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Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Having a Wooly good time with Innocent's Big Knit

I think most of us have all seen those gorgeous cutesy little knitted hats floating around, and no, these aren't just a fab hat collection for the Borrowers, these very special little creations, have a very special meaning - they are all raising money for a real worthy campaign: Age UK.

For the past 8 years the wondrous Innocent Smoothies have been getting together knitters all over the UK to knit those amazing and damn cute little hats to go on the top of their smoothies as part of their Big Knit campaign, and for every hatted bottle sold, Innocent donate 25pence to Age UK which does their very best to keep our equally lovely older people warm this winter. Now this year Innocent have come up with more hats, and alot more fun! This Winter, introducing Hat Tag!

All you have to do is buy a bottle of Innocent smoothie, complete with its intricately cutesy knitted hat and get click happy with your camera and take a snap of it somewhere silly and fun - at work, on a colleague, pet, someone famous - absolutely anything! Once you have photographed anything and everything, upload it to their gallery HERE! Now if you thought that was fun enough, Innocent will donate an additional 10p to every photo uploaded to AgeUK. Now this competition is already underway, but there is still time to get in on the hat/smoothie fun, as well as doing something good for charity, the best wins prizes!

My contribution:
My scruffs!

And here are sme of the better ones!

*Images courtesy of Innocent*

Now get yourself off to nearest Sainsbury and grab some Hat Tagging fun and upload!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

I InStyler it up...Review

I can safely say, I am not all prepared for what having long-er hair entailed. As a lifetime member of the short hair brigade, I have been slowly growing out the mother of all difficult haircuts: The asymmetric crop, and I can safely say it has been a road to long hair hell.

It got to that horrid in between length which was the troublesome time, but I persisted and I cannow anounce it's all down to one length and it resembles something more like a hair style - fun! What they don't tell you, however, when you decide to have hair, is the work involved, oh yes, combing, washing, drying, straightening, conditioning... the list is literally endless. Until now, I wouldn't have looked twice at a hairstyler, until I was offered the opportunity of trialling the new Instyler.

The Instyler isn't just like your ordinary straightening iron, this has this nifty rotating iron on one side, and brushes on the other to give you a curler, straightener, and uplifter all in one go, oh and did I mention that it makes you hair super duper shiny? well it ruddy does!

I made sure I read the instructions on this bad boy, cos quite frankly it scared the living day lights out of me! With it all looking pretty straightforward, I decided to give it a good go!

Normally my hair is naturally wavy and has a real natural kink to it, now its longer its a little bit more of a struggle to control. I washed and dried my hair as normal, using no product (I never normally do anyway)

I sectioned my hair off and began to use the Instyler. It was easy to work, although the noise did make me jump a little and the first two times I aimed it at myself I burnt the top of my ear, though this is my fault, not the InStylers. I was instantly surprised and delighted that it straightened my hair and gave mu hair a real natural shine to it. I turned my hand under and it immediately, in turn curled my hair gently under, making it really bouncy.

I went round and sectioned off, and straightened and curled every part of my hair under. I couldn't quite believe how quick this was turning out to be and how accurate it was. The overall result was, for me, pretty darn amazing. Normally, It takes me a long time to straighten my hair with normal tongs, and I can never normally achieve that curled under, bouncy, 'healthy hair look. The Instyler done this in about 7mins flat! Me likey!

My verdict is a massive thumbs up - my hair doesn't feel dry from the styling and I cant wait to try the subtle waves. This has replaced my dodgy old straighteners for sure!

You can read more on the InStyler HERE Follow them on Twitter HERE On Facebook HERE and for fab tutorials follow them on YouTube HERE

The Instyler is available to buy from their website and costs £99.99 with free delivery.

What do you think of the InStyler? What do you normally use to style your hair?

*This post was sponsored by InStyler, but views are completely my own*

Winter Warmers Number Three: Sights and Smell...

Number three on my Winter Warmers list is a real luxurious, but relatively cheap treat: its candles and home fragrances.

Since I moved into the new house with the boy, I have been a little obsessed with either dimmed lights or lighting candles, anyone would think I live in the dark ages, but at every given opportunity I like to turn the lights down and light candles instead. Everything is so much more softer when seen under the flickering glow. I cant help but feel more homely, comforted and to tell you the truth, I like the way the light makes my house seem tidier. Whether it be just normal tea lights or scented candles, I literally cant get enough. Generally, most brands of scented candles aren't all that expensive and give them their due they last for a while. When Winter pops its head round the corner, candles really come into their own: with the gentle glow, the warming look and feel, and a gentle spiced smell it just makes me want to snuggle down, grab a hot mug of tea, and grab a festive book. To me, its unadulterated bliss. Candles are for all year round for sure, but I like to think they were made for cold snap!

Here are my faves:

A: 'Welcome Christmas' £18.45 Yankee Candle B: Winter Botanical £30 White Stuff C: Advent £18 Wax Lyrical D: Epineette £45 Diptyque, E: Grapefruit and Ginger £15 Marks and Spencers, F: Noel £20 Melt Candles, G: Roasted Chestnut £80 Jo Malone, H: Feauilles De Tabac £34 Miller Harris, I: Winter Spice £6.40 Debenhams

Do you like candles and why? What's your favourite candle and scent?

Monday, 21 November 2011

Mondays Must-Have Christmas Purchase

For him...

Oh yes! We all know how the men in our lives fancy themselves as a better Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsey, however we also all know that they are supremely messy, adventurous (not in a good way!) and chaotic in the kitchen! However, instead of moaning, lets compliment them! This superb Personalised men's chef apron is just a little bit of awesome and perfect for those budding kitchen capers! Made and printed in house in the UK, all you have to do is simply fill in the blank with his name and chose from the following saying:

'............ More Gordon Bennett than Gordon Ramsey'
'............ AKA Heston Bloomin' Hell'
'............ More Frankenstein than Rick Stein'

Priced at £28 I think this is a fab gift for the men in your life: husbands, boyfriends, dads and grandads! Go grab yours HERE

Friday, 18 November 2011

Week in Photos: 12.11

Going baby clothes shopping... was so much fun..

Going to a close friends baby shower... my first and I adored every second. Loved seeing Emily too - miss you loads!

The kitchen came down...

Cooked a homemade chicken pie... can there be anything better!?

This is the result of a very bad day at work... helped along by my Emily

Going dotty....

Good memories by putting this back on...

Never too early to start planning...

What did you get up to this week?

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Sorry I cant come to your party....

Not really sure why I'm writing this: perhaps its an announcement, an explanation or to help, but with it being this time of year when well, we all get a little more 'social' there is something that is blighting my life more than I care to admit.

No it's that spot on the end of my nose, or not having nothing to wear, but guaranteed my lovely ladies and gentlemen, If you invite me to your party/shindig you can bet your mince pie on me saying 'no'. I'm not going to pretend I'm some social whirwind, ready to take on the TOWIE girls at the opening of every tom,dick and harry, far from it. But as most of you readers know, bloggers/writers/people in social media tend to get the odd invite to some amazing, and I truly mean that, events. Being situated in Berkshire, I am about 45 mins from Central London and so if I pop on the train I can easily be there with no problems (TFL provided ;) but there is just one thing that stops me, it's a thing even I cant explain but something happens to me, anxiety happens.

The mere prospect of even being invited to an event, which firstly I don't even think I feel worthy to go too, is an amazing thing - there is real time and money that goes into these events and for me, of all people, to be there is special. But time after time I decline the offers - I have the train fare, I have the time, but I cant bring myself to go. The thought of going somewhere I don't know freaks me out: I don't know how to get there and I can guarantee to everyone I will get lost, every time. That's even to say I can get on the train in the first place. Taking me away from my home, my area, makes me feel scared in some weird way (and yes I am aware I am coming across as crazy) then upon arrival in London and finding the location, I am literally, and yes I really do mean this, petrified of not knowing anyone, standing alone, having no-one to talk to and most of all, people wondering why the hell I am there. I don't joke when I say I could cry, and let me stress - I have spent many a '10 mins' in the ladies room just keeping my cool. My heart rate will be sky high, that familiar pumping in my chest, the sweat forming on my brow, I will then lose the ability to form a single, intelligent sentence together. Wow, I am a mess. The more aware I am of the mess I have become, the worse I get. Completely ridiculous right?! yes... I know.

Maybe this is an explanation, to you PR's and people who I have told I will be there... sometimes stepping on the train, along the street and through the door is alot harder than ever imagined. This isn't an excuse by any means, but I just hope that you can all maybe understand that I am so grateful for every invite and offer anyone has offered me, and in time, I will grow up, and be there. I promise.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Winter Warmers Number Two: Hats, Scarf and Gloves

As some of you may have previously read, this Winter Warmers listing is my way of showing you all the good things about the Winter season....

Number two in my Winter Warmer list is the humble scarf, hat and gloves. I don't know about you, but wearing a wintry hat, scarf and glove is just the most warming and sumptuous thing you can do. Winter is a time for those cold, frosty temperatures and sometimes wet and windy, wearing a simple hat, scarf and glove set is pretty much the easiest and sure fire way on keeping warm and looking good.

I love nothing more than going out for a long wintry walk at the weekends, even the weather doesn't put me off: rain, sun, wind, snow, frost - it just makes you feel all snuggly and dare I say it, Festive. When I was younger I would pretty much  refuse to wear any kind of winter warm weather gear and used to freeze on the walk to school, it was not cool to give in to something as simple as the cold. However the older I got the more and more I rely on my wintry gear. I'm not sure many of us appreciate just how amazing the winter clothing is: gloves give us no more frozen fingers, the ability to carry cart-horse amounts of shopping bags without cutting off circulation, no more attempts to open your car/house/gate doors and getting that cold icy chill. Then comes the scarf - how much fun can you have in literally wrapping yourself up from the neck upwards, amazing! Personally, my scarfs have to come up and slightly over my mouth so it keeps my chin warm. My mum used to and still does, tell me to keep my chest warm.... and finally the hat. For roughly 10+years I have refused to buy a hat. After having such short (boy short) hair for so long, when I used to shove a hat on, I looked like a very bad looking boy... it was not attractive. Now my hair is longer I have bought my first ever hat and have barely taken it off: I'm so in love with it. I now have toasty ears - now that is a good feeling. No more draft hitting your ears or head - just full on snug-ness.

My new set!

Here are my tip top loves for hats, scarves and gloves:

There you have it - another absolutely lush reason to enjoy winter! Are you a hat, glove and scarf wearer?

Mondays Must - Have Christmas Purchase

Oh yes, Christmas is only five weeks and six days away and it is time to get your thinking caps on with what to buy your loved ones! Instead of the normal Monday must-have purchase, as of today, it is the Christmas must-have purchase!

For her...

I completely and utterly love these personalised initial cotton goods! I first saw the bag on the lovely blogger Carrie from Wish,Wish,Wish and fell in love with them. Not only are the cotton bags oh so useful, hate it when those paper bags break, they now do coin purses and wash bags to match! I would air on the side of caution before you buy every single item and be a little too matchy - that could look a little, err, weird. With prices at £12 for the bags, £12 for the purse and £16 for the personalised wash bag these are hardly going to break the bank but will be a really nice stocking filler that shows some real thought.

Go buy them HERE

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Small Business Sunday: Trinket Box Jewellery

Firstly, I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone who has read the first one, purchased from the small business featured and passing the article on! I cannot stress how important it is that in this recession hit times we support the smaller, up and coming businesses - show them our love and turn to them for all our present needs and even for a little something for ourselves!

Time for the second Small Business Sunday blog post! This week we are showcasing Trinket Box Jewellery. Headed up by the lovely Sophie, Trinket Box is a whimsical online shop that sells fine jewellery. Each and every piece is made out of sheer love - with intricate details and little quirks, Trinket Box really does create extra special pieces that have a real earthly - handmade feel about them, something that is missing in alot of high street shops these days. I have long been staring at Trinket Box's designs and love the gentle use of metals, the carefully chosen colours and materials used to create a centre piece in both the necklaces and earrings. Created out of her love for creativity,  I always get this unconditional feeling that Sophie adores what she does, and if that isn't awesome enough, the lady has a full-time job and does all of this in her spare time! Enough of my waffle, here Sophie answers the SBS questions:

  • Tell me about you?
My name is Sophie, I'm in my *cough* mid-twenties, and by day I look after crazy kiddies and by night [and weekends] I create lovely jewellery!
  • How did you first get into / come up with the idea of: Trinket Box?
I'd been making jewellery for a while - mainly just as gifts for friends and family. But people started telling me I should try setting up a shop online - after some time I decided to go for it! That was over 2 years ago now!
  • Was this always a dream for you?
I wouldn't have called it a dream years ago, but I have always been quite creative, and I do love what I do now.
  • What is the best and worst thing about working for yourself?
The best thing is being able to do my own thing, and how happy it makes me. I like being able to take my time with my jewellery making, and I definitely take pride in my work. The worst thing is definitely doing the accounts - it's the one thing I dread doing, but is a total necessity!
  • What’s a typical ‘day in the life’ like?
I get up at stupid o'clock to go to my full-time job as a Nursery Practitioner. I work quite long hours, so most of my evenings are spent relaxing and spending time with my boyfriend - but I try to squeeze as much making in as I can! I do most of my jewellery making at the weekend, though.
  • What is your favourite item to make?
I love making pendants and earrings. My favourite thing to work with is art clay silver, which is a precious metal clay. When fired it becomes 99.9% pure silver. It's amazing - well, I think so!
  • Where do your inspirations come from?
Anything and everything - from nature to the things I like...I've been making lots of teacups lately, I love tea!
  • Where do you see Trinket Box in 5 years time?
Well my jewellery is currently stocked in a gift gallery up in York - would love to have my pieces stocked in another shop! And just to be successful and continuing to enjoy it all!
  • Any advice for someone wanting to create a business from their hobby?
Don't expect sales straight away - you have to work hard and be prepared to promote LOTS!
  • Your guilty pleasures outside of the brand/work?
I absolutely love lomography and my Diana!

  • How do you chill out?
I read, shop, watch films, bake, paint my nails, go to the gym, take photos and go to the pub with my friends!
  • Tell us something not many people know.
I LOVE handmade jewellery but I also have a big love for Tiffany & Co jewellery...absolutely adore it [definitely have expensive taste].

How absolutely gorgeous and kitsch are these!? You can go and check out Trinket Box's website HERE and catch up on Sophie's tweets @trinket_box

Personally, I think her jewellery will make some lovely looking Christmas presents - To me, From me ;)

Thanks for reading and please send on!

*If you are a small business, make what you sell and would like to be featured, please email me at: sarahs_scribbles@yahoo.co.uk Subject line: Small Business Sunday - please include a link to your wares!*

An Ode to.... the incredible naked changing rooms

At first I thought it was a one-off, an accident possibly, but no, for an entire week I have been faced with not just a 'little' bit, but alot of exposure in the gym changing rooms... this is my Ode to you..

Dear Changing Room Nakedness lady,

Now I'm no prude, I know a gym changing room is there for the many people to get changed, or should I say, un-changed in, but for an entire week, my eyes have seen more flesh then I would care to imagine, I'm not even sure I've seen that much exposed flesh on my own body, in my own bathroom, when getting in the bath. Sure, a little bit of boob flashing is ok - and even expected, but tell me, why on earth do some people use and abuse the humble changing room?

This week, I have seen the same woman at the gym: normal, respectable looking gym goer, or so I thought. However as soon as I seemed to reach the changing room, this one women transformed herself into the incredible naked lady. I can handle seeing an individual taking their gym clothes off, discarding the sweatyness and robing themselves in a towel to go off to the showers. but no, this time I was faced with full-on, standing there, in all its glory, full nakedness. Not just a set of boobies, oh no, I mean, I got to see everything. Without wanting to stare, I found a sudden interest in the flooring - oh what a nice tiling effect. Where does one look? If you stare at them some may be convinced your of the female fancying type, or just a plain weird pervert. As I attempted a one arm-keeping everything under the towel-changing effect, to make my way to showers, I wondering why I couldn't be as 'confidant' to just strip off. I wasn't ashamed of my body, lets face it I'm just me, cant change it. But something inside of me positively recoiled in horror at the thought of getting me bits out in a public changing room. After I got over my initial shock at the pre-shower incident, I was further more interested in my feet, the tiles and sky when the INL (Incredible naked lady) made her appearance from shower, once again starkers and then proceeded to towel herself down, which is fine, and then, wait for it, dry her hair, do her make up whilst completely and utterly as naked as I presume, the day she was born. Now, please do correct me if I'm wrong, but *coughs* WHY?!?!?!?!?

Would you not feel a tad 'weird' standing there coiffing your hair whilst your bum is on show jiggling? what about applying foundation to cover your facial skin when well, there is a whole lot of skin on show down south? Or is there just something wrong with me!?!

This ode is to you,  INL - you have a fine body that is for sure, and I guess if I had boobies as pert as yours I'd spend my life nude, but please... go steady on the nakedness, especially before I've had the chance to have my breakfast....

Friday, 11 November 2011

John Lewis and their Christmas Advert...

Watching the new John Lewis Christmas advert has really made me feel err, Festive. With Christmas only 6 weeks away, yes, 6 weeks, this advert has made me really think about the real reason of Christmas. Unlike most retail adverts the emphasis has been taken away on 'what you want' but turned the generic reason of Christmas on its back - cos lets face it, there is nothing better than giving a present and seeing their face light up - giving to others is what its all about.

Personally, the likes of Marks and Spencer's need to take a look at this, cos to be honest, this to me, is this years Christmas ad! Although, lets face it, it's not really Christmas until the Coca-Cola 'Holidays are coming' has been on right!?

What do you think - does this advert make you feel Festive? What's your fave Christmas Advert?

Week in photos...

Buying my first ever scarf, glove and hat set...yes, first

Building up the December issues...

Learning how to make my hair fat.. kinda

Embracing my new Gok Wan glasses... and wearing them...

Nothing like a mid-week bake off.. my offering: Butterfly cakes

Scruffy cuddles have been high on the agenda...
Oh yes, a Santa run... and yes I will be dressed AS Santa...

Been arriving at the 6am has proving a good energy boost...

How has your week been?

Monday, 7 November 2011

Loving Laura Ashley... all over again

A firm, old favourite of mine has always been Laura Ashley. I remember my mum and Nan both hysterically talking about the brand when I was a wee whipper snapper - they would always delight in showing me pictures and photos of the infamous floral prints, beautiful tasseled lampshades and amazing sumptuous throws. Over the years Laura Ashley for me, is still going strong. There is always an air of class in their designs and a real genuine and realness about Laura Ashley - you can guarantee you are going to get superb quality and timeless design.

As a regular perve on their website, I mentally make myself 'wish-lists' for not only the home decor range but for pretty much all their clothing too ( Santa, if you're reading this.. take note!) but now, Laura Ashley have moved one step further in my radar by bringing out their very own blog! Praise the Lord! With one of the most cutest, kitsch and very Laura Ashley design, the blog has pretty much everything you could want, sections on: at home, in the wardrobe, kid's corner, go see and make and do - it showcases stunning photos which only add to allure of Laura Ashley (and to my wish list!) but with fun, informative articles there is plenty to read - whilst still maintaining the fun and friendliness of the Laura Ashley we all know and love.

Step on over to the blog at http://blog.lauraashley.com/ make a cup of tea, slice a piece of cake and read until your hearts content.

Mondays Must-Have Purchase - Zatchels

How gorgeous are these?!? I am so completely and utterly in love with the Zatchels range of satchels. Designed and made in England, there are countless collections - all completely different, eye-catching but yet so practical. The fact these are made to order make them seem all the more special. I completely love these and have always wanted my own satchel! Go check them out HERE and add to the Christmas list!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Playing Dress-Up with the High Street

For some of us, its our favourite time of year, for the rest, including me, its the worst: Party Dress season. Oh yes, it comes but once a year when your entire month, December, is jammed packed full of parties, parties and err, more parties. Along with the parties comes the 'what to wear' dilemma, and if you're like me, you couldn't possibly wear last years dresses (mainly because I cant fit in them!) The search has begun to get your glamour on and find the perfect party dress!

I have issues with the High Street and party wear - for me, it bores me. There is nothing original, all the shops tend to bring out the same styles, same colours - nothing ever comes out and shouts BUY ME and you never seem to get enough for your money. However, being of limited budget, I don't have the luxury of being able to let loose on Net-a-Porter, if I could, I sure as hell would. Never one to look for clothes in Topshop, I was intrigued to hear they had a new collection called 'Dress Up' Topshop. Bought out just in time for the elusive party-season, this was a surprisingly, good collection of party dresses ranging from glitzy, understated, classy and glamorous.

Now far be it for me to say that all the styles from this collection will suit everyone- that'd be just silly, I mean there is even a point in which its I say a dress is too short, but I like this collection. The range is diverse - there is no correlation between each piece but hey, it is party season - you don't all wanna be looking the same right!?









As you can see, they are not all entirely cheap as chips, but I like the styling - and not all of them are strapless, too short and too revealing. A nice collection that, to me, is a little bit more realistic than some of the other dresses Topshop bring out. I'll be looking forward to seeing more of this collection in the run up to Christmas.

What do you think of this range? Where do you shop for the Christmas party season? And do you love or loathe it?

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