Adventures Outside the City: The Ethicurean

September 5, 2017

Life / Photography / Travel

Beautiful orange flowers in a rustic sink at The Ethicurean near BristolBlue sky above the walled garden at The Ethicurean, BristolBlue sky and sunflowers at The Ethicurean, Bristol

I always say one of my favourite things about Bristol is its proximity to a wealth of gorgeous countryside. We haven’t had a car for the last few years however (and I don’t cycle), and although there’s plenty of green spaces and walks reachable on foot it’s not the same at jumping in the car and escaping the city. With a little one on the way, we decided it was time to get a new motor and, aside from all the practical benefits, I’m beyond delighted that we can go on mini weekend adventures.

Instead of discovering somewhere new, for our first exertion we headed to one of our favourite places on the outskirts of Bristol, The Ethicurean. I sing the praises of this place to anyone who will listen and it is quite a regular feature on my Instagram feed. But for those who don’t know The Ethicurean is restaurant set within a beautiful victorian walled garden. The views are stunning, the seasonal dishes they serve taste and look incredible and there’s a signature toffee apple cake that’s nothing short of magical!

Tea and toffee apple cake at The Ethicurean, BristolRestaurant at The Ethicurean, BristolVeg for sale at The Ethicurean, Bristol

We left it a bit late to book a table for lunch but that didn’t stop us turning up for a wander around the lovely kitchen gardens and enjoying a slow afternoon in the sun with a pot of tea and a slice of the aforementioned amazing-toffee-apple-dream-cake! I’d recommend a trip at any time but this end of summer season seemed like a particularly beautiful time of year to visit, the gardens were luscious with gorgeous flowers in bloom and the trees abundant with fruit.

It’s sort of amazing to me that barely a 30 minutes drive away from the city centre we can find such a perfect slice of countryside paradise. That said, every visit at some point includes the inevitable musings on local property prices. But for now we’re content to head back to our town house with a full bellies, full camera rolls and a full veg box to boot!

Looking out at Mendips view at The Ethicurean, BristolVeg for sale at at The Ethicurean, Bristol Veg for sale at at The Ethicurean, BristolBright orange flowers in a rustic sink The Ethicurean, Bristol

More ‘adventures outside the city’ to follow! Where would you recommend for a day-trip jaunt?

Introducing my new website…

August 23, 2017

Social Media & Freelancing

Holding iPad with hanging leaves | charlieswft.com

Hello lovely readers, I would like to introduce you to my newly launched website charlieswift.com: digital marketing & social media for creative businesses.

I’ve been working self-employed/freelance for almost a year now and felt the time was right to have a separate site for my services and offering. I specialise in providing social media, content creation and online marketing for small independent businesses, creatives and bloggers.

On the site, you’ll find full details of the services and packages I offer. I can also put together a bespoke offering that is tailored to your requirements and budget. If you happen to be looking for help or advice with marketing your business or project online then check out my site and get in touch if you’d like to chat about working together. Or if you know anyone who might be interested in my services it would be awesome if you sent them my way!

Screen shot of charlieswft.com

For now, I just wanted to share the link with you guys and continue with the task of putting myself out there. However, there’s a lot more I’d like to share in upcoming blog posts about the whys and hows of creating my own website. The practical stuff, such as how I created the site and got ready for launch and why I want to keep it separate from my blog. And also the deeper stuff like how I’ve been feeling stuck and creating a new site has helped me find focus in my business.

In time I plan to include a blog on the site featuring tips and advice for marketing small business online. If there’s a particular element of social media or digital marketing you’d be interested in learning about as a small business owner, a creative or a blogger then do let me know and I’ll be sure to feature it in my content planning. Also, keep your eye on my social media for a launch giveaway I’ll be running soon.

If you would like to get in touch about working together I’d absolutely love to hear from you. Drop me a line at charlie@onceaglimpse.com and we can arrange a little virtual chat over a cuppa.

An evening with Yoga Brunch Club

July 19, 2017

Food + Recipes / Wellbeing

Yoga Brunch Club Yoga Brunch ClubYoga Brunch Club

As evening fell on a warm June day, I joined a group gathered to enjoy a yoga class with a difference. Yoga Brunch Club – as the name suggests – can usually be found popping up on a weekend morning, with brunch clubs held regularly in Bristol and London. Switching things up for this midsummer event, Yoga Brunch Club’s founder Clem Balfour hosted a yoga supper club which consisted of a vinyasa flow class, followed by a delicious Italian feast; all taking place in the beautiful setting of The Forge.

It was the day following the hottest of the year and with fans running and windows open wide, I think we were all grateful for the drop in temperature as we arrived and settled on our mats ready for an hour of yoga. Having not attended a yoga class for a good few years I was honestly a little anxious about my ability to keep up, not to mention being nearly four months pregnant obviously needing to be considered. However, Clem took the time to chat with me beforehand, mentioning a few poses I should adapt or skip, which put my mind at ease. She also made her way around the room before commencing the class, checking in with all the attendees.

As she led the class, Clem was sure to include options to adjust poses accordingly for the variety of abilities in the room along with providing gentle words of encouragement. I particularly remember her pointing out to the class that yoga is not about striving to attempt the perfect pose, but maintaining awareness of your own body during the practice. As my particular combination of tight hamstrings and little arms have a habit of making me feel like the least flexible girl in the room this felt like a very good reminder for me as a novice – plus I realise that pregnancy is probably not the time to lament not being able to touch my toes!

I really enjoyed the flowing nature of the class and as we rested in savasana at the end of the session I had that lovely satisfied feeling of an hour well spent.

Yoga Brunch Club A Tavola Food Yoga Brunch Club The Forge Yoga Brunch Club A Tavola FoodYoga Brunch Club The Forge

Having visited The Forge for all sorts of events I’m always impressed by the versatility of the space, which on this occasion seamlessly transitioned from yoga studio to dining room half way through the evening. Cocktails were served as mats and blocks were replaced by two long rustic tables, which looked so pretty decorated simply with flower stems in vintage bottles.

Bristol based caterers A Tavola had prepared a three-course Italian feast for the evening meal. As the sun set, we tucked into a delicious starter of spring broth, handmade ravioli main accompanied by two incredible salads followed by panna cotta with strawberries and pink peppercorns. Natural Italian wines were also available to enjoy with the meal. The food was so fresh and delicious, perfect for a midsummer’s evening and a lovely balance of hearty and wholesome which felt just right to follow our exercise.
Yoga Brunch ClubYoga Brunch Club

Having got into meditating regularly over the last year, I’ve been really wanting to give yoga another go as the two practices obviously compliment each other so well. Yoga Brunch Club was a lovely reintroduction for me and I’m definitely going to seek out a local pregnancy yoga class, although I may be disappointed in the lack of yummy food to follow!

Whether you’re also an absolute beginner or if unlike me you’re a seasoned yogini, I think you’ll find Yoga Brunch Club a beautiful way to spend a morning or evening.

The next Yoga Brunch Club in Bristol takes place on September 10th at The Forge with Vietnamese brunch menu from Uncle Ho’s. Early bird tickets are available for £30. Or you can catch Yoga Brunch Club in London with their next event in Brixton on August 13th.

Follow Yoga Brunch Club: Instagram / Facebook / Twitter / Website

All photos shot by the lovely and talented Kasia Kiliszek: InstagramPortfolio

* * *

I was invited to this event by Yoga Brunch Club but all opinions (and tight hamstrings) are my own.

Me & Bump: 5 Months To Go

July 18, 2017

Pregnancy + Parenting

If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen the little announcement that I shared over the weekend… Baby Swift is due in just under 5 months on December 12th.

I’m currently 18 weeks pregnant which means the baby is the size of an artichoke in there. Considering when we found out and begun tracking it was just an apple pip it feels pretty incredible to have got to this point. We’re patiently impatiently waiting to feel some movement, which could happen at this stage. I’ve felt a few light flutterings which could have been soft baby kicks but nothing that I’ve been 100% sure of. We have our next scan coming up soon and although we have a tendency to be quite an indecisive couple we are pretty set on not finding out the baby’s gender.

I’m already finding that being pregnant such an amazing and fascinating time so I want to be sure to document it well, in both words and photos.  I’m looking forward to taking more portraits as time goes on and I grow bigger and bigger. For my first bump self-portrait, I’ve taken inspiration from my new favourite hashtag #BotanicalBodyHair. I loved the little heart shaped leaves on my belly so much I didn’t want to take them off. I even thought a little string of hearts motif would make such a pretty tattoo. Not that I’ll be getting one of those while I’m pregnant!

I’m so grateful for all the lovely comments and messages of support and encouragement which I’ve received. I don’t have many friends in Bristol who are parents so it’s comforting to have so many amazing mamma friends on Instagram who I know I can bother with ridiculous baby questions if I need some advice. I also feel very lucky that my little sister just had a baby last month so I’ll almost certainly be turning to her and getting some baby practice in as Auntie Charlie!

I hope you’ll enjoy following my pregnancy journey. If there’s anything specific you’d be interested to see my blog about I’d love to know.

WORN: Summer Brunch Club

July 7, 2017

Style

Brunch Club T-shirtBrunch Club T-shirt

I’ve finally been getting on top of backing up my photos that have been sitting on my phone for literally years now. My storage is in such a state that my phone has stopped functioning properly. I’ve been clearing the backlog and uploading to G Drive from the iCloud, all the while cursing myself for not deleting as I go, why are there so many duplicates?! Past me… you’re an idiot!

It’s not all bad however. One of the pros of this mind numbing job is discovering lovely forgot moments like this collection from last summer. I’m pulling all sorts of silly wannabe-fashion-blogger poses but I kind of love these shots as I look so happy. It was early June, the sun was shining, I was on the way to a BBQ with friends and feeling pretty pleased with my new Brunch Club T-shirt – what wasn’t there to be happy about eh? Plus that brick wall, white rose, wonky lamp post combo is a bit of a winner!

Brunch Club T-shirt

Brunch Club T-shirt

^^ Praise be to brunch! Reminds me of this Orange is the New Black meme 😂 ^^

Brunch Club T-shirt

T-Shirt – Brunch Club Tee still available from Our Fresh here
Denim shorts – H&M
Sandals – old Zara – similar here
Heart shaped sunglasses – old Accessories – similar here
Bumble Bee Necklace – Alex Monroe

Weekly Meals: ‘Simple’ by Dianna Henry

July 1, 2017

Food + Recipes

Simple Dianna Henry

Cookbook Club is a regular meet up with some lovely ladies I’ve met through Instagram where we all bring a different dish from one cookbook or cookery writer and spend the evening eating and talking about delicious food. Our cookbook of choice for this month’s Cookbook Club is ‘Simple‘ by food writer Dianna Henry. It’s a book that my friends at cookbook club have been raving about for months but until recently I hadn’t delved into. To get properly aquatinted with a new cookbook I love to immerse myself in it by trying out lots of the recipes that catch my eye in quick succession. Planning week’s worth of evening meals from the one book is a great way to do this.

Both my husband Will and I love to cook and the recipes in ‘Simple’ are just up our street; simple, rustic dishes that are big on flavour but have smallish ingredients lists. Here’s what we cooked from the book to get stuck in…

Meal Plan

Monday: Linguine All’amalfitana // page 106

I’m actually not a huge pasta fan so when I say that I could happily eat this walnut and anchovy linguine dish over and over again know that it’s high praise indeed! This recipe uses the pasta water to create a lovely glossy sauce, which reminds me of my favourite Anna Jones pasta dish.

Simple Dianna Henry

Tuesday: Breton tuna & white bean gratin // page 78

This is the only recipe that we weren’t so sure on. Not sure if I took a misstep when executing but I found that blending the beans meant we had a rather sloppy unappetising end product. I do however love that it’s made up of store cupboard ingredients but if I attempt it again I think I’ll leave some of the white beans whole for more texture in the gratin.

Wednesday: New York takeout noodles // page 97

We’ve already cooked these noodles three times in as many weeks, so it’s safe to say this recipe is an early favourite! The sauce for the noodles combines so many of my favourite things – garlic, chilli, peanuts, sesame and soy.

Dianna Henry Simple

Thursday: Baked merguez with beans eggs & feta // page 81

This dish featuring merguez sausages, beans and feta sprinkled on top was a great upgrade on our usual baked eggs which are already a huge favourite our ours.

Friday: Parmesan roast chicken with cauliflower & thyme

In the book, Dianna Henry says this dish was created out of a craving for roast chicken and cauliflower cheese, without a creamy sauce it didn’t quite hit that spot for me but it was delicious none the less and certainly perfect comfort food. The more traybake recipes up my sleeve the better I say!

Aside from one, these are all recipes I’ll be sure to make again and some I can see making frequent appearances on our dining table. There are so many more dishes in the book that I can’t wait to try so I think another week of cooking from Simple might be in order!

Glimpses of Summer – Lomography Photography

June 3, 2017

Photography

 Diana Mini Photography Glastonbury Festival Diana Mini Photography Glastonbury Festival  Diana Mini Photography Glastonbury Festival

I’ve had my Lomography Diana Mini a couple of years now but this is only the second film I have had developed from it. I go through phases of taking it with me on adventures and then forgetting about it all together for a while meaning that the shots I’ve got back span across a number of different occasions. This recent roll goes all the way back from Glastonbury 2015 to a friends wedding in August the following year!

The nature of the Diana mini brings lots of light leaks and double exposures, which with practice could surely use to greater effect, but for the most part I end up with happy accidents (plus a few disappointments) in the developed roll.

Regardless of the results it’s always fun to get a film back, discover what’s on there and take a little glimpse back in time. This little collection are the epitome of my summer – my favourite views at Glastonbury, cold drinks on hot days and friends looking dapper in summer wedding attire thrown in for good measure!

 Diana Mini Photography Glastonbury Festival  Diana Mini Photography  Diana Mini Photography  Diana Mini Photography

Dear April…

May 1, 2017

Life

Bristol Botanical Gardens LilypadsOh how we love to dwell on the weather! But wasn’t April a month of two halves weather-wise though? It’s funny to think given how cold it’s been again recently that at the beginning of the month we were so sure summer had started.

The sunshine during the first weekend of the month drove us out into the garden and we spent a beautiful Sunday cutting back and clearing creepers, shrubs and weeds in our small back yard.  It’s going to be the first full summer that we’ve had an outside space to call our own and I’m already appreciating it so much.

The following weekend brought the first barbecue of the year and a day of drinking prosecco in the sun to celebrate a friend’s birthday. This was quickly followed by our second barbie of the season, as Will had got his heart set on making maybe the most ridiculous meat dish I’ve ever had. Moink Balls, as featured in our Grillstock BBQ cookbook, involve homemade beef meatballs wrapped in streaky bacon, basted in BBQ sauce and cooked on the BBQ grill. They were kind of incredible but also definitely made me want to have a meat induced lie-down.

Rachael Seth Style

This month I had the great pleasure of meeting a good Instagram friend in real life. The lovely Rachael (@seth.style) stopped over in Bristol on a week of travels and we had a great time hanging out and chatting away over iced coffees at Little Victories. I’m always so full of gratitude for the connections and friends Instagram brings and transitioning from online to in person hangs is just the best.

For the four-day Easter weekend we headed to Devon to catch up with family and friends. The mini-break brought lunch out, walks to the local pub, a BBQ (yes another), foraging for wild garlic, a fair deal of chilling out and plenty of Easter chocolate!

Bristol Botanical Gardens Palm Leaves

The next weekend brought more friend catch ups and a wonderful visit to the Botanical Gardens. I can’t believe I hadn’t paid them a visit before, the beautiful gardens and glasshouses were a joy to look around and are a Instagramer’s dream! 🌿💚 Mooching around in beautiful surroundings with your favourite ones followed by an evening of good food and putting the world to rights – it was the sort of Saturday that had me saying “I’ve had such a lovely day” over and over.

Maximo Park Bristol

Not to be out done the last week and weekend of the month were just a full and lovely at the rest, especially as my favourite band were in town for a little in-store gig. Although I have tickets to see Maximo Park them on their tour next month I couldn’t miss the opportunity to see them in such an intimate setting, say hello and have them sign my new vinyl. I love them so much I even named this blog Once, A Glimpse after one of their songs <mega fan-girl>

We rounded off the month with another long weekend, which was definitely more chilled than the previous few. A walk along the river was a highlight, I’ll always love how easy it is to escape the city in Bristol.

The Rhythm Of My Working Day

April 29, 2017

Social Media & Freelancing

My-working-week-JORD-Watches-2“The value of a watch is not in being able to tell how much time has passed, but in being aware of the need to make that time count.”

I’ve written this post in collaboration with JORD wooden watches, this quote from their website sums up something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Now I work for myself and my time is entirely my own to schedule and manage how I see fit, I find I’m acutely aware of the need to make my days productive and make the time spent working count.

Something that has become apparent in the half a year that I’ve been freelancing and working from home is how much the routines and rhythm of my day can impact on the way I work and my productivity. I don’t necessarily work on set tasks on particular days and my workload can vary from week to week so I like to think more about the way my days flow. Each day may look slightly different but if they follow the same rhythm it can keep me on track. There are a few habits and rituals I practice to help me out…

My-working-day-JORD-Watch-blossom

Time to focus

The early hours are all about getting in the right headspace to set me up right for the day.

Meditation helps me clear my mind and focus on one thing at a time and has become an important part of setting the rhythm for my day. I sit down to meditate as soon as I’ve got dressed, usually for 15-20 minutes in the morning before switching my computer on for the day. Sometimes I’ll take 5 minutes later in the day to do a min-meditation, this can be really useful to help switch from one project to another.

Although I love working from home I did use to enjoy that time spent walking to the office in the morning. So a few days a week I will make sure I get out of the house for a run at the local park or even just a short walk around the block.

My-working-week-JORD-Watches

Time to work

When it comes to getting down to work I’ll usually find myself sat at the dining table, or at the desk in our spare room.

Working from home by myself all day I’ve been so much more aware of any shifts in my focus and attention. Of course, there are no traditional distractions such as colleagues chatting or the office phone ringing but there’s still factors that will throw off my concentration. The very nature of working in social media means that constant notifications from multiple client accounts are inevitable, emails ping in, the housework can be hard to ignore and the postman even more so.

However, I’ve discovered that if I’ve got a long to-do list, I really benefit from adopting the Pomodoro method of time-management. It works by working in bursts of 25 minutes to focus only on one task and then taking a 5 minutes break. I really recommend it for people whose brains, like mine, try to think about a hundred things at once!

I always try to have a break away from my screen at lunch time. I love that being at home means I can always prepare a simple but nourishing lunch (often involving eggs). As the weather gets nicer I’ll take my plate outside and enjoy the sunshine at the garden as I eat. To accompany my break I will put on one of my favourite podcasts. I’ll usually turn to an inspirational creative show, such as Being Boss or Make It Happen, to spur me on with motivation for the afternoon.

As I said not every day is the same, sometime a have a busy day of meetings, a lot of writing to do or a day being more creative. The good thing about establishing a rhythm over a set routine is that it allows the flexibility to chance-up what I’m doing but stay on track.

Time to unwind

I suppose for some, the beauty of setting your schedule means being able to work outside of the traditional 9-5 office hours. I can see this being great if you’re a night owl or have children to consider, but for the most part working a standard day makes the most sense for me and means that once my husband gets home we have the evening to chill out together.

It’s funny, as I always thought I would be someone who preferred a less structured schedule but I definitely need a rhythm in place to keep my from feeling overwhelmed and to get the work done.

My-working-day-JORD-Watch-blossom

Keeping Time

I’ve written this post in collaboration with JORD wooden watches. I haven’t had a watch for years but the moment my Frankie 35 sandalwood watch arrived from JORD I fell for it completely and it’s barely left my wrist since. It’s a simple pleasure but it’s so nice to be able to keep track of time during the day without looking at my phone!

If you’d like to fall for a JORD Wooden Watch yourself you can enter to win a $100 voucher here. Open until May 14th.


Luxury Wooden Watch

Words: A Day Away

April 17, 2017

Travel / Writing

Durdledoor, Dorset, Feet in the sand, A Day AwayEvery person needs to take one day away.
A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future.
Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us,
and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence.

Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted,
no solutions searched for.
Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.

Maya Angelou (full poem here)

Perhaps the trend of sharing inspirational quotes and phrases online is seen as cheesy by some and I suppose there are some more famous quotations that get bandied about to the point of cliche. However, personally I’m thankful for this type of sharing because I think there’s something so special about coming across words that really resonate with you.

It might just be for a moment; you read a quote that lifts you up, provides inspiration or spurs some motivation that you were otherwise lacking. Or sometimes you come across quotes or phrases that speak to something deeper inside you and you know theses words will stay with you for a lot longer.

That’s how I felt when I first read A Day Away by Maya Angelou. Discovered on Instagram of course, these words although articulating something so simple just resonated with me. They are beautiful yet they feel instructional too; like a recipe for a more joyful life. Everyone needs A Day Away – to find some headspace, to unplug, to defend against burnout – it just makes a lot of sense doesn’t it?

Durdle Door Walking Away

For me a day away definitely involves a ‘digital detox’. I feel like it’s a cliche to say that these days, but I think it’s so important to take a break from the constant checking notifications and the mindless scrolling. Especially because all the apps and social channels are tools of my work, if I’m having a day away proper then I really have to disconnect entirely. I rely on social media daily; for distraction, for inspiration, for community and comfort, and to be honest I don’t mind relying on it for those things, but it definitely feels good to break the habit every now and then. I find that after a day or two of a blanket ban I am much more mindful of my usage – at least for a little while.

Ideally a day away for me would mean getting out of city; to the sea or the mountains. My head becomes the clearest when out in the wild and breathing in fresh air. I’m sure you might feel the same. That said, a day away doesn’t, and shouldn’t, have to be about literally getting away. It could be taking yourself to your favourite cafe or park, to a spa or to see a film.

I think the key, taking our cue from Maya Angelou, is a day spent not thinking about obligations or worrying on problems. Often it’s in those moments when you’re not searching for answers when things suddenly become oh so clear.

Maybe it’s something in the Spring air but I’ve noticed a couple of my blogging friends have recently put down thoughts in a similar vein. I urge you to go and read Lyzi’s post on Taking Time as well as Siobhan’s Lessons from the Mountains. Both are beautifully written, insightful pieces on taking a day (or days) away.

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