Selecting our "cut-your-own" Christmas Tree at Wilderness Woods (+ our Annual Autumn Photoshoot!)

Selecting our "cut-your-own" Christmas Tree at Wilderness Woods (+ our Annual Autumn Photoshoot!)

If you've been a Fifi McGee fan for a while you'll know that every year, the very moment the leaves start falling, Neil and I race out and prance around the woods for a wee photoshoot sesh together. There's something about all the colours, the first frost and the excuse to wrap up warm that makes us look forward to our annual Autumnal shoots together. This year, we fled to Wilderness Woods!

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Camping + a country walk in Sussex



I've been working on a little style post with Laura Ashley (keep an eye on their blog next week) which found me and Neil out camping in the countryside playing with evening light photography. 

It was such a lovely weekend. We practised shots of me spinning with this beautiful skirt I was gifted for the photo shoot, and I'll let you in on a little secret... 

I fell over twice doing it. 

Had a few too many ciders didn't I? but ssssh. 

Keep an eye on Laura Ashley's blog. The post I wrote is all about creating an outfit fit for country walks and climbing fences. 

Top here, skirt here








A moment to think at the Little Beach Hut of Dreams, Brighton

Life in a beach hut / Brighton beach ››

Life in a beach hut / Brighton beach ››

I can't tell you how excited I've been about sharing this post.

The little beach hut of dreams has stolen my heart, she really has.

Neil & I spent a morning restacking our creative thoughts in this peaceful place not far from our home in Hove. The sun was shining, it was a wee windy at times but that only contributed to the relaxing seaside atmosphere. It provided the perfect space to get away and unwind for a few hours together.

Life in a beach hut / Brighton beach ››

Life in a beach hut / Brighton beach ››

Life in a beach hut / Brighton beach ››

We've all needed a moment or two to think about the grand vision we want for our lives and careers, but somehow those moments rarely seem to come. It's hard to completely detach yourself from the everyday routine of reality, you end up getting caught up in housework, phone calls, meetings and paying bills before you have time to think.

In my opinion, everyone needs a few hours every month, or a weekend every year in a place like this to rethink or plan forth your direction in life. And that's exactly what Neil & I planned as "Dreamers-in-residence" in the hut that sits on Hove promenade. We talked about our home plans, his Brighton wedding photography plans, and the vision for my blog and how I'll get there.
 
Life in a beach hut / Brighton beach ››

Life in a beach hut / Brighton beach ››

Life in a beach hut / Brighton beach ››

Life in a beach hut / Brighton beach ››

Life in a beach hut / Brighton beach ››

Aside from the sheer beauty of this little place, what is most special about the beach hut are the experiences it provides for the dreamers in residence, and all for free. It's an inspiring initiative run by Beth & Paul, the couple behind Do What You Love online courses (I've been a part of this one, and can't recommend it highly enough, they also have a Do What You Love guide to blogging which I'm signing up for). Beth & Paul are passionate about giving people a day away out of their lives to spend time here, and have opened it up to anyone to apply. I simply love this. 

Brighton has needed a little escape hatch for city folk, couples and small creative teams, and I feel like the Little Beach Hut of Dreams has a very exciting time ahead.
I'm keeping fingers and toes crossed that it wins the Beach Hut of the year award, you deserve it!

Life in a beach hut / Brighton beach ››

Life in a beach hut / Brighton beach ››

Life in a beach hut / Brighton beach ››

Life in a beach hut / Brighton beach ››

Life in a beach hut / Brighton beach ››

Life in a beach hut / Brighton beach ››

Life in a beach hut / Brighton beach ››

Visit littlebeachhutofdreams.com and apply for a day away

If you're starting or running your own business and are in need of a weekend to unplug & get inspired, also check out the Happy Startup Summercamp which I help organise. Another golden opportunity to start thinking about the life you want to live.

Wakehurst fun & my new favourite necklace


Wakehurst Place, Sussex, Outfit post ››

Wakehurst Place, Sussex, Outfit post ››

Neil and I visited the beautiful botanic gardens at Wakehurst place at Ardingly in West Sussex about a month ago when the blossom was in full bloom. The same day I received a surprise wee package in the post and ever since we've been inseparable.

Meet my new lucky charm. A shiny silver wishbone necklace from JewelStreet by designers Astrid & Miyu.

I've never been one for costume or statement jewellery, always opting for simple white gold or silver rings and necklaces. Astrid & Miyu have a unique yet simple collection on JewelStreet's website, polished to perfection sterling silver at very affordable prices. My next purchase will have to be a pair of their shiny wishbone earrings to match. They're a steal at just £29.

For any upcoming birthdays, graduation presents or if you fancy treating yourself I'd recommend having a look at the website and Astrid & Miyu's offering. There's something for everyone for every budget.



Wakehurst Place, Sussex, Outfit post ››

Wakehurst Place, Sussex, Outfit post ››

Wakehurst Place, Sussex, Outfit post ››

Wakehurst Place, Sussex, Outfit post ››

Wakehurst Place, Sussex, Outfit post ››

Outfit: Necklace c/o JewelStreet, Sunglasses c/o GlassesShop, Dress c/o George Asda, Cardigan Urban Outfitters (a long time ago), Scarf - a present from my lovely in-laws-to-be :)

Photography all copyright of Neil William Shaw (Brighton Wedding Photographer)

My 24 hour digital detox... on a rowing boat


Photos from our trip to Barcombe Mills, Rowing in Sussex

Hola amigos. Bit of a different post for me as a few weeks ago I was challenged by Insurance2go to do a whole 24 hours IPHONE AND MAC-LESS! Shock horror.

Yes. The newest campaign on the block is for us bloggers to retreat from all things digital. No facebook, no twitter, no texting, no calls and, wait for it, NO FLAPPY BIRD.

At first I thought it would be easy. I'm not usually glued to my iPhone, the odd text here and there, some flicks through twitter and posting to instagram, certainly not like other people who need their phone right beside their plate of chips in a restaurant, eyes darting when the screen lights up.

Or so I thought...

After trying - and epicly failing - at doing the digital detox whilst camping with the girls (it was hard even when in the wilderness without signal!) I managed about 12 hours and missed people at home so much that I wanted to know everything was ok so caved.

It beat me up pretty bad. I didn't want to be that kinda person, cradling their phone instead of soaking in the camping atmosphere, so I decided to give it another shot and challenged myself in a more 'routine' kinda day.

Neil and I visited Barcombe Mills, a sleepy town in Sussex and the 24 hours went a little bit like this...

Photos from our trip to Barcombe Mills, Rowing in Sussex

Photos from our trip to Barcombe Mills, Rowing in Sussex

Photos from our trip to Barcombe Mills, Rowing in Sussex


00:00am Fifi sound asleep dreaming of tartan blankets and blogging

08:00am Up at the crack of dawn I usually reach for my phone before I even say good morning, to check the time, twitter and emails. Instead I spent the morning making up a picnic for Neil & I's plans, doing some cleaning and flicking through some interior mags, making notes on all the period furniture I wanna buy for our new home.

12:00pm Neil & I hit the road for the postcard-picturesque town of Barcombe Mills. There's nothing better than doing a digital detox whilst lapping up the great outdoors. I found that I was much more engaged in conversation, chatting away to bar staff at the Anchor Inn, whereas usually I place an order of drinks and immediately look at my phone to tide over the awkward silences. 


Photos from our trip to Barcombe Mills, Rowing in Sussex

Photos from our trip to Barcombe Mills, Rowing in Sussex

Photos from our trip to Barcombe Mills, Rowing in Sussex


13:30pm After a nice hearty brew at the pub, we hired a rowing boat for a 'romantic' row down the river Ouse right beside The Anchor Inn. Sounds a lot more romantic than it actually was. I spent the whole time TERRIFIED of our boat capsizing clutching to my lifejacket, getting stuck in overhanging branches and screaming when dragonflies flew too close with nowhere to run. Still, at least I didn't have my phone with me to worry about if I had to unexpectedly dive into the river ;)


Photos from our trip to Barcombe Mills, Rowing in Sussex

Photos from our trip to Barcombe Mills, Rowing in Sussex

Photos from our trip to Barcombe Mills, Rowing in Sussex

Photos from our trip to Barcombe Mills, Rowing in Sussex


15:00pm All this boat action made me forget about my digital detox and after some belly aching laughter climbing out of the rowing boat, we took to the riverbank for a well deserved picnic. It was this point I started missing my phone. The picturesque scenery was just TOO instagram-able. But I stood firm and promised myself I'd share some of Neil's photos on instagram the next day. The world wasn't about to end! Hoorah!

Photos from our trip to Barcombe Mills, Rowing in Sussex

Photos from our trip to Barcombe Mills, Rowing in Sussex

Photos from our trip to Barcombe Mills, Rowing in Sussex

17:00pm On the drive home we took a de-tour to adventure around the local village. Not much to see bar some cute pubs we'll definitely be returning to for Sunday lunch, and sure enough, we found ourselves a little lost in the country roads. At this point I was wishing I brought my phone with me for emergency access to satnav. It's amazing how dependent and lost I felt without Google Maps in my life. Neil ended up having to pull in and navigate on his phone given his Chief Map Reader was out of action! Good job too, I'm the world's worst map reader.

20:30pm After some light din dins when we got back, we settled down for the eve. This usually cues me setting up The 4400 (a Netflix finest) on my Mac / Chromecast - but not tonight. No digital means no Netflix :( which is another part of modern technology I'm massively dependent on. Instead we watched Lord of The Rings on Blu Ray. Yep. We actually put a DVD into the playstation. And there was me thinking DVD's were extinct! It felt so good to watch a film in stunning quality besides it collecting dust in the cupboard.


Photos from our trip to Barcombe Mills, Rowing in Sussex


Photos from our trip to Barcombe Mills, Rowing in Sussex


23:00pm Similar to my first try at going phone/laptop free, it got to about 11pm and I suddenly got paranoid people have been trying to get in touch with me, that something serious has happened and I'm having a whale of a time none the wiser. This is what made me fail the previous try, so I talked myself round and fell asleep reading a book. 

Come the morning I was a happy lassy again, checking tweets, sharing photos of the day before and replying to emails. The detox was a real eye-opener for me. I thought I could easily go weeks without my mac and iphone, but I feel like my bad sense of direction and addiction to sharing photos on Instagram makes me totally dependent on it. Vive le apple!

How do you think you'd get on? Have you given it a go?

Disclaimer: I was approached by Insurance2go to do this challenge and as a thanks, was given a super cute Nexus 7 so I never have to go technology-less again! I was under no obligation to write or feature this and all thoughts are my own. 

Photos by Neil W. Shaw Photography (psst, he also does weddings!)

Camping in Tonbridge


Neil just got a new car, hoorah! This means countless trips out to Sussex villages, country pubs, picnics by rivers and o'course some obligatory drive thrus. Last weekend we took her out for a spin to Forgewood Campsite on the border of Kent/Sussex, pitched up for the weekend and celebrated Neil's birthday around a campfire in the forest.



During our stay we visited Ashdown Forest, the home of Christopher Robin & Winnie-the-Pooh, played Pooh sticks on Pooh Bridge and took a long country walk stopping off for lunch in the nearby town of Hartfield... an absolute hidden gem of Sussex. Never knew we had such quaint rows of cottages and pubs virtually on our doorstep, it reminded me of the Shire :D








The campsite we stayed in sits in acres of idyllic countryside that you're essentially free to roam around. Not sure if most of it is private land or owned by the National Trust, but there are walks all across the vicinity with forests to explore if you're more of an off-roader. We took a pit stop in the evening sun, put down a tartan blanket and enjoyed a bottle of Lindeman's red in a field with not a soul in sight! 





It was such a relaxing weekend, and a really cool way to celebrate Neil's birthday. Next time, we'll definitely be bringing a whole group of pals with us since this was a last min thing, no one could make it. Can't wait to discover more camping spots around Sussex. If you've been to any, let me know!

Thanks to Lindeman's for supplying the Shiraz for our trip, it was absolutely delish!