Hand lettering on Baileys packaging

Monday, 11 March 2013

Hand lettering on packaging | livinglongingly.com

Hand lettering on packaging | livinglongingly.com

I'm a big fan of hand lettering and good packaging, so you can probably guess why I snapped up this mown grass-scented candle from Baileys by Mail. Have yet to try the actual candle itself...

Images: Helen | Living Longingly

Vintage packaging

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Vintage packaging | livinglongingly.com

A few months ago, I found some old (very old!) tea and soap in my gran's cupboards. Unopened. Almost mint condition. 12 1/2p for some of the Queen's tea! I love the lettering and package design... the contents were still intact, but I don't think I'll be having a cuppa with leaves that old!

Vintage packaging | livinglongingly.com

Vintage packaging | livinglongingly.com

Images: Helen | Living Longingly

A simple idea for gift wrap

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Thank you presents | livinglongingly.com

Eek! As of today, it's only one month until Christmas! Have you started thinking about gifts yet? I used to be a last minute shopper, but I'm proud to admit that I've been slightly more organised this year; I've made a list of ideas and even bought a few presents already (and since I'm a 'one for me, one for you' kind of girl, everyone's a winner). Now that it's time to start thinking about presentation, I wanted to share one of my favourite simple gift wrap ideas.

Rifle Paper Co | livinglongingly.com

When I travelled to San Francisco a couple of months ago, a close friend of mine who works for the airline we flew with was kind enough to arrange a discount on the cost of our flights and even an upgrade. Obviously, a thank you gift was in order! I picked up some goodies in San Fran, including some beautiful notebooks from Rifle Paper Co. and some Tcho chocolate.

And here's that gift wrap tip - small, flat gifts like these are perfect for stashing in patterned kraft paper bags and sealing with pretty washi tape. I originally came across this wrapping idea on Pinterest and it's now my go-to wrapping method for books and stationery - it's so quick and easy! These spotty paper bags came from Peach Blossom and I found the washi tape on Etsy.

Simple gift wrap | livinglongingly.com

Don't you think it looks pretty? I'm sure I'll be using this idea again at Christmas - I've bought some festive washi tape already!

PS. I've shared a few more gift wrap ideas in the current issue of live from IKEA FAMILY magazine. If you happen to get it through your door, make sure you check it out! If not, you'll find it on ikeafamilylive.com soon.

Images: Helen | Living Longingly

Introducing Tinto

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Happiness is a warm puppy | livinglongingly.com

Remember when I mentioned Tinto, the 8-week-old springer spaniel puppy that I spent last week with? Well, here he is!

I love dogs. For the last few years I've been desperate to invite one to come and live with me in London, but unfortunately it doesn't seem practical in my tiny, mostly open-plan flat. These sort of plans will have to wait until we have a kitchen door and a garden. But in the meantime there's Tinto, my mum's new puppy, who I'll be visiting in Scotland frequently.

He's pretty much the best thing ever. He's got that irresistible soft, loose puppy fur and loves to curl up on a warm lap (which reminded me of the Peanuts quote, 'happiness is a warm puppy'!). Returning to London after spending a week with him wasn't easy. Luckily, it's less than five weeks until I'll be back for Christmas... which means 10 whole days of Tinto-time!

PS. I edited this image with Afterglow on my iPhone - have you discovered this app yet? It adds filters like Instagram, but you can toggle individual factors separately - like contrast, brightness, or fade. It also allows you to add custom frames, light leak or bokeh effects. I love it!

Image: Helen | Living Longingly

Scenes from Scotland

Monday, 19 November 2012

Scenes from Scotland | livinglongingly.com

Phew, this year is just flying by! I've just returned from another week-long holiday to Scotland, where I finally found the time to prepare a few blog posts.

I grew up in a small, rural village on the west coast of Scotland. While I was growing up I never appreciated the beauty of the surrounding countryside, but these days I love my trips north - they give me the chance to relax, catch up with family and spend time doing things I haven't had time for in London. During previous trips that's meant baking or reading, but this time it was landscape photography.

Photography is still a new interest for me. I got my DSLR (a Nikon D3100) just over a year ago and so far I've mainly focussed on still-life and product photography. However, a recent growing obsession with Instagram has got me interested in landscapes, and iPhone snappers like @halfgirl and @jaredchambers have helped me see the potential in the countryside.

I took these pictures during a long walk up the hill which looks over our village. The climb wasn't easy for a London girl (and I dropped my favourite snood in the mud!) but the view from the top was worth it. These pictures are from my Nikon, but I shared some more iPhone pictures on Instagram (follow me!).

Having said all of that, the best thing about the whole week was spending time with an 8-week-old springer spaniel puppy called Tinto - the latest addition to our family! Needless to say, I have plenty of pictures of him too. More in my next post...

Scenes from Scotland | livinglongingly.com

Images: Helen | Living Longingly

San Francisco: the best bits

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Sight Glass Coffee, San Francisco | livinglongingly.com

Well, that's this year's big holiday over. San Francisco = done. It was mainly one massive eat-a-thon (exactly as I'd dreamed and planned), and the food was seriously tasty. Here's what I enjoyed the most:

1. The coffee. We were quite jet-lagged, so caffeine was essential. I'd heard Blue Bottle Coffee (at the Ferry Building and Mint Plaza), served the best cup of Joe in the city and I wasn't disappointed; their creamy cappuccino won me over at the first sip. I also loved Sight Glass (pictured above) in SoMa for its airy warehouse-style premises. I think this trip might have spoiled London coffee for me - nothing here tastes quite as good any more!

2. Food trucks. I knew that food truck gatherings were popular in SF, so we visited Off The Grid at Upper Haight the night we arrived in the city. It was so good, we ended up going to five other food truck events during our week-long stay. We were mainly following The Chairman Truck, which served mouth-watering Taiwanese steamed buns stuffed with crispy pork belly and pickles (or tofu for the veggies), but other four-wheeled highlights included spicy pork belly fries from Bacon Bacon (spot the pork belly fan) and strawberry and Nutella crème brûlée from The Crème Brûlée Cart.

3. Ice cream. The salted caramel ice cream from Bi-Rite Creamery was every bit as perfect as people say, and I was totally sold on liquid nitrogen ice cream after trying the fresh mint and dark chocolate chip flavour from Smitten on Octavia Street. Oh, and did I mention the crème fraîche with pear caramel scoop (also from Smitten)? Sigh. I miss ice cream.

4. Cakes and pastries. The lemon poppyseed almond pound cake from Tartine Bakery was so good I went back to the Mission District to get another slice before we left. I also had the most amazing Kouign Amman (a kind of salty-sweet flaky pastry) from Four Barrel, but unfortunately we were on our way back to the airport by then so I couldn't go back for another.

5. Non-food related stuff. We watched Celeste and Jesse Forever at the Sundance Kabuki cinema in Japantown, which turned out to be a fantastic movie theatre (and a pretty good movie, too). I also picked up some gorgeous washi tapes and stationary from Rifle Paper Co at Maido in the San Francisco Mall, and found a Honey & Bloom tote bag I'd wanted for ages in an awesome shop called Voyager (which was right next to Four Barrel). I couldn't find the Orla Kiely Method soaps anywhere, but I stopped by Whole Foods and bought two kinds of Mrs Meyer's hand soap (Rosemary and Lemon Verbena) and a dish soap, too. The retro packaging alone was worth sacrificing the space in my suitcase, and the bottles look great in my kitchen and bathroom!

I'm now back in London, back to routine and back to work. Let's go, autumn!

Image: Helen | Living Longingly

Longing for... Orla Kiely's new range for Method

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Orla Kiely's new Method line | livinglongingly.com

Have you seen the new Orla Kiely product range for Method? I just spotted these beauties over on Apartment Therapy and was instantly smitten - they'd look the business in my white kitchen. Unfortunately it looks like the line is US-only, but I'm hoping they'll still be available when I'm in San Francisco next month. On a side note, there seems to be a growing amount of disdain in the AT community for Orla's products and lots of commenters are saying that they're sick of seeing her patterns everywhere. I'm certainly not done with this trend yet, but I'd be interested to hear what you think... are these designs heading the same way as Keep Calm and Carry On posters?

Image: Janel Laban

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