Monday, 25 July 2011

Magpie Monday - Trauma

It's not easy being a magpie.  Drawn inexplicably to that shiny pointless bauble that you must rescue.

Packing up the house ready to move out at the end of this week has been a herculean effort.  There have been occasional moments of joy on discovering long-lost treasures up in the loft, but for the most part it has been stressful, exhausting and traumatic

You see, I love things. I surround myself with things. Quite how I'm going to cope with them not around me, heaven only knows.

Everything (well almost) is packed in brown cardboard boxes and deposited in the storage unit.  So far we have filled 90 boxes and got through 10 rolls of brown tape.  We haven't even started on the furniture yet.

Luckily the old man is one of those guys who gets obsessive about the correct way to load the groceries in shopping bags.  Imagine his joy at stacking and re-stacking box upon box in a 150 square foot metal room.  He was in heaven.

I on the other hand delayed visiting the unit.  I knew it would distress me.  Ever since the story of the sicko who kept his murder victim in the Big Yellow, those places have given me the willies.  I have much the same feelings on self storage units as I do about Magic Trees after watching Se7en.  Loading up our nth box, I stupidly made a crack about body parts. Last night I watched The Lovely Bones on telly and wished I hadn't.

The amount of stuff we have is unbelievable.  You see, I'm a hoarder, not a chucker.  Most normal people will have one umbrella. I have 15.  I also have 4 pairs of wellies and Ruby is continuing the family tradition with her 3 pairs.

Before you freak and think this is my second-hand shopping which has caused this, don't worry.  It's not.  It extends to every area of my life and home.  Packing up the kitchen I discovered 5 bags of flour - all open all 'in use'.  We always have at least 2 tubes of toothpaste on the go - hell we generally have 2 loo rolls on the go.

Once in a while I fantasise about living in a slick Barratt home with built-in everything and a capsule wardrobe to match.  A life in which Sundays would be spent pruning the hedge and washing the car - not hurtling round car boot sales.

It's not me though.  Can you seriously imagine me hosting #minimalistmonday?  No, it ain't never gonna happen.

Me and My Shadow
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Thursday, 21 July 2011

A Crafty Competition with Fly Thomas Cook

The people over at Fly Thomas Cook are running another great kid's competition over on their Fly Thomas Cook Kids Club website.

The site is full of great activities to keep the kids entertained over the holidays, perfect for printing out and taking with you on journeys.

They currently have a lovely competition which combines stories and craft. We headed over to the website and chose a story to inspire a crafting activity. This competition is being hosted by my lovely friend Maggy over at Red Ted Art.  There's an amazing prize bundle on offer including a Trunki case, a kid's VTech digital camera, headphones and loads more, so why not get involved.

Ruby picked the Magic Mirror and I read it to her while she did some colouring.

We decided to make our own magic mirror, and with a little help from the recycling bin, soon set to. I cut a basic hand mirror shape from cardboard.

Ruby then coloured it in with lots of pens and crayons.

We stuck milk bottle tops to form the shiny 'mirror'.

Finally, Ruby just had to add some sparkly 'jewels' to pretty it up.  What do you think?

Head over to to Red Ted Art to see the other entries, and please join in too.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Pantene Spa Inspired Hair Care - a giveaway

Let me just pause for a moment: A Spa Day...

Well, the idea sounds most appealing, but let's be honest I have neither the time nor the money to indulge in such frivolities right now. The closest I get to a spa treatment right now is the dishwasher facial - you know the one, where you open the door before the cycle's finished.

Add to that the fear I have of perfectly made-up twenty-somethings with ultra white teeth sneering disdainfully at me with comments like "you really should make more of an effort to moisturise more often" and "Really! When was the last time you..."  OK OK let's not share that much detail with you!

In actual fact, I don't really even like going to the hairdressers. Only because it usually means some inane girl is going to be chirruping away with mindless chatter the whole while. IF I WANTED SOMEONE TALKING INCESSANTLY IN MY EAR, I'D HAVE STAYED AT HOME WITH MY 3 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER. I WANT SILENCE.

So you see, the idea of spa treatments in the privacy of my own bathroom really appealed to me. 

Pantene have just launched their new range of spa inspired hair care products, and I was lucky enough to trial them. Not only that my gorgeous friends, I'm giving you the chance to win a set of your own.

I used the Smooth and Sleek range, and tested out the shampoo; high performance conditioner; 24hr frizz fighter and the intensive treatment.  Read on to find out how you can win the same set.

I've been using the shampoo and conditioner on a daily basis for around 2 weeks now, and am exceptionally pleased with the results.  My hair is smooth and glossy and looks in great condition after using Pantene.  I adore the scent - even though it does make me walk around swishing my mane like some crazy thoroughbred horse. 

Often I don't dry my hair, but simply put it straight up after washing.  I kid myself it's because using the hairdryer is bad for the environment, but to be truthful I'm just lazy.  When I take my hair down at the end of the day, the smell is beautiful, and at times I have had to swat the other half away - I've noticed him sneaking surreptitious sniffs of my hair when he thinks I'm not looking...Odd.

The intensive treatment is a real shot in the arm - or should that be hair?  Leaving on for 5 minutes or so before rinsing gives my hair an amazing boost and I've been using this once a week in addition to the daily shampoo and conditioner.

In the past I haven't generally bothered with conditioner, finding they tend to leave my hair looking lank and dull.  Pantene Sleek and Smooth is quite the opposite.  It rinses out well, leaving you with that squeaky clean feeling.

Now, if the lovely product designers of Pantene could just invent some kind of bubble which would allow me that full spa experience, that would be totally perfect. Something which would give me 10 minutes peace and tranquility in the bathroom to enjoy the moment, without a 3 year old rattling on the door shouting "MUMMY I need a poo" or the postman hammering at the door with a recorded delivery, or the phone ringing...  That would be tickety-boo!

The Spa Inspired Care range is tailored to your hair's individual needs. Try taking the personalised product finder survey to find your perfect treatment.

If you'd like to win a selection of the products (shampoo; conditioner; frizz fighter and intensive treatment for smooth and sleek hair), please leave me a comment below stating why you'd like to win.


You can get an extra entry by doing one or more of the following, and leaving a separate comment for each:

Follow me on Twitter
Follow my blog
Like my blog Facebook page
Tweet " I've entered @missielizzieb 's blog competition to #win @PanteneUK spa hair care. You can too here  "

The competition ends at 8pm of Wednesday 27th July 2011 and is open to UK only.  Please ensure you have left a way to contact you. If the winner does not respond within one week, I reserve the right to re-draw.

Disclosure: Sponsored post. I was sent a range of products free of charge for the purposes of this review. however, any views expressed are my own.  I was so impressed with the products, that I wanted to host this giveaway and have funded the prize myself.  P&G and Pantene are not responsible for this contest in any way.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Magpie Monday - Completing the Circle

Writing my Magpie Monday posts is becoming increasingly difficult with our impending house move.  More and more items are being packed away, for me to never locate again (or so it feels), and today it seems I am unable to find my camera.  In addition, my shopping habits have been drastically curtailed as I'm more or less banned from bringing anything else into the house.

I thought therefore, it was a good opportunity to re-visit some of my previous posts, and complete their stories for you.

Remember my Auction Fever moment?  Well, amongst the items I purchased was a job lot of antique magazines and periodicals.  I featured photos and details of some of them, and through the magic of t'internet an email pinged into my inbox earlier this week.

A charming American scholar had spotted a magazine edition I'd posted, and as he is currently researching similar items, he enquired whether I'd be prepared to sell it.

I absolutely don't buy second-hand items specifically to re-sell, and to be honest after reading Molly's wonderful Magpie Monday post this morning I feel a bit reluctant to write this.  She captured perfectly the ethos of Magpie Monday, and describes exactly the reasons why I too love to buy from charity shops.  There's nothing wrong with re-selling items on eBay etc, but that's not why I tend to buy them. I buy things because I'll use them, or because I love them.

However, I am a stay-at-home mum with the salary to match.  A few extra pennies are always welcome, and if I can give a new lease of life to something and the end result means the item is with someone who'll cherish it, then why not!

I took the magazine to my local antique book dealer who was almost orgasmic looking through it.  He gave me a valuation and also asked me to bring along the others I have if I want to sell them!  Myself and the American were able to settle on a price we were both happy with.

I'm off to the post office this morning to send it on it's way.  How's that for a happy ending?

I thought I'd also update you on #pomandergate.  You may recall that ebay purchase I made of an entire collection of ceramic pomanders?  Well, I had a plan to re-condition them and was determined to make it work.  No, clearly I didn't have the plan when I pushed the button to bid on 186 pomanders - admittedly that was just a moment of madness.

However, the plan quickly developed, and with the help of One Stop Pamper who sourced and sent me beautiful fragranced beads, I cleaned up the pomanders and custom filled them with organza bags of fragrance at a recent vintage and craft fayre.  A perfect blend of old meets new. I even had  custom-made labels printed to seal the bases, and a name for the venture: 'It makes scents'.  Like it? Geddit?

They went down a treat and at £4.50 each will make me a nice few pennies.  Looks like I'll be attending a few more fairs...

So what second-hand goodies have you found? I'd love you to grab the badge and link back here so we can all share. x

Me and My Shadow
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Thursday, 14 July 2011

First Craft Fayre

I had no option but to prove the pomander naysayers wrong.  I had a crafty plan to re-invent the scented spheres much favoured of old ladies, and I was determined to make it work - not least to shut the old man up.

With the help of Maryann from One Stop Pamper I got organised, and booked my first ever stall at a craft and vintage fayre.  In hindsight, I should have given myself more than 10 days notice, but I'm eternally grateful to Maryann for pulling out the stops to supply her gorgeous aroma beads, and for calmly dealing with my panicky emails - I shouldn't have fretted, she came up trumps.

My plan was, to upcycle and present the vintage floral style of the pomanders, but team them with modern, fresh fragrances. Personally I can't stand musty, fusty old pot pourri.

I selected the beautifully fragrant Fresh Cut Rose, heady Antique Lace, clean, fresh White Tea and Ginger and floral China Lily.  I've purchased candles from One Stop Pamper before, I know the scents are high quality and long lasting.  Spending an evening scooping, weighing and bagging up fragranced beads into little organza bags, I did feel like a deranged fragrance drug dealer.

I ordered some round stickers from to seal the bases and we were all set.

The aroma beads were presented in my handmade crochet baskets, and as luck would have it our stall was positioned right opposite the entrance so customers were greeted with the scent as soon as they walked through the door.

Although the fayre was quiet, I did sell plenty of pomanders, with One Stop Pamper's smells stealing the show.  Customers seemed to really enjoy the participation of selecting their favourite ceramic ball, picking their perfume and then allowing me to assemble it.  I added hanging ribbons for those who wanted them.

Yes! I knew it was a good idea.  I mean, who would ever have thought a few years back of putting a candle in a tea cup?

Along with the pomanders, I was selling a few bits of vintage homeware, and handcrafted items including rag heart wreaths, cushions and doily bowls.

I spent most of the previous week buying up all the Dylon products I could get my hands on, and dyed vintage crocheted cushion covers in China Blue and Powder Pink.

Ditto with vintage crocheted doilies, which were made into bowls - as described in a previous post.

It's a long time since I used the Image Maker, but I made some cushions, which I'm secretly glad I was able to bring home because I've grown rather attached to them.

The cushion covers are handmade, the images added and then finished with a ribbon 'frame'.

It really was a shame that there weren't more customers through the door. A case of bad timing I suspect because as we were leaving the village I spotted a school fete going on up the road, which was literally heaving with people.

I persuaded my mum to come along and sell her stained glass.  I don't think she enjoyed it too much as nobody seemed to be in the market for glass.  I honestly don't know why because her suncatchers are beautiful. 

I can't say I made my fortune, but still, I'm glad I had a go. I might even be tempted to do another one if I can find a willing helper - it's not really an activity to do alone. You wouldn't be able to nip to the loo, or pop off to stock up on tea and endless slices of cake. Or even visit the delights on other stalls.

Thanks to Originate Craft and Vintage Fayres and to Samantha Hughes for her great vintage vocals throughout the day.

Huge thanks also to Maryann at One Stop Pamper, Maggy at Red Ted Art for her encouragement and even suggesting I could sell my handmakes, and to Karen at The White Approach for helping me with pricing.

If anyone would like to purchase a pomander mail order, please give me a shout! Likewise, those that have already bought them, please get in touch if you want the bead sachets. I can organise a price for the fragranced fillers and a sticker seal. x

Viva Pomander.

Linking up with White Lily Green's Handmade Thursday.

Inspire Me Beautiful

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Find a Nature Valley Garden - Treasure Hunt

I hope some of you managed to nab some of the delicious free granola bars via my blog recently?

A little while ago I blogged about Nature Valley's competition to design a mini garden.  Well, the competition is over and the top 50 and 1st prize winner have now been selected from the superb entries.  Perhaps you entered? Perhaps your design was picked?

Well, to celebrate, Nature Valley have had the gardens made up, and today they are giving them away in a treasure hunt.  If you spot one in London, it's yours!  Not only that, but you could get your hands on some Nature Valley bars too. There will be 5 secret locations around London, with 10 gardens dropped off per place.

Follow them on Twitter today, and the hashtag #grabagarden to crack the clues.  Good luck!

Monday, 11 July 2011

Lands End Kids Clothing

Lands' End kindly allowed us to review some of their kid's clothes from their online catalogue.

The only problem I had was what to choose.  So many gorgeous designs and great styles - it was a toughie.

Finally I settled on this lovely little summer outfit.

Girls Cotton Roll-up Shorts in Pale Seafoam Floral. Reduced from £16 to £12

I teamed this with this great little T-Shirt. Plain coloured, but with a pretty ruffle detail at the neckline.

Girls Short Sleeve Ruffle Neck T-Shirt in Pale Seafoam - Reduced from £12 to £8

I have to say, these clothes have fast become my new favourite outfit for Ruby.  I love the detailing on the clothes and the classic styling.  The shorts can be worn long, or rolled up and fastened with the buttons, which makes them versatile for different looks - and the ever changing British summer weather!

Ruby's 'model pose'

I can't wait for the shorts and top to go through the wash, before she can wear it again! I snatch it off the line as soon as it's dry.  Her other clothes just aren't getting a look in at the moment.

They wash and iron beautifully, and withstand the wear and tear an active toddler can throw at them.

The description and photos on the website are wonderfully accurate. I knew exactly what I was getting, and was not disappointed. Don't you love it when companies take a bit of effort describing their colours - not just plain old 'blue' or 'red'.

I adore this jersey dress - called 'coral moon boats'. It also comes in other colours and designs and is currently reduced from £16 to £12.

They have a fantastic sale on at the moment (on adults clothes too!), so now is a great time to stock up.  I think I might order a new winter coat for Ruby, and am liking this one:

 ThermaCheck Pea Coat reduced from £35 to £24.50

It's available in 'Pink Bloom'; 'Dark Chocolate' and 'Loganberry'. Yum!

Take a look quick - while stocks last.

I'd also like to say a massive thanks to Lands' End. Not only did I recently win a lovely stripe tote bag from them, but when I said I'd like to donate it to The Children's Trust for one of their summer raffles, they sent me two!  What a lovely company. x

Disclaimer: I received the two items of clothing free of charge for the purposes of this review.  However, no financial payment was received and any views expressed are my own and are honest.

Show me your Stationery - Hand Stamped Notelets

The gorgeous Molly over at Molly and the Princess has lured my to join in with her Show me your Stationery Saturday link-up again!

This Saturday I spent the day selling (or rather, trying to sell) at a local craft fayre.  The turn-out was pretty dire which was a great shame as there were lots of amazing crafters there.

So much to buy, but I was under strict instructions not to come home with more than I took, so I showed great restraint.  But I couldn't help buying these adorable little note cards made by Donna Kurlfinke (one of the organisers).

So simple, but beautifully effective.  I struggled to decide which design to chose, but these seemed to be the ones I'd get most use out of.  At £3 for a set of 5 who could resist?

You can purchase Donna's makes from her Etsy Store.

Pop over to Molly's blog to see more loveliness.

Molly and the Princess

Magpie Monday - On the Move

Things are pretty hectic in the Me & My Shadow household right now.

We have exchanged contracts on our house but unfortunately the house we are buying has been held back.  Very boring and complicated, not to mention frustrating, but the upshot is in about 20 days time we shall be homeless!!  Well, not quite as my lovely parents will be putting us up, but it has meant that all our possessions are going into storage.

For a person who likes their things around them, you cannot imagine how traumatic this is going to be.  We signed the lease on the storage unit yesterday, and put the first of many car-loads of boxes inside.

Add to this the fact that I spent all week preparing for my first ever Vintage & Craft Fayre stall on Saturday (more about that at a later date). I was hoping for some vintage loveliness to spend my pennies on, but it was sorely lacking.  Then, on Sunday, rather than strolling around a delightful car-boot sale which would have been my choice, I spent the day watching a group of over-weight, middle-aged men making fools of themselves at a football tournament (do boys ever grow up?).  All this means I have very little to show you this week.

So I thought I'd share this little gem I found a while back (before it too gets wrapped in bubble-wrap and condemned to the dark cold storage unit).

I bought this for £10 - a little on the steep side for a charity shop purchase for me admittedly.  It was 'in the cabinet', which always adds a certain frisson to a find!

I've tried to research it online, and have seen them variously described as scrimshaw solitaire sets, or faux scrimshaw.  To be honest, I hope it's not real - I don't really approve of whaling as you can imagine.

I adore the intricate detail on it. I also love the fact that it can sit on my coffee table and give the impression that I spend my free time doing improving pastimes and reflective games - rather than wasting hours on end watching drivel on the telly or talking drivel on Twitter, which is the reality.

I'd love you to grab the badge and link-up to share your second-hand finds. x

Me and My Shadow
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Monday, 4 July 2011

Magpie Monday - Nautical and Nice

After the past few weeks Magpie Monday postings, I'm pretty sure a fair few of you think I'm losing my marbles.  This week could very easily have turned out differently had I attended the Saturday auction.  But I thought it best not to.  A bored and fed up Lizzie often makes hasty purchases.

Don't panic. I didn't.

Instead, it turns out I was eminently sensible this week.  I don't do fashion. Yes, really!  Anyone who's actually met me in the flesh will tell you that.  But just occasionally it seems I must be subliminally affected by external forces.

This week, my purchase from charity shops have been of a nautical theme.  A couple of days later, my July edition of Ideal Home plops through the letterbox, crammed full of seaside themed interior decor.  What do you know, I'm on trend!

If you are the sort that likes to update their home every couple of months with new accessories to fit the latest fashion, then you could do a lot worse that a trawl of your local house clearance shops, charity shops and car boot sales.  It's amazing what you can find.

I spotted this cute little whimsical boat ornament hanging up in the Salvation Army shop with a price tag of 99p. It was actually a wind chime with a hanging loop at the top, but I soon snipped of those dingly dangly buggers, and now have a beautiful ornament for my daughter's new room (eventually!).  I ask you, indoor wind chimes?? What is the point?

I also found this gorgeous vintage children's book for £2.  She's not a boy, but so what, we don't do stereotypes in this house.  Someone has dated the book as 1933, but I don't know if that's accurate.  I just thought it was a beautiful decorative item - although I am looking forward to reading the story entitled 'The saucy Marion'. I say!

This glass fish was a curious one.  I rather liked it the first time I spotted it in my local Shelter charity shop, but couldn't think what to use it for. I went back several times to the shop, each time picking it up and putting it back again.  Finally, I realised exactly what it would be used for, and returned to the shop only to find it gone.  The assistant must have heard my disappointed sigh, and asked me what I was looking for.  She nipped out the back, and returned with it in her hands.  Best of all, I got it for half price as it was due to be disposed of.

£1.50 is a bargain for my new salt pot don't you think.  My fish now sits happily next to the hob, dispensing seasoning for my cooking from his open mouth.

Remember that lovely seagull Devonshire pot I showed you a couple of weeks back? Imagine my delight at finding a matching salt and pepper pot!  My little seagull display is growing. I plan to show these off on a dresser in my kitchen.  I shan't use them for condiments, but probably put scented beads in them to fragrance the room (because I haven't got enough pomanders, right!)

The nautical feel does not end at homeware. No, I have also been adorning myself in all things coastal.  I loved this T Shirt for £3.  My mum said nay, but I said yay.  What do you think, was I right?

I adore it! I was a bit gutted to find in the label that it's Primark, but hey-ho.  The blue and white stripes are quite Boden-esque and I love the fifties inspired graphic boat prints.

I've also picked up a few pendants to complete the look.  This anchor cost me £1 with chain and I've worn it loads.  The little enamel seahorse is cute too.  The larger one is enormous, and I'll never wear it as a necklace, but I'm thinking of using it as a bag charm or something else crafty.

I have a fondness for seahorses. Any species where the male carries and delivers the babies, gets my vote. 

If you'd like to share your second-hand finds, please grab the badge below, display it on your blog post and link up. x

Me and My Shadow
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