The Taboo of Trying for a Baby


So, here’s some big news if you didn’t already see it over on my Instagram page: Wayne and I recently found out that we are going to become parents for the first time later on this year which is the BEST NEWS EVER!

After a very up and down struggle of trying to conceive followed by a lot of peeing on a stick (me), general disbelief (both of us) and a blood test (me again) it was confirmed. And we still can’t really believe it.

Even when I look at our scan picture above taken at 13-and-a-half weeks, I struggle to accept that our baby is wiggling its way around and growing in my belly. But he/she is and it blows me away.

It seems to be an unwritten rule, though, that if you’re trying for a baby you can only tell the world about it when you’re successful and you pass the all-important 12-week mark. But what about those people who are trying month after month to conceive with no success? Or those who have fertility problems and lose a bit more hope each time they turn over a new page on the calendar?

That was us and it was tough. So I wanted to share our story and hopefully give hope to other couples who are struggling to find that magic baby dust.

Trying is so very ‘trying’

Trying to conceive and getting nowhere is tough and something a couple probably won’t share with the world while it’s happening due to various reasons. I can only speak from my own personal experience and difficulties in getting pregnant and I know mine and Wayne’s experiences won’t be the same as everyone else’s.

Happily for us, by some miracle we found out we had been lucky only a couple of weeks before we were to start IVF treatment.

But during the time we were trying it was hard on us both. The hope every month that we might have done it, then the crushing realisation when my monthly visitor showed up, sometimes a few days late to really get us going. The cowbag.

In the end, due to my age (mid to late 30s) we went to see our doctor pretty early on. She ordered a battery of tests and in the end it turned out that it was me that wasn’t working – I wasn’t ovulating – so I started on several rounds of fertility drug Clomid, which in effect tricks your body into releasing an egg during your monthly cycle.

Being the one with the ‘problem’ is pretty shit. For starters, you are upset because you’re not working and you might not be able to have a baby. But there’s also the upset for the other person along with a whole load of guilt. I knew it wasn’t just stopping me from having a baby, it was stopping Wayne too, through no fault of his own. He always reassured me that it wasn’t my fault either, but I hated seeing how it affected him and felt so powerless.

As our treatment progressed, blood tests showed the lower doses of the medication didn’t work for me at all, but despite my right arm starting to resemble a pin cushion we gave it one last try at the highest dose possible to see if it would work. At the same time we had been privately referred to an IVF clinic – with my age as a factor we really didn’t want to have to go on an NHS waiting list for two more years in order to get our free go.

Stop the bloody clocks

One of the worst things we found about trying to get pregnant was the time. With everything working on a monthly cycle there was so much waiting each time we knew we hadn’t been successful. Another month is a long time when you’re trying for a baby and you feel like your fertility is slipping through your fingers every time the calendar flicks to a new page.

I wasn’t holding much hope that the Clomid would work for me at its highest dose, especially as our consultant at the clinic had told us I would need the maximum amount of much stronger IVF drugs to stimulate my eggs. Oh lovely. But somehow the tablets came up with the goods, proved by yet another blood test later that month. Amazing! Finally a breakthrough!

Sadly we didn’t get pregnant that month but we were happy. We had gone from a 0% chance of getting pregnant to a 25% chance the next month, if the tablets did the trick again. That’s the same odds as perfectly healthy and fertile couples. It took us nearly a year to get to that stage but I was glad we got checked out by the doctor when we did. The NHS guidelines say to wait a year of not getting pregnant before seeking medical help, but if you’re older and trying I would urge you to get checked out asap. Fertility is a sod and can prove annoyingly elusive just when you want it the most.


To cut a long story short, the next month we hit the egg meets sperm jackpot and we couldn’t believe it. We found out just two weeks before our last meeting at the IVF clinic before beginning treatment that we were pregnant – so lucky and we couldn’t be happier. After such an emotional ride we had done it. All we needed to do now was to keep our fingers crossed that baby would make the 12-week mark and we could tell the world.

But while we waited for those weeks to pass it got me thinking about other couples in the same situation. We told a couple of friends and our families about what we were going through but even then I think they found it hard to totally understand what it felt like. The powerless feeling of wanting something so much but it seemingly always remaining out of reach.

Talking about fertility problems is such a personal thing and I can understand why most people choose to keep it private while they are trying to conceive. But if you have an idea that a couple might be trying and struggling, cut them a bit of slack and be there for them if they need it. I never really wanted to talk about the ins and outs of our struggle to get pregnant while we were going through it as I felt it piled on the pressure but Wayne felt better by talking to other people about it.

Every couple is different but I think it’s time to break down the taboo of trying for a baby, even if that just means being a bit more understanding to those that are. As the funny thing is, the more we have talked about it, the more people we have found who have been in exactly the same boat as us. It turns out that fertility problems are a lot more common than we would ever have thought.

I realise this has been a mammoth post so I will leave it there, but if you’re trying for a baby and finding it hard then please know you’re not alone and there are so many people who have been through/are going through the same. I hope that in some way this post has helped a bit.

Lots of babydust,



Styling the Seasons ~ April


Every time I look on Instagram at the moment I see lots of beautiful pictures of spring flowers, blooms and bulbs all arranged just so. I love the styling and wish I had the talent to do the same.

However, these past few months I haven’t really felt on top of my game and my energy levels have been pretty low. I haven’t felt motivated enough to forage for foliage or scoop up bunches of wild flowers and arrange them, plus Wayne and I have been away too for a much-needed rest by the seaside.

Bright tulips - Beak Up Crafts

Therefore for April’s Styling the Seasons I’ve gone in a slightly different direction, with my hardy cacti and a dash of colour from some painted wooden tulips. They might not be oh-so-Instagram worthy or like something out of Ideal Home magazine but they kind of sum up where I’ve been at this month: sticking in there with the occasional dash of colour. Ha!

Cactus-on-doily---Styling-the-Seasons Styling-the-Seasons---top-of-the-bureau

Anyway, I hope you like how I’ve styled the top of my bureau, which has been now moved from our dining room to what was our back bedroom (but isn’t any more). More on that soon.

What does April mean to you? Are you brimming with ideas or finding it hard to get going even though the sun is finally putting his hat on? I would love to hear your thoughts.

If would like to take part in Styling the Seasons then style a surface, upload an image and tag Katy from Apartment Apothecary and Charlotte from Lotts and lots on social media using the hashtag #StylingTheSeasons.

Lots of April love,


Birthday Week


Last week both Wayne and I celebrated our birthdays. Wayne turned 30 and I became a little bit older than that (boo), and we celebrated by taking a trip to the Yorkshire coast.

We stayed in Filey but had a day trip to Scarborough, which is where I took these snaps.

Ice-Cream---Beak-Up-Crafts Harbour-Bar-Ice-Creams---Scarborough---Beak-Up-Crafts

We were so lucky with the weather for early April, as the showers did one and gave way to beautiful sunshine (although it was still a bit chilly on some days). That didn’t stop ice cream from happening, but annoyingly I couldn’t have any of Harbour Bar’s finest whipped cones due to my baby-on-board status.

Signpost-at-cricket-club---Beak-Up-Crafts Scarborough-North-Bay---Beak-Up-Crafts Fishing-nets---Scarborough---Beak-Up-Crafts

The day we came home coincided with my birthday but we stopped in York on our way back and had afternoon tea at Betty’s followed by a lovely walk by the river. Then we went home and I had a snooze.

Afternoon tea at Betty's Cakes at Betty's Tea at Betty's York Minster

I hope you like my holiday photos. Have you been to Scarborough before? I would love to hear your favourite bits as we’re going back in July for the cricket festival.

Lots of birthday week love,


{Five Minutes With} Vicky Brown ~ This is Lullaby

This is Lullaby stripey shoes - Beak Up Crafts

Hello and here’s to a brand new week! I’m back with another interview with a very lovely and talented designer-maker. This week I’m chatting to Vicky Brown, who is the creative force behind This is Lullaby, baby clothing with vintage personality.

Vicky is 33, married and lives in Stockport. As well as making beautiful clothes for little ones, Vicky loves sunshine, tulips, nutella by the spoonful and retro design.

Vicky Brown - This is Lullaby - Beak Up Crafts

I love her brand of handmade children’s clothes and I hope you do too! But less of me and more of Vicky (oh and keep your eyes peeled for an extra special discount in her Etsy shop).

Hello Vicky, thanks for featuring on my blog. First things first, how did you come up with the idea for This is Lullaby and how long have you been in business please?

I’ve been on this journey for nearly three years now. My daughter, Lucie, was born in May 2011, and I took up sewing again in my maternity leave, following a long break due to a hectic career in financial services. After seeing what I’d done, friends persuaded me to make things for them and I then start selling at a few local craft fairs. I didn’t ‘get serious’ and see this as a business until about a year after I started. It has happily evolved into a great business as I’ve developed new products, ways of marketing, and a brand identity.

What is your background in design and do you run your business full or part-time?

I run it flexibly, working from home whenever I can. Lucie hasn’t started school full time yet so she has a few days in nursery school when I do most of the actual sewing or product photography, and then I’m on the laptop in the evenings doing admin, or cutting out my pattern pieces in front of the TV. I’m lucky enough to have a dedicated sewing room and it helps to be able to leave work behind in there sometimes!

This is Lullaby blue dress - Beak Up Crafts

I’m self taught, but my mum had a big influence I guess, teaching me a lot of sewing skills when I was young. I’ve learnt through practice and experimentation. I can do what I do really well, but there are lots of different sewing techniques I really want to get to grips with. Oh for spare days of the week to do so!

What does an average day look like for you?

It starts off with the school run, dragging a sleepy girl out of bed and trying not to be late.  It’s only a short walk so it can be a nice way to wake up, except the infamous Manchester weather sometimes makes it hard going.

I’ll then power down to some sewing, fuelled by a few cups of tea.  Usually, I’ve have pre-cut all my pattern pieces the night before, and I have an aim of what orders I want to complete that day.  My work is 90% made to order, so I never know what I’ll make from week to week and what people have selected from my Etsy shop.  As I work from home, I need to be disciplined not to do things like the washing during work time too.

This is Lullaby floral shorts - Beak Up Crafts

I sew pretty constantly all morning until around 2pm, when I will package up my orders.  I buy my postage online from and print it off at home, so I can drop the majority of my orders into the post box.  It’s really, really handy and a big time saver compare with the post office.

After that its pick up time… A few family hours before dinner and putting Lucie to bed.  Often in the evening I’ll catch up on emails and queries, updating my Etsy shop, editing photos, sourcing fabrics online, social media… all the miscellaneous things really.  We usually then stay up far too late watching box sets. Currently it’s Nashville.

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

A big part of the This is Lullaby ethos is my use of vintage textiles and repurposed fabrics.  This might be a flower power pillowcase from the 1970s or an old tweed suit.  Beautiful fabrics inspire me to create and upcycle.  I love choosing which fabrics will work brilliantly for a particular garment.

This is Lullaby floral bibs - Beak Up Crafts

I currently have a range of 10 items although each is available in different fabric options.  I’m often inspired to update designs (or develop them) after speaking with customers, requests for custom orders, or personalisation.  These often turn out beautifully and my experience has taught me that if someone is asking you for it, it’s likely lots more people will be interested too. Being willing to learn from my customers is quite insightful.

How do you keep yourself motivated?

I think it’s important to connect in with other designer-makers regularly, as it can be isolating working all by yourself.  In terms of social media, I have found the best support and connections on Instagram.

This is Lullaby - Beak Up Crafts

For Etsy sellers I recommend involvement in a local team. The Etsy Manchester team which I’m part of is wonderful.  There have been training events and socials, as well as mentoring opportunities.  I do find that educating others and sharing my own knowledge and skills is great motivation to keep going and to succeed as well. Of course, I have days when I’d rather hide under a duvet but I guess that’s where having made to order items helps.  I always have a deadline to meet!

This is Lullaby waistcoat - Beak Up Crafts

How do you split your time effectively between designing/making and doing admin/finances and do you have any time management tips?

My only tip is that when you are really up against it, throw your phone into another room so you can’t take up all those precious minutes on ‘just checking’ social media and stats.  Sometimes it’s the best solution.

Do you have any offers or discount codes that you would like to share with my readers please?

Yes, I’m happy to offer 15% off anything in my Etsy shop.  To claim, just enter BEAKUPCRAFTS in the coupon code box at checkout,

Vicky’s Quickfire questions:

In or Out – In
Beach or Countryside – Countryside.  I’m a Dorset girl originally
Spring or Summer – Spring, it’s the fulfilment of months of hopes for warmth and life
Cake or Crisps – Cake. But not too much icing please
Fabric or Wool – Fabric, duh!
City break or Beach holiday – Beach holiday (in my dreams currently)
TV or Radio – Radio
Orange or Black – Orange
Wool or Wood – Wood
Plants or Flowers – Flowers, especially tulips

Vicky’s creations are so lovely, don’t you think? I would love to learn how to sew and to make clothes and I’ve got to say on a personal level that this interview has given me a shedload of inspiration.

Here are the all important links to her shop, Instagram and Facebook pages:

I hope you enjoyed this feature which will return in a couple of weeks. If you would like to feature with your creative business then please drop me a line at

Lots of creative business love,


My Favourite Pieces of Handmade Statement Jewellery


I love, love, love me a piece of statement jewellery. Say the words ‘Tatty Devine’ sale to me and watch my bank account shudder. (Well I imagine it would if it were a real person).

The bits and pieces of statement jewellery I’ve collected over the past few years are all handmade and I thought it would be nice to share them here as I’m a big fan of supporting indie businesses. Plus I don’t really do me in front of the camera posts (as I’m a bit shy like that) so here’s probably as ‘fashiony’ as I’ll ever get.


So first up, the aforementioned Tatty Devine. I LOVE their stuff even if it can be a bit pricey although I guess that’s a result of being one of the first in the laser-cut acrylic field and a constant leader in the style stakes.

I have a few of their necklaces and last year I was even lucky enough to win this sweet limited edition Easter Egg necklace (there’s only three in the world with this colourway!)


The first one I bought was the sunburst necklace in the sale but the one I probably wear the most is the forget me not necklace (a birthday present from Wayne) followed by the shell pendant.

I made the crown one at a Tatty Devine pop up jewellery shop in the Royal Festival Hall during a trip to London so if the jewels are a bit wonky that’s totally my fault!

Another firm favourite of mine is Ladybird Likes and I wear my two wooden butterfly necklaces loads in the summer. I bought the golden glittery bow tie on a bit of a whim (as I love bow ties) and I’m annoyed to say that I’ve only ever worn it once. I can’t quite work out what sort of outfit it will go with – any suggestions please?


While not so out there as some of my other necklaces, I love the Golden Donut necklace by Lucky Dip Club and wear it a lot. The ice cream necklace got an airing on holiday in Tenerife earlier this year (on a very rare sunny day!) and I will definitely be wearing it when I next head to Scarborough and the excellent Harbour Bay Ice Cream bar – retro chic.


Finally, it’s maybe not-so-statement but I still love my tiny gold dragonfly necklace by Alex Monroe. I’ve had this for years and it’s one of those pretty necklaces that goes with so many things. I bought it when the bee necklace craze was going wild and I’m glad I went for the dragonfly as it doesn’t feel anywhere near as dated.


Do you wear pieces of bright and bold jewellery? I would love to hear about any designers you love!

Lots of statement love,


Two Ways to Make a Shellac Manicure Last Longer

Shellac geometric nails cover up - Beak Up Crafts

Getting my nails done is still quite a recent thing for me as I’ve only been doing it for a year or so. I love how neat, well-manicured nails with a fab polish can just make your look so much more pulled together, even if like me you sometimes forget to brush your hair before leaving the house.

For years I painted my nails and got *so* frustrated when they chipped after about a day. That was until I discovered Shellac – now my lovely nail polish can last for up to three weeks with no chips. It’s like a miracle or something.

This all sounds great, but three weeks means regrowth, and something I discovered after a few Shellac treatments is that my nails apparently grow QUICKLY.

So how can you keep your manicure looking good while you wait for your next appointment? Fear not, as I’ve got two ways to hide the regrowth and give your manicure a new lease of life.

1. Geometric Cover Up

DIY Geometric Shellac Nails - Beak Up Crafts

This takes a steady hand but you can cheat with washi tape!

What You Need:

  • Nail varnish in a contrasting colour
  • Washi tape
  • Nail varnish remover
  • Cotton wool buds

How to Work it:

  1. If you’ve not got a steady hand then stick a strip of washi tape on each finger from one edge, just where the regrowth is starting to show. Stick it in a diagonal line.
    How to make geometric nails - Beak Up Crafts
  2. With your nail varnish, paint the area that’s still showing.
  3. Clean up any areas where you go onto your fingers with a cotton wool bud dipped into nail varnish remover.
  4. Carefully pull back off the tape and let your new nail varnish dry.

Now you’re set to work your new angular nails. They’re pretty cool I think.

2. Glitter Ombre

Glitter Ombre nails - Beak Up Crafts

This is so easy to do and instantly hides your nails’ regrowth while mixing up your manicure with a bit of sparkle.

What You Need:

  • Clear nail varnish/top coat
  • A small brush
  • Glitter in one or two shades

How to Work it:

  1. Paint the bottom half of your nail with the clear nail varnish/top coat and let it dry for a minute or so.
  2. Dip your brush in the glitter and dab it onto your nails. Mix it up by using two shades of glitter for an even more ombre look.
  3. Let the nail varnish dry then add another layer over the top to seal in the glitter.

That’s it – sparkle and shine with your new ombre glitter look.

So what do you think? Are you a fan of Shellac or gel manicures? Have you got any other ideas or tips for making your manicure last for longer? I would love to hear them!

Lots of pretty nail love,


{Free Phone Wallpaper} April Easter Eggs

Easter eggs illustration

It’s time for another free phone wallpaper and for this month I’ve gone pastel egg crazy!

I hope you had a lovely long weekend and didn’t eat too much chocolate. Well the good news is that these eggs don’t have any calories and will last a whole month. I hope you like them!

To download your free wallpaper just click on this link and save the picture to your phone.

Lots of April love,


{DIY} Free Easter Printable Colouring Sheet


Easter weekend is here and if you’re going to be entertaining some little ones over the next few days then today’s post might help you out.

I’ve created this free Easter printable which children and colour in while they munch their way through chocolate eggs or for when they need a break searching for the Easter bunny.

It’s A4 size and prints out in black and white so it’s ready to go. Just click here to download the PDF file.

I hope you like it and have a happy Easter!

Lots of long weekend love,



A Month in Pictures ~ #makeitmarch

makeitmarch 2 - melimelonshop, laylamdb, _tweedfiend, florafairweather

I had such a blast on Instagram last month thanks to everyone who took part in my daily posting challenge #makeitmarch. Thank you so much to everyone who got involved and shared a picture every day. By the end there were about 2,000 photos in the #makeitmarch gallery and so much inspiration and creative ideas on display. If you haven’t had a look already I really recommend you check it out!

I found some great new accounts to follow over the course of the month and I wanted to share some of my favourite pictures. Links to the Instagram accounts are underneath the photos if you would like to check them out and add some new inspiration and pretty to your feed!

(Main picture: melimelonshoplaylambd_tweedfiendflorafairweather)

makeitmarch3 - goodnightboutique and daphnerosaflowers

(Above: goodnightboutique; daphnerosaflowers)

makeitmarch 1 - _helloharriet, thisislullaby, missleslieanne, emily_hadland

(Above: _helloharriet; emily_hadlandthisislullabymissleslieanne)

If you took part in #makeitmarch I hope you enjoyed it and found as many lovely accounts as I did. If you’ve got any in particular that you think are worth a follow please drop me a line in the comments as I would love to check them out.

Lots of inspirational Instagram love,





{Five Minutes With} Just Joss

Just Joss scarf - Beak Up Crafts

Today I’m back with another nosey into the life and inspiration of another talented designer in my fortnightly feature. In the hotseat this week is Joss Maccoll, the creative force behind Just Joss Designs.

Joss retrained to become a textile designer and now does the job full-time – proof that if you want something enough and work hard you can get there and bag your dream job.

But less from me and more from Joss, who will tell you all about her business and how she got to where she is today.

Joss Macoll - Just Joss - Beak Up Crafts

Hello! First things first I would love to know how you came up with the idea for Just Joss Designs and what steps did you take from the ideas stage to launching your business?

The idea for Just Joss Designs came whilst exhibiting my final degree show at New Designers. I exhibited 30 different designs on four different types of fabric including silk, Irish upholstery linen, wallpaper and voile. I was inundated with requests asking if my designs could be made into women’s clothing. I was even approached by a mother of a bride asking if I could make her a dress in a particular design. Small ideas started to form and as soon as I graduated I knew I wanted to work for myself so I began researching print companies.

I had over 40 designs ready from my final project so I used the most popular designs. I wanted to use a high end material and as silk is so luxurious it was an obvious choice. The designs were printed and arrived in September 2014, I officially launched my Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest pages In November 2014.

Just Joss scarves - Beak Up Crafts

At the moment I offer bespoke accessories for women of all ages that are looking for high quality silk accessories at an affordable price. At this point in time I am concentrating on scarves and kimonos as they suit my designs the most.

What is your background in design and do you run your business full or part-time?

I have had an artistic flair since a young age. With a love for all things creative I decided to quit my full time job at a local primary school and took a full time Art and Design course in a local collage. The course covered all areas of Art and Design but I fell in love with Textiles. I then progressed onto a University Textiles course as a mature student and studied Textiles for Fashion and Interiors. This course allowed you to choose if you preferred to become a designer or maker. I chose the design route concentrating on surface pattern design, but it has to be said I am also a keen maker at heart. Being a ‘maker’ has also enabled me to hand make the scarves and kimonos myself keeping the costs low. I also have great affection for creating patterns, drawing, manipulating designs and being creative. This is indeed my full time job that I thoroughly enjoy.

Blossom scarf - Just Joss - Beak Up Crafts

What does an average day look like for you?

That’s what I love about being my own boss, no two days are the same. From having a phone call from a new customer giving feedback on a scarf they just have purchased from one of the local gift shops I currently stock, to having an order from a bride  asking for scarves as gifts for her bridesmaids. I love how busy I can be creating orders for customers. I also really enjoy the challenges customers give me if they ask for a special request. Nothing makes my day more than a client giving me complimentary feedback.

Where do you find your inspiration and what themes are there in your work?

First and foremost I love colour, bold and bright colour as well as the less obvious pastel shades. I use a pantone colour swatch chart and it was definitely one of my best investments. Obviously floral is a huge inspiration, the natural colours in them are simply exquisite. What I really enjoy doing when I design is using photography in my work. Taking photographs on local parks using these pictures as a design starting point and manipulating them in Photoshop, making the original photograph recognisable but having that added extra of something else to it. One of my best selling designs had originally come from a photograph of a cherry blossom tree in a local park taken last spring.

Blossom scarf - Just Joss - Beak Up Crafts

My favourite item I have made is a silk kimono with a small poppy design on. The designs came from a small hand drawn doodle of poppies in a field and progressed to this stunning mirrored repeat pattern. The main colour is navy with pops of mint green and peach and it is one of my favourite designs. The fact that it has then been handmade in to an oversized Kimono really shows off the design.

What are your plans for the future with and what targets have you set yourself?

I am just about to order more fabric as I have almost sold out of my original silk. The new order involves a lighter silk and chiffon fabrics for the next designs. I would like to sell my designs ready made in other local shops. I would also like to do more interior based products. I hope to develop my range further to have a bigger homeware section, I have started making throw cushions but I would like to progress to lampshades and wall hangings. Eventually I would like to offer a wallpaper range to suit my market.

Just Joss silk kimono - Beak Up Crafts

A target I have set myself to accomplish over the next two years is to open up a local gift shop that show cases my range but also helps promote local artists, crafters and designers.

Do you have any offers or discount codes that you would like to share with my readers please?

I would like to offer anyone reading this £5 off any order over £40 with code 5-OFF. This can be used on my Etsy store or quoted to me if approached on Facebook or Instagram.

Joss’ Quickfire questions:

Tea or Coffee – Coffee

High fashion or High street – High Street

Spring or Summer – Spring

Tropical or Snow – Tropical

Main course or Dessert – Dessert

Silver or Gold – Silver

Book or Film – Can I choose both ! Hehe

Easter or May Day – Easter

Wool or Cashmere – Cashmere

Flowers or Foliage – Definitely Flowers

I hope you enjoyed this feature and Joss’ story of how she made the switch from the classroom to a full-time textile artist and designer. I think it’s really inspiring and I’m so pleased to have been able to showcase her work on my blog.

If you would like to check out her shop you can find the links you need here:



This feature will be back in a couple of weeks with another talented small creative business owner. If you would like to be featured in the future, please drop me a line at

Lots of pretty silk flower love,