Saturday, 14 July 2018

An Apothecary Wreath

http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/07/an-apothecary-wreath.html how to make your own foraged wreath
Have you ever been so excited by something that you simply cannot wait? Let me be more specific. Have you ever been so inspired by a craft book that you have had to stop everything and start creating immediately? Well recently I have been physically and mentally broken and I have turned to craft as part of the healing process. I have always been a maker and a creator but when times are really hard I need something tangible that I can complete, and see, and touch. A task that has a clear outcome, and let's be honest here emotional stuff is rarely clear or concise and often has no defined outcome. With all of that in mind I decided to buy 2 new books about craft. 
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/07/an-apothecary-wreath.html how to make your own foraged wreath
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/07/an-apothecary-wreath.html how to make your own foraged wreath
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/07/an-apothecary-wreath.html how to make your own foraged wreath
Wreaths is one of the most visually stunning books I have ever seen. I have read it cover to cover over and over again. Apart from Christmas and a few crafty bits with glue guns and polystyrene my wreath making is non existent so I was eager to get stuck in and learn something new.
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/07/an-apothecary-wreath.html how to make your own foraged wreath
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/07/an-apothecary-wreath.html how to make your own foraged wreath
When dealing with nature it is important to accept that nature is the one in charge and the shapes you find are the ones you respond to. Yes the book is inspirational but you do not and should not spend days searching for a piece of honesty in the exact shape as the one in the book that is simply daft. I have forgotten how freeing working with nature can be as you are responding to it and not manipulating the material to your choosing as we do with so many other crafts. In that way you have to let go of your inner control freak a little and that helps train your brain that letting go is okay.

As someone who has lots of herbs growing around in the garden and the wild I chose to make an apothecary wreath. 
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/07/an-apothecary-wreath.html how to make your own foraged wreath
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/07/an-apothecary-wreath.html how to make your own foraged wreath
I started by making small bunches of flowers and leaves. Next I played around with the placement of them on an old embroidery hoop. Once I was happy I secured the main elements in with floral tape. Lastly I filled the gaps with additional bunches.
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/07/an-apothecary-wreath.html how to make your own foraged wreath
I am so hooked on this, the whole house is filled with various blooms and leaves I am drying, there is a lot of trail and error as to how well things dry when you are like me and have limited floral knowledge under your belt.I have a pair of scissors and secateurs in my bag on dog walks, (don't worry I am not stealing from gardens, wasteland and railway sidings only).
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/07/an-apothecary-wreath.html how to make your own foraged wreath
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/07/an-apothecary-wreath.html how to make your own foraged wreath
I love that this book has reawakened my passion for creation again. Even if you never intend to create a wreath from this book it is still a beautiful thing to behold and I highly recommend it.
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/07/an-apothecary-wreath.html how to make your own foraged wreath

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

No I Am Not Okay

It is more than apparent that I have neglected this space for the longest time, the same has happened with the social media attached to it. This has not happened because I was struggling to find content, nor was it unintentional, life did not get busier than normal leaving me no time. There are many in the blogging community who say if you have a break you do not need to explain yourself when you return, and I understand that viewpoint, I really do, but on the other hand this is my job. Or at least it leads me to paid opportunities that pay my bills. Now in my book If you do not show up for work for over a month you should probably explain where the hell you have been.

For the past few months I have been struggling with depression, I know why I am depressed, it is causal so in the strictest sense I am not sure that it could be classed as clinical depression but it is still just as debilitating. Let me begin by myth busting here. Depressed people are sad, or appear sad, they are unkempt, they do not make eye contact, they let hygiene slip, they cannot cope with their children. These were some of the things we were told by clinicians to look out for when I was a social worker, and whilst in some cases they may well be indicators there are multitudes of people walking around who would not even consider to be depressed. Kate Spade is a prime example, on the surface she had everything to live for and her father was quoted as saying he had just spoken with her and she was happy and planning a trip but she was far from okay and she took her own life. Suicide is a hard thing to comprehend for many people, I have 2 failed suicide attempts in my past, the last one was 12 years ago, I do not plan to ever go down that path again now I have children but I am certain Kate felt the same way. 

With all of this going on in my head every time I sat down to share a recipe or talk about decor or gardening on the blog I felt that it was pointless, pathetic, mere frivolity. Now I know that is not true that life does, and should exist outside of dismal and deep confines, that art, aesthetics, food and entertainment are important to humans, I sat down and those were the thoughts that consumed my brain. You are pointless. You are pathetic. What you do is frivolous bullshit.

I considered these thoughts and at first assessed if they needed a practical solution, I like to think of things that way, perhaps these thoughts were an indication I should change career. I looked back to when I worked in development and social care, when I managed huge project budgets, when I was working with young homeless people and wondered if I should move back to charity work. Then I remembered I had these thoughts then. That I was lacking in some way, that I was not enough. Then it made sense the alarm bells went off and I realised that these thoughts were linked to the reason I had been locking myself in the bathroom and crying in the middle of the night so the children would not see or hear me for months. It was the because my parents do not want me. That may sound overly dramatic but they have wavered between indifferent and cruel for a good portion of my life. Of course that was not the case 100% of the time every day but as my husband points out even a shit comedian will make you laugh at least once.
Here I am a fully functional adult with no real need for active parenting, something that has been the case for many years, but my id will never grow up and my id wants mummy and daddy. All logic and reason has left the building and all I can see is two people who never married, never lived together, never really liked one another, independently reaching the same conclusion that I am not worth their time and effort. For years I thought that I had worked through this in terms of my father until I had Sebastian, you see now I was a parent and that made me different, it also gave me a different perspective on life. I reached out to him when Sebastian was born only to find out that nothing had changed and I was still the black sheep, the outsider and not really welcome.

My relationship with my mother is far more complex and tempestuous but in summary things came to a head when earlier this year I stated that if she wanted a relationship with my children she could not bypass me, we come as a package. These terms were not okay with her and she has not tried to see them for months meaning that having to have a relationship with me was too abhorrent to her. Now we can sit there and say that says more about them than me but I am the common denominator and there is no power on this universe that would keep me from my boys so I must be pretty awful to not inspire that in either parent.

Most of the time I have been outwardly fine, I work hard to do that but I have fallen down and desperately called a friend to help me when I was crippled by the gravitas of motherhood. I can see what my parents have done to me and my mother said "lets see how you are in 20 years and then tell me you will always fight for your boys", and I was broken. I sat in the corner and sobbed and my beautiful Sebastian held me and hugged me and told me not to be sad and all I could think is she was right I am doing a bad job putting them through this, letting them see this, I am a failure but then something was different. This time I am not alone crying in a corner struggling to find self worth I had to get up because I had 2 people depending on me so I called that friend and I said please help, and she came. I have never done this before, I have always turned help away.

So that is where I have been since March really so why am I writing this now? Well something happened today, Wednesday 4th July, (I have only just noticed that this is independence day, oddly poignant), I saw someone I know. I saw someone who is not a close friend, although we have shared moments of closeness, I do not have her number, we have not hung out extensively and she saw me and she said "How are you? Are you well?" and I said "No I am not good". Now I live in Britain for goodness sake we all know the answer to how are you is I am fine thanks but I told the truth and I said no. I told her briefly the situation, as I have with all of you and she said I need to take ownership of this situation. So this is me taking ownership, saying this is how life is.

Then I looked back at some of the emails I have received from readers over the years when I have spoken about miscarriage and breast cancer and I thought perhaps being open on this forum, my forum is not pointless after all, that perhaps breaking down the stigma of mental health issues goes beyond a hashtag or sharing a status on Facebook.

When I started this blog it was a hobby to take my mind off breast cancer and it is something that I have built from nothing that has millions of page views and something that I should be proud of, and I am proud of it and will continue to write about any damn frivolous thing I choose.

I am not naive this does not fix it, in fact on the home front it may make life worse to begin with but I am on a road to recovery and I want to reach out to anyone else out there who wants to say no I am not fine and say I will answer your email, all of your emails personally, you are not alone.

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Golden Beet & Ginger Juice

Golden Beet & Ginger Juice recipe http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/05/golden-beet-ginger-juice.html
Do you ever feel like you are late to the party? Well I am always late to the party I was convinced that CDs would not take the place of cassette tapes, yes I am that late! I realise that there a few people who are now Googling cassette tapes. I was really happy when JD Williams reached out to me to work on some Nutrilbullet recipes. No longer will I scroll through instagram wondering what the big deal is about? Are they worth the cash? Now I know they are worth it.

I have a blender that came as part of my food processor, it has a pretty glass jug and looks great on my counter top but beyond making milkshake it struggles. I was sent the Nurtibullet 1200 to use. I wanted to jump straight in ad use products that I could never have used in my blender. I wanted to make a thick juice.

So why not use a juicer? Well a few years ago I had a juicer and I hated it. I found that you got very little yield so a glass of juice could become quite costly. The second negative point I found about a juicer was that it was a real pain to get clean and when you compare it to how easy it was to clean the Nutribullet it is a no brainer. Lastly with a juicer you lose a lot of the fruit and veg where as all of the yummy goodness stays in the juice when you use a Nutribullet as if the easy to clean thing was not enough to sell it to you. 

you will need; (per serving)

1 golden beet (peeled)
1 pink apple
zest and juice of 1 lime 
1 inch fresh ginger (peeled)
Golden Beet & Ginger Juice recipe http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/05/golden-beet-ginger-juice.html
method 
  1. Cut the peeled beetroot and ginger into cubes
  2. Cut the apple into medium pieces, I decided to leave the skin on but that is up to you. Just cut around the core, the shape and size of the apple bits is not really important. I used pink apples it really helped to keep the juice sweet.
  3. Zest your lime and then half it and scoop out all of the lime remembering not to add the pips.
  4. Blend away!
This was so easy and fast and I felt smug all day about how much goodness I had just consumed. The possibilities are endless and I am so excited to develop and share lots of new recipes with you and hopefully experiment with the Nutribullet beyond juices.
Golden Beet & Ginger Juice recipe http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/05/golden-beet-ginger-juice.html

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Make Your Own Baby Changing Unit

how to make your own baby chaging cupboard diy upcycle ikea hack http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/04/make-your-own-baby-chaging-unit.html
After the initial excitement of knowing that you are having a baby and looking at all the incredibly cute things you can buy you get to the sudden realisation that considering the newest member or your family may be the smallest member of the clan but they come with so much stuff. Not all of this stuff is pretty or looks like it belongs in a Pinterest worthy nursery. We are talking muslin cloths, (you can never have too many), clothes, nappies, towels, dribble bibs, creams, baby wipes, a whole mess of crap that needs to be squared away in order for you to stay sane. There are lots of articles talking about the negative psychological effects of clutter, here is a link to one of them.

With Sebastian I did not have a changing unit I thought of it as a really frivolous add on purchase, my lower back paid for this decision. I had already made space in our bedroom and wanted to kill two birds with one stone, have a closed cupboard for all the 'stuff'' and have a changing unit. Most of the nicer changing units out there were overpriced and had open shelving, I wanted to hide away these items. I set myself a budget of £30 and hit the junk shops.
What I found for £30 exactly was a 1980 drinks cabinet. It had lots of storage and it was the right height for changing. 

I painted the unit in Annie Slone Old White. I have since discovered Sarah Jayne Chalk Paints after working with them on a collaboration and I wish I had used them on this project as it is much easier to achieve a flat look with their paint it is not as gloopy and there is no need to wax afterwards, ahh well you live and learn.
how to make your own baby chaging cupboard diy upcycle ikea hack http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/04/make-your-own-baby-chaging-unit.html
I picked up some nice colourful replacement handles from a local store and bought a changing wedge, these wedge mats do actually help the rolling over in the middle of the nappy that will start happening sooner than you think.

I wanted to have a small store on the side that was open for grabbing things as needed so I painted everyone's favourite Ikea spice rack. The Bekvam has to be the most hacked Ikea item do you agree?
Having this on the side allows for a couple of chaging essentials that can be restocked so the unit was functional and still hid the clutter.
how to make your own baby chaging cupboard diy upcycle ikea hack http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/04/make-your-own-baby-chaging-unit.html
We are pretty happy to have this in the bedroom and when it is time for it to go I plan to get a snuggler seat for book reading.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Sebastian's & Humphrey's Bedroom Reveal

http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/03/sebastians-humphreys-bedroom-reveal.html inspiration for kids and children's room interior design advice design ideas
Yeah it is my first full reveal, it has taken so long to get here but so many of the jobs such as roofing, fixing joists, pointing do not really lend themselves to blog posts of pretty pictures. Many of the rooms are almost there but I feel that this is the one that is ready to share. As a disclaimer there are actually a few additions yet to come namely another mattress for Humphrey but he will be in with us for some time yet so we decided to leave the extra floor space for now.
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/03/sebastians-humphreys-bedroom-reveal.html inspiration for kids and children's room interior design advice design ideas
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/03/sebastians-humphreys-bedroom-reveal.html inspiration for kids and children's room interior design advice design ideas
Designing a room for children is actually the most fun ever, all of those funny little quirks that you may be afraid of in the rest of your home you can instigate with ease for your kiddos, in fact I wrote a whole post with tips and tricks for pulling a great room design together for children, here is the link.
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/03/sebastians-humphreys-bedroom-reveal.html inspiration for kids and children's room interior design advice design ideas
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/03/sebastians-humphreys-bedroom-reveal.html inspiration for kids and children's room interior design advice design ideas
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/03/sebastians-humphreys-bedroom-reveal.html inspiration for kids and children's room interior design advice design ideas
We knew we wanted Sebastian to share a room with his sibling, the new addition turned out to be a boy but if he had have been a girl it would not have altered our decision. With that in mind we were given a different scope of putting together two very different rooms, a playroom and a bedroom space.
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/03/sebastians-humphreys-bedroom-reveal.html inspiration for kids and children's room interior design advice design ideas

Firstly let us get the ugly before pictures out of the way. The house faces north south so lots of beautiful light on one side and not so much on the other.  Keeping it bright and free of scary monsters, (vital in a kids bedroom), meant keeping it colourful.
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/03/sebastians-humphreys-bedroom-reveal.html inspiration for kids and children's room interior design advice design ideas
I based the design around two main elements the balloons, (that we started collecting before I was pregnant with Sebastian), and the cloud wallpaper. I had the idea of cloud wallpaper stuck in my head for some reason and spent the best part of a year and a half searching for the right cloud wallpaper. On a number of occasions Joe suggested that perhaps I should move away from the idea of clouds if it was proving a problem. I have one word to describe my husband quitter! Eventually I found the perfect paper on Spoonflower. I had seen Spoonflower on many American bloggers sites but always considered the shipping costs to be too great to justify. Since first hearing of the company they now have a base in Europe also so everything was falling into place. Spoonflower is a great resource for independent designers to showcase their ideas and you get to have them printed up as fabric or wallpaper.
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/03/sebastians-humphreys-bedroom-reveal.html inspiration for kids and children's room interior design advice design ideas
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/03/sebastians-humphreys-bedroom-reveal.html inspiration for kids and children's room interior design advice design ideas
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/03/sebastians-humphreys-bedroom-reveal.html inspiration for kids and children's room interior design advice design ideas
I had never used pre pasted paper before so I was nervous but it went on like a dream and I did the whole wall with no mistakes and pregnant - oh yes renovations stop for nothing here.
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/03/sebastians-humphreys-bedroom-reveal.html inspiration for kids and children's room interior design advice design ideas

http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/03/sebastians-humphreys-bedroom-reveal.html inspiration for kids and children's room interior design advice design ideas
Sebastian is a collector and I wanted him to have somewhere to display his treasure! This house was a dark wood that was given to us and painting it was a labour of love but I am glad I did.
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/03/sebastians-humphreys-bedroom-reveal.html inspiration for kids and children's room interior design advice design ideas
The next hurdle was finding a yellow to match the clouds, cue more endless hours of searching. I eventually found a match in Valspar. Now this is a brand I had seen in the US for sometime but it is new-ish to the UK. I hate to get negative but I was not impressed with the paint quality. I can only assume that we have a different mix here as the US bloggers that swear by it I respect. The dark colour took 6 coats, yes 6! Up and down the ladder pregnant. When I painted the lounge a dark blue from Little Greene Paint Company it took 2 coats. The light colour from Valspar took two coats but the paint drags. Okay the negativity is over now but I felt that I have to keep it honest folks .
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/03/sebastians-humphreys-bedroom-reveal.html inspiration for kids and children's room interior design advice design ideas
The gallery wall is a triumph I love how it contains so many memories and some very personal artwork including the handmade pennants and a beautiful bear drawing from artist and good friend Julia Ogden. Below are two futon cushions that fold out into single beds, perfect for sleepovers. I covered them in a furry throw. It is also a great place to snuggle up with a book.
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/03/sebastians-humphreys-bedroom-reveal.html inspiration for kids and children's room interior design advice design ideas
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/03/sebastians-humphreys-bedroom-reveal.html inspiration for kids and children's room interior design advice design ideas
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/03/sebastians-humphreys-bedroom-reveal.html inspiration for kids and children's room interior design advice design ideas
The Ivar hack is shared fully HERE. Inside I have all of the more chilled out toys and baby toys in here. In fact after getting into pjs playing a board game from the cupboard has become part of our routine. It really helps Sebastian to calm before bedtime stories.
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/03/sebastians-humphreys-bedroom-reveal.html inspiration for kids and children's room interior design advice design ideas
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/03/sebastians-humphreys-bedroom-reveal.html inspiration for kids and children's room interior design advice design ideas
We had a huge old frame that we had never found a use for so we cleaned it up and painted it. I added net curtain wire and Sebastian gets to fill it with whatever he likes. Part of me wanted to change it for the photo and get all interior stylist on it but I decided to keep it real and leave it just how he made it. In front I created another little book area, the hack for that chair is HERE. Ontop is a bear rug that we bought in Paris it is actually a super cute outfit he can wear.
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/03/sebastians-humphreys-bedroom-reveal.html inspiration for kids and children's room interior design advice design ideas
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/03/sebastians-humphreys-bedroom-reveal.html inspiration for kids and children's room interior design advice design ideas
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/03/sebastians-humphreys-bedroom-reveal.html inspiration for kids and children's room interior design advice design ideas
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/03/sebastians-humphreys-bedroom-reveal.html inspiration for kids and children's room interior design advice design ideas
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/03/sebastians-humphreys-bedroom-reveal.html inspiration for kids and children's room interior design advice design ideas
The curtains are the simplest thing ever to make simply hem the fabric all the way around and use curtain hooks that have clips.
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/03/sebastians-humphreys-bedroom-reveal.html inspiration for kids and children's room interior design advice design ideas
The drawers I bought second hand from a friend on Facebook and I painted the bottom two grey to add a little interest. The You Are My Sunshine hanging is homemade and the post is HERE.
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/03/sebastians-humphreys-bedroom-reveal.html inspiration for kids and children's room interior design advice design ideas
The drawers also give Sebastian another surface to work on his vingettes! I love his homemade bits including the abstract scuptures he made after viviting the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and The Hepworth Wakefield.
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/03/sebastians-humphreys-bedroom-reveal.html inspiration for kids and children's room interior design advice design ideas
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/03/sebastians-humphreys-bedroom-reveal.html inspiration for kids and children's room interior design advice design ideas
Let's talk about the elephant in the room.
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/03/sebastians-humphreys-bedroom-reveal.html inspiration for kids and children's room interior design advice design ideas
You would not believe how self congratulatory I am about that rubbish elephant joke. I am in fact talking about the lack of a bed. Sebastian co slept and still does most of the time, he can open a baby gate carrying 4 soft toys and wanders in. We looked at lots of toddler rail beds but we settled on having a mattress on the floor so any roll outs caused no harm. I did have a plan to build a frame around it to look like a house but after getting everything in I feel it would be too much, there is a lot happening already.
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/03/sebastians-humphreys-bedroom-reveal.html inspiration for kids and children's room interior design advice design ideas

Okay so the fireplace is green. Well first of all I don't care, I like it. It was originally painted a yellowy cream and I was not about to pay to get it dipped for a room that would change at some point. I had some paint left from the utility and I painted it green which suited the room better. I am not a purist when it comes to painting/not painting things but I know for some it is sacrilege. Colourful fireplaces are not as uncommon as you may think, Karen Clough from Well This Is Growing Up wrote about it here, and she included this fireplace in her round up.
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/03/sebastians-humphreys-bedroom-reveal.html inspiration for kids and children's room interior design advice design ideas
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/03/sebastians-humphreys-bedroom-reveal.html inspiration for kids and children's room interior design advice design ideas
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/03/sebastians-humphreys-bedroom-reveal.html inspiration for kids and children's room interior design advice design ideas
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/03/sebastians-humphreys-bedroom-reveal.html inspiration for kids and children's room interior design advice design ideas
The book caddy here is actually from the kitchen section of Ikea. The lightshade was such a nightmare I could not decide what worked with the size of the room and the fact that we had the balloons suspended also. Then I was walking past one of my favourite shops in Hebden Bridge and say this in the window and bought it right away, the link is at the end of the post.

I enjoyed designing and executing this room so much. Adding all of the little details that make it unique. Sebastian loves it despite not spending a whole night in there and I am sure he and his brother will have many happy times talking and playing instead of sleeping in that room. All in all I am feeling pretty smug about this room.  
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/03/sebastians-humphreys-bedroom-reveal.html inspiration for kids and children's room interior design advice design ideas
I have added links at the bottom for you to be able to find some of the things in the room.

Futon Cushions - The Futon Company
White Cabinet & Wall Units  - Ikea
Balloons - Authentic Models 
Lightshade (sold out but similar available) - Radience
Wallpaper - Spoonflower
Mustard and Pale Lemon Paint - Valspar
Bear Artwork - Julia Ogden
Bedding -  M&S
Wooden Circus & Rocket - Janod 
Book Caddy & Chair - Ikea 
 Globe - ELC
Fireplace Paint (Arsenic) - Farrow & Ball
http://www.archieandtherug.com/2018/03/sebastians-humphreys-bedroom-reveal.html inspiration for kids and children's room interior design advice design ideas
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