Paul Farrow Hawkstead Place
Suffolk Barn

Suffolk Barn is one of the most elegant, private and beautiful event venues I have ever seen.

Suffolk Barn is one of the most elegant, private and beautiful event venues I have ever seen. Click To Tweet

It is nestled in private parkland just outside the beautiful town of Bury St Edmunds and has a rich history dating back to the 1400s.

As a photographer, I have seen a large number of venues used for weddings, conferences, parties and meetings.

When I walked into this one to take pictures for Paul Farrow of Trimley Herbs, (who supplied the plants seen in the images below), the scene and atmosphere took my breath away.

As Suffolk Barn is so unusual and so special in historic terms, I decided to share the pictures I took, on my  blog.


Suffolk Barn

The exquisite passion fruit cake created by Vanilla Cake Design.

You can find out more about Suffolk Barns by reading my previous post.

If you click here, you can read about my visit to Suffolk Barn at Hawstead Place near Bury St Edmunds.

And if you click here, your can read more about Trimley herbs.

To start the slideshow below, please click in the first image.

Suffolk Barn May Just Be Your Dream Venue

If you are looking for somewhere special to hold your wedding reception, this may be the place.

As a completely impartial photographer who happened upon the venue through work, I can highly recommend Suffolk Barn as a stunning, elegant space in which to celebrate your day.

Paul Farrow Hawkstead Place

Trimley Herbs is certainly making an impact in Suffolk where brides-to-be are shunning flowers in favour of herbs.

Trimley Herbs is certainly making an impact in Suffolk where brides-to-be are shunning flowers in… Click To Tweet

Hawstead Place is the site of a breathtaking Suffolk barn dating back to 1423. The ancient barn underwent a spectacular transformation recently when a young couple dressed it out for their spring wedding reception.

The couple revived the ancient tradition of herbs playing a part in marriage celebrations by asking Trimley Herbs to provide more than 85 pots of luscious, aromatic plants to dress the three long tables where guests sat down to enjoy the wedding breakfast.

For background on Trimley Herbs, please click here to see the previous blog post. And click here to see pictures of their herbs.
Trimley Herbs

The beautiful 15th Century suffolk barn at  Hawstead Place, Bury St Edmunds, with the purple uplighting on. The barn has a range of lighting to suit different moods.


This incredible array from Trimley Herbs was grown in a Georgian glass-house.

The many shades of green perfectly complimented the style and grace of this beautiful, historic barn.

Since Paul Farrow, who runs Trimley Herbs, appeared at a local event with his produce, he has had a huge amount of interest in what he is doing, particularly for weddings.

I went along to the site of this particular wedding reception to do some photography for Paul and was completely blown away by the visual impact inside the barn.

Not only was the interior absolutely stunning but the colourful herb pots, standing in the midst of it all on white table linen, looked amazing.

They gave a real sense of beauty through simplicity; a sense of how things must have been when people lived closer to nature and used what was around them to celebrate special milestones.

Trimley Herbs

The outside of Suffolk barn does not prepare you for what you will see when you walk through the door.

The outside of Suffolk barn does not prepare you for what you will see when you walk through the… Click To Tweet

The interior really is spectacular. The huge timber frame soars up and towers majestically over the interior making the roof seem impossibly high; but, it has to be an illusion because from the outside, the barn does not look so tall.

Although the barn is almost 600 years old and characteristically very rustic in this rural setting, it still manages to have a regal, almost Holy atmosphere.

It's hard to imagine the heavy farm work that would have gone on in the barn when it was first built. I had to remind myself that this was a place where people laboured for long hours to earn a living.

The quiet elegance it now has is probably very well earned after hundreds of years as a working barn. And what better way for this wonderful relic to live on than as a place where people meet to have fun, do business or hold conferences.

Trimley Herbs

Trimley Herbs - On Regal Ground

Queen Elizabeth 1st was a visitor at Hawstead Place in 1578, which may of course account for the pervading regal feel all these years later – she was after all, a formidable woman.

Standing in the quietness of the suffolk barn, it is easy to imagine you can hear echoes of those days.

Standing in the quietness of the suffolk barn, it is easy to imagine you can hear echoes of those… Click To Tweet

There are still trees within sight of the barn that Queen Elizabeth is said to have planted from acorns given to her by Lord Bacon.

Something tells me the 'holiness' I sensed evaporates very quickly once parties here get started; I am sure the immense space is perfect for the sound of live music and laughter reverberating off the massive barn walls.

And what could have been more perfect to compliment the rich tones of those old wooden walls than the beautiful deep greens of plants from Trimley Herbs?

Trimley Herbs

Trimley Herbs was one of several local businesses whose skills and expertise found perfect harmony on the day.

Together, they all helped to create an electric ambience that would delight the guests attending this beautifully dressed reception venue.

Besides making a gorgeous passion-fruit wedding cake, Vanilla Cake Design created an incredibly indulgent and irresistible selection of sweet treats that were displayed on an ancient trestle table. The effect was dazzling, not just on the eyes but on the taste buds too.

Trimley Herbs
A close-up of the delicious old-fashioned profiteroles that provided a stunning centrepiece for the sweet-treats buffet table. To see more images of the whole spread that Vanilla Cake Design created, click here.

I am not sure I have had my taste buds dazzled before but, the aroma of sugary sweetness that wafted from the table really made my mine blink! 

I am not sure I have had my taste buds dazzled before but, the aroma of sugary sweetness that… Click To Tweet

As I left the venue, more people were arriving to put the finishing touches to the scene.

My impression was of a magical scene that would later come to life as guests made memories they would probably cherish for a lifetime.

Aside from the main barn where the tables were laid out, there was a very spacious chill-out area with a small bar, comfortable seating, space for a band or small orchestra and a dance floor.

The views from the windows there are serene and relaxing.

Trimley Herbs

The beautifully understated 'chill-out' area flowing through from the main barn.

Trimley Herbs
Trimley Herbs
Trimley Herbs

Paul could not have had a more apt setting in which to showcase Trimley Herbs.

Paul could not have had a more apt setting in which to showcase Trimley Herbs. Click To Tweet

He, along with all the other professionals who were busy preparing a grand event for the couple, went to great lengths to add something special to the day.

And one person Paul could not have managed without was 12 year old daughter Ruby who helps with growing  the herbs.

She already has a wide knowledge of herb names and was able to assist her father with putting the labels into the soil so guests could identify the plants, which, they would be taking home at the end of the night.

Trimley Herbs

If you want to find out more about Suffolk Barn at Hawstead Place, Bury St Edmunds click here.

If you would like to find out more about Trimley Herbs, click here.

And if you would like to see a gallery of pictures taken in Suffolk Barn, click here.

To contact Vanilla Cake Design - click here.

The Suffolk Barn at Hawstead Place is a very special piece of Suffolk's history - so it was the perfect place for people to enjoy the produce of Trimley Herbs, a business that has a bright future in Suffolk.

And pssst! Over here! Don't tell anyone I told you, but Trimley Herbs is booked to do the wedding herbs for the granddaughter of a very well known and loved Suffolk celebrity.


Wedding herbs are the in thing for couples 'tying the knot' these days. However, herbs at weddings are nothing new.

There is a long tradition, dating back centuries, of herbs being used at weddings. When Queen Victoria married Prince Albert, she  bucked the tradition of using herbs and started a new trend for flowers to be used instead.

The use of wedding herbs is, however, making a huge comeback.

Beautiful, fragrant herbs are being used both as bridal bouquets and as centrepieces on the tables at wedding receptions.

One man who is pleased about this revival is herb grower Paul Farrow of Trimley Herbs who is finding his plants in big demand from brides.

wedding herbs
wedding herbs


To see the whole gallery of Trimley Herbs images please click here.

Growing Beautiful Wedding Herbs Makes a Change From Delivering Mail!

Paul, a postie by trade, has been growing herbs as a hobby for several years.

He did not expect that the beautiful plants he was lovingly cultivating would one day be used as wedding herbs or that brides would be coming to him for advice about their wedding bouquets!

Paul fell into herb growing almost by accident when fellow postie Chris introduced him to the world of herbs a few years ago.

He was hooked from that moment and was lucky enough to be given the use of an elegant Georgian greenhouse in the heart of Suffolk, somewhere along the coast. The exact location remains undisclosed because it is in a private garden 30 miles away from where Paul lives in Felixstowe.

Paul is very grateful for the opportunity to use such an historic structure in which to nurture his herbs.

wedding herbs

Award Winning Wedding Herbs

He has become somewhat of an expert on herbs thanks to the knowledge Chris has passed on. In 2015, they decided to contact the organisers of the prestigious Suffolk Show to ask if they could exhibit their herbs.

A Suffolk Show representative came out to look at their plants and wholeheartedly agreed they should exhibit their herbs at the show.

To their amazement, they won a Silver Gilt Award and interest in their business began to grow. Paul entered his herbs into the Suffolk Show Flower Show again this year and won the Silver Gilt Award yet again!

Trimley Herbs Suffolk Show Exhibit

Owing to other commitments, Chris has now decided to stand back and allow Paul to move forward with Trimley Herbs, however, he remains a constant source of knowledge for Paul to draw on when needed.

wedding herbs
wedding herbs
wedding herbs

Wedding herbs are becoming a major focus for Paul as couples return to the older traditions of times gone by.

Properties of individual herbs have great significance for the wedding day and beyond.

For example, Rosemary represents remembrance and fidelity, Lavender – undying love, Lemon Verbena - unity, Thyme - courage and strength, Wormwood represents affection while Yarrow represents everlasting love.

It is easy to see why wedding herbs are so popular when they represent many of the desired qualities of life.

They also bring so many wonderful aromas to a wedding reception when pots are used as centerpieces for the tables.

wedding herbs
wedding herbs

If you would like to get in touch with Trimley Herbs, please click on the link above.

Trimley Herbs is definitely at the forefront of the revival in wedding herbs.

While I was there photographing a selection of herb pots that will be used as centrepieces at a wedding this month, another bride and groom came to have a chat with Paul about their wedding and there are more in the pipeline.

While I was there, Chris encouraged me to taste and smell a few of the more unusual herbs. I was amazed at the incredible flavours and aromas.

They have a wide selection of Mint plants such as Pineapple Mint, Blackcurrant Mint, Morroccan Mint and many others.

Although there is huge interest in Paul's plants for weddings, they also have a big future in the culinary world where herbs are being pushed to the fore by celebrity chefs.

So watch out for Trimley Herbs and if you get the chance, visit their exhibit at the Suffolk show on June 1st and 2nd. There is far more to their business than simply supplying wedding herbs as we will no doubt see in the future. 

wedding herbs
wedding herbs
wedding herbs

 See the stunning array of plants grown by Paul Farrow of Trimley Herbs. 

To start the slide show, click on the first small square image.

For details on what Paul does, click here to read about him in another post.


Trimley Herbs 

If you would like to contact Trimley Herbs, click on the above link to find details.

Jews Burial Ground Ipswich UK 12 Two Gravestones

Forgotten people of the world are many and varied however, some of them have left clues that remind us they were once here.

Some clues are celebrated and looked after well so that future generations can understand who they were and how they lived.

Others are hidden away and left to the ravages of time and, to the rough hand of modern man who, it seems, just wants to forget that some people were ever here.

But who decides which past people or communities will live on through the years by having the evidence of their existence preserved and put on public view?

who decides which past people or communities will live on through the years by having the… Click To Tweet

For example, the  Ancient House in Ipswich UK, a building that dates back to the 15th Century, has had a tremendous amount of money spent on it to prevent it from crumbling away. You can read about the history of the building and the people associated with it here.

forgotten people

You will see that there is a secret room where folklore says King Charles II hid after being defeated at the Battle of Worcester. This is unlikely to be true. However, what is accepted as being true is that this hidden room was used by Catholics as a secret place of worship during the civil wars.

What is accepted as being true is that this hidden room was used by Catholics as a secret place… Click To Tweet

Knowing this helps us connect with people from the past and helps stop them from becoming forgotten people. We can imagine what it must have been like to have a belief that was so hated, the people had to worship in secret.

The history of this beautiful old building is widely known, discussed, celebrated and respected. It features as part of Ipswich's rich history and is known to tourists the world over. 

Ipswich's Forgotten People - Who Decides Which historic Buildings and sites should be treasured?

Contrast this with the Jews' burial ground I wrote about in my previous post, which you can read by clicking here, and you will see that all historic sites are not treated equally.

If you watch my short film found in my previous post, you will see the history of the thriving Jewish community that once lived in Ipswich appears not to be that important in the grand scheme of things. 

The Jews that once lived in Ipswich are very much in danger of becoming forgotten people, in spite of the fact that one of the women buried in the tiny Jewish cemetery is said to have had her portrait painted by Sir John Constable, a world renowned Suffolk artist whose works hang in notable galleries around the world.

I ask again, who decides which historic sites should be preserved, respected, celebrated, put on show, loved, admired, discussed publicly and treated with respect? Who makes those decisions in a town?

Who decides which communities or individuals should be remembered and which ones left to become forgotten people?

Who decides which communities or individuals should be remembered and which ones left to become… Click To Tweet

Forgotten people

Christchurch Mansion

Above you see Christchurch Mansion, one of Ipswich's best loved and preserved buildings dating back to the 1500s. We know about many of the people who lived here over the years.
They will never be forgotten people as long as this building is preserved and made available to the public to visit. Many of those who lived here were titled people considered to be of great importance in the town's history and as such, worthy of being remembered.
Everyone who lives locally knows about Christchurch Mansion and its history. School children go on trips to this place to learn about the history of their town and the people who came before them. 
But do these children grow up with an honest, well-rounded view of the past and the various people who have shaped their town over the years?

Star Lane Car Wash and an Ancient Jewish Burial Ground with Grade II Listed Walls

Above you see an historic site that does not have the same respect afforded it as Christchurch Mansion. To the left of the shot you can just see the orange coloured brick walls that give shelter to the graves of those buried here. This site should tell the story of a community that came to our shores to work and be a part of the town's history.
A community of people that was at first allowed to live in England, then thrown out by Edward 1st in 1290, then invited back in the mid 1600s by Cromwell. 
The people buried behind the car wash had stories to tell and lives as important as anyone who has ever lived in the town. They are a part of its rich and diverse history. But few people know about them.

The Forgotten People of Ipswich - Who Are They?

The forgotten people I refer to were the last community of Jewish settlers to make their homes in Ipswich prior to modern times.

Jews first came to the UK in significant numbers in 1066 with William the Conqueror. I did not know this until I began to look into the history behind the Jews' burial ground in my old home town.

Why didn't I already know this? We had history lessons at school. We went on field trips to places of historic interest around our town and county.

We learned all about the people who came before us and had a hand in developing our town - except for the Jews who came here. No one told us about them or the little gem of a graveyard where some of them were laid to rest.

I didn't know about that until I stumbled on it myself many years ago in my adult life. Why did these industrious people never figure in our history lessons?


forgotten people
The forgotten people of Ipswich - local Jews who have been sleeping here since the 1700s and 1800s while the town gradually forgot them.

Jews played a huge role in the economic development of England because the religious laws here at the time prevented any kind of money lending for profit.

Judaism did not hinder business dealings in this way and the lending of money for profit between Jews and non-Jews was allowed.

There is no point in me rehashing the history behind all this when you can read it for yourself by clicking here.

Reading through the article linked to above, it seems clear to me that Jews, brought to England by William the Conqueror, were used to fulfil an economic function that no one else could perform at the time.

It also seems clear to me that they undertook this function because there were precious few other opportunities open to them to make a living in this country due to 'extreme discrimination in every other area'.

Despite the fact that the Jews and their money helped build the economy of the day, they appear to have been hated for doing just that. They appear to have been in a no-win situation.

Despite the fact that the Jews and their money helped build the economy of the day, they appear… Click To Tweet

Not only were they hated for being able to make money when English religion prevented us from using the same methods, but they had much of their wealth randomly stolen by the King, the authority they were directly answerable to, in the form of taxes whenever he wanted money.

He levied the taxes against them whenever he felt like it and took whatever he wanted.


forgotten people
William the Conqueror brought Jews to England in 1066 because, according to this article he believed their 'commercial skills and incoming capital would make England more prosperous'. The Jews were not treated very well despite being blatantly used to further the economic interests of this country when our own religion forbade money-lending for profit.

The Forgotten People Were Once an Intergral Part of England's Economic Structure

It seems that the commercial talents of Jews were highly sought after but hated at the same time. We wanted the rewards that their financial brilliance could bring to England while at the same time, we appeared to be insanely jealous of their abilities.

It seems that whilst being happy to borrow their money and reap the benefits of that money, we were also resentful of the inevitable indebtedness that came with it.

We wanted the Jews to use their business acumen to our advantage while also persecuting them for it. The ridiculous tussle between need and discrimination went on until eventually, King Edward expelled Jews from England, taking all their property and income from outstanding debts.

The ridiculous tussle between need and discrimination went on until eventually, King Edward I… Click To Tweet

forgotten people
Kind Edward I - was responsible for the expulsion of Jews from England in 1290 after they had been used for many years to bolster the economy.

The Coming of Jews To Ipswich 

Cromwell eventually allowed Jews to return to our shores in the mid 1600s many of them migrated to port towns to establish trade.

The Port of Ipswich, was a natural choice and by 1792, the town had a settled community of around 30 Jewish families.

With the help of benefactors Simon Hyam and Levi Lazarus, the community was able to build a synagogue for worship in Rope Walk.

The natural progression was the need for a burial ground and in 1796, they bought a 999 year lease from a local bricklayer on a plot of land enclosed by four walls.

forgotten people
The ancient burial ground today - the green car wash building can be seen abutting the North wall of the site.

These are the walls that still surround the graves to this day. The walls that are surrounded by cars and a noisy car wash. 

Walls that were built in 1764 and, are of such historic significance, the government saw fit to give them Grade II listed status.

The full story of the burial ground is recorded here and is worth reading to get a sense of why it seems so unbelievable that a local authority would give permission for a car wash to be sited there.

The Forgotten People of Ipswich are not Forgotten at All

No, they are not forgotten people, they are the neglected people. They are ignored people. Why - who knows? There have been claims that vandalism will happen if people know the burial ground is there.

There is absolutely no history of anti-semitism in Ipswich that I know of.  I have no idea why anyone would think this little cemetery is in any more danger of vandalism that the ruins of Blackfriars Priory which is a stone's throw away and clearly marked by tourist sign boards.

Keeping it secret really just ensures that those buried there will eventually really become forgotten people meaning they will be lost forever.

Keeping it secret really just ensures that those buried there will eventually really become… Click To Tweet

It also ensures that signs can be bolted to the listed walls that should be protected and no one will complain. It is hard to complain about something if you don't know what is happening.

After I wrote my previous post on this, I was contacted by people with similar stories about sacred burial grounds that have been built on.

A writer from the US, who has a website here, told me about an African American burial ground in New York that has a bus station built on it.

Another writer from Canada who has a website here told me of another black burial ground in Ontario that was ploughed over and used for farmland.

There is a link to an interesting  video about it here.

So it seems that the forgotten people of Ipswich are not unique. It is happening everywhere.

The question I asked at the start of this post still remains - who decides which buildings, sites and monuments get to be preserved for future generations to see?

And who decides that it is perfectly ok for some people to be lost in time and become the forgotten people of our world?

Jews Burial Ground Ipswich UK 13 Gravestones

Historic Jewish Burial Ground Neglected and Lost In a Sea of Cars

As people scurry around Ipswich in their cars, many will come very close to a site of huge historic significance. A site that even has a connection to Suffolk's celebrated, world-renowned artist, Sir John Constable.

However, many will be unaware of the sacred, historic burial ground where the remains of the town's once thriving Jewish community were laid to rest.

Why? Because despite the deep and interesting history attached to the site, it appears to be neglected and largely ignored as part of the town's rich and diverse heritage.

 After watching this film and reading this post, if you have any questions, comments or further information on this subject please contact me via the form found here.

Historic Burial Ground Does Not Have A Tourist Information Board - Why?

Not far away, the historic ruins of St Mary Black Friars, a Dominican friary dating back to the 1200s have been preserved and two large information boards tell visitors the history of the site.

Not so for the Jews' Burial ground which dates back to 1796 and is the place where one of Sir John Constable's subjects was almost certainly laid to rest in 1808.

Not only is this historic burial ground and the land around it being allowed to fall into a state of decay but somebody seems to have sanctioned the siting of a busy, shabby,  hand car wash against the north wall of this site, a wall of such historic importance to the town, it is protected with  listed status.

burial ground

This burial ground is so significant in the town's history, it was given Grade II listed status in August 2008.

Given that the Government bestowed listed status on the walls of this burial ground, shouldn't it be protected from the random spray and dirty water run off from a car wash? Is it even appropriate to have a car wash anywhere near it?

If so, what is to stop someone setting up a scruffy burger van in the garden of Christchurch Mansion - a Grade I listed building much prized by the town.

Does a historic site such as this cemetery not deserve respect and care so that future generations may understand our town's ethnically diverse past a little better?

Is it appropriate to have a car wash encroaching on a listed, historic UK burial ground? Click To Tweet

Hundreds of people will park their cars just yards from the grave of Sarah Lyon who, in 1805 had her portrait painted by Sir John Constable. However, despite the huge significance of this, for some reason, the citizens of Ipswich are not encouraged to know this. There are no signs to tell you about the rich history of this site or its link with one of Suffolk's most beloved sons.

While other sites of historic importance in the town are kept in the public eye by blue plaques, information boards and the brown/white tourist road signs, this burial ground is left neglected, hidden behind a car wash as the walls gradually crumble away with time.

burial ground
burial ground

Why Is This Burial Ground Kept Secret?

One reason put forward in the past for not publicising it is that to do so would attract vandalism. I am not sure who made that decision or why it was thought that this place was any more likely to attract vandals than Black Friars, but I will come back to that issue in my next post dealing with the history of Jews in Ipswich - click here to read about how Jews came to be in England and eventually, Ipswich.

The point is, as long as the people of Ipswich are not allowed to know about this place, then they cannot stand up and object to the neglect it is suffering from and demand it be preserved for future generations to see.

Surely if more of the caring, intelligent and sensible population of Ipswich is aware of what is happening then more voices will be calling for the site's listed status to be respected and will also demand measures be put in place to protect it.

 It is ironic that while 'someone' has decided it should be protected from vandalism by keeping it a secret from the people of the town, 'someone' else has decided it is ok to bolt ugly signs to the Grade II listed walls and have a carwash right next to it. Vandalism clearly comes in many forms.

The bricks making up the lower part of the east wall have lost most of the mortar. The metal gate is rusty and looks shabby. The site has a derelict feel to it.

burial ground
burial ground

There are cracks in the walls in various places and when the walls were listed in 2008, it was noted that no maintenance work had been done in recent years.

Is any maintenance work being done now? The lack of mortar in the bottom of the centuries old east wall, an issue that could de-stabilise the entire wall says maybe not.

Even more ironically, the site has been written about in a book, available from Amazon, called Secret Ipswich by Susan Gardiner. From the information given in the book, one would not have to be a genius to work out the exact location of the burial ground.



I have been aware of this site for many years and have visited it regularly. The decline in the fabric of the surrounding area is blatantly obvious to me. The car park that surrounds the burial ground is a mess. It is a jumble of red block paving and uneven, broken concrete interspersed with mud which, in one area, is made worse by the car wash water run-off.

Is the Neglect of the Burial Ground Bad For the Town's Image?

Ipswich is a place that has been mocked by comedians for many years; it even made the list in a book many years ago called Crap Towns. It is not surprising, in my opinion, that Ipswich struggles with this reputation when we see how neglected important places like the Jews' burial ground are.

The nearby waterfront is, in my view, a horrendous mishmash of half finished buildings and the ones that are finished and occupied are already showing signs of poor weathering. Some of the buildings look grubby and one is still missing some cladding that blew off in the wind last year.

The infamous 'wine-rack', an unfinished high-rise development still blights the landscape years after the developer ceased work.

Ipswich is a place that has been mocked by comedians for many years. I wonder why? Click To Tweet

burial ground
burial ground

It is not unusual to see council bods and others in the public eye congratulating themselves over revamping shopping centres that have been dying on their feet for years while berating critics for not being more supportive of the town. 

However, when people see how shoddy the town has become in certain areas and how badly the potholed roads are affecting their cars, a couple of tarted-up shopping centres are not going to keep the council-tax paying public happy.

The health of a town is not just about shopping centres and commerce. It is about spirituality, history and preservation.

The neglected Jews' burial ground is proof of how a Grade II listed building can rot away in… Click To Tweet

burial ground


Everything I have written here is my own opinion - of course others may not agree. I welcome any comments people may have, particularly readers in the USA. Is this kind of neglect of historic places common where you live?

For more information on the Jews' burial ground and why it was listed visit and .

Should this historic burial ground be teated with more respect by the local authority than allowing a car wash to operate there?

Junk Jewellery

Junk Jewellery is an obsession with me.

Why? Because making junk jewellery is fun, inexpensive and helps recycle waste.

When people give me presents, I am just as grateful for whatever wrappings, boxes or tissue that come with them.

Only last month my lovely friends in Brighton sent me flowers that came with gorgeous red tissue.

After I had arranged the flowers, I set about turning the 'junk' they were wrapped in (the stuff people often screw up and throw away), into jewellery.

One of my favourite things to do is make something from the detritus of people's kindness and… Click To Tweet

My theory is, it will always remind them of their own kindness and let them know how much it meant.

So that is why I turned the tissue in the pic below into the junk jewellery you see bedside it.


junk jewellery
junk jewellery

Junk Jewellery is surprisingly tough.

People often ask me how I can possibly make a wearable bracelet out of paper and even flimsy tissue paper.

I use all sorts of things to glaze my beads but I have also been developing my technique for heat-glazing them - which is what I did with these tissue paper beads.

Watch out over on my other website. where I will eventually be posting a tutorial on how I did this.

If you live in Suffolk, UK and want to learn how to make junk jewellery from scrap paper, visit www.the thrifty where you will find details of paper bead making classes.

junk jewellery

Wear Your Junk Jewellery With Pride!

The pieces you see here were made from very small discarded paper bags. You can make junk jewellery from practically any piece of scrap paper - it's surprising how many beads you can make from an opened out paper bag.

So the next time you buy a birthday card and take it home in a paper bag, don't screw the bag up and throw away.

See it as a precious craft resource and make a beautiful junk jewellery bracelet to send with the card. Have fun!

If you want to know more about my junk jewellery process, leave a comment or fill in the contact form.

paper pendants

Paper Pendants made from food packaging are easy and fun to make.

You can also use your own abstract artwork to create the pendant front. The paper pendants you see above were made from card cut out of a cereal box.

They were shaped and moulded by a sophisticated technique which requires the most inexpensive tool in my craft room - an empty toilet roll tube.

And I created the channel through the back of the pendant, where the stringing material goes through, by using another amazing technique involving a skinny, flexible birthday cake candle.

Oh yes - I have all the latest crafting gadgets in my craft room! 

If you want to find out how I created these paper pendants, visit where you will find a step-by-step video tutorial explaining how I use my very unsophisticated tools to create these bright, chunky and durable pieces of jewellery.

The vibrant color of the paper pendants here is from an abstract painting I did and shoved in the drawer where most of my art ends up.

I have stacks of abstract paintings that I routinely use in my craft projects.

And that's great for me because whenever I get the urge to splosh acrylics around, I know that I will be creating more resources to choose from when I need bright splashy images to punch out for a project.

The paintings you see on the right are some of my 'works of art' that will never make it onto anyone's wall.

They are the result of my many creative sessions where the curtains and floors were very much in danger of being hit by flying paint.

These pictures are evidence that during such sessions, some of my acrylic paint does in fact end up on the paper.


paper pendants

The fun for me is in the doing rather than striving to create 'a painting'. I am arty but I have no discernible artistic talent for producing stuff that sells.

But I don't care because I love having a drawer full of colorful images to use in my crafts.

And that is how I produced these paper pendants. Anyone can paint, all you need is the courage to splosh and have fun regardless of outcome.

As a crafter, making paper pendants and many other beautiful things, I don't throw much away!

I have a stash of junk paper, card and tissue that saves me a massive amount of money.

When I see people buying expensive craft paper and other materials, I shudder. Many of the projects I see on line are (in my humble opinion!) too perfect and samey.

By that, I mean a gazillion people are using the same scrap booking paper designs by the popular designers in that field. I prefer my projects to look unique and not so perfect.

I see many people producing lovely cards, albums and scrap booking projects that all have the same kind of 'pretty pretty' but clinical look.

A bo-ho, individual rougher kind of look is what I go for and so using recycled paper and packaging scrap that was never meant for crafting is much better for me.

I love that I can produce beautiful objects from paper that most people would throw away.

If you would like to get started with making something pretty from junk, follow the link to and follow my easy step-by-step tutorial.

Paper Pendants - Links to some of the products I used to create mine.

If you have been over to www.funcraftstodoathome and watched the tutorial video, maybe you would like have a go yourself. I have pasted some links below to help you get some of the products I used.

Please note - I receive a teeny weeny commission from Amazon when anyone purchases a product I have posted on my site. However, you have my word that I only post products I feel happy to recommend.


Metadata revealing information about you may be hidden in the pictures you post online. 

It is good practice to remove hidden metadata before you post any pictures on the internet, especially if you use smart phones or other devices that embed GPS information into the images.

There are several different ways you can remove metadata but I have found one very simple way that ensures all the recorded metadata has gone.

There are several different ways you can remove metadata from pics but I have found one very… Click To Tweet

In the above video, I show the method I use to get rid of unwanted metadata in my pictures before I post them anywhere online. This kind of data can be anything from what camera or device you used, to the exact location where you took it.

If the security of anyone in the pictures is an issue, for example, you may not want to publicise where your children live, then removing the metadata is important.

You can also check to see if you can change the settings on your camera or device so that GPS data is not recorded. That way, the location will not be available in the first place.

However, if you are posting pictures you took while the settings were allowing GPS metadata to be recorded, you may want to get rid of it before you send your pictures out into the world.


How much easily readable private information is embedded in your pretty pictures online?

For more information about metadata myths v facts, click here.

For more insights into reasons why you might want to think twice before posting pictures with all the juicy meta data intact, click to read this disturbing New York Times article -  Web Photos That Reveal Secrets, Like Where You Live.

My way of removing metadata is just one method. There are many others.  I find my way quick, easy and very effective. I am not relying on an app to do it, I am removing the metadata myself  by creating a whole new document that has never been in my camera.

What are your thoughts on metadata? Do you take care to remove it before posting family pics?

What are your thoughts on metadata? Do you take care to remove it before posting family pics? Click To Tweet

Friday Blog Booster Party

e mail scams

E Mail scams - have you ever been a victim of one?

I have had quite a few hilarious E Mail scams  come my way over the years. They have kept me entertained as I marvel at how such wealthy people (who can't wait to share it with li'l old me!) cannot get to grips with English grammar and the spelling of such simple words.

E Mail scams - have you ever been a victim of one? Click To Tweet

For example 'may I please to have mother her maiden name and you bank accunt information thank yo'

'may I please to have mother her maiden name and you bank accunt information thank yo' Click To Tweet

Er...let me think about that for a minute...NO! Oh ok then, my mother her maiden name be Rothschild and my bank 'accunt' information is 1234 GO FCUK YOURSELF!!!!!

Who are these people trawling the internet and sending out this crap to people? E Mail scams probably do catch out some people but I really have no idea how. Here is one I received just this week.

scam emails

I was a little offended that he addressed me as 'sir'. It made me suspect that despite wanting to give me lots and lots of his money, he had not spent time getting to know me well enough to realise I am a madam and not a sir. It also upset me a little that he thinks I did a 'kind respond' to him at some point. Could he be getting me mixed up with someone else?

Surely not because it sounds as if I am the only one he has sent this letter to. After all, I am the chosen one who obviously has enough financial expertise to successfully invest $10,600,00 USD on his behalf.

It was a little worrying that he felt the need to spell out $10,600,000 USD in words. It was almost as if he thought I may not be able to comprehend big numbers with lots of zeros.

It was a little worrying that he felt the need to spell out $10,600,000 USD in words. Click To Tweet

Well of course, I am in the habit of mistaking ten million dollars for ten thousand. I do it all the time when I am playing around on Wall Street. I have a box full of spare zeros that I removed because they were confusing me at the end of a sum. 

Well of course, I am in the habit of mistaking ten million dollars for ten thousand. I do it all… Click To Tweet

My maths teacher always said, if you have spare zeros at the end of a sum, don't bother asking me what they're for, just chuck 'em in this box and move on. He gave me the cutest little box and I never bothered him again.

My maths teacher always said, if you have spare zeros at the end of a sum, don't bother asking me… Click To Tweet

So, anyways - as the money was legally placed 'in international bank', I decided that this e mail was probably legitimate. I mean, had he put 'I illegally placed this funds in international bank', I would have been suspicious. And also, the poor chap had been ill.

Awww, my heart just melted. It must have been awful for him explaining to Bashar al-Assad that he was leaving his employment because of 'the world in general' and by the way, taking 'war equipment's' money with him (to give to me to invest). 

So, anyways - as the money was legally placed 'in international bank', I decided that this e mail… Click To TweetI expect that Mr. Assad said, 'oh yes, that's fine - I know her, she is eminently suitable to set up an engineering company in Asia because she did metal-work at school in her final year. Oh, and she does loads of different crafts. She is great a not bothering to use a ruler to gauge critical measurements; I am sure she would do very well in engineering.'

She is great a not bothering to use a ruler to gauge critical measurements; I am sure she would… Click To Tweet


Ok - so this stuff isn't really funny. These people are scammers who have probably conned lots of people out of money. So digging deeper into the meta-data behind the email, I found the info you see here in the screen-shot. 'James Angelone' - or whatever his real name is, seems to be connected in some way to an entity called - with German connections.

scam emails

.de is the country code top level domain for Germany. Connichi, according to Google, is an annual 3-day anime convention in Germany, held by the German Anime Association. Anime is a term used for Japanese Animation. Their website is connichi dot de. (I have written dot instead of using . because I do not want to link to it.) You can see from the document above, that @connichi dot de is all over the meta-data behind the scam e mail I was sent. 

I am not suggesting that this entity is sending out scam emails but I am curious as to why their domain is all over the back end of an e mail I was sent offering me the chance to have $10,600,000 USD to set up an engineering company in Asia. It's just weird.

scam emails

If you look at the contact list from connichi's website, all the contacts have after them. If you look at my image of the backend data that I found when digging deeper into the hidden email meta-data, you will see it says (Authenticated sender: gewinnspiel @ 

I have no idea why that domain is all over the scam e mail but I would love to know. There may be an innocent explanation of course.

Oh yes, and when I Googled the meaning of gewinnspiel - I found it is German for 'competition', 'lottery', 'sweepstakes' etc. You know, the kind of words one could associate with scams if one was in a sensible mood. 

When I Googled the meaning of gewinnspiel - I found it is German for 'competition', 'lottery',… Click To Tweet

e mail scams

My e mail and the associated backend info have now been passed to the UK police department dealing with online fraud.

How about you? Have you been sent any hilarious scam e mails lately? I am just off to the bank to see if my 40% is in there yet. I expect it is because 40% of nothing, give or take a few zeros!