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Showing posts from 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

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

On My Doorstep - Sandford Mill, Chelmsford

Hi everyone, A while ago I decided to do another 'On The Doorstep' and went off to visit Sandford Mill which is in the Chelmer Village area Sorry it's taken so long to get up, but this is a review of an annual event so maybe it'll help you plan for next year. Waste not want not, with local content!! 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, T

Hessian Christmas Bauble Project / Baker Ross Craft Baubles

This is a project using Craft Baubles from a recent Baker Ross blogger box. They are an easy, effective, and pretty quick make to do, and there's plenty of time to make a few - they would look great on the Christmas Tree, or you could use them to decorate gift wrapping/bags, or even just as a gift as they are quite different. To make them you will need: Craft Baubles - Pack Of 6  for £3.49 Ribbon 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 sha

Beyond The Point - Local History Project In Essex

Sometimes, things don't go to plan, but that's okay, because I recently had the chance to catch up with one  of the guys behind 'Beyond The Point' and had to give the content a new home on my blog. I really enjoyed their website, and some of their documentaries that I've been able to view. Maybe it's because a lot of their content is Essex related, or they just present things in an engaging way, but this is what I wanted history lessons to be like when I was at school. BTP at Dover Castle “Never leave the camera at home” that’s the message from Joe Mander, co-founder of ‘Beyond The Point’, a website bringing the history of South Essex to life. If you take the time to look through the photos and documentaries Joe and Liam have made, you’ll realise how true that message is! This is a blog on what 2 young men, their cameras, and their passion, have created. When I was at school you could have divided our year quite easily into the history or

Baker Ross Christmas Blogger Box - Overview And Pom Pom Bauble Make

Hi everyone, 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.

Sarah Hurley Botanical Stamps Overview

Hi everyone, 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 d

Looking For Work As A Freelance Writer

I'm sure some people think I live a privileged existence as a self employed worker - bumming around the house in my PJ's, getting up when I like, flexible hours etc. Working for myself does have it's advantages (maybe I'll cover that in another blog post), but it's also like you're on a constant cycle of looking for work! especially in the quiet times in between projects, when the fear of the unknown creeps in, and you think you may never work again! 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, resourc

Sherbet Lane - Stationery Subscription Box Review

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 here 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,

Book Review - The Woolworths Girls By Elaine Everest

Although I don't get the chance to read, or be in the mind set to read as much as I'd like, yep I still have a pile of un-read books to keep me going for the rest of the year, I couldn't pass up the chance to review a new book by fellow writer/journo Elaine Everest. The Woolworths Girls jumped out at me, apart from loving and missing their Pick and Mix, I also love seeing and reading about what town centres and iconic shops used to be like, so this novel sounded a great fit. 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 Billin

Nickleodeon's The Other Kingdom - Accessories and Craft Unboxing

When I was living in a rented house for six months last summer we didn't have any access to a TV aerial, and rather than connect to Sky, we bought Internet TV boxes. I had a Now TV Box connect to my TV, and I have to admit to using the entertainment pass, and watching some of the American teen programmes on there - light and easy Saturday morning viewing! It's more of a guilty pleasure, rather than me being their target audience, but when an email popped through about a new show The Other Kingdom, promising a box of handicrafts, or make-up/accessories I wanted to give the opportunity a go - you know me and crafts. 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 glit

Popband London - Mini Haul And Review

Hair, I am very lucky to have lots of it, although I am not very good at styling it, and it normally ends up in a pony tail of some description. Because I have my hair back a lot hairbands are important to me, and I've probably bought a lot over the years that either don't grip my hair at all, or they pull it too tight, which can hurt and give me headaches. 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 hav

On My Doorstep - Hylands Park, Chelmsford

I remember once suggesting to Dad he go out for a walk when he was bored, and he gave me a look as if to say I'd feel silly just walking around somewhere. I'm completely different and will quite happily get out and walk or cycle around the area I live, but sometimes I forget the wider area I live in. I know I'm not alone in sometimes forgetting what's on the doorstep, or taking it for granted. So I have made it my mission, now the weather is nicer, to explore places that I haven't yet seen, or don't go to that often, starting with Hyland's Park over towards Writtle.  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 e

You Beauty Box - May 2016 Review

Hi all, 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

Garden Mosaic Picture - With Wood And Mosaic Tiles

* Craft Alert* 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

3 Places To Hop Off The Train In Essex

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. Chelmsford Landscaped Gardens @ Hylands House Where? 40-45 minutes on the Liverpool Street line. What? A small city with a lot of culture Why? Chelmsford is growing into a vibrant shopping destination, with plenty of options for families. Head to the museum in Moulsham Street and introduce your children to the legendary bear, and busy bee hive. On a nice day Central Park is the place to picnic. Highlight? Hylands Park – a short taxi ride from the station, with plenty of space for young ones to run around, hidden gardens to explore, and the visitor centre which has a cafĂ©, a

Spring Wreath Project With Baker Ross

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 I thought the project might lay gathering dust for a while, but Baker Ross delivered a new blogger network box the other week and that provided some much needed ideas. Inside this box was a pack of sisal sheets - 5 in assorted colours. I'd never come across this fibre before, but it was easy to cut and use, and the mix of bright and more subtle colour choices was spot on. The main plus point for me was the packaging leaflet had a few photo's for inspiration. I often get my stash out and just experiment, but sometimes when I am trying new products I value some tips or photo ideas to get me started. The neutral s

Name On Rice Creations - Keyring Review

Saturday blogging of a creative nature, as I recently was lucky enough to be picked as a tester for Name On Rice Creations. They were offering a group of lucky customers to order a product simply for paying postage. There was a choice of items available that could be customised a bit. 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

News - I've Joined The Sarah Hurley Community

Hi all, 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.

Craft Projects - Easter Peg Picture And Easter Bookmark

It doesn't seem that long ago that I was opening my last box of blogger network goodies from Baker Ross, but a new Easter themed box arrived a little while ago, and I've finally managed to get my craft on and come up with a couple of ideas. 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?? Easter Bookmark  Design copyright These City Days 2016 For this I used: 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 fav