Some simple thoughts on this week and a favourite recipe…

Hi everyone!! Wow we made it to the end of the second week of our new routine and I won’t lie it’s been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. On Monday it seemed like the whole world had a bad day.   I wonder if it was something to do with the novelty wearing off of no school for the kids or possibly the fact that the weather wasn’t quite as lovely as it had been the previous week, but the message amongst almost everyone I spoke to that day was ‘how are we going to get through this?’.  Actually I think the answer to that question lies in that exact paragraph, by talking, sharing, connecting and being there for each other.  There’s a lot floating around at the moment about enjoying this unexpected free time and actually I’m really trying to embrace that, but I also think it’s so important to recognise the bad days for what they are, talk about them and share them because there will most definitely be someone out there going through the same feelings as you at the exact same time. 

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Our entry to the @meandorla #15minutemagic photo challenge on Instagram

Despite the fact that there have been times of real joy for me this week, there have also been times (more times than I’d have liked) when I’ve laid awake in bed and felt really scared wondering what might be around the corner and when things might return to normal if they ever will.  I’m terrible for trying to control things and situations and it’s hard to accept that so much of this is out of my/our control all we can do is do what we are told, stay home, wash our hands, try to find a new or temporary normal and keep on keeping on. 

So, that said, with the intention of sharing a little bit of positivity, here’s a little round up of just three things from our week that I’m loving. I’d love to hear yours in the comments below too if you want to share…


Like so many of us we’ve baked loads since being at home more and I’m really enjoying it.  There’s something so comforting about it and it’s reminding me of how much I used to bake with them when they were little.  So far we’ve baked a fruit tea loaf, scones, brownies and our absolute favourite in this house, banana and chocolate chip bread – I’m sharing the recipe for this one below if you’d like to try it, it’s great for using up all of those old bananas.

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Look at those floury little hands 🙂

Good old waste not want not

I’ll let you into a little secret about me.  I love reading 1950’s housewife and homemaking books and magazine articles (shock horror I know how dare I admit such a thing in this modern age!). I love to read about how things were used up, rarely wasted and how people really seemed to find joy in cooking, baking and eating a family meal together.  I’m not saying I’m enjoying the fact that I can’t get a simple bag of pasta in Tesco for love nor money at the moment, far from it, but it really has made me think more about how I’m cooking, how we’re eating and how much we’re usually wasting eek!!

The other day I made an inventory of everything we had in our cupboards and freezer and the meals I could make from those things.  I joked to a friend that I don’t even know who I am anymore but I secretly enjoyed it.  I even cooked a beef casserole the other day and gave it to the kids too where I usually would give them something else.  We ate it as a family and guess what, as there wasn’t another option, the kids ate it and enjoyed it too! 

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One of the 1940s replica war time leaflets I picked up at a museum

Finding a little routine

I’ve been trying to get up before the kids in the morning so that I have a bit of time to myself to do my yoga, pray, write in my journal and read a little bit.  I’m an avid follower of Yoga with Adriene on YouTube and this week I’ve tried branching out from my usual videos to start following her Home series.

These are things I know help me to cope with the day a little bit better, this hasn’t happened every day due to the afore mentioned lack of sleep, but on the days it has I’ve felt better for it.  We’ve also changed our walk time to the evenings now so that we can all go as a family and it’s been so lovely in these lighter evenings. 

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Our local dog walking spot – so many things to look for…

What little things have you enjoyed about this week, I’d love to hear in the comments below…

Thank you for reading – stay safe and well! 

Lots of love, Sally xx

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Chocolate and Banana Loaf – yummy!!

Chocolate & Banana Loaf

250g self-raising flour | 150g caster sugar | 100g unsalted butter melted | 2 eggs beaten | 2/3 ripe bananas | 75g dark chocolate chopped (we sometimes use a pack of choc chips instead) | a pinch of salt | a lined loaf tin 

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees/gas 4

Mix the flour with the salt and sugar in a mixing bowl.  Add the melted butter when it is cool and the beaten eggs.  Mash the bananas with a fork and add to the bowl. Add the chocolate or chocolate chips and mix together until combined.

Transfer to the prepared tin and flatten the surface.  Bake for approx 45/55 minutes, I tend to check after around 45 and give it longer if necessary or if a clean knife inserted is still coming out sticky.  

Leave to cool for 5 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely (although it is delicious if eaten still slightly warm)!

Enjoy – I’m currently checking our bananas every day to see if there are any ‘on the turn’ so we can make another one hehe!!

Isolation tales – week one what I’m grateful for and what I’m trying to be better at…

Hi!  How are you all doing?  Such a strange, scary, crazy time out there at the moment and I hope and pray that you and your families are keeping safe and well.  I’ve spent a great deal of time over the past couple of weeks feeling sad, worried, anxious for our family and our wider family and friends and worried for all of the small businesses out there but I’m trying to change my mindset a little to also focus on the positives now.  With that said, and with a determination not to make this blog all doom and gloom, I thought I’d share with you a few of the things I’ve felt thankful for this week and some new things I’m trying to do to help me cope which might be of help to you too….

Things I’m grateful for this week…

Having the kids at home – like all of us I think I was wondering how this one would pan out but so far it’s actually going ok.  We seem to have settled into a routine of doing the set school work in the morning and then being outside and having free time in the afternoon. I’m well aware that this is only week one of how ever many weeks of being at home but for now I’m enjoying the extra time with them.

The sunshine – hasn’t the weather literally been a ray of sunshine this week!  It’s so nice to wake up to the sun streaming in and be able to spend afternoons in the garden and get some fresh air with the dog.  Although I’m finding keeping two metres apart from everyone else with the same idea a little stressful while out walking…

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Time to work on the ‘admin’ side of my business – at the beginning of this week I made the decision to shut my shops and website for a little while.  Going out to the post office was getting more and more difficult and seemed unnecessary and while I’m always sad not to be open for new orders my website has been due an update for a long while and I never seem to have time for all of the blogs and newsletters that I have ideas for in my head so maybe now’s the time to get those things done.

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Watching Motherland on iPlayer – I’ve been recommended this show a few times in the past but not got around to watching it.  It’s exactly the light relief I’ve needed in the evenings and if you’re a school mum too it’ll have you laughing out loud.

Spring cleaning – it feels good to get the windows and doors open finally and give everything a really good clean.  I say everything, I’ve spring cleaned one bathroom so far but small steps and big plans and all that.

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Knitting – knitting has always been a bit of a saviour to me when I’m feeling anxious.  Having something to do with my hands is really calming to me and it stops me reaching for my phone and scrolling yet more depressing news!

And things I’m trying to be better at…

Reading – Truth be told my anxious mind has struggled to concentrate on reading recently but I have started The Tattooist of Auschwitz and whilst it’s a bit harrowing in places I’m enjoying it so far (that sentence doesn’t sound quite right but you know what I mean!) .  If I find the story is not helping my mental state very much I may need to switch to some chic lit for a while though!

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Stepping away from my phone – Instagram for me is uplifting, I find inspiration and a sense of community there.  Facebook and various news sites are not, I have been spending far too much of my time lately Googling and reading horrible news stories and needless to say it hasn’t been doing me any good.  I’m trying to have set times in the morning and evening now to catch up and only look at necessary news headlines and positive stories.

Being better at food management – nothing like not being able to get all of your usuals in Tesco to make you realise how lucky you normally are, appreciate what you have and attempt to waste nothing!  I’m enjoying meal planning and batch cooking and keeping my fingers crossed that the limited choice might sort out some fussy eating issues we might have pandered to in the past (including my own!).

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Remembering to pray rather than worry alone – faith and prayer is very important to me and usually something that comes naturally, I pray about everything from car parking spaces to more serious issues but in this time of crisis I’ve found the words haven’t come so easily.  Instead of sinking into a pit of worry I’m trying to give my concerns over to prayer, trust and  reading. 

Exercise – like almost every family we know we have been joining in with #pewithjoe on and off this week and aside from the fact that it made me ache in muscles I never knew I had (I thought it was going to be a kids work out when I agreed to join in) it’s been great.  I walk a lot with the dog but it would be good to get back into my Couch to 5k app again as part of my daily exercise.  Taking this one slowly though, no pressure!

Journaling – this is an absolute newbie to me.  I love an appointment diary and a good old to do list but writing about my feelings is a whole new concept.  I’ve heard a lot about ‘morning pages’ and journaling and didn’t think it was for me but I’m going to give it a go.  I’m figuring that this time in my life might be something I might want to look back on at some time and knowing how you have coped with things in the past can be very helpful going forward I think.

Phew… that’s it for now.  Personally, I’m finding it really helpful reading about how others are adapting to their new routines and what coping measures they have in place so I hope this might have been a bit useful for you to read but I also think it’s important to remember that we’re all bound to have days during this time when we can’t muster the energy to do anything other than just get through and that is absolutely ok.  We all need to take care of ourselves right now.  Don’t forget I’m always up for a chat on Instagram if you fancy it… 

Until next time, thank you for reading!


Sally xxx


Happy 2020 – My (very loose) goals for the New Year

New Year resolutions – do you make them?? I saw someone post that new year on Instagram is hilarious. Open one post and it’s telling you to make all the goals, be better, achieve more etc etc and then open another one and It’s all about acceptance, staying as you are, not needing to change and appreciating where you’re at. Isn’t that so true, we are bombarded with these types of quotes and sayings, is it any wonder we end up feeling despondent if we listen too closely to any of them.

Personally, I think I’m somewhere in between these two examples.  I get a little bit excited about setting goals and making lists for a new week so I have to admit I do like to think a bit about what might be on my to do list for the new year but for the most part, I have to say that if me and my family stay happy and healthy for another year then I’ll be pretty happy too  – I’m a simple soul at heart.

So here’s a little summary of things I’m hoping to focus on in 2020. I’m not putting too much pressure on myself but they are things I want to be important to me – I hope they aren’t too cliché…


I think this one makes it onto my list almost every year.  I am a massive worrier and a lot of the wonderful times in our lives, holidays, trips etc end up being overshadowed for me by my worry.  I always tend to focus on what could go wrong rather than be excited for what’s to come and I really want to try not to be like that all the time.  On that note I kind of want to combine this one with ‘more fun family times’ as a goal too, we had some amazing holidays and days out last year and I’m so grateful for them.

Aldeburgh beach – so beautiful!


Is listening to an audio book still reading??  I’m not sure… I love reading fiction but recently I’ve been getting more into self-development type podcasts and blogs and I want to start listening to audio books while I work too so that I can be expanding my knowledge and learning while I’m working, cleaning or going about my daily life.  I’ve downloaded Audible and I’m ready to go, please do let me have any of your audio book recommendations in the comments or on Instagram, I’m very open to suggestions.


I started getting into yoga a couple of years ago and I have been sporadic with it to say the least.  However, an increasingly bad back and neck from sewing so much is forcing me to realise I need to make this more of a priority in my life because it really does help.  The time that works best for me is first thing in the morning before anyone else gets up, I’ve learned that if I think I’ll do it later in the day it just won’t get done.   So I’m setting my alarm for 6am and attempting around 25 minutes a day at least, I’ve been following Yoga with Adriene videos on YouTube and I’m really enjoying them.  I really hope I stick to it – watch this space…


A couple of years ago I followed the Couch to 5k app on my phone in April with the goal to run a 5k Race for Life in July.  I can honestly say that I felt so good while I was running, I ran the 5k in a good time and felt so proud that I had achieved my goal but guess what, as soon as that Race for Life was over I stopped running – I need a goal.  So this year I am going to sign up again and I’m thinking of doing the 10k – after all you don’t have to run all the way so no pressure right?  I’m looking forward to getting back into it, I really want to try and make fitness a higher priority this year.


Name bunting was still one of my best sellers last year 🙂

I always feel as though I should be growing my business, expanding and getting bigger but at the end of last year I came to the conclusion that actually, maybe I don’t.  My goal with this way of working was always that I wanted to be around for the children while they are still young and at school but also to make some extra income to help us out at the same time and I’m so grateful to say that at the moment that’s what the business is.  That’s not to say that I don’t want to change a few things this year.  I want to change my product range, update it, introduce more products, blog more and spend more time on photography because I actually enjoy the creativity of photography and blogging. 

I’ll maybe want to grow the business when my children are older of course, I have some plans in mind but all in good time.


YouTube – Secret Life of a Seamstress

Just before Christmas I started a new blog just for my dressmaking and I absolutely love it!  I also started guest blogging for a few fabric companies which was so much fun and it has been so lovely to connect with other people who love sewing as much as I do.  I also launched a YouTube channel alongside the blog to talk about my makes and hopefully to eventually to start some tutorials and teaching.  This has given me so much joy so far and I really want to continue to grow these outlets and see where they take me.  I’ll pop the links down below if you’re interested in having a look and following along with that aspect of my sewing.


CEO of My Own Life Planner @ellaiconic

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to grow or be better or aim high but I also think it’s extremely important to be thankful for what you have in the here and now and I want to continue to write down one thing each day that I’m grateful for, I started doing this last year and it really is such a great thing to do.  My current planner has space for me to do this so that should remind me.

Phew, I think that’s about it.  Really hoping I can at least keep up the fitness goals until February 😉

I’d love to know what your new year goals and resolutions are – please do comment below or on Instagram and let me know.

Lots of love as always

Sally xx

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World Mental Health Day – My struggle with Emetophobia…

Hi, I’m Sally and I have a phobia of being sick, or to use the proper, medial term I suffer with Emetophobia.  If you know me you will probably have no idea I struggle so much with this, I’ve got pretty good at hiding it over the years.  If you’re my husband, a close family member or a very close friend you’ll be well aware of how much this has affected me over the years and how it still affects me now – although I’m now much better at dealing with it.   

It started when I was about 14 and in high school, a friend of mine asked me if I was ok because I looked pale.  This triggered something in me which had obviously been there, underlying, waiting to come out.  I panicked, OMG I was pale, I was almost certainly coming down with a sickness bug I needed to get out of there fast.  I went to the school nurse complaining of feeling ill and was sent home.  I spent a lot of that afternoon feeling very sick with anxiety but I wasn’t actually physically sick.  From then on, out of nowhere at my young age of 14, when I was least expecting it, crippling panic would grip me.  I would be out and suddenly panic that I was away from home, away from my comfort zone – what if I was sick in front of everyone – I needed to go!!  At first my parents thought I was actually suffering from a bug – the only way I could describe my feelings to them was to say I felt sick.  I did feel sick but it wasn’t because I was ill it was because I was having a panic attack.  My panic attacks usually involve me feeling sick, weak, feeling breathless and shaking uncontrollably. All this began around Christmas time and it was easy to think that perhaps when Christmas was over things might calm down and I’d start to feel better.  I didn’t…

From then on, I would still have the panic attacks and the fear of being sick began to creep into how I ate.  I would avoid certain foods, worry about best before dates, how things had been cooked and whether I’d eaten something ‘bad’ without realising.  I also began to eat less believing that the less that was in my stomach the less likely I’d be to throw up and I started to wash my hands excessively for fear of germs.  People began to notice that I was eating less and losing weight and given my age tended to assume that it was some kind of teenage body image related eating disorder – in reality body image couldn’t have been further from my mind.

I saw the school nurse for some counselling, it didn’t really help.  Mental health wasn’t so well talked about or understood at the time – I’m so grateful that things have changed now.

Probably reading this you might think I’m crazy.  If ever I have tried to explain this fear to someone I’m usually met with a response along the lines of ‘Oh yes I hate being sick too’ I get that – we all hate it, it’s not nice, but this phobia – any phobia – is more than just a dislike of something it’s completely irrational.  It controls your life in a scary way and that’s what makes it so difficult to explain to people.  The irrational bit is of course that in the grand scheme of things vomiting is nothing.  For crying out loud there are people starving out there, actually seriously ill and of course going through much worse but for me when I’m having an attack, being sick feels like it’s the worst thing in the world which in turn makes me feel pretty rubbish because how can I possibly compare this silly irrational phobia with a ‘REAL’ illness or crisis.

I could ramble on for ages about the next few years and how this phobia affected me on and off but I’m so thankful to say that with a supportive family, my Christian faith and one or two very close friends who knew what I was going through things did get much better over time and I began to live a more ‘normal’ teenage life but I still had awful flare ups of this phobia. 

As I grew up the phobia would come and go and manifest itself in different ways.  I struggle with crowds, I feel claustrophobic if I’m ever confined or feel trapped anywhere (flying is still a difficult one), I avoided to the best of my ability, anyone who had had a bug or going anywhere that bugs might be around.  Hospitals, doctors surgeries etc.

I was terrified that I would never be able to have children even though being a mum was something I’d always wanted so much.  There was the possible morning sickness, sickness in the birth not to mention how much babies and children can be ill– plus all those germy nurseries, soft plays etc I’d have to deal with.

You’ll probably know now that I have two gorgeous children – thankfully I managed not to let the phobia stop me from being a mum.  I didn’t vomit AT ALL through any of it, so it is possible.  I prayed A LOT through both of my pregnancies 🙂

However, I do know of people suffering from this who will go through life wanting kids but not being able to have them and it breaks my heart to think that this phobia could ruin someone’s life like that.

Having my children has actually changed me and my focus on my phobia.  I have had some extremely difficult times but on the whole having my children has somehow put things a bit more into perspective for me.  It’s also made me brave.  I’ve done things I never thought I could have, I’ve pushed myself into situations I never thought I’d be able to be in.  I’ve been to the soft plays, I’ve been there with them when they’ve been ill and I’ve coped.  It was always my fear that I would run if they were ill and not be able to be there for them but I did it and I managed. 

The more I push myself the more I know that I will not let this phobia beat me.  It will always be there niggling at me in the background, I’ll probably always be funny about use by dates and hand washing and will probably keep my distance from you for a while if you or your children have had a bug, I’ll go vegetarian in a restaurant rather than risking how the meat has been cooked but I don’t like a lot of meat anyway so that one’s not too difficult.  I’ll always keep myself ‘safe’ in my own little ways, which is why I think if you know me now you would probably never know that I suffer/suffered so much with this – or maybe reading this makes a few things about me a bit clearer, who knows! It’s true to say though that  I don’t tend to talk about this unless I really have to.

I know a bit more now how to manage it and what I need to do to talk myself down.  Getting outside is a major thing for me, as soon as I’m out in the fresh air and in nature I feel so much better.  Having my dog has helped me a lot with my anxieties in this way too – walking him makes me get out into my happy place and feel a lot calmer. Knitting and sewing have of course been immensely helpful to me too,  knitting particularly brings a sense of mindfulness to me that just brings me calm and I think it’s because my hands are busy and my mind is focussed but I can sit on the sofa and watch TV with it at the same time. I knitted through my teenage years too and it helped me so much!  There’s also prayer of course, I wouldn’t manage without my faith which is probably something else I don’t talk about enough here – I’m pretty reserved without even really realising it half the time.

My husband also knows my triggers and symptoms which is a great help and he won’t pander to me if I need to be told to pull myself together which is actually more helpful than I’d like to admit sometimes.

I’m not completely over this, I probably never will be, but I know that I never want it to have control over me like it once did again and I’ll do everything I can to push myself away from it when it tries to stop me living the life I want to lead.

I would love to hear from you if you suffer or have suffered from something similar.  Writing this all down has felt extremely vulnerable but also extremely empowering because I can look back and see how far I’ve come.

The best thing we can do for our mental health is to talk about it and if my story helps even one person out there to know that you can learn to deal with this then it’ll have been worth it.

Lots of love

Sally xx

Ten things I’ve loved about this summer…

As the summer turns to autumn I’ve been thinking about some of the things I’ve enjoyed most about the summer holidays.  Here’s a list of ten of my favourites…

More time with my babies who aren’t really babies anymore… I’m ever aware of how quickly they’re growing up so it’s always a bonus to have this extra time with them.

The lack of routine… I love that we have the ballet, the football and the swimming in our lives (sometimes) but isn’t it lovely to have your evenings and weekends completely free of these just for a little while.

Investing in a National Trust pass… we got out and explored lots of lovely places nearby that we perhaps never would have known were there and learned a little bit of history along the way. 

Visiting Cornwall… one of my favourite places in the world. Beautiful even in the rain and gale force winds we experienced towards the end of our week away!

Not feeling (too) guilty about screen time… always a tricky one but I decided that in our house balance was key. We went outside a lot, we spent some time at home relaxing – perfect!

Having a good sort out… I’m a bit of an organisation and tidy freak inside. Throughout the six weeks I slowly managed a good sort out of most of the cupboards and wardrobes in our house and it felt soooo good to start September feeling organised.

Taking a break from the business… I realise how lucky I was to be able to do this but having this break gave me family time and time to refocus, start energetically and helped me to remember why I love my work so much.  I’m excited for the new things I have planned over the next few months. 

Having time to read… I’m generally a bedtime only reader and not having to get up so early meant I could stay up a little later reading – something I love to do. I managed to read three books (a lot for me!), I’ll maybe do another blog on what I read.

Turning 40… can’t believe I’m including this in the things I loved since I was actually feeling really weird about it but I had such a lovely time with friends and family and it made me realise again how lucky I am for the people I have in my life.

Realising how much my children have grown and changed over the last year. Both a love and a bit of a heart breaker.  Summer holidays seem to do this to me, I realise how much further they can swim, how much more independent they are etc.  It makes me a mix of emotional and excited for how they are growing.

What things do you love about summer I’d love to hear…

Sally x