Tuesday, 31 December 2013


31 DECEMBER 2013

So, 2013. I don't know how yours has been, but if it has been anywhere near as good as mine, it will have been fabulous. 

I've done so much this year. I started working for the NHS in a job that I love with some truly amazing people. I celebrated my Mum's 50th and my Dad's 60th birthdays, which saw us enjoy a weekend in Center Parcs and my first ever trip to Paris which was truly incredible. I've finally shed my bad university habits having managed to maintain a healthy diet and regular exercise regime which has done wonders for my Crohn's disease. I've celebrated another happy year with my amazing boyfriend, Tom, visiting the beautiful city of Florence with him in the summer.

What's more, I've managed to get this blog off the ground with regular posts and nine wonderful followers. This might seem like nothing to some, but everything has to start somewhere, and I'm proud of what I have achieved so far and excited to see what 2014 has in store for Chantilly Press. However, I couldn't have done any of it without all the support I've received from you lovely people, so thank you, you truly are my inspiration!

So, here's to 2013 - a year full of exciting new experiences, family memories, health, happiness and personal milestones. I wish you all a happy, peaceful and prosperous 2014. Make every moment count, whatever it is you decide to do.

LOVE | Hannah

Thursday, 26 December 2013


26 DECEMBER 2013

Happy Christmas everyone! The big day has come and gone like lightning, as always, and I bet I'm not the only one feeling like I've overindulged. But if you can't go all out on Christmas Day, when can you?!

Anyway, I just wanted you all to know that I hope you've had a fantastic time this Christmas. Whether you've spent it with family or friends, or whether you don't even celebrate Christmas, I hope you've had the opportunity to take stock, enjoy a couple of days off work and prepare yourself for a fabulous 2014.

Just to finish off, I thought I'd show you a few of the snaps I've taken  over the past few days. Many are pictures of the food and drink I have made, recipes for which will follow on my recipes page in the next few days. But, for now, make the most of whatever time off you have left, relax, indulge and most of all, enjoy.

LOVE | Hannah

Sunday, 22 December 2013


22 DECEMBER 2013

Time for a little more festivity from Chantilly Press. Yes, I have been baking again, this time mince pies! This is my third batch so far this winter, and I think they're my best yet. Crispy pastry with a rich, spicy filling. Yum! Take a look at the recipe here if you fancy having a go yourself.

LOVE | Hannah

Thursday, 19 December 2013



So, the gingerbread house I made went down pretty well. So well in fact that I want to share the recipe with you so you can all enjoy some homemade treats this Christmas! I've written the recipe on my recipes page which you can see here. Let me know if you try it and how you get on. Happy baking!

LOVE | Hannah

Tuesday, 17 December 2013


17 DECEMBER 2013

So, you might remember a gingerbread house I made a few months ago as a practice run for Christmas. I posted the photos on here and promised you a follow-up gingerbread house nearer Christmas. Well, now the big day is only a week away, I thought I should show you my second effort at confectionery construction work. Here it is...

LOVE | Hannah

Saturday, 14 December 2013


14 DECEMBER 2013

Apologies for the long, long silence everyone. What with Christmas fast approaching, time seems to be disappearing leaving me with precious little time for the blog.

Photography research has also been taking up a lot of my time lately. I've had a fairly sophisticated digital compact camera for couple of years now, but I'm tired of using the auto-settings for everything. Don't get me wrong, the settings are there to help you achieve the best possible photos with the most minimal photographer effort, and on the whole they produce excellent results. But, I want to learn how to use the manual settings so I can really explore my surroundings and create photographic compositions that are more unique, more me.

So, today I've set up a tumblr account - http://chantillypress.tumblr.com/ - purely to showcase my photographic exploits. I'll still post photos on here, but for a more dedicated, purely photographic feed you might want to take a look at my tumblr. I've put a link on my homepage too, for easy access. Let me know what you think.

LOVE | Hannah

Tuesday, 3 December 2013



The Hunger Games trilogy helped me survive my final year at university. Strangely, the harrowing, at times gruesome, storyline provided an escape for me, an escape from the stresses of exams to a different world and characters I felt truly connected to. I was so engrossed that when the trilogy ended I felt a genuine loss, or 'book mourning' as I like to call it, and yearned for a fourth installment so I wouldn't have to admit that my love affair with Katniss and Peeta was finally over.

Since graduating, the promise of reliving my favourite trilogy through film has had me squealing with excitement and counting down the weeks to each new release. The latest installment, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, did not disappoint. Incredibly true to the book, this screen adaptation is gripping from start to finish and graphically breathtaking. I felt as glued to the cinema screen as I was to my Kindle two years ago, desperate to find out the fate of the tributes and the future of Panem.

Just as with the first film, The Hunger Games, the fictional world of Panem is brought to life through the stark poverty of the Districts completely juxtaposed by the fabulously over-the-top, dazzling technicolour of the Capitol. The political overtones of dictatorship, despotism and libertarian struggle are made clear in this distinct contrast. Jennifer Lawrence is amazing, once again, as the heroine Katniss Everdeen, bringing a feminist dimension to this already wonderfully intelligent story.

This film is a captivating adaptation of Suzanne Collins' dystopian novel; a work of silver screen genius and a definite must-see for anyone who enjoys a thrilling science fiction adventure. A fan of the books or not, I'm sure you'll love it!

LOVE | Hannah

Sunday, 1 December 2013



Happy December everyone! I felt Christmas well and truly arrive as I opened the first door on my advent calendar this morning. The battle for the best festive advert has commenced, Christmas films are showing every night of the week, and twinkling decorations are popping up all over our houses and down our streets, spreading that familiar festive warmth and the promise of good times to come.

Typically, November has flown by, taking the last of Autumn with it and consuming all my free time with the obligatory Christmas shopping, list making, and other seasonal preparations. Finding the time to blog has been a nightmare, so I apologise for my silence of late. All stressing aside, the developing festive atmosphere throughout November has prepared me nicely for the end of 2013. I've got more work on than I've ever had, but something about the Christmas season just seems to make me forget about all that and focus instead on the positives in life.

I hope that all of you have something wonderful to look forward to this Christmas. Whether that's spending some quality time with loved ones, or just having some well earned rest and time off work, I wish you all a very happy December and upcoming festive season.

LOVE | Hannah

Monday, 25 November 2013


25 NOVEMBER 2013

Normally, I'd be complaining that the days are getting shorter and the sun is almost set by the time I get home from work, but there's something so mesmerizing about a fleeting autumn sunset, that to capture its beauty makes the fading light of almost-winter all the more bearable. Below is an image I took of the sun in the moments as it set on Saturday night. So beautiful.

LOVE | Hannah

Saturday, 23 November 2013


23 NOVEMBER 2013

I can't believe it's the last week of November already! I haven't even scratched the surface of my Christmas shopping, and as work is getting busier and busier I can just feel the days slipping away. I've barely had time to breathe this week, but at least it has been a productive one. 

As you may know, I've been working with Birmingham South Central CCG to tackle the problem of domestic violence in Birmingham. After a series of meetings, a little research, and a lot of writing, the CCG has published my latest blog on my experience. If you have a spare minute, I would love it if you could follow the link below to read my post and help spread the word about domestic violence.

To find about more about healthcare in Birmingham,  follow us on twitter @BSC_CCG orvisit our website http://www.bhamsouthcentralccg.nhs.uk/.

LOVE | Hannah

Monday, 18 November 2013


18 NOVEMBER 2013

No, I haven't made a spelling mistake, I really did mean to say 'vagina'. I love meaningful art, especially feminist art, and The Great Wall of Vagina by British artist Jamie McCartney is just that. The 400 plaster casts of vulvas were individually taken from women from a variety of different backgrounds, including women aged 18 to 76 years old, pre and post natal women, mothers, daughters and transgendered men. 

The aim of this 10 panel piece is to demystify the vagina, challenging the image of the 'perfection' portrayed through erotic art and pornography that leads women to undervalue themselves and have a distorted body image. More recently, such a body image has caused women to turn to extreme and dangerous labiaplasty surgery to achieve 'normality'. McCartney's piece illustrates the variety of nature and shows that when it comes to vaginas, there is no 'normal'. Each woman is unique, and unique is beautiful. 

You can find out more about The Great Wall of Vagina here, where you can also view all 10 panels and see just how beautifully varied we really are.     

LOVE | Hannah

Sunday, 17 November 2013


17 NOVEMBER 2013

I've been feeling a little under the weather this weekend - husky voice, stuffy nose, pounding head, the works - but still I managed to drag my sorry self into the kitchen for an hour to see if I could bake myself better. Strangely, I've never baked a lemon drizzle cake before, so I thought I'd give it a try. This recipe is from Paul Hollywood's How to Bake, and is probably one of the nicest sponges I've ever made. It's so light and fluffy, one slice just isn't enough! Click here to follow the full recipe.

LOVE | Hannah

Wednesday, 13 November 2013


13 NOVEMBER 2013

So, I promised you an update a while ago following my first ever dance class. Well, I've now had two lessons learning the cha-cha-cha and I have to admit I'm a little addicted. I can't stop twirling around my kitchen, practicing the steps! Not only is it amazing exercise (I'm definitely feeling the bum and thigh ache!), but it's great fun and gives you a sense of achievement. I've always loved sports for the feelings of personal success they give you, but with dancing you get the enjoyment of sharing these feelings with your dance partner. 

If your looking for something new to do, and you've got a friend or partner you can take/drag along, I would definitely recommend ballroom or latin dancing. And don't be afraid of knowing nothing, trust me, you won't be the only one there who's feeling nervous! Just relax, and I'm sure you'll enjoy.

LOVE | Hannah

Sunday, 10 November 2013


10 NOVEMBER 2013

With annual leave to use up I had an extra long weekend this weekend, lucky me. I had big hopes to get out and about with my camera, but typically it rained all day Friday and most of Saturday. But Sunday lived up to this name and gave me some rays. I love Autumn, especially when it's sunny. There's so many beautiful colours to absorb, and such a short window in which to capture them as Autumn fades quickly to Winter. Here's a couple of shots I took this afternoon...

LOVE | Hannah

Friday, 8 November 2013



A little while ago I started an Etsy shop for Chantilly Press to sell off some off some of things I've crafted over the last few months. There's only so many paper flowers one house can take! Last week, I made my first sale! Here's the white and green rose that I handcrafted for the lovely Carol in Middlesex...

 To see what's on offer in my Etsy shop, ChantillyPress, follow this link: 

LOVE | Hannah

Wednesday, 6 November 2013



Yes, it's that time of year again - Movember. The one month of the year where men all over the world unite in manliness and refrain from shaving their upper lips. Moustaches of all shapes and sizes slowly appear on the faces of men normally trimmed and shaved to a peachy smoothness. But why?, you might ask. Well, all this uncharacteristically shabby grooming behaviour is for a fantastic cause - to raise money for, and awareness of, men's health. In particular, Movember aims to get men talking about prostate and testicular cancer, and mental health, and to raise the profile of men's health by using the moustache to put a fun twist on a serious issue. 

So, to all the men out there taking part in Movember 2013, may your 'mos' grow thick and fast in the battle to change the face of men's health and get men talking about their health problems. God luck, and here's to a bountiful Movember!  

LOVE | Hannah

Tuesday, 5 November 2013



Today's Quote of the Day is inspired by my day at work. You might remember that a few days ago I wrote a post about domestic abuse, and some exciting opportunities coming up for me to get involved in the battle against domestic abuse in Birmingham.

This morning, Birmingham Council House was home to the first meeting of the Violence Against Women and Children Steering Group. Being the first meeting, it was difficult to establish much direction in terms of making changes to the current provisions for preventing and managing domestic violence. However, it was painfully clear that all Bodies involved are suffering from a serous lack of resources following the major government cuts and savings targets.

In light of this, and with domestic abuse becoming ever more widespread across the region, it is also clear that a radical approach is the only approach to tackling domestic abuse. Political changes and restructuring introduced by the current government are bringing healthcare and politics closer than they have ever been before. This also means that funding for things like domestic abuse will be distributed differently. With this in mind, we must do all we can with the funding we are given. I have no doubt this will require some seriously imaginative thinking, but I'm confident that it can be done, that we can start making changes for the better for the sake of all those suffering the effects of domestic abuse.

To do this we need to work together, remaining curious about the issues facing us and ambitious about our goals, and doors will start to open with new ideas and paths to solving the problems we face. On Friday I will be visiting the Freedom Project in Kings Heath where I hope to find out more about what they are doing to help victims of domestic abuse, with a view to forming some of my own ideas about the best ways to battle domestic violence in the new world of healthcare commissioning and government cuts. Let's be curious and look to the future - you never know what we might achieve. 

LOVE | Hannah


Around here...we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we're curious...and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.

- Walt Disney Company

Sunday, 3 November 2013



I've been rooting through my old photos this afternoon, and came across these little gems. I found a couple of vintage suitcases on eBay and saw an opportunity to flex my up-cycling muscles. I love a little design project, and so took to lining them with a gorgeous paisley print fabric. These are perfect for using as storage or as a quirky side-table in a bedroom or living room. Cute.

LOVE | Hannah



So, November is here. October is over and the transition from summer to autumn is truly complete. The days are getting shorter and colder, I'm enjoying soups for lunch, and I'm starting to make the most of my winter wardrobe. I love nothing more than to snuggle up watching a film in a cosy jumper and knee-high socks on these chilly autumn nights...

Before we know it it'll be Christmas, and 2014 will be upon us. It feels like only yesterday that we were in the throws of last year's festive season. Is it only me, or are the years just flying by? Well, you know what they say, 'time flies when you're having fun', and it's true, I've had an amazing year - new job, family holidays, Chantilly Press...

I hope to continue this trend into 2014 with plenty to keep me busy in the run up to the new year - dance lessons, bonfire night, Christmas shopping, Christmas baking, my involvement at work in campaigns against domestic abuse, and of course blogging about it all! I wish you all a happy, safe and cosy November. Enjoy.

LOVE | Hannah

Thursday, 31 October 2013


31 OCTOBER 2013

What better way to celebrate All Hallow's Eve than with a hot, steaming bowl of pumpkin soup! This delicious recipe is another of Jamie Oliver's best, courtesy of taste.com. Below is a picture of the soup we ate tonight thanks to my amazing Mum - and there might be just enough left for me to take some to work tomorrow! 

To make this beautiful winter warmer for yourself, follow this link: http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/33267/jamies+superb+pumpkin+soup+with+parmesan+croutons 

31 OCTOBER 2013

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

30 OCTOBER 2013

The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.

- Sylvia Plath                                                                
30 OCTOBER 2013

You might wonder where the topic of domestic abuse comes into the theme of my blog - it doesn't seem to fit, right? Well, I disagree.

This blog is about my life and the creativity and design that inspires me from day to day. Drawing on a 'Quote of the Day' that I published last week, I saw an opportunity to share my views on a subject that not only touches my life as a worker in NHS commissioning, but also affects the lives of so many other women (and men) in the UK - domestic abuse, and the cloud of silence that seems to surround it.

Henri Matisse once said that 'Creativity takes courage', and he couldn't have been more right. In setting up this blog, I found out first hand that any element of design or creativity takes a huge leap of faith. Showcasing your most intimate thoughts and feelings can be incredibly daunting, but with the right encouragement and support, you can learn not to fear the criticism and scrutiny. Much of this comes from believing in yourself - from believing that your work is worthy of the limelight.

In a similar way (although in no way do I attempt to compare the severity of domestic abuse and fear of sharing creativity), victims of domestic abuse often stay quite about their suffering, afraid to speak out against their abusers for fear of the consequences, or in the belief that their abuse is a deserved punishment. One in three women in the UK are victims of domestic abuse, yet you would be forgiven for not knowing this because so few victims talk about their experience. But can you really blame them when their abusers make them feel worthless and that they deserve the treatment they receive? Only by building their self confidence and self worth will victims of domestic abuse find the courage needed to speak out against their abusers.

The question is, how do we do this? I know that the answer won't be simple, that creative and inspirational techniques will need to be employed. On 5th November, I will be attending a steering group, aimed at tackling domestic violence in the West Midlands. I hope to gain some insight into what the region is doing to help victims of domestic abuse find the courage to speak out against their abusers. Either way, I feel this action is positive and should be encouraged. Whatever can be done to tackle this violence epidemic should be shared and applauded.

Check back here after the 5th to find out about my experience at the steering group, and my thoughts on what the West Midlands is doing to tackle domestic abuse. 

Monday, 28 October 2013

28 OCTOBER 2013

I have to remind myself that some birds aren't meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright.

- Red, The Shawshank Redemption      

A little Sunday experiment - Chocolate Orange Cupcakes. These chocolatey treats are deliciously zesty and so simple to make. Give them a try by following this step by step recipe. X

Thursday, 24 October 2013

24 OCTOBER 2013

Creativity takes courage.

- Henri Matisse                                                                                    

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

23 OCTOBER 2013

The inner fire is the most important thing mankind possesses.

Edith Södergran                                  
23 OCTOBER 2013

Those of you who have read my blog before will know that I like to dabble in making paper flowers. I thought I'd show you the project I'm working on at the moment - a bouquet of white calla lilies. At the moment I only have two, but I think they're coming along nicely. What do you think? X

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

22 OCTOBER 2013

Most of the time I have all these thoughts bouncin' around in my head... 
but with a brush in my hand, the world just gets kinda quiet.

- Allie Hamilton, The Notebook