Archive of ‘Me’ category

Happy 2nd birthday This Little Space of Mine!

Today marks 2 years since I launched This Little Space of Mine! After closing my previous blog in September 2014, I took a couple of months out to plan this very blog and here we are two years later, a whole lot of content written and a lot learnt. I’ve loved blogging here, I don’t feel tired of it like I had previously and by expanding out to allow me to talk about lifestyle, as well as crafting, it feels like I’ve got a good balance. The audience has grown and, along with it, I’ve made new friends, learnt new skills and written content I feel proud of.

Where will the next 12 months take me? Well, no one knows that, but with a wedding to plan there may be some wedding crafts featured. I’m also still working out a balance between This Little Space of Mine and Fred & Bell. More than anything, I hope to keep making and being creative – that’s always been at the heart of this small corner of the internet.

So to celebrate today, I thought I’d share the five post popular posts from the last 12 months. I did the same last year, and just one post features again.

Making a cosy stripe blanket. I knew this would feature top of the list, I have no idea how but it’s one that’s gone viral on Pinterest; I’ve even had friends message me to say they’ve searched “crochet blanket” and up has come this make. The original pattern is from Attic 24, but I chose these colours. What’s even more special is that I made this for my best friends’ baby in the spring and seeing him using makes my heart happy every time.

Making a cosy stripe baby blanket - pattern from Attic 24 and made using Stylecraft Special DK. Post from This Little Space of Mine

Making Sincerely Louise’s fox slippers from Mollie Makes. As a big fan of foxes I instantly fell in love with this slipper pattern I found in Mollie Makes. After getting my sizings wrong to start with, I had great fun making this, practicing my intarsia skills and seeing the fox features come together. Plus Sincerely Louise loved them and named me her maker of the week, not long after the post went live.

Making Sincerely Louise's fox slippers - pattern from Mollie Makes - using Bergere De France Ideal yarn to knit these slippers. Post via This Little Space of Mine

5 stash busting crochet blanket patterns. Yay for stash busting, it’s something I’m on a mission with at the moment, so I’m glad this came up as a popular post – a good little reminder! Cherry Heart’s ‘Weekender’ blanket is still my favourite idea. I had great fun putting together this post and exploring various blanket ideas; in fact I might have to do another one soon!

5 stash busting crochet blanket patterns - Cherry Heart's Weekender Blanket via This Little Space of Mine

Colour scheme ideas for Stylecraft Yarn’s Special DK collection (part 1) and Colour scheme ideas for Stylecraft Yarn’s Special DK collection (part 2). So it was actually the 1st of these posts in the top 5, but I couldn’t resist including the second. It felt like these two posts were a turning point for my blog; I found a concept that worked and the feedback on my ideas was a huge confidence boost and has led to further colour concept posts this year.

Colour scheme ideas for Stylecraft Yarn's Special DK collection - This Little Space of Mine

The story of the knitted sky blanket. The only post to feature both last year and today, boy oh boy was this one heck of a make. I made this over the course of 14 months, recording the colour of the sky at midday every day during 2014. I worked super hard on this and there was blood, sweat and tears, but it’s by far my proudest make to date.

The story of the sky blanket - This Little Space of Mine

So again, a big thank you for reading – whether that’s been one post, a few posts or everything I’ve written, it’s noted and much appreciated!

Here’s to another year of blogging!

Leanne x

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A month in the life: October 2016

Hello! I thought I’d kick off a new post, a monthly summary from me with bitesize nuggets of information. It’s not a particularly lengthy post, but it’s a fun exercise to sum up how the month looked with 5 headers. I might mix and match these headers, depending on what I’ve been up to.

So October. October was the month we celebrated our engagement with friends and family; we’ve received so many lovely cards and presents and have felt super loved. October was also Stu’s birthday, so I took him to Brighton for a night – nothing like a bit of sea air and sunshine by the coast! Work was super busy and I’m now ending the month having launched a new series of stickers for Fred & Bell. I’m also busy crocheting and thinking about what to make for our wedding. I love this time of year; while I’m not loving the darker mornings, I do love the cosy feel and cuddling up on the sofa to keep warm, while binging on TV. It feels like our home is geared more to the colder months and we love it that way!

A month in the life - October 2016

Enjoying: How the change in weather is making Freds want to snuggle up with me in the evenings, under a blanket.

Making: I’m in full-on stash busting mode, so I’ve got not one but two crochet blankets on the go (the first you can see more of here). Both will be going to a local cat charity once finished.

Planning: Our wedding! After getting engaged at the end of September we haven’t hung around and have set the date. We’ve got just over a year to go and we’re full to the brim with ideas and things to do.

Watching: I finished Gilmore Girls this month and I feel like there’s a void in my life. I’d love to say I’m joking, but I felt like a lost soul for the first couple of days. Gilmore Girls arrived on Netflix in July and I’ve pretty much watched that, and only that, since. I’m all ready for the 4 new episodes that arrive at the end of November… they can’t come soon enough!

Visiting: Brighton. I took Stu there for his birthday this month and had a fab weekend exploring the Lanes, eating far too much food and going up the i360 tower. So fun to have a weekend away together.

Thanks for reading – let’s see what November has in store…

Leanne x

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Some news from me…

… A week ago today I got engaged!

We're engaged!

I came home from work to see my boyfriend, Stuart, on his knees with these tea lights on our coffee table, asking me if I’d marry him. After a couple of shocked moments, I said yes! The happiest of moments together; we called our families, opened a bottle of bubbly and ordered a curry! Telling our friends the following day was wonderful and it’s been the happiest of weeks – everyone is so thrilled for us and it’s the good news my family needed this year.

We’ve got some first thoughts about our wedding and how it might look, but for now we’re also just enjoying being engaged and celebrating with our friends and family. I’m sure I’ll be super organised when it comes to planning the wedding but, all in good time.

If you see me in the coming days, I’ll be in my happy bubble, pining away to my secret Pinterest board and staring at my ring a thousand times a day!

I realise I’ve been a bit AWOL over here, but I promise to be back a bit more regularly going forward. Nothing like some happy news to motivate me again, after a bit of a lull in September. I don’t plan to blog lots about our wedding, but I might sneak in a few DIYs – we’ll see!

So that’s my news and I’m so happy to be sharing it!

Leanne x

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A look back at summer 2016

Hello! I’m writing this post as I come to the end of the first week back at work after our holiday. The sunshine has gone, it’s been a long week and next week is looking even busier. Oh now come on, it’s not that bad. But this week has been all about the holiday blues vs. knowing we’re approaching my favourite time of year. There’s something about September, fresh starts and focusing for the final few months of the year that I really like. That being said, I’d definitely have liked more lazying about reading books and magazines and drinking tea this week!

So summer 2016, weirdly this year feels quite defined as the period from when I opened Fred & Bell/began my blog break in July through to… now really. It’s not always as defined, but I do like that this period is quite neatly framed. As I get back into the swing of blogging I thought I’d do a little look back at the last couple of months and what I’ve been up to. I’ll also talk further down the post a little about next steps for This Little Space of Mine, so do read on/scroll to the bottom.

July saw the birth of my friends’ baby boy William and many smitten baby moments, followed by my other closest friend getting married just a couple of weeks later. I felt so full of love for my girls and couldn’t have been prouder; being a bridesmaid was a super special moment and probably one of my favourite moments this year so far was dancing with them both, and baby William, at the wedding.

July was also the month that Fred & Bell opened and wowee, I was so overwhelmed by the words of encouragement, sales, cards of good luck from friends and people who took the time to share what I was up to. There are moments in life where people can be a bit crappy and mean; it was moments after I opened the shop that I remembered just how kind people can be. The shop is going from strength to strength and just this week have I doubled the product range, so it might just be about to get a whole lot busier!

Craft wise, I wrote two posts for LoveKnitting – couldn’t help but smile when I saw little old me’s posts up on their blog. I wrote first about baby blanket patterns for beginners through to pro’s and then followed it up with a post about MillaMia’s Naturally Soft Cotton yarn collection. Aside from writing, summer is always an odd time with crafting; my productivity levels go down as I’m distracted by other things going on. I’ve loved working on the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery Pumpkin Passport though and I can’t wait to get started on the Japan pattern this weekend. I also fell out of love/fell back in love with tapestry and started a top secret project I can’t share just yet.

During the last couple of months we’ve also made some progress on our garden; our decking has been re-painted, we now have garden furniture, there’s been a whole lot of weeding going on (!) and this weekend I’m hoping to get our fence painted – if the weather is kind enough. Feels good to see it coming together. Now we’re on to finally framing all our photos/prints and deciding on curtains.

And it wouldn’t be summer without a little sunshine; sunshine we found in Greece! We visited the island of Chios for a week, to celebrate our friends’ wedding. Loved kicking back, swimming, reading, sunbathing and being with friends.

So that was the summer. And a good one it was!

Now I’m back into work, the shop, blogging, crafting and all the other life admin bits and pieces and I’m wondering, how the heck am I going to be able to keep doing it? I have no idea. I do know something might have to give eventually, but for now I’m going to keep juggling while I feel comfortable to do so. In terms of This Little Space of Mine, I’m definitely not going anywhere but there may be a lack of structure going forward. Pre-summer I was writing three posts a week and publishing them on set days. The reality is I can’t do that anymore and actually I don’t want to. I want to share content when it feels right to and I want to impulsively write and share something when the mood takes me – like the digital detox post last week. I’m going to see how I get on but I can also assure you that the regular monthly posts will still be returning too!

Finally, I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU to anyone who took the time to complete my reader survey – I learned a lot from the insights you gave, so thank you!

Wishing you a great weekend and I’ll be back next week!

Leanne x

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An unexpected digital detox

Hello! How are you? I hadn’t planned to be back from my blog break just yet, but I wanted to share some thoughts on a digital detox after our holiday in Greece. There’s already a lot of content out there about turning off your phone, deleting social media apps, turning off sync on your emails etc, but I’ll just share with you a first hand, unexpected, experience of a week with no internet.

Before I left for Greece I’d had a conversation with my sister about turning off Wifi for a week and just having a break. No Facebook, Instagram, emails, just a complete break. We decided in the end that I’d never do it; plus she was going to send me daily pics of Freds and I knew I didn’t want to miss out on them! Then we arrived in Greece; Stu’s phone broke while we were driving to Heathrow (good timing!) and our apartment didn’t have Wifi. Not only that but no other cafes or restaurants to us locally had Wifi. So digital detox it was! If that’d happened a few years ago I think I would’ve freaked out, but this time I just sent an SMS (sorry, what’s that?!) to my sister to let her know and carried on with my holiday. I laugh as I type this that no Wifi is even a thing worth noting. But it’s 2016 and it really is. Thank you smartphones.

Summer 2016 - This Little Space of Mine

With the exception of a small bit of Wifi at the wedding we went to (where I was hardly going to sit on my phone all evening!), I completely switched off. I played cards, listened to podcasts (I’d downloaded them for the flight), read books, swam, sunbathed and spent time with Stu and our friends. To be honest, I didn’t really think about not being able to connect; I didn’t miss it like I thought I would. A couple of my friends had managed to pick up a bit, so they shared any news I needed to know – which was pretty much next to none.

Of course once we arrived at Athens (where I knew there was Wifi) and waited for our connecting flight home, I went online and caught up various apps and messages. I immediately noticed a difference; I went from talking to Stu or reading my book to being so engrossed in my phone I couldn’t tell you who was in front of me or where we were sitting. Since returning home I know I wasted a lot of Friday morning sitting on my phone, and on Friday evening I noticed a huge difference in how much attention I was paying my book. I was so distracted it was ridiculous. In the end my phone went on airplane mode and was put in a draw in my bedside table. I found it generally took longer for me to connect again with what I was reading. It made me angry and frustrated that something that had come so easily to me a few days before was now hard.

The fact is we need the internet for our every day lives; I don’t live on the same street or in the same house as all my loved ones, I like to blog, I have an Etsy shop, online shopping saves me time, my job wouldn’t exist without it … the reasons are endless. While there’s nothing wrong with the internet and of course all the good it’s given us, what bothers me is how much time I’m wasting mindlessly browsing various apps. What I’d really like is some kind of lock on my apps after X amount of time on them – does an app like that exist? That would be amazing. I could limit myself to only X time on any given app in a day and carry on with my life. I know I wouldn’t miss out on anything and ultimately, if there’s something really important I need to know the phone would ring. As sadly it has this year too many times.

There’s no real resolution from this post, but I am now acutely aware of how much of my time is being spent, wasted. And that needs to change. While I’m back from a holiday, feeling refreshed, this is the time to make adjustments to stop it. Any advice, tips, or experiences would be hugely welcomed.

See you soon – I plan to round up the summer months next week with a few pics and stories. Enjoy your bank holiday weekend!

Leanne x

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Taking a summer break

Hello, how are you? I’m coming to you today to let you know I’ll be taking a blog break from today, until the beginning of September. I did the same thing last year and really enjoyed having some time out; I especially enjoyed that buzz when I returned with lots of new ideas! I’m following the notion of the school summer holidays, plus Stu and I will be going to Greece for a week next month too.

California road trip: LA. Top tips on where we stayed, where we ate, what we did and more! Post via This Little Space of Mine

Photo from Santa Monica beach – wouldn’t it be fab to be going back there again?!

Before I head off, I thought this might be a good opportunity to share some of the most popular posts from the past six months. I love seeing what posts work (and don’t work) and it motivates me to think of new content that I hope will spark an interest. Did you have a particular favourite?

I can tell you all like your crafts as much as I do!

I’ve also set up a little survey, which I’m hoping a few of you might fill in – it doesn’t matter how often/rarely you read, all feedback is good feedback. I’ve never done a blog survey before but I’m hoping for some great insights into what you’re enjoying and would like to see more/less of. It’ll only take a couple of moments, so pop over now.

Of course I’ll still be around and you can catch me on Instagram and Twitter mainly; you can also find me on Snapchat, username leanneabeale. They’ll also be a bonus newsletter going out at the beginning of August so make sure you’re subscribed to receive all the latest!

Enjoy the summer break and I hope you’ll be back when I return!

Leanne x

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2016 goals check in – what do you do when life gets serious?

I love setting myself goals and plans; this year, probably more than others, I feel like I’ve been keeping them in the forefront on my mind. I’ve set myself goals every year but often they slip by the wayside. What’s different this year, I wonder? Perhaps because I’d spent time thinking about them – they weren’t a last minute put together for the sake of new year’s resolutions on the 1st January. Or perhaps because I thought about what was realistically achievable and what would benefit my life and keep me happy. Have you been able to stick to your goals?

2016 goals check in - what do you do when life gets serious?

My goals were broken down into home, crafts, me and career and I’ve written a little summary further down in this post about how I got on. It’s so fulfilling to stop for a moment, step back and really look at December 2015/January 2016 me and remember what was on my mind and what I wanted to do in the coming 12 months.

… However, sometimes life has other ideas. I wrote at the beginning of January about my motto being not to take life too seriously. The 4th January had arrived and life got incredible serious. My Dad was rushed to hospital after suffering two strokes. I wrote a little about this experience and my fundraising for Stroke Association. While dealing with the aftermath of that and seeking ways to help him in any way we all could, while learning exactly what having a stroke meant, my Grandad’s health was slowly deteriorating and we were told on several occasions to begin saying our goodbyes. He left us in May this year and I have his wonderful knitting and childhood memories to help me through this time.

Never before has life felt as vulnerable as it does; I feel like I’m clinging on to my family and loved ones for dear life, almost scared of the next phone call and what news it’ll bring. On the outside I try to keep it together and push forward with life, knowing more about its fragility, and on the inside I’m waiting to collapse in a heap unable to take much more. But… I know this is the stuff that makes us stronger. I know that this will pass. I know that my Grandad is at peace. I know that he gave so much happiness to my childhood and is forever in my heart. I know Dad will fight back; his determination this past six months has made me prouder than I can ever describe.

So life might throw hurdles our way, but it’s convinced me more than ever to make the best of the life we have, to live as much as we can and to truly appreciate the ones we love in our lives. In Gretchen Rubin‘s book she references choosing “the bigger life”, the life that will enrich you and give you more. I love that. I am incredibly lucky to have such a wonderful group of friends and family. Stu, especially, has been my rock and shining star through all of this. Picking me up when I’ve struggled, making me and my family laugh when we’ve needed it and being pragmatic about what the future can look like. Thank goodness for him.

So there, life may get serious from time to time, but it’s opened my eyes to what’s truly important and for that I’m thankful. I should also add that it’s not all been bad. Far from it. I’ve crafted ’til my hearts content, watched my best friend and her husband welcome a baby boy into the world, prepared for my other best friends’ wedding (which is this weekend – yay!), been so incredibly inspired at Blogtacular, spent time with loved ones and Stu and I have a trip with friends to Greece coming up.

As I mentioned earlier, here are a couple of notes on some of my specific goals – which you can also read about here. I’ve put the updates in italic.

  • Finish our dining room. Done! We took a week off in a February and worked super hard to get this all done – so happy with how it looks. All we need now are new curtains!
  • Learn more about gardening and get our garden looking good. We’re slowly making progress on this. I say we, more Stu than anything. He’s been working hard on getting the lawn in a better position and, with the help of Stu’s Dad, helped us sand and repaint the decking. My Nan, Mum and Stu’s Mum are also helping us with plants and putting a border in, so we’re getting there. It’s a real learning curve and I hope to be able to learn more about plants through help from our family.
  • Frame pictures and prints. We still haven’t got round to finishing this. Must get this done!
  • Learn how to knit socks. I’m saving this for the autumn, when the weather is a little cooler and I have a bit more time.
  • Challenge myself to make a cardigan or jumper just for me. I haven’t even thoughts about this since writing it down in my original goals post, oops. I have a cardigan in mind so I might try and give this some more thought over the summer.
  • Enjoy The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery ‘Let’s go on an adventure’ stitch-along cross stitch project. I am thoroughly enjoying this project and keeping up with it way better than I thought I might. I wrote a little about the first six months of the project too.
  • Enjoying the relationships I have with my friends and family. Pretty sure I’ve covered that above; I’m certainly not taking any of my relationships for granted this year.
  • Think about my health – my diet, how much I exercise etc. This is an ongoing one for me, I generally find the more I plan my meals the better I eat. I haven’t quite got there with doing that every week but I feel like I’m starting to make progress. Exercise wise? Hmm other than my weekly Pilates class, I know I could be doing more.
  • Read at least one book a month, as part of Circle of Pine’s a year in books. This has been one of my favourite goals this year and I’m currently on my 11th book, so averaging roughly two books a month. If you head to this page and scroll down you’ll see some of the books I’ve read so far.

I didn’t say too much about career at the time, but one of my goals was always to open an Etsy shop and last weekend I did just that! Wow, feels very surreal even typing that. It’s been (and continues to be) a lot of hard work but it’s been totally worth it; I am loving every minute of it and enjoying the learning process. I’m hoping for big things for Fred and Bell, so do pop over and check out my first collection of stickers. I have a few other bits and pieces I’d like to do this year, so watch this space.

As for the next six months, I’d like a bit more calm and a bit more happiness for me and my loved ones. Here’s hoping!

How have the first six months of the year been for you? I know I’m not alone in finding this year a bit rubbish so far, but I hope you’ve had some positive moments too!

Leanne x

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Fred & Bell is open!

Morning! I hope you’re all having a lovely Sunday.

I’m dropping in with a quick message to let you know my Etsy shop, Fred & Bell, is officially open! Wow, that feels really surreal!

Fred & Bell is open!

It’s been a busy old time, this week especially, and I’ve got lots to do today plus a whole heap of ideas for how to develop the shop further. You’ve got to start somewhere and today marks the start of a super exciting time for me.

In case you missed the last post, Fred & Bell is a UK sticker shop that sells high quality, functional stickers that are bright and colourful and will keep you happy and organised! I love stationery and I love being creative, so Fred & Bell is my chance to combine the two while learning more about business and marketing.

Pop over to the shop now – I hope you find something you like!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend. I’m hoping to stop to watch the Wimbledon final this afternoon. 🙂

Leanne x

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A look back at June 2016

Hello July! The start of a new month and hopefully a fresh start for us all. At the beginning of a new month I like to stop for a moment, look back on the weeks gone by and “put it all in its place”. Days, weeks, months and even years can roll by without even a moments glance, so it feels good to take a moment to look back. If you’re not a blogger, perhaps writing some notes in a journal would be a good option? It’s posts like these that make me happy to have a blog; an online record for me to look back on.

A look back at June 2016 - This Little Space of Mine

So with this post I’ll highlight a few bits and pieces from the month; including some photos from my Instagram feed – which is essentially my visual online diary. Are we friends on Instagram? Pop by and say hello if not, I’m over here.

June was one of those months I knew would be busy; you know when you look at your diary and think, yep, busy. I had two weekends away – one for my friends’ hen do and one for Blogtacular – and without those two days at home to rest, catch up, run errands and everything in between, it made the weeks a little busier. The good thing was I knew it was the case, meaning I felt prepared and didn’t stress out about it.

Blogtacular was a big highlight of the month. Blogtacular is a conference for bloggers and creatives and this was the third year running I’ve been. It was so wonderful to catch up with old and new friends and I left buzzing with ideas and inspiration. I’ll shortly be opening my Etsy shop, Fred and Bell, selling stickers for planners and notebooks, so I knew Blogtacular would help me put together and finalise plans I have for the shop. Fred and Bell is opening next weekend, so watch this space!

June hasn’t been without its bumps though; there’s been a few tricky family bits and pieces to sort and of course news of what happened to Jo Cox, plus the EU referendum has been a bit unsettling to say the least. These things will calm in time and sort themselves out, they always do, but it’s funny how national news can rock everyone. I certainly felt a little odd in those first few days after Jo Cox and the EU news and I know I wasn’t alone. I honestly hadn’t really thought I cared that much about the vote, but it’s our future and uncertainty is always unsettling.

Today also marks two weeks until my friends Hollie and Mikes wedding; last weekend we had a bridesmaids dress fitting and her hen do at the start of June was so much fun. So fun to get away for a couple of days; we did a hula hoop class, had afternoon tea, had cocktails and went dancing. Loved it! My other best friend, Victoria, is overdue now and we’re (im)patiently waiting for his arrival. I can’t wait to meet him! I talked a little this month about the cosy stripe blanket I made for him.

Also…. Game of Thrones. Have you been watching? Wow, the last two episodes were just so good, and now we have to wait 10 months for the next series. It all comes and goes so quickly!

Do you have anything exciting planned for this month? This weekend we’re off to Wales to spend time with Stu’s family; it’ll be fun to have some time together and I’m looking forward to catching up with Stu’s uncle, who is over from LA at the moment. It’s also Hollie’s wedding, they’ll be a baby arriving soon and I’m hoping for a bit of summer to arrive.

Blog wise, similar to what I did last year, I’m going to take a break from blogging over the summer holidays. It’s a great way to recharge the batteries, as well as giving me time out to think about content etc. More on that soon – I’ve got lots of good posts to come in the meantime!

Thanks for reading, hope you have a good start to the month! Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for all the latest.

Leanne x

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Coming soon… Fred & Bell!

Hello! I thought I’d drop by with some exciting news… I’m opening an Etsy shop selling planner stickers. The shop will be called Fred & Bell and I’m busy working away on getting everything ready for launch at the beginning of July.

The idea with Fred & Bell is very much to sell high quality, functional stickers that are bright and colourful and will keep you happy and organised. I’ve loved using my Erin Condren Life Planner over the last year and to be now making my own stickers for me, and hopefully future customers, is super exciting!

I’ve wanted to start my own ‘thing’ for a long while, it was one of my New Year’s resolutions in fact, and with a long-standing love of stationery I thought I’d jump onboard and go for it! Some things are planned out, some things are yet to be decided. I’m learning something new every day, facing obstacles, learning how to work past them, and constantly thinking how I can offer the best possible product.

If you’d like to keep up to date on progress I’ve set up an Instagram page for now, though more is coming soon. Pop over if you can and help spread the word.

Oh and if you’re coming to Blogtacular next week I’m hoping to have a few samplers to show off, so be sure to find me!

Fred and Bell - a new UK planner sticker shop coming soon!

Blog wise, I’d like to keep everything the same, though it may be that things slow a little. Posts may drop down to 2 a week, but the idea with that would only be to ensure I’m still publishing high quality content and not… dribble, let’s say, just to keep up with 3 posts a week. I’ll be taking a blog break over August, that’s already planned, but back in September with new and exciting content.

I’ll keep you posted on how Fred & Bell is progressing and hope you’ll follow me along for the journey!

Thanks for reading!

Leanne x

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