Happy New Year to everyone! Keeping up with tradition I have made absolutely NO resolutions, what about you? After an extended Christmas break from blogging, I’m back, but I thought I’d kick off with something not beauty related. Nearly a year ago to the day, the 11th January 2016, I wrote a post about how I’d taken up crochet. At that point, I’d only been going for a couple of weeks, look at the shocking state of those squares!
By the middle of March, I’d really discovered how much I loved it and had started to make more and more things. I’m not known for my ability to stick to things, but a year on from that first post, I’m still here, crocheting away and I’ve made loads so I thought I’d do a little post showing what I’ve made this year (well, since March!).
In March I did the lovely Happy Flower Decoration by Lucy of Attic 24, a really quick and easy project and so cute.
At the end of March, I made the gorgeous Sopan, both the design and the hand dyed Yarn came courtesy of Verity at Truly Hooked.
Next came the Fortune’s Shawlette in May.
March to July saw me make the Harmony Blanket, again the pattern is from Attic 24. It might look nice but don’t be fooled. I hated every single second of making it, and I made an awful error with every single round of every single square meaning it’s basically fallen apart. I also put some of the squares in the wrong order. I just think my heart wasn’t in this one, at all.
In July I made the All Tied Up Summer Top for Lola, she loved it and so do I.
I’m not sure what happened for the next couple of months, I started a blanket I’m still working on, but nothing seems to have been made! But at the end of September I started making Christmas presents. It feels so good to have a skill and to be able to make things, but I can’t say I was confident giving any of these away, what if the recipient didn’t like them! I was however pleased.
I started with a Road Trip Scarf for my sister, skipping the flower details.
Followed by an adorable Sleepy Bear for my lovely nephew.
After a huge amount of searching I finally found my dream glove pattern, the Super Easy Grunge Gloves. I made myself a pair, swiftly followed by a pair each for the girls.
Naturally, I needed a hat to go with my gloves, and I’m so fussy it was hard work finding anything I liked, something not too crochet-y looking. The Caron Cable Twist Hat fit the bill. Learning to cable was a huge learning curve for me, but got there in the end!
Finally, using the cotton I made the girls gloves with, I’ve knocked up a couple of face cloths! So, there is a tenuous beauty link there after all! And that is pretty much it! I have two blankets in progress at the moment and a list of things I want to make as long as your arm but thats everything I’ve made since March!
So please, if you are a fellow hooker and you’re on Ravelry, add me as a friend, I’m on there as JustCharlieG and I’d love more people to follow myself! And if you’re not already, do follow me on Instagram, I share most of my WIP’s on there!
EDIT: I don’t know how I forgot this one, but I made this Virus Shawl for my Mum’s Christmas Pressie too!
Back in January I wrote about my new hobby of crochet, you can see my original post here. I thought I’d do a little update as the hobby is fast becoming an obsession.
If you’re contemplating starting crochet, I can’t recommend Attic24 highly enough. There are fabulous tutorials with crystal clear instructions and lots of photographs. A beginner’s dream!
So in my last post I’d started the Attic24 Granny Stripe blanket, which is now finished!
I think the next projects were beanie hats for the girls. I followed HappyBerryCrochet‘s Tutorial on You Tube for the hats and used Attic24 flowers to embellish them!
Once they were done I moved onto my first more complicated item, a shawl called the Virus Shawl. After making those items for the girls I decided it was time to make something lovely for me. I’m so happy with it and wear it most days!
Once this was finished I made another Attic24 project, the Happy Flower. A great way to use up left over yarn and a very quick make.
And now I’m working on another blanket, its again by Lucy from Attic24 and it’s called the Harmony Blanket. I think it might take me a while, it’s made of 126 beautiful granny squares… so far I’ve made 7…
Hope you enjoyed seeing what I’ve been up to and that it might be inspirational for anyone looking for a new hobby.
My only word of warning is that while crochet can indeed be an extremely cheap hobby, once it gets its claws into you, prepare to spend a fortune on new hooks, books, yarn, more hooks, more yarn, another book, blocking mats and pins, stick keepers, tape measures, sewing needles, scissors… it soon adds up, but you certainly can get by with just one hook and a cheap ball of yarn!
I thought it was time I checked in and said hello to you all as Christmas has kept me rather busy this year.
I hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to a great New Year.
Christmas for us has been up and down, there have been wonderful presents, for myself and the rest of my family, as well as wonderful local food, but the excitement has proved too much for the kids and Chloe has had a couple of anxiety attacks, one of which resulted in the both of us having to leave the other two in a theatre to watch a panto without us, but overall, it hasn’t been too bad.
I treated myself to the most amazing pair of boots just before Christmas, Dr Martens Aimilita’s. They do up with ribbons, who could resist.
Having been searching for new boots for some time these are just my ideal boot. I also had a suede pair for Christmas, knee highs with tassels so I’m fully booted up for 2016!
I especially loved my Christmas manicure this year, I used Sensationail shades Light Em Up (the glitter) and Red, Red Wine. I’m so impressed with Sensationail, my collection just keeps growing and growing!
My other news, and I apologise if you follow me on Instagram or are friends with me on Facebook (because you’re probably sick of hearing about it already) is that I’ve taken up crochet. I had a wish to give it a go, taught myself a few basic stitches, made a few granny squares and am now working on a blanket, its incredibly soothing to do, and I’m so impressed with myself, and I don’t get to say that very often. It’s going to be single bed size when its finished so I’ve got lots to do yet. I think I’ll do a separate post about it soon, but for now, here’s a sneak at what I’m working on. It’s far from perfect, a few rows are back to front, but I’m on top of that now.
So this is really just a quick check in from me to say hi and wish everyone well, and I’ll be back soon with Mac Ellie Goulding reviews, Clarins Spring reviews, my crochet post and much more.
Hope Christmas was wonderful and in case I’m not back beforehand, Happy New Year!
I’ve got a new favourite gadget and I’m so happy with it I’m recommending it to everyone, so might as well blog about it!
I’ve needed to do something about my weight for quite a while now, but I’ve not been able to face Slimming World or Weightwatchers again, plus I don’t find them all that brilliant on reflection. While they both have undoubtedly enabled me to lose weight in the past, the problem comes when you reach your target, get lazy, and start piling the weight back on again. No, I definitely didn’t want to diet.
I’m not sure how they crept into my conciousness but I decided quite suddenly I needed a Fitbit in my life. There are various Fitbit models available so I did some research and decided upon the Fitbit Charge.
Essentially Fitbits are pedometers, counting your steps. But they do a fair bit more too. They can count calories burned, miles walked, flights of stairs (actually it just measures when you go up an incline of 10ft I believe so it could be a hill or stairs!), it will also give you the time and date.
Various other models offer more or less depending on price, my husband has recently bought one, the Fitbit Charge HR, which is identical to mine but also monitors heart rate.
In terms of operation its simple, pop it on your non dominant wrist and off you go. I’ve heard complaints that they come undone and fall off easily, but I can’t say that has been my experience at all unless I’ve really caught it on something and then I’d rather it pop off than break.
You can sync your Fitbit with your smartphone or your PC, where you’ll find a wealth of extras. Firstly, you can find your friends who also have Fitbits and join challenges with them which is great fun. You can also track your sleep which I find interesting because I sleep so poorly. You can also track your calorie intake which I find an excellent tool as the more active I am, the more allowable calories I have and I’m finding it really helps me out before I eat that biscuit… I just accept that my Fitbit says I can’t or can. It’s not nonsense either, by being more active and being aware of my calorie intake I’ve so far lost 6lbs. I’m really pleased!
I don’t know why this is working for me, but it really is, I just find it incredibly motivational. If I know I’ve got 1,500 steps to do to meet my daily target then I’ll do them because actually that doesn’t take very long at all. It just really works for me. My target is 10,000 steps a day and it’s not easy, but it keeps me pushing to reach it! It’s incredible to realise quite how little I was moving before!
Once in the app everything is in lovely charts so I can see that every Saturday without fail I go well over my calorie allowance, but for the other six days I am always under sometimes by a small amount and sometimes by a lot but now before I reach for the crisps I can check and see if I’m allowed them or not!
The battery life seems good, I get five-ish days out of a full charge. To see your stats when you are on the go, you can either double tap your Fitbit or push a button on the side. It displays one stat, and as you continue tapping or pushing the button is cycles through your stats. You can, via the app, organise that stats so they appear in whichever order you desire.
I’ve had mine for three weeks so far so I suppose its too early to tell if I’m going through a phase, but so far so good and I would (and do) recommend to everyone! The only real gripe I have is that it won’t measure your steps while you are holding something (a pushchair or shopping trolley for example) but I either put mine in my boot or pocket and that does the trick.
The Fitbit Charge is £99 but do shop around!
I love the idea of these SOS kits from Emma Lomax. Emma started embroidering at age 5 and now designs every product in her range and every item is hand sewn.
The SOS Kits are a great idea, each is filled with handy products that you might need while you are out and about. There are handbag kits, gym kits, travel kits, nail kits, wedding kits and several more.
I have the Orange Airplane SOS Travel Kit here (£30)*.
Inside there’s a toothbrush, toothpaste, a mint, a tampon, a sewing kit and safety pin, kirby grips and a hair tie, nail clippers, a lip balm, a plaster, tweezers (leave these out if flying internationally!), a portable battery charger and usb cable, ear plugs, hand wipe, emery board and orange stick, nail polish remover wipes, folding brush and a mirror.
Its a great little kit and I would highly recommend. That said I do think that the contents ought to be a bit more regulated, just to make sure you get what the kit says you should get. On the side of my box it says my kit contains Berocca (it doesn’t). On the Emma Lomax site, it says the contents also include deodorant wipes and earring backs (mine doesn’t). Its not a complaint, I’m very happy with my kit as it is, but it is something someone really fussy could have a moan about. Its swings and roundabouts though as I seem to have items that aren’t mentioned on the list either. Either way, I don’t see it as a concern, but I do think other people might!
If you don’t want the bits in the bag and just want the bag, that’s also available. I’d be very happy with all the kits on offer, I especially love the heart and star kits.
All products have recently launched in Selfridges and are also available from the Emma Lomax site and prices range from £14 to £30 and are great for the handbag, travelling or pretty much any occasion.
*Item received free of charge for review purposes
Back in January I wrote a post about my burgeoning love of Tatty Devine Jewellery, with a little look at my collection. Now however, things have changed a little and I thought it was time for an update. While my collection has increased a little, there are also some pieces that are no longer with me, thanks to the fabulous swapping that goes on among Tatty Devine fans.
I love showing off my bits so I thought I’d show you some of them. I won’t share with you the ones I have already share on my previous post, just my newest acquisitions!
Starting with my absolute favourite, my Aarrghhhh necklace!
I probably wear this the most out of all my jewellery, as it just fits my state of mind so well! Currently available on the Tatty Devine Website at £60. I was lucky and bought mine second hand from a fellow fan.
Next, the April Showers Cloud Brooch.
The April Showers collection is currently available and absolutely adorable. This little brooch always attracts attention when I wear it, its just so cute! The brooch is £30 here. I also bought a necklace from the same collection, the rainbow necklace, but swapped that on because although adorable, I just knew I wasn’t going to wear it, I pop this brooch on quite often though.
Next, my Mexican Embroidery, Autumn Berries.
This was my first larger Tatty piece and I grabbed it from ASOS when it was discounted. I actually dithered over it for days before going for it and I was really pleased with it when it arrived. The colours are so nice together. Sad to say I can’t find this available online anywhere anymore, so this is one to keep your eyes on Ebay for!
The Common Blue Wooden Butterfly.
Small Crystal Shard Necklace.
I got this in a swap with another fan recently. I’m not sure if this exact necklace was ever made for retail (although there were definitely similar necklaces available), I think the lovely lady I swapped with got hers from one of the infamous Lucky Dip boxes (always worth a look when they do them).
Fairground Lights Arrow and Glitter Heart Necklaces.
Both of these little beauties are currently available online! The little heart is another one I acquired in a swap, I probably never would have bought this, but now that I have it I love it. I wear huge amounts of black clothes and this really pops when I do. Such a cutie, you can find the Glitter Heart Necklace here for £18. The Fairground Lights Arrow Necklace is another of the pieces I have that people always comment on, probably on account of the rainbow swarovsky crystals that sparkle and glitter when the light hits them. This one is £35 here.
La Luna Moon Necklace – Opal
Ahhhh this was my dream piece and I never thought I’d get my hands on, but then a fellow fan alerted me to one on Ebay at a reasonable price and I went straight over there and bought it. Can’t even explain how gorgeous this piece is and it goes with absolutely everything too. Totally thrilled with this but you’ll struggle to find one for yourself, so keep your eyes peeled on Ebay as they do crop up there reasonably often.
My Name Necklaces
You can head over to the Tatty Website and design your own name necklaces, there are loads of colours, finishes and charms to choose from, you can also choose your chain colour. I love the black one and wear it a lot, I don’t love the rainbow one all that much. I was disappointed when it arrived as its tiny… but the rainbow is cute as is the little bird charm. Name necklaces start at £27.50 here.
Opal Sea Shell Necklace
This was a real find, thanks to a fellow fan who sold it to me for a very decent price indeed. Another necklace in that beautiful opal perspex, its stunning. It is one of those pieces though that look considerably more beautiful on than they do in the box… I’m wearing it in my picture in the left column of this blog, its so gorgeous. I took a photo of those beads too because they are so lovely, they glow, like pearls. Unfortunately, unless one comes up on ebay I think you’ll struggle to find one for yourself.
I’m obsessed with this little parakeet! I now have the need for bigger parakeets, this is stunning. Again, I came by this one via a swap, but there’s a plain green one available on the Tatty site here, for £50.
Finally these little bits, the Volume Brooch and Bow Tie Ring.
The Volume Brooch is so cute, it’d make a great gift for your loudest friends, note the volume goes up to 11! It’s £18 here. The Bow Tie ring is also very cute and it’s £7.50 here. A word of advice, the rings come up tiny, buy them bigger than you might think!
So that’s it! For now… I can’t promise there won’t be more posts in the future… which is your favourite, and if you already own Tatty Devine products, which is the favourite you own?
If you know me at all, you’ll know that I’m not in the slightest bit crafty, you may well also be aware that there are two words guaranteed to strike fear into my heart and those words are Fancy Dress. I neither have the skill, nor imagination to make costumes. For all occasions that require dressing up for either me or the kids, I’ve either bought something, borrowed something or the kids have gone in something they already own.
With world book week looming (which has now passed), I had a moment of madness and decided to make the girls costumes. I’d seen various mentions of no-sew tutu’s around on the internet and thought they sounded easy enough to make, and they were simple to make so I thought I’d share what I created, and my tips.
The girls both had different versions of The Secret Garden for Christmas and with the occasion being World Book Day, I had a vision of green tutu’s embellished simply for a themed costume.
For the making of the tutu itself, there are no sew options but I opted to make elastic waistbands, cut and measured, and stitched. I hand stitched and didn’t put any care into neatness as it would eventually have been hidden by tulle.
I had huge issues trying to find out how much tulle to order, not only am I useless with numbers, but it depends on the length you require and the size of the child, as well as how puffy you want the tutu to be and each site I looked at seemed to say something different. However, as a rough guide, Chloe’s skirt (a tall age 8) used about 75 yards, while Lola’s (age 5) was about 50 yards. Although I usually would work in meters, I found that rolls were 25 yards long when I was purchasing. Do shop around, prices vary wildly. Laughably, I bought just one roll thinking I’d make two skirts out of it and had to do some hasty reordering. I bought 7 in total and have about half a roll left.
So once you’ve made your wasitbands its simply a case of cutting and adding your tulle. You need to measure the length you want it to be against your child, then double it. So I wanted Chloe’s to be 22 inches long so I cut my strips of tulle to be 44 inches. To add them to your waistband, fold them in half and loop behind your elastic, threading the ends through your loop. It’s hard to explain and photograph but its so easy.
Once thats done, all you do is pull that tight and move onto your next piece. And keep going until you’ve covered the whole waistband. I however ran out of tulle about a third of the way round my first skirt!
You can add more colours, and you can add more layers, by going around the waistband again, adding more strips of tulle between the existing knots on the waistband, but for our purposes the skirts were complete.
At this point I made the girls accessories for their costumes, after all, what secret garden is complete without flowers and a key! I I used fabric glue to apply the leaves but sewed the flowers on.
I bought a couple of felt robins which I quickly stitched together (as they came in parts) and glued to the tulle, using fabric glue. I wouldn’t recommend this, I should have stitched them on but they did manage to stay put.
The final job was to add a truck load of silk ribbon roses around the bottom of each skirt, although it was a daunting task, it really didn’t take much time, and I’d have like to have added many more for a more dramatic effect as the ones I added, despite using nearly 70, did tend to get a bit lost in amongst the voluminous tulle.
I just tied a bit of tulle around the girls heads to make hair bands and teamed with black tights and a black long sleeved tee and off they went. So simple to make and so effective! I’m already planning Lola’s birthday party outfit for the end of May, and if she’s having one then I know Chloe will want one too! Next time they’ll be My Little Pony themed!
Before I go, just a few tips…
I go through crazy obsessive phases with brands, but this brand, Tatty Devine, is one that I’ve been hanging my nose over for a long long time. Years. For the uninitiated Tatty Devine is a truly British company creating quirky (almost exclusively) acrylic jewellery, along with some other materials.
It wasn’t until 2014 that I first took the plunge, asking for my first pieces back in May, when my husband, grateful for ideas, gave me my first pieces. The Rock Pool Charm Bracelet and Necklace.
I love these pieces and wear them often, but it wasn’t until the end of the year that my collection started to grow.
I received this pretty charm necklace in a Secret Santa box (£10 from the site but no longer available). I love the colours. There are similar charm necklaces available here.
My cute Cat and Bow Necklace also came from a Secret Santa box, but I can no longer find it on the site. I have found it here, but I can’t vouch for the retailer, or recall if that was the Tatty Devine Price.
Here’s another from a Secret Santa box. They were great value as this necklace is currently available here for £18 but my Secret Santa box was £10. They do similar offers once or twice a year I believe, there were certainly Lucky Dip boxes available at one point last year so well worth looking out for. I love this matte gold crown, I wear it a lot.
Ahhhh the quirky moustache. I wasn’t sure about this one, whether moustaches had had their day! You know last year there were moustaches on everything? Turns out I wear this one a lot too, its usually the one I reach for when I can’t decide what to wear. This is still a current piece and you can find it here for £25.
Ah my lovely Pegasus Wings. Sorry the photo is a bit out of focus, the mirrored acrylic had a funny effect on my camera when I was taking these pics! This is the Pegasus Mini Necklace in Silver which is no longer available, but the gold is and can be found right here £30.
I had the Shooting Star Ring and Necklace for Christmas, again from Graham, who again was grateful for the suggestion. My festive jewellery of choice this Christmas, but I don’t think it’s so Christmassy I can’t wear it at any other time. Both are still available here at £10 for the Ring and £25 for the necklace. Some of the other pieces from the Shooting Star line are in the sale so take a look!
Taking a break from acrylic jewellery, I bought these wooden Russian Floral pieces in the sale. Well, the earrings are in the sale at £17.50 but the necklace isn’t which is odd as the rest of the range is (here) and mine was definitely half the listed price of £40.
Of all their jewellery, I think perhaps Tatty Devine are best known for their name necklaces, indeed its strange that this should be the last piece I purchase as it was the first thing I ever looked at on their site. Fully customisable these are made to order. There are four fonts to choose from, loads of colours and finishes, you can have any of the listed charms in any of the colours for no additional charge and you can choose your chain colour. The colour I wanted was no longer available as I dithered for so long over this purchase (I wanted an iridescent shade) so I went for the next best thing, classic black and red glitter. I love this so much and am thrilled with my choices. Name Necklaces start at £27.50, here.
And that is everything. I’m absolutely sure its not the end of it for me, I still have a long wishlist, but for now I’m out of funds so I’m waiting to see what offerings they have for Spring!
Do you have any Tatty Devine?
There are many past pieces I’d love to own but probably will because I think the pieces I love, are very sought after! Don’t go thinking my collection is excessive though, have a look through the #tattydevine hashtag on instagram
So this year see’s me hitting the big 40, I know I know, I don’t look a day over 39 etc etc…although I haven’t in any concious way started to freak out… anyone who knows me can’t have failed to notice my subconscious efforts to turn back the hands of time…
I can’t mess about with my skincare thanks to My Acne Hell (damn, why didn’t I use that as a title on any of my previous blog posts), but one day I’d very much like to go for some botox, those lines on my forehead are a dead giveaway, I also wouldn’t rule out a few fillers here and there, but it’s a pipe dream really since, even if I save up for botox, I couldn’t afford the upkeep (insert uber sad face here).
Instead I’ve been heading back to my twenties in other ways, in such a way that I hadn’t realised before now.
Music, my tastes have always veered to the more rocky side of things with more than a nod in the direction of alternative music…but I find myself actively searching out new bands of interest and playing them to death. Bands which quite frankly, if I were to see live, I’d feel most out of place since I’m the age of most kids parents who would be there…
Clothes, always a fan of leggings, I’ve taken this love to a whole new level with my addiction to Black Milk. Of course, with leggings, you need the right footwear, and whilst I wear my trusty Topshop biker boots several days a week, the rest of the week is split between my new Doc Marten boots and my Nike Blazers…
Make up, not so much an effect of a midlife crisis, but more a result of my amazing colour analysis class, my choices are bolder and I’m sporting a vivid lip most days…
But you can’t hold back the passing of time really, applying eye liner has become a massive chore as I try to glide the product on my wrinkly eyelids and there are two deep wrinkles on my face that like to harbour foundation, foundation furrows if you will….and then there’s the constant back ache…I went to the GP, she said it was just my age and gave me some exercises to do…
I’ve been battling the onslaught of grey hairs since my first child was born, seven years ago… instead of trying to go with it with subtle blonde highlights to mask the greys as they come in, I recently threw caution to the wind and went back to my ideal dark brown shade…not sure how long I’ll be able to carry it off for though…OAP’s with dyed dark hair don’t look great in my opinion, but maybe I just won’t give a monkeys about that.
It’s a weird thing, suddenly I do feel old, I feel old physically… I don’t feel old at all at heart though and so I plan to go into my forties quite disgracefully, no more will I dress as I “should” (after both babies… I found myself drifting to the very safe Next to clothes shop) and I will dress as I feel I want to. It’s a surprise, even to me, that I care very little what people think of my clothes. My nose stud has been with me for 20 years… I don’t intend to lose it now I’m knocking on the door of 40.
Until such a time as we become rich (insert hollow laugh here), I can’t afford the little helping hands I’d like with my face, like Botox, so sod it, I’ll just muddle along emphasising the best bits and trying not to draw attention to the not so good bits, I’m having a fringe cut in, in a couple of weeks, if no one can see the lines across my forehead, they aren’t there right?
How old are you? Do you feel it? Does it get you down and if not, why not? Do you plan to age gracefully, or disgracefully?
Bit of random ramble about my week today. Hope you’ve all had a good one? Mine has been… eventful. It started with Chloe going into year 2 and Lola having her first day at school. I wasn’t one of those emotional mums, I couldn’t wait for her to start and for Chloe to go back but even so I found myself with butterflies on Monday morning and had a few moments of anxiety during the day…no need for concern though, Lola was absolutely fine, declared she’d had a great day and “guess what mum! I had gravy and I liked it!!”. That seemed to be the highlight of her day. I’ve been trying to get her to eat gravy for all her years in existence to no avail, first day in school and that was that!
Other than that I’ve been busy applying for jobs. Not loads, but about five and yesterday I had my first interview. Good lord. It was for a part time job at Waitrose. It was a group interview that lasted three hours. Yes, you did read that correctly.
I spent most of the week feeling slightly sick about it and even contemplated not turning up. I just couldn’t face the idea of a group interview. This morning I was a wreck! I needn’t have worried it wasn’t all that bad. I’m one of those people who just can’t help worrying but when it gets to the actual event is surprisingly calm. I do so hate being a worrier though, I’ve been grumpy all week! I don’t know if I got it, there are more interviews next week so time will tell but if I didn’t it was still a good experience. I’ve been out of work looking after the kids for just over seven years and I was in my job prior to that for about five years so I’ve not had an interview for over 12 years! So at the very least it’s given me a bit of practice for any future interviews! If you ever go for an interview at Waitrose, go prepared! I needed every bit of research I did, hopefully it stood me in good stead.
In beauty news I’ve spent hours swatching and photographing this week and I’ve got some amazing thing to show you over the next week or two and I can’t wait but I can’t resist sharing this quick photo with you as these are possibly my most favourite thing I’ve ever tried. I just love them
I was supposed to be doing some decorating this week but what with revising for the epic interview and the associated anxiety I decided that could wait.
Anyway, quite enough waffling on for now, just thought I’d give you a little life update!