31 August 2016

City Hopstop: Bumbling Berlin

Settling upon the notion that a girls holiday was very much deserved and an utterly essential round up to the summer, mum and I decided to try our bets at this spontaneity trend veering from the classic Pina colada beach chill and plumping for somewhere culturally new and exciting. Destination drop-off: Berlin, Germany!

Now I've heard many a story of memorable adventures from various friends and their escapades in this bustling European melting pot so it became quite an obvious quest for the Salmon dream team to sniff out what all the fuss is about!

Flights booked, bags packed, instruction manuals for navigating life left out for the lads and a good 3 hours to play around in Duty free and we were off! Gehen wir nach deutschland 
Nestling my bum into seat 25F and settling myself down for a flight of faraway sheep-jumping dreams, my visionary bubble was well and truly popped as a fresh wave of B.O languidly invaded my zone of zen. Much to my disappointment it appeared that said smell was rather smitten with us Salmon girls and insisted on sticking around for the long-haul. Fiddlesticks. I know we're fabulous but jeez, can't some girls get some peace for once? Personal space is a legitimate entitlement don'cha know!

After one suffocating, aromatic journey of playing who could sit still best without disrupting the cabin air flow, Berlin couldn't have felt more of a fitting place to soak up some cultural zeal, tease my insatiable ice-cream tooth, catch some beating summer heat in the German New-york equivalent of a city that never sleeps!

Touch down graced us with her appearance and off the plane we waltzed like giddy schoolgirls in a makeup store; The Salmon girls were officially Berlin bound and ready to jump into the sightseeing rounds!

For what was left of our dwindling day, we jumped into a taxi over to our Mandala apartment suite situated in Friedrichstra├če and spent the rest of the evening lazily perusing the surrounding streets, expenny shop windows and raiding the supermarket for some nosh to munch and liquid gold to chin-chin!

As Wednesday morning rolled out of her crumpled sheets, we filled our boots with cornflakes, juice and a map designed to break the resilience of two blondes in one very foreign land! Pulling out our best power poses and asserting ourselves as strong independent woman who don't need no men to navigate us, we closed the door on our questionable geography skills. 

With the heavens sun drenched and dressed in crisp flawless blue silk, we decided to make the most of soaking up some of the sights and what better way than from a birds eye glass view from the Berlinger Fernsehturn!

Trundling our way to the underground, we located the correct tram for our chosen destination by accident, finding ourselves looking up at what I can only describe as a futuristic space ball suspended on a giant rod. Kudos to the responsible architect! Surviving it this long without any glitches meant that there was going to be one slight pot hill we'd trip into. A 40-minute wait for our slot to go up the panoramic tower turned into 1.5 hours.

What were two girls to do to fill the time? 

There was only one viable option. 

We took it upon ourselves to taste test the ice-cream of course! Mum picked out a strawberry number and I plumped for mighty melon. A questionable choice on reflection as it became very...melon-y towards the end but none-the-less a refreshing and satisfying pit stop to satisfy this rampant ice-cream tooth of mine! 

From there it was time to take flight and zoom up the TV tower for a panoramic view of the metropolitan city in a glass bubble - just a casual humpday activity ya'know? Needless to say a birds-eye view is exactly what we got with an added dose of stiff legs from all the queuing to get back down again!

Now as much as I know you'd love a day-by-day breakdown of our stereotypical tourist ins n'outs and hasty turn abouts (geography skills need some dusting off on the ole unused cogs) I also know that pictures can often speak far more eloquently than my dear potty mouth can!

So step on into my click-happy snapshot page and let me guide you round our Berlin whistle stop trip!

So as refined ladies by experience and salmon ladies by nature we found ourselves wrapped up in air-conditioned entertainment in none other than 'The Mall of Berlin'. No surprises there then. Over the course of our extravaganza, many a moments were spent perusing the rails of Berlin's finest and many a euro's were spent refuelling our withering thrifty resolves in one sugary form only: Nourishment of the ice-cream variety. Oh and sprinkles because my inner 11 year old demanded more sugary fun than just plain o'vanilla. Wise kid; wise intuition. 

They say a picture speaks a thousand words...or hundreds and thousands quite clearly in this case! 

Look, the day I finally tire of a daily dose of ice-cream and no longer chomp sprinkles like a kid on crack will be one very terrifyingly miserable day indeed. Best not dwell, eh?

A beautiful glittery gem of hustle bustle culture, sweeping architecture excellence dripping with extravagance and one top-dog european all-rounder for any history buffs out there!

Berlin most definitely lived up to its reputation as a sprawling city of hipster diversity with creative start-ups, trendsetting interests, culinary refinement and cutting-edge art bursting round every street corner! The cafe culture is brewing and bubbling, bars serving up refreshing beverages with a side of hipster atmosphere and stunning views stand loud n'proud, fervent foodies shan't be left grumbling with the plethora of deli dishes served up and the world-class museum collections could capture the interest of even individuals without a creative bone present, *ahem* Mama S. 

I think what I found most enchanting about Berlin was the eclectic atmosphere and attitude of its residents. Integrating into a new territory is always tricky business but here there was nothing ostentatious, flashy or awkward just simple authenticity and enjoyment for life. 

Berlin serves up a little somethin' somethin' for just about anyone of any age and whether it's a pitstop whizz around amongst your european trail trip or a long haul render-vous holiday, Berlin will certainly tease, tantalise and undoubtedly satisfy!

Love, Sarah

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[Photos are all my own] 

28 August 2016

Compliments Stripped Back: Seeing Beyond The Physical

Beauty and looks will vary, will fade and change but the inner beauty of your character, your charm, your laughter, kindness and sarcasm will always be the unique constant that shines the brightest.

You can picture it now can't you? You're happily walking down the highstreet and suddenly your beady eyes do an unexpected double take as they clock a torrent wave of neon orange hair. It'd be hypocritical of us not to admit that the majority of us would notice a fiery mane of attention amongst the usual colour swatch spectrums of hair. Anything that deviates from the unspoken "social norms" inevitably calls for attention. It's human nature at the end of the day. It's how you respond following on from this encounter that shows the true nature of your character and social conditioning. Visualise yourself right now in this very moment having spotted a total free spirit scampering along the street with a head of spectacular intensity. 

Got it pictured? Now what is your instinctual response to this individual? 
Do you...(a). Proceed to then look at their face, their clothes, their body, what they may be holding, who they may be walking with, appraising or questioning their general characteristics or do you b). Put on your pants of curiosity and wander what they're like as a person; interested in what it could be that makes them tick and what values they may hold? Two very natural human responses with one key difference. 


One is focusing on the external; the physical features and appearance of the lady and the other is focusing on the internal; the hidden qualities that lie beyond the bold statement hair. 
Compliments and appraisal are a simple, free and wondrous way to connect and bond with others but if we stop and think about it, very rarely do we dish up the goods that go beyond the physical attributes of another. 

"Your hair looks the absolute BOMB right now!"

"You have the most beautiful, sparkly eyes"

...sound familiar? It seems that when we choose to compliment another, we pick out a appearance based admiration by default which in itself isn't a negative thing as I believe that another's beauty and admirable qualities should always be celebrated and valued. Yet so should another's intelligence, their kindness, their drive, their humour and their spirit! Everyone in this world is a complex book of everything that makes them who they are and just like the old saying goes "Never judge a book by its' cover". A person may have an ass sculpted to peachy ripeness and a mane reminiscent of a Pantene advert but their internal energy and presence is what encompasses their total radiance. Someone's razor sharp killer cheekbones are only a minor fraction to what they have to offer this world. 

I've come to realise that what you invest in the world and to others - a smile, a random act of kindness, a presence of authentic gratitude is exactly what the world gives back to you. The more you look for the positives in this life, the more happiness and satisfaction will bounce back in your direction. The same works for dishing up true and meaningful compliments to others. 

Exclaiming to another that they are an inspiration to you or you admire the way they handled a situation can quite simply change their world. A basic comment that may seem simple to you can heighten another's self esteem and manifest their entire day into something more positive and appreciative than they could imagine. 
Confidence and self esteem plays a significant role in how individuals interact and respond with the world and some of the best compliments to boost another's self belief has absolutely nothing to do with being gorgeous or having a great wardrobe or fabulous eyebrows. It's the recognition of another's passion, success, kindness and admirable tenacity that can fuel a profound sense of self-love and it is that respect that you notice in another that can completely change their world. 

So the next time you pull some compliments out of your bag of authenticity, chuck in some of these little non-physical nuggets of affection amongst your total tongue-panting admiration for their adorable freckles. A person's beauty may wither and transform but their mindset will remain charmingly unique and bewitching....

#1. I'm so happy you exist

#2. I always feel so uplifted after being with you

#3. You inspire me to be a better person

#4. Your positivity and passion is so contagious 

#5. The world needs more people like you

#6. You always make me laugh; Your sense of humour is great!

#7. I love having you in my life - you mean the world to me

#8. I really admire your outlook and beliefs

#9. You're so empowering

#10. You make a positive difference to my life

#11. You know what's wonderful? You. You are what's wonderful. Even on a bad day.

#12. You inspire me to work hard

#13. You have a beautiful soul

#14. You're so very talented at what you do

#15. You're a diamond - I can always depend on you

#16. You are priceless; your love lights up any darkness

#17. Everything about you enchants me

#18. Your perseverance and strength is truly admirable

#19. I hope to have you in my life for a very long time

#20. You matter

#21. You're so fun to have around

#22. You light up the room whenever you're around

#23. Your patience should be worshiped like a holy Buddha

#24. You make me feel so good about myself

#25. You're a truly strong person

#26. You are such a great listener

#27. Your confidence is refreshing

#28. Our conversations are so meaningful and inspiring

#29. It's great to see such kindness in the world

#30. You're important even if you don't think so

Love, Sarah

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[All photos sourced & copyrighted to Pinterest, Pixabay & Unsplash]

22 August 2016

Sweep Into The Week Power Playlist

Monday...why hello there again old friend; you're making quite a regular appearance these days eh? How rudely inconsiderate you are. 

Got a case of the monday blues and summer wind-down woes? Don't collapse in misery just yet as I'm on hand to help try and fire up a  little fresh optimism into the start of your week, charge up that cheeky spring in your step and inject a touch of nervous excitement for whatever mysterious adventures life will chuck your way this week! Sound like a good game plan? 

On your marks, get set, whip up the volume and

Luna Shadows - Waves

Mary Mary - Shackles

Whethan (ft. Ashe) - Can't Hide

The Chainsmokers (ft. Halsey) - Closer

Terror Jr. - Say So

ZHU - Hometown Girl

Tim Suby (ft. Jessie Reyez) - K Goodnight

Sinead Harnett, GRADES - If You Let Me

Elijah Noll - Need U

Danny Padilla - Intoxication

KOLAJ - The Touch

Crystal Fighters - All Night

XY&O (Sistex remix) - Low Tide

Kloe - UDSM 

Caroline Pennell (ft.Felix) - Lovesick

Say hello to a new fresh week of opportunity and smile at the prospect of some memorable mischief heading your way! 

Love, Sarah

Connect & take a snoop at what I'm up to on...

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[All photos sourced & copyrighted to Pinterest & Pixabay]

20 August 2016

Heat, Bash, Buff: Learning To Make A Silver Ring

"Jewellery Has The Power To Be This One Little Thing That Can Make You Feel Unique." - Jennie Kwon

Having recently embarked upon my eye-opening journey into the world of Jewellery, my spirit guide, editor and working partner to all things sparkly and juicy in the jewellery world thought it was about time I stopped talking the talk of all things silver and pretty and set my sights upon navigating the benchpeg instead. The idea of flouncing around flaunting my very own silver number sounded absolutely fabulous whilst the idea of me having to make friends with a hammer and blowtorch sounded like one ghastly proposition. Needless to say, as the morning of my silversmith masterclass scampered into view to say I was anxious would be a serious disservice to the number of pep talks my mum fed me for breakfast.

Plugging the postcode into my Satnav and realising the Meon Valley studios were only a mere 15 minutes from home, I figured I'd arrived in no time at all with a spare 5 minutes to pull on my professional socks and get "in the zone". Intention and reality rarely coincide in my world and today did not fail to stick to the status quo. Finding myself parked up on the side of a country dirt track surrounded by nothing but green fields and horse poop, in my anxious, sweaty state at already being 20 minutes late I took it as a sign that getting behind the bench and creating something silver was not my forte and set off with the intention of trundling back home. I drove roughly 25 metres down the road and with a nonchalant glance to my right saw the sign for Lomer Farm. Drats. God had other plans for me clearly. Creeping through the tiny tracks, I grabbed my bag and any semblance of remaining confidence and headed on into my day of trying to keep the hammer on the metal and not my fingers. Welcomed by cheerful smiles and a group nattering over steaming mugs of teas and crumbly Viennese biscuits I instantly felt at home and ready to go as our delightful silversmith, Olivia Brown gathered us round to kick off the frivolous fun.

With the pitter patter of water droplets bouncing against the glass doors and the gentle hum of passion excitedly gushing out of the mouth of Olivia as she guides us through the motions, we each sit behind our work stations fiddling and settling into our curved jewellery benches. Seeing as I work for a publication called Benchpeg it seemed somewhat vital to actually know what said tool looked like.
We huddle around Olivia as she guides us through demonstrations of each ring making station and breaks down the step by step essentials to basic silversmithing skills. Over the course of the day I'd be mastering (more like winging it) the artistry of sawing, filing, annealing - which much to my surprise did not entail kneeling down for a cheeky tea break but involved heating up the silver to keep it soft with none other than a blowtorch, soldering, polishing and then eventually hammering. Who knew such a delicately simple metal band required such high maintenance, eh? My little silver band of love was most definitely going to be giving me a run for my money in the diva stakes...like mother like daughter I guess!

Pretending to know exactly what I wanted to create, I plumped for a rod of silver with a slight rounded curve and ogled it with bewilderment at the thought of trying to turn a single strip of metal into something dainty and wearable. I put my faith in Olivia that she'd be able to guide a blonde novice like myself to nailing a piece of handmade silver jewellery without nailing myself in the process. Time to get to work. The first step was to cut the rod of silver to the required length for our finger. Picking up a fine toothed piercing handsaw with trembling fingers I managed to cut in a straight line without the blade making friends with any fingers. My smug little victory smile soon lost its arrogance when Olivia presented me with a hammer to mould the metal into a curved 'c' shape. Getting friendly with the hammer was one daunting task in sheer fear of trying to pound my fingers into shape as opposed to the ring in question! I squirrelled over to the mandrel which is a tapered spindle used to grip the silver metal as I set my sights to shaping the soft silver metal into a neatly curved band by using a nylon hammer.

Next up Olivia showed us how to "anneal" our curved bands to stop the metal from hardening and breaking away as we continue to sculpt it. This involves heating the metal until it flashes a sharp glowing red into a deep grey; indicating that the silver has oxidised. A bit of flux which is a tiny strip of silver solder is also bound to the ring in order to seal the tiny gap in the curved ring. Flipping on my blue steel shades of cool, aka plastic lab googles, I picked up the blowtorch, turned on the gas dial and prepared myself to let rip. Like most things in my life, things didn't quite turn out as planned. The flaw in my vision was that I couldn't work the damn lighter in order to erect a flame of fire. In that moment with my cheeks flaming red I cursed my lofty sensible teenage years of not even attempting to find out how a lighter may function. Fiddling with the switch in a sweaty embarrassed mess, I passed the lighter over to Olivia who in one smooth flick had it blaring, flaring and ready to go. With my tail wedged between my toes I got to work trying to keep the flame directed on my ring of fire and not at anyone's face.

After the fire fiasco was extinguished, our rings were dropped into a hubble bubble melting pot of acid called a "pickle pot" in order to clean and neutralise the silver. As we ventured back to our individual bench workspaces, an array of different files were presented before us in order to file down the silver flux joining and buff away the oxidised coating. As we all concentrated on the task before us, it struck me just how magical the process of jewellery making really was. We can go to any shop - high street or high brow and pick up a ring that makes our inner magpies squeal in delight but seldom do we stop to consider the process behind its creation. Being able to take part in the creation of my very own silver ring has given me a new found appreciation to the level of work and passion behind its' design. After covering myself in a shower of shavings that left me looking like I was battling a nasty case of dandruff and giving the ring a good seeing to with the polish buffers, I beheld my little sparkly creation in delight that it actually resembled the shape of a ring! Success!

The final stage of our silver ring journey was the most creative part of the process. It was time to get close and personal with the hammers again to bash our pieces so that a glistening hammered finish was left. Back at the mandrels we all got to work like a practical anger management class releasing our inner turmoil of grief by bashing and hounding our rings so that a shimmery finish began to reveal itself. Popping the hammer down and beholding my ring like a new born baby, I gazed with unconditional love and admiration at the beauty I had created. Catching the broken sunlight glinting through the windows, my little ring of blood, sweat and repressed tears glimmered and twinkled as I slipped it onto my finger to which it remains today as I type this.

Arriving in a reluctant and apprehensive temperament, I left with an air of triumph, endowed knowledge and appreciation, a warm and thankful heart to the wonderful expertise of Olivia herself and a giddy excitement like a kid in a candy shop with my new sparkly creation! Immediately reaching for my phone and searching for the next jewellery taster day available I think it's safe to say that my little ring of silver has more than made a mark in my life and has hammered an undiscovered interest in jewellery craftsmanship! I think it's about time my little silver band found a friend to wrap itself around...well what can I say, as a girl who feels naked without all my treasured rings on my fingers I think it's quite fitting to declare that rings are like pringles; you can't just have the one!

To find out more and book yourself a day of inspired adventure guided by both Olivia Brown and Belinda Hager, please visit here 

[Post created & published for benchpeg.com]

18 August 2016

Refresh, Revamp, Reignite; Welcome to Little Elysian

So what's new with you? Noticed anything a tiny bit different around here at all? 

It's been a long time coming but I've finally plunged into the deep waters of change and re-emerged with a new zeal and creative drive with a shiny new blog name and fancy footwork to boot! Say hello to my exciting new makeover to takeover! I thought it was about time to shift the blog into a more enchanting and skilled terrain here on the world wide web. This is how Little Elysian suddenly burst into the limelight!

elysian (adj:) beautiful or creative, divinely inspired, peaceful or perfect.

My mission in my work is always to create something that not only looks beautiful on the outside through graphic visuals but also within the content itself; the prose and words of each post. It therefore felt that a blog re-design was the essential key in bringing together all that I strive to deliver. The Poached Salmon has essentially always been a space for me to give back to the world the lessons, messages, failings and triumphs it has given me. 

It has been through my Poached Salmon journey that I myself have changed, adapted and grown just like the seasons outside so it was about time my blog reflected this too! It was from this thought that I stumbled upon pipdig and their incredibly professional service and advice that my shiny new blog of blabble was born! Not only that but I plumped for a new name too; something a little more reflective of the place and person who I've grown into and who I strive to be. I wanted this blog to be a place that people could come to be empowered, to learn, to laugh but also to walk away wanting to come back tomorrow all wrapped up in a sense of natural authenticity. 

One extra little nugget that has been introduced here on Little Elysian is a category related to jewellery trends and knowledge. This content will be fashion-focused articles relating to the world of jewellery created for the online publication at benchpeg.com. Whilst I will be creating these articles directly for benchpeg itself, I thought it was only fitting to let you have a glimpse into the highlights of my actual work and encourage you to widen your knowledge of jewellery whilst perusing the benchpeg webpage itself!

So without further adieu, I'd like to officially welcome you to the brand new spangly journal of "Little Elysian" and hope that it leaves you feeling encouraged, uplifted, inspired, chuckling and igniting a desire to scamper back for more! 

Take a peek around the new design and if you have any thoughts or suggestions then I'd absolutely love to hear from you all! Not much has digressed in terms of content and subject matter but I think the navigation and visuals of the overall blog are a lot more sleek, simple and easy to navigate. Everything the millennials of this world look for in their technology, attire, relationships and cheeky beverages!

It feels like a new chapter of my life is ready to be written and experienced and I hope that you're all just as excited as I am to see what this new page turn will bring! 

Love, Sarah

Connect & take a snoop at what I'm up to on...

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[Quote sourced & copyrighted from Pinterest]
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