Thursday 30 April 2015

Fabrica Dabrica

A few years ago my friend, Mel, trotted herself off to Sri-Lanka to work as a teacher.  She ended up marrying a Sri-Lankan and making herself a home there.  We keep in touch in Facebook, and of course meet up when they pop over to the UK for a visit.

But I wanted to share this, her new little venture into the world of fabrics.

She has started a little shop on Facebook called Fabrica Dabrica where she offers up fabrics by the meter, or fat quarter bundles, and they really are quite lovely.

As she was coming over for a visit I thought I should take advantage of her luggage allowance and make a small purchase  ;)  (Her postage is really cheap though, so do pop over to her shop and have a wee look)

Gorgeous bundles, lovely meters and plenty I had forgotten I had ordered  ;)

And, this most lovely Sari fabric, which is a devil to photograph. It shimmers with colour when you move it about.  I might make a cushion cover out of this.

Pop over to her page and leave her a message on her wall, she will be chuffed to hear from you  :)  while you are there, have a browse through the albums and check out her lovely fabrics, with more due in very soon (I am led to believe).

Tuesday 28 April 2015

Premier Inn's got posh

Well haven't Premier Inn's got posh?  Not been in one lately? Then have a look at this.....

I stayed at the Christchurch one near Bournemouth while working at Hobbycraft HQ last week.  The hotel is still under refurbishment so, at the time of writing, some floors were inaccessible.  Some rooms are upgraded, some are not yet.

But I got a brand spanking new one, and I have to say I was very impressed.   Modern, classic and spotlessly clean.

Although I did need a ladder to get onto the high bed!
Sleeping was a joy, the Hypnos bed was supersoft and snuggly - you can buy these beds now as Premier Inn have a deal with Hypnos to supply Premier Inn customers. I am very tempted  ;)

A lovely roomy bathroom, with a good strong shower....

.... and free toiletries.  Quite nice ones too.

Of course you get the other little niceties that make your stay a little more comfortable.  Kettle, Tea & Coffee making bits, nice big TV with a good few channels.

This particular hotel is beside a Table Table pub, where you can get a breakfast/dinner deal too.

Would happily stay here again  :)

The Bay City Rollers come to Carlisle

On Saturday night I went to see the Bay City Rollers in concert.

It was for "Think Pink" a breast cancer support charity and was organised by Val Armstrong of BBC Radio Cumbria, who has twice experienced Breast Cancer.

The brief was to "wear tartan and/or pink", so I added strips of tartan to some trousers and wore a pink top (the fashion police would have had a field day with me that night!)

When I say "Bay City Rollers" there was only actually one of the original members in the 'new' band - Les McKeown but of course it was his voice on all the old original tracks, so it sounded the same  :)

There was also a local, Carlisle based, support act called Soul City Walkers who performed for the first half of the show.

I nearly didn't stay though - don't know if you are aware, but I have a bit of a phobia going on about feathers, and feather stuff - especially that fake boa kind of flutteryness.    On sale, at this concert, were flashing bunny ears - all edged in pink feathery stuff.  The kind of feathery stuff that wasn't glued on particularly well and was coming off and fluttering all over the place.  I didn't like it one bit!

But, I stayed, and once the lights were out, I could cope with it.  At least with the flashing lights I could see where to avoid.

It was a great concert, we were on our feet dancing and waving tartan scarves the whole evening.  And of course, singing along to all the old Roller classics.

And, perhaps best of all, loads of money was raised for cancer charities.

You can find Val's Justgiving Page HERE.

Monday 27 April 2015

Vinoa Wine Tasting Subscription Service - review

I recently got this....  It is a Vinoa Wine Tasting Box.

It popped up on my Facebook news feed and I thought it sounded quite interesting, so off I popped to have a look.

I found a 'Welcome Box' where you just pay the postage at £2.99, so I went ahead and ordered one. 

You do have to sign up to have them delivered monthly, but you can cancel before the first month.

I was excited to find this neat little box pop through my letterbox.  With proper (tiny) glass bottles neatly packed inside.  And it does go through a regular letterbox, so no trailing down to the post depot to collect your parcel if you miss the post-person.

The bottles hold 50ml each - so the total volume is just under a large glass.  For £10.00  (the regular price) I did think it was expensive..... for a glass of wine...... which was why I was 'planning' to cancel it after the first box.

So, you get a little card where you place your 4 glasses.

And into each glass your little dribble of wine does go.

Then you log onto the Vinoa website and follow the interactive guide.

Now, a little tip.  BEFORE you open the bottles and pour it all out, make sure you are set up on the website and logged in.  It took me AGES to request a new password, sort it all out, set up a profile etc..  and all the time I could smell the wine, sitting there, waiting to be drank.

And we are ready to taste...  

The interactive guide takes you through some easy steps.  The first one it tells you what the wine should look like, colour, clarity etc...
Then you go on to smell.  You have to pick the icons on the screen that you think you can smell - such as tobacco, spices and fruits.   It will then tell you if you are right or wrong, and if you are wrong what the correct ones were.
Next is taste - no gulping it down on this bit.  The guide shows you how to test for tannins and how to pick up on the flavours.

At the end of each separate glass, it tells you how much the wine sells for (you can buy it from their website if you like it)  The are well priced, these particular ones from about £6.00 through to £21.00.  Of course, my favourite was the darkest, deepest, most expensive Red  ;)

Gulp!  Gone!

As I mentioned before, I was going to go and cancel this subscription once I had tried the first box, but I enjoyed the whole process so much that I didn't, I am going to stay with it as it was loads of fun learning about the tastes and the smells. I am going to treat it as educational   ;)  And those little glass bottles are so darn cute!

My next box is due very soon.  Can't wait  ;)

Sunday 26 April 2015

Rainbow & Lime Crochet Ripple Blanket

Last week I started a new blanket for my Granddaughter, Hope.

Not a bit of pink in sight this time, nor lilac.  No, this blanket is bright and colourful and very cheery - or I think so anyway.

Rainbow ripples, interspersed with a line of bright vibrant lime green.

I love the way that although it is a 'random' colour-change yarn, it isn't random at all and I can see patterns forming  - different in each line.   Can you?  squint your eyes, you might see it better  ;)

This one on the white background shows the vibrancy of the colours off much better.

I am planning to get her a little foldaway push-chair for Nana's house, and of course, she will need a nice new blanket to go with it.

I keep showing her the work in progress and her little eyes widen every time- so I think she quite likes it  :)

Will keep you updated of the progress.

Friday 24 April 2015

A brilliant week at Hobbycraft HQ

You may have heard me mention that I was travelling down to Hobbycraft HQ to do some tutorial videos for their website.

I wasn't quite sure whether to be excited or nervous - a bit of both I think.  I am not one for liking my photograph taken, so why I would put myself in front of a movie camera I really do not know!

But, I did  :)

Following on from my mammoth journey, that I blogged about a few days ago - you can find it HERE -  I arrived bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at Hobbycraft HQ on Bournemouth Aviation Park.

Of course it was offices, as it is where they actually run things, but there was loads of crafty stuff about too - paradise  :)

I got given a spare desk, so I opened my suitcase (17 kilos full of crafty stuff) and spread my bits about  :)  Just made myself at home.

There were 11 videos to shoot - some short, some a bit longer.

At first it was really weird and I was very self-concious about talking to the camera, but by the end of day three, I was chattering away to it like it was an old friend   :)

The guy doing the shoot, Mike Smith, was great, very patient. Even when I fluffed up the same line the tenth time!  

You can find his company, Boxhead Media, on Facebook.

During filming breaks I dabbled with some of the projects, as you might  :)

So this was where I spent most of the day, bright lights and cameras.

I had such a brilliant time, now all I have to do is wait for the videos to be uploaded and I can be nervous all over again   ;)

Will blog up a link when they become live.

Wednesday 22 April 2015

A Crown fit for a Royal Baby

While I was at Hobbycraft HQ doing some filming for the website/blog, I got asked if I would "design a crown for a baby" pending the Royal delivery.

Of course I would, I do quite like a challenge.

So, if you fancy making one of these for your little bundle of fun, you can find the blog and tutorial here.....

Do go and have a look as there is the most cutest baby modelling it  :)

Monday 20 April 2015

Car, Plane, Bus & Train

So, if you follow my Facebook page you will already know about my recent exciting news, if not let me tell you...

I was offered the opportunity to go down to Hobbycraft HQ in Bournemouth to do some filming of various crafts for their website. I didn't actually get a huge amount of notice, less that a week in fact, and had plenty of samples to prepare for those 'here's one I made earlier' moments. As you can imagine, this last week has been pretty hectic.

Sunday started with a 7.00am alarm call. Hubster then checked the car (tyres, water, oil) for my mammoth journey of 70 miles to Newcastle Airport ;)

I set off at 8.00am.

My flight was at 11.45am, which actually ended up being 12.15pm due to the luggage having to be reloaded for some reason.

It was a bumpy old ride, good old cloudy England means a bit of tubulance here and there. The flight didn't worry me, I was quite happy because the passenger beside me didn't want the window seat - I love the window seat, but to change from my allotted seat was £14.00, so I thought I'd be stuck with starting down the aisle for an hour.

The rickety propeller plane didn't bother me either, although she was a noisy old bird. But then I can't say much different about myself, so us noisy old birds should stick together ;)

What did bother me was the young guy from a party of Stags, and while they all looked rather worse for wear, he was positively Shrek green.  He was sat opposite, in the row behind, and even before the plane left the ground he was gathering up the sick bags. Apparently a very bad traveller, as he informed a cabin full of people.
Now let me tell you, I have a huge intolerance of vomit. Even the sound of someone heaving is enough to have me retching in sympathy.  Seriously, if this guy was gonna puke, I was gonna match him, carrot for carrot!

Luckily I had two cards from the perfume counter at Departures, so I tore off bits of cardboard, rolled them up into tiny tubes and stuck one up each nostril - that was the risk of smelling vomit sorted. 
Next I stuck my headphones in with a good beat going on, that took away the risk of hearing anything.
And that's how I spent the next hour. Staring out of the plane window at a sea of fluffy white clouds concentrating hard on my music & hoping I wouldn't sneeze and shoot the woman in the seat in front with a piece of highly scented, snot covered cardboard.

We landed in good time after an impressive 45 minute flight. A quick,luggage collect and it was a 99 step (or so the sign said) trot to the airport station. Only there was no trains running & I had to jump on a bus.  

This may not be news to you but I don't travel on public transport very often so I was very impressed by the monitor that shows you the road in front :) (easily pleased!)

Next came a train ride from Southampton Central to Christchurch, travelling through the most beautiful New Forest National Park. I saw ponies :)

After a two minute walk from Christchurch station to my hotel, I had finally arrived at 4.00pm.

My journey consisted of a 1.5 hour car journey, followed by a 45 minute flight, then a 20 minute bus trip ending with a 30 minute train ride. So all in all not a lot of travelling, but it took me 8 hours :)

Saturday 18 April 2015

Spaghetti with Greens & Peanutty Sauce - Recipe

For #ShareYourTeaTuesday this week I made this.....

Wholewheat spaghetti with broccolli, fine beans, spinach and a peanutty/soy sauce.

The sauce came from me having no ready to use sauces in the cupboard.  Hmmmm, I think, scratching my head, what can I make from vinegars, soy sauce (slightly out of date) and toast topping stuff?   A kind of satay sauce perhaps.

First of all pop your pasta on to cook, and while cooking you can get on with the rest.

So, mix 2 tbsp of peanut butter with 1 tbps soy sauce and half a tbls of oil.

(I changed the little pot as it was hard to mix in, and swapped to a jug  :) )

Give it a good mix until you get this very unappetising lump of brown nutty stuff.  Put it to one side for now.

Chop the broccoli up into bite sized pieces.

Heat a little oil in a non stick pan and chuck the broccoli in to start to brown.

Trim the fine beans (fresh is best for this recipe as you want them to stay a little crunchy)

Once the broccoli starts browning, add the beans.

When they are both tender, but still firm, add handfuls of spinach.  It may look a lot but it wilts down to nothing.

Let it wilt while stirring.

Chuck in the brown tar like sauce mixture you prepared earlier.  The oil will help it melt down and coat your vegetable.

At this point I halved the mixture as Hubster wanted spirals and I wanted spaghetti.  

Drain the pasta well and mix with the green nutty stuff.

Then serve  :)

Let me know if you try it  :)

Friday 17 April 2015

Moroccan Rose Water Review

I got sent a bottle of this to try and then review.  I got sent it for free, to review honestly, which is what I will do.  I wasn't paid to review it, nor will I be.

A nice decent sized bottle of 100% pure, natural Rose Water - not tested on animals, which is most important for me.
No chemicals, preservatives or artificial smells, which is also good.

So, I opened the bottle to the most amazing whaft of Turkish Delight sweets  :)  I handed it to my son (age 24) who promptly declared that it "Smells all flowery, like Grandma's house"

Next I decided to try it on my skin.... 

Wiping it on with a cotton bud I did wonder if I would spend all day smelling like a sweetie shop, or a flower shop.  I am not sure that floral fragrances would be my scent of choice, but I didn't need to worry as the strong rose smell dissipated quite quickly.

Immediately my skin felt as though I had put a lovely soft cream on it. My cheeks (facial) were as soft as a baby's bum, it felt lovely.  

I poured some into a bottle to give to my Mum to try - it was crystal clear, for some reason I thought it would have a slight hint of colour, but it' didn't.

She agreed that it felt lovely on the face, especially after a few days of using it.  She also washed her hair in it as suggested on the bottle, and found her (heavily greyed) hair to be full of bounce the next day, which she liked a lot.

It also states you can use it in sunburn, so I shall be keeping some to try for that, as I always manage to get burnt at some point in the summer.

The RRP on Amazon states a price of £43.99 - I have to say I wouldn't pay that kind of money, as although my skin feels lovely and soft, I see no immediate benefits - but then again I have only been using it for just over a week.  

As I type it is on offer at £14.95.  This is more like a price I would pay, especially if it turns out to be good on sunburn... I will let you know.

“I received this product for free for an honest and unbiased review.”

Wednesday 15 April 2015

The Devil's Porridge Museum - Easter Crafts

Easter weekend saw me trotting (well driving) down the M74 to Eastriggs in Scotland, where the Devil's Porridge Museum is now situated.  It has recently moved from it's former building into this nice, clean and modern place, which is a contrast from the WW2 exhibits nestled inside  :)

It is on the main road at Eastriggs, just past Gretna, towards Annan.

This was my working area, on the mezzanine floor, above the exhibits  (I will share more about the museum at a later date).

The Easter crafts on offer was some Duck Taped rattly eggs....  (eggs with beads in them  :) )

And some Easter Egg bunting.

I was there for three days in total and had a great time.  So if you popped along, and are reading this, then thanks for coming. Hope to see you again soon :)