Friday, January 30

Creative Musings #1

 
To prevent me from going utterly insane with the amount of university work I have to do at the minute I have decided to start a new series under the title 'Creative Inspiration'. I know I'm a crap blogger at times due to my crazy work schedule but that is absolutely no excuse. I apologize for my infrequent blogging regime as of late; I have been desperately wanting to delve back into my blog but as I am constantly writing assignments for University I find that I am exhausted from writing - or going anywhere near my laptop for that matter. Unfortunately due to my MIA my Nikon has started to collect dust. It looks ever so sad. 

Although I have been absent from the beautiful blogging world, I have been ever so involved in drawing on inspiration from other bloggers, writers, street fashion and food. I do love trying out new recipes! Thus this new series will be posted every 2 weeks where I talk about the top five things that I've been loving as of late that has got me inspired.

1) I have just finished About A Girl the novel by Lindsey Kelk. I have been following her books ever since she first published I heart New York back in my teenage days. I am definitely without a doubt going to buy What a Girl Wants. Her style of writing is so unique and I always have a 'LOL' moment at any of her phrases such as 'bugger me backwards, Bob'.

2) Retrospective inspiration. Looking back at my blog posts is such a lovely experience, I see the ways in which I've developed over the years as well as appreciating my creative drive back in the day. My top 3 favourite And Kate blog posts are (in no particular order): DIY Tea Light Holders // Monochrome // Istanbul Photo Diary Part II

3) Taking time out of the busy day to grab a pot of tea at a café and take in the surroundings whilst you write or read up on blogs until your heart's content. However I've been recommended to try out a deliciously cute café in Manchester called Teacup as they apparently do the best loose leaf teas. This may be next place I head when I need to indulge in writing/blogging.

4) Heading into a stationary/art shop and purchasing some well needed stationary to make your work look that bit prettier ;) My favourite shop would have to be Kikki K and Paperchase.

5) Oysho clothes. If you haven't ever ventured into an Oysho store or browsed their online store I highly recommend that you do either or both! They seriously excel at making lounging clothes stylish. They have an abundance of the stores in Barcelona which I am missing so much, they really need to open a store in Manchester!!

Friday, January 23

Health: Proactive Attitude


Recently I've been spending a lot of time with my best friend/cousin before she goes back to London to pursue her career. It's seriously been such a breath of fresh air, catching up with her and discussing our plans and dreams for 2015. We are literally telepathic and on the complete same wavelength when together - my brother calls us the two hens as we just cluck (aka talk) endlessly when we're together. Not only have I been spending quality time with her, but I have also seen a different side to Manchester. A better, brighter and more cultural side. Sometimes slogging back and forth to University in commuter mode negates the enjoyment of where I am, I shamefully forget to appreciate the vibrant city around me.

Sometimes it's so darn easy to just get into a mechanic like routine of doing the same things day in and day out. That's why it is so important to reflect on your lifestyle and question yourself as to how you can improve it and ultimately make it more enjoyable. This is exactly what Charlotte and I have been chatting about, inspiring each other to push ourselves (within reason) to do things we would usually be scared of - such as rejigging your routine to be more reflective of you and your aspirations. This can translate as the simplest thing, such as going to a new gym class on your own; where you think you will make a fool of yourself. But hey, doesn't everyone have to start somewhere?

So, with this in mind, we have developed a proactive attitude to situations we would shy away from. Charlotte was such a star, helping me to realise how I can balance work and enjoyment (previous post on blogging habits here). Yet an important aspect of developing this balance is to not be too hard on yourself and set yourself way too many ambitions.  So if you feel like you're setting yourself too many goals and being to hard on yourself; take a bath, read a book and revitalise your energy. But most importantly, enjoy every minute and strive to develop a proactive mind-set.

I thought it'd be good to start a new series concerning health, from every end of the spectrum. Because at the end of the day, our health is so important.

What are your ambitions?

Saturday, January 17

Guest Bedroom Lust List



Since moving into our new home together last year, Ben and I have progressively put our own stamp on each room and also the exterior which is a work in progress! One thing that made me super excited to get our own home together, was the thought of being able to make memories and decorate the interior to reflect our style. So far we have been busy bees decorating the living room, the entrance way and our bedroom. However as we love to have friends over, we wanted to be able to create a relaxing guest bedroom; where they can unwind and feel comfortable.

I have been excitedly browsing the internet for inspiration for our guest bedroom, and ultimately acquiring a list of must-buys in order to transform the room. The magnolia walls required a fresh lick of paint so no major DIY was required. Now all we need is the furniture to complete the room. With that in mind, I have compiled a list of what we need to complete the room.

1. Bedside table (£25)
2. Glitterati Gold Pillow (£31.42)
3. Geometric Emerald + Gold Pillow (£24.43)
4. Flower Print Duvet Set (£10)
5. Table Lamp (£25)
6. Day Bed (£180 + £80 mattress
7. Contrast Striped Rug (£59.99)

Wednesday, January 14

Blogging Habits


When it comes to blogging, I truly enjoy every aspect of the process, from browsing for inspiration, to planning a blog post, taking the photographs and then compiling it all together. However what feels like the most rewarding part of blogging is the comments people leave behind to let you know that you have inspired them. Can you see where I'm going with this? The whole life cycle of blogging is constantly evolving and thus we must evolve with our blogs too.


The other day I made a spreadsheet of all the themes of And Kate which I feel are representative of my interests. Of course when I'm writing I always want the aesthetics of the blog post to be clean and fresh, with sharp images and organised, so it is pleasing to the eye. However I do think that it is so important to write honestly, whether that means sharing the good and as well as the bad.  I feel that there are too many blogs out there that don't connect with the writer behind the blog.

Sometimes blog posts can be bland and uninspiring, yet as a writer I can empathise as a writing block is really just a signal that you need some time away to rejuvenate your creativity. As you can probably tell, this is exactly what I did the past few months. As I was at the start of the final year in my degree, I thought that maybe I needed to concentrate more on my university work and thus leave the blog behind. To be honest with you I couldn't have been more wrong, I felt that I wasn't being creative anymore and I missed my blog, which I had grown up with throughout my university life. The return to blogging was a breath of fresh air and I suddenly felt part of the community again with all of your lovely responses.

Yet I do feel as though I could drastically improve And Kate, so therefore I have dedicated particular days every week where I'll be posting about all things lifestyle related. I feel like this is both necessary for structure and also to help me balance both university work and running a blog. I will make sure to do a post for you on how I will achieve this harmonious balance between my two loves.


Although there are many blogs out there and sometimes it is difficult to find your own, unique voice; I want to make And Kate a true representation of me and my passions. I hope that you will continue to follow me on this journey, as your support is what really keeps me inspired to keep progressing.

Why do you blog?

Monday, January 12

Barcelona Part II


After comfortably settling into our new surroundings and becoming savvy on the Metro, we continued to explore what Barcelona had to offer. What I love about visiting other countries, is that you always seem to adopt their culture and settle into their pace of life. And this is just what we did. From trying out new bakeries each morning to people watch and sip freshly grounded coffee, to strolling around the backstreets with our trusty map in hand; as well as learning some Spanish - we really did dive into the spirit of Spain. It seems that in mainland Europe, lifestyle is grounded on family and health; whereas often in the Britain, I feel that we rush around so quickly that we forget to stop and appreciate the more important things in life. That may be me just being romantic, but I do love the family atmosphere of Spain, everyone is so friendly.

So you're probably wondering what the heck we got up to throughout our mini-break. I can assure you we did a lot of shopping, going into literally ever store on Placa de Gracia. And even though I was so forgetful to not take a snap of the Michael Kors shop, I must say that this was the nicest Michael Kors shop I've been into; everyone was so friendly and attentive. Apart from the shopping we also managed to fit in going to countless museums, but unfortunately we didn't visit the Picasso Museum as I hadn't pre-booked and lets just say, the queues were jam-packed!

Also, as me and Ben are beach bums, on my 21st birthday we caught the Metro down to the beach and watched the surfers and paddle boarders ride the waves. This was such a refreshing break from the city chaos. We could have been a million miles away from a city, it was just so calm. After soothing our souls with the fresh sea air, we marched excitedly to the cable carts and enjoyed panoramic views of the city. The cable cart was like something out of a Bond movie, it was such a wonderful experience! The W hotel on the beach looked phenomenal, and next time I go to Barcelona, I will make sure to stay in that hotel.

If you're thinking of going to Barcelona for a mini-break, I would definitely recommend this beautiful city, it truly is like no other. This trip was amazing and I will cherish the memories Ben and I made together :).

Saturday, January 10

A Wander Around The Forest


The first proper week of the year is always a slog, the Christmas days of lazing around the house and stuffing yourself with homemade Christmas cake are over. Work starts again, and everyone wishes for a quiet night in after a busy day. New Year resolutions are still abided by as dozens of people pile up in leisure centres to pay their gym membership and the fruit isles in the grocery store are packed with healthy eaters. I must admit I've vowed to stay on top of my health in 2015, but have not made any life changing decisions. Yet what I think is the most important aspect of life to reflect on is savouring every moment. So this year I am aiming to enjoy the outdoors more, go on walks and visit places that I have never been before. Britain is such a beautiful country with a diverse landscape, and we often forget to open our eyes and appreciate the home grown beauty around us. 

Wednesday, January 7

Barcelona Part I


These photographs of my trip to Barcelona are well overdue, but nevertheless I wanted to share with you some of my favourite snaps from the trip. Barcelona is such a special city to me, I have visited multiple times due to my brother being an English teacher there for a year a couple of years ago. Yet this trip to Barcelona was extra special to me, as it was my 21st birthday gift from my parents. What better way to celebrate than a city break?!


One of the things that makes Barcelona a unique city is the vibrancy of the architecture. The Sagrada Familia is a breath taking church, I was told by a friend that the beauty of the interior really hits you when you enter; like a wave of emotion submerges you. They definitely weren't wrong! The colours of the sunlight passing through the stained glass windows really leaves you awe-struck. The contrast between the modern and old architecture as well is truly phenomenal. How the  stonemasons carved out the intricate details is beyond me!


When we visited Sagrada Familia we had pre-booked tickets to go up the Passion Façade towers which was an experience in itself. Once we zoomed up the glass escalator, we were left on the top with jaw dropping panoramic views of Barcelona. The landscape of Barcelona and beyond is spectacular, with mountains on one side and a glorious beach on the other, you really are accommodated all year round with skiing and surfing!


On our first few days in this wonderful city, we really got to grips with the speedy Metro (which is surprisingly easy to navigate) as well as visiting must see museums such as the Art Museum of Catalonia. We also indulged ourselves fully in the cuisine, I think we may have found the best paella restaurant ever as well!


Monday, January 5

2015 Thoughts


The other day I was reminiscing about my blog with some friends, talking about how long I had had it and what I used to focus on. This chat brought about nostalgic feelings about how I used to cherish my blog, I had such a passion for it. The best part for me about having a blog was the friendship you gained with people, people from all over the world; who would leave however long or short comments just to let you know that they were following you on your journey. To be honest with you, I feel that ever since I stopped the blog, I lost a part of me, a creative buzz I used to live on. I lost my passion for photography and admiring even the smallest of beauties around me. Even though I cannot promise what the future will bring in 2015 for And Kate, I can promise this, that I will keep you up to date on my journeys and will savour every comment you leave. Thank you again for your continued support, it means the world to me.