Bird’s yard craft fair

Hey readers, I know it has been a super long time since my last post. I have been adjusting to life in the real world now that I have a job and not as much free time anymore but I feel like I am about to get back into the swing of things. Makers meadow is attending a craft fair this Saturday 21st and I invite you to come join us for a peruse and a shop if you can make it to sheffield. There will be lots of other craft stalls from independent creators throughout sheffield and I am really looking forward to it. Stop off and say hi if your come by.


March Wishlist

March wishlistI am really enjoying keeping a wishlist on a regular basis. There are so many things that I would love to have but can’t ( just yet) normally because of lack of funds and then there are also items I want which I want to get to replace something I already have ( but obviously I wouldn’t throw something away before it needed to be, that would be wasteful) I find it great to have an idealistic wishlist as it allows me to think about what I really need, what I really want and what I really can live without. As always all these items come from an ethical back ground that I support whether eco friendly, from an independent business or fairly traded.  Number 1 is a bit of a cheat as I have just bought it, It’s a blusher from BM Beauty that uses all natural ingredients. I don’t use a lot of make up so I think it’s pretty reasonable that I could slowly replace all my make up and I would be happy to with BM Beauty as I’ve found the blusher amazing. I have started to gain some temp work through an agency and would like to have some neater tops and jewellery for interviews and work plus I would like a backpack that’s good lucking but can fit more in it then my handbag so I can shop while out an about (bonus points for not using plastic bags) I would love this horseradish vodka from Godminster as I really enjoy a good bloody mary and want to make some really tasty spicey ones for friends and family the morning after the night before. Lastly I would love this piece of art


Look Local: Jacob’s Chop House

This Friday a new restaurant/bar is opening in Oxford, Jacob’s Chop House. A new venture for the owners of Jacobs Inn and Jacob & field’s Deli, both in Oxford and both successful small businesses. By the looks of the food and drinks on offer the  Chop House is set to be a tasty success as well. I would love the opportunity to go down for the opening and try some tasty  meats but alas a trip to Oxford is not on the books at the moment :( Since this isn’t a review post the reason I would like to share with you this particular place is that the co-owner Johnny commissioned me to make the aprons for all the staff starting there this week. For me this was a really special moment to do my first custom order other then for friends and family and was able to get my products in a public arena. Although I am very proud, this isn’t a post about blowing my own trumpet, I wanted to share the order with you as I think It is a really important step for my business, their business and the implications it has for all independent businesses.Jacob's Aprons

I believe strongly in the power of small business over huge corporations and love the fact that with the purchase of my aprons, two businesses have cut these huge multi nationals out of the loop. This has allowed one independent maker (i.e. Me) to produce an ethical product and service for another independent business (i.e. Jacob’s). For the handmade and independent business movement it is our ability to stand alone in the economy without major funding and questionable policies that will see more small companies thrive and more people gain a job, that is both worthwhile and pays well. Supporting each other is just as important as promoting your own products and services because the more consumers who shop in a more conscious way the more space there is for the little guy or gal to succeed.

jacob's menuJacob's menu pt 1For small businesses it’s all about being seen. Why would I not want to promote another independent business. The Chop House are offering grilled British meats, fish and veggies with some tasty beers and wines to wash it all down. Though I’ve not been, their pub offers meats that are reared on site and their own homemade chorizo and their deli provides local and seasonal fresh produce all year round. What is not to like! I wish the team all the best of look in the future and look forward to when I can finally make it to oxford and sample their wares myself.

And remember, support your local independent businesses where ever you are


x xxx

p.s. Photos courtesy of Jacob’s Chop House restaurant

In the World: Ethical Superstore

When I talk to people about independent and ethical shopping I often find it can be bizarre ground for a lot of shoppers as we all get use to shopping in a certain way and by nature we don’t like change. For me one of the biggest problems I find is that independent shops don’t label prices consistently or visibly enough and items aren’t always laid out how you would normally find them in your bog standard supermarket or on their website. For more people to be encouraged to shop with the little guys or the eco conscious these retailers need to make it easy for others to transition. A perfect example of this is the

ethical superstore shopping

The online retailer specialises in a whole range of products from clothes to food, gardening to beauty all items of which are either fairly traded, organic, eco friendly, promote health and wellness, educational,  locally produced or charitable. These are all worthy causes that I care about so it makes the perfect place for me to find exactly what I want without failing my principles. Each item page has a thorough description of the ethics behind its production or company, each of which you can find out more about on its own page and browse its other products. The clear layout of each page means you can find out the relevant info you might want and see customers reviews at the same time to inform you on its positives and negatives.

ethical superstore brands

I love that the ethical superstore is set up just like a supermarket website as it is really easy to navigate and more often then not they will have the products your looking for as they have such an extensive range of items. They display prices visibly and even offer bulk buying discounts on  most of their food products. They also have offers and sales just like any other store as well as their clearance sections for homewares and clothing making the shopping experience exactly the same as you would find it in any big box store except you can rely on the products being ethically sourced. My only criticism might be that I  wish the free delivery order didn’t have to be as much as £50 but that is because I like a bargain. I think this is definitely the way ethical retailers should go to encourage more people to look at their wonderful products and get them to make the switch.


x xxx

Everyday Etsy: Green & Clean

This is a lovely collection of beauty and bath products from Etsy that are all eco friendly and eco conscious. As I said in my last green everyday Etsy, It’s hard to change everything in your day to day straight away to get to a more green life,  so replace one product you have when it runs out with a green or ethical alternative and do that for all your products and you’ll soon have the best items that are good for you and the planet.

Green & Clean

I personally have stopped buying face wipes and instead bought crocheted wool pads like these from Deer Season and a cleanser from Lush Fresh Farmacy which is brilliant and gets my skin really fresh and free of makeup. When you’ve used the wool pads a few times just chuck them in with your wash and use again.  Though I love Lush i’d love to try the make up remover from Conscious Skin Care, I love their packaging and the information about the products. It’s sometimes hard to decorate in the bathroom as it always seems such a functional room so this beautiful soap dish would be a lovely little edition from Prince Design UK.

Go green and stay clean


x xxx

The Real Thing

pint of the real stuffI am a big beer fan if you hadn’t guessed already or havent seen any aley posts from me and this is down to first my dad taking us on a beer tour in Belgium before uni, secondly, joining the Real ale society at uni, thirdly, meeting my future hubby at said society, fourthly, he is now a brewer with his father and we’ve just opened a pub together serving lots of tasty beers. Yet i wasn’t always a ale lover, i use to drink lager and supped carling and stella (oh the shame). For me it’s not only the taste thats better but the whole process and industry of real ale that continues to have me drinking it, which may seem strange to some but let me explain.

Whats wrong with my Carlsberg or any other lager for that matter?

-Well for a start off it tastes like pants but i suppose that’s a matter of taste

-Most lagers in the UK are owned by massive corporations who own many more brands of beer then you think and have their fingers in many pies too including hotels, restaurants and pubs to name a few. All the money they make is going to a handful of shareholders while they put smaller competitors out of business with unfair pricing and forced product ties

– Lagers have additives and preservatives added to them which although has not proved adverse to health I would rather have a natural product that only has pure ingredients in it

– Many of the big brands are produced in one huge factory or in another country adding to their carbon footprint as the beer it has to be transported to pubs or shops across the country

Buy small and localI didn’t realise  any of this,  i just drink it! So is real ale better?

-Personally i think the taste is better and there are so many styles and flavours to choose from.

-It has been studied that real ale is the healthy choice as it only contains, water, barley, hops and yeast, and has a higher number of antioxidants then lager. Plus real ale drinks tend to drink less then lager drinks and obviously the main health issue is too much alcohol.

-There are many large corporations who produce real ale as well so go for your local small brewery when your choosing ales, that way your supporting the little guy and it won’t have been transported hundreds of miles. If your pub doesn’t have a local ale, ask them why and get them to join CAMRA’s Locale Scheme (link opens a PDF) which means your pub serves beer brewed from within 50 miles

– You could also choose to buy organic ales which don’t use pesticides on their barley or hops. Some brilliant organic breweries include Black Isle, scotland, Stroud Brewery, Gloustershire and Little Valley in Hebden Bridge

lovely German LagerBut i love my lager?

-Not all Lagers are bad, the traditionally brewed ones on the continent are their version of real ale but they use a different yeast. You can find some great shops and bars that stock mainly German and Belgium varieties.

-There are also several British breweries that make Lager and they are incredibly tasty. I love Freedom Brewery’s Freedom Four lager, tis gorgeous

I could talk forever on this topic (i did my uni dissertation on it) so it’s hard to explain all the angles and ideas in a short post so if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask. You can also visit CAMRA for more info on real ale and the pub industry.

Right, off for a pint!


x xxx

Folksy Friday: The Early Bird

Today’s folksy Friday is inspired by the countdown to Christmas and that the best way to get all the gifts ready is through being the early bird and catching the worms/gifts early. I have also recently bought a few things off folksy for family and myself and just love the feeling of shopping on folksy and receiving items through the post. The sellers are always friendly with great customer service and best of all its all handmade made by some one you can actually talk to. You can connect with the maker more then just knowing something is ‘made in china’, there is a story behind every product and it reconnects you to the items you buy and how they are made. So the message of the story: Get in early, buy those presents, buy handmade this Christmas and support a local small time producer.



My pick of the week is the two little love birds in the bottom corner both made of organic merino wool, they make perfectly cute cake toppings, if only the little ceramic bunting saying love was included. Beautiful work from the Felt Menagerie. I adore the robin print from InkMeUp , a lovely simple design but would make me feel so cheery with this hanging up on my wall. Last but not least i would love a sweet little bird box for the garden like this classic one from Wudwerx.  To find all these beautiful creations check out my pinterest Folksy Friday:The early Bird

Enjoy your weekend and my Folksy Finds, while your having a gander dont forget to check out my Folksy shop Maker’s Meadow where every order in November gets a free prize


X xxx

Friendly Food for your Party

I love food!!!!!!!!!!!! and for me the most important thing in a party is the food and drink and for our party this will most certainly be the case. However me and Harry don’t want to sacrifice on are principles just because we will be catering for alot of people but we don’t want to break the bank either. We wanted to buy food and drink on the basis that they were either locally produced, fairly traded, independent retailerss, or eco-friendly. So i wanted to share with you where and why we got our food from certain places and how i didn’t spend over the budget. I will cover our drink additions in another post. The single way i will be saving on cost is by making everything by hand and having a few people to help out by bringing a few dishes. In my mind i split my food purchases into : Fresh, Dried and Packaged and this seemed to fit rather nicely in to the three main places i had in mind to shop from.



I needed fresh meat, fruit and veg and i wanted to get them at the latest two days before the party so i could get cracking on with the cooking but have it fresh for the party. The best place i could think to go, where i would be guaranteed fresh, organic and free range produce , and they deliver on a Thursday, party is on a Saturday, was a organic food wholesalers. The one i picked because i have know it for a long time , was Abel & Cole a 20 year old business started by two old friends in the 1980s. They work with many farmers throughout the country along with bakers and makers but what i like best is the faces they give to them. You can actually see on their website who produces your food. The best thing they offer are organic seasonal fruit and veg boxes that are delivered weekly and thats what i’ll be getting to supply all the veg i need for the party. You can then add on the rest of the shopping as they supply all the basic food you need for your weekly shop. We also have bought our free range meat from here and some of the prices are just as good or better then from the supermarket.

Millies Leeds


Not every one has access to one but i am very lucky to know of one in Leeds that i can easily get to and thats a local organic and health food shop. The one i go to is Millies organic and i will be doing a little piece later in the week on this fantastic store so i wont go in to too much detail. The reason why i love the store so much is that they package their own dried goods making them alot cheaper then supermarket equivalent. I have found that there nuts especially are cheap for how many you get and if you are adding them to salads or hot dishes you can get bags of broken bits for even cheaper which taste just as good but aint perfectly formed obviously. I will rave more about this place when i review it next week but i got all of my dried food needs like flours, pastas, beans, nuts and some delicious chutneys from a local farm, not to mention all our cheese from their amazing cheese counter.


For any goods that i needed that were tinned, pre-made or a bit unusual i went to the Ethical Superstore because i find it has the cheapest bulk buying and has more special offers on like a regular supermarket. They frequently offer lots of money off coupon codes and the site is really easy to navigate if you want to find something. I bought for the parties items like pesto, tahini, crisps and cooking ingredients like oil and stock. Its also got a fantastic array of gifts although of course we are hear to talk about the food. Its based in the North East of England and is run by a smallish collection of people, i am very grateful to have a easy site with all the eco and people friendly products i need

We also have looked to our local producers for other parts including lots and lots of eggs from an allotment a stones throw from our back door and cured meats from our local deli supplied by local farmers. The best way to cater on a budget is shop around, do it yourself and eat in season for your fresh produce. Doing all this will reduce the cost as well as your guilty conscious if a green, fairly traded buffet is what you need and want.

Any Questions please get in touch and any more info on party ideas look at the category Party Time.


X xxx

Folksy Fridays: Chalk and Cheese

Todays folksy Friday is showing the best of the best of chalk and cheese. As of last weeks if you don’t know what folksy is then you should check it out especially as Christmas is coming up and its great for handmade and individual presents. Many designers also do custom products so you can personalise it for your friends and family. I would definitely love to give the seed labels from Love Imagining to my gardener father and the slate cheese board from Grey & Echo as he loves his cheeses as well. My ultimate favourite this week is the Say Cheese lino print card from Hand Made

So anything here take your fancy? And how familiar are you with the amazing folksy? Check all of them out at my pinterest board Folksy Friday: Chalk & Cheese

Have a great day


X xxx

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15 Uses: Cardboard boxes

Ah the humble cardboard box, from postage to cereal, tea bags to white goods, many many things come in these mundane big and little brown and white boxes. Many people recycle postage boxes for the ease of re-posting items and gifts, for my shop  i always try and use used boxes for my packaging, big fan of the cereal box turned inside out. A trip to your local supermarket and you often can get all the boxes you need for moving home. Recycling is superb but i think that upcycling its so much more exciting, and with the amount of waste cardboard you can find in the world the possibilities are endless when it comes to creating. This week i will be looking at practical uses, pretty uses and some just darn fun ideas for kids to enjoy the most out of that washing machine box.

5 Storage Uses for Cardboard

1. Lay pieces of Cardboard together and create customised slots for a catch it all organiser for the the front door, mail, keys, you could even make it a docking station for your mobile by threading your charger through a hole.

2. Create a simple drawer organiser with slotted cardboard, pretty it up with some nice fabric or paper

3.  Use larger boxes to create a unit storage area or book shelves. Take that Ikea!

4.  The most simple recycling, cover a cut cereal box in paper and you’e got a handy magazine rack

5.  Uses little bits and pieces of cardboard to create a stationary organiser that fits the pieces you need.

5 Pretty and Creative ideas

1. If your feeling particularly creative then make some amazing art work for your home or create your own art gallery for  recycling only artists.

2. Use layers of cardboard wrapped with yarn to make attractive but cheap place name decor for parties

3. Want a beautiful chandlier for your living room or banquet hall???? make one out of cardboard and spend your money elsewhere such as on the caviar

4. Create a simple cake stand for a party or to house your jewellery just paint it in the colours of your choice and your good to go

5. This beautiful necklace is so unusual and probably quite easy to make, sorry to the etsy shop this is off but it is simple.

5 Imaginative Ideas for Children

You can really create something magical for children to play with out of nothing. it doesn’t have to be perfect their imagination will do the rest.

1. A castle is the first thing I could think of to make, it just opens up so much possibility for play. You could also make any manner of building for your little ones, houses, fire station, little grocery shop, it just depends what your child loves and what it could teach them along the way

2. Create some sort of transport for the little cardboard town you make, Air planes, cars, boats, and these too can be themed for your tikes, How bout a pirate ship for your mini captain hook and peter pan

3. For the younger ones how about a toy storage box? Cutting shapes in the box to fit the various toys also turns tidying up into a fun, stimulating game.

4. A Wendy House, what more can you want? So easy to build and probably more fun to make than you think. There’s also even more chance to recycle other materials such as scrap paper for wallpaper, or why not even actually use leftover wallpaper from your own house?

5. Kitchen appliances – get ’em started young and they’ll be Michelin starred by the age of 12. This doesn’t just stop at cookers too, pretty much anything in the kitchen could be made out of cardboard boxes, from fridges to microwaves.

Hope you enjoyed this weeks 15 uses, the last collection makes me want to have children right NOW so i can make them some of these exciting toys. Any one frequently upcycle their carboard other then postage?


X xxx