My Pollyanna Home Sweet Home

It feels like ages since I’ve been sat at my desk blogging and I’ve missed it. In fact, being sat at a different desk in a different workspace has taken a little getting used to. I don’t think that moving home should ever be underestimated. It certainly took a lot more out of me than I had anticipated.

Moving Home

I’ve always considered myself a rebel against routine, preferring to have flexibility and spontaneity over rules and order. However, with age (and mostly the existence of two small people who rely on me for pretty much everything) and maturity I have had the overwhelming desire for order. My own set of rules that I know work for me. But it’s not something that comes naturally to me – I really have to work at it to perfect it. And I say ‘perfect’ in the loosest of terms, rarely is it perfect.

My Pollyanna outside

My Pollyanna workspace shelf

I can’t seem to function (or at least not effectively) without knowing where things are and having a sense of clarity. One of the biggest advantages of moving home is that it gives you a reason to de-clutter and reorganise your life. In recent years this is probably up there with one of my favourite things to do. Knowing exactly where things are and that everything has a place gives me a bit of a sad sense of satisfaction.

What I’m trying to say is that I decided to take the short break from blogging because I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it well. It would be a half-copped attempt at throwing something out there that I wouldn’t be proud of. Similarly if I’d spent time blogging the house/family would have suffered.

My Pollyanna Workspace

So this is my crawl back to full-time blogging. I’m pretty much there with sorting the house, I have the sunniest spot in the house as my workspace and we’re slowly finding our new routine. Not only that, Spring is in the air and I have a house full of fresh flowers so things are looking up!

My Pollyanna spring flowers

 

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Ailie Bramble & Bracken

This is Ailie and I defy you not to be utterly and jaw-droppingly impressed with her story. Ailie is seventeen years old, is in the second year of her A-Levels and runs her own business, Bramble and Bracken. Although Ailie’s is super busy I managed to catch up with her and she was kind enough to share her story here.

You run your own business, Bramble and Bracken. Can you describe it in just three words?

This is so tricky – I’m rubbish at this sort of thing! I decided instead of answering myself that I would ask friends and customers how they would describe us and use a mix, (is that cheating?!) they said:

Individual, Loveable, Chic! (Must say I was pretty happy with those!)

Bramble and Bracken You are so Loved

At only 17, you are a great inspiration for younger people. What has been your own inspiration behind Bramble and Bracken?

The inspiration behind Bramble and Bracken stems from a lot of things really. I have always wanted a shop of some form since I was a little girl – I used to constantly be pretending that I was working in a shop: folding jumpers, writing out receipts and playing on my toy cash register!

When I started using social media more often and writing my blog I was always discovering lots of small and unique companies that are making amazing things but aren’t always that well known. The ‘finds’ posts on my blog became my most popular and friends and family were always saying to me ‘where do you find these things?’, so I guess it was then that I thought maybe I should combine my love for shops and finds together and form what is now Bramble and Bracken!

What are your three favourite Bramble and Bracken products?

Well of course I truly do love all our products but at the moment I think my favourites are definitely the ‘365 Days More Lovely’ birthday cards - I just love the simplicity of the design and think the quote is just adorable, plus they’re made nearby too and it’s great to support local artists.

Bramble and Bracken card

I also really love the Life is Lovely’ cushion cover…I may have kept a sneaky one for myself to pop on my bed!

Finally, my final favourite is probably the mint green ‘Excuse Me While I Instagram That’ phone case. It was our first ever product, I designed it myself (as it certainly applies to me and my huge IG addiction!) and is currently our bestseller so I guess it’s a little bit sentimental too!

Bramble and Bracken Please excuse me while I Instagram that

What do you think makes Bramble and Bracken so different?

I guess the fact that Bramble and Bracken is run by me (and I’m only 17) makes it pretty different to most of the other online shops out there! I have quite a grown up taste for my age I think and the items in the shop are a real reflection of my style.

Plus, the fact that we have a real mix of items that are sourced from small companies all over the globe seems to appeal to people, as they know that they are getting something that is special for themselves or their home.

Bramble and Bracken stamps

Describe a typical day in the life of Bramble and Bracken…

As I’m currently in my second and final year of my A-Levels, I’m still at college full time and of course getting my qualifications has to come first.

Luckily for me though, the way my timetable has worked out this year is that I finish college at 2.30pm most days meaning that after a short train journey, a quick cuppa and usually a biscuit or two I can start my ‘working’ day at about 3pm.

I print out any orders that have ‘pinged’ through during the day and start wrapping them (this can take quite a long time as I like to get them all looking perfect before they wing their way to their new homes). I then form a pile to take to the post office in the morning. At about 6.30pm I try to tidy my desk up and then set to work on replying to any emails that I may have received.

I then have dinner with my family and afterwards post a few pics on IG, tweet a couple of tweets, pin a few pins and even say hello to the lovely people over on Facebook too! This often leads to a few more orders so at about 9.30pm I tend to get set on them if I’m not too tired! Then at 10.15pm the latest I go to bed to get some rest before I get to do it all over again the next day! I really do love it!

Bramble and Bracken You are amazing card

What can people expect from their Bramble and Bracken purchase?

With any Bramble and Bracken purchase you can always guarantee great quality of products that are a little bit different to what you would find in your average shop, and for great prices! We take the wrapping and packing of all our orders really seriously and I personally package each item up in pretty tissue and twine and add a little note to you too…I want all our customers to feel as though they are receiving a present and that Christmas has come early when their parcel pops through the letter box!

Finally, what dreams do you have for Bramble and Bracken?

I really want to focus on getting more brilliant products on the shop and maybe expanding into clothing too. I also hope to continue to provide the best customer service and opening experience possible and then hopefully one day you will see a bricks and mortar Bramble and Bracken shop appear near you!! That’s the ultimate dream right there…I can see what the shop would look like already!

You can find more information on Bramble and Bracken on the website here.

Thanks Ailie.

If you have an inspiring story to tell and would like to feature in the Five Minutes With series. Please drop me a line and we can chat!

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In a break from the Christmas madness, I’ve gone off the program and gone all kitchens!

Renovating, moving, building, moving, renovating, building…you get the idea. This pretty much sums up my whole life. My parents’ were addicted to property. Refurbishing it, knocking it down and putting it all back together to then sell it and move on. You might think that moving every few years during my childhood may have put me off but in fact I married someone who classes “property development” as a hobby. Oops. So I can now say that my childhood and my adult life has been pretty much consumed by property redevelopment of one sort or another.

We are currently in the middle of another project and this week I have had to think kitchens. The kitchen I have had to look for is pretty standard but it got me thinking about what my dream kitchen would be. What I’ve realised is that I’m still confused. I love the clean, crisp symmetry of modern architectural kitchens but I also love the comfort and forgiving style of a country kitchen too. It’s such an important room and one that I think most women think a lot about and want to get right. Here’s what I found…

Friday Fantasy Kitchens

I love the handmade look of this kitchen with striking chandelier above the island unit.

Friday Fantasy Kitchens

The simple, clean cut look of this kitchen is just lovely. Love the feature window/door too.

Friday Fantasy KitchensThis looks so inviting and homely.

What does your dream kitchen look like?
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I don’t know if it was because I was born in the Autumn or it is my fond childhood memories of kicking  leaves and eating roast lunches but I love this season. I love the dark evenings and watching the rain on the windows when it’s warm and cosy inside. It’s something I’m trying to pass down to my children so they can have similarly fond memories.
All change
It’s not just my wardrobe that gets a bit of an overhaul when the season moves on. I like to add and take away a few bits in my living space too. I enjoy change and I find it refreshing to see new things in the room (this usually means they have come out of storage!) – little tweaks can have a big impact.
Change in scents…
Updating the scent of your home is great for making a change. Fragrances can evoke such strong memories and emotions and it’s lovely to walk into a home with a welcoming scent. Here is a couple of gorgeous candles from the True Grace range from Amara that are great for Autumn in classic Sandalwood and Black Lily.
Home scents
Wrapping up…
You can’t have Autumn without a blanket or throw. They add wonderfully warm texture to your room and are great for cosying up on the sofa. Wrap up with these lovely blankets also from Amara.
Snuggle up

1. Lexington £295 / 2. Avoca £92.50 / 3. Bronte £79.55

All from Amara.

How will you will be snuggling up this season?

(images www.amara.com)

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Writing yesterday about relaxing without guilt and the chaos of my everyday life, it got me thinking about a few things around the home that give me that quick fix in order to sit down and unwind properly. Like most, I don’t have the luxury of time, or to be honest the inclination, to have a completely spotless home. I need to tidy up so I can move onto the next task. As I said in my post yesterday, it really is about the small things. The small things that can have a big impact.

For me, it’s small baskets dotted sporadically all over the house. I am always amazed at how putting stuff in a basket can transform a room and most importantly, clear my mind!  From keys and post, to pens and make-up, putting things away like this means I can very quickly collect  things up, put them in the basket and move on, knowing that at least the room is tidy.

Here’s my pick of some lovely baskets to have around the home.

Relax...The Quick Fix Tidy Up.

1. £47 www.allmodern.com / 2. £145 www.okadirect.com / 3. £34 www.liberty.co.uk / 4. £7.99 www.hm.com / 5. £38 www.shopterrain.com / 6. £39 www.ikea.com / 7. £53 www.crateandbarrell.com

What are your tricks for a quick-fix tidy up?

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Every Wednesday Polly’s Project Wednesday will feature my favourite hobby, furniture up-cycling. I am not at all crafty, but I love anything to do with interior design and really wanted to give something a go. I completed the Annie Sloan chalk painting course and this weekly feature will follow my steps from hunting down bargain pieces to the transformation itself.

Follow me as I get braver and try new paints and different finishes. I’m looking forward to trying out the crackle glaze effect.

Laura x

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