Wednesday, 29 February 2012

So pretty!

A handbag is a vital part of any women's daily routine, I would even consider it a kind of security blanket in some respects.

Looking at one of my favourite handbags this morning, it prompted me to do this post and question 'what is in my handbag?'.

My bag of the moment is the Cath Kidston Briar Rose Day Bag...

I love it! I am definately a big bag girl and the thing about this bag is that it is like a tardis :)

It is crammed full of essentials that I need throughout the day, still with room to spare. Here are the basics...

Cath Kidston Candy Flower Green purse, Bath flowers pass holder, varierty of make-up, deodorant, my favourite perfume - Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, tissues and leather gloves (it is cold in the mornings you know!)

In addition to the above pictured essential items, I also carry around the following:

- my keys
- my Blackberry
- earphones for Blackberry
- scissors
- sellotape
- pritt stick
- couple of pens and highlighter
- mini sewing kit
- spare bracelet and earrings (in case I need to instantly change my look)
- standby chocolate
- inhaler
- spare neck scarf
- couple of memory sticks

There is often further additions but I would consider all of the above as permanent residents in my bag.

There are a multitude of sneaky pockets and zips in all Cath Kidston bags which I love. Everything has to have a place in my life and to have a bag that enables this too is fantastic!

I would like to thank Cath Kidston for their creative and practical bags which makes going about my day-to-day activities a lot easier whilst being fashionable too!

So what kind of bag to you use and do you carry as much as I do?

Disclosure: I was not paid to write this review and all photos are my own.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Cookie Monster Cupcakes

These are fabulous!! I had a Cookie Monster teddy when I was younger (not sure where it is now though - probably hidden away in the parent's loft somewhere) but last time I saw it, you could still make out the remnants of biscuits where I had repeatedly rammed them in his mouth pretending that he was eating them!! haha

Someone on twitter posted a picture of these cakes and then passed my the recipe link.

I am planning to make them at the weekend but if you want to beat me to the kitchen here's the recipe...


  • 12 Cupcakes (shop bought or homemade)

  • Frosting
  • The frosting is a vegetable shortening and icing sugar mixture. You could use butter cream but the frosting is pure white and colours beautifully. You would need to double the buttercream you usually use for 12 cupcakes

  • Blue colouring - use a good one for the best colour

  • Coconut - dyed blue to match the frosting

  • 12 Choc chip cookies

  • Melted white and dark chocolate to make the eyes.

  • Method:
    1. Use an icecream scoop full of frosting to get the right shape and then dipped in it coconut. Press the coconut on and tidy up the shape.
    2. When the frosting has firmed a little cut a slice out near the bottom and push a cookie in (you may have to trim the cookie little depending on the size of your cookies). Or make his mouth further up and put cookie pieces around it.
    3. The eyes are made by using melted white to make a circle and then dark chocolate in the middle. Don't make them all exactly the same - it adds a bit of character to the finished cakes!
    4. Simple - very messy and lots of fun!
    Reading the recipe, it's a little vague but I'm pressuming that the 'frosting' is made up by mashing and mixing the cupcakes with the butter cream mixture... what do you think??
    Anyways, they look great :)

    Wednesday, 8 February 2012


    A while ago, I went to a big craft fair up at Olympia or was it Ally Pally?? can't remember it was that long ago! but I was inspired by a variation on a great craft... knitting with big needles. We're talking B.I.G. needles. The type that you couldn't really wip out of your oversized bag on the train in fear of not only taking someone's eye out but possibly knocking their head off!!

    Here they are... (that's not me by the way!)

    I was intrigued and I wanted to give this new found craft a go but I didn't want to pay the extortionate amount for the giant needles, so I set about a plan to create my own.

    I purchased a broom handle for a couple of pounds and chopped it in half. Then I used a stanley knife to sharpen one end of each of my 'sticks' to a rounded point. I then needed something on the other end to stop the wool slipping straight off, so I got hold of some oversized elastic bands and wound them round the ends very tight. Perfect! I now had my own giant needles.

    And this is what I created...

    It's folded in half but it is a heavy throw to go on a bed. Its wide enough to span the width of a bed but is only two foot deep. I had originally given it to my mother-in-law who admitted that it doesn't get the use that it should.
    My plan is to expand...

    I discovered that there is a wool shop in town, Sandcastle Yarns, that for some reason I had never ventured to before (maybe because it is a fifteen minute walk from the high street) but I decided to have a lunchtime walk today to check it out and get some new yarn for the throw...


    The treasure trove...

    Wool, fabric and threads...

    Fabric and threads...

    More wool (oh and fabric)...

    Buttons galore... (I restrained myself, I was coming for yarn!) 

    So, this is the little stash that I purchased. I was specifically looking for the textured variety. I was quite amazed and the variety of craft materials that they sold, I will definately be going again :)

    I've added them to my existing stash, which is now ready to let the throw extension commence.

    I would definately recommend Sandcastle Yarns to anyone remotely insterested in craft. A fabulous find :)

    Vintage Singer sewing machine - part deux

    Further to my post last Friday, I went on a mission to collect my acquired 'second' vintage Singer sewing machine (again from Freecycle).

    And its a cracker too but in a different way. It's in a different style case, looks slightly more modern. It's an electric model but only a year younger than my other model - 1951. And it comes with loads of little bits and pieces...

    It came with the adapter, a Singer mat, a shelf attachment, the original 'tools' box and little instruction manuals and a handwritten tag (I can only decipher a little of the scrawlled writing though).

    I love both these machines already and although it seems silly having two sewing machines, they can now become part of my future family history :)

    Friday, 3 February 2012

    Two buses...

    Well not quite buses, sewing machines instead... let me explain.

    Some of you may know that I got myself a little sewing machine a few weeks back which I must say does the job required.

    But at the time, I was also keeping my eyes peeled and hunting on ebay, freecycle and in charity shops too for a bigger, sturdier and more substantial piece of equipment.

    Everything on ebay was going for more than I wanted to pay, the charity shops were dry and there was nothing occuring on the freecycle groups.

    Then one day last week out the blue I had an email pop up on the blackberry. This email was a freecycle listing alert. It read 'Singer Sewing machine...'. I didn't ask what state it was in, what age it was or whether it even worked... I just said 'Can I have it please?' as quick as my fingers could type.

    The nice people - Chris and Jules - replied straight away saying it was mine and could collect when I liked.

    When I found their house, they kindly invited me in and told me that it was her grandmother's but it was taking up room and they were never going to use it and didn't even know if or how it worked.

    They produced the sewing machine upon which I desperately tried to contain my squeals of delight and try not to jump up and down with excitement.

    And her she is...

    Original cover/case (no damage at all) and the original key on a little bit of string... can you imagine my excitement?? (nearly wet my pants!)


    And I discovered a sneaky hideaway with all these little goodies too :)

    The only downside is that I'm not quite sure how to use it yet! There is a serial number on the side though - EG158798 and from the Singer website I have managed to get a certificate confirming that it was made in 1950. Not as old as what I thought but that doesn't matter at all, tis lovely! not sure how to track down the right instruction manual though... any suggestions?

    Then... on Wednesday morning whilst waiting to get into work, I was browsing the t'internet on my Blackberry when another freecycle email popped up... 'Various household items, including... vintage singer sewing machine...' I'm thinking - MINE! prompt email sent straight back and I am collecting it this weekend!!! Again, not too sure what condition this one will be in but who cares right?!

    I can't collect sewing machines though, can I?... the house isn't big enough :)

    Thursday, 2 February 2012

    Fur coat sadness :(

    So after finding my total bargain of a real fur coat on ebay, it arrived today.

    I was so excited. I carefully opened the packaging and it was packaged well and the feel was glorious!

    But... I lifted the coat up (obviously aware and expected the couple of splits on the sleeves that were disclosed) and to my dispair I discovered the the sleeves seem completely shot! Where the skin is so dry it is just cracking and spliting :(

    Not sure if this is an over-exageration on my part but I'm not sure if they can be repaired, what do you think?

    I have read how to repair and I was feeling quite confident with the couple of repairs that I was expecting but I am really not sure what to do now... the skin seems so dry in the sleeves it appears to just crack and come apart. Was thinking about some how gluing a separate material lining to the back of the sleeve's fur as I know if I stitch the splits another part will just go.

    Has anyone had any experience with repairing furs? What would you recommend? I really don't want to have to take to a furrier as that is going to cost a bomb!

    Help me restore this wonderful coat...