My place to share lots of photographs of my random crafty, makery, bakery and cookery projects, as well as random thoughts that might strike me and are too long for Twitter...

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

listography: Top 5 Beauty Products

I have to confess right here: I have no beauty routine. If something is dirty, I wash it, if it's dry, I moisturise it, if it has a spot, I treat it. End of. I always remember to take my make-up off and clean my teeth. That, if anything, is my Beauty Routine. So I did struggle to name my Top 5 Beauty Products, but here goes.

1). Water.

Yup, I'm an annoying 8 glasses a day girl. I tend to drink more water than anything else. I can tell when I add pop, etc, in because my skin quality goes down the drain.

2). Simple "Vital Vitamin" Day Cream.
It doesn't smell, and it doesn't leave you sticky, which are my two main look-fors in moisturiser. Plus, my big pot was free with a magazine, and I'm still using it, so it lasts a long time too!

3). Johnson & Johnson's face wipes (any flavour, though I like the Dreamy Skin ones below).

 I can't be doing with the cleanse-and-tone thing. I've tried. It's time-consuming and buying two products is (oddly enough) twice as expensive. J&J is one wipe to remove it all. Plus (Handy Hint) save the used wipes to use as throwaway cloths for cleaning your bathroom (or anywhere else) with. You can wash them if you've taken something greasy off with them, which I found out by accident when some of them got into the washing basket.

4). Benefit High Beam.

Highlighter, lip sparkler, eyeshadow (I actually get more compliments using it as eyeshadow than anything else). Downside: ludicrously expensive for the amount you get. But I love it anyway. Fortunately it seems to be an annual freebie on Glamour magazine, so I stock up then at £2/4ml instead of £19/20ml.

5). Mark Smith Magic Drops

Again, ludicrously expensive, but hey, it calms down my hair. Plus, it's usually on 3 for 2 at Boots, whcih is when I stock up like a crazy lady!!


At some stage I plan on doing a Top 5 Nail Products, but as this is pretty much my only essential beauty product, it certainly deserves a mention!

1). OPI Nail Envy

There is rarely (NEVER) a time that I don't have OPI Nail Envy on my nails. It basically strengthens and conditions your nails, and I love it. I regularly have very long nails, and the strength mainly comes from Nail Envy.

Friday, 23 March 2012

I Re-Decorated!

You might have noticed that I've had a little bit of a Spring-clean and a big redecorate around here! I loved the old background, but none of the available text colours would show up on all of it. So, sadly, it had to go. Also, Mum and Dad bought me a sock set a couple of years ago that is brown and different shades of pink, and I love the colour combination. :)


Today, I have achieved. It took a lot of work. Literally weeks of work. And the expense...well. Crazy stuff. But, eventually, I have achieved my goal.

Yup, a Kermit backpack will be winging (flippering?!) it's way to me ASAP.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Who's That Girl...

I LOVE Zooey Deschanel's new show, "New Girl".

Every time we watch "New Girl", however, my husband gets a Look. Several times throughout the show he looks at the TV, looks at me, and then does The Look. It's a mingled look of fear, amusement, and recognition. He denies it, but it's there.

When pressed for further information he revealed that this is because "New Girl" is "...like living with you".

I can see how that works...

Monday, 19 March 2012

Listography: 5 Reasons I Know I'm A... Take II

I said I had more of these. I asked my husband what he thought I was addicted to for my "Listography: Top 5 Addictions" post, and without a second's hesitation he replied "Disney World!" I guess what he meant was planning for our Disney World holiday, which I have been doing for almost (like, a few days off) a full year now. So without further ado:

5 Reasons I Know I'm A....Disney World Holiday Planning Addict

1). I have lists.
That has to be the number one reason on a Listography post, right? But seriously, I have lists galore. I have lists of things I'd like to do, lists of things I HAVE to do, lists of things that I cannot come home without doing. I have lists of places to go, lists of places and foods to eat, lists of gifts I want to buy for people and the shops I want to buy them from. My case will be considerably lighter ready to pack for the return journey, as long as I leave the lists in the hotel room bin.

2). I have a notebook.

I love rainbows. I love patterns. I LOVE notebooks. Oddly enough this one is not for the many lists. You see, I will not be able to blog (or make any other kind of internet/computerised notes) on our travels and I know that I will be so mind-blown on the trip that I will have to record things somewhere at the end of the day, so that when I get home I can condense it for my (very big, very heavy) diary, or for my blog. I want to do some fun reviewy things as well as the basic "look at my holiday snaps!" blog (though don't panic, obviously I will do that as well!) so I want to have lots of information and memories to go with my photographs.

3). I have already watched most of the rides on Youtube. At least twice.
I LOVE rides. Well, I love roller coasters, that don't go upside down. I actually plan on trying my first upside down roller coaster this year (at 28 years of age, eep) at Disney (I'm thinking Rock 'n' Roller Coaster). But, I like to know 100% that a ride doesn't go upside down before I get on it. As such, I have watched the ride-through videos of pretty much every ride at Disney World. And by now I've watched so many of them that it doesn't even ruin the surprise, because I can't remember which one is which really.

4). Most of my IE "Most Popular Sites" are Disney/Trip-Related.
Disney Parks Blog. DisBoards. Youtube. Disney.com. Trip Advisor. Universal Studios site. This is how I spend most of my internet time these days.

5). I have already started to wonder "What will I do after the holiday??"
Possibly because I remember too well the post-wedding blues of having nothing left to plan. Partially because Disney World has been my pick-me-up for a year. I'm sure there is life after Disney World...I'm not quite sure how I will handle it though!!!! I guess I'll just have to start planning the next trip . . .

Listography: 5 Reasons I Know I'm A...

Once again this idea is courtesy of Kate Takes 5 who has, by the means of the handy "Subscribe" linky on her page, managed to get me to stick to an idea for this blog for more than two days. Thanks Kate! :D
So, "5 Reasons I Know I'm A..." well, first I have to decide what I am (no suggestions please!!). I couldn't decide, so I'll be running with this one for a few days. Up first...
5 Reasons I Know I'm A(n)...Adult
1). Getting post is nowhere near as fun as it used to be.
I used to wait eagerly for the arrival of the postman. Now I cautiously push the door open after a day at work, trying to assess the upside-down envelopes on the doormat and save the nice ones until last. An empty doormat is a happy doormat!

2). I get far to excited over white goods.
This fact was brought home to me the Christmas I received my first tumble dryer. After a particularly wet summer (Floods of '07...so I'm not exaggerating when I say particularly wet!) of attempting to dry two people's washing in a very small house I was extremely excited to get the top item on my Christmas list. And then rather worried (and slightly depressed) that the top item on my Christmas list was a tumble dryer.
3). I clean items I never (as a child) realised needed cleaning.
Now I was a pretty with-it child, and I was capable of cooking, doing my own washing, etc, pretty early on. But there were some things I never in a million years would have thought of cleaning, because they were just always clean (thank you, Mum and Dad). These include:
  • Inside the fridge/microwave/oven
  • The powder/conditioner drawer in the washing machine
  • The front door (maybe I just now live in a dusty/polleny area!)
  • Skirting boards/door frames
  • Water jug
  • Draining board

4). Pay Day isn't fun any more.
When I lived at home and my board, PAYG phone and petrol were my only expenses, I LOVED pay day. I would have lists of things that I needed to buy. This list would usually entail make-up, nail polish, handbags, clothes, shoes, gig tickets, etc. I  never quite got around to saving as much as I thought I should. Now I still don't save as much as I think I should, however this is because I'm now less of a happy little worker funding my various spending habits, and more of a delivery person, running between work and my bills.  I pick up the money every pay day, gaze at it fondly, and then take it straight to the bank where it is invariably divided up between enough people to ensure that I never see it again.

5). There is no-one to blame when I run out of clean underwear (AKA...I now have a Wash Day).
I am the laundry person in our house. This can often end badly, moreso when we first got married. Mainly because I was used to my laundry cycles, which were sporadic at best. I did not have time for laundry. I owned a phenominal amount of underwear and other clothes. My husband, however, did not. Hence he would run out of underwear after a week, when I could have easily survived for...well...a considerably longer period of time, let's leave it at that. I have now almost mastered the washing. I say almost, because I still sometimes find myself sat up in the dead of night, waiting for the tumble dryer to finish so that one or both of us has dry work shirts for the next day.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Listography: Top 5 Addictions

I can't remember where I found this Listography idea, so if it was your blog, comment below and claim the credit. :) I also watched "My Strange Addiction" last night, which reminded me of this topic! Hopefully none of mine are as weird as theirs.

1). Nail Varnish.

Not eating it (thank goodness...that would be strange). But buying it, using it, changing it, learning new styles and techniques with it. I'd love to give you an exact figure on my collection, but that's pretty much impossible. Last year I had a clear-out and got rid of almost 50 polishes (old, duplicates, or ones I never used). That didn't really make a small dent in the collection, so that gives you something of an idea. From where I'm sat I can see 14 bottles, and I can't see into the two Curver boxes, the pro case, the big jar or the three-bottle wine box where the rest live.

2). Cheese.

In our house, Cheese is it's own food group. We still have fruit, veg, carbs, protein, dairy, etc, but there is so much cheese consumed on our house that it deserves a food group all of it's own. There are very few foods that are not improved by the addition of cheese.

3). Toffee Crumble.

If you said "Ugh, that looks like the animal pellet food you get at the petting zoo!" you would be right. I can assure you however, having been a brave/strange child, that it tastes nothing like the animal food you get at the petting zoo (which tastes, as I remember, of grain with a hint of straw/grass). It actually tastes delicious, and I can easily hoover up a pounds' worth in a very short space of time.

4). Music.

It's very hard to find an image for music. Anyway. I would say more than 3/4 of my waking day is accompanied by some kind of music. In the car, at work, in the bath, at home on my laptop, there will be music present.

5). BBQ Chicken.

I LOVE BBQ chicken. Especially made with Newman's Sticky BBQ sauce (I am actually waiting for this to finish cooking right now). So much so that we now cook enough to leave some chicken for sandwiches the next day. Honorable mention to BBQ Pulled Pork made in the slow-cooker, with home-made sauce.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Dear Gym People...

I love my gym, I really do. Well...I love the pool and the gigantic jacuzzi. I haven't visited the actual gym floor enough to form an opinion on it. But the more I swim, the more I realise that I hate a great many people who go to my gym.

* Why are you wearing full make-up to the swimming pool?! Seriously, I don't care how waterproof your mascara is, you don't need it on at the pool. You look like an idiot (even moreso if you get splashed in the face and wind up with drippy clown make-up), and you're obviously not working out enough if you can emerge from the pool still fully made up.

* There are signs EVERYWHERE (I've spotted five signs between reception and the poolside) telling you to shower before you get into the pool. So why is there a constant stream of bone-dry people getting into the pool, without taking a shower first? I have to say, this is mainly old ladies. This has to be my biggest pet hate of the gym. I don't care if you showered before you left home. Why did you bother to shower before you left home, knowing that really you should shower before you get in the pool anyway? Save time and your water bill, and shower at the gym!

* If you are built like a bullfrog, no-one wants to see you stretch, squat and lunge by the side of the pool. This is mainly men who obviously used to be quite sporty, and think they still are. Easy way to tell if you fall into this catagory? If, when doing a press-up, your stomach hits the ground whilst your arms are still pretty much straight (allowing the movement to be more horizontal SpaceHopper movement than actual press-up), you should probably be working out in private. Or at least not on very public display in your tighty Speedos. The cafe window overlooks the pool, you know, and people are trying to eat. Also, the last thing I want to see when I surface at the end of the pool is you squatting above me at the water's edge. It's creepy. Still, at least you showered before horrifying us all, so thanks for that small mercy.

* Aqua-fit. Not the people who do Aqua-fit...I admire their Aqua-fitness and I doubt that I could complete a full class at my age let alone when I'm a pensioner. What I hate is sharing a pool with Aqua-fit. 20+ not exactly skinny people jumping up and down at the same time causes a tidal wave that invariably smacks me into the side of the pool when I'm trying to do my laps. That gets a bit wearing. Also, the instructors. They shout. A lot. I appreciate that they have to be loud to be heard over their music, but really, you're playing dance/disco music to a bunch of senior citizens. I'm sure they wouldn't mind if you turned it down a bit. And whilst we're on the whole music issue, Aqua-fit instructors, I do not need to see you coaxing a bunch of OAPs into wiggling around with giant pool noodles to a sped-up dance mix of "Sex Bomb" by Tom Jones. Maybe choose something a little more audience-appropriate.

* If the person you are sharing a lane with is faster than you, there is no shame in admitting it and allowing them to over-take you. If you reach the end of the pool a second before the person behind you, maybe consider offering to let them set off first, instead of crawling along leading your own parade of p!ssed off faster swimmers who are stuck trailing behind you. I don't mind if you're slow. I mind if you make me go slow.

* The jacuzzi is for relaxing. Ditto the sauna. Personally, I prefer to listen to the relaxy music they pipe into the jacuzzi area than the sounds of a Lahore street market. By that I mean STOP SHOUTING IN THE JACUZZI AND SAUNAS (see how annoying shouting in the wrong place is?). I appreciate that in other countries such places are much more social, and probably rowdy, but I dread pulling into the car park and finding it full of taxis, because 99% of the time that means the jacuzzi and sauna will be off-limits. Also, last time I checked, you do not own the jacuzzi, so don't try and stare me down when I walk in and you're holding some kind of conference in there. To be honest, I don't speak your language, it's not like I'm listening in and I'd rather not be able to hear you at all. Indoor voices please.


Me x

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Listography: Top 5 Cookbooks

Now, I debated not doing this Listography, because 1) I don't really cook (yup, there it is, I do not really cook), and 2) when I do cook, I tend to find recipes online.

However, I will still play the listography game.

1) Kirstie Allsopp: Craft
Hush, all of you who are saying "But that, quite clearly, is a craft book!" You are right. BUT it is my favourite craft book in the world. EVER. And, it has recipes in it. So...In yo' face. It's my favourite recipe book too.

2) Busy Woman's Slow Cooker Recipes

I love my slow cooker. LOVE. It's like having a tiny little chef sat in my kitchen. I give it meat and veg and go off to work, and come back to a cooked dinner. Sure, this recipe has a few duds (Sausage Bean Casserole is a phrase no longer uttered in our house).

3) St Michael's All-Colour Freezer Cookery Book

This is from 1970-something, and my Nana gave it to me. There are some great recipes and some really weird ones. But if you want classic cooking, go for a classic cookery book!

Four and five don't technically count as cookery "books" as such, but they are my go-tos for Christmas recipes.

4) BBC Good Food Christmas Magazine

5) Good Housekeeping Christmas Recipes

Four and Five are my must-buys. From late September I start trawling the newsagents, pawing through the "Lifestyle" and "Home" and "Cookery" sections, hunting for The Christmas Food Magazines. I should point out right now that, in all of my almost 28 years, I have never actually been called upon to cook Christmas dinner. However, I like having the knowledge and the recipes close to hand should the need arise.

Given my collection of Christmas food magazines (because of course I can't throw them away, they contain different recipes every year), I can now in theory cater any seasonal event that may arise. Christmas Eve supper, Christmas Day breakfast, dinner and tea, Boxing Day brunch, New Years Eve cocktail evening or supper party, carnivores, vegetarians, vegans, all manner of food intolerances, I am prepared.

The amount of items I have actually made from the Christmas food magazines are few. I much prefer the low-stress, low-calorie option of buying them and spending three months poring over them somewhat obsessively, pointing out mouth-watering dishes (that I will clearly never make) to anyone within earshot.

I love Christmas.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Check It Out! Tie The Knot Creative.

Today's Check It Out! offering...Tie The Knot Creative.

Tie The Knot are very closely related to Hey Cutie! who I featured a couple of weeks ago, which means the same awesome style and great customer service...Yay! :)

I ordered one of these adorable cake-toppers to adorn my family Christmas cake this past Christmas:

Cute Christmas Cake Topper (Deer) [£10]

Mr & Mrs Snowman Cake Topper [£10] 

Christmas Wine Glass Charms [£8]

 Tie The Knot Creative are for life, not just for Christmas:

Owlways And Forever Wedding Cake Topper [£15]

Invitations, RSVPs and other wedding and event stationery [prices available on request] 

Bird Cage Table Numbers (price available on request).
I am in love with the bird cage table numbers. I would like to get married again, just so that I need some of them. ♥

If you have plans for a big event in 2012 (13...14...15...etc) contact Tie The Knot Creative for some beautiful additions to your special occasion.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

If You Go Down To The Woods Today...

We have a few lodgers at our house at the moment. And by "few", I mean "few hundred". And by "lodgers" I mean "stuffed toys". Yes, it's that time of year again: Teddy Toss Time.
That is my conservatory at the moment. I have not-so-affectionately name it "Bear Mountain" (FYI, the bears need the garden chair to be comfortable...Or, I forgot to move it to the garage). In preparation for dealing with Bear Mountain, I have hoovered my entire house, cleaned the bedroom window (and nearly fell out, but that's another story), cleaned the downstairs windows, washed the front door (who does that?!), changed the bed, done all the laundry, and rearranged the kitchen. As you can see, by "preparation for" I mean "avoidance of".

Last week I almost very accurately predicted that I would spend Sunday rocking and muttering about teddy bears in a padded room (a room, most probably, padded by hundreds of soft toys). That was as a result of last minute time-table changes, last-minute dog-sitting, last-minute just about everything, actually, which is oddly ironic considering this year I gave myself a couple of extra weeks to plan, in an attempt to avoid any rushing around. Clearly I work better under the pressure of a 3-4 week panic system I've used in the past!!

It wasn't as bad as I feared, in the end. In fact, it went very well. My auction bidders smashed my personal target of £660 (which was enough to tip the total raised in 6 years over £5000) by donating an astonishing £1384, beating the previous highest amount (£1150) by a considerable sum.

You can see the worthy causes who benefit by checking out the links below:

Which just leaves me with my lodgers, who all need un-bagging, sorting, re-bagging, and delivering to their new homes! Which this year include:

Sheffield and Rotherham (and hopefully Barnsley and Doncaster) emergency care facilities
Amy's House Respite Nursery
A variety of church play-groups/nurseries
Shoebox appeals (Operation Christmas Child, etc) for the tiny toys
Scottie's Little Soldiers (hopefully)

Here are a few photographs from previous years:

2006-07: The first year. Also the year a friend and I discovered that, actually, Zambonis are NOT magnetic (leading to me standing in the middle of an office declaring "I can work a magnet!! It's definitely NOT magnetic!!!" after being told I must have been "...doing it wrong." Good times!). Sadly there is a reason more Zambonis are not dressed as teddy bears, that reason being the visibility issues created by giant ears. Hence we have never done it again. (Also, I have a feeling Ice Ice Davy would fall out with me if I made him wear his fluffy ears again).

2006-07: Build-a-Bear, in their sweet generosity, gave us free rein that first year, to build whatever the guys wanted. That was both an enlightening and disturbing experience, as a range of unusually dressed/named animals appeared alongside a glimpse into the minds that dreamed them up! Not that watching a big tough guy painstakingly dress a tiny teddy in a bride outfit (complete with veil, bouquet and garter) before proudly naming her Julia Roberts alters your opinion in anything other than a positive fashion, don't get me wrong. Julia and the monkey, who's name escapes me, stark naked apart from elbow and knee pads, will always stick in my memory from that first year. Them and the little puppy with the happy ears in the pink tutu, which I wanted possibly more than any other toy they've EVER made (and didn't get).

The Build-a-Bear trip is always fun...

2011-12 (Photo Copyright Build-a-Bear Meadowhall)



2011-12 (Photo copyright Dobson Agency 2012, supplied by Publicasity).
The last photograph is the first time in six years I've actually made it onto the Build-a-Bear shot!

The donated bears also have their own (adorable!) donated jerseys, courtesy of Rhino Sports:

On the night, I always have a team of wonderful kids to collect the bears. I don't want to put detailed photographs of other people's kids online, so here are a blurry couple:

06-07 - The team (and I!) present Molly Hurditch of Amy's House with a teddy.

Thank you to everyone who threw toys, bid on bears, donated items, time, or money to the cause.

I couldn't do it without you all!
~ ♥ ~

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Listography: Laminated List

I just found "Listography". I'm still not 100% sure what it is/does. However, I am very fond of lists. So it can only be a good thing...Right? Someone once asked me "Do you ever make a list of lists you have to make?" I'm not quite that fond of lists, reassuringly.

I found Listography on one of my new favourite blogs, Frugal Family. It was linked from what I think may well become one of my other favourite blogs, Kate Takes 5. Basically, whenever a new list appears on her blog, I will be notified, and make/submit/blog my own list. :) That's the theory, anyway. You guys know I have the attention span of a goldfish, so this may well be the first and last Listography post.

Anyway...I thought I'd start off with one of the easiest lists. The Laminated List. For those of you who don't know every episode of "Friends" word for word, Ross has a laminated "Freebie List" of five celebrities he is allowed to sleep with without any complaints from the other half of his relationship. If you were asleep for the 90s, here's the video (wow this entry is linky!).

Without further ado, The Laminated List:

1). Sean Bean
Young, not so young, dressed, not so dressed...I'm not fussy. Any Sean Bean is good to me. My dream wedding is the one in "The Vicar Of Dibley" ("Spring"):

2). Triple H
Even in his latest incarnation...He's a fine watch-wearer.

3). Bryan Adams
For "All For Love" (our first wedding dance  ♥ ). For dancing with horrendously bad singers dragged out of the audience. For performing with a Spice Girl and not making me instantly hate him. For naming his daughter "Bunny". For proving that not all bass players are sanctimonious asshats like Sting. I love Bryan Adams.

4). David Boreanaz.

Angel, Angelus, Booth. S'all good.

5). Hugh Jackman

He's decidedly attractive. He gets semi-naked/flashes the guns a lot. He is Wolverine. He loves musical theatre (deal-clincher if ever there was one!!!!!). He was in "Oklahoma!". He will be Jean Valjean in the new film of Les Miserables. Also, he is decidedly attractive and gets semi-naked/flashes the guns a lot.

Alternates (because, you know, if Isabella Rosselini can be an alternate, everyone is allowed one):

Liam Neeson - Just because.

John Cena - Bonus points, goats not often used in "hot" photo shoots.

Richie Sambora
Jon Bon Jovi
Bradley Cooper
Viggo Mortensen
Daniel Craig
Cpt Jack Sparrow (though oddly not really Johnny Depp)

Hopefully I will find more interesting lists to make. I like this idea.