Tuesday, 31 January 2012

My Month In Numbers January 2012

Happy New Year... Hm, well I know that's a little late, but the sentiments there and this is my first month in numbers for 2012! I hope you all had a fab Christmas and New Year, I missed out on the December 2011 MIN as I was sadly without a laptop and on Android the Blogger application / platform just isn't suitable for long-ish posts like my month in numbers usually turns out to be. So, without further ado, my January looked a little like this:

25 = number of days flat broke. Well, I exaggerate, I've done better this January than others, but why is it so hard?! I didn't use any of my December wage for presents, so I should have been able to manage the same as I do every month. But, lessons learned, next year I SHALL NOT BE SKINT IN JANUARY... I promise!

12 = firsts that I have planned to accomplish this year on (or around) the 1st of each month (work and weather permitting!). Tomorrow's will be chronicled very soon!

1 = 'first' time I climbed Roseberry Topping in Teesside on the 1st of January 2012, absolutely amazing experience and gorgeous views from the top. Even if we do live in the smog...

5.5 = lbs lost following Weight Watchers Pro Points plan. I'm sure there will be a whole lot more talk of this over coming weeks!

171 = smoke free days! Which of course means, 1710 = cigarettes NOT smoked, and £543.23 = in my pocket... just wish I had saved it for the skint 25 = days of January I had!

1 = resolutions achieved so far - yes, I tried a totally new haircut and I got a fringe! I last had one when I was about 5 and I have never had one as a 'grown up' because I have two calf licks and all the hairdressers I've every asked have told me a fringe would be hair suicide. But then I met Amanda, and she threw caution to the wind, chopping off my hair and giving me heavy bangs! I absolutely LOVE it!

£11.25 = spent on my Dymo Jet 1855 Labeller circa.1970s from eBay. On the surface you may think, why, would anyone want one of those? But, if you look a little deeper, I can tell you there's no end to the amount of labels a girl needs in her life! I adore this little thing - I always wanted one when I was younger but was never allowed one - oh well now I have one and it is the best thing I own in the world (for this month anyways!). I'll be making a quick post about my labels soon!

3 = new flowers on my Orchid. I wrote a while ago about my green fingered adventures and I am pleased to say I've nursed my Orchid (which was a stopping smoking present) through all of it's original flowers dropping off, the growth of two new pairs of leaves and now a new set of beautiful flowers.

1 = birthday cakes I've made (I've never, ever iced and decorated a cake before, or made a sponge cake of this magnitude...

And I think that just about sums it up! I hope you had a great month too, see you in February X

Nanna Kate X

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Monday, 30 January 2012

12 Firsts on the 1st

This year, we decided that on New Year's Day we would climb to the top of the iconic Roseberry Topping. It's a bit of a historical aim, when we first met we went there on a date with every intention of climbing to the top. Instead, we sat at the bottom in the car park smoked a fag (a la Supergrass) put it out, drained our flask and took a picture of the hill and went home... So, now, having both given up smoking, we went back for another crack at it. 

Making it to the top was a quite an achievement and on the journey with plenty of time to think and decide my 2012 resolutions, I suggested that we do something we've never done before every month (roughly around the 1st of the month - 12 Firsts on the 1st)

At the top the views were literally breathtaking - though that may have been the wind that nearly claimed our lives... we couldn't even take much time to appreciate it as the wind was so strong! It was a great way to work up an appetite for our New Year's lunch and hopefully, we've started as we mean to go on. 

Will see you in a few days to tell you all about our first on the 1st February! 

Nanna Kate X

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Feeling Unique

After my first Glossy Box I was kind of thinking I could very easily become addicted to the Beauty Box culture and I made myself a little promise. Before I paid for something that was potentially a complete waste of money every month, I would try a couple of different providers (maximum of three boxes) and if I wasn't 100% delighted I would cancel and move on - rather than end up with a bunch of products that I won't use! After two more Glossy Box deliveries I decided I would cancel my subscription as there was always Anti-Aging products included in the box, which I am just not currently interested in. 

I heard about the Feel Unique Beauty Box and decided to give it a try. My first box arrived earlier in January, the first thing I noticed was that it was a lovely black, sleek box. Most of the beauty boxes are pink, so I thought it was pretty cool that it was a different colour - it also slid open like a drawer, rather than a box with a lid. 

I got five products which were:

I wasn't really over the moon. Largely because of the Anti-Aging product. Yet another! I just want a beauty box which doesn't include these? Any recommendations?

Cancelled my subscription quick smart as I just wasn't overwhelmed. Well, I actually emailed Feel Unique asking how to cancel thinking I might take one more to give it another chance, instead they replied and said it was cancelled, so I guess it just wasn't meant to be. To be fair, I do really like the Caudalie body lotion though and will definitely be buying more of this. Everything else has made it's way to my sample box, where it will live until I pass it on to one of my friends. 

Nanna Kate X

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Beauty Blogger's Secret Santa Haul

I took part in Navilicious' Beauty Blogger's Secret Santa back in December. I really wanted to join in, because I just thought it sounded so exciting, but I was totally aware of the fact my blog isn't solely about Beauty. However, there was no minimum 'Beauty' content required to take part and so I joined in! 

I was a little worried as I got a full time, 100% dedicated to the cause BB and she had pretty much tried EVERY product out there. I thought about it really hard, and I decided upon some lush treats from Oriflame, after my friend became an Oriflame representative. I even searched her blog to make sure she'd never written about the brand or tried it! Obviously I spoilt myself buying a couple of bits too!

When my parcel arrived, I was over the moon - it was like my Secret Santa had done a supermarket sweep in my favourite high street shop - Boots, of course!

I was lucky enough to get Natural Collection Wild Strawberry Face MaskNatural Collection Samphire and Sea Minerals Hydrating Hair MaskNatural Collection Mango & Papaya Hair Conditioner Sachet which are all from the Boots own Natural Collection range - a firm favourite of mine since I was first spending my pocket money on fruity delights in the store about 15 years or so ago! Soap & Glory™ Super-Colour Sexy Mother Pucker™ Lip Plumping Gloss in Yummy Plum and Soap & Glory Mist You Madly™ Body Spray, both from, of course, the amazing Soap and Glory; who I simply love. I have the lip gloss in a discontinued nude and I was so happy to get it in a darker colour. Then I got the gorgeous Burts Bees Lemon Cuticle Cream - another product I've used and already have which I absolutely love and would definitely recommend. Finally, I got a very pretty smoky eye palette from 17, another brand which needs no introduction - and another Boots own! It's gorgeous, but I can't link as it was in the Christmas Gift range. 

Really pleased with my Santa hauls (get it?) and so thankful to whoever it was who 'got' me, I just hope the BB who I bought for enjoyed using some new products. 

Nanna Kate X

Monday, 23 January 2012

Crafty Nana - Kate

Good morning I hope you all had a fab weekend! Back to the grindstone today so I wanted to share with you the way I've been relaxing lately. With my Crafty Nana Teatime Cakes Pin Cushion Kit! I got this for Christmas and I absolutely love it. It's so cute, I think the gals who bought me this got it from Boots in their 3 for 2 Christmas gift selection. It's so easy! Every single piece is pre-cut and there's plenty of embroidery silks too. Here's what it looks like:

Cute little vintage style suitcase opens up to reveal...

...everything you need to make the cutest teatime cake pin cushion!
Here's my first part - the strawberry slice. It's pretty cute, no?

Did you get any crafty kits for Christmas?

Nanna Kate X

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Home Made Chilli Infused Olive Oil

After a flurry of handmade tutorials over Christmas on loads of the blogs I follow, I decided to have a go at making my own Chilli Infused Olive Oil. I'd seen the tutorial on one blog or another (I can't remember where!), but couldn't find it, so I simply 'Googled' Chilli Infused Olive Oil. This resulted in me finding Tom Parker-Bowles method on the Good Food Channel.

I dried 10 fresh chilli by tying a piece of string around each stalk and hanging them for 6 weeks in the kitchen. Interestingly, I got Green and Red chilli, but the Green turned Orange, then Red before drying out! A couple of the chilli went kind of bruised / black, so I would recommend doing more than you need in case you have to throw a couple away.


1. Sterilise a suitable glass bottle. According to the online community, a dishwasher is perfect for sterilising glass. Alternatively see this article.
2. Measure sufficient oil for the size of your bottle, then pop it in to a heavy bottomed pan on a very low heat.
3. Add the dried chillis.

4. Add approximately 20g of dried chilli flakes.

5. Simmer very gently for around 4-5 minutes, then, decant in to your bottle...CAREFUL! It will be super hot!

I added the chilli flakes and chilli for decoration. The chilli oil is now 'infusing' in the back of my cupboard as it's nice and dark and cool in there. It will stay there (with a weekly check/shake) for about 6 weeks. I did have a little taste once it had cooled, before I put it away and it already tasted lush! So, I can't wait to see what it tastes like when it has a full bodied red tinge and is hot, hot, hot! 

Have you made your own infusions for Christmas gifts this year?

Nanna Kate X 

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Hand Painted Wine Glass Tutorial

Before Christmas my Sister and I sat down and agreed to only make each other a small gift for Christmas rather than spending a fortune on rubbish we would never have bought for ourselves had we had the money. She has my darling nephew to focus on and I have a huge family-in-law to buy for and we decided that we didn't need to spend a lot to show each other we care at Christmas. We set a limit, which was actually quite high for home made gifts of £10, and off I went to come up with an idea. 

I'd seen the Lolita Wine Glasses previously and my friend at work had mentioned that she'd like to have a go at making one, so I decided that would be my gift to my Sis. I wanted to try something really plain and simple so I only bought two colours (purple and yellow) of glass paint and I began. My intention was to paint on stars but the glass paint (yellow) just looked like an egg yolk on the glass. I'd read somewhere that enamel paints worked just fine and I thought, well nail varnish is enamel and it's safe too, if you can paint it right on your finger nails and then eat with your hands it must be okay... so here's my nail varnish glass painting tutorial!

1. Take a sturdy wine glass and wash it in warm, soapy water.
2. Using 'rubbing alcohol' or nail varnish remover, the latter of which I used unsurprisingly, and a lint free cloth dry-come-polish the glass until it is perfectly sparkly, grease and finger print free. 
3. Free hand paint on your design. I chose hearts as they were very simple to draw and I used three, deep jewel shades of polish. 
NB: if you make a mistake use the nail varnish remover to wipe it away and simply start over. If you need to 'draw' out your design first, do so on paper and then sellotape it to the inside of the glass

4. Paint several layers, I painted three. Let each layer completely dry before you apply the next. With nail varnish, this took less time than it did on my nails!

5. Create an outline if desired, using relief outliner, which you can buy for around £2 from a craft store like Hobbycraft, the craft aisles at the Range, or online if you can wait for the delivery.
6. Allow the glass to dry for a full 24 hours.
7. Place the glass on to a baking tray in a COLD oven. Turn it on to about 140C (fan) and set the timer for 20 minutes. As the oven warms, the glass bakes. Remove the glass extremely carefully after the 20 minutes. There might be a bit of a smell from the warmed enamel and outliner, so keep a window open or an extractor fan on.
8. Once completely cold to touch, place the glass in the dishwasher and voile a, a fabulous home made gift for pennies.

I filled my Sisters with sweets and some Rimmel Solo Eye shadow compacts I got cheaply ages before Christmas, then wrapped it in cellophane and tied it with curling ribbon. It looked so nice, she was so happy with it... They are really suitable for any occasion too!

And getting a picture of it on New Year's Eve filled to the brim with Vino made it all the more self-satisfying!

Nanna Kate X

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Welcome HP

After what seems like a lifetime, I have a new laptop. The old one was kaput, so I have a nice shiny new one - which is Red and did I mention shiny?

I am going to get back to blogging in the next day or so, and I just wanted to let my regular readers, you know who you are, know that I haven't dropped off the face of the earth. Oh, and to say a Happy New Year to you all!

Nanna Kate X