It’s no secret I love Instagram – I spend many an hour posting pretty pictures and seeking out inspiration. I like admiring accounts that are really brand focused and wish I could post every picture to complement the others. I enjoy seeing what my friends and acquaintances are up to in a snapshot without having to invest too much time. It’s also a quick and easy route to independent sellers who use Instagram to showcase their craft which inspires many people like myself!

I came across Crafty Fox on Instagram some time ago as you can’t really avoid them on an event day. Their hashtag spreads like wild fire and you quickly get what they’re all about. Since 2010, they’ve set up unique and intimate events for local makers to sell their work, and in some case be realised by more commercial buyers. In their own words they, ‘connect UK handmade and design talent with savvy shoppers.’ Up until now, these events were held in London but guess what – they’re coming to Leeds next month for their first shindig up north! And how did I know about this months ago? Well my good friend, Bridget who runs Lambsie  just happens to be organising it which means it’s guaranteed to be a belter!





After Bridget held a Lamsbie stall at Crafty Fox in Brixton, she couldn’t stop thinking about how great the event was and felt it would be really popular in Leeds. She contacted Sinead (founder of CF) and suggested they team up to bring the well established market to Leeds. Sinead didn’t take much persuading and luckily for us Yorkshire folk, the event is taking place on Sat 4th and Sun 5th June at The Black Swan, Call Lane from 11am-5pm. 80 exhibitors including jewellers, stationers, potters and textile designers will be set up to woo us with their creations. They’ll be pizza by the slice, craft beers, creative workshops and a kids area to entertain those assisting the hardcore shoppers!





Being one of the Yorkshire Bloggers and feeling so excited about this event, I thought it best to give you a month’s notice to arrange your diaries and get yourselves there! Details can be found here

**All images provided by Kayti Feather (Photographer & Crafty Fox Marketing Manager)

See you there!! Love Laura


I intended to write this blog a few weeks ago but our new arrival put paid to that! But today we’re in new territory – baby and beagle are napping at the same time, so finally my fingers are free and I have the chance to switch on my brain!

It was 5 weeks ago when all the action kicked off. My waters broke in the middle of the night and 12 hours later, our beautiful baby boy, Sonny, was in my arms. Just before I gave my final push, I remember stopping all the action in the delivery room by shouting, ‘I don’t know how to feel. How am I supposed to feel?’ After a collective look of puzzlement from the doctors and a brief reflection on how my pregnancy had escalated and gotten complicated so quickly, I regrouped and got my shit together. Pushing until I thought my ribs would burst and my head would pop off, suddenly, there he was. All long and slender and desperate to get on my chest for our long awaited cuddle. I really couldn’t comprehend it at first – I just felt so lucky to finally see him.


After we got home from the hospital, Sonny’s newborn phase passed in a haze. Being a big baby, he quickly grew out of his first size baby grows and even now at 5 weeks old, he’s already finding a few of his 0-3 clothes are rather tight. As with all new babies, they have no idea they’re supposed to sleep at night so life existed in time increments for the first few weeks. Each included a feed (which he screamed for), a change (which he screamed for) and a nap (if I was lucky!) These days he’s spending more time awake and I’ve even been honoured to receive a few smiles. We spend the days running simple errands whilst getting to know each other. I attempt to show him off to my dog walking friends but most are only still interested in the dog so I tell Sonny not to worry – they’ll pay more attention to him when he’s older and running around with beagle!


I’ve got to say I don’t miss my bump at all even though everyone said I would. I’m loving having my body back and being able to run about with the dog. Jimmy is definitely pleased I can bring the shopping in and jump up whenever Sonny whimpers. It’s no secret pregnancy didn’t agree with me and feeling like I can contribute to life again is a revelation. My body is definitely not what I had before but hopefully I’ll get something I might be able to appreciate a bit more. After all, it made Sonny and is continuing to feed him.

The only downside to all this is the interrupted sleep. I wake up in the night to feed him and it takes a while for my eyes to start working. We get there in the end and usually he goes back to sleep fairly easily. Last week nearly finished me off when he got hit by colic. I have no idea what causes it but it’s living hell. Sonny cried non-stop for a few days and after learning there’s special drops that help the gas go away, he returned to his usual laid back self.

Now that a slight routine is starting to form, I’m hoping I’ll be able to start blogging a bit more. Sonny will be of course be featured heavily – he’s too cute not to be and takes up every minute of my new life. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Love Laura










Every year, me and my family remove the traditional christmas pudding from our festive menu. Why? Because we hate it! I can only remember liking it once when I was about 7 because my Grandad Percy filled it with pound coins! Unfortunately my dad loves it (without marzipan!) so I thought it was about time we added a new suggestion so that we’re all happy! The other day, I was talking to a friend in California about creating new Christmas traditions (she has the weather so they’re opting for a Mexican breakfast!) and this got me thinking. Inspired by my recent visit to Just Grand and having eaten their fabulous chocolate Guinness cake, I thought this could potentially be our annual Christmas dessert.

Nigella is my go-to girl for all things chocolatey so it was a brilliant coincidence when I came across this recipe. The beauty of this creation is it’s all made in one pot which simplifies the process while also saving on the washing up! When it comes out the oven, the sponge is a luxurious, dark colour which only needs frosting to appear like a pint of Guinness. It’s the most deliciously moist cake that you can keep going back to!

* I learnt that you shouldn’t use low fat cream cheese – only full fat will do. The double cream can also easily be over whipped resulting in runny frosting.

** For an extra Christmas hit, you can also add a few tablespoons of Baileys to the frosting mixture.

Ingredients for the cake

  • 250 ml guinness
  • 250 grams unsalted butter
  • 75 grams cocoa powder
  • 400 grams caster sugar
  • 142 ml sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 275 grams plain flour
  • 2 ½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

For the topping

  • 300 grams cream cheese
  • 150 grams icing sugar
  • 125 ml double cream (or whipping cream)


  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C/350ºF, and butter and line a 23cm / 9 inch springform tin.
  2. Pour the Guinness into a large wide saucepan, add the butter – in spoons or slices – and heat until the butter’s melted, at which time you should whisk in the cocoa and sugar. Beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla and then pour into the brown, buttery, beery pan and finally whisk in the flour and bicarb.
  3. Pour the cake batter into the greased and lined tin and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Leave to cool completely in the tin on a cooling rack, as it is quite a damp cake.
  4. When the cake’s cold, sit it on a flat platter or cake stand and get on with the icing. Lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth, sieve over the icing sugar and then beat them both together. Or do this in a processor, putting the unsieved icing sugar in first and blitz to remove lumps before adding the cheese.
  5. Add the cream and beat again until it makes a spreadable consistency. Ice the top of the black cake so that it resembles the frothy top of the famous pint.

This recipe was taken from Nigella’s website. Link here.


Love Laura


On Saturday, me and hubby took advantage of an early Christmas present by taking ourselves to the Grand Arcade in Leeds, a Grade II listed Victorian building for afternoon tea. Our friends had kindly bought us a voucher for the Just Grand vintage tearoom and having spent a few hours Christmas shopping, we were ready to put our feet up (or in my case put my pregnant belly down!!) and enjoy some much needed R n R! Not long ago, I’d spent some time in Just Grand enjoying a cuppa and the best slice of chocolate guinness cake I’d ever had. The waitresses that looked after us were so lovely and full of warmth that I immediately felt at home, wrapping myself in the vintage blankets they had at the ready! After a busy week and the stresses of life, spending just an hour in such a relaxing, nostalgic atmosphere did me and my friend the world of good. Being typically British, I’m all over the tea and cake and view it as money well spent, after all it’s far cheaper than therapy!!


Just Grand 1

So with one fantastic Just Grand trip under my belt, I was delighted to be going again with Jim for plenty more of the same! This time, we sat inside at the table they’d kindly reserved for us which was already set out with vintage china. The menu as always is placed on a record sleeve and this time we were lucky to have Donny Osmond joining us! As it’s Christmas, their already expansive list of loose leaf teas has grown and now features festive mulled wine and coconut truffle. The lovely owner recommended I try coco chai which arrived in a quaint teapot, with a silver tea strainer and a timer which goes off when the tea is blended to perfection. Whilst we chose from the selection of freshly made cakes and scones, vintage music played in the background which always reminds me of Grandma Eileen. She used to sing the same vintage songs every Christmas (and throughout the year!) whilst she hugged me and my twin, one on each side. We’d always try and get away but we never seemed to succeed! At the time, we were too young to appreciate her talent for holding a tune but seeing her face light up when she sang is something I’ll never forget. I love any place that brings back memories of my Grandma and Just Grand provides a great backdrop for those special moments to surface again.





Whilst you sip on your drinks, your head moves back and forth as you attempt to take in every prop and feature. The family-run business have styled their tea room based on the 1950s with vintage tables and chairs complete with cushions. The owners dress in authentic wears and we were so impressed with the male owner that not only looked the part, but spoke genuinely like he was from an era gone by. It’s obvious a lot of work goes into this little venture but from what I saw, a love for all things vintage is clearly in their blood, which I hope lessens the load.




The afternoon tea is priced at £11.95 per head which contains four sandwiches, a scone with cream/jam, choices of cakes and unlimited tea/coffee. We picked the apple and cinnamon scones, the pumpkin pie and chocolate fudge cake – all of which were spectacular! It arrives on a three-tiered china plate which must be tackled from the bottom up. There’s plenty to fill you up and the constant stream of hot drinks lets you soak in the atmosphere at a relaxing and leisurely pace. Although we didn’t try it, we saw the gentleman’s afternoon tea being served which includes a pork pie, pickle, crisps, sandwiches and a pale ale or bitter.




Just Grand is a unique vintage experience that won’t be forgotten in a hurry – it really is a hidden gem. The greatest gift Just Grand offers is that you don’t feel like you’re sat in the bustling city of Leeds, but somewhere far far away from the stresses of everyday, modern life. The service is wonderful, the cake is comforting and the atmosphere is unique. If you’re after a vintage hotspot in the city to bring back memories or create new ones, I can’t recommend Just Grand enough.

Check out their website here!

Just Grand 2

Love Laura



As Micky Flanagan would say, its been a while since I’ve been out out! In previous years, I usually have Christmas do’s coming out my ears but being a self-employed dog owner and finding myself heavily pregnant, the party invites have dried up somewhat, along with my enthusiasm for drunken nights out. When my good friend, Natasha invited us to join her annual Christmas get-together, all my chips were in! Daytime activity, tick! Good company, tick! Food, tick!


We arrived at Manahatta just after midday on Sunday, having spent a self-indulgent hour getting ‘vintage’ ready. I threw on a 70s emerald kimono and some cowboy boots and felt wonderful (for a third-trimester kind of gal!) All I needed to do now was feed my ever-present appetite which had already undergone two decent sized breakfasts. After a ‘mocktail’ that was never going to replace a great glass of red, I started to have a nose around our lovely and cosy venue. I haven’t been on a boozy one in Leeds for ages so it’s no surprise I’d never heard of Manahatta. Their concept of , ‘Bringing a taste of New York to Downtown Leeds,’ has certainly been achieved in a classy and understated way avoiding the garish Frankie & Benny-style diner look. The staff are super helpful, the lighting is soft and the chair backs are high which suit those of us with bad backs!



Before long, we were led to the room that had been reserved for us. Decorated with vintage props, dark wood bookcases, baubles and holly, it was the perfect backdrop to get merry whilst catching up with old friends, and meeting plenty of new ones.






We quickly found out that to order from the Christmas menu, we needed to have pre-ordered which we obviously didn’t do. None of that mattered because their Sunday roast menu had 50% off as part of their Winter Special. After a round of starters (the tempura prawns were amazing), we all ordered the beef/pork/half chicken roast. It was accompanied by two vegetable options and since I’ve been craving purple sprouted broccoli for months (don’t judge me!), half of that decision-making process was made easy. I also went for cauliflower which was covered in swathes melted cheese – OH MY GOD…SO GOOD! I had the delicious pork and although the crackling portion was a touch stingy, the boulder-sized roast potatoes more than made up for it.




I think the roast was priced at a super cheap £6 making it taste even better. Unfortunately, my husband didn’t take a picture of the actual roast because the venue dimmed the lights, and to be honest it tasted so good, a picture would have wasted precious eating time!!

As pregnancy takes over my life, afternoons like these mean so much more than they did before. Simply being able to feel ‘normal’ again feels like a gift. I’d highly recommend taking advantage of Manahatta’s 50% menu while Winter is here. It’s a great welcoming venue that provided a festive setting for friends to come together and raise a glass.


Love Laura


A few months ago during my second trimester, I was sat nearing the end of a routine doctors visit when I remembered to mention my awful pregnancy skin. My chin and tea zone areas in particular were inflamed, flaky and spotty and my whole body was suffering from pregnancy itch morning, noon and night. When it was time to go to sleep, I’d sometimes dread getting into bed as I knew 45 minutes of itching lay ahead. I’d get my husband out of bed way past midnight to change the already clean sheets which usually provided at least 2 minutes relief. I’d tried soothing aloe vera gels, lashings of E45 and non-fragranced talc, but my skin still looked like a teenagers. My doctor obviously blamed my pesky hormones but thoughtfully suggested, ‘have you tried Aveeno?’ Apart from knowing Jennifer Aniston represents the brand, I’d never used it or even noticed it on any shop shelf.


Following this visit, I spent another frustrating week exhausting the same pointless products before I decided to take action. Off I went to buy my £7 bottle of Aveeno and noticed it contained oatmeal but had no idea why that would work? Well, Google has the answer to most things and here again it came up trumps! Oatmeal was used back in the 1940s when money was scarce and ‘being creative’ usually solved inflictions. It was used to treat most skin irritations in a warm bath or as a poultice placed on the skin, and treated chicken pox alongside calamine lotion. Essentially soothing and moisturising the skin by removing dead skin cells which can lead to inflammation, oatmeal is well known for treating acne, eczema and rashes and soothes sunburn and itchy skin. It also helps the skin to return to its normal pH levels which is exactly what it did for me in two days (no joke!)

Using the oatmeal-infused Aveeno cream, my skin quickly returned to its normal, pale colour and my itchiness thankfully passed. Overnight, I became Aveeno’s number one fan and now use it from head to toe. My expanding belly gets Aveeno-ed twice a day which I now favour over stretch mark oil I’d previously been using. It easily absorbs into my skin unlike oil which would sit on the surface until it came off on my clothing. The scent is rather bland and inoffensive which is exactly what inflamed skin needs. That said Aveeno have just introduced a new coconut scent lotion which offers all the same properties. I need this in my life!


With all the aches and pains pregnancy brings, finding Aveeno to at least cure my pregnancy skin was a revelation and a cheap one at that. Throwing too many expensive chemicals on sensitive skin usually makes matters worse and besides I’m now hooked on the simplicity of using just one natural product. Who knew stepping back 70s years and re-embracing the magical properties of oatmeal was all I needed to do!

Love Laura


**Aveeno can also be used on baby’s skin which I’ll be trying out next year!

Yesterday, before sausage baguettes and mulled cider happened at Christkindelmarkt, I had the pleasure of visiting Leeds City Museum which was hosting, ‘Etsy Made Local Christmas Market.’ I’d been looking forward to this for weeks so dragged my best friend along as my expectations were sky high! Events like these usually take place down south, so I thought it was wonderful that Etsy hired 15 local venues around the country this weekend to display independent local sellers.

It turns out 6500 visitors showed up during the course of the day which I think was helped by its stunning location next to Christkindelmarkt which is always packed this time of year. That said, wallets were out and people were buying non stop. As a trader, browsers are always lovely but buyers are what make the long day worth it and this event didn’t let anyone down. As my expectations for were so high (and because I love lots of Etsy sellers), I was a tiny bit disappointed not to see more stalls and was hoping for more than one floor. I know…I’m a greedy shopper but had there been a few silversmith jewellers and as my friend commented, more homewares we may have spent a bit more. I did however buy a few prints for our new nursery and my friend bought some unique gifts he wouldn’t have got anywhere else.


As someone that has turned their back on the high street, I’ve been doing most of my Christmas shopping at fairs like this. It’s a chance to have a natter with the creator and find out their story (which I love because I’m nosey!) Presents can sometimes become generic without much thought attached to them, with too much emphasis on the price tag rather than the actual gift. By organising events like this, Etsy are giving sellers more than an online connection with customers – they’re strengthening the face to face #shopsmall ethos which is gaining popularity. If you’re with me, stick your tongue out to the high street and start following the independent sellers in time for Christmas! To get you started, here are some of our favourite stalls from yesterday and their Instagram accounts –


Left image from Little Magpie Etsy shop.

Etsy Shop – The Little Magpies – Teething & Babywearing Jewellery & Accessories

Instagram – @thelittlemagpies


We love this illustration from Onetenzeroseven!

Etsy Shop – Onetenzeroseven – Handmade kooky jewellery from Leeds.

Instagram – @onetenzeroseven


Elsie & Nell

Shop – – Accessories & stationery made in Sheffield.

Instagram – @Elsieandnell


Dick Beau & Red Paper House

Etsy Shop – Dick Beau – Gentleman’s attire (bow ties & lapel pins)

Instagram – @dickbeau

Shop – – Jewellery, prints and accessories inspired by nature.

Instagram – @redpaperhouse


Sootie Limetree

Etsy Shop – Sootie Limetree – Illustrations & knitted art toys

Instagram – @sootielimetree


My favourite prints were from animal artist @beccimaryanne. Images taken from her shop.

Shop – Becci Maryanne – Amazing animal artist.  The bunny is going to be mine for my woodland themed nursery! 

Instagram – @beccimaryanne


For more information on future Etsy events held in Leeds, follow their Facebook page.

Love Laura


Hello GE readers,

It’s been a few weeks since the last instalment of, ‘Doing What They Do Best,’ but I wanted to do the job properly and share only the best with you. If you know me well, you’ll have already heard of Caboodle Magazine because I can’t stop talking about it. I first met the creators, Amy & Kayti, at The Vintage Festival in April which I can’t believe because we’ve shared so many interactions/meets/emails since. I wrote a blog on their magazine venture whilst I was still trading at the festival – that’s how much of an impression they left on me. I was lucky to meet the girls before I met their magazine if you like. Their wonderfully happy, giddy and hard working personalities are exactly like their magazine and I could see all of these traits on every page. It’s full of colour and inspiration guiding you through delicious recipes and brilliant DIY creations. Once you’ve put the magazine down (like the girls!), you’re completely addicted to their way of life and the urge to bake, make, upcycle and craft stays with you long after. They work together in sync and capitalise on each other’s strengths which I really admire. They are the ultimate pom-pom queens who met via a chance meeting, became the best of friends and with a lot of hard work and creativity produced this beautiful coffee table magazine. Let’s find out how they did it…

1) How did you first meet, and how did Caboodle come about?

Amy: Not that we want to give them ANY credit, but we met at a bicycle trade show, as our other halves are both involved. I think Kayti was looking for other bored girls and I saw that she was dishing out sweets on the sly, so I sidled over and started talking to the funkiest little beret wearer I’ve ever met! She was this amazing, trendy super cool photographer and I was a little in awe, but we joked about combining our superpowers of writing and picture taking, then did noting about it for months!

Kayti: But we finally got our shit together and thought, right, lets really do this and make it happen, and it went from there! I’ve always dreamt of having my own mag so meeting Amy was the catalyst to making it happen really so I’m so happy we crossed paths!


Cover images by Kayti Peschke from Caboodle SS15 and AW15 editions

2) What sort of magazine did you want to create with Caboodle?

Amy: I get fed up of feeling like everything is a hard sell, or that I’m simply not good enough as I am when I read magazines. I think they should be fun, ritualistic and enjoyed. That’s what I wanted to get back to… the kind of thing that you look REALLY forward to coming out so you can make a cup of the ‘good’ hot chocolate, sit down and just slowly savour it all. With very few ads too. Urgh. Ads can be really intrusive if not selected carefully.

Kayti: I agree, I love Vogue for the editorials but the rest of it is irrelevant features and ads to me. I wanted to create something fun and colourful, with a wide range of content that would be a great read as well as being visually delightful! I definitely felt strongly about it being a print mag on beautiful paper, and wanted to showcase lots of independent makers, illustrators and creatives. I also wanted the mag to have a feel of a keepsake that would be kept on the shelf and re read time and again, rather than being discarded.


Image provided by Kayti Peschke & Amy Tocknell from Caboodle AW15

3) What experience/skills/personality traits do you both bring to Caboodle?

d.Amy: I’m a trained editor and experienced freelance writer, so I bring coffee-drinking skills, sarcasm and big grumps on deadline days. Only kidding… sort of. I’m the bad cop out of the two of us and will always tackle the more gritty elements of business, as I don’t think Kayti should have to. She is wonderfully creative and I think her head shouldn’t get muddled with all the more boring bits. That being said, I’ve started to try my hand at a little bit of art direction now and then too and that is really fun.

Kayti: I do all the layouts and most of the photography and I bring a lot of colour and quirkiness I guess! The layout design is new to me as I’d never done it before Caboodle but I really enjoy it and try to keep pushing myself to try new things. I also love working with all the illustrators on commissioning work for the features, and spend a lot of time thinking about features and dreaming up fun shoot concepts!

4) What do you enjoy the most about running your own magazine and what are the greatest challenges?

Amy: The best thing is not working for corporate publishers, having carte blanche to feature whatever we want, being able to talk about unicorns constantly and genuinely being able to march to the beat of our own drum. The challenge of that, however, is that it has a tendency to bring about a lot of self-imposed pressure. We want every issue to be amazing and better than the last and I have nightmares where I have no new ideas and even Harry Potter doesn’t inspire me! On those days I usually grab a bag of sweets and wait for the sugar rush to inspire some odd things… which it does regularly!

Kayti: I most enjoy having an outlet for all my crazy and silly ideas, and having a great excuse to make them a reality! Luckily people seem to like them so far. And hearing from all our lovely readers that they like the magazine or have been inspired by a feature always makes my heart burst! I think the hardest thing for me is when I’m putting the layouts together, I’m a major perfectionist so it takes a while for me to be happy with everything visually, but when a spread comes together I’m so proud and its a great feeling!


Image provided by Kayti Peschke & Amy Tocknell from Caboodle SS15


Image provided by Kayti Peschke & Amy Tocknell from Caboodle AW15

5) Working for yourself and being located in different cities (Norwich & York), how do you work together, schedule your work time and dish out jobs?

Amy: Honestly? It’s so much simpler than people think! We usually just text each other and say “Skype?” then we both grab a pooch (our dogs like to be part of the conversation), get to our offices and talk online for at least an hour. I never look presentable, but Kayti has mastered the art of beret hair camouflage, so always looks fab. I’ll remember to do that one day. We dish out what needs doing according to what Kayti wants to start laying out first and we go through ideas and concepts, then just get going. We both come away with huge handwritten lists, then text each other about 15 more times during the day. Not always about work, we just like to stay in touch or send each other emojis. Except I keep getting annoyed at the lack of avocado one.

Kayti: Yep I write A LOT of lists!

6) Are you city slickers or country bumpkins?

Amy: COUNTRY BUMPKINS! And I know for a fact Kayti will say the same thing! I am never happier than when I’m at home, with the woodburner roaring and my trumpy dog sitting under my desk while I work. My other half works from home too, so he potters in and out and we always eat lunch together and walk the dog to get a screen break and some air. There is nothing but fields behind our house, so it’s amazing to just stand in the back garden and enjoy some silence. Especially on deadline days, when I am being crabby or my eyes hurt.

Kayti: Yeah I love living in the countryside, quite happy here in the middle of nowhere! But there is definitely still a part of me that is a city girl, but now I enjoy the city life for a few hours then I’m happy to leave again!


Images by Kayti Peschke from Caboodle AW15

7) Where do you find inspiration for your magazine? How do you get your creative sparks going?!

Amy: We chat and things just appear, like magic. Honestly, some of the ideas we have had just by having a quick Skype call, that was nothing to do with creative things originally, are ridiculous, but amazing! It’s all about working with someone that is totally on your wavelength and genuinely like you and Kayti loves so many of the things that I do, we just start talking at a million words per minute and what comes out is often pure gold! I have to write things down on post-its, just so I don’t forget how hilarious they are. Silly things inspire us though, like listening to Wham or something we overheard or a picture we like on Instagram. It’s a weird but wonderful process!

Kayti: Yeah I get inspiration everywhere, Instagram and Pinterest are great of course but I also watch lots of films which inspire me a lot too!


Image provided by Kayti Peschke & Amy Tocknell from Caboodle SS15

8) What does a typical day look like?

Amy: I have a lot of freelance clients and my workload is pretty chocka, which means when I finish my ‘work work’, I sit down at about 7pm, on the sofa with my laptop and start doing Caboodle things. When I get a rare day off, I like to try and get as much Caboodle done as possible, because it’s a treat and doesn’t feel like proper work. Day-to-day though, I sit in a pink office, with Polaroid pics of Kayti, my other half and our dog everywhere, mood boards and things like AstroTurf on the walls (to pin all my brooches to, naturally), so my day looks eclectic, to say the least. Always busy, but always a little bit weird too.

Kayti: I always start the day with a peppermint tea whilst I check my emails, and then start to work through one of my many lists, shooting images for a feature and organising future magazine plans and working through layouts etc… I also shoot for other clients so some days I am in my home studio or on location, it’s great to always be doing something different.


Image by Kayti Peschke from Caboodle AW15

9) What are the three things a Caboodle girl can’t live without?

Amy: Dogs, crafting and cheesy music. I wouldn’t be me if any of these things were missing, so when I pop on some Dolly Parton, give my beloved Boo Boo a snuggle and try to get around to some cross stitch, I feel myself and like the world is alright after all. If I could add a fourth thing, it would be cake. Lovely cake.

Kayti: Colour, fun and laughter, all essentials for a Caboodle girl in all aspects of life!

10) What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Amy: Don’t compete with yourself. I was once told that your worst competition is yourself, because you will always be capable of more or better in your own head. I’ve struggled with not feeling good enough in the past, but now I just go with the flow. Not every idea can be a winner, not every vintage purchase will fit and not every batch of baking will taste good, but as long as the process was fun, it’s a success.

As long as Caboodle makes people happy when they read it, I feel just about the most successful person in the world. What a gift, to be able to say that you genuinely made someone else happy with something you dreamt up.

Kayti: Live everyday like its your last! Eat the cake, buy the dress, don’t sweat the small stuff and cherish your loved ones. Then eat more cake!


Amy (left) & Kayti

To immerse yourself in the Caboodle experience, you can buy their magazines online, read their blogs and follow them on Twitter & Instagram.


Hope you enjoyed this inspiring read from Amy & Kayti! Fancy starting something new and living a life in colour?! Why not…you only live once!

Love Laura


Twitter – @CaboodleMag

Instagram – @caboodlemagazine

At GE HQ we love a bargain and all things festive so we’re offering 25% off everything in our online shop today. Vintage dresses, jumpers, skirts, jackets and bags are all included until the clock strikes midnight. But never fear, because we’re feeling so damn happy Santa’s on his way, we’ll be starting a new sale in the morning! Anyone got a shoe and jewellery addiction?! Well check in at midday for more reductions!

Click here to avoid crowds and shop in peace!

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Love Grandma Eileen!


With 2015 soon coming to a close, its put me in a reflective mood. I don’t normally set any long term goals or silly resolutions at New Year, as my whole mindset firstly needs to change and this takes longer than a spur of the moment, overnight whim. It was probably for the best that I didn’t set any goals this year as 2015 has been my most unproductive year since birth – details of which I’ll bore you with later!

So I suppose 2015 really got exciting when I decided to hang up my construction hat in April and quit a job that had meant so much to me. I’d been at the company five years and loved some of my colleagues like family, after all that’s what they become when you see them everyday. It was the first company I’d ever been fully comfortable at, knowing full well that I had the support of all those that mattered. Back in 2014, a much wanted promotion came along but unfortunately this change didn’t sit well with everybody. I understood the initial negativity having stepped up from what was viewed as an admin role to suddenly taking on more project management responsibilities. This I accepted, but it still made me reflect on the people I’d been working with for five years. The people I worked with loved me when I was doing daily tasks for them and making their work lives easier, after all that was what I was employed to do and I didn’t mind it one bit. What I’m trying to say is people will keep taking and vocalising their appreciation until something changes which doesn’t directly benefit them. I realised that if I wanted to progress, I’d need to toughen up and shut out the noise which I managed to do for some time. However, it was one stupid argument with a nobody that made me jump ship. The colleague in question didn’t just attack my new role, there was a personal attack made on my behaviour since earlier miscarriages in the year. I’ll concede that perhaps I was a little short tempered without realising, partially preoccupied by my new role but the insult was nevertheless sickening, prompting a ten hour crying session. My job had become the priority and although this nobody probably still throws about insults like she throws back shots, she in fact did me a huge favour. Life to me is so much more important than a job that compromises your ability to convey kindness, empathy and understanding. Being a complicated woman (who isn’t?!), I realised I needed space and a quieter life to heal and figure everything out. My husband stepped up to support me both emotionally and financially which gave me the confidence to wish this old life away. It still surprises me how everything worked out for the best, but I’d be lying if I said I don’t miss any of it. Those that I’m still in touch with filled the previous five years with support and friendship and I’ll always be grateful for that.

What else changed when I left work? Well, the partying stopped, immediately! Being boozy and sociable came with the job if you like, which I viewed as a massive perk. I’d spent my 20s under the table somewhat so this was only an extension of the life I’d already been living. The cost of partying was covered by work, always accompanied with the guilt-free saying ‘work hard, play hard.’ Once I left work, that side of things stopped and obviously becoming pregnant soon after put the last nail in the drinking coffin! My work life dictated every decision I made on a weekend – what could I manage if I was still hungover from work? My personal life had long been out of sync as nights out with work took precedence; believe it or not, I was completely blind to it. When I left work, I was able to make plans and stick to them, not diving out because of a mad night out during the week. It sounds like I didn’t enjoy the craziness, believe me I loved it, but my 32 year old self desperately wanted a family and I didn’t want to be the reliable drop out anymore. My priorities changed and I for one did not see it coming!

At the start, I said 2015 has been my most unproductive and selfish year by far. This is no exaggeration – I’ve walked my new beagle to death replacing boozy nights out for some self discovery with little attention spent on developing my business (which was another loose goal of mine!) How cheesy does that sound – self discovery?! If I was reading this about anyone else, I might let a glimmer of judgement through but why not be cheesy if it’s true. For me this blog is an opportunity to be truly honest, something I find easier to convey on paper sometimes rather than face to face. Now self discovery may seem like a code name for laziness and you’d be damn right – I’ve been lazy in parts. I’m not going to deny it – I’ve enjoyed food like I’ve never done before and loved the luxury of napping! My mindset is healthy and more than ready for our baby to arrive in February. By now, I’m sure you’re reading this and saying to yourself, ‘lucky cow!’ I’m saying it with you – I feel so fortunate to have had this time to stop and reset the clock. I know most people are stuck on society’s hamster wheel for life and it’s only because of my husband that I’ve been able to enjoy it.

What 2015 taught me?

  • Family comes first (do I sound like the mafia?!) There’s been so many times this year when our families have dropped everything to help us. Our little one will inherit that support and have two wobbly first-time-parents trying as well!
  • The outcome of rash decisions is always going to be precarious but nothing keeps you down for long.
  • Getting a puppy is the most rewarding yet restricting experience ever!
  • If you don’t see your friends for a while, they instinctively know why you’ve disappeared and will always be ready for a catch up.
  • Cleaning is very different to tidying.
  • Answers can be found not only in the bottom of a wine bottom, but elsewhere! SHOCK!
  • Dessert tastes delicious and maternity pants stretch!
  • If you’re at home most days, get on side with the postman and bin man. One feeds your dog treats everyday, and the other takes your bin out when you’ve forgotten it’s bin day and it’s nowhere near the street!
  • Because your dad is obsessed with cleaning appliances, make sure you’re first in line for his rejects when he upgrades them. The floor steamer he gave us cured our puppy peeing problems instantly! I’m waiting for him to decide if he needs a new cordless vacuum!
  • Life goes on, more noticeably when you’re not included.
  • Facetime is without doubt the best invention on the planet.
  • My husband needs alone time every week without interruption (aka cigar hour out back!) If he texts me first, that’s ok.
  • Walking can take you down many roads. Last month, I walked my usual moors route with a 70 year old lady who’s tales of life and evident spirit put a spring in my step all day!
  • Don’t take any notice of the haters. Erase them immediately!
  • I’m turning into my mother.
  • I can live on a lot less than state benefits.

So my quiet 2015 is on its way out which ideally coincides with my 6 month pregnant self as things are about to change, forever! So I’m starting my resolutions early, in fact right now sounds good. By looking back on 2015, I feel better equipped to set some realistic 2016 goals. Let’s have a gander –

#01   Minimise everything 

Following on from reading ‘The Art of Tidying’  it came to my attention that my life is way too cluttered. This book and its effect took me off guard, making me change the structure of my life overnight (honestly it was that dramatic!) and with it I found a home for every possession. On top of this, the pregnancy ‘nesting’ syndrome is making me want to simplify everything in life, including the million and one choices we make everyday. In 2016, I intend to keep up this tidying momentum (which will save me time when my mother decides to pop in!) and find fresh avenues for my new found talent! As Marie Kondo says, ‘if it doesn’t bring you joy, chuck it!!’

#02  Get more in the diary and seek out more collaborations

Because of the pregnancy sickness over the Summer, I cleared my diary including vintage fairs and plans with friends because I feared I’d be sick until I gave birth. I disappeared socially which is something I want to mend by filling the 2016 diary up. You’d be amazed at how many plans evolve around alcohol (and I miss it!) but I also love going to creative hubs and finding independent shops full of little treasures. These sorts of places are usually surrounded by kitsch cake shops which please everyone. I’m also keen to use 2016 to meet more bloggers and like-minded people to work with. Working for yourself gets lonely and working on joint projects helps creativity and inspiration. Recently, I’ve been meeting with the Yorkshire Bloggers to discuss a joint collaboration which will come to fruition next year. If you’re Yorkshire based and like to know what’s going on the area, give the Facebook page a like.

#03  A new career venture

Because of my pregnant state, travelling to vintage fairs to trade has become a massive effort. When I left my job in April, I was soon doing at least one fair a week which became a healthy income. Obviously heavy lifting is off the menu and with the earlier sickness, I quickly became incapable of making a living via this route. At the moment, I do one vintage fair per month within Yorkshire so my husband can help but this isn’t sustainable with a new baby to feed. So my master plan for 2016 is to decide on a new creative venture, which will work alongside vintage. I love the idea of producing vintage inspired prints and have been gathering lots of inspiration to give me some direction. Producing jewellery is another option as well, but I’m determined to stick to one idea and make it work.

#04  It’s all about me (and hubby) until baby comes

Our lives are about to change forever and with that comes another level of responsibility and pressure. Before we take on our little bambino, we have three months to ourselves. I can’t speak for him, but I’d love a night away in a hotel (can you take beagles?!) or failing that just more quality time together. I want to be more thoughtful by cooking for him regularly (his dinner is never usually ready when he gets in!!) and perhaps join him at a football game down the road (give me strength!) You get the idea anyway – baby moons on a smaller scale!

#05  Blow the dust off the kindle

Last month, I started reading a few books and really enjoyed it. I haven’t really read this year and I don’t know why. I love it so why not make the time?! I’m sure it’s because I find myself staring at our beagle which takes up most of my day!! Anyway, as a Christmas present to myself, I’ll be buying more kindle books based on blog reviews. What’s better than a cosy throw, a spiced chai latte and an inspirational book?!

#06  Sort out my business goals & finances for 2016

This goal has been a bit patchy this year with periods of Grandma Eileen’s being enthusiastically picked up quickly followed by unproductive durations. This needs addressing and levelling out in 2016 because it’s something I’m hugely passionate about. I don’t see its success hanging on vintage trading entirely but add a few strings to the vintage bow and hopefully I’ll be well on my way!

#07   Meet friends in the area

Since we moved to Greetland, Halifax well over a year ago, we’ve loved being near to Bronte Country and enjoyed all the walking trails but I’ve found myself feeling isolated. I suppose it’s because I’m at home everyday but unfortunately I just haven’t met anyone locally yet. I’ve never really had a problem making friends but didn’t think I’d be 32 trying to think of ways to meet new people. I have friends in Leeds but driving 45 minutes for a cuppa isn’t the best use of time so this goal is definitely up there for 2016. I’m hoping with the arrival of bambino, I’ll be able to attend more baby groups and meet mums that way. Without sounding desperate, just having one friend who lives 10 mins walk away, who I can share the load with occasionally would be amazing. #desperate

#08  Family time 

This is one of my biggest goals for 2016. We need to find activities that meet all of our needs – for me, hubby, baby and beagle. Jim works long hours so even if I have to drive into Leeds with bambino so we can all have lunch together or a simple wander round, I’m going to make sure he sees as much as little one as possible. As for weekends, it’s all about family and I can’t wait to be around them all!

#09  Take some craft/creative courses

This is something which is money/time dependent but I’m hoping I can take some screen printing classes at some point in 2016. I’d also love to take a laser cut jewellery course but still trying to find one in Yorkshire. I’ve recently been following some acrylic jewellery artists on Instagram which has really inspired me. Check out @iamacrylic who also runs workshops in London.

#10   Sort the house out!

Since me and Jim got together, I feel like we’ve inherited most of our furniture, some of which I love. However, some pieces need to go and be replaced with things we genuinely like. A home should be a collection of everything you love from coasters to vintage tea tins, so this is what I’ll be working on next year. First stop is creating a wonderful woodland-themed nursery which we haven’t really started yet (that said, mum has knitted every woodland animal going!) The cot went up at the weekend which freaked me out a little! It amazes me a little person will be occupying that space in a few months. I’ve created a woodland board on Pinterest to get the ball rolling.

(*I wanted to include ‘lose all baby weight’ but think it’s way too soon to be putting that kind of pressure on. Besides, I’m addicted to doughnuts and snickers at the mo!)

Did 2015 live up to your expectations? Would you have done anything differently? So what, 2016 is nearly here and lots of things can be achieved all over again!

Love Laura