Thursday, 15 February 2018

Daring Cardmakers - Home Themed Card Challenge

Hi everyone,

I hope everyone is well. Thanks so much to everyone who has commented or read my last post. I am fairly new to book reviews, but they are great fun to do. Last year I joined in with some of the challenges on the Daring Cardmaker's blog, and they are continuing this year so I had to have another go. It's great fun to see how everyone interprets a theme, which this time round is HOME.

Items used:

Nuvo Glitter Drops - Blue Lagoon
White card base
Blue patterned card
Colouring pencils
Black Ink Pad
Kraft Card
At Home Stamp (Kirstie Allsopp kit)
Mama Makes Mandala Mania Stamps




The inspiration for this card started off with the stamps; they were a cheeky purchase when I was a member of the Mama Makes design team. I'd cut a few out and coloured them but wasn't sure what to do with them, until I saw the Daring Cardmakers challenge. I thought it would be good to cut them in half and use them like curtains to frame a cut out window frame. I pieced together the rest of the card using items from my stash listed above, and decorated a bit with my new Nuvo Glitter Drops (highly recommend Nuvo, they have so many pretty colours, and very precise application).

Hope you have enjoy this blog, and do check out the Daring Cardmakers and see how everyone else has responded to the challenge. There is sure to be a variety of designs.

Friday, 9 February 2018

Elaine Everest - Christmas At Woolworths - Book Review

*Apologies for the lateness of this Christmas book review, it was released in the run up to Christmas, but I read a fair portion of it over the festive season. Im late posting, but it's never too late for a good book right?*

Christmas is probably one of my favourite times to head to the book shelves in the shops, so many novels out with a Christmas theme. I'm like a moth to a flame, I just want to buy and read them all. There's just something about festive novels that makes them so easy to read.

When I heard that Elaine Everest had plans to release a new novel, and a follow up to The Woolworths Girls, I was excited to read how the story had progressed. I was expecting good things after enjoying the previous novel, the review of which you can read here.


Readers pick up the story in Wartime, with Maisie, Freda and Sarah all with husbands or family members off fighting, or involved in the war effort. This time round there is a greater focus on friends and relations, so you get to know more about stalwart of Woolworths, Betty Billington, Sarah's grandmother Ruby, and her neighbour, including the ever present, but slightly irritating Vera, and the furry ever faithful Nelson.

I won't give too many spoilers away, but you may find a few love stories focused around Mike and Bob Jackson, and new additions Gwyneth and Douglas. It's the seamless introduction of new characters, and giving more prominence to those we didn't see much of in the first novel, that adds some humour and interest to the story. It's not just that though, it's the sense of warmth within when the characters bloom, and grow in confidence as the story unfolds, it's something you can relate to in every era.

Favourite moments include Freda standing up to those who commented on her age and sex when she started wartime work with the fire service, and when she was a fish out of water at a dance with US servicemen, and brash, more sophisticated women.

My only slight disappointment was that the novel was not quite what I expected from the title. I just couldn't help looking for references to Christmas, either in Woolworth's, or in the lives of the characters despite the war. When things did feel more festive, it seemed a little rushed. That being said, 'Christmas At Woolworths' did end on a high note, with a powerful sense of the importance of family, friends, community, and being grateful for what you have, and that is how it should be.

Another interesting read, from an author who has found her stride, and has already gathered pace towards her next Woolworth's Girls release. Keep an eye out in May, and find out more here.

In the meantime, look at my current reading pile, added to at Christmas with a competition win, a Robbie William biography and the Blue Planet 2 book. What shall I read next?




Thursday, 18 January 2018

Optiat Mouthwatering Mandarin Feel Great Coffee Scrub - Review

Hello and Happy 2018!

It seems so bizarre to be wishing you all a Happy New Year, this festive season has gone so quick. Normally by this stage I would have watched a fair amount of Christmas TV and eaten lots of party food, and oddly neither has happened, but I am sticking to one post Christmas tradition, catching up on some blog posts. Today I am reviewing a scrub I got sent a while back from a brand called Optiat.



This was one of two scrubs I was sent when there was a lot of attention given to plastic microbeads, their dangers, and what was being done to prevent the sale of products containing them. Optiat have produced a mandarin flavoured coffee scrub, with Arabica coffee grounds and orange essential oils among their ingredients.

First impressions were that it was a fairly decent sized tube, though the smell was a bit confusing. I expecting either the orange or coffee to over power, and what I got was a balanced mix of the two, which was a bit odd. I wasn't an offensive scent in any way, but I don't think it was something that would attract me if I tried the product out in a shop.

The scrub is quite thick in texture, and comes out quite lumpy as well, because of the nature of the ingredients It was also a bit crumbly in my hands and fell off my face a few times, so it wasn't the easiest to apply.

Some exfoliating scrubs I have used in the past have been very subtle and smooth, in fact they've not really felt like a scrub, this one has more of a coarse texture, so you'll definitely get full a exfoliation treatment.



I have used it a good few times now to give it a proper test, but I don't think it's quite right for my skin type, and although my skin felt nice afterwards, I didn't enjoy applying it. It's a bit too clumpy and thick for me, and half a tube is already gone, so I don't think I'd get much mileage for my money compared to other products I have tried.

It was interesting to try, but not for me I am afraid, but I did fair much better with the other scrub I was sent in the same package, so keep an eye out for that review soon. I've also noticed Optiat do a range of face masks so I will be checking out the credentials on those very soon. Check out the full Optiat product range here.

* This product was gifted for review purposes, but all opinions are my own.




Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Daring Cardmakers - Trim The Tree Craft Challenge - Cross Stitch Card

Hi Everyone,

It's the start of another week, and I'm fresh from seeing some of my favourite musical friends, for the first time in a long while, at our Christmas light switch on. I have some video, but I have never edited video clips in my life, so while I figure out what I'm doing, time to catch up on some other blog posts.

I have joined in and submitted craft projects to the Daring Cardmakers Challenge before, and it's been great fun. So I just want to thank everyone who has commented on my previous posts, and add to this weeks challenge 'Trim The Tree'.



I am working my way through a few small cross stitch kits from magazine free gifts, and this tree design really stuck out from my stash. It was easy and fun to stitch, and I even tweaked it a bit to add some gold glitter for the star at the top. Instead of hanging it in the supplied aperture card though, I found a plant pot topper with 25 on, and mounted it on a card just above that. The finished card was a pretty potted Christmas tree with some pretty backing papers and a few cut out foam mounted details for dimension. I finished with some Nuvo Drops as bunting (my new favourite thing, I'd love some more colours), and all was done.

I'm really pleased with how this turned out, and stitching on plastic canvas for the first time was fun, it's also really easy to cut out in a shape and doesn't fray (beyond a bit of fluff you can trim off).

I hope you enjoy this blog and it gives you some different ideas for mounting cross stitch. Be sure to check out what everyone else has submitted for the challenge as well, there's always some different ideas coming through. Thanks for reading everyone.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Gift Tag Project Using Mama Makes Stamps

Hi all,

This week has gone by so quick, I hope you have been enjoying gift tag week, if you've missed any makes be sure to head over to my channels (links below) and check out the pics. I hope they will give you some inspiration. So now it's time for the last one, and I thought I'd put a little tutorial on the blog, as it's one of my favourite designs.

What I Used:
  • White card.
  • Hole punch
  • Ribbon
  • Black ink pad.
  • Cosmic Shimmer Colour Cloud Blending Ink in Clear Day.
  • Pearl accents tube.
  • Coppoloppolaro Christmas stamps from Mama Makes.
  • LotixChrly – Sending Hugs stamps from Mama Makes.
  • Sleigh stamp from issue 114 of Papercrafter Magazine.
How It's Made:


  • Cut a circle around 10.5cm wide to make the base of your gift tag.
  • Punch or cut a small circle around 2.5 cm wide and fix gently with some blue tac in the top right hand corner of the tag.
  • Using a blending sponge cover the rest of the tag with blending ink and leave to dry. You can remove the small circle when the ink is dry and will be left with a white space.
  • Stamp the sleigh stamp across the tag, with the end slightly overlapping your white circle, so it looks as though Santa is flying  across the night sky.
  • Stamp the 'Thinking Of You' sentiment from the Sending Hugs collection above Santa's sleigh.
  • Finish off by stamping and colouring a robin and tree stamp from the Christmas collection.
  • Cut out the tree and robin images and fix at the bottom of the gift tag.
  • To finish add some pearl accent drops around your white circle.
Hope you all enjoyed my gift tag series, and if you have a go at any of the ideas yourself do let me know. The great thing about all these ideas, is you can adapt them to suit what you have in your stash. You could use pencils or watercolour ink, instead of Colour Cloud, use a different stamp or sentiment, and you could make a whole series and hang them as bunting. Check out my other ideas at:
Thanks for reading, and I'll be back soon with some new blogs - freelance life and Disney related, so stay tuned.

*Mama Makes stamps were gifted to me to craft with as a design team member. All other items were from my own stash.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

3 Ways With Mama Makes Bohemian Border Stamps

Hi Everyone,

There's a little bit of a crafty overload here and on social media at the moment, but there are other posts planned and in draft form, so please look out for those, they just take a little bit of time to put together. Meantime I wanted to share the Mama Makes Bohemian Border stamps. I am a member of the design team, but bought these as I really liked the range of different designs - there are 10 in total, and had quite a few ideas of what I could do with them.

I thought I'd post the stamps below, and 3 very different makes I came up with using them.

1) A Christmas Card - The Bohemian Border here I used as a Christmas garland, and absolutely love how it looks all coloured and glittered (had to get a little sparkle in there). The other thing I like about this set, is some of the designs are more of a bunting/garland shape, and not just a straight line, so there are handy gaps you can decorate with stick on gems or small embellishments for a finishing touch.



2) Christmas Wreath - This was a mix match of items from my stash, including glitter tree stickers, a santa hat button, washi tape, and twine (one of my new favourite things). Here I used one of the borders again as a garland, but tried something different as well. My hedgehog is all dressed up for Christmas and sitting on a bed of flowers and leaves, so cute.



3) Bookmark - Although this one didn't turn out quite the way I planned in my head, I do really like it now. I think mixing up stamps and fonts gives an almost urban feel to the lettering, which works well with the purple, and although I'd like to refine it a little, the book, with some dimensional pages at the end (which don't get squished when you use the bookmark) is something a bit different. Here I embossed and cut out a flower with my Ultimate Pro (Crafter's Companion), and criss-crossed the stamps across there.



I hope this post has given you a few different ideas on how to use border stamps, and if you've come up with any yourself, I'd love to hear them. Bohemian Borders is available to buy here.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Sugru Mouldable Glue - Make & Review

Hi Everyone,

I am in full-on craft mode at the moment, in the middle of testing some face scrubs, and all the normal work, jobs, and dodging the rain. I thought today was a good time to (finally - sorry am a bit behind) bring you my review of Sugru Mouldable Glue.

What Is Sugru? Well it looks like a cross between air dry clay and Fimo, comes in different colours depending on the set you get, and is quite soft and easy to work with when you take it from the packet. Described as mouldable glue, it will harden and set, and stick to whatever it is applied too, offering project ideas for craft and around the home. As well as being flexible, it grips, is heat and water proof, and shock resistant too, which to me is a good selling point from a DIY point of view, and helps with crafting techniques as well.



How Is It Sold? There are currently 2 main options to tell you about. I got the Create and Craft Set to try, which came in a little box, with instruction/ideas leaflet, a little brush and a thimble. I also got four sachets of Sugru in pitch black, snow white, classic red and silver grey. I found this on Amazon for £9.99 recently. There's also a new, colourful, kid safe formula, sold via stockists and Sugru.com, and aimed at little makers aged 8 years and over.

First Impressions - For a craft kit, I was a little disappointed in the colour choices. The red is lovely, and it's nice to have something neutral to go along with it, but grey, black and white, was a bit too much and a little limiting, I would've liked another bright colour. I was also a bit disappointed in the ideas leaflet that came with it. The first pages were good, showing different basic ways to use and shape the glue (bend, twist, roll, smudge etc.), but there was a lot of content not really craft related at all - someone fixed a toy, or used the product to stick new door knobs on to, or stuck a shelf on a wall. To me that is interior design, not craft.

Experience Using The Product - The product was described as single use, and I wasn't sure if that meant you have limited time to use it, or once you've made something with it, it can't be remoulded (unlike Playdoh). Turns out it was a bit of both, and what I missed, and only found one mention of in the whole pack afterwards, was that you only had 30 minutes to work with the product. I had an idea using several colours, wrapped them up tightly as I would Fimo, only to come back to them another time to find them hardened like rubber, and unusable. I think this is something that should be advertised more prominently on the packet.



I think it would help if you already have experience using similar products to this, or have a solid idea in mind before you start using your Sugru sachets to get the most from the set, but I did enjoy using it, along with my Baker Ross ceramic birds and porcelain paints to create this little decoration. The Sugru set and stuck to my bird as expected, and successfully went through a trip to the oven to heat set the porcelain paint at 160 degrees (put in cold).

I would use this again, but only if there were more project ideas and guidance included in the pack, and more sachets, as I think I'm more likely to use multiple colours in a project, and would want to get more use out of the set. It would also help if there were more instructions, as I didn't have a clue what to do with the thimble or brush. There is potential, but now it's out in the market, I think it needs more work to tap into the craft market.

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Daring Cardmakers - Home Themed Card Challenge