71 - Instagram


Alfies Studio Instagram  - work and life shared online
Alfies Studio Instagram  - a mix of life, work, adventures and botanical findings

I seem to live my life in 640px squares at the moment. Always looking for the next capture, addicted to sharing my finds.


It could possibly be seen as a slightly unhealthy obsession - that compulsion to just have another look at what's new in your feed... (because something monumental may have gone off in Instaworld in the three minutes since you last checked - right?). Be that as it may, it's also a lifeline to solopreneurs, a marketing tool for the mini brands with no marketing department (or endless buckets of cash) and a way of meeting likeminded individuals without being thought of as a geek or serial killer.

I'm not great at blogging, any of you who've been checking in here for a while know that my posting is sketchy at best, that words don't always come particularly easy to me, but Instagram, that I can do.

If you don't already, head on over to Instagram to follow my account where I post regularly on life, work and my fascination with botanicals. Reach out and say hello, that is my very favourite part of Instagram, finally social media that is actually social.

70 - What is "Feminine" Anyway?


Sara Taker of Me and Orla portrait taken by Xanthe Berkley

Instagram has opened my world up to lots of lovely people over the last 18 months or so and one of them is the lovely Sara of "Me and Orla". I was casually reading her blog this morning (check it out here) and felt compelled to write to tell her of my thoughts on one of her comments. As I started writing I felt like I wanted to share it with you as what it addresses has been drifting through my mind over the past couple of months as something I wanted to get into here. Without further ado...

Reading the Object Style giveaway post this morning. The bit about fashion not flaunting or flattering really struck a chord with me. I used to be a size 8-10 at uni and then when I left and moved in with the Mr everything got way too comfortable (or really uncomfortable in the case of my clothing and visual identity). Too many late nights dining and drinking, too many lazy weekends sleeping off the night before and then eventually three pregnancies (two of which had complications that caused me to be H-U-G-E  - look up polyhydramnios - 3l of fluid bulks you out considerably) have not helped my cause any. It's something I really struggle with now and find myself reverting to my old tom-boy ways - sweaters and boyf jeans, partially to cover up a multitude of sins left on my body by life and over a decade of abusing it, but mostly due to not being good with dresses and dignity (how can I romp through the woods and climb rocks in a dress without exposing myself - serious question).

I struggle with what is flattering and feminine and the notion of why I should look "feminine" is a complex one that no matter how hard I try, I just can't reason with. I do know that it irritates me that stereotypes threaten to encroach on my being able to live and look how I like. I want to live an active lifestyle, bouldering with my kids, running in and out of the sea, hiking and tumbling through woods and I should do all of this in what? I have yet to find a pair of walking trousers that fit my shape and I like (I'm just not in to hefty or horrid fabrics or a billion pockets which seem to be the only things available to my fit) and shockingly so much of whats "out there" involves some form of pink. Because I'm a girl (woman? I lost track somewhere early twenties when I couldn't figure out if I was a grown up or not) I must obviously devour pink for breakfast... Yes, I'd like to look good, no, I don't want to wear pink. Yes, I'd like my clothes to be functional, but I also want them to flatter. Comfort to me is about not worrying about how my leftover belly (that I've been told only surgery will fix) looks at a moment in time when I'm moving as well as being able to move with ease.

So often we are manipulated in to believing that we must be long wavy haired earth mother goddesses or waif model like girls about the city, red carpet ready from 7am. I'm neither, I'm both, I'm more than that, I think.

The hunt for who I am via how I dress continues, as does the hunt for clothes that flatter and fit well. Eventually I may even figure out what femininity means to me (and stop raging against the likes of certain celebrities who purport to be "feminists" but seem to use that stance to hide that they are using their sexuality to further their ambitions, but that's a different post entirely I think).

For now, I'm just happy and content to be surrounded by people who are beginning to break stereotype myths and please themselves.

Sara's portrait as taken by the lovely Xanthe Berkley who I had the good fortune to meet at last years Good Life Experience in North Wales.

69 - New Stockist - Botany


Back in March I had the pleasure of discovering Botany via the Toast Instagram feed (@toasttravels). Botany is now not only firmly placed on my list of indie shops to visit when I finally make it to London in early summer but also, proudly, the newest Alfies Studio stockist.

Botany is inspired by beautiful living, founded in 2014 by Angela Maynard and is a concept lifestyle store housing a carefully curated selection of plants, flowers & design-led items for the home.

Head on over to the website to see what Botany is all about or pop in to the store on Chatsworth Road in Hackney, London.

All images via www.botanyshop.co.uk

68 - The Good Life Experience 2015



The Gladstones and Cerys Matthews are at it again!

Following on from last year's brilliant Good Life Experience (see the review here) the team have been putting together an event that is set to be even bigger and better this year!

With a heavy Cuban influence, more craft workshops and demonstrations to inspire and some fabulously inspirational people in attendance (Ben Fogle anyone?!) I'm sure by the end of the weekend we'll all be planning our next adventures or returning home with a few new skills up our sleeves.

We're looking forward to; Cuban cocktails, Ben Fogle, Bill Granger, Carbecue, endless fairground rides, axe throwing, abseiling and bushcraft. We'll be camping this year too to make the most of the evening festivities and the extension of the festival to cover Friday and Sunday at the main site.

You can get tickets at early bird prices until Monday so be quick and head on over to Pedlars for yours. That having said it's the most reasonably priced festival I've come across and under 8's are free! Family and financially friendly, because the good life really is for everyone.

All images supplied by Pedlars / The Good Life Experience. Even the last one with my son in!

Please Note - This is NOT a sponsored or paid post.
I'm promoting this event because quite frankly, it's going to be brilliant if last year is anything to go by. I've built up a working relationship with Charlie Gladstone through working on projects for Pedlars (see my collaborations page on my shop if you are interested) and wanted to help spread the news of his excellent work on this project.

If you have a project / festival / product that you think I and readers of this blog would be interested in, I'd be happy to feature that too (if I think it'd be a good fit) - get in touch.

67 - Digital Spring Clean


Alfies Studio Paper Echoes Cards - You're the Seagull to My Chips
Alfies Studio Letter Writing Stationery Set - Envelopes and A5 writing paper
Alfies Studio Memo Note Cards Stationery
Alfies Studio Telegram Note Cards with Envelopes
Alfies Studio test tubes for creating wedding favours

With the lighter days come sunshine filled rooms. With sunshine filled rooms comes the realisation that your home has become a spider metropolis over winter. Instead of reaching for the duster or getting those suckers vacuumed up (because with dusting you're just flapping the "fluff" around, right?) I started to think about my online residence (shop) and digital files on my computer. Anyone that follows me on Instagram will know that I'm constantly re-jigging my bookshelves to be able to fit more books in, get rid of old books we're never reading again and generally tidy up and I hit the point when I felt like I needed to do the same with my digital assets as well as my product range.

I spent Easter weekend photographing (and coming up with a few new) products and re-jigging my shop site to be a bit more user friendly, tell you what you want to know in as little time as possible (because you need to be creating adventures to share rather than spending a long time shopping for stuff to share them with) and generally get it together. It was time well spent. I feel so much better about my online presentation of myself and my products / services I'm gonna celebrate by busting out the vacuum first thing in the morning.

Above are some of the new goods added to the site recently. Head over to the shop to take a look, I'd love to know what you think.

Also, in celebration of National Stationery Week and the Bank Holiday weekend take 10% off all orders over £5 til Tuesday 5th May with code SPRINGBANK. You're welcome.

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