Monday, 29 February 2016

February round up

Wow, where did February go?! Blink and you miss it month lol. Managed a lot of crafting this month and made a HUGE dent in my stash so very pleased. :)
So here is my round up for the month.

Pounds lost - 3

Games completed - 1, Pikmin 2 now finished.

Layouts done - 2

Projects finished - 25 PL style layouts, 18 secret projects, 4 mini books, 10 gifts for friends!!

Cross stitch done
- Um, none lol.

Books read:
A dark dark wood - Ruth Ware
Blurb - Nora hasn't seen Clare for ten years. Not since the day Nora walked out of her old life and never looked back.
Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen party arrives. A weekend in a remote cottage - the perfect opportunity for Nora to reconnect with her best friend, to put the past behind her.
But something goes wrong.
Very wrong.

I started reading this in Waterstones and was surprised to see it some cheap on Amazon. It caught my attention very quickly and while some bits felt a little unneccesary and coincidental it was a good read. There was enough suspense to keep me guessing but it wasn't dragged out enough to make me stop caring iykwim. Shorter than most books I read I finished it quite quickly.

The chameleon - D.S Mitchel.
Blurb - It’s important to take stock of your life…………
Anna Bright has just learned the biggest lesson of all. In a coma and unable to help herself, she is desperate to wake and prove her ex-boyfriend’s innocence. Anna is forced to listen to the world make up events that didn't really happen, and she has no choice but to examine her life and the events that brought her here, to this hospital bed, as a silent and helpless victim. At the mercy of Pam, a seemingly callous and uncaring nurse, nothing is ever as it seems. Will Anna wake in time to save James from prison? Or will the truth remain locked inside her, still and silent? Does James even deserve to walk free?

There was a LOT of swearing in this one. I'm not usually bothered by swearing but there was so much I found myself skimming the bits where the guy was just yelling abuse at his girlfriend. That said I read this in 3 nights. I wanted to know what had happened, what would happen, why etc. It may be a frustrating read for some, why does Anna keep going back when her boyfriend is so dreadful? But having been on the recieving end of domestic abuse I though it was actually pretty accurate of how easy it is to slip into that role. Well worth a read.

Dying eyes - Ryan Casey
Blurb - With the Christmas and New Year chaos out of the way, it's time for the Preston Police Department to put their feet up and return to normality.
But for Detective Brian McDone, there is no respite from the frenzy. An unidentified young woman is found brutally murdered in a seedy section of the city, her body laced with bruises, her sharp fingernails digging into her palms. Her eyes are staring up at something in pure fear.
Nobody knows who she is.
As Brian and his team begin to piece together the clues, the answers lead him to places he would least expect. The further Brian digs, one question soon becomes apparent: who can he trust? The answer, it seems, may be life-threatening.

Mixed feelings on this one. The actual crime, who did it, why, how they were discovered etc was interesting and kept me reading. That said I didn't like the characters at all. Brian seemed like a whiny kid, Cassie a bit of a cheerleader and the other police officers just seemed odd. Don't think I'd read another in this series.

The postcard killers - James Patterson
Blurb - NYPD detective Jacob Kanon is on a tour of Europe's most gorgeous cities. But the sights aren't what draw him - he sees each museum, each cathedral, and each cafe through the eyes of his daughter's killer.
Kanon's daughter, Kimmy, and her fiance were murdered while on holiday in Rome. Since then, young couples in Madrid, Salzburg, Amsterdam, Berlin, Athens and Paris have been found dead. Little connects the murders, other than a postcard sent to the local newspaper prior to each attack.
Now Kanon teams up with the Swedish reporter, Dessie Larsson, who has just received a postcard in Stockholm - and they think they know where the next victims will be..

I love James Patterson and this was no exception. The killers were interesting, their motives and how they carried out the murders has depth and reason and the whole story seemed to flow together well rather than some more disjointed ones I've read recently.

So epic fail on the cross stitch this month. But done well on crafting :)

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Mothers day for my Mum

I'm a bad daughter. It's mothers day next weekend and I'm off with my friends leaving Mum at home with Mark and the kids.
To be fair I didn't realise it was mothers day at the time, plus Im a Mum myself so I'm allowed to have a nice mothers day too.
Mum's not actually upset, shes fine with it of course :) But I still felt guilty so we had her Mothers day a week early to make up for it.
So we started off with a quick glass of wine and a selfie :) My Dad was nice enough to drive us and pick us up so I could have a drink too.
Considering I've not eaten in 3 days due to illness I'm amazed I wasn't on the floor after the first glass lol.
For Mums gift Id booked for us both to get our nails done.
Didn't start off too great as they didn't have the colour Mum wanted but she picked a purple in the end and they looked lovely. I was a little more adventurous and had these cherry blossoms.
Nails done we went for cocktails and food. Mum drank WAY more than me and was pretty gone by the time Dad came to pick us up lol.
It was a lovely day :) Only the one panicked phonecall from home and Mum really relaxed and enjoyed herself.
Mothers day mission accomplished.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Lucozade fixes everything

Thanks to Sun perks I had free tickets to take the kids to see the Snoopy movie this morning. They were so excited I couldn't let them down to I dragged myself off to see it.
I admit it was a good film. Funny and easy to watch, though I was very happy to be home again.
Determined to beat this tummy bug, and flagging after not eating besides a couple of cookies over the past few days I turned to my Grannys old remedy to pretty much anything. Pjs, curling up on the couch and Lucozade.
Actually seems to be helping lol.
Think Scamp was glad we were home too. He seems to be holding my coat hostage so we don't leave him again, hehe.

Friday, 26 February 2016

Poorly me :(

I'm so bored!
Seriously I'm the worlds worst patient. I've been poorly with a bad tummy for 3 days and it feels like months.
Luckily I'm not often ill. See pain I can deal with. If something hurts, headache, backache etc, I can grit my teeth, pop a paracetamol and get on with it. I HATE feeling sick. Sick, queasy, dizzy, I don't deal well with that at all.
So with not being able to do a huge amount, I've thrown myself into the 'get rid of scraps' quest I've set myself.
So I sorted all papers into 3 piles. Any papers larger than 6x6 went into pile one. This I can use for photo matting, backgrounds in the books and pocket page layouts I'm currently working on.
Pile 2 are all bits smaller than 4x4. I can use this to matt the smaller photos or for die cutting embellishments.
Anything smaller than 4x4 moves into the scraps box to be used as extra bits or to punch shapes from. When I first started this box was overflowing. My aim is to be able to get the lid on for the first time in I don't know how long!
I'm liking this system as its much easier to sort through the smaller piles rather than a huge box and as a result I'm working much faster.
Well I WAS until disaster struck :(
RIP my corner rounder :(
To be fair it's a fair age. I think I got it when I first joined Sarahs cards kits so we're going back at least 6 years. I can still kind of use it without the guide it's just harder and doesn't cut as cleanly.
Oh well I'll make do.
I'll leave you with this charming video I made of my little shadow :)

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Stuff, stuff and more stuff

That seems to be what my house is full of at the moment. it's not like there's anymore stuff than there was a couple of weeks ago and it didn't bother me then but it is REALLY bothering me now. I'm making progress decluttering, but its one of those situations where patience is a virtue.
Unfortunately I don't have much of that patience stuff lol.
As well as delcuttering I've been working on a few mini books, PL style layouts and continuing to make embellishments. It's not as fun as 12x12 layouts but I'm using up SO many scraps and smaller bits of papers so thats a huge plus. Yey!
So past few days have been dull but productive. The kids came home from school yesterday with piles of letters and invitations so the calender is full of appointments now. They have better social lives than me!
So no photos of anything interesting or pretty layouts I've made, here's a photo of the lillies I got for Valintines day instead.
Love having them in the hall, I get hit by the smell every time I enter the house.
Tomorrow is shopping, bills and more sorting. One day I'll be done (probably not but I can dream!)

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Ok so it is Sunday now (well Monday but let just pretend)

Ok so technically as I blog it's Monday as its 1:30. BUT I haven't been to sleep yet so in my mind it's still Sunday, and I'm going to cheat and move this post back to Sunday.
I can't sleep, if you can't guess. Annoying as about 9pm I could barely keep my eyes open but as soon as my head hit the pillow that was it, wide awake! Rather than lying there and willing myself to sleep I gave up, came back downstairs and managed to catch up on some TV and empty the ironing basket. So the time wasn't wasted anyway :)
Today has just raced by, which might be why my brain is having trouble winding down thinking about it, but anyway; Caitlin was off out early this morning as she was off swimming with her friend, Cameron was happily watching TV and I looked around and realised what a MESS my house was.
Don't get me wrong, its not 'Hoarders' level by a long shot but with a small house it just feels like theres so much stuff in it and it can feel a little overwhelming at times. I do declutter on a regular basis but somehow it seems to breed.
So that was it, I started my spring cleaning. 3 bin bags full in the bin, 2 boxes of bits to car boot put into the garage and 2 more bin bags full of clothes and toys for the charity shop I felt much better :)
Like most crafters however my stash is, well a lot. Not by a lot of peoples standards but to me it is and it makes me reluctant to start anything as I just pull more and more out, create a mess and then don't know where to go from there.
Thats what my bed looked like the other night, with just my scraps pulled out and nothing else. Determined to do something about it I've took any scraps smaller than 6x6, and I'm either turning them into die cuts or other embellishments to use. I'm not usually a big fan of this because I panic 'well what if I cut a flower from that yellow paper then discover it would be perfect to cut a star out of it for a layout? Ahhhhhh!!!' but I'm forcing myself to get past this and just cut the bloody stuff. I'm off on a retreat in 2 weeks and I'm aiming to get it all done and organised by then. I've got 5 mini books and lots of PL style layouts to do before then so that should help too.
As a result my desk is currently covered in little boxes full of die cuts, bows and pin wheels. Caitlin wasted no time when she got back from swimming and picked out these bits to make a birthday card for her friend.
I did try and steer her towards slightly more complimenting colours but we only had an hour between swimming to get her bathed, dressed and 2 towns away to the party so I didn't have time to argue too much. She was happy with it anyway so I just kept my mouth shut and stuck it down while she used far more of my Lush bath products than I thought necessary, grrr.
The party was at a roller disco which before now I didn't know exsisted. Caitlin had a great time though so sure we will be going back.
Funnily enough for a girl who took to ice skating like a fish to water she struggled with the roller skates. Bless her though she kept trying, I was close behind catching her as she fell, it was like teaching her to walk again lol.
Luckily she caught on quick enough and it wasn't long before I was shooed away to sit with the other parents.
It was torture! Everytime a kid fell you could see all the Mums wincing, wondering should we go help? Are they ok? Will we just embarrass them? The party only lasted an hour but felt much longer.
The kids all loved it, the parents all felt like we'd been through emotional torture. Fun Sunday night. lol.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Is it Sunday?

I'm sure it's Sunday, the calender says Saturday but it feels like Sunday. :\
Today has been a very chilled out, pj day. I put on my jogging trackies (with Olaf from frozen on of course) when I got up this morning and thats as dressed as I've got today.
I've been cleaning, baking (salted caramel and chocolate cake, yum!) and making scraps into bows and die cuts. I may have got slightly addicted to this so made a box full in the end :) Used up scraps anyway!
I downloaded this book to read when I can :) A week or so ago we went to a Harry Potter event at our local Waterstones. The kids had a great time playing and doing quizzes so I did what a bookworm does when unsupervised in a bookshop. I hid in the corner on the pile of coats and read a book :)
I started this one and loved what I managed to read (before Mark pointed out I was a grown up and had to supervise the children, ugh) so was thrilled when I got a notification from Amazon that it had been reduced from £8 to £1!!
Last night we promised Cameron a family game night. We ended up staying at my Mums with a takeaway however so that was moved to tonight.
Yeah the kids beat us on both Pictionary and Headbands. Though to be fair I'm dreadful at drawing, good at guessing but dreadful at drawing lol. It looks one way in my head but doesn't look the same on paper.
Poor Cam takes after me, Caitlin however is amazing at this game so think she'd win no matter who she played with!
So tomorrow is a busy/dull day. Caitlin is going swimming with her friend so will be entertaining cam in the morning. Then need to drive almost an hour to take Caitlin to a birthday party for the sake of sitting in the car for an hour while she plays at a roller disco, then another hour home.
The things I do for my kids! :p

Friday, 19 February 2016

Half term and SIPIDI

Half term crazyness as usual here. Have managed some crafting though :)
For Valintines day I saw origami hearts on pinterest. Mark has a lot of moments of feeling down so I had the idea to make lots of little paper hearts, each with a memory or reason I love him written inside. That way he has a little jar of happiness for the times he needs it :)
Cute little heart.
and finished jar. :) Mark was touched when I gave it to him so job done!
We don't really 'do' Valintines day so to avoid all the hype we took the kids, dogs and parents for a walk in the woods. Was a really lovely morning. :)
My Mum's dog Poppie is very different from Scamp. She's a girl so for one I think she's smarter ;) for example if we let Scamp off his lead he would probably see something interesting, chase it, then look up and hour later and think 'crap, where am I?!' Poppie will run so far ahead then sit and wait.
Cameron turned this into a game and would run and hide so Poppie had to find him. Kept the kids busy for ages!
So I have actually managed to get a lot of crafting done this week. No 12x12 unfortunatly but I've started another 9 PL style layouts, started 3 mini books and made a load of embellishments too.
So no 12x12 done but lots of little bits and bobs used!
One of the PL style layouts I finished.
This book I did with Caitlin. Mollie came round for a crafting day so I made her a little Bind it all book but Caitlin wanted to use her Stampin up books I bought her last Christmas. Problem was she had drawn a picture of scamp on the front. Mummy and silver paint came to the rescue though and she loved how it looked when finished.
Left to her own devices there would have been a LOT more on this cover, but I managed to convince her less is more ;)
Funnily enough when it came to inside the books she was actually very minimal!

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Love :)

Happy Valintines day everyone :) Our Valintines day is always cursed. Ever since the first one where we had booked a weekend away, but someone stole over a grand from the shop Mark was managing at the time so that was canceled while he investigated. Since then theres been illness' sister drama, cars breaking down in shopping center car parks lol.
This year both the kids have decided to be poorly. Caitlin has a cold, while Cam has swollen tonsils. Granted we didn't have anything big planned anyway but never nice to have poorly babies.
So after a nice walk today to get some fresh air its all about PJs, cuddles and tv today.
Thinking of less poorly times lol, this is a layout I did of Caitlin's birthday earlier in the year.
It's a bit of a change from my usual style but when I saw the paper made up of lots of triangles I knew what I wanted to do with it.
I love these huge wooden shapes, I added some pearl coloured liquid pearls to the heart, and painted the 'Love' gold to make them stand out a little bit more.
Cute little cupcake. :)
Like I said it's different from my usual style, felt so odd to be cutting photos into shapes but I do love the result.
Hope you all have a wonderful Valintines day with no curses!

Friday, 12 February 2016

Reading habits

Reading my friend Julias blog I found a post on her reading habits with a number of questions. I thought it was a really interesting read so copied it for mine :)

Do you have a certain place at home to read?
Sometimes in bed, or if I'm downstairs I'm curled up in the big circle chair in the livingroom.

A bookmark or a random piece of paper?
Most of the time I read from my kindle so if that's the case then neither. If its a paperbook then its whatever I have to hand at the time. More than once it's been a bank card from my pocket then I get very confused where on earth its gone!

Can you stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter or number of pages?
Do people stop mid page?! It has to be at the end of a chapter. It's hard enough to stop reading before I've finished the book let alone stopping midchapter. Just feels so unfinished.

Do you eat or drink while reading?
There is nothing better on a cold day than a book, cake and tea. On a warm day I'll swap the tea for wine and the cake for chocolate though ;)

Do you watch TV or listen to music while reading?

I don't watch tv as it would be a distraction, I do like to listen to acoustic music though. If I listen to music with lyrics I find myself singing along in my head and I lose track of the story. Spotify has a good selection of playlists I like to use.

One book at a time or several at once?
One at a time. If I'm halfway through a book then switch to another I forget what happened in the first. Either that or I start getting them mixed up and start expecting characters from the first book to turn up in the second lol.

Reading at home or everywhere?
Everywhere. I love to travel on buses/trains etc so I can relax with a story. On holiday if I'm not playing with the kids I'll be by the pool or on the balcony reading.

Reading aloud or silently in your head?
In my head. I have been known to growl out loud or scoff if a character annoys me though lol. I lose myself in the story so much I tend to forget where I am so scowling, laughing or saying 'awwww' happen often too. Mark can always tell the general idea of whats happening in the book I'm reading.

Do you ever read ahead or skip pages?
No, I admit I'm temped sometimes when I know it had a twist at the end but I try to resist!

Do you ever write in books?
NO! That's a big no no. I even cringe when I see the kids doing puzzles in their annuals. Puzzle books are ok but if they have any form of story in them then they are for reading in my head.

Hope to see other people answering these :) Always an interesting read.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Happy post and chilling out :)

Been one of those weeks where I don't know where it's gone! Sped by in a flurry of cleaning, appointments and other bits and bobs I guess.
Monday I helped out on Caitlins class trip to Warwick castle. I've never been before so it was new to both of us. A lot of it was closed because of the stormy weather but we all had a great time anyway. :)
Was such a weight off my mind too to see Caitlin with her friends, she's such a popular, easy going kid at school and it was lovely to see. :)
Tuesday was Marks check up in Birmingham which turned out fine. Always a day of worry so that's crossed off the list for the next 3 months at least.
Yesterday was cleaning and having our new oven installed. We have a light in this one so can see the food while it's cooking. Strangely addictive lol.
So busy here, but not really much of substance going on. Lots of cuddles inside from the bad weather, reading watching tv and general family time.
I also got some happy mail. yey! Chocolate through the post, add a little bottle of wine and there's no need to leave the house!
This was from James chocolate treat club Its usually £9 a box but I had a voucher for £3 to try it. In my box were Caramel and Vanilla sea salt discs, salted pretzel slabs, caramalised orange bar and cinnamon and butterscotch.
All where very yum but the cinnamon was amazing! The servings weren't huge, but the quality was lovely.
Is it worth keeping? According to my husband no, but if you ask me one box a month is a nice treat.
Ok so you can get a lot more dairy milk at the corner shop for £9 but the different flavours and high quality is worth it I think. :)

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Challange YOUrself

Wow its that time again already! Start of the month means a new challenge over at Challenge YOUrself.
This month is to create a layout using Ali Edwards, one little word. This is one little word you want to inspire you during 2016, more information can be found here :)
The word I picked was 'Balance'.
Journaling reads:
2105 was a year of extremes. Spending a fortune then scrimping, pigging out then starving myself. I hope to find a better balance in 2016.
I used Like for ever smitten kit and texture paste for the background. I LOVE these gold thickers. :)
There were also huge wooden shapes in the kit, very much 'go big or go home' items so make a very eye catching embellishment.
Wish me luck with the whole 'Balance' thing, can't wait to see what you all come up with!

Wednesday, 3 February 2016


Recently I've been looking at monthly subscription boxes. I love getting happy mail so was looking into trying something new.
I'm guessing as a result of my google searches my inbox has become full of '50% off first month' vouchers and trial offers for these.
I love a bargain :) So we signed up for a couple to test them. One of which was degustabox. The idea behind this is you pay £13 a month and they send you a box of mixed products which have just come on the market to test out. Sounded fun :)
Ours came yesterday. I love parcels with little stickers on :) Doesn't take much to impress me lol.
and this was the contents.
So pros and cons.

- You can try things you might not have bothered with otherwise. In this box there was a bar of chocolate called 'conscious chocolate' which was raw, organic, vegan, hand-made etc etc. Normally I wouldn't have given this a second look in the shop but it was YUM!
- What you get is a surprise. This is a two sided coin of course but it's nice to have a little surprise in the post I think.
- It's cheaper than buying the individual items. The value of all the items in the box was about £20 if memory serves. So if I had paid full price for the box it would be £7 off. There were also some money off vouchers for if I decided to buy the products in store which was a nice bonus.

- What you get is a surprise. We were lucky in that we liked almost everything in the box (the Clarks fruit syrup reminded me of lactulose medication, yuk) however if you're a little fussier this isn't for you.
- You won't get everything advertised. Each month they do a sum up on their website of what they sent out. You don't get everything they list just a selection of it, so you might end up wishing you got someone else's box.
- You don't pick flavours. As above they send different flavours out to different people, I would have prefered the dark chocolate bar rather than the normal for example but you get what you are given.
- Packaging could be better. Our cereal was pretty bashed which isn't too big a deal but I've read of others having smashed jars etc in their boxes.

Will we keep this going? No. For £6 it was a nice change but I don't think the risk is worth £13 a month. I get the feeling we'd end up with items we'd use because we have it, but we wouldn't have bought it iykwim.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016


Quick post as been a long day here. I said I would draw a name out of a hat to pick a winner of some happy mail last week, however with only 3 comments I've decided to send a little something to all 3 people :)
Hope everyones having a good day!

Monday, 1 February 2016

Counterfeit kit

Yey!!!! It's February!! I know it sounds daft but honestly I just feels better January is over and done with.
That said dinner didn't quite go to plan hehe. I was making curry for me and Mark so knowing the kids wouldn't eat it (it was a spicy one) I pulled out a quick ready meal to make for them.
The box said best before 15.05.2016. But when I looked at the pack it said 2015 :\
I think the 2015 date was right :|
So hot dogs and rice it was. Not the best meal ever but kids were happy with it.
As it's the first of the month, that means a new kit to copy over at the Counterfeit kit blog. I took place a lot last year but then on the run up to Christmas I lost track. Shame as it's a great way to use up random bits I have.
This months kit was from Mind the scrap, and is full of pretty colours and arrows.
First were papers. I found it easy to follow along as there was a list with links on the page :) I added a few extra sheets as there didn't seem many in the kit.
Then embellishments. The papers seemed quite muted so I've added in embellishments that are easy to mist or ink so I can add bright colours if I decide to later.
So there is my kit! I was going to get a picture of the papers and embellishments together but was hard enough getting those ones while fending of Scamp trying to sit on everything so I gave up.
He's lucky he's cute!