Monday, 28 May 2012

Musical Interlude.....

This tune has been helping me to deal with being poorly (I know I've bunged it up on here before's a bit of a favourite).....even when you've been chucking your guts up half the day you can't help but nod your head/tap your foot to this.....

More tea Otto? :)

If you head down to the bottom of Fore Street in Exeter, you'll find a pleasant surprise! Nestled just before the bridge is Otto Retro, a beautiful vintage/retro emporium full of interesting and gorgeous finds.

Last Saturday saw Otto open their doors to host Crikey Otto does tea for the Diamond Jubilee. A lovely selection of local designer/makers showed their wares tucked in amongst home wares and furniture plus there were gorgeous baked goodies to feast upon whilst you shopped....

 I wish my front room looked like this!! Especially love the colour of the top of the coffee table, so pretty!

 Beautiful things to eat and drink by the absolutely lovely Tea in the City (otherwise known as Emma!), who I had a lovely chat with whilst admiring her baking skills. Was really lovely to put a face to another Twitter friend!

 Another lovely lady I spent a fair while chatting to was Charlotte, aka Missy Lil, hair accessory maker extraordinaire and vintage inspired fashion blogger (highly recommend having a look at her wonderful blog, for tonnes of gorgeous high street vintage inspired finds!). 
 Super cute and quirky jewellery by Kate aka. Aloha Lounge Designs ( and retro styled paintings by Artist Sarah

 Chrissie aka. Tabbytha Vintage makes beautiful jewellery and accessories, I am in love with the purple swirly necklace!

Love all the things on Anna aka Jeannie Deans stall! So much pretty in one small space!

Oh and if you're free this Saturday come along to Crikey Queenie it's Vintage! at the Thistle Hotel in Exeter (just opposite Central train station). There'll be tonnes to see/do/experience! Bettie (my lovely camera!) and I will be there to snap shots of everything we see so come say hi if you spot me (it's hard not to, I have lilac hair!) :) xxx

Friday, 25 May 2012

Age ain't nothing but a number??

In the last few weeks of my twenties I am finding more and more often that people are asking me for proof of age. Why the hell is this? Do they not realise that my youth is speeding past me at a rate I can only imagine (but daren't try to)? I am no longer mid twenties, not much longer going to be a late twenties. Surely my face/body/demeanour give away the fact that I am indeed old enough to purchase beer/cider/whatever takes my fancy tipple wise? Apparently not!

I'm pretty much certain that I'm not the only person in the world to experience this weird phenomenon of getting older but people think you're way way younger than you are. When I head out to the pub with my friends we are all told we look younger than our actual ages, perhaps our bonds keep us youthful or we're just a big bunch of drunken chuckling fools....probably the second one. I do that horrible thing of asking random people how old they think I am (mostly after I've managed to persuade the bar person that I am indeed old enough and have been drinking in that establishment since before I was old enough *cough*). Putting them on the spot probably doesn't help matters as they're more than likely going to give me an answer they think I'd want to hear rather than the truth. Or maybe they do give me the truth and I'm to busy thinking how nice they are for saying I look younger etc etc. It's a real conundrum.

Every woman I've ever met wants to hang on to their youthful looks/outlook for as long as they possibly can. The best example of this I can think of is a lady I met on the train once coming back from London. She was impecabbly turned out, perfect hair, shoes, nails beautifully laquered and a shy smile on her face. I sat at the table on the opposite side of the carriage to hers and couldn't help myself saying "Excuse me, but I just wanted to let you know that I think you look amazing." I do have a habit of doing that. Sharing my thoughts with the people they're about. Sometimes it works out well, sometimes it makes me look like the biggest weirdo on the planet. Thankfully on this occassion it didn't backfire. It turned out the lady in question was in her mid 50's (I had placed her in her early 40's) and put her youthful looks down to "not thinking I'm an old person, drinking lots of water, especially when it's hot, laughing lots and gin and tonics". Not a bad set of things to keep in mind really....

Of course I do enjoy the fact that I'm heading into my 30's with folk thinking I look younger, it's a huge compliment and not something to get upset about at all. I guess I just wish I could look at my own reflection and see what other people see sometimes.

Here I am in all my 29 years, 11 months and 16 days old glory, with my daft pastel hair and penchant for brightly coloured hats. I'm going to do that annoying thing and ask you, how old do you think I look? Also how old do you think YOU look? Do you look your age? Do you think you look older or younger? If you're a brave soul or someone who just doesn't care I'd love it if you posted a picture of yourself and asked the same questions! :)

Really when it comes down to it I, like the lady on the train, think that it's very much your outlook on life that can be the biggest help when it comes to ageing or not ageing. I guess I ought to keep on trying to smile and who knows, I might look 70 when I'm 95 :)

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Doodler's Corner - Rebekah Leigh Marshall

It's Wednesday evening, the sky is still blue and it's time to share more beautiful artworks with you all! This week we have some of my favourite things budgies and bikes, sewing machines and teacups in the bright and beautiful work of Rebekah Leigh Marshall :)

Who are you, where do you come from and what do you do?

My name is Rebekah, I am an artist/maker living in Bristol, UK. I am originally from Devon though, and I hope to move back some day when I can afford to buy an old farm house with land and a sea view where I can have an amazing art studio and be surrounded by nature and by many animals..horses, cats, dogs, chickens etc..Well that’s the dream…haha!
 For now I live in Bristol with my lovely boyfriend Ben who is a professional cameraman and our cat Arthur. 

Artistically I like to try out different mediums and have many unfinished projects lying around.I have a half finished weaving project going on and lino print projects waiting do be finished!
Mainly I draw and illustrate the things I love to look at, birds, bicycles, vintage teacups, roses and old cameras. I sell prints, greetings cards, badges, mirrors, and tote bags at various shop locations in the UK and also online in my Etsy and Folksy shops.

Who/what influences what you create?

I am influenced by day to day things in my own life and by the things I find inspiring to look at. For example recently we have had a fox visiting our garden daily and now I’m keen on drawing foxes! Art, design, craft is always an inspiration though, I enjoy reading art/craft magazines and websites and seeing exhibitions.

How do you decide on a subject for a piece of work?

I just draw what I love, it’s that simple.. Although at the moment I have an unexpected corgi love thing going on that was inspired by the jubilee! Did you ever realise how cute they are?! They are so funny, with huge ears, like little bat dogs!

What's been the most exciting thing that's happened in your career so far?

So many exciting things have happened. Selling work itself is always exciting. I still get shy when I meet my customers in person, especially if they compliment my work..I’m always so shocked and shy I never know what to say back! (sorry If you’ve ever met me and I’ve been a bit quiet)!
One of the more recent exciting things was joining the ‘Upstairs at BS8’ team on Park Street in Bristol. It’s great to have a space in such a great shop with a great bunch of artist makers.

What made you choose art as an outlet for your creativity?

I love to draw and am not an out going sort of person, drama and music usually involve other people watching you so art it always was!

If you weren't an artist what job would you love to do?

I make and sell art in my spare time. My day job is as a pottery teacher at a Steiner Waldorf special needs school. I love working with pottery and with the students. It’s not a job I’d want to give up even if I could survive on my art work alone.

If you could only wear one colour for the rest of forever what would you choose and why?

What a funny question! Ummmmm green is my favourite colour but I rarely want to wear it, peach maybe?!

Whose work do you admire and want to adorn your walls?

There are so many talented artists out there that I love! One of my favourite artists/makers is the talented Lee May Foster. I love her bold colours and shapes. This is the type of art that I am really drawn too. I’m really inspired by the Outsider art movement also.. I particularly like the environments created such as
The Owl House, NieuBethesda, South Africa created by Helen Martins.

What’s the best thing about doing what you do?

Seeing an idea come to life on paper and then again on other products. 

What does the future hold for your work?

I have a few exhibitions and markets coming up and few more stockists on the way. Product wise I want to continue working on new designs and products such as jewellery and textile based things such as scarves and pillows. I’m also hoping to work on screen printing more of my designs so I can move over to using water based eco friendly inks with my work…That would be great :)

Huge thanks to Rebekah for taking the time to answer all my questions (including the odd one!) and for sharing her gorgeous works! I'm smitten with the colours and of course the subjects are all right up my street too :)
You can find out more about Rebekah and see more of her wonderful work here :

If you'd like a feature in Doodler's Corner (you don't have to be a doodler, you could be a photographer/designer/maker/generally creative person!) please drop me an email to : curtainsforthewindow (at) gmail (dot) com, I'd love to hear from you!! You can find all the people who have been involved so far here :

Picture Postcard

Life is always colourful, sometimes it's just harder to find than others :)

Musical Interlude

It's pretty hard to think about anything at the moment as the sun is shining down, I'm sat in the yard with a cup of coffee and I'm listening to this.....

Thursday, 17 May 2012

The Button Project

After the amazing success of last year's Great Tattoo Hunt (see here, here and here!) I had been thinking of running it again this year in time for my 30th birthday. I sat down and began drawing up plans for a theme, amount of time, prizes etc and then I realised that I didn't want to do the same thing again at all. I wanted to take the idea and do something more collaborative with it and involve more people if possible.

Late one night (when I couldn't sleep) I was rummaging through my massive box of buttons and had an epiphany. I love buttons. Seriously. They're amazing, beautiful, wonderful little objects that do not get near enough love for what they do. They stop your shirt bursting open and revealing your wares to the world, they keep your coat done up on a cold and windy day, they prevent the zipper on your jeans from gradually sliding down after a large roast dinner.....the list is endless! Therefore in honour of the humble button and also to celebrate the fact that I will be entering my 3rd decade on this planet I invite all you lovely arty/illustrationy/amazing folks out there to draw me a button! 

The idea is that I collect together 30 button drawings by some fantastic people, take them to INK in Exeter where the wonderful Abi will then tattoo them onto my left arm in a kind of half sleeve affair. Then I will have an amazing commemorative tattoo that also celebrates my love of art and illustration /buttons and haberdashery (such an ace word!) /tattoos /collaborating with people etc. 

So what do I need from you? Just the one button! An outline drawing only please (no colour!). You can choose the diameter size from : 2.5, 3.5 or 4.5 cm as I'd like a good mix of sizes! :) (if you need more space please let me know as I might be able to accommodate one or two larger ones :) As for the design of said button I leave that entirely up to you but please keep in mind that it will be becoming a tattoo! You're welcome to put your initials in your button design (in fact I'd kind of like it if you did). I think it'll be really interesting to see all the different designs come together to form one amazing exciting!

You can either send me designs by email to : or by post (email me for my address!). Please include a link to your website/blog/shop as every designer will be featured in a giant blog post about the project plus if you send your address with your entry then you will get a nice surprise in the post! :)

The deadline for entries has been extended to the 20th of June (which is ten days after my actual birthday!) and if I happen to get more than 30 people wanting to send designs I'll put them into a hat and pick out 30 random buttons! 

If you have any questions about the project please drop me an email as I'd love to hear from you! Also any help spreading the word about the Button Project would be gratefully received and bring a humongous smile to my chops!

Much love,
Jules x

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Oranges and Lemons

Amazing hand made glass bowl (found in an ace local charity shop) : £2.50
Oranges and lemons (from local greengrocers) : £1.25
Realising you live in a town that has pretty cool little local shops with fantastic people in them : priceless

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Sometimes random things are great...

You know that thing where you want to listen to something but you can't quite remember what it's called but you can hum the tune to yourself SO well....yeah, that happened to me today....and then I put my laptop on to try and write some blog posts and put the music on shuffle and lo and behold what turns up? Only the bloody tune I was trying to remember!

Don't you just love it when stuff like that happens?
Happy Sunday everyone!

Silent Sunday

Tuesday, 8 May 2012


I'm not a morning person at all. I never have been and probably never will be (although people often say that as you get older you become more of a morning person and less of an evening one? I don't know....). The things that help me get through the mornings are probably exactly the same as a lot of other people's....
  1. Coffee, lots and lots of coffee.
  2. Decent cereals....I am a brekkie
  3. Cuddles (having small people around helps with that part!)
  4. washing my face with REALLY cold helps wake me up
  5. Music. I really can't do mornings without some kind of soundtrack in the background. It changes from day to day, sometimes depending on how awake I am when I hit play and other times depending on my mood. Today I am feeling a bit low and tired so I have chosen tracks that I find uplifting and make me want to face the day with a smile rather than a frown...
Here's a small selection of what's been playing so far this morning.....

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Saturday Morning "Stuck In Head" Tune

Woke up with this running round and round my brain.....not entirely sure why but it's cute :) 
Happy Saturday Folks! x

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Chicken soup with rice...

I'm off to the doctors later (stupid lungs are failing me!) and will hopefully get something to shift this death cough but in the mean time I'm eating chicken noodle soup and watching this with makes us smile :)

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Who will I be/ do I want to be in my 30's?

A few months ago I wrote a post (see here) about my personal thoughts on the fact I'm soon turning the big 3-0 and I thought it was about time I answered another one of the questions I asked.

Just look at those eye bags! He he!

Who will I be/ do I want to be in my 30's?

I think the easiset way for me to think of this is to break this down into 2 sections, who I think I am now and what I would like to happen in the future....hopefully it'll make sense!

Who I think I am now:
  • mother of three beautiful girls
  • attempting to live a fulfilling life with PTSD and anxiety problems
  • medicated to get by on a day to day basis
  • loving, caring and compassionate person
  • friendly and fun/funny
  • lucky and also unlucky
  • creative but frustrated
  • holding all my anger inside
  • lacking a real sense of purpose/drive
  • eclectic in taste/style
  • seem outwardly confident but inwardly vomiting into my boots
  • slightly addicted to peanut butter
  • good at making things with my hands (and occasionally my feet!)
  • love social media but have little idea of what it all really means
  • wanting to do more with my life
What I would like to happen: 
  • I want to have more confidence in myself and my decisions
  • to not feel so utterly rubbish so much of the time (i.e. get more on top of my conditions)
  • get out and about more
  • to realise I have some skills and use them for something good
  • not to beat myself up about small things
  • realise that being a nice person CAN really bring amazing things
  • make more things, it makes me happy
  • improve my fitness and therefore hopefully have a better immune system
  • see my friends less sporadically
  • try more new things - new foods, new places, new experiences
  • not be scared of change, that's a biggie!
  • go on some kind of arts related course, I think it'd be good for me
  • use my camera more, taking pictures is very theraputic!
  • make where I live more how I would like it to be instead of ok enough to put up with
  • do some kind of volunteering, in a charity shop or something like that

It's always hard making realisations about myself, especially the really deep honest ones. I know how I'd really like to be and that in many ways I'm not that far off it but in others I seem miles and miles away. I'm not entirely sure how to go about making some of those things happen but having written them down it's sinking in that they're all things I could and hopefully will make happen :)

I love how positivity can come out of something that started out feeling a bit crappy....good stuff!

What things about yourself would you love to change? Have you found yourself questioning yourself in a similar way before a birthday? :)

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Doodler's Corner - Katie Rhodes

Life is full of happy things. Sometimes it's hard to spot them, especially if you're stuck in a bit of a grumpy rut. Then you notice something beautiful and simple that re-affirms your original thought that life really is full of happy things. For instance, I'm really happy that I came across Katie Rhodes on Twitter recently. Her uplifting works of art really make me smile and I would imagine make lots of others smile too! 

Come take a look at just what it is she's saying that will turn your frown upside down......

Who are you, where do you come from and what do you do?

I'm Katie Rhodes, a third year student at Manchester School of art with my degree show coming up on the 15th June! I'm currently working on a project called Pop Up Love, and spreading a little bit of happiness around Manchester!

Who/what influences what you create?

Currently I am influenced by typography that I see on the streets or receive on my blog. I started a blog called Love Note last summer in which people send me uplifting messages that have received, sent or have just seen on the streets. I resend the messages out by working in screen printing, letterpress and by creating fonts out of items that I find. I have also been looking at artist Anna Schuleit's Bloom project - I just love it.

How do you decide on the subject for a piece of work?

I tend to decide on a piece of work by what I think will make other people smile. I am inspired by imagining my work work on someone's wall and it cheering them when they're not feeling too great!

What’s the most exciting thing that’s happened in your career so far?

The most exciting thing that has happened to me so far was getting to the final of the Art of Nurture Competition for Lloyds TSB last year. I was lucky enough to get my work displayed in Manchester Art Gallery! I am also really excited about my degree show, its is the biggest thing that I will have done - I'm just a bit nervous about it now!

What made you choose art as an outlet for your creativity?

I chose art because it is something that I love and I always have done. Since being little I have always insisted I would go to university to do art - we use to go past the art college in Leeds all the time when I was growing up and I would say 'I'm going to go there when I grow up' - it changed the Manchester though as I got older. I wanted to move away from home for a while. I love being able to do what I like in art, I don't think I would enjoy being tied down with long essays and lectures!

If you weren’t an artist what job would you love to do?

If I wasn't an artist I think I would be an estate agent. My Mum used to be one, and I love being nosey around people’s houses. I spend ages looking at houses and flats online for my boyfriend and I! And I am loving Pinterest at the moment, I've got my 'dream house' board up and running and add to every day. I'm going to have to win the lottery to have a house like the one I am planning on it!

If you were a biscuit, what kind would you be?

If I was biscuit I think I would have to be a homemade heart shaped shortbread biscuit with pink icing, edible glitter and sprinkles. Individual, sweet and made with love!

Whose work do you admire and want on your walls?

I really like the work I see on Keep Calm Gallery (  I love all of the uplifting and happy screen prints that they have on there and I'd love to decorate my house with them. There would never be a dull day. I also really like Mason Stefl's work, I would love his work as a large piece on my wall. And I always admire SuBlackwell's paper work, I think that is amazing, I would love to be able to make the things that she does.

What’s the best thing about doing what you do?

The best thing about doing what I do is that I get to do things that I enjoy and that other people enjoy looking at my work. I like being able to search for the things that I use in my work such as the frames, table cloths and vases, I love rooting through charity shops and car boot sales finding goodies to give a new little life to! I like interacting with people all over the world and sharing my work with them and I have just discovered mail art, which I'm really enjoying!

What does the future hold for your work?

The future for my work is towards my degree show at the moment. Using upcycled frames I am planning on have a wall of love. I want it to be quite over powering and display lots of happy and uplifting love messages. Hopefully it was be successful and I will get in touch and show you the results! Everyone wish me luck! I love hearing from people, so get in touch, send me love notes or swap addresses! :)

Website -
Blog -
LoveNote -
Twitter - @katerhodess

Thank you so much to Katie for taking part in Doodler's Corner, I love the happy messages and sentiments behind her work so much! It's proper smile inducing, day bettering, life affirming stuff! :)

If you'd like to get involved in Doodler's Corner please do send me an email to : as I'd love to hear from you! :)

What are you reading? The May Issue!

I've been somewhat quiet on the book reading front lately, it's not that I haven't been reading them (in fact I've been eating my way through them like there's no tomorrow! I just haven't blogged about it. Silly me!
So here are the books that I'm currently reading/ waiting to read this month, hooray!!!

 I'm currently waiting for this book to arrive, I'm a big Edward Gorey fan and wanted to add a new one to my shelf :)
 Found this lovely little book in a charity shop for a pound....the illustrations are so so cute and I can't wait to read my way through the stories. I had to look up Toon Tellegen as I hadn't heard of him before, he's a Dutch writer, poet and physician who has written some beautiful and really interesting children's books. I'm actually really excited about reading this book (even though I am not a child, well I guess I'm a big child!)!!!

This book was another charity shop find. I'd heard about it from a friend and had wanted to read it for a while. I'm not entirely sure it's going to be my cup of tea but it's good to push the boat when it comes to literature! You never know, I might find I think it's a wonderful read!

My final book for this month is the outstanding Apples for Jam by one of my favourite cookery book authors, Tessa Kiros. I used to have one of her other books, Falling Cloudberries, but it got lost in a house move :( I found this gorgeous book in TK Maxx for a bargainous price and smiled all the way home! I've since made a couple of the delicious recipes out of it (my family have said they are really really tasty) and can't wait to rummage through and make more! I especially like the way this book categorises the recipes into food colours.....really great way of looking at food!

Now it's your turn! I'd love to see what's sitting in your reading pile by your bed or which books you just can't put down :)