6 Dec 2011

Does age matter?

There's been a lot of publicity about the Harry Styles and Caroline Flack pairing and it made me realise how we're still hung up about age difference. We've all done it where we've seen an older man or woman with a younger partner and scoffed at the thought but then when you think about it why should it matter at all? The only time such an age gap will surely matter is when one person is a lot more infirm than the other one that changes their lifestyle and even then, love should get ou through if it's the real McCoy!

There was a similar age gap between my grandparents and they were happily married for over 40 years. On the flip side, I'm not even 30 yet and one of my friends was married and divorced in the space of 4 years to a person just a couple of years younger. Age clearly doesn't equate to remaining happily married until death do us part.

In my opinion, you love who you love and that spans across lots of years. There's too little love in this world these days to start discriminating about who qualifies to end up with who. Just let them be happy together!

5 Dec 2011

GIVEAWAY 2

Right guys. In the spirit of Christmas here's another giveaway. Lovely Christine from Planet Events Direct has provided some lovely prizes from her even lovelier shop.

It's not too late to get crafty for Christmas. Making gifts is a great way to spend less but give more. And practically everyone loves things that are made with lots of love and thought put into them rather than the first thing you can dash into a shop for. Check it out for yourself as she has lots of beautiful findings, trimming and accessories.

If you don't have the time to spare just now, you can also buy things ready made up (like these stunning earrings .) As these earrings are my total favourites, Christine has agreed to give me 3 pairs to give to you lot! I thought that would get your attention!




I think they're beautiful - aren't they just divine?  And they can be yours in time for the party season. If you can bear to give them away, you could even use them as a great Christmas prezzy!

Here's what you have to do....

*Follow this blog via Google Friend Connect and comment (maybe something chatty - I do love a good chat with followers!) under this blog post to say you are a follower! Remember to leave a twitter ID or email address so I can contact you if you're one of our lucky winners!

*BONUS ENTRIES
- Let us know your favourite thing about Christine's Folksy shop whether it be your favourite item or something less obvious but just as good. Remember to identify yourself though!
- Retweet our competition tweet.

RULES
-UK entrants only this time I'm afraid.
-We'll try and get the prizes to you before Christmas but please allow 28 days from the closing date of the competition to receive your prizes.
-This giveaway closes on Friday 9th December 2011.
-Three winners will be selected and winners must reply to our tweet/email within 7 days or other lucky winners will be selected.

23 Nov 2011

Get more for your money!

I've found that finding time to shop for Christmas prezzies is really hard if you're planning to go out and about and so a majority of gifts are to be bought online this year. After a fairly unsuccessful trip to a shopping centre nearby I've realised that while I've already got a few things sorted, now is the time to knuckle down. If you're in the same situation as me here are a few of my best tips.

1. If you are wanting to shop from the big chains, try searching for discount codes on www.vouchercodes.co.uk to save yourself money.

2. Use a cashback sites like Quidco or TopCashBack. All you need to do is go onto one of these sites, search for the retailer you are interested in and click through to shop at that site the way you normall would. It tracks your spend and you end up with cash! I've used TopCashBack for the last 9 months when making purchases I would have done anyway and made back the best part of £100.

3. I prefer to shop with smaller, independant retailers and there are plenty to shoose from online. A great place to start for unusual, personal gift ideas is somewhere like Folksy or Etsy. They are bursting with talented individuals selling some of the most fabulous handcrafted things you have ever seen.

4.The final thing I like to remember when shopping online is although you might feel ripped off by P&P charges, you probably would have paid more in petrol and parking (and blood sweat and tears).

Grab a cuppa and put your computer on. This year, Christmas shopping just got fabulous.

9 Nov 2011

Just say one nice thing a day :)

I complimented a customer today and after a pleased reaction, I thought more and more about how one comment like that can leave you walking on air all day knowing that someone has appreciated you.

When you think about it, it's not even a big ask. You don't need to put time aside to do it, it doesn't cost you anything and it probably makes you feel a bit happier for making a difference to someone.

New homework guys, (I hope you've been enjoying the 10 minutes to yourself one, a la that Twinings campaign). I want you (even for just one week) to compliment someone or say something positive to someone every day for the rest of this week. It can be either someone you know or a stranger but the important thing is that you've made an unexpected difference to their day.

7 Nov 2011

eeeeeek, I've got some good news!

I'm getting married!!! On the 2nd August next year I will be the official other half of my lovely, long suffering fiance. I'm so excited but so overwhelmed by how much I have to organise. Let the excitement commence!

19 Oct 2011

Pearl Anniversary - a rare achievement

My lovely parents have been together nearly 34 years and married for almost 30. In the present day and in my opinion, this is a fabulous achievement and it should be celebrated and praised. A lot of people for a lot of different reasons never get anywhere close to being married for even a decade nowadays. I'm not sure why that is? Are we too choosy because society is constantly telling us we can do better? Is there less stigma surrounding separation and divorce these days so people find it too easy not to try? Or are we just allowing ourselves the chance to be happy if something just isn't working out.

A couple of generations ago, it was shameful not to work on your marriage. You just hadn't tried enough but this attitude was good and bad in different circumstances and in equal measures. I really believe that if you've tried everything you should call it a day and try and make the separation as amicable as it can be depending on what has happened, but I also believe that you shouldn't torture yourself.

In celebration of those rare couples who manage to notch up at least a few decades of marriage by either avoiding divorce or suffering a bereavement, there are anniversaries to think of, and the cards and presents that represent the amount of years are becoming increasingly harder to find and buy because so few people manage it. My parents are celebrating their Pearl Anniversary so I'm trying to think of something to get them that incorporates this without it being too girly. I'll let you know how I get on...

Answers on a postcard readers!

13 Oct 2011

Twinings - Take 10

Recently I applied to become a Twinings Ambassador with Red Magazine and was only of the lucky chosen few. The concept appealed to me on many levels but first and foremost because I love tea. I mainly drink English Breakfast or Fruit teas, but thought that maybe this would be my opportunity to broaden my horizons a bit and give some feedback at the same time.

To my delight, Twinings sent 4 variety boxes of yummy teas including a fruit tea selection, green tea selection, mint tea selection and last but not least, a classic blends box with your English Breakfast, Earl Grey etc in. Since they have arrived, I've been trying lots of different ones - I'm still unsure about Green Tea but I'm persevering.

Our first task for last month was to take 10 minutes to ourselves every day to enjoy a brew as part of the Twinings - Take 10 campaign that they're currently running. I've recently seen the advert that goes alongside this campaign (the one with the lady weathering the storm) and it reminds me of a beautiful book, illustrated in watercolour that we read at school when I was ten. I must try and remember what that book was called actually...

After the whole ten days, I surprised myself with the results. Not only did I have to force myself to find only ten minutes to enjoy some 'me time' but it made me think about how much I did for myself and how much of my time was taken up doing things for other people. If you think about it you'd probably find the same as me. So, I want you lot to try doing the same, just for ten days. I know it's hard with families, work and other things to put some time aside but it's definitely worth it. It'll make you assess things differently for sure.

Enjoy xxx

8 Oct 2011

Flukey is a word that may describe this?!

I went to work as usual yesterday for the new place and then when 5:30 arrived, I nipped over to the pharmacy to meet the lady who had phoned up the night before. I was a bag of nerves waiting for a grilling about how I thought I was suitable to work there and then waiting for them to tell me just how unsuitable and inexperienced I was for such a job.

The lady (lets call her 'L') took me outside the health centre for a little chat as it was insanely busy inside. L asked what I was after with regards to work and I told her "full time as I have my house to pay for". Then she moved onto the make or break "what is your work background?" question. I couldn't lie and told her that my only experience was the last 6 or 7 months as a receptionist in the Dr's surgery. It was a bit of  a blur after that with me jabbering on about how "I'm a hard worker and willing to learn and have pursued further education to better myself la la la" but the interview only lasted a total of about 5 minutes and didn't go how a normal interview would. I was waiting for her to say she would let me know when she turned and said "well as far as I'm concerned that's the interview done with, can you start Monday?" You could have knocked me down with a feather! Full time? Yes. Min wage? Yes, but with training it's only set to pay more. I didn't want to come off as ungrateful but I asked if I could start the following week so I didn't drop the new place in it after they'd been kind enough to offer me a job. I think L thought it was quite honourable because she was quite happy for me to start a week later than she'd asked.

So there you are. I'm going to be a Pharmacy Girl! I think this goes as far as I want it to now because with an opportunity that I would never walk into otherwise and a bit of hard work and showing willingness from me, this could be a whole new career! Mental. I've got a lot to thank the Doctor for, as the day I got my notice he had obviously been putting some very generous and magical words in for me. I love the very bones of that man. He is truly one of the kindest and greatest people I have ever met. However hard a worker I was, I would never have got an interview with the pharmacy otherwise.

I am one very smiley and happy young lady. Here's to a new adventure!

6 Oct 2011

Oops, I spoke too soon. But it wasn't all bad...

Yesterday was one filled with tears. A normal Wednesday, hectic at work and then after my shift I was summoned to the Practice Manager's office for a chat which left me with my one weeks notice - you see I knew it was on the cards - and in a bit of a flap. I'm quite an emotional person at the best of times but I have absolutely LOVED that little job and the Doctor is a total one off. One of the nicest, most approachable people I have ever met. After a lot more blubbing and a few hugs, I began to make my exit only to be asked round to the pharmacy by the Dr who proceeded to try and set me up with some work there. Then, only two hours later, a Practice Manager from a surgery in the same health centre offered me a job (only part time but better than what I thought I was having to end with) which I started today!

But wait...the plot thickens. One hour ago, I had a missed call. I wondered to myself who might phone so late at night but rang back anyway, only to find that the pharmacy had asked me to come in for another chat tomorrow after my shift. Crazy times. It'll be interesting to see what comes of it. I'm interested to know what you guys would do....

3 Oct 2011

Dr Beckmann - Colour Run Remover

Yesterday in an attempt to make a bigger load to wash Mr Chatter's work promo t-shirts in the machine, I accidently tossed in something not especially colour fast. I don't know what I was thinking but the only thing that got ruined was my top. One of my absolute favourite tops. It's just a Zara one and was red and white stripes and now it's red and pink.

Tonight I went and bought Dr Beckmann Colour Run Remover in the hopes that it would undo my stupidity. I had high hopes after reading some reviews on the internet but clearly I have outdone myself. After wasting three English pounds on this 'rescue remedy' I was left disappointed in a massive way. My beautiful top emerged from the mystical suds like a contestant from Stars In Their Eyes only to look EXACTLY THE SAME.

Colour Run Fail. At least I bought some Colour Catcher sheets so next time I have such a special moment, I won't get far enough to have to waste my money again :(

Finally I'm back.

Since the move I've had no internet apart from on my Blackberry which has been a sad old time. I've been able to briefly check my emails at work for urgent things but nothing as lovely as blogging and so I am one happy lady to return!

So what have I missed? And what have I got to tell you in the last...oh my goodness...MONTH!

I'll start with the fact that somehow, I'm still employed. My impending doom at the hands of the returning long term sicky has remarkably spared me and given me a few weeks grace to really get my finger out now the bulk of the move is over and find another job before I really am out on my a**e.

Secondly, I've become some sort of domestic godess, batch baking lasagne to keep the costs down and cleaning up after two boys. I may have forgotten to mention that Mr Chatter's brother is now lodging with us. The only reason it works is because we all get along so well but I won't lie, the rent he's paying us is a great crutch when my job is hanging in the balance. The arrangement has worked out well for all of us as BOMC (Brother Of Mr Chatter) is now 20 mins closer to work than he would have been living at his Mam's house and isn't paying over the odds for a house share!

I'm going to take pics of my house so you can see the difference. I'm sure you can't wait. :op xxx

24 Aug 2011

Kitting out the house for about 5p

Ok, so maybe thats an exaggeration but I found some right bargains today. I'm currently trying to kit out the kitchen with glasses and cutlery and things like that. My two best bargains are Ikea cutlery (16 pieces for £2.62) and Tesco drinking glasses (98p for 4!) Crrrrazy prices but it's helping me get lots for my money and I intend to try and find more bargains shortly. Let me know if you find anything similarly bargainess and tell others about it!

23 Aug 2011

Jobs and trying to find one quickly!

If you had asked me what I wanted to be when before I left school I would simply have said "well paid". Years on I have realised that people should just be grateful to be employed at all.

There are a lot of people in my position. I've stuck in at school and university and was told that a good degree will open the door to most jobs. What I've found is quite the opposite and that's not necessarily because of lack of work experience. I've worked since I had just turned sixteen so it's not lack of effort there.

Where the blame does perhaps lie is the way I've approached my career. A bit of a scatterbrain approach is how I'd describe it and that's maybe because I would like to split myself a few different ways and experience lots of different jobs and sectors. This does not make for a good, or particularly focused C.V.

The thing I find the most frustrating is that people can't or won't give you a chance these days. I've fallen lucky this year as when I was made redundant in March, I put a cheeky application in for a sick leave cover job in a field I'd never experienced or really entertained before. I was offered the job - my current employers really took a chance on me - and thankfully it paid off for both of us. I've loved working there and met some great people and learnt some new skills and just generally interesting stuff. Unfortunately, the lady who was on the sick, is now returning to work and although she's well within her rights to claim back her job, it leaves me in an awkward position. Sad times.

So the job hunt begins again, and for the past few weeks it's been at its time consuming and soul destroying best. Apparently I'm qualified for nothing. Some people have inferred I'm over qualified and some people said I'm under qualified. Fair dooos about the under qualified bit but I can never quite get my head around being over qualified. Ok maybe you don't want to invest in someone who might want to move on quickly but then surely thats true of any level of qualification. Surely the fact that you're applying is enough to let someone know you want AND need this job?

Wish me luck. This is an emergency!

15 Aug 2011

A wish of mine.

I've always thought this but especially as a result of last weeks events...

In my ideal world, you would be able to treat people the same as they treat you - good and bad. This might mean that a lot of people might give a thought to the consequences instead of acting like complete idiots. Especially people like the lunartics who crashed their car into those poor lads. In Randomchatter world, they'd get back exactly what they'd dished out. After all, fair's fair.

4 Aug 2011

And the winner is...

Thanks to everyone who entered our lovely giveaway! I guess you want to know who the winner is? *drum roll* The winner is... Straysuzi! If you can get send your name and full postal address to my email and I'll send your prize out! Congrats from the great Planet Events Direct and myself. We bet you look stunning wearing your lovely prize!

1 Aug 2011

A tired but happy young lady and a fake-o Christmas feeling

I have gloss (well satin wood) on my hands that is refusing to part ways with my skin but I've come to realise it doesn't actually matter anymore. We're only a few days from getting the carpets down and the furniture arriving (at the end of the week) and I'm really excited. It's almost like that feeling you get a few days before Christmas where you can't quite believe it's almost the day that you've been waiting for and counting down to for months!

More piccies on the way soon :)

25 Jul 2011

GIVEAWAY 1!

Here's the giveaway I promised you and there's plenty more to come so get following my blog. If you follow by email you'll get all these nice posts straight to your inbox!)

The very lovely Christine at Planet Events Direct has offered up some great prizes for y'all and so I decided to do an interview with her so you can find out a bit more about her and her business. Here's the interview.

 ***

WHAT IS PLANET EVENTS DIRECT ?
Planet Events Direct is an Online Craft & Lifestyle shop based in London, UK selling through the Folksy.com website. We sell a range of premuim quality of crafting materials such as mother of pearl buttons, Glass & Crystal prepacked mixed beads, sewing supplies, furnishing trimmings, jewellery making supplies, strings of freshwater pearls & gemstones alongside other eclectic and ornate bits & bobs.....as well as beautifully crafted jewellery and accessories items at extremely competitive prices.

THE PERSON BEHIND PLANET EVENTS DIRECT
My creative career roots are in Upholstery & Soft Furnishings and as a child, and whilst growing up i embraced and dabbled in many crafty disciplines such as cross stitch patchwork & quilting, papier mache right through to dressmaking, baking and pottery.
In my late 20's, due to numerous factors, i decided to leave behind my job as a Medical Secretary and concentrate on forging a new career as a Soft Furnisher & Upholsterer.

WHERE DID IT ALL START ?
Whilst working as a Soft furnisher & Upholsterer i noticed a lack of good quality instantly accessible, price concious crafting materials which i myself needed for my own creative projects, as well as receiving numerous requests from customers who had previously commisioned work from me, who wanted advice about creating their own bespoke accessory/homewares pieces from scratch.
After doing the necessary research i took the decision to start selling the mentioned items by Mail Order. After some time i heard about Folksy.com and decided to set up a shop on the site. The shop celebrated its 2nd Anniversary of trading on Folksy this year.

WHO IS PLANET EVENTS FOR ?
Its for anyone who wants to source a selection of premuim quality craft & lifestyle items for their bespoke needs.
Wheter beginner or seasoned crafter we are sure that you will find something to suit you in our Online shop.

 
DESCRIBE A TYPICAL DAY IN THE LIFE OF PLANET EVENTS DIRECT
There isnt one. Each day usually consists of processing orders, dealing with suppliers, making up jewellery and accessories, catching the last post :-) amongst everything else. Priority is given to making sure that our customers receive an excellent shopping experience with after sales assistance where necessary.

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU PARTICULARLY DISLIKE/LOVE ABOUT RUNNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS ?
Dealing with Royal Mail/Courier Companies over lost/delayed parcels can be quite stressful.......grrrrrrr !!!!
Recieving orders of shiny sparkly materials to make up jewellery/accessories usually does the trick of cheering me up. yay!!

HOW DO YOU RELAX & UNWIND AWAY FROM RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS?
Spending quality time with my family, going for long solitary walks, swimming and watching films which make me laugh is a great way to de-stress and unwind for me, i also like reading in a quiet room for a few hours.....time permitting !

ANY ADVICE FOR ANYONE WHO WANTS TO RUN AN ONLINE SHOP ?
Maintain self belief, confidence, determination, drive and ambition within yourself in healthy, equal amounts whilst not forgetting that you are only human and at times there will be situations/events which you do not have any control over. In times like this just let it go.......tomorrow will be another day :-)

WHATS THE FUTURE PLANS FOR PLANET EVENTS DIRECT
To continue to grow the shop, keep listening to the needs of our customers and to make sure that every purchase from PLANET EVENTS DIRECT is a satisfying shopping experience for the customer.

***

The prize is this lovely pair of earrings



What we would like you to do is:

  • Follow my blog
  • Check out Christine's online shop and then come back and let us know underneath this post which is your fav item in her shop. If you're feeling generous you could put a link so other people can see what your fav item is.

We'll finish the giveaway on Sunday 31st July and pick a winner at random. So what are you waiting for?



15 Jul 2011

My new fav bathroom product.

I've become a bit fanatical about those body puff things. On my trip up to IKEA I saw a pack of them for cheap...
Ikea Body Puffs
Not only do they exfoliate you while you soap yourself but they probably use about half of the shower gel you would normally use without something like that. It makes the shower gel foam lots and lots so you won't have to buy as much as often! My skin is normally a bit pimply and I've been trying to get it in better condition in case (god forbid) the weather becomes nice enough to wear summer clothes on a regular basis. I reckon these body puffs are too good to pass up and you'll thank me for your new improved skin and lowered expenditure on shower gel ;)

5 Jul 2011

Nom Nom Nom - healthy bait

I've been trying to get creative with my lunch. Especially since our place of work will soon be further away from the ASDA I use as a fall back when I'm too lazy/short on time to make something.
The other night we tried this lovely recipe from Morrisons. It's a very delicious, cheap and easy recipe. I had it with some boiled rice and pitta breads for my tea and then again for my bait the next day.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2cm fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • ½ tsp ground tumeric
  • ½ tsp Schwartz Crushed Chilli
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 800ml vegetable stock
  • 150g red lentils
  • 150g puy or green lentils
  • 420g can chickpeas, drained
  • 200g fresh baby leaf spinach
  • fresh coriander

  • Method

    1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the
      onion until it begins to brown. Add the garlic
      and ginger and cook for a further 2 minutes.
    2. Add carrot and spices and stir well to coat
      the vegetables; cook for 2 minutes. When
      you can smell the spices, they are cooked,
      so add the tomatoes, stock and lentils. Cook
      over a moderate heat without the lid for 30
      minutes, or until the lentils have softened.
    3. Add the chickpeas and heat through.
    4. When you are ready to serve, remove the
      cinnamon stick, stir the spinach through, and
      serve with toasted wholemeal pitta bread or
      brown rice and a few sprigs of coriander.
    If you're entertaining sometime, your guests might like it served with some houmous and pomegranate seeds!

    29 Jun 2011

    Post 100 - a bit of sadness and random acts of kindness

    How exciting. My 100th post! Today has been a real mixed bag. I'll sum it up in a 'Four Weddings and a Funeral' kinda way. Today is now named 'Two deaths, some bad news and some potential work'. Not quite as catchy and slightly misleading. But it has definately been a crazy day full of mixed emotions.

    Not to dwell on the bad bits, it's also been quite a life-affirming day. I know you're probably thinking by now that I seem to be a bit deep-and-meaningful this past couple of days, but like I say when you first read my little bio, I just say what I'm thinking and a lot of that comes from the events of the day! Although I've been informed of two deaths and a friend/colleague has received some bad news about her husband, today has shown me that no matter how long you've known someone, you get to care about them really quickly. Especially in a small workplace. The lady from work is having a really tough time of late and we've all rallied around to take the pressure off. Some of her colleagues have known her many years and some (like me) have only known her a few months. What I'm actually taking an AGE to say is that it's really awesome to see people putting themselves out for someone, knowing that it will make that tough time a little less tough and knowing that that person would help them out when they're next in a fix. I couldn't ask for a better bunch of people to work with!

    I'm really into random acts of kindness. Whether it be someone helping you to do something, someone surprising you with something they know you'll love, a stranger offering you something that makes even the slightest positive change to you or even someone saying 'bless you' in the street, these things make my world go round and I find them all equally important.

    I'd love to know what the best, most random act of kind ness is that you've given or received. Or both? I'd LOVE to hear yours :)

    28 Jun 2011

    An amazing moment

    This week at work has been life changing for me. That is because this week, I got to give someone some great news. The detail to this story is minimal due to patient confidentiality but I'd chased up some results for someone and the individual got to find out she didn't have cancer. Understandably, she was overjoyed and it was the most rewarding moment of my time working there so far. Just to hear how happy and relieved she was will stay with me forever.

    Up until then I'd had a fairly average week with a few hiccups thrown in from Chez Chatter, just for good measure. The situation the patient was in really put things into perspective for me. Recently I've loved a good whinge about little things going wrong in our 'refurbishment' and although they've been testing times and set us back a bit (in patience, time and money) I realised that these things that I've been worrying about really do pale into insignificance in comparison to the waiting and worrying this lady has had to do.

    Hopefully I won't let this lesson go to waste in the future. It really is so important to remember how sometimes, you are much luckier than you realise.

    24 Jun 2011

    Glee!

    Last night I went to see Glee (the tour) and it was brilliant. I'd mentioned to someone at work I was going and they said they'd never seen Glee (the tv show) because they weren't into 'sunshine and rainbows'. I immediately corrected them. Okay, okay...it is a happy feel good show. But a lot of it is really dark, laugh-out-loud funny or deals with serious issues. The singing of massive pop hits and show tunes is actually a small part of the enjoyment.

    I guess they had a point about the show though since it was back to back songs but Mr Chatter acocmpanied me and he's never been into the show. He wouldn't entertain spending an hour of his life watching it but somehow happily agreed to join me last night...hmmmm. If he likes it anyone will love it whether they admit it or not. I was also buzzing about breathing the same air as the real cast from one of my favourite shows. Thanks to my dad for a great Christmas prezzy :D

    The tour is happening now. If you fancy a good night out where you'll be hoarse from singing and  your face will ache afterwards from all the smiling, you can't go far wrong with getting tickets for a date on this tour.



    22 Jun 2011

    Addressing old problems

    I'm coming up 28 years old and I'm embarrassed to say I've only just addressed a back problem I've had more than half my life but randomly, my job is to encourage people to get back to health...go figure.

    Aged 13, I was on a family holiday in Florida. My one and only trip to Busch Gardens and one solitary ride on the 'Kumba' was all I needed to create a problem that has been with me ever since. Anyone who has been on this ride will know it throws you about a bit and I must have come down in my seat pretty hard to cause such lasting damage. Here's a pic of the ride...

    Anyways, long story short...I'm not a fan of the Doctors (lets face it, few people are) and so I've never had the bollocks to go and run the risk of having some sort of treatment. My brother started working in the physio department of our local hospital a while ago and when I was complaining of pain the other night he got straight on to a colleague who came out of his way this evening to try and assess and put right years of wrong.

    Tonight I am a very happy young lady. I feel I've taken a step in the right direction finally, all thanks to my brother and his friend/work mate. The talented young fellow told me what was wrong and the steps I could take to helping myself. It just goes to show that sometimes you just need to bite the bullet (or have a family member ready to give you a gentle nudge) and your life can become so much better. In future I'll be a bit quicker to seek help. After all, a lot of the time, it's worse not to try and get it sorted.

    Lovely crafty bits for my homemade home!

    With the house coming along nicely, I'm trying to put time aside to make things to really put my stamp on this place!

    I recently got hold of some crafting goodies which I'm intending to use to transform it into something personal to Mr Chatter and myself. What should it be? The crafting goodies came from this cracking little shop run by a fab lady called Christine. She herself is an experienced crafter and so you can trust she knows what she's talking about and selling.

    Her shop stocks lots of lovely things including jewellery making supplies and haberdashery bits and bobs like these...


    ...all the way up to finished pieces of jewellery and accessories like this...



    ...so if you're running low on time to grab a gift for someone but want to get your hand into crafting you can kill two birds with one stone! Ideal!

    I was inspired to mention this shop in light of re-watching an episode of Kirstie's Homemade Home. I'd taped it to see what a young couple in the same position as Mr Chatter and myself would do with a 'previously loved' home in order to make it super-duper. I got loads of make-it-yourself ideas and I reckon I could execute them with a bit of help from Planet Events Direct!

    28 May 2011

    My time at the coast with Michele Webber

    Where I live, there are several coastal towns - typically British with an abundance of arcades, chippys and a couple with piers. Although we never really get the weather for a bit of beach action the coastal areas are beautiful, all in their own ways. Many of our northern beaches are actually book-ended by industry and are not as picturesque as your stereotypical seaside resort, but nevertheless they have their own individual charm.
    I have only two pieces of art ready to go into my new home and I realised today that they're both seaside related and I haven't chosen them to be like that on purpose. One of them is this beauty:



    Michele Webber is the artist behind this and she does many styles of art (some of which you can peruse and purchase here). Even her business cards are a feast for the eyes. Michele is a professional artist, illustrator and art tutor working from her garden studio in Suffolk, England. She specialises in watercolours and also makes mosaics and monoprints so you could say she is a good all-rounder. You can see some of her work and learn more about her here. So what are you waiting for? Every home should have a Michele Webber print!

    24 May 2011

    Nothing solves a problem better then a cup of tea...

    ...so I am extremely excited to show off my new tea cosy which makes my cuppa an even more stylish and special experience.

    This stunning piece is made by Cherry Tree who make lovely tea cosies in lots of pretty styles and colours not to mention lots of other gorgeous goodies that would brighten up your home or be fabulous as presents. The tea cosies are all hand crafted and when yours arrives, even though you don't know Cherry Tree, you feel as though someone you know very well has made a very thoughtful gift for you!

    I would love to give or receive something like this and it's a brilliant (and affordable) gift idea for anyone's requirements. Chances are, even if the person doesn't like tea, they'll have a teapot for cutesy, ornamental use on a dresser or mantlepiece. One of Cherry Tree's tea cosies would be the 'piece de resistance'! I love mine and can't wait to invite my friends round for a spot of afternoon tea. This will certainly be a great centre piece and talking point. I'm certain they'll all want one too!

    

    19 May 2011

    Good service

    Today I received some amazing service whilst exchanging something at B&Q. It's very rare to get such good service these days but it's something that's always on my mind, especially because I've spent most of my working life interfacing with the public.

    Ok, ok. There's lots of people that are good at their jobs but it's people like this lady today who go over and above that and stick in your mind as being exceptional at their jobs. She was professional, engaging and friendly all at the same time and is a credit to her employer. I thanked her at the time but wanted B&Q to know what an asset she was and tweeted them. Hopefully the appreciation was also expressed by B&Q.

    My point is that people are always quick to go out of their way to complain. Who doesn't? But people going to the same lengths to commend is a rare thing. I've always been brought up to recognise and report both good and bad service and hopefully more people will do so in the future. I know I'd love to hear that I'd make a difference to someone's day so spread a bit of happiness and do the same for someone else!

    18 May 2011

    My Aunty Joan...

    ...isn't really my Aunty at all actually but I kinda wish she was! Aunty Joan is in fact a designer/maker on Folksy with a variety of lovely gifty things for sale such as this heart which I'm now the proud owner of.


    Cute huh? I love it. It's so kitsch and is going to look great wherever I decide to hang it whether it be on a door handle, a knob on my chest of drawers or as a small wall hanging. The great thing about her shop is that practically everything is pocket money prices so whether you're a little kid wanting to buy something nice for a parent or an adult on a tight budget there is something for you for any occasion and you will struggle to come away empty handed!

    Whilst I was investigating this lovely Folksy store I wanted to know more about the woman behind it all and enjoyed reading her biog too. Chatty, engaging and to-the-point is how I perceive her to be and definitely someone I'd like to know.

    You can peruse and purchase her wares here. Enjoy!

    14 May 2011

    Folksy

    Folksy has been around since 2007 but many people still don't know about it. For those of you in this position I'll tell you a bit about it. Folksy is a centre point to sort out all your gift buying problems. It is bursting with talented designer makers  - some of which sell their creations as a sideline around a salaried job and others that make a full-time, decent living from the fruits of their labours. Either way Folksy becomes an addiction.

    I have taken a peek on there many a time and suddenly realised hours have passed and I simply haven't realised due to the fact I have been mesmerised by all the interesting and innovative wares on there. I've bought things in the past from etsy.com which is more or less a U.S. version of the U.K. based Folksy.

    The concept is brilliant and lets all the talented people who might not be able to use it as a fully sustainable income, showcase their talent for all to see and enjoy. Somethings you will love and have seen similar things before, somethings you will love and will be a totally new concept to you!

    Here are some of my favourites:

    Taken from MadBrilliantIdeas Folksy shop
    Or these:

    Taken from lovesagoodyarn Folksy shop

    There's plenty more to see but I'll blog about those at a later date. I just wanted to bring to your attention the wonder of Folksy. Not only will you be supporting British genius but you will never have to look anywhere else for gift ideas, accessories or finishing touches to your home!

    13 May 2011

    An update (Weeks 4 and 5)

    I am yet to take photos but essential work is progressing.

    Our bathroom suite arrived and has been put together to check all the pieces are there! The bathroom seriously was unusable. Everything we've ripped out has been unsalvageable (we have been told by numerous family and friends and tradespeople) that the bathroom suite definately needed to be replaced. I know no-one likes to use someone elses bathroom but it's the way it goes. It's a cost I would have preferred to avoid but like the electrics and plumbing it is sadly a necessity.

    In this process so far we are managing to save the kitchen and the built in cupboards in the second bedroom. They're actually pretty good sliding wardrobes so I'm relieved the last people left something for us to keep!

    The rewire is nearly finished too! The electricians have found really shocking DIY disasters along the way including someone replacing fuse wire with copper wire!? Mental. It's making me more and more pleased and reassured that although it's been a massive outlay, it would have been ignorant if we hadn't. I don't want to burn in my bed, no siree!

    The plumbing work is finished for the time being too so we're nearly at it being an actualy place to live. As long as we have a place to eat, sleep and go to the loo I'm happy. The rest can be done as we can afford it :) 

    10 May 2011

    Time to get fit.

    I have in my posession the new book by Matt Roberts  which I'm hoping does exactly what it says on the tin. "I Will Make You Fit Fast" offers two plans. One is a slower, gradual 12 week plan; the other is a 2 week blitz! If you're anything like me you would want to do the 2 week one for fast results, but on closer inspection you have to remember how much harder the work would be.



    I'm 27 years old and I've never ever been into sport. Down to some hellish genes (thank you parents) I've managed to maintain a respectable size 8/10 figure thus far. However, I'm under no illusion that lots of food + little-to-no exercise  does not equal an ideal habit to be in. Irrespective of managing to maintain a figure I'm pretty happy with, I've only recently stopped to consider what a kicking my insides are probably taking and this is compounded by how unfit I find myself to be these days. I won't lie. I've NEVER been fit. The closest I've got to a level of fitness is during the senior school years when P.E. was forced upon me and I participated under duress.

    So, I thought I'd give this book a bash. The 12 week plan of course. Nothing too hardcore. And only the exercise bit just to see how effective half the plan is. Look forward to an update on how I get on and how user friendly it all is. I might even surprise myself!

    9 May 2011

    Comfy Heels? Could it be true?

    I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw these beauties. A gorgeous shoe that's meant to be comfortable - surely not???

    Taken from raphaelyoung.com


    Claims like these get a shoe addict like me tres excited because I'm too rubbish at being a full-time heel wearer due to foot pain after about one hour. I've heard positive things about the Melissa shoes and up until a couple of weeks ago, I'd never had the pleasure of placing one on my foot. My friend owns the Vivienne Westwood for Melissa shoes that I've coveted for over a year. Here they are in all their comfort and beauty...

    Anyway, I digress. Here's what they say the R-Flex shoes can do:

    The R-flex™ patented technology is a milestone in the evolution of high-heeled shoes’ manufacturing techniques. Dramatically improving the comfort and flexibility of the shoe while keeping an external look similar to any other standard shoe, it brings maximum softness and sets a new standard of comfort for high-heeled shoes.
     I am hoping the R-Flex range from http://www.raphaelyoung.com/ are really deceptively comfortable without having to compromise on style and elegance like many other brands on the market. Although I'm not currently in a position to afford either type of shoe, I'm sure that as soon as I can, I'll be desperate to get my hands (and feet) on some sharpish!

    4 May 2011

    Week 3

    Week 3 A lot more progress has been made. The electrics are really taking shape, we've moved some things about in the garden and we took the executive decision to get rid of the fitted wardrobes in our room to free up space and so we had more options regarding how we could have the furniture positioned.


    Week 2

    Week 2 and the garden is starting to be cut back a bit and we're pulling endless amounts of crap out of the loft. We've also removed some leaking pipes from the kitchen wall and cut up and binned the pink carpet! The entire bathroom suite is getting ripped out too!

    The electrics work has started courtesy of Electrically Minded who have been great. I would recommend them to anyone. Right from the start they offered an honest price and were very easy to talk to which I think is a rare thing with tradesmen. They didn't try to charge us for things we don't need. They don't talk in gobble-de-gook so you know what they're on about. They've been working hard all week and are making quick progress!







    NEGLECT AND Week 1

    I have named this post 'Neglect' for a couple of reasons. Both of which I will explain now. Firstly I have an apology to make to you all for neglecting this blog for a few weeks. I'm sorry. I hope you can forgive me!

    Secondly, the reason I have struggled for time to write on here is due to the exciting news I shared with you on the 8th of last month. That's right, 'Chez Randomchatter'! To make it up to you and keep you in the picture I've decided to offer you images and descriptions of the house so you can all share the progress we're making :)

    WEEK 1

    Here are the first pics of Chez Randomchatter. It was a repo house and was left with no carpets or decoration apart from a couple of nasty lights and a Barbie pink carpet. Indeed.

    Front of our house

    Our lounge into our dining room

    The dining room

    Kitchen

    Master Bedroom

    Study
    I didn't take a picture of the 2nd bedroom by accident. I blame it on excitement. So thats how it was when we got the keys. The garden was overgrown and these pictures don't show the extent of the work that needs to be done. It's still our little palace though and I'm muchos excited!!!

    13 Apr 2011

    If you like the classics (e.g. Jane Austen, Emily Bronte etc) you will really enjoy reading and using "Modern Cookery for private families" by Eliza Acton. It was originally published in 1845 and has now been brought back to life by Quadrille Publishing Ltd and Jill Norman.



    When I first heard about this book I was intrigued by the title and you know straight away the kind of voice and tone to expect. From what I understand, this was one of the first cookery books of its kind and a pre-cursor to the (perhaps better known) Mrs Beeton books. Before then, familes and cooks had their own recipe books detailing family favourites with their own signature twists. Cooks took them household to household to provide wholesome meals for the families they worked for and the families themselves used these suggestions to inform the cook's offerings to them each day.

    The recipes in the book are a reflection of popular recipes of the time ranging from basic pastry methods right through to cooking fish and meat and then on to desserts. The style in which they are written is not only very charming but very unusual. Depending on the recipe, she bases the amounts of ingredients on the weight of the other ingredients required. For example, in the sponge cake recipe, a lot of the quantities are largely reliant on the weight of the eggs used. Acton does of course use proper quantities too but after some thought I decided I quite liked this way of doing things. I'm going to give that way of cooking a try but whilst it would be potentially more time consuming, I think the results would be far more accurate in the long run.

    All in all, this book is the most unusual recipe book I've had the pleasure of reading. I think it's worth a read if you're into something that bit different and if you fancy a glimpse into a more gentile time.

    8 Apr 2011

    My news...

    Today, my fiance and I got the keys to our first house together. It's in the area where I've spent all my life up to now and its a great little family house. It's a project for sure (needs a re-wire, plastering etc etc) so it's going to be ages before we can decorate, let alone move in but I'm ECSTATIC.

    The renovation part is the expensive, confusing and boring part (for me anyways) but I'm so excited for the decorating. I have always wanted to fill my home with handmade, homemade and recycled oddities and great finds. If anyone wants to donate a something in the vein of retro/kitsch style stuff to Chez Randomchatter get in touch :) I'll be only too happy to blog/tweet etc in return about your fabulous wares and general kindness.

    7 Apr 2011

    One more sleep!

    One more sleep and I can reveal what my good news is. Have you guessed yet?

    CLUE: I'm not cheggers.

    6 Apr 2011

    Style Crush

    I saw "500 Days Of Summer" for the first time last week and I absolutely loved it! On face value it looks to be a bit of a 'chick-flick' (as deemed by the fiance) but on closer inspection it's a funny, charming and heart-achingly true reflection of at least one relationship many of us have had in our lives. I need this DVD and the soundtrack. Seriously, I'm sure they tapped into my mind; picked all the clothing, hairstyles and music I love and then included them in a really brilliant film.

    If you haven't seen it, and you're still not sure let me explain a little bit more. Basically if you liked Little Miss Sunshine or Amelie or anything that is that mesmerising and peverse mix of beauty and humour you will really like this. I won't explain the plot, apart from to say what the narrator says at the beginning...this is not a love story.

    Back to business. The real reason I wanted to write this post is because of the fab Zooey Deschanel. Not only is she a beautiful and talented actress, I'm loving everything about her hair and clothing in this film. Hence the title of this blog post.


    I suggest you watch the film, love everything about it and then get back to me with nothing but praise :)

    5 Apr 2011

    Hugely exciting news...

    ...but you'll have to wait until Friday to hear about it! Can you guess what it is? Keep posted for updates all this week chatterettes!

    2 Apr 2011

    Most lusted after item....Week 1

    I NEEEEED a Mac 217 make-up brush. I've been watching a lot of Lisa Eldridge make up tutorials (if you  haven't seen them then follow my link now) and a lot of the looks she demonstrates require a  Mac 217 blending brush.

    COURTESY OF http://www.mac.co.uk/

    This brush doesn't look very 'amazing', it just looks like any other blending brush but the quality of Mac products is continued from their cosmentics through into their make up tools. This brush retails at £15 but it'll be a staple in your make up bag and when you work it out on a cost per use basis it'll be pennies! Get yours here.

    The point I'm (eventually) getting to is that make up brushes are so important to your beauty regime. Every time I watch one of Lisa's videos I am so very jealous of her make up and brush collection. Her advice includes items for all price ranges, showing that great looks don't always have to come at a huge price but sometimes you do get what you pay for.

    So if I win the lottery I'll be getting a vast selection of brushes and painting my face all day. Thats the inital plan anyways...

    31 Mar 2011

    Early Night

    I need an early night and a later morning. I've been quiet of late and it's got a lot to do with my new job. I'll explain in the morning but right now I gotta grab a bit of beauty sleep or I'll continue to have the worst shadows in the world.

    Speaking of which...any tips on how to get rid of dark under eyes without sleeping about a million hours every night?

    Sleep tight everyone xxx

    15 Mar 2011

    Growing old disgracefully...and I LOVE it!

    Since I was fifteen I have been captivated by the style of one Deborah Harry.



    From her faded band tees to her glam rock, glittery one shoulder dresses, I love it all! Her just-rolled-out-of-bed chic was what made her popular with both men and women. Men thought she was sexy but low maintenance and women loved her thrown together sex appeal. Her outfits have always complimented her personality perfectly and both her and her clothing choices can be summed up perfectly with one word – unpredictable.

    Thirty years on and she is still a style icon. My favourite thing about her is that she's (as my mam puts it) "growing old disgracefully". That doesn't sound too complimentary but it is and that's how my mam and I want to be too. I'll explain myself...all we mean is that age doesn't interfere with how you want to be or dress and she's obviously not self-conscious or caring much what people think she should wear at her age. After all, why should you stop having fun with your look just because the years are rolling by?  You shouldn't!

    10 Mar 2011

    It makes no sense...

    I saw on the news this morning that 28% of retail units in a town near to where I live are empty. Why is that? There are plenty of small to medium business owners so there's definitely a demand for them and with more redundancies than ever, people are using their payouts to have a bash at a dream that they probably never would have got the chance to take a punt at before.

    I've leased a business property before and although my rent was cheap, there are so many costs that you think you've taken into account but probably haven't until the money is flying out of your account. Now, I'm not a stupid girl and I went into business with my eyes wide open but there's elements of self employment that will always take you by surprise. And that's just things in your control. The attitude of your landlord can make a lot of difference.

    My landlord was harmless but like the stereotype you imagine, he was reluctant to let go of his cash. Even when light bulbs were exploding and water was leaking through the ceiling (of mine and a neighbouring unit from the flat above) he failed to recognise there was a proper problem. After much battling (but no apology) he tried to rectify the situation. I had that unit for two years and got so cross about him not keeping his part of the bargain that eventually I chose to continue the business purely online. Another unsuspecting victim took that unit on and probably still has the problems I had and many before me had.

    When you see all these empty retail units you wonder why landlord don't just put their prices down. Surely it's better to be making some money on rent rather than leaving it derelict and slowly running it down? That would help small and new business to get on their feet and then maybe they could negotiate on rental? There's so many things that can be done to help people on both sides of the fence so why won't anyone do anything?

    Let's hope things turn around sooner rather than later for the sake of our High Streets.

    9 Mar 2011

    Back to the Drawing Board

    Well, today has been a strange day so far. I had a job interview which seemed to go well and was actually quite enjoyable. The less enjoyable part was knowing that I got told today so everytime my phone was buzzing I was almost having a cardiac arrest. Unfortunately, they chose someone already doing that role somewhere else. Grrrr, how about internal applications only? Back to the drawing board...

    The other slightly distracting thing is that I have a disgusting cold that has totally come out of nowhere. Saturday I was fine and then since Sunday I've been getting progressively more sniffly and sick  which probably didn't sound too impressive in the interview this morning. I'll blame the cold if I don't get picked haha.

    I think when you're waiting for news of any variety it can be very distracting indeed. Things that you intend to get on with seem not to get done somehow and then if you don't get the news you want the whole day seems wasted. Mind you, a few book reviews I'm doing have kept my mind on something other than employment so it wasn't a complete loss.

    Have you had any big news (good or bad) that you've been waiting on recently? I'd love to know I'm not the only one or to share your successes :)

    7 Mar 2011

    A bit of a bummer...does anyone want to employ me?

    Sorry my blog posts have been a bit few-and-far-between but this past week or so has been a bit strange and not in a good way. On Thursday I got made redundant. It was a bit of a shock which resulted in a few tears, but part of me wasn't surprised because of what has happened recently when I've been forced to take a reduction to my contracted hours and other rubbish things.

    I don't really want to get into all the details but to be honest I've been a bit gutted about it all after doing a lot more than my job description meant for me to do. The thing I'm most gutted about is that it was a great job. I loved the people I worked with and loved the job I did. Now I'm left worrying that I will find it hard in the current climate to find a job which is a pretty rubbish situation for anyone.

    So whilst I'm trawling the job page in the paper and scrolling through endless job sites, if anyone wants to offer me a shiny, lovely new job please do! I'll love you forever!

    6 Mar 2011

    Why I'm thankful for Long Tall Sally

    Last summer I was in a bar with a group of friends who were between 5ft and 5ft 3". I felt like a giant, when realistically at 5ft 7" I'm in the horrible inbetweeny category of not tall but not average either and this makes finding the correct proportions of trousers and jeans very tricky indeed. Especially if you want to wear heels, as all your trousers end up looking as though you choose to buy half-masts. If truth be told I measure a 33 inch leg which means standard jeans and trousers are too short and I end up buying long length options hoping they'll shrink just enough for me to wear the correct length! It's very rare that I can find somewhere that stocks the exact leg length.

    Long Tall Sally are fabulous. They cater for and are the specialist brand for the taller woman with items of clothing that are proportioned well (unlike some 'tall' version clothes on the high street that just had a few inches of material slung in the bottom without consideration for any other body part). Their 34" leg jeans are just perfect for my night out glamorous heels.

    This just goes to prove that although their main market is ladies 5ft 8" and above, they still cater for little inbetweenies like me :)

    23 Feb 2011

    Bake and Decorate by Fiona Cairns

    Bake & Decorate by Fiona Cairns is one of the most visually engaging books I have ever come across. A feast for the eyes with its stunning images and the recipes are every bit as good as you might imagine them to be.



    I made a batch of the 'classic shortbread which took no time at all and was made of ingredients that you would just have hanging about in your kitchen. The response from my family and friends was amazing. Everyone said it was the lightest  most melt-in-your-mouth shortbread they'd ever tasted. Here's some I made earlier! There's only a small amount there but the recipe in the book makes approx 60 biccies!




    The recipe offers two suggestions, one makes the melty variety, one makes a more granulated, crunchy version. Cairns has also recommended flavourings that you can add to the mixture to make it a bit different. The vanilla sounds yummy! I'll definitely be trying this recipe and the others in this book again! Cairns also advises when you can freeze the raw dough and just bring it out to bake when you need some fresh biscuits which I think it an ideal idea for when you are unexpectedly entertaining guests!

    There are baking and decorating handy hints for the reader at the beginning and end of the book. Even if you're the most experienced baker, you may learn a useful new tip! The recipes in the book are so delicious and make beautiful additions to an afternoon tea or would make a special home-baked gift.

    RRP £12.99 Published by Quadrille.

    16 Feb 2011

    Barbara Daly Hand Serum. A little bottle of hand care miracle!

    'Helping Hands' by Barbara Daly is (as it says on the box) a "one drop wonder".  
    Picture courtesy of tesco.com

    Tesco says: "This revolutionary non-sticky treatment serum delivers a cocktail of moisturising, soothing and protective ingredients which helps to reduce dryness and diminish the appearance of fine lines. It leaves the skin feeling incredibly smooth with a soft satiny sheen."


    I found that one pump of the product was the perfect amount to massage into both my hands so it lasts for a very long time - mine looks like I've barely made a dent in it!
    When first applied, the serum smelt floral, but massaging the product into the skin released citrussy notes. My hands and nails were left feeling silky and appeared nourished immediately after application.
    RRP £6.75  A great value buy!

    12 Feb 2011

    French Country Cooking - My own taste of Brittany!

    The Roux Brothers are without doubt two of the greatest chefs of my lifetime, so I was excited to get my hands on their book, “French Country Cooking”. Originally published in 1989, the recipes have stood the test of time, true classics. There are over 150 diverse recipes featured and the photography makes everything even more mouth watering. Having spent my past six summers holidaying in Brittany, I had wanted to learn more about dishes from this region for a while and this book was perfect for me to do so.
     


    French Country Cooking starts with teaching the reader the rudiments of cooking and baking pastry, sauces and stock which you refer back to in many if the recipes. The book is made up of recipes that have been passed through generations. Rather than being split into courses, it is separated into regional dishes and each section also features a nice couple of pages about that region and ingredients that specifically come from this area. I particularly enjoyed this structure to the book because it offers more of an education than some recipe books I’ve read in the past.

    If you are a regular visitor of France like me, you will appreciate the opportunity to learn the genuine, traditional recipes of the region unlike anglicized versions you may see in other cookery books. It was particularly nice for me to see and learn to cook dishes from Brittany that I look forward to tucking into every year. For people who haven’t visited but want to sample the real taste of France, these easy to replicate, stunning offerings will be just what you’re after!

    10 Feb 2011

    I wish I had £110 :(

    Laura Ashley...you make me so happy and sad at the same time

    Does anyone want to buy this for me? Pwetty pwease?

    8 Feb 2011

    Mavala - a true classic

    Today I received the Woodland Collection by Mavala. A range of 6, nicely sized bottles of nail varnish in Marron Glace (greige); Dark Brown; Cedar Green; New Dehli (pinky,berry red); Onyx (plum purple) and Black Cherry. RRP £25, which I think is amazing value for great on trend colours. The beauty of petite bottles is that a) you probably run out as the trend changes if you're a follower of fashion and b) they are probably empty before they end up gloopy and useless!




    I have put the Black Cherry one on straight away and it's a glossy, fairly quick drying, quality nail varnish.



    I know it looks black but it's not and in real life you can tell it's a dark purple. Promise!

    I honestly have no patience when it comes to nail varnish drying even though I absolutely love having my nails painted so the speedy drying time suits me down to the ground. You would think I would have got used to stopping and leaving my nails to dry a bit before doing something else but I never ever learn! I'm always fidgeting and just when I think its set I'll knock it and ruin all my hard work. Shame on me. I think the great glossy finish makes it look expensive and doesn't necessarily need a top coat. One less layer to wait to dry! Tilly like!

    This was the first time I'd heard of Mavala but my understanding is that they have been around for decades. I would definitely like to try more of their products in the future if these are anything to go by!

    4 Feb 2011

    How I Cook by Skye Gyngell

    I'm ashamed to say I've never heard of the super talented, Skye Gyngell but I was fortunate enough to have been given the opportunity to review her book and for that I'm very grateful. Gyngell is an award winning chef and food writer and in her book 'How I Cook', she reveals to the masses how she cooks for her friends and family.

    The book is split into different menus, demonstrating meals for all seasons and all occasions. There's even a 'Time To Spare' section for when you get a bit of time to indulge yourself. For inexperienced cooks such as myself, I found this was a great book for entertaining as much as it was as a day-to-day cookery guide. Gyngell has designed each meal suggestion with a main, any accompaniments and a desert that all compliment each other and marry together well. It's not just food that she mentions either as the introduction describes tips for table decoration and crockery recommendations and throughout the book she offers alternatives to elements of her recipes which is helpful.

    The thing I found most refreshing was her attitude to food. All too many books these days are about low fat options and make the reader feel guilty and conscious. I'm relieved to say that Gyngell has the same healthy attitude to food as my family where we see food as an expression of love and enjoyment with our family and friends rather than the robotic task of eating it for function and practicality. 'Everything in moderation' is my mantra and it seems to be hers!

    The dish that caught my eye immediately was the Slow Cooked Belly Pork. I have a major weakness for pork crackling and the photographs by Jason Lowe made it look just as good as it does in real life. It was the first dish I marked out with one of the three ribbon page markers provided. I loved this little touch because I always end up tearing up scraps of paper to mark out the recipes I want to try when there's no bookmark attached! Great thinking Skye :) With spring just around the corner I'm desperate to sit in the garden with a glass of Strawberry and Rhubarb cordial. Even the suggestion of this recipe makes me feel refreshed and sun kissed.

    All in all, a great and very well organised book. It's a joy to read and use and I look forward to testing more of her recipes soon. My tummy is rumbling right now just thinking about it!

    3 Feb 2011

    PENPALS!

    There's been a lot of twitter action this past 24 hours about penpals and a new website dedicated to it all. I think it's a lovely idea and you can read more about it here. I'll be getting involved as a positive start to the year! Will you?

    31 Jan 2011

    My New Secret Ingredient

    I've done a guest blog for http://www.lavenderworld.com/ and you can read it here. I've recently been learning about how lavender can help me so I hope you enjoy and find it a useful read xxx

    27 Jan 2011

    Adele = genius

    I love Adele. I've just been listening to one of her Radio 1 Live Lounge tracks from earlier today and welled up just listening to the first 30 seconds. I've not heard much of her new album but what I have heard sounds as astoundingly beautiful as her first album, '19'. 19 has become one of my favourite albums from the very first listen and although every song is stunning, Hometown Glory was the standout track for me. You can buy it here.



    I caught the back end of a live broadcast on http://www.adele.tv/ the other night and once again she's got me hooked. 'Someone like You' seems to be the 'Hometown Glory' of her new album '21' (and both are the finale tracks on their respective albums).

    All Adele's songs are breathtakingly, heart-wrenchingly honest and tap right into situations you are currently going through or manages to stir up feelings you might have ever had. What an incredibly talented young woman. I wish I had her voice. I would just sing to myself all day long. You can find out more about the lovely Adele here. I think I'll head off to try and buy 21 right now. Toodles!

    25 Jan 2011

    Accents...

    I love Leeds and Manchester accents. I like to listen to them in any situation but I think it makes attractive blokes even more attractive. Yummy *sigh*

    What's your favourite accent?

    24 Jan 2011

    The House Of Avalon - a Vintage Wonderland

    Last May, 'The House Of Avalon' opened in York. It's an amazing little place just round from the York Minster. The whole place is decked out with beautiful vintage furniture, and the shop itself is split into two main bits. The front part is with all the clothing, handbags and other lovely little trinkets. In terms of clothing, although it only has a small stock holding, it is the best selection of vintage items I've ever seen. Sadly a lot of 'vintage' shops these days stock vintage inspired things that retailers pretend are vintage (read how it p***es me off here) but are actually Topshop in disguise whereas The House Of Avalon stocks the real McCoy. Beautiful ballgowns and stunning daywear all from between 1910 to the 1960's. There's also a backwash sink tucked away in the corner because they also offer hairdressing services. What a talented bunch of people!

    Out the back of the shop there's a cute little tea room where you can have tea or coffee and cupcakes and lovely things off china cups and plates. Everything is just as though you are in a more quaint and lovely time. They even have a picture frame on the wall and project old-school Fred and Ginger and Audrey Hepburn movies into the centre! I was in heaven. He's a pic of me looking delighted to be there.





    As you can see in the background, the staff really dress the part. This lady in particular looked so beautiful!
    My mam got a stunning and very unusual evening bag that she couldn't take her eyes off whilst we were enjoying our tea. How civilised are we?

    The other twist to all this is that it's part of a charity so the entire thing is non-profit. The Avalon charity helps to create employment for people with learning disabilities within a social enterprise. You can read more about their aims and background here.

    A great vintage experience and a fantastic cause. You could feasibly come out of there with new hair, a new outfit, fed and watered AND having done a good turn for charity. Everyone's a winner! You should definitely visit. If you would like to do so the address is as follows:

    5 High Petergate, York, YO1 7EN

    Knock your vintage socks off!

    21 Jan 2011

    Frugal Friday Tip 2

    Another Frugal Friday blog for you all.

    This weeks tip is to join up to sites such as Momentum Screenings to be first in line to see all the latest blockbusters when they are doing the previews at your local cinema. I've just got two tickets for The Fighter for free :)

    Ordinarily I'm too poor to go to the cinema since it has got so much more expensive recently, but this is a great little cheat for you to get to see films and still have a social life even if you don't have the readies. The only drawback is that they all start at 6:30pm so you would need to go straight from work if you work on that day. Otherwise, happy days!

    Happy film watching guys x

    18 Jan 2011

    Bruno M-arsehole

    I'm sure he's got tons of fans judging by the success of his records but OH MY GOD, I hate him! Well I hate his songs...I'm sure he's a very nice person.  I myself am in a relationship so it's not a bitter-and-alone scenario, his lyrics are just beyond sickly. I mean, if my fiance said he would throw himself in front of a train or catch a grenade to prove his love I'd probably check him into an asylum. It's just too much.

    I wanted to know if I was the only one who was scratching their ears off whilst simultaneously trying to change the radio station so I asked people on facebook. The feedback was a resounding agreement from both males and females that he needs to shut up and never record another song. So, thankfully not just me then...what do you all think?

    17 Jan 2011

    Don't Let The B*****ds Get You Down!

    When I think of Janet Street-Porter, I envisage a no-nonsense, straight speaking, ballsy, successful woman. I’ve never really known what to make of her, but I have always respected how strident and sure she is of her personal and professional achievements.


    Due to these facts, I was eager to read “Don’t Let The B*****ds Get You Down” because I knew it would be a sensible and dry approach to self help culture. I was not disappointed. Elements of this book made me laugh out aloud as she has written the book, exactly how she would speak the information to you. Regarding political correctness gone mad, Janet Street-Porter says all the things I hear people say everyday and sets the record straight in a witty and sensible fashion. For the most part, I actually felt that she might have listened to my daily rants and plucked the thoughts staight from my mind.



    The government has bred generations of people that cannot do anything without being instructed to do so by the authorites or the government themselves. This has signalled the end of common sense for the forseeable future and element by element, Janet busts myths and reassures the reader that they can in fact get through their lives without the ‘safety’ of guidance from those running the country.

    My favourite part is the fabulous ‘useful addresses’ bit at the back. I love anything that helps me do something for myself or helps me to streamline my life for the better. I’ll be sure to make use of most of these links at a later date.

    This book is the only self-help book you should ever read. It’s a brutually honest assessment and verbal shake-up/wake up; slapping down hysterical people and the hysteria caused by unfounded claims from the media.