Monday, 30 June 2014

simple pleasures: june

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I seriously cannot believe we are over halfway through the year already! On top of that, I have seventeen more working days, then a nice long summer! I have already got so much planned, I cannot wait! 

this month's simple pleasures include: 
♥ receiving the most gorgeous sweetheart necklace from Jessica's Etsy Shop, Chronically Vintage. Jessica writes a absolutely fantastic blog, and her outfit photos are just stunning. I've followed her blog for years, and when she opened her Etsy shop, I always knew I wanted to buy something from it! A nautical, sweetheart necklace came up and it had to be mine! 
♥ Having Sarah come and stay for the weekend, and reading this lovely blog post where she summed up her time (and her lovely cowboy dress!). It's so easy to get into day to day life, and forget all the beautiful details of the house & area I live in, and Sarah's description was just so heart-warming. We had such a brilliant weekend, and I can't wait to see her next month for the Blogcademy Mixer Event in London. 
♥ Watching Clueless. Best film ever. 

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♥ A relaxing day spent at home celebrating Fathers Day earlier this month. 
♥ Getting a tartan Kate Spade handbag to add to my little collection. 
♥ Finding that Nando's have finally brought out Wild Herb sauce in bottles in the supermarket. No more awkwardly asking for a spare pot to take home from the restaurant! 
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♥ Mint Julips again! Just so damn tasty! 
♥ Re-building bridges with important relationships with a barbecue and alcohol. It was a good day! 
♥ Reading loads of books from the library on a variety of subjects. I've also found an amazing cookbook called Pitt Cue Co, which I'll certainly be trying recipes from! 
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♥ Running with Cece around the fields. 
♥ Cece, helping me complete my Insanity workouts again. She also kept standing up whilst I was on my Vibrapower too! I have my own Dog Personal Trainer! 
♥ Trips to Wingham Wildlife Park & Ripleys in London with the school. Perks of being a teacher! 
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♥ Buying me & Brad matching Game of Thrones Stein's from Forbidden Planet in Covent Garden.
♥ Snapping up bargains at the East End Thrift Store's £1 sale last Saturday...
♥ & then stumbling upon the Pride in London parade at Trafalgar Square!
♥ Finding after many years, the perfect summer hat from Urban Outfitters.
♥ Freebies in the form of hand me downs from family (hello DAB Radio & vintage garden chairs!) and getting discounts, bonuses and refunds from bill companies, which now have meant we can afford a holiday in the summer. We haven't been the best with our money recently (I'll just admit… I spend too much!) but we are sensible, and its paid off.
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♥ A bit of a random photograph to finish this summary up, but Cece is absolutely in love with these furry Christmas baubles which I brought for 99p from H&M two Christmas' ago (it was part of their Disney range). She literally prefers them over any toy we have brought for her. She also has taken a liking to sello-tape, washi tape & my ear plugs! Cece never sits still long enough to take a photo when she is playing, but I managed to snap this, and just had to include it. 

July will hopefully hold a fantastic end to my first year at work, and I'm preparing for teacher training which begins September. I'll be meeting my class properly in a few days which is nerve-wracking yet so exciting! Holiday plans include trips to the beach for swimming in the sea, gambling hardcore on the 2p machines & barbecues on the beach using my new bucket barbecue! I may even push it one step further and get myself onto the dance machines in the arcades there! I'm planning a day up London visiting the V&A Museum for the wedding exhibition (Hello Kate Moss' wedding dress!) and the Imperial War Museum, which is re-opening after a huge refurbishment. 

On top of that, I have the The Blogcademy London Mixer to look forward to, which is actually the first day of my holiday! I've got the perfect Kate Moss dress for the occasion & my Crown & Glory ears at the ready! I'll also be applying for the Blogcademy scholarship tomorrow, with an application for the Amsterdam class… I'm half petrified of applying to be honest but after discussing it with those close to me, I figured its time to get over my fears and just go for it. 

I hope you all have a glorious July. 

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Saturday, 28 June 2014

lucky dip club; tutti frutti box

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Last month, I was lucky enough to win a competition on Twitter from the Lucky Dip Club. Before I'd even won the competition, I'd started eyeing up the Tutti Frutti box after seeing on Instagram all the lovely photos from the first box that had been sent out the previous month. 
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You sign up on the 1st of the month, to receive your box on the 25th. It's actually a nice surprise, as I'd completely forgotten I'd ordered it, then when it came it properly made my day! 
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The box was packaged so wonderfully. So many bows and crepe paper everywhere! 
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Candy stripe packaging is always an absolute winner!  photo 2014-06-27060336_zpsc5e2302e.jpg
The necklace was personalised with my name too!
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I've fallen head over heels for my A OK coaster! 
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Even the notecard was personalised with a message from Leona, which is something I'll definitely be implementing once my Etsy shop is up and running. It's such a lovely personal touch! 
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The Lucky Dip Club is by far the best subscription box I've ever signed up for. On the 1st July, I'll be signing up for a permanent subscription! There are a wide range of subscription options, which is good as I hate signing up to something which you haven't tried before! 
Boxes are only £15, and the quality of the box is superb, alongside personalised touches. I don't think you could really ask for much more! 
Have you tried the Lucky Dip Club Box before? :) 

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Friday, 27 June 2014

Book Club

I absolutely love reading, but always had this problem with finding the time to sit down and properly get into a good book. Well recently I've been making some changes to my life, and incorporated more reading into my life mainly by these two changes: 

1. Reading whilst travelling ... it really makes the time go by a lot quicker! 
2. Using my library card... a huge variety of books across a variety of towns, alongside having a time limit to read them on means properly focusing on what I'm reading! 

This has resulted in a lot more books being completed. I've really enjoyed a lot of the titles I've been picking up recently, so I thought I'd do a monthly update here, especially as I love reading other bloggers book review posts! 

#GIRLBOSS by Sophie Amoruso 
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Alongside many other people, I had eagerly awaiting the release of Sophie Amoruso's book #GIRLBOSS. I kept seeing photos on Instagram, and tweets all over Twitter about how amazing the book was and that other bloggers & business owners found the books incredibly inspiring etc. 
If I'm being honest, this was not what I was expecting. As a biography, it was quite a good read. After the hype I had seen all over social media, it wasn't quite the inspiring, 'let's get up and go' book I was hoping for. 
Sophie's story is by far interesting, honest and real. The first line of the book "Life is Short, Don't Be Lazy" I thought was fantastic… I even wrote it down in my notebook ready to take brilliant advice and tips from the book… it turns out it's the only thing I wrote down after I read this book in one afternoon. 
If you are new to selling online and how having your own small business works, I'd say this book will probably help you. As someone who has had eBay for years, and is now transitioning over to Etsy, looking for tips, I would not say this is the book for you. 
It was still a really good read don't get me wrong, but it wasn't what I thought it would be. 

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
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I started this book on a bus trip up to London, and it was finished by the time I got home that night. Absolute love this story! I checked it out from the library, but I'm ordering a copy so I can read it again some time in the future. The story was so sweet. I'm not sure if I'm the only one, but Don really reminds me of Sheldon from Big Bang Theory?! 
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Raise your Game by Peter Shaw  
Another library pick up here from the career development section. This book had some good tips, especially on things such as e-mail etiquette. Worth a quick read if you find it at your local library I'd say. 
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Network for Success by John Timperley 
This book I actually found really helpful. For one thing, I find meetings, especially with new people, make me become so anxious, even though I know there is nothing to worry about. This gave fantastic tips, and gave a real insiders view to networking I felt. It made me feel at ease about going to events, and I took some useful notes. 
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Whatever you think think the opposite by Paul Arden
This book sits firmly within reaching distance in my lounge. For many years now it has been my go to book. When I first brought it, I read it in about forty five minutes. I've read it countless times. If you haven't read this book, order it now. I promise you won't regret it! 
This book has got me through interviews, anxious thoughts and times when I feel down or am doubting myself. 
I've read other Paul Arden books too, but this one leaves me with a smile on my face every time I read it. 
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Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
With Season 4 of Game of Thrones ending on TV, what is left in my life but to now read the Game of Thrones set. Usually I don't like reading the books once I've seen the film/tv series as you know what's going to happen, so what is the point? 
Well here, there is definitely a point to read the books. Firstly, there is way much more detail in the books and I actually think it makes the storyline so much better. I'm quite happy that I've seen the series now, as reading the book, I'm remembering what's happening as I read along. 
The books are hefty, but once I finish this bad boy, it'll be worth it! Then only six more to go! 
I'm also intrigued to see the supposed changed story lines between the series and the book. 

My To Read List This Month
1. Finish Game of Thrones 
2. Tales of the Jazz Age by F Scott Fitzgerald 
3. It by Alexa Chung 
4. When it Happens to You by Molly Ringwald 


Hayley over at Water Painted Dreams is holding a Summer Book Swap ... closing date for entries is the 28th June. I've already signed up, and you should too, it's a great way to send snail mail, and have some new reads ready for lazing on the beach or in the garden during the summer! 

Sarah also hosts a book club called The Self Love Book Club. I've been following along with her posts for a while now, and I'm thinking now is the time, I'm going to start reading along and joining in with her Facebook group. 

I'm also hoping to get out to Poppy Loves Book Club next month. I love reading her book posts, and I live within easily travelling distance of London and Notting Hill is one of my favourite places!

What books do you like to read? Do you participate in any book clubs? 

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Thursday, 26 June 2014

hobbycraft treats

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A few weeks back, I took a trip into Hobbycraft … it was one of those "I only need this" trips which turned into me buying a load of clearance items! They had some really good offers on in my local store, and as I got the bus to London the other day, I went past another hobbycraft which had huge clearance signs on it! 
Above is a set of 5 seed design mini envelopes, which can be used for seeds or crafting. They were only 50p and I thought they looked so dainty, I couldn't really not get them! 
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I have a minor obsession with tins and boxes, so this Frosted Flakes tin for £2 had to be mine. 
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Obviously I understand we are in the middle of summer. And these are christmas cake boards. But they were £1 each, and as I'm hosting Christmas and New Years at mine, I figured they'd come in handy for the Christmas Pudding. On top of that, I always do a lot of my Christmas shopping over the summer, so it's not actually much different for me anyway! 
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I brought these mini Kraft books for £1 each. I also brought a larger Kraft ruled notebook for £2.50. Hobbycraft's manilla range is such good value for money alongside being of a high quality too. I own many pieces from this range! 
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These stamps were only 50p each. Funny story… I thought 'Christening' read 'Christmas'. A 'Doh!' moment right there for me! 
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Finally, I brought some plain card. I brought some postcards, as I'm going to be sending postcards over the summer, and I'm looking at joining some mail sending websites (any recommendations will be much appreciated!) and the menu cards I'm using over the summer to design invitations. 
Overall I spent about £15, and came out with a bag bulging with goodies. I'll be back in Hobbycraft next week for more watercolours (as I'm running out already!), and artificial flowers for some summer DIY projects I have planned! 
What are your favourite items to buy from Hobbycraft/ Craft Stores? 

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Wednesday, 25 June 2014

daytripper: Wingham Wildlife Park

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Wingham Wildlife Park is a zoo I was lucky enough to go and visit with my work the other week. It is located in Canterbury, Kent and is open most days of the year. 
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The penguins were my favourite. Their enclosure was so lovely, you walked around a bridge way which surrounded their home & their swimming pool. I could not believe how close you could get to them, unlike many other zoos! 
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Spot the tortoises and capybara's! 
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The enclosures were all quite close together which was really lovely as we weren't traipsing around for hours trying to find everything. At lunch time we went for a talk, where they showed us all the animals, and I held a tarantula, mainly because the kids half my age were holding them, so I had to right?! 
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There were a lot of walk throughs such as the lemur walk through, and also peacocks and chickens were wandering around the zoo freely which was unique!  photo 2014-06-12023903_zpsf169eccb.jpg

Even though I went for free, Adult Tickets are £14, and I am already planning another trip back there this summer with the family, and this time I'll hopefully see my favourite animal, the red pandas! 
Which zoo is your favourite? 
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Tuesday, 24 June 2014

charity shop finds

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Today I'm sharing with you a couple of treasures I've found in the charity shops recently. I haven't been half as much as I used to go last year, mainly because I'm working a lot, and generally just travel to and from work then home! I've been making an effort to get myself out to some of my favourite charity shops on the weekends and here is what I found… 
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I have been looking for a summer hat for a while now, and whilst at the tills, I spotted this hat. When told it was £1… I didn't care much if it fitted my big old head or not! :) Luckily it does fit so will look perfect with my new Vivien of Holloway 50's circle dresses this summer. 
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Red Vintage Bowl, 50p. Green Soup Plate 80p.
Honestly, I have way too much crockery, so much so recently I've been giving it away and have hand-picked a load of items ready for a boot fair later this summer, however when I see such stunning china as the green plate above and at 80p, I wasn't going to let it slip away!
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I brought this Disney Knit's book a while back for £1. Unfortunately I do not knit… fortunately my Nan does… I already have a 101 Dalmations Jumper, Forever Friends & a Black Glitter Jumper. She has been forever telling me I need to learn how to knit, and she's right, I do. Especially considering I want to make the Jungle Book jumper below. Apparently it's a very tricky pattern!
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Love the Mickey USA Jumper too! And all the retro models!
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I found this Fred Perry burgundy checked shirt for £4.50 which I think is a steal considering their shirts retail at £50+. The shirt didn't fit me, but I sold it on to a good home.
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Finally I found a lovely chain for £1, which I've been using to layer up my jewellery recently.
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What have you found from the charity shops lately? 
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Monday, 23 June 2014

Competition Wins: 1 Year

Last April, I decided that I would start entering competitions after reading up on how people won loads of stuff. I'd never considered myself a lucky person to be honest but since entering competitions, and a year passing, I've realised I've won at least 15 competitions in a year and counting, and that was with me entering not even once a week sometimes! I thought I'd share what I won last year. 
I have photographs for some items, and am listing others. 

The first three competitions I won were road goodies from AA including a high vis jacket & road safety book, an Easter egg hamper and a bundle of hair products. 
I won a Stylfile off of Stylfile's Twitter page. 
 I won this amazing beauty set with cat themed make up bag from What Cat Says blog giveaway. I honestly don't enter a lot of blog giveaways, but entered this as I saw the cat bag come up on my blogger feed (I followed Cat anyway!) and thought 'I want it' and somehow I won it! I was so chuffed! It's my pencil case for work so I get to use it every day!

 A bit of a different one, but Tombola prizes are a good way to win things. I won Roses and Mulled Wine alongside…
 … winning a huge Christmas hamper worth over £100 in the raffle. It was 2nd prize!
 I won a bundle of socks off of Twitter from Braintree Clothing.
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I won a Glossybox and a £20 voucher from Astrid and Miyu which I spent on a mustard fabric bracelet. 
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I won baking goodies from NEFF 
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Tangerine Body Scrub. 
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Doro mobile phone. 

Items not photographed: 
  • A Pen Torch
  • Benecos Lipstick
  • 4 Boxes of Shreddies! 
  • Benefit Goodies from London Beauty Queen on Twitter. (She does fab RT comps!) 
  • Renshaw Icing Tablets 
& finally the biggest competition win which isn't photographed, was a Kindle Fire from We Love Wipes Twitter page. This was one of the biggest wins, which Brad soon claimed as his, as I had my iPad mini, and he had wanted one for ages! 

For someone who didn't really bother last year, I've won quite a lot I think! This year I've already won 3 competitions, and I've started dedicated at least 30mins to 1 hour a day entering competitions. This year, I'm hoping to go for Instagram and Pinterest competitions too. 

Do you ever win anything in competitions? What are your tips/ best platforms to comp on? 
Bonne Chance in any competitions you have coming up guys! :) ♥  
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