Photo A day, Feb 2014

2. Favourite.

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One of my favourite things is shopping and today we had Willow’s feet measured and we bought her first pair of shoes.

 

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One Stop Craft Shop craft supplies

One Stop Craft Shop been kind enough to send me some supplies to review. I enjoy sewing and baking, I’m not always successful at it, but I do try!

One Stop Craft Shop have been very generous with what they have sent me. I was expecting a little cross stitch kit or similar, they actually sent me: Sew and So On repeated heart cushion kit (£11.65), The Craft Cotton Company, fat quarter bundle (£10.70), Wilton Cookie Cutter set (£3.72) and Katy Sue Designs – Design mat (£8.98).
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I made some basic vanilla cookies, so I could try the Wilton cookie cutter and the Katy Sue design mat (ssshhhhhh, don’t tell anyone that I burnt them!).
The Wilton cookie cutter set has four cutters, two different Christmas trees, a snowman and a snowflake. They were easy enough to use and I was rather surprised at how reasonably priced they are, considering that they are made by Wilton.

The Katy Sue design mat was also very easy to use. As advised, I brushed the mat with corn flour to avoid it sticking to the fondant. The design is lovely and it consists of lots of different stars.

Once my cookies had cooked (burnt) I rolled out some fondant and pressed the design mat onto it. Because I used the corn flour, the mat came away easily and the star pattern held really well. At this point, I used the cookie cutters to cut the fondant into the same shapes as my cookies. I brushed the cookies with some jam and placed my fondant shapes on top. The jam helps adhere the fondant to the cookies.

These would be ideal for children to use, maybe use them with salt dough and make some tree decorations?

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Sew and So On cushion kit is ideal for a beginner who wants to try their hand at sewing. This kit contains all the materials needed to complete this project. Although the instructions are a little basic, it is simple enough but I would have liked to have seen a little guide on how to blanket stitch as not everyone knows how to. I loved the simple heart design but I decided I preferred a single heart instead of three. The stuffing is also included, it’s vacuum packed to save space and it fluffs up really well.

If you have a friend who likes sewing, an elderly relative or someone who’s a beginner, this cushion kit would make a lovely present.

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The Craft Cotton Company fat quarter bundle consists of six different fabrics with different Christmas prints, baubles, snowflakes and Christmas trees. They are 100% cotton that’s nice and thick. I didn’t want to waste the fabric by rushing to make something just for this blog post. I’d much rather take my time and make something that can be used Christmas after Christmas, maybe some tree decorations, a Christmas stocking or a Christmas quilt.

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Fat quarters are a cheap and easy way to experiment with different fabrics and prints. They are great for sewing, quilting and other craft projects. You can enjoy many different prints without having to buy them by the meter.

Overall, I’m very pleased with the quality of the items that I’ve been sent. I’d most definitely recommend One Stop Craft Shop, the items were well packaged and delivery was fast.

*I was sent these items for review purposes and I have given my honest opinion*

LED HUT Christmas lights

Yesterday we decided to put up our decorations. We don’t have many Christmas decorations because it’s just been the two of us up until now. As it’s Willow’s first Christmas, I want to make it special and I want the house to feel more Christmassy.

You may have seen from my previous posts that I’ve picked up a few Christmas bits and bobs, and when a review opportunity came up for Christmas lights, I jumped at it!

I was so excited when the box arrived……..

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Although the lights were packaged well, I was a bit disappointed with the packaging that the lights came in. The scenes on the box are lovely but I’m the type of person who would keep the box to store the lights in for future use. At a quick glance, you wouldn’t know what was in the box. There is a little product description on the box, but I feel like a picture of the lights would be much, much better.

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On opening the box, the lights were bundled up nice and neatly but I very much doubt I will have the patience to put them away like that!
 I was sent the warm white lights in a 5m length and they are lovely. We decided that we wouldn’t be having a Christmas tree this year as Willow has just started crawling and we didn’t want to risk a tree being pulled down or lights being chewed. I bought some suction cups and stuck them in the window for the lights to hook onto.
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I really like them, they look lovely and they have 8 different modes:
1-Fast Fade
2-Random Fade
3-Random Flash
4-Off
5-Fast Flash
6-Slow Fade
7-Pulsing
8-On Static.
There really is a setting for everyone depending on the atmosphere and what kind of mood you are in. You can change the setting with the click of a button, so simple to use!
Did you know you could save a huge 90% on your lighting bills simply by switching to LEDs?
Fed up of changing your bulbs? Long-lasting LEDs can keep going for more than 20 years!
I’m really, really pleased with these lights, I’d most definitely recommend them and because of the above facts, it makes so much sense to switch over to LED.
 
*I received this product to review and I have given my honest opinion*

More shopping…..

Someone decided that they wanted to go shopping into Cardiff, on a match day! Yes, mother, I’m looking at you!
Managed to get some lovely bits in TK Maxx. For a few weeks I’ve been on the lookout for a stocking holder for the babies Christmas stocking and today I found a nice one…..

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It cost £12.99 and it’s rather heavy. They did have a different selection of stocking holders but I liked this one the most.
Picked up these lovely Christmas biscuit tins. I’m going to use them as Christmas decorations rather than storage tins. They were £7.99 each and I love them!

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Primark – even though I hate this shop (way to busy, messy and hot), I can’t resist a bargain! Today, I bought a Christmas jumper for Willow. It was £7 and is super cute. I will post a picture of Willow wearing it closer to Christmas.

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No shopping trip would be complete without food. We paid a trip to the Cardiff Christmas Market. I could spend an absolute fortune on these stalls, lots of lovely gifts for all ages. As we were walking, a man was handing out some brownie samples, the best brownies I’ve ever tasted. I had to have more, so, I bought an original brownie with warm chocolate sauce and cream, it was LUSH! I’m sorry, it didn’t last long enough to take a picture! Chockshop even deliver! You can order as a gift for someone (or yourself). I even went back and bought a box of 6 for £9.95.

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I’ve taken a picture of a brownie in my hand, so you can see the size….

20131130-093104 pm.jpg as you can see, they are rather generous! Everyone should try these!
I did pick up some other bits and pieces but they need to be kept a secret, until Christmas 😉

Yankee candles

Over the past two weeks, I’ve spent far too much on Yankee Candles. I bought some in the Zulily event (they were half price, it would have been rude not to) and I also attended a Yankee Candle Christmas shopping event at Butterflies.

Over 200 people RSVP’d for the event, so I knew it was going to be busy. When I arrived the que was down to the end of the block and was very slow moving.

The days leading up to the event, butterflies were teasing us by telling us there would be lots of special offers and they didn’t disappoint.

After an hour in the cold, I finally made it into the shop and had to que some more to get to the candle room at the back of the shop. I was just glad to be in the warm at this point! As I was waiting, I was offered a sweet (always a good thing), the staff were even offering drinks.

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A Christmas value gift set (two medium jars) was £19.99, I bought two, a set for me and a set to be split up and given as Christmas gifts. You can never go wrong with giving Yankee Candles as a gift.
Sets of 3 small jars were priced at £12, a bargain! And they even came with little Christmas hats that sit on the lid, cute!
But, the thing I love the most, is my new tart burner……

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I LOVE IT! It cost £24.99. Anyone who know me, knows that this is totally me! I think I can get away with using at all year round?

Butterflies offer a reward card scheme, spend over £10 and your card stamped, 10 stamps, £10 off. They also gift wrap, although that night they were really busy, they did offer for people to come back the next day to have items wrapped.

The thing I was most impressed with was the goodie bag! If you spent over £30, they gave a goodie bag. I was expecting the usual, leaflets ect but no, there was a sampler AND a medium jar candle! How generous of them!

By the time I came out of the shop, I was over £100 lighter and two hours had flown by.

Butterflies don’t just sell candles, they sell unique gifts and cards. There’s always something I could buy in there.

I do hope they do these events more often (my bank balance disagrees).

Keep up the good work, Ian and Jodie!

Our garden

When we bought our current house, just over a year ago. One of the things that sold it to us was the garden. Neither myself or my husband have green fingers and it’s pretty much low maintenance and was already landscaped.

Now we have a little one, I would like to make the garden more child friendly and have some more family time in the garden. I really feel like children spend too much time indoors these days, they need the fresh air and the Vitamin D.

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There are a few things I want to change, see that big rock? That’s actually a water feature! I would like to get rid of it, along with the pebbles that surround it. I want the paved area to be somewhere that can be used for ride along toys, without the rock blocking the way.

As you can see from the picture, we also have a decked area. Looking at the picture, on the left we have a fig tree and on the right, we have a tree and a spikey bush. Like I said, I don’t have green fingers, so I don’t know their names lol

My mother wouldn’t be too happy if we chopped down the fig tree, she made chutney out of this years fruit. But the tree and the spikey bush would have to go as I would want the decking to be Willow’s play area.

The decking does need to be treated but that’s an easy job for the husband to do….hahahaha.

Safety is very important. Although Willow wouldn’t be unsupervised, you can’t help trips and falls from happening. I would purchase a few of these Protektamats from Activity Toys Direct they are very reasonably priced at £13.99 and are pretty big in size.

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We recently took Willow to the park for the first time, she loved the swings and was giggling away to herself. For this reason, I would l would love to get a swing set for her. I think this swing from TP Toys growable swing with quadpod. It works out better value than the other TP Toys swings, as it includes a seat, unlike the others where they have to be purchased separately.

I do love the activity centres and the climbing frames but because of Willow’s age, they wouldn’t be suitable, I’d get a playhouse instead. I think the wooden playhouses look better than the plastic type and if they are treated from the elements, they will last a long time. I’ve seen a lot of plastic playhouses that have faded from the sun. The AXI Noa playhouse would be perfect for my little princess, what I love about it, is that it comes untreated. We could paint and finish it how we want it. I could even make some little curtains for the windows and decorate with some fairy lights! A bargain at £185!

Keeping with the wooden toy theme, I’d buy a TP Toys picnic table/sandpit. A picnic table and a sandpit in one. We already have a bucket play set that would go really well with it. Something like this is great for little ones hand/eye co-ordination, which is very important.

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Because of our British weather, I’d like to have some toys in the conservatory for rainy days, this Plum terrace wooden kitchen would be ideal. I used to love playing ‘kitchen’ and ‘shop’ when I was younger.

That’s everything I would like to do for a play area, I would also like to have a go at growing some veggies, nothing too adventurous, carrots, peas, potatoes, some salad leaves and strawberries. I think a little vegetable patch would go here….

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I think it’s the perfect little space to start a veggie patch, we already have a bay tree. If it’s successful, we could expand it and grow more of a variety the year after next. I would also like some sort of fruit tree, probably an apple tree. When I grew up, my parents had a massive pear tree in the garden and every summer we would have loads and loads of pears. A Willow tree would look lovely and also the babies namesake but they grow fast and have very extensive root systems, I wouldn’t want to risk any damage to our or the neighbours properties.

If growing our own veg is a success, in the future, I would like to have a water butt and a compost bin.

I would like to encourage wildlife into the garden, a bird table and feeders is a must and also wildflowers for bee and insects – they are so important! The RHS site has lots of info on pollinators and plants for pollinators. I’d like to do my part for conservation and make a flower bed or lots of pots with wildflowers especially for the bees and other insects.

Some inspiration for finishing touches……

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We are lucky enough to have a garden table and chairs, BBQ and a conservatory already. The table, chairs and BBQ have been put into the garage for the winter. You will notice there is no grass in our garden and my husband wants to keep it that way but there is a very large grassed area about 2 minutes walk from our home.

I’ve made a picture of what our Garden would look like with the adjustments made……

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Costs.

Garden toys.

Swing £127.99

AXI Noa playhouse £185.00

Picnic table/sandpit £58.99

Plum cottage wooden kitchen £109.99

Plum Protektamat £11.99

Total = £493.96.

Garden improvements.

Wild flower seeds £5

Vegetable seeds and compost £25

Bird table £25

Bird seed £5

Apple tree £20

Strawberry plants £10

Bee/insect houses £10

Assortment of plant pots £25

Total = £125.00

These garden improvements costs are a total guess, as I really don’t have a clue how much this type of stuff costs. If costs were really this low, we could also get paint for the decking and playhouse and even afford to buy the water butt and compost bin this year.

“This blog post is an entry into the Tots100/Activity Toys Direct garden makeover competition”