Category: Others

The Perfect Keepsake: A Martha Jackson Locket (A Review)

There’s something really sweet and romantic about lockets.  I think it’s because they have been romanticized in stories, books and in the movies.  Whether it’s a period or a romantic movie, chances are, the heroine will have a locket around her neck with the photo of her beloved in it.  Or perhaps, of a mother, who has lost a child and forever wears her locket with a photo of her little one, close to her heart.  Or this:

She saw that it was the work of a skilled artisan and that the diamonds were of great brilliancy and superbly set, but the cutting of them denoted that they were of a former day. She noticed too that the locket opened, and, pressing the hidden clasp, she saw the two halves spring apart to reveal in either section an ivory miniature.” 

  • Edgard Rice Burroughs, Tarzan of the Apes

When Martha Jackson got in touch and asked if I wanted to do a review of one of their lockets, I quickly said yes.  At the back of my head, I thought of T of course.  I knew that when she’s old enough, she will love to have a locket to forever cherish.

They have a number of beautiful lockets to choose from, but I chose the Silver Double Oval locket.  I thought it would be handy to have two compartments.  Although admittedly, I haven’t found a photo of little T, small enough to fit in there.  But I’m sure I’ll eventually find something or perhaps, I’ll have to print a specific photo for this beautiful keepsake.

Above is a photo of the first compartment.

The second compartment is bigger than the first.

Martha Jackson’s lockets can also be personalised.  I asked that the words “Carpe Diem” to be engraved behind the locket.  This is something we like to remind T about to.  To always seize the day, no matter what her fears are or the circumstances she’s in – grab life by the throat and experience everything life has to offer.  After all, as parents, isn’t this what we wish for our children?

As you’ve probably noticed, there’s also a small letter “T” and a little pearl charm along with the locket.  You can order these add-ons.  It can be an initial like the “letter T”, a lovely pearl, or even a little key.  I just love these little add-on details, it just makes the locket even more special and unique to the wearer.

What I love about the Silver Double Oval Locket:

  • As mentioned, it has two compartments.  One small one in front and another bigger one at the back.
  • I love that you can personalise all the Martha Jackson’s lockets.  For me, it’s the perfect gift for daughters when they are old enough to cherish it..  You can also choose your own font, whether you want a simple font or an elaborate one.
  • Again, I love that you can choose some add-ons, whether it’s an initial or a charm like a pearl or a key.  You can also choose whether you want the add-ons in silver or gold.
  • I love that you can choose the length of the necklace.  When ordering, you can choose a short one (35-40 cm), or a long one like mine (76 cm, extra long belcher chain.)
  • And most of all, I love that the price is affordable.  It won’t cost you an arm and a leg to have something as beautiful and unique as this one.  This particular locket starts at £45.   Of course, the add-on charms and the length of the locket will also determine the cost in the end.  For someone special in your life, it’s definitely worth the spend.

What I don’t like about it:

  • This isn’t major.  But I wasn’t too impressed with the packaging.  It came in an ordinary small white box.  I think something as pretty and as dainty as this deserves better packaging.

I’ve shown little T the locket and she absolutely loves it.  I’ve told her that when she’s older, she can have it.  She keeps asking me “But when will that be mum”?  I told her that she’ll have it when she’s responsible enough not to lose it.

Christmas is just around the corner.  If you’re looking for a special and unique present for the woman in your life, whether it’s your wife, partner, girlfriend or daughter, I think this forever keepsake is the one for them.

What about you?

Do you like lockets too?

*I received this lovely locket from Martha Jakson for the purpose of this review but all photos and opinions are by yours truly.  

Finding the Beauty in Ordinary Days

It definitely felt like spring has sprung over the weekend which lasted till Monday.  Never mind if it’s looking grey again today.  But a few days ago, our little family had a lovely time as we worked in the sunshine, trying to reclaim our garden back from the remnants of winter.

T and I started with raking the leaves which should’ve been raked ages ago, but it was always too wet and cold to do it.  But over the weekend it was bliss.  We were all in our element, including Doc and Boots who loved basking in the sun and running on tree branches.  Hopefully she didn’t find any bird’s nests!

For some time now, the husband has been talking about wanting to put wooden borders with shingles for our pots of plants to rest on.  But like I’ve mentioned, the weather hasn’t been really conducive to do anything outside, he finally had his chance!

He started this on a Saturday, by Sunday he had all the wooden boards up, but found out that the shingles he bought wasn’t enough.  We managed to buy more yesterday and it’s all up:

I think he did a grand job!  We’re excited to buy more bedding plants, since the ones in our pots need replanting and even new ones.  There’s still obviously much to do in the garden.  I need to repaint our garden furnitures and hopefully we’ll manage to put up some swings and tick off some of our plans which we made last year when we first moved into the house.  It does take time, doesn’t it?

But over the weekend, it was one of those lovely ordinary days where I savoured each and every single second, bit by bit.  There’s beauty in ordinary days like these.

Relishing the ordinary, the way the sunshine poured through the window making beautiful patterns against our curtains.  The sound of Boots’ bell coming from the trees, hopefully loud enough to warn any birds that a predator is coming.  Little T sitting on the concrete steps eating her little picnic exclaiming “This is the best lunch ever” which consisted of a jam sandwich, apple slices and her a pear flavoured drink.

The way the husband frowned as he hammered a piece of wood into the ground missing his foot just inches away.  Even the sound of Doc’s faint barking which meant he was somewhere in the 500-acre farm land that surrounds our house.

And then later on, the sound of T practicing her cello and my husband and I both smiling, so proud of her, that what our little girl is playing is beginning to sound like good music.  These are the moment I want to freeze forever.

Reality sets in again, and it’s a Wednesday, our house at the moment is surrounded in mist.  Ah well…

Conversations with my Daughter: What did you do today mum?

she likes to ask as she gets home from school…

Well, I begin.  I tell her about this online Spanish for beginners short-course I’m doing for the month of January.  I don’t mention that in the past I’ve taken a similar beginners course, twice, but not online, in an actual language school, but never managed to finish because I then had a full-time job.  Yes, this was before my life as a mum began and I actually had a “career”.  Hopefully, I’ll manage to finish this course this time.

What else mum?  She’ll say.  She always says that, bless her little heart.  I look at her eager face and try to read it.  There is genuine interest, she really wants to know what her poor old mother has been doing.

Then I give her a litany of all the chores I’ve done for the day.

Did you blog?  I reply I haven’t done much blogging lately.  Thankfully she doesn’t ask why and let’s it go.  I turn the question around and ask her what her day was like.  She’s a sweet little girl, my T.

***

I was helping my husband put up T’s old small shelf in the kitchen to use as a spice rack. He asked me to check something, I said I couldn’t reach it.  The husband started giggling, I snapped at him and said “Are you laughing at me?” He nodded his head and added “but with love“.

T chimes in “Let’s celebrate!”

Why?  I grumpily asked.

“Lets celebrate love!”

Indeed.

Little Hearts, Big Love

Help! I’m Turning into a Couch Potato

Before the start of the new year, my husband and I decided to treat ourselves and we bought a new smart TV.  We buy all of our appliances from Woolacotts in Bude.  This isn’t a sponsored post, by the way, we’re just really pleased with their customer service, so if you live in Cornwall or Devon and need to purchase any appliances, do head over, I’m sure they’ll be as good as our local one.

Ben, our ever-helpful salesman from Woolacotts helped us choose a Sony Bravia smart TV.  When I mentioned that we wanted to subscribe to Netflix, he shook his head and said “Oh you don’t need Netflix” and introduced us to an app called KODI.  Apparently this app will allow you to streamline all kinds of TV shows and movies, even new movies or ones that hasn’t even been shown in movie theatres yet.  Is it legal?  Yes, it is.  To quote entertainmentbox.com.

Kodi is a piece of streaming software designed to display on a range of devices, and that means it’s perfectly legal.

I know that it sounds too good to be true, but it isn’t.  There are times when the movie you want to watch won’t be available for streaming.  But we don’t have any problems with that, especially when it means not having to pay for subscription!

So yep, my #wotw is TV.  And yes, I’ve also officially been turned into a couch potato.  To be fair though, I do watch while doing chores, especially ironing and yes, gasp, I know, I’m probably the only one who still irons.  Posted this photo on my Instagram account a few days ago:

And all the comments I received was that apparently, ironing is an extinct chore.   I can’t do without ironing, one of my small-joys is having freshly laundered and ironed sheets.  Love it too much to want to give it up.

And meet my TV partner:  Doc.

Now excuse since I have to catch up with my Grey’s Anatomy viewing.  I want to watch that episode where Derek Shepherd – McDreamy dies.

The Reading Residence

What the Little Girl Said

Feeling emotional just after her birthday I told little T. “Where has my little baby gone?” And gave her an exaggerated sad face.  For more dramatic effect, I added “My baby is gone!”  Gave her another woebegone expression and repeated …  My baby is gone!  Ended it with wailing sounds, giving Meryl Streep a run for her money and awards.  Then I turned to T and said “Instead … I have a little girl now!

T sighed and looked at me in the eye “But mum, if you didn’t have me.  You’d be sadder”, she said matter-of-factly.  Wise words indeed.  Wasn’t it Antoine de Saint-Exupéry author of the much loved children’s book Little Prince who said:

Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.

T must have been thinking just that by the look on her face and the tone of her voice. Today, my ever-so wise child goes back to school as a Year 2 student.

Yikes!

Does your child seem too wise for their age too?

Do share.

Little Hearts, Big Love

Out of Retirement: A Little Gymnast Inspired by the 2016 Rio Olympics

If you’ve been following my blog, you might have read in past posts about Little T’s retirement from gymnastics after her old club decided to close and move further away from where we live.  I’m glad we didn’t listen to her and in spite that announcement (just in case she changes her mind), my husband still went on and searched for a club that’s nearer to us, luckily we’ve found one.

little_gymnast

So why the sudden change of heart?  It’s the 2016 Rio Olympics of course!  I’m sure little T isn’t the only one who is being inspired by the courageous and admirable athletes in the probably (correct me if I’m wrong) most prestigious sporting event every four years.  While we haven’t been glued to the TV like some and have only seen a few games, like you guess it – gymnastics, it was enough to inspire the once retired little gymnast.

She’s also ticked pink that the American gymnast Simone Biles is little like her (standing at 4’8) and yet has won four gold medals and one bronze.  She loves that 16-year-old British gymnast Amy Tinkler won the bronze and has become the youngest Olympic medallist in 32 years.

little_gymnast3

Little T was also inspired by British trampolinist Bryony Page who won silver and is the first ever British trampolinist to win an Olympic medal and there’s also Matt Whitlock who won two golds in the current Olympics.

And because of all these fabulous gymnasts, little T has now come out of retirement and is looking forward to her new club come September and who knows, she might just win in the Olympics too 😉

Has your little one been inspired by the Olympics too?  Or perhaps you have?

Do share.

We Are All the Same #notoracism

A few days ago, I woke up to messages from my family and friends back home in the Phil and in the States asking how we were.  I was baffled with the sudden concern (not that they aren’t concerned about us, I know they always are, but it was the way they asked, just out of the blue).  It took awhile to sink-in (or perhaps also because I haven’t had my first mug of coffee yet), that they meant the #Brexit.  I repeated what my husband said to me, that we’re fine, our finances are stable and safe (thank goodness we didn’t take out that mortgage!)  They all replied good.  My sister-in-law followed it up and said that she was actually worried about the reports of rising racism here in the UK since the result of the referendum.

At that time, I haven’t heard anything and there wasn’t much reports in the news, so I googled and came across this, an album created by someone from Facebook to monitor hate incidents that has been happening here in the UK.

worryingtimes

I shared it on my page, but then deleted it after a while.  You see, I didn’t want to be trolled.  But the other night, my husband and I were watching the news and an American man was targeted in a tram in Manchester and was told to “go home”.  I actually felt fear and wondered what if that happens to me?  I’m a sure target especially since I obviously look foreign, and to say nothing to me is akin to pretending that it isn’t happening.  I felt I had to write something even though I dreaded it.  I shun controversy, or any kind of attention you see.  If you knew me personally, you’ll know how boring I really am, though if you’ve been following my little blog by now, I’m sure you’ve guessed that already 😉

We went food shopping last Monday.  I felt a bit uneasy and wondered if that person who was looking at me across the aisle was racist.  Did the man choosing which ice-cream to buy his kids think that I should go home?  Does that woman by  the fruit stand think that I’m vermin?

So far there hasn’t been incidents like that here in North Cornwall, or at least, none that I’m aware of or experienced.  My daughter goes to a small supportive village school and has lovely friends.  But should I start to worry about her too?  What will you feel if your child comes home from school and shows you a note that says “Leave” or “No more ____ (fill in the blanks) vermin” like that poor Polish boy somewhere in Cambridge.

What would you feel if it happened to you and your child?  Would you scream your heart out and hurl expletives back at them?  Or would you cower in fear and cover your child’s ears to make sure they don’t hear the damaging and hurtful words that were hurled at you like vile warm vomit?

We are all the same regardless of where we come from.  We all live in the same planet, breathe the same air, share the same sun and moon. HG Wells sums it up:

“Our true nationality is mankind’

Let’s hope we all remember that …

#stopthehate

#notorascism

If you’re reading this and want to comment, I do implore you to be KIND, this is my blog, please respect that.  I won’t approve any racist or hurtful/hateful comments.  This  was also inspired by Twins Make Five’s post: Brexit, Immigration and my Family.

Wild Flowers: Bringing the Outdoors In

I’ve always loved wildflowers even as a child.  I guess you could say I inherited it from my mother, who in turn got it from her mum.  There was always freshly picked flowers from the garden.  And I loved that.

As an adult, I’ve had that desire too, to be always surrounded by flowers, especially the ones that grow in the wild, I like to take them in with me…

bluebells_littlestepsbluebells_bythewindowpinkcampions_littlestepscampions_littlestepsseaofdaisies_littlestepsdaisies_in_a_jar

I like looking around inside our house and seeing them there.  As the great French impressionist once said …

I must have flowers, always and always – Monet

And I so agree with him, always and always.  Now excuse me while I pick more flowers from our garden.

What about you?

Do you like wildflowers too?

Do share.

What I think about when I’m Walking Doc

I usually walk Doc around lunchtime, we try to avoid other dog-walkers, not that I’m anti-social (though admittedly I can be sometimes), but all the dog-walkers here are all lovely and friendly.  We give each other a lovely smile and do the customary talk about the weather as we pass each other by and when our dogs are acting like loonies, we also give each other a sympathetic smile or rolling of our eyes.

Going back to the reason why we avoid them, it’s only because Doc, little T’s over-excitable two year old dog, let’s just say acts a little bit too much when there are other dogs around, Yes, I know what you’re thinking, he ought to be socialised more and he does.  I swear 😉

coastpath_littlesteps

But what do I think about as soon as I step out of the house?  Here’s what …

The Weather

I know how very British!  To talk about/think about the blimming weather, especially when it can’t seem to make up it’s mind about whether it’s spring already or the tail-end of winter.  I always step out wearing a coat and then end up taking my coat off and walking with it awkwardly in my arms like a forbidden toy.  In my mind, I curse it “Damn you weather!  Can’t you make up your flipping mind?.  It’s May now for goodness sake.  The clocks have already gone forward an hour!  This is supposed to herald the beginning of summer!  In case you haven’t received the memo?!”  

Dinner Menu

That is if I haven’t decided earlier on.  I plod and walk on thinking about what to cook and racking my brains and mentally thinking about the contents of our fridge, freezer and pantry.  Oh sheesh, what else can you do with chicken?  Curry?  Baked?  Fried?  Can’t we just have the same meals again and again?  If only it were considered acceptable to feed your little one with ready-to-cool meals day in and day out without being labelled a bad mother.

List of Things-to-Do

Walking also seems to be the best time to think about ticking off mental list of things to do for the day, or perhaps, adding more to that list.  Laundry (check), ironing (still needs to be done)… What have I done for the day?  Walked the blimming Dog, that’s it!

Photographs

Mostly I berate myself for not taking my camera with me.  This always happens on days that the sky is the bluest of blue or the sea is dramatic and would make interesting captures.

bluesky_littlestepswhiteclouds_littlestepssea_viewsarrows_littlesteps

Wild Flowers

yellowflower_littlesteps

I love them.  I really do like to think of them every time I walk the dog.  I have a friend who knows all their names, and every time she comes down for a visit, she tries to re-teach me their names over and over again.  But I keep forgetting.  One of the reasons why I love walking up in the headland, especially in the spring time and summer, is that you’ll find many wild flowers strewn all over and I like to bend down and inspect them.  If I’m lucky enough to have my camera with me, I of course take a photo.  Most times I just stop and marvel at them and it doesn’t matter whether I see them every single day.

whiteflower

What about you?

What do you think about when out for a walk?

Do share.

The End of Easter Break

While I’ve really enjoyed having little T around for two whole weeks, I have to admit I’m actually relieved that she goes back to school on Monday.  Phew.

We really didn’t do much actually and couldn’t really get away either because of our much delayed house move.  Instead we did a lot of day trips out to National Trust properties, a day out on Crealy (an adventure park), had playdates, walked on the beach and had meals in lovely restaurants, which we normally wouldn’t really do.  Having said all that, my word of the week would be:

tired_littlesteps

Although to be fair, we’ve also had a few relaxed stay-ins, watching dvds and T doing lots of drawings as mentioned on my previous post.  She absolutely loves to draw and wants to be an artist one day.

We don’t have any plans over the weekend, apart from practice her cello which she hasn’t touched in ages.  The weather doesn’t look so promising so we’ll probably just stay in and do loads of relaxing and resting in time for school on Monday.  Hopefully, we’ll be back in the daily grind of things.

What about you?

Do you have anything lovely planned this weekend?

Do share.

The Reading Residence