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Wednesday, 12 December 2012

A Month in Photos - November 2012

From L to R:

* Homemade chocolate mousse cake
* Christmas Tree farm
* Snowflake tealight candle holder
* Snowman decoration
* Fruit at the farm shop
* Selfie in wooly hat and scarf
* Doggie who crept onto the sofa 
* Cosy Fair Isle socks

Monday, 22 October 2012

Autumn Shopping Spree

Last weekend, I visited relatives near where I used to live in South London. The local shopping centre is much bigger than we have here in rural East Sussex so I made the most of my time there and did a little autumn shopping.

My first purchase was a new dressing gown. I wanted a really soft, snuggly one for winter and found this one in M&S:

The colour is chocolate and it's sooo cozy! And at £22.50, it didn't break the bank.

I also wanted some new slipper socks to keep my toes toasty. I have Raynaud's disease and one of the main symptoms I get is permanently cold feet (due to poor blood supply to extremeties). As the weather turns colder, it becomes a real problem.

BHS had 3 for 2 on these socks so it cost £22.00 for 3 pairs. I got one white pair with a red fair isle pattern, one red pair and one charcoal pair.

They have plastic dots underneath so are non slip and inside there is a fluffy white lining. I love them and they are so festive looking too with the pom poms and cable knit!

My final purchase was a pair of Hunter wellies. I have had my eye on these for a while now but had been hoping to find them somewhere at a good price. I saw them in Costco for £60, a saving of £25 off the RRP of £85. 

The colour is "Forest Green" but for some reason, the boots look like they have a turquoise tint to them in the photos. They do not at all. They are more of a rich Christmas green in real life!

I'm really pleased with my autumn purchases. That will do shopping-wise for now . . . until the boxing day sales!!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

I Heart Aldi

For those of you that have never heard of Aldi, it is a discount supermarket chain which I currently love!

Since we live in a quite a rural area we have to drive at least 15 minutes to get to a supermarket. There are plenty of options around but Aldi is my favourite at the moment.

Here's why I like it:

1) It is much smaller than a regular supermarket. It's on one level and whilst the store does get busy, it's not that same heaving stressful experience that you get in larger supermarkets.

2) There are a limited number of products. You know how overwhelming and time-sapping it can be to look through an aisle full of different brand versions of the same product. Well, Aldi tends to have 1 brand of each product. E.g. there is only one strawberry jam option, one sliced ham option etc.

3) The majority of products are just as good as major brands. I admit I used to be a brand snob. I liked sticking to well known names but that all ended when I became a student. It was more important to save the pennies and I soon realised the alternatives were usually fine, if not better.

4) Their beauty products are excellent! I am in love with their little selection, see more on that later.

5) The store isn't over-done. By that I mean it's pretty basic. Products are often displayed and stacked in cardboard boxes. There is none of that harsh bright lighting you get in other supermarkets. And there are no advertisements hanging from the ceiling or in your face everywhere you look.

Overall, I love it! My next post will be about their fantastic beauty products!

Monday, 1 October 2012

Barry M Nail Varnish

I had been on the look out for a new autumn shade nail varnish for a while. Some nail varnishes now seem ridiculously overpriced but I was pleased to find a Barry M varnish in Superdrug that I liked the look of.

At £2.99 it wasn't breaking the bank. It's called Nail Paint and the colour is raspberry:

It actually has a bit more of a magenta tone that the above image suggests. The brush is a little soft so it's not that easy to get a clear line at the edge of the nail. Other than that, I love it.

I have been eyeing up the other gorgeous colours on the Barry M website too! Buying a new nail varnish feels like a lovely little treat. Like clothes shopping but kinder on the bank balance!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

I Heart Staples

This summer I have had a major clear out and got super organized. I went through everything in the attic and was ruthless. Some boxes had been unopened since we moved house 3 years ago and as far as I'm concerned if I havn't needed it in the last 3 years I most likely won't need it again!

I also had a lot of university files and folders which I needed to keep but wanted to store properly in plastic boxes so the paper didn't deteriorate.

I headed to Staples, a store which I havn't been to for years which is odd considering how much I love organising and stationary!

I bought 4 of these 68 litre large plastic containers on sale at £9.00 each, pretty good value I think! I will be using them to store books, photos and Christmas decorations.

Then I also bought 2 of these 6.7 litre little boxes to keep more fragile Christmas decorations in. These were also on sale, 99p each! They will be kept inside the large Christmas containers.

I could have bought so much more. I loved their Martha Stewart range, especially the stackable desk organsiers in Tiffany blue:

But I managed to restrain myself . . . for now anyway!

Thursday, 13 September 2012

In Search of Fall Colours

Following my last post on the beginning of fall, I have been investigating the best places to see the autumn colours in my area.

I live in the county of East Sussex which is in the south east of the UK but the county of Kent borders East Sussex, hence we visit Kent a lot too.

(The white patch north of Surrey and north west of Kent is London. Also the rest of kent is surrounded by the sea which you can't see on this image. A bit of UK geography!)

After some research it seems there are 2 places which are renowned for beautiful autumn colours:

1. Sheffield Park, East Sussex

This is a National Trust garden of 200 acres which includes rare trees and shrubs set around lakes which give gorgeous reflections. There are plenty of acers, Japanese maples and North American species such as Nyssa, providing some of the best autumn colours.

This pinetum holds the world's finest conifer collection. You may wonder how conifers give autumn colour but interestingly, not all are evergreen.

This is what the curator has to say:

"A walk through the Pinetum reveals a variety of trees chosen for their spectacular autumn colour - including liquidamber, tulip, ginkgo, oak, black birch and recently-planted nyssa. The spindleberry and maples are already turning a vivid pink. The cornus amomum is covered in metallic blue berries and, as its leaves start to fall, the Katsura tree fills the air with the smell of candy floss. Around Marshal's Lake the dawn redwoods and swamp cypresses, despite being coniferous, take on various shades of burnt orange and foxy red before shedding their needles."

 I am drooling!

I also read in the newspaper today that the autumn colours in the Uk are going to be particularly spectacular this year due to the weather conditions. We had wet weather early in the summer which meant the trees produced a large volume of leaves which were also retained for longer. Then recently we had some very warm end-of-summer days increasing sugar levels in the trees which will boost colours even further. Now we are getting cooler nights so the leaves will start to turn.

Gosh I love this season : )

Monday, 10 September 2012

No Back To School For Me

I can smell fall in the air. Walking the dog in the morning, I am noticing the air is a little crisper and the leaves are starting to turn, some have even fallen. I stepped on my first few crunchy ones this week.

I LOVE this time of year and the back to school feeling that goes with it. However, for the first time in a very long time I am not going back to school. And it feels odd.

My school days stretched from pre-kindergarten aged 3 up to 18 in the final year of secondary school. Then I went straight to university in the September and thus the academic yearly cycle continued for another four years.

Then I graduated. And decided to take a year out doing something I had always wanted to do - working in a special needs school. It was awesome. And it meant I still went through all the motions and seasons of a school year. Now, I have finished working at the school and am going back to working as a dietitian.

But I must admit, I feel a bit lost

I just bought a regular year diary fill rather than an academic. I just cannot get my head around the year starting in January and ending in December.

Here's what I will miss about going "back to school."

1. Buying stationary -  This was probably the most exciting thing to do towards the end of the holidays. I was a stationary addict and had to have a new pencil case every September. And usually a new school bag too . . .

2. New uniform - I can still remember moving to a new school aged 9 where the uniform was very old fashioned in the colours brown, beige and bottle green. Yup, it was as ugly as it sounds! But when I put on that new scratchy woolen beige jumper, God it smelt good. I can still smell it today and I am immediately transported back to my bedroom, putting it on for the first time, anxious but excited.

3. New workbooks - when you wrote your name on the front and start off with extra neat handwriting - such a nice feeling!

4. Enthusiasm to learn - I always concentrated so much better in the first term back, wanting to get off to a good start, doing all my homework in time. By Christmas however . . .

5. Feeling older and wiser - with each new year you had that little more responsibility and felt that bit more grown up than the year before.

6. The run up to Christmas - having a Christmas birthday, this was always the most exciting time of the year for me. I loved having that to look forward to as the days got shorter and colder.

Oh well, guess I will just have to make new fall memories instead!

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Bath Bombs - Alternative Uses

I have been having a major sort-out at home and I came across a bath bomb which someone had given me as a gift a while ago. It has been sitting in my bathroom cupboard because a) I'm not a big bath person, I much prefer showers and b) my skin is so ridiculously sensitive I avoid using different / unknown products.

I enjoy being thrifty and am trying to be more so. The current Pinterest trend is helping me (to waste time) with this due to the never ending inspirations for crafts.

So rather than throw the bath bomb away, I had a quick search on Pinterest for alternative uses for bath bombs but couldn't find anything. I tried google instead and there were a few suggestions including drawer scenters which I thought would be perfect for me.

Here is the bath bomb, still in its box. It came packaged with popcorn which I thought was cute! I like the blue crystals in the top of it too:

I popped it inside a plastic sandwich bag:

And gently squeezed until the bomb started to crumble. It took a while to break up and get rid of all the lumps:

It was at this point that I discovered a fatal flaw to my plan . . . . the bomb powder was . . . . scentless. Perhaps because it had been sitting in a cupboard for a year or more : / How I managed to miss that crucial fact I don't know, possibly something to do with hayfever and sinus congestion.

Since a scentless drawer scenter is about as useful as a chocolate teapot, I went back to googling for other ideas.

I found something slightly less exciting but equally useful: using the powder as a scrub for the sink. Well, my sink needed a clean so I gave it a go and indeed, it worked beautifully. I only used a two-sided sponge, water and the powder and the sink looked super shiny! Plus I only needed a tiny bit of powder so there is plenty left over for future cleaning!

Showing you a picture of my shiny clean sink is a bit boring so instead, here are the pretty bags I would have put the powder in and used as draw scenters:

Thrifting complete for today!

Colours of The Rainbow

I snapped this pretty flower in the grounds of Hertsmonceux Castle during the Jubilee Weekend. I love how the colours change gradually from red to orange to yellow to green as you look down towards the stem. Isn't nature amazing?

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Pashley Manor Gardens - Sculpture Festival (2)

My last post featured some of the beautiful sculptures at Pashley Manor Gardens scultupre festival. Here are some more, this time of the animal sculptures and grounds:

Pashley Manor Gardens - Sculpture Festival (1)

Yesterday, my Mum and I went to visit Pashley Manor Gardens, supposedly one of the finest gardens in England, loacted on the border of Kent and East Sussex. It had been on my to do list for ages and, well, we weren't disappointed.

It was one of the most beautiful gardens I have visited in a long while. In addition, they had a sculpture festival event with beautiful sculptures strategically placed throughout the gardens.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

The Paper Mama - Fave Photo From May

My favourite May photo of my favourite boy! Head on over the the Paper Mama to check out all the May time favourites.

The Paper Mama Photo Challenge

Monday, 28 May 2012

Heathfield Agricultural Show - Animals

Following on from my post on the vintage tractors, I just had to share some pictures of the gorgeous animals at the Heathfield Show.

Walking round the sheep enclosure, I realised how different sheep can look!

This beautiful guy was my favourite. He looked soooo silky and clean:

This one, on the other hand, needed a good old hair cut. It's hard to tell where the hair ends end the straw begins . . .

This one was dinky and cute:

But my favourite animal of all at the show was  . . . .

THIS gorgeous boy:

The was a pen full of real working bloodhounds. It was a hot day so the owners were splashing buckets of water on them to keep them cool and the dogs loved it. I wanted to take one home but Minty would have something to say about that . . .