Snapshots from the summer

Hello friends. My, where has the time gone? I haven't blogged since the end of June - oops! What with a fair amount of personal stuff going on and the summer holidays too - which took us to Greece and France and Devon (lucky us, I know) - the days just flew by and the blog break, though totally unintentional, has done me good. Now it's September, my birthday has been and gone and a new term is upon us I feel rested and finally ready to get my head back in the game.

Rather than crashing straight in with business as usual I thought it would be fun to share some snapshots from the summer. It's been a wonderful time, full of trips to see friends and family, along with some fun blogging events too! That said, it still feels (at least here in London) that summer is still very much with us, as the temperatures are soaring and the sun is shining. You'll find no complaints here.

 

Travels - home and away // 

 

GREECE

This year we were thrilled to be able to return to the same spot we visited last year, the beautiful Lefkada island in Greece. It was a special time away celebrating my mum and dad-in law and both of their birthdays and their wedding anniversary too. The whole Garner clan had plenty of time to enjoy time together - eating, swimming, exploring and of course doing a whole lot of sunbathing. (Admiteddly not me, factor 50 and shade are my best friends...)

One thing I kept meaning to do last year was to capture the sunrise in all its glory, and this year, armed with my trusty tripod I managed it. It didn't disappoint.

DEVON

It's always a joy to visit Devon and the many friends and family who call it home. A flying visit, we made the most of the sunshine on a day trip out to the beach at South Milton. We also benefited from the fruits of the family garden - my freezer is now full of frozen plums waiting patiently for me to figure out what to make.

South Milton Sands, Devon // Gathered Cheer blog

 

FRANCE

You know you're at your home from home when you barely take a single photo, right? Well, on this short trip to visit my parents in France (they were there for a nice long summer holiday) I didn't even take one photo. It's a beautiful place to be sure, but relaxing in the sun and chatting to mum and dad was my priority and it was refreshing to have a break from taking photos. 

 

Blog events //

 

The White Company - Summer Entertaining

I was invited, along with a friendly group of bloggers, to a summer party hosted by The White Company all the way back in May. It was as you'd imagine the most beautiful event, dressed to perfection. Held at Eltham Palace (which I'd never previously visited, I will be back!) the sun shone, cocktails flowed and we had all the hearts eyes for the many White Company pieces. 

Here's a little video from the afternoon...

Gathered Cheer Socials

Two more of these lovely gatherings happened over the summer, hosted by some brilliant people. I had such fun that I'm going to make sure I blog about them both soon as we visited so many great places that I think you'd like to hear more about. 

The first was held in Faversham, and was hosted by illustrator and surface pattern designer Kate Clarke. Having never been to Faversham I was totally smitten by the charm and character on every street. Here's just a few snaps - more to follow! The shed pictured is Kate's - isn't it amazing?

Faversham Gathered Cheer Social // Gathered Cheer Blog
Faversham Gathered Cheer Social // Gathered Cheer Blog
Faversham Gathered Cheer Social // Gathered Cheer Blog
Faversham Gathered Cheer Social // Gathered Cheer Blog

The second social was hosted by Amy at Daisy Fay Interiors and Soumya from Made by Molu. They'd planned a fun photowalk around east London, taking in all the essential sights with plenty of time for snacks of course (bagels!). It was such a lovely walk with a great group of women, and Soumya even printed out a little map/guide for us. I'll be sure to share our east London must-visits soon. 

There are two more socials in the diary, so if you fancy joining us in Bristol on October 8th, click here to find out more and book your place! 

And that friends brings us up to date! It's been a busy few months, but they have been so enjoyable and it's made me realise that taking breaks away from the everyday are a wonderful way to recharge and gain perspective. 

Here's to the fast-approaching autumn season - I for one can't wait to enjoy watching the leaves turn and the sunlight show of its warm golden tones. I trust it will be a brilliant one for you, too!

-x-

Gathered Cheer Socials

Are you a blogger, creative or a lovely person? Fancy spending time with others doing something fun and inspiring? Then why not come along to a Gathered Cheer Social - we have two coming up in June which will be so good!

Gathered Cheer Social Event Listing | Gathered Cheer blog

Blogging can be a lonely activity - for every fun event out and about, there is also the time needed planning, shooting, editing content which is, more often than not, a solo pursuit. As an introvert I wanted to create a space for folks to come together in a relaxed and informal way. While I love the work collaborations and friendships that spring up from more official networking events, the nature of these socials often leaves me feeling overwhelmed and nervous. By keeping the guest list to around 10-12 people, our socials allow for everyone to feel at ease. It was also a goal of mine to use the socials to grow my own friendship circle, and by partnering with a different blogger or creative for each event, we are putting collaboration and community right at the heart of it all. 

Gathered Cheer Socials | Gathered Cheer blog

Last year I hosted three wonderful socials with three amazing bloggers, and it was such a joy to have a peek into their worlds! A happy group meandered around Hastings with Jeska (Lobster & Swan), another group wandered the streets and shops of Brighton with Emma (A Quiet Style) and a smaller gang launched the whole idea of Gathered Cheer socials by enjoying a brunch with Teri (The Lovely Drawer). 

Gathered Cheer Social Event Listing | Gathered Cheer blog

Each social brought together a small group of friendly people, who were keen to venture out and explore a new area - finding treasures of shops, coffee shops and sights. Being guided by a local meant we got to see some otherwise hidden gems. By taking our time and allowing chance to walk, chat, shop, eat and drink the pace was relaxed and left us all feeling happy and topped up with creative ideas, having made new friends. 

Gathered Cheer Social Event Listing | Gathered Cheer blog

I'm thrilled that we now have two new social dates available to book onto now. Both are taking place in June, and promise to be wonderful, inspiring days. I've joined forces with some amazing bloggers/creatives and feel honoured that they are putting such a lot of time and hard work into making these socials brilliant. Find out more about the bloggers and events and get signed up below...

Gathered Cheer Social Event Listing | Gathered Cheer blog

UPCOMING EVENTS

Gathered Cheer Social in Faversham
Gathered Cheer Social in Faversham

11 JUN '16 // KATE CLARKE

Hosted with the brilliant designer/maker Kate Clarke, this day out will take in the beautiful sights and sounds of Faversham, Kent. This relaxed day will begin with a stroll around the town, before we settle down for some homemade tea and scones. From there we'll continue our walk around the town, taking in sights of the old streets, lovely creek and boat yard, before finishing our time together with lunch in a lovely cafe.

Booking information - 

Click here to book your place. Once you've booked please email ruth@gatheredcheer.com with your name, mobile number and any blog/instagram details. Final information will be emailed to you nearer the event date.

Extra Event Info -

  • Saturday 11th June, meeting at Faversham train station at 11am Please note changed start time!
  • Those of us travelling from London will aim to catch the 9.55am train out of Kings Cross, which gets into Faversham at 11am.
  • The day will end with lunch at around 3pm, but it will be relaxed so do stay longer or nip off earlier as needed
  • Places limited to 10 people
Gathered Cheer Social in East London

25 JUN '16 // MADE BY MOLU & DAISY FAY INTERIORS

Hosted with Amy from Daisy Fay Interiors and Soumya from Made by Molu. Meeting at Liverpool Street station, we'll go for a (photo)walk together around some of the must-visit streets, including Columbia Road, Redchurch Street and Brick Lane. The pace will be gentle and there will be plenty of time to take photos or to nip into shops along with way. We'll finish up by getting lunch from Broadway Market to enjoy in the nearby London Fields. 

Booking information - 

Email ruth@gatheredcheer.com. Places are first come, first served! In your email please include your name, mobile number and any blog / instagram details.

Extra Event Info - 

  • Saturday 25th June, meeting at Liverpool St station at 10am
  • The walk will end at lunch time around 3pm, finishing up with lunch in the park (weather permitting!)
  • There is no charge for this event, as we will each cover our own travel, food and treats!
  • Places limited to 10 people

As you can see, these events will be lots of fun and the perfect chance to meet other lovely likeminded folks. There are more socials planned for the coming months too, and if you'd like to collaborate on one in your city do get in touch! 

Hope to see you at event soon!

-x-

Photograph of Faversham: Robert Canis / Alamy | Photograph of pretty table: Teri @ The Lovely Drawer | Photo of East London street art: Soumya @ Made by Molu | All other photos: Ruth @ Gathered Cheer


On Adventure

I distinctly remember my first solo adventure. Aged 21, with a bachelors degree and a broken heart, I flew out from London to LA to join a cross-country road trip. I'd travelled before, sure. Canvas covered nights in French fields (and in the British countryside) were a happy constant of my childhood. The mosquito bites and sunburn less so. I learnt to make my own adventures and friends. So whether we were visiting a local market, walking up a hill or playing games I felt peaceful, secure and oh-so grown up.

 Bixby Bridge. This 'Death Cab for Cutie' fan geeked out at passing over such a landmark...

Bixby Bridge. This 'Death Cab for Cutie' fan geeked out at passing over such a landmark...

So finding myself suddenly plunged into a bright and shiny LA, totally alone, I didn't feel quite so grown up. Tears of anxiety soon arrived, helpfully hidden behind my sunglasses. This introverted heart wasn't ready for the wilds of the US. Deep breaths. As is so often the case my initial fears were unfounded and short lived. The group I was travelling with was a brilliant mix of funny, serious, sweet and adventurous people. For three weeks we racked up miles, empty packets of Cheetos and memories. (And an almost military ability to pitch a tent in double time...) We became fast friends as the scenery changed around us. From the canyons of Nevada to the streets of DC we lived in the moment - grasping at every new experience with both hands.

Not as fit as others in the group, I found a restful peace in navigating the wilds alone. A hike through Zion National Park left me lagging behind, but this introverted soul relished such peace. Silence surrounded me, with only my deep breaths and steady footsteps to puncture the stillness. Surrounded by such unfathomable beauty made me understand for the first time how powerful and captivating is the lure of the great outdoors. 

Soon enough we reached the end of our journey. I found myself alone again, this time in the big city of New York. This time though, my heart was full not fearful. I'd tasted an outdoors adventure and it had left an indelible mark, that left me bolder than before.

 The Welsh coast. Just showing off, really.

The Welsh coast. Just showing off, really.

Since this first solo outdoors adventure, I've begun to understand how vital it is to 'get away'. Since being married B and I have found such peace and hope in our trips, both at home and away. Bewildered by our first ectopic pregnancy, we found comfort in the warmth of the Ibiza sun - allowing our emotional (and my physical) scars to begin to heal. We've walked and walked along Devon's beautiful coast as we grappled with some big life questions. We've admired beautiful flowers in countless of England's incredible open gardens. We've wandered through forests, hand in hand, as we dreamt about the future. We've stood at the pacific coast in California, feeling so small and as if we were perched on the edge of the world.

 Hello, little robin. A friend found in the Devonshire countryside...

Hello, little robin. A friend found in the Devonshire countryside...

  A carpet of stunning wild flowers. 

 A carpet of stunning wild flowers. 

In each adventure and faced with such beauty in the wild our spirits soared and our hearts were sparked back to life. 

-x-


A Working Lunch

You know those lunches. The ones with your favourite people, that take hours and that leave you inspired and bursting with ideas. They're the best. I had one such lunch recently, with the ace Renie from A Gray Life. We met in the morning for a coffee (always on the hunt for incredible coffee in beautiful places), a quick photo walk and then we ended up in Prezzo, ready for a long lunch. We'd been invited to try the new SS16 menu, a menu filled with lovely flavours like sweet chilli duck and roquito pearls. All the new dishes are inspired by the flavours of an Italian summer, which ticks all the boxes for me! 

We visited the St Martin in the Fields location, and how pretty it was. Wherever you go in London I'm always blown away by the incredible architecture.  A stone's throw from Trafalgar Square, it was a busy restaurant but had a relaxed atmosphere - full of tourists and locals alike. 

Prezzo SS16 menu | Gathered Cheer blog
Prezzo SS16 Menu | Gathered Cheer blog

The staff at the restaurant were incredible, and not because they knew we were tasting the menu - I could see the time they took with each table, and how friendly they were, sharing their own menu favourites and so on. Having worked in retail in busy parts of London, I'm always so impressed when I see others working in such a demanding role while still being smiley and unflappable. 

Once seated, we read the menu for ages. Slightly bewildered by choice, it was one of those "what are you having?" moments, where you change your mind about five times, with the waiter stood beside you patiently. 

In the end we went for the amazing superfood bruschetta to start (goat's cheese, beans and peas on sourdough), followed by the duck and sweet chilli salad (me) and the superfood bean and goat's cheese salad (Renie) for our main course. Handily we were sat right by the window, so we were able to snap our meals in all their glory.  For dessert we chose a delicious white peach and amaretti cheesecake. Trust me, this was amazing. We shared, but I definitely could have eaten a whole slice myself. We finished off the meal with an espresso martini each. I've just learnt to make these at home (maybe I'll blog the recipe on here?) so I'm always keen to try them, to see how to make mine better. These were delicious, and the perfect end to the meal. Who doesn't love vodka, kahlua and espresso?!

Prezzo SS16 Menu | Gathered Cheer blog
Prezzo SS16 Menu | Gathered Cheer blog
Prezzo SS16 Menu | Gathered Cheer blog
Prezzo SS16 Menu | Gathered Cheer blog
Prezzo SS16 Menu | Gathered Cheer blog
Prezzo SS16 Menu | Gathered Cheer blog

Even looking at that photo of the cheesecake now is making me hungry. I'll be sure to visit again soon to remind myself of how good it was! While lunch was a long affair, full of dreaming dreams and making plans I thought it would be fun to film a little too - so you can see a little snippet from our visit below. I'm still very much a beginner when it comes to making mini videos, but it's super fun and I'm determined to keep practicing! 

Our Prezzo lunch was the perfect backdrop to an exciting chat - more of which I'll hopefully fill you in on soon! 

- x -

This post was written in collaboration with Prezzo, who invited me to try a complimentary meal. All opinions are of course my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Gathered Cheer going! 

All photos taken by Ruth Garner for Gathered Cheer


A picnic en France

If you asked me to recall a happy memory from my childhood, you'd likely hear tales of days out with my grandparents, sandwiches and rain. It feels like a uniquely British trait to at once be all-consumed with what the weather is doing, while also being determined to plough on regardless. Most great picnics I've known have involved at least a drizzle of rain, and BBQs without a mad dash for shelter now seem almost lacking. And the food! Even the simplest fare, often wolfed down in the shelter of a parked car looking out onto a rainy vista, takes on a delicious quality. Hot tea from a thermos, ham and cheese sandwiches. Would you like a piece of my orange? Precious moments shared over cold hands and crumbs.

So it was a lovely treat when in France, B and I set out for a picnic at the nearby lake. Casting a dubious look at the sky, and the ominous clouds therein, we drove off - basket full of simple French treats in tow. 

A picnic en France | Gathered Cheer blog

As it was, the weather stayed bright for us. Clouds rolled over, casting shadows, but no rain fell. Phew. And so we dined on our French fancies. Crusty bread, smelly cheese, fresh peaches and yoghurts - so simple and cheap, but so so good. Fresh air all around, a view of the lake and with only a fisherman to share the view with, we sat and ate in contented silence. 

A picnic en France | Gathered Cheer blog
A picnic en France | Gathered Cheer blog
Had there been no benches to sit on we'd have spread our picnic blanket on the ground, to spare ourselves from any damp grass. As it is, we nabbed a bench in the perfect spot and so used the blanket as a table cloth, a catch-all for our many crumbs. The picnic blanket was a lovely light one by Anorak, complete with kissing stags print - ideal for any woodland adventure. It rolls up super tight (you can see it peeping out of my basket, above) and was a lovely light material. We also used the oh-so cute melalmine plates, with other kissing animals designs, for our picnic snacking. You can see the full picnic range here.
A picnic en France | Gathered Cheer blog

What is it about eating yoghurt out of a glass jar? It tastes somehow more decadent. Plus, once empty and cleaned, these sweet jars make the perfect little flower vases. While on the subject of sweet delights, I can confirm those donut peaches were divine. So sweet and juicy. 

A picnic en France | Gathered Cheer blog

It seems to me that you only need a handful of things to have a delightful picnic:

  • Crusty bread
  • Ham / cheese / other sandwich toppings (the simpler the better)
  • Fruit
  • Salad (cherry tomatoes are ideal)
  • Bottle of drink and a beaker to share
  • Sturdy plates
  • Picnic blanket
  • An umbrella, just in case
  • A happy and determined heart, in case cold and wet weather rolls in...
  • A group of friends or family. Or just your favourite person. (I went with the latter)
A picnic en France | Gathered Cheer blog
A picnic en France | Gathered Cheer blog

Are you planning on having one last summer hurrah over this bank holiday weekend? What's on your must-pack picnic list? I'd love to hear - just leave a comment below! 

-x-

Styling and photography - Ruth Garner

This post was written in partnership with Anorak and for it I was gifted the picnicware. Thank you for supporting the companies I work with that keep Gathered Cheer going!


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