Thursday, 31 December 2015

Happy New Year! … Hello 2016

I can't quite believe it's the end of the year already! Where on earth did this last year go!? (said everyone ever).

2015 has been a pretty wonderful opening year for Sweet As Can Be. I'm still finding my feet I think, but the love and support of fellow independent shops and customers has been pretty overwhelming. And the thought of people opening Sweet As Can Be gifts underneath the christmas tree literally makes my heart melt! I only hope 2016 brings with it more colour, nature and happiness for all :)

I made two little typography posters to welcome in the New Year. I'm hoping to focus more on astronomy in 2016 hence the starry influences :) I'd also like to make travel one of my number one priorities as the wanderlust struggles are real.

I tried out the #2015bestnine on my personal and shop Instagram accounts as a little social media round up of the year and the results were pretty satisfying :) simply loving the alignment of those moons. 

So Happy New Year Everyone! May it be full of love & laughter & dreams coming true :)

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Enchanting Landscapes 7 - Cult of light

This shot was taken in Wales again (it's a rather beautiful place!), at the bottom of the Sgwd Yr Eire Waterfall. A slightly darker take on my Enchanting Landscapes series this time!

The red cloud in the second image is an overlaid sunset photograph; I love how it looks like a sinister blood red mist seeping out from the waterfall and creeping downstream. 

The valley and steep riverbanks create a brilliant shadowy contrast against the evening sunlight pouring through the mist. Such a serene but also mysterious setting.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

A morning of ASOS Marketplace photography with Emma Warren Design!

I spent yesterday morning hanging out with pigeons ^ and modelling on a little photo shoot for Emma's newest AW Collection!! Despite the freezing cold, windy weather (I'm 100% sure it was sleeting) we both got some really great shots :) Her new collection features cute and sassy embroidered slogan tee's and cosy jumpers! I'm so madly in love with the 'Lost in Wonderland' tee *insert heart eyes emoji*. 

I also nabbed a few shots of Emma with the Blossom Scarves and Floral Clutch bags :) the designs contrasted really well against her wintery outfit and the leather in particular! It really helps to display how they can be styled during the winter months :)

I've never modelled before, but don't think I look too awkward or hilarious :L Emma's tees definitely make me look cooler than I am. You definitely need to check them out! And also...

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Review of The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan // Very beautiful world building

After my post about the book 'All the bright places', I thought it would be really lovely to share the books I'm reading with you! I used to read ALOT when I was younger; Whilst at primary school, I apparently used to rush home and immediately curl up into a ball (not gonna lie, I still sit like this) on an armchair with my latest little book (anyone remember this
unicorn series? :L They're quite clearly responsible for my love of fantasy and unicorns) I also used to try and write my own books, did anyone else try that? I'll have to dig them out and have a cringe read.

Unfortunately though, the older I got (12-18) the less 'time' I seemed to leave for reading; It's a real shame because I think your teenage years are probably a time when you Should be reading. It's not only enjoyable, but informative and insightful, and a lot of books I've read recently I wish I had read back in my teen years!

Thankfully though, over the last 4 years, I've got back into the habit of reading regularly again, and I love it :)

But anyway! On to this beautiful book! I came across The Gracekeepers whilst having a little scroll through Twitter, and it was actually the authors name that caught my eye! My beautiful nephew, Logan, was born earlier this year and I kind of loved the idea of having a book that featured his name! (even if it is only the authors surname!) And after reading a few descriptions/other reviews about the book, I was completely sold.

It's a fantasy book, set on Earth, but not as we know it. The Earth was flooded many years ago and now only tiny pockets of islands remain, making physical earth and soil, extremely valuable. The inhabitants of the world have been divided into two very segregated groups, 'Landlockers' who live on the earth, and 'Damplings' who roam the seas. The book does have a dystopian nature, but isn't quite as 'typical' as your zombie apocalypse or totalitarianism government set-up, it's a very unique storyline.

The story primarily follows two women, North and Callanish as they begin to embrace their past lives and attempt to forge their futures. North lives and breathes a life on the floating Circus boat 'Excalibur', with her dancing bear; Whilst Callanish, who has exiled herself from her native Island due to an instance from her past, performs ritualistic burials at sea using birds known as 'Graces'. Their two incredibly different lives are brought together by a chance meeting after a storm, and the two soon realise that the secrets they hold share something in common. It is a story about love, but not a romance.

Illustrated World map within the inside covers of the hardback book

The names within the book, just like the prose, are very beautiful and really capture the essence of a mystical ocean world. My particular favourites were 'Callanish' and 'Avalon', they seem to bring to mind mystical goddesses or female warriors. The characters personalities also seemed to resonate with their names; For example North is very direct and forthright, Avalon is powerful, Red Gold is warm-hearted but strong, and Callanish is delicate and beautiful. I really liked this symbolism :)

I think the only downside I personally seemed to find was that the ending did seem ever so slightly rushed, but I often think a lot of books are fast paced towards the end, as the story is drawing to a close and everything is coming together.

The plot is not always obvious and I think some readers may be a little frustrated with this, however I think this just adds more to the mystery and fairy tale wonder. Legends and fairytales can sometimes be quite eccentric and lack a coherent storyline, but I've always thought this allows you to use your own perceptions to decipher the meaning behind the story, it makes it much more mystical, which is the impression I had from The Gracekeepers :)

Truthfully, I didn't want the book to end, whilst reading I was completely immersed in the beautiful descriptions of their world; If getting lost in magical places is your thing, definitely give it a read!

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Home Sweet Home // Etsy Ceramic & Cement Planter Haul

I got ever so slightly carried away on Etsy recently, and bought a small collection of 4 planters. (I only needed two, but y'know, they're all so preetty). I spend quite a bit of time on Etsy, tending to my own shop, and am therefore, forever, being drawn in to other listings of the most beautifully unique things!

I bought a pair of succulents from designer Oh No Rachio's website a few weeks ago (I had absolutely no idea that plants could be posted!? Uhmazin) and had yet to find them a permanent home.

I had initially tried to find some pretty pots in HomeSense, because I love their quirky products, but alas I couldn't find any in there! So I took to Etsy, and I'm glad I did, because I think it's always much nicer to support smaller, independent sellers!

There are SO many beautiful ceramic pieces on Etsy at the moment; Quite a few of my favourite shops are based in the US (potterylodge -  theobjectenthusiast), however I was slightly wary of postage costs, so opted for a few pieces from sellers closer to home!

I finally decided upon a beautifully glazed Purple Flower Pot and Spiky Sea Urchin Planter from Oli's Cupboard, based in the Czech Republic. And also two Marbled, Mixed Porcelain Cement Planters from SORTLondon! They're so insanely pretty and unique! Perfect little statement pieces for a windowsill or shelf. You should definitely check out their other creations! 
Now I need to get planting and find myself two more succulents to join the clan!

Monday, 31 August 2015

You Are All The Colours In One

I made a quick little typography poster with a quote that really resonated with me recently! 10 points if you know where it's from……!?

Since I'm sure 99% of you may not have the foggiest, it's from a book called All The Bright Places (by Jennifer Niven), and it's a quote from one of the main characters. It's a really moving YA book and it touches on a subject that's often avoided and never really discussed in detail in most books, I'd definitely recommend it!

It had quite a few really wonderful quotes, but this was definitely a favourite; It makes me picture that the person being described is so full of life and meaning that they emit their own other worldly light and it's completely overwhelming. What a lovely way to describe someone :)

To create the background I overlaid a photo of turquoise blue waters over a photograph from my wildflower photo sesh! It's created a kind of psychedelic, marble pattern :)

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Wandering amongst the wildflowers

I recently stumbled across the most beautiful field of wildflowers and snuck out there on Sunday morning to snap a few photos as the sun was coming up! (That's right, I sacrificed a Sunday lie in!). Aside from the drama of a few ant bites and stepping on a few spiky weeds D:, it was such a peaceful morning and I'm pretty happy with the shots ^_^ it's given the ASOS Boutique a lovely 'late summer' refresh and provided some new pretty shots of the makeup bags ^_^ 

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Enchanting Landscapes 6 - Electric Dusk

Afon Mellte, Ystradfellte, Brecon Beacons, Wales
I took a walk along the River Mellte in the Brecon Beacons on Easter Monday; It boasts some impressive Waterfalls (perfect for enchanting landscapes photography!), including the Sgwd Clun-Gwyn, and disappears for about a quarter of a mile underground into a series of caves and channels, until it pours out into an area called the Blue Pool and carries on with its journey above ground.

As the river idles lazily to its next set of falls, the banks begin to flatten out and the steep sides are replaced by gentle slopes of bright green moss, and are lined by overhanging trees and quaint little meadows; The scenery became even more enchanting as the sun began to set and the water became a deep sapphire blue as it reflected the darkening skies.

In the landscape above, I have given the water and trees a slight glow which makes them appear to be emitting a bioluminescence, it definitely reminds me of Avatar again! There are so many interesting Celtic fairy tales, I imagine quaint river scenes like this feature in many of them!

The Blue Pool
The word 'Afon' means River in Welsh, and 'Mellte' is derived from the word Mellt which means lightning. Hence the title Electric Dusk :)

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Keeping Notes on Travel Tips, Advice & Local Knowledge

I follow a Lot of travel bloggers and photographers on Instagram, Twitter etc. and I love trawling through travel boards on Pinterest every now and then to discover new places.

The thing is, when reading all of these blog posts, and finding these hidden gems on Pinterest, I find out a lot of amazing tips, useful brands and local knowledge, and never end up remembering them; For example, an off the beaten track trail that leads to a secret waterfall, or an excursion company that can take you on tours of the coast of Svalbard and Greenland. Not to mention when talking to friends and family who have travelled, they are full of tips and tricks, things to avoid and recommendations.

Creating a Pinterest board to collate them all doesn't quite do to the trick, as I want a more uniformed way of viewing actual notes (and something that doesn't require internet connection to access!) so it's a great excuse to put pen to paper :)

Images taken from Blogs, Sites and Instagrams linked below

I decided that I'll keep a little journal of all the advice I learn, something small that I can carry around with me and add to at anytime, to help make sure that when I'm travelling, I can refer back to these notes and get the most out of the time I spend in a particular destination and experience something unique! So, I have now started to keep all of these pointers and tips I collect into one of my Blossom notebooks

I know that when travelling, part of the experience is to discover new things for yourself; But I think by noting down helpful tidbits about your favourite destinations, it helps you to, of course remember them, but it also helps you come across something you might not have stumbled upon on your own :)

A few of the travel blogs I love, follow regularly, and pick up lots of tips from are…
Tuula Vintage
The Travel Hack
A Bikini A Day
Our Open Road

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Enchanting Landscapes 5 - Glødende Fjellet

Vesteråsfjellet, Geiranger, Norway
Glødende Fjellet means 'glowing mountain' in Norweigan (or at least I think it does! My Norsk is pretty non-existent); Nonetheless I think it describes this landscape beautifully. This was taken at Vesteråsfjellet, a viewpoint that overlooks the tiny village of Geiranger and the magnificent Geirangerfjord. It's actually quite a precarious view point, the fence you can see behind the birch trees actually has a sheer drop down to the road that runs along the edge of the fjord. 

The view itself, as you can see, was pretty spectacular; From here you can glimpse the snow capped mountains and admire the incredible deep blue hues of the water (or in this case purple!). It really is a beautiful place, ethereal and awe-inspiring all at the same time. You can check out my full post about my trip to Norway here :)

There are lots of fascinating and mystical fairytales in Nordic and Scandinavian Folklore, with landscapes like this present around almost every corner in Norway, its obvious to see why these lands inspired so many enchanting tales.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Enchanting Landscapes 4 - Aurora Water

Saklıkent Gorge, Muğla Province, Turkey
Saklikent Gorge is one of the deepest in Europe, at 300m deep in places, walking through and gazing up at the ravine is pretty breath taking, if not a little unnerving (it's also a little harsh on the old neck as you have to tilt your head incredibly far back to see the top).

It's only possible to access the gorge during the summer months, when melt waters from the Taurus Mountains have lowered, you can hike part way up the gorge. The water that runs through here is a beautiful shade of turquoise and is so pure you can actually drink from tiny springs that seep through slabs of rock along the gorge walls. It's already a magical place before I get my Photoshop paws on it.

To create this dreamy landscape, I have enhanced the blue tones of my original photograph, and increased the contrast of sunlight and shadows to give it an ethereal luminescence. I love the glow that this has given the river; Combined with the movement of the water and beautiful blue hues, it reminds me of the Aurora Borealis.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Enchanting Landscapes 3 - Amethyst Cave

Sea Archway along the coast of Zakynthos, A Greek Island in the Ionian Sea

This one was taken whilst sailing along the Southern Coast of Zakynthos or, Zante. For anyone unfamiliar, Zante is a small Greek island in the Ionian sea that is relatively notorious for partying (Laganas) and world famous for Shipwreck Beach (Navagio). Plus it boasts some beautiful coastline and has a lovely little population of Loggerhead Turtles!

The boat took us to a range of caves, coves and rock formations, and stopped at various points to let us jump off into the inviting, crystal clear (but pretty darn cold) water. I truly love the sea, (when it's kind), and spending time swimming through caves and gliding through turquoise waters is simply blissful.

The original photo was taken from the sea looking into a tiny cove, but after this edit, I think it looks as though you are actually inside a cave, and looking through a channel into one of its luminous, crystal caverns. The perfect setting for Nereids and Mermaids!

Monday, 9 March 2015

Enchanting Landscapes 2 - Maiden of the Purple Forest

Forest surrounding the Gorge of the River ClywedogDolgellau, Wales, UK
August 12
I took this photograph whilst walking a trail that ran alongside a beautiful gorge in North Wales. Boulders, ferns, and lots of tiny streams and waterfalls littered the steep slopes down to the river; When the path suddenly opened out onto a beautiful, mossy copse of silver birch trees. It was such a fairytale like scene, so it was a perfect photo to adapt into an enchanting landscape! The title of this one was inspired by a Welsh Fairytale!

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Enchanting Landscapes 1 - Fairy Pool

Victorian Bathing Pool in Painswick Village, England. January 15.

A new piece of artwork I made for the shop! I love enhancing and manipulating colours and building up scenery and landscapes to make something that looks out of this world, or like it belongs in the next Avatar film! (Gosh, being a visual artist on a film like that would be unreeal). I've decided to do a little 'Enchanting Landscapes' photo series and post a little background story about the images I create and where the original photos were taken!

After doing a little bit of research into the work of other creatives who have work focused on 'fairytale landscapes', I came across a quote from landscape photographer Kilian Schönberger that really resonated with me...

I think there is a deep longing for tranquil naturalness among people in our technology-driven environment,Therefore I don’t want to show just portrayals of natural scenes – I want to create visually accessible places where the visitor can virtually put his mind at rest and make up his own stories.

Kilian is actually colourblind which makes the colour work in his photography even more impressive and spell binding. His photos do seem to draw you in and evoke some sort of emotion, be it awe or solitude. Some artists and photographers just seem to have the knack of capturing a particular feeling or raw emotion with their work. Anyone can take a photograph of a landscape, but I think it takes a true artist to take it a step further and create something that others can connect with too.

Admiring the beauty of nature does literally 'bring you back down to earth', you appreciate that your problems aren't as terrible as you perhaps first thought, and you realise how incredible the cosmos actually is. I love taking the time to admire nature, be it going out of my way to walk by a window at work to catch the setting sun, or stopping to stare at the stars whilst walking my dogs at night; It makes my soul happy.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Floral Design Day 2015

I feel like I should definitely pay homage to my favourite style of pattern design! I love that it's nearly always prominent in the fashion world. I mean why wouldn't it be, it's ultimately a celebration of the beauty of nature and flowers and people just love to wear it! Happy Floral Design Day Guys ;) Here's one inspired by the island of Bali!

Bali Flora