Old English Company stationery

If you’re anything like me you struggle to keep organised and have a million and one scraps of paper with various numbers and names scrawled on them – generally whatever I can reach when I am taking a message on the phone!

As a result, it has become a new goal of mine to get into better habits when it comes to organisation, and keeping track of my tasks both at work and at home, or for my side-hustle mentoring businesses, & The Hive.

Old English Company very kindly sent me a selection of their beautiful and highly instagram worthy stationery to try and kick-start my new highly efficient life, and I am so excited to get my planner filled in, my schedule arranged, or simply having some pretty post-it notes to hand for those on-the-phone memos.

I also couldn’t resist this motivational mug – although in my usual vocabulary it would say ‘get sh*t done’ instead.

Do you have any super organisation tips you can share with me to keep my momentum going? Seen any cool stationary recently?

Love! X

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My Bee Pins

Happy Saturday everyone! 

A little blog post for today to show you my bee pin collection and where I get hold of them (most on Etsy) and plus a special Jess & The Bee offer for you! 

Having started off building my pin collection with a bee pin from none other than The Manchester Bee Company, it seemed only right that I got hold of a few friends for my lonely bee! 

Rosebud Casson,a fantastic UK based pin artist, has released two designs – a honey bee (great value at £6) and Ernie the Bumblebee bee double pin set at £10, which are now part  of my collection and sit happily on the lapel of my coat! Check out her other amazing pins and handmade jewellery inspired by British nature. 

Rosebud Casson & her Ernie the Bee pin!

When I stumbled across a brand new Etsy seller a few weeks ago on instagram I dived over to her page to buy this stunning enamel pin of a simplistic bumblebee flat on a scalloped flower shape. It’s so simple and pretty, matching everything I wear! 

You can find this gorgeous pin in her Etsy store and enter a special  code to receive a Jess and the Bee discount on the shipping! The code is ‘opening10’ and is valid until 14th October. 

If you’ve seen any bee pins around please let me know! I’ve seen this one on Etsy and I’m seconds away from adding it to my collection!

Have an amazing weekend! 

Xox

My favourite Bee Products

Hello everyone!

I’ve been really enjoying these bee-related products recently and thought I’d share them on here.

Treaclemoon are an amazing ethical brand, making really affordable bath &  body products in cute packaging, and available in your local Tesco.

Their honeycomb secret range reminds me of Crunchies and cake –  it’s deliciously scented and warming.

Paired with are two Library of a fragrance bee related scents, honey and beeswax. Honey is sold out I believe,  but take my work for it when I say it’s gorgeous and trademark sweet.

Bees wax does remind me of furniture polish, and for that reason would serve well as a room spray rather than a wearable scent to give a space that just cleaned scent!

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I already have one fantastic bee pin in my collection from the inimitable Manchester Bee Company but when I saw this one from Rosebud Casson  I had to own it! The wings are pearly and glittery and the gold and bronze detail on the abdomen is lovely.

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Finally, there’s this: this amazing Bee Mug from an artist Sophie Cunningham who knocks about at Maker’s Markets in Manchester from time to time. She’s absolutely brilliant, so check out her shop!

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I hope you enjoyed this post even half as much as I enjoy these bee items!

Love x

Gear4Geeks

I was really excited to find out about Gear4Geeks and be offered to do a collab with them on my blog.

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Any gamer geek ladies out there will know what I mean when I say that geekery in fashion is definitely very one sided. From band t-shirts to slogan tees from your favourite TV show, film or Game ; they’re either made to fit men, and therefore equate to us wearing a tent-like boxy t-shirt made of thick, robust and unflattering cotton, or they’re tailored with busty models in mind, if the slogan placement is anything to go by (I mean,I bet she doesn’t know her FFVII from her FFVIII amirite?!)

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Say it, Picard.

There’s a distinct lack of quality out there in the garments that are available, and often girls can’t express their passions for geekery in the same way it is so easy for men to do. (If you ask me if I borrowed this top from my boyfriend I will punch you in the face!)

Geark4Geeks are one of the few e-retailers out there who are offering high-quality and female-oriented clothing items. Batman, Disney, Harry Potter, Star Wars, to name a few, are represented here!

I chose a girly kitty dress, some awesome Mario colourful leggings and a Bambi vest to cover the whole range of what they offer.

Shoutout to Kallisti Jewellery for sending me this kickass Princess Peach necklace to match these leggings! Find her here on twitter, and on Etsy!

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The quality of these items is excellent, and I would highly recommend Gear4Geeks! – Browse their website for yourself!

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In case anyone was wondering, I’ve listed some of my favourite games of all time below – do we have any in common??

  • Final Fantasy (7-10)
  • Elder Scrolls
  • Mass Effect series
  • Devil May Cry
  • Bioshock Series
  • Fallout
  • Crash Bandicoot

Also I take Star Trek over Star Wars, My favourite Avenger is Thor, Vincent Valentine is a way better hero than Cloud Strife, and Terminator has so many plot holes I cannot even cope.

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Where we’re going, we don’t need plotholes!

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Larch Living

Anyone who has followed my blog for sometime now will know how much I love supporting small businesses. They may also know that I moved into my first home this September in Manchester, and naturally I had my eyes open for cute living items to make it feel like home.

Larch Living, a company I have been following on Instagram for a while now, really caught my eye with their eye catching Skandi-style homeware items in monochrome hues, as well as offering a delightful selection of Jewellery and miscellaneous gift items perfect for Christmas.

Who doesn’t love scatter cushions, I ask?

The Cloud and Raindrops cushion was  the one I fell for- shop it here. its a beautiful soft linen fabric, and although you can’t see in the photo, the reverse is patterned in tiny black raindrops!

Here it is in pride on place on the bed!

Seeing as I mentioned the jewellery, I thought I would show off what is by far one of the most beautiful pieces of jewellery that I think I will ever own! A ceramic hummingbird. The quality of this piece is beyond what I was hoping for, with a delicate chain. The colours of the paint and the enamel glaze are really beautiful. Shop it here, it’s on sale at the moment too!

Visit their website as there’s not of items on sale right now so you can pick up a bargain in time for Christmas.

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A sweet creation retro sweets box

Xmas Gifts for a Sweet Tooth!

This post falls into so many categories for me, I’m so excited about it!

Firstly, SWEETS! Secondly, Small & Local & Handmade Business! tick, tick tick!

But seriously, this post contains two beautiful candy-related items from two different sellers which would make great Christmas gifts for a loved one or a friend – the best thing about it is that they won’t break the bank, and you’ll be supporting a small business in the process.

First up are these Retro sweetie boxes from A Sweet Creation, A Manchester confectionery seller who also specialize in events.

These boxes cost only £5 each, and can be ordered directly from their Facebook page by following the link here! Items come giftwrapped and with a blank gingerbread man tag to write out. They always respond super quickly to messages, so don’t hesitate to have a chat about placing an order.

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candy box!

Secondly, is a piece of jewellery almost good enough to eat!

If you have a female friend with a super sweet tooth and penchant for jewellery, then look no further than this ADORABLE miniature sweetie jar necklace, created by the very talented Caroline at Tiny Treat Boutique. Her pieces are exquisitely detailed and really reasonably priced. Go and have a browse of her Etsy shop for other pieces. You can get anything from hot dogs to cake! I chose this piece because I literally cannot resist a coconut wheel.

Tiny Treat Boutique miniature pick and mix necklace
Tiny Treat Boutique miniature pick and mix necklace

Tiny Treat Boutique miniature pick and mix necklace Tiny Treat Boutique miniature pick and mix necklace

The detail is incredible, and the quality is brilliant. I love wearing this piece, almost as much as I love Pick n Mix!

Want more Christmas gift ideas for Booklovers? Or for that person who has geeky interests, ranging from insects to video games? Check out my Geek Pinterest board!

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Jake Shoes Review

I’d love to begin this blog post with a happy birthday shoutout to Jake Shoes, an independent shoe retailer based in the North West, with bases in Stockport and Manchester City Centre. they celebrate 40 years of business this year, staying strong when many small independents have been closing down. I support small businesses however I can as a blogger, and in the run up to Christmas, shopping small and local is more important than ever!

I’m rather sheepish to say that I didn’t get them a gift for their birthday, but instead they sent me a very generous gift which I’m sharing with you today.

These amazing Vagabond Chelsea boots!

Jake Shoes Vagabond Boots

Chelsea boots are a wardrobe staple, and I have to admit I’ve been hankering after a pair for a while. I’m rather fussy with boots – high street copies of real leather styles just don’t cut it, both visually and in terms of how they feel on your feet.

These Chelsea boots are real leather, and after wearing them in with extra thick socks I can envisage them being comfortable for years to come.

the elastic around the ankle is robust yet gives enough for me to tuck in my jeans. I love the rich tan colour of the leather, they are perfect for autumn days, and will carry me well into winter and spring with the durable heels and soles. They are available in various other colours and styles, too.

I found them pleasantly neat on my feet – as a size 7 chunky boots make me feel rather stomp-y.

I styled them with my skinny jeans from Next and my zip grey tee from M&S.

I made my selection by using their new website, which is easy to navigate and filter down to style or brand of my choosing.

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Jake Shoes do their own designs as well, which you can browse on their website – I must admit I’ve got my eye on a few pairs of shoes at the moment!

Thank you so much to Jake Shoes for the opportunity to write for them. It’s always great to support Manchester Businesses, and see the Northern powerhouse growing.

The boots were selected by me and sent as a gift from Jake Shoes, however all opinions are my own!

Jake Shoes Vagabond Boots

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project mc2 dolls

Dolls making smart the new Cool?

A few weeks ago now I was approached by a PR company to review a slightly unusual item, and it really set the cogs turning in my mind. I had mixed feelings about it. I was mulling over subjects like feminism, Body image, and child development over in my head.

All because of a doll.

A doll?

This is a doll from project Mc2, aimed at young girls of around 6 years old and up, with the goal of making smart the new cool.

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I firmly believe intelligence should be praised above beauty or appearance traits, and I do my best to behave in ways that my sister will benefit from. For instance, of course I will compliment her on wearing a pretty dress, but I actively try to praise her for academic success and show to her, through engaged discussions and rewards that being smart and succeeding (as best she can) is far more rewarding and much more laudible than simply being pretty, for example. The results have been amazing so far, when on receiving a glowing school report I took her to Waterstones to pick out some books of her choosing. She felt like she had earned those books, and actually chose to read over playing with her electronic devices, taking delight in reporting back to us on her progress with reading.

But back to the dolls.

 

On a fundamental level, this sounds wonderful. I have an 8 year old sister with an attitude of a young lady already, and I constantly worry about the pressures she is bound to face to fit in as she grows up; whether that’s what she wears, how early she starts applying makeup, how she will feel about her weight and body image…

I never felt this pressure as a kid…  Did I?

So I played with Barbies. I loved Barbies! But even as a kid I harboured a healthy level of cynicism. Barbie was unrealistically proportioned, I knew. I just liked dressing her up. I liked role playing games. I never lacked imagination, and I used Barbie as a tool in my playtime.

My sister never had the Barbie phase. She’s a child of the digital age,  where apps&games are designed to suck you in,  utilising no logic,  creating no emotional buy in or crafting any sort of storyline. So will a doll even appeal to her?

These dolls are supposed to kick start a young girl’s interest in science at an early age, to hopefully create a shift in the stats around women in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and maths) and jobs longer term, and I am a complete advocate of this movement and a firm believer in the benefits that these fields will see from having more women working within them.

Will these dolls really help, though? the language on the box sort of makes me cringe – it’s very Americanised and overly energetic. The character of this particular doll, Bryden Bandweth, who is an African American (in skin tone only, her facial design is very uniform with the caucasian dolls) is supposedly a tech whizz, and has a catch phrase of, “stand back, I’m trending”.

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As an aside, although Social media plays such a huge role in our lives now, I can’t see how encouraging children to use it earlier in life can add benefit. It makes me feel anxious, as I’m sure it does to parents all over the world for reasons I can’t tangibly list.

I also found myself critiquing the doll in terms of how Barbie has been critiqued over the years for her unrealistic representation of body image to young girls. These dolls are still skinny with overly large heads, and as mentioned before, the different races/ hair colours are great, but in reality the facial differences are kept to a minimum.

If these dolls are supposed to encourage smart (versus what, I ask) I’m not sure that providing skinny dolls and dressing up gear is necessarily address that. Each doll does come with a science experiment, which I’d be interested to know if the children who play with these dolls actually do.

You can find out more about the project by looking at their website here.

I’d love to know your thoughts on the project and these dolls in the comments below!

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didis boutique dolly and dotty dresses

Dolly and Dotty Dress Review

Hello!

Well, I feel absolved of my negativity after yesterday’s ranty post, and would like to bring you a beautiful dress review today instead!

I got this dress from Lucy Loves at Didi’s Boutique in Altrincham, which I’ve blogged about here and here. I have always loved bright Yellow, and am attracted to items of clothing or accessories that are yellow in a magpie-like manner! it’s harder to rock in such a block colour manner when it’s coming into autumn, but a yellow satchel paired with a dark toned outfit, or a yellow pair of shoes brighten up any dull day!

The Wendy dress is from the Dolly & Dotty range on the Lovedidis.co.uk website, made from 95% cotton and is very soft and versatile. I love how well it fits (this is a size 10) around my waist without being too tight. It has a nice length, coming to just the level of my knee (i’m 5ft7), and has enough flare to the skirt to wear with a peticoat. It comes with a matching belt as well, but I chose not to wear it for the photos, as the dress required no cinching.

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I paired the dress with my red Lotta clogs.

You can order direct from the website in other designs by clicking the links in the top of this post- hope you like it!

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