Saturday, 17 September 2016

Hiking Cadair Idris in Snowdonia National Park

I spent the recent Bank holiday weekend camping (how British!) in the mountains with my friend Erika from Tatra Cottage and her partner Joe. We each have a great appreciation of the outdoors and love spending time outside, particularly in a tent! I think I could probably, quite happily live in a tent forever (not saying I want to.. but I could!).

We stayed for two nights at Cwmrhwyddfor Campsite, a name I don't think I'll ever be able to successfully pronounce. It was situated in a perfect location for hiking Cadair, as it was a short walk to the trail start from the campsite entrance, and the views of the mountains from the tent itself were pretty darn majestic.

The site had all your basic needs covered, toilets/washing facilities, flat ground and firewood! (one big bag for a fee of £4). It was my first time camping with an actual campfire and I think the scent of wood smoke followed me around for a few days after (yes, I did shower!), but I absolutely loved it, it felt like 'proper' camping.

On the hike itself, the peak was shrouded in thick fog when we neared, obscuring the ultimate view we had hoped to see from the top; View or not, it still felt good to reach the summit alive. (I am wayy more unfit than I thought). To save ourselves time on the descent back down to ground level we decided to take a wee short-cut down a slightly less travelled path, which quite honestly, to me, looked like a sheer drop from the mountain edge into the mist filled expanse below. 'Me - "We're going down this way!?"

We climbed down between a narrow crag in the mountain side with a drop positioned on our right, which was, probably for the better, hidden by the mist. After sliding ourselves carefully down over dewy grass and between foot and hand holds in the rock, we eventually emerged from the clouds onto the eye-wateringly steep mountainside and began a timid (when I say timid, I mean it was just me, who was slightly freaking out) winding climb down through streams of slate, steep grassy verges and marshy ground. We arrived at the lake side (after many photography stops) and I actually gave a granite boulder a little pat to thank the mountain that I had made it down, intact and the right way up.

It was an awesome experience and nothing had quite prepared me for the climb; I love walking/ambling, and thought hiking Cadair would be a joyous walk in the park (no pun intended), but the humidity, which I'm using as my excuse... and the sheer scale of the mountain made it a real challenge. I am in need of waheyy more practice! I have a new found love for the mountains :)

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Enchanting Landscapes 9 - Violet Jungle

A slightly different take on my usual scene for this particular image in the series. Whilst editing my photographs of the Botanical Gardens in Oxford, I became ever so slightly carried away with playing with colours again. I love inverting colours on natural objects and scenes as it creates something so visually unusual but also beautiful. I think perhaps when you change colours you start to become more aware of form and shape, and particularly the many different shades of colour. The majority of foliage in this photograph in its original state was green, and you almost glaze over the vast majority of shades and see it only as green. Turn it purple however, and you notice violets, lilacs, indigo and lavender mixed with shades of cerulean and azure blue.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Wandering in the University of Oxford Botanical Gardens

A few Saturdays ago I spent the day wandering through the Botanical Gardens in Oxford with Mother Sweet :) how it took me so long to visit I'll never know! The arrangements are naturally stunning and the variety of biomes provides you with a huge range of weird and wonderful plants. 

The wildflower meadow was definitely a favourite, I've been researching British wildflowers recently and learning their names; its rewarding when you're out and about and you start recognising them. They're found practically everywhere as the majority are really 'weeds', but once you learn their names you start to notice and appreciate the fact that they're there more :)

I think my visit has brought out the botanical, green-thumbed spirit in me and fully rekindled my love for all things green. I've recently acquired a few Ebay plants (it still amazes me that plants can be posted!) and have started to deck out the house in an array of unusual house plants.

The Spider plant I propagated in a year 9 biology lesson has now been joined by a Pilea Peperomioides (Chinese Money Plant) and a Monstera Deliciosa (Swiss Cheese Plant). These plants are pretty darn trendy at the moment, and instagram and pinterest are full of them! But the unusual leaves and the relatively easy care they require are enticing; There is just something so grounding and calming about being surrounding by greenery :)

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Enchanting Landscapes 8 - Moonscape Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon in Abereiddy, Wales. This one didn't need much of an edit as the lagoon is already a pretty magical space. It was formed when a channel was created to link a disused coastal slate quarry with the sea.

The landscape does look particularly 'lunar' (apart from the feature of water!) and it actually looks quite similar to the Emerald Lakes in New Zealand (a country I would Love to explore!). The surrounding cliffs, with their raw and exposed edges, capture hints of the fiery sun and they also contrast beautifully with the flat, still surface of the turquoise water.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

New Collection: Beach meets Desert!

 After creating Sweet As Can Be (a w-hopping 2 years ago now!) I feel like I became caught up in the whirlwind of processes involved in running a small business (insurance, tax returns, market stalls, photography, marketing, social media, the list goes on!) not to mention having another full time job. I realised I hadn't actually made time to dive back into the creative process and design new things.
I know that I'm only a small business at the moment, and I don't really have the resources or the exposure to release collections and new designs every few months like the fast paced fashion brands that rule the markets. However I still felt like it was important to at least be designing on a much more regular basis.

After talking to other creatives about how they juggle a business alongside other work commitments and family, I discovered how extremely important it is to set aside time to allow yourself to become fully immersed in the experimental and messy world of creating. You don't have to end each day with a breathtaking piece of art; But just experiment with different mediums that you may not have tried before, like gouache, pastels, sewing. It will help you stay inspired and will help keep you in that positive, creative mindset that will allow you to create your next amazing project.

I'm crazily in love with all things floral, particularly all the British flowers incorporated into my first collection. However this time around, I decided to venture slightly out of my comfort zone with the designs I created for 'Beach meets Desert'.
I've experimented with unusual Photoshop effects to create my new 'Sunrise Abalone' swirl pattern, and re-discovered the world of repeat patterns (uniformity used to scare me when creating patterns!) and created my Cacti on Pink design.
 I wanted to create a collection that ventured towards the coast (particularly seashells and sunrise horizons) but I also wanted to retain a hint of abstract mysticism, that I feel is starting to become my particular style. I also wanted to add in a dose of botanical vibes with the use of cacti, that we now so readily associate with hot summers and desert festivals.

The inspiration. A pastel sunset and the Welsh coastline

Designing this collection felt like quite a big step as it was the first set of patterns I had created whilst having my little shop already up and running, and after having a lapse in pattern creating for a few months, it was interesting to see what I created! 

Creating something is such a unique feeling, it has its scientific benefits (think the calming, stress-relieving colouring books that have popped up everywhere recently!) and it also tells a subtle story about yourself; the memories and stories that have influenced you will wind their way into the work you create, it displays how you visualise the world around you. Pretty neat :) ... anyway, I hope you love what I've created! All new designs can be found on my Etsy!

Friday, 15 April 2016

Floral Head Scarf Photos by Nic Ford Photography

One of the lovely ladies I met at the ASOS Marketplace x Clothes Show live back in 2014 has recently opened her own boutique in Narberth, Pembrokeshire. How awesome is that! #GIRLBOSS Kai Stewart has some serious style, and the designs she creates for her boutique Jaxxon House are incredible, high-end pieces.

The Sweet As Can Be floral scarves can now be found at the Jaxxon House Narberth Boutique too which is super exciting! JH also sells an eclectic mix of vintage, along with pieces from other incredibly talented designers and crafters, so you definitely need to take a peek at her online shop or pop in if you're in the Pembrokeshire area!

Kai recently arranged a photo shoot with UK based photographer Nic Ford and styled some pretty breath taking photographs of the scarves; They look beautiful worn in the hair as boho/hippy head scarves!