Sunday, 28 November 2010

Review: Snowflake by The Rainbow Collections

Uh hello? Where's my snow? I've got wellies this year and everything.
London seems to have been bypassed by the snow fairy... it's frosty but that's not much fun.
At least I have something snow related... I've been listening to Snowflake, the last in the trilogy from The Rainbow Collections. It's a compilation of festive songs, some traditional such as Little Donkey, some classics like Winter Wonderland and a new song "Santa's Little Helpers'. All are sung by Sophie from Zero 7 and have the same contemporary edge to them that Toybox did.

K loves jumping around to Frosty the Snowman and it's definitely been getting us into the Christmas spirit. There's only so much Cliff Richard, Slade and Shaky that I can take (don't get me wrong, I love a bit of cheese but when I've heard Noddy Holder wail "It's Chreeeeesmass" for the twentieth time I feel like stabbing myself in the eye with holly).

I'm not so keen on Santa's Little Helpers, maybe it'll grow on me, but the other tracks are a lovely mix of calm songs for you to listen to with your little ones, and tunes you can all bounce about to.

It's available to buy from Amazon, and HMV.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Gallery: Black & white

The Sticky Fingers Gallery prompt this week is 'black & white'. I haven't submitted anything for a while so this time I've found not one, but two photos...

This is one I took in Postman's Park in London. It's a tiny patch of green in Central London with tiled plaques, each dedicated to an ordinary person who died saving the life of another.
This fountain was in the park and it's covered in dripping moss. I liked all the concentric circles going on and the reflections of the city blocks. The koi carp were very well behaved too and posed for the picture.

The other photo that makes me think of black and white is this one of K with her late Great-Grandad. He was clearly ahead of his time in this on-trend black & white Fair Isle jumper! When K was a baby she'd get hypnotised if she saw anything high contrast - look at her eyes popping out at that pattern. I also love this photo as it shows my Gramps's house with all it's clutter & chaos. The house has been cleared out now and is in the process of being sold and it just doesn't feel like my Grandparent's home any more.

Visit the Gallery to see the other entries!

There is also a lovely prize to be won at The Gallery this week and Tara has a code for a free photo enlargement from Pixum for all Gallery entrants :)

Monday, 22 November 2010

Bunting advent calendar

I had the idea for this last year – a bunting style advent calendar where each triangle is a pocket that you put your own sweet or toy in – but with a 4 month old to contend with it just didn't happen. This year I had the best of intentions, I really wanted to make it in fabric (and one day i will!) but in true make-do style I've made it with what I have to hand to get it ready for the beginning of December. Check out the other thrifty Christmas ideas over at Violet Posy - the plum vodka sounds especially good.

There are also more ideas for 'Festive Fayre' over at Thinly Spread.
Festive Friday
And festive crafts for kids at Red Ted Art.

For this paper version I used the equivalent of 3 A2 sheets of paper. Use whatever you like: old wrapping paper, magazine pages - for this I got K to 'decorate' some old paper. (Stupidly I did this just after she'd had a bath and in a brand new t-shirt, but at least we were in the bathroom to do the painting so it wasn't too hard to clean up).

Cut 24 shapes using this template. Resize it if you like - I've made it big enough to fit in a wrapped sweet or small toy. The quickest way is to fold your paper several times, draw round the template on the top and cut through all the layers at once. If you are using fabric don't bother with the flap.
Assemble your triangles by folding along the points (indicated by the dotted lines on the template) and stick or sew in place.

Get pieces of ribbon or binding (or in my case a shredded carrier bag, well I couldn't find any ribbon...) and attach the triangles along it sticking or sewing the front side and leaving the back open to allow you to put the gift in.

Number your triangles with pen or stick on numbers like the ones I've added at the bottom of this post and you are ready to fill it and hang it up!

If anyone tries this in fabric please let me know how it goes. I think it would look great in something like this with the numbers painted onto big buttons and sewn on...
Image & fabric from

Sunday, 14 November 2010

A step too far?

I wrote about my engagement this summer, and a couple of months ago Mr and I went shopping for the 'real' ring at Hatton Garden. We ended up spending the top end of our budget (or rather his budget) but got a gorgeous ring that we designed ourselves, we even got to pick our diamond. We had lunch afterwards and it was a lovely day even if my mind was addled with all the talk of C's, carat, colour...

A problem that I hadn't anticipated was how bloody expensive a platinum wedding band is. I can justify the cost of the engagement ring as it's something personal, and it's very twinkly and pretty, but a wedding band is just a plain band  - boring! I'd rather put the £500 towards the wedding.

Suddenly a solution appeared before my eyes... Tesco. I'm not actually buying the ring from them but I spotted in my clubcard statement that they've partnered with Goldsmiths so you can get £20 to spend for every £5 of clubcard points (although this changes to £15 from 6th December so I thought I'd get in quick).

Is this taking the idea of saving money too far? Will we feel a bit pikey when we are handing over the clubcard vouchers in exchange for the ring? It'll be in the Croydon branch so I'm sure the staff will have experienced far worse.

Do you ever suffer from discount voucher embarrassment?

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Toddler VS Mother-in-law

As I've had two full weeks of work on (one down, one to go!) my MIL kindly offered to come down from Cardiff and look after K on the Thursday and Friday. This seemed ideal as K would be in familiar surroundings and Mr and I could make the most of having a babysitter and go out on my birthday.

Toddlers are known for their amazing ability to deface furniture, walls and carpets with whatever comes to hand but I'm wondering if it's my MIL that needs putting in a playpen...
In the 2 days she was here she managed to break the stair gate, leave stains all over the bathroom (no! not that kind of stain; her electric toothbrush left marks on the surfaces that won't come out), I found my full pack of paracetamol in the bin, and my lovely retro dollies have been decapitated. Ok, that last one was actually K but while being supervised by MIL.

She's down again next week, maybe I should MIL-proof the house? On the plus side it's great that K is getting to spend time with her Nana so I shouldn't really complain.

Friday, 5 November 2010

s**ting myself

I'm back at work on a tv job for a couple of weeks (if you think working in telly is glamorous, check out this post I wrote last year). Sadly I'm not getting to ogle any slebs as there is a break in filming but this also means I don't have to work such long hours :)

At the moment I'm sat alone in a big deserted office block - everyone else is out and about, it's starting to get dark and it's really creepy. I've just taken some photos on my phone so you can see what I mean...

 No shortage of abandoned chairs.

 The stairs to 'the basement'. I've not been been down them and don't plan to.

 The second floor ghost town.

The fourth floor. Good for a game of footie.

Definitely the stuff that horror films are made of. Can I go home now please?

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Filthy films and a free fiver

You see my avatar over there? >>>
It's not entirely accurate because a) I only wear glasses if I'm at work using the computer and b) It doesn't have bags under it's eyes.

I realised that I needed glasses when I was at school and every time I sat in front of the BBC Micro (remember those? a computer the size of a bus with a little owl logo) I'd get a migrane which culminated with a lie down in the nurses office until I vomited - nice!
The BBC Micro owl, immortalised in china

I have astigmatism which means your eyes are shaped more like rugby balls than footballs and it's therefore hard to focus on a point. Recently this has caused me to get on the wrong bus (it was a 14 not a 24), and to misread my Digibox guide: I thought Rabbit Chat & Date was 'Rabbit Chas & Dave' and what I read as 'Filthy films for a fiver' was, disappointingly, fifty films for a fiver. Mr has never let me forget that one!

If you would like a free fiver to spend in Debenhams (sadly I don't think they stock filthy films), click here. It's valid until 12th November and there is no minimum spend.

Monday, 1 November 2010

A book review and a free book for you!

I've been reading a copy of 'Kirstie's Homemade Home' kindly sent to me by the publishers. I find it hard to believe that someone as undeniably posh as Kirstie Allsopp goes skip trawling and to car boot sales, but the book has some beautiful images and I found myself agreeing with many of her design philosophies. At the back of the book are some craft projects - the fabric decoupage looks worth a try while the shrunken jumper cosies are just weird! RRP is £20 but it's a tenner on Amazon so could make a good Christmas pressie for anyone into interiors, thrifty living or crafts.

p.s. I'm very sorry Kirstie but I've thrown away (in the recycling bin of course) the dust jacket with your photo on in preference of the lovely paisley pattern on the book inside.

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There is a great book giveaway courtesy of Radox, no purchase necessary. Click here to choose your free book (mostly chick-lit) A new book is released each month however you only get one freebie so choose wisely!


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