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It's the most wonderful time of the year

I cannot help it, when I walk into a shop and see christmas decorations, I instantaneously turn into Mariah Carey and belt out christmas songs. No, my voice is nowhere close to hers but I am blessed with the ability not to care much about others' opinions especially if one is slighted by a not very tone deaf lady who loves herself some christmas! It really is the best time of the year, people are nicer to each other, the best songs are played on repeat and of course there is the actual celebration with family. I love love it.

Anyway, that was a mini diversion to my shameless self promotion that you should now have come to expect! I have some christmas goodies that are waiting to be photographed in the studio tomorrow and will be up on sale ASAP (i.e tomorrow!). These are just sneak peaks, I hope you fall in love with them (or a very very deep like if you have an aversion for the word love and consumerism lol!)

You could do one of those generic store bought cards or turn your attention to something a little more interactive - a word search card, naturally full of christmas goodness and bound to delight geeks and non-geeks!

Test your Santa knowledge with this reindeer game, yep these set of cards is pretty perfect for any family!
Side note: OMG I just spell checked this post and Blogger suggests that I should substitute Mariah with Maria. Hang your head in shame blogger dictionary!


She is One!

So little Miss Paper Whispers turned the big magic number ONE! Woohoo! Here is our tale mostly in pictures!

Madame started the day by picking her own clothes (i.e threw all the clothes out of the drawers and then hugged the butterfly costume). So I decided she wanted to be a butterfly for the day! It is a gorgeous piece from BHB Kidstyle!

Our little butterfly!

We went to White Post Farm in Nottingham and if I am honest and you are considering this as a possible birthday venue, please prepare to be underwhelmed. It costs nearly 10 pounds per adult to enter and the best part about it was the meerkats and reptiles neither or which are actually farm animals. Now there are farm animals there too but to be honest the barn is very stinky and the outside area where some pigs, goats and cows are is really so small that you are pretty much done with your farm tour in about 20 minutes. You do get to feed the animals (provided you fork out another 3 pounds). I would not moan so much had the price been half of what was charged.

However, cranky as I may sound, I enjoyed the day because it was my girl's first birthday and that is what counts!

A healthy looking meerkat

Some birdies at White Post Farm

Piece de resistance - A bearded dragon taken through a finger print covered window no less, how good was that shot!

Dad baked her a cake and I decorated it. It was a sacher torte with white chocolate cigarellos or cigarillos and some hand made chocolate roses. It was a mini cake for a mini birthday......just slightly bigger than a traditional cupcake


Home made sacher torte with white cigarellos
Finally I gained some inspiration from seeing her in that pretty butterfly costume and made a mirror image butterfly print for a baby nursery (in the shop now!), although to be honest, it can equally look good in any room. Hers is in black and orange to match her current colour scheme - you can see it on instagram - here . Naturally if you read the last post, this was always going to end in a shameless self promotion!

The butterfly print from Paper Whispers


Arnold Schwarzenegger, a vegetarian dinner (almost), Dr.Phil, Steve Harvey and a rosemary print

What a title! Are you curious how Arnie, my dinner, Dr. Phil, Steve Harvey and some herb prints are related? Haha, now that I have your attention, let me explain. First, I am a very committed meat eater. I had one tiny deviation from my meat commitment in my 20's when I tried to be a vegetarian for a week (lol, a whole week!). I saw a documentary on the very cruel fur trade and thought the logical thing would be to give up meat entirely. However, my body seriously rebelled, I lost 6kg (12ish pounds) was constantly hungry and tired despite consuming vast amounts of potatoes, bread and eggs and then stuffing 5 million vegetables, fruits and water to try to pack away the hunger. I just didn't have the stamina for the vegetarian life!

However, here is where we bring in Arnie, I do agree with Arnold Schwarzenegger that really we do need to reduce our consumption of meat for ecological reasons.  You can read the full article here - Stop Eating Meat and Save The Planet

What a cheesy photo of Arnie, gotta love the 80's?

My hubby, however, is just not on board with vegetarian meals so we have reached a strange compromise! I love this roasted butternut squash and caramelized onion tart - recipe here from epicurious. I tasted it at a friend's house and have been trying to perfect it to my own taste - no bread crust, little less butter, more equal cheese ratios, perfecting the tart casing etc. It is really tasty.......as anything with 3 types of cheese should be! It is a vegetarian recipe but to get hubby to eat it, half of the tart has bacon pieces put into it making a vegetarian and non-vegetarian combo. In a sense it is not a steak dinner, so there is some meat consumption reduction of sorts which is the best I can do with the man of the house at the moment! If you are wondering the bacon side tastes phenomenal......as anything with bacon should!


This is the vegetarian side of the tart, the pieces you see are actually the caramelised onion, not bacon!

Finally if you have ever watched an episode of Dr.Phil or Steve Harvey, you will see that plugging yourself is highly recommended for daytime TV. If you have an interested audience who came to see one thing, don't forget to shamelessly advertise your own brand, just make sure it kind of, sort of links in to the thing the audience came to see. I am therefore pinching a leaf from this tree and saying.........here is my rosemary print available now as part of the new Kitchen Art or Kitchen Decor in my shop! My tart above contained rosemary and thyme fresh from my garden (can I get a hand clap for linking this in?). I hope you enjoyed my shameless self promotion because I enjoyed crafting this tale, purely to show you my print.........haha!

Kitchen Art - Rosemary herb print from Paper Whispers





The autumn garden harvest: kitchen table to kitchen art

The herbs in my English country garden are in full bloom. The beauty with these things is that they grow really well with little to no attention. The humans of the house pick out the weeds when we remember to, the cats fertilise them (don't run too wild with your imagination lol) and finally when the heat of the summer sun cools just a smidgeon, it is time for the plants to bloom and boy do they bloom!

Thyme, rosemary and oregano
Fresh thyme, rosemary and oregano were the herbs of choice for a pretty tasty lemon and herb roast chicken and the carrots in the roasting tin really tasted divine! I did think that they looked so pretty that they should be immortalised for all to see. I therefore saved a sprig from each and turned them into some kitchen art prints for my store -(find them all here)


My very own organic thyme transformed into a kitchen print

Oregano is truly a lovely herb with very pretty flowers but I saved those for the bees and this lovely green one for my kitchen decor collection
Naturally I had to put a little bit of a scientific twist on it in the form of adding the scientific or Latin naming for each herb to each print.......so I can say it is a pretty clever design as per the moniker for Paper Whispers!

Sorcery - Cotton Candy Grapes at Sainsburys


There is nothing more to say, this is modern day sorcery.......these cotton candy grapes actually do taste like cotton candy.

A wishing tree - tales from the shires!

So Paper Whispers is based is sunny Nottingham which is in Nottinghamshire. If you are a fan of Lord of the Rings, you will know of the shires! Really and truly the idea of middle earth was found right here in the aptly named midlands! Of course I would love to design a Lord of the Rings type product and it would be awesome but sadly it is still under copyright and I am not able to until 2044..........lol!

So failing that, here is a taste of what you can find in the shires! A wishing tree! The concept is the same as a wishing well, where you toss a penny and make your wish. However, if you visit the Peak District (technically in Derbyshire).......you can find a wishing tree where you press your penny into a tree and make a wish!

The wishing tree in the Peak District
Close up view of a penny pressed into the tree bark
There are other delights too that you can find in my neck of the woods and slowly but surely, I will reveal them all!