Thursday, 13 April 2017

A LITTLE SPRING UPDATE!






Hello everyone!
Before you say anything, yes I know I have been a very lapsed blogger.  The last month has just disappeared!  

Since returning from what was the happiest of family ski trips, I have been trying to catch my tail with so much going on.  




One of our biggest 'catch ups' has been in the garden.  Always SO much to do at this time of year!

We are now on top of most of the weeding and mulching, and I have even given the box hedging an early prune.  





 The kitchen garden has had a lot of attention too, getting it ready for the new growing season.  The greenhouse is full of seed trays and little seedlings are popping through daily.  Always a good feeling when this stage is all under way!




 Recent pickings have given us the most delicious purple sprouting broccoli and to much excitement, the first crop of asparagus.  We have been waiting patiently for the three recommended years before our first harvest, so it feels like a little celebration!






Anyone who follows my Instagram @sophiahomeandlifestyle will know that I have been feeding my addiction to box topiary this month, with a few more box balls....there will be a post coming up soon with the little project I have completed with them.  Watch this space!







Daffodils....daffodils.  So many this year!  Having naturalised beautifully, the garden has had them in abundance.  No guilt this year with picking plenty for the house!




An update would not be complete without a mention of Miss 'Delilah', who as you can see has grown so much!  (well as much as 'Mini Daxies' can)  She has grown in to such a confident, feisty and adventurous little thing, and so wonderfully affectionate too.  She is such a gorgeous and successful new addition to our family!





Tomorrow is the start of the lovely long Easter weekend, and with all the family home, I can not wait.  A few days of good food and wine, relaxing (some gardening of course!) dog walks and no agenda.








I look forward to sharing more regular and specific blog posts with you soon, but in the meantime, I'm wishing you all a very happy Easter!

Sophia xx


Tuesday, 14 March 2017


MOTHER'S DAY TREATS...


ALL PHOTOS: VIA 'THE WHITE COMPANY'



    Mother's Day is just over ten days away, and my thoughts have turned to what to get my own lovely mother, to show her how much I love and appreciate her.  We are actually taking her skiing with all the family next week, and shall be celebrating a day early on the Saturday on our last day up the slopes.  It will be a lovely treat for me too, as all our grown up children and 'extended family' will be with us too. 

The ever gorgeous 'White Company' is usually where I turn to find lovely gifts, and especially for deliciously scented candles and bath products.  Their fabulous range of ideal gifts is growing, especially with the introduction of skincare and jewellery and accessories, and if you haven't seen their new products, you are in for a treat.

Here is some inspiration for mother's day gifts, which will be sure to make any Mum feel special....I know I would be thrilled to receive any of them! (maybe my lovely brood are reading this post?!)





What a sweet idea to give a 'friendship' bracelet. After all, most Mums are our best friends too...




I just fell in love with these gorgeous fur pom-pom slippers....so pretty and cosy too!




With tassels and pom-poms so on trend this season, this scarf is just lovely....



I just love the simplicity of this beautiful makeup bag...in fact it would be useful for so many things. Perfect for sunglasses too...





The sweetest love heart charm necklace...




With a beautiful heart shaped box to keep those dressing table bits and pieces in.




Maybe something from their irresistible Spa range for some well deserved pampering?





Or a fabulous serum from their new skincare range?





So many gorgeous candles to choose from, but this new Spring one is just perfect for the season...

...along with this delicous smelling reed diffuser.





And lastly, this stylish photo frame caught my eye, for those precious family photos that mean so much.

I shall certainly be taking a special photo this year, of my lovely mother with me and all the family on top of that mountain.  Giving thanks and creating special memories.


Sophia xxx

Ps.  Inspired by some of these lovelies from The White Company?  Just click on their link in the right hand side bar for all these and many more gorgeous products.  There are some rather special offers too!

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

THE OPTIMISM OF SPRING...


ALL PHOTOS: SOPHIA HOME



This morning the sun came out, and although a little chilly, there was a definite change in the air.  Birds singing, bulbs popping through, and a freshness in the atmosphere. It was a treat to be outside for a morning, before returning to my desk.


Spring is such a positive and optimistic season of new beginnings.   A time to clear out the debris of Winter both inside and out.  A good Spring clean in our homes is called for, and what a joy it is to fling open those windows and let in that fresh new air.  










The garden is our main focus at this time of the year.  A busy time of weeding and mulching, greenhouse cleaning and seed sewing.  An investment of time and effort which pays back in abundance when everything is in full summer bloom and the kitchen garden is rewarding us with delicious organic vegetables and fruit. 


Days are getting longer, and thoughts turn to a change in routine.  I love the early evening ritual of watering my greenhouse and watching for new life.  




Seed and plant buying is always exciting.  This 
year I plan to add greatly to last year's planting of Dahlia tubers, and also Ranunculus in my cutting garden.  So lovely to have bunches and bunches of beautiful blooms to fill the house with all summer long until the first frosts.






Not just lighter days, but also the craving for lighter food, and trying some delicious new springtime recipes...









Lastly let's not forget lighter clothes too. (British weather permitting!)  As much as I love my cosy winter boots and jumpers, the opportunity for bare ankles and lightweight dresses and tops is so welcome!

What are you particularly enjoying at the start of this gorgeous fresh new Spring season?  I would love to hear....

Sophia xx

***

Ps.  I certainly didn't want to dwell on anything negative for this optimistic Spring post, but I just wanted to say a huge heartfelt thank you to so many of you who sent lovely messages to me with regards to the recent hacking of my Instagram.  The long and short of it is that both mine and Delilah my puppy's accounts were taken over, bombarded with obscene images and have now been removed by Instagram who inspite of numerous messages, have not responded.  I lost several years of a precious visual diary and over 6,000 followers.  I have no idea why this happened?  I like to think it was nothing personal and just for audience numbers and I may have been one of many who had our emails hacked.  What was a harmless, happy, creative place for me, my family and lovely like minded followers, was obscenely violated. 

To end on a positive (it is Spring after all!) I have taken a deep breath and started again.  Everyone has been so lovely and supportive, and as I say, this is so appreciated!  The little corner of Instagram that I know and love is incredibly kind and supportive and so full of talent and inspiration and I shall certainly not be giving up, just because there are such horrible low life people out there. I have now set up new Instagram accounts (with a very slight change in name) for myself and Delilah, and you can find them here if you would like to follow:

@sophiahomeandlifestyle
@delilahtheminidaxie

Wishing you a very happy rest of the week...

xxx








Sunday, 26 February 2017

INSTAGRAM....A WARNING!


Hello everyone,
Just a quick message to say that sadly and shockingly, my Instagram profile has been hacked and has been taken over and @sophiahomelifestyle is no longer available.  If you are one of my regular followers, you may have noticed this already?  Please ignore any unsuitable future instagram posts on my account as they are beyond my control.  I have taken this up with Instagram and hope to hear back from them shortly to resolve this very upsetting and worrying problem.  I do not know how this has happened, but would advise all of you with Instagram accounts to please check your settings and security.   

Thank you,

Sophia xx

Thursday, 23 February 2017




A NEW SIMPLE PLEASURE....

Anyone who read my post on 'Beating the January Blues' may recall me mentioning that I was keen to take up a couple of new creative hobbies at the start of this year, and one of those was candle making?  Well, I'm pleased to say that I have tried it, I have REALLY enjoyed it, and I don't think that after my fourth batch, it is going to be one of those passing fads (unlike other whims in the past!?)

It is my new 'Simple Pleasure'...




We all love candles don't we?  A simple pleasure, and yet the power of even a few tea lights has the ability to transform a room from soulless to warm, inviting and calming.

Growing up in the 70's here in England, with a Scandinavian mother, I grew up with lit candles being a big part of every day.  Candles were always lit at the table, even at breakfast on a school day, and this must have subconsciously instilled in me that need for a calm and special start to the day, whatever it held.  It always surprised me to learn at the time that most other people only used candles on 'high days and holidays' or a special meal, or otherwise as a practicality in the frequent power cuts in the 70's!  This was quite a foreign concept in our 'Swenglish' family home.

Then of course, the candle love spread in this country and steadily grew over time, to be the huge business that it is today!

Qualities as we know vary enormously.  From the cheap, overpoweringly scented variety (not to be touched in my opinion!) through to the beautiful quality of candles such as Diptique, Cire Trudon and Jo Malone which are just a few of my favourites.  They may cost more than cheaper versions, but their burn time and quality of scent make it so worth it.

Putting these above lovelies on one side, I have been keen for some time to try to recreate some of their lovely quality in my own home made candles.  So, after quite a bit of research, a bit of 'candle supplies' shopping and finding myself with a nice clear Saturday morning, my new little project began.  

Firstly, my research taught me the difference between different wax qualities.  I decided on a natural soya wax as opposed to a cheaper petroleum based wax.  Soya does not emit carbon so therefore much healthier for us in our homes, as well as for the environment.  It came in flake form which was easy to handle and use.




Then I chose which fragrance to use.  Wanting to make a top quality product, I chose pure essential oils for my candles.  I made half of them using Grapefruit and the other with Peppermint, both uplifting fresh scents and especially nice in a kitchen or bathroom.  I have since experimented with a gorgeous mix of 'Lavender, Chamomile and Vanilla' which is especially lovely in a bedroom and also 'Lime, Basil and Mandarin' which seems to appeal to most people and is so fresh and invigorating.




The wax was then heated in a double boiler.  I used a large jug that I bought especially for this purpose and stood this to melt in a large pan of boiling water.  When completely melted, the wax was allowed to cool very slightly before adding my chosen essential oils.  It is hard to say how much one needs, and advice varies, but experimenting and using you nose helps!  A good few shakes for a volume this size did the trick, and made the kitchen smell amazing!




Wicks with attached metal discs are the easy option (as opposed to long lengths of wick on rolls which you assemble yourself) and these were attached to my chosen candle jars with little glue dots especially for this purpose.  They come in different lengths, so choose the right length for the size of container you are using.  Choosing the containers is the really fun part.  Virtually any heatproof container can be made in to a candle.  I bought a variety of sizes of glass container, my favourite being these goreous larger ones which take three wicks.

Making sure the wicks were securely stuck to the base of the candle jar, I gently poured the melted wax in.  Kebab sticks or something similar can be used, to keep the wicks upright while the wax is hardening.  You will be able to remove these after about an hour.  Then let the wax fully harden for 24 hours.




Lovely silver, gold and bronze lids are not necessary, but complete the look of the finished candle, and protect it from dust when not in use.




I am so enjoying giving these away as gifts....as well as enjoying burning a number of them around the house too.




Many of you will know this already, but it is very important to burn any candle long enough for the first time, for the entire surface to pool with wax.  This helps the candle to burn evenly and to avoid 'tunneling' around the wick.

The Soya wax burns beautifully, and without any sooty vapour that cheaper alternatives create.  

The pure essential oils also smell wonderful! 




In all, a very satisfying new creative hobbie which I shall certainly be continuing.  I am looking forward to experimenting with new containers and scents and look forward to sharing those with you in the future.

If you have been inspired to have a go at making your own candles, then there are many candle material suppliers out there.  I found these two to be very helpful for both their supplies and advice:

Supplies4candles (click for link)

Candle Shack (click for link)


***

Wishing you a very happy end to the week,

Sophia xx


Tuesday, 14 February 2017


 PUPPY LOVE...








Any of you who have been following my Instagram @sophiahomelifestyle over the last week will know that our new little member of the family has arrived!  A special early Valentine's present to me from Mr. W which has caused great excitement in the 'Sophia Home' household!





I collected 'Delilah' our nine week old miniature smooth haired Dachshund last Friday,  just in time for the weekend, with all our brood home (often difficult to engineer at times, but funnily enough it happened this weekend?!) 






After a bit of a cry from her basket going down the motorway, she then fell in to a deep sleep.  Think it must have been the soothing tones of the satnav woman's voice that lulled her in to slumber!






Cuddles on tap once home...



...but unsurprisingly, not from our other two dogs!
Rocco appears to be laughing and playing with her in this picture, but trust me, that didn't last for long!





Decidedly unimpressed, once they realised that this little bundle of fun was here to stay, Rocco our Lab and Kiki our Cockerspaniel decamped down to the other end of the house...Delilah jumping in their bed did not go down that well!



 Poor little thing....she is trying SO hard to be friends!  I think it is going to take some time before these two old pensioners are going to accept her.  Early days!





She's a confident little thing, and unbelievably affectionate.  She also seems to have a love of 'Netflix'....or is it a nice excuse for a cuddle with new big bro?





Today the sun came out, and it was time to explore the garden for the first time.  No walks out in public yet for Delilah, until she has had her final vaccinations in a couple of weeks....





...but hitching a ride around the fields on the morning walk gets her out safely for now...and certainly all that fresh air makes her sleep well!






It's been a full on week with tackling the house training, and having to be ever vigilant and keeping the peace between this little monkey and her pensioner canine friends, but I have to say I think we are getting somewhere....all be it slowly!  She really is proving to be a very sweet and loving little dog, with such a lovely nature as well as being rather brave and feisty.

We are all most definitely smitten!

***

Wishing you all a happy rest of the week...

Sophia xx