Wednesday, 29 February 2012

My Month In Numbers February 2012


Well, I for one cannot believe that February is now over. I promised myself I would make something ready for next Christmas every month - I haven't and I am kind of thinking now, it's going to creep up on my again before I even realise it! Arghhhh...

Anyway, my month looked a little like this!

6.5 = lb lost at Weight Watchers. That's 12lb in total. I am really enjoying the diet, though I have had a couple of naughty days lately (my Sister's birthday!) I am still very positive and sure I can make this change forever!

203 = days smoke free. Will never tire of quoting this statistic!

3 = Valentine's presents waiting for me along with a beautiful card. I got Lola by Marc Jacobs, I can't express how made up I was, it's one of my favourite perfumes ever and it was totally unexpected, after we agreed NO PRESENTS!!!!!

3 = also the number of strikes that I got when I was bowling a couple of weeks ago. I'm not bragging; but I've never had one before, EVER! I think I have finally found my stride!

1 = blog competitions I won... again, this was FIRST TIME EVER! And, the Lord knows I try! I was absolutely made up it came all beautifully wrapped up from Jo at Sugar and Scrap with a stunning handmade card and packed up with lots of crafty bits, embellishments, split pins, stickers, tags... I could go on! I can't wait to find some spare time and create a new scrapbook page.

£120 = spent on my new digital SLR camera! I took the plunge and just bought a Nikon D100 to start with. £2.49 = spent on Photography and Digital SLRs for Dummies which I will definitely be needing.

120 = also is the number of days until our holiday to Marrakesh. I can't wait, especially after following Susannah Conway's photo study of her recent trip there.

1 million = pro points used on Wine this month when my Sister and I went out for her birthday to the amusements... yes, you read right! We went for angelic pizza at Pizza Express then over to Hollywood Bowl to play Guitar Hero, go on the Simulator (not pleasant with a tummy full of White Zinfandel!), ride the Bikes and drink demonic, none diet friendly Vino. Very fun...

6 = tickets bought. 2 for a Comedy Night in Stockton 'Lady Ha Ha', 2 for Florence and the Machine, this will be the second time I see her and... most importantly... 2 for ALANIS MORISSETTE my heroine, idol, obsession. To say I am excited would be an understatement. The last time she toured the UK, 7 years ago, I queued all day to get to the front of the concert and this time will be no different! Woop!

12 pins on my Spring 2012 Wish List on Pinterest. I am lusting after so, so much!

62% = my grade for my latest Uni assignment. This is my lowest grade for a little while, but to say Neural Networks were difficult to get my head round, would be like saying I am excited for Alanis. A complete understatement. It was like some kind of nuclear physics. I am just glad to have passed.  1 = assignments left, 1 = dissertations to do and 9 = months until graduation!

I hope your February was a lovely as mine, I am looking so forward to March as I will be turning 28 and I adore my birthday, will see you back here soon.

Nanna Kate X

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Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Latest Charity Shop Finds...

I currently have a love/hate relationship with charity shops.

Hate: going in to see Rocket Dog Pumps, well worn with filthy soles for £20 = extortionate pricing
Love: reasonable pricing

Quite simple really. We go charity shop shopping every couple of weeks, at least once a month and we have found some really great bargains. But, lately, it's just getting so expensive that I can't justify spending the money they demand on something pre-loved.

This weekend I managed to find a couple of lovely little things, including this gorgeous seventies tiled wooden tea tray which cost just £1:

I just want to stack it up with a chunky coffee pot, some heavy mugs and rough oat cookies, perfect for a cold rainy day by the fire. I also picked up these new, old prettily embroidered, scalloped edged handkerchiefs wrapped up in a white ribbon and sweet pink and white tartan print box, 50p...  

We spotted a sign for a Vintage Flea Market and popped down for a look about. This was the first time we've ever been to a flea market as such (another first in February!), because nothing that cool happens anywhere we live! But this was happening and we just happened to stumble across it. It was almost over when we got there and they were packing their goodies up.

Just as we were about to leave I found this very cute enamel match box, it's pink, floral and antique - and it was in a box where everything was 50p. Bargain!

Next up, my very cute white ceramic bisque candle holder. This is particularly fab as I just got a couple of items from Partylite which will really go with this. It was covered in black marks and stains, but my lovely other half cleaned it up using Bicarb (which is like a miracle product!) and it came up like new. It was also 50p, it looks a little boring in the light, but this is it lit up... what do you think?!

My last find of the day - an incredibly cheery egg cup, with my sister's name on - perfect as it's her birthday, at 25p this isn't all she'll be getting, but I know it will put a big smile on her face as she loves having dippy eggs with my adorable nephew. Happy birthday sis!

That's it, my mini-treasure haul, for a massive £2.75. Now, that's what I call a charity shop! Have you found any bargainous mini-treasures lately?

Nanna Kate X

Monday, 27 February 2012

Dramatically Different!

A little while ago I wrote about my Clinique Haul. Well, now you can check out my review of the lush moisturiser I got, Dramatically Different Moisturising Lotion.

Check it out!

Nanna Kate X

Our February First

This month we booked a holiday! In a real travel agents! This might sound pretty unremarkable to most people, but after 3 years of scrimping and scraping to take the odd weeks holiday here, couple of days there, usually booked online through various companies that have subsequently gone bust or featured on 'holidays from hell', we finally took the (expensive) plunge and booked at the travel agents. 

We were greeted with a cocktail (I had a coffee as I was driving unfortunately!) and we booked to go to Morocco in June. I am super excited and it was probably one of the biggest purchases we've made as a couple. We spent the rest of the day giggling and saying silly things like 'I can't believe we're going on holiday'. 

Booking online has usually meant we've booked and travelled within days - but this time we have a few months to get excited. And, I just can't wait to spend (almost) a couple of weeks in the sunshine!

Have you done anything new or exciting for you this month?

Nanna Kate X

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Handmade Beauty Scrubs

Going back to Christmas - was that really so long ago? - my sister and I decided to make each other handmade presents. I painted her a wine glass which you can see here... because that was just SO cheap, I also made her some handmade beauty scrubs. I put them in pretty clip mason / kilner jars and I added handwritten labels with little tips about what to use the scrubs for. I made one with coarse pink Himalayan salt (for Elbows, Knees and Toes - well feet!) and and one with fine salt (all over body). 

If you Google it, there's a million suggestions for handmade scrub, but here's mine:

1 Cup Epsom Salt
1/2 Cup Pink Himalayan Salt
1/4 Cup Oil 
10-12 drops of Essential Oil, if desired

Put it all in a big bowl and mix. Fill up the jar, add a label, make it look pretty and personal. 

The Elbows, Knees and Toes used Boots Botanics Aromatherapy Base Oil which is a nourishing and fragrance free blend of grapeseed, jojoba, peach kernal and wheatgerm oils I then added a relaxing blend of essential oils including Chamomile, Lavender and Clary Sage. 

For the All Over Scrumptious Scrub I used a 50:50 mix of Soap and Glory dry oil Mist You Madly with   Boots Botanics Aromatherapy Base Oil and I added Crushed Dried Rose Petals (from a bouquet I got pre-Christmas which I dried for about 6 weeks!)

Finally, as my sister suffers headaches I made 'Clear Your Head'. I stuffed the clip jar full of petals and added Bergamot and Rosemary oils, I then just shook it up and left it to soak in for a couple of days. 

My sister suffers with certain skin care products and gets Eczema (like me!) and after Christmas she told me the scrubs had caused her Eczema to flare up - she stopped using them, but I assured her that aside from the Soap and Glory everything was natural and shouldn't have caused a problem. She stopped using it and the Eczema continued to get even more aggressive. 

She realised it wasn't the scrub at all in the nick of time! It was a lotion she had been using in addition to the scrubs! Phew - close one! She now has used the whole jar and wants me to make her some more up... It cost pennies (all of the supplies came from eBay and cost hardly anything!) and was super simple. 

Nanna Kate X

Monday, 13 February 2012

Tiniest Surprises

I was given this little pack of sweets by a friend at work at Christmas - she gave them out to our whole team; but, she gave me this particular tin design as she knows I am an absolute Twihard and adore R-Patz (I am NOT ashamed!). I never opened it and just kept it for decoration on my desk, next to my Twilight calendar...

Someone later asked if I liked the little sweets inside and it reminded me I hadn't even opened it. When I did, I found the cutest little heart shaped sweets ever!

This got me to thinking how good teeny tiny surprises are. Finding a fiver in an old bag / coat, getting a text off an old friend, realising you still have one crisp left in the bag when you thought they were finished, waking up suddenly and remembering it's Sunday and you don't have to get up...

What are your favourite mini-teeny-tiny surprises?

Nanna Kate X


Thursday, 2 February 2012

Spicy Ratatouille Soup

I bought all of the ingredients to make Ratatouille as I've never made it before and I really want to try it. I got everything except for the Aubergine (partly because the ingredients list I Googled in the supermarket didn't mention it). I came to make the dish and I Googled a recipe for the 'perfect Ratatouille' which led me to this one by Raymond Blanc. It was then that I realised I really needed Aubergine and I wasn't about to return to the now closed supermarket and get some. 

Instead of wasting the ingredients or being patient enough to wait until tomorrow when I could go and get an Aubergine, I decided to just make a soup. I have taken a quick snap of it whilst it's cooling in a large Tupperware container, so it's a little basic - no prizes for presentation here! 

1 x large courgette
1 x large white onion
1 x small butternut squash
1 x large green pepper
1 pt of Stock (I used Chicken)
1/2 tin chopped tomatoes
Squidge of tomato puree
Sprinkle each of Cayenne Pepper, Paprika and Ground Cumin (adapt to your taste buds)
Generous grinding of black peppercorns

Chop the veg, throw it all in a large pan, give it a stir, bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer for around 40-50 minutes. Stick it all in the blender and voile a, spicy veggie (mostly of the Ratatouille variety!) soup. Makes about 8 cups worth. Tastes absolutely amazing and for those out there who might be following Weight Watchers, this bad boy is zero pro points! Plus it's a really frugal way to use up any old veggies which may be on there way to veggie heaven... AND a fraction of the price Supermarkets charge for their own soups. 

Do you make your own soup? What's your favourite recipe?

Nanna Kate X

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

An Imperfect Crafter (...Jack of all trades, master of none...)

I live, breathe and love crafting. I am always making something or designing something or trying a new skill or fad, I read and subscribe to loads of craft blogs and I am constantly inspired.

But I'm not perfect.

I don't know why, I just cannot force myself to do things 'properly' or perfectly. I have always been the same since I was a child, I like quirky and odd ball in my life and I don't know if my imperfect crafting is an extension of that. It's not through lack of practise, as I do stuff over and over again and I devote a lot of time to crafting.

I thought I would share a couple of recent 'imperfect projects' I've made. It's funny because I shared these with an expert and straight away she said she could tell that I hadn't used a rotary cutter, quilter's mat and rule. I like the imperfection though, I think it adds to the fun!

Vintage Thomas the Tank Engine fabric magically transformed in to a quilt for my Nephew's Christmas present (My own bed quilt in the background which I also made, see below)
21st Quilt for my friend. I know, a random choice of present - but like I said, I like odd. 

Both of these quilts (and my own on my bed) look fantastic in my opinion and were gratefully received. I think I love being an imperfect crafter in lots of areas more than I would love to be perfect in just one. What about you? Are your crafting skills perfect or imperfect and which do you like best?

Nanna Kate X