Thursday, 22 December 2016
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
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|
Long Star Tealight Holder
|Copyright These City Days 2016.|
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.
Tuesday, 6 December 2016
The Mill is a place that I've always heard of, but never been in before, or really knew where it was, so this was a little bit of an adventure. The mill buildings are used as a museum housing a lot of industrial material and science related content.
One main thing, is it's rarely opened to the public, and you can only get access on their open days. The rest of the year the buildings are used for educational visits.
Most of the work there is done by volunteers, and I think they have done a great job setting up and maintaining the displays, in what must have been a big, abandoned, and perhaps not ideal space at one stage. There were displays on Marconi, The Titanic, with a replica of the control room from which the famous SOS signal was sent, details on local industry, old TV equipment, and a barn packed full of science type experiments, and an old omnibus...!
There was a lot of information displayed around the museum spaces, with some artefact's, and the Marconi radio hut. In a way too much to take in on one visit, and I missed the tour. Outside they had some miniature engines that were merrily puffing away, and in some cases giving train rides, and an old machine, which I think used to be used in hay making.
There was also a refreshment area, canoeing (which you had to pay for) and archery - I saw some 'targets' set up around the site in a trail, but I didn't see anyone running this activity. It's a nice location to have a wander around outside, and they even had a little nook they'd turned into a small blacksmiths.
My only little comments, or criticism, and they were only small things, but the ladies in the refreshment area got confused adding up 2 small sums for my drink and snack, and it would have been nice if the volunteers involved in the museum had name tags to identify them - I wanted to know who I could go and talk to, and ask about things, and where it was obvious people were involved with something (like with the miniature engines) perhaps they could have been more forthcoming with talking to people. They were just small things in my experience though.
Overall it was a nice bike ride there, nice weather, a nice view of the lock/waterway on the cycle route, and it was well worth visiting. There was almost too much information to take in though, so I may have to go back again next year.
To find out more about Sandford Mill Museum and their open events, please visit the Chelmsford City Council Website.
Sunday, 4 December 2016
Craft Baubles - Pack Of 6 for £3.49
Stick On Gems
Stick On Pearls
To make just follow these steps below:
Unroll the hessian and place a craft bauble on the material, lifting up the sides around it. Move the bauble until you have a good amount of material around each side of the bauble, leaving room for the hanging loop to peek through.
Cut the hessian to size, then place the bauble in the centre again and wrap and fold it around. Tie several knots with the ribbon of your choice round the top, and then tie in a bow and cut to length.
Next gently fold back the piece of material at the top to give it more shape and to reveal the hanging loop.
Finally, it's time to decorate. I used small stick on gems, and pearls to add some colour, but in a subtle way, and I'm really pleased with the results. I'm sure you have all sorts of things you could use in your stash to decorate yours, and make them a bit different.
I'll be back soon with a make with some bark stars, please check in again soon, and if you've made anything for Christmas do share in the comments below, I'd love to check it out if you blogged about it too.
Friday, 2 December 2016
|BTP at Dover Castle|
|BTP at Vange Well|
|Filming For Their New Website|
As a hobby, building up ‘Beyond The Point’ to the resource it is today has definitely kept them busy, and helped shape their futures. Joe has a role as an ITN news cameraman, Liam is heading off to university. Joe describes ‘Beyond The Point’ as “the best work experience they could ever ask for” and while both boys are looking to their future careers, with the launch of their new website, and expanding the areas and subjects they cover, something tells me they’ll be uploading content for many years to come.
Wednesday, 30 November 2016
It's happy post time again, and this time it was some Christmas craft goodies from Baker Ross. I think Christmas is one of my favourite boxes, there's always something different to try, and for some reason I find Christmas one of the most exciting things to craft for!
My box this time didn't disappoint. There was a good mix of things that I would use again, and for different crafts, and it's a box that has made me think on my feet. There's no patterned papers or pretty topper - nothing is done. I think my favourite items are probably the roll of jute twine, just because I think it'll add a shabby chic/rustic touch to so many things, it will last for ages, and I'll have fun adding little touches to it, also the glitter paper. I LOVE glitter card/paper, the self adhesive kind that doesn't shed. The colours are just so vibrant, I don't understand why some crafters cover it up so much with their layering, I want to see it sparkle.
So here's my box in full:
- Bark Stars - £3.99 for 20 - Good size for different projects, and you can decorate the surface easily, but some of them were a bit curled up so wouldn't sit flat on anything.
- Jute Twine - £2.99 per reel. Big reel and good quality jute. Handy to have in my stash.
- Hessian Roll - £4.50 per roll. Good amount for your money, though not as easy to use as the self adhesive sheets. Good to shape round craft products.
- Self - Adhesive Glitter Paper Sheets - £2.45 for 5 sheets - Lovely range of colours, no shedding of glitter, easy to use and cut - good value for the price, but the size of the sheets is too small, won't go very far. I'd prefer to buy A4 sheets, or more in 1 pack.
- Mini Pom Poms - £2.45 for 500 - good amount in a pack, like that there are different sizes included, and a good amount of each colour. Bit hit and miss finding the right adhesive to get them to stick to things, but fun for all ages to use.
- Self-Adhesive Felt Sheets - £3.60 for 18 sheets - Good selection of colours, easy to use, need a good pair of scissors to cut. Handy for backgrounds and basic shapes.
- Craft Baubles - Pack Of 6 - £3.49 - Easier to work with than some of the other bauble shapes they have, though a bit small in terms of decorating. Good quality and size, though a bit pricey for 6.
- A4 Coloured Card - £2.99 for 50. I've not opened this yet, but a good selection of colours, and just what I needed for my stash - which has too much pastel in it.
Pom Pom Makes
I have a few blog posts planned which will be up in the coming days and weeks, but I thought I'd share my first make with the blogger box here. Although my four year old nephew isn't really into drawing and painting much yet, he does quite like sticking and some crafty activities so I shared my pom pom pack and craft baubles with him and we made these.
I did try and make some kind of pattern but that didn't really work, however they are bright and fun, and something different for the crafty tree this year. We did have a fail trying to get them to stick though, we tried glue, tacky double sided tape - which worked better, but for a final attempt at sealing and sticking them, I've sprayed them with hairspray. So far, so good.
* This blogger box was sent as part of the Baker Ross Blogger Network activity, but all opinions and feedback are my own.
Sunday, 6 November 2016
This is my first official blog post as part of the Sarah Hurley Community, and I am quite excited to get going and share some of Sarah's new products with you all. First up is a new range of stamps themed as 'botanical' so all things floral and fauna, perfect for me and my Pawprints and Petals page.
I thought I would kick off by giving you an overview of the range and a little review, then hopefully share a few projects over the next weeks to show what you can do with them. There are 8 sets in the range, all priced at £5.99. With each set you will get at least one sentiment, and a variety of different flowers and foliage. I received the Birthday Flowers, Friendship Flowers, Thank You For The Flowers, Brushstroke Roses (my favourite so far), and Thinking Of You Flower sets.
Things I Like:
It's something everyone is talking about now, but it does make a difference if you get a full stamp sheet, and a choice of different images to stamp with. I do sometimes buy a big/intricate stamp if I really like the image, but I also enjoy using smaller stamps, and cutting, pasting, layering and creating with them, so the Sarah Hurley stamps win there. I've already tried using them for small projects, and creating a scene on a card and they work well.
I also like how some stamps such as the flowers are solid and others an outline, again great for layering. I need to invest in some new colour ink pads and try faded backgrounds, but I find ink quite pricey.
For me each stamp set is quite different, which again is refreshing as I see so any floral products on the market that are the same repeated, patterns, it gets boring. I've seen some of the makes my fellow community members have made, and for me they can be bold, modern, and if you want bright, and that's what I want with flower products.
Not So Good:
I've been thinking a lot about this and there's only a couple of things I could find to comment on. The stamps are made from good quality, tacky materials, but they don't take the ink clean off when I'm cleaning them after use, I've had this before with stamps, still completely usable, but some have black marks left on them from inking.
The only other thing I'd say was with the sentiments, which look hand drawn or painted. Whichever way they were produced, I think having used them all, some of the words/phrases have been made into stamps which are a bit small for the style of writing, and I would have preferred a different font or bigger word for a clearer finish.
I like the hand drawn/painted look to these stamps, and although I wasn't too sure at first how they might come out, I have been pleased with the results. There are co-ordinating papers to go with these stamps, double sided (yes!!), but while a few of the flower designs do say Spring to me, others can be used for all different occasions and seasons!
Each stamp set in the Beautiful Botanical range retails at £5.99 and the set of matching papers is £7.50 each. These products will be available very soon at www.sarahhurley.com .
* I was sent these stamps as a member of the Sarah Hurley Community/Design Team for the purposes of experimenting/review/possible project blogs. All opinions are my own.
I'll be back soon with some gift box/packaging ideas using some of the Botanical stamps. Thanks for reading and please comment and let me know what you think, and what your favourite crafty products are.
Tuesday, 18 October 2016
It's impossible to have my eyes everywhere, and my brain honing in on every possible avenue I could look down, or use to find new connections and opportunities, but having my virtual ears pricked is something I think I'm pretty good at.
I'm on a few Facebook groups for journalism and copywriting, and they are useful for writer shout-outs for articles, jobs, and possible networking opportunities. For me these groups work best for those reasons, and if I just happen to come across a useful tip, resource, or piece of advice I hadn't thought of. If I'm honest though sometimes when I have posted, the resulting comments have been a bit 'obvious' - i.e. suggesting I contact past clients.
Twitter is also a must, but for slightly different reasons, for me this is the public place to be seen, and to show what I can do, what I know and am passionate about, and to build relationships with people in the field. Showing genuine interest in something goes a long way! I've found a few things/people to write about recently on there who I am still in touch with, whereas I prefer to keep my Facebook profile private, and for who I know.
It's also worth playing around with hashtags and search terms as well. It's worth keeping an eye on general ones such as #journorequest, prrequest, journalism job etc, but adding some specifics can also give good results, such as copywriter job uk, freelance writer job, content agency Essex, content editor remote (if you're looking for homebased work).
Here's a few other things I'd suggest:
1) Keep your eyes on job sites, even if you see a position advertised that isn't for you, if the organisation, publication etc. has captured your interest, make sure you read the fine print of the advert - I've seen 'commission freelance writers' a fair few times in job descriptions, so have added them to my contact list.
2) Advertise your availability, but with care - I personally have no problem writing little adverts reminding people I'm about, or highlighting certain things, but I think they have to be done in the right way. Talk about a recent project you've done (are you looking for similar?), show your keen to make new connections and broaden your experience, but don't appear over keen, or highlight any quiet times in a negative way. Use your time constructively.
3) Think outside the box - apart from a typical media job, project, pitch - where else could your writing skills benefit people, and how could you combine these with your other passions/hobbies/knowledge. I love craft, and have been lucky enough to be chosen for 2 design teams, and been published a couple of times in that area, so I have started to do a little advertising targeted towards craft businesses and start-ups who might need help with content. It helps with the cold calling element as well if you are confident in your knowledge.
If you are self employed, what do you suggest for finding work and advertising yourself? It's not always easy to realise your strengths and get out there, and keep going through freelance ups and downs, so if you have any tips please share them below.
Tuesday, 9 August 2016
I don't think everyone quite understands it, but I love stationery, and while I wouldn't call myself addicted, I have to write letters on pretty paper, and use notebooks with a funky cover. Plain is just a bit boring! I was lucky enough to chat with designer and illustrator Claire Keay for Essex Lowdown, and kept in touch after doing the article. It's great when you freelance and you can keep some of the connections you make, and write follow up content.
So hear I am with a new and shiny #SherbetBox - this is the stationery subscription box from Claire's Sherbet Lane brand, which was initially crowd funded in super quick time. So far it seems, so good, so well done, as I know it's not easy launching a new project, and wondering if anyone will fund or buy it.
My Sherbet Box was the second one to be released for July 2016, and the theme was all seaside related. Inside my box of goodies was a themed pencil, a themed gift tag, a small sweet, a colouring sheet, a small note pad, 3 large greetings cards, postcards, and a seaside print, limited edition for the box. There was also a large sticker, some small stickers, and a tin with magnets and paper clips in.
The box fits through your letter box, and it's surprising how much you can fit neatly into it - maybe I'll put together and send all my presents like this in future! First impressions were good, it was all nicely themed, and the note describing the theme and why it was chosen was a really nice touch. I think it makes it more unique and a bit more personal, plus I love hearing the inspiration behind things I'm buying.
The quality was a big plus point for me, the small print was on good quality card and ideal for framing. The greetings cards were also really good quality, better than I expected to be honest, and unlike some have said not too large for me.
One thing that was slightly disappointing was the colouring sheet, it was a bit flimsy, and got a bit crumpled tucked into the bottom of the box. Perhaps thicker paper, a sheet placed in an envelope for extra protection, or maybe a mini book of a few sheets to colour would have fared better in the post.
The contents are a surprise, so you are partly buying on Claire's previous work, other boxes, or because you like the latest theme. My concern would be while I love stationery, and the idea of getting a box full of goodies through the post, different to what's in the shops, I might eventually end up with a lot of 'stuff''. Lovely stuff, but stuff that might start gathering dust, if it's the sort of items I don't use all that often, or slight repeats from previous boxes. I think that will be the challenge, producing box after box, and balancing the mix of treats and useful things you can never have enough of.
The Sherbet Boxes currently cost £45.00 for a 3 month subscription, and £15.00 for a one-off box.
I absolutely appreciate the effort gone into creating the designs and producing/sourcing items for the box, and that you get free postage in the UK. It was all very well done, but I would have expected some kind of deal if I was subscribing for more than 1 month.
Some contents were absolutely worth the money and had value to me, but I think overall I wanted a bit more - 1 pencil is great, but one gift tag? it was cute, but it looked a little sad on it's own and would've been great as a set.
I don't think I'd buy regularly as a subscriber, but I would consider buying occasionally as a treat if I had the funds, and they'd make a lovely gift for someone. I think the designs will appeal to a wide audience as well - cute stationery is fairly well ageless!
For all the insider gossip on #SherbetBox and the chance to have your say on future themes, visit Facebook or for all of Claire's work check out he Sherbet Lane website. You can also read my interview with Claire on Essex Lowdown here.
* This box was sent to me for a review, but all opinions and feedback are my own.
Sunday, 7 August 2016
The story opens on three nervous young women, all slightly different ages, and coming from different backgrounds. Maisie, Sarah, and Freda all turn up at Erith Woolworths on the same day hoping for a job. They became instant friends, and the shop where they ended up working becomes the backdrop for life, love, and sometimes pain.
New characters are introduced at various points in the story, some like Alan, trainee manager, make an instant impact as a love interest, while others such as Betty Billington develop bigger roles as the story moves on, both through daily life, bigger dramas, and the onset and eventual impact of war.
Sometimes the book left me wanting more - it would've been fun to see old pictures of Woolworths, and what the store was like, beyond working for the company. I also questioned how quick Sarah fell in love, and would've liked to have seen a bit more of Freda and Lenny together.
I'd say this was a book full of moments, and all of those moments I enjoyed. The obvious contrast between the 3 girls when they met, the insights into the local community, and the inclusion of local busybody Vera were all well-written. I don't want to give away too much and end up writing a spoiler post, but some of the lesser characters have some surprises I didn't expect, and as for the ending - it's a poignant one.
My concentration did go a few times, but overall I was engaged, and enjoyed Elaine's vivid writing style. I've read a fair few historical based novels before, and some of the story is nothing new, but this novel will stand out against the rest for the variety of characters in the same community, and the shop setting provided scope for interesting day to day details.
I can't imagine the work that goes into writing a whole book, I've only ever tried the odd short story, so well done Elaine, and I would read/buy your work again in the future.
Friday, 5 August 2016
What came through the post was a very pretty gift box (definitely a keeper), with an outer sleeve that had the programme logo on, and a 3D butterfly. Opening the box wasn't quite what I expected, as I thought it would be a mix of branded merchandise to make or use, but it was a mix of products from other sources.
My box had - glitter nail art and body glitter sets, small fabric flowers, shimmery fabric in 2 different colours, an unusual Amethyst Necklace, small pink beads, and two colours of ribbon, along with a beaded fairy crown headband.
I think the ribbon would be great to make hair bow clips with, or a bigger bow to decorate a plain top. I even had the idea of hemming the fabric so it doesn't fray, and shaping it into an apron, with the ribbon as a tie at the top - I've not tried it out yet, but you could easily accessorise to make a fairy costume without cutting up any existing clothes, or buying a one-time wear fairy outfit.
I couldn't resist a more crafty project though, so I used a plain cardboard wreath from my stash, and cut strips of fabric to tie around the wreath, with the ends pointing into the middle to make it look more quirky. I then added some fabric flowers, a fairy wand, and a few other bits to finish decorating the project. Time is needed to tie up the fabric pieces, and let the glitter glue dry, but other than that it's a fairly quick project to do, and would look great hung up for a party, or room decoration.
I hope this gives you or your teens a few ideas for fairy princess makes or decorations - if you keep an eye on my blog or follow my Instagram account (These City Days) you may find a few other bits and pieces as the series gets under way.
About The Other Kingdom
The Other Kingdom premieres on Nickleodeon at 6.30pm on August 8th 2016. It's a live action series featuring Astral as the fairy princess. Follow her journey as she has to choose between being a fairy princess, or living her life as a human. Human teen-dom v's the fairy kingdom of Athenia!
* I was gifted this box of goodies for a possible unboxing post, but any opinions expressed are my own.
Friday, 29 July 2016
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
|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
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
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|
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|
Glass Mosaic Tiles - 2kg for £9.99
* Prices correct at time of writing.
Saturday, 28 May 2016
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.
|Landscaped Gardens @ Hylands House|
Where? 40-45 minutes on the Liverpool Street line.
Friday, 29 April 2016
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|
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
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.
Monday, 18 April 2016
Hope everyone is well. Just wanted to share some exciting news with you all. I am now working with my second craft company, and have been chosen from lots of applications, to be part of the Sarah Hurley Community.
Sarah Hurley is an entrepreneur from Essex I have interacted with and known of for a while. It's been interesting for me to see a local crafty business grow, and grow they are. Check out Sarah Hurley Website for more about Sarah, all her business ventures, and when you can see her as a guest demonstrator on Hochanda, a newish craft channel.
You'll hopefully see all the community pop by on various social media platforms in the near future, introducing some of the new Sarah Hurley products, trying and testing things, and producing all kinds of fun content. From what I have heard so far there are some fun things planned - so watch this space.
Wednesday, 16 March 2016
This box looked quite challenging to start with, it had several Easter themed decopatch packs, but the rest was a blank canvas of quilling items, pegs, and some self adhesive hessian - what to do??
|Design copyright These City Days 2016|
- Orange ribbon (stash item)
- Patterned backing card (stash item)
- Sheep topper (stash item)
- Decopatch paper - 4 sheets in a pack, 4 different designs. £2.99 each. Would definitely recommend Baker Ross for their Artepatch range, some lovely designs in bright colours, and something a bit different to the standard offerings in the shops. I liked having bolder Easter patterns and plainer designs.
- Self adhesive hessian - £3.60 for 4 sheets. This could be my new favourite thing - like the idea of using a natural, textured backing for cards and other projects, having it self adhesive is really handy, and I think worth the money as I could get quite a bit of use out of the 4 sheets.
I've had a small number of mini pegs in my stash for a while and had no idea what to do with them, so when confronted with a bigger pack I was a bit lost, but I got some out the pack and started playing around and decided to try sticking them to a background, and that's where the idea for the flower came from, and it grew from there into a picture. I like the finished product and combination of different textures and materials, from the needle felted flower leaves to the stamped paper banner. It was all mounted on a piece of cardboard saved from some packaging, and I'm thinking of standing it on our new sideboard/dresser as a decoration.
Additional Items I used (different to above)
Green needle felting wool (stash item)
Quilling paper - £1.50 for 100 strips
Quilling tools - £1.50 - Bit disappointing, would prefer a bigger tool and was a bit tricky getting the quilling off the tool once I'd wrapped the paper around. Decent for the price, although I've used better quality tools.
Bunny stamp and alphabet stamps (stash items)
Patterned paper (stash items)
Mini Pegs - £.2.75 for 100. These will last a while so worth the money, although one of those extras I'd like some project ideas with.