Monday, 18 August 2014

How To Transform A Plain Gift Bag

Not sure why, but somewhere along the line we ended up as a gift bag family. More for birthdays and Mother/Father's Day than anything else, but our presents are wrapped and given in gift bags. Got to be honest though some of the offerings in the shops are pretty expensive for just a bag, while others are just too plain, which is why I was quite excited to receive a pack of plain white gift bags in my pack of crafty goodness from Baker Ross.

If you saw my post around June when I was creating a bag for Mum's birthday you'll know it normally takes me quite a while to think up ideas with a totally blank canvas in front of me, but this one didn't take too long. For this bag I used

Baker Ross Ribbon
Glitter Glue
A few stickers and a flower topper from my stash
A Hunkydory vintage/cute postcard topper (free with a recent order)

I started with the handles this time as I knew I wanted something really colourful and striking, but not too much for a bag; so why not focus on the handles for a change? I have been impressed with my Baker Ross Ribbon since it arrived for the range of colours, and lengths of each plain ribbon so I decided to ribbon up the handles rag wreath style with a few different colours. I'm really pleased with the effect although it does take up a bit more ribbon than expected! A gift for someone who'd appreciate and not bin it I think, and if I did it again I could space the ribbon out a bit more, or maybe add some simple details in between so I don't use up quite so much.

When the handles were done I decided perhaps foolishly to light some matches to seal the ribbon ends to stop them fraying. Personal choice but I think it looks a lot better, although it takes ages. The rest was quite easy, as I wasn't feeling too artistic I filled the space with a few toppers and then painted some glitter glue as a border around the outside. I think this gave just the effect I wanted, and is pretty cost effective if you don't want to spend too much transforming a bag.

I've still got a few bags left, and although smaller in size, I can still fit a good few things in them, so may well be decorating for Autumn birthdays or Christmas. Always love to hear from you if you have any feedback or crafty tales to share, just comment below, in the meantime I better get back to a tea light holder I am trying to paint.

*I was gifted the bags and ribbon from Baker Ross as a member of their blogger network but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Mad About The Boy - Helen Fielding - Book Review

Bridget Jones has been one of those in a growing stable of chick flicks that is shared and repeated on TV so many times. It's not one of my favourite series, but it's ideal when I want some silly humour. I'd never thought to read the books until Helen Fielding released the latest in the series though, but got lucky at the library with a quick reservation.

My first thought when I started reading Mad About The Boy was how well the film makers did with the previous films in bringing the books to life, they definitely stayed true to the book, and if this new one is anything to go by, Fielding definitely brings her characters to life to the point that in Mad About The Boy, they were jumping off the page.

It felt at times that Bridget was living in an alternate universe, and I chuckled at the friends and children in her circle, not many places you could get away with names like Cosmo, Roxster, and Farzia. Humour  pops up all over the place, but I especially enjoyed Bridget discovering Twitter, obsessing over followers, and unsurprisingly managing to put together some embarrassing drunken tweets.

It's funny, more funny than I expected, but at times I thought all it would be is funny, and get a bit too bubble gum, then I turn pages and 'feel' the poignant reality of being a single mum, feeling old and lost, and trying to find a voice in amongst the prep school mums at the gate. Then there is the pride at bagging a toy boy and showing him off to the world. It was sad, a little bit cringe worthy, and awkward to read, but the novel needed some depth of character and something beneath the silliness to keep readers interested so I think it worked on that level.

Some books I've read have been a bit obvious in their romantic outcomes, girl voices dislike, argues with and avoids boy to the point that you know they will end up together - or girl in oblivious to their own feelings for someone in their life. I won't give too much away in case you haven't read the book, but I like the way Fielding suggests a romance early on, then does a great job (in my opinion) of putting you off the scent. I was fooled!

I wouldn't say this novel is a page turner, it took me a while to get into it, but I am glad I read it, and for me, I had no idea what to expect, even having seen the films, which is always a bonus. have you read it, or the other books in the series? would love to know what you thought. Please leave a comment below and lets be bookworms for a while. If you have any reviews of your own I'd love to read them too.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Missing Out When You Have Anxiety

I've been sitting here in the mood to blog and not quite sure what to write about, but then a penpal gave me an idea and I decided to touch a little on anxiety again. I think sometimes there's a perception that if anxiety and/or panic attacks affect your life in a big way then you must be suffering all the time, must be bored, isolated, and not have much of a life.

For me, my problems are a lot better than they used to be, although a lot of that has been through self help, trying to make the most of what I have got, and I suppose in a way replacing what I don't have in my life with new things and distractions.

I work as a freelance writer, and while that may be in my home office, I am pushing myself in new ways professionally, and without writing I may not have got to know some music and media people in my local area and been to as many gigs as I have (on my own) in the last few years or so. It's not always win win though, for me it's good to come and go as I please, to not have to worry about anyone else, and to socialise with people I know when I'm ready, but yes I do feel the isolation etc that many others speak about.

One of my hobbies is crafting, and I sold for 6 months in a pop-up shop last year, met some new crafty people who I still see about sometimes, and sold quite a lot of my craft as well. It was a big push going in there, I was really nervous, but it has helped a lot and spurred me on to try and find more crafty opportunities.

What I'm saying is, mental health problems are not fun at all, I've still a long way to go, but I know you can find rich rewards despite everything else you are going through. I definitely have! I know some will disagree, but having motivational factors, even if they don't help with the bigger anxiety picture to me is a powerful thing, and one I can't help making the most of.

Yes there's a good case for anyone to point out I avoid certain things - such as travelling, big events, unfamiliar places, and I'm not jumping up and pushing myself to try baby steps towards these things every day, month or week. I wouldn't say it's right, but I don't think it's wrong either.

Maybe sometimes it's really good just to be happy, relaxed, and working on something else positive, and know your own limits. It's helped me in a lot of ways, but of course there are still times I think it would be great to just go and 'do', especially considering one thing I would love to do......

FLORIDA.... if you've read any earlier holiday type posts you'll know how much this has stuck with me since I visited when I was probably about 7 and 11. One holiday I would love to repeat, and I found out recently my parents would be up for going back if I was able. As a distraction in this summer weather I even picked up a cheeky brochure from the travel agents and have been on Google a few times. It will be a task though, and one I'm not sure how to make happen. I have no anxious associations with Florida, only happy memories, but I've not been away since I reached that age where I didn't want to go away with my parents (pre-problems). I'm not quite sure of the steps I should take, and would practically be able to take to help this, and whether certain things would make much difference to this end goal, it's all an unknown at the moment but it's something that could potentially happen one day, and although it's just day dream territory at the moment it's actually made me feel a bit more hopeful about the bigger stuff. That's Disney magic for you.

I shall leave it on that note, because if I can find small hope in something big, when big goals normally seem impossible, then I am sure you can too. I can't always connect the dots that will lead to achieving something anxiety related, but I know how much better it is with positive things to think about, do, and hopefully achieve in the meantime. Miss out in one way, gain in another!

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