Friday, 31 October 2014

My 5 Favourite Things About Halloween

Happy Halloween everybody! In all my time blogging I've never really done a Halloween post but I think now is a good time to get into the spooky spirit and share some of my favourite things about Halloween. Here's my top five:

1. Witches and Wizards

I'm not really a fan of psychological thrillers, in fact they bore me, and I'm not really into strong blood thirsty gore filled movies. My favourite has always been anything themed around mystical, magical things so witches and wizards are a favourite. No surprise then that I have a full set of Harry Potter DVD's ready to go if the TV companies don't serve up much this year. The Craft, Hocus Pocus, Stardust, Twilight Series have all featured before, and I used to love The Worst Witch When I Was Younger.

2. Pumpkin Carving

One year I will actually try this, no idea why I haven't before, but it makes a nice break from the constant run of depressing news to see some stunning carvings from other people in the news/on TV. If I get a chance to try and carve one this year I will post pics, although I'm not sure my first effort will be that good! I might try the stencil ideas the Daily Mail printed the other day.

3. Halloween Craft



I love looking around the Halloween aisles in town, but they have been a bit lacking in recent years, either a bit predictable or not much choice. Not that I am in the market for buying much, but I love to look, so my alternative is Halloween craft. The photo with this post is of a ceramic tea light holder from Baker Ross which was gifted to me so I could try painting along with their porcelain pens. I didn't think I'd have room to make it look very spooky, so am pretty pleased with the result.

Also in the pic is a little crochet ghost I couldn't resist ordering from craft seller Knitynacs who you can find on Etsy. I think both items together will look cute on the mantelpiece when the witching hour is near.

4. Glow sticks and glitter

I've not dressed up for Halloween since I stopped trick or treating, and it's not something I think I'd feel comfortable doing. The one time I did make an effort recently I went out with glow stick necklaces and bracelets, green glitter eye make-up and devil ear headband, loved the end result, and I think it's fun to add subtle touches, plus I've always loved glitter eye make-up and glow sticks so any excuse to wear them!

5. When my nephew goes boo

At nearly 2 years old little man knows nothing of Halloween, but I've already seen pictures of him in a super cute little pumpkin outfit, and now he knows how to cover his eyes, and then go boo, it's a good giggle and always makes him and us laugh.

Do you guys dress up for Halloween, or have any traditions, favourite films and more? Would love to hear and spooky tales you have to share. Happy Halloween everybody!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Air Puppy Cuddle Crew Soft Toy Review

The mummy blogging community is a huge one, and while I don't have any wish to give birth and join them anytime soon, who says the mummies should have all the blogging fun! I thought it would be a great chance to do an aunty and nephew post.

I was lucky enough to get the chance to receive a toy from the Air Puppy Cuddle Crew range, and the big kid in me was a little bit excited to unbox it and give it to my nephew.

I liked the fact that all the toys in this range are not just soft toys, they are characters, all have names, and there are 3 different types of toy, who all hang out in different places - so there are a lot of opportunities to make up stories. As a book worm a toy that you can involve in play wins my vote.

I was sent the Snickle Futts cat which lives in Burford Yard. This range of toys are taller with beans in the legs so they can stand out. When it arrived and I unboxed it I was a little sceptical as to how well it would stand up, but I didn't need to be. This cat looks and feels like a quality toy and really easy to stand up so Joey had no problems on that score. I think the design really lends itself to carrying around as well and would be easier to take out and about, but what did Joey think?



Well little man didn't show too much interest in soft toys when he was a baby but he has got into them more lately, and likes to bring one or more on visits or take them out with him, he likes walking around with them, sitting them down to share his dinner and sometimes uses them for songs or games.

He does take a while to show full interest in new toys, but he cooed when he opened the bag and saw the cat inside (which we have nicknamed Bob for ease!) and has given him some cuddles since. Hopefully it won't be too long before our Air Puppy toy is a full part of the toy collection in our house, in the meantime I've managed to grab a few photo's of little man with 'Bob' and we both give him the thumbs up.



The Air Puppy collection is available now with prices starting from £12.00. Take a look in selected Boots stores or on their website. You can also find out more about Air Puppy's Cuddle Crew on their Facebook page.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

2 Christmas Decoration Craft Projects

You know that slightly smug feeling crafters get, when they move from not knowing where to start, to coming up with a an idea (or two) they are buzzing about. That was me after receiving a festive themed box of Baker Ross goodies as part of their blogger network. I'm on a mission to not do the obvious here, so hopefully I've ticked some boxes here.

Project One - Small Christmas Tree Table Decoration



You will need

Small Gift Box (circle, square, or hexagon ideal)
2 Self Adhesive Stars
Stick On Gems
A 12 by 12 Sheet Of Paper
Cardboard For The Trunk
Double Sided Tape

Instructions
  • First job is to put the base of the gift box into the lid, and you can stick them together if you wish, but they will be pretty solid.
  • Next line the insides of your box with felt to make it look a little more festive.
  • Next task is to cut circles of card (I used thick corrugated card from a box I had) and layer them up one by one in the middle of the box until they reach almost the top using double sided tape. This is the base to your xmas tree.
  • Next job is to design your tree, mine was roughly 9cm high to suit the size of the box. Cut out 2 symmetrical trees, fold one in half down the middle, and stick one side of this to one side of the back of the other tree.
  • Continue cutting out tree shapes, folding each one, and sticking half down on the on the folded piece already on the tree, Work your way around until you have a 3D model, then stick the last two pieces together.
  • Decorate your tree as you like, with glitter, small gems, or embellishments, gel pens, then stick it on to your tree trunk with a glue gun.
  • Lastly stick two star stickers back to back, cut a slit in the bottom, and carefully slot this in the top of the tree.
Project Two - Upcycled Cardboard And Decopatch Hanger

This is a fairly quick make using a mix of upcycled and new materials. Why not give it a go, or come up with your own designs.

You Will Need

Red Stars Decopatch Paper
Decopatch Glue and Brush
Paper Mache Star
Card (I used Corrugated from an old box)
Christmas Sentiment Stamp
Stick On Gems
Glitter Glue (Crystal and Red)
Green Gel Pen
Black Promarker
Ribbon

Instructions

This design can very much be adapted, so feel free to use different style stamps, cut different size circles for the top part, and adapt the design features.



  • First off I decopatched the paper mache star, I use the tearing technique rather than precise cutting as I like the finish. It's a basic glue, place piece, glue over technique. I recommend either clear PVA glue or official decopatch glue, and investing in a proper decopatch brush.
  • Leave the star to dry, and draw a circle from the card, cut out, then draw a smaller circle inside this - it should be big enough to fit your sentiment stamp inside. Outline this in your choice of glitter glue, gel pens or liquid pearl.
  • Stamp the sentiment inside the inner circle and leave to dry.
  • Next draw and cut your embellishments from the left over card. I chose a letterbox idea, robin, and holly leaves and berries (which I decorated with stick on gems). Use pens or glitter glue to add details such as the robin's eyes or red breast.
  • Arrange the embellishments around the outside of the inner circle and fix in to place.
  • Then all that's left to do is carefully make 2 holes in the top space a cm or so apart to thread some ribbon through, then one hole at the bottom to attach the star. Your decoration is then ready to hang come Christmas.

I've had a lot of fun coming up with some different ideas to do with these products, when originally \I thought I'd just be using them as they were. I've still got plenty left as well, so there may be a few more ideas creeping onto my blog before long.




Sunday, 12 October 2014

2true Colour Drench Lipsticks Review

I'm sitting here at the laptop on a pretty dreary Essex day so I thought it would be a great time to inject a bit of colour into the blog and review the 2 True Colour Drench Lipsticks I recently received to review. When the package arrived I was quite surprised to find all 6 lipstick shades, I was expecting only one so I was a lucky reviewer.

The six shades (6--11 for 2true fans) were grouped in 2's, so there were 2 brown tones, 2 pink, and 2 red. Labelled as colour drench they promise rich colour, and are enriched with vitamin E to protect the lips. The outer casing is a stylish silver and looks a lot more classy than other lower budget lipstick brands, a bit smaller than some other cases as well so ideal for taking out for touch-ups.




I think 2True have got it right with their colour choices here, and I was initially impressed with the range of colours, offering bright, rich, and subtle in one range is good going. I was a bit wary of the darker/brighter shades though as normally I avoid bright pink and red thinking they are too loud and would just look silly with my skin tone and outfit choices. But I have gamely done a swatch on my hand, and tried all the shades and pleasantly surprised with some of the results.

These are £1.99 lipsticks though and don't glide on as effortlessly as some higher priced sticks or glosses, and there is a slight synthetic smell at first but that soon fades, and I didn't even notice it when I'd applied any of the lipsticks. The colours do last longer than expected, but at the same time will need touching up more often than some brands.



The biggest surprise was the darker and brighter shades, as I normally avoid pink and red thinking I look a bit silly, but I'd feel comfortable wearing all these colours. I'd have to play around with the bright/dark ones to achieve a tone I was happy with (blotting and reapplying), but they are more subtle shades than I was expecting and have won me over a bit on that count.

All in all I think I am still more of a lip gloss fan than lipstick, but I will have fun wearing these 2True items to brighten up the autumn/winter, and would consider buying one or 2 of in the future.



Apologies for the no make-up selfie, just wanted to show you one of the lipsticks against a natural palette so to speak!

You'll find 2True lipsticks in Superdrug stores across the country and online.

* I was kindly gifted these products for a review, but all opinions are my own.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Summer 2014

Ahh Summer, the time when everyone was posting holiday snaps, planning concert trips or day visits to places, it seemed like everyone had some kind of plan, apart from me. I've not been out a whole lot this year to 'things', in fact I've only been to the Fling Festival. Bit unusual for me, but local nightlife/events can sometimes get a bit samey or predictable and I've just not had the motivation, and going elsewhere day or night is a bit restrictive with money issues/anxiety.

This isn't a woe is me post though, because apart from some things, which I will nickname stresses and strains, I've been perfectly happy enjoying the weather (yes actual Summer weather, yay!), our garden, my nephew, and a few little and lucky windfalls that have enabled me to treat myself.

At the park with little man

Part of the garden I've been tackling/tidying


My birthday in June was probably one of my favourite days, no stress, no fuss, was a lucky girl with lovely pressies, and I did some work in the morning, then sat out in a hot and sunny garden all afternoon, relaxed, switched off and doing nothing!

The garden has been a surprisingly enjoyable task as well. I used to mow the lawns and take on some other tasks when my Dad was working, but he does quite a bit of that, and mums the plant pruner, so I've just had small jobs, for some reason a while ago though I decided I was going to attack weeding with a vengeance, unusual since normally I hate weeding, but I've found it very satisfying. It's surprising how absorbing it can be, and gradually working my way around the garden I've seen a big difference. We didn't live in a jungle before, but we have had an ivy problem, and some areas were neglected. Might seem a bit boring to some but I've enjoyed it.

We have my nephew here 2 days a week while my sister and her boyfriend are working, and it's great fun. Working from home means I get to play with him when he arrives in the morning, and my work schedule works out quite well, so I've had some nephew time later in the day too. We've grown some lettuce, watered the plants, tidied up some of the garden, been to the local parks a few times, played football, and we are just getting into drawing some pictures. Joey is 2 soon, and I think he has always been entertaining, but I wish he could stay this age for longer. Auntie Lauren always gets a big smile and a cuddle when Joey comes over, and as he loves lego and puzzles I've got someone to play games with too.

Added to that being able to replace my glitchy Samsung phone, treat myself to a pair of super comfy croc sandals and get the chance to wear them, along with buying a Superdry coat for colder weather (never been able to afford one before) this Summer really hasn't been too bad at all. I wouldn't wish the nice weather away either so long may it continue!

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Whitworths Sugar Competition Win

Wow, what a few weeks it's been, and I will be glad to see the back of them. I've had a few anxiety triggers, my website was hacked (still trying to sort this out), our laptop died, then I've had to try and help my Dad, who is a complete technophobe and doesn't like tech change get familiar with our new laptop. And sigh!

About time for some positive blogging so I thought I'd show off my little prize haul that I won on Twitter a while ago and have now received. Given the sheer scale of Twitter I didn't expect too much when I started doing a little bit of comping to keep myself amused, but I've been lucky enough to win the odd prize here and there. I recently sent off a pic of a cake I'd baked to a Whitworths Sugar competition and was pretty excited to win. I'm not sure Dad quite understood why I was excited given the prizes, but that's men for you!

Anyway here is my HUGE array of sugar which should keep us in baking supplies well into next year, and a very fancy looking digital scale to weigh it all out on, I may well keep this as I love the way you can put your mixing bowl on there, and reset each time you want to add ingredients and it will measure each correctly - scale technology!



Have any of you guys had any lucky wins lately or had the chance to blog about any cool treats? would love to hear from you if you have, and do be sure to leave a blog link so I can have a nosey!

Love Themed Painted Tealight Holders