Five Fave Things - Feb 2018

I thought I would use this post to share with you a few things that I am currently loving, the idea for this post came from Penny over at A Penny for Them, she has a fab blog so why don't you pop over to take a peek and say hello? Anyway I think I might try and make this a regular monthly post, let me know what you think?

1. Crochet
There has been a bit of a flurry of new babies recently so I have been busy creating crocheted blankets to gift to them. I follow a very simple pattern called C2C (corner to corner) which is basically the same stitch repeated over and over again which creates a triangle shape. Once you have reached a width that you are happy with you carry on with the same stitch but instead of increasing at the start and finish of each row you decrease to fill in the opposite side of the triangle to create a square blanket. I started making these blankets about a year ago after getting frustrated with the more traditional granny square style crochet. I had seen a friend use this pattern so I found a You Tube video by Bella Coco and hey presto within a very short time I was up and running. I am now very confident in using this stitch so I am planning on trying to teach myself something new in the coming months.
2. Vlog Watching
This is something I mentioned before in one of my Florida planning posts and its since become a firm favourite in our house. Tom and I don't watch much television at all as there is hardly ever anything on that we want to watch. We are not into reality type programs, soaps or crappy Saturday night tv (in fact anything with Ant & Dec is an absolute nono for us - don't hate me!! lol). There is the odd series, documentary or film that we will flag up but other than that we tend to just have music on in the background. We started watching Florida vlogs last year and have now built up quite a list of people to follow, at present our faves are The Tim Tracker, That Florida Guy, Damian & India, See Shaun Vlog, Krispy S'Mores, L&R Dreaming and Louandhan. There are also a few new additions to my playlist that we have yet to start watching, just waiting for current selection to finish before we start
getting to know Joe and Donna, The Reeves Family Adventures and Will & Lelly. I follow most of these people on social media too and what a lovely, friendly and helpful bunch they are.

3. New Camera
I had been hankering after a new DSLR for quite some time and I had my eye on the Canon 750D although I had been a little reluctant to take the plunge as it was somewhat out of my budget. I did some research and was considering a cheaper camera but I kept coming back to this baby time after time. Originally I had seen it vastly reduced in the lead up to Christmas but of course afterwards it went back up in price. Anyway I had been watching online for a deal to come up and lo and behold last week Currys came up with an offer that was too good for me to resist. I have yet to give it a good try but my first impressions are that I love it! Now I just need to find a good tutorial on how to get the best out of it, could do with some better weather too!
4. Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish
I am a bit of a skincare junkie and over the years I have tried loads of different products, from High St chemists to high end designer brands you name it and I will have probably tried it. Like a lot of people I was rather taken with wipes and micellar waters, being so quick and easy to use they fast became somewhat of a staple bathroom product for a while. However I started to notice that my skin was looking a little dull and tired and I realized that whilst wipes and waters may be quick and easy they are really not good for your skin (or the environment) and neither will effectively remove all the daily grime and make up that can build up. I decided that I needed to invest a little more time into my skin so I reverted back to a routine that includes using a cleansing balm to get rid of make up followed by a cream cleanser to remove the last of everything (FYI on days when I have little or no make up I don't bother with the balm). At present my fave cleanser is the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish, its something I have used in the past and I have to say I now have a whole new love for it. Thanks to the naturally active ingredients my skin is looking and feeling so much better, its radiant, hydrated and nourished. Yes this kind of routine takes a little longer but its totally worth it to have a happy and healthy face.
5. Life
This one feels like a bit of a cliché but as I am getting older I really do feel like I am starting to appreciate everyday life a whole lot more than I ever did before. Life is not always a bed of roses nor is it full of the perfect Instagram shots but on the whole I am healthy and happy and I have a fabulous husband by my side who loves and supports me in everything I do. I used to get upset and stressed over the smallest things but not any more! I now try not to let things get on top of me or stress me out for no reason. Things that I have no control over or people that cannot be kind or supportive are not worth the energy and upset they can cause. Life is too short not to be happy and whilst I appreciate that we cant all be happy and jolly all of the time I do try to find something positive in each day. I refuse to let other peoples negativity get me down anymore, this is MY life and I will live it doing the things that make me happy.

Love and hugs, Jane x

A Little February Update

Hello and welcome to another post! We are now over half way through February so I thought I would share a little update on what's been happening with me since my last post.

To be honest nothing that exciting has been going on, the cold and wet weather has been keeping me firmly inside and behind closed doors. Is it just me or does this Winter feel like it has been going on forever?? Anyway its not really been that much of a problem as I am continuing on with my mission to declutter and re-vamp the flat. I currently have a pile/box/bag of stuff that needs to be taken to the charity shop and I have been quite ruthless and binned a load of stuff too. The overhaul is not something that is going to be complete anytime soon but slowly I am getting there.

I did venture out the weekend before last to meet up with one of my lovely Twitter friends. We went to Kingston to do some shopping and to have a spot of lunch. It was Nat's birthday so we also had coffee and cake to get us started off. We had a lovely few hours mooching around the shops, and oohing and ahhing over all the pretty things in John Lewis. I was very restrained and only bought a new address book and a couple of beauty bits from the L'Oréal counter.
I finally finished the C2C crochet blanket that I have been working on and I am really pleased with the way its turned out. This blanket is a gift for the lovely Jen over at Beauty Junkie London who's first baby is due very soon now. The colours are so soft and pretty and although there are some blues in the yarn its neutral enough to work for either a boy or a girl. I have been following Jen for many years now so its my absolute pleasure to be able to gift this to her. I love making these blankets and I tend to have at least one on the go at all times as they are so quick and easy to make. The next one I have as my current WIP is a plain blue one in a very soft chunky baby yarn which is a gift for a friend in Scotland who has recently had a baby.
As Tom was at work last week on Valentines Day we saved our celebrations for the weekend. I took a half days leave on Friday and we went down to Bluewater to do a little shopping. We both had some vouchers for Christmas to use up although in the end we didn't get that much at all. I got a new handbag from Monsoon and Tom got a new backpack from Timberland, we used up our joint John Lewis voucher on a new bin for the kitchen - how very adult of us!! Ha, ha. As we already had a bottle of fizz in the fridge we treated ourselves to a M&S Chinese meal deal rather than go out for dinner which I have to say was really nice indeed. As nice as it is to go out for a meal its also very nice indeed to stay home in the warm and in comfy clothes - I think I am officially getting old!!
The coming weekends are going to be a little busier for us so that's something to look forward to. We have plans to meet up with some friends as well as a family party and the Country music festival at the O2. I also have a Scentsy party this coming Friday which I need to get organized for, the new season scents and catalogues are almost upon us so I need to start sending those out and doing some promotions. If you would like to know a little more about the Scentsy home fragrance system and how it all works please feel free to drop me a line.

As always thanks for stopping by and reading.

Love and hugs, Jane

Florida Planning Part 3 - Its all about the Ears!

The official Disney ears perfectly complemented by a Minnie Mouse cupcake!
Our trip to Florida and Walt Disney World later this year has me excited for many things but none more so than planning my outfits and accessories. For me the ultimate Disney accessory has to be a pair of Minnie ears and the prettier they are the better. I remember the very first pair I had when I went to Florida in 1993, there was only one option back then and they were made of hard shiny plastic with a red dotty cotton bow in the middle. They were on a plastic head band that had 'teeth' along the inside of the band so it would grip and stay on your head. The ruddy things pinched and hurt like crazy and by the end of the day I had a major headache but I LOVED wearing them.

Fast forward to 2017 and the planning for our trip to Disneyland California, the search for new ears was on! From my research I knew that there were would be a lot more choice on offer in the parks than there was in '93 and I knew that I wanted a pair of official Disney ears but I also wanted something a little more special and unique that only I would have. Of course for this kind of thing the best place to look is Etsy and after a couple of quick searches I had thousands of pairs of ears in front of me to choose from. I was blown away by what was on offer, there are some very talented and creative people out there. Whatever style, colourway, fabric or even character you like there are ears for you. I eventually choose a pair from the Made for Mouse shop, they are made from a pale denim type fabric with a white star design printed on it with a red sparkly bow in the centre and red/clear gemstones around the edge of each ear. Nicki was an absolute dream to work with and I was really impressed with my ears when they arrived, they looked so much nicer in real life than they did in the pictures she sent me. Because these ears are on a thin band they are so light, comfortable and very easy to wear all day long (just remember to take them off before you go on rides like BTM or Splash Mountain!).
So with Florida booked for 2018 it was time to get looking again, a three week trip means that I am going to need several pairs of new ears right? The searching began and pretty soon I found some new people to follow on Instagram/Twitter and Etsy. As soon as I saw the ears below I knew I had to have them, they are so pretty and unique, they are the Four Parks ears and they came from Hannah Marie Magic. They are double sided and each ear has a design that features a different park, hence the 4 parks name. One has fabric to represent Spaceship Earth in Epcot and its opposite side has Cinderella's castle on. On the reverse the ears have the Tree of Life for Animal Kingdom and the Hollywood Studios Mickey water tower. They are super sparkly and I love that they have a bow on each side making them look super pretty from the front and the back. I think I am going to make these the ears I wear on our first day in the parks.
The second pair I got were again from Made for Mouse and I bought these to wear on the night we go to Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Party. The original pair on Nicki's page had more green to them so I asked if I could swap that out for red and Nicki was more than happy to oblige. The centre of the bow even has a little Mickey shaped candy cane wreath!! I am so looking forward to wearing these, a Christmas themed Disney party and parade complete with free hot chocolate and cookies is like my idea of heaven!
The most recent pair of I ears I got came from a shop called Chasing Childhood who I first found on Twitter. I was immediately taken with the designs as they are quite different to the usual round ear style that is more commonly available. The original pair I picked had a tiara/crown in the centre instead of a bow and as much as I loved it I was a little worried it may be a bit too much for me. The shop owner said she could change this and after discussing several different options we went for a bow in the same silver sequin fabric as the ears. Karina said she would add some more gemstones and sparkles to make them extra special totally unique to me which I was more than happy for her to do. I was so excited when she sent me a message to say they had shipped, and as I hadn't seen the finished product I couldn't wait to receive them. They arrived super fast and oh my word they are gorgeous and so very me!! I know exactly what I am going to wear these with and I cant wait to have my photo taken in front of the castle wearing them. I may be 50 something but you are never to old to be a Princess right??

Honestly if you are heading to any of the Disney parks and you are looking for some custom made ears you should definitely check out the Etsy shops I have mentioned. Not only are the ladies super talented they are also really helpful in getting you exactly the kind of design that you want. I am not supposed to be buying anymore ears before we go away but I have a sneaking suspicion that at least one more pair may be heading my way before we go - watch this space!!

As always thanks for stopping by and reading.

Love and hugs, Jane x


Finally its February

After what's felt like the longest month ever January is over and we have a new month ahead of us - yay! We are another month closer to the lighter, longer and warmer days, I have seriously had enough of Winter and the cold now. I noticed just the other day that the daffodil's outside the flat have started to peek their gorgeous green stems through the ground so hopefully it wont be long before there is a lovely splash of colour outside to brighten things up and herald the arrival of Spring.

I finally took myself back to Weight Watchers after not having been for most of the month. Despite all my good intentions to stay on track I just couldn't get motivated, which I think was mostly caused by me just feeling a bit flat and run down for most of Jan. Something finally clicked again last week as I started to feel and see the effects of my eating habits being so erratic and unhealthy and I knew it was time to head back to WW and face the scales. Fortunately it wasn't as bad as I had feared and the gain was only 1lb, now I just need to get myself back on track and focus on eating well. Here's hoping that I can see the benefits of that at my next weight in.

Tom has been doing lots of overtime again so that has meant I have had plenty of time to myself. I have been working on a couple of crochet projects and I have also spent some time in my craft room playing with pretty papers. I have now finished the Disney section of our 2017 holiday album which makes me happy and sad at the same time as I have loved doing these pages. Now I just need to scrap the Vegas photos to complete the whole album. I am booked on a scrapbooking retreat in October of this year so I think I will save these for then as it will be easier to have a whole project to work on rather than odd photos. Between now and then I will work on all the other outstanding pictures I have from the last year or so. I am also going to have another good clear out of my room and try to re-organize my papers & embellishments by using different ways of storing them. I am planning to do a separate post on this/my craft room at a later date. Below are a couple of pictures of the last 2 layouts I completed.

This weekend just gone was a lovely one. On Saturday we went down to Ramsgate so we could go and meet up with our very dear friends Claire and Len and their boys Stan and Ted. We went to the Canterbury Bell for lunch where we enjoyed a lovely catch up over some very yummy food. I had chicken and waffles which was served with fries, slaw and a maple syrup and chilli sauce, even just thinking about it now is making my mouth water it was that good. Everyone else enjoyed their food too and it was a clean plates all round situation which is always a good sign. After lunch we headed to Herne Bay where we had an overnight stay at the Premier Inn as we were going to a surprise party to celebrate our friend Eddies 60th birthday. We had a nice evening and the hotel was clean, comfy and quiet and we both slept really well despite Toms Fitbit alarm going off a couple of times in the night. We had planned to have a mooch along the seafront in Whitstable on Sunday morning but it was so cold that we didn't bother, instead we just stopped to buy some seafood for our tea and headed to my Mums to collect Daisy.
Freezing cold but still had time to grab a quick selfie!!
Once we were home we just curled up on the sofa and had a quiet chilled out afternoon and evening. Tom watched the rugby while I played at editing some video footage and then we settled down to watch a few more Florida vlogs. Currently we are binge watching Lou and Han who are an English couple who have recently moved to Orlando. Usually all the vlogs we watch are of peoples holidays so its nice to watch some that are from a different perspective.

I hope that you are all well and that you have had a nice weekend, did you do anything  nice or did you just hibernate and stay home in the warm?

Love and hugs, Jane xx