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starting a stamp collection

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collection of stamps in glassine envelope

(i wanted to do some witty/punny title there but in my cold addled state that’s pretty hard.)

for almost as long as i can remember i’ve always been interested in stamps, pretty much since i was a child. i don’t remember anyone in my family ‘collecting’ them per se, but i’m pretty sure my dad and/or grandad kept a few here and there. i do distinctly remember and have very fond memories of going to the market in maltings in farnham a few times with my grandparents and slightly obsessing over boxes of postcards and stamps (amongst other things).

i just love that you can have these mini artpieces and bits of history, from the UK or all over the globe, in your home. you can store them specially or just keep them in a box. stamp collections are so accessible and easy to start too because you can just take a look on ebay, etsy (shops like artstamped are great), in charity shops, secondhand stores, markets – you name it. or you could even start collecting new ones that you can go to a post office and buy.

colourful stamps from around the globe

collection of stamps on pink background

i’ve gathered together a few of my favourites here in this post, some new, some i’ve had for a few years. it was never a real intention to specifically start a collection but over the years they’ve accumulated and it’s just …happened. to be incredibly corny, maybe it was just meant to be.

i follow a few stamp orientated instagram accounts too, if you want a couple to get you started i highly recommend matchbloc, graphilatelymint never hinged and eva moon press (stamps as well as general ephemera).

do you collect anything? something obscure or unexpected? or something more ordinary? let me know!

graphic united nations stamps

collection of stamps in glassine envelope

preparing for christmas with john lewis

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gold christmas tree with baubles

bauble from the john lewis ostravia range

i’m just going to go straight ahead and say it.

i’ve not had a christmas tree (of any kind) since i was a child. the last one i can remember was when i was about 8 or so. we may have had one a few times beyond that, but not in any time beyond my teens, that i can recall. unlike most families in the UK and worldwide that celebrate christmas, actually *celebrating* it was not a big thing in my family beyond childhood. similar to trees i don’t think we even got or gave presents much beyond that point.

as i’ve said many times before, having a nice meal is the one thing that has always stuck though and in the past 7 or 8 years i’ve always tried to visit my dad close to christmas. one year, when we were still living together he made what we described as ‘sleepy pudding’ because we both dozed off almost immediately after eating it. in reality i think we just ate too much and that was the last sleepy straw. ha, i’ll never forget it though!

pink present christmas tree ornament

gold ostravia christmas tree and baubles from john lewis

my boyfriends family however is the complete opposite, they’re pretty big on christmas and i definitely think it’s rubbed off on me a little. as each year goes by i get a little more into it and allow our flat to get a bit more christmassy. i know i’ll never be full blown christmas obsessed but even getting to this point is huge for me!

i’m not keen on traditional christmas colours, so when i got the opportunity to work with john lewis on a post for preparing your home for christmas – and saw the ostravia range i was really quite taken. when not trying to keep it simple and minimal with festive decor i do love a bit of vintage or vintage style kitsch.

snowflake shaped bead

polka dot christmas wrap

the pinks and mints are perfect for me (look at all these baubles and ornaments!), as well as creams, gold and subtle patterns here and there. i LOVE the glittery gold tree and as it’s quite small it’s not imposing (though it’s definitely eye catching) on a small flat like ours. i feel like the ostravia range is fantastic for those who love all things christmas and want to go totally over the top, and those who want a bit of colour and fanciness without the traditional feel.

the gold underplate i used under the tree can be used year round – i do love items that are multi-purpose and/or can be used on different occasions rather than just being stuck in a cupboard all year. within the ostravia range there are also some gifting items like wrap and trimmings which could also be used for birthdays or other gift giving times.

christmas tree decor from john lewis

do you like this range, or do you prefer the more traditional reds and greens? have you put up your christmas decor yet? if so i’d love to see! share with me on twitter.

in collaboration with john lewis – as always, all words and images my own.

the gift of tea

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green tea from jing tea

tea is special, isn’t it? well, unless you don’t like it, that is. in which case this probably isn’t the post for you.

for some, tea is just part of the habit of their day, weaved in without thought but enjoyed nevertheless, and for others it is a time carved out to take stock, to take a few moments and just relax. i go to tea when i’m stressed and need something simple and comforting to focus on. the whole process, from getting everything ready, to waiting for it to reach that perfect drinkable temperature (and of course, the best bit, drinking it) can really be a few minutes of zen in an otherwise stressful day.

teaiere from jing tea

tea from jing tea

green tea is my go to, i drink it almost as much as i drink water (a LOT) and i was recently given the chance to try some from jing tea. i was also sent one of their tea-ieres (which, in my opinion is so much better and simpler than any other loose leaf tea contraption i’ve tried) and some earl grey.

earl grey for me is ALL about the scent. i love bergamot with fierce intensity and the smell just instantly takes me to a good place, so when i drink it, it’s like i’m drinking some magical elixir. i wish it was actually magical but i’ll make do with a few moments of nasal happiness.

tea brewing in glass teaiere

earl grey and dragon well green tea from jing tea

cup of green tea

what does tea do for you? does it help you to focus or learn any habits to better yourself? or is it simply a thirst quencher? or, the all important question – what is your favourite kind of tea? i’m genuinely curious so do let me know.

jing have some lovely tea gift sets that would make fantastic presents for any tea lover in your life. it’s the best kind of gift too, because it just keeps giving. now, i’m off for another cuppa…