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Terrarium DIY

April 11, 2017


Hey pickles, spring is in the air! I’m so excited about getting my pasty legs out and bluebells – oh bluebell season! But most importantly it’s repotting/ rejigging/ indoor gardening time! I always joke that some people go to the pub on a Friday night, I go to the garden centre. Except now I’m realising it’s not actually a joke…. or at least a not very funny one! So seeing as I’ve been doing a little refresh I figured a Terrarium DIY was in order.

My love affair with Terrariums started back at the tender age of 5 when my mum had one of those amazing giant boiling flask types in our living room. Except back then we called it a bottle garden and had no idea how cool she was (is) total trend forecaster! & I wasn’t born in the 70’s so it totally wasn’t a thing then. Since then I’ve made a bunch with varying degrees of success. And you know what there is a ton of stuff on the inter webs about terrariums made with succulents, but not a great deal about working with closed jar terrariums. So I figured I could totally share what I’ve learnt so far.

The main difference is that succulents and air plants thrive in open terrariums and ferns, ivy and moisture loving plants favour a closed jar. Once a closed terrarium is established you shouldn’t even need to water it. They become their own little eco system – pretty cool!

(closed) Terrarium DIY shopping list 

Glass Vessel


Pebbles/ stones

Charcoal / Activated Carbon


Selection of humid loving plants- I’m opting for Fittonia (the pink one) and 3 varieties of Ivy

Tools – Chopsticks / Tweezers / used cotton reels / bamboo / brush


First a quick word on tools- don’t go out and buy a bunch of tools for the job, use what you got! I use a little brush I got in the 100 yen store in Tokyo but radiator brushes work great too. Chopsticks are good for easing roots into the compost, tweezers – I have a long pair that works well for small vessels. Although the vessel I’m using today has a nice wide neck so you can get your hands in. This might be a good plan for your first go! I’ll put a bunch of stuff on a Pinterest board and link it at the bottom if you need some ideas of what to go for.

Okay lets get busy

Getting Started

Wash both your stones and your vessel, you don’t want any unwanted nasties getting in there before you’ve even started.

First step is to add your pebbles/ stones. I just grabbed a small bag of potting grit which is about the size of the stuff you see in fish tanks. Visually slighter larger stones can look really nice but it’s totally up to you. I added about an inch or so to mine which if you like maths I worked out that the filled area will be about 1 third of the vessel and the stones will account for about 1 third of that, which is 1/9th of the total capacity. Lost yet?! Obviously it doesn’t have to be an exact science but you want your plants to have enough space and oxygen to grow and survive! If you cram that sucker too fill it won’t end well.

Once you’ve added your stones, sprinkle you carbon / activated charcoal on top and evenly distribute amongst the stones. This will stop your terrarium getting stinky and prevent mildew. You can find it in the aquarium section at the garden centre or grab some online. For a small terrarium (mason jar sized) a teaspoon will do it but mine is quite big so I opted for about 3 teaspoons.



Filling it up

Next up you want to add your compost, I go for a fairly standard potting soil which seems to work. I’ve read you can also add pumice or a layer of moss before the soil. I don’t usually do this step though and so far so good! You can opt for a standard even layer of compost or make raised areas, a sloping terrarium or any other fancy shmancy business you fancy. This time around I’m keeping it simple and going for even ground.

Once you have added your compost you can use your hand (if your vessel allows) or a cocktail muddler or anything you have handy that fits in your vessel to part down the soil. Don’t go crazy but enough that the soil has structure and will hold your little plant babies in place.

When you buy your plants you’ll most likely get 3 or 4 plants in one pot – perhaps without realising. Ease them out of the pot and gently tease the roots to separate into individual plants.


Nows the fun bit where you get to tirelessly place and rearrange all of your plant babies! I pop them in without planting them to figure our the layout but you might be the more impulsive type. If so get right in there. Be careful to gently prod the roots into place with some bamboo, your fingers or some the chopstick. Then make sure the soil around the roots is patted and compact enough for them to stand tall.

Once you’ve placed all your plants you can add moss and pebbles to the surface. If you foraged your own moss make sure you wash it and let it soak a little. Don’t be too concerned about dry bits- they’ll rehydrate in their new home. I grabbed a big bag of moss in Rotterdam – strange souvenir perhaps? and every time I visit my family in Wales I liberate a bit and bring it back with me. You can of course totally just buy some online if you can’t find it at the garden centre (which I never could) Florists also sometimes have it for arrangements.


You can add some little toadstools, tiny people, or my favourite some schliech animals or dinosaurs!

& you’re done!



Spritz that guy a bunch as he’s not going to get any water for a while and close/ pop the lid on. It’ll be a bit of a foggy condensation filled affair for a few days while it adjusts but soon enough it’ll find it’s little eco rhythm and look shiny and clear again.




& there you have it! You made your first Terraium DIY. It’s a slippery slope form here folks , my boyfriend calls our flat Jumanji!

If like me you get the bug and would like to make more you can (and totally should) sign up for one of London Terrariums workshops! or go see their beautiful handiwork at Heals RIGHT NOW!

Here’s the little dude in situe! Still a little foggy (avoid radiators – learnt that the hard way!) I put a bunch of useful links, suitable plants and vessel suggestions over here on Pinterest – hopefully marginally useful!



More soon! xx







SE London Journal

March 26, 2016

SE London Journal

oh me oh my, it’s grey and grizzly outside and I’m about to don my wellies and walk the dog but first, can we just take a second to thank the lovely folk at SE London journal for making this grey day seem a whole bunch brighter?

I love this journal, the pages are super thick and it has that lovely smell, it’s laid out so beautifully and thoughtfully and if you ask me it’s the perfect size. The wrapping paper esque repeat patterns on the inside cover get me every time, and I cannot stop wondering how it is FREE! This little piece of print is such a dream and makes me really glad to live in this little slice of London. Not to mention making me really glad that despite what some might say- Print really isn’t dead! It’s journal’s like SE London journal & Fiera magazine that make me really glad there are still passionate souls out there trying new things with print magazines and keeping the dying art alive. I love online content as much as the next guy- don’t get me wrong. But there’s no replacement for a lazy Sunday (or in my case Saturday as for me Sundays are about Sunday Spot)  spent pouring over the pages of a magazine.

I popped into colour makes people happy, which FYI SE London folk (or anyone else in fact – worth the trip!) is probably the best paint buying experience there is in life! & grabbed a copy of issue 05. and let me tell you, It might just be the best yet! I was chuffed to pieces when my mural at the beer shop made an appearance in issue 04.

SE London Journal beer shop mural

But issue 05. is the closest thing to ticking all my boxes in a while. I am so glad to have heard about London Reclaimed, what an a amazing project! As someone who spends a lot of time working with both wood and arts education I can’t think of a better combination. Giving young people, a trade and training and above all that- mentorship and nurturing their mental health too. It’s really quite magical and if you should read just one interview in this months journal- make it this one! I’m definitely making a trip to Lumberjack, as if those beautiful hand turned wooden Idontreallyknowwhat’s in the window and the lovely logo weren’t enticing enough. You’ll have to read the article to find out why I’m even more desperate to go now!

Super happy to also flick through and see my pal Benedetta and her beautiful photographs also featured! I missed her recent solo show and was super sad but this goes some way to making up for it for sure!

SE London Journal

I’ve been watching a lot of the great British Interior Design challenge and maybe re-watching  the Segal home build episode again and maybe even again (don’t judge me) I love everything about this little collection of self build homes. As someone who’s imminently getting pushed out of an area I love ( I know I know woe is me) I’m so excited about schemes that follow Segal’s lead. Like the RUSS project in Lewisham, which makes me hopeful that maybe I won’t spend my 40’s living like a student in a shared house!

The Segal piece in this months journal was a bit bitter sweet for me- amazing to see the insides of some of the homes and hear about the current residents experiences and love for the place. As someone who spends an inordinate amount of time sketching future room schemes and pinning dreamy interiors there was nothing not to love about the interior photographs. I was a bit sad though to read that now they’re pretty much all privately owned. & I couldn’t help but think there’s probably a reason the folk who were interviewed didn’t touch on the price they paid for these places. According to zoopla they’re all worth 500,000- 700,000 now. Do I begrudge people selling on something they built with their own hands at a profit- absolutely not! But do I think we need many more schemes like this? Yep, yep, yep!

So thanks SE London Journal for putting my paint strokes in your pages, and for your paper choice, and for just about everything else including a really nice reminder of how great South of the river is . Issue 05. was beautiful of course and thought provoking too, and I really loved it!


Tool Tuesdays – In the workshop

January 26, 2016

tooltuesday workbench copy

I’m a girl who likes tools, what can I say? I like them so much I got some permanently drawn on my arms by my incredible friend Tanya. I spend an inordinate amount of time drooling over tool bags, utilitarian goodies & brushes. I just can’t help myself. Man I love tools, did I ever mention that? I think I probably did. So I’m back with another Tool Tuesday & this week it’s all the goodies I dream of putting in my workshop. I don’t discriminate though, stationary, knitting, bodging, whittling. Just give me all the tools all the time & I’ll be the happiest bunny.

Anyway back to this week & back in the workshop…

1.Dreamy hacksaw you say? RIGHT HERE baby!

2.Want to channel Daria instead of your weird science teacher who left to be a missionary & had abnormally large hands? (just me?) What I mean is do you need some sassy safety goggles? Good, then these are for you!

3.Need a hammer that is both beautiful and beautifully engineered, then this is your guy

4. I have dreams about this bag, the kind of dreams where you’re awake though and you just stare longingly at the screen and picture your tools poking out the top of it. All of Kleins leather tool bags are dreamy though. Lets be honest I won’t mind if you turn up on my doorstep on July 14th with any one of them!

5. Hand eye supply totally have it down, you know when a website is just so well curated and all the products are beautifully shot that you just want EVERYTHING! Tool websites are notoriously dry and often super unintuitive. I mean I get that Gedore’s primary concern is not making their sites a feast for the eyes. But sometimes I just need someone to cherry pick a selection of beautifully made things and give them the space they need- hah! I realise I sound like a bit of an idiot. It’s a bit like the whole Labour & Wait thing- sure you can buy most things cheaper in weird hardware stores but there’s something so magical in the curation! Anyway I digress- You want this saw, you need this saw in all it’s delightful Japanese engineered glory. Because let’s not beat about the bush- they know what they’re doing when it comes to tools & making & craft.

6. I know , I know they’re sold out! But I couldn’t not include these little beauties. Things organised neatly from here to eternity please!

7. Can we talk about Brass please? maybe it needs a whole post? I have a lot of love for those digital callipers & their accuracy buuuut you can’t beat doing it old school, especially when old school looks as good as this beautiful brass calliper

8. When I’m not dreaming about the tote, I switch it up and dream about this beauty. That rich leather is calling my name- I can almost smell it I swear.

9. This one’s a beast! but I love it! Everything in its place and so on and so on

Now that I’m at the end I’ve totally thought of a bunch more stuff i should have included! and 9, is 9 a weird number to go out on? oh well- maybe there’ll be a round 2 at some point…

If you like staring longingly at tools I have a pinterest board I’m slowly adding to & send me your favourites! For next weeks Tool Tuesdays I think Imma nerd out about tools for the office, if thats okay with you?!



The colour & the shape: Shouting about Katy Binks Brights

January 21, 2016

Hi pals,

I’m back in the swing I think. This week is the most depressing of the year, right? although I’m sure I’m more bummed out just because I’m constantly being reminded of this fact! So I’m shaking the January blues to bring you basically all the best colours of the rainbow.

If you haven’t been around these parts before the Colour & the shape is basically me gushing over the most beautiful colour palette that has crossed my path. The best use of pattern. Those dreamy hues that give you goosebumps. This time via one of my girl crushes & print extraodinaire Katy Binks


Too right I’m jealous! Jealous* of this little rooftop set up. Jealous of how damn talented Katie is. Of her way with colour that my sends me a little bit giddy with excitement. Of that perfect balance of shape & pattern.

A fellow Camberwell graduate, Katy has been beavering away on commissions ranging from large scale murals to beautiful scarves. And let me tell you I just can’t get enough of all of it. I check in with her tumblr regularly for updates and kinda like that her site is light on waffle (unlike mine!) and heavy on beautiful imagery. I couldn’t find much out about her- which i also kinda like. Intentional or not it’s all a little mysterious! Katy is based, like me in South London & was included in the Catlin guide as one of the most promising graduates. Totally agree Catlin- good work!

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Untitled2If you need more Katy in your life you can find her on Instagram or her website is right over here. & I’ll of course see you soon for more The Colour & Shape posts. If you simply can’t wait- there’s plenty of pastel to swoon over on my Pinterest board too!

See you soon! xx


*speaking of jealous, I just discovered the Jealous Curator – I’mma talk about that in a weird long winded ark later but she must have got in my head (Danielle Krysa) or the universe is up to something because this morning this Jealous image struck me and I had to post about Katy. Do you ever feel like you’re not privy to what your own brain is up to?! Anyway life is weird, thats all I’m saying! more on The Jealous curator later!

Manzanita Photography shoot

January 10, 2016

I’ve always considered myself to be quite un-photogenic, just one of those things you’re at peace with because it’s always been that way! My mum was a photographer when I was younger and her lens was often pointed in my direction. Usually accompanied by her asking me to show my teeth and not do my muppet smile. So you see I was born an awkward beast in front of the camera and much prefer to be the other side! Sometimes I wish it wasn’t so and that I could be a blogger with an Instagram husband. But alas!

When we go on trips we’re always so consumed with photos of the architecture, the food (mostly me) and everything but the two of us standing in front of notable landmarks. To be honest those photos are not my favourite anyway. But sometimes, just sometimes I look through peoples Facebook photos and feel a bit sad that it looks like in the 10 years we’ve spent together that we haven’t actually been anywhere and done anything together! I shouldn’t care I know, because we both remember all the amazing places we’ve visited together and the adventures we’ve had but what on earth will we show our grandkids?!

It seems to be that there are only a few people that are able to take photos of me that don’t make me shudder! Notably my pal Sophie who is the reason this whole photo shoot took place! Sophie took this shot of the boy and I on a little farmyard jaunt and put it up on facebook – real tangible proof that we a) leave the house and b) have both been in the same place at the same time. REJOICE!


I know what you’re thinking, where am I going with this slightly awkward photo! Well my friends, Rebecca (who at the time was approximately 4,685.48 miles away) saw this here photograph and not knowing we were such awkward beasts decided she would like to shoot us. Not really thinking much of it and knowing about the aforementioned 4,685.48 miles (or there abouts) that separated us I absent mindedly clicked the little old ‘like’ button. Feeling momentarily flattered that a real life photographer thought we would make good subjects!

One Facebook ‘add’ later and a few nervous ‘ but we’re so horribly awkward’ conversations and Rebecca, the boy and I were on a train from London to Hastings for a day of shooting! I know right? I couldn’t quite believe either! Rebecca’s work is incredible and on top of that she is an excellent human! We spent the whole train ride getting to know each other, laughing and telling tales. I can’t take the credit for the funnies because as well as missing out on the photogenic gene, I’m also not so good at the funnies! It takes a very specific set of ingredients for me to do a funny. Don’t ask me what they are because I have no idea. But somehow, sometimes I crack out a funny and everyone falls about laughing. It’s very rare though! Gav however is just about funniest I know so he makes up for it for sure.

I could hardly believe my luck, in Hastings (my spirit place) with these two guys having my photo taken! For anyone that like me thinks that they’re un-photogenic and far too awkward to consider such a thing feast your eyes on these.

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Okay that’s just about enough of my face to last you a lifetime!
It’s kinda weird seeing how you look when you do normal stuff. You know when you’re not smiling or posing for the camera. You learnt to perhaps not wear checked trousers when you were gifted thighs fit for rugby! You learn that you’re not the prettiest of laughers but you care not because look how much fun we were having!

Thanks Rebecca for being such an excellent human! For putting up with our weird awkward camera shy selves and making us belly laugh! We can’t wait to get you and little Tavo over here for some serious hang outs!

Did I mention that not only is Rebecca an amazing photographer but she’s also some kind of wizard with a calligraphy pen & a bunch of flowers. You should probably just hire, right now! To sort out every detail of your wedding / LIFE