Crafty goodness…getting the house ready for the big day with One Stop Craft Shop

Ah, I have finally finished all 60 hours of interview transcription, and had the afternoon off that I’d promised myself. Luckily I always have a crafty activity or two to keep me busy so I picked up one of my works in progress and foot to the pedal I quickly felt all festive.

With White Christmas playing gently in the background and two hours to myself I set about looking at the two gorgeous fat quarter bundles I was sent to roadtest by family business One Stop Craft Shop. A crafter’s treasure trove their website stocks a huge range of materials, and hints and tips along the way, great customer service and regular tweets with top tips to boot this is the place to come for a crafty hit!

The two fat quarter packs were a great heavy weight quality and I was impressed by the quality of the design particularly the metallic printed fabric as this can sometimes blur but these were great quality – packaged neatly with ribbons what a treat, I think these FQ packs would make a great gift too!

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I decided to make something to perk up our Christmas table, our first Christmas at home and inspired by napkins and tableware made recently on the Christmas edition of the Great British Sewing Bee I picked out this metallic Christmas tree print in vibrant red.

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And here is the finished article, with three more to follow to make a festive set I measured out 11″ by 11″ and ironed and hemmed with a 1/4 inch hem, two hours and a little pressing later our Christmas table will look really festive and now all that study is out of the way, let the bells ring out for Christmas time!

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I’m planning a patchwork table runner with the complimentary coloured fabrics, watch this space for more on that and check out One Stop Craft Shop too!

Disclaimer: I was sent these products to road test, along with a giant stocking which I’ll be decorating for Joss later this week and showing off soon, all views are my own.

Amazing achievements

Great fun this week, Joss has been learning some of the words from When Santa Got Stuck up the Chimney and Miss Polly Had a Dolly, she’s loved the lights and trees and music and had great fun climbing too.  Jumping in her dolly pram and yelling push mammy really made us all laugh!

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Its hard work preparing for Christmas…

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Enchanted Parks

We married in 2011 and had our reception in Saltwell Park; what a treat to see the Park in a different light this week; Joss and I went with friends to see Enchanted Parks – now in its eigth year but the first I’ve seen the Park is transformed through visual arts, performance, installation and interactive works; sprites, fairies, lights and a gorgeous apothecary set up under a tree, this was a gorgeous night, truly enchanting!

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I enjoyed all of it and the artists involved were so innovative that I wished I could have taken more in, difficult with a toddler, but my favourite was the fragrant flower flame, seeing the rose garden where we had our wedding photos taken lit up and the air scented with ‘heady euphoria’ herbs and incense burned over a flame the idea that the gardeners in the Park feed the fragrant fires through winter to keep the flowers smelling sweet was a magical experience and I wish I could have captured that scent.

Now to take Mr B back to share the magic next year!

My Slimming World Journey

It was with reticence that I started Slimming World last May, would I manage a new way of life? How would I cope with sleepless nights with Joss followed by staying on plan the next day, and juggle a new way of shopping with going back to work?

Everyone’s journey starts and ends differently, and my journey is really just beginning although I reached my target weight recently, and I have been slowly feeling more confident about where I’ve gotten to. I finally feel I have reached my happy healthy weight and more importantly my diet is much healthier, with a stone and a bit off I’ve started to add some good fats in to maintain my weight but the biscuits have stayed on the supermarket shelf and cake is an occasional treat rather than a staple part of my diet.

Eating well as a family has helped us all see results, I’ve always been educated about food, my own mother is very clued up on nutrition, but I needed some help to make the right choices. I’ve found that having a well stocked fruit bowl feels like a real treat again rather than an optional extra, so when we have clementines we all pile in as they’re a family fave, nothing is wasted and I know and love that my super speedy foods will cut a way through the junk and speed up my metabolism too, my plate is heavier on the veg and good carbs and lighter on bread, which everyone says makes you feel great, and it does, bread is a real treat and I seek out the good stuff or make my own when we want that treat, beating the bloat – I guess we’ve just tipped the balance to 80% healthy 20% treat and hubby and I are encouraging each other to stay on track too.

I’m sharing this photo because I feel proud to have come this far, finally a night out where I felt really good about myself!

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This post isn’t endorsing SW or any other way of eating, but is just about me recognizing where I’ve gotten to after a tough journey!

The magic of the Portable North Pole

The magical Portable North Pole (PNP) is a personalised online greeting from Santa for your little one, a delightful treat in the run up to Christmas, I loved setting this up for Joss.

With a wide range of options to choose from you choose the name of your child and help Santa get the pronunciation right, choose whether they have been naughty or nice and upload a photo of them into Santa’s Good Book! Santa was jolly and genuine and the elves were a bit of welcome humour too!

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We accessed the premium upgrade which allows more personal details to be added, and I thought this was lovely, seamless and really well done.

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If you’re looking to give the run up to Christmas that magical feel visit the Portable North Pole, you won’t be disappointed!

I was given a free premium upgrade in order to write this post, all views are my own

Shuffling about

So you wait for them to start walking, and they love it, and they’re running about the place and loving their shoes….

And then they revert to shuffling about?

This week’s Amazing Achievement is brought to you by the letter S… for shoes

This week started with Joss developing an obsession for removing the insoles from any pair of shoes lying around the place, and ended with her shuffling about gleefully scooting one foot in front of the other in Mammy’s size 9 ballet pumps!

The idea that she will one day most likely take after me and be similarly big-footed is a crazy thought right now, they look huge!

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What fun!

The true meaning of Christmas

Do you have any traditions that help you to see the true meaning of Christmas?

I’m a Catholic and enjoy our advent Church services as a way of taking stock of the year, reflecting on what Christmas means to me and escaping the buying and excess. I also like a non-religious Carol ceremony and try to get to a local service that offers a Choir and 1000 Candles sometime in December as I love the warm glow of joining in, sharing a mulled wine and wishing a Merry Christmas.

There are lots of ways to do something for others too, something to jump start your own Christmas spirit and perhaps try something new that you might take forward into the new year. We do a Shoebox Campaign at work, often for looked after Children or care leavers, and there are lots of donation points locally, or opportunities to give your time at this time of year and beyond. This year I decided to give my time, learning a new skill and sharing my skills running a card making session for adults with learning disabilities at a local drop in. I was really unsure of what to expect but they were so welcoming and we really enjoyed each others company that I think it’s something I’ll do again.

Clearly doing something for others is not just for Christmas, but it could just be the time of year that you could use to jump start your giving.

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What’s the story?

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“All these animals are dead y’know”

As a child I found Newcastle’s Hancock museum dark and scary, it was the place of dino bones and taxidermy, it had a distinctive smell and wasn’t the most exciting of attractions.

Fast-forward 20 years and a facelift and it’s now Jossy’s and my favourite place to visit, I do a spot of shopping, then we head off to explore for an hour. She has a predictable attention span, 20 minutes of interested looking followed by 40 minutes of running and laughing hysterically, it’s the wooden floors you see, big spaces to run and jump!

She knows most of the animal names now, seal, elephant, shark and giraffes are the big faves, but the raptor is by far the best!

I just love that new life has been breathed into my childhood memories and we’re making new ones twenty years on!

Quick get your entry into Babi Pur’s advent giveaway!

Perfect for your little adventurers Babi Pur are giving away a gorgeous wooden castle and knights and there’s just over a day left to enter!

The Lanka Kade Natural Wood Collection presents a large solid wood castle complete with 12 knights ready to do battle in this medieval setting. Made from solid wood throughout this is a chunky and sturdy toy, built to last for many years. Set the knights in their place, close the portcullis, raise the drawbridge and ready them for battle!

Follow this link for the Rafflecopter Widget!

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