29 March 2013

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow...Maybe?

I have never had a great relationship with my hair, it's frizzy and does what it wants most of the time. One side will be nicely curled under the other swishing outwards like I was caught in a strong gust of wind.

So when yet another friend of the family died from cancer I wondered if cutting my hair off would not only set me free of my hair burden but also give me the perfect opportunity to raise money for Cancer Research and Macmillan Nurses.

If it was a really close family member that was ill with this most hideous of diseases I don't think I would think twice about it but they are friends, some we know well some we have 'known' for years but not seen in a while.

So would I look silly? Cutting my hair off for a cause that hasn't actually affected my life directly?

I have run the race for life a few times and whilst I enjoyed I wanted to do something different that could maybe raise a lot of money, whilst doing something I kinda want to do.

So would you do it? Am I being silly? I am not the most confident of people but this is about research too, to protect the ones I love from anything the future could hold!


23 March 2013

Homemade Lemon Curd

I am always on the look out for ways of using up things that are almost or past their best, so when some lemons in the fruit bowl were looking a little worse for wear I decided to make them into lemon curd.

I have used this recipe before so knew it was good and with it being a microwave recipe it is super simple too.

All you need are a couple of lemons, sugar, eggs and butter et voila simple lemon curd.

You can spread it on toast or like me sandwich between two Victoria sponges and add a lemon glacé icing to the top for a gorgeous lemon drizzle cake.

Would love to hear any other left over or use up recipes you may have.

20 March 2013

Post Office Misery

This wasn’t the blog post I had planned for today, but it just so happens that this has riled me so much I had to put it into words.

It all started on a cold Wednesday morning, it was ok though my parents had my daughter for a few hours. I set off on my errands and thought about a nice hot cuppa on my own to gather my thoughts.

First stop was a trip to the Post Office, this was my first mistake as I decided to go to the large one in Nottingham City Centre.

In I walked and looked around at this shiny new looking Post Office, to be greeted by a ‘what are you wanting to do’, ‘erm post a parcel’ I replied.

‘Down the end’ I was sternly advised, OK and off I walked to the end looking lost and bewildered. I couldn’t see anyone, I was looking at two walls of machines.

A woman walked faster past me to a guy tucked behind a desk at the end of the room, he advised her she needed to use a machine, off she walked chuntering to herself too.

Off I trotted to a machine, now might I add I am no technophobe but this is something you can’t risk getting wrong, otherwise the person at the other end will be penalised and this was a business parcel.

Faced with a barrage of questions I eventually got the point of paying and getting my sticker for the parcel, ‘how are you getting on’ a patronising voice bellowed from behind.

‘Does the fact I have to do this myself mean it is cheaper’ I asked?

‘Well you don’t get a discount for going through the self checkout at the supermarket do you’ was a rather rude reply.

Fair enough I thought, but the fact of the matter is at the supermarket I put my basket down, scan my items put my card in and pay.

With this I had to answer the following questions:

Is it a letter or a packet? Check if it goes through the slot on the postage checker.
Is it worth over £46?
Do you want it signed for?
Do you want it there the next day?
Do you want proof of postage? If so enter the postcode and house number!
Pay with your card.
Take the sticker from the machine and place on the parcel.
Put the parcel somewhere (not sure where, the grumpy guy took it off me)
Get someone to stamp the proof of postage.

So this is supposed to be quicker apparently and according to the guy who served me is better than waiting in line.

Whatever Post Office and Royal Mail, this is shambolic, some things are meant to be done by a human.

And finally to the total arse of a guy who ‘helped’ me, no it wasn’t the snow that had made me and by the sounds of it everyone else miserable it was poor service!

I just wanted it to be stress free, I just wanted to post a parcel. I am closing down my business and this is one thing I am thankful I won't have to do any more.

A nice post next time I promise!

19 March 2013

Am I A Charity Shop Addict?

Of late I have become a little bit addicted to going into charity shops, part of me is excited to go to work on a Thursday/Friday just to get a look round them on my own! How sad am I!!!

I am looking for stuff I like but that might be worth more than I am paying, not sure if this is the business woman in me.

I also enjoy the thrill of finding a dusty bit of unloved glass or ceramic and giving it a good clean and watching it gleam and return to it's former glory.

This week has seen me purchase this gorgeous little milk jug by Biltons 1912 Ltd, I love the colour and the handle is so art deco.

These gorgeous little dishes are so pretty, the two back ones are French the front one is probably an English sundae dish, I love the ting it makes when you tap it with your nail. The colours are divine and they were so cheap I just couldn't resist!

I found this original Tupperware bowl with lid in another shop, it was only 40p and I am sure it would have cost a lot more than this back in the day! I loved the colour and have been using it for eggs when I am baking.

And finally, I don't think these are original as they don't feel heavy enough but I think for my food pictures these Falcon(ish) trays were only 30p each so I just got for the usage value.

There aren't many times any more I don't go out to the shops and not come back with something, I could keep on posting pictures.

Pretty sure I have a problem, maybe I should start a Charity Shops Anonymous group?!?

18 March 2013

Goodbye Little Business

Sorry I have been so quiet this last week but I have taken the decision to close down my business, part of me is sad and part of me is relieved.

It has given me so much in the way of making friends, meeting Theo Paphitis, as well as getting me through a miscarriage by giving me something to keep my mind occupied.

But times are tough and since my daughter was born it just hasn't got the attention it deserves so sadly it must go.

I have a few other ideas and projects in the pipeline and for now I have to concentrate on finalising the stock and accounts.

A lovely friend said to me "Hold you head high, at least you tried which is more than many, many people do. You had the courage to start a business and in different economic circumstances I know you would be a huge success"

It is comments like this I have needed that have helped me to get on and do what needs to be done, I know in the end it will be OK. 

With that I thank you and if you do have a little one aged 0-2 years then I can definitely recommend a little shop called Baby Duck Shop, enter CLOSING at the checkout for 50% off ;)


13 March 2013

My Pretty Spring Themed Cake

At the weekend I decided I needed cake and after seeing a couple of rainbow cakes around I decided to give one ago.

I didn't have time to pop to the cake shop to get some proper gel colours so had to use the silver spoon ones I had already.

The colours didn't come out too wishy washy and it looks really good, covered in a vanilla buttercream against the colours looks so effective.

All you need to do is add some food colouring until you get the colour you want, only problem with some food colourings is they do have a slight taste so you can't use too much, which is why the dark gels are better.

Searching on the internet the ones with proper gel food colours from the cakes shops look really good so I might get some next time I am in.

I really enjoyed making this and even got to use the new icing turntable I found in a charity shop, it works so well and makes icing super easy.

Happy times, and with spring getting ever better I will be dusting out the yellows and flower plungers to make some spring inspired cupcakes.


11 March 2013

Villa Carton Knight Costume Review

We were recently sent a knight costume to review from Villa Carton, my son loves knights so this was perfect for him.

You get to colour the costume in yourself so you can have it whatever colour you like, although the set only comes with four colours. This isn't a problem really but for the knight costume a grey would have been good.

My son is nearly five and he did struggle a little with colouring the fabric as it moved, but this gave me an opportunity to sit down and get creative with him.

The lines are really thick so it means you don't go over them too much, so especially good for the younger children. One thing I did notice, if you got pen on the lines and then brushed your hand on it, the pen rubbed off on you. Although it washed off my hands fine, it does say on the packet that it doesn't come off clothes so definitely wear scruffy clothes or an apron.

Where my son went over the same section a lot the ink did go through the cloth so I would advise putting something underneath, we used our ever useful Messymatz.

This outfit is perfect for every day dress up and it gives the child something to be proud of and they can decorate as they please.

Once finished you have to iron and then it is washable and the ink shouldn't run, although I haven't tried yet.

So far I think ours is looking good, with the attention span of a five year old being limited I can see this project taking us a few more days. But I think this is good as it gives him something to do every day after school, obviously an older child would probably finish this quicker with better pen skills too.

The age range is 3-8 and with 10 styles to choose something there is a a costume for every occasion, they include a king, knight, police, super hero, pirate, queen, princess, nurse, oriental dancer and geisha, it also includes the head gear which I think sets off the whole outfit.

Priced at just under £15 these come in very reasonably priced for something that will be unique to them.

Thank you to Manon at Villa Carton for sending us this to review, we have so far had lots of fun with it.

NB. We were sent this for the purpose of the review, all words and opinions are my own.

10 March 2013

Fleet Street Kitchen Review

A couple of weeks ago my family and I were invited to a preview lunch at a gorgeous new restaurant and bar in Birmingham.

The Fleet Street Kitchen is one of the most unusual restaurants I have been too in a while, with the Barbacoa grill being the main focal point of the room.

In a relaxed environment you can enjoy fabulous fresh food cooked to your liking, as neither of us were drinking we had virgin Mojitos.

As we went on a Sunday I opted for the Sunday lunch, the meat was cooked perfectly and the vegetables were divine covered in the all important gravy which tasted great.

My husband chose a 35 day dry aged Dexter beef rib eye with coffee chipotle BBQ sauce, the sauce was tasty and had a really lovely spicy tang to it.

Although they don't have a specific children's menu you can have any of the mains half portion and half price so we chose the chicken and chips for my son and daughter.

Starters were all great sizes too so you could just have a couple of those for the kids, we chose the baby back ribs and potted duck which were both fabulous.

High chairs were available and at no point were we made to feel uneasy about children wanting to go and look at the kitchen and a general walk around.

The whole atmosphere was wonderful and it felt like a kitchen come dining room with a modern twist.

Finally pudding, personally I would go for a pudding over the starter but since we were there to try everything, I went for the whole 3 courses. I decided to have the Eton Mess, my husband had the chocolate pot and my son went for ice cream. The manager sent over some melted chocolate and raspberries for the children which was a lovely touch.

And finally the downstairs, although it wasn't in full use yet the vibe we got from it was elegant with an edgy feel from the spray paintings on the wall.

The booths were great and the range of spirits suited mine and my husbands unusual and sometimes expensive tastes.

You can't tell from the picture but this door is huge!
Spray painted ladies on the walls.
Gorgeous chandeliers offered a luxurious feel
I really loved the kitchen feel and it's the great setting place for a lunch with friends or a post work meal and drink.

The staff were friendly and helpful and overall we had a great meal.

NB. The meal was given to us free of charge in return for our thoughts on the restaurant, all words and images are my own.

6 March 2013

The One with the Lipstick

I recently read an article about a lady who at 35 decided to start wearing lipstick, I had been thinking about it for a while anyway and she seemed so happy with it I thought I am going to go into town and buy some.

With an evening out planned it seemed like the perfect opportunity, so off I went into Nottingham.

After a question on twitter mentioning MAC being good and no one in Boots seeming to care about me I headed into MAC, the lady I was served by was wonderful and instantly made me feel at ease.

I explained I hadn't worn lipstick in close to 17 years and had no idea what I wanted apart from something red and bright.

I tried on a few and then finally decided on MAC Red, it looked stunning and made me feel so different, I was probably too excited about a lipstick but I don't care.

So imagine my disappointment when I got home and sat at the bottom of the stairs to open it and try it on and it fell out of the case onto the carpet, pretty sure I heard my heart sink at the same time.

Never mind I thought, I was going in to town later for a show and could pop in and change before I went, so off me and my husband went, I explained what had happened and the lady got another one out and checked it for me.

At this point I was sure they had mixed them up and were going to hand me the wrong one but she assured me this was the right one and I put it back in my bag and off I went.

I had a few minutes to spare before the show started so I popped to the ladies and went to put it on, to my horror they had given me the original broken one back. To say my heart sank even lower was an understatement, I never even new it was possible to be so disappointed in a lipstick but this wasn't about the lipstick this was about an experience ruined by the incompetence of a sales person.

I am so gutted now I don't even know if I want to keep them and I certainly don't know if I can face going to see one of their team to have a make-up makeover session.

This was about a new me, a new experience and it was all ruined by a broken bloody and expensive lipstick. *Sigh*

Now someone slap me and tell me its just a bloody lipstick!

I can't go back into town today as I am taking my brother out to see my grandparents, so I am sending hubby into town instead....will be sure to let you know how it turns out this time!

Updated - My hubby managed to go back into the shop and speak to the lady who looked after me yesterday. She exchanged the lipstick and gave her apologies, an asset to the team :D

4 March 2013

Vintage Loveliness

This week I have been on a mission to make up for some Kilner Jars I stupidly left behind in a charity shop a few weeks back!

I have found a couple of gorgeous pieces in the charity shops, in fact some felt so cheap I had to give the lady more than she wanted!

First up were these gorgeous doilies, I needed some for a little table the speaker in the lounge is resting on and I found a few so I bought them all. With a few balls of wool the woman said give her 49p! I was gobsmacked and only had a £1 coin so gave her that and told her to keep the change.

Next and I almost didn't pick this up but considering how much they are new it was actually a bargain, this rather fabulous boxed Tala Icing Turntable was just £2.50. I adore the original box and that it is made in Great Britain.

And finally, I love Vero Moda stuff and have picked a couple of pieces up from this particular charity shop, they stay looking great. Another bargain at just £2.99.

I love all these things and am becoming quite the charity shop obsessive, hoping to find some bargains to adorn the house.

Linking up to Magpie Monday over on Me and My Shadow.

Me and My Shadow