Thursday, 5 April 2018

Emma Bridgewater Pottery Tour

I am completely dotty (pun intended) about Emma Bridgewater pottery so last year's birthday present, from Andy was an experience day at their factory in Stoke-on-Trent. For various reasons, I didn't get to use the voucher until my most recent birthday but it was definitely one of my most favourite ways to celebrate turning 26!

Emma Bridgewater Tour

I decided to spend the day on my own. Partly because Andy didn't want to come and everyone else was at work but also because I very rarely do anything by myself anymore and I thought it would make a nice change!

I took the train down which was really simple and quick from Chester and arrived at the pottery my standard 30 minutes early. I made the mistake of buying a cookies n cream latte from the train coffee shop and only then thought there would probably be a coffee shop at Emma Bridgewater. Happily, there was so I rectified my beverage mistake with a mug of tea, all served in mismatched EB crockery. Incidentally, as much as I love a teapot, I love being served an actual mug of tea instead of a dainty teacup.

Emma Bridgewater Tour

Then the tour began, there was a group of about 12 of us and we were shown around the pottery. They continue to use Victorian and Edwardian machinery for a lot of the production and the patterns are meticulously sponged on by hand, which might seem a strange choice in a world which is moving more and more towards automation but I personally love the authenticity behind the brand.

Emma Bridgewater Tour

Those famous dots are everywhere throughout the tour. From the 'No Bikes' sign to the factory equipment and check out that aga!!

Emma Bridgewater Tour

Emma Bridgewater Tour

Emma Bridgewater Tour

The tour was followed by afternoon tea, where I made friends with another solo tourer. Now, as you know, I love an afternoon tea! and this was especially good. Cute sandwiches, tiny desserts and vegetable crisps all served on an assortment of EB crockery.

Emma Bridgewater Tour

Emma Bridgewater Tour

The final part of the day was painting. I picked a mug and then set to work deciding on my design. I went with a dot design and then rather than spell my name out (I just couldn't get it to look right), I used the L sponge throughout. No, not to spell "lol", as a few people have suggested. Happy with my design I added some dots to the inside and my name to the bottom of the mug, et voila! 

Emma Bridgewater Tour

Emma Bridgewater Tour

Emma Bridgewater Tour

I'm actually really proud of my little creation, although I'm not sure I'll be invited to join their apprenticeship scheme anytime soon! 

With a little bit of time until my train and to avoid the weather, I took advantage of the shops. Picking up some discounted napkins and some bargain cake plates. Seriously, as a rule, I don't pay full price for any Emma Bridgewater but these were ridiculously low prices! 

All in all, a wonderful day and I can definitely see myself visiting again. 

Details of Emma Bridgewater tours can be found on their factory tour page

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Baby Loss Reading List

I've said it before, there is a solace to be found in reading. At the start of the month, just after the procedure, I read three Dorthy Koomson books in quick succession. She's one of my favourite authors and I find her reading captivating. Admittedly, I hadn't allowed for the themes of baby loss and miscarriage that are often found in her writing.

I am a very quick reader and I love nothing more than getting lost in fiction. I am not great at reading non-fiction though. But, I have chosen some books in which I believe I will find healing and strength over the coming months. 

Baby Loss, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage

1. Saying Goodbye - Zoe Clark-Coates

We actually sell Saying Goodbye at work, hence the link above. But I'll admit when it first came in I was too scared to pick it up. We were still waiting for our next fertility appointment and I knew I wasn't in the right emotional space and it sounds ridiculous but I worried that if I read about baby loss and miscarriage that I would be entertaining negative thoughts. I know it sounds stupid but I just couldn't face it at the time. 

However, I have picked it up now. I've read Zoe's story and I plan to work through the 90-day plan, at my own pace and in my own time. In the last week or so I have spoken to Zoe every day and already consider her a firm friend, she is wise and kind, so I know her book will also be full of wisdom and comfort. 

2. Rising Strong - Brene Brown

I was given this book for my birthday last year. It has been 11 months and I haven't finished it. I don't think I've ever experienced that with a book. It's not that I don't love the work and words of Brene Brown, I actually really do. I think Rising Strong is challenging and has the power to transform. Unfortunately, I would rather read Harry Potter again than face up to the challenge. But I am determined to get into it and actually finish it, ideally before my next birthday.

3. Option B - Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

My woman crush on Sheryl Sandberg continues. A quote from the cover: "None of us can escape sadness, loss, or life's disappointments, so the best option is to find our option B". 

Well, if every there was a time for embracing and finding Option B. I think it might be now!

4. Dare to Dream - Izzy Judd

This will be my... fifth time reading it I believe. But I find so much hope in Izzy's words as well as reading her own experience with infertility and loss. Plus, a reminder to dare to dream and that amazing thing will happen can't be a bad thing, can they?

If you haven't already read it, I've previously reviewed Dare to Dare

and one fiction...

Trying - Emily Philips

"A hugely funny, searingly honest comedy about to expect when you're not expecting". I've read lots of great reviews that suggest Trying is a light-hearted approach to trying for a baby but is also very honest and at times emotional. I'm looking forward to reading.

I'm planning to review each book after I've read them and will be doing something a bit extra with Saying Goodbye, so watch this space.

What is on your reading list at the moment?

*This blog post is not affiliated with Eden or Waterstones, they are just my preference. Most books listed above are available from other booksellers*

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

The Keeping Busy List

Keeping Busy, ectopic pregnancy, ecctopic pregnancy survivor

I guess this is the start of the keeping busy list, to actually blog again. So here I am! 

I've shared on my personal facebook page and on Instagram that we tragically lost our baby at the start of this month, due to an ectopic pregnancy. There is a lot more I could say and a whole long story, I know people have questions too. But I'm not quite ready to share it in its entirety yet nor do I know if I ever will be.

For now, I have been signed off work until 2nd February and due to the nature of the medication I was given, we can't try again for another baby for 3 months. Right now, I can't even begin to imagine trying again but also, 3 months is a long time, especially when all I've really thought about for 15 months is having a baby. 

So I know I want to be in the best place physically, emotionally and mentally when our next hospital appointment comes around in April. Right now I am in no way pushing myself, I'm still struggling immensely with physical side effects so I'm learning a lot about taking things easy. 

But I did write a "keep busy" list, late one night when I couldn't sleep. Some of it I've already completed, some of it I may not get around to, but I thought it'd be fun to share anyway:

1. Make a wedding album
2. Change polling name
3. Close Nationwide account
4. Update name on Barclaycard account
5. Find a new savings account
6. Sign up to borrow my doggy
7. Sort pension
8. Reorganise bookcase
9. Watch Twilight
10. Harry Potter marathon
11. Read Hunger Games books
12. Declutter
13. Reupholster chair 
14. Start guide leader pack
15. Swim
16. Barre
17. Yoga
18. Walk
19. Update calendar 
20. Write a story
21. Buy a chilli plant
22. Dust bedroom
23. Bleach bathrooms
24. Plan birthday trip
25. Write letters
26. Buy Birthday cards for next 6 months
27. Visit Library
28. Visit Storyhouse cafe
29. Walk on the beach
30. Walk up Bickerton Hill
31. Make an interiors scrapbook
32. Log recipes in a folder
33. Sort magazines
34. Paint/colour by numbers
35. Jigsaw puzzle
36. Visit The Hilton's 
37. Meet up with Lauren
38. Book photoshoot
39. Go to Baltic markets
40. Go to Liverpool Cathedral
41. Book train to London
42. Find something to do on the Sunday in London
43. Girls night our
44. Plan a budget
45. Visit Gladstone Library
46. Visit Tatton Park
47. Learn Italian
48. Find a night class
49. Read Option B
50. Finish Rising Strong
51. Log books on Good Reads
52. Afternoon tea at Edgar House
53. Walk to farm cafe

In amongst that, I've just started Riverdale on Netflix and of course, I'll watch several episodes/series of One Tree Hill for the 500th time! 

Any other suggestions for my list?

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