Thursday 27 October 2016

The Bishops Stortford Ghost Walk

Ever since I was a little girl I've been intrigued by the supernatural. Whether or not you believe in such things, there is no denying the mystery that surrounds local legends - and the spooky tales that are handed down through the ages can send a shiver of excitement down even the most sceptical of spines. So with Halloween on the horizon I decided to do a little research into the history of my town - Bishops Stortford. In all honesty I was blown away by the sheer scale of ghostly happenings that have occurred in this little town of mine, and with the help of my fearless young niece Georgia, and using author Jenni Kemp's book Haunted Stortford as our guide, we set off on an adventure of our own. We spoke to locals, investigated haunted locations and yes I admit, we also sang the theme tune from Ghostbusters on more than once occasion. So please join us on a virtual tour of our haunted town, and if you live locally and you'd like to take part in person simply grab your torch, print out  the PDF of map and instructions by clinking the links at the bottom of this post and venture out into the streets of Bishops Stortford on Halloween night! Tweet to let me know how you get on with the hashtag #bishopsstortfordghostwalk.

For those taking part in person on Halloween: This is not a guided tour, simply take your cut-out map, ghostly info, instructions and go at your own pace. This walk does not include any actors or ‘frights' - other than those you create yourself! But do note it may not be suitable for young children, as some of the stories contain adult content.

You will need:

A torch
Some courage
Flask of hot toddy (optional)
Waterproofs in case of rain!

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Thursday 20 October 2016

Sparkly pastel autumn pumpkins (as seen on ITV This Morning)

Sparkly Autumn Pumpkin Centerpiece

Autumn is here and I've been inspired by the pretty pastel pumpkins all over my Instagram feed lately. With Halloween around the corner we'll soon be inundated with scary-faced pumpkins so I though I'd create a pretty Autumn pumpkin table display that can sit and sparkly on our sideboards throughout the rest of Autumn. Perhaps include some scented pine cones so when guests arrive though the autumn period they're greeted by a lovely festive, scented display. The gold and copper leaf you'll be using for this project not only brings the autumn colours inside, it will also come very in handy for the Christmas crafting period too! If you'd like to see me making this project step-by-step on ITV's This Morning you can watch it by clicking here ... Sparkly pumpkins on ITV This Morning.

Happy Autumn folks!

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Tuesday 11 October 2016

VIDEO DIARY: Behind the scenes - my craft feature on ITV This Morning

Morning all! So here is my video diary with behind the scenes footage from my morning spent at ITV studios - filming my Autumn craft segment for the morning breakfast show 'This Morning' with Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby. I'll be sharing these tutorial with you soon! 

If you can't see the video please click here and if you'd like to watch the whole craft segment on This Morning you can do so by click here ... ITV autumn crafts for your home.

JM x

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Friday 7 October 2016

A month in pictures - A cosy September

Oh September how lovely you are. So full of colour and cosy promise! As I mentioned in yesterdays post it has been pretty hectic here of late but amid the chaos there has been some lovely moments, some lovely walks and some lovely projects going on at AHC headquarters. I'm so looking forward to the coming months though - I love this season the most I think. The first highlight of September was lighting the first fire ... the lighting of the fire always marks the start of autumn for me and it means several things need to then happen - the logs need to be ordered (done) the wollies come down from the loft (which means several loads of washing but we'll brush over that) the garden needs to be put the bed (I haven't done that yet - and the grass is almost taller than Ralphy) and the winter curtains & blankets need to be aired and hung. But they're all lovely jobs I think (well ... except the wooly washing perhaps). Here's our month in pictures ...

Autumn is my probably my favourite time for walkies - it's just so beautiful isn't it? and it's not even in full autumnal swing yet! We met the cutest miniature horse one weekend (though actually it was probably just a baby horse right?) He was so friendly, even if he did try to eat my hand a little (ouch!). I've been looking out eagerly awaiting the first frost as I'm eager to start picking the sloes for our Sloe Gin! We filled our basket last year ... Ralphy's clearly not impressed because there's not much stick-throwing going on but needs must, we're all going to need the Sloe Gin in order to cope with Christmas! ;-)

Then some fellow crafty bloggers and I spent the most wonderful afternoon at the beautiful Laura Ashley Manor Hotel. Oh la la! We had a lovely time exploring, we had a delicious afternoon tea and an afternoon of crafting making these lovely Tote bags. If you'd like to make one yourself here is a step by step tutorial by design duo Russell and Bawden (this technique would work beautiful on a cushion don't you think?).

How to make an embellished tote bag

I was so chuffed with the embroidered fire screen I found this month in a charity shop for pennies #thriftyfinds! I also bought a slow cooker! OK s
o I haven't actually used it yet but I WILL and soon ... I'm on the lookout for a lovely slow cooker recipe cookbook so any ideas, ping them my way. Ralphy has been enjoying the cosy nights too ... he has his own winter blanket :-)

So that's our month in pictures. I hope you're all well and enjoying washing your woolies too!


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Thursday 6 October 2016

Trying and failing to stop and smell the roses ... then change comes a knocking.

Hello all. Well I was about to get cracking on my very late 'month in pictures' but I also felt like just having a chat. I don't do this often I know, but this has been one of the most busiest and stressful months of my year so far. As I write this, I am collapsed in my dressing gown, and I am thoroughly crafted out. Aside from working my regular job, and trying to get my album finished (I'm a singer/songwriter, and I also front the KTBush band and occasionally write songs for other artists too, did I ever tell you that?) I also write this blog and a craft column for the local paper which I think most of you know.

 Anyway, I've been finding it all extremely hard to juggle recently - and I have to admit I'm a little burned out. As you've probably gathered by now I'm a 'look up and smell the roses' kinda girl ... I keep the photo above near my bedside because it reminds me to do just that. I like the simple life, slow-living, and I like moving with the seasons so I'm not sure how I'm managed to fill my days to such an extent I don't currently have time to put the garden to bed, or pick rose hips. I'm not complaining - I just know most of you probably understand - and have faced similar struggles. I love my life and those in it, and I've had some wonderful opportunities plonked in my lap, but I know that in order to be happy and healthy, something has to give ... there's a fine line between being busy, and being overwhelmed isn't there? that feeling of anxiousness, of not being able to keep up. But what should give when nothing can? or at least we think nothing can.
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