Pretty Pinboard Project

Saturday, 30 March 2013

In my Mini Room Makeover post, I showed you my pinboard that I made to pretty up my spare room and help organise it better.
I wanted to show you how I made my pinboard for around £10.

I bought these cheap basic cork boards from Wilkinson's for £3. They were smaller than I would have liked, so I planned to put four boards together to make a larger one, but I felt they needed brightening up.

Whilst browsing in Wilkinson's, I fell in love with some of the wallpaper prints they had in store. There wasn't anywhere in my house I needed to redecorate, but I decided to use the pretty paper as part of my pinboard project. You can have wallpaper samples for free in most DIY stores, and usually you get more with patterned paper so you can get a true feel of what it would look like on a wall. For me, it was just free pretty paper!

I cut a square larger than my board, and then cut the corners at an angle in order to fold them around the edges of the board better. I then pulled the paper taut and staple gunned it into place.
Once you've done that all the way around (ensuring you pull it tight as your going) you should have a clean neat finish on the front.

I used two different prints and combined four boards to make a larger one. I didn't glue them together in any way, and instead hung them seperately but closely together instead.
As you can see I've started to tack some of my gig and concert tickets to the bottom board, although I don't want to cover up the pretty print too much! My Boyfriend insisted on some of his football tickets going up there too, and  I've also pinned up some little cards and pictures that I have too.


My new pinboard has not only helped organise my room, but make it look pretty too!

What do you think of this little make?


Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Wow! Where has the last month gone!? Time for another Monthly Mostly post

The new season of Castle. I go into Castle a little bit late, around Season 3, but both me and the other half love it, as it’s quite funny, as well as the crime side of things.
I adore this necklace from Zara right now! At £19.99 it is rather pricey for a necklace but I kid you not it goes with everything and I think I have literally worn it with every outfit recently!
My New Look obsession also continues and I’ve recently bought this shirt in blue and pink and this jumper – I love the look of the blue shirt under the sweater – accompanied by the necklace of course!

I’ve recently finished Devil’s Cub and I’m currently reading Nella Last’s War. This month I’m joining in with Alex’s Blogging Good Read, which is the reason why these books have joined my list.
I’ve been getting out and about meeting some lovely blogger girls including Alex, Char, Rosie and, Sophie. Check out Char’s gorgeous pics of the girls blogger weekend which I was kindly allowed to gatecrash for lunch for the afternoon.

I’m also off to meet up with lovely Sarah and Rachel in that there London town this weekend. Sarah has been my blog friend for so long I’m beyond excited to meet her in person finally!

I’ve also been to my first gig for quite some time, and saw Stereophonics in Doncaster last night, who were support by Josh Weller. I’ve never heard of Josh before, but he was really good and he has the most incredible hair! As always Stereophonics were awesome! (I am rather biased on that front!)




Obviously prior to the gig I’ve been listening to the new Stereophonics album, Graffiti on a Train, and I’ve also been loving Taylor Swift’s new album Red. I can’t say I’ve ever been a massive Tay fan, but her album is really good, and I love shouting singing out a bit of Trouble after a bad day at work.  I'm also a bit in love with her style as well, so maybe I am closet fan!

"It seems like a perfect night to dress uplike hipsters"

Just like the rest of the UK I’ve been downloading PJ &Duncan aka Ant & Dec Lets Get Ready to Rhumble! If you don’t know what this is, well then stop reading right now!!! Honestly! No seriously though it’s a great bit of pop music that reminds me of my local summer youth club, wishing it was really Byker Grove, and now the guys have announced that they will be donating the royalities to children’s charities this song deserves to be No1!

I’m currently on the hunt for the perfect dressing table mirror. The one I have currently has a really wide base and takes up a lot of room on my dressing table. I picked up this one from Sainsbury’s today, but it’s a little smaller and shorter than I would ideally like – anyone got any ideas for me out there?

If you remember from my last Mostly post, you’ll remember I was Coveting Sofia’s Zara flats. Well during my necklace purchase, the shoes also hopped into my hand! They were the last pair on the shelf and in my size! It must have been fate! Sadly the weather has been so rubbish I haven’t had chance to wear them yet.

So what have you been Mostly........?

Mini Spare Room Makeover

Saturday, 23 March 2013

A few weeks ago, I had a long weekend off work, in order to use up some of my annual leave. I decided to put the time to good use, by organising and improving my spare room, which I had been meaning to do for months, but never got around to.

My spare room is also my office, wardrobe (as I have too many clothes and shoes) guest room, and general dumping ground. I wanted somewhere to be able to work, blog and somewhere I would be happy for guests to stay in.

So here is the before:-

So yeah, one almighty mess right? 

But here are the after shots:-

I started off by just giving it a general tidy up and actually putting my washing away etc. I washed all the spare bedding and the sofa bed cover, and stored the bedding in vacuum packs underneath the bed, so it can be made up at a moment's notice. The big throw adds extra warmth and colour to the room. The colour scheme isn't particularly 'now', but this was the colour scheme in my room in my old house, and the bedding and accessories were still useable, so it seemed a waste of money to buy all new, so I recycled them.

I also made the noticeboard (tutorial coming soon) and hung some picture frames I'd had floating around for ages.

My desk was pine, so I decided to brighten it up by painting it white with kitchen cupboard paint. This worked quite well, but I now wish I had put a varnish on as well (although the tin says this isn't necessary) as it does seem to scratch easily. I re-arranged my desk set up and added a blanket and cushion for extra cosiness. I will show my desk set up in a future post.

One of the biggest problems with my spare room is damp, so I can't really have doors on my wardrobes as it prevents the air getting around them, but I didn't want to keep looking at my clothes all the time. Instead I bought a retractable net pole and some voils, which keeps the air flowing but looks prettier. I also painted this pine chest of drawers with which emulsion, after some sanding. I had intended to get some new drawer knobs but I actually like the effect of the original ones against the white.

This white frame was pine - I got carried away with painting things white I think - and I cut up an old  birthday card that my Mum gave me, to go inside as I liked the picture and the sentiment. The large photograph is genuine vintage, I think early 1900's. - It's my great-great grandmother Rosa, who I'm told I got my auburn hair from when I was younger, (wish it was now, but it's a mousy colour when my roots show!) The frame she was in was no good anymore, and I'm still looking for one that's suitable so I can hang the picture above the drawers.

So that's my mini room makeover in a weekend. Most of it was just tidying and re-arranging, but I really enjoy spending time in there now, and I have had guests since too!

I intend to do a few more home decor posts - is there anything you would particularly like to see?

Blog Bibliography

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

So for my final post about blogging I wanted to put together a bit of a bibliography of posts about blogging for you.



As I mentioned in my previous post, you don't always need a DSLR camera to get great pictures. Sarah Rooftops has recently done a series of posts on Basic Camera Brilliant Pictures.

A Beautiful Mess blog often has regular posts on how to improve your photography, and Emma & Elsie's blog is a wealth of inspiration material

Lucy at Capture by Lucy has a great post on her top ten photography tips - Lucy's outtake pictures are really useful as it shows how much difference cropping a picture can make.

Lilly Pebbles at What I Heart Today also has a great post about photography



I've mentioned Sarah at Almost Delightful so many times on this blog but she really is a wealth of blog information. Amongst other things, Sarah has a really good hints and tips post about basic design elements to add to your blog.

One of the best DIY design resources I've come across is Something Swanky. Something Swanky is actually a desserts blog but it has great resources to self design your blog, all by using PicMonkey!


Staying Inspired

One of the hardest things about blogging can be staying inspired - there's loads of posts on the blogosphere about this but some of my faves have been by:-

Almost Delightful

Becky Bedbug

Stephanie Dreams



Other Posts

Another post by Almost Delightful - a guide to advertising

A Rosie Outlook does a regular post series called Honest to Blog about her thoughts on blogging and some hints and tips in relation to this.

I'm sure there are hundreds and hundreds of other posts out there that I could have added to this post - these are just a few. If there are any really good posts out there, please feel free to leave the links in the comments box!

If you want to read any of the other posts you can find them here.


The Ups & Downs of Blogging

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Following on from my current series of posts about blogging, I wanted to talk about the good and bad of blogging.
Without intending to start on a negative note (but I'd rather end on a positive one) I'm going to talk about the "bad" side of blogging.

The 'Downs'
1. Nasty Comments - The sad thing about the Internet is that everyone is merrily typing away behind their computers, and often forget that the person behind the post is very real, with very real feelings. I've seen nasty comments on blog posts and on twitter which can be really hurtful to people. When you are putting so much of yourself out there on the Internet, you're not always going to get a positive reaction, but there's a difference between being nasty and constructive. Sadly, you're always going to get people that aren't very nice, thats life, but dust yourself off, as for every negative comment, theres ten positive ones.
2. Feeling Inadequate - Blogging can often become a bit of a numbers game; about how many followers, pages views you get in a moth/week/year etc. This can sometimes make you feel like you just don't compare, and whether it's how many followers you have, or whether your budget just won't stretch to the current must have item,, or your design or photography skills just aren't up to scratch, we all have little things that we lack confidence in, and sometimes blogging enhances this further.
3. Copying - Inevitably, you're going to write a post that you're really proud of, that you've taken a lot of time over, you feel is really original, and someone will end up taking liberties with it, when using it as inspiration, and will end up just copying it in it's entirety. There's not generally much you can do about this, but it's really really frustrating!!

4. Losing Your Mojo - I don't think I've ever come across a blogger yet, who at some point hasn't lost their blogging "mojo". Whether real life just got in the way, they became uninspired, unmotivated or found blogging a chore - feeling like they had to post something even if there wasn't anything they felt passionate enough to write about, I think most bloggers have been in this place at some point. This can get you down, and sometimes it's hard to come back from. Even in only a year, I felt this way when work became too much. I found just coming away from blogging and spending time reading them, rather than writing, helped me alot.

The 'Up's (aka Why Blogging is Awesome!)
The "good" side of blogging - the reasons why we keep tapping away at our keyboards, and putting ourselves out there! These are my personal reasons, I'm sure you all have many more!!
1.  Aside from the aforementioned negativity, my little blog is my little slice of happy! I try to keep my corner of the world wide web, full of nice, pretty things and thoughts, to share with you all. Sometimes real life isn't always pretty and happy, so its nice to have this little place to escape to.
2. One of my favourite things about blogging is the community. The lovely friendly, helpful people who make up this supportive community. I've recently begun getting out to meet some of these people in person, and intend to do so in the future, but even without this, I already love all the online friends I have made as part of writing my blog.
3. Blogging always makes me want to get crafty and try new things. This can only be a good thing. Sometimes they don't always work out as well as I'd like - and they never look like they do on Pinterest - but that's OK, it's good to try these things out, whether they are successful or not.
4. Seeing the beauty in the little things. Blogging has encouraged me to see the beauty in the everyday, and try to diarise the things I've seen, rather than just letting them fade into the back of my mind.
5. Finally, and this may sound like a bit of an odd one, but blogging has also made me realise that actually I'm normal! It's OK to shop in charity shops, have a love of vintage, and prefer afternoon tea over a wild night out. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the odd night of getting dressed up to do some wild cheesy dancing with my girls, but on the whole this just isn't my thing anymore! I am clearly what Wish Magazine refers to as an 'Early Granny' and blogging has taught me this is absolutely fine!!

Don't forget, you can still enter my blog birthday giveaway here!
What things do you love most about blogging or what makes you sad about blogging?

Things I Wish I Had Known

Thursday, 14 March 2013

As I mentioned, this week I'm having a slight change in terms of post content. I wanted to talk about some of the things I wish I had known way back when I first started blogging. I'm not professing to be an expert and these are only things I think are important - feel free to take on board or disregard at your leisure!

I'm no David Bailey, and I'm sure I never will be. There are some fab bloggers out there with fantastic photography, I particularly admire Becky at MilkBubbleTea and her style of photography, as its always s bright and white without losing the actually colour tone. But what I have learnt, is that you don't need a DSLR to achieve adequate photographs for your blog - yes I want one too, and I currently have a bridge but really it isn't necessary. (Later this week I will be doing a bit of a bibliography of posts and will direct you to some bloggers who can express this in better ways than me.)

What you do need is good lighting - this is the best photography tip anyone could ever give you! For product photography, a piece of white paper, in a well lit window sill, or any other background you choose, works well.

When it comes to editing photos, you don't need to pay for an expensive photoshop package (there's a free basic version online, but I find it confusing!) but Windows has its own basic editor when you open your pictures where you can change the exposure (how bright/light it is) as well as the colour tone - I tend to opt for a more soft yellow tone rather than the blue, and crop. I've found this has been fine for me so far, and has made a difference to my photos.

I like to make my pictures to the width of my blog. You can do this within the HTML (where it says width and a px number) or you can just size up in the blogger post screen. If you go through my archives you will see some of my earlier pictures are fiddly tiny little things in the middle of the page and you barely see what's in the picture. I could go back and change them, but I like to leave my old posts as they were when I did them. I think it demonstrates to me and anyone who reads them the progression I've made.

I had no idea about HTML when I began blogging - I didn't even think I needed to know anything about HTML and thought the basic blogger template would suffice. The basic blogger template will suffice - dependant on what you want to do, but if you want to host buttons and images in a side bar you'll need a little bit of HTML know-how.

The HTML to add a button ad to your side bar is:-

<a href="The Blog URL"> <img alt="" src="The Image Source URL" /></a>

(Sourced from Almost Delightful Blog)

You will need to delete the bold bits (and only the bold) and replace it with your own information such as blog url. The image source url is where you've uploaded it to, for example on photobucket.

Adding a clickable link to comments. This has got to be the best bit of HTML I have ever learnt as it stops your comments looking messy and allows people to click and find your blog without having to copy and paste.

<a herf="your blog URL"> your blog name</a>

Post Tips
Lots of bloggers use interesting phrases or lyrics as posts titles. This is fun but it doesn't really help people trying to find your blog. If you've done a post about "how to wear jeans" ideally you should name it that, as someone searching for this type of post, is going to type this phrase into google, whereas if you've named it after your favourite One Direction song, it won't direct searchers to your post.

Black text on a white background is generally the most readable. There's plenty of research on this topic (in fact I remember doing an experiment in relation to this at school!) so I'm not going to go on and on about this. Also ordinary basic fonts are also more readable than swirly fonts - use these in your header/side bars etc however! I personally tend to prefer justified text over the whole post being centred, but that's me personally and that's something I've discovered over time.

Gaining a Following
People won't just stumble on your blog - well some will but it will be very few. Get interacting with other bloggers on twitter - don't be afraid to tweet your fave bloggers no matter how big or small. There are twitter chats nearly every night - there's usually a specific topic and everyone uses a certain hashtag on the end of their tweets in order for everyone joining in to see. There are also Facebook groups/blog hops/swaps you can join in, to get more involved. Finally making the effort to comment in other people's blogs all adds to building a community and a following

Like I said, regard or disregard these points as you choose, but the only point I would say to take note of is, its your blog, essentially do what you want, be passionate and most importantly ENJOY!!

Don't forget, you can still enter my blog birthday giveaway

1st Blog Birthday Giveaway!!!!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Today is my blog's first birthday! For a whole year (with a couple of breaks in between) I have been a part of a world I never knew existed until a year and a month ago! As much as I enjoy blogging, at times it can have it's low points too, where I've struggled to find time, motivation or inspiration, but I am glad I persevered as my little part of the web makes me happy.

In celebration of this momentous (momentous for me, maybe not for you guys!) occasion, I felt it was only fitting to say a big fat THANK YOU to you for the support over the last year. I have got to know some lovely people through this blog, some of whom I look forward to meeting this year, and I want to give something back to those of you who have given me a little smile each day with a comment or a tweet, a follow or an email!

So less of the mushy stuff and on with the prizes!! I'd also like to say a big thank you to the three lovely bloggers, courtesy of the UK Bloggers Facebook group, who have generously donated extra prizes to my giveaway! Thank you lovely ladies!

From me: A copy of Ellis Island by Kate Kerrigan

A beauty bundle containing :-
  • 3 Soap & Glory Minis: Hand Food; Clean Girls Body Wash; Scrub of Your Life Body Scrub;
  • Natural Collection Eyeshadow Duo in Mocha/Latte,
  • Collection Longer Lash Lengthening Mascara (Black);
  • Collection Extreme Felt Tip Liner (Black)
  • Miss Sporty Hollywood Lipgloss in Pasadena.

From Bex @ Futures :  1 month of "The Ferris Wheel" Ad Space (200x200)
From Hayley @ Sparkles & Stretchmarks 1 Months 'Gold' Advertising Space
A Herbalife Soothing Aloe Gel


From Sarah @ Life in a Break Down I months "Glass Slipper of the Ads" Ad Space
Phew! The giveaway will be run by rafflecoptor and will run for 7 days.
Over the next 7 days there will be a slight break from the norm in terms of posts, and I will be talking about my experiences of blogging, what works/doesn't work, and some of the posts I've found useful on other blogs.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

My Giveaway Win!

Monday, 11 March 2013

I really like entering blog giveaways. I like the idea of winning a prize, of course I do, but when it comes from a blog giveaway, you know the blogger has selected it because they like the product and endorse it themselves, which is certainly a good thing in my book.
Over the last year I must have entered loads of blog giveaways, but sadly I was not a lucky bunny :(
Last Friday I was having a particularly crappy day. Work has been a bit awful and I was feeling extremely down. Not to dwell on this point too long, I checked my email box before taking an early night in a bid to feel refreshed and better, and I was surprised to find an email from the lovely Anna to say I had won her blog giveaway! Yey! Double bonus, I had won a gorgeous Sanctuary Spa Gift Set, which is just what I needed to relax and chill out a little!

Anna sent me a lovely card, saying she hoped the set would relax me and make me feel brand new - me too Anna! Sadly the box got a little crushed getting through the letterbox, Grrr Postie! But no matter, as my goodies were safe and sound. They smell absolutely delicious, and I cant wait to use them!!
Anna blogs at Anna Nuttall Blog, and is running monthly giveaways on her blog for her readers, so hop over there toot sweet!

Last Minute Mother's Day Make

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Just in case you had forgotten, this Sunday is Mother's Day!! If like me, you like the occasional homemade gift, you've still got time to do this little DIY.
I found the above tea set in a charity shop for £2.99. I thought it was pretty, and with the added bonus of the "Mother" writing, it would make a perfect Mother's Day gift. My Mum has lots of teacups and tea services, so I wanted to create something a little different, than just giving her another set.
I love teacup candles, and decided this was what I was going to do with this little teacup. I found loads of tutorials following a quick Google search, and felt reasonably confident that I knew what I was going to do.
I bought a cheap pink candle to melt down, and some new wicks from Hobbycraft.
I slowly shaved down the candle to make it easier and quicker to melt. I put the wax shavings into a plastic bowl, which I then sat in a pan of boiling water. Its really important to make sure you don't let any of the water get inside the pan. Once some of the wax had started to melt, I dipped the wick anchor into it, to stick to the bottom of the tea cup. Don't cut your wick yet!

Once all the wax has melted (you will need more than you think!) take it off the heat for a moment before slowly pouring it into your teacup. Again make sure none of the condensation drips into the hot wax. Assuming your teacup is designed to have tea drunk out of it, there should be no problem with pouring the melted wax into it. Save a little of the wax back, to re-melt again later as the wax will sink and create a little pool around the wick that you will need to fill in, and to ensure a smooth finish.

You will need something to hold your wick up straight - as you can see, I was very professional and used two biros! Once the wax has fully hardened, this only took a couple of hours, fill in any pool that has been created by the wick and leave to hardened again.

And that's it! All that's left is to cut the wick to the desired length and present to your mummy, or any other important female figure in your life for mothers day! These also make lovely personal birthday gifts.

As you can see mine did set slightly oddly - I think this was due to using a multi coloured candle of various shades of pink and this is how it then separated out once melted.

I hope you give this a go!

Thrifting in Lincoln (Part 2)

Sunday, 3 March 2013

If you missed yesterdays post you can catch up here
If you've ever visited Lincoln before, you will probably be rather familiar with 'Steep Hill', and the general fatigue it brings on in the fittest of people! No matter what by the time you reach the top, your likely to be breathless, and the welcome sight of Bells Tea Room will certainly lure you in!
I would love these types of letters in my house!
Bells is a traditional English tea rooms, serving all sorts of delightful goodies! No girly day out is fully complete without an Afternoon Tea, and this one was pretty exceptional! Dainty sandwiches, warm scones and more homemade cakes and fancies than two hungry girls could eat! (Oh yes, I challenge you to finish this little lot! In fact the girl behind the counter told me that she has only seen one couple finish it all!) The entire top layer and two slices of cake were boxed up for us to sample later that evening whilst resting our weary feet. The only thing that didn't make it home, was the tiny little french macaroon. I've never actually tried one before, and I believe I very much amused the Chef with my "umms" and "aahhs" whilst sampling this little piece of deliciousness!

With our bellies full, a walk back down the hill was very much required! Our other finds included the Oxfam store, for books galore, and the Red Cross Shop, where I found two little home scents for my newly madeover spare room.

As is customary for most trips with me, the usual scour of Primark was in order, just to round off the day. I discarded some of my rather old and tatty keyrings in favour of this £2 tasselly number, which is now much lighter in my bag, and I feel less like I'm handling a bunch of jailers keys!

On a day filled with vintage finds, it almost expected that I would find something vintage inspired in Primark! I'm a little bit obsessed with neutrals and this 'blush pink' colour right now, and this cardigan caught my eye. With Primark, I rarely look at the price of things and just add them to my basket. Had I looked at the tag on this occasion, I may have reconsidered this purchase, as £14 for Primark, I think is slightly expensive. I know somewhere else it would be twice the price, but a few years ago Primark would probably never have charged that. Despite that, it happily remains in my wardrobe and I'm a little bit in love with it!
This cream studded jumper was £12, and I can confirm it is reasonably cosy, as I am currently wearing it!

I'll be honest, I didn't need this pair of shoes as I already own them! However these were half price in the sale, and some of the studs have fallen off mine, so the idea was that I could use these for spare parts, as my others are already quite well bedded in!

So that's it! Two parts to my thrifty day in Lincoln, (with a bit of Primark thrown in!) we had a lovely girly day, great food, a bit of exercise, empty purses, all in a pretty City!

Have you ever been to Lincoln? Have you visited any if these places?

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