Fuel for thought…


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One of mine and Theo’s new years resolutions was to make sure that each week we have a date night. We want to make sure that we actually go out, how tempting  is it to just stay in? Especially in winter and watch your favourite box set – ours at the moment is New Girl – I am literally obsessed with Zooey Deschanel, I love her🙂 Sorry slight aside, so yes, going out.. We are trying new places. So last night we sampled Fuel in Withington.. A vegetarian cafe/bar situated in the heart of Withington. We kept driving past and I said how much I liked the look of it but we were a little unsure of the no meat thing, we both like our meat..

Well we were in for a surprise, it was AMAZING… Food, atmosphere, vibe, everything was really great. It has a really cosy, chilled feeling to it, like you are in a front room. It did actually remind us of a bar we visited in Gran Canaria, I think this was the arch way that leads to the bar and the bright and quirky décor. There are a variety of nights that go on during the week, including an open mic night, a quiz and chips night and Saturdays is a gig night upstairs. It attracts lots of different people; students, young professionals to some fab older rocker types, who were there last night.

The food was amazing too. I had a Falafel, olive and humus wrap and chips, it was soo soo yummy, I did not even notice the no meat🙂 If you are up for a fun night, with lovely staff too and a really laid back atmosphere then FUEL is for you. Why not check it out yourself.

Any suggestions for our next date night out, we have a few places lined up but are always open to surprises.

Apologies for the lack of pictures, WordPress does not seem to want to let me upload these, once we have sorted out our rubbish computer I will try to upload them!

Until next time,

Olive& Emxxx

A fresh start and some thoughts for new year…


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Thank you for your comments regarding the challenge and a huge apology for not being on here for months..

Hello… Happy New Year🙂 Life has been a little hectic over the past few months and swallowed me up a little. Although I dislike the celebration of New Year I love the fresh start it brings.. the new focus you can have with the turn of another passing year.

And a fresh start I do need!!! I have noticed recently that I have lost a little of my sparkle, lost that excitement for life a little, in the words of my husband, “I have become a little too serious!!” Well with a new year comes a fresh start and I have realised that what helps me to have fun and put a smile on my face is my vintage hunting, creating new and exciting outfits out of very little from charity shops but more importantly, being creative. Now don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with being serious and that is part of who I am, earnest Em is my nick name thanks to my lovely mother :-)But  I do know that I want to enjoy the life I have been given, embrace hobbies and embrace who I am. I have found that recently I have been a little overwhelmed by what everyone else is doing, started comparing myself and what I do to others.. Well that stops now, I am who I am, I believe God has created me just the way I am and I have to start living and embracing that fully. We are all created differently, life would be boring if we were all the same!!

So a little update on my challenge.. I have done well, I haven’t brought a huge amount, I will pop some of my finds in a later post however I do have two confessions to make. One Cath Kidston got the better of me and I succumbed to a beautiful mushroom skirt for my Christmas Day outfit.. I know I am very very naughty!!! I blame my sister for not stopping me.. hehe.. incidentally she forgot about my challenge on that particular shopping trip.. love you pook🙂 My second slip up was a little of a necessity; we were on our way to a wedding late December in London and my shoes broke ( a lovely pair of loafers from a charity shop!) so I had to dash into Next and buy a pair to keep me going for the rest of the day!! That one I don’t think you will mind.

So anyway I will draw to a close now. I am excited for what this year has ahead and I am determined to get back some of the things I have lost, really get back to my creative side and enjoy it rather than seeing it as something “to do” on the tick list. Does anyone else ever feel like that? This year I am going to get rid of some of the less important things in my life; like always looking at Facebook on my phone, comparing myself to others, thinking of the things I “should” be doing and constantly thinking that the house has to look perfect.. A little bit of dust you know never hurt anyone.. There are more important things in life🙂  So happy new year and may you enjoy creativeness, craftiness and all the other lovely things you have in your life.. Enjoy them to their fullest.

Until next time and hope you haven’t minded my honesty,

Love, Olive & Em


Charity Shop Challenge: Revolutionising the way we do and think about shopping


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logoA Mother & Daughter’s Charity Shop Challenge: Revolutionising the way we do and think about shopping….

The summer holidays always finds me in challenge mode. I always have a good clear out, de-cluttering is like therapy for me.. I love to have a good clear out at the beginning of the hols; clearing the house, helps to de-clutter the mind. I also like a good challenge, to give myself a new goal and focus. As you will have seen before within my ramblings I am a firm believer in the simple life, working hard to ensure that I do not consume too much. I am trying to be ever more savy in my shopping but also socially conscious of what I buy. 

Mum and I love to go charity shopping, she knows me so well that on my recent visit home I think she found a number of my buys. I think I am even turning my sister towards to second hand and swap shop way of thinking. When she rooted through my wardrobe, looking at what I had, every item she pulled out ooing and ahhing over was either from a charity shop or a swap shop… The revolution begins.. 

So Mum and I have come up with a challenge that we are going to do together. All be it, I think this challenge will be a little easier for me than her but we are up for it. Mum and I live at opposite ends of the country, but meet up every 6 weeks or so. I will be introducing my lovely mum on here soon as she will update finds and keep you posted on her perspective on the challenge on this blog too. 

The challenge is for a year to only buy in charity shops, swap shops or dress agencies. The key is that the clothes that we buy must be second hand. We will only buy when absolutely necessary. This rule applies to me especially, as I surveyed the wardrobe I have with my sister, I realised I really do have lots- Enough really! There are a couple of exceptions to the rule; we are allowed to buy underwear and pjs new!! We are also allowed to buy presents for others new, however I am going to use this as an opportunity to try and make lots of my pressies this year. I better get started now🙂

This challenge will also include items for the home, all must be second hand or sourced for free or made; excluding white goods. Let the up-cycling begin…

We will do the challenge from 1st Sept 2013- 31st August 2014. If we slip and buy something new ( to help prevent this I simply am going to go nowhere near a high street!!) we have to donate the cost of that item to a charity or the church ( whichever we choose).

We are going to run a big swap shop event in May 2014, down south, in my parents home town, at their local church to raise money for local charities. I love clothes swaps and think they are such a great way to get women together and get some new clothes in a really ethical way. So keep an eye out for that one, especially if you live in my home town of Southend🙂  

My faith in God has rooted me in the thinking that less is more and my love of craft and making has helped to not buy into the consumer culture too much. I hope that this challenge will help me to steer clear of the throw away fashion ideas that sometimes I do get sucked into. I was challenged further this year at a Christian conference I went to, New Wine North, to push my buying habits further and make them as ethically minded as I can. A number of the children who make the clothes that we buy from the high street have been trafficked, forced to work in terrible conditions, taken from their families. I am a strong advocate campaigning and praying to see the end of Human Trafficking. I hope to ensure that this ethos seeps into every aspect of my life. I want to make a stand against this practise and will continue to lobby high street stores to ensure that they are not using trafficked children to make their clothing. Buying from charity shops, making do and mending, thinking ethically in how I buy all my goods is just one little step. Please feel free to share any other ideas you have for being ethically minded shoppers?

I’ll be sure to post up my recent finds very soon and introduce you to my lovely mum; guest blogger for the year🙂  

Happy vintage and ethical shopping.. let the challenge begin :-) 

With Love Olive & Emxxxx

A little “peace” of paradise part 2…


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Round two of feedback from our holiday in Gran Canaria.. this week there’s a sneaky peek at some of my purchases… 

As mentioned, we did very little on our holiday but rest.. sitting on the beach, by the pool, drinking and eating, reading and chatting.. this made up our week but it was just what we needed. I couldn’t resist a little shopping, I was much more restrained compared to our last trip and actually the market was a little repetitive in the goods that it sold, but we picked up a few bits. I wanted to make as many of my buys authentic and things that I wouldn’t get back here in the UK. So take a peek…


I just love the pattern and colour of this scarf… Very me, very 60s.

I couldn’t resist a Gran Canaria tea towel got to be done really and at 1 Euro I had to get one🙂



My other two buys were from local shops…


I adore the gorgeous colours in this little bowl, if only I could have afforded some of the bigger bowls and the tiles but alas I settled with this little dish. It’s so pretty and the colours just make me think of sunshine and our holiday.


I fell in love with this ring, I have a little obsession with big rings and I stood for about 5 mins in the shop deciding which pattern to get, pulling together my last few Euros of spending money. Totally worth it, I will be wearing this with pride.


I fell in love, again with all the colours of this bracelet and could not leave it behind.. I am a little worried that one day the elastic will snap but hey ho until then again it reminds me of sunshine and makes me smile when I look down at it. 

We stayed in a lovely apartment thanks to some lovely family friends, check out the three apartments they have in Port De Morgan, if this has wetted your appetite for some sun and relaxation.  It is well worth a visit. 

Even though its cold and horrid outside, hopefully this has brought some thoughts of summer to your minds.. 

Happy hunting for all things pretty and vintage.. 

Olive & Em


A “peace” of paradise


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Warning.. this post may make you want to escape to a hot and sunny place J Well the UK has been doing its best to be this for us over the last few days, at least it has here in the north west. I am aware that my family down south are very angry that we have had soaring temperatures whilst they have been sitting in fleeces!!

Anyhow… back to my post, so a couple of weeks ago the hubby and I jetted off for some sun and much needed rest and it was FABULOUS We went to Gran Canaria and stayed in the gorgeous little fishing village of Port De Morgan. This little hide away is a far cry from other tourist filled areas of Gran Canaria, it is traditional to the max, locals mixed with a sprinkling of tourists.

This is what I love the most about it, we came here on our honeymoon and I have been on a girlie holiday here with my mum and sister. You are actually immersed in some Spanish culture. There is only one hotel in the village and the rest of the area is made up of apartments and local traditional whitewashed houses. A great treat is the walk up through these said houses to the viewing point. On this little adventure ( the most activity we had all week) I was able to put to test my Spanish speaking. I have been taking lesson since January and I was surprised how much I was able to get by with. Well we got a little lost trying to find the viewpoint in the maze of gorgeous and authentically decorated houses. An old Spanish lady took pity on us walking round and round, well up and up and she pointed and spouted some very fast Spanish, but I got it and eventually we got to the top. Only to be welcomed by these gorgeous views of the harbour, beach and the surrounding area… 





Beautiful isn’t it? The Harbour has to be one of my places. The gorgeous cascades of flowers that adorn the little houses. The area is renamed Little Venice J So so beautiful… The water is crystal clear and the boats of the rich bob up and down quite happily. 



Another little treat the holiday surprised us with was a glimpse of traditional Gran Canarian culture. As we were there over the Day of Gran Canaria we were able to watch a fabulous evening of folk music and traditional dancing in the square as the sun went down. This was one of the highlights of the holiday for me. I love seeing what a place is really like behind all the tourism and Port De Morgan allows for just that, a glimpse of real Canarian life. 



The buys of the holiday will be my next post :-) 

Happy vintage hunting lovely people,

Lots of love,

Olive & Emxxxx

A little bit of labelling..


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Just a quick post today, showing you one of my favourite things to do at the moment.. A little sad yes I know, but labelling is becoming a little of an obsession!! The hubby keeps picking things up and questioning if he really needs a reminder on the side of tins/ jars of what is within when he can simply look inside.. I think yes is the answer, but only really because it looks so pretty. 

So my two labelling sources are Cath Kidston, who else??? And TKMaxx, these were bought as a birthday pressie from my sister. Now you know TKMaxx is fast becoming one of my favourite haunts for home attire. I have my eye on a lovely bird feeder for the garden just need to save some pennies and get it next month me thinks :-) 

Have a peek… 



They are a great way to jazz up pressies or homemade makes for people too.. 



I love a little bit of Cath..  :-) 



And here are the labels in action… In the kitchen brightening up the work surfaces and the cupboards.. 





My cooking ingredients displayed in jam jars, inspired by the lovely Rachel Khoo from Little Paris Kitchen…



And lastly my special prayer jar, jazzed up and decorated, looks so cute on my bedside table, guess you could do this for a pen pot or anything really. Love to find unique ways to use a nice jar :-) 



Please do share your creative makes with me, love to see others ideas for a little bit of inspiration. 

Happy vintage hunting and creative making

Olive & Emxxx

A little glimpse of summer


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I’m sure that many of you have enjoyed, at least, some of this weekend in the garden. I have been putting off doing my pots for fear that they might freeze, well when I saw the sun yesterday and a little bit of today I grasped the opportunity. It’s no surprise I am sure to you that I LOVE flowers. I love nature in general really. I feel closer to my maker and just find a real sense of peace and tranquillity in being surrounded by flowers and the outdoors. I have no doubt that lots of you feel the same. 

Well I have had a little bit of a double whammy as last week saw my birthday so to celebrate we had a little tea party and I decked the house out with daffs and the like to make the house come alive with spring colour. See below the florals that currently adorn our fireplace.



A spring mix in the Kitchen, using Olive & Em crockery of course.. 



Yesterday saw me make a little trip to an absolutely little gem of a place, Bud garden centre, it is literally round the corner from my house and run by a lovely lady called Brenda. Thank you so much to all the twitter recommendations that sent me hot footing round the corner to a place I didn’t even realise existed. Well I was met with such a lovely welcome. Brenda guided me to plants that would suit my pots, bearing in mind we only have a little court-yard so space is limited. Her methods are all organic and she supports local growers. If you are in the Manchester area, you must pop in and have a look, you can easily while away an hour or so having a peak and a chat. I’ve included a link to the website here

So here are the pics of the pots. I hope these put a smile on your face and spread some spring and summer anticipation. Finally :-) 

Here are my little alpine plants, just need to add the grit to protect them from the rain. 



A couple of these below, in fact the gorgeous two on the right hand side were a little pressie from a friend who knows how much a love flowers :-) 






And here’s the whole display, not all flowered yet but can’t wait to see them all to be in bloom🙂 Roll on summer when I can properly sit out and enjoy them. 



Happy flowering vintages friends :-) 

Love Olive & Emxxxx

Charity Shop Finds Update….


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Goodness me, it’s been a while. With it being the Easter holidays and having just spent a lovely half an hour sitting making cards at my lovely bureau I thought I would check in on here and update you on some of my recent finds. I’m trying to limit myself recently as I realised I really do have too many clothes. I find that if I get too much stuff in the house it affects my mood, I am attempting to continue to cultivate the simple life..

Consumerism seems to have adverse effects on me.. We were at our local high street the other day and it made me want to run as fast as I could to the nearest field! Ok so you are thinking I’m going slightly crazy, but honestly I have found that only going to the odd charity shop, every now and then really is doing my little soul the world of good. It is crazy how fast you can get sucked into the buy, buy , buy mode of thinking. I suppose that I console myself, when I do a charity shop jaunt with the idea that I am helping someone by giving my money to a worthy cause. Something else I have started to do when I buy something, I pass something on. It really is truly satisfying. It may be at a clothes swap, simply passing on to a friend or to the local charity shop, but giving away the same number of items you bring in or more really seems to work for me. Some of you will be reading this and thinking I couldn’t do that but honestly have a root through and I bet you will find things you no longer need that another person will absolutely love. It gets a little addictive. I’ve started to pass on at clothes swaps things that I do actually like, but don’t really wear. Seeing others getting pleasure out of it is just as good as getting something new I am discovering. 

Anyway, enough of my shopping philosophy down to my bargain buys from the last couple of weeks. First up we have this gorgeous summer dress, which has been customised and rouched (not sure how to spell)  at the bottom by the previous owner. I am yet to try this little number on actually, but plan on buttoning it in at the waist with a big waist belt. At just £4 it was a little steal for the summer. I found this one at the East Didsbury Sue Ryder Shop.





My next set of finds were on a recent trip to Knutsford. The hubby and I went there to celebrate our 3rd Wedding Anniversary it really is well worth a visit if you love history, quaint villages and charity shops.  Normally the array of shops and the excellent surrounding clientèle provides for a find in nearly every shop however this time I only found that the Cancer Research was tickling my fancy. I blew my £10 budget however, not by too much, but came out with three really lovely buys. I guess in hindsight I could of spent a lot more but I am trying to be good. 

So I fell in love with this little dress and with my hair recently bleached blonde and bobbed, this dress looks so cute🙂 This I think will be the birthday outfit for this weekend’s stay at the parents🙂 It was £8.50 originally from Miss Selfridge, not a shop I would usually go for but I couldn’t resist. 



Next up was this gorgeous Karen Millen shirt for just £7.50. It fits perfectly and I’m going to wear it for evening going out. I could wear it to work but I have lots of work shirts to I figured I would keep this one for home attire🙂 I’ve even done a close up of the tag to prove its authenticity. I love the pattern on it and it will be great for summer evenings. 





My last find in Cancer Research was this simple summer top. We are off abroad soon and I don’t do hot sun dressing particularly well. I like to snuggle and cover up so I tried this on and liked the floaty feel of the fabric and figured it would be great for our beach holiday. It is originally from America I think and was only £4.50. Happy days:-) 





Just thought I would squeeze in a little find I have customised. I found this bag in Mind down in Essex on my last visit to see the family. It only cost me £2 and I have been looking for a bag to sling over me for a while. So I got this one home and decided to customise it, make it look a little different. I sewed on an old 1940’s original button, provided by my lovely Grandma and stuck on some jazzy 70s fabric then added a brooch I have had for ages.. See what you think, not bad for £2 hey?!! 

CIMG2374So Happy belated Easter and happy bargain hunting lovelies. Until Next time.. 

Much love

Olive & Emxxx

It’s International Women’s Day


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Did you know that today is International Women’s Day? Well it is and I think it’s a fantastic opportunity to talk about and explore women’s rights. We are so so privileged here in the UK. So many of us know where our next meal is coming from, we have jobs to go to and a roof over our heads. So often in today’s frantic world, we forget these little blessings. Well today is a day when we can remember our sisters around the world who are not as fortunate as us. I know there is rife poverty in the UK and some incredible women here in the UK who strive every day and live in awful conditions. International Women’s Day is about being a voice for everyone, speaking up for those who can not speak for themselves. 

Working in an all girls school, I spent today sharing what Oxfam are doing to help women all over the world realise they are important, realise they are valued and that they too are entitled to the same rights that we have. Women around the world are working so hard to send their daughters to school to help them get out of the trappings of poverty. Education is so important. The age women are most vulnerable is 12 years old, if they live in poverty they are easy catchings for men who see them as an opportunity to make money in the sex trade or to father children for them. The video the Girl Effect breaks my heart every time I see it, I work with girls that age, at 12 years old girls should be enjoying life starting to discover who they are, not being forced to do things they should not ever even have to imagine. Check out the video…. 

Oxfam are working so hard to raise funds to empower as many women around the world as possible to create lives for themselves which are positive. The Let’s Get Together campaign is a great way for you to help them raise money. A few weeks ago my mum, sister and I decided we would host a, yep you guessed it, Vintage themed tea party for friends and family. It was so much fun and we raised a fantastic £121 in total. People are so incredibly generous. Thank you🙂 It really is simple though and Oxfam have loads of ideas on their website, all you need to do is click here and then register as a host. Why not have a dinner party, or a sponsored walk or come up with your own fantastic idea. Get the girls together and learn about women around the world, empower one another to ensure we all have the same rights and opportunities. 

Check out the pics from our tea party below… 









Yummy yummy… a little bit of tea to go with it maybe… 





My gorgeous sister above.. check out the bunting🙂 It was from our wedding but we managed to deck out the whole of the lounge, dining room and the hallway with it🙂 That’s the little Oxfam Let’s Get Together collection box, thank you for making it full to the brim.. 



And now for the guests who were what made the afternoon so lovely🙂 Thank you for baking and all your generosity…







I’ll finish with the amazing cupcake mountain… 



Enjoy International Women’s Day ladies and remember to be so thankful for what you have. Why not throw your own party to raise some money.. every penny counts in changing people’s lives. 

Thank you especially for my lovely mum and sister, it was the bestest fun doing this together with you:-) 

Happy helping vintage lovers,

Olive & Emxxxx


A little bit of decoupage


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Just a little post today to show you what our recent Make Group got up to. We decided to attempt decoupage, a skill I have been longing to try out since I first received my copy of Kirstie’s Homemade Home for a present. It is actually very simple. After a bit of advice from friends I discovered we needed half PVA glue and half water. You can use pretty much any materials, our favourites tended to be material and tissue paper. We also gave wrapping paper a go and it worked pretty well. The thinner materials the better, there is of course the usual decoupage paper however this can be a tad expensive so experiment. Simply place whatever you have chosen to use with glue/water and stick it on..  

You can decoupage pretty much anything really, we went for jars as this seemed simplest, others ventured onto left over beer bottles later in the evening, these would look fab on a dinner table with tall candles. 

So I loved how each jar reflected the individual. Below are a few pics of mine. I used scraps of material I had and some ripped up Cath Kidston paper. I was really pleased with both. I have made a few more since but am giving these as pressies so can’t pop them on here in case the recipients see them🙂 Anyway, give it a go and let me know what you make. 



And a little close up on them…





It’s so simple, yet really effective. With Cath paper, it’s double sided too so looks great from the inside as well. All I did was pop a candle in and you are good to go :-) 



Happy making and vintage hunting lovely people. 

Olive & Emxxxxx