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, 31 December 2013

So Long, 2013!

'Tis the season, the season I no longer shy away from the post box ("MORE bills?! *runs away*)! Christmas cards! :D And, of course, the newsletters.

Victoria Wood does a fantastic routine about the family newsletters in Christmas cards. I can't find the Youtube video, but it's funny. Take my word for it. Frankly, we get a few, and I quite enjoy them! Of course there are the ones that are blatantly just "not-so-humblebrag" newsletters..."This year unfortunately we've spent a fortune on fuel, even though we got a super-economic new car, driving to New Haven, but it's worth it to visit Binky at Yale! Did we mention our little Binky got into Yale?" But if you've done something to be proud of, why not tell the world? Just tell us!

We don't do a family newsletter, but if we did, it might run a bit like this...

January: I gave blood for the first (and currently only) time. They made a terrible mess of my arm, but I would do it again in a flash. Unfortunately I had some iron issues and then flu, so I haven't managed to donate again since. I plan to in 2014 though.

February: Valentine's Day! I can't remember precisely how we celebrated. Welcome to married life, y'all.

Pancake Day! Not normally newsletter-worthy, but this year I discovered pancakes with home-made chocolate orange ganache sauce and whipped cream.

Commence Droolage....Now.

March: I hit the big 2-9! :D I took a few days off work, and had a couple of road trips, including taking myself to the Harry Potter Studio Tour at Leavesden Studios which was AMAZING. If you want to go, I will go with you. I want to go again. Christmas would be good, they do special trips and there's snow and...Anyway. Travelling companion available! :D

Amazing. Scale model of Hogwarts at HPST.

April: Play-Offs!! We spent a great weekend with family friends in Nottingham.

Meat Loaf! We went to the Last World Tour, and it was brilliant.

Yes I do pick my seats based on Paul Crook's stage side. Sorry Randy, love ya, love Paul more.

May: We went to see Mick Foley again. His stand-up show is VERY funny, I would imagine moreso if you are into wrestling, but still, he's a funny guy. I also went on my friend's hen do, and got the drunkest I have probably ever been in my life (which isn't hard to do, because I don't really drink, but hey).

June: We went to Manchester to see Bon Jovi (again!).

Rumboldfest! We had a great time at our friends' awesome campsite wedding in Wales.

BFF and I got up stupidly early to queue for tickets for Michael Buble's "surprise" gig (public dress rehearsal) in Sheffield...AND GOT TICKETS!! Awesome show as usual, and we got to see for £25 what would have cost us £80 in London. Plus every penny of profit went to local children's charities. What a lovely man.

July: I did the "Insanity" programme (July and August too). Even though I had to finish a little early because of an injury, I finished eventually!

We celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary, by not doing very much at all. Ho-hum. The traditional 6th wedding anniversary gift is sugar.

I went to London for a girly weekend to see Rascal Flatts. Awesome show, and Laura Bell Bundy was the support act. Bonus! This was one of those weird circumstances when someone I don't know that well and haven't seen for months tagged me in a status because I was the only one of her FB friends in England who also liked the Rascal Flatts fan page and said "Hey! I have tickets! Want to see Rascal Flatts?" and I said yes, and then awesomeness happened.

Second row standing, people. Second. Row. Standing. Which as we all know, for short people, soon turns into FRONT row standing. I spent the evening wearing a stranger's cowboy hat, which he passed up to Laura Bell Bundy to perform in, and then put back on my head. SSSF (Stranger's Stetson Sisters Forever).

August: Family Holiday to Norfolk. Great times, even though John had to come home early for work. We still had a fantastic time and I LOVED having a dog again for a week. :D

September: John's birthday. I fear I set myself up for a fall when I made the Big 3-0 birthday so spectacular (his day included a trip out to buy a Blu-ray player, meal out, cinema, hockey, takeaway).

The cake came later. First there was a Birthday Cookie.

October: We started the Christmas shopping! First time we have been able to be this organised but 2013 has been kind, LOTS of monthly payments have ended (YAY for steps closer to being debt-free, even baby steps!), and John worked extreeeemely hard and got lots of lovely overtime, and hence Christmas was a lot less panicked this year!

We also had a visit from one of my best friends and his wife from Canada, who we've been looking forward to meeting for years. We had a great week showing off our favourite places in England and getting to know Lisa. Before they came I missed one friend in Canada, now I miss two! I'm lucky that all my friends choose awesome partners. Yay!

November: Disney on Ice! Rapunzel is one of my favourites, so I had to see Dare To Dream.

December: I worked. John worked. When the stars aligned with a prevailing wind we actually saw each other once in a while. Christmas was quiet with both families, and New Year celebrations will be similar. As usual we will be ringing in the new year at home tonight, just the two of us, good food, some treats and the TV.

Next year we are looking forward to my Big 3-0 Birthday, which will hopefully include a girly trip to London amongst other activities. Hopefully we will also be able to afford to put a deposit down for my Big 3-0 Birthday Trip to Walt Disney World (actual trip delayed to 2015) when we will hopefully be travelling with friends and meeting up with at least one more! It's weird planning so far in advance, but we also have our eye on a trip to Canada (hopefully in 2015), visiting friends in Quebec and Toronto with a road trip to New York (state not city). Quebec/Toronto/Ontario/NY peeps, get ready! At some stage, we're coming!! This will be timed to coincide with hockey season, obviously. ;)

I hope 2014 is happy, healthy and brings you everything you deserve.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Listography: 10 Really Annoying Things That Are Still LESS Annoying Than Sniffing.

It's sniffing season. I hate the sound of people sniffing. Just blow your nose!! I even hate having to sniff myself, I actually irritate myself. I have gone so far as to offer tissues to people who are browsing at work because their constant sniffing was driving me insane. I'm just being helpful, maybe you forgot a tissue...It's not that I'm wanting to smack you in the head with something to stop the Chinese-water-torture-esque noise (honest!).

Few people realise how much it irritates me. So in no particular order, I give you 10 Really Annoying Things That Are Still LESS Annoying Than Sniffing:

Screaming children.

Rave music.

People who cut lines/traffic.


Running out of toilet roll.

"There's an unexpected item in the bagging area..."

Kids faking American accents.

Smudging/chipping a nail.

Jazz Music.

That stupid Flora "Wrestling" advert.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Listography: 5 Things I Inexplicably Love

In no particular order of preference:

1). Notebooks.

My name is Sarah, and I am a notebook addict. There. I said it. If there was a Stationery Anonymous, I would be a founder member. I love notebooks. The day they opened a Paperchase in Sheffield was easily one of my happiest. I am obsessed with Paperchase notebooks (and Paperchase in general), especially the big chunky ones with decorated pages, like the one above. I think it all started when I used to get little scented notebooks (do they still sell those?! I want one) in my Advent calendar when I was about four years old.

2). Paisley.

I think paisley is much under-appreciated these days. Yes, it can be garish and hideously bright and busy, but that really is all part of it's charm, don't you think?? It's exciting! It makes your brain wince a bit and, if the pattern is patterny enough, it's a bit baffling and your eyeballs get a bit bamboozled, but in a good way. I love it. As if you didn't all feel sorry enough for my husband, we have not one but TWO sets of paisley bedding in our collection (I say "our", obviously I mean "my". As long as there are covers of some description he doesn't really care either way...and I think he only cares that there are covers because I shout if there are pillows that don't have cases on).

3). Brown labels.

Paddington Bear. Old vintage suitcases. Bottles that say "Drink Me". Black and white photos of small children on station platforms in dufflecoats. We should use more brown labels. They're awesome.

4). Leather bookmarks.

I don't have this one. I wish I did. Always expanding the collection...

I guess the inexplicable thing is that I collect leather bookmarks (as in, I have over 100 of them), but I never USE leather bookmarks, because they make your pages stay too far apart. My bookmark of choice is a tissue or a square of toilet paper (purely for size, not reading location!!!!!). I don't actually own the bookmark above, but I chose it for illustrative purposes as it also covers some of the obscure places that have their own bookmarks. I have bookmarks from places that don't even exist any more. For as long as I can remember when we went anywhere with a gift shop, my Grandpa would buy me a leather bookmark. Then whenever I went anywhere they didn't that had a gift shop, I would buy myself a leather bookmark. It has become my souvenir of choice. Now, other people also buy me leather bookmarks. I'm concerned and disappointed that Walt Disney World do not sell leather bookmarks. John was more than a little concerned that I am concerned by that.

5). Pointless glass objects.

Image copyright www.glass-sphere.com
Yup, love them. Not all of them are pointless, some are vases, glasses, etc, but I LOVE pretty glass things. Colours, bubbles, shapes, snowglobes, jars, candle holders...Love it all.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Awesome Video - Femme Visibility.

This awesome video was posted this week, by Megan Evans of "What Wegan Did Next" fame...

It's a bit of a detour from the topics I usually post about, but I think the video really does contain a number of messages (as well as the main one, obviously) that should be important to ALL women, gay, straight or otherwise, including...

Femininity means strength.
How you look shouldn't affect who you love.
Challenge stereotypes!
What you look like has NO bearing on who you are inside.

Along with the original message, I think they're pretty important messages for everyone to hear. :)

Friday, 29 November 2013


When you say "#NowPlaying", this is what I see...
I'm sure people have many nice legitimate reasons for sharing what they're listening to. But when I see #NowPlaying, I always have to wonder what they are. From what I can tell it could be any of the following:

"I'm genuinely listening to this song. I like it. You might like it too. Check it out!" [Not enough examples are this reason, in my experience]

"Every programme on my computer is so tightly entwined together that my music player posts to all my social media accounts and I can't figure out how to stop it." [Especially funny when something totally out of their normal genre pops up]

"OMG, I'm soooo angry* ** right now, but I don't have the balls to tell the person concerned...I'll tweet lyrics, and hope they notice how the song embodies my blazing feelings towards them and realise how totally serious I am about it."

"That guy/girl I like will be sooooooooo impressed that I listen to this..."

"I want to look edu-ma-cated, I'm going to put that I'm listening to smart people music." *spells title/composer's name incorrectly*

Listen away, people! Love music, whatever it may be. But really, you don't have to tell us every. single. track. Save it for the special ones, or how will we know what's especially awesome?

* Just not angry enough to tell them
** Ditto "in love", ditto "sad because they dumped/ignored me", ditto "not getting enough attention"

Saturday, 23 November 2013

You've Gone Too Far Now...

...Or "Why I Am  Not Excited About Dr Who".

Apparently I have strange breaking points when it comes to fiction, beyond which the work of fiction is ruined for me.

"Men In Black III" was ruined for me by NASA. More specifically, a tour guide at Kennedy Space Centre, who left us with the catchy information about shuttle launches:

"Within 100ft, the noise will kill you. Within 200ft, the heat will kill you. Within 500ft, the alligators will kill you...The noise and the heat really riles them."

So, [SPOILER ALERT] when MIB go shimmying around on a rocket as it's launching, that was just a step too far for me. Aliens? Why not. Secret mind-wiping government branch with aliens in the kitchen? OK then. Hanging around on a launching rocket? Just too unbelievable.

I was reminded of that by all the recent who-ha (seewhadIdidthere?) about Dr Who's 50th. I've never really been into Dr Who. I like the idea of it and everything, I can understand the attraction, I love how dedicated the fans are, but the actual show has never thrilled me, personally. I'm sure it's excellent, but I just don't like it. I've tried to watch it. For a couple of years, the family Christmases aligned so that we were at the in-laws for the Dr Who Christmas Special which our niece wanted to watch. OK, cool. Never really watched it before, let's give it a go. The first year was alright. I think (if I remember correctly) it was a two-parter and I actually made the effort to see the second half.

The second year...They went too far.

Regenerating man travelling through time and space in a phone box? Fine. Robot dog? Not a problem. Daleks? Cybermen? Sounds OK to me. Dumbledorenezer Scrooge controls the weather? Fair enough. Man who always knows exactly where a screwdriver is when he needs it? Decidedly iffy (or at least it is in our house), but believable. Sharks that swim through the smog of a major city?

You've gone too far now.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Is Pumpkin Really THAT Great, Charlie Brown?

America. Every September.
56 sleeps 'til Christmas! :D

Sorry. Now that you all hate me...Let's move on.

For the past few years, I've been signed up to emails from 100 Days To Christmas. It's a great site, with some useful hints, tips and recipes. But it's also American, and largely Autumnal, and thus, pretty obsessed with pumpkins.

I'm going to confess right now. I don't get it. Pumpkins are fun. You can carve them, decorate them, light them up, maybe even coat the seeds with delicious things to mask the taste of pumpkin seed and roast them in the oven. Beyond that? I fail to see the attraction. Pumpkin to me tastes a bit like turnip. Even cooked, they taste a bit like turnip. They also smell a bit like turnip. I actually read on the Disney Parks Blog that:

"One of the most fun things about fall is all the pumpkin-scented goodies."

Really? Autumn is fun because things smell like root vegetables?! OK then. You know I love my candles. Even they're at it with the pumpkins. By my reckoning (and I have extensive collections of candles, I'm practically an expert right here), Yankee Candles "Fall" range (what's wrong with "Autumn"? Too many "u"s for you? Why isn't Winter, when everywhere is covered in slippy ice, called "Fall", since that's what everyone ends up doing? Anyway...) includes the following:

Double Pumpkin
Super Sweet Pumpkin
Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Spice
Vanilla Pumpkin *
Apple Pumpkin
Pumpkin Cream
Pumpkin Buttercream
Pumpkin Wreath
Pumpkin Patch Swirl
Harvest **
Harvest Welcome **

** Main scent listed...Pumpkin.

But it's not just the smell. I get emails from various craft and food/beverage places which I won't list (some of which may or may not pay their taxes...), and they are ALL about the pumpkins. Pumpkin chocolate cookies. Pumpkin Spice lattes. Pumpkin cookies. Pumpkin Pumpkin icing. Pumpkin Soup. Pumpkin Stew. Pumpkin Pasta. Pumpkin Cheesecake. I would imagine they are all very interesting. But really? You are not enjoying the pumpkin at all. You are actually enjoying the spice, which, from what I can tell, is basically this:

  1. 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  2. 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger.
  3. 1/8 teaspoon of ground allspice or ground cloves.
  4. 1/8 teaspoon of ground nutmeg.

So I thought "You know what? I'll give it a try!" Not wanting to recreate The Starbucks Gingerbread Debacle of 2012 (I decided to try the new flavour when I saw it advertised as "Coming Soon", but between then and it actually arriving in stores I'd built it up to be totally delicious and wonderful in my head and, when I tried it, it tasted like lebkuchen not English gingerbread and I really hated it and I'd wasted £3.50 on something too gross to drink) I searched for some nice recipes, and found my spices, and asked lovely husband to pick up some canned pumpkin (as recommended by numerous people, because apparently the pumpkins in the UK are grown for size rather than taste)...And this is where I hit somewhat of a snag. No. Canned. Pumpkin. Apparently we really are all about playing with our food when it comes to pumpkins, and the idea of actually eating them is somewhat alien. So, it was back to the original purveyor of pumpkin product OCD in the UK: Starbucks.

I have to confess, I have mixed feelings about the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice range. Pumpkin Spice cake is basically just very expensive parkin with pumpkin seeds on the top. Sorry America, this is nothing new in Yorkshire, we've had it for centuries. Delicious as it is, it isn't worth the money when I can get nicer, and cheaper, from elsewhere.

Fortune and incompetence smiled on me with regards to the Pumpkin Spice Latte. I hit up Starbucks and ordered a Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate. By the time I got back to work and took a sip, I realised that whatever was in my cup, it definitely wasn't a SCHC. The lovely Barista who replaced it for me free of charge informed me that I had just inadvertently tried a PSL. Thanks Starbucks! :) Mission accomplished with zero effort/expense. Which was a good job, because it was pretty gross.

I have to say, I didn't like PSL at all and I still don't understand the hype. Maybe it's because I don't drink coffee. Maybe it's because it's a little gross. Either way, I will be sticking with my SCHC until the Toffee Nut Hot Chocolate comes back for Christmas (or, traitor hat on, Costa's Black Forest Hot Chocolate).

Happy Halloween, and enjoy your PSLs, or whatever other seasonal goodies take your fancy (and make some parkin, it's way better than the Starbucks version).

* Here is where I got bored of writing the word "Pumpkin" and started copying and pasting it in.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Happy Thanksgiving, Canada!

Trout River Pond, Gros Morne, NFLD.
Jealous as I am that you get an extra day off and I don't, I thought I'd share a few of the things about Canada I'm thankful for...

♥ The seemingly never-ending stream of hot men. Bryan Adams. Michael Buble. Ryan Reynolds. Michael J Fox. Mike Fisher. Patrick Sharp. I could go on forever if we go on to hockey players, so I won't. You get the idea. :)

♥ Tim Horton's. Particularly hot chocolate and Boston Creams. OMG. Screw you, Starbucks and Krispy Kreme, Timmy Ho's is where it's at.

♥ Great friends. :) I know, I know, The Canadian Stereotype is all nice nice nice, but most of the ones I've met have been, and then some. And the ones that aren't are just the exceptions that prove the rule. :P

♥ Poutine. I know we get chips, cheese and gravy over here...But it's just not the same.

FYI...That's a Medium portion. There was a Large. I would have died.

♥ Newfoundland. It's the only holiday place I feel homesick for, so it's fortunate "we" (royal "we" - the in-laws) have a house over there. Damn those expensive flights, or I would love to go more often!
Who wouldn't want to go here more often?!

The views from our back deck.


♥ Maple Syrup. Need I say more? I don't think I do.

♥ The finest Winter Olympic ceremonies...EVER. Bryan Adams, flying moose, and giant inflatable beavers. That can never be beaten.

Chris Hadfield. What an awesome man.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

The Weird Question Tag

1) A nickname that only your family call you? My Great-Grandma used to call me "Sunbeam"...That's about it!

2) Weird habit? Erm...I should probably ask other people about this. I have an OCD about checking things. Anything. All the things. That's probably my worst habit, not sure if it's weird.

3) Weird phobia? I can't eat chicken wings because they have tiny little elbows.

4) Song you blast when you're alone? SO many. Most of my music choices are pretty shameful to the general population. I do love the Dapper Dans' boy band medley though. That includes One Direction and barbershop, so that's probably the most conventionally shameful (but check out how they make 1D almost bearable).

5) Biggest pet peeve? Ignorance, in all forms.

6) Nervous habit? Biting my lip.

7) What side of the bed do you sleep on? As you look at the bed from the bottom, the left hand side. However in hotels, etc, the door/window arragement may demand otherwise.

8) First stuffed animal, and it's name? A little pink chick, usually known as Little Pink Chick. Dad brought it to the maternity ward for me, so that was my very very first toy ever.

9) Drink you always order at Starbucks? I have three regulars: skinny hazelnut (or Toffee Nut, preferrably) hot chocolate, berry hibiscus refresher, or skinny chocolate cream frappe.

10) Beauty regime you preach but don't practice? I don't really have a beauty regime, or talk about them. I buy a lot of exfoliators and don't use them, does that count?

11) Which way do you face in the shower? Away from the water, usually.

12) Weird body skills? I can write with both hands, do the splits, how weird are we getting here?

13) Favourite comfort food? Depends what mood I'm in. Pasta, cake, chocolate...It's all good.

14) What is the phrase or exclamation you always say? Erm..."We'll have to see..."/"Maybe..." when I run out of responses on the phone.

15) What do you wear to bed? Varies, usually pyjamas of some description.

I know there's been a lot of hoo-ha about this site, but hey, I'm an adult, I know how to delete an account, and I assure you I'm not going to kill myself. So, if you have any more weird (or non-weird) questions that weren't in the tag, ASK ME and I will answer a few of the best in a future blog. :)

Thursday, 10 October 2013


I mentioned a little while back that I have had numerous past blogs...So I thought I'd dig back through the archives and share some of the non-teenage-angsty-drama-ridden bits.

"Declined offer of an umbrella to get to work. Hence, got wet walking to bus stop, waiting for the bus, and walking from the bus to work. The bus driver looked like Frasier (if Frasier ever looked irritated about ppl dripping on his bus), and I spotted an apple segment on the floor of the bus, which made me think...for a while. Having also spotted (whilst crossing the car park to get to work) grapes and an orange peel, I've come to the only logical conclusion:- I'm being stalked by fruit."

"You join me 1/2 way through a very claggy Pot Noodle. Mmmmmmmmmmmm, noodle. Don't think I used quite enough water, so the noodles were all nice and as they should be, but there was no sauce."

"I discovered tonight that my leg-hairs are immune to "Veet", the newest incarnation of "Immac". Kind of annoying after spending £3.99 on a can. Plus I now have an unpleasant stinging sensation on certain patches of leg. Hmmmm, never happened under the old name. I sense more than the name has changed :S"

"Found my Spanish phrase book lurking under my desk, and have tried to extend my vocabulary beyond "buenos dios mono" (good morning monkey). After extensive studying (well, 15mins) I can now say "buenos noches mono" (good night monkey), and "Que hay mono, que tal?" (hi monkey, how are you?). Hopefully soon I will work up to other species."Por Favor, mantengase alejado de las puertas, mono!

"Was reminded during a discussion at work of the fact that I once had organ lessons in a class with a girl called Felicia who only had one foot, but I did find a number of people who, like me, thought that the Saturday morning orchestra ("..and this one time, at band camp......") teachers' warning that if you eat sweets during break your instrument would go green (maybe a logical warning to prevent wind instrument players eating sweets, but I went to a strings one, and they said it there too) was a LIE!!!"

"I also got quite excited at the idea of watching "Goat Rush" on TV tonight after checking the TV Guide on the net, only to discover that it was actually "Goal Rush" that had met with a large piece of dust stuck on the screen. Though...I do now have inspiration for a cool new TV show."

"I sometimes think the caffeine in my moisturiser sinks in further some days than others!!"

"As a strange point of interest, I had toast & strawberry jam for my tea."

"I also bought another notebook for my collection whilst I was on my break. I have a worryingly large notebook collection. I even, as I was leaving the shop today, wondered if I should go back in and buy another identical notebook, so that I could use one, and save the other. Primarily because it's an unusual one, when you read it with one side to the front, it says "Notes" on the cover and has lined paper inside, and when you turn it over it says "Scribbles" on the front (that was the back), and has un-lined paper inside. However, I also debated buying another one because before the reason of it being unusual struck me, I was just going to buy another one because it seemed a shame to spoil the one I'd just bought by using it."I do have two of those notebooks. I also have duplicates of a couple of other favourites. So sue me.

"I just made the most geeky hot chocolate in the world, with weigh-scales, and a measuring jug, and everything. I'm a nerd."I still do make hot chocolate that way.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

September Favourites

I know a lot of people do this these days and, much as I would like this to be a regular thing, to be fair by the end of next month I will probably forget. But here are my favourites for September:


Image from rubiconexotic.ca

Lychee juice!! Seriously. If you have never tried lychee juice, where have you been?! Rubicon also make lychee ice lollies which are amazing. I am completely on lychee juice.

Also, less exotic, Cup-a-Soups. Sorry. Chicken and Vegetable, to be precise.


Let's take it as a given that I LOVE Subway. Because I do. Sandwiches, salads, cookies, pretty much everything (apart from that weird guy who never gives me enough salad in my salad...It's in the name, I want it in the bowl). I especially love their Mango Chicken. Again, sandwiches, salads, hot, cold, it's all good. Subway, if you can hook me up with a few tubs for this stellar review, I would be most grateful.

Apples. Thanks to my friend and her apple tree, there is an abundance of stewed apple in our house right now, ready for cakes, pastries, and just, well, spoons. You know that one food that every time you go in the fridge you have to pinch a little bit? Stewed apple. Yum!


Luke Bryan "Country Man". I love Luke Bryan anyway. This video is particularly adorable. He dances with a piglet. ♥


xojane.com I can't remember where I found this website, I know it was a linked article on another site (sorry, other site). But they tend to have some pretty interesting stuff on there, some of which makes you think quite a bit. I enjoy that. :)

The Shaytards I know some of you are now going "How did you only just find out about the Shaytards?!" Well, I guess I was a little slow on that one. I did find out about them before the "Bow-ner" video episode, so at least I've been around longer than those fans. I'm not sure what led me to their channel, but I love it, and them. They're my new daily soap opera. I LOVE that they are Mormon too, is that weird? But that they are also just regular crazy people like everyone else. Personally, I think the world needs to see more of that (from all religions, get on it world leaders), just regular, everyday people who are also religious in whatever way they choose to be, and are still normal. If I was more interesting, I would vlog. Also, if I used the internet more in regular clothes and less in my pyjamas. And if my house was more show-homey more often. Can we just talk about how they have FOUR kids, and their house is always immaculate? No, let's not talk about that. It makes me a little irked and more than a little curious (How, Mommytard?! HOW?!!!!).


I really don't buy clothes every month...Or every 3-6 months usually. In September however I did buy clothes, and I can now officially say that it's OK, JT, you can take a well-deserved break. I shall be the one bringing sexy back from now on.

Yup, that would be a James P. Sullivan onesie.
I don't buy clothes often, but when I do they're freakin' awesome.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Fimo Fairy Fun!

I figure it's time for some actual crafts on the "craft blog" (someone pointed out how many blogs I have the other day...Disturbing! For your reference, as I told John, there's three main ones that have actually been used regularly..."The nail-art one, the old one which is the weird teenage angsty one, and then there's the grown-up one with the squirrel on it...Maybe that's not that grown-up...").

First I will share what I've been doing, and then (hopefully) there will be a brief period of *gasp* AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION! (Dun-dun-duuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhh).

I've been working on a few Fimo things lately, since I discovered how much better Fimo Soft is than the Fimo Classic I used a few years ago (it's actually...Soft!). I will share the rest in a later post, it's mainly tiny food items, but on Saturday night I had a few tiny bits of clay left out of the packets, and decided to try something tiny.

 Tiny toadstool! I will be making more of these as earrings.

The final finished fairy. I love it (though I wish I'd given her a "proper" face...In my excitement to cram her into the jar I forgot to fill her face in. Whoops!).

More views. As you can see I'm liking the Instagram thing these days (MrsY777).

And now for the Audience Participation:

I *might* have a chance to sell these in an actual shop. Might. Very much maybe at the moment. But I want to be prepared. So, your little bit of participation is to please comment on this post how much you would be willing to pay for the item above. The pieces inside are Fimo, the jar is glass. It takes about 45-60mins to make, and bakes for 30mins on top of that (factoring in cost of electricity?). It could be a keyring, pendant, or phone charm, but as it is (with a proper face...without keyring/cord/chain included) what would you be willing to pay? This will also help me price them up for Etsy, where I will possibly be offering your choice of outfit/hair/skin colour, so in any eventuality it will be useful, all comments welcome! You could even add a value for a pair of toadstool earrings, if you were feeling extra helpful... ;)

Friday, 6 September 2013

Out of the Vanishing Closet*...

Apparently in some quarters of the internet (mugglenet? I think? I saw it trending on Twitter, anyway), this week is Back to Hogwarts/Pride Week. So I guess this is the week we embrace Pride Week and come Out of the Vanishing Closet.

I wanted to hate Harry Potter. Really, I did. I wanted to mock the adults who demanded grown-up covers for a childrens book so they could read them shamelessly on the Tube (OK, I still do mock those people. Grow a set. You're reading and it's not The Metro or 50 Shades, you can still lord the quality of your reading over at least 50% of Tube travellers). I didn't read the books. I watched the films because they were out and "it's free..." because we have cinema subscriptions (and my awesome BFF's equally awesome siblings worked at a cinema and got us into the midnight super secret staff screenings for some of the later films. If you've never eaten pizza in a 3D screening at a cinema in the middle of the night, find a way to do it, because it's AWESOME). But I REALLY didn't want to like Harry Potter.

But, this is it guys and girls. The time has come. It's time to take a deep breath, put on my big girl pants, and admit what my friends and family have known but never discussed for some time. I'm out and proud.

I like Harry Potter.

There. I said it. Last year, we were going to Florida. I was planning the trip. That Wizarding World of Harry Potter looked pretty cool. They had a frog choir. That should be enough really. But, singing frogs aside, it also looked like the first book, which was (is) my favourite film of the series. I decided that, before we went, I should probably try and read at least one of the books, because apparently crazy tourists in robes with wands stake out WWHP like nutters, and I didn't want to be a total noob. I put a digital copy on my iPod to read at work on my breaks. I finished all eight between Christmas and our trip in April. Technically speaking, I finished all eight by early March, and in the two weeks before our trip I read the first again.

I should have known I was fighting a losing battle. I grew up reading Enid Blyton books in a pretty much constant cycle, from boarding schools to the circus to varying farms and back again. The first book might as well be based off an Enid Blyton book (it probably was, to be fair, it's not like JKR can say "So, basically I ripped this bit from here...and this bit from there..This is Malory Towers, these guys are from LOTR..." is it? Because that's plagiarism, my dear children, and is in fact frowned upon in most societies). Boarding school, creeping around at night, feasts, quirky pets, kids saving the day...It's like Enid Blyton but with the addition of magic. And when does magic not make an awesome thing even more awesome?! Never. That's when.

So...Universal Studios. Islands of Adventure. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (or TortureLand, as my husband preferred). The rides are awesome, especially The Forbidden Journey, the shops are unbearably crowded, but awesome (hint: If you're a lil bit OCD, decide which house you are before you go. I saw so much cool stuff that I wanted, but couldn't decide if I really was a Ravenclaw/Griffindor/Hufflepuff and so I ended up not buying any of it. Because I'm a loser like that. I still managed to blow over $100 in Hogsmeade though). I found my singing frogs. True story: I got burned twice in Florida. Once in the queue for Characters in Flight at DTD when I leaned on a metal railing and burned my arm, and once in WWHP when I was so entranced by the frog choir that my bare leg stuck to the floor and I didn't notice. That's how hot it was. I had my bare legs on show. Do you know how hot it has to be for me to bare my ankles? Perspiring Victorian lady hot, that's how. I don't want to into WHY precisely I had bare legs, suffice to say it involved Bluto's Bilgerat Barges, wet pants, the second most expensive pair of trousers I now own, a stetson in a toilet bowl somewhere in Jurassic Park and the phrase "But I don't want to go to Hogwarts in TRACKSUIT BOTTOMS!" which may or may not have been delivered in a petulant voice (it was). Maybe one day I'll be able to tell the story. And also the point is the floor was so freaking hot that my leg stuck to it a little bit because, even at 28 years old, I was so captivated by a capella amphibians I didn't notice my skin melting.

Somewhere there was a point. I forget where, or what it was. But there you go. Harry Potter isn't as bad as I thought. Go to WWHP. Go to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour, even though you have to book your timeslot in advance and it's ludicrously expensive. I took myself there for my birthday last year. It's amazing.

Also, Butterbeer is delicious, and you should drink it at least once in your life even if you despise Harry Potter. And if you don't want the souvenir tankard it comes in because you hate Harry Potter, well you can just give it to me.

* I know. It should be "cabinet". But that didn't work for the title. So sue me.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Things I Would Have Tweeted About On Holiday If I Had The Internet.

I've been told (though modesty makes me dispute it) that Twitter isn't worth reading when I'm away. As I've recently had a week off, I thought I'd cover some of the topics I would have tweeted about, if I'd been around.

Dear skanky woman, a regular bra is NOT a top for outdoor wear. You know it's a bra. We know it's a bra. Do you know we know it's a bra?
You see some sights in British tourist resorts. Not all of them pleasant. One of which was a woman wearing a bra and shorts. Not a bikini top, a regular (old) underwear bra. And not a nice bra. One you wouldn't want the rest of the world seeing. I'd know it as a Washday Bra, and that'd be for keeping strictly under my clothes on days when nothing more presentable was clean. Bleh. A proper top would also have probably hidden the hideous knuckle-duster-and-roses tramp stamp tattoo.

While we're on the subject...

Always pay more than a tenner for a tattoo. I don't care what it is. Anything permanent is worth more than £10.
I've never seen so many "Any name for £10" choose-your-tattoo-from-a-catalogue tattoo shops as I did in Great Yarmouth. There must have been six or seven on the SAME STREET. Coincidentally, there were also a lot of hideous tattoos (little devils, deformed tigers, deformed Tiggers...You get the picture). Funny that.

I don't care if you think it's quirky, or there's a "great" story behind it, misspelled tattoos make you look like a complete moron.#losers
Probably also linked to the shops mentioned above. I wish it wasn't socially frowned-upon to take random photographs of strangers, because there were so many awful mistakes it seems criminal not to share them with the world. It's also really annoying when you're waiting to pay for something and someone is holding up the queue explaining their hilarious/deeply meaningful/just generally crap misspelled tattoo to the cashier. If you do something like that by choice you look like an idiot. a) Because you have a spelling error permanently etched in a visible place on your body, b) You did that (presumably) out of choice, and c) That'd better be a damn great story, because you will be re-telling it for the rest of your life to try and explain away your moronic decision. If it was the tattooist's fault, then fair enough, sue them or whatever, get it fixed, move on. Don't do it on purpose. To anyone outside your own head where it seemed like a good idea, you look completely ridiculous.

John had to leave early and come home to work after 3 days, but before he went he bought me...AGNES' UNICORN!!! Despicable Me (& 2) is a big deal in our house. Particularly the minions, and fluffy unicorn. Not sure how I managed to make myself squinty and the normally squinty unicorn not squinty, but there you go. I'm a talented photographer, especially with a phone camera. Go figure.

MISSION: COMPLETED. #Oooooooooh #TheClaw #TheClawIsMyBitch
Everyone needs minions, right? Every arcade we passed I had a quick go on the grabber machines to get a minion. Clearly by the last day they recognised my desperation, and rewarded me.
RIP Sir David Frost #RIP
Were I the kind to joke at the passing of celebrities, I would draw an amusing link between the passing of David Frost on Saturday evening and the passing of national institution "Through The Keyhole" to that pillock Keith Lemon which debuted on Saturday night. But I'm not. So I won't. RIP Sir. I spent many a happy Friday night munching apple slices dipped in sugar (stop judging me, I was a child, and it's delicious watching "Through The Keyhole".

Family. Dog. Chips. Sunset. #Lovely
On our last night, we bought chips, strolled through the park, and found a bench next to the quayside to watch the sunset. I love family holidays.

Trade Descriptions Act, anyone? #Bullfinch #Seagull 

When we first saw this guy, I sort of shuffled past in polite embarrassment, sort of the way you do when you know you shouldn't laugh, because it's not the person's fault that they're funny. It felt a bit like laughing at a funeral...Only the "funeral" was a guy who was possibly dropped on his head as a child. I desperately wanted to share him with the world, but I was so uncomfortable about filming/taking a picture, because it seemed like exploiting someone with obvious...Difficulties, shall we say. Fortunately for me the internet is full of heartless ba*ds who didn't care about that, and this guy is all over Youtube:

I like to think he is fulfilling his destiny by bringing a smile to the faces of millions of people. At...With...As long as they're laughing does it really matter?

We miss you, @killerbus...
Two people left the house. Only one came back. The dog was confused and sat like this for a very long time, waiting. Dogs just don't get the demands of having a job.
So, there you go! I'm sure there were many more Tweetable occurrences that I've forgotten about, but never mind.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Resin Jewellery

"A craft post?" I hear you cry, "On what was supposed to be a craft blog?! Well this is unusual..."

Yes, I may have deviated slightly with the whole craft blog thing. Allow me to atone for my bloggy sins with the following.

Due to my recent obsession with MsTrinity143's Youtube channel, I decided to have a go at making some resin jewellery. Given my love of stickers, glitter, and pointless glass/plastic objects, this seemed a craft match made in heaven.

I couldn't get the resin used in any of the videos I saw on Youtube, so I decided to go for the Pebeo Crystal Resin kit (300ml), because it was available in my local Hobbycraft. Then I realised that it was £19.99 in Hobbycraft, and I could get it delivered to my door for £15 from eBay...So...Support your local high street guys, or shops will die and all retail will be online...I'll let you make your own choice over where you spent your £15. ;)

Anyway...this is the kit I got:

There is also a 750ml version, but at £34.99 I can't afford it. :S
To start with, I followed some of the Youtube videos, and bought some chocolate moulds. Chocolate moulds are supposed to be good because they are really shiny...The resin sets with the texture of the mould, so a rough mould means the piece needs varnishing/more resin painting on to make it shiny/clear. I got this mould:
I also got a shell one too. The moulds are the transparent, vacuum-formed plastic type. The stickers and glitter I used are just generic ones.
There are all manner of warnings about the fumes, etc, when using the resin, so I worked on the electric hob (fully cooled, of course), with the extractor fan on. That worked pretty well for getting rid of the smell! One thing I didn't do was grease/coat the moulds. In hindsight, this was a mistake, as I now have two very bent moulds from wrestling the pieces out of it! :( But, I have some beautiful pieces. I also made my own mould using mould putty (the castle and Pudge pieces).


Pudge and Cinderella Castle are actually print-outs that I laminated myself. That darker shadow on Pudge's tail is what happens when you don't seal the plastic tight enough and resin gets on the paper inside. :( I still love him though!! :)
For the next batch, I hit up Lakeland for some new moulds. Their moulds are great because they aren't in packaging, so you can see if the insides of the moulds are shiny or not. As a rule, their silicone small moulds are shiny and the larger ones aren't. Sadly none of the new Dr. Who moulds are shiny. If anyone wants to buy me the Lakeland carousel and fairy cottage mould sets, I will love you forever. I sooooooooo want to make a little resin gingerbread cottage and put fairy lights inside it.
I also raided the Paperchase and Accesorize sales for some stickers.
Resin Round 2:

As you can see, the new moulds make lovely shiny pieces! :) Also, the backs are much neater/flatter with less of a lip than using the plastic Wilton moulds. I think we have a winner on the mould front! A few things went wrong, stickers moved, there's the odd air bubble, but on the whole I'm very happy with what I've got so far!
The Pebeo resin is AWESOME, if you were wanting a little bit of a review. A lot of the resins online you mix 1:1 hardener and resin, this you mix 1:2. I have to say, the hardener bottle is an awful pourer. I will definitely be short on hardener for the last batch because so much of it ran down the side of the bottle the first time I tried to pour it. :S Not good considering how expensive it is and how precisely you have to measure it. It does have a strong smell. Personally that didn't bother me. I worked with the extractor fan on, and suffered no ill effects. For the first pouring of the first batch, I worked under HAZMAT conditions, wearing the gloves that came with the kit. Yeah...that lasted for all of 10mins. If you have sensitive skin (well, I have sensitive skin, but anyway), take appropriate precautions. It is dangerous for skin until it sets. It is also a total b!tch to get off skin. Expect to go full Lady Macbeth Mode for 10-15mins if you get any on your hands. That stuff is STICKY. It takes longer to set than the 1:1 stuff, a full 24hrs for completely dry. It took 3-4 days for each design, working in layers.
Layer 1: sticker/cabachon
Layer 2: smaller stickers/large glitter
Layer 3: glitter background
Layer 4: clear empty layer
It's kind of like doing decoupage, building up the layers, but with resin instead of foam pads. I love it!
I have another batch of resin, Mylar glitter (always wanted some for nail art too!) and 500+ stickers winging their way to me as we speak, so I'm sure the next resin update won't be too far in the future!
 You might have also noticed that I am now on Instagram...You can follow me here. :)