Thursday, 15 June 2017

Welsh Inspired Father's Day Card

Hi everyone,

Thanks to you all for reading my recent posts, there will be some more full length blogs going up soon, and hopefully a few new things happening as well, but I thought I'd drop in with my Father's Day make.

I saw a supplier I'd brought from before produce some items with Happy Father's Day in Welsh on them, and it was a bit of a light bulb moment. I'd been struggling with ideas and realised that I had never made Dad a Welsh inspired card before, so I finally had a concept.

To make this card I used a 7 by 5 white blank, and first cut a panel off the front side. I then backed the card using Do Crafts wood effect papers from a recent magazine (very versatile!) and also made a paper straw from another sheet of paper from the back, to look a bit like a flag pole.

Copyright - These City Days 2017


The dimension came from a holographic star, some cut out square panels, and a couple of additions to the flag pole. Then all that was left was the Welsh elements, which I made on the computer, printed and cut them out, then added a little extra colour and glitter.

It was fairly simple to make, although I wasn't sure all the elements would stick firmly, it was just getting to the idea that took the time.

Thanks for reading, I hope you are all enjoying the summer sunshine, and Happy Father's Day to all the Dads for Sunday.

Lauren

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Book Review - The Butlins Girls, Elaine Everest

It's so warm right now, we've got a bit of Summer after some miserable rain, and what better way to spend some time outside, than sitting in the garden with a good book. I'd like to suggest Elaine Everest's second novel, The Butlins Girls, which I recently had the chance to read and review.

Just like her first novel The Woolworths Girls, this one trades on the nostalgia associated with a British icon, and as one of my absolute favourite things is a holiday park, it sounded like the kind of book I wouldn't be able to put down.

The story centres around Molly Missons, who after the loss of her parents, and the arrival of some dodgy sounding relatives, decides to get away from it all to take a job as a Butlins Auntie. Here she meets new friends Bunty and Plum, and the novel tells the story of their time at Butlins, their back stories and secrets, and their life at one of Britain's most iconic holiday camps.

 Handsome screen star Johnny Johnson entering stage left, and taking his place as Molly's love interest in the novel seems an unlikely event, but where else would you meet and fall in love with the man who once adorned your walls, apart from in post-war Britain, I just had to remind myself a few times I was reading about a different time!

Falling in love with a film star crush isn't the only entertaining feature of this novel, as Elaine adds comedy value through typical Butlins activities such as the knobbly knees contest, and shows some of the characters discovering the joy and escapism of holiday parks, and fairgrounds for the first time. I could imagine where a few sketches would look great in the novel, or (if I'm not being too commercial) as a set of old school postcards to accompany the book.

One of my favourite parts was the introduction of the Sangster family, and it was heart warming to read of their back story, and experience at Butlins. What really stood out though was one of the family entering a weekly beauty contest, and finding new found confidence through taking part in this, and escaping to a place they'd heard so much about.

I was also lucky enough to review The Woolworths Girls, and just like Elaine's first novel this one very easy to read, engaging, and gives a good insight into what life may have been like in the periods where the novels were set. Little details such as what an old school Woolworth's may have sold, the streets and areas the girls live in, all add interest, but there were some differences. Where the characters at Butlin's had more back stories and secrets to reveal, I felt the 'Woolworths Girls' had more sparkle and personality, which is no bad thing, it just left me wanting more of both in one story!

All in all though this is a book with heart, and while I felt in places it just scratched the service of what Butlins is or was, it didn't detract from the quality of the writing, and I found it hard to put down.

Find out more about Elaine Everest here, and keep an eye out for a festive tale from The Woolworth's Girls later in the year.

* This book was kindly gifted for the purposes of this review, but all opinions are my own.

Monday, 12 June 2017

May Favourites - Music, Beauty, Primark and More!

Hi everyone,

Hope you are all having a great May so far, I've just struggled back from B&Q with some compost and a few flowers, hoping to add a bit of colour to the front garden (wish me luck). Today, I thought I'd do a favourites post. I've seen people do these on Youtube, but I am not a fan of getting in front of the camera, so here are some things I've been loving from the past month.

Favourite Food

Ice lollies are back on the menu, even though the weather has been a bit miserable it's still warm enough for some iced treats and I've found something new and yummy. Fruit Pastilles Froots from Rowntree are round circles of yum, I'm not a big fan of traditional ice cream, but I love sorbet so these are perfect for me. You get a raspberry sorbet centre, lemon and lime ice cream, and then either an orange or blackcurrant coating.

Favourite TV Programme

This is a tough one as most of the things I have been watching have been my usuals, such as Pointless, Eastenders, and Neighbours, so I'd have to say my favourite is the new series of The Durrells. The characters in this show are just so out there, and completely dysfunctional as a family. The script has been written so there are plenty of laughs and the silly moments are quite entertaining. I've yet to read it, but the after the first series I bought the book 'My Family And Other Animals', I love the idea of someone using their passion for wildlife to set up a zoo way back then, and it makes Sunday TV so much better.

Favourite Beauty Product

I think LancĂ´me's Energie De Vie Liquid Moisturiser gets my vote this month. It goes on like a serum. I have been bought or tried a fair few body butters, creams, moisturisers etc. and I've put them on and not really noticed much difference between them, unless one is thicker, or another irritates my skin, but nothing really that stood out, until now. I couldn't tell you what it is about this product, but it goes on well, and feels really nice on, and my skin was noticeably refreshed afterwards. It was really nice to use, but was only a small sample size, that has just run out!

Favourite Purchase

I haven't really bought that much recently apart from essentials, and stuff I don't need from Sainsburys when I needed lunch inspiration, but I love my new top from Primark - They have some gems in there sometimes in their Disney range, and this just jumped out at me. I love the colours and style, it fits really nice, and the Mickey Mouse head ice cream is a really cute idea.

Sorry this post is a bit late, but I hope you enjoyed reading. What are your favourites at the moment? Any beauty buys or stationery bargains to share? I'd love to hear your suggestions.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Love Themed Painted Tealight Holders

Happy spring everyone! One of my favourite times of year, when the sun is shining more, new life is beginning (how cute are baby lambs!) flowers are in bloom, and everything just seems so much brighter. With this, and the forthcoming wedding season in mind I thought I'd share my most recent glass painting with you. I had a spare pair of glass tea light holders from Baker Ross, and still plenty of paint in my porcelain pens, so I decided to do a love theme. These could be given as a gift together, or individually, as one is more for married couples, and the other could be for married couples, or as a boyfriend/girlfriend gift.

Just two different items needed (well a few more if you count all the pens used), and then its just all about being creative. Painting on glass or already glazed ceramics is probably my favourite methods to use as you can rub anything off if you go wrong or get a bit too much paint on the surface. It will even come off after drying with a bit of work.

Check out the Baker Ross website for their full range of porcelain and paint pens, there are a large selection to choose from, including some handy black ones, and finer nibs. Do you enjoy painting, what is you're favourite medium to paint on/with. Let me know in the comments below.







 I painted a different image on each of the four sides of a pair of tealight holders, one had Mr & Mrs written on it, the other Me & You. All designs and photo's copyright These City Days 2016, please do not use of reproduce.

* I was sent these glass tea light holders in a blogger box as part of their design team/blogger network. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Handmade Valentines Cards - Beautiful Botanical Stamps And DCWV Cardstock

Happy 2017 everyone, I know I am a little late, but January has been busier than expected. I have been busy looking for new work, uploading some bits to my Etsy store, and had a bit going on with one of my day jobs. I'm also working on a brand new CV/portfolio website, so it's all go, but I did find time to do some valentines crafting.

Design Copyright These City Days 2017
I have had Sarah Hurley's Beautiful Botanical stamps for a while now, but have only made two cards with them (that I can show!) so I thought I'd search for a flower suitable for the most romantic day of the year. it was also a great opportunity to try out my love themed stack of foiled and patterned card stock that I won in a competition.

There are a good mix of subtle patterns, bold black and white designs, and card with wording foiled on to it, along with journal size cards you can cut out and use, which seems to be a theme with DCWV, and one which I love - so many uses for these little cards, and some you can customise as well.

I also liked the way Sarah Hurley designed her stamps. It meant I was able to play around a bit, and ink and stamp with love as two separate words, so I could position in a different way. I also added a stalk from one stamp to the flower of another, and you'd never know; there was no mess and the elements fitted perfectly.

Designs Copyright These City Days 2017


I've attached a photo of the end results. I am really pleased with how they turned out, and I think the combination of colours brings something different, to the sometimes predictable cards I see out and about. Have you made any valentines crafts this year? would love to hear you're take on it if so, what do you do to make it different?

DCWV can be found on Facebook here.

For Sarah Hurley paper craft products visit Bee Bees Boutique.

* Sarah Hurley stamps were gifted to me as part of her design team.



Thursday, 22 December 2016

Crayola & Cake Angels Wildlife Friends Gingerbread Kit

Christmas Baking is well under way in our house, how about yours? As I write this the Christmas cake has been iced and decorated, and the first batch of mince pies are in the freezer. I thought it would be the perfect time to put up a post about this gingerbread kit my nephew and I tried out a while ago. It's not festive, but I am sure you could decorate to be Christmassy if you wanted.



This kit jumped out at me because it was Crayola branded, and I liked the biscuit icing designs on the front. I don't buy kits that often because I find there's way more icing than biscuit/cake mix and they are not always great value for money, but I love gingerbread so thought I would give this a go.

The kit came with the gingerbread mix, 2 different coloured icing sugars (yellow and red), 2 writing icing tubes (black and white), a plastic cutter and a decoration leaflet. You just need to add syrup, vegetable oil, and water, plus flour when you roll it out.

First impressions were good, the instructions were clear, and they divided them into adult, and child tasks which I thought was a nice touch. I was sceptical about using the plastic cutter, it looked a bit flimsy, but in the end it cut through the rolled out biscuit mix fine. In our oven they took the 10-12 minutes listed - so far so good.


 It was also a bit more work preparing 3 different colours of icing sugar, but I think given the fun designs you can make with them, it was worth spending a bit of extra time on that. As predicted there was more icing sugar than biscuit mix, which was a little disappointing, I was hoping this kit would buck the trend and give me more biscuits, but the design leaflet made up for that a bit. It's on thick, good quality paper, so ideal to keep and use again, there's six different designs to try out, with handy pictures to show the different stages. Really good leaflet, and although it was handy having Mum and I remind my nephew, which pictures to copy and when and a few little tips, he did really well copying the designs, and I joined in and did a few as well. We used some of the leftover icing on some normal biscuits, left them all to dry/set, then tried our gingerbread as an after dinner treat. They tasted very yum, and didn't last all that long either!


Overall, throwing icing sugar in the bin isn't ideal, and the kit only made 5 gingerbread biscuits not 6, but I've kept the box, leaflet, cutter, and icing pens, and will definitely be using those again, so from that point of view it was worth buying. Most of the other kits I've bought before, I wouldn't bother with again, but while this one was a bit small, there's future value in what I get to keep so full marks there Cake Angels.

Here is a link if anyone fancies trying it out for themselves. Wasn't too bad for an impulse buy, and was definitely tasty. What baking kits or recipes have you used with your children? Any suggestion post them below.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Bark Star Tealight Holders

Hi everyone,

How is your Christmas prep going? I feel quite behind, mainly because of my up and down freelance income, and I've still got shopping to do. I'm also stuck on what to buy some people, and have yet to make my family cards. There's still plenty of time to craft though, and I did have the chance to make a couple of tealight table decorations, using some bark stars, and a few other items from my Baker Ross blogger box, and stash.

Layered Flower Tealight Holder


Copyright These City Days 2016. No copying or reproduction
Thank you. 
For this I experimented until I found 3 stars that would sit on top of each other fairly well flat, using the one with the flattest surface for the bottom of the flower. I arranged them on top of each other, twisting the top flowers around so the points filled the gaps, then stuck them together with a glue gum, and added some glitter and a tealight (which I stuck together with a glue gun as well. I wasn't sure how well it was going to stand up, but in the end it wasn't wonky at all and looks really effective. The combination of rustic bar and glitter works really well. and it's quite quick to make.



Long Star Tealight Holder 


Copyright These City Days 2016.
I had a lot of  fun doing the first candle holder, so decided to play around with the stars, and see what else I could create, that would stick together well, and sit nicely on the table. This long design is three stars stuck together with a glue gun, slightly overlapping. I then used self adhesive felt and stars from Baker Ross to decorate, and experimented making a bow with Baker Ross Twine. For me a double bow worked out best, and left a little room to use a flat back snowflake to decorate the centre. Both these tea light holders have been finished off with a glittery tea light and put on the sideboard with our other Christmas bits.

Really enjoyed these festive makes, and will definitely try and find more uses for the twine, felt, and bark stars, I am already planning some Thank You cards. Baker Ross have been a bit hit and miss with their combinations in blogger boxes before, there's been items that I've not known what to do with, or didn't fit with anything in my stash, but I was really pleased with this box, and the quality of the products I had with it. I look forward to seeing how the blogger network grows and develops in 2017. If you are a Baker Ross blogger or a fan of their products, I would love to see your makes.

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Welsh Inspired Father's Day Card