Friday, 16 December 2016

Christmas: Cat-friendly decorating tips

Image: Pinterest
This year, we'll be celebrating Christmas with our two new additions - the kittens. We're so excited! I've even bought a little present for Martha and Decca to open (although I draw the line at a kitten food Christmas dinner...). 
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Thursday, 15 December 2016

Christmas: Two wreaths



Last week I was still in casual Christmas mode, thinking it's ages until the big day. This week? Not so much. But let's rewind to my two days of wreath-making and pretend everything's just fine...
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Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Interiors: Houseplant heaven


My houseplant obsession is getting out of control. From where I type I can see one giant palm, a windowsill full of oxalis, geraniums and a spider plant, an orchid, a succulent, a big vase of flowers, a  shelf of succulents, and I haven't mentioned the Christmas greenery.
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Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Interiors: Dining room makeover



Back in February, I did a mini makeover of the dining room, taking it from bare room to liveable space. But since then, we've done loads more to the space. Want to have a look?

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Friday, 2 December 2016

Interiors: How to light a fire

The temperature has properly dropped here in the UK and we've woken to frost most mornings this week. Time to get warm. A few weeks back, I called a number in the Yellow Pages (okay, I googled it) and found a chimney sweep. The idea of such an old fashioned trade is a bit like catnip to me and sure enough the brilliant chimney sweep who came to our home was a lovely man in his eighties.
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Thursday, 1 December 2016

Family: Meet the kittens PLUS Fantasy horses with Petplan Equine


Back in July, T (my youngest) drew a fantasy pet – bat, of course – and it was magically transformed into a brilliant cuddly toy thanks to Petplan (read that post here). It's easy to get into the habit of assuming the eldest is too old for such opportunities, but it turns out A wanted to have a go, too.

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Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Recipe: Superfood breakfast bowl


For the past couple of months, I've eaten the very same breakfast every day. It's safe to say that I'm obsessed. There's something so reassuringly easy about the repetition, and something unexpectedly delicious about this particularly recipe that I don't seem to be bored yet.

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Monday, 28 November 2016

Just Eat: An experiential foodie event in Bristol, UK


On Saturday, I headed across the bridge to Anchor Square for a fun, experiential event with Just Eat.

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Friday, 25 November 2016

Wishlist 2016: Gifts for her and for home


It's that time of year again... Christmas is approaching, but first, my birthday. It's a biggie. Here are a few of the things I have my eye on, which might provide some inspiration for present purchases this year. Let's go!
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Monday, 21 November 2016

Birthday Looks: Three matching outfits & party decor ideas!


In less than a fortnight, I turn 40. No one is more disbelieving of this than me. Having been in denial for, ooh, about four years, I have now done a u-turn and have decided I'd actually quite like to celebrate my milestone birthday after all.
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Thursday, 10 November 2016

Food: My dream Magnum - an Indian Summer treat

my dream magnum - an indian summer treat oyster and pearl blog

I've been loving this Autumn. Temperatures reached the high twenties in mid-September and we enjoyed a proper Indian Summer. Happy days. For a blissful spell, you could find me doing lengths at the lido and working from one of their sunny outdoor tables, as well as enjoying a sweet, frozen treat.
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Thursday, 3 November 2016

On happiness and where to find it


A few weeks back, I came off the phone to an old friend. Something she said really stuck with me. She said she was worried I didn't sound happy. Was I happy? Am I?

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Monday, 31 October 2016

Vegetarian food: Riverford recipe box review

Recently, after a few months of eating some (good, well-sourced) meat and fish, I've changed tack and gone back to pure vegetarianism. Although it was convenient to eat the same as my kids and family, it didn't feel right to be eating even small amounts of chicken or salmon. 
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Tuesday, 18 October 2016

How I gave up my car

How to give up your car - Back in the Saddle with Halfords
My Orla Kiely bike and Halfords trailer
That title makes it sound like it was intentional. It wasn't. My car for the past few years has been a right old banger. Yes, it was on its last legs but I'd come to really rely on it both for schlepping the kids to school but also as a way of feeling free and independent. Spontaneity is a big thing for me. Four wheels enabled it. So what happened when my car failed its MOT and proved to be too pricey to fix?

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Monday, 17 October 2016

Halloween tea party ideas with HomeSense


It's that orange time of year, isn't it? The shops are pumpkin-ed up to the max and spooky costumes and decorations are beginning to emerge...

For a bat obsessed boy, it's better than Christmas. And setting him loose in HomeSense, with its massive range of brilliant Halloween outfits, interiors ideas and edible treats, was a delight to watch.
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Saturday, 15 October 2016

Instagram: 3 new hashtags & accounts to follow


After my mini rant a few months back, I confess to really enjoying Instagram at the moment. Plenty of people have bemoaned the changes they've seen as a result of the new algorithms and timeline kicking in, but this has felt freeing to me.

Freedom = creativity, which has led to a few new accounts and hashtags. Hooray!
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Friday, 7 October 2016

Comedy: Tom Allen & Suzi Ruffell

One of my total guilty pleasures is watching 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown. A few weeks back I watched an episode where Tom Allen was in dictionary corner and his jokes made me cry. So I did a bit of Googling, watch a few clips of his stand up, and discovered he's on a UK double headline tour with Suzi Ruffell. Read on for an interview with these two.
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Thursday, 29 September 2016

Recipe: Plum, fig and almond cake

Plum, fig and almond cake recipe for using up plum glut

It's late September. The kids are back at school. The kits are settling in. The kitchen is half finished and a bit of a tip.

What to do in the midst of a building site? Make a cake, of course.
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Thursday, 22 September 2016

On light: Autumn equinox and tentpoles


So here it is. The autumn equinox – the point in the calendar when day and night are of equal length – falls today. Which means (gulp) the nights will be longer than the days from here until March. My brain melts a bit at this prospect. When I talk about my love of summer, it's not the heat I crave but the light. And I think I know why.
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Monday, 12 September 2016

Family life: Back in the Saddle - Cycling with Halfords

Back in the Saddle with Halfords - Orla Kiely Classic Womens Bike green leaf design review

The week before last we holidayed at Center Parcs, Longleat. More to come in an upcoming post but by day we made our way through the forest by bike, finding it the easiest way to get from lodge to pool or playground or lake and back again. Fast forward to this morning and the school form I've just had to fill in about our cycling habits. Do you cycle as a family? Well, yes and no.
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Friday, 9 September 2016

On chaos and making sense of time, the seasons and everything


Want to know the two best words in the English language? In my opinion, anyway.
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Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Travel, family and more: 18 highlights of Summer 2016



Phew! That was a summer...

It's always the same – at the beginning of the holidays I'm a rabbit in the headlights, wondering how on earth we're going to fill the six and a bit weeks stretching out ahead. This year? We packed in so much!

Here are some of our highlights.
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Monday, 5 September 2016

Inspired by... / 08 Artist Dan Parry-Jones and the Affordable Art Fair, Bristol

Dan Parry-Jones, artist exhibiting at the Affordable Art Fair Bristol 2016

Before I did this – blogging, writing, digital content etc – I worked for some of Bristol’s loveliest arts organisations, from large, stately art galleries like the Royal West of England Academy to smaller, artist-led studios such as Jamaica Street Artists. Art has always been a big interest of mine and I’m fascinated by how artists create. But getting work from the artist’s studio to the customer’s wall is a tricky business…

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Thursday, 1 September 2016

Recipe: Hermits - a spiced biscuit inspired by a childhood book, Carrie Hepple's Garden


There are books from my childhood that have stayed with me forever. But they aren't necessarily the classics... Instead, many are under-the-radar favourites from an esoteric, mismatched collection of hand-me-downs, charity shop finds and gifts. As is the case with my grown-up library too, I suppose. One such book inspired a love of warm summer evenings, cottage gardens and unfamiliar baking. A beautifully drawn picture book from the eighties called Carrie Hepple's Garden.
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Thursday, 25 August 2016

Travel: Rustic Airbnb apartment in Santa Maria del Cami, Mallorca


Have you ever been somewhere that's so idyllic it's almost untrue? Where you have to repeatedly point out how amazing it all is for fear that if you don't it may all just vanish? If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you'll have been on the receiving end of a deluge of increasingly overexcited pictures of THE MOST PERFECT AIRBNB APARTMENT EVER!

But it really was. Here's why.

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Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Recipes: Five smoothies for summer

Summer does funny things to a person's appetite. The sporadic meals at random times, oscillating from carb-heavy barbecues to sandwiches or salads eaten on a rug, on the go. It can all feel a bit out of control, can't it?

A smoothie at breakfast lays the foundations, making whatever the day brings just a bit more steady. Here are my five favourite smoothie recipes for summer.
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Monday, 22 August 2016

Review: Siemens avantgarde iSensoric Freestanding Washing Machine | part two


Last month, you might've read part one of our review of the new Siemens avantgarde iSensoric freestanding washing machine. I know you've been itching to read part two. Today is your lucky day.

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Monday, 8 August 2016

Recipe: Rose petal and strawberry sandwiches - a summer tea party | part two


Last week, I shared with you my recipe for sour cherry and almond cake. Today, it's the turn of my favourite ever summer treat - the rose petal and strawberry sandwich. Fancy a Victoria Sponge kind of vibe but don't have time to bake? This is the answer to your prayers.
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Friday, 5 August 2016

The Story of Bees


We've done it. All that clearing and planting and watering has finally paid off. No, I'm not talking flowering plants, but bees.

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Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Review: A party with HP Instant Ink Refer-a-Friend


Last week, I gathered together seven friends for an evening of cocktails, delicious food and beauty treatments. My task? As well as enjoying their company and much uproarious laughter, I shared the benefits of HP's Instant Ink service. Want to know more?
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Monday, 1 August 2016

My School Years - Back to school with Marks & Spencer


Yes, that is the school photo from my reception year at primary school. Can you tell which one is me?
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Friday, 29 July 2016

Recipe: Sour cherry and almond cake - a summer tea party | part one

sour cherry and almond cake recipe | oyster and pearl blog

This time of year is just so good for kitchen spoils. So far this summer, we've picked strawberries from the garden, raspberries from the farm, and been given cherries from a friend's tree.
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Thursday, 28 July 2016

The BFG reimagined: a guest illustration by Laura from Cardboard Cities


This week, we took the kids to see the new film adaptation of one of my favourite Roald Dahl books, The BFG. It was every bit as wonderful as I'd hoped it would be, despite how clear a picture I had in my head of the imagined world so perfectly described by the great author.
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Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Wishlist: Seven buys for bat obsessed kids

My boy loves bats. Like, really loves them.

'I'm going to be a bat zoologist when I grow up'... *heart breaks*

He's going to turn six at the weekend, so - in tribute - here's a wishlist of bat buys for obsessed kids.
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Monday, 25 July 2016

Family: Fantasy pets with Petplan

What happens when you ask a bat obsessed nearly-six-year-old to draw his fantasy pet? Magic, that's what.
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Thursday, 21 July 2016

Interiors: A trip to Germany and Luxembourg with Villeroy & Boch


I have (and suspect I will be forever) always been the sort of person who likes to know how something's made. There's an anecdote about Deborah Devonshire, the late Duchess of Devonshire and youngest Mitford sister, who received a moss tree as a present. 'I pulled it to bits to see how it was made', she said.

That's where the similarities between Debo and me end. Except when I get invited to stay in a German castle and dine with the family behind the world's leading ceramicware, of course.

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Friday, 15 July 2016

Review: Siemens avantgarde iSensoric Freestanding Washing Machine | part one


A few months back, my boyfriend watched me getting hysterical over the laundry, declared me incompetent and took over the chore for the entire house. So it's only fair that he reviews our new Siemens avantgarde iSensoric Freestanding Washing Machine.  Over to Mike...

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Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Travel: Bristol and beyond - an exciting new venture


The day has finally come for me to announce two very exciting things for Oyster & Pearl. I haven't written a blog post in over a fortnight but there is a good reason for it, honest. Here's what I've been up to.
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Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Interiors: DFS and Team GB team up to create Britannia


This is a paid for advertorial with DFS

I can't believe the Olympics have come around again so soon. Doesn't feel like four years have passed since the last one, does it? I remember the buzz around the London 2012 games - visiting the capital, we came across mascot statues at every turn, and stumbled into the victory parade where athletes walked the streets between London landmarks.
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Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Travel: Glamping weekend in Dorset with Honeybuns

Glamping weekend in Dorset with Honeybuns gluten-free cakes

I hate camping. There, I said it. Yes, I know the great outdoors is all kinds of good for you and I know you can take airbeds and duvets and a few minor comforts of home to compensate for the hard ground and the condensation and the crouching over. But by the time you've gone to all that trouble I think you might as well stay in an actual building. An unfashionable opinion, maybe, but I'm getting too long in the tooth to worry about that.

Honeybuns is a bakery based on an old dairy farm deep in the Dorset countryside. If there's one thing I do like it's a cake, so when Honeybuns invited us to stay in the 1940s cedar clad caravan on their farm we were thrilled. Putting aside any fresh air apprehension, we said yes.
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Saturday, 28 May 2016

Recipe: Strawberry cider pound cake with raspberry and wild berry cider jam


Earlier this month, I was challenged to use an unusual ingredient in a recipe. Rekorderlig has just launched a new summer range of cocktails-in-a-can (or journey juice, as we like to call such drinks when on the train). Come on sun! These cocktails will work so well for all the festivals and barbecues we have planned this year.

The Strawberry-Lime cider cocktail reminded me of the lollies from a Sherbet Dip-Dab and served as the inspiration for this glorious cake, while the Wild Berries cider cocktail was the perfect base for a summery jewel-like jam.
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Thursday, 26 May 2016

Home & garden: Al fresco lounging with HomeSense


That there is our new bench. It sits at the end of the garden, facing back towards the house, and is surrounded by a big old rambling rose that's tantalisingly in bud. I don't even know what colour they'll bloom, but I do know what a job it was to hack it back, prune and tie to the wall. All those thorns! There's one bud that'll come out first which I've snapped here. What colour do you think?

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Monday, 23 May 2016

Interiors | Living room makeover


Finally! Our living room is now just about okay to be revealed... Can you remember how hideous it was when we moved in? That red brick fireplace, the cheap, black furniture and the crazy Beetlejuice sofa? Yep, it really was this bad. Here are the before pics to remind you!

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Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Inspired by... / 07 Rebecca Vincent, tattoo artist

Rebecca Vincent photographed by James Hole for the Brighton Tattoo Convention







A few months back, I had the privilege of seeing Rebecca Vincent at work. This incredible tattoo artist works out of Parliament Tattoo, a studio in Finsbury Park, London, and has a huge following on Instagram which is where I first became familiar with her work. She's only been working for a few years and yet has already become a huge name and one to follow in the world of tattoos, perhaps because she brings to the profession a refreshingly different approach. It doesn't hurt that she's one of the friendliest people I've ever met, a natural at putting nervous clients at ease.

Fascinating people are always welcome on this blog so I interviewed Rebecca, asking her about her arrival on the tattoo scene, her natural world inspirations and her intricate blackwork.
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Thursday, 12 May 2016

Review: Wayfair hammock and garden toys


That there weekend just gone was a good 'un. Sunday, we decamped to the garden, playing games, burning food on the barbecue, splashing in an impromptu paddling pool and generally larking about. And we welcomed our really fantastic new hammock to the garden! Not to make you too jealous or anything...
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Saturday, 7 May 2016

Five reads for May: My monthly book recommendations


Each month, I pick five reads from fiction, food, homes, interiors and more. Want to know what I'm reading this month? Course you do!

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Saturday, 30 April 2016

Why I'll be supporting the Let The Kids Be Kids protest on Tuesday


On Tuesday 3 May 2016, parents up and down the land will be keeping their kids off school. Why? In protest at the unprecedented levels of testing that are now in force in our schools. Those in charge at the top may argue that the testing is necessary to assess the new primary curriculum. But when kids as young as six are describing themselves as 'failures', the system has become acutely out of balance. As a friend of a friend said, 'you don't make a pig fatter by constantly weighing it'.
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Friday, 22 April 2016

Cadigans 04 / Catching my eye on the internet this week (no knitwear!)

"It doesn't matter what we wear or what we look like, because we can do some seriously badass stuff."
© LIFE Magazine 
There really is something so badass about rollerskating girl gangs. Can I come back as one in my next life please?

Cadigans are placeholder words, those brilliantly esoteric, eccentric words such as knick-knack, whatjamacallit, thingumajig, doo-dah - words to describe things for which we have no words.

Catching my eye on the internet this week? Here goes...
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Thursday, 14 April 2016

IKEA LiveLagom: a mid-project update


We’re halfway through our IKEA LiveLagom project and this month we’ve been focusing on growing our own, both at home and on a friend’s allotment.

Want to find out how we're getting on with this awesome six-month project? Here goes...
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Friday, 1 April 2016

Homes: A typical bank holiday weekend


As well as the Easter egg hunts and the chocolate overdoses, last weekend's festivities included a big old slice of DIY. Classic bank holidays, innit?

Aside from our kitchen makeover project, we used the extra days' holiday to make a start on our garden. It really needed it.

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