28 October 2015

The first two months

And so the PGCE started. And I subsequently vanished from this little space!
I can't begin to describe what it has been like. I have never been busier in my life, I've never had so much to juggle or think about or plan. I'm also incredibly happy, have made wonderful new friends and now count a late night as any time past 10pm.

I won't apologise for not posting. I knew when I started the course that some things had to give this year and blogging was one of them. I'm now half a term in and feel like i'm finding my feet. I can't promise to post more but now i'm more settled that is my intention!

So, to catch up on the last two months...

Left to right, top to bottom:
-Getting used to being called Miss Beach again. Part of the PGCE is having 'lessons' in uni where we are taught how to teach. Part of the first week was making name badges for ourselves!
-Tea, so much tea is needed to get through this year.
- Creating maps from children's books. Just one of the things we have got up to.
- Harry Potter themed bags from Durham library.
- Going to formal dinner with Tim. The joy of having him up here all the time needs its own post. Suffice to say, it's amazing!
- Maths. Oh, the dreaded maths.

Left to right, top to bottom:
- We have had the most beautiful sunsets and sunrises driving to and from placement school.
- My 23rd Birthday and a wonderful box of teacher's supplies form two of my sweetest friends.
- A new pair of trainers as I get used to learning to teach PE.
- Walks on the beach with lovely new housemates.
- A post placement treat. The illustrated edition of Harry Potter.
- Having our photos taken by my friend for our save the dates. More on that coming soon!

All in all, it has been busy and hectic and oh so much fun. I've missed writing in this space regularly and missed commenting on your blogs. I have been stopping by and gazing in from the sidelines but I'm ready to come back into the blogging world (although it may be baby steps for now!).
Thank you for still stopping and reading my words.

9 September 2015

One Photo & Twenty Words

We signed paperwork for the wedding this week. Signing my name in the 'bride' box made it very real.

My challenge for you today. Find one photo and choose up to twenty words to tell its story. Jot it down and link back here. The link will stay open for a week so you have plenty of time to join in! 

6 September 2015

Bridesmaid cards

So here is the first of the wedding posts.... I am gearing up to write about how Tim proposed but I want to do it justice and need time to get my thoughts in gear! Watch this space.

Soon after I got engaged I set to thinking about how I would ask the girls to be my bridesmaids.
I knew I wanted something pretty, elegant and not too cheesy. There are hundreds of ideas on pinterest ranging from the beautiful to the absolute insane! I also knew I wanted to do something handmade.

I plumped in the end for a pretty card and some chocolates. Nothing too over the top but a nice little gift none the less.

I love the look of watercolours so spent an afternoon painting some simple leaves and flowers.
I then scanned this file into the computer and using photoshop cleaned it up and extracted each element.

I wanted a wreath type look so repeated and moved my watercolour drawings until I was happy with the shape they formed.

The next job was to put my question in the middle.
I used two fonts, Housegrind, for the script and Geonsans light for the sans serif. I made three versions of the card with each girls name in the centre.

On the back I wanted to give a few more details so typed up a little letter and added in some more watercolour elements to tie in with the front. I also left space to sign their name and mine by hand.
(certain parts are obviously blurred for privacy).

Once the cards were finished I printed them on nice card at 4 x 6.

To make envelopes I chose some pretty 12 x 12 double sided sheets. For each envelope I cut out two pieces at 5 x 7. I sewed up three of the edges in contrasting thread and cut a small semi circle at the top so the card inside could be easily pulled out.

I finished up by adding a small box of chocolates and tying the whole thing up with pretty liberty fabric.

This was a super easy thing to make and small enough to post to two of my bridesmaids. They all loved them and thankfully they all said yes!

2 September 2015

Sandals made for walking

I'm back after a glorious time away and I have lots of stories to tell. 

First up, is the story of a pair of shoes. 
These shoes have been on my feet every day for a month. 

I bought them at the start of the summer, knowing I needed something comfy and practical to walk the streets of Denmark, Sweden and France, and boy did they do the job! 

These sandals have walked the beautiful tree lined streets of Copenhagen. 
They have explored the royal palaces of both Sweden and Denmark and have entered many a bakery to stand on tiptoe staring at the mounds of cinnamon rolls. 

These sandals have taken me to numerous harbour sides. 
They have dangled over the edges of the canal wall as I have licked an ice cream. 
They have walked onboard boats and got wet getting too close to the inviting looking fountains.

These sandals have tackled some heights. 
They got onboard a cable car and took me up into the Pyrenees. 
They have climbed steep hills to get views out over the city of Gothenburg. 
They have even been on a high ropes and rock climbing adventure. 

These sandals have seen pavements and cycle lanes, craggy rocks and green grass. 
They've taken me on planes and cars and trams and boats. 
They've have been stupendously comfy, day in, day out. 

These sandals are now in the cupboard, probably not to return for another year. 
Their next outing will most probably be a rather special holiday with a rather special man. 
For now, the boots are firmly back on and Autumn awaits....

Do you have a special pair of shoes? 

These Sandals are Saltwaters. They are quite pricey but super comfy and made to last. They also come in an array of beautiful colours. I am already eyeing up the red ones! 

6 August 2015

Thank you and checking out for a while

Thank you for all your sweet comments about our engagement here and on Facebook. We have been blown away by the love and support from friends all other the world!

In other news, I'm checking out of here for the month of August, and jetting off with Tim and family to Scandinavia. I can't wait for some time away with lots of photo taking opportunities and quality time with that special man.

If internet permits, i'll be updating my instagram fairly regularly whilst away. You can follow me there at: abibeach.
See you on the other side!

3 August 2015

The most exciting news

Tim (he is no longer the boy!) and I are thrilled to announce that we are engaged! 

We couldn't be more excited and although it was no great surprise to anyone, it is utterly joyous to now call him my fiancĂ©! 
We are getting married in the Summer of 2016 and I can't wait to share our journey to the wedding with you all. 

2015. What a year it is turning out to be! 

22 July 2015

The quilt that took two years to sew

An unfinished quilt has been sitting on my bedroom floor for the best part of two years. 
Across those two years it has taken on different forms. At first it was just a pile of fabric, then it progressed to log cabin squares and recently it has been gracing my floor half quilted. 

It's been one of those projects I have wanted to finish but just have never quite got around to it. 
First, I was making a quilt for my friend, then I had a dissertation to write and finals to revise for and then I discovered the world of dress making. So with one thing and another it was left languishing. 

Last week I picked it up and decided that now was its moment.

First the final squares were sewn together. (I chose to make this quilt using a rough log cabin design and a jelly roll of fabric from Moda. I love that the colours easily work together.) 

Then, they were quilted.

Then cut to size. (Measuring is never by forte. My quilts will be forever gloriously wonky.) 

And finally the whole thing was put together with some pretty backing fabric. 
It turned out to be a gloriously colourful, cozy and quirky quilt. 

I wanted to use colours and patterns that I loved so I picked that pretty flower fabric for the back despite it not being quite the right size! It took some fiddling to add the striped fabric but I like how it turned out in the end. 

My model was particularly helpful when it came to taking photos! 

The binding is perhaps my favourite part. It's made of a fat quarter of liberty fabric I picked up in a tiny town north of Durham. With some careful cutting I squeezed out enough to make the binding and  just love how jolly it makes the whole thing. 

So, another quilt for another bed. I won't grow tired of making quilts because each turns out so differently and carry so many memories. The next one though, will not take quite so long to finish....I hope! 

9 July 2015

One Photo & Twenty words

Sorry for the delay in posting this folks! 

A tour of university (castle) college before we left Durham. Yes students actually live here. Yes, it is basically Hogwarts.

My challenge for you today. Find one photo and choose up to twenty words to tell its story. Jot it down and link back here. The link will stay open for a week so you have plenty of time to join in! 

7 July 2015

Scrapbooking for One Little Bird

A while back I tried my hand at applying for a design team. It was a real shot in the dark. The company was One Little Bird and I used and loved their products and when the team call came out I knew I would regret it if I didn't have a go.

As it turned out I wasn't offered a spot on the team, which in hindsight was definitely a blessing in disguise, owing to that thing called a degree that got in the way! The process of applying though was so much fun and it made me really consider more about my scrapping and memory keeping.

Though I wasn't offered a place on the team, I was offered a chance to guest design in July and I took it with open arms.

One of the challenges for this month was to create a page using any One Little Bird Products we wanted.

I had such fun creating this page. I stepped outside my comfort zone a little and tried my hand at a traditional scrapbook layout. While I am no master at digital scrapbooking I do like the look of this page and how easily it came together. The joy of working with one designer is that all the papers/embellishments look very cohesive.

The layout documents some creative writing I scribbled on my way back home from Durham. As I was leaving the station to start "near distance" with the boy I saw a couple saying a tough farewell just a few carriages down. It was a beautifully circular moment for me and I knew I needed to put my thoughts in a form of 'letter'.

I'm pleased with how this layout turned out. Clean and quite simple but it documents an important story for me.

So, this month, if you fancy popping by, my layouts will be gracing the gallery at The Lilypad and possibly on the One Little Bird Blog. What fun!

I have so much more to say regarding scrapbooking and PL (or the lack of it on here) and where I am at with memory keeping at the moment. That post is taking time to write though so hang in while I gather my thoughts! 

Quick heads up: One Photo and Twenty words is happening as usual this Thursday. It would be great to see you there!

29 June 2015

This is what June looked like

June 2015. It will be up there as one of my favourite times. It has been a month of celebration, of results, of beach trips and balls. It has been a time of relaxing in the garden, long walks with friends, soaking up the glorious city and packing up to head home. 
It's been an end of an era month. A time to say goodbye to people who realistically I just don't know when I will see again. It has been a finishing off month, a time to clear out and throw away. It's been a month where I have wondered how I can possibly have that much stuff in my room that needs to be put into storage! 
June has also been a month where the big camera has had a wonderful workout. The more photos I take with it the more I realise I need to get it out more often. 

So here, in no real order, is what June looked like through my camera lens....

Thank you for all your sweet comments about my graduation on the last post. I feel like I travelled my uni adventure with most of you and it is wonderful to celebrate the completion of it with you too. 

25 June 2015


On Tuesday I graduated from Durham university. It was an incredibly special day, filled with lots of pomp and circumstance, a good deal of emotion and many many photos!
It was very surreal to be putting my gown and hood on and walking up to the Chancellor to receive my degree after three years. Where has the time gone?!

The day started with the collection of my gown and hood. One of the joys of receiving a BA from Durham is that I get a sizeable quantity of fur (or fluff as I prefer to call it!) on my hood. The hoods are different colours/amounts of fur dependant on what time of degree you are getting. It was great fun trying to spot the most outlandish costume there!

After I collected my robes we managed to capture a few family shots.

And then I headed into the castle, which just happens to be right next to the cathedral. One of the many joys of living and graduating on a world heritage site!

In the castle they lined us up in the order our names would be read out and then got us hyped up for the event. Several mexican waves later we were ready to process into the cathedral. This was one of my favourite moments because it felt so important and momentous with the sight of purple gowns ahead of us and the organ music from the cathedral itself. 

The graduation ceremony itself was long but we were kept on our toes waiting for our names and making sure not to trip up the step in our heels. 
Once we were officially graduated we all processed up the nave of the cathedral and out onto the green where I was met by all my friends, all waving cameras! 

It was quite an emotional time, especially celebrating with course mates who had been through the same work. 

It was also a lovely time to get photos with special lecturers. This lovely man was my dissertation supervisor. He is a real eccentric and such fun to be taught by. 

Before we finished for the day I had to make sure I got some photos by my college. 

And one with a very special man. 

What a day!  I am so thankful for this place, for what I have studied and the support from all sides that I have received whilst I have been here. 

It's been a good one. Now, onto the next chapter!