A chat with Allison from The People Shop

When I was developing the concept for This Little Space of Mine the feeling I wanted to put across more than anything was inspiration. We can be inspired by all kinds of different things and each of us will be inspired differently. Interviewing Allison from The People Shop is something I’ve wanted to do since day one; having met Allison at Blogtacular in May it confirmed that she was the most optimistic and happy person I’ve ever met. Plus she gives amazing hugs and always has the biggest smile on her face.

So who is Allison? Allison runs The People Shop in Birmingham with her husband Mr C. They sell a gorgeous collection of clothing, gifts and home accessories – mostly designed and made by this creative duo.

So grab a cup of tea, find out more and be inspired by Allison’s world. Allison – I’m delighted to have you here.



What does a typical day in Allison’s world look like?

There really isn’t a ‘typical’ day for me as my work involves so many different jobs and so each day is a little different which I love! I usually start my day with a lovely cup of peppermint tea which I have while checking all of my emails and social media stuff. I may pop a lovely image on Instagram to say good morning to my lovely followers!

Then depending what has landed in my inbox the morning is spent catching up with those before I head to my shop for a couple of hours working there with my gorgeous husband Mr C! I may have orders to ship out, or deliveries arriving which I have to display nicely around the store, this is one of my favourite parts of my work, I LOVE making everything look beautiful. Sometimes I spend a couple of hours styling a new window display, or designing a new dress with Mr C, or I might be making a new collection of cushions or having a nice chat with my customers (over tea and cake!).

Then sometimes I may work from my craft room at home, writing and styling tutorials for magazines or organising props for a styling shoot or display, or I maybe prepping for a workshop or teaching. There is never a quiet moment, my days are always busy and I wouldn’t want it any other way!

A chat with Allison Sadler from The People Shop - This Little Space of Mine

There is never a quiet moment, my days are always busy and I wouldn’t want it any other way!

What’s the idea behind The People Shop? How did you come up with the concept?

We decided to open The People shop because there were no other independent stores in Birmingham at that time offering what we wanted to sell, a lifestyle concept combining our love of fashion, interiors and accessories. We also needed a retail space to sell our collection and a studio space to create our designs that worked together. We have created a space that works beautifully for both.

Owning a business must keep you busy; how do you keep yourself calm in stressful moments?

I’m a real homebody so down time is always spent at ‘home’ with my gorgeous little family, Mr C, my best boy Milo and best girl lil Miss. We like to snuggle up on the sofa watching some trash TV and eating popcorn, or we cook lovely food and dance around the kitchen! or if its holiday time, then we pack up our things and head to Cornwall for the ultimate relaxing time out. Mr C is also very good at keeping me feeling nice and calm, he always knows exactly what I need at just the right time and If I’m having a meltdown he’s always there to cuddle me through it! All of these things and a nice chilled glass of Prosecco works every time!

A chat with Allison Sadler from The People Shop - This Little Space of Mine

Tell us more about ‘Make it Sewcial’; where did the idea come from?

Make It Sewcial is a hashtag that I created through Instagram. I started it to Inspire and motivate crafters and makers to connect and to create a community of like minded people who love all things independent and handmade. It works like an online craft social club, with followers sharing their work and ideas, inspiring each other, chatting and making lovely connections. It now has nearly 10,000 posts in the gallery from makers worldwide

I started it (Make it Sewcial) to Inspire and motivate crafters and makers to connect and to create a community of like minded people who love all things independent and handmade.


How do you find inspiration for your makes, home and business?

I am inspired by everything around me; fashion, interiors, music, food and people. I love watching the world go by and finding inspiration in everyday things. I create everything I do straight from the heart and soul and always stay true to the things I love that mean something to me. I love my work to reflect my personality, that makes me feel good and happy!

A chat with Allison Sadler from The People Shop - This Little Space of Mine

What’s the key to a happy life for you?

The key to a happy life to me… is 100 % keeping it real, doing the things that you love, your way! with mr C and my lovely kids by my side of course.

If you weren’t the owner of The People Shop what do you think you’d be doing with yourself?

I started my business when I was just 17 years old (25 years ago…. sshh, don’t tell anyone, I’m getting old!) so I really can’t imagine doing anything else, being my own boss is in my bones, I really couldn’t do anything else, I’ve run market stalls in Birmingham and London and sold my designs to several shops up and down the country before opening The People shop 15 years ago. I love it and enjoy being a bricks and mortar shop owner every day, its a huge part of my life. There will always be a People shop! Me and Mr C wouldn’t have it any other way!

A chat with Allison Sadler from The People Shop - This Little Space of Mine

The key to a happy life to me… is 100 % keeping it real, doing the things that you love, your way!

To anyone reading this and wanting to start a business, what’s the one piece of advice you’d offer them?

Throw your whole self into it with all of your passions and every inch of your heart and make it a lifestyle choice because you will need to love, live and breathe life into your business 24/7 to make it work

What does the next few months hold for The People Shop?

Christmas, Christmas and more Christmas until we close for a well deserved break on Christmas eve!

And finally, who would you invite to your famous person dinner party (dead or alive)?

Minnie and Mickey mouse!



So there you go – what an inspiration she is. If I could be half as happy as Allison I’d be more rounded and optimistic lady. I hope you’ve loved this read as much as I have.

If you’d like to see more of Allison, you can catch her over on Twitter and Instagram too.

I’m on the lookout for more independent creative folk to interview, so if there’s anyone you’d love to read more about let me know.

Have a great Thursday!


Learning about photography

Photography has always been one of those arts I’ve wanted to learn. I’ve kept on the outside, admiring well composed photographs, photographers and their profession and thought one day. So recently I plucked up the courage to talk to a friend about how I wanted to learn and he very kindly lent me his D3100, while I save to buy a DSLR camera of my own. It’s a pretty big investment so this way it gives me an opportunity to play around and see how I get on. I’ve been very fortunate to have been lent one, as well as a few books.

While I continue to learn this new skill I wanted to share with you some further reading and tips and 5 of the photos I’ve taken so far, that I would consider my favourites. I would imagine I’ll improve in time and look back on these in horror, but I want to document my progress and share my journey with you.

If you’re also learning more about photography make yourself known – I’d love to hear how people are tackling this art form.

Further tips and photography reading
  • Join in on Emma’s blog chat on Twitter, every Thursday evening from 9-10pm.
  • Set up some Pinterest boards of photographs you like, for example scenary, products, styling – anything at all that inspires you. Here’s my Pinterest page for you to browse.
  • Ready to buy a camera? This comparison website will definitely come in handy.
  • If you own a camera but need a little help, I’ve been told Emily Quinton at Make Light holds insightful photograhy classes.

Without further ado, here are my attempts so far. What do you think?

Learning photography - This Little Space of Mine

I was told that getting animal photos can be tricky, so I was super pleased with this fluke shot of Freds as he walked towards me.

Learning photography - This Little Space of Mine

With my camera phone I’ve always found it tricky to give a feel for the texture of my sky blanket, so I was happy I’ve started learning how to capture that.

Learning photography - This Little Space of Mine

My first go at food photography and while improvements could always be made, I was pleased with this photo of banana loaf.

Learning photography - This Little Space of Mine

Why do I like this photo? It had just started to rain and I love the raindrops I captured.

Learning photography - This Little Space of Mine

When we made plans to go to the zoo last month I was sure I’d be able to get lots of good photos, but unfortunately not (the animals are just too far away!). Having said that, I love giraffes and I love the contrast of him against the sand in this photo.

What do you think? Any advice or tips would be greatly received!


Five thoughts Sunday – 16th November

Hello! How is everyone? I’m enjoying a crafty weekend and have finished a couple of Christmas projects already – yay! I love that satisfying feeling of finishing a project and being in awe of the fact you were able to make it. The upside of this rainy weather we’ve had – being indoors and able to craft away and not feel guilty because it’s sunny outside.

Five thoughts Sunday - This Little Space of Mine

Thanks for joining me for five thoughts Sunday – I kicked it off last week, as a way of sharing some thoughts and stories I’ve seen on my travels in the past week.

  1. On Friday I got myself into my first ever Facebook debate! It was all very friendly, but the subject? Believe it or not, the Sainsbury’s Christmas advert. Some thoughts echoed this Guardian post but, and while I know it’s good marketing, I think the advert is poignant and thought provoking. It so cleverly touches on the meaning of Christmas and I’m pleased Sainsbury’s are donating sales of the chocolate bar to the British Legion.
  2. This coming week Stu and I will be celebrating our two year anniversary, before heading up to Edinburgh for a long weekend away. I don’t know where the time has gone but definitely a moment to pause and celebrate. If you know of any good places to visit in Edinburgh do share – I’m so excited to finally be visiting and to see the Christmas market.
  3. After Charlotte’s recommendation this week I made this spinach, tomato and chick pea curry for dinner. Super easy and the perfect winter warmer! Be warned though, I warmed it up the next day and it didn’t taste half as good (so not freezer worthy, as I’d hoped).
  4. Is there a better way to bring a smile to your face than with a Friends reference? My all time favourite show, this tweet on Wednesday evening made me smile – before I then sent it on to my fellow Friends fans. It may also have been made my WhatsApp profile picture.
  5. Finally, this week Jojo rejoined the land of blogging and I’m so pleased to see it! I love how she writes and excited to hear more about her illustration degree.

How was your week?

Next week I’m only working four days, before our long weekend away. Yay! Hopefully we can also squeeze in a couple of episodes of House of Cards. Which is amazing. Have you seen it? Stu’s on nights at the moment, so could be tricky though.

Blogged this week: my first book review (what did you think of it?) and my home ideas scrapbook – turning Pinterest into real life. Next week I have a very special post that I can’t wait to share with you.

Have a great Sunday!

Leanne x

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Photo credit: DTTSP

Creating a home ideas scrapbook

Knowing I might buy a house next year is hugely exciting. Before I get there I regularly daydream about what my future home might look like; magazines, books, blogs, brochures etc. are full of fab ideas and I regularly say to myself “oooh, I like the look of that”. So I’m starting my own home ideas scrapbook.

Home ideas scrapbook - This Little Space of Mine

I was given a scrapbook for my birthday earlier in the year and starting to stick images in has reminded me of when I was 10 years old and stuck any news clippings about the Spice Girls into a scrapbook. Like any. I loved them, obsessed you might say. Did anyone else used to do this as a kid?

Regardless of what you might scrapbook about, I’m really enjoying using my various washi tapes with images I’ve been cutting out. I’m not being overly neat, but washi tape is oh so forgiving. It’s like a real life Pinterest and it’s my way of documenting ideas I see on my travels. It doesn’t matter if they never come into existence.

I contemplated having themed pages and structured sections but you know what? As an adult there is just too much structure in life, so I ditched that idea in favour of adding in pictures as and where I want to.

Home ideas scrapbook - This Little Space of Mine

Home ideas scrapbook - This Little Space of Mine

If you’d like to create your own home ideas scrapbook here’s a little list of things to get you started.

Things you’ll need to start a scrapbook
  • A scrapbook – Paperchase have a good, varied selection of sizes.
  • Washi tape – as much as you can get hold of! Fox and Star have a fantastic selection.
  • Magazines, brochures, print outs, catalogues etc.
  • A selection of coloured pens.
  • Scissors.

Home ideas scrapbook - This Little Space of Mine

…of course you can really go to town with scrapbooking; in fact the industry is huge. However, I’ve opted to keep it simple on this occasion.

What do you think? Fancy giving it a go yourself?

Home ideas scrapbook - let's get crafty - This Little Space of Mine


A book review of Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

A key message I want to get across in this blog is taking time out to relax; being glued to a screen all day long doesn’t feel particularly healthy, so recently I’ve found a lot of joy in taking time out to read and get lost in a story.

Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson, is one of the first books (ever) where I’ve started it, got a couple of hundred pages in and started again. Please don’t let them put you off; I’m so glad I did start again and I wanted to share a book review of it with you today.

Book review - Life after Life - This Little Space of Mine

The basic premise of Life After Life is what if you had the chance to life your live again and again, until you finally got it right? Would you do it? Would you not? I’ve often wondered about my own paths, the highs and lows and thought if I’d change anything. My answer has always been no – it’s not like I can anyway, but actually I’m where I am today because of all those things. Even if they did hurt me, make me happy, or leave me wondering at the time.

The book starts in 1910 and runs through the first and second world war, often going forward and then jumping back, normally because of a significant event. For a while I had to flip back to the contents page to check where I was; I can absolutely appreciate why that might be off-putting, but it added so much more to the story for me.

The large majority of the book covers World War Two, a passage in history that I’ve always been fascinated with and drawn to in other books I’ve read. When reading I couldn’t help but wonder what other fictional characters were doing, or where they were – the likes of Winters and Easy Company (Band of Brothers), Cecilia and Robbie (Atonement), Pelagia and Antonio (Captain Corelli’s Mandolin) to name but a few. Reading about the war feels like it’s part of our generation of fiction and Life After Life looks at the brutality of it in a balanced way.

I’m going to expand on a couple of themes now, so if you haven’t read the book perhaps turn away from this review. I wholeheartedly recommend you give this book a go; it’s the first time I’ve read one of Kate Atkinson’s novels and the level of detail and insight she goes into is a wonder. It made for a truly heartfelt read.

Book review - Life after Life - This Little Space of Mine

Themes I spotted during Life After Life

The first theme I want to expand on is the strength of Ursula’s character. Given that she was born in 1910, there is expectation (from me, as a reader) for her to fit the mode the rest of her family have – get married as soon as you’re old enough and have lots of children. Yet Ursula never does. Of course certain events give reason to this, but Ursula feels like a character of the 21st century, strong, independent, curious and willing to find her own path. She stands out against the rest of the Todd family for this reason.

As I progressed through the book, to maybe two thirds, in I really began to feel almost home-sick whenever there was mention of Fox Corner. I felt comfortable at Fox Corner, learning the dynamics of the Todd family, events aside, and so when war begins and it takes us to Germany and London (depending on the story) I longed for the comfort and felt an almost desperation to get her back to safety. Speaking of the Todd family, I found it incredibly interesting how glossed over Slyvie’s death was. She began as a character I liked but slowly that turns and it’s actually Hugh we morn for.

Writing this post a day after finishing the book I’m tempted to pick it up again and read it, perhaps hoping for more twists and turns in Ursula’s life. I didn’t feel ready for it to end and felt great sadness in the last 50 or so pages. I could see myself reading it again, a great read.

When proof-reading this post, my boyfriend Stuart said a book review should have a score – what do you think?

Rating: 8/10

If you’ve got this far in my review I’d imagine you’ve read this story – so, what did you think of it? I’ve heard that this isn’t Kate Atkinson’s ‘best’ book, do you agree or disagree? What path Ursula took stuck with you?

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson - Book review - This Little Space of Mine


Five thoughts Sunday – 9th November

So the first week of This Little Space of Mine is done and I’m so happy to be back! What do you think of my new blog?

Five thoughts Sunday - This Little Space of Mine

One feature I really wanted to include was a weekly post with some adhoc thoughts on articles, things I’ve been doing, news stories etc. Inspired by weekly posts from the likes of BeNourishd and Cider with Rosie, I give you ‘Five thoughts Sunday’ – for a quick Sunday read. Nothing too heavy, promise.

  1. While on a long train journey this week I started listening to Caitlin Moran’s ‘How to be a Woman’. My oh my, she’s just wonderful; I especially loved her thoughts on why woman pay for bikini waxes when they could spend money on cheese instead. She raises a valid point.
  2. It’s so easy for us to get wrapped up in our day-to-day stresses, so taking time out on Monday evening to visit my Grandparents gave me some perspective and lifted my mood. I love them both dearly and loved hearing my Nan tell me about how they met, 67 years ago.
  3. There’s cake decorating and there’s cake decorating; this blew my mind.
  4. This week I’ve spent quite a bit of time learning how to use some new (to me) online software – helping me to manage my team at work, task list etc. I was impressed by Proof Hub, Gliffy came to the rescue for a flow chart I was working on and I’ve finally set up an Evernote account.
  5. Lisa’s 5 positive things to do this week series always brings a smile to my face; this week I especially loved her recommendation that we treat ourselves to a naughty box of cereal. I couldn’t resist and bought a box of chocolate Weetos.

How was your week?

Next week I have more posts to share, another long train journey (so more Caitlin Moran time) and hopefully some time for knitting on the cold winter evenings that have arrived with us. Brrr.

Blogged this week: I shared a recipe for my favourite banana loaf and got involved in Styling the Seasons.

Have a great Sunday folks!

Leanne x

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Photo credit: DTTSP

Styling the seasons – November

What does November mean to you? Any colours, ideas or memories that come to mind? Styling the Seasons covers exactly that; created by Katy and Charlotte (two ladies I’m always hugely inspired by) with the aim to reflect more on the change of seasons and showcase them in our homes, it’s a fab concept.

I have very limited space in my home, so the most obvious surface for me to change was this pinboard. It’s been hanging in my room for ages; covered in photos, cinema tickets, random letters from friends etc. I decided to give it a bit of a tidy up for November. I wanted to start Styling the Seasons with something personal and every item chosen evokes a memory or feeling for me.

Styling the Seasons - November - This Little Space of Mine

You may have spied on my Pinterest page that I love foxes; they’re beautiful animals that often get negative press. I also think their colours match the autumnal vibes of this month so it was the perfect excuse to include a couple of fox items. The colour of the pom poms were chosen to match for this reason, and I love the warmth of this time of year.

November for me holds a lot of special memories; a couple of life changing moments have happened in this month over the years, so this is really where the styling began. It’s the month Stuart and I met, so I’ve added in cinema tickets from our second date as well as a couple of photobooth photos that make me smile. The photo of me with my Mum and Dad is there to remind me that no matter what happens, we always have a lot of love, support and friendship for each other.

Styling the Seasons - November - This Little Space of Mine

Finally, the ‘Life’s an adventure’ postcard represents an ongoing work change, where I’m travelling a lot more. It’s pretty tiring but a good step forward in my career so worth remembering that adventure is positive. We’re also going to Edinburgh at the end of the month – so excited!

Styling the Seasons - November - This Little Space of Mine

So, what does November mean to you? If you’d like to take part in Styling the Seasons upload an image and tag Katy and Charlotte on social media using the hashtag #StylingTheSeasons.


Banana loaf recipe

Banana loaf recipe - This Little Space of Mine

There is something hugely comforting about a fruity loaf, with this banana loaf recipe (with added toffee and pecans) being my favourite; it’s the perfect accompaniment for a cup of tea and a natter with friends at the weekend.

The pecan and banana combination is a big winner, and for extra crunch avoid chopping up the pecans. The toffee will add a soft touch to the loaf and works really well with the banana.

The other thing I love about this recipe is that it’s an ideal way to use up ripe bananas – great if you want to avoid wasting/binning food. You’ll also be able to turn this bake around in a couple of hours, so it’s quick and easy yet your friends and family will be impressed with your baking skills!

Banana loaf recipe - This Little Space of Mine

Banana loaf recipe – with added pecans and toffee
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 135g pack of Werthers chewy toffees, roughly chopped
  • 100g pecan nuts, roughly chopped
  • 100g butter, melted
  • 100g toffee yoghurt
  • 100g light muscovado sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed, 200g peeled weight
  • 2 medium eggs, beaten
  1. Heat the oven to 160°C/Gas 3 and butter and line a 900g loaf tin.
  2. Mash the bananas in a bowl.
  3. Mix together the mashed bananas, eggs, melted butter, toffee yoghurt and sugar, until well combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift the flour and baking powder together and fold into into the main mixture.
  5. Fold in three quarters of the pecan nuts and half of the toffee pieces.
  6. Now spoon the mixture into the tin and level the top, before sprinkling on the remaining nuts and toffees.
  7. Bake in the oven for 50-55 minutes, until golden brown. Test with a skewer.
  8. Cool for ten minutes in the tin before turning out onto a rack to cool.

Banana loaf recipe - This Little Space of Mine

Do you have any banana loaf recipes you swear by? There are so many interesting variations out there for anyone who wants to experiment further.


Welcome to This Little Space of Mine

Welcome - This Little Space of Mine - UK lifestyle blog

The day has come – my project is now live. I’m so glad you’re here and it’s so good to share it with you.

So, This Little Space of Mine – what’s it all about, ey? Well, the clue is in the title – it’s going to be my little corner of the internet where I can share anything and everything. Essentially it’s a lifestyle blog and it’s my aim to combine my love and enjoyment of being at home and my love of being creative. But let’s not get too hung up on definition; people evolve, so here’s where I plan to share my journey.

After deciding to close my previous blog, I’ve spent the last couple of months scoping out this new concept. It’s involved a lot of relaxtion, finding new inspiration and reading for enjoyment. I’ve loved having time out, but boy oh boy how I’ve missed blogging and the blogging community.

A new chapter begins and I hope you’ll join me. You can read all the latest on This Little Space of Mine via Twitter, Facebook, Bloglovin’ and even sign up to my monthly newsletter. Oh, and don’t forget you can find me on Pinterest and Instagram too.

It’s a work in progress, so if you spot anything untoward please drop me a line and let me know. As I publish more posts I’ll be adding to the top navigation and side bars – so keep an eye out.

Here goes!


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