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Friday, 26 July 2013

HANDMADE GIFTS, ETSY SHOPS AND BOWS.....OH MY!


Hate is such a strong word.....but let me tell you, I HATE being so far from my family back home. I'm missing out on so much, especially my niece Pia.

I've made stuff before and sent it over to NY a few times but you always take a risk that its not going to get there. I don't know about you but I can't put a value on what I make myself. The thought of it never getting to its destination sucks...alot.

Through keeping in touch over Facebook etc, I can see her grow up (a little) and also see what her gorgeous little wardrobe includes. Ecclectic (just like her momma) but every day, there has to be a bow. I cannot tell you how much I love that! Truth be told, I really wanted a girl when I was pregnant. Don't get me wrong, its not that I don't absolutely adore my gorgeous son.....but the accessories *sigh*....Boys don't have accessories!!! And who doesn't like completing a little outfit with some cuteness?!!?

Here's where Lily Bliss Boutique comes in. I spotted her online and fell in love with all that she has to offer. Just look at all of these gorgeous creations?!!?

Handmade bows

Handmade bows






The creative wonder behind all of this is a beautiful lady by the name of Kimberly. Let me tell you, you will never meet a more lovely and genuine e-store owner in your life! (Well at least I haven't anyway) I told her all about Pia and sent her a pic and she came up with the cutest little bows I've ever seen.









Not only did this fabulous lady create these gorge pieces but they arrived with Pia in just a few days!!!! (okay I know that Lily Bliss Boutique can't affect the mail but I wouldn't be surprised if a little bit of Kim's brilliance rubbed of on the USPS!! *wink wink*

I cannot recommend Kim and Lily Bliss Boutique enough. I got lost in the wonderful world of Etsy, found my way and have now established a great connection with a pint-sized accessories provider!

Go check her out. Tell her Helen sent you ;-)

Friday, 19 July 2013

ROAD TRIP GIVEAWAY!!


Well, as much as it was a tough decision a few months back, we decided to give up the holiday abroad this year to save some money. At first, I thought that it was going to be a washout as the weather in Northern Ireland is normally not the best in the summer. Especially since I originally come from Canada, where the summer is 30-40 degrees (about 95-105F) It was quite the transition to come here where everyone is over the moon if the temperature reached over 20! Having said that, this week has been GREAT. Every day the sun has been shining and the temperature has been about 22-27 (70-80F).

We've planned many day trips to different places around the country. I really want to see Northern Ireland for all it has to offer. There are so many beautiful places here. And, in keeping with the "saving money" vibe, we're packing lunches, drinks and all sorts so that we don't get caught at the mercy of the vendors in some of these places. Some places just see parents coming.....Its amazing how a £0.50 water bottle turns in to £2.00 where you have no other choice. *shakes head*

Sainsbury's Bank has compiled a fantastic Guide to Driving in Europe that is a definite must read for anyone planning a trip in Europe. In order to get the word out about this great guide, Sainsbury's Bank is giving away a EuroHike Picnic set. 

Check out this gorgeous Picnic Set - perfect for any road trip:

free giveaway competition

free giveaway competition



So, I was approached by the wonderful people at Sainsbury's Bank to pose the question to you guys:

What would be your Dream Car for a European Road Trip??

To be in with a chance of winning this gorgeous set, all you need to do is log in using Rafflecopter and leave your blog comment  for "what would be your Dream Car for a European Road Trip". Also, you can enter by tweeting about the giveaway!

The more times you enter, the greater your chance of winning the EuroHike Picnic set.

The winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter and announced on this page.

The deadline for entering the giveaway is Friday, 26th July at 00:00am
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 14 July 2013

DIY WEDDING PROJECTS WITH YOUR CRICUT

I got the best news last week. My Brother-In-Law and his girlfriend and finally getting married. They've been together longer than Steve and I! They've not set a date yet but it will be sometime next summer. I was even more thrilled to be asked to be a BRIDESMAID!! I've never been part of a wedding party (other than my own) *super excited*

She's asked me for any help possible. This is Helen's time to shine!! 



So, I've started a Pinterest board for the big day and we've been texting back and forth about venues etc. OMG, I'm so excited!!

I want to use the Cricut for as much as possible. I've seen so many fab projects with different cartridges. Here are some of my favs:

Cut Out Name Invitations: This was a post about a gorgeous couple and their wedding, colours and details. I love the cut-out name with the dark colour and contrast inset. This can be used for so many different projects. I think that they used it for the ceremony programmes...



Embossed Card Wedding Invitation: This is the most simple idea but how elegant is this???!?!? I love it. You can get all sorts of different patterns and embossed card. Think of the possibilities....


Wedding Place Cards: I've seen so many variations on these over the years and I am really looking forward to making something fab for their wedding. Here is a really detailed example. (how amazing is it that the Cricut can do this all??)


Jana Eubank does some pretty amazing things on her blog (you should really check her out) I found her post on wedding favor thank you boxes and I had to share.


Invitation Round Up: This site has a wealth of ideas for DIY wedding invitations using the Cricut. There aren't any instructions or anything, just images. But a great place to start the creativity flowing! This one here was one of my favs.


The Plunge Project has a great series of DIY wedding projects using the Cricut. The instructions, imagery and all is fabulous. To be honest, I really wish I would have thought of this for my bouquet (10 years ago!) I think this is really unique.


Last but certainly not least is this beauty. Unfortunately, this was found on Pinterest and doesn't have an original source (that I can find) which is such a shame 'cause the person who created it should be praised! It is beautiful, simple and elegant. I think it would make a gorgeous center piece for a wedding table. And, with all of the Cricut flower types available, the possibilities are endless.


Okay, so this is my starting point for their wedding.....I'll have plenty more to follow. I had a great time making things for my own wedding, 10 years ago. Time flies....

I made all of the bouquets - from silk flowers ;-)

PS: There is still time to vote for me for The Affordable Design Blogger Awards. I'd love it if you could :-) 

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

NOMINATED AND A FINALIST!!

Hi peeps!!

I have the best friends ever who nominated me for The Afordable Design Blogger Award!

I'm one of 5 finalists for the Crafting Blog Award.
Affordable Design Blogger Awards - Crafting Nominee
I gotta say, I'm pretty freakin' excited to just be nominated!! However, I'd looooove it if you guys voted for me *wink wink* (this is a pretty shameless plug lol)

The voting is open until next Friday.

Thanks very much peeps :-)



Friday, 5 July 2013

SUMMER GARDENING



Vegetable gardening tips for budding green thumbs



Not so long ago it was common for people to grow their own vegetables but, over the generations, this skill seems to have dwindled. Now, according to Which Magazine, gardening is back, with a quarter of us now growing our own vegetables.


However, many families live in cities where back gardens are hard to come by or in flats with no private outdoor space. Luckily, no matter how small a space you have, you can join in the trend and grow your own food. Here’s how:


If you have no outside space at all


  • Think about indoor vegetables – you can grow chilli, tomatoes and peppers in pots in your kitchen and mushrooms in a cupboard. Runner beans also make great houseplants.
  • Herbs are easy to grow in a hanging basket or a box planter on a window sill. Make sure you look out the window before watering; no one wants an unexpected shower! Remember to secure hanging baskets tightly with cable ties.
  • Apply for an allotment. The National Allotment Society or your local council will be able to advise you on how to apply. Be prepared for a waiting list. If the list is too long in your area, then look into community growing schemes that have space already set up.


If you have a shared backyard


  • You can grow vegetables in pots of all shapes and sizes, or even in grow bags. Either make your own wooden containers or buy planters from your local DIY shop. If you’re limited for space, try vertical gardening.
  • Gardening is a fun activity for all the family. Portable planters are great for teaching your kids about growing plants. Give your children a grow bag each and let them grow potatoes, carrots and onions – all of which they can then help you cook!
  • Make sure the planters are designed for outdoors, as many indoor planters don’t have a drain hole in the bottom to allow water to drain away.
  • Remember to position your planters in the best location, depending on how much sunlight the particular plants require to thrive. Look into installing self-watering planters if you are out at work all day. Most plants don’t cope well in the cold, so buy a thermometer and take them inside if it gets too cold.

If you have a private garden


If you’re lucky enough to have plenty of growing space in your own back garden, then the sky’s the limit.

  • How about setting up your own small market garden and selling your produce to local shops, farmer’s markets or restaurants?
  • If you have too much space, consider offering your garden as part of a garden share scheme and rent out some of your space to your neighbours. You may get some vegetables in return and make new friends too.
  • Your home insurance should cover gardening equipment and even some plants and shrubs. Check this out for more info on Home Insurance


Even if you live in a city and have no back garden, you can still join in on the gardening trend. Whether you want to teach your children about gardening, grow herbs for salad, or to see yourself through winter with root vegetables for stew, the key is to make good use of whatever space you have.



This guest post was written on behalf of Money Matters, the Sainsbury's Bank blog. The views expressed in this guest post are of the author and not of Sainsbury's Bank. Though it may include tips and information on how to grow vegetables in a city it does not constitute advice and should not be used as a basis for any financial decisions. Sainsbury's Bank accepts no responsibility for the opinions and views of external contributors and the content of external websites included within this post. All information in this post was correct at date of publication.