroom walls.

Playlist: Last Days of Summer

September 18, 2016

Music + Playlists

the-last-days-of-summer-playlist

I’ve made a playlist of new music for these last days of summer. Hazey tracks that suit the mood of this changeable weather and  won’t quite let go of the summer vibes.

Listen to this playlist it whilst enjoying the September sun or during your last barbeque of the year. Listen to it while getting cosy at home and dance around your house while it’s stormy outside (it’s a good playlist to dance to). Listen to it in between obsessively listening to the new Glass Animals album like I am.

Track List

Animal Collective – Golden Girl
Glass Animals – Youth
D.D Dumbo – Satan
DJ Shadow (feat Run the Jewels) – Nobody Speak
Sylvan Esso – Radio
Wild Beast – Big Cat
Radiohead – Identikit
BadBadNotGood (feat Samuel T. Herring) – Time Moves Slow
Metronomy – Night Owl
Michael Kiwanuka / Nas – Rule The Wold (I Came From the City)
ANOHI – Drone Bomb Me

Follow me on Spotify.

Buying A Vintage Wedding Dress On Etsy: My Tips

September 15, 2016

Love + Marriage / Style

Tips for buying a Vintage Wedding Dress on Etsy

It became clear quite earlier on that buying a vintage wedding dress on Etsy was going to be the way forward for me. I always had a very clear picture in my head of what style dress I wanted for my wedding but I knew early on, after peaking in a few boutiques that I wasn’t going to find what I was after on the high street. Another thing I was sure of is that I didn’t want my wedding dress to come with a crazy price tag!

If you’re looking for a wedding dress that’s unique and doesn’t cost the earth then going vintage is the way forward. One of the many beauties of using Etsy is that you are able to browse items from a multitude of different vintage boutiques at once, making finding your dream dress that much easier. I found that the best boutiques were based in the USA but that the vast majority delivery internationally. Price wise, in my experience at least, vintage dresses on Etsy seem to be a fraction of the cost of dresses in bridal boutiques. Mine was less than £200! So if, like me, you’re keen on a genuine 1950’s tea dress or whether your bridal style inspiration is anything from 20’s glamour to 70’s boho – there will be a vintage wedding dress on Etsy that could be perfect for you, not to mention one that comes with a whole history of its own.

Tips for buying a Vintage Wedding Dress on Etsy

My Tips for Buying a Vintage Wedding Dress on Etsy

Favourites
When browsing on Etsy you can click the heart to favourite any item you like the look of. Search for dresses in the style or era you’re looking for then use the favourites tool to keep track of dresses on the ‘maybe’ list; saving them for looking at in more detail later. Etsy is also very clever at showing you lovely items related to your favourites so next time you log on your home page will be full of dresses that will be up your street.

Measure Up
First things first you need to know your vital stats when looking to buy a dress online. As well as the garment measurement, Etsy stores tend to include their model’s measurements too and often use the same model for all their listings. Study pictures of the model in other items and get a feel for how you’d compare. Obviously comparing yourself to a model is not normally sensible life advice but seeing how my dress looked on the lovely Consetta’s Closet model and comparing her measurements to mine definitely helped me get an idea of how the dress might fit me – especially height wise.

Make Amends
If you find a dress that is almost a perfect fit it may be possible to make alterations,
have a professional seamstress deal with anything major like letting out seams or adjusting hemlines. You make be brave enough to attempt smaller modifications yourself. For example, I unpicked bands which were at the edge of the sleeves with *extreme* care.

Stalk Socials
Sellers often post sneak peaks of items due to be listed on Instagram and other social media channels so if you see something that takes your fancy you can be poised to snap it up.

Ask Away
Etsy sellers tend to be lovely so don’t be afraid to contact them with any questions you might have about the condition or details of a dress. Ultimately they can’t make your mind up for you but I’m sure sellers would be happy to help if they can.

Duty Calls
You should expect to pay import duty if you’re buying a dress from overseas. My dress actually managed to avoid it but many an item I’ve bought from The States has not. There are details on what you can expect to be charged here. The most annoying thing about being charged for imports isn’t the tax itself but the £8 handling fee. Just remember if you do return the item you can claim the tax back.

Go For It!
Obviously, with buying a vintage wedding dress online there’s a risk that it won’t be quite perfect for you when it arrives but the end of the day if it’s not right you can always send it back or even sell it on. However, if you do find something right for you, you’ll have the pleasure of wearing something truly unique on your wedding day. Ultimately if you come across a dress you love the look of in your size don’t agonise over it, go for it!

Wedding Bride and Groom Entering Bristol Register Office

A Few of My Favourite Etsy Stores:
Concettas’s Closet – This is shop my lovely dress came from. Currently stocking beautiful vintage wedding dresses from as early as the 1900’s! Not to mention their non-bridal selection is so dreamy!
Dear Golden – A large and stunning collection of vintage bridal wear.
Breanne Faouzi – Particularly unique styles from the 50s, 60s & 70s
The Vintage Studio – Perfect dresses for your inner the Prom Queen!

In taking a chance on a vintage wedding dress on Etsy I found just what I was looking for! You can check out my bridal inspiration board on Pinterest.

I hope my tips may encourage you to at least have a look at what Etsy has to offer – do you have any tips of your own? I’d love to hear them. Oh and any tips on removing a cranberry juice stain from a vintage wedding dress would be nice too! (Whoops!)

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