Friday, 29 July 2016

Popband London - Mini Haul And Review

Hair, I am very lucky to have lots of it, although I am not very good at styling it, and it normally ends up in a pony tail of some description. Because I have my hair back a lot hairbands are important to me, and I've probably bought a lot over the years that either don't grip my hair at all, or they pull it too tight, which can hurt and give me headaches.

My other gripe is there isn't much choice in the shops for hair ties, unless you want a plain elastic, or vintage style floral, and yes sometimes the quality isn't there and material is fraying on shop shelves as well. When I received a You Beauty Box recently, one of my extras was a Popband sample, and after trying that out, I had to order more!!



A Popband is made from soft, stretchy elastic, knotted to form a hair tie. It sounds simple, and it is, but I think behind the scenes thought has gone into the type of materials used here. The claim is that they will be kind on hair, and leave no kinks, and they have scored on both counts. The hair ties are really easy to knot around my thick hair, and I don't even notice they are there, which is just what I wanted it.

In my mini haul I ordered:

Sweetie - A set of 4 Popbands, 1 with a cute cupcake charm - £8.00

Pop - A set of 5 Popbands in different colours - £6.00

And I ordered around the time of HRH The Queen's Birthday, so I got a cute red, white, and blue set free. Delivery is free to UK addresses, and I received my order in the 3-5 day timescale listed - in a shiny, pink jiffy bag - which looked great sitting on my door mat when I arrived home.




I did hesitate a bit on price - I have bought a set of basic hairbands from the pound shop for a lot less, by the same token I could spend £4-5 on a hair ruffle/set which don't seem to last all that long, and I end up throwing them away. I was indecisive as to whether I wanted to spend £14.00 on hair bands, but I did need to replace and invest in new hair ties, so I am glad I did. the quality is there, and I love the colours. The jury is out on how long they will last before they need replacing, so I'll get back to you on that one.

The free delivery appeals, and I've found smaller size bands and sets in Superdrug, so I would buy again as treat.

See all the colours in the Popband range online, along with their shoelaces and headbands - just click here.


Thursday, 28 July 2016

On My Doorstep - Hylands Park, Chelmsford

I remember once suggesting to Dad he go out for a walk when he was bored, and he gave me a look as if to say I'd feel silly just walking around somewhere. I'm completely different and will quite happily get out and walk or cycle around the area I live, but sometimes I forget the wider area I live in. I know I'm not alone in sometimes forgetting what's on the doorstep, or taking it for granted. So I have made it my mission, now the weather is nicer, to explore places that I haven't yet seen, or don't go to that often, starting with Hyland's Park over towards Writtle.


Copyright These City Days 2016

I cycle over to Hylands, and it's actually quite a good route from where I live now, although still a hike that tires me out a little afterwards. It partly goes through parks, and a registered cycle network path, and then you end up in the village of Writtle, not very far from the duck pond.

I went to Hyland's for a pet and country show, but the event wasn't all that great. I think they struggled with the concept a bit, and didn't have enough pet, or enough country in there. Most of the things you had to pay for, or donate to, and some of the displays weren't very clear, or in the case of the arena shows, accessible to all the audience watching around the area.

I did however find an amazing food van offering proper coffees and pastries, and got myself a yummy cake - I wish I could remember their name as I'd recommend them for sure. After that I took my cake, and went and sat and enjoyed the view, before heading off with my camera to explore the rest of the park.


Copyright -These City Days 2016

One of the things I love about Hyland's is it's a mix of parkland, and formal gardens, and there's always something new to look at. This visit I finally found the lake, which I'd often seen signposted, but never found, the formal gardens almost looked brand new as they were in full bloom, and very pretty, and it never feels too crowded. It's just a peaceful place to go around, and although it's a longer ride, I definitely feel better after doing it.

There's also a visitor centre with artist studios, café, and a gift shop, and I normally stop off there for a drink and a little shop on the way home. This trip I came back with a scarf, and a model dinosaur for my nephew.


Copyright - These City Days 2016


Copyright - These City Days 2016


If you've been to Hyland's Park, what are some of your favourite things about it, do you have any suggestions for other open spaces to visit in Chelmsford?

To find out more about Hyland's Park, Hyland's House, and their forthcoming events programme, please click here.

Thanks for visiting, and if you like what you see, sharing is caring.

Monday, 6 June 2016

You Beauty Box - May 2016 Review

Hi all,

It's been a while since I've had a beauty box, around a year in fact, and that's partly money, but also the free beauty samples I have been lucky enough to get were more interesting than the promised contents of the beauty boxes. But after a decent break I decided to give the You Beauty Box another go, and order one for May.

The good thing about this beauty box is it's very easy to cancel your membership if you're not interested in the next months contents, which are normally emailed in advance. I'm probably going to cancel for June as I am saving for things, so just have to do it before the 28th of the month. At £6.95 including postage it's one of the cheaper options as well, but most of the time they manage to get a good selection of brands to provide samples. Some are full size products or small sample size pots, others sachets.

Here are the two items I chose this month:



Burts Bees Tinted Lip Balm Hibiscus - I'm a bit of a lip balm fan, and have a little pot which at one point probably had 5 sticks in, I was also attracted to the fact that it's 100% natural. The blurb says it's made with shea butter and botanical waxes so I thought this would be kind for my lips, and a good option if I want something subtle in summer, or extra moisturising in winter. I've used it a few times already and it lasts a while so think I chose well.

MUA Prime & Conceal Palette - I am a big fan of primer ever since I first reviewed one in a beauty box years ago, it just makes my skin feel nice and provides a good base for make-up - hopefully helping tone and protect my skin on the way. I've not used MUA products before, and they do have a bit of stiff competition with my favourite primer (Sheer Cover is brilliant) but I look forward to giving this a go. It has 5 correcting cream shades to target different areas/issues and suits a variety of different complexions. There's a free tutorial online, so although I've tried out a couple of shades, I'll have to load that up and have a proper go.



The freebies this month were a small Verso Super Facial Serum, I'm saving this for a pamper day, an Anne Semonin Gift Card, which went in the bin as it's basically discount on a spend so won't get used. The last freebie was a sample hair tie from pop band - these things are great, they are designed to be kind on your hair, leave it kink free, and are soft to touch. I have my hair in a pony tail a lot, but it's quite thick, so wasn't sure it was going to work. Surprisingly it holds my hair really well, without grabbing it too tight, and I don't even notice it's there. I've noticed a little discount voucher in the booklet that comes with the box, so may have to buy a few more!

Have you received this months box? what did you think of the freebies? Do you have a favourite beauty box or product you've received in one? Would love to hear your thoughts below.

Find out more about the You Beauty Box here.

Monday, 30 May 2016

Garden Mosaic Picture - With Wood And Mosaic Tiles

* Craft Alert*

I recently received a box of goodies from the lovely people at Baker Ross, and if you've seen my previous make you'll know that I was intrigued by the sisal, and enjoyed making with it. I have some colourful looking pens to try out soon as well. The rest of the box was a little disappointing, in that the wood pieces, small wooden logs (my best name for them) and a big box of mosaic tiles, didn't come together in an obvious way at first, and none of the packs had any suggestions to get you going with how they could be best attached to things or manipulated.

My art in the garden copyright These City Days 2016

It was mum who came up with the idea of sticking some of the bigger bits of wood (mulberry slices) together and then decorating the shape, and after a bit of experimenting I came up with a rough circle shape. I decided then to make a little piece of artwork for the garden, and painted the wood up with an outdoor paint.

There are a lot of mosaic tiles in the box, in all kinds of shapes and colours, with some quite pretty patterns/grains on some of them. I was confident I could make something colourful, but not having any mosaic cement/grout - I opted for a scene style picture, using a glue gun, rather than an all over pattern.

Copyright - These City Days 2016
It was a bit hit and miss with the glue gun, a couple of pieces fell off when I stood the finished result in the garden, but I'm pleased with the end result - it looks like a proper scene which is what I wanted, and hopefully when we do our garden I will find a place to put it outside so I can see how it lasts.

Thanks to Baker Ross for the challenge - I was gifted these products to craft with as a member of their adult blogger network, but all opinions and designs are my own. To find out more about the full range of art and craft items they have available, please visit Baker Ross online.

Copyright - These City Days 2016
Mulberry Slices - 500g for £5.99
Glass Mosaic Tiles - 2kg for £9.99
* Prices correct at time of writing.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

3 Places To Hop Off The Train In Essex


I'm Essex born and bred, but sometimes it's harder than you'd think to recall all the sights and attractions on my doorstep, I'm sure there's a few gems I don't yet know about as well. But if you're coming from out of town and want something to do in the county for an afternoon, or even a day trip, here's a few quick ideas, all accessible when you hop off the train.
Chelmsford

Landscaped Gardens @ Hylands House

Where? 40-45 minutes on the Liverpool Street line.

What? A small city with a lot of culture

Why? Chelmsford is growing into a vibrant shopping destination, with plenty of options for families. Head to the museum in Moulsham Street and introduce your children to the legendary bear, and busy bee hive. On a nice day Central Park is the place to picnic.

Highlight? Hylands Park – a short taxi ride from the station, with plenty of space for young ones to run around, hidden gardens to explore, and the visitor centre which has a café, art studios and gift shop. There’s also a great adventure castle play area, and regular events and festivals for adults and children alike.

Southend

Where? 45 minutes to 1 hour journey on either the Fenchurch Street to Southend Central line or the Liverpool Street to Southend Victoria line.

What? Family friendly coastal down with lots to see and do for all ages.

Why? 3 words, Rossi’s ice cream, and lots of it. The famous arches cafes along the seafront are also a must see. founded in 1932 and serving up traditional seaside fare ever since. Southend also has a long history of providing amusements and your children will happily lose themselves in the arcades, Adventure Island theme park, or sea life centre.

Highlight? Southend Pier – the longest pleasure pier in the world, will you walk it or ride the train? Fishing is available along the pier, and the Royal Pavilion hosts events including puppet shows and live music, along with seasonal fun.

Billericay

Where? A small town not too far from Chelmsford, and just over 30 minutes by train via Stratford/Shenfield.

What? An ideal half-day visit if you want to escape the capital and enjoy the outdoors.

Why? Lake Meadows is an easy walk away from the station, and home to the largest firework display in Essex. Activities include crazy golf, pitch and putt, a skate park, and tennis.

Highlight? Take the bus from the station to Barleylands and turn a half day into a day trip with a visit to the farm park and craft village.

 

Friday, 29 April 2016

Spring Wreath Project With Baker Ross


Crafters, have you ever had the problem of starting off a project, completing one element, and then having no idea what else to do to finish it? That was me recently as I felt like making a wreath, got out my Baker Ross Wreath Rings, and some spring themed Artepatch Paper - covered the front of the ring, and then ground to a halt.

Copyright These City Days 2016
I thought the project might lay gathering dust for a while, but Baker Ross delivered a new blogger network box the other week and that provided some much needed ideas. Inside this box was a pack of sisal sheets - 5 in assorted colours. I'd never come across this fibre before, but it was easy to cut and use, and the mix of bright and more subtle colour choices was spot on. The main plus point for me was the packaging leaflet had a few photo's for inspiration. I often get my stash out and just experiment, but sometimes when I am trying new products I value some tips or photo ideas to get me started.

The neutral sisal sheet I cut a piece from for the middle of my wreath, using the idea given to add some thread and a bead or 2 across the area. It was easy to cut the thread to size and just push it through the sisal at each end. The adhesive hessian sheets I have blogged about before made an appearance, and the rest of the decorations came from my embellishment box. It was a relaxing time picking, choosing, and arranging until I was happy with the finished product, then it was just a case of getting out my double sided tape and securing it all. I backed it with another wreath ring again to give some strength, but the decorations are light on this one, so it would work without and you could just paint the back.

Sitting pretty in the office

Hope you enjoy this colourful Spring make - Do check out Baker Ross, they have a larger than expected range of basics for all ages. These products were gifted to me as a member of their blogger network, but all opinion and feedback is my own.

* Coming Soon * Baker Ross challenge me to make something with sea grass - this is going to be a challenge.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Name On Rice Creations - Keyring Review

Saturday blogging of a creative nature, as I recently was lucky enough to be picked as a tester for Name On Rice Creations. They were offering a group of lucky customers to order a product simply for paying postage. There was a choice of items available that could be customised a bit.

This page caught my eye because of the name - Name On Rice Creations - what could it mean? How could you possibly write on rice. I had to try it out.



There are bookmarks, bracelets, bag charm/keyrings, Christmas decorations and a few other items available, all based around a cute little vial which houses pretty sparkly things in liquid, and your name on rice. It's all slightly mysterious, but I like not knowing exactly how it's done and what's been used.

I chose a keyring, with pink sparkle, my name on the rice, and you also get to choose extra charms, so I ended up with a pawprint and a petal (my craft page is called Pawprints and Petals). It's a busy and popular page, so I had to wait a little while to receive my item, but it wasn't too long, and it arrived well wrapped and with an organza bag to keep it in.

As this item is so different to the craft I've seen so far, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. It was smaller than I thought after seeing the photo, and the bits move about a bit like a snow globe, so I couldn't see my name at first. It's very cute though, and since you get to choose the charms, I think it would work as a gift for young or old.



I'm a happy shopper, and if you'd like to check out all the items on sale that can be personalised, you'll find Name On Rice Creations on Facebook. A personalised bag charm or keyring would normally be £8 plus postage.